Doorway to Nowhere, 1

We have some unusual decorations in and around our house. I can take no credit (or blame) for these eye-catchers and conversation-makers. Theyʼre all Janetʼs doing. But I can write about them, and thatʼs what I intend to do, today and tomorrow, on one specific set of adornments. (Yes, I have only scratched the surface of the pointlessness to which I can descend to devise something to post each day this year. Even with the earlier home décor discussions Iʼve made you endure, there is more I can say. And I will.) And having opened the door on this subject, let us continue…

a photo of Mary Nevans-Pedersonʼs “Morning Glorious” photograph, soon to hang next to our own rough and peeling door in our bedroom — below right

There are several amusing decorative items I could discuss. First, (and maybe I will explore this topic one day) thereʼs the tale of the squirrels and the decorative pumpkins — a sorry and sad story in which the squirrels win, defeating Janetʼs best efforts to preserve her purchases, the pumpkins she liked to use as outdoor ornamentation, from the rodentsʼ predations. But thatʼs for another day, as I just said. Thereʼs the horribly rusty Fifties lawn chair that serves to support a plant in the summer and fake pumpkins in the fall, which her dad still enjoys ribbing her about paying ten bucks for, in its rusty condition, at an antiques/gift store. (And I want to know: what distinguishes a “giftable,” horrible word*, from a “gift”?) Thereʼs also her piece of fence that fences out nothing, and which she erects against the chainlink fence that separates us from Creosote Hell, aka Gasser True Value. And there are lots more, just on the outside of our house. Her creativity knows only outer limits. But every passer-byʼs favorite has to be her door to nowhere.

And “doors,” as our title clearly tells us, is the subject for these two posts. We have two doors used decoratively that serve to close off or open onto nothing and/or nowhere. One shifts around outside (thatʼs tomorrowʼs door), and another dwells more permanently within.

One might wonder where or how we were able to acquire any door whose only purpose is to open onto empty space, hingeless and unframed. Let me simply say that being almost the only continuing active members of local theatre for twenty years (and I did say “almost,” decidedly not the only) gave us access to many citizensʼ unwanted stuff. People like to donate old clothes, hats, shoes, and household items to the theatre. In the years before we abandoned it (in reality sold the building), Kirchhoff Theatre housed several old stoves, a refrigerator that (I think) did not work, bicycles, bedding, chairs, lawn mowers, grills, sofas, end tables, old paneling and dry wall sections… I hope you get the point. (The Andrew School theatrical storage was just as accumulative under my weak and accepting supervision, and evidently yet today just as disorganized and messy.) Any junk people couldnʼt dump got offered to us; and, of course, “you never know what a play might need.” As a theatre person you usually just keep it all (like old deck shoes), thinking one day this thing or that may come in necessary (and as my current costuming situation proves, periodically oneʼs needs work out just that way). Until you run out of space, or others in your group run out of patience. In several clean-ups in the final years at Kirchhoff, we twice filled huge trash containers, twenty or thirty feet long and at least ten wide and taller than me, finally canceling the lives of those unwanted appliances and other stuff. Among the many items stored in the theatre basement were many doors.

Our decorative Door on a Corner in our bedroom — Maryʼs photograph will hang over the chair on the right. The two black-and-white photos are of Janetʼs parentsʼ and my parentsʼ weddings.

Onstage, a door needs to be pretty light to be useful. Stage sets, even faced with lauan, as I learned to do in modern times (thanks, Kevin), rather than traditional canvas, canʼt support big, heavy, old-fashioned doors. No one wants to watch your canvas flats ripple with the air surge from slamming a sixty-pound door, thus proving beyond anyoneʼs doubt that wall onstage is not actually a wall, or have a heavy door pull the whole set over. Hollow-core interior doors are the thing to use, painted artistically to look like a big old exterior portal if thatʼs what the scene requires. On the other hand, Peace Pipe Players had accepted more than a dozen old doors far too solid and therefore heavy to be useful, including even a pair of old barn doors (and all of which had sat in stacks leaning against the basement walls, taking up space, never getting moved, gathering inches of dust and worse filth, for more years than I was involved). When all the unwanted stuff got pitched in several spasms of eviscerating reorganization, Janet, rather than throwing out, just claimed a couple of doors… Well, at least one. I am not entirely sure both the doors we have as decorations came from that source.

Anyway, one big old wooden door decorates our external reality around the house. Another resides in a corner of our bedroom, and The Lovely One installs pseudo-antique hooks to hold pictures and other items and memorabilia for display on its surface. Although I questioned its presence originally (and I still wonder how much endlessly drifting dust has silted in behind that barricade), itʼs familiar now, a friendly item embellishing our lives. We even bought a photograph at the art exhibit we attended last Friday (a week ago tonight) because of this bedroom adornment-door. Mary and Clayton have a wonderfully extensive garden around their hillside house (a huge garden on many terraces up the hill that somehow wrap around their dwelling), and their home is an old one. One day Mary noticed a morning glory blossom located right in front of one of the doors, and she took a picture. Thatʼs the photo we bought, framed (and which I still have yet to install in its new home beside the bedroom door — not the actual door but the decorative one with pictures on it, naturally, to provide the appropriate visual pun/reference/imagery). Maryʼs is a great photograph, unlike my illustration included here. So our one pointless door now has a photographic partner soon to hang beside it.

But I really wanted to talk about the outside door. Itʼs really the one that opens to nowhere (although actually it doesnʼt open at all). And thatʼs our subject tomorrow.

* “That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase; ‘beautified‘ is / a vile phrase” (Hamlet II, 2, 111). Iʼve been waiting for someone to accuse me of becoming a tired old windbag, a regular Polonius, and nobody has. So Iʼll do it myself.

On the other hand, if anyone can calm my quandary about the distinction between a “gift,” a perfectly sound word, and the homely neologism, “giftable,” which seems to me an unnecessary elaboration on gift from insensitive and perhaps unconfident craftmakers (lacking the self-assurance to call their products directly “gifts”), I would be pleased to hear from you. Is there a difference somehow? Or am I right in thinking “giftable” just fancies up the basic word?

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Popular Post (Stats)

To end the month, letʼs take a moment to explore some amusing facts about the blog. Amusing, to me, at least.

As we probably went over 5000 separate visitor locations — as the ClusterMaps widget counts them — yesterday, certainly not a memorable nor significant accomplishment, however much I have been eagerly anticipating the moment, I thought I’d spend a few words on statistics. WordPress features a lot of statistical information for us bloggers/administrators, including their own count of hits on the blog (more than ten times greater than the ClusterMaps count of visitations, by the way, but I know I’ve been fudging and artificially increasing the WordPress count myself), websites referring users to my page, search terms used that led to my page, and a daily count of pages receiving hits. Depending on my state of mind, it can all be very fascinating and time-wasting.

However, in the past three months I have noticed a dramatic increase in hits on a certain page, not one I could have imagined becoming popular. For most of this year, one of my earliest posts held the greatest interest (among my modest little collection of drivelings) for websearchers, also unexpectedly for me as well: “January is for Janus” (I made it a link there, so go ahead and click it to see which post I am referring to). Pretty modest indeed, actually pretty lame (but this is Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog, and we have no reputation to live up to (“up to which we must live” perhaps to avoid that duo of prepositional adverbs at the end?).

Can you guess what made that January 6, 2010, epistle-to-the-world so popular? Thatʼs where the WordPress search terms stats come in; internet users have a regular, repeating interest in Gödel, Escher, Bach (in many weird and alternatively spelled variants), and my poor post received its modest but continuing share of hits from their webquests (whether for information or images I cannot tell). For awhile in March and April, even “Janus” got a share of visitors to that post, but Professor Hofstadterʼs book remains the more popular reference.* —What an epiphany!

However, that page has been left in the dust since mid-August by another post, coincidentally the next day after Epiphany. As it is the single longest essay I have posted (at 14,500 words altogether) and a tediously academic creation to boot, I was at first astonished that “Artificial Realities” has now been visited more than a thousand times. I like the essay, particularly that opening narrative that serves as the introduction (and the story is true, too), but I cannot believe anyone would want to read it (other than your ʼumble author)!

And then I realized what the time period from that middle of August on indicates — the start of school. Whether for the various images that I scoured off the internet myself or for a source to cite (or simply steal), art students were searching the Net in order to complete research assignments. Evidently Impressionism is a popular art history topic these days (even as practicing artists feel they must sneer and diminish the Impressionistic achievement, now — perhaps always — such a bourgeois favorite). And the pace of hits on my regurgitation of my own research keeps climbing! I begin to wonder how many art professors are going to get/have to read my excessively prolonged consideration of nineteenth century art, artists and artistic movements later this year…

It almost tempts me to list a bunch of artists by name to acquire the worthless hits today — Renoir, Manet, Monet, Pissarro…

But instead, I have just received a phone call (it is 11:15 yesterday/Wednesday morning as I type) asking me to substitute (for as long as I can, since my medical appointment is at 3:00) at Andrew. Money calls, and I must go, so after two humongous posts, this one is nicely brief. However, as I have tingled your interest in the statistics available about the blog, I will include some of Wednesay morningʼs information that prompted this discussion, and so set this topic down.

* Perhaps now this page, today, will get its own unworthy collection of visits by re-mentioning the book and author.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

SearchTerm Stats ‹ Wakdjunkaga’s Blog 09/28/2010

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Page Hit Stats ‹ Wakdjunkaga’s Blog — WordPress

Top Posts for all days ending 2010-09-29 (Summarized)

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Home page 23,100
Artificial Realities 1,028
“Mantorville” 569
“Mistakes by Moonlight” 489
The Book of Seasons 407
January is for Janus: Looking Both Forwa 383
Independence Day 311
How Wrongheaded Can We Get? 282
Annoyances Update 275
Morte Saison 274
Grumping for Thursday 263
Lipoma 260
Tarzan the Rebel 260
True Americans 255
Death or Damage by Creosote 252
More Outdoors 251
Not an FHF®, Really… Itʼs Not… 250
A FoxHunt Friday® — Mosque Madness 243
Whatʼs Race Got to Do with It? 238
Rebellious Tarzan, 2 233
Digital Time 229
My Longest Poem 227
Heat and Bugs 227
Dreaded Jobs 219
Weekend Cleanup 218
Watercolors of Your Mind 218
The Ugly Toe 216
One Dark Night in Sepharad 216
Dear Diary… 216
Lay Down Your Burdens Now 216
Longest a third time 216
Excellent Weekend 215
Television Novelites and Quandries 214
Let Summer Begin… 212
A Weekʼs Worth of What? 209
Sweet and Milky Coffee Goodness 208
Show Me the Money! 208
Little Quiches 208
Dreams of a Storytelling World 207
Falling 206
Freeze Warning 206
Rambling from My Mind 206
Taming the Natural World 205
Here, Kitty Kitty… 205
“Iʼm a substitute for another guy” (or g 204
Nonpresidential Shrub Update 204
Books 202
Stars in Heaven 201
Work, Work, Work… 199
The Book Junkie 199
Whatever Works 198
A Day for Leopold 195
Religious Reconnoitering 195
A Lump 194
Freedom of the Open Road 193
TreeStory, part 2 192
End of that Job 192
Nothing Much 192
Chill Wind 190
A Weekend at Snake Hollow 190
Worthwhile Writing 188
“Two Steps Back” 185
The Nine of Stars 185
Driveway Done! 185
Pleiades 184
Kill the Wabbits! 184
Recollections of Travel: Vehicles 183
Thursday, Bloody Thursday (on Saturday) 182
Frustrations! 181
Stormy Weather 181
More Villon 180
Tile-Removal Tuesday 180
Ending the Longest 180
Another Story 179
Decisions and Choices 179
A Whole Lot of Nothing Much 178
Eighth Stars 178
Some More from Sepharad 177
Now Add an Eerie Touch of the Supernatur 174
Donʼt Fear the Borer? 174
Seasons of Poseidon, or the end of a bad 174
A Snowy Eveningʼs Summer Cousin 173
Finis 171
Happy Birthday, Will! 171
Consequences of Discrimination 169
WordWine 168
Lovers and Friends 167
A Grammatical Conundrum (That Shouldnʼt 166
Being Lazy, 165
Magickal Monkey Madness 163
The Other Published Poem 163
more on Judah of Sephard 162
Publication news (after a fashion) 161
Reflections… 161
Anniversary Fun 160
Out Here in “Cyberspace” 160
What About Those Other Blogs? 159
Saturday — Good and Termagant Together 158
Advice 157
Rain 157
Tax Dollars at Work 156
Super Zuppa for Supper 154
Good Eats (apologies, Alton) 153
The Corporate Monicker 153
Just Some Stuff… 153
Randomness from Midday 152
More from the Seventies (and further Ret 151
Change and Relax 150
Nobodyʼs Sap 148
Overwritten? 147
Longer Items 147
Five “Stars” 146
Tavern Plots and Plans 146
Taxation 145
Stars Three 145
Wakdjunkaga in Cedar Rapids, section the 145
Not Getting Creative 145
Weather Report 145
More Reading 144
Of Wind, Trees, Mirrors and Stars 144
Nothing Much to Report 143
More Food 142
Electricity, part 1 141
More Villon 139
Pain = No Gain? 139
Continuing… 139
Fourth Stars 135
Fools Waltz In 135
An Act of Desperation 134
Couldnʼt Care Less 133
Quetzal County Capers continue 132
Completely at Random 132
Something for Monday 131
A Sixth of “Stars” 128
Spring Signs 126
Tough Guy/Good Guy 126
Working? 125
TMI 2 124
Longest Continued 120
Villon I 120
Wakdjunkaga? 120
Electricity Amplitude 118
Working for a Living 115
Back to the Seventies (or Return to Neve 115
Weekend Update 114
The Stuff that Dreams Are Made of… 112
How Many Villanelles (am I going to find 111
800 Words for Wednesday 111
News from the Work Front 110
The Cold Wins? 109
Career Fail Update 109
Mantorville, part 11 108
Movie Review! 108
Unfinished Business 108
Definately (sic) alot (sic) 107
More Kitty 107
Homework without pay 103
Electricity, Too 103
Pushing at the Limits 102
The Rest of the Incompleteness 101
A Frosty Look 99
Pockets (maybe, sort of) 98
Thursday? Really? 98
The Eyes Have It 97
Labor Daydreams 96
A Hundred Bucks 92
Sunday (Quick Note Again) 90
Why Wakdjunkaga 90
Neighborhood Envy 90
Honoring Paul 87
A Week in Review 86
Pockets, part five 84
The Maltese Falcon critical essay 84
About 84
Recent Reading 82
Uncertainties 80
Three Apologies (not amigos) & Garbl 80
Feeling Afraid 79
Mantorville part 12 78
The Rest of the Road 77
Wakdjunkaga in Cedar Rapids, continued 76
Pockets, part one 75
Mantorville, part ten 74
Digital Hell, one 74
Pockets, part four 74
Spring Blech 71
a villanelle 71
Brave New World(s) 69
Wakdjunkaga in Cedar Rapids, concluded 69
the other villanelle 68
Whence Wakdjunkaga 68
TMI 65
Several Short and Sweet 64
April Fools Melange 62
Check Your Understanding… 60
for Shark: less is more 60
On to the Tavern! 59
for the survivors of English II (since a 56
Briefly 55

Sunday (Quick Note Again)

I could only fantasize that my conference rooms were this nice…

Things change and remain the same. I am not going to be training, as I had announced. I will instead act as a regular crew chief, and I got started doing that yesterday. It will be… interesting. I also had to quickly replace someone to finish training a different group on Friday, so it was an incredibly busy week for me. I think, since I still had a choice of what I would do until 10:30 Friday, that it was spending that one further day in an airless interior conference room that made me choose the regular crew leader job. At least I should be able to get outside during the daylight hours now. And I can do some (maybe much?) of the job at home, even with driving around the county.

Although not the image under discussion, and Janet actually owns this one, isnʼt that bird between the knees distubingly phallic, Dr. Freud?

Janet and I went to a huge garden supply place yesterday. Everything was hideously overpriced (including the rabbit/deer deterrent/repellent we purchased), and lots of stuff wasnʼt remotely near even a Wal-Mart pricing in value, but the worst item was an Isabel Bloom garden statue. Janet loves Isabels (as we call them; I prefer the actual artistʼs original work and even more, her husbandʼs stuff). But even she was pretty grossed out by what the company is offering up in her name these days. I tried their site, but I cannot find the image(s) to reproduce here.

I have felt before that some of the statues appear to carry a pretty filthy subliminal message (and I am serious about this), but yesterday I saw one — a boy crouched down with a frog in his lap/crotch, with a leeringly delighted expression on the boyʼs face that has to be seen to be believed. I had already been leaning over to whisper in Janetʼs ear sweet nothings about the worhtlessly wealthy and their wearingly evident lack of taste, but seeing this little green imp, I said (all but inaudibly, believe me), “And that oneʼs entitled ‘Boy Humping Frog,’ isnʼt it?”

Yes, I fear I went for the alliteration and didnʼt really say humping (and the joke seems more humorous that way, still). Now I am convinced, however, that the current Isabel Bloom artists are trying deliberately to hide other content in their images (perhaps like the old Disney cartoonists supposedly did). I hope, anyway, that it isnʼt company policy to keep creating statues of children with sexually-explicit ecstatic looks on their faces (there was also a girl with butterfly held at “waist” level whose thrown-back head and juicily wild expression of bliss was possibly even more troubling than the boy and his abused amphibian). I wonder what innocent neighbors think when they visit naive and misled friends who have purchased one of these unchaste statuettes.

Regardless, it was a shockingly amusing pseudo-artistic encounter in the midafternoon.

Once, home I already had three messages on the machine and a ringing phone to answer as I headed in the door. This job is no picnic already (but then if the Isabel images are, I will pass on that).

I had better get myself to work, to work…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.