Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dept. of M.V.

Well, I just found out last night that we won't be bringing a computer with us on vacation.  

So the story of the DMV might have to wait until we get back.

Nobody worry.  

I was told the cryptic post about never calling the cops had a few people worried.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Never Call The Cops

My policy: never call the cops.

Something has to have gone irrevocably wrong for me to even consider it.

Even then, I don't let them in my apartment.


But.... I went to the DMV today and something incredible happened.

I will tell you the whole story when I have the time, hopefully tomorrow, after I call the F.B.I....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


New York is a funny place to live.  I was talking with some friends tonight about the plausibility of moving out of the city.  They were against it, against the negative effect it would have on my urbanity.  We spoke of commute times and transit protocol.  Hidden expenses. The difference between a subway ride and a train ride. Time. We volleyed the words... Suburb.

As I was riding home from their place the taxi driver and I drove up from Tribeca towards the East Village. We passed outdoor parking garages where cars were mechanically hoisted on top of other cars in a vertical grid fashion, a parking lot co-op, of sorts.

I wondered how much of the earth was actually left.  My sensation of the earth for the last 12 years has been greatly skewed by living in and visiting cities, almost exclusively.  I know that the earth must have lost much ground in the last 12 years.  I remember that Sting used to talk or sing about the Amazon rain forest, he probably still does.  I think it was Sting.  It might have been Michael Bolton.

I hope they're on tour together, with Kenny G.  A summer long tour of Central Park, to raise awareness of the effects of aging.

I stopped at a local bar near my apartment and had a beer. When I went into the very familiar bathroom to piss, just before I was leaving, I found a new pen-written declaration on the wall.

I wondered which one of them wrote it.


Forest of unseen fir trees

I fear that I have screwed up some other new thing in my life.  By joking about drugs openly I believe I might have scared somebody out of their vacation.  I have a single, one-word response: Ooops.

Time will tell.

I'm not sure what yesterday's post was about.  I really do believe there is something to eastern medicine and herbal remedies.  It was the toxins leaving my body, my witch doctor suggested.

It is snowing this morning.  I go to the eye doctor this morning to see what the last 2 years of my life have done to my vision, and to assess the effectiveness of dream therapy on my inner vision.  I'm going to have bifocals installed in my dharma.

Ok, stop it.  What is wrong with me?

I used to be such a nice, well-manered young boy.  Somewhere along the way I became a monster of intake, losing some sense of self that my parents had worked so hard to develop.

No, that doesn't explain it either.

My buddy at selavy once gave me a reasonably simple life-prescription.  He said, try to produce more than you consume.  This is good advice, I think.  At least I thought that it was for many years.  But there really is no way of quantifying or qualifying the differences between the two.  Once I've produced something, a post for example, a well-written one, am I then entitled to consume some intoxicant?  If so, how much?

I understand that what he meant was to spend more of your time producing then consuming, but that's easy also. Most drugs take a second or less to consume while the act of producing can take several minutes, even hours.

I'm not helping myself here at all.  I hope the guy whose vacation I likely ruined doesn't find this post...

I really don't even do drugs any more, most of the time.  But I was an energetic advocate of them for many years.  An independent spokesman doing part-time freelance public relations.

When I was in high school, before I dropped out, there was a girl who sat in my math class, in front of me, on the row to the left.  This girl never spoke a single word, she seemed to have no friends, or was very adept at keeping them hidden.  She certainly didn't talk to me or anybody else that I knew in that class.  For some reason my math teacher began talking about life experience rather than math, which was an odd aside.  But she seized the opportunity to denounce drugs, and talk about how damaging and destructive they are to people's lives.

The young girl spoke the one and only time I ever heard her speak. She said something to the effect of:  This is all such hypocrisy.   We are always told to 'seize the day' and to 'live in the moment', but then we are told to stay away from drugs and prepare for our future, that nothing could be more important.  Some of us are frightened of the future, because the emphasis is always on preparing for it.  Drugs not only allow you to live in the moment, but they demand it.  So, stop filling our heads with conflicting ideas that you clearly don't understand or haven't really thought about.  You're not helping us...

I was astonished.  I spent the rest of the year craving the slightest acknowledgment from her.  She was a budding goddess, filled with supernatural powers.  This was a woman of genuine capacity, I dreamt.

She was right, of course.  Not about the validity of doing drugs, that they allow you to live truly in the moment, but that we were constantly being fed competing and opposing messages by people who were seemingly incapable of understanding the effects of this.

It was a world of rigid dogma, doctrine that left us in want of otherness, of anything else. It created a world that was fertile for disaster. At the cost of structure some of us found that otherness, those differences, that disaster.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Square One, Chakra-ing

I had two beers last night.  That makes it official. The detox is over.  No more talk of carrots and juicing, lemon enemas, and late night illicit blood infusions.

I found this little tidbit, among many others, on an alt.medicine page:

"Some private labs, such as Great Smokies Diagnostics Labs, offer tests that assess urine, stools, blood and liver function.  These tests are not standard medical tests and many medical doctors do not recognize them or consider them valid." ("stools" is not my typo... nor are any of the s's in the name of the laboratory)

I was astonished to find that many alternative medicine sites measure the validity of what they do by how much it is NOT recognized by medical professionals, those who have dedicated their lives to the study of health, wellness and treatment... doctors, scientists, etc...  The seeming assertion that all of western medicine is evil, and that the truest measure of the value of what they are doing as an alternative to science is the level at which they are dismissed, struck me as funny, odd.

I have always looked for guidance and information from my yoga class when it comes to life threatening illnesses.  If I can't make it to a yoga class when I'm having a seizure I try to swing by and have my palm read by an ordained psychic.

I have heard some say that western doctors are eager to chop parts of your body off, like when they find cancer there, and how brutal and misguided this approach is.  These holy-istic souls would prefer to apply a generous offering of life crystals to the afflicted area to help let the negative energies flow out from the body and for the cancer to change its aromatherapy lifepath.

Well, yes, of course.  As long as the cancer doesn't try to hide from all of that positivity somewhere in the blood stream.

I am just kidding again, of course.  People show concern in different ways, and with different beliefs about wellness, and vastly different levels of experience and research.  So, the idea has always been to believe that you will be healthy. That is an important thing, faith.

I have faith that some toxins left my body in the last 7 days.  Lazarus, come forth....

From what I understand, China reports that all incidents of cancer have been resolved by ancient herbs.  Again, I kid.  I am just biofeedbacking.

I was talking with my wife last night and she was relaying to me that I believe that Christ is the son of God, and I myself am actually a Christian.  I said, no..., that I often play the devil's advocate and will assume the position of a Christian to battle liberal ideology, or infidels in the promised land, but that I am not actually a Christian, I am merely showing how offensive certain aspects of equality and liberalism can be to one who has a cherished belief system.  She said that I had better let our friends know then, because she believes that they believe that I believe....  

I was raised as a Christian, mostly.  My mother threw an always generous portion of whatever else had seized her interest for that month into my religious education as well.  Always denouncing evil. Vaguely accepting any number of other theories or belief systems... from metaphysics to what I called the out-of-your-mind-experiences. Which could range anywhere from witches to levitation to telekinesis and beyond.

They were interesting times.  We were never in need of any extra mysteries or science...


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 7

I am toxin free.  I can feel it. The purity of my precious bodily fluids has finally been restored, I am free of all foreign substances.  My clarity of mind has returned. I am able to remember long strings of alpha-numeric digits, hexadecimal codes, etc...  Last night I was doing long division in my sleep, during a lull in an otherwise exciting dream...  A particularly difficult quadratic equation woke me up...

No, not actually, but I did have a beer last night.  It was delicious. I don't know how much this will pollute my efforts, but whatever the cost, it was worth it.  I have to work all weekend and I just got sick of abstaining.  I don't think one beer qualifies as "toxic" anyway, right?

... --- ...

During the dream that I had last night. Not the one that was interrupted by long division, but yet another one.  I was talking to a vision version of my wife, I think. We were languidly reclining on a couch together, I think there were other people around, the sun was coming up.  She was talking about sexual dreams:

I inquired, "Well, who do you think about when you're masturbating?"

"I think about you, Sean..."

"That's absurd.  I don't even think about me when I'm masturbating, engaging in the hand-made evil, the oldest confession."

I awoke with a startle: the bespoke evil, immaculate preconceptions.  I had it there in my hand, my head, a phrase that could not get away.  I mashed it around there in my mind, and slept.  It was sure to be gone by morning.

I've warned you about the dreams of others.

(here stand the whitest indians ever...)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 6

(raw snowman material)

I'm beginning to think that most of my troubles come from having time off from work.  I wasn't working Monday or Tuesday and virtually all of the confusion and unrest from this week seems to emanate from those two supposedly harmless days.  I am, perhaps, a danger to myself.  If not an outright danger then possibly just an unavoidable nuisance.  To be fair though... I was snowed in both days, somewhat.  It was either snowing or too cold to go out and do much of anything.  So idle time is perhaps the real culprit.  I spend too much time in front of my computer, the devil's amphitheater.

I am tiring of my diet/detox.  Other than one day where I experienced a headache I haven't had many results, positive or otherwise.  Not that I expected the skies to split open and for there to be daily high-speed jet-pack monkey fights, but a few minor miracles would have been nice.  I would have liked food to taste better, but no, the opposite has been true.  Fruits and vegetables are wonderful and I have always enjoyed them, but beyond that my diet is about as sexy as commuting on the subway is.  Remove dairy from your diet and suddenly things taste flat and uninspired.  I know that if I give myself more time then the taste of things will improve, as my palate adjusts, but I'm not willing to do that.  Next Wednesday is Day 10, and I will act accordingly....  I am planning an all day bacchanalian feast.  I've had a vomit chamber installed in my apartment in preparation.  When in New York, do as The Romans do...

I fear that gorging myself on food and wine, and then purging it at regular intervals in the special chamber I've had constructed from porcelain and stainless steel, will not bring me the happiness I urgently desire.  There are so few things to bring one happiness after years of doing well-made, expensive designer drugs.  I crave the simple things in life.... money, and then more money.

I had a woman comment on yesterday's posting. She suggested that she would perhaps live vicariously through my detox.  I didn't know how to tell her than I would not encourage anybody to replicate, whether through imitation, magic or contagion, my attempts at normalcy and balance.  Most people have a difficult time even trying to talk to me, much less be a friend.  I have immense sympathy for anybody that has ever tried to love me. But the one thing that I have always insisted on is that nobody try to echo my behavior.  It is the short and rocky road to the vomit chamber.

I think of this simple one-eyed immobile snowman, with his uneven twig arms, and horizontalist smile, and I wonder...

... what happened to his nose?

(sideclops, frozen cocaine addict)


Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 5

Nothing new. The headaches have passed. I have partially made it through the dual wormholes of impulse and habit.  The thought of a cold glass of beer when I get home at night is still a distant siren's call, but nothing terrible has happened to me yet because I haven't had a beer.  I feel okay.  I don't miss coffee as much as I had thought that I might, though I believe that's where the headaches were coming from, the body's craving of the murky stuff.

Nothing has improved in my life yet though.  I haven't slept much better, nor do I have any excess energy during the day, nor has my sex life improved, nor my vision, nor my writing skills, northern woes nor narwhals.... though not Narnia.... never Narnia.... ever.

Ok, that's where my head's at without coffee and the lingering effects of a few late night beers.

I wish that I had picked up smoking along the way, I could talk about that as well.  There is nothing more dull than listening to somebody talk about their attempts to give up smoking, except perhaps listening to other people relay their dreams, or their experiences giving up coffee and beer...

So, the new rule of writing: leave out the boring stuff, like Narnia.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 4

I had a headache all day yesterday.  Coffee withdrawal.  I was tempted to drink a half a cup of coffee to get rid of the headache but instead I persevered.  Normally half a week after I stop drinking alcohol I get a few days of elation and energy.  Not this time.  Stopping the coffee has counter-acted any benefit I might have hoped to have gained.  If there are any toxins getting released then they are getting released from the nerdy fat cells in my body rather than the cool psychedelic ones.

I was just listening to a vaguely liberal news radio program about the "dark side of the internet" and the ways in which law enforcement agencies are using sites like Facebook and Twitter to perform their legal evils and secret invasions.  But the people speaking on the radio discussed how people who had once been for freedom of speech are beginning to turn against that position based on some of the "extreme deviance" found on the internet, both legal and otherwise.  It's a funny thing, that they are against censorship mostly because they believe their ideas have value, but when confronted with the genuine weirdness of others they shrink from the task, and their position quickly recedes.

Their stance was oddly based on the extreme  anonymity of the internet.  Meaning: it might be okay to be a little bit weird, as long as we all know who you are. If you cross the line of "a little bit weird" then we definitely want to know who you are.  It will be interesting to see how America deals with this in the coming years.  They've done such a good job with all of the other liberties guaranteed protection under the Constitution, like the 4th amendment.

"What, me worry?"

My buddy over at selavy is mad at me.  In an email he has said: "You're an asshole, by the way.  I don't think I said anything bad about you.  I don't know how anyone can stand you.  You'd better be glad that I'm a fuck up and can't afford to hold a grudge."  

I'm not at all sure what he's talking about.  He's an artist so I have more tolerance for him than I would for others.  He has done some amazing photography and you should check out today's post.  It is beautiful and I will one day try to get a print of this one from him, along with a few others.  

I'm sure that this latest outburst is just a lingering menstrual seizure. Still, through the apoplectic confusion he produces things of genuine beauty, so my tolerance for him goes on.  He is currently working on a new abbreviated form of Gonzophobia.   

No, I kid. He is one of the few friends I have left, so I had better be careful.  I had hoped he would teach me how to use my camera before he slips further into the fog of age.  I figure we've got another 6 months or so, or at least until MLK Day 2012...

I learned a few things from entering into arguments with people about MLK Day...  
-One: there is no way to win an argument with MLK, race, racism, or America as any one of the subjects in that argument.  
-Two: the tendency to lapse into self-righteousness in the face of perceived injustice, or worse, is an ineffectual  position from which to conduct a discussion about anything. 
-Three: my friends are a bunch of fucking racists.  

Ok, nothing else much to report here today. I will be glad when my detox period is over.  It has not produced anything of value yet.  I was in a bad mood all day yesterday. I'm hoping that will all turn around for me today.... once I am through the caffeine wall.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 3

Getting healthy is no fun. The first few days go very slow.  I expect a surge of energy sometime later today or tomorrow, though perhaps not enough for me to register myself in the NYC Marathon again. I've been sore since I jogged a single mile the day before yesterday, on a treadmill.  I wonder if it is all worth it.  I wonder if I will ever go back and read this post.

I sat around the apartment all day yesterday doing nothing, the same as I did the day before.  There are 20 emails I've been meaning to write or respond to, none of which will happen anytime soon.  I have learned a very valuable lesson from MLK, one that I've learned before, one that I will hopefully remember next time:  stop talking before you run out of ideas, not after.

I am tempted by argument and rhetoric, though it makes me very self-conscious, a feeling I hardly care for.

I haven't taken a picture with my camera in days.  I had meant to spend some time experimenting with lights while I was at home but the days came and went, two of them floated by, untouchable and rapidly gaining distance.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 2

I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked to last night.

Much has been said about MLK Day and the resistance to MLK Day.  After listening to a few of the arguments and positions on the matter a couple things have occurred to me.  Whether I'm able to detect a hint of bigotry in people's responses, or if they have rationalized away their responses, there seem to be a few identifying characteristics to that outright resistance or dismissal.

The main argument I seem to hear is that many people don't understand why we celebrate him as an individual when we don't do the same for Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson or Franklin, all men who are also worthy of individual recognition.  They focus on some of the individual weaknesses of MLK, citing some truths as well as a healthy dose of rumor and falsehood. The people who put forth this resistance have a point, but it is one that is somewhat easily responded to.

I remember when Washington's birthday was celebrated individually, before the formation of Presidents' Day. The reasoning for the change was simple and the differences negligible.  It was not as if we sat around as schoolchildren on Washington's birthday and spoke only of Washington.  More importantly, we never discussed his failings. He was discussed only as the Father of our country.  A misuse of the word if there ever was one, unless you'd like to explain to the descendants of slaves why their "father" permitted such a thing.  If the same sort of reasoning were applied to Washington that we mis-apply to MLK then those who cry "political correctness" in the face of MLK would have to reconsider their grumblings under the banner of "patriotic correctness."

Political Correctness on the left is the evil that they use to abort discourse and advance the liberal agenda. You will hear Republicans crying foul any chance they are given when they sense that there is any "political correctness" afoot.  MLK Day is a perfect opportunity for this sort of thing because they fail to recognize that there are no other adequate symbols of the civil right's movement, or the human right's movement, from which we can merge to make a single day of celebration and acknowledgment.  Would they be happier if we included Malcolm X in this nationally recognized day?

From the right we must suffer all manner of Patriotic Correctness, it is the form that side uses to stifle debate and advance their rhetorical dogma.  They trot out their jingoism and flag-waving to silence any opposition in a similar fashion to the left with its cries of "foul" when any liberal sacred cow is under fire.  Imagine the noise they would make if liberals started using Veteran's Day and Memorial Day to instruct children on America's war crimes, and began calling for the removal of these holidays from the national calendar as celebrating war-mongering and those who have contributed to illegal global atrocities, capitalism at the pain of death... You get the idea.

Keep in mind I am neither suggesting nor advocating this, only bringing to light an imaginary reaction from the left that would resemble the one coming from the right about MLK, etc.

Liberals, many of them, in their fierce desire to present themselves as rugged individual thinkers are the most crafty when it comes to denouncing MLK Day and what it represents, because they are the ones most threatened by perceived misunderstanding on this day, you see.  Liberals are expected to trot out their tired dogma about the need for equality and tolerance, so the more advanced liberal mind might avoid the actual issue of equality, sensibly, and focus on singular definitions of tolerance as a system of defining "otherness."

Tolerance, as a liberal social concept, is meant to be understood as the counter-point to intolerance, not  as a way of defining and marginalizing suspicion of others, but as an antidote to forced adherence to any proscribed way of being, living, worshiping, etc.  To promote tolerance is not a systematic way of alienating others, but just as a reminder that intolerance must be resisted, and one way of doing that is to promote its opposite.  If one looks at the many evils of the world then this sentiment of tolerance as a resisting force to intolerance is more easily understood and accepted for what it is.  The euphemism of "breaking through the barriers that separate us" as a preferable alternative to tolerance can easily be misunderstood as an act of violence or force. So let's not go breaking through anything else just yet... our neighbors might prefer their privacy.

I think many people wish to forget that race is one of the most important issues in this country. They wrongfully believe the problems to have already been solved, yet they begrudge one of the main symbols of that change, MLK.  If they don't forget this then they are simply tired of hearing about it, one way or the other. They naively believe that they didn't have anything to do with slavery, all of the advantages they enjoy arrived in their lives naturally and they don't understand why that hasn't happened for others, it must be the inherent iniquity in those others....

I will hopefully stop writing about my experiences with people concerning MLK day after today.  But the issue of race is far from being resolved in this country and if those who were once willing to resist outright discrimination, or worse, in this country aren't willing to tackle the source and effects of veiled and barely submerged bigotry then the issue will remain where it is.  It could be said that we fought a civil war over race. There are some who begrudge the true victims of that war, slaves, and only see the fallen dead white soldiers as victims of that catastrophe.  Those who died nobly for those who were not.  They speak of slavery as an annoyance and an unworthy cause of such a war.  I am not making this up, remember that I lived in the South. Attend a civil war re-enactement and ask who won and lost the war, and the battles, and at what cost.  You will thank me for this advice, I promise.

I realize that at times I have lapsed into self-righteousness and indignation in the last few days.  But I can't help but feel that so much of the response I've gotten from my friends has something other than genuine inquisitiveness at its core.  Not one of my friends has offered any alternative to celebrating MLK's birthday as a way of recognizing the accomplishments of the civil right's movement and the continued struggle ahead.  There has been no discourse about alternative ways of observing those achievements, just a general dissatisfaction with the fact that as a country we have chosen to observe on this date, in this way.  No other symbol has been offered as an alternative to recognize. There has just been a collection of observations about MLK, mostly negative. Though, in fairness, some observations have recognized that he was a dynamic and charismatic leader who galvanized a moment and transmuted the feelings of many into a more coherent way of reacting to the injustice of racism.  Once they have stated this in the obligatory fashion they then want the conversation to move on.  They don't want too much observance of him.

So, the real struggle in this country is against complacency. There is a misapplication of spirit when it comes to dealing with the issue of race. The most difficult base to motivate towards voting seems to be those who hold their own opinions in the highest regard.  We live in a time when all ideals are suspect and easily targeted.  At least as it pertains to MLK very few have a sense of humor about it, that's both a good and a bad sign. The only art-forms left are those of the satirist, and parody reigns supreme.  We applaud the ease at which we can laugh at virtue, and we most highly esteem the arts of reduction and response.

One must consider what it means for laughter to not only be the best response we can offer, but soon, perhaps the only one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 1

I have been sitting here for 5 minutes staring at the computer screen, trying to decide what to write about.  I have given up coffee in an attempt to lose weight and de-tox and my mind refuses to budge.  Today is the first day of what I'm hoping will be a 10 day de-tox/weight loss experiment.  Nothing too crazy, but cutting out some of the unnecessary calories (dairy, fried-foods, soda, alcohol) and attempting to ingest some aids in detoxing (fruits, greens, citrus, garlic).  If I start to release too many toxins into my blood stream then you, my faithful readers, will be the first to know.

It is 21 degrees outside right now, soon I will be back in bed either reading or watching a movie.  It is my day off and I refuse to freeze tonight.  I went outside to walk the dog and we both agreed it was far too cold.  The dog has a specific look of consternation that he employs when he wants me to understand the absurdity of my actions, of what I am asking him to do, the impossibility of the cold, etc.

It is a full moon tomorrow, the wolf moon.  Perhaps I will have already lost my mind and soul by then, howling in torment from the snow covered rooftops, jumping from building to building, searching out fresh corpses, shapeshifting as I go....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

10 minute mile

I just jogged my first mile in months.  10 minutes. Heart-rate at end: 180 bpm.  I escalated the jogging up to an almost open run by the last minute, it was the only way I could accomplish the 10 minute mark.

I've decided to lose 10 pounds in 10 days, starting tomorrow.

My trip to the gym was a little pre-obsession.

I didn't know there was such a thing as gold diamonds.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"... good men do nothing"

Wow, last night's post has already elicited quite a response.  The post was mostly referencing a conversation I had in a local bar here with a neighbor.  My neighborhood "friend" kept using the term "reverse-racism" and applying it to the observance of MLK day. He then went on to espouse the debunked idea that MLK used to use contribution funds to hire white prostitutes and then beat them up, a complete falsehood.  After that he tended to focus on MLK's communist sympathies and his plagiarism, two established facts about MLK.  No human is perfect and in the effort to advance his cause he apparently did receive funds from communist interests, among other improprieties.  The U.S. government is equally guilty of this sort of thing, though my "friend" had no interest in exploring that line of reasoning.

As far as MLK's plagiarism is concerned, that is an unfortunate fact about the man.  It is well documented and agreed upon that he was found to have plagiarized somewhat extensively while working on his doctoral thesis.  His degree could have been revoked posthumously but it was decided that it would serve no purpose as the man had already passed.  Is this reverse-racism?  Perhaps.  Would they posthumously revoke a degree awarded to a white man based on the same criteria?  I simply don't have the answer to this, though I'm assuming that it would be looked at on a case-by-case basis by the awarding institution.

So, yes, he was imperfect.  I never meant to suggest he was anything otherwise.  These details about his life do not negate his accomplishments however. It only does that in the minds of individuals who would seek to deny his accomplishments with or without those facts.

I had meant to stay away from political issues here, but sometimes you hear the distinct air of resistance to recognizing any of MLK's successes, and it is impossible to hear it for anything other than what it is, veiled racism and bigotry.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

Friday, January 14, 2011


Bigots sure do talk about "reverse-racism" an awful lot...

MLK day lets a lot of people trot out their inabilities to honor anything, themselves most of all.

We speak piously about veterans and those who died for this country... Martin Luther King Jr. was somebody who did both, and more, for this country, for people beyond this country, for people everywhere.

It has historically been quite easy to die for this country, but to live for this country is something altogether different.

I am tiring of getting into tangential arguments about why we, as a nation, have decided to set aside a day to honor one of the greatest Americans to ever live, who died actively defending the ideals and principles of this country...

...who did as much or more to defend the rights and dignity of the people of this country as any army.

...who gave the last full measure of devotion...

Some people only use the term reverse-racism as a noun, the idea should be that it is a verb-noun.

"...dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced." - Abraham Lincoln (our first Republican President)

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

Coffee Chat

"Well, there is more to life than just experience."

I heard myself saying the words and I knew they were false.  As I got towards the end of the sentence I faltered and made the needed modification.

"Well, there is more to life than just... those experiences."

That was it.

I was chatting with an old friend and I was trying to find a way to praise my life without outright denouncing hers, and the choices she had made.

I wasn't sure if I believed what I was saying.  I only believed enough of it for me to keep talking.

"There are other qualitative experiences in life that you've deprived yourself of by choosing to live life the way that you have."

Nope, could have done better than that, should have done better than that.

"How?", she asked.

"Well, others have had different experiences that they enjoyed more fully because they experienced them at  a younger age, an access to sensations that are no longer open to you.  You may experience all that you want, but now you must accept that you will be experiencing it under different circumstances, having aged."

It was getting worse, there was nothing I could do.  I tried to save myself:

"But perhaps some of those things are more fully enjoyed with the ripeness of age, there is no standard by which we can adequately compare."

"But you have always said..."

"Well, perhaps age is not the almighty comparative measure, it is only an indication of the richness one feels for life, but not the criterion by which we measure the depth of all experience.  Perhaps death is greater than birth because we have the memories of life by which to sense the loss."

Fuck, what had I done.... What was I doing?

I was dying...

Crosstown Traffic

I walked around New York today hoping to find some inspiration, something to take pictures of, something to write about, a beer to drink, anything.  I didn't find much of any of that.  I found some traffic signs.  It is too cold to walk around comfortably for very long, especially when trying to have your hands free to take pictures.   I like the crispness in the air and some of the black and white photos I took came out okay because they seem to simplify some of the New York noise, and they have more of a timeless appearance.  But somehow these two pictures seemed to embody how I feel more than the black and white ones do right now.  There is only so much complaining you can do before you start to sound like Travis Bickle.

Tonight I will lie in bed and read ("To The Lighthouse"), drink a glass of wine or two, perhaps go out and take some pictures while the sun is setting, maybe go up on the roof and set up a tripod, try to ignore the world below, just admire the sky above.

A full moon is coming, tomorrow is the waxing gibbous moon.  A lovely thing to see crossing the sky.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We build our houses

Well, I am back to work, the flu has subsided, for now.  So I return to the monotony of the life that I was living. The demonic visions have crawled back to their resting places, to regain their strength against me.  I had a dream last night that I was putting my studio back together. I recalled each piece, whether I still owned it, had sold it off, had given it away, or if it had been stolen from me.  The remaining pieces I arranged in such a way as to maximize their usefulness.  In the dream I could feel the sensation of wanting more gear. There were pieces I would need to update with newer versions or replace altogether because they're dated and no longer of much use.  When I awoke I thought that it was one of the most boring dreams I had ever had.  I mean, how boring can a dream actually be?  I was installing gear in a studio rack... The only thing more boring than this dream would perhaps be somebody reading about this dream right now.  Other people's dreams are not fascinating, and avoid anybody that would tell you otherwise...  If you find that you are having a boring dream, then wake up.

Many years ago I used to have notebooks that I would fill with quotes that I had read, snippets of song lyrics, pieces of conversation, poems, etc.  I had left instructions to give the notebooks to a certain friend of mine, in the event of my death. I saw her as the interim caretaker of all that I was.  One of the proverbs that I remember was a very simple one, "We build our houses and then they build us."  I did a search to see if I could find the quote online and didn't come up with an immediate answer, so I quit looking. But the point of the thing, I thought at the time and still do, is that we allow or develop certain structures in our life and then those structures shape us, and we must then conform to the inner logic therein.  We must find a way of functioning within the limitations and design that we ourselves have put in place, and there's really very little that we can do to alter or change the basic structure that we have fostered.

My wife and I are currently beginning the search for a new place to live.  We live in a very cramped apartment, with a small lovable dog.  It has been the place that I have lived longest in life consecutively. 11 years now, soon 12.  It has a strange effect on a person to have lived in such a small space for so long.  It is my refuge but it has also shaped me, perhaps cramped my concept of self and of possibilities.  It has been difficult having my wife move back in here though we've settled into it and gotten used to it now. There was a period of adjustment that was quite trying for both of us, almost as if we were sharing one another's dreams, the apartment being too small to house the dreams of two, some dreams had to be packed away in storage for the winter.  We're becoming ready to unpack some of our winter hopes, though winter is still far from over.  The process begins. The process from which there is no going back. If we have a child I want to name it Pandora, if it's a girl.  Either that, or Helmut Wolfgang, for a girl... and Stiletto Periwinkle for a boy.  I just think they're pretty names....  perhaps Pandora could be a middle name.

Pandora Cusick. Well, maybe we could sit on that one, give it some more thought.  We have time.

The thought of having a child is a great unknown mystery, though virtually everybody around me has done it, and is doing it again.  It is unfortunate that my wife wants one of her own, as they seem so pleasant when sleeping at the homes of others, even if I don't get to name them...  I'm told it's the greatest feeling I'll ever have, but I'm not sure, acid and ecstasy together is pretty amazing too.  I'm told having a child is even better than that, by one who would know.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Train Song

Travelling north, travelling north to find you
Train wheels beating, the wind in my eyes
Don’t even know what I’ll say when I find you
Call out your name love, don’t be surprised

It’s so many miles and so long since I’ve met you
Don’t even know what I’ll find when I get to you
But suddenly now, I know where I belong
It’s many hundred miles and it won’t be long,
it won't be long, it won't be long, it won't be long...

Nothing at all in my head to say to you
Only the beat of the train I'm on
Nothing I've learned all my life on my way to you
One day our love was over and gone

What will I do if there’s someone with you
Maybe someone you’ve always known
How do I know I can come and give to you
Love with no warning and find you alone

It’s so many miles and so long since I’ve met you
Don’t even know what I’ll find when I get to you
But suddenly now, I know where I belong
It’s many hundred miles and it won’t be long,
it won't be long, it won't be long, it won't be long...

-Vashti Bunyan

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Myth's Service

I have seen the image above for many years.  It is in the toilet of a local bar that we frequent.  For several years I saw it only one way: as a young girl trying to move the implacable head of some cloaked, judgmental elder, likely a male, suggestive of a father, or lover.  The precariousness of the position of the skirted girl made me think that the painting was done by a female, though I had no affirmation of this from the owners of the bar.  I never asked.

In time I began to see the image as a gender inversion of the myth of Sisyphus, a young bobbed girl forever pushing the rock up the mountain, only to have it roll over her and repeat the cycle.  The position and seeming weight of the boulder just at the moment that it overtakes her efforts, though she struggles to push the burden daily past the summit once again.

Either reading of the image worked for me, and I was quite pleased with this little painting.  It had been in the bathroom for years, as I said, and had suffered and survived many attacks of vandalism, though it had likely staved off many more by simply being aesthetically pleasing, suspended there.  It has suffered a few scratch marks over the years but the essence of the thing has remained intact.

We recently had a visitor from Canada, a comedienne. She saw something, and drew my attention to, a thing that I had long seen but somehow ignored, or never truly noticed.  That the rock was not a rock at all, but two rolled up old women, rotund sisters when combined thusly, trapped in their habits, wandered in from the city of lost children or even eviler distances, and this perpetually struggling young girl on the verge of tossing them over and off the edge of this last crest, forever inverting both the image and idea of heaviness and weight into a nearly blasted balloon... a final verge, a climax of liberation, a zenith femme and her lifted escape from habits.

Indian, buffet

I started to feel like I was getting a little bit better.  I walked the four westward avenues necessary to meet my wife for lunch, taking a few snapshots along the way.

In retrospect it is easy to see that choosing Indian food when recovering from a flu is a bad idea.

No part of the experience could claim itself as a dietary triumph.

I raced home like a runaway rickshaw down the streets of Kolkata...


Monday, January 10, 2011

... the mighty jungle

No...  Nyquil is not the magic balm that I described it as.  I must have slightly overdosed on its cherry-flavored goodness last night. Though I slept reasonably well, once I was allowed to... I awoke in episodes of demonic visions, vaguely entertaining evils of all kinds.  I saw miniature standup samurai beheadings, jungle head swappings, plastic pirate regattas, distorted freak parades, flowers of evil, musical instruments made of liquid chrome metal snakes, and then actual dream snakes.  Defected and deficient abnormals arose and disappeared with apoplectic cries and damaged demands. From sometime after sunrise until sometime before noon carnivalesque scenarios of all sorts played themselves out upon my bruised inner eyelids, yardbirds roamed freely across my mind.

I was finally saved from this French Quarter purgatory by a lone expresso.

I have long measured my inner-health by the nature of my morning visions.  When I am happy my waking dreams reflect pleasantnesses, scenes appear before my mind in which I would wish to remain, to extend my stay.  When I awake from these dreams the voices in my head are likewise repeating positivities, affirmations of goodness, and projections of health.  But when I am recovering from afflictions, self-induced or otherwise, the scenarios become disturbing and unsettled, disconnected from my conscious desires and spiraling towards some awaiting and unfed inner malignancy.  When I awake from these dreams I can also similarly hear the shrill voices of pessimism nagging at me, persisting with messages of negation, denouncement, and denial.

Perhaps tonight I will use the supplied dispensing cup to dole out my mendicant.

It is maybe only contentedness that makes it possible for us to enjoy some forms of misery, otherwise it is likely just misery....

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight... - "Mbube"


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Days pass with little notice

Days pass with little notice.  I awake and am sometimes covered in sweat, sometimes freezing, unable to get enough cover on top of me, as if a near window has been left completely open to the winter.  All of life becomes just an awakening and then a drifting back towards sleep, ever returning.  I begin to watch a movie. I awake and the movie is over, the house empty, a few hours has passed, at other times only a few minutes has passed, over and over only a few minutes has passed again, as if none have passed at all.  I have slept all day, making it nearly impossible to sleep all night. So I awake and then drift off again, ever and ever, never knowing what state I will emerge in, wet with fevered sweat, or freezing from same, or was I ever sleeping at all.


Each winter I suffer the same way.  There is just sickness and work orbiting one another for a season.  Last winter I was reduced nearly to tears each week.  My weekend would arrive and I could feel the sickness creeping into my body.  I would spend my entire weekend in bed, only resting enough to make it to work when the weekend was over.  Throughout the week I would intermittently feel better but the work week would deplete me so much that by the following weekend I would be sick again.  Over and over for an entire season. That, and being trapped inside by the cold and snow, is enough to drive anybody out of their mind.

But then spring eventually arrives and we convince ourselves that we love living in New York once again.

I have to return to work today.  I am not looking forward to it.  My body has not healed enough. I have a fever running through me.  It is freezing outside.

Nyquil was ineffective last night.

Phlegm is a funny looking word.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sick, again

Sometimes you can cure yourself of sickness by just carrying on with your life as if you weren't sick.  That didn't work for me yesterday. I made the mistake of not resting and now I have a full-blown flu again.  My bones feel weak and brittle, it is difficult to take a full breath, every spot on my body feels sore and tender, if I press against my eyes I see strange and magical colors, accompanied by soreness and pain.  There is no possible way to lie in bed and feel normal or free of aches for any period of time.

I went to bed very early last night and awaited the return of my wife, who had promised to bring me Nyquil.  Sometime around 3 in the morning she came home, sans Nyquil, then took the dog for a walk, then went to get the syrupy elixir.  When she came home I took what little remaining energy I had and stood in the kitchen slurping the tincture down.  I immediately returned to bed and awaited the comfort and sleep that the cherry flavored mystery might bring.  The dog jumped up on the bed and layed down between my legs.  I was lying somewhat diagonally on the bed and reaching down to occasionally pet the little beast on the head and let him know that I would make it, somehow.

The next thing I know my wife was sitting down on my foot, bending it backwards towards its own heel in a way that it is simply not meant to go.  I jumped up and gave a short, half-yelp, startling the dog. At this she stood up and took a half-gainer swan dive into the bed coming down on my rib cage with her elbow, approximately half of her weight immediately thundering down against the tender tissue surrounding the biblical bones of my abdomen.  I pleaded with her that I was in pain already and to please be careful.  At this she sat up in bed, grabbed the Nyquil, opened it up in haste, dropping the lid, where I could hear it spin on its side, then roll in arcs, settling somewhere towards the middle of the underside of the bed, forever lost to practical use. She then gurgled a few healthy doses of the magical vitae concentrate, reclining into an almost immediate snore.

After about 30 minutes I could feel the effects of the catholicon begin to sweep over me, arresting my nerves, preparing me for the dark journey of recovery, the first of several steps towards regained health.

That is all I remember, all I can tell.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Royal Wigs

Yesterday I went with a friend to Central Park to practice shooting with a flash.  I love my camera but it is a different device with the flash on, it becomes more intrusive, more obviously a camera, and people notice it and avoid it more. Some will look at it, and me, with a sort of fascination but many seem to look at it as a potential violation of some sort.  It is a difficult thing for me because I am still not confident with myself as a photographer and the flash makes the unit look so large that it makes me self-conscious, especially when the flash goes off.  It's like having the Death Star hanging from my neck, preparing to annihilate planets, and I Darth Vader.

I was experimenting with getting good exposures of objects in the foreground while the sun was setting in the background. The flash gives an unnatural sense to the image, though not so much that it looks bad, it just appears other than what the eye records in these situations.  Or perhaps it is closer to what the eye sees, as I believe the human eye adjusts to backlighting much better than a camera, though I'm not sure about any of it.

Central Park is the place to do this sort of thing though. One woman towards the end of our day there, who was out walking her dogs, asked us where we were from. She was surprised into a giggle when we said The East Village. We were the very image of tourists in the city, backpacks and camera bags, tennis shoes and overblown camera setups. I think my friend might have even had white socks on.

Neither of these three pictures were taken with the flash, but I liked them as I was flipping through the results of yesterday. There is a fading sense in them, the New York of another time.  I had one shot of an elderly woman looking through the window at the wig shop but I couldn't use it, it seemed just a little bit cruel.  I hadn't asked her permission to take the picture and the picture seemed to be giggling at her.

I've walked by this wig shop many times over the years and never stopped to take a picture.  There used to be a record store right near here but it closed many years ago, along with most of the vinyl shops across the city.  I'm doing a live radio show in one of the few remaining ones on the 19th, Halcyon.  I'll post a link here once it's done.

I'll see if I can get anybody a discount on wigs too, just mention that you saw their online advertisement and a sexy new head of hair awaits you... ask for the q6 edition, it looks just like the Phil Collins classic, but much less expensive.

There were many minor stories to relay about the day in the park yesterday but I feel like I've run out of time here for now.  I slept terribly and I'm hoping to go back to sleep soon, wig or not.  A day of drinking beer and walking in the park is exhausting.  I feel brittle and out of sorts, as if my bones were made of condensed wig fibers.  Perhaps another beer will help.

Addendum: After posting this on Facebook my friend suggested some "hair of the wig" as a cure-all... Funny stuff.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hendrix, Jagger and Burroughs

I went out last night after work with two friends, it was to celebrate a 39th birthday, his.  As we were talking we inevitably started discussing age and its effects.  I had an image in my phone of a rock band that still performs after many years and I showed it to them laughing, thinking it was preposterous because the guitar player had his shirt off.  He was never somebody that would have taken his shirt off to make himself appear more attractive, but rather as part of his performance, to represent the very raw and unfiltered nature of it, etc.  I found the image to be hilarious and something to laugh at, they still had reverence for the band and saw it in a different light.  I showed it to a few people and didn't win anybody over to my side of the thing, so I put the picture away.

I said, I can't stand to see my heroes get older, though this rocker was never one of my heroes I did appreciate the tempo of the music they made.  It was perfect for what they were doing.  They claimed that I would still want to go see the band if I had the chance.  I said no, again, I can't stand to see my heroes get old, much less those guys.  The only time I ever really listened to this band was when I was young and they were likewise young along with me, though they were all at least 10 years older than me, or more, at the time.  My friends smiled at me in bemused disbelief.  They seemed to assert that I would go see the band and love every second of it.  I let this peace between us remain, though I did summate by saying that the band seemed to be stuck in a perpetual state of puberty.  Perhaps I am also.

When I woke this morning I said to my wife and our Canadian guest that, old people are nasty, vile creatures, right?  My wife responded as she always done when I say things like this, she said, of course not, but without really qualifying or offering a supporting argument, which makes me think she agrees somewhat. She said that it helps if people gain a little bit of weight as they get older. I thought, yes and losing your hair must help also.

I was kidding a little bit, of course.  I just resist both the idea and the reality of getting old.

Look what it did to these guys....

Rock On.....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I rarely have the time to just sit and read the way that I used to many years ago.  I romanticized the act and art of reading then.  I would envision myself sitting by candlelight and reading through the summer nights, translations of Lorca and Rimbaud.  Now I simply romanticize having the time to read rather than the candlelit setting in which I might do so.  I have bemoaned New York living much and often here, but this life does not easily lend itself to solitude and continued concentration.  New York lends itself to many things, but tranquility is not one of them.

Wine helps.

It is not just New York that keeps me from reading though.  It is the changing structure of my life. My values have shifted and I have to struggle to subsist.  I used to have a life of moderate leisure.  I could spend my days doing as I pleased with enough resources to pursue either interests or trouble, sometimes both.

I suspect there will be little return to that barely remembered state.

I have all but given up on The Count of Monte Cristo.  It is literature, I guess, but it does not stir me.  It simply isn't engaging my sensibilities the way that more serious works do.  I feel as if I'm reading the 1st draft of a runaway film treatment, one that is waiting to be edited down to a shooting script.  The characters are merely types and the plot twists are rigid, forced and predictable.  I suppose it could be said that perhaps it only seems that way to me because the plot is so well known and often imitated that I know many of the devices beforehand, because of its success.  This hardly matters to me and that is far from its only failing, for me.  I have become bored by it.  I am disappointed because a few suggested it so highly and embrace it so lovingly.  I will give one more honest attempt at it and hope that imagination and adventure alone will carry it.

I just want time to play the guitar and experiment with my camera, and even more so: the flash that I bought with it.  There is much to learn, and re-learn.  I wonder where I'll get the time.  As I sit here and write these words I reflect on all the lost months and years of my life, almost too many to count.  Too many to count peacefully anyway. There is a bum downstairs screaming at the morning sun and its intrusive rays.  His invectives darting up through the window with winter crispness.  He is on fire for something unsure, an un-grasped theme seems to run through his barely coherent ramblings. He works his way around and through his inflamed ideas as the sirens of the firetrucks drift both far and near. The dopplers switching forever towards us and then back again, as if tides on the great cry of oceans, and he merely Sinbad the sailor... awoken by fate, imprisoned in a foul and testy mood once more...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I took the picture above without giving it too much thought.  There were many of them lined up side by side on the construction boards that run along a particular street a few blocks from my house.  Most of the posters had been defaced and I took this picture without really realizing what I was taking a picture of.  I only saw the pregnant woman and I snapped a quick picture of it.  It is not uncommon now for my wife to be several steps ahead of me, sometimes waiting patiently for me, sometimes not, sometimes walking ahead.

When I was young, perhaps 3 or 5 years old, my mother became pregnant.  This would be a little brother or sister for me, I was told.  I remember acknowledging that she was pregnant and that she was where babies came from, her belly.  I remember asking her details about babies and the process, and wondering aloud what the baby would be like, a boy or a girl.

At some point during the pregnancy my brother and I were placed in the care of the neighbor across the street and I was told that my mother was very sick.  I remember having to get ready for school in the unfamiliar surroundings of my neighbor's house, with her kids.  I remember special care being taken with me. The mother from across the street consoling me though I didn't grasp why.  I recall the embarrassment of being nude and taking baths in front of this strange woman, the unfamiliarity of her, the strangeness of her not being my mother.

I'm not sure exactly who it was that began to talk to me about sickness and what it might mean, and that my mother was sick.  But I do remember becoming very scared from not having seen my mother in some time and being talked to about her in this way.  I could detect the level of concern for me had everything to do with her.  I remember extra cookies being packed in my yellow metal lunch box.  I remember going to the empty place of school and being told to not worry about it.

When she came home from the hospital there were many people eager to help my father.  My mother was in her bedroom, mostly alone. I remember strange foods being brought over by neighbors that I hardly knew.  Each night the dinner we ate and each day at school the lunch that I brought was a mystery, filled with unusual foods.  I remember seeing her, and knowing that she was sick, being able to see the weakness in her body.  I could see bandages on her chest when her gown would fall one way or another to reveal the partial result of what had happened to her, the empty spot that used to be her.  I remember finding my father sleeping on the couch some nights when I would wake from fear, wanting desperately to go to the room where I would usually go at those times, wanting the consolation of my mother.  I remember my father not getting mad at this, being patient, gentle, trying in his own way to calm me, but telling me that my mother needed her rest, that it was very important that she get her rest, that she could not be disturbed.

It was not explained to me at the time, but a few years later, that she had lost one of her breasts from the cancer they had found.

The baby brother or sister that I was not going to have required a more immediate explanation.  I remember my mother trying to explain that not every time a woman gets pregnant does it always make a baby, that sometimes God decides that the time is not right, that God makes all of these decisions for us, that we can't always know his plans for us.  I remember being upset about it and not being able to hide the disappointment, but also recognizing the gravity of some other thing, something more important was going on and my mother had a way of letting me know that.  I don't remember any of the details of what she said, but I remember the way that it made me feel.  I remember her emphasizing that she would love me forever.

As I grew up I became ashamed of what had happened to my mother. I knew that she was missing a breast and that it was difficult for her.  In turn it became difficult for me.  I remember being ashamed of my shame, knowing that it was wrong, but being resentful for having to deal with those emotions at all.  The more my mother tried to get me to understand what had happened the more uneasy I became. I see now that she needed me to understand and love her and I was repulsed by it and afraid of what had happened, of what could happen.

Years later my mother became sick again, eventually dying from lung cancer.  The feelings of helplessness that developed in me through those last years have had a lasting effect on me.  A few people have recognized that certain aspects of my personality seem to have developed around the frustration of not being able to help when someone is sick.  I get feelings of intense frustration that have no other immediate cause or explanation.  It is something I have tried to become more conscious of.  Less shame, more life, etc.

Once I had realized what I was seeing in the picture above, that there was more to the image than just the pregnancy of the woman, I went back late at night, after work, to try to find a better poster to get a snapshot of.  They had all been replaced with an advertisement for some series of shows called The Rock and Roll Circus. There were only fragments of the posters visible and in the darkness they were difficult to photograph, the camera seeking focus, the white balance skewed towards the red, many of them were scratched away in full, or in part.

I found one where the scar from the removed breast was visible.  It is somehow exactly as I remember it, impossible and unending.