The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Sunday, July 30th 2023 • 07/30/23

Allen Gladfelter drove both Greg Spence Wolf and me to Freelance Fandango. We arrived at the Red Elm Café to find a notice on the door that they were closed today due to staff shortage. I checked my phone, and sure enough, there was a voicemail from the owner telling me this. Somehow I missed it. So Greg left a sign on the door that Freelance Fandango will be held at our backup Corina’s Bakery. As Allen drove us over, I sent texts to Jennevieve, Stowe, Corry, and Anique. I asked if I had forgotten anyone. Don’t forget Nori! I sent Nori a text. Only later, when Stan strolled in and gave me a stern look, I forgot to text him. He teased me about it. Who do you forget to text? The one guy who is always at this thing. Allen asked me as the meeting ended what I would include in my write-up on the meeting. Will it be Nori’s gift to me of Japanese stamps and the stories of his visit with his mother there? Would it be Stan’s graphic novel that he received as a Kickstarter reward? Or would it be Stowe telling us about his daughter’s wonderful time at the Taylor Swift concert? How the wristbands were electronic and lit up creating patterns in the crowd to go with the music. I looked over at him, and he saw it in my eye. You’re going to write up the venue change, aren’t you? Yes, Allen. Yes, I am.

Wednesday night, I was enjoying dinner with Krista. I’d rescheduled The Grand Drawing Room live drawing event to begin at 6:30 rather than 6:00 just to have a non-rushed dinner. But, at 5:50, I got an email from Payton DeSanta, our model for the evening. She was letting me know that she’d arrived and that others were also showing up. So I sent her a text saying I was on my way. I quickly finished the few bites left on my plate and rushed out the door. I thanked everyone who showed up early for having the drawing session as a regular habit and encouraged them to attend at the new time. I’ll have to make a point of stressing the new time during the next wave of announcements. We had fifteen artists show up. In my correspondence with Payton, I’d encouraged her to go with a lighter, thinner costume because of the heat. She was very proud of her armor and wanted to show it off. She got a little woozy and had to take a break at one point. As she got back into position, I cheerfully mumbled in a mom’s tone. “Why don’t you wear the green costume? I asked. It might be better in case that space gets hot. But, no. You wanted to show off the armor.” Peyoton turned her head coyly at me and, with a surgery grin lacking any sweetness, said, “When you’re right. You’re right.” I zipped my lip, then. No need to say anything more about it. At least not without her whacking me over the head with some of that foam armor.

Saturday was very full. First up was Vince and Kim Kurter’s party at Farm 12 in Puyallup. The catered room was very large and not part of the main restaurant. There were easily fifty people there. The idea was to have this as their wedding reception, 60th birthday party, and all the other stuff they would have done with friends during the pandemic. I met Vince through the Pythians. But we had lots of mutual connections from his time working at newspapers. Breakfast was delicious. There was a fun little art project happening on the side involving rulers, scrabble pieces, glue, and stickers. I met people who were involved in the Tacoma writing scene, specifically Creative Coloquoly.

I’ve recently done illustrations for their anthologies. When the party began to wind down there, I said goodbye to Vince and Kim and went home. I did stop briefly at the fruit stand I parked close to and picked up a half flat of raspberries and blueberries. The next party I went to was a gathering at Greg Wolfe’s house. This was a smaller affair of about ten people. I took over some blackberries I picked in the yard. I had some salt and pepper potato chips and two of the three fruit salads people brought. We were hanging out in Greg and Paulet’s yard in event chairs under an apple tree. I got a call from Krista asking me where the funnel was hiding. She was busy taking the berries I brought home and turning them into berry syrup. The recipe called for a lot more sugar than she was willing to put into the syrup. But I wasn’t going to tell her to add more. Her instincts for cooking are far better than mine. So I went home, a mere four-block walk, and located the funnel for her so she could keep on task. Our plan was to go to the Bon Festival at the Buddist Temple together. But apparently, all the work in the kitchen had tired her out. She had been planning on going right up to the moment when she wasn’t. I went down to the temple to give the Buddist Temple some support by buying their Strawberry Mochi, which Krista loves. The food line stretched down the block. I got in line and enjoyed running into Nori and his daughters. Sweat Pea was there selling books on Buddhism. But I didn’t see any other familiar faces. By the time I got inside the building, I’d decided I was going to pick up some roasted eel. I wanted to see if it was better than the roasted eel I found in the freezer at Paldo and H Mart. I texted Krista and asked if she wanted some and picked up both of our dinners for the evening. I stuck around long enough to watch some of the drumming. Then it was home to eat eel.

Alley News

I went on a walk with Pat this week. The afternoon was cooler, and I’ve been trying to walk twice each day. There is a new feature on Pokemon Go called Routes. There should be a way to use them and to create them. However, it’s a new feature, and we complained about not being able to locate it on the app. I did some research online and found that it flat out wasn’t working for a lot of people. In the meantime, Pat sends me texts showing the photos of all the new Pokemon he’s catching. I have most, but he’s been catching a couple not in my collections.

A squirrel mocks me as it sits next to and on top of the squirrel trap. Krista reports that she saw the orange cat with white feet run across our backyard with a mouse in its mouth. Kill honing those skills, killer. Greg, who lives a couple of blocks down and across the street, has been catching feral cats and kittens. One of the kittens is orange with white feet. I meant to ask Greg about his feral cat catching at his party but forgot.

My neighbor, Button, called out to me as I was walking home earlier this week. The extension of her house comes right up to my property line. She asked if I would remove the tree next to her house because she was worried about it rubbing against the paint. The “tree” was a large native fern I’ve been encouraging for decades. These ferns don’t transplant well. I told Buttons I would build a trellis to keep it away from her house. But Krista said that wouldn’t work and I should remove it. I managed to transplant a fern once before successfully. It was over at my parent’s house. I’d also successfully transplanted a trillium. So I’ve dug up the fern. I should have prepared a hole for it before I pulled it out to the ground. But the day was getting warm, and I was overheating. I think I know just the spot that will be perfect for it. It will have the same amount of shade as before. And if it takes, it will look good. I think Buttons will be a lot happier now once she sees that the plant is gone.

Zucchini, beans, and cucumbers are being harvested daily from our garden. Krista has been busy making Lemon zucchini bread. She just tried an experiment with blueberry lemon bread. She said it had a bit of a blowout when she took it out to the pan. The blowout tasted delicious. Her next batch will be chocolate Zucchini bread. It was only earlier this month that we finished eating all of the frozen Zucchini bread from last year. Maybe our friends, family and neighbors will end up with some again.

Here are some of my dreams:

July 24

#IDreamt Michael McMurphy and I were investigating strange goings on at a campsite. I went in undercover and got a job as a busboy at a diner adjacent to the campsite.

July 25

#IDreamt I was a wizard sent back to 1950 to observe. But I got drunk and created a poorly CAD-rendered starship Enterprise, about seven feet long, to randomly fly around town. I was going to be in trouble when it hit the timeline.

July 26

#IDreamt new internet portals emerged. Yale University was rivaling Netflix. Their slogan: “When you need to post, post-Yale.”

July 27

I must have died again. #IDreamt I was in a waiting room with Sinead O’Connor designing an album cover. The title was “Derick is Dead.” Our conversation: “The revolver should be near the corner.” “Obviously.”

July 28

#IDreamt While waiting for Mick Jagger to arrive, I was examining an odd hibachi grill designed by John Denver. A maid told me the sushi arrived. I wonder why, if there was a maid, I’d been assigned to change the sheets?

It’s been well over a month since I mentioned the audiobooks I’ve enjoyed. I’m way behind on writing reviews for them on GoodReads. Most of the last couple of months have been escapist fantasies or memoirs. If you are curious about my reading history, you can check out my GoodReads account:

“Winter in Paradise” by Elin Hilderbrand, June 18, Rating: 7

“The Daughters of Isdihar” By Hadeer Eisbai, Jun 22, Rating: 6

“Throne of Glass” Sara J. Maas, Jun 29, Rating: 5

“Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo, June 29, Rating: 7

“Nettle and Bone” by T. Kingfisher, July, Rating: 7

“The Warded Man” by Peter V Brett, July 3, Rating: 5

“The Hollow Places” by T. Kingfisher, July 8, Rating: 6

“The Memory Thief” by Lauren Mansy, July 14, Rating: 4

“Carnival of Snackery” by David Sedaris July 19, Rating: 8

“Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner July 24, Rating: 5

“Calypso” by David Sedaris July 29, Rating: 8

“The Children on the Hill” by Jennifer McMahon, July 29, Rating 6

This book reminds me of some of the horror books I would read back in the ’80s. It’s set up horror, where little hints are presented, and he sees if you can guess where the writer is going. Will the story go to the left or to the right? Will a guess turn out to be correct, or did we extend our assumptions too far? The innocence of children is volleyed back and forth with the cruelty of a tennis match that doesn’t worry about the wear of the ball. Checked out from the library on an application called Libby.


July 22

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) Rating: 6

As I went to the Friday Night Frights showing at the Blue Mouse Theater, I wondered if I’d seen this movie before. Allen Gladfelter picked me up, and then we picked up Mark Brill, who’d created the poster for this showing of the movie, before carpooling to the destination. It was the first kill in the movie that reminded me I’d seen it, probably on VHS with a rented machine back in the ’80s when you’d through your lot in with a bunch of strangers to do a marathon of rentals overnight before returning the machine the next day. This time I was in an audience that loves trashy, dated films like these. I sell bingo cards with horror tropes on them. My friends were calling out tropes from memory as we tried to keep a body count. This exploitation slasher pleased everyone. Maybe it will take me another forty years to forget the details.


July 22

Oppenheimer (2023) Rating: 8

I’m suffering from movie afterglow. I wasn’t expecting much from this film and was completely blown away. There are multiple plot lines that weave together so skilfully that you don’t realize the overall big picture is a rope of a plotline. All the actors gave high performances. Allen Gladfelter treated me to this movie at the Grand Cinema.


July 23

Bird Box Barcelona (2023) Rating: 7

This is not a sequel to “Bird Box,” which came out in 2018. Rather it is a story told in the same world, at a different location in the world. The story dives a bit deeper into madness, treachery, and perception. I was going to give it a slightly lower score than the first film in the franchise, but I gave it an extra point for having a dog with a name. I watched it on Netflix.


July 29

Saw (2004) Rating: 6

I can’t believe it took me nearly twenty years to get around to watching this movie. At least now I’ll feel better about watching the rest of the franchise. I couldn’t have helped to see clips, parodies, and spoilers in those long years. Still, it holds up fairly well, and I’m curious to see if the writing will be as tight as in the rest of the franchise. I can also see how this film influenced others that followed. I watched it on a DVD from Netflix.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark



Friday, July 21st, 2023 • 07/21/23


On Monday the car didn’t start. I texted Greg Spencer Wolf and told him I could not pick him up. He asked if I needed him to come over to jump-start the car, and I agreed. It took him a while to find the right alley because he was looking on the wrong side of the street. The car was locked in park, so we couldn’t move it out of the garage. With the car in the garage, our cables were not long enough. I left Greg and Krista looking through the manual to get my neighbor Don’s electric starter. Greg and Krista discovered a way to unpark the car in the manual, but by then, Don was over with the starter. Don tried to open the battery to check the water but with no luck. I thanked him and Greg. After I told Greg I was going to go to the battery store, he drove on his own down to Fandango. During all of this, I called Stowe to let him know I couldn’t pick him up. The battery store said the battery was still under warranty, but checking it showed it was back to 80%. Krista told me the inside cab light had been left on. I remember going out to search through the glove compartment the day before. I must have left it on, and it drained the battery. I was only an hour late to Freelance Fandango, where Greg, Jennevieve, Stan, and Penny were kind enough not to tease me too much. The KitKat flavor was cookies and cream, which the group found to be too sweet.


Krista and I have enjoyed watching Sumo this week. It’s the July Basho. There’s a changing of the guard happening. Several of the players we’ve cheered on over the years are either retiring or falling into the lower rankings. There’s a lot of young blood coming in, and I do mean young. One of the youngest is a nineteen-year-old whose hair still isn’t long enough to form a topknot. We are watching to see if early injuries will shorten their career. A sport that is basically king-of-the-hill sees a lot of injuries. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a basho where a player didn’t bleed or withdraw from injury. I won’t bore you with statistics. Just know that for 30 minutes in the day, sometimes in the morning, more often in the afternoon or evening, Krista and I are calling out the names of who we think will win and howling in agony or triumph at close calls, just like football or baseball fans. We don’t wear any sports colors, but I did have a Takayasu pillow I wave about.


This week I’ve been taking my daily walks in the morning while it is still cool. I was finishing my walk around Wapato Park and saw children playing in front of the civic center. This is the time of year when it is used as a location for children to come and play with supervision. A group of what must have been eight-year-olds were playing musical chairs on the grass. My best guess is that it was early in the game. There were at least ten chairs to be circled, with only a couple having been set aside. The organizers were pros at this. I could see that they were drawing out the game as long as they could, so the tension would be high for both those watching and participating. The kids were all smiling, laughing, jumping, and waving their arms. It was a charming scene and a perfect way to bring my walk to a close. I’m trying to remember the last time I played that game. Was it in grade school? I have less than a memory, an inkling perhaps, of playing it in college in the dorm commons. Earlier in my walk, I was laughing. I was on a dirt path surrounded by birds singing, bright greens of plants and trees around me, a warm sunny day with a light breeze, and all was right in the world. You really have to enjoy those moments when they happen.


I was happy to find a nickel on the sidewalk during one of my morning walks. I’m lucky if I find a penny. I’ve found quarters and dimes, but finding a nickel was not bad at all. It was just as I was thinking this that I spotted a folded five-dollar bill. I truly couldn’t believe my luck. I thought it must be torn in half. But, no, it was an intact five-dollar bill. As I tucked it into my pocket, I realized that this was going to jump out in the statistics I keep of picked-up money. The total for 2021 was $1.06. 2022 was $1.35. When I got home, I told my wife I found a nickel.

“WooHoo,” she said cheerfully.

“That’s what I thought,” I said. “But a few footsteps later, I found this.” I snapped the five-dollar bill out between my two hands like I was holding up a shirt.

“I five dollar bill!” I announced.

“Ooooooooo!” She admired.


There’s a new lost dog bulletin posted on a utility pole near the post office. A 12-year-old Chihuahua Dautson mix ran away on the 4th of July. I wonder if the fireworks scared him out of his senses. I also wonder if he ever made it home safely and if their owner never bothered to take down the signs. 


The Weird Cabal is a group of artists I organized to create movie posters for the Grand Cinema’s Weird Elephant series. Wade, the fellow in charge of scheduling movies at the Grand, told me he planned on getting “The Wicker Man.” I usually will let the entire group put “dibs” in on a film. But I’ve not done a poster in months and wanted to do it, so I started the artwork for the poster even before Wade officially announced it. The rest of the group forgave me. The Grand announced that one of the movies they will be showing is “The Cabinet of Dr. Calgori.” I would love to do a movie poster for that classic, but I’d already claimed “The Wicker Man.” It wasn’t long before Brill and Stowe both put in dibs. I mentioned I wanted to do it, too but knew I’d have to let someone else take it. Stowe suggested that all the members of the Cabal do a poster. Just as this idea gained traction, Wade stepped in and said that both “The Cabinet of Dr. Calgori” and “Nosferatu” had their own group that toured with the films and sold their posters. They didn’t want to have to split sales. He apologized for not mentioning that sooner. I’m still thinking about doing a poster, which I can always sell at my other shows. 


Alley News

There was a flurry of activity outside my window. It was the young grey cat hot on the heels of a grey squirrel. He must have caught him by surprise because this squirrel was practically under its claws. Had the cat a little more experience, the squirrel would have been a goner instead of finally managing an escape through some bushes. I opened the front door, complimented the cat for his fine efforts, and set up the squirrel trap. I told Krista about the excitement. A couple of hours later, I reported the squirrel was in the trap. “Already?” she asked. I loaded the trap into the trunk and drove it to Sprinker Center. Their large parking lot is under renovation. Most of it was torn up. I had to park near the edge of the road in what spaces were remaining. The squirrel had four options, through the tall temporary chainlink into the dirt and dust of the parking lot construction, across the street to the golf course, across another street to Goodwill and strip mall, or to a large lone pine tree set next to the side of the road. It chose the pine tree. As I put the trap back into the trunk, I noticed a portable surveillance camera. It was part of a trailer unit with a tall telescoping pole with a camera on top. I’m sure it was used to check the perimeter of the parking lot. I wondered if it was on and if anyone was going to be amused by a few seconds of footage. The next day I noticed there was another squirrel in the yard. I’d reset the trap, and the varmint was digging around next to it.


July 15

#IDreamt I called my wife over to the window to see a goldfinch. Then I realized it was a Robin-sized, yellow, orange, and black. What type of bird is that? I asked.


July 17

#IDreamt I lived in one of the outer dimensions. My job was to adjust the filters to make it look better than it was to encourage choosing it as a destination. Most dimensions travel was one way.


July 18

#IDreamt my family was at a fishing lodge in Forks when the river flooded overnight. The water was at the doorstep. My late grandmother arrived complaining she was cold. I bundled her up in a chair next to the fireplace.


July 19

#IDreamt the characters from my recent dreams were creating a competition chart. Some of the criteria for judgment would be non-sequiturs of conversations and erratic movement.


July 20

#IDreamt my friend Goro visited me during a family gathering at my Uncle’s house. But the year was 1986. Neither he nor I could talk about what came after 1986.


July 21

#IDreamt I was a teenager disguised as a clown retrieving a camera as I attempted to escape from the Fairgrounds.


I watched some movies this week:


65. July 14

Deadly Instincts (1997) Rating: 3

I thought I was getting “Breeders” from 1987, not this film, which Netflix’s DVD service has titled “Breeders.” Rubber suit alien: check. Sexploitation: check. Way too much running around in the basement, sewers, whatever the hell space they call it: check. I took one point off when I realized I got the wrong movie. And the last point I took off was when the much-awaited exposition was carried out in less than thirty seconds.


66. July 16

Evil Dead Rise (2023) Rating: 10

Ramini and Campbell know just what the fans of the franchise want. And this time, they went into it with all the horror and little of the humor. The fans wanted a dark seat-squirmer, and they got one. Homage was paid to the original films in many ways. But all without it being larkish. I watched this movie on Max.


67. July 16

Nimona (2023) Rating: 7

I read the webcomic a long time ago. I had no idea a movie option was picked up. The story is a version of the webcomic, so if you enjoyed the movie, I think you would enjoy seeing the difference and choice made when they made the adaptation. The message of the film is very inclusive and more subtle than other animation films featuring inclusion as a theme. Disney made a mistake in dropping this film, and Netflix did more than a good deed in picking it up. Lots of fun.


More next week,



Friday, July 14, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Friday, July 14, 2023, Tacoma, WA • 07/14/23

Joining me at Freelance Fandango this week were Greg Spencer Wolf, Haley Waddington, James Stowe, and Allen Gladfelter. I needed to take notes about our discussions and stories, as my head swelled with them when I got home. And now I can’t remember a single one. I do recall that Allen was coaching Greg on how to improve drawing fingers. Maybe the AI programs can take a few tips. We also discussed submitting to have a table at Arts at the Armory. I will apply only on Sunday as I already have booked for Jet City Comicon on Saturday, and the table agreed that most of my fanbase will be there that day.

Stickermule is doing a special this week where they offer a discount on a different type of sticker each day. This is great because my sticker inventory was getting low. However, I only had one design created for a round die-cut sticker, and I just picked those up a couple of weeks ago. But I knew I had to get started on my next Weird Elephant poster for a film titled “The Wickerman.” I was distracted by a few other tasks and didn’t start the project until the afternoon. But once I started, I worked on it non-stop. Well, I did stop to have dinner. I had a deadline. I needed to stop at 9:30 because that’s when I prep for bed. I pushed myself and finished. I then went online to submit the art only to discover that Stickermule’s deadline had passed. They were only offering their next daily deal, which was holographic stickers. I was bummed! This design wasn’t going to work for a holographic sticker. I was low on a design that I’d used holographic backing before and resubmitted that artwork. Oh well, at least I got a much-needed jump start to my poster design.

My friend Penny Firehorse has jury duty all this week. I don’t think she was ever called. Which meant she basically sat in a room all week on-call. I got a jury notice last month. I looked at it today to check the website for next week. Whoops! I got the dates confused and was supposed to be serving this week. I sent Penny a message, “Did I miss anything?”

I was picking up some take-out at Panda Express this week when I saw a small family of four waiting for their order. The husband was playing with their youngest, a boy who I guess was six or seven. He was a small bundle of energy in the dirtiest Crocs I’d ever seen. One fell off his foot as the father slowly strolled after him through the empty tables. In economic movements accomplished only by young fathers, he noted the missing croc and picked up his son just as the kid’s foot touched the floor. He then swung the kid into the errant show. All this went smoothly, even after the father was surprised that his child left a perfect brown footprint on the floor. Baby footprints on birth certificates were not as perfect. The father called his young pre-tween daughter over. She was nothing but long limbs and long hair. Impressed by the footprint, she returned to her mother, who was still seated and waiting for their take-out bags. As the daughter reported on the footprint, the look which crossed her face was not one of amusement. Instead, in was a combination of repelant disgust and mild horror. It wasn’t a fleeting expression. It landed on her face and remained there, much like her child’s footprint on the floor was going to be there until someone scrubbed it away. You could tell that this footprint wasn’t going to disappear with a sweep. Somebody was going to have to get a bucket. In the meantime, it drew attention to itself out of its sheer perfection.

Alley News

We have been eating peas with every dinner. Also coming in are cucumbers, which we are dicing up to include in our salads and zucchini. Krista picks it while it is still less than a foot long and very tender. I’ve asked her to repeat a chicken dish she made earlier this week, but this time with mushrooms. I think it will be perfect then. 

Last trimmed blackberry vines outside our front fence. I also removed many that were in the garden in the hedge that boarders our neighbor’s yard and acts as a screen to their chainlink fence. I filled both of our yard waste containers, which got picked up this week.

For the first time in seven years, the nearby Air Force base will be hosting an air show. One of their attractions is going to be the Thunderbirds. Today they practiced in the sky over our house. While this was noisy at times, it was also very entertaining. Judy Martin came out from under her carport to watch them. Our neighbors Pat and Cathy Smith were also looking up into the sky. They repeated their practice a few hours later when I walked to the Quick-E-Mart a few blocks from here. Krista encouraged me to buy some lottery tickets. Mega Millions is at $560 Million, Powerball is at $875, and the local Lotto is at $4.2 Million. “I want to retire next week,” Krista told me, “so be sure you get the winning numbers.” As I walked home, the four jets flew so low I swore I could read their nametags. SSSSWOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHH!!

I had some dreams this week:

July 6

#IDreamt in order to take a college course, I had to return to high school for a quarter. I wasn’t making any friends in art class.

July 7

#IDreamt my brothers Cliff and Stan were renting a multi-room rent-controlled apartment in NYC with some friends. They invited me to live there too. One of the friends was moving out. We were cleaning garbage out of a shared vehicle.

July 8

#IDreamt a mother kept wearing Pokémon themed clothing to annoy her daughter long after the daughter lost interest in the game as an act of long-burn revenge.

July 9

#IDreamt purgatory was a nearly abandoned Mall. Jack Elan saw my confusion and explained, “All these places are connected.” He then showed me around a corner to a bar in Thailand, where we ordered seared sirloin strips.

July 10

#IDreamt my personality split into multiple parts for a group therapy session. One part of me convinced the others that this was unproductive narcissistic feeding bull hockey.

July 11

#IDreamt while waiting for the hotel shuttle, I found several Hawaiian Shirts buried in the sand with a note from a thief, a guest at a hotel stole them from another guest to make a treasure map for their kids.

July 13

#IDreamt I was the first of several people to turn into a 16-foot giant. Large seeds were popping through my skin like acne. Scientists didn’t know what to make of it.

July 14

#IDreamt it was 1934 when an alien and his equivalent to a cow appeared on a secluded farm where a farmer, his wife, son, daughter, and their cow lived. Everything was fine until the farmer had a psychotic break.

I’m in the middle of a couple of movies right now. But here’s one I did finish watching on YouTube.

64. July 8

They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) Rating: 5

I watched this movie because I was curious about Extraction 2, and I like watching my movies in the sequence they were released. This is a highly challenging kill-count movie. It’s even a difficult explosion-count movie. The action scene goes at a breakneck pace through a warren of alleys, apartments, balconies, and slums. It kept me entertained as Fourth of July fireworks went off through the night and didn’t interfere at all with the view of the film.

More next week,


Saturday, July 8, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark

Saturday, July 8th 2023 • 07/08/23

Anique Zimmer was waiting when I showed up at Freelance Fandango on Monday. We were soon joined by Greg, Nori, Stowe, Allen, and Stan. Jennevieve loved the housewarming gift I gave her. Nori was going to get on a plane on July 4th to return home for his father’s memorial service. Nori hasn’t flown for years and didn’t know that you needed to download an app to select a seat. He almost ended up in a middle seat, both going and coming. Anique had to leave at noon, but she was replaced by Corey Macourek, who dropped off the Weird Elephant binder. I bought one of Corey’s “Spirited Away” prints. Allen took the binders as he is the next artist to sell prints at the Grand Cinema this weekend. His poster is “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Last week my friend John spent a great deal of his time in Seattle tending to his mother. Her state of health fluctuated enough that the care center she lives in moved her from her apartment to another more intense care area of the facility. When John told me Monday afternoon that she died, the news was not completely unexpected. But I thought she’d stabilized after a rough week and was going to recover. John told me the heartwarming story of she spent her last day. Apparently, she was in good enough spirits that she and her boyfriend went on an outing. They paid their respects at her mother’s gravesite. The weather was fine and clear; it was a bright, warm day. As older people often do, she nodded off on the drive back. At least, that is what the boyfriend thought until they arrived back at the facility and he discovered she’d died. As far as a last day goes, that’s a pretty good one. I want to be of help to John. This next week is going to be busy for him and his family as they make arrangements.

Krista and I made three purchases at Costco this week that were not food. The first was a twin mattress. We have a spare bed in a small room we call the sewing room. We have an old twin bed I used to sleep in as a kid, which I took to college. I bought a new mattress for it back in the ’90s. Even seldom-used mattresses get threadbare. Krista and I have been meaning to replace it for a while now. And by a while, I might mean the last decade. The only problem was buying one while it was on sale, and a friend with a truck was available. The Knights of Pythias has a group chat, and I put a query out asking for an assist. Dale Chestnut, who I haven’t seen since before the pandemic, sent me his number. He and his wife were kind enough to help us out. While the three of us were at Costco, they picked up a cooked chicken and a bottle of olive oil. They turned down all of my efforts to reimburse them for their time or gas. They invited me out to their place to visit. I will have to take them up on that.

I’ve been using an oscillating fan set on a stool in the master bedroom. Krista would like to use that fan downstairs to keep her desk cool during the upcoming heat wave. The second purchase we made was a tall upright fan for the master bedroom. I had it assembled in less than five minutes. It has a temperature setting on it so that it will automatically turn on and off at a certain temperature.

The third purchase was a stand-up lamp. When we first moved it, we bought a small upright lamp barely over four feet. Its single bulb has dimly lit what we call the library for the last thirty years. We’ve been meaning to replace it with something taller that could provide more light. Krista thought the design of the new lamp would fit the room perfectly. The assembly was challenging as the designer provided micro screws as small as a black ant’s butt to hold everything together. I love how much light it brings into the room. Krista loves the way it looks.

The lamp was a spontaneous purchase. The mattress and fan were planned. We knew these items appeared seasonally at Costco and learned from previous years that unless you purchased them quickly, they would disappear until next year. We meant to buy the fan last year and missed out. We have been after the mattress for years. The lamp just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Uncle Bill and Dad are back from their fishing trip with Cousin Vic. They had a good time. I know they caught a lot of fish, some of which they tossed back and some which they brought home. They were fishing for trout in a lake. I tried to find out how much they caught, but the phone call went sideways. Apparently, Uncle Bill was expecting his new hearing aids to arrive at the house while they were away. The hearing aids were late arriving, so Uncle Bill decided to stay until they showed up. Then they asked me about getting some art framed. I need to call them back and let them know that all the Framers I knew have retired. I hope to hear about their fishing trip soon.

Friday night Allen Gladfelter picked me up, and I kept him company as he sold “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” posters at the Grand Cinema. I enjoy Allen’s company. He’s been working on a graphic novel for a few years now. He decided to rewrite some of the pages. Thankfully, he’d planned his panels so that they could be shifted around. He did a little of that and only had to alter one or two spoken balloons. I’ll be keeping him company again tonight.

Alley News

Krista saw a couple down the alley working on a red sedan. She assumed that it was being stripped. I knew she didn’t want me to investigate or to get Don to investigate. She worried that it might turn nasty. Don did go and explore. He learned that our neighbor Dan gave the couple in the red car an old van. The old van was parked at the far end of the alley to block an unused driveway. It was to discourage the homeless from setting up came there. A large branch fell two winters ago and broke the back window. The van has sat there since before the pandemic. Don had the couple drive it up to his place, where they could work on it faster. He wanted them gone before dusk. They were successful in getting it running. Now the stray cats and raccoons will have to find somewhere else to nest.

We had to close all the windows once it got dark on the Fourth of July. There were so many fireworks and so little wind that a fog of sulfur-smelling fog settled in the city. It was pretty bad. We marveled at how our poorest neighbors were always the ones who bought the most expensive fireworks. “Will they will have enough money for rent next month?” Krista wondered. “Poor little Sally isn’t going to get her braces this year.”

I was craving ribs. The only store that had them at a decent price was Costco. So when we were there buying the lamp, we also purchased a package of ribs made of three racks. Krista cooked two of them, and we froze the third. We’ll be eating ribs for a few days. Krista also made some potato salad and did a quick steam on the snap peas from the garden. We’ve been eating peas with every meal. The cucumbers are coming in as well. On Wednesday, we took a break from the ribs and ate sweet chili braised salmon with a tangy cucumber salad. We also finished off the cake I bought to celebrate our 36th anniversary. I suggested to Krista that maybe we should go up to Canada next year for our anniversary.

The Wells family was over at Judy Martin’s house every day during the Fourth of July weekend. They’ve been enjoying the warm weather visiting under the carport with “Granny” and Pat and Cathy Smith. Cathy is a frequent visitor to Judy’s, at least once or twice a day, if not more, to check on her and help out. Pat has been mowing and watering her plants for years now. Even though Judy says, she doesn’t want any plants because she doesn’t have the strength to water them. The Smiths got around this argument by saying they needed a place to grow more vegetables and they’d take care of everything. Thus, Judy gets to enjoy looking at plants in the summer. I’ve not kept track of the vegetables they are growing.

Some of my dreams:

July 1

#IDreamt I was on a ski trip with my brothers when I got separated and then trapped within a zoo where all the animals had been released and were running amok. I couldn’t tell if the lion was affectionate or playing with me like a mouse.

July 2

#IDreamt we moved to a different house where the dishwasher was in the mud room. It would leak unless you closed the door tightly. I was sorting a bag of trash left behind. I could tell if it was wine or meth-making equipment.

July 3

#IDreamt the motel I was at had a gas station mini-mart as a lobby. I bought a sandwich, and the clerk gave me a penny. The man behind me held out his hand as a joke. I gave him the penny. “For luck,” I said.

July 4

#IDreamt we stayed at an AirB&B and woke to find a long-haired cat on me. As we left, I mentioned to the owner their cat had snuck in and slept on the bed. “We don’t have a cat.” They said.

Movies I watched this last week:

62. July 3

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009) Rating: 5

This is a fish-out-of-water Rom-Com. One of the many Hugh Grant romance comedies where he’s partnered with a new leading lady to see if chemistry happens. I think all involved elevated the script. While the horses had names, there were no dogs with names in the movie. But that’s understandable, with Bart the Second being part of the cast.

63. July 4

Extraction (2020) Rating: 5

I watched this movie because I was curious about Extraction 2, and I like watching my movies in the sequence they were released. This is a highly challenging kill-count movie. It’s even a difficult explosion-count movie. The action scene goes at a breakneck pace through a warren of alleys, apartments, balconies, and slums. It kept me entertained as Fourth of July fireworks went off through the night and didn’t interfere at all with the view of the film.

64. July 8

They Made Me a Fugitive (2020) Rating: 5

Not to be confused with “They Made Me A Criminal.” What this movie could have used is a dog or at least a bird in a cage. Instead, we have a man held behind chicken wire. Most of the characters lacked dimension. The dialog must have been witty and snarky at the time because this film did okay at the time. My favorite part remains the wife asking for a favor in return for food and clothes.

More next week,