Friday, January 31, 2014

This feeling was not temporary

Her purse strap caught the corner of the railing. There was a post with a raised guard meant to repel birds from that spot, to keep them from perching and becoming a nuisance. She was rushing to the station. There were still several minutes before her train departed, she had wanted to check one of the shops. She knew precisely what it was that she wanted. The only question was time.

People gathered together loosely around monitors that were also clustered together and suspended from the terminal ceiling. They were pointing and staring, some of them nodding, verifying and reverifying to themselves or others. She checked her departure gate and time. All was as it should be. Everything was in the place that one would expect it to be.

When she entered the shop she turned from memory to her right, then carefully scanned the last aisle leading towards the back of the store. She walked quickly. The shelves were only waist high. At first this seemed stylish and clean, but was more likely part of an anti-theft system. She walked as far from the side of the aisle as she comfortably could, glancing downwards, looking where she expected it to be.

She did not need it, she told herself. If they were out of stock then she would be fine. She only wanted it, and had wanted it for some time.  She was not nervous. This feeling was not temporary. It did not come and go. She was just busy. Always.

She was very busy.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

… separated by canals, linked by bridges

A sleepless man needed to get away. He rolled around until his back hurt. He got out of bed. 

A vacation, a trip. He had not had a holiday in well over a year. There was no reason for it. Well, there was a reason for it, there had been. He preferred not to think of that. He thought of Venice but New York was far more likely. He was waiting for news to arrive in the post. From that, the necessary plans would be made, flights purchased, time off requested.

He would request his future time from one who does yet not possess it, and never would, as if... He preferred not to think of that.

One thing had happened, then another, and then the decisions. It was often that way. Decisions were forced upon him. He found himself negotiating others' wishes, wants and needs. The mid-life mistake of hoping to be useful, suddenly, and without much practice at it. He had ceased to be a traveler, a wanderer. It was around this time that he changed his name, started writing in the third person, went underground.

He went to the kitchen and drank a cold coffee and peeled a banana that he did not feel like eating. There sat the dynamite.

He came back to where he had been sitting and asked if the novelty of writing in the third person had already worn off. It was not only that he was writing in the third person, he told himself, but that he was still writing about himself. He needed to invent. He was exhausted, spending ten or more hours each day at work, then the commute there and back, the city buses. 

Each evening he told himself that he would do something, anything. Instead, each evening he would lie on the floor of his friend's apartment and read. It was all that would sustain him but it was not enough. It was something, but barely. He would read almost anything.

It was dangerous to write of others. He knew that. One often writes poorly about that which is closest to them, the thing they love. Not always, but often. He had tried. The merest suggestion becomes an enormity, because it is a suggestion. He had to get away from it. His life had become too large, too crowded with details. 

He told himself that what he was doing - this daily reading and writing - was therapeutic. He thought of all the healthy writers he knew. None. None that were worth reading. He had tried to read people that were "positive", the spiritualizers. The Eckhart Tolles and Deepak Chopras of the world. It was useless. Only a paragraph here or there was even tolerable, and only when excerpted carefully from the endless morass of a full book. Anything more was insufferable. They all put forth for sale a farrago of good intentions. Trite life lessons, nothing more. It felt dishonest, a scam.

The same seemed not to be true for other readers. They could devour publication after publication of that stuff. Their bookshelves were filled with positivity, sagging with the burdens of affirmation. They never seemed to achieve their satiation point. There is no end to the seminar of life, they seemed to say. The goal of buoyancy is its continuance. Victory consists in not being defeated. Happiness is not being sad. Etc.

What others could endlessly re-read, and even memorize, he struggled to make it through. It felt very dishonest, a vapid scam that seemed far too true for some, desperately so. The fact that it was both incomplete and dishonest seemed to be the very thing that appealed to many. He preferred not to think, about such things.

There was no metaphor that these writers would not exploit, or reduce to simile when possible, if given the time - and time is what they planned on having, and keeping. They all lived to be about a hundred years old, or more. They would instruct their readers on the proper use of their own time: mimicking the spiritual lessons of the writer, giving them keys to understanding that would shield them through the misfortunes of time poorly spent, experiences suffered, the negativity of others endured. It was all there, even a defense against sleeplessness.

He had always wanted to go to Venice. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

To shoplift one must first be alive

He had been writing in the traditional way, solitarily, for exactly four years. Nearly exact. He was approximately truthful.

It had been four years and one day.

He sat at his desk in the early morning hours and whittled the words away, sipping cold coffee. He would toss away the source wood, placing only the remaining pieces into the machine, the little chips that had accumulated around him, cluttering his life. The remainder.

No, that was not what he was doing, at all.

He was squeezing sentences out of his own aether.

No, that was not it, either.

He was tired and relied far too heavily on familiar devices. If he was almost honest with himself then he resigned himself to being what he was: a bored thief.

Some mornings he would spill his cold coffee and curse aloud, though quietly, now only to himself.  There was diminishing pleasure in cursing to himself, so he kept the volume of it down. There were some things that he had not been able to pinch. Too many, really. But he kept his eyes open, trained to note the corners, the cameras, the door.

The world was not going to be shaped at all that day, nor diminished.

Though a little sliver might still be lifted, here or there. Some small, momentary joy may have been snatched from the sphere, trapped there in an aging mason, the memory of fireflies, peered in at with wonder and interim delight. Held up against this world, an imaginary globe rolling towards spring, the crystal ball that tells a story of the slowing past, the recurring yet to be.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Like a river that don't know where it's flowin' 
I took a wrong turn and I just kept goin'

-Springsteen, Hungry Heart

Some songs are like rivers. 

I asked the question yesterday and could think only of nothing, no answer came. 

Then, I heard a familiar old country song and it felt as if I was drifting, being pulled lazily downstream. Trees might have been hanging over, wandering past. It would have been so easy to drown in it all. So I did. I breathed in deeply and sunk to the bottom. I wanted to stay there but it would not let me. It only ever allows a return visit.

Hank Williams said that there are only two types of music, one to live to and one to die to. That's at least as true as anything else that's ever been said of it. 

I have too many things inside of me, too many demons, I think. 

Too much vacancy, also. 

Empty spaces where the angels once were squatters.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Is there anything like a river?

I miss the summer, the wild blackberries that grow along the bank. I miss the river, noting the silence of its absence; the nearly imperceptible sound of its passing; sleeping with the windows open.

It is only silence, I tell myself, nothing more.

A lost soul might believe that a winding road is like a river.

The wind might resemble it, unseen, perhaps in some places along the valley, moving just above the river.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Masculism for beginners (or, how to grow hair in your ears)

Somebody told me that I "don't look 45" the other day.

Well, flattering, I thought. They very well could have meant that I look 50. They never clarified.

It was a woman, so I expressed my appreciation for this presumed compliment by getting an erection.

No, no. I did not. But now I wish that I would have, sort of, minus the time in jail, of course.

Would that have been wrong? Is it even illegal to have an erection, inside your pants? I'm fuzzy on the laws governing that behavior. Arresting a man with an erection... well, you might have a fight on your hands there, legally.

If an erection is part of the last stages of expressing and completing attraction then should they not also be used as part of the breakup process? Common sense would dictate that they would, as an important indicator of sorts.

I don't understand how all of these things work, and don't pretend to. There have been rules posted on the walls at some of the restaurant kitchens that I've walked through, but they don't cover all of the pertinent areas. There are situations that we are left to navigate on our own, without much guidance.

The only message that I can glean from any of this is that maleness itself is wrong and shameful. Half of you might agree with this sentiment. But it does not require much imagination to extend it to femaleness also. There are a few known behaviors of the pudenda-mess that would be similarly frowned upon if openly discussed. We have not always been so advanced on such matters.

I have been told by many, many people that "moist" is their least favorite word in the English language.

Men need their own talk show, where the penis can attain its rightful place in the contemporary conversation, naturally. We can affirm it to one another, discuss its feelings, its needs, what makes it feel afraid, what it looks for in a relationship, why it loves the game peek-a-boo so much... the many burdens of potency and dominance, its place in the workplace, the glass window, etc. A place where we can allow its many mysteries to penetrate the veneer of...

Or: A triumph for male sexuality, a refuge from shame! A phalanx of phallus.

Well, we are left to always wonder, but then punished for ever drawing our own conclusions.

So, anyway, I had a quick selfie, to verify my age. It's amazing what you can do to a human face in iPhoto. (I know, I know... Lightroom is the app to use. I was in a hurry and it was only for this site.... Also, I only have Aperture, which is iPhoto with lots of extra features. The processing algorithms are pixel-identical on some of them.)

The settings of Definition and Saturation either flatter or insult the sensibilities. The above and below examples show the basics of those differences.

I should probably learn more about digital photo-editing before discussing it. I will be back to this subject.

Do not think that I am being too self-involved here, this is the lord's day. I find this exercise in vanity quite restful. Earlier I downloaded all of my Facebook data - this can be done now, if you'd like it to be searchable, correctable, etc. So, do not think a self-made pic is as absorbed as I can possibly be.

It is barely the surface.

The reason that I am so giving of myself is because I honestly believe there is something of worth to give. It is narcissistic in a benevolent way. I like to pair my weaknesses. They are trained to use The Buddy System, etc.

Speaking of weakness:

The other day I was at the gym, in the city. It is associated with a college campus so sensibly there were a lot of kids there. When I say kids I mean that they were young adults. They seem like kids, to me, miniature versions of larger mistakes.

Soon-to-be catastrophes.

None of their bodies sounded like old houses in the wind when exercising. Mine popped like a nice campfire, there was a nearly perpetual crackling, with occasional hissing, dangerous to be near, haunted by the smell of something's demise, soon to be carbon.

But they are all enormously self-admiring, these kids. They flock towards the mirrors, adorned with brightly colored dumbbells that match their skin-tight outfits as if by design, then they will pose and strut and swan, presumably for themselves as they show open agitation towards anybody noticing this behavior or inadvertently blocking it to actually workout. None of the young girls would make mirror-eye-contact with me, though I strained and strained for it.

I will wear my glasses next time.

Their vanity and un-assuredness combine to create and feed a monstrous arrogance, but of the type that can't quite walk on its own yet. It is like witnessing the first steps of celebrity. None of them are working out very hard, none of them are sweating. They are all jus' chillin', you know... maxin' and relaxin'... but they look good. They are all trapped in these enviable bodies. You know, their skin is tight and flexible, as if they are all made of moisturizing lotion; they are thin without effort, they rebound from injuries with time still left over. All of that.

Somewhat conversely, I looked as if I had been soaked in hydrogen peroxide for about a decade. Perhaps I have just been in the evolutionary tub too long, my traits are uncovered, dangerously exposed in some spots. The skin has drawn up to give my hands a better grip when hunting in the river, but the effect has extended to my entire body, a savage balance. I am suspended between being water-logged and dehydrated.

What I hope to catch with my growing crow's claws, well, I'll never know.

When they say that a digital photo image is RAW, they are not lying. It really does capture my true radiometric essence.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Many crave it

(The classic kid's "bowl cut")

Well, yesterday's post received a lot of love. We have some real rape fans around here.

No, I should not kid. Many have been raped. I know.

A friend pointed out to me that the post was one of the least ironic that I've recently written. Parts of it, anyway.

Irony, me? I didn't even know what the word meant until a hipster carefully explained it to me. They are so good at that, knowing things.

Cato had wanted me to stay in the city last night, to take him out to dinner. To "celebrate," he said. Precisely what it is he hoped to celebrate is still unclear.

Yesterday morning he explained his workout intentions, and choice to abstain from steroids: "But I don't want to bulk up at the gym. When I get older I'll look like you."

He helps me adjust my self-image in this way. I jogged to the gym after he left, thinking about this.

Shit! I thought. Shit, shit. Why wasn't I born with a hipster's body? I want to wear skinny-jeans....

Though, I do need to lose some weight. I tried to get into my cardio warmup but I couldn't concentrate. The exercise machines were arranged facing these large, wall-length mirrors. There I was.

Don't cry! Not at the gym.

I maintained composure, but only just barely.

I'm starting to believe the recurring claims of his many ex-girlfriends. Borderline cruelty was the claim, if I remember correctly.

No, I kid again.

Cato suffers my jokes, I must do the same.

Let me see if I have any seriousness to write about this morning.

Nope, I gave it a few minutes and nothing appeared before me.

I'll go get some coffee and try again in a few minutes....


Pain is serious. Let me write about that.

Pain can also the temporary relief from it. It is what makes addicts of people. Pain is almost better, more manageable, when it is mild but permanent. The mind begrudgingly adjusts, endures for the sake of enduring. Though it always knows that it is doing so, on some unforgiving level. There is only so much it can take, or be asked to.

The relief from pain, particularly at the effective functioning of an analgesic, appears in the central nervous system as a lucid moment, and lights with it the imminent return of the other. The mind scrambles to manage, to avoid.

It is not possible to outrun darkness, shadows will make shadows of us all.

Drug addicts are acutely aware of the return of pain. It is almost all they talk about. That, and the sensation of rising above it, or evading it below. It is the misery of daily living which seems to plague them most completely. I know.

Love can serve as a temporary relief from pain. Many crave it for this, and other reasons.

Yesterday, as I was driving back to the valley from the city, there appeared in the sky to my left the most wonderful sunset I had ever seen. Truly. Mark the date. Of 45 years, this was the one. The pictures below can not convey how real and unreal and marvelous it truly was, how it almost imperceptibly changed shapes and colors as it passed, as an enormous emotion. Music for the eyes.

It was the type thing that makes one wish to believe in a god, the earth's swelling. It was both majestic and temporary, untouchable by human hands. The cosmos' wonderful way of insisting upon the fleeting. A fantastic reminder that all beauty is loss, all change is permanent.

I was a danger to the cars and people around me as I fumbled to free my camera. Since I could not leave with it I wanted to look, to stare at it as much as possible, for as long as I could. I was ashamed to blink, knowing that it would all end too soon, and right in front of me.

To steal the eyes of god.

To give you an idea, the two pictures above were only taken about three minutes apart from one another, through a tinted window, at 65+ mph. Though in honesty, I had stopped down from f2 to f8 between them. I was just fumbling to capture some small part of it before my likely death, at my own remaining driving hand. The one side of the sky was changing almost as quickly as a wave that was breaking along the beach, already receding, disappearing into itself.

I texted Rachel to tell her about it, to show Rhys if she could.

She said that he had just pointed at it and said, "Pretty!"


Friday, January 24, 2014

Why rape is funny

I don't know anything about Justin Bieber, except that people hate him. They use him as a sort of anti-definition of themselves, a punchline of externalized derision. Whatever he represents, some people desperately need you to understand that they most certainly do not. I doubt that I would be a fan of his music, much, if I ever bothered to listen to it. 

But he does seem to have captured the essence of the American dream, or at least part of it. He is self-made, somewhat; recognized and raised to the attention of others through his own online creations, which appear to be a highly collaborative endeavor; a sensation that arose naturally from his own ambitions; achieved all of this through the democracy of the open market; and has attained astonishing material wealth as his reward. 

Etc., etc.

Yet he must be immensely threatening to grown men. This is often the case when pubescent girls swoon over a young "star" like him. It must be a very, very serious threat to their sense of masculinity to have boys rewarded for being cute. It seems to greatly anger men who also wish to be deemed cute by 12 yr old girls. For what purpose we are left to wonder, though few ever seem to. It's the dishonesty of intent which repulses me most. If these men could admit that they are threatened by Bieber - and attracted to and frustrated by young girls - then I would like them much more. But they can't.

Rarely before have I seen such an outpouring of sexual hatred as I did yesterday, wishing delicious rape upon him during his short visit to jail. 

If only….

One self-identified "Christian" joked about how much he "loves karma," suggesting that this 19 year old boy deserves to be prison raped, where his bodyguards can't protect him. I'm not sure if karma would come into play there, but maybe, somehow.... At least, I don't know what Bieber has done that would invite such a thing. Annoying, perhaps yes. Prison rape as a punishment for this, difficult to fathom. 

This good fellow saw no harm at all in feminizing Bieber, which makes his Christian rape fantasies "safe," I guess, the way god intended. Homosexual rape must be an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. That's why Mel Gibson was partially immune to it when he went off the rails one warm Californian night. 

Only faggots would make rape jokes about Mad Max. Faggots, or liberals.

This same Christian went on to defend Taylor Swift, claiming that she has "values."  I asked what kind of values, and did he mean ones like "karma rape"? It did not seem to occur to him that wishing rape upon a young boy might also incite the forces of karma to act accordingly, and in a reactionary fashion, towards him, if such a thing were even possible.

He must have prayed with his pastor about it. 

Now, I'll admit that one of the funniest things I've ever seen online was Bieber getting hit in the head with a water bottle. But I found this funny for precisely the same reason that prison rape is not, because it was harmless. I watched it hundreds of times, much to the dismay of my overnight co-workers at the time. Each time that the bottle hits, whether in slow motion or not, I am as jolly as Santa, but cackling like the Devil on charcoal.

Perhaps if more men got to witness actual violent male-on-male rape then they might be less inclined to joke about it, or wish it freely upon others. I don't know. I joke about it too, sometimes. But something always catches me, like a hook, when I do. I start to envision the reality of it, where it becomes markedly less funny. It's as if I can hear the echoed begging in the distance, calling from the darkness. 

I mean, if we're going to joke about rape then let's go all the way with it. Implication and innuendo are for fucking pansies. We're no Justin Bieber fans on this blog, mother-fucker!

Rape, rape, we say! 

Let's take the time to envision the teeth getting knocked out, the pleas, the useless attempts to get away, the unexpected whiteness of the buttocks, the enforced group fellatio, the sinister laughing at weakness and submission, the repeated tearing of the anus, of course, the blood which serves as a saving lubricant. 

All of it. Let's be men about this, not sissies that might enjoy a little gang rape here and there.

Perhaps it is the healing power of blood which calms the true Christian mind.

If these things are funny - and they are fucking hilarious, brothers and sisters - then let's laugh a little about young women being raped also, right?

Little girls. Little boys. The helpless everywhere. 

Rape the retarded, while we still can. 

What could be more funny and delightful? The idea of stripping privilege from one who does not deserve it must ignite the impulses of the righteous. The Peter Pans of Rape. 

The Villains of Violation.

I mean, fuck… I'm no fan of Bieber either, but I haven't found a way of subjecting him to the guillotine just for being a kid, yet.

Wouldn't it be fun to rape his detached head? Fuck, I mean… this is what's wrong with the media… When are we going to have beheaded skull rapings in America.  The real news.


I mean, the little half-female fucker has never even had to have a job! If he could just prove to us that he actually spent his own hard-earned money to buy the lottery ticket that put him where he is then I'd be happy to call off the rapings. 

But he can't, can he?  

So, he gets what he deserves. What he did is unfair, an insult to good Christian sensibilities and values. He became rich and famous and young through no effort of his own. His mother is only 37 years old, for fuck's sake. If Bieber gets a girl pregnant next then an average working man like me could be old enough to be somebody's great-grandfather. 

It must be stopped!

Rape is the only answer. 

That, or poverty. 

Or both.

But, real prison-rape first.

Am I Right?


Thursday, January 23, 2014


There is a seemingly unfindable hole in the air mattress at Chateau Cato. Each night I fill the mattress with wondrous machine-driven air, each mid-night I awake several inches lower in elevation from where I started, being consumed by the remainder. It feels as if I am sleeping in a massive android scrotum, trapped in a giant rolled-up band-aid. I am not touching floor yet, but I awake in fear, in enforced immobility.

It takes me about 30 seconds to work my way out, usually knocking something over in the process. I will often let an accidental fart or two out. I have reached that age, there is no stopping it any longer. My knees were barely the first thing to go. Pissing the bed is even less of a temptation than it had been before. I envision the unpleasant and warm accumulation of it. I suppose it might have its benefits, in terms of cleaning afterwards, but my mind still rejects it.

Everything seems to be working against me.

I want to dip the entire thing into a tub of soapy water, to find the mystery, but I lack a tub large enough. My solutions are too often impracticable, just look at my life. I imagine a spray bottle of a highly concentrated soapy concoction. All of this takes time, too much time.

Yet I find that same time to write about it. Writing is easier, less messy, doesn't always involve trips to the hardware store, seems less like work most days.

Cato insists that I purchase a new air mattress. Suddenly this object was meaningful to him, it held significance far beyond what the eye can see. It was a family heirloom, of sorts. There is the emotional loss to consider. He became teary-eyed when discussing it. I tried to hug him but he fought his way away. 

No, I kid. He is beaten from work like the rest of us and I feel bad for him. He comes home and I am there, with some newly broken thing of his, prepared to talk about relationships. 

My excess fat is the easiest explanation for the failings of this industrial wonder but neither of us can find a way of adequately pinning the blame there. Such a small hole created from such excess in body blubber... it defies logic, yet it is what we wish to believe. Apparently, I have the sharpest love-handles known. They commit crimes in my sleep. Though among their laundry list of misdemeanors and indiscretions mugging isn't one of them. I never wake up any richer for theses crimes, some strange wallet or purse cradled in my belly's clutch, overflowing with cash, and jewels.

It does always seem to say, "Don't look at me. Don't look at me!"

… must be guilty of something beyond just an occasional cheese danish. 

Well… I must take a shower and then get on the bus to go to work. Not the tech-buses that are all the rage and indignation, but the regular local MUNI. 

I am a city boy again, sleeping like a one-eyed gypsy, nestled in sagging android scrotum, smelling of farts and old band-aids. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A hazing

(More from the Sonoma expedition)

Yesterday I stretched the truth, for the purpose of fiction. 

Rachel did not question the word "heartened" and she was once happy also. I remember it well.

The post may have hurt her feelings. That wasn't my intention. 

Many things, when examined closely, when held under scrutiny, become a seeming untruth. It is the nature of doubt. Some do not know its joys, nor its potential purpose. 

Writing, when done well, uses the invention of fiction to approach truth. 

Doubt has the sole appearance of negativity to the mediocre mind. Conviction in the unproven is preferable to many, a devoted certainty to the nebulous. When presented with the unexplainable, well, then it just must be the hand of the haze…

God picks up where science leaves off, we're told. 

Doubt creates possibility against dogma. It acts in the eternal defense of suggestion.

I'm going to start referring to "god" as "the haze."  When I hear people use the term then I will substitute the phrase "the haze" for their god. That should bring me some little joy for a time.

The haze will be my higher power, whatever I conceive him to be….

It is easy to mock, too. 

Doubt does not necessarily need to contain the kernel of humor, though. But I certainly prefer it that way.

"I was spending some devotional time in the haze the other day, just waiting for the befuddled's blessings, to feel the hand of the blur moving in my life. After a long time searching, the room suddenly filled with vision vapors and I heard a howling in the distance. It was the mist moving. The baying haze sent me a message: to live my life in service to the cloud. When I heard the haze speaking... you had better believe I listened. I got on my knees and invited the haze deep into my heartbeat."

In the picture above, I forgot to use the virtual horizon. It shows.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do people still hold hands?

Well, I got bored

I miss drinking terribly, some days. 

Other days I just miss it, sensibly.

My all-day Sonoma photo-shoot fizzled out after I realized that it was time to stop and get a sandwich. It lasted just under an hour. The above pic is the resulting masterpiece of effort and inspiration. It took about three seconds to produce, perhaps five with post-production. 


I've never cared all that much for landscape or nature photography. I mean, I'm glad it's out there, not really harming anybody, I've just never wanted to be caught up in it. But, not knowing what else to do, I found myself driving around aimlessly on a delightful day, pointing at things like a lost tourist, talking to myself.

Useless, aimless, etc.

Well, it is better to have looked at things than to have not looked at them, most of the time.

That's at least one difference between being in love and being alone. The same day might have glowed for me, at some other distant time, in the presence of my warm beloved. If you don't have a hand to hold then you might as well have a camera in it, otherwise it invites the devil's whispers.

Do people still hold hands? Am I dating myself? It sounds a little bit 20th century, maybe even 19th. 

It's a bit "darling," isn't it?

Last night my wife questioned the use of the word "disheartened." 

She asked if there was ever a time when people were heartened. 

One of them was.


Monday, January 20, 2014

"When I'm driving in my car"

The valley has turned cold, to remind us that it can.

I will go out today and search for scenes to photograph. In the past I might have brought Barkley, the pup, with me. 

Today, I will park the car by the side of the road and walk to a place where I believe I will get the best shot - or rather, the easiest one that still looks nice. I will hardly depart the road. 

I will curse the cold, even as the day is warming.

Knowing all this makes me not want to go.

I must work on my definitions of satisfaction, to remind that I still can.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

To speak of

The sun is beautiful, even though it is deadly hot.

That line made me giggle as I sat down to write today. I keep repeating it to myself. I'm hysterical, or getting nearer to it each moment.

To speak of hysteria:

We took Rhys to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday, which was really more of a Carlos E. Queso. I fit right in as the obligatory Padre Gringo

Daddy Gringo. Yet another new name for my memoirs. 

Rhys loved it, of course. We "played" games, which consisted of me putting tokens in and Rhys watching myself or Rachel try to entertain him with the device. 

I, of course, dominated the game room. Nobody else even came close. I rekindled my sense of competition. The boy would get bored and move on to another game that he didn't quite understand. We would follow, forcing tokens into the machines, to appease them. 

All of them were covered in pizza grease and snot. 

He loved the basketball game most of all. He has a plastic hoop of his own in the backyard. "Basketball" is one of his favorite words. 

Three syllables, for those of you who weren't counting.

To speak of pride.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

A sunrise that never lasts

Yesterday morning. I snapped this pic as I was leaving my new writer's residence in The Castro. 

By definition it is just on the rim of The Castro, lingering on the lip; its milky dew, as it were. Who am I to emit aspersions? 

Gift horse, mouth, etc.

I'm not sure why I can't seem to convert the RAW image into an acceptable jpeg. The image as it exists within the camera, and even within iPhoto, looks much nicer, more inviting than this. Darker. The colors here appear lurid and from the eighties, not as they were yesterday morning at all. 

This is a San Francisco morning as it departs for its South Beach vacation, dressed in fresh electric pastels, powdered pigments, giddy with promise. This is what Don Johnson faces after a three day west coast bender, a Sonny Crockett, as they're soon to be known.

I will need a desk, of course, at my new residence. There will be expense involved, though not much. I will submit a list of my expected needs. I should have that prepared by the close of office on Tuesday.

I had meant to write about yesterday's sunrise and then its subsequent setting but now I have been sidetracked and have lost the feeling for it. 

I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge for the latter showing. 

I went home feeling good.


Friday, January 17, 2014

"I wish I had a friend named Cato..."

(I have run out of pics, I miss Rhys)

I stayed at a friend's house here in San Fran. She has a guest bedroom downstairs, with its own bathroom. It will be my new center of operations, the campaign headquarters. The room has everything that I need except a successful relationship.

The owner told me how excited she was at the thought that I will be writing one of my posts here. She is a regular reader of this site, and the speaker of the quote that is the title of today's post. Now, if I could only arrange to convert that excitement into free monthly rent then I will finally be close to living my dream of being a nearly luckless artist. I will have a kind patroness and will promptly quit my current and all future jobs. 

A subsidized writer. It doesn't have quite the ring that I was hoping for, but ah well… it is better than "employee."

I slept like a Warhol film. Luckily for you, dear readers, I did not awake with any memory of my dreaming. You will be saved my nocturnal sexual fantasies today. I was.
When I went to go up the stairs to retrieve some coffee I opened the wrong door and there was a massive standing safe at the back end of the closet. I believe the phrase is "steel vault." I felt as if I had wandered into a crime. The word "heist" started glowing in my mind, though precisely what I would steal was not quite clear. 

I checked to see if it was open, I put my ear to its cold door, I spun the rotary lock, tried a few guesses at the combination, pushed against it, pulled, everything. It was a little early in the morning for dynamite but clearly that was what was needed. 

Vault, heist, masks, van... Dynamite!

Those are the bywords of the morning.

I would take a picture of it and use it here this morning, but I did not ask. I must start using the cameras that I own. 

Last night we stayed up very late, for me, and watched the recent Soderbergh film based on a portion of Liberace's life. Finally, I have discovered a film that I can honestly tell you that I liked. It had few pretensions, which allowed me to watch it without assessing it as much as I might have otherwise.

I'll never be able to think of Michael Douglas the same way again. 

That is an inside joke for a friend who does not read this site. Ah well. It's a misremembered reference to Eddie Murphy in the remake of The Nutty Professor… "Michael Douglas… the only white man to ever make me moist."

But it's half true. What made the film work, on one level, was to have the two lead actors, who are notoriously heterosexual, playing their respective roles. They must have had some fun. Every animated heterosexual man that I know with a sense of humor, or drama, has a practiced gay persona that they'll pull out of the closet and dust off every so often. 

Well, I have run out of time here, folks.

I must shower in my new bathroom and then catch the MUNI back towards Market. 

It just occurred to me that I did not buy a round-trip ticket on my way out here. A tactical error that I may have to face in the crisp coldness of morning.

I will explain to the operator that I am a writer in residence. Certainly there are provisions for such circumstances as mine.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Full Wolfstress

Slept in until almost 5am. Victory. It must have been the full wolf moon, or a touch of the aconitum. I dreamed of being lost in the wilderness, wandering restlessly in my sleep, rainwater in footprints. There were people there also, moving through the woods; reflections rising from the past, momentarily escaping it. Worn apparitions shaken loose, moonlight stealing through the trees.

The phrase "old friends" has become redundant. 

I awoke with wolf-cock. It had transformed into a hideous thing, consumed with bloodlust. It was still in its shapeshifter phase, pulsing with satanic greed; the physical embodiment of a howl trapped in flesh. My energy was given over to it. A demoness danced inside, a knob goblin.

The waking dream I had was of a girl, naked in the forest. She was arresting, and something else, also. She reminded me, charmed me. My dream kept drawing her closer. Yes.

I woke before she was able to fall in love with me, saving her blonde dream pride for another time.

A dash of guilt crossed near me in the darkness.

That's funny, I thought. Why would I feel guilt from a dream? That's just silly.

It's not as if I had dreamed of a young prince who whisked me away to Castle Von Schtinkenweiner. 

This night-ish delight very well might have been my young forest wife, Raquel Maidenmist. That is, if I had been playing Dungeons and Dragons in my sleep.

Only the pixies know now. 

Them, and me.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I hear the train a' comin'

I have been writing on this site for four years. Check the facts. I struggle with them also. Some would call it excessive, all this needless writing. I look back and smile to myself. It seems to be mainly a struggle against naivety. In that, there is a hint to be detected. We are what we resist, as what we pursue. We become our choices.

I still just can't believe that my life is almost over. When one considers the richness of youth with the frailty of age then years alone no longer strike the balance. Which, at 45, they likely wouldn't anyway. I've heard some call living to 90 as being somehow "lucky."

I am told to just value different things, as if.

I have bored of abstaining but recognize its usefulness. Restraint is easier than collapse and ruin, though not always by much. One must learn to systematically choose it in advance, which has a deadening effect. With a little practice anybody can desist. It takes quite a set of balanced qualities to ever achieve moderation in a thing truly loved. With success - prudence achieved, impulses tamed or bested - it becomes so easy to then convince oneself of the value and glory in excess. It's an easily sold idea. Neither state holds much charm for others, or self, for very long. 

Most are momentarily pleased by what they consider a change for the better in another. Only the devil moon delights in disintegration. It becomes fullest in human curiosity. 

Those who have lived for excess must strive to achieve what others seem born with: the ability to maintain a wealth of personal boredom, a reservoir of dullness and lack of invention. 

If you have ever been fascinated with someone relaying the tale of how they achieved moderation then you are a dolt, or worse, an ex-addict. The elegant survival of excess is the story worth telling, worth hearing.

But, we are all of us getting old. It is easy to understand how we too easily forget these things. We become a mockery of change, a disaster of habit.

Everybody must stalk their center when it roams. Temptation and indulgence are always within reach. They are a comfort against too much foolish consistency, the hobgoblin of little minds, Emerson reminds us. 

As I write these words I can hear it marching in the distance… Soon, it will arrive: me singing the soft praises of sudden salvation, the many values and virtues of shapes lost. 

Hallelujah, here I am, again. 

"The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years." - Proust

"Moderation is only a virtue in those who are thought to have an alternative." - Henry Kissinger


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Market Street

Driving it.

It reflects the deep psychological chaos of this city, a schism along one side like an active stroke, trembling towards the bay, as if trying to escape by land, to the water, or underground. 

It has the mind of amphetamine addiction. The street is its urban planning equivalent. 

It's what is must be like to be involved in an earthquake, followed by a lengthy fire in a hall of mirrors. A few minutes on it and you, also like Mistah Kurtz, will demand that the brutes be exterminated, leveled without recourse.

I could help:

The street would function more efficiently, I think, if all of the road signs and rules were just removed. It is the universal confusion heading off in all directions which seem to cause most of the problems. The combination of perplexity and fear combine dangerously. If they just made it a free-for-all then a natural order would emerge that would trump the barely regulated disarray that occurs now. 

If anybody in San Francisco is ever an asshole to you - and you can rely on that happening very regularly - then remember that they are just disclosing the chaos of their environment. They probably just drove down Market, or interacted with somebody that did. Perhaps they ended up on it accidentally and couldn't find a way off, at least not a way that was remotely close to the initial direction they came, or where they had hoped to arrive. 

It spins people away in reflex angles. Even an occasional perpendicular would be welcome. A sensible one-way square orbit back to where you came.

The many streets approaching and departing are all hopelessly one-way. They each point in slightly different directions, none at 90 degree angles. None make any sense. They all lead somewhere useless. It's like driving along written Cantonese. 

If they made each street one-way, pointing in the same direction, then at least it would be over for everybody as quickly as possible.

But no, it just hemorrhages cars into the directionless unknown, like a bad drug. Everybody is a tourist; expertise is confounded, useless against it.

Now, I must only learn to love it.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Her, pt. 2

Nothing much to say this morning.

I had wanted to write briefly, explaining that I actually did like the film, Her, and I really liked Being John Malkovich.

I know that I made a bit of a joke of it yesterday, but all of the mock criticisms that I had for it were based in real criticisms. But I enjoyed the film. I just don't think it was as penetrating and layered as some of my friends might.  

Watch it 10 times and tell me if you still feel the same about it, etc. I dare you.

Being John Malkovich dealt somewhat creatively with the concepts of identity and youth.

Her was a reasonably straightforward love story that relied on one single gimmick. Spike Jonze did little, nothing actually, to make Scarlett Johansson's "character" believable as a developing operating system. She was birthed as a "fully fleshed" human right out-of-the-box. The few questions that she had - which were meant to indicate that "she's really not like you or I" - weren't believable and seemed like the first ideas the writer had. That she was willing to try sex without even a hint at any recognition that sex, with or without a body, is a patently absurd endeavor…

But oh no, she just jumps right in and initiates it. 

Bullshit, I say.

The idea that our online interactions are based mostly in narcissism and self-delusion isn't exactly a new one, at least not to the writer of this site. I mean, you don't write open emails to the world for four years without occasionally coming up against the concept of electronic vanity.

That it took Jonze his entire career to write an original screenplay and this is what he's come up with…. Well, it seems like it might be time to call ol' Charlie Kaufman, who's had his own failings as a director/writer with Synecdoche. Abysmal.

But, I enjoyed Her. Truly. This is just my way of saying it…. Tough love.

It was an entertaining romantic comedy, and a little touch of tear-jerker. He's probably gone off next to work on a remake of Steel Magnolias, for his next emotional triumph. He's already in touch with Meg Ryan and Reese Witherspoon.

I had forgotten about this: During the film I joked with Rachel how much more I'd like the film had they gotten Sandra Bullock to do the voice overs.  I guess that's where the Cato/Gravity joke came from yesterday.

If you'd like to see a film about a non-entity that yearns for, and achieves, the state of flesh then see Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders. Or, if you'd prefer… see the Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan remake, City of Angels, if Spike Jonze floats your boat.

Fuck! I hadn't even realized how dead-on my jokes actually were. I had completely forgotten that the actors that I've been using to make my jokes aren't imaginary, and they've already taken the time to prove all of my points for me.

What luck!

If you liked Her then you'll simply love Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan….


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Her (Spoiled Alert)


Went to see a movie yesterday. Her. It was adequate.

Disclaimer: Let me get this out of the way. I like going to see films in the theater. I mean, I really like it, a lot. Watching the light bounce off the screen while sitting in the dark with my attention drawn to the story that is unfolding. I love it. I have a degree in film, a B.S. in Motion Picture Technology. I love it that much. I have certain expectations from the thing that I have dedicated my love to, perhaps I expect far too much. But I still enjoy sitting in the dark with it, having it happen. Even when it is done poorly, I enjoy the thing I love.

The details of the film, at first, appeared fresh and relevant but once those settle in you begin to realize that the message is trite, and Spike hasn't done with the details what he seems capable of doing. At least, you sense that he is not going to do what he did those first few times, all those years ago, when he worked so well with Charlie Kaufman. Instead, he is trying to be a Sofia Coppola, and failing. To set your sites so low and still fail, well…. It was embarrassing. It made me uncomfortable to watch.

The story is appropriately placed in LA - which looks oddly like Shanghai in the opening shots - and is meant to explore the depths and meaning of the human capacity and need for love. To give you an idea of the presumptuousness, scope, and conceit of the premise. 

Film Trailer Voice-Over:

Los Angeles….. a Hollywood film bursting with misplaced confidence about the frailty and self-reflexive nature of romantic love. A post-post classic by the maker of "Boring John Malkovich"… From the skater-video director who has worked with such LA notables as John Cusack and Nicolas Cage comes this new classic about concealing Joaquin Phoenix's hairlip...

Spike must just be itching to work with Keanu Reeves next. Or, be a guest director on "Parks and Recreation."

On such thin pedestals do legacies rest. 

When principal photography was complete Phoenix was reported to have exclaimed, "I was really acting in this one... I mean, there were scenes where I could really feel that I was acting. I think the audience will be able to tell tell that too, and I think they'll like it. I really think people will like me this time."

He's a male version of Julia Roberts, just awful. Though, in fairness, he didn't ruin this film. There wasn't much there to be ruined. Because so few chances were taken there was little to be lost, and Spike and crew managed to accomplish that modest goal, but just barely.

Jonze, quoted on his theme, "Well, ya' know, we're all frail, us humans. Right? I figured that by showing what an utterly wimpy guy Joaquin really is then that would communicate my message. I did that visually, and also with the writing, ya' know?"

I went to see it with Rachel, so there were several scenes that were tender, for us. Our love is failing. So, there was that, which added to the film. We had some laughs.

The subject is the usual mixed message of love, the impossibility but necessity of it. We are, of course, not-so-subtly reminded that we all are always alone, and likely fooling ourselves. It's a film about really loving your iPhone, and whether or not we even really know the people on Twitter.... It misses a central point of communication, yet seems to be trying desperately not to. If I understand it correctly it is a warning not to make the mistakes that the filmmaker is making, yet the message is cleverly concealed in an accusation. Wow. Heavy.

It's the 21st century version of the 19th century complaint, "Well, letter writing is fine and well for certain correspondence. It is perhaps an inescapable enterprise as circumstances demand it, but it is no comparison to chatting amicably in the parlor. So much is lost. So much is lost in this day and age…."

Who knew Spike Jonze was such a traditionalist?

We are reminded of the deep sadness of contemporary humanity in the opening scene. We realize that the central character writes letters for others, for a living. But then we come to find out that he is really good at it….


Denouement: He gets dumped by a nobody. Which is really unfair!

Conclusion: Instead of high-rise suicide, but only just barely, it is suggested that he might choose the actual human interaction that's been right there in front of him the entire time. And, Curtains….

How deep, yet at such great heights. I was transported by it. It's as if I was in a foreign world where everybody dressed quirkily. But here's what's really weird… It was almost just like ours!

It should have been called: Hertz, doesn't it? 

Starring OJ Simpson.

I wouldn't recommend seeing it in the cinema, unless shallow depth of field shots of Joaquin Phoenix's mustache are of particular importance and interest to you.

If you wish to sit in the dark like me and hear Scarlett Johansson utter the phrase "anal sex" then this is your moment.

Cato absolutely loved the film. "Best thing since Gravity!"

And perhaps he is right. 

I can't think of anything that even comes close.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Alongside the Wagon

I have become bored of sobriety. It was interesting for a little while. Now I question the remaining value there is to be gleaned from it. I believe that it is meant only to be a temporary state. That's why 12 step programs focus on the moment, the 'day at a time' thing. They know how truly fleeting a thing like sobriety is, or can be. 

My 'dry' insights are becoming too recurring. Too much like when I drink, though paced out a little bit more slowly, and much less fun. I just have the same insights over and over, it's a nightmare.

I know what will happen. There are a small handful of people in my life who will make subtle or bold indications as to how disappointed they are that I am drinking again. Then, I will be forced to hate those people. I will have no other choice. It is a requirement of falling from grace, one must be hateful, also. To be graceless and loving is difficult, some will not allow it.

I will drink and tell myself how fucked up they all are, the cops too, make them the object of my daily woes and criticism, the source of my cosmic discomfort; sitting at the bar cataloguing all of their inadequacies and faults. Mumbling as a reminder. 

That will help.

See, already alcohol is working its wonderful healing powers in my life. I am saved!

No. I had a dream that I drank a few beers last night and woke up feeling something resembling guilt. There was at least the question of it in the air. My buddy CS was on the wagon, and then decided he would step gently off. Soon he will be getting dragged along by it. It is the way of the sinner. He chose to follow The Devil instead of The Lord. He has willingly handed his life over to the wicked one, once again.

It's his choice. All we can do now is pray.

Jesus' tears can not reach him. Many, many times JC tried to explain that there was no real significance in his first miracle, the turning of water into wine. It just happened to unfold like that. But the many miscreant violators would not listen. 

Jesus hates a drunkard most of all, unless you're a queer. If you happen to be a queer drunkard then the angelic air traffic control system will not even direct any angels to fly near or above you. You are truly doomed, doubly so.

As well you should be, if that's the lifestyle that you choose.

Those Christians always have a way of determining if you are queer. They can sniff it right out. They will get you alone in a room for some focused prayer, some spirit-contact time. 

Then the questions start: 

"Does the thought of unbridled male on male lovemaking agitate you?"

"Does it bother you? I mean, deeply, inside of you?"

"Well, it should. It should bother you. It bothers me, brother. Because the Lord died to heal us, not to encourage us to wallow in each other's filth in momentary sinful ecstasy…."

Then there will be the praying, the touching, the laying on of hands for The Lord, the invitation for the Holy Spirit to enter the sinner, if only the sinner would accept this love….


I should have known that I would return to drinking, even in my sleep. An atheist doesn't have a chance. They are hated and persecuted by all. Nobody is more welcome to drown in the sea of iniquity than an atheist (though abstainers are more annoying). Even devout Christians take some pleasure in the suffering of those trapped in divine denial. They are an affront to spiritual sensibilities everywhere. They are the lost forsaken. 

I never before realized how close the word forsaken is to foreskin. Tossed aside, all of them. The forsaken foreskins. That would be the name of my football team: The Foreskins.

Kicked by the Cosmos! There's the new title of my autobiography. I've had to abandon Hookers Don't Count... for now. 

The One Man Potato Chip Orgy.

Well, I shouldn't have ever called old CS and put him in the position to answer the drinking question. I'm not being a very good atheist.  

No Man is an Island! 

But a drinker is damned close... sort of an isthmus, a sandbar, always in danger of tides, undertow, currents. 

When I was a child I thought that people on peninsula would not get polio. When I got older I came to realize that it wasn't even used for that, but was quite effective against gonorrhea and prostitution, always after the fact. 

I got a late night film suggestion last night. Her. I was told that it is a "must see."

The recommendation was to "See it immediately!" I guess the sender of the text, Cato, doesn't realize that movies have specific times in which they are shown. Life doesn't really work the other way, the way that it should. I would love to have the power to just barge into any cinema and demand that they show the movie of my choice, just for me. But alas… the world has decided to privilege Joaquin Phoenix instead.

But that is the power that drinking gives you: to make more pressing requests of the world. It gives you a special courage. It elevates one to the level of super-requester. In the drinker's mind there is only one question and one answer: Why not? 

It allows you to pre-answer the important questions altogether. Like, "Should I piss on that?"

See? The answer is always the same. 

Just talking about drinking has the creative juices flowing freely once again. 

There's another possible title: 

"Should I piss on that?"