Not Actually A First-World Problem…

So I come home from a hike this morning.  I went early into the backcountry, just to spend a couple of hours before the coming storm hits.  The snow back there is knee deep at this point, so I’m tired from the workout.

No problem, I’ll just go inside and get out of my wet stuff and pound some coffee.  That’ll fix me right up.

Uhh…

What the hell?

Why the hell are there THREE moose hanging around the door?!

1193190949_1Hey, I used to watch Rocky & Bullwinkle, I know how this works.  They’re just harmless, cute ruminants.  They’ll probably just skedaddle when they hear and smell me.

Oh, wait, they’re not deer, they’re fucking MOOSE.  They don’t “skedaddle” for anything, they stand and stare and contemplate converting to carnivorism.

Ummm…uh-oh.

It’s not just three moose…it’s a mother moose and her two daughters.

Oops.

So, a quick lesson for you, if you’ve never encountered a moose up-close before.  They’re, uh, kinda big.  I don’t mean big like an NFL player, I mean big like in a moose vs. car fight, the moose wins.  They’re not as huge as bison, but they’re not far off, either.

Anyway, I came to a stop about fifteen feet from Momma Moose and she…well, she stared.  She stared like any mother who was worried about her daughters would.

I wasn’t a guy just trying to get inside to relax, in her world I was some creeper in a trench coat on a playground…

It’s a reminder of an old joke, “What can a fifteen-hundred-pound moose do?  Anything it wants.”

images.jpegDeer would’ve just run.  Elk would’ve just run.  Hell, even a mama bear would’ve started herding her cubs away.  Momma Moose?  She owned that damned area, and I was the one who was gonna have to leave.

I am, just to let you know, typing this over breakfast at the cafe down the road…

Venting My Spleen, Or How Bad Beer Ruined My Day

IMG_0384Harrumph!

Look…I live in Colorado.  Yes, I live at 5,000* feet.  Yes, we get snow.  Yes, we have some cold, windy days.  But — and this is the big but — if it is 5 degrees and snowy on Monday, it is pretty damned likely to be 60 degrees and blazing sun by Wednesday.  That’s just life in Colorado.

*Actually, I live at more like 8,000, but I spend a lot of my time “down the mountain” at 5,000

That’s also, err, kinda why I like living here.

So why, in a place where cold weather lasts hours rather than weeks — let alone months — why in the hell would a brewery completely close its patio?!?!

For the last four days I have been stuck in crazy wind and blowing snow, not to mention temperatures that have had to really try just to reach double digits.  But now…

But now, when I’ve come down the mountain to meet friends for lunch, the weather is sunny and 60…yet still I’m stuck sitting inside!

GODDAMMIT!!

HARRUMPH!!!!

Okay, so I’ll (kinda) save you from (yet) another bad-taproom rant…but it’s hard.  Honestly, it’s really freaking hard.  Do you have any idea just how much I hate restraining myself like this?

My spleen may explode, by the way, for lack of proper venting…

*sigh*

694A53EF-73B8-4A6E-BABD-2162622AB479I really need to get back to work on that brewery guidebook I’ve had simmering on the back burner for that last couple of years…

SSSHHHIIIIIIITTT!!!!!!

Okay, so while I was waiting, and wasting time, I had my first sip of a terrible freaking beer…

I hate my life right now.

…No…must…restrain…self…

…Cannot…vent…now…

…Ummm…

48F2F907-46AF-4A20-A700-9A245B197775My one poor little brain cell can’t…err…do two things at once, so it’s either vent or write, but not both…

I repeat: I hate my life right now.

I Don’t Do Nostalgia

Something scary happened to me the other day.  Now, I get disturbing and unsettling things fairly often, and I get irritating things every single day, but scary?  Not so much.

I was talking with an acquaintance.  Arguing, really.  It was a discussion about the best sci-fi TV series of all time.  Nothing unusual for me in a debate like; while I have strong opinions on shows I love and hate, I am always looking for ways to get another perspective, always willing to talk about shows and movies.

images-3.jpegIn addition to writing and music, I am also — if you haven’t guessed — a movie and TV nerd.  We all have regrets from when we we were young.  We all have those annoyingly nostalgic memories and thoughts of paths not taken.  Well, my biggest regret, my worst missed path, was in not following my love of cinematography and directing.  I worked in film/TV in high school, even did some in college, but I never trusted myself enough to pursue it.  Of course, I didn’t trust myself to pursue anything in that first stint in college…which is probably why I drank my way through it rather than study…

Ahem.  Never mind.  That particular little bit of random regret is most definitely not what I sat down to write about…

I’ll spare you all the gory details of the debate itself.  I mean, you already KNEW Deep Space 9 was the best of the Star Trek series, that the (relatively) recent re-make of V was muddled garbage, and that HBO’s Game of Thrones is better than the actual books right?  Right?!?  Of course you knew all that.

None of that was the scary part, anyway.  Want to know what the scary part was?  Firefly.

images-2.jpegFire-fucking-fly.

Not just one of my favorite sci-fi shows, it’s one of my favorite shows of any genre and any time period.  I mean, crap, it’s on my list with Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H and Cheers, for God’s sake…

And it’s better than fifteen years old.

FIFTEEN!

Holy shit…it feels like that thing just came out!  I mean…crap…I can still remember watching it when it when it was new!  Hell, I still binge-watch it at least once a year…

Fifteen years old.

The damned show can almost drive.  Pretty soon it’ll get married and have little baby shows!*  Crap, a barrel of scotch made when it premiered is just about ready to drink!

*Don’t I wish — Firefly’s tiny fourteen episode run is still far-too heartbreakingly short.

By the way, if you want a good lesson in the use of flashbacks and seemingly-random jumps in sequence and timing to tell a story, and to build pathos, watch the episode Out of Gas.  I’ve written before about learning from everything when it comes to writing, and I meant it.  Some of the most important lessons on writing and storytelling I’ve ever learned came from movies: Spielberg on foreshadowing, Hitchcock on tension and suspense, Scorsese on symbolism, Scott on mood and atmosphere, Singer on manipulating perception and expectations…I could go on for a long time, but I think I’ll save that digression for another time.

The original Star Trek is over fifty…Star Wars over forty…Blade Runner thirty-five…and none of that is quite so depressing as Firefly being fifteen.

Crap, I don’t do memory (when I can help it), and I avoid nostalgia like the plague…this is no freaking way to start a day…

***

Random musical interlude — nothing really to do with Firefly or the post I just wrote, nothing other than the fact that this particular song is one of the most evocative pieces I have ever heard.  I know it’s the key and the progression and the rhythm that all combine to evoke memory and nostalgia…I know that, but still it works:

Phrase o’ the Day: Ectoplasmic Tommy Gun!

Hrm…  Okay, so I’m still playing catch-up on posts, which means I think it might be time for the writerly equivalent of the puzzled shrug…that old slacker favorite, the list:

  1. I read a few news bits over the last couple of days about the State of the Union.  More specifically, about postponing or cancelling the thing because of the government “shutdown.”  To these pieces — and to the concept of delaying/cancelling — I say, “Well, duh.”  Is there a more pointless or pathetic example of kabuki theater than the freaking State of the Union?  For a long, long time the damned thing was just a letter sent to Congress, not the spectacle of imperial excess and extravagance that we have now.  Shit, all the Constitution requires is “notification” to Congress of the state of the union (note the lack of capitals!).  coronation_of_nicholas_ii_by_l.tuxen_(1898,_hermitage)What it does not require are speeches carefully scripted and crafted with *wait for applause* moments.  What it does not require is the expenditure of millions of dollars on something we already know will be cheered by one team and booed by the other, regardless of content or message.  What it does not require is empty pomp and circumstance and ceremony from 500+ people who can’t even do their fucking jobs.
  2. Ahem.  Rant over.  Thanks for your patience.
  3. Britain and the EU.  Oh, Britain and the EU…  As a history-nerd, I absolutely love the political maneuvering and shenanigans on display.  As an English history-nerd, I am completely appalled by the sheer incompetence on display.  I mean…shit…how in God’s name can you make the US Congress look like freaking workaholic geniuses?!?!  winston-churchill-with-tommy-gun_a-g-7613085-0Churchill isn’t turning over in his grave, he’s off getting pass-out drunk.  Every single person at Westminster — both government and opposition — should be happy his ghost is just doing that, by the way…otherwise he’d be stalking the halls with an ectoplasmic tommy gun, taking them all out.*  Look, I love both England and Europe as a whole…but the EU is an idiocy.  As a trade union, it’s great.  As a common market, it’s perfect.  As the “ever closer union” trying to force 27 very, very different nations/peoples/societies/cultures to turn into some bastard-mutant-child of the worst parts of France and Germany, it’s nothing more than the rankest insanity.  Unfortunately, like every single example in history of “technocrats” and “elites” who “know better,” who know “what’s good for you,” they won’t — they can’t — let even one single person slip from their control…
  4. *Churchill 2: He’s Back, And He’s Pissed! — hey, I’d pay to watch it!
  5. It’s gonna snow again in a couple of days…and I can’t freaking wait.  After the last dumping, I took off for a moderate off-trail hike.  Now, it can be hard in Colorado to find “untrammeled wilderness” without having to go deep into the mountains, but a nice knee-deep coating of snow with no footprints from anything or anyone but the wildlife is a nice freaking start. I’m getting the itch again, by the way, for one of those 6-month jaunts off to…err…well…nowhere in particular.  Go back to Krakow or Tallinn or Prague as an illegal alien, working tour gigs and bartending…or hike the Pacific Crest Trail…
  6. Yep, there’s a song for #5 too!: