Print sale: possessed owls, bristlecones, moths, weird bears and much more

Since moving back to Santa Cruz, I’ve added a new tradition to my life: heading up the hill, jostling for parking, and making my way to the UCSC student Print Sale, which is coming up next Friday. Some of the stuff is dirt cheap. Other stuff is quite expensive. All profits go to the artists. They have all kinds of handmade books, posters, children’s illustrations, portraits and lithographs. Last year I saw pictures of bristlecones, moths, Easter Island heads, dancing bears, possessed clowns, and recreated old-time California maps. Last year I bought a wood-block print showing five owls standing in the crook of a moonlit yew tree. It’s hanging above me as I write this. Below the owls, there are five dangling ribbons with an inscription running across them in French. I have no idea what it means.

Read these next: Stewart O’Nan and Francisco Goldman (and more)

Here are a few new or new-ish books that you — both of you — might like. Stewart O’Nan’s Emily, Alone is marvelous. In this slender book, old people live in an in-between world. Just driving across town — braving roundabouts, moving in and out of tight garages in a big clunky boat of a car — is an Odyssey in itself. Emily, the title character, lives in a crooked piece of time. She’s trying hard to hold on to her routine, her memories, and her vitality. At the same time, she’s moving toward resignation. At one point in the story, Emily is filling out holiday cards, a task she despises but can’t bring herself to give up. She glances at her address book and notices a near-perfect split between the list of friends who are still alive and those who died years ago, or moved away. It’s just one…

Banana slug stampede in Nisene Marks

If you’ve never been to Nisene Marks, get in your car and go there now. It just rained, and the place is oozing with giant banana slugs — skinny ones, fat ones, short ones, curly ones, straight ones, green ones, yellow ones, old ones, baby ones. I was only there for an hour, and I saw 25 of these slime-covored creatures without trying. Strange that I saw exactly that number, considering this is the 25th anniversary of Sammy the Slug, the mascot over at UC Santa Cruz. Coincidence? Yes.

“How come you guys never touch me on the knee?” Drunk neighbor’s list of grievances

On Cinco de Mayo, one of neighbors got really drunk, staggered out into the street and began to shout a list of specific grievances to his housemates. Since I couldn’t sleep anyhow (he woke me up at 1:55 in the morning with his shrieking, bellowing and sidewalk stomping), I took out a pen and wrote down his rantings, verbatim. Here is his list of grievances: 1. His friends are insensitive to his needs.2. His friends (male as well as female) refuse to touch him in affectionate ways. He was especially concerned that his housemates touch each other’s knees during conversations but rarely if ever touch him on the knee. In fact he cannot remember “one freaking time” when they’ve touched him on the knee.3. His friends rarely hug him.3. He has low self-esteem. His friends are responsible for his lack of self esteem. The lack of knee-touching and hugs makes…