Friday, June 30, 2006


Last week was my sister Ann's 50th Birthday. Sister Claire and I conspired with Ann's husband, Joe, to surprise Ann by showing up for her Birthday BBQ. We flew out to ABQ the day before and holed up in a cheap motel, getting ready for the next day.

In the morning we called Joe to tell him we were on the way, so he could be busy, therefore leaving Ann to answer the door.

We drove by the house and Ann, Joe and some guy (Mike) are in the front yard wrestling something into a large garbage can. Luckily, we passed by, unnoticed. Luckily it was yard waste. not someone who was wasted in the yard.

It was kind of exciting to to creep up behind them as they all went into the house. I think Joe suggested that everyone go inside for a spot of iced tea. So, Claire and I watch them all go inside from behind Ann's car. Then we wait a few moments and head for the door. We pass by the big bay window in front and I'm really worried that we'll be spotted, but the sheer curtains are drawn, so I'm hoping and praying we aren't seen.

Then, I ring the doorbell. I tell Claire to turn away, so Ann can't see our faces through the peephole. The door opens and we turn around.

Ann is completely surprised. "Happy Birthday!" We have totally blown her mind. She just stands there stunned. She had no idea that we were coming. We give her hugs and say "hi".

"But I was just blogging with you yesteday" Ann said to me. Yep, that's the magic of the internet. We were posting comments here and on her blog, Friday morning, but my plane didn't leave until the afternoon. This was sufficient to lull her into a false sense of security. Claire and I had made believable excuses and then flew out to New Mexico.

The party was a lot of fun. Joe fired up the grill and cooked up a carnivorous carnival of beef ribs, hot dogs, brats, sausage and hamburgers. Very tasty. It was a potluck, so there was yellow potato salad, chip n dip, drinks, veggies, etc.

Claire and I met a lot of Ann & Joe's friends, so it was fun to get to know them a little.

Ann opened her gifts and passed the cards around. Then we watched DVD's. First was Versus, a Japanese Yakuza/zombie/sword/martial arts flick. Most of the story and dialogue was inaudible since everyone was talking and commenting a la MST3K.

We saw something else, I think and then Ann played us Ridley Scott's The Duellists. A really great film based on Joseph Conrad's The Duel, with Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel and beautiful cinematography and lighting by DP Frank Tidy and Gaffer Al Watson. A great test of testosterone. Very under appreciated and I highly recommend it, even though I couldn't hear all of the dialogue because one lady wouldn't shut up throughout the whole evening. I kept raising the volume to try and hint at her to shut up but to no avail. Ann tells me she's notorious for that kind of thing to the point where famous authors at cons tell her, by name, to be quiet.

The rest of the trip was fun, Ann invited us to stay at her house, so Claire and I checked out early and stayed in the extra rooms. I stayed in Eric's room since he's at Fort Buckner digging foxholes and firing "cool weapons".

Joe and I went for a hike on Sandia Mountain. It was quite beautiful, but only two trails were open due to extreme fire hazard. The views were spectacular and I took a lot of photos. The light is beautiful and the terrain is very rugged and hard, because it's so dry, but it has a quality, maybe it's the red-brown color of everything, but I just love it. I spent aquite a few summers hiking around in the New Mexico wilderness, having a blast.

While we visited, there was quite a bit of rain which caused flooding in some areas. There's been a drought in NM for the last ive years, so hopeully the wet weather will help hydrate the area.

Oh, the reson there aren't any photos is because idiot me, I forgot my digicam and had to resort to cheapo Walgreen's reloadable cameras. It is supposed to be loaded with 400 ASA film, but I was going to be outdoors, so we'll see if the 100 speed I loaded in is underexposed, or about normal. I hope it's normal. The 400 looks pretty bad, lousy color rendition and high contrast, but it was also printed poorly, so we'll see. I'm curious to see how the scans look. Ann will send me the film and CD's next week. I'll repost with pix included.


Joe said...

Hi Mark, It rained after you left. I like the pics. I also liked the Star Trek anime and the Anime Maids are just dolls.

Ann said...

I found your other sock in the dryer. I'll send it with the photos. Think of it as extra soft and cuddly packing material.

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