got a light




Saturday would have gone better, in the end, if it hadn’t been for Friday’s slivovitz. The neighbors invited us over to their back yard, and one of their guests had some slivovitz. I think I had about three atoms of the stuff. When I woke up Saturday morning I surveyed the day ahead and groaned; seemed like I’d only slept eight hours, when I really needed nine.

Did a podcast at noon - named after Arthur Koestler’s unpopular sequel - with guest Harry Shearer, and was great fun. When it ended at 1:15 I set about bringing up the wood from the basement and the garage.

All of it. Forty pieces. When the Gazebo arrived a few days ago, the workmen stored it in the garage. I unboxed it and took out the wood so my wife could park her car. Some of the wood went into the basement family room, giving it a wonderful cedar aroma. On Saturday I took it up through the tradesman’s door and laid it on the lawn according to the type of piece.


The Giant Swede arrived around 1:30, and we set about building the structure we will hereafter call:


I have lost five gazebos to wind and snow. The first one lived long enough to just rot. The last one was with us less than two months before a gale threw it in the bushes. No more.

No more.

So we set about our labors. The first order of business: laying out the parts.

There were a few parts.


This does not show the bag with 98 roof screws.

Then we connected four pieces of wood into one piece, because the beam they formed was too long to be shipped. Took a while, but once you've figured out the first one the rest are easy. Until you realize you did the first one wrong and then you have to redo the ones you already did.

The posts for Gazibus Maximus are stout trunks. Connecting the beams to the posts was really a three-man job, and huzzah by then the Crazy Uke had arrived. He had carpentry experience from working with his father, so we had at least two capable people working - the Swede is an Engineer, after all.

I have . . . gazebo experience, so there’s that. But every gazebo is different. For example, this one had 14 inch bolts that had to be threaded through the beams and the posts, and the process of doing this one four freestanding posts meant careful planning - you stand there, I’ll brace this one and watch that one, you get on the latter and hoist the beam, and so on. We did it! All four beams attached and not a single post fell and brained the dog or smashed a chair.

The view from above:


Next step: attach the cross braces to the pre-drilled holes, and -

the pre-drilled holes

the pre-drilled holes were in the wrong place

the pre-drilled holes were in the wrong place because the bolted-on beam was upside down

the pre-drilled holes were in the wrong place because all four of the bolted-on beam were upside down.

So we took it apart, with the Giant Swede doing a Samson routine - grabbing the 12-foot beam, turning it upside down; Uke and I swarmed over and repositioned the bolts. We were getting good at this.

See, when you have to repeat steps because you’ve done them incorrectly the first time, you get experience!

The Uke had to leave, and I was starting to lose my ability to think clearly. I realized I'd had two eggs and half a bagel seven hours before, and nothing since. Since I promised the Swede steak and liquor, I made some ribeyes and poured him a G&T the size of his fist, and we had supper. It wasn’t finished. It would take two more people to get the roof up.

But it was a start.



Back to these for a week. A Ripley pretender that confined itself to food oddities.



Almost as much of a faux pas as misjudging your lettering so the last word hangs under the paragraph like the rear wheel of a small plane.






A reminder that ours is not the first era to feel anxiety.


It begins with a cheerful piece of fifties optimism: a little Revelations to get you in the mood.



Not true. That would cost too much to put on the screen. It's several days later.

You’ll note it’s ultra-super widescreen: Corman had some money behind this one, but it’s still crap. Anyway, some people survive the atomic blast, and show up at the house owned by a guy who saw this whole clusterfarg coming down the pike, and laid away lots of supplies for himself and his daughter. Of course, after the bombs fall, they have to deal with stragglers in the form of immaculately put-together Vegas scum:



That's Mike Connors, of course - Mannix, to you. He's billed in this film as "Touch Connors." That was a nick betowed by his b-ball teammates at UCLA. His real name was Krekor Ohanian, which was much more awesome. Anyway. The world may have ended, but that doesn't mean we can't have a bathing suit scene before radiation corrupts all flesh:



Sure, the world has been irradiated, but that doesn't mean the gals can't dress like they're going to Margarita Night down at the cantina later that day, after the fallout settles:



Every scene is good protection against radioactivity - by which I mean it’s utterly leaden. One cliche after the other gets ticked off. It’s the grizzled old colorful prospector! Let’s indulge him:



I think they brought in a dialogue expert to punch up that scene.

Alas, not everyone is unaffected. Witness Mr. Peely Batterface: he’s acting odd. Why, he’s been acting odd since nuclear war destroyed human civilization!



He will, of course, morph into some HORRIBLE THING, and this is where an ancient childhood memory surfaces.



This was the most horrifying thing I had ever seen.

I saw it on the afternoon matinee at my grandparents' house on the farm. Didn't catch the whole thing, just the parts about the WORLD BEING OVER and the HORRIBLE THING, and it contributed mightily to ongoing nuclear nightmares for years to come. Three-eyed beasts, all cities gone, the air poisoned, no chance to grow up and be Tom Swift - these were terrifying thoughts.

Now? It's painful.



Lest you think this super-sexy ooh la la scene goes on like this for a while, it ends in tears. It was probably writtenn specifically to take advantage of the decorations in the house where it was shot.



Eh. Entirely forgettable. But it scared me so much as a kid that I dreaded watching the afternoon weekend movie, in case they might show it again.

That'll do! See you around.


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