Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Full Moon In Gemini...November 28th, 2012...

("Gemini"; Artist: Maria Szollosi)
Wednesday, November 28th, at 10:47AM/EST, is November’s Full Moon in Gemini. Gemini is a mutable air sign, and represents flexibility, logic, and communication, among other things. Full Moons are a time of culmination...projects, issues, etc. are wrapping up/coming to fruition. It is also a time when emotions are at their highest as emotional energy runs rampant. Be prepared in the event that Gemini runs up against the Moons phase…there could be some emotional tension. There is potential for some issues to seem larger than life. All the more reason to show them some attention by kicking them to the curb and allowing yourself to heal.

This month we have a double whammy in the energy department. This Full Moon is accompanied by a Lunar Eclipse, and Eclipses signify endings. Take advantage of this powerful situation by using the extra punch to help you release issues you have been hanging onto. There is strong potential for something you have shoved to the back of your emotional closet, to come to the fore. Years end is just around the corner, and we will be on the verge of starting a new one. This issue presenting itself to you is the high sign for addressing and releasing it as an early step in starting fresh in 2013 (good grief, where did 2012 go?!). Take the opportunity to work on resolving outstanding issues, and unload them.

There is a Yod this cycle with quite a bit going on. The lunar axis portion has the moon in Gemini and Venus conjunct a Scorpion Saturn, Sextile Mars conjunct Pluto in Capricorn forming the base. Midpoint in the base is the Sagittarian Sun. The energies of both the Sun and Moon look to be working together through this lunation, in that the Sun’s energies will foster some much needed insight, and the Moon will aid you in being able to look at an issue from different angles. Approaching things with an open mind is beneficial, but don’t over think things. That can be counter-productive, and this isn’t the time to unnecessarily spin your wheels on one subject when the time can be better spent moving on to something else. Trusting your emotions is a key here, but let them advise you. Don’t let them rule you. It is also advisable to watch what you say to others, and how you say it. Sarcasm could have drastic effects for the bad, and you will feel it come back on you…and then some. Widely conjunct the Moon is Jupiter in Gemini. Even if your comments are meant to add some levity and help boost a situation, there is the greater likelihood that things will back-fire on you. Remember, under this Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, emotions will be running high. It is also advised that you stay away from making promises you can’t keep. Even if your intentions are good, if the promise is too big and you see some difficulty in filling it, you might want to think better of it.

The base of the Yod has Venus conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. On the face, this might give one pause, but the aspect is a strong and loyal one. The base also has Mars in a strong conjunct with Pluto in Capricorn. The protection created by these four planets is perfect for personal issues in terms of relationships. Any new relationships created will persevere. It might not be easy going, but they will stay intact. But note: since Pluto and Scorpio are in the mix, the relationship road can be one of smooth sailing, or there might be more than a few pot-holes along the way. As with most situations in life, you can have great effect on what happens. The way you choose to set your mind, and the choices you make can help dictate which road you travel.

Trine to Ceres in Cancer (still) is Neptune in Pisces, quietly going about its business. Its effects are rather subtle, but it's there to give some soft nurturing to those who need it. Sitting direct in Scorpio is Mercury (Gemini’s planet). Mercury isn’t in aspect with anything right now. Why is this worth mentioning? Mercury can give you some help by providing you with insight that you may find useful. As the Lunar Eclipse works it’s mojo on those inner issues that are bubbling up, that ‘insight’ could be of use to you.

(Artist:  David Palladini)
Piscean Chiron is in a T-Square with the Sagittarian Sun, opposing the Gemini Full Moon. You could encounter an off-kilter situation that will cause some painful healing, and it will come through your vulnerability. Uranus in Aries is Trine the Sun and Sextile the Moon. There is a rule of thumb that I mention from time to time in these forecasts: be respectful of others, to get respect in return. There is positive and inspirational energy to be had from Uranus, so take full advantage by showing others respect. To do otherwise might give them an opening to look for your ‘soft spots’.

During this lunation, be kind to yourself. You may feel a tug to isolate a bit and engage in some escapism. Of course there is such a thing as healthy escapism, but instead of closing yourself off, open up your heart and mind to the issues making themselves known. Acknowledge them, and address them. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are tied to an issue, and use them to cleanse and heal. Show yourself some generosity, and take stock of what you need. Take care of YOU on all levels: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual. This is one area where being busy is never an excuse. I know that may be easier said than done for some, but it’s all in how you choose to think. There’s the old adage about ‘thinking the glass is half full, or half empty’. You might think it’s corny, but it’s so true. The strong energies of this Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse are prime for taking out some emotional garbage to get ready for a fresh start with the new year that’s almost upon us. 
The following excerpt is from the Farmer's Almanac:

  • Full Beaver Moon ~ November:  This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

("Flowers, Fruit, and Insects"; Artist:  Rachel Ruysch,  c. 1716)
Tonight as I rest from an afternoon of working on the front lines of the retail game, I started thinking about what I am thankful for.  As I have been away from my blog for more than a few days of getting acclimated to a new job and the accompanying daily schedule changes, I have been in a slightly different head space. Not necessarily a good or bad thing in itself. One does what one needs to do at any given time. Day by day. Moment by moment. My internal clock seems to be adjusting nicely to the changes, and as I was feeling settled within myself this chilly and dark night, I decided the time was beyond ripe for me to check in on my blog. To get back in the swing. It's 11:18 PM, and Thanksgiving Day is almost over...I better get cracking...

It feels very fitting that my fresh post be about what I am thankful for. It's Thanksgiving, after all. I had a thought, as fleeting as it was, to look for some appropriate 'Turkey Day' photos to add. As quickly as the thought came to me, it left. It's a day we have celebrated for years, touting it as a wonderful meeting between the Pilgrims and the Indians when the truth of the day is far from that. I could go on and spout a lengthy diatribe about the horrific side of this days history, but that would take me away from what I initially intended for this post to be. Nothing long and drawn out, but something simple...and positive.

("Still-Life With Fruit, and Insects", Artist: Rachel Ruysch,  c. 1711)
What am I thankful for? My life. My boyfriend, my family, and my friends...all know who they are. My new part-time job...bills, you know. My health, as crappy as it has been at times...I feel better at the moment than I have in some time, so I'm very thankful for that. I'll add to that and say that I am thankful to have the clinic I go to for check-ups and the mandatory prescriptions I take (I would die without them). I am thankful for the sense of calm I feel now, and the 'living in the moment' mind set I possess. I am thankful that I am able to embrace this imperfect being that resides within this suit of skin, and that I am able to accept me for me. Warts and all.

Each day brings with it new possibilities. Each moment is charged for new thoughts and fresh starts. Energy is all around us. I am thankful that I am an open person, and that I'm not alone. I am thankful for the world, for the nature that flows around us, and my place within it. It's about noticing the small stuff and realizing that those things aren't as superfluous as we once thought. If you can just see past the negative stuff, there is so much around us to be thankful for.

I didn't intend to get philosophical, to make it seem as if I was going a bit deep with my thoughts of thankfulness. Life can be as simple, or as complicated as we make it. I'm just happy that right now my life is more about the simple, and less about the complicated.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you haven't thought about the things that you are truly thankful for, I recommend that you do. You might discover that there's more than you first thought...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Moon In Scorpio...November 13, 2012...

("Scorpio", Artist: chib ~ Aleks Shcherbakov)
Tuesday, November 13th, at 6:08 PM/EST, is the New Moon in Scorpio. As an added bonus, this one coincides with a Solar Eclipse (which only happens during New Moons). Eclipses intensify energies, personal thought, and powers of reflection. Scorpio is a water sign, and is fixed energy, so its qualities will shine: resourcefulness, ambition, determination, loyalty. It symbolizes strength in conscious emotional expression, rather than the weakness many people expect in emotionally expressive beings. Fight off urge to over think, or over analyze, and allow yourself to feel. Don’t be afraid to hand over the reins to someone else in a situation, and trust. It can be incredibly empowering. Themes of the 8th House will also come to the fore, so be prepared for some lessons related to personal and financial issues. This is a particularly good time to take a close look at your finances, and doubly so if you share yours with another person. Really examine what is being paid out, and by whom. New Moons always signal a time for new beginnings, but with the added punch of the Solar Eclipse there is plenty of punched up energy to get a fresh start. On the flip-side of that, be ready in case newly started projects don’t go off as planned. The Eclipse could cause things to travel a side path instead of the direct one you are focusing on.

Scorpio loves all the facts, and will dredge up whatever details it can, even if they are hard to swallow. A square between Sagittarian Retrograde-Mercury, and direct Piscean Neptune, will cause things to rise to the surface. Neptune may act as a shield to a certain extent, but regardless, deeply held secrets and/or deep-seated lies could be revealed warts and all. You may not have intended to mislead, but you could be in for a rude awakening…so buckle up. (A general rule of thumb that would be good to make a general practice of in life, is to make sure the information you have been given is legit. Make sure you are dealing with a reliable source if you are sensing a question mark.)

Saturn in Scorpio, is inconjunct Uranus in Aries, with both planets in aspect to Pluto in Capricorn: Pluto is square Uranus, and Sextile Saturn. The Saturn-Pluto aspect overshadows Uranus, causing ‘him’ to hit the brakes a little and at least show some willingness to shift some focus towards reality. What may seem like an off the wall plan will soon show itself to be productive after all.

Capricorn’s ruling planet is Saturn, and Scorpio’s ruling planet is Pluto. Pluto and Saturn are sextile within orb, which will cause a “mutual reception”. As the Solar Eclipse concludes, you could see some positive influence here.

(Artist: David Palladini)
A Grand Trine is formed with Saturn in Scorpio, Ceres in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces. Be cautious when dealing with females/feminine issues. Any perceived disrespect will not bode well for you. Arian Uranus is square Ceres. Be careful of what you say, overall. Don’t let yourself get baited into making some harsh comments. It won’t go well for you. Err on the side of caution.

The New Moon in Scorpio, is semi-sextile Venus in Libra. There is indication of embarrassing tidbits of information getting aired. It’s all stuff that was going to eventually come out. Brace yourself, but be assured…things will come out in a way that will yield the least amount of damage to all parties.

A semi-sextile between Mercury and Mars, both in Sagittarius by the numbers, will keep things interesting. There is great potential for shifts between cohesion and the unbalanced, and back again. Mars, and Neptune in Pisces, are in an out of sign sextile. These energies will boost the creative side. The aforementioned times of unbalance could spawn some new ideas, with the harmonious periods spurring things on.

The best advice for this lunar cycle is to respect, be kind, and focus on the glass being half full. Drop any and all facades, and show the real you in all of your dealings. If you put the negative out there, it will come back to you and then some. The effects sent out by the Solar Eclipse will be around for the next 12 months or so. Putting out the positive instead of the negative is very important now, as events and issues presented now will cause potential ripples that will affect things to come. Grab this opportunity for a positive and powerful start to new projects, and some much needed personal renewals.

If you aren't familiar with some of the terms in this forecast, and would like to know more, follow this link to a great online Astrological Dictionary:  http://www.evolvingdoor.ca/glossary/glossary.htm

"The Cabin In The Woods"...

I am a huge "Buffy" fan, so I looked forward to seeing the Joss Whedon co-written, "The Cabin in the Woods". Per usual, I stayed away from reviews because I generally wait for films I want to see to come out on DVD. The television ads for the film said as little as possible, so I took that as a hint that Whedon, and his writing partner on the piece Drew Goddard (who also directed), wanted to keep things close to the vest to not give too many details away. I appreciate that as I have felt for a long time that trailers give away far too many details. Sadly, more often than not, the trailers commonly show the best parts of a film...which means big disappointment for the movie goer.

(Left to right: Kristin Connolly, Chris Hemsworth,
Holden McCrea, Fran Kranz)
If the name, Drew Goddard, rings any bells with you, he wrote the screenplay to “Cloverfield”, and he also worked on both “Buffy” and “Angel” as a writer. “Cabin” is Goddards’ first time in the director’s chair.

All I really knew going in was that it was about a group of college students who take a trip to a cabin where most/all of them get killed...but there is more than meets the eye, and humor is involved. Those elements helped me form a basic plot line in my head going in. Just enough to give me an impression of what I was in for, but not enough to completely ruin it for me. Being a fan of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (the series, not the movie), I thought it sounded like something that was definitely from Whedon's wheel house. It also stars Chris Hemsworth as the jock, “Curt". What's not to like about that? (Hemsworth did “Cabin” between “Thor” and “The Avengers”.)

(Chris Hemsworth)
When the Netflix envelope arrived in the mail, I was thrilled. My anticipation was great, and I looked forward to settling down in front of the TV with a big bowl of freshly popped corn.  The buzz going around was that ‘Cabin’ is a “thrill ride”. I was looking forward to something a tad different from the usual ‘young-people-getting-hacked-to-death-by-raving-axe-wielding-maniac’ flick. I was in for a mixed bag of predictability, and ‘didn’t I see something like that on Buffy’ moments.

This is probably where I should place a “Spoiler Alert”. If you haven’t seen it, you plan to see it, and you don’t want to know what happens, then stop reading here. Okay…moving right along.

(Left to right: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford,
Amy Acker)
Not surprisingly, the plot line running through “The Cabin in the Woods” involves an evil well of sorts, young people, a ritual, and the fate of the world hanging in the balance. After all, Whedon did co-write here. There were a number of elements that just felt like re-hashed nuggets of story from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s home turf of Sunnydale. When I watch a new film by a writer and/or director I admire, I find it irritating when I repeatedly think “hey, that reminds of __________ (fill in the blank with something from one of their past projects)”. Don’t get me wrong, I love(d) “Buffy”. It’s just that when I sat down to watch “Cabin in the Woods”, I was hoping for something a bit fresher. It’s so damn difficult to get into a movie when you’re being distracted like that.

Let’s see if I can simplify things here. There is a government facility below ground that is in charge of carrying out a yearly ritual to keep the “Ancient Ones” in a sleep state (they are giant evil gods(?) that are sleeping below where the facility is). This scenario reminded me of the Hell Mouth from “Buffy”, as well as the government/military guys from "Buffy". There are similar rituals being held in various other countries around the globe. All that is required to keep the evil ones sleeping, is one successful ritual to take place. The ritual requires the deaths of a group of teenagers, each one representing a certain social position/status.

Here is a breakdown to show you what I mean: “Curt Vaughan” (Chris Hemsworth) is the “athlete” of the group, sporting his jacket with the stereotypical embossed letter on the front. The fact that he is in the film was the only real selling point I needed to spend the time watching. He does a great job, but his acting chops are capable of much more. (Yes, I am biased, but I also speak the truth…he is a talented, solid actor.) The rest of the gang aren’t really known to me. I felt some mild recognition when I first saw “Dana Polk” (Kristin Connolly). She has the distinction of being the “virgin” of the group. “Holden McCrea” (Jesse Williams) is the groups “scholar”; “Jules Loudon” (Anna Hutchison) is the “whore” of the group; and “Marty Mikalshi” (Fran Kranz) is the stoner “Fool”.

The cabin and immediate surroundings are completely under the control of the underground facility. There are technicians watching the whole scenario unfold, and they intervene in certain ways to keep things on track. They administer various drugs via drink, mist, etc. to make the youngsters less aware, and less able to reason, as well as giving their sex drives a little boost at appropriate times. They are directed to the cellar of the cabin where there is a treasure trove of cursed trigger items. There are any number of horrible outcomes in the basement room, it all depends on what they unknowingly choose.

(Anna Hutchison)
Whedon and Goddard clearly had their tongues tucked in their cheeks, but not securely enough for me. Aside from the “I’ve seen something like this before” issue, I also found the film rather predictable for the most part. The lab coats at the facility have betting pools set-up for what murderous creature(s) is released, who dies first, etc. Rather than that distasteful business being humorous enough to illicit a chuckle, the best I could give it was an eyeroll.

Once Dana “the virgin (who isn’t really a virgin…she had recently broken up with one of her professors)” finds a diary, and recites the Latin incantation that is recommended she not read. The zombiefied Buckner Family scenario is begun. All are seemingly dispatched by the Buckner’s, except for Curt (Hemsworth) who smashes into an invisible barrier while trying to jump a ravine on his dirt bike. (I have to admit that once he was out of the film, I thought about whether or not I wanted to continue with it). Dana “the not-so-virginal” doesn’t have to die for the ritual to be complete, she just has to suffer. I guess she had suffered more than I had…but not by much. Just as she’s about to be killed, Marty the stoner shows up, having thwarted his killer. Apparently, his pot smoking ways made him immune to the drugs the lab coats were administering. (An observation…Marty reminded me of the “Big Bang Theory” uber-nerd, Howard Wollowitz…plus the pot smoking.)

Oh, back to the lab coats. They are having a big party to celebrate the completion of the ritual, only their festivities are cut short due to the development of Marty not being dead. Marty takes Dana to a room he found when he was dragged off by the zombie, and he shows her an elevator…going down. They go down (of course), and discover a collection of cubes housing different monsters that were waiting in the wings in case the sacrificial gang had chosen them instead. (When I saw the cubes, I instantly thought of the Syfy Channel movie, “Cube”.) 

The two survivors make it down to lab coat land, where security corners them in a control room with a switch. What do they do with the switch? They let all of the ‘cubed’ monsters loose, of course. All of the lab coats get slaughtered by the monsters. It’s a pretty bloody operation. I wonder what their blood budget was?

So Dana and Marty make it into a temple room that sits directly over where the “Ancient Ones” are snoozing. The director of the government operation enters the room, and we get one of the few surprises of the film…it’s Sigourney Weaver. She explains the whole point of the ritual, and how it is necessary to keep mankind safe. At the director’s urging, Dana levels a gun at Marty, but before she can shoot she is attacked by a werewolf. The director is killed by the zombiefied version of Patience Buckner, the girl who wrote the diary that started the ball rolling. The movie ends with Dana and Marty smoking a joint he still happened to have on him. They decide that maybe the planet is due for a change of species. The “Ancient Ones” awaken, and a giant hand shoots up from below destroying the installation.

There were a few other recognizable actors in “Cabin, other than Weaver. The two main lab coats overseeing the operations at the cabin were played by Bradley Whitford (probably most known for his role on “West Wing”), and Richard Jenkins (a character actor you would know if you saw him). There were two alumni from Whedon’s TV shows: Amy Acker (she played Fred/Illyria on “Angel”); Tom Lenk (he played one of the nerds on “Buffy”).

Do I recommend it? Well, if you can see it on cable, sure. Maybe you’ll watch it, and agree with the favorable reviews of which there were many. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I’ve heard grumblings on the internet about a sequel. If that’s true, I hope the premise isn’t a rehashing of already successful story elements from another project.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Moon, Some Vultures & Rocks...

I have gotten a bit busy over the last week or two, and my posting got a little back-logged.  As has become my custom, I usually post some pics I have taken of the Full Moon each month. I had run into a case of cloud cover obscuring it on one or more of the last few months, but it was a different story for the Harvest Moon of October 29th. The Native Americans also call it the Hunter's Moon, and I could see why. Marking the third and final harvest celebration of the year, the big bright Moon illuminates the barer harvested fields which in turn makes hunting for game to cure and put away for the winter months an easier job. The Moon was definitely big, and absolutely bright. Walking outside with the camera, I could see areas and things I wouldn't have seen during other Full Moons. It was really beautiful.  It's during moons like that when I wish I had a camera better suited to night time photography. A new camera is at the top of my 'want' list.
On a different day as I came back from an errand, I witnessed a murder...or so I thought. As I drove past the dumpster, I could see a large group of big black birds gathered together along the tree line of the field just beyond the garbage bin. I figured them to be crows, which would have made them the biggest crows I had ever seen in person. Of course I didn't have my camera, so I raced home, got it, and kept my fingers crossed. I hoped they would still be there when I got back, and they were. I was worried that they would take off when they saw me get out of my car, but luckily they didn't.  Some of them regarded me in a rather blase manner, but for the most part they just walked around and nipped their beaks at one another. I moved in a bit closer, but gradually. A few of them flew off to the branches of a tall leafless tree, just to turn around and fly back down to the group. I was able to get pretty close, but at a certain point they decided they didn't like being photographed. A few at a time they flew away.

It wasn't until I uploaded the snaps to my computer that I was able to get a closer look at my subjects. They were definitely not black crows. They were black vultures. I hadn't photographed a murder of crows, I had photographed a venue of vultures. I hadn't seen a black vulture before, but after a bit of Googling I learned that black vultures are common in the southern United States. My photos above are a bit fuzzy as I was trying to snap off as many pictures as I could before the birds left, so working the manual focus wasn't as easy as I would have liked. I found a clearer picture of a black vulture on line to give a better idea of what I saw. During my little bit of research, I learned that black vultures in a venue (group) are known to attack living prey. Glad I didn't look like their next meal...I got pretty close.
These last couple of photos were taken on the afternoon of 'vulture day'. I walked to the picnic table at the opposite end of the condos. It's nice over there, and there are never people about. The day was an overcast one (which is my favorite kind of day for a stroll), so I just wanted to sit, take some pictures, and enjoy the sounds of the breezes through the bare trees. Just for a few minutes. Some of the best medicine around.

When I got to the table, I found the above collection of rocks and twigs sitting on one of its corners. My immediate reaction was "Blair Witch rocks".  It was right around Halloween, so I guess that's fitting.

I enjoyed my dose of Zen, snapped a number of photos, and felt that I had fulfilled my needed nature therapy session.  It's something I try to engage in as often as I can.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Fort & Some Fezzes...

I had been planning to visit Tybee Island again. It being so close, it’s not like it’s a difficult trip to make. When I was last at the north beach to snap some photos and absorb some Zen energy, I promised to no one in particular that the next time I headed that way I would make Fort Screven my photography subject. My trip was overdue, and I managed to make it over.

Autumn has been around for several weeks now, but it recently dug its heels in and took the reins away from summer. The past week or so has been cool to the point of being jacket worthy. Since I was going to be traipsing around right by the massive expanse of water known as the Atlantic, I knew the temperatures would dip a bit more. (In the past I have visited the north beach during the winter, and experienced excruciatingly cold temperatures with brutally biting winds.) After putting on a long sleeve shirt and a jacket, I felt that would be sufficient (and it was).

(General James Screven)
The fort was named in honor of Georgia Militia Brigadier General James Screven. In 1778, during the Revolutionary War, Screven was killed at Midway Church. 

There was a law passed by the Georgia Legislature in 1786 that stated a fort would be built on either Tybee or Cockspur Island, to be named after Screven. In 1808, the land on Tybee fell under federal government jurisdiction as Fort Screven Reservation. The build site at the north end of Tybee was approved in 1855, and it was to provide modern seacoast defense. Six concrete gun batteries, and a minefield were built on Tybee along with a hundred other buildings. The fort served as an integral part of America’s Coastal Defense system from 1897-1947. In 1947, the fort was decommissioned and sold to the town of Tybee. Many of the buildings were converted for use by private owners by the 1950’s.

I did not arrive at the fort until the late afternoon. Before driving over what I call “the land bridge” to Tybee, I had to refuel…the car and me. I grabbed a hot Mocha at Mickey D’s…my usual for chilly beach visits.

For as many times as I have gone by the fort, one would think I would have scrutinized it a bit closer than I had up to that point. It was approaching 5:00 PM by the time I rolled into the parking area, and since it took a bit of hunting to find a pay station for parking that wasn’t out of order, any thoughts I may have had about checking out the forts museum were moot. That was fine by me though. It was great to be out in the fresh air, doing two of my favorite things…exploring and taking pictures.

There were hardly any people about. That was great. I would not have to navigate around people to take my pictures. The concrete buildings that sit along the edge of the large parking lot I park in when I visit the north beach were…odd somehow.  I could not quite place why. Everywhere I looked as I walked down the length of the buildings, I saw signs. ‘Do Not Enter’. ‘No Trespassing’. Not to say that I did not expect there to be access restrictions, but not that many. I at least wanted to go to the upper level somehow. I wanted to explore more of the structures interior. To find what was projecting the odd feeling.

Settling into snapping ground level photos, I walked as far into the structure as I was allowed, which wasn’t very far. A couple of chained off areas gave a slight recess that allowed me to see a bit farther in than most other areas. There was so much temptation to throw caution to the wind (and there was a strong breeze blowing), and cross one of the barriers to see what lay beyond. I do not think I would have gotten caught as I saw no security cameras, but reason took over and I abandoned the thought. Instead, I would hold the camera as far in front of me as I could and snap a picture. That proved to be my best way of seeing what was around a few corners. A part of me hoped to catch an apparition. At certain points I could almost hear the faint sounds of soldiers calling out.

(Oddly placed random "ICE" machine)
Farther down the length of buildings were the parts that had been converted for private use. I stopped short of those not wanting to intrude. Some are actual private residences, although I don’t know what changes could have been made to make someone want to live in a concrete battery. I would love to know if the inhabitants have experienced any odd sensations or events.

As I made my way back toward the end where my car was, I stopped to snap a picture of a large symbol on one of the exterior walls. Local Shriners have their club in the fort, and I assumed the symbol was linked to them. As I walked past the ground floor door to the Shriners Club, I noticed a woman wheeling a cart with food tins on it toward the entrance. She noticed me snapping pictures, and said I was welcome to come up to the Shriners club to get some shots from there. I jumped at the chance. It looked like I was going to get up to the top of the fort after all.

We squeezed the cart and ourselves into a tiny elevator and rode it up to the third (top) floor. Crossing a short hall, we entered a large room filled with round tables. A man was sitting by the door, and the gal who invited me up explained that I was just there to snap some pictures. To say that I was the youngest person there was obviously true. I felt kind of like an interloper. I was not a member, and it definitely had a membership vibe. Yes, the room was worn, and clearly had not been updated in…I do not think I would be over stating to say that it looked like it was last furnished in the 1970’s. It was a relatively long room filled with round tables. The tables were surrounded by school style plastic seated chairs. There was a kitchen area that had open windows. I expect that it once was a chow line? At the far end from where I entered (and looking completely out of place), was a large, dark, wooden bar. 

A bank of large windows looked out on the north beach (which I usually refer to as “my beach”). I took several photos from there, and turned to leave. The man by the door had been quiet before, but became extremely chatty as I made to leave. He pointed out Hilton Head Island, and mentioned a couple of other bits of historical information…which I unfortunately can’t remember now. The woman who had invited me up found me again and suggested that I go out on the patio area outside of a door by the bar. That was the type of vantage point I had wanted. Out in the air with everything spreading away around me. The ocean was beautiful from up there. I had been curious about whether or not Hurricane Sandy was causing the surf in the area to be a bit more turbulent (my trip to Screven was a few days ago). The waters looked as active as they had the other times I had visited. Nothing different there. Turning around, the lighthouse towered in front of me. If it had not been so chilly out, I would have spent a bit more time studying things for more possible photos. When I finished and cut back through the club room toward the exit, the one thing that screamed that this was a Shriner’s club revealed itself to me. The wall by the entrance/exit door was covered with cases of Shriner’s Fezzes. I was surprised I had not noticed it before. On closer inspection, I saw that there were Fezzes (hats) from clubs throughout the United States. Some were a bit more ornate than others (the Los Angeles one was fittingly sparkly), but they were all really neat. It was then that any uncomfortable feelings I may have had about being an intruder in their club were shot down. The same woman from before  told me I should come by next Tuesday night. They had dinner every Tuesday, and the cover was $8. I thanked her and the “door man”, and headed back to the car.

As I drove home, I thought about my visit to the fort. The Shriner’s. When I was little my dad had taken my brother and I to the Shriner’s Circus. I have a distinct memory of being terrified of a clown with a giant plastic comb…he had wanted to comb my hair. I don’t know if that event was the catalyst for my hatred of clowns, but I know it didn’t help. *shudder* I had always thought the Shriner’s to be an organization created for the guys who could not get into the Freemason’s. I looked it up while writing this and it turns out a Shriner has to be a Mason first. I do not know much beyond that. Maybe Glenn and I should go there one Tuesday for an $8 dinner, and ask.