Friday, November 30, 2012

darting in fiscal prayer

The rain continues. The colors changed late this year, some still struggling to break through. The summer lasted longer than the year before, by weeks. The winter did not bring on its force, still hasn't. It's unfortunate. The valley is pleasant when lit from within. 

A friend departs for India soon. A spiritual quest. An internal and external retreat. The searching. I want to go. I want to search again for something new. I have been eyeing my newly unpacked books, remembering the vague feeling of youthfulness, of wondering without perpetual doubt. It will pass, of course. It always does. I'll toss out the dusty gods and spirits, re-read "Letters to a Young Poet."

Rilke is about as spiritual as I ever get any more. All else is nonsense, and much of Rilke is as well. 

I gave away many of my Lorca books, so that they couldn't haunt me. A friend was learning Spanish. That was my contribution. I miss the Gypsy Ballads. Romancero gitano

Poetry is a silly thing. Here is a short one I had written and forgot. I found it in my pocket. In a way, it is about the woman at the bar. I saw her again yesterday. She must have forgotten about Vegas for the time being. Before I had even finished the verse it had become about something else, the mumbling of the religious.

Her hands were raised roof-wise,
fingers did the wild calculating
eyes darting in fiscal prayer
lips, espousing the imaginary profits.

Do you see what a silly thing it is? Less, even than a sketch.

I used to bring a small notebook with me and would attempt to describe people that I would see in public, like a sketch-artist. I would try to capture their "essence" quickly, without them noticing. Very little action, no expository, just description. 

I found one of the notebooks a few years ago (several had been lost) and flipped through. The characters were unfamiliar to me. The erratic words informed by beer, or more. Written as if I was stumbling, with a borrowed pen; imaginary prophet indeed. The descriptions were forced, many of them, trying to be something more than mere lines. Too complex to capture. Like the shape of a child's hand, holding nothing.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

"... what to do with the night."

"That was the only decision there was once upon a time: what to do with the night." - Harry Crews, A Feast of Snakes

Reading some Harry Crews this morning. It fills the head with odd, gritty visions. I used to sneak into his classes when he taught at the University of Florida. Well, I did so a few times. Once, it was the day after his dog had died. A dog that he had had for many years. He was clearly distraught. He came in noticeably drunk and announced that he had been eating pain killers all night - trying to deaden the pain of loss - and that he was not going to teach anything at all that day. 

Instead, he told stories of his dog, mostly. I wish I could remember the dog's name... He relayed how the only hotel chain in America that remained pet-friendly was Howard Johnson's. So, he insisted on being booked exclusively in those hotels when he traveled. Though he would occasionally demand that a high-end hotel accommodate him with the dog. He claimed that the dog had traveled the world with him. Though all of his stories were of America. The claim of a world traveling dog was more appealing. It was an image that remained. 

As the class continued his stories drifted from being exclusively about the dog to various other things.  

"That's the thing about pornography: You watch it for five minutes, it makes you want to fuck. You watch it for another five minutes, you never want to fuck again..."

He let the class ponder this truth for a few seconds.

"I beg to differ."

"Are you in this class?"

"No sir, I'm just sitting in." I said.

"Okay, good."

It was the only time I ever spoke with the writer, though I went to hear him speak once when he came to Orlando and had hoped to talk with him again there. But he was surrounded afterwards. It was too much effort to try and break through. I had nothing in particular to say anyway, other than that I am a fan and enjoy his work. A thing that he needn't hear any more of, I suppose. He had shaved his head into a mohawk and had colored the hair in a bright red and yellow, if I remember correctly. I question my memory now most of all.

A friend there that night told me that writers often do what they can to avoid imitating themselves. Sometimes this requires what appears to be extreme acts. They must always try to step outside of themselves, to give themselves fresh perspective on the world. It made sense, and yet another seemingly simple lesson was learned. I had thought that maybe he only lost a bet, or was trying too hard. 

I've tested his theories on pornography here and there and found them to be only partially true. Try it for yourselves, and see. It takes about ten minutes.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I wonder why Yoko Ono never got remarried

(Michael Schmidt)

I get to work from home today. A storm has moved in and everybody agreed that it would be best for me to stay in Sonoma. My supervisor and I agreed, that is. The "everybody" that matters. The drive is too long and difficult in the rain. Hurrah!

That is all that I have to report.

Being a parent is a lot like being retarded. Your afternoon plans consist of looking at ducks, maybe eating an apple. 

Ah, that reminds me... There is a little bar here, near where we live. It pretends to be a pub, but it is just a local bar, serving mostly beer and a few wines. They keep a good rotating selection of beers on their 32 taps and it is not unpleasant in the afternoon to stop and have a beer or two. Once the evening comes it becomes less agreeable for me and more like a sports bar. The music gets louder and aggressive and the patrons are greatly reduced in variety and age, though not in any magical sense, they are merely replaced by a younger crowd. An obnoxious crowd. But, in the daytime it can be pleasant. There are several locals that I have come to know and enjoy chatting with, farmers and local artists. All sorts of oddballs and human curiosities.  

However, there is one patron that I generally try to avoid. Ann. She is one of the local drunks, eccentric in all of her behavior and speech. It is tiring to sit near, or far from, her. She doesn't need your response for her to engage in conversation with you. She will simply repeat whatever is on her mind. Then, after emphatically offering her lone side of the conversation for a while she will then launch into an imaginary response of yours. It would be entertaining if it weren't an indication of early dementia. Though, to her credit, if it is dementia, it is one of the more joyous versions of it I've ever seen. 

The day before yesterday she kept telling the right side of my face that she is moving to Las Vegas. After she seemed certain that I had grasped that detail she went on to explain her reasoning: It is the entertainment capital of the world, where else could possibly be better? She asked the air surrounding my head, looking for answers.

She went on to disclose that she is 69 years old and she wants to die in a place that makes her happy. Why not? She demanded from my profile. She wanted to know: Why shouldn't I?

My silence must have seemed complicit. She announced that she was moving tomorrow, which would have been yesterday. I stopped by yesterday and had two beers, but did not see, or hear, her. Perhaps she is already living the hi-life, being entertained in the way that pleases her most, in the place that was made for it.

Shortly after announcing her Vegas itinerary to me she lapsed into a sort of private revelry involving a newspaper, a pen, and a series of figures created by her using both items. It seemed to me to be a sort of personal proclamation of sorts. She was gesticulating and emphasizing what to her must have seemed like very lucid points, one building upon another. Had I not been able to see from my periphery what she was doodling I might have guessed that she was wrestling with a soon to be great poem. Expressions seemed to be flowing from her in an inspired and dizzying crescendo, all orchestrated from a choir of inner voices.

Instead, when I glanced over to get a better look, at a moment when she was distracted by something other than my complete lack of attention, the newspaper was riddled with figures and structures that stemmed from no known alphabet. It was just a series of what seemed to be quasi-alpha-numeric calculations. Loops and lines all departing, then converging again. An imaginary language, forced on top of the newsprint. Insisting upon its supremacy, vitality and meaning.

These are the sort of people you might find there on any given afternoon. All oddball and human curiosity, some now deeply involved in scripting the arbitrary schematics of their escape.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You've Got A Fiend

(future decapod devourer)

Crab season. Late yesterday, on the drive home, we got an invitation for us all to go to dinner at our friends' house. I awoke this morning, still thinking of them. Delicious and buttery and tender. The white wine perfectly cleansing, assisting the tender white meat on its way. I will seek them out again in my free time. Somewhere, right now, there is a crab at the bottom of San Pablo Bay that will enter the food chain in a more dramatic way than it has currently, at my request, my insistence... my pleasure.

Seafood is the one type of food that I had thought that we would be able to find in abundance here on the west coast, so close to the Pacific.  I was very wrong. In Sonoma there are only a few places to get any of it; a small handful, like a carny's hand. It is quite disappointing. In the coming Mayan world's-end apocalypse I had envisioned myself as a sea bound Kevin Costner/Dennis Hopper-ish aquatic renegade. A sort of Mad Maquarium, able to swim in full leather, etc.

I have whined about the lack of seafood here before. There is no point in whining about it again. Doing so has not yielded me any more seafood than before. Unless... my previous whining about it is what now brought us this seafound bounty.  Something to think about....

For that, like little Rhys below, I am quite thankful.

(friend to Indians everywhere)

This site has become little more than my dinner and commute updates. It is the price I pay for working, I guess. I miss writing here. The only new pictures I have, or take any more, are pictures of Rhys about to touch the lens of my camera. Don't get me wrong. I love the little guy and could look at him all day. But I had hoped this site would be slightly more diverse than just the Cusick-family photo-album, with captions - the occasional food and travel update tossed in.

The other day I was listening to James Taylor. Don't ask why. I don't have an answer. It was infuriating to me also, trust me. But he was so bad (at one point he was doing a cover of "Oh, Susanna", etc.) that I began thinking of names for series of albums that he could do. I was searching for the right balance between his dopey but sincere schlock and that seventies saccharine sappiness that he just nailed time after time. Then it dawned on me... The James Taylor Canyon Companion Series.

I don't know why, but that phrase made me giggle for about an hour. That's what my life has become, making fun of dead people.  Well, he might not be dead yet, but it's part of my Christmas Listening Wish List.

I mean, "Fire and Rain"... isn't that just wet ash? That's what his music reminds me of, a cigarette that fell in the pool. It's just endless empty longing. And worse, I think the song's about Jesus. I mean, really, Jesus Christ... 

(on the verge of being sincere...)


Monday, November 26, 2012

Double-Shot Expresso, to go

Well, no time to write today. I am already at work. I woke up too late to eat, barely time to shower. I rushed into the city, missing the early opportunity to legally use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane. My body craves caffeine. My computer is running unusually slow. Maybe it's me.

I'll be right back.

I've just eaten some sort of breakfast bar and had a Starbuck's Double-Shot expresso. The breakfast bar seemed like it was made out of a barely congealed set of complex sugars. That should provide my body with enough energy to keep it from completely giving up. I like to shock my body into diabetic threat in the mornings, to remind myself that I'm still alive.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

This hound of hell

Unpacking all of these old cardboard boxes - some of them untouched since I left Florida - has made me feel like a really poor vampire. They are filled with a form of Floridian soil. The pages of all of my books yellowing with years, as the skin of the aged, nearly lifeless. The unread. One of these boxes probably has me stuffed into it, sleeping on the long journey from boredom to retirement. Vampire I, just waiting to bust out of the cardboard one day, fighting my way through the shipping tape, to attack a virgin unaware. Thirsty for the rejuvenating blood of the innocent. The delicious flesh of the untainted... 

I normally don't discuss my wife's menstrual cycle here, as some of you have probably noticed. There are a moonful of reasons, but none of them so apparent as the disapproving look in her eyes right now. But she had a monstrous upswing in her cycle yesterday. Truly, it was gargantua estrus. I understand that this cycle determines, or at least indicates, phases of reproduction and fertilization in sexually active and fertile women, but why must it render its victim so devoid of sexual feelings.  Me, that is. I am the victim here. Vampire I.

We misfired messages back and forth at one another all day yesterday. All communication was lost. What we thought would be just a relaxed day around the house turned into an experiment in unrehearsed relationshiping. 

Then it dawned on me... Wait a second... When is your period?

Ha! I knew it. 

There was an unseen oddness somewhere. The vampiric taste for blood rising within me, the scent of delicious life-giving vitality suddenly detectable in the winds. Only by recognizing what it was that had been pulled in by the moons did I recover a sense of normalcy. I was prepared for this. I had been practicing my entire adult life. The she-beast was another matter. They are quite dangerous in this state, prone to unexpected savagery.

Stay out of her way, I told myself. Don't find any reason to disagree with her. 

Well, that is how it happens in theory. The reality of it was that I decided to discuss her behavior with her. We all know how that went.

Here is how one online source tenderly describes the event: "In some cases, hormones released during the menstrual cycle can cause behavioral changes in females; mild to severe mood swings can occur." 

When I first typed that sentence out I left the e off of the end of severe.

Severed mood swings can occur. 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

6 fps

My life is too crowded - too many books, too many records, too many cd's. It all accumulates harmlessly enough, until it becomes constrictive. It begins to eat up the space that I would otherwise be living in. It's easy to forget how much stuff there is, how easily it suffocates. The cd's have been boxed up for years, since the advent of mp3's and the many weeks (about a year) of conversions (dumbly done at 192kbps rather than 320, a perpetual regret). The records, many of them, have been boxed up since leaving Florida 13 years ago. Now there is no space for them and at some point I must go through them and decide which ones will stay and which ones will go. As if my life is made of nothing but time.

The time and energy that I had to dedicate to things when I was young seems to have evaporated. Though oddly I still find time to argue religion online with people that I don't know. So, maybe it's all just a matter of priorities. I've never been very good at prioritizing my life. I indulge myself too easily, perhaps. I had thought that's the way life should be, a life of easy indulgence. Who knows.

I have a friend who has dedicated himself to something that is borderline unreasonable. He has indulged his interests to a point in which he seems to have come through the other side and is, in some ways, back to being youthful again. Perhaps that description is not accurate. It is not so much that he has recovered youth but that he is using his time now in a way that he might have preferred to when he was younger. I am jealous of his use of time. I wonder why some people end up one way and others another. Who knows. These seem to be qualities that can hardly be taught. So, we all end up the way that we end up, convincing ourselves of one thing at one time, then its opposite.

Now I fill up my computer's hard drive with images.  Thousands of them, tens of thousands, so many of them nearly identical. I shoot like I'm a Sports Illustrated photographer. 6 frames per second (though the picture above was taken with a point-and-shoot, probably around 3 or 4 fps, at best). Mostly the pics are of Rhys laughing, or whatever. I can't bring myself to throw any of them away. Almost all of them seem worth saving, to me. Though I rarely go through them. The photo library swells in size and becomes unmanageable. There are drives stacked on top of other drives. Everything demands time from me that I do not have to commit. I suppose I could stop arguing with Christians online. That would give me a few more minutes each day. I question if it would be worth it, though.

What would the big J.C. do?


Friday, November 23, 2012

That, and work

Thanksgiving was great. Rachel's cooking was wonderful. We drank nice wines. We had visitors come over all day and I figured out how to operate the chimney flue (and that it is not a flute as I had called it yesterday, now corrected). 

Success.  The house aired out a bit. Now there only remains that matter of the sink. Some additional plumbing will need to be attempted. Using a plunger on a sink is not a good idea, I found out.

Cato and I finished the book shelves and I started to populate them with books, realizing rather quickly that they weren't going to be big enough. Many books will have to go in the cabinets underneath. There must still be some boxes that I can't find. There are some books that seem to have just disappeared.

We started drinking early in the day. I barely remember going to sleep last night. Rachel insists that I did though. It is where I woke up, so I have no reason to suspect she's lying. But still, two days after the magical chocolate and I still feel a bit "off."

Young people are not to be trusted. That is the lesson I take away from the magic chocolate. They will try to make you take drugs even when you don't want to. Then most of all.

Today I am to work from home. That is how life should always be. I get paid to annoy Rachel and fill my underwear with farts. That, and work, etc.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Oh my.... I brought Cato up from SF yesterday. It was nice to have somebody else in the car, to break up the long ride home. We stopped at a place called Ernie's Tin Bar. It's just a little roadside shack at the turn where you must decide whether you're going to Petaluma, or if you're going to take the north road up through the hills and farms to get to Sonoma. We only had one beer each as we were driving and didn't want to be senseless. It was the day before Thanksgiving, etc. I had narrowly escaped a handful of tickets for driving the way that I always do earlier in SF as I was leaving work.

Once we were done at Ernie's we went to two different grocery stores and picked up a variety of beers and wines and steaks and Thanksgiving accoutrements. Is that the right word? I don't think it is. We bought chicken stock and eggs and half-and-half for coffee in the morning. Coffee that we would need much more than we might have guessed at the time.

We came home and began to cook. Cato gave me a piece of chocolate that he had brought up with him. It was delicious with the red wine. I have been depriving myself of chocolate in the hopes of losing weight. After I ate it he told me not to worry, that it was magical. I impressed Rachel by starting a fire in the fire place. I opened the flue of the chimney, thinking things were as they should be. This would be our first fire of the year. The first fire in the fireplace of our new home, the night before Thanksgiving. Things were looking to be pretty good. A nice stretch of days off in front of us all.

There must be another flue at the top of the chimney. A thing that became much more apparent to me once the chimney filled with smoke, which began generously billowing out into our home. The smoke alarm went off and then it did something that I've never heard it do before. It began issuing a piercing warning about carbon monoxide poisoning, intermixed with the screeching beeps. It was a recorded human voice, sampled and kept on a chip inside the device for just this special occasion.  

The baby slept peacefully in a room upstairs in his little warm, sealed cocoon of a bedroom. I was sure that the oxygen in that room was safe, that it had been unaffected by the fire below.

I poured water on the log, greatly increasing the immediate smoke problems, but moving towards a more long term solution. Rachel and Cato attempted to deal with the new nature of our home by opening doors and arranging a fan to best persuade the smoke to leave. I crawled up onto the roof looking for a flue at the top of the chimney to release my newly acquired, though unwanted, gaseous bounty.  Well... I crawled up to the safest part of the roof. There was one more level that, in the darkness, was insurmountable. Insurmountable by me, that is. I envisioned the 230 pound fall that would trigger my subsequent death. Lying in the bushes in the front yard, hemorrhaging in the dark, hoping that somebody heard me land, the crushing thud of my abdomen coming to a sudden stop.

I crawled down off the roof, still intact. When I came back into the living room I realized that things had gotten worse. Our house was going to have a smoky smell from this moment moving forward. 

Something else was "off" though. It was inside of me. I started to realize that the room was not quite the same shape as it had been. I suddenly became very self-conscious. I looked at Cato and he had this demented smile on his face. I couldn't tell if he was looking at me or looking at something right behind me, or on the back of my head. The room began its inevitable carousel spin, tilting and pitching. Suddenly, we were trapped in a Dutch carnival. The lights began to advance and recede. The music began to stretch into elongated passages that ceased to make any traditional type of sense. It was as if the sounds were emanating from an unseen set of curtains in the speakers. Portions of the music seemed to lift up and then land on other passages where they had not been before. 

It was as if there was the non-stop sound of laughter coming from the other room. I went and looked but it was quiet there, and then it seemed as if the laughter was coming from the room that I had just left. 

I slipped off to bed, wishing it all away. With sleep, some of it did go where I wished it to.

One of us threw-up in the sink. Big pieces of steak which had hardly begun the digestive process. It was waiting there for us this morning. Gallons of it. Thanksgiving bile.

Normally I trigger these types of episodes at other peoples' houses. I wonder if they ever miss me.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oh, Orpheus

Each day coming out of Sonoma onto the Marin peninsula. South to the bridge, racing along the high-occupancy lane alone, across and into San Francisco. I recognize no particular love for animals there. What, I wonder, is the story of the city that bears the namesake. Too busy to look it up, not Catholic enough to care.

Each day as I approach the bridge, towards the southern end of the peninsula there is a long, steep incline. The road leading over a minor mountain. The bay on one side, the advancing and receding  waves of the unseen Pacific on the other. The car struggles and slows. The weight of it becoming apparent, slanted and leaden upwards. The earth pulls me backwards. The road just skirts a preliminary peak upwards. The chariot of Sisyphus. Then, down the other side the stomach moves. The music starts anew.

Each day and ever back again. My foot forcing rock, the clock keeps ticking. And then I, gently riding the brakes.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I forgot to set my alarm

This is what I had for breakfast Sunday. Look carefully, there's a steak under the eggs. And that is the deliciously salted bacon of the gods.

"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence." - Bukowski


Monday, November 19, 2012

... the great mystery

I came home from work as quickly as I could. I wanted to make some more progress on the bookshelves. But, no luck. The day is grey and there is little light where I need it most. A glass of wine later and I am sitting at my desk, writing this forlorn letter of love to you. 

I have a whole bunch of people praying for me, hordes of them. I get involved in group arguments against religion (always them vs. me) and along the way I suggest that they pray for me. The argument always escalates and then I demand to know why they haven't been praying for me. Christians are fun. I don't care what anybody says. I bet christian sex must be deadly. I want to try it sometime but I'd have to get married.

The end of a general election always saddens me. I don't know what to do with my leftover arguments. I have to take my dissatisfaction elsewhere, I guess. Christians seem innately prepared for it. After losing an election they fall back on their faith - and some of them have found me waiting there, lurking in the disappointments. They are anguish receptacles, silly sadness sponges. The smart ones have already hit rock bottom. The dumb ones never even bothered trying. 

I say all of this at my own spiritual peril.

"It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy." - Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


Damsel in digress

No time to write today. Monday's are the cruelest month...

Yesterday we we went to a children's playroom. It was called Scientopia, though I failed to see what any of it had to do with science. Perhaps it is the "new science." 

I've been told by an *enthusiast* recently that science is just now catching up with Christianity. It is an ongoing online conversation. I have found various ways to disagree with him. He has responded by telling me that sin is what is making me unhappy and that any happiness that I experience outside of Christ will only ever be "second-best." 

Sin, by his standards, used to make me quite happy. I reveled in the shame of it all. I mean, it might not be as deeply satisfying as living anew, bathed in Christ's blood, but we sure got our kicks.
We used to call it being "on a mission."  Now, I see it as more of a much larger effort, more like being on a crusade.

I simply love it when Christians start invoking The Power of The Lord... They sound just like sorcerers. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

New shelves

Yesterday, I began to put our bookshelves together. They will require some modifications to make them fit into the area we've chosen for them. But once that's done it will seem as if they were designed specifically for that spot. They are large, very large, and dark.  

One of the first big steps of moving into our house will be complete. We will have a place to empty the many boxes of books. There will be storage in the cabinets underneath, a place to hide things. Now, it is just a matter of sorting through thousands of records to determine which ones I want to keep. A friend also has several thousand records at his house in Alameda that I am thinking about taking. I would never have the time to listen through them, much less enjoy them in any meaningful way. But I want them anyway.

My knees hurt, my body aches in odd places. Putting things together on the floor is much more trying on the body than I remember. Everything is. It occurred to me that any job that requires manual labor is becoming less and less available to me. It's an occasionally nice fantasy: that I could just go back to mowing lawns for a summer, to get out in nature and to regain some health.  In truth, it would probably kill me and I would hate it as it did.

I am having a steak for breakfast, with bacon and eggs. Soon, I will be dancing like the kid pictured above, with a clean shirt and new shoes. 

Maybe we will move to LA, or buy a motorcycle and join the Navy. 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

... into the aether

(sunny days)

There is only the sound of rain in the darkness. A day spent inside, without the abiding love of Christ. 

There are bookshelves to assemble, to affix to the wall. Vertical progress.

Yesterday, there was a two hour drive home in the rain. The people of California reveal themselves most fully in cars, in the rain. They are filled with superstitions and fear, either aggressive or idiotically cautious. Jumpy, as if the evil spirits are out and about to get them. Perhaps they've never seen rain before. The clouds above must keep them perpetually mystified. All that there is to do is join them. I gazed out the window at the seemingly unending grey, sent a few text-messages off into the aether. 

Fields. The beginnings of mountains in the near distance that resemble the inevitability of age. Remote shapes like half forgotten fears, disappearing and reappearing in the saturation. All color reduced to a wet ashen hum. No horizon, just ascent. 

There is something very primal about it, terrifying, like the ocean at night. The thought of walking into it filled me with dread. It might explain the way people drive. Nobody would choose to die this slowly, not in this weather. 


Friday, November 16, 2012


I awoke to bad news. Another one of my heroes has died; this time a musician. Pete Namlook. I don't know the circumstances of his death, and I won't go on and on about it. But it is a reminder. Life is fragile and all of the other things; painful, over too quick.

Here is a piece of music he made that I've always loved. 

A friend used to mockingly refer to one of my favorite albums of his as "funeral dirges." I always felt that his music sounded more like the birth of the cosmos, though there's no reason that it can't be both. 

Here is another piece of music by different artists that sample the first. Just to give those who don't already know an idea of his enormous and mostly unknown influence. 

Well, since I don't have much more to say - I'll leave you with this piece, a great collaboration (ignore the image). I've sat here this morning and listened to it in its entirety, wondering what else to write. 

There is all, then there is nothing. 

Perhaps it's best to die young, but to hold off as long as possible.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eclipse over Australia

and don't forget:
time is meant to be wasted,
love fails
and death is useless.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye, 510 E. 12th St.

I've run out of things to write about, for now. My life is just the job and the commute. When I come home I go to sleep. Then I wake up and sit down and expect myself to write. There is nothing to say, unless you think the drive along the 101 in California is worth reading about. Under better circumstances it might be, but not this morning. 

I dreamed that our puppy, Barkley, got bit by a rattlesnake. An unpleasant way to awaken. The little guy was limping, needing our help.

I am learning a lot at work. It occupies the remainder of my mind. The portions of it that are not terrorized by rattlesnakes.  

We have finally been evicted from our apartment in NYC. I got the certified letter yesterday. It is a long story, one that I will tell here when the time is right. For now though, I must see it for what it is: the final indicator that we will not be moving back to NYC anytime soon. We held on to the apartment in the event that we hated California. That turned out to not be the case. Though we do miss the city.

 I haven't dreamed of rat attacks in months.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Be Here Now

Today, I woke up perfectly in time with the coffee machine. At least that is starting to work in my favor. I have begun to tell myself that I have the commute into SF all figured out. Each day I leave earlier and earlier. Yesterday was 5:50am. I will shave a few minutes off of that again this morning. Time is all that there is left. I wish to spend as little of it as possible in traffic.

I came home from work yesterday and fell asleep for two hours, waking after 7pm; just in time to see Rhys going to sleep, smiling. 

Yesterday morning, on the drive in, the sun was rising with the sliver of the moon ascending just ahead of it. The entire sphere was illuminated enough to be detected, the earth's own reflection bouncing onto its unlit surface and then back again. Today is the new moon. There is a total solar eclipse, though visible to very few. It will occur far south of us, starting in the early afternoon, shading remote shores of Australia for a brief while.

I stepped out of the car to take a picture early yesterday morning, risking precious minutes, cars passing me in the great race to arrive employed. I forgot to adjust the ISO on my camera and all of the pictures came out blurred, with many moons dancing, the shutter time being too long to be of much use. I knew it was happening but did nothing to adjust it. I jumped back in the car and raced off, obsessed with speed to pass those who had overtaken me.

I frequently have difficulties focusing on the thing that I am doing. My thoughts are too often in the future or in the past, somewhere ahead of the sun or far behind it, stuck in traffic.


Monday, November 12, 2012

An imaginary past

Up again long before the sun, the weekend is over. I will go into the office each day this week, rather than working from home any of those days. It will mean less sleep and many more hours spent in the car. So be it. I am drained from the weekend. I had been limiting myself to two glasses of wine or two beers a day during the week. I felt pretty good until Friday when my new found sense of moderation was lost. A loss which lasted through the weekend. The ratio between good things and bad things starts to favor the latter with too much drinking, or even with just consistent drinking.

Rachel has the coffee machine set up to start making coffee at an insanely early hour yet I am always awake before it. I have been a computer technician for years but somehow still find myself incapable of programming a coffee machine, or unwilling. So now I sit here typing, waiting for the magic morning elixir to arrive.

My mind does strange things to wake me up, especially when I have to piss. I dreamed this morning that somebody had stolen a valuable microphone from me, one that I have not seen or thought of in quite a while. I was fretting in the dream at it being lost. The feeling hasn't quite left me. I feel like a republican: people are taking things from me in the darkness against my will and then using them as they please. They are redistributing my wealth to foreigners in my sleep.

I'm still arguing on Facebook. I know it's pointless but I can't stop myself. I get so excited when people start invoking the Constitution to support their arguments, especially those that seem uninterested in forwarding its ideals, but use it rather as an argument to return to an imaginary past. Their imaginary past. A time when things were as they should be, when the world was open and theirs for the taking. A time when others knew their place. Now, the minorties have risen up and are ruining the show, or so says Bill O'Reilly. 

It will pass, of course, all things do. The coffee maker has started, it means that soon I will be dashing down the highway, in pursuit of a thing that can hardly be held or known or kept. The value of the dollar dropping like the count of remaining years.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The lost temptation of time

The reverberation of loss still ripples through the Facebook community.  The losers blame "ignorance" and a hatred of America. They have fallen on the defense that of course the democrats want to win - the government is giving them everything that they want and need, they're gonna vote for more of that. There are some initial indicators out there that suggest that wealthier more educated people voted for Barack, a prediction that didn't surprise everybody. This doesn't dissuade them for long though, or very much. The claim is then made that the educated can also be ignorant. Though the counter-axiom that suggests the same would be even more true of the less educated never seems to grip or slow them. 

Oh well. I started to write a post this morning and the above paragraph is the result. Nonsense.

Today has been a lazy day. I will keep it that way and not try to write any more. Why force it? It's Veteran's Day, how else are we supposed to honor them? Soon, I will go to the pub and have a few pints of beer, thank any veterans that are there by buying them a beer. I feel drained from drinking with our guests this weekend and I must replenish myself with liquids. Another guest arrives in a few hours and we will drink some more, we will barbecue and chat into the evening, then there is work all week long.  I am expected to learn many new things, complicated things. I must become very good at an unfamiliar process. 

When we were driving back into Sonoma valley today - Rachel and Rhys were sleeping in the back of the car - I was daydreaming about the many weekends that I just lounged around with my friends doing almost nothing, eternity stretching out ahead of us, tempting us, as if we had nothing left but time to waste.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stumbling into this day

Not much to say today. Guests are in, we stayed up late drinking last night. The music blared and we danced and were delightedly foolish. More guests arrive tomorrow evening, then back to work.

I have gotten older than I ever wanted to be.

This morning I awoke and felt the sting of the recent and distant past. I found a pair of pants and made it to the bathroom. The mirror accused me of things that I had no memory of doing. The problem with aging is that no matter what I do I still look like I have a hangover.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Transported to a surreal landscape....

It turns out that Obama won the electoral and the popular vote. So, Karl Rove and Donald Trump and Fox News will just have to suck it, more. I bet they were hoping that they would be the ones to invade Yemen.

Oh well. The Fox Army will have to wait.

I was up at 4am again today. I've begun to mimic Rhys' sleep patterns. I was getting tired when Rachel was putting him to sleep, sometime around 7pm last night. 

In the last week I've had two local people from here in Sonoma call me for technical support, got an email from Microsoft wanting to know if I had retail management experience, and have been offered a tech-support job from The Gap through a headhunting agency out of SF. 

When it rains.... as they say.

I went 4 or 5 months without a job, without any exciting prospects, then all of a sudden the world seemed to explode with opportunities.  At one point I was so bored and willing to do anything that I decided that I would just work locally. I applied for a job at Staples. They loved me, offered me the job right away. But the money, as you can probably guess, was way too low. I tried to negotiate it upwards a little bit but there were some things that the local manager just simply could not do. It is lucky for me that they didn't. I probably would have taken the job and subsequently stopped looking. There is only one outcome of a situation like that. 

In the job search process I got a glimpse into a very strange world: the one most people live in. I can not emphasize this to everybody enough.... Do yourself a favor, apply online for a job at Staples. Just fill in the personal information with gibberish and get to the part of the application where they are asking you personal and work-related questions. It was one of the most eye-opening and maddening experiences of my life. They present a series of increasingly precarious moral questions and the only options they give you to answer are, "Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree." There are times when none of the answers suit the questions and certainly don't suit your response to the questions. You find yourself "Agreeing" to some completely crazy fascist nonsense. 

It is a Catch-22 interview. I found myself worrying at several points in the process that this was going down as part of Staples property with my name on it, and would then somehow become part of my permanent record and profile. I can't believe that I didn't take screenshots at the time. Maybe I'll go back and re-do the interview just so you, dear readers, can get a glimpse into the strange and terrible world that is the real retail America. 

I blame Romney for all of it. Isn't Staples one of his many successes

Holy crap, that reminds me... On Facebook all the American political losers are posting pictures of Romney and his family, talking about how "decent" a man he is, and "god-fearing." These people would have laughed at the idea of having a mormon president 8 years ago, did laugh at it 4 years ago, and now are emotionally destroyed that Obama somehow beat him. What hypocrisy. The right, it is becoming very clear, will do or say anything to get the black man legitimately aborted from the white house. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Did you hear that? It's moving...

(Mr. President)

Nothing much to report today. The quasi-excitement of the general election has waned. Nobody wants to discuss politics any more. The people I know from the right were posting very melancholy posts yesterday, chronicling how they got through the day, where they found the strength, that they have been having nightmares, but that it's still a beautiful day in Canada, etc.  

The election, if nothing else, was useful for this reason alone. The image of general republican despondency and the acute images of dismay made the election worth the price of watching. There were tears.

I don't remember any of them acting this way in 2000, of course. But I've stayed in touch with an armpit of old friends from the right-guard. They went out of their way to explain the electoral college to me when Bush lost the popular vote. Nobody from that side was upset at all about it. None of the fledgling neocons were questioning the structure of democracy. They explained that if the left had not broken off from the sensible and formed another party then the electoral college wouldn't even be necessary, all blame fitting neatly onto their opponents. Always.

Nobody from the right complained that Bush had started two wars that we had no way out of at the time, ensuring his re-election in 2004. Nobody from the right complained in 2008 when Dick Cheney said that if a democrat gets voted into office then "the terrorists will strike again..." They all believed it to be true.

It turned out that none of it was true, except the wars.

I saw a "statistic" online the other day: "More people in America have died from falling furniture than from terrorism since 9/11."

We've completely upended the structure of our country, and allowed for the many abuses of power, because the bogeyman is lurking somewhere in the dark. Yet, we refuse to turn the light on. My friends from the right, so few of them, took The Patriot Act seriously when it passed Congress and was signed into "temporary law." They are all now, understandably, enraged at Obama's egregious misuses of power. (Temporary law. Perhaps that is the category of study that will include The Constitution in future academia.)

Many of my friends from the left seem quite pleased that Romney didn't win. He was a cardboard phony and they could never understand how so many people could be deceived by his empty posturing. The image of Clint berating an empty chair will become the symbol of their disconnectedness, it already has.

None of them now seem very willing to discuss the simple mathematics of wealth disparity, that it is much worse under Obama than it was under Bush. They are all quite happy to continue blaming Bush. Maybe they're right. It's just easier that way. Is wealth disparity our greatest problem. I strongly suspect that it isn't. 

The bogeyman is very real. Though he somehow became much richer than he used to be, aligned now with global interests. Darkness approaching everywhere, say some. Bogey's not alone in there any more either. There is the sound of industry emanating from the depths, an order which shrouds itself. He's been mixed generously together with all the perceived evils of the world, the eternal injustices. 

Though, everybody's darkness is different and moves in different ways. The image of the evils of wealth became more tangible for people for a while, grew a face, ran for president. That face will fade and we will find a new fear to back away from, a new savior to run towards.

For some, the darkness is simply the returning terror of hunger, of want in open daylight. To each their own, of both fears and desires. For many there is a huddling together in the light, at a convention or a rally. If it were not for the darkness then there would be no gods, no angels rising with the sun, no satan condemned to his underworld, no beasts possessed. No new enemies.

And what, dear friends, could possibly be more real than that?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Legitimate Apes

Well, hell's bells... I hope this doesn't mean that we all have to stop hating Mitt Romney now, or more importantly: Paul Ryan. 

It was encouraging to see that Karl Rove was still trying to tamper with the outcome of an election. Late last night, long after the networks had announced Obama's victory, I saw that he tweeted that Ohio was still too close to call. Fox News became the battleground from which he chose to fight this election, and yet still somehow lost. This "victory," if nothing else, relegates some of the most joyless people in America to a four year period of existential misery. 

What's not to be happy about?

Anybody that dismisses the fun of Facebook and Twitter should have been on last night, with lots of friends, following lots of others. A night like that makes for great social media moments:

"Nobody puts Big Bird in the corner." - Joe C.

"You know your party has problems when you overhear: 'The rape candidate lost.' 'Which one?'" - Alec Baldwin

"How is it possible that their leading political genius - Ted Nugent - got this election so wrong?" - Anonymous

Ok, the last one was mine. I can't remember enough of the posts from last night. But you get the idea, it was fun.

Also, it's a good time to really weed out some of the more hateful people on Facebook. I must have deleted twenty or more "friends." When Rachel saw what I was doing she got on board and deleted a few of her "friends" as well. It was a perfect storm for getting rid of idiots. 

I couldn't bring myself to watch Fox News but those that did really seemed to enjoy it. There was a network meltdown. Apparently they began to berate and question their own "numbers team," at Karl Rove's insistence, on whether or not Obama had really taken Ohio. They'll just have to try harder next time. 

You live, you learn, you re-media.

Obama's Supreme Court appointees will be carefully picked and vetted. They will have no history of deciding against executive power. They will have never made a decision questioning the military's ability to exert and use its power, even within America's borders.  Nobody will notice much, or care. The drone wars will not only continue, there will be a reason to expand the program.

We have become a society in which political assassination is an openly accepted and encouraged fact. The president has signed into law an act which negates three different amendments to The Constitution. This, all from a guy that will soon stand in front of the nation and take an oath to protect and defend that same document. An oath that he has already taken once before.

Every day Dick Cheney is starting to seem more and more like Luke Skywalker's father. Just a guy that made some bad decisions early on - but one that still has a warm, beating heart - albeit not his own...


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?"

Today our friends take in the boy which they hope to adopt. It is a big step, one that has me taking deeper breaths. There will be transitions, adjustments, new obstacles. He sure is cute. The boy's a charmer. We went over and let him and Rhys play together for a while over the weekend. They are only separated in age by about five months. Tonight we will all be holding our breath a little.

It will be a novelty to watch the general election from the west coast, we're hoping. I still believe that America's greatness derives partially from the peaceful and regular transference of power. It is an amazing history. The election might be over before we're even able to get home and have a glass of wine.

Well, I will be home. I will work from there today, undistracted by all but that work, hopefully. With this new job I am still uncertain. There is much complexity to it. I am surrounded by others who are much more adept at the process than me. Time.

I have the "internet tv" on in the background as I am writing this. It is too distracting. I just heard Dan Rather claiming how "good" both of these candidates are. I want to like Dan Rather, but he makes it difficult at times. From whence does this "goodness" emerge?

I was "arguing" with one of my friend's sisters online yesterday. It is what I do, it's my pleasure. She made the comment "Poverty begats poverty." Read that statement over and over again. It's brilliant in spite of itself. Its knowledge and insight approaches that of Solomon  (except for the past tense plural misuse of the operative word, of course). 

Now, don't get me wrong, I simply love to speak in idioms, especially when they have a vaguely biblical air to them. Sometimes I'll just spout odd phrases with an occasional "thou" thrown in, or by following everything I say with the phrase, "according to prophecy."  If anybody gives me a sideways look I'll just claim it's from the bible. Every time they will just nod thoughtfully, almost as if in sudden prayer. 

The mighty word of God seems to put people's minds to sleep.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Tomorrow's Quiniela

The weekend passes much swifter than I remember. It is already gone.

Not working for months does strange things to one's sense of time. Entire weeks, filled with weekdays, start to fly by as quickly as a weekend. The actual weekend becomes barely noticeable. If working does nothing else it makes the sensation of time's passing slow down some so that life does not seem to be over all in an instant. Another month of not working and I would have been ready to retire.

I return to SF today. Tomorrow I work from home. Eventually, I believe they would want me to be working from home even more, saving precious hours in commute time. I imagine a world where I roll out of bed at 8:55am, working in my pajamas. At 5pm I go to the gym. I am at the local pub by 5:30. Perfect.

No. I wake up between 4:30 - 6am most mornings, rarely ever being able to go back to sleep.

Four years ago Rachel and I were not dating. We were, however, at a friend's apartment together for the evening of the general election. The results came in, Obama won of course, and everybody in NYC was very happy about this. There were the celebratory sounds of victory throughout the streets. He rode in on the platform of change. There were waves of electorate ecstasy rolling through the apartment that night.

I was so fed up with politics at the time that I made the simple comment that Obama will do nothing to restore the balance of power that Bush had worked so hard to de-stabilize. Rachel's hatred for me swelled within her. It rose to an accusatory crescendo. She denounced me, claiming that I did not know what I was talking about. I believe she even rattled off one or more of his campaign promises. Her face was red, she was just shy of screeching. She was a believer in Obama. I was not. I was only happy that McCain had lost because I felt that the country had suffered enough at the hands of the right. It definitely was a time for a change. I just didn't feel that Obama was the guy, though again, I was happy that the right had lost. It's worth saying twice.

I had hoped, at the very least, that Obama would do something to advance the idea of human dignity, to do away with the torture of water-boarding, to correct some of the wrongs made by the Bush administration, to repeal The Patriot Act, etc., etc.

(Man, was I wrong. And here is a follow up article. Anybody, politically inclined, that considers themselves a democrat should read those articles very carefully. Several of the links found within those articles are interesting as well.)

Alternately that night, I thought it was time that either a black man or a woman made it into the office of the presidency. I understand that many people say that this is both racism and sexism. Bullshit. I didn't want him to win because he was black. I merely thought that it was a good sign that at least a fair portion of the nation was able to overlook his color and vote him into the most esteemed office in the country. Believing that things are progressing and improving, that the nation is moving away from racism, is not racism itself. Anybody that claims otherwise is a fool. This fact requires no additional evidence. 

But, like many others, I will be happy when the election is over. There is no good that will come of it, for me. The "lesser of two evils" argument can be made, I guess. But I'm no longer quite as convinced that one is any less evil than the other. One, we already know the wrongs that he will advance. The other is already a stale mystery evil. Because I live in a state that will go to Obama it gives me the chance to vote a third-party candidate, which I will do, even somewhat against my conscience for other reasons. The candidate has no chance of winning, so it allows me to vote against both of them without any overall consequence. It's too bad more people don't feel this way, there is some power in dissent. But people want to vote for a winner, and there are only two possibilities. One good, one evil; I'm told.

It's as if all of America is at the dog track, watching the big board with excitement, clutching their lone voting ticket, eagerly waiting for their quiniela with perfect 1-1 odds to arrive and magically, for once, somehow finally payoff.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Just do what you think you should do..."

I've been thinking about childhood lately. Not my own, just childhood in general. I don't remember much of my own. I must force myself to remember things. It's never possible to separate what I've told myself from what really was. We write and re-write the stories all along. Memory is mostly fiction, buffered by a few agreed-upon facts, re-told to suit one's current needs.

We have been surrounded by kids. Almost outnumbered. 

We went to Florida to visit with friends and there were kids everywhere. Three of our friends back in NYC are pregnant. Six if you count their counterparts. Two of our friends here are fostering a child with the intention to adopt. They are everywhere, kids of all ages. In Orlando we visited with my brother's children, the cousins. A first. We took pictures at the fair. The first meeting of the brothers, uncles, aunt, and cousins. 

There were children everywhere at the fair. I question whether the production could even be put on without them. Kids are what drives a fair economy... 

Has nobody told the candidates?

They were the exception throughout my whole life, children. Very few of my friends had them. Then suddenly, as if somebody poured magical water on our group, they are everywhere. There is no escaping from them. No possibility of it. In Orlando we all played hide and seek. They always found me first. There are fewer and fewer places for a "slightly" overweight man to hide from a roving band of energetic youngsters. They are all very well-versed in hide and seek tactics. They never seem to tire, until they do. Then comes the fussiness and tears, then the nap. Then, a return of the energy.

We went to visit yesterday with our friends here that are fostering. It will be their first child. He is an adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy. He is standing on two feet, walking. Just as often he takes off running, his little furious waddle transporting him in any direction he chooses. One must always be on guard, prepared to sprint. We are reminded of this by all things. Everything is a potential threat. The mind becomes alive with danger and how to avert it. Changes must be made, everywhere.

After my wife and child left I stayed on to help them with their computer. She was in the other room with the baby. He and I were standing in the living room chatting, listening to music, as we often do. The phone rang. He decided to call back rather than answer. The dog howled at the ringing phone as he often does. All, merely a series of innocent occurrences. All normal.  A few seconds later she emerged from the other room, a look of slight but specific consternation on her face...

"I'm trying to put a baby to sleep in here..."

Oh, everything changes. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012


I don't have anything left to say, not today anyway. I've just started three times and then deleted what I had written.  A friend suggested using Dragon dictation software so that I can write my blog posts while lying in bed, or commuting to and from work. Somehow my unedited and deranged highway ramblings might not transcribe well here. There is already much nonsense that makes its way through. I fear a site where the floodgates to commuter slumber would be loosed. Nobody, I don't think, would want even greater access to my inner voice. Some of it already makes its way into these pages and it makes me uncomfortable. It is awkward, hideous stuff. 

I don't feel well. 

It started yesterday, or the day before, as these things so often do.


Friday, November 2, 2012

... from the garden of your neighbor

Day 5. I've completed my first full work week in quite a while, months.  When I came home the other night I stopped at Lisa and Matt's house to celebrate her birthday dinner. Lisa's birthday is on Halloween. The dinner was pleasant and deliciously made but I was very tired. I excused myself immediately afterward and went home. 

The glass bowl that Rachel had left out filled with candy for the children was empty. One rogue child must have found it. Or a small group discovered its vulnerabilities and they split the booty amongst themselves. I walked into the kitchen and there was a knock at the door before I could even put my bag down. I realized right away that it must be a trick-or-treater. I opened the door with the remaining bag of assorted candy in my hand and there was a lone little guy standing with his bag extended, an orange circle around his head. I gave him some candy asked him what he was.

A Google Map, he said.

Sure enough the orange circle actually had a pointer which was pointing to his chest where there was a map that he had made. I chuckled a little bit and then I saw his father standing on the sidewalk. He gave me a quick wave and I said, "Happy Halloween. I like your costume."  And I did.

It's that life that we will live now. The old life is gone, or is going. The things that I craved in my youth will evaporate, are evaporating. I will have no way to stop, or find, or catch them now.  My youth is being dispersed. There is much catching up to do with the next life, the one that is now in front of me. It's as if a tank has turned slowly and is facing a different direction, one not entirely of its own choosing. The orders have come in and the Google Maps, children of a different generation, have pointed us in a new direction. There will be children and Halloweens and barbecues on the weekends now. 

If I do a search for our address I can almost see it all; if I squint, or click, or zoom.


"If you think I've gone crazy, try picking a flower from the garden of your neighbor." - Charles Bukowski

"It never got weird enough for me."  - Hunter S. Thompson