Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life of Spare: The Epic Sledding Adventure

In case you're just joining us for the first time, this little piece 'o' nothing web site is The Gods Are Bored, dedicated to the cause of downsized deities, buzzard worship, and plucky tales of can-do spirit! I'm Anne Johnson, your hostess, and today's sermon is definitely a p.t. of c.d.s.

We're walking back in time to the days when my daughters, Heir and Spare, were little fledglings still in the nest. Alas! *sigh* They are grown now.

You never can tell about winter weather in New Jersey. Some years we get big blizzards, some years we get a series of smaller snowfalls, and some years we don't get any snow at all.

One snowless winter occurred when Spare was about five years old. Heir would have been ten.

A certain bitterness settles on a kid who is enduring a snow-free winter. Heir and Spare, and their two best pals (sisters who were also an Heir and a Spare) were bemoaning the fact that they hadn't been sledding all year.

I don't know who suggested it. Might have been the Spare. But someone piped up and said:

"Do you think sleds would work on mud?"

I thought about it and decided that gravity should prevail, so I took all four girls to a steep hill beside the pond with one of those disc sleds that you can't steer. It was muddy. There was a little frozen water at the bottom.

Mind you, this is a hill that would be too steep and short to sled down if there was, indeed, snow. But it suggested itself for this experiment.

The youngsters piled onto the disk, and I gave them a shove. Slowly and pathetically, with many starts and stops, the disk descended the hill. And then we did it again. And again. And again. It was better than no sledding at all.

I still have that sled in the basement. I sold a few of our sleds last summer at a yard sale. Held on to the Epic Sledding Adventure one. To me it represents wanting something so bad that you're willing to use imagination to achieve it -- and you're willing to settle for a partial experience even though it might not be perfect.

It has snowed numerous times since that winter, and Spare has always gone sledding with her chums. Even into high school and beyond, they would sled on a snowy day. But the time that sticks out in my mind is the Epic Sledding Adventure, when we went sledding without the key ingredient you'd think you need to get the job done.

And speaking of key ingredient, my daughter The Spare is even now filming an ambitious web series for your enjoyment -- and after two days of rigorous (and expensive) filming, her leading man bailed. Unpaid performers will do that, with impunity. Spare is deeply disappointed but unbreakable. She's going to sled down this hill with or without snow.

There's a mere week left in Spare's fundraising efforts for her web series, Speed. She's gotten about two-thirds of the money she needs to complete the project. Reader, can you spare a quid for the Spare? Email me and I'll send you some goodies if you donate!

Spare's campaign to finance Speed, the Web Series is here. Please give! It will be on YouTube for all to see!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

She Will Never Forgive Me

I've been entertaining my six readers with tales of my daughter, Fair Spare. This is an amazing week for her. On Friday evening she will begin to film a web series that she has created with a team of writers. She is starring in it. She got a director, a camera crew, actors, extras, a set ... even a gaffer! Not sure what a gaffer does, but Spare has one!

In fairness (Spareness?), anything involving show business is a team effort. Spare's co-creators have been as hard at work as she has. They are an invigorating lot to be around. I hope they pull this off with panache!

What a long way Spare has come from the memorable day when she was a pancake.

This happened back in the 20th century, probably in the winter of 1995.

In those days I had a stand-alone pantry where I kept my spices and canned goods and such. I had baby-proofed it by twisting a rubber band around the handles that opened it. Now, all you moms and dads out there. You know how this baby-proofing stuff goes. It's Murphy's Law that, the one time when you forget the rubber bands, you also forget that the baby is in the kitchen.

Perhaps I was distracted by something happening to The Heir. I don't recall. What I vividly remember is walking into the kitchen and finding Spare sitting happily in a pool of spilled Log Cabin maple syrup. She was dipping her hand into the syrup and then into her mouth.

"Spare!" I said. "You're a pancake!"

And at that moment, just as I was congratulating myself on not keeping the Drano in the pantry, Spare missed her mouth and shoved her syrup-coated hand into her eye. This glued her eyelashes together. Not surprisingly, she began to cry.

I hope you have to trust me on this. It's a lot easier to wash maple syrup off a baby than it is to mop it up off the kitchen floor. In no time, Spare was all sparkly clean ... but my feet stuck to the floor for weeks. I triple-mopped that kitchen, and the sweetness remained.

Spare has absolutely no memory of this event. (Nor does she remember the time I tripped and spilled a pound of German potato salad on her head. She was still in her carry chair then.) Still, this little escapade has been the source of much laughter over the years. As if that poor little tot somehow set out to play "dress up as a pancake" or something!

The moral of this sermon is simple: Keep those kid-locks on stuff at all times! Like you didn't already know that.

Spare has a little fund-raising activity going on just now. For as little as a five dollar donation to her campaign to finance her web series, I'll send you some sea glass -- and there are bigger prizes! (See below) If you've already donated, email me your address, and I'll put a care package in the mail for you.

Honestly, the bulk of Spare's fund-raising to date has come from you kind readers of "The Gods Are Bored."  Please, if you haven't flung some ducats at her, consider doing it! For the right price, she and I will re-enact The Great Pancake Fiasco on your kitchen floor!

You can donate here.

Thank you, my friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cute and Short

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where this month we are featuring vignettes about my daughter The Spare! She's rare, fair, and beyond compare!

We have a nice front porch here at Chateau Johnson. It can hold a whole party of people. Front porches are wonderful that way.

There's just one itty bitty problem. The front porch at Chateau Johnson does not have screens. It's open-air.

Nice, right? Well, this is New Jersey, the Mosquito State. No sooner does the balmy, porch-sitting weather arrive than the bloodsucking winged beasties descend in droves. If we're lucky, we get a little bit of unseasonably warm weather in March, before THEY hatch. Otherwise, our porch looks good but can't be used.

We use it anyway. I plug in a box fan, and as long as it's blowing on us, THEY can't land. I learned that trick a few years ago. It works pretty well.

One day long ago, way before the idea of the fan hit me, the Johnson family was trying to enjoy a balmy spring evening together on the porch. In those days Mr. J smoked cigars, and he was puffing amiably on one. A citronella candle was our only defense from THEM, and THEY sneered at it and began their onslaught.

Spare (she probably was about four years old) looked at Mr. J, and looked at the mosquitoes, and said, "GO AWAY, MOSQUITOES! WE'VE GOT CIGARS, AND WE KNOW HOW TO USE THEM!"

I've never forgotten that.

The Spare is raising money for a web series she has written and will star in. It's called Speed, and it's a comedy about speed dating. She has an indiegogo campaign to try to raise money for the production costs.

In order to sweeten the pot of your contribution, I've created a little giveaway/contest, which you can see below. The smallest donation is $5.00! And, in addition to the Annie Giveaway, you will get to see Speed in its entirety, FREE, on YouTube, whether you donate or not!

You can go straight to Spare's campaign here.

Thank you, and may the bored gods bless you and keep you and shine Their faces upon you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

No One's Buying the Cow

Mr. J just lost his last writing gig. There is nothing on the horizon.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Very True and Lovely Story of Spare and Her Beta Cat

I can be really cold-hearted at times, especially with animals. Perhaps that's due to my farm upbringing. But the upside to that is that I fostered over 100 kittens and gave them all back to the shelter without adopting any. When I adopt a pet, I become devoted to that pet, and others have to get by on scraps ... if that.

Many, many years ago, some foul miscreant dropped a mother cat and four kittens at the pond near our house. Inevitably, in search of food, the mother brought her kittens into our neighborhood, where they were found and nurtured by Heir, Spare, and their friends.

Of the four kittens, two quickly became tame and loving. The other two stayed wild as minks and wouldn't come anywhere near us.

I dipped into my pocket at the tune of $100 (serious cash then and now) to take the two tame kittens to the no-kill shelter. You have to pay a surrender fee there.

The two wild kittens disappeared, and I thought no further about it. Until reports began to circulate from Heir and Spare that they had watched the female do the mating thing with a local tomcat. Apparently the deed took place in my back yard.

No surprise, therefore, when the female wild kitten returned with a large brood of kittens of her own. The mother cat remained wild, and her kittens were wild as well.

We had a resident cat, Alpha, who we adopted under the terms that she would be an only cat. Alpha never did play well with others. Long story short: Big ol' cat fight in the back yard, and the wild mama cat caught a nasty cut over her eye, kind of like something George Foreman got from Muhammad Ali.

Little Spare was about seven years old. If it had fur and whiskers, she loved it, unconditionally. She took a keen interest in the wretched prospects of that wild mama cat.

I told Spare, "Look. I'll round up the kittens, but I can't afford to take them to the no-kill shelter. As for the mother cat, don't feed her. Whatever you do, don't feed her. She'll just stay around, and Alpha will continue to maul her."

We trapped the kittens while they were still young and cute. My guess is that they probably got fostered at the county shelter. In the meantime, there was a strict rule: Don't feed that mother cat. Next thing we know, she'll have more babies ... and then what?

Spare fed the mama cat. Totally against my commands, she took cat kibble and laboriously tamed that wild mink of a feral female. One day I looked out in the back yard, and Spare was petting a cat that had hissed her head off at me. Then Spare picked her up. Then mama cat head-butted Spare.

Spare was, as I said, no more than seven years old.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I wasn't even mad that my daughter had disobeyed me. It was just remarkable that, being such a little kid, she had been able to tame a feral cat.

That afternoon while the girls were still at school, I went outside. The mama cat was sitting in the yard.

I said to her, "Okay, sorry about your kittens. But you can stay. You have Spare to thank, so be good to her."

The first thing the mama cat did was run laps around the yard in total joy. I've never seen anything like it. It was as if she understood what I said to her.

The second thing the mama cat did was become totally and completely devoted to The Spare. When Spare was little and thought nothing of dragging around a big cat in her vice grip arms, that cat put up with it. And when Spare got older, that cat literally followed her around like a dog.

That cat is Beta. She still lives with us. When Spare comes home, Beta sleeps with her. When Spare's not around, Beta sort of mourns for her. I'm going to say that Beta Cat is now 13 or 14 years old, arthritic, but sweet as soda pop. She likes to drink from the faucet. She waits patiently at the foot of the bed until you wake up ... and only then does she get in your face, purring and asking for breakfast.

This is the first of many charming stories I'm going to offer you about my daughter, The Spare. I'm trying to raise money for her indiegogo campaign so she can finance the comedy web series she's making for YouTube. I have some offers of goodies if you'd like to contribute to the cause. Just look at the posts below.

The link to Spare's campaign is here.

I thank you, Spare thanks you, and there's a plain jane tabby cat named Beta who will thank you as well.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Clarification on the Great Annie Giveaway and Prize Drawing!

My heart is warmed by the donations that have come in for The Spare's web series (see below).

Here is how you can play a part in the success of a budding young writer/acress:

Contribute to The Spare's indiegogo campaign here

Amounts as low as five bucks get you a prize!


Send me an email, tell me you donated, give me your address, and you'll get a care package. The items up for grabs are listed below.

If you donate $10 or more, your name will be entered in a drawing for a unique and vivid tie-dye t-shirt in your size from Woodstock Trading Company.

FYI, as of now the field vying for the t-shirt is not crowded.

This campaign runs for a few more weeks, so I'm going to devote those weeks to a loving portrait of The Spare.

Just to reiterate, Spare is working on a ten-episode web series that will be available for free views on YouTube. Whether or not you donate, you will be able to watch the show, Speed, a comedy about speed dating.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Five Dollars Gets You a Prize and a Chance To Win Big!

Oh, my dear friends. All six of you. I come to you in an hour of need. But I'm no charity case. I'm going to make you an offer you just can't refuse!

My daughter The Spare is creating a Web series called Speed. She and three of her classmates have been working on it for over a year. Now it's time to shoot the scripts, and they need a modest amount of money to complete ten episodes.

When Speed is finished, it will be a free view on YouTube.

Do any of you love The Spare?

Wow, that's a shameless plea, isn't it?

Spare has created an indiegogo campaign to raise the funds she needs to complete the project. After a few days, she and her colleagues have gotten a number of small donations -- not one of them from a friend, family member, or acquaintance of The Spare.

That can make a girl feel pretty doggone lowdown blue.

But wait! You, yes YOU, can help The Spare and get something for your trouble! Let's call this the Great Annie Giveaway and Prize Drawing!


Donate $5.00 to Spare's indiegogo campaign and get a magick item from the Shrine of the Mists! This could be any one of the following, your choice:
*beach glass
*Marcellus shale
*quartz crystal
*Mardi Gras beads left over from the Mummers Parade
*pebbles from the briny Atlantic
*random minerals

All items have been lovingly dedicated to the Bored Gods and the faeries and will come with that dedication attached.

Donate $10.00 to the Spare's indiegogo campaign and get two magick items from the Shrine of the Mists (see above) PLUS

You will be entered to win a neon tie-dye t-shirt from Woodstock Trading Company in your size!

This is a Woodstock shirt. They are done exclusively for the store by local New Jersey tie-dye artists.

Okay, that's the GREAT ANNIE GIVEAWAY AND PRIZE DRAWING! Everyone gets something, and one person will get a fabulous, brand-new t-shirt!

PLEASE NOTE: The item below has SOLD, but is left here to show a mother's devotion to her daughter's cause.

The donor of $100 to The Spare's indiegogo campaign received an authentic Philadelphia Mummers Parade Comic Brigade suit, complete.

My email is luvbuzzards@yahoo.com

And that indiegogo campaign is  https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/speed-the-web-series


Monday, February 02, 2015

Interview with a Goddess: Imbolc 2015

Greetings from "The Gods Are Bored" on Imbolc, the festival day that honors Queen Brighid the Bright!

And what do you think? I took the day off from work and cooked the Snow Day turkey, and would you believe it? Queen Brighid has stopped by for a steaming plate! Please give a warm, wonderful, Gods Are Bored welcome to Goddess Brighid!

Anne: Thank you so much for stopping by, Great Goddess! What an honor to have you here on Your feast day!

Brighid: How nice of you to invite Me to your Imbolc dinner table.

Anne: I praise and worship You all the time, since You are my Patroness Goddess and the Guardian of my altar. But just lately I've been thinking about You even more.

Brighid: Why is that?

Anne: I got a new polyester blanket for ten bucks at Ross Dress for Less. I even got a senior citizen discount on it -- my first ever!

Brighid: That's my sensible Annie!

Anne: Here it is. Feel it!

Brighid: Oh! How did they get it that soft?

Anne: Completely synthetic fabric! Nothing natural about this blanket at all. I have no idea what technology went into making it, but my soul, isn't it just the softest, most gooey blankie you've ever touched?

Brighid: Best in the apparent world, most certainly. And I like that shade of green. There's not a single plant in all the world that is that shade of green, but it's pretty.

Anne: Indeed! And I've been sleeping like a buzzard under this artificial textile. I wish my grandfather was alive to see it! He spent his whole career in the synthetic fabric industry. I'll bet this would fascinate him. Anyway, when I pull its buttery softness around me, I think of Your mantle that you spread upon the world, back when it was a place of chaos and savage beasts.

Brighid: Yes, My silver mantle. To this day some people call Me Brighid of the Mantle.

Anne: That was a straight-up swell gesture of You, Goddess. What would the world have been like without Your blessed silver mantle? Unfit for humans, at the very least. Every time I cuddle up under my new gooey fake fabric blankie, I think of Your magic mantle and how it tamed the world. Thank You for doing that.

Brighid: You're welcome, Anne. Thanks for remembering.

Anne: In my mind I picture You spreading Your mantle out. Like, see how I lay my totally artificial blanket softly over my bed? I imagine You doing it that way. Or, like a mother covers up her sleeping child. Or, how a camper lays down a ground cloth before erecting a sturdy tent. Ummm.....

Brighid: Go ahead, I can read your mind anyway.

Anne: ... how we lay blankets down before a picnic to deter the pismires.

Brighid: You speak so eloquently! My praise and worship team has always valued intelligent women.

Anne: It's nice to feel valued by your deity. In some praise and worship systems, women don't really feel the love.

Brighid: And that's a crying shame! You should go door-to-door, Anne.

Anne: I wouldn't presume. But I'm glad You call me Yours, Goddess.

Brighid: Forever and always.

Anne: Would you like a serving of blueberry cobbler for the road? Nothing artificial about the blueberries!

Brighid: Thank you, and thank you for the altar ... are those vulture feathers?

Anne: Yes.... ummmmmm ......

Brighid: Oh, don't be embarrassed! No liturgy, no worries! If you want your wand to have the feathers of a carrion-eating scavenger, that's fine by Me. I will continue to bless your home and hearth.

Anne: I love you, Queen Brighid the Bright.

Brighid: And I love you too, Anne. All is well.