i blog. sort of.

i blog. sort of.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


'An unusually bold girl mistakenly wanders into another dimension only to fall in love with a dangerous new world ... and the boy fated to fight for its survival.'

a few lines from FIVE-FIFTEEN post M-F on my instagram account: mech.morris
(Each day's post is added to the book here on the blog.  Scroll down to read.  Enjoy!)


Chapter One 
Cheyenne Livingston-Long circled the lamp post, round and round.  Snow frosted her hat and the shoulders of her coat in thickening layers of creamy white.  Numb toes, numb fingers; she could kill for coffee.  But as luck would have it, the nearest Starbucks was three blocks away.  She didn't dare walk itHer reasons were many, if convoluted:
     a) she'd been kept after school [may Ms. Visner rot]
     b) she'd failed her Chem final [hello, social life]
     c) she'd taken an elbow to the jaw in P.E. [assailant unknown].  But they'd pay.  Probably.
Cheyenne stopped.  She brushed the cold fluff from her clothes and, feeling somewhat nauseous, glared down the darkening street.  The bus was late.
     Crazed for caffeine, she continued to trudge.  Twenty times around the post became forty.  Forty became eighty.  She passed two hundred and wondered, briefly, what kept her there, turning a narrow ring of once knee-high snow into icy gruel.  It was anybody's guess.
     Three hundred came and went and still she circled, moving counter-clockwise like water round an unobtainable drain.  She looked up into the falling snow.  Counter-clockwise seemed so natural.  She was in the Northern Hemisphere, after all.
     A car passed, its bright taillights disappearing in a strange fog.  Silently, she cursed her stubborn faith in public transit.  "Where is that worthless bus?" The words turned white and shifty then vaporized as they were spoken.  Another car passed, then another.  Cheyenne took this as an omen--a good one--that some unknown traffic artery, somewhere up the line, had received at least a temporary stent.  It was about time.  She had just finished five hundred and fifteen turns around the lamp post and her stamina was temporarily shot.  She stopped, pulled her grandfather's relic watch from her coat pocket and flatly stated: "Hello weird."  The watch read 5:15.
   She looked up, her grand-daddy's watch growing warm in her hand--and saw trees.  No street.  No bus stop. No light post.  No cars.  Just trees.  Lots of them.
   A pock-faced sliver of moon pour light through naked branches.  The moon seems farther away than usual.  Or maybe brighter.  Cheyenne didn't know; she'd never been a moon person and anyway, she had more immediate problems.  Or so she thought.
   Not quite ready to panic, she dug her cell phone from her back pack.  It was her window on the world, a fabulous screen-sized link to humanity.  She used it sparingly, fearing the battery loss.  Now it was blank, save for the reflected trees.  Unresponsive.  Dead as a door nail as her mother used to say.  Cheyenne didn't really know what her mother had meant.  Door nails, after all, had no claim among the living.
   The trees, which at first had seemed normal enough, lengthened suddenly, their branches tapering.  In its indigo universe, the moon divided like a massive cell--two orbs over-lapping.  Then four.  Fear shot through Cheyenne as feftly as an Olympian's arrow.  This was alien.  Even for the corner of Jasper and Baird.
   Something hooted.  An owl?  Cheyenne didn't know--she'd never heard one up close and personal.  The hoot came again, louder this time, and decidedly menacing.  So Cheyenne hooted in return.  It seemed the obvious thing to do.
   Then through the trees she clomped, toward what seemed a broad, expansive plain.  Or perhaps it was a meadow--traversing knee-deep snot and dodging strange trees has been known to confuse even the most hardy of folk.  An odd rumbling accompanied her; a noise not unlike water moving over loose stones.  She had no idea what it was.  There was no water, not that she could see.  Just moonlight and snow.
   Being new to the environment, Cheyenne was cluelessly unaware of the growing throng behind her.  But a throng there was.  As she clomped on, the pack grew until countless hungry beasts drove from every corner of the near acreage toward her.  Had she known she would have run, and thus been devoured immediately.  But tromping was foreign to the small and clever animals forming her trail.  It made them curious.  Uncertain.  They followed Cheyenne to the meadow, content for the moment to track her, but salivating in anticipation of an easy meal.
   Their pursuit sounded much like water, rushing over loose stone.
   Shelter loomed ahead.  Or so Cheyenne hoped.  Because despite her cumbersome but steady progress, she felt an uncanny need to take cover, and fast.  She tossed her back pack, committing to return for it at dawn.  She had homework due on Monday, after all.  The shelter was near now--twenty feet.  Ten.  Covered in bizarre symbols, it was much like a dolmen.  Not that Cheyenne had remote notions of such things.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Moon Love

Gah! check this one out.  The colors are fabulous and the clouds ... well they are superb.  A few more new moon shots follow.

on the way to Yellowstone

As a quintessential lover of sci-fi, I have an obsessive passion with all things galactic.  So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite moon pics.  Here we have the moon rising over the Tetons.  Which I know, opened my Moon Love post way back on October 12....but do scroll on.

Moonrise, Victor Idaho
 November 16, and I couldn't resist taking this one.  Cold as the bowels of hell out there but who cares?!?!  It had to be done....
Moonset and tree
The cool thing about photographing the moon is that the sky seemed almost as dark as the tree when I was standing outside, freezing to my tripod.  Yet here we see white clouds, an indigo universe, and a remnant autumn leaf clinging to a twig.  Fascinating, as Mr. Spock would say.

cool moonset

 Okay.  Back up to November 11. I just downloaded some pics from last month and there it was!  A moon shot,capturing the orb as it set into a bank of clouds.  Note the cool ring of light, preserved by Mr. Average Camera!  Not to mention the faint outline of the 'particular building' I so often photo with the moon.  (see a few pics down ....)

moonrise, late October 2015
I've added this tonight (October 27) because the moon is incredible.  This picture is especially haunting -- I love the light.

moonrise, ten p.m.
Check out the stars above the aspens!  Way to go average camera!

lake powell

If you've never been to Lake Powell, you might want to visit before it completely drains.  SUCH a perfect place in October.  The lake sort of looks like Texas here ... and the land could be the Gulf of Mexico.  I'm just sayin' ...

So I've photographed this particular building in relation to the moon from pretty much every angle imaginable.  A) it's a really weird building and B) it seems like the kind of building you'd find on the moon.

moonrise over Utah Lake
Seriously, if you knew how gross Utah Lake is, you would find this picture to be far more impressive than it at first appears ...

Indian Beach
So the moon looks like a probe in this one, but !!!  Such a cool shot.

early morning on the Caldera
For a complete exploration of my Caldera fetish, you'll have to read "The Seeds Project Interviews" ...  The first interview is posted just a few blogs back, if you're inclined for a bit of reading.  Just scroll past 'Mr. Chipmunk' and there you are.

I could post these things all night, but I think you get the picture :-)  If only I could get fabulous shots of every orb out there in the vast sky.  Wouldn't that be cool ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mr. Chipmunk and the Rock

In an effort to blog about something truly newsworthy, I thought I'd share this impressive moment with Mr. Chipmunk as he scrutinizes my newly acquired skill of balancing rocks in impossible ways.  Look closely.  You'll see him.

Here Mr. Chipmunk (informally known as Bob, BTW) peruses what I'm sure he's dubbed "his own personal Stonehenge."  Chipmunks do not always tolerate territorial anomalies.  However, Bob clearly embraces this one.
That the balanced rock did not fall during Bob's touchy-feely moment is a true testament to how well I balance rocks. Or to how light of foot Bob actually is.  Take your pick. 

Bob's front yard
To prove that my balancing skills are not a fluke, I balanced a few rocks more after Bob departed in search of nuts.  Note Bob's stones are still balanced on the boulder in the background.  Upper left, aligned with the aspen.  Who knows where Bob is.  I'm just glad the huge owl that lives in the pines snoozes during daylight.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Seeds Project Interviews: the first few pages

m e c h e l l e   m o r r i s o n

page one
By the year 2061 the predicted eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, compounded by war and resource failure, had doomed most of Earth’s species to extinction—including our own.  Desperate to guarantee human survival, scientists selected three thousand ‘lucky winners’ to undergo suspended animation.  The winners, comprised of equal numbers of male and female Participants and code named Seeds, met within the premium facilities of Stanford Research where they were trained, prepped, and ultimately suspended.  Preserved in containers called ‘Pods,’ the Participants have since been placed in suitable locations to wait out our planet’s environmental collapse and renewal.

The Seeds Project interviews, drawn from those working every level of the Project from Participant selection to Pod placement, were conducted some fifteen years after the last suspension completed.

-MHM, 2102

page two

The Seeds Project Timeline
 Landmark Historical Events
Official Pre-Project research:  2033 – 2053
2049, Yellowstone caldera eruption forecast made public
Seeds DSS submitted to funding groups, 2055
2061, Yellowstone Park closed and quarantined
Seeds Farms operated: 2062 – 2078
Call for Participants: October-December, 2063
2072, the Colorado Line
Participant ‘winners’ privately awarded: December, 2074
‘Winners’ feeding period: January 2075-June 2076
Seeds Project launch: January 2076
Estimated “MG2000e” change in Protocol: August, 2076
2076, the African & Australian Continental Insurrections
Pod Placement: April – November, 2078
2079 – 2083, the Urban Rebellions
2084 – 2086, The Seeds Project Inquisition
2089, the ‘Viral Free’ African exodus
2091, the Fall of the Capitals
2097, Yellowstone 13.0 earthquake, world-wide ‘Trifecta’
2098, NAEURP abandoned
2102, the Yellowstone caldera erupts

 the first interview:

Bud Chynoweth
Participant Entrance security staff
22 January 2085

The place was crazy.  I mean, Stanford Research.  People coming and going, day and night.  There wasn’t the time to pay folks much mind or think past getting them through the door.
‘Cept one girl.  Sticks in my mind.
I only saw her once, the day she arrived.  Never did learn her name.  But I remember her.  She was the kind of girl made a man stand at attention.  Long blonde hair streaked with honey and warm sun.  That was her.  Eyes blue as a lazy summer sky.
My super at the time, name of Tom Rassy, rest his soul, said she come from Wyoming.  Said her daddy owned half the damn state.  He was like that, old Tom.  Always making stuff up.  Truth is nobody ever knew where those kids come from.  Just like we never knew where they wound up.  Some in space, if the news is to be believed.  Flying around in specialized Pods aimed for worlds unknown.  Any fool knows that’s a sack of shit.  Like when they told my grand-dad men had walked the moon way back in nineteen sixty-nine.  He called that government horse and sir, my grand-dad was hardly wrong.
I stayed with Grand-dad till he died.  Did I mention?  Missouri was a whirling mess of weather—tornadoes touching down every day like the devil’s own finger, rivers cropping up to swallow farms whole.  But I stayed on anyway, until he passed.  Lord knows I was among the last to cross the Colorado Line before it closed.  I can’t say I’m proud of what I done, back then.  It was….  Shit.  It was every man for hisself.
I’ll need a moment, if you don’t mind.

Maybe I remember her so well ‘cause the day I saw that girl was my first day working the Participant arrival entrance.  Her ambulance pulled to a stop and she stepped out, confident as you please in her fancy-stitched boots and her nine-hundred dollar jeans, like she was stepping out on the town.  That threw me, I’ll confess.  I’d had the training and all.  I’d passed the security and been given my G-clearance, else I wouldn’t have been there.  I’d a still been working Chinatown and I won’t lie.  When you ain’t Chinese, a man don’t last long on those streets.
But even with my training, I’d pictured my job all wrong.  I thought them kids would come in on gurneys, all needled up with IV and maybe blood.  I thought they’d have monitors pasted to their heads, like the sick people on TV.  I figured those sassy-assed PMTs would be hovering round, dressed in their cartoon scrubs and clucking like them kids were spun gold.
Instead that girl bounced to the curb, pretty as god’s own daughter, her hair swirling in the wind.  She looked light as butterflies.  Thin, you know?  Fine-boned wrists.  Arms as graceful as wings.  She grabbed a little bag from the seat and strung it over her shoulder.  ‘Her stuff,’ she said.  Me and Rassy eyed each other then.  We suspected that where them kids was going, they’d have no need of stuff.
I grabbed up a wheel chair like I was trained to do, but Rassy jerked my collar and hissed, ‘You want your first day to be your last?’ on account I’d forgot to stub my smoke.  Old Rassy took that smoke clean out from between my lips and stomped it flat on the ground.  He was lucky to catch me off-guard like that, otherwise I might have kicked his ass from here to hell.  Smokes ain’t cheap, nearly four dollars apiece.
In the end my smoke lay ruined for nothing.  That beautiful girl didn’t want the wheel chair when offered.  Fact is she laughed and said ‘I’m good,’ without so much as meeting my eye.  So I was free to watch her.
You remember that massive glass revolving door they used to have in Oakland General?  The one with cubbies wide enough for three wheel chairs, maybe four?  Well Stanford Research had one too.  Now, what with the looting that door’s long gone, I suspect.  But I’m glad I saw her navigate that thing.  Most other people hesitated, rocking on their heels like the door might slap them if it found the opportunity.  Not that girl.  She just flung her hair behind her back and walked straight in, ignoring them PMTs and all their pleading that she ought to take the chair.  Just waved them off like buzzing flies.  I’d say she had no fear of what might come, like some of them kids did.
She got through the door fine so I stayed watching, standing, as I was, close to the glass.  A nurse came out from behind the desk and brought up a wheel chair alongside her, but the girl refused that one, too.  That golden-haired girl just kept on walking, a flock of medical soft-shoed locusts at her feet, till I couldn’t see her no more.

Some nights the sound of her boots wakes me—crisp and smart, like she’s been walking through my dreams.  That’s when I set to fretting.  The way our world’s been turning, with the hunger and sickness, the volcano rumors and such, a person don’t know what to expect.
But I’ll tell you this.  It’s my hope those scientists let that girl keep them boots.  My gut says she’ll need them, when she wakes up.
Bud Chynoweth worked for Stanford Research as a member of the parking lot security staff from October, 2076 through December, 2078.  He currently resides in Winnemucca, Nevada.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Journey to Topaz

visiting Topaz

We took the back road to Delta, Utah (where you'll find the Topaz Museum), leaving the freeway at SLC and journeying through Vernal and beyond by way of Highway 36.  It was a beautiful drive, if you love deserts and big clouds, which I do.

on the way to Delta, Utah
We passed dozens of bikers--maybe over a hundred.  Guys on hogs, gals on hogs, guys and gals on hogs.  Other than people on motorcycles there was very little traffic on Highway 36, and not one semi.  It was fabulous.

Delta is a stark place; barren, windy, bleak and bland (sorry, Delta).  But in the middle of a too-wide main street there is a beautiful jewel: the Topaz Museum.  It's a gray, modern building with large north-facing windows and inside, lots of airy space.

The current display is artwork from the Topaz art school, which ran while the internment camp was in operation from 1942-1945.  Here is an example of the excellent art on display.

the internment camp, portrayed by an interned resident
Here is what the camp really looked like.

view of Topaz internment camp, approx 1942

And here is what the camp looks like today.

Topaz internment camp, 2015

Topaz internment camp, 2015

The dark gravel was laid down between the barracks, as whenever it rained (and I have a feeling those days were rare) or as snow melted in the spring, the ground turned to sticky mud.  Topaz, like most of central and northern Utah, sits atop what was once the bottom of Lake Bonneville, and the soil is clay-ish.

While at the museum I asked when the barracks were torn down and was told 'almost immediately after the camp closed.'  "People were ashamed of what we did to the Japanese," our museum guide explained.  "They didn't want to be reminded of what had happened here [in Delta]."

 Here's a picture of the ground.  Only the top of the soil is white.  Just underneath, it's dark brown.

looking down at the soil; old nails, shards of tile roofing and small stones

remnants of the zen garden located outside the camp's Buddhist church
The camp was a mile square, and I think is best viewed from satellite on Google Maps, which is pretty amazing seeing as the buildings and foundations have been gone for 70 years.  The view is a sad reminder that scars stay around for a long time.

Saturday's post: After Topaz: a few funky things we found in the desert

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Southern Utah Funk
Having been sequestered, just me and The Seeds Project Interviews and my stir-crazy family, for weeks now, I decided to get out and smell the roses.  Or in this case, Bryce Canyon.

So I apologize in advance to Mormons everywhere, but if you've ever driven through Salt Lake City or seen the Mormon temple there, you know exactly what I was thinking when I took this picture.  Or maybe not.  Google "SLC Temple" and the resemblance will make itself instantly apparent.

The Zen of Stealth.  Minus Stealth.

We forgot Stealth.  And he was pissed, mind you.  But had we remembered to take him, he would have continued his Quest for Ultimate Zen by plopping his fuzzy black-and-white butt near this tree and promptly falling into a state of meditative bliss.  Until, that is, the zesty, 30-mile-per-hour-wind tossed him over the cliff (upon which the edge of this tree resides) and into the depths of Bryce Canyon.  Then I would have had to trudge back into said depths to fetch him.  Unless a foreign tourist (of which there were more than Americans) confiscated him as a souvenir.

**The Seeds Project Interviews is close, my friends.  I'm in the final edit.  Perhaps just one month more.**  

the famous canyon

Thursday, March 12, 2015

and while we wait....

birds on a wire
While we wait for SEEDS to be released (and yes, it's getting closer), I thought I'd post how the world has been looking from my POV lately.  Cloudy yes, stormy with regularity, but warmer, too.  Birds are coming back from wherever they winter and hanging out in clusters.  Here's a pic of 12 starlings from about the 2000 that had crowded into a nearby softball park a few days ago.  It was quite Hitchcock, except I didn't really fear that they'd peck out my eyes.  But they were chatty, which was a bit unnerving . . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Seeds Project Interviews: cover sneak-peak

It's the Seeds Project Interviews cover sneak-peak!  I'm looking forward to releasing this book.  It's different, for one thing, and I like different.  It explores a life-long obsession of mine: the Yellowstone caldera.  And, now that 'Seeds' is almost done, it paves the way to book two in the series--a nitty-gritty story of love and survival starring MG2000e and Z0993e--protagonists you'll meet in Seeds and come to love in their sequel as MG and Z.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Snack

our Sunday snack

Cran-raisin pecan scones
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 cups flour
1/8 cup white sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
6 T cold butter
2/3 cup cran-raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
turbinado cane sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk cream and egg together.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt together.  Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
Stir in cran-raisins and chopped pecans until just combined.  With a fork, stir in cream-egg mixture.  (The dough will be crumbly.)  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a 6 inch circle.  Cut into 6 wedges and transfer onto a parchment-lined baking dish.  Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if preferred.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotate the baking dish, and bake for about 8 minutes more (until the top is golden brown).


Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Seeds Project Interviews: book blurb

By the year 2061 the imminent eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, war and world-wide resource failure had doomed most of Earth’s species to extinction—including our own.  Desperate to guarantee human survival, scientists selected three thousand ‘lucky winners’ to undergo suspended animation.  The winners, comprised of equal numbers of male and female Participants and code named Seeds, met within the premium facilities of Stanford Research where they were trained, prepped, and ultimately suspended.  Preserved in containers called ‘Pods,’ the Participants have since been placed in suitable locations to wait out Earth’s environmental collapse and renewal.

THE SEEDS PROJECT INTERVIEWS, drawn from those working every level of the Project from Participant selection to Pod placement, were conducted some fifteen years after the last suspension completed.