Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A well-made tree house

The days disappear into a nearly endless stream of taillights. The commute will scratch my days away from me. Three hours in the car today, and then some extra minutes that I tried not to count. The same or more tomorrow. I never dreamed that I would be a commuter, not in this way.

Above is the view from our bedroom in the daytime. Below is from the balcony. It's as if we live in a well-made tree house. 

The bewitching days have begun. They will captivate us for a few weeks and then set us free, never quite knowing what to do with us.


Victory, sharing, etc.

Very little time to write today. My life has been upended by the new job, my time. Today and very likely tonight I will be trapped in SF by a big parade, a celebration for the winners of The World Series. The Giants. 

Our office windows overlook Market Street, where the parade will pass. Throughout the day we will be able to look down on the procession, to share in the victory.


Monday, October 29, 2012

... nodding in mutual joy

I wish to write more. Hopefully, some time in the near or distant future, where most wishes go. If not all.

I got the job that I wanted. Did I already say that here...? I think I must have. I should have. 

My life is remiss. 

Time is elastic, particularly in the evenings, ever stretching. 

This morning I was awake at 5am, possibly sooner. Hours mean more when interrupted one way, then again more when stretched thin the other. It is a headache made of silly-putty.

At any point early, always late; into this madding world I rush tired. 

An employee's first day is usually exciting and boring. Mine was both. 

The company feels good, friendly. It is a nice open, airy space. All of the people smile at me as I walk around to meet each of them for the second or third time, struggling to remember their names, or name, or the first letter of their name as they enthusiastically help me remember, nodding in our mutual and newfound joy.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Creme Brulee

I got the job. I start work tomorrow. I found out late last night, after my flight arrived from Tampa, back in SF. Rachel and I went to a celebratory dinner. It was one of the few "dates" I've had with her in almost a year. I had a NY Strip, medium-rare. Delicious. Things are good. I slept for almost eight hours when we got home.

I was in Tampa to dj. A friend - a rather successful dj - called me to wish me a happy birthday while I was there. When he asked what I was doing in Tampa, and I told him that I was there to dj, he then asked a very simple question, one that I didn't have an immediate answer for... "What are you doing that for?"

There are the obvious answers, I suppose. But none of them felt sufficient enough to recite. I wasn't doing it for the money. I'm not trying to revive my dj'ing "career." I don't have anything particularly knew to say about the form. I haven't released any new material to support.

I mean, I was specifically there in Tampa to celebrate a friend's birthday. But I had also dj'ed in Orlando the week before, as well a as few other places here and there. I don't really know what I'm doing. Enjoying a mild case of reminiscence, I suppose. Using dj'ing as an excuse to go visit friends.  Reminding myself that I used to be cool. Dressing up for Halloween in a familiar costume.

Do you see how silly most of those sound? Only one of those reasons carries any validity, and even with that one the dj'ing is secondary to the visiting of friends. I suppose I should let it go. It will only be a matter of time before I'm dressing up in spandex and telling all of Rhys' friends how cool the band Styx used to be. Playing "air guitar" to frighten and amuse them at some poor child's birthday party.

Even the cd players that are now used only resemble turntables, USB memory sticks being much lighter than record boxes. It could be easily said that they are only the "air turntable" equivalent of posing dream rockers. 

Am I crawling back towards the dim limelight, just to see how it feels... To strike a hideous pose, as something crept back from the past to scare the youngsters... to gobble all their drugs and befoul their after-parties...

Let me know what you think.


Friday, October 26, 2012

From Dawn to the DMV

Do not take much of what I write here too seriously. I fictionalize a fair amount. Most stories are only loosely based on truth, some not at all. Yesterday's post seems to have upset a few of my readers and I wanted to reassure them that I very much believe what I said about drinking and driving…. In fact, I'll take it a step further. There should be entire divisions of old people at the DMV. You should be able to go in and have them administer drinks to you. As long as you can still outdrive one of them then you are fine. It will become part of the state's permanent record that you can have x drinks without violating the law. Nobody under the age of 30 should be able to participate in this program. Ever. Young people are the cause of all problems, everywhere.

Well, at the very least I do believe that the state's driving laws as they pertain to drinking are ridiculously strict. I mean, I get it, there are statistics, but what about the laws of natural selection, shouldn't they be able to come into play? Statistics will support the new totalitarianism, it can be felt in the near distance.

Well, the collapse is complete. Jacques Barzun passed away. He was the last of my living cultural heroes. I must find some new ones somehow; Robert Hughes, Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, all gone. Barzun hadn't written anything meaningful publicly for some time, so I knew this was coming. He was 104 years old, born before the outbreak of the First World War. Insistent upon The West's vitality as well as its demise, stupefying in ability, always employing clear rhetoric. His arguments for and against the various importance of historical figures and trends has been a great source of satisfaction for me. 

The books of his that I have suggested before and likely will again are, "From Dawn to Decadence" or "The Jacques Barzun Reader" (a collection of essays).

Okay, I am in Tampa and typing all of this out on a broken keyboard, one that lacks a functioning z key. Don't ask me how I do it. It is magic, even the spelling auto-correct.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

"The sex was consensual, I swear it..."

(Tammy Faye)

I don't know what went wrong last night, but something did. Or, many things did. I'm certain that it had something to do with me but I'm not entirely sure how. A friend seems to be mad at me and I have my suspicions as to why, but it still isn't clear.

After leaving dinner last night, on the eve of my birthday, I got pulled over by a cop. I was speeding and my headlights were off. He ran my license and let me off with a warning. It is impossible to emphasize how lucky this was. I was in a rental car. Though not drunk I believe that I would have tested over the legal limit. This is not why I was driving the way that I was, it was purely coincidental. I was frazzled. He wanted to know why I was in such a hurry. I told him that is the only way to drive a rental car, and that I was sorry, I'd calm down for the rest of the drive home. 

I don't know if he happened to notice that it was my birthday or if my squeaky clean driving record impressed him the most, but he let me go without a roadside interrogation. I suppose if he had noticed that it was my birthday this might have actually worked against me. 

I had thought to sleep at my friend's house, at least for a few hours. But he wanted no part in it. I believe he let me know this with the two word exhortation to, "Fuck off!!!"

So, that's what I did, almost to Orange County's jailhouse. That would have really showed him... Some people need tough lessons.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking... Sean, you shouldn't be driving at all if you've been drinking at all. This might be true but there is something else to consider: Bullshit. Drinking and driving laws are far too strict. Anybody that has a drink or two is perfectly capable of driving as well as any retiree. Drinking limits should be set on a sliding scale dependent upon your driving record and age. This is just common sense but try telling anybody this and they will look at you as if you have completely lost your mind.  But it is they that have lost their minds. It is a governmental racket designed purely as a means of taxing the unlucky. 

Now, I don't mean the people that are actually drunk. Toss those fuckers in jail, for sure. They are a menace to society and a danger to our roads and highways, the circulatory system of our good Christian nation.

Speaking of: Everybody in Florida drives like a bunch of fucking Christians. It's maddening. None of them seem particularly interested in obeying any set of standards other than pissing off anybody that has vehicular ambitions of any kind. They'll just drift along slowly, side by side, taking up three lanes of traffic, not allowing anybody to pass, competing for last place by doing about 7mph BELOW the speed limit... They're probably part of a motorway prayer group. They meet every day and drive the same strip of road this way, doing god's best to reduce traffic accidents. I'm certain that they all have their eyes closed, appealing to their Lord. And they're EVERYWHERE.... Hundreds of these wandering assholes clogging up the roads, helping their communities become better places, one less accident at a time. It's like some massive, demented crusade of driving retards. I would sell every last one of them as sex slaves if I thought I could get anything for them. They might be useful as a one-time thrill but after that the joys of terror and rape would likely recede back to prayerful thoughts. They would endure it all as part of their abiding love for Christ. Nobody would be willing to pay money to foul them any more. I mean it, they're almost completely fucking useless, no fun at all. 

Everything here looks like a super-church or a strip mall, some of them resemble both. Even the titty bars look like some gaudy off-center Vatican nonsense. Now, don't get me wrong, once you're inside and there's a roomful of naked women it becomes much more Roman than Christian. It's quite refreshing in this regard.

No, that's all wrong. This place isn't Catholic enough for those comparisons. This is the Costco of churchland. This is where Tammy Faye Bakker came to hide after her husband's many indiscretions came to painful public light. She set up shop here and kept right on delivering her unique brand of jilted pain and tearful righteousness in the lord. I swear it. I used to landscape the property that she eventually cheated out of rent. The lord and the ladies sure do work in mysterious ways.

Now, everybody stay calm. I don't actually endorse drunk driving or raping christians, unless of course you can combine the two acts, then you have my unflinching advocacy. One must wonder if Roman lions preferred the taste of christians.

There is no such thing as a political conversation in Florida. There are only demons and saviors. Romney is the latter, apparently. This is no exaggeration. I sat in a bar, by myself, and listened to three different groups talking amongst themselves about the many evils of another four years of Osama. One group went so far as to suggest that they should consider selling their houses now, to "liquefy" their assets, because they "just don't know what's going to happen next"... Ominous. Eventually these three groups were all talking together, agreeing on various national and "world" matters and issues. A think-tank if there ever was one.

It was an Irish bar, I should mention. An Irish bar in the middle of a sinking swamp, being held up mainly by a web of christian roads.

But my how I just love the people...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is Dinesh George's keeper?

  (George O.)

It has been some time since I have gone so long without writing a post. It has felt strange, as if I am shirking a responsibility, or as if I am sacrificing something. Odd, that feeling.

The whirlwind of the first half of the vacation is over and now there is a brief calm before the finale approaches. Tomorrow is my birthday. I am hoping to spend it sitting on a couch, watching political documentaries with an old friend. It is all I have any more, old friends. And Rhys.

Yesterday and today I again picked up Hitchens' book "Arguably" and made my way through another handful of essays. I know that this is a collection, written over several years, but the accomplishment is enormous. His positions always seem unique. His justifications arrive at unexpected yet effective angles. He is apparently well-read and his ability to intersperse seemingly detailed or little know facts of history (at least to me) is perpetually amusing, granting much unique insight and perspective.

I suppose that a good journalist forms habits early in life that prove to be beneficial: outlining entire books for later reference, marking passages for future use, constantly organizing and arranging books in order of usefulness or purpose (whether physically or mentally), memorizing not just words but the meanings of entire works, etc. Hitchens' ability to reference bits of data or passages of poetry is impressive. He must have been very interesting to listen to in person at times. Though many of the clips I've seen of him speaking are disappointing. His somewhat halting diction being distracting and occasionally difficult to follow, as can also be his writing occasionally . Perhaps he wrote so much that it began to deeply affect his speech, mentally working his way through too many semicolons and hyphens as he went.

I suppose that one should never compare their life to the lives of their "heroes." It is easy to render your own to seem somewhat dull and meaningless by that comparison. Also, there runs the danger of spilling over past admiration into a state in which you become less than critical. As I mentioned before Hitchens is fun to argue with. His support for the war in Iraq is both questionable and quizzical, even after reading his many reasons. Perhaps the argument becomes even more difficult after the examination. His alignment with certain neo-con values seems strange, especially when you consider his stance on so many other political issues. But his experiences are his and he maintains the right to diverge from previous positions, as any of us do. To change your opinions is not a retreat from character but instead can be an honest immersion into it. Sometimes it is useful only as practice against the dangers of ideology.

I suppose what I like the most about his essays are how principled his arguments are. They seem to make very few assumptions about his readers' sensibilities, which is refreshing after reading so much of the heavily leaning left/right editorializing that passes for journalism in the last 20 years or more. You get the feeling that he is beginning the conversation anew with each passing essay, very little is left to assumption.

Ok, enough about Hitchens. Again, I encourage anybody to read him. If there is another journalist out there that resembles Hitchens in scope, depth and with the overall pleasure to read then I await that discovery.

As a counterpoint, I watched Dinesh D'Souza's "2016" "documentary" last night. I'm mostly amazed that he ever actually held a position at any university. It was some of the flimsiest "scholarship" I have ever seen. As an inquiry it barely made it past its own adolescence, if at all. My biggest shock was that D'Souza actually resigned his position at The King's College rather than being fired from it. He introduced no new information about Obama and he arranged the previously agreed upon information as if it was all part of a meticulous one-man lifelong conspiracy to keep the viewer uninformed. I suppose that very well might have been the case, considering the success of the film, and its apparent popularity with a certain political demographic. But he used the informational tactic of conspiracy building, creating imaginary connections that all seemed to lead toward future apocalypse.

Obama knew people when he was in college...!!!

I suppose if Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh can be considered "prominent voices in American politics" then there's no reason to keep D'Souza out of that league. They all seem to understand their audience in ways that never fail to shock and amuse. At several points during the film D'Souza asks how we can have a president that we "know so little about" but then reads passages from one of his two published books, "Dreams From My Father" throughout the entire film, as if he's chasing Sasquatch and all he has to go on is a widely published map to his cave. Absurd. That he simultaneously maintains we "know nothing" of the President and then uses one of his books to attempt to discover and dismantle him, all during his presumed "search" is a fact that might have gotten lost on the many theater-going viewers. I mean, he had only served two terms as a Senator... He's practically an immigrant, like me, says Dinesh...

I dunno, it all just seems so plausible....


I felt as if at any moment D'Souza's narration of the film was going to lapse into "Oh, don't go behind that door... You don't want to know what's back there..."

It must have been riveting to experience in the theater, after a big fancy dinner at Applebee's....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

'Till the train it run out of track....

And so we go, a family on first journey.

No time to write, visiting friends in Florida.

Will tell whatever tales are remembered, when back.

Film makes me want to give up on digital cameras for good. 

The cost are enormous. But what else is there in life?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The impending liberty apocalypse

I wasn't able to watch the full debate last night. It was late, I was tired. I had my first professional photo gig, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. The pay wasn't great, but the exposure was good.  I tried to make people look better than they actually do, soft bounced flash and a fast portrait lens for low light. We'll see. The person who hired me for the job seemed very pleased. The images came out both warm and soft, flattering. I'll be doing weddings and bar-mitzvahs in no time.  

Tomorrow we leave for Florida. We have to depart the house at an ungodly hour, meaning we'll need to get everything packed tonight. I won't be bringing my bigger camera with me, just a little point-and-shoot. Had I already bought the camera I really want then all of my troubles would be solved....

That camera might depend on whether or not I get this job today. It's a third interview so things must be going well. The waiting process has been abysmal. I torture myself with uncertainties. Also, I am not very good at the interview process. I make the big mistake of putting all of my hopes into one opportunity. But I feel good today. I think the interview will go well. I'll go to the gym. That usually helps me feel more confident. I'll get on the treadmill, the one facing the mirror and keep chanting to myself, "You get this job you fat fucker."

No, the voices in my head are much more pleasant than most people might expect. I learned that on my silent hike on Monday. It is the way to be happy, to repeat happy things to yourself. I let all of my poison out so that there is only a clear blue summer lake in my mind, virgins frolicking on the shores, sunbathing happily, awaiting my arrival, eager to slather me in suntan lotion, etc. That sort of stuff.

No, my conception of paradise is not filled with virgins or sexual pleasure. I'm not even sure if I have an image of paradise in my mind. Nothing comes to mind, nothing at all. 

Speaking of Hell:

So, I read about a new app that allows an Android or iPhone user to record a conversation you're having with a police office and the audio stream gets sent straight to the NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union) live. I thought that this sounded fantastic, and much needed, considering the egregious violations of the law that regularly go on in NYC. Then, I read further and found out that the police are prosecuting anybody that uses the app because, now get this, in 2010 an act was signed into law that made it illegal to record your interactions with a police officer. It's considered "eavesdropping" now. So, if you're all alone and your rights are being violated they would prefer if you just told your side of the story to the judge the next morning, or on Monday, whenever court is back in session. 

I know Obama's the clear "liberal's choice" but I just keep getting shocked at some of the laws that he has signed into place. He took an oath to protect The Constitution. At what point does he go on trial for being a traitor? I'm certainly not for Romney, and I think it's very telling that these issues are conspicuously absent from the public conversation, but I just can't believe that so many people seem focused on the wrong things. The "left" were enraged when Bush was signing things like The Patriot Act into existence and now they're all just ignoring things like this, and the NDAA

Maybe I should buy a gun instead of the new camera, while I still can. Soon it might be illegal to use a camera in public, at least whenever the police are around and feeling a little frisky.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pour s'envoler...

I took a pre-dawn walk this morning. Jupiter was alone in the eastern sky. 

Yesterday, we went for a hike to the same mountain range that we had last week, Sugarloaf. This time we took different trails, though we never quite made it to the summit. There had been a mountain lion sighting the week before and this week we saw tracks that had to have been from same. The print was much too large to be anything else. It had the tell-tale "paw" shape, with 3 lobes and 4 toes with claws, rather than the smaller distinctive two-toed ungulate hoof print of a deer. Seeing a large paw print is not the same as seeing the actual creature in the wild, but it gives you an impression of what a powerful creature it is, one not to be trifled with. 

I, of course, engaged in all sorts of silent fantasies involving encountering this stealthy, dangerous beast. Each fantasy naturally fell into two categories, ones in which I survived and then all the others. I told myself all of the things that I would do if I encountered one: not running, standing tall, talking loudly, raising my arms if it approached to make myself seem larger, looking for a stick or a rock that it could be fought off with, if needed. Most of the fantasies involved me bleeding to death shortly after the attack, often from the throat, watching the enormous feline turn one of my extremities into a meal as I drifted into the euphoric darkness that comes with massive loss of blood. In reality the animal would, of course, kill me first so that I likely wouldn't have the experience of it gnawing on the meat surrounding my femur. But in the fantasy world of sudden animal attack anything is permissible. 

One of my fantasies even included outrunning the imaginary cougar, to give you an idea of how absurd my mind can become when left to itself in silence. Speaking of, I wasn't able to keep my oath of silence for very long. My relationship had a handful of verbal needs yesterday and then again this morning. The entire hike was done in silence, however. It gave me an opportunity to listen to my inner-voice, to assess its overall well-being. I think I'm doing alright, though struggling through some tumultuous times. 

I got an email late yesterday wanting to know if I would be able to come in for a third interview for the job that I really want. So, that is some very good news. Now, I only need to ace an interview - not say any of the wrong things, focus on my strengths, make sure I don't get too comfortable, conceal my actual personality, etc.  It would be an absolutely fantastic thing to land a job the day before we leave for vacation. I could use a vacation, oddly. Everybody needs to get away, from this time to that time to other times. To other places. 

Autres temps. Pour s'envoler.


Monday, October 15, 2012


For Oktoberfest this year I think I'm going to take an oath of silence. It is the only thing that makes sense to me any more, quietness. I have grown tired of trying to talk. Silence feels right.

Don't worry, it's nothing religious. It's not even for self-improvement. 

It just is, or isn't. 

Perhaps there will be benefits to it that I can not even imagine. Who knows, maybe my senses will sharpen. Does an oath of silence also include writing?  I wonder. I don't know very much about these things. Though it does not seem that there could be very much to know. All of a sudden one just ceases using their mouth to communicate. They say that most communication is non-verbal anyway. 

I will dwell in the vocally inexpressible.

I will read more, I guess. But perhaps that is counter-productive. If there is something to be gained from silence then filling my head with unspoken words might not be the way to get there. If I get to a point in which I must communicate something then I will have to write it out. I hope this doesn't confuse little Rhys. I think he's grown used to me talking to him. Well, he's young, he'll adapt, I hope. Perhaps I should permit myself to talk briefly, perfunctorily, when needed. How will I otherwise achieve basic things that are needed to be done?

Will I bring a notepad with me everywhere I go? I suppose I'll have to.

Maybe I will refrain from Facebook during this time also. Is that not just another way of talking, and a poor one at that? But then also, isn't this blog just me talking to myself? But I would be doing that likewise when silent, so why not here?

Well, I'll figure it out and see how things go. 

Enough words about silence. 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cupcake is under video surveillance

Sunday morning. 

Yesterday, the headaches ceased for the first day in over two weeks. No sooner had I mentioned this to Rachel that a pain suddenly appeared in the back of my head, only to disappear just as quickly. I wondered if this recurring torment could be entirely psychosomatic. It doesn't seem possible, but there it is. What else would explain the existence of a two minute gripping headache, one that emerges at the mere mention of it. 

It is magic.

This is good news for me , of course. Now I won't have to go see a doctor. An act which was beginning to be the last option left on the table as we reduced the list of causes by isolation, experimentation and observation. Stress was beginning to appear as the only possible cause for the pain. It had an appropriately nebulous nature such that it was nearly impossible to rule it out as a source. 

But I didn't feel very stressed.

Enough about my headaches. For now, I think they're gone. 

Pray for me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope.

"Pi" was one of the few films that featured headaches as a subject. We need more headache movies. It is a greatly unexplored theme. Well, I suppose you could also count the newer Star Wars episodes. They were like a series of migraines, suffered in the dark. What a string of obnoxious turds those were. They were probably the most anticipated, and yet least loved, films of all time. It felt like you were watching a market focus study. I wish there was a way of congregating all of the fans of those films and enslaving them to work for the good of the remainder of mankind. Certainly there must be a few tasks that they would be good at. 

Did I just advocate slavery? I guess I did. If it's good enough for the 10th commandment then it's good enough for me. I just pray that nobody is out there "coveting my maidservant"...

Ok, where am I going with this? Slavery is only cool within the context of a loving sadomasochistic relationship, or one that occurs between a few loosely connected anonymous consenting adults. 

Zees one needs more of ze punishment....

I haven't been able to find a decent leather shop since we moved to the west coast. 

No, that can't be true. It doesn't pass the plausibility test. 

I haven't been able to find a decent heterosexual leather shop since we moved to the west coast.

There, that's better.

I just offered to give Raquel a leather-bound spanking, she took a raincheck. Or, a fog-check. Or, whatever. She seems busy. Sunday mornings can sometimes be an oddly industrious time around here. I personally believe that it's the best time to eat bacon, lots of it. Even cold bacon tastes good. I'm willing to bet that frozen bacon is probably not bad either. What other meat can you eat frozen?

I mean, when not starved nearly to death. 


Why are there no famous women with that last name, Bacon? I can think of none. The surname must be somewhat limiting. If we have a daughter maybe we'll name her Elga Bacon Cusick, so her nickname could just be Eggs N' Bacon. A certain recipe for success. 

What in the holy vatican fucktubes am I babbling about this morning....

Let me try again tomorrow. 

I'm squirming like a giraffe in a guillotine over here. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Dumb and Deadly

I suspect there are a group of white supremacists at the gym. They are all young, with heads shaved, cryptic tattoos, white, etc. There is the telling stance they assume towards one another when working out, as if they are already in a prison-yard, expecting trouble, inviting it. Now sure, these "kids" could just be enthusiastic about the supremacist look, without actually buying into all the nonsense, but I doubt it. They seem chock-full of a very tense, imbecilic anger. They are waiting to explode on somebody, to give outlet to the pent up rage and presumed force that they are accumulating. 

Their stance towards each another is one thing, but their stance towards all others is quite another. They make it difficult for most to walk through their group, one must walk around. Though they let me pass through without effort, even occasionally nodding in recognition. But the hispanic kids almost always walk around. Yet there is nothing outwardly hateful, or noticeable, about them. I can feel it. I recognize the enforced pattern around them, an almost unconscious acknowledgement. 

In Florida there were many white supremacists, always clustered together in their little hateful groups. I would be going to local punk rock shows and they would occasionally, if not invariably, arrive to ruin everybody's night. They had a style of "dancing" that included marching in circles, punching anybody in the head that got near them. They would swarm, circling in the center of the dance floor like slow-moving and uneducated sharks, daring anybody to breach "their" space. It was just as dangerous to be near the outside of their circle as it was to be within it. Their movements were forced and rehearsed, always threatening. The more nimble-minded of the punk rock crowd avoided them and just wished for them to go away. Most shows would end up coming to a halt when they arrived, the band afraid of their instruments getting destroyed, packing up to leave. Their set would be over. 

Very few, or none at all, ever stood up to them. They were loosely organized in their overtly aggressive stance. We were just a bunch of kids that liked music. The punk rock posture was about resisting authority, as one of its few assumed premises, but it was not about getting hospitalized just to let it be known that you were against them, or what they "stood" and "marched" for.

Once, directly in front of a police station, I was beaten senseless by a group of them. It was fast and merciless. Fun for them, I guess. I was walking with two other friends. I was slightly ahead. They were all sitting on a bench near the sidewalk, with others variously arranged, mostly blocking the sidewalk around the bench. I hadn't realized that my friends opted to walk around the group. I attempted to make it through the center, on the sidewalk. I knew something was wrong right away because they all stood up and faced me. I was surrounded very quickly, though I didn't bother looking back. It is an unmistakable feeling. I had still thought that my friends were with me, though that would have changed nothing. 

One of them jumped in front of me with his finger deep in his nostril and asked me something inane and vaguely threatening about what he was going to do with his booger. I pushed his elbow up towards his skull from underneath. The rest happened very suddenly. There were two or three successive punches to the head. I was on the ground getting stomped. Industrial work boots, Doc Martens, connecting with my ribs, head, groin, and face in a bursting flurry of blows. It lasted 20 seconds, maybe, probably less. Then, it was over. There was only the sound of them running off, barely even screaming about it.

No police ever came out of the station, to my memory. It was only about 30 feet away. I might have been out of their jurisdiction. Who knows. An ambulance arrived. There was blood everywhere. I thought that my eye had come out of the socket, such was the sensation of sudden swelling, a blinding and bloody pain. I was pretty sure that at least a few of my ribs were cracked. I felt like raw bones were poking out of me everywhere. One of them had stomped directly down on my femur. I couldn't stand up, the leg had become so weak. I held myself up on my elbows as best as I could, blood dripping from my face to the sidewalk. I thought I was going to throw up, so overwhelming was the disorienting sensation of getting my ass so thoroughly kicked. The dizziness of pain and my body flooding with endorphins produced an almost sickening euphoria. 

I recovered. It didn't take as long as I had thought that it would. The day after I had believed that surely it would take months. It only took about two weeks, for the most part. I can't say that I had a newfound respect for them, but I did have a thing that was much closer to fear. I was not nearly as willing to engage them, on any terms, ever again. 

I was doing sound for a friend of mine's band and a different group of them showed up. One helpful skinhead poured a beer on my mixing desk and that was the end of that. It never recovered. I spent what little remaining money I had on another one. 

Several months later I was a backseat passenger in an old beat up car, fish-tailing down a dirt road, laughing and getting high with my friends. We had all recently dropped out of high school, most of us had, I think. We were screaming, drinking beer, listening to Generation X's "Kiss Me Deadly" album, though it was years old by then; always right on the verge of getting into some type of temporary trouble. I'm not sure if it was the pot, or the feeling of being trapped in the backseat, or the music, or the recent beating I had received... but it suddenly dawned on me that all my current friends were losers. They were just a few IQ points shy of embracing some twisted racist ideology themselves. They were all spuds. 

What the fuck was I doing there, I wondered with sudden terror. 

They would all be smoking speed within a few short years, though I didn't know that at the time. I probably might have guessed as much if pressed to do so. I would have been happy to smoke speed right along with them, probably. Such was my enthusiasm to live my life only as if it were being written about.

Things change.

I found the increased sense of awkwardly put forth, and even less thought-out, defining principles of the failing punk rock scene to be somehow inadequate.  It's too bad. There was an energy and excitement to the music that was somehow lost in the late 80's. It all just fell apart, not even into pieces. It was as if it all exploded but without any falling shrapnel. It just vanished, for me. Eventually, enough of us came to the conclusion that puking in a garbage can and hating cops was a deeply insufficient stance. Things sure do change. 


Friday, October 12, 2012

Power, Corruption and a Strong Right Hook

Joy Division and New Order all day yesterday. An old friend from Orlando asked me to bring their entire catalog to Florida with me - to listen to, to enjoy. I've given myself a head-start. 

Their recording history is patchy, with highs and lows mixed together generously. But the highs are really something. Some of the tracks on these albums are synonymous with ecstasy. The lows are quite a different thing. Few other bands are as "of a time" as they. Many tracks still have the ability to transport. When listening, it is impossible not to note the debt that so many electronic bands today still owe them. A truism if ever there was one.

Though I am suspicious of younger people who claim New Order's pervasive influence over their lives. I suppose I become slightly more protective of the past the further it gets from me. It is the wrong way to feel, but it is still a feeling. I suppose "protective" is not the right word. "Dismissive" is closer. It is not the way to be though, truly. It is best to just let people be happy, especially if they are not.

Very few of my current friends and I actually enjoyed New Order together. We are of a similar age so it is just an assumed collective experience. So, why not do the same with others, those younger than us? A person's age shouldn't matter so much, right? I love many bands that were before my time, with no less passion than their contemporaries, sometimes much more. Sometimes my enthusiasm bubbles over into fanaticism. Well, it used to. 

I would list a few examples but they should be obvious: any great band that I've ever cornered somebody to proselytize to them about, whose heyday was pre-1980. That would put them beyond my years, but still within my grasp to obsess over. It is easier to obsess about something that is just out of reach. It is practically a requirement. The albums that surrounded and almost insulated my youth but that I was not a part of in time. Not in the way that I would have chosen to be, anyway. Messages that were perhaps beyond my years and my ability to understand, albums that grew up for me.


Okay, I've tried to write a post today but a friend has been haranguing me through text messages and now I can't write any more. He's been excreting glandular discharges onto his phone all morning about some video in which a Cleveland bus driver punches out a female passenger, then tries to throw her off of the bus. I've tried to convince him that, over time, that sort of thing lessens your capacity to feel, it diminishes your empathetic response, increases cyclical distance between you and all others. 

But he's more interested in arguing with me about whether or not he thinks video-games are "bad" or "good" for society. By now he's probably worked himself up into an orgiastic slather watching domestic violence clips. Who knows.

I give up. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

"I just learned this word..."

Flexiril makes me feel strange, not always in a good way. I've been getting crushing headaches for two weeks, usually in the afternoon of each day. When I say "crushing," I truly mean it. It is as if there is a vice grip on the back of my head. I can hardly keep my eyes open. If I try to suddenly stand up after being reclined or seated then the pain is trebled. Movement will not only make the pain grow, but also roam. It is like an army of marching misery. It moves forward into my eye sockets and pulses its misfortune there for a while, causing me to squint and stagger. I walk without purpose, as if I have been wandering the halls of a hospital for decades. 

Oddly, four Advil will usually keep it manageable, the pain. Highly effective, that stuff. Who would have guessed?

I've gone through all the things that it might be: caffeine withdrawal, stress, improper sleep, pinched nerve, too much wine/beer, reading from the computer screen too much, wearing my glasses when looking at things that are too close, using too many pillows, furious masturbatory practices (actually recommended for migraines, though this does not appear to be that - no amount of change in frequency seems to affect it),  stress... have I already said that?

Flexiril is a muscle relaxer. I have only ever taken half of one before, usually the smaller half of the pill when I split it. Then, as needed, I will often split the larger half in two also, generating 1/4's or smaller. It is, to me, a very strong drug, with a lengthy half-life. It is not one that I could easily envision having many recreational purposes. Though it is my understanding that it was something like it that killed Jimi Hendrix. If it can take down a 27 year old, then one can only imagine what it can do to a man almost three times that age, when one considers adult life starting at 18, etc...

I saw something recently. It was advice on what grammatical devices (or mistakes) to avoid. I was guilty of most of them, of course. I write as if for a comic strip, apparently. Since this list discouraged the use of "etc." I have decided to use etc. with the accompanying ellipsis, to help further emphasize the "and so on" nature of my point, etc...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All is lost

All is not lost. 

I've decided that I do believe in god, though he does not have a name. I will never discuss his nature nor impose him on others. I'm not even sure if he is a he... though I am equally certain that he is not a she. I do not have a personal relationship with him and am confident that I never will. I know deep in my heart that he does not exist. 

I promise to worship him blindly and from a great distance only after death, where we can finally be alone.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The "Best Cheeseburger in Sonoma"

(towards SF, the bay)

Yesterday. An unexpected hike. The trail offered about an 1100 foot altitude differential. It had been a very long time.

It was up to the dividing line between the Sonoma and Napa counties, in the Mayacamas, to the summit of Bald Mountain. From that spot nearly every significant wine-country peak and valley could be viewed. On a clear day there are views all the way to the Pacific, San Francisco, and elsewhere north.

I forgot to bring my polarizing filter so the pictures I got were quite common, with lots of hazy light preventing the images from being more interesting, more detailed, with sharper contrasts. An image can not convey the view anyway. It is just something to show.

The winds at the summit were beginning to shift towards winter. From here the earth did not seem to be tilting on an axis at all. I suppose that it never does. Seem to be, that is. Only through the seasons do we sense it directly. A sense derived mostly from knowledge, memory first. There is the quarterly recognition of effect: the seasons. Then the imaginary sensation of the tilted orb moving through space and around the sun finally forms. 

Perhaps it is all imaginary; the sometimes tenuous relationship between sensations, knowledge, memory, and their culmination in the emotions. We tell ourselves what we wish to believe, then we feel our way around our beliefs, wondering at their persistence. Over and over and over again.

On the drive up the valley, towards the trailhead, the beginnings of the seasonal change could be seen. Bits of yellowing trees peppered amongst the green. The occasional tree that has already shifted to red, beginning its yearly lean away from the sun.

When we reached the car my legs were a little bit stiff, having resisted the descent with fatigued legs, stiff knees. A half of a cheeseburger and a single beer later and I already was feeling better. We sat at the Jack London Bar in Glen Ellen. It was advertised as the"Best Cheeseburger in Sonoma," and it probably was. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Them, the people

No sleep last night. Well, none that was deep or consistent enough to matter. Four hours of tossing and turning. Rachel went into the baby's room. She couldn't take it any more. I "watched" tv... my head buried in the pillows hoping that the sound of the television would drift off at some point and I would awake much later to find that the sun had already been up for hours.

That's not what happened. I am sitting here. The sun still hasn't broke the horizon line. 

Life seems possible with more sleep. It is almost a paradox of sorts. Sleeplessness reduces many of life's other pleasures. At some point it reduces all of them to ashes that refuse to disperse. I will try to get some more sleep after Rachel goes to work and the last of the weekend guests leaves for the airport.

Old friends are fun. The various things they remember. They were relaying very different stories of my childhood from the ones that I have chosen to remember and believe in. The stories that have been bolstered and modified by repetition in telling. It is interesting to come face to face with others' memories. It is similar to seeing yourself through the mirror of childhood, rather than just the scripted memories that you have learned along the way. It is refreshing, and was at times even shocking. 

Charles told me that I seemed devastated at the death of heavy metal guitarist Randy Rhodes. How could such a thing be possible, I wondered. I don't remember knowing anything about him, much less caring about his life or death. But the story was elaborate and filled with details that could not have been the invention of time. So, there you have it. I was an Ozzy Osbourne fan at some forgotten point in childhood. I never would have guessed that. Well, I might have guessed it, but it wouldn't have been my first guess, etc.

Apparently I was a rather strict adherent to Ronald Reagan's trickle-down economics also, daily espousing its virtues for the long bus ride into school. 

No, the last part's a joke. What right-minded heavy metal fan would have ever believed such nonsense...

I am in a duel to the death on Facebook again. I am currently trying to out-smug an amateur historian. He has adopted the very narrow reading of The Constitution that is currently in vogue amongst his kind, the newly-right. I have promised to respond to him more fully today. A response of mine from Friday was muddled from the apparent tug of wine. The thread has almost reduced itself to entirely ad hominem argument but it still seems like it might have enough life in it to make it worthwhile, though perhaps only he and I would agree with that. Perhaps even one less than that.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

In its defense....

(2004 Pegau)

Old friends are in town. I mean, really old... I've known each of them for 30-35 years; Mike and Charles, respectively. 

Last night we went to dinner and they were reminding me of various episodes from our shared past. My memory is fading. My friend, Charles, says that it is perhaps from cholesterol. He is a radiologist and he filled my head with horrors, or at least told me of the horrors that have already found their way there, the enzyme cascade that allows cholesterol to be produced, resulting in excess plaque accumulation, a blocking of the capillary end vessels. He relayed to us stories of MRI images of the mind, explaining that the damage that is done is visibly recognizable. He said that this same effect results in a weakening of the functionality of the penis. It is why Viagra is both useful and popular. 

There are drugs that can help reduce cholesterol. I need to have blood-work done again. I am afraid of to. He says that diet and exercise can help.  I work-out but I have the culinary discipline of Caligula. This stuff scares me. I don't want to change my habits. My memories though, many of them, seem to be fading fast. Of the stories that my friends were relaying to me many of them were very vague, barely something that even qualifies as a memory. 

Alcohol. They say that it does not help with the retention of memories. But, in its defense, it does occasionally facilitate the creation of new ones. 

Temporary, as they may be.


Saturday, October 6, 2012


Not much to report today, guests in, lots of wine drinking last night and barbecuing. I'm beginning to suspect that I am not going to get the job that I had hoped for. Drawing their attention to this site might have had a markedly negative effect on my chances. Perhaps not everybody sees the humor in my humor. 

In any event, I had hope to have heard back from them by now. It has been a week since my interview.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Bottom Ring

I began to write yesterday but it was about a spider bite on my leg, with pictures. I couldn't post it. Then, I ran out of time. I watched the baby-boy all day yesterday. In the afternoon we went to the mall. It was useless and I bought nothing, of course. But it was a place to walk around and let time pass. I feel like a retiree, my knees hurt and I often fart unexpectedly, a surprise even to myself. Sound travels faster than messages through my own nervous system, so I am always genuinely startled by the event. The look of surprise eventually giving way to satisfaction. 

I sat in the food court and sipped a coffee while Rhys napped.

As the days pass I am beginning to wonder about the interview. There were answers to questions that simply were not good. One of them was bad, in fact. I keep replaying it in my head, wondering why I let myself get so comfortable, why I would let myself speak the truth.  Ooops. 

Oh well, it is a learned act, interviewing. One must always keep their defenses up, be prepared for anything. The thing that might have been my undoing was how comfortable and natural they all were. I let my defenses down. I don't think I started talking about drowning kittens in a pillowcase or anything, but I might have discussed the different ways ecstasy can be introduced into the body. I don't think I actually used the word "anus," though I might have picked a fond euphemism as a substitute. Though in all likelihood the image of me inserting my index finger gently into a barely closed fist, showing how best the insertion of powdered drugs into the bottom-hole works, might have been far more more memorable than the actual words I was speaking ever could have been.

Well, we'll see. It's only been one week. I don't think the phrase was anything quite as elaborate as "pooty-pucker" but the soft stare that I fixed on my interviewer as I was describing the process could have proved to be unsettling. I wanted to make sure that I had gained her trust before moving on with the explanation. It is an important and vital part of describing any sensitive process. 

"Now, once your index finger is in up past the second digit you must be prepared for anything. Do you understand what I mean by 'anything'?"


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wakefulness extinguishers

(evacuation instructions)

Up at 4am, again. I tried going back to sleep, but no hazy darkness arrived. I am envious of people who can sleep. I have had a headache for days. I can't think. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if I could read. But my mind wanders restlessly off the page. It is not the type wandering that produces the occasional unexpected merit, just the dull repeating of themes that I would otherwise wish to escape, even if not in sleep.

I read essay after essay, hardly remembering any of them. It is just something to occupy the time. Nothing lost, nothing gained. There is only the unrelenting shape of time. Last night I watched the moon  slowly move across my bedroom window.  I kept believing it to be some celestial event other than what it was. I imagined it being a very near supernova, knowing that anything that bright and that close would mean something terrible for all of us.

It reminded me of the observation made by - well, now I've forgotten the astrophysicist... But he was basically noting the arrogance of a species that has only been on the earth for 250,000 years or so, thinking themselves to be in charge, pillaging their assumed "dominion."  The sun's fuel supply will exhaust itself in another 6 billion years, long after the human race has completely disappeared from this planet, along with virtually all evidence that we were ever here in the first place. This simple yet stupefying fact never seems to reach any of us. 

All evidence of our current existence will be completely wiped out long before our sun even dies. Our entire history as a species has been embarrassingly short, thus far.  

The dinosaurs were here for 250 million years, some of them. To state it again, we have been here for approximately 250 thousand years. It is simple math, yet it never seems to induce any sense of restraint in the hordes of listeners. Even referring to them as listeners is perhaps a generosity they do not deserve, and have not yet earned. Dinosaurs, the laughable relics of extinction, were here 1000 times longer than we have been so far. 

They must have really known how to sleep.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012 least as happy as others

The days trudge by. I await the call that will change everything. I suppose I should continue applying for other jobs. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, don't count your chickens before they hatch, blah, blah, blah.... Following advice has never worked out very well for me, especially advice of that sort. 

I was briefly relaying the history of mine and Rachel's relationship to our dinner guests the other night: Our closest friends mostly advised us both to give it all up, to let it go. It was the story of a seemingly perpetually doomed affair. We just kept breaking up, then getting back together, only to break up again. It was hopeless.  All of my friends, and certainly all of hers, were so tired of hearing about our relationship problems that there was no reason to discuss any of it any more. Our love was damned by the fates. There was nothing that anybody could do to fix it, Rachel and I most of all. Our stars had crossed and re-crossed so many times, and so regularly, that we must have been orbiting a black hole. We were soon to be lost to the universe.  

I let her know that I could not have her in my life any longer. We had ceased talking to one another. It had been about 3-4 months since the last time we spoke, which I had solemnly sworn to myself would be the last time, ever.

Then one night I asked her to marry me.

We've been at least as happy as other couples ever since. Perhaps that is what they were all afraid of. 

But even so, I would never use our relationship as an example of how to love, or as a blueprint to "following your heart." It's much more of an anomaly than it is a repeatable lead of any kind.  If anything, it should function as a deterrent, when examined chronologically. The final result of a series of mistakes should never be seen as evidence in support of the many mistakes. I'm still amazed when I think back to some of the episodes we've endured, only to love one another once again. I would never have guessed that we'd be able to salvage our feelings for one another. The wreckage of our love was everywhere around us, everywhere within us, it was complete. And yet we somehow found our footing within it and moved on. The thought is both beautiful and terrifying, and probably permanent. 

Things are far from perfect. As with any relationship we have our grievances, some of which are not only recurring but also advancing on us. It can be a constant struggle. The hardest part of love is often in the present and the future.

The past is almost easy; fading, softened by time, like the memory of storms.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Toys in the Attic

Very little to report today. More guests in over the weekend. Guests coming in next weekend as well. The house is busy and full. Pleasant times, lots of cooking on the grille, the continued drinking of wines and beers.  

I wait to hear about the job. No amount of looking at my phone seems to make a call appear. I am already planning on how to spend some of the money. Rachel has caught me eyeing camera reviews (here , here , and here). Though I know there are other things we must take care of first. Everything is expensive. 

Sometimes saving money is the biggest expense of all. But I'm told that it must be done. I am a naif with such things. It just seems that the money that is being put away is precisely the money that could be buying a camera. It's like watching all of your toys being boxed up on Christmas morning and put away in the attic, to help prepare for "tougher times." It makes no sense.

Still, the mind starts to imagine, to want. The future seems different: a place where more things are possible. Who knows, maybe one day we will have an attic filled with boxed up Christmas's just waiting to happen...