The Child in the Shopping Cart

It was one thing to become separated from a parent, but to be forgotten and closed in, that – that was another thing entirely.

To be left alone in a store…

Trapped in that abominable shopping cart – it is impossible to articulate the terror that wracked my sensitive child’s mind. Would my parent ever come back? Would I be locked away forever with the doors shuttered? Did the mannequins come to life like in the movies and children’s television TV shows? How would I know if they were friends or foes? Their blank faces had no answers; they only served as canvases mirroring my fears.

Of course, much to my relief, my parent came back.

The years passed and with them came adulthood. Yet, I could never shake the fear of being left alone in the store. My parents grew old and frail, and as their mortalities faded into dust, this nightmare procured greater possession of my conscious.

And so a paralytic realization crept from dreaming to waking; I realized I had actually been left, but not by my parents – for they had been left too. We had all been deserted in a dying world. What I had apprehended, that they had not, was this very fact. More alarming was the realization that this fate was one that I could not forsake.

For I am still the child in the shopping cart.

My name is Monmouth West Sanderson. This is my tale.

Thom Yorke in a cart.
Thom Yorke in a cart.
A small Jarvis Cocker in cart.
A small Jarvis Cocker in cart.
Thom isn’t as small as Jarvis, but he can make his body quite compact when he wants to.
Thom isn’t as small as Jarvis, but he can make his body quite compact when he wants to.

Thump – Facebook Thumb Degradations

These are some degradations of the Facebook thumb I made. When I was naming the files I accidentally typed in ‘thump’ instead of thumb; I sort of liked it and kept the name. The thumps should be approximately the same size as the Facebook thumb. Feel free to use them.

thump gif
thump gif

Where —

— is your device?

Man the food-gatherer reappears incongruously as information gatherer. In this role, electronic man is no less a nomad than his paleolithic ancestors (McLuhan 380)
(McLuhan 380)

Media as Translators

Translation, “How dare I get off Facebook.”

But there is this difference, that previous technologies were partial and fragmentary, and the electric is total and inclusive. And external consensus or conscience is now as necessary as private consciousness (McLuhan 86).
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Edited by Terrence Gordon, Gingko Press, 2015.
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan

Film of ’17 & Happy ’18

This is not a top # list of movies for ’17, but my favorite recent film that I saw on the big screen (it’s flaws aside) was Colossal (which actually came out in ’16). The best viewing experience I had was seeing Vagabond on 35mm during the Olympia Film Festival. The best movie I took a photograph of while watching was Eyes Wide Shut. I hate dissolves as transitions, but I’m rethinking them now (the picture I took is below). The worst movie I saw was Valerian. Though, it was entertaining in an awful way. That translates to the possibility of me still buying it on Blu-ray and using it as a TV screensaver. You can read my reviews of Colossal and Valerian right here on Protozoic. Happy ’18.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and a Dissolve
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and a Dissolve

Hazy Skies

Because of the forest fires on OR and WA, the light outside at 1:03 PM on 9.5.17 has an unnerving golden tone to it. It’s not apparent from the photo, but seeing it with my eyes, it feels far more ominous and alien than the eclipse.

Hazy Skies
Hazy Skies

Beef Stew with a Bite

The key to Beef Stew with a Bite is good bone beef broth. You can use the cheap stuff, but either making it yourself or coughing up some money to your local artisan broth maker results in a rich and most excellent stew. Pepper wise, you can use whatever you want, but I prefer 1 habanero1. This stew does bite, but it won’t offend most people. Additionally, if you aren’t feeding 6 people and are planning on freezing meals, the heat and flavors mellow over time; time is a secret ingredient. Let your stew mellow, man. If you want to dial it up, add 2 habaneros for Beef Stew that Punches You in the Mouth.


  • 2 to 3lbs. of beef chuck
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 1 tablespoons of oil if needed
  • .25 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 large onion or 2 small chopped onions
  • 3 to 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 habanero diced (I leave the seeds in)
  • 1.5 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cups beef bone broth
  • 1 to 2 cups of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • .5 teaspoon of dried thyme (about 1.5 teaspoons if fresh)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • 4 large carrots cut into diagonal pieces
  • Rice or potatoes (to serve stew over)


  1. Dice the bacon into .5 inch pieces, and on a medium heat, fry it in a large soup pot or dutch oven until crisp. If the bacon is particularly lean, use a tablespoon or so of oil. Though it is less healthy than olive oil, I prefer vegetable oil for stew. Once the bacon is crisp, remove it and set it aside.

  2. Cut the beef chuck into 1 inch cubes. To taste, add the salt and pepper to the cubes and massage in. In small batches brown the beef, remove, and set aside. When browning the beef, try not to let the individual pieces touch each other. This step takes a bit of time, but it is worth doing right.

  3. Add the garlic, balsamic vinegar, habanero, and onion to the leftover beef juices and bacon grease in the pot. While stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, cook the mix until the onions start to turn clear or for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute or 2 while stirring.

  4. Add the beef and sprinkle it with flour, stirring it until all the flour is absorbed.

  5. Add enough beef bone broth and water until the meat is covered. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and sugar.

  6. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on a low heat.

  7. Add carrots and cook for another hour.

  8. If you like your stew a bit more thick, make a slurry with corn starch or flour and add it to the stew.

  9. Serve over rice or potatoes.

And don’t forget, “Let it mellow, man.”

  1. While I like jalapeños and serranos, they result in a stew that is a shade greener in flavor. 

H.P. Thomcraft’s Game of Pawns

The other day I realized that I never officially posted H.P. Thomcraft’s Game of Pawns. I was always very happy with the way it turned out. I mean, it took freaking yearssss to finish, but it was worth it. The 16mm film looks good and I had a lot of fun doing the sound design.

You can view production stills from the shoot here, and here’s a description, followed by the movie itself.

H.P. Thomcraft sojourns to a cloudy living room in an undisclosed location of the nether-regions/places to weave three hazy tales of mystery and murk while playing a most deadly game of death. “H.P. Thomcraft’s Game of Pawns” is the sequel to the water-logged “H.P. Thomcraft’s Box of Tales.”

H.P. Thomcraft's Game of Pawns from Mike Gray on Vimeo.