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01.09.02 12:27 p.m.

No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.


 -Booker T. Washington  




Unusual Frequent Occurrence
Last night, Melissa, Evan, M and I went to Pine Bush. This was to be Emily's first experience with the town at night. She was maintaining giggling skepticism, but I think she wanted to believe.
On the way to Pine Bush, I was remarking to Emily that the supersized Pepsi she had ordered me was a far too much beverage for one man. She stated, "Well, you can drink it on the way home. Wait! There is no way home." She was referring to the fact that this excursion was entirely to be in the car and thus we would not be getting out and returning to the car. However, we heard the ominous words of this obvious space mutant destroyer. So we teased that she was an alien for much of the night. More so when she thought she saw a sign that said "UFO Call 1-800-***-****." To her credit it was very close to that.
We drove around for a while, sky watching. Technically, sky watching is illegal in Orange County because of the local airports. However, I am in Dutchess County, with a few airports and no such injunction. I am not playing conspiracy theorist, but I think is it a dreadful law to have on the books and an abusive cop could arrest one for looking up while answering a question (this only said because I knew a cop in high school who informed my class that cops would find something to arrest you on if they didn't like you, i.e., it's illegal to spit on a cop and when you speak, miniscule particles of saliva leave your mouth, thus speaking to a cop is equal to spitting). It was very cold, so we were happier in the car.
Well, we were until we decided to roll down the windows to get better shots. According to the author of the book I just read about Pine Bush, the short-wave radiation put out by the objects would screw with the emulsion of the film and prevent a clear shot. This is, of course, ignoring the concept of a "digital camera" and the fact that this woman also believes the alien's underground cave where they mine zirconium, titanium, and beryllium is guarded by mothmen and bigfoots, so we may want to bust out the iodized table salt when considering such matters.
Emily spotted a strange blinking light that appeared out of nowhere and returned there about a minute later, despite our best attempts to get closer to it. We don't know exactly what it was, but it was so small and far away that I am not sure it should be considered a sighting. Still, I am very impressed with Emily's eye, as I didn't see the light at first.
So, we proceeded to drive. Evan was videotaping out of the passenger's side window and I was taking random photos of the forest in hopes of seeing tesla orbs (which, honestly, I thought were supposed to be in pictures because I see them so frequently). It is possible that a digital camera is not the ideal way to capture them though.
At 10:53, approximately, we were driving by a forest. I looked to my right so see an object about 300 feet away rise up smoothly. It had three lights in the form of a triangle and thus I am inclined to state that the object seemed triangular. Though this is just an estimate, the object seemed about 70 feet on each side. Emily thinks it was isosceles, but it may just be the perspective. When it was about 100 feet up, it hovered. Then it turned slightly, lowering one of its edges in the process. At no time did we hear any sound coming from it and it most certainly was not an airplane or a helicopter. The lights never blinked or dimmed. When we turned onto a road to get closer to it, it vanished. We did not see it disappear, it should be noted. However, we searched the sky from all sides of that road and could see nothing.
I was calm about this first sighting, though I was a bit self-satisfied that Evan and Emily saw the object. Melissa did not, because she was driving. However, she has had far more exciting experiences in Pine Bush, so we won't pity her unduly. Emily was scared, but excited. This was definitely adventure. Though she was worried she would return home to find an alien in her bedroom croaking, "You know too much." Or, perhaps, "There is no way home!" Evan was a little frightened, perhaps. If he was, it would be more because of what the object meant than anything it held.
I would like you to please note, for the record, that I am not saying I saw an alien ship from another planet. I am not saying bug-eyed beings from beyond were driving this - I am guessing - vehicle. Nor am I saying that I saw an experimental government aircraft. I don't know what it was that I saw, aside from the description provided herein. I would guess that it was a mechanical object and it did behave as though it knew we were driving by, thus demonstrating something like sentience. So, I essentially saw a flying object I could not identify.

$10 on eBay
After we had dropped Emily off at home, the rest of us went to the theater at which Evan worked. Evidently, they had the trailer for Queen of the Damned that Melissa and I were dying to see and of "Ice Age", the movie that Melissa's sister was involved in making. Also, just so I can set this up for a later adventure, the employees repute it to be very haunted. We have every intention of investigating this claim in detail one night, after hours.
Evan threaded the projector and what not. Melissa and I grabbed seats (well, it was after hours and thus empty. Still, seats needed to be procured in advance) and mocked the advertising slides. Finally, it played through once. Just without sound. And without sound, it looked like it would suck sundry moose parts. Vampires are supposed to be attractive. Aaliyah was a very attractive woman, only not in this movie. Have some respect for the dead. Also, Akasha? White. As in, so white Lestat thinks she is made of translucent marble. Aaliyah? Black. Which works for any flashbacks, as Akasha was Egyptian. But very, very old vampires are to be so lacking in pigment that they are compared with stone. But we can let this pass, because I like Aaliyah. The tagline "All she wants is hell on earth" cannot be forgiven. Akasha wanted to make paradise. Granted, she wanted to do it by killing nine out of ten men and a lot of lame bloodsuckers, but hell was never her intent. Next, why are there Matrix movies? That shows a decided lack of class and the great appeal of Anne Rice's vamps is that they drip with class. Okay, enough pathetic fan-boy ranting.
We moved to a different theater to view Melissa's sisters movie. Which, I am sorry, seems lame. The premise is that four mammalian friends, one who is carnivorous, venture north during the ice age to return a human baby to its family. No, I don't think the Mouse makes this. It doesn't seem that good, I am sorry to say.
Evan also treated us to some extra trailers. We were watching, mocking some odd movie that won hordes of awards, when the trailer for Goodfellas began. I was stunned. How cool. After that one ended, the trailer for Chinatown began. This was a good trailer reel. Evan revealed to us that he purchased the reel for $10 on eBay. I thus love eBay.
Thus ends our night.

Six Inches of Snow in Poughkeepsie
A few days ago, Emily came over to get snowbound at my house. This, honestly, was her plan. Not a bad plan, I might add, as I would want company or I would have lost the use of my legs through excessive coding.
Largely, we sat on my bed and played my new copy of Earthbound. I lent the original to Nick, a few months before the Jen debacle. As such, I never again saw it. Bastard. It's an addictive game. It is an RPG, but it is kind of twisted. People will say decidedly weird things and make bizarre allusions. So, naturally, M and I love it.
As the snow covered the lands around us, we went out to play. We walked to the dock near my house and did the usual sort of snowy things. We made snow angels. I gave mine horns. We threw snowballs. We caught snowflakes on our tongues. While she walked around, musing in a winter wonderland, I made a thirty-foot heart in the fresh snow and put a large M in it. She was pleased.
The second night she was stranded here, she decided she could take no more of lethargy, despite the fact that we had sledded and tormented one another with snow. She declared at midnight that we should get a snack at the truck stop a mile from my house. I tried to remind her that she was not even vaguely on speaking terms with the cold, but she insisted.
We bundled ourselves and snuck out. I gathered that my mother would be none too pleased had she awoke to us escaping to play on slushy streets. We walked the mile, not terribly cold. We discussed Pine Bush a bit. Well, I told her what I had read in Ellen Crystall's book. She mostly listened and avowed skepticism.
We arrived and the place was nowhere near as empty as I had expected. The harried waitress informed us that the other waitress just quit. We offered sympathy.
After consuming a lot of greasy food, we departed for the cold world outside. Less than 500 feet from the diner, the police stopped us. Emily was secretly very pleased, as she had been feeling brave and wanted to get in trouble. The cops asked what we were doing out, I explained that we went to the diner for some food. They asked if we were stranded. I stated we most certainly were not. They left. Emily expressed disappointment that we were not arrested. I pointed out that we had done nothing worthy of arrest, though it would have been cool if I came home in an police car.


Soon in Xenology: I get presents. The Forces That Be move in mysterious ways. The work. I adventure.



last watched: The trailer for Chinatown.
reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K. Rowling
listening: Amelia chirping
wanting:
it to be spring already.
interesting thought: Fools tread where angels dare not go, but fools tend to make history.
moment of zen: seeing the city of snow.
someday I must: capture more of Pine Bush on film.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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