Daydreams of: Mayan’s Regret

Steve woke up in the middle of his yard.  A hammer pounded his head as a dead fish lay on his tongue.  Tire tracks dug in convulsive circles in his lawn.  His new Prius lay on its roof and was crumpled as paper.  Smelling smoke, he turned to notice the burnt remains of what was the house he was renting.

Half dazed, half asleep Steve muttered, “I guess the world didn’t end after all.”

An elderly lady pushing a cart of discarded cans shuffled up to him and smiled.  “Good morning, lover.”

Ketchup with us: A Christmas Tradition

Michele and Mel are at it again and as usual, I’m a wee bit late.  This time, the lovely dynamic dual would like us bloggers to talk about one of our Christmas traditions in 57 words or less.  So here it goes!

My wife is a little down this Christmas year.  Our house is filled with piles of items usually hidden under the missing kitchen cabinets.

My not so secretive plan is to set up theses decorations and bring the full Christmas experience to her while she is out Friday night.

After all, it is a Christmas tradition.

Shh.

olddognewtits.com

Daydreams of: A Peaceful Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The shower walls were rubble on the floor.  The hollow sound echoed through the door.

With pots and pans were strewn all around.  There was nary a dish easily found.

The cabinets were in such disrepair, we hoped that the carpenters soon would be there.

The drills, the sanders, the hammers did fall.  Above it all was the cry of the saw.

But through it all we did preserver with hopes that new cabinetry soon would appear.

Through two weeks of dust, noise, and surprise.  Our new kitchen and bathroom appeared before our eyes.

We waved tiredly as they drove out of sight.  Merry Christmas too all, and now good night.

Thoughts of: Hurray for the Hobbit car or a bright little Sunbeam

Sometimes you discover lost treasures when you least expect it.  A few hours ago I was going through various posts from fellow bloggers over at the Trifecta Challenge when I was stopped dead in my tracks.  Imogen Shepard, author of Diary of a “Sensitive Soul’ , wrote about her Chrysler Sunbeam and the tragedy of losing that faithful companion.

Her words and the picture of that little Sunbeam made me think of all the small cars that have entered or influenced our lives in one way or another.  I remember my mother’s first and only work car, a Chevrolet Chevette. About the size of the modern day VW Golf, this car was rear wheel drive and had a very nice two tone paint job that made it look more expensive than it really was.  GM soon replaced it with the “J-car” platform known as the Cavlaier, Sunbird, Firenza, Cimmaron, and Skylark.  Chrysler modified the Sunbeam for America and named it the Omni and the Horizon.  Available in four doors only, they reminded me of the VW Rabbit more that the sleeker Sunbeam.  Ford had the mega hit of the 80s with its Escort and Lynx.  Honda had the Civic.  Mazda had the 323. Toyota had the Corrola.  Nissan had the Sentra.  These were not the first small cars in our country but they marked a time when the small car made a large statement to the world.  It was also a way for manufacturers to reach their federally mandated CAFÉ standards.

There is an inherent magic in these little cars that is hard to find in larger automobiles.  Their set weights and dimensions give them a playfulness that reminds you of a puppy more than an inanimate object.  Aimed at a younger market, the designers are free to play around and add personality to these vehicles without harming any set reputation.  Commercials were created showcasing the fun and free lifestyle of owning them.  Given everything, is it any wonder why so many people formed such personal bonds with these light, little cars?

Some of these cars had amazing lives as well.  Dodge used some of their Neons in a celebrity challenge in the Grand Prix circuit.  Used three cylinder GEO Metros and Suzuki Swifts became Group-A style rally cars in the Colorado mountains.  Other small cars skipped the cones fantastic in multiple autocrosses on weekends all over the country.  These little cars did more road dancing than most muscle cars did.  They got fewer tickets doing it, too.

Today the torch has been passed on to cars with names of Fiesta, Dart, Sonic, Accent, 3 series, and Fit.  They are still nimble.  They are still small.  They are still fun.  That’s the best part of all.

So take a moment and revel in the fact that the hobbit of the car world are still around to enchant and enjoy.

And thanks to Imogen and her Sunbeam for inspiring me to write this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daydreams of: Anticipation

A walk around the house.

“Is it here?”

She sniffs the air for a familiar scent.

“Where did it go?”

A door opens, she scoots outside to the porch.

“There it is!”

Her chin rests on the edge of a hard, plastic chair as her eyes stare longingly at the worn nylon strap.  Breathing deep, she drinks in the scent.  Her mind runs.

Out of the house.  Out from the walls.  Onto the grass. Down the road.  Smell the new smells.  Hear the new sounds.

She turns to look at me.

“Can we go?”

My entry for the Trifecta challenge where the word is Anticipation.

3 a: visualization of a future event or state
 b: an object or form that anticipates a later type

Thoughts of: The 2013 Python Challenge

 

There are monsters hidden in the swamps of Florida.  No, I’m not talking about the native alligators that prowl in the night.  Nor am I talking about the water moccasins, diamondback rattlers, or coral snakes.  I’m talking about pythons.  Ball, Burmese, and North African.  Non-native species that have proliferated and now threaten the native wildlife.  They’re big monsters, too.  Average size is over five feet long, reaching over fifteen feet long and are able to eat full grown alligators.  (Sometimes with devastating indigestion.  I’ll let you look up the picture.)

Burmese Python in the Everglades

Ball Python

14 foot long North African python

They’re not alone either.  They’ve also brought their friends, the green and the yellow anaconda.  They like the weather too.

green anaconda

yellow anaconda

Sounds like a bad B-rates sci-fi/horror flick doesn’t it?  It’s not, but it has the potential to be.

Enter the 2013 Python Challenge.

From January 12th to February 10th, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission will host a registered harvest event of these invasive snakes.  Basically an open hunt.  If you are over the age of 18 all you have to do is take the online training (a PDF tutorial on snake identification), pay the $25 entrance fee, and register.  If you are under 18, you must get parental permission, have a valid Florida Hunter’s License, and management area permit in addition to the items listed for those over 18.

Don’t think that you can hunt just anywhere though.  The FWC has three specified areas for the harvest and serious repercussions if you hunt outside of them.

Like all great hunting events, there is money to be made at the Python Challenge.

$1500 award for the highest amount harvested.

$1000 award for the largest python killed.  (They say captured, but they also say do NOT trap and transport any live pythons.)

FWC already has a company on hand to buy their choice of skins at $80 to$100 per skin or tan any skin the hunter chooses to keep.  Yes the tanning will cost the hunter extra.

This is where scene of Jaws jumps into my mind.  You know, the one where all the fishermen invade the island in order to kill the shark and claim the prize.  They bounce off each other, chumming willy-nilly, and tossing dynamite into the water without even a hint of a shark nearby.  Now throw into that mix the cast of Swamp People speaking in their regional colloquialisms as they tool around in the everglades, and one or two utterly demented people who feel this overwhelming urge to, “be one with the snake” and swim with it in its natural habitat.  If this doesn’t sound like a poorly written horror flick, I don’t know what does.

The truth is that while there will always be a certain number of idiots who get lost, suffer dehydration, or do something utterly stupid, most of the hunters will be responsible, practical people and will act accordingly.  They will protect the native wildlife, have some great stories to tell, and maybe make a few bucks as well.

When it comes to the pythons and anacondas themselves, I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a little torn on the subject.  These snakes did not come here of their free will.  They were dropped off and abandoned by irresponsible, idiot owners who were too lazy to try to sell or drop off their unwanted pet to the pet store or animal shelter.  These abandoned “pets” reproduces and now their offspring are trying to survive without realizing they are destroying the native habitat.  We get to deal with the consequences of the actions from those that will never have to pay for their irresponsibility.

The hunt itself might well be the fairest hunt I can think of.  True the snakes aren’t packing heat, but while the hunters are focused on the pythons and anacondas, they have to keep an eye out for the other hunters out there.  Venomous snakes like the water moccasin and diamondback rattler as well as the all the alligators roaming around in the hunting zones.  This might be the one place where the hunter is also the hunted.

water moccasin

eastern diamondback rattlesnake

Florida alligator

 

Florida and FWC have made it clear that every snake is to be killed humanely and that there will not be a party at the end of the challenge, but an unceremony where they educate the public of the dangers of invasive species and the threat they pose to the native habitat.

In the end, the defining moment in this possible monster movie is the fact that we caused these monsters to arrive in the first place.