Monday, August 27, 2007

International Rock-Flippiny Day

Dave Bonta at Via Negativa(link at left) has created a rock -flipping day. Here I quo from his great blog:

" September 2 is International Rock-Flipping Day. Mark your calendars.
How is it possible — I said to myself on Monday afternoon when I was putting together my post about flipping over rocks — that I don’t have a single good photo of the rocks in our woods? Even more unforgivable, I don’t have any photos of the creatures that live underneath them: no ant colonies, no salamanders, no caddis fly larvae from underneath the rocks in our creek. Nada. So I was very receptive when Fred Garber suggested in a comment that we pick a day for everybody to go outside — go as far as you have to — and flip over a rock (or two, or three). We could bring our cameras and take photos, film, sketch, paint, or write descriptions of whatever we find. It could be fun for the whole family!
I emailed Bev Wigney, the doyenne of invertebrate bloggers, and discovered that she shared my enthusiasm. But we thought we’d better act fast, for the benefit of folks here in the northern hemisphere, and go with September 2. Any later and things start dying off or going down below frost line.
Fred had suggested trying to get everyone to flip over a rock at the same moment, but that would end up being the middle of the night for some people, so let’s just stick to a calendar date. I would like to restrict it to rocks, though they wouldn’t have to be on dry land — they could be on the bottom of the sea if you have a way to get down there.
The point is simply to have fun, and hopefully learn something at the same time. We don’t want to over-determine what that something should be: those of a more scientific frame of mind might focus on i.d.s or ecological interactions, while those of an artistic or poetic bent could go in a different direction entirely. Pictures alone would suffice, of course. But whatever you do, please be sure to replace all rocks that you flip as soon as possible, so as not to disrupt the natives’ lives unduly. (Unless, that is, you plan on incorporating some of what you find into your next meal — crawdads? escargots? — which would also make a interesting subject for an International Rock-Flipping Day blog post, I’m thinking.)
We want to try and keep this as decentralized as possible. Everyone who blogs about it can link to everyone else at the bottom of their post, or in a subsequent post if they prefer. I’m willing to act as coordinator and send out a list of links that evening or the next morning, with all the HTML tags in place for people to copy and paste. Send your links to me as soon as you post: bontasaurus (at) yahoo (dot) com, with “Rock Flipping” in the subject line.
No blog? No problem. I’ve also set up a Flickr group,, anticipating that bloggers and non-bloggers alike might want to share photos that way. We’re interested mainly in pictures of whatever you find under the rocks, but pictures of people flipping rocks are also permissible. The grand prize goes to anyone who can get a picture of a non-human critter, such as a bear or a raccoon, flipping a rock on September 2. (I don’t know what the grand prize will be yet, but trust me, it’ll be good.)
For those who would rather not bother with Flickr, Bev has volunteered to create a gallery within her Pbase photo site: simply send your images as email attachments to her, bev (at) magickcanoe (dot) com, again with “Rock Flipping” in the subject line.
I think that about covers it, but if other ideas occur to you, leave a comment and I’ll update this post if need be. If you like the idea, please help spread the word. And if anyone feels like designing a logo, be my guest."

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Dancer

It did not start here. It will not end here. Sunday night. Six years ago. Nothing on tv. Bored. Looking for a little diversion. Get in my car. The Yellow Car. Big old 1984 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. 305 engine. Power windows. AC. Kumbia Kings on the stereo. You know. Selena's brother's band. Drive one mile. Dense fog by the river. Just over the tracks. Near the Cargill soybean processing plant. Sign says 666 days without a work loss accident. Park the car in the street outside the bar. Just a DJ tonight. No cover. The rent-a- cop nods to me. Walk over to the bar. Order a Bohemia. Lime wedge and a packet of salt. Maybe 20 people in the place. Holds 249. Slow night. Sundays are like that. People come and go. Order another Bohemia. Old man walks in. Well dressed. Tall. Long gray hair. He orders a tequila. Walks over to a table where there are four young women. Holds out his hand to the blond. She gets up. They walk to the dance floor. The song is La Puerta Negra. Los Tigres del Norte. The guy is a good dancer. Dances a few more rancheras with her. Then dances with the other women at the table. Some cumbias and a few merengues. Then he orders another shot of tequila. Dances with all the women in the place in between shots. I am watching this guy. This guy can dance. Smooth. An old face. Hawk nose. Dark eyes. Seen a lot. Lived a lot. He walks out. Saw him two other times at that place. Later I tell S. about the old dancer. She says she thinks it is her father. She never met him. He has been dead for twenty years. Parents split up before she was born. Mother moved north from Jalisco. Says her father had a reputation as a ladies man. As a hard drinker. As a great dancer. He was tall. I don't know what to say. Could have been him. Probably was. But there was a dense fog that night.