Sunday, April 7, 2019

What about Voyages One through Six?

We have to save the princess, man!

Okay, maybe not so much save her, in this, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, as getting her unshrunk. From the machinations (don'tcha love that word?) of an evil magician. What happened was this:

Sinbad (who looks very much like a really white guy) is packing the princess back to Bagdad where the two, Sinbad and not-yet-tiny princess plan to marry. Hopefully, prin's dad and Sin's kind-of dad will unite their two kingdoms.

Sailing back, Sinbad and crew stop on an island with some Ray Harryhausen critters, one of whom is chasing said magician, who has a genii lamp. Sin saves magic man, but they lose the lamp, and the cyclops snags it.

They make it back to Bagdad, but magic man is PO'd because Sin didn't take him back for his lamp, so magic man shrinks the princess. Magic man says he can restore her (didn't Sin suspect magic might've been the one behind said shrinking?), but he needs egg shells from the giant Roc that's back on the island. So, off the go back to the island, fight some more Ray Harryhausen critters, including the Roc, a little Roc, a cyclops, a dragon, and a skeleton. They also promise the genii (who is a little kid) that if he, the genii, helps them, they'll help turn him into a real live little boy with pimples and changing voice, so he does, and they do, and the dragon falls on magic man, and Pinocchio, er, the boy-who-was-a-genii, is now Sin's cabin boy, and everyone sails back to Bagdad.

I think I liked The Golden Voyage of Sinbad better, but the Ray H. effects, as always, stole the show.

The end.

Keep writing, friends.

Why, Yes, I'll Have Some More Coffee and Donuts, Please

And we did.

Hard to believe we finished up our OLLI class, For the Love of Coffee and Donuts.

Yes, that's really the name of it. And, no, it's not one that Wendy and I concocted. It's a class we attended through the OLLI program where we learned about... coffee and donuts. Literally. Gotta love a class where your homework is to bring your coffee mug to class. And donuts. Did I mention the donuts? Or doughnuts. Take your pick.

For the last "For the Love of Coffee and Donuts" class, the folks from North Lime Coffee & Donuts presented. What was cool was they paired two different coffee blends with two pairs of donuts. Can we say caffeine and sugar boost? Yup. We had, if I remember, a Papua New Guinea with a couple of the round pastries, then I think a Sumatran with another couple of donuts.

Their parent shop is located at 575 North Limestone, in Lexington, KY, and there's another shop near us. Yayyy! They also have a shop in Old Louisville.

All their coffee is locally roasted, and the donuts made from scratch. They're really doing a close-to-home, roots-operation. One of the cool things they do is refurbish old buildings for their shops.

Here's their website: Check it out to see what the donut of the day is.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Heard the One about a Dinosaur Walking into a Bar?

Okay, I confess, the dinosaur was me. Is me. And it wasn't really a bar, although with all the TVs on the wall, it had a sports bar feel.

It all started with our Internet crapping out again this morning. I call Redirect'em (don't strain too much on the company is), and went through their automated support stuff. Did the reset thing, unplugged, plugged in. Nope, no 'net.

Keep in mind, I grew up with technology. Worked at Radio Shack in the late 70s. The original geek. Now I don't reset my car stereo clock as it's such a pain in the ass, and I can't remember from one time to the next how to do it.

Next step, call and get a rep. An actual, live, human-being-type person. I did. And here's the thing. This is not to bash the company at all. The fellow I spoke to was helpful, but still no 'net. So I decided it's time for a modem upgrade. Connected to sale. Also helpful. She said I could pack the old one with me to a nearby Redirect'em store and a get a brand new, fancy, supposedly faster monster. So I headed over.

I go inside and everyone's helpful again, almost soothingly so. Lots of folks wearing blue. Generic music playing. But no restrooms.

They took my name and I was queued up. I was just "Tom Z". I took a seat and just looked around.

Remember when I mentioned earlier about the sports bar feel? That was the bank of TVs uniformly placed on the back wall. But there were lots of us seated on semi-comfortable leatherette seats. Had a doctor's office feel, all of us waiting. I have to say they got through us quickly, but what struck me was how I felt like a cypher. A number. "I am not a number, I'm a free man." With the calming music, pleasant faces, I half-expected someone to walk around, smiling, handing out our meds -- think One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Soma, anyone? The whole experience was like taking part in one of our old science fiction movies, perhaps THX-1138, Brave New World, or Rollerball.

And there I sat, with all the other androids, carrying my modem, my little box of electronics, so I could reconnect to the 'net and be placid again.

We wonder when computers will take over? They already have, kids.

Oh, yeah, postscript, got the new modem hooked up. That's how I'm writing this. But sometimes I wanta go Luddite.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Winery Kind of Day

Yes, it was. And perfect weather we had yesterday for the McConnell Springs Barrel Tasting tour. Wendy and I and two of our good friends rolled out, heading to Nicholasville, Kentucky, first. Destination: The Cottage Cafe for a great diner breakfast. Pancakes the size of the plate.

After padding our stomachs for some wine tasting, we headed to a new winery on the list: 1922 House Vineyards & Winery, located at 3155 Keene Road, in Nicholasville. Brian Young and his wife own this fantastic winery. Check out their website at: You can get in touch with Brian at: We sampled their dry reds and left smiling with a bottle of their Chambourcin Signature Reserve. Gotta say, this is our new favorite winery. We all loved their enthusiasm, plus they have some mighty fine wine, as in the old Three Dog Night song. Anyone remember that?

On down the road we continued. Next stop, Wildside Winery & Vineyard, in Versailles, KY. This is a return trip for us. Pretty much always want to hit Wildside. They have a wide selection of sweeter wines as well as dry. Didn't leave there empty-bottled, either. Packed away their Petite Sirah.

We hit more that day, but you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow for the rest of the journey. Needless to say, we're stocked for a time.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Caution! Dragons Approaching!

Woke up this morning thinking about dragons. All kinds of dragons. Woodland dragons, the four elemental dragons, that sort of thing. And, as a student of dragonology, I thought I'd pass on a wee bit of what I've learned over the years about them, so here are the first two pages of my novel, DragonFox. I'm in the process of submitting my manuscript, so here's a teaser. Now, back to the submissions....

How doth the Titans rage, my Son?
They rage mightily, Father.
What must ye do, then, my Son?
Slay them, Father.

Do ye slay them out of anger, my Son?
No, Father.
Why, then, do ye slay them?
Love, Father, for Gaia.

            -from an engraving beneath the Bridge of Truth in the village of Loughmar

            Every night it was the same dream.
            Cold. The wind and sea spray whipped and tore at him.
            Hard. The rocks he was chained to cut brutally into his skin.
            Sound. Dragon roar. The demonic sound made a hard knot in his stomach and his skin icy-hot. The Whumpf! Whumpf! of huge wings beat the air.
            And then the flying beast bore down upon him. The sight of it froze him to the spot, even if he hadn’t been shackled to the rocks. It was fast. Great Gaia, it was fast!
            It had him. The strength of its grip forced the air out of his lungs. It yanked him away from the rock with such severity the chains snapped like bones; and then he was in the air, carried aloft in its huge claws. He watched helplessly as the surface of Gaia receded from view.
            Now, caught between waking and sleep, he saw his father surrounded by flames.  
            He awoke, shaking and sweating, the sheets of his bed soaked. He sat up so suddenly he tossed Nestor, his old gray cat, off the bed. Nestor cat-grumbled.
            Always the same dream, Fox thought.
            Fox blinked and rubbed his eyes, tried to clear the dreamworld from his vision. But he was partially otherwhere.
He remembered the dream, and the coal-red eyes which burned into his soul.
            And… a voice.
            Fox shook his head, trying to cast off the remaining images of dragons and fire. “Of course it’s only a dream,” he told himself and Nestor, who gazed at him curiously. Fox looked about his sparsely furnished room—the rough, dark wooden timbers sloping toward the roof; the wood-and-metal cabinet where he kept his clothes; his sword and traveling pouch which hung side-by-side from wooden pegs embedded in the wall; the small bedside table with one candle; and the window that looked out on his garden, his dry stone fence, and further, Forest Green. He rubbed his eyes again, ran his fingers through his hair, then looked at Nestor, who paced about, complaining that he had not yet had breakfast.
“All right, Nes, I’m coming.” Fox smiled at his furry friend and swung his legs out from under the thick blanket onto the wooden floor.
            Fox studied himself briefly in the reflecting glass, ran a brush through his hair. He was unique among others in his village of Loughmar—thick red hair flowed in wild waves along the sides of his neck to just below his shoulders, like a mane. The Mantle of the Lockhavens it was called, much like the wild forest cats. Or a fox. That was how he came to be known as Fox, though his full name was Foxpure Lockhaven. He considered his face—pleasant, he thought, but definitely not the face of a future Dragon Fighter. My eyes are too big, and I always seem to wear a look of amazement. Although, thinking back, his father had had similar features, and he had been a fierce warrior.
Fox looked into his greenish-gold eyes, thought how no one else he knew had eyes this color, not even his mother. Were Father’s eyes this color? He couldn’t remember. Little remained to remind him of his father except for some handiwork around the house—ornate wood furniture with inlaid ironwoven metal. He saw his father now only in his dreams.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

There's Bad and There's Just Plain God-Awful Bad -- Part Deux

We continued from bad to worse. And we served food, that's what kept folks at the party. Although the next flick, Son of Dracula (1974), ended up being not as bad as I had expected. As one friend of mine said, "It wasn't really bad, just odd."

The tagline was: "The first Rock-and-Roll Dracula movie!" I'd amend that to "The first Rock-and-Roll vampire movie, as Drac got staked in the first five minutes. After all, it's about the son of Drac, not Drac himself.

We have Harry Nilsson as the son, Count Downe (yeah, I know). And, yes, it's that Harry Nilsson, composer of "Me and My Arrow", among so many others. So, there's music in the movie. Lots of good music, in fact, as the cast includes Keith Moon, Peter Frampton, and Ringo Starr, just to name- drop a few.

Poor Count Downe is supposed to be crowned King of the Netherworld, but he doesn't want to do the fanging scene any longer. Nope. He wants to be a regular Joe, get out in the sunlight, and get sunburned, just like the rest of us mere mortals.

Ringo is Merlin, and it's his job to determine the exact time of the coronation, but there are all kinds of planetary and atmospheric disruptions preventing him from seeing the exact moment. He's also tasked, by Count Downe (I just love that name) himself, with helping the Count become mortal. Dr. Van Helsing is called in to help with that procedure, much to the dismay of Baron Frankenstein.

Yes, this is a monsterfest of concert-level proportions, and surprisingly entertaining.

Here's the link to Part Uno of this post:

More later.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

There's Bad and There's Just Plain God-Awful Bad

I'm writing this post, sitting in my writer's pen downstairs, looking out the window into our backyard. Squirrels and birds playing, and there's sunlight. Sunlight! It's 4:23 in the afternoon, and there's going to be sunlight for a while! Ah, I feel so much better already. The honeysuckle behind our fence shows off a bit o' green for St. Patrick's Day.

Okay, on to the post.

Any of us who are crazy enough (some would say stupid enough) to love bad movies know that there are bad movies and there are really bad movies. Yesterday, several of us saw some of the best of the best of the worst. If you know what I mean. And, as expected, our numbers dwindled as the day progressed.

We learned, once more, some technical terms like solaranite (not sure of the spelling, but that's what it sounds like they're saying -- it's sort of a bomb that explodes the sun's particles, which are made up of atoms. I always thought sunlight was photons, but we discovered yesterday it's composed of atoms. Who knew.), the dictarobatary (a universal translator), and the radiation transfusion unit. Yup, bad movies can teach us so many things.

The first two terms came from Plan 9 from Outer Space, the last one from Son of Dracula.

We started the marathon with Plan 9. Some folks consider this the worst movie of all time, but I, and some of my other badmoviephiles, would disagree. There are so many degrees of bad, and when compared with some truly bad flicks, Plan 9 is at least entertaining. One person's Titanic is another's Ishtar.

Here's yesterday's lineup, in order of appearance:
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) -- Hubcaps from space!
Son of Dracula (1974) -- Drac's son plays rock-n-roll!
Mama Dracula (1980) -- Artificial blood for everyone!
The Undertaker and His Pals (1966) -- Stabbed, slabbed, and grilled!
Arnold (1973) -- The corpse groom!

My intention was that we go from least worst to worst worst, but we found that some of the ones we thought would be terrible weren't quite so. My third viewing of Mama Dracula this time around (yes, I'm a wee bit o' a masochist), and it started to make sense and didn't seem as bad as the first time I had watched it. Maybe it's like banging my head against a wall. After a while I kind of like it.

Plan 9. The story so far. Aliens wearing medieval costumes lifted from the props department, piloting flying hubcaps (described as cigar-shaped, but had square corners on the ground), use their electro guns to stimulate the pineal pituitary glands of the dead, revive Vampira, Bela Lugosi, and Tor Johnson, but are defeated by a good right cross from Jeff Trent.

More on the other movies later. I rambled today.

Keep writing, friends.