X-Files, among other things…

Back in 1997, when S and I started dating, I was not much of a sci-fi fan.  Sure, I grew up loving Star Wars, but just the movies.  I was not into the fan-fiction and continuations of the stories that a lot of Star Wars fans were into.  My love of the trilogy sent me in the direction of loving Carrie Fisher and her books and her sense of humor.  I couldn’t have been any less into sci-fi if I had tried.

Also, I was not so much into conspiracy theories, with the exception of the JFK assassination, but I think that was more about politics than dark, looming conspiracy.  I did not spend my days thinking about the secret group of men who “really” ran the whole world or black helicopters or one world government.   I thought more about how laws are made and the legislative process and back room deals and Tammany Hall.  That seemed complicated enough…

But then I started dating S…  She worked in a science themed store, watched X-Files religiously and had friends who believed in the Illuminati and such.  During the whole “getting to know you” phase of the relationship, it was like she was speaking a foreign language or perhaps came from a different country with a whole different culture than I was used to.  I had never spent time around someone who was into those kinds of things.  Science, yes…  But science like becoming a doctor or a pharmacist, not science like alien autopsies and life on other planets.  It was a crazy time.  And if she hadn’t been so damned cute, I don’t know that we really would have gotten past the first few dates.

As we were starting to spend more and more time together there were evenings when we hunkered down in my apartment to rent movies or watch television.  That was an odd experience.  When she picked the movies, they were those crazy Japanese animation movies or bizarre science fiction movies that were poorly written and poorly acted but “classics”.  I don’t have a problem telling you that I was in Hell on the nights that she chose the movies.  And I have no problem telling you that she was in Hell when I made her watch “Love Story” and “The Paper Chase“.  But then she introduced me to The X-Files. 

Yes, I was aware that there was a television show that was cultly popular, but I had never watched it and really didn’t know anything about it other than it was “weird”.  But, Gillian Anderson was hot and sometimes that is all it takes for me to have interest in a television program.  We would watch the current shows together on Sunday nights and in between, we would rent the videos of seasons past so that I could get caught up.  At first, I agreed to watch X-Files because it pleased S so much and I was really into pleasing her and then there was the Scully hot factor and then I was introduced to the overall conspiracy of the show.  A secretive syndicate of people who ran the government and pulled the strings of the FBI agents who threatened their power.  Okay, I always thought the alien stuff was silly, but I tried to suspend my disbelief.

After a year or two of living together with X-Files posters on our apartment walls, we got less and less engaged in the show.  The cast changed and I never really cared for the “weird” episodes as much as S did.  And at some point I sucked S into The West Wing and that became “our” show.  We did race out and see the X-Files movie when it hit the big screen and we bought the video when it came out.  S watched it more than a dozen times, but we were never as obsessed with the show as we once had been.  People change.

We’ve had the Sci-Fi channel for a couple of years now, but I rarely ever watch it.  Sometimes, when S is in charge of the remote, she seeks it out.  They run old X-Files episodes, which she still loves to watch.  About a month ago the channel had a mini-marathon, running the last three episodes of the series, which neither of us had ever seen because they came after we had lost interest in the show.  They turned out to be disappointing but at the end, there was a commercial for a new X-Files movie, which took us by surprise.  So, for the past month of so we have had the opening weekend date for the X-Files movie on our calender.

We had no idea what the plot of the movie was about.  The movie trailer didn’t give any real clues.  We searched the internet but the plot was being kept under wraps although we read that the plot would be along the lines of the most beloved X-Files episodes.  So, we went to see it on Tuesday and while it was a good and entertaining movie, it was more along the lines of S’s beloved episodes, not mine.  See, no spoiler here.  If you loved or even just liked the television show, go see the movie.  But go to an early show for the cheap price.  That’s all I’m saying by way of review.  It was well worth $6.50.  I don’t know that it was worth $8.50.

Oh yeah, and Gillian Anderson is even hotter now that she is older.

Good things…

In effort to prove my contention that I am not an angry person, I will post a few of the things that I am happy about this week.

1. Looking over my current DirecTV bill I found that my NFL Sunday Ticket has automatically been renewed, at the early purchase discount rate, no less.  Yeah!  You have no idea just how much I love football.  Or just how much I love my Pittsburgh Steelers.  If it had not been automatically renewed, I might have had some purchasing guilt over it again this year like I did last year.  It’s kind of a lot of money to spend on watching football when there is really just the one football fan in the house.  Sure, S likes watching Steelers games, but she does not live and die with them like I do.  But, the decision has sort of been made for me and I have a little less guilt.

2.  I am totally enjoying our evening walks with the dogs.  And the dogs are quite pleased as well.  During the walks we’ve gotten to meet more and more of our neighbors and a local police officer who lives on the next street up from ours.  I like participating in the community, even if it is just in a small way.  Also, S has started taking Rummy jogging in the afternoons and they both seem to be enjoying that.  Emma and I get to stay home, which pleases both of us.

3.  The county fairs start next week!  We love county fairs.  Oh, the corn dogs I will be eating…

4.  We found a decent local pie place and last night we tried out some pies.  We bought four different slices to share and sample and they were all pretty good.  When we lived on the other side of town we had a great dessert place that we indulged in, but it is now way too far away for the indulgence.  But now we can at least get a pie fix on this side of town.

5. This morning we watched the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie, due out in November.  Brilliant from the looks of it so far.  The Tom Riddle boy seems like perfect casting.

6. Last Thursday I purchased and then grilled to perfection a Porterhouse steak.  Life is good, very good. 

7.  We are having house guests this weekend, S’s brother and his wife.  Which means we get to show off the house again and I do love that.

8.  A family has moved into the house next door to us.  Mother, father and children.  The house has been vacant since before we bought our house and while I enjoyed the quiet and the privacy, I worried about living next to a somewhat run-down, empty house. 

I thought I would have ten things, but no.  Oh wait, I started reading a really good book last night.  Yeah, that’s #9.  Oh, and in the past two weeks I read biographies of James Madison, James Monroe and John Tyler, so there, that’s #10.

Life’s a beach and so is my sister-in-law…

Last week when I was having a long phone conversation with my mother she told me that my brother, DK the Asshat, was heading down to the beach with his family in the coming weeks.  She hadn’t be invited to join them for many reasons (lots ‘o’ tension in the family these days) but mostly because my brother is taking the children’s nanny and my father along.  S and I hadn’t been invited either, which didn’t really surprise me.  Last year’s beach trip was scheduled for the last week of the school year and while we were invited at the last minute, we couldn’t go.  I was a little sad that we weren’t able to go last year because, as it turns out, it was my grandmother’s last trip to the beach.  The writing was on the wall for that before the trip was scheduled, so I don’t know why it couldn’t have been scheduled for a later time in the summer when I would have been able to attend.  Whatever.  It’s just one of the reasons I call my brother DK the Asshat.

DK was an asshat long before he married Satan, but when their evil powers combined in an unholy union, each became unbearable.  While DK is an asshat, he is an asshat that craves having his family around him.  I don’t know that it matters whether or not we enjoy being around him, just that we are around him.  But Satan does not like any of us one bit.  She hated my grandmother.  She loathes my mother.  She is disgusted by my brother, MK.  She despises my father.  I suppose she hates me, but maybe there is some emotion bigger than hate and that is how she feels.  I don’t know…  She doesn’t speak to me.  She is friendly to S though.

There is a constant battle in their unholy union because DK the Asshat wants his family around and Satan wants to be as far away from us as possible.  If she has to consent to a visit, she feigns a headache and spends the entore visit in another room “resting”.  She even does that on family beach trips.  She hates us so much that if we are around she spends an entire beach trip in a room by herself resting.  Seriously, she could just go walk along the beach by herself and not miss out on the beach, you know. 

As I said, I was not surprised that S and I were not invited to the beach this year.  The family tension since my grandmother died has been awful and I have been a participant, mostly as an advocate for my mother.  Not a popular position to take where DK the Asshat and Satan are involved.  Besides, S and I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to the beach even if we had been invited.  And I wouldn’t have gone without my mother.

Sunday night, as S and I were getting home for our 1 mile “training” walk with the dogs, my cell phone rang and the caller ID read: DK the Asshat.  Yes, it actually says that.  I answered, because if I don’t it angers him more than is reasonable for any normal person.  His cell phone service sucks, I think it is Verizon and I could only hear about every fourth word of what he was saying (my AT&T rocks!)  but I did get these sentences: “Hey, Meg, I meant to call you this morning but things have been crazy.  We’re all down here at the beach and you and S should come down.”

Seriously?  I knew about this trip at least four days before that phone call, which meant it had been in the plans for at least a week, if not more.  They are renting a beach house, which you can do on some short notice, but beach front takes a little work.  So, DK the Asshat waits to invite us until he is already at the beach?  And he apologizes for calling at 7:00 pm instead of 7:00 am when they are already at the beach as if that makes a difference?  Asshat.

Needless to say, I said no thank you.

In honor of their complete beachiness, I present to you, DK the Asshat and Satan during our last beach vacation together in 2005.

Bringing Big Ugly Home…

If you are wondering why we are chopping up a fish, you should read Fishing Expedition and Fishing Expedition Continued… you know, so you don’t think we are just some fish sacrificing cult.

So, we brought Big Ugly home in our fishing bucket.  He wasn’t real happy about it and splashed his fishy water all over the back end of our car.  We called S’s dad, Mr. S, because he is a fisherman and pretty good at it.  We weren’t really sure what to do with Big Ugly by way of putting him out of his misery.  Mr. S said that we needed to bop him in the head with the but of a hammer to end the suffering.  Easy enough, I’ve had experience with that before (rodents in restaurants, not fish or people or anything like that).

That’s Big Ugly, not real pleased with his lot in life…

The thing is, I wasn’t expecting and Mr. Sdidn’t mention that Big Ugly’s head was really hard.  I bopped him several times and nothing happened.  S bopped him several times and only managed to cut him a little.  So we dumped him out of the bucket and I chopped his head of with my trusty hatchet.  My work was done.  We have a fillet knife and S had watched her father do it before, so she took over.  But she didn’t want me to watch because I think she thought I would think less of her.  You know me, all judgmental after I chop off fish heads.

That’s Big Ugly before he met the hatchet.

And here is S doing the dirty work.  Her dad talked her through most of it, which was good because the skin was tough to get off.  We ended up with a good bit of fish meat.  We were going to cook it that night, but the pain of the sunburns had started to set in, so we put the meat in the freezer.

My knees were so burned that I couldn’t really walk yesterday.  I even cried a little.  S’s back is her worst area.  My left arm is already blistered up.  We were really stupid.

The fishing expedition continued…

In case you missed the first installment of The Fishing Expedition, go check it out.  It has pretty pictures.

Okay, so we were fishing on Punderson Lake in a rented row boat…  And we started out on the water at about 9:24 am.  The man who rented us the boat and helped get us off from the docks tossed out the following sentence as we were pulling away, “Remember ladies, save some fish for the rest of us.”  Cute.  I almost called back to him that he needn’t worry because I couldn’t catch a fish to save my life, but I didn’t.  I figured S would catch a boat full of fish and I could pretend some of them were mine.

S likes to bait hooks.  Seriously, she likes it.  So I let her bait almost all of my hooks because I don’t so much like it.  I can do it, but she does it better and seems to like it, so I let her.  Don’t judge me.

I would also like to point out that I have not once mentioned the part where we put on sunscreen.  We didn’t.  Usually Swill lather up in the stuff if she is going to be out in the front yard for 10 minutes on a sunny day.  I rarely ever wear it unless I am at the beach and even then I resist.  Neither of us thought we would be out fishing all that long, so we didn’t think about sun protection.  I wore a sleeveless shirt so that I could get some sun on my arms.  S started out the day in a t-shirt, but by the end of the trip she had stripped down to a sports bra because it was so damned hot.

I put my first line in the water at 9:28 am.  I pulled it back out of the water with a fish attached at 9:31 am.  I am not kidding.  I am not embellishing.  It took a mere three minutes to hook this sunfish.

Yes, that bad boy is mine.  I caught the first fish of the day.  And I did it without even trying.  Really, I was just pulling my line back in so that I could cast off better and it just so happened that there was a fish on my hook.  I wish I could claim some special skill, but no.

It was about 45 minutes later when I reeled in this fish, which S informed me was a blue gill.  I have to believe here since I can only identify about three kinds of fish and only one of them would be found in a normal lake.

I post this picture to tell you that S is the one who pulls the hooks out of the fish and tosses them back in the water.  I can pull the hooks out and I have done it, but she has pretty much taken it on as her job and I let her.  Do not judge me.  She also talks to the fish while she is doing it… “It’s okay fish… You are so brave… Just another second and you’ll be back in the water…” 

We had really found a prime fishing spot because about five minutes after I caught that blue gill, I caught this catfish, the only lake fish I can identify.  S had yet to catch any fish and I think she was getting pretty salty about it.

No worries though… About three minutes later she pulled in this ugly little catfish.  When she was removing his hook, he chomped down on the pliers and then stabbed her in the hand with his fin.  Luckily she was wearing fish gloves so she didn’t get cut.

Yep, another blue gill for me.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel or something.

And here is another catfish that I caught.  Bigger and uglier than the first.

Here is a little blue gill that S caught.  You’d think it would make her less salty but no.  She called him “bait” and tossed him back in disgust.  While she was getting his hook out and holding him over the side of the boat another fish did jump up out of the water to eat him, which really did make him seem like bait.

I was worried that S was disappointed in the fishing expedition because she had only caught two fish to my eight fish, but no.  She was having a great time and was happy that I was finally catching fish and enjoying myself.  Sure, I got a little puffy, calling myself and “angler” and an “outdoorsman” but she enjoyed that too.

Who knew that the biggest fish was yet to come?  S was fighting with what she assumed was a large chunk of weeds on her line, but the way it was fighting caused me to grab our net.  I knew she had a fish and I knew it was going to be big.  It was.  It was a large catfish.  But before fully reeling him in and over my protests, S set her rod aside so she could read the regulations on keeping fish.  I thought for sure we were going to lose him.  When she realized we wouldn’t be breaking any laws, she got him up near the boat where I could scoop him up in the net.  She then scooped up some water in our fish bucket and I deposited her prize catch.

We named him Big Ugly.  After we got home, we measured him and he was 24 inches long.  Big enough to eat.  Neither S nor Ieat fish, but we had made a vow two years ago that if we ever caught a big enough catfish, we would take him home and cook him. 

So, S caught Big Ugly at 2:13 pmand we decided to call it a day and row back to shore.  We hadn’t been paying attention to the time and while I noticed that we were both turning red, I didn’t really think we had been out on the lake all that long.  But we had.  About five hours in the full sun with sun reflecting off of the water.

There will be more of this fish story…

Fishing expedition…

It’s summer and we are not really working on the house like I thought we would.  Yes, we’ve been working in the garden and tending to the gutters, but mostly we have been having fun.  We’re taking regular evening walks around the neighborhood now, trying to get me in shape for the Race For the Cure.  The dogs are enjoying it and we’ve really been getting to know our neighborhood, something we have sort of neglected for the past year.

S and I both enjoy fishing.  We’d both grown up in families that fished and a couple of years ago we bought poles for ourselves and started fishing from piers on Lake ErieS really enjoyed that.  As well she should, since she always managed to catch fish.  I might as well have been tossing worms into the lake without bothering with the pole, the line or the hook.  In our many fishing expeditions I managed to catch 2 tiny little fish.  Not good.

But on Friday we tried a new fishing expedition.  We found a state park not far from our house called Punderson Lake.  Actually, I think there might be three lakes in the park (1 big, 2 small) but we chose the big one, which is actually Punderson Lake.  S read up on the fishing report and found that Friday was going to be a good/excellent day for fishing on the lake and that the lake offered row boat rentals.  Exciting.  I hadn’t been fishing on a boat since I was five or six.

We started out quite early on Friday morning which was cause for celebration since we have been staying up very late and sleeping in almost everyday since school let out.  It’s our usual school-break pattern which I have tried so many times to break but I cannot.  I’m a morning person and I really hate missing out on all of these mornings.  However, I am also a late night person and I hate to see any day with S come to an end.

Anyway, we got out to Punderson Lake at about 9:00 am.  Since it was still kind of early there was mist floating on the water near the boat house.  That helped set the proper fishing mood.  And there was a guy getting ready to set out for the day on his own boat with his very well behaved dog.

I would love to take our dogs out on the lake in a boat, but Emma would surely tip the boat trying to jump into the lake for swimming and Rummy would tip the boat chasing after the dragon flies.  It would not end well.

We rented a row boat for the reasonable price of $18 for the first two hours and the $5 an hour after that.  You can rent a boat for the whole day for $38, but we weren’t expecting to be out on the lake all that long.  Renting a boat was the way to go because the shore areas around the lake aren’t all that easily fished because of the lily pads and weeds.  We were told that the fish would really be biting in the shady areas, which please me because the sun was kind of hot already at 9:00 am.

This is a photo from the boat.  Punderson Lake is really quite big and there was no way we were going to get to see all of it with a row boat.  I was the designated rower because S said she had never done it before.  I had gone to various camps as a kid and row boating was learned.  Of course, it had been over 20 years since my camp experience and I was a little rusty.  S teased me all day long and quit frankly, wore down my ego a bit.  By the middle of the fishing expedition the rowing had come back to me and I think I did well.

This is where the fish were hanging out in the morning hours.

Off in the distance there are two guys in kayaks.  They brought their own boats which is allowed.  Punderson Lake also has two, two person kayaks for rent as well as row boats with outboard motors, but those are priced differently.  We enjoyed the boating experience almost as much as the fishing and spent quite a bit of the day discussing getting our own row boat.  We have that discussion every time we go down to Hinkley and rent kayaks, only then we discuss buying kayaks. 

This is a photo of a herron in flight.  He was huge and all day he raised quite a ruckus. 

Okay, so in the next post, I am going to have more fish stories and photos.  I was just setting the stage in this post.

Race for the Cure…

Sadly, it is not a race in support of Robert Smith and his wicked good band The Cure.  No, it is a run/walk for breast cancer, which I’m sure you’ve heard lots about from all sorts of sources.

When we lived in Pittsburgh, S used to walk in the Race for the Cure with her mother every mother’s day.  But here in Ohio the thing is in early September and inconvenient for mother/daughter dual-state participation.  Shasn’t participated in the Race since we moved to Ohio.  But last night she was checking out those Susan G. Komen breast cancer t-shirts and got it in her head that we should do the Race this year.  We.  Apparently she meant me.  My first question, can I drive it?  Sadly, the answer was no.

I like walking.  I like walking the dogs and I like walking in the woods.  I can get behind a long walk down the beach too.  But walking a course with a pre-determined length in a specific set time frame (starts at 9:15 and and ends at noon) doesn’t much appeal to me.  I know that I walked more than three miles at Kennywood a couple of weeks ago, but that was at a meander (my favorite pace) with lots of starting and stopping.  I’m not an exercise walker. 

I don’t even know if I can walk a 5k and live to tell about it.  Yes, that is a sad admission.  So we are going to start training this evening.  We are going on a somewhat long walk.  Hopefully by weeks end we will have increased the length of the walk.  And even more hopefully, by September 13th, I will be able to walk the 5k without any problem other than perhaps a little boredom.  Downtown Cleveland is kind of boring to look at.  I hope the race course at least gives us some lake views.  That would get me more interested.