strawberries & haiku
Wrapped up Disney's new Willow series... my mixed feelings at the start intensified in both directions as it went along until the 4th episode really turned me around and the 5th decisively won me over. I had stuck with it because decent fantasy is hard to come by, and now I'm glad I did (and hoping for a second season!).
The YA young adult angst and interactions were definitely annoying at first, and the modern songs in the soundtrack jarring in the fantasy setting. But the characters do develop and really start growing on you, as does the sense of tense camaraderie, humor, and modern language/music that Disney seems to have borrowed from Marvel.
To me it very much had the feeling of a D&D campaign with its diverse cast of main characters who start out at first level and grow together through various challenges of combat, magic, questing, and soul-searching... It was adventurous, fun, and kinda cool. By the end I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if you are a young adult or just tired of the serious heavy dystopian doom that hangs over contemporary storytelling, you might also love it. I definitely recommend at least giving it a try--
Happy Holidays everyone! If you have Disney+ I can heartily recommend The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. It's completely ridiculous and also quirkily heartwarming in just the way that Marvel seems to excel at managing... and it's got Bacon. What more could you ask for?!
And by the way, if you celebrate any of the many not-christmas holidays, this is offbeat and irreverent enough concerning its Christmastime setting that I'm pretty sure you can enjoy it too. In fact, you may especially enjoy the original Christmas song in the first scenes, as did I (...I'm personally still not a huge Christmas fan...)
moving swiftly again...
I went for a short run today for the first time since the hot, humid summer began... This is probably mostly because my lovely wife said my cute little butt is starting to get a little soft, but also I've definitely been spending too much time working with that cute butt in a chair, and anyway moving swiftly is good for the heart, mind, and energy flow--
The increased circulation drove my murder-hornet attack wound mad with itchiness (it still looks a little red and angry) but I'm happy to report that's just superficial. The underlying muscle and knee joint is fully operational. I took it light and easy so as not to strain anything, but I'm looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. To health, safety, and a firmer butt!
UPDATE: Showered post-exercise with a cup of soy milk yogurt instead of soap... now I'm feeling fresh and smooth and maybe delicious...
A thump in the night...
Last night we were in the darkened atrium watching The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime when suddenly, right in the middle of a very tense scene surrounded by orcs, there was a thud followed by thumping up on the roof...
We were startled, turned on some outside lights, and went up to the loft to close the ventilation windows. In the loft I could hear whatever it was cross from the east side all the way across to the west side as I was closing windows right below it...
Still have no idea what it was. Our roof is a high-ceilinged 2-stories without external access except to flying creatures. There are no squirrels or raccoons here. There are monkeys in nearby mountains but I've never seen any in our little valley and the nearest tree is much too far a leap. Don't know what kind of bird it could have been thumping around on an open roof in the middle of the night, but that's the most probable answer so far. The preferred answer would be a flying squirrel gliding down from the surrounding cedar trees. They do exist but they are rare and I've never seen one. I would love to add flying squirrels to the menagerie that we have somehow organically developed here over the past few years--
Let it be a flying squirrel. Please not goblins. nor monkeys.
Fluffy Flying Squirrels would be delightful. (I think)
Climbed through the ventilation windows onto the roof this afternoon to investigate during the daylight... I'm not Aragorn, but I'm pretty observant and I found nothing of interest to report. So we are left with a mystery to be solved another time...
Looks like someone is living in our woodpile... This morning I uncovered the woodpile to dry out after the typhoon because we'll be needing it next month, and found this Aodaisho "Blue General" snake sleeping in there. From the sheddings in, on, and around the woodpile, it seems he has been making this his home for a while, and probably he's the baby snake I used to find curled up on the back deck last spring. We'll have to be a little careful of him while getting wood this autumn, but this is actually a good situation because Aodaisho are not poisonous and they keep away the highly dangerous Mamushi Vipers.
Living this close with nature is always an adventure and a cooperative effort--
The Mad Murder Hornet
Survived a major typhoon last night with no damage. Very thankful!
Today I got stung on the knee by an Asian Giant Hornet while clearing downed bamboo and branches from the driveways... Ouch! She must have been agitated by the intense storming, because even though they're known as Murder Hornets in the US, my interactions with them here are usually pretty calm and uneventful. I felt light-headed with elevated heart rate and was a little concerned about being alone in such an isolated place, so a very kind neighbor drove me to the nearest hospital to wait out any adverse reactions...
Well, now I'm sitting in the lobby waiting for my wife to pick me up from having spent the typhoon helping at her family home. Thankfully the only adverse reaction is pain... it's considerable. it's bearable. and it's definitely nothing like the time my foot was run over by a forklift...
I'll still have to hobble around and clear a few more big bamboo branches before we can drive up and park the car, but with a little reiki and a lot of gratitude for what didn't go for the worse, I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep safe and sound--
what Craiyon AI thinks a mad murder hornet looks like... yeah, pretty close...
Last night we woke suddenly in the middle of the night to the shrieking alarms of our mobile phones trying to warn us of an impending earthquake. That gave us about 30 seconds to jump out of bed and ask Alexa to turn on the lights as we took shelter in the few doorways in our house away from glass windows...
Our bedroom is on the second floor loft, and with the open-plan layout of the house we can see everything in what is basically a single huge room. The house proved itself to be surprisingly flexible, swaying widely in all directions like a drunken sailor without falling. I guess this motion added a kind of gentleness to the violence of the earthquake, because after it finally slowed down to stillness there was nothing broken, not even the one picture that flew off the wall and landed face down on the floor two meters away...
We were very fortunate, because the earthquake was reported to be about 6.8 (on the US scale) centered just off the coast and probably around 5.5 by the time it reached us in these mountains a little inland. Anyway, we are totally fine and the house with its utility systems all check out fine by daylight. We are very thankful to be living in a time and place where we can almost magically be warned to seek shelter just in time, and with construction engineering that can handle such events...
This spring my father peacefully left this world for greener mountains and brighter adventures on the way to his heaven. He wasn't much of a talker and rather preferred to experience this world through his hands and his tools. Well, I turned out to be quite the talker, but to my father I owe a keen sense of observation of the world and its nature without which I could not be the sensitive poet, artist, philosopher, and teacher that I am today. So today, a poem dedicated to exactly that... Thank you.
A love of landscape
of smooth deserts
of broken mountains
and lakes like flattened wads of tinfoil
some with water
but no oceans
A sense of adventure
taking turns fast
not so fast
but slow winding treks
to abandoned mines
on two wheels
churning in the mud
irrigating the sage with desert
in a boat
churning a hard channel
to ski in
and mapping edges
the top of Angel’s landing
the end of Whittier narrows
miles between the cliffs
into the rutted crater
of an ancient volcano
in dark limestone caverns
mostly shallow and dirty
and pissed in
running out of gas
always imminent flash floods
one possible lava eruption
But no sea-faring
An eye for scavenging
in red-brown desert dumpsites from the 50’s
bits of old, dulled glass sun-colored blue
and rusted tin cans in the shape of log cabins
in mineshafts and leveled grey cabins from the 1850’s
rags of stiff yellow newsprint
shell casings, square head nails, and railroad spikes
caves and sandstone cliffs
for mineral rosettes, veins of gold, arrowheads,
lakes and piers
dredging with five-pound magnets
And old TV’s, VCR’s, stereos, and cars
for bits of colored wire,
good transistors, diodes,
and condensers to make shocker grenades
A taste for wild game
rabbit shot with a revolver from a moving camper
and wild boar never found
bass, trout, catfish
And how to gut it, skin it, and preserve it
Fascination with artifacts
circuit boards, copper wire, silver solder
housed in metal and wood
transmissions, brake systems, pulleys
caked in dry, sticky dirt
cast and machined
engines and their parts
guns and their keys, pins, and stops
bearings—balls, rollers, and their cages
all wrapped in fine oil
And how to dismantle them
and fit them
A green army belt
A nickel plated .357
A combat medic dress coat
complete with shoulder braid
I am particularly fond of that shoulder braid
The smell of sage
The smell of leather
and light machine oil
Cool dank castles of large appliance boxes
that could be broken down into tank treads
to roll away in
down-hill, when too confining
One of my recent "guilty" little pleasures... because I like Fantasy, I enjoy Adventure, I love Character, but I'm not fond of violence. This webseries is pretty nerdy, but it satisfies my fantasy adventure cravings and preference for character development with a tolerable level of violence, all in short, easy-to-watch clips that don't eat up my valuable time or test my patience...
So if you've ever enjoyed fantasy RPGs and need a little distraction now and then, you might find this video webseries to be nicely balanced fare-- especially for being free!
UPDATE: now that I've gone through Season 2...
It gets even better as it goes along, and I'm happy to report that it has proven to be both racially diverse and LGBTQ friendly, so now I can wholeheartedly recommend this to any of my friends who enjoy fantasy adventure, role-playing, creative reenactment, or online gaming...