Saturday, July 25, 2009


TwitterFriend requested I post the Henna job. Done with a Lush color. I'm not grumpy; I was trying to focus the camera. That's my face when I'm not using it for something else. Huh; I've been told to cheer up by complete strangers. The phiz do look kinda cold when it's not being employed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I'm Not At The San Diego Comicon

1. Airline pressurization. I know why the babies scream during flight; if it hurts an adult like that, imagine what it's like for them while their little ear membranes are shredded.

2. Airline security. From what I've heard, I'd be closer to getting arrested. Or wearing a raincoat to the security line and when they ask me to take it off -- well, wearing nothing but one's social security number marker'd onto one's arm would probably be more bad taste than they could deal with. It would be fun on YouTube, though.

3. Pinched nerve; carrying stuff can lock this one down, and lose me up to 45% of function. I can't even drive like this; it's literally like being drunk. Not to mention blind with pain.

4. Stress attacks; I don't need to be in a hospital away from home going in insane circles by my emergency room bed, so I don't rip out my IV.

5. Virtual model becoming more and more successful, for example, the Desert Peach webcomic.

6. By building the virtual model, more people can take advantage of it; ultimately, this will again make available authors and artists who are distant, aging or ill.

7. Inside information says that the new virtual market is getting very close to working, and the more time I spend on it the more I will be ready when it hits.

8. I don't need anybody's autograph. We are all monkeys on this planet, with the same belly-buttons and toenails.

9. The closest connection I need to a movie star is through his or her work; the library will get just about any DVD I want, or I can get me some nice collections.

10. If the virtual panel ever gets off the ground, I can stay up all night at Comicon in my pajamas with my cats.

The Desert Peach Blog

If I haven't posted here in a while, I'm posting on the Desert Peach webcomic site.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fledgling Funnies

The barn swallows and house finches pumped out masses of kids this year. The fledglings are gathering between floppy baby flight (looking rather like autumn termites) on the neighbor's garage roof. People almost have to duck as the gangs of amateur flyers flip by.

Yesterday, when the adult swallows were desperately shoving food into crowds of peeping babies, the young finches piled into the mix, and started to beg and cheep.

They got fed. We don't know if the young swallows pulled the feed-me trick on the adult finches.

Very young bald eagle coming up the river couple of weeks ago ran into his first fast tailwind; could almost hear him/her yelling "WHOA!!!!" as the wind pushed him wildly right back into a gang of crows who did NOT want the predator gang in their neighborhood.

Two days ago, a young bald sat on a snag while a bunch of baby crows yelled at the big kid, not daring to get as close as their parents would have.

An adult eagle was sitting on a tree by the river, snapping at a crow as it swooped past his head. They looked more like they were amusing themselves than fighting. It was noplace near a nesting area.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Read THE DESERT PEACH #1 on our new handy dandy WEB READER; NO PAGE LOAD TIMES!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What love means to me (vote if you're DA)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Very Own White Supremacist?

In 2006, somebody painted this swastika on the former Bank of America building in Clallam Bay.

Neither of the small papers I write and photograph for wanted the story. Since newspapers are being pressured by the internet into becoming little more than flyers for the local tourism or sports industry, this made sense; swastikas won't sell any fishing licenses or stadium seats (it might sell an avant-garde art-walk, but that's a few years in the future).

Some people said whoever did it must be mad at the Makah for whatever reason people get mad at the Injuns around here (it doesn't take much and usually has to do with some form of fishing squabble). But since it was on the bank building, it might have been a vague protest against actions on the part of the bank itself.

To you and me, the swastika is only an ancient worldwide spiritual symbol that a bunch of right-wing ignoramuses swiped for their own uses. A lot of less-well-read people think the symbol is something bad having to do with old war movies and possibly Communism. It's a real attention-getter, and not for announcing anything nice like the arrival of the Mexican ice-cream sedan. So whoever had painted the sun-cross was mad about something.

At the time, the whole town was pretty steamed over being abandoned by the only bank within thirty miles (I said the bank was pulling out of smaller towns to invest in the heating housing market, and pulled all our funds out of our stocks). Some of the oldsters cranked out that "We ain't had a bank before and we can get along without one now!" in the same tones that sounded like they might have been able to get along without the sheriff's deputy or the fire department. Or, in the case of the church community, the theory that the earth revolved around the sun.

Earlier in 2009, I received a call to get up to the memorial rock, fast. The rock is in the parking lot at the entrace to Sekiu. Everybody from basketball-crazed teens to relatives with birthday or health wishes to the local Christians spray-paint messages on the rock, which over time has become as smooth as melting ice with layers of pigment. The chamber of commerce and the highway authorities allow this as a channel for graffiti that might otherwise end up on the walls of the abandoned cannery or somebody's boat-storage garage.

When I made it to the rock, Sasha Medlen, the Community Action Team leader, hired as part of the Clallam Bay/Sekiu chamber of commerce's USDA grant for improving the towns, was desperately trying to spray-paint over the latest swastika. This time it was accompanied by the words "White Power." I took a quick shot of the little that was left and later compared the two designs.

Whoever painted the first swastika probably painted the second swastika. They're not that easy to paint correctly - they demand exact lengths and corners not to come out unevenly - and whoever had done it, had done it freehand.

Some people suggested it was painted because the Forks basketball team lost to the Neah Bay basketball team. Team violence once tore the sink off the men's side of the Clallam Bay Park restroom. Somebody's mad about something. We'll see.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Neah Bay 4th of July.

Perfect 4th of July. Made it down the Shi Shi trail to the beach, on the Pacific Ocean. The trail wasn't as strenuous as we'd been led to believe. The part of the trail on the Makah nation was dry, well-maintained and delightful, right up to the carved metal marker in the trail that marked the boundary.

It was a bit muddy after leaving Makah lands, but other walkers had developed their own dry highland portages. These were narrow but interesting and added to the sense of adventure.

Once the trail makes it to the beach, there's only one way down: straight down for about 300 feet. Tree-roots and a couple of sharp switchbacks make it a bit easier. It's not far, though, and coming and going, just take your time and breathe and watch where you're putting your hands and feet.

Dan and I have a shifted perspective on hiking. The first hike we made in the Olympic National Park was the "takes-no-prisoners" Wagonwheel Lake trail. We did it in three hours, up and down, and our gray faces as we returned brought a park ranger on the run to see if we were all right. So maybe you should take all this claim of a trail being not so hard with a grain of salt.

The trip to the beach was well worth it. Clean, quiet, the kind of place you can leave your bags and shoes and take off to explore. Thieves hit cars at trailheads; they're unlikely to make it all the way down to the beach.

Got some beautiful shots once the mist cleared off. This view was taken from a narrow ridge to the right of the trail-head (looking out toward the water). The sea-stacks are the remainders of headlands, including the ridge we'd climbed. Barefoot, by the way; we're getting too old for this (yeah, right, watch us stop).

We even managed to find someone to take a shot of us (we ain't pretty, but we're having fun):

Once we scrambled back up the cliff and drove to Neah Bay, we had time to get some chili, chowder and frybread dippers, and settle down in our portable chairs with hot coffee to await the fireworks and enjoy non-professional beach fireworks. If you visit for any evening activities, be sure to bring a jacket or sweater, and some blankets; it's going to get chilly.

Next year we're not sitting so close. The attitude around here is, it's your skin, sit where you want. The couple sitting next to us had to jump in an explosion of sparks when a beach firework was tipped over by running kids. The woman's hand-made quilt was singed, and she had four black burn marks on her leg. Her partner couldn't stop laughing. It was pointed out that somebody always had to get hurt, at least a little, as a sacrifice to the Firework Gods, so nobody else got hurt, and it looked like this year she was Chosen Maiden.

Admittedly, it's a bit hazardous, but it spoils you for anybody else's celebrations. The excitement and racket is almost too much rush.

The fireworks were peculiar this year; Dan said the unpredictable, stacato bursts of bombs and fountains of painfully, heavy-duty explosions, all of one sequence of colors after another, didn't remind him so much of celebratory fireworks as of war; at one point he was doing air-M-60 with his hands. We both found it less than pleasant, but that may be because we sat so close. Next year we're sitting across the street, where the elders sit. We're supposed to get wise with age, right?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Makah Bracelet

This is the new Makah silver cuff Nearest commissioned for me. It's signed by the artist, Salawish (Micah Vogel). Note the style; the Nootka or Makah style is more representational than the very symbolic Haida style. It looks like it's midway between Haida and Salish.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eagle Death in Sekiu

A short article I wrote for the local papers; expanded a bit for inclusion here, with more photos. Admittedly, it's written in that crappy AP style that Hemingway got stuck with -- and that through him infects the literary world.

Young Eagle In Wire Death

The bald eagles wheeling joyously over the Sekiu docks during the fishing season lost one of their number when a young juvenile collided simultaneously with a roadside power line and another young eagle, Saturday, June 27.

The eagle did not die of electrocution, but from the collision. Rachelle Reeves, who works at Straitside Resort, witnessed the incident.

Said Reeves, "I saw a flock of four, in the corner of my eye, when I stopped and watched them, because they're always playing up here. They collided right on the wire. One of them fell into the middle of the road, limping around. One of them was on the side of the road. It was done for. It did not move at all."

The dying eagle fell into the entry driveway of Van Ripper's Resort, the surviving eagle into the middle of the road between Van Ripper's and the Straitside.

The collision was witnessed by a number of people, who ran to the site of the accident. Reeves said the surviving eagle "kept limping around because people kept on coming." As cars and more people arrived, the eagle hopped over to the Straitside parking lot and took shelter under one of the boat trailers.

Reeves saw several people calling 911. She said she didn't call herself because, "They didn't need their lines crowded up."

Reeves said a large adult - presumably female - bald eagle was swooping over the two juveniles. She said she was "pretty sure it was the mother because it was circling around." She said no one attempted to touch or move the eagles.

Steve Bang, of Seattle, was polishing his RV in the parking lot at Van Ripper's resort when he heard a series of thuds and whirled around to see two juvenile eagles falling.

"I heard them hit the line," said Bang. "I heard the thud-thud and saw both of them fall to the parking lot over there."

Asked to clarify the sequence of sounds, Bang thought a moment and then said, "One was on the line; two sickening thuds on the ground. They bounced."

Bryan Bertsch, who was passing in a truck with Fred Bykonen, of California, said, "There were three birds, playing or fighting. They were going in circles."

Bykonen immediately called 911, which relayed the report to Fish and Wildlife personnel at Olsen's resort. Jessica Slipper, Scientific Technician and Fish Checker with Fish and Wildlife, responded. She bagged the deceased bird, along with any loose feathers and called in the incident to Fish and Wildlife.

Before an officer could respond, the surviving bird regained control of its wings and took off at speed over the roof of the Straitside resort. The bird displayed no disorientation while flying.

Because the bird was momentarily out of sight it was then impossible to pick it out of the many other young and adult eagles flying around and through the trees above the town. However, none of the juvenile eagles showed any further sign of disability.

Fish and Wildlife Officer Corey Peterson responded and took control of the deceased bird, verifying details of the incident with Slipper before leaving the scene.

Linda Palumbo, of the Straitside Resort, says she has witnessed the eagles being harrassed by firecrackers when the fishing season coincides with summer holidays.

"This happens every year on the 4th of July and Fun Days," said Palumbo, who identified one of the two juveniles as this year's young from a nest in Sekiu.

She said she meant that the eagles, a dozen of which can be found on the Sekiu beach any time during the fishing season, were upset and excited by children letting off fireworks nearby.

She said she knew one of the birds, which had sometimes taken the ball she threw into the water for her dog during morning walks. Palumbo pointed out that the two juveniles were far too young for mating, and were playing, rather than being involved in a courtship dance.

A young eagle lies in a Fish and Wildlife truck after it was killed after colliding with a wire and another eagle in Sekiu, Saturday, June 27.

A young eagle, disoriented after a collision that killed another youngster, takes shelter under the boat trailers at the Straitside Resort in Sekiu, Saturday, June 27.