Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What We Need Here is Some Rain

AP image of the Las Conchas fire above Los Alamos. Since it first sparked three days ago, it has grown to 61,000 acres and counting.

Although, it did rain here yesterday. It started off as a smattering of hopeful sprinkles for a few minutes before gathering up full force and letting loose with a hard-driving downpour. For about 7 minutes, 39 seconds.

And it fell selectively. A good friend who lives 10 miles south of us didn't get a single drop. The folks in Los Alamos, nothing.

Things out here at the back of the mountain aren't too bad, but Albuquerque was enveloped in smoke yesterday, which obliterated the mountains and the mesas and volcanoes at the west side of town. We're holding steady at 10 percent chance of rain every day until mid next week, when it shoots to 60 percent for a couple of days.

In the meantime, the entire state is shut down. Even the scenic road to the top of the Sandia Mountains is closed to traffic, the first time ever. The trails behind my house, where we walk the dogs and run? Closed. The river and bosque trails? Closed. The Jemez and Pecos Mountain trails? Closed. Looks like road running and leash walking for us. Which I'll gladly do if it means we up here in the East Mountains escape this:

That's Los Alamos National Laboratories in the foreground.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Haiku Mondays: SHORT

A Dozen Mr. Right Nows; One Mr. Right

Too tall at thirteen,
too fast, too smart. Only one
man since measured up.

* * *

Señor Czar is taking time out from wrangling commas and the wholesale misuse of affect/effect to host this Monday's 5-7-5-er. Whose theme is: SHORT. Fitting. Head on over to catch the fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nineties Nostalgia

That's it. I've officially become my parents: "What's this crap you're listening to?!? Music was better in my day!"

I just don't hear much new music that excites me. Do you? If so, let me know and I'll tune in. Otherwise, I'll just have to cling to my nostalgia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

King of the Beasts

Disturbing, yes. But, in what way?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie Clip Wednesdays: One Hit Wonders

What a great subject for this week's Movie Clip Wednesdays! I chose this one not so much because no one knows who Tatum O'Neal is or what happened to her (in fact, we probably know a little bit too much), but because she never really went anywhere after her first movie, Paper Moon, for which she was nominated, and subsequently won, the Academy Award for Supporting Actress.

There was that teen flick Little Darlings with Kristy McNichol and Matt Damon, but after that she disappeared into marriage, motherhood, divorce, and addiction. Only to reemerge as an actress in B movies and television shows as well as a peddler of dirty family secrets on the talk show circuit. Ah, well. With the kind of childhood she had, more power to her, if this is the way she needs to work things out.

For grins and giggles, click here to see Tatum's acceptance Academy Award speech (You Tube's disabled the embedding):

It's interesting to note that another child actress and one hit wonder, Linda Blair, was also nominated the same year. The clip also showcases the juxtaposition between Jill Ireland's cool blond beauty and her husband's eternally craggy looks. They were married forever and a day before she passed away from breast cancer in 1990, so he must have had something to recommend him.

At any rate, to see who's playing this week, head on over to the Meme's Supreme Hostess, Ms. Cake's place.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Haiku Mondays: MEMORY

Ding-a-Ling Moi

Morning’s frantic search:

Keys? Lipstick? Sunglasses? D’oh!

In hand and on head.

• • •

If you'd like to participate in this week's Haiku Monday challenge, head on over to Miss Fleur's place to post.

Or, just read what everyone else is posting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rock of Ages

"Man fulfills his dream and by photographic magic produces a precise image of the Grand Canyon. The result is not that he adores nature or beauty the more. Instead he adores his camera—and himself."
— Daniel J. Boorstin

"Essentially the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own."
— Susan Sontag

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Haiku Mondays: VACATION Winner

Here's what I loved about this week's contest: it brought out so many variations on the theme. There were trips down memory lane, both good (Karl, Fleur, Fishy) and bad (also Fleur and Fishy—we'd love to know what that phobia for life is!); stark admissions that for some of us, vacations are more work than play (Pam and Buzz); wistful imaginings (Troll/Secretariat's Ghost, Kym); vacations as altered reality (Czar); and sojourns that became paradigm-shifting experiences of a lifetime (Eggy). Then there was Aunty, who posited that perhaps the whole ding dang getaway thing is more hassle than it's really worth.

This contest was also rife with wonderful wordplay:

Czar's "spectral outliers," Troll's "warm turf under hoof" and "bitch-slapping mullahs," the cut-to-the-chase efficiency of Aunty's "girly goo" and "grope and grab." I also really liked how Karl's first two sentences mirrored each other with their rhythmic "bikes, babes, beer" and then "snow, rain, thunder." Nicely done.

In the end, though, I had to go with the haiku that, for me, best represented the idea of vacation as romantic ideal, as something both adventurous and escapist, whether real, or imagined.

For me, the several haiku that did that best were:


Best Vacation Ever, Summer of '73

Drive through the Badlands.
Steely Dan on 8-track tape.
Pop Rocks and Blowpops.


My destination
Imagined and untitled
Anywhere but here

Which beautifully sums up our childlike belief in the transformative power of escape. Of vacation as a way to re-energize lives that at times become sodden with responsibility and routine. She doesn't know where she wants to go, she just knows she does . . . anywhere but here.

Troll's Trio:

The book, jug and loaf
but nobody beside me
in the wilderness.

The book, jug and loaf
but nobody beside me
yakking or singing.

The book, jug and loaf
but partner is not silent.
Shhhushhhhhh! Let nature sing!

Romantic he may not be, but, hey, what's the point of escaping to the wilderness if NOT for utter peace and quiet? Also, come on; how many of us don't secretly shudder when someone we know spontaneously bursts into song in front of us?

And the winner is: Fleur.

I couldn't get it out of my head, and not only because of its verbal bounce. It's also an exceptionally sensual haiku, evoking with sight, sound, and taste, the feel of a family summer road trip vacation at a specific time in history: the wide open country and its promise of discovery and adventure; the fact that gasoline was cheap enough to travel by car; the omnipresent musical accompaniment (and if you don't have an emotional response to at least one of Steely Dan's songs, then you either weren't alive in the 1970s or you don't like pop music, period), and finally, who doesn't remember the ridiculously simple pleasure of Pop Rocks and Blow Pops, the holy grail of candy for many a child of the '70's?

Congrats, Fleur. You win the Bill Bryson book; however, I think I deleted your address from the last time I sent you a prize, so please have Czar re-relate. You also get the pleasure of picking a theme and hosting next week's contest.

And thanks to everyone for participating, most especially Eggy, who doth protest too much that she's not "that kind of writer," which Czar always says as well, but look at the both of you. Haiku-ers for sure.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Haiku Mondays: VACATION


If this word isn't topmost on your mind this month, then I don't know what is. Unless you are a die hard, über dedicated homebody with a cat and/or houseplant problem, either you're going, have gone, or are wishing you were.

So come on, sock it to me with your best 5-7-5 ode(s) to the relaxed life. Real or imagined. Done or dreamed. Upcoming or someday.

You have up until midnight tomorrow, Monday, June 13, 2011, at midnight PST to submit your haiku in this here comment box (visuals at your blog are coolio but will have no bearing on the judging), and I'll pick a winner sometime on Tuesday. Winner gets a copy of this book by one of my all-time favorite writers:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Three Days in the Desert

We both noticed her at the same time, but it was Boxer who started calling her Attila. Tall, probably of Nordic descent, with a stout body and a sensible to-the-chin blond bob whose bangs she kept tucked back off her forehead with a wide headband.

I don't think anyone—outside of perhaps George Hamilton—has been that tan since the 1970s. So burnt sienna, she almost looked unreal, like an extra from a Russ Meyer movie or a walking wax figure patina-ed with over-sized brush strokes. Had this gal not gotten the memo at some point during the last 15 years that UVA and UVB rays, they kill?

Apparently not. Attila's workmanlike dedication to bronzing would have been admirable had it not been so alarming: 15 minutes on her belly, 15 on her back. Flip and repeat. For what we estimated to be hours. And when we finally did get a good look at her, Boxer was the first to suck in her breath and whisper at me that Attila had to be no more than 35, even though she looked 55.

But, hey, if she wanted to spend her latter years as a walking strip of beef jerky, what did we care? It was her attitude that earned her Boxer's moniker, our very first afternoon out by the pool as we, tucked safely under a sun umbrella, watched her stride purposefully towards a young man lying across from us. Only moments before, he had answered a cell phone call and was speaking in soft, respectful tones to the person on the other end of the line, when Attila scolded him in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, "Excuse me, this is a cell phone free zone and I can hear your conversation from all the way across the pool. Please end your call."

And he did!

I still don't know whether to admire her or think her an ass. But one thing is for certain, she had a presence and it's not one we would have encountered had we not been on vacation.

So in that spirit, I'm choosing VACATION as the topic for next week's Haiku Monday. I'll host, judge, and offer a marvy prize. Drop by Sunday for the scoop.

In the meantime, tell me about the most memorable person you ever encountered while recreating away from home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dog Days

No matter where I go in life, I find dogs. Or, they find me, I'm not sure exactly which.

Maybe because I've always been around them, almost from the moment I was born, when my father, after taking me home from the hospital, dipped me down over the back of our landlord's magnificently amiable Great Dane in the first of many such encounters to ensure my comfort around animals. He said that even in my amorphous infant state, something in my eyes lit up whenever I saw that animal, and like a moth to a flame, I'd reach out my chubby infant arms to grab hold of the glossy grey fur and cling so tightly, he'd eventually have to pry my hands off the dog. Once I was able to walk, I could finally attach myself to the Dane at will, gripping the fur of his neck and babbling happily alongside him as he patiently allowed me to "walk" him in our yard.

Dogs remain one of my life's primary preoccupations. So much so, that I can't help but seek them out. Like this fella here. Boxer and I hadn't been at the spa for five minutes when I spotted him, and of course we had to instantly go over and say hello. His name is Quasar and he's a Leonberger, a breed I've never heard of but wow is it beautiful, and his owner, in her pride over owning such a beautiful creature, was marvelous about letting us ooh and aah over him. Quasar, whose mind you could tell was really on stalking the property's many cotton-tailed bunnies anyway, was equally fine with us ruffling his big ol' head and assaulting him with nonsensical baby-talk.

And if you've guessed from that point on, we spent a great deal of our time waiting for Quasar to grace us with his presence (and me figuring out how to bribe his owner into letting me take him home), you'd be right.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer's Ready

Although, I'm not sure I am.

Regardless, I'm going to kick it off officially come Friday, with my annual trek to the desert to soak in some sun, fling my body around, and have someone else do the cooking and cleaning for three whole days. Boxer will be there, too.

I've got a lot to do before lift off, though, so in the meantime, please share with me your plans for the summer. Whatever they are, I hope they include some time for FUN.