Friday, September 22, 2017

No, it Really Was a Drone

Yep, sure was. Right there in Gravel Switch. But more about that little flying electronic insect in a minute.

It was a warm one that day, and we had about an hour before the running of the outhouses, so we wandered around a bit, heard some good music by Some Rock Band (not sure, but I think that was their name) -- a little Johnny Cash, The Beatles, and Buddy Holly. Only two food booths that we could see, but they were well-stocked.

The first booth had your usual fair fare -- corn dogs, dogs, burgers. The second booth had a little more variety, namely smoked bologna and baked beans with peaches. I had the smoked bologna, with marinated onions, and Wendy had the baked beans, minus the peaches. My sandwich looked like something Fred Flintstone would've eaten, but man, was it good. I just won't need any meat for the next month.

Time to gather for the race, so Wendy and I headed over to the strip of road where they'd have it. Parade first, which consisted of a tractor, the four entries, and a guy on a Segway. That was when I noticed something hovering in the air. At first I thought it was a dragonfly, but the perspective was off. It didn't bob in the air the way a kite would. That's when I saw it do right-angle turns. Ah ha! I thought. Gravel Switch has a drone. We figured it was taking pictures of the races.

Well, it was time for the races. The first race was between two bicycle looking contraptions that didn't look anything like outhouses. Race 2 was more like it. Both had outhouse-like structures, one of which looked like an outhouse had landed on a bicycle-style dragster. And man, could they run with those things. Here's a pic:

I couldn't get a good shot, but you get the idea.

So, that was our outhouse outing. In case you're interested, it's called the Great American Outhouse Blowout, in Gravel Switch, Kentucky. And remember. It's actually a few miles outside of Gravel Switch. I recommend a paper map. And a park ranger.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Running for Outhouse Gold

...and picking up from yesterday, we head back down the highway, armed doubly with GPS and paper map. I'd actually given up on the GPS, so I was putting my faith in our brand new map, making sure that when we got to Gravel Switch, we pushed on down highway 243.

Now, understand that we saw nary a sign advertising the Outhouse Festival, otherwise known as the Great American Outhouse Blowout (love the title!), but I followed the park ranger's directions as best I could. We were still on a paved road, so I figured we were still in decent shape.

Well, we finally saw a small sign, and turned down a gravel road, where we paid ten bucks to get in. We'd been wanting to do this for years, so ten dollars wasn't bad. Following the drive back, we got to Penn's Store, a smallish wood general store. After parking, we strolled (that's what you do at an outhouse festival--you stroll. Unless you've really got to go, then you run.) into the store, and saw that it was a might crowded with dogs and people. The people were walking around. The dogs, large yellow hounds, were imitating throw rugs. We had to step over them, and they didn't seem to mind one bit.

We looked around a bit, then headed outside to see the collection of four or five booths with artwork, of which there were one or two with some exceptionally good work. One in particular, belonged to Yolantha Pace, a Danville, Kentucky artist, who had some gorgeous stylized horses painted on coffee mugs. Nice size mugs, too. We bought one. It'll hold a proper cup of Joe. Here's a photo of Yolantha.

And, I've run out of time again, folks. I'll continue with the rest of our saga tomorrow.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Gravel Switch Drones

Actually, there was just one drone. More about that soon.

We started out the morning, a Saturday morning, hitting one of our favorite breakfast spots in Nicholasville, KY. A great little mom-and-pop diner called The Cottage Café. They serve a fantastic guilty pleasure of ours, fried bologna.

Anyway, Wendy and I had planned on running errands, but being as it's September, and all manner of festivals and whatnot crank up this time of year, I said, "Hey, hon, know what? Wonder if they still have the Outhouse Festival. We've talked about going there for years." So, I searched on the smart-aleck phone, and, Yep! It was still happening. We finished breakfast, hopped in the car, and away we headed down highway 27 South.

We hadn't gone that direction much before, so we saw several new places we need to explore one of these days. One of which is Pete's Diner. Anytime we see a sign for a diner, we need to check it out.

So, the ol' GPS routed us through Danville, after hopping on 34. Then 34 to 68 (best I recall), then on to 243, to Gravel Switch.

Brief Public Service Announcement here. You folks who've been reading my blog for a bit know that, yes, I like to use the GPS on my phone, but as Wendy and I learned last year during our travels through New England, sometimes you can't beat a paper map. And what didn't we have on Saturday? A paper map. Which, as it turned out, wouldn't have helped us out much on this particular day, anyway. Sooooo.....

We get to Gravel Switch (don't know why it's called that yet. I will find out, though), and... no signs anywhere for any festivals, Outhouse or otherwise. Now, there's not much in Gravel Switch, so we ran up and down a couple of roads and decided we'd head back up the road to Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site instead. Can't see an Outhouse Festival, might as well see some Civil War stuff, we figured.

At Perryville State Park, Wendy and I go inside to see the museum first, and the park ranger inside asks what brings us that way. We tell him we were going to the Outhouse Festival first, and he laughs and says, "You're not missing much."

So, we tell him that we couldn't find it anywhere in Gravel Switch, and he tells us it's about five miles on the other side of Gravel Switch. Longish story short, he pulls out a Kentucky map and shows us how to get there. Well, now we have to get to the festival, seeing as how we just scored a new map.

Back in the car, and off to find outhouses. And this is where I leave you for now, as I have to go catch up on other stuff. I will finish up the saga of the Gravel Switch drones tomorrow, I promise, as today I have "...miles to go before I sleep." Sorry, Mr. Frost. I really should take time to read the whole poem sometime. Ah, well, one more thing on the list.

Here's part two of the Amazing Outhouse Adventure: The Amazing Outhouse Adventure Part Deux

And part three: The Amazing Outhouse Adventure Part Three

Keep writing, friends. And stay tuned tomorrow....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Writing is But a Dream

Had one of my dreams the other night involving writing. If only I could harness that and turn out a novel while sleeping.

Anyway, I remember I was giving advice to a friend of mine who wanted to be a writer. He was working two jobs, and didn't know how get the words down with his busy schedule. I told him one thing he could do was take the energy and emotion from what he experienced at work and channel that into his story and characters. Angry, happy, sad, whatever, and put that in his work. It's actually a technique I've used while awake.

So, while I was talking to my dream friend, he said he'd give it a go. He then excused himself as he had to get back to serving food in one of those mobile food stands. He then put on a yellow and red hat that had a small tree on the top and proceeded to pluck nuts off the branches and hand them to his customers.

Everyone don their tree hats and start channeling.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lucy, They're Home!

Before we started watching it the other night, I wasn't sure how slap-sticky House of the Long Shadows (1983) would get, especially as it had Desi Arnaz Jr. (billed in the credits as Desi Arnaz--not sure why, as his dad was still around). But he did well, playing straight man. Sometimes with comedic-horror films, they force the comedy in there, and, well, it just doesn't work. But this time it flowed.

On Tuesday, September 5th, our band of Scoobies gathered at the Tates Creek Library to watch this tribute film featuring four of the greats of horror -- Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine. This was the only time all four would appear in a film together, and it was a treat to see these masters at work. I would actually call it a tongue-in-cheek parody (or self-parody), as the inside jokes would easily fill an old dark house.

Actually, thinking about it, it's more a tip o' th' hat to those Ghosts of Horror Films Past. The movie title gives that away, as it refers to the long shadows these four actors cast.

Okay, enough hero worshiping. On with the show.

Arnaz is Kenneth Magee, a young, successful author, who takes a bet that he can stay 24 hours at -- cue lightning flash -- Baldpate Manor. But not just stay there. Nope. He has to write a Wuthering Heights-style novel while there, and deliver it to his publisher.

Baldpate is supposed to be unoccupied, but when Magee arrives on that dark and stormy night, he finds, their faces appearing one-by-one in candlelight throughout the evening, some rather peculiar inhabitants. And, as the winds howl, and the thunder crashes, we have mystery, murder, and mayhem, old-school style. All while Mr. Magee tries to complete his novel.

One of the many things I love about this movie is that these masters of their craft have an absolute ball playing versions of their past roles. They poke fun at themselves and each other, as when, after Vincent Price's character is introduced, he says, in his most eloquent manner, "Don't interrupt me while I'm soliloquizing."

Devious little references in one form or another pop up throughout. We even have a "Brad and Janet" stopping by, seeking shelter from the storm.

Interesting to note, too, that this was Christopher Lee's and Peter Cushing's 24th and final film together.

Some good laughs, and several good startles, as they did it in the old days. All horror fans must see this one.

A side note: the Scoobies of the Tates Creek Library Classic Horror Film Club (try fitting that on a business card) would like to give a round of applause to Heather Prichard and the Tates Creek Public Library for providing us a place to shriek and howl the first Tuesday of every month. And a big thank you to Heather for our new lemonade dispenser that looks like either a Martian's brain (from Mars Attacks!), or a miniature nuclear cooling tower.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Who's Returning This Time?

I wonder how many films have started with "The Return of..."? Well, this one is no exception.

Wendy and I just finished watching The Return of Dracula (1958), a fun little fang-romp set someplace in not-so-sunny California. The famous Count, this time played menacingly but fanglessly by Francis Lederer, takes the place (after eliminating him) of an American family's visiting relative. Named Bellac Gordal (an obvious tip o' th' hat to Bela Lugosi, who died two years prior), the traveling Count begins adding to his vampire club.

It's fun, a bit cheesy, but it moves along nicely and has a good storyline. We only see blood at one point that I can remember. In an odd scene that was obviously spliced in, a newly-vampiric blind woman (Yes, they had to have a blind woman as the first victim. At least there wasn't a singing nun playing guitar for a sick girl.) is the first to get staked later, and the shot was definitely in color, as a miniature geyser of red blood spewed. All the rest of the movie was black-and-white.

Gage Clarke, who played Reverend Doctor Whitfield (yes, he's actually Reverend Doctor in the movie--I couldn't believe it, either), is a familiar face, having played in everything from Maverick to Alfred Hitchcock Presents to Gunsmoke.

Every Drac fan needs to catch this one.

Keep writing, friends.