Book update

Since some people were asking:

  • The book (Little-Known Facts) is back from the printer
  • I am currently binding it by hand
  • Bookbinding is a lot more work than I expected (the red thread never wants to go through the needle, the other colors are okay)
  • But also fun
  • I am working on a site (page) where you can order and pay online, using Paypal, which accepts all major credit cards, I think
  • This also requires me to set a price, and decide how to handle postage
  • Despite my tendency towards unnecessary complication (every one of the books has a different cover (I will be posting pictures soon)), I’d like to do this latter as simply as possible.
  • Some of the covers, so far, are made of Japanese paper. Some are made from handmade watercolor paper. Some of the latter are colored by me. Some are embossed with a fish. Some have an imitation gold-leaf fish on them. One has a genuine gold-leaf fish, and paw prints.
  • Last night I carved a squid mold from some linoleum to emboss some with a giant squid. Gamma thought it looked cool. Alpha likes the fish better (she also thinks I’m overdoing this). Something for everyone.
  • More soon. I hope to have the order page online by the start of next week.

A long weekend in southern Styria

Alpha and I went to the southern edge of the Austrian province of Styria last weekend to hike around the vineyards and rolling hills and drink wine. It is right on the border with Slovenia, this area. Here is a picture of a road we walked on for a while – the border meanders down the middle of it: slovborderso I suppose I was actually standing in Slovenia when I took the picture.

It is a pretty time to be there, the leaves are changing and the morning fog is pretty. Our hotel was nice, if a bit larger than we like – we had expected a pension. It was the first hotel bed that didn’t break my back, and the couple who ran the place were very nice and hospitable to us even when we drank a lot of wine and got into circular arguments (with each other, not them).

Also the food is good there. Southern Styria in general, I mean.

We got pretty lost in the woods for a while, which is a tradition of ours, we always do that when we hike with these friends. Once we went to see some bears in cages for some reason. It was about a 3 mile walk, one-way. Returning home was one of the times we got lost. From our hotel, then, upon returning, I noticed you could see the bear cage place from our hotel, about 200 yards away through some vineyards. So I guess we took a real detour.

We drank some Sturm, which is fermented grape juice, but not yet wine. And we ate chestnuts. There are a lot of roadside stands there selling Sturm and chestnuts. I guess if chestnuts were called Drang in German it would be perfect, but unfortunately they’re called Kastanien, which sounds like a former Soviet Republic.

vineyard1Here are some vineyards. We may be looking towards Slovenia there.


The third photo shows more vineyards, this one with a Klapotetz in it, which makes a sound that sounds like the name and is intended to frighten off birds that would otherwise eat the grapes. This is the romantic version of that “Raptor Reloaded” thing I mentioned the other day, where they play modern compositions to drive off the starlings.

I think everyone in our party enjoyed the trip. We may have drunk a little more wine than we should have. At least I think I may have. One morning I couldn’t find my pants right away, and I began to mentally retrace my steps, trying to reconstruct the previous night, because it seemed at that moment entirely logical that my pants could be somewhere other than in our hotel room.

I eventually found them on a chair under my other clothes. But from then on, I kept close track of my pants.

What the sailor told the magician’s assistant

“I was not old when I left home. My father beat us and we took refuge in my mother’s stories of a tree house sanctuary. We’d move someday to a leafy hide out where we’d see him way before he us, and play Aggravation and checkers, and read in hammocks, library books we’d check out when the coast was clear. Once I realized it was only a dream and not a plan, I left. I was a long haul driver’s punk for a year or two, after the money I stole from my father ran out. Then one night I heard a fight out in the lot of some poor bar as I huddled in the sleeper cab of my master’s rig, and him getting the worst of it. They abandoned him for dead and words bubbled from his lips when I went to him before the dawn. Get help he mumbled, so I did. I took the key to the strongbox and left with his savings, my second treasure. It was a lot for a kid. After that were dishes washed and unwatched tills. I never actually killed a man and all my loot I deserved more than the ones I robbed, high pressure systems move to low.
At eighteen I found myself at sea. I actually swabbed actual decks, and painted steel and served up slop and climbed up through whatever ranks one rose through and my foot locker filled with cash from paychecks never spent and jewels I bought to save space. One day, standing on the deck I realized I was at the place furthest from a tree as if I’d kept an oath sworn as a boy, which I had in fact not consciously sworn. But life can take us to these junctures unawares, where had we sworn an oath it would be fulfilled: no more love, no more trust, no more hope or faith, no dreams of trees it was for me.
And now I’m here with you on the bed of the sea they took my ship in a storm just like you. It’s over there, full of cargo. I’ve made my bed in a container full of mattresses, king size, and wander this shining city at all hours, looking for a place to spend my loot. Would you like to make a bet?”

“I’d wager that your trucker’s dead,” the magician’s assistant said. “I stole the clipping from your purse, that was my old profession, as you spoke and gestured. So you didn’t kill him but you let him die.”

The sailor shrugged. “To remind me of my life on land. My father beats my mother still for all I know and she still dreams of trees.” He got down on his knees. “Will you marry me? I’ll pay you well. I didn’t think so.” He stood back up. “I say that to all the girls, pro forma. If only we had a big casino with roulette wheel and blackjack and a stage and a red whorehouse in the back, or a mall.
A hobo robbed me down by the creek between my father and the truck. Or drifter, if you subscribe to the romantic notion that all hobos are above board by definition. I fought him and he knocked me down and pocketed my cash. Someday you’ll see how illusory this really is,” he laughed.

“Here’s your clipping back,” she said, the magician’s assistant. “And your other stuff I took. Are there many others here?”

“There are a few. Maybe more, who hide from me. I feel their thoughts and eyes. Captain Nemo is down here, the old liar, with his lying song of death.”

Good night, bonuses

Good night, moon.

Good night, Fox. Good night, war. Good night, neoconservatism. Good night turbocapitalism.

Good night patenting of living organisms. Good night extinction. Good night genetic modification. Good night waste. Good night, pesticides. Good night, feedlots. Good night, canola. Good night, cars. Good night, obliviousness. Good night, chemical fertilizer poisoning our water. Good night, overfishing depleting our stocks. Good night, Walmart. Good night consumerism. Good night exploitation. GOod night social inaction. Good night ignorance. Good night immunity for cronies. Good night corporations. Good night cats, plotting our demise. Good night flies. Good night old lady whispering, hush.

The Monster Index, I

The number eight looks so round and feels so eckig. Angular.

What color will the sky be when the sun expands to consume its child? Will mankind retreat to the outer planets? Will it be calculable, when to move to Mars, when beyond? When to seek a new galaxy?

Is it out of proportion, how we who know ourselves to be finite cling to infinity with our stories of afterlife, of reincarnation, of scientific possibility?

Here on this weenie little mote.

And yet: the dice stood on their corners. Did his hand touch mine when I picked them up for another roll?

Why do we need ghost stories? Because we see ghosts. Why do we need monster stories? Because we are monsters. Because we walk at night and sleep during the day and hide our true selves.

A society so adept at channeling desires, at controlling thoughts must perforce create monsters. When I think thoughts not my own, when experts tell me what to want and feel, and someone else’s desires steer me and my own die or hide, I am a monster. Never in recorded history have there been so many of us.

Unless religion did the same thing. Maybe it did. Was religion the advertising, marketing and entertainment of its age?

The democrats have a majority everywhere and still refuse to get anything big done. How would that work? What would be a step on the path to a big thing? How do you throw out those who should be thrown out, but have been preparing for the fight, without triggering 1. a (fake) civil war followed by 2. a (real) draconian crackdown?

Thanks for everything.

You’re welcome.

It’s over so fast, the world, so constant and permanent at first, changing so quickly here towards the end. Concerns not so important as we take them to be. So many ways to hurt a soul, to inflict pain, and so many blown opportunities to allay it. Also, though, this: so much more to every second than just this.

There is curiosity. There are lions prowling our neighborhoods. There is the possibility of everything while we (I) eat our (my) breakfast rolls and quietly die vor uns hin, someone talks to foxes in their dreams.

My wife met a fox on the sidewalk before our house one night, for real, which (reality) although hard to nail down we sometimes see as the opposite of dreaming.

Rod Serling: But is it?

What is the difference between loving someone and touching someone? Why touch them, anyway? Does it reduce pain or multiply it?

Five thirty in the morning, dark as shit, he looks for something at the kitchen table. Will he find it? He looks for peace and love and happiness. He finds joy and sadness do not contradict. He wants his daughters to smile, and mean it.

Do you know I’m here for you? Am I failing you? Isn’t that what father’s do?

Good night, moon

Good night, moon.

Good night cats, sleeping in our laps. Good night bees, with colony collapse. Good night frogs, with two heads and no pudenda. Good night overfished stocks of tuna. Good night salmon,with no place to spawn. Good night oceans, choked with acidic mucous. Good night, whales. Good night fish, except for jelly fish. Good night, Gulf of Mexico, poisoned by toxic runoff from the agriculture industry. Good night peace. Good night, democracy, thanks to stupidity and voting machines. Good night, human rights, abdicated in fear. Good night, education. Good night, culture. Good night, infrastructure. Good night history, dictated by victors who cannot read to dead scribes. Good night, old lady whispering hush.

My mom

Just got off the phone with my mom. She just had two bionic knees installed. My understanding is this works like this: they take a saw and trade your old knees for new knees. The funny part is, she’s already walking around, and is not taking any painkillers. Zero. This woman should be cage fighting.