Category Archives: bugs

Fascination

I am falling apart. My health is poor and continuing to fail. My memory is suffering from an inability to remember the names of things. I find myself in the kitchen having gone in for a specific purpose, and not being able to remember what that purpose was. That is not to say I am not coping. I have quite a lot of adaptability and significant problem-solving skills. But that will eventually become a losing battle. Especially if I get the virus… any virus. So, what am I going to talk about with a dissolving brain and an hourglass of lifeforce swiftly running out? Fascination. I am fascinated by the details of the process. Like Mr. Spock, I find practically everything, “Fascinating!”

Birds and butterflies

My childhood fascinations turned into obsession first around natural things. When my mother would go to Vey Osier’s Beauty Salon, Vey had this fascinating parrot that was probably a hundred years old and knew how to swear really, really foully. I remember that being the only reason I was willing to go there and wait for Mom to get her hair fussed up (What my Grandpa Aldrich, her father, used to call it.)

I remember waiting for hours to hear that bird say the magic F-word or the horrible S-word. Or even the zillion other bad words I didn’t know anything about when I was seven. And, of course, I never did. The bird was mute the whole time during who-knows-how-many visits. But I did get to look endlessly at that green parrot’s amazing nutcracker bill that Vey always assured us would snap our fingers off like biting a salted pretzel if we got them anywhere close to the bill.

And when I was nine I was given as a present a plastic model kit of a Golden-Crowned Kinglet (the bird in that first picture). My relatives knew I was a burgeoning artist since my teachers constantly complained about all the skeletons, crocodiles, and monsters I drew in the margins of my school workbooks. So, I had a plastic bird to paint with all the necessary paints, but no idea what the bird looked like. We had to go all the way to Mason City to Grandma Beyer’s house because we called up there and checked, and, sure enough, there was a colored picture in the K volume of her Collier’s Encyclopedia. I painted it so accurately, the danged thing looked almost alive.

And if you have ever seen any of my butterfly posts, you know I became a butterfly hunter before ever entering junior high school, where Miss Rubelmacher, the rabid seventh-grade science teacher, made that obsession a hundred times worse. (She didn’t actually have rabies, just a reputation of requiring excessively hard-to-find life-science specimens like a nasturtium that bloomed in October in Iowa, or a Mourning Cloak butterfly.

I was able to find for her numerous Red-Spotted Purples like the one in the picture. I got them off the grill of Dad’s Ford, as well as in Grandpa Aldrich’s grove. And I eventually caught a pair of Mourning Cloaks as well on Grandpa Aldrich’s apple trees, though not until summer after seventh grade was over for me. I could tell you about my quest to catch a Tiger Swallowtail, too. But that’s an entirely different essay, written for an entirely different thematic reason.

Needless to say, my bird fascination led me to become an amateur bird-watcher with a great deal of useless naturalist information crammed into my juvenile bird-brain about birds. Especially Cardinals. And my fascination with butterflies opened my eyes to a previously invisible world of fascinating and ornately-decorated bugs. (Of course, I should’ve said “insects” instead of “bugs” since I absolutely did learn the difference.) And I still to this day know what a Hairstreak Butterfly looks like, what a Luna Moth is (Think Lunesta Commercials,) and how you have to look at the underside of the lower wings to correctly identify a Moonglow Fritillary Butterfly.

During my lifetime, my fascinations have become legion. I became obsessed with the comic books done by artist Wally Wood, especially Daredevil. I became obsessed with Disney movies, especially the animated ones like The Rescuers, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. I rode the bucking bronco of a fascination with the Roswell Crash (and the actual alien space ships I am almost certain the U.S. Army recovered there.) And so many other things that it would make this essay too long, and would probably bore you into a death-like coma. So, here’s what I have learned by being fascinated with my own fascinations;

  1. You do not want to play me in a game of Trivial Pursuit for money, even now that my memory is like swiss cheese.
  2. I have a real ability to problem-solve because I know so many useless details that can be combined in novel ways to come up with solutions to problems.
  3. I can write interesting essays and engaging novels because I have such a plethora of concrete details and facts to supplement my sentences and paragraphs with.
  4. It can be really, really boring to talk to me about any of my fascinations unless I happen to light the same color of fire in your imagination too. Or unless you arrived at that same fascination before I brought it up.

Leave a comment

Filed under birds, bugs, commentary, humor, imagination, insight

Bedbug Crazy Planning

It occurs to me, (usually suddenly in the middle of the night making me leap out of bed with a light bulb over my head that tends to evaporate if I don’t write it down), that you may not be able to make much sense of the order of my posts, or the way that I leap from one pond frond paragraph of ideas to another with nary a bridge over troubled water between them.  The phrase, “Crazier than a bedbug” may have just leaped into your head.  If it didn’t, then I didn’t do a very good job of planting it there just now with this loony opening paragraph and my witlessly wired title for today’s post.

The problem probably begins with seeing the world as I see it.  As in, “Nobody sees the world the way you do, Mickey!”  For example, look closely as this picture of me cooking breakfast and pointlessly taking a picture of it. See the star I am cooking?

20171219_065503

Really?  You don’t?  How about now?

20171219_065503b

Still don’t see it?  Well, let me try once more with my artsy-craftsy weird Pythagorean math religion skills to make you see it so you know what the heck I am talking about.

20171219_065503bc

Still don’t understand about me cooking stars in the morning for breakfast?  Well of course you don’t. You don’t think like a bedbug.  I read an article about needing protein for the first meal of the day to help diabetes and your thinking parts work like a well-oiled machine.  Err… well, like a well-oiled sausage, then.  And I see stars while I am cooking, because my mind works like that.

20171221_091829

So, what does the expression “Crazy as a bedbug” mean, anyway?  Well, if you have ever seen a bedbug crawling on your quilts at night… first of all, poor you!  I hope it didn’t bite you more than once… but the bedbug seems to travel on all sixes in totally random directions, suddenly stopping, backing up, and then curly-cuing onward in its bizarre little paisley-patterned way.  It is unpredictable.

My writing journey has been more or less like that.  The first novel I completed was Superchicken, set in the year 1974, in my hometown, Spring and Summer.  Then the first hometown novel I published, Catch a Falling Star, was set in 1990, Summer, in my hometown and on Mars.  Then I finished the novel Snow Babies, set in 1984, December, in my hometown during a blizzard.   I went back to the future… um, a past future… with Magical Miss Morgan, set in the 1989-90 school year in the little town where I went to junior high and high school.  It will soon be published by Page Publishing.  I published Stardusters and Space Lizards, set in 1991, entirely in outer space, but with characters from my hometown on board the space ship, on Amazon Kindle Publishing this last November, followed closely by Snow Babies, published in the same place with the same publisher.  I am now working on The Baby Werewolf, set in Fall of 1974 in my home town again.  So my writing journeys through time in total bedbug fashion.

What, then, am I planning to write this weekend and during the holiday?  I can promise you, I won’t know until tomorrow… if then.

5 Comments

Filed under autobiography, bugs, goofy thoughts, humor, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Saturdays With Gingerbread

20161126_193627

This is the pen and ink start of an illustration of the novel I am working on, Recipes for Gingerbread Children.

I admit that my obsession with the benefits of gingerbread is mostly in my head.  Specifically, in my sinuses.  I find products with ginger in them, diet ginger ale, ginger teas, and especially gingerbread cookies, help reduce the tightness in my COPD-laced lungs, clear my sinuses, and make breathing mercifully easier.  Gingerbread cookies are also seasonally wonderful in that they are slightly Christmassy and help bring my family together.

20161119_185630

So, yesterday, a Saturday, my daughter the Princess and I executed a perfectly evil plan to commit evil acts of gingerbread and whip up some wicked little gingerbread men in a frenzy of deliciously evil bakery.

Okay, maybe not evil exactly…  but I have diabetes and the Princess desperately wants to lose some weight, neither condition being one that benefits by having the temptation of wicked little gingerbread men around.

c360_2016-11-26-18-01-40-653

And, as with any evil plan, many things proceeded to go awry.  We did not have any actual flour available to make the gingerbread dough less butter-and-egg sticky.  All we had was some corn starch… which had bugs in it.  After struggling to craft sticky little bodies a few times, we decided to go ahead and use the tainted corn starch.  After all, a few little larvae that get overlooked and not picked out will only add a bit of extra protein, right?

c360_2016-11-26-18-13-49-510

And we had the added bonus that you can make just as much mess with corn starch and margarine as you can with flour and butter!

c360_2016-11-26-18-14-26-463

But we did get the corn-starchy little buggers baked.  (And they were probably literally buggers due to the potential for having bugs in them.  Oh well, it should fortify the old immune systems.)

c360_2016-11-26-18-30-20-236

The only decoration we had was chocolate frosting, since someone ate all the sprinkles and sugar dots we bought last year for the gingerbread house.  (Don’t look at me.  I have diabetes.)  So we frosted them, prompting the Princess to begin calling them “little burnt souls blackened in hell”.

c360_2016-11-26-18-32-54-887

So then the cookie cannibals could allow the eating to begin.

c360_2016-11-26-18-35-07-734

Mmmm!  Good cookie!

Okay, I know it looks like the Princess did all the work, and all I did was eat them.  But somebody had to do the hard work of taking all the pictures, right?

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under bugs, fairies, family, humor, illustrations, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The World is Buggy

I decided to share with you an old, old pencil drawing entitled “This Is an Insect’s World” because I am a little bit in the mood for crazy and bugs are driving me there.  Not Bugs Bunny, mind you, but real bugs.

bugworld

The main problem is the bizarre Texas weather year we are having this summer.  Spring was a constant drizzle-fest of rain and flash flooding.  Our cracked and broken-down swimming pool was clear full and a perfect breeding ground for bugs.  Fortunately I managed to find some anti-mosquito stuff to put in the pool to kill the squito-wigglers.  But unfortunately it also killed off the dragon fly larvae that do such a wonderful job of eating the bugs, tadpoles, and other small future-bugs that always infest a stagnant unused swimming pool.  So many wonderful creepy crawlies that we don’t usually get a lot of are now trying to get out of the August heat by coming indoors and cuddling up with the people and the family dog that are supposed to live here.  We have a virtual insect zoo inside the house.  Lovely carpet beetles wiped out two full boxes of Cheerios.  Moths are breeding in our closets.  Even mud-dauber wasps found their way into our bedroom to make my wife jump and screech and me have to catch a potential stinger-packing murderer in my hat and crush it and flush it.  (And I did it too, without getting stung, and only having the thing fly out of the toilet in my face to be batted back into the bowl only one time).

swallowtail

Now, of course, not all bugs are bad bugs.  Some are benign and some are even helpful in a live-in-the-garden-and-pollinate-the-flowers sort of way.   But the thing is, in this world we live in, they outnumber us by a hundred billion.  There are more bugs on this earth alive right now than all the people who have ever lived… and even will ever live on this planet for the duration of life on Earth.  Well, hopefully that is an exaggeration… but it isn’t by very much.

bug town

And bugs are an excellent subject for a surrealist like me.  They can be made into bug people or monsters with ease.  If you look at bugs really closely, they are absolutely hideous alien beings that frighten the bejeezus out of normal people.  (I am not trying to suggest bug enthusiasts are not normal, but I used to collect butterflies as a kid and I can assure you they are not.)  So, this is my totally buggy essay replete with buggy Paffoonies, and that is almost all I have to say about that.  But let me end with a nod to Max Fleischer and his animated surrealist masterpiece, Hoppity Goes to Town.

Dang!  That sure is full of bugs!

1 Comment

Filed under bugs, humor, Paffooney