Friday, January 01, 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 tailings: a year-end offering for data miners

...ranked more or less in order:
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison (again)
  • Running After Antelope, Scott Carrier
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
  • Child of God, Cormac McCarthy
  • House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday
  • Rabbit Boss, Thomas Sanchez
  • The Columbian Exchange, Alfred Crosby
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  • Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
  • My Year of Meats, Ruth Ozeki
  • The Iliad, Homer
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro & Other Stories, Ernest Hemingway
  • Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Notes from Underground, Fydor Dostoyevsky
  • The Metamorphosis & Other Stories, Franz Kafka

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Long Shadows

“Long Shadow of Europe’s Big Banks”
“Royal Dutch Shell Posts a Loss”
“Cod Stock Fails to Recover”
Flooding in Baghdad
bodies, drowned and washed up on Lesbos
Chanel, Doir, Tiffany
and a giant Louise Bourgeois spider.

All of this, thirty-six copies of yesterday’s paper
and a stack of others, goes under
emulsion from the fish hatchery
horseshit from the stables
leaves fallen from our willow and ash.

Maybe later this will look like a garden.
But this afternoon the sun comes in low
flat and quiet from the south.

Hanging this final laundry of the season;
jammies and things reach down from the lines
like the hides of small exotic animals.

And the four bows of a trampoline frame unhooped
stacked into the corner of a shed like great whalebones
or a soft drum to be stretched and played again in the spring.

Could this be how it feels,
or even how it is, toward the end?

Each day shorter than the one before,
closer and more intense.
Even brighter into winter.

This instant.


The moon. A woodpecker. Flies. Snow.

.  .  .

+ a short video from Tom:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

apples for: precocious candidacies, edible maps, & things that might (have) be(en)

We might all be excused for losing track of the seasons lately. Between El Niño, climate chaos, ‘tis the season for savings jingles, and election campaigns that begin 500+ days out, you may be looking to lay a hand on some good, ripe (& throwable) fruit. If so, the Falling Fruit Project is a good place to start.

This is a crowdsourced global map of neighborhood fruit trees, gardens, mushroom patches, dumpsters, and other local edibles. They list over 1,000 different species in multiple languages (plus Linnaean nomenclature), from apples (malus domestica) to zulu figs (ficus lutea).

Here’s my neighborhood, where we’ve been looking for the nearest peaches, putting some apples and plums on the map, and carefully leaving others off.

This has all resulted in us bringing home boxes and boxes of apples, mostly from around our own block, drying them into chips, sealing jars of applesauce, pressing them into cider, and baking loads of pies.

Through a lot of this, I’ve been sort of haunted by two songs. One is my friend George singing Patty Griffin’s “Making Pies,” ten years ago on the deck of a yurt in Pigeon Hollow.

The other is Joe Hill’s “Pie in the Sky,” alternatively known as “The Preacher and the Slave.” Here are a couple very good versions.

Earlier this year we went to a Labor Day commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Joe Hill’s execution by firing squad in Sugarhouse. There were folk singers shouting from an outdoor stage, food trucks with fusion noodle bowls and fancy mac & cheese, AFLCIO info booths, plenty of overalls and anarchist t-shirts, dogs and frisbees. Saltgrass Printmakers and Ken Sanders Books were also there. It rained off and on.

After making the rounds, eating, and a couple games of hide-and-seek with the kids, we picked up a little reprint of an old IWW songbook from 1923. Since then, Ash has really taken an interest in these old Wobblies songs, and she pulls the booklet down off the shelf a couple times a week to study the words and try to figure the tunes. Finn sings along and “The Preacher and the Slave” has moved into his top requests at bedtime.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

in situ

three of Tom's latest

Friday, January 02, 2015

rivers & birds, Dec 17-28

Green River, Colorado River, Mancos River, Animas River, Rio Chama, San Juan River, Santa Fe River, Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, Pecos River, Llano River, Brazos River, (other/Texas) Colorado River, Pedernales River, Price River, Spanish Fork River

Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Great Horned Owl
Bald Eagle
Golden Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
American Kestrel
Common Raven
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
American Robin
European Starling
Western Meadowlark
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Northern Mockingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Monk Parakeet
Double-crested Cormorant
Snowy Egret
Spotted Sandpiper
Canada Goose
American Coot
Belted Kingfisher
Mexican Jay
Blue Jay
Northern Cardinal
Dark-eyed Junco
Carolina Wren
Canyon Wren
American Goldfinch
House Finch
House Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Black-Throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Say’s Phoebe
Black Phoebe
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Spotted Towhee
Tufted Titmouse
Vermilion Flycatcher
Greater Roadrunner
Loggerhead Shrike

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

dog's breakfast

OK, so somewhere between September and this very moment, the lights went out here at Fish Without Faces. This was immediately followed by a lengthy struggle in pitch blackness, in the end resulting in a smattering of photos, a retreating army of roughly 400 gingerbread men and beasts, and the faint scent of ozone lingering in the air.

At this point I can't account for much else besides that. But here are a few additional updates from the past year or so:

a poem here.

a story here. and another poem here.

this article (p. 86).

and that article.

also, this article (p. 59).

more recently, this other article (p. 263).

Alright, that's about as close as I hope to ever come to setting up a Linkedin account. Now can I go out and play?

a garter snake up Maple Canyon, maples in the path to Diamond Fork hot springs, and strange middens on Black Hill, as we hunt for juniper mistletoe

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

(we) dove

Speaking of entering the adult world, we just bought our first house. Or, maybe more precisely, signed a thick stack of paper promises to incrementally buy a house while we live in it and treat it like our own. This is all still sinking in, but in the mean time we’re very pleased.

A few minutes into our first visit to the loan office we noticed a mother dove tending her nest, tucked under the eaves of the building next door, her dark yellow eye staring in at us through the window. On our second visit (more papers), we brought the camera. She was gone, but now there were eggs in her nest.

Once, a couple years ago, Ash asked me, “are animals poor?”

She was 5 at the time, and I think we had just been watching swallows build their muddy nests onto the steel girders under a bridge. “Are animals poor?”

She had asked essentially this same question a couple of times earlier. Once when we were walking along the Truckee River and saw a man in ragged clothes sleeping under a picnic table. And again when we were carrying all of our food and shelter into the mountains on our backs for the night. “Are animals poor?”

Where does one begin?

I think I probably started in with some Thoreauvian patter about how, well, that all depends on what you mean by poor. How we’re wealthy in relation to all the things we can afford to, or are glad to, do without, and so on.

She didn’t seem to be buying it.

“Yeah, but I mean if animals don’t have a nice place to sleep, like people, are they poor?”

This same basic question continues to come up from time to time.
When the power goes out.
When after walking across the great concrete bridge at the mouth of the Siuslaw River, we stumble into the rising smoke and bearded faces of a hobo camp in the ferns and pines.
When a deer limps across the road at dusk, followed by her fawns.
Or when, chasing a woodpecker into the eucalyptus forest behind our motel on the Mendocino coast, we instead find the handsomely tended tent-and-tarp shelter of somebody still not returned home from work for the day.

I’m still working on a better answer.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Into the Mystic, and a procession of ontologies

One morning, earlier this summer, we were driving north along the Salmon River in Idaho when Van Morrison came on the radio.

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was one as we sailed into the mystic

. . .

Just about there, Tom called right out from the back seat, with something between amusement and scandal, “we weren’t born before the wind!” We had all day to get to Missoula, so of course, this led to a longer conversation.

“What do you think he’s singing about?”

And so it went.

We never set out to make positivists of these kids, as they come to us little animists, playing in the outskirts of our rational, grown-up world. But here is one game that we’ve played with them. I guess it doesn’t really have a name, but it goes something like this:

“Which came first, gates or bait?”
(Followed by speculations and reasoning all around, until resolved to everyone’s basic satisfaction.)
Which came first, poles or holes?
Red or black?
Jerks or jerky?
Shoes or blue?
And so on.

Here’s another. Is a thing good or bad? Grasshoppers, Snow, Cheatgrass, Lightning, and so on.

“Are roads good?”
“Yes, for people. No for prairie dogs.”
“Yes, for ravens. No for Raccoons.”

Anyway, you get it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

~3,000 miles

Cove Hot Spring, washed out on the Salmon River

thee Boat Box

tonic of wildness?

launching a cork boat

a day late for Taco Thursday in Kalispell

found: notes from somebody's playground experiment

a murder of crows harries a dog in Portland

lost coast found

 more photos here & here