{ The Moth & The Spider }

**** Above you'll find the audio version of this : ) 

  I was reading it to juwels, and just punched the recorder ..


I found a moth and a spider stuck in the bathroom sink a while back. Not sure what was keeping the moth there since she had wings – maybe her wings were wet, maybe she was old and tired?  But I found the whole thing odd. This predator and prey, both stuck in the same situation, victim to gravity and tough footing, not enemies anymore, but strange comrades.  

Anyway, must have been warming up my hands for the morning, so I wrote this.  


"You know.." the spider said to the moth, "if you just hopped on my back for a few seconds, I could scramble us both a little closer to the rim, and then you could flap us the rest of the way right out of here.

The moth had been hiding on the other side of the bathroom sink, trying to catch her breath. She stopped breathing at the shear thought that he'd spoken to her, this great fanged creature who just moments ago had tried to kill her.

They’d both fallen into the sink when he'd ambushed her from behind the electric toothbrush earlier that same morning.

"What do you say?" the spider asked, noticeably tired after dashing for the rim more times than he could count. 

She didn't say anything but finally caught her breath from where ever it'd gone. She’d been in a panic and it was all she could do to stand on her own legs. But now she could see that he was tired; she could see the glow around him change from red to blue to green-yellow.

The spider, and impatient fellow, got tired of looking across the drain at her googly eyes and coiled tongue, and started walking slowly clockwise away from the faucet in her direction.

He tried to speak softly this time, explaining how they'd both benefit from the exchange, but he knew by his second word that he sounded cocky and taunting, so he paused to reconsider.

If he spooked her now, with the fright in her blood, she just might get enough juice to clear the rim and leave him stuck and hungry, not even having the chance to drink her tired body to a shell. And this nutrient boost could maybe give him the juice to get up and out himself. But he was too tired to catch her, so he tried to talk instead.    

So with all of this in mind, he walked back to where he'd been before, at the farthest possible spot on the sink, directly across. That's how she kept it - with every move he made, so did she. "I'm too tired to catch you and anyway, and if I ate you, I'd be stuck in here forever. Do you think I want that?" he said. "The only way I get out of here is with you, and you with me."

She started to speak softly in a voice he could hardly hear (spiders aren't known for their hearing) and was interrupted mid sentence by a drip of the faucet which fell like a wrecking ball.

"I'd never trust a spider," she said, "you're the reason that I'm in here now, because you're vicious, and you have no respect for the life of another, it's just who you are."

He started speaking over her, politely. His voice was quiet now, like a soft piano coming in behind a sad monologue. Devils advocate of sorts, spoken by the devil himself. "Moth," he said, "You've never really been in a situation where you might have to trust a spider. The only thing that you need to trust and believe is that I want to live, too."

She uncurled her long tongue and spiraled it around her bulbous eye. She always did this when she was nervous.  

   There was a lot of talking, the moth growing more bold and the spider sinking more lowly into his funk, which would soon turn to a last burst of frustration, and he knew if he got to this point, he'd surly pounce the moth, making a liar out of himself and most likely boosting his life force only to watch it fade again, endure it and fear it, shutting down.

   They came to an agreement only after he'd tried again to walk to her, and she gave him such chase that he said, "Don't do that to me again. If I lose anymore energy, I won't be able to make good on my part with these eight legs. I only have enough for one go, and I can't make any promises at that."

She came to him this time, and as she started to climb on his back, he shuttered a little, and this spooked her.

He felt her squeeze harder, and he called out, "Ahhhh .. gentile!! That really tickles!" He started to laugh, and couldn't stop. This felt wonderful, but scared him too, because he felt out of control, and he'd never really felt a tickle before. He only knew the word because he'd caught and killed a fly once as his wife lie laughing hysterically and screaming, "That tickles!!!"

He was surprised to have remembered the word when he heard it pass by his wiry mustache. "Tickles??"

He normally went blank while killing, eating, because he really didn't enjoy it to be honest. He was a curious fellow, and most times had sadly killed the actor of the play he'd just been watching. He'd try to hold back and wait as long as possible, soaking in every word that these social creatures would say, the little things they'd do. (spiders don't have friends, only competition and prey. It's lonely, but he'd always snap when the hunger came on. It wasn't him really, just the voice that kept yelling, "It's us or them! Do you want to be a suicide?? Do you?" And the spider in him came out.  

The moth stopped what she was doing with her little barbed slippers, knowing well what tickles were. Her wings kind of tickled her flanks as they'd dry out from the dewy morning and the fuzz would rise in thousands of tickely pricklers (that's what she would call them).

He caught his breath, and said, "nobody's ever tickled me before," almost to himself.

"What?" the moth said, "never?"

He furrowed his brows.

"Not even your mom?" 

"I don't really remember meeting her," he said, "there were so many of us.."

"Nobody really touches me, hell, until ... you know." He chattered his feet on the cast iron sink, and the moth thought it sounded like a little tune, an ominous one at that, like something from an old western showdown. "Plus," he went on, "The venom gets them pretty quickly, they never really feel a thing. It's actually much faster and painless than the death of a spider, that slow and painful rotting of the body and mind. Nobody takes us out with a mercy spike. Death comes slow and lingers." 

She noticed a few scratches on his spongy back, probably put there by his victims as they tried to avoid the fangs. "Wait !" the moth said before he could continue, "How do I know you're not just going to kill me when we get out?"

"I won't," he said, almost offended. "Just trust me. I can't make you believe, but what other choice do you have?" He no doubt was offended, transitioning from one of the closest and most pure encounters he'd ever had, directly to being called a murderer again. He had no choice, it was his cross to bear, but he felt able to be something else the rest of the time. He loved life in his own kind of way, not so much his own life but observing the lives of others, even if it was through these hard black eyes.

She dug into his flanks again as he spoke so animatedly, but this time he didn't laugh, he was somewhere else. "Okay, let's just do it before I change my mind," she said.

He did that little tap dance again, and she shuttered. He stepped a few paces back, closer to the drain to get running speed. She looked up through the top of her eye and saw a giant bead of water hanging just above them. "We're not going to make it," he said, "I can't get high enough, and you're not strong enough to make up the difference. Unless.... " 

"What?" she asked. 

"If I give you just a little bit of venom ..." 

"Give me?" 

"Yes, just a tap. It will spike your adrenalin, and you'll pull us right out of here."

"You want to bite me??" 

"No, well ... yes, kind of, but just a little bit .. a little bite."  

She was not interested, and tried to climb off, but he reached around with his two middle legs on each side, and held her there.

She screamed, but there was no point. She dug her barbed slippers into him, but he didn't notice. "Here's the new options, okay, and I can't keep toying with you on this .. I'm tired. You're going to make us both dead, okay? Just listen, and then make your call. What I do next happens regardless. We're either going to run for the rim, I stick you, at the last moment, and you blast us out of here, or I'm just going to eat you right here and now." (the second part was a bluff, he was a thinker, and would have moved onto some other kind of negotiation .. no doubt harder now with her heart racing so quickly.) 

She was really scared. He could feel her heat on his back, and he thought that he might not even need to stick her with this new energy that she had. And he wondered if he might just be able to pretend to get her mid scramble, tap her with his foot not fang. After all, it was a tricky cocktail that he was serving .. only once before, when he was just learning to hunt, did he stick a beetle with less than enough juice. This sent the beetle into a chemical frenzy that almost cost him two of his legs.

He did his tap dance. She grabbed on tight, and as he made the halfway part of the bowl, near vertical now, she started flapping with strong strides that left him feeling weightless. He forgot about the pretend bite, and before he knew it, they were both hovering above the rim.

He called out in victory, and just then, she let go. 

Gravity had him now, and although he swung all his legs and even cast a ribbon of silk, he fell in silence to the bottom of the bowl. It didn't hurt him, physically. He caught the slope of the bowl with his fuzzy back, and just watched her beautiful grey-white wings flap away as he slid farther down and almost dropped into the drain. 

His reflexes popped him immediately back onto his feet, and in anger, he dashed up the bowl, catching the rim with just one leg.

As he hung there for a second, he could see that the moth was still there, crying. His grip slipped, and down he went. He was confused over why she hadn't left, and what on earth she could've been crying about. She was out. She was safe. 

He saw her antennas come over the ridge first, and as she looked in, a tiny tear, which caught the full metallic spectrum of color, fell in and streaked a glossy line along the path they'd just covered on the cast iron.

"I'm sorry," she said, "It wasn't me. It's the fear that got me. I didn't even feel myself let go." 

He considered this for a moment, "Well, then just fly back in. We'll do it again, and you won't let go." 

"I can't. I'm too tired now .. I can hardly move." She couldn't look at him in there, looking so sad and scared, confused and hopeful, and she took a slow step back. 

"Wait !!" he called out. "I never stuck you..." 

She figured he meant to say that if they tried again, with the venom, that they could make it, together, but she said, "Even if you did it this time, I could do make it. I just don't have it in me. I'm not a fighter like you .. I barely have enough flight left in me to leave this house." 

"I believe you," he said, "I just wanted you to know that I never stuck you." 

She flew away just as a man with long wild hair passed her in the doorway, and as she turned the corner, still crying, she heard grumbling and the hiss of the faucet. 

The end. 


{ Seperation Roadtrip - Utah & Idaho }

alOha : )

   Here's a little travel {video} that my brother cut together from a "bro's" trip we recently took through Utah and Idaho. 

   You can watch the {home movie} on youtube, and brows a few pics below : )

It was a great time, just what I needed !!



{ Sunday Market , w/ the Goats }

Everything’s perfect.

We’ve been talking about strutting the goats around the Sunday farmer’s market for months, but never got around to it until just today. We figured it would be good to get them acquainted with more strangers, and dogs who we knew would be on leashes. Plus .. who doesn’t like to randomly bump into, and be able to pet, a pair of friendly Nubian goats?? It’s a really fun thing to see people’s eyes light up and kids come toddling over with both hands outstretched in that gimmie gimmie kind of way.

“Can I pet your goat?”

We don’t bring them out in public enough (normally just hiding off in nature … a place the girls say tastes better) .. but if we did, I’d totally make a shirt that said, “Yes, you can pet the goats : )” This way people could get right to it … 

By the way, I was smiling to myself, after the market, when the goats and I were posted up in the back of the Wholefoods parking lot (juwels ran in for sunflower oil) .. and as I watched ezzie curiously watching a raven two bushes over, I noticed that her fur was all running slicked back, from tip to tail, where people had been petting her.

But earlier, on the ride to the farmer's market, with the goats being good little babies, Juwels was complaining to her awkward view in the visor mirror.

“Ah .. I should have brought my hat,” she said, noticing the lazy side-flop of hair she’d twisted up with a chopstick.

“Nobody’s going to be looking at you,” I said, “They’ll be watching the girls.”

“My hair’s a wreck.”

She likes to hide out in sun hats and large plate glasses, like some diplomat’s wife leaving a war-torn country … can’t imagine why?

Anyway, fast forward 10 minutes in the truck, and we’re unloading the goats into somebody’s side yard for potty and snacks of wild weeds.

With leashes attached (not that they need them) we all walked off to the market. Stopping in the bright green grass surrounding city hall, which the goats would not sniff nor nibble, and the girls dropped more berries and watered the grass. “Goooooood potty, Chia .. . Goooood potty, Mez ..” 

We were ready. 

A big reason we wanted to bring the girls was to walk them up to the goat cheese booth, Fossil Creek Creamery, the farm we found them at.

“Chia … Are you ready to see your grandparents??” Juwels asked.

And another thing that ran through my mind was all the kids. All those kids who might’ve had nothing more to look forward to after the plate of melon samples, and then turning the corner to be staring eye-to-eye with Chia’s googly slit-eyes.

Our babies loVe being pet, so it would be a fun multi-sensory experience that would help show our little people that you never know what kind of exciting and unexpected thing might happen on the streets of the real world.

But it was interesting, and inspiring all the same, to see groups of adults with googly eyes and gimmie-hands. 

Passing their coffee over to their partner, they'd love it up with the babes, asked questions, talk between themselves about the goats as if they’d just discovered them in the woods, and smile like children.

From the first 30 seconds, we were like a tiny hoofed parade booth.

A guy from the Garland’s Apple stand caught my attention, “Here !! Hey, you can give your goat this apple slice,” He said, handing me one of his finest samples. 

I paused, but took it, knowing that Chia wouldn't eat an apple slice. 

I know that people say goats will eat anything, but it’s not true with our girls. Maybe they’re just spoiled. For example: I’ve never gotten Chia to eat an apple slice or an apple core, but I have gotten her to eat the tiny dried stem. She loves them. Ezzie doesn’t like apple unless we’ve given them to the chickens and she can bully them out of it .. that, or she’ll take bites out of whole apples if she’s raiding our grocery bag as we open the front door (she does this with onions, too. ) She’s a girl who enjoys the experience of getting rather than the final destination of having. Chip off the ol' block.

People stood back to watch Chia -not- eat the apple slice in my hand, but I held it under her nose anyway. She sniffed it … and I almost thought she was going to take it. Yes !! Take it !! Don’t be fickle.

And she curled her lip and turned away.

I shrugged and popped it in my mouth and walked off, thanking the man. 

Chia tried to grab the long green carrot tops from a lady’s basket while her back was turned, and I reeled her in, talking to three people at the same time. Ezzie-mez saw a dog .. a soft retriever puppy … and her hair stood up in that cool punk rock way, neck to tail, and they did their dance of mutual curiosity.

People with dogs wanted to talk and shoot pictures, and I didn’t want to ward them off just because the girls can get spooked, but this confused the dynamic as the goats looked like they wanted to head butt – ears straight forward, making the whole frontal plate look bigger.

This dog training was great, though, and they got to meet a lot of different shapes and sizes, all leashed, and never freaked but rather stood firm at our sides.  

A woman asked if she could buy the goats some carrots after I’d just told her about the old lady Chia tried to pick pocket, and then I had to explained that it was only the green tops they’d eat, and that they didn’t actually like carrots. So she asked if she could buy them some squash, and I went into a speech about their fickle eating habits and how they’ll almost never take anything from the hand unless it’s snack food.

“She likes Goji berries,” I said, almost thinking she might have some … “Or cashews or pecans ..” She shrugged, patting Ezzie’s little horn stub, thanked me and walked off. 

I have my routine set, “Yep .. they’re our little hiking babes. Best camping buddies ever. They sleep right beside our bags… or sometimes between them. They ride in the car, and they’re even potty trained.”

People want to know what kind they are. How old they are. Their names. (this question is normally first, perfect manners : ) They ask if we’re milking them, and learn that we'd have to breed them first. And if I’ve got somebody really planted there, I’ll tell them how I don’t feel comfortable just dropping my little one with some strange male goat, and how I think they should know each other first and perhaps fall in love. 

But it was fun for me, too, because I know all the answers, autopilot. The same thing can't be said about normal chitchat. And better yet, it’s all about a subject other than ourselves, and one that we can look at .. and pet : )

Even with that said, I wasn’t quite prepared for the two step, circled, performance, crowd .. growing. Exit. Two step, Dog, performance. Slide-on-dance.

But it worked for me because Juwels normally gathers the bounty in her baskets, and I have nothing else to do. At times, she’d hand me both leashes, and I’d block the aisle with these two strange creatures.

People were snapping pictures like crazy, and I’d forgotten all about juwels’ bad-hair day. But I'm sure she hadn’t. Pictures of the goats, us and the goats, their kids and the goats.

Juwels picked a good sized water melon and filled two woven baskets with apples, onions, eggplant, and other things with exceptional gravity alongside goat wrangling.

Ezzie was charging onward when juwels realized that we’d forgotten to stop at a booth, “Let’s go back. I wanted Steve and Kelly to meet the goats.” But I suggested that we just head on since I didn’t want to battle Ezzie into a wide U turn on the crowded cross section of walking traffic.

“We can do a loop and head back,” I said.

It’s true that it's possible to just cover ground and not stop to talk, but it's a thing that takes effort, and you have to actually avoid eye contact to stifle conversation, and that's an odd looking thing to do. Out of the way, people … I’m just trying to move my goats along and get my shopping done on this fine Sunday morning. Ha Ha Ha. I met a couple once sitting outside of a hip café here in town, and they had a very cute miniature pony, and when juwels and I walked up to look at it, the girl wouldn’t even look at us, and acted so rude when juwels asked the name. That girl did not deserve a pony … or maybe this is just what happens when you give a brat a pony, but in any case, if people want to talk and smile and soak it in, I’m more than happy to go through the shtick : ) It’s fun : )

So Ezzie is at the wheel, pulling us towards something … or away from something, and we’re all walking side by side, and I’m nodding and smiling but moving forward, and I notice a guy standing up ahead in the crowd, walking backwards and holding a camera to his eye with a giant lens pointed at us.  

Click, Click, Click. 

People were parting to get out of his way.

That guy’s got a nice camera, I thought. You see that a lot around here with all the tourists coming and going from Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Much more firepower than you’d really need at the farmer’s market or downtown, but I guess they didn't pack a point and shoot, too. 

And then the guy stopped us. 

“I’m sorry. I’ve gotta stop you just for a second.”

We stopped fully.

“So … are you guys from here?”

“Yep,” I said.

Juwels was frozen in her bad-hair day, and would later tell me that she knew he was a reporter. “He had his little notepad out and everything.”

I was on wind-up-play mode after the last ten minutes and didn't notice.  

“I’m from the Arizona Daily Sun,” he said, “What are your names? And what are the goat's names?”

Just then, Ezzie drops a batch of about fifty goat berries out from under her wispy tail, and they scattered on the ground at his feet.

“I’ll get those,” Juwels says, handing me Chia’s leash.


“Chia and Ezzie,” she said, digging the tiny pan and sweeper out of my backpack and then squatting awkwardly in a short dress.

“How do you spell that?” he asked me, and I half froze. 

That's not one of my questions .. 

I told him and he jotted it down.

The attendant at the information booth glared over at juwels, sweeping. At least I think she was glaring, but to be honest, we’ve never really seen her smile, so this could be her resting pose.  

“Well, thanks,” he said, “Great .. just great.” He smiled, with this scoop now officially his happening. “Local couple, Peter and Juwels, walk their goats through the Sunday market.”

We finally made it over to the goat cheese booth, and John was happy to see the girls and gave us a deeper discount than normal. Sadly, his wife, Joyce, wasn't there that Sunday, but he had us pose in front of the booth to take a picture for her. I wrangled Chia’s snoot out of his tiny trashcan full of sample paper cups. “Paper, yum!” And from there, I squeezed the girls between vendor cars and stood for a time alone in the grass. 

Beside the Bustle of old highway 66, the girls climbed rocks, while still on their leashes, and nibbled from postcard-looking aspens next to a life-size bronze statue of Davy Crocket or somebody else wearing a coonskin hat and settler’s clothes. 

I met Landen, a blonde toddler who said, “Goat. Goat. Goat.”

And juwels sent our farming neighbors back to see me. (the family from the bee hive relocation video)

Juwels finally came back, and we walked off, talking about her hair and what rotten luck she had with newspaper photographers (we’d only been in the papers once before, poached at out own wedding, and I’ll admit, the guy should have been given a good talking to over the picture he chose (must have been the only one, but boy it was awkward .. ha ha ha.).

On the way home, we saw a text from my visiting sisters saying that they were down the street at a park and playground if we wanted to hang out with them and their kids before they left town, so we cut over to the park, unloaded the goats and did it all again. 

There were more dogs and more kids and more curious adults. No more reporters and juwels showed the kiddies the magic of picking four (and five) leaf clovers in the hobbit-land green patch.

It was a good morning, but we had our hands full, and didn’t have the chance to take a single picture.

Spread the loVe, eat local, 


p&j .. & .. c&e


{ Venice Beach, behind the scenes }

** I've been digging through old Docs and notebooks as I'm working on this Winnebago Diaries book, (no point in writing something twice). But before I'd sold myself on writing this monster of a thing, I was toying with the idea of just warming up with a book of shorts from Venice Beach, that strange and beautiful place I loVe and hate.

Anyway, Venice will have a big part in the book I'm working on, but here's a rough intro to the book of shorts ... I'm sure I'll add more stories here on the blog later, but for now, here's a little taste to set the stage. 

  --- > you can see pics of Venice in this older {blog} we posted ... just scroll way down : )

But here, it's just words words words.

enjoy ! 


There’s a place in Southern California, a bohemian community on the beachfront, awkwardly sandwiched between two upscale cities like the screwed up middle child that nobody knows what to do with.
That problem child’s name is Venice Beach, and I love her for everything she is and for everything she refuses to become. When I talk about Venice Beach, I’m talking about the actual beach, and more specifically, the crowded 3-mile stretch of boardwalk.
It’s a place of a thousand, 50 thousand, faces - daily, and that’s just the background, the visitors. The real show is in the boardwalk locals and vendors, performers, cops and bums. It’s a scene that shouldn’t exist in the way it does, and in this day and age, and not only does it persist to exist, but it does so against the will of powerful people of both state and private interest.   
At a glance, you know the place is untamed..  infected with the freedom gene and carrying a spore that can spread. You need merely to sniff the air in certain spots and pickup the mixed scent of burning incense and hot tanning oil, marijuana smoke, deep fried carnival food, pizza parlors and bum piss, and you’ll know you’ve reached the freak show on the shore.
This place was built by the people, and the power behind its lasting construction comes from the year 1791, from a constitutional amendment, the first in fact, that guarantees the freedom of speech, the press, religion, and peaceable assembly.
So … over 3 decades ago, cloaked in the constitution and moving somewhat timidly, a small group of artists and thinkers, activists, gypsies and performers took up stakes on the empty Westside of the boardwalk to vend to some of the biggest walking crowds of any beach in the country.    
The boardwalk is wide and long, and actually made of stones and cement, not old-time boards. And skirting the beach side from end to end, like a linear shantytown, you’ll find hundreds of vendors staking claims beneath broken canopies and faded umbrellas.
The vendors and performers are the main attraction, consistently drawing millions of people per season. They’re the unpaid and under-appreciated city workers who show up early to design their unique 10 X 10 urban sets and provide the unexpected show that is everyday life and survival on the cluttered boardwalk.
Hollywood could never cast this revolving mix of characters. They’re an endangered wildlife that needs to be preserved, studied and appreciated, but in the recent past, the draw of progress, lazy enforcement and the fear mentality has led some higher powers to try and forcibly wash the whole scene down the storm drain and out to sea.
Most of the vendors are honest hardworking people who find themselves driven to snap and snarl between each other as a result of the intensity of hunting one’s living on the street and the lack of organization.
Territory is high on the list of things to go tooth and nail over. Some vendors have an almost superstitious view of where they need to setup, and who they don’t want to be setup beside. Some neighboring booths are too big and hide their display, and some neighbors are too loud or draw a jostling crowd that will swamp visibility, and at times, trample their display. Fortune tellers don’t want to see the like on the same block, and the craft people see China-made junk sellers as a waste of real estate and a leech on the neck of the already limited spaces where people are meant to express their art and creativity.
It’s true that there’s a lot of drama between the sellers. Most of which could be avoided with a little work. Fights breakout, people are bullied, and the police are called daily. Animal nature has a way to simplify these struggles, but a pecking order is not soon to emerge on the boardwalk, and every new greyhound bus arriving from afar, or lost job in the extended family increases the chances of new faces showing up on the scene, and a roosting spot must be found.  
Working members, for the most part, must stay put in their cubic space, and in the daylight hours, the vendors are contained, happy and occupied with the catch of the day. After morning setups, they give the city, and society, little trouble. It’s the “others” that worry men and mothers so much, the drifters and drunkards, crazies and convicts.
The crowds and unwieldy nature of the boardwalk draws all sorts of critters to the scene. Some of the most interesting people I’ve watched and met in Venice came from this subsection of the community, those not tied to any one space and not occupied with the practicalities of sales, producing their art and doing business.
Most of them have some sort of hustle in the throng of things. Some fly a sign for spare change (the younger drifters call it “spanging”), and others help vendors setup their booth, break down, or hold spots for a few dollars a day. The alleys behind beach bungalows are scoured by the more industrious, and discarded household goods are cleaned up and carted off by bike trailer or shopping cart, later to be sold on the move. I’ve collected many books, tins, wood picture frames and wine crates from these salvage hunters, and at such a deal. “Ahhh .. Give me two dollars.” Sold. But then there are others who will offer you a brand new $300 beach bike for $20 Best not to deal with these types .. I've seen angry bike owners pull riders from the crowd, "That's my bike!!" Or there are others who may lift something from a vendor’s table while they’re busy pitching a prospect.
I’ve seen “helpers” become partners in these street businesses, and partners become enemies. Every kind of royal deception occurs there, but with plastic 20th century stuff. Shakespeare could rhyme about thievery and deceit all day, but first you’d have to explain to him what a cell phone is and what one might do with such a stolen thing. 
Some are fresh out of prison and others are hiding out from going there yesterday. I’ve been told that cops from other districts dump crazed wanderers on the Venice walk in the night, hoping they’ll take to the community or at least forget where they came from. Occasionally, you’ll see mad men with bloodshot eyes wandering the cotton-candy crowds in full daylight, talking to themselves and arguing with unseen enemies all around. But besides jail, an accommodation which must be rightfully earned in the state, there is no place for these people, so roam they do, forgetting appointments at the free clinic or selling their meds for pizza and ice cream money.
Venice is an all-purpose asylum, art exhibit, freak show, peddler’s pass and bazaar, and within the reach of the constitution, this kind of thing, I’m told, could happen to any open public space if the spore caught on and people stood their ground. I talked to an adviser to the city attorney about this amidst a meeting of the “peace-keepers” and he said, “We just hope to God they won’t.”    
The next-door neighbors know all of this, they read about the most severe of cases in the local papers and talk about it in the town hall meetings. And on Sundays, they may even feel the tribal beating of hundreds of drums coming to them from across the sand as people from all walks gather on the beach to play the old week off into the sunset and welcome the new.
This is all too much, so police from upscale Santa Monica (north) and the yacht town of Marina Del Rey (south) guard an invisible fence line with the intensity of boarder patrol agents. Pushing peddlers, drifters and riffraff back to Venice through the wide holes in the mesh, they ride black, sand-spitting quads across the beach and marshal-up in dark-tinted SUV’s. And on special nights, you’ll hear them clip-clopping on the backs of tall, thoroughbred horses like leathery old cowboys on a manhunt.
If you’re one of those long-haired freaky people, it’s best not to leave Venice on foot going north or south. West could work .. if you’ve got your pirate ship on the ready, and there are some hideaways east in Culver City, far beyond the cleansing sea breeze. But Venice is a special kind of birdcage, bright and sunny and big enough for the whole microcosm of life to exist, and to be honest, most people don’t want to leave once they settle down and find their place. In the freak culture, there’s safety in numbers.
The cops and officials within Venice itself realize they’re stuck with their inhabitants and busy themselves with 24-hour damage control, casting a wide net meant to catch only the biggest of fish and let the rest alone … for now. They want Venice to graduate, so to speak, sweep the trash from the streets, put in parking meters and up the rents, but it’s not that easy.
Thanks to a small group of activists and human rights organizations, and inadvertently, the beloved Coastal Commission, all the city’s attempts at gentrification have failed, and the people persist, wild and loud and free.
The rents have gone up, so the old resident artists moved out of their studio apartments and into retired school buses, motor homes and vans.
Little by little, the microbreweries and high-end burger joints sprout up, optimistic but reserved. The independent shop owners grow tired of waking the same slumbering war vets on their front step every morning, and young women wonder what’s safe, but Venice makes no false fronts.
West of Lincoln Blvd, you’ll notice that her guts are spilled for all to see, on the streets and in the alleys … in the old man’s candlelit face, reading in the window of his homesteaded van, in the intensity of the young can collector, racing daylight, and the morning garbage trucks as he works the weekend’s stuffed trashcans by headlamp. It’s skid row with a sea breeze, a Kafkaesque sideshow with a third act bordering on Orwellian. You’ll see ..  
As I said, the most interesting and alive parts of Venice happen on and around the boardwalk. There are a few veins of action running east, away from the beach, like Rose Avenue and its intersection with 3rd street, side-show ground zero.
To some extent, the beach shuts down at night – vendors can’t sell past sundown - and a backwash tide of cars and men and pushcarts flow out into the neighborhoods, filling side streets with small camps and battered rusty autos like hermit crab shells.
By night, one must hide out, knowing it’s illegal to reside in a vehicle. With the morning comes the safe haven of the boardwalk, the place where we belong. I, too, for years was a vendor on the walk, selling my writing like a delirious sailor, sun struck and starving, and telling stories of the end of the map and swimming serpents like dragons.
But I was shy, at first, and for a long time in fact. And my lovely girlfriend (turned wife) sold my books while I pretended to nap on the grass or hide my face behind the leafed open covers of a book. “We’re doing shifts,” she’d explain, “It’s my turn to man the booth.” But I only came over to sign a book at the end, rubbing my eyes and bowing my head to them.
But that wouldn’t do, and sometimes she had other gigs that paid much better than the beach, so we’d have to split the deck and each make our own bread for the day.
So I blossomed from a shy little dandelion directly and immediately to a Venus flytrap, green and sticky and giving them the madness they were looking for in the beach, the surprise they’d heard about from friends, for everybody has a story about Venice Beach: The sea gull soaring over the boardwalk, who against all odds and the mathematics of gravity, had pooped directly into their mother’s eye. The stolen bicycle and subsequent missed curfew. The random hookup below a lifeguard tower, or the henna tattoo (mixed with black hair dye) that took a month to wash away. Something is always going awry below those shaggy palm trees, and much of this book will be revisiting these points in history and studying the place as a the living breathing thing that it is.
When the places was truer than it is now, for things have begun to sway, I felt the drumming pulse. I saw it all like a child with the naïve thought that somebody had to be minding the ship, but it wasn’t so. Growing up in the middle class suburbs of Scottsdale Arizona, this place filled any boredom holes that I might have thought I’d had …  retroactively, all the way back to the day I was born and then some. We lived on the city streets, too, the wife and I, in our self-renovated 1975 Winnebago.
The daily drive back and forth from our costly apartment in Long Beach was too much to bear, and food money became gas money, and in my hunger, I grew enchanted at the sight of the street people, living in their rolling homes, beachfront, free as the pigeons, so we sold our stuff and stored the rest, and moved out of society and into the sideshow. It was the best decision we ever made, still is … 7 years later as I write these words.
But let’s get on to the boardwalk and out of this intro. I think I’ve set the stage sufficiently for now, and this whole book will be cutting deeper into the marrow of the thing, so we’ll move on. I’m peter, by the way, and my queen-of-the-trailer-park is the lovely lady, juwels. So now we’re all friends : )
More to come, loVe,
- p&j  


{ My Robin Williams Status & The Status of the World }

I could go on for pages and pages about this Robin Williams thing ..

But I don't want to make people feel even worse. Because we're all victims (and contributors) to the same darkness that killed such a bright and shining light.

All I can say is that we need to remember that this is -our world- that he needed to escape. I believe that it was exactly his electric life and energy (these things we thought would complete him and keep him here) in sharp contrast with what we've become which made him feel so alien and alone. 

As a passionate person with the tendency to overwhelm the overworked, I've felt this same thing for much of my life, and I can only thank my sweet wife for saving me and mending my broken soul. It's not lack of heart but the opposite that lets in so much pain.

It's bombs and babies and fear and lies and guilt and apathy. It's thousands of years of killing in the name of God, child solders, sweat shops, walmart, prisons for profit, blood diamonds, synthesized singers with nothing to say, sex, silence, fabricated self loathing and loneliness in the limelight. It's life being dulled down to a dial tone and nobody seeing the tears of a clown. It's parents worried sick that their child wants to take the hard road of artistic expression, and those same kids growing up with a bad taste in their mouths and not supporting others in their "foolish endeavors" and on and on. 

This was not his world, and it's not mine either, that's why I've created my own and retreat into nature, but this hiding helps the collective in noway. There's so much suffering in the name of a few wealthy families, and we're all too sick and scared and fat and tired to do anything about it.

Johnny Depp won't watch his own films because he doesn't want to look at himself ... Howard Stern has social anxiety at parties and worries that he's being boring and simply can't read people. Jim Carry cries at night, and for every Robin Williams who checks out, there are a million more who stick around, sick and lonely, tethered to this world by a ribbon of guilt for the sadness that they'll leave behind.

Goddammit - let's start letting people be weird and free and take chances and fail and get back up with a click of their heals and try again. Let's stop hating people for loving themselves and hating ourselves for what they say we should be or do or look like. Slow down. Take a breath. Lash out at your boss, not your kids. Send that message all the way to the top. We want CHANGE. We need it. 

Stop taking everything so seriously. Life is a joke, and life is a game, but we need to rewrite the way it's played because we're going around in circles in this mad monopoly. Vote with your dollar, for the almighty dollar is God in this bankrupt era, and demand that they feed us Real food and play us Real music. Let your boys cry, and let your girls get dirty. Let the wedding bells ring for anyone who wants them, and stop judging people ... starting with your self. And start loving people ... starting with yourself.

There are so many good people here in our feed. And we need to spread that goodness around, lead by example, get comfortable, have fun, live, laugh, and work hard. People will follow. Let's all march to the tune of freedom and liberation from all these distractions and expectations. This life can be heaven, but we have to try.

Let's start now.