Slaughterhouse Kirby

greyhound needs more toys

Needs more toys

Saturday morning at Casa de Kirby. At the obscenely early hour of 6:30, the greyhound hops up from his pile of bedding on my husband’s side of the bed and starts making slobbery snorting noises. A few minutes later, my husband crawls out of bed and feeds the early morning chow hound.

I stay in bed until around seven, when it becomes impossible to ignore the sound of the shrieking Wonder Horse. (If I could understand horse, I’m sure his ranting would be R-rated.) Get up; put on whatever’s on the floor and head out to the barn to feed the horse and clean up his paddock. The day has begun.

While I’m doing the morning garden chores, my husband walks the greyhound. They’ve returned by the time I come back in the house.

“What’s that?” I say, bending down over a red streak on the Continue reading

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War Horse

War Horse

Why the long face?

Alternate title for War Horse: Cursed Horse. Because nearly everyone who climbs on that animal’s back, gets dead.

War Horse, the movie, is epic. As in epic disappointment.

In a picturesque Devon, Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) watches a horse grow from colt to horse in a neighbor’s field, wishing the horse could be his. He gets his shot at horse ownership when his drunken father, Ted (Peter Mullan), purchases that horse at an auction. As with most decisions made under the influence, it’s a poor choice, since the family needs a sturdy draft horse, not a Thoroughbred, to plow their rocky field. Albert’s mother, Rose (Emily Watson), is appalled, but Albert insists he’ll train Joey to do the necessary landscaping work. Looming in the background is the menacing landlord, Lyons (David Thewlis), who is eager to take the family farm if rent isn’t made.  Albert, who knows nothing about horses, trains Joey to come when he’s called, while Dad gets drunk and Mom makes excuses for his alcoholism.

The story moves to a predictable mini-climax where, against Continue reading

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Brave

Brave, the movieIt seems that even critics who liked Brave thinks it’s not as inventive as previous Pixar fare. I disagree. It breaks the fairy tale mold in ways that go beyond its strong female protagonist.

No, Merida is NOT the typical Snow White/Cinderella-style vapid heroine, whose only aspiration is marriage to a total stranger–handsome, but still a stranger–her reward for being pretty and well-behaved. Merida is a strong, capable, self-rescuing princess.

But the film busts other tropes, as well. For instance, there are no evil stepmothers or wicked witches, driven to destroy the princess out of jealousy. Because, you know, the princess is now the fairest in the land?  Why is that, by the way? Male villains are given straightforward motivations like greed and lust for power, but the typical female (Disney) villain’s megalomania is nothing more than a beauty routine gone out of control. For once, I’d like to see a villainess who isn’t hung up on beauty, who wants to rule because she knows she’s bigger, badder and smarter than the current crop of idiots who are running things.

Speaking of big bads….Brave departs from formula there with Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Worth Watching | 2 Comments

A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. MartinBecause I’m a pathetic little shit who needs to have her opinions validated, about halfway through the monstrous tome that is A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, I went looking for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one who was less than impressed with the latest installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. (One reviewer, rather hilariously, refers to it as Twenty-Four Characters in Search of a Story.)

Well, okay, maybe I’m not that insecure. Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s hairy little ass about other people’s opinions. At the same time, I’m self aware enough to feel a smidgen distanced from humanity, when said humanoids all worship at the altar of what I think is a mediocre book. Rather than “pathetic,” call me…”curious.”

FWIW, A Dance with Dragons is entertaining, but at the midpoint, I renamed it Public Administration for Lords and Ladies in Westeros and Beyond, because the bulk of Jon and Daenerys’s chapters consist of endless haggling with the bureaucracy. Alternately, it could be A Guide to Dining in Westeros, The Free Cities, and Valyeria, given the amount of verbiage spent on eating. (Note to self, when in Mereen, don’t eat the meat, because, *cough*, dog. Also, avoid long marches through the snow with Stannis Baratheon unless you develop a craving for horse meat.)

Many readers’ complaints can be summed up as Continue reading

Posted in A Game of Thrones, Book reviews, G.R.R. Martin | Comments Off

Lost in the Opposite of Paradise

Kelly Marquez and Eric JonesIt’s summer in the desert; it hasn’t rained in months; it’s hot.

In other news, water is wet.

As the blog name suggests, “But it’s a dry heat.” By comparison to the deep South, this is true. Except we’re edging up on our so-called monsoon season, which is New Mexico for “if we’re lucky, three inches of rain will fall in about a month.” The season announces itself with blithering heat and slight bit of humidity. The problem is that many of us still rely on evaporative cooling, i.e., the swamp cooler. Basically, a metal box that pushes wet air into the house. Works great in bone dry climes; add even a touch of humidity, and it’s not even an improvement over a fan.

It’s too damn hot to do anything but work on my current WIP, a romantic space opera. But I am writing, and as proof, I give you, an excerpt. Along with an appallingly bad sketch. This, kiddies, is what happens when artists who can’t draw people draw people without using a reference photo. Setup: Kelly, mild-mannered bookstore owner attends the gallery opening of Eric, an artist and escaped convict from another universe. Although, Kelly isn’t aware of the latter. (Unedited, in the raw.)

****Lost in Paradise, WIP, excerpt****

The first painting looked like a photo from Continue reading

Posted in Desert life, Work in Progress, Writing | Comments Off

The Curious Case of the Dead Lagomorph

My little killer pony

Stone cold killa?

Rewind, several years ago, on another hot summer day….

I get home from work and trudge out to the barn to visit the Wonder Horse. Heat is pouring down like scalding rain and splashing off the pavement and sand. A roadrunner sits on a fence pole, beak open, panting like a dog. Nothing else is moving, even the little gray lizards have gone to ground in the midday sun.

The Wonder Horse, tough Arabian horse of the desert, is under his shady porch. I hear the clomp of hooves on rubber stall mats as he stamps at flies. Seeing me, he whickers, leaves the shade and comes to the gate to greet me.

It’s too hot to do anything that expends more than a thimble-full of calories, so I grab the halter and a brush. Lovely, occasionally Continue reading

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Bosque Fire

Corrales bosque fire june 2012“It’s a dry heat” is another way of saying, “It’s combustible.”

I started a funny little post about the Wonder Horse’s murderous tendencies, but lost heart when I saw this. Just a mile or two up the road, our Bosque is on fire. At any given time in New Mexico, something is on fire, but until now, our bosque has escaped the summer conflagrations.

Sigh. Not this year, I guess. News helicopters are rattling overhead, but the footage they’re showing is utter worthless. Dear Channel 7 KOAT, you suck, donkey balls. Typical.

Anyway, horsey post to come in a day or so. Provide the fire doesn’t get worse.

Posted in Desert life, New Mexico | Comments Off

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyI expected to like this movie.

Instead Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy turned out to be a Black Swan, dripping with the slobber of critics who probably didn’t understand the convoluted mess either, but needed to flex their intellectual superiority complex.

I mean, it’s a spy movie set during the Cold War. Given the genre, it’s not unreasonable to expect a taut plotline and measure of suspense. It doesn’t have to be The Bourne Identity with a multitude of explosions and high-speed chases, but a decent thriller should convey the feeling that something is at stake, quite possibly the protagonist’s life.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a lugubrious crawl, like a Galapagos turtle trudging through tar while on lithium.

The movie begins with Control (John Hurt), the elder spy, assigning Continue reading

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Monday, Hulk Style

Monday, It's Like That, Loki Hulk SmashMonday? Again? Seriously?

We just had one last week. Here I am, minding my own business: not getting up at the ass crack of dawn to shuffle off to a job that makes watching paint dry seem like a high intensity spectator sport, and…SMASH!…it’s Monday.

Spent part of the morning seriously considering calling one of those “Make Money at Home” adverts in the back of magazines. Of course they’re a scam, but they probably won’t be any more expensive a fantasy than a daily lottery ticket. Speaking of which, every week, my husband checks his tickets. Every week, he comes up empty. Well, not empty. There was the amazing payoff of 2012 (last week), when he won…two bucks.

Every time hubby and I think we see the light at the end of the tunnel, some financial crisis comes along and further binds us into unholy servitude to a suck-ass job. Last month, the septic leach system failed. I’ll spare the details and simply say, we’re now working to pay off the “luxury” of flush toilets. Yay, us!

My beloved thinks the road to riches is paved in cults. I.e., start a cult and part the gullible from their money in exchange for enlightenment. So long as there is an audience for Jersey Shore and whatever the hell the Kardashians do, there will be no shortage of brain-addled sheep to fleece.

Maybe, L. Ron Hubbard-style, I could based my teachings on my books. Side bonus: sell more books! I’ll wrap my theology around the premise that Breas Montrose, my favorite obnoxious vampire, is an avatar for the Elder God Botox, his teachings on immortality available here and here.

Happy Monday, if that’s possible.

But It’s a Dry Heat

Posted in Humor | 4 Comments

Plants for the Desert Southwest

Moth or Phlox penstemon

Moth or Phlox Penstemon

This Sunday, June 10, is the Corrales (New Mexico) Garden Tour, which runs from 9 am to 4 pm. Come on out to the historic village for a great opportunity to see what can be grown in our dry desert landscape.

With that in mind, I thought I’d show you a few of the star performers in my little slice of hot, dry hell. Here in the Albuquerque metro area we get less than eight inches of rain a year (much less, lately), the summer temperatures rise into the 90s, with the occasional span of 100s; the winter lows can dip into the single digits (recently going as low as -10), with very little snow. Operative word is “dry.” The added complication in my yard is the soil, which is better described as beach sand.

In my garden, most of the plants below do so well that they are downright invasive, reseeding themselves everywhere. Probably not good plants for fussy gardeners who want crisply maintained beds and well-behaved plants, but great in a more rustic, relaxed setting.

Phlox or sand penstemon (Penstemon ambiguus) is a workhorse in sand. In fact, I’m not Continue reading

Posted in Albuquerque, Chocolate, Desert life, gardening, New Mexico | 2 Comments