Friday, September 30, 2005

Achieving Serenity: Your 100% Spoiler-Free Movie Review

Joss Whedon's latest project hits the theatres today. I will therefore be out tonight!

I'm going out now.

I'll report back later.



Later has arrived.

It was good.  You should go. 

There were characters in it.  They said and did things.

There were spaceships. 

Joss Whedon wrote and directed it.

What more do you need to know?

"Gee, can you vague that up for me?" - Buffy

Off By O'Hare: The Beatles and Harry Nilsson

Weekend Assignment #79: Chicago! It's a toddlin' town. Share some of your favorite things about the City of Big Shoulders. If you've ever been to Chicago, memories of your visit would be a topic. If you live in or near Chicago, some hometown favorite things would be good. If you've never been, share your favorite Chicago-related thing, from the Jordan-era Bulls to the Blues Brothers to Ferris Bueller. As long as it's tangentially related to Chicago, it's all good.

Extra Credit:
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza -- the best pizza ever? Your thoughts.

Sometimes, I could almost swear that John Scalzi is trying to stump me on a topic, were it not for the fact that it's clearly paranoid of me to think such a thing.  Listen, I've barely been to Chicago.  I've seen one hotel, and the roads leading up to it. I've seen O'Hare Airport, which is technically outside Chicago itself.  And I've seen downtown Chicago from the air.  Very pretty. 

Not much to hang an entry on, is it? So I'm going off on a tangent, based on that one visit to that one hotel.  Hey, he said we could do that! 
Evidence that I've been to Chicago - barely.As I've mentioned repeatedly in this journal, John, Kal and I were the owners of Rockarama from 1979 to 1982.  The store never made money, so we kept it going by hauling our best stock to record shows.  Most of these were in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Detroit, Toledo and Covington.  A couple of times, though, we went to Beatlefest.  In 1981 it was the Chicago Beatlefest.  In 1982, it was the one in Port Chester, NY, not far from New York City.  In 1987 and 1990, when Rockarama was long gone, we attended the Beatlefest in downtown Los Angeles.

On of several shirts I bought at Beatlefest.Now, honestly, I don't remember much about that first Beatlefest I attended.  I remember how green and pretty the drive to the hotel was, and that we sawsome kind of light rail on the way in and were impressed with it.  The hotel itself was the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  It had a mezzanine level, and that made me a  little nervous.  A month before, almost to the day, the Skywalk mezzanine at the Hyatt Regency Kansas City had collapsed, killing 119 people.  Nothing bad happened at the Chicago hotel, though.  The room even had a mini-refrigerator, which was the first time I'd seen one in a hotel room.

I'd like to be able to tell you all about that Beatlefest: the Monkees dealers in the booth next to us, the guy in the corner with a Beatles alarm clock and other great licensed merchandise from 1964, the great Beatles tribute band, Harry Nilsson and Mike Mac, the great t-shirts I bought and the money we made.  The truth, however, is that such anecdotes would be a confabulation, a dimly-recalled, half-made-up mishmash of things we saw and heard and did at at least four different Beatlefests over the years.  What happened in Chicago, specifically?  I can't  begin to tell you.  Other than the drive in and the mezzanine level and the fridge, I have no specific memories. 

Harry Nilsson, 1982.Too bad, because I wanted to tell you about Harry Nilsson.

After John Lennon's death in December, 1980, John's friend Nilsson became involved in a Coalition to "End Handgun Violence."  He would go to Beatlefest, sell autographs and auction off his time on behalf of that cause.  We met Nilsson at a Beatlefest, as you can see from the photo and the accompanying ticket.  However, as you can also see from the ticket, this happened at the 1982 Beatlefest in NY, not the 1981 one in Chicago.

Let me tell you about him anyway.

Harry Nilsson (1941-1994) was a heavy drinker, a bit of a cokehead, and a very talented man.  His biggest hits, Everybody's Talkin' and Without You, were not written by him;  but he wrote a lot of great songs, and not just for himself, either.  The Monkees' Cuddy Toy was one of his.  So was the Three Dog Night hit One.  Early on, he was writing pop hits while working the night shift at a bank.  Later, he wrote the music for his own animated tv special, The Point.  He also wrote the music for The Courtship of Eddie's Father, and for Robert Altman's Popeye.  I count that last one as a plus, not a minus, by the way, both in the film's favor and in Harry's.  He also had a really great voice, and a wonky sense of humor. Unfortunately, he had an uneven career, and drinks and drugs contributed to his early death from heart failure.

Nilsson came to the Beatles' attention via Derek Taylor and Nilsson's cover of You Can't Do That, which worked a slew of lines from other Beatles songs into Nilsson's multitracked backing vocals, ending with the words "Strawberry Beatles forever!"  But that wasn't the first time his career crossed that of the Beatles.  In 1964, there was a 45 called Stand Up and Holler, accompanied by a film strip.  I think it was some kind of promotional thing. The song, sung by young Nilsson, had the following lame lyric:

Two bit, four bits, six bits, a dollar -
All for the Beatles, stand up and holler!

The film strip was footage from the Beatles' February 1964 visit to America.

I'm pretty sure we found that 45 at a Beatlefest, maybe even the Chicago one.  When my husband talked to Nilsson about it in 1982, he was amazed that we had it.  Sorry, but I don't really remember what story, if any, he told John (Blocher, not Lennon) about it.  But he did sign an autograph for us, and wished John a happy birthday for the next day.

And that's what I know about Chicago.

Okay, okay.  I've heard of Chicago blues, and watched the first Blues Brothers movie.  The Bob Newhart Show was set in Chicago, a fact  I remember because Newhart has a great bit in one episode in which he utters a long series of musical cliches about Chicago.  "It's, uh, my kind of town!"  The Chicago White Sox have spring training here in Tucson, and I hear they just clinched a berth for the post season. Good for them!  As for the Cubs, according to Back to the Future, they'll win the World Series in 2015.  Oh, and Gary Marshall's character in A League of Their Own is loosely based on Mr. Wrigley of chewing gum and Wrigley Field fame.

Extra Credit:  Don't be silly.  The best pizza is from New York State.  Pizza crust should be semi-thick and breadstick-chewy at the edge, thinner in the middle, with big air bubbles and not too much sauce. Unfortunately, Johnny's Pizza is long gone from Manlius, I hear.


P.S.  See the entry below for updates on the Saga of the Missing Check, and for new photos that accompany answers to the questions posed in my Monday Photo Shoot entry.  Good night!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Check the Street (Updated)

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well / It were done quickly." - Macbeth

bathroom ceiling, apres mold.
No, I'm not planning a murder, even a fantastical one, but the quote seems appropriate.  Nothing about this refi John and I have just gone through was done quickly, and now that 'tis done, 'twere not done completely even yet.  We've received the final approvals, signed the papers, and gotten the checks issued - most of them, anyway.  We've even had the mold remediation done, and the smell from the mold-preventing sealant in my bathroom is slowly abating.  But the bathroom now needs to be plastered and repainted, and that's not the biggest home repair problem. The roofer still hasn't scheduled the re-roofing.  Yes, I'm sure the end of the summer monsoon is a very busy time for them, but a returned phone call would be nice!

On Monday, I picked up an envelope with several checks in it.  One was made out to us, and the rest were to pay off the credit cards.  Each of the latter had an abbreviated version of the creditor's name on it, plus our names, with instructions to endorse the checks and mail them to the credit card companies.  Okay, fine.  So Tuesday at lunch, I went home and printed out online versions of three of the four relevant bills, since I had a printed version of the fourth one.  The last of the online ones lacked any black ink at all on the printout.  What the heck did I do with the toner cartridge I bought last week?  I don't know, but so far I haven't managed to find it.

Next I raided John's box of blank envelopes, and then headed back to the office.

By now you probably know that I cross a major Tucson intersection several times a day, walking between my car and the office.  When I came back from lunch on  Tuesday, I carried a bag with some of the bill-related stuff in it.  The rest was in my purse.  As I neared the curb on the office side of the street, the car beside me honked.  "I do have the right of way, you know!" I growled.

But then the car after that honked, too - and I was out of the street by then.

I turned and looked.  The crosswalk was littered with envelope-sized pieces of white paper. 

And the traffic light had just changed.

Yes, I've obscured the sensitive data.
I called out my thanks to the second person who honked at me, and stood helplessly on the curb as the early afternoon traffic plowed through my unintentional litter, blowing it southward and covering it with treadmarks.  When the light changed again, I grabbed the two pieces that were still within reach of the original crosswalk.  The light changed yet again, and I retrieved several more papers, in and around the crosswalk that went the other way.  That left two more unretrieved items, both in the scariest, most dangerous part of the intersection.  Everything I'd grabbed turned out to be a blank white envelope (now punctured and gray), and the remaining items looked to be more of the same.  I therefore didn't try for those last two pieces.  I stuffed the other ruined envelopes in the bag, and returned to my cubicle.

Today I got out fresh, clean envelopes at home, and printed them at work.  But when I went to put one of the really big checks into the printed envelope, I didn't have the check!  Oh, no!  Was one of the two "envelopes" I'd failed to retrieve not an envelope after all, but a check for X thousand dollars and change?  Or was the missing check in the car, or at home?  I was in agony for the rest of the afternoon, as I waited to leave work and go find out.

After work I scoped out the intersection, and discovered that the only likely place for my unretrieved papers to be was in the bushes on the median strip south of the intersection.  Sure enough, one of my envelopes was there.  But that was all.

On to the car.  Nothing.

I drove home.  No check in the kitchen, or in my office, or in the stack of mail I was going through on Monday.  In desperation, I checked one last place.

It was there.  Somehow, it got separated from the other checks, and was never even endorsed.

Yes, I've obscured the sensitive data.Whew!


On the kitchen counter was a checklist of checks that should have been in the envelope, with check numbers and amounts.  Tonight I looked this over in detail for the first time.

There was supposed to be another check besides the ones I have, made out to a well-known company that employs spokesbarbarians. 

I never, ever saw this sixth check.  No, really!  I had been vaguely aware that there were only four credit card checks, plus the one to us.  That seemed wrong, but I hadn't paid enough attention to discover that it was wrong, not even when I discussed the checks with my loan officer on Monday afternoon.  I also had been vaguely aware that I hadn't pulled up the spokesbarbarians' website when I compared the current balances with the check amounts.

Guess I have a phone call to make tomorrow.

No, really.  I didn't lose a large check on Wilmot Road.

I didn't!

Don't look at me like that!  I didn't do it, I tell you!

It wouldn't be so amusing if you were married to me.


********* Later **********

Nothing is missing after all.   The title company didn't issue a check to Capital One.  I don't know why, but it means that we still owe them.  (Further update: the balance was only a couple thousand anyway, so we paid it off Thursday evening.)

There were only five checks, exactly as listed.  (An accountant who can't tell the difference between five and six.  How scary is that?)

John thinks this wipes out the rest of our cash and/or monthly cash flow, but it doesn't.  It is tighter, though.  :(

And I didn't lose a check.  I told you, but you didn't believe me.  Did you?  I'm looking at you, Kal!  ;)



*********** Answers to the John's Turn Puzzlers ***********

2.  Orange Grid.

the lamp at my end of the couch
Close-up of a vintage lamp.

3. The Bonzos and Radio

Bonzo dogs and their friends

Kal had this right - as well he should, having been a partner in Rockarama.  The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (or Bonzo Dog Band) was fronted by Neil Innes of Rutles fame.

4.  Colors, Man.

We like the pretty colors!

Straws from IKEA.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oh, The Secret Life of Karen Funk Blocher

on a bad day, there's a lot going on in my brain that they don't know about. This is my entry in this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge.  The topic, suggested by Patrick, is "Secrets."

The Internet is a strange and contradictory world in which to spend one's time.  It is intimate and distancing, immediate and delayed, ephemeral and lasting.  It promotes communication and controversy, understanding and misunderstanding, friendship and isolation.  Names on a screen become best friends.  A stranger in another state knows more about your health problems than your co-workers do, more about your dreams and aspirations than your spouse does.

Let's take me for an example, since this is my blog.  Those of you who read Musings on a regular basis know about my novels, the quiz I wrote, my struggle to find time for sleeping, my religious views (for the most part), what my dog looks like, my husband's name, the name of my hometown, what schools I've attended, most of my childhood traumas (such as they are) and a few of my adult ones.  I finally graduated from college this year, and you knew what it meant for me to do so.  You were there when I got a new job, and knew that I cried in the stairwell because it meant leaving Worldwide Travel.  You know that I'm fat, and nearly 50 years old, give or take 18 months.  You probably have a fair inkling that I'm a Democrat.  You've seen my favorite books, and know why I like them, what tv shows have mattered to me over the years, what my favorite theme park is.  You know how I feel about my uncomfortable but not tragic childhood, and what I question in my own psyche now as an adult.  You even know the color of my iPod!

You don't know it all. But: despite my mania for online confession, you don't know everything about me.  Some of it's deep dark stuff I don't tell anyone (except maybe John or my doctor), but a lot of it is basic personal data.  With a few exceptions, you don't know my address or phone number, the name of the company where I work now (or the kind of business it is), or the name of the company where John works.  You sure as heck don't know my credit card numbers and financial data.  Again with exceptions, you don't know the name of my Wiccan friend with health problems, or what's going on in her life now.  You may know that I go to church with a guy named Kevin, but you probably don't know who that is.  And so on.  You know what I choose to share.  I share an awful lot, but not everything.  And if I don't volunteer every negative thing I could possibly say about myself, who can blame me?  So you're getting a slightly grainy and rosy picture of me, and there are pieces missing.

There are large areas of my life that even you don't know about.Life in this modern world is compartmentalized, and we interact with different populations at different times, sharing some things and keeping others secret.  Nobody at my office knows that I am a blogger--at least, I hope not.  Although I strive to avoid revealing anything that would compromise confidentiality agreements, and never write blog entries at work (as I did a few times at Worldwide Travel, I'm ashamed to say), it's better not to raise the issue than explain what a blog is, and why the company need not be concerned about it.  Hardly anyone at work knows about the novels. The few who do are the ones who asked about the Sherlock portraits of my characters, which are posted in my cubicle.  Nobody there has heard of my friend Kevin, and not too many have even heard of John.  But they do know stuff you guys don't about what I do all day and why and how, and how it fits in with their own jobs, and how I look when I return from lunch on a muggy day, my hair all droopy and messy from the walk across the street.  A few of them hear things even John doesn't know.  (Not very many things, though - John doesn't miss much!)

I am an enigma to parishioners.
And what do the parishioners know about me?  Again, only a handful know about the novels, but many of them know about my photography and webmaster duties for St. Michael's.  A lot of them assume that Kevin is my husband, although I tell them otherwise whenever the subject  comes up.  Some of them know where I work, but not necessarily what kind of business it is.  Almost none of them know most of the stuff about me that you guys know.

Do these bits of missing information count as secrets?  I think so.  When I was a kid, I hated the concept of "image," preferring to believe I looked and acted exacty the same no matter who was watching and listening.  But it's not quite true, is it?  Some things that I can tell you guys would be irrelevant or damaging if I told them at work or at church. Perfectly innocent infomation that anyone in Tucson can learn in thirty seconds could be used against me if I posted them online.  There's lots of stuff nobody knows except John. And so on.

the hall outside the departmentStill, I'm not a very secretive person by nature.  Although I haven't said outright where I live or where I work, I haven't exactly covered my tracks well.  Here's a picture of the hallway outside the accounting department at work, taken when I left just before sunset one evening.  If you worked there, you'd recognize the hall.  Even if you didn't work there, but you lived in Tucson, you could deduce where I work from the pictures I've posted of weather and mountains and streets and buildings.  You'd know that I must live near that one Safeway I keep mentioning.  So what is the point of my saying I live on Calle *Mumble*?. I'm not sure.  But basic Internet security guidelines suggest that I not post my address, so I don't.  Maybe I get 1% less junk mail that way.  And it is true that a whacko from Quantum Leap fandom once used my address against me - to sign me up for a subscription to Playgirl.  It wasn't exactly a tragic consequence of my openness, but it was annoying.  I really don't like that magazine at all.

the view from the accounting department window on a rainy day.When I was in high school, or possibly junior high, I came up with a premise for a story about an alien from a planet where everyone has telepathy.  When he visited Earth, he could not understand why people had any need or desire for privacy.  Knowing everyone at home so intimately, he understood them  completely, why they did what they did and how they felt about everything.  There was no miscommunication, no misunderstanding.  And because everyone understood each other, they empathised with each other.  Everyone's feelings were important to everyone, because they all felt them.  In a situation like that, how could anyone seek to hurt or judge anyone else?  Secrets were both impossible and unnecessary.

Sometimes I wish our own planet could be like that.  If we really understood and empathized with each other, we wouldn't look for information that could be used against someone.  And there would be much less need for secrets.


Now go check out the other Round Robin Photo Challenge entries:

Patrick (posted!)


Promise (canceled due to serious illness

Becky (posted!)

Dorn (posted!)

Karen  (posted!)

Betty (posted!)

Carly (posted!)

Mary (posted!)

Sara (posted!)


Renee (posted!)

Dorn (posted!)

Celeste (canceled due to "secret" disappearing photo!)

Phinney (posted!)

Marie (posted!)

Maryanne (added!)

Robin (added!)

Alan (added!)

********** Oh, and I've been tagged! *************

Sam (GaBoatman) tagged me for the meme that's been making the rounds:

The rules are simple:

1) Go to your journal's archives.
2) Find the 23rd post.
3) Find the 5th sentence in that post.
4) Post that sentence with these instructions.
5) Tag five more people.


It's in this entry, dated 4/12/04:

Updates and Things to Come  posted by mavarin (2 comments)

"They are merely a sharing of my experience and information concerning Episcopal practices as I've observed them in recent years."

Pretty dull, huh?  This was me being a little defensive about the fact that I'd written a number of religious entries early on. 

If you haven't done this meme, and you've written 23 or more entries, you can consider yourself tagged.  But only if you want to be!

Monday, September 26, 2005

John's Turn

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Give your camera to a child, friend, spouse or relative and have them shoot some pictures.

John says that he took "a few" pictures for this, but he didn't seem at all impressed with his own work.  The count of downloaded files was more than a few, though.  Let's see what he did, shall we?

(Pause while I open MS Picture Manager....)

Oh, right.  I forgot I took some pictures relating to the mold remediation today.

Still, he did a lot of interesting stuff.  A few of them either didn't work or were multiple attempts at the same subject matter, but I'll show you most of the pictures he left for me tonight on the Canon PowerShot S410.

1.  Method Madness.

Method is his madness. 
Method in the bath. 
Here are two of the four shots he took of three Method brand dish soap bottles.  John really, really likes the design of these, both in the unusual shape and the fun colors.  The first view shows them out of their normal habitat - on the mantlepiece!  In the second, they're back in the bathroom.  That may sound like an odd place for dish soap, but it's mostly there as decor.

2.  Orange Grid.

Somewhere in the kitchen?

I have no idea what this is, and John's asleep.  So you get to guess what he did here.  I'll report back on Wednesday night.

3. The Bonzos and the Radio

Bonzo dogs - but where is Neil Innes?

John has posed our vintage Bonzo Dog salt and pepper shakers in front of a pink, non-working 1950s radio. Pop quiz: what's the connection between Bonzos and music? I bet Sarah knows.

4.  Colors, Man.

We like the pretty colors!

I know exactly what this is.  Do you?

5.  Monkeys Without a Barrel.

Don't tell Peter Gabriel they're here!

This one is my favorite.  John has laid out his vintage red monkeys from an old Barrel of Monkeys game.  Mind the gap!

Good job, my love!


Most Likely to Be Gladys

This entry isn't going to be one of my picture-heavy, multimedia extravaganzas.  It's just a little story about a high school student named Karen Funk, on the night on one last high school humiliation.  I'll try to make the story uplifting.  Or something.

My senior picture, taken at the end of junior year.

Fayetteville-Manlius Central High School in Manlius, NY has always been considered an academically superior public school, populated by privileged suburban kids. That's probably a fair assessment, but I was never all that fond of the place.  I was fat, shy, smart, a little awkward socially, and not at all fashionably dressed.  I wore a lot of polyester, partly because this was the 1970s, but mostly because that was the kind of clothing my mom liked.  She therefore bought for me, to the exclusion of all else.  The only shred of pride I had in my appearance came from the jeans that I bought for myself, and wore as often as possible.

It would not be true to say that I'd known the kids in my graduating class all my life, or even since kindergarten.  For one thing, there were many comings and goings of families, transferred in and out by GE, or moving around for other reasons.  Some of the kids I graduated with were certainly there by second grade or so, but not all that many.  But the main reason it would not be true to say that we'd known each other for many years was that they didn't really know me, and I didn't really know them.  I probably know Carly and Becky, neither of whom I've ever met in person, better than I ever knew Jack or Tom, Sharon, Cheryl or... well, to give any more appropriate examples, I'd have to dig out my high school yearbook again.

A quick anecdote will serve to illustrate the point, before I move on to tonight's main story.  I was in the high school choir, but I was never good enough to make the Swing Sixteen singing group, or do solos or anything like that.  I think I made the Choraliers, but I don't remember for sure.  But I did audition for All-County Chorus and make it, twice; and once I got into Area All State, auditioning with Sunrise, Sunset

That year, the Area All State concert was held in Fulton, NY, home of a Nestle factory.  It was only 37 miles from Manlius, Google tells me, but it seemed more like 75.  It was far enough that I stayed overnight at the home of a kid in the choir who lived in Fulton, as did all the other kids from F-M who made the trip.

My visit with the girl from Fulton and her family was pleasant enough, but the following evening before concert time, I had a problem.  My peers were washing their hair in the school bathrooms, putting on nice clothes, and doing their make-up.  I became acutely aware that my hair needed washing, but I had no shampoo, and didn't dare ask to borrow any.  I just brushed through it with water, and hoped it would help a little. 

But even that wasn't the main problem.  My parents always came to my concerts, and this was my most important concert ever.  Where were they?  I couldn't find them in the crowd. 

Concert time came.  I scanned the crowd as the rest of the choir and I sang selections from Godspell, conducted by the famous choir director Gregg Smith.  There was no sign of my parents.  The concert ended.  No parents.  Kids were leaving with their families.  Not me.  I would have taken the school bus back, but they'd deliberately not provided one, in order to make the parents come to the concert.

I called home on a pay phone.  My mom was there.  She explained that they'd been to all my concerts, but since this one was so far away, they'd decided to sit it out.  She was distraught to hear that I was both disappointed and stranded.

Enter a couple who were about the last parents from Manlius to leave the concert.  They gave me a ride home.  Their son was one of those obnoxious boys who liked to stand in the hall outside the cafeteria, and make rude remarks to passersby.  But in the car with his parents, he was a perfectly nice, intelligent guy, with college plans and everything.  I even kind of liked him.

At school on Monday, of course, he turned back into a jerk.  If anything, he was even more obnoxious.  But now I knew his secret: he was only human after all, more complex than his hallway behavior would indicate.

But high school society doesn't deal much in complexities.  The other kids knew how I looked, and how I reacted to teasing, that I was smart, and that I liked Star Trek.  Some of them probably remembered the skunk incident from second grade, and other social gaffes I'd made over the years.  That was all they needed to know about me.

Now, if I'd been more self-confident, more socially savvy, I could maybe have laughed off any teasing, taken more care with my appearance, worked to overcome my shyness, and made some friends.  A perusal of my yearbook shows a lot of kids that I barely remember, or remember only as being smart and nice.  But I never got to know them, any more than they got to know me.  In some ways, things haven't changed that much since then.  How many people at my company, or my church, know about my novels?  And how much do I know about their lives?  Not much, in most cases.

But I digress.

There was a nasty little tradition at F-M, in which the senior class put on a little awards ceremony, the F-Emmys.  I was nominated in two categories: Most Likely to Succeed and the Gladys Ormphby Award.

picture from tvacres.comFor those of you who may be too young to remember, or who didn't watch tv in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gladys was Ruth Buzzi's most famous character on Laugh-In.  She wore a hairnet, a big brown sweater, a big brown skirt, oversized hose that gathered around her ankles, and oversized shoes. She was quintessentially frumpy, and had an amazing woeful frown.

The series of sketches she used to appear in had a simple premise. Arte Johnson's Dirty Old Man character, Tyrone F. Horneigh, would sit beside her on a park bench, forcing her to move over to avoid him. He would, of course, scoot closer.  Then he would try some strange, silly, relatively innocent pick-up line on her, something that sounded filthy but wasn't.  She would hit him with her purse.  He'd say something else.  She would hit him again.  This would continue until he fell off the bench.

Being named the class Gladys Ormphby was the most insulting award in the whole ceremony.

In a way, though, I'd invited the comparison.  Dan Cheney and I had done a sketch in 10th or 11th grade, in which he was Bobby Fischer and I was kind of a Gladys character.  I played chess with him in order to win a date with him - and I won using Fool's Mate.  The punchline was, "There won't be any cameras, will there?"

For this reason and others, I fully expected to win the Gladys Ormphby award.  I hoped to win Most Likely to Succeed as well.  I decided to make the best of the situation, and laugh along with the class, instead of letting myself be hurt by this.

That was the plan, anyway.

I dressed almost as I had dressed for the sketch.  I even carried a bunch of school books, so I could struggle and drop some as I came up for the award.  I chickened out of going all the way with it, though.  And as I came up the aisle, the auditorium was filled with catcalls and rude remarks. 

My prepared speech was this: "I can't imagine why you chose me for this award."  I don't think I ever delivered it.  I was too demoralized by the walk up the aisle.

Part two of the plan was to ditch the frumpy clothes after that, and collect the Most Likely to Succeed Award  with grace and confidence.

Somebody else won.  What can I say? It was a bad night for me.  And the faculty sponsor, one of my former French teachers, thought it was all in good fun.

But here's the thing.  If I'd learned how to take teasing and give it back without feeling crushed, if I'd made more friends within my graduating class, if I'd paid a bit more attention to the outward appearance stuff I disdained as being shallow and unimportant, that night would have been very different for me.  Too bad it took me 20 more years after graduation to learn this.

At my office now, there's a guy who teases me at least twice a week about the one part of my job that is excruciatingly tedious.  He's basically a good guy, and I mostly take his teases with minimal annoyance.  Only once have I been hurt by what he said, when he kind of crossed the line.  Even then, I didn't act like high schooler Karen Funk.  I handled it, and then griped to someone else later in order to vent.

Take that, Gladys.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fiction: Mall of Mâvarin, Part Twenty-Eight

All week I've been trying to figure out what was going to happen in this installment of Mall of Mâvarin.  Then tonight, Josh, Cathy and Cathma pretty much wrote it themselves.  I love it when that happens, as long as they don't just talk things to death.  My characters do that, sometimes.  In this serial, they do that a lot.

The easiest way to catch up on past installments of this serial is on Messages from Mâvarin at Synopses to Parts One through Six can be found at the top of Part Seven. Synopses to Parts Eight through Thirteen can be found at the top of Part Fourteen. Synopses to Parts Fourteen through Eighteen are at the top of Part Nineteen.  Synopses to Parts Nineteen through Twenty-Five can be found at the top of Part Twenty-Six.  The installments themselves can be read in order on Blogspot using the sidebar.

Part Twenty-Six:  Cathma and Cathy wonder why they haven't lost consciousness with everyone else.

Part Twenty-Seven:  Cathy and Cathma belatedly collapse and faint, much as the others did.  They find themselves in a place without physical bodies, surrounded by a thousand versions of themselves.  The only person present who doesn't have their face is Joshua Wander.

Part Twenty-Eight: Two of Us

Art by Sherlock“What are you doing here?” Cathy asked.

Joshua Wander shrugged.  “I’m not so sure I am here,” he said.  “I don’t even know where ‘here’ is.”

 “The subjective plane,” Cathma said.

Josh looked at her blankly.  “The what?”

“The subjective plane,” Cathma repeated.  “It’s sort of a way station of the Infinite, where spirits commune without regard for physical distance.  Fayubi’s friend Harisi sends people here all the time.”  Cathma looked around.  “I’m not sure how we all got here, though.”

“It must have something to do with that messed up portal between worlds,” Cathy suggested.  “Something Li and Lee did resulted in our being sent here.  Or was this was your fault?” she asked Josh.

“I don’t know,” Josh said.  “Possibly.”

“But that doesn’t explain why the others aren’t here,” Cathma objected.  “Where are Carli and Carl and the rest?”

“And how did are all these other Cathys and Cathmas get here?” Cathy added.

“They’re leaving,” Josh said.

It was true.  The thousand or more people with Cathy’s face faded away, leaving just Cathy, Cathma and Josh in the darkened void.

“That’s better,” said Josh.  “You both seem like decent, reasonable people, but two of you is plenty for any one place, time and universe.”

It was almost an insult, but Cathy privately agreed.  At least now she didn’t feel quite so overwhelmed.  She’d been carrying on for quite some time now as if she weren’t tired and scared and confused, but she was really all of those things.  Being able to deal with just two other people in this bizarre situation, instead of a hundred or so (at the mall) or a thousand or so (in this strange non-place) helped a lot.

“Fine,” said Cathma.  “I had nothing to say to all those other Cathmas and Cathys and Crels anyway. But the question remains: why are the three of us here?  And why are we still here?”

“I have a theory about that,” Josh said, “but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”

“It’s hard to know whether that’s true, until you tell us what it is,” Cathma said.

“I think I’m here as sort of your spirit guide,” Josh said.  “Like Coyote in the Native American legends.”  He shrugged again.  “Or maybe like Marley’s ghost.”

“Why do you think that?” Cathy asked. “Why would we need a guide?  You don’tseem to know much more than we do about all this.”

Joshua Wander grimaced. “I know about some things,” he said.  “In fact I have a bunch of ideas that weren’t there until just a few moments ago.  Now my head is filled with things to say.”  He hummed for a moment, something Cathy vaguely recognized as a Beatles song.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I really wanted those Beatles records.”

“You didn’t answer Cathy’s other question,” Cathma said.  “What do we need a guide for?  Can you get us out of here?  Can you get us both home where we belong?”

Josh shook his head. “Not both of you,” he said.

Cathy was suddenly more frightened than she’d been all day.  “What do you mean?”

“You two have a decision to make,” Josh said apologetically.  “Only one of you gets to go home.  You have to choose which one.”


Welcome to Mâvarin

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Updates and Promotions

There are a number of things I wanted to talk about tonight, and things I wanted to show you.  But it's past 3 AM, Roswell is on Sci-Fi, and I'm starting to get tired.  Don't worry: I have no intention of getting up before 2 PM Saturday.  No, wait. I've got church stuff to do late tomorrow morning.  Fine.  I'll take a nap.

It's been a busy day.  I was awakened a minute before the alarm by a wrong number from Chicago, got to work at 8 AM (more or less), came home for lunch after a quick stop at Safeway and another one at St. Michael's, went back to the office, went to Best Buy after work to replace my mouse (which was doing nutso things like maximizing windows and opening stuff and undoing stuff the moment I tried to do them), came home, went online, went to the Dirty Duck Pub and Snail Races at the St. Michael's English Faire, stopped at Lucky Wishbone, came home, (deep breath), watched the Friday night lineup on Sci-Fi, shot and edited photos...and here we are.

Okay, enough prologue.

Update #1: Tucson doesn't have much of an autumn, and that's very true as the season starts this year.  The monsoon officially ended early a couple of weeks ago, but that didn't bring an end to summer-style weather.  Here.  Take a look!:

When I started digging for my camera this afternoon, the thermometer in my car actually said 107.  It dropped a degree while I was finding the Canon in my purse.  It's also been cloudy, but I don't think it's actually rained here since the meteorologists said the monsoon was over. 

Promo Number One: Saturday is the second and final day of this year's scaled-back English Faire at St. Michael & All Angels Church, corner of 5th & Wilmot, Tucson AZ.  You've missed the virtual snail races (at least, I didn't see you there - did I?), but Saturday brings very different offerings.  There are church tours from 10 to 11 AM.  At 11 AM there's both an organ concert on our wonderful Aeolean-Skinner organ (remember my pictures?) and an Artisan's Sale that runs until 4 PM.  There's also a Traditional English Tea at 2 PM.  The tea is $10.  The other stuff is free admission.  I don't know whether anyone in Tucson actually reads this blog (other than John, who actively avoids churches), but there you go.  End of promo #1.

Update #2:  El Con Mall is the name of the moribund midtown shopping mall I wrote about a couple of months ago.  Aside from a few "big box" stores added on the periphery of the place, there's a whole lot of nothing going on at that mall these days.  Today in the online edition of the Tucson Citizen, a columnist named Anne T. Denogean had a really interesting article about "El Gone Mall."  She has a much better handle on the situation over there than I did when I wrote about it - and even she can't figure out why El Con is the way it is.  Apparently there's a whole plan to turn it into a great place, but nobody's doing anything to make it happen.

Evil Queen Promo Number Two: "Are You a Heroine or a Villainess?" has the following stats to this point:

Are You the Heroine, or the Villainess?

Owner: Mavarin

Rated: Everyone

Created: Wed Sep 21 22:51:03 2005

Last Changed: Fri Sep 23 1:33:31 2005

Votes and Average: given 9, average of 4.22

I'm halfway through writing my second quiz, titled "Why Aren't You Asleep?" (Hi, Vince! *waves*)  It should be fun.

Meanwhile, though, please notice that the quiz is rated for Everyone.  You are a subset ofeveryone.  So take it, okay? (Guys, you may want to wait for my next quiz, but you can take it if you'd like.)  I'll be interested to know which of the six categories you get for your result. So far, the spread is pretty even except for the psychokiller category.  Good to know we don't have too many of those in the blogging and quizzing community! ;)

Update #3:  You know how I'm always interested in stuff that dates from the 1950s to early 1960s, all the midcentury modern and Roadside America type stuff?  Well, after leaving the snail races tonight, I stopped off at Lucky Wishbone.  This is a family-owned chain of Tucson eateries, founded in 1953.  The location at 22nd and Wilmot opened in 1963, and hasn't changed much since.  Inside are older Coca Cola signs that they probably got when the signs were new.  On one wall are faded pictures of recent country fair hogs, and of the location's grand opening. Even the sign outside, and the company logo on the boxes, probably hasn't changed in decades, if ever.

There's only one thing I don't like about Lucky Wishbone, and that's the less-than-healthy food choices that dominate the menu.  Back before people worried about cholesterol, deep fried chicken and fish and shrimp, served up with fries and Texas toast, probably sounded like a reasonable and tasy meal.  Heck, I used to eat similar fare at the Broaster Hut in Manlius, except that they served it with a red wedge of spiced apple.  But we know better now, don't we?  Oh, it's tasty enough, but it's not very reasonable.  Not as a steady diet, anyway! 

Still, I wish the Lucky Wishbone well. It's a real piece of living Tucson history.  In fact, it's directly across the street from that circa 1963 "55 Merchants to Serve You" sign that I showed you last month.  There's another one at Broadway and Swan, with an elaborate flashing sign. That stands in front of one of the surviving commercial buildings in town with midcentury modern architecture.

And speaking of classic midcentury eateries near Broadway and Swan, let me take this moment to mention that I have a new write-up about my beloved Kon Tiki restaurant and lounge over on the RoadsideAmerica website. 

Promo #3:  Round Robin Photo Challenge.  It's time for a head's up on the next challenge, coming up this Wednesday.  Subject, as chosen by Patrick of A Stop at Willoughby: "Secrets."  I'm looking forward to seeing how you can post photos of things, and still keep them secret!  I'll manage it somehow, though.  Will you?


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Essentially Irreplaceable

 Weekend Assignment #78: You are preparing to evacuate your house due to an upcoming threat. You have already packed up all your essential items, people and pets. You have room for three non-essential items. What are they?

Remember, you already have your essentials: food, medicines, water, clothes, and all the people (including the furry ones) who live with you. "Non-essentials" are things you don't need but would like to have, and can include momentos, books, jewelry, objects of sentimental value, and so on and so forth.

Extra Credit: Have you ever been evacuated?

This question is similar to "What would you take to a desert island?" and "The house is on fire.  What do you grab?"  I've thought of both questions repeatedly over the years.  Tonight, as I consider Scalzi's version of the problem, currently a real concern for people in Texas and Louisiana, I find my answers have changed somewhat. Nowadays, the key for me is not, "How much do you love it?" but "How replaceable is it?"

Absolutely essential.

1.  My laptop.  Yes, I know, Scalzi said it first, but as he admitted, it barely counts as a nonessential.  Most of my digital photos are on here, plus my novels, serials, poetry, old homework, certain blog entries, and master files for all the web pages I maintain.  There's more than enough music on there to fill an iPod, and a handful of digital videos I shot, and lots of old notes and correspondence and saved email.  It would be a wrench to lose my old papers - early handwritten and typed pages about Mâvarin, childhood drawings, and stories I never finished - but losing them would not be a disaster.  Losing the laptop, with no backup anywhere, would be absolutely crushing.

2.  A Box of Books.  Scalzi fudged by counting a whole box as one thing, and so will I.  It's really the only way to go.  John and I have thousands of books, but the very rarest, most valuable ones would probably just about fit in one box.  They include the following:
  1. The rarest of the rare, more or less.Six L'Engle books: Ilsa, two particular copies of A Wrinkle in Time, two hardback copies of The Arm of the Starfish, and a hardback first edition of A Ring of Endless LightIlsa is the rarest L'Engle novel, having been out of print since the late 1940s. (It's a deeply unsatisfying book, and L'Engle herself doesn't like it much.  Hence, no republication.)  One of the Starfish copies is a first edition from 1965, and the other is autographed.  I don't remember getting that autograph, or buying an autographed copy, but there it is.  It's definitely her handwriting.  I do remember when she autographed A Ring of Endless Light for me, the only time I ever met her.  My Wrinkle with the classic blue cover is an 11th printing from 1965, and the signed, boxed edition was limited to 500 copies when it came out in 1987.  Mine is #169.

  2. Three volumes of what became The Once and Future King, by T.H. White.  Back in high school, I read a book by Lin Carter called Imaginary Worlds.  It was a survey of the fantasy genre, with sections about Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and so on.  Carter even wrote about The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs, a great book that was out of print at the time, but which I'd checked out of the school library several times by then.

    The Once and Future Once and Future King In the section about The Once and Future King, a book that spawned both the musical Camelot and Disney's animated feature The Sword in the Stone, Carter quoted a number of great scenes, most memorably a hilarious attempt by King Pellinore to write a love poem to a woman called Piggy.  I loved it so much that I bought a paperback copy of White's magnum opus to take on vacation with me that summer.  Funny thing: that scene wasn't there!  Carter had quoted from scenes that White had deleted from the three original, stand-alone books - The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood and The Ill-Made Knight - when he crammed them together with a short fourth volume to become The Once and Future King.  I think it took me about eight years, and John's help, to track down copies of the second and third books in the series.  They've been out of print for 60 years now. In particular, The Witch in the Wood is very different from the second part of the combined novel, retitiled The Queen of Air and Darkness.

    I always wanted to put together The Annotated Once and Future King, but it seemed like too much work!

  3. A smattering of Thurber.  A few of my James Thurber hardcovers are first editions, and others are wartime editions.  One of the books, unfortunately water damaged, was autographed by William Windom some years ago. 

  4. A handful of Harlan.  Harlan Ellison's rarest books are paperbacks from the 1950s.  I should be able to fit all of those in the box, and still have room to pick out another L'Engle or two, and a few autographed Quantum Leap scripts.
Fill this up with photos!3.  A box of photos.  Since starting this blog, I've really come to appreciate my collection of old photos.  Some of them are from my childhood and college years, some from early days of our marriage, and a lot are of Tucson, Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  A handful belonged to my mom, and in some cases go back sixty years or more.  It distresses me to see how many have melted or otherwise become damaged over the years, particularly my Polaroids.

I've scanned a number of photos into the laptop, but a lot of this stuff is irreplaceable.  This point was brought home to me last week at the gym, as I walked on the treadmill and watched CNN with the sound off.  In the upper left part of the screen, they were showing names, ages and photos of children missing since Katrina.  More than a few of them were featured with just a name, a city and a generic silhouette of a boy or a girl. I thought, what parent doesn't have any photos of their kid?  Then I realized that the family photos of many of these people were destroyed in the flood.

I actually have more photos than will fit in my not-so-theoretical banker's box.  The leftovers, though, are in notebooks on a high shelf.  If there's ever a flood on Calle *Mumble* in Tucson, I take my chances on those surviving.

What's not on this list?  Replaceable and bulky stuff.  Photocopied scripts can be copied again, and can't be carried away easily.  Commercial CDs and DVDs can be bought or rented.  Most books I care about are still in print in some form.  Too bad about the vintage Barbies, but they can also be replaced.  I have original artwork of the Eighth Doctor that's irreplaceable, but it's too big to carry easily.  I'd probably take a chance on it surviving on the den wall.

Extra Credit: The closest I came to being evacuated was early one weekend morning in March, 1978. I think it was my birthday, and a Sunday. I was living in a rooming house that had literally been condemned in a legal dispute between a judge, my ex-boyfriend, and the new landlord, a bit of a jerk who hadn't actually closed on the property yet.

About 7:30 AM, Jenny and another puppy I had temporarily, Wafer, started barking, which woke me up. When I tried to get them to stop, my neighbor across the hall heard me, and shouted, "Karen, get out! There's a fire!" This was well before the invention of the laptop, and I didn't grab any books or photos, either. I grabbed just enough clothing to manage in public, and not freeze in March weather - much. The ensemble consisted of a jacket over a nightgown. I think I had on flip-flops, and had just cut my foot on broken glass. I didn't even manage to find my glasses! I just got the puppies and got out! A fireman later retrieved my glasses for me.

Fortunately, the fire was in a second floor apartment. Aside from a smokey smell, it never reached my little studio apartment at all.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

All the Hits

Back on May 28th of this year, my hit counter, which was up above 12,000, reset to zero.  This is something that happens to a lot of people on AOL-J, for reasons that Journals Editor Joe recently explained. Until this week, there was nothing you could do about it, except substitute a third-party counter to keep it from happening again.  So I sighed, and griped a little, and generally did nothing about it.  Since then, the counter has crept back up over 3,000.

A day or two ago, though, Joe announced a web-based file manager for AOL Hometown FTP space.  (This means you can load pictures for your AIM journal now, Sara!)  This announcement was quickly followed by Joe's step by step guide to resetting the number on your hit counter.  Basically, you can give it any number you want, and let it count up from there.

Well, I'm not greedy - actually I am, but I'm also honest.  So tonight I added 12,050 hits to the existing number.  This is my best approximation of  what it would have been without the glitch.

It doesn't really matter.  Carly tells me that RSS feeds don't trip the hit counters.  Neither does an AOL Alert email or alert window, I assume.  People could easily be reading this without the counter knowing anything about it.  In fact, I hope that they are.  (If you're one of them, hi there!)

Still, I'm glad to have the counter back up around where it's "supposed" to be.

In other news, I wrote my first quiz on Quizilla tonight.  Check it out! 

Are You a Heroine or Villainess?
a Quizilla quiz by Karen Funk Blocher

I didn't want to violate copyright, so I didn't initially add images of Snow White, Buffy or Maleficent (for example).  Later I added John's and my photos of semi-appropriate characters from our last two trips to Disneyland.  Who knew that Alice of Wonderland fame was postmodern?

I thought about using the Sherlock portraits of Cathma and Darsuma and other Mâvarin characters, but I decided to save them for something else later. I may decide to flummux everyone with an all-Mâvarin quiz.


Sorry, guys - this first quiz of mine is a girly one.  I wrote it specifically in reaction to a science fictional QuickKwiz that was decidedly male-oriented.  It said I was Scorpius!  Then once I started writing, I kind of got into fairy tale mode.  My next few quizzes won't be gender-specific.



When Work Cuts into My Blogging Time

 The good news is I get to sing with the Beatles. Aside from my usual coy obscuring of text, this was the scene in my cubicle at work, about three hours ago.  The time: 9:30 PM.

I worked from about 8:10 AM (I was a little late) until almost 6:45 PM today, without a lunch break.  (I ate at my desk, food that was ordered in to celebrate someone's birthday. I never quite figured out which person was the birthday girl.) When evening came, I went home for dinner and two hours of tv, and then went back to the office until 11:45 PM. 

That brings my total overtime to 10 hours in four days  It actually doesn't count as OT, but I'm told it unofficially turns into a bonus at the end of the year.  Okay, fine.  I can live with that.  Didn't I mention that this is the highest salary I've ever had, by far?

On the other hand, $66 in NSF fees hit our joint checking account today.  Payday came a day too late.  The refi was supposed to go through before the trip to Disneyland, not two weeks after.  It's done now, but the money is still in the future.  John supposedly covered the shortfall yesterday, but apparently something else came through after that - probably the AOL charge.  And so it goes.  Maybe the bank will take into account my direct deposit and the big new mortgage they signed us up for, and let me off the hook for the $66.  I hope!

So anyway, I was at the office all evening instead of blogging all evening.  The good news was that, except for a momentary visit from someone on the cleaning staff, I was alone and undistracted by extraneous people and tasks - and I had my iPod with me.  I sang along with the Beatles for two hours.

The bad news is that the only reward for my dedication - the knowledge that I got the work done - eluded me.  There are discrepancies.  I'll have to finish in the morning.


It's been a Hardy Day's Night, and I've been working like a dog...

And someone told me today that the person who used to do this horrible, hurry up task before I arrived used to do it in two and a half hours.  What a horrifying statistic!  It takes me every bit of two days, which really means parts of three days, to enter 261 pages of numbers into Excel.  J. confirms that she really was able to type it in that fast, years ago when the report was less than half as long as it is now.  She says I should not even try to make comparisons like that, but this other guy is always (half-teasingly) giving me grief about it.  Well, guess what.  After 30 years of typing with two fingers - despite a touch typing course - I'm never going to be able to do 10-key data entry, and let my fingers fly as they pick out numbers like 1,061.47 off a page printed in 7 point type.  My boss knows this, and is okay with it, but the pressure continues.

The world is treating me bad...Misery!

(Is that enough self-pity for you?)

Now you know why I choose not to give the name of my employer, or too many identifying details.  I have no beef with the company.  Really, I don't.  It's the best job I ever had.  But sometimes I have to vent.

See, it's bad enough that I spend three hours putting together an editing a blog entry, and end up getting only 5 hours of sleep.  It's not healthy, but at least I'm doing it because I enjoy it.  But if I'm going to spend my evenings in my cubicle instead, even that awful schedule is going to look like langorous luxury. 

Clearly, I'm going to have to set limits on how many hours a week I'm willing to spend on a list of job duties that keeps growing longer. 

Good night.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Black Rose Kate, the Pirate Scribe!

Yer Monday Photo Shoot: Yar! Be you shooting piratey pictures today! If ye haven't the pirate get-up, ye merely need squint and go "arrrr!" for the camera! That be enough for this photo shoot. Ye may also dredge up any piratey picture from the past ye may be having in yer personal Davey Jones' locker! We be not picky!

Black Rose Kate, the Pirate Scribe
Ahoy, Mateys!  Meet Black Rose Kate, also known as Katie Specks, the Pirate Scribe!

Unlike her mates on the frigate Sorcery, Katie Specks had a genteel upbringing and a fine education. Leastwise, that be what she tells the rest of us!  Aye, mateys, it be certain that she can read and write better than Cap'n Click himself.  And when she's of a mind to do it, she'll talk as fair as any highborn lady what never put out to sea.  When we needs to write something - ransom note, belike, or a letter to me mum - 'tis Black Rose Kate does it fer us. 

Don't let her hifalutin' ways fool ye though, me hearties.  Katie Specks be as dangerous as a typhoon, an' no better mannered.

Ye may be wonderin' why a lady o' breedin' and culture would set sail with the rest of us swabs.  Well, to hear Katie tell it, the reason be quite simple, arrr.  She says she be needin' the swag!  Happen she got a bit o' bounty just today, as ye plainly see.

Black Rose KatePortraits by Jolly John Blocher, Scourge o' the Missing Sea!

Last picture be by Black Rose Kate herself!  Avast! They be the tools o' her trade.

Katie Specks

Tools o' hertrade, aye.One more curiosity about our Katie. She be the only scurvy dog aboard who never takes a drop o' rum. Funny thing - last time we took on a cache o' Her Majesty's finest, I woke the next day with me purse a mite lighter than I thought it were afore. D'yer think maybe...nah!

Yo Ho!

Arr!  I be given to understand that Monday be Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Time to pay tribute to the scurvy bilge rats who've been ravaging the same town for nearly 40 years!  Aye, I be jabberin' again about

Pirates of the Caribbean!
I'll not talk yer ear off tonight, matey.  'Tis past 2 AM already.  So it's a few words per picture afore I be settin' sail fer Slumberland!

This be the place, lads!    This scurvy knave be no landlubbin' Ken!

Left:  Avast! 'Tis the place, me lads, here in New Orleans Square!
Right:  I mustn't let this swab near Barbie!  He be too much fer landlubber Ken to handle!

Marc Davis drew most o' these.

Top:  Captain Hook's Chicken of the Sea pirate ship, 1950s Disneyland.
The rest:  Marc Davis concept drawings in postcard form, captioned with real pirate doggerel.  Arr!

This be one o' the real life pirates Marc Davis researched.   a pirate and the bewitched treasure

Left: this Marc Davis historical portrait graces a wall, and keeps an eye on unsuspecting tourists.
Right: this dead pirate tells no tales as he guards the cursed treasure!

Original art for a custom watch, 2003.

Original art for a custom watch, Main Street USA, 2003.

Yo Ho!  Hoist yer colors for the gallants who introduced this scurvy lot to the world:

Walt took a keen interest in the piratesArtist / Imagineer Marc Davis
Artist / Designer / Imagineer Claude Coates
Artist / Sculpter / Imagineer Blaine Gibson
Lyricist / Voice Artist X. Atencio
Composer George Bruns
Voice Artist and Lead Pirate Paul Frees
Vocalist / Voice Artist Thurl Ravenscroft and his crew of Mellomen

and Captain of the lot, who died just before the pirates set sail:
Walt Disney

All art copyright Disney.

Just Pirates of the Caribbean


P.S. And I've not forgotten Jack Sparrow, who came along much later: