Okie dokie, Okefenokee

On Saturday I made a cryptic comment about Walt Kelly’s comic strip Pogo because I was not sure if we had come to the conclusion of certain wildlife hijinks happening in our driveway and garage or not. I believe the situation has now normalized and we won’t get any more major developments, so I think it’s time to share what happened.

Benny has been working late in the garage on various art projects the past few weeks. He leaves the garage door open, and lately he was getting visitors ’round about 3 a.m or so. Sometimes it was a rat, sometimes a raccoon, but lately it was a very nervous opossum who didn’t seem to notice Benny until very late in the game. Lots of jumping and being startled on the part of this little guy.

One night last week, however, there was a different guest. A skunk. Thankfully the skunk wasn’t as nervous as the opossum, and thankfully Benny wasn’t either. Otherwise there could have been a little bit of trouble. Benny kept to himself, the skunk kept to herself, and all was well.

The next night, the skunk came much earlier and noticed a bowl of old pretzels and bread crusts that Benny had left out for whomever. Benny came inside to videotape the skunk’s investigations from a better vantage point, and that’s when this happened (sorry for the shaky camerawork, but he was laughing pretty hard… the shakiness winds up creating an excellent reveal around 0:29):

Oh my. Against all odds, the opossum and the skunk wound up sharing the bread crusts and it was very charming. This, of course, inspired Benny to set out two slightly more elaborate plates the next night, with an elegant atmosphere to go along with it:

Key lime pie, mini cupcakes, bologna, apple cores, and grapes. The telephone, as I believe he described it, was an attempt to get these two characters to communicate better. We waited. A long time. Nothing. I went to bed and asked him to alert me if anything happened. He eventually went to bed as well.

I woke up in the morning and went out to the driveway.

No dice. At first I was excited because I thought someone had eaten some of the apple, but I remembered that apple cores had been served, not apples. What a disappointment. I had been looking forward to watching this romance bloom. This was like the Fern Dell Ghost all those many years ago, who got spooked and was never seen again once I left some pants for him that weren’t ripped in the butt.

The next night, nobody showed up either. The night after that, the skunk showed up, snuffled around the garage for a bit, and then about two minutes later, the heretofore unseen opossum came out of the garage. So clearly these two are still hanging out, but I guess they want to keep things casual. Oh, also a raccoon showed up at some point that same night. I’m good with all of this, but I’m not sure what we’re going to do if a hat-wearing alligator chomping on a seegar shows up. Set another plate, maybe?

A different Fern Dell ghost

I observed this

while on a nature walk in Los Feliz this afternoon. So many possible interpretations; it’s like a Rorshach test. What do you think?


Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm  Comments (2)  
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Ghost busting

I haven’t seen the Fern Dell ghost since just before Christmas. My attempted pants-giving exercise before Christmas seems to have frightened or disturbed him to the extent that he no longer walks and rides his bike along the stretch of Los Feliz Blvd. that I saw him every morning on my way to work. Did I kill him? Does a ghost disappear when you try to make contact with it? Or is he perhaps just doing his daily exercises in a different area where weirdos aren’t as likely to try to give him pants?

I may never know the truth.  One thing I do know, however, is that he’s gone. I need a new mystery to occupy my mind. Perhaps I’ll start researching the life of designer Ben Day. Ben Day was a graphic designer around the first part of the 20th century who invented a color shading process for printing so nifty that the process bears his name. In fact, according to infoplease.com, his name can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Not many people can say that about their names.

Beyond this, I’m not sure what makes Ben Day so great, but four designers at VSA Partners apparently thought he was so awesome that they got together with Potlatch and made a parody day planner in his honor. Why do I care about this day planner and the man who inspired it? Well:

  1. I’ve loved the word “potlatch” since I was a kid, when we had lots of Potlatch Corp. cardboard boxes in the garage. Say it – potlatch. Anything associated with Potlatch or potlatch is fine by me.
  2. The parody day planner has a parody of of the periodic table of the elements involving condiments. It’s completely inaccurate, but still a marvel to look at.
  3. If I keep investigating the Fern Dell ghost, I’ll probably be arrested for stalking.

Christmas pants for the Fern Dell ghost

What an exciting morning this has been. It’s been so exciting that I’m going to recount my morning’s activities to you in the present tense so that you can be in the moment with me, as it were. But first, a little backstory.


Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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I felt that

I’d like to apologize to any regular readers of this webjournal for the spotty and erratic posting schedule here of late. My internet access is currently a bit limited, the reason why to be explained at a later date. (Oh no! Am I in jail? Am I ill? Have I fallen down a deep deep well with only a dial-up connection at my disposal?) So, thanks for your patience.

For those of you absolutely dying to know what is going on with me at the moment, I suppose I can provide you with a hint:

For those of you unable to watch the entire clip above because you’re already on some really strong acid, you might want to check this out instead:

Also, another quick update: the Fern Dell ghost has a new pair of sneakers. They’re white, not Chuck Taylors, but still very cool looking. I thought you’d like to know.

Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 8:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sartorial choices of the Fern Dell ghost

A couple of weeks ago, I saw my old friend the Fern Dell ghost in a different place than I usually see him. I was going in to work about an hour later than normal, just tootling down Franklin Avenue, when I saw him walking down the street. He was carrying dry cleaning. I thought, “That’s rather odd; why would he need anything dry cleaned?” He always wears the same thing every day, and I don’t think you can dry clean Chuck Taylors:

(Note: the above is not a picture of him carrying his dry cleaning; I was caught off guard that day. This is a photo from yesterday. I don’t know why he is walking his vampire bike.) Then I found this article last week on about.com that asked the question, “Why do ghosts wear clothes?”

“If ghosts are human spirit energy, why do their manifestations include the manufactured convention of clothing?”

If you know a lot about ghosts, I guess the answer is common sense. Jeff Belanger, author of The Ghost Files, said the following:

“In many cases, a ghost is a projection of a person. Whether that projection is coming from our own heads, some intelligent energy swarming all around us, or imprinted on the location itself, I don’t know. Consider this: If you were to picture yourself somewhere, it’s likely you would envision yourself wearing clothes, looking comfortable, yet presentable, and maybe you’d even drop a few pounds in your ‘projection’ (hey, it’s cheaper than liposuction, so have at it).”

So, the Fern Dell ghost is envisioning himself to me in workout clothes because I always catch him during his morning exercise routine. He has other clothes, and can change his outfit to fit the occasion. This is sort of exciting to me, because even in his workout clothes he has a great sense of style. I would like to see some other outfits of his. I will of course investigate further, especially now that I need to find out why a ghost has to exercise.

The Fern Dell ghost

At about 9:45 most weekday mornings, I see this guy either walking or riding a bike on the north side of Los Feliz Boulevard between Fern Dell Drive and Hobart. I guess I notice him because he’s so cool looking; and by “cool,” I don’t mean “neat,” I mean cool. He’s in his ’60s or ’70s, and he’s always wearing an old baseball cap, red Converse high tops and what I guess you would call dungarees that are cuffed at the bottom. He never wears a shirt, and he has this really sunburned barrel chest.

I love this guy. He looks like an old rich artist who likes to pretend he’s a merchant marine. He looks like he could beat the crap out of Norman Mailer. I know Norman Mailer is dead, but this guy could have beaten the crap out of Living Norman Mailer. You know what I mean. It makes me so happy to see him that he more than makes up for the terrible new mommy aerobics club that hangs out in that part of Griffith Park (more on them later).

So anyway, on my way to work this morning, I decided to take a photo of him. Look what I got:

Nothing. He’s not there.* Is he a ghost? Wait, I think you can take photos of ghosts. Is he a vampire? He doesn’t seem like a vampire. He’s a ghost if he’s not real. And he might be too cool to be real. I will try to find out more.


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