"Insanity doesn't run in my family.... It practically gallops!" - Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944)
Venting an overflow of dsyfunctionality inspired by the Boy (aka my son) declaring "I really don't care... Blog it."


For Your Viewing Pleasure...

The Boy trys to block my view... focus my attention elsewhere... physically steer me away, but I'm drawn to that huge bin of low priced videos at the store.  Yep... That's me pawing through multiple copies of "Twins", flipping past the "George of the Jungle", frantic to see what's under that copy of "Speed" always searching for that one gem that always hidden somewhere in there.  I know it's there... I have faith it's there.

For years now, Yours Truly has been on a video treasure hunt.  It all started back when I realized how many wonderful movies that The Boy would miss out on if I didn't take matters into hand and expand his viewing horizon.  He wasn't very appreciative at first... You should have heard the whinning..."It's black and white!  I can't believe you're making me watch this old thing!"  I finally got him to agree to watch the first 10 minutes of Jimmy Stewart in "Harvey"... and he was hooked.  Of course, who wouldn't fall for an invisible, 6 foot tall rabbit hanging out with a family almost as odd as our own.

Slowly we've crossed movies off the master list...  from the oldies to more modern fare.  We've run the gamut in a noble quest... for I truely believe that our youth should be exposed to more then just the latest fad.  Call it my version of a classic education, be it movies, books, or music.

I'll never forget dragging The Boy to see "Lord of the Rings" when it first came out.  "Just consider it my Mother's Day present... dinner and a movie."  The Boy watched wide-eyed as the tale unfolded... leaping onto his knees in the seat to loom over me when the credits began rolling... "It can't end there!!  What happens next!!"  That evening we dug out my old, dog-earred copy of the second book in the trilogy, "The Two Towers" and he took up the quest anew... struggling a bit over the vocabulary, but enjoying the tale all the more for the effort. 

To that end, I'd like to share a list of my top ten, must-see movies.  Yours Truly and The Boy agonized over which of our favorites to include.  I was shot down on "Breakfest at Tiffany's" and used my veto power for his suggestion of the movie version of "Rent".  Let us know how the following matches up to your top ten.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" 
"Cool Hand Luke"   
"The Godfather"                                               
"Arscenic and Old Lace"  
"Star Wars" (Originals only, please!)                    
"2001 - A Space Odessey"
"Schindler's List"
"What Dreams May Come"
"Lord of the Rings"
"It's a Wonderful Life"


Mullet Season Approaches!

Ahhh, Spring!  Time for flowers, baseball, and mullets!  Ah yes... As the Mullets start emerging to enjoy the Spring weather, it's almost time for our annual Spring Mullet Hunt!  This is a new tradition that started with a few friends at work and now includes a growing circle of enthusiasts in our area.  Last year I came in second place, beat by less then 10 points.  I'm a hunter on a mission this year!

Billy Ray Cyrus' well-known Mullet
Never heard of a Mullet Hunt!?!  Well, of course, you're familiar with the mullet itself aren't you?  That long-flowing mane so popular in the states back in the 80's.... "Business in the front... Party in the back!"  It's still to be found today sprouting up around beer taps, racetracks and Walmarts everywhere!  If you are quiet and approach stealthily, you can snap a photo of these oddities in their natural habitat.  Hence the Mullet Hunt was born!

Our hunters must follow some basic rules.  First and foremost, no hunting at your workplace.  I don't know about you, but we know where all the Mullets at work hang out making this very unsporting indeed.  Also, HR might frown upon it, so.... Mullets must be hunted in the wild.  Check your neighborhood Walmart, the line for lottery tickets or any party involving a keg... They seem to be drawn to them.

Second, no photos where the Mullet is covered by hat or scarf.  You may have witnessed the full glory of the Mullet, but the judges have to be fair here.  It's hard to determine whether it's truely a mullet or just a bad hair day going on under there.

Third, all photo must be taken on your cell phone's camera.  Use of telephoto lens would be unsporting as well.  You must get up close and personal with your prey.  This may be checked upon request by producing the cell phone with photos in situ should anyone doubt the varacity of the Hunter.

Fourth, all photos are judged by a point system based on angle of view with extra points given according to a list provided.  By our agreed upon point system, the Holy Grail of Mullet Hunters would be a group-shot of Mullets, all facing the camera with an old pickup, beer can(s) and the Mullet Hunter themself clearly visible in the photo touching one of the Mullets.

I'm at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to getting shots with myself in the photo as The Boy refuses to assist in the hunt.  I have been known to hand friends my cell though to get that perfect plumage pic.  One friend had a great idea that I may try out during the upcoming hunting season.  She suggested carrying around a fake scavenger hunt list with one item listed being "Photo of yourself with a man with long hair".  Might have to change the wording a bit, but it could work.  I'm thinking of making it a birthday scavenger hunt and adding "holding a Happy Birthday sign" to the item.  Then I can see how many pics I can get with Mullets holding a sign saying Happy Birthday to one of the judges.  Bet I can garner a few extra style points for that one!

Happy Hunting!


DC in the Springtime

Even though we've been back home from vacation for over a week, I can still close my eyes and smell cherry blossoms!  The Boy and The GF were anxious to see the National Zoo, so I ventured out solo for a contemplative stroll amongest the trees along the tidal basin.  It was still early in the day and, while many were out, most were observing this Springtime rite with a kind of quiet reverence and consideration for others, as evidenced by those that paused to allow photographers to complete their shots before passing.

A group of monks clad in brilliant orange were capturing closeups of blossoms and a few shots of each other against the soft pink of the blooms to show those back home.  Further along, an artist has set up her easel to capture Jefferson's profile with a floral foreground.  Several people stop to watch her deftly stroke the painting to life.  One young man rotates through three different cameras trying to capture the view from a precarious slope for everyone in his group.  A young couple capture an angelic photo of their baby girl against a cloud of petals.  Ducks and paddleboats float lazily through it all. 

After strolling around all morning, stretching out on the grass in the shadow cast by the Washington Memorial for a few minutes was heavenly.  A few kids were flying colorfull kites nearby providing some entertainment while I caught my breath before visiting the Reflecting Pool and the War Memorials. 

I've always found the Vietnam Memorial a very powerful, emotional tribute... but I was impressed by my first visit to the Korean War Memorial this trip as well.  Statues of a patrolling troop make their way through the grass reflecting against a dark wall etched with images of their breathern.  The artist captures the determination and fear on the faces of the soldiers in a way that will move you.

Yours Truely has always been a sucker for photography... and I happily snapped pic after pic from all angles searching to capture that perfect iconic image.  I was able to cull it down to slightly over 200 of the best pics to share with you.  You'll find images from the Smithsonian's exhibits, Memorials, Monuments.... and Cherry Blossoms galore!  Just wish I'd snapped a pic of the fellow practicing Tai Chi on the moving Metro car while holding a couple of donut boxes... Definately a novel exercise program, but I don't think it will catch on.  Enjoy the show and let me know what you think!


Hanging at the Hilltop Hostel

The Boy, his girlfriend (aka The GF), and Yours Truly fled the state this past week for some long overdue downtime. We hit the road to Washington DC… home of monuments, museums, memorials, and the Cherry Blossom Festival. I considered seeing if The Boy would like to try his hand at interstate driving, but was dissuaded from the idea by the three car wreck in my rearview at just that moment. Nothing like hearing a “whoompf” and seeing bumpers flying in the air to wake you up in the morning! We were stopped for another wreck at the time, but luckily had just enough room to pull up and avoid being the fourth car in the stack. At least we got our close call for the week over early!

After a long (9 hr) drive, we arrived at the Hilltop Hostel in Tacoma just outside DC. Our first hostel experience was definitely a fun one! The hostel is in an older, three-story house with tons of character. We were given a brief tour of the facilities, sheets for our beds and shown to our rooms. When I first made our reservations they were for just The Boy and myself, so I’d booked us into a private 2-person room. Since The GF was joining us, we’d kicked The Boy out into one of the co-ed dorm rooms.  If you can handle walking up stairs to your room, bunk beds, and a relaxed college dorm like atmosphere complete with classic rock playing from the speakers, you'll love this place!  The Boy and The GF especially enjoyed the game room downstairs where it's a tradition for guests to write or draw on the walls. 

Menus, souvenirs and thank yous
from guests festoon the wall
Over the course of the week, we hung out with fellow travellers from all over the globe... kinda a surreal extended family feel to it in a way.  There was the Japanese historian in town to explore documents at the National Archives for his next book in a spirited conversation with the out-of-work mason from the midwest about role of oil resources on World War II.  Over here we have two groups from the UK, both traveling around the US but in different directions, comparing notes on various cities' hostels and social scenes.  The young man from Germany here for an internship shared his bottle of wine with myself and a couple of the staff. The au pair who was going back to Sweden in a couple of weeks talked about how she'd miss the family she'd been with the last two years, but was looking forward to going to university on her return. 

One visitor was there from my hometown looking at apartments as she had accepted a job in DC and another was in town for an interview.  There was the young man from Korea that watched "Gran Torino" with me one evening, laughing at the interplay between Clint Eastwood and the Hmong grandma.  A couple of girls from China laughing with a staff member in the dining room and the mother of one of the staff shared memories of her life with me on the back porch one sunny evening. 

The last morning at the hostel I was debating on getting up, listening to the early risers moving around when I heard the shower in the bathroom next door to us turn on.  Suddenly the air was filled with exuberant, full-throated song!  I'm still not sure what language it was in, though it sounded slightly middle-Eastern.  The GF and I both started giggling as we gave up on sleeping in. 

Easter decorations were starting to spring up all over the hostel by the time we left.  "Leaving so soon?  Awww, you're going to miss the Easter Egg Hunt!"  Next time I'll have to stay longer obviously... and there will be a next time. 

Next Post:  DC in Springtime

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