Vulcan’s Peak

Tales

July 25, 2004 9:41 pm

Went to see Camelot at the formerly community college last night with my family, and quite enjoyed it! (It also gave me an opportunity to wear a gorgeous bracelet I recieved for my birthday.    :o)    ) It took me a bit to warm up to the actors, but I liked them more and more as it went on. Camelot isn’t Elf’s story, but it is mine. Has been for a long time and probably always will be, though I can certainly understand her desire to soundly slap some sense into Arthur, Gwen, and Lance. I was rather disappointed in their Merlin, who was entirely unconvincing, but (a) He doesn’t stick around long and (b) I’m a little sensative here anyway – I’m something of a Merlin fan. Oddly, they chopped out two songs after they printed the programs: “Then You May Take Me to the Fair” (a favorite of mine) and “Fie on Goodness”. But of course, it was plenty long enough as it was. I don’t think there’s such thing as a short musical.

I was amused to recognize Guenevere – the actress graduated from Niceville HS the same year we graduated from CHS, and I remember seeing her at All County and All State Choruses with me from 8th grade on or so. We were never really acquainted, but a familiar face and name. She did a lovely job.

Unfortunately, they were having some sound probablems – the actors’ microphones would blip off now and then. And more unfortunately, there was an old battle axe (Dad’s phrase, he was next to her) two seats away from me. She kept up a running commentary, and then at the end of the first act, she had the ever-loving gall to comment to her husband that she had just been dozing off the whole first act, never seen anything so boring in her life. After all she had seen this when Robert Goulet played Lancelot! (This would be the original Broadway production, circa 1960.) If it had been me sitting next to her, I’d’ve had some choice things to say to her, believe me. Ah well.

Following is the beginning of my travel journal from this month. It rambles a bit, so read at your own risk.

7/10/04 9:05pm
Hotel in Kilgore, TX. A relatively cheap Day’s Inn this time, though the shower pressure is good – and I think that’s perhaps the most important thing for a hotel room anyway. The tp is a cheaop brand, of course – the kind that is second-cousin to sandpaper and is only soft in comparison to a porcupine. The brand, however is “Eversoft.” But was this stuff every soft? 😉

7/12 7:30am Denton, TX
Spent the day visiting my dad’s uncle and his family, being introduced to all sorts of never-before-met relatives. Interesting people, mostly. One teenager a little younger than us is considered as good as a stand-up comedian by his family. I thought he was just annoying. But then, his father was a bit that way, too, and his mother kept referring to a favorite reality show. Please.

7/12 10:40pm
Hotel in Pecos, TX. The boys can’t imagine why anyone would want to live here – lots of dust, few trees, lots of sky. Dinner at Pizza Hut – an old one with obnoxious snippets of tune from video games. “There’s no limit to what you can win!” etc. at regular intervals. Came back and took a dip in the pool – 2.5 feet deep to 4 feet deep is all, and small. Ben and I fit comfortably – adding Graham and Dad was almost too full!

7/13 10pm
Hotel in Carlsbad, NM.
Spent the morning in Pecos’ historical musem. Found to Mother’s dismay that taxidermy – especially large moose heads – still bothers me. Especially because most of these are old and decaying – eerie. It looses the almost alive and staring down and you look and gains an aura of dead and come back to haunt you. Ran across a great list of rules, though – “Far West Stage Line Notice to Passengers.” Featured such gems as “Abstinance from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle.” Bought a copy in the gift shop! Also, lots of arrowheads , pieces of mastodon tusk, old wedding photos (c. 1850) featuring twin brides with twin deer-in-the-headlights looks, and an old record of poll taxes. (Yup, we’re still in that part of the country….) And then there was this very random poster of parachutist’s emblems from around the world – in German… A very motley collection!!

Passed the New Mexico state line and the land almost immediately started rolling – West Texas was so flat (and this coming from a Floridian). Carlsbad Caverns in the afternoon – yay elevation!!! (And no humidity makes a HUGE difference. Days are still scorchers, but early morning and evenings are gorgeously cool.) Ben wasn’t too pleased with going up the mountain – even just the foothills of the Guadelupe Mountains where the caverns are. Pulled a tailgate party for lunch before descending. Went down the natural entrance – a manmade trail with many many switchbacks to pad the sheer drop into the caverns that nature provided. Absolutely breathtaking! Guided tour – and the guide was quite the actress, great fun – through a section of the caves called the King’s Palace, where you aren’t allowed to go on your own. Then we wandered by ourselves around a section called the Big Room. It’s really quite a set up. They have a concession stand, gift shop, and restrooms all the way down there (near the elevator), which is all very odd!!

Went back up via elevator – with just time to go through the main gift shop and grab dinner at their surface restaurant before the whold visitor’s center closed. Then we went back out to the cave entrance. They’ve built an amphitheater in the mountainside facing the cave entrance – only no stage because the action comes out the cave mouth. Everyone assembled to see the BATS around 7:15 and a couple of rangers talked some before the bats emerged at 5 or 10 till 8pm. Soooo cool! Not at all what I expected, though. Didn’t come straight out at all, but came out and circled in a cyclone shape before flying off to out right. Long stream of them, disappearing off into the distance. Kept coming for 30 – 45 minutes!! At the end they were starting to fly over us. Absolutely amazing creatures. Would have loved to hold one to examine it, but of course no chance of that here!!

7/16 4:30pm
Albuquerque!
Wed. am – a gem of a littl zoo in Carlsbad, specific to local desert animals and plants. Lovely little place and it was early enough that many animals were active. Needed to see the roadrunner twice!!

Then drove on to Las Cruces and went to see Grandpa Krider. Yard has naturally deteriorated in 11 years due to divorce and health problems, but not as bad as he would have you believe, just wild. His house is a veritable nest of books, papers, dust, etc., very bad on my nose. Between pipes, pets, and dust, I always have had a bad time of it at his house. These days, the pipe is long gone and I am better about dogs (Buster was mostly outside and very shy, anyway), but I think dust has gotten worse. Anyway. He’s the same as ever, only 11 years older, as we all are. Seems to be holding up okay, thanks to modern medicine. I am inadvertantly reminded that things that killed some of my great-grandparents (etc.) – eg. heart aneurysms – have been successfully weathered by my grandparents and their siblings. Very encouraging, especially since many (most?) of these people didn’t take very good care of themselves – smoking, diet, etc. End tangent.

That evening we lived through our worst dinner out ever. Incompetent waitresses who couldn’t even remember that you’d asked for salt or tea sweetener (nope, these basics weren’t out on the table to begin with), and didn’t offer refills. Meat cooked wrong or badly (burned or rare were not what we ordered). Wrong order entirely served to Dad. The waitresses seemed young and inept and harrassed by a large party across from us. Long wait for food. Really, the only thing that could have made it worse is if they’d slipped me cheese or something, but thankfully, that didn’t happen. By the end, we were laughing ruefully, but that didn’t save the waitress’s tip.

Thurs. am – the white sands of White Sands National Monument. Absolutely amazing. Think Destin dunes, pre-Opal, stuck in the middle of New Mexico, with desert plants growing on them. They’re made of very fine white sand – gypsum. Interesting geology. We trekked around a little, though it was too hot and too bright to do a full trail without major sunscreen, hats, etc, and we didn’t feel like being greasy with sunscreen all day. Would have been lovely in the evening. Or in October.

pm – the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamagordo. Neat place.

Briefly back to Grandpa’s before dinner at an Applebee’s in Las Cruces which more than made up for Cattleman’s Steakhouse the previous night. Wonderful, personable waitress who was very good to me – turned out her sister can’t have milk either (or couldn’t as a young child or something). Great food – neither beef nor peanut butter for the first time in several days – a lovely chicken dish.

Back to Grandpa’s in the evening for a nice cool walk in the desert. Land around his place is largely undeveloped. Nice walk, then came back to chat. Got into his books, perhaps a mistake because of the massive amounts of dust, but as a bookworm, I couldn’t resist. Mother finally sent me outside.

This morning, Friday, we saw Grandpa one more time – looked through an album he’d dug out (pictures of his that his second wife had organized). It spans 80 years or so, if sporadically. We stayed mostly outside, much better for me.

Went to a museum at White Sands Missile Range. It’s just inside the AF base, so we had to play the yes, we really are who we say we are games, but of course they let tourists in to see the museum, so they were reasonable. Missiles are in general not my favorite thing, but Dad and Graham liked it. Amusingly, they have an original Darth Vader helmet, sent to them by the sound engineers for Star Wars – a thank-you for letting them collect sounds there! Pretty cool, though the story is neater than the actual artifact…it ain’t nothin’ you haven’t seen before.

Then we hit the road for ABQ! We’ve been listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban read aloud – my cousin gave these CD’s of books 3, 4, and 5 to the boys for Christmas. Of course, it takes an ungodly number of CD’s. Book 3 has 10 discs; book 5 takes up 25. They could also use a *team* of actors, not just one man…or at least two people, a man and a woman. Most of his girls’ voices come out silly or breathy. Hermoine is terrible, constantly saying “HarrEEE,” very annoying. (Later, when we got into book 4, we discovered that Madam Maxime is a…bass???) But it does pass the time! We finished book 3 today. Hearing the whole book again makes me like the movie less and less – SO much good stuff cut out! Dunno how they’ll ever manage 4 and 5. Making them two-parters with Empire Strikes Back style endings might be the best thing, really.

The other half will be put up when I’ve got it typed up. 🙂

2 Responses to “Tales”

Pug wrote a comment on July 25, 2004

*poke*

Cool =O)    Bat house in Gainesville!

(Picture )

Tae wrote a comment on July 27, 2004

Yay for trip. Sounds very fun in some parts. 🙂

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