Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Not Sure When I Became a Masochist....

Actually, yes I am. It was about the time I discovered that with a hand-held GPS, I could go out into the woods and find cool little boxes of crap. Since yesterday, I'd been feeling none-too-swell—headache, lethargy, somewhat feverish. Figured it might be a bug coming on. Well, by late this afternoon, I started feeling a bit more spry, so what did I do? I went out to Mackintosh Park in eastern Guilford County and hiked the three-mile loop trail. With all the side trips and backtracking to hunt the thirteen caches out yonder, it was easily four miles plus.

It's pretty hot and humid out there; no big deal. But as I near the farthest point, the sky darkens and thunder begins booming in the distance. I walk faster. After a time, the clouds break and the sun comes out again—ever so briefly. Then the thunder returns with renewed vigor. Mercy! Quite the artillery battle going on upstairs—and getting constantly closer. Sky turning darker. It's like night in the woods, and by now, I'm hustling to one cache after another, finding them lickety-split, and frantically signing the logs, hoping that maybe...just maybe...I might beat the nasty storm all too evidently on the way. Ah, well; I have a poncho in my backpack. I can at least keep my phone, GPS, camera, and most of me dry. So I press on.

Finally...down to one more cache on the list. But the most recent logs indicate that several hunters couldn't find it. Then, within a tenth of a mile of the target...oh, hell...the bottom drops out. Rain comes down in sheets and buckets, with a sound like a tornado. Lightning flashing and thunder booming. I'm so close to the parking lot now—less than a quarter mile—breaking out the poncho seems pointless.

Fortunately, I manage to stuff my electronic gadgets into the backpack and close it up before anything is ruined. Me, though...well, by the time I see the Rodan Mobile in the distance, I'm doing my all-time best impersonation of a drowned rat.

Well, at least I grabbed an even dozen geocaches, which was what it was all about anyway....

And an afternoon like this one prompts me to count my blessings that I can come out of the rain and into a nice dry house. A house filled with cats.

But...oh, God. I'm very late getting home, the missus is asleep, and the cats haven't been fed.

I have almost recovered from the stampede....
Three miles, or one? Oh, what the hell.
A nice view across the lake
Shortcut? Ha!
One mile down.
Near the midpoint
Two miles down.
Getting kind of dark and eerie
A nice little fellow
Almost there....
At last... the drowned rat reaches the end of the trail.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Weight

It's easier for me to write a 10,000-word story or script than to summarize the idea in 500 words or less—and still convey a sense of character, narrative voice, setting, and flow of the plot. Which is exactly what I regularly need to do for various projects. Just finished up such a proposal for a new script and sent it off to the producer; whether it was successful or not, we will have to see, but for such a short little fellow, it sure seems to be a great weight off my shoulders. The nice thing about this one is that if it doesn't work for the specific project in hand, with some tweaking it can be reborn as another animal altogether. Well, hopefully, anyhow.

Now I've must practice some guitar work, as there's a fair chance I may be doing another open-mic performance this Wednesday at the Garage in Winston-Salem. If so, I'll post a note here and elsewhere, in case you're dying to come round and heave fluid-filled objects at my head.

Take a load off, Fanny.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What Are You Waiting For?!

Wow. I was only 10 years old at the time, but I remember the Apollo 11 mission about as vividly as I remember anything in my life. The majestic views of the skyscraper-size Saturn V on the launching pad. The spectacular launch on 7/16, replayed endlessly from numerous vantage points. The special bulletins on TV and radio as the spacecraft approached the moon. The docking with the Lunar Excursion Module. And finally, the touchdown, which I watched on our brand new color television—never mind that all the images from outer space were coming over in murky black and white.

You could see a circular blob outside the LEM windows, which might have been a pad of the landing legs on the dirty gray lunar surface. Endless voice transmissions back and forth. The same view out the LEM window...endlessly. On and on. "What are you bleeping waiting for?" I remember hollering at the TV. "You're on the moon! Get out there and bounce around in reduced gravity!" I was terrified that if they kept dicking around, the astronauts weren't going to get out of the LEM till after my bedtime, and I'd miss the whole historic business.

Much to my relief, my folks said I could stay up as long as it took. But that hardly assuaged my impatience. WHAT WERE THESE DADBLAMED ASTRONAUTS WAITING FOR? They were on THE MOON, for cryin' out loud!

Ah, such exuberance. Well, it probably didn't take nearly as long as it seemed before Neil Armstrong clambered out of the landing module and took that historic first step on extraterrestrial soil. And when, at last, he spoke that one memorable line—very possibly the most famous utterance in human history—I jumped from the couch and began running in circles around the house.

I should so love to have a moment like that again in my life. A life-defining and life-affirming moment. An experience that breaks down the very high, very hardened wall of cynicism and confirms that we, as a species, can achieve greatness when we set our minds to it. Something unspoiled by a media capable focusing on the constructive rather than the destructive and the dividing.

One can still dream. But I was fortunate that I was there, if only in my living room, when all this unfolded, forty years ago. It was a giant step in my own life.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Barfday to Mrs Death

The missus and her friend Davina have their birthdays on the same day this week, so there was a big old party in their honor last night. They fixed themselves all nice looking and stuff, got cool presents, and generally made merry. Funny, though, how they keep getting older, while some of us really don't.
Yeah, I know...I'm gonna die for this....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Martinsville Cache-a-Latte

Geocachers tend to be a most excellent species of social animal, and frequently gather together in herds to eat, drink, and swap tales of the trail. They come in all sizes, shapes, sexes, and ages—from too young to walk to almost too old to walk. Many such critters gathered this evening in Martinsville, at the Daily Grind—a little cafe in a nice old uptown hotel building. A few lucky individuals were awarded with opportunities to be first-to-find on new, unpublished caches, and with excruciating effort, I talked Night-Hawk, Sneaky Bulldog (with whom I shared neat underground adventures a couple of weeks back; see Journey to the Centre of the Earth), Creacher, and the my long-lost reptilian relative, the White Dragon into dragging me along with them on their way to make the find. It was a good 'un, with perhaps a dirty laugh or two exchanged while on the hunt. (In fact, precious few of Sneaky Bulldog's laughs are even slightly clean.)

Our hosts, Scott and Chandres (Krazy Tribe), did a superb job coordinating things. Thanks, y'all, for a great time.

A nice evening to end a long day, as I'd taken off from work to put together a new audio drama script proposal. That one's done. But tomorrow...yet another one to develop.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Geocaching Featured in the Martinsville Bulletin

It's just a weenie piece, but they did use a quote of mine (out of a twenty-minute-long interview). Fair little article.

High-Tech Treasure Hunt

The Big G of July

"G" for Godzilla, of course. With G-Fest happening in Chicago, but it not being in the cards for either friend Bill Mann or myself, we got together to watch giant monster movies today. And what a nice way to spend a day off. Varan, the Unbelievable, Godzilla vs. the Thing, Godzilla: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and even The Crater Lake Monster. Haven't done a movie marathon in ages, so this was a good hoot. Especially with a couple of hot-pepper martinis to wash them down.

All the fireworks going on outside just added an air of authenticity to the monster battles.