Friday, October 31, 2014

Flashback Friday

Halloween for me was always a bit of a curiosity more than a mission.  It wasn't one of my favorite days. We boys would always get our own pumpkins for carving and the small little candles for lighting.  I usually forgot the most important part of carving:  you must slant your first cut on the top circling the stem or else your lid will not fit securely.  But the guts were fun and stringy and had that distinctive Fall smell to it.

As kids we would go to most of the homes since we knew everyone.  Mary Seaton always gave a nickel.  She worked at the bank so that made sense.  My grandparents always gave out apples which was not something anyone really wanted.  Miss Anderson always gave out popcorn balls.  But mostly it was the little wrapped M & M's or Mars bars or Butterfingers.  Chocolate was always good, hard sucker-type stuff wasn't.  But I can't say I ever really got into it like other people.  

Transitioning out of treat-taking and into more treat-giving activities was more fun, on my part.  More challenging and less interactive.   While we Seaton kids pretty much transitioned together we did have some basic rules for mischief making:  never damage anything, never hurt anyone, and never get caught. 

We soon graduated from the high effort - medium reward activity of trick or treating to the low effort - high reward pranks usually revolving around either lighting a fuse, climbing something, toilet paper or road kill.  Sure, not high art stuff, but fun anyway.


And then you have kids of your own.  Daddy helping Mackenzie carve a pumpkin for Halloween.  I actually remember this project and recall having a nice time with it.  It was a Sunday morning,  wearing my cool Met's jacket (made all the cooler for having won this year),  and Kenze a keen student in the art of pumpkin guts extraction.  The year, 1986, and Kenze was about 20 months old.   Inside the house somewhere was new-born Brendan, having been hatched two month prior.  It fell to Dad, then to entertain Kenze a bit while the current Mrs. Blythe tended to the new kid and took the time to snap these pictures. 

I still find it fascinating the child's curiosity and awe at all things new.  And the ability to hunch down effortlessly.  

Here is a trio of Halloween ghouls the same year, Kenze as an eared something while cousins Amy as Minnie Mouse, and Randy as a clown prepare to give the proverbial ultimatum, Trick Or Treat.  You escort, and keep safe while trying to get the excitement it must be for a kid to embark on their own history of Halloween.

The older I got, I became less interested in the whole thing, but occasionally got involved if I had to.  I'm not sure what the above picture was all about, if it was an MDH thing or a neighborhood get-together.  But usually, I preferred to sit in the chair while  someone else got the door for trick or treaters.   It was the time of the year not the day that I always enjoyed.  It was a time when the storm windows came out of the basement and you spent a day washing and hanging (that's the way you do it with an old Victorian house) and making ready for the cold weather to come.  It was a process of snuggling everything up which after a long hot summer was kind of welcome in its own way.   Cozy enough to close the windows and maybe a fire or two before the onset of constant heating bills. 

We used to stuff a pair of jeans and shirt with other old clothes, plant a rubber monkey face on it and sit it not he front porch for effect.  This was OK for awhile, but became even better when Brendan sat out there with the Monkey face and tricked the unsuspecting goblins and what-not at the door.   

Along comes grandkids, and then you start the whole process over.    

Thursday, October 30, 2014

First Nature Walk of the Fall - Part 1

With the temperatures falling a bit this Fall it seemed good to be able hit the walkways of  one of the best nature preserves around here, Sawgrass.  These pictures generally need no comment, so I'll remain quiet.  

That last shot was a poor attempt at shooting the wispy webs that seem to stretch all over the place.   

I have more shots that, while redundant from other past trips to the place, are still kind of neat.  But those will wait for another day.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just a Few Of The Reasons Why Florida Sucks

Nothing is all good nor all bad.  Most states have their plusses and minuses.  Illinois is a corrupt bastion of Chicago politics.  Iowa has the Hawkeyes.  Florida is a different breed of state.  It's mostly bad. Hot, stupid and the home of weird.   

Hey ladies, get on your high high heels and grab your rifle.  "Stand Your Ground", birthed right here basically means you can shoot anything that moves if you are fearful.  

Wal-Mart, home of falling prices, personality-dead check-out clerks and long lines, will cheerfully sell you this dead plant I saw for 50% off.  I don't know if this is a reflection of Wal-Mart or Florida, but since this Wal-Mart was in Florida, its a twofer.

In Illinois you swat at flies in your house.  Here, you corral lizards.

This driver thought a silly Zombie style tire cover was cute.  At least I hope it was tongue-in-cheek.  But upon further inspection, on the license plate is the Tampa Bay Bucs NFL football logo.  If he is looking for a Zombie Outbreak, he best head over to Raymond James stadium.

Walking by this used car lot, I couldn't help smelling and seeing a vehicle in extreme distress.  The oily smell was overpowering and the smoke billowing out of the bays was undeniable.  Give 'em an hour or so and they'll have this Manager's Special ready for sale in no time.   

The stifling, congestion at rush hours lowers the standard of living by several notches.  Give me wide-open corn fields any day.

And finally, Exhibit 7 for my rant on the sandy, scrub-infested, No-See-Um filled cocklebur of a state in which I find myself.  Like Australia which was first inhabited by Europeans as a prison-state, Florida which seems to readily take cast-offs, neer-do-wells, the lame, the maimed and educationally challenged, the people themselves are the worst advertisement.  

I found myself standing at the front door surveying whatever it is to survey here while a lady walking a dog walked by and LET the son-of-a-bitch bitch piss on my bike tire.  There are certain universally recognized rules for civil discourse:  apologize when you belch in the company of women,  dunk, don't dip Oreo cookies in milk, when a clerk asks you in a clothing store what size you wear, don't say it doesn't matter,  pet dogs when they pretzel at your feet looking for attention,  and you never ever ever ever piss or let your dog piss on another man's bike.    

Nothing is all good nor all bad.  But if you ask me, the bucket of bad down here is a Hell of a lot heavier than the bucket of good.

And finally, Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Neighbor Tim has healed well enough to resume work.  Sherwin-Williams, his many friends in Northlandia and at least one in Florida, and family breathe a sigh of relief.  Now if his Bears could just win a game. 

2.  I am a proponent of online banking.  Paying bills on the internet probably saves me close to $40.00 a year in postage.  But there is one thing I don't get.  I use Billpay for a couple of bills from my bank.  We know banks are stingy, blood-sucking parasitic ass worms who are every bit as evil as much as they are tightwads.  Who pays for  Billpay?

3.  I was extremely saddened by Illinois' dropping the Millionaire Raffle from their lotto lineup.  It had become a bit of a tradition with the Wombie and I having our raffle tickets and dreaming of untold wealth.  We never did win anything but found it fun nonetheless.  Pretty good odds, too.  It was something they did twice a year along with St. Patrick's Day.  Hopefully that one is still in the works.  

4.  The other day I noticed the sunset was a little different that usual around these parts.  

I only had the iPhone but it was good enough to give you an idea of the sight.  I guess the sun was passing through some clouds, but that seemed odd because there didn't appear to be any that day.  

5.  Went to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in St. Pete the other day.  Saw a guy petting his parrot and the incense that always renders me speechless.

I am, and remain, unable to make a coherent comment on the fragrance oil.  The guy and his parrot, however, made for a nice show.

6.  Halloween Is Approaching:  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mystery Reference Points

I am not given to hysterics.  In all my stargazing I have never seen a UFO (well, maybe one).  I have read the calculations of how far an advanced alien civilization would have to come to find us in the vastness of space and have ruled out the possibility. The technology for traveling such distances seems daunting even for the most advanced.  And there is the question of why.  Surely there must be millions of worlds more suitable for whatever they need, and thus, the third question.  If they need something why not take it?  Why just the endless spatial drive-bys?  

Anyway, after having had breakfast with the clan at the Egg Platter I noticed a small round washer driven into the parking lot by a small nail.  I asked if anyone had noticed them before and wondered what it was for.  No one knew.  

And then I started to notice them everywhere.

On sidewalks.

In roads.

In parking lots.

Some have been highlighted.

OK, lets deduce their purpose.  Obviously they are reference points.  One actually has REF PT on it.  But what does it reference?  

  • Property?  Not likely because I saw one in the middle of a street.
  • Water and/or Gas Line?  Best question Wombie about this, I mean AQUAMAN.  But even that didn't make much sense since one I saw was in the middle median of a 6 lane street.  You'd think they'd flow water and gas perpendicular to roads other than major thoroughfares.  If you have a break you would be having to tear into a major means of commuting.

  • GPS or Google Earth coordinates.  Maybe.  Or maybe it is an advance guard of an alien race Hell-bent on invasion when the time is ripe.  Yeah, that's it!  They are reference points for  landing sites for their Praetorian War Birds.  The Motherships will be enveloped in cloud formations and when the perfect moment arrives they will streak to Earth like gnarly sand gnats.  
Laugh all you want but it has happened twice before, as evidenced by the clips below.  Look to the skies!!!!!!!!!!!!!     

Great martian war from PLAZMA on Vimeo.