Category Archives: Have A Great Weekend

Have a Safe Weekend

And it’s a busy safe weekend: Friday belongs to gallery renovation and new shelf installation, Saturday belongs to Frightmare HQ video (an interview at 2:00 pm Central and a guest host for a Twitch Prime Watch Party screening of Annihilation at 7:00 pm Central), and Sunday to this week’s Porch Sale. To paraphrase one of of great philosophers of the Twentieth Century, Paul says check it out.

Have a Safe Weekend

Sunday morning, it’s the Triffid Ranch Porch Sale. Friday night, though, take the time to hook up the Panoptikon DJ streams, in fond reminiscence of when Labor Day weekend always marked the beginning of Happy Goth Season in Dallas.

Texas Triffid Ranch Occasional Newsletter and Feedlot Clearance Sale – #19

The Texas Triffid Ranch Occasional Newsletter and Feedlot Clearance Sale is a regular Email newsletter, with archives available on the main TTR site at least a month after first publication. To receive the latest newsletters, please subscribe.)

Originally published on July 17, 2020.

Installment #19: “A Little Deluge Will Do Ya”

July in Texas, to folks who don’t live here, brings up one impression: blasting heat. After 38 of my last 40 summers in Dallas (two were spent trapped in Portland, Oregon, which has its own summer weather issues), it’s hard to argue with that impression, because that pretty much sums up July…about half of the time. Figuring out which half, though, is the fun of it, because you won’t find any hints as to how a summer is going to proceed until about two-thirds of the way through.

For those outside of North Texas, we may not have the same plant diversity as the famed fynbos of South Africa, but we have a lot of the same climate. Although it may not appear so when you’re on it, but the northwest portion of the state is at an incline, and one that you can’t appreciate until you try driving a big truck toward Amarillo and realize that the aforementioned incline requires slipping into lower and lower gears. That incline, the Edwards Plateau, is a little show of plate tectonics, as the irresistible force of the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean and the immovable object of the great Pacific Plate mean that everything to the west of Dallas is gradually crumpling and buckling. Meanwhile, the Great Plains to the north constantly heat up this time of the year, setting off winds that are fed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, leading to a constant south wind through Dallas for about nine months of the year. The sun goes down and the south wind usually dissipates, only to start up the blast furnace shortly after sunrise.

What does this mean? It means that you should buy cookies and beer for every Dallas-based meteorologist you ever meet, whenever they need it, which is all of the time. With precious little warning, cold fronts bracketed by the Rockies pass down past the Texas-Oklahoma border, only to run into that south wind coming up from the Gulf. They don’t just release gentle rains, either: the collisions usually produce huge waves of small but intense storms that rip through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex like a shotgun blast through tulle. Ten to 30 minutes of intense rain, and then the south wind cuts through and sucks out every last drop of moisture out of the area. When the winds stop after dark, the local humidity rises a bit, and we may even get enough clouds to hint at rain. As soon as the sun comes up, though, it’s back to hot, sunny, and dry enough to make every breath feel like concrete aerosol.

Oh, but the fun comes when you make the assumption that this will continue. The end of July is always hot and dry, unless a cold front passes through for a week and makes everything cool and rainy. It’s always the same through the day, until you see a storm front coming out of the west dropping so much rain that it looks like a wall of water coming at you. That rain is always diffuse, until you’re standing on one side of a street under a full sun watching the other side of the street drown under the onslaught. That rain is always coming, until you look at weather radar and watch as the storm that just pummeled Fort Worth evaporates halfway to Dallas. Oh, and those storms always rush out of the west, until they suddenly come steamrollering in from the Louisiana border. The one absolute is that we haven’t seen snow flurries in July since the mid-Pleistocene, but grapefruit-sized hail is just as much fun, especially for pedestrians and cyclists without easy access to shelter.

And what does all of this have to do with carnivorous plants? It means that you need to have pity on all of your outdoor plants, and not just the carnivores. You can move out of the way of Texas weather. They’re kinda stuck.

Outside Events

Welp, since Texas Governor Greg Abbott keeps plagiarizing his COVID-19 policies from an obscure 1974 teleplay (and I suspect that life will again imitate art when his supporters decide that he’s insufficiently ideologically pure), shows and events keeps getting cancelled because nobody can guarantee the safety of attendees and vendors. The latest casualties are the rescheduling of the New Orleans Oddities & Curiosities Expo previously set for August 29, and the Houston Horror Film Festival previously set for the subsequent Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, their new dates for 2021 are the same weekend, and that weekend is the weekend after the rescheduled Austin Oddities & Curiosities Expo, so I’m having to delay New Orleans and Houston for 2021. Please: if you’re interested in either, please don’t stop planning to attend when it’s safe to do so. Until I’m able to be in three places at once, though, it’s just not an option for this little carnivorous plant gallery.

As for everything else scheduled for 2020, it’s a wait-and-see schedule right now. NARBC Arlington is still on for September as of this writing, and AquaShella Dallas is still on for Halloween weekend, so keep checking back for details. We’ll have a Triffid Ranch show sometime between now and when the Dallas Cowboys finally win a shutout World Series pennant: I promise.

Shameless Plugs

This time on Shameless Plugs, it’s time to hype up a longtime vital service while everyone is refocusing on cooking on their own. As an enthusiastic lover of spice that ranges from “medium hot” to “that salsa just peeled the enamel off my teeth in big floppy strips,” I’d be remiss in not mentioning that the crew at Defcon Sauces has been experimenting with a lot of new rubs, sauces, and powders, and the Defcon Malum allium garlic powder is now an essential spice at the gallery for lunch breaks. (I bow to nobody in my appreciation for the Defcon Habby Horse hot habanero/horseradish sauce, so the Malum Allium was a very welcome surprise for roasted vegetables and other dishes that could use a bit of a kick.) Edgar Harris says “check it out.”

As an additional recurring plug, the Dallas goth club Panoptikon already has a special place with the Triffid Ranch (co-owner Jiri forgets more about carnivorous plants in his sleep than I’ll ever be able to learn), and the ongoing shutdown has hit it as hard as every other club in the area. That said, the crew has become very proactive with regular Friday and Saturday night events via Twitch, and the Friday night streams are now essential listening while I’m working at the gallery. And now you know why it’s been a little while since the last Triffid Ranch Twitch event: no way am I interrupting their show for any reason.

Recommended Reading

They were delayed for a while due to printing issues, but the reprint of Redfern Natural History’s Drosera of the World just arrived, and each volume is potentially dangerous if falling from even from a moderate height onto an unsuspecting bystander’s head. All three of them together could kill a moose, and the interiors are just as lethal to anyone wanting light reading. All three are beautiful volumes of the world’s known sundew species, with the stunning color photos we’ve come to expect from Redfern. When they’re sold out, the odds are pretty good that the only place you’ll be able to get them is at an estate sale, so get your order in before they’re completely gone, and don’t worry about the price. If anything, they’re underpriced for the value.

Music

Regular newsletter readers may already know how much of the Triffid Ranch gallery soundtrack consists of entries from Austin’s One Eyed Doll, and singer/guitarist Kimberly Freeman has been busy during the pandemic. She currently has a large selection of new songs and covers in the Kimberly’s Quarantine Playlist on YouTube and elsewhere, including the only cover of John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels” I’ve heard that’s worthy of the time. Go give them all a listen, and join me in looking forward to new entries as events keep grinding on.

Have a Safe Weekend

The last of the Sunday morning Porch Sales for August runs this weekend, and the schedule for September is now up. (Because the NARBC reptile and amphibian show in Arlington is still on, there’s no Porch Sale for September 27.) After that, August 31 is celebrated the way it has been every year for the last 35: a big pile of barbecue, a lack of prior commitments, and the annual viewing of one of my all-time favorite films. And so it goes.

Have a Safe Weekend

The plan for those wanting to view the large enclosures in the gallery: the fifth anniversary open house starts on Saturday, August 22 at 6:00. For those seeking smaller plants, the Sunday Porch Sale starts on August 23 at 7:00 and runs until noon. For everybody else, we have music.

Have a Safe Weekend

As usual, the Triffid Ranch Sunday Porch Sale runs this Sunday, and every Sunday this month, from 7:00 am to noon. (For those who have been asking this week, yes, we can take cards. As I like to put it, “What the hell do you think this is: the Twentieth Century?”) Next week, keep an eye open for both the virtual and in-person open houses, as we try to open up for something approximating a normal gallery schedule. Until then, music.

Have a Safe Weekend

Big surprises are afoot for this Sunday’s Porch Sale, so long as the weather holds (and this being Dallas in August, it probably will), but until then, a bit of pop culture commentary. With the recent hype about MTV announcing a reboot of Beavis and Butt-Head, a re-reboot of Ren & Stimpy, and a spinoff of Daria, it’s disappointing and a little aggravating that nobody at MTV is talking about reviving the most unusual of its animation experiments…a show scuttled by management after weeks of being pre-empted by Road Rules reruns. it’s definitely time for a revival of Downtown.

Have an Early Safe Weekend

Because it’s someone’s birthday today.

Have a Safe Weekend

Thanks to a shoutout from Dallasites 101, i welcome all of the new folks coming across the Triffid Ranch for the first time, and welcome you all to the Porch Sales running every Sunday from 7:00 am to noon. And for those wondering about the big deal with carnivorous plants, here’s a combination of fascination and elaboration. Enjoy.

Have a Safe Weekend

Since they’re now a regular Sunday event, calling the Sunday Flash Sales “flash sales” is a bit ridiculous, so expect a new, equally ridiculous name for the August events. In the meantime, the last July Flash Sale is this Sunday. See you there.

Have a Safe Weekend

As always, the Texas Triffid Ranch Sunday Flash Sale continues this coming Sunday from 6:00 am to noon. Until then, it’s time for music.

Have a Safe Weekend

As always, expect a Flash Sale this Sunday, but until then, the Ray Harryhausen tributes continue. It’s only right.

Have a Safe Weekend

Because someone’s 100th birthday should go on for a while.

Have a Safe Weekend

After this week, we definitely need at least a little break. The Sunday Flash Sale is still on: in the meantime, I’m having fond reminisces of 40 years ago, delivering the Dallas Times Herald in 43C-degree heat.

Have a Safe Weekend

It’s not as good as having Juneteenth an official paid US holiday, but Aretha Franklin on the weekend is pretty close.

Have a Safe Weekend

There’s a lot to be said about the current trope that so many kids into dinosaurs are really into palaeoart: as inaccurate as the Crystal Palace dinosaurs may appear to modern eyes (and remember that Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’s reconstructions were based both on exceedingly fragmentary remains and on speculation on animals without modern analogues), there’s still something incredibly evocative about them that tickles the part of the human brain where they still exist today.

Have a Safe Weekend

No Flash Sale this weekend (Saturday and Sunday are going to be full of essential projects), but keep an eye open for new developments. In the meantime, music.

Have a Safe Weekend

The last of the afternoon Flash Sales for the season is this coming Sunday, and then we switch to mornings through the summer. See you then.

Have a Safe Weekend

Another Flash Sale this Sunday, with an appropriate soundtrack:

Video Augmented the Blogging Star

The crew at Texas Frightmare Weekend created a monster. The move to Twitch for live video didn’t work out quite as expected (on phone and tablet, the app has a propensity to seize up either when ending a video feed or when other apps intrude), but it’s time to get back into the swing of things. In the meantime, we’re only about five years late, but the Triffid Ranch now has its own YouTube channel, so expect a lot of videos on plant care, odd species, and virtual events. It’s all very primitive and stop-and-go, but in lieu of live events for the foreseeable future, it has to improve. And so it goes.

Have a Safe Weekend

With the likelihood of future shows this year becoming increasingly distant, at least before autumn, the good news about the last Triffid Ranch show before everything came down was getting to meet in person the lead singer for the Immortalz. Here’s looking forward to October.

Have a Safe Weekend

In advance of this Sunday’s Mother’s Day Flash Sale, reminders of when it was quiet.

Have a Safe Weekend

In the alternate timestream that doesn’t suck, plants and accessories would be at Texas Frightmare Weekend for three days of horror-inspired high weirdness. We have the Texas Frightmare HQ stream giving us a virtual Frightmare this weekend, so expect some Triffid Ranch-related surprises. The Texas Triffid Ranch has been a proud vendor at Frightmare for 10 years so far, and while we’re still shooting for the rescheduled show the weekend of September 11, there’s no way we’d miss the virtual show.

Have a Safe Weekend

Things continue to get interesting: this Saturday at 2:00 pm Central Time, catch the latest Texas Frightmare HQ stream featuring a Triffid Ranch interview and tour, and expect a new newsletter by the time the weekend ends. Depending upon announcements from both Dallas County and Austin, this may come with even more news about gallery activities, so here’s hoping. In the meantime, we now have a theme song for the Age of COVID-19.

Have a Safe Weekend

Getting everything ready for this Saturday’s virtual open house, so it’s time for music.

Have a Safe Weekend

At this point in the ongoing Dallas County lockdown, people are starting to get a little emphatic about wanting to get out, but be careful what you wish for…

Have a Safe Weekend

Because this reminded me of several good, dear friends who have been sharing dating app horror stories, even before everything came down:

Have a Safe Weekend

Because.

Have a Safe Weekend

Because even a pandemic is a little better when narrated by Vincent Price.

Have a Safe Weekend

Apologies for a lack of updates this week: expect a whole lot later today, as I had to drop out of one show tonight out of concern for my mother-in-law and several others are rescheduling until after the current COVID-19 concerns have passed. Expect updates later tonight (after all, it’s not like we’re going anywhere soon), and then it’s time to rewatch a movie that was a little more prophetic than we knew when it came out in 2007. (Hey, I was looking forward to having something silly for Friday the 13th, but reality intruded.)

Have a Great Weekend

For the folks south of Dallas: by the time you read this, the TROTS (Triffid Ranch On Tour Secretly) tour to scenic Austin begins, setting up for Nosferatu Festival on Saturday and Sunday nights. If you can make it, I’ll see you there.

Have a Great Weekend

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The Leap Day gallery open house is Saturday. If you wonder how such a thing could be possible, consider that I remember seeing a toy store in downtown Lansing, Michigan with a stack of these in the front window when I was two, and THAT was the moment where the timeline split and all of my other realities involved my becoming a football star and Catholic priest. Selah.

Have a Great Weekend

And for this weekend, a little round from one of the best blues musicians Dallas has ever produced. Not familiar with the one and only Cricket Taylor? Well, that needs to be rectified.

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Have a Great Weekend

By the time you see this, I’ll be setting up my booth at the Arlington Convention Center for the spring NARBC reptile and amphibian show (now with carnivorous plants to go with the chameleons, axolotls, and various invertebrates), and this song makes a handy theme. Contrary to popular opinion and terrestrial radio station “classic rock” programming directors, music in the 1980s wasn’t “all Phil Collins, all the time,” even if it sometimes seemed that way for those of us who had to live through it.

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Have a Great Weekend

If you haven’t made plans for next weekend’s NARBC reptile and amphibian show at the Arlington Convention Center, look into buying tickets: the Triffid Ranch makes its first appearance in nearly seven years. In the interim, it’s time to get ready: a week from right now, I hope to have the booth already set up and ready to go.

Have a Great Weekend

Have a Great Weekend

Getting the gallery ready for tomorrow’s Chinese New Year gallery open house, finishing up the latest newsletter, and getting started with preparations for the big NARBC reptile show in Arlington on Valentine’s Day weekend…to quote Matt Howarth, it may stop, but it never ends.

Have a Great Weekend

One week to the Chinese New Year gallery open house, and everything is getting in order. Before then, music.

Have a Great Weekend

Because as bad as January can get, we’re still a ways off from purple mohawks and bondage pants…so far.

Have a Great Weekend

New year, new decade, and now new show: this weekend, the Triffid Ranch sets up in Grapevine, Texas for the first Repticon Dallas show of the year. See you there.

And the year

Have a Great Weekend

The last weekend of the year, the last weekend of the Twenty-teens, 40 years since this song came out, and Caroline’s and my 17th wedding anniversary. Let the music commence.

Have a Great Weekend

Well, the last Nightmare Weekend Before Christmas open house for 2019 is Saturday starting at 6:00 pm, so it’s time for that one song that best sums up the reason for the season. Sadly, we’ll never get an updated live version, mostly due to guitarist Colin Grigson’s untimely jenkem overdose, but at least we have the memories.

Have a Great Weekend

While the third Nightmare Weekend Before Christmas gallery open house runs this Saturday, take into account that one of the best themes for Dallas in August came out 35 years ago:

Have a Great Weekend

For Paul Mears, who has had to put up with me for 40 years as of tomorrow and hasn’t buried me in an unmarked grave…yet.

Have a Great Weekend

Due to a death in the family, this Saturday’s Nightmare Weekend Before Christmas has been cancelled, but expect a full return to form on Saturday, December 7. If you’re really nice, I might even sing for the occasion:

Have a Great Weekend

Once more for the year, the Triffid Ranch is on the road: once again, it’s to Austin for the Blood Over Texas Horror For the Holidays show, now spread out over Saturday AND Sunday. For the Dallas folks, don’t worry: a couple of days of recuperation, and then the Nightmare Weekends Before Christmas gallery open houses start on November 30. Sleep? What’s that?

State of the Gallery: November 2019 – Special Edition

Surprisingly, not just a metaphor

A lot has happened in November so far, and more is gearing up for the rest of the month, in what the author Harlan Ellison called “the hour that stretches.” November has always been an, er, interesting month in my life, what with layoffs, moves, new jobs, and more than a few deaths. November 2019 follows in that tradition, and the plan is that the window that opens when the door closes is a greenhouse vent and not an airlock. Yeah, it’s been one of THOSE Novembers.

Anyway, the practical upshot is that appointment availability for Triffid Ranch consultations just became a lot more open. The Nightmare Weekends Before Christmas Saturday night open houses starting on November 30 remain unaffected, but now the gallery will be open a lot more often during the week, too. Just excuse the mess: the events over the last two months (of which no more will be said) interfered with new projects, so the idea now is to rectify that situation. Among other things, this frees up storage space, it gives new homes for older plants to stretch out, and it gives more reasons for all of you lot to come out to multiple Nightmare Weekends to see what’s new THIS time. If you’ve had an eye on a particular enclosure but haven’t made the move to take it home just yet, this may be the perfect opportunity.

And the rest of the year? That’s dedicated both to a wedding anniversary blowout (17 years as of December 28, and people still assume that we’ve been married for weeks) and to getting ready for 2020. This includes a stem-to-stern renovation of the gallery, other essential updates (after all, we’ve been in the space for three years as of February, so we have plans), and scheduling for the largest list of outside events yet. Among other things, a quick perusal of the calendar revealed that next Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, and between this and Leap Day on a Saturday, it’s time to call some people and plan a multi-venue event. As always, details will follow as they happen: if it doesn’t happen, you’ll never know about it.

Speaking of venues, if you’ve attended an open house and never stepped across the doorway to our neighbor Visions of Venice, consider yourself encouraged to investigate. Besides being the absolute best business neighbor a boy could ever want, the amount of crossover interest between carnivorous plants and Italian glasswork continues to surprise me. Even better, the storefront is open during the week, so don’t be afraid to head out during a lunch break with a whole group of coworkers and peruse the stock of masks and chandeliers. (Yes, they actually go together. Don’t argue with me on this.)

Finally, before loading up the van and heading out to Austin for this weekend’s Blood Over Texas Horror For the Holidays show at the Travis County Exposition Center, a little note: some of you may have noticed that the new URL for this Web site changed to http://www.texastriffidranch.com within the last week. It’s a funny story as the old URL still works, and you’ll have to come out to one of the Triffid Ranch events for an explanation. In the meantime, if you haven’t been exploring through the archives in a while, please indulge your curiosity, as WordPress and Google are fighting over whether or not this is new content. Besides, you don’t have anything better to do the week before American Thanksgiving when you’re trapped at work and everyone else is taking off on early vacations, right?

Have a Great Weekend

Because things are going to get interesting next weekend:

Have a Great Weekend

Heading out to the Deep Ellum Creative Market on November 9 and 10, and anyone in the vicinity is welcome to attend. For obvious reasons, this will be the last outdoor show of the year, and the second-to last external before we return to the gallery on November 30 for the first of this year’s Nightmare Weekends Before Christmas. Let’s enjoy the weather while it lasts.

Have a Great Weekend

Just because the officially sanctioned holiday is over doesn’t mean the weirdness is over as well.