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Archive for August, 2009

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Before it gets too far behind me: my last column at the Texas Observer.

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I haven’t posted in while. I’ve been gearing up for a move from Austin to Ann Arbor. Now I’m in a Super 8 motel in Terre Haute, Indiana, reading the manual for my fancy new camera, which I’ve not a clue yet how to use. I expect to land in what everybody insists on referring to as A2 tomorrow evening.

Road to Ann Arbor - 4

This is the rig I seem to getting used to getting poured on at my granny’s house outside of Whitehouse,Texas.

 

Road to Ann Arbor - 2

This is one of the best pictures ever taken of Lady, age 13, owing nothing to the fancy new camera and everything to finally catching her with her slinky head up.

 

Road to Ann Arbor - 3

This is Pancho, also 13, wanting in. He pretty much always looks like this. I promise not to post any more pictures of dogs.

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fishing

I’m not much of a fisherman. I mean I was raised fishing, crappie and bass in lakes Conroe and Tyler, a little bit of coastal stuff with my dad, catfish anywhere we might find them, which was almost anywhere. My maternal grandfather was briefly a shrimp boat captain on Dauphin Island, Alabama, and I remember one trip with him where I spent hours catching little sharks and throwing up over the side. I went to southeast Alaska a few springs back and caught a 90-pound halibut in Chatham Strait, which felt like hauling a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood through 300 feet of water, but it was my buddy Brandon who actually J3072x2304-03440set the hook and gaffed it. Then again, a 90-pound fish is a two-man job.

Even when I lived in Montana for five years I never learned to fly-fish. Which is not to say I never fly-fished. I did, once, with a borrowed rod beneath a bluff called Sunset Cliff about halfway down the Smith River. My friend G.O. loaned me the rig and showed me what to do with it. I landed a little brown trout right off and let it go. The sun was setting and I was three days into a new river and the bluff was glowing and two hawks were riding the thermals and I’d just caught my first trout on a fly. It was one of those unimprovable moments, so I gathered up my gear and left it at that.

9780816665327.bigBut learning to fly-fish is a different thing, and learning to fly-fish in Montana is like learning to say the rosary in the Vatican. It’s intimidating.

I wrote a column in the new Texas Observer about trash fish, and fishing literature, and a less successful fishing trip. YOU CAN READ IT HERE. If you like it, or hate it, I’m sure the good Observer folks would welcome any comments. Here’s an excerpt:

 

The granddaddy of them all, the ultimate bigger-than-yours fishing tale, The Old Man and the Sea, ought truly be titled The Old Man and the Marlin. I just read it again. It’s still pretty plain. It’s still really depressing. It remains a remarkably humble disguise for a pompous treatise in defense of just keeping on, with sadness galore and a little bit of honor, by a writer who offed himself in his bathrobe just seven years after winning the Nobel Prize.

Even when you catch the fish, the fish isn’t necessarily yours to keep.

Speaking of trash fish, here’s a video, just for shits and cringes, of two self-congratulatory doorknobs murdering a dinosaur.

 

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