Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Thing 36 Year Anniversery

I'm literally a day late on this one, but yesterday was the 36th anniversary of one of the greatest horror films of all time, and one of my personal all time favorites, John Carpenter's immortal The Thing, based off of the 30's novella Who Goes There?

Although a devastating failure when first released, savaged by critics and a major loss at the box office, it's since grown a devoted and well earned cult following. And it's no short wonder why. The movie is the pinnacle of cinematic paranoia mixed with visceral horror, and no other has truly rivaled it. The sheer craft is astonishing and it holds up wonderfully.

So what better way to celebrate this anniversary than by having a little humor and fun? I hereby present one of the greatest songs to tease the auditory system, The Thing The Musical! Da da dee daaaa!

Sorry for no vid box, but Blogger is being a jerk and won't let me find it, even though it's literally the first thing that pops up in a normal youtube search. I don't understand computers sometimes.

But anyway, enjoy the song, and enjoy the horror of The Thing!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tales on the Ranch part 2

Whelp, more tales from the ranch! Got a few other funny ones.


Luck is not something that always favors me. In fact I suspect that Fate takes sadistic glee in picking on me in particular. I've noticed that the weather only likes to be bad when I'm walking to or from work. One example in particular: I was called up to help a kindly old person load something into their vehicle. I of course happily skip up to the front desk and await my task, always willing to serve our delightful customers. I happen to glance outside, and notice that the air is a bit... off. Sky is blotted out, and its not quite raining, but its not quite snowing either.

Come to think of it, neither rain nor snow tend to bounce off of asphalt. Only thing that does tend to do that is, well, hail. Ohhhhh yeah. I lean against the frame of the door, lips pursed, doing a wonderful impression of Blackadder: Back and Forth, muttering in the most sardonic voice imaginable: "Interesting..."

Customer gets into vehicle, ready for stuff to be loaded in, and I take off in the slashing hail as if I'm storming the beach at Normandy. From the first step I was pelted with chunks of ice the size of peas, which had an uncanny knack for hitting me directly on the tips of my ears. Bugger. I hustle, throw fifty pound bags of sodding salt into the back of their vehicle, wish them a happy day amidst Nature's shrapnel, and haul arse back into the shelter of the store, shaking fragments of ice from my vest and hair. 

Not a minute later however the hail stopped entirely. Had the customer waited but three minutes, we'd have been spared the withering assault. But, I sort of known it would stop when I came back inside. After all, why waste precious hail on people who aren't me?


Another trick of Fate was thrown at me one day when a customer needed one particular item. I of course look all over the area it's supposed to be, and it's not to be found. Because of course. I apologize, feeling most disappointed that I couldn't find what she wanted, when she comments that the minute she walks away, that is of course when I will find it. I paused aghast at the wisdom of her words and swiftly formed a plan of action!

I would apologize again, assure her we had no such items, and we would both walk away, pretending to be downcast, and surely we would then find the object of our mission!

"Whelp, so sorry ma'am, but it looks like we don't have it! Yyyyyyup, such a shame!" I moaned piteously as I strutted away, keeping a wary eye out to see if Fate was watching us. And, sure enough, I found precisely what it was she had been seeking! I cackled with glee and looked about for said customer, imagining how delighted she would be upon our plan working. I did indeed find her, but found the item was too large. She needed a smaller one. Aha! I could do that!

Flush with confidence at our first shot of success, I ran back and found a more fitting model, but was soon confounded once again as Fate had one last trick in store for me. I had found the item, but the customer was nowhere to be found! I searched up and down every isle, looking like an officer pursuing a fugitive, moving at a brisk walk that was almost a run, eyes searching like a hawk for a mouse. But alas, she had gone! Fate had won yet again!


Working behind the gun counter is easily the best spot in the store. Customers ask to see our dazzling selection of fun guns, and I, attempting not to drool, happily fetch whatever they ask to see and expound upon their virtues. For a gun nut myself, working at the gun counter is like a recovering drug addict working at a pharmacy. One particular day I was feeling rather proud of myself. I'd managed to sell a woman and her two sons on some packages of tannerite. For those of you who aren't gun savvy, tannerite consists of small plastic containers filled with little white balls. It's a mild explosive. You shoot it, and it goes boom. Awful fun stuff when popping off rounds in the desert.

They had been suspicious of the seemingly insignificant half-pound jars we had, unsure they would give a satisfying boom, but I insisted that they would work, and that if they wanted, they could buy some of the melons we happened to be selling near the cash register. A simple bit of knife work and they could insert the half-pound blocks of tannerite inside and kablam! They'd have a gorgeous recreation of the money shot from Scanners at an affordable price. 

Image result for scanners head explosion
Scanners, best head explosion ever
They thought this was a delightful idea and happily purchased the tannerite. Later, I walked up to the cashiers to see if they'd taken my advice about the watermelons to heart.

"Say, did a woman come through here with a pair of melons not long ago?" I inquired innocently.

My female coworker quirked a brow and a coy half smile. "You're asking if a woman came through here with a pair of melons...?"

Suddenly I flushed as I realized my poor wording. "That's not what I meant and you know it!" I declared indignantly, but was unable to keep an idiotic grin off of my face. 

I was however gratified to learn that they had indeed bought some watermelons, and I can only assume had a glorious fun time turning them into pink craters. Yay!


Usually once a week I get the same question while working at the gun counter: What handgun and cartridge should one use for bear? Quick note to those living in areas without grizzly bears: When out hiking in the northern country or fishing, you run the distinct risk of attracting the negative attention of a half-ton beast capable of ripping you many new orifices known as brown bears, or grizzlies. Now, they don't go around spending their spare time mauling every hiker and fisherman they come across, but they are more common than one might think and you only need one misunderstanding to end up with a scar makeover and a whopping hospital bill. Skin grafting isn't cheap you know.

Attacks aren't terribly common, but they happen enough that you don't want to go about unarmed up here. Most mountain men were considered green until they'd gotten at least bitten by a griz. The problem however lies in the fact that bears don't die all that easily, and if one takes a disliking to you being within the same state, the spray probably won't deter it and neither will most bullets. Sticking one with a common deer cartridge like the 270 Remington is a good way to make it mad, but not kill it. But most folks don't have the desire to tote a beefy 45-70 rifle, and instead wish for a more portable handgun.

For context, the infamous 44 magnum is considered underpowered for brown bears by most. So you can imagine my reaction when most folks are packing calibers far less substantial. 

One day a customer was asking to look at some Hornady 357 mag cartridges and asked how they performed. I told him that they work dandy in defense of two legged critters and most four legged ones, provided they were within a few hundred pounds. He then said he was looking for something to use in case of bears, and the biggest handgun he had was a 357 revolver.

"Well, I'm assuming it holds six rounds?"

"Well, good news. These will work just fine. When the first five don't work on the bear, you've got one left for yourself."

Perhaps not the most helpful advice, but it was accurate!


A word of advice to those of you who ask to see pistols at your local gun retailer: When checking out the piece of machinery, keep an eye where that muzzle is pointed. Yes, they guys there check to make sure they aren't loaded, but it's good practice to always ensure that the bore is pointed in a safe direction just in case something goes wrong. Accidents happen even to those who are careful.

Speaking personally, I get about three or four heart attacks per day working at the gun counter, on account of seeing a yawning gun barrel pass over my face and chest repeatedly as I try to limbo out of the way. But those waving the gun don't notice, being far too engrossed looking over the gun to see me re-enacting the bullet dodging scenes from The Matrix in real time. Lets face it, once you've seen what even a pencil-bore gun can do, you don't want it pointing at your face, unloaded or not. But usually I keep my mouth shut, since management tends to frown on its employees slapping guns out of careless customers' hands and yelling at them.

So I humbly ask all of you wonderful consumers, please keep a close eye on that pea-shooter when you're at the gun shop, and make sure it's not pointing directly between the eyes of the nice clerk behind the counter who is now wondering if their life insurance bill is paid up.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Early Stop-Motion Treasures

We all know Ray Harryhausen's fantastic works with dinosaurs and buxom cavewomen, or the voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, or monsters destroying grand cities, but he cut his teeth on more humble but still most impressive fairy tales. And I discovered that they have been uploaded onto Youtube!

I've only just recently found them, but I've no doubt that they are animated treasures that I and you can enjoy. Watch and have fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

Image result for kentucky long rifle

The year 1776, when a little upstart cluster of colonies stood up to a mighty empire and told them to sod off with their laws, and embraced freedom amidst the thrusts of bayonets and the rattle of musketry. A year that will long be remembered, and still celebrated today as the birth of the greatest and most free nation that ever existed in Earth's history.

America might not be perfect, but it still has the most freedoms and the most opportunity, and I'm proud to live here and call myself an American.

Happy Independence Day everyone! Have fun with flint and powder, and of course tons of fireworks!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Who We Truly Are

I've learned a lot in my short time on this earth. Mine has been a life of hardship. One battle after another. Too many times have I felt myself on the verge of breaking. And yet it is in times of distress, when we are at our lowest point and most vulnerable that the core of who we are is revealed. When our layers of personality are flayed under the knives of cruel life, we reveal who we truly are as people.

While trials are never enjoyable while we go through them, they none the less teach us our most valuable lessons. When you feel that you are at your breaking point, when you are at your worst, when the world is collapsing around you, look into a mirror and you will behold your true self.

What Kind of Heart

What kind of heart is it that feels those of others?

What kind of heart feels the pain of others and yet cannot cure it?

What kind of heart is bereft of selfishness and yet gives all it has?

What kind of heart is able to give all and yet take nothing?

What kind of heart always thinks of others and neglects itself?

What kind of heart breaks and never puts itself back together?

What kind of heart is unable to deliver pain and yet receive it so easily?

What kind of heart refuses that which it most desires?

What kind of heart dwells in the breast of those precious few who care naught for themselves?

What kind of heart always bleeds but never dies?

What kind of heart is so barren and callused yet bears the soft glow of hope?

What kind of heart can remain noble in the face of pain, adversity and desire?