Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Flash FridayFictioneers… Lost Opportunity!

My Truck

She’s gone!!!

I came across her… sentinel on a country lane… green mottled skin slowly rusting to a different hue.  I was conflicted in my feelings toward her.  First surprise, then awe at her beauty.  But so many questions.  Whose? Was she afraid, tucked away in the woods beneath a blanket of leaves?  She looked so forlorn in her abandoned state… yet, somehow majestic in her loneliness.  I was in love.  I wanted to paint her.

I would always take a moment to visit.

Then today… GoneWhisked away by an alien starship, the ground dusted for prints and wiped clean.

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It’s Friday, and time for 100-word Flash #FridayFictioneers… 

Flash Fiction over at Madison Woods
When I saw Madison’s photo, I knew exactly what I was going to write about, except I didn’t know how I was going to do it.  After all, this is supposed to be fiction, and I had been kind of cheating lately with the memoir thing.  I think this may be a combo.

I was on Kanaka Bay Road one day (and no… this Island isn’t Hawaiian) and came across this old truck, parked next to the road.  It was beautiful, sitting in the shade, and I thought it would be a great subject to paint.  I love paintings of old abandoned things.  My friend Matt, had painted one recently and I thought he would be the perfect guy to do the job.  He may have been in his Hay Bale Period by then, because I begged him to do it and he wouldn’t budge.  But in his defense, he really would rather do boats, and he is very good.  Next, I begged my friend Jill, but she was more into crows and nature.  I tried to explain that there were trees and things, but to no avail.  Lately she is doing landscapes and has just done a rooster that I think is wonderful.

This begging went on for years with those two.

San Juan Island is blessed with many fine artists, and one of my favorites is famous for her dog paintings.  I should have asked her, but Jaime has moved on to bigger animals now and would most likely not be too interested in my truck.  I might have been able to con her daughter, Jennifer, into doing it… she did a tractor design on one of her County Fair T-Shirts one year… wearable works of art.

I, of course, am far too insecure to try to actually draw or paint the truck myself, although I fully intend to hand tint a black and white photo I made.  I once took a course in hand tinting B&W’s, from Dianne Poinski in Sacramento.

I was walking through the Sacramento Airport a few years ago, and was stopped in my tracks, just like with the truck, by a photo of The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.  That building is another obsession of mine.   It was part of a display of Dianne’s works.  I copied the info, and ended up purchasing a hand tinted photo… it is one of my proudest possessions, right up there with the sketch Christopher Young did for me, of Madame X (another passion), at the Met in NYC.  And a favorite photo of the State Street Subway Entrance, that I had used so many times in Chicago, taken and printed by Jamie Powell Sheppard.  So, I guess I could have done the truck, and still will someday.  When I took the course, Dianne gave us prints of her photos, on special paper, to learn on.  She is a pretty good teacher, because I thought one of my efforts came out pretty well, and I love the photo.

Two days ago, I went back out to Kanaka Bay.  I had not been on that road for about six months, and was looking forward to seeing the truck again.  But, it was gone.  I wasn’t sure I had the right place, but it had to be, since the old fence with the weathered ‘No Trespassing’ sign was there.  There was not a trace of the truck to be found.  I was amazed and a bit disjointed to have lost an old friend.  Perhaps someone is restoring her beauty somewhere… and I will get to visit again.

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Thought I’d share this with the Moonshiners this week.  One of my first tries to combine a 100 word flash fiction story with a photo essay.  I had been in Friday Fictioneers less than a month, and had only written one fiction piece for Quill Shiv.  Actually, this is more of a vignette or memoir piece, what would you call it.  But, this was the first time I expanded to write some kind of essay afterwards.  Tune in next week to see what happens to the truck.

 

Thanks Natalie for keeping the lights on at the Still.

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #4… “When the Moon Hits Your Eye”

Lost in endless space
My first telescopic gift
Moon, Stars my new friends.

Backyard after dark,
Oohs and awes with each focus
Celestial beings.

And, Steely Dan says
‘That The Stars Come Out At Night’,
Oh, they do…they do!

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I don’t know how ideas come into people’s minds. When I looked at Quill’s Haiku photo prompt, I thought… “what in the hell am I going to do with that?”. Then it hit me… My telescope!

When I was in college, I had to pick an elective science course. I chose Astronomy. One night the class went out to look at the stars, there were only a few telescopes and about 30 budding astronomers. The next day I bought a telescope. That night I set it up in my parent’s backyard, and marveled at the Moon. The stars were not that big a deal with my little telescope, but the Moon… That was Fantastic! The telescope also came in handy at the next field trip… there were a lot of girls in that class.

When my daughter Krista went off to Chicago to attend The Theater School of DePaul University, she too had to pick an elective science course. I suggested Astronomy.

I don’t know why I thought of that, so I called and said “Hey, how did you like that Astronomy class in college?”. She said “Oh, I don’t know. I was an acting major, and it was at 8 o’clock in the morning. The lights were always out, and it made me sleepy”. She did say that she thought she  enjoyed it.  But, I am reminded, that recently when a comet or some such celestial phenom was due, she stayed up half the night in sleeping bags outside, so her daughter could witness the event.

Two years ago, I was staying with a friend in Sacramento. Her neighbor had a big telescope in his backyard. He invited us over for a look. As I focused the full Moon into view, I got the same chills I had experienced over 45 years before.

Looking for an elective science?  Astronomy!

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Quill Shiv took The Haiku Bombers into Space this week… here’s the link if you would like to try… https://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/haiku-bombers-prompt-4/

FRIDAY FLASH FICTIONEERS… Bang!

                                          1959… Modoc County, California

Cruising down a rutted farm road. Clinging for dear life to the hood of a ’48 Mercury… engine purring, one of those Moon footprint gas pedals on the floor.  Searching for rabbits, frozen in their tracks by blare of the headlights piercing our way through the darkness.  I’m scared, cold, excited and have never seen ‘so many stars come out at night’.

There’s one!!!

I blast away with the 10 gauge… it’s a wonder I don’t fly off the Merc. I didn’t hit any that night.

What else would you expect from a city slicker?

This story is a contribution to Friday Flash Fictioneers… see what it’s all about @  Madison Woods and read the many takes on her photo prompt.


俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #3… Watchmaker’s Car

                                                      young Watchmaker’s girls,

                                                      home from school patiently pose,

                                                      in clothes neatly pressed.


                                                       so long ago watches cleaned,

                                                       only buck fifty the fee,

                                                       but, gassed up the car.


                                                        little black Austin Bantam,

                                                        family of six fit inside,

                                                        they must have been squished.

Once again, it’s Haiku Time.  This week’s prompt from Quill Shiv, was to find a photo of children and be inspired… http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/haiku-bombers-prompt-3/

I chose this family photo, from I would guess circa 1930.  My Grand father was a watchmaker, jeweler, optician, and railroad watch inspector in Sacramento.  This was the family car and I’ve quite a few photos of it.  My grandparents had 5 kids, and my father would drive all the kids to school in it.  As you can see, it is quite small.  When he was in high school, as a prank, his friends carried it up to the stage before an assembly, and left it there.  My aunts Laura and Emily pose above with the Austin Bantam auto, and my grandfather Theodore is below, probably repairing a watch or two.


Thought I would share…

The Eye of Faith Vintage 11.11.11.

Check out these amazing specimen of a spectacle we were able to pick up recently! Aren’t they a blast?!

Currently foreseeing hundreds of days of pleasure and riot had in these cool new specs. Definitely digging a sort of Bram Stoker’s Dracula meets Something Wicked This Way Comes carnival creepshow kind of vibe with these ones.

Thought this would be a good opportunity to show off the iwickedly peculiar MAGICA SEXUALIS we just happened to stumble upon. A very exciting and rare addition to our dark collection. The book documents the many strange and fascinating sexual practices that have been attributed to magic and witchcraft (Not a bad subject to brush up on…).

We are very lucky to own a first edition of the book printed in 1934, featuring some immaculate cover illustrations designed by Aubrey Beardsley. They don’t make them like they used to, is for sure.

So, it’s…

View original post 96 more words

HEALING and THE POPE’S CEILING

My friend Mel in Sacramento sent me this animation.  He said it was one of the most amazing he had ever seen.  I quite agree.

I am very squeamish when it comes to anything medical.  I don’t even like to hear a description, much less see it.   My own blood does not bother me, but please, don’t tell me about your operation.  So I wasn’t sure when I saw the opening seconds, but was glad I stayed the course, for I sure learned a lot.

Probably what kept me watching, was the subject (patient), was an artist working on restoring the paintings in the Sistine Chapel… a subject dear to my heart, as Ross King’s book Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling is one of my favorites.

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #2… St. Paddy’s Tacos

          Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.  
My result:
                         You can make your own 
                         corned beef, cabbage and salsa
                         at the taco bar.
 
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco.  Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene.  He had just reopened The Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.  The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition, and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired.   Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults.  So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the The Town House a success.  Big lunch business, big after-work bar business.  He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with.  Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s.  For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back in the kitchen to replenish the supplies.  But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
Saint Patrick’s Day was coming up, and The Town House, along with every other bar and restaurant in Sacramento… no, in the United States… was looking for ways to make some money off one of our more important Drinking Holidays.  I had the bright idea to put corned beef and cabbage on our Taco Bar for the day.  Jerry agreed that it was a brilliant idea, and gave me full credit, in case it bombed.  Getting free publicity was not too difficult, since we always made sure to ‘take good care of’ certain writers from up the street.  Low and behold, we saw some nice mentions in the gossip and the What’s Going On In Town sections of the Bee the day before, and our Happy Hour was packed that St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, two guys drove down from Hangtown at lunch time to try the CB&C Tacos.  I had to plead with the cook to make some for them.  At Happy Hour, the idea was well received, lots of new people came in, and best of all… Mr. Franco even stuck around to help stock the Taco Bar.
So, when I saw the photo prompt for this week’s Haiku… for some reason, I thought of those Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos, and working at The Town House.
About 4 months later, I left for the Neon Restaurant Lights of Chicago.  I later heard that the Town House had closed and that Franco was the chef at a seafood joint in Cape Cod.  Last time I was in SacTown, it was a gay bar.

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #2… St. Paddy’s Tacos

          Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.  

My result:

                         You can make your own 
                         corned beef, cabbage and salsa
                         at the taco bar.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco.  Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene.  He had just reopened The Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.  The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition, and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired.   Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults.  So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.

It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the The Town House a success.  Big lunch business, big after-work bar business.  He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with.  Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s.  For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back in the kitchen to replenish the supplies.  But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.

Saint Patrick’s Day was coming up, and The Town House, along with every other bar and restaurant in Sacramento… no, in the United States… was looking for ways to make some money off one of our more important Drinking Holidays.  I had the bright idea to put corned beef and cabbage on our Taco Bar for the day.  Jerry agreed that it was a brilliant idea, and gave me full credit, in case it bombed.  Getting free publicity was not too difficult, since we always made sure to ‘take good care of’ certain writers from up the street.  Low and behold, we saw some nice mentions in the gossip and the What’s Going On In Town sections of the Bee the day before, and our Happy Hour was packed that St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, two guys drove down from Hangtown at lunch time to try the CB&C Tacos.  I had to plead with the cook to make some for them.  At Happy Hour, the idea was well received, lots of new people came in, and best of all… Mr. Franco even stuck around to help stock the Taco Bar.
So, when I saw the photo prompt for this week’s Haiku… for some reason, I thought of those Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos, and working at The Town House.
About 4 months later, I left for the Neon Restaurant Lights of Chicago.  I later heard that the Town House had closed and that Franco was the chef at a seafood joint in Cape Cod.  Last time I was in SacTown, it was a gay bar.

FLASH FICTION FACTION… ‘Little Pan Dora’

She was just a girl, but she had managed to break the magician’s code. As she entered the cinderblock building, Pan almost choked on the bile produced, not only by the smell, but the fear that was beading the sweat on her forehead. She knew her job, now she just needed to find the container. They had said it was in the shape of a bucket, that she should not open it. Barely seeing, more like feeling, Pan searched. It would have been nice to have had a torch, but then batteries cost a lot these days.

It was hard to concentrate, with one ear looking toward the door, the other searching the room for any sense of movement. The floor was greasy and made for slippery going, but at last she found a stack of what felt like buckets. Just one was needed, she was surprised at how easily it lifted.

Once outside, after adjusting for sunlight and checking for any eyes that might be about, she examined her catch. Yes, a dirty blue, as described, with just a swish of liquid inside. The others had been as easy to heft, so she had assumed they were all the same… this wasn’t just an empty bucket.

But then, her little-girlness got the better of her, and Pan had to look. Carefully prying the lid, she was almost knocked over by the giant spider shooting up through the crack at the edge. Like a Whirling Dervish, it started rising in the air, trailing a thick web behind. The web grew so fast it finally was like a huge blimp tethered to the ground, and when the screaming inside started, she ran as fast as she could… wondering what she would tell her bosses.  

Another photo prompt… this one for Flash Fiction Faction, by Quill Shiv.   Thought I’d at least give some fiction a try.  This is what I made up after looking at the photo.  I can’t think of a title.  I now have a title… thanks to a kind comment by Quill… it helps to know a real writer, and I am shamelessly using her quote.
And this is what started this fiction madness… maybe you would like to try…
http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/342012-flash-fiction-faction-prompt/

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #1… Reflection

The prompt is REFLECTION…

looking in the pool
behind my eyes, I try to see
why for am I here?

Well, that’s my effort. I hope it’s a Haiku… not sure really. I don’t know what one is to be honest, and reading the Wiki explanation made me more confused than ever. I had heard the term and read some. I liked them, I think. I will tell you one thing… I have not thought of ‘syllables’ for 50 years. So, I am happy I tried, and will try to learn more about Haikus.

The Haiku Bomber is responsible for my sudden poetic turn… http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/the-haiku-bombers-prompt-1/

Do have a look at Quill Shiv’s challenge and maybe you will find your inner haijin.

The photo is by Michal Fanta… http://www.redbubble.com/people/michalfanta/works/3777140-water-drop-photography-water-in-time-self-reflection

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