Friday, September 26, 2003

We're back but I can't say I'm particularly happy about stuffing myself into an indoor routine. In spite of some hard miles in the Nevada outback over (a few particularly bad) dirt roads (part of the fun after all), it was a great trip. We saw mountain lion cubs, wild horses and burros, a big, fat, lazy rattlesnake, and we found half-billion year old trilobites in the Wheeler Shale of Western Utah. After we spent a couple of hours at a U-Dig place, for $6 an hour, we struck out on our own and found more for free. For the most part, the shale is on public land. What amazes me the most is that when the trilobites swamed the earth, the Utah of today was located near the equator and covered by a shallow, warm sea! Oddly, a perfect end for all this was poking around Las Vegas for a few days on the cheap.

As soon as we got into Vegas we went to the public library and got on line. While I was fiddling around with my blog and email, Lee went to Cheapo Vegas and found an internet coupon for the Plaza Hotel for $20 a night (great room), plus 2 coupons for their breakfast buffet at the Chop Chop Chinese Restaurant (pretty grim). There was also 2 free nights in December thrown in, which we're planning to take them up on it. As neither of us gambles or drinks, it was an especially great deal.

Vegas Cowgirl

Of course we all know Las Vegas is really just a bowl of smoke with a very dark underbelly, but it is also a very seductive bowl of smoke especially on the strip. Some of the hotels there are completely over the top. Usually we gravitate to the downtown aka Fremont District or "Glitter Gulch". A while ago it was renovated to compete with the strip but Glitter Gulch of old (that's our hotel at the end of the Gutch) is the Vegas you see in the old movies with the rearing palomino horse and the cowgirl living it up under the stars. It's casual (seedy) so basically more our style.

This trip we made a point of checking out the big hotels on the strip. In fact, we spent so much time sitting in the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel people watching, that the security guards started watching us. We moved on. When we passed through the lobby a bit later, they were discretely tossing out some guy who had passed out on the couch where we'd been sitting. His head had dropped way back and his mouth was gaping open.

If you want to read more about my adventures in the Nevada Outback, a place few visit and even fewer write about, email me. I may be able to scrabble up a copy of Dirt Roads to Nowhere.

Sunday, September 21, 2003


I never thought the first mountain lions I'd ever see would be 50 miles out of Las Vegas, but there they were…three fat, tawny spotted, beautiful lion cubs in the most dry and forlorn mountains I've ever visited. It was in the afternoon, two days ago. We were scouting for a camp when Lee noticed something larger than a jack rabbit move in the underbrush growing on the slop below a bluff. Mama must have been out hunting because they were on their own, three children torn between curiosity and caution. We stopped the jeep, pulled out our binoculars and watched them watch us. They looked awhile then, yielding to caution, climbed a little further up the hill, weaving in and our of various caves at the base of the butte. At points they'd sit again and stare at us. Finally they settled down behind some brush and stayed there. We camped not too far down the road but never saw them again. We’re in Las Vegas now, at the public library. This is a much stranger place if you ask me, but kind of fun if you're a human.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

We're in Caliente NV at the moment, using the computers at community computer lab located in the old train station. Great place. All new machines, T1 connection, flat screens. We have the place to ourselves. We've been in this area before but it's worth many return trips. There are lots of Indian artifacts and incredible scenery. We found a couple habitat caves this morning. One even had what was probably a thousand year old pottery shard in it (which we left there). We're off to the White Rock range today for a few days, then south to the Mohave desert, then off to Las Vegas for a couple of days. After nine days out, the contrast will be really jarring, which is the point.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Half billion year old neighbors

The Jeep is finally ready so we're leaving in the morning for about ten days in the mountains along the Nevada/Utah border. We'll be at about eight to twelve thousand feet so if it's too cold at night, we'll just head south. If we stay north, we'll have a chance to look for trilobites which are suppose to be fairly abundant in that area. I'd love to do that. It would great to find some. They lived about a half a billion years ago.

Cockroach pyramid of happiness
L. to R. Ha'Penny, Nugget & La Delicata

Also, I updated the Cockroach Diary today, something I haven't done since last April. I didn't have time to note all the important changes. I'll finish that when I get back. Tonight, they are happily tucked in after the trauma of the bedding change. It's a sweet little scene in there right now. They're all snuggled up together on the end of the terracotta pot. They love it when we're gone. At night the house is quiet and dark.

Sunday, September 7, 2003

I'm planning to do a Reader's Theatre presentation of "Ghostwriter" in conjunction with the Indie Writers Group sometime this fall. At the urging of my brother, I began this script in 1992 for the National Ten-Minute Play Contest hosted by Actors Theatre of Louisville. I wrote a few pages, missed their deadline and put it aside but the idea stayed in the back of my mind. Finally, last winter, I dragged the script out, dusted it off and finished it.

I say finished but, more realistically, Ghostwriter is a work in progress because it seems to hold together in a few different formats and I've only played around with it in one. First off, it's an easy read so it's a short story in dialogue form. I've already published it as such in the third issue of my zine Reddog Review, available this fall at Tower Records. However, because it requires no props or set, it can also be done as a staged reading or radio play. If I do manage to pull off this staged reading, I'm sure the script will change, however slightly, in rehearsal. And, if it does make it to a audience, it will undoubtedly change even further because a live audience adds it's own dimension to things. Lastly, add a minimal set and a few props and it's a one act. I'm sure, if I ever got that far with it, it would change even further.

Saturday, September 6, 2003

We were supposed to leave today for a week in eastern Nevada but the jeep needs some minor work so we won't be leaving until the first part of next week. It will be cold in the mountains at night but still warm during the day. If its too uncomfortable, we'll just head south until we hit a warmer zone.

Thursday, September 4, 2003

It raining like a bitch. Odd for Nevada. The dolls, latest refugees here at the Ashabot, are sitting out in it. I photographed them but the rain doesn't show. I don't know if they're staying around here or not. They're kind of huge and a bit strange. On the other hand, I do need a proof reader. I doubt any one of them would do a worse job than me.
Never mind.

Monday, September 1, 2003

Another nice day. The birds are still at the seeds. I'm in a shit mood, though. I could list a bunch of reasons but it wouldn't change the way I feel. Oh well. Soon it will be dark. A relief, however simple. Here's a curious thing. Birds are everywhere but where are the dead ones? With as many birds as there are, you think you'd see them all over the place. I almost never see dead birds. It's a bit odd.