Wednesday, July 28, 2010


(and no, i am not talking about some kinda crazy party i threw!)

in the course of my 39 years on this blue marble, i have been lucky enough to see/be near a plethera, a veritable cornucopia of animals in their natural habitat without fences or cages or a car window between us.

and now for your reading pleasure, the animals i have seen, any notes as to when/how/anecdotes regarding the situation that we found ourselves in, and relative distances between me and them:

elk-my most interesting encounter with a herd of elk was when i was about 16 at a scout winter camp out. winter camping in the cascades consists of building a fire, standing around stamping the snow with your hands in your armpits, having a brief and deadly snowball fight, and then proceeding to curse the cold and snow for the rest of the weekend. my friends and i decided to hike up into the mountains to have something to do, and hopefully generate some body heat. we crested a rise, and not 20 feet in front of us, a massive heard of elk had come down from the peaks to be fed by the park rangers. "amazing" or "incredible" is just too piddly a word.

peacock-not sure where it came from, or why it swung through our yard, but one summer day, a peacock pretty much just magically showed up in our backyard. it hung out for about an hour so that we could take pictures and watch it be narcissistic. then it headed off to other parts. i got within a few feet. apparently in some asian countries, they eat peacock like we eat turkey. good thing my poor white trash family didn't know that...

crow-they say that if a crow is hanging around, someone is going to die. or perhaps a dead relative or friend is trying to send you a message. again, one summer day in our backyard, someone from the great beyond was trying to tell us "i'm hungry, bring bread." it actually ate out of my hand, we were that close. again, lucky for him crow isn't something that had occured to my family as tasty...

llamas-llamas are indigenous to argentina, and while i never saw any just in the wild all willy nilly, they were definitely around. never got close enough to get spit on though. shame, that.

monkey-monkeys are not really indigenous to argentina, but they are in the amazon. and while the monkey i saw in buenos aires appeared to be wild (hanging out in a tree above the road we were walking down and dancing from limb to limb), it is more likely that it was someone's errant pet. for that matter, it is likely the peacock and crow were as well... hmm, so i am kinda breaking my own rules, but no matter. this rather largish creature was probably about 20 feet away. thank god, cause apparently simians can't throw their shit that far...

moose-i have no shit been within ten feet of moose on several occasions. when my ex and i separated and she moved to... wherever the fuck it was she went, i don't give a shit; i would go running for miles in the evenings. my favorite run was up to the ski hill that would have snow on it in the winter, and try to chug up it as far as i could and then back down. quite frequently i would turn a corner and be immediately confronted by bull moose, or a mama and calf. i generally moved to the middle of the road (they were usually grazing in the ditches) and run slowly past with my eyes on them until they were far behind. due to the isolated nature of the situation, i would frequently say out loud: "i mean you no harm, i am just running here, and want only to get past unmolested." if you have ever seen how massive a bull moose is, and if you knew (like i did) that moose are the only animal of that sort that can also kick with their forehooves, you woulda said something along those lines too.

caribou-same as the moose. they were just fucking everywhere in alaska, and you couldn't help but run into them at close quarters. slightly larger than elk but considerably smaller than a moose.

black bear-i was about 50 feet from a mama and her cub. i was there long enough to snap a couple pictures and just sort of watch them from afar as it were. they could completely give a rat's ass about my existence on this planet let alone my nearness to them. and i am quite thankful it was a black bear and not a grizzly.

wolf-i was about a quarter mile away, and only saw him for the briefest of moments, but it was a for real wolf. undeniably.

fox-see "wolf." pretty much the same story, except the fox didn't beat feet as fast. and my recollections seem to lead me to believe i might've been closer to it.

buffalo-this is actually twofold, and i think both cases they were domesticated. one of the farms a mile from my house growing up raised buffalo. i saw them again in alaska, but i think it was the same situation.

an assortment of waterfowl-pelicans, et al. you can't spit without hitting one at the golf course here in florida where i was employed.

alligator-i got within 5 feet of fred to snap his picture while he sunned himself and pretended to not give a shit. one of my coworkers (who i would've gladly sacrificed) was between fred and myself.

bald eagle-i have seen these camping in mt rainier, all over the place in alaska, but i had to come to florida to get within 100 feet of one. got to watch him eat his dinner of brook trout in the middle of the 11th fairway.

dolphins-no i have not swam with dolphins (unless you count the dolphins swimming a half-mile off the shore where i was body surfing; i sorta don't cause under that same idea you could say i have also swam with sharks, deadly jellyfish, and sea turtles), but i went fishing at the banana river, and as i stood on the shore, about ten feet away in the shallows a dolphin was eating our prey. we moved to a different fishing hole, but not until we had gotten our eyeful of this beautiful creature.

loggerhead turtles-i have actually held a baby one in my hand. turtle turkelson. saved his happy little ass. but today as well, i swam out to see what was floating several hundred yards offshore, and got within 50 feet of a few fully grown (and fucking huge!) loggerhead turtles that were trying to woo each other. briefly, one of their flippers looked like a dorsal fin, and i thought i was going to get to add "swimming with sharks" to this list.

corn snake and black racer-i have had to shoo both out of my driveway/garage. corn snakes are very docile. black racers, while not poisonous, will shake their tail like rattlesnakes (about which i have a different story that doesn't fall into this category but which would still be a fun tell, so maybe next post) and are fucking strike crazy. i don't like the idea of getting bit at all, so i chased him away with a broom, which got bit in the bristles numerous times, and had to be put down.

there are probably others, o beloved non-existent readers, that i have either forgotten or deem too mundane to include. if i remember, next post i will talk about the rattlesnakes.

darth sardonic

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

out of the frying pan and into the fire

i hate doing yard work in florida.

i have recently taken up pipe smoking.

are the two related? hmm, maybe, maybe not. you get to be the judge. but if you study your psychology to any extent, you could almost say that "b" follows "a" like a connect-the-dots (so i guess that would make it "2" follows "1" but whatever.)

as i said, i hate doing yard work in florida. here's why. but get settled in, o beloved non-existent readers, get comfy. make sure you have your coffee or tea or tom collins or whathaveyou ready. without any further delays, here's why: the "grass" on my little sandbar of florida is a grass/weed hybrid that grows well on the sandy soil. as long as it gets regular water, and an overabundance of shade. anywhere else in the world, the shade would be doable, but since the only trees that grow on this spit of land are palm trees, and there aren't too many of those, the only part of my lawn that flourishes is the part that gets shaded by the three palms that occupy my yard, and the front, which is shaded by the house.

so when i mow, i am actually doing two things besides maintaining my rampant weed grass at an acceptable height (which, i can assure you, the beloveds, is a good two inches taller than your lawn, because if we cut the hybrid too low, it dies): 1) i am further killing the areas that don't grow well to begin with due to overexposure to the sun, and 2) i am kicking up an inordinate amount of sandy dust that sticks to everything on my person, mainly because it is already 95 degrees out at ten in the morning with a humidity percentage of the same, and i am already covered in sweat at the very thought of getting the mower out of the garage.

another disadvantage to doing yard work on a sandbar is the only thing maintaining ground stability is the aforementioned weed grass. anywhere that the "lawn" is not doing well is a shifting pit of sand. so turning a heavy lawnmower in these areas is extremely hard on my hands, shoulders, hips and knees.

now, for those of you, the beloved non-existents, who have been passing by this thistle bur lodged in the foot of the world wide web for several years (which i am pretty sure is absolutely no one anymore) or the ones that read my history to get caught up to date (which is one or two of you probably), you will know that i actually really like yard work. enjoy it. one could even say look forward to it. so, having said that, we know that it is yard work specifically in florida that i hate.

the yard needed some tending to bad though. so i set out. now, because it was already like a sauna at ten, this involved weeding the beds, and then coming inside for a half hour and drinking water. then going back out and edging. then coming back into the ac and drinking water. then limping back out to mow and sucking down clouds of sand whilst sweating gallons and damn near passing out from heat exhaustion as i finished up the last of the back yard. then coming inside, sitting for quite some time without moving much except to pour water down my unwilling throat. i didn't even have the energy to eat, though i probably needed it something fierce.

again, this is called heat exhaustion.

later on in the afternoon when the temperatures calmed somewhat, i was feeling better, and sat out on the front porch with a pipeful of vanilla cavendish. i took my time, savored the smoke, relaxed, beamed upon the hard work i had done and the fruits of my labors. when i was through, i tapped out my bowl in the corner of one of the flower beds nearest my chair.

our friends q n j came over to hang out with us, and we were talking and waiting for my wife to come home from work when the doorbell rings. it is one of the neighbor's teenage sons, and he says, "is your yard supposed to be on fire?"

yes, fire. yes, though technically not the yard so much that one small corner of the flower bed, which currently has a small, 8-inch diameter blaze spiking up redly from the mulch and a defunct sprinkler head that is now a black, foul-smelling wad of goo with a spring launching like a rocket from the center.

"umm, no, no it's not."

i douse the flames, and the mulch for a few inches around the burnt patch, remove the spring and melted head, and laugh with the neighbors about my bad luck.

the neighbor says, "i go out with kindling, starter fluid, dry wood, and a grill lighter and can't get a fire started, you tap out some ash, and poof!"


so obviously an ashtray is in order, is it not, o beloved non-existent readers?

what was funnier was that i was pontificating wildly with q n j about the bruiser of a reactionary tizzy that my wife would throw upon noting the burnt patch and discovering its origin. i opined that she would probably set an immediate ban on pipe smoking of any sort, and then proceed to stomp around the house and take several minutes to calm back down to her usual jovial self.

is it bad that i am just a little disappointed that she walked right past the still-smelly black patch without noticing, and then when i outed myself in a case of complete honesty and full disclosure her reaction was simply, "well, i guess you'd better start keeping a coffee can out there, huh? goofball."

ultimately, i am happy that no serious damage was done (though i am thinking i should buy a cap for the sprinkler head just in case anyone ever decides to turn the water back on), and that no one was hurt, and that i learned my lesson and my wife blew it off like water off a duck's back.

and thanks for letting me be the doof here and playing along.

also, my friend melly is doing as well as can be expected on a barrage of chemo, and is being well-taken care of. thank you to all of you who are out there and still read who might've sent positive energy or prayers or whatever communication with deity that you personally believe in on her behalf. or just in general, cause i believe that taking a moment out of your day to think, "man, i hope the people out there that are in need of comfort, love, health, and strength are getting their needs met" counts.

damn, now the back of my throat burns. i am such a bawlbaby.

darth sardonic

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, July 05, 2010

for melly...

i need your help, o my beloveds. this is me reaching out. well, not sure the help is for me. it is, kinda, i guess, but for a good friend too.

i dunno. words may fail. this whole post, like so many others i have left here like forgotten stepchildren, may disintegrate into tears and wailing by the end. but i sure hope not.

recently, i found out a good friend has cancer.

here's one of the many shitty things about this, my long-suffering, patient, commiserating non-existent readers: i found this out through a post on and a subsequent post on facebook.

why is that bad? it's not her fault. it's mine. i'm a fucking lousy-assed friend who has allowed himself to get caught up in the fucking stupid little insignificant details of my so-called life while someone i love and care about was dealing with real fucking issues in her own.

now, i understand, this is the nature of our lives. our lives are egocentric. this is as god or the universe intended. but at the same time, i believe that god or allah or thor intended for us to approximate deity, and to do that we need to step out of ourselves and be there for those around us. i haven't brought myself any closer to the shiny center of this big vast universe on this deal, though.

and today, she was recounting her experiences thus far, and the long-term plan (her doctors are confident it is completely treatable, but the treatment is a slow crawl through hell, o my beloved non-existent readers), and talking about how her family and friends and people she doesn't even know have rallied around the forces so to speak to make this experience as easy as it can be, and the rest of us, the listeners, are in tears.

i want to be a better friend, and i am already fixing that. but more importantly; the most important thing to me in this big fucking vast inconceivable universe of massive suns and the ensuing planets right now is that we all put our positive energies together; our prayers, our offerings, our whatever you personally call it or however think of it together for my friend melly and everyone like her who is so much in need and yet isn't playing the victim and is facing this with bravery and humor and strength. please join me in keeping her in mind.

now i gotta go wash my face, so when i tuck my kids in they won't ask me in that hyperintense way that only makes it worse: "daddy, why you cryin?"

darth sardonic