Music Monday

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Happy Monday.

Here are the songs I’m obsessing over lately. Enjoy.

1. Phantogram – Fall in Love

2. The Lumineers – Ain’t Nobody’s Problem

3. Brandi Carlile – NPR Tiny Desk Concert

4. Kings of Leon – Rock City

5. Jack White – High Ball Stepper

7. Andrew Bird – Here’s What Happened

8. Delta Spirit – People C’mon

9. Misterwives - Imagination Infatuation

10. Brick + Mortar – Locked In A Cage

The Morning Drive

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You’ll notice I avoided calling this post something like, “My Morning Commute.” Something about the word commute just turns me off. It sounds middle-aged. Zapped of all life and creativity. Not what I’m going for for. Probably not what anyone is going for, actually.

Let me back track a bit. With my new job (which is great) comes a lengthy drive to and from Greenwood every morning. Now sure, this drive will shorten itself drastically once I move downtown this summer. But until I get to live the hip, urban, twenty-something apartment life I deserve, the drive from Hamilton County down to the South Side remains a fixture in my day.

I don’t know about you, but driving in rush hour traffic (really, any traffic… it’s a problem) freaks the crap out of me. Talk about high blood pressure. Shooting the gap* between two oversized load trucks is not exactly a relaxing start to the day. Not at all. It took me a few weeks of holding my breath and death-gripping my steering wheel to realize, wow, there is probably something I can do to make this better.

And low and behold, there is something. And that, is podcasts. Yes, podcasts. There are so many of them! And they’re all pretty much free. Maybe I’m late to the game on this (I usually am), but I feel like I’ve made some miraculous discovery. I actually look forward to my drive now because I get to listen to something fresh, interesting, and in my opinion, worth my time.

If my awe and wonder is not enough to convince you, here are a few more reasons why podcasts are awesome:

- You can always learn something new if you want to.

- It’s a mental escape, almost more so than listening to music.

- It gets your creative brain thinking about new ideas, stories, people, places, relationships, everything.

- They are only a minor commitment. Thirty minutes, an hour, boom – you’re done. If nothing else, you’ve completed something today.

Because I know you’re curious, here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:

This American Life

This American Life

I think everyone probably knows about This American Life at this point. But if you don’t, it’s not too late for you. Every week, this show focuses on a particular theme. This week’s, for example, was “There’s No Place Like Home,” in which the producers delved into stories of people who are working to preserve or create a comforting, meaningful sense of place in the towns and cities where they live. In each episode, there’s always great variety, and the stories are usually very poignant and unique. If nothing else, they get you thinking. Plus, something about Ira Glass’s voice (the Executive Producer) just sucks you right in. It’s magnetic. Subscribe.

All Songs Considered

All Songs Considered

I hope you didn’t think I could write a blog post on podcasts without mentioning NPR once or twice (…it’ll happen twice, just so we’re clear). I like this podcast because it mixes commentary with both clips and full-length versions of songs, so it’s a nice variety  of stuff, especially coming home in the evenings when I feel more like blaring some music. Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been totally out of the music scene. Not really following any new bands, and not really caring. This show, however, makes tracking new artists relatively easy. Of course, not all of the selections will be to your liking. But a lot of it, if not most, is really good and likely stuff you’ve (or at least that I’ve) never heard before. A few favorites I’ve found - Dog Trumpet, Lowell, and Royal Teeth.

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Another NPR selection. This one, however, is less about music and more about TV, movies, celebrities, trends … things like that. I’ve only listened to two of these so I can’t say too much about it yet. One of the details I do enjoy about the show is that at the conclusion of every episode, the producers go around and say one thing that’s making them happy this week, which always functions as some sort of suggestion for fun things to go see or do.

Anatomy of a Movie

Anatomy of a Movie

Not for the weak of heart. This podcast can be long. Almost two hours long, actually. So yeah, there’s a lot you can probably skip over, but there’s also a lot you’ll want to listen to, carefully. If you’re into movies like I am, you’ll be frustrated that you can’t actually join in on this Socratic-like dissection of different movies, their actors, writers, sets, anything and everything else you can think of. I really enjoyed the discussion on Her and am looking forward to listening to one of their old episodes on Gravity. Browse all episodes here.

Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio

This is another I’ve only just started listening to, but so far, it’s great. It’s a nice break for me, because I definitely don’t think like an economist ever. Like, at all. And it shows me an analytical side of things that I often overlook too quickly. I’m a total faker though, because I haven’t read this book yet and it’s been out forever. Maybe I’ll get the audiobook, and that will just feel like one giant podcast? In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to episodes like “Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs” and “Reasons to Not Be Ugly”.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones? Share your thoughts and thanks for reading!

*This, however, is a great start to any day.

My 2014 Oscar Predictions

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I can hardly contain myself. The Oscars are HERE! Every year, I look forward to the awards and the red carpet fashion, but for whatever reason, this year’s Academy Awards feel particularly exciting. I made it a goal this year to see as many of the nominated films as I could. Here’s what I saw:

  • American Hustle
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • August: Osage County
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Great Gatsby
  • 20 Feet From Stardom
  • Lone Survivor
  • Iron Man 3
  • Blue Jasmine

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. My biggest regret in the list is not yet seeing 12 Years a Slave. Confession: I was nervous to see it in theaters because I know I will cry like a baby. I’ll wait until it’s available On Demand and watch it in the comfort of my own basement. That being said, from what I’ve heard it has good chances of snagging Best Picture, and for very good reason.

Below I’ll list who/what I think will actually win (#1) and who/what I really want to win (#2). I’ll only make predictions for the categories in which I’ve seen one or more of the films and feel I can make an educated (or at least somewhat educated) assumption. Alright then, without further ado…

Best Picture

  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actor

  1. Matthew McConaughey
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress

  1. Cate Blanchett
  2. Amy Adams

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Jared Leto
  2. Jared Leto or Jonah Hill

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Jennifer Lawrence or Julia Roberts

Best Animated Feature

  1. Frozen
  2. Despicable Me 2

Best Cinematography

  1. Gravity
  2. Gravity

Best Costume Design

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. American Hustle

Best Directing

  1. Alfonso Cuarón
  2. Martin Scorcese

Best Film Editing

  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Dallas Buyers Club

Fun fact: The makeup budget for this film was only $250!

Best Original Score

  1. Gravity
  2. Her

Best Production Design

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. Her

Best Sound Editing

  1. Gravity (or Lone Survivor… I have faith)
  2. Lone Survivor

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Gravity
  2. Lone Survivor

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street

 Best Original Screenplay

  1. Her
  2. Her

Other items worth noting – Jennifer Lawrence has already tripped on the red carpet, Ellen DeGeneres is going to be amazing and as usual, Lupita nailed it. 

Share your own predictions in the comments or let me know via Twitter (@AllyDenton), I’ll be tweeting all night!

 

 

Travel is the best, but also the worst…

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Every year, I get the travel bug. Everyone must, right? It’s normal to crave a change of scenery, a break from your typical routine and new encounters with friends and people. Normally, I love the journey. In other words, the process it takes to get from point A to point B. Stick me in an airport for a few hours with a notebook and I’m a happy camper. When you’re in transit, you’re in this weird state of limbo where time dictates everything, like when you’re supposed to depart, but your normal sense of time is totally disrupted. Your personal schedule becomes basically irrelevant. It’s kind of cool. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the travel gods (aka airline booking agents) to make sure you’re good to go, leaving you with nothing to do but be still and pass the time.

This, of course, is easier said than done. I was reminded this past weekend how the very soothing thing I just described can become the most frustrating, exhausting task in the entire world. Travel can suck, big time. Especially when Operation Freeze Indiana Forever takes over just as you’re boarding your plane. Here are some reasons traveling is great and miserable all at once.

 

vintage United Airlines ad - Pinterest

vintage United ad, Pinterest

1. You want to feel glamorous, and sometimes you do (usually when you bring matching luggage and the inside of your purse could look like one of those “What’s In Your Carry On?” spreads the celebrities do in Vogue with oils and spritzers and shiz.. so yeah, it’s rare). But most of the time you just feel icky and smell like recycled air.

2. Everything is out of your control, which can be relaxing… until it’s not anymore. It’s amazing how the airport can go from calm, quiet oasis to that scene from Mean Girls when “the girls go wild”. That’s sort of what happened to me last Friday. I boarded the tiniest plane ever to connect in Chicago. I got on, no snow happening. I sit down in my seat, oh crap, it’s snowing. We pretend like we’re going to take off. Oops, bad idea. We turn around and head back to the gate. I kid you not I walked into a different airport than the one I had been in just moments before. Sides were taken, no one was smiling, it was loud, babies were crying, people were scared. Wild, I tell you.

3. Napping is appropriate. Where else (except for college) can you just fall asleep in the middle of the day and no one even thinks twice?

4. If you’re like me and have trouble napping, there are plenty of coffee shops, bars, markets, whatevers to keep you occupied, caffeinated and entertained.

5. The problem with #4: so. damn. expensive. And I’ve noticed the longer you have to sit and wait for your flight/train/bus the more you’re willing to spend and the less you care. I was at the airport for nearly 10 hours on Friday. By about hour seven, my budget plan hit the fan and died. $4 SmartWater? Sure. $6 magazine? Worth it. $3 bag of gummy bears? But I need this… It is a vortex people and it will suck you in.

6. People watching at transportation hubs is superb. If you’re solely an observer, usually no one will bother you. If you’re more forward, you can almost always strike up an interesting (or at least time-consuming) conversation with a fellow traveler. Of course there are moments when you might not feel like chatting. Flying home on Monday was one of those days for me. I was exhausted, I had a bad cold and had just about had it with anything airline-related. The 68-year-old doctor from Nigeria sitting next to me, however, felt quite the opposite and looking back, I’m glad I took the time to learn a little bit about his life. Be nice to everyone, it’s what makes the world go ’round, as they say.

image from Pinterest

image from Pinterest

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about travel?

In my opinion, the annoyances are always worth enduring in the end. By the time you arrive at your destination, any snags you ran into previously have faded away into the backdrop and you’re eager and ready for a new adventure.

 

Dissecting Apple’s iPad Air TV Ad: “What Will Your Verse Be?”

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Earlier this month, Apple released a new television ad for the iPad air (watch below). I get that it’s the point of all commercials to suck you in as a captive viewer, but this is really one of the ads you can’t help but pay close attention to. I credit that to the fact that this ad begins in silence. Not pure silence, you’ve got some wind blowing and other audio of that sort, but there are no words for the first 12 seconds. You almost don’t notice this because of the beautiful landscapes and scenery you’re looking at instead. It’s visually stimulating to say the least, but more happens in 90 seconds than just stunning images and backgrounds.

A few other commenters have written this ad off as too-much, cliche or typical of Apple to go so “over the top”. I’ll admit, I felt the same way the first time I saw it. It’s easy to roll your eyes and think… beauty, poetry, the human condition, blah blah blah, are you serious Apple? Just sell me an iPad and cut it with the touchy-feely crap. But the ad came on again and again and there I would sit in awe of those beautiful mountains, feeling my creative juices begin to stir and eventually, my feelings changed. So basically, the ad worked.

Here are some things the ad does particularly well:

1. Juxtaposition

You could argue that juxtaposition is the driving force behind the entire ad concept. With Robin William’s speech from Dead Poets Society as voiceover throughout the duration of the ad, we both see and hear the constant intersection of technology, mankind and culture. By placing an iPad Air on top of a mountain, at the edge of a waterfall and underwater in a coral reef, we see worlds colliding–the natural and the manmade. But it doesn’t feel invasive or wrong. In fact, it feels quite the opposite–powerful, creative and totally right. In this footage, nature and technology are living in harmony and mankind is thriving. Who doesn’t want that?

2. Challenges the definition of poetry

There are a lot of different people featured in the ad–engineers, athletes, dancers, musicians, mountaineers, architects and children. They are all working on something and the implication here is that they are all doing what they’re doing for a bigger and greater purpose (hint: it’s their verse!). Hockey players using the iPad Air to strategize their next play–poetry. Engineers making advancements in wind power technology–poetry. Storm chasers tracking an incoming swell–poetry. DJs playing for a crowd of young EDM fanatics–poetry. The interesting thing here is that the ad does not focus on an end product. Instead, it showcases the creative process. The message is not this is what an iPad can do for you rather, this is what you can do for the world with an iPad.

image: digitaltrends.com

image: digitaltrends.com

3.  Sparks the viewer

For a perceptive viewer, I think the ad sparks equal parts wanderlust equal parts inspiration to get out there and start innovating, whatever that means for you. The commercial ends, literally, with a challenge to the viewer: “What will your verse be?” I know, I know, cue the collective groan from the audience… And I guess that is where the ad takes a huge risk and in the mind of some, fails in doing so. But I think we can all agree that if any company can toe the line of cliché and still get away with it, it’s Apple. And despite that potential shortcoming, the ad succeeds in a major way by advertising its product in a supporting-actor role, so to speak. The message Apple promotes is that no matter what you do, the iPad air is your perfect companion. But by not highlighting any apps or specific capabilities of the iPad, the human projects take center stage. It’s subtle and slightly subversive but by doing that, the iPad steals the spotlight without you even realizing it… And isn’t that the mark of a great ad? It’s storytelling at its finest. It’s something that clicks so effortlessly, you can’t fully realize or explain it’s power and influence.

What do you think about the ad? I’ll be curious to read and discuss your comments below.

Also, check out two more ads I’ve been enjoying and thinking about by Google and P&G.

Let’s Go For A Drink (Round 5)

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Read previous rounds here.

If we were having a drink right now it would probably be a beer of some sort, considering the Patriots vs. Broncos game currently blaring from my living room. I’m not a huge beer fan however, so I might go ahead and pour myself a glass of red wine instead. I like the juxtaposition of it all.

If we were having a drink right now, I would ask if you recognized me. For the first time in really, forever, I am not a blonde. Nope. Decided it was time for a change. I’ve always been too scared to dramatically change my hair color. People always told me I would never be able to get the blonde back. Psh. So a few weeks ago I had an appointment scheduled with my hair guru. I explained I wanted to go darker, handed her some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, closed my eyes and said do yo thang.

Shameless selfie... I also got glasses this weekend for, guess what? Driving at night! #old

Shameless selfie… I also got glasses this weekend for, guess what? Driving at night! #old

I don’t like to say that I’m a “brunette” because… I’m just not. But right now, yes, my hair is brown and I’m having fun with it. Sometimes when I’m getting ready to head out the door and just quickly glance in the mirror I freak out for a second. And then I remember, oh yeah, I did that.

If we were having a drink right now, I would start stressing about all the training I’m supposed to be doing. A few months ago, I had the brilliant idea of signing up for a half-ironman distance race. That is, 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running. If you’ve kept up with my blog at all, you know I got into triathlon this summer and had a great time doing it. It was fun to start training in three different sports as opposed to just running a lot (I was really starting to get burnt out on the whole running five days a week thing). I felt strong, confident and was eager to keep racing. I seriously couldn’t wait to sign up for Muncie 70.3 when registration opened.

ironman.com

ironman.com

Fast forward a few months later and…yeah. I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here for any scrap of motivation. All I want to do is yoga. All the time. Right now I feel like I could easily replace my training schedule with six days a week of yoga classes and that would just be perfectly fine and dandy. The only thing left hanging is a lot of guilt for spending an arm and a leg on the Ironman entry fee. But, who knows? Maybe in a week or two my motivation to eat, sleep, triathlon will return but until then, you’ll find me sweating on my mat. Stay tuned.

If we were having a drink I would tell you about my upcoming trip to North Carolina. I’m so excited to get out-of-town, even just for a weekend. I’ll get to see my brother, who has tickets to Book of Mormon (score!), and some good friends who have moved to Charlotte since graduating. Fingers crossed for some warmer temperatures, too.

minnpost.com

minnpost.com

If we were having a drink right now I would definitely offer you this amazing dark chocolate covered caramel popcorn that has sort of been my BFF this weekend. Seriously. Have some.

This isn't even the one I'm talking about. I've eaten so much of it, the bag looked bad in a photo. I'm sure this one is equally amazing. Curse my aunt and uncle for sending us so much sugary goodness!

This isn’t even the one I’m talking about. I’ve eaten so much of the bag, it looked bad in the photo. I’m sure this one is equally amazing. Curse my aunt and uncle for sending us so much sugary goodness!

If we were having a drink right now I would tell you that I’m chomping at the bit to get started on something. For the past few months I’ve been living in a perpetual state of transition. I quit teaching this fall to pursue writing. I realize now that I didn’t really know what that meant. I had no structure to follow or specific goal to chase and I don’t always do well without tangible direction. I began to feel uneasy about what I was doing and as a result, decided I wanted to pursue something else entirely. So I set off in that direction for a few months and eventually realized no, that’s not the right move either (But that’s being kind – it was really more of a what the hell? are you serious? type of realization). Instead of being honest with myself I was looking for a quick fix to feeling directionless and scared. I know I’m speaking in vague terms here but there’s really no need to give you the nitty-gritty, mostly petty #postgradproblems details.

Bottom line, I’m ready to start working on and toward things I’m passionate about. It’s true, life is short, but I’m only 24. There is plenty of time and really, I need to slow down and enjoy it. It’s time to feel young and fearless again.

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

Film Review: American Hustle + The Wolf of Wall Street

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The holidays are synonymous with movies. Years ago, my family used to go to the theater every Thanksgiving night for the release of the new, box-office busting Disney movie. I have a distinct memory sitting in the theater for 101 Dalmations (the remake, of course, with Glenn Close) waiting for the previews to begin and watching my little brother shake hands and introduce himself to other, much older, movie-goers as they walked in to find their seats. From the age of three he was a politician in the making, but that’s another story.

photo: screencrush.com

photo: screencrush.com

There were a handful of movies I wanted to see this year—Anchorman 2, The Book Thief, Saving Mr. Banks, 12 Years A Slave, Catching Fire among others. But the movie I most wanted to see was David O. Russel’s American Hustle. With Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in leading roles, who wouldn’t? American Hustle is quite the departure from Russel’s masterpiece the previous year, Silver Linings Playbook. I know. It’s my own fault I even entered the theater with that in my mind, but with two of the same actors, Lawrence and Cooper, it was hard not draw lines between two.

American Hustle opens with the line “Some of this actually happened.” I didn’t think about those first words very much throughout the duration of the movie, but looking back now, I realize it was perfect. It warns the audience to not take anything they’re about to see too seriously, to not be afraid to laugh even when it feels inappropriate (this happens a lot) or uncomfortable. Most of all, the line asks you to question the authenticity of the coming events and the people driving them. For a movie about the construction of individual realities, this blurs the distinction between truth and deceit even more. “People believe what they want to believe” is repeated over and over again throughout the film.

I was fooled, along with the rest of the audience I imagine, that American Hustle was a cut-and-dry mainstream movie about crime and money and love and the intersections of the three. What I didn’t expect were the layers of humor, dark avant-garde moments and according to my brother, some Cohen-brother-esque instances of violence and absurdity. Amy Adams’ performance is an example of this. I don’t know if there is another actress out there who can convey multiple, contradicting emotions in just one glance at the camera, but she nails it. (Spoiler Alert!) The last scene in the film is Amy looking back at the audience, her face full of both happiness and contentment yet longing and desire. In that scene, you can’t help but feel as if she’s settling for something lackluster.

I didn’t plan to go see The Wolf of Wall Street. In fact, I didn’t know much about it until watching the trailer right before I left for the theater. Prepare yourselves for this one: its three hours of non-stop money, sex and drugs. But if you can look past the superficial, you will be blown away by the performances. I hope DiCaprio finally gets his Oscar from this one. He was the perfect man for the part—within his character of Jordan Belfort, you could peek glimpses of other DiCaprio roles: Gatsby, Frank Abagnale from Catch Me If You Can, and I swear, his voice has never been the same since he played Danny Archer in Blood Diamond. While Wolf lacked the depth and layers of American Hustle, Wolf was far more entertaining and exciting to watch, even at three hours long.

The funny thing about the two films is that essentially they are the same. Money, greed, deception, notoriety… both films are a modern day tale of the American Dream and the false hopes it sustains. It’s impossible to watch either movie without considering our nation’s reliance on money in the abstract. It certainly points out flaws in our system, and unveils greed as perhaps the root cause of our financial downfalls. But you have to ask yourself, who is to blame here? If our economy is rooted in greed, how could we not see this coming?

Truly, this is getting into a conversation I am not prepared to have. English major, over here. I don’t think I make enough money to fully understand it yet. If anything, these films showed me I better get a grip on how our financial system works because news flash, its not going anywhere.

All in all, both American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street ask you to question who the real bad guys are because in the end, you’re not so sure. Hopefully, you leave the theater realizing not everything is as it seems and that in reality, everyone is just doing their best to survive.

The Copperhead

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I spent the first decade of my life in Paoli, Indiana. Paoli, two hours south of Indianapolis, is a small town situated on the northeastern edge of the Hoosier National Forest.  It’s a few miles east of French Lick, probably the most well known town down there due to the recent revival of its resort, casino and winery. You could argue Paoli is known for its ski hill, Paoli Peaks, even though the running joke is that you ski through more tobacco chew and mud than actual snow.

Hoosier National Forest (image - Wikipedia)

Hoosier National Forest (image – Wikipedia)

When I was small, probably in pre-school, I had a babysitter in Paoli named Anita whose house I went to everyday. Anita took care of me and my younger brother plus a few other kids both older and younger than me. At Anita’s house, I learned how to look for locust shells at the bases of trees. I learned how to tie my shoes, the bunny ears way, out on her back porch. During nap time, I learned about patterns. Refusing to sleep, I stared at the swirls on the ceiling in her daughter Jackie’s room, finding new pictures and faces in the plaster everyday. I’ve never been one for midday sleeps.

After nap time the group of us, led by Anita, would go outside in the front yard to pick up stray bullets. I didn’t know then that they weren’t actually bullets, but shells, mostly small copper ones from rifles or shotguns. Calling them bullets made more sense to my 4-yr-old mind. Anita’s husband, Lawrence, owned a gun shop right on their property. Their house was at the bottom of a hill and the gun shop was closer to the road, at the top. It was just a small house on the side of the road, a few yards away from their long driveway.

Because of this, there were strict rules about playing in the front yard and if I’m remembering things right, it wasn’t until after Lawrence closed his shop that we could finally go out to hunt for those locust shells, for acorns, rocks, arrowheads and of course, the bullets. We walked with tender steps through the yard, chins tucked and eyes peeled, calling out “found one!” each time we caught a glint of copper in the leaves. We pretended they were Civil War bullets, little pieces of history no else had yet discovered. We collected them in our pockets, having a contest before our moms picked us up to see who found the most. Most days we handed them over in fistfuls to Anita, but once or twice I’d whisper in her ear, “Can I keep one?”

We didn’t hear gunshots that often, and when we did, we were never too concerned. But one day, a clear shot rang out, a little bit louder than normal, and not a minute later, Lawrence camp tramping through the front door telling us we should come out and take a look at this. We zipped up our jackets and hand in hand we marched up the hill to the road along their house. As we reached the crest of the hill, I could see something sitting in the road. “Don’t touch it,” Anita instructed. I stepped a little closer and saw it, a snake. A dead snake. A dead, Copperhead snake.

Before I had a chance to get too scared or grossed out or anything of the sort, it was time for a lesson on identifying snakes, courtesy of Lawrence. He showed us the markings and how you could identify a Copperhead by the shape of its skull. I imagined the snake chasing Lawrence down the street, threatening him with fangs and venom and a sinister hiss. I saw Lawrence turning quickly on his heel, drawing the pistol from its leather holster, firing a sharp, clean shot and the snake stopping dead in its path. I heard the echo of the shot ringing out through the forest and Lawrence, successful, blowing smoke off the barrel of his gun.

Orange County Courthouse in the center of Paoli (image - Wikipedia)

Orange County Courthouse in the center of Paoli (image – Wikipedia)

In reality, the Copperhead was probably just minding his own business, lying on the pavement to digest a meal or maybe because it was warmer there than in the wet leaves of the yard, I’m not sure. But Lawrence was smart to get rid of the snake. Copperheads are so camouflaged on the ground they are virtually invisible to their prey, or to little humans, searching for acorns. Even though they prefer to leave humans alone, they will sometimes bite when stepped on or touched. And even though their venom isn’t the most poisonous of the snakes in Indiana, no venom is better than some, in my opinion.

Since then, I’ve had a few more snake encounters in Southern Indiana, all harmless, but this is the one I remember the most. The image of that Copperhead burned into my mind for better or worse. I had quite the story to tell my mom when she picked me up that afternoon. And I was happy to report that the next day, even after the previous day’s events, our bullet hunting went on as scheduled, uninterrupted.

 

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