Saturday, May 31, 2014

From the Plums

I must be fucked up. 

I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel like working. How lonely must a person be to wish to fill their personal time with modest occupational accomplishment; passing through the belly of the LLC. 

I have been working for a few hours now. Years, actually. Seven of them. Most people whom I know have worked their whole lives. It embarrasses me to hear them discuss it as if it is a virtue, the way that I would if I kept waking up in the middle of the night and doing this.

I would describe to you what I have been doing but it would dull your senses. 

I had thought only to write a post here, a lovely poem for Saturday morning, but then I felt the weepiness creeping in.

Here, let's see if I can write a poem that is not weepy:

Nope, fuck that, nope.
I stared at the computer screen
wishing for pottery to appear

All that, and never knowing why.

That was beautiful.

That last sentence is not part of the poem, nor this one.

I have found a new place to live. A house. It will be more of a home for me, I can feel it. I have been living in rooms, mostly living-rooms, coincidentally. I have been too often sleeping on air mattresses when I'm not in my little private rented room.

If that sounds depressing, it is because it is depressing. 

There were times, too many of them, when I could have died from a drug overdose. So, all things considered, things could be much worse... I could be sleeping in Jesus.

Rachel must cringe when she reads this stuff (assuming she still does). Separation involves a certain level of denial; she and I have always had a somewhat different relationship with the truth; our version of it.

That is not a slight, though some might read it as such. I assure you, it is not. One day, perhaps, I will explain. It has to do with the faith required for "truth" to appear, to exist at all, and nothing to do with the facts. Facts are what get us to the near end of things, not always where we wish to be.

Truth, our version of it... it is among the many things you notice about a person when you are in love with them, qualities that linger, challenges even in defeat.

Personality seems so silly and inescapable once things fall apart. You realize that some of the things you laughed about... they were taking quite seriously.

The soft confusion of principle and personality.

That sparkle in the eye that might mean nothing, or worse.

Well, that and other stuff, etcetera.

So, my new place. You are all welcome to stop by, of course. Come, and sit, we'll chat. It is wine country, and many people love that about it. 

I will wow you with my erudition and charm. Most are surprised at my ability to continuously speak. 

Shocked, engaged, et al.

If you find yourself un-charmed then you can leave and walk down to the El Verano Inn

Admittedly, their site needs a little work. But, it is one of the local amenities there for your tourist pleasures. 

The Sheriff's office is also nearby, for convenience, because they are going "green" with incarcerations in the valley. It is their enforceful push. 

The latest Efficiency Reports state that bicycles and dogs are now used, and of course the inmates are always being recycled.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Weepishly Witten

I have been told that I am "too weepy" concerning the relationship troubles that I am having. There were idiomatic specifics involved in the correspondence, though it isn't necessary for us to explore those here. Vulgarisms were present, and by now you must know how I feel about such things, etc.

There is no winning in any of this. I wish that love was still possible, but now Love is all that remains.

Everybody has so much advice, most of it all seems good when you're listening, but then so little of it agrees with other advice given, so I am left with a disparity of opinion, a tossing and turning of the senses.

Follow your heart, say some.

That is what I thought I was doing, My heart wishes to sail the globe, sometimes alone.

Never to back down from a round of giving sound advice... they might also say, But, you know, you have to do what's right for you.

Do I?

When being told what one must do in love it results in perpetual inversion of the marriage vow: Do I?

Is it my heart that has had a change of heart, or does it just want too many things at once, things that are beyond my reach?

If you're selfish then people will remind you. If you sacrifice, and do what is best for another, then people will caution you. If you do nothing and just stare into the abysm that was once your love, then what...?

People will say that you are acting strange. Nothing alerts people to danger as does a white man in love.

Who would ever recommend the following of a heart?

What maelstrom awaits, towards the landing of the next leap.

Just when you are pleased with your leaping, the heart departs.

Rachel and I can both see within Rhys the signs of stress, of not knowing when he'll see me again, or where I am, or why I am bringing him to new places, different places, without Mommy.

Of course, I tell him to buck-up, and stop being so weepy, kid.

You've got your whole whirlpool in front of you....


Thursday, May 29, 2014

"The spring is wound up tight"

I take back everything I said about music. I've just been listening to the wrong stuff, I guess. Last night at the gym I listened to "The Clash" and all was right again, at least for a little less than an hour. 

That is how a debut album should be done.

Though that is probably just nostalgia, the thing I have been told to be wary of. What is heartbreak but an acute version of it. An interminable case of longing. The mind's silly sweet love afair with returning to a memory. 

I see a friend, online, one who is struggling through their own breakup trials. I see the hopeful posts, about somehow waking up each day and getting through it, and I think to myself: yuck. I want no part in it. 

Isn't it bad enough already? Soon I'll be posting messages of hope, quoting people like Paul Coelho and Deepak Chopra.

My life will be as smooth as one side of a bumper sticker. People will offer to call and talk to me, encourage me to cry, etc.

I just might.

If I were forced to tell the truth - under extreme conditions, torture - I would reflect that I am restful, resigned to what will happen.

Once, Jean Anouilh, in his play Antigone, described it very well: 
The spring is wound up tight. It will uncoil of itself. That is what is so convenient in tragedy. The least little turn of the wrist will do the job . . . The rest is automatic. You don’t need to lift a finger. The machine is in perfect order; it has been oiled ever since time began, and it runs without friction . . . Tragedy is clean, it is restful, it is flawless . . . In a tragedy, nothing is in doubt and everyone’s destiny is known. That makes for tranquillity . . . Tragedy is restful; and the reason is that hope, that foul, deceitful thing, has no part in it. There isn’t any hope. You’re trapped.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Today, instead of working, a baseball game. The Giants vs. The Cubs, then bowling.  A team building experience.

I should have warned them.... I am an extremely aggressive leisure sports kind of guy. Anybody that recalls The Pikey Strikers post will already know this.

I crushed little Rhys at badminton the other day. He didn't have a chance. It wasn't even worth keeping score. 

He left the backyard with no question as to who was the victor.

I did a little victory dance, but twisted my ankle. 

Now I can't keep my camera still.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Merchant of Venice

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

- Shakespeare, Portia's speech


Monday, May 26, 2014

From a Hilltop

(The view from the top of Contra Costa, Berkeley)

Well, fuck.... I did it once again.

I wrote a piece that I now can't publish. There were too many amputations in it. Civil War style, with cauterization to stop the flow of blood, to slow the infection. 

The smell of burned flesh rising up into watering eyes.

With teeth clenched on an old leather wallet, at least I lost some weight.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

"In such condition..."

I awoke to a toasted bagel, cream cheese and salmon. Coffee, etc.

I have been thinking too much about the future. It is as dangerous as living in the past, where anxiety replaces nostalgia, regret.

I wonder what remnants of our current collective lives will emerge in the future as significant and valuable, if at all.

Due Process does not seem that it will have much of a chance of surviving.

I am reminded of the quote by Hobbes concerning the "war of all against all":

In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, no culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear of danger and violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

I always though the word "cold" was included in that final list, such is the power of perpetual misquotation. 

Now, we are told that it will be hot, very hot.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

To Quail a Mockingbird

I awake in another strange place, a room that is foreign, though only slightly. 

I must eat, go home, but do not feel like calling a taxi. There must be an easier way. 

There is only so much uncertainty that anyone will endure by choice, for just so long. 

One must sometimes know of what they are wondering. 

The battery on my phone prevents me from opining further. It too has tired of me. 

It too, Brute?


Friday, May 23, 2014

"I have money..."


This has become part of my trip to Italy, also.

A close friend lives there now, so I must visit soon. He is known to jump quickly from place to place: Barcelona, Madrid, Frankfurt, Ghent, Buenos Aires, a forgotten coastal city in Argentina, and now Beirut. All in the span of a handful of years. An enviable life until you try living it. It is more difficult than many would let on, though the apparent idea is to make others wish to live your life. 

Some people enjoy the sensation of envy, jealousy. It is a powerful feeling, darkly erotic.

That is the idea for some, making others envy your life, creating a semblance of an enviable life, a taste of verisimilitude.

Others just incessantly complain of feeling unwell. They seek the affection they desire in that way, never seeming to figure out why they do not get the very thing they seek. There is little that I find more tedious than somebody who will discuss their various aches and ailments, unless they do so with charm, of course, the thing that we are not supposed to forget.

Some men fall in love with bitches, and seem quite happy. Their friends will grumble in groups about her, and often she doesn't seem to care much for them either. The boyfriends only seem truly unhappy when things with the bitch don't work out. There is no explanation for it. There are women that are the same, only able to love men that ignore them, or worse.

Yet other men go to prostitutes, and expect the prostitute to be a bitch for them. They enjoy something about it. It must secretly displease Mommy.... It makes no sense, except to them, and maybe to the prostitute, perhaps a mother herself. She is willing to be a bitch to a man that will pay her to do so for the purpose of feeding her child. Though he will often do other things to her, also. The world is much simpler than many claim. One wonders what makes sense and what does not to such a person.

I wonder, but finding out means sometimes more than just asking. 

There should be a place where people could ask prostitutes questions.

Once, when traveling in Ghent, I was in the car of my friend's sister and we drove by places, little houses, with glass windows in the front, where sat well-lit girls in lingerie, making cute and inviting gestures. I inquired about them just as it was dawning on me what these places were.

She asked if I cared to stop.

"Oh, no, no... I was just curious."

"Many men are. Would you like to stop? It is not a problem."

"Oh no, really, I don't even have any money."

"I have money. It's no problem. I can wait. I understand."

"I wouldn't want it to interfere with the chocolate waffle I'm going to eat in the morning."

"I don't see how that it possibly could."

Back and forth like that for a few sentences until I almost felt bad for not doing it.

I guess I'm a pussy.

Later that same night, at the local pub, I noted that many of the women were more comfortable with their sexuality, and the sexuality of others, than their American counterparts. No less crazy, mind you, but more comfortable about that which drives the craziness, the jet-fuel for it.

This casual observation turned itself into another, and then another, until the final result was me telling some woman, wife, and mother of a few just exactly how sexy she was.

Something at least as, or more, shameful as that.

Oafetry in motion... as my friend once cleverly described it.

The word "converse" means very different things in a European pub, as it does in an American bar.

I like it.

So, Beirut.

Perhaps in the Spring, for a few days before or after Italy.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Please, keep a copy, for your records

I miss music - of the things that I used to enjoy, moments set aside for music are among the memories that sting the most. It is becoming hazy, the remembering of it, where it used to seem clear.

I still listen, sometimes. I just don't enjoy it as much. The component of leisureliness has evaporated, taking much pleasure with it. Now, it is just something that is occurring in the room. It prevents silence, with mixed results.

I don't mind silence, and maybe that's all that has really changed. It's nobody's fault that nothing remains. It's not as if when I'm alone I listen to music. It's just a part of my life that seems to have shifted.

It has become something I do at the gym. So, there is that.

An entire wall in the house, 20 feet long and from floor to ceiling, all filled with records, two closets in the master bedroom, an outdoor storage unit... all filled with records and cd's. Half in boxes, half on shelves. Useless. The weighty burdens of excess. Fat ghosts that refuse to move, refuse to help, like whirlwinds that have just stopped in time.

It is a danger to make a museum of one's life. It is too easily mocked from the outside, too difficult from the inside, and too surprisingly heavy once complete. But that is the impulse, in some: to preserve.

Every time I mention it here somebody offers to take them, until the logistics are discussed. It means coming to Sonoma with a U-Haul truck and driving them somewhere else in the country. Thousands of dollars in expense, a week out of their lives. It never seems worth it. 

I don't blame anybody. I don't want to move them either, and I sure as fuck wouldn't go to somebody else's house to bring them here. Throwing them out never seems like the right thing to do, either. 

I'll look through them sometimes and still have fond feelings, remembering how much I used to love. But that's it, it's mostly just a memory of a passing past. We never really broke up, we just stopped talking. I haven't even bothered setting up a turntable to listen in the three years that I've lived here. My fondness for it lacks a present and future tense. 

I have friends that ended up being the precise opposite. They endlessly revisit the past, joined together in online groups to discuss music from a certain time in our collective lives, most of which should have remained there, in my modest opinion. I mean... there's a reason that some music is obscure, and it isn't always that it didn't get the chance that it deserved at the time. 

My collection is made up of thousands and thousands of records like that. Meaningless, other than for being odd curiosities from an odd time.

Like this gem written by Mickey Newbury, sung by Kenny Rogers... yes, that Kenny Rogers.

I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in...


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

... an impossibility without it

(The Persian waitress)

Well, the camera turned out to be too expensive, even for me... a man dedicated to wasting money on a silly hobby in his middle years. The maker of the camera was very nice about it and offered to work with me on the price, but it is too much. Though, the camera is very nice... I need a new car more than I need yet another camera.

CS, never one to let a pursuit escape, recommended an old Rolleiflex or a Hasselblad, a camera that another friend had also recommended, which I had thought to be well out of my price range.

Then, chance, as if by magic... yesterday at work a buddy had brought in his whole Hasselblad kit, lenses and all. He also had me convinced that this is the direction I should be going. 

Now, happiness is an impossibility without it.  I will begin my obsessive research, which will culminate in a purchase, after irritating everyone around me that has no real interest in cameras with incessant talk of the particulars to choose from in purchasing.

This will be fun. It must.

I will make portraits of strangers, will be beloved, admired, wandering amongst the villagers freely like a lost harlequin long after the acrobats have all left town.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Can dumb people also be narcissists? Or, is it exclusive to the presumed intelligentsia? Does that make one a snobbish narcissist, to assume that the effect must be different for others, lessers?

If so, do narcissistic tendencies make a dolt feel smarter than they actually are? Like Facebook, or Twitter, or blogging... to possess an excessive interest in self? Or, do the dumb only feel the erotic tug of the affliction? The masturbatory portion, without all the self-involved navel-gazing. Is it a sort of overshot of self-centeredness.

I used to sit and have a beer or two at a quaint little bar in Soho, colloquially known as Fanelli's. If you have been to Soho then you know which one it is. It easily predates the current state of the neighborhood, and was there long before the art boom of the 80's. Some say that it is the oldest standing structure in all of the Americas. 

Harold Bloom was a regular there, though I never saw him. If I did, then I never recognized him for who he was. If I had seen him, I'm not sure that I would have said anything. He was reported to have been a terrible sexist, notably after a few beers.

He would proclaim that women's accomplishments have never come close to rivaling men's, historically. He would rant about the destruction of the canon by feminist forces. Then challenge people to offer what comes after that, what follows a loss of historical perspective.

What have women done, he would demand to know, except to usurp the canon? Robbers of history!

That would have been fun to witness. If not fun, something.

I would have thrown out nonsense challenges: Amazonia... the return to Lesbos! Viva Le' Woolf....

... only to see his reaction. I revere, but without much reverence; am too often willing to shame myself for a story. Admiration need not stoop to silence, particularly in a bar.

What sort of narcissism would that be? Barcissism. 

One wonders how Bloom really felt about Camille Paglia. Not his well-known academic recommendations of her, but in his private thoughts. I'm sure they are out there, published somewhere. Apparently his sexism extended well into his academic work life also. He was helpless and required the constant assistance of an always younger, female protege. 

I never met a feminist that could talk rationally about Paglia. They all seemed to hate her. Her observations did not coincide with their agenda, and she was getting a lot of attention at the time. When Esquire magazine features your feminist thoughts, and gives them a spotlight, then you at least must know which side you're on. Now, few probably remember who she was. For a time, she splashed across the talk shows with her polemical agenda.

One angry young woman in college used to tell me that I was to blame for Paglia's success, and men like me. I responded that I would love to take credit, but the research was hers, not mine. It is a well documented fact. 

Back to Fanelli's. The last time that I was there, on my trip to NYC, there were a group of neighborhood regulars holding court. One was a very famous photographer from New Zealand, who happened to have the afternoon free, as he often did. He was charming and witty and I did not ask his name (I was told that he was famous by the bartender, a boxer who once fought Larry Holmes).

The NZ photographer approvingly noted the camera I had with me, the Fuji X100S, and he subtly made fun of another guy at the bar who was the ongoing victim of a trust fund, with his rather expensive medium format camera, who kept talking about how to "look professional" when out shooting random people on the street.

At one point the famed photographer asked, Why look professional?

The joke seemed to be lost on the promateur.

He would go outside every few minutes and ask women walking past if he could take their picture, cigarette dangling from his mouth, looking very professional in his dark blazer, as if he could be something, somebody.

It was funny and slightly demented, a sufficient counterpoint perhaps to the myth of Bloom's wild assertions. 

Proof-negative of the storied history of male accomplishment. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."

I ordered a bunch of used books from Amazon and now I await their arrival. I'm not sure if it's safe to read Kierkegaard at my tender age, but suppose I'll soon find out. Fear and Trembling. I've read bits of him before but it was usually just little snippets within other pieces that were written about him.

Don't worry, I also ordered Irrational Man by William Barrett, in the event that Soren gets too intense, I'll have some light fallback reading.

Only a short break was needed from writing here. I am like a dog that chases cars, untrainable. It is a sickness.

One friend exclaimed, "I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away!"

It's not as if I have a proven track record for staying away from things that are potentially dangerous to me. It is the re-opening of many old wounds, never allowing the lacerations to become a cicatrix. 

One thing that I found interesting when I came back after 4 days of not writing is that my daily readership hadn't been affected, which means that people don't come here to read what I've written today, they seem to just be browsing. 

I've decided that I want a new thing. It is an expensive one but I will be the only person who has it here. Photographers will beg to borrow it from me. Any fool can buy a digital camera. All that it takes is money, and there always seems to be lots to go around here in Sonoma, for a few. But people would not even know where to get a camera like this:

Well, I'll go ahead and tell you... His name is John Minnicks and the camera is called the Aero-Liberator. Here is his website. It is an Ektar lens on a Graflex body. A bespoke camera, man... I will be cool. 

I will be the coolest guy in town. Kids will circle around me and beg to see what it can do. Women will want to speak privately with me in dark corners, they will invite me up to have tea in their rooms.

Here is a picture from it, which I'm pretty certain my buddy CS took:

(Cafe Selavy)

That one image alone makes me want the camera.

The post from yesterday got me thinking about suicide, not considering it, just thinking upon it. It occurred to me that fundamentally there is only one difference between dying and suicide, and that is that there's a chance that the person dying might not have wanted to.

Love is all, it gives all, it takes all. - Kierkegaard


Sunday, May 18, 2014

From whom the Buoy Tolls

Yesterday, in the evening, a garden party in Kenwood. I sat in the lawn chair looking out across the valley at the eastern mountain range, the Mayacamas, the hills of rolling vineyards leading up to them as the light made its soft shift, signaling the day's end.

One must really go out of their way to ignore the natural beauty of this place. It can only be done with great effort and much time spent inside. I feel guilty even going to a daytime movie in this valley. 

I want the world to last. I'll admit that I was blasé about it for too many years of my shambolic youth, then my lingering adulthood. Not any more, brothers and sisters. I want the world to carry on in much the same fashion that it has for some time now. When Rhys falls in love with the idea of adventure as a young boy I want the possibilities to include something other than just struggle. I want him to read comic books, not survival manuals. 

There is no perimeter left to this world in which to retreat. Mountains and islands will become violent and crowded with carcasses, overrun with hyenas, jackals. It is one reason that I not only believe in gun rights, I believe that we should enforce gun rights completely and make gun ownership mandatory, punishable even, and gun safety should be fought with our few remaining resources. Safety should be finally be recognized for exactly what it is: unnecessary, frivolous even... dangerous! 

It requires no special skill in logic to make an argument that opposes all others. Those who now deny Darwinian principles should be required to confront the facts more closely. Perhaps the evidence has not yet been compelling enough to convince those that require proof. They lack the requisite faith. 

Whatever happens... we asked for it, we're told. Demanded it! 

Freud told us about the basic impulses, sex and death, or maybe it was life and death.... though we are now instructed that Freud oversimplified. We have known and felt all along what the result of our earthly excesses would be. It is all written in our myths. God is always a landowner, his messenger always a peasant. I am feeling the impulses now, the havoc of time on the body, and I am only at mid-life. What I would like to believe is my mid-life. My father turns 80-something this week. 

82, my brother just dutifully texted back. Is it lucky to have lived so long? My father certainly seems to think so, and has told me a handful of times. I once asked him how much longer he wanted to live and he gave me a strange look and responded, as long as I can without being miserable.

I almost responded back, But what if I am miserable now? 

Though a son does not, should not, plant the idea of suicide in his father's head. That would be unnecessarily careless, cruel. He does not need to know that I think about such things. 

I used to try and quantify suffering, I would wonder which would be worse: to lose a child to sickness or suicide. These were among the worst things that I could imagine, but then I grew up a little bit and realized that things can become much worse than just that. It is why drug lords will kidnap the families of their rivals. Suicide seems merciful in the face of such a thing, sickness an act of cosmic love, in comparison. 

Now I worry about global warming. My guess is that the suicide rates will rise dramatically along with the water. The conversation about the act will change along with it. It will shift from being about giving up hope to the hope that less humans might make the temperatures and sea levels drop, as if there is an appeasing that can bring nature back, a sacrifice that will suffice. 

I have heard some suggest that the poorest will die first, many of whom live in underdeveloped regions susceptible to rising tides. The idea of a few billion deaths does not appeal much to me, though I understand the 'them vs. us' nature of such an idea. Why should America have to suffer the indignity of the apocalypse. 

I have heard Christians almost invite the death of the earth, because their rewards are elsewhere. I have heard agnostics tell me to leave the Christians alone, that they're not hurting anybody. 

I checked the altitude of Sonoma a few days ago, for fun. My dreams and daydreams turn more and more to escape. Escape.

If things do unfold as poorly as we are told they might... then Iran might be pleased that soon enough everyone will forget the Holocaust. The Nazis will not seem like the worst possible group to have ever existed, at all. In fact, many will turn to those just like them in the hopes that sort of order will bring order to an uncertain future. Live long enough, you will see. 

But are there not many fascists in your country?

There are many that do not now know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.

- Hemingway

The future fascists will all be agrarian, naturally. 

I'll admit it, I live in both vague and specific fear of global warming, not knowing much but also knowing enough. Imagination fills the gaps of life, the gaps in knowledge. I have read reports that 97% of the scientists who study such things agree that it is man-made and we are heading towards doom. Yet there still seems to be a fair amount of partisan bickering about it and what should be done, as if it started in Benghazi by Al Gore.

I wonder why these same scientists don't call on an international cessation to all cancer studies. That money is needed to educate, provide guns, and prevent impending disaster. If we did a study showing the carbon footprint of cancer treatments then people might turn against it, them.  

This is not an actual suggestion, it is only to make a point. If we can argue for gun rights then why can't we argue against cancer. 

There will come a point when the collective idea will be: let the dead die, sooner.

Can you now see why I wanted to take a break from writing?


Saturday, May 17, 2014

"... tell what ought to be the truth"

Perhaps writing about the pettiness of my life prevents me from having to live too much within it, within the various trivialities of heartbreak. It is a necessary escape, and I a narcissist that goes by another name. 

Or, at least that is what I have been told recently, and have read.

After only three days of silence I felt bottled up, too much so. It wasn't doing me any good. I had just thought that it might; hoped.

I know what will do me the most good: falling in love. Though that seems to be what has gotten me in this mess.

Seems to be, anyway. Perhaps it was not the falling in love, it was the impossibility of staying there.

Who has the time for love anymore? It seems as improbable as a moon walk.

I misrepresented the suggestion from a friend, that I write about something other than my family life. It was only a suggestion, and a good one. That if I were to seek experiences outside of the problems I am currently having maintaining a satisfying life as part of a family then by doing so it would relieve some of that burden.

Doesn't seem like such awful advice? But when you hear me relay it... it just sounded so terrible.

Well, it was nice to have people jump to the defense of liberty and free expression.

Writing each morning gives me some small semblance of centeredness. But I also crave it when it is not there, even though I know that it might be bad for me. In that, it is not unlike other things (re narcissism)

It is practice in organizing the pieces of the world, even if by some strange, hidden, and misguided logic. I certainly hope that nobody else takes any of this as a recipe for success. I have always felt that I was an Anti-Robbins, a sort of disastrous counterpoint to Anthony Robbins, the maven of North Hollywood. 

This is Motivational Writing, but mostly just motive. A sort of kinetic laziness; an idleness of the soul.

It boggles my mind that people will still try to hand me cd's of his lectures, Tony Robbins, telling me that they really think I'll get a lot out of it. They must hear something inside of me that yearns to be selling something. Maybe they are right. It will only take a lecture on neuro-linguistic programming to get me out of this 45 year slump and actualize my true potential as a promotional writer.

Maybe I should take my friend's advice, go door to door each morning giving away this sort of thing in a short five minute sales pitch, rather than writing it all down here. It would be novel to see the looks on the other end of the shotgun as I babble this nonsense into some neighbor's early morning ear.

It is the challenge of all sales, personalizing the experience.

I am engaged in a very different type of neuro-linguine deprogramming, you see. I want to create a life-coaching-sales technique based on dada practice and principle; an insufficient outpouring of discomfiture, the nonsensical rejection of any prevailing bourgeois standards, a smattering of circus sales. That sort of stuff, wrapped up programmatically. 

It would have to be online, subscription-based, expensive at first, but scalable. 

One must always be wary of the people who come to save, though not too terribly much. 

I am still taken by the latter scene in A Streetcar Named Desire, when they come to take Blanche DuBois away and she gives in to go, seemingly once and for all, to the fate that has been decided for her, one that was scrawled in loss and sealed in rape. She walks into the uncertainty of her future with a cracked dignity that she can just barely assemble, strained as it is through her own decay and delusions. 

Ah well, enough of all that. Let's talk about family life.

I know I fib a good deal....


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I am going to take a break.

I don't feel like doing any of this any more.

... because the world had failed us both.


Thema Non Grata

(pic found online)

I received a request to stop writing about Rachel, Rhys or Barkley.

So, now my sleeping habits, coffee, the gym, and the remnants of my family are all out of bounds as subject mater. What next?

That doesn't leave me with much to write about. I don't do well when picking my own topics. I tend towards the absurd and vile, or obsessive and fetishistic. It is what makes me happy, those things.

I was encouraged to go have breakfast at Cafe Mason, to talk to people, to get outside of my own head. To explore the outer circle just beyond Barkley, then beyond that.

There was a fantastic sunrise on the bay this morning, as I crossed the bridge.

I have an appointment with my doctor soon.

My grandkids never call.

My hip hurts.

(Update: this request did not come via Rachel, should have clarified that...)


Monday, May 12, 2014


Barkley, the pup, is alive and well.

I had a friend ask, worried, because of the picture and the odd choice of text in yesterday's post

I had stayed in the city and just picked an image out of my phone. I have been reading Paradise Lost intermittently and had nothing to say of my own, so I just used the famous first verses.

No light, but rather darkness visible.

Barkley is fine, and much loved.

He is one of my favorite models and his image recurs here often.

I don't know why I try to stay up late any more. I was only out until about 1am on Saturday night but then I felt depleted the whole next day, even though I achieved my minimum 6 hours of sleep. Still, it throws my body off.

As CS has said many times, nothing good happens after midnight. I enjoy the day too much now to spend it emptied, flat. It just doesn't seem worth it any more, to lose a full day only to explore the darkness. I tend to find the same things over sand over there in the shadows, nothing but more shadow. The many colorful characters of the evening no longer sustain my fascination the way they once did.  

Though, in truth, I did have a good conversation with two old friends. We talked of the wonder of the physical world. The durability of matter. The mystery of life, its temporal nature. We made travel plans in secrecy, a midnight journey, the crossing of borders through jungle. Then, we walked home and I prepared my air mattress. Living as a wanderer from house to house is more comfortable now than ever before, the owner of air mattresses can enjoy relative luxury and comfort.

They probably existed when I was a kid but I was not aware of them. I'd sleep poorly on couches and awake with a stiff neck and sore back. The couch would often be one or two inches too short so I'd have to sleep on my side with my legs curled, or put a pillow underneath my knees to try to make the spacing work, my t-shirt over my eyes to keep out the morning light.

Ah youth, my skeleton was made of rubber.

I forgot to get an air mattress when Rachel and I went tent camping several years ago. She was not used to roughing it and I think the loss of comfort came as quite a shock to her. I remember our first morning waking up together, at Canyonlands, after a night in the tent and her looking around at our campsite. She said nothing though her eyes said everything. 

What sort of person does this for pleasure....

One man's paradise, I guess, is a woman's discomfort. One man's junk, a paradise garage.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

... of lost happiness and lasting pain

Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, 
Sing Heav'nly Muse,that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill 
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread 
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justifie the wayes of God to men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,
Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off 
From thir Creator, and transgress his Will
For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd 
The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host
Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in Glory above his Peers,
He trusted to have equal'd the most High, 
If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God
Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie 
With hideous ruine and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,
Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms.
Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night 
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe
Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 
Torment him; round he throws his baleful eyes
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
At once as far as Angels kenn he views
The dismal Situation waste and wilde, 
A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd onely to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and thir portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n
As from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 
There the companions of his fall, o'rewhelm'd
With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and weltring by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd 
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'd
From him, who in the happy Realms of Light 
Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shine
Myriads though bright: If he Whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,
Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd 
In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest
From what highth fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd
He with his Thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire Arms? yet not for those,
Nor what the Potent Victor in his rage 
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though chang'd in outward lustre; that fixt mind
And high disdain, from sence of injur'd merit,
That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along 
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd
That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd
In dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That Glory never shall his wrath or might 
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deifie his power,
Who from the terrour of this Arm so late
Doubted his Empire, that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath 
This downfall; since by Fate the strength of Gods
And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,
Since through experience of this great event
In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,
We may with more successful hope resolve 
To wage by force or guile eternal Warr
Irreconcilable, to our grand Foe
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning, and hold the Tyranny of Heav'n

-Milton, Paradise Lost


Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Well... How did I get here?"

The weekend emerges, first as dew, soon as sun.

The hills have been shrouded in rolling fog the last several days, into the evenings. Living here, it is sometimes easy to forget. Then, driving along Hwy 121, or Arnold Dr.... You will glance over to the West, and the fog and the hill and the sun are all locked together in a rolling pirouette, forming a thing that is magnificent and temporary, tremendous to the eyes.

You wish to stop and watch it unfold but the life you are living does not encourage. It permits, rarely persuades. You have driven that same road hundreds of times now. Inertia. The push and pull, the bullying of time.

This August, you will have lived here for three years.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack 
And you may find yourself in another part of the world 
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile 
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife 
And you may ask yourself 
Well...How did I get here? 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
After the money's gone 
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground 

And you may ask yourself 
How do I work this? 
And you may ask yourself 
Where is that large automobile? 
And you may tell yourself 
This is not my beautiful house 
And you may tell yourself 
This is not my beautiful wife 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
After the money's gone 
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground 

Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 

Water dissolving...and water removing 
There is water at the bottom of the ocean 
Under the water, carry the water at the bottom of the ocean 
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
Into the silent water 
Under the rocks and stones
There is water underground 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
After the money's gone 
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground 

And you may ask yourself 
What is that beautiful house? 
And you may ask yourself 
Where does that highway go to? 
And you may ask yourself 
Am I right?...Am I wrong? 
And you may say to yourself yourself 
My God!...What have I done?! 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
Into the silent water 
Under the rocks and stones
There is water underground 

Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground 
Into the blue again
After the money's gone 
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground 

Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Look where my hand was 
Time isn't holding up 
Time is an asterisk 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Same as it ever was... 
Yeah, the twister comes 
Here comes the twister 
Same as it ever was...


Friday, May 9, 2014


This is what I did on my Florida vacation, pointed expensive cameras at the sun, for fun.

Don't worry, I shot at f22, I think, and had the ND filter on. I might have even used exposure compensation to stop down a bit. But none of that matters. If you point an expensive sensor at the sun then you'll ruin it.  

It was worth it, just look at that shot. Well worth the $1300 price tag.

Ah well, I was wanting to buy a new camera soon anyway.

Or, this one

It's a Magical Hogwarts Halo.

We were walking around the Harry Potter Wizarding World at Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure when we saw it, so not capturing it would have been wrong. It was like a giant rainbow anus in the sky. 

This post is tiring me.

Almost everything in my life is going wrong, as if I am being gnawed on by bored rats with dull or missing teeth.


Thursday, May 8, 2014


(the accused)

Back in the valley. Spring is here. I will want a new bike soon.

I have been reading all morning. I get the wrong news feeds - or rather, I should stop trying to use Facebook as one. There comes a point where you realize that watching videos about Vine videos that went viral the day before is somehow less than fulfilling.

It all seems so interesting, at first.

One thing that I do find of interest is how any point of view can be supported with an article and/or a study. Anybody that has a blog, like this one, is qualified to conduct scientific research. 

Even me!

To wit, never before has there been less of a consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet. If you are a vegan then you will find plenty of evidence to support your decisions. If you choose to be a heartless murderer of sacred cows then you can also find articles that tell you how wise and noble your decisions and actions are. In fact, some of those articles might even touch upon the many evils of vegetables, things to be wary of.

Global warming, the same. 

Just pick an issue, decide how you feel about it, and voila'... supporting evidence appears around you. It is nice and non-threatening, amenable to sales, etc.

One thing that you will not find anywhere: a vegan that denies global warming, or one that believes Monsanto is making great strides with genetically modified foods, even though there is broad scientific consensus to support this.

So, it's fun. Sometimes I do miss the good old days though, when a general agreement could be had, about anything. 

I found myself arguing about rape online the other day. Not arguing, that would be wrong, we were experiencing discussion opposition. Both sides were united in the idea that rape is bad, but where we dissented was on who the silent victims were. My conversational partner was shocked to hear that there was a higher percentage of unreported rape among men than women. 

In prison, within gay relationships, or not within a relationship... rape is common and very rarely ever reported. It requires hospitalization before any statistics start to emerge. This unfortunate fact is also true with women, but not quite as true, because they are encouraged to report, while men experience powerful social stigmas against any admission of sexual victimhood. 

Just try to assign a more gender neutral meaning to the word rape and you will see. It is a word that does not easily transfer its meaning between the sexes. Rape is a one-way word.

I had made this fact up, concerning the incident rates of unreported male on male rape, but that's not the point. It was easy to support and defend, even without any evidence, because it seemed plausible. Rape actually is quite common among men. In fact, you'll find that it almost always involves at least one. 

Male-less rape is rare, but the experts are still looking. 

Another little known fact: rape is almost three times as common in Canada as it is in America. Rape is on the decline in the US and has been for the last 40 years. Though we are still warned to watch out for 29 year old teachers in Florida, preying on 17 year old boys. 

Shameful, yet she seems almost proud of her statutory crimes. 

Rape is non-existent in Saudi Arabia, if we are to believe the stats. The number of reported cases can be counted by hand, or perhaps hands. There is no specific law which makes rape illegal there. That is how irrelevant it is. 

Rape, under sharia law, requires four male witnesses for it to even be considered. Quite often, once there are more than four male witnesses it becomes a gang rape, as the witnesses of such a heinous thing must maintain their honor. 

Then, the woman will be often punished for that indiscretion as well, the shame of having been raped can not be ignored. It displeases a just and loving God.

So, if you have a friend who is simply disgusted with the handling of sexual violence in the US, discuss their options to emigrate to Saudi Arabia, where it does not represent nearly as much of a problem.

Well, we don't have to discuss rape all morning. Most sexual activity is happy and healthy and fun, though it being so precludes it from much outside interest.

These are just luxurious times for faux argument. 

The odd thing is, some of what I've said above is true and supported by strong evidence, yet no one wishes to believe it.

Ah, precious faith and scant fact.