Thursday, December 1, 2016

Adventures in Bicycling

I ride my bike. Sometimes cool/interesting things happen when I do that. Here's what happened today.

     I was riding down Welch on my way to Eagle to film a spot for DTV. A large white truck started passing me and I could hear the driver say something to me. I couldn't make it out though, so I don't know if it was something nice or something mean. When he passed and his bumper was in view, there was a sticker: Hillary for Prison. I'm guessing he wasn't yelling pleasantries at me.

     As I turned onto Hickory, making my way back to City Hall, there was a person on a bike in front of me. I like when people in their cars can see multiple people at once using a bike lane (or even just riding). We got to the intersection with Carroll Blvd and there was a car in our (green and obviously a) bike lane.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Friday evening I headed out to Johnson Branch of Lake Ray Roberts to meet up with friends. They had reserved (the best) spot, right on the lake, and had been camping since Thursday. Those of us not wanting to camp showed up on Friday to relax, eat baked potatoes and turkey legs, roast s'mores, and enjoy each other's company while enjoying nature.

It was lovely.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

I don't generally travel for Thanksgiving since I fly home for Christmas (last year's trip to Kansas was an exception, and also an easy drive). Two years ago, while in Topeka, I decided to volunteer at the local community Thanksgiving. I loved it and have wanted to make it a tradition.

So a couple weeks ago I started looking around for volunteer opportunities in Denton. I found the Village Church of Denton's annual Community Thanksgiving Banquet. I signed up, and when I showed up on Thanksgiving (after participating in the second annual Downtown Denton Turkey Trot!), and offered to deliver meals to those who signed up for home delivery.

I did three deliveries total, with each taking about thirty minutes. It was extremely humbling to deliver these meals to people. They were all so kind and thankful and truly appreciative of the meal. The first lady I delivered to said she was so hungry she had been eating mayo and mustard. My heart nearly broke.

When all the dishes were done and the floors cleaned for the Community Banquet, I headed out to a friends' home in McKinney. It was filled with lovely friends (and food) who made me happy.

I truly have much to be thankful for - my home, my family, my friends; Biscuit; I also have food in my fridge and in my belly; I have a job and supportive co-workers; I am healthy; I want for nothing.

Monday, November 21, 2016


One of the best things about being a homeowner is being able to have friends over for get togethers. My loft in Topeka was pretty spacious, so entertaining there wasn't really an issue. My place in Denton, though, was quite small, meaning get-togethers would have to be limited to one or two people.

Yesterday I invited friends over for Piesgiving. Everyone had to bring a pie to the event, then we'd all just eat pie together. It was fantastic! Everyone brought a pie! Most were the traditional dessert pies, but there was also a chicken pot pie as well as two pizza pies.

My living room isn't terribly large. I didn't quite have enough seats for everyone, so some were standing. But everyone was talking and laughing and having a good time. It made me so happy to have my home full of so many fantastic people. They help make Denton home.

Also, Biscuit was quite the hit. It's no an exaggeration when I say everyone loved her.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Denton Stream Clean

Denton is serious about cleaning trash. Every March the City participates in the Great American Cleanup, an event where volunteers cleanup the roadways all across the city. In November, there is Stream Clean, where volunteers go out to the city's creeks and stream beds and clean up all the trash (and other items) that accumulate there.

My friend Suzi put together a group of friends to participate in Stream Clean this year (as a City employee, I was also wrangled into being a Site Captain). Along with a group of middle schoolers and UNT students, we cleaned up the stream bed of Pecan Creek. It had rained earlier in the week, so there was a lot of trash for us to pick up. We found multiple traffic cones, several sleeping bags/blankets, lots of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, tires, a bike, and even part of a shopping cart. 

It felt quite rewarding to see the area at the end of the cleanup, with all the trash and crap that was once in the stream now piled up into a truck. 

Pants with a escaped convict now living it up in Mexico with Andy and Red?

All the volunteers!

Some kid lost their bike. 

Half a shopping cart...

Carrying the trash back to the truck. 

The cleanup group at Pecan Creek and Woodrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Missing Out on the Crown

I was in Kansas a few weeks ago and made time to go to a Royals game. In my desire to beat traffic, I got there super early. It was a nice day so I didn't mind. I was feeling rather emotional as I went down by the field to check out the players. I had attended my friend's funeral earlier in the day and was still emotional. On top of that, everyone at the K was so nice to me. It touched me so much, with thoughts of my lovely friend Susan never far away, that I had to fight back tears a couple times.

So I spent my hour before the game really just being sad.

My friend Jess was on her way. Before she arrived I was sitting by a woman there with her young son and mom. We bonded immediately and had a fun time. She made me laugh and I felt less sad.

It wasn't until the end of the game, when we were leaving, that I thought about the World Series trophy. I wanted to see it. I needed to see it. We made our way over to it, only to discover that viewing it ends in the 8th inning.

I was randomly in Kansas, and had been at the stadium for a whole hour before the game started, and didn't think until the game was over to see the trophy. And by that time it was too late. It made me sad. So I took a photo of me with the photo of the trophy.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Shining

I've sort of seen The Shining before. I watched it with a then-boyfriend eleven years ago the night before Halloween. I sorta dozed between the beginning the end, and really only remember the opening scene of the car winding up the mountainside, and the final chase through a snow-covered maze.

I missed a lot. As I found out today when I checked out the TCM Big Screen Classic's screening of it. It's a Stanley Kubrick film based off a Stephen King novel, so clearly it's a bit weird. The film's initial story is innocent enough - wannabe-writer Jack Torrance takes a job as the winter caretaker of a hotel in the Rockies. The hotel closes down in the winter because it would be much too costly to keep the road to the hotel plowed during the winter months, hence the need for a caretaker. A caretaker who will be there all by themselves for five months. Jack, though, will have his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny.

A month in, things get strange. Really strange.

What Kubrick excels at is creating an atmosphere of creepiness. And he does it with all the tools at his disposal - music, mise en scene, set design, cinematography.

Let's start with music. The music makes the film. With out it, nothing would feel as creepy as it is supposed to. And it's not just regular-scary-movie music; it's distinct and deeply jarring. Musical cues can sometimes be annoying (see my take on music in Terms of Endearment), but they work well in The Shining because that atmosphere of creepiness is integral to the film.

The staging of the scenes, mise en scene, is crucial. I love all the tracking shots, especially as the camera follows Danny on his big wheel. It's a disorienting view point.

The set design adds a lot to the film. Think about the red bathroom. Or the carpet. Or the green bathroom. The hotel design has a lot of inconsistencies, which Kubrick did intentionally to disorient viewers. Hallways come out of nowhere. Windows are placed where they wouldn't exist in a real building. The large ballrooms would not fit in that size of hotel.

Apparently Stephen King wasn't happy with the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. According to him, audiences see Nicholson and expect him to be a bit creepy/off balance. So the decent of Torrance into crazytown isn't as unexpected as it should be. And I kind of agree with him; Jack Nicholson comes with actor-baggage. The kid who plays Danny, though, is amazing. For being just five, he successfully mesmerizes as the kid who "shines". The look of terror on his face when he's at the bottom of the window that his mom has gotten him out of is just so real.

This movie is cuh-reepy. Classicly so.

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