Thursday, October 28, 2010

Odd Decor

I have to admit... The decor at the Paper Moon Diner is as strange as it gets. There's this oddity in the front. Inside, there are severed doll heads used as decorations. There was also a huge number of Pez dispensers on display as well. Very interesting. Oh... The food was pretty good :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autumn Walk

In Baltimore, it'usually overcast on most autumn days. Today, however, I lucked out. It was sunny, breezy, and cool. It was everything an autumn evening should be. In my travels, I found an odd-looking green fruit-like thing on the side of the road. I took a picture of it since it was decidedly weird-looking. Very exciting! I'm also very happy about the number of people who planted sunflowers this year. I like sunflowers quite a bit :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mini Vacation

Sometimes it's nice to go on a mini-vacation. For the cash strapped district court drone, a weekend at Busch Gardens fit the bill. We actually did two things: a Pirate Golf and the Busch Gardens theme park.

  • Pirate Golf

It was one of the more awesome mini-golf experiences. I really liked the decor and the landscaping. I don't play a lot of mini-golf, but it's always fun when I do play. I scored 54 on an 18-hole course. Tiger Woods has nothing to worry about, heh heh.

Busch Gardens
The place was packed to the gills, so we didn't actually got to go on that many rides. Fortunately, we did get to ride the train and the river boat. It's haunted house month at Busch Gardens so they had five haunted attractions. Doug had the foresight to purchase a VIP pass for the haunted houses. So between 6:00pm and 10:00pm, we had the services of a tour guide and special cards that let us go to the front of the line. That was a good thing, since the standard lines were three hours each!

I was thrilled to learn that our tour guide was also a witch. Yay! She was pretty knowledgeable about the ecological status of the park. Apparently Busch Gardens recycles about 90% of the paper and plastic used at the park. They upgraded the riverboat from diesel to battery power and upgraded the train from diesel to propane. Very green!

We also got to see Monster Stomp and Franken Rock (mini-musicals). It was super-cool. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


There's something about creating sacred space for a ritual that's hard to put into words. I feel loved when I pray to the Goddess and God. It's a different kind of energy in autumn compared to summer. Samhain is a little more than two weeks away. It's the Wiccan new year (liturgically) and is the day when the Veil between the physical and spirit world is the thinnest. Samhain is on the opposite end of the Great Wheel from Beltain. Whereas Beltain affirms life, Samhain recognizes death and is a time to honor the dead.

As Samhain approaches, I think of my grandfather on my mom's side (George) and I think of my mom's second husband (Charles). George fought in WWII in the Pacific Fleet. He was one of the very few blood relatives who seemed to love me unconditionally. Charles, my stepfather, was a much kinder person than my biological father. They both died sooner than they should have. My grandfather was exposed to a lot of radiation during the war. My stepfather had heart disease.

I used to dream of them, but the dreams eventually stopped. Perhaps they have begun new lives. I do not know.


I was very lucky today in that the sky was clear at the moment of sunrise this morning. Oddly enough, the sun was just crossing the horizon at the exact moment I rolled into the parking lot at work. Autumn is a really great time of year. As I drove to work, the streetlights were just beginning to wink out. The sky in the east was lined with pink and orange. Most of the trees are now showing fall colors of yellow and orange-red. It was a pretty sight to behold.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NCR Trail

The NCR trail used to be a railroad line once upon a time and now it is a hiking/biking trail that goes from Timonium (MD) to York (PA). It very pretty in autumn now that the leaves are turning from green to amber and the sky is bright blue instead of hazy white. When I look to the sky, it's really obvious that the solstice is long past. At high noon, the sun looked like it was at a 45 degree position above the horizon instead of being directly overhead.

One of my favorite spots in the trail is where there is a huge rock formation in which small trees manage to somehow grow directly out of the rocks. The surfaces always dribble pure, clear water seemingly year round.

I also took a picture of the oddity I call the "levitating log". When you see it, you'll understand why.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Green Pursuits

So... Sometimes I take the time to evaluate my level of commitment to the ecology. Reverence for nature is a central aspect of Wicca, and I take it pretty seriously. But I think there is always room for improvement.

  • Things I do right:

I recycle bottles, cans, and cardboard. Doug and I both drive very fuel efficient vehicles (his car gets 32 MPG and mine gets 51 MPG). I walk to the grocery store, pharmacy, and post office instead of driving. I only have lights on in rooms I am using. Our computers are laptops instead of desktops (18 watts vs 200 watts). In summer, we only have AC on in rooms we are using. In winter, we set the heat in the 59-62 degree range. We use CFL bulbs for illumination (12w vs 75w). At work, I developed a printing method that consumes 2/3 less paper. Doug carpools to work with a coworker (which essentially doubles his effective gas mileage since only one car is being used instead of two).

  • Things I am not doing but would like to do:

I'd love to have solar panels on the house, but they are $20,000 and there's no way Doug and I could afford it. I can do better at remembering to bring reusable grocery bags when shopping (instead of the throwaway flimsy plastic bags). I could do a better job remembering to completely unplug seldom-used appliances (so as to avoid the "vampire" effect in which unused gadgets continue to draw power even when not turned on). I spend way too much time in the shower in the morning (I have this irrational fear about smelling bad but I don't think I ever actually smell bad. I just fear such a thing.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creatures of Stone

It was pretty much the perfect day for an after-work walk.The sky sort of had a "ripple" effect that one only sees in autumn. It was very pretty. I randomly discovered that Johns Hopkins University has a sculpture garden in the middle of the campus. I can tell you from direct observation that JHU is certainly better maintained than the rest of the city. The sculpture garden had about a dozen stone animals of all kinds. I took pictures of the three I liked the best.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Late Bloomers

I think it's safe to say that the days of 100 degrees are gone for a while. I do like summer, but every season has its time, and it's time to move on. It's been a very hard summer for my favorite Verdant Americans. In Baltimore, we had weeks and weeks where it didn't rain and the temperature broke 100 degrees. It was bad enough this year that the trees did something I've never seen before. The leaves turned dead-brown around the edges but remained green in the middle. I don't think that's a very good sign.

I'm actually glad that it's been raining so much lately. There have been some new flowers that bloomed lately in response to the recent precipitation.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jason's Woods

No... this is not a woodland picture today, hee hee. Doug and I have a seasonal hobby every October that involves visiting some of the haunted house exhibits in south central Pennsylvania. Of course, "haunted house" is a relative term, since these exhibits aren't where anyone died grisly deaths. They're cheesy, carnival-like places where the staff dresses up like zombies and ghouls, and there the customers stagger around darkened mazes and barns converted into realms of the macabre. It's pretty cool stuff.

So, Jason's Woods had a whole bunch of neat stuff. There was "Barn of Terror", "Lost in the Woods", "Creepy Asylum", and a hay ride that trundled through a series of gruesome tableaux.Tragically, there was a strict ban on photography. Suffice it to say, it was a lot of fun.

As a secular holiday, I think Halloween is a pretty healthy holiday. It allows people to examine their own dark sides as well as provide an outlet for the normal human fascination with death and the macabre. I actually enjoy Halloween much more than Christmas (which has become a secular holiday for all intents and purposes). Just about everyone gets stressed out about Christmas, but everyone enjoys Halloween. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Hidden Path

So... Baltimore being the odd city that it is, one has to walk less than a mile to encounter significant greenery. So, I discovered a pretty neat tree-lined path that doesn't actually seem to go anywhere. The only way to access it is to climb down a hill. It runs parallel to Keswick Avenue. I'm not sure why this path is here, but it is rather pretty :)

Friday, October 1, 2010


After 60+ hours of continuous rain, I was greeted to a sunny afternoon after I got off work today. I really like the period between Mabon and Samhain. It's basically the most temperate six weeks of the year. The trees have not yet started changing colors yet,but there's a feeling that they are in the process of winding down for the winter. It's a thing that can be sensed but not yet seen.

Despite living in a run-down, crime-ridden, rat-infested metropolis, I've found that if I walk about a mile away, I can start encountering some very interesting old trees. Some of them are now protected by the City of Baltimore with signs that read "Specimen tree,. Do not disturb". This is a positive development!