Bad Air Days

I haven’t felt this cooped up since Chernobyl. I was a kid and hid from radiation behind the couch all summer. My parents told me there was a radioactive cloud, and I imagined an invisible but poisonous cloud beaming death at anyone who dared to go outside. As I understand it now, it was a plume of smoke with particles of radioactive dust. That’s what fallout is: radioactive dust. The air went bad on Thursday evening, right after I got some bad professional news, which has been piling on since. Nothing out of the ordinary if you’re looking for a […]

Advice for Aspiring Writers: Learn Dog Language

A small terrier sitting on a Muni train

Take a walk every day.
Stop to smell the roses, jasmine, and angel’s trumpets.
But don’t bother to smell the camellias; they don’t have a smell.
Get a guidebook to local flowers and find out which ones are worth smelling.
Get to know people who aren’t like you.
Befriend them.
Eavesdrop on your neighbors.
Find out about your neighbor’s dog’s health problems.
Make friends with dogs.
Learn dog language.

We Have Come to a Mutually Beneficial Agreement

Plumeria (Frangipani)

There was a classic orb spider web on the upper crossbeam on the deck roof. In the middle presided a fat-bodied araneid with distinct yellow markings on her back.

“You could make yourself useful and move over closer to this plumeria and evict these ants for me. I don’t know if you eat ants, but I bet they don’t know that either,” then I thought I ought to be more polite since I was asking for a favor, and said “I mean, I’d really appreciate it if you could come over here and help me out.”