Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Rambles

Last week was kind of rough, post-chemo.  Lots of nausea.  Little appetite.  Mucho fatigue.  I didn't work at all after the infusion.  I did try, but I either got out-voted by Keith or I showed up and got sent home.  I owe my sub big time for all of this.

I'm really excited to be out of the cycle of chemo--drag bricks for three weeks--more chemo!  I'm still dragging, but it's nice to know that will definitely be coming to an end.  I'm making plans to celebrate.  Don't know how for sure, but there will be thrifting and eating and bike riding involved.  It won't start until I am able to do all of those things again, but it will probably go on for a while after that.  Chemo went on for six months, so I figure celebrating the end of chemo should go on for a while to.  I got a lot of regularity to get back to, you know.

Since I was pretty much out of it all last week, I don't have much to ramble about this morning.  I did get out to some sales on Saturday.  It was a cool, rainy day, so we didn't go to many, but that was probably just my speed.  I did find some nice things, so I'll do a post about that this week.

This week may be kind of weird.  I have a ton of catching up to do, so I don't know how that's going to go.  We'll see.  I know I have to get to the booths.  They've been pretty busy these past few days.  Not enough to make up for the mid-month lull, but a welcome pick-up anyway.  I'll let you all know how things go next Monday.

Day by Days:  For the record, I wasn't able to catch up with the show until the weekend.  Last week started so well, then fizzled. There just should have been more play for Sami's arrest and less of the other stuff.  Up until Wednesday, everything was firing, but after that we got back to the woes of Dan and Jen and everything stalled.  There were a lot of good moments in the Sami story, including lots of Marlena (who of course disappeared by the end of the week--arrgh!).  I just wanted lots more, especially a Justin/Adrienne confrontation and a Sonny/Adrienne blow-up.  Everything else could have been pushed until the beginning of this week, for real.

In the meantime, to make up for the lack of content today, please enjoy this video of a young girl taking her llama to the dentist.



Sesame Street was really wacky back in the day, huh?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blame This One on Keith

So, the other day, we were pulling up in front of the house when, out of the blue, Keith starts singing:  "Baby cried the day the circus came to town."  Then he stops and says "I don't know why I did that.  I don't even know what song that is."

Well, of course, not only do I know the song, I also know all the words, so I burst out into the first verse, making Keith regret he ever started the whole thing to begin with.  There are times when he gives me this "I can't believe I know you" look.  This turned into one of those times.

As soon as we got inside, I hit the computer. First I had to find it on YouTube, to make sure I remembered all the words correctly, which I did.  Then I had to go to Wikipedia to see whatever had happened to the singer, Melissa Manchester. 

You can look all those details up yourself, but here is the best video I found, with the warning that it features a Muppet on a high wire and some creepy clowns. 



I think the real story is that Baby was trying to get away from those creepy-ass clowns.  That's how she found herself on that high wire.  I'd cry too if I saw those suckers in a parade, or anywhere else.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Junking Memories: End of an Era?

Last week, I talked about a barn sale for a thrift that apparently has closed.  I say "apparently" because no formal announcement has been made, but the store web page says "closed until further notice."  The fact that they have cleared out their storage garage so that it can be torn down kind of lends a little more credence to the "closed" idea.

I'm kind of bummed about it.  Losing a thrift is always sad, even though this one, of late, has been pretty low on my list.  It wasn't always that way, but more on that in a minute.  I think Louisville is pretty thrift-poor for a large city.  We mainly have only the "name brands"--Goodwill and the like.  We have none of those little church-run thrifts staffed by little old ladies who mark things for fifty cents.  Heck, we're even poor in the "name brand" department.  Salvation Army closed its stores here a couple of years ago.

When this thrift first opened, it kind of filled that need for a little church-run thrift.  It's connected with a Catholic children's home, and in the old days was run by a couple of nuns and a bunch of volunteers, most of whom were older folks.  They had several rooms in three different buildings that were just crammed with all kinds of donations.  It was like they took anything that was offered to them.  It was a wonderful jumble of all kinds of stuff.  You could literally find anything there.

Mostly, the stuff wasn't priced.  You'd gather your armload and sister or one of the volunteers would price it, usually for a dollar or less.  They had this awesome section of religious articles that I would beeline for and load up!  I wasn't selling in those days just hoarding collecting, but it was a dream.  Room after room of fascinating awesomeness.  Cheap awesomeness.  To say that I loved it would be an understatement.

The one problem with the place was the hours.  It was only open Monday and Thursday mornings, along with one Saturday morning a month.  It really made hitting the place rather difficult.

Slowly but surely, the place started to change.  First they moved the bulk of it into one small house.  Then, it started to become less and less cluttered.  Then, the price tags started appearing.  By this time,  I was selling.  The prices weren't bad.  It was just a shock to see them.

Somewhere along this time, they hired a manager or some kind of staff person.  They got moved into a smaller place.  There was less selection.  They adopted regular hours.  Prices went up.  Ironically, as it became more accessible, everything about the place that made it unique and worth going to kind of dropped away.  I used to try to get there every chance I could make my schedule work.  By the end, I was hardly going at all.

I know that some other stuff happened.  There was a fire that closed it down for a while, but it opened back up.  Now, I just don't know what they are going to do with it.  It's kind of sad.  Even if it does reopen, it'll never be the way it was in the beginning.  I'll definitely miss what it used to be.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day Dreams: What I Wish Would Happen to Days of Our Lives


 Any soap fan worth his salt has a wish list of fantasies for his show.  Here to wrap up my look at Days of Our Lives, is mine.



Meaty story for Maggie and Victor.  They are only like the best pair in town, but they just support everyone else's plots these days.  What fun it would be to see them stirring the pot on their own again.  Maggie's illness could come back.  Or Victor could be ill.  What if Maggie expanded her restaurant to a chain and all-of-a-sudden had less time for Victor?  What if some business rival of Victor's set his sights on Maggie as well?  The possibilities are out there.  Some clever writer just needs to find them.

More action for Lucas.  I promise not to turn this into just demands for more stories for under-utilized characters, but Lucas has stood in Sami's shadow for years and his mother's for even longer!  What will it take to get the dude a righteous story of his own, particularly with a new love interest.  Wouldn't it be wild if Daniel, whom Lucas cannot stand, has a sister, whom Lucas falls hard for?

Marlena!  Just one more, I promise.  Look, the lady is the linchpin of the town, and she's offscreen for weeks at a time.  This simply will not do.  Play on her career or something!  What if Marlena started counseling a severely disturbed individual who turned out to be responsible for many unsolved murders over the years?  What if she fell for him?

Beef up the Hortons!  Bring back Mike and Jeremy.  Recast both, if needed.  And Nathan.  What about Bill?  Wouldn't that put a new spin in Kate's orbit?  I've always felt that he was her one, true love. Nick needs his mother and grandmother right now, even a short-term return would be welcome on that front.  This is Salem's first family we're talking about, after all.  Do Doug and Julie even live in Salem any more?

And the Bradys!  Shawn and Belle, anyone?  Seriously, Jason Cook and Martha Madison are available and they were the best S/B combo, in my opinion.  Bringing in Kim's daughter Teresa was a nice start.  A cousin from Ireland?  Bring back Frankie as a law partner for Justin, and then spin a Jennifer-Daniel-Frankie triangle out of it.  Hell, throw Julie Pinson's Billie into the mix and make it a quadrangle.  Wasn't Daniel originally supposed to be a love interest for Billie?  Yeah, I know he dated her daughter, but this is a soap, people.  He's also been with her mother.

It's time for Abe to move on.  Imagine a nice, high-profile casting as a new romance for the old police commander.  Wouldn't be nice to see him slowly coming out of his shell and learning to love again?  Not to mention, Theo learning to cope with the situation?  James Reynolds could so do that story justice.  It's been so good to see him in a larger police role lately.  Now it's time for a real story.

More romance.  The overall problem with every soap these days is a lack of romance.  There seems to be plenty of time for corporate intrigue, crime waves, and strange adventures, but romance?  The last romantic montage on Days was weeks ago.  The only really happy couple on the show right now is Will and Sonny.  Jennifer and Daniel went right from Chloe drama to JJ drama, with no break to be happy.  We never see Maggie and Victor in a scene together.  John and Marlena are circling the drain.  Hell, Hope is trying to carry on a marriage with someone who isn't even on the damn show any more!  I'd love to see one whole show where everyone went on a date and nothing awful happened to anyone. 

How about a location shoot?  I know the budget is tight, but I'm not talking Antigua, here.  How about a shoot at a beach in LA instead?  Use a local spot and call it somewhere else.  I don't care.  I'd just love to see the show go out of doors for a change.  Of course, a big trip would not be unwelcome...


A big, splashy wedding for Will and Sonny.  A boy can dream, can't he?  C'mon!  Two legacy characters in a sensitive, realistic gay romance?  I want tuxes and wedding marches!  Pronto!

Sami and Rafe reuniting.  Every fan has their favorite pairings.  This is one of mine.  Rafe is not my preferred mate for Sami.  That would be Lucas, but even I can see that there is too much water under the bridge for this one, even if both characters do sizzle together more than any of the other possible Sami pairings.  If I can't have my real preference, I'll settle for Rafe.  I hate Rafe as a character, but I love him with Sami.  Alone he's dull.  Together, they click.  He brings out a side of Sami that I like--lighter, less intense.  She becomes someone who can learn from her mistakes, even if she'll repeat them again in time.  He softens her edges just enough for her to actually exist in polite society, and I like that.

Clearing up the Bo Story.  If there is one item on this list I would love to see happen above all others, it would be this one.  Peter Reckell has been gone for months.  Hope has gone from pretending that he is in the other room to having one way phone conversations.  Kill him off.  Kidnap him.  Recast him.  I don't care.  Just do something.  This is ridiculous!

I could probably go on some more, but that's enough fan entitlement for this soap nerd.  What do you all wish would happen?




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CHEMO SCOREBOARD

Six down!

That's my "They finally stopped poking me!" face.


And this is the LAST ONE!


Oh my gosh, but it was an ordeal yesterday!  No one could find a vein.  The vein finding machine couldn't find a vein.  I got stuck four times before they landed in a usable vein.  Now, I know I have veins, because you kind of need those suckers to carry blood, right?  But no one could find any veins in me!  I guess I'll be safe around vampires.

My war wounds.



But that didn't stop them from trying.  They poked.  They prodded.  They twisted those needles around and said "It's got to be here somewhere!" All the while, I'm just dying, because that digging and twisting shit hurts, you know?  I was seriously about one needle poke away from saying "screw it" and going home, when they finally got one that worked.  Sheesh!  Even one of the nurses in the cancer center made a comment about all my little wads of gauze when I was leaving.

Now, I have to get a scan in three weeks and have a follow up with the docs in four.  All signs are good, but the scan will tell the story.  After that, it's visits every three months for the next three years.

I think I have to put up with the bricks for about 90 more days or so, before everything filters out of my system.  That should still give me at least a couple of months of good bike riding weather.  I can't wait!

Now, you'll have to excuse me.  I need to lay down some more before I go get my shot today.  They gave me my chemo graduation certificate yesterday, but technically I still have to go back every day this week for my shots.



 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Days of Our Lives: What Went Wrong


 Bear in mind, as always, that this is one long-time soap fan's opinions on things.

For me, Days of Our Lives went off the rails in 2005-2006, when James E Reilly was brought back in as head writer.  Reilly could write a big, splashy story (Marlena is a serial killer!) but crafting a soap takes more than big, splashy stories.  His outrageous plots drug on forever, often without any form of adequate resolution.  He islanded characters in their stories.  He brought back Carrie and Austin only to stage a repeat of the whole Carrie-Sami-Lucas-Austin stories of the 90's.  Weeks of episodes went by without anything significant happening.  Worst of all, on a show known for its solid, romantic couplings, he split characters up for no reason whatsoever.

It was a dismal time to be a Days fan, let me tell you.  I started watching One Life to Live and All My Children just so I could see soaps that actually looked and acted like soaps are supposed to.  Considering the disgust that some AMC fans have for this period in the show's history, it says a lot that I found it better than Days during that time.

When they finally booted Reilly, I was cautiously optimistic, especially since his replacement was Hogan Sheffer, who had done some very good things for As the World Turns.  At first, it seemed like things were going well.  Leftover plots got quickly wrapped up, and promising new stories started.  The show started focusing on the Brady-DiMera feud, always a good source of story.  They even did some really daring things, like killing John (a move that I heartily approved), then bringing him back (a move I wasn't too wild about), then making him Stefano's brother (a move that has never been adequately explored).

A lot of good stuff happened during this run, but somehow, overall, the show felt off.  Something was missing.  It wasn't quite Days.  Maybe the show needed longer to get back on its feet.  Maybe Sheffer had too many constraints put on him.  Maybe Days wasn't his bag.  We'll never know, because he was out.  Then John and Marlena were out, and the show got really weak.

This was a time of heavy budget constraints for the show, so story was built around what I considered to be B-level characters for the most part.  Sami still had active story, but otherwise, it was Molly, Stephanie, and Chloe day in and day out.  For the most part it was really dull.

When it wasn't dull, it was incomprehensible.  Chloe is engaged to Lucas, but has a quickie with Daniel and falls in love.  She marries Lucas anyway, but runs around on him all over town, something he doesn't seem to notice.  Kate finds out and plots to kill Chloe.  Plan fails and Kate marries Stefano to avoid jail, despite the fact that Stefano had Phillip shot.  Need I go on?

The only high point of this time was the Maggie-Victor romance.  In fact, both characters were busier than they had been in years.  As a Maggie fan, I loved that part.  Most of the rest, not so much.  Several unnecessary returns came next.  I really could have gone years without ever seeing Vivian or Carly again.  Seriously.  Bo and Hope broke up.  (What?)  Kate turned Chloe into a prostitute.  (What?)  The show was hurting. Bad.  I began to think the ghost of James Reilly was walking the halls.

So, the show decided to do a "reboot" complete with a big, splashy new set and lots of returns.  Some of it was good.  The Horton Square is versatile and quite nice, giving the show a needed visual boost.  Marlena and John were certainly a welcome return.  Will finally came out.  And Lucas came back to town.  That's about the extent of it, however.

Honestly, so many of the choices they made were baffling.  Bringing back Patrick Muldoon and Lisa Rinna?  Really?  Turning both Gabi and Abby into man-crazy stalkers?  I'm still trying to make sense of the whole Rafe and Carrie thing.  For me, the train wreck moments pretty much overshadowed the high points.  It's a good thing it was over so quickly.

And that leads us to the present, and a show that is slowly but surely rebuilding itself.  There's a new writing team that seems to have a handle on what it's doing.  I'm feeling better about the show than I have for a long time.   Judging from the show's recent Emmy wins, I'm not the only one that thinks so.  Here's to better Days ahead!



Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Rambles

Last week was not a good one on most fronts.  I wore myself out so bad on our road trip and didn't have enough time to bounce back.  Damn chemo.  I started off with a deficit on Monday and it just got worse throughout the week.  By Tuesday, I was cranky.  By Wednesday, I was whining.  Toss in some intermittent diarrhea problems and I was not a pleasant person to be around.  I think I moved from dragging the bricks around to actually wearing clothes made out of the damn things.  I had no energy whatsoever.

To make matters worse, it was the week of a major shift at work, and that took a lot out of me as well.  I hadn't been working any nights since the end of May, and my two nights a week returned.  I was just not ready for any of it.  I still highly doubt that I actually accomplished anything for anyone last week.  Sigh!

We had an awful heat wave all week, which killed my good sales month on the vine.  All I needed on Sunday was one good day to make the rent.  I didn't get it.  Now, I'm sitting at the tail end of the month again, fretting the booth rent. 

I did see something interesting:


That would be a city bus on a tow truck.  I'd never seen that before, even though I'm sure that other Louisville buses have broken down before.  The building across from where I work is the bus garage and I was stepping out to get a bite to eat when  I saw this one being towed in.

Wednesday, I went to the dermatologist.  I've got a mole on my back that we are watching.  They might end up removing it, but they want to give me a chance to bounce back from the chemo first.  In the meantime, we're gonna keep tabs on it.

Their office is in one of the few old houses left in downtown.  It was the childhood home of Louis Brandeis. The doctor's office purchased the building in the 80's, which is obvious from the way it was decorated.  This is the bathroom:


Let's take another look at that:


Yeesh!  Kinda gives you vertigo when you go to pee.

Day by Days:  Last week was really good on Days.  First off, we got Brady in the buff.


Then we got lots of Marlena scenes--with Will, with Sami, even with EJ.  Good stuff there.  We need Marlena every day.  Seriously.

Best line of the week:  "I'm acting like my mom again!"
I am consistently amazed by Eileen Davidson's ability to take Kristen from pitiable to psycho with just a couple of beats.  I love the way this story is going, as Brady is trying to reach out to her, but she is so wrapped up in her drive for revenge that she doesn't see it.  She's going to end up alone again, and it will be her own fault.

Adrienne knows she has the video!  Yay!  Can't wait to see what she will do.  Those were good scenes with Sami.  I still hate JJ, but he plays his mom like a fiddle and is so smooth about it.  Even young Sami wasn't that polished.  I hate that all of Ciara's problems seem to have gone away and now she's a model child again.  Everything is set up for this week to blow up, so I'll definitely be watching!

Tomorrow is the last chemo day.  I have the usual dread going in, but it's mixed with the anticipation of knowing this is almost freaking over!  I guess they'll be scheduling me for a scan soon.

Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes on the engagement.  I was really touched by all your enthusiasm.  It's kind of odd, since we've been together for so long, but I get kind of giggly and goofy grinny when I tell people about it.  I really wasn't trying to be sneaky by putting that little bit of news at the end of the road trip post.  I was just trying to report things in the order they happened.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Linking Around

I kind of enjoyed doing a little link around post recently, so I thought I'd do another one.

Since I lost my own blogroll by accident a couple of years ago, I've been dragging my feet on recreating it.  The blog desperately needs a makeover, but it's hard enough to maintain the blogging momentum when it's just about writing posts.  Adding blog design into the mix just doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon.

I have been spending time exploring blogrolls on other blogs, however.  That's led me to a couple of similar-themed blogs, which I enjoy and think are worth checking out.  Gorillas Don't Blog (which is also my new favorite blog title) is dedicated to sharing vintage pictures of Disneyland and other amusements and attractions.  If you're a fan of vintage, Americana, Disney, or just cool pics, you should check it out.

I went to Disneyland in 1984, while I was working in Southern California.  Since that trip was before the "Disney Renaissance" of the late 80's and early 90's, I really ought to dig my own pics out and do some research.  I wonder if anything I saw or rode isn't there any more.  Geez!  That's almost 30 years ago.  That's an eternity in modern pop culture terms!

The other blog is also a Disney blog, but it focuses on Alice in Wonderland stuff.  I'm always nuts for character merchandise, so I love checking this one out. 

Sue at Vintage Rescue Squad did a really great post offering tips for sprucing your booth space when the sales have been dragging.  I should probably heed some of that advice.  Our heat wave this week sent my sales into the toilet!  Her advice about diluting your brand really got me to thinking.  I've got a rep as dude who never says no to anything free.  I get given a lot of stuff that other dealers are tired of looking at.  I do make money on it, but many of those pieces aren't "me" and what I've tried to build my space into.  I need to ponder this.  Thanks, Sue!

Ever wonder what religion your favorite comic characters are?  Probably not, but I had to check out a site that combined a couple of my interests.  It's quirky, for sure.

Real junkers fuss about all those "reality" TV shows about junking that create such a false impression that they make it really hard for us to make any money.  Here's a good article that gives more information about how storage auctions really work.

If this doesn't make you go "Awwww!" then you have no heart.  She looks a lot like Chiquito, surprisingly, except that he has a tail.  He makes a noise like that when he is feeling neglected.

Follow the history of same sex marriage laws with this interactive map.  Play it slow and read the captions.  There's still way more orange/red states than blue/green states (one of them is my own), which means that, DOMA decision notwithstanding, there's still a lot of work to do.  I'm going to have to leave my own state to get married.

Employment non-discrimination doesn't get near the play it deserves, since the marriage issue began breaking big in recent years.  We need a new, comprehensive, national strategy to bring it back into prominence.

Fans of retro graphics and vintage printing really should pay more attention to old comics.  You can find so many wonderful examples of both.  See this awesome post from Progressive Ruin for an example. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Think of this one as "Road Trip" part 2.  Or as Post 1,001.  Either one will work.

Since the main purpose for the trip was to decorate Mom's stone, I'd be remiss if I forgot to mention that and show a few pics.


I forgot to take a before pic, but I snatched two really ratty hanging pots of flowers and pitched them.  Keith saw me do that and thought I was taking flowers off random graves!  Silly man!  I bought the blue saddle arrangement at the big flea market and the Mom thing at a thrift.


Mom's and Dad's stones.  Keep in mind that they weren't married when he died in 2006 (and hadn't been for over two decades), but here they are, side by side.  I have an odd family.

We used the veteran's plaque from the VA for Dad's headstone.  I know most folks usually use them as footstones.  See the odd family remark above.  It also just really fit for my dad.  Being in the Army was a huge part of his life.  he never really got very far away from it after he retired.  We (or at least I) plan to get "Mother" and "Father" footstones for them, at some point.  Various family members pass through and keep American flags flapping on all the veterans' graves.  They'll have to add my grandfather to the list.

Speaking of my grandfather, I always have to visit the generations whenever I go to the cemetery.  I was fortunate to have my great-grandparents into my young adulthood, so I have memories of all three generations before me that are buried in that cemetery.  I must bore Keith with my stories when we go.


My grandparents--Mom's parents.  His side is still fresh from the funeral.  I can't help but wonder how his widow felt watching him get buried beside my grandmother.  I always do a doubletake whenever I see the dates on her side of the stone.  It surely can't be almost twenty years since she died.  That's like a lifetime ago!  I still miss her so much.  We lost her so suddenly.  I'm the oldest grandchild on that side of my family.  She and I really bonded.


My grandfather's parents.  I never really knew them all that well, even though she lived in a backroom at my grandparents' house for years.  I used to sit back there and watch TV with her sometimes.


My grandmother's parents.  They were the most awesome people.  I was in seminary when they died, and actually officiated at her funeral.  That was the highlight of my brief career as a ministerial student and one of the highlights of my life.  It kind of shocks me to think how long ago that was.  I was just a kid! I was almost exactly half as old then as I am now.  In the half of my life lived since then, all of the prior generations of my family have joined them in that cemetery.  Keith thinks it's kind of strange that they got married on Christmas Day.  It was always just a part of family lore when I was growing up.

We timed everything just right, because it started raining right as we finished and were leaving the cemetery!  Graveside spruced up and mission accomplished!

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's in a Name?

This is my 1000th post, something I never thought I would reach.  It's only taken ten years to get her, after all!  In honor of that, I wanted to do something a little more personal.  I hope you enjoy it.

My full name is Michael Edward Mitchell.  Some of you all already know that, as I have used it a few times here on the blog.  I've been "Eddie" derived from the "Edward" part for my whole life, however.  It's what I was meant to be called.  Never "Mike" or even "Michael."

When my mom was nearly a teenager, her youngest brother, my uncle Mike, was born.  Since both of my grandparents worked, and it was the fifties, Mom usually had to take care of him.  The story goes that she decided during these times that she would name her first boy "Michael" after him.  And so I became a namesake.

The middle name thing came along later.  Mom said that she wanted at first to name me "Michael Andrew."  The reason she didn't was because she didn't like the name "Andy."  Since there was already one Mike in the family, she didn't want to call me by that name, so she needed a workable middle name.  Rather than "Andy" she would have called me "Drew."  She eventually decided that it was going to be hard enough to get people used to using my middle name.  A less common nick name from that middle name might even be more problematic, so she scrapped the idea and went with "Edward."

She said it was just a name she liked, but we found out years later that my great-grandmother had a brother named Edward, so it's actually a family name.  If had been a girl, I would have been "Sara Dorine," two more family names--Dorine was my grandmother's name.  Mom always said that she was so sure that she was carrying a boy that she referred to me as "Eddie" just about from the moment she found out that she was pregnant.

My uncle Mike was a teenager when I was born.  We've talked a lot about how we share some of the same memories of my grandparents in ways that are different from everyone else, because we were both kids.  He was one of my first heroes when I was very young.  I loved for him to pick me up and play with me.  One of the good things that came out of my mother's passing is that we have gotten to be close again.  He lives across the river from me, and we both have booths in the same Peddlers Mall.  We get together and share stories about junk and go junking and stuff.  It's pretty cool.

As far as I was concerned, my name was "Eddie."  I never found out about this "Michael" thing until I was in first grade.  There I was sitting in the gym with my mom and all the other kids and their parents.  They were calling off names, and kids were going off with teachers.  They called this "Michael Mitchell" dude, and my mother gets up and starts walking away!  WHAT??  She finally turns to me and says:  "That's you.  Come on."  An identity crisis at 5 years old.  How cruel is that?

I had a running battle with my name for years after that.  I just wanted to be "Eddie."  But on the first day of school every year, I was "Michael."  Every time I went to the doctor, I was "Michael."  Worse yet was when people would take shortcuts and just assume they could call me "Mike" because of the "Michael" part.  That's. Not. My. Name.

My biggest problem with "Michael" was that I could not spell it correctly.  For years, I got it wrong, prompting my mother to fuss and bemoan my illiteracy.  I could do fifth grade math in the third grade, but I could not spell my own name.  Where had she failed?  It didn't help things much when I would try to point out that from my point of view, my name was "Eddie" and it would be so much simpler if everyone just got used to that.  Then I would get the story about where my name comes from.

Somewhere around the sixth grade, I figured out that if I spelled "Michael" correctly, when I looked at it backwards, the first four letters would spell "Leah."  Don't ask me how I came up with that, but it worked.

When I graduated high school and saw my name printed out on my cards, I had a revelation about how cool my name actually is.  Look at it:

Michael Edward Mitchell

It's wonderfully symmetrical.  You can draw a line right through the middle of it, and the are the same number of letters on either side.  The first and last name are derivations of each other, so the sort of mirror each other.  They have the same number of letters and start and end with the same letter.  It really is pretty cool.  It sounds awesome when it's all called out, too.

Since college, I've toyed around with using various versions of my name.  I did "M. Edward" for a while.  That's even still my official signature.  I tried "M.E." and also "Michael Edward" which I liked because it sounds really pretentious.  In fact, whenever I get business cards, I put the whole thing on there.

In every day life, I'm pretty content to be just plain ole "Eddie."  It fits.  But never "Ed."  The only two people who ever called me that are both gone now.  It's kind of reserved for their use.  I've stopped fighting the "Michael" thing and will come meekly when called.  I do, however, make every attempt to squeeze my whole middle name in when filling out forms, no matter how few spaces they give for the middle initial.  Sometimes, the broader culture needs reminding that the first name is not always the "default" name.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Days of Our Lives: What's Not Working

 
Nobody's perfect!  Even a show that's going well still has some weaknesses.  Here are the things that I would like to fix about the current run of Days of our Lives.

Hair, Make-up, and Wardrobe:  I wish that the look of the show were as strong as everything else is, more specifically the look of the characters.  Practically every woman on the show has had at least one (and usually more) really bad looks.  It's hard to make some of these women look bad, but they seem to have found a way to do it.  They put Sami in a topknot, for gosh sakes!  Jennifer's wardrobe bounces between totally frumpy and way too young all the time. It looks like she is either raiding her mother's closet or her daughter's. Jen and Kristen have both sported unwieldy, scene-stealing hairpieces that made them look like pumpkinheads.  They had a scene together in those awful do's and there wasn't enough room onscreen for both their heads!

Really, Chad?
It's even worse for the guys.  EJ pretty consistently looks sharp, but he's about the only one.  Sonny's hair often changes from one scene to the next.  It also seems like he only owns four shirts, and two of those are butt-ugly.  JJ only has one pair of jeans.  Daniel and Brady only have a couple of shirts between them.  I am so sick of Brady's purple shirt I could scream.  The men of Days are too hot to settle for mediocre wardrobing!  (We won't talk about Chad's current hairstlye.  Yeesh!)

Father Eric:  I would love to have been on that story planning meeting.  "Let's bring back a hot dude from the past who happens to be Sami's twin brother and Nicole's first love.  Lots of story potential there.  Just to mix things up, let's make him a priest, even though no one ever mentioned anything about seminary."  Really?  It doesn't really help matters much that Greg Vaughn's way of sounding "solemn and serious" is to deliver most of his lines in this gruff "I am Batman" voice.  Just not working.  I have to admit, though, that it is a valid excuse for him to wear the same thing every damn day.


Marlena/John:  The only really major complaint I have with the writing is the way that John and Marlena have been handled, or mishandled as the case may be.  I can't buy John turning on Marlena the way he has and purposefully hurting her.  There was a time when they would have faced a problem like Kristen together, which would have made for a much more interesting story.  As it was, she is the one who exposed Kristen in the end.  Why couldn't they have slowly built to that?

The story wasn't helped by the fact that we barely saw Marlena through the whole thing.  She was a recurring character in a story that was ostensibly about her!  Worse yet, it's happening again as Kristen plots her revenge.  Days needs Marlena on several days a week, if not every day.  I get that she is expensive talent, but the way the show should be dealing with that is by getting their money's worth out of her.  Play the hell out of her!  Stop the sidelining.  Just imagine if she moved in and out of all the other stories as easily and frequently as the other characters do.  It would enrich the entire canvas.

The other thing that's not helping is Drake Hogestyn's acting.  Admittedly, he's never been a powerhouse, but he at least used to try.  In the last half of the Kristen story, he was barely phoning it in, whispering all his lines in a monotone.  He hasn't been on for a few weeks now, so it would be a good time for the show to cut their losses here.  Marlena doesn't need John to have a good story.

Dangling plots:  Will anyone ever find out what Gabi did to Melanie?  Maybe now that Camila Banus is leaving the show...but I'm not holding my breath.  I think the stuff with Nick, Will, and the baby has partially redeemed her, but only partially.  It's a plot point that just hangs out there and dangles.  At least it's not alone.  There's also Kate's shenanigans against Chloe.  Somehow, Chloe managed to come back to town for months, and only minimal mention was even made of that whole unpleasantness.  When was the last time any mention was made of the fact that Theo has autism?  So many good story opportunities with Abe as the widowed father of a special needs son and show basically passes them all up.  At least Caroline's Alzheimer's gets a little more play than that.  Finally, they had such a neat story going with Hope trying to be a single parent to Ciara while Bo is gone (another dangling plot in itself), but they've let it go. That turns it from a good story for Hope as she tries to deal with her daughter acting out--a completely character-driven action for a young girl--into a mere plot point designed to advance the Nick story.  It's always a shame when character-driven drama gets cast aside for plot-driven stories.

The bits we don't see:  The current writing team likes to cut in and out of scenes, often leaving elements unseen by the viewers.  We might leave a scene as a character is about to drop a bombshell, but revisit it moments after said bombshell is dropped.  The reactions get played out onscreen, but the actually bombshell dropping is not.  It took a bit to get used to, but I kind of like it.  They're putting a lot of trust in their viewers when they do something like this.  Sometimes, though, what doesn't get shown is kind of important and really would have made some good drama.  Sami leaves to go to her arraignment at the end of one episode, but the next one she is out on bail.  I would have love to have seen those scenes, given that she did just kill a man.  Sometimes a technique works.  Other times, it bites you in the butt.

 Indiscriminate/Indeterminate Passage of Time:  It certainly exacerbates the hair/wardrobe problems when it takes a week or more for one day to pass, so we have to see the same terrible looks over and over and over.  I know soaps have always played fast and loose with time, but someone has at least got to pay attention to what they are doing.  It's been several weeks in real time since Rafe was put into a coma, but only a few days on the show.  Recently, however, characters started talking about the "long weeks" he's been in his coma.  They can't have it both ways.  In fact, Rafe's beating, Nick's kidnapping, Will's shooting, Gabi having the baby, Sami shooting Bernardi and being acquitted, and EJ's corporate takeover all occurred within a very short period of time, according to the storytelling.  That's a little much.  This is the one major weak spot in the writing.

Bo:  Everyone and their Aunt Tilly knows that Peter Reckell left the show last year (!), yet Hope is still having one way phone conversations with an inexplicably absentee spouse.  It's time to do something about this one.  The more they drag this out, the more contrived it gets.

Roman:  The man has not had a decent story since he was married to Kate and that was a decade ago!  Nowadays, all he does is wring his hands over Sami and moon over Marlena.  I get that Josh Taylor is not the strongest actor on the show, but some of the surely must stem from lack of material.  He's been a spy and a police officer, yet they cannot think of anything for him to do.  I think it's about time to cut their losses on this one.  Work him or cut him free.

Budget limits:  The root cause of many of these issues is the show's budget.  The network has clamped down hard on spending for Days over the past few years.  I get that.  They can only do so much with the dollars they have.  The problem is that the way they've been dealing with it only serves to make the problem much more obvious.  Maybe there's no other way to do it.  I'm not a soap exec, so I don't know.  I just can't help thinking that there has to be a more creative, less obvious, way to do it.

The past four or five years have been rough for soaps.  I'm grateful the show is still here to enjoy and that it is as good as it is right now.  I still can't help quibbling a little and wishing some things would get cleared up.  It's part of being a fan, right?

Next week, I'll try to recap where the show went wrong and why it's been climbing out of a hole for a long time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ROAD TRIP!

Saturday, we loaded up the car and headed out on a brief road trip.  At my grandfather's funeral, I noticed that the flowers on my parents' graves were really weatherbeaten and tattered.  The cemetery is not far away from Louisville, but it's far enough that we don't get over there very often.

This is the kind of thing we could have done in a day trip--just pop down there and back--but I wanted to make a bit of an adventure out of it.  I planned for us to take the old highways, rather than the parkway, and hit the flea markets and thrifts along the way.  I also got us a totally unnecessary hotel room, because I wanted to make it an overnight trip.

Usually by this point in the summer, I've gone camping with Keith at least once.  With the chemo, I'm just not up to roughing it, but I really wanted to get away with him. So, even though my old hometown is less than two hours away, I still got us a room.

Unfortunately the junking was not good.

First stop was an antique mall that I've always wanted to stop in.  It was totally not my kind of place.


 Seriously not my kind of place.  With prices to match, I might add.  Although I did see a couple of cool things, like these replicas of the Chinese terracotta warriors.


I even made a new friend, although I'm not quite sure if her intentions are honorable.


I also saw one of those old-timey comic book racks like they used to have in store when I was a kid.  I've always wanted one!  It's kind of sad to see the dilapidated older comics sagging out of it.  Those are not the most practical means of long-term storage and display for comics, because they don't provide adequate support.  You would think someone who is trying to get $28 or $52 out of a comic would know that.  Just about everything on the rack was really ratty from being stored there too long.


I was most looking forward to hitting the Bowling Lanes Flea Market.  I have fond memories of shopping there as a kid.  Sadly, my memories from Saturday are not as fond.  I only bought like two or three things.  


The lot where the flea is used to be home to a bowling alley.  All that's left now is the sign.  When I was a kid, the building was still there.  People used to set up all over the parking lot.  There are still outdoor set-ups today, but there weren't very many on Saturday.  I think it might have been the heat or forecasted storms.



There's also an indoor component, which was totally missable.  Every booth was a wreck, and over half the vendors weren't even present in their spaces.  It was really disappointing.  As usual, at these indoor/outdoor kinds of set ups, the best shopping was found outdoors.  There just wasn't much of it.


Since shopping had been so light, I decided to hit a vendor mall.  Pickings were slim there too.  How slim?  This slim:


To be honest, I did put a couple more things in the cart right after I took this pic.  Still wasn't much of a haul.

I did come across this great new idea for booth security and theft deterrent that I cannot wait to try in mine.


There were probably some bargains in this bin, but I'll never know.  I'm all about the digger booth, but not when I have to bend over with my butt in the air!  Ain't happening.


I did see Donna while I was there.



After this we hit a thrift that wasn't all that thrifty.  We have a couple of these kinds of places in Louisville.  They call themselves "upscale resale."  They're very selective in what they accept for donations, so their prices are way out of line with the typical thrift experience.  I did find a few things, but I don't think I'll be heading back.  I give the ones in Louisville wide berth too.

After a nice drive through the country, we finally hit my old hometown.  We stopped first at a local vendor mall, where again I bought very little, but I did get flashed.


Then we headed to the cemetery (more on that in a few days), and checked into the hotel.  I was kind of glad I had made a reservation, as we were both pretty wiped by that point.  We had a nice Mexican dinner (my favorite), then retired for the evening.  I kind of overextended myself and did way too much walking.  I could hardly move once I got settled in a comfy chair.

The next morning was lovely.  The hotel's free breakfast included fresh pancakes, which was nice.  After we enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast, we had a long talk together in which.....

Keith proposed and I accepted!

After all these years, he's going to make an honest woman out of me!  We're still working out the details.  We want to do it in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, with an eye to retiring there, if the rest of DOMA is not overturned in the next few years.  No matter what you may hear on the news, key components of the law are still in effect.  I'll probably have more to share about all of this as it develops.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Days of Our Lives: What's Working


 Days of Our Lives is on a roll these days (sorry), as witnessed by their recent Emmy win for best soap opera.  Of course, one could argue that, with only four soaps left to pick from, their chances of winning were pretty good.  I think it was well-deserved, though.  Lord knows, there have been plenty of years when the show wasn't so great.

Soap fans are worse than comic fans, when it comes to their opinions, but I've been wanting to share some of mine ever since I got re-hooked on the show after my surgery.  I'm not one to hang out on forums or peruse news sites very often.  The sub I have for Soap Opera Digest on my Nook is about the limit of my soap fandom involvement.  Still, I am very excited for the show right now, for the first time in years.  I look forward to watching it every day, something I haven't done in a long while.

This essay will be part of a four part series of posts on the show.  This time around I want to talk about what's working on the show.  Obviously, these are my opinions, and there are many others who may very well disagree with me.  I'd welcome the comments. 

The Writing:  It's not perfect, of course.  There are all kinds of things I could quibble about, but I also have to admit that the show is better than it has been in ages.  Years, even.  In a couple of days, I'll have a post about when things went wrong, but for now I want to talk about what's going write.  I mean right. 


Kristen:  She is so much fun to watch.  Eileen Davidson is obviously having so much fun playing this role.  Kristen is both very crazy and very broken.  The way those two characteristics get blended together creates a character that we hate and feel sorry for at the same time.  Davidson can turn on a dime from scary psycho to soapy campy to heartbreaking emotion, making it absolutely compulsory to pay attention when she is on screen.

Nicole:  She's has been on the show since the mid 90's, but I never warmed to her until now.  Part of it is Arianne Zucker's maturing into a confident actress.  She takes more chances now with her scenes and that makes her more watchable.  Another part of it is the humor that the writers have brought out of the character.  Nicole has a lot of tragedy and pain in her backstory, so it makes sense that she also has this rich vein of humor that she taps into as a coping mechanism.  Zucker is an excellent comedic actress and can deliver a funny line like no one's business!


EJ/Sami:  This is not a couple I've ever been able to get behind.  My dream would be for Sami to be with Lucas, but that's not going to happen again.  If I can't have that, then I want her with Rafe.  Thing is, the show these days is really selling me on the Sami/EJ pairing.  I'm enjoying the vibe between them and their easy chemistry.  They're kind of like a twisted Nick and Nora Charles or the anti-Jack and Jennifer.  Those scenes where they were doing the deed and plotting to stop Nick at the same time were this awesome mix of hilarious and hot!  For the first time, they're actually fun to watch.  It's not enough to make me forget their sordid history--she shot him in the head, for gorm's sake--which means that I can't root for them, but I can certainly enjoy them together.

Kate/Rafe:  I am so totally grooving on this idea, mainly because it came out of left field, totally unexpected.  Plus, they are hot together.  I think that they are ultimately doomed.  Rafe is who he is and Kate is who she is.  Ultimately, that's going to kill them as pair, but until they crash and burn, they're smoking!  Plus, it gives Sami and Kate something new to fight about.  It also provides Kate with some much needed redemption.  As long as Rafe gets his memories back pretty darn soon!

Will/Sonny:  Gay romances and characters are nothing new for soaps these days.  A gay romance with two legacy characters is.  Both these guys are rooted in the show, its families, and its history, and they're taking it into the future.  You simply cannot get more Salem than a Horton/Brady and a Kiriakis!  Plus, they're the only truly happy couple on the show right now.  I love their dynamic and chemistry and like that they communicate with each other and work together to face their challenges.  All soap couples should be this way.

Humor:  Nicole's not the only one getting the funny on these days.  There's plenty of it to go around.  Even Victor gets a laugh line every now and then.  I know that soaps are about the drama, but it only make sense when a show as full of comedic talent as Days uses it.

Unexpected Twists:  Chad has a video of Sami attacking Bernardi.  Nick's prison tormentor gets an early release.  Rafe and Kate hook up.  I've been watching soaps for decades now.  It's kind of hard for one to surprise me, but this one does.  More often than I would think possible, in fact.

Overarching Stories:  One of the worst things a soap can do is isolate or "island" characters in their own stories to the point where they never interact with anyone or anything that doesn't relate to their primary storyline.  If you watch any episode of Days, you'll see characters moving around each other and interacting across storylines in ways that make you want to watch.  Characters have friends and families beyond their primary arcs.  They're part of a larger community, and we see that every week.

The Little Beats and Bits:  One of the best things the show does right now are these little moments between characters that really don't advance the plots, but do serve to remind the audience of the connections between these characters.  Hope visits Jennifer or Maggie for advice.  Eric spends time with Caroline.  Victor spends time with Sonny.  Nicole comforts Brady.  Every little scene with EJ and Kristen totally rocks out!

Recurring/Supporting Actors Get Used:  Okay, I'm not saying they get used enough, but at least we do get to see them regularly.  Yes, I would love to see anyone of them stirring up their own stories, but it's still nice to see Kayla, Caroline, Maggie, Victor, Justin, Adrienne, Lucas et al on a regular basis.  There was a time when being recurring meant invisible.

History:  This show is almost 50 years old.  That's a lot of water under the bridge.  I've heard more references to that history and seen that history informing current history more since the first of the year than I have in a long, long time.  Let's be honest here.  Soap fans are big old nerds.  When you make use of and reference history, it makes us happy.

Pacing: The days when a soap could play out a story for weeks and weeks on end are over.  So too the era when show after show could go by with nothing major happening.  Modern soap story telling demands more for its viewers.  Days has figured out how to unfold its plots slowly, yet still keep things moving regularly.  For the most part, they succeed, with a few stumbles here and there.  The main thing is that something happens every day to move at least one of the plots forward.  Usually, it's more than one.  Every day also ends on a "hook" that drags you back for the next day.  Even in the middle of all this, you still get tantalizing elements like Ciara hiding the picture of Kristen that play out for a few weeks before coming to a big climax.  It works well.  I'm glued to hulu just about every night!

Integration of New/Returning Characters:  One of the worst mistakes soaps make is bringing on a new character, playing them every day, and letting them suck up all the air on the show.  One of the things Days is doing really well is slowly integrating its new characters and tying them to people on the show that we already know and love.  We may not like JJ too much (which is what the writers intend right now), but he spends a good part of his time with his family and we do like them.  Bringing people on through people we already know is much healthier for the show.

There is probably a lot more that I could go on about, but that's enough for one post.  Next time, we'll talk about the things that aren't working quite so well.  Nobody's perfect!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Rambles

I'm going to try something a little different with this edition of the Rambles.  Behold, the Rambling pictorial!

Stuff I Saw Last Week:

 This sign in the building where I work cracks me up.  I've never been in there, but I imagine that it's full of people waving their arms around as they "handle" the air.

One of the teachers I work with did this review drawing for people in his class.  I thought it was really funny (and well done), so I wanted to share it.  I think the sad faces on the guys getting sliced kind of make the whole thing.

This would be a prime example of how not to stock your booth.  This is a new vendor at the mall, obviously.  The manager has already called him to come in and redo it.  She said she told him "You'll never sell anything like this." The booths on either side of him are nicely put together, so I don't understand how he could come in and just throw things in like this.  It's an 8x10 space, by the way.  It's totally crammed full!

 Brazen Indecency!  I saw this in a vendor mall on the road trip we took on Saturday.  More on that in a few days.

Stuff I Did Last Week


I really have no room to talk about other people's booths.  My own displays stink, but you can get in my space and get to items.  I was kind of proud of this little vignette I created with some vintage AnnaLee clowns.  Maybe this will finally get them to sell!  Those little bastards need to go! 

I had high hopes for some weekend sales at the booths, but they didn't pan out for the most part.  It was the 4th anniversary celebration at the Peddler's Mall, so I had a sale and everything, but only had normal sales.  Those special days used to be a guarantee for a hundred dollar day, but not any more.  I did, however, sell those vintage lamps at YesterNook--finally! 

I'm also waaaaay ahead of last month's sales, so I really can't complain too much.  I almost have rent made!

Stuff I Bought Last Week

Not too terribly much, actually.  The thrift downstairs from the Peddler's Mall was having a sale, so I did pick up a couple of things.


Part of the reason for the road trip was to put new flowers on Mom's grave, so I had to get this.  What an odd thing to donate to a thrift!  I wonder who made the donation?  Sometimes you just wanna know the story behind the stuff you see.

It's kind of a gag gift, since it's not something that Mom would ever want on her grave.  In fact, I know it's something she would hate.  She always fussed about stuff like this whenever we'd go to the cemetery.  We've always had this tradition of getting each other things that we know we can't stand as gag gifts.  I see no reason not to continue, even though she's gone.  She would have laughed about it.  for the record, I did get some nice flowers to put out too.

What's Going on This Week

I'm gonna be busy this week.  We're back to the regular routine at work, after a slight slowdown for summer.  I also have to do to the dermatologist to get a mole checked out.  We've been watching it for a few months now.

I'm also in the middle of the countdown to the last chemo, which is next Tuesday.  I have a mixture of anticipation and dread like you wold not believe.

Blogs for This Week

I'm starting my series on Days of Our Lives tomorrow, so if you don't like my soap opera babble, you can skip tomorrow, Thursday, next Tuesday, and next Thursday.  I've only wanted to do this since January, so I'm glad it's finally done.  I think it came out pretty well.  The hardest thing about writing about soaps is having to change what you've written because something happened on the show the day you finished your piece to invalidate everything you worked so hard on.

Friday is my 1,000th post.  I have a special piece written, so please come back and check it out.  You can skip the soap babble, but not the 1000th!  It's only taken me 10 years to get there.  On Wednesday, I'll start recounting the road trip adventures.  Something special happened, so you don't want to miss it.      

Day by Days

As long as I'm talking about the soaps, how about last week's Days?

I was a little disappointed in the way EJ's takeover of the DiMera holdings came down.  It was very anti-climactic.  We could have at least gotten a board meeting vote out of it!  I thought the reaction scenes with Sami and Adrienne were nice.  (OMG!  Those two are agreeing on something!)  Must every fight Sami and EJ have end in steamy sex?  I get that these two are combustible together, but it's getting old.  It does kind of underscore for me why they'll never really make it as a couple.  Passion that intense consumes everything it touches, including the participants.

Speaking of consumed, Kristin's meltdown at the church was fun.  It's not often you see characters screaming at pictures of Jesus.  Maggie had some nice, meaty scenes with Daniel and Brady this week.  I especially liked the ones where she and Brady talked about addiction and love.  I don't mind as much that she doesn't have her own story when she gets to do stuff like that.  I wish she would interact with Lucas and Will a little more.

Finally, there were some nice twists to the stories.  JJ's mystery woman (Teresa) is Kim and Shane's daughter!  She's also a bad seed Brady and she's teaming up with a bad seed Horton!  This could be really good, if they do it right.  Even better, Rafe wakes up and thinks Sami shot him.  I love this new twist to an already twisted story, but they need to tread carefully or it could turn into one twist too many and the whole thing will collapse.  I think it all hinges on Kate and how she uses this situation.

Conclusion

That's all I got for this rambly Monday folks.  It's supposed to be stormy here this week, but also hot.  Please make sure you wear your floppy hats and sunscreen!

Friday, July 12, 2013

These are...

My favorite Patty Griffin songs.  In no particular order, because trying to order them was driving me nuts.

This one flat out knocks me out every time I hear it.  It hits a very personal chord with me that very few songs do.



I love this one for its simplicity.  I can't find a video of Patty doing it, so you get these dancers.  It was either that or a One Tree Hill montage.  I wasn't about to leave it off.  I'm relating to this one in a new way due to chemo.  That line about "going so slow, slow, slow" fits me to a "T" these days.



Here is the first one of her songs I really got to know.



This is another one of the first songs by her I ever heard.  It also hits that personal chord.  Only a few artists have more than one song that does that for me.  Ever since my mother died, I can't listen to this one without breaking up.  Surprisingly, I couldn't find anything of her performing this.



If I was absolutely forced to pick a number one fave, this would be it.  Check out her back-up singer.



Finally, I couldn't leave out the one she does in Spanish...to the Virgin of Guadalupe yet!  Again, no performance vid available.






Thursday, July 11, 2013

Junkin' Memories: The Big Flea Market

This year, they're down to four.  That really bothers me.  Not that long ago, there was one a month.  I think it's due to the economy, which means that they'll be bouncing back as things improve.  I hope so.  The Kentucky Flea Market, which I lovingly call "The Big Flea Market," has been a part of my junking life for decades now.

I cannot remember for sure when I first came to Louisville to go to the big flea market, which is held at the state fairgrounds.  I know I was aware of it when I was in high school, because I remember reading an article about it in the paper.  I know I was going by the time I was in college.  One of my roommates was from the same part of the state as me, so we would ride home together for the holidays and such.  I made a couple of trips to the flea market with him and his family then.

It was when I was in college that I went one time with my dad when I was really sick.  We made it through like two rows and I had to leave.  He called my mom, and the consensus was that I must be really bad sick if I couldn't stay at a flea market!  Buncha comedians in my family.

I know that I've been a regular at the big flea market ever since I moved to Louisville.  It was a really wonderful deal in those days--all kinds of sellers selling all kinds of stuff at really good prices.  I've bought tons of comics there over the years, plus books, CD's, religious articles, and just general fun stuff.  (Not to mention the occasional practical item.) 

The flea market was a monthly deal in those days.  If there was a holiday in the month, then it was held on the holiday weekend.  If there wasn't, then it was usually the last weekend of the month.  Like I said earlier, I think they were still having monthly shows as late as last year.  The holiday shows were the ones to be sure to attend.  Lasting four or five days (depending on what day of the week the holiday fell), they would often fill up two wings of the fairgrounds exhibit space.  That's a heckuva lot of room!

In the past few years, the two wing shows have fallen off considerably.  It finally settled into a pattern where the Labor Day and New Year's Day flea markets would take up one wing, plus an extra hall.  Not quite as much room as before, but still considerable.  The extra hall is dedicated to antique sellers and there's always some awesome stuff during those shows.

For at least a decade before she died, my mother and I would make a trip to either the Memorial Day or the 4th of July flea market.  It was one of our traditions.  Going with Mom was about the people watching as much as the shopping, but we did a lot of that too.  She had opinions about everyone and everything and didn't mind sharing them.  We could have a ball just sitting on a bench watching the world pass us by.

The entire thing is run by one family-owned company that also does flea markets in Indianapolis and Knoxville.  They used to do one in Nashville as well, but discontinued it a while ago.  A few years back, the man that started the company passed away, but his family is carrying on.

I'm kind of surprised and a little disappointed to see them cut back so much this year.  I know part of it is the economy, which is hurting both vendors and customers.  The presence of so many vendor malls and flea markets here in town can't be helping either.  People don't have to wait for a special weekend any more.  They can come on over any time and get their bargain shop on!  It's kind of ironic to be involved in a retail system that might be hurting the flea market I have loved so much over the years.

Another factor that doesn't help is the fairgrounds itself.  They've let some of their fees and things get really out of hand.  It costs eight bucks to park now!  Outrageous.  When I actually go to one of the shows with an antique wing, I have to plot to get around the parking fee.  Those are the shows I am most likely to be looking for merchandise, so I need to not pay 8 bucks to park because I don't want to have to add that in to the cost of the items.  I've ridden my bike.  We've parked somewhere else and walked in.  I've had Keith drop me and the granny cart off outside the gate and pick me up later.  I've flapped my arms and flown over the fence.  (Okay..maybe not that last one...but if I thought it would work, I'd give it a try!)

I'm remaining hopeful that, as soon as it is feasible, the big flea market will increase the number of shows again.  I may not be able to go to all of them like in the good old days, but I'll definitely go to two or three a year!  Old habits die hard.  Whether shopping for me or for a booth, I'll always look forward to a visit to the big flea market.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monkey

I have a new friend.


His name is Monkey.

He has a friend.


Her name is Witch.



The other night, we had to move the computer (we have an all-in-one) to check some of the cords.  In the process, Keith pulled out Monkey and Witch.  They'd been back there for a while, and I had totally forgotten them.


I picked up Monkey at Goodwill a while ago.  Isn't he cute?  His little pots serve as either candle or incense holders.  He'd been pretty well-used, with burn marks, ash smudges, and smokey smears all over him.  I'd been able to clean him mostly up, but a few stubborn marks won't come off.  I set him aside, planning to give him an Oxy-Clean dip to finish the job.  I think he's got enough glaze on him to protect his paint job.


I left him sitting on the desk, to remind me to finish cleaning him up.

In the meantime, Witch came home.  She'd been in the booth for last Halloween, but had taken a broom ride around the mall or something.  At any rate, she wasn't in the booth when I came to take down the Halloween stuff.  She did make it back a little later, so I took her home.  Since the Halloween stuff was already stashed in the shed, I set her aside to take out the next time I went out there.


Somehow, Monkey and Witch managed to slide behind the computer, and I forgot about them.

Now that they're out again, they've been keeping me company.  I talk to them.  They listen to me.  They wait patiently for me to come home each day.  We have tea parties together.  And do crafts.  And read stories.  I'm afraid I might be getting a bit too attached to them.


What if Monkey doesn't want to go to a booth and be sold?