Saturday, January 31, 2004

Ash Canyon Poets reading

A few weeks ago Bill Cowee (Ash Canyon Poets), mentioned to me that Comma Coffee where we did the Readable Theatre last month, wanted a poetry reading there for Valentines Day so I volunteered to organize it. I spent the last couple of days designing the poster. I suppose most people would bang one out in about an hour, then get on to more important things, but not me. First I had to look at about a million pictures of cupid, psyche, valentine hearts, cakes and smoothies for just the right images. BTW, some interesting websites pop up when you do a search on the word "smoothies". Then I spent hours tweeking and re-tweeking everything. In the end, I couldn't decided which photo to use, either "Psyche entering Cupids Garden" or a nifty line drawing of Psyche binding Cupid so I made two posters. I put them on my website, if you're interested check them out. At the moment, I'm sick of both of them but I hope you like them.

As for other goings on around the Ashabot, the shrimp died. They were a Christmas gift but didn't live long enough to make it into the blog until now, although I mentioned them in the cockroach diary. Anyway, they're dead. Some "self-sustaining world" that was. I think maybe they didn't get enough light. The damn brochure was so emphatic about not exposing them to too much light, I put them in a room with dim light. Dead. It was kind of sad peering into their little globe and seeing they're decaying carcasses drifing on the bottom. Death Stalks the EcoSphere. Sounds like a cheezy sci-fi.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Bush and the Shit Catapult

We're back, and only a day late this time! Here's a few things that occurred to me as the miles churned by. Don't trust anyone who claims they've lived a meditative life style if they can't sleep sitting up. The desert is not for people who only see the surface of things. Fuck George Bush and the shit catapult that put him in the White House.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Off to Oregon in the morning. I hope this trip doesn't turn into a three week stay, like the last two weekenders have been.

Nevada Journal

I've finally reorganized the Nevada Journal. It was a project I've put off for months. The layout hasn't changed but now the files will be a lot easier to manage. Also, I added several new photos. Once I finish deleting the remaining inactive files, I'll be ready to add new pages, something I haven't done for a long time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Plonk's back

Plonk and his girlfriend dropped by with some crows today. She seems to be just fine.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Story of Plonk

The fence in back is lined with crows but Plonk and his girlfriend haven't been around for the last few days. They were here a few days ago but she wasn't doing to well. But before I go any further, I'd better tell you who Plonk is.

I first saw him staggering around in circles in Carson City in the middle of one of it's busiest intersections where Hwy 50 comes into Hwy 395. Now, Hwy 50 in itself can be very dangerous. In its early days, people sometimes had to disassemble their vehicles in order to carry them over difficult parts of the road, or kill and eat their dogs, drink water from the stomachs of dead buffalo or blood from the ears of their mules just to survive the journey. The day Plonk ended up there wasn't so lucky either. Sure the road is paved now but hardly tamed. It's swarming with vulture politicians. The state capitol buildings are only a few blocks away. But the day I first saw Plonk, no one seemed interested in eating him. On the other hand, they didn't seem too concerned about running over him either. It was about noon and cars were bumper to bumper. I stopped. No one honked. I waved at the cars behind me, ran out and grabbed the pigeon and carried him to shelter at the base of a roadside tree. On my way home, I decided to check if the bird was still there. He was and he was still spinning, this time in the parking lot behind a building. I put him in my car and took him home. In the backyard, he continued spinning but more slowly and showed no interest food and water I set out for him.

Lee warned me Plonk would probably be dead by morning but I cut some air vents in a big box, put it over him, weighted the flaps down with rocks so the neighbor cat, Clarence, wouldn't make a mid-night snack out of him and called it night. In the morning I peaked in and Plonk was standing there. Not spinning and not dead. I took the box off and after a minute or two he flew onto the fence and sat. When I got home later that morning, he was gone. He's been coming back ever since. It's been a year and a half. In the spring, he often dropped by with a girlfriend, always the same one.

Earlier this week she came by several times on her own and hung around in the backyard for hours, hardly eating. At first I thought it was just because she felt safe there, or because maybe she was pregnant but then the neighbor found her nesting in his cat's drinking bowl and she let him pick her up. She flew away after he put her out of reach of his cat and I've only seen them once since then so I'm hoping she's okay.

My mother's death

Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother's death. My sister Cc'd my brother and me a reminder, accompanied with an old family photo. I lit a candle. But all day it lingered in the back of my mind just how different I look from the rest of my family. It's certainly occurred to me before but the photo reminded me. I look more like an Iranian exchange student with a cryptic smirk than a cheery American suburbanite. My brother provides a bit of balance with his pork chop sideburns, but I definitely look like an outsider. Since I woke up this morning, I've been speculating on who my father might have been. If it wasn't dear old dad, it probably was Pat Deeny, the swarthy, loud mouthed, comic reading drunk who lived up the hill from where mom and dad were living when I was born. Or maybe it was the soldier with the pet monkey my mom used to tell me about. She'd laugh about how much the monkey liked me and would jump on my shoulder when ever it saw me. I wonder what dear old mom and the soldier were doing after they let the monkey loose on me. It's taken me a long time to learn to like monkeys.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Crow's breakfast

The crows had a nice breakfast of quiche this morning. They have a way of chirping and whistling that I interpret as meaning something like, "Hey... lookie here now!" The closest I came in a quick search to finding anything resembling this delightful chatter is called Crow: 72K wav file. If you want to give it a listen, it's near the top of the page . It comes at the end of a recording. Anyway, this particular conversation tells me they've found something in the Bird Park that's especially tasty. They really liked the quiche with it's greasy pie crust. I put it out this morning and it hadn't frozen by the time they arrived, so pickin was easy. They gobbled it in about a half an hour even though they looked up and scaned the sky in between bites. Death from above. They're experts on it. By the time the magpies showed up only crumbs were left. Too bad. I really like the magpies too. I first heard about them in stories my mother read to me, and ever since carried the impression they were magical but I never saw a live magpie until I moved to Nevada. Funny. I'd never thought of magpies as a desert bird but there's plenty of them around here. They are lovely, striking in fact in those black and white feathers. Real lookers.

You might be thinking that feeding quiche to crows is vulgar, a tasteless act of insolent wealth. I assure you, it's merely a matter of circumstantial good fortune on both our parts, the birds and mine. A shake of the glass and we change places with people and birds that are eyeing one another as breakfast instead of sharing a quiche. The whole bare dirt area outside the window is my Bird Park. There are two feeders about 50 feet apart hanging from the fence filled with black sunflower seeds. These are for the mid-sized birds. Then I scatter the ground with a variety of seeds on the ground for the rest. The little show out there that revolves through the day is great, low key entertainment.

I have to lean forward over the key board and look out the window to the left to see the area where this morning's feast took place. I keep a pair of binoculars near by for these special occasions. They are a pain in the ass to use but it's worth the effort just to see a crow's wonderful claws up close as they clutch a catch. I swear some of these fellows have a spread that's nearly equal to the reach of my hand. Then there's the beaks themselves... long as a finger, pointed and accurate, good for pecking out anything from eyes to bits of hamburger bun caught in mustard smeared crinkles of abandon wrappers. I have to stand, lean over the printer which sits in front of the window then twist to the left to get in position for the binoculars to work. Then I have to tilt them up a bit so that the magnified image floats into view. You'd think these glasses were complete crap if you didn't know the technique. But I've seen plenty through them, rattlesnakes, wild horses, unsuspecting people picking their nose while waiting at a San Francisco traffic light.

Friday, January 9, 2004

The desert, at last. Home again. What a relief to get back to its strange miles and miles opening in the round, it's pyramid hills and indifferent voices.

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Happy New Year!

We're currently stuck in Oregon waiting out the weather. Mr. Lee's in a funk because of the gloomy skies and we're both restless and eager to get back home. It's impossible to get enough computer time here. But what the hell? A couple of days ago some friends were stranded in the mountains and slept in their car for 2 days because of the snow so waiting for this latest series of storms to pass is not such a big deal. In fact, tonight life is good. It's the first, fresh hours of 2004. Earlier this evening we finally managed to access a neighborhood wireless network and the Sci-Fi channel is playing ancient black and white episodes of Twilight Zone in the background. They're hilarious. In one, a young William Shatner, playing a distraught husband just out of the mental hospital, tries to convince his wife there's a monster (a guy in a fuzzy monkey suit) on the airplane's wing. In another an old man cries out, "There's magic in the world. I know there is". What I especially savor about all this is that not a second has passed in geologic time. That comforts me.