synchronicities

The man swimming in the lane adjacent to mine has beautiful thighs.  They are a comfort as they flash in strobe against his small dark Speedo suit. He and I keep the same clip for a few laps. I don’t know about him, but I’m not trying to go faster or go slower; I definitely have too far to swim to mess about. “You do you and I’ll do me,” as the adage says.

That said, it’s hard not to speed up or slow down when someone adjacent makes pace.

Outside it’s balmy and warm. Spring it starting to flicker at the edges. The blossoms are out and the pavement smarts from the sun’s sincere warmth.

Winter habits are hard to break. Last night, on the agenda: Ralph and I watched Shark Attack III: Megalodon. Yeah that’s right, I watch terrible movies, on purpose, and I can’t seem to stop. SEND HELP because two weeks ago I cockily made a bet Ralph couldn’t stay up to watch all of Snowbeast (2011) with me. I was begging for death by the end. As for Megalodon – and unlike Snowbeast – the film is definitely in the, “so bad it’s good” category; the poor dubbing in particular makes it a surreal, cheese-tastic experience all the way through. The film weasels around for a full hour by trying to sell a regular-style shark before it finally heaves a big sigh and pulls some crumpled-up special effects from a dirty trouser pocket: the so-called “megalodon” – which is kind of like, the icing on the ass-cake.

Watching the film Ralph is like: “What’s with that guy? Is he drunk?” Me: “I don’t think the character is drunk if that’s what you’re asking.”

on an uncharted atoll in the Pacific!

My daughter glides in the door and puts her arms around me. “How are you?” she asks, and she means it. Maybe no one is as kind, considerate, and loving as this child.

Sometimes I think she’s this way (in part) because of the effort I have put into being a good mother. Sometimes I think she’s this way (in part) because of all the mistakes I’ve made.

Sometimes I know I need to love her fierce while she’s here, and just be thankful.

My daughter shares her private life with me – so far, just me! – and this is truly incredible. I treasure her trust, and her disclosures, more than I can say.  I am humbled, honored, and glad. She’s going through Big Stuff right now and I know lots of her peers and classmates are going through The Shit, so. I am glad she thinks I’m safe.

So she asks me How Are You and the truth is, I am still tired and I’ve been tired a little while. I’ve had my ass handed to me by a fatigue that doesn’t make sense. Kidneys, maybe? I don’t know. I’m not anemic; today’s blood donation (re-)assured me on this. I can’t afford doctor care right now but if and when things settle down a bit I will make a move in that direction. For now: chin up. Drink water. Try: patience. Today I read a tweet online, an actress ran her first twelve miles and was ecstatic – I feel (a rare and) strangled kind of envy. I would love something different than what I have.

Actor Russell Johnson passed today; my fellow B-moviephile and author Scott wrote up a post and I had a nostalgic smile over last March’s Attack Of The Crab Monsters embroidery project. I haven’t sewn, not a lick, in about two weeks – which for me, is a Forever. If I had food in the pantry and gas in the car I could sew maybe, but even then I’d have to feel less tired.

Times like this I have to practice my patience. That kind of earth-shattering, centered bit of patience. Maybe things will get better; no matter what, I know they will Change.

Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957)

“Once they were men. Now they are land crabs.”

Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957)

I finished this a while back, but I’ve always had trouble getting good pictures of embroidery.

Nevertheless, it is HIGH TIME I unleashed this on the world, perfect pictures or no. To wit: my embroidery sampler from the 1957 Corman classic, Attack of the Crab Monsters!

Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957), Embroidery Sampler

I think in the lower-left figure you’ll agree I captured the essence of the film’s villain, a downright devilish decapod:

crab_monster

Now, if you don’t think Attack of the Crab Monsters is awesome, we will probably never be CLOSE friends. For one it has the Professor in it, portraying a character a little rogue, a little lonely – and a wee bit sleazy (but not as sleazy as he was in say, Space Children). For another there is this huge papier-mache crab. They paid for it, so they’re gonna show it. They seemed to have spent a bit more time and detail on a separate claw prop, which they also showcase more than once:

Crab Monster Claw

Then there’s the funny-looking old radio, which is plot-central to the point (so of course, said radio is included in my sampler!):

AotCM_radio

And of course – the creatures from the opening credit design – just beautiful. The film is in black and white, so I tried to imagine these critters in color:

Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957), Embroidery Sampler

My favorite thing about the film, though, is one of the salient plot points: radiation-enlarged crabs have consumed scientists, absorbed the knowledge of these scientists, and can telepathically communicate at will the voices and personalities of their victims.

And finally – perhaps my favorite thing ever in the film, is just how cavalier “Jim” is before he is despatched by the crafty crustaceans:

https://agni.hogaboom.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/crabmonsters1.mp3

That was my ringtone for quite a while and I would LOLOL every time I heard it.

***

The second bit of embroidery – finished just yesterday – is Phoenix’s “Two Dragons”. I plan to have this framed in a way complimentary to his previous embroidered piece, “Mutant Horse”.

"Two Dragons"

I haven’t figured what, if anything, to add to the piece; I want to keep the simplicity of his line drawings intact. I hope to embroider and frame his pieces now and then so she has a nice little collection, if she wants it, for posterity.

In somewhat, less-exciting craftivism, I made an ironing board cover from sale fabric purchased at Elma Variety. I am a huge fan of Elma Variety; and while they may not have the fabric for garments I need – favoring a very large selection of quiliting cottons instead – they have so much great stuff in the way of notions, yarn and knitting/crotchet supplies, and general craftiness.

Ironing Board Cover, Ala Elma Variety

Ironing Board Cover, Ala Elma Variety

Happy krafting!

Miguel Ángel Fuentes in The Bermuda Triangle (1978)

Well, that happened.

I’d wondered what happened to Miguel Ángel Fuentes, the let’s-face-it de facto centerpiece of the 1980 silly “superhero” film Pumaman. I mean, I didn’t wonder about him enough to Google it or anything (he’s actually been getting plenty of work, thanks*). I  was pretty inspired to see Rifftrax’s latest cinematic offering, The Bermuda Triangle (1978) featured this delightful man. Most of the time he’s in the bilge getting soaking wet and – here’s where I sat up and paid attention – wearing a very impractical tiny babydoll crew tee. And not just one crew tee. But two!

Miguel Ángel Fuentes in The Bermuda Triangle (1978)

Then – wait for it –

Miguel Ángel Fuentes in The Bermuda Triangle (1978)

So one thing after last night’s viewing of this cinematic turd, Ralph and I decided we had to make those t-shirts (so we did). And then I thought I’d post the um, artwork, for the shirts, in case anyone else had to have them.

Black Whale III Tee, Design 1

Black Whale III Tee, Design 2

The Bermuda Triangle isn’t the crappiest film I’ve ever seen by any stretch (um, but just to be clear, it’s really, really bad). As far as movies go where you know everyone’s doomed, this film had me at the “OK let’s get down to it then” place within the first few half hour… then just dragged out. I think they also murdered a few actual sharks, put scuba-stuntmen at real risk, and littered a lot in the ocean, so that was kind of gross.

Anyway for anyone else who’s a little b-movie freak, here you go.

 * And he was in “The A-Team” pilot! I’ll bet playing a generic Latino bad guy who has no lines and gets blown up. I haven’t watched an episode of “The A-Team” ever, but, that’s my guess.

“By the sea, Mr. Todd, that’s the life I covet!”

My Mom & My Son, Before Heading Out To The BeachMy son, & my mom, about to head out to the beach together.

So YE GODS I’ve been having fun embroidering. Last night I finished up this space-age sampler as designed by Wendi Gratz. I really dig her whole approach, as found on her site Shiny Happy World.

Space Sampler

Space Sampler

Embroidered Comet, Close-Up

The whole business made me decide to make up my own patterns, including a sewn samper. LET’S SEE how it goes. Because you know, not only can I draw, but I’m into stuff. For instance last night? I started and finished the above piece, concluding my last stitches while viewing Attack of the Crab Monsters with my kids, Tylur, and Emily, and whilst sharing a pint of Late Night Snack with said Emily.

YES I REALIZE I HAVE NOTHING, EVER, TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.

Anyway I could draw up some awesomeness ala Crab Monsters right this moment. Instead I drew and traced and finished a pattern of subjects close to my heart, non-Crab-Monster-related – and provided my sampler doesn’t shit the bed, you’ll be seeing it soon!

Embroidering

(Hint: will involve GLOW-IN-THE-DARK thread!)

Glow-In-The-Dark Embroidery Floss!

In other news: we got our table finished. The entire table was a gift, both in materials and construction, from friends. I am more than thrilled. It is my Favorite Table Ever. Many people were almost maimed while we put it together.

Making Our Kitchen Table Which Almost Killed A Few People

New Table! With New Wool Coat In Progress

First meal made on the table – meatballs! (recipe, previously shared):

Making Meatballs

Making Meatballs

Followed by – using the crusts discarded from Phoenix’s bread-cubing – fresh bread pudding for breakfast:

Fresh Bread Pudding For Breakfast

Phoenix:

Phoenix, Sly Creature

Harris (Every. Damn. Day!):

Life Is REALLY HARD For Harris

Finally: a piece of mine was published in the latest issue of Natural Life Magazine. As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I heartily endorse anything written or published by Ms. Priesnitz, and I encourage y’all to head over and subscribe to this excellent publication.

In closing please, do not be so casual about “just a few land crabs” – unless you want to pay the ultimate price.

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

Team Mustache Dad

I make an effort to write even when I’m busy. And I have been busy! The candy-making date with Amore on Monday went wonderfully. It’s snowed a bunch then it rained all away. Car-less I attempt to get out, go running, do my shopping. I cook food and more food and it all vanishes.

I’m working on a sew-intensive project and I’ve been missing my kids and I don’t want to be back in my sewing room SO I asked Ralph to put my sewing table in the living room so I could put on some “television” (Netflix through the computer) while I did my thing.

I can’t put on anything too good while I’m sewing or I get distracted; however if it’s no fun, what’s the point? So this time around I’ve been doing some serious camp!

Ralph and I are both huge Elvira fans. Sex-positive, quick-witted, corny, goofy – and some awesome one-liner double entendres, all in addition to her other obvious attributes. What’s not to like?

And then:

Not the funniest Mel Brooks comedy but one entirely adorable and served well by the straight-man slapstick of Leslie Nielsen. Speaking of which, I have yet to watch Forbidden Planet (1956) and given the recent demise of both Francis and Nielsen a memorial viewing seems entirely appropriate.

In other news, Ralph decided to shave the beard. OK, fine. I get it. He didn’t like its itchiness and maintenance and thought it made him look dirty. Now I thought he looked really handsome and mysterious and rugged but, OK. I even told him (truthfully) that the full beard gave him a less-bald appearance, the hair on jaw and chin compensating for thinning up above; I hoped his self-consciousness about his hairline might cast a more friendly light on the muttonchops. But he never liked the beard much and it was clear from the outset this ferocious display of hirsute manliness would be a short-lived, fleeting winter wonder.

So first he shaved down to a Zappa ala Phoenix’s request:

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

(Ha, I love how PISSED Harris looks. AS PER USUAL. Angry and obese, what a great cat.)

Nice enough, eh? Sinister but sexy.

But then. THEN. He went too far.

Ralph's Filthy 'Stache

Yes. Really.

And finally – after 24 hours of the above abomination, tonight’s foulness – the meager and failed attempt at an iconic actor and persona.

The Non-Vincent Price

And after he did this of course he wanted a kiss. GROSS.

I throw up my hands.

And – I’ve been writing in my One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book. And I’ve been writing my small stones. I have some saved for you.

Melted Snow
(Small Stone #10*)

Melted snow in my husband’s beard
Diamonds, icy cold
As he just steps back inside

Hush
(Small Stone #11*)

Low light
and very late night,
up until dawn sometimes.
You and me and you.
Our own world,
Quiet and new.

Repairs Needed
(Small Stone #12*)

We’ve lived without water pressure in our kitchen for a year and a half.
I miss the bold rush of hot water.

Small stone project

Unschool Improv: Not-so-great Expectations

friday untidy

Must-Reads of the Week
“Regrets of the Dying”, as written by a hospice nurse. Being with someone who’s dying was a deep privilege for me, and this article – though more about life than death – reminded me of this experience. Read and learn.

Grown Unschooler Cheyenne La Vallee: “Everyone has it in themselves to be passionate and motivated.” at Idzie’s blog. Out of all the stuff I’ve read and seen on the internet this week, this was the most stunning on a personal level. Reading an interview like Cheyenne’s gives me hope for our world.

Culture
“Play Nice” by Simon Rich from The New Yorker
I don’t know what’s more disturbing to me – the fact grownups think chldren are less-than-people so don’t feel, think, or notice the same stuff grownups do; or the fact some grownups recognize the personhood of children on some level but think it is their RIGHT to tromp all over them anyway.

Pop Culture
I got a monster dedicated to me on Monday, at Twisted Vintage. Which led me to searching up a color version and finding a thread full of awesome B-movie monsters, which are one of my favorite things, ever.

Some great points collated at Soc Images: “Gender, Boobs, and Video Game Characters”. It’s pretty funny how readers (well… maybe that’s the wrong noun, as some of them clearly did not read the article) instantly jump in and say, “But-but-but male figures are idealized too! It totally goes both ways!” First of all, hint, no it doesn’t, but nice try. Secondly, the post is meticulously linked to many arguments which delineate physical idealization (which absolutely applies to both genders) vs. sexual availability via tortured postures and under a consumptive gaze. Or to put it articulately: dur! The cited redrawn examples of the poses of male vs. female characters is particularly awesome and leaves me shaking my head but really reading the text and looking at the images and boggling at how so NOT “both ways” it goes. The original work (Wizard’s How to Draw: Heroic Anatomy) is a depressing one to fathom but I fear very representative of comic culture. “It’s the subtleties of this piece that make it sexy.” LULZLULZ

Here’s some adorableness from TheRealNimoy’s twitpic feed (which is great if you at all are a fan of “Star Trek” or Nimoy). The original ST was one of only two television shows I remember in the very brief time in my childhood that I was exposed to television in my home (or, bus, as it were). So these two were like half-assed second fathers, talking to me from a 12″ old-school box balanced on a narrow counter by the fold-up couches.

Professer goes on a rant (this is sort of an unpleasant watch, warning):

People like to toss out the phrase, “acting like a baby” or compare grownups who react in anger, in a social setting, to tantrum-throwing toddlers. However, of course, toddler emotional displays are developmentally appropriate and it is not children who have such thoroughly entrenched and fragile ego structures as so elegantly demonstrated here (note how the professor repeatedly demands the other students rat out the yawner – tattling FTW!). Incidentally I went to college and got a degree through a competitive and difficult program. It was grueling. I feel sorry for these students as to get the piece of paper they need (or believe they need) they have to put up with this guy. And lots of guys like him. And lots other bullshit. And no sleep. And etc.

Make/Craft
Self-Portrait Ski Mask at CRAFT
I’ll probably never be able to see a balaclava without a little titter about the balaclava perv who found me on my Flickrstream. This balaclava however is head and shoulders (uh…) above any I’ve seen before. Very fun, if a bit creepy!

Mexican Chicken Soup by Ina Garten; I believe I posted a picture of this earlier in the week. It is truly and amazingly delicious and perfect for the fuck-fuck-fuck-COLD some of us are experiencing!

Homemade Marshmallows, a recipe from my blog, which may or may not be Martha’s (I truly do not know). Any locals want in on these (or non-locals), shoot me an email at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. I’m making them up on the 10th.

Random Excellence
From reader R. (you may see him as Kidsync), one of his occasional-but-always-golden comics:

Unschool Improv: Not-so-great Expectations

And from the BBC “My Blackberry is not working!”:

“science ponders about it, and all men are curious – but no one knows”

This Island Earth. “They’re pulling us up!” NO RLY?

Have I told you how much I want to make a big montage of Mansplainy moments in B-film? OH GOOD LORD would it be sweet. Ralph and I laugh and laugh when we see it (and our daughter does too). Like Dr. Frank C. Baxter!

P.S. they still do it in movies today. Also, same effect accomplished by: barely having any women in heroic and action film unless they’re a love (or lust) interest. BORRRRR-ring.

toughness is in the soul and the spirit

On my run, today:

The Harbor

It is so fucking beautiful here. I wish my pictures did it service. So green and alive and wet. I’ve lived here long enough that even travelling a few hundred miles inland is hard on my body. I need the water, the water in the air, the water a few steps from my home, the rivers the estuaries the wetlands the sea.

Beeeeyyoootiful!

Today I was precisely taking a step on the sidewalk and my mind was filled with the hurtful words, and gestures, and simmering anger I’d seen in my friends and acquaintances and my tweetstream and looking over my husband’s shoulder at his Facebook account. And unfortunately people who are hurting say damaging things in kind, and even those of us they aren’t targeting directly, sometimes it hurts us too. And my mind was kind of roiling over this stuff and thinking I wanted to be a part of the world that stood up and said Stop, but also recognizing those who are most destructive do not respond well to being called out for the harm they do, and their needs are unmet too. And while I was thinking all of this, bits and fragments and feeling almost broken and decidedly not at-peace and:

I stepped forward on the sunny sidewalk and suddenly I could see the pain in these lives, the difficulties they were living out, a few specific people I knew and how they were hurting and how hard it must be for them and it was nothing personal. As clear as day the harm they did me and others (incidentally, not purposefully, I’m sure) it all melted away and I could see them in pain, brilliantly-rendered, in my mind’s eye, as impersonal as a framed photograph yet as alive as warm flesh. In that moment I was the person I wanted to be, not confined and scared and struggling and afraid and angry. I was the soul of compassion and calm understanding and humor and love.

The fact is as I have been growing my antennae to pain and suffering, yes, even in those who perpetrate. When a friend is calling someone a horrid word or saying something vicious I no longer see it in that black-and-white, that us-vs-them, that must make things seem easier, that must obfuscate suffering enough to keep it to a dull roar instead of acute pain, for so many. It’s like I’ve dialed into so much of the pain I used to not concern myself with and now I can’t stop receiving it. I’m reminded of Ray Milland’s character in X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; experimenting on himself he has inadvertantly exposed his eyes from intuiting the visible spectrum to now the ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths and beyond, and it’s agonizing; only the spectrum I’m receiving is emotional and there’s no volume level and some days, minutes, hours, there’s no stopping it and I can’t handle it. It’s my fault, I think, but that doesn’t mean I can change it. I haven’t developed my coping strategies.

But today I had a glimpse of someone strong but soft; someone wise but humble, accepting of her limitations but still someone who could help. And I want to be that person. I don’t know if it’s possible for more than those occasional flashes of brilliant clarity. I want to believe it is.

My run felt wonderful. At home now, showered, the sun streaming through the window, in my house are five children happily playing; music is playing and the children are all so happy and safe. I feel broken and sad for my grownup friends but I feel so good about who I can be for these little ones. It has to be enough, for now.

Neighbors