This little rat has a teddy bear.

Happy Thanksgiving

He's really a smart turkey to think he's a sheep this time of year.

Just in case you're wondering: I didn't butcher him. Tom Turkey is still out with the sheep! So he has something to be thankful for.

Typical Delivery Day

Today was turkey delivery day. Also, art delivery day and egg delivery day and frozen chicken delivery day and thyme delivery day.

This was my favourite order of the day:

She ordered a 17 pound Bourban Red turkey, two organic frozen chickens, a dozen eggs, a portrait of her daughter, and a portrait of her cat. I threw in some fresh thyme for free.

Later, after I had brought everything and stayed a while chit chatting, I was leaving and her boyfriend said,

"Thanks for the time. I mean, we really needed time. We even bought some time today, but I think we needed more, so thanks for the time!"

She was nodding,

"Yeah, we needed more time, today." Don't we all? And what in the world are they smoking?

"I don't understand," I said.

"You gave us the free thyme, in the box," he said.

"Oh. OH! The thyme, right. The thyme, not the time. Well, you're welcome! Happy Thanksgiving."

You see, I thought, for some reason, that they were thanking me for the time they got to spend with Heather's son, Ralph, because I was a half an hour late- I needed more time! Heather lives far away from me and sent her children to pick up the turkey. (Ralph recently turned sixteen and got a drivers license.) So, Ralph was sitting in this strangers' house for half an hour, hob nobbing with unknown hippies, and then it turned out that his little sister and her friend were in the back seat of the car the entire time.

I came, finally, and handed him the styrofoam cooler. He had the most strangely delighted look on his face. Later, I called Heather and apologized on her answering machine. Still later, her message appeared on my answering machine,

"Don't be sorry! The kids had a great time picking up the turkey. Ralph thought it was just like a drug deal and it was the most fun he'd had in ages!"

Oh, the Places You'll Go

The working title for this serial I've been writing is Exhaust(ed), which Christina came up with before reading any of it. It's a good title, but also a little bit serious. I feel like there's another title out there, waiting to be found. Any ideas?

Here are some titles that have crossed my mind:

1. Smokes and Gropes Across America

2. It Wasn't Supposed to Be Like This

3. And the Moon Rose Over an Open Field

4. $59 to Anywhere

5. Insomnibus

Maybe Exhaust(ed) is still the best. My sister suggested Fifty Shades of Greyhound, but I think I'd be sued, although it is pretty much perfect. What do you think? Leave a comment.

Comment of the day: I see you have a turkey there with them sheep...

We have a turkey out with the sheep. It's a long story.

The guys from up on the hill stopped by today. They were wondering if we had a Jacob ram we could loan them.

"No," and we talked for awhile.

"I noticed you've got a turkey out there with them sheep. Is that a Bourban Red?"


"Why is he out there? You couldn't catch him, or...?"

"I just needed a place to put him."

A few hours later- Ding dong! Doorbell rings again. It's another neighbour farmer, asking if I want to come up to his place and get some hay for the sheep.

"I noticed you've got a turkey out there," he says while loading the hay into the truck, later.

"Yeah. They crush the eggs, sometimes, when you leave the males and females together, so I put him out with the sheep. Now he thinks he's a sheep."

"Oh. I thought maybe you couldn't catch him or something."

"No, I could. I mean, I can't now. I mean, I could, but- Yeah."

You'd think people had never seen a heritage turkey living with primitive horned sheep before. People seem to have turkeys on the brain today. I can't imagine why!

And Santa Will Get You...

Little Z would like a bunny rabbit for Christmas. She wants a bunny so badly, and she is so good at wanting a bunny, that she devised a plan: she would get a cage with food and water and everything, set it up on Christmas Eve, and Santa would put a bunny in the cage.

She saved her money for two or three years (seriously) and bought a cage. The cage is called, "Rabbit Home". She bought the water bottle, and the little food thing that clips to the side. We have it all set up in her room, now. There is even this funny thing at the store, which she hasn't bought yet but probably will, that is a little tiny hay feeder to put the Timothy Hay in for the bunny. It looks just like every other hay feeder, but it's super tiny!

So, you've got to emphasize the Santa myth a lot and make sure your kid is really good, right? So BAH tells her, tonight,

"If you're not good, Santa is going to bring you a yak instead of a bunny. And a yak is so big, it won't even fit in that bunny cage you got!"

"Yeah," I said. (Solidarity is important in parenting.) "If you're not good, Santa will bring you a yak! He'll just leave a yak in your bedroom!"

"Neat!" she said. "I would like that!"

Writing Notes

The next chapter (coming out Monday) of The Book is a bit different from the first. The tone is entirely changed. This was unintentional. It's the kind of thing that would have stopped me in my tracks, had I not promised to post a segment every Monday. I would have thought, well, now I have to go back and rewrite the first bit, because the second bit and the first don't completely match... and then it would happen again, and again, and I would give up, maybe. But this time, I'm just going to keep moving forward, like a this shark.

I suppose there are changes in tone in other books, too. When the Bloggess wrote her book, the beginning was a little bit insane. She kept referring back to the study guide and how you would be talking about this book in your English class. English class?

Anyway, yeah. I don't know what was going on. I decided I was going to illustrate this book, and it just kind of went off the deep end. But I can't decide that it's bad. I don't know what it is. I do know I've been putting off telling this story for twenty years, and I might as well tell it, one way or another. Oddly, I don't think I've ever even talked about it much to anyone.

Things you have to look forward to:

More Mild Molestations
Pennsylvania BINGO
The Blizzard of '93
Soul Mate Reunion
Groundhog Day
Sleep Deprivation in an Icy Wonderland (or Why I Woke You Up in the Most Beautiful Place in the World)
78 Pounds of Books at 7,000 Feet

And so it stays. The same. The same varying strange. Like the bus trip, actually.

The Turkey Who Thinks He is a Sheep

One of these things is not like the other.

Tom Turkey thinks he is a sheep.

Last spring, Mrs. Turkey laid some eggs. We had had a terrible time hatching turkey eggs, and I read somewhere that male turkeys will sometimes stomp on the eggs. I didn't want that to happen, so I decided to separate them, and I just put Tom Turkey outside with the sheep. I did not give this any kind of thought at all, really. I just knew I had to separate those eggs from Tom Turkey.

At first, Tom still acted like a turkey, perching on a high point at night and gobbling to the wild turkeys in the forest. Slowly, though, he began to act more and more like a sheep. He started sleeping on the ground, next to the other sheep. When I rotated the sheep's pasture, he trotted along with the herd and went right along with them. And now, he just seems to think he's a sheep.

I don't feed him any turkey food. He eats grass and bugs. In this sense, he's the perfect turkey. He forages for everything. I bet he would be mighty tasty, but my Thanksgiving includes no plans to butcher Tom Turkey. I've grown fond of him.

Two days ago, I rotated the sheep's pasture again, and Tom got separated from the little herd. When Tom realized all of his friends were gone, he quickly flew over to the sheep. Seeing a giant bird flying straight towards them, all of the sheep stampeded in the opposite direction, with Tom flying after them, screaming "gobble gobble gobble!" or "Wait, my friends, wait for me! Where are you going? Wait for me!" Everyone calmed down once Tom landed.

I don't know how he reconciles this flying thing with being a sheep. Although we might count sheep flying over our beds at night, in reality, a sheep can't fly. But Tom Turkey can. And then there's the obvious: Tom could just fly away, if he wanted to. But he doesn't. Because he's a sheep.

New Art Work

This is my kitty, Tigery Cat, back when she fought in la Resistance:

I've offered to do your pet in uniform for a small price on etsy. Remember: you get 30% off, coupon code: MindlessMinion .

This was so much fun to do. BAH thinks I should give the sheep a similar treatment. And then I should do Bodkay (Cat #2), wearing a fez and smoking a pipe. All in good time, I guess. I don't know about the pipe! Smoking would be bad for Bodkay's health.

Alternatively, I could do a portrait of your head on an animal body. Your choice. Still $40.

First Commissioned Portrait

This is drawn in a computer program, then printed, then transferred onto wood, then painted on a little bit, and then I added a glaze. It's all based on a photograph. I have a question, though: how much should I charge? The size is 8 by 10. It's on wood.

I just have absolutely no idea. It seems like such an improper question, somehow.

This one, by the way, is already paid for- it was a trade for something beautiful that another artist did. I'll show you what I got for it in a different post. (It's night right now, and so not a good time to take a picture of it.) But now people are asking me about portraits of their children and such. Which is great! And terrifying, honestly.

The Book: Prequel

When I first started driving, I needed someone to be sitting with me in order to drive well. It's difficult to say why, but when someone else was with me, I was a cautious driver. When I was alone, however, I might take a hairpin curve at sixty.

Writing is like that, too. If I write here, I try real hard and stuff. If I "write a book" which some fantasy person in the faraway future is going to read, it just doesn't turn out right. I've been writing the book I promised, and... it's blah. Yucky. It has its moments, and I'm not just going to scrap the whole thing, but still. Blah.

So, this is the new plan: you are going to be in the car with me. You are going to scream if I am approaching the corner at sixty. You are going to be the observer of my electrons, and by the very act of reading, you will affect the reality of my writing.

Every Monday, I will post a new chapter to the book, which I have yet to title. It is the mostly true story of a journey I took twenty years ago from Colorado to Pennsylvania, via Greyhound bus. As the crow flies, that's 1,680 miles (2,704 kilometers) by bus. I was young and naive and silly and I wore a big white coat (my Grace Kelly coat) the whole way.

Every Monday, I will post a new chapter.

If a Monday goes by when I do not post a chapter, you may flog me until I type out those words. Or maybe just send me a sweet little reminder.

I'm still unsure if I should include pictures. Today, though, I have one. This was the original title and cover picture:

but then I changed the content. And the title doesn't fit, anymore.

"I'm in need!"

When you're poor, it becomes an imperative to hide it. You'll do anything so that no one notices you are any different from anyone else, in any income level. We're all the same. We're all middle class. Nobody is different in any way. Nothing to see, here. Move along.

My grandma and grandpa struggled to raise six children, and years after the children were grown, Grandma was still in this state of mind where she didn't need any help, no thank you. She sent me $20 once, and I sent it back to her, saying I didn't need it, it was okay, and she got really mad at me! She wanted me to have that money. It was shameful to her, somehow, that I should send it back. I learned my lesson and alway kept her money, from then on.

Grandma is a Christian. She would like her children to go to church with her, but basically, none of the six kids turned out to be religious. Occasionally, one will go with her to church, but really just to make her happy. I suppose that it usually does make her happy when they go to church with her, except for this one time, years and years ago, when my Aunt Donna went to church with Grandma.

Aunt Donna has since passed on. One thing I remember about her was that she didn't worry about what anyone thought of her.

This church visit was before I was born. Donna was a young adult, in her twenties, and she went to church with Grandma one Sunday. They sat through the sermon, the psalms, the whatever they do in church, and the collection. At this church, the pastor was a little bit modern. When he got all of the collection together, he would hold up this tray of money, and say,

"If anyone here is in need, and needs this money more than this church, please come and take of this money, now."

Generally, everyone just sat there for a minute. Nothing happened. Then, they said a prayer.

That was how it worked. He just said that, but basically nobody took the money.

On this particular day, however, Aunt Donna was with Grandma. The pastor took the collection, held up the tray of cash, and said,

"If anyone here is in need, and needs this money more than this church, please come and take of this money, now."

And Aunt Donna stood up.

"What are you doing?" Grandma whispered, urgently. She knew, though. She knew exactly what Donna was doing.

"I'm in need," said Donna.

And she walked up to the pastor, and she took a handful of cash. She marched right back to her seat and stuck the money in her purse.

She was in need.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall, and see the look on Grandma's face when she did that!


So, I was continuing my quest for old tax documents today, and came across this from 1998:

This was when I worked at Purgatory. Purgatory was a ski resort, just up the mountain from Durango, Colorado. Now, they call it "Durango Mountain Resort". Really? The river that runs through Durango is called "Las Animas" or "The River of Lost Souls," which, to my mind, means that Purgatory is, I mean, I just can't, I mean... WHY? WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU CHANGE THE NAME OF PURGATORY? WHY?

It was too cool, that's why.

So, to take stock:

1. Purgatory is now Durango Mountain Resort.

2. The Center for Inner Peace, where I got married, is now a Starbuck's.

3. USC Pueblo, where I got my teacher training, is now... I can't remember what they changed the name to.

Anyway, it's still kind of cool to have a name tag that says I work at a hotel in Purgatory, don't you think? Maybe I'll just start wearing it around. I'm sure it will impress the sheep.

Update: I was looking at the web site for Durango Mountain Resort, and they have added the "Purgatory" to the beginning, now. Well, okay. Better.

Being Sentimental about a Car

This is my aunt, Lou Buckingham, singing about her favorite car, a Valiant:

A friend of mine is sad to lose a car this week. I think we've all been there. My favorite car, that I still miss, was a '79 Pontiac Bonneville. It was a boat. Everyone got out of my way, wherever I went. I could merge into traffic in the space of ten feet. It was brown with a Lando top. Tan interior. Once, I fell asleep in the back of it on my coffee break, woke up disoriented, and snuck back into work at Sears. No one seemed to notice I'd been gone for an hour or so. It was the kind of car you could stretch out in the back of and take a nap. It had some after-factory upgrades. It was, you know, my ride.

I always drove it with the windows open. I can almost still feel the wind.

The Rules for a Good Star Trek Movie, Old Style

As I continue watching the Star Trek movies, in order, one per weekend, I've started to notice a pattern.

First of all, let me mention that I have now completed movies one through six, which all feature the original cast, and only the original cast from the original TV series. I notice the next one will have some Next Generation characters, so this is probably a turning point in the movies. The best of the first six movies is Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home. The worst is the one right after that, Star Trek V, the Final Frontier, which was directed by William Shatner. So, the elements of a good Star Trek movie, thus far, are these:

1. Enterprise Worship: It must contain a long, drawn out shot of the Enterprise.

2. Mild mannered conflict between Spock and McCoy

3. A disobeying of orders from Star Fleet

4. Mechanical Failures

5. A triumph, against all odds, of emotion over logic

6. The friendship between Spock and Jim plays a central role

7. Either Jim or Spock makes a huge sacrifice and expects to die

8. Humor in the direst circumstances

I've noticed the more recent movies have left some old time fans disappointed, who say the new movies don't have the same spirit as the old ones. Maybe the new movies were missing a few of these elements? Hard core Trekkies, be sure and argue with me! I love arguing about Sci Fi. It's so much more fun than real life.

Spock, "did too much LDS in the sixties," says Captain Kirk.


I took Little Z trick or treating last night. We have no neighborhood, so I drove her to the nearest town. In a certain neighborhood there, people go to great lengths to celebrate Halloween. I was the Orange Guy (I put on an orange rain coat after the picture) and Little Z was a vampire. That's her hand there, holding up the red cape over her face.

I parked in front of a house decorated with gigantic, inflated white ghosts and playing spooky music. My little vampire marched right by the house, not stopping, even though goblins on the front porch clearly had a pot of candy waiting for us.

"Shouldn't we stop there? They have candy."

"NO!" she said, marching forward down the road.

I, the bearded orange guy, ran after her. Little V was running down the street, full steam.

"How about this one?" I yelled after her.


"This one?" I panted.

"Um... That one!"

Finally, she stopped in front of a little house, with one pumpkin, and the porch light on. But she didn't move.

"Go ahead," I encouraged. "Walk up and ring the doorbell."

She stood still.

"Go ahead. It's all right. I'll go with you."

Finally, she approached the first door. Trick or treat stated. Candy acquired. At the fifth house we had passed.

The house after that looked pleasant enough. She rang the door bell, said the required words, and the guy said,

"Oh, hey, we don't have any candy. But have a nice Halloween!"

Note to that guy: If everyone in your neighborhood is Halloween crazy, and you have no candy, maybe you should turn your porch light off. Just for one night.

And, on to the next house. But, no. It was too highly decorated. Music blaring. Orange lights blinking.

"Go ahead," I said. "They want to give you candy. Just go to the front door."


"Don't be afraid."

"I'm not afraid. It just doesn't... feel right."

A witch on the front porch came out,

"It's okay! Don't be afraid! It's all fake! We have candy!"

But she wouldn't go. Tomb stones lined the yard.

And so it went. The houses that were most decked out for Halloween, we passed, and the modest, one pumpkin homes were visited and candy was generally acquired. Also, we got notes about how much God loves us, and even a business card for a dog walking service!

And we walked on. The longer we walked, the more her resolve weakened, and the more highly decorated houses we visited. Also, I think all of the witches chasing us saying, "I have candy! Come back!" softened her feelings towards the Halloween extremists.

One house had a quiet young man with a candy dish that had a bony hand attached to it. When Little Vampire tried to grab the candy, the hand grabbed her! It grabbed her three times, until she figured out how to foil it. She was delighted and let out a happy giggle.

In the end, we visited many of the houses we had skipped the first time, on the way back to the car. And to all of the witches who yelled, "Wait! We have candy!" I say,

I'm sorry. I don't know what was going through her head. I wasn't about to force her to go to your house. But, I appreciate your effort. Maybe next year, we'll take your candy.

Countyside in Authentica

Looking for old tax documents today, I naturally found a bunch of things completely unrelated to taxes. I found a folder full of drawings I did when I was fourteen. All of them are signed, dated and titled. (I felt at the time that it was necessary to document the development of my genius and creativity.) This one I titled, "Countyside in Authentica":

I'm pretty sure I meant "Countryside," but my genius had not yet developed spelling skills. "Authentica," however, was intentional. I remember making this drawing. I remember the day clearly. I ran out of green marker, and to make it match, drew the person (alien?) repainting it. I remember drawing something earlier in the day that my dad said was bad because the perspective was too unlikely and unrealistic, so I threw it away and drew this. This is much more likely!

Vampires and Robots

Christina has a great blog over at Vampires and Robots, where she recently told a hilarious and entertaining zombie story. (My favorite chapter was the one about the Craigslist ads during the zombie apocalypse.) I have been fiddling around with graphic design and asked her if I could redo her title for her. This is what I came up with:

Then I noticed that she has a subtitle, too, so I added that here:

Feedback? Christina? I can change the size to fit your blog. Maybe.