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My 4-H Project

I might not be stalking you, but I am in my backyard taking pictures of my dog’s poop.

Yes, you read that right.

4H-poop

I recently went to the county fair where I was reminded what a tragedy it was that I was never involved in 4-H. I didn’t know much about it at all when I would have been of an age to actually participate. I think my mom told me it was just for kids who lived in the country and had a barn to raise pigs and chickens. I should have pushed harder, especially since I was living in the country with a barn at the time.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized it involved crafts. CRAFTS! I LOVE CRAFTS! I could have rocked crafts!

Then when I was at the fair this year, I realized their are TONS of categories:

Duct Tape Crafts
Photography
Scrapbooking
Wood Burning
Lego Scenes
Cupcake Decorating
First Aid Kids
Design Your Own Chicken Coup
Make Your Own Music/CD
Research History of Rock’n’Roll

There was just building after building of it! All these projects from wonderful creative minds!

And then there were some that you could tell had just Googled “easy cupcakes” and found how to put a half a Twinkie on top of a cupcake to make a minion. There were several on the table.

Or the ones who Googled “melted crayon collage”. There were even more of those.

So, when our Pointer recently ate around 30 of M’s crayons, I still had these 4-H ideas bouncing around inside my skull. I am on poop duty at my house because, well, it would not get done otherwise. As any good dog owner does, I look at my dog’s poop to make sure it looks healthy.

No, not with a microscope or anything!

Just a quick glance when it is on the end of the scoop shovel is plenty. I have two dogs. I can tell their poop apart by consistency and drop pattern. The Pointer has solid poop and walks around as he does his business, making it a pain to pick up. The Lab/Chow mix…Let’s just say she picks up her own.

I have seen some pretty crazy stuff in my Pointer’s poop. Once there was a plastic eye from a dog toy staring back at me. Once there was an Old Navy cloth tag, just sticking out of his poop (from yet another dog toy, I assume).  There was Styrofoam as well.

When the crayons started coming out, I had a brilliant idea! I took pictures of his poop! In all the colors of the rainbow!

Taste The Rainbow

Taste The Rainbow

It is my 38 year old 4-H project. Think of it as a cross between raising an animal and a melted crayon mosaic. Except these have been chewed rather than melted.

I could call it:

TASTE THE RAINBOW:
How a Dog’s Digestive System Processes Crayons
*A Photo Mosiac*

Do you think the Skittles people will mind?

R.I.P. Baby Car (2003-2014)

Bad Ass Forever

Bad Ass Forever

My 2004 Pontiac Aztek, sometimes affectionately called Baby Car, was officially put to rest today, with an odometer reading of 226,793. My Aztek was purchased on September 22, 2003 from Underwood Chevrolet Buick Pontiac Oldsmobile in Clinton, Michigan. All my miles.

I sold it to someone for a rock bottom price, as the cost of towing and repairs to get it running again will be steep.

My Aztek has served me well. It never left me on the side of the road (although once the battery did die in the insurance agency’s parking lot. But at least I was within walking distance of home.)

My Aztek once held my husband, myself, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, my dog, a wheelchair, and all the supplies my MIL was taking home from her camper for the season. It is a feat other, larger SUVs could not handle.

I loved that the rear seats could be removed completely. My Aztek was once loaded floor to ceiling with 25 years of my crap as I took it to my sister-in-law’s garage sale.

We once took a trip and camped back there, using the optional tent package. On another trip, we were able to take 2 bicycles along with us by just taking off the front tire and popping them in the back.

My Aztek hauled our belongings to our first and (so far) only house. It carried drywall to redo our ceilings. It carried our first dog, then our second dog as well. It has carried my mother and MIL to many doctor appointments and grocery stores. It hauled me to all my doctor’s appointments when I was pregnant with my son, then hauled him to his many doctor appointments for his first year, everywhere from Toledo to Ann Arbor.

Note the black duct tape on the window.  I used blue until I could no longer find it in my house.

Note the black duct tape. I used blue until I could no longer find it in my house.

The Aztek has been a wonderful car for me. Sure, things started to break off or stop lighting up in the past few years. And there was the recent issue of having to duct tape the passenger window shut. But, I rode it hard for a lot of years. (Huh-huh. That sounds dirty.) It drove a daily commute of 74 miles for most of its lifetime. Never had a tune-up, because, well, when you get to a certain point, you have to go with “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I was so proud when I reached 200,000 miles. My new goal instantly became to take it to 300,000 miles. Plus, well, it would be good for my wallet to not have a car payment for a few more years.

But, alas, it began to overheat on the 2 minute drive home from the grocery store, with all signs pointing to a blown head gasket. You have to love a car that waits till you pull in the driveway to heave its last sigh.

While I am happy that it did not go to the junk yard to rot and rust, it is almost as painful to think of someone else owning my baby.

The Aztek will never be forgotten. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

The End

The End

What I Learned This Week – 8/10/14

This week I learned that the going rate for used cars these days in Southeastern Michigan is around $10,000 for 100,000 miles.

Considering I was looking for a car with less than 100,000 miles and had no money, I found that rather disconcerting. I also wanted a car newer than 2004, and that sat high.

As many of you know, my dream has always been to own a Jeep. At the first dealership we visited, there was a Jeep! A CJ-5. That was manual. From 1975.  And not for sale. It turned out it was the salesman’s car. We still somehow scored a ride in it from him around the parking lot. He implied his virility many times by mentioning all of his numerous kids and grandkids. He also showed my husband the battery in his back for pain management (T.M.I.!).

Next we ended up test-driving an H3. I think they look better than the 4 door Jeep Wrangler. When I drove it, I felt powerful. I kept growling and making Tim Allen macho sounds. My husband liked it a lot more than I thought he would. But the sticker price was too high. And I couldn’t even imagine the cost of new tires for that thing!

The H3 that we test drove.

The H3 that we test drove.

There were lots of Ford Explorers and Escapes on the lots. I thought I might end up with one of them. I was really only interested in the Explorer for its movie cred–Ford Explorers were the vehicles in Jurassic Park. I credit that movie with starting the sales boom in SUVs in the 1990’s. If it can outrun dinosaurs, imagine what it could do in a volcano eruption or zombie attack…

So what did I end up getting?

Well, it IS a Jeep. Just not my red Wrangler that I dream of. Not yet, anyway.

It is a 2011 Jeep Patriot. It is newer with less miles than I had thought I would be able to find. A pleasant surprise.

2011 Jeep Patriot that I took home.

2011 Jeep Patriot that I took home.

It is sooo weird to have a new car after almost 11 years.

You know what you have to do when you get a new car, right? You have to take a trip with it.

My Love of Lighthouses – Part 2

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For Part 1 of this post, please visit: http://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/08/05/my-love-of-lighthouses-part-1/

Pretty standard picture you will see on postcards and mugs of Point Betsie Lighthouse.

Pretty standard picture you will see on postcards and mugs of Point Betsie Lighthouse.

After the first two excursions, my mom, and later my husband, would feed my enthusiasm for lighthouses of the Great Lakes. Whenever there was one on the way to our destination (which can happen surprisingly often when traveling in Michigan), they would let me stop. I also got a book that listed all the Michigan Lighthouses and how to reach them. This was very handy in the days before the Internet and Google.

That is how my future husband and I managed to find Point Betsie, one of the most photographed lighthouses.

I wondered how it could be the most photographed when it is not the easiest to find. We had to turn down a little unmarked road. Where we turned, we could not even see that Lake Michigan was ahead of us. Point Betsie was still active and run by the Coast Guard when we visited in 1998. This meant there were no signs screaming “Hey, must see tourism attraction here!”, because the Coast Guard didn’t want any. The road ended at the lake, where a make-shift sand parking lot had been created from all the lighthouse buffs driving over and killing the sea grass.

Once again, I desperately wanted to go inside. But there were signs posted all over stating “Coast Guard Property. No Trespassing.” It made it more difficult to bear by the fact that Coast Guard employees seemed to be living in the keeper’s house and coming and going.  How great would it be to LIVE in a lighthouse!  (Nowadays I mean, where the work is minimal.  I wouldn’t have wanted to schlep oil up and down the stairs on a cold Michigan night.)

My future husband knew this was killing me. He knew I would never disobey the signs. Not on my own, anyway. So, he went over to the lighthouse first. He stood by the tower. I took pictures of him. He kept egging me on until I stood by the tower so that he could take my picture. All the pictures you ever see of Point Betsie (postcards, calendars, mugs, etc.) are from the south side. But I have some from the north side, that totally prove my guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. But it was so much fun!

The naughty, totally trespassing side of Point Betsie.

The naughty, totally trespassing side of Point Betsie.

And Point Betsie really is a beautiful lighthouse. But I still think Marblehead is more picturesque.

My husband so let me indulge in my lighthouse obsession that I turned our honeymoon into a lighthouse tour of Michigan. Not only did I make him stop at every other lighthouse (and even a few range lights) on the way to the Upper Penninsula, but we actually spent three nights at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse, which was one of only two lighthouses in Michigan at the time that served as a bed and breakfast.

Big Bay Point Lighthouse, Big Bay, Michigan.  My husband and I stayed on the second floor, in the window on the left in this pic.

Big Bay Point Lighthouse, Big Bay, Michigan. My husband and I stayed on the second floor, in the window on the left in this pic.

It was awesome!

It still an actual working beacon maintained by the Coast Guard. But you can crawl all over the tower and lamp room. The first night my husband got to see the Aurora Borealis from the tower. I stayed in our room because I was too exhausted to climb all those steps and the tiny rung ladder again.

To this day, I still have not seen the aurora borealis :(

From the front.  Most publicity pics are from the side.

Big Bay from the front. Most publicity pics are from the side.

It was so cool to know that a working lighthouse was beaming out across Lake Superior as we slept. The second night, it was too foggy to see much at night. The third night, we could almost make out the surrounding lighthouses flashes in the night. One night we sat in the parlor/library with some of the other guests. My husband drank coffee, I had hot cider. While other people took normal books off the shelf to browse, I selected the giant white binder on lighthouse preservation. The whole first half of the book was about how to stabilize your structure and prevent further damage from the elements and vandals while you tried to get funding to restore it.  I felt like I had found secret insider information that I was not meant to see as a paying guest.

During our stay, my husband and I also got a couple’s massage in a screened hut on the edge of Lake Superior. The waves crashed below us against the cliff. It was awesome.

I could go on and on about lighthouses. I would love to make a whole page of my blog be photos of lighthouses I have been to. But that would probably eat up too much storage space. But that doesn’t mean I still won’t do it someday.

Looking at the book I have, Michigan Lighthouses by Penrose, published in 1996, it strikes me how the authors are lamenting over structures that have been ignored for decades and are about to crumble when the next seagull perches. But, interest in lighthouses has only increased. The cries of the Penrose family, and others, has indeed raised awareness in recent years.

When my husband and I stayed in Big Bay Point Lighthouse, it was a rare opportunity. Nowadays, it is becoming common. I mentioned that when I visited Point Betsie, it was a Coast Guard residence. Now you can rent the whole place out for yourself. The keepers house for the Charity Island light was literally being ripped apart piece by piece for firewood by campers. It has since been rebuilt and is also a rental.  There are more towers open to the public to climb as well.

To the best of my recollection, this is a list of the lighthouses that I have seen firsthand:

LAKE ERIE
Marblehead Lighthouse*
Old Port Clinton
Turtle Island
South Bass Island

LAKE HURON
Tawas Point
Old Presque Isle*
New Presque Isle*
Presque Isle Front Range
Forty Mile Point
Cheboygan Crib
Bois Blanc Island
Round Island
Round Island Passage
Old Mackinac Point*

LAKE SUPERIOR
Whitefish Point Light and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
End of the Road Front Range
End of the Road Rear Range
Munising Rear Range
Munising Front Range
Marquette Harbor Light
Presque Isle Harbor (Marquette)
Point Iroquois**
Big Bay Point*

LAKE MICHIGAN
St. Helena Island
Old Mission Point
Grand Traverse*
Charlevoix South Pier
Manning Memorial
Point Betsie
Frankfort Breakwater
Ludington North Pierhead
Holland Harbor
Manitowac

LAKE WINNEBAGO
Fond du Lac*

ATLANTIC OCEAN
2nd Cape Henry
1st Cape Henry

* Tower climbed.
** Tower climbed while I was pregnant. That should totally mean extra bonus points.

My Love of Lighthouses – Part 1

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Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Presque Isle, Michigan

Me at Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Presque Isle, Michigan.  See how excited I am!?

I had never given much thought to lighthouses. I had never seen one, and had no desire to.

Then when I was eight my mom took us on a trip Up North (that is how people from southern Michigan refer to any point north of Grayling). Our destinations included Mackinaw City, Sault Ste. Marie, and Tahquamenon Falls. But we also were stopping anywhere along the way that caught our eye. We were heading north at a leisurely pace on US 23, which hugs the Lake Huron shoreline.

We had just passed through Alpena (a town whose name still makes me giggle) and were headed up to Rogers City. (How nice. Roger has a whole city all to himself.) On the way, we saw an old, weather-beaten billboard alongside the road that boasted tours of a real lighthouse. We made the quick decision to check it out.

We drove on a tiny winding road through the woods for what seemed like forever. Every turn did not bring us to a great lake or tall light, only more trees. It felt we were in an episode of Scooby Doo. I expected a green monster in ratty clothes to step out of the thick woods in front of us at any minute. Except we were not in a multi-color van, but a silver Chevrolet Chevette 2 door hatchback. If we had hit one of those monsters, it would have destroyed our tiny car.

The Creeper from Scooby-Doo

The Creeper from Scooby-Doo

There were a few turns that were not well marked, but we must have gone the right way because we eventually came to a parking lot. Instead of yellow lines marking out the spaces, there were trees between the cars. You had to park just right, so that you could still get your doors open. The cool day must have warmed by that point, because I changed out of my jeans and into my shorts while we were still in the car. There were other cars there, but no people at the moment. My mom acted as a look-out. We were still under the dark cloak of the forest. But the sun could be seen to the south of us.

We walked toward the light. We found ourselves in a big grassy clearing, with Lake Huron stretching out to the east. Between us and the great lake, lay a brick house painted white. Next to it, a white stone tower. That would be the first time I would ever lay eyes on a lighthouse.

Inside there was an elderly man and woman who seemed to be running the show. They had a few souvenirs for purchase, and collected any money required to go up into the tower, details that I cannot remember. The man was also giving out rocks from the beach. He stamped them all so that they said “Old Presque Isle Lighthouse”. The rocks were free. I found him a little scary at the time. I grew up with very few males in my life. Even though he looked old and grizzled, he kindly showed me where my rock had a tiny fossil on the corner (If rocks can have corners).

Then I went up in the tower. It was a relatively short lighthouse, standing only 30 feet tall, but one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. And it was plenty tall enough for the view to be impressive to an eight year old.

View in the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, return visit 2003.

View in the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, return visit 2003.

While not a big fan of history, from that day on I was hooked on lighthouses. I wanted to see all of them that I could, but I also wanted to climb as many as I could. I didn’t even know at that time that I could do better than that.

Only after we got back home, did we discover there was an even taller New Presque Isle Lighthouse just a mile down the road. Although I would take many more trips Up North, it would take me almost 20 years to get back and climb the 113 foot tower of New Presque Isle Lighthouse, tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes that can be climbed by the public.

In the years since, I found out that the elderly gentleman, George Parris died in 1991, and is said to haunt the Old Presque Isle lighthouse. I saw the story on a PBS special. It is kind of cool to have met someone who is now a ghost. Maybe I was on to something with my earlier Scooby Doo analogy.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead, Ohio

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead, Ohio.  The most beautiful lighthouse I have ever laid eyes on.

My mom and I also went with my grandma to Marblehead, Ohio to see the lighthouse there. Marblehead Lighthouse looks the most like the idyllic lighthouse you will ever see. When you are in a souvenir shop and see light switch covers or hand towels with a generic lighthouse on them, I guarantee you that they will bear some resemblance to Marblehead. It has very classic dimensions. It is a white tower, with green doors and a red roof and railing. It is is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes.

Photo of Marblehead Lighthouse from 1885.  Later, they would add another 10 feet to its height.

Photo of Marblehead Lighthouse from 1885. Later, they would add another 10 feet to its height.

It was a very dreary day when we visited. The sky was the same gray as the sheets of marble that the lighthouse rests on. I enjoyed climbing on the uneven stone. It really frustrated me that the lighthouse was unmanned and locked up. I was like a reverse Rupunzel. I desperately wanted to get INSIDE the tower. But it would be years later before the State of Ohio would realize its full tourism potential and started offering visitors a chance to go inside of it.

Return visit to Marblehead, 2002

Return visit to Marblehead, 2002

It turns out my lighthouse memories are very long-winded. For more stories on the lights of the Great Lakes and a complete list of lighthouses that I have personally visited, come back by on Thursday.

How Living With A Pointer Is Like Living With A 2 Year Old

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I present, the POINTER

I present, the POINTER

1. You do things for “their own good”, but they cannot comprehend that.

2. They cover their eyes when you turn on a light while they are sleeping.

3. They snore.

4. They pee on the floor if not wearing a diaper.

5. They have selective hearing, and sometimes choose to ignore you.

6. They have no regard for their personal safety.

I present, the toddler

I present, the toddler

7. Don’t understand how lucky they are to be alive.

8. Both don’t realize that whining about something only makes you angrier and makes you want to withhold the desired item more.

9. Both will be entertained by walking through my bathroom with the two doors while I am using it. Over and over again.

10. Both respond to treats.

11. Both have NO patience.

Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime

Has my 2004 Pontiac Aztek reached the end of the road?

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My Aztek

My Aztek

Tuesday morning I drove my car to work. Tuesday evening I stopped off at the grocery store before I came home.

When I started my car at the store, it started rough. I gave it a “What the hell.” I looked at the temperature gauge, and it was all the way at “Hot”, which never happens. I only had 2 minutes to go down the road to head home. In that time, the fan came on and the needle went lower down. When the fan turned off, it would pop back up to “Hot” again. The car was still running rough, which I would later learn is due to that it automatically reduces how many cylinders it is running on when gets too hot.

My husband and I checked the coolant. There was very little in it, and it was way gross looking, so we took his car to Walmart and bought some more coolant. When we got home, he headed out to add it to the car. It was very low. He added it straight to the radiator, and then the reservoir. By this time it was getting dark, but he started it and drove it around the block anyway. He said that the temperature gauge headed right back up to “Hot”, and it was, quote, “douching white smoke out the tailpipe.”

I haven’t had a professional look at it, because I am afraid it may overheat before I get there and get stuck. I don’t really want to pay the price of a tow if I don’t have to, as now the car sits in my own driveway.

Maybe Dave could help...

Maybe Dave could help…

And, I have little hope of reviving Baby Car from the dead. It still starts and runs. But the most likely internal coolant leak, rim of milkiness inside the oil cap, overheating, and white smoke from the tail pipe all lead me to believe that I have a bad head gasket. At over 10 years and 226,000 miles, I don’t think anyone would be surprised by this. I have talked to my pseudo dad, Mr. Goodwrench, on the phone about this twice. His questions and advice kind of lead me to the same conclusion. I tried researching on the Car Talk website, but that just sort of overwhelmed me with information.

I am wondering at this point if my husband might want to do a compression test on it. I also read where I could try adding sodium silicate to the coolant to seal the leak. But this would require changing the oil and filter and flushing the coolant system. All things that my husband would have to do. I don’t see where throwing money at it with professional labor would be of much benefit to me. At this point, if it can’t be fixed, the only monetary value of my car would be for a push/pull trade-in offer.

Baby Car has been a good car. I will compose a full obituary and post at a future date.

Believe it or not, I actually had other events going on this week that were stressing me out even worse than an end to my car that I have probably spent around 6,000 hours of my life bonding with. I can’t even let myself begin to think about my uncertain transportation future. I would just curl up in a ball on the floor and never get up.

Even if we do find a short-term fix, I don’t think it will see 300,000 miles, which was the new goal after I hit 200,000 miles.

Foto Phriday: What is wrong with this picture?

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Now, look at this picture, circa 1984. What looks out of place to you?

What looks unusual?

What looks wrong?

DINOSAUR-eats girl

If you said the dinosaur, you are incorrect. This picture was taken at Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo in Ossineke, Michigan. So, well, there were dinosaurs roaming all over that place. The brontosaurus in the picture happened to be drooling on me. But he obviously didn’t eat me, because I am still here.

No, what is wrong with this picture is that I am WEARING a DRESS.

And on vacation? What the f was I thinking?

I didn’t even wear a dress to my own wedding

The Movie The Terminator Is Actually A Love Story

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No, I have NOT lost my mind. Yet.

It took me a long time to realize this, what with the evil robots, dystopian future, car chases, and death—things I do not normally look for in a movie choice. But I found myself watching The Terminator over and over again.

One day I realized that the scenes that hit me the hardest were the ones between Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese.

Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) is young and innocent. She is put into danger. Emotionally damaged (and hot) Sergeant Tech-Com Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) shows up from the future to rescue her. He is like a knight in shining armor. Except, of course, he showed up naked in a ball of energy, then stole a homeless guy’s pants. Details, details.

Reese saving Sarah Connor in Terminator

Reese saving Sarah Connor in The Terminator

Most of the movie, she only refers to him by his last name. The first time she spots Reese, she fears he might be a killer, so she quickly escapes away from him to a public place. The next time she sees Reese, he is loading up the future governor of California with bullets. As she runs screaming from the building, Reese pulls up in a car in front of her and screams one of the most romantic lines in the movie:

“Come with me if you want to live!”

You can say a lot of things about James Cameron, but you can’t doubt this this franchise is highly quotable. This line is used in most of the following movies, and is sometimes used in other pop culture references as well.

Kyle is crazy protective of Sarah. Sure, it’s his job. But then we see him in the future, back from a dangerous mission, sweaty and dirty, studying her face in a worn picture. He longs for her, just by looking at her picture. Cut to him gently brushing the hair off her face as she sleeps with her head in his lap. (I bet he is rocking a bad case of morning wood.) When they get up to leave, he gives Sarah his coat. Always hot.

Reese (Michael Biehn) in The Terminator

Reese (Michael Biehn) in The Terminator

Later, when danger takes a break for them to hold up in a sleazy hotel room together, Sarah asks Reese if he has a girlfriend in the future. He admits that he has never been with a woman. From what he has already told her about the future, she knows it is not a place where love is treasured, only survival. Reese tells Sarah about the picture. He says:

“You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have.”

Panties melting.

He STALKED her through time!

We find out at the end of the movie that in the picture, she was thinking about him, and their one night of [unprotected] love-making together.

Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) in Terminator

Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) in The Terminator

It is touching later when Sarah has to yell at a badly wounded Reese using terminology from his world to get him moving out of the path of the now nakid Terminator.

“On your feet, soldier!”

It is heartbreaking when he parishes trying to save her. Now we know. She was not just a military mission, but a mission of the heart.

[Did that make you throw up in your mouth a little? Good. Am I getting my point across?]

Terminator 2 has no romance at all. It is all action and scary melting cops. I don’t like that one and almost never watch it.

Terminator 3 I think of as romantic, but I don’t think that it actually is. I think I just like Nick Stahl and Clair Danes in it, but they don’t really have much chemistry. I like Claire Danes in My So-Called Life, but I don’t think she was the right person to cast opposite Nick Stahl. Her strength of personality overpowers his wounded rebellion against his future.

T3 sets it up, that John Conner (Stahl) and Kate Brewster (Danes) once made out at a party together, and she has never quite gotten over it. Her father is a general in the Air Force, who has first hand access to Skynet, a dangerous factor leading to Judgement Day. That is how the script reads, but most of the time on screen she is giving John the unfriendly stink face. Imagine her surprise when John shows up in the vet clinic where she works. Kate locks him in a cage. This makes for one of the cutest Nick Stahl scenes ever. I love the scene where Kate looks down on John in the dog kennel.

Conner in a cage

Conner in a cage

Stahl has mastered the wounded look. That is what made him so good as a child in “The Man Without A Face.” He just looks so pathetic (-ally hot) trapped in that cage. Maybe they hired him so that his wounded look would remind us of his father, Reese. The difference is that I believe Reese could be a kick-butt soldier when he needed to be. I don’t really believe that Stahl’s John Conner could ever lead a revolt. But, I like him in this movie well enough. I have read that Shane West was up for the role.  After my recent Nikita-fest, I have to say that maybe he would have been better.  No matter, there needs to be more sex in this movie.

I realize that almost no one saw Terminator 3. But I saw it in the theater. Twice. And for not having James Cameron involved with it, it had kick ass action sequences. The best one is between Arnold’s outdated Terminator in a firetruck, and the slutty T-X in a mobile crane. And I don’t just mean it is the best action sequence in T3, or all the Terminators. I think it is the best action sequence of any movie ever. (Transformers? Lord of the Rings? There is so much happening at once that I have to look away from those movies, or I will not get a headache. And, well, I don’t really care about any of those characters.)

Terminator: Salvation was just ick. All action, and no character development. It is how Terminator will be when they reboot it someday. Or maybe that is what this movie was supposed to be. I can’t even tell. That is how bad it is. And I don’t like Christian Bale. In anything. Not even Newsies or Swing Kids (although both of them are decent movies).

I liked how in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, they gave Kyle Reese a brother, Derek. It made me feel better, that Kyle was not all alone in the horrible, nasty future being chased by robots. He had a brother’s support, someone to lean on. I liked that the brother was played by Brian Austin Green. I was very happy that he had gotten much hotter in the years since Beverly Hills 90210.

Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese

Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese

Kyle Reese is a bad-ass soldier, but he isn’t all muscled up like a football player. That is the villain. I like that Reese is vulnerable. Cameron shows us Reese’s past scars the first time he appears on camera. Each time he is hit or shot, it weakens him more. Not only do we see that he is physically vulnerable, but then we learn that his heart is vulnerable as well. This is true toward Sarah, but also when he talks about fighting alongside John Conner, John’s trust, his strength. We get the idea that Reese loved him like a brother. When really, well, John was Reese’s son. And John Conner would have always known that.  It is too bad that Reese would never know John as his son.

I have seen mentioned where they are making a 5th Terminator movie. I peeked at the cast. Kyle will not longer be vulnerable everyman. He will be Mr. Muscles Macho Man. Sigh. Where can a girl watch a nice wimpy guy get it on in a movie anymore these days? My demographic is under-serviced.

A Terminator movie today is just not as impressive as it was in 1984, or even 1991. The Terminator was one of the first moves to introduce us to this idea of the computers as our enemies. The effects were cutting edge for their time. Now, giant CG machines are trying to save us or kill us or both every week in the theaters. I think the only way anyone could stand to attempt to recapture the magic of the original story is to make the humans and their love story just as important as the machines again.

That is how I would do it, anyway.

What I Learned This Week – 7/13/14 (Summer Festival Edition)

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This week I learned that every now and then it is good for my family to have a day outside in the fresh air spent with one another. I can remember only one disagreement, but that is just because we were hungry and thirsty.

I present pictures from the 2014 River Raisin Festival in Blissfield, Michigan. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood on the second weekend in July, stop on by.

What is M watching so intently?

What is M watching so intently?

A giant tortoise, that's what!

A giant tortoise, that’s what!

Trying to master the sack race.  He is winning because he is the only one racing.

Trying to master the sack race. He is winning because he is the only one racing.

A pony ride always brings a smile to my boy's face.

A pony ride always brings a smile to my boy’s face.

Getting dark.  Fireworks begin.

Getting dark. Fireworks begin.

Boy, this girl sure is cute.  Maybe I should scoot just a little closer to her.  Closer...

“Boy, this girl sure is cute. Maybe I should scoot just a little closer to her. Closer…”

She fell for my cuteness.

“She fell for my cuteness.”

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