No snakes on a plane.

When you’re sitting in an airplane and you’re handed a Department of Agriculture declaration form, it’s not a good idea to lie about the animals and/or plants you’ve cleverly concealed in your luggage or carry-on.  In case you were considering it:




Do you see that? Specifically, DO NOT “intentionally smuggle a snake” on a plane. Unless Samuel L. Jackson is on the plane, in which case it would be amusing to hear him yell “I’m tired of this muthaf*cking snake on this muthaf*cking plane!” But it wouldn’t be worth it, because even if it’s amusing… which it might not be… it’ll be too late to realize that you don’t want to share a plane with a snake any more than a snake wants to get on the wrong side of Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe you should avoid smuggling snakes because if you get caught, you’ll get fined a million dollars, or Samuel L. Jackson will kill you, or the snake will kill you. In any case, it would be the end of it all, wouldn’t it, smuggling a snake. Maybe I’m writing this in a sleep-deprived delirium compounded by jet-lag and when I wake up and read this post I’ll delete it in horror. We shall see.

Meanwhile, Happy Friday!

Mood lightning. (I got pics of monsoon lightning.)

We had our first real monsoon of 2016 last Friday night. We didn’t know it was happening until we left the movie theater, because that’s how it works. It’s a monsoon season late afternoon. You go into a building and it’s all calm and benign outside, if not boggy under a sky constantly on the verge of raining. Then night falls and you leave the building to find hell boiling over from the top down.

It is fantastic.

Storms in the desert always hold me in thrall. Some years, monsoon season barely trembles. Other years, the theatrics of a night storm could expunge the banality from a decade’s worth of lackluster monsoon seasons.

I’ve never tried to take pictures of lightning during these monsoons, but that night, I thought I’d film the sky as Callaghan drove. I’ve discovered that taking screenshots from video footage on my phone is a useful way to take “impossible” pictures. I recorded the sky for nine minutes on the way home, and Lo, I indeed managed to capture some lightning!

(Despite the fact that lightning flashed erratically from different directions, so I kept moving my phone between my window and the windshield. And the fact that heavy rain animated the windows in a continuous blur. And that between the dark outside and the glare of interior lights on the dashboard, I couldn’t see what I was recording.)

My screenshots aren’t going to end up as centerfolds in any nature’s majesty themed magazines, or on postcards, or in calendars, or on anything… but I’m thrilled with how they captured the mood of the storm. I’d characterize the storm’s mood as something like Samuel L. Jackson’s character’s mood in the last third of Snakes on a Plane.

Here’s a bolt gashing down to light up the dark around it:


Bolt lighting up the sky.

Bolt lighting up the sky.


And another supercharged bolt suspended in a flash, looking like an electric vein:


Positively charged!

Positively charged!


Doesn’t this look to be two kinds of lightning happening at the same time? Is it possible to get a flash of sheet lightning at the same time that a lightning bolt appears?

This next pic shows lightning bolts approaching the earth in a more decorous composition of filigreed branches, but then the branch on the left says “F*ck it” and flumes down like fire the rest of the way:


The finger of wrath blow-torching its victim on the ground.

The finger of wrath blow-torching its victim on the ground.


And here’s one that shows lightning not messing around at all, ripping through the sky in a war-like blast that would incinerate everything in its path:


Lightning on a mission.

Lightning on a mission.


That looks like another instance of hybrid flash/bolt action, to me. I’m not sure what that is, but it was definitely angry. Like Samuel L. Jackson in the last third of Snakes on a Plane.

These image results may have come from a matter of timing as one display of lightning overlapped with another – recording the show as video allowed me to capture those split seconds. I’m not counting out the possibility, though, that factors such as glare or curvature of the windows could have created the visual effects of the last two pics.

Regardless, there’s an idea of our first monsoon of 2016 in Phoenix. Raw and unfiltered.

Getting Eaten by a Shark in Kansas Never Seemed More Possible.

Last week, I wrote about disaster movies. Imagine my horrified bemusement, then, when I woke up this morning to realize that #SharkNado struck the airwaves last night, and somehow, we weren’t prepared. The gory aftermath was splattered all over my Twitter.

It started with this:

#SHARKNADO (7/12/13)

Which drove me straight into the bowels of the internets. I had to find out all about it.

(This may or may not be related to Callaghan interrupting my train of thought just now to say, “Hey Baby – we need to start making a food stash.”  Seriously! He didn’t know that I was writing about this! The sixth sense is a funny thing.)



So, a Sharknado is a storm in which great numbers of some species of shark – I’m assuming Great Whites, from the looks of it – come raining down onto the land from a Category 5 monstrosity broiling over the sea. Meteorologists have no doubt already taken note that the eyes of these storms are special. For one thing, they’re lateral.

Now, I’m not a film critic. But if I were a film critic, and if I had the task of reviewing #SharkNado, the first thing I’d do is call out the omission of Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson was in Jurassic Park, and, of course, Snakes on a Plane, two of my all-time favorite disaster movies. Because this was the one thought pounding through my head as the trailer wound down:


Major casting FAIL.

That is all.