A Discovery of Sugar Cookies

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Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode as Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches. 

Now, I’ll try not to wander over a thou words. Promises promises.

I realized my last two posts boil down to EXPECTATIONS. Yes, television is a frivolous wasteland for brain-dead zombies who are just about the most asleep of the non-woke sorts ever. That’s why I wuv it. Cutesy and sad. I rock!

I settle in for the new series, heavily advertised. A Discovery of Witches.

Witches!!

Vampires!!

Something dark, creamy, decadent, lots o’fun, I hope with all the hope that yet clings to the inner tunnels of my decaying soul.

Ah. Discovery of Witches. Apparently, it’s three books. The dreaded and dreary trilogy! Not that all trilogies are that, of course. Some are even famous. Real famous. I’ve never heard of this one, I admit it here. So. I don’t know this story. I have no idea where it’s headed. All Souls? Souls for All? Equal but Separate Souls?

I settle in to enjoy me some witches and vampires. Cause I like witches and vampires. And ghosts. And zombies. And assorted other monsters and psycho killers and creatures that populate your basic horror movie to your basic high fantasy expanses.

And that first episode. Some smartie historical gal has POWERS and there’s this MYSTERIOUS VAMPIRE DUDE who lurks around testing blood. Diana [I have to keep checking what her name is!] checks out a book! From the restricted section of Hogwarts! Sorry, no, that’s…nope. Cambat? Tower of Loins? Oxballs? Eh. I’m clearly resisting the SPELL of this show.

Had to. Had to.

Now, the vampire dude, named Bill, nope, it’s Edward…er, Matthew, LURKS around Dingus, er, Diana a lot. Oh shoo, is her name Sookie? Isabel?? Diana, like Wonder Woman!

He’s rich? There’s ropes and whips…er. No. Uh. I’m not sure what the plot is here. Other than witches and vampires HATE each other. There’s demons but am not sure what they can do or why they exist in this particular witchvamp-verse.

Oh, there’s a council. Where the three groups decide stuff. A sort of secret cabal of supernatural politicians. 

There’s the older witch guy who was on…wait for it…Game of Thrones. He’s also nasty in this show. But I’d rather watch him and the dark-haired interesting witch woman from Finland than Dingus and Matt. I felt more chemistry between those two than Vanilla and Safe But Dangerously Smoldering Cuddle God. The Gentle Monster Who Can Kill You But Won’t, He Promises. [Bill of True Blood. Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Edward Cullen from Twilight. Angel from Buffy. Etc!]

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Owen Teale as Peter Knox. Alliser Thorne on GOT.

Ah, there it is! The central heroine is a bland blond nothing to me. [She’s a sugar cookie!] Another Earnest Serious Humorless Flat Glass of Stale Water. She also falls in love LIKE THAT with vampire dude. I do mean LUV, TROOO LUV.

[Is that scene from the Princess Bride echoing in your head right now? Yeah. Exactly!]

They are attractive folks and they bump uglies. Usually with a fireplace and candles nearby. Yet, their love is FORBIDDEN. Cause it’s a LAW.

That Dingus knows nothing about cause she’s been sheltered from witch stuff. By her lesbian aunt and lesbian aunt’s partner. [Who killed the dead parents?? Ah, plot, there is one.]

Diana seems to be some sort of super-concentrated uberwitch. Hence why blood being tested. Parallels to True Blood and Sookie’s fey blood. Oh gosh. My attention wanders…when was the last time I vacuumed?

Now!

Matt’s ma is one of my fave actresses from Rome and elsewhere. Love her! She’s tall, cool, gorgeous and veddy British. She can also make whatever nonsense they pay her to say sound fabulous. I loved her in Under the Tuscan Sun…which has to be the ultimate girly girl movie ever made in the history of ever. A two hour movie on renovating an old Tuscan villa. With Sandra Oh and Rory Gilmore’s dad in it. Where was I?

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Lindsey Duncan as Ysabeau de Clermont. Servilia on Rome. Katherine on Under the Tuscan Sun. 

Matt’s ma is some upercrust French lady with an estate and she eats guts and blood. None of the vampires seem affected by sunlight but I might have been napping during most of D ofW’s scenes. It’s beautifully shot, there’s that going for it.

I saw somewhere that D of W is Twilight for adults. Oh dear…now I can’t unmarry that from my views on this show. Now I see our Bland Vanilla heroine as Bella allowed to grow up and have to be rescued all the time. By her vampire paramour who runs down deer to eat. As Vampire Dude ran down a stag, as did Eddy Cullen. Oh damn it. Parallels. My weird “hate Twilight but have to watch Twilight” obsession-compulsion disorder is circling back to chomp at me. Ouch. Ouch!

Bella, er, Dingus, er…what is her name? does begin to try and explore her powers so she can rescue her little self 20% of the time instead of none of the time. Maybe she’s a Dark Phoenix-like witch…her powers are so awful and destructive it was just safer to suppress them. Is that where this is headed? Yes, I did just reference the X-Men.

Yes, I will attempt to get through the finale but I doubt I’ll watch another season. I feel like we’ve been down this overly explored road. True Blood, Twilight, Fifty Shades, ugh all the others I can’t recall right now.

To sum up!

Can’t wait to watch Carson choosing wines for the King and Queen of England on Downton.

GOT limped to a close. I think they chopped off all but the left arm kind of limping.

Discovery of Witches doesn’t seem to be my Bloody Mary.

964 word count or so. Promises kept.

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Game of Sighs

 

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Hey, you have to laugh at your ten year commitment to a TV show. You have to!

Game of Thrones. Oh sigh. Sorry, this gets long in the old tooth. But it’s fairly superficial. So. Yay? 

 It felt like the writers just went how many fans can we piss off. It felt like sabotage of their entire carefully crafted show.

I’ll try not to include spoilers but if you’re not a fan or have never seen a GOT episode, well.

I didn’t get about to watching Breaking Bad until well after it had aired its last ep. Same with Mad Men.

I didn’t start watching Buffy [stop it, stop giggling, I still love that show.] until the end of season two. I had no idea what was going on, but…HOLY HELL THIS IS GREAT AND SAD AND MUST WATCH RELIGIOUSLY FROM NOW ON.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!! I missed the first season but IT’S ONE OF MY FAVE SHOWS EVER EVER EVER. Musical numbers, West Covina, characters so well crafted it seems a shame nobody watched this…!

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Bwha ha ha ha. It ends with Ned Stark waking up, going, oh my gosh, I had the strangest dream…

GOT. The great giant BATTLE between good and evil seemed rushed. That’s a polite word for it. True, we can’t spend bazillions of episodes on the one side getting ready to face some snow zombies but still. Oh wait…yes, we can. We spent eight fucking seasons doing that. Winter is coming!

Also, Jon’s resurrection? Was for? To get rid of the Crazy Mother of the Broken Chains? Cause…that seems not plausible on part of story or writing or characters. It seems a hit job on Dany, most of all.

We watched her not be insane for eight seasons, after all. We watched her learn to master herself, to listen to others, to trust herself and her instincts to help people.

Yes, she did go on the occasional murder sprees. But they were, like, totally called for. [Yes, I am justifying, Yes, I am. Am I ashamed of that? Not even a little.]

Before this, when a city or whatever surrendered, they were not then slaughtered in a wholesale and ghastly fashion. What she did to King’s Landing seems so totally out of character.

The bells ringing meant the city had surrendered. That it was over. Soldiers put down their weapons. And then, Dracarys! Fire! Destruction! Death death death! After the surrender. Um? Was there a bonus promised for use of dragon in this episode?

I’d have been fine with her fate if…if it had been set up far better than it was. Oh my goodness, that would have been one for the actual ages. To watch this girl of good intentions turn into the very thing she claims to hate…and we get to go on that journey with her instead of our jaws dropping in outrage at the sudden out of seemingly nowhere shifts someone put into play to…what, for what purpose?

What if Dany could have been…well. Too late now! What’s done is done, cannot be undone, to quote yet another lady treated to abrupt character assassinations. That lady from that Scottish play, sleepwalking with a candle.

Also, the backbone of GOT has always been Tyrion Lannister. I want to give a salute to Peter Dinklage for that. Salute, sir!

That said, when he had to make that speech about Bran. To, sigh, name Bran, contender for king of it all…fuck. Just no. No. Nope.

We went through eight seasons of Jon Snow acting kingly, with the Mom of Flying Lizards conquering everything she could and then some…only to have both shunted aside like smelly tampons so that Bran, the creepy raven supervillain whatever, could…win it all? Who even claimed he wanted nothing to do with being Lord of Winterfell or….mm.

Also, Gendry is an actual heir to the Iron Throne. And Jon is a Targaryen. A legitimate one. All of that build up? For? Um? Bran to be…king? Um?

Now, I get, as a writer, subverting expectations. I get that one. You build toward something, then smash that but…what direction you head has to be EARNED. It has to make some sort of logical sense within the world you created. You can’t play actual tricks with your audience because your audience is smart. They trusted you to tell a good story. They trusted in your structure. To betray that trust out of spite or hubris or arrogance…um, just don’t. To me, also, this seemed a bunch of writers not trusting where this story wanted to go. The organic flow seems off. Yeah,  I went there! 

GOT turned out not to be a good story. That’s my biggest chunk of gristly fatty beef here. I expected better. I got a rushed, flat, improbable set of discordant jarring leftovers thrown together and nuked in a half-working microwave.

The reunion between Ghost and Jon was second only to Sansa being named Queen of the North. Arya sailing off for parts unknown? Sweet! The Starks won but it seems the rest of us watching, waiting, hoping, despairing, cheering, sobbing…lost.

Also, women can’t do power? Does that mean Sansa will go mad, too, and have to be put down by Bran’s armies? Is that the next Game of Thrones book? A Song of Mad Sisters Who Should Smile More?

Oh and Tyrion finding Jaimie and Cersei…!

Sorry, a truck full of cut up onions must have invisibly driven by.

Now, a major or minor show ending its run is always cause for gritting the teeth, hoping for the best. Hoping it’s not terrible or flat or a host of other expectations that are so seldom met.

Battlestar Galatica, anyone?

The mixed reaction to Mad Men’s finale?

Seinfeld? Roseanne’s series finale! Then, the reboot, which is now canceled…mmm. 

Big Bang Theory just ended, and that was actually quite a lovely send off. Well done there.

But. Game of Sighs indeed. For once. They should have given the fans what they wanted. Not a happy ending but a better ending than that. The Jon and Ghost reunion, yes. Well done. Thanks.

I also want to give a nod to one of my other fave characters. The Hound.  That dour, gruff, and yes, very flawed character. Well played, with a dry humor.  I also want a Hound and Tormund buddy comedy…oh. Can’t have that now. Sigh. The Hound’s end, eh. I was…maybe I need to watch it again. 

I’ll end there. Others have picked this carcass thoroughly, for hours at a time, usually dressed up in GOT garb. With the minute attention to detail of a detective after a serial killer! Goodbye, murdery rapey lots of boobies and some cool ass dragons show!

Oh. There’s a prequel? Better Call Saul turned out pretty good. Young Sheldon is far better than it has a right to be. So…maybe? Maybe they’ll remember what made the first three or four seasons of GOT soar like a baby dragon?

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from Vulture.  Left corner–Dany, dragon. Cersei pixie cut. Jon sexy blood look. Sansa. Sansa’s mom Kat. Arya. Tyrion Lannister. Night King peeking over the right edge there. 
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Tormund and Brienne of Tarth. Kristopher Hivju and Gwendoline Christie.
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Sandor Clegane AKA the Hound. Rory McCann
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Tormund and Lyanna Mormont. Bella Ramsey, actress

Downton Game of Witches

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Tingles! Downtown Abbey about to politely delight and thrill us ere again. Dame Maggie Smith!

Part one!

I mashed some titles together. I feel so clever.

I actually have three different posts here, I decided. Instead of one mashed together mess, I know! I’ll do a three-parter! Woot woot!

Downton Abbey.

Game of Sighs.

A Discovery of Sugar Cookies.

Mash seems to be my fave word today! Also, if I wish to go off on a rage-rant that has nothing to do with anything…well. I won’t.

My despair over DC has reached coma-inducing levels. Which is what THEY want. They. Tiny “victories” constantly overshadowed by actual bad shit done out in the open.

I need a gallon of pudding. Ever had that pudding that’s canned? By the gallon? Yeah, that stuff.

Shall we briefly revisit our favorite Upstairs/Downstairs knockoff??

Just watched the Downton Abbey teaser-trailer.

Oh. Yes.

When-is-this-on?? Hold the sherry! This is an actual movie. It won’t be on Masterpiece? What the…? Oh polite eye roll and sniff of suppressed annoyance! Excuse to leave house, though…!

A ROYAL VISIT??!! What wine will they serve the queen?? Which queen is this?? Must remember to look up what queen that is. Will not remember. Sigh!

I am so there for Downton Abbey the Movie. I know. It’s a snobby exercise in snobbiness. Yep. Don’t care! 

Lady Mary with that really cute short haircut! Will she and Edith have their sisterly rows or have they declared a sort of sisterly armistice? Oh hey, is that the same actor who plays Vampire Dude in A Discovery of Sugar Cookies? Is Lady Mary’s second hubbie VAMPIRE DUDE? Mind. Blown. Blown. BOOM. Just checked and yes, it is. Matthew Goode. Wait. His name in real life is Matthew, too? Hold it together, brain.

Back to squee central. 

What is Thomas up to??!! Are Anna and Bates SUFFERING AWAY AS PER USUAL?

Mr. Carson walking up toward Downton Abbey!

I need a scone!

Rabbit 2019

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Brigit, the wonder cow dog. The vet called her a Kelpie mix. AKA Leatherface and the Gremlin.

Yesterday. I now have the Beatles song moaning in my head. BRB. Okay!

I spent a rainy Sunday trying to save a young rabbit. I didn’t succeed. They spray the weeds around here. Wildlife eats the weeds. Wildlife gets poisoned and die. There is no actual concern for wildlife where I’m from. Farm community, they could give a shit about the local bunnies dying in slow degrees from the weed poisoners. This young silver-brown rabbit lived in the discarded irrigation pipes on the other side of the fence. It got trapped in the privet hedge by two of the three dogs on Saturday or so. Time seems very flompy lately. Flompy—where time seems random, disjointed and not seemingly connected to reality.

The two dogs trying to get to this young bunny got distracted, ran off barking at something, so the bunny was able to hop out from the hedge, and hop slowly away. It’s out in the open, mind you. There’s dogs, hawks, all sorts of DANGER. There are two hawks nesting away just down the road who patrol the three fields, the ditchbank, our yard, the road. I actually caught them mating one day in the old locust tree. Hubba hubba!

Yes, I am a sad sad sad little creature these days.

It’s been RAINING. Actual rain. For days. Yesterday, one of those rainy Sundays where it seems time gets super-flompy.

Brigit has been outside, in the rain, a long time. Our yard is fenced. I go out to check on her, she won’t jingle her way to the door. She wears a collar with her info dangling from it. She sounds like one of those cat bell collars, you can hear her arriving or going. Tinkle tinkle! She’s worrying something on the ground. I think it’s a bit of plastic or something she dug up. Ah…no. It’s the young silver bunny. I pick it up [bad sign right there] but cannot find anything wrong with it. The dog didn’t rip off a limb or chew it up. No blood, no broken bones, I notice that it does have diarrhea. Which triggers the ‘they sprayed for weeds the other day’ ding ding ding inner bells. The rabbit doesn’t seem lively at all, very lethargic. But. The rabbit is also cold and wet and just been the victim of Brigit’s unkind use of it as a chew toy. So maybe shock and fear? Maybe it’s just playing possum [sort of and it’s a rabbit] until I either finish it off or it find a moment to get away.

I take the poor little thing inside. I put it on a heating pad, wrapped in an old towel, inside a container so that if it does turn all lively I won’t have to rip the house apart trying to find it. As there has been a rabbit loose in the house. Years ago. The dogs, and we’ve always had dogs, must have brought it in. It lived behind the dryer for two days before I found it. My mother, yet alive then, kept hearing things. So by then it was starving, scared and it just died. A very young rabbit, eyes just opened young. So I remember how fragile wild rabbits are. I remembered that yesterday as well. And that other time I tried to save a wild very young rabbit.

So! Success I thought. After a couple hours, the bunny had perked up. It was moving about, no longer huddled up in a frozen ball of misery. The rain had stopped a bit. I hesitated at putting it back outside. Cold wet drizzly day, maybe I should wait until Monday, let it suffer captivity until then.

I instead, taking the entire container out with me so as not to touch the bunny or stress it out further by handling it, let it loose near the privet hedge. As it seemed to live nearby. I read that releasing wild animals willy nilly can just get them killed. As there’s territories marked out. Or they…yeah. Good intentions kill a lot of the time, especially wild animals. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a crapshoot. The bunny seemed very perky. It ran off under the hedge.

Two hours or so later. The dogs whine to go outside. In the rain. They make a beeline for the hedge because our Lab is a hunting dog. She remembers where she caught scent of SOMETHING or caught SOMETHING. The young dog is, in Eastern Oregon slang, a cow dog. She’s smart. She watches the two Labs and learns. Sneaky little blighter. So Brigit and Molly keep wanting out to go after whatever’s in that hedge. Which I know is that young distressed rabbit. They just know it’s smelly and they want it. Or maybe they know it’s a rabbit. Or a bigger version of a mouse.

I find young bunny huddled at the far end of the line of struggling hedges. It’s waterlogged, and just lets me pick it up. Bad sign indeed. There’s also diarrhea. A few feeble protest kicks, then it huddles in my hands. I take it back inside, turn the heating pad back on, try to get a bit of water down it, then just cover the container and wait to see what happens. This time Lord Frith called one of His own home.

It shuddered, kicked, laid on its side. Just stopped breathing.

Why do I keep trying to save anything? Because I feel it’s the right thing to do. That’s my moral backbone. An actual set of morals I can’t seem to discard, no matter how indifferent those around me are. I will dig worms for baby birds. I will make sure the heat isn’t too high under a sick rabbit. I will…Perhaps I am trying to atone for being me. I don’t know.

And to end on a good note—

Thump! Crash. Bang! What just hit the side of the house? Out the window I look. Nothing. So I go outside. A blackbird is divebombing Brigit who’s after something in the wild rose bush tangle. I call off the dog, when I notice, yes, a young bird being pursued by enthusiastic novice hunter, Brigit. I manage to pick it up, it’s fine and it manages to fly from my hands and back under the wild rose bushes as mama bird squawks threats at me from atop the house. I make Brigit go back in the house and hopefully, the little bird family will be okay for now. There are no cats about but there is that twosome of hawks just down the way. I read that if the young bird is feathered out yet still young enough, the parents will still feed it as it hops about on the ground. Fledglings? There’s stages. AS there is in most things. I’m a wise old owl this morn.

So a bit of grimness, a bit of a rescue that actually, for now, has worked out. I’m glad there’s enough cover in the yard [which does not get sprayed with killer chemicals] to shield the local wildlings.

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Notice the wild tangle on the far side of the fence, the storm approaching. This privet hedge got cleaned up and tidied by me since this was taken. Eastern Oregon landscape, y’all.

I was going to try and take apart my utter disappointment in Game of Thrones. But everyone’s doing that right now so let me utterly change directions on my dying bunny tale with if you are not watching or have never watched Call the Midwife, do so. Especially as it’s so timely with the illegal abortion stories it presents, as well as how we are still as ignorant about women and their bodies as we were back in the 60’s. I have tried to like a Discovery of Witches but…I am just cold toward it. She fell in luv in about five seconds. There’s plots abrewin’. That’s all I get from that. The vampire guy seems cute? Eh.

Don’t even worry. I’ll do a rant-take down of my television viewing habits. Don’t even worry, darlings. As always, thank you for reading and hey, I have books for sale. I also have plays you can produce or use if so inclined or in need. Don’t ask me to care for rabbits, I am 0 for 2 right now. I do better with birds. What the hell is Eurovision and what is going on in Iceland to produce that?? Geez! I also watch John Oliver’s show…

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The very rabbit in question. Very unusual fur?

Rebirth Rebirth!

 

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A still from the Red Turtle. The Red Turtle will not be mentioned once in the following blog. 

Instead of Rejoice Rejoice…

The [new] computer is now working. One of those refurbished deals. Man alive, it’s FAST. Whizz! Whoom! Oh hey I can play Candy Crush now. My priorities are catawampus a wee small bit. 

Lesson for writers: Send out lots of submissions. Instead of, like, three. Yep. Glad I could help! Volume. Volume is the key here. That way when you get rejected, it won’t seem so thousand percent everyone hates your work. Volume will spread that out a bit. That’s the theory, anyway. Wink!

ABPIP– always be positive in public

Notre Dam has burned. Something ancient, something grandly lovely, something fragile, has been destroyed. For now. It was being renovated. So perhaps something sparked. As it can do. Whomp whoosh, medieval wood ceiling might as well be made of gasoline cans. I did hear great efforts managed to save some of it. And I am glad of that. 

People claim terrorists did it. Like Glenn ‘Puppy Eater’ Beck.  Or that God is sending a message. [Most of the crazier religious sorts on Twitter.] With various interpretations as to what that message is. Others make jokes or shrug. I guess the football team can still play…seems to be some people’s confused take on the fire there in Paris. [As Notre Dame is a school and…yeah.] 

So am figuring out things and stuff on the new computer. It does read my thumb drive/s. That’s excellent well. Very leery of this newish machine. I trusted the old one, after all. Which was also refurbished. And worked for ten years. If not longer. 

Oh! Game of Thrones was on all week on free HBO. Which is good. As it was the week my elderly other machine decided to beep forlornly at me to bury it in the computer graveyard known as ‘stored in the closet somewhere’. Yes, I did see the new ep and I am literally a quivering, miserable happy mass of cells. Will Jon accept his birthright? Will Dani find out she’s likely preggers with her nephew’s kid? Will the Night King discover that Cersei is far far far colder than he is? Will Sansa and Tyrion get together for real?? [Heard people contemplating that one…] Arya and the Hound, a new buddies cop spinoff? Brienne and the big red-headed guy? Romance or…? [my absolute fave want them together couple ever on GOT. I am not alone in this one.] So, one zombie dragon took down the Wall? 

I was also watching Return of the King, as I had to find a new app to play DVD’s and the like so…and it was right there. Shh. Now. Where were the elves at? Mirkwood and Loth-whatever? [Did they all go get on the ships? All of them?] I mean, that group of elves showed up for the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The elves couldn’t send twenty or so to fight in the big ass giant battle in ROTK?? What about the dwarves? Gimli cannot be the only dwarf left and he was a fearsome, awesome fighter. So? Was there some plague that killed off the dwarves or they were busy or…did I miss that in the umpteen times I watched the LOTR movies? 

So!! I have two books for sale. House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. They’re GREAT! I also have Aftermath now in editing. It’s about Boise and…ZOMBIES. But aware zombies that run the world. Yeah, now you’re hooked! You’ve always wanted to know about Boise! Ha ha ha! 

 

Ditsy Scatterbrained Hagfish

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from Redland City Bulletin. Hello, last remaining bee!

As I microwave my ancient morning coffee, which is ice cold, I ponder. I wonder. I’m also ovaries deep back in a Wonderfalls revisit. Talking souvenirs and kitsch objects giving cryptic instructions to a slacker chick. Because reality right now is just…um.

I wonder what it will take the crack the sneering veneer of Trumpikans. An actual murder? I wonder why the Democrats still have their velvet, be nice, gloves on.

Take em off, you squirrels. Take em off.

Stop playing nine-dimensional chess with assclowns swinging battle axes at everything in sight they find scary, threatening or scary. You two groups are not playing the same game. For thirty some years now, dears. Yeah.

I put half a candy cane in my microwaved coffee, by the way. Just for full disclosure. Yes, I still have candy canes left over from Christmas. Shoo fly, that might have been the last remaining bit of one. Can you buy candy canes for Easter? Honest question. I like mint, peppermint, the general mint family. Snapple with mint is still right up there as one of my favorite drinks of all time. Do they still make that? Honest question.

BRB!

I don’t believe Snapple makes this anymore. My hasty, barely glanced at google search seemed to find no evidence that Mint Snapple is available in March of 2019. Sad. Sad!

Spring has sprung. The spring bulbs planted eons ago yet again shove up their spiky green leaves, with hints that tulips and daffodils will soon follow. Bloom for about three days, then go back to sleep until next year.

The bees, all two of them, buzz about, inspecting me for pollen. Still don’t have any, bees. You’re making me nervous, bees.

Oh look, we still have bees. Global warming must be a hoax if I still see bees…

Seriously, Demo-door-mats, take them gloves off. Why do you think people are so freaked out by AOC??

IS SHE PLACATING THE VERY ONES PUNCHING HER IN THE FACE?

No, squirrels, she’s not.

I should run political campaigns, huh?

I’m trying to be super-cheerful. I don’t think I’m pulling that off. At all.

I’m readying my tiny bit of ground for a tiny garden attempt. My zukes were wildly abundant last year, yet my pumpkins, after a late belated start, were so so.

My eggplant…the less said the better but it was a weird ornamental variety. It tried. It grew tiny little eggplants!

Something kept eating or destroying my cukes and the summer squash never really got its engines running, if you catch my meaning.

The oregano went to town! My dill plant delighted me! The lavender, oh my! Lemon balm, never again. I don’t know what to do with it. I think I’ll try rosemary this year as I love rosemary in pretty much anything. Dill, yes! Sage and thyme! I might just go for spices and zukes and pumpkins.

I actually did manage to make pies from pumpkins I’d grown, after all. At least three!

I just need to work on my pie crust skills. Ouch. Ugly pies but they taste okay. I’m ashamed! I watch all those baking competition shows! My pies look like something that fell on the floor, then got stomped on by buffalo. I can and will do better!

I also need to dust off a novel that needs working on or finishing or…I’ll put a note up, stare at it a lot.

Work on novel.

Work on play.

Work on screenplay, you ditsy scatterbrained hagfish! 

Christmas Cup of the Neanderthals

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The actual cup! 

It’s very early in the morn. The three dogs, Bridge, Molly and Jake, have decided THEY MUST GO OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW. I oblige. Out they go.

Bridge, by the way, or Brigit, has a new nickname. The Gremlin. As she is very much a puppy yet, with a propensity for chewing anything and everything. Her favorite chew toy seems to be the rug that overlays most of the living room floor. She will pull it back, then blissfully munch on the matting under that room-size rug. But she’s such a lovebug, how can you drop her off at the nearest shelter, with some mumbled story about how you have no room or some made up tale about allergies? You just can’t! She’s part Kelpie and all Chew Stuff Up.

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Brigit in her Gremlin phase. Ignore the dirty socks left to their own devices, thanks. 

The coffee has not yet been made. The odd thrill and ceremony of opening a new can of coffee. Sniffing the contents, which are probably sawdust with a bit of coffee air freshener sprayed near them. The water poured, the old Bunn squirting brown liquid into the squatty pot below.

My special cup gets taken down from the cupboard. For now, it’s a Christmas design on a white background. Holly berries and leaves. I like it! It’s a big cup, a mug. I don’t have to fill it so often. I found it at the thrift store, of course. Around Christmas, as they tend to put out Christmas items during the holiday season. There’s a shelf where there are items from many seasons. I pause before it now and then. Ponder the rapid evolvement of time, which seemed to evolve so slow when I was but a child. I then pat myself on the elbow for having such Original Deep Thoughts in a Thrift Store.

Ah, so. I have my rituals. As people do. It’s part of our instincts. Part of our heritage, something handed down through the ages. Rituals, ya’ll.

I was watching a youtube this or that on Neanderthals, as you do. After watching kitten rescues, why Bigfoot is actually running the UN with a fleet of global bankers, how to make flan…I happened across where did the Neanderthals go. Yes, they were, ahem, outbred by the new wave of humans or something.

Which probably sends an actual shiver of dread through your common variety average white nationalist. As they screech about how ‘those people’ are producing far more children than white folks.

[[Tangent edited out here]]

Art, ritual and artifice. That caught my wandering attention. As it’s been supposed that Neanderthals did not have language, art, religion, etc, etc and so forth. That they just wandered about, killed animals, ate them, um…not much else. The Cro- Magnons slaughtered them! Evil laughter heard here!

No, argue the solemn scientists and tufted-haired archaeologists. As DNA says these two groups had lots of sex and then babies. Those babies survived, passed down their DNA material, which is…evolution!

Are we still allowed to even discuss evolution in ‘murica right now??? Abortion, now evolution. I must be working for Killary and the Kenyan. I must be a commie! Sputtering sounds heard as my country recycles McCarthy, then mixes that with sexism, racism, birtherism and some other isms.

Neanderthal DNA is present to this day in our genes. More in Sicilians than anyone from Africa. As that band below the ice there in Europe, which ran across modern day France, Spain, Italy, Germany, was a hotbed of territory for Neanderthals and the uppity newcomers who invaded their areas. This was a Nova program, so you can go watch it yourself. It was quite interesting. Pay no attention to how I just butchered it.

But. Art. Ritual. Artifice. That these three aspects have been present in humans since…ever. The learned sorts on that Nova hour were ecstatic at finding evidence of deliberate burial. A skeleton found in a Spanish cave, in a fetal position. With a panther paw left nearby. Deliberate versus accidental! They didn’t find the rest of the panther carcass, the bone had been cut. Ooooh. There was also pigments found in a bit of seashell, as if the Neanderthals had been painting their skin with colored substances.

Rather like people do these days with sports teams, to show who are friends, who are enemies. That tribalism, ha ha, is also granted to the Neanderthals.

They’ve found bird wing bones with scores on them, hinting that these early folks cut the feathers off, as there’s not a lot of meat on a raven wing.

What does this have to do with your damn coffee cup, lady??

Ah.

Ritual. Everything is off unless I have coffee in a certain favored cup. I have two of them. But I mostly, for now, use the cup with some factory-slapped holiday design on it. Another cup feels so strangely wrong. I cannot explain it. Rituals of comfort, I guess. That sameness I can count on in a world…DEEP THOUGHTS DEEP THOUGHTS AHEAD.

I am not doing so well. In any way. Drinking the coffee from a ‘special cup’ might be part of the numbing steps I take to just get through the day. Which is also ritual.

Adornment was mentioned in that Nova program. Decorations of the person. It was supposed Neanderthals did not wear jewelry. Or paint their faces. Or make art of any kind…except we have cave paintings and all that. All that belief and supposition, of course, was due to…gulp, prejudice based on myths and notions about people whose skin is not, well, white. Why be coy? When the Neanderthal skulls were first found, then studied, it was supposed the people they belonged to were barely above that of your basic animal. That they didn’t speak, they were primitive as all hell, they were…not white people. [Junk science based on skull size, hello.]

You’ve likely heard this for years. Being called a Neanderthal is a generic insult to this day. They are the literal cave men when people sneer about cave men being “cave men”. Brutes who drag ladies about by the hair, tee hee. Grunty sorts who grunt and fart and drink cave beer. Tee hee. 

But now we have to cast that go-to aside. I blame Millennials. Until the next group we’re all supposed to scapegoat arrives, I blame Millenials.

Neanderthals bad, brutish, cartoonish villain-like figures. They were blended, in racist stereotyping, with the ‘mud races’, of course. However, science has uncovered, a tiny bit, that Neanderthals were far more complex, technologically advanced and generally not a simple or brutish set of rascals.

They had stone tools and weapons people in this day and age can barely reproduce, if reproduce at all.  They managed to somehow glue heavy stone shaped points to sticks to form spears or arrows. What??!! The expert in all this found trying to recreate any of that next to impossible! People are smarties who can figure out stuff even way back!!?? I adore that always very innocent surprise that modern day folks express over real old-timey folks being able to do anything, let alone do stuff in complicated, sophisticated ways. It speaks of comforting beliefs handed down about ancient folks that we’ve ingrained as ‘truth’. There’s, uh, a lesson there, I think. 

New information laid over the comforting notions, making for some uneasy shifts.

I also remember reading the Auel books, where she, using the information available to her at that time, wrote her Earth’s Children series, with Ayla being the actual Aryan-like central figure who was like an Albert Einstein amidst the ape-like creatures of habit that those like Ayla called…flatheads. Uh huh. Only she seemed able to make the connection that the Cave Bear sorts were…PEOPLE TOO. Good lordy! 

If you have not read the Clan of the Cave Bear or any of the books that followed, I don’t blame you. They can be tedious as all get out, with Ayla morphing from an interesting, very flawed figure into… peerless super-genuis superwoman doctor supremis who literally discovers everything. She even domesticates animals…as if people could not figure out otherwise that including animals in their lives would be of great benefit.  As if other people were not also trying to domesticate animals! She alone invented domesticated beasties! Horses and dogs, even a cave lion…ugh a bug.

Don’t even get me started on Jondalar!! 

Okay, I won’t get into my seething frustrations with that series. Auel’s attention to detail is fabulous. There ya go.

But I have coffee in my special cup. The stars in the sky, frost shimmering on the ground. Spring waits to pounce. Rituals. Everything is a ritual around us. Deep thoughts, I tell ya. They hit you over the head with a club.

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A closing shot of the Gremlin at rest.