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Moving On …

6-16-2016-Paleohora, Crete, Greece

Moving on today. A bus trip to Hania, then another to the airport. Then I have a late-night flight to Limnos, an isolated island (not part of any island group) in the northern Aegean. From their I will island-hop south, to what end point I’ not sure. Maybe as far as Kos. Perhaps only Samos. Time and where I can most easily get a flight back to Crete in mid-July will be the deciding factors …

My cold’s still getting me down. But I’m ready for new places. I came to southern Crete this trip to relax before taking on new stuff. It didn’t work out too well. Bad weather kept me from my getting where I wanted to go and from the second I got here it’s all felt a little stale. Oh well, live and learn (and other cliches) …

Some Greece Photos

Just some photos from southern Crete, which I’m leaving in a few hours. The last one is from inside Fragokastlo. I just think it’s an interesting shot …


“My” favorite swimming hole near Paleohora.



Some coastal context




Cruising Crete’s Southwest Coast

image6-14-16–Hora Sfakion, Crete, Greece

Just floating about Crete’s south coast. Just spent a couple of days in Frangokastelo, hunkering down, fighting my cold (which is turning out to be a nasty one). Not a super interesting place. Just a lazy backwater beach town. Worth a day or so, but not much more unless you’re looking for slow cicada isolation.

Right now I’m sitting in Hora Sfakion. I none too interesting little town trying to figure out my next move. The wind has kicked up and I’m not sure if the boats will be running, which sucks because I need to be back in Paleohora tonight so I can catch an early boat to Gavdos. Or maybe not. If the wind keeps blowing the boat won’t run tommorow anyway. So my options are to sit here till this evening and see if I can catch the boat west or an hour from now I can catch a bus all the way back to Hania and then another bus back down to Paleohora. I’m leaning towards this option. Either way it’s all day travel and with the bus I’m sure to get there (which ,as not be a good thing if the boat isn’t running tomorrow). This is all so Crete!

Some pictures. The castle at Frangokastelo, like all old Ventian Castles I’ve seen (and l’ve seen an oddly high number of them) always make me think of a Medditerainean version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail–“Is there anyone else up there we can talk to?”

Summer Reading

Summer Reading



Frangokastelo 2

Frangokastelo 2



First Greece Post – Summer, 2016

Paleohora, Crete, Greece

Back in Greece, in Paleohora on the south coast of Crete. Unfortunately I’ve started off the trip with my traditional airport cold–forty-plus hours without sleep combined with roughly that amount of time breathing recirculated airplane/airport air (recycled germs) has done me in. (I always know I’m dealing with new microbes while traveling because my colds feature different symptoms than they do when I’m at home.) Since I took British air on this trip and had a long layover in London I’ve decided to blame the English for my current state. First this British Empire, now this!

My original plan was to come to this part of Crete because I know and like it and wanted to start off my trip with a relaxing week or so before I start exploring new places. It’s worked out well in regards to my cold too. Being sick on the road sucks, but at least here I don’t have to worry about figuring stuff out–I know how to hunker down in this place and heal.

I am altering my plans somewhat, though. I was originally going to head straight down to Gavdos, a little island to the south I really like, but I’m getting a bit of a been-there-done-that feeling here in western Crete. I think I’m going to try some new places. Tomorrow morning I’m going to be heading east, to Frangokostelo, a spot on the south coast I’ve missed on previous trips. Then … Who knows …

Kelly Thoma is playing all the way up in Thessaloniki on the 16th and then down here in Crete on the 20th. I definitely want to see her while I’m here, so I’ll have to make a decision soon (I wasn’t planning on being in Thessaloniki on this trip, but what the hell?) I also want to start my northern Aegean part of my trip soon. So either way I’m on Crete for a week max …

Despite my cold I’ve managed to do a bit of hiking and swimming. This might have been a mistake. I was feeling so shitty yesterday afternoon that I fell asleep around 4PM and didn’t wake up till 2:30 this morning. I’m getting frustrated–I want to be firing on all cylinders. I only have so much time here–spending any of it with an asterisk by it is a drag ..


Off to Greece!

Sorry for the long gap between posts, but I’ve been buried with teaching duties. Tonight I leave for Greece! I’ll soon resume posting from there. Onward …

A Loved and Reviled Genre – SciFi Ruminations #1

Long Beach, CA

After a fairly long hiatus (several months), I’ve again been reading SciFi. For most of my  life I’ve been doing this–diving in and then pulling back from this genre. As I’ve found myself entering more deeply into SciFi as a writer,  I’ve been thinking a lot about this love-(sometimes) hate relationship, trying to figure out its dynamics. One thing I’ve noticed is that my relationship with SciFi largely mirrors that of the literary world as a whole. At its best, SciFi gives us a path out of the limitations of current realities (and more broadly at times the limitations of our species), while also giving us a perspective from which to examine and question what we are today. With SciFi, we are no longer bound to this planet, time and biology can be transcended , and new societies can be imagined …

Many people don’t get this, as evidenced by the fact that mocking SciFi has long been a staple of our popular culture (the Big Bang Theory is the latest and one of the more enduring examples of this). I’ve always felt sorry for those with such attitudes. I find it hard to see them as being anything other people with stunted dreams, people lacking wonder. SciF has essentially replaced myth in our rapidly secularizing societies (or perhaps it’s a new kind of myth that looks forward and sideways in time instead of backwards). It is where we imagine the future and re-imagine the present. It is where hope lies. It is our Dreamtime

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Welcome to Lendas – Greece Photos #8

Long Beach, CA

One last Greece post. One of my favorite little haunts–the ramshackle little beach town Lendas, which is on the southern coast of Iraklio in Crete. Western and southern Cretans have long had a reputation for being quite wild and independent minded. Here’s a little symbol of this-the Lendas sign with a bullet hole in it. Good times …

Lendas 006

Lendas – Iraklio, Crete, Greece


Coming SciFi Posts, Etc.

Long Beach, CA

Digging out once more (I’d really like another subject matter besides how busy I always am). But I’m also now on partial spring break, which means I only have to be on campus for two days next week. I’m seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, seeing myself soon sliding out of this semester into more interesting things. In the next week or so I will be buying my plane ticket to Greece and the details of what I hope this trip to be are starting to coalesce in my head. By the time I leave I get the feeling I’m going to be all but launching myself out of this place …


On anther topic … I think I’m going to be starting a new series of posts. This lot will concern itself with obscure SciFi books. I have a great love for SciFi from the the 1960s and 70s–I think this was the genre’s true golden age: vibrant, daring, and sometimes truly weird ideas began pouring out the writers of these eras, in tandem, I’d say, with basic nature of these times. I’m especially attracted to some of the more obscure works and authors from these periods; so much truly wild and interesting work from them seems to have fallen off the map. For awhile I’ve been contemplating a book of essays on this topic (though I likely won’t limit myself to just these eras). What I think I want to do is start working out some of my ideas in posts. I envision these posts not being full-blown essays, but some more than just notes. My goal is to begin this project next week (time willing) …

Greece Photos #7 – A Nisyros Shot

Long Beach, CA

I was wandering in the hills beyond the main settlement on the little island of Nisyros in 2013 and ran into this cool looking … whatever it is. There’s not much to say about it except that I really like the shot: it’s a little postcardish, in its sheen and composition, but the colors are so good and the subject matter too odd for it to fully sink into the banal …

Note: This will probably be my last post from my Greece photos for awhile. Most of them are in serious need of organizing and I simply don’t have time to deal with that right now. More typical “Notebook” posts will resume soon …

Nisyros_Halki2013_July 037

Nisyros, Greece – 2013

Greece Photos # 6 – A Modern Ruin

Long Beach, CA

I think this is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken. I shot it in Kolympari on the north-west coast of Crete. I had only been in the country a few days and was still suffering from jet lag. So I found myself wide-awake at dawn wandering around town. I found the north coast of Crete–huge stretches of it anyway–to be pretty depressing. Lots of it has been overbuilt and looks like an endless ramshackle Waikiki. Other areas that have been left out of this crushing commercialization seem run down, tired, lost (I should also state that there are parts of the north cast that are staggeringly beautiful and have found other, more dignified and sustainable, economic paths).

This photo, I think captures the reality of these “left out” places. At first glance this might look like a photo of some ancient ruin. But it’s actually the remains of a modern building. As I’ve said, I love this shot. Someday I’d like to use it on a book cover …

Hania-Kolympari 012

Dawn, Kolympari, Crete – 2011