Friday, August 22, 2014
There's Aztec regalia, dance and Nahuatl in the streets:
They're recharging their energy at Teotihuacán. (Which is actually, preAztec, but then if only had a dime for everytime I saw the Aztec Sun Stone identified as the "Mayan" calendar . . .)
And the Mexica Movement is going beyond Aztlán:
We all need to spend time at Nican Tlaca Univeristy:
It really is wonderful world:
Monday, August 18, 2014
©Ernest Hogan 2014
Obeah X15 and Doc Burnout popped open the doors and ran for the main entrance of Christown. I struggled in pain in slow motion, pulled the keys out of the ignition, got out and locked the doors, and followed.
The moon was full. According to local folklore science fiction writers were hanging out in the corner JB's while other strange creatures homed in on the mall like iron filings to a magnet. If you listened carefully you might hear naked Wiccans practicing a ritual in nearby swimming pool.
I nearly bumped into a Mayan guy who was contemplating a spilled Slurpee between his sandaled feet. He looked at me from under his straw cowboy hat, gave a beatific grin and said, "Hasta luego," which means 'until we meet again.' He must have been another urban dreamwalker. I wished him "Buenos suerte."
The mall was packed. Anglos of every breed, Chicanos, Navajos, African Americanos, suntanned Asians, Mayans, Aztecs, Hindus, and assorted recombinations, were merrily milling about. Overweight security guards oversaw it all like walking Buddhas. Nobody noticed my stubbled and scarred head. Like Obie often said, "Christown is a happy medium among malls; people with walkie-talkies don't harass the people of color, and you don't get gangsters signing at you."
But I still couldn't find Obie and Doc. Had they ditched me? Then, the chip noticed a bookstore where a bespectacled black clerk was trying to close up and sent me lurching toward it.
Suddenly, someone grabbed my arm. It was Obie.
"What took you?" he said. "We were afraid we'd have to go back to van."
I stammered and held out the keys.
"Oh, thank goodness," Doc said as he grabbed them. "Did you lock?"
I shook my head.
"I tell you," Doc went on, "Phoenix is getting just as bad a L.A.!"
They pushed me to a table at Miracle Mile where three iced-teas were waiting for us.
"No walking saguaros. No big lizards. No giant cockroaches. I guess it's safe to talk here."
Maybe. There was a Nigerian at the next table looking straight at us typing into a laptop as some Fela Anikulapo-Kuti leaked out of his Walkman. He seemed to be taking notes on our conversation.
NEXT WEEK WEEK: COCKROACHES AND BREAST-IMPLANTS
Monday, August 11, 2014
©Ernest Hogan 2014
"Honest guys," I said, feeling my face, there was stubble, and some swelling, "you'd think you'd never seen a banged-up face before." Then I felt some scarring. "Uh-oh!"
I looked up into the rearview mirror. I almost screamed. The puffiness would eventually go away, but those two railroad-track-looking scars making a big "X" across my face made me permanent low-budget horror movie material. I shed a couple of tears that flowed along the scars when they hit them.
"Too bad." Burnout shook his head. "You were such a cutie."
"You ain't gonna be able to pass for Anglo any more, blue eyes," said Obie as he touched the tiny "x's" scratched onto his cheekbones. "You make me look like a timid dilettante in scarification."
"I'm doomed," I whined. "Vampiko will hate this."
"Don't be so sure, Flash." Obie smirked. "Vampiko likes the spooky stuff." He then smiled in a way that made me want to punch him.
Burnout leaned back and looked me over. "It does give you a sort of ultra-butch appeal."
I groaned. "So what do we do now?"
"They still may be tracking us," said Burnout. "I can't tell with my electronics shut down."
Obie looked out over the steering wheel. "Well, I don't see any ambulatory saguaros or shark-faced missiles following us."
"They could still be watching us," Burnout said. "For all we know they have spy satellites."
Obie then made a screeching, controlled-drift left-turn.
"Who the hell are 'they?'" I asked once I got a grip on a panel full of cold hardware.
"Who knows?" Obie made a sudden stop for a red light. "Mayan revolutionaries? Televoodooists? The reptile conspiracy? You should see the messages my lady Califia has been sending from Nigeria. Maybe there's just been a heavy peyote-pollen count in Phoenix lately!"
The light turned green. Obie sent the van lurching ahead, and me tumbling backwards.
A huge lizard was clinging to the windows on the rear hatch. It's long tongue flicked out, then it lost its grip and fell away.
"Did you see that?" I asked.
"Hell, yes," said Obie, who made a few quick turns then brought us a screeching halt. "Let's get out of this thing -- pronto!"
Friday, August 8, 2014
How did I become one of the most successful Chicano writers of my generation? I tell in the latest Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.
You gotta be persistent:
And the right equipment helps:
Some of are just plain born that way:
And it's really great when we get paid:
Monday, August 4, 2014
"I have you covered," the saguaro said shaking the TEK-9, just in case we hadn't noticed it. A cellular phone then grew out of its other arm as it said, "Send a mobile unit to . . ."
Then a huge lizard -- it looked like a monitor, but was the size of a Doberman pincher -- leaped off the Alien Penis, onto the saguaro.
The saguaro went, "AIIEEEEEE!" like in a comic book.
Before any of us could breathe sighs of relief, the hiss of several more big lizards made us look around. They were coming at us, their shadows growing longer as the sun set.
Doc, Obie and I fell over each other as we scrambled back into the van.
"Gimme the keys," said Obie, who was in the driver's seat.
"No," said Doc,"you can't drive my van!"
A lizard clawed its way into the rear hatch. I kicked it in the jaw and screamed, "SOMEBODY drive! Now!"
Doc pouted, swallowed a squeak, and handed the keys to Obie, who had us jolting across the lawn in record time. The lizard let go of the rear bumper. I grabbed a cabinet that held some sophisticated electronics before I could be ejected.
"What's with all these oversized lizards?" I screamed as we bounced over the curb, into the street.
"It's the reptile conspiracy," said Obie, doing his best Malcolm X.
Doc rolled his eyes.
"Like I always said," Obie went on, "it's televoodooizing time here in the final act of the 20th century. People all over the world are force-feeding lizards with protein-rich reptile chow spiked with stuff like pituitary gland of pit bulls in an attempt to get the critters to reach their as yet unrealized maximum capacity. I've been investigating it, and it's getting heavy. I got some video off a satellite feed from Indonesia of these Komodo dragons that looked like Godzilla."
"What?" I said. The bandages were now all swinging loose about my head.
"It's an experiment in chaos ecology and the revival of reptile-friendly religions," Obie said, stopping for a red light.
"Well," Doc said with his characteristic limp-wristed hand-swish, "if you boys think you've had a rough day . . ."
The bandages were just about ready to let go. I couldn't wait. I took hold and ripped them off all at once. It only hurt a little bit.
Doc and Obie looked back at me and screamed.
Monday, July 28, 2014
©Ernest Hogan 2014
We were in front of the church on 7th Avenue and Ocotillo, a futuristic thing, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Its most prominent feature was an obelisk out front that looked like an alien sex organ, ready to take off and launch mutagenic sperm into any passing 747 or even the space shuttle. To the enlightened in town it was known as the Church of the Alien Penis.
"Wow," I said, forgetting about the smoking missile I couldn't let go of. "Vampiko would have killed us if we hurt it."
The Alien Penis had become a central part of Vampiko's eclectic religious beliefs. She would often come here in her all-black Volkswagen on nights of the full moon, and bare her implant-enlarged breast to it. "It renews their power as sacred objects," she would explain.
Finally, after they were sure both the Alien Penis and the van were all right, Doc and Obie looked over at the missile and me.
They got these horrified looks. Doc gave out a lady-like scream.
"Flash," said Obie, "get away from that thing."
"I can't," I said, then coughed, "it won't let me!"
"It?" asked Obie.
"It!" said Doc. "Then you have it!"
"No," I said, as more of the bandages came loose from my face, "it has me!"
The missile shook, rattling my spine, and let out more lung-scorching smoke, then fell apart into tiny pieces. The pieces in turn fell apart and crumbled into a flakey dust that blew away in the evening breeze.
"Damn," said Doc, delicately stamping his foot. "I was hoping we could get it back to my place so I could examine and cannibalize it, could you imagine what software and hardware would be needed to . . ."
"Yeah," said Obie, with a sneer that shifted the position of his scarifications, "and what would you do with it? Let it sit in your storage locker next to your virus collection?"
"It's the most comprehensive collection of self-replicating programs on the planet!" shrieked Doc.
Meanwhile, now that the missile was junk, the chip gave me back control of my arms and legs. I assessed the damage: The burns on my hands, weren't too bad. The bandages were all hanging loose about my head by now.
Then something moved next to the Alien Penis. A saguaro.
"Hey," I squeaked, "guys . . ."
The saguaro pointed a TEK-9 at us and said, "Do not move."
Friday, July 25, 2014
This year I take my San Fermín report to Chicanonautica over at La Bloga, to make the Raza Cosmica connection.
As usual, it started with protests:
But people partied anyway:
The encierros were intense, especially at Dead Man's Curve:
John Hemingway talked to a reporter with wine-soaked hair before his co-author Bill Hillmann got gored:
And Mr. Testis rocked out:
Monday, July 21, 2014
©Ernest Hogan 2014
It was the most unnatural act I ever participated in: I embraced the missile with all my strength. Obie flowed between the seats and into the space where a passenger's feet would go, and locked his bones into fetal position. Doc closed his eyes and breathlessly chanted, "Ohgodohgodohgod . . ." like he was trying to fake an orgasm.
The shark-faced mini-Cruise missile penetrated the van's cargo area, the rocket engine shut down, then, with the firing some cherry-bomb-like retrorockets that made Obie scream, "Driveby!" it settled in like shuttlecraft returning to the mothership. For a few grotesquely elongated seconds, we all wondered if it was going to explode. Then there was tooth-splintering jolt.
Doc's closed-eyes driving had us up on a well-manicured lawn.
"Open your eyes, you fool!" screamed Obie. "You got us offroad!"
Doc opened up his baby blues, twisted the wheel, locked the brakes and threw the van into a turf-ripping circular skid on this lawn that was too well-kept up and too big to be anybody's front yard. Or at least the front yard of anybody who couldn't afford armed guards and flesh-eating Rotweillers.
I tried to worry about it. The centrifugal force from the skid wasn't quite enough to dislodge the missile from the van, or my scorched hands from the missile -- it looked like a spatula would be required to set me free. Meanwhile, the Krell chip was singing a high-pitched, high-speed love song to the missile's onboard software that was pureeing my brain.
And then one of the bandages peeled loose from my head.
When the van finally came to skeleton-rattling halt, the missile and I shot out like a projectile turd onto mutilated greenery. There were no barking Rotweillers, or guards clicking the safety off their assault-rifles. My hands, arms, and legs burned like terminal hemorrhoids wherever they touched the missile.
A putrid-smelling grey-green smoke issued from the entire surface of the missile. The painted-on Flying Tiger shark face peeled off and blew away. I wished the chip would let me let go of the burning mess so I could run.
"Good thing Papa Legba made you stop in time," Obie told Doc, "you could have destroyed it!"
"That would have been a shame," said Doc.
The van was inches from a structure that looked like a huge, mechanoid alien penis.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Terra Incognita tends to be my favorite destination. I'm so happy when headed for some place I've never been before. And usually I don't have to go very far. Amazing how often we haven't fully explored the places near where we live.
Believe it or not, there are places here in Arizona that my wife Emily and I haven't seen before.
That could be reason enough,but we were getting into summer, and it was getting up past 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Funny how you can find yourself saying, “It's only going to be 104 today . . .” People stagger around the sun-blasted streets of Phoenix, brain-fried and zombie-eyed, babbling obscenities and committing acts of public defication. The desire to escape from the heat island is strong.
Plus Em is working on a post-Apocaypse novel, and part of it is set in Northwest Arizona along the south rim on the Grand Canyon.
Yeah, I know “they” keep saying you should write about what you know, but deciding to write about something you don't know can be a license to explore, to learn, to go out and have adventures. After all, adventure is what this is all about, and why should fictional caracters have all the fun?
This would have to be more than just a day trip. We'd have to pull an overnighter. As soon as I got off from work, we got in the troque and headed north up I-17.
It got cooler. Funny how cool the ninties can feel after a few weeks over a hundred.
And suddenly . . . the wide open spaces . . . we relaxed, enjoyed the landscape.
This was still stuff we had seen before, and have gotten to know well, but we were out of our usual day-to-day routines, and clouds built up in the sky.
A faint rainbow made an appearance as we arrived in Flagstaff.
There were Ganesha seals over the doors of the office of our motel on Route 66. A lot of motels in the Southwest are run by people from India and Pakistan. The young men checking in ahead of us were from Germany.
On Route 66 we ate dinner at the Galaxy Diner. Its chrome and neon, Hollywood and hot rod décor has become a home on the road for us. We ate real American food – Black Angus steak, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob – delivered by a seven-foot tall, blonde waitress.
The next morning was cool (at least for us) and clear. It was great to breathe something that wasn't piping hot smog. We headed off to the mysterious northwest, toward the volcanoes, getting back onto Route 66 – you can't do the whole Route as it was, the modern highway system chopped it up long ago – into juniper country through the charming little town of Ash Fork, that hasn't quite become a tourist spot.
Then we seemed to have stumbled into a time warp. Burma Shave signs dotted the roadside, with rhyming messages about safe driving. Looks like some organization did it as a public service and to bring part of the traditional Route 66 experience into this century.
That brought us to Seligman, which has more ambition to attracting tourists than Ash Fork, with colorful signs, shops, ancient automoblies on display, and mannikins being dressed up in Wild West regalia.
We stopped at Route 66 Roadrunner for fancy-schmancy coffees (the kind I only drink on the road). A local oldies station played David Bowie's Young Americans while cutouts of John Wayne and Marylin Monroe looked on. I kept saying “Excuse me, sir,” to a an Elvis cutout.
Across the street (actually the Route) a guy sang and played Beatles songs on his guitar. In this day and age, vintage British pop has become postmodern Americana.
We kept seeing bikers. A middle-aged, multiracial group – the word “gang” didn't seem to fit here. They did seem to fit into the landscape. Not out of place at all.
Soon we were on Indian Road 18, entering the Hulapai Reservation. The fire danger was HIGH. The road looked a little pre-Apocalypse, as a sign warned ROUGH ROAD. Once again, these were wide open spaces, not many people, mostly cows, and the one of the only other vehicles we saw was labled FEDERAL POLICE.
It got dryer and more deserty as we approached the Havasupai Reservartion. The road went from cracked pre-Apocalyptic to disintegrating post-Apocalyptic. We could soon see the Grand Canyon.
Eventually we reached the south rim. Havasupai were bringing horses in trailers. Datura plants without flowers grew in the parking lot.
I heard a helicopter, but couldn't see it. The problem was, I kept looking up, expecting to see it in the sky. This was the Grand Canyon. After a while, the helicopter came up from below the rim.
Havasupai loaded supplies that were hooked to a cable, and the helicopter took it to their community in the Canyon. They live in America, the rest of us live on it.
The windshield bug splats were bigger, nastier, and juicier on the way back. We had tacos at El Charro in Prescott, and went back home via US 89 instead of I-17.
The twisted, rocky hills were matched by the huge clouds, Em called them “cloud ships,” that filled the sky, getting thicker and darker. As we got closer to Phoenix they were stacked up around the heat island.
When the sun set, they closed in. There was a dust storm, a haboob. Then it cooled, and rained.
Photos by my wife, Em.
Monday, July 14, 2014
©Ernest Hogan 2014
I could feel the missile close in on us. The chip saw to that. The very idea of the missile filled the chip with terminal info-lust.
Doc Burnout went into some serious evasive maneuvers that sent me, Obie, and the stun gun tumbling into the van's electronic inner coating. From the way the gadgets were complaining, it hurt them as much as it did us. The only thing in the vehicle that was having any fun was the Krell chip.
"It turns when I turn," said Doc, his voice growing high and trebly like a hysterical teenaged girl's, "I can't shake it."
"It must be targeting the electronic activity -- shut everything down!" said Obie, who had lost his glasses, but had gotten a grip on the passenger seat.
Meanwhile, the chip had me climbing the rear hatch, and focusing my eyes out the portholes when the missile appeared in them.
"It could damage the system," Doc whined.
"Would you rather die?" said Obie, recovering the stun gun, zapping a test spark.
"Life is so cruel," Doc said, flipping the cover off a big, red button, and pressing it with a shaky thumb.
All the van's electronics went dead in a slow flickering fade-out. Tears intermingled with sweat on Doc's quivering face.
Obie said a quick prayer to Papa Legba.
Of course, I couldn't help but keep focusing my eyeballs on the missile's painted face as if it were a potential lover. It was too skinny and didn't have large enough breasts for me, but the Krell chip thought it was just wonderful. Too bad they'd have to go through not only the van, but my skull and brain to get together.
"Is it gone?" Doc asked, barely managing to keep the van from sliding offroad.
I couldn't say anything.
Obie looked out both portholes, and looked grim. "Naw," he said. "It's slowed down, but it's still locked on our ass. Are you sure you shut down all the electronics on this tank?"
"Yes," Doc said, "It was built back in the seventies for God's sake!"
"Then why the hell?" Obie said.
I managed to point a finger at my bandaged cranium, and croak out, "In here, it's after the chip," just before the damned thing had me kick open the rear hatch and jump out at the missile.