Oct 07

Revolution. No Quarter or nickel or dime

The opening of episode 3 of Revolution, No Quarter basically gives you a run down of the entire season so far.  You could almost skip the first 2 episodes and be caught up, just by watching the third.  And maybe by watching just the third, you can ignore the leaps from logic in the other two.  However, the 3rd isn’t without its problems.  But first, to point out a little bit of mystery.

I noticed a little cast change from the “Preview” to the “Pilot”.  It had me pondering my insanity for a moment.  But, it appears that a cast change did happen between the “Preview” and the “Pilot“.  Was the “Preview” actress not good enough or did they increase the value of the mother’s role after the “Preview” was created and J.J. Abrams just wanted one of his LOST alum to play the part?  Who knows.  Not a big deal, but we still need to figure out why the “mother” died on “The Road”, but is actually being held by Monroe in a nice house apparently in a town very close to his open field tent city.

On to the show. In this episode, Little Miss Whiney, Uncle Miles and Hot Pants meet up with a rebel group that can’t even guard the front door of their hideout with something as simple as a person standing on the roof.  Good thing Uncle Miles is there to remedy that issue.  We find that this rebel group has had their butts kicked when they attempted to break into a garrison with nothing but knives and good hopes.  Miles tells them they need to get out of their little death trap ASAP, while Little Miss Whiney exclaims the most annoyingly obvious and poorly written line in the episode; “That man is dead.”  Yes dear, they just covered up another dead person when you walked in and everyone else is in some state of bleeding or dying.  Whoever writes the lines for Charlie should be fire right now and that job should be given to the person who writes the more realistic lines for Miles.

While we are pondering the question as to why people don’t get the junk together and high tail it out of the boxed in death trap they are hiding out in, the Monroe Militia show up and immediately start shooting through the building.  Let’s recap an important point of information.  Bullets are rare.  Even black powered muskets are rare, because Gus..errr Captain Neville is walking around with a dozen militia who only have swords. Therefore, when you come upon a building that you haven’t sent a spy in to verify, but you just found out about, but are apparently close enough that people didn’t hear you execute someone with a pistol, you don’t just start shooting.  Oh, that’s right, after complaining that rim fire bullets are a rarity and probably shouldn’t be wasted.  That’s why Jacob, I mean Lucifer, I mean new character that we are going to find about later, Jeremy goes through a whole spiel about how rare bullets are and then still shoots the rebel he’s interrogating with a little The Deer Hunter action.  So, note to writers; when you make a big deal about how hard it is to get bullets, don’t use them up like you’ve got a tanker load of….. oh my lord.

Okay, so while everyone is trying to escape being slaughtered in their death trap box hidey hole, Miles sent a guy up on the roof with the sniper rifle obtained in episode 2.  This guy starts to eliminate the militia with single shot kills.  Even when they are on the run. Why didn’t this person manage to keep his sniper rifle he apparently had mastered and what has he been doing to keep his skills up?  He has a bag of bullets, that he’s just carrying around for the time when he gets a brand spanking new 15 year old sniper rifle.  Rule number one that we learn from The Patriot: when fighting an organized group of military people who line up in a tight group in order to maximize their effect, YOU SHOOT THE GUY ON THE HORSE!

So, this whole fiasco of a battle gets wrapped up because Lucifer Jeremy sent enough of his guys in, including his number 2 guy, so that the rebel sniper ran out of bullets.  Not that the 50 or so men figured out how to out flank a single sniper guy on a roof in the dark.  Then by morning, the militia storm in, only to have Jeremy captured by Miles in close hand to hand combat as they retreat back into the even more trapped and confined place that happens to have windows.  Why “Shawshank” your way out, when you have windows above the wall?  Where are you going? My head is hurting.

So, Jeremy let’s it slip that Miles is important, so he let’s everyone know that he was the “General of the Militia”.  And he uses that knowledge to make a bargain to let the remaining rebels go free and let Jeremy take in Miles as a captive to Monroe, but this all gets foiled by Hot Pants and Little Miss Whiney who manage to sneak ahead to lay a trap on a bridge to set Miles free.

Wait?  What?  Yes, Miles was the GENERAL of the Monroe Militia.  To those watching, we all knew that Monroe knew Miles and that Miles had played a bigger role.  But, you might think, just might, that the guy who helped bring back “law and order” and ran the militia who kept everyone in line by killing had a more popular name.  For 15 years he had been going around with a group of well trained thugs killing people who didn’t stay in line and nobody asked, “Hey, where did you get your training from?”  or “Who is Monroe’s right hand man?”  And you would think this knowledge would be just as common as Monroe’s name.  Oh boy.  Anyway, that’s all wrapped up and Danny Boy managed to avoid an asthma attack to gain some respect from Gus for not killing a militia guy who was being even more of a whiney biatch than Danny.

Now onto the side story with Crazy Australian Lady and Geek Boy. They managed to find Grace’s house, which is surround by corn on a road that hasn’t been paved in a decade by using an old map. [face palm]  When they get there, they notice something is wrong, arm themselves with one knife and enter the house to find a very obvious plot device of a Walkman player and the charred remains Grace’s computer that was destroyed using fire without burning down the entire house, which is made up of highly flammable old wood. Okay.  Moving on.  While Geek Boy is pondering his uselessness in the new world order…. okay let’s go there.

How did Geek Boy and Crazy Australian Lady managed to walk from the suburbs of Chicago or where ever their little village is, to Indiana along The Road and not get killed?  How is Geek Boy alive and fat in the first place?  I’m guess Ben managed to keep him alive, but good grief, the guy even tells a story about how he’s back to being a nobody in a bully’s world.  I guess that’s what happened to his wife.

Okay, to wrap up, the necklace comes on. Because they couldn’t find the switch to turn it on.

Maybe because Crazy Australian Lady was hiding it.

But, it magically comes on and then turns off by itself, even though we know it can be on by itself if no one else is around.

Please. Please. Please make sure you have the rules set for your mysterious objects before writing them down.

Sep 28

Revolution. How the series should end

I haven’t watched episode 3 yet, but I have decided that there is only one way to properly end this series.  Not that the series will only last one season, but if they don’t fix issues with story holes and the main characters absolutely ridiculous naivety, then it won’t last past the first season.  This would be a sad thing, because the basic idea is good, it just seems like the writers have really given any thought about how things would work in world that all of a sudden lost electricity.  Anyway, on to the setup.

First, we need to pin point the conspiracy theory that would answer why the electricity went out. We can rule out a Nuclear EMP as a preemptive strike for an invasion by a joint Cuba, Russia and China army. Based on the back story, every country in the world suffered the same problem, so we must look larger.  What is bigger than a single country?  Well a governing body of a bunch of countries, like the U.N.  And what is better than a conspiracy theory than a New World Order conspiracy theory. Basically, the idea is that there is a shadow government working to cause issues throughout the world to cause nations to get to the point where a single controlling body determines how everyone lives.  How every goes about their every day lives based on a set of rules that these “smarter” people make for the masses. Now, you are probably thinking to yourself; “How are they going to control 6 billion people all across the earth?”  Simple, you don’t control 6 billion people, you control a much smaller number.  Now you are saying; “Okay, but how do you get less than 6 billion people on the earth without destroying the entire planet with a devastating world war?”  You cut off the electricity.

Immediate Effects

  • 5,000 planes in the air over the U.S. at any point of time.  100s of people on a plane.  That’s 1/2 a million in the U.S. instantly.
  • Cruise ships at seas that hold 1,000s of people on each ship
  • Medical patients on life support

Short term effects

  • 3 day supply of food in grocery stores
  • Weather related deaths due to not having air conditioning or heating
  • Fire and other disaster deaths without response personal

Long term effects

  • Starvation by those who stay in cities and groceries run out of food
  • Riots and looting, causing direct killing and fires that cause indirect deaths, because they can’t be stopped by fire trucks
  • Damns break due to failure of engines and flood valleys below
  • Pumps no longer work to bring fresh water from wells

So, basically, as the show explains, a lot of people die and the population becomes much smaller and more manageable.  Now onto the closing scene.

EXT. LARGE FIELD

A group of 100 or so people are gathered in front of a wooden stage. On the stage are a group of about six people of varying age, size and gender.  Each of these people are wearing a flowing robe with the symbol of the power amulet on the rob.  Hanging around the necks of each of is the power amulet, turned on and glowing.  The robed man in the center raises his hands to quiet the crowd.

CULT LEADER MAN 1: Quiet. Quiet. Please, listen to us children.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 1: Let us explain all that has happened and when you hear, you will be happy that you are here with us today.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 2: Not everyone had the blessing of making it to this point, so feel blessed and listen.

CULT LEADER MAN 2: We started planning the blackout many decades ago.  We figured out that the best way to bring peace to the world would be to prevent anyone from waging war.  And when the majority of the world became dependent on electricity. Power.  We knew that by taking away the power from the few, we could give it back to the many.

CULT LEADER MAN 3: We created a device and planted them in the satellites above that would beam down a pulse to shut off the world’s engines.  Preventing all machines from running and keeping the war machines quiet.

WOMAN IN THE CROWD: (screaming) But you cut off the refrigerators for our food!

CULT LEADER WOMAN 3: Yes. Yes.  Many trappings of society were made inoperable.  But, we had to do this so that things would be quiet to listen.

MAN IN THE CROWD: (screaming) Couldn’t you have warned us!?

CULT LEADER MAN 1: But, we did.

MAN IN THE CROWD: (screaming) When? When did you warn us?

CULT LEADER MAN 2: We never made a intentions hidden.  We even wrote it down in 1992 as Agenda 21.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 1: Your old governments agreed to these plans and started the ground work to making you more reliable on the government.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 2: And when you rely more on someone else to make your decisions, then you are more easily moved to understand what the best choices are for you.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 3: We even made a marker for the world to see and understand what the optimal society is.  In 1980 we erected the Guidestones in Georgia. On it, are the basic rules:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

CULT LEADER MAN 1: So.  As you can understand, we did this all for you and the planet.  You are the blessed ones.

The crowd begins to mumble amongst themselves.  From within the crowd Aaron walks forward and stands close to the platform.

AARON PITTMAN: Let me get this straight.  You killed billions and billions of people all over the world, so that you can have a better planet?

CULT LEADER MAN 1: Yes.  Isn’t it great?

AARON PITTMAN: People died by starvation and of unspeakable murder, so that you (points finger at cult leaders) can have the perfect world to lead everyone in.

CULT LEADER WOMAN 1: Yes.  We did it so you.  (waves arms open) All of you, can live in a peaceful world.

Maggie (assuming she’s still alive) walks up next to the platform.

MAGGIE: You mean, that I am trapped over here. Not able to see my children. Not knowing whether they are dead or alive, so that you can run some sort of social experiment on the world?

CULT LEADER WOMAN 2: It isn’t an experiment.  It is now life.  How it is.

AARON PITTMAN: And you are it?  You are the ones who are going to make the decisions for us?

CULT LEADER WOMAN 3: Yes.  And other groups, just like us on each continent.

CULT LEADER MAN 2: We will use the power to communicate back and forth and make sure everything is at harmony.

AARON PITTMAN: Harmony.  Huh.  Well, you forgot a little thing in your planning.

CULT LEADER MAN 3: We have thought of everything.

AARON PITTMAN: Except for the right to freedom.

Aaron pulls out a machine gun from under his coat and shoots all six cult leaders in the legs and arms.  The Cult leaders are lying on the platform moaning in pain.  Maggie jumps up on the platform and walks up to the first cult leader.

MAGGIE:  To want to be free, is only human.  You can’t change human nature by force.

Maggie pulls out a gun and shoots the cult leader in the head and then slowly walks up to each leader as they beg her not to kill her, but she still shoots each one with a single shot in the head.  As she gets to the last one, she rips off the power amulet and looks at it.

MAGGIE: I guess we have a few more of you bastards to take down.

Maggie looks back at the last cult header and points the gun to his head.  The gun fires and the scene fades to black.

Sep 27

Revlotion. Chained Heart

After mostly enjoying the pilot and feeling the need to support local entertainment industry, I continued on watching the 2nd episode of Revolution. It also helps that my U-verse DVR can record up to 6 shows at a time and has plenty of space, since The Closer and Eureka are no longer airing new episodes. After complaining about the “alien on earth” issue of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Matheson, the heroine of the show, I hoped things would be fixed in the 2nd episode.  And I also hope we wouldn’t have any more of these:

Nope. Spoilers below.

After we get a reminder of the things that happened last week.  Oh, the guy riding in the car with the uncle, Miles Matheson, is this Sebastian ‘Bass’ Monroe guy we keep hearing about?  And Miles is some sort of killing machine who couldn’t take him out within the past 15 years?  Oh boy.   Continuing on.  We head back in time to one week AFTER the blackout.  ONE WEEK.  Seven days after the blackout and NOW the family is getting out of the city and going to a place with food and open places.  So, in the 7 days after the blackout, before things really begin to hit the fan, they decide to sit around and wait for it to get worse? Maybe the Matheson’s should have read Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse.  Sure, Patriots has some of it’s own plot and story line issues, but at least you can get the basic knowledge that when TEOTWAWKI happens, you get out of the cities immediately.  Ben, Ben, Ben, you have not prepared your family properly.  You have one semi-automatic pistol with no extra clips or even a box of ammunition.    Of course, this little pre-story was only to make sure we understood that Charlie is supposed to take care of her haplessly weak brother, Danny Matheson.

Danny’s only other apparent weakness, besides asthma, is talking back to people who just killed his father and a few of his fellow villagers.  Because pissing off people who kill for no apparent reason is always a good idea.

Okay, back to little miss dropped on the planet yesterday.  Charlie convinced her uncle Miles to go with her to rescue Danny from Monroe by totally blowing his cover and making him leave his nice comfy hotel. Good job girl!  So, after watching uncle Miles dispatch a bunch of militia, which she also helps out with, Charlie objects to Miles dispatching a bounty hunter who was trying to capture him.  So, they lock him in a rail car.  Talk about making an obvious, “We’ll see him again” scene.  But, let’s get back to Charlie’s objection to not killing people who are trying to kill them.  It’s not like she doesn’t have any experience with someone betraying her and almost getting her killed.  It’s not like it just didn’t happen the day before. Oh boy.  Not to mention the 15 YEARS OF PEOPLE TRYING TO KILL PEOPLE FOR FOOD!!

I also blame Miles, since he should have stopped listening her after she brought the spy into his hotel.  Who is still following them.  So, they go to another city to find out information.  Genius! And while they are in this other Monroe controlled area, the bounty hunter reappears with a bunch of recruits to take Miles, again. Because Charlie is easily caught and used as leverage.  But, Miles manages to dispatch the militia, get information and kill the bounty hunter.   Wait a second.  Miles go the information he was looking for from the bounty hunter.  Why didn’t he just beat up the bounty hunter earlier to get the information? And why did the bounty hunter just leave the other people Miles was walking with?  Wouldn’t they be worth something too?

Meanwhile, Gus…errr Captain Tom Neville is still taking Danny to Monroe’s camp, when he hears a gun shot.  Annnnnd, since guns are outlawed, Gus needs to investigate this shooting. Where he finds a man who killed a deer with a shotgun.  A pump shotgun.  Near his house surrounded with corn fields.

Let me recap.  The guy lives in a house, surround by cornfields and decides to pull out his illegal pump action shotgun to dispatch a deer.  And when Captain Neville confronts the man, he throws out his shotgun, which he kept on his porch.  His illegal shotgun, that he stores on his porch.  And when Captain Neville sends a militia armed with a sword to search the mans house, the man pulls out a gun and shoots the militia.  Not the Captain.

And what is the penalty for owning a gun?  It is death.  Was there anyway that this guy was going to get out of this situation alive?  No.  So, take the shotgun, shoot the Captain and then see which of the sword carrying morons wants to play knifey spooney.  I’m guessing none.  Afterwards, Danny makes it known that he has more snark in him and Gus, I mean Captain Neville, reminds Danny that he’s a psychopath.  Which is a word Danny probably never learned, since apparently we learned in the Pilot that the kids hate school.

Meanwhile, back at the moody post teenager ranch.  Miles tells Charlie that he has to go get his buddy from a chain gang so that she can help them free Danny.  Miles informs Charlie that she should go with dead dad’s girlfriend and computer nerd to a place in Illinois and he will meet them there in two weeks.  But, she skips off in the morning to follow Miles and leave the helpless two.  “Nate”, the bounty hunter is fooled by her little “helpless me” trick and is chained to a pole while Charlie catches up with Miles.  A whole bunch of other talking goes on and we have Charlie, Miles and Miles militia buddy, Nora, dispatching a bunch of guards and a warden with a gun.  Oh, and we learn that during the week after escape from the city, good ol’ dad was a wimp and mom dispatched a person threatening to kill Charlie.  Wait….so Charlie would know how dangerous people are, because mom shot one in the BACK!!  *sigh*  We also find out that Nora is part  of rebellion who use the U.S.A. flag as their symbol. She put hers as a tattoo on her back, because as a spy and a woman, she’ll never ever ever get stripped naked.  And Charlie apparently has no problem killing a person face to face if he’s holding innocent people.  However, we don’t know if the people are innocent, just that they are being held as prisoners.

Okay, back to Maggie and Arron, who were left to rot in wilderness by Charlie.  We get this long drawn out story about her kids and technology and Arron brings out the magic necklace that turns the power on.  After the conversation, Maggie is walking with it and rubbing it in her fingers, which had me just waiting for the moment she pressed the center and turned it on and her phone started ringing or something.  Guess we’ll have to wait until episode 3.  But, we get the connection back to Grace, the lady who we met before that helped Danny, but gave him up to the militia in order to keep the very small and easily hidden necklace safe.  The necklace she only uses in a room at the top of the house, which probably could also be hidden and kept very safe.  But, not safe enough that, even though she has no obvious neighbors, she answers the door WITHOUT HIDING THE IMPORTANT NECKLACE AND COMPUTER ROOM.  Really? You keep it hidden for 15 years and are suspicious of someone knocking on your door just after the militia came to your house?  Oh brother.

Well, at least we learn about another guy who wears his necklace around in the open and carries an electrified stick.

So, let’s recap what we know.

  1. An event happened that shut off the electricity.
  2. The event was man-made.
  3. There is a group of people who knew about the event and control USB controlled alien created pendants that turns power back on to anything within an area. (Who knows how big the area is)
  4. 15 years later, people still haven’t re-invented steam engines
  5. 15 years later, people who saved guns from 15 years ago don’t know how to use them wisely
  6. There are multiple warlords, but only Monroe realizes that the power can be turned back on, so he’s collecting helicopters…. that aren’t in flying order and probably don’t have any mechanics to fix.
  7. Children living 15 years after TEOTWAWKI totally forget that they are living in TEOTWAWKI
  8. Wardens like looking like the boss man from Cool Hand Luke or O Brother Where Art Thou

Granted, there are enough nuggets to keep me watching, but hopefully they can start fixing the story problems before the end of the season.  They’ve already filmed 6 episodes, so they don’t have much time.

Chained Heart

Sep 26

Revolution. The Pilot

Over the summer I did a day of extra work for a big budget movie code named “Caged“.  While doing the extra work, I met a few people who were doing extra work for “Homeland” and “Banshee“, which are a couple of on going series being filmed in North Carolina.  A new series starting to be filmed is called “Revolution“, which is about a future were electricity doesn’t work due to some event.  Eric Kripke is the creator of this show, so I have high hopes based on what he did with SupernaturalSpoilers to follow.

The pilot started out on a fast note, withthe power going out and then fast forwarding 15 years into the future to talk about a world where those who stayed in the cities most likely died and those who made it out alive are now under the control of warlords.  A scenario that isn’t too far out there if something big happened like nuclear EMP or a financial collapse, so the premise of the show isn’t too far fetched.  However, the method that the electricity stopped is a little bit on the science fiction side.  Nobody knows why the electricity went out or why it won’t come back on, but there are hints that a few people know. And here is where the problems come in.

First, can they not boil water to make electricity?  There are candles and fires lit in the show, which would mean that there should be the capability to boil water.  Can nobody roll out an old steam engine and create some electricity?  Or even general working machines run off of steam like they did before electricity?  I know J.J. Abrams has his fingers in this, so we can expect some very simple questions to be unanswered.

Second, the father who comes home and starts packing up the family to leave doesn’t have a Bug Out plan?  He obviously knows that the power is going out.  The conversation between the wife and him make sit apparent that the two of them knew that it might happen.  Yet, their plan of action is to fill the bathtub and box up some food?  Really?  You knew it was coming and you didn’t even plan for the basics?

Third, after 15 years of living in fear and know living under a warlord, you now let your defenses down?  They show the small “town” created in an old suburban neighborhood.  They have crops growing and it looks like a bustling small village WITH A HUGE FENCE AROUND IT WITH THE GATE OPEN.  And through that open gate, just walks up the Munro Militia.  Guns are outlawed and this militia group has swords.  SWORDS.  They might have one musket.  These are not tools to break through a wall that is over 20 feet tall.  So, why do you leave that wall open to let anyone in?

Fourth, apparently the female lead was dropped from a spaceship the day before the start of the show.  The town that this 19 year old (maybe 4 or 5 years old when the even happened 15 years prior) lives in has A HUGE WALL AROUND IT FOR SAFETY, yet this doesn’t stop her from heading out and exploring the woods.  We learn that her mother was killed while “on the road” and basically there are a lot of bad people out there.  Still, she runs out through the woods dragging her little brother with her, exploring an R/V that has been on it side for 15 years.  For some reason, unlike every other car it didn’t slow down and stop when the electricity turned off but managed to propel itself off of the main road and down a cliff.  You would think, that a person who has grown up in danger, she  would be more careful about what she does.

Fifth, they pick now to rebel? The Monroe Militia comes waltzing into the town and asks to take one of their town folk.  So, now, for no apparent reason, they start to get all rebellious and fight back against the militia.  Why not do that 15 minutes early and LOCK THE GATE?!?!  And, to top things off, one of the towns folk brings out a rifle, which are ruled illegal.  Why haven’t they made rifles for everyone?  Why does gun power work, but they can’t make steam engines?  To make things worse, when the guy finally fires the gun, he doesn’t shoot the lead guy, but some random soldier and flies backward as if he’s never fired the rifle before.  The confrontation starts because the son of the man being taken pulls out his crossbow and aims it at the militia in an attempt to prevent them from taking his dad.  Why doesn’t every single town  person have a crossbow ready to go instead of the two hapless kids who have been carelessly running around in the woods?

The confrontation ends with a militia shooting the dad in the back, the son shooting the militia a bunch of fighting and then the head of the militia shooting a few people with his pistol.  Oh boy.  Has this town not practiced to defend itself in the past 15 years?

Sixth, he’s living where? The dying father sends his daughter to go find her uncle in order to get his son back.  The uncle is living in a hotel in Chicago.  WHAT?!?!  Didn’t we learn that people stayed away from the cities?  Why isn’t the brother living with the brother?  People you can trust and all?  Oh boy.

Seventh, were you dropped on the planet yesterday, seriously?  So, the daughter, the not yet mother-in-law, now girlfriend of former dad and the how-did-he-manage-to-stay-over-weight-in-15-years-of-eating-vegetables computer geek friend of former dad go walking down the road to Chicago.  The daughter, after explaining to dad’s girlfriend that she is very capable of taking care of herself, runs into a guy who is standing around by himself. RED FLAG! WARNING! WARNING! RED FLAG!  Does she not remember why her village has a HUGE WALL SURROUNDING IT FOR SAFETY?

Of course, the stranger helps save the daughter from a few bandits who just happened to be hiding out in an airplane waiting for some stupid strangers walking around with only one weapon to defend them to show up.  Then the stranger, “Nate”, follows them to Chicago, where they find the hotel and the uncle.  A slight sneak peak into the computer geeks past is a nice touch, giving us a little information but not enough, so we want more.  However, the red flag warnings come true as we find out that “Nate” is just a bounty hunter sent to flush out the uncle.  Which, the uncle who is “good at killing” manages to let live.

Meanwhile, the captive brother manages to escape and happens on a farm with woman who has a asthma inhaler that she gives him.  An inhaler that has been sitting around for 15 years and probably would do nothing more than a placebo effect for someone’s asthma.  The militia shows up and takes the boy, but then we find out that the woman also has a special necklace charm, that the father gave to the geek, and that charm makes the power come back on.  We also learn that there are others with the power.

Nice ending.  But, did they really think about things for this show?

Revolution Pilot

Feb 21

Posting with the PlayBook

After a long absence from my blog, due to hacking on another application, it is time to start posting again.  Last year I created an app for the BlackBerry PlayBook , which got me a free PlayBook.  Now, a year later RIM has updated the software on the PlayBook and the phones. One update was to add an Android player to make it easy for Android developers to port their apps to the PlayBook.  The WordPress app I am using to type this post is one of those apps.  The app seems to run fine, but one noticible missing feature is yhe auto-spellchecking and smart type capability of the keyboard. A couple of nice features that would be very helpful.  I guess those short comings leaves it open for a native WordPress app for the PlayBook

The image posting part of this app is rather nifty. I will have to try out other features in the future.

Aug 31

Our Wedding Story

[toc title="Our Wedding Story" hint="Our Wedding Story TOC" style="width:140pt; float:right;"]

Welcome

Welcome to Lisa and Dean’s Wedding Page!!

We are extremely excited to share our wedding plans with family and friends.  Please click through the links to learn about us and our plans.

About Us

About the bride

Lisa has lived in Raleigh since birth.  She went to college at N.C. State University and now works for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Her hobbies include writing screenplays, canoeing with Dean, picnicking, walks around the park, tennis, and relaxing on the beach.

About the groom

Dean works as a software developer for BOWE BELL & HOWELL for the last 14 years.  Dean has many hobbies, including running social groups.  Dean has lived in 5 states and ended up in North Carolina in the early 80s.  Dean went to college at UNC Greensboro and moved back to the Raleigh area after college.

How we met

Dean was Organizer of The Raleigh-Durham Singles Meetup group.  The 20s/30s had a Happy Hour event at Tavola Rossa (now the Crabtree Tavern) and Lisa attend as her first event.  Lisa was very excited to meet Dean and spent the evening smiling and standing near him, trying to talk to him all night long.  Lisa was unusually outgoing and her efforts were noticed by Dean.  After months of attending events, Dean scheduled one event that only Lisa signed up for and attended.  The event was a dinner event at Neo Asia, so even thought is was a singles event, it felt like a date. When they finished eating, they stepped outside and it was snowing.  There was a very awkward moment as to what Lisa and Dean should do next.  Lisa wanted to kiss Dean, Dean wasn’t sure what to do.  So, after they said goodnight, Dean asked Lisa out on a date for Valentine’s Day and Lisa gladly said, “Yes”.

Our Proposal

Date of event

8/14/2010

How we got engaged

Since Dean and Lisa had already agreed on getting married, it was up to Dean to surprise Lisa with an engagement.

Dean and Lisa started going on picnics in the spring and one of the first places they had a picnic was the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.  The Museum of Art has a “art trail” that contains large sculptures, including a set of three rings made from the dirt that they stand on.  Near this sculpture is where Lisa and Dean had their picnic.  Dean’s plan was to have a picnic at the same spot and pop the question to Lisa.

Dean first had to convince Lisa to go to the Museum, so he told her it would be a good time for him to meet the Maid of Honor, Louisa, and for her to meet the Best Man, Jason.  Louisa and her husband were to meet Dean and Lisa at the Art Museum at 11:30 am.  Meanwhile, Dean had Jason and another friend Adam, setup a picnic basket and blanket near one of the rings.  Dean had bought a big white wicker picnic basket and had champagne and a small radio playing inside of it.  Adam would take pictures of Lisa and Dean walking down the trail to the picnic basket.  Jason also brought rose pedals to throw on the blanket.

After a little delay and convincing Lisa not to go into the museum, Dean told Lisa, Louisa and her husband David that they were waiting on Jason to arrive.  He then suggested that they walk down to where Lisa and he had their picnic.  As they walked down the trail, Dean tried to distract the rest of the group so they wouldn’t see Jason start the music and Adam taking photos.  As we got closer to the ring, they noticed Adam and Jason, but thought that they were a photography group.  When Dean tried to walk Lisa to the picnic blanket, Lisa wouldn’t go, because she thought it was someone else’s picnic.  So, Dean had to open the picnic basket to reveal the ring box.  After moving Lisa around to a better camera angle, Dean proposed :

Lisa,

I want to have all of my picnics with you.

I want to spend all my time on  the beach with you.

I want to take all my hikes in the woods with you.

I want to have all my new adventures with you.

Will you marry me?

Lisa nodded her head and mumbled “Yes” through her tears of joy.  Dean opened champagne for everyone and the toasted the celebration.

Lisa and Dean spent the next 15 minutes taking photos and then the entire group went to the Art Museum restaurant Iris for lunch.  The hostess gave the group champagne.

Ceremony

Information for our guests

The ceremony will be a private ceremony for just family.  Lisa and Dean want a small and simple ceremony, but will provide a reception party for all of their friends after the wedding.

The ceremony will be at North River United Methodist Church, which is the home church of Dean’s oldest sister, Jenny, and her family.  Dean’s oldest niece Jacyln is getting married on the 9th, which is why Dean and Lisa chose the perfect date of 10/10/10 for their wedding day.

Driving directions

North River United Methodist Church is in Beaufort, NC.  It is located on Highway 70, just outside of town.

Wedding Party

Our wedding party

The very small wedding party consists of Louisa as the Maid of Honor and Jason as the Best Man.

The Maid of Honor

Louisa Dang has been friends with Lisa since their days in the English department at NCSU.  Louisa worked for the department’s literary journal, and Lisa worked down the hall in the academic affairs office.  Both were students of creative writing, and their love of writing was the foundation of their friendship.  Louisa is now married to a great guy named David in Burlington and they now have a beautiful baby daughter Fiona.  Lisa and Louisa often bounce story ideas off each other. Louisa is working on her mystery novel.

The Best Man

Jason Brooks has been Dean’s best friend every since Dean arrived in North Carolina at the end of Dean’s 4th grade year.  Jason found out that there was a new family in the neighborhood, so he went over to proclaim his standing in the neighbor pecking order.  Unfortunately for Jason, Dean didn’t care an ounce of who Jason thought he was.  They were best friends ever since.  Jason and Dean were a awesome football and basketball duo, dominating the neighborhood at the sports.  Through middle school, high school and college, Jason and Dean kept in touch and remained friends, even while attending different schools. They shared residences after returning back to Raleigh and through thin and thick (lately thick) have been good friends.  Therefor, it is no wonder why Dean would choose his oldest and best friend as his Best Man.

Honeymoon

About our honeymoon

Lisa loves the beach.  Dean loves to go on a cruise.  Lisa and Dean’s honeymoon will be on a cruise in the Caribbean.  They will spend 5 nights traveling from Miami to the Grand Turks and then on to the Bahamas aboard the Carnival ship Destiny.

DAY PORT
Sun South Beach Miami, Fl
Mon Miami, FL
Tue At Sea
Wed Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands
Thu Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Fri Nassau, Bahamas
Sat Miami Fl

Guest Book

Jun 17

Premiere of “The Compromise”

Last night Chris, Lisa and I traveled to Greensboro to the Carousel Cinemas to view our little creation.  When we arrived, the parking lot was fairly full and there was a long line to get tickets.  My guess is that they didn’t start selling tickets until 6:30 pm, so there was a little slowness, because the line started moving along after a little bit.  We got our tickets for the 48 Hour Film Project and went into the theater to find seats.  It was a crowded house in the theater and we ended up sitting way up near the top.  I noticed that the group of teenage boys that I talked to at the assignment party were sitting behind us.  After some announcements from Iris, the city organizer, the film started.

I know there really weren’t that many things that came up before the first movie, but waiting to see your own film on the big screen does make time go slower.  After a 48 Hour Film Project short film and a bunch of ‘thanks to our sponsors’, we saw the 2 films that did not make the deadline.  The first film was a western, that was supposed to be another genre, I think.  Anyway, it was very well done and I was worried that ‘The Compromise’ would look extremely amateurish in comparison.  Then the second film played, which was a computer animation film that wasn’t animated very well and had a bunch of uncomfortable pauses between the lines.  Unfortunately for the team that created it, I think the audience were laughing at how bad it was and not any of a possible comic nature.  The third film was done very well, and received one of my three votes.  It was a horror movie about people degenerating into mindless zombies.   Most of the dialog was done as narration, which probably made things easy.  At this point, I was thinking that my film seemed awfully short compared to the others.  Another filmed played that made everyone go “what the?” because it seemed like two films put together and didn’t seem to have a flowing script.  Finally it was time for ‘The Compromise’.

As the other films started, it seemed like the applause was much louder, I’m putting it down to who brought the most friends to see their movies.  It was the three of us way up in the top seats and three others way down at the front.  So, no real way to get a crazy group yelling at the top of their lungs.  As the film played, the audience was first shocked by the lack of opening credits.  I heard a good comment about our outside shot of the trailer and then a few laughs here and there throughout the film.  Since our film ended as quickly as it started, I think that caught the audience off guard, they were expecting the long credits like the previous films.  The did laugh at the “Thanks for the dumplings” part.  Someone behind me asked if it was my film and then said that he thought the screenwriting was great.

The rest of the movies played with a couple more amateur efforts like ours and a couple more that were very well done.  One was so well done that it didn’t seem possible that they did all the writing, filming and special effects in the 48 hour period.  The other film that got one of my votes was a dream film where the husband and wife battled each other in their dreams for their perfect dream, but in the end helped their daughter fight one of her toys in the daughter’s dream.  Of all the other films presented After the last movie played, the directors were asked down to do a Q&A session.  Only about 4 questions were asked and two of them were aimed at the group whose film didn’t seem to fit in the 48 hour time period.  The group claimed they started writing as soon as they got notice of their genre from the one person who went to the assignment party and that they filmed all night long and finished at 1 pm on Saturday.  I don’t think anyone bought it, since they had drama as a genre and they did a horror film.

After the questions, they asked anyone to talk about any projects, which is when I noticed that Tara-Nicole and Kerry were sitting in the front row.  When everything was done I walked over to them to say ‘hi’ and catch up.  Josh was also in the audience with his family, so it was a mini crew and cast reunion.  We discussed the possibility of re-shooting scenes to fix some errors and then shooting some extra scenes to bring the story line together.  Hopefully we can do that and provide a complete version of the film.  Jenny-Lynn sent a couple of photos to a friend and provide the movie poster at the top of this post.  Below is the film we submitted, slightly enhanced beyond what the audience saw, because Chris wanted to fix sound and tone issue.  Enjoy.

Jun 14

The 48 Hour Filming project

48 Hour Filmmaker: Greensboro 2010Starting on Friday (June 11th) I began my participation in The 48 Hour Film Project in Greensboro.  The 48 Hour Film Project has been going on for about 8 years and happens all across the country and in Asia and Europe.  The idea is to get people interested in making movies by having a contest where the movie is written, filmed, edited and turned back in within a 48 hour time period, hence the title.  To make sure that people don’t shoot the film in advance and submit it at the contest deadline, there are certain elements that are required to be in the film.  On top of that, each team randomly draws a genre for their film.  All the teams have to use the same elements, which consist of a character name and occupation, a prop and a line.  Teams can be as small as one person to as big as hundreds.  The length of the film, including the credits, has to be no longer than 7 minutes long.  Having just started doing films, this was going to be a big challenge for RTP – Let’s Make a Movie team.

The contest started at 7 pm on Friday, so I had to get to downtown Greensboro by 6 pm to register.  When I arrived, parking was a little slim, so I parked down the street a good bit, because I thought the building address was 320 S. Elm, but it was 520 S. Elm.  Luckily for me, I had plenty of time.  The registration place was like being in a basement and it was crowded.  There were 35 teams competing in Greensboro.  I talked to a group of teenage boys who were also doing their first 48 Hour Film Project movie.  Because of the crowd, it seemed a little chaotic and disorganized.  At one point, they told people to make sure we had tickets for the right team.  The teenagers looked at me in the same confused look that I had about figuring that out.  However, we did have the right tickets for the team we were on,  Team A.  After a few announcements, we were allowed to draw our movie genres.  The teenagers pulled “Buddy Movie”, then another team pulled “Film La Femme” and I pulled “Road Movie”.  Before heading to Greensboro, I managed to recruit three actors to the team.  Three female actors.  So, we were really hoping to get the female centered genre “Film La Femme” or the “Buddy Movie”.  Since Chris, the editor/camera man/owner of the shooting location, had setups to mount a camera to a vehicle, we were also hoping to get the “Road Movie”.  Apparently it was my lucky drawing day, we got the “Road Movie”.

After each of the groups drew their genres, they read out the elements.  For a character; Marla Dockery, Professional Organizer/ Clutter Coach.  For the prop; a bandanna.  For the line; “You think you know everything.” As soon as I got the elements and knew that they had finished making annoucements, I headed out the door with the other eager teams.  On the way to the car I called Chris and Lisa to get everyone started brainstorming on ideas.  As I was driving down the road, I came up with an idea of having a final line of “You think you know everything, but my hair is blue.”  The mother of the youngest of the actresses called to tell me that they were running late and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind turning Tara-Nicole’s hair blue.  She let me know that she would pick up some blue hair extensions and would see me later that night. I continued down the road to Chris’s house in Efland thinking about lines and possible a story line.

When I arrived Chris told me that the group had been brainstorming and had some ideas.  They like the idea o f using Chris’s camper as part of the movie, so we went from there.  I took some of Lisa’s script she sent and started trying to incorporate the elements into the film.  Everybody else either went to bed, headed home or to temporary lodging near by.   Jenny-Lynn and Tara-Nicole showed up just before midnight and I recruited her as the 3 adult female actress to replace one that couldn’t make it back on Saturday.  Jenny-Lynn provided some Gatorade towards the effort and headed to the hotel.  After midnight, it was just me on the script and Chris messing around with camera stuff.  I was worrying about having enough lines of dialog and a proper build up to the final line.  Chris assured me that I had plenty of lines and we started working on the storyboarding.  By the time we were done, it was 3 am.  I headed to the couch and tried to get some sleep with Erik serenading me with the soft sounds of snoring.

Wake up time was before 7 am, because we had a call at 7:30 am.  Chris and I zoomed out to Wal-Mart to get some snacks and other odds and ends, trying to get back before the actors and crew showed up, but didn’t.  I sat down with actors and started going over the lines and Chris started setting up the shooting equipment.  We sent out one crew to get the road shots as the rest did the busy work.  The practice was going fairly well and the actors really like the lines.  Kerry and Laurie seemed a little type cast for the roles, but it was purely by accident.  After having to send out the camera crew 2 more times to get the road shots, the trailer was ready for some run practices on the set.  When the crew got back from the last shooting of the road, we took a lunch break as the actors got their makeup ready.

During story-boarding, we ended up having 50 shots.  To make things difficult, the trailer wasn’t very large, so we were limited at how we could take the shots.  Because I purposely left the stability chucks off of the trailer to provide a dramatic effect, only the actors, camera and microphone could be in the trailer during shooting.  Chris setup a remote director’s station so that I could see what was in the shot while sitting under a shelter outside.  To communicate, I had a walkie-talkie and another one was placed on the counter with a bunch of junk around it, which basically meant it was now prop in the movie.

Based on the timing codes, we started shooting at 2 pm.  We took the outside shots with Lee as ‘Harold’ first, so we wouldn’t have to worry about lighting.  We then begin to shoot scenes from one shot location and then the next, but after too long, we were just trying to get all the shots in.  Then the storm hit.  The rain started with a few drops, but then picked up to a down pour in no time at all.  We stopped filming for a few minutes until the sound wasn’t noticeable in the trailer.  The rain was very noticeable under the shelters outside of the trailer.  We had to use two umbrellas under the shelter to keep the equipment dry.  The rain didn’t last extremely long and we wrapped up shooting just after 7:30 and had some pizza that Erik went to get.  Chris and I had planned on stopping shooting at 8 pm, because we figured the light would be useless at that time and it would give us plenty of time to sleep before editing began.  After taking a few crew and cast photos, we said goodbye and thanks and let everyone who could go head on back to their homes.

At 5:30 am on Sunday, we started getting Erik and Josh around to start working on editing.  We needed new road shots because the ones taken on Saturday didn’t work well.  While Chris matched up the scenes that Josh and he labeled the night before, Erik and I went through some sounds to find intro music.  After narrowing it down to what I was looking for, let him go to find something.  Josh had been our boom operator and foley artist on Saturday.  I sent him outside for a little bit to get outside noise that was used for the shot of the trailer on the side of the road.  When he was finished with that, he joined Erik to pick out the opening sound track as Chris and I continued to go through the scenes to line up audio and to shorten the movie to less than 7 minutes.  We had to cut a few lines, which was unfortunate, because they helped with the story.  By 2 pm, Chris had everything lined up and started tweaking things with the sound and coloring.  I had Josh and Erik make some crash noises and then took Josh back home when we were sure he had nothing left to do.

I had planned on leaving at 5:30 pm to give myself plenty of time to reach Greensboro before the 7:30 pm deadline.  However, we had some issues with creating and testing the Quicktime move.  Also, we decided to put the trailer back in its place before leaving.  By the time I was headed out the door, I thought I might get there late.  To make things a little more dicey, my transmission had been having issues, so I had Erik follow as a back-up vehicle if I broke down.  Another thunderstorm during the afternoon also created some concern about traffic on the way, but it was mostly smooth sailing.  I found a parking spot right near the door of the drop-off place and went in to give my documents and movie with 13 minutes to spare.  Because I wasn’t sure if the Quicktime movie worked, I waited until they pulled it up on their computer before leaving.  While I was sitting there listening to movie geeks critique opening credits of professional movies, the team leader from the teenagers team showed up to hear some very disappointing news.  He was there before the deadline, but his movies was too long, which meant the team was disqualified.

The movie will be played on Wednesday and I’m nervous about the audience reaction.  When we are about finished, Chris made a statement that they will ask why we made a pilot for a television show.

John took plenty of photos of behind the scenes.

What I would do differently.

Besides remember to bring some ear plugs, there are a few things I would have liked to do differently.

  1. Stick to the schedule
    We had planned to start shooting earlier, but we didn’t get any shots in until after 2 pm.  For the most part, we did stick to the schedule, but if we started shooting earlier, we could have gotten more shots in.  The more shots, the more to work with.
  2. Record the practice
    The actresses were a bunch of fun and they did a whole bunch of ad-libbing between practicing
  3. Have a Director’s Assistance
    I really needed 1 or 2 people who were there during the story-boarding to keep track of the scenes.  We missed one scene, but due to the length, we would have had to cut it anyway.  Having people coming in afterward, made it too hard them to figure out the shots.
  4. Let the actors continue on
    Since we had 50 scenes figured out and we thought we were going to shoot multiple shots of the same scene, I cut the actors after they finished with certain lines.  Next time, I will let them go as long as they could remember the lines.
Jun 09

Lights, camera, clap!

As part of my non-singleness, I decided to get involved in the movie business to support Lisa’s screen writing hobby.  It’s her hobby until she sells one, but she is now published.  I’m trying to get her to link her blog to the site she is published on.  Anyway, I joined the Meetup group called The RTP “Let’s Make a Movie” Meetup Group.  As far as I know, it is the only “Let’s Make a Movie” Meetup group, until June 3, 2010, when someone started one on the west coast.  The RTP group was founded April 10, 2006, which makes it almost ancient in Meetup history.  The original group managed to make one spoof commercial film and things seemed to fall apart.  A couple of other people tried to keep the group alive, but nothing came of the meetings…. then I enter.

I decide to change the focus of the group from collaborative screen writing, to “Producer” focused work.  Instead of the group deciding on the script, writers (like my Lisa) would submit scripts and then “Producers” would decide if they would make it into a movie.  This cuts out probably a big part of issues caused with a group making a movie.  Once you have one person as the head and a script to follow, then those who want to that particular project can jump on board and others can wait until another project pops up.  Also, this method allows for multiple projects to happen, as each Producer is responsible for their own project and the group isn’t wrapped up in just a single thing at a time.

The site also hadn’t been update since the latest changes to the Meetup software, so I went through and cleaned up the forums and made changes to the About pages and other areas of the site.  I even changed the “Rated ‘R’” logo to a movie slate clap(per) board.  Even though it wasn’t about “Rated ‘R’” movies, I couldn’t accept the logo as appropriate for the group.  Also, the new icon I found fit well with the color scheme I chose for the site.  Another update was to give some people titles: writer, editor, sound , camera, actor, actress.  The titles would help Producers and Directors find talent for their projects.

Well, after those changes went into place, I set forth to create a monthly meeting and try to get interest going in the group again.  There were a few people who started paying attention to the site again, but with it being pretty much dead for a year, there wasn’t much hope of getting the 200+ members back, so I removed all the dead weight as we focused on our first film.  The first film was shot last Saturday.  It is a short film called “The Rapper and The Poet” and is basically a short poem about a rapper and poet debating the difference between the two.  We shot the film on an unmarked trail in Umstead Park, which required a little leg work to get a permit for.  But of course, as the Producer/Director, I was missing an important piece of equipment.  So, I quickly made my own movie slate clapper board.  I did a search and even found an Instructable for creating one.

Materials

  • scrap piece of wood in a rectangular shape
  • scrap piece of wood same material as fist piece, but just skinny and long
  • scrap square piece of wood twice the height of the clapper piece
  • blackboard paint and paint brush (only item I had to go purchase)
  • flat white spray paint
  • painters tape
  • 3 metal screws and bolts
  • drill with 3/8 inch bit

How I Built It

  1. Since I didn’t have a lot of time, I just used some scrap wood and screws that I had in my shed.  I didn’t even cut the main board, even though it was longer than the clapper part of the board.  I spent 2 days painting the front and back of the board.  I put 2 coats on the front and just one every where else, so that the board wasn’t showing.
  2. I cut a notch out of the clapper piece, to allow for it to move up.
  3. I held the clapper piece to the square holder piece and drilled 1 (one) hole through both at the same time.  I made sure that one side of the both pieces lined up.  You can then stick 1(one) of the screws in the hole to keep the pieces together.
  4. I then held the board piece to the square holder, making sure that the clapper lined up straight with the board and drilled 2 (two) holes into the board, like the number 2 die side.
  5. Using an image of a basic clapper board, I tapped over all the places I wanted to remain black.  I tried very carefully to keep the same space between each of the angled lines of the clapper and the spot above the clapper.  I used some scrap cardboard pieces to cover the big areas.
  6. I spray painted the rest of the board.  After drying for a few hours, I removed the tape.
  7. I noticed that some paint particles got under the taped areas, so I painted the main areas with more blackboard tape.
  8. Final touches were to add the Meetup stickers.

The movie slate clapper board is over-sized.  I’m  guessing normal ones are about half the size.  A good reason for being half the size, is so that all the information gets into the shot.  I bought some chalk for the wording.  A box of 12 pieces was about 80 cents, so I bought a box of colored and a box of white.  Because I didn’t sand the board down, the chalk didn’t write very smoothly.  However, it was still pretty clear.  And having the board as big as it was, it was easy to write big letters.  I used one of my plastic containers to hold the chalk and a rag to wipe the chalk off.  It worked great.

It took us from just after 10 am to almost 2 pm to get all the shots done for our 5 minute film.  We took about 4 takes for each shot and some extra shots to get expressions and such.  Now, it is all about the editors.  As part of the group project, we are giving anyone who wants to be an editor a copy of the raw footage.  They will have until mid or end of July to take that raw footage and create a film.  We will have a “Premiere Night” for The Rapper and The Poet to show everyone’s efforts.   Until then, we are participating in The 48 Hour Film Project in Greensboro this weekend.

Jun 09

Remembering the simple life

About a few weeks ago, while I was searching for preparedness food, I came across the blog Adventures in Self Reliance.  Adventures in Self Reliance is about a stay-at-home mom out west who blogs about her efforts in farming and other activities that allow her family to not rely on the hubbub of the modern world.  Okay, probably not exactly how she would phrase it.  Some people would phrase it as a blog about being able to survive after everything goes to pot.  Regardless, she posts information about the food and other things in a very straight forward manner.  And, as far as I can tell, she’s doing the best job on the web of actually comparing preparedness foods.  On top of the reviews, she apparently gets freebies from the companies that provide the items.  I entered the Dinner Pack Giveaway from Augason Farms Plus Super Sale when I first found the blog.  I added her blog to my RSS feed and saw that she announced the winner.  But, she also had an old post about canning tomatoes linked below the giveaway announcement.

Back before moving to North Cackalacky, my family lived in small towns on acres of land.  We had horses, chickens, and plenty of cats and dogs among our other pets.  We also always had a garden.  In Indiana, we had 3 gardens and a grape vine.  I don’t actually remember getting any grapes off of the vine that were ripe, we always went for the snake tongues and not so ready sour grapes.  I still have some what of a sour tongue today.  The biggest garden was a potato garden, the second largest one was the pumpkin, zucchini and other melons and gourds with sunflowers lining the side.  My Shetland pony, Nubby, would crawl under the fence to that garden and eat the pumpkins.  A very cleaver, but bad pony.  The smallest garden was a general vegetable and fruit garden.  With everything from strawberries to corn.  Today my parents only keep one garden with a wide variety of items, including some Loganberry bushes that I bought them.  The small garden also produced tomatoes.  Tomatoes are God’s favorite weed, since they will grow anywhere and you usually get more than you plan for.  While reading through Adventures in Self Reliance’s post on canning tomatoes, memories came back of my own experience in canning tomatoes.  It was a “yeah, that’s how I remember it” moment.  The only difference was, we kept the tomatoes whole.  My oldest sister gave me a jar of ketchup that she made, so I guess the family is upgrading their own recipes.

Since I live in a townhouse surrounded by trees, it hasn’t been easy getting anything beyond house plants to grow.  Maybe when my brother finally gets his family settled back here, he’ll get a place big enough for a garden and we can try growing stuff again.  Meanwhile, we’ll just have to help out up at Brigadoon Farm of Hastings once a year in the summer.