2011 001

It doesn’t feel right to use pictures of Luka as my muse anymore. My tone is going to shift and wander so in the spirit of moving forward I’m digging through my draft folder, ideally looking for something that will make me laugh. My mode in this current climate generally alternates between sad or blisteringly angry.

A rare picture of me, with filthy scarred legs because I’m at the farm. My family and friends know they have to be quick and they have to be sneaky regarding photos of me. Given the opportunity I will step out of the frame, look away or cover my face. Alex caught me off guard. What is funny about this picture is not that I am smiling while the dearly beloveds on either side of me are looking away, or on with faint disgust. It’s what you can’t see that has caught my fancy and captures my essence.

It was cabaret night at the outdoor theatre I’ve been working for for nearly 15 years. Cabaret night is an in-house party where anything goes. We celebrate the Fool. Someone in the company volunteers to MC. There are skits and music and rituals; dressing in drag is part of the tradition which is heartily embraced by local cowboys. A regular act performed by our resident 76 year old qween involves him screaming at us, his rapt audience, as he invariably strips nude while showering the crowd with beads, all purpose flour and shaving cream. It is as equally transgressive as it is poignant.

An introvert and a stage manager, I opt out of performing. I take my station in the shadows on one of the kitchen counters not far from the make shift stage set up in the cook shack; our multi-use gathering place and kitchen where we hang out and eat together. From this vantage point I feel safe with my back to a wall, a close exit through the mud room if I feel panic; also I know at some point shit is going to get thrown at everyone and this is far enough away from the firing line. Individuals can come and converse, or just sit with me and observe rather than mingling through the scene. Even among a crowd of friends, I just don’t fair well in these situations. Advice my brother gave me years ago on handling large gatherings was: Find the other introvert in the room and support each other.

My smile. There were two actresses on stage dressed in full chicken costumes wearing large diapers. One had a ukulele and the other a violin. I can’t remember the song they were singing. I think it was about the spot around the backside of the cookshack we call Cafe Poubelle. At sunset a group of us would sit there and relax after dinner, out of sight of the audience as they arrived for our summer show. It has a vista of the sloping pasture that rises into the forest on the neighbors property. It is also next to the compost so depending on which way the breeze is blowing it can be pretty rotten, hence Cafe Trash Bin.

At the climax of the song the ukulele player pulled off the violin player’s diaper to reveal she laid chocolate eggs, except to their surprise the eggs had melted and smeared. Ever professional for sake of not breaking the fourth wall, they proceeded to scrape the chocolate out of the diaper and eat it. My face confirms it was wonderfully played.

My smile. This picture reminds me that subversive transgression against the ever archaic and abhorrent status quo always appeals to me. Yesterday I was playing an interview with a Mexican-American horror writer who musing on the near future predicts we’re going to see a revival in horror, punk and metal. As a life long fan of these genres that observation, listened to through my iPod, made me happy to consider as I trudged and squinted my way home through a blizzard but the fascist root cause of this necessary revival makes me rile with dread.

Humph… it seems impossible to keep my thoughts inherently ebullient. Maybe next time I’ll talk about my experience being the only vegan in the theatres village, that sounds like fun doesn’t it? Find and support one another. Head up, heart open. Peace.

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lukaTwo weeks after my last post my best friend, Luka, passed off this temporal plane. Seven months later, I can’t even start this sentence without breaking down into sobs. Grimacing, heaving, saliva lap soaking, sobs. I can’t look at pictures of her without crying so I left this blog alone as she was, well, what it was all about. A vegan wolf. My shadow. Still, I figure it’s got to be cathartic to write about it. I do need to give some sort of closure to this space because I’d sure as hell like to not be a wreck right now while trying to type this. I’d like to stop waking up in tears. I’d like to stop sitting and staring blankly at the ground, waiting like she’s going to come back. I want to get to a place of peace with her being gone. Maybe it taps into deeper fears of death I didn’t realize I had. I’ve never been this torn up over loss. We have her ashes. I haven’t been able to pick it up and look at the box she is in. We plan to spread them in the forest up the mountain where we can return and visit her.

We adopted her six years ago on Valentines Day from the SPCA, the day wasn’t significant just a coincidence but it was a metaphor for everything she gave our lives and anyone that knew her. She was seven years old and only had one person before us. They don’t give out much information at the shelter but said she was given up because the previous person had to move and couldn’t take her. She had been in the kennel for a month even though she was a well adjusted dog, she was considered a senior and most people want younger dogs. She was also large, tall and intimidating looking but when we put a leash on her to take her for a trial walk there was no doubt in our minds we were adopting her. The name she had then was ‘Lucky’ and I couldn’t abide by that. I suggested ‘Luka’ like Luca Turilli, the Italian power metal guitarist and within a week the name stuck. We celebrated her birthday as the day we adopted her so this coming Valentines Day it would make sense to spread her ashes.

IMG_2108This picture was my screen saver for years. She loved the water and loved catching sticks.

Even though it’s common for dogs her size to only live up to twelve, we still hoped she’d be one of those 17 year old dogs. She’d stopped being able to jump or use stairs. Her hearing had gone and her sight was fading. X-rays showed that much of her spinal column had calcified and fused which explained her difficulty getting up after she’d been lying down. It was evident she needed to leave her body but god damn it, I didn’t want her to. It’s incredible how much I wanted to hold on. I guess it’s that tension still inside of me slowly unraveling. I’ve found it much easier to lose myself in work, or running & biking, or reading than actually take the time I need to face my grief. Most of all, I completely quit writing, subconsciously knowing it would snag this tightly woven part of me I’ve been trying to ignore.

I’d like to start tracing my thoughts and pictures here again. It saves friends from getting my epic long emails or letters when I can just direct them here to keep in touch without feeling the pressure of responding in kind. I’m sure I’ll talk about Luka more at other times but for right now I feel a little better crossing this bridge.

R.I.P Luka Dog, you were the best they make.

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IMG_0016Luka and I have been charged by deer just beyond our house four times this spring. Yesterdays confrontation came close to being as bad as the time she was assaulted by a deer a couple years ago. I’ll tell that story first. This is going to be a long tangential post.

IMG_0033I was still doing construction and had just gotten off work. I took Luka for a walk by the gully near our house. The evening was beautiful; the sun soft and setting behind the mountains. She was on leash and we’d just crested the rise above the gully beside the community gardens. I breathed in the cool air thinking how blissful this moment was when a young deer popped up the ridge just fifteen feet from us. I was taken by surprise and stared at it for a second then waved my hand and said ‘Git outta here’ but it didn’t move and it seriously looked like it was scowling at us. Then it charged. I was so shocked it blasted right past me and started pummeling my dog with it hooves. Luka fell backwards and slipped out of her collar. I screamed, swung her leash and whacked the deer across its back. Luka bolted down the hill and I hollered ‘Run!’ which was ridiculous; she was already running. The deer knocked her down again and was stomping her. A guy on the other side of the fence in the community garden yelled ‘Get some rocks!’ I looked down but there were no rocks at hand. Luka got up but stumbled again getting hit by the deer each time.

IMG_0032They were heading straight for the busy road. I shouted ‘Stop!’ and caught up to her. The deer dropped back down into the gully and the two of us ran the block back home. Both of us were shaking uncontrollably. I checked her quickly, she was bleeding from gashes on her legs. I called Darby at work to come home right away.

IMG_0020After I hung up the phone I dialed my brother’s girlfriend to warn her as she walks her dog in the same area. After I fumbled out the tale she cautiously asked ‘What time did this happen?’

‘Just now like 15 minutes ago!!’ There was a pause and a deep exhale. She said ‘I was just across the street on the clay banks with Meggie (her previous dog -r.i.p- was black like Luka but a bit smaller) and there was this small deer she took off on. I tried to stop her but they were so fast… she chased it across the street into the gully… where you guys were… I’m sorry I think this was instigated by us.’  I was still shaking but we started laughing. ‘The deer must have come up the rise and seen Luka and been like Fuck you mother fucker and attacked!’

I have to admit when the deer shot after her, in my shock the first thing that came to my mind was (and I’m not kidding) this is the zombie Apocalypse and the animals have turned. I thought that, with the setting sun, the world was about to burst into flames and rain blood. I say this in a totally atheistic non biblical way. I guess in the heat of the moment that’s where my head turns…I suppose that’s what being raised on horror movies does to a young mind.

Darby called the emergency vet line. The attendants on call have always been amazing. She told us to press on Luka’s gums and depending on how quickly the blood came back it would indicate internal bleeding. We checked over and over to be sure and it looked good. She was moving fine, didn’t yelp when we pressed her limbs and ribs, ate like she usually does with voracity so we felt it was safe to wait till the morning to take her to our vet for a check over. I don’t think I slept that night. In the end we were very lucky, she was bruised and gashed but otherwise fine. After this we heard many stories from people who lost their dog to a deer attack. Their hooves are razor sharp and usually rupture the dogs internal organs. Since then Luka has always ran the other way when she sees a deer and the deer are plentiful here.

IMG_0026I resumed walking in that area though cautiously. If I saw any we went the other way but this spring there have been instances where we’ve been stalked. Each time it has appeared from behind and even if we tried to get as much distance from it as possible, it’s chased us. One time I stupidly had my ipod on listening to Thor really loud. Luka tried to take off and I turned around to see a deer creeping up from the trees. We ran across the street. Fortunately the road was busy and it couldn’t cross but it trailed us from the other side for at least a block.

IMG_0036Yesterday afternoon we walked the neighborhood where there is a small bricked in power station. There is an old grove of trees I thought would be a nice shady place to let Luka sniff around. A deer emerged from the upper road and charged. We ran but it kept coming. I turned to face it and morphed into a god damn wolf mother; gnashing and snarling, making my self as menacing as possible while holding Luka tight by the leash behind me. It held its ground not ten feet from us and as we backed away from it, it did not relent. It didn’t want any business with me but every time Luka came more into it’s view it would lunge forward. I kept shrieking like a banshee hoping it would give up. I backed onto a rock twice the size of my fist, snatched it quickly and hurled it as hard as I could at its rib cage. The deer bolted up the small rise in the trees but when I threw the rock Luka also slipped out of her collar and the deer seeing us apart, charged again. I grabbed Luka by the scruff of her neck and we ran to the road and all the way home.

IMG_0039 (1)Our hearts were pounding. Luka panted and trembled then slept for five hours. She surfaced at sunset needing to go out again.

IMG_9626To be safe, this time we headed down the hill to the beach where the deer usually only go in the early morning. We ran into my friend Cole walking his black lab. He was wearing mardi gras beads saying they were to get him psyched up to go to his studio after the walk and work on some paintings. I told him what happened and was still so amped the words stumbled out of my mouth in such a mess I knew I needed to write it out. He laughed ‘Would the vegan kill the deer?’ I told him I kept thinking I was going to have to tackle it if it got her and then what would I do? Wrestle it? Punch it? As we approached the bridge over the creek I yelled ‘I blame NAFTA!’ Cole looked at me out of the corner of his eyes and let out a laugh that whistled through his missing front tooth.

IMG_0013I do blame the Free Trade Agreement because our valley use to have a strong apple growing, soft fruit industry but after NAFTA, Washington state which subsidizes their apple growers started dumping their fruit into our Province on mass. Even during apple season if you go into any of the supermarkets all the apples for sale have USA stickers on them. It reached the point that the growers here couldn’t afford to pick their own crops. We were over saturated with cheaper fruit from the states and because the local fruit was more expensive none of the markets would stock it. The orchard across from my parents house had a thousand trees and he had to let all of the fruit rot. I remember looking across the road and seeing the biggest stag of my life in that orchard feasting on apples. The governments response to the fruit growers distress was ‘There’s money in wine grapes.’ Thousands and thousands of trees were mulched and now we have rows upon rows of vines. With wine grapes being a fragile crop came deer fences. Previously the fruit growers left their orchards open and the deer had safe pathways to and from the lakes. Once all these fences sprung up the deer routes were displaced and herds started to settle in town closer to the water. Now there have been several generations born in town, surlier; more or less fearless. I’ll sometimes have five or more deer eating the Hawthorn tree in my yard.

IMG_0024A few years ago we were building what Cole called the most hideous structure he has ever had the embarrassment of putting a tool to and I called it the white albatross. It’s a wine manufacturing plant and was built over an old apple orchard just up the road from my parents house. Technically it was built on agricultural land reserve and should have stayed agricultural but the money behind it ranges in the billions so it was easy for them to just pay off who ever they needed to. That’s another reason I quit construction. The small company (of whom I love each and everyone of them) I worked for took on high end jobs. I kept witnessing the privileges of the rich and it made me sick and angry. All of the environmental rules could be broken at a cost. It is so ugly and even though we all thought it was ugly, at the end of the day we were pawns to it, our pay checks came and they came on time if we kept our opinions to ourselves and kept working.

I wondered for years why Cole was missing his front tooth but was always too shy to ask. Thankfully one day on a lunch break  he told the story. He and his girlfriend were driving down the coast and came across two women and a Volkswagen van needing a push start. They hoped out and gave a hand. Cole immediately noticed the amazing pair of cowboy boots one of the women was wearing. They pushed the van till the driver was able to turn over the engine and as they paused to celebrated, he said ‘Hey by the way you’ve got a great set of boo-‘ Wham! He woke on the ground lip split open, blood streaming from his mouth and his front tooth missing. She clocked him right in the face thinking he wasn’t saying boots. Years later he sold a few paintings that left him with enough money to get his tooth fixed but then it was busted out again in a rugby match and now as a single parent of two kids he just leaves it as is and whistles when he laughs.

IMG_0045A couple doors down grazing on landscaping shrubbery.

I’ll finish off this deer tangent with one of dad’s favorite stories about taking me to see Disney’s Bambi on a Sunday matinee. I don’t remember how old I was but I hadn’t quite coherently grasped language yet. I apparently talked a lot but it was a babble only my brother seemed to comprehend. The theater was full and dad said at the opening credits I stood up wide eyed and clutched the lip of the seat in front of me. Bambi kicks off pretty brutally with the mother being murdered by hunters. The terrifying orchestral music as Bambi’s mother screams ‘Run Bambi Run!!’ Then a C-R-A-C-K. Silence; save for crows and ravens cawing at the disturbance. Bambi emerges from the thicket quietly calling ‘Mother?’ Dad said the theater was muffled with sobs as parents, irate that Disney was forcing them to broach the subject of death in an animated feature, tried to avert this by consoling their children that everything was fine. But it wasn’t and from the back sixth row a single voice shrilled out ‘Some Bloody Hunter Just Shot Bambi’s Mother!!!!‘ The theater erupted like a volcano. He said parents were carrying hysterical children out in droves while he sat there laughing and clapping proudly that I had just put together my first linear sentence. I was completely unfazed by my out burst and transfixed by the dancing meadow and introduction of Thumper & Flower. The term ‘bloody’ comes from my Australian mother who to this day still says ‘Oh bloody hell’ on a regular basis.

 

IMG_9595Early morning in San Fransisco I was stumbling the streets looking for any semblance of coffee.

IMG_9388First night we were in line for rush seating when the door usher gave us free tickets in the fourth row. A regular patrons friends had cancelled. Not that I would dress any differently but in my torn up jean jacket, ripped stockings and wind battered hair I felt a little out of place in this $150 seat. Darby however became best friends with the elderly lady next to him who had forgotten her glasses and asked him to read the program to her. This might have been a ruse to flirt with him all night in front of her husband who didn’t say a word.

Shostakovitch’s Ninth symphony is wild. Written in 1945, it was anticipated he would write a piece glorifying Stalin and the Red Army’s success against the Nazis. Instead the Ninth was banned for being what the Russian government called childish, circus music. It is over the top and bombastic, completely comedic. Shostakovitch was said to be a lover of satire; it can be read as a big symphonic joke. The third movement was so fast and gypsy like, players in the string section started laughing as they kept up with the runaway pace. It’s surprising that Shostakovitch wasn’t executed. He was lucky having survived The Great Purge of 1937 but also spent everyday under creative oppression and fearing for his life. He continued to write music that some scholars claim contain coded anti-government messages within them.

IMG_9452Blue Bottle coffee. The difference between single origin espresso (top) and a espresso blend (bottom). I should have paid the buck more for a single origin instead of the blend,  it was so much better.

IMG_9453Darby was very sad the vegan donut stand was only open on weekends. It was Friday. We returned on Saturday. I was sad they haven’t developed a gluten free version.

IMG_9447Note to city dwellers that have conservatories close at hand: Recital concerts are usually, if not always, free! We caught several evening graduation recitals that were outstanding. This is often the case for theatre as well. The theatre school I graduated from has dirt cheap prices and usually program more progressive/transgressive work.

IMG_9454City Lights was cool, though I was more smitten by the selection at Green Apple Books, the extensive Semiotext(e) Press section in Dog Eared Books and the anarchist collective Bound Together where I found a used copy of my favorite vegan cookbook zine Please Don’t Feed the Bears but resisted buying a second copy of it and the sci-fi, horror bookstore Boarderlands where I pawed at rare editions I couldn’t afford. When I think of City Lights I remember we were sixteen and my friend Darren had just come back from a trip to San Fransisco. He was practically trembling as he showed me the poetry book Lawrence Ferlinghetti had signed for him.

IMG_9483 Musee Mecanique. I plugged quarters into all the guillotine games and there were many.

IMG_9458Climbing to a look out I was overcome by the smell of eucalyptus. Possibly my favorite scent ever, it immediately places me in Australia. I thought eucalyptus was only native to Australia and technically it is but it was planted in California during the 1850’s gold rush. They hoped to harvest it for lumber and oil but turned out the lumber from juvenile trees wasn’t as good as the established trees back home. Now it’s considered an invasive species and the groves are routinely culled. I gathered up gum nuts on the ground and filled my bag and pockets with them, wafting eucalyptus everywhere I went and rolling the seeds in my hands the rest of the trip. I also accidentally brought some back into Canada.

IMG_9528 (8)I grabbed this from the Haight Ashbury  whole foods a couple times, it was kind of greasy but still good. Made in Berkeley. I love taro root but the leaves I’d only tried once in Fiji and it was a total disaster. I’d ordered a taro leaf soup out of curiosity. I took one spoonful and my mouth & throat lit up like a thousand burning splinters. I thought I was having an allergic reaction -which I don’t have except for the rash I get when I eat gluten now. Water didn’t wash it away. I asked what was in the soup and told her about the sensation I was having. She furrowed her brow and rolled her eyes towards the kitchen. She said I’d be fine, that the irritation I was experiencing wasn’t anything to worry about. It happens when the leaves are too mature and/or not cooked properly. She took the soup away. I guess it has something to do with oxalic acid which you can boil or steam out.

IMG_9500Cellist master class graduate recital. I avoid taking pictures of the performers. It’s the same courtesy expected in theatre.

IMG_9515I don’t take a lot of ‘pictures’ when I travel but I do take a ton of pictures of books I want to remember to pick up when I get home. This one has actually been on a list I’d long since misplaced. I haven’t read Joan Aiken but often see her compared to two of my favorite writers: Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter.

IMG_9404I also rarely take pictures in museums but this glass piece and the incidental shadow play around it haunted me.

IMG_9514I stood long and contemplated what clothes I could leave behind to fit this in my carry on bag. The answer was none. I barely brought any clothes to begin with. I travel light in anticipation of buying zines and books but always groan about how much I’d bought as I lug my pack home through the airport or on the bus. I’ve wanted the Isten: Don’t Break the Ghost anthology for some time. It’s no joke at 804 pages. Svart Records distributes it out of Finland, they say it weighs 3 kilos. I’m still seeking a decent used price cause the shipping on this is a beast.

Heavy metal is not even a genre. Heavy metal is a realm.

IMG_9402We drank a lot of coffee. He enjoyed this siphon method. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between it and a pour over but I only had one sip.

IMG_9535I totally missed that Cronenberg put out a work of fiction in 2014 but I definitely want to read it.

IMG_9497Oakland artist Amy X Neuburg’s Hunger Strike with the SF chamber orchestra. This work explored Americas Industrial Prison Complex. It was also a free show.

IMG_9513Late brunch at Citizen Fox *. I was a bit stuck with few gluten free options and normally wouldn’t think to pick a bbq bowl but holy shit was I glad I did! Tempeh, house made bbq sauce, grits, green beans and brocolini. This was so good. Happy to see a new vegan restaurant packed and busy with a Sunday crowd, the people there were awesome too. We also went to Indochine and I had the best kimchi ever. Gracis Madre for tacos. Shizen twice cause all vegan Japanese and the iconic Greens. *I just discovered we basically caught Citizen Fox’s last Sunday in operation because of ongoing building permit trouble.

IMG_9579Last night on route to Taka Kigawa’s piano performance of the complete piano etudes of Gyorgy Ligeti, I had to pause and appreciate this Vaughan Bode inspired mural. We grew up on Bode’s subversive underground comics. As teenagers I horrified my brother when I came home with a skateboarding shirt that had co-opted an image from one of Bode’s comics. I thought it was cool cause it was referencing him but my brother was pissed at the appropriation. I cut the image off the shirt and sewed it on a bag.

Quick & busy. A burst of city life. We walked the distance of a marathon or more each day. That’s one of the reasons we can drink so much coffee and not feel too fucked up off of it. Though I always go through a detox period trying to rescue the last gasp of my adrenal glands from these trips. Next one for me, other than work related, probably won’t be till the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in the fall. I await with bated breath.

IMG_9273You haven’t changed. I’ve heard that twice so far this year. A couple months back a family friend from the island was visiting and handed me this thick manila folder. She said it contained my school projects from grade three. She had borrowed it from mom for inspiration programing her own grade three curriculum. She said I had to revisit it because –You haven’t changed. Flipping through it my brother and I laughed our asses off. I planned to share it on Instagram but felt some of the pictures needed longer commenting than I care to type on tiny iPod keys. Then I forgot about it.

The other day a beautiful silver haired woman was buying a few books. She looked up at me and asked ‘Lysette?’ I brightened, as anyone would when they hear their name and especially for me, when it’s pronounced correctly.

‘I thought it was you… you surely don’t remember me. It’s Ms. Xxxx. Your kindergarten teacher.’ Her face sparkled ‘My – You haven’t changed.

She asked what I had been doing all these years. I gave her a very condensed run on life sentence ‘I’m a stage manager for a rural outdoor theatre company but it’s not full time so I worked as a carpenter for six years between contracts but I am taking a break from that and helping out here with the family, for now… if I lived in the city I would likely do theatre full time but for right now, living here, it’s good.’

She left with her books and my parents, who were both in the shop in other rooms thought it was rather strange the five year old me is recognizable. I joked with a friend recently that I am often mistaken for being ten years younger – though I never know if that’s a compliment or an insult but to be recognized thirty years later seems like a stretch.

IMG_8686At this point our shop was split into two stores on different streets in town. One called Books ‘n Things and the other FTF Books. When we amalgamated into one space it simply became The Book Shop, though our business license is still FTF. It’s nice that I still feel this grateful for my family. The best part is the accompanying story about Jonathan (no idea who I was referring to) cutting his foot and acknowledging the day wasn’t going well.

IMG_8683 Truth. Life is nice and mean.

IMG_8670How do I even unpack this one but let’s just skip to K. I’m not sure if ‘killer’ was already slang in the 80’s for being something cool, or if I literally identified with violence but seeing as I chose V for violent… by grade three I was already  invested in anything macabre; monsters and horror movies. Singer is mysterious. I don’t sing. I dropped out of choir in theatre school as soon as it wasn’t mandatory. Weird and X-rated are probably still two of my favorite words. Interested (rather than interesting) and Terrific Trier are astute personal observations. Obedient is the biggest lie on this page.

IMG_8676‘Hates me’ I love that. Sad that at this age I was already aware of my otherness to my peers but I didn’t fit in with my so called friends.They were a bunch of prissy middle class assholes. The movie Heathers resonated with my elementary school experience more than high school. I love the lower left drawing of the doctor making a mistake that causes organs to fly out of the patients body. I think the picture above it is of dad (hahaha the comb over) with a big wooden spoon. My brother and I remember if we were being brats and dad got fed up with us, he would pick up a mixing spoon and chase us but never hit nor catch us. We would scream and run around the couch with a mixture of fear and exhilaration until we collapsed from exhaustion and would finally go to bed.

IMG_8672It’s cut off but the part at the top is about if I had an owl I wouldn’t get picked on. Aside from my shitty friends there was a pack of older boys that would follow me around at recess and tease me. In retrospect I think it was because they liked me but I thought it meant there was something terribly wrong with me. In my opinion introverts really suffer when attention is drawn to them. When it happens, I want the earth to open up and swallow me. I wonder if I meant ‘through’ (obviously misspelled ‘throw’) as in to toss a mouse into the air for the owl to eat, or regurgitate it? Could have been either, or.

Our dog Jack must have run off into the orchards. He would disappear for brief periods of time but always came back. Years later I watched him die of lung cancer when he was twelve likely from the pesticides sprayed in the orchards. Jack was one of the best. A huge blue heeler cross. He had the body of a wolf with heeler markings. He was probably crossed with a German shepherd.

IMG_8684 (19)Robotec. Amazing. When I read ‘I love Evil!!’ I was like – Uh, I guess? Then realized I was talking about the massive crush I had on Evil Ed; Brewster’s best friend in the horror movie Fright Night. The scene where the vampire (Chris Sarandon one of the suavest vampires in cinema) corners Evil Ed in the alley and tells him ‘They won’t pick on you anymore… I’ll see to that’ before turning him into a werewolf. I watched Fright Night over and over, identifying with that and thinking – Ed, I accept you and we could be best friends. I remember my infatuation, in part because he turns into a werewolf, it seems a bit much for a six year old but it was probably less romantic and more about friendship. Next best part ‘Lunch! Lunch!’ and that hockey games usually don’t air until the evening. The passage of time with which my sister would stay in bed. Living around orchards we always had barn cats, at least three at anytime coming and going. One was named ‘Pussy’ and no parent should ever let their kids call a cat ‘Pussy’. Ever.

IMG_8678Dad has always had very liberal views on censorship but did draw a line at us perusing the extensive nudie mag section in the bookshop. We did it anyway. Since the internet has decimated the adult magazine industry, our restricted section houses vintage mags and true smutty smut smut but mostly erotic art and photography books.

IMG_8680Alley. Flood. Ghastly blood.

IMG_8674 Being blind eyes closed.  My favorite part is the bleeding tree.

IMG_9272The assignment was to write a letter to a fairy tale character. Always sympathizing with the wolves, my letter was to the Big Bad Wolf wishing him luck on his future endeavors.

IMG_8689The cover of my koala report. I love his little arms. I did hold a very drugged out koala in Australia once. It’s claws and weight cut through my skin. I don’t think they let people do that now, or at least I hope they don’t sedate the koalas anymore.

IMG_8687And finally randomly on the back of a page in no relation to anything else. This was my brother’s favorite of the bunch. I am positive this guy if from an early 80’s movie but I can’t figure out what. I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night and holler a title into the air and when I do, I will do a single post on that name. There are so many more but I’m stopping here. It is somewhat comforting to look back and see I had a pretty clear idea of what I was into (and am still into) at such a young age. My blood family, dogs, books, horror, gore, wolves and companionship. My perception of the world as absurd was honing itself too.