Invisible Men Battle It Out in Hurst

We’re pleased to announce that “Invisible Men Invade Earth” was named audience favorite at the Central Arts Short Film Battle in Hurst last night. It competed with “Don’t Die” by Cody Lovorn from San Antonio.

As winner, “Invisible Men” will compete with other 2019 audience favorites later in the year.

After the Battle, a 90-minute feature film, The Monster of Phantom Lake, produced by Film Battle organizer Christopher Mihm, was shown. The Creative Spotlight terms Mihm a “retro-styled director.” Of the film, it says,

“Made on a nearly non-existent budget, this B-movie went on to garner much critical acclaim, appear in many genre-based film festivals, win multiple awards, and continues to screen across the world.”

Without further ado, here are pictures of writer-director-producer-camera man-sound engineer-casting director-key grip-best boy-etc. David Davis, stars William the Cat and Ernest the Cat, and one wall of the theatre.


Photos of David Davis by Kathy Waller

Photo of wall by David Davis

Photos of William and Ernest by Charla, our vet tech cat minder, for whom William and Ernest always pose nicely, because they like her more than they like David and me

Staggering and Wobbling with Dignity and Grace. Or Not.

So I stagger and wobble and run into door jambs.

The door jamb part really isn’t in the same category as the other two, because staggering and wobbling are relatively new, but I’ve been door-challenged all my life.

Public Domain

Once when I was eight, visiting my Aunt Laura and Uncle Joe, the phone rang and I was the only one in the house. I ran from the kitchen and across the dining room, headed for the far end of the hallway, where the phone resided. When I got to the door from the dining room to the hall, I caught the sleeve of my sleeveless blouse–I trust you understand that–on the strike plate. I backed off and started over and caught my blouse on the strike plate–same blouse, same strike plate. I backed off and started over and got hung up a third time. On my fourth effort, I gave up on running and walked. That worked.

I’ve never repeated the strike plate episode, but I frequently collide with door jambs–usually when leaving the boss’ office–and I clip the corners of tables. I’m told the root cause lies in my corpus callosum and to just keep on colliding. It’s somehow worse when the boss is an attorney. I’ve learned to live with it.

But staggering and wobbling haven’t been going on all that long. I don’t have vertigo; I just get off balance. I know why I don’t get around as easily as I should–unsteadiness occurs when I don’t eat enough and when I don’t get enough sleep. Insufficient exercise is a contributing factor. I haven’t gotten much exercise for the past three-point-five years. There are both good reasons and excellent excuses for that.

Things are looking up. Last month I bought a Fitbit, which counts my steps and does various other helpful things. I’ve been using it, walking with purpose. I participated in two virtual hikes around Yosemite–Vernal Falls (15,000 steps) and Valley Loop (35,800 steps)–and now I’m hiking the Pohono Trail (62,500 steps). Twice I’ve been awarded stars for doing over 5,000 steps in one day. Today I began four miles of switchbacks that, instructions say, should save my knees and give me the opportunity to look back on what I’ve passed. If they think I’m going to look down from a switchback, they can just think again.

Well, anyway, when the oncologist heard my sad story, he said, Would you like a referral to physical therapy for balance? David said, Yes. From his answer, and the speed with which he gave it, I infer that he’s getting tired of my leaning on him just in case.

So I’m now in physical therapy for balance. In my personal lexicon, physical therapy means young, skinny people telling me to do things I don’t want to do. My spirit wars against it. I’ve discovered–all right, I already knew–I cannot walk a white line while sober. I cannot stand on one leg without tipping over. I can stand on a little square of foam rubber with my eyes closed for a minute without reeling, mostly. I can do more than I can’t do. That’s promising.


Cochlea and vestibular system, by Nevit Dilmen, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Via Wikipedia

Nevertheless, the therapist arranged a hearing test. I said, Oh no, I hear just fine, but I knew the left ear is better than the right. After the first test, the audiologist arranged for two more tests to find out if there’s anything vestibular going on that might affect my balance. They will check me for nystagmus. They might be able to help me.

Oh, joy. They will find something vestibular and then help me with more physical therapy. I will never get out of that place.

But despite all my moaning about PT, I accepted the prospect of hearing and vestibular problems with dignity and grace.

Then, two days ago, while waiting for the veterinarian to call William to the examination room, I picked up a magazine and it fell open to an article about Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome, “a sudden, non-progressive disturbance of balance.”

“Most dogs present with the sudden onset of loss of balance, disorientation, head tilt, and irregular jerking eye movements called ‘nystagmus’. Many dogs will become reluctant to stand or walk. Most dogs will lean or fall in the direction of their head tilt.”

They also stagger and wobble.

The good news is that most dogs recover.

And they do it without physical therapy.

Since I read that, I’m doing without dignity and grace.

Score: Fifteen – Love

In less than an hour, David and I will have been married fifteen years and nine hours. Or slightly less; the wedding began at 2:00 p.m., but with all the singing and marching and reading and plighting, it was probably 2:30 before the minister told us we could leave. To me, it seems like we’ve been married only a few months. I don’t how it seems to to David, and I’m not going to ask.

Image may contain: 2 peopleAnyway, we’re celebrating with a night at the Omni Hotel at Barton Creek, where we’re conferring, consorting, and otherwise hob-nobbing with our brother and sister wizards. Or as David would put it,  we’re mixing with the quality.

I spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the Mokara Spa, getting nails, hair, and face done. Fifteen years ago it wouldn’t have taken that long, but things happen.

David took before and after pictures. I don’t know whether After will look much different from Before, but in real life, I walked out of that place looking a lot better than I did when I went in. I had color in my face. Or, more accurately, on it.

When I was thirteen, my mother handed me a lipstick and said, “Use it. You’re very pale.” She was the only mom in Creation who wished her daughter would use more make-up. I didn’t know how bad it was until I was in my forties, when I saw a picture of myself sitting in the church choir. Everyone else looked normal. I looked several shades past anemic.

It’s a Waller thing. My grandfather was tanned by the sun, but when he rolled up his khakis to wade into the river (on some mission related to his boat or his trotlines) his legs were unimaginably white. After meeting one of my cousins, David delicately and in a voice filled with concern, asked me if she had some kind of illness or condition. No, I said, that’s what’s known as alabaster skin. Unfortunately, I missed the alabaster, but I got the pallor. Until I get embarrassed, at which time I turn beet red.

A dermatologist once said to me, “Well, you have blonde skin, you know.” His tone was downright accusatory. I got my father’s black hair, which comes from the other side of his family. I know they don’t go together, but it’s not my fault. I have no control over my DNA.

Anyway, the Mokara make-up lady has me looking downright alive. She also did a pretty good haircut. I showed her a ten-year-old picture and she got about as close as anyone could get.

What, you might ask, did David–the other half of this anniversary thing–do while I was being gussied up? What he does every day. He sat with his Chromebook and worked on Alien Resort and whatever else he works on. I never know what he’s doing until he tells me a newspaper has picked up his cartoon or that a film festival is going to screen one of his videos.

Which brings this post to a turn I didn’t expect it to take: while I was writing this, David forwarded me an email from Central Arts of Hurst Short Film Series – Round Three saying that his “Invisible Men Invade Earth” will be screened this Saturday, June 29. It will be

“competing against “Don’t Die” and, based on audience reaction and input, a winner will be crowned at the conclusion of the evening. The winning film will then be invited back at the end of the screening series to compete in a “Battle Royale” to see which film is crowned “King” (or “Queen” or “Non-gender-specific Monarch,” take your pick)! SO, in the interest of giving your film the best chance to win, we very much encourage you to invite EVERYONE you know to this event!”

“Invisible Men” has garnered positive responses (“sweet and innocent”; “a film you can tell he made just because he wanted to”) at all showings, and it stars the cats (last-minute unscripted but welcome appearance), so I can, with confidence, pronounce it the best film of the year, bar none.

Nevertheless, if you’re in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford-Dallas-Fort Worth-Oklahoma area this Saturday evening, feel free to drop in (although they say to get a ticket early because they often turn people away at the door). And if you come, vote for David’s film. Because the other people in attendance might have poor taste and vote wrong.

We don’t know when the Monarch will be named. The film festival is a monthly event. The first in the series was in December 2018, so we assume the competition will be held toward the end of this year. We’ll let you know, since we are encouraged to invite EVERYONE we know. David appreciates all compliments, admiration, adulation, and adoration that come his way, and I’m sure he’d be okay with his film’s being crowned. The ultimate designation, though, is weird. That’s what an Austin reviewer called it. High praise. It’s an Austin thing.

So that’s the story of our anniversary celebration. The only things omitted are 1) the steak; half of mine is in the refrigerator, none of his resides there; and 2) the tantrum I had when, after both David and I spent a half-hour searching for the photographs I had transferred from my camera to the Google Drive, and after David said, How do you stand the mouse opening and closing tabs when you’re not looking and I said, I cuss under my breath, and he figured out how to fix it, almost—as I said, after all that, I discovered about four hundred words had disappeared from this post and the deletion couldn’t be undone and all revisions were gone gone gone.

It wasn’t much of a tantrum, because I knew I should have saved before running off after errant photos, but then, WordPress shouldn’t have autosaved an incomplete document.

And the mouse, which I’m certain is to blame, should have minded its own business.

If you’ve gotten this far without wishing the missing four hundred words had never been reconstituted, bless your heart. Now I have to go wash off all this makeup and fade into the background.



Wedding photo by Atelier Wong


Matt Dillon’s Trousers

The scale at the doctor’s office today said I’d lost eight pounds over the past six weeks. I said I didn’t think so. I’d been working at it, but for only three weeks, and not that hard.*

The nurse said, “The scale downstairs doesn’t match this one, so if you used that one last time . . .”

I used that one. Sad but accurate.

But my slacks fit better. Not perfectly, because they never do. They’re too long in the stride.

CBS Television [Public Domain]
Matt Dillon’s trousers were too long in the stride. At least, that’s what my great-aunt Nettie claimed. She said she could hardly stand it–on Saturday nights, when Marshal Dillon turned his back and walked down the street for the weekly shootout, she wanted to just pull those baggy pants off him and alter them.

So Matt Dillon and I have something in common. We don’t have our slacks tailored. Too much trouble.

Does anybody else remember Gunsmoke? I thought of it because I thought of my slacks. That’s the kind of day it is. Most days are like that. It takes me forever to complete a task because I think of something else and something else and before long I’m doing something else.

They say people who like to read should never open a dictionary, because they see one word, and then another, and another, and another, and the blog post they began on June 12th isn’t finished till June 20th.

People like that shouldn’t open Facebook either.


*Working hard ends in disaster.

A Book Review: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

A book review from Ink-Stained Wretch Renee Kimball

Ink-Stained Wretches

Marcus Zusak published The Book Thief in 2005, and despite his initial personal misgivings, it was an instant success.  It is a story of ordinary people trying to survive under extraordinary conditions, and a girl who loved books.

It is also a mournful story, and not one that you can simply close the cover and walk away from, it follows you.  It seeks answers to thorny questions – it forces uncomfortable responses.

What is immediately clear is Marcus Zusak is a sensitive writer.  His idea for the book began in Zusak’s childhood – his parents of Austrian-German descent grew up under Nazi rule.  After having a family, they told their stories to their children around the kitchen table.  Zusak remembered those stories, and they became the soil in which The Book Thief grew.  (Random House, 2009) (Book photo,

Zusak provides a surprise on the first page –we meet the…

View original post 889 more words