Sunday, December 30, 2007

Florida Holiday

I went down to Florida this last week, and it was, of course, lots of fun (seminole war chant). I went on a couple adventures, and here are some pics. Wait a minute, was that introduction to quick? I apologize to all long intro enthusiasts out there (longintroists).

This is the Dora Canal. It is so beautiful you instantly want to become a landscape painter, complete with beret. The pic on the right is a nice little gator. He was a modernist writer, as it turned out.

Here is a cottonmouth. Beautiful and poisonous, like many things in life. Look closely, it is there. Closer...closer...whoa, not that close (laughter from audience, appreciative claps)! On the right is your basic Egret. Just sitting there, hanging out. I tried to talk to him, but he was far to cool for mundane conversation.

If you don't think the root system of a Bald Cypress tree is cool, you need to be slapped immediately. I went fishing, and caught me some fish (you have to say that out loud in a redneck accent, btw). Did I wade in the water? Only the gators will tell.

Florida has some of the prettiest sunsets. I kinda like this picture.

Who is that? Is that Macy and Bailey? Is that who that is? Isabuddabudadoba? A bubbadooodabuubabuuuuba?

That's all, folks!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Pronging of Helen Wagenstein

Here is a short story I wrote. Disclaimer: This is for humor only and not to be taken seriously

It was 2:15 in the afternoon, and Barry "Balls Out" Wagenstein was frustrated.

"Where are the GODDAMN onions, Helen?!" He roared, the smoke from his Fleshmaster 3000 custom grill billowing thick and fast.

"They are right next to you, moron!" Hissed Helen, holding a tray of deviled eggs.

The guests at the Wagenstein's annual barbecue stuffed themselves with various grades of charred meat, washed down by beer and second rate soda knock-offs. The barbecue and all it's inhabitants, if airlifted and planted in any other backyard in North America, would easily be indistinguishable from most local barbecues, and any reasonable person would go for hours before realizing something was amiss. Yes, there were dogs playing, yes, there were medicated children splashing in the Sears model Atlantis above-ground pool ($1,900 after discount), and yes, there were plenty of Spiderman arm-floaters.

Barry looked down and saw the onion slices. He grabbed them and slapped them one-by-one on his "Turbo-Burgers", making sure no eye-contact was made which would have acknowledged Helen's victory.

14 meters to the northeast corner, a trio of housewives gathered, their hair and sunglasses matching their shoes perfectly. Their conversation was so mundane and recycled it is impossible to record and relate with any sort of meaning or greater subtext, and any attempt to do so would result in immediate dismissal and possible nausea.

Five feet out from the pool to the southwest, Arnold stood with his wife. They were new, and had spent the last 25 minutes talking to the Schultzes about the home-owners association. This ended, however, when Susan Schultze (A name which her parents cringed upon when hearing of the wedding 7 years ago), gave her husband "The code", meaning it was time to politely move on. Susan and her husband had the code worked out years ago, and they delighted in the "suburban hipness" having a code brought them. Years later, when Susan's husband was dying, he told her he let the code slip at work, and all that time the other couples knew exactly what Susan was doing when she did it.

"That's why I never won Best-Fruit-Salad at the company block party" she speculated as her husband's body relaxed and went limp.

Barry flipped row number two, making sure the black scrapings didn't separate from the meat. In his mind, this was the key, and he'd be DAMNED if he let the separation happen. Helen walked by, of course, at this exact moment of speculation. Unknown to her, this would turn out to be the defining moment of her life.

"Why do you do that? Everytime. Why?" Squatted Helen, folding her arms.

"Just let it go, Helen." said Barry in his best 'scary-calm' voice.

"It is so gross. I don't understand. Why do you keep those scrapings on the meat?"

Barry fidgeted with his prong poker. His face began to swell. Helen was undaunted.

"Tell me right now!" yelled Helen "You think you are some sort of Chef or something. It's ridiculous. You and that stupid grill!"

Barry wiped the sweat off his forehead.

"I'm warning you Helen, you have no idea. Don't be a fool."

Helen's face warmed as she relished in the attack. This felt so good. It was like crying at a romance movie, only more fulfilling.

"You are ruining everyones meal. They all hate it, they just don't say. I'll say it though. You....Barry Wagenstein....are a TERRIBLE GRILLER!"

At that moment Barry howled in a frenzied cry so deep and primeval the entire barbecue stood motionless. His yell was vibrant, powerful, emotional, and people couldn't help but notice a bizarre connection with it, as if some long-lost genetic code had suddenly been awakened.
Barry lunged out with his prong, poking Helen hard in the right side of her gut. In an instant, a massive swell of air bellowed out of the puncture, vibrating and farting like a giant Balloon blown up and released. Her body shriveled and collapsed, jetting upward from the force of the air and twirling higher and higher like a rogue leaf. Within moments, she disappeared into the sky, never to be seen again.

Barry looked out at the crowd, their stunned silence unable to move or grasp what had actually taken place. Someones cellphone rang, which they promptly flung into the pool.

"So," said Barry calmly "Who would like some Turbo-burgers".

A line formed by the grill, and the silent pact was made. No one would ever speak of this, and it would be completely erased from the annals of human history.

- end

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekend Adventures

That's right, I've been off exploring again. The area is beautiful, and there are all kinds of cool things hanging about. Besides the natural beauty, a striking aspect is the number of well preserved old houses - Victorian, antebellum, log cabins - you name it. Many of these homes stand guard over vast stretches of rolling pasture at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, happily unaware of what century it is. At any rate, here are some pics from this weekend:

The Natural Chimneys, near my house. They are formed when sink holes of limestone corrode out. There are also caves at their feet, which I bought a flashlight to go exploring in.

We had an ice-storm this weekend - bad for the power company but undeniably beautiful. The first pic is going up to the top of the Appalachian ridge on a cool old dirt road. The second is at endless caverns, which was closed. Why? Ice storm.

View from the top of the Chimneys. At the second picture - if you look closely - is evidence of a new and vicious monster in town.

This kind of view is all over the place. I'm going to charge admission for my visitors!

Well, that's all for now. You fellas be good!

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Adventures

Been running around the area some more to see what kind of stuff I can find, and found some pretty cool things - here are some pics. I also am putting up for the first time (drumroll) a video clip. It is of a Bluegrass festival I went to on Saturday. So without further - what's that word again?

An old Confederate fort in the mountains, and a beautiful creek.

Some guy actually created a foam replica of Stonehenge around here. Hilarious!

A Natural bridge. It is huge! And an Indian village out in the woods. So cool.

View from the Valley and Ridge mountains, and a random waterfall.

Here are Grand Caverns. About 20 minutes from my house.

This is supposed to be the oldest Arbor Vitea tree in the world. And apparently, this is what Mr. Cat thinks treadmills are for.

I am particularly proud of this picture. The mist formed a "waterfall" out of the trees.

And here is the clip of the Bluegrass festival.

Okay, there are some pics. Now all I need is a pointer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Hi folks, (from this point on, you must read this in the voice of Marty Moose from "Vacation") just a note as I settle into my new place. So far so good. Of course, I have already started exploring around so I thought I'd share some pics. Much like those annoying in-law-sessions where you are subjected to countless photos of Aunt Marge in a tube-top at Myrtle-Beach, just sit back, relax, and nod your head politely. "Oh, that's nice. Ohhh, very cute. Wow, is that Uncle Billy in orange spandex? Nice."

Went up to PA to visit my cousin and nieces. They live near Punxsutawney, so I asked the locals where they do the Groundhog Day every year. It is kind of out of they way, but here it is, the actual showplace of Punxsutawny Phil! Bill Murray was nowhere to be seen.

Explored around the back-hills of Amish country - So beautiful. Here is a pic of a horse and buggy. They are all over the place, and I love seeing them on the road. Kind of a "take that, 21st century!" The pic on the right is my cousin's pets - can't we all just get along?

One of my bonsai trees losing it's leaves. Yep, just like regular sized trees. On the right is the Shenandoah Valley, where I now live!

Went exploring around some caverns in the area. Here is Shenandoah Caverns. The pic on the left they call "bacon" - can you see why?

A cool little pond, and a big room!

Well, that's it for now. I'll try to post more as I settle in!