Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why do we collect things?

While I work on Part 2 of how I spent my summer, I thought I’d recycle a one or two of my older posts.


I’m no psychologist.  But I wonder, what if collecting things is a holdover from much earlier, less settled times in human history, when it might have made sense to gather and hang on to portable, edible items?  Hmm.

This is completely unscientific, of course, but if you do a web search, you’ll find that websites with the word “collection” or “collections” in them generally have something to do with debts.   Type in “collectibles,” on the other hand, and that’s a whole new world.  But it still boils down to having a collection of something.

Some collections are whimsical, of value only to their owners.  Others vary in value; some are beyond price.

I suppose it all depends on your point of view.  I have a few collections of my own.  And there is a class of collections that is of special concern to me — natural science and natural…

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Happy Ha-Ha-Ha-lidays

It isn’t going to snow in Texas for Christmas, but I can make it snow on my blog, by golly. I changed the background color to make it show up, and I may leave it like that. The snow will go away a few days after New Year. Or if it bugs you, leave a comment and I’ll shut it off. Ho Ho Ho!

Hello Boomer!

Welcome to CrazyBasenji’s new home. Some things may look a little different, while a lot will still look the same. Like my buddy, Boomer, in the header. He’s here to stay. Soon, the rest of my blog will show up here, too.

Year end musings

Just who the frak invented the New-Year’s Resolution tradition? I have a beef with them. Not a big beef, mind you. I often make my own resolutions at the end/beginning of the year. I usually keep them simple, and I usually keep them to myself. But after being battered for a couple of months with the Thanksgiving hype and the Christmas hype, the Resolution hype is pretty much the last frakking straw. Enough alfrakkingready!

And the end-of-year-looking-back-and-reflecting blah blah blah. Takes too much time away from figuring out just how to keep the resolutions from self-destructing. I prefer the brief summary. 2009 sucked big time, 2010 not so much. Hoping 2011 will be better. There. All done.

Everyone have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. Watch out for those who don’t know when to quit partying or don’t have enough sense of self-preservation (or just enough sense, period) to let someone else drive home.

I’ll be moving the blog soon, but doubt if anything will change much from the reading viewpoint. I may have to work out some new issues with the back end, but don’t really foresee a problem. And I’ll be trying to stick to a plan of some sort for posting certain types of content at certain times. We’ll see. The future is always in motion, you know. If Yoda said it, true it must be.

Veterans Day

As a veteran, I not only want to thank all the others who have served/are serving in the military, for whatever reason, I want to thank all the other people who have been showing their support and appreciation for all of us who’ve “been-there-done-that.” And it’s a little odd, for me, because of when I was in the service, to even think of myself as a “real” veteran. Because there was, like, nothing going on. Except the Cold War. Don’t get me wrong, because being in the military is a pain in the ass at the best of times, but I had it easy.

At the time  — I was in the Air Force from 1975 – 1979 — I think we all figured “war” was over, that future conflicts would/could/should be settled by the diplomats. I honestly came to feel that military service was a good way for a young person to leave home and learn how to be on their own and deal with their own problems as adults rather that rely on the safety net of parental intervention. The military did still provide something of a safety net, but it was far more impersonal and unsympathetic than parents. Much more likely to administer the kick in the ass when needed. But I was thinking in terms of peace-time military service, and of the military being more involved with community support, and being on hand to help out in natural disasters and such. I don’t know what to think now. Encouraging young people to join the military these days feels more like wishing for their deaths. I can’t do that. My heart is in my throat whenever I talk to someone whose child is “over there.”

I started writing a novel based on my years in the Air Force, as a way of “changing the outcome,” as it were. But I’m motivated to finish it because it’s a whole different kind of story. There are plenty of stories of battle-field heroics and between-battle antics. There are no battles in my story, but there are plenty of antics. It was a very different kind of military in those days, for that brief span when we had a sort of peace, and it makes me sad that it didn’t catch on.

Oh, no! Not another theme change!

Yes, dear readers, once again, I’m tweaking the appearance of my blog. I found another theme that arranges my photos like I want — which is kind of organic and non-linear — and is also available on the site (the free blogging space). I am planning to move my blog there pretty soon so I won’t have to pay for hosting again when it comes up for renewal early next year. I can’t afford it. I can almost afford to renew my domain name and register it with so that I can still use it for this blog. So when I do make the move, everything should still look much the same, and the blog address won’t change. I’ll just save some money and have another layer between my blog and would-be hackers. Anyway, I hope that’s how it will work. Not that my blog has attracted enough attention to attract that of hackers, but you never know.

I write like…?

Seriously, this is too bizarre. These people must have a limited selection of “write like” examples. Or maybe I should read more Lovecraft. Sometime, when I have a reason to want to not sleep for several days, I’ll do that little thing.


I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Star Wars, full circle

On June 6th I went to a concert with my good friend from way back in our Air Force days, Tresha. She was the friend who convinced me to go see the first Star Wars movie when it was released back in 1977. We saw it at the Cine Capri theater in Phoenix. All my misgivings about a “dumb space opera movie” were shelved. It didn’t matter that it was basically a dumb space opera. It was FABULOUS!

And of course, over the years, I’ve seen all the other Star Wars movies — often in spite of all the criticism of them. For those, the special effects made up for other flaws. But I saw all the sequels (in Bryan) and re-releases (in Kentucky) and prequels (back in Bryan) with one or the other of my ex-husbands, or my brother. The concert was an early birthday present from Tresha.

We got to the arena early to see the exhibit of movie props that were part of the show. There were costumes, a couple of people in “storm trooper” garb posing for pictures, a blinking, burbling, squealing R2D2 replica, and a lot of screens showing clips of art work and special effects processes. It was awesome. A lot of attendees were dressed in their own versions of some of the costumes — mostly kids. There were a LOT of kids. A lot of them, of course, had never even seen the original movies at the theater (I almost said “on a big screen, but considering the size of some t.v.s these days, that would probably be wrong to assume).

The concert was all the original sound track music by John Williams, played by the Star Wars Orchestra, and introduced by Anthony Daniels — the only actor to appear in all six movies, as C3PO. The music was played around themes from the films — the Empire theme, the Old Republic theme, the Rebellion theme — and accompanied by film clips shown on a huge screen behind the orchestra. During the intermission, we overheard someone sitting near us comment that this was the best way to see the Aniken Skywalker episodes — watch the best highlights without all the “awful parts.” Be that as it may, everything we saw and heard that day was epic. If you get a chance to go and see this show, don’t pass it up. Or at least go to the website and watch the trailer.


About two years ago I started writing a novel about my years in the Air Force working on the flight line. I started out with the plan that in fiction I could make those four years end differently, and subsequently I could have a whole different life. Oddly, though, I got caught up in the re-telling of my story, making things happen differently for me out on the flight line (more interestingly) with the men I worked with. And the ending of the book that I thought up at the time was like a formulaic romance. (Bleck.)

When I went to work part time that winter and had to work the afternoon shift, I couldn’t write anymore during the hours that had been the most productive for me. I lost almost all my momentum. Then I kept re-writing the last chapter – the book’s ending – until I realized that I wasn’t being true to my original purpose. It was starting to resemble my real life.

It often felt like I had strayed onto the wrong path somewhere along the line. I had followed one unhappy marriage with another. Although I had always loved to draw and paint and write, I quit all those things. Instead I struggled against my own natural abilities to “become a scientist” so I could “save endangered species.” I did get a degree in wildlife science and I eventually got a job as a zookeeper, which I loved. But after a while even that wasn’t enough. The problem was that without an advanced degree, the right connections, or super powers, I would never have a competitive advantage in a small, highly specialized field. And I had none of those things.

It took me twenty-plus years to come to the conclusion that I should have stopped listening to my parents long before I hit puberty, and I should have gotten my degree in fine arts and art history – the things that come naturally. I may have been able to do more to aid my cause of saving endangered species as an artist and philanthropist than I was ever able to do working in the trenches myself.

On the other hand, the experiences I had as a zookeeper and as a student of genetics and wildlife science have been priceless. Whatever else I become in life can only build on those things, never negate them.

So, now what? I’ve left a lot of things unfinished in my life that I shouldn’t have, and stuck it out with other things long past the point when a sane, rational individual would have thrown in the towel. Obviously, I should finish my novel – with an ending that makes sense in light of what I was aiming for when I started. Maybe if it’s successful I’ll have a reason to write some non-fiction about women in the military at about the same time I was in – between “conflicts,” when the feminist movement was still struggling against the status quo in a society that still firmly believed in male dominance. Not that society has changed much in that belief, but practices are different now.

Perhaps it’s still possible for the rest of my life to turn out the way I hoped it would when I made that crazy decision to join the Air Force and fly out of the nest.

Special Fourth of July treat…

…or whatever.

In honor of Independence Day, I’m publishing a chapter from the novel I started writing about my years in the Air Force. While based on my real experiences, it is highly, outrageously fictionalized. Sort of a “re-imagined autobiography” rather than the real thing. ‘Cause, baby, the real thing was boring.

I’m publishing it as a separate post. Titled BICENTENNIAL. Coming soon.

[Rough Draft Disclaimer: When I started writing this story I wasn’t going for perfection, or even grace. This is part of a brain dump. Any sense of internal consistancy is purely coincidental. Just saying.]