Monday, February 28, 2005

Bunny Update #8: The Dirty Butt

I took Captain Janeway and Chakotay to the Dixie Trail Animal Clinic last Thursday. As could be expected, Chakotay was a very good bunny: opened his mouth wide when prompted, sat pretty patiently while his nails were being trimmed, stayed still while the doctor listened to his little heart and lungs. Captain Janeway, as could also be expected, was difficult to work with. But the vet and vet tech loved both of them.

Captain Janeway and Chakotay "can stand to lose a few pounds," Dr. Brown said. Chakotay is 8 lbs. and the Captain is 8.75. You may remember that the Captain was having a problem with her cecotropes getting stuck to her butt. Well, guess what: Dr. Brown says Captain Janeway may be to fat too reach her butt, and so she can't get the cecotropes to reingest their vitamins.

I feel bad. I thought the bunny haven--with it's 2 stories, the tunnel, etc.--was good enough exercise for the both of them. I guess I was wrong. Their diet must be cut to only 1/4 cup of pellets each per day (down from 1/2 cup) and lots of hay.

So, the bunny harness seems like the perfect solution for all of this. Today, I opened the bunny closet door and let both of the bunnies cautously walk out and smell their immediate surroundings. I put the harness on the floor, so they would get used to having it around. By the end of the week, I hope to at least get Janeway way on the harness and hopping about a bit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ice, Idols, and, well, Poetry, of course

Here I sit at our kitchen table, the North Carolina sun lighting up the room, and my Clay Aiken CD playing triumphantly throughout the house. Yes, Clay Aiken.

I can't believe it's supposed to rain and "icy rain" tomorrow. It's beautiful outside. It feels like it's about 68, the skies are blue and clear. I'm supposed to take the bunnies to the vet tomorrow.

Today, however, I'm going out to Borders to get some serious writing done. I'm writing a review that I want to finish ASAP and try getting published. I also have kept from doing my own writing, since last week I was so consumed with the Chax website, which is look really good now. But before I go...

My American Idol picks:
Janay Castine because she's just so adorable. She was so nervous last night, but she was still good.
Vonzell Solomon: She has a wonderful voice and she was a great performer last night.
Jessica Sierra: She has an awesome voice, and I also just loved the song she sang. I'm not sure how swayed I was simply from the song choice, but I still think she was just really great.
Honorable Mention goes to Melinda Lira, who wasn't great, but I hate what Simon said to her.

I must say that it was more difficult to watch the women perform. I worry a lot about their feelings of self-worth.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bunny Update #7: The Next Frontier

It is an exciting day in the lives of Captain Janeway and Chakotay! I've decided to start getting them used to this bunny harness, so that I will be able to take them (or at least one of them) outside for a hop around. At first I thought Chakotay would be the one I would try first, but it really is Captain Janeway who is the explorer. She's much more curious and daring.

Still, we must take small... hops. Right now, I just want to get Janeway (or Chakotay, if he suddenly wants to try it) used to the harness indoors. Stay tuned!

My American Idol picks:
Yes, okay, I watch American Idol. Here are my favorites from last night:
Constantine: I think it's just that I like his hair
Nikko: I thought he was one of the best ones, even though he also kinda sounded like a Stevie Wonder impersonator. Hopefully, he'll be able to find his own style soon.
Mario: I thought his voice and performance was the best last night, though I'm still wondering if I'm getting him mixed up with someone else.

Unnecessary Roughness, by Shin Yu Pai

Have you read Shin Yu Pai's chapbook, Unnecessary Roughness? It just came out from xPress(ed) Press, Espoo, Finland. If you haven't read it, you must get a copy asap.

Monday, February 21, 2005

On Timothy Liu and spacing out

After reading Timothy Liu's Of Thee I Sing, I began to think of lists again. I've always admired Liu's work, and at the same time I know I tend to space out half way through a lot of his poems. After reading this latest book of his once, I got to go back in a more relaxed way to look more closely at some of the individual poems. I noticed that I generally spaced out when a poem didn't use complete sentences, even though it used capital letters and periods. I think since it was more difficult for me to follow, my brain just said--Too hard--and checked out. I know--sad, but true. It's a wonder why I can read and love to read some poetry at all sometimes.

So, I've started to write lists with incomplete sentences. There are a lot of subject matters I've wanted to talk about in my poetry, but haven't been able to do it in a way that I would call successful. I've been wanting to write about American politics these days, about my relationship to my body, about a number of things that I just haven't been able to sink into. I think the lists are helping.

I have my teleconference writing group with Amber and Sharon this week. My blog readers seemed to enjoy my mention of the "tanka" poetry form that Amber, Sharon, and I tried a few weeks ago, so maybe I'll post another exercise that we do sometime this week.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hope for the Flowers and Me

On Friday, I finally got to go to the Border's cafe to read and write a bit. I brought a backpack full of books: Gizzi's latest, Liu's latest, current Poets & Writer's mag, current Discover mag, Michael Jordan's I can't accept not trying, Trina Paulus' Hope for the Flowers, and my journal. I ended up finishing Liu's Of Thee I Sing, reading some of I can't accept not trying, and actually reading Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus in its entirety. I say "actually" because I read really really really really really really slowly, so it is rare for me to read a book in one sitting. One of the other few times was when I read Stacy Doris' Paramour. Wow, is that book a rarity or what?!

Yesterday, I watched "Grand Canyon". I hadn't seen it for years, but it used to be one of my favorite movies. I think I'd seen it maybe 3 times. Both that movie and Hope for the Flowers are so inspiring. They made me remember how much power I have over my life, how my decisions really matter. I'd been planning on becoming a writing tutor for the Wake County Literary Council for a while now, but I just have not been able to get myself over there. I think I'll drop by this week.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Chax Press: The Big Web Update

I've been working on the Chax website for many months now--posting book covers, adding more info about us and our books, streamlining it all with templates, and most recently adding the buy feature--and now it's up!

The unveiling of http://www.chax.org : the next generation, as I secretly call it, is here! Buy books, browse books, look at book covers, learn about Chax and its poets. Yes!

Yay. I know I'll be updating and tweaking the site regularly, but now that I have the big update out in the web-wilderness, I feel like I can get back to my writing and reading and writing about reading and reading about writing.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Reading Aloud

Bryan and I have resumed reading to each other aloud in the evenings. We are continuing with Orson Scott Card's Enchantment, which we're both enjoying. And we also just started reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, one of my all-time favorite authors. It's so relaxing to end the day like this.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bunny Update #6: Carrot Greens

I was so excited last night at the Winn-Dixie grocery store near our house when I saw bunches of carrots with the greens still attached! Bryan and I both gasped. Carrot greens are Captain Janeway's favorite food. Chakotay loves them too, but his favorite food is dandelion greens, which we still have not found near Raleigh.

Tomorrow, the bunnies and I will go to the vet. I found a good one that was recommended by the House Rabbit Society. Both bunnies will get physicals and Captain Janeway will get her butt checked out. Poor Captain. I'm not sure what's wrong with her, but the good thing is that she's still eating and drinking like a bunny should.


Monday, February 07, 2005

:: M y T a k e O n :: THE DEER, by Wendy Burk

The Deer, by Wendy Burk
(Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2004)

While reading Wendy Burk’s chapbook, The Deer, I couldn’t help but recall an exhibit I saw at SFMOMA recently: “The Vico Portfolio” by printer, book designer, and typographer Jack Stauffacher. It was inspired by the philosopher Giambattista Vico’s 18th Century text, The New Science. This was all a part of a large exhibition entitled, “Belles Lettres: The Art of Typography.”

Stauffacher prefaces his typographical works with an excerpt from The New Science, where Vico discusses the different ways in which humans understand/misunderstand nature. As I understood it, Vico observed that humans often attempt to understand nature by relating it to the human body, using nature as a metaphor for the body. He suggested that a more fruitful means of knowing nature would be to recognize how much we do not understand it; instead of bringing it into our world, we should go into nature’s world.

In The Deer, Burk allows us to see in a way that is similar to what Vico describes. The natural world is central and the speaker uses her knowledge from the human-made world to reach out and try to understand it. In “Fire Poem,” she uses a human-made object as a metaphor to describe the sound of living beings in nature: “the song of birds like an elevator”. The poems are filled with such wonderment, as if the person were seeing the world for the first time and searching for ways to understand it all. In “Forest Poem,” she tries to understand who she is in the world and what it expects from her:


The light is absolutely still.

The light is always still in a forest

only the trees move under it,

when the sun goes down it seems

it is only the trees closing up overhead.


Why don’t they want you to leave?
Why do they want to keep you here forever?
What do they think you can do?


The speaker’s unique outlook lends a sense of humility to her voice.

Burk is a keen observer and participant in her surroundings. It’s all a bit disorienting, but in a good way, a profound way. Writers so often use nature as a tool to make an image or experience sound more profound than it actually is, or as a flourish to make poems “pretty”; Burke, however, does not take the world around her for granted. “The Deer” is one of those books that has helped me see my place in the world, and my place inside myself, in new ways. I felt a bit misplaced while reading it, yet also more grounded than ever before. Thank you, Wendy Burk.



(excerpts printed with permission from the author)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Mail: In Contact

Just received in the mail:

In Contact, by Jesse Seldess

a chapbook printed by Answer Tag Home Press
in Madison, WI

I'm so excited.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Captain Janeway gets some R & R


BD 18: Captain Janeway again
Originally uploaded by hlnagami.
Here is a close-up of Captain Janeway in the R & R room, part of the Bunny Dreamhouse.

Bunnies in the Dreamhouse

The Bunny Dreamhouse is complete! This is a 4-room, 2-story bunny wonderland. Look at the round door on the bottom left and you can see Chakotay's white and brown fur. In the round door on the top right, you can see Captain Janeway.

Bunny Dreamhouse Construction


Bunny Dreamhouse: Raw Materials
Originally uploaded by hlnagami.
Click on this picture to view the complete construction of the Bunny Dreamhouse!