Sunday, October 27, 2013
This one is by is by Beverly Boyd.
He spent days figuring out how to work
a hand-held GPS, found for a dollar
at a yard sale, no instructions included.
Such a deal, he must have thought, polishing
its hazy window, inserting new batteries.
He switched it on but couldn't find his own
location. He handed it to a friend who used
another brand. No help there. Online,
he discovered a fifty-page manual.
Hours later, slipping into bed, he slept,
sound in the knowledge he had found his bearings.
At breakfast he proudly showed me where we were,
our latitude and longitude, how many
feet we sat with cereal and coffee above
the sea, barely visible through swirling fog,
and where four satellites hovered to mark
our spot -- all that anyone might need
to avoid that sinking feeling
or ancient thrill of being lost.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Before the goblins return to the dark and the Thanksgiving Turkey arrives, best get up to Cambria for their annual month-long scarecrow festival.
All over town and throughout the residential areas, folks have gone all out to construct some wonderful, very clever, scarecrows. Those in front of businesses are often themed, but all of them are totally fun.
With October’s bright blue weather here, it’s a perfect way to spend the day.
This charmer’s sign warned passers by not to touch lest Audrey have a little finger snack. While (below) the Adams Family was set for their portraits.
And don’t try getting directions from this befuddled big bad wolf. He was just growly and thoroughly confused.
Probably because he had his eyes on that tasty calico cat a few feet away. Hard to think straight when your tummy’s growly.
There were plenty of crows, including this one who clearly was singing an caw- aria.
While this cat and crow listened to the caw-concert.
Then there was the most amazing set up, a cycling-through-time display, all hooked up to an electric motor, with all the little scarecrow legs pedaling away, from youth to middle age and finally . . .
there’s death bringing up the rear, thereby proving that exercise is bad for you.
Meanwhile, outside the beautifully restored historical museum, a hot dog was flying.
And who could blame the pooch for getting the heck out of there. Look what’s after him. . . .
Sunday, October 20, 2013
"Last Trip to the Island"
You're mad that I can't love the ocean,
but I've come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,
we're here aren't we? --
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy
breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers
with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?
I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels
impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I'm most comfortable in
a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.
And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,
there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,
I can hear what's coming between the stalks.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
But, no matter, getting there's an easyish stroll. Park near the purple entryway to the botanical garden and bear rightish to get to the path that will lead to the greenhouses (to the rear, adjacent to the ball field fence/service road.) Cut left past the last greenhouse on the road and head up the roadway towards a lot of little palm trees that have recently been planted on the hill. On the leftish top of the hillside you're ascending, you'll see a weather vane. When you come to a fork, take the path that heads left off the road heading for that weather vane. (The path takes you through the little palm trees all hooked up to their drip water feeds.)
And voi la! There it is, a ring half in shadow, (Night, grey decomposed granite and flagstone) and half in sunlight (Day, an arc of "hour" segments in bright colored ceramic mosaic) that includes images of indigenous animals.
Inside the tree image are plaques arranged so that when you stand on the plaque for the current month, your shadow will be cast on the numbered hour arc. My watch said 1:20. How cool is that?
From the top you can see the Botanical Garden's visitor center below. When you come down from the hill, be sure to wander through the gardens and take a closer look at all the wonderful varieties of plants growing (and identified) there. The path will lead to the visitor center, which is a beautifully constructed, eco-designed building (hay bale construction in part) that deserves a closer look. They've got a gift store with water-thrifty native plants and other beautiful things for sale. The center also hosts a variety of activities, concerts, lectures, and, of course, you can get further information on how you can become a member and support the Garden. Or get on their mailing list for notices of their many programs.
And while you're there, if you're not familiar with El Chorro Park, take a meander through the park. In the back of the park (next to the off-leash dog park) is a nature hiking trail that leads deep into the wildlands of the park to the east. Perfect trail to meander down on a bright blue October morning. Might even spot some wild turkeys or a coyote ambling around . . . looking for some wild turkeys.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
One of those "Which Facts Are True?" articles made it clear that the "sympathy" shown in this movie between Phillips and one Somali pirate who survives isn't accurate. Phillips stated he always felt the pirates were very scary adversaries who beat him up (after he attempted to escape) and were planing to kill him before the Navy Seals got to them first. But I felt the film's softer treatment of those guys made it a better film. After all, they were all about 17-18-ish, were working under a local warlord to get money and, as is made clear in the film, only in America are there other options than piracy. If you live in a hell-hole failed state like Somalia, and big ships just ripe for ransom keep coming down the coast, well, what's a young gangsta to do?
And the casting of several real Somali non-actors from the Somali immigrant community in Minnesota was a touch of genius. Brakhad Abdi, who played the one pirate who survived, had a typical Somali "look," the rail-thin Nilotic body type, long skull and huge eyes, and he played his role with scary, skittery menace that still held glimpses of his character's sad desperation.
While the film could have benefited with a little less pirate yelling and screaming (We get it, we get it, already.) the pace of the film is one long powerful drive. But not (for me) without a moment of sly referential movie humor: Things are desperate inside the life raft, the pirates rattled, fighting, edgy. The night is dark, the situation perilous and degrading by the hour. Then out of the dark, a HUGE braying horn and massive lights blaze and the little boat is rocked crazily like it's the end of the world. Panic! Disarray!
Cut to the sleek menace of a Navy destroyer that seemed to appear out of nowhere blasting deafening klaxon noise and megaphoned threats and blinding light, the Navy's version the bugle and the thunder of hooves as the cavalry suddenly appears to save the day. Which, when the Navy SEAL Team 6 falls out of the sky, is what happens.
After the exhausting excitement of "Captain Phillips," head over to the Palm for "Enough Said," James Gandolfini's last film. This one is an absolute gem, an adult movie that's a laugh out loud funny, bittersweet, cringe-inducing, sublimely tender, keenly observed piece of human comedy. Superbly written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, with an extraordinary cast (Julia Luis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette) at the top of their game, this movie is a perfect trifecta about the eternal difficulties of getting and giving love.
And over it all, the sadness of knowing James Gandolfini's special talent is no longer with us, gone at too early an age.
Monday, October 14, 2013
So, instead of a poem, there's this in Sunday's Tribune: "Coalesce Bookstore celebrates 40 years with a book of poetry." Coalesce has now published "Where Our Palms Rest," a collection of poems by four local writers -- Beverly Boyd of Los Osos, Carol Alma McPhee of San Luis Obispo, Joann Rusch of Los Osos and Bonnie Young of Arroyo Grande. Photos by R. David Bowlus.
Coalesce will be holding a reception and book-signing on Sunday, Oct 20, 1-3 p.m. in the Chapel behind the store. The bookstore is located 845 Main Street in Morro Bay. The authors will be on hand to autograph your book. Books are $16.
So, support your Local Poets and celebrate Coalesce as a [actual real paper and print] publisher -- an amazing undertaking in this e-book age -- and support one of the few independent bookstores still standing (Los Osos' Volumes of Pleasure is another), and head down to Coalesce to get your autographed copy.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
History shows otherwise. The GOP, as it's presently configured, is unfit to govern.
Take a gander.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
And yes, yes, immediately the science nerds checked in. Astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson twittered an ongoing stream of "facts," and http://science.time.com/2013/10/01/what-gravity-gets-right-and-wrong-about-space/ chimed in with a long list of interesting corrections. And, yes, yes, the story is pure Hollywood -- a sort of "Ohhhhhh Sh********t" Perils of Pauline" Cute-Plucky-Heroine-Lost-In-Space scenario (And nobody does plucky like Sandra Bullock.)
And, yes, yes, there were some plot lines that got pretty improbable, but nevermind. Just sit back and go with the ride. The story has heart, the one-damned-thing-after-another peril will keep you awake, the CG work will keep your jaw down somewhere near the popcorn-littered aisle floor.
By the end, I found myself haunted by two of the movie's deeper themes: How alien, impossible, lonely, unforgiving and terrifyingly lifeless space is. And how heartbreakingly lovely the earth is. And like the main character, how much I longed to get back "home."
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Fingerprints look like ripples
because time keeps dropping
another stone into our palm.