Category Archives: Uncategorized

world savings account

What is not visible to the readers who drift by is that behind the scenes I am wrangling my fourth novel to the finish. I completed the manuscript a few years back and had to set it aside knowing it needed reworking. I didn’t have the stomach for the challenge. There’s a good final draft somewhere to be found in this body of prose and I am doing what I can to complete a splendid fourth novel. Don’t count me out just yet.

My newest work begins in Napa County at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. The fairground was temporarily turned into an evacuation center for the victims of the Lake County Fire. The September 2015 fire was a real event that was folded into a fiction.

Since I began work on this fourth novel there have been a score of monumental fires here and most recent of all in Australia. Here the Lake County Fire burned about 100,000 acres, destroyed about 1800 buildings and killed 4. I have written with all the heart and passion I could muster about this tragedy. Since, another fire and then another fire in the wine country has devastated this part of California.

Fire in this great state is a symptom of an increasingly climate change damaged environment. There are more fires, they are bigger, hotter and more frequent. In some sense they begin to dwarf the plot I had pieced together in 2015 when I had initially set out to do this work.

In Australia the world has witnessed fires that have consumed 15 million acres. You may google the tally if you want more numbers, but they are just numbers and caring survivors attempts to visualize and scale up their imaginations to such monumental size is a difficult task.

I had wanted to write a pleasant pastoral wine country story when I first started plotting my fourth novel. But the climate emergency took over. The urban-wildfire interface was once a rather obscure and irrelevant topic. That was a threat for residents living outside Missoula, Montana.

For years I reserved my environmental concerns to such faraway places as The Great Barrier Reef, Amazon Jungle or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As the size of our problems increased I failed to keep up, to scale my imagination and to reconfigure the plots and purposes of my fiction more work was demanded.

Whole revising my fourth novel one takeaway is that I went far too easy on the events that helped shape this story. Planning commissioners, Board of Supervisors, agricultural special interests and the ordinary citizens caught in the midst of all these forces battling for supremacy have behaved ever more horribly than I had fictionally foretold.

Since the story recounts the fight to save a few thousand acres along the eastern ridge of what forms the Napa Valley a wildfire has since done great damage to this land. If developed the new homeowners will undoubtedly insist firemen come risk their lives not if but when the next big wildfire sweeps through. Further development in the surrounding hillsides of Napa County is untenable and should not be permitted.

In Sacramento the insurer’s that sell coverage for homes in California are contemplating a ten-fold increase in the price of a policy for homes situated near an urban-wildfire interface zone. Homes in such diverse locations as Mill Valley, Lake Arrowhead or perhaps even Palo Alto are looking at having to pay $10,000 per year for fire protection.

None of this makes a novel. I mean what does the price of tea in China have to do with the human condition. Perhaps the difference now is that the problems we are facing are of such scale, contain the seeds of existential catastrophe, threatening virtually all life, a growing menace of such magnitude that small bore stories become irrelevant.

I wish my manuscript was in better shape and I could move on with my next. I’m researching a groundwater water grab attempt up in Northern Nevada by the Las Vegas Water District located way to the south. Nevada’s Las Vegas Goliath is roaming the American West in an attempt to quench the desire to sustain the construction boom.

We’ll see where this takes my writing. I think it needs to be funny no matter what else. We’re going to need to laugh while we try to save the world. I know that to be fundamental fact.

Now I prepare to ride by train from San Francisco Bay to Reno, Nevada where I will encamp with busking friend in Silver City to enjoy a view out his window of nearby Mustang and on Sunday momentary diversion of a good playoff game.

Writing can be quite something, beautiful and moving. When writing is redemptive, inspires, calls a soul to take action, and looks without flinching at our circumstances, it is in this direction our hard work is best aimed.

Opener… Street Theater Life

The Small Time Bigger Than You Know

One of the hardest hand to mouth hustles ever invented in this world of hard knocks is busking. No contracts, no off site gigs, just pure hat and more hat shows. I’m talking about hard cold cash you can count in a hat after a performance. The lightning bolt street performing epiphany struck my not entirely completed journey to adulthood fresh and wild. Anxious family and friends thought I was headed toward a cobblestone catastrophe. Destitution and insolvency were bookended plotting points. There is no getting off the road, there are no lucky breaks, no easy streets on this obstacle strewn path. You can’t undo what you’ve bet your life on. An emergent busker is a tangled soul drowning in a world insisting on orthodoxy. There has to be no other way out. This is your fated Tombstone. Conformity is a stinking stalemate. You set out to do so many shows, as far as an eye can see, until you’re at risk of being buried in a sea of nickels, dimes and quarters.

Pause

Abbey Redux

No locked gate at the trailhead here at the Suharo National Park in Tucson.

What part of “He’s a threat to national security…” do you not understand?

Disgust is the automated bot game being foisted upon our citizens. There is a lot of suppression being played so they might tamp down on the outraged and paying attention majority.

We got us a verified Putin puppet boys and girls, men and women, fellow citizens of my country.

You get the benefit of the doubt, I get the benefit of the doubt and he has completely duplicitiously worn his welcome at the no doubt about fresh squeezed for payoff bar of kickbacks and under the table dirty rotten deals.

We’ll attend the womens march in at the state capital in Phoenix on Saturday.

Until then I’ll be hiking here in Tucson, south to Patagonia then north in the Superstitions. I’ll be visiting folk I know that live on a ranch right on the Mexican frontier. I’ll hike out to the fence for look see.

Hope you’ll join me in keeping a close eye on our democracy. Patriots we are right on the edge of risky times our signers of the constitution worried might come to pass.

Long dusty trail in our park

Popular Vote Total

Bay Bridge old

Mind the Gap

57,434,253 citizens voted for Democrats. 49,594,066 people voted for Republicans. There were 9,840,187 more votes for Democrats than Republicans. This is a 7.2% difference.

We’ve heard what promises were made, what lies were told, what people would do if they won. We want preexisting conditions covered by health insurance companies. We want Social Security and Medicare protected and improved. We want a check on the White House.

Almost 60 million people voted for hope and change. Ten million more people than voted for what the other side had on offer. We won and now it is time for us to lead. The climate isn’t going to play nice and wait.

 

 

 

 

 

Spaceship Earth Protector

Arms and Feet

Democratic Party: 44.9 million votes Republican Party: 32.9 million votes

There was a lot on last nights ballot and nothing was more important than taking back the House.

About my Spaceship Earth Protector Credentials. I am an artist. I’m a creative. I was a success. I bought houses, had kids, got married-divorced-married, I’ve made money, spent money, had cars and have had headaches. Same as millions of other spouses out there I  love my wife.

Maybe you’re unclear about how it feels to watch a Republican majority get their can of whoop-ass out and kick the living daylights out of the National Endowment for the Arts? Maybe insincere budget cutting hysterics doesn’t bother you. You see zeroing me out makes me want to zero you out. People don’t roll over in Tombstone and Californian’s from Oakland do not play possum with anti-government libertarian program bashers.

Now about the crown jewels of our democracy. Social Security needs to have its cap on taxable income raised. We need more revenue not less. Medicare works fine Medicare for All would work better. Private health insurance is an insurance program to nowhere. Pre-existing conditions and bankruptcy need to be eradicated from this earth same as stubbornness or willful stupidity.

Want more? Let’s follow Seattle’s lead and raise the minimum wage. I’m zeroing out objections until the minority that votes to keep the working stiffs pinned down as paupers read the University of Washington study just published. I’ll summarize for those who missed the real news. Seattle’s economy has never employed more people, never started more successful new businesses. Never!!!! Transactional relationships don’t have to be an authoritarian head trip fake out. We can actually lift all boats!

Water Poster

Agriculture Wants All the Water

You’ll find me afterhours dancing until dawn with my wife at the local Vegan Speak-Easy. I’m getting hammered on hibiscus tea celebrating the one hundred plus women heading to Washington to slap some sense into the heads of the men that voted to strip access to women’s-reproductive-health-care. If we are going to defund anything it is the freaking subsidies for the oil industry. Any tax cuts for the middle class must be paid for by tax increases on corporations. We have way too many stingy capitalists. Put those white collar criminals in jail and let the pot smokers out.

We’re going to need to get the Chamber of Commerce to seek forgiveness for their mischief. Much has been made of our immigration crisis and much less would have been made of this had we insisted every employer verify their workers citizenship. No proof then no work. That simple. If the employer cheats they get deported. End of story. We don’t need no stinking wall. Chamber of Commerce lobbied against this. People we are a nation of immigrants! Come on we can get this right.

goldfish pond

Islands in the Sky, Sidewalks Brimming with Fish

First of all, last of all, and most import of all we need to get to work on the world’s existentially most urgent crisis. No more time to waste trying to curry favor from a Crown Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia who prefers chopping his critics into little disposable pieces. Barbarism isn’t policy.

We keep the eye on the prize. That eye and that prize will be doing something every single day about halting the rise of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Climate change can be addressed but the threat it poses to humanity, this very real threat cannot be ignored. The problem isn’t going away, and a hotter world won’t suddenly make nice, but it will provide chaos, crisis and a stinking unfixable hot mess.

Let’s get all those fine women to the House and let’s go!

Edited Red Star

 

Two Hundred Miles Downwind

Morro Bay Amel Ketch

Tranquility as harbor

Coffee, always hot black coffee. No cream and no sugar, no thank you. Still even with a cup of fresh brew the skipper and crew were both bone tired. Anchor was hoisted at the top of the day. Deeper water was found as we dodged the kelp taking a course south and west . The jib was unfurled . We set course for Morro Bay twenty miles south.

Here would be our first chance to set foot back on land for more than just fuel. The harbor in Morro Bay would be the boat’s keeper. Her now worn crew needed to stand down. After two days we needed to tie the boat to a dock and once relieved of duty not consider for one second about the change of weather or state of the ocean’s surface. Shore side leave was the order of the day.

We docked at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. I dropped the radar reflector and hoisted the burgee of the Emeryville Yacht Club. Sweet Seas and crew were welcomed guests. We showered and shaved. Down the Embarcadero along the waterfront we took a stool at Windows on the Water. I drank one martini before and a glass of red wine with my fresh shucked oysters, garden salad and chunks of sliced bread. I was back aboard on my bunk and asleep before ten bells had sounded.

Richard Santos Best

Richard Santos- Longtime friend and crew

In the morning the ketch rigged vessel Spirit came alongside the pier. Her captain Tom Valery hailing from Ventura had come from a mooring ball to the dock to spend the day cleaning his 50’ Gulf Star. The one time Newport, Oregon native and musician now attended to an evolving set of new careers. The witty eyed sailor had plotted a post high pressure-high stakes musical career for the chance to go drifting from port to port in pursuit of his own next chapter.

There was a weekly Wednesday night barbecue at the club. Beef, turkey, salmon and veggie burgers were on offer. Six bucks got you all the fixings plus homemade side dishes whipped up by the clubs talented cooks. Conversation ran the gamut from dragging anchor to near misses in dense fog. The sailors with real sea time logged could not be worried about the inherent risks that come with going to sea.

vest

Skin in the Game

Seafarers understand the compact they’ve entered into. There is not much else to say. What choice does a mariner have? By my reckoning there are some risks in life that are best categorized as necessary. You stick your neck out because you’ll never live with yourself if you don’t. Rough weather is not much worse than a bad marriage, traffic citation or a beat up pickup truck with a broken starter. They’ll all make you cuss, drink whiskey and pile on more regret to the pile of mistakes you’ve already been carrying to this fated point in your life.

A yacht club is a collection of stalwart women and men who have some notion that a boat affords them a chance to take a chose shave with their life. There are all sorts of distracting dreams and destinations in the mix, but regardless of the aim or final port there remains the matter of surviving the getting there, even relishing that passage, making the voyage with skill and grace no matter the circumstances. Somewhere in the thing we know as sailing is a soul who needs to see an end to putting off the unavoidable.

gulls and seals

Time spent ocean sailing over the course of my thirty-eight years has been low. Most of my sailing has been in protected waters. I’ve done enough time offshore to have seen plenty. This stint is my longest yet. We’ve arrived in Morro Bay having now logged two hundred miles. Now we are just more than halfway. By my count I’ll have near nine hundred sea miles under my sailboats keel by the time I arrive back at my home port. By that time I’ll have a more intimate view of what my boat and what parts of my insides I’ve not flushed out into the open prior to this challenge. Sailing the coast of California turns out to be both a beautiful and hard won task.

More…  Edited Red Star

April 19,’18 Gridlocked in Tsunami Zone

Bio-Debatable Bat-Poop-Crazy 

Rattan Bike

Not the Destination? It’s the Journey? Are You Sure Sherlock?

We’ll say a quick hello… Thursday here in LA with Emeryville on our evenings itinerary. Got that? We’re aboard the vessel Sweet Seas.

Yesterday foolishly believing I could do better than be held hostage to the tyranny of Los Angeles traffic I took it to Malibu. There amidst the splendor the the brilliant and beautiful I walked along the shore briefly imagining I would speak with Dylan who wasn’t home and Cindy Crawford’s doorman who informed me that she couldn’t see me right now.

So instead I took a table at Gladstones where I’ve carved out heaps of almost free time- if you don’t count the $10 it costs to have valet parking hold your keys and car hostage until finished with that portion of the other part of the self indulgence you have so fruitfully come wallow in.

Highway One was bounded in traffic congested fender bending behaviors while I was completing the pleasant part of the adventure. Next came the extract the American from the inundation zone. Gladstones parking lot spit me out onto Sunset Boulevard and there snug and tightly fitted between others who had also taken to their automobiles I rotted away growing way too old way too soon on an otherwise lovely afternoon. A mere two hours and twenty-five minutes later I limped into my parking place in downtown some twenty plus miles away.

Let me leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite bachelors from one of my characters in Hot Spring Honeymoon.

Warm tubs

“You’re coming out for ‘naked night?’” Keefe asked.

“We’re going to have strong feelings for one of the guests.”

“What are you going to do with those pictures?” Keefe had a sly look on his face.

Glenna resolved. “Change how a person thinks…”

“Help him see the error of his ways?” Keefe asked.

“Finding a way to changing a man’s mind isn’t necessarily done by playing around with what he has between his ears,” Glenna said.

“A lot of men do their most penetrating thinking by way of another part of themselves altogether,” Keefe said.

“I’d say that holds true for near all the men I’ve ever known,” Glenna said.

Edited Red Star

April 15, ’18 Star Date

where are the cars

Over Under Sideways Down

A full week ahead. Saturday at Harvey Milk’s Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco. More LA in the mix.

A big shout out to the heroic work underway on our behalf and for the sake of this experiment in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You don’t want Sally Yates or Stormy Daniels feeling like you aren’t leveling with them. You cross them at your own peril and it seems that one rather prominent man in a position to know better has done just that.

My life aboard in Emeryville where we keep our sailboat is filled with some of the bravest, toughest, smartest, nicest beautiful inside and out women I have ever had the pleasure to know. They possess uncommon courage, wit and emotional insight. The women of Emery Cove are a gallant lot whether with a cocktail in their hand or a power tool. Look out, they are not to be underestimated. Ever

Edited Red Star

April 8, ’18 On Any Given Sunday

Buy a Book- Book a Show

You can click on my menu and look around. If you want to message me… our password protected smorgasbord of telecommunication options is open. Wonder what is happening today? Read on…

Vichy Catalan

For the Love of Life

Sky is clear and wind is calm. Spotted an osprey on wing over our boat. An auspicious sighting of a fishing bird destination unknown. Common terns are busy too. Oyster catchers paired and mated chase each other from the breakwater to the shoreline and back. Everything alive must have got the same memo that it’s Sunday.

My triple threat for the day is to continue reading Mailer’s Armies in the Night, go for a brisk long hike and not eat too much or the wrong things.

Last night we joined friends dining out on Fourth Street in Berkeley. Success is to not distract by discussions of what  we will and won’t eat. When dining out the cooks are using more salt, sugar and fat. Restaurants do not use less. That’s the state of play here in the Golden State. We have a life to live and they have a business to run. Compromise is required while we all learn to take better care of ourselves and each other. Eating mostly but not always vegan isn’t about beating up everyone out there who isn’t on the same page with all of us loitering here in the institute for nutritional virtue. I can’t say I blame them.

The challenge is much the same as a Sunday. Grace is a healing salve to bestow upon the day. My new diet isn’t so high-minded. I’m eating with care because I need to make better choices about what I put in my mouth. I’m well past the point where I can eat whatever I want. There are days the project is tiresome, dull and frustrating. A substantial portion of the whole of my diet has turned into a grand adventure.

Have compassion for your own life without losing sight of the lives of others. Be a good and happy example and don’t be a wet blanket. I’m not a proud vegan. I’m not a vegan. I eat as I can to what would be called a vegan diet without having my Sunday’s, humor or perspective self-delusionally swept out from beneath the skillful path I seek to set my best foot forward upon.

nantucket

Opportunity Before Me

Edited Red Star

April 4th,’18 Anasazi Beans and Sonoran Mesquite Flour Feast for Fools

Welcome… if you click around you’ll find information about my shows and books. Buy a book, book a show. Be sure to surf my digital frontier and message me. The switchboards are open.

Wheat-Barley-Rye-Buckwheat-Mesquite Flour 

Food of the Desert Dwellers

Mesquite Pancakes
Mesquite (Sweet and Spiceful) Pancakes

Beginning last August my wife and I embarked upon a gastronomic revolution. The idea was to tip the sacred cows over and leap into the culinary inconvenient truth of our eating too few and too familiar foods. We wanted to stretch our boundaries and we also wanted to rid our diet of empty calories and replace them with foods rich in healthful micronutrients that would fight off free radicals and enhance our cardiovascular well-being.

First off you’ll need to break the fever. In this case I mean habits. Old habits always die hard. With support from each other we began preparing nothing but whole foods plant based meals. At the start of our journey the first thing needing fixing was our taste buds. We tossed out the salt, sugar and booze. In two weeks time we could taste and identify flavors that had simply gone lost hidden beneath these too dominant other food and beverages.

Tucson Mesquite Flour
Sonoran Desert Mesquite Flour  has a Distinct Flavor all its Own

Otherwise things proceeded at an alarmingly positive pace. Once we slowed down and ate our meals with greater care we’d arrive at the end our much lighter meals feeling full. Feeling contentment after eating lighter, less oil based, more leafy-greens, less starchy, no meat meals takes a couple of skills. You need to chew your food slowly. You need to taste the flavorful meal. You need to be sure to use spices. Become friends with garlics, onions and curries. Shallots, cilantro, fresh made horseradish are flavor boosting helpers.

Downer side problems abound but not insurmountably so. We have issues. Won’t drill down but they exist and you’ll have to trust me when I say these are good problems to have.

 

Wagon Wheel Saloon
Patagonia’s Strictly for Medicinal Purposes Human Oil and Lubrication Joint

Our instrument is essentially the body and mind. Taking better care isn’t just about trudging at a low dull level. Eating with inspiration is a means of being good to yourself and when you are treating your life with kindness you are on the right track even if it takes a little more doing, time and care. Let’s get going peeps we have a world to save and fun to have.

Edited Red Star