Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Fat Ones Are All Aliens

You see them all over these days.

A lot of them are tall, but wide. Wide is the key. And pasty, as in pasty-white.

Nominally they are either tourists or resident gringos. Either way, they come from outside.

And if you were wondering what is the difference, sir, between tourist gringos and resident gringos, it is that resident gringos don't go home quite so soon. It takes a while to grind through the gloss of glittery newness and for the grit to build up in their shorts.

Then they go home.

After they've given up and decided to blame their despair and fatigue on the place and not on the crabbed and seeping, infected nature of their own expectations.

Which feels like grit in their shorts.

Because it's a place. Here. Here is a place with skies and clouds and sunrises and sunsets and dirt in the streets and stinks and noises like any other place at all and it isn't paradise, not even a little. What it is isn't bad.

That is to say it (here) is Not all that bad for just another place, mostly because it's different from what I'm used to. And there's no snow. And lunch is cheap.

My first thought on arriving was grubby, which was also in my head as I was leaving six months later. Grubby describes it, but is too small a word to cover everything. Me, for example — I fit in there too. You could describe me as grubby, and who would argue? Who?

It's all in your head, after all, and if your head is pointy or flat or spherical or covered in spikes, well I'm certainly not going to come over to get acquainted, even if it is to set you straight.

And besides, I don't care. You don't interest me, not even a tiny amount. I have my own problems to hack at without adding you to the list. You are from outside anyway. Way outside. Outside my circle of giving a flying duck. No — I don't care about you or what you think or where you came from or how much grit you carry in your underpants.

You are as much an alien to me as to the people who were born here and have then lived here forever. You are only strange meat hanging on another odd carcass.

Three heads? You actually have three heads? And you expect what kind of reaction from me? An award? Congratulations? A little gold star? What?

Go away. I'm bored.

By you, of you, with you, at you, and all the rest. I've seen you, all of you, all my life. You are my people. You are my relatives. I know you and I don't care. I'm working on other things now, so come and go as you will and leave me to work at my own work.

Which is mostly trying to pass for someone who isn't totally crazy or stupid or inept, and also who is trying to just enjoy the sunshine.

That's about all I can handle, and if I can keep two of my three heads hidden from view, then mostly I'm still having fun. On my third try at this. Here. At this here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It Follows

It happened yesterday. Again.

I got an email from a car dealership in Durham, North Carolina. They want to help me by selling me a Cadillac.

Are Cadillacs still made? I don't know. I don't care.

Either way, I don't want any, and especially not from Brand X Auto-Kompanions & Boutique SpamHaus.

What? I should simply click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email? That thing down there? Way at the bottom? The thing that says "unsubscribe" but is only plain text?

Well, you gotta splain me how, that one. It might as well be mud smeared on a barn. It don't do nothin, mate.

Actually, I got a plan, a while back. Here's how it went.

I found out that Yahoo Mail has an option to block emails from specific senders, and when I started getting koochy-koo come-ons from this outfit I put their email address in there with the others.

Luckily, a year and a half back when I was looking around for a car, I did all of my searching and contacting via Yahoo, which is my throwaway email address, so now most spam comes in through Yahoo but the spammers don't know my real email address. Which is good.

But not good enough. I still get pissed. And especially this time, because somehow this last email came in right through the blocker and hit my inbox with a clunk.


There are moments when it sucks. All too many moments.

So I just wrote back saying "Go fuck yourself." And checked my list of blocked addresses.

Let's hope it works next time.

Meanwhile, there's another thing I've learned. No matter where you go, there are some things you can't get away from, not even by moving to another continent.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

As If I Even Needed To Mention It!

Post-pre, that's me!

Been there, done that too!

With Christmas rapidly approaching, maybe now is a good time to get your head screwed. On tight, and then brace yourself for the tidal wave of tinsel with some down-home, gluten-free Hypno Thera Pee.™

So being both a Certified Past Life Regressionist and a Certified Plant Walker, maybe I can help you get centered at the Center Of All Centers Of Things here in beautiful Cuenca. And up your good chlorophyll count too.

Hey — Bekki Huffnpuf here, at your service, nearly breathless with excitement.

I will be in town next week only so this is your chance. Normally $999.99, now only $899.99 because you've probably taken this course already, remember? No? Well, we'll get you properly lubed up and then once again pull you out of that long dark tube you keep finding yourself in, and then you will!

First some regression and then a bunch of (hopefully fun!) anti-regression. When you hear the loud Pop! you know your rebirth has been consummated.

Payment due in advance. Cash only, please. Bring a cat if you like.

Some things we will cover:

  • A variety of techniques.
  • How to chart aural flux and understand colorful diagrams.
  • Various theories.
  • When not to conduct a past-life session. (I.e., like during thunderstorms.)
  • How to ask nonleading nonquestions and other stuff.
  • What's for lunch?
  • Discerning fantasy from reality. (Just kidding!!!)
  • Dealing with memories of being an animal. (Adults only, 'K?)
  • Ethics of fleecing.
  • Powerful techniques useful for things.
  • Past-life revue. (Fun!!! And we provide the costumes!!!)

This will be an unusual combination of no-fault shamanism. And later we'll play the unconsciousness game to unwind.

I was previously well known in various parts and will have outstanding testimonials standing right outside, both clients and former pets.

Besides that, I'm a Certified Blogger, also trained in other things, and a Certified Web Master (1997), and Certified Clinical Shih-Doo Makeup Smearer, just in from the coast. Don't miss this! I'm the colorful one.

Class starts bright and early Monday at 2 p.m. Sharp(ish)! Or maybe Tuesday if I sleep late.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Seeking Dessicated Thyranomine Root

I know there's some out there.

So far I have not been successful. Suggestions are appreciated.

Husband and I recently returned from our semi-annual Shamanistic Holiday Retreat where we spent a half-week chanting, breathing, and inhaling medicinal herb powders with a great collection of other Seekers and Initiates (the Canalic Water Treatment was especially enlightening).

Now that we're back home in our condo we've realized that we left our bag of medicinals behind. We were counting on that to see us through until May. Does anyone have a local source for T-Root? Doesn't have to be top quality — we just need some soon. (You know what I mean.)

Also, we have a 12-year-old grandson who should get out of the house for a while. Our Personal Shaman and Spirit Guide, Mungoo, doesn't take anyone under five feet tall, so he's out, and we do need someone pronto.

Little Harvey will be with us until February. We'll have to bleed off some of his excessive aural emanations before he peels all the paint off the walls and we lose it entirely. His parents haven't been able to manage, obviously, which is why we got him, and the situation is about to go critical.

Prefer an ecolodge jungle experience appropriate for pets or problem children, so we can send the H-Monster back to Wisconsin with a few stories but no visible scars, and a fair amount of plausible deniability on this end. Please let me know about low or reasonable cost Ayahuasca or Waa'Tiutnic Shamans you know personally. Moderate criminal record not a problem. (Misdemeanors preferred.)

We did look online and thought we had found a fairly reputable shaman suitable for pre-teens, but it turned out to be a Mr. Dieter A*** moonlighting from his regular gig at Rent A German.

True, he seemed nice enough at first but quickly formed what we decided was an unhealthy relationship with our Portuguese Weasel Mutt, TuTu. And he shed caapi bark all over the sofa. We couldn't have that either, so it was auf wiedersehen then, Dieter.

We're also looking to ditch TuTu. Beautiful dog, really, but getting to be a bother. Cosmic eyes, especially by candlelight. Very deep spirit. Looks good in pants, so a great dinner companion. Great around people too, especially the elderly, though will sometimes fall asleep on grannie's face (must remain alert for that, obviously). Children OK, mostly, depending on breed.

Likes his calico cat chew toy, so you will need to maintain a goodly supply of them. Stuffed water buffalo chew toy will do too, but has to be life-size. TuTu gets cranky otherwise and may attack without warning, but this is pretty rare now.

His only flaw, if you can call it that, is that he occasionally sneaks out at night to kill one of the neighbor's horses. So far no one has traced it back to us, but you ought to be warned. Sometimes goes after chickens too, maybe smaller children as well, but this is unconfirmed, so we're assuming the best.

Mostly lovable otherwise.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

At Your Risk

Maybe it's just me.

I'm a dick, granted, from way back.

I'm awkward around people (live ones).

Dead ones, imaginary ones, distant ones — OK. I'm OK. I'm not so bad with them.

And cats.

But current ones? Live humans with pulses and up-to-date library cards, and capable of moving around and doing things, and expecting me to, no. I'm not good with them.

I'm not that quick on my feet. I interact poorly, if at all, then lie awake at night days, weeks, months, years, decades later, blushing in shame and confusion.

That's who I am.

But hey — don't walk in on me. Next time I'm gonna punch you, sucker.

Here are the rules you seem to live by, you people.

  1. If a door is open even an inch, that means that you can push and enter.
  2. There is no privacy let alone security, unless the door is both shut and locked.

Double-U Tee Eff, y'all! WTF!

Maybe it's how they do things here, maybe it's the times.

Maybe I really am a dick and don't know the basic rules. Well, I know I am a dick so that's not the issue, but still, expect a punch.

Don't expect an I'm sorry story. Expect a punch. Maybe two if I feel frisky.

You knock politely and wait, I'll come over. Politely. And see what's up.

Consider that I might be staying in a room with no other ventilation, and that maybe I have the door open an inch to let in a bit of air, OK? That's why when you push against it in an attempt to charge in, you get resistance, because my 40-pound duffel bag is sitting behind it.

When you can't easily swing the door open, that means STOP. It does not mean go get your biggest friend to come and help you push, seriously. Seriously.

And when you can easily swing the door open — don't anyway or I'll punch you twice anyway.

Don't with that stuff already — don't do it. I'm limbering up my good arm for when you come by again. I just want some air for crapsake.

Behave yourself. Back off once. That's all I got to say.

Especially if you are that guy over at Hogar Cuencano who stayed in that room next to mine, and went out on the little balcony and saw my door with the curtain hanging down inside and decided to walk in and there I was naked after my shower on the other side of the room and if I'd wanted to try keeping you out, all I could have done was run across the room wiggling my wobbler at you, right.


You do that again, I'm a whup ya. Whup ya straight up good and solid, Mister.

You have been warned.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Announcing G-Spot Beer!

I have a confession to make.

I have eaten bread. In the past, of course.

And that bread was made with wheat.

You know about wheat, right? I mean, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time then you know. Oh, yes, you know.

In fact, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time then you know everything. Everything that I've instructed you on so far, anyway. Of course you'll have to keep coming back for more instruction.

No one is perfect (except me of course), so my tutelage will of necessity continue without end. Because I know everything, and you, you should be grateful that you found me.

So now, back to bread. You have heard of it. You know what goes into it. You know that it will kill you because it is pure poison. So why would you eat it? Don't be a fool.

Just because humans have been consuming wheat and wheat by-products for thousands of years is no reason to continue this shameful practice. You may have parents who survived childhood years full of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, platters full of spaghetti, and bowls of chicken noodle soup, but this does not mean that they escaped unscathed.

Nor you.

It may take generations to gradually unwind the trauma that these meals have caused, and to unwind the damage, even in your own life, though you yourself have never been within ten feet of a cinnamon roll. Beware!

But sticky buns are not the only hazard. There is also beer.

Beer is good. You should drink beer whenever you can get it, and you should drink as much as you can hold. These are proven facts from scientific laboratories. However there is one problem. Beer (as it is habitually manufactured by giant multi-national companies) contains gluten.

Beer contains gluten because beer is made from barley. From barley, hops, water, and yeast. That is the full list of ingredients in the most basic and essential beers. Plus that gluten.

So here we are, sitting in paradise, on top of the Andes mountains in South America, without beer. Because beer contains gluten, and gluten is the most deadly poison in the world.

Well, I say let's just start a petition. Someone here should make gluten-free beer for us.

Since I'm retired, and don't feel like working any more, let alone putting my very own ass on the line by plunking down my life's savings to follow through on this idea, let's just get some Ecuadorians to do it for us.

As my good friend Roberts Terry said just yesterday,

I think an Ecuadorian craft brewery could do a nice bit of business in Ecuador with creating a tasty gluten-free beer - as long as it had decent distribution. You'd be the only gluten-free beer here, at least for a while.

In the US, even the monster, Budweiser, has a respectable gluten-free beer called Redbridge. Sure better than no beer at all on beautiful, warm days like we're enjoying.

We could name it after my two cats, Bojangles and Samwise.

This sounds great, all the more so if someone else takes the risk. And does the work.

So why don't some savvy locals go ahead and plunk down half a million or so to start up a no-gluten brewery, and if we feel like it we'll buy a bottle of their beer every now and then?

If we're in the mood.

Until the next food fad comes along.

We've been through fat and sugar already. Gluten came next, but I believe that gluten in fact was only an introduction to a whole new family of toxic and dangerous foods.

Me, I've got my eye on protein — all protein, not just gluten. Isn't it about time to eliminate protein from our diets entirely?

Each person's first responsibility has to be to preserve our precious bodily fluids. Beer does that of course, but only gluten-free beer.

And given enough clean, fresh, pure gluten-free beer, anything is possible. First the beer, then the protein.

Who's with me on this?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Surprise Me


Bang. Bang.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

This is life around midnight. It's Festival Time. That means fireworks.

Fireworks are things that explode.


Bang. Bang.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

Like that. Got it?

Want sleep, buy earplugs.

Can't find earplugs? Forgot to bring earplugs? Other stuff doesn't work? Like cotton wool, lint, cat fur, mozzarella, candle wax — well tough. Learn to sleep through it.

Or die trying.

Either method works.

And if you can't manage one of those, put on your party suit and get out there. They're expecting you.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oinki Fadeout

[Cue quiet snork.]

Three years ago it was all over.

I've photographed it dozens of times in dozens of places.

Sometimes only a pair of nostrils in an ellipse, sometimes a circle with two eyes, two nostrils, and a mouth line. Sometimes one or the other accompanied by an OINK!

I read the last as oinki. Whatever, exclamation mark or the letter I, it works.

My pal was everywhere, including a couple of feet below the second-floor roof of Mercado 10 de Agosto. That's a public market. It's full of people all day, and when it isn't, it's locked up tight.

I don't know how Oinki got there but there Oinki was. (Gone now. Painted over.)

Gone from a lot of places now. Faded. Washed out. Washed off. Hidden under corrective layers of new paint.

Whatever — however, my friend is fast fading from the scene.

So I was happy today to see Oinki again on Avenida Loja. But hurting. And it's only a matter of time before Oinki is no more.

Like all the rest of us.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Side Hazards Walk Hazards

Rest in peace.

Is not an option here.

And not just at night while the fireworks are going off for no rational reasons whatsoever.

It happens whenever and wherever you are. The not-resting thing. The no-peace-ness.

Because you can't relax, switch off your mind, and crooz.

Especially while walking. No croozing while walking here. Too dangerous. Too crazy. Plain nutso.

Because you'd quickly you'd die, you. Or worse, like get your butt mangled. Or your neck wrapped around a madly spinning axle.

Me? Me no want. Me want safe to be.

So I stay alert, watchful for the lumpy, grumpy, angry, and dumpy things around here. And there are many, the five just mentioned all being found among sidewalk features. (I'm not going into detailed mentions of dog poo this time around — that's covered in every other post I've done and will do, but not this one right here.)

But just for instance, should you want a concrete so-to-speak example in another sense of that metaphor, there is this: the open drainage trench off the south end of Calle Padre Agquirre.

It's still there. After three years.

And it should be there, because it was cast into the walkway. Anywhere else, most other places, it would still have its metal grating in place. Y'know — the metal grating part we're supposed to walk on so's we don't drop one leg or t'other into the drainage trench cutting across the whole width of the walkway and snap it off. (The leg.)

But there is no metal grating there. Without it, water still flows into the trench (which is about eight inches across and eight inches deep), but so can one of your feet.

Somehow, the site is not littered with the dead and dying, and not me either, even though I was not brought up here and should know better than to look where I'm going 24-seven (that's 24 times a second or seven inches of travel, whichever seems more reasonable).

But if you do see me there, lying on the ground, writhing, with the lower part of one leg chewed away by the infrastructure, it's OK if you step over me and keep going. That's what you're supposed to be doing. But if it isn't' too much trouble, send flowers, 'K? At least a few.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Change Me Change

How do you look?

I know I'm getting old. It happens.

But I still have hair. And it's still the right color.

Got a bit of gray in my beard but I can grow one. A beard. Which is nice. Hides my face.

I waited all my life to grow a beard, waited all my life until I could, and I'd hate to go chin-bald right when I got enough fuzz to make it happen.

But I'm OK there. Things are decent on my underside. And like I said, I still got hair on the other end of my head too.

And I don't have to work any more, but I'm still interested in lots of things and there are many things I want to do, and quite a few of them are new. I hear that there is an endless supply of things to learn and do, so I don't feel rushed. They can come along as they will and I'll pick and choose. Grow into this or explore that or become the other thing.

As I see fit.

As I change. Morph. Grow. And age some more.

Though it isn't just me. I know people. Have known people. Have picked up friendships along the way, starting wayback, somewise back to second grade. That's about since age six in human years. At least that far back. And funny thing.

A lot of those people haven't changed hardly.

They got older and bigger and eventually got jobs and marriages and houses and wrinkles and stinky feet and drinking habits but mostly they became simply different versions of what they'd been as small children.

Even the people who moved to my home town as adults from outside somewhere. I had some friends like that too.

Ted Q and Steve S go way back, to the beginning of my gradeschool days. Ted: loud, boastful, obnoxious. Steve: funny, gregarious, needy of attention. Still the same. Even now. Steve has to be the center, Ted must have the best lie to tell. They both stayed. They became adults and assumed responsible positions and haven't grown much at all.

I just looked up John B. I first worked with him back in 1970. Dang. He's still painting the same paintings he was painting then, and the same ones he has been painting since. Still insists that he's "out of the loop". Still plays at being a farmer and a rugged individualist and a home mechanic and knows the correct answer to every question. Still wears the same clothes and has exactly the same ideas as he did then. Has been going to the same events with the same people for decades.

Similarly to Norman P, who used to be my boss, and John's boss at the time.

Twenty-five years after, I visited Norman and he was still at the same job, still complaining about the same things, and though John wasn't working there any more, he was complaining right along, and so was Nick F.

Nick came in from the outside. Raised in Gary, Indiana, settled in Bismarck, North Dakota as a mid-aged adult, and stopped growing right about then. The same twenty-five years after I was no longer working with Norman and John and Nick, Nick and John and Norman were still doing the same things, spending their days the same way, complaining about the same damn things.

But I wasn't.

I wasn't in that scene any more. No longer a figure in that diorama. No longer subject to the rules of that universe.

I had moved away. I had been other places and seen other things and met other people and faced different challenges and kept moving in that direction.

Instead of living in one smallish city in the middle of an anonymous state separated from the rest of the world by long reaches of flat grassland, I had lived in a large city and then a smallish one and then another smallish one and had, having finally finished one college degree, turned away from it and had pursued another in a totally different field. I had left fishing and photography and had picked up backpacking, and then bicycling, big time. Both big time.

And then I moved on from there too.

I had gone from being an unemployed English major who delivered lumber and worked as a clerk-typist to being a mainframe computer programmer who then transitioned to client-server development and then into web development. I got a physics degree. A hybrid physics/computer science degree with minors in chemistry and math. Plus one quarter-hour in volleyball.

I changed.

Now I've changed some more. I'm here.

I'm on a whole nother continent, south of the equator, in a place where I don't speak the language and don't know hardly anybody and am not sure at all of the rules. It's different.

So am I.

Unlike all the people I used to know. Who haven't changed. Much. During the last half century.

Which is something to think about.

Being an expat. I think it changes you.

Or is it that if you can change and grow, then becoming an expat is a thing you can do.

Either way.

Either way you change and grow because of it.

I couldn't go back to that small stuffy life.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The School-Prison Equivalence

Ever been to prison?

Me neither, unless you count that once.

Once, or twice, or three times, depending, etc. — once inside, twice on the grounds. Strictly business.

One tour, just me, Norman, and the loud sloppy not-so-bright guy whose name I can't remember from the local chapter of the Germans From Russia historical society. Let's call him Reiny. Close enough.

Norman was curator at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. I was his assistant for two and a half years.

Reiny gave us the tour of the state penitentiary. He worked there part-time. We got to see stuff.

And then again later Norman and I went out and documented the furniture in the warden's residence. All old stuff. We had been meaning to for quite a while, but you know Norman...

Anyway, suddenly it was a rush job. Get out there today. Just do it.

We had a nice chat with the warden's wife and tucked little notes about things all over the house in preparation for photography and detailed measuring and note taking the next day, and then the warden came home early. He had just been fired.

How convenient. And there we were. In his house. Sent to make sure that none of the furniture disappeared.

That's how we found out about that, our real purpose for being.

And it sort of fits in with the whole prison thing — you aren't in charge and if you ask too many questions, or the wrong ones, or any, then the train wrecks itself on top of you.

I'm reminded because the schools here are like prisons.

There is a big yard inside.

The front gate locks everyone in.

The inside world is cut off from the outside world.

Inmates wear uniforms.

Moving around has set hours, all locations are off-limits without specific permission, all activities are pre-determined and depend on approval, as does association with others for anything whatsoever.

Count on it being either mandatory or prohibited, whatever you're talking about.

And expect to know which questions are allowed. Or keep it shut. Mostly shut.

Your mouth. Your mind. Your imagination. Your consciousness.

And be invisible as much as you can.

I experienced a week at a Catholic college once. Until it blew up. I'm not good at following orders.

No, nope, and not.

I wouldn't do well here, in a Catholic grade school, and it's in no way related to me being 10 times older than some of the students.

But it seems to work well enough for them.

It seems to have worked well enough. In the past.

I wouldn't count on a prison-discipline regime turning out graduates of adequate caliber for global competition. Now that there is global competition.

And maybe that's why they haven't elected me king.

Because I'd change everything, doncha know. PDQ. Assuming I even wanted the job.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


You walk right up to one and there you are. Barred.

Whether you expect it or not.

Bars and locks — that's the way the cityscape goes around here. No way in, and sometimes no way out. Stalemate, checkmate, done up tight.

It's that way with the attorneys I'm seeing. The office is locked. You can't get in.

Unless, that is.

They are expecting you. And want to see you.

And then they come and open the door.

But with windows...forget about that. Forget about any part of it. Anyway, are you really going to climb in through a window? Or even stand there and peer in?

Probably not recommended anywhere, least of all where the bars were put up long before they knew you were even in the neighborhood.

So what they hey, it's an observation. Don't expect me to go out railing and wailing, I just keep my eyes open, watch what happens, sometimes mention it, occasionally suck my thumb.

Bars and locks — that's the way it is around here. Amusing in a way.

Or not.

Depends on how you're feeling about things that day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Detergent Stinks

Let us now wilt perceptibly.

I needed to do some laundry.

Fine. OK so far.

I found a self-service laundry. These are rare to non-existent here. Here, labor is cheap and machines are expensive.

Also, here, few people know how to operate these expensive and delicate machines. Which is why ordinary humans are not allowed to go into a shop or library and run off a few photocopies. Someone has to do it for you.

Someone who knows how, who has been trained, who will not hurt the machine.

It's the same with almost everything else: Don't touch, please. It may break from you. We do this for you, included in price.

But I found a self-service laundry (lavanderia autoservicio).

It may be the only one here, but OK. Fine so far. Just one more thing.


I needed some.

Luckily for me, Coral has a good supply. Lots and lotsa detergent. Comes in every color and all amounts. All are brands I've never heard of.

It all stinks.

It really stinks — all of it. I mean, really. Ninety-eight percent industrial nose-killer, two percent detergent.

Today, about two weeks after having bought some, and thinking back on it, my nose hairs quiver. They shrink and shiver, wilting even now, attempting to run and hide. Right outta my nose to somewhere sheltered and safe.

Well, the buying part is over. I bought some, and left. Got out of that store's aisle with my tiny, 61-cent bag of something-or-other, back into the reassuring relative freshness of diesel exhaust and dust on the street.

With my tiny bag.

With what I thought was maybe, possibly, the least stinky detergent available there, that day.

But who can say?

Who can say? Really?

At least the bag is small, and I try not to use much, and add in an extra rinse cycle, and hope that the dryer will burn off most of the residual stink, and convince myself that the atmosphere will deal with most of the rest, and believe, sincerely and ardently, that I can deal with what smell is left after that.

Without absolutely keeling over and croaking my last feeble croak.

I can hope, can't I? Can't I?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Crazed With Cleverness

Don't let me stop you.

Some locals are (a) crazy too, or (b) clever at business. Or just crazy.

You're an adult. You know what you want. You are aware that the universe is a strange place, including this part of it, and that the universe has teeth.

Nevertheless, let's have a language lesson. Right now. It will be quick.

precaución: noun, feminine
  1. caution, care (prudencia)
  2. precaution, preventive-measure (medida)
  3. foresight (previsión)

Get that?

Easy to understand — painless, right?

Makes sense, right?

Smooth and creamy with no bitter after-taste, right?


Now here it is from a different direction, with both barrels and subtitle-free. (Keep your emotions under control if at all possible.)

I am Dr. Uma Sabo, a traditional spiritual herbal doctor.

I can fix many questions or problems that come into your life.

l can make your ex-lover come back to your life.

l can make your marriage stable and, even if he/she has gone, l can make him/her be yours forever.

Some other problems I help/solve are: business problems, difficulty in birth, marriage problems, healing all type of sickness, stroke, any type of cancer, madness, witchcraft, financial problems, traveling issues, helping students, giving people magic, eye problems, broken bones, working on lotto numbers, infertility.

Contact me today and your problems will be solved,

Uma Sabo: d[something]spell[something-else]

(I've redacted the poisonous part. For my protection, not yours.) *

Add up the serious ability to make no sense in his/her/its declarations of potency, and you have a better-than-well-rounded practitioner. Let's call him/her/it decidedly over-round. Super-rotund? Flexed past the bounds of reality?

And of course like those psychics who work for minimum wage late at night on the other end of the phone line, Dr. Uma Sabo can give you the winning lotto numbers, but cannot supply them to him/her/itself, and so has to solicit random wretched shreds of business online.

Then again, does working on lotto numbers actually mean anything?

Only the Sabo knows.

Anyway, me. I got other ways to waste my time than being the recipient of worked-on lotto numbers, witchcraft-proofing, and/or emancipation from people magic.

Really though. Really.

I've been able to score all the important items on the Sabo list all by my lonesome. Leaving you to provide Sabo's next meal. Cuz I ain't gonna be it.

If you wish to be dinner.

As they say here then, Bon provecho.

And good luck with that.

* Originally seen at Gringo Post: No longer there. Heh.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Got Nostrils? Too Bad.

No Scents, the sign said.

It was on the office door of a math professor I once took a class from.

Woman. Put herself through college all the way to a Ph.D. as a single mother. She smoked.

Couldn't stand perfume though, or cologne, nor any kind of poofery or puffery or fluffery that came in a bottle or as freight in a bar of bubble soap.

I myself at times have gagged mightily when confined narrowly, near one recently exited from drenching of ten-cent-a-gallon stink juice.

The anti-aroma brigade gains more members daily, way up north where I used to live. I can understand them. I can understand that.

Here, no — don't think so. Not in Ecuador. Maybe not in any of what we-all call Latin America.

Here, if you're alive, you need to smell good.

To smell good you need to smell like you popped out of a flower-adorned bottle.

You get that way by

  • bathing with bar soap
  • applying hand lotion
  • shampooing
  • greasing up with sunscreen
  • doing laundry, and wearing the results
  • doing anything else

You can't help it. Everything stinks, everywhere, all the time.

Products aren't allowed on the market unless they can be used as chemical scent weapons, capable of emitting shock waves of sweet reeks to flatten small buildings and overturn rolling traffic.

The Bad News: The smells that linger for a week. No matter how often you wash.

The Good News: I'm waiting. Make it happen. Please.

But it's all relative then, innit? As in how close to borderline nausea you begin that day, just being alive. And how fast you can reasonably run, discreetly.

But they're always there, the floral stinks. Always.

Always seeking, ready to infiltrate your head, and to destroy your sanity. Mine, anyway.

Maybe it's my nostrils.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I See You?

You walk around.

If you want to see anything, you do. Walking is the best way to see things. And here is no exception, seeing things here.

To walk, you need open spaces. Open spaces to walk in, walk through, experience, explore.

But you don't get much here.

It's different here. This is a private society.

Streets are necessary. Streets are mandatory. Otherwise we'd all need to be birds. That won't work for me. I've tried. When I was young. With the arm flapping. Every kid tries it. It doesn't work.

So flight is out.

Moving around on the ground, the obvious place to start is with your feet. You move them. And then you move.

And to move you need streets. Because moving feet can do only so much.

Moving feet move bodies, and bodies can carry some of this and that, but not much else. So that's were wagons and carts and donkeys and then cars and trucks and buses come in. All require streets.

So we have streets here. They are essential. But this is a private society.

Which means.

That things are different here.

Open spaces are rare, aside from streets, occurring randomly and relatively unpleasantly, as parks. They aren't. Not as we know parks. We foreigners.

The parks here are flat squares of pavement, with a few shrubs, and a scattering of fenced-off trees.

Not what we think of. No. Not what I think of.

The open spaces here are inside houses. Or other buildings.

Schools have them. You can see. Every now and then you can see. Them. Inside. Inside the walls inside the buildings.

Safe areas. Protected areas. Private areas. Roman villa style, rooms around the periphery, space in the middle. Sealed off from the rest of the world.

The parks. What they call parks. Are incidental. Really.

Token gestures.

When you go to a park, you're going to a place you go to be public.

And that's different from.

From what?

I don't know — different from what I used to know. Just different. More public in a way.


Like making a political statement, or formally proclaiming a religious view. I am here, now, today, in this place, and am visible. So there. Done.

And then you go home and get all private again and no one knows where you really are or what you are up to and no one cares.

You behind your walls.

Monday, September 21, 2015

JBoob With Chicken

Hey. Don't blame me. I just pressed the button up toppa the camera.

J was already there, boobing around with a chicken on his shoulder. It was like that when I got there. It was like that.

I dint have nothin to do with the chicken neither. Is that a chicken? Who knows? It's something up there beaking into the sky. Might as well call it a chicken. Looks happy. Can't beat happy.

J don't look so much happy, but that's kind of the story. Sad to be here, sad about what seems to be happening, sad about what comes next. Even for the guy in charge it's not a happy story so I'll go with the chicken. Or the boob.


No matter what it's a creepy boob. I don't know. What's the real story here?

Too late to ask, I just pushed the button. So away we go then, and something different next time.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

When The Water Goes Away

They say that there is a certain lurking paranoia.

But I haven't tripped over it yet. Maybe I've been hiding in the wrong place. This could be the reason.

Or not. Who can say?

However, the events of daily life persist in nibbling at my ankles, which is not so good for my socks. And it is distracting. On the whole, of course, distraction is a good thing. Except when it gets to be distracting.

Today I'm a bit distraught over a certain distraction. Which is a certain lack of water coming from any tap. Here. Today.

But who am I to complain? Am I complaining? Nope — don't think so. Not enough to register on the Complain-O-Meter, as far as I can tell anyhow.

I'm only here as an observer, and to emit money while not becoming overly annoying, if I can help it, and no one wants another annoying old guy hanging around. So I'll not complain, but wait.

I hear we're due to receive water this evening at 6 p.m. Is what I've heard. And I got my shower in. I'm clean. Barely, of course. Barely but done, and clean. And things could be worse.


So if you want me I'll be down my hole, lurking until six. Unless today is the day that they come for me. But I'm wedged in pretty well so it should be another good day in the life no matter what.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Sun Is Back (Or I am.)

So there I was, sitting in Port Angeles, WA, on a bus pointed at Sea-Tac Airport south of Seattle.

Was this for me? Again?

I had been to Ecuador twice before, had gotten residency twice before, and both times I had decided not to stay. Because I hadn't realized that I was already dead.

I do now. I think.

Over the last 15 months since I left Ecuador the second time, after I had returned to the U.S., to Washington state, I have disappointed myself, and life has disappointed me.

I had plans, but many of them were not executable due to the circumstances of life as we know it these days, or if they were executable, were only partly executable.

And the rest of my plans, though I was able to carry them out, went missing because, well, ah — I just didn't feel like playing out the whole script.

Some things were administrative: buy a car, select a city to live in, find an apartment, settle in, get to know the place, become another anonymous resident.

Most of the items on my mental to-do list were more decidedly soulful — experiences worth pursuing for their own sake. In other words, making a lot of backpacking trips.


The administrative details kept tripping me. I was aiming at living in Wenatchee. Wenatchee wasn't waiting to receive me into its loving grace. Too expensive.

Although I'm not poor, my income ain't what it was. Walla Walla was too small and isolated. Yakima offered too little, especially the barren landscapes outside the city limits. The Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick are in a constant vibrant hum. Lots to do there, well-supplied by retailers. No shortage of cultural events and clubs and so on, but again, more barren landscapes outside the city limits and nowhere to go for miles and miles.

Yeah, so then there was Port Angeles, population 19,000. Not great either, but Olympic National Park is on one side and the ocean is on the other (you can see Canada straight across, 20 miles or so, right there). And cheap.

And gray and wet all winter. But cheap. And close to wilderness.

So that's where I stayed, waiting. Waiting for winter to get over so I could do in the summer of 2015 what I'd wanted to do in the summer of 2014 but couldn't, due to driving around, checking out various cities, hunting for apartments and failing to find a decent and affordable one. What I wanted to do was major backpacking, now that my retirement income had doubled and I could kick back and give backpacking my full attention and just do it.

And then, after waiting months and months and months through the winter, spring came, and then summer, and a lot of Washington state caught fire.

Every place I really wanted to get to burst into flames, so I went to the second tier of places on my list, and those were on fire too, and the third tier, and I ended up going back to trails I'd hiked before, again and again, and ultimately found that I didn't care all that much any more.

I found that it was more fun sleeping in than springing out of bed for an early start to another long day on the trail. I found that I got bored while hiking. It was work.

Partly because I saw very little new territory and partly because I didn't care all that much any more. My strength came back. It takes a while, but it came back fine. I could trudge uphill all day underneath a backpack, but why? I didn't know. I didn't really care to know — I was just bored.

So what's the point then?

I finally decided that I'd passed my expiration date. I'm still good for a while yet, though my flavor might have faded a mite. I might not quite have that sharp, spicy tang any more, maybe not enough of a decline in quality to register during a casual encounter, but it's there — I know it.

I got slightly confused a few times while driving, which is a fine early hint to get out of owning a car. Check.

My new favorite hobby became napping, especially on waking early, when I put the headphones in, tuned to the morning news, and sank back into sleep for another hour or two. Check.

I had fun drinking a beer with lunch. Check.

I endlessly frittered with unimportant things, or passed days just reading. Check.

I focused on small things and decided that what I really wanted was to be irresponsible and float — not to accomplish anything in particular.

And I realized that winter was coming again, and too soon. Which meant that there would be another eight or nine months of gray skies and drizzle before I could reconsider and get out into the back country and try things yet one more time (to be sure, really sure).


Hear that? It's the warning buzzer. What it means is that it's already too late. I bailed. Got my documents together, packed, bought a bus ticket on the Dungeness Line to take me to the airport, and flew away. Twenty-three hours after getting to the airport I descended the stairs from the final plane and once again was on the ground in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Today the sun is shining, right up there among the happy clouds. The temperature is 63°F but the sun is hot. There is a slight breeze — only enough to keep the air from getting stale, no more. The sun will set at 6:17 p.m. tonight and rise tomorrow at 6:12 a.m., The sun will keep doing that sort of thing as long as and even longer than anyone cares to notice.

I have a place to stay and good food. The rest is going to take care of itself.

If the sun is happy, I'm happy too.

I think it might work this time. And if not, I don't really care any more.