Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Giants vs. Padres






Here was our view of home plate. We had great seats, but.... fans, you know.


I had said that I was going to write some more relationship advice, a sort of Dear Abbott, but the day has launched without me.

Failure in love is the surest way to make you an expert on the matter, just as divorcees know how to hold a family together better than anybody.





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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

James Taylor has destroyed my morning, again





Today, SF
Tonight, maybe the Giants game
Padres vs. Giants

That is gendai-haiku


Waking up early is a lonely business. 

I have tried to go back to sleep, I will surely need it. But sleep does not re-appear within me, it has escaped the relationship, saying that it needs to focus on itself for a while, just wants to be friends, etc.

Sleep whispers, It's not you, it's me, I swear.

Do you see how it has destroyed me?


One of my buddies recently requested that I stop writing about my sleep patterns, among a few other things, so I will respect his wishes. I so desperately hate to disappoint....

There are only so many subjects available in the morning.

Ah, coffee and the gym, my life is enviable.

I will be calling that buddy soon, once I am in the car. My east coast friends get early morning phone calls. Anybody west of St. Louis is useless to me.

When is Chuck Berry going to die? He's being a bit excessive now, with all this longevity, isn't he?

Is it too early for rock and roll, or too late?

I try to imagine after-parties in the heyday of rock and roll. Did they sit around and listen to Deep Purple albums until all the chicks had left?

Probably. There were always a few guys who had brought their James Taylor records. They'd sit around moping in the den because nobody would let them put ol' Sweet Baby James on, just knowing that the party would love it, the ladies... it being the true, true sugar.

I don't know why we have to hear that fucking Bad Company album again... It's oafish! 

Ugh, and if we have to listen to Jethro Tull one more time, I swear, I'll puke all over these cork walls. They only had like three good songs, ever, maybe four.

Why won't they ever let us rock the sweet Taylor? I don't get it. "Mud Slide Slim" is a ceremony in celebration....


Jesus, speaking of No Particular Place to Go.....


I hate James Taylor. He represents everything wrong and stupid and odious about music. His music is demonic. That's right, it is used to summon the dark one, the big Dev. Just look at the picture above and tell me that there is not a direct link between that man and Aleister Crowley (below). To feel otherwise is silly. It is obvious and I refuse not to believe it. If you can not see Satan in the liquid blue eyes of the man above then you do not have Jesus in your heart.

And yes, sometimes you will hear me humming Carolina in My Mind. That is only to remind myself of the danger therein - not in Carolina, of course, but in the music of James Taylor. All of it, none of it is safe.

I know that's a Carole King song, nobody needs to remind me.

Why did heroin take so many others, but not precious JT? Why, oh Lord, do bad drugs let some people survive?

Ah well, I've been through all of this before. There is no point in it. We can not redeem the sins of the past, particularly the nineteen-seventies.


"Nothing is true; everything is permitted."


(Father of James and famed Pyramidiot)


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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Great and Curious Tester of Frogs




(crowd-sourced image)


A weekend of normalcy.

Saturday, a trip to the Charles Shulz Museum.

Things, I do not believe, achieve any greater normalcy than are contained within stock Midwestern sensibilities. Rachel pointed out the architecture of the building was very Midwestern, and she was quite right: flat and open, with a sense of the expansive.

The place is not a museum designed for children. Very few things are there to be touched. It is rather for the adult who wishes to revisit a familiar social artifact to which they may be attached. 

There are quotations of Shulz's pasted along the walls that are eerily similar to Warhol, though I do not believe the intention was the same at all. They seem to function almost as an alternate counter-point, because they contain no irony. Warhol was also a product of the semi-midwest. I believe it was Pittsburgh, the most midwestern of all the northeastern cities. 

Some consider Schulz's work deceptively simple, others just simple. He is like Norman Rockwell without any apparent painterly talents. His abbreviated comic forms are quite flexible, and contain much in little, though he is no Matisse either. With him, sometimes less is only less, a scribble only a scribble, and abbreviation is used for purpose rather than suggestion. It is not for aesthetic pleasure that people are drawn to his work, I do not believe. 

That is my criticism of the master.


Then, Sunday, Costco for supplies. In the event of an apocalypse, or otherwise, we will still need those. 


Late in the day Sunday we took the boy and the pup to the park. We spent some time on the swings, letting the boy be a boy-monkey, encouraging it, even.

Then, we went to the dog-park side of the park. As we walked around pretending that we were all cars that comprised a train that was circling on the thin concrete that exists without apparent reason along the inside of the park, making the requisite "choo-choo" sounds, Rachel noticed a little frog. 

A very little frog.

She drew Rhys' attention to it and the boy crouched down in fascination. We watched the little frog jump from grass blade to grass blade, small enough to traverse them without affecting them much at all. We both encouraged the boy's fascination with the little colorful creature. It made its way to a spot on the ground, a small opening of flat earth, dirt.

The boy stuck his index finger out and as we both said no he pressed the frog down into the dirt using his last digit. The boy's finger was scarcely large enough to cover the mass of the frog's body, though for an instant the little green guy was eclipsed. But then it re-appeared in a different form. In that moment the frog's flesh looked as if it was made of rubber, but it was not made of rubber and I do not think a complete recovery was made when the pressure was released.


Later, Rachel claimed that she believed the frog to be okay, as it hopped once again after we both quickly screamed for the boy to stop and picked him up and walked away, explaining the preciousness and fragility of life to one who had just tested its limitations. We gave him the perfunctory speeches on the indiscriminate killing of animals for the sole purpose of curiosity or malice, and the evils contained therein.  

I allowed that the frog might very well have moved after the incident, which was more likely the result of its blood rushing back in from its extremities to its trunk, triggering a reaction from its nervous system, a system I pointed out, that had just received its first and perhaps last truly traumatic shock, likely resulting in an extended state of torpor, or worse.

I do not know much about amphibian morphology, but I am reasonably certain that its digits are not designed to swell to the size of its legs.

That is my assessment of the incident.


I said a prayer for the little fellow, brother carnivore, though to whom I prayed remains a mystery.



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Sunday, April 27, 2014

A vacuum in the lexicon





Sunday mornings used to appear before me in a very different form.


Ah, well, let's not become wistful. There will be time for such saccharine sentiment later, when no one is looking.


...no-one?

The word "nobody" does not satisfy the same sense in the mind that "no one" does, and there is no single word which means the same thing, except "none," which is not specific to humans in usage, except by context. We are told that nobody and no one mean the same thing but they do not feel the same, particularly if it is the spirit or mind of a person to which our concerns are affixed, not the somatic sense of them. 

The English language has a hole in it, and there seem to be none to fix it.

I need a word that indicates an absence of all others, and possibly even of self, perhaps even when in a crowd. It should be able to be used to indicate both a physical absence as well as the general sensation of absence. Something that indicates loneliness that is external to the person experiencing it. The outward manifestation of isolation, rather than its internal mechanism. 

Maybe vacancy, though that refers to a space that happens to be empty of humans, not necessarily intended to be that way.

Remote, maybe, but meaning the distance from one another without regard to actual proximity.

A permanent vacancy, an emptiness that can not be filled by the presence of another human, not just the longing for the other human, but the dearth of humanness itself, the impossibility of satisfying this need, in a single word.


Never mind. I don't normally write out my searches. It is a practice in loneliness, little else.


Fuck it, let's go ahead and be nostalgic this morning, we're already this far in....


I miss Sunday morning after-parties, and Sunday night after-after-parties, and all day Monday after-after-after-parties, though not necessarily in that order. 

In truth, I am too old for all of it, the club night which leads to the after party most of all. I have tried going out a few times recently and it has resulted in failure.  All my fault, of course, but there it is. I would do much better at an after-party where I need not stand the entire time.

A friend played in SF on Friday night and I did not make it out, did not even really consider it. At around 9:30pm, after putting Rhys to sleep and reading for a few minutes, I checked my phone and it was already Saturday morning, and I well rested.

It is simple. There are certain drugs that I should not be allowed to do any more. They know their names. I need not list them here.

My only indulgence should be the occasional kummerspeck, which is precisely what I plan on today, a little grief-bacon this morning then ribeye steak tonight. What is it that makes tears on fudge so delicious?

No, I kid. I always tilt my head back so that the tears roll down the sides of my face and not directly onto the brownie where they would add salt and ruin the sweetness of pain.

With ice cream it doesn't matter as much. I don't know why that is.


Speaking of learning new words...

Rhys learned a "bad word", and how to use it effectively.

I won't print it here, because I'm a quasi-devout Christian recovering from language deficiency and a horrible love addiction.

But...

He not only knew that it was a bad word, he knew how best to shock me with it.

Let me rewind.

Rhys is only two years old. I don't believe I'm being a prude in believing that he shouldn't quite yet know any words like this one: shit.

Or, shitty.

But not only did he know the word, he already possessed several different applications of it.


To wit, I often lie in the bed in his room talking to him as he calms down to go to sleep in his crib. Last night, he said the word a few times without me recognizing what he was saying. But then he followed it up with, "I said a bad word, daddy."

Rachel opened the door to make sure I had heard and understood what he had just said (we still use baby monitors, etc.).

At this point Rhys got very excited about using the word. Over and over again, "Shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty…. Daddy, I said a bad word. I said a bad word. Daddy! Daddy! Hahahahahaha…."

"What the fuck!", I thought.

How does a two year old learn a word like this. A child should have to be four or five before employing this sort of shock and awe tactic. Three, at least. There should be an age limit.

He's a bright kid.... but he doesn't have any tattoos yet.

When asking Rachel, she admitted that the daycare woman had called, concerned, and asked if we knew anything about it, two weeks ago. Then Rachel heard him say it a few days ago. Between the two of them they have heard him use it to describe his own poop as well as an exclamation of exasperation. 

Rachel decided to ask him where he learned the word. Now, this is the part of the story that really gets me.

This little two year old boy constructed an elaborate tale about how Elle, a girl that he attends daycare with, and Sebastian, another boy, were in the bathroom while Rhys was evacuating and Elle pointed at it and told him that is what his poop is called.

There has never been a time in which he would have been pooping in the bathroom with Elle and Sebastian without Carol, the daycare woman, present. Ever.

Ever.

It is not a situation that could have possibly occurred, only that had not quite occurred yet to our little fabricator. He constructed this story just to toss Elle into the cesspool. When Rachel confronted him with the invention of the story he became very embarrassed.

The little swindler...

So, not only did he grasp the power of using a "bad word" towards his parents, he had also contrived a narrative to use this same power against one of his daycare playmates, one with whom he has had little troubles with recently.

Amazing.

Is it wrong to feel a vague sense of pride in such a thing, on the Lord's day?



Sunday mornings used to appear before me in a very different form.




Oh, Sunday mornings used to appear before me in a very different form.





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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Buddha Principle






I've been assisting my friends with their relationships. It is not going as well as one might guess. 


Yesterday a friend passed along an internet quotation from "Buddha"… 

It turns out, of course, that it was not a quotation from Buddha. 

Soon, nobody will have ever said or written anything. There will be too much evidence for it.

But I liked it, it was timely:

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.


Be wary of trite life summations by Gandhi and Buddha, and all others. Remember that there are no writings of Socrates, so it's always safe to quote him online and elsewhere.


Nothing is simple, except perhaps these quotations. Nothing is just something else.


Be wary of all things, even fear.


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Nothing moved, nothing gained






The fog rolled and crawled across the western mountain line. The setting sunlight barely drifting through. Had there been alarms sounding it might have seemed like an industrial accident, a mishap at a chemical factory somewhere else, anywhere on the news. I walked upwards, first following a path, then started across nearly open fields. They were fenced, though not well, used to graze cattle or sheep in better times, now overgrown with waste, nature.

I expected gunshots to ring out, wondering aloud if I would ever hear them.

It would depend on whether they hit the head or the body first, and how much damage they did to the head, whether they rendered the mind useless in an instant, or if some senses lingered and dawdled before moving on.


I stopped and sat on a rock looking out eastward as it darkened, the sky making its purple transition. The fog disappeared as you were in it, as if it were avoiding you. I could see as far as I needed, though less and less. I felt as if I was within the belly of an enormous ghost, one on the verge of sleep. It was as if all things were on the border of becoming still. I pulled a notepad from my pocket and stared at it blankly, at its blankness. I turned back a few pages and looked down at the words. I turned and turned. I closed the book and watched dimly the disappearing mountain line on the far side of the valley. Nothing moved there, only barely the wind between us.


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The rise of violent writing in the US




(Home)


I have spent the morning writing an email. It was quite a novelty. It felt so private, even secretive. Then I remembered that nothing is really secret, and only thoughts are meant to be private...

So, I decided to teach everybody how to read my emails if they wish. 

It's easy!

No, I don't actually know how to intercept and read people's email, though from what I understand it is not very difficult, if you have the resources, which is apparently what our tax dollars are.

One wonders if the government already knew about the Heartbleed bug. I see so many people posting about government invasion of privacy but no one has yet seemed to grasp the immensity of this mistake. If it was in fact a mistake. They may have made off with all of the keys to the kingdom in one run.

I shouldn't say that no one has yet to seem to grasp the immensity. I do have some nerd friends. 

What I find particularly interesting is that there is not a commensurate push to strengthen due process in these lopsided times. One would think that the courts would recognize the jeopardy to the judicial process and begin allowing for extra time to determine precisely how the prosecution came to discover certain bits of evidence in key cases. 

What you're going to see instead is increased convictions with defense attorneys stumbling to figure out how this last minute evidence was discovered and introduced. 

The future will contain more guilt. 

Slate created an interesting piece about the rise in prison populations. It's worth actually clicking on the link which takes you to the gif that the article is about. 

Here, I'll try to link just the gif. That seems to have worked.

For anybody that has read "Freakonomics" you might find the last sentence in the article linked above of interest. The economists there argued that the drop in violent crime was directly linked to the Roe v. Wade decision, which resulted in a reduction of unwanted pregnancies. 

Admittedly, based on their data, there did seem to be a shelf that was reached and then America was suddenly dropped off from the catastrophe of urban violence that was swelling in the US up until that point. The article linked above points out that murder rates have dropped "considerably" over the same time period that there has been an increase in prison populations.

Don't let me muddle my arguments here, or any more than I already have. 

I am all for reduced prison populations, which does not make me pro-murder. I only point out that there might be more than one corollary or causality involved in the drop in violent crimes, like an increase in use of police force and the militarization of those same local forces.

Well... well, we're out of time.


I looked at the cost of houses yesterday in the Sonoma area. You would be stunned at what half a million dollars will get you, or even a quarter of a million, or less.

It's a 30 year investment, if you're lucky. But once I'm a spritely 75 then I'll be the proud owner of an oak shipping slat, two dirt holes, a dog that won't lick my face, and a straw man that keeps all the birds away.

Who will need the cops then? 



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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

That's all



(Sailing into Sandbars)


There is always something to worry about. I awoke this morning in vague fear that since taking a vacation I had somehow forgotten how to perform the details of my job. Silly. The mind invents the most bizarre anxieties.

Mine does.

It's because my life is collapsing, the life that I chose. Even my dreams are trying to escape.

Now, I will have to make some new choices. That's all. 

That's all, I keep telling myself.

It is not for lack of love, but lack of something else: a mutual willingness, the ability to change, etc. Rachel and I have discussions about how lots of children that are co-parented turn out just fine. 

Perhaps this is true, but what of the parents? How do they appear, or resolve? How do they arrive and depart?

Just fine.


It is nice to be going back to the gym. It gives me a calming sense of control over my life. Things seem to fall into place.

I just returned from the wretched sweatbox and it is a miracle that I survived, truly. The icons of Jesus and Mary are hung on the wall in front of the cardio machines. They must have saved me. All that was required was some breathless begging on my part.

I find myself repeating the simplest of lessons.


In life, there is mostly a lot of letting go. Sort of. We must hold on to some things, or try to. But what, and who, and when are the recurring mysteries. The things to which we hold seem so useless later, sometimes. The things we let go, so hopelessly irretrievable; lost forever, yet almost within distance to touch. Though touching becomes out of the question.


I chatted with Rachel for the first time in weeks, maybe longer. It was more than a chat. It was a talk. We chat all of the time, that's not what it was. It is necessary for two parents of a child to talk from time to time.

We are far more than just two parents of a child, of course, but that is about the most we can bring ourselves to talk about, the boy. 

It was a good talk, and enough. It is nice to be reminded that we both have a similar mission in life, with similar goals. Allies, etc.


Love is not enough. It's a pretty good start, and it's an absolute prize as an ender, if you can manage it, but there are so many things along the way that are also needed. The assumption is that love is the pretext that will give you sufficient reason to develop these other traits. That is the assumption. 

No matter how often this is tested it remains mainly unproven, or rather, very easily disproven.


There is an increasing sense of constriction in my life, an impending sense that things are closing in, or down, on me.

It's probably just the coffee, now that I have stopped.


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Upon returning





Just now, as I was lying in bed on my last day off from work before returning, finishing a book that I brought with me everywhere on my trip but did not read, a simple thing occurred to me. There is so little that we can do, almost nothing. We make our choices, we can wish, we can surround ourselves, we can push back at the love that is offered to us, or we can be bowled over by it. Then it is all over, whether in pain, surprise, or some deluded sense that something else will emerge from the newly found darkness. It all passes so quickly, there is not much point in worrying about it not doing so.

I look around and I see so many others.

Though I know that I am loved I have often felt lonely. Many others must also feel this way. In this, I know that I am not so unique.

I look around and I see so many others, also.

While I was gone, I missed writing. I missed beginning my mornings with some silly contemplation, given away freely. I missed the feeling that somehow, in some small way, I might also be something else, something other than lonely.

It all passes so quickly, there is not much point in worrying about it not doing so.


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The Hundred Years War



(The Burghers of Calais, Auguste Rodin)


Home again, home again...

Rhys was excited to see me, and I him.

We all went for a walk when we awoke, to let Barkley the pup do his business. The bright morning said summer but the wind still speaks of winter, not even in whispers but in full, long, deep breaths. 

The normalcy here is as I expected, without any deviation whatsoever. I will, at least, be able to return to the gym regularly, to try and recover something that gets lost along the way. Vitality, but also something else. It is not only about gaining, another thing falls away; a thing not needed, a thing not desired.  

The boy was quite excited to try on the Buzz Lightyear pajamas that I brought home for him from the land of such things. They were too large, though he didn't seem to mind much. He ran around the house exclaiming, To Infinity and Beyond!... which sounds about right. He wore them today to day-care.


Something strange has happened while I was gone. I have lost the taste for coffee. I guess I wasn't drinking it regularly enough and now it tastes to me as it used to, which isn't very good. I should take advantage of this window of opportunity and quit. I probably won't. I'll force through and be a coffee drinker again anyway, in spite of the odd chance this window offers.

I had thought that perhaps it was just the different brands that I drank while away. But no, I just returned from Starbucks, and their brand (my usual) also tastes "off" to me. 

This would be a good time for me to return to drinking teas, at least. Earl Grey.


I just got an email from Tumblr saying that my site, this one, has just turned 3 today, and wanting me to wish myself congratulations. That sounds about right. My life is regulated by faulty algorithms with bad data. A 45 year old man finding attention and affection for and from himself through leveraging various social media platforms towards one another. Two Facebooks gazing into each other's profiles, with no poking involved, just an awful lot of liking. 


Having barely touched my coffee I have another rare opportunity: going back to sleep. Nobody would know. I have the day off from work, my last of its kind for a while.

I crawled into a familiar bed and turned on my laptop, to find the image above. It has no special meaning, except perhaps only to me, as a reminder of where I just was, and maybe that the figures were spared from certain doom, though you would never know that just by looking. It is the moment when they believed they were approaching their collective eternal fate.


As for the sleep…. Shhhh, don't tell.

I will be as still as the statue.



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Monday, April 21, 2014

The decisions we make




(The Boathouse, Central Park)


The trip is over. 

Today involves some packing and then the long flight home, a return to normalcy. There is a connection through Phoenix, one of the most hellish cities anywhere, on any map. Why don't I just pay the extra money and get the non-stop flights?

In the airline industry they use a term for a flight in which the plane will stop in another city to change some passengers then continue on to the destination city. If you stop and think about this term for a bit it should enrage you: direct. They call those "direct flights" and that is how they are sold. It is an industry-wide term and has been that way for as long as I've been flying.

To make matters worse, with most airlines you will only get the frequent flyer miles as if you were flying a direct line between the two cities on the itinerary. Perhaps this is where they derive the term. Who knows.

Well, perhaps that is a topic for another time. I try not to get myself too worked up about flying before I have even arrived at the airport. 

It will be nice to return to the valley of Sonoma. The humidity in Florida is impossible and it is still early in the year, the soupy denseness has just arrived. I was told that last week was the last of the cool nights and clear days.


I do not know exactly what I face on returning to Sonoma. Something has changed. There has been a shift, I can feel it. We are both afraid. Afraid of what will happen next. It need not be so devastating, particularly if neither of us is doing anything to avoid it, which would indicate that we both invite it. What else should we expect in such circumstances. 

If only it were more simple to make love work. If the pleasure that can be derived from caring for another person could be achieved in an easily sustainable and consecutive fashion. It all sounds so simple, but everybody struggles with it. All relationships require work and willingness. All the love in the world can not save a connection that lacks an open enthusiasm for it to succeed. There must be a faith of sorts, a belief that it can and should be preserved. 

Without that, nothing.

Who knows, perhaps everyone will be happy to see me, ecstatic even. Rachel as well. Maybe she will run to me to hug me and hold me longer than expected. Perhaps she will tear up with happiness upon seeing my face, as if I have returned safely from sea. That would be nice, to feel deeply loved and missed. The imaginary components of love are always the easiest to achieve. 

Though fear is also imaginary, and that seems to work in the opposite way.

I probably don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. 

This should be easy enough to verify, just listen to me for a little while, etc.





Excerpt from "the crunch" by Charles Bukwoski:


there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock
people so tired
mutilated
either by love or no love.
people just are not good to each other
one on one.
the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.
we are afraid.
our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners
it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.
or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone
untouched
unspoken to
watering a plant.



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen!




(Taken from within an NYC cab)


The last day of my vacation, the last day spent away. Easter.

Monday will be spent traveling and Tuesday will be spent acclimatizing; going back to the gym, washing clothes, domestic doings. It is odd, for me, to be in places that are so familiar and yet feel so far from home.

I had been drinking moderately before this trip, knowing that I would likely drink more during it, which became true. Seeing old friends, it is what one does. That, and eating. Now, I will return to not drinking at all and my diet will shift away from the richer foods. I am looking forward to it. The vacation has been great, visiting with old friends, but constant traveling is exhausting and drinking is fun mostly in small doses, I have found. 

It is my new wisdom; small doses, taken less daily. I want now only to return to my life of healthy habits.

I also want to go to Easter Mass this morning but ol' CS is against it, godless heathen that he is. I almost had him sold on the idea but then I told him that we should pray on it. 

I wish to admire the lovely girls. It is the best that religion has to offer. That, and all the free redemption that anyone can stomach.


We went to a restaurant last night, as we were leaving there was another restaurant across the street which caught our attention, one which featured live music. There were three women dancing in front of this poor guitar player, all clapping out of time and wildly waving their arms. At least I think that's what they were trying to do, dance. It could have been a stroke-in. It was one of the most demented scenes I have witnessed in a while. I try not to be too much of a racist, but wow… white people…. How can something so funny be so dangerous.

When I get home I will have thousands of photos to go through. I am looking forward that that also. I took many pictures of all my friends' kids. They will want them, I hope. I just went through them to find the image for today, a goldfish bowl in a taxi. 

Only in New York...


It all seems so long ago now. Two weeks away. That's five times longer than Jesus spent in Hades tussling with Satan, preaching, giving the dead one last chance to repent before condemning them to eternal separation from God. Three days. That was half as long as it took his Father to make all the heavens and the earth. On the third day his dad was occupied with creating the oceans and rivers, and a few other things. 

Such is the immortal complexity of the human soul, the details are fuzzy and the time-frame is compressed beyond belief.


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tampa





They say the camera adds 10 pounds. 

She must have tried to take this picture 7 or 8 times. 


Having not learned any salient lessons from this image, we're on our way to McDonald's. 



Friday, April 18, 2014

Green!




(Bastian)


Well, I knew the trip would seem short, and over far too quickly.

I had only wished that it would never end. Sort of. I had hoped the money would never run out, but that the running around eventually would. It is the product of having not seen so many of my friends for a few years now. 

So be it... It was all worth it. 

The next trip I take will be to a place that I have never before been, and know no one. I will arrive and depart as a mystery, an unknown.


I have been rushing from place to place across NYC and Florida, almost each day and each night spent with a different set of friends and their kids. I have become quite the candid child portraitist, my computer and memory card are filled with thousands and thousands of snapshots. It will take me weeks to go through all of them, if ever.

There is much to tell, little stories that have accumulated across these two weeks, but now I lack the energy for it. 

There is still a drive across the state today to Tampa, then back again tomorrow. Then, hopefully, a few days with my old buddy CS, then home. 

I am surrounded by kids now as I write this. There is only one of them, but that's all that it takes. He has been circling me for hours. It seems as if there are a dozen. 

He is offering me various colored candies. I ask him what color each one of them is. 

The answer is always the same, "Green!"

Green!

Green!


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Van M's



(Leala)


Finally made it to Orlando, to my friend's house. Three kids, a dog, a rabbit, two parents. I took as many pictures as I could before the sun went down, and then many more after.

Today, another group of friends and I will go to Islands of Adventure. It is a theme park. Being from Orlando originally, theme parks do not appeal much to me, but it will be fun. It is the company.

Honey, a long-term girlfriend, used to work there, in marketing. Honey was not her stage name, as many people liked to ask, but her actual name. I believe she now goes by Elizabeth, her middle name. Also, two kids, a dog, probably a rabbit. It is the way of things.

We used to get in for free, so we would go often, when we were bored and felt like enjoying the temporary thrills of riding roller coasters. That is, presumably, what we will be doing today.


I have known all of these kids since they were newborns. Of all the things that make me feel old, and there are many, these kids do so without effort.

We went to pick up sushi last night and Jaime drove. 

There really is nothing more to tell.


(Jaime)


(Loren)



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bleached stone




(Epikouros, he dead)


So, now I leave NYC for FL. All of my stuff is lying around my suitcase on wheels, half of it dirty, half of it clean. I must devise a system for it but don't feel like it.

There is also Newark Airport to consider. I've been told that there are trains that are cheaper and faster, though it certainly seems like it would be much more effort on my part. A car that picks me up and drops me off seems far preferable. But even a phone call must be made for that to happen. I suppose I should get motivated. 

This is the part of my post where I would traditionally discuss coffee, etc.

I am looking forward to Florida. I have not checked the weather but I'll assume that there is more sunshine there; dangerous amounts, we're told. 

I will report back and let you know. 


Just look at what the sun has done to old Epicurus. 



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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Everybody Loves a Puppy!




(take off your stockings, baby, 'cause the night's gettin' warm)



Disclaimer:

I should not have to remind you, dear and precious readers, that this site is a work of fiction (re. the other day's post).


Sure, there are portions of my life extracted and forced into each post, to provide some structure and to give a sense of time's passing, but that's all. 

Nowhere am I being more fictional as when I am talking about work, love, or myself.

Assume that I am lying and we will all be much happier, and also disappointed.

Well, not lying, that word has achieved an aura of nastiness that we need not address here. We'll just all agree that there exists a certain layer of mendacity to any undertaking such as this, and I am only your beguiling guide.


There are people that I have known where the condition is the case, where everything they say is a lie. I've realized that the way for me to get along with them, or to even negotiate my way through life in proximity to them, was to assume that every single word spoken by them was a lie.

There are those who are incapable of forthright and complete honesty, in any form. I don't just mean an untruth, either - an unpremeditated mis-telling, or an augmentation of the events for the purpose of storytelling - I mean an intentional lie, a schematic of deception told for unknown reasons and to unknown personal effect, though to often undesirable results. 

In time, the only thing that I was able to derive from this understanding of them was that it must have given the teller, the liar, some sense of superiority over others. To feel that they were somehow "duping" them into believing something that only they, superior they, knew not to be true.

Odd, that. Where a sense of immediate superiority over others became valued more than an overarching sense of value of worth in the relationship. 

I am all for an augmenting of the truth, perhaps even too much. Many stories need a touch of fantasy, to make them less unpleasant. But the purpose of augmenting the truth in storytelling is often to tell a greater truth, I think. Or, to shift emphasis away from the actual blame, or expected guilt, of either self or another, to make comedic a tale that might have too much gravity for a pleasant or informative relaying of events.

Those stories that need some buffering, some mythologizing, or softening.


Speaking of the sometimes tenuous relationship between writing and truth, below is an excerpt I wrote but did not publish a few days ago.

It would have been titled, "Everybody Loves a Puppy!"


-------------



Talking with an online friend on the phone cheered me a bit, and I needed it. He joked about choking young boys for sexual pleasure and the many joys of NAMBLA. 

Not his own pleasure, but the presumable pleasure in it for others. 

He made a good point: Why do we deny attraction to youth as if it is among the most awful things imaginable. It is, instead, one of the most natural impulses any animal can have. Perfectly natural.

That, and devouring another animal to survive, of course. 

Anybody that would openly deny that youth is sexually attractive is retarded, says my friend. 

Everybody loves a puppy!

Deviance and Love are indistinguishable, he openly reasoned, Commitment is imaginary and neurotic.

He pointed out that in the animal kingdom the youngest males of the species will fight for the sex and the playful companionship of the older females; the ones who are nearing, or past, the end of their ability to produce offspring.

There is nothing that males desire more than an aged member of the same species. Every young man is drawn to the oldest in the group. That's science.

No.

Even the older males, well past their prime, will fight to the death for the youngest females and the ones most likely to produce offspring, the ones who have just recently become viable mates, physically.

Vitality is a highly valued sexual component.

Just look around with honest eyes and you will note this.

In the human animal, imagination takes the place of physical vitality, and is treasured accordingly, we're told.


With almost everybody I know wanting to "live healthy" and return to a more natural way of being, in tune with our real, true selves… Well, I don't hear many arguing for getting rid of the laws which "protect" minors from "predators."

They are not predators if their intention is to impregnate their youthful counterparts, then care for the offspring. If no offspring result from the union then that need not be denounced. It is the natural way of things.

Well, there is no end to the logical inconsistencies you'll find if you just stop and ask yourself some honest questions about it.

That is just where reasoning has brought us today. 

You might hear some say that this naturalness is an abomination, and the "perpetrators" are vile, wicked fiends. It doesn't take much observation to disagree.

I'm quite sure there have been studies that reflect that most male heterosexual men will be come aroused if shown images of suggestive pubescent girls, and the same would be true for homosexual men with/for pubescent boys.

It is when women come into play that things go terribly wrong, because they are primarily attracted to men who can provide for them, which defies the immediacy of nature in a significant way.

They might notice a boy, but providers really melt their butter. Though melter butter does not survive through either summer or winter, not well, anyway.

Some would say that I am wrong for even stating such a thing, but I don't think so. You see, men are oft reminded how awful and wrong and unnatural they are. When seen in the comparative light of actual nature, they are far more natural than their feminine counterparts.

I would go so far as to say that even pregnancy should no longer be entrusted solely to women.

I'll save male pregnancy as a topic for a later post.



We are told that this sexual deviance - the recognition of youth as a component of sexual vitality - well… these abominators, have a deep-rooted predisposition that does not change.

They can not be reformed.

That sounds about right, to me.

Just assume, for the purpose of purpose, that we're talking about baboons, not humans.

The facts become a little easier to digest if you remove the sexually active girl who lives down the street, 14 year old Lilac, from the equation. But it shouldn't have to. No person who wishes to understand themselves, or other humans, would deny such a primal component of our evolutionary makeup. It is perfectly natural. 

Do scientists spend much time trying to heal baboons that engage in sexual activity with the younger members of the group? Perhaps the Christian Scientists, but those would likely be the only ones. Scientologists, maybe. 

But I suppose that evolutionary forces play a role in the disgust that some must feel from such a thing, also. Because, as Richard Dawkins taught us, we wish to maintain the health of the group, and an older male mating with a younger female creates a less that preferable outcome for the survival and well-being of the offspring, and by turn, the group in general.

Though it does seem that the repulsion is out of step with the actuality of the act, and morality offers precious little evolutionary advantage here. It is mostly a function, and by-product, of excessive imagination, which has its charms, tough suffers in its usage. 

Now, I am not arguing for sex with minors. I shouldn't even have to. All that I am doing is pointing out that there is nothing unnatural about it, up to a point. But the legal line that has been drawn is an indiscriminate one and not all cultures share or recognize those same set of standards. But the punishment for crossing that line is hugely incommensurate with the presumed damage done, though many who have built a career on "preying" on these same victims would angrily disagree.

Magically, all of their hard work and study in the field of child sexual abuse victims evaporates in another culture where 14 is the age that you're expected to get married and be sexually active, almost exclusively with older males.

Somehow the psychic repercussions of the act disappear in that culture.



But surround a young adult with a bunch of concerned specialists who have careers in helping them recover from trauma, and voila, trauma emerges. 


---------


Now, that piece was unfinished, friends. It is up to you to decide how much of that is (un)acceptable fiction, and how much of it plain (un)truth.




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Saturday, April 12, 2014

"… who wills everything, but can do nothing"






Yesterday, The Met. It was exactly as I remember it, except for an installation by William Kentridge, a meditation on time. That single piece alone made the trip worth it.


After the museum, I walked south along the edge of the park. I sat down near the spot where I once decided that I would move to NYC. 

It was a summer day after a visit to the Met and I fell asleep alone on a grassy hill. When I awoke I stayed there with my eyes closed, listening to the familiar hum of the city moving around me like a single apparatus, loose components of an enormous mechanism. It is audible everywhere in the park, faraway and also so close. One feels gripped by the sound alone. 

When I opened my eyes there was just the blue sky above, the green limbs from a few trees hanging across; that enormous sound churning all around me.

Later that day I let my friend know that I would be moving. Everything changed.


Yesterday morning Rachel asked me if I would move back to NYC. Whether or not I would was easy to address, as a hypothetical. Whether or not I will is another matter. It certainly seems unlikely. If I could get my old apartment back, at the same price, then there would be no question. But there is no possibility of that happening.

It all seems so unlikely. I had forgotten how many friends I have here. I have not had time to see all of them yet and the trip is nearly over. Monday I will try to cram in many visits into a single day.


After sitting on the grass for a period I went to The Boathouse and sat and watched the boaters take the lake. 

That was where Rachel and I decided that she would move to NYC, The Boathouse all those years ago. During a trip together to Costa Rica I convinced her to come home with me rather than return to LA. Then we got in the car together and drove her back across the country, from Venice Beach to Manhattan. Two weeks across.

At The Boathouse yesterday I sat and talked to an Irishman and his wife. They were celebrating their 40th anniversary together, their children had bought them this trip. They were about as pleased as it is possible for two people to be, and just as pleasing to chat with. I felt good for the rest of the day. 

He had lived in the city in 1969, worked daytime at the Empire State Building and nights at a mail sorting room on the Hudson. Some nights he had nowhere to stay and and slept in Central Park, the core of iniquities, the place where all things vile find their center, and then roam.


Speaking of... the next trip that I wish to take will be to Rome, to all of Italy. I hope to learn what is there for the taking, to wander among the fountains and plazas. Rachel and I had begun to loosely plan on it last year. We bought an old paper map of the country and had hoped to decide on places along the coast, and amounts of time spent in each location, as if deciding were the easiest thing in the world, as if deciding alone made it so.


"If you want to be loved, be lovable." - Ovid


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Friday, April 11, 2014

新婚夫婦




(新婚夫婦)


Today, the museums. I haven't looked into what exhibits are on. I'm just going to go. I will report back with any significant details tomorrow.

I do not have a museum buddy. I'll have to go by myself. I'll be the lonely middle-aged man wandering from room to room. Though, who knows... maybe I'll finger Angie Dickinson in a cab afterwards

Seems unlikely, I haven't talked to Angie in years. My god… she gives great montage.


I went the the Yankees / Red Sox game last night. It was fun. The new stadium is slowly growing on me, though it still confuses me how they could get something so wrong. What am I saying? Fuck the new stadium. It's a failed monstrosity.

Yankees won though, 4-1…. woo-hoo!


I still have not been up past midnight since I've been here. Even with being on west coast time I've been in bed and asleep long before turning into a pumpkin. Tomorrow night will presumably be the broken rule that proves.

I got bored with that last sentence and left it unfinished; something about exception.


The weekend is already here and there is so much that I still haven't done yet. I miss having a bicycle in the city, and only a twat would ride the citibikes. They lack style in every meaningful sense and speak only a tedious functionality, a capitalist one at that. They're a cycle version of the new Yankee stadium. 

I'd feel like I was trying to fuck an ATM.




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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Domesting Doings



(Lil'bery, selfie)


A trusted editor of this site has advised me to stop writing about how much sleep I got, whether or not I'm drinking coffee, and that I'm going to the gym at any point in the day.

I find all three of these subjects fascinating and I'd like to remind him that this site has up to 7 visitors daily, some days. So, all of those people must find my waking habits of endless interest as well.

Last night we had a "Lad's Night Out." This is not gay lingo, though certainly now that I type it out is does look that way. I don't remember seeing anybody playing peek-a-boo in the Glory Hole, comparing ding-dongs in fraternal camaraderie. 

Maybe it was the gayest night in New York, and nobody finds me attractive. I do seem to remember spending a lot of time sitting at the table alone. Everybody else was off in the back room, doing gay things, lighting grindr up, etc. 

Probably not.

Moving on, I slept well last night and I'm having my first cup of coffee. No exercise this morning. Something about it feels wrong today. A vacation should be comprised of occasional leisure, particularly in the mornings.

What else? 


I've just put a load of laundry in, for those interested in my various domestic doings. I had to ask my buddy how to wash a load of clothes. He thought I was kidding. I've never really needed to know how to wash clothes. I lack confidence in the act. I am always on the verge of permanently destroying something - shrinking shirts, bleeding colors, wrong temperatures, too much soap, overstuffing the washer, all of it.

I don't understand why you just can't leave the clothes in the dryer and turn it on for 5 minutes before you're about to get dressed, to get rid of the wrinkles. This time-saving technique gets ignored by all of the women's magazines. 

I like it when a woman that loves me washes my clothes. It makes me feel loved. Watching them fold clothes makes me want to distract them with sex. There's something very comfortable about it, the erotic arousal of tender domesticity, the petting, the kissing.

Is that sexist?

Whether it is or not, I miss it.



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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brooklyn





Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights (I think), other places. It was all as I remember it. It has changed far less than Manhattan from what I've been able to see so far.

I walked along the promenade after lunch with my friend, who is pregnant again. She is due in a few weeks. She told me the story of hurricane Sandy and having to wade out of her building in waist high river water when she was only a few weeks away from giving birth to her first child. It is difficult to imagine, those places along the East River being under water, but the evidence is there. Closed restaurants, gutted and emptied, waiting to be inhabited by other restauranteurs.


Yesterday's Soul Cycle Spin class was really something. You enter this dark room in which there are about 50 young women, all dressed in skin-tight clothing, all very intent and serious. They combine dancing-aerobics and stationary bicycling, robbing both activities of their inherent charms, dancing without dancing and bicycling without moving. 

But, oh my… the views.

These women were fit. The only soft things in the entire room were titties and ass, and I mean mine.  

A few minutes into this class and I noticed there were two small puddles towards the front of my stationary bicycle. Disgusting, I thought, there must have been a class before this one and the puddles haven't had time to evaporate. Then I realized they were from me. The sweat was running down my arms and dripping off onto the floor.

Jesus, I thought, I am the fat sweaty guy. 

When my friend and I went into the class we must have boosted the average age of the room by a few years while noticeably dropping the overall hair count per person. Every young woman in there was in her early twenties. I would call them girls but they were far too fit for that word. It was an army of eroticism. Sensibly, my buddy went immediately to the other side of the room where I could not see him, so that we did not have to witness each other's death.

Forty-five minutes later I was drenched, inwardly begging for mercy, confused and aroused, approaching myocardial infarction but happy; wanting desperately for them to turn the lights up just a little bit, but knowing what that would mean for me. I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I was squinting into the dark. 

Shameful. Truly shameful.

I would go into more detail but my memories from yesterday become quite pornographic beyond those initial observations. It felt like a dream that I had to work really hard for. My heart will never be the same.


Well, I had intended on writing some observations about Brooklyn but now it's time to go to the gym. I must have gained five pounds here already, and I haven't even been to Artichokes Pizza yet...


Everywhere I went there were babies, and talk of babies, babies were in the air. 





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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Village





I arrived. 

I, at least, have a center of operations for a week. I can unpack my bags and unroll my t-shirts, air out my underwear... ready for action. I would like to start one more sentence with I.

I did it!


Last night, we stayed up late - for me - almost midnight. My two sisters and I talked about our feelings while they ate chocolate and interrupted me as I was about to be clever, just like old times. Their timing is infuriatingly impeccable. 

Tonight, I go visit the rest of my family out in Brooklyn, after a lunch with an old friend under the Brooklyn Bridge. She also has had a baby since I saw her last. It is the way of things. 

I will walk across the bridge if the weather clears. I am a tourist here now, so why not?

Today is my Brooklyn day. It didn't used to be an obligatory part of any NYC visit, but things do change. Everybody has kids. If you're traveling alone you will find that you'll be on the subway to one of the outer-boroughs much more than you once might have. I will bumble around for an afternoon and find some new places to visit, or just go to the Brooklyn Museum.


We are preparing for our Soul Cycle Spin class at 9:30. I agreed to this nonsense last night, and those who love me most have always wanted to see me have a complete coronary event of some kind. I have never tried "spinning" before, in this sense, but I would consider myself an avid cyclist, though in truth I have not been riding in about a year.

I want a new bike but it is expensive, not as much as a new heart, though only barely, and available on Amazon Prime. 

I can have almost anything that I want, shipped within two days now, price depending… 

I think that I would like a nice new whirlpool. 




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Monday, April 7, 2014

"My baby takes the morning train…"






Jet-lag. It's been a long time since I've felt it. It is odd, as a reminder. It feels similar to coming down from a drug. It functions that way in a coincidental capacity. I went to bed last night around 10:30, then tossed and turned and felt wide awake for a few hours.

Things could be worse, I suppose.

There is no coffee here this morning. I've come downstairs and stared at the magical brewing machine twice now, but somehow no coffee has appeared. It doesn't even seem to be trying. But I know how these things go, as soon as I touch it then it will spring to life and I will have done something wrong, and the coffee won't taste right, or there will be water and coffee grounds spewed onto the floor. I lack the totemic powers to appease modern devices.  Either that, or am I am infidel.


All of my bags are packed. Soon, I will take the train into the city. The commuter line. Grand Central Terminal. Then, the green 4-5-6 to Union Square. I am still wondering how much I will have forgotten about the city. That is another odd thing, the pride in which people take about "knowing" a city like New York. People form special relationships with places. I do it. They are eager to offer information, to show the usefulness of their memories to another. 

The East Village is special to me, even though I arrived after the grand bohemian exodus, mostly. I've been warned that the neighborhood has changed drastically, and for the worse. There are 7-11's there now where old favorite places used to be. I suppose as long as I still want coffee that would be okay with me. 

That feeling can not last all day.



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