Letters to Holly

Friday, August 28

Running. Noses.

Apparently the body I have at 6:30 a.m. is not the same body I have at 6:30 p.m. When I ran last night for two miles, I found myself back to pre-summer running ability. A mid-18-minute run on the same route that I have recently run under 17 minutes. I have to build this evening body into shape. But I know it can be done, and that assertion will see me through.

Your Sis has the obligatory cold delivered by students who have traveled. She's fighting it with tea and ice cream and sleep. We hope to make the first home football game tonight. The gynecologist said there was an abnormal smear, and they want to run tests. She's not concerned. I am a tad freaked as I am generally stupid about lady parts. But I won't let on. I'll follow her lead on this.

I've built up some preliminary work for the FaceBook art project called Sketchtember. One new drawing each day. I get up before work and start the sketch, let it sit all day, and polish it at night. I'll practice piano if Your Sister is working late.

Picture of the Day
Aquatic high five.

Thursday, August 27

Sometimes I'm Genius

We were watching Episode 3 last night on the Spike Channel, which has become the Star Wars network in the last year. They show MMA, Star Wars, and bad movies. I was thinking about how the films would be different if they were made in order and what angles the first trilogy might take now. And it hit me. Return of the Jedi becomes a hundred times better if Vader changes tactics and tries to turn Leia.

Think about it. Luke lost his aunt and uncle and his hand. In exchange, he got off Tattooine, became a Jedi and a top figure in the Rebellion, and got the adventure he always craved. Leia, however, between Episode Four and Episode Six, lost her whole planet, her adopted family, her standing as an ambassador and princess, and her scoundrel boyfriend. She barely managed to escape kinky slavery to a bag of goo and learned Vader is her father. She's dizzy from trauma. She's weakened.

Vader has already bested Luke in Bespin and no longer sees him as a threat. While he gives Luke one last chance via the Force telepathy at Bespin, he instead senses Leia as a Skywalker. Her innate Force connection was just sparked by Luke calling to her for a rescue. She's now an active Force user with nothing but raw potential. Vader is astonished and delighted.

Now Return can put her back on the Death Star alongside Vader as in the first film. Luke and Lando try to lead the starship assault, but the Rebellion surrender and stand down when the Death Star is proven to be fully operational. Han and Chewie are captured on Endor's Moon. Leia, on the Death Star, is under the sway of Vader until she has a breakthrough moment (maybe in Vader's badass techno cocoon chamber) and uses the Force to escape. Now she gets to save the boys and avenge Alderran. This lets her rescue Han twice in the same film (scoundrels together) and use her nascent Force power alongside Luke's Jedi training to take down the Emperor and Vader. They kill Palpatine, not Vader. This is key.

Vader is now confronted by his two children who convince him the battle is over. The confrontation leads to Vader realizing the mess he made by joining the Emperor and turning back to the good side of the Force. He's still messed up from fighting his kids. He still dies. But he dies having purged himself of the evil influence and bonds with BOTH his children, not just Luke.

Meanwhile Han and Chewie and Lando switch objectives. Lando goes to Endor while Han/Chewie execute another textbook, hair-brained, so-crazy-it-works assault on the Death Star as the remaining Alliance ships decimate the Destroyer Fleet. Then we get the chub-chub song as Luke and Leia burn Vader's suit and see their father alongside Ben (her old friend, remember) and Yoda. End credits.

Now, admit it: You'd pay to see that, right?

Picture of the Day
"Hello, Mister Lucas? How'd you like to make another billion?"

Wednesday, August 26

Potpourri for One Hundred

Mom's surgery is scheduled for Sept. 8. That seems too blase for me, and I wonder if she again shrugged it off. She knows she needs this and has needed it for years now. It's out-patient procedure. I'm sure it could be done earlier.

Your Sister is a tad bushed after the start of school. She has smaller classes than she expected and is delighted by them. She already has essays to grade and lesson plans to craft. This was an early morning for her.

On a lark, we put a regular DVD in the Blu-Ray player to see if it would make a difference. It does. A lot. Again, we were stunned by this new contraption. It might be the connection cable. The regular DVD player has the standard multi-wire hookup whereas the Blu-Ray uses a special HD cable. Either way, we may never go back to the old DVD player. We watched more West Wing before I tucked her into bed. We're now back to the routine of different bedtimes. I stay up in the workshop either working online or drawing.

The newspaper carried the announcement of the latest theatre auditions. This is a play I had to talked to my liaison about as he's directing it. He tried to cobble together his "dream cast" last year, much too early for anyone to commit with any credibility. He also sent out emails to ensure a decent turnout. I like the guy, and he's been very good to me. But I'm done. There are other things I need to do. Like learning the piano.

My illness is lingering a bit, but it's fading. I probably won't trust myself to run until early next week.

Picture of the Day
Ghost trollops continue to sext me their tawdry images.

Tuesday, August 25


I forgot that I can get an upset stomach after giving blood. Combine this with doing much yardwork Sunday, eating an infernal stir fry that night, eating two slices of Nutter Butter cheesecake Monday, and then running that night, well, it's no surprise I got sick before I could finish 3 miles.

Simply getting sick while running is no fun. It's no picnic when you pull over to be sick and fall into a patch of thorns. And then be sick amid said thorns. And have to climb out to stagger back home. So, no, I was not in the best of moods when I entered the house and said hi to Your Sister. Laundry quickly ensued.

I still have Sunday's chili pepper residue under my fingernails. It flares up now and then. I can see why this stuff can quash a riot. Also, why chefs use gloves when they work with the stuff. Lesson learned.

My Mom is finally scheduling gall-bladder surgery after years of discomfort. She called me Sunday to confirm I would babysit her after the procedure and to ask if we should do it within the next few weeks. I practically yelled at her to do it immediately. I think she got the hint. She knew this was inevitable, and I suppose she feels stupid for not doing it when Dad was healthy. I might spend the last half of this week in my old house, sleeping on the very small beds.

Picture of the Day
The healthcare-reform rhetoric is getting ugly.

Monday, August 24

A New Blog Presentation

Big thunderstorms shut down our satellite TV for only the third time ever. We gave up on broadcasts and continued watching the West Wing DVDs. Within four episodes, the show breaks away from the breezy style and gets down to business. Some of the crest-swelling rhetoric is ham-fisted now, but the cadence of the the dialogue is rock solid. I miss Toby Ziegler. That character needs to be moved to another show as Richard Belzer's Detective Munch drifted from Homicide to X-Files to Law and Order: SVU. Toby doesn't get cute office flirts or abstract ruminations. He's is a laser for political reality and Constitutional dogma. He's driven and bitter and committed to proper government. I'm moved to write a fan letter.

I gave blood on Saturday at a local church. I didn't make an appointment and took along the John Adams book to wait for my extractions. I'm a pro at this now; I could take someone else's blood if I had to. Your Sis planned for us to see Inglorious Basterds after she managed her schoolwork, and I whittled the day away with chores.

+ + +

Now we present our new movie-review feature hosted by the original and latest toy versions of Bossh, the Empire Strikes Back lizard bounty hunter. We call it Bossh Office.

Today's film: Inglorious Basterds

Surly Bossh: What. The. Hell? No one told me this thing was subtitled! Like I can read anyway. I don't even speak whatever it is people speak in Star Wars. Interlac? Skywalkese? I'm a lizard, people. I speak lizard. And a scoash of Esperanto. I don't speak German or French, and I don't want to hear three hours of people speaking German or French. No one mentioned this in the ads. This was Das Boot all over again. I'm so in a snit.

Chipper Bossh: Chill, dude. It's an authentic immersion into the languages of WWII. I was fascinated by watching people act beyond the limitations of language. After an hour, I was practically speaking French myself. I haven't been able to do that since high school.

Surly Bossh: Yeah, and after that 90 minutes, you had another 90 to go. This fucker's interminable. You want to learn French? Try this: The film is el longo. No one told me this either. By the time Brad Pitt showed up in Germany, my bladder wanted to run screaming like a mousedroid.

Chipper Bossh: And how about Pitt? Good to see him doing comedy again. He's always funny. He can play dumb like no one else.

Surly Bossh: How about he's in the movie for about ten minutes? The whole film is people sitting around tables and having half-hour conversations. Then the director remembers, "oh, yeah, I've got funny Americans around here somewhere," and we get them for about three seconds.

Chipper Bossh: It's not about them.

Surly Bossh: The f'ing film is NAMED for them! It's not Inglorious Nazi People! It's not Surreptitious French Businesswomen! I paid for Basterds!

Chipper Bossh: And we got them. But we have to see why the Nazis are so bad and how they interact with conquered France. A tone must be set. Besides, that SS officer actor did a great job. He was charming and competent and clever.

Surly Bossh: He rocked the casbah is what he did.

Chipper Bossh: But we never forgot he was evil, and we awaited his hopeful bad end. Tarantino is great at presenting complex characters who show us why they are good or bad. Or a mix of both. The whole film is about complexity. These people have to be smart to survive this war. Everyone does. The film shows us smart people matching wits in polite conversation and on the front lines. It's about violence of the will and the hand.

Surly Bossh: And that violence was awesome! Lots of blood and gore. Kick ass.

Chipper Bossh: I could have done without it, but I suppose this is what we get from Tarantino.

Surly Bossh: Dude, we're cold-blooded. We're supposed to like violence.

Chipper Bossh: Oh, I didn't demand a refund or anything. Tarantino doesn't flinch from either free-flowing conversation or the evil that men do. Some are saying this is his best film, but I think it's too early to tell. Still, it's a satisfying film that made me squirm and laugh in the same minute, and that's good filmmaking. There were some touches that were unmistakably Tarantino's, and I enjoyed them all.

Surly Bossh: I enjoyed maybe ten percent of this film because those scenes were what I thought the whole film would be. Instead, we get heaps of tense yap-yap and David Bowie on the soundtrack. Bowie? In a WW II movie? Gimme a break. Surly Bossh out.

+ + +

I knew Sunday would be a big day for yardwork, and I skipped running this weekend. I'm also going back to the fall running schedule for the evenings. I can't run with all this impending school traffic. In the mornings now, I'll go back do daily drawing.

The garden was hammered by the rain, and we lost some plants. I weeded it Sunday. How much rain did we have? I'm growing kelp. I mixed coffee grounds, compost, and soil to brace the surviving plants. Later that day I mowed and weeded the yard, and I rewarded myself with the rare Pepsi.

I plucked a bell pepper and some jalapenos for the stir fry, adding carrots from a neighbor's garden. Now I stripped all the seeds out of the jalapenos. I know I did. Still, I was ablaze when we ate the meal. Sweating. Sniffing. Crying. My voice cracked. This was inhuman. But tasty.

Your Sis has today to go before she gets students, and she's mostly ready. This weekend allowed her to batten down the necessaries.