No Holiday at the Colony Inn (Aug. 28, 2002)

I’ll admit I was down-and-out. I was borderline Fun Bunch. But these things are subjective. One man’s pith is another’s drivel. I was in the Humboldt Squeeze: watching my job dry up quicker than the atmosphere at a poetry reading, all the usual expenses mounting. Thus imperiled, I applied for work at Arcata’s landmark of […]

Eureka, 2011

Eureka has a steamy, half starved look, especially late in the year from the second story as I turn to my right and stare out the window, stuck on a phrase or worse. A generation or two earlier, the neighborhood was full of workers, fishermen, whores, gamblers, resident or gypsy loggers, and travelers meeting the […]

Life at the Fort Bragg Mill (July 23, 2003)

June of 1977 there was uncertainty about the future of the mill in Fort Bragg. At that time it had been in operation for over 100 years, but only the year before, Louisiana-Pacific, which had been created, as it were, out of Georgia-Pacific’s rib as the result of federal anti-monopoly action, had shut down the […]

Starting Out In Fort Bragg

If I still believed the things I was told when I was a teenager, barely able to distinguish truth from fiction, I would be as cranked up about a vast liberal conspiracy to control my every action, take my guns away, and teach my offspring to be sexual deviants as the vast majority of Americans. Actually, that’s not exactly correct.

Revolutions Incorporated

Probably my favorite Fourth of July memory is the afternoon in Arcata when I got drunk early and wandered over to the ballpark just as the Redwood City team was taking pregame infield. Their massive first baseman called out the throws, one by one, in the routine every team goes through to prepare for the […]

Siwashing It

The road out of Gualala, at least the road I chose, climbed from a pleasant creekbottom, cooled by tall trees and damp breezes, abruptly and continuously uphill for several miles. It doesn’t matter how many, although I knew then: every few hundred yards a white aluminum sign marked the distance, measuring backward, so that my […]

The Cans

Saving the earth through recycling is big business, judging by the number of can and bottle buyers set up in parking lots and empty corners throughout Sacramento. Somebody is obviously making some money, which must make their selfless devotion to the cause easier to bear, as they transport and profit in large amounts of material. […]

Passing Through

I found myself on the grassy series of knobs headed uphill into dark woods, the old stage coach route which picked out a somewhat more precarious path along the coastal bluffs than the present highway, which benefits from being more permanently engraved upon the landscape, reinforced with pavement and engineering. The stage route was never […]

Disturbing the Peace

I’d prefer not to call the cops. I don’t have anything against cops and I don’t fear them. Some of my friends and relatives are cops, like most people probably. It’s a big industry. I’d prefer to take care of things myself, though, if possible. But recently when my neighbor relapsed and got all tweaked […]

The Fox’s Lair

At dawn I’m in the grassy roadway just a few yards away from the Caspar cemetery, a peaceful and rustic spot surrounded by a venerable stand of Sitka spruce: the bluish, lichen-bearded grove briefly visible from nearby Highway 1, and the only hint most people ever get of the place. I’ve visited every so often […]

Borne Arms & Bare Behinds

Whistling down the Amtrak line in the region of Fernley, Nevada, about five in the afternoon, in the observation car under a lid of smoke from Sierra Nevada fires, scanning the murky sagebrush hills for wild horses, I was startled for a moment by what appeared to be a rampant set of female hindquarters, bared […]

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