Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Miss Sally (or My First Snow(wo)man)

Last Wednesday, I built my first snowman ever.

In seven weeks I will turn thirty-seven.

Before I came out to Wyoming for my three-week winter residency, I figured I would have ample opportunities to build a snowman or two or few. I knew it might not be as easy as it seems in movies and TV, so I was wise enough to ask a few of my coworkers who hailed from cold-weather regions for any tips on building one. The one tip I received—and it proved to be quite helpful—was to begin by simply pushing a snowball along the snow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shit I’ve Learned About Wyoming (Thus far)

February 5th, late Friday evening, the tiny United passenger plane I rode from Denver, CO landed on the small airport runway in Laramie, WY. It was my first time in The Equality or Cowboy State, only my second time in the Mountain Standard Zone. (My heart still aches for you, New Mexico!) The following morning, I contracted the services of the good people at Snowy Range Taxi to take me west from Laramie past Saratoga, the nearest town from the artist camp that I will call home for most of this month.

On my two-hour cab ride to the Brush Creek Ranch, and from conversations with locals and others who have passed through Wyoming before, I’ve learned a thing or two about the 44th state admitted into the American Union:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


from http://swattingflies.weebly.com/

Since I arrived at the Brush Creek Ranch five days ago, I’ve been surprised to find horseflies buzzing in and outside of my writing studio. All around us, the fields are covered in at least two feet of snow. Thin icicles still hang and drip droplets of water from the slanted roofs. Winter in Wyoming doesn’t strike me as a hospitable place for horseflies. But they are here in most of our artist studios.

Last night, while our communal dinner was wrapping up, a horsefly flew onto my pant leg. It rested on my thigh for a long while. He was a fairly big fly. While the other artists conversed, I snuck glances at it. I was unsure if it was a fly that was ready to die like the one I had seen the day before, lying wings down, legs lethargically moving to and fro on one of the snow-covered walkways. Without noticing it, the fly eventually flew off my leg and landed in the bowl I had used to sip a pea soup. Its six legs dangled in the air as it lay in the bowl. I took my napkin and held it over its legs. It clung on and unglued himself from the soupy remnants coating the bottom of the bowl.

Four of us artists remained at the table. I stared down at the fly while they conversed. I saw the fly flap his wings futilely a few times. Then, it took its front legs and seemingly wiped their tips a few times before it reached up and over to clean the top of his head. He did this, over and over again. I began to smile as I watched. Usually, flies this close to me would zip away. This was the first time I could remember seeing a fly use its legs for a specific purpose.

Beverly, a visual artist with a fantastic mischievous grin, noticed me and the fly.

Just smush him, she said.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clown Without Pity’s 2016 Super Bowl Pick

Boy was I wrong about that AFC Championship Game! But I don’t think I'm whiffing on my Super Bowl pick.

But before I get to that, let’s talk about the Super Bowl festivities in San Francisco, you know, that hilly liberal bastion 45 miles from Santa Clara—that uninspiring sprawl of suburbia that will actually host the game. Since last week, San Francisco’s Embarcadero and downtown area have been teeming with cops, military servicemen, and guys dressed for a Will Smith action film

Citizen! Feel like relaxing at Yerba Buena Gardens? 
Go right ahead! Just ignore my assault rife! This is freedom.

So dear NFL: thank you for viscerally reminding us how militaristic your sport is. Boy was George Carlin spot on about that:

And yesterday, my sweetheart, Maria, who works in a building situated near “Super Bowl City,” told me she saw the Budweiser Clydesdale horses stomping through downtown pulling their iconic carriage. A slew of motorcycle cops—she estimated about 30—roared through the streets to clear the way for them so San Francisco’s police force was basically utilized for an in-person commercial for Buttwiper. Just fucking great to hear how our civic funds are divvied.

But onto my pick: I think it’s going to be Carolina over Denver. On Ross Tucker’s podcast, NFL Film guru Greg Cosell said the key matchup of the game is Denver’s run defense versus Carolina’s rushing attack, and I totally agree. It’s simple as this: if Denver can slow down the Panther’s rushing attack and continually force Cam into long 3rd down passes, we’ll have a game on our hands. If not, Denver’s going to get bowled over again in the Super Bowl though it probably won’t be as bad as the 55-10 drumming to the 49ers, or the recent 43-8 ass-whopping to the Seahawks that I, as a Raider fan, absolutely savored.  

For me, the true wild card of the game’s outcome is Wade Phillips. Homeboy’s probably the best, if not one of the top-three defensive coordinators in the game. (I think Phillips and Vic Fangio are the best. Rex Ryan used to be up there.) If he can draw up another masterful plan to slow down an offense that couldn’t be more different than New England’s offense, Denver has a chance to win a low-scoring game. But even then, somehow or another, I think Old Man Sheriff and Denver’s lackluster offense will have to score 20 points against a ferocious Carolina defense. Like Bill Barnwell in his Super Bowl preview and prediction, I just don’t see that happening. In too many ways, I think this game is a bad, bad matchup for Denver.

Cue "I Shot the Sheriff"