The calendar flips as we start preparing for another yule tide cheer.
Except cheer we, or at least I, dont.
Another year to prepare for a hetic season of what to buy for who, who buys for who, and can I afford it yet again.
Growing up looking forward to Christmas year after year spoils the child into thinking Christmas is the best time of the year.
Then we grow up and realize, "Holy shit - I have to buy all this crap..." and what for who, etc.
The weeks leading up to this wonderful day are hampered with loads of traffic trying to find that one thing that can show that person just how much they love each other.
Rude people slamming their fists into the air and cursing an elderly person, trying to get to a doctor, because they have to wait a few minutes more to buy this love.
And that is what it is - buying love.
Having your teeth pulled seems easier during this time of the year.
Please doctor, admit me to the hospital for the first 25 days of December.
Another reason to plan a party.
Hell, when did anyone need a reason?
"Let's drink tonight"
"What are we celebrating"
"The fact that I didn't have a hangover this morning?"
Buy this, no that...give this, take that.
Even the most dysfunctional families stop being dysfunctional for one day to say Merry Christmas.
I suppose that is at least worth something.
But the media, the shopping media, presents the idea to the nation, nay to the world, that we need to buy more this year because the numbers were down the last.
How many stores would shrivel up and cease to exist because they floundered around all year expecting the holidays to make up their losses during the year?
Prolly a good few.
A friend of mine decided not to do Christmas this year, opting to stay from buying and celebrate Festivus instead.
Is that what we should go to?
Be patient, I have a point here somewhere.
Oh yeah, I remember now.
This Christmas was actually not as bad, but each Christmas seems more and more forced.
Mindless people doing what they have done for years and years.
I had to sit this year and watch someone open gifts with the giver sitting right there telling them how this was the most expensive kind and supposively the best on the market.
That is not what Christmas is about.
It is about giving a token to show that you are thinking about them this year.
Whether that token is part of your love you have broken off and offered or a meaningful gift that you know they will like.
It could just be money to help pay the bills that are inflated during the Christmas season.
It is about the children who need to learn the lesson of what Christmas really is - whether it is the birth of Christ - or just the simple lesson to love thy neighbor.
Not about how much we gave or spent.
I urge our generation to stop the meaningless practice of greed and start teaching just to be good to one another.
For the record, I am just a guilty as the next person. In my defense, I try to give from the heart.
Gluttony is strangling America..
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Maine and Back: Day 4, part two
From the Journal of Dobbah 5-31-04
I was a little sad to leave our little room 17 at the
We headed back to Acadia, and hit a few choice spots
for one final time before the trip home.
We decided to head back to Portland a little
differently than the way we arrived, and since we were
still on the lookout for the elusive Maine Bucket, we
stopped at Gift shops and General stores alike.(I was
starting to wonder if Xyon's mom was hitting the crack
Since the turbo had blown on our trip up Caddilac
Mountain, I was leaving a lovely blue trail of thick
smoke in our wake, and the hills were sucking the life
right out of my poor saab.
We started seeing signs for Bangor, and couldn't pass
it up. Seeing Stephen King's house was at the top of
“Excuse me, do you know the way to Stephen King’s house?”
It was a simple question. No hidden agenda to slight anyone’s attitude or to cause trouble. A question, one would think, that would be common to anyone living in Bangor, Maine, especially to a convenience store clerk. But you would be wrong and so were we.
The drive from Acadia National Park to Bangor was beautiful. The road, for the most part, was a two lane highway that traversed some of the oldest fringes of the Appalachian Mountains and led straight to Derry…err…Bangor.
The small, rolling hills were very similar to places in Tennessee and Xyon commented on this fact many times during the ride. In his mind, Xyon tried to picture what this drive would have looked like from above: The view rising above the car to reveal the tops of the Spruce/Fir trees, a bit farther out showing the ocean, East just a bit more but too far to see from the car, would be crashing into the rocky cliffs where the land ended; while, farther inland, the farmland stretching out with patches of forest blotching the green, rolling hills at selected intervals to the west. The Saab, represented on the sky map as a little speck, would be moving at a brisk pace Northeastward with a rose representing the final destination, the Tower of King Manor.
The road finally merged into a four lane highway and soon the gray SAAB glided off on the Bangor exit.
“Stop at that gas station. I would say just about anybody who lives here has to know at least the general direction of Stephen King’s house.” Goddess said as she was pointing to the store.
“Sounds good to me,” Dobbah said from behind the wheel of the car, “just don’t let me hit anyone while trying to get across this damn busy road.”
The car, safely pulled in the parking lot and came to a stop in front of the little store.
“I think Xyon should go in and ask directions.” Dobbah said with the utmost conviction.
“Me?” Xyon questioned as he was afraid that he would be nominated for this task. A task that had “let the tourist be embarrassed” written all over it. He was in no position to argue this point as Dobbah had graciously played an exceptional host over the past few days and, more importantly, they wouldn’t have been sitting in Bangor, Maine trying to find Stephen King’s house without her.
“Come on,” Goddess said, “I’ll go with.” The two headed inside leaving Dobbah dialing someone backing Portland on her cell.
The store was not impressive as far as convenience stores went. It was an old store with lots of open room; a look that many stores like this one had gone to in the late eighties with no hurry to update. The girl behind the counter was in a fierce conversation with her boyfriend or possibly one of her girlfriends talking about her boyfriend. She didn’t seem too pleased when Xyon interrupted her phone call.
“Excuse me, do you know the way to Stephen King’s house?” Xyon politely asked.
Being polite with a southern accent had gone a long way since Xyon’s arrival a few days back. One lady, in another convenience store had picked up on this right away. “Where are you from? Definitely not from around here.” The lady had said when Xyon had asked if they the cappuccino machine – which probably came out as caaapucheeenooo. Xyon, while working the coffee machine, had politely said, “Yes ma’am, I'm from Tennessee. I'm up visiting a friend in Portland. Your state is quite beautiful (beeauuuutifuuuul).” The lady had smiled and looked over to her co-worker, who had pointed out where the cappuccino machine was, and said, “Isn’t his accent cute!” They were both giggling as Xyon paid for his sweet coffee and as he was heading out the door said, “take a paper, they are free this morning.”
But this girl, she looked barely sixteen, was not so easily charmed. Instead, she continued with her conversation like no one had spoken. Goddess, who was waiting an answer as well, finally said, “Look. We are looking for Stephen King’s house. Do you know where it is?” It was all she could do to hide her irritation. The clerk, now irritated, finally looked up, said, “no I don’t,” and picked right back up with her conversation like she had never been apart from it.
The two got back in the SAAB, told Dobbah what happened, and they decided to go on to the next store they found to ask again. This was when a bit of clairvoyance was vividly shown from Dobbah. They had just passed a giant Paul Bunyon (and Babe) statue when Dobbah pulled in the left turning lane. The “Where you going?” question came from the shotgun position. It was one of two gifts that Xyon possessed – state the obvious or ask quick questions. “I just have a feeling I need to turn left here,” Dobbah said, not irritated in the least (or at least she hid it well). After they did so, they drove into a residential neighborhood and saw a guy riding his bike at the next intersection. “Ask that guy!” Goddess said as she pointed to a guy riding his bike toward the car at the intersection.
From the Journal of Dobbah 5-31-04
We gave up asking, and continued down the strip. I saw
a car turned left and followed. I usually have pretty
good intuition, so I went with it and headed up the
hill. I figured if I were Stephen King, I'd want to
live at the top of a hill like this(if I wanted to
live in Bangor at all).
Halfway up the hill, enter Sketchy Biker Dude. Gawdess
suggests we should ask him for directions, so I pull
up beside him at the curb.
"Excuse me, dude? Can you tell us how to get to the
Not only did we find out we were on the right track,
we got a little history from the dude with his long
hair, and bundled up in his flourescent jacket.
He was born in Spain, and used to party his ass off in
that house. of course, that was when Jimmy so and So's
parents owned it before they sold it the King of
Horror. The guy even had King as a teacher in high
school, and we found out that Mr. King passed him with
a 70, even though the guy should have failed(his
words, not mine)
We were too stoked to sit still, so we said our thank
you's and good-byes as we watched Mr. Sketchy Biker
Dude pedal off. We continued up the hill and found the
house exactly where the dude had said it would be.
After a good five minutes of listening to this kind person, who looked like he hadn’t done a lot since high school, the trio headed through the intersection and over the small hill that hid Stephen King’s house. The car came to a stop just in front of one of his iron cast gates that had iron spiders mixed in with the house number. Xyon jumped out of the car to get a couple of pictures while the gals waited patiently in the car. Xyon crossed the street to get a wider and farther out view of this beautiful house. After a couple of shots he started thinking what he would say if Sai King were to come outside and ask why he was taking a picture of his house. It looked like someone was home as the side gate was open and a car was visible near the house.
Xyon was trying to frame up another picture a when a loud horn sounded from the SAAB. Xyon thought to himself that he would have a lot to explain for if Stephen King came out and found him taking pictures of his house. At least he thought he would be a little upset about it. Seeing this, fairly big, bald headed guy taking pictures would cause anybody to get a little nervous, especially a person that achieved the popularity that Stephen King has. Xyon, who is nervous now and a bit bent out of shape, calmly but quickly walks back to where the SAAB was parked.
From the Journal of Dobbah 5-31-04
Xyon steps out of the Saab, armed with his trusty
digital Camera. Goddess and I opted for staying in the
car, where we proceeded to lose our shit. Xyon got
pictures of everything but the man himself. At one
point, I spotted him heading to the driveway, and I
half expected him to walk right up and knock on the
door. This caused me and Goddess to start frantically
waving him back, all the while laughing hysterically.
I sunk low in the driver's seat, and banged my head on
the steering wheel. HOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNK.
Not only did we smoke out Stephen King's quiet little
street, we honked the fucking horn. I could picture
him shaking his head from some window on the second
I think I even left a little rubber on his quiet
After a good laugh was had, the trio starts the long trip back to Portland. The stretches of silence kept growing as they progressed back to where they had come from.
Months before Xyon made the trip to Maine, his mother had made a simple request. She asked that he pick up a Maine Bucket. Apparently they were popular in Maine and Xyon figured that he would have no problem finding such a bucket. The trip thus far not only had not produced a “Maine Bucket,” but not a singular person Maine had the slightest idea what he was talking about. The day before the gang had searched every flea market, yard sale, and antique store they had come across with no luck. Xyon had one hope left – LL Bean. On the trip to the east coast of Maine, the group had passed through a small town called Freeport. This happened to be the home of LL Bean and they had almost stopped on the way but had elected to stop on the way back. Now that it was time to make that last journey on this long road trip there was almost a problem.
The long road trip was working on the group. The only thing keeping Xyon going was his excitement of being in Maine and the previous few hours. The other two were spent. The trip back was especially hard because the sun beat into the car the entire way back. Dobbah poor face got extremely red and Goddess didn’t sleep particularly well the previous night. When Xyon looked over at Dobbah as they neared Freeport, he noticed that she giving the good fight just to make it back to Portland. This made the request to stop in Freeport at LL Bean that much harder. Freeport was just outside of Portland for it to be a little longer than the trip to the store and Xyon knew that if they didn’t stop now, odds were that they wouldn’t make it back up the next day and which was his last in Maine.
From the Journal of Dobbah 5-31-04
The journey was winding down, we still hadn't found
the Maine Bucket, and the little grey Saab was ailing
We were on the highway now, for the last leg of the
trip. Xyon saw a sign for Freeport, and mentioned that
he would like to stop at L.L. Bean.
I'm afraid that Gawdess and I had Portland on our
minds, and even tried to dissuade him a little. But
stop we did, and dropped him off at the door, deciding
we would wait in the car. The poor guy was actually
going to try to cram all 3 floors into 5 minutes, and
I started to feel guilty. Gawdess and I headed inside,
stopping at a hot dog cart on the way in. The hot dog
sucked and the lemonade was worse. I was dumping my
waste of money in the trash when we spotted Xyon
heading back towards the car. We apologized for being
shmucks, and headed back inside, telling him to take
all the time he needs.
We split up at one point, and while Gawdess and Xyon
were in the shoe department, I headed to homegoods.
First thing I spotted was an unstained pine bucket
with a rope handle. No. Couldn't be.
I pick it up and see "Maine Bucket" stenciled on the
I head back to my friends and tell them to guess what
I was holding behind my back.
"Maine Bucket?!" Gawdess was correct, and I was
gloating I was so proud of myself.
Gawdess and I laughed at how we never even thought to
check Bean's, since by now it made all the sense in
the world it would be here, of all places.
I went with Xyon to the service desk while he shipped
his purchase back home. Mission accomplished.
We took some pictures of the B.A.B(Big-Ass Boot) on
the way out, and set out for Portland. Gawdess was
asleep in minutes.
With the Maine Bucket in the mail, the groups second wind almost used up they arrived back in Portland. Dropping Goddess off was the first line of business and making a beer run was the second. After the last two errands were complete, Xyon and Dobbah arrive back at her apartment famished. Xyon ordered a pizza from Pizza Hut and after it arrived, they get a call from Randy, Dobbah’s brother.
“Yea, we’ll be over in a little bit, “ Dobbah tells Randy, “ we just need a few minutes to eat and unwind a bit.” All good intentions were there to make it over to Randy’s apartment but their bodies had had enough. The two passed out before 9pm and they didn’t care.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Maine and Back: Day 4 - Part one
The one thing about Maine that is the hardest thing to get used to is the fact that the sun rises earlier there than any other place in the United States. Dobbah, who should be used to this, squints as the early morning sunlight pierces the hotel room window and lands directly on her face.
“Ugggnnn…Wha? …Christ al’mighty. What time is it?” she says as she holds her head. The hangover is not as bad as she has had in the past, but a hangover is a hangover.
“Go back to sleep,” Goddess says from a sleepy haze on the right side of the bed, “it’s only 5:30.”
Xyon, in the meantime, is snoring soundly on the left side and is unaffected by the light.
By 6:30 Goddess is in the shower, Dobs is upright in bed fiddling with her purse, and Xyon turns, opens an eyelid, and then is back snoring soundly..
Xyon finally stirs around 7 o'clock. He opens his eyes surveying the empty room. He rolls off the bed and the floor thumps as his knees and forearms catch his fall.
“Uggh…what time is it?” he asks the empty room. As he makes it to his feet, he looks around for the clock that says 7:04. He peers outside and is knocked back by how bright everything looks. “It’s one or the other in Maine…” The previous days, except the day before, had been cloudy with off and on (more on) rain. The day before had shown the true beauty of the state and this day looked to cap it off. Xyon was still too asleep to look at it though. Limping to the bathroom he starts wondering where everybody had gotten off too.
Soon Xyon, packing his sunglasses and binoculars, is walking the property hoping to see some interesting northern birds. He runs into a group of sparrows and IDs one as an American Tree Sparrow which is a pretty rare bird where he lives in Northeast Tennessee. Soon he has exhausted the birds on the property, which he thought was relatively few, and spots the two gals walking down the sidewalk toward the room.
“ What’s up,” Xyon said hoping to come across more chipper than he felt.
“The sky of course!” Dobs says bubbling over with happy awake oozing out of every syllable, “you fruitcake!”
“Food. That way. Continental breakfast.” Goddess says and points to the motel’s lobby.
“Thanks.” Xyon mutters as he heads towards multiple coffees with some hope of being awake soon.
The room where the breakfast was served was like any typical room at a motel. One table had the orange juice and coffee, one had cereal and milk, and one had bagels and many types of pastries. Xyon immediately grabs a coffee cup and tops it off with a splash of milk. After setting the coffee on the table he grabs three Frosted Flakes boxes, the milk flask, and a bowl. He sits down to enjoy his food and immediately remembers that he has forgotten to get a spoon but is still too tired to get up for one. Instead, he proceeds to eat the dry cereal with a dose of milk after every bite. Sometimes he would even mix the two together in his mouth.
“This will work fine, “ Xyon thought as the person running the counter / breakfast was out of sight and there wasn’t anybody else in the room. He raised the milk flask to his mouth again and noticed a family walking toward the breakfast area from their room. Scrambling now, he grabs a spoon and acts like he is finishing the second half of a small box of cereal by dumping it into the bowl. The family look at him weird as they head to the pastry table staying clear of the cereal.
As Xyon made it back to the room, he thought it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to tell the gals about breakfast because he figured it best that they not know just how hillbilly he could be. Soon they all had finished packing up their stuff, checked out of the hotel, and were driving back to beautiful Acadia National Park.
Xyon didn’t know if it was possible, but today was actually more picture perfect than the day before. The deep blue skies looked like something out of a picture off the Internet. The first order of business was to go to the top of Cadillac Mountain which overlooked the park, the small islands, and was the highest peak inside the park (1530’ at summit). As they traveled up the mountain there was very little vegetation blocking the breathtaking views. Xyon kept getting more and more excited and almost got whiplash from looking out all the windows in the SAAB.
“I just can’t get over how beautiful it all is!” Xyon exclaimed as the vehicle kept ascending upward. “The sky and the water are the most blue I have ever seen! Jeez! When we get to the top I’m going to take pictures and videos of all this shit!” This last statement got a rise out of the gals. “That is the quote of the day!” Dobs pronounces. “’I’m gonna take pictures and videos of all this shit!’” she repeated. After the laughter died down, Xyon turned and looked out the window. He couldn’t help himself, it was times like these that he lived for. All tremendously beautiful and new to his eyes. He would take as many pictures and videos with his own eyes as he ever would with the camera.
Once at the top, the wind started whipping around the vehicle with a high pitched hum. It was all Xyon could do to wait until the car came to a stop before opening the door to get out. While scrambling out of the car he asked, “You’all coming?”
“You kidding? Too windy and too cold! I’ll just stay here and write in my journal.” Goddess nods in agreement with Dobbah. Xyon, realizing that he’s flying solo on this one, heads out in search of high elevation birds.
From the Journal of Dobbah
gawdess and i are journaling in the saab as xyon
searches diligently for a boreal chickadee. the wind
is cranking up here on the summit of cadillac
mountain, and the gulls are gliding dangerously close
to my open sunroof. we went out to taste the nightlife
of bar harbor last night, and found a club with a
small, yet eccentric menu. smoking inside was an added
bonus, and we made the most of it. we passed out drunk
in the king size bed of room 17 at the days inn.
i was the first one up and out the door, in search of
the elusive continental breakfast. the sun on the
water at the ferry terminal across the street was blinding.
i hope xyon didn't blow off....nope, he didn't; he's
back and is now downloading pictures onto the laptop.
*quote of the day*
"this is so cool, i'm going to get pictures, and
videos..ALL THIS SHIT." ~xyon
Xyon is standing on the edge of the mountain. The wind is cutting through him like a knife, but it is worth it. Eye level, peripheral to peripheral, shows nothing but crisp blue skies and below him the little islands are beautifully dotted green on a deep blue northern Atlantic Ocean. Small little scrub trees are littered all over the side of the mountain and the birds are, for the most part and because of the wind, non-existent. A Common Yellowthroat was the only bird to be found which proved to be tougher than it need to be because it was only chipping instead of singing. Xyon fills up his camera with many videos and pictures from this picturesque place. The scrub trees offered many great frames as their trunks and limbs were twisted and angular with spectacular views within them. After he fills the memory on the camera, Xyon heads back to the car to download the camera (on his laptop) and make more room for “all of this shit.”
The trip down Cadillac Mountain was just as breathtaking as the ride up. Once at the bottom they take the left turn that takes them through the park to Jordon Pond. From the parking area there is a path that leads to the pond and then splits into two directions. This path is the Jordon Nature Trail which leads, in one direction, around the rim of the pond through a heavily covered mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees, and in the other direction, it leads away from the pond through a tall, grassy field to Jordon House. Dobbah and Xyon tackle the trail while Goddess uses this time to catch up on the sleep she lost the previous night. When the two reach the pond’s edge, they see “The Bubbles,” on the far side of the pond. These are two small mountains which are relatively the same size, robust, and sitting side by side. Xyon immediately shouts out, “Big Tittie Mountains!” Dobbah, seeing what he was referring to, jabs her elbow into his ribs but can’t help to laugh. After the pond is photographed they tour the area thoroughly and completely, trying to give Goddess time to rest and Xyon time to bird as much as possible. He did get some good warblers migrating into and through the area but nothing of extreme significance to his life list.
The next stop in the park was similar Jordon Pond and there was a great natural bridge made out of rock with vines and moss growing on the side of it, but it was the stop after this one that will be detailed. Following the stop that looked very similar to Jordon Pond (minus the Big Tittie Mountians) the trio drove (unknowingly) out of the park and to the small town of Seal Harbor. Here they found a great open beach like area where the girls decided to turn over every rock they could find in search of neat looking rock and sea glass. Xyon, in the meantime, finds a trail on the other side of the small highway they were parked next to and decides to explore it. The trail started out a gravel driveway but soon veered off the gravels and turned into a grassy path that seemed to be readily maintained. A couple of big, beautiful trees seemed out of place in the open area of the path but also enhanced the character of the landscape and the big pond that was just a bit farther ahead. As Xyon neared the pond, he saw an unexpected sight as some sort of duck was swimming, long ways, across the pond. As he neared the waterfowl, the sun, which was midway up in the sky, beamed light seemingly through the duck’s red bill making it appear translucent. After he got a bit closer he knew immediately the waterfowl in question was a Red-breasted Merganser when he noticed the “messed up hair” on the head which is a trademark of the bird. Farther up the path was what looked like a house boat. When Xyon reached this boat, it was securely moored to the multiple posts along the shore. Thinking it was private, he started to veer clear, but then saw public restroom signs pointing toward the houseboat. Deciding to investigate, he walked onto the deck and tried to access where the bathrooms were and, of course, they were locked. Finding a bench, he sits down to rest and enjoy the beauty of the Maine lake. After all the beauty he could take (and nary another bird) he decides to cut across the grassy area between the trail and the road and walk the gravel road back. He finds Dobbah and Goddess, sitting a good bit away from each other, sifting through the small rocks that littered the beach.
“What’s up?” Xyon said.
“Still the sky, but nothing much else.” replied Dobbah.
“Not really – a bit of sea glass, but not much. Let’s see what Gawdess has found.”
The two head over to Goddess’ pile and find out that she had had about the same luck searching the beach area. The group agrees to head back over, one final time, to the beach area they explored at the end of the evening on the previous day before starting the quest on to Bangor and Stephen King’s house.
To Be Continued…
Friday, October 08, 2004
One Last Visit With an Old Friend
Part 4(of 4)
The title of the this essay, one that has gone on longer than intended when I first decided to write this, One Last Visit With an Old Friend - probably should have been plural - friends - as that's what I consider the KA-TET I have been following behind for so long now. The story is still getting deeper and more complicated, the back story is still unfolding, and KA-SHUME - the sensing of an approaching break in one's Ka-tet - has set in.
A few hours after The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower arrived on the bookshelves I had a copy of it in my hands. KA-SHUME was about to begin and had already begun.
Cryptic but true, this story had been breaking for some time now and this book, for good or ill, will be the end. That is the real fear here. Being so wrapped up in these characters and knowing that they were relatively "safe" until this book, this book where there are no more guarantees. One has already fallen - sacrificing their life so the others can proceed toward the Dark Tower. I am approaching a point where KA-SHUME is possibly happening again and it make me afraid to read. But I cannot help myself, I MUST.
I stopped reading on page 361 to type this before I break palaver and drive home. 19 squared. KA.
I am starting to see the clearing up ahead, only 484 pages left. KA-SHUME will be throughout the rest of this read until the final breaking of the KA-TET when I close this last, final book. I do, however, have a few books loosely relating to the Dark Tower I still have to read.
So I take this last visit with my old friend, Roland and his (my) KA-TET and hope the read is a good long one. Even though I never made it past KA-TEL, I will always look to Roland as the DINH of the KA-TET.
It will be hard saying goodbye to this fantasy world that has inhabited my subconscious for over have of my life.
Roland is twirling his finger, letting me know I have gone on long enough. Onward to The Tower...
One Last Visit With an Old Friend
Part 3(of 4)
After Finishing Wizard and Glass I knew, from past experience, that it would probably be at least 2 years before the next book would appear. I was right on the mark with this one as about a year and a half later I read on StephenKing.com that the next installment, The Wolves of the Calla, would be coming out soon.
I also read that six months after Wolves that the next book The Song of Susannah would appear and six months after that, the final installment, The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower would be published. I was excited and saddened at the same time because this was my first glimpse of the end. But that was still 1.5 years away.
I picked up Wolves of the Calla on the day it came out and was once again walking on The Path of the Beam which seemed to be starting to fail. This was a bit hard to start with the dialogue in the first few chapters tough to follow. Soon though I was hard pressed to get out of the story, which got compounded near the end with all kinds of tie-ins to previous King material and even King himself! (The tie-ins had been happening over a gentle tone since a few books previous, but in this novel it moved from subtle to, OK here they are, relish in them - starting with the return of Father (Pere) Callahan from 'Salem's Lot!)
So I turned the last page of Wolves knowing that in only 6 months the next novel would be out and I soon would be reunited again with my AN-TET.
KA-MAI / CHAR
Song of Susannah, the penultimate novel in the Dark Tower series, was released in the spring of this year. Picking up right where the last one left off - Susannah(MIA)[KA-MAI] had gone to New York of 1988 to have her "Chap" [CHAR]; Roland, Eddie, Jake, and OY, after beating the "Wolves" have realized Susannah is missing and are formulating a plan to hopefully find her before her (demon?) "Chap" is born. All of this while still trying to move towards the Dark Tower.
From start to finish, I read through this book with true alacrity, not so much an wanting to know what was happening, but having to know. Whenever free time allowed, I was reading this surprisingly smaller novel (by Stephen King standards) than the last few.
By the end of the book a whole lot and a whole little had happened all at the same time. A whole lot with Roland (and Stephen King of 1977), Eddie, and Susannah (in New York of 1988) and a whole little with Pere Callahan, Jake, and OY (Jake's pet Billy-Bumbler). But the small part WITH Pere Callahan and Jake was crucial for the set up of the 7th and final novel.
Callahan and Jake (not to forget OY!) had tracked down the last place Susannah had been taken to in New York of 1988 and were getting ready to enter this location (Dixie Pig) knowing they were outnumbered by many monsters that habituated both in our world and that of Mid-World. The novel ended with Callahan about to face off with Type One Vampires (like the one from 'Salem's Lot), Jake about to face off with everything else (all to save Susannah), Roland and Eddie trying to get to New York of 1988 (from Maine of 1977) after one last problem concerning the Rose in the Vacant Lot (New York) was dealt with, and Susannah / MIA[KA-MAI] in the final stages of labor with their "chap" [CHAR].
An ending for the record book was placed in the Writer's Journal, but again, it would only be for six months.
[end part 3]
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
One Last Visit With an Old Friend
Part 2(of 4)
One good thing about forgetting about something is when you remember, especially when it's a surprise remembering.
I was flipping through a Diamond Previews ordering catalog (this is a monthly phone book for comics, books, and specialty toys) when, near the back, my heart fluttered. I was looking at the next Dark Tower book available for preorder. My eyes floated down to the price and I about choked on my gum. $50. I had never paid more than $20 for a book. The reason this was listed in the Diamond Preview catalog was because well known comic book artist, Dave McKean, was producing the visual images that would accompany this next book in the series.
I noticed that this was a special edition hardcover (I had heard about these before) that come out before the mass marketed hardcover. Now was my chance to own one and it just wasn't any special edition - it was The Dark Tower IV. The past 5 years were soon forgotten (actually it was 6 if you take in account when The Waste Lands was actually published and when I bought mine) and I was back in step on the Path of the Beam. Some unknown force came over me and I had to order this Wizard and Glass.
The book finally came to my comic book dealer (I had installed a payment plan to have it paid off by the time it did) and soon I was holding it in my hands. I gingerly opened the book a couple of times inspecting every detail when it dawned on me that there was no way I could read this book. Not the one I was holding in my hands. This was the limited edition and I could do some serious monetary damage to it just by reading it(like breaking the spine, ruffling the pages, etc...). So I sucked up the price of keeping something in mint condition and went straight to the bookstore and bought the mass marketed trade paperback. This version was the only one at the normal bookstores which made me feel better about my decision not to read the hardcover.
It was a bit hard, like I expected, mainly because over the time I had forgotten small details that make the stories so rich, but once again I was fully engrossed in this new tale - again a silent observer into the quest of Roland of Gilead for his Tower. Soon I realized that most of this tale was not going forward but backwards. After a bit of traveling (Eddie Dean had solved Blaine [Blaine's a Pain] the Mono's deathly riddle), we were all sitting around a campfire in Mid-World listening to Roland tell a tale about his only true love, Susan Delago. In a story that reminded me of one of my other all time favorite Stephen King books, The Eyes of the Dragon, I was once again pulled back in to the quest, bags packed, and destined not to look back.
[End Part 2]
Sunday, September 26, 2004
One Last Visit With an Old Friend
Part 1(of 4)
In 1988 I met Roland Deschain of Gilead. The first meeting with The Gunslinger was almost a brief one. He seemed interesting enough, but his adventure across the desert of this strange world, chasing the Man in Black, seemed fragmented with lots of loose ends. His story, for me, was strained, hard to get really interested in, and a little confusing. But the storyteller of his travels was someone not to question, so I proceeded reading his tale with great alacrity and vigilance.
A year later I finished Roland's first chronicled adventure on his way to the Dark Tower Taking so long to read such a thin novel - thin for Stephen King anyway - the chances of me continuing this series seemed slim, Stephen King or no Stephen King.
Some might call it KA that I picked up the second novel, The Drawing of Three where The Gunslinger's tale continued. This novel was ever bit three times the size of the first which would, if I completed it, would by far be the longest novel I had ever read. That was strike two against it. The first being the memory of how much trouble I had with the first one. But KA would have its way as I timidly opened the first page and began reading. This time, however, it would only take a week to finish this far superior tale. What this second part did for me was to either tie up loose ends from the first part or, the ones it didn't tie up, make them make better sense. So I took up stride on the path behind Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Odetta/Detta/Susannah as a willing observant to their quest for this Dark Tower.
But then the stories stopped.
After finishing the second part of Stephen King's story, inspired by Robert Browning's poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, I eagerly went in search of the third book. When I could not find it I started to panic because I was so ready to continue and thought if I had to wait I would never get back into the story. One again I failed to realize how strongly I was tied to this KA-TET. Two years after reading the second tale the third finally appeared on the shelves and I fell back in step like I had never left as we continued our journey across The Waste Lands of Mid World.
And the stories stopped again.
This time I knew the series would continue. I knew this because: The popularity of the series had grown, the bookstores couldn't keep many in the stores, and the story was so damn good. I thought this time it wouldn't take as long, that Mr. King knew he had a hit and would churn out this series like he did most his other works, one after the other after the other... After a LONG three year wait, I, and thousands of other readers who were waiting for the next installment, wrote Stephen King. We all have the hope of getting a letter back saying, "Next month Constant Reader!" Instead, what I got was a postcard in the mail directing my further inquiries to an address where his fan mail is requested to be sent. This was because I had inside information give me his personal address in Bangor, Maine. Down below the the last typed word was a handwritten assurance that there would be a fourth part. Had Stephen King written this? I wasn't sure because there was no signature, but I HAD mailed my letter straight to his house. It was with great anticipation that I read that assurance over and over. Next month? Six months? It never said when, but it had to be soon. Sometime during that next year I lost my postcard and during the following year I had all but forgot about the KA-TET of Gunslingers.
This had become way more than a simple story. It had become a drug. And like all drug addictions, my withdraw symptoms were strong at first but lessened over time. After five years, all the symptoms had seemed to pass, my life had changed directions a few times, and I had grown up a bit. Would I still want to grab my gear and follow the Path of the Beam again?
I wasn't sure...
[End Part 1]
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Coming soon are a couple pieces I will be finishing writing the next couple of days. I've taken writing in WORD first to avoid blog mess-ups, grammer, and spelling errors (for the most part).
Couple happenings of late - I've been hired as part-time/temporary employee at ETSU in the long distance education department. I am a behind the scenes guy who runs the remote controlled cameras that allow the offcampus sites to view the classrooms on the ETSU campus, although I am stationed at an off campus site (but still in JC).
Tonight (last night since it's after 12am) Rex and myself spent a long evening editing Snapper Revenge which fits the title of this entry as well.
Goodnight/morning - It's been too long a day.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
OK, It's now Official
Well, it's now official. The latest entry in my Excursion to Maine is now over 1.2 months over due. I will get to it sometime (promise to myself and those who actually want to continue reading it.)
But since I started that writing project (and the reason it has been delayed so long) is a few small things that I needed to mention.
1st, I graduated last week from ETSU. Yes, The BS (literally) degree has been handed to me from the good secretary in the graduating office. There is no graduation ceremony in the summer, but if I want, I can walk in the fall with the 1,000+ other graduates. That is precisely the reason I probably won't. It has been a long haul (way longer than needed) and already is worth it for no other reason than a personal goal I set for myself. I am still "working" on campus with the engineer in the Broadcasting division as a way to continue to learn Internet broadcasting using web designs and editing filmed projects. This will look real good on my resume, when I finally update (which means do a new one from scratch.) This fall I will probably be working with him (and getting paid a small amount - what I call funny money) doing more Internet broadcasting from the Innovation Center.
2nd, Lennon Murphy has come and gone through Johnson City with her latest tour. She was fresh off the Warp Tour and getting ready to start a few shows for Heart. I tried to help heavily promote the show which fell very, very flat. I wrote a big press release that was put on both big local Internet boards (one has since been put on hiatus for awhile), published in The Loafer, and, of course, on Team Rock. I also put in efforts with the club owner to make and label 150 sample CDs which we gave out at the Earshot (Saliva cancelled) show. As I said, the show was a bust (about 50 people turned out) but the performance was still good. Lennon got a little drunk before the night was over, but most of the staff and band partied at the after party which was held at Fuzzyholes until the wee hours of the morning. Consequently, I had to miss work the next day and pretty much ruined the rest of my weekend. I still haven't really had the urge for any alcohol.
Those were two of the bigger small things that has gone on and I could prattle on about more stuff, but I won't. I won't mention the kick ass Monsters of Japan show I went to or camping out at Rockin' on the River. The latter had a few controversies I could go into, like the bikini contest fiasco (from what I hear) and it being held one too many days because everybody went home early on Sunday, but as I said, I won't.
It has been a crazy 1.2 months and the end is not in sight yet. My friend, whom I visited in Maine is coming to visit at the first of October, but before that I am heading back to DragonCon a week from tomorrow. I know that both will offer up more stories and pictures for me to get behind on. So, if you are waiting (which a I know a lot are! ;) ), just hang in there, I will catch it up soon. (I hope.)
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
To Maine and Back - Day 4: Subtitle Announced
LOL, in the spirit of Harry Potter, I am announcing the subtitle for the forthcoming To Maine and Back - Day 4...it is entitled --- "A Visit to the King's Manor"
Stay tuned...it is a work in progress....
btw - Happy Birthday to me belated and to Particles, Atoms, and Molecules, also belated.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Maine and Back – Day 3
Editor's Note - The entry is very long. It has been subdivided if you don't want to read the whole entry and you see something that catches your eye. Also, there will be picture added real soon if you just want to scroll and see the pictures - enjoy...
Acadia and Back
Part one Day 1
I. The Long Morning
Sometime around 2am…
I had woken up with no immediate hope of falling back to sleep. Hoping a glass of water would help, I make my way in to the kitchen, and open the ‘fridge for some light. The two parakeets (the happiest gay couple in Portland) stir and I stop immediately, not wanting to make one or both of them squaw in the middle of the night. I make my way back to the living/bed room and find a comfortable spot on the floor.
The same tape was playing in the VCR and I recognize Ralph “The Mouth” from Happy Days as a lead role in the movie that was playing. It had just started and before long the title appears on the screen - “Stewardess School.” Somehow this early ‘80s film had eluded me so I started watching. It was suppose to be a comedy but was falling a little thin, but it had just enough interest to keep me watching.
Of course at this time a night, the only thing it would take to keep me interested would be a pretty face and the hopes of seeing some boobies. This had the potential for both as the plot involved two guys who were rejected at flight school enrolling in stewardess school – for the women, no doubt…
I watched this movie until my eyelids started closing ever so slowly and finally reached up and turned off the set and crawled back into bed.
Sometime around 6am…
When I woke again, I found myself wanting to find out what happened in that stupid movie, so I get up and turn it back on. I knew Dobbah would be sleeping at least until 7 because we were supposed to pick Goddess up around 8. Sometime later, Dobbah awoke and we both started getting ready for the trip up Route 1…
This trip would be after a few errands were taken care of first…
Sometime around 8:30 am…
After talking to Goddess, finding out that she had been out most of the night, and would need a little extra time to get ready, Dobbah’s phone rang. It was The Dude. The Dude was at one time her boyfriend until he had broken up with her a few weeks earlier and who now wasn’t sure that was what he really had wanted to do. According to Dobbah, he had been calling and stopping by just about as frequent as he had when they were together and he thought they were back together. That was neither here or there for me so I was just hoping there wouldn’t be a quarrel before we left. It turned out that he only wanted his sunglasses and Dobbah told him that we would drop them by after we picked up the Goddess.
After we had picked up Goddess at her pad, we make our way on to The Dude’s place. Dobbah grabs the sunglasses and heads up to give them to him. I half expected him to come out, wanting to meet Dob’s friend from Tennessee, but no Dude. I actually think I sighed a bit of relief when Dobbah came back to the car alone. It is not that I necessarily didn’t want to meet Dude, it just would have gotten more and more awkward, and even though I had been up for awhile, it was still too early in the morning to deal with something like that.
After Dobbah was back in the car, we headed toward our next errand...
An important thing we had to do before we could start our trip was to find a place to get snacks and some cheap sunglasses. We first hit Rite-Aid that supplied us the snacks, but the sunglasses there were too high for the quality of sunglasses they carried. We try the Family Dollar store and hit the jackpot.
Dobs elected to stay in the car, but Goddess and I went on our lastest quest near Portland that day.
“You know, I also need a good hat to protect my bald head.” I said as we started to enter the store.
“I bet they will have something here.” Goddess said.
“If not, at least some sunscreen. That sun is really bright today, but I am not complaining…not complaining at all!”
We immediately saw the cheap sunglasses we were looking for and after picking them out; we took a quick tour of the store looking for hats, and found none...
At the check out lane Goddess asks the girl at that counter if they sell men’s hats. She points to a little stack to the right of the entrance doors. After Goddess pays for her glasses, she makes here way to the hats as I finish paying. I made my way over to where she was and that was when we saw it. A light tan fisherman’s hat had my name on it. I tried it on and it fit reasonably well. I figured it would be $10 or more, but the price tag said it was $3. That hat is sitting on my head as I sit here typing.
While Goddess and myself are in the store, Dobbah makes a quick entry in her journal while waiting on us:
walked down to the bakery this morning for breakfast,
and we finally were able to watched 'winged migration'
from start to finish. almost en route to baah haahbah.
gawdess and xyon are on the prowl for cheap sunglasses
in the dollar store as i write this in the saab,
jamming to 'heaven'.
dropped off skeeter's glasses- check
borrowed a gazetteer- check
illegal trash run- check
roadtrip munchies- check
all we need now is my bank and a shitload of fuses
before heading out on a mad search for warblers and
awww....there back and xyon has a boat hat. atta boy.
let's hit it...
One last errand had to be run as we inched our way further out of town…
Erik The Gray
Sometime around 9:30am…
We pull into NAPA Auto Parts to get some fuses for Erik’s windows. For the past couple of days, Erik the Gray’s electronic window fuses kept blowing. Dob’s gets two packets (each containing 5 fuses) and we proceed to change the fuse (again). I had forgotten to mention that she had done this the previous day and it had lasted less than an hour…but unlike that time; she now had 9 more if needed. This time she cleaned out anything that could cause it to short out. I checked Erik’s oil and saw that we needed to add about a quart.
At last, all errands completed as the gray SAAB pulls out to get on the Turnpike and then to Scenic Route 1…
Yard Sales and Flea Markets
Sometime Around 10:45am…
Looking back now (and after reading ‘Salem’s Lot upon my return to Tennessee) I realize that the small fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot, where the vampire story was set, would have only been a few miles off north of the Turnpike just before we exited on US 1. It is too bad I didn’t think of this while I was up there…
After we travel a ways toward our final destination of Bar Harbor, we pass through many small towns on scenic Route 1. Scenic Route 1 snaked along a northerly path up the coast and would eventually take us to our only turn off, which would lead to Bar Harbor. In one particular town we passed through (I couldn’t even begin to come up with a name), we stopped in front of a house that was having a yard sale. I had already put my binoculars around my neck and climbed out of the Saab. I made my way over to the table of junk (one person’s junk is another person’s treasure) and was greeted by, “I’ll give you $10 for your binoculars.” I looked up and saw owner of the voice looking at me and smiling. He was one of the people holding the sale in the yard. I just smiled and said, “Nope, sorry.” He went on to talk about a pair of binoculars that he owned and I just nodded and let his voice drift to the back of my mind as I scanned the items for sale.
“…You know what I mean?”
I looked back up and without missing a beat said, “oh yeah” and he accepted that and didn’t go further with the conversation. That made me happy as I really had no idea what he was talking about except that it had started with my binoculars. I looked over my shoulder at where Dobbah was looking. She had come across a stack of National Geographic magazines and was thumbing through one. Goddess had already gone to the end and was starting to head back to us. Dobs tossed that magazine back in the bin and I pick it up and turn to the binoculars guy. I ask how much and pay the twenty-five cents required to make the purchase.
A few minutes later we are back on Scenic Route 1 heading north and then, just as suddenly, we are pulling off the road again at another yard sale. When I get out this time, I immediately see DVDs for sale and begin looking them over. Save for the DVDs, this yard sale had even more junk than the last. I decide to purchase the 2-disc set DVD Freddy VS Jason for $5. Dobs makes a DVD purchase as well and we again are traveling north on Route 1.
We get a bit of traveling time in on this next leg before our fearless leader does a quick U-Turn to stop at what looked like a Antique Flea Market. We all head in and, after a fast run through, I decide to step back outside and investigate the patch of woods behind the almost broken down building. I hear my first bird of the day singing in the trees behind the antique dealer. I recognize it as a Chestnut-sided Warbler (please-please-please-ta-meet-cha) and shortly later find it with my binocs. With no other bird movements or songs I head back to the car and arrive at the same time as Dobbah and Goddess. We pile in the car and make it to the next stop which is a more traditional flea market where we split up. We find a few items here – most notably Dobbah finds cassettes to play in the car as we have lost all radio stations, except of course, Country. The cassettes consisted of Jimmy Hendricks (Best of Part II), George Michael (Faith), Cher, and Jethro Tull. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Cher, but the rest I could deal with. I just would have to grit my teeth and bear it when that tape would be played.
The next stop was at a glorified candy store. This place was pretty awesome. It had just opened for the season that day, but had a variety of souvenirs along with some of the absolute best homemade candy I have ever eaten. But as good as this place was, it could touch our experience at lunch…or at least the way it started…
II. Afternoon Bliss
Sometime around 1pm…
By this point we were all famished. Snacking will only quiet your stomach for so long, so we all decide it is time to stop and eat. That is when we saw Jed’s Place. Looking decent enough from the outside, we decide to give Jed a try.
The 10-minute wait to see a menu should have been a clue. Finally I get up and order drinks from the bar that was located across the room, near the entrance. Dobs and I get a beer while Goddess has a Diet Coke and Vodka. These are brought to us with (finally) the menus. It seemed that there was only one man working the tables and running the bar. This guy (Jed?) really had his hands full. This should have been another good sign. We order our food and head to the salad bar to fix the first portion of our meal. I get up last to go to the salad bar. That was when the smell hit me, like a rotten egg hitting a brick wall, but in this case I recognized the stench. It was sewer. It seemed to be blowing out of the kitchen and the sound of the fan was big. It was all I could do to breath as I made my way back to the table. The girls were looking at me like I was responsible for the odor. Giggles then, “Did you fart before you got up a minute ago?” I was asked. I grinned but said no. If had been responsible for something like that I would have claimed responsibility and I said so. At fist I don’t think they believed me but I mentioned the fan and how it was worse over at the salad bar that was right across from the kitchen door. “Part of my job duties as a land surveyor,” I started, “is to get inverts – measurements of depth – of sanitary sewers.” Blank looks from Dobbah and Goddess as I finish, “That smell is exactly what comes out when we pop the lids. Something in there must have backed up big time.”
Even though the smell was pretty bad, the salad of the small salad bar was actually quite good. I even got up and snuck seconds for more spicy/sweet pickles, cottage cheese, and peaches. Again my hopes were high about the fried clam dinner I had ordered. Little did I know that this would be the last thing that was good in the Diner.
When the dinner arrived it looked good enough but the clams were too tough to eat and the mashed potatoes w/ gravy was like eating semi-soft glue. I left most of the plate for Jed. Goddess had ordered a fried clam plate as well, and Dobbah had ordered a fish I had never eaten (and cannot think of the name either) and it was OK. The rest of her variety plate was just OK as well. The hot sauce I asked for came in a Texas Pete Wing Sauce bottle but looked about 10 years too late to use. All in all it wasn’t pretty at Jed’s, but we knew the guy was working about as hard as anyone could under the circumstances so we tipped him too well and left.
Faith in Penobscot County
Johnny Smith is traveling down the two-lane highway; his fiancé is waiting on him to rejoin their perfect life together. The rain hitting the windshield is like gigantic eyes smashing the glass and the windshield wipers will not go faster. As he rounds the next curve, seemingly out of nowhere, a truck appears in the lane in which he is currently traveling. Only seconds late, he is unable to swerve out of the truck’s path. The inevitable happens (one might say his ka) as the truck and car meet violently. In a great fireball, the car is flipped over and over until the car finally comes to a rest off the side of the forested bank.
When Johnny wakes up, he is lying in a hospital bed. His doctors are trying to tell him that five years had passed but it all seemed like a great blur. He reaches out, trying to get his hands to project what his mouth can’t seem to say and grabs the nurse next to his bed. The next thing he sees with perfect clarity.
A bright flash hits Johnny’s eyes. He looks around and sees a little boy crying as he watches his house burn around him. He is crying out but no one is there to hear or help him. He crouches in the corner of his room and cries. As Johnny is watching this scene he sees a picture of the boy and his mom – this nurse he is grabbing in this new life – and the bright flash returns.
Johnny starts screaming at the nurse about a fire and her little boy. That is the only thing he really remembers. All he really remembers except for the extreme urgency that is not too late to save him, but she must move now, NOW!
Sometime around 2:30pm…
This scene from The Dead Zone, a series on the USA Network that is based on the book by Stephen King, flashes through my mind as I see the sign at our final stop before we arrive at Acadia National Park.
The sign is for Penobscot River Crossing in Penobscot County. This is the same county were the series takes place (granted the series took place more toward Bangor, but it is the first time I have seen a sign with this county on it).
I had gotten Dobbah to pull over at this scenic overlook to take my first pictures in Maine.
A few miles before, Dobbah had put in George Michael’s Faith tape. It had been years since I had listened to this tape. Way back when George Michael hadn’t approached the undercover cop in the bathroom and, at least from his videos, he projected a lifestyle that every teenager would’ve liked to have – beautiful women and all the money he would ever need in this life. We all were on perfect key as we sang along to the lyrics we all knew by heart. After another few songs, Dobbah rewound the tape and we again all sang along to the lyrics. That was when we decided it was time for some Hendrix…
From Dobbah’s Journal, Dated May 29, 2004
my dearest tom gilbert,
something made me pull into that flea market on route 1 that fateful saturday morning. i thought i just
needed to stretch my legs, but as i started pawing through the vast amounts of trash and treasure, i knew
i would find something just for me. i had wandered away from my friends, as usual, and
into a small shed filled with antique swords and chinese stars. the old box of cassetttes looked a little out of
place, but seeing as i had a tapedeck in the saab; i thought i could find some music for the trip to acadia.
george michael, cher, and jethro tull had nothing on the jimi hendrix with the handwritten jacket.
gawdess had asked to look at the case, and it was then that we found the small cutout of a naked woman
wrapped in cellophane. you must have masturbated to that picture while listening to 'the wind cries mary',
i'll bet. i was a little disturbed that you felt the need to personalize it, but hey, to each his own.
either way, it was the score of the day, and i tank you for it.
much love, dobbah
p.s. you don't know where i could find a maine bucket,
Mount Desert Island & Acadia
Sometime around 3:30pm
We finally turn off Scenic Route 1 and take the next highway across Mount Desert Island to Bar Harbor (Bah-habaah) and Acadia.
This leg of the drive felt like going to the beach when I was young. We would turn of the main interstate and hit the 2-lane roads that would eventually take us to somewhere near the middle of the east end of North America, except it looked like it would be just over that next little hill. One hill would turn into another hill and another until finally I would just sit back in my seat disappointed as the trip continued to take forever. I didn’t mind the length of this trip at all, on the contrary, I had been thoroughly enjoying every minute, but at the same time I was also getting a little tired. I continued to take everything in, commenting on little things here and there when Dobbah (remember Dobbah? This journal is about a trip to see Dobbah - end lame Arlo Guthrie reference…) exclaims – “Ah Zoo!” with building excitement and her foot automatically goes for the brake. “Ohh, I want to go to the zoo.” she says again but eases up on the brake as she eyes it all the way past. It was like she knew it wasn’t in the cards this trip, but still she wanted to go really bad. I could understand her feelings because she was a veterinarian assistant and she really loves animals. “Maybe we can tomorrow on the way back,” Goddess says from the back seat knowing it probably wouldn’t happen then either but sympathizing with her best friend and ex-roommate. “Yeah, maybe…” Dobs says and speeds the Saab back up to the speed limit.
sometime around 4:30pm
We finally arrive at Acadia and head first to the Park Headquarters/gift shop. I find a few small items I normally get when I visit a new national park (pin with Acadia written on it, bird checklist for the park, brochures about the park, etc..) and the girls pick up a few items as well.
Not wanting to waste any of the day remaining, we start down the one way park loop and pay the entrance fee of $10 that would be good for a week if we had that long to stay (I wish!). Our first stop is Sand Beach. We pull in the parking lot to see lots of cars. It was more populated than I would have normally liked, but it was the fist nice day in about 2 weeks for most of the state, so I got over it pretty quickly. And besides, most of the people were starting to leave as we made out to the small sand/pebble beach.
After you leave the parking lot there is a small, wooden walkway leading to a set of stairs through a small patch of trees that take you down to the beach. Having my binocs around neck and my camera on my belt, I am ready when I hear some bird activity. Here I see American Redstarts, a (Northern) Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Phoebe, Great Flycatcher, a few unidentified empidonax flycatchers, and other warblers that I never could quite get my binoculars on as they were in some pretty big thickets.
When you first walked out onto the beach, the cold, North Atlantic Ocean greeted you with small waves coming in on the shore. To the right there was a rock face which marked the beginning of the rocky shoreline with a small area you could climb up to if you wished. To the right the small beach extended until another, but smaller rocky shoreline started. On a day warmer than today (the temperature was in the upper ‘60’s) you could go swimming in this small section of beach. By the time I get down to the beach, Dobbah and Goddess has already split up, one to the left and one to the right. Goddess, to the left was looking for neat stuff in the pebble/sand and Dobbah, to the right, was sitting on a small outcrop of rocks enjoying the view. I headed toward Dobbah and sat down next to her and took the shots below. We marveled at the beauty of this place until Goddess made her way over to join us marveling. We sat there for as long as we could, not want to leave, but knew we would have to shortly. We watched a cute Japanese couple climb down from the rocks above us. Her timid steps to start down started only after she knew he was down in front of her to help. He reached up and grabbed her around her waist and gently brought her down to the sand. The next couple to come down was so American it was funny after seeing the previous couple. He hopped down pretty easily and started back to help her, but she shoed him away with her hand before sliding half way down and jumping the rest.
So far, this place on my trip to Maine was the most scenic and we wished our time here wouldn’t end. Finally Dobbah got up and started toward the stairs that led toward the parking lot. “Let’s go…” This was the most beautiful place I could remember visiting in a long, long time. How was I to know that the place I would see the next day would make this place seem ordinary, could such a thing be possible? Yes, it could.
We make it back to the car and leave to find a place to stay for the evening. Hopefully on the outskirts of Bah Hahbaah…
III. Night In Bah Haabah (Bar Harbor)
The Gas Cap
Sometime around 6:30pm…
We travel out of Acadia and stop first at a convenience store to gas up and get much needed supplies (like beer) for the night. I get out to start pumping the gas as Dobbah opens the gas lid. Dobbah comes around the car to help and open the gas lid the rest of the way. “Ah – what? Where’s the lid?” she asks looking at me. I had been the last person to gas the car up the previous day in Portland. I look dumbfounded (just plain dumb) and say, “oh, shiiiit…” Dobbah laughs it off and says, “Don’t worry about it, I will just get the one on Sven.” (But I did worry about it, the whole rest of the trip in Maine, the plane ride back, and after I had returned to Tennessee. So much that I found an online parts store that sold gas caps for SAABs and purchased one to be sent to her address. But I get the wrong apartment number on the package, and she still hasn’t gotten the package as of the date of this writing, which is of course a few weeks after the trip…) I mutter a few more choice curse words and pump the gas. We all go in to get some stuff and walk out of there with supplies, ready to find a hotel room somewhere to get freshened up and rest just a bit before going to eat.
Sometime around 7pm…
Driving through Bar Harbor was like driving through a globe you shake and watch it snow. Except, of course, there was no snow. Just a classic New England town that looked like it hadn’t changed in a hundred or more years. Yet it has, which is the beauty of the town. Much like Camden 60+ miles back toward Portland, Bar Harbor has been kept up in a classic style to favor tourism but not lose it’s New England/European quality.
Just outside of Bar Harbor there is a ferry over to Nova Scotia.
[INSERT PICTURE OF FERRY SN HERE]
Right across from the sign pictured above was a cozy little Days Inn where we stayed for the evening. Earlier at the store I bought a six pack of local to Portland beer I popped one open while the girls started freshening up and writing in their journals. The letter to Tom Gilbert earlier was written here while Goddess showered and I sat in outside the room on a chair, drinking a beer, and looking at the bay. This would have been fitting ending to the day, but it wasn’t over just yet.
Sometime around 8pm…
It’s Dobbah’s turn for the shower and I need batteries so I borrow Erik the Gray and head back to a convenience store. I had one of those those exclamation moments – like ‘I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque’ – when I turned right, instead of left, and headed back toward the town of Bar Harbor instead toward the store we had been too earlier. But, I am heading towards town, there’s gotta be another store selling batteries…right? Wrong. At least wrong when you think about the town of Bar Harbor, Maine. The whole downtown area is buildings lined right next to each other, so it is a set up for walking. Sure I would have found batteries in many of the stores there, but just after 8pm, I would have to park a half-mile away and walk.
But I get lucky and see a little grocery mart and, [GASP], a parking spot right in front. I swing the SAAB into the parking space and run in. What do they say when something is too good to be true? Something like, ‘If it is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t'…no truer words have been spoken. If I had only read the name of the store, I would have never gone in for batteries. I only saw the stuff on the shelf and darted in. Once inside I saw organic food all around me. Now what organic hippy would sell batteries that would eventually end up sitting in a land fill forever? There isn't one that would, but I ask anyway. I figure…what harm could come from asking. Well, after asking, the lady behind the cash register looked at me like I was crazy and simply said, with no emotion, “No. No batteries.” So I finally just head back to the first convenience store we stopped at and bought 4 batteries. A trip that should’ve taken ten minutes now had taken damn near 35 minutes…
Smoking Inside, Live Music, and an Ostrich Burger
Sometime around 9pm…
When I return with the batteries I download the day’s pictures as fast as I can so we can leave. Of course that turns into showing the pictures downloaded and taking the picture of the present left by Tom Gilbert for future purposes (including this journal).
We all pile in the SAAB and head into the heart of Bar Harbor…just as most everything was closing. We did find two nightspots and chose the one with the menu outside (since we were looking for dinner and not just drinks). As the day has gone so far, we were late enough to have to pay a small cover, but that was not a big deal. We find a place to sit in what looked like a porch with plastic windows (a tarp of plastic wrapping the outside of the “porch” against weather elements). This seat turned out to be perfect as we could hear the music without it drowning out the dinner conversation and because they were going to open a part of the plastic and make it a smoking section. This is big because all of Maine has a no smoking policy in public places and, at least for the girls, this was HUGE. It wasn’t a big deal to me because here in Tennessee we can still smoke in most bar establishments. The lady comes and we order: I get barbeque ribs, Dobs gets yet another seafood dish, and Goddess orders an Ostrich Burger. I meant to try this bird burger but forgot to ask but Goddess reassures me that it was very tasty. The live music was of a modern punk/rock variety and sounded good from where was sitting. I never did find out the name of the band but I guessed it was of a local flavor.
Before and after the meal we picked over the days events, being particularly critical to Jed. Dobs and I even wrote in Goddess’ journal our point of view which I will post here as soon as she sends me what I wrote. The meal was great – the best of the trip so far (the best meal of the entire trip would come later and would involve lobsters – dum a chick, dat a chum) When the check of the night came I quickly grabbed it up and took care of it. I figured they wouldn’t have been up here if it wasn’t for me and dinner would be on me.
Phone Tag or How the Day Finally Ends
Sometime after 11:30pm…
We finally pile in the SAAB and get back to the Motel. It already looked asleep as we pulled in the parking space and very soon we would be assimilated. We pile in the king-size bed (Goddess on the right side, Dobbah sandwiched in the middle and me on the left side). The last thing I remember about this day was Dobbah playing text message tag with a friend in Jersey. Lights out.