Dear Gila Woodpecker

Major Asshole Bird

Do you have any idea how much of an asshole you are?

I mean, woodpeckers in general are the assholes of the bird world, but you’re their emperor. Every day it’s Good Morning Desert! with your atonal squawk that deafens me like a Jet Ski ringtone, even through double-pane windows.

And that pecking on the metal part of the chimney thing at 5 a.m.? Nonstop? For a half-hour? What kind of a sadistic waste of your Darwinian adaptation is that? I know you’re beating the bill to let every bird know that this is your joint just in case some broad comes by, but no female in her right mind is up that early. And trust me, if she’s hot for you, she’ll come flying in first 10-20 seconds or so.

You sound too desperate and even I–a human–know that’s a huge turnoff in your avian world. I don’t blame every feathered frail from here to Yuma for turning tail when they see you.  Maybe if you spent some time in quiet contemplation you’d figure out why you haven’t had a mate for the past three years. May I suggest you pee on something instead? It works pretty damn well for the coyotes.

And I know that you know the hummingbird feeder is called a hummingbird feeder because it exists to feed hummingbirds— birds that hum and are really little and can’t eat the birdseed or peck on the quail block or drink from the birdbath that I fill every friggin’ day just so you can drink and wash off your disgusting lice. But despite the thousands of times I tried to chase you off by flapping my arms like a Harris Hawk or growling like a Bobcat, you refused to move away from the sugar water. Yes, you’re an addict who can’t stop hittin’ the beak, which is why your last mate left you. And if you had any friends you would have found that out way before now.

Have you spent at least a feather of time wondering why I stopped hanging out on the porch in the morning, even though it’s my only slim window of reasonable temperatures this time of year? I doubt it, because you’re too busy giving me and every other living thing in the desert an upturned middle finger.

You should thank me for telling you this because the Ladder-Backs have been thinking it for years, but don’t have the balls to tell you because they’re half your size. I wouldn’t be surprised if even the Pileated ‘peckers in Jersey know about you. I hope they do, so they’ll come west and kick your ass so hard you’ll turn into a doll’s feather bed.

Why am I even wasting my time? You’re a narcissist. And no, I’m not going to tell you what that is. You’re just going to have to look it up in the DSM-5 or ask a crow or something. Or stuff your fluffy ass into your lonely Saguaro hole and never come out. I’m beyond caring what the fuck you do.

–She Who Lives in That Really Big Nest



Dear Gila Woodpecker

The Voodoo of Candidate Picking Thanks to Yogi Bear

As charming/quaint as this NYT photo of people casting votes in Iowa by tossing paper in a pic-a-nik basket, this is an election for a candidate for the president of the United States, not the local Grange. At least these Republicans are actually voting. Iowa Democrats trade S&H Green Stamps to find a winner. And each state has it’s own voodoo workin’ to make a decision. No matter what your party or candidate preference is, whether you’re happy, sad, both or neither today, we need to overhaul the presidential primary process. I feel a hashtag coming on! #PPPoverhaul

They stole the pik-a-nik basket back from Yogi Bear.
The Voodoo of Candidate Picking Thanks to Yogi Bear

Put on your shoes and dance the blues

I’m listening to a stream from WXPN/Philly. They’re playing all-Bowie, all day, as a bunch of other stations probably are today. David Bowie (unlike  Janis,  Jimi,  Jim or Amy who I somehow knew would crash and burn early) was one of those people in my musical universe that I just thought would go on forever. His death, after 18 months of battling liver cancer, came as a shock to all but those who knew him most intimately. The fact that one can keep such news private in this age of endless blood-hunts for celebrity news is news it itself. It also says a lot about the discerning nature of his friendships, the integrity of those he chose to be closest to him.


It was 1972 and I was a 15-year-old.  freak. Not in the let-your-freak-flag-fly way, but in the eight-pointed-star-in-a-round-hole way. I’m not going to go into my fucked-up childhood or how the freakish feeling started from the time I had enough brain cells to carry memory around, but somehow I felt my way to a small group of people who stuck out in the same way, who wanted to crouch in corners but were called out before they could, who had basements pot and turntables and albums of music that was the only thing that made me feel –even if it was bad. Even today, certain lines, bridges, chord changes, will make me burst into tears.   “Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe” from Moonlight Daydream was one of those lines and David Bowie created some of that music. I’m so sad. Not for Bowie, because he’s moved on to wherever, but for myself, my teenage life, my friends, what would come after and what I was way closer to before.




Put on your shoes and dance the blues

Packing in Travel in Packs

I’m going to a party tonight–I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve been to one. I’m not anti-social, it’s just that my friends are so scattered and disparate in nature that it’s been decades since I netted some of them in the same place at the same time.

And the people I know here aren’t the same as the people I knew there. Or there. Or there. They circle the wagons, using strength in numbers to keep out those who would challenge their merchant mindset. They take trips together, hang out together, rarely if ever go out alone.

The thought of never being alone frightens me more than I ever felt when I was alone–even in weird and possibly dangerous situations.

I never could relate but I tried to for a while because they were the only people I knew here. They’re not bad people, in fact many of them are kind and give their time and money to help others, but some of it smacks as “I’m doing it for business” reasons.

Fuck. I just re-read what I wrote. It makes me sound jealous and judgmental. I guess I am in a way.

I never fit in–I was born a square peg in a round hole. I never did it to be hip, or rebellious, (although I was a rebel in both the effective sense and the tilting-at-windmills sense) it was as much a part of me as my bicornuate uterus.

I always loved the scene in Peggy Sue Got Married when she hangs out with the poet/writer/artsy outcast that she never got to know in high school the first time around. He looks at her and says “I thought chicks like your traveled in packs.” 

Nope. Some of us don’t.


Packing in Travel in Packs

Minimalism–Blog Edition. And Answering Machines. With Cassettes.

When I started my first blog years ago (I have a few–I ‘ve never been blog-faithful–they’re floating around the internet like detritus) I spent a long time figuring out style, what images to use, how many pages to add, etc. A few months ago, I decided  just to toss up a page and write stuff, because writing is what I most wanted–needed–to do.

I liken this phenomena to the time when answering machines first came out. I changed my message daily, re-writing and rehearsing it until I was satisfied that it was witty and pithy enough to release to the public. Or my mom and a few friends. You’d think my answering machine was sitting at the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

And people even paid a shitload of money for pre-recorded messages they could put on their machines to impresses their mom and a few friends!

But after a few years, the fad faded, the job of changing your message became tedious and no one gave a fuck anymore.  Messages became so truncated that even the standard “Hi this is Roberta, I’m not available right now so please leave a message” was too exhausting and was shortened to “Leave a message” or “Leave it.

That’s sorta like what happened with me and my blog.

Minimalism–Blog Edition. And Answering Machines. With Cassettes.

Goodbye to All That

The rest of 2015. What am I going to do?

What did I even do with the first part of 2015? I wasted a lot of time, that’s what I did. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent jacking around on the computer, looking at the same sites over and over again, researching stuff until my brain was raw, which only served to feed my OCD and make me think something had to be wrong. Yeah, I’m one of those. Something has to wrong now or something has to be wrong just around the corner.

Or try to sleep. That was a biggie. Most people sleep. I try to sleep. Of course that required a lot of research on what to do to go to sleep and what to do while I wasn’t sleeping. Usually the latter was filled with the aforementioned researching ways to get to sleep.

I also wasted time not reading books. I tried but I couldn’t focus. I read a hell of a lot of magazines but they were good magazines, like Smithsonian or The New Yorker. Well, actually, I read New York magazine which I accidentally subscribed to because it sounded a lot like The New Yorker and was a lot cheaper. It’s about the city of New York, in case you’re interested.

Then, in July, I broke my desert summertime malaise and hauled my germaphone ass to the east coast to see my family. It really is good to get the hell out of where you are sometimes, even if you take your problems and issues and all parts of your personality–both good and bad–with you.

Getting out of my rut helped me see what a lump of not much I was being, and when I was on my trip I started going to museums, taking day trips with my sister and started walking to the bay daily. That was really the thing that helped the most. I had gained some weight during this just-hang-out-and-not-do-much phase, and worse than that, I was out of shape.

The walking helped my mind as well as my body, and I when I got home, I started walking every day. The more I walked, the better I felt. I felt as if I was actually doing something, that this perennial dilettante could stick to something and make it work. (Hence the title of my blog Alwaysstartingsomethingnew.)

Walking boosted my energy and mental state so that I finally was able to think about doing something else. That something else was writing, which I dabbled in since I learned to write but never had the patience to do every day or to sit down and write books like my sister does.

Signing up for Writing 101 helped get me back into a routine. A productive routine, not a shitty nothing-to-show-for-it time-wasting routine. The more I produce, the more I want to produce.

I’m not going to lie and say that Writing 101 has helped me start a life-long habit of writing daily, but it sure is a good start to just writing. Just Fucking Writing. Anything. Any length. Any quality. Then once I do that, maybe I can start editing my work and improving its quality. Or not.

I’m not a writer, I’m a person who writes sometimes. That’s what I’m going to do with the rest of 2015, and that’s good enough for me.

Goodbye to All That