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Monday, November 10, 2014

Nightcrawler (2014): Good or Bad?



     I saw it this weekend. Thought it was pretty good. At least the concept was a little different. An ambitious young man tries his hand at the seedy side of crime journalism. What did you guys think? Google +

How To Breakdown A Tent In Less Than 2 Minutes!

     

On my last camping trip to Jordan Lake in Raleigh North Carolina, I decided to record a video of the only thing I dislike about camping. The fishing here is always pretty good and who doesn't love being around the campfire at night. But as much as I enjoy the experience, in the back of my mind I always dread breaking the tent down and packing up!



     One day I guess I might graduate from the primitive tent camping to a more convenient method but for now I guess I will suck it up and deal with putting away that dang thing! So this video is here to remind me how fast and easy it is to accomplish!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Close Enough To Perfect For Me

     My brother and I ease our bass boat through the cool shade of flooded cedar and cypress trees. The water is an inky black with green sprinkles of duck weed dotting the surface. The symphony of cicada rise and fall in the backdrop of a beautiful spring morning on Santee Lake.

     My cell phone buzzes then rings and I marvel at the coverage in such a remote area. "Hello?" I answer as I slowly pull in my fishing pole. I am careful. One phone in the bottom of the river has taught me a lesson.


     My wife answers and it's easy to detect the panic in her voice, "Garry, I took Earl to the doctor with his back problem. The doc gave him a shot and I brought him home. As soon as I put him on the ground he gave a yelp and started dragging his hind end like he's paralyzed!"

     Let me explain, Earl is our then eight year old dachshund with a history of back problems. An ailment to which this breed is very susceptible. When he was just a puppy we noticed he whined a lot and was very stiff when we picked him up. He sometimes looked like he was walking on tiptoes. The pain was not constant as best we could tell, but periodic. Under a vet's care we had managed his condition and most times he seemed to be a happy, healthy, active doggy.



     "Where are you now?" I ask. "Back with the vet. He's saying Earl probably has spinal cord damage! Garry I don't want him to suffer!" was her choked reply. She knew I felt the same way having discussed the matter in the past. 

     "Then we should put him to sleep. What does the vet think?" I ask. I hear her talking to the vet in the background. "He wants to give Earl a few days to see what happens and then decide" she states in a trembling voice.

   
 I didn't think I could endure putting him through that. I wanted him out of pain.  He was taken to the vet that morning after wailing and panting in agony from back pain the entire night. It seemed wrong. In the back of my mind I feared he would never again be out of pain. "Tell the vet to put him to sleep." I coldly reply. This was a time to be humane and decisive, or so I thought.

     "Are you sure?' she asks. And in that question I hear a heart breaking. I feel the blood drain from my face as I reply, "Yes".  And with that she hangs up. Silence on the line. Birds sing cheerfully in the trees all around, in sharp contrast to the weight, the very heavy weight of regret that drapes from my shoulders.

     Ten minutes go by and I have played out the scenario of what is taking place at the vet's office over and over. The phone rings again. "Hello?", my voice is a little shaky. This time it is the booming voice of the vet that answers. "Mr. Rackley your wife wanted me to call and explain a possible option for Earl. There is an animal hospital in Charleston that treats spinal cord injuries but it is critical that he get there within the next 4-5 hours." Now I am silent, wheels turning furiously in my head. What to do?


     "And the chances of him being mobile again?" I ask. "The hospital says possibly seventy percent but they can't be sure until he gets there. And he needs to get there immediately.  I've already called them for you." he replies. Even through the phone I can feel the veterinarian rooting for Earl. He wants me to agree and I wonder how much my wife has influenced him.

     "Then lets go for it." I say with reluctance overpowered by relief that today my dog will not perish by the hand of his master. "Tell my wife I will meet her there!" I exclaim. Renewed hope surges and I am ready to do battle with the little fellow.

     That was 5 years ago.....I glance down at my now 13 year old double dappled dachshund, Earl. He lays stretched out contentedly at my feet as I write this. Earl, a bona fide member of our family. The source of much happiness and not a little grief to the lives of my wife and I.

     Unlike many Hallmark movies that portray the perfect happy ending to a near tragedy, this is real life. You see, the operation was not successful. Earl can only walk a few feet before he has to drag his rear end around. But due to his paralysis his back pain is gone. What a blessing! And you know what else? I don't think he minds dragging around one iota. I think he would say it's a small trade off for living nearly pain free after long years of suffering. He now has a custom built handicap doggie cart made just for him and he can fly in that thing!

     To this day I occasionally look back on that initial decision to end Earl's life. A few people have told me they would have done the same thing, though for selfish reasons, such as cost and inconvenience.  My response was based on love, on that I can assure you. So what unseen forces were in place to save a little dog's life that day? That, dear reader, is for you to decide.


     Recounting the event brings me back to a song performed by the group  Alabama from the mid 80's. The song entitled Close Enough To Perfect For Me. The title delightfully describes that dog and this ending.










I've got my eye on you!
   
   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Annabelle (2014): A Brief Movie Review


Are you afraid of dolls? Come on, admit it, you are among friends here. I'm not a fan of dolls staring at me as I fall asleep. Somehow I instinctively know they are somewhat resentful as they scheme and bide their time for........




Annabelle, a prequel to The Conjuring, begins with a Manson cult style home invasion in the home of expecting couple Mia and John. The subsequent skirmish transfers a demon to a recently acquired doll aptly named Annabelle. The tone of the story is reminiscent of the movie Rosemary's Baby though not as intense and is relatively weaker.

I sometimes got the feeling that a more convincing performance from Mia (Annabelle Wallis), would have made the movie more plausible, though she did have great screen presence. There are some good jump scenes though most were spoiled if you watched the trailer.

All in all I've seen worst but only hardcore horror fans may enjoy it. Luckily I am.

Grade C



Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Night High School Football

     I really love high school football. The crisp night air and crowd enthusiasm is infectious. 
     The experience is made even better when my  South Columbus Stallions are winning!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fanciful Answers To Phony Questions

     
Since you have
unwittingly stumbled across my newly created blog, I'd like to take the opportunity to share some questions from readers. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of the blog and it's creator.

     Seems To Me... doesn't currently have any followers. It's
questionable that any human has read a single word from it besides my wife and brother, bless their hearts. So. I will concoct some phony questions that I think should be asked and answer them to the best of my ability. That's not dumb dear reader, just merely foolish!!! 
                                   



     Question: Why did you name this blog Seems To Me...?


     Answer: This was the opening chorus line from a song named Walk Away, by the James Gang, a 1970's rock group primarily led by singer/guitarist Joe Walsh. Joe later became a critical member of the Eagles. This simultaneously reveals my advanced age and poor taste in music!
     
     Question: What's with the subtitle Ramblings of a Southern Southpaw?


     Answer: Despite conventional wisdom to select a singular subject, I decided to blog about random thoughts or events as they weaved their way through everyday life. I'm left handed and from the south (South Carolina to be exact). No, it's not true that murder cases in the south are harder to solve because all southern DNA matches.

    


     Question: I hope you are a good writer because I've seen that profile pick. Know what I'm sayin'?


     Answer: Sighs, we all have our crosses to bear. I do on occasion get my facts mixed up. In fact, I used to think socialism was partying and a mime was a birth defect. As for looks, yeah, I got a hairline receding faster than Al Gore's polar ice caps and a nose that looks as if I'm eating a perpetual banana, but whatcha gonna do, right?

     Question: Why would I read this garbage?   
     Answer: I know that standing in line for a flue shot or being put on hold with your cable provider is more entertaining, but you ought to throw a dog a bone once in a while. 


     Question: What's your politics?

     Answer: Oh a trouble maker huh? I'll just say this: you'll never find me dropping my daughter off at Planned Parenthood on my way to an Obama fund raiser, then selling my guns to the government before attending the wedding of Mac and Bubba.



     Now that half the world has been alienated, it's time to get to work on the other half. Visit when you can. Maybe you'll find a nugget that'll make you chuckle. Who knows, you might even glean a bit of useful information. 

     Ya'll come back now, hear?



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill - A Book Review

   
     Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill was published in 2000, and I just happened to run across it recently. What peaked my interest was the fact that Joe is the son of Stephen King. Being a long time fan of King, I was shocked that I had not read or heard that his son was also a writer. And an accomplished one at that. Without using the name King on it to sell books. Impressive. Joe Hill is a multiple award winner for his short fiction. Who knew???

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Maze Runner (2014)

     I went to see The Maze Runner Saturday afternoon. A young man (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in a vast maze with no memory of his past. Other boys are there with the same experience and the story revolves around revealing how and why they are there.

     It reminded me somewhat of Lord Of The Flies. The story line and acting was strong enough to hold my attention throughout. For this sci-fi thriller I give it a solid B.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Auto Maintenance and Watch Batteries




Here I am on a Saturday morning at a local Firestone Complete Auto Care shop.  The odor of rubber with a hint of oil permeates the waiting area.  Lackadaisical customers trade glances between their electronic devices, the TV (showing a competitive round of women's professional golf), and the bustling highway just outside a huge plate glass window on this bright and sunny day.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Home Screen Design


   
      I recently upgraded my smart phone to the Samsung Galaxy S5. You may notice by the picture that it looks quite different from the display in the store. One of the first things I do is customize the home screen...