Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and NaNoWriMo eve

Tonight marks two distinct, but not wholly dissimilar, events. Grito and Lucky Pete (as he calls himself these days) have been outside waiting since this afternoon but trick or treaters didn't appear until after dark.

After the children are gone and the streets are completely given over to the spirits of the underworld the second phase of the night begins. Then my friend Susan and I are going to meet at a nearby casino coffee shop to await the final stroke of midnight. Then the dead return to the nether regions. Then the mad soul of NaNoWriMo rises in the infernal dark. Then the writing begins.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Early Halloween

Early trick or treaters, Seymour and Sierra. They got cheese.

Pine Nuts to Ash Canyon

Here are a few photos from our drive in the Pine Nuts the other day. Naturally the Swami wanted to come. None of us have been out for a long time so it was a big deal. We only took trailer as far as Crow Stone Road. The hitch currently has an extender to clear the spare which makes the connection a bit vulnerable. The road gets pretty rough past that point and we didn't want to loosen anything. In case you're wondering, that white rack on the top of the trailer is the Maggiolina, our crank up tent.

We went as far as this collapsed cabin. The stone work was nothing like we've seen in the old miner cabins further out in the Great Basin. Those places were built by Europeans who knew how to work with stone. The walls and foundations they did are still standing, well into their second century. Whoever built this place didn't know what they were doing. The stones are small, unmatched, and unworked. The only thing that held them together at all was great gobs of mortar. I doubt it lasted more than 50 years. They used a few nice stones in the hearth but most of the hearth stones were also small and glued together.

I took the stone to return to the crows but came home with it instead. Mr. Lee reminded me that they only loaned it for a year. I'll get around to it one of these days, maybe.

I went to Ash Canyon after we got back. I believe it's been nearly a year since I went last. I'm glad I did. It was nice seeing the group again, plus it was Susan's birthday (R). She was co-editor on the first issue of Driftwork (submissions are open for the next issue, btw). I didn't have anything new to read. I've been working on one poem for months and it's still no closer to being done. If I stick with NaNoWriMo for even a week it will a colossal kick in the ass. Those are witches fingers on the plate.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bush moves closer to martial law

On October 17th, 2006, in a stealth ceremony in the Oval Office, the same day he legalized torture (anyone - anywhere - no trial), Bush signed a second bill giving himself the power to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities. The Republicans have now given themselves full power and authority to suppress all dissent, by any means, without any accountability. Where does it end?

This is a very disturbing article but read it anyway. Mirror site here.

Saturday at the Roxy - 10.

Welcome to the matinee.

As this is Halloween weekend, today's videos tend towards the macabre, nothing heart stopping but in the spirit. This may be it for the Roxy for a while. I decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot which, if I stick with it, will severly limit my time. At any rate enjoy the show.

Happy Halloween!



Be careful.
Be very, very careful. The mind is
a very powerful thing. Ask



Watch out!
Shaye St. John
wants to wish you a


Friday, October 27, 2006

Test run, Poe and the Crow Stone

Now that the trailer is done we're taking it out to the Pine Nuts this afternoon for a test drive. Perhaps we'll get a glimpse of the little band of mustangs I saw last spring. The babies should be pretty big by now and it would be fun seeing them again before winter sets in. Even if we don't it's a cloudless day, perfect for a drive.

I guess it's also time to return the Crow Stone. I've grown very attached to it but the crows only loaned it to me while I was recuperating from knee surgery. I'm doing better now so it's up to me to work on it in the gym. They were very kind sharing a little of their mojo in the first place and I don't want to take advantage of their generosity. One must be very respectful of crows and ravens. Remember what happend to poor old Poe.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Letters from home

... home in this case being my little brother. It's one of those letters that meandered into some fanciful territory so I thought I'd post it here for the hell of it. It started out with a note from my brother. Naturally I have changed the names to protect the innocent but otherwise spared no details.

Dear sister,

I just donated some money to the Democrat Party to throw the bums out. Makes the day a little better to know I did something worthwhile. Last night we had my graduate students over for dinner. It is quite an eclectic crowd.

KA starting a MS degree is from Bombay. His parents were born in Pakistan. JG starting a Ph.D. is from Toronto. Her parents were from Vietnam. TL second year M.S. is from China. Her parents work for the government so they are communist. GH fifth year Ph.D. is from Pittsburgh. His father is a professor at Case Western. He was conceived in the Ukraine where his parents were from. He was bone in Jerusalem and grew up in Cleveland. EZ Second year Ph.D. is from Hobart. His father was a Boeing engineer, who lives up in the Cascades off the electrical grid.
GF second year Ph.D. is from San Francisco or Modesto. He is doing a Ph.D. in from Sweden and I am his U.S. representative.

Needless to say telling stories to each other eating and drinking fine wine made it one of those magical evenings.

To which I answered:
And you from a village. Very exotic! Sounds like a great evening.

Glad to hear you threw some money in the ring. I did too. What bastards!

He replied:
Actually I trace my roots back to North Dakota, a place so strange I have this reoccurring vision about being a very old man living in a run down shack on the prairie. The only lights at night the Sirius and his friends rising. I am very old and everyone is gone except me. My memory is fading and I spend evenings talking to the west wind, recalling a family, sisters, wife and wonderful dogs, I only remember the dogs clearly because a stray dog comes to my back door, the one facing south, and curls up there on warm nights. This last winter he finally came in the house and after several circles and scratches dropped with a thud on the floor by the pantry door and watched me with intense suspicion. I sleep much and have strange dreams of the tropical ocean, mathematical equations, congress with golden angels in the ceiling. I don't know whose memories they are. After the stroke it all comes at me from the shadows. Approaches just to the penumbra of somebody's past and waits. And this old dog, there he lays, his chin on his crossed paws watching me with one eye. I am not dead yet you old hound. Is that what you here for? You are too old to eat me … heh heh. But he closes his eye and I have the distinct feeling that he knows the path through the prairie grass to the north where the lights dance in the sky.

Oops! Where did that come from? See. Just thinking of North Dakota does strange things to me.

NaNoWriMo again?

As we're on the subject of no fee writing contests (this one accepts donations) it's worth mentioning that NaNoWriMo is upon us once again. It starts November 1st. Write 50,000 words next month and ... well ... you'll have a 175-page novel in your hands on midnight, November 30. Your own. I'm actually thinking about it myself this year. I'm in a rut. How about you?

The Basics
Sign up!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

No fee writing contests - 10.06

There are a lot of writing contests this month and, courtesy of Poets&Writers, here's the short list of ones that don't charge an entrance fee including the Griffin. Have at it. Good luck.

Commonwealth Club of California
California Book Awards
Three prizes of $2,000 each are given annually to California writers to honor books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Authors or publishers may submit five copies of books published in 2006 by January 7, 2007. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site the required application and complete guidelines.
Commonwealth Club of California, California Book Awards, 595 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. (415) 597-4846.

Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry
Griffin Poetry Prize
Two prizes of $50,000 Canadian (approximately $44,750) each are given annually to honor collections of poetry by a Canadian and an international poet or translator. Publishers may submit four copies of a book published in 2006 by December 31. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for the required application and complete guidelines.
Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, Griffin Poetry Prize, 6610 Edwards Boulevard, Mississauga, Ontario, L5T 2V6, Canada. (905) 565-5993. Ruth Smith, Manager.

Maine Community Foundation
Martin Dibner fellowships
Fellowships of up to $1,000 are given in alternating years to Maine poets and fiction writers to attend writing workshops or complete writing projects. For this year's fellowships, poets may submit a writing sample of five to seven pages and a resumé by January 15, 2007. There is no entry fee. Call or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
Maine Community Foundation, Martin Dibner Fellowships, 245 Main Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605. (877) 700-6800. Carl Little, Director of Communications and Marketing.

Ellen Meloy Fund
Desert Writers Award
A prize of $1,000 will be given annually to provide support to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers to spend creative time in a desert environment. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, a project description, and a biography by December 31. There is no entry fee. Call or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
Ellen Meloy Fund, Desert Writers Award, P.O. Box 484, Bluff, UT 84512. (435) 669-5326. Greer Chesher, Contact.

Merton Foundation
Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award
A prize of $500 and publication in Merton Seasonal is given annually for a single poem. Submit a poem of no more than 100 lines by December 31. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
Merton Foundation, Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, 2117 Payne Street, Louisville, KY 40206. (502) 899-1991. Helen Graffy, Assistant Director.

PEN American Center
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation
A prize of $3,000 is given annually to honor a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English published in the United States during the current year. Translators may be of any nationality. Translators, publishers, or agents may submit two copies of a book published in 2006 by December 15. There is no entry fee. E-mail or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
PEN/Beyond Margins Awards
Up to five prizes of $1,000 each are given annually to honor emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers of color for outstanding book-length works published in the current year. Publishers or agents may submit a letter of recommendation and five copies of a book published in 2006 by December 29. There is no entry fee. Visit the Web site for complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize
A prize of $3,000 is given annually to honor a book-length translation of poetry or literary prose from any language into English published in the United States during the current year. Translators may be of any nationality. Publishers, agents, or translators may submit three copies of a book published in 2006 by December 15. There is no entry fee. E-mail or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
PEN American Center, 588 Broadway, Suite 303, New York, NY 10012.

Poets & Writers Inc.
Writers Exchange Contest
Two prizes of $500 each are awarded annually to a poet and a fiction writer from a select state. Each winner also receives an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to give a reading and meet with writers, editors, publishers, and agents. For the 2007 contest, which is open to Missouri residents, each winner will also receive a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. Missouri poets and fiction writers who have published no more than one full-length book in the genre in which they are applying are eligible. Submit five copies of up to 10 pages of poetry or 25 pages of fiction by December 1. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the Web site for the required application and complete guidelines.
Poets & Writers Inc., Writers Exchange Contest, 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Bonnie Marcus, Director.

Pushcart Press
Pushcart Prizes
Publication in The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses is awarded annually for the best poetry, short fiction, and essays published by literary magazines or small presses in the current year. Submissions are accepted from editors only, who may nominate up to six works of up to 20,000 words. Submit tear sheets or photocopies by December 1; work to be published this year after the deadline may be submitted in manuscript form. There is no entry fee. Write or call for complete guidelines.
Pushcart Press, Pushcart Prizes, P.O. Box 380, Wainscott, NY 11975. (631) 324-9300. Bill Henderson, Contact.

Complete list here.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
~ Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jiggidy jog

I went to Portland this weekend to visit my daughter and Clark and meet the new in-laws-to-be. True to the rumor, Clark's parents are lovely, smart, down to earth, friendly, progressive, talented, generous, thoughtful people. Grown-ups. Basically I think I did okay. I don't feel like a grown-up most of the time but I'm getting better at pretending. Other than a mini rant or two about the neofascist republican party and their idiot, criminal leader George Warmonger Bush, things went pretty well. I have a feeling they were forewarned. Most importantly, they seem to love and accept me wee one as one of their own, as well they should.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time at various Portland wi fi cafes. My daughter had a paper to write. Worked for me. Since moving to Nevada I suffer from small town claustrophobia so it was a real treat. JudyBlueSky joined us for awhile at one. She's an old friend from southern Oregon and a writer and one of the only people to visit me since I moved. She read in a Reader's Theatre event I organized at Comma Coffee.

And I got to see Edison. Apparently he waited hours in the driveway for us to arrive. I swear he knew I was bringing him a puppet. Asia said he read my email but I think it's a heart thing. He started the happy doggie dance as soon we pulled into the driveway and all the way into the house he tried wheedling his nose into my suitcase looking for The Puppet. I know he's a charmer with several girlfriends wrapped around his golden paw but at the moment I am his favorite. That's good enough. I have more puppets.

Oregon is lovely under it's comforter of clouds. Portland is a very hip city and it was wonderful being able to spend a little time with my daughter and Clark but it was good to head back over the mountains into the sun. However, I find that traveling sometimes suspends one's resolve. That's why last night was Pie Night. Of course it's fine to enjoy a tasty piece of pie now and then. Clark's parents served homemade apple pie on Saturday night that his mom made from their own, homegrown apples. What's scary for addictive types like me is to own a pie as one pie leads to another. However, the morning after Pie or Ice Cream Night, if anything is left, I generally have a brief window of sanity, about an hour, during which I can dispose of the night's leftovers. After that both Mr. Lee and I are locked into eating it all. This morning was successful. The pie went to the Bird Park but there's not much interest in it yet. I stuffed the cool whip and ice cream down the sink so we are back in the safety zone. We'll cry tonight.

I was gone three days and came home to find nearly 4000 pieces of spam email. Spammers are truly the scum of the earth.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

America that was

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to be speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

Remember our Miranda Rights? Today, Tuesday October 17, 2006, the Republicans revoked our Miranda Rights, silently turning America into a police state.

Until now, America promised freedom from despotic governments that pluck citizens off the street, out of our homes and lock us up in secret prisons ... indefinitely ... even torture us to death without having to ever make or prove any charges because today our Miranda Rights and all but one of our Constitutional Rights were wiped out by the signature of George W. Bush. In our cowardly fear of "terrorism" we have abandon our freedom and now cower behind the NeoFascist dictatorship of the Republican Party.

What a shock Bush's Torture Bill will be to the couch potatoes for whom nothing is real until it happens to them.

There is nothing I can say that will make a difference but I can't let this sad moment pass unnoticed. Seems Eliot was right.

Hollow Men
by T.S. Eliot


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed stavesr
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer --

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy - Dexter, Puppet Rapist, Skidboot

Welcome to the Roxy.

Dexter's Lab - Dexter's Rival

Puppet Rapist #3


Bunny's letter

Pinky (finally) got a letter from Bunny and is she ever happy. She's been showing it to everybody. She even persuaded me to post the news here at the language barrier which the whole troupe heartily endorsed as they're getting a little tired of hearing about it. They are a pretty cynical bunch but happy for her. I don't know about this Bunny fellow though, if his friend Slippo is any indication. And what's up with that banana? Well, at least he didn't suggest they meet in a bar.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Iraq for Sale

I just got back from Tahoe where I attended a MoveOn.org house party. We made calls encouraging people to vote in the upcoming election, ate and then watched the video Iraq for Sale , a really irritating documentary. It exposes the brazen greed of our "conservative" government. It is staggering. STAGGERING .... mercenary corporations like Dick Cheney's Halliburton partnered with their stooges in Washington, Bush and Company, have bilked American tax payers of billions of dollars in "Cost Plus" overruns not to mention the insufferable tragedy of so many lives lost, and so many more hopelessly ruined in their jagged swath. It's criminal and the whores in Congress rubberstamp every bit of it ... for a cut. These guys have got to go!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I was privileged to see a coyote at the base of the Sierra this morning ... gray and angular, moving in time lapse precision through the grass. Seeing one is to me an omen of a good day.

Republican 3 point plan

The Republican 3 point plan:

When that fails ...
When that fails ...
Skivvy bastards!

Global warming.
Over a half a million citizens dead from war in Iraq.
Sexual abuse of minors by Republican Congressman.
Sexual abuse of minors covered up by Republican leaders.
Congressmen pimping their votes to lobbyists.
The President of the United States is insane.
Fill in the blank ___________________________.
Don't worry. Lie about it!

If you let the Republicans buy you off with their "tax cuts"
you are no better.

Saturday at the Roxy - Lil' Superstar, Puppet Rapist, Desiderata

Welcome to the Roxy.

Little Superstar has become wildly popular
on YouTube since he first appeared here a few weeks
ago so he returns today for an encore in the following
clips from of the same Tamil film, Adhisayappiravi.

If you want more, there's another fight scene here. In case you'd like to personally own this Tamil classic, you can purchase it here for a mere $16.95. Without ruining anything, here's a plot summary I found on the site:

Rajni, is supposed to marry Sheeba, an alliance not approved of by her father. He is killed and goes to Heaven only to learn that his death was a mistake. He is offered another body to inhabit,that of a timid villager whose uncle and aunt are plotting to kill him. He takes up the offer and teaches them a lesson while romancing with Kanaga. But coming into contact with some characters from his earlier life, reminds him of his duties over there too. He solves all problems and all's well that end well.

Now we turn to Channel to 101 for
another exciting episode of
Puppet Rapist - #2
about 5 minutes

After all this violence and tension it only seems fitting
to conclude today's show with this charming short by
Claudia Lauricella (story), Marco Perugini (animation),
and Goran Bregovic (playing Vivaldi).
I hope you enjoyed the show.

about 01:30