Friday, February 29, 2008

The day that doesn't exist


...or does it? Now you see it, then you won't. Happy Leap Year Friday!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Portals


St. Charles Hotel:
"the only hotel in Carson that is
lighted exclusively by electricity.
Best $1 a day house on the coast."


As I am not having a pajama day like some around here, know that I am doing this post to avoid doing what needs to be done, that I do not want to do that I, in fact, dread doing but will, after I post yesterday's outtakes.


Carson City alley

If you need more, go and read about the fascinating origin of the Game of Asha.



Okay. That's it folks. Now move along.



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Head trip



I'm writing this in an effort to make the upcoming trip more real to myself. Here is the backpack I will be living out of when we tour those countries currently sitting benignly next to it on the table.

This is all M. Lee's doing. I am ashamed to admit the only thing I know about Guatemala and Nicaragua is that there were ... are? ... guys in the jungle with guns. Costa Rica? Next to nothing other than that a Norwegian friend of ours meets his family there every Christmas for a surf holiday. And let see... what's the name of the other book? Honduras. Crap! The thought of going to Honduras freaks me out even more than going to Guatemala or Nicaragua. Well, no. In order of dread, I guess I rank Nicaragua first, then Honduras, then Guatemala. I think my trouble dolls came from Guatemala. And maybe the cool bag I picked up at a second hand store recently. Nice colors. And I suppose bananas grow everywhere, which is nice, but there's still the problem of guys with guns. Hey, minus the bananas, sounds like
good ol' merika.

But I don't want to give the wrong impression. In the spirit of what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, I am looking forward to this although, for starters, I could rattle off about a million things that I might survive that would definitely not make me stronger. Dread. My ever-present shadow. But I also enjoy challenging and replacing brooding myths with new experience. And, for better or worse, M. Lee uses that to his own advantage. Of course, chances are the worst I will suffer is the pain of being back to school, the Spanish immersion classes but, for the moment, the Theatre of Doom is playing old Saturday matinée favorites and I am there, spell-bound, dropping half of every handful of popcorn onto my lap and the floor, fearing the worst for the heroine as she makes her was across the screen dodging bullets and alligators.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just one of those days


In a rare turnabout, the starlings scooped the mapgies this morning, arriving at the Bird Park early and vacuuming up all the peanut shards before the tuxedo wearing dandies arrived. And it's raining. Looks like Oregon outside with an extra light filter thrown on for ambiance. That's Nevada for you. Like Greece, we got light.

In other local news, I am now officially in training for an upcoming trek through a bit of Central America, I say trek because this time, unlike driving through Mexico in a jeep filled_crammed_bulging with all the things I think I need to leave the house on any given day... laptop, drawing tablets, pens, pencils, camera, books, shoes, boots, various changes of clothes, hats, bottles of water, food, this time we are only taking what we can stuff into backpacks and, once we get there, riding the bus.

I have always admired the people who traipse through countries with backpacks, staying out for years at time, living in hostels and being very interesting and rumpled, meeting up with friends here and there they met here and there, swapping road stories and travel tips over carafes of wine and whatever other exotics go round the circle. We will not guzzling carafes of wine or anything else for that matter or staying out for years, but, like a lot of people, we will be going to language school, Spanish immersion in Antigua, for as long as we can stand it, two weeks, maybe three, maybe more, we'll see, four hours a morning with a one half hour break. Good for the brain. When we get sick of that, we'll hop a bus and travel a bit. But it's the backpack part that I am focused on and must prepare myself for. I claim that the only reason I take a lot of stuff with me wherever I go is because hey, the vehicle is going there anyway so why not, but that at heart I am like the swift wolf who travels light. I claim that. I have two months to prepare myself.

In the course of writing this, the rain has turned to snow, thus ending our February false spring.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Have a heart?


"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them, that is the essence of inhumanity." ~George Bernard Shaw


The Humane Society posted some undercover footage from a slaughterhouse in California. Even meat eaters should be outraged and ashamed by this. Any conscious, feeling being would be.


A day in the life
(Warning: graphic undercover footage)

What you can do
(Please do it)





Saturday, February 16, 2008

The end is near, kind of




Ten years is a long time but that's how long it will probably take the US to phase out animal testing in labs, or so says this current article. As it is, labs are living hell for nameless billions of innocent creatures. Just thought I'd share the better than nothing news.

According to the article, "the new systems the agencies hope to use rely on human cells grown in test tubes and computer-driven testing machines. They allow the scientists to examine potentially toxic compounds in the lab rather than injecting them into animals. The EPA has begun evaluating 300 chemicals using the new methods."


Crow's return


The crows are back!!! I'm been lamenting their absence all winter. It's Charlie, the News Guy. What a loud mouth but I've sure missed him. In fact, I woke up thinking about the crows this morning, wondering where they've been. At the moment, he's criss-crossing himself down into the Bird Park. As always, he starts hawking out on the street, from the top of a lamp post. Then swoops up to the peak of Dick's roof, then across to the peak of our house, then down to the garage roof, then another cross back to the main roof. He'd better hurry. The starlings drop straight down and he has only just now landed on the ground. The specialty d'jour is crust from the valentine pies. Yum. For all his talk, Charlie has never been one to stick around long, reporter you know and, since I started this paragraph, he has come and gone. I hope he's an omen of birds to come. I really enjoy the crows. It's calving time and, like the eagles, perhaps they are back in the valley to enjoy the tasty afterbirth. I prefer pie.




Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Drubbing



This morning I was thinking about a bumper sticker I saw yesterday and the word drubbing came to mind as in,"He needs a good drubbing". Dictionary.com explains that "drub, to drub, drubbing" originated in Arabic around 1625-35, but, of course, the idea has been around lot longer. It's not a happy thing, a drubbing. The bumper sticker screamed out, "Why the hell do I have to push 1 for English?" Clever. Anger wafted from it like a bad smell from an outhouse. My knee jerk waftback was, "Because you live in a multi-lingual world, asshole."

Standing in line to mail my package, I tried guessing whose truck it was but, not seeing any scruffy dudes hunkering down in Monday's 5 o'clock shadow, I decided the proud owner was probably next door at Hamdog's drinking his lunch and that, anyway, I probably didn't really want to get in an argument with him.

Of course lots of people feel like that, not just alcoholic rednecks, and the arguments seem reasonable. "They are taking all our jobs away, getting benefits without paying into the system, bringing their gangs, reducing English to a choice..." We benefit from their work then complain because they are working for us but, for all the huff and blow, these people ignore the fact that cheap, under the table labor, is one of the pillars of our false economy.

Plus, Americans won't do those jobs because they want, need, more money for their time. Or can't do them because they are in jail doing time. In case you didn't know, the US has the largest prison population on the planet. We build prisons ... not schools and libraries ... then put our "problems" behind bars, drop another prozac, eat, shop, have a little drinky poo, turn on the TV and pretend that we are The People and the rest of the world is somewhere else starving and better stay there if they know what's good for them, so eat your damn dinner. Seems someone should tell Lady Liberty to cool it. She's lookin' real out of touch.





Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hsu


I did an I Ching reading this morning, asking a pretty generic question, What is the way forward today? The answer?

Trouble Doll contemplates I Ching


"Hsu. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. This recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action."

So...



Sunday, February 10, 2008

One's too many..

...and a thousand's not enough.


Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this saying refers to just about everything - for me. My addictive personality has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years but I've learned a lot too, such as one's too many and a thousand's not enough, merely trite bumperspeak, unless it happens to be true, then it's a very important fact to consider before reaching out for that first whatevah.

Take last night for example. I went to a dessert and wine party last night following Suzanne Robert's reading/book signing at Comma Coffee, to celebrate the release of her latest book of poetry, Shameless. Good poetry. Great stage presence, personable and intimate. Good to see old friends. I haven't been to a Friday night Ash Canyon poetry group for a while and several members were there. It is where I know Suzanne from. Comma Coffee is a terrible place to read other than the fact that it's the only free place in Carson City to read ... great people but so_damn_noisy. Suzanne decided we should move to the adjoining Hookah Lounge. It wasn't much better. My guess is that the fifteen foot metal doors connecting it to Comma proper were originally outside doors intended to ward off stray bullets from gun battles outside along what is fondly referred to as the Kit Carson trail, the town's main drag during it's frontier day mining boom; now known as Hwy. 395. Anyway, they do everything but explode whenever anyone pushes through but Suzanne, to her credit, prevailed over it all.

Later at the party, I didn't fare so well facing the desserts. I made it to the end of the evening, sipping only tea but the table, spread with nine, count them, nine fabulous, homemade gourmet desserts lured me in on my way out the door. But, it could have been worse.

Which gets me to the secret purpose of this post. Much as I enjoy her, if I die today, I don't want Shaye Saint John to be my last entry, even it it would be poetic justice. A thousand is not enough. That's the way it is with blogs, or with me anyway. I cannot, of course, speak for anyone else. So the question is, as it always is, what to write about today? That is the question. I'm on my second cup of coffee but that is hardly news. So let's see. How can I make your long trip through the tubes to this forlorn outpost along the language barrier somehow, even remotely, worth the effort? I will ask the Trouble Doll to ask the I Ching, "What, if anything, do I have to offer my guests today?" Someone is coming over at 11 but I'll get back to you on that.

Ps. Until then, and if you haven't already, the photos are up from my recent trip to LA. You can start them here.



Saturday, February 9, 2008

Shaye Saint John


If I ever get as bad as her, I'll quit.


TWENTY4SEVEN REDUX

03:15



Venice Beach in January


Here are a few more photos from that nice sunny day at Venice Beach last month. Now I'm off to get another cup of coffee. The second one pretty much captures my mood this morning.


My favorite guy on the beach. What's not to love
about a cute muscle man in a bikini? And that smile!
The scary evil clown could take a lesson or two.


My mood this morning, and many mornings.


Play today. Right.


Lil' Dancing Boy. I wonder what his life will be like.
What the hell?! Perhaps he is following his heart.


Manifesto of the Living


Worlds apart


Shadow on the wall. Strange people haunt Venice Beach.


For more recent LA photos, start here

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi dies


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian guru
Born around 1918 - died February 5, 2008

It seems Maharishi has been old forever. He was old then but lived all the way up to this last Tuesday. Happy travels, sir.

From the Guardian UK

"In recent years, he became disillusioned that TM had become identified with the counterculture. In 1990 he moved to the former Franciscan monastery in Vlodrop, near the German border, and began speaking only by video even to aides in the same building. Last month, he retreated into silence. "He had been saying he had done what he set out to do."



Wednesday, February 6, 2008

LA downtown and beyond


4.32 billion human years = 1 day of Brahma


The photos from our January trip to LA are finally up. It took me awhile but then what's three weeks in a day of Brahma? If you'd like to see them, just scroll down and start with January 15th, or view pages individually. It begins with "Notes on the fly".


Downtown LA




Sunday, February 3, 2008

Letter from Uncle John


January 3, 1991

Dear Asha,


How goes the girl on the lonesome road? Any lunches these days? I haven’t been out there for quite some time but I’ll bet the traffic’s about the same as usual. Sometimes I think of the days around Seattle where we used to live, and of your mom and dad and your brother and sister and the fun we used to have in doing things. Maybe someday we’ll remember all of it and I’ll send you a copy. How would that be? Nevertheless, one time I bought a very good soup called Minestrone in an Italian place and also a delicious hamburger after hours.

In place of these wishes I could go to school and start an entirely new life. I’m still thinking about the Minn. Vets Home with its facilities and All. I should check on that with the social worker, and put on my prosthesis shoes and overcome this predicament. I could arrive there in time for the cold weather and receive all the benefits from the new year. Jesus. It would be lovely. I just pray I will.

I would go right to the U. of M. and enroll in an English Composition and a Philosophy course right away. This would give me something to hope for. At least a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in some related field – like French or Creative Writing – say Poetry would do. I could go 3 years without any questions, calling up my 15 sophomore units from Seattle U. as good. I think they would give me about 9 semester units for that work. St. John’s would be 30 and 12 Seattle U 12= 42 altogether out of 120 necessary to graduate. Anyhow, I should be glad to go back to Minnesota and stay there at the Veteran’s Home for a mere $175.00 a month if it would give me a new start on everything. I could have a cubicle and purchase new shaving gear and deodorants, bath soaps and colognes and after shaves, plus new socks and underwear plus a shirt or two and a couple pair of new slacks; say gray flannel plus dark brown tweed – HARRIS – SPORT – COAT. THE GOLDEN & BRN – TAN TIES AND REAL MONOGRAMMED LINED HANDKERCHIEFS – PLUS A LOUNGING COAT – ALSO BROWN SHOES AND SLIPPERS. AND A NEW PAIR OR FLORSHEIM BROWN WING – TIP DRESS SHOES. Real style for real money. But, I’d like to go back to my own home. Some girls have guessed at my whereabouts – with statements like – “power of attorney” – etc. That’s what I have over myself that I can give someone in case of change.

I’ll ask the I Ching again. I think the Social Worker would send me there when she found out the cost of staying there would sort of put them in a relatively different position. I’d be responsible to myself once I left, but she would have taken care of all the arrangements ahead of time. I could still have Nick take my things to Greyhound and check them to Mpls. then buy the ticket and leave a few days later. I shall tell Jean again and the doctor about Minneapolis.

I found my cap. It was on the floor next to the bed. I’ll be sure to exchange that hoop decoration for something more conventional tomorrow. The psychiatrist here doesn’t apparently care to know me at all. His comments on my wheelchair are something I should do without and I know is a trap for myself to fall into.

That place back in Minneapolis was located on Minnetonka Blvd. right on the Mississippi River. It was pretty cold there in the winter and when I went downtown on the bus it was very cold too. I don’t go many places when it’s that cold. Still, we had to go outside to the dining hall and to other things. I was just reminded of that cold when I went outdoors a while ago for a smoke. I’m watching the Michigan State U.S.C. Game. I wish I knew where I am going after I leave here. ---KAN – DANGER .63 AFTER COMPLETION


Uncle John

John Chance, June 9, 1934 - February 1, 1992




Friday, February 1, 2008

Ashabot


It's been a hard couple of days wrestling with the damn thing but this evening I managed to get a primitive version of my website up and running and the email fixed! One page, four images (my own), and two links all for just two really bad moods and a night of fitful sleep. I'd dance and shout about it in the street but it's dark and cold outside. So I'm telling you.