Thursday, January 31, 2013

"While I nodded, nearly napping..."

My ticket was bought. I'm going to LA this weekend for the Super Bowl. I live in the SF region, but what does that matter, really? The game is being played in New Orleans. And who ever made a name for themselves by staying home, anyway?... Genghis Khan, Marco Polo, Ted Kaczynski, Caligula?  

Rachel, Rhys and I went to a basketball game last night. It was the last quarter and "our" team was winning, the ones in the blue shirts. They were not expected to win. I had brought my camera. So, I sat under the goal and practiced taking action shots. The two teams were children, somewhere around 7-9 in age, I guess. I am terrible at guessing the age of people. 

Rhys seemed to like the excitement of the gymnasium, the cheering, and the many people. He is as wide-eyed and as curious as it is possible to be, inspecting all things with wonder. It is a marvel to watch the gears beginning to turn, the lights coming on in the different rooms, the personality forming around experiences.

For now it would seem that I have escaped the dreaded Norovirus, the scourge that is afflicting the nation, striking twice already at home. I am impervious to its evils. Soon, I will be taunting it, demanding its lunch money, making it carry my books and saving a seat for me on the bus. The school-age version of making somebody your prison bitch.

I think most men are terrified of the idea of going to prison and becoming some brute's fun time finger-puppet, his carnal plaything; being lent out for cigarettes that you don't get to smoke, having them put out on your exposed flesh. Who knows, you might not even want to smoke after all that, just huddled on your bunk awaiting the next wave of boredom, then terror.

Where am I going with this...

It is too early for anal raping, though there are many who must not feel that way. Just think, all over the world there are those engaged thusly, making beasts of themselves. Afterwards, having to wash others' affected parts through many tears and much sobbing. Being careful not to make anyone angry with guilt, or the pleasure of power, or anything between. 

Prison rape. How can I get out of here. Let's try another subject altogether.

Who else is even playing in the Super-Bowl?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The cursed blessing....

(Avoid this dangerous person...!!!)

The Norovirus is closing in on me. I escaped it as it swept through our house, afflicting every person here but me. Yesterday, I innocently stopped to chat with a friend. She seemed fine and healthy. We spoke in the kitchen together for about half an hour. She poured a beer into a glass for me; a nice delicious Guinness from a can, the bubbles wonderfully making their way to the top of the glass through the mysterious and murky goodness. Now all I can think of are those invisible little barbarians crawling all over the outside of it, trying to get at my beer, hoping to find a way into my intestines, to turn my body into their own personal water park. 

At the time I had no suspicions, neither had she. Her body was probably already teeming with the vicious little caliciviridae. They had big plans for her. It makes no sense, how undetected they can be while engaging in such heavy construction. She was pleasant and chatty, the very image of health. But last night Rachel got an emergency call to come over and help her with the baby. She had been struck. Now... not even Facebook can help her. 

Then, I did remember at one point in our conversation she had accidentally sneezed into my esophagus. I thought nothing of it at the time, it seemed inconsequential. She is into eastern philosophies and often her behavior is both varied and inexplicable. I thought it was a blessing of some kind, though it was actually just an act of pure coincidence. I was yawning while she just happened to be sneezing. It was a trophy sneeze, truly. Little bits of mucous and saliva irrigated my eyes, ears, nose and throat. My head was tilted slightly back for the yawn and my nasal passageway was aligned perfectly, such that when I next swallowed I felt an errant bit of mucous make its way all the way to the back of my throat only to continue its journey south towards my stomach, soon to be joy riding out of my anus. One eye was nearly sealed shut with a piece the size of multi-vitamin. I thought nothing of it at the time, but now the memory comes back to haunt me. It was as if I had generously applied hair gel. It took two towels to dry off.

When it was all over we both bowed lightly at one another and gave a valediction that I have still yet to discover the true meaning of. 



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A few words of caution

Nothing to report on. I have been up most of the night, unable to sleep.  Watching a movie on an iPhone sucks. Truly.

Children complicate things. 

Rachel and I break up periodically. Every few years, no matter what. Now would have been one of those times, or sometime last year. The timing just wasn't right.

But there is precious little that can be done easily now. The list of difficult things grows and grows, breaking up and staying together fighting for the two top spots.


Monday, January 28, 2013

The Bad Girl

Finished the book by Mario Vargas Llosa, The Bad Girl. It was not very good. He describes all things with the same tone, using almost the same words each time as well. The scenes involving sex were dull. One could hear him thinking the book through, having to write a section about this now, because it is what must happen next to get where he needs to be. Falsely thinking that traveling forward through time and exotic locale will help propel the narrative, though not having a very good grasp of either (He had a character die of Aids in 1973-74, right after the "Swinging" years in London). All things happen with predictable coincidence as well, even moral lessons.

It became impossible to care about any of the characters. When the main female character, the bad girl, dies at the end it doesn't really matter and you knew that it was going to happen. In death, nothing changed. It's difficult to express what the author was even trying to say- even more for him than for us. "Poverty is bad," maybe.

I read in a online description of the book that it was about obsession, though it was not written obsessively. It was as if somebody who had never felt its impulses decided that they would write about it. I must assume that the author's Nobel Prize rested upon other works. 

Oh well. There is more to say, I suppose, though hopefully by somebody else. 

My life has its own difficulties, they are many.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

The doubled joys of the weekend

There are only certain people you can imagine seeing at Costco, none that you want to. There was this guy that I used to work with at Apple, Lee. I can predict running into him there. He would spot me before I could smell him and then I wouldn't be able to escape unnoticed. He would be filled with inane advice about what to buy and and what not to, and why - offering it all freely, as is his consistently uninvited nature.  His reasoning never held but that wouldn't stop him. He would just blather on at double volume with his perverse hillbilly wisdom. As a game, I used to force myself to find other ways to accomplish things if I had ever heard him giving advice, just so that I could be sure my life-path was as far from his as is possible, as a cautionary procedure. Every now and then he would find something that we agreed on and I would have to point out that it was purely accidental, that in life even a fool will occasionally happen upon the right way of doing something. Imagine how much uncredited invention has been the result of this will to avoid resembling those that you avoid.

Jesus, what the fuck am I doing writing about that nincompoop this morning. What's the line? Everybody has the right to be stupid from time to time, but comrade Rodrigues abuses the privilege..

So, we went to Costco yesterday. Jesus. It really was like the biblical two-fish-and-five-loaves story. Jesus must have visited a Wal-Mart and found that there weren't enough boxes for everybody so he just started tearing boxes in two. Costco was the result. That's just a little new testament magic, pure and simple. Feeding with multitudes. 

No other myth from the gospels illuminates the moronic as this tale does. The claim was that two fish fed 5000 men, not including women and children (Of course, why would you? You might as well start counting slaves at that point. Is there no end to the madness?).

I should keep it down in here, Rachel will probably want to take Rhys to church if she knows I'm downstairs being a heretic again.

So, Costco.... What a well-named enterprise. You see where they were headed with that. Cost-co. Pure marketing genius. Their economy of language suggesting your economy in savings. Though, if they were really honest with themselves their company logo should have looked more like this.

Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.
Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.
Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.
Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.
Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.
Costco. Costco. Costco. Costco.

Does it make me a snob that I took some pride in not knowing anybody there? I actually prowled the store in concentric circles just to verify. I almost made the mistake of eating before we got there. Man, would I have felt stupid... If you ever want to help a person in hunger just invite them to Costco with you, or buy them a membership. They could go in every weekend day (I assume) and gorge themselves on free samples - meatballs, sausages, cheeses, deserts, you name it. Wine tastings! If they did that every day they could easily become the king of pork products. I swear to you. It's easy.

The dynamic of a Costco is so strange that at one point I turned a corner and saw some people adjusting their cart - I really thought for a moment that they were squatters.  I was impressed.  I looked around at the ceilings and thought, Fuck, this place is really huge. Who would have guessed that they have their own urban problems in here.... 

I ingested enough sodium nitrate that I'm certain I've doubled my shelf life, my urine has yet to regain its odor. I was so pleased when I waddled out of there that I insisted on being addressed as Sire Kirkland. 

I had become multitudes. 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Great Crocodile in the Sky

SF was pleasantly uneventful. A few glasses of wine after work with friends, some Vietnamese chicken Pho in Chinatown, then the drive home. I was in bed by 10:30, in a state that would pass for sleep and fool most onlookers by 11. Up at 4:30, still in an imaginary condition that others might call sleep.

I do not miss the drive. 

January's wolf moon was one night shy of being full and lit the bay well. The light famously dancing upon the surface currents. To the eye it looked full, complete. I imagined prehistoric arguments between the primitive scholars of the sky, grunting and gesticulating, making their points, drawing lines in the night sky, circles in the air, screaming and pointing at rocks, raping one another. How many better observers of the local cosmos must have been left there to rot in the dirt.

One of the difficulties I have with aging is the almost unstated requirement that I denounce attributes of youthfulness. If not denounce, at least surrender. Grow up! seems to be the silent rallying call. There are the condescending looks, as if my life is an egregious insult to others who choose to age differently. Those who would hang calendars in their homes expressing the joys of life, the wonders of nature, and the importance of vitality.  

"That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all." 

In my middle years it has become increasingly awkward to continue with pointless arguing. The sky seems wider, loose rocks closer. My youth was filled with it: pointless conversing, making points that I hardly believed. Now it just feels silly, and there are only a few acceptable versions of a silly old man, none foolish. We are presented with a small weakened handful, holding lives that we are expected to choose from, like hardened candy covered in pocket lint. I just don't seem to be one of them. I must be the other guy, having yet to find my place among the Jolly Ranchers. Perhaps I never will. 

It's as if there is a giant hand-wound clock ticking off somewhere in the distance, expecting my eventual compliance, demanding it. The great crocodile in the sky; eyeless, but ever searching.

I want the world to be fashioned after different principles. Is that silly, or foolish? Everywhere I look it seems that life is arranged around a barely agreed upon degenerative illness. Everywhere there is sadness and isolation. Everywhere there is corruption. The world barely responds with a shrug, rarely enough to ever shrug any of it off.

Life does not seem to get any simpler as I get older. I had secretly hoped that it would, or that it might. It gets slower, but that doesn't help very much. It's almost as if I'm living in a perpetual state of trauma. All things seem to have slowed down. Enormous details are flooding in from around me. When they say that near the moment of the end your life "passes before your eyes" perhaps it only temporarily regains the momentum of youth. One last instant to remind and torment, briefly confusing normalcy with that of eternity.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Exercises in Love

List three things that you like about your partner. List three things about your relationship that you would like to see improve. Take a walk together. "Wear their shoes." Learn from your past mistakes. Spend more time outside. Remind yourself that there will be a long adjustment period to having a child, to moving, to life in its middle years. Stop expecting them to change. Role-play. Plan surprises (maybe not during role-play). Try something new (Situational, perhaps during role-play). Take time to talk. Touch each other (Now just might be the time...). Tell your partner what you want, make it tangible and achievable. Practice believing that things can change. Laugh. Talk to a counselor. Don't count on therapy solving your problems, don't expect it. Only the person with the talking-stick gets to speak. You can't keep the talking stick forever. You can't expect the person with the talking stick to say only what you want to hear. Laugh.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Diogenes... now there was a fearsome fellow"

The best stories in life are oftenest the ones we shouldn't tell. There is an excitement in the relaying of the illicit. It brings forth a special component of the imagination, unexpected even to the writer, perhaps to them most of all. Certain events in our lives create their own cathartic purge. They rumble and push from within, searching for a way out even as they are happening. The event creating the release simultaneously with the need for that release.

But not now. If what one has to purge is bitterness then sometimes it is best to let it transform into humor first. My life is an average carnival. The most exciting moments tend to be barely noteworthy disasters. A carrousel has broken free, abandoned its post, several lovers sent spiraling into the popcorn vender. Or worse: a roller-coaster mishap.

I go into SF tomorrow morning, will stay all day into the evening. Will try my luck in a new place for a change. We'll see if the SF police have learned any manners since last we chatted. 

I have acquired an enormous amount of new dance music, super cool stuff. There is, at least, that going for me. I have an upcoming gig in Santa Fe on Feb. 9th. It is the date of an old friend's birthday. The numbers on the clock announcing yet another new name for his age, providing a new latin term to describe him, a sexagenarian. I know that he frets over it. Not the actual numbers, but the accompanying feeling of age. There is nothing that can be said about it, nothing to be done. Talk to him about the paradox of time, oh my... His insight on such things has proven to be quite valuable to me, having a 15 year leap on paradoxes. 

I have begun to feel the inevitable pull also. I must become my version of a wise man eventually, or remain a common fool forever - not dull, but merely typical. Oh yes, Diogenes was a fearsome man, often given to fits and fists of parrhesia. As for wisdom, I'm not convinced that I see much of it in the traditional roles that have been set out to pick and choose from. Most of them seem only like a matured and mannered meekness, at most a rendition of behavioral ideology, often involving moderate to great financial servitude to local devotions. That, and an awful lot of being quiet, doing as you're expected to do. Never told, always expected. 

Others' expectations of you are the worst. They are usually unspoken, rarely uttered, never satisfied.

As people age they decelerate in conversation for a variety of reasons, few of them having much at all to do with wisdom, I think. 

That is my wisdom, I think.

I feel like my posts have been getting shorter lately.


But what if I called?

My darkest moods are often natural, brought on by forces beyond my control. But every now and then one comes along and just lands in my lap, usually a product of my own doing.

I filled out an interesting questionnaire last night. Perhaps when I wake up from a very long nap I will relay some of the questions, and my answers. There is not much humor in it, but I will see if I can eek some out here and there.

I have to drive into SF tomorrow. It will be nice to get away.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The known quality of Wusthof

After much negotiating with Amazon - monies being refunded and then automatically re-withdrawn, boxes getting shipped and then shipped back, phones calls, emails, conversations, etc. - we finally got the Christmas present that I bought for Rachel. The Wusthof Classic 8-piece set. I'm told that they are one of the standards of high quality knives, if not the accepted standard. There are, of course, nicer knives out there, but these are considered the most that any home would ever need in terms of quality. Amazon suggest that if treated properly they will last a lifetime. No mention in the ad about them occasionally being used to end a lifetime. Wouldn't that be an interesting side note on Amazon, "Famous murders committed with these very knives:" For their more crime-minded customers. 

One of my favorite Hitchcock movies is "Shadow of a Doubt." The father and his friend spend much of the film discussing how someone could go about committing a murder and how they might possibly be caught, while all the while his daughter is developing a deep infatuation with his murderer brother-in-law, her uncle, whom the others are completely oblivious to. She eventually marries the very able detective who solves the case, but not after a long suggestive tryst with the dangerous and fascinating Mr. Cain. And she, hardly past being a mere child...

The knives do seem nice. I don't know very much about cutlery. I had thought that when I picked them up I would immediately recognize their quality over that which I was used to. Nope, not really. I only know that it is preferable to have the blade made from tip to the back of the handle with a single piece of steel. Tang, it's called. I learned that on wikipedia a day or two before Christmas. They seem that they are a quality set, but I found no special bond of recognition with the workmanship that went into making them. They just seemed like knives to me. But I am a dolt about such things. The extent of my relationship with knives begins and ends with eating a steak in a usually civil manner. 

This is what my life has become... reporting on a recently purchased knife set. I had said about a year and a half ago that once I moved to Sonoma then this site would become a review page for power tools. I'm not far off. 

We also got a Toro leaf blower, rated #1 in its class. 

There is an interesting passage in an otherwise mediocre book concerning the recognition of quality:

"He noted that although you normally associate Quality with objects, feelings of Quality sometimes occur without any object at all.  This is what led him at first to think that maybe Quality is all subjective. But subjective pleasure wasn't what he meant by Quality either.  Quality decreases subjectivity. Quality takes you out of yourself, makes you aware of the world around you. Quality is opposed to subjectivity.

I don't know how much thought passed before he arrived at this, but eventually he saw that Quality couldn't be independently related with either the subject or the object but could be found only in the relationship of the two with each other.  It is the point at which subject and object meet.

That sounded warm.

Quality is not a thing. It is an event.


It is the event at which the subject becomes aware of the object.

And because without objects there can be no subject - because the objects create the subject's awareness of himself - Quality is the event at which awareness of both subjects and objects is made possible.


Now he knew it was coming.

This means Quality is not just the result of a collision between subject and object.  The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects, which are then mistakenly presumed to be the cause of Quality!

Now he had the whole damned evil dilemma by the throat.  The dilemma all the time had this unseen vile presumption in it, for which there was no logical justification, that Quality was the effect of subjects and objects.  It was not! He brought out his knife.

"The sum of quality," he wrote, "does not revolve around the subjects and objects of our existence.  It does not just passively illuminate them.  It is not subordinate to them in any way.  It has created them. They are subordinate to it!"

- Robert M. Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

For anybody that has ever read that book and was touched by the special love that the father had for his son, and the care and consideration he put into trying to explain his version of the world to him, there is an afterword to the story. The book was partially based on his actual experiences with his son. In a reprinting of the book, one which I picked up after having given my original copy away, he relays that his son was stabbed to death two weeks before his 23rd birthday. His son had left the Zen Center in SF and was walking along the Haight when there was an attempted robbery. When the two thieves found no money in his pockets they stabbed him in the chest. He wandered about half a block, leaning against a streetlamp, then collapsed, dying there on the street only minutes afterwards, alone and with no one helping him. 

Each heart has only a certain capacity for pain, beyond that I do not know how people go on living. Mostly out of the inertia that life is. Time passes, but we cease to be in it in any meaningful way any longer. But rather it is just the slipstream pulling us to where we are all bound to be going, agreed upon by life as confirmed by death. Some believe the course draws us all towards the ones we have lost, rejoined in some heavenly hereafter, others surmise that the passing of time pulls us gradually further from those lives and love lost, dimming the memories in the currents as the stream of time carries us all along, then away.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"... in love with Batman"

Here I sit, again. Up well before the dawn, awaiting the timer on the coffee machine. I am thankful to live again without an alarm in the morning. There is that. One less daily shock, announcing to the darkness that my life is not my own.

Rachel just woke up. The first thing out of her mouth a complaint about something that I was doing. There is that. I had a light on in the kitchen. It was too much for her, I guess. I was trying to wish Rhys a Good Morning. My happiness, an insult to creation; my love, a thing to squint at.

I was going to relay how much I like to sit here in the mornings and write, with the freedom of not having to rush out the door to get to work. But it's not true. Doing less hasn't given me any more time. Perhaps it's only that I haven't used it well. I'm never sure if time is a paradox or if I'm only happy when I'm afforded excess time to be lazy with, or both. 

I miss listening to music. There was, at least, that on the drive into SF and home. I suppose I could play some music as I sit here and write in the mornings, but there is also the occasional silence to consider. 

There are all the questions, a handful of which I have ceased to ask.


Should I get married? Should I be good? 
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood? 
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries 
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets 
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries 
and she going just so far and I understanding why 
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel! 
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone 
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky--

When she introduces me to her parents 
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie, 
should I sit knees together on their 3rd degree sofa 
and not ask Where's the bathroom? 
How else to feel other than I am, 
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-- 
O how terrible it must be for a young man 
seated before a family and the family thinking 
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou! 
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living? 
Should I tell them? Would they like me then? 
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter 
but we're gaining a son-- 
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends 
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded 
just waiting to get at the drinks and food-- 
And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated 
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife? 
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue! 
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back 
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha! 
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on--
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes 
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates! 
All streaming into cozy hotels 
All going to do the same thing tonight 
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen 
The lobby zombies they knowing what 
The whistling elevator man he knowing 
The winking bellboy knowing 
Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything! 
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye! 
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon! 
running rampant into those almost climatic suites 
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel! 
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls 
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of
bigamy a saint of divorce--

But I should get married I should be good 
How nice it'd be to come home to her 
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen 
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby 
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef 
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair 
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf! 
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married! 
So much to do! like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night 
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books 
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower 
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence 
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest 
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky! 
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him 
When are you going to stop people killing whales! 
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle 
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--

Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow 
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn, 
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me, 
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man 
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear not Roman coin soup-- 
O what would that be like! 
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus 
For a rattle bag of broken Bach records 
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib 
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib 
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father 
not rural not snow no quiet window 
but hot smelly New York City 
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls 
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job! 
And five nose running brats in love with Batman 
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired 
like those hag masses of the 18th century 
all wanting to come in and watch TV 
The landlord wants his rent 
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus 
Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-- 
No! I should not get married and I should never get married! 
But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman 
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves 
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other 
and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window 
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days 
No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream--

O but what about love? I forget love 
not that I am incapable of love 
it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-- 
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother 
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible 
And there maybe a girl now but she's already married 
And I don't like men and-- 
but there's got to be somebody! 
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married, 
all alone in furnished room with pee stains on my underwear 
and everybody else is married! All in the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible 
then marriage would be possible-- 
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover 
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

- Gregory Corso

Monday, January 21, 2013

Why do we call it the 3rd Monday of the month?

MLK Day, the second in a month. One apparently went unobserved. Either that or my iPhone calendar is lying to me. I have opted to work, for the extra money. Perhaps not the best way to honor Dr. King's legacy, as there are no known civil rights issues in California. They have all of that already figured out here, etc.  I could, I suppose, spend some time responding to a friend online that espoused some nonsense about why we can't call blacks "colored people" any more and now must call them "people of color," but there is no point to it and I have promised that I will spend less of my time fighting with people online. He claims it is a crime of "political correctness" alone. I have not taken the time to correct him on the other aspects of the power of language usage.

Even with my promise to myself, yesterday I found myself knee deep in an argument with an old friend of a friend. He claimed that no man chooses to have a baby, he's forced into it by a woman, or women. I disagreed and a ready-made argument was made. It got rather unpleasant between my friend and he. They have been buddies since childhood and I suppose a time had come to say some hurtful things, the flowing of years of mildly bad blood, I guess. It's no surprise that the more drunk of the two was the more aggressive and insulting.

All of this happened as I watched the SF 49er's beat a team from somewhere else. It was a good game and my bar tab came to $47 without tip, on beer alone. So, I must have enjoyed it. Several people brought in plates of bbq-styled food and I ate well all day long. The theme of the day's buffet was
"Bacon." I am estimating my total intake, in strips, to be around 17 for the day, nearly matching my beers. I believe that approaches the all-time record, if not just over. I just ate another now, a cold one from the refrigerator, a morning victory strip.

Rachel and I went to the civil right's museum in Memphis when we traveled through. The old Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was shot. It is arranged powerfully, telling the story of civil rights in a timeline that leads you up to the room he was staying in, the tour ending with the door that he walked through when he was shot. This might sound a little bit corny, but I assure you the story that it told, and the way in which it was told, leading up to that moment, was a powerful way of considering American history, and one that everybody should experience if they are given the chance to do so when traveling through Memphis. Nobody, I hope, chooses to live there in Memphis, etc.

I did date, for an extended weekend, a troubled girl that lived in the very gentrified apartments just opposite the museum. As she was driving me to the airport, probably around Tuesday afternoon, I took note of the museum, being right behind her house. She went on to explain to me that slaves were not treated all that badly. I mean, "Why would you mistreat your own property?" She claimed her father was the bass player for Elvis and it must have been true, she had several framed pictures in her place of her dad on stage with him. When I got back home to New York she called and offered me an enormous sum of money to take a train trip with her halfway across the country. She was delivering a suitcase of danger somewhere else. Trains are the safest way, by far, for accomplishing such a task. I declined. She then came to NYC and stalked me for a while. I eventually had to tell her that I thought she was a horrible human and I wanted no part in it, or her.

That's my uplifting "politically correct" MLK Day story.  I realize that I didn't get to address why some people are able to turn any phrase into something derogatory when left to their own devices, but most of you probably already know that....


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our town

Sunday. A big football game today. San Francisco plays another team from another city. It is our mini-super-bowl if they lose. If they win then there will be an even bigger game against some other city two weeks distant. I will sit at the pub for part of the afternoon, milking my beers at first, then the other, reveling with my region. Maybe there will be a special cheer to learn, unique to the location, something implying a mild threat and likewise used as a denunciation of the weakness of others. Perhaps that's only a college thing, where people learn to doubt everything except themselves. 

We had some friends visit from SF yesterday; they are also recent transplants from NYC. We engaged in the obligatory conversation of differences, of which there are many between the two cities. Telling stories of varied perceptions and misperceptions, of the ubiquitous passive-aggression that is partially masked by a sense of spirituality in one place and revered as urban ambition in the other. We had a late lunch and several glasses of wine each. As the afternoon unrolled the comparisons of coasts gave way to the relaying of the silliness of mutual friends, the iphone trading of mildly obscene pictures, then the goodbyes. 

There is little to report today, a suburban day with modest suburban tasks. We will go buy a shelf in a few hours, once the store opens. We will lounge and loaf, reading and napping at will. We will try to pretend that the passing of the weekend, like the recurring eye of a perpetual storm, is our reward for having worked, having braved. Later, I will go to cheer at a television with strangers, gladly insisting once again on the supremacy of locale. 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

What, me worry?

What other possible explanation can there be? I must be bored out of my mind; arguing with strangers online. I'll admit that I have been a bit vampirish, using others to cull opinions not my own, often only to denounce them. Though there has been a distinct sense of having fed on them, having been weakened by proximity. To what eventual use? I go back and look at a post from a few days ago, one in which I was making others' assertions for them, and it is all gibberish; mostly gibberish.

There is a simple solution. It will require some minor will power. My eye must stop glancing at the various open tabs on my browser, checking to see if there has been a response. I must stop caring about that which I pretend to care. I have been pretending for so long that I have become consumed with it. I must log off and leave it. Perhaps I have only been lonely. Nobody warns you that having a child can produce such immense isolation. I am needed more, but cared about less. 

My new mantra: read more, socialize less, and write.   

Not the most beautiful of mantras, but it's mine.

I had been reading about 100 pages a day only a few weeks back. I don't know what happened. Well, I do know what happened... I got sucked in by the poltergeist that is my computer. 

I have been paying my gym membership for two months now without using it once. Ok, I went once, 15 minutes before closing. But you get the idea. At my age the body begins to feminize when not forced to retain its strength. My estrogen levels have slowly increased until I have a nice juicy vagina between my legs and two hairy breasts sagging towards my belly. They have their charms, I suppose. But I undress with less and less confidence when Rachel is in the room. I'm afraid she's going to challenge me to a pillow fight, and I'll lose. I'll wake up wearing her panties and a grass hula skirt, wondering how I got tied up, then remembering it all: the naked limbo dance competition, the shameful loss, her immoderation in victory. 

There is a strange feeling associated with going in to pay my gym membership when they haven't seen me in so long, and I have had a few beers. I stop by the water fountain and hydrate, maybe take a piss, etc. Let them charge my card and try to make small talk. "Ah, I see the treadmill's fixed. Cool, that must be useful."

What the fuck is wrong with me? Rachel and I were having sex and it felt too much like doing a pushup so I laid by her side, then fell asleep. When I awoke one of my titties was getting crushed underneath the weight of me. I was sore but not worried, though a mammogram at my age makes sense. I don't even have a gynecologist. 

Should I be worried?


Friday, January 18, 2013

Thanks, God!

I awoke thinking of exile - dreaming in distance, visions of absentia - the various recurring conditions of banishment. Time forcing us all further and further from what we came to know as our lives. The universe punishes the nostalgic by giving them a small taste of glory early in a long life.

I tossed and turned, almost praying to myself for inner stillness, wishing for the return exile of sweet sleep. It never came. 

I checked my phone, a friend had posted a quotation by Zachary Stein in which the author was comparing Jewish and Irish despair. My friend included the Irish portion:

"The Irishman's complaint lies not with his circumstances, which might be rendered brilliant by labor or luck, but with the injustice of existence itself. Death! How could a benevolent Deity gift us with life, only to set such a cruel term upon it? Irish despair knows no remedy. Money can't help. Love fades. Fame is fleeting. The only cures are booze and sentiment. That's why the Irish are such noble drunks and glorious poets. No one sings like the Irish or mourns like them. Why? Because they're angels imprisoned in vessels of flesh." 

I question the nobility in drunkenness portion, it is more of a persistence... and outright disagree that sentiment is the stuff that produces great poets - though in truth the claim was "glorious," which partially explains the misconception - but there you have it: my morning wisdom, handed to me freely from the underground airwaves of the internet.

Of the two reasons that I used to do drugs only one of them holds any magic for me any more: the occasional sense of transcendence. I thought of smoking pot last night. It is not only legal in California now, it is soon to be mandatory, if certain groups have their way. But I have felt somewhat blasé about it for many years now - smoking it only occasionally, enjoying it slightly less. It has become a thing that I almost exclusively do alone, which is the very opposite of my other reason for doing drugs. 

It is strange what time does to the sense of oneself. I put on an album that I used to listen to many years ago: Bobby Bland's "Two Steps from the Blues." One of the great Chicago electric blues albums of all time, 1961. It occurred to me to smoke some pot while listening to it, but then I forgot, the album ended. I miss the sound of a record turning on a player at its completion, looping in scratched silence.

Time passes, everything changes, albums don't sound the same as they used to, because they can't.

In a few hours I will have to log on to a computer and work, communicating with young others, almost exclusively through Skype. Engaging in a form of abbreviated text-speech that is designed to both say and mean less, though to be used with greater frequency, as if that somehow bridges the gap. It is a form of evasion, these flexible little letters that never draw laughs, but rather the occasional smile. Every so often I will show my age in language. It will almost always draw complete airwave silence; my words being only a lost relic blundered in from some foreign distance. Wandering phrases popped free from a breathing time capsule, filled with dust, dirt, and mold. Some stranger, always entering strange new lands...

Thank god it's not Wednesday any more.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The terror

I was up all night, then finally fell asleep around 3am, only to wake up late. So, here is the piece I decided not to post yesterday. I guess I really don't have anything left. Read this mostly as a piece of fiction, the author temporarily having adopted the voices in his head:

I'm guilty of it also, claiming that, "I'm no fan of Obama" but being secretly pleased that he beat Romney, believing the world will be a little bit better with him in office. Now, I wonder... I got into yet another online argument with a friend concerning the possibility of Obama using an executive order to enact some sort of gun control law.

We have drone strikes against American citizens, we have a national surveillance program that few in the press are able to get any answers on, we have the military assisting in law enforcement within our borders, we have an act that was signed into law which gives the president the power to imprison citizens without trial, the NSA is building a data center in the desert - it's stated purpose is to collect information on the online actions of citizens, and now we have a president threatening to enact gun control laws without Congress' participation or approval....

What do we have to worry about?

The changes have been both covert and overt, but they are happening on every level of government. The fear of being entangled or lost in the machination of secrecy will only continue to grow and grow. 

I have mentioned to a few people that the right to buy and own a gun is a constitutionally guaranteed right, it is probably not going anywhere anytime soon. They have responded by calling me paranoid. This strikes me as more than just a little bit odd. How, by mentioning the legal framework of our country, am I being paranoid? The things that I listed above, the problems we have with authority overreach, are very real. I am not imagining these things into the press. There are many that are becoming concerned with the overall secrecy of the government and the shifting towards a culture and climate and fear and subversion.

To mention this is not to become it, quite the opposite actually. To be afraid to discuss it openly - as many are - that is the real issue, the fear.

The mechanisms which drive our country are becoming increasingly hidden, both in economics and in enforcement. The alternate shift of gradually silencing the people is also an advancing initiative. That is something vital to be aware of, and to speak openly about, as some are. Why is the most powerful office in our country not open to questioning by anything other than corporate and mostly complicit news agencies? Why isn't there a periodic event in which respected independent reporters also get a chance to ask questions and hold our government and its leaders to task?

The best way to protect speech is by the use of it, exercised most boldly in the free expression of ideas. Though the random use of "hot" words can be helpful also, if done by all. Since this government has chosen to go to war with words, it makes resisting their spying all the easier: just use words, use all of them that you possibly can. They needn't even be sensibly ordered. If they're looking for code, then codify your usage. It's easy, note my new signature file below....

Never use commas : kill rape holy must die bomb secret gunpowder plane airport guns mission never again use commas this is our moment patriots must rise inflict terror import drugs sell cheap state's rights fatwa holy war crusade to purge the Washington act against that which insults your soul nobody has the right to deny this act of patriotism Palin should be shouted at before she eats carcass Obama is the president of state power congress should be shorter do this in remembrance of it being too late already we must act police are too powerful words are rebellious (your name here) (your friend's names here) (accomplices here) drug dealers help me sometimes the troops support the people the truth needs more blood help help help act now everything must go vigilant virgins escape taxes with the 2nd amendment praise be to elementary schools have been attacked this handle is fucked for vandals the pimp hasn't worked since Jesus stole his sandals.

Or something along those lines.

All electronic communications can now be monitored without reason or a warrant. The only way to dismantle this type of misuse of power is by flooding it. You have the right to use all of the words above, in almost any order you choose. What would make this more effective is if you changed the order of the words, or wrote your own, but included them in every electronic communication you sent. If even a small fraction of the country, say 1 in 100, adopted this as their signature file it would render searching for these words almost meaningless. If 10% did so then it would effectively shut down any overarching surveillance program, making it nearly impossible to monitor and decipher that much data in any meaningful sense. They would be literally overwhelmed with words that they had "caught" in the open air.

I have just about had my fill of my conspiracy theorist friends. It is no longer a conspiracy, it is open fact. The United States government is actively moving towards becoming the most powerful and resourceful police state in the history of humanity. That's not paranoia, it's openly occurring. The difference is that those in place of power are becoming less and less ashamed of its happening.

I have heard the whispers, for years: Don't do this, oh, Don't say that, We're on the phone, Shhhhhhh.... The bywords, and by-actions of fear. Effective fear.

Stockpiling guns might not prevent governmental tyranny, using language will. That is why there is a 1st amendment, dear comrades.

I have just tired of hearing the pale, limp reactions of those who are "tuned in to the youtube truth"... Bullshit. Put your mouth where your fear is, stop acting like a bunch of frightened hippies and actively resist tyranny. The time has come... (add that to your signature file)

God is great, etc. (that too)

Our current president put a supposed stop to public torture, but he seemingly has no qualms executing American citizens without a warrant, or trial, even children. I mentioned this online the other day and somebody actually responded with, "Did I miss something? They were associated with Al Qaeda?"

Holy Christ.... What the fuck? Maybe god isn't great, then.

When did this sort of behavior become acceptable as a form of government policy? What civics class teaches this version of The Constitution? 

The true monstrosity of hypocrisy: "Support The Troops..." How, really? By being complicit in active campaigns against freedom and basic human rights? What complete and total nonsense. If you want to support the troops then start by expressing your freedoms, not handing them away as if they're a danger to anybody bold enough to use them.

The war against terrorism is an open lie. The terror, however, is not.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nothing left for me

I sat down and wrote a lengthy screed this morning but didn't publish it as it wasn't quite finished. Lucky me. I went back and read it just now as I finished work and it occurred to me that I've been talking to way too many pro-gun fanatics. I am beginning to sound just like them, screeching paranoia and many unfounded fears. 

Even the phrase "unfounded fears" sounds like "founding fathers" to my ears. That is the effect that they've had on me. 

It is hilarious how certain people describe their "founding fathers," always to somehow vaguely resemble them, as if they are quite like-minded and would have probably been great pals, drinking and hunting buddies even...

For work I type all day long, writing out sometimes complicated explanations of complex problems, and their equally intricate solutions. With some people I have to write the same thing in a slightly different way two or even three times before they begin to understand. I assure you that it is not always my lack of clarity that causes this, though certainly I'm willing to add the occasional flourish, which can be distracting. 

So, now, at the end of my day. I have nothing. 

Maybe when I get back from the pub there will be something left of me.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"laughing and the contrary"

"As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtains on the boards and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling women, knaves picking pockets, policemen on the lookout, quacks (other quacks, plague take them!), bawling in front of their booths, and yokels looking up at the tinselled dancers and poor old rogue tumblers, while the light fingered folk are operating on their pockets behind. Yes, this is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy. Look at the faces of the actors and buffoons when they come off from their business; and Tom Fool washing the paint off his cheeks before he sits down to dinner with his wife and his little Jack Puddings behind the canvas. The curtain will be up presently, and he will be turning over head and heels, and crying, "How are you?"
     A man with a reflective turn of mind, walking through an exhibition of this sort, will not be oppressed, I take it, by his own or other peoples's hilarity." 

- William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair


Monday, January 14, 2013

Chicks and Guns

(Terry Richardson)

I should go to the gym. It is 8 minutes until 6, when the gym opens. I start work at 7. Maybe I'll go after work. I went yesterday and started to workout. A guy came by and said, "We close at 3 on Sunday." It was 2:45.  At least I did 15 minutes of cardio. It is something. I went to buy a new pair of jeans and nothing fit right. I am currently between sizes. Between fat-ass and super fat-ass, that is. 

Last night Rachel and I got in a disagreement about guns. This is not surprising at all considering my weight and the amount of gun talk that I've been having with people lately. I kept looking at articles and pieces from both sides of the argument and was amazed at how their "stats" never lined up, yet there was relative consistency coming from each side. They all seemed to have agreed on what lie they were going to propose and defend. Looked at in a certain way they may both even be citing the same stats, just reading them very differently. I haven't been able to find where they're all getting their information and I have somewhat bored of reading about the subject.

There has been talk of a presidential executive order being invoked to help quell all of this crazed gun purchasing. That has usually worked out for the people, when the king decides to protect by taking away everybody' guns. I'm not even sure that I would want to own a gun. But I'm absolutely certain I don't want the government, or the president in particular, deciding it for the people without some political consensus. As well-meaning as that approach might be it is not the right one. I'd say that he's trampled the Constitution enough already. Governments are most dangerous when they are helping you, and what could possibly be more helpful than ours protecting us all....

Oh well, on to other subjects, for now. If America really does explode into Greek-like economic violence then those 300 million guns distributed throughout the nation will turn out to be very useful, for a few.

I just noticed that my old buddy Selavy has shut down his site. I wonder what he's up to now. He's quite crafty, I'm sure he'll figure something out. 

I have run out of images to use for this site. I don't take enough pictures in my daily life, so I don't have a reservoir to choose from. I'm sure that many readers have tired of images of Rhys, especially when they have no bearing on the piece whatsoever. I really shouldn't use pieces freely sourced from the internet. Not wanting to be juggling multiple lawsuits has made it difficult for me. I suspect that I'll be getting served here in the next few days, at least a cease-and-desist, just for good measure.  

Ah, the life of a poor online artist... what am I to think, what am I to do... being neither a Hopper and even less a Balthus....

(Terry Richardson)


Sunday, January 13, 2013


Rhys is sick. Rachel is sick. The Norovirus. I will get it next. Rhys likes to put his hand in my mouth and pull on my teeth. So, it is only a matter of minutes before my abdomen explodes in chaotic mudslide, matched by volcanic vomiting. We'll see. It has not looked to be very much fun so far. I bought a bottle of whiskey yesterday to ward off any evil spirits. I'm certain that whiskey is the only defense we have against this dreaded affliction. 

I have been bathing in the stuff.

I'm involved in an interesting conversation online with a friend. He is a gun advocate and he raised the question of whether or not a parent should be allowed to drink when looking after a child, whether at home or out at a restaurant. Why does a responsible gun owner have to live by a different set of rules than a parent. An accident involving a child - and we must assume that there are tens of thousands a year that go unreported - is a common social occurrence. The safety of the child is the parent's responsibility and they are impairing their senses, and possibly rendering themselves incapable of driving, when they might be needed the most. If not actually creating an unsafe environment with or without driving.

There are people who quite intentionally get drunk, then intentionally beat their children to death. Would they have done it when sober? Perhaps not, but does it make a difference? A friend was recently here, relaying some of the difficulties he experienced while working as an emergency room physician in Baltimore. I had to have him stop telling the stories, even though I was the one who had inquired. I don't think the average person thinks about examining x-rays of a child's battered skull, and the emotional difficulty that represents. Sure, these are extreme cases, but so are spree-killings. If we are to treat gun owners as if they are potential spree-killers then why do we ignore that social drinking occasionally results in infanticide. 

It's an interesting position. He and I spoke through some of the obvious differences, but the point he makes is a good one. Why are gun owners treated as if they have already committed a crime while parents are routinely pre-forgiven of mistakes that potentially endanger a child much more. How many children die each year because a parent could not respond in time, or adequately? Only in extreme cases are they prosecuted for negligence. Yet a gun owner is treated as negligent without any evidence supporting the claim, as if they are all just a killing waiting to happen. They are treated as potentially negligent, or worse, well in advance of a mistake, rather than afterwards. The opposite is true in parenting. People emphasize caution but then encourage and allow potentially fatal irresponsibility. There's an inherent hypocrisy there. 

Yes, I understand that a gun represents a greater danger than a glass of wine, to most people. But do the figures hold? Do we even have accurate figures on how many lives are lost through excessive or casual drinking? Not just drinking and driving, but all instances. Why isn't drinking more regulated? The state could issue i.d. cards that kept track of how many drinks you've had at various bars and restaurants. At a certain point, you're cut off. That would not be that dissimilar from regulating guns, or more precisely, bullets, as some have suggested. You would have to put your card in the car before it would start. How many lives would that save? And driving is not a even a guaranteed right, it is a privilege.

When an accident occurs at home and a child is brought to the emergency room are the parents tested for alcohol? Shouldn't they be? If what the anti-gun side says is accurate, that we need greater restrictions on an epidemic problem, to protect children. Then why is there this massive oversight in another area? Is routine negligence any less damaging? What if the media only reported on the deaths of children every couple of months. But at that time they reported that there had been hundreds, if not thousands, as if they all happened in one place, at one time. If they profiled the parents responsible and put them in the spotlight they way they do killers. What effect would that then have?

I don't suspect the overall social result would be a very good one. People would overreact to the problem, denouncing the wicked, rather than responding to it with much personal accountability. That seems to be what many are doing now with guns, treating law abiding and responsible people as if they're just one dose of Prozac shy of a drive-through shooting at a school. 

I'm just asking questions out loud here, and relaying the points made by someone else, and probably doing so poorly, adding a few points of my own. But there's something there. If more spree-killers were reported to have been drunk would it have caused a national moratorium on alcohol, or would we just accept it as the vicious act of an unhinged drunk? 

Well, as you can see, I'm right on the verge of solving America's problem, as usual. I want to make it clear that I am not arguing for prohibition, just pointing out that prohibition doesn't exactly work.

It is, after all, Sunday. The Lord's etc.