353 Fancydancing w/ geoducks at undertaker bootcamp, then triage at 40,000 ft.

seattle columns

Dear Internet,

Still sleeping in Seattle ... manning the bookfair table. Same gripes as always, too academic ... wrong crowd. Not even worth going into. But we're grateful for those that get it & those curious enough to stop by the Calamari table. And at least it was in Seattle, where we hadn't been in a while.

Haida manhole

where even the manholes are Haida

Continued our shellfish bingeing ... thursday night to some place called Taylor. Finally got to try the mythical geoduck (pronounced «gooey»). Last year in Portland we tried to find a place that carried geoduck to no avail, so we were still on the lookout. If you don't know what a geoduck is, watch this:

Growing up in Oregon we dug up our fair share of razor clams, but had only heard rumors about the monster geoduck ... in the same hushed tones people spoke of giant squid. And last time we were in Washington state clamming, we tried to dig us some geoducks ... w/ no luck. So at least now we finally got to eat it ... in the soupy guise of chowder & also in the raw as geoduck sashimi. Also had a dozen oysters (our 3rd or 4th dozen & it was only our 2nd day in Seattle) & seaweed salad. And we still weren't satisfied so got a bucket of clams at our hotel bar (clam-wise that makes the 3rd bucket in 3 days). Probly got toxic levels of heavy metals in our blood, but well worth it.


the somewhat obscene geoducks at Taylor

That night we were at some sort of undertaker bootcamp/rehab. Strange mix of national guard types & some civilians like us, volunteering in a sort of therapeutic community service. We were there to bury our brother, but had to help dig a bunch of other graves 1st before we got to his ... that was the deal. Ours was sort of an exceptional case being that he'd died so long ago, so they went easy on us ... not expecting a lot of physical labor. We were sitting there scraping at the ground w/ a hand trowel & crying, as this was what was expected of us. Being at AWP perhaps had a bearing on this dream ... undertaking as a metaphor for writing ... the book as metaphor for burying your dead.

Seattle Public library

Seattle public library

The 3rd day was the same as the 2nd ... sat at the table all day trying to monger books. Took a break from shellfish the 3rd night & had Mexican ... w/ Elizabeth Mikesch & her friend ... oh yeah, Mikesch («rhymes w/ dickish») came to AWP, as did Brandon Hobson, so got to meet them both for the 1st time. Always good to put a face to the authors we publish. And John Olson came by the table Saturday, our 1st time meeting him.

anemone kababs

ex-kabab shop in Pioneer square

Saturday was the public day ... after initially being dicks & saying it wouldn't be open to the public, AWP did good & reversed their decision (after a slew of tweets & angry emails (including 1 from us)). But still, this all went down only a few days before the event, so they obviously didn't advertise or promote it ... tho an article in The Stranger probly served the purpose even better. Up until this point we hadn't sold a lot of books, even tho they were heavily discounted, so Saturday we started a «any 2 for $10» deal ... (those in the know quickly scooped up the pricey Ark Codices) ... or it even got to the point where we were giving some away. Forgot to do the before & after photo thing like we did last year ... or take any photos at AWP for that matter, but we did a rough count & moved about 200 books & made enough clams to at least cover the cost of the table.

45 Grave

this space for rent

The last night we ate at an old school place in the Pike market ... forget the name of it. Sunday walked around ... down to Pioneer Square & then up thru Beltown & over to Lake Union, before the drizzle turned to a steady downpour & it wasn't much fun. My knee's been fucked too ever since that long run/walk in Santiago ... strange thing is that it seems to be aggravated more by sitting for long periods of time (like on the plane across the country) & running on it makes it go away.


Pioneer Square





graffiti removal

even the graffiti removal has Haida tinges






space needle

creepy father-son & space phallus between



another empty lot & cherry blossoms already blooming in Beltown



in the sculpture garden along Eliot Bay




EMP museum

EMP museum (or whatever that Hard Rock Cafe-like monstrosity is called)


lake union

boats on Lake Union

Had a last dozen oysters & fish & chips then light-railed to SEA-TAC ... watched the oscars in a lounge. Weird fucking flight ... used our flyer miles to upgrade to 1st class ... the 1st time we've ever done that, figured it was worth it since it was an overnight flight & a few hours after we landed in Newark, J had to leave from JFK to Rome, so she needed all the rest she could get. Not too long after take-off, this women comes staggering by & collapses right in front of us. The flight attendants asked if there was a doctor on board & 2 people stepped forward, tho we're not sure how competent they seemed. They gave her oxygen & put her on an IV drip (reading out of a manual) ... all right there in front of us. Eventually she was able to get up & we absorbed ourselves in one of The Hobbit movies ... but next thing we know she was back on the floor. They had her laid out in the aisle in front of us & this time there was more of a sense of urgency ... 2 or 3 of the flight attendants & the 2 volunteer «doctors» were trying to get another IV drip in her vein & making a mess of it ... getting blood everywhere & mopping it up w/ stacks of paper towels from the bathroom. They were reading out of manuals & asking if anyone had a glucose kit, etc. ... basically no fucking clue what they were doing (not that we do). It was like this makeshift triage unit, hanging IVs w/ headphone cords & using empty water bottles to dump discarded needles, the contents of first-aid kits scattered all over ...

This went on for at least an hour ... eventually they got her sort of stabilized ... when suddenly another old woman comes lumbering up the aisle & passes out literally right at our feet ... unconscious. Maybe this happens all the time in 1st class, like moths flying into candles? Or maybe this was the in-flight entertainment? This time there was even more of a sense of urgency ... they were checking her vitals & looked about to give CPR. The «doctor»—an older man that looked Korean—was acting strange, laughing & shrugging ... tho then again it was weird/funny. And if this wasn't weird enough, right after this 2nd woman collapsed—before they had even stabilized her—a stewardess comes running from the back & says yet another person had passed out ... & that this 1 was «unresponsive».

(... & no, this was not from a dream.) So they leave the 2 women w/ their oxygen masks & IV drips & go running back to help the 3rd. At this point we're thinking maybe it had to do w/ a bunk mixture of O2 or bad cabin pressure. Couldn't have been the food cuz they never even got a chance to feed anyone or serve drinks since the 1st woman passed out early into the flight blocking the way of the food cart (so much for our 1st class service!). Either that, or we're thinking it was a form of mass hysteria, the power of suggestion—people having panic attacks in response to seeing other people passing out. If you (your body) was caged in a claustrophobic seat, the idea of getting to sprawl out in the aisle & have all the flight attendants dote on you might be (subconsciously) enough to induce whatever it was that was happening to these people. It was weird ... in all our times flying we've never seen a medical emergency (besides people just feeling nauseous or throwing up) & now we witness 3 in one 5-hour flight!

totem needle

totem needle

... & of course we couldn't disembark until the paramedics had come onto the plane to assess the situation(s) ... which thankfully they fairly quickly decided to just get them to walk off the plane on their own so the rest of us could move on w/ our lives.

And also thankfully, there wasn't a huge over-hyped storm like they warned there'd be a few days ago ... Titan or whatever name they dramatically bestowed on it  ... it seems to have skirted just south dumping its meager load mostly on D.C. Took the train to the crowded rush hour subway home & then J took a power nap while we went foraging for food & at least got 1 hot home-cooked meal in her before she had to head back out to Rome.

indian meme

And here we are, back in the dog-housed saddle of Manhattanville ... just in time to receive The Static Herd, fresh from the printer (hit us up for an A.R.C.).

The Static Herd

Being in Washington state inspired us to start reading The Business of Fancydancing by Sherman Alexie ... not that it has anything to do w/ Seattle ... mostly it takes place on the rez in Eastern WA. We read a few of his other books in the 90s & now we're thinking maybe we already read this 1 too ... altho the characters & themes re-appear so hard to tell. He's in a position to be somewhat immune to criticism, but deservedly so. Besides being truly American (something not many can say),  having hydrocephalus (abnormal swelling of the brain) as a kid explains a lot, gives him cause to grind his axe where he cut his teeth ... as Thomas Builds-the-Fire recounts:

«She found some animals have to keep eating continually, grinding their teeth down endlessly. The teeth will keep growing, my mother said, if the animals don't grind their teeth down, they will grow into the brain and kill. My skull was expanding, pushing outward, all the while changing my hearing and my vision, even changing the shape of my teeth.»

  > 354 > Luminescent tropisms & quantum entanglements in this, like, lattice of coincidence: falling planes & collisions w/ Sarraute, Redniss et al.


[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]