Thursday, September 27, 2007


Lots of grasshoppers here. But no grass. Makes ya wonder.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The silence is like velvet

Arrived last night. It's a cluster of condo-type units at the edge of a huge nature preserve. The utter, absolute silence just took my breath away. Not barren, desolate silence, but gentle, soft silence. It was like a velvet blanket over everything.

I took an hour-long hike this morning. Not so much a hike as a scramble. Clambered over lots of uneven, rocky terrain. Climbed a couple of steep grades, took in some pretty cool vistas. Pictures to come. Even during the daytime, the silence is amazing. Dense, like it has texture. I'm loving this. I can't remember ever being in such a quiet place.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In crazed pre-vacation mode

So I'm leaving on vacation on Saturday. I've never felt so unprepared for a trip, ever. I'm going to Arizona -- my first encounter with the desert -- and I'm still a few t-shirts short of a suitable wardrobe. I missed buying shorts while they were still in the stores so I ended up making cutoffs of an old pair of jeans. I have no idea what happened to my old shorts. Lost in the move, maybe. I did manage to purchase a pair of hiking shoes online. And they fit! Ta-da! But before I go, I have a buttload of work to get through.

I've had two job interviews in the past two weeks, adding to my sense of dislocation. I have a strong feeling that one or the other of them will come through. One, however, has asked me to write a short spec piece. It happens occasionally. But I also have parts of two freelance projects to deliver before Friday. How do I get myself into these things? Well, one way or the other, it will all be over in 2 days and I'll be on a plane.

One of my main vacation activities, besides hiking and hanging out by the pool will be finishing the rewrite on the second draft of my big play. (There's also my little play, but I'm not going there now.) This will be my chance to tackle this sucker. A big chunk of clean, unencumbered time. if I can't do it next week, then I better just give up. I've been whining for so long about "not having any time." Now I'll have it, so it's put up or shut up time.

Knowing how my brain works, I'm sure I'll also find myself hatching new writing projects as I absorb the new, alien environment. This has been known to happen. Damn inspiration! I don't mind that I'm going alone. I'm looking forward to reveling in the solitude and the silence. I hope the sky is very clear. I plan to lose myself (figuratively speaking) in the starry nights.

The job thing is weird. In my mind, I'm already gone from the present one, although still there in body. But I don't want to think about that. I want to think about the desert and the stars.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Going loony

This is the most exciting news since, well, I don't know when. Maybe since Spirit and Opportunity started trundling around on Mars. Maybe even longer than that. I feel like jumping up and down. Or at least up...I'll come down without any extra effort. The cause of all this nutty behavior is the announcement today of the Google Lunar X Prize. 30 million crisp dollar bills (or the electronic equivalent) to the bunch who can land a rover on the moon, drive it around a little and send back some really awesome You Tube clips.

My world, my universe just got a whole lot bigger today. The universe of possibilities for the human race just got infinitely bigger. If we're ever gonna get off this rock -- which we'd better if we hope to survive and thrive as a species -- then it's going to be the independent inventors and entrepreneurs who get us there. Don't get me wrong, NASA has done some truly remarkable things. But they're not equipped to handle the nitty gritty of regular space travel, exploration, settlement building, industry and commerce off-world. They've got limitations, constraints, politics. The kinds of things that private citizens don't have to deal with. Plus, there's that Grail of All Grails -- the profit motive. There's money to be made out there, boys and girls, and some enterprising individuals are not gonna let a few million miles and the vacuum of space stand in their way.

I'm not going to be on an X Prize team. I'm not going to be one of the first settlers or mine owners on the Moon. I'm probably never going to leave this planet. But knowing that somebody not too far from now will move into a condo with an Earth view just thrills me to my tippy toes. We may just make in this big ol' universe after all.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Here's how I'm spending my weekend

After the stellar weather of last weekend, today is back to the usual summer hot'n'humid. And I am in slug mode, so I'm not about to join the legions of runners jogging up the block to the park. I did make a foray downtown to Bed, Bath & Beyond -- or, as I have begun calling it, Bed, Bath & Bordello -- for several unglamorous but highly utilitarian items such as a wastebasket and a doormat. I also stopped at the gourmet grocery for some fresh-squeezed OJ and some 70% cacao dark chocolate. Hey! A girl's gotta eat, ya know! And of course the liquor store for a cold bottle of pinot grigio. This has all been run-up to what is becoming the high point of my weekend: diving into the remaining cartons in the guest room closet.

Now that Brian has taken all of his sweaty-smelly young guy clothes and belongings and headed back to college, I can finally turn the second bedroom into a space that other people can actually use. All the remaining cartons from the move were stashed in the closet here, just waiting for this very moment. So, glass of wine in hand, I have begun!

It's like I'm having flashbacks! While tearing up 10-year-old bank statements and cancelled checks, I'm remembering the guys I was dating then. It was right after I got divorced and I was casting the net rather widely. (As opposed to now, when I've become completely disillusioned and pulled the net out of the water completely - but that's another story.) Anyway, as I work my way through the pinot, I'm doing some weird time traveling. I'm looking at some of these old checks and I don't even remember who the payees are that I've written them too. Then an old rent check goes by and I go, "oh man! look what I was paying back then!" Or some weird name crops up and I'm thinking "who the hell was that and why was I paying him $74.12? And then there's a check to my ex and I'm wondering why the fuck I was giving him money at all. He should have been giving me...well, never mind. That's a long, strange tale and it's not over yet. But I think when all is said and done, everything comes out even in the end. At least I hope so.

And then there's the 12-year-old tax returns. I don't need to keep them, do I? I mean, why would anyone want to look at them? What value could they possibly have? But then you think of, oh, Law & Order, and how they sift through all this seemingly irrelevant old stuff and come up with the murderer. So I'm thinking, maybe I should save them in case I get murdered or am accused of murder because you never know what kind of information they'll be able to glean from my stupid tax returns. And besides, after I get rid of all these bank statements and financial statements and such, I'll have so much room left that a few years' worth of tax returns won't seem like much.

It all seems so quaint now, these paper checks and paper statements and paper receipts. After resisting for quite a while, I have whole-heartedly embraced online banking and electronic bill-paying. So these days, I get very few actual bills and no actual bank statements or checks. I can see them all online. So never again will I be accumulating this shit. I have left that job to Bank of America. And you can bet your whatever you bet that they've got these things archived away on some backroom server. So when the detectives from whatever precinct it is come looking for my records, it's they and not I who will have to come up with them. And then there's all this space that is magically appearing in my closet. I'm dizzy with ideas about what to do with the space.

And by the way, there's clean sheets on the bed now.