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Super Birthday Snake

Last week, Briar and I went on a walk with our friends Teeth & Steve and their dog Motley. Our plan was to play Ingress as we went, taking portals with our phones while our dogs took them with urine assertions, but we reached Pickett Bridge and one of the most surreal things of my entire life happened.

I glanced off to my left and saw what looked like a giant snake sticking out of the bushes.

Now, the park west of Pickett Bridge contains a salmon hatchery, and people are allowed to catch the fish and drop them into something that functions sorta like an ichthyological pneumatic tube, which then dumps the fishies into the holding pond for hatchery staff to deal with. But sometimes the people fishing are dickbags and leave the dead fish out on the sidewalk or the benches. So when i saw this enormous scaley thing, I was like, That must be a salmon. Even though it’s too early for salmon season. Because it can’t be the other thing that it looks like.

So i casually asked, “Hey, what is that?”

photo: snake we found in the park, after i got him a tote to cuddle in

(Photo by Teeth)

Teeth and Steve confirmed that it was, indeed, a massive boa constrictor. This dude’s belly was about five inches in diameter. I suspect he weighed thirty-five or forty pounds at least. He probably could have taken Briar one-on-one, if it was warm out and he got the drop on her.

Teeth and i held the dogs while Steve, who is a huge herp-nerd, gently extracted the snake from the bushes. It’s been a looong time since i was a kid and my parents let me have the guest room to store all my reptiles (coolest parents EVER). I would have pulled him from the bushes too fast, made him angry, and he would have bit my face with his cell-phone-sized mouth. THANK YOU TEETH AND STEVE. <3 I love having other animal nerds for friends, especially when their knowledge surpasses mine.

Not only did Steve gently coax the snake out, but he let the twisty varmint take an enormous dump all down his leg and on his shoe, all the while letting it hiss at him half-heartedly while it desperately soaked up his body heat. The poor thing was so cold it could barely move, and it had some gnarly wounds on its side–some local wildlife had been foolish enough to try and eat a five foot boa constrictor. (Please imagine, for a moment, a very confused otter.)

photo: snake poop, size-compared to Prez Jackson

The massive snake turdpocalypse. And this is NINE DAYS and a RAINSTORM later!

We called the emergency vet (which is in my phone because i’m le smart. It should be in your phone too. Seriously, if it’s not, do it RIGHT NOW. You never ever know when you will need that number). Teeth fetched the car so Steve didn’t have to carry a pissed-off snake taller than he was back to my house, but we ran into a snag.

Emergency vet: “We don’t do snakes.”

So we called 911, who paged Animal Control.

Animal Control: “We don’t do snakes.”

Luckily, AC does call the Humane Society to take care of the things they don’t. The van was about 45 minutes out, though. In the mean time, cops started showing up to get a look at the giant-ass snake on Pickett Bridge. And why wouldn’t they, when it looked like this:

photo: snake we found in the park on my friend Steve

(Photo by Teeth)

They’d had a call earlier about a big snake swimming in the water nearby, which could only be our scaley little buddy. Steve patiently gave the BPD lessons about snakes, especially how very not dangerous this big boy was, because at least one of those officers was about to crap his uniform.  hahaha! They were really nice, though, and it was good of them to hang out and make sure the Humane Society showed up to help us. While they were getting a free herpetology lecture, i went home and got Seamus, who drove me back with a towel nestled in a plastic tote, so Steve could stand up again.

The snake is now in the hands of the Whatcom Humane Society. He may not make it, but he’s still fighting. He was cold for a long time, his wounds are numerous, but he’s in good hands. If he survives, i’m pretty sure Steve is going to apply to be his new best buddy for all of forever–watching him cuddle that thing was like seeing an old lady with her special fluffy purse dog. <3

Photoshopped screencap from Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Also, i think i convinced the WHS driver to play Ingress.

Write-a-thon Week Something-or-other: I don’t even know

photo: me facepalming after knocking over an entire display of pens at the art store


Somehow, i am still a writer, and still alive, and still trying, but i have been missing my updates and unless i sit down and do some math right now (which i assure you i will most certainly not be doing), i won’t even know how many i missed. Two? Three? The square root of 26? Banana point parrot divided by oatmeal?!

The longer explanation: we just moved the art store (still moving, because we have to clean out the old location and organize everything in the new place); a week later, we had our grand opening (in preparation for which i worked several exta-long days); and a week after that (this upcoming Friday!) we’ll have an inaugural art show with work by employees (still have to finish my submissions). I also had two out-of-town guests, mostly-healed my finger, went on a walk with some friends and found an enormous, injured boa constrictor in the park down the street (more on that in another post), and our landlords decided to have the house appraised because of a death in the family (D:), so we had to clean up the mess that had accrued from all that not-having-any-time. On top of all of that, i have a secret commission that is secret. (I also happily admit that i have played a pile of Ingress, but i have to walk the dogs even when i’m this busy, so it’s a good way to use the time when i can’t be making art or unpacking boxes to have fun. That hasn’t really subtracted from writing time.) Somehow, i am even busier than i was when i was a student at Clarion West, but there’s no one to make me good food every day. ):<

TL;DR: Move art show snake landlord guest cleaning & Ingress is good but i am hungry.

Anyway, i said i’d blog what was happening, so what’s happening is NOTHING, and i apologize. Hopefully there will be more Monsterpede soon. I do have some photographs of irrelevant adventures to share in the next couple days, as a poor substitute, assuming i have time to post them.

Dog cuteness

photo: my pit bull mix Briar cuddling with Plunkett the guinea pig

photo: my pit bull Hanzo trying to make out with my mom


photo: my pit bull hanzo with an emoticon superimposed over his dumb face

Write-a-thon: Monsterpede, page 06 + new collaboration

(For those just joining us, Monsterpede is an anti-all-ages picture book that serves as an allegory for a writer’s journey. I intend to self-publish it for the experience, and I am bloging all my progress. Also, my hand is busted and typoa abound. Sorry!)

I think perhaps this book will change the world. I say this not from any great arrogance about its quality, but rather because the universe seems to be attacking. There must be a reason. In addition to all the other nonsense, my computer temporarily broke on Monday, when i only had this:

sketch: Monsterpede, page 06

But finally, my computer is Frankensteined into existence once more, though i wouldn’t put your hand anywhere near the DVD drive just in case it has an Abby Normal CPU. Hurr hurr!

art: Monsterpede, page 06

I need new frisket. This is blobby and drying up. (More evidence the natural order is against Monsterpede!)

My original second Write-a-thon goal was sixteen pages of comic script per week, a goal i made in advance of my splinted hand. As an unexpected replacement, a close friend came up with a hilariously bad idea for a collaborative story. It is smutty and explosively embarrassing, so you will never ever ever see it, bu it does mean i am doing at least one short chapter per week. she dosn’t mind my wealth of typos! Here is my wordcount so far: 1,453.

“I cannot tell a (boring) lie.”


photo: my broken fingerAfter i broke my knuckle, i sat around for half of an hour, then ate a burger, then played the (fabulous!!) Rick and Morty videogame with Seamus, but at his wise insistence, i decided i was prooobably busted enough to go to the ER. (He’s marvelous. If it wasn’t for him i probably would already have died in some super-Darwin-Awards way.)

photo: electronic ER monitoring deviceWhen we got there, they put this tracking device on me. I figured it’s because they knew my time was coming to an end, which meant i was an endangered species and they needed to record my migration patterns and mating habits.

However, Seamus explained it was just so we’d know when our table was ready.

photo: me in the triage station(?!) or whereverHilariously, the 1 – 10 pain scale means NOTHING to me. I do things that reach a 6 or 7 just for fun, and this was only a 3, but all broken bones are way more serious than playing couch MMA with a friend. They declined to use the triple-axis pain graph that i offered as a replacement for their wimpy 2-D chart.

photo: nasty overflowing hospital trashThey put me in scenic Room #11, which boasts a vista of overflowing trash cans and the melodic shrieks of hyperventilating children. This was the only time that day that i really regretted my injury. (That, and the few seconds of soul-hollowing sorrow that followed the realization that i’d have to stop climbing for a few weeks.)

photo: me on the hospital bedThat bed actually was pretty comfy. If i thought i could have wheeled it out of there without getting caught, i would have loaded it onto our car.

photo: me flipping off the x-ray machine (the nurse said so!)They asked me to flip off the machine, which was awesome, but the print-out they gave me was the G-rated one you see below. ):<

x-ray of my busted knuckle

Best bandage art ever.

photo: i drew on my bandage haha


photo: getting my Viable Paradise and Clarion West tattoos Teresa at Sabbath Tattoo inking a splashy, artsy jellyfish onto my arm.

photo: my finished Viable Paradise and Clarion West tattoos R: jellyfish for VP XIV; L: shark for CW2012

I am a graduate of both Viable Paradise and Clarion West. These workshops changed my life in very different, intensely meaningful ways, and i’m so honored to have had those experiences and become friends with these people.

Write-a-thon Week One: Broken bones and pretend progress

It’s that time of year again, when Clarion and Clarion West graduates and supporters pledge to write every week in solidarity with this year’s students, generating sponsorships from generous donors. I promised to blog my progress, so to begin with, here’s an x-ray taken the first day of the Write-a-thon:

x-ray of my busted knuckle

While this post is late (i meant to do it Sunday night!), it’s proof that i’m still doing this. After all, 205 of the bones in my body are still whole, which means i’m 99.52% unbroken. Piece of cake! I’ll just use all those other bones to type with. (I’m currently pushing keys with my sacrum.)

I probably cannot deliver on the comic script i was going to attempt, but my most important goal was to get crackin’ on a picture book called Monsterpede, which is an allegory for my personal journey to the Clarion West Workshop. That means less typing than most books i work on! The original notes even contain plans for the protagonist to acquire a finger injury. My ER visit on Monday was a sign from the cosmos to concentrate on Monsterpede!

I didn’t make much progress the first week, so no new finished pages to show you, but i have an index of previous posts about the project, a photo of my workspace, a revised script, and a sketch of page six!

Monsterpede post index:

Making Monsterpede: Self-publication
Monsterpede Script & Dummy
Monsterpede Script & Storyboard
Monsterpede: Monster design
Monsterpede: Making pages 02-03
Monsterpede: Finished pages 01-04
Monsterpede: media practice
Monsterpede: a sketch + page five

 photo: my workspace for Monsterpede

 sketch: page 06 of Monsterpede

Please let your overwhelming pity rain down upon my CW Write-a-thon page in the form of sponsorship. (:

I’ll have more Monsterpede for you on Monday!


photo: me with lemon pie all on my face (the pie started it)

The pie started it.