Posted by: Mark | March 31, 2015

Sign of Spring

Back on October 24, I saw my last wall lizard of 2014.

Today I saw my first of 2015. I was having a lousy time but somehow the lizard cheered me up.

Posted by: Mark | March 30, 2015

Red-winged Blackbird


To me, red-winged blackbirds look the most dignified of the birds. I didn’t get a close shot of this one but you can make out the flash of color on his shoulder.


Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2015

Willow: 30 Years Later (or so)

I haven’t watched Willow in about 30 years. I remember it as bad but is it Star Wars Holiday Special bad?

The monsters are killer shrews! Killer shrews look even worse in color.

The scene that introduces Val Kilmer goes forever. It’s SW Holiday Special long but not nearly as bad.

The brownies are not blended well in the rest of the scene. It looks like what a guy in 1998 would make with photoshop.

Glenda the Good Witch makes an appearance.

Oops, and much like SWHS, Devilboy fell asleep. Maybe I’ll pick up with this tomorrow. Maybe not.

Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2015

1500 Posts

It’s been a while but this post is #1,500. I probably should have waited for tomorrow for this, too.

Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2015


I meant to wait until tomorrow to do this but I just added up my mileage and got 600.2 miles for the year.

I thought I was only at 597 so I could post about it tomorrow.  I’ll have to find something else.

Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2015

Completion List : Monk

I finished the eighth season of Monk. I like mystery shows in general but Monk combined good stories with well-developed characters. Most mystery shows run out of steam fairly quickly but Monk varied the story lines to keep from going stale. Sometimes it was a traditional whodunit and other times the viewer witnessed the murder and Monk had to figure it out himself.

I’ll rank my top nine episodes as this:

Mr. Monk and the Daredevil: A fun episode with Harold Kremshaw but also one that parallels the show Psych. I wish there had been a pseudo – crossover between the two shows, not with the characters meeting but having the exact same case but each sleuth solves it separately in his own way.

Mr. Monk’s 100th Case: Decent mystery with a new narrative structure and many callbacks from old characters.

Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs: This is an odd choice but it was the first time that Natalie’s character really clicked for me. I had been a big fan of Sharona (not just because of how she dressed) Natalie always seemed too harsh to me but this episode finally won me over.

Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show: Not the greatest mystery but the Brady Bunch dream sequence was fun.

Mr. Monk Joins a Cult: This had a good mystery with a twist in the end, but this episode was the best in highlighting Stanley Kamel’s character of Charles Kroger. Kamel’s portrayal was one of the best in the series. His death could have severely crimped the show but Dr. Bell was an excellent choice of a replacement.

Mr. Monk Goes to Jail: A great mystery setup (who would murder a condemned man minutes before he was executed?), a callback for Dale the Whale, and solid guest stars (Danny Trejo and Tim Curry).

Mr. Monk and the End: The structure seemed off at first for a mystery but that was because the series wrapped up points for the characters. Compared to the final episode of most series, this actually delivered.

Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy: This had a weak mystery but I loved it anyway. Tim Bagley’s character of Harold Kremshaw was always fun and this episode changed him from a variation of the sitcom archetype of wacky neighbor to full-fledged character. The resolution of Dr. Bell talking the killer to his senses was a great capper as well.

Mr. Monk and the Dog:This was pretty similar to an earlier episode “Mr. Monk and the Kid,”but I rank this one higher. It started with the crime so the focus wasn’t on who did it but how Monk would solve it. What made it special wasn’t just Monk’s emotional response to the dog (“Monk and the Kid” did it better) but Monk’s compassion for the killer. Monk wasn’t a tough guy detective but he actually showed mercy to a guy who was going to kill not just him but his puppies as well.

Posted by: Mark | March 28, 2015

Pieces of Trash

One of my less inspired weekly goals was to pick up 100 pieces of litter.  The only reason I included it was that I was short a bunch of resolutions.

As I’m running out of Lovecraft stories, yesterday I thought I’d start with the garbage.  I thought 14 pieces a day would work best.

Instead I got 104 in about 10 minutes.  I vastly underestimated the number of cigarette butts that smokers toss about.

Considering last year the complex had two fires caused by cigarettes which cancelled our insurance, I’m not exactly favoring smokers’ rights at the moment.

Well, at least I’m set for a week.

Posted by: Mark | March 27, 2015

Beating 47

It’s my birthday today and I’ve outlived plenty of famous people.

There’s an inverse relationship between how you felt about birthdays as a kid and as an adult. I’d like to go back to 1987 and stay there forever.

Posted by: Mark | March 26, 2015

Resolution XIII

I’m keeping on keeping on:

1. Blogging. Goal:  300 posts for the year. What I have: To be on track for the year, I needed 75.61. I missed a chance for a special 100th post–this is #104.

2. Writing. Goal:  100,000 words for the year. What I have: I needed 23,288 to be on pace. I don’t know if anything I’ve written lately is any good but I’m up to 33,177.

3. Running. Goal: 2,200 miles for the year.  What I have: I had a slow week but I’m up to 565 miles, needing 512.32.

4. Publishing. Goal : 105 manuscripts sent out. What I have: I haven’t sent out much lately but I’m up to 39, needing 24.45.

5. Video. Goal : five video projects.  What I did: Just worked on my second..

6. Weight. Goal : lose 35 pounds. What I did: I’ve eaten so much that I didn’t even check.

7. Art. Goal: Photograph 100 species. What I did : 41.

Mammal (6): Gerbil, Robo hamster, Campbell’s hamster, Syrian hamster, Rabbit, Gray Squirrel

Bird (20): Budgerigar parakeet, Rock doves (pigeons), Northern cardinal, House sparrow, Mallard duck, Canada goose, House finch, American robin, Red-tailed hawk, Common crow, European starling, Tufted Titmouse, Ring-billed gull, Swan Goose, American tree sparrow, Herring gull, Downy woodpecker,  Red-bellied woodpecker, Northern mockingbird, Mourning dove

Reptile (2): Red-eared slider, Leopard gecko

Amphibian (2): Dwarf aquatic frog, Fire-Bellied Toad

Insect (6): Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, Stink bug, Wax worm, Mealworms, Cricket, Hister or Oil beetle

Crustacean: Pillbug

Myriapod (1): Millipedes

Annelid (2): Canadian nightcrawler, Red worms

Planaria (1): Planaria

8. Kids. Goal : 300 events.  What I did: Still way down, just adding visits to Campbell County and Cincinnati libraries, to make it 49 for the year.

9. Exercise. Goal : 8,000 leg lifts and 5,000 push ups.  What I did: Needed 1,863 leg lifts and 1,164 push ups and have–

Leg lifts: (1,575)

Push ups (1,169)

10.  I applied for 23 new jobs this week. Let’s see how good the economy really is.

Posted by: Mark | March 25, 2015


2015-03-25 19.07.46

We got a new rabbit to replace Carmel. James Herriot wrote this is the best thing to do after the death of a pet and who am I to argue with the author of All Creatures Great and Small?

Cadbury is a Dutch rabbit and is much bolder than Carmel was. He is an escape artist and loves to chew on things he shouldn’t. He makes the place seem better.

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