27
Jan
13

Zombie Winter

It was a dark and stormy night..

Treehouse Creek Side

Treehouse Creek Side

It’s been a hammering sort of winter this year.  I mean that it has been so warm that I have been able to do all of the last of the cosmetic trim & paint on the cabin.  The gent who lives down creek just retired and is finishing up his new wood working shop, and Mike who is up creek has been working on some sort of … something.   I can’t see through the trees, but the last couple of weeks there have been some ‘helpers’ trucks parked out by the road, so I don’t know if it is a big project but I am curious.

So last week I’m out working and I hear a tractor putting up from the creek and then I hear it crunching it’s way down my drive.  It happens to be Mike, he sets the brake, lets it idle and comes down to chat.

Treehouse on the west

Treehouse on the west

“Thought I’d drop in and explain at the work that’s been going on.”

“Well, yes, I am kinda curious.”

“Some folks are filming a zombie movie and we’re building a set, sort of a tree house.”

“A treehouse? Zombies?   that’s cool!”

Then he tells me a short story before he putts back up creek ..

Seems a short while back an Englishman had fallen in love with one of our Taney Co. women  (hey, it happens!) so he resides here now.  At the same time he’d made a low-budget zombie movie which either sold well on DVD or had impressed someone.  This he had parley’d into funding for an even Bigger and Better zombie flick.

Treehouse Interior

Treehouse Interior

Mike is supplying the set location for the  treehouse and gets a jacuzzi in his backyard as compensation.  A few days ago I walked over and took some pics which you see here.  The workers were in the house so I didn’t get any more info on the project.

The treehouse looked unfinished to me, but there is no reason to expect the design criteria for a set to match Swiss Family Robinson specs.  A few trees did get chopped up,  but I’ll have to wait a few months to see what Mike ends up with when the movie is done.

A couple of days ago two box vans showed up, a generator rig, and people and stuff began to clank just a few hundred feet from my place.

The production crew is from Atlanta, a hot bed of zombie flicks, and most of the ‘treehouse’ scenes were filmed after dark, which explains all the whirring and the eery light until zero dark thirty the last few nights.  After a few days after that they did some filming during the day.

Treehouse Long Shot

Treehouse Long Shot

All in all, this obscure couple miles of road have been a mecca of movie making of late, what with “Winter’s Bone” being filmed down at the old Pennington homestead in 2011.

Check IMDb for the working title “Treehouse” for future details.  No, I have yet to see a zombie, nor actor or costumery.

Bummer that.

06
Mar
11

of long away and far ago …

At first thought I’d have suspected it would be like separating the wheat from chaff, but it has not turned out that way. I started late last fall to finish the organizing (or culling) of the items of my life that I have been dragging along in boxes and containers, and reminiscing on their importance to justify keeping them around in my old age to admire during my “ending years”.

To be able to look forward to retirement years with a clean, simple, organized home front seemed a proper way to start the final phase of my life. One thing was to do the ‘necessaries’ such as a living will, and the esteemed “last will and testament” which at first glance were for me, then you conclude they are simply to make your coming demise easier for those who will remain after you. So be it ,,, I shall dot those last few I’s and cross those T’s in the next few days and get the nagging relatives back in their burrows where they belong.

So I spent the winter remembering old loves, and great times spent doing things good & bad, and such as that so that I could judge the volume of my keepsakes and build the last of the shelves and cupboards for their display. I am doing the last task today, the Sorting Of The Books. Here is where I was a few hours earlier today:

Headed to the library

These books are now sorted by author, typed into an email by author and title, stored in several boxes. I love that wonderful smell that old books acquire with age, but like all the other trinkets, and letters, and photos that I have sorted thru this winter most all of these books will be delivered to the local library in the next few days.

The reason being, that despite my bloated opinion of myself or my self-worth, none of these items are important or meaningful. Nor will they fit thru the ‘eye of the needle’ so it makes no sense to put much of anything on a shelf, so I have saved myself many days of wood working over the next few weeks. Whew!

Neither is anyone clamoring to have me explain the importance of these items and to learn from the vast wisdoms that I surely possess. Nor are the multitudes stopping by to thank me for the items I’ve left them in my will, since it is considered in bad taste to make those announcements before your death. It certainly gives a new meaning to “delayed gratification”. :)

It is not a sad thing I describe, but a simple if brutal truth, things ain’t important (mostly), and if there is any importance at all it is in the minds of people, acquaintances, friends and family and requires no room on a shelf and need not to be seen or watched to be admired.

May he go forth in the sunrise boat,
May he come to the port in the sunset boat,
May he go among the imperishable stars,
May he journey in the Boat of a Million Years.

The Book of Going Forth by Daylight
(Theban recension, ca. 18th Dynasty)

14
Feb
11

fire in the sky

Over the road


I’d called an end to the workday and had started a fire to fend off the coming chill this evening and was sipping a beer as the fire got rolling. Then I heard sort of a growl and thought I’d check the stove, as it can make noises when it’s drawing well.

After hopping the fence

I got up and then I heard a different sound, the clear burn of open propane flame and I knew a ballooner was right above the cabin. Down low on the creek it was a quickly cooling evening even though it had been 60+ just an hour or so ago. I stepped out on the back deck to scan the sky and it was apparent that my neighbor Allen Lawson was landing in the road as he was making tender pulses of burn to land rather than larger ones to make it ‘over’ the hill into Stanton, Salee or Pardo’s bottom fields.

I grabbed the camera and took the shot above then went out to see if this was going to be a ‘quality’ set down or a mess since the road is about as wide as a balloon and there is new barbed wire fencing there which cannot be good against the light fabric. He is a good flier, and the wind is dead, so when I get to the road I watch him drop on the wrong side of the fence and with the help if his ground crew, he burns & hops over the fence like a deer and drops the whole kit smack on the safe side of the road.

Packing Up - Sis & Steve

Course by then, even as sparse as people are out in the middle of the Mark Twain forest are, we got a block party going. Sis has ventured out from down the road, her husband arrives home from work, and Mike and his wife have also arrived. We all help bag the chute and Allen books a demo at the high school next week, then we all go home dinner.

Now, with a crowd there Allen cannot help but mentioning the “incident” last year where I had to ride bitch on his KTM ’cause I had poured ancient gas in the Beemer for a test ride and it had crapped out down at the bridge. Thanks Allen :) no need to let a good story die a quiet death.

That’s how we roll down here. It was a good and adventurous day, and a very lovely and talented lady got recognized by very few by winning a Grammy for the best new artist. Ms. Esperanza Spalding

Allen, wife and daughter :)

30
Jan
11

the fate of marban

“Crack”

A sound that was gone before the mind could register it.
A short singular tone.
Missing the attack or delay of a bell or piano string.
No overtones.
A photon of sound.

marban tea cup


Then a dribble onto the counter top, showing a feint color of traditional English Breakfast tea. Coming from a break that has been there for almost 12 years, an old and friendly scar to me. It is no longer a surface break, the dribbles attest to its final maturity.

I reach for the Mark Twain cup and press it into service, swapping steeping tea and moving the seine full of tea to finish. Three minutes for proper tea is time to consider the future for the marban.

I am now a decider of fate. Power in my hands. I am like a god, to decide the future if one will be. Yet, I’ll miss all those cracks in the glaze. I’ve watched them grow over the years and appreciate the ‘character’ that emerged. Old age approaching in contrast to the modern graphic used by the mysterious marban. Located somewhere in Korea the bottom of it claims.

I can’t demote the soapstone pencil holder on the writing desk. That holder of pencils was designed for holding pencils, purchased to hold my pencils, still holds my pencils …. you don’t abandon such long term commitments. Yet I have to give up old marban and that was certainly long term, and satisfying, each time a properly hot tea. Some consistency is good.

No you can’t see the death crack, it’s on the back side, no need to glorify it or frighten the children. Nor will examining it resolve the issue of “what happens to marban now?” or how I will finally wield the power of my decision.

“Horns of a Dilemma?”, no, I don’t think that leaking elevates it to that plane.

“Situational Ethics?”, no, that involves deciding that making a decision that you know is wrong, but not wrong since considering the circumstances you’ve decided that you think it is justified to do the wrong thing.

No need to make being the god of marban fate that complex.

Perhaps it could hold pencils in the shop.

It is just a cup.

26
Jan
11

Waiting for godot? or valentine smith?

One day I stumbled into owning a motorcycle. I loved the bike but it was no fun on longer rides and it went too fast too quickly. Sensing death I sold it and bought my current ride. The clouds of impending death parted, the sun shined thru and I thought a motorcycle vacation would the thing to do.

..what? ..

Traveling on a bike is usually a solitary experience rather than with a troop of scouts or family, or a troupe of musicians in a van. It would be similar to a solo canoe trip in terms of serenity but with occasional exposure to the irrationality of people.

None of this is of importance to anyone, but … I made the not unusual mistake of opening my mouth one day amongst a group of riders and in no short amount of time someone had begun blogging about “The Rufus Method” as though it were the spiritual equivalent of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. All well and good as far as I’m concerned, but it’s obvious this blog is a series of posts that must build thru a crescendo of tension with a final and climactic ending. Thusly the posts did build intensity to a soft forte, third movement, and then, and then …

nothing

That’s right, nada, zip, zilch. So an attendant readership is forced to (metaphorically) zip their gumpy back in their pants and go home. Sheesh :)

Obviously, reports of Blogger Death are later found out to be exaggerated, the wheel of life still turns around, and things are as they are, so at some point in time the aborted subject will be completed in fantasticus fashion.

Anyway, I did take that vacation. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is major fun especially for a musician. I quickly developed some simple rules, not because they are GOOD RULES, but because they are good for me. No need to chisel these damned things into stones or debate them with burning bushes.

1. When I returned from that first trip I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. That was not supposed to be the result. I’ve finished many a long evening playing drums, and although tired I was not beat to death, there was a renewal of spirit. I have never again gone on “vacation’.

2. I am a bad tourist. I mean to do or to see something just to say you saw it seems kinda superficial in its intent. Other than that it’s like I have ADD or something. I can be bored in 10 minutes, easily. Don’t get me wrong, I do touristy things, but I have no idea when the mood will strike, so to plan for stuff is a waste of my time.

3. I generally dislike restaurants. I hate when the waiteress comes over 6 times to ask “Is Everything OK???”. I don’t like air conditioning so I LOVE eating outside, that’s one reason I like Mexico. I’ve been known to spend an hour searching out that hole in the wall place where locals eat.

4. Don’t look for adventure, it’s just like hookers, which are everywhere. I’ve never been anywhere you couldn’t stumble across a hooker :) Same with adventure, or unexpected totally cool stuff. Like my second trip to our south coast. I skipped NOLA and stayed east of Ponchartrain and rolled into Pass Christian and asked about motel rooms; “Downtown is probably full up.” I found a room at a small place next door to the swank hotel. Next day I’m holding down the beach with a mega-Long Island Iced Tea soaking sun and sea breeze. The beach fills with babes in bikinis doing all sort of cute babe things, there’s even a few guys out there taking photos. Hmmm. The hotel next door is hosting the Miss America contest. You can work out the details from there.

5. Something is alive.

The weekend before my first trip I loaded up the bike with all my travel gear for a test ride. I went 30-40 miles and pulled into to the same Quick-Trip I always stopped at for the customary coffee and Dolly Madison powdered donuts. I caught a smile and then a nod from folks walking in and out from the pumps while I checked my travel bags. I went inside, got my stuff, and the clerk says “Where ya headed?”. I look up and “Memphis, to visit my brother” jumps out of my mouth.

“I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s a fun place” he says. I smile in response and add “It’s ok, but I always enjoy the scenery and people around here when I go thru”. He smiles and hands me my change, we trade ‘have a nice day’ and I go outside to enjoy the road food. There are more smiles and parking lot conversation with the patrons. I light a smoke while I have a nice chat with Rod Serling.

He explains what has transpired; something about the Cowboy Mystique .. riding off into the sunset and how it brings out a something in other people – a hope? an aspiration? a simple joy of the moment? “It could be many things, unique to each individual, but a common thread that sews us all together.” he says.

I rode home.

18
Jan
11

Liz & Li’l Jimy – adventure girls

Their mother just grins like the Cheshire Cat any time I mention their activities, but both of the girls are a spitting image of her, so it should come as no surprise that I am the odd one out. They are the beauty of my life, her two children, they wouldn’t harm a fly, and can charm an Eskimo into buying ice cubes.

Liz was the firstborn and probably a typical baby up ’til about age two. By then she was ramblin’ around on both feet and talking like a Maine sailor. Then Li’l Jimy came along and I had three redheads to care about. I shouldn’t have worried though ’cause if Jimy wasn’t asleep or at mom’s breast, Liz was there to nurture her. She taught her how to talk, how to behave at tea, and how to act in any situation. By then Liz was a first-order princess of the highest, proper of demeanor, smarter than any audience, and a damned snappy dresser.

Li’l Jimy followed Liz around like my old pet duck for the first year, crawlin’ and squawkin’ as hard as she could to keep up, but it wasn’t long before she found her feet and and her voice. Since then those two have been joined ‘at the hip’, although by now Li’l Jimy always seems to be a step ahead of Liz. They run the local fields and woods, know all the farmers and have a fondness for Jenkins and his goats.

Liz with Li'l Jimy at the controls in Sequatchie, TN

They ignore the divide between boys and girls.. if anything can be done that means they can do it. They’ve been helping me in the shop for years and can take anything apart and put it back together. They could both read, write and do numbers before they started school. ‘Course we’ve taken them to the library in town two times a week for years so I suspect they’ve read their way through it as well as the encyclopedia we have at home.

Age 10 & 8 today, they are scary-smart and more capable of things than even I can imagine. I don’t worry about them per se but they are beginning to shock adults that don’t know them.

Like last weekend when the three of them went over into Sequatchie, Tennessee with the Everett family to watch them race motorcycles. They had a great time and are making plans to do it again this summer.

After they got back and the girls were asleep, Jane showed me a picture one of the spectators had taken.

She said “You know how Li’l Jimy is always one step ahead?” then she just grinned like that Cheshire Cat. :)

I knew they wouldn’t be content to be spectators !

08
Jan
11

of mark twain and moon crickets

Dear Mr. Mencken,

Your letter concerning yesterdays BAITA* get-together arrived in the morning post, and I much appreciate your catching me up on those proceedings. I had prior engagements so I sadly could not attend. Mr. Clemens also dropped in this afternoon for a bit of coffee & cobbler talk, and we both delighted in your written comments and rapier wit.

Mark Twain - 1909 photo

Having an authors’ book (or comments) placed on the ‘banned’ list is a great distinction, plus it assures that the book is constantly mentioned even if it’s read less often. We all know how much work it takes an author to craft and sharpen each word, and sentence, and paragraph of a book before he submits it to the lancet of the editor/publisher. But to endure that and finally reach publication, then acclaim of the masses, and then have those actual words further impaled and changed by a so called “editor and Mark Twain scholar” Dr. Alan Gibbons, well Mr. Clemens is feeling quite esteemed over the full issue.

Eulogized at his death for “not having written a book that any father cannot read to his daughter”, Mr. Clemens is delighted to watch Dr. Gibbons attempt to whitewash [pun intended] the classic tale to make it palatable for modern youth, or at least those youth whose minds have been twisted by those of Dr. Gibbons ilk.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that you read the ‘EXPLANATORY’ from the Huck Finn into your minutes, since the book is primarily a work of dialect and the word ‘nigger’ was central to many of its themes, bein’ as the word negro is spelled differently depending on how you talked in your section of the country.  No need to quote it all in this letter but;

“In this book a number of dialects are used to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; ….. The shadings have not been done in hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. THE AUTHOR”

Again, thanks for sending the notes, it made for a charming afternoon. I do worry about this modern society and their odd way of thinking. I wonder what other Orwellian misadventures will be be perpetrated? And what if this thinking is extended onto the art world? How will they defend something such as this?

by Marcel Duchamp 1919

Sincerely,
Barney (BCM) Farthing

* Banned Authors In The Afterlife




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