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You throw different angles at them where, hopefully, they can get something out of it.*



Knit Study #1
L. Nishizaki

For more details about L. Nishizaki's art, see her website or Instagram.


L’Hotel du Maison
C. Hudak

A few years back, when my family asked what I wanted for my birthday, I realized the only thing I truly wanted was a long moment to myself. From this realization grew a tradition: I spend a night or two at as fancy a hotel as I can manage for my birthday.

For years, I boarded trains on dark, early mornings and settled into the dining car to watch herons along the edge of the Salish Sea on the way from Seattle to Vancouver. My birthday is in December; there has not been a year it was not raining. At this time of year, in this part of the world, days and nights are inescapably dark, and the sea and sky inevitably echo shades of gray.

For years, I walked from the train station to a hotel near my beloved Vancouver Art Gallery. The employees at fancy hotels raised their eyebrows gently at the sight of a waterlogged woman arriving on foot from the train station, but were consummately professional and kind. Upstairs, in a room too large for one person, there has been tea and, often, some small, decadent dessert accompanied by a card saying happy birthday.

My perfect birthday celebration is 24-48 hours of wandering downtown Vancouver alone. I like skulking in used book stores, and going in and out of the Art Gallery as frequently as I feel like it. In between wanders, I like to hide along the peripheries of hotel bars with a glass of sparkling wine, eavesdropping on Vancouver’s actors and real estate agents while watching people outside in their parkas, briskly pushing through the weather.

As my birthday approached this year, and I began to get antsy realizing that COVID-19 had put the kibosh on my annual retreat, I wondered about alternatives. Eventually, I hit upon L’Hotel du Maison, which I now recommend to you.

You will need a couch, a bed, and/or a comfortable chair, as well as some sort of surface upon which to place the most important L’Hotel accoutrement: le tray. My favorite place to arrange my L’Hotel is my bed, but the key is to place yourself somewhere comfortable and difficult to disturb.

To begin, straighten your L’Hotel space, so it will be ready for your arrival. Then, it’s time to prepare le tray.

Go outside and gather something beautiful to put in a jar on your tray. This works whether you have a flourishing garden or live surrounded by concrete; so long as you can find an elegant branch or weed tangle, you can make something beautiful. Bring your nature inside and arrange it to your liking in your jar.

Build the rest of the tray around your bit of the natural world. If I’m going to L’Hotel in the morning, I like a pot of tea and my favorite mug to accompany a hardboiled egg with soy sauce and toast. Maybe you like a mimosa and a croissant from your favorite local bakery? Whatever you want is what you get at L’Hotel.  Get out the nice plates and fold a fabric napkin. Take your time. Imagine you’re making this tray for your favorite eccentric hotel customer, who only arrives once a year.

Bring your tray to the spot you’ve chosen for today’s L’Hotel. If not already thus attired, change into something that makes you feel comfortable and lovely. And then, settle in. L’Hotel has no pet fees, so I usually take my dogs with me. I surround myself with books, notebooks, and knitting, and stream DR P8 Jazz radio for international company. Sometimes I have to work, but I try to spend at least as much time staring out a window at the rain, daydreaming about what downtown Vancouverites are doing right then.

When I’m ready for a break, I take my tray to the kitchen—it will need refreshing after a brief constitutional. I dress for the weather (preferably in eccentric pajamas) and take a notebook and camera outside for a wander. I try to see my neighborhood as if I were a visitor from another country. I take pictures of weird cracks in the sidewalk, and winter branches in my neighbors’ gardens, and the sky.

When I’m refreshed, I return. And make a new tray.

I hope to see Vancouver again next December. In the mean time, I’m enjoying L’Hotel du Maison, which exists anywhere, any time. L’Hotel is a state of mind.


Self-portrait in the style of Munch


There Are Rules for This
A Lawyer

Our courts have been tested these past few weeks. 

Among other things, we’ve seen lawsuits named after mythic sea creatures claiming widespread election fraud without showing a single fraudulent vote. We’ve seen allegations of unprecedented conspiracies based on the confused anecdotes of unserious people. Lawsuits challenging stuffed ballot boxes in Michigan using vote tallies from Minnesota; red states contesting the counting of votes in blue states; and imaginary states filing legal briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

These cases have two things in common:  

1) Bad faith actors using our courts to give an illusion of legitimacy to their attempted coup; and 

2) Lawyers signing their names to these filings. 

The first point is outrageous, and everyone involved deserves scorn. But it is the second, seemingly mundane point that can prevent this from happening again. 

Lawyers are officers of the court. They have ethical duties to tell the truth and to avoid “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” (MRPC 3.3, 8.4)

Any document filed with a court must be signed by a lawyer.  (Fed. R. Civ. P. 11.) This signature is a certification to the court that (1) the document is “not being presented for an improper purpose, such as to harass” or “cause unnecessary delay”; (2) the claims and legal contentions “are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law”; and (3) “the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.” Id.  

A lawyer similarly has an ethical duty to not bring claims or make assertions “unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.” (MRPC 3.1.) 

These are not lofty goals or loose guidelines.  These are the rules.  And the rules spell out consequences for those who violate them. 

A court may impose sanctions on any lawyer who submits a document containing frivolous or otherwise unwarranted claims. (Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c).)  These sanctions may include “nonmonetary directives” and “an order to pay a penalty into court.” Id. and “a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.” Id. Likewise, lawyers have an ethical duty to report other lawyers who violate the rules in a manner that “raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.” (MRPC 8.3(a).) And Bar Associations must implement appropriate disciplinary proceedings, including possibly disbarment. 

The primary purpose of these rules is deterrence: “A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(4).  An appropriately tailored punishment for dishonest and frivolous litigation is one that creates a sufficient disincentive to prevent future dishonest, frivolous litigation. 

Which brings us back to the Kracken lawsuits.  Lawyers have signed their names to dozens upon dozens of unmeritorious, frivolous lawsuits that lack any good faithed factual foundation, or any good faithed legal theory. 

Courts, to their credit, dutifully dismiss case after case.  Some even write sternly worded opinions. But they have not imposed sanctions.  Good faithed lawyers have not filed bar complaints.  

And so new lawsuits continue to be filed because bad faithed lawyers have learned there are no consequences to lending their signatures to the attempted coup. 

I strongly recommend that lawyers and judges start calling it what it is: Frivolous.  And sanctionable.


College Students’ Ideas for Staying Occupied at Home While Living Through a Global Pandemic
E. Hudak

College students are in a peculiarly strange position during this pandemic but, just like everyone else, we’re also just struggling to stay sane. I did a non-scientific poll of those of us trying to learn at Zoom university, asking students what they’ve been up to during isolation.

1. I’m sure it won’t be shocking to hear that a solid percentage of students mentioned the large amounts of weed they’re smoking. From one of my best friends in the entire world: “No seriously. An ounce of marijuana and shows designed for small children save lives.”

2. The second most popular response was some form of exercise.  Most were not specific, but one person said they’d taken up bodybuilding. They did not mention how one does that from home/a dorm room, but it’s something to consider for those inclined towards less sedentary activities while in isolation. My college offers a range of virtual classes and videos, from yoga to nutrition to HIIT. Readers who are not in college, or whose colleges do not offer free videos/classes/etc, can find my favorite free yoga videos here.

3. Of course, many responses recommended podcasts, Netflix (kdramas and Thai dramas were mentioned specifically), as well as listening to music and playing video games. One person wrote: “animal crossing + sleep + rina sawayama = serotonin.” Other combinations included “watching tv and cleaning” and “painting and watching things that make me laugh.” For laughter, I recommend The Good Place and Schitt’s Creek.

4. My favorite genre of response was the reading/crafting subsection. Several people recommended knitting. One suggested sewing while watching online lectures, and another, embroidery. A college student in the Midwest says she’s been reading books from her college library. Many libraries are offering curbside pickup—whether you’re in college or not, it’s worth a try.

Most of us currently doing college while in quarantine are going a little bit insane… but we’re also doing what we can, from smoking weed and watching cartoons to knitting tiny hats for teddy bears to send to someone we love.

College students have gotten a bad rep because of the actions of those among us that are truly selfish and shortsighted. However, I believe most of us are doing our best—staying home, masking up, and turning to mostly wholesome pursuits to pass the time.

From my first day of my first finals (all conducted online), I send love to everyone currently trying to make the best of a truly shitty situation.

Candles, and a clock ticking.

* Issue 015’s title is a quote attributed to the American baseball pitcher and coach, Mike Butcher.

Make art and/or writing. Send it to [email protected]. We will publish submissions in this ezine or in our first limited edition hand-bound chapbook. 

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