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Morning Tai Chi Practice at Er Fu Temple

on Thu, 05/28/2015 - 15:51

Morning Practice at Er Fu Temple
Tai Chi practice in the morning at Er Fu Temple in District 5, Saigon

A Scene from the Vietnam Pilgrimage, 2014

on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 09:17

Shrine at the Wang Hai temple
Shrine at the Wang Hai temple in Vung Tau, Vietnam.


There Are Many Like It

on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 21:40


...but this one is mine.

This is my garden. This is the seventh iteration of my garden. I have tried six other times, and have become exceedingly efficient at it.

In the past I have grown, or tried to grow, all manner of different vegetables and herbs, with varying degrees of success. For most plants, I had my best luck with the green leafy bits of species which otherwise are known for flowers or the underground parts. My radishes would have spectacular foliage but the radish qua radish would be about the size of a jelly bean. Similar luck with broccoli; leaves the size of tablecloths, and the green vegetable bit would be the size of a mouse and suddenly turn into a beautiful bunch of tiny yellow flowers. Giant chard would be nearly indistinguishable from crab grass. Tomato plants would grow to the size of horses and yield a single tomato.

Though I followed advice from Knowledgeable People, things never improved.

There were a few plants, however, which did well. Basil. Hot peppers. Some herbs.

So this year I have scaled back, both in quantity and variety, to just those plants with which I have had success in the past - hot peppers, herbs, and basil. 68 total plants. 34 hot peppers, 14 various herbs, and 20 basil plants. Nothing in pots or hanging on hooks this year, other than the raggedy avocado tree and two Jack Fruit saplings, which were beautiful in their pots inside over the winter, but appear to be not able to handle being outside, even in this surprisingly (compared to the past four years) mild spring.

For all of the other things I have grown in the past, I will rely on the hard work and expertise of the vendors at the Fulton Street Farmer's Market.

Pre-Ides Doldrums: Or, May I Continue, May?

on Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:45

Because of a migraine-ish headache I requested the day off from work. The pain is at a low ebb at the moment so I can bear to look at a screen.

The 3288 Review is open for submissions! Tonight is our third official meeting, where we will finalize the few details which still need to be finalized, and lay out a course for the next fifty days. Fifty, being roughly the number of days until the deadline for submissions to issue #1 (to be published in mid-August), seems like a large number at the front end of it, but the whittling down has already begun. June 30 is just over the horizon.

Spring weather is here, finally, and I have laid in most of my garden for the year. My plans are simple - about three dozen hot peppers, a handful of herbs, and some of the easier-to-grow greens, like collards and kale, and maybe some chard. No tomatoes this year; I have seen progressively diminishing returns over the past three years so, for the first time since about 2010, no tomatoes in my garden. That simply means I have more room for cayenne, cherry bomb, habanero, serrano, jalapeno, Thai dragons, Thai birds-eyes, and Hungarian wax peppers. And likely some other varieties, too.

Another change is that I am only growing from seedlings. No sprouting seeds this year. So many other people are so much better at that kind of thing than I am, and I am happy to pay them for their efforts at the Farmer's Market.

As I get more of a handle on my finances I have started planning for fixes and upgrades to my house and property. Right now I have it narrowed down to "rip out and replace everything that isn't actually my house or my garage", which sounds about as expensive as it probably will be.


My Pile of Literary Journals

on Fri, 05/01/2015 - 23:09

As part of my role as dogsbody Chief Operations Officer for Caffeinated Press I spent a lot of my time in research. The current Big Project is the 3288 Review literary journal, which is now accepting submissions. The research portion started out as a trip to local bookstores, but now that Socrates Cafe is closed, Grand Rapids is woefully under-supplied with lit magazines and journals. So I hit the exhaustive list at Poets & Writers, and began ordering. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, once you get locked into a serious literature collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

This list will be updated as the collection grows.

American Short Fiction 58
Asimov's Science Fiction 471/472
Black Warrior Review 41.2
Border Crossing Vol. 4
Brick 94
Crazyhorse 86
Creative Nonfiction 52, 53
Dissent Magazine Spring 2015
Fantasy & Science Fiction March/April 2015
Gigantic Sequins 6.1
Green Mountains Review 27.2
Interzone 246
Lapham's Quarterly 7.4, 8.1, 8.2
Massachusetts Review 55.3
McSweeney's Quarterly Concern 45, 46, 47, 48
Michigan Quarterly Review 54.1
Midwestern Gothic 16
n+1 22
New Delta Review 27
NOON Annual 5
Oxford American Spring 2015
Pank 10
Paris Review 205, 209, 210, 212
PMS poemmoirstory 14
Prairie Schooner 88.4
Red City Review January 2015
Redivider 12.1
Rosebud 58
Saint Ann's Review Winter 2015
Saltfront 1, 2, 3
Salt Hill 33
Siblini Art and Literature Journal, Vol. 1
Tin House 62
Wherever 2014 issue 1
Zoetrope All-Story 18.3
Zyzzyva 102