i blog. sort of.

i blog. sort of.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

when stars align ...

...  the Tetons send smoke signals.  Which, I assure you, has nothing to do with the Caldera.  But on this subject, have you ever actually tried sending smoke signals?  It's darn near impossible!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

things I wish I'd said

"The cretaceous is not so far back in the history of the world.  It's in the last three percent of time."
-John McPhee

Sunday, September 21, 2014

stepping aside from my WIP

my oregon coast sculpture
Have you seen this?  If so, you may have been somewhere on the Oregon coast the last week of July.  I spent an afternoon gathering rocks to make this sculpture, which is [or I should say, was] about 20' x 8'.  The sculpture was within the tide zone, and if no one bothered it [too much] bits and pieces of it would still be there ... sort of.  I love the idea of natural art, something that exists for only a little while then fades back into the landscape.  I've made lots of natural art before, though never anything this large.

After hiking up from the beach, I looked back to take a shot.  My sculpture is at the center of this picture, though you can barely see it!

Now back to my fabulous WIP ....

Monday, September 15, 2014

rock on, ancient warriors

fish with clouds
My culture, the culture of the western U.S., is too new to have anything comparable to the deep threads of wisdom that run through Asia.  We have 'horse sense', but it isn't necessarily beautiful to read (though I'd argue that Teresa Jordan came close in Riding the White Horse Home).  Maybe that's why I'm drawn to ancient texts like the Art of War and the Book of the Samurai.  These were people who had a lot of time to think ... far more time than we do ... and they had generations to practice their epiphanys until they got them right.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from The Book of the Samurai: "A person whose spirit collapses in the face of misfortune is of no use."  Rock on, ancient warriors.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stealth: words of wisdom

zen, and the art of stealth
While traveling the sometimes gut-wrenching Highway 1 near Big Sur, Stealth demanded a moment to replenish his serenity.  Surveying the cliffs, he made multiple exclamations regarding the perilous drop to the sea.  Fog rolled over him, only to break for sunshine.  A California condor considered his nutritional value then disappeared into the wooded hillside.

At last Stealth spoke: "Without expectation, we are capable of everything."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Comic Con

slenderman, & mini-slenderman
My daughter and I attended ComicCon in SLC today.  I wasn't there by choice, necessarily, though I was curious.  I was there because I didn't feel comfortable allowing my 13-year-old to roam the Salt Palace convention center with fifty thousand strangers, unchaperoned.

So we began at 9:00 a.m., standing in a massive, snaking line.  The line wove back and forth, defined by white tape on the cement floor and kept in check by volunteers who walked said white line stating "you are facing this way," while pointing toward the direction they preferred you face.  The line eventually wove right out the entrance door (and I would guess there were maybe five thousand of us indoors) where it unfolded to stretch around the Salt Palace like a Halloween-costumed snake.  (And the line of in-coming visitors didn't disappear until around two in the afternoon.)

Anyway, after maybe a half hour of standing in this line I noticed everyone around us wore wrist bands while my daughter and I did not.  I had pre-paid our tickets online, but now I realized there was more to the transaction.  So when I spotted the "Pre-paid Registration" banner at the back of the hall, I asked my daughter: "Do you feel brave?"  She assured me she did (or at least, I interpreted her eye-roll as bravery).  I then left her to go stand in a second line where I collected our wrist bands.

Then back into the crowd, to find her.  (TG for cell phones.)  The show opened at 10:00 and by then, the room in which we stood felt short of oxygen and long on people sitting in their designated line, where they played small gaming machines.  Eventually, though, we began to move ("I feel like a cow in a stockyard" I was at one point heard to say).  By 10:30, we were in.

My daughter had plans: panel discussions, something called the cos-play parade, interviews on the role of Sherlock Holmes in Today's ever-changing world.  Then she realized I had only put out for GA tickets (general admission) and not the coveted VIP gold passes that would magically deliver us past an incredible press of humanity and on with her day.  After enduring her teenaged tongue-lashing, I informed her that $250 per VIP ticket was above my pay-grade and she would have to either A) settle for trolling the convention floor or B) stand in line for an hour-per-event.  She settled for the floor.

We bought tee-shirts, pins, key-chains, posters, anime books and trinkets.  We photographed every manga hero imaginable (which for me was fertile ground, because though my daughter is an anime/manga fanatic, I can barely pronounce 'otaku').  My daughter fearlessly asked the people whose costumes she admired: "can I take your picture?"  Immediately, they fell into their character's pose.  We snapped away.  I will tell you, these people take their cos-play seriously.  I mean, check out the lead photo again.  And look at this:

My daughter explained that these are angels from Doctor Who.  They are bad angels, and can kill you with a blink.  Or something like that.  I'm not sure what that pirate is doing there ....  Anyway, this woman clearly spent 364 of the last 365 days preparing these costumes for herself and her family (that's her hubby in the suit and glasses and her son in the bow-tie.  Her daughter is obvious).  And she was not alone.  There were hundreds of people in costume; thousands, actually.  So many that after three hours of barely being able to wander the convention floor (it was packed far more tightly than a certain West Coast aquarium's sardine treadmill) we turned to roaming the surrounding hallways, instead.  There we found every creature imaginable and in the end, came away awed.

(Well, except for the man in the red speedo who had shaved his chest hair into a triangle.  After that retina-searing experience, I may need therapy.  My daughter summed it simply as: "Awkward".)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WOD [word of the day]: maniacal

I didn't laugh maniacally when I read this, but I sort of wanted to . . .

I googled 'maniacal' and was given this curious definition by Dictionary.com:  Not being able to hear the authors laughing maniacally to themselves as they type.

Ummm.  So, I was always taught that you shouldn't use the word to define the word ....

For the record I have not, as of yet, laughed maniacally when I'm typing.  Smiled, yes.  Chuckled, often.  Snorted out loud, on occasion.  Yeah, I know there's that scene in  Something's Gotta Give where Diane Keaton laughs until she cries while she types out her revenge on Jack Nicholson.  But in my experience I haven't gone down that road.  At least, not yet.

 To be frank here, I associate maniacal laughter with insane loony-ness--the same sort of loony-ness I witnessed from a certain sardine while watching the sardine treadmill in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, now that I think of it.  For sure that sardine was laughing maniacally.  Proof positive that being forced to swim round and round and round and round against an artificial current in a giant acrylic tube is NOT a good thing.

Monday, September 1, 2014

TAS [traditions & superstitions]

cleaning frenzy image courtesy of the internet
It's been a while since I've talked traditions, and seeing as I've got a summer cold coming on and it's Labor Day, I thought I'd blog about one of my strangest TAS's ever: cleaning.

That's right.  When I get sick, I clean.  I suppose this habit began, as so many do, in childhood.  Back then I'd stay home from school, tucked in my bed with a good book and a box of Kleenex, sniffing and oozing and listening to my mother clean the house.  In those years it never once occurred to me that since ours was a family of six children and a husband who wouldn't wield a mop, my mother was always cleaning.  All I knew was that as I coughed and hacked, she scrubbed.

You may be wondering:  When Mother became sick did she lounge in bed?  No.  She tied on a bandana [visualize an old-west bank robber] and went on with her day.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, homework helper.

No small wonder I grew up believing that when when you get sick, you get busy.

So today, seeing as I have a sore throat and a sinus infection, I scrubbed the bathrooms, vacuumed, did all the laundry, mopped the kitchen and cleaned out the spice cabinet, just for good measure.  I still feel sick, yes.  And I'm about to jump into bed and watch COSMOS reruns on Netflix (I just finished reading Flight Behavior, but more on why reading A led to watching B later).  But good news!!  When I wake up tomorrow I'll have so much more than just my cold.  I'll have my cold and a sparkling clean house ....