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n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency
Saturday, September 30, 2006
[removed for drafting purposes. I suck, ask me if you want to read it.]
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
burstlike tizzy loveeeely
it can be a perfect second. sound rapiering through a gloom, or in this case, a superimposed landscape overlap. surrounding and moving through the arteries, oxygen-heavy and rushing gleeful and smiling towards the wall. back again, wanting more.
and for a girl petrified of beginings and endings, the rush in between is not droll walk through the day, the eating, the sleeping, the getting up and moving about, but leaves kazi-waving, the sirens somewhere, a torrential rainpour exiting a supermarket with a cantelope tucked under one arm... reminders of cyclical passage and things that last & stay beautiful in permutations.
it can be an awkward photo booth click with one of your best friends, a person you full walk the world with, semi-trucking conversations about old affairs and new ones, guffffffhawsnort and pauses over intense fuckups and failings (in the company of someone who meets you, there are none, only learnings and keep tryings and you're okay whoever you are's). that someone traveled the distance, and climbed past the curtains. the entryway of buttons and header choices: "windy city" because friendship is thunderstorms; hiccups in a cloud's navel; eruptions shared under an umbrella while kids in the house nearby push each other out and laugh in the wet and then laugh in the dry, to push each other out again; dowsing breezes rank with autumn. because it is a click this way, and a click that way, a beat, a breath held for two measures and let out halfway on the third.
thirty is just fine with me. it sat first on my shoulders, a shawl I tried on in the off-hours; oh, howdy, glittering scarf, I guess when winter hits you'll be wrapped up tight on my neck. it felt a little scratchy, some signature wool, a few horsehairs, grey and unruly. it felt a little sticky--by jove, there's still some heat in this city afterall! and what if wearing this scarf means my body is going to fall apart on me, first the back, the slow drop of bum, drooping titties? and what if I want to still climb trees and and pennydrop unafraid, even if I haven't worked out and put no effort towards being one of those powerwalking noble-sloops who could work me under the bench press, but probably wouldn't pull a paddle for a second?
but then it's not a scarf but some careworn familiars; those courderoy pants I can't help wearing too often even though they make my bum look wide and sweat me up badly in the crotch; the black sweatshirt I still wear even though my mum thinks it makes me look homeless in rags. Why, thirty, you look downright familiar, and darned if I'm going to stop wearing those jeans just because there are holes right down the middle (and an inkstain in the left back pocket). You're softer, you're just right, worn in, you smell like something vague that's always been here. Oh okay, thirty, I'll put you on.
But as soon as it's on, it's simply a skin, my skin, this very one I've been sluffing and growing back for years. the one I carefully skootch out of clothes when I go to the old beach, the one I get used to after a few hours in the sun. the one with quirks and angles, dimples in calves, hairs pointing multi-diverse, the one with bum-wriggle, the skin others have touched, the ocean I wake curled in, harbor anchored. How soft you are, thirty. How your eyes wrinkle in the corners, thirty (earned). I'll inhabit you.
How gentle you are, thirty, telling me to leave behind musty collections, hoarded greedily and pawed over like Silas Marner decked in leather with a whip (hatred looks like a pile of old grapes shriveling in the collander because... someone... was too distracted to eat them completely when they were ripe). Innocence suits you better, thirty. An impossible and miraculous retrograde. An anachronistic reflection. Fully memoried, but holding up better under the layers and layers we're given to hold. Reframed, the same person with a new cutout surrounding her. A mobile paneless window (green peeling paint) held to the legs, the knees, the curve. Reframed, yes.
You are the food. You are the sustenance--proteins and carbohydrates all, sugers natural from cane, naughty ice creams in the night, the rum in the coke, the pickle in the jar. To recap: music, lots of music, so much music, it's everywhere, from Peaches with her lovely nast, to Molotov, to Sarah Harmer. again, to emphasize, music in me, music right now: makes my head vulture forward, vulture back, yeah. paintings. booze and the company of those who make me laugh. apples and honey, baby, apples and honey waiting on my tongue for a few seconds. cards that look like me. sustanence. and traveling traveling: millienum reflections with gala apples, hispanic hellows and turn-around looks, museums, enchiladas, sudden rain onslaughts, china town with bubble tea and zodiac monuments (dragon all the way), river architexture tours in a boaty boat, ferris wheels, spinny swings, the amazing ritzy Lulu's (gnocchi & blackberry bellini).
I have been spoiled enough to last the rest of my life. that's it. no denying. no tears. fullness. i write for myself, always. but i write for others too. those here, those far, those for whom silence sits in me, those for whom I lift. and those I will never know.
A sunflowering painting from a brilliant friend:
Even on your birthday, it's silly to forget the opportunity for counseling:
What he told me, with his pencil hovering in the air: life is an earth-tone door, a little rusty.
about the song I'm listening to right now (hehnyah).
my current brandnew italian-sounding theory boyfriend
Public space, in an electronic age, is space on the run. Public space is not space in the city but the city itself. Not nodes but circulation routes; not buildings and plazas but roads and bridges. Public space is leaving home and giving up all the comforts of the cluster-places that substitute for the home. Space on the run is life on the loose...
The collision of electronics and bodies will subvert the organization of information and of cities. Each bit of information is controlled, but the mix of information is accidental and can't be organized. The propaganda from one station, on a radio that's carrried in the street, weaves in and out of the propaganda from another station, and another. One product on a shelf, in a rack, bulges against another and pushes that one into another, etc. One billboard image peels away only to reveal behind it another image, which comes into collusion then with the unpeeled part of the upper image. One neon message is lost in the stars of another neon. One home computer can plant a bug in the programs of other computers. Public space is the air space between bodies and information and other bodies; public space is a mix of electric current and sexual magnetism. So much information fills the air, and so many things and so many bodies, that you can trust and love any one of them only "for the time being." There's no danger of being a true believer, no danger of being a husband or a wife--you're playing the electronic field, you're on the move and on the make.
...instead of spaces that people have to stop at and slip into, public art furnishes spaces that house people as they keep moving: it might be in the form of vehicles, or it might be clothing, that takes as its model the T-shirt that invites you to read text at the same time as it dares you to start at the breasts behind it. The end is public, but the means of public art might be private. The end is people, but the means might be individual persons. The end is space, but the means might be fragments and bits.
The model for a new public art is pop music. Music is time and not space; music has no place, so it doesn't have to keep its place, it fills the air and doesn't take up space. Its mode of existence is to be in the middle of things; you can do other things while you're in the middle of it. You're not in front of it, and you don't go around it, or through it; the music goes through you, and stays inside you. It's a song you can get out of your head. But there are so many voices, too many songs to keep in your head at once... This mix of musics produces a mix of cultures; of course pop music exploits minority cultures, but at the same time it "discovers" and uncovers them so that they become born again to sneak into and under the dominant culture. The music of the seventies was punk; the music of the eighties was rap. Each of these types is music that says: you can do it, too. The message of punk was:... The message of rap is:... The message of punk and rap together is: actions speak louder only because of words, so speak up and talk fast and keep your hands free and your eyes wide open and your ear to the ground and be quick on your feet and rock a body but don't forget to rock a culture, too.
Courtesy of my TOtP class....
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
last day in my twenties...
I've been sitting here wondering whether I'll miss it.
It's funny, I know it's only another day, but I tend to lapse into meditative musings when I get closer to my birthdays, thinking about what I've achieved and what the past year has meant; what I'm taking out with me and what I'm heading towards. It's a small idea, but maybe a second to pause and review, back up into the arena of a larger context than the emotions I run with from moment to moment. In this case, I've been perusing the last ten years of my life, an era minute in the story of the universe, but pretty packed nonetheless.
I'm not sure I'll miss it.
I feel like I'm taking with me what I've gained, so what is there to miss?
I have to admit, the past year has been an important one, a shifting back into life, and the first time I've consistently and head-on faced the fact of my depression, and consistently and head-on accepted it while turning, turning it always, moving in any way I can to knock its control out of my life. I may not control my emotions, but they will not control my life. Or at least the idea that this is something to be aware of.
And I've let go of so much this year, said goodbye, sometimes not very nicely, to those parts of me and my life that cause upset and don't add to the uplift I absolutely must make a priority, to keep me alive and moving. Not an easy thing; it's unavoidable to still love/miss people or places that make me feel, whether that feeling is more akin to hatred or happiness. I can't say my letting go is full or very satisfying, but I guess sometimes the things that are worth it, hurt. And sometimes they don't. No rules, just intuitions.
And I have to say, even if I'm a freaking-out twitchy paralyzed spaz right now, I wrote a bunch last year. Like, a lot. Not enough, but a start. Now I need to find a way to not only get back into that, but to channel it more clearly in a direction.
I think that's going to be the question of this year: What is the direction? or, what am I specifically living for?
And, of course, to whom am I writing?
feckin fishin faq #5: spare time
First: this is me having a little chuckle at the idea of spare time.
Second: oh, well, there's lots to do. So, here are a few of the time-wasting activities I do in my "spare" time:
1) Site-specific brake-dancing. It's a little known fact that Alaskan fisherpeople are far and away the best brake-dancers. The reason this is little-known fact is that our dance is intricately connected to the work we do. In other words: no boat, no dancing. This makes competitions to settle bi-coastal rivalries a little more difficult to arrange, and in the long run, has led to the increasing decline of our ancient traditions. This particular tradition--for those of you interested in Alaskan Native history--was started by the Inuits, who as a people were fairly peaceful (other than their fucked-up myths with women eating cheating sons with their vaginas) fisherpeople. These Inuits started site-specific brake-dancing on their kayaks as a method of encouraging the sun to come back in the winter by "amusing it into arrival." Anyhow, it's very very old and always carried out in mock-humor.
In the current era, brake-dancing is considered an exercise of agility and balance under extremity of conditions. There are the "gunwhale spins," the "mj-crow's nest cloud-walkings," the "whale-back dives," and the "get-aboard grooves," which are our personal specialty out in Viekoda Bay. Here's me demonstrating my signature move:
And here's k-rag demonstrating hers:
The toughest part about fisherperson site-situational brake-dancing is the rating system developed to assess each person's achievement. It's basically called the "Bum's Up" rating system, and this instance, k-rag earned herself a "Two Bums Up" rating. Good on her!
2) Mending net. Ohmygod, it's so much f-ing fun! Imagine hours and hours of grannyknot-grannyknot- halfhitch-netknot-halfhitch-
Whoop it up baby.
3) Pitching Fish. This is another ancient expenditure of spare time, and something we excel at in a big way. I mean, I bet I could pitch three times as many fish as you over a period of thirty minutes. Go on, I dare you to ante. And truthfully, it is this sassy sport that accounts for those great hulking muscles you see along my shoulders and down to my abs. I'm pretty disciplined at this sport and practice it about three times a day for roughly a half-hour each time. I have dead accuracy when aiming at the lower bins, but when I'm pitching even with my shoulders, my accuracy goes down, which makes me sad. But I think my dedication is the real reason why I always come back moderately buff and force everyone to feel my abs.
Back to the origins of this sport--again another Alaskan Native deal, only the Aleuts this time. It started as a game very similar to the "egg toss," in which an item is tossed back and forth over a widening gap until someone drops the item--in this case a decomposing fish--and gets themselves a little slimy. For the Aleuts, this was a part of the early courtship period. And having carefully watched some reenactments of this ritual, I can tell you it's hardcore; they don't just toss those dead salmon, they shoot them off like catapulted corpses... wham!
This is me:
This is me too, only I've moved up in the world. I'm very excellent at starfish conversion... it has something to do with me identifying so heavily with the tube feet:
Weeeeeee... I'm the one right in the middle, falling off a little:
This is harder, I have to say, but again, all those suction cups speak to part of my soul (not to mention the ink). This is me:
Feels so soft, waving waving, wooosh, I'm an anenome!
This is a very good day, because it's really hard for me to barnaclize. There, you can see me near the front:
This is my favorite, but it's pretty time-consuming and although I do have a little spare time, it's not great amounts. So, I only get to transmogrify on the low-catch days. Sigh. I really miss it.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Chicago, not like Alaska
A perfectly flexed and undamaged fender waits at the base of a public trashcan. It leans slightly out towards the traffic and reminds me of e2, who would steal it with me and walk ruffian-style back to a chopshop where we would wind it into some contraption, perhaps a bike tipsided, leaning one direction to the other. Who discards a fender at a public bus station? The bus is thirty minutes late and I fall into the category of restless natives who think evil thoughts about my time, pace back and forth, stick my head out into traffic, examine the right lane, cuss, duck my head back in.
Some part of me is pining. Pacing for intangibles. I couldn’t name what it would be, but if a river erupted out of an alley suddenly, spouted fully wetted, thick and deep with a pebbled downbelow for me fall into, be lifted from, drift away drunk and thinking—I wouldn’t blink, wouldn’t flinch, wouldn’t cry woe is me, but would find some apartment roof to leap full-clothed and hollering from, straight down inside her. She would gulp me slavering like a stone in the wolf's belly, and some part of me would be happy in the city and the other part covered thoroughly, encapsulated, dreaming.
I hear a distant foghorn buzzing in the night, but it is just some vehicle passing on a freeway. A boat revs its engine but it is a woman talking low then high at a young teenager, her daughter perhaps, who occasionally screams “I fucking hate you,” and the streets here are busy, but I wonder sometimes if these people feel trapped. I feel trapped sometimes here. I’m looking for the water, looking to the mountains, smelling roses running down off a hill, walking in the rain fog examining a row of kiosks in Artfest, wondering what kind of art might jump ontop of me right now, which would it be? It is not at Artfest, although a bread booth that hands me a yellow plastic baggy of chopped up rye and Italian warms me up good, makes me smile.
She moves like she knows music but can’t quite find it. Oh, but her love is there.
On the bus, I watch two separate scenes, each perfect in their entirety.
A woman swathed in lace, with her breasts making one ocean shelf and her belly forming a much longer one with a sheer dropoff into the depths, presses her hand to her hair. She has a noticeable face, not beautiful but the kind that was born old and yellow, with drooping eyes and a nose rivaling a jetplane’s. She is arresting, startling—if a foot taller and a hundred lighter, she’d make the runway not because of beauty but because of stopping type of ugly. Her hair is a yellow brown, pressed to her face. The type I would kiss if I were drunk. But only if.
She sits and makes faces at her reflection in the mirror. First a sulk, then she tilts her head to the left, lifts her chin and pats her cheek. She scowls, smoothes the black lace over her continental shelves. As we near a stop, she stands but doesn’t get off. Instead she looks in another reflection. She tucks her hand in her back pocket, leans the opposite way and tosses her head one way, then another. She smoothes her hair. She sucks in her cheeks, and then turns around, looks at the reflection on the other side of the bus for another opinion. She smoothes her hair, tucks one thread of the short yellow brown exactly where it was. She walks a step and repeats. Twenty-three reflections and poses, cameras and runways stare at her smileless face. The tight lace clings as she gets off the bus and walks thick, stocky like her legs can't remove the friction to get themselves going. She disapproves twenty-three times, a light wisp of tears, and enters the queer dance club across the street.
As she does this, a flamer gestures flamboyantly with his hands as his blond chick smiles and pays attention to herself from the inside, carefully monitoring her features. But she escapes herself in conversation and five times in seven minutes of conversation, her tongue juts out, not pointed and pointingly, but thick and curled down, licking some invisible sandpaper unaware. I follow them into the bar a block down from the first one, and I’m not following but meeting friends; we just happen to go to the same place. I purposefully make an entrance like a breaching whale, jumping up to snap at my friends’ faces, and then watch as the queerboy and the tongue-woman walk up the bar and then periodically wave their hands and jiggle their butts like they were at some reincarnated Queen concert and had lighters in their moshing hands.
Out on the floor, all the little lesbos look like they are fourteen and making up for identity by putting on hats or black studded belts, which leaves them all looking identical not identitied. They form clusters and gangs, work each other up into dance twitches to appreciate how they are all newly sexualized and heading in some direction. I spend a few rum-soaked moments contemplating whether I love them or want to bonk them on the heads with one of those plastic blow-up faux-baseball bats. I don’t have one of the latter, so I guess I gotta spread heart.
I’ve gotten out of the groove, if you know what I mean, like all jammed up, sure ideas but lazy and getting up superlate and not writing because I’m scared again. Because it aint the flow it gets to be, but is the working my way there via slow trickle of descent.
I read a book superfast the past two days and it’s not what I should be reading, but fuck I loved it, it was great, I wanna write like that, all swaggering and honest and pity-for-nothing’d (Snowcrash). I also gave a pretty weak presentation of my stuff, weak because I managed to stumble into pits of incoherent inarticulations here and there, not to mention bedazzle with my superfast mouse sliding up/down/up/down.
But I must mention all the glories of Right Now, because goddddddammmmm:
*I love my classes. I am taking a short prose class and a “Text Off the Page” class, which is an interdisciplinary, mixed-media exploration of how text can function in alternate forums than paged lines. I like the folks, I like the teacher, I like the attitude, and we get a budget. That’s right. A budget. We have a few projects—a public project, a class art “book”, and gallery space at the end of the quarter, plus a reading with the gallery space. Oba, oba. Q: if you had one opportunity in your whole life to place a piece of work in a gallery, what would you invest yourself into making?
I wanna make a whale. Or a state. Yeah, a state. Maybe a nation. This is it, it’s my big chance. I wanna create a new nation-state. Textually of course, duh.
*My roommate is out of town for a few weeks and I got a place all to myself for the first time in a year and a half. Plus a fuzzy kitty who needs lots and lots of cuddles.
*I love my advisors. They are absolutely the bomb, two of them different as can be and I think they’re both gonna work just right. Nathalie Stephens is a French-Canadian non-genre-d (poet) writer who I’ve heard, although maybe it’s just rumor, claims to nogender status (which I might have to bring up just to argue with her about because it tickles me pink). Hmmm:
Ye-es, perhaps there’s something to this. And she’s translating Cixous right now, and reminds me of my buddy-Natalie with all that talk about translation, Derrida, Descartes (being evil), and other French names I can’t remember. I bit my tongue on telling her I hate the French, because it’s too early in our advising sessions I think for me to tease her quite so heavily. But I think we're going to get along, which is good. Beth Nugent, on the other hand, is a hyperactive toughnails / verykind dyke who is so articulate about student works that it makes my heart flutter. She gets down to the sentence, baby, and doesn’t wash my pantyhose just because I got a run in ‘em. I think they are going to push me to not only get back into my groove but to slide along it like some screeching loge-puppy on the straightaway.
*Natalie is coming to visit for my birthday next week. Cup. Watch it, go on, watch, it’s flowing, oh oh oh, over the rim. I’m gonna have a party. And the rest of the time we’re gonna go out and get in trouble. Yep yep. And I won't cry on my birthday this time. No! I won’t!
*I heart my students. They’re a little lazy, some of ‘em, but I still heart them. I really missed teaching, I guess. Forgot how satisfying it can be to have a space to make an ass out of myself.
*Oh, and yeah, I had the following revelation: I’m a fucking extrovert! All these years thinking the opposite, and it’s absolutely nonnegotiable that I’m an extrovert who’s just a little shy sometimes. Wow.
So… All That Good Shiznit, now it’s time to fill the pine & restless space on up and keep myself covered inside water too. So I'm off... Peace. Laters.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
bears? did you say bears?
That was the small one. This one below shows what must've been a mother with a cub.
Below is the print of a bear I hope to never meet personally. I think his name is Alfred. He's Italian. An Italian Kodiak Bear. He has a tattoo on his shoulder that says, "I ate my mom."
Translating the difficult jargon of the Alaskan n/Native, these prints are, technically speaking, "pointing the right direction." ("m'megafuckinglad they aint headin my way.")
Friday, September 08, 2006
feckin fishin faq #4: the neighborhood
Well, hmmmm. The scene is that I wasn't in town, where indeed all of those Alaskan bars tend to get wild and wooly at times, but not so wild that they extend out and meet me where I happened to have landed. Take a look at the map over there. The barely-discernable green dot is the town of Kodiak, whereas the little red dot on the other side of the island approximates where I work. That little red dot happens to be tucked about halfway down inside a bay called Viekoda Bay, which looks out across the Shelikof Straight to the stunning cones of the Katmai National Park on the Alaskan mainland (see the picture below). Our particular spot inside Viekoda is in a cove called Strawberry Cove, and it is, considering that we have one of the bigger picking skiffs with the smallest 50-horse outboard, about thirty minutes to the nearest setnet site--at the tip of the cape--and about forty-five minutes to the second-nearest site--across the bay.
So, here's my neighborhood:
Directly in front of our cabin, and across Viekoda is Uganik Island, which looks like it's part of Kodiak Island because it's only separated from us by a very narrow passage that leads over to Terror and Uganik Bays. Most of the higher-earning sites for our area are over on Uganik Island, and I believe (although they keep their mouths shut about it) the two sites closest to the passage catch the most fish. The site directly across the way is called Sage Point, and the one tucked a little further in goes by Lutra Lake. The folks who run these two sites are super-nice, and Sage Point's boss even came over once this summer and picked us up on his spiff Cadillac of skiffs, which runs at such high-speeds that a sonic boom echoes across the bay whenever he revs it up good.
The Cadillac pick-up was a little embarrassing; since it really demonstrated how generally sloth-like our motions are that Sage Point could pick us up and bring us back in approximately 1/20th the rate it would have taken us to merely jumpstart our motor. In other words, we wouldn't have gone otherwise. Not to mention that my boss is pretty damn frightened of water in general, and turns into a manic choremaster whenever surprise parties pop up that she hasn't had time to prepare herself for mentally. This isn't to say she doesn't like parties; quite the contrary, she loves to go to parties so that she might horrify us all by recounting all the stupidities we've been a party to and to implicate her crew in their execution. In fact, at this particular party, she retold how I managed to forget to bring gas out to the skiff, so we ran out and it was all my fault.
Well, it was true... BUT, the fact that I drive that boat and deal with its little quibbles with mechanization, and swap out the gas all the time, and take on the storms, and try to make sure nobody dies, well... the fact that I do that on a regular crew share I think entitles me to fuck up every now and then without the boss telling everyone how I managed it. No? This girl holds grudges (other people will attest).
Anyhow, the boss likes parties, but they rattle her mien, which is shaky as is and spends most of its time falling about the boat in retarded little motions that even makes the tendor captain shake his head. So, we are always grateful for the kindnesses of the bay folks who always come to our general rescue (saving us when the boat dies), not to mention my particular rescue (saving the crew from weary endlessness).
So, parties are good... and mostly happen over there, where we can see the sparkle of bonfires and almost hear the wild, drunken whoops of fishermen falling off skiffs and clinging to sea lions as they attempt to hop a dolphin on over to shore.
On our side of things, we have the cliff. Although the cliff is particularly silent as a neighbor, we have never had need of fences. She tends to commune with nature, grow things, stand immensely tall (so tall she often makes me feel like a neutron hitchhiking across the belly of an atom of dust), and sometimes drop boulders near unsuspecting deer. I have never gone way up to meet her on her own ground, but two of the others did this summer before I arrived and took the following picture off her tippy-top:
In between us and The Cliff, under which we put our 50-f net, is the Lagoon (pictured below), where we get a few pink salmon every year, and which seems to be the down-n-out-rowdy hangout for a few of our local bears. The bears... well, are bears.
The Bears can be very naughty and seven years ago bashed in our cabin, broke about 5 windows, sat on top of our table until the legs caved in, knocked over our fridge, splintered a few doors, decimated our kitchen plates, and even seemed to have made themselves comfortable in my bed for a night or two. This was thankfully during the winter when we weren't there, but it did entail massive clean-up efforts that lasted over a month, and showed me how to cut and frame windows in a makeshift sort of way.
Oh, and it also gave our boss good enough reason to shout over the radio to the tendor that she needed to order a little caulk to help glue things up:
"Cock! I need cock!"
"Could you repeat that order?"
"Cock! I want cock!"
"What's that you want?"
"Cock, I said! I need some COCK to fill in the cracks in the window!"
Yeah, um. So the bears are sometimes not good neighbors, but there's no fencing them out, and since knocking out our smokehouse, also seven years ago, they have left us alone... until this year.
This year, a three-year old bear decided it might like to have a little fun with the smallest, skinniest member of our crew. This was when we were in the wild range of the Lagoon, a down-n-out seedy joint with washed-up carcasses and moldering scat piles. The bear started near-stalking kr and would walk quickly towards her, then pause, then run, then stop and sniff the air. I was further down the beach, got called, turned around and was mentally catapulted into The Grizzly Movie, which is actually one of my earliest memories... I must've watched it with a babysitter, because all I remember is utter terror, greenery, my bankie, and the sensation that I was in the woods, spruces all around, and going to die.
I shouted for kr to walk away slowly, facing him, but she seemed welded to the spot, and the Kodiak bear did not. So, then I thought of running away myself. It's natural, right? Kick the smallest member of your party in the knee and run like hell. Cowardly, certainly, but smart, yes.
Anyhow, brains are not my forte and some screwed-up ethical code washed in. After shouting for kr to walk away a few more times to no avail, and after realizing I had no knife even, I succumbed to my innate stupidity, picked up a big rock, and stalked towards the bear like I was finally confronting Mr. Bush and was prepared to cling to his nose while pounding the crap out of him (whether he killed kr or not, I was going to get my piece of flesh). And miraculously, the bear seemed pretty intimidated by the leviathan of my idiocy and ran away.
That's right, I made a big bear flee. Boo! (Like our President, bears are really just great big pussies carting quite a bit of runnaway bulk.)
The truth is my legs almost gave in as soon as he ran, but golly gee I really do like those adrenaline rushes. At least kr got that picture of the bear coming towards her... good to have.
The moral is... bears as neighbors must be kept in their place.
Anyways, back to the hood. These two pictures above are the backyard. It has a pond in it, the pond we use to fill our spouting tank. There are sometimes kingfishers and ducks back there, and when we first came, it also had a family of land otters who would teach their babies to swim while we cooed over the arch of binoculars. By the way, never mess with a mother otter; I'd sooner take on a bear. But that's another story. Anyhow, I'm fond of the pond because it reflects everything and assundry due to the curve of land surrounding it:
Back behind the pond is a ridge that stretches around our backyard, nestling us in rather like we're sitting the base of a shallow green crater. Along the ridge is a low forest of spruce trees, all impressively large but not old growth by any standards.
Actually, all the trees around these parts were born after 1912 because that's when a large eruption on the Alaskan mainland--from Mt. Katmai--blew everything down and covered the island from top to bottom with thick ash (pictures from that time show houses completely buried except for the chimneys and a forlorn and dirty group of frontierspeople holding handkerchiefs to their mouths). But the spruce trees are still tall enough that when you go inside them during a storm and stand directly in the center of some isolated little knoll, it is totally silent but for the creaking sway of their tips. It's rather like being at the very bottom of a boat and hearing the rigging whistle as things rock, and it can give you the same kind of vertigo if you stand still long enough and put yourself inside your ears and nowhere else.
This is getting pretty long... lots of neighbors and all that. Anyhow, the last neighbor to talk about is the beach, who is by far my favorite... always bringing something over, depositing treasures, talking in lulls or crashes. She shares with the whole block--no lines dividing anything up. We have bonfires sometimes on her land... with plenty of wood all the time... and I tried to take a walk most days and collect any plastic that blew in, or pick over the trinkets, or hug myself into her sand...
She and I are best friends.
So, that's the ghetto: no city utilities, only a mysteriously hidden septic tank, not so near the elevated trains, a few tough neighbors, but you know... not bad.