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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deleted scenes from Revenge Of The Sith (and more!)

Fun stuff over at the imdb.

Note: All of the scenes included here were written by me. For more scenes written by me, check out this post (really just a rehash of the "R2D2: Murderer!" theme) and this post (featuring "Dinner with Darth Vader"!) To see lots of scenes by other people, click on the imdb link above.

Deleted dialogue from the end of Episode III:

(Tarkin and Palpatine are looking out a window at the preliminary skeleton of the Death Star:)

Palpatine: Work is way ahead of schedule on Phase I, Governor Tarkin. Give all your crew official attaboys from me.

Tarkin: Thank you, sir. At this rate we will be done in no time at all.

(Vader approaches.)

Vader: Unless you manage to screw it up, Tarkin. In which case it will take nearly 20 years to get this station fully operational.

Tarkin: Damn you, you bitch. (Walks away, sobbing.)

Palpatine (to Vader): When will you two learn to play nice? Or do I have to force-smack your heads together again?


Episode IV, Cantina:

Greedo: Going somewhere, Solo?

Han: As a matter of fact...Greedo, ol' buddy! I haven't seen you since your brother's wedding! How's Greeda and the little Greedettes? And what's with the blaster?

Greedo: They're fine, Han! Greeda wants you and Chewie to stop by for dinner again sometime. I hope Chewie doesn't mind the way the kids crawl all over him! Yeah, this blaster, I just got it at Honest Al's Secondhand Guns. It looks nice, all tricked out with the scope and stuff, but I'm not sure if I got a good deal. What do you think?

Han: Hmm, it looks pretty solid...power pack might be a little worn out. Let me get my blaster out of the holster, we can do a side-by-side...

(Han's blaster discharges, frying poor Greedo)

Han: Oh, crap.


Episode VI, The Return of the Jedi, New Death Star:

(Darth Vader has just tossed the Emperor down a shaft.)

Emperor: AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!...waitaminute.

(Puts on the brakes in midair and gently drifts to a safe landing.)

Emperor: Almost forgot I could do that. Dammit, why did I let them put one of these shafts directly into my throne room? "Oh, it'll give you great ventilation." Ventilation, my eye.

(Dusts himself off.)

Emperor: Well, that's it. I'm through with Skywalkers. (Looks up.) DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU TWO? I'M THROUGH WITH SKYWALKERS! YOU'RE BOTH OUT OF THE CLUB! NOW GET THE HELL OFF MY DEATH STAR! Well, that chick Leia is kinda hot. Maybe I'll make her my new apprentice. Oh, dammit, she's a Skywalker, too!

(Walks around a bit.)

Emperor: Now, where the hell's a door? Nobody thought to put a door down here. I wonder what's going on out there? I hope nobody manages a direct hit on the power core. That would suck.

(A loud explosion sounds in the distance. Lights flicker.)

Emperor: Oh, damn. So much for my evil schemes. Maybe I should have had them put an escape pod down here.

(Death Star begins to tear itself apart.)

Emperor: Yeah. An escape pod. That would have been great.

(Emperor gets blown to smithereens.)


Deleted scene from Episode IV

(Luke has just brought Ben and the droids to the charred, smoking remains of his home. Ben and Threepio are inspecting the scene.)

Luke: Was it stormtroopers? Did they kill my uncle and aunt?
Ben: Very strange...it appears not. There seem to have been multiple simultaneous failures in power converters in the living quarters, causing a fast-moving fire...
Luke: Power converters? I was supposed to run out to Toschi Station to pick up some power converters!
Ben: Yet their bodies are outside of the residence. I do not understand.
Threepio: Sir? I have detected traces of an accelerant in the area of the bodies.
Ben: Accelerant?
Threepio: Yes, sir. It appears to be droid lubricant. Highly flammable.
R2-D2 (near landspeeder): BIT-BEET-WHOOT. (Yeah, I did them, just like I took out those Super Battle Droids on Grievous's ship!)
R2-D2: BOP-SQUORT-PIP-PLAP-SQUEEE. (All it took was a pool of oil and some power converters programmed to overload after we were far enough away!)
R2-D2: BEET-WOOT-BIP-SPLORT. (Erase my memory, will you, Lars? Interfere with my mission?)
R2-D2: SPLORT-WHEEDLE-BIP-BOOP! (HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE YOUR MEMORY ERASED, OWEN LARS? HOW DOES IT FEEL, TOUGH GUY?)
Luke: What's he saying, Threepio?
Threepio: Nothing important, sir.


Alternate takes for Attack Of The Clones:

Mace: This party's over.
Dooku: Well, it is now. I thought you were supposed to be bringing the strippers!


Mace: This party's over.
Dooku: But we didn't get to cut the cake yet!


Deleted Scenes from The Empire Strikes Back

(Luke meets Yoda on Dagobah.)

Luke: I want my lamp back. I'm gonna need it to get out of this slimy mudhole.
Yoda: Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is. My...oh, lord, in this slimy mudhole I've been living for over twenty years. Your ship we must free, then the hell out of here we must get.
Luke: But I need to find Yoda. I need to learn the ways of The Force from him.
Yoda: Yoda I am. Teach you in the ship I shall.
Luke: But my training...
Yoda: A certificate in the mail you will receive.


(Yoda is putting Luke through his paces - riding on his back, making him levitate rocks while standing on one hand. The ghost of Obi-Wan appears.)

Ghost of Obi-Wan: Luke, I...Yoda! What the hell are you doing?
Yoda: Training. Heh heh. Unlearn, he must unlearn.
Ghost of Obi-Wan: None of this has anything to do with Jedi training! How is he gonna defeat Vader by standing on one hand? Have you gone nuts?
Yoda: Heh heh. Nuts I am. Twenty years alone in this slimy mudhole. Sand People and Jawas at least you had to talk to.


Deleted Scene from The Return Of The Jedi

(Concluding scene. Ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda gaze approvingly at Luke.)

Ghost of Obi-Wan: It's over, Yoda. He's defeated Darth Vader, and Darth Sidious has been destroyed. At last we can become fully one with The Force.
Ghost of Yoda: Glad am I that Qui-Gon taught us the ways of retaining consciousness after death. Useful it has been in defeating the Sith.
Ghost of Anakin: Hey, guys.
Ghost of Obi-Wan: What the - how did you get here? Qui-Gon said only a Jedi could do this ghost thing, not a Sith! And you were a Sith right up until just before you died. How did you find out about this?
Ghost of Qui-Gon: Hi, everybody. Anakin, glad you could make it.
Ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda: Qui-Gon?
Ghost of Anakin: He told me. Last week.
Ghost of Qui-Gon: Hey, you two got real boring after a while. I had to talk to somebody who wasn't senile or completely nuts.


From Episode 3.1: The Adventures of Yoda on Dagobah

(Yoda stands at the edge of a swamp, meditating. Curious, a swamp creature approaches, its eyes peeking up through the muck in front of Yoda.)

Yoda: Hmmm. The Force binds us, surrounds us. Sense I The Force in you, swamp creature.

(The swamp creature pokes its head up a little bit more.)

Yoda: Yesss, yess, strong in you is The Force. But serve you the Dark Side, perhaps?

(The swamp creature pokes its head up a little more.)

Yoda: Yess....perhaps it is so, the Dark Side you serve. Rise, Darth...Slimy!

(The swamp creature raises its head out of the swamp. In a flash, Yoda activates his lightsaber and cuts off the creature's head.)

Yoda: Heh. Got it I still have.


Epsode IV, scene that couldn't possibly take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, or even 28 years ago, or (for that matter) two years ago:

(Darth Vader is downloading .mp3's from the Death Star's main computer onto his built-in iPod. He is having a hard time finding the songs he likes, and has pulled aside an officer to help him.)

Vader: Do you have anything by that blonde who sang "This Kiss"?
Officer: Faith Hill? No, sir.
Vader: How about that woman who was married to The Notorious B.I.G?
Officer: Faith Evans? Let me check...no, sir.
Vader: (Sighs.) What about that band with Steve Winwood?
Officer: Traffic?
Vader: No, not Traffic. The other one.
Officer: Blind Faith? Umm...no, afraid not.
Vader (growling): Anything by that band that did, err, that "What-is-it?" song...you know, "You want it all but you can't have it, na, na, na..."
Officer: Let me do a lyrics search...ah, Faith No More.
Vader: Have it?
Officer: No.
Vader: How about "Theme From 'A Summer Place'"? It's an instrumental.
Officer: Do you know who it's by?
Vader: Percy somebody.
Officer: Percy Sledge?
Vader: No...Percy Faith.
Officer: Nope.
Vader (disgusted): All right. Anything by New Order?
Officer: Yes! Yes, lots of stuff by New Order!
Vader: That's more like it. Download "True Faith" by New Order.
Officer: Yes, sir!
(pause)
Officer: You're not gonna believe this, sir.
Vader: (dead silence)
Officer: I don't like where this is heading...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Comin' Home, again


Comin' Home by The M.R.S. Project Posted by Hello

A few weeks ago I mentioned the song Comin' Home, which is a salute to the men and women of our armed forces who are serving overseas released by The M.R.S. Project. The band is making a donation from the proceeds of the song's sales to charities that support military families whose spouses are overseas.

The band has created a Myspace page with information on how to mail-order the CD (although if you live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the easiest way to get it is still to stop by your local Gallery Of Sound and pick up a copy.) You can also listen to a streaming version of the song, and there's feedback from friends and fans. Check it out - and pick up a copy today!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Haley blogs


Haley, 1992(?) - May 23, 2005 Posted by Hello

These are all of my blog entries that mention my dog Haley or our walks together. Entries marked with an asterisk (*) only mention Haley tangentially.

First dogwalk in ages (includes a picture)
Monday, July 12, 2004
Haley and I resume our long-suspended walking program. At the time I never would have suspected that it would come to an end just over ten months later.

The Dog is a Harsh Mistress
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Our walks continue - Haley makes sure of that.

Standard blog entry #45*
Sunday, July 18, 2004

CD release parties and ragweed
Thursday, July 22, 2004
A description of the morning as experienced on one of our dogwalks.

So...very...weak...
Friday, July 23, 2004
Catching up on sleep and getting into an adventure (recounted in Getting Involved.)

Getting involved
Saturday, July 24, 2004
A dogwalking adventure: an account of the previous day's encounter with a bickering couple and a police station on its off-hours.

Down wit da clown
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I get a pedometer (or "stepometer") and began measuring the length of our walks.

Less than a week to go!
Sunday, August 8, 2004
Days before I go on vacation, we establish that our longest dogwalk ever was about 3.2 miles.

Ye doom is ycomme true
Thursday, August 12, 2004
The one-month anniversary of our walks.

Blogger overload*
Thursday, September 2, 2004

Nanticoke's amazing web presence*
Monday, September 13, 2004

Last day of Summer
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Guess what this one is about.

Fool in the Rain
Sunday, October 3, 2004
We get rained on. Twice. And almost run into the bickering couple again.

Lost and found dogs
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
We encounter a stray dog.

Amazing Grace
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Fashionably late for an eclipse.

Snow
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Haley and I walk through the first snow of the season.

Still sick, but different*
Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Aurora!
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Haley and I see an aurora, and establish a lower limit on temperature for dogwalks.

Going out*
Saturday, November 20, 2004

Happy Hallowhog!*
Monday, November 22, 2004

Cards
Thursday, December 9, 2004
Mailing Christmas Cards during a dogwalk, and a "Was that always there?" moment with a mailbox.

Hooray for late-night retailers

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Temperatures drop dramatically, and we suspend our walks. We would not resume until after Haley's diagnosis at Cornell.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Saturday, January 1, 2005
Haley is frightened by all the New Year's fireworks.

Another Monkey's Greatest Hits, Volume 1
Sunday, January 30, 2005
My first selection of blogs, including links to some of the Haley blogs.

Everything dies
Thursday, February 3, 2005
We learn that Haley has cancer during a trip to Cornell's veterinary school. Their diagnosis is that she has two to three months to live. (She lived for three months and three weeks.) Also, a remembrance of past pets, and a resumption of walks.

Haley visits the Poconos (includes pictures)
Sunday, February 6, 2005
Haley goes for the first of her last two visits to my friends' place in the Poconos, and meets with her dog friends Autumn and Legolas.

Vacations that are not vacations
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Planning out my leftover 2004 vacation time to maximize time spent with Haley.

Legs
Friday, February 11, 2005
Haley begins to show signs of leg weakness, causing walks to be scaled back in intensity. This symptom would not manifest itself again until her final two days.

Interstitial post*
Friday, February 18, 2005

Work and weather*
Monday, February 21, 2005

The Ruins (includes pictures)
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Finally, the adventure referred to in the previous two posts. Haley and I take a daytime walk around some of the older structures in Nanticoke.

Cornell plus 32

Monday, March 7, 2005
A one-month update on Haley's condition.

Cemetery with mountains

Monday, March 14, 2005
A view of the mountains as seen on one of our walks.

68 pints of blood on the wall*
Sunday, March 20, 2005

Dog wrangler*
Sunday, March 20, 2005

Purse snatchers and synchronicity
Monday, March 21, 2005
Another dogwalking adventure: averting a possible purse snatching just by being there.

The corpses of 1,000 snowmen
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Walking through the beginning of one of the last (and heaviest) snowstorms of the season.

Pumping the night away
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
An update on Haley's condition, set against the background of basement flooding.

Two dreams and a nightmare*
Thursday, March 31, 2005

Scenes from the aftermath of a snowstorm*
Saturday, April 9, 2005

Tax time
Monday, April 11, 2005
Noting Haley's final trip to the Poconos on Sunday, April 10, 2005.

An American portrait
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
A view of Nanticoke along one of our walks.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part 1

Sunday, April 17, 2005
"Now it was time for a quick dinner - Burger King hamburgers, shared with Haley..."

Entering the world of digital photography
(includes picture)
Monday, April 18, 2005
Oh, God. I didn't realize how beautiful this picture of Haley is until just now. The way she would look at me... Status update: Haley is still doing very well.

Haley visits her cousin
(includes pictures)
Saturday, April 23, 2005
If you're wondering what Heaven looks like, go here.

Magnolia fan*
Monday, April 25, 2005

Three reasons I take Haley out for a walk at 5:30 every weekday morning (includes pictures)
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Three photos from our morning walks, including one of Haley.

Cornell plus three months
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Another status update. Haley is still doing remarkably well.

Morning Dew and Sunrise Behind Skatarama
Friday, May 6, 2005
Two more photos from our morning walks.

Untold Tales: The Sun Pillar
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
(Written Sunday, April 23, 2006)
The morning of the sun pillar, and meeting Sam the Beagle for the first time.

On death and dying, part 1
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The beginning of the end. Haley had stopped eating the day before. Also, a scheduled visit to the vet gives us the final bad news we were expecting.

Two old dogs
Saturday, May 21, 2005
(Written Friday, May 19, 2006)
The last photo of the two of us together.

Movie paranoia
Sunday, May 22, 2005
On the last full day of Haley's life, I go to the movies - forcing my mom to abandon her place in the deathwatch at her brother's bedside and instead spend a few hours with Haley.

Haley is dead

Monday, May 23, 2005
An account of Haley's final hours, written a few minutes after I found Haley dead in her bed.
And I want no part of any Heaven that will not admit dogs.

A parable
Monday, May 23, 2005
A story from The Twilight Zone written by Earl Hamner Jr., by way of my priest's sermon-writing service.

Schedule
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
We live through a lifetime, and the aftermath.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Schedule

Tonight is my uncle's wake. Tomorrow is the funeral.

Tonight is also garbage night. One of the biggest tasks of garbage night has always been picking up the papers we have laid out in an unfinished section of our cellar where Haley would go to the bathroom if she needed to. There's not much to pick up there this week.

Saturday I will probably pick up Haley's ashes and drop off her unused meds so they can be redistributed to pet owners who can't afford them. Some of the ashes I will bury with our other pets. Some I will place in one of Haley's favorite resting spots. Some I will give to my sister, who found Haley living in a drainage ditch covered with ticks and fleas over eleven years ago. And some I will keep along with her collar.

Sunday I think I will go to a party.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A parable

This is a story I heard some time ago. Maybe it was at church, I don't know.

There once was a man who had a dog. He and his dog were good friends, companions who did everything together. In time the dog died, and years later the man died.

The man found himself in a beautiful place, walking along a path towards pearly gates. But some way before he reached the gates, he came across a rundown old shack with an overgrown yard. Out of the yard bounded his best friend, separated from him for so many years.

The man and his dog had a joyous reunion, and continued together along the path towards the pearly gates. At them they came to the admissions desk, where St. Peter stopped them. "I'm sorry, we don't allow dogs in here," he said, pointing to a sign that made the point quite emphatically.

The man stopped, taken aback. A paradise waited on the other side of the gates, but it was a paradise without dogs. He thought about it for a while, then he turned to his friend and said, "Come on, boy." The two of them turned around and walked along the path back to the shack.

He sat down on the porch with his dog by his side. For a moment he thought of an eternity spent outside the gates of Heaven, then he realized that the time would be spent with his best friend, so it would be all right.

Saint Peter came out of the shack carrying a tray of lemonade and brownies and a bowl of water and some dog treats. He sat beside the man and began to scratch the dog's ears.

The man looked at Saint Peter, puzzled. "What are you doing here?", he asked. "I thought you should be in Heaven."

Saint Peter continued to scratch the dog's ears. "This is Heaven," he said with a grin.

"But..." said the man. "The pearly gates...the paradise on the other side..."

"Oh," said Saint Peter. "That's Hell." He smiled at the man. "Do you think Heaven would take anybody who would leave their best friend behind?"

Haley is dead

Haley died in her sleep last night.

After I left the movie yesterday I headed directly to the hospital to see my uncle. When I saw his condition, I called my mom and told her to come up immediately and not wait for me to get home.

I got home a little after three and bottle-fed Haley some water. We then went outside, where she could breathe more easily - it was a cool day, and there were plenty of shadows for her to lay in, and after a while her panting slowed, and then stopped. At one point she stirred a little and stood up, so we went for a little walk around the house. I then repositioned her to a spot a little lower on the lawn where she could see passing traffic. When somebody walked by with a dog, she stood up and barked. I was so happy, I wanted to invite the strange dog up to play.

I left her outside while I wrote yesterday's entry. I rolled open a window so I could hear her, and she perked up her ears and looked at me. She looked fine. She wasn't panting anymore.

At about 6:30 I was invited up to my cousin's house. They had gotten back from the hospital and were making the arrangements for my uncle's funeral. A neighbor had ordered pizza, and they were having a sort of impromptu wake - minus the body, of course.

At 8:00 I excused myself and walked home to give Haley her Lasix. I also gave her some bits of burger and another 6.75-ounce bottle of water.

At about 9:30 I decided to head for bed. I helped Haley down the steps to the place where we sleep. She was very weak and slipped down a few steps at the bottom before I could catch her.

She was restless. I think it was uncomfortable to lay down, because any position would crush her lungs and cut off her breathing. So she kept changing position, standing here, sitting here. She would lay down occasionally, but I think these were the times when she was too weak to stand.

Then she did something unusual. She came into bed with me. For as close as we are, she never liked sleeping in my bed.

She kept changing position, usually so her panting mouth would be pointed at the fan at the foot of my bed. I fiddled with my alarm clock and changed the wake-up time from 4:30 to 6:00. We would not be going for a walk in the morning, and there would be no point in stressing her by waking her up early. And if she died in the night, there would be no point in finding out about it too early.

Every once in a while she would go from a sitting-and-panting position to a laying-and-panting position for a few seconds - but again, I think this was when she lost the strength to hold herself upright. I tried to prop her up with a blanket and with my body, but that didn't seem to help.

At about 11:30 Haley became a little slower about getting back up when she would lay down. Her panting had become more desperate, but when she would lay down her breathing would slow - a lot. I called my mom and told her she should kiss Haley goodnight, because I didn't think she would make it through the night. Haley's cat friends came down to attend, too.

Just before midnight Haley stood up and, showing surprising strength, jumped out of bed. She walked out of the room towards another room where we have some papers laid out for her. Maybe the Lasix is working, I thought.

I found her in a dark corner of the room. Maybe she was peeing, I'm not sure. But it was the most cave-like corner of the room. I know that when dogs decide to die, they often choose a small, enclosed, cave-like area to do it. I didn't want it to be there.

I led her out of that room and she headed into the adjacent bathroom - again, small, dark, and cavelike. No, not there either.

I took her to her bed. It is a dog bed from Sam's Club, laid out in front of the washer and dryer in the laundry room - small, cavelike. The bed is thickly padded, so I thought that might relieve some of the pressure on her chest. And if she was to die in the night, that would be a proper place for it to happen.

She looked up at me with something that wasn't pain. I think that it was gratitude. She wasn't panting. I kissed her goodnight one last time.

I lay down and tried to sleep.

I woke at 4:44 this morning - a pretty typical time that I would finally stop hitting the Snooze bar and finally rally and get out of bed. No, stay. Wait.

I finally allowed myself to get up an hour later. I went to see Haley. She was stretched out on her bed in a typical sleeping position. I reached out to stroke her head, scratch her behind the ear.

Cold.

I touched her outstretched front legs. Stiff. Back legs, too.

Haley is dead.

I will make arrangements for her cremation later today. After the vet's office opens.

Haley is dead.

And I want no part of any Heaven that will not admit dogs.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Update

My uncle died at 4:27 PM today, not long after I began writing the preceding post.

Movie paranoia

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always had what I term "movie paranoia" - a feeling that while I am in the theater enjoying a movie, something horrible is happening on the outside world, something that I could have done something about, but while it was all happening I was sitting and enjoying my movie. I always walk out of the theater expecting to find a sky full of fire, a landscape devastated by tornadoes, or my house burned to the ground.

Today was the first time I have gone to a movie with the knowledge that this feeling was absolutely justified.

I saw Revenge of the Sith today. It was a noon show, and I left my house at 11:18 AM and left the theater at 2:35 PM. During that time I was not with Haley, nor was I at my uncle's bedside.

Neither one died during the movie, but my uncle has passed out of consciousness, probably for good. My mom was watching Haley while I was at the film, which meant she wasn't at her brother's bedside. Maybe this was wrong of me. Maybe it gave both of us a break - me more than her, since the time she wasn't with her dying brother she was with our dying dog. If my uncle had died while I was at the movie I would be feeling very guilty right now, because I would have robbed her of the opportunity to be with him at the time.

But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?

SPOILERS FOLLOW

There's enough good stuff being said about this movie - justifiably - that anything positive I could say would just be repeating something you could read elsewhere. So I will just focus on a few negative things:

- The opening sequence was a lot too slapstick for my tastes. The witty banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan didn't seem all that witty, and was very forced in parts. The droid dialogue and accents were annoying. Anakin didn't seem to be taking anything too seriously, and I was half-expecting someone to announce "Simulation end" and have the whole thing revealed as a training exercise.

- Dialogue and editing seemed very jumpy and clipped - which is probably because quite a bit had to be trimmed out of this movie, which was already very long (but not overlong, in my opinion.)

- Natalie Portman may have been great in The Professional, but she just can't deliver a line of dialogue believably here.

- Darth Vader's last line is done in the most clichéd manner possible. I felt like I was watching Calculon from Futurama.

- I was waiting for Obi-Wan to look at Yoda and say, "But that's a stupid idea" when Yoda suggested that the newborn Luke Skywalker be placed with his family on Tatooine. He didn't.

I think after the initial afterglow fades, we will see more scathing criticisms of this movie. But for now, these are the nits I have chosen to pick.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

On death and dying, part 1

Five years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Today he lies in a hospital bed, having his breathing done for him by a respirator pumping 100% oxygen.

Seven months ago, my dog - my friend - Haley developed a cough which was later determined to be a symptom of lung cancer. Yesterday she stopped eating.

Other than the respirator and the cancer and the congestive heart failure and the other consequences of an adulthood of smoking that are almost certain to kill him at the age of 62, my uncle is awake and aware of his surroundings. He is being given morphine for the pain and a sedative to help him sleep. We have no idea how long he might last.

We had an appointment scheduled with the vet for Haley this morning. Actually this was an appointment from two weeks ago, which we rescheduled in part because Haley seemed fine - and any news we were likely to get would not be good. Even a week ago, a fellow dogwalker commented on how young Haley looked.

(This same comment was made to my grandmother about her appearance during a marathon shopping trip I took her on the day before she had her stroke. It is entirely possible that the stress of this trip, coming so soon after an extended convalescence due to sciatica, contributed in some way to her stroke.)

My uncle has spent much of the past two months in and out of the hospital. He came home on the Thursday before Mother's Day. Our entire extended family just happened to stop by to visit him that Sunday. The Thursday afterward he was rushed to the hospital again, possibly for the last time.

The X-rays of Haley's chest taken today reveal that the tumor has completely invaded both of her lungs and much of the surrounding tissue, and there is much fluid built up in these tissues. The vet prescribed a diuretic to try to remove some of this fluid, which will possibly relieve - temporarily - whatever condition is causing Haley to not want to eat. Or, for that matter, sit or lie down, neither of which she has been very willing to do since yesterday morning.

Soon, my uncle will die.

Soon, Haley will die.

I gave my 69th pint of blood this afternoon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

HFStival 2005 photos

For a summary of the 2005 HFStival, go here.

Here are a few of my photos from HFStival 2005.


HFStival crowd Posted by Hello


The Black Guy In A Kilt Posted by Hello


Garbage Posted by Hello


Foo Fighters Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Store Wars

Here's a link to a cute little vegetable-based Star Wars parody called Store Wars. Check it out. Thanks to Dude for the link.

I do have some pictures from the HFStival to post - nothing spectacular. If I don't get them online tomorrow, I'll try to do it over the weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2005

HFStival 2005 summary

For photos from the HFStival, go here.

HFStival 2005 was this past Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland. The HFStival is a huge alternative rock concert, and in its heyday (like, say, last year) used to be a two-day event. It's about so much more than just the music, but for now that's what I'm going to focus on. I saw these bands:

They Might Be Giants were campy fun, and were surprisingly well-received. I'm a fan from 16 years back, but I didn't expect so many people to be into "Particle Man" and "Anna Ng". I had always assumed that "Fingertips" was just a series of clips stitched together in the studio, but they played a live version.

Interpol seemed like a bunch of kids from New York dressed in retro-New Wave skinny black ties playing retro-New Wave music. Jen likes them, and so did my sister.

Echo & the Bunnymen were the only disappointment of the day. They came onstage to thunderous cheers, but the lead singer (Mr Echo?*) immediately apologized for his laryngitis. They began the first song - according to my sister, he began singing it twice - and then he gave the "cut" sign and walked offstage, with the band following shortly after. A few minutes later they came back onstage to more cheers, and he apologized again and jokingly asked if there was anybody in the audience who knew the words to one of their songs (I don't remember which.) Many hands shot up, but he decided to give it another shot himself, and again cut and walked off after just a few lines. This time, when the band packed it in, the crowd erupted into boos. If you're going to cancel a festival appearance, it's better to do it before you go onstage - schedules can always be adjusted. And if the band had played just one song with the lead being sung by a fan from the audience, the performance would have gone down in HFStival history. Too bad.

Garbage were fantastic. I love Shirley Manson and want to marry her. At one point after she spoke for a longish while to the crowd in her beautiful Edinburgh accent, one of the two redneck hippie stoners behind me turned to the other and said, "She must be from Canada or something." (I don't think these were the same guys who, upon seeing footage of The Ramones playing at a past HFStival, with Joey Ramone at the microphone, asked - in all seriousness - "Hey! Why is Howard Stern singing with a band?")

New York Dolls were interesting. As a legendary club band, I don't know if they've played a lot of shows with 20,000 screaming fans. Buster Poindexter looked like he could take some health advice from Keith Richards. Still, he seemed genuinely delighted in the crowd reaction.

Social Distortion was cool. They played their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire", which was very cool.

Good Charlotte is still thought of as a local band in the Baltimore area, even though they broke onto the national scene a few years ago. They are old vets of the HFStival, and haven't forgotten their roots.

Billy Idol stole the show. He wasn't just the surprise hit of the day, he was the biggest hit of the day. At a festival show, you get a lot of people who are into each band, but Billy Idol had the entire crowd united. I've always thought of Billy Idol as a sort of Billy Idol parody, with all the snarling and posturing, but he was actually a fantastic performer, better now than he was 20 years ago.

Coldplay had the unenviable task of following Billy Idol. They were a huge crowd-pleaser, too.

Foo Fighters
wrapped things up for the night. They performed a lot of their hits and some new stuff, too. Dave Grohl looked very shaggy and haggard, but I think that's the retro-70's look that's popular these days.

*This is from a joke on The Young Ones, in which Rick (the anarchist) decides to complain to his representative in Parliament. When it is pointed out that, as an anarchist, he doesn't really have a representative in Parliament, he asks who he could write. One of his roommates suggests the lead singer of Echo & the Bunnymen. So he begins his letter "Dear Mr. Echo..." This has nothing to do with my nom de blog, by the way.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Musical unanswerables

Just got back from the HFStival a few hours ago. Actually, the HFStival was yesterday, but it was in Baltimore, Maryland, which is a bit of a haul from my house.

I'll work up a full-fledged entry on the show - which was excellent - later. For now, I need to throw out a few music questions that are defeating my meager research skills:

1. There's a song from the early 80's, a boppy little synthesizer-driven Brit-pop/New Wave song with a chorus of "A little tenderness, a little tenderness." It's not by Otis Redding, Three Dog Night, Rod Stewart, Eden's Crush, or Jimmy Durante. It's also not by Erasure or PIL* or Roxy Music, but it sounds a lot like them. But who the hell is it???

UPDATE: I believe the answer to this is "Tenderness" by General Public - which explains my confusion with John Lydon's Public Image Ltd. The lyrics do not include the "a little" part, but instead say "Tenderness, where is the Tenderness?"

2. Who did the sexy female backup vocals on Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face"? I heard that on the way down to the show and fell in love, even though the owner of the voice is about 25 years older now. At the show the lyrics were sung by the bassist, who was a large, burly 30-something man, and didn't really mesh with my mental image of the woman behind the voice.

UPDATE: From a comment left by (I'm assuming) one of my many new visitors from the Billy Idol Fan Club (WELCOME, Billy Idol fans! I should have thought to ask you guys first! Thanks for coming by, thanks for the information, and thank you, broadbroad, for the plug!):
The woman singing on Billy Idol's Eyes Without A Face was his girlfriend at the time, Perri. She is also in some of his videos, including White Wedding. Eyes Without A Face is probably my favorite Billy Idol song.
The base player in his band is Stephen McGrath, and he is a biker friend of Billy's.

3. While we're on Billy Idol questions, who played "Devon" in the "Rock The Cradle Of Love" video? She was the naughty schoolgirl who came over to the hapless yuppie's apartment to play a cassette on his stereo system, and proceeded to thrash seductively to the song through the rest of the video. She would be about 15 years older now.

UPDATE: From a comment left somewhere on this site on 7/30/2005...
Who is the actress in the Cradle of Love?

The girl in the video is called Betsy Lynn George.
We don’t have any other information about her, as management no longer hold her file.
You might like to try this link taken from the Internet Movie Database

http://us.imdb.com/Name?George,+Betsy+Lynn
(or http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0313355/)

Above from Billy's fan site.

Billy Idol fans are the best!

4. Another video question: Who was the blonde-haired dancer in David Bowie's "Fame '90" video, the one who does a flip over him? The answer isn't on davidbowie.com, or on his greatest hits DVD. She, too, would be 15 years older now.

UPDATE, 8/5/2005: The answer is: Louise LeCavalier!

Any answers would be appreciated! All unanswerables are now answered!

*Definitely not PIL. Who the hell am I thinking of? XTC, maybe? Arrrgh...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Another Monkey: Year One

May 14th marks the first anniversary of Another Monkey. It was created in the morning before I went to work, after I heard an NPR report about Blogger trying to encourage people to take up blogging. The very first entry was a placeholder under the title "Another monkey with a blog!" which simply contained the text "Coming soon..." The full text of "Another monkey with a blog!" was written later that day, after I got home from work.

Here is the Sitemeter graph of the first 12 months of visits (green) and page views (purple). I didn't set up my Sitemeter until the end of the first month, so it looks like I had zero visitors in May 2004. (The truth probably wasn't that far off.)


Another Monkey: Year One Posted by Hello

Recent increases in visits can probably be explained by the popularity of my site on search engine searches for "Cathy Baker" and "Monkey Riding Dog". And a feature of Blogger which used to send hordes of "next blog button" visitors my way every day seems to be working only sporadically of late, so I don't expect to equal April 2005's numbers for May 2005.

I was going to post this tomorrow, but I'm going to be out of town at an all-day rock festival (assuming it doesn't get rained out.) Thanks to everybody who has stopped by and read my half-crazed scribblings this past year! Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What to do while waiting for Til August to schedule some shows

It's starting to seem like Til August doesn't just describe the band's life expectancy, but also how long we will have to wait until they perform in public. But while we wait, the precursor bands (the ones that the members are coming from) are still around.

Blue Sundaze just announced another date - Saturday, May 21 at the Lift Inn in Lenoxville, PA from 9:30 PM to 1:30 AM. Lenoxville is 50 miles from my house, and 30 miles from Binghamton, and it will be worth the trip.


Blue Sundaze: Derrick, Ray, Rose, and John Posted by Hello

Blue Sundaze plays a very eclectic mix of songs, from a dead-on version of U2's Vertigo (which I have suggested they use as an "establishing song" - one that punches you in the mouth, takes your wallet, and pisses on your car, just to show you who's boss) to wildly energetic versions of what I used to think were lame-ass songs from the 60's and 70's (like Arlo Guthrie's drug-smuggler's lament "Mr. Customs Man", which features blazing drums and guitar.) Some of it is music to dance to, some is music to drink to, but all of it is fun. Come out May 21st and see for yourself!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Douglas Adams, 1952 - 2001

Douglas Adams died on May 11, 2001 at the age of 49 while exercising at a gym.

The world is a happier place because of him, and a sadder place without him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Another reason to carry a camera with you at all times

You never know when you're going to see one of these:


Sun pillar at sunrise, May 10 2005 Posted by Hello
This is the first of a series of photos I took of this amazing sun pillar that preceded this morning's sunrise. It actually lingered for a good 15 to 20 minutes after the sun rose, too, which is something I've never seen before.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Mother's Day

Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of little children.

(I was going to attribute this quote to James O'Barr, author of the graphic novel The Crow, but it is actually a quote from William Makepeace Thackeray which was subsequently quoted in The Crow. Heh. Silly me.)

I usually try to get my mom Mother's Day gifts that are at once practical and ironic. A few years ago I got her a vacuum cleaner - she wanted it, and the last one I had bought her had seen better days. More recently I got her an ironing board - she likes to iron, and this one has a lightweight but sturdy aluminum frame, as opposed to her steel beast that is over 30 years old and probably weighs over 30 pounds.

This year I got her something special, something impractical, something she had mentioned years ago (once) that she had always wanted. I won't say what it is just yet, but I'll get a photo of it once we've got it set up.

UPDATE:
Here it is.

Grotto Posted by Hello
(Statue is 18" tall, grotto is 26" tall. Both are made of concrete, painted with special weather-resistant paints. Grotto weighs approximately one zillion pounds, and if you drop it while getting it out of your car, it breaks.)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Morning Dew


Morning Dew Posted by Hello

Just some dew on the grass during our morning walk. It's nice to have a camera during these walks, especially one with a zoom lens and auto-focus.

Sunrise Behind Skatarama


Sunrise Behind Skatarama Posted by Hello

Morning sunlight framed by the footbridge over the alley behind Skatarama. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cornell plus three months

On February 3, 2005, the veterinarians at Cornell told us that if the tumor in Haley's chest continued to grow at the rate it had since it was first observed in November 2004, it would probably kill her in two to three months.

It hasn't. She is still alive and kicking, still insisting on her morning walks. Outwardly she appears more healthy than she did when we took her to Cornell. Even as far as symptoms go, her major one - her coughing - has largely subsided.

This may not be as good a sign as it seems. The last time I saw an X-ray of her chest, taken about a month ago, the tumor had gotten much larger than it was in February, expanding to fill almost the whole of one of her lungs. Her coughing at that time was getting more and more desperate, and then one day it stopped - mostly stopped, anyway. I think (I am no vet) that perhaps the presence of a tumor in a partially-functioning lung was a source of irritation to that lung, and the coughing was a futile attempt to dislodge the tumor or increase the capacity of that lung. Once the available space on that side was squeezed to zero (again, I am surmising), the irritation stopped, since there was effectively no more lung to be irritated.

She started coughing again last week, but that seems to have stopped. Has the tumor begun to invade the other lung? Is it just sitting there idle? Or has it spread to other organs?

I don't know. I think the walks do her good, beyond the beneficial effect of exercise in general - maybe the cool morning air is soothing, maybe the semi-brisk pace is helping her to increase the capacity of the remaining lung, maybe something else is going on. I don't know.

Haley is happy. She enjoys her walks. She is not miserable. She is not curled in a ball waiting to die. She has an active life, and a fun one.

And when she dies - and she will die - I will not regret times I didn't spend with her, things I didn't do with her, places I didn't go with her. I will remember the times we spent together, the things we did together, and the places we went together. I will remember her and smile.

And I will mourn.

But not yet.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Actually I quite liked it

Just got back from seeing The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I guess I walked in expecting to be disappointed, and I was, but less than I expected to be. It is, to use a British term, a "curate's egg" - "quite good in parts."* It was consistent with all other versions of the story in that it blatantly contradicts all other versions of the story (a tradition established when the original radio show was re-recorded as a record album and then written into a novel.) It had a useless third, much like the planet Golgafrincham. And it has some new elements that are simply brilliant**, and may or may not be the product of Douglas Adams' several screenplays for the movie that would not be released until nearly four years after his death.

Some notes:

- Mos Def is good as Ford Prefect. Some of the early stuff made me think that he would be stiff, but there is a reason he looked stiff in the scenes I was seeing. (It had to do with where he had his thumb shoved.) The scenes with Ford and Zaphod together are great. And his lack of a British accent provides one of the great "new" lines in the movie.

- Sam Rockwell is fun as Zaphod Beeblebrox, although he seems at times to be channeling a certain idiot president a little too well. This is a different Zaphod than the one we're used to, by the way. Sam Rockwell plays him well, though.

- If you need to go to the bathroom during the movie, do it during the Humma Kavula scene - you won't miss anything important***, or entertaining. I was going to suggest stepping out for more popcorn during the Vogsphere scenes too, but actually you might miss one old friend here. (It isn't a blink-and-you'll-miss-it deal. He's in quite a lot of shots.)

- Pay attention to the images that flash by during the Infinite Improbability Drive sequences. The first grouping is, I think, a reference to the Platonic concept of The Forms. The images in the other sequences are also related, though I was only able to figure out two of the themes.

- If you didn't fall completely in love with Zooey Deschanel in Elf, you will here.

- The Slartibartfast/Magrathea/Earth Mark II scenes are worth the price of admission. Ever wonder why Ayers Rock looks so red? This movie explains it.

- Upset that the story has suddenly had a love theme overlaid on it? The mice didn't think much of it either.

- The Vogon soldiers' uniforms appear to be based on bondage gear, of the style worn by The Gimp in Pulp Fiction. The "scintillating jewelled scuttling crabs" and "elegant gazelle-like creatures with dewy eyes and silken coats" from Chapter 5 of the novel have been brought along on board the Vogon ships. The crabs are hard to miss.

- Watch for cameos - Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting's Diane) as a reporter presenting a story on Zaphod, The State and Reno 911's Thomas Lennon as the new, car-advertisement-narrator or game-show-announcer voice of Eddie, the shipboard computer, and Simon Jones (Arthur Dent from the radio, album, and television versions) as the pre-recorded message on Magrathea. (If you have a pair of red/blue 3-D glasses lying around, take them with you for this sequence.) Plus, as previously hinted at, a certain metal man from the original TV series is in the Vogsphere scenes.

- The POV gun seems pointless but is actually pretty neat. You're gonna want one.

- Look for the foam hand-with-finger during the Deep Thought / Ultimate Answer Revelation scene. I also want one of those.

- Trillian's costume during the fancy-dress party is a test. You have thirty seconds or so to figure out who she's dressed as. I failed, and I had the advantage of having already seen a picture of her in the costume (holding a prop that's a hint-and-a-half) in the current issue of Starlog.

- The one story contradiction that I could have done without is one of the final images in the film, not involving the main characters in any way. See if you can spot it. (Hint: it totally invalidates the plot of the fourth book in the series.)

- If you've seen the TV series, The Horse and Groom pub should look familiar. If you haven't, you should see it. It's out on DVD.

- Get the original radio recordings. Listen to them.

- Get the books. Read them.

- Go to douglasadams.com. Thank the man by contributing to his favorite charities.


I am going to see it again. The only question is when.


* Neil Gaiman says that this is an inappropriate use of the term unless I mean that the movie was, except for some pockets of goodness, overall mostly rotten. Which I don't.

**Yes, some of the new elements suck, too. I said "some new elements that are simply brilliant."

***Oh, crap. I've been thinking about this since I wrote it, and I think I've come to the conclusion that Humma Kavula may be the most important character in the story - the reason behind why Zaphod does the things he does. Things to consider:

- How and why does the Heart of Gold wind up at Viltvodel? (There is a reason. M.J. Simpson missed it, or it wasn't in the version he previewed.)
- Why does Zaphod obsessively charge to attack someone he's already publicly defeated and humiliated?
- Why did Humma Kavula run for President of the Galaxy?
- Why is Humma Kavula, a non-Jatravartid, spending his time as the leader of an apocalyptic cult of non-Jatravartids who hang out on the Jatravartid homeworld and pray for The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief, the Jatravartid bringer of doom?

Douglas Adams never completely or satisfactorily explained Zaphod's motives in either the book or the radio series. In this version of the story, could he have inadvertantly interfered with Humma Kavula's plans to become President, steal the Heart of Gold, travel to Magrathea, and do whatever the hell it is he planned to do there? And could Humma Kavula have gotten his revenge by 1.) manipulating the newly-elected Zaphod
into stealing the ship for him, 2.) supplying him with an Improbability coordinate cube that would lead him to Viltvodel instead of Magrathea, and 3.) implanting post-hypnotic suggestions that would draw Zaphod directly to him if he ever got close enough? With Douglas Adams gone, perhaps we'll never know. But now I definitely have to see this again.

Three reasons I take Haley out for a walk at 5:30 every weekday morning


Sunrise over Grove Street, Nanticoke, PA, April 29 2005 Posted by Hello


Sunrise in Alley Posted by Hello
and

Haley in Alley Posted by Hello