September 21

The Mysterious Pentacle on Esplanade Ave

A friend asked what I knew about the mansion on Esplanade that features a stained glass five pointed star at its apex. I was embarrassed to say I’d never noticed this rather unusual detail on the tony Avenue: The property the house stands on was originally part of a Spanish land grant in 1800, and although it was meant to be farmed, the entire block was held by land speculators until after the Civil War, when it was broken into smaller lots. In 1873 steamboat captain J.W. Tobin purchased one of those parcels and built the mansion that still stands today. Born in Alabama, Tobin made his fortune sailing up the Mississippi River to the Ouachita River and into Arkansas- a voyage he undertook every Friday at 5 pm.
Continue reading

September 2

Invasion of the Slime Monsters

This was something I posted on Squidoo for yet another contest, this one about a “memorable” photo you took. I suppose it says something about me that when I read the rules I knew exactly what I was going to use…


 

Not the average photo

lens19666352_1343706866A

This lens was written for a Squidoo contest about a photo you took, presumably about what makes it unique and interesting. Most people, surely, selected photos of loved ones, pets, glorious sunsets and sunrises…Mine, too, is one that’s very meaningful for me. It still evokes more of an emotional reaction than just about any of the many thousands of pictures I’ve taken.And it is foul beyond foul. You have been warned: read and scroll down at your own risk

Prologue to a massacre

“She seemed like such a nice lady,” the neighbors said. “Quiet. Kept to herself…”

draft_lens19666352module160735236photo_1343709952a

I was minding my own business, truly. I’d been working on a database project for my website, and had gotten caught up in my nerdishness until 2am when my eyelids would no longer function in the upright and locked position. I saved everything and fell into bed, looking forward to getting up early and making the website functional by evening.(cue ominous music)Seven AM found me with a cup of caffeinated motivation in hand, ready to get to it, but my computer wouldn’t wake up. Rebooting only made it scream in pain, beeping shrilly, leaving only a blank black screen with a flashing cursor in the upper left hand corner. It was as if the Ghost of Computers Past had paid a visit and dropped me back into the long-gone era of MSDos. Phone Googling told me that it was hard drive failure.“Okay, no panicking,” I told myself. “There’s a backup drive, so it’ll be okay.” Feeling pretty good about my self control, I was at the tech store before they opened and back home with my new (bigger & better than the original!) hard drive. Things were looking up!Or were they?

The Autopsy Results

“Murder,” she said.

draft_lens19666352module160738934photo_1343710205

By the afternoon, I was practically hyperventilating, on the phone with a friend. “They totally laughed at me, Jen! Right in my face!”
To be fair, she was doing the same thing, but at least she wasn’t charging me $75 an hour to do it.
“I told you- Mercury retrograde,” my astrology-minded friend said. “It makes everything technological go haywire. I told you to watch out, didn’t I?”“How am I supposed to watch out for SLUGS, Jen? Besides, they are NOT high-tech! They are foul little demons that are going to cost me a LOT of money!”It was definitely time to panic. When I’d cracked the computer case to install the new hard drive I’d been greeted with slick silver slime trails inside the machine… over the motherboard, the fan, the sound and graphics cards- everywhere. The computer remained completely unresponsive, and things did not look hopeful.Like any concerned parent, I bundled the sick patient into the car and took it to the ER- in this case a neighborhood repair shop, where I proceeded to give the guys a huge belly laugh. They’d never seen anything quite like it.“When they took the board out, the little nasty dried up corpse fell out,” I told her, the image burned into my mind. “It was vile.”The slug had apparently come in under the office side door and decided to explore the first thing it came across- my computer tower. It slithered up inside the vent and got stuck, smootching across everything in circles until its slime short circuited the machine, frying itself in the process. It turns out – who knew?- slug trails are electrically conducive, so everything was wiped out in one fell swoop.

As I described the murder, I went from anxious to angry.

And started to plan revenge.

It was Mrs. Peacock in the garden with the poison…

I took myself down to the garden center with murder in my heart. It was too late for me to exact revenge on the miscreant who’d inflicted this on me, but my anger was for all slugkind and knew no bounds.“Gimme the big guns,” I said.“Lady, are you sure you want to go through with this?” The clerk asked, his voice shaking slightly. My steely gaze told him I was a woman with a mission, and he nervously passed the box over the counter. The Ortho Bug-Geta was tucked in the bag and spirited away to my house, where I poured some on the patio to see how it worked. Now I just had to wait for my trap to be sprung.

It was kinda like this…

Sorta.

Warning: mild, war-film type profanity.

The next thing you see will be…memorable.

And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

draft_lens19666352module160739763photo_1343710691aa

 

Aftermath

In the morning I went outside to see what I hath wrought.

Apparently my house was club-med for slugs! Where did they all COME from? The bait must’ve called them from miles around because they couldn’t have all been hiding out nearby…could they?

I decided I was going to ignore the killing field until my husband came home from his business trip the following day. He could clean up the battlefield. After all, hadn’t I done the hard work? Hadn’t I suffered enough?

No, apparently not, because as the day heated up the smell was enough to knock your shoes off at thirty paces. I had to get a shovel and get to work. I’d counted 250 dead bodies before deciding I just didn’t want to know.

I had thought the one dried dead slug was revolting? So naive. Hundreds of semi-liquified slugs? Now that redefined vile.

As I dropped the garbage bag in the bin with a shudder, a worrisome thought occurred. They’d sent a single slug in to scout. I’d retaliated with brutal efficiency. What if- please God, no- what if they escalated? What if they launched a full-scale invasion? “Perhaps,” I thought, “a protective salt circle around the bed tonight might be a good idea.”

——————————————————————————————-

So here we are, finally at the picture that inspired the contest lens. Hope you got a laugh!

draft_lens19666352module160739764photo_1343711165

 

 

September 1

Photograph walks abound!

Still moving stuff over from Squidoo, and it’s easy to see which articles are from their “challenges,” because I just republished “A Photographic Walk Through New Orleans’ City Park,” and all of the related pages start with “A Photographic walk through…”

It’s been surprisingly sad, moving these things, losing their little colorful badges and whatnot- this one got Lens of the Day and a Purple Star. What does that mean in practical terms? Nada…it’s just a pat on the back, and although it’s a silly page I had a lot of fun doing it. The dogs…hard to say.

Dogs-in-the-fountainBruiser, of course, would not go into the water if he was on fire, though he did stage a strike, finding a shady bush while Nipper tried to make a break for it:

Shady nap

 

Category: Writing | LEAVE A COMMENT