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Blount Springs

In 1871, Isaac B Points settled in Blount Springs, AL with his new wife. To say they were became part of the history of that area would be gilding the lily, but as strong footnotes, they served others in ways only kindness can make permanent. This is a loose remembrance of my week in Blount Springs 143 years later.

Blount Springs

In 1871, Isaac B Points settled in Blount Springs, AL with his new wife. To say they were became part of the history of that area would be gilding the lily, but as strong footnotes, they served others in ways only kindness can make permanent. This is a loose remembrance of my week in Blount Springs 143 years later.

Pimping post because I miss LJ.

Wuxi, pool party
Picture by Wuxi on Flickr
Feeling like you're drifting all alone in the once-fun-but-now-too-quiet pool of Livejournal? Not to worry! silviarambles is running a friending meme!

Friending Meme for LJ Survivors - 2015 Re-edition

Please remember that friending frenzies work only if you spread the word, so, even if you're not looking for more friends, would you mind doing me a big favour and pimping the meme on your own journals?


Welcome to Night Vale

If you like community radio and subtle horror mixed in with your trips to the Library, Welcome to Night Vale podcast is for you. (I just moved here, and I love it.)

I get my NVCR fix on Stitcher, but a few other places offer it as well.

Good night, Night Vale. Good night. Illustration by Meadow Rue

Good night, Night Vale. Good night.

Illustration by Meadow Rue


Adventures in Cooking

I like cooking. I like experimenting with flavors and wee packages for my bentos.

Today, I tried my hand at steamed buns. Easy enough, I’ve made them before with red bean paste as a light dessert, but today I wanted something more savory for lunch this week. I had a bit of ground pork and a similar bit of ground chicken so why not, right? I found a recipe for the dough and I made up the pork filling on the fly (egg, Worcestershire, parsley, salt). The dough was easy, the construction … well …

Steamed Bunnies

Picture on the left from Just Bento. Picture on the right, courtesy of my misbegotten imagination.

The first one, I steamed. It came out as a Bunny Jabba the Hut

Bring me Hans Solo

Bring me Hans Solo

It’s really not bad.

A little hoisin to set the mood.

A little hoisin to set the mood.

I looked over the rest…

Run over in the road, clearly

Run over in the road, clearly

This one has Leprosy, so we"ll call him Itchy.

This one has Leprosy, so we’ll call him Itchy.



*sigh* He didn"t even try.

*sigh* He didn’t even try.

His best "Vinz Clortho" impersonation.

His best “Vinz Clortho” impersonation.

and decided I would bake them and the results were a little better.


Bunnies 6

Bunnies 7

Bunnies 10

Bunnies 9

Bunnies 8

For the record, they do taste good. They are savory, and when baked, not doughy. They’ll be darling in my bentos, this week.

Provided they survive this evening.

A Day in The End Of A Life of A Preorder

Email from Company: Your Order has been Shipped, click this link for tracking.

Me: *click*

USPS Website: This tracking number doesn’t actually exist.

Me: *grumble* *send email to company*

Email to Company from Me: WTH? “The Postal Service could not locate the tracking information for your request. Please verify your tracking number and try again

Email from Company: Sometimes it takes USPS several days to update shipping information online. If you check back in a day or two, the link should work.

Email to Company From me: So First Class really isn’t first class? Or I’ll have this before USPS updates their website?

Email from Company: “I don’t see it taking longer than 5 days, but USPS hasn’t updated an ETA yet.”

Me: *grumble*

~le next day~

Email from Company: Your order should ship within the next few days. Looks like the link is working now as well. Thanks for your patience.

Email from me to Company: “Thanks, the link works fine (it actually worked fine yesterday) but I guess my issue is it hasn’t actually shipped yet  despite the proud subject line.  I basically have an email that says my package is thinking about being shipped (2 days ago) but hasn’t yet made a commitment to ship. And may not actually ship for a few days. But here’s an email!”


In other words, this isn’t a USPS issue – this is a Company issue because after 2 months of delays, someone jumped the gun and printed out all of the shipping labels, even though they aren’t all being shipped out at once.

I also realize this is totally a First World Problem, but still …


So. Much. Rage.
gif courtesy of http://avengingalexis.tumblr.com/

Priming the Prompts

Writers – what does your story prompt file/folder look like? Are you a napkin jotter, a notebook carrier, an Evernote snipper? Are your ideas just a sentence or a full paragraph with a beginning and end?


I’m curious because I don’t think I’ve ever used one method and as a consequence I think I have a few (dozen) notebooks, and apps and programs across my phone and PC with great prompts and they are ridiculously unorganized.


Friday Fun

Yes, of course I’m writing and working and crafting, but diversions keep the mind from getting bored and thinking about all of the other things I’m not writing and working and crafting.

Go kill some time with this Chanrio Maker. The site is in Japanese, but there a nice English walk-through

Isn’t this adorable?

That"s as dark as they get in Japan

That’s as dark a skin tone  as they get in Japan


Just Keep Running

Training for my first 10K has easily been the most soul crushing thing I’ve ever done. While I’ve been running (which I love) various 5K and getting out there three times a week to run the neighborhood, I wasn’t getting faster or gaining stamina. I started with Nike+ Running Coach program the runs got longer I was getting more and more discouraged with my times. I switched to interval training, using RunKeeper in conjunction with N+R. I’m thrilled I can now run 1/4 mile in 3 minutes, because it’s a 12-minute mile, but the one minute I need between the 3 minutes was shooting a potential PB (personal best) in the foot.

Not waiting to wimp out and knowing I can push when I need to, I ran my first 10K on Sunday at the Mt Olivet Sunrise Run and Pancake Breakfast (aka, Run With The Dead!).

I’m not gonna lie to you, Marge – it was tough, but not any tougher than any 5K I’ve run in the past. My main concern was all of my apps running simultaneously without hiccups. Here’s what I used:

  • Zombies, Run! – fun, but my external playlist (Rock My Run) never lowered in volume so I missed most of the story and heard none of the zombie attacks.

  • Rock My Run – I love this app. I’ve got a few favorite mixes and I love the music, but I’m not yet fast enough to finish before the music starts. I ran my last four minutes in silence.

  • RunKeeper – I have a love/hate relationship with this app. I love that I can create my own intervals, but it gets buggy and sometimes will randomly restart intervals or mush them altogether so it appears I’m folding time.

  • Nike+ Running. This is my power horse. If it’s not loading, I don’t run. It’s been racking the bulk of my runs since I started regular running in 2013

and boy are my feets tired

and boy are my feets tired

I’ve almost run the distance to family in Georgia or friends in Minneapolis.

So I ran my 10K, taking advantage of the rolling hills in Mt. Olivet cemetery, soaking in the scenery and feeling the light rain that had started around my 4-mile points. My goal was to do this run in 1 hour 18 minutes, and I did it in 1 hour 20 minutes.

I’m not unhappy with that.

Movie review: The Gallows (2015)

The Gallows (2015)

Starring: Cassidy Gifford, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Reese Mishler, Travis Cluff, Price T. Morgan

Writer/Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing

Produced companies: Blumhouse Productions, Management 360, New Line Cinema

Distributor: Warner Bros. (2015) (USA) (theatrical)

Rated R for disturbing violence and terror

(info courtesy of imdb)

Standard Disclaimer: If you don’t want to be even a tiny bit spoiled: I saw it, I liked it and you’ll probably like it to. Now stop reading because I may have revealed plot points and spoilers.

Seriously, the review is starting.

Last chance …

(P.S. it’s not the destination, but the journey, Whiner)

I get screening passes from a variety of places which is awesome because I’m not motivated enough to see movies in theaters very often. I was sent these passes from Warner Bros and when personally invited to a horror movie by a studio, I don’t ever say no.

Going in I knew nothing about the film, except the semi-failed viral campaign involving an “ancient” Mexican demon named “Charlie” (so much wrong with that phrase alone), a piece of paper and a pencil. Remember, you could ask this Mexican demon any yes/no question and it would let you film it for YouTube so people could make fun of you.

Other than that, I’m not big on movie teasers and I don’t keep up with upcoming releases anymore. I also rather like going into a movie not knowing what I’m in for, other than a thrill ride and some chuckles. It lowers expectations and I’m less likely to hate it.

That said, I didn’t hate this movie. It was fun, and ridiculous, and for the 82-minute runtime, I was entertained.

The Gallows bases its premise on theater geek superstitions, a tragic accident, and classic high school tomfoolery that reminds you that nothing has changed since you wer in high school, except now everyone films what they do because Millennials. That automatically makes this a found footage film, which we claim to all be sick of, and yet we still go see because just maybe we’ll see something different.

In 1993, during the Beatrice High School Stage Production of The Gallows (apparently a period piece about hanging people), a student is accidentally hung. No one ever brings it up again. Ever. Twenty years later, a student-lead revival brings the play back, to honor of the 1993 cast. Reese, football jock with clearly no future in acting stars opposite future thespian, Pfeifer and while they have zero chemistry, Reese wants to do this because love. Pfeifer wants to do this because theater!

Ryan is Reese’s bff, and an all around stain on humanity. He hates theater people (likely a compensation issue due to steroid abuse) but because high school kids lack extracurricular activities in small towns like Beatrice, he’s in the booth filming, likely for the DVD extras and outakes sure to be on a Theater Club fundraiser. Ryan is the selfish soul-crushing friend we all had in high school, the one who’d sooner sabotage budding relationships because of sharing issues. It’s his idea to strike the set the night before the big opening so the show can’t go on.

(Now, why he thought that taking down the only piece of equipment in a high school play would cause the play to never go on is the kind of short-sighted thinking only a high schooler could come up with.)

Along for the ride is Cassidy, the real life daughter of Kathi Lee Gifford, but don’t let that make you think you have to like her character, because you don’t this bubbly, Mean Girl cheerleader has zero redeemable qualities. Zero. Movie Cassidy is insufferable and it would be nice if filmmakers started giving us characters we could cheer for again. With the cast rounded out, within the first 10 minutes you know exactly who’s going to die and you can’t wait to watch. You  honestly hate them that much.

While some might think pinning Victim Badges so soon is showing all the cards, it’s a decent call back to Hitchcock’s Bomb Under The Table. You see the bomb and you know it’s going to go off – you just don’t know when.

No matter how many times you see this in the trailer, it"s still jarring

No matter how many times you see this in the trailer, it’s still jarring.

I’m not going to lie – this movie had some moments that were far too goofy and decidedly off the wall, and there wasn’t a script so much as dialog direction (I really hate that), but the tension was good and the panic level was high. There are lots of jump scares due to POV shooting and the camera work shows a lot of shoes, but I really liked the way this movie took advantage of the darkness, the minimal lighting, and practical effects.

I do love practical effects.

You’ll have questions when you walk out and not everything was explained. You may even argue in on the car ride home about certain motivations and backstory, but over all I don’t think you’ll hate it.

The theater showing the screening had some technical issues at the beginning, like not having sound for the first 3 minutes of the film (you know, the part establishing plot points), and we wondered if that was part of the movie. I still say it was just a bad screening on Trainee Night and I wish they’d just started over once they realized the movie started, the lights hadn’t gone down and the speakers were still playing adult contemporary instead of the actual movie. If you saw the screening Wednesday July 8 it at the Birmingham 8, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this).

1 – Wow Factor – Pleasantly surprised. Some eye rolling moments and a few c’mons

2 – Wander Lust – None; being in a theater kills the ability to wander, but had I been home, I may have gotten up for food.

3 – Rewind – There were no blink and you’ll miss them moments, it was a slow climb to the top before the drop

4 – Recommend – Yes, for a matinee show or after drinks. The less you think about what’s happening, the better

5 – Movie Math – Prom Night + Blair Witch = The Gallows

6 – Personal Movie rating (scale of 1-5 with one being Abysmal and 5 being “Start A religion”) – 3.75

Did you see the Gallows? How does my movie math hold up? Is there a better equation?

Photos courtesy of The Gallows tumblr page and all rights belong to them.


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