Advice needed for DIY mollusk puppet

Trying to make a reasonably sophisticated-looking mollusk puppet for an art project that is due in the coming weeks. It must be made out of cheap, easily available materials. It needs to have large and bulging eyes, a moveable mouth, etc. Send me advice or links off-blog if you’ve got them. (Nope, I’m not kidding.)

The Literary Orange: a literary conference at UC Irvine

Just wanted to let you know that I will be speaking and signing books at the 2011Literary Orange, a literary festival in Southern California. I know it’s a little early to get the notice out — it’s not happening until next April — but I’ll send reminders out before then on Facebook and elsewhere. It will be great to see everyone. I will be part of a travel-writing panel. Check the website in early fall for the full line-up. Last year the keynote speakers were Karen Joy Fowler and Dean Koontz.

Review: chicken ranch vending machine surpasses expectations (four stars out of five.)

Cactuseaters review: Glaum egg vending machine. Aptos, California. The Glaum chicken farm egg vending machine exceeded expectations, combining good nutrition with wholesome family entertainment and overall dollar value. Here’s what you should do: drive down Highway One from Santa Cruz and take a left on Freedom Boulevard, then take another left on Valencia. Soon, on the right, you will see the chicken farm, and signs pointing to the vending machine, which is open all the time. Seriously. You could drive up there at three in the morning. Anyhow, make sure to bring three crisp dollar bills (no quarters.) Insert the bills into the machine. Suddenly the curtain (blocking a small window) will go up, and 10 dancing chickens will emerge. They will sing. They will dance. They will wiggle their small, feather-covered butts to the tune of a loud Benny Goodman song. The song will go on for a very…

Congratulate them when you see them

My parents have just gotten back from their 60th(!!!)wedding anniversary cruise. (That really puts things in perspective, in this day and age when people can’t even buy futons together anymore.) In other news, my visit to the Glaum Egg Vending Machine (featuring a group of dancing robot chickens) was a big success. Will post pictures when I figure that out.

Huge rattlesnake

I just saw the biggest, juiciest rattlesnake ever in Rancho San Antonio. I stood in the middle of the path and tried to direct people away from the snake. I warned everybody that the huge snake was on the right side of the road and that they had “better watch out.” The trouble is that everyone thought I meant my right side of the road, so they did the opposite of what I told them and walked left instead of right, straight into the coils and dripping fangs of that rattlesnake. If I had to guess, about 15 people walked straight into the jaws of that snake because of my attempt to help them out. It probably chomped and maybe even swallowed every one of them. (sorry, everybody.)