I tried to like “Black Box”. I wanted it to be ground-breaking and exciting. Instead, I found a show that sets up a protagonist who is a collection of glaring flaws with one particular skill that’s supposed to redeem her. It’s manufactured, exploitative drama for cheap entertainment’s sake.
I went to run some errands yesterday morning. After buying my dad some squirt guns because they look like ray guns from a Buck Rogers cartoon, I came out to the parking lot to discover a mother duck with her eight ducklings meandering around one of the busiest parking lots in the city. Despite the heavy vehicle and foot traffic, she was never more than a step or two from her babies. They followed her in a close cluster, peeping at her while they walked.
Other people were standing in a protective semi-circle around the ducks, trying to prevent anyone from running over them. There was a middle aged woman with Jacki O sunglasses and an expensive looking purse and a guy with sunglasses and a nicely trimmed chin beard with tattoos on his hands and arms. I joined them and pulled out my phone to get a couple of pictures of the ducks (at a respectful distance of course, I didn’t want her to panic). I asked if anyone had called Animal Control.
As it turned out, our Animal Control only deals with domestic animals, but they had provided a number for a wildlife rescue. I had a pen and paper, so I wrote down the number so we could call it. We also contacted the local Wildlife Center at one of the city parks, where a very nice lady gave us a couple more numbers to try.
Then, it became a delicate game of not making Momma Duck panic and keeping her and the babies safe. The middle-aged woman apologized but explained that she really needed to get home, she had purchased perishable groceries. That left me and the bearded guy.
A grocery store employee came and talked to us and informed us that the ducks had crossed the highway that serves as the main east-west artery through the city to get to the parking lot. Traffic had stopped for the ducks and they had managed to cross safely.
The guy and I stayed and waited. The Momma Duck postured and hissed, flapping her wings and straightening as tall as she could at a few people who walked too close. Several people took pictures or video with their phones, but they didn’t stop to help. Nobody actively tried to bother the ducks, either. Everyone seemed a little mystified at how the ducks ended up in the parking lot and wanted to look at them.
Eventually another guy showed up with his kids. They were all as worried about what would happen to the ducks as we were. He got a box from the grocery store, a sturdy fruit box with holes in the sides, and had his kids stand across the street.
Then, he caught the babies and walked them, with the mother duck flying over head quacking at him and diving occasionally at his head, to a very large, very well groomed cemetery a few blocks away. The cemetery has a sizable duck pond (which is where we suspect the ducks wandered from), and they have a decent fence.
While I would not ordinarily advocate catching wildlife on your own, this guy was from a farm and had ducks and geese of his own. He definitely knew what he was doing. Also, we’d been there for more than a hour and further help wasn’t forthcoming. We just wanted the ducks to be safe and this was the best available option to us. In the end, it worked out fine, and I think that’s all anyone can really ask.
So, that’s how I ended up spending most of my Saturday morning playing bodyguard to a bunch of ducklings and their mother. I’m pretty sure it was worth it. I just hope that they’ll stay safe in the future.
I’m still trying to decide if HitRECord is a bad influence on me or not.
So far I’ve written a soap opera
and a Western gunfight for them.
I love checking the site out for writing prompts, and it does keep me writing every day, so, it’s probably a better influence than I realize.
HitRECord has started airing in Australia, which means that a piece of my writing has officially made it to Australia, which also means it got there before I did.
Perhaps it won’t be long now until I can follow suit. Greenstone formations-I want to see the greenstone formations so much. And the living stromatolites, let’s not forget those.
Reading a Peter F. Hamilton novel requires some patience. They’re doorstoppers, However, that patience is usually rewarded handsomely.
My review of “Great North Road” is here:
The complete series is coming to DVD. Oh, oh, the gloriously ridiculous binge watch that will transpire!
Yes, I do have a autographed photo of Adam West framed and hanging on my wall. Why do you ask?
A local Shakespeare Company has started doing a city park tour every year. This is the second year I’ve gotten to go see one of their productions.
The way they handle a minimal stage and the actors they cast have been impressive in both shows. They use set pieces that serve multiple functions and always manage to make good use of the stage area that they have.
This year, Flatwater Shakespeare selected “The Comedy of Errors” and staged it as a western. The play works great as a Western melodrama, with all the mistaken identities and the high drama of a life at stake. There’s no real mustache twirling villain, of course, but there’s still enough going on between people getting locked out of their own houses and goldsmiths being cheated and the attempted exorcism to keep the story satisfyingly hopping.
The actors all have their lines down perfectly and they all understand what they’re saying. Whenever someone is performing Shakespeare, that makes a huge difference in how enjoyable the play is to watch. I’ve seen a few productions where people didn’t know or care what they were saying and Shakespeare for the sake of doing Shakespeare (or saying that you were in a performance of Shakespeare) is mind numbingly dull. Without understanding what the lines mean, they can’t put any emotion behind the lines, and then, every single word just falls flat. That’s never been a problem with the Flatwater Shakespeare shows that I’ve seen.
Everyone does a great job speaking loudly enough so that everyone can hear what they’re saying without ever seeming like they’re shouting (except, of course, where shouting is appropriate for the character). Their delivery is well-timed and well-pitched.
Whenever they do a show, they pick an area that has shade. Miraculously, the weather cooperated with them, so the day was warm, but there was a nice breeze to keep things from getting sweltering. The breeze never picked up enough to become outright wind, another real hazard of our area.
The crowd was a mix of all ages, from a little baby all the way up to the elderly. There were teenagers, aging hippies, yuppies, young couples, and people who’d clearly come in a big group of friends. There really wasn’t a bad seat in the house, especially since people could bring lawn chairs and blankets or lean up against trees as the mood took them. The audience was very respectful and quiet, or at least, they were mostly quiet. The baby really wasn’t old enough to know any better and she really wanted to be allowed to get up and dance when the troubadour was playing. Everyone was really there to see the play, which made it really fun to experience. There was even a point where everyone in the crowd was laughing, including the baby, because she decided if everyone else was laughing, she might as well too. Of course, all of the actors could see her, as well as almost the entire crowd, and you could see how much it made their day, because there was so much joy rolling off the crowd.
My favorite part of the show, though, was the troubadour. He opened the show playing “Hangman, Hangman Slack on the Line” and closed out Intermission with a performance of John Prine’s “That’s Just the Way That The World Goes Round” , that went with the show amazingly well. He was a good singer and his guitar work was lovely. It was tough to resist the urge to sing along with him. He also added dramatic flourishes through the show (notable additions were a few bars of the Allman Brothers “Midnight Rider” and a pretty good rendition of the theme from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”). He really added some additional aural comedy to the show.
Don’t get me wrong, the play was great and I had a blast watching it, but having someone play music to introduce the show and to keep the crowd entertained was a good move.
I got my first check from HitRECord last month for “First Stars I See Tonight”.
I got pictures of myself with the check, but I used a new camera and, in the process of getting some videos taken, I managed to delete those pictures (and discovered that was NOT the button that I wanted to press).
It’s, of course, too late now for me to replace those pictures of me with the check, because I’ve already spent it.
The above picture of the blue car is the vehicle that I used to drive. It’s a 1987 Ford Taurus MT5. I’ve had it for 15 years and it had been a good car for a long time, dependable, easy and cheap to repair when I had to, but, as with anything, as it got older it started to deteriorate. I was to a point where it became a vehicle that I could drive around the city where I live, but was not a feasible road trip automobile any more.
But, I wrote “The Stars Were Stolen” and it was turned into the beautiful and amazing “First Stars I See Tonight”, and miracle of miracles, joy of joys, I got paid for that piece of writing. It was a big enough check to turn around and buy myself a new car.
The gold car in the picture above is my new car. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s a 2002, the first car I have ever owned with air conditioning that works, and it’s got a great stereo system in it. But that’s more than just a car. That’s possibility. And freedom.
I can go and visit my parents now because it’s much, much cheaper for me to drive than to use any other method (my state has an utterly non-existent mass-transit plan, Greyhound doesn’t even drive here anymore). I can help them with stuff when they need me and just come for a visit without having to worry about bizarre and inconvenient mass transit schedules.
I’ve been looking for a different job, and now, I can go to interviews much more easily and can consider employers who are off bus routes because I have much more reliable transportation.
I am so incredibly happy and so incredibly grateful, not just for being paid for my work, but for getting to see it made into such an amazing short film.
A friend of mine recently got “The Stand” on DVD. We decided to watch it and I was surprised at how much of the miniseries still worked well, even with special effects and costuming that look so dated. It was well worth the rewatch.