Urban (mis)Advantures

My Date with Barnabas — April 28, 2012

My Date with Barnabas

As you’ve probably already seen, Johnny Depp portrays the vampire Barnabas in Tim Burton’s movie rendition of the 1960’s gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.

(Image from moviecutlist.com)


     Don’t get me wrong.  I love Johnny.  I’ve been a huge fan or his work since Edward Scissorhands and the original Fox TV series,21 Jumpstreet.   When I saw the trailer for the new Dark Shadows, my first thought was:  “I don’t think so.”
I hold a very different view of the one and only Barnabas Collins.  For as a little girl in the 70’s, I stood in front of the TV with wide eyes, skin slightly crawling, and cringing away from the vampire when he graced the small screen.

Jonathan Frid as the OG Barnabas Collins.

     Perhaps it was because I was so young and thus, easily frightened when watching reruns of the soap opera.  Perhaps it is because I am not a huge fan or re-making everything.  Or perhaps it is because my memory is failing, and therefore I don’t remember the original Barnabas being so, so….boyish, looking like a porcelain doll.  So when discovering that the library could get me some DVD’s of the 1960’s Dark Shadows, I made a date to re-acquaint myself with Mr. Collins.
Although being a creature of the night, he was kind enough to join me in the day time through the Best of Barnabas DVD. And he mesmerized me all over again. Memories flooded me of the creepy intro music calling me away from my play time to stand in awe in front of the TV, awaiting what dark secrets would be revealed in the silhouette of Collins Estate.  Of Mama telling me that my older siblings raced home after school to also watch the soap opera when it first aired.  Decades later, Barnabas’ eyes still burn into the soul.  The lines around his high cheekbones accentuate his chiseled features.  The right corner of his lips curve slightly higher in that unforgettable grin.  Barnabas still watches us from afar, then creeps up on us from the dark corners of our imaginations.  He has once again captivated me so much, that I will be requesting the full seasons to watch the original Dark Shadows in order, from Barnabas’ first entrance into the new Collins home, through his yearning for Maggie because she resembles his love, Josette, and David’s persistence that the house is haunted, and the endless battle between Barnabas and the witch, Angelique.  Let the younger generation enjoy Burton’s movie.

Are Books Like Cats? — April 21, 2012

Are Books Like Cats?

I am a bit bizarre when it comes to books and things book related.  I am comforted by the feel of pages at my fingertips and the binding as I hold them in my hands.  I am content riding my bike to the library on Saturdays and roaming around the shelves or writing.  I check the “for sale” shelf often, and have brought home a few books for  50 cents a piece.  Last summer, I spent much of an afternoon sifting through boxes of mostly Agatha Christie and other mystery books that were free on the side of Maple Road.  We keep a couple of shelves at work full of books we’ve read and are willing to share with others, sort of like our own small library.  I visit this shelf every other week or so to see if there’s anything new.  It’s as if I believe that every books needs a loving home.

And my growing affection for books had me asking if I treat books like cats.  Think about it for a minute, and let me explain.

Books have their own characteristics.  They can be heartwarming and make us go “aawww,” like when we watch playful kittens.  They can be strange like cats’ behaviors.  Books can be creepy, like when your cat stares at you, relentlessly and unblinking, because he wants you to move from his favorite spot on the couch.

You can curl up and cuddle with a good book.  Nestle in the most comfy chair or lie down on the couch and get lost in a book.  Or read one in the warmth of bed at night before sleep.  We love to cuddle with cats like this also.  Granted, sometimes they wait until we are asleep and lay on our heads at night.  Or sit like sandbags by our feet.  But we still enjoy that company and presence of a cat, like I enjoy the presence of a good book.

Books and cats are both loyal.  Like cats wait for us to get home from work, books wait patiently on the shelf or nightstand to be read.  The words remain true, right where we left off from the previous reading.

Like I said earlier, books deserve a good home.  Like my heart goes out to stray cats or ones waiting to be adopted, I don’t like seeing books get ruined or left on the side of the road.  Last summer, I almost filled my car with all of the deserted books on Maple Road, because it was going to rain.  Sometimes I think I should have.  I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving them behind, unprotected, and alone.

I do not believe I am obsessed with books, for I do take only ones I am interested in reading.  But I definitely have a big heart for them.

Wachusett Mountain’s Old Indian Trail — April 17, 2012

Wachusett Mountain’s Old Indian Trail

Monday, April 16th  was some holiday called Patriot’s Day up here in Massachusetts, in which many of us were granted the day off.  It coincided with the Boston Marathon.  The Mister, the Boy, and myself did our own marathon up Wachusett Mountain.  Who am I kidding?  I was scared my heart was going to explode.  I figured taking the stairs five flights up every day at work would help me prepare for this, but no.  I did pace myself and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, and also paced my water drinking.  I was quite proud that I made it, along with my son, who remains in a full arm cast.

We started on the Balanced Rock trail, which leads to the Old Indian Trail that took us to the summit.  I enjoyed that the hike crossed a few dry snowboard/ski trails of Wachusett Ski Resort.  The lift chairs dangled like ghosts, frozen in waiting for the next season.  At the switch from Balanced Rock (seen here on the left) and Old Indian Trail, a couple of families warned up of the impending climb upwards.  From the pictures below, you can see why the Boy compared it to climbing Mount Mordor from Lord of the Rings.






At the summit, we ate lunch while sitting in one of Wachusett’s comfy lift chairs.  The summit provided much a much-needed cool breeze after the hike.  It sported a view of a mountain in New Hampshire, along with a lake close to the resort.  Very peaceful to be atop a mountain.

View from the chair lift unloading area.

My feet and thighs actually hurt more on the trek down, for my son wanted to take one of the slopes back to the base, instead of the hiking trail.  I think the discomfort resulted in attempted to come down the black diamond (quite difficult) Tenth Mountain Slope  without tripping, falling and rolling down the mountain.   Despite the temperatures reaching 80 degrees at least, there were still some patches of artificial snow along the way down.

Overall, Wachusett proved to be a beautiful and challenging hike, at least for me.  I would love to return with the mountain bike and pedal around the service roads, or do the hike again when more vegetation is in bloom.


Handsome fellows! — April 15, 2012

Handsome fellows!

This Beautiful Moment is brought to you by alpha-males.

We live in a wooded area in Massachusetts right on a pond.  Some friends say we live in the “boonies.”  Well, we have very interesting neighbors that took up residence this past year.  A while back, I posted pictures of the 20 + turkeys that march down the street and to the pond.  But those were taken through a window.  The other day, they let me come outside and get closer.

And the males were strutting their stuff.

I have never seen turkeys in the wild until moving here.  I must say I was quite impressed with the toms and their feathers fluffed out.
An interesting observation of this pack of turkeys is that they stroll down here Monday through Friday mornings.  It seems they too take the weekend off.