Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Journeying Again


I'm writing this from our deck in our backyard, a comfortable 82 degrees in the shade, with a mild breeze blowing. Perfect environment for writing. Some jazz playing on my laptop, a few birds and squirrels to watch in the yard.

Going to do several short posts highlighting our travels from last week. First, a tip o' th' hat to Marti at Going Places Travel Agency in Georgetown, Kentucky, for getting our trip arranged. She did great.

Wendy and I had been wanting to take in some museums in Chicago for some time, but we didn't want to drive there. Yeah, it's only about a six-hour trip by car, but I'm glad we didn't. I wouldn't want to drive in Chicago. That's what taxis and the trains are for.

We hadn't flown anywhere in about ten years, so that part was a learning experience again. Since we were only gone for a little over four days total, we decided to just do carry-on. I think we'll do that from now on, as check-in baggage isn't free now, as far as we know. Security, at least at Cincinnati, is understandably tighter, so get there at least two hours early. You have to take off your belt and shoes nowadays, and you might even get a pat-down, but all the security folks were polite. And helpful, which was good for us unseasoned travelers. Also, check out the tsa.gov site for current restrictions.

Anyway, we got to Chicago pronto, took the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) straight to our hotel on North Dearborn. Bit of trivia. Anyone remember the music group Chicago? Just us old farts, eh? Well, I think they started as Chicago Transit Authority back in the day. Okay, trivia time's over.

We made it to our hotel, no problemo, and wandered around "our" neighborhood. Restaurants everywhere, and nary a chain in sight, which was perfect.

Okay, more later....

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

I'll Bet He Hates Being Just Called It!


Well, at least he gets an exclamation mark at the end of his name.

So, continuing from yesterday's post about It! The Terror from Beyond Space, I was talking today with one of my good friends about the movie. We both noticed that unlike a lot of the B-flicks from the 50s, it was a sharp film. Contrast was good on the film, nothing fuzzy.

Several scenes reminded us of other movies, as happens, since we've cut our teeth on science fiction and horror. The creature had three toes, a nice tip o' th' monstrous hat to the Id monster in Forbidden Planet (1956). And, as already mentioned, there were so many similarities between It! and Alien. No chest-burster scene, but the creature did drain all bodily fluids from its victims, even carting them off and stashing them, Alien-style.

*** SPOILER ALERT***

The beastie was dispatched at the end with the by now familiar method of "blowing the airlock" method. How the crew kept from getting sucked out into the void, I don't know. Guess they'd been working out.

This was an excellent science fiction horror flick, well worth watching. Once again, our thanks to the Tates Creek Public Library for hosting our band of Scoobies.

To see my previous post, here ya go: It! Part One

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In Space, No One Can... Yeah, You Know the Rest


Last night, eighteen brave adventurers into the digital world of horror movies, watched, I believe, our first space horror. Titled It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), It! was supposedly the inspiration for Dan O'Bannon's Alien (1979).

Not to be confused with It Came from Outer Space (1953), or It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), this It! ran on a double bill with Curse of the Faceless Man (1958).

In this Cold War era of suspicion and finger-pointing, our story is simple. An Earth spaceship goes to Mars, and the crew is killed mysteriously, save for one survivor, Colonel Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson, who many of us Boomers remember as Dr. Marsh Tracy, in the TV show Daktari). A rescue ship is sent to Mars to pick up Col. Carruthers, mainly to bring him back for court-martial, as many suspect him in the deaths of his crew. But, once the rescue ship picks up our survivor, they also pick up... Dunh! Dunh! Duhhh! something else.

It's not long before our something else, namely, It! continues its single-minded purpose, picking off the new two-legged Earth food.

It! is super-strong and hard to kill. Played athletically by famous actor and stuntman Ray "Crash" Corrigan, the creature traps the remaining crew-members in one small section of the ship.

Quick note on Mr. Corrigan: in many B-movies where a gorilla was needed, it was Ray, who came with his own gorilla costumes. Apparently, he had a collection of them.

This was a fine science fiction horror blend. The story was believable, action was excellent, and there were plenty of "No, don't go in there, you fool!" moments. You can definitely see where Alien got some of its famous "trapped corridor" scenes.

I'll have more to say about It! tomorrow.

This will take you to It! Part Deux: It! Part Deux

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Maybe Tighten it Up Just a Tad?


A quick observation, this. Wendy and I stopped in our favorite local Chinese restaurant today. 'Course, we always have to read our fortunes. Mine, today, could've used some trimming.

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."

Perhaps this would be better: "We learn by doing."

Anyway, it's a lesson for all of us. Tighten our writing, folks. Unless you're a fortune cookie writer who gets paid by the word.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Little of This, a Little of That....


Yeah, I said I was going to split my blog in half -- one blog for writin' and readin' stuff, one for movies, TV, and maybe some tech stuff -- but it hasn't happened yet. It will, I've just been waiting for warmer weather. Not that that has anything to do with it, but I figured I'd just toss that out there.

So, I'm looking out my basement window into our backyard, and I see... sunshine. Is that gonna last? I mean, yesterday we had snow. On April 16th! Last week, on my birthday, we had snow! It's never snowed on my birthday, that I remember.

Okay, enough rambling. This post gets into a bit of writin' stuff. Namely, Fleming. Ian Fleming writin' stuff. I like some James Bond books when my attention span's short, and I want some good guys and bad guys in my reading material. Bond delivers mostly, and Diamonds are Forever has done an okay job so far. But only okay.

As usual, Mr. Fleming has some good turns of phrase, such as. Hold on, while I find it... ah, here it is. He's describing an overseas flight, and as the sun rises, Fleming says "...the sun came up over the rim of the world and bathed the cabin in blood." I like that, especially for a spy novel. That line stuck with me.

Ian has good command of the English language, has tight, punchy sentences during action sequences. But, Ian, you didn't have James doing much other than drinking (lots of drinking), gambling, and observing, until after two-thirds of the book was done. Finally, we've had some dangerous situations, some gunplay, James gets the crap beaten out of him, and now he and Tiffany Case are escaping (I think).

What's the takeaway? For me, it's a lesson in experimenting with the language, using short, potent sentences with great verbs, few adverbs. And to get some action going earlier.

Soon, I'll have the blog split in two.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Technological Horror Fable


Talking with my friend today, when we could keep the synapses operating, I was reminded of a post I was going to write about frustrations with technology. These days, our brains, as with our tech we grew up with, are a tad rusty and crusty.

Anyway, we were talking about getting rid of some of our old videotapes. He, I think, has done a better job than I (or is it 'me'?) with the culling of videotapes. I have many that I have lofty ideas about transferring to DVDs.

So, last summer, I purchased a Roxio Easy VHS to DVD (there's a '3' superscript on DVD which I can't make on this here blog, speaking of tech issues) thingy that allows me to transfer my old, dear tapes to discs. It all assumes, of course, that I have a working VCR, of which we have one remaining in the house.

I just recently got around to trying to install the software for the new beastie. I say trying because it wouldn't accept the product key on the box. So, after a trip to Staples, where I bought the thing, we found out that Roxio has been purchased by Corel. Finally, after a few emails back and forth to Corel, and photos of the receipt, the product key, and something else I can't recall (there go the brain cells I referred to earlier -- oh, just now remembered -- a screen shot of the error message), they sent an updated Corel product key, which worked. I must admit, though, that they were one of my better customer service centers I've worked with.

Ah, yes, aging technology. Not just aging, but obsolescing technology. It's becoming obsolete as we use it. I'm reminded of the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Isaac talks about how we'll reach a stage in our technological advancement(?) where no one will be able to work on the stuff.

Welcome to the future, cowpokes.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Don't Need No... Procrastination


So, here I finally sit at the keyboard, just to get my fingers moving before moving on to one of my tasks for today--completing editing on a Lovecraftian story I finished many moons ago. Not sure if I even like the story or not, but it needs to be reckoned with. Part of my new writing mission, which is to:

  • Finish some of the damn writing projects I started ages ago
And also to attempt procrastinating less. In keeping with that, this here writing blog may morph a bit toward being less long-winded. Shorter posts.

I'll leave you with this little tidbit, first, before signing off. While I was busy feeding the birds, paying a bill, and generally... procrastinating, I had a word flash through my head. Chupacabra. That ever happen to you folks? I'll every so often have a random word pop in.

Anyway, on to the editing.

Keep writing, friends.