mollyringle: (fruit)
My mom called me the other day to tell me about this Underworld-ish place she suddenly remembered: the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno, California.

A Sicilian immigrant almost a century ago hand-carved rooms and passageways in the hardpan beneath the thin farmland soil, and used it as a living space, a cool refuge from the hot California summer sun. Down there he also planted several fruit trees that could receive sunlight through skylight-type openings above. Fruit trees underground, people! It's my Underworld! It's even designed after the ancient Roman catacombs, so, properly Mediterranean.

Amusing addendum: my mom lived in Fresno in her teen years, and found out about this place when she was out with some friends one night. The guys said to the girls, "We're going to show you this cool place, but you have to tell NO ONE." At the time, the Underground Gardens were just fenced-off territory with "no trespassing" signs around it, so they had to sneak in with flashlights. Apparently most people in the city had no idea it was out there; you can't see much from ground level.

So my mom was late getting home after exploring the place, and her parents demanded to know where she'd been and why she hadn't called. (This was the 1950s, well before cell phones.) She finally broke down and told them about it, begging them not to get anyone in trouble. Her dad (my grandfather) declared, "Daughter, I sell real estate insurance. I know every square foot of this area, and I know there is no such place. Where were you REALLY?"

And that forever remained his final word on it. He never believed her. (He died more than 20 years ago.) But now you can tour the gardens, which really do exist! :)
mollyringle: (Yaquina Head lighthouse)
So my mom dug this up in the grounds of our family beach house recently, buried in a teeny plastic lipstick-tube-like container. It would seem my sister Peg and I made a time capsule, which I do not remember doing at all.

Transcript if you can't read the photo:

Good job! If you liked finding this, write your own note somewhere and bury it. Put the map in the envelope w/ the others.
Molly & Peg Ringle
Aug. '88
P.S. If this is Camille, thanx for the idea

I am left with many questions, such as:

a) Who is Camille?
b) What map? What envelope?
c) 13-year-old self, why didn't you say something actually interesting if you were going to the trouble of a time capsule?
d) No cash or treasure or anything? You cheapskate.

mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)
One of the nerdy mythology books I have around is this one:

And one of its appendices includes translations of various writing found on bits of papyrus from ancient Greek times. The magical spells in particular interested me (these are part of the Greek Magical Papyri, if you're curious), because they are exactly as bizarre and specific as anything Willow ever whipped up on a Buffy episode, or any Herbology or Potions extra credit Hermione ever undertook. For example, check out the instructions for preparing the Spell To Make Aphrodite Attract One's Lover:

* * *

Offering to the star of Aphrodite: A white dove's blood and fat, untreated myrrh, and parched wormwood. Make this up together as pills and offer them to the star on pieces of vine wood or on coals. And also have the brains of a vulture for the compulsion, so that you may make the offering. And also have as a protective charm a tooth from the upper right jawbone of a female ass or of a tawny sacrificial heifer, tied to your left arm with Anubian thread.

* * *

Even in the age of Ebay, a person would be hard pressed to collect all that stuff. I, for one, am all out of Anubian thread and have no idea where to get more. Do you think dental floss would work?

But that spell is less scary than the All-Purpose Magical Prayer to Selene (who is identified with Hecate here). In that one, you're supposed to carve a three-faced Hecate on a lodestone, then dip it "in the blood of one who has died a violent death." Yikes. Is that just a polite way of saying "sacrifice someone for this spell"? Or are you expected to find a recently-violently-dead person lying around by chance?

"Honey? Do we know anyone who died a violent death today? I need it for a spell."
"Let me check the pantry. Nothing here...oh wait! I found one by the back door. That was lucky."
mollyringle: (Powerpuff - by Xenia)
I can't talk much about Les Misérables on Facebook anymore because people are starting to make fun of me for it over there. Luckily I still have this LJ, where no one particularly cares one way or the other. So--for those who might care, and for my own records:

This site is both cool and funny. It's a collection of the various illustrations that have been done for print editions of Les Mis over the decades, some pretty, some ugly, some very confusing. The site's captions have been giving me the occasional LOLs. For example:

Cosette dines at the Thénardiers with either the family cat or Gollum
Valjean considers calling the anti-graffiti hotline
and, perhaps my favorite,
Grand Prize Winner, World's Shortest And Least Effective Barricade

I have also lately learned that there is an anime version of Les Mis (Shōjo Cosette or Shoujo Cosette) that runs for like 25 hours (52 episodes) and, as far as I've gotten in it, includes more fluffy puppies than the original Hugo. But it's cute and sometimes oddly accurate and might be a good way to introduce kids to the story. (It probably gets more violent later--barricades and stuff, you know. I haven't gotten that far yet, but I can't see how they'd get around it.)
mollyringle: (lightning)
Dudes, you've got to read this:

I have to post this article because it's fascinating, hilarious, and terrifying all at once. Interestingly, the comments on it seem to agree with my instinct: the Strid, the innocent-looking creek in the UK that drowns everyone who touches it, is the scariest. That's precisely because it is so innocent-looking. It's also because, jeez, English landscapes aren't supposed to be deadly! Every other continent, sure--no one's surprised to find Africa featuring twice on this list--but England? Where a gentle 1,000-foot-tall hill is a mighty mountain, and serious weather means a foot of snow? Regardless, it houses The Stream That Will Suck You Under To Unknown Depths and Drown You and They Will Never Find Your Body.


Mind you, I did LOL later in the article when they refer back to "jumping the Pleasant Brook of Death." There is comedy gold throughout here. Dark-comedy gold.
mollyringle: (Parrish stars)
Does anyone else experience phantom phone buzz?

I tend to leave my cell phone on vibrate, so as to avoid having a call wake up a sleeping toddler, or chirp loudly in the public library. But that means I've become susceptible to thinking the phone is vibrating when it actually isn't. The car rumbles over a rough patch of pavement, someone scoots a piece of furniture, two pieces of fabric rub against each other--each time, I snap to attention and check the phone, thinking maybe someone called. Ugh. Nope, generally not.

Phantom phone buzz, I tell you. It's a real thing.
mollyringle: (kodama)
It isn't like me to post something creepy and sad with pretty much no hint of "cool" or "funny." But this is bizarrely riveting, and, initially, scary enough to make "The Blair Witch Project" look like the silly little joke that it is. As the clip's info explains: "The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year."


So. These are two segments of a short Japanese TV documentary, each about 10 minutes. (Warning: not highly graphic, but certainly disturbing content.)

When I watched the first section -
- I was mostly just creeped out.

But after moving on and watching the second section -
- I settled down to a general sadness, and a great fondness for the kindly geologist with this strange and vital job of sweeping the forest to prevent suicides when he can, and find the ones he couldn't prevent.

Since we're on the subject, I'd like to share the wise words of Ed Chigliak from "Northern Exposure":
"Suicide's not the Indian way. Don't go where you're not invited. Know what I mean?"
A good rule. Make it yours too, my friends.

Edit: For further reading, this blogger traveled to Aokigahara and wrote a detailed account of his journey, complete with some photos and videos. A very chilling and sobering place indeed, and a brave traveler.
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
The other week my older sister Kate, who knows some people in movie production, emailed me to say, "Here's your chance to send naked pictures of yourself to Tobey Maguire!"

What she meant was, they're shooting a film here in Seattle, currently titled The Details, in which Tobey plays an OB/GYN, and they needed photos of newborns and new parents in the hospital to decorate Dr. Tobey's bulletin board on set. Kate had a bunch of me, Steve, and baby Toby (how about that name coincidence?), so with my permission, she sent a few to them. (None of them were actual naked photos, I hasten to add, though when you're wearing a hospital gown and giving birth, that's always a risk.)

Today Kate received confirmation that two of our photos--one of me with baby, and one of Steve with baby--are on the bulletin board and are official Set Dressing! She sent a photo of the bulletin board, and yep, there we are. I don't know a) if I'm allowed to show you the Set Dressing Bulletin Board photo, otherwise I would, or b) if you'll even be able to see it in the finished movie. But I thought it was a fun piece of news. My son made it into a movie when he was barely one minute old!

As it happens, my regular babysitter is currently working on that film too, as a costume assistant. My degrees of Kevin Bacon are skyrocketing lately.

This all makes it sound like I totally know people in Hollywood. I totally don't, and I don't even really know people who know people. Which is why such small events, like becoming Set Dressing, make me happy.
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
Congratulations to [ profile] spun_silver, winner of the most recent perfume sample giveaway! Stay tuned for the next one.

In the meantime, the intrigue of peeking into someone else's life...

On a walk with my son this morning, I spied a scrap of paper with handwritten lines on it, in an alley. Being of a nosy nature, I picked it up. It's one piece of a torn-up greeting card, a fragment from along the spine of the card, and the writing is on both front and back, so we have three incomplete sections of this note. (No writing on the card's front.) They are as follows:

(inside card, left side)
my thoughts
you as you
this transition
a new life
thank you for
and support

(inside card, right side)
dearly but
forever be (forever is crossed out and replaced by "always")
friend and
her heart.
Brad, you
respected by
have been
mentor to

(back of card)
cial girls to (I assume the first word was "special")
They love you
all of their
of hearts, my
ands(?) you all deeply (not sure on the first incomplete word)
and experiences
to my dear
best to you all
have helped
her second home

Hmm. So, my first assumption was that Debbie's leaving Brad, and some kids, daughters evidently, are involved somehow. But now I'm not sure. Maybe it could just be a congratulatory note on some event, from a former girlfriend or just an old friend?

In any case, let's all keep Brad and Debbie in our thoughts today.
mollyringle: (winters jewels)
We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated "Wuthering Heights (Penguin Classics)" by Emily Brontë have also purchased "The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection: More than 1000 of the Greatest Classics". For this reason, you might like to know that "The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection: More than 1000 of the Greatest Classics" is now available. You can order yours for just $7,989.50 ($5,423.80 off the list price) by following the link below.

(Boldface mine.)

Um...maybe some other time, thanks.

(In other news: it snowed! And it's very cold. But pretty.)
mollyringle: (Gothic Choir)
Dude. My mom recently collected old family stories from her side, via various far-flung cousins, and this one stands out. To say the least.

The Nolans were a large family of Irish Catholic immigrants living in the Midwest in the 1870s, and were devastated when the mother died of illness. In accordance with her deathbed wish, her daughter Rosa willingly joined a Catholic girls' school in Iowa. After that, at about age 16, feeling that the best way to help her bereaved father and brothers was to pray for them and serve God, she joined a convent.

Her dad and brothers didn't entirely like this idea, as this was the type of convent where once you got in, you didn't talk to the outside world anymore. In fact, the nuns enforced the rule so strictly that when Rosa died some time later, nobody informed her family. Her father only found out by traveling to the convent and asking about her. The nuns' explanation was something to the effect that Rosa belonged to God/The Church now and not to the world.

Well, the dad did what any good father would. He went home and collected his sons, and they all drove the wagon back to the convent under cover of night, snuck into the cemetery, dug up Rosa's coffin, and took it home to rebury it, allegedly somewhere on the farm.

As you can imagine, Nolan family feelings for Catholicism after that point weren't of the fondest, but apparently several did remain with the church.

But seriously. Dude. Grave robbing. I am so going to write a short story about this.
mollyringle: (Minas Tirith - John Howe)
Here's an mp3 of me reading aloud Tolkien's poem "Errantry, which was all [ profile] kalquessa's idea.

Text of "Errantry" here.

So that's where the name "Dumbledore" came from, eh?

By the way, does Spike call Wesley "Percy" after Percy Weasley? Both Wes and Percy were pretty proud of being "head boy".

Happy weekend!
mollyringle: (Buffy - drive like a spaz)
This morning I glanced at one of the jade plants growing in our garden window, and immediately did a double-take, because there was something huge and puffy and yellow between the plant pot and the metal bowl it sits in. I looked closer, and holy crap it's two gigantic bright yellow mushrooms! Seriously, the cap of each one was probably five inches across, and they had sprung up overnight.

"Cut them up and put them on salad," my husband said. Ha ha.

Awash in paranoid thoughts about inhaling spores and contracting deadly lung disorders, I took the plant outside, dumped the soil (which, except for the top, was coated with yellow spots all over), bleached and washed the pot, and repotted the jade with fresh soil. I also vowed to myself not to water the plant so often. Fungi like it moist, and the jade, being a succulent, probably can handle dry soil.

Then later today I Googled "yellow mushroom houseplant". And...oops. No need to freak. Apparently the shrooms are harmless, cute, lovable, and probably even healthy for the soil. Sorry, mushrooms. I overreacted. Next time I'll let you stay.

This message paid for by the Fungi Special Interest Groups of America.
mollyringle: (kodama)
Way #8271 to mess with someone's head:

If you see a new neighbor moving into a house, stop and say in a superstitious voice, "So the old Jenkins place finally sold, huh? You guys spent a night there yet? Um, no reason. Well, never mind, I'm sure it'll be fine. Good luck."

(Surely you wouldn't have friended me if you didn't want these glimpses into my head.)
mollyringle: (tree by water - by pear_icons)
A question for those who know how hospitals work (or spend a lot of time watching House or Scrubs):

When a nurse gives a terminal cancer patient his requested and allowed dose of morphine to ease pain, does she record the time and dosage on his chart, or somewhere else? Or do the computers hooked up to him sense and record the dose, or what?

Also: if a patient dies of an accidental overdose of morphine, what are the odds that the hospital would fire the nurse responsible but not tell the family the real cause of death? For instance, might they--to avoid investigation and lawsuits--tell the family that the patient died in his sleep of his terminal cancer? Yes, of course it's wrong, but does it happen? I'm figuring, in this scenario, the nurse might not protest, because if they did make the facts public, she could lose her nursing license; whereas by simply having to leave this particular hospital, she could still get work as a nurse elsewhere.

And yes, this is just for a story; no need to worry.

Thanks in advance!
mollyringle: (Monkeemen)
Quotes from conversation lately, recorded mostly for my own amusement...

MOLLY: I'd rather go to Disneyland than Vegas.

STEVE: There's a race to the bottom.

MOLLY: At least Disneyland's motives are purer.

STEVE: Are they, really?

MOLLY: Okay, then at least there's less prostitution in Disneyland.

BOTH: (after a pause) Is there, really?


STEVE takes off wedding ring in preparation for washing dishes, and makes dramatic point of putting it down on counter, as if renouncing entire marriage.

STEVE: I've had it with this crap. I ain't your baby-daddy, and I'm going on Maury Povich to prove it!
mollyringle: (Takeshi-trauma-by pear_icons)
My younger sister Peggy reports the following from Portland, Oregon:

They have a chestnut tree along the street outside their house. Every year about this time, Asian families (and only Asians) come by with plastic bags to collect the chestnuts. She sees them out there as early as 7:30 a.m., when she's leaving for work. The other day, from the house, she could see over their high fence that their yellow recycle bins, which were out on the parking strip, were being flung in the air repeatedly against the tree, causing chestnuts to rain down. Many giggles accompanied this activity. And this morning, at rush hour, a tiny Asian man (she estimates 5'1" and 110 lbs) with a bucket and gloves was darting into the busy street to pick up nuts, waiting on the center line while cars zoomed by, and darting back across the lanes to get the chestnuts, over and over.

Now that is some commitment to stir-fry.

P.S. Check my userinfo and sign the brick wall, dudes.

P.P.S. Edited to add: Peggy also informs me, just now, that when you do a Google image search on "pretty goth" (not in quotes, just the separate words), the fifth picture that comes up In slightly Goth makeup for Halloween once. Uh...whoa. Hehe.
mollyringle: (Powerpuff - by Xenia)
What can make you creep out of the house in your nightgown and slippers, with a baby in one arm and a camera in the other hand, at 8 a.m.? Wildlife photo ops in the city of Seattle, naturally!

Sure, they're filthy scavengers, but I've always liked raccoons. They're clever and bold and cute, and social too. There were at least two this morning, trotting around our yard and deck together, chittering to each other.

Incidentally, Steve once overheard his coworkers discussing pet doors, the type you cut into your house doors to let cats and dogs in or out. One of the people cut in, with annoyance, "Might as well call it a raccoon door." What's great about that line is that you don't even have to ask, "So, what happened?" Hee.

Someday, remind me to tell you about the time a possum got in my bedroom. No, I'm not kidding.
mollyringle: (Dirk - crayons)
On today's episode of "Dude, That Is NOT Cool":

I have Zach on the changing table, first thing in the morning. Yawning, I pick up the washcloth sitting there to dry him off, and a nickel-sized dark brown spider skitters out of it and climbs up onto Zach's shirt. Zach does not notice, fortunately. Meanwhile, I am fully jolted awake. My considerable need to keep spiders off the baby outweighs my also considerable need to keep from touching spiders, ever; and I flick it off. It disappears under the table. I don't give chase, figuring it might at least kill some ants under there. But, dude. Not cool.

In other baby news, we got him a Jumperoo, which seems to entertain him. But he only actually jumps in it for about a quarter of the time; the rest of the time, he stands there and watches me forlornly, until I come over and take notice of him, at which point he breaks into the joyous smile shown in the photo. Silly kid. But when he does get into bouncing mode, he's pretty stoked.

As to my previous observation about '80s fashions returning, witness basketball players wearing leg-warmers. OK, so they're tights, and they're supposedly not a fashion statement but a way to keep the muscles warm. Still, '80s leg-warmers also started as a way for dancers to keep their muscles warm, before they spun off into fluffy pink places. So.

Edited to add one more bit of linkage: If you, like me, had no earthly idea what this "Snakes on a Plane" stuff was all about, this article explains it nicely. Awesome. I get it now. I'm grinning. (Turns out it *isn't* about that early scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the pet snake of the pilot slithers onto Indy in the tiny plane. Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?)


mollyringle: (Default)

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