I am tired of trying to write serious stuff. It doesn’t help my present state of mind, or the state of the world. So yesterday I wrote something silly,  more words than I’ve been able to write for at least a week, and today I wrote something silly again, using the same world and characters. I don’t know if this has legs but at least it’s walking.


Dragons Are Overused


“Dragons are overused, don’t you think?”

“They are the backbone of the fantasy industry.”

“And all that stuff about people riding on their backs! The g-forces would rip humans off within seconds of flight.”

“Well, it is fantasy. And people are very fond of seeing and imagining people riding dragons in their stories.”

“Pfft.” The dragon used the tip of his long, sharp nails quite delicately to pick at something lodged between his long, sharp teeth.

Maynard, the poik with whom he had been speaking, watched with fascinated queasiness hoping that whatever was lodged there wasn’t leftover poik. “Humans will be humans.”

“Lawd, won’t they, though.” The dragon shifted on his bed of ash and straw, craning his neck so he had a better view of the meadowlands outside the mouth of his cave. They were quite nice, as meadowlands went, bucolic and dotted with sheep. He made a tsk sound with his tongue to test his teeth, but apparently wasn’t satisfied he’d gotten what was lodged there for he returned a nail to his delicate work.

Maybe it was sheep, Maynard ardently hoped. “Have you been raiding their habitats lately?”

He smacked his tongue several times and seemed finally satisfied that he’d dislodged the irritant. He huffed and belched a small puff of smoke. “You know very well that isn’t a good idea these days. Too much surveillance equipment out there and jets with nasty armaments.”

“I thought bullets couldn’t pierce your hide.”

“Those heat seeking missiles hurt like crazy, though.” The dragon turned his face away from the meadowlands and laid his head on his folded paws with a disconsolate sigh. “Times are hard.”

“Yes,” agreed Maynard. “Fantasy isn’t what it used to be.”

Maynard himself had a taste for contemporary fantasy, but he’d never admit that to the dragon who, by his very nature, must be heavily invested in high fantasy. At least, that’s what Maynard assumed. Poiks fit well in urban environments, resembling large shaggy dogs as they did. Of course, there were many subtle differences, but most humans didn’t possess subtle perception and never looked twice at poiks. Unless they were fanciers of large, shaggy dogs. Of course, any self-respecting denizen of the Otherlands could shapeshift at least a little. Enough to fool even the rare perceptive humans. Most of them, anyway. Seers would always be a problem, but at least they glowed golden to Otherlanders so were easily avoided.

“Do you suppose my time has come?” asked the dragon, releasing a melancholy and smoggy sigh.

“What do you mean?”

“Am I obsolete?”

“Uhhh…” Maynard wasn’t sure what response would cause him the least pain. Dragons were mercurial at best. No guessing what this one wanted to hear so he turned around three times and laid down on a spare pile of straw.

“I mean,” the dragon continued, clearly not really interested in Maynard’s answer, “several of my relatives have given up altogether and gone into deep hibernation. Some have even allowed themselves to die, which seems excessive, but no accounting for taste. Or strength of character.”

“Mmm hmm.” Maynard scratched his floppy ears with his hind paw.

“As long as I can still fly now and then, snatch up a sheep or a cow or a horse without being observed, life still seems worth living.”

Maynard was relieved that it probably wasn’t poik that had been stuck in the dragon’s teeth. “I can imagine. And how exactly do you manage to fly without being observed?”

“The human mythmakers have invented this marvelous new creature called a yueffo and I can easily pass for one of those.”

Yueffo. At least that’s what Maynard thought he’d heard. “What is a yueffo?”

“It’s an acronym. Humans are so very fond of acronyms. U-F-O. Unidentified Flying Object. Covers a multitude of shapes and sizes and basically boils down to any strange thing seen in the skies. As long as I can surround myself with enough light they can’t really make out my true form and they can’t capture a good image of me on those nasty cameras of theirs. Anyway, most of the time I’m flying over remote areas at night where I can pick off livestock with ease. Although I understand real UFOs only take parts of the cattle and horses they capture and leave the rest, perfectly good meat, behind to rot. Really bizarre behavior.”

“What constitutes a real UFO?”

“Haven’t a clue, Maynard. They must come from the Otherlands, but I’m not sure which kingdom, tribe, or caliotrope they belong to.”

“Very interesting.”

“Yes. They’re all the rage right now amongst the humans. Always something on their televisions and social media about them. I don’t know how they can make something so remarkable so boring, but they bang on and on about it until you just want to scream with tedium.”

“I’m taking a media break at the moment,” Maynard admitted. “Always another tragedy, always some internecine warfare amongst the opinionated set. Gets tiring.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Mind you, the internet has its advantages. You can say whatever you like and no one knows you’re a poik.”

“Or a dragon.”


They fell silent, looking out across the bucolic meadowlands. Large white clouds hugged the mountains in the middle distance. Three bright blue lights emerged from the clouds and zipped across the meadowlands at incredible speed, then up and over the mountain hiding the dragon’s cave.

“Show offs,” he grumbled.

Some days I think that Twitter is nothing but people showing off their preciousness. Other days, when I am showing off my preciousness, I think it’s a wonderful tool for self-expression.

When I used to watch the show about the coroner, Dr. G Medical Examiner she often asked the question, “Why is it always guys?” Often about some scheme or stunt that went badly and fatally awry. Of course, she was in Florida.

Any shows hosted by Albert Lin are fascinating combinations of technology/science, history, and myth and Dr. Lin is an enthusiastic and exuberant explorer. I’ve been enjoying Lost Cities with Albert Lin on NatGeo, but I’ve also enjoyed his previous series on the Mayans, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tomb of Genghis Khan.



No one would dream of asking a man about compromising for love, especially in the 80s. This interviewer probably assumed he was scoring quite a coup here, revealing something dark about Eartha Kitt. He was revealing was something dark about himself and his assumptions.

I tried not to be overly concerned about the Garlock creep when I read about it the other day. Then the next morning at 12:19 we had a 3.7 quake about 15 miles from here and I thought, “Is this the beginning?” I was reassured when Dr. Lucy Jones posted this later in the day:

People are talking about the “unprecedented” movement of the Garlock fault after the Ridgecrest quake. It’s true we haven’t seen this in the 30 years of modern geodesy on the Garlock fault. But we’ve seen it many times on the San Andreas & it has never caused a quake. The movement on the Garlock is called triggered aseismic creep. It is in the top few hundred meters of the fault. No quake can occur in the shallow part because there’s no confining pressure. Big quakes begin 10-15 km down. Big quakes triggered aseismic creep on the San Andreas fault in 1979, 1992 & 1999. The creep never caused another quake. Ridgecrest was the first big quake near the Garlock since we have records so it’s the 1st time we’ve seen creep on the Garlock. But it’s not unprecedented.

Dr. Jones is always so reassuring.

So, as I was saying, we had a 3.7 quake centered about 15 miles from here. One sizable jolt traveling southeast to northwest through my house. It sounded and felt rather like the ghost of an elephant running through the attic. Being an experienced earthquake experiencer I sat there for a moment to see if there would be more (because earthquakes are sometimes sneaky and there will be a jolt, a pause, then more and sometimes harder). But there was not, so I went back to reading my book. I did hear sirens heading Compton way (the epicenter) so that may have been related. Living in California is often a question of both denial and bravado. I have my earthquake supplies and my emergency plans but I try very hard not to think about quakes the rest of the time. I did think that any out of towners at LAX (about 1/2 mile from here) or in the surrounding hotels at 12:19 got an especially memorable “Welcome to California.” I hope they appreciated it.

Pain is a great teacher.
It teaches anger, it teaches
self-pity and doubt,
fist-shaking, a stunning
loss of perspective.
If it goes on long enough,
it may also teach humility,
acceptance, even courage.
But that’s never a sure thing.
Mostly pain teaches pain.