Incoming Shows and Future Press

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2013 booth
Things may have gone quiet on the blog for a while, but that isn’t for lack of trying. Between a new Day Job and lots of weather insanity, April has been one of my busiest months yet, and it’s only getting more intense. So much for taking a hiatus, much less a vacation.

New Triffid Ranch banner by Larry Carey

The fun all started back in March at All-Con 2014, when Taffeta Darling of Fangirls: Dames of the Round Table stopped by the Triffid Ranch booth to say hello, and asked “Would you be interested in an interview on Deep Ellum on Air?” I gave my usual standoffish response (“If you nail a duck’s foot down, does he waddle in circles?”), and Taffeta contacted me last weekend about this coming Sunday’s show. This may be once again breaking a promise I’ve made to myself for years about not scheduling anything the weekend before a big show, but as a fan of Taffeta’s costuming work for years, I’d be an idiot to pass it up. April 27, from 3 to 4 p.m CST, and I’ve sworn over and over that I won’t drop the F-bomb on the air more than, oh, thirty or forty times.

This, of course, is just preamble for the big show. The last Triffid Ranch show of the year, and the last show until May 2015. Texas Frightmare Weekend is less than two weeks from now as I write this, and the plan is to make that last show one that everyone will remember. Admittedly, I’ve tried doing that with every Frightmare show for the last five years, but between a whole slew of new plants and a Sarracenia pool that’s exploding with fresh blooms and fresh traps, come out to see everyone off for the hiatus.

(Incidentally, there’s a little extra involving Frightmare that, sadly, I won’t be able to attend, as much as I wish. Back in the mid-1980s, I was a regular at a local midnight showing of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead with an audience participation crowd that made a typical showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show look sick. The Dawn showings stopped in 1986, and I spent years trying to convince local theaters to give it one last revival. Finally, the Alamo Drafthouse Richardson runs a show, with George Romero in attendance, and it’s the evening before the beginning of Frightmare. Don’t let me stop you from attending, though, and if you see Kelly, the lovely and talented head of publicity at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, please thank her for me.)

So that’s the plan. Come out to say hello at Frightmare, or just listen to me glibber and meep online. Either way, time to get back to work.

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Cat Monday

Cadigan

Cat Monday, Guest Edition

Alfred

In order to shake things up a bit, it’s time for a few guest appearances. A few weeks ago, the Czarina and I were asked by the lovely Madelyn (creator of the famed Triffid Ranch logo) to check on her cats while she was out of town. If I thought that my cats were memorable, well, her cats disabused me of that notion.

Starting off, we can start with Alfred, Madelyn’s newest addition. Ten kilos of incredibly dynamic, impossibly hyperactive part-Siamese, with a voice to match his energy levels, and out about three dozen attempted photos of him, I only managed to capture one or two that weren’t blurred messes. I suspect that it may be possible to photograph Fred properly, with the sort of camera rig used to photograph dynamite as it’s exploding, but I’m not expecting miracles.

Have a Great Weekend

And now a public service announcement from one of my childhood role models. (And yes, I inadvertently scared the hell out of him, too, along with most of my other childhood heroes. Twenty years ago this month, in fact.)

Blooms in the greenhouse

Utricularia blooms

The last really bad bout of winter weather came through last night, and areas south and west of Dallas took frost damage. Out here at the Triffid Ranch, though, we got cold, but not cold enough to cause longterm damage. Good thing, too, because this winter has gone on far too long. Sure, the calendar says “spring”, but try telling that to the dingbats ordering the cold fronts.

Anyway, one of the better aspects of our current weather fluctuations is that everything that can bloom is doing so, all at once. This makes such ephemeral and unnecessary activities as breathing a little more jolly, as Dallas air once again hits “too thick to breathe, too thin to plow” in consistency and flavor. Oh, but the view.

Utricularia blooms

One of the surprises that really isn’t too surprising is watching the current explosion of terrestrial bladderworts in the greenhouse. One of those subsurprises was discovering that a pot of Utricularia lividia I thought was dead from last December’s Icepocalypse survived and now threatens to take over. In addition, one pot of sundews had barely visible sprigs of another bladderwort I haven’t identified yet, adding a bit of yellow to go with the white, purple, and red all around. The hummingbirds certainly aren’t complaining: several ruby-throats and rufous hummingbirds found access through the front door when things were warmer, and now I can joke that to go with all of my other problems, I have a greenhouse infested with dinosaurs.

Drosera binata blooms

Others are a bit slower. None of the Venus flytraps have done more than produce bloom spikes, but the forkleaf sundews (Drosera binata) are going mad. With a bit of luck, most of the sundews that survived the winter will follow up with similar displays, and the flytraps should follow within a few more days

Stylidium debile blooms

And should it be a surprise that no matter how rough the weather, the frail triggerplants (Stylidium debile) just keep growing and growing? The weather encouraged them, too, with one of the strongest displays I’ve seen since the big snowstorm of 2010. With the new triggerplant species getting established in the greenhouse as well, I can only imagine what the greenhouse will look like this time next year. Here’s just hoping that we don’t have to suffer quite so much to get there.

Sarracenia in Bloom…Kinda

Sarracenia buds

We all thought that by this time in April, winter would be dead. I’ve lived in Texas for nearly 35 years, and the last serious bout of freezing weather to hit this late happened the spring before I moved here. Most years, we could be assured that the last freeze was done before St. Patrick’s Day, and that April would be nothing but balmy mornings and rainy weekends. This has been a rather unorthodox winter.

Sarracenia buds

I wasn’t the only one affected by this, being struck with a bout of flu after last March’s All-Con that took a solid month to fend off. Several winters in the last decade were so mellow that both Sarracenia pitcher plants and Venus flytraps didn’t get enough of a winter dormancy to keep them from blooming once and then dying. This year? All are only now starting to bud, and as of this evening, only two Sarracenia flava had opened their blooms. It’s not just the Sarracenia, either: most of our native trees and bushes are so far behind that they also only started blooming within the last two weeks. At the rate we’re going, we’ll need snowblowers to clear off the drifts of pollen in the streets.

Sarracenia buds

And are we done? Of course not. Three days after taking these photos, the temperature took a dive once again. The middle of April, and we’re looking at one last two-day run of freezing, and the Sarracenia are too far along to cover without damaging the bloom buds. Of course we’re getting one last freeze, only three weeks until the next big show. Of course.

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Cat Monday

Cadigan

Have a Great Weekend

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Cat Monday

Cadigan

Have a Great Weekend

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