Monthly Archives: April 2016

Trevor’s Adventures in Florida

For the past nine and a half days, Trevor was in Florida for work. While he was there for a shoot, he and the crew, led by the fearless Callie Lipkin and joined by the smart and feisty assistant Leah Fithian, worked twelve to fifteen hour days. The sun was hot and the culture was definitely Floridian. I have tried to piece together his harrowing true story from the pictures he sent me each day.

The crew for the photo shoot set up camp at a farm southwest of Sanford, Florida, where they would be shooting at various locations. All seemed relatively normal: the house they’d rented was fine; there was a pool; the owner’s fiance, Jude, had a mohawked poodle. The owner, Tracy, asked them to be careful of the horses, and told them that there might be a caretaker coming onto the farm to groom and feed the animals. Fair enough.

But they set out early the first morning only to find that nature didn’t seem to want them to leave the farm.

Natural Roadblock

Something sinister was afoot. But what?

They managed to get around the roadblock and set out to the first location: the critical flesh injury ward of Sanford General Hospital. They were there to document the effects of a mysterious caterpillar that had been found in the area. The caterpillars’ origin was unknown, but the effects of their bites were deadly and devastating. With one small bite, a caterpillar could stun an adult human into full-body paralysis. The paralysis might last for up to eighteen hours, during which time the caterpillar feasted on the human’s flesh until very little was left. Trevor was, understandably, nervous.

The Sanford General Hospital Critical Flesh Injury Ward

The Sanford General Hospital Critical Flesh Injury Ward

They documented a number of patients who had been attacked by these caterpillars. Though the faces remained relatively in tact, they each had a distinctly artificial, almost plastic pallor that was caused by the caterpillar’s venom.

Medical Dummy Woman

A young victim, Shirley, whose body was decimated by the flesh-eating caterpillars, lays unconscious

Bob, another victim of the caterpillars, was able to give Trevor his first-hand account of the horrifying attack.

Bob, another victim of the caterpillars, was able to give Trevor his first-hand account of the horrifying attack

Trevor and the crew got the shots they needed, and said goodbye to the victims, doctors, and nurses who they’d grown so close to that day. They wished them well and headed back out into the Florida heat, keeping their eyes constantly peeled for caterpillars.

Back at the farm, Trevor did some investigation into the mysterious larvae. Where did they come from, really? What did they want? Was it just the delicious taste of human flesh that motivated them, or did they yearn for something else, something bigger? What would they transform into once they’d spun their creepy little cocoons?

Trevor ponders the questions: How can we communicate with them? How can we harvest their tiny brains for science?

Trevor ponders the questions: How can we communicate with them? How can we harvest their tiny brains for science?

Without many answers and with even fewer hours of sleep, Trevor and the crew left the next morning to continue documenting the devastating impact of these tiny, furry monsters. The crew, a rag-tag bunch of heroes from all over the country, was spirited yet alert to the dangers of the caterpillars and to their own importance in the fight for the survival of the human race.

Three of the caterpillar fighters, getting reading for battle

Three of the optimistic caterpillar fighters, getting reading for battle

They decided that the zoo would be a logical place to look for the caterpillars. Wouldn’t the creatures want to be among their own slithery and furry kind? Very likely, yes. And the caterpillar hunters were not disappointed. No sooner had they stepped foot into the Central Sanford Zoo did they run into the fiercest fighter in this battle: Ara.

Ara, whose name was inspired by the Greek Gods’ defeat of the Titans, was, true to her name, a warrior. She soared the skies high above central Florida in search of the treacherous caterpillars, and picked them up one by one to bring them back to a giant terrarium housed in the center of the zoo. This terrarium, surrounded twenty-four hours a day by the nation’s leading biologists, entomologists, and cryptozoologists, was under top-secret clearance. Trevor wasn’t allowed near it, but he was able to get a shot of Ara, her handler, and some of the children who were listening to Ara’s tales of battle against the caterpillar hoard.

Janet, Ara's most trusted companion, listens along with the small Floridian children to Ara's tales of battle

Janay, Ara’s most trusted companion, listens along with the small Floridian children to Ara’s tales of battle

That evening, back on the farm, Trevor, Callie, and Leah talked quietly around the dining room table. Did they have it in them to continue? They hadn’t laid eyes on the caterpillar itself, but they had witnessed so much of the destruction the larvae left in their wake. They’d heard the tales of death and woe. Would they be next?

They needed to get out of the house and clear their heads, so they went for a walk on the grounds. They passed by the field…the field where the horses Tracy had mentioned were supposed to be grazing. But there were no horses. Curious, the trio walked to the stables, hoping to see the horses there. But the stables were empty. Where were the horses?

Up to now, the caterpillars had feasted only on human flesh — but were they getting hungry for other species? This was too much for the trio to handle, so they rushed back to the house and closed the door against the night. But there, in the middle of the living room carpet, were Jude and his mohawked Poodle, both being slowly nibbled away at by…a caterpillar! Oh NO!

They ran, grabbing what they could and taking their rental R.V. into the night. As they drove, caterpillars seemed to be falling from the sky all round them, littering the roads with their two inch-long wiggly bodies. Trevor was terrified, but brave. He knew that he needed to capture at least one image of the wicked creature, if only for science:

Caterpillar in Florida

Trevor bravely takes a picture of this evil little fellow when the R.V. stops to gas up at a covered rest area

They drove the R.V. all night and all the next day — all the way back to Chicago. And now, they are safe. Safe from the flesh-eating caterpillars. At least…for now.

Coming Soon! A Post About Trevor’s Adventure in Florida!

Trevor has been in Florida for work since last Wednesday, and he’s been so busy that I haven’t heard much from him. He has, though sent me a number of terrific photos, which has forced me to imagine a narrative for him using these images alone.

And within the next twenty-four hours, you will see that narrative here on this blog. It will be amazing.

Caterpillar in Florida

Trevor and his crew have discovered a new species of insect larvae. It eats human flesh.

How Women Directors Turn Narrative on Its Head — Bitch Flicks

This guest post written by Laura Power appears as part of our theme week on Women Directors. Marielle Heller, Miranda July, and the women directors of Jane the Virgin are infusing elements of whimsy into their work in strikingly different ways, but to similar effect. The styles they’re using affect the audience’s relationship with their…

via How Women Directors Turn Narrative on Its Head — Bitch Flicks

Five Exciting Things That Happened Over Spring Break

Tomorrow I go back to school after having a week off of classes for spring break (#springbreak2016whoohoo!). Trevor has been busy at the studio, and we weren’t able to plan any kind of a getaway, so instead, I just hung around Camp Crystal Lake with Roo and did a whole lot of nothing.

But there were a few interesting, nay, exciting things that happened. I decided that I would recount them here for you so you could get a real taste of what a fast-paced life I lead.

Number Five: The Library Stole My Heart!

Three weeks ago I picked up Stephen King’s latest collection of short fiction, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, at my local book joint, the Crystal Lake Public Library. The book was marked as a “Hot Pick,” which meant that it could only be checked out on a seven-day loan, and it couldn’t be renewed. It’s a good-sized book, coming in at just under five hundred pages, so I was disappointed when I had to return it having only read half. But moments after I dropped my copy into the “Returns” book slot, I wandered to fiction and saw that there was another copy of the same book on the Hot Picks shelf; so obviously I grabbed it. Excellent loophole, CLPL!

But this second copy was, alas, due last Saturday, and I still wasn’t finished. I had about a hundred pages left to read, but I thought, hey, that’s okay, it’s short stories and will be easy to pick up whenever I see it again. So I returned it, and figured that sometime after the semester’s end, I’d pick it back up.

But then — but then — on Monday, my first day of spring break, I went to the library to check out some movies for my week-long couch potatoing, and the book was back on the shelf. Score! But wait! I grabbed the book and was waiting to check it out when I flipped it open and saw that my book mark was right where I had left it! KWHAAAAAT???!!!!!

THAT’S MY BOOK MARK! RIGHT WHERE I LEFT IT!

Yes, that’s right! Whatever wonderful human at the circulation desk checked my book back in did not remove my book mark. What a great way to start a spring break, right?! I finished the book that day and returned it, so hopefully some other lucky soul is enjoying it right now.

Number Four: Knives Are Sharp!

Thursday night I was fixing dinner (stove-top lasagne) and was having a pleasant time, just chopping up my vegetables, listening to my latest audiobook (Charlotte Brontë‘s Villette [good, good]). I was about to start sauteing (pot on the stove, olive oil heating up) but I needed to open my packet of Tofurky Italian sausage; so I got my big fat knife and plunged it in, and caught a nice chunk of my middle finger. I almost passed out (I’m weak in the stomach for all blood that is not made of corn syrup and red dye 40) and had to put dinner on hold until Trevor got home from work. And now I have this damn stupid gross cut on my finger and I’ve had to wear a rubber glove to take a shower and I don’t think my left hand has been really clean for a couple of days (there’s still blood underneath my fingernail [yeah, I know: gross]). I decided I would not include a picture of this. You’re welcome.

That should teach me to never eat Tofurky again.

Number Three: The Birds!

This jerk bird tried to break into the house:

Birdgular

Hellooooooo.

For days I’d been hearing something flying into the window, but I always looked at the top, where birds sometimes hang out under the eaves. But I was in the kitchen filling up my coffee mug on Friday morning and this guy flew into the bottom of the window, just beak-firsted right in there. I figure he was either trying to perch on the sill (he could hold this pose for about one single second) or he was legit trying to break into the house and steal my stuff — probably all of the dryer lint, thread, and newspaper he could get his little orange beak on.

He did it a few more times and then took off somewhere else. I think he and his family will build their little cardinal home in one of our bushes, like they did last year. Maybe he was trying for a warmer kind of place inside the house rather than out, but I am not having it. It’s a slippery slope to a whole lot of horror.

Number Two: New Publication!

On Friday, the amazing website Bitch Flicks published an article I wrote for their Women Directors theme week. It’s the third one they’ve published of mine, and I love writing things for them; it’s a great excuse to do “research” and watch a bunch of great movies and t.v.

Women Directors Screen Shot

This should probably be number one on my list of exciting things, but since I wrote and submitted the article before spring break, I didn’t want to give it the prime spot.

Number One: Signage!

Trevor got me a Camp Crystal Lake sign for the house!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HANGING ON OUR HOUSE VERY SOON!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HANGING ON OUR HOUSE VERY SOON!

For those who don’t know how exciting this is, let me tell you: this is very exciting.

Because we live on a lake and a lot of the houses were originally vacation cabins, many have lake house “names.” Some people give their house a straight forward name (“The Fort” is one of our neighbors), and some people make up puns based on their last names. People get really into this and hang signs — some simple, some elaborate.

And of course as soon as we moved here, we knew we had to get a sign for Camp Crystal Lake. Because we live on CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE HOLY CRAP! (if you don’t know why this is so exciting, please read this and know that I have very strong feelings about these movies [all of which I own and maybe I will loan them to you one at a time]).

And now we have a sign! Trevor’s going to treat it to make sure it won’t warp or crack in the weather, and then we’ll bolt it to the garage for everyone to see. I am so happy.

 

And that’s it! Of course, there are some other things that happened this week, and some things that I learned, but these didn’t make the list because they weren’t that interesting. Things such as, there is a limit to how much grading one human being can do in a week; it’s a good idea to leave the house at least once per day, just to make sure you haven’t napped through the zombie apocalypse; ice cream is delicious; and showers are great but don’t have to be taken every day.

And now, I will leave you to finish my lesson plan for my morning class and remember that I have a closet full of clothes that are not the same t-shirt and jeans I have been wearing for eight days (not literally the same: variations on a theme [well, maybe the jeans are the same]).

Have a good week!