Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visited By The Wrath Of Cadillac

See this thing?

It hates me. Hates me with the fire of a thousand suns. Hell, in this picture it's even scowling at me.

A wonderful gift from my sister, who was getting something newer, we got the Cad just before we moved. When it was my sister's it was a lovely, perfectly running machine that purred along in typical Cad style for many years. She pampered it and took great care of it so it lasted.

Since coming to live with us it has endured a *slight* fall down the social ladder and several less-than-elegant projects. Moving, for one thing--and that meant the Cad got to haul all manner of things, right down to junk from the garage. In the trunk, the back seat, you name it. It also got to transport bags of feed and some of our animals. It has flown up and down highway 395 so much in the last 2 months that we've worn a groove in the roadway between here and our old place. Climbing mountains is especially hard on the old girl, and she does NOT like doing it at all.

She endured it as long as she could, then she decided to fight back. First on the list was multiple organ failure--but in odd ways. The heater doesn't work. In winter, tra la la. The speedometer suddenly started to either rapidly flip back and forth between 20 and 70 while you drive or just stick at 45. The hood won't stay up on it's own and the trunk light burnt out. The trip odometer ignores requests to reset.

Then she upped the ante.

The driver's side electric window will only go up and down at a snail's pace--and an old, slow snail at that. Two of the window buttons on the driver's side have come off completely and got stuck in the glove box until we can have them repaired so they STAY. Both back window buttons have failed and the things can only be rolled down from the driver's seat. The lock on the driver's side door whimsically only unlocks with the key when IT wants to, which is 'seldom'. The front passenger side window failed completely in the 'down' position--one day before a snowstorm--and J. had to dissect the door to get to the switch and get it to roll up again. Since then it fell down about 3 inches and the open window is now stuffed with newspaper until the weather clears and J. can take the door apart again to fix it, again.  To add insult to injury, the other day we had to drive it somewhere and some teens in another car were laughing and taking pictures of this ridiculous temporary fix.  I really couldn't blame them, we grimaced and posed in chagrin.

Every time we figure a work-around for the latest auto tantrum, she pops off with a new one. The other day the kid complained that the passenger side back door was refusing to open. I tested it and she's right. The passenger side sun visor suddenly landed in my lap the other day. I stuck it back on but I could see it was only temporary. The map lights on the ceiling like to suddenly come on--whether the car is on or not-- and remain on until you thump them enough times to beat them into submission.

Mechanically though, it runs great. It's just kinda slowly dissolving. I just hope it lasts long enough to get us settled in our new home, when we'll have the time to take it in and get all these little weird things fixed.

More Origami and Odds & Ends...

Some new stuff...doily doves in various colors & sizes...

And some cute little tied bows!

Both the doves and bows will be great for Christmas.

Also, during our house hunting we came across this oddly-shaped front entry. It bothered me that it reminded me of something until I figured out what--

It looks just like the doorways for the long-vanished Krell race from the movie 'Forbidden Planet'! Hmm, I wonder if the Krell ever got to Carson City...?

Also, we got a chuckle out of these taxi cabs which are all over the Dayton/Moundhouse area...where the legal Nevada brothels are. These cabs run back and forth from the Reno airport to the brothels, that's all these particular ones do. Although riding in a bright screaming yellow brothel bus with huge ads on it isn't exactly inconspicious.  The huge windows that put the guys on display like a fish in a bowl are the icing on the cake.

Anyway, we got a juvenile giggle out of the license plate on this particular one.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Which Our Flatlander Poultry First Experience Snow

OK, we've been waiting for the first snowfall. Even though the chickens are in the barn and so cannot experience white stuff actually falling out of the sky on them, we still thought their reaction to it would be fun. So the kid and I scooped some up and took it into their indoor run.

At first it got the hairy eyeball, like anything new and different does.

But then they had fun with it, climbing through it, standing in it and pecking it, shaking their heads after in confusion.

It wasn't the complete bewilderment I expected from them, more of a 'What's this...? Meh.' reaction. But just wait till they are out in their first snowfall!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yerington, Future Ghost Town

Today we went out to look around Yerington as a possible place to live. I remembered it from years ago as a cute, small community tucked back out of the way.

It still is today, but since the HUGE, old, open-pit abandoned copper mine got designated a SuperFund cleanup site years ago, Yerington has been slowly dying since then. It's a shame too, since it was a lovely valley with agriculture all around--mostly cattle and alfalfa fields. It struck us as so odd the day we were there, and the home prices so low, that we checked it out online.

Wow. Literally every superbad, toxic thing you can think of is polluting Yerington. Right down to about 6 different kinds of radioactive horrors. It's in the ground, water and air. They even have to have bottled water shipped in for some of the residents.

Move there with a 12 year old child? Thank you, NO.

But our trip there wasn't entirely wasted, we got to see the town in it's not-so-arrested decay and the few people still there, and at least it gave us information on where NOT to look for a home.

The city water tanks...

The old drive-in...

One of the doors of the concession stand was kicked open, we didn't go in but I stuck the camera in and snapped a couple of pics. My guess on the age of the popcorn maker and freezer unit would be about mid-1960's.

Further into town was this awesome old abandoned brick building with two old gas pumps still standing--we were astounded some jerk hadn't made off with them yet.

People had even carved their names into the old, soft brick on the front of the buil--

HEY! Now that's just plain uncalled for.

We were puttering around, checking out this cool old building and telling the kid how the old gas pumps worked (marveling at 49 cents a gallon), when a man in the little park across the street called out to us, "Don't forget to check out the lady in the window!"

Huh? We looked up. And damned if there wasn't a lady in the window!

She is a happy accident, formed by the way the window broke. Very cool!

The corner sidewalk, still with it's street name inlaid.

We wave our thanks to the man and continue down the street.

Nothing on this old place is square anymore.

The last thing we see is one of those houses where the people have created weird and wonderful yard art. I can't decide if I like SpiderTurkey or RailroadDeadGhostCow best.

All in all, a fun day, even though it left us sad for Yerington.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How To Make A Zombie!

While I was making up the kid for Halloween I took some pictures of the various steps. The costume goes on first. Then the two-part rubber prosthesis is stuck to her face--in this case a fake pencil positioned to look like it was rammed through her face. Also I added a homemade prosthesis made out of latex and paper towel shreds, which looks nicely like her throat was ripped out. What can I say, middle school can be tough.

Next comes the first layer of makeup--shadows around the eyes, bruising around the wounds.

The trick to makeup is thinking about what real wounds look like--they are never just one color, they are shades of red, purple and yellow. And blending. Lord, do ya ever have to blend and blend and blend.

More detail, with white pancake applied all over and some veining on her forehead. By now she's getting into character and hamming it up a bit.

Final makeup touches, finished with white powder to set the makeup and some fresh blood--after all, zombies gotta eat.

My lil' zombie!

We drove into town to take her trick or treating, and decided that we would skip being zombies ourselves...we could just see getting in a traffic accident and scaring the crap out of the emergency responders. We did go to a casino coffee shop for dinner afterwards though, where the kid drew all kinds of attention. As we were getting ready to eat an older couple stopped by our table on their way out, the husband dropping a five dollar bill in front of our daughter and saying cheerfully, 'That's for scaring my wife so badly she almost threw up!' His wife stood behind him, nodding energetically and laughing. We all laughed and thanked them.

Yay, zombies! Next year we have to find ourselves a good zombie crawl and attend. Or heck, if we can't find one, we'll start one...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We love Halloween in our family, and since this year we were unable to do our annual Halloweencam thing, we settled for gussying ourselves up in our zombie best and shuffling over to the school carnival. Also, jack o' lanterns!

The kid and her loving father:

We had some time to kill (hurr) before the carnival started, so we went down to the local cemetery and crept around a bit.

Afterwards we went out and shambled around in front of the high school for a while, moaning and reaching towards cars as they sped by on the highway. People's reactions ranged from shocked stares to pointing and hysterical laughter. Heck, gives them something to think about and reinforces the 'small towns can be scary' thing.

We had a great time at the carnival and even won first place for 'Scariest' in the costume contest!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Road Trips & Stark Terror On The 8th Floor

Had to make a quick trip down to southern California to see my doctor, also to grab what I could from the storage unit. On the way down I stopped at the Coso Junction rest stop to toss some pork rinds to the resident ravens, which they LOVED. They hopped around jamming as much as would fit into their beaks. Also wandering amongst them in fine 'Which Does Not Belong' style was this little guy:

He completely ignored the ravens and the people who glanced his way and then did a double take. He just dashed around grabbing bugs out of the grass, perfectly happy.

Further down the road at Kramer Junction was this poor Arco sign, twisted and thrashed by the wind.

Somewhere along the line I left this little guy, who's crazy eyeballs were a happy accident and go with the quote perfectly.

I finally got into town and checked into my hotel, where I stayed on the 8th floor. Driving for 10 hours is tiring, so I was sleeping like a dead thing when I awoke to the clock radio's alarm, I'd drawn the blackout curtains so the room was full dark as I groggily sat up and reached for the radio.

It wasn't the radio making that noise.

Only one other thing in a hotel shrieks like that. The fire alarm.

As soon as I realized what it really was, and remembered that I was on the 8th floor, all my best cuss words started flowing. It's 5AM and I was more irritated than anything at first, griping, 'Of course. Of COURSE this would happen now' as I stumbled around trying to do all the right things you are supposed to do in a fire.

Looked out the window and listened. I DID hear a fire truck siren wailing, great. But don't see any flames or smoke. OK, that side of the hotel is likely not involved, that fact filed away in my head. I went to the door and felt it--it wasn't hot and no smoke was issuing from under it. I stood behind the thing and gently cracked the door, ready to slam it shut again. Nothing except the hallway fire alarms also screaming their brains out and the strobe light flashing. The hallway is murky with something hanging in the air, which is good enough for me, I'm outta here. No one else is around. I go to the phone and press the 'emergency' button...and get a recording which says cheerfully, 'Your session has expired' whatever the Hell that means in an emergency. When you think death is threatening you, 'expired' isn't the first word you want to hear.

So I break the world record for getting dressed and cramming my few things into my overnight bag. I grab everything and go back into the hallway, which by now is quiet and there STILL aren't any people around. Either everyone else is already out or they aren't bothering to evacuate. I decide to get my tail downstairs and after looking out the two hallways windows for signs of fire below, decide to chance the elevator, which works fine.

The lobby is quiet and no one is running around on fire and screaming, so I go to the front desk and inquire as to whether there is REALLY a fire on the 8th floor.

The guys actually laughs and says casually, 'Oh no, that's just the fire alarms in room 820 and 825--the steam from the showers sets off the room alarms and then if it gets into the hall the entire floor goes off.'

Oh. Ha, ha. How perfectly droll and amusing. Someone a few doors away from my room takes a hot shower and the fire system goes batshit.

I'm not laughing, and by now the adrenaline has well and truly kicked in and I'm shaking. I ask him how often this happens and he says that he's worked there for 6 months and it happens 1-2 times each and every week. He says, 'We're working with the fire department' because by now he's caught on that I'm NOT pleased and he's seeking to placate me at this point.

Since I've already had a middle of the night, honest-to-God fire scare in my own home, complete with a house full of smoke and having to haul my unresponsive child from her bed, I'm FAR from placatable. They hadn't even sent an employee up to check and see if it was just the fire alarms crying wolf, they just assumed it was the steam causing it again. The guy tells me I can go back up and go back to sleep. Ha, ha. Noooo, I think I'm awake for the day.

Suffice to say that when I returned home I emailed the hotel chain and let them know what was going on at this particular property.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Models!

Spent the last week working on some new origami models; a tom turkey and a dove made out of a round paper doily. I folded these, plus some spirals, to donate to my mom's Red Hat's craft booth this weekend at the Corley Ranch pumpkin patch. Unfortunately she decided at the last minute not to go, so I'm undecided what I'll do with these--either incorporate them into my 'Found Origami' project or I'll use the doves & spirals as package toppers at Christmas.

The turkeys are pretty cute, I used papers in fall colors.

I didn't make any real changes to these, just made sure to round out the tail a bit to make them more three dimensional.

Some spirals, large and small...

Lastly the doves, which I really like. The only doillies I could find were some cheap ones that weren't very lacey, but I like these so much I'll for sure be looking for better doillies to make more. The only change I made here was to flare outward & fluff the wings & tails so the doves looked a little more 'in flight' and realistic.

These are standing on their tails for the photo but are strung and ready to hang, I think they'd look nice on a Christmas tree!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Time!

Last weekend we went out to Corley Ranch, the local pumpkin patch. Back when I was in high school, we used to buy hay for our horses from this place, but then it was simply a residence and not the operation it is today. We spent hours there and had a great time, they had all kinds of fun stuff and everyone was very relaxed and friendly.

Not only tons of varieties of pumpkins, but weird & wonderful gourds, too. The kid's eyes popped and she kept wading into the vines and emerging with more strange gourds.

We got a ride on the horse-drawn carraige, pulled by a 32 year old fella named Chance.

Chance was a chill dude.

We told his handler that hands down, she had the best job on the farm.

The secret to making the pigs run that fast is out--Oreos!

They had a little train for the kids...

...which strangely, had a pig's face with, um...steer horns. YES, it was creepy.  I swear this thing watched me all day.

Milkweed plants were growing near the irrigation ditch and sending out seeds like mad.

On the way out we stopped at the shed that held all kinds of stuff. We came away with some kick-ass pumpkin butter and a jar of pomegranate-cranberry jelly. I offered to get J. some of the one on the right, but surprisingly he declined. We were amused by how similar they looked, and briefly toyed with the evil idea of switching labels.

OK, cue juvenile giggle:

Our haul for the day...

The photo doesn't do the biggest one justice, it's a monster. We may go back with grandma this weekend, her lady's group is going to have a craft booth there, I made some origami turkeys and spirals to donate.