Take My Advice. Or Not.

Before

Posted by M. K. (Kathy) Waller

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If you read the October 15th post on my personal blog, you know my husband’s video “Invisible Men Invade Earth” won 1st place ~ Judges’ Pick at the What the Fest (hosted by Weresquirrel and Pocket Sandwich Theatre) in Dallas Saturday night. What only my husband and I know is that I had a panic attack, or maybe just a little panic, when I realized I’d missed my October 14th post deadline for Writing Wranglers and Warriors.

I had it all worked out that the 14th was the next Tuesday, but it was really yesterday, Saturday, and I’d missed it completely, and blah blah blah. How would I ever make it up because the October 15th person had already posted, and I couldn’t post after that one, and more blah blah blah.

1st place certificate. The white stuff is popcorn thrown at Mr. Hyde in the play that took place minutes before What the Fest started.

At some point, a little spark of sanity flew by: to make certain of the date, I could look on the schedule I always save to my hard drive. But no, I had my Chromebook with me, and I’m lax about moving documents from my laptop to the Google Drive. So I couldn’t look there.

But it would be on Facebook. Somewhere.

I don’t know how I found it–I’m not great at finding things on Facebook–but I did, and lo and behold, my day to post was Tuesday. The 17th. Not the 14th. Well, sometime in the past I posted on the 14th of something. Anyway, peace of mind ensued.

Then, this afternoon, I said to my husband, “Oh, dear, I have a blog post due tomorrow [October 17, not October 14]. I must get on that.”

Map, Interstate 35 in red. Released by Nick Nolte (Own Work) to the public domain. Via Wikipedia.

A minute ago, 9:03 p.m., when my sensible and no doubt tired–those festivals take a lot out of you–husband started up the stairs to bed, I said, “Remember that post I mentioned this afternoon? The one due tomorrow? Well…” I said I wouldn’t write too many more words, but I always write too many words, because it takes me a while to get past the introduction.

A student once remarked, “It seems like the trick to writing an essay is to start with a paragraph about something you’re not going to write about.” I agreed with him. I’d always thought it but had never mentioned it to students because I was afraid they would tell another English teacher I’d said it. It’s not something you find in the textbooks.

Much of what you need to know isn’t found in textbooks, but I didn’t say that either.

(Many of the things you do need to know are in the literature, math, biology, and foreign language texts. You need history, but most history texts are soporific, and I wouldn’t wish one on anybody. And forget about geography. I worked hard stuffing it into my head, and did fine on tests, and even took a class as an elective in college because I was feeling especially Victorian that day and decided it would be good for me, but I still don’t know where or in what direction anything is. Forget about home ec.)

Okay. Thus endeth my introduction, about what I’m not going to write about.

I still don’t know what I’m going to write about. I’ll just give some advice.

  • Don’t go to the Cheesecake Factory at 6:00 p.m., after the only things you’ve eaten all day are a bowl of Rice Krispies and a Coke, because you’ll eat half of your Fettuccine Alfredo and not want anything more, but will order cheesecake anyway, because after all, you’re in the Cheesecake Factory, and you don’t run across cheesecake every day, and the piece will be about three times as large as the normal serving of cheesecake, and even though you don’t want it, you’ll eat it anyway, because it’s cheesecake.
  • English: Several cheesecakes in a display case...
    English: Several cheesecakes in a display case at The Cheesecake Factory in Naples, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Released by Zchangu to the public domain.
  • And don’t go to a film festival that begins at 11:15 at night, when, not long before that, you dined at the Cheesecake Factory, and you didn’t take a nap between, and possibly if you did take a nap, when you’re scheduled to depart for the theatre at 10:00 p.m., you’ll be muy miserable, and your spouse will say something like, We don’t have to go to the festival, we can just spend the night and go home tomorrow, and you’ll say, Nonononono, and then, something like, I didn’t drive all the way from Austin to Dallas [the most boring drive in the world] just to turn around and go back home we are going to that festival.
  • English: Salsa
    English: Salsa (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Released by Miansari66 to the public domain.
  • And then don’t sit down at a table in the (sort of dinner) theatre, because your spouse will say, “I’m going to order pizza. Do you want some?” and you’ll hold your tongue and say, simply, “No, thank you,” and allow him to order you chips and salsa, and you’ll eat little, tiny pieces of chips, slowly, and you’ll want to just want to lie down and be left alone, but, because your days and nights are mixed up already due to your always staying up till the wee hours, you will suddenly come alive and feel ever so good, and will have a grand old time. And eat several great big chips.
  • And when you get back to the hotel, ecstatic your spouse’s video won first place and got all kinds of compliments from the judges [has a purity, comes from a place of love, we watched it over and over, I showed it to the women in my office…] you’ll start a blog post right then and there, and that will take some time, and putting in the pictures will take forever, because your spouse will have to get them off his camera (you forgot to bring yours) and send them to you, and then you’ll have to be polite while he shows you how to get them from your email to the Google Drive because you did put them on the Google Drive but now can’t find them, and you’ll want to slam the Chromebook to the floor, and the mouse will decide it wants to work only half of the time, and the touch pad will quit working entirely, and your spouse will say the Chromebook is old, and, also, one time he had to stick the back back on, and you’ll say you don’t remember that, and he’ll say he doesn’t remember when or how came off either, but he
    DSCF1426
    The dragon in the foyer of Pocket Sandwich Theatre, Dallas.

    remembers seeing a lot of circuit boards, or something, and you’ll struggle with getting the photos into the blog, as usual, and the best one will be a picture of the head of the dragon carved out of wood in the theatre foyer, which is the pits, and you won’t get to bed till 5:00 a.m., but you’ll have to get up and out of the room by noon, and somehow when you wake up, the cheesecake feeling will be back, and you’ll have to make that boring drive to Austin with all the UT-Austin fans who are either sad or mad that Oklahoma won, and you couldn’t care less, but you’ll be almost as sad and mad as they are.

Texas longhorn cow
Texas longhorn cow (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Released by Steve Parrett to the public domain.

 

So there’s my advice. If you take it, you’ll have a good time.

If you don’t take it, you’ll have a better one.

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The Longhorn in the picture above is a cow. The mascot of the University of Texas – Austin is a steer. For the purposes of this post, a cow is close enough. That’s blasphemy to some, but they’ll get over it.

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My stories appear in two anthologies, Day of the Dark and Murder on Wheels, and on Mysterical-E. Another story will appear in Austin Mystery Writers’ second anthology, Longhorn Lawless, to be published by Wildside Press. I blog at Telling the Truth, Mainly. I’ve begun writing under the name M. K. Waller lest I be confused with the CFO of Coca~Cola.

Keeping Austin, and the Universe, Weird

MOW BOOK LAUNCH 003 (3)

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posted by Kathy Waller

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When I met him at a Saturday morning writing practice group at Austin’s Mother’s Cafe, I thought David Davis was a great writer of the impromptu essay.

David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW
David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW

Give David ten minutes and he’ll create a masterpiece of eccentricity complete with–I don’t know how he does it–beginning, middle, and end. Thousand Island dressing, Monica Lewinsky, elephants that jump through burning hoops–his topics range from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again. When he reads his compositions aloud, people at nearby tables suspend forks and coffee cups in midair and stare at the group sitting at the table in the corner, shrieking with laughter.

Eighteen years later, David still amuses audiences, but he’s doing it in new ways.

Now David accompanies words with action. He makes short-short sci-fi videos and flings them out to the universe. And the universe answers.

rosewell street light img_1697His “Invisible Men Invade Earth” was screened at both the Boomtown Film & Music Festival (Beaumont, Texas) and Roswell, New Mexico’s CosmicCon in 2012. “Invisible Men” was a big hit thanks to the totally unscripted appearance of cats William and Ernest.

(The bagged-up books were leaning against the wall preparatory to being donated to the public library’s Recycled Reads bookstore. The flash drive William is batting around later turned up under the refrigerator.)

Last year, “Alike and Different” and “Reverse Effects” were screened in the Austin Fantastic Fest’s Shorts With Legs DSCN1273category.  According to Fantastic Fest’s website, Shorts with Leg were “the strangest and most compelling eccentric short films we’ve seen all year, from polished excursions into existential surrealism to enthusiastic reveries of outsider art madness.”

The iDigital Times called David’s videos “perhaps the strangest shorts in this very strange collection.”

(“Alike and Different” also aired at the Conway, Arkansas Film Festival. If the pink spaceship resembles a vegetable steamer, there’s a reason for that. I won’t go into it here.)

https://vimeo.com/118180921

 

David’s latest venture is Alien Resort, “a favorite vacation spot known throughout the universe.” Cartoons appear on Facebook  (under Travel/Leisure) and on the Alien Resort blog.

In December, one of his cartoons made it into the Austin American-Statesman. Humor columnist John Kelso wrote, “If keeping it weird is an Austin prerequisite, then David Davis’ Christmas card has to be the grand champ in this year’s Funny Christmas Card Contest.”

© David Davis
© David Davis

You’ve got two aliens with green faces, chatting up the holiday season. No manger, no reindeer and no stinkin’ elves. Just men from the Planet Zarcon or, perhaps, Manor. Who knows?

“On Earth, he goes by the name Santa Claus,” one alien says. “How much of that night does he spend on each planet?” the other alien asks.

The alien on the left is a Photoshopped version of Davis, a South Austin writer and videographer who created the card and is into all things spacey.

 

For the record, keeping it weird is Austin’s national pastime. And John Kelso is one of the pastime’s most popular and dedicated cheerleaders.

What’s next for David? In July, “Alike and Different” goes to the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase. Alien Resort continues to attract visitors. And David Davis keeps on keeping on as “The Eccentric Director Behind The Weirdest Festival Entries In Austin.”

And, as far as we know, everywhere else in the universe.

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MOW cover - amazon pix

Kathy Waller blogs at Kathy Waller: Telling the Truth, Mainly and at Austin Mystery Writers. Her short stories appear at Mysterical-E and in Austin Mystery Writers’ crime fiction anthology, Murder on Wheels (Wildside, 2015). AKA Mrs. David Davis, she gets to go to a lot of film festivals.