Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fowl Beasts

Okay, here's Chai:

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Here are some of the others being led back to the corral after the ride -

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- and here are some before the ride:

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I've been house- and pet-sitting with my sisters since I got back from Colorado. We do this every now and then for a family when they go on vacation. They have goats, pigs, chickens, guinea fowl, seven dogs (five inside, two out), and a cat. We've been living on their popsicles and ice cream bars [slight exaggeration], coming up with more elaborate blockades to keep the pigs from escaping (which they keep doing), trying to keep the dogs from killing the guinea fowl when they get inside the fence, disposing of the one they got a hold of, collecting chicken eggs, sharing a bed with a three-legged pug who snores and a basset hound/beagle mix who sticks his tongue out when he sleeps, and watching lots of TV and movies. It's fun, aside from being slowly eaten alive by mosquitoes and the occasional ant every time we go outside.

I'm of the opinion that guinea fowl are some of the dumbest animals in creation, dumber than chickens. One repeatedly tried to fit through the holes in the chain-link fence. Obviously, only its head went through. Two or three perched on top of the fence. I ran toward them yelling, "Be gone, fowl beasts!" (I didn't want the dogs to eat them) (P.S. - Fowl is for birds. Foul is the way your gym socks smell. I was being punny) but they just looked at me for a few moments before hopping off. They have three now that one is deceased. They travel around the yard in a pack. Hopefully Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli won't take offense at the fact I've been referring to the guinea fowl by those names.

I did write a decent-sized second entry about the Moot, getting to the more personal aspects of it, but I'm not sure if I'll post it. I'll have to think about it some more. Here's a picture I took of the campfire.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moot Points

This post may or may not be very intelligible. I'm back from the Moot. It was one of the best weeks of my life. Never have I so felt at home as I did there. We're an eclectic group of people from California, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, etc., brought together by our interest in writing, and when we hang out friendships click and cliques don't exist. It's amazing. I've never felt so comfortable with a group of people before. I love them so, so much.

August 4th. I had a smooth airport experience the day I flew to Denver. MOTS picked me up. We talked about movies and watched amusing YouTube videos (Julian Smith FTW) at her house until her sister Dolphin got home. Their parents took us to eat at Chipotle's because a beautiful storm was going on and the power kept going out so they couldn't cook dinner. We watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who season 4 when we returned and then went to bed.

August 5th. MOTS, Dolphin, and I drove toward Colorado Springs to meet up with the other CPeeps. It was a beautiful drive. I love the scenery in Colorado. We met in a unique little town with dreadlocked hippies playing guitar on every corner. It was somewhat overwhelming seeing everyone. Most I'd met before, but there were a handful of people I'd only spoke to online. Two of my Georgia friends and I went off a bit and I stopped shaking and started easing into the group. We had a good time at the park and walking around the town. We returned to the pavilion in the park to break up to our various host homes. It started pouring rain. The pavilion was down an incline and the water started pouring in. We ended up standing on the benches while we waited for our rides and then ran out into the rain to get to the cars. I had my cloak on, so I didn't get very wet.

Curritigris, Feowin, Anywhere and I stayed at Yellow Leader and Blue Monkey's house in the Springs. We played Whonu and Nertz and roasted marshmallows over a fire outside. Blue, Any and I trickled back inside as Feo and the boys discussed church denominations around the fire. They came in shortly to watch The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with us (a favorite among Clean Place members). I don't think any of us made it to the halfway point before going to sleep.

August 6th. Everyone eventually made it to the park where we filmed a movie with MOTs and Elder Fern directing. It's about a group of writers whose words are stolen by villains with names such as Passive Voice, Adverbs, Dream Sequence, Monologue, and Semi-Colon. The writers have to communicate using pictures and hand motions as they go on a quest to get their words back. I played one of the writers and the shoes of one of the villains (Yep. There's a shot with just my feet and the weapon of mass restriction, because I wore a pair of black, silver-buckled boots). We'd just finished up when it started raining and an impressive lightning storm went on over the mountains.

My group went back to Yellow Leader and Blue Monkey's house and watched The Deep (a documentary on the deepest reached part of the ocean). There were some fascinating creatures featured. Then we headed off to the mall to hang out with Balto (a member who lives in Colorado Springs but couldn't attend the rest of the Moot). We ate supper in the food court (yay Chinese food), went to a nicely nerdy store where we bought a Disney princess poster to send home to Maranar (his Clean Place-member sisters came to the Moot, but he couldn't make it this year. Yes, he's a guy, and we bought him a princess poster), and explored Borders, where we ended up reading aloud from Jonathan Acuff's Stuff Christians Like, a hilarious book. We signed the poster in the parking lot, went back to the house, and I went to sleep.

August 7th. We met at Mangycat's church and drove up the mountain. I was in Legolas's car with Elraen and Anywhere. It started smoking partway up the mountain so we stopped. There were some strangers driving up right in front of us and they stopped when we did and came over and said not to drive it until it cooled down because it was way overheated. MOTS and the crew in her van pulled up behind us and took Elraen and I the rest of the way up while Legolas and Anywhere stayed to take care of the car. Everyone settled in to their rooms in the lodge. I roomed with MightiMidget, Bree, Daeriel, Telpenen, and Dolphin. We got a rundown of plans and such, went for a walk, split into a few critique groups, and had a devotional that Rivus led. The rest of the night was spent with one group playing a language learning game called "Where Are Your Keys" and the other watching some member-made movies and such. I spent most of it photographing the group playing WAYK. I got some nigh-epic pictures. The point of the game aside from learning foreign languages is to be as ridiculous as possible to have as much fun as possible, so some very interesting facial expressions and hand motions were made. Whenever you have an "Aha!" moment during the game, when you figure out what something means, you have to throw your arms in the air and yell, "How fascinating!" It spread like a virus through the Mooters and was used over and over again in multiple circumstances.

The other days are something of a blur of wonderful people and moments. There was open mic night, where people sang and played instruments and danced and contact juggled and read poetry and read from Tolkien's The Children of Hurin. There was the play that some of the members put on, a musical with songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Fiddler on the Roof rewritten to apply to Clean Place members ("Cloakmaker, cloakmaker, make me a cloak"). We went hiking, climbed rocks, and did swing, two-step, and barn dancing. There were writing workshops and speakers (Scott Meyers, Jeff Gerke) and one of our members did a seminar on creating languages. During Mr. Gerke's talk, he said something that inspired everyone to simultaneously do the "How fascinating!" thing and I think we startled him rather badly.

We made up collaborative stories and haiku. I finally got to watch Stargate SG-1 with Mightimidget (life goal there, since before she left the site, we were Clean Place's biggest Stargate nerds). A group of us watched the 2003 live-action Peter Pan movie and made hilarious comments about how creepy it is. We played Dutch Blitz late at night and ended with a spontaneous, ab-hurting-laughter-inducing round of 52 Pickup.

One afternoon, the four of us who really wanted to go horseback-riding (which included me) got to go on a trail ride. The ranch's horses are absolutely gorgeous. Dolphin rode a lovely, light-colored palomino named Annie. Elraen rode a white-with-brown-spots appaloosa named Bill. Younger Fern rode a cute, short, dark brown horse named Cocoa. And I rode Buttermilk, a dark palomino stallion. The two ranch hands rode Chai, a chesnut, and a tall, dark bay whose name I didn't catch. It was so much fun riding along with a forest of aspens on either side, wildflowers and high, green grass, and the mountains looming up all around us. The terrain got pretty rocky at times. We got to canter up a steep hill once. Buttermilk tended to pull to the outside of Cocoa, the horse directly in front of us, so some of the skin got scraped off my knee by a tree. He kept trying to pass Cocoa so I held him back, and he kept reaching down for a mouthful of grass as we went along. I learned to pull his head up and give him a kick, so he only stopped the first time. It just added to the experience. I wouldn't change any of it. I loved it. I did think Buttermilk was a girl for a while because of his unmanly name. Poor laddy.

I took these pictures of him.

With the bay, right after the ride:

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That (Wednesday) evening, when the whole group was having a campfire a short distance from the corral (I was majorly distracted by the horses for the first part of the evening):

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A photo I took during the ride - that's Annie, Bill, and Cocoa (our guide was just ahead, out of the picture):

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Another, with a glimpse of the mountains and the back of Buttermilk's head:

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Me on Buttermilk, a picture Younger Fern took over her shoulder without looking, hence the blurriness:

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The helmets were required and turned out to be quite handy due to all the tree branches that would have been in our hair without them. I really, really, really like horses, in case you couldn't tell. I'll stop here with the pictures of them or I'd end up posting a gazillion. Well...okay...here's one more. This is Annie.

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And here's Cocoa.

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Oh look, there's Bill...

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I can't leave Chai out, can I?

Okay...yes, I can...must...stop.

Anyway. The Moot was fantastic. I knew I was going to have a good time, but it surpassed my expectations. It was a huge blessing. I'm going to stop here and write more about it later so I don't end up with a novel-length entry about it. I've been working on this post for a few days in between going through my 1,058 pictures from the Moot, so no promises on when the next one will be ready.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Suburba

House of Heroes' new album, Suburba, is available to download for $3 on Amazon.com here and includes an Amazon MP3-exclusive track. I'm not sure how long this offer is good for.

House of Heroes is one of my favorite bands. :) I've twice seen them in concert.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Okay. I really need to stop blogging for a time. Which is convenient, because I have to anyway. I'm flying to Colorado on the 4th and from the 7th to the 12th I won't have internet access to speak of. I return on the 12th and right after that my sisters and I'll be farm-sitting for some friends for a week and a half. I will have internet access there but I don't know how much I'll use it.

I'm a little excited about the Colorado trip (I'm not very excitable. At all. So a little excited is a lot excited for me). I'll be spending a week at a ranch in the mountains with a little over 20 other eccentric teenagers who are my best friends. We'll be doing writing workshops, critique groups, a play, a talent show, playing games, riding horses, talking as much as socially-challenged writers who converse more with the characters in their heads do, etc. Great. Now it sounds like rehabilitation for the insane. I assure you that we're all mentally sound, at least comparatively speaking.

I think my next writing goal is to finish the sci-fi story I wrote earlier this year. It's pretty short, so I might post it here when I'm done. I want to rewrite scene 5 and finish scene 6.

Yes, I listened to John Denver when I was a kid.