Sunday, February 29, 2004

Happy Leap Year!

Good-bye February.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Not Mick Fleetwood

In case you're wondering, that guy in Trafalgar Square is not Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mack. In a recent post, Plonk and the Stranger Pigeons, I pondered the possibility of me and my backyard becoming overrun with pigeons and included that photo to illustrate the idea. The next day I got an email saying that the bird man was Mick Fleetwood, which didn't seem right so I wrote the photographer, Paul Gapper, and asked him. He wrote back, "it is just someone who was standing there at the time and not Mick Fleetwood". So, rest easy. It's not Mick on the skids. BTW, Paul's site World is pretty cool. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Stormy Wednesday

Yesterday I mentioned how it seldom it rains around here and then today it rained that dreary, all day kind of rain that Seattle and London are so famous for. Now tonight, it's snowing. That, at least, is more in keeping with the region. Anyway, I wrote a poem today I'm calling....


rain is forever

lies on its back
caught in memory loops
legs spread open
the rate of decay is terrifying

before it’s too late
I confess
my mind has a past
wealth at this level
does not come without a price


Monday, February 23, 2004

Plonk and the Stranger Pigeons

Plonk has been coming back for over a year and he's very cool about it. The only other pigeon he's brought is his girlfriend so I don't blame him. Maybe she's kept her beak shut too. I suppose it was inevitable, but somehow 3 other pigeons have caught on about the place and Mr. Lee is getting uptight about it. He doesn't want to have to hose pigeon shit off our roof. You might be thinking, "let the rain do it" but I have to remind you, we live in the desert so forget the rain washing much of anything. Spit on the street. It stays there. All the various drops, plops, smears and splatters on the streets and buildings stay where they fall and accumulate, layer after layer, under the rain that dries in the air about 500 above the ground. The sludge of civilization does get cleaned eventually but not so much by water as by wind. The wind sandblasts the grime and scrubbing tumbleweeds sweep it away. But back to Plonk and the stranger pigeons.

They don't come with Plonk so I suspect they first followed him here secretly. In fact, Plonk chases them off when he sees them. Mr. Lee chases them off too. I believe another one of his fears is that our backyard will become something like Trafalgar Square and I will be like the guy standing in it. He may be right. We shall see.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

New week, another Vlorbik winner!

Joey Harrison of Eye Control is the first winner of the Vlorbik Award this week. He wrote, "You must be crazy giving thanks to people for finding your errors. It only encourages pedants like myself to pester you." No comment. Maybe someday Orbalina or I will become better at proofreading but I'm not holding my breath. Until then....thanks everybody.

Secrets, Lies and the Vlorbik Award

Well, Saturday morning and I got another email from Vlorbik. He said he noticed that I corrected a few more "somewhat-charming words" but found no mention of who first discovered them, a detail I had...ah...overlooked. So. That everything stays on the up and up around here....this week there was another recipient of the coveted Vlorbik Award....Joey Harrison of Eye Control, a cool photo blog. Thanks Joey. And yes Vlorbik, I rededicate myself to timely honesty. And just to put everything out on the table, Mr. Lee also found a few typos. That makes him the third recipient. One week, three winners! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Ash Canyon Poets Valentine Reading

I just got back from the valentine's day poetry reading at the Comma Cafe. We all read a couple of our own poems and one by a well known poet. We had a good audience and it went really well. I even wrote a piece for the event called the Doctrine of Sixteen Kisses. It's an adaptation of Chapter 3 from Sir Richard Burton's 1883 translation of Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra. Chapter 3 is the one on kissing. Even though the Kama Sutra has a very upfront attitude about sex it's written in formal Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India. Burton's Victorian English fits right in. I condensed and loosen it up a bit although even my version still has a formal air. It seemed to be well received though. I put extra copies out for people to take home so they could try the kisses out for themselves and several were picked up.

Sir Burton was an interesting guy and yes, in case you're wondering, the actor Richard Burton (aka Richard Walter Jenkins), took his stage name from him. Sir Burton was an actor in his own right. Disguised as a Muslim, he was the first Englishmen to enter the holy city of Mecca. Biographer's describe Sir Burton as an adventurer, linguist, scholar, swordsman, rogue, deviant, genius possessing wild, monstrous talents and defects nearly as grave". He was a master of 35 languages which allowed him to travel freely, passing himself off as an Arab merchant. Burton translated several eastern texts including the Arabian Nights in 16 volumes. However, along with his partner John Hanning Speke, Burton is perhaps most famous for discovering the source of the Nile River in 1858 although, of course, plenty of people and countless wild birds and animals had been there before they showed up and claimed the lake for their queen. Speke did his best to shaft Burton and claim sole credit for discovery but history caught up with him in the end, splitting the fame between them.

Ol Burton even made it to Nevada in 1860 when he took a stage coach along the Pony Express route which offered a trip from the Missouri river to San Francisco in 8 days. So that means he was right here in Carson City where our Valentine reading took place. Of Carson City he wrote that "revolvers are fired even into houses known to contain 'ladies'" and that during the three days he was here he heard of three murders.

Getting back to the Valentines reading....I started out with Unlyric Love Song by A.S.J. Tessimond, then read the Doctrine of Sixteen Kisses, and closed with my poem, Yellow Shoes, which I haven't published yet, but probably will get around to it eventually. I was surprised to see a guy from the local TV station there taping us. Poetry doesn't usually make the news. Bill told me afterwards that I'm going to be on TV. Ha! I don't even have a television. Anyway, I'm glad this day is over. This thing has occupied space in my mind long enough.

Saturday, February 7, 2004

The Vlorbik Award

This morning Vlorbik, a fellow zinester, emailed me that I'd used the word "bare" instead of "bear" in my Feb. 6th post. Damn! Laziness again! I hate when I do that. But there's more. I made Vlorbik swear to secrecy but on reflection I've decided that's not such a good idea. I am a terrible speller. I have to run a spell check before posting and if I can't admit that to myself, I have to start by admitting it to you.

So I've created the Vlorbik Award. It's simple. You point out a typo or misused word etc. and as a thankyou, I'll send you a treasure. Of course, treasure is subjective. It means I'll email you a poem or photo or send you a rock from my personal collection.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Spring Cleaning

I've been moving files around like crazy on the Ashabot and it seems to have set a lot of people scrambling to find things. Sorry everybody. Spring house cleaning. Actually, it's the first big re-organization I've done since setting up this website five years ago. Bear with me. It's not over yet.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Plopping calves and the Bag-Lady Party

Several big things to report today. Number one, baby calves are popping up around the valley. Well, not popping up, plopping out. This means the eagles will soon be arriving in Carson Valley. They love the tasty afterbirth and by February, when the majority of calves are born, the eagles will be here in great numbers to greet them and eat their placenta and eat them if they get the chance. Also this morning, I saw a small donkey contentedly scratching his ass on a tree. Being a vision of pure satisfaction, I thought it was worth passing along.

Now that the posters for the valentine's day reading are done, I'm on to the next pressing task of the weekend, preparing the Woman from Beaver Damn Wash for her trip to the surprise birthday party DB Pedlar is throwing for himself. Of course, the Woman from Beaver Damn Wash isn't personally attending. She likes Nevada and the party is in Pennsylvania. It's a bag-lady party and I have to prepare her avatar bag. It's too complicated to explain right now but suffice it to say that since the word got out, everyone around the Ashabot wants in. In fact, I have a near riot on my hands.

Now, I can understand why the Woman from Beaver Damn Wash is so excited. She used to live in the crotch of a old cottonwood tree in Beaver Damn Wash. That's such a remote and wild place, it's understandable she'd be in a tizzy about an invitation to a party. As for the rest of the crew, just mention the word "party" and you have trouble. The Dolls want to go. Pony wants to go. Queenie the Bee wants to go. So does the Lorax. The damn cockroaches have chimed in. I'm sure at this point, the dead shrimp would want to go, if they were still alive. The grumpy old Shipping Squirrel has showed an interest. Even the Swami has been asking about it and he carries a lot of weight around here, in his sweet and unassuming way. I had planned a quiet photo session today, just between me and the Woman from Beaver Damn Wash, but no. I'll at least have to do a couple of group shots to keep the peace. In fact, I don't know why I'm wasting valuable time writing this. The day's nearly over and I still have work to do. After all, they are the voices and I am but their humble servant.