Sunday, June 25, 2017

For everything else there's Visa's APR





Less than two weeks until our Florida vacation. 

Rather than actually prepare for that I just keep looking at a new lens that I'd like to buy, one that I can not afford.

Now, you might think this is silly, but if I bring my Fuji then it will take up less space in my bags. The problem is that I only have the equivalent prime focal lengths of 24mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, and 85mm f1.2. Well not "the problem," but rather that I am missing an important focal length in that set. If I had a 35mm f1.4 then everywhere I went I could bring only two lenses and still be basically happy - 35mm and 85mm if I want to lean towards portraits but still have a reasonably wide angle option available to me, or 24mm and 50mm if I want to lean towards wide angle photography but would still like to have the option to crowd the frame with the subject or individuals - portraits that seem "natural" to the eye. 

What self-respecting amateur photographer would leave the house with only those options available to them? It is why so many people buy zoom lenses and will bring only that one lens, something like a 24-85mm works well for travel. It is a lens that I have, though I have let an old friend borrow it. But I would never leave the house for an entire week with only one lens. If I did, then it would probably be a 50mm or 35mm prime, because I am quite stubborn and insistent that I do things my way, yet still somehow not quite happy with my choices. 

I want purity and flexibility, or the purity of flexibility, or maybe I just need a few more lenses before I'll ever be happy. 


But, I don't have a 35mm lens for the Fuji, so this makes me want to bring my Nikon system, which takes up quite a bit more space. Then I would be tempted to not only bring more lenses, but another camera body also so that I could shoot some color and black and white film. The Nikon has the advantage of me not needing, for the moment, to buy any other lenses. I have what most would consider a complete set of focal ranges for that system - 17mm-35mm, 50mm f1.4, 56mm f1.6 Velvet, 85mm f1.4 D, 135mm f2 DC.

Anybody paying attention would point out that I need the new 105mm f1.4. They would be quite right, though I would not necessarily need that lens just to go to Florida. Also, that 105mm costs $2200, where the Fuji 35mm equiv. costs $900. I would be saving $1300 in credit card debt to buy the Fuji. Many of my problems would be solved by these types of smart savings. 

But still... photography results in itches that once adequately scratched will just move to another diopter.







.


 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cease and Desist the Day



(Lasagna Eaters)


Two nights in the city, the second spent making veggie lasagna with my friends. I have another dish that I can predictably make well. That makes two now. Roast chicken and lasagna, maybe there's another that I've forgotten. Oh yeah, there is also coq au vin. Maybe Sunday I'll make a lamb stew. At least there is something beyond steaks and chicken on the grille now.

My friends and I sat at the kitchen table and did what was always do - talk. Changes are underway. They have both recently left their jobs at the same veterinarian's office, within a day of one another, almost by chance. There has been some weirdness and it is time for them to go, so off they went. I offered legal counsel to the one whose situation seemed more perilous. I crafted a single sentence designed to  force fear into the heart of his tormenters, but he is far too nice a guy to take my legal advice. I was, of course, prepared to litigate over this hostile office weirdness that has left my client impotent and balding. 

At one point in the evening I remember showing him what a single normal, healthy testicle looks like, so that he would have a comparison with which to better understand his own cursed and wretched testicular affliction.


That's all I remember, and that the lasagna came out well. I am no longer stricken with the crippling fear of vegetables that I once was. They are easy and fun to cook with, especially the mushrooms, which I guess are a fungi and not strictly vegetables, but with the spinach they were quite good. 

So, lasagna can be made without sweet Italian sausage and ground beef, and even without ricotta cheese, which came as both a shock and a lie to my old buddy, Abraham (pictured above). He insisted that lasagna can not be made without ricotta. His withering teste is drawing much of his life energy from his capacity for culinary imagination. He doesn't want the world to change any more than it already has. 


Okay, I would write more but the morning now demands breakfast of us. We will go make bacon and eggs and crumpets with juice. Today begins our weekend, which is often marked with a celebration of fried animal fats.

Written in fire, sung in flame. 




.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Be gone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!"





Nothing to report today, the heat is well beyond pleasant. No bike ride today, no gym in a week. I am withering like the wicked witch of the west when doused with water, except around the belly. 

The heat is a cursed brat, just look what it has done. I'm melting, I'm melting.... Who would have thought that some little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness....

Who, indeed?

I have only one hour before I must get in the car and go into the city. There are papers to find, clothes to pack, a shower to take, a cookbook so that I can make my friends my increasingly famous lasagna dish tomorrow night. It will be my first attempt at a veggie lasagna. My good buddy, Abraham Lohan, is pushing for chicken, but he will be ignored. It is written. 


We were invited to go see Cars 3 at the Steve Jobs theater on the Pixar campus tonight. The boy will simply love that. We have chosen a place for dinner in Emeryville - Korean barbecue. He is getting a world tour lately in food. The other day there was Ethiopian. There is talk of a winter trip to Costa Rica where I will teach him to eat generous portions of pollo de √°rbol


The boy and I have been going swimming every day possible, to help wash off the heat from the skin, where the water is most welcomed. It comes back  every day before noon, of course, the heat. The evenings are never quite cool enough to recover. In the very early morning you can feel the warmth reappear in union with the sunrise.

The internet says there is no proof that today will end. It is the longest day of the year. The conservatives are convinced the heat of it is nothing more than another elaborate liberal hoax. What else could possibly explain its global increase, other than the iniquities of the left. 

We'll all see soon enough, I suppose. The argument will become about who survives, not who was correct in 2016. Facts will be a forgotten luxury - data, a plaything of the past.


The sun is the greatest bullfighter of them all.






.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dead Birds




I wrote this yesterday morning and forgot to post it:


Summer arrived just in time for the weekend, a real scorcher, as they say. We were surprisingly active for how hot it was - errands on Saturday, sushi, a pool party with friends from Burning Man in San Rafael (the boy endured a bloody nose), the dinner party that ended with flavored moonshine; Sunday was similar - breakfast at what used to be a favorite local spot, a ride up into the hills, a small jazz festival in Oakland, Ethiopian dinner in Berkeley on the way home. 

Success at 102 degrees. 

A child's behavior does not necessarily improve in the heat, nor does one's ability to react. The boy is expanding his program of testing boundaries, but he is still mainly sweet and good. Every now and then, though.... When we were at breakfast on Sunday he delivered two presents he found while running around the back gardens to us at the table: what appeared to be a dead mother bird and its dead baby. One in each hand. 

If he was looking for a reaction, he got one. 102 degrees worth of disgust and revulsion. I sometimes wonder what having a daughter would have been like. I sometimes see people fighting the injustice of gender roles and certainly there are forces which encourage certain behavior over others, but a five year old boy's seemingly normative gender behavior can be more disgusting at times than I am prepared to suffer.

Mom was there at breakfast also. In fact, she had me immediately walk the boy to the bathroom while she cleaned up the deadness from the dining room floor with a plastic bag, in full visibility of the other people eating breakfast. If any of you are thinking that I should have picked up the dead birds then you are the gender problem.

Perhaps. 

I don't mind gender roles. I mean, they don't represent the problem for me that they seem to for others. It's easy enough to see the danger in trying to enforce them, or even how the application of some gender encouragement could be limiting. 

Most women that I know like being women. Many men feel similarly - they also like being women. I think people forget that it's not wrong to feel one way or another. It might be stupid, but it's not wrong. It's only ever truly wrong to disagree with the marginalized, or to agree too enthusiastically with the normative. Regarding the margins as sacred does nothing to change anything. The edges of society do not dissolve upon being hugged, they only become dulled. 



What a difference one year makes.









.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

White Lightning


(Miss you, Mom...)


We went to dinner at some friends' house last night. After we ate chicken and drank rose and white wines there were mason jars of flavored moonshine brought out. I wept at the loss of federal tax revenues that these unlabeled jars represented, such is my fervent patriotism and belief in the current tax codes. It is not illegal to own a still, but it is illegal at the federal and state level to distill alcohol without a license. Only alcohol derived through fermentation is permitted for personal use. Such are our freedoms, which rather proves the need and purposefulness of strict taxation laws in this regard. 

The Beverly Hillbillies we are not.  

I hadn't had moonshine in many years, decades, since being in Florida. I remember a keg party where somebody had mixed a bunch of moonshine together with Hawaiian Punch in a garbage bag. The corner was cut off and held carefully by a team of two to control the outbound flow. We each took turns drinking generous gulps of the stuff and then pretending that the burn was liberating. About a hundred teenagers went from being mostly sober to completely wasted drunk within a matter of minutes. Hunch Punch, it was called. Then, the future troublemakers among us all ate psychedelic mushrooms and wandered off into the woods, pesumably to be closer to nature. 

We were expanding our minds, we insisted. 

Thirty years later, decades spent as a traveling freelance pharmaceutical user, I question the efficacy of that method as being enriching for the mind. Though of course it is still possible that my tests are inconclusive, anecdotal. I did not always adhere to the most rigorous of scientific standards. That being said, I never had much faith in the integrity of the control group, either. 

Ah well, if I could do it all over again I might have put the control group to death early on and only tested among the varied treatments of the experimental group. Control groups be damned. What have they ever done?

This isn't what I wanted to write about at all.


The image above is not my mother, as you might have guessed. I had written, Miss you, Dad... but my father ceased being a drinker even long before the story that I relayed above, and it somehow seemed disrespectful to make a joke about him being a bootlegger. If I knew that my brother would never see this then I might have been okay with it. Older brothers tend to hold in higher reverence the shared origins of family. Younger brothers tend to be more like me. A River Runs Through It tells a symbolic portion of the dynamic story, based in part of course on old Cain And Abel, though Cain was the older brother whose jealousy resulted in a rather different outcome than did the River Runs narrative. 

This isn't what I wanted to write about at all.



Well, my own son gave me a collection of very sweet Father's Day gifts this morning. With the help of mommy they packaged a few articles up, some collected and some made, all very touching in their representational way. A painted coaster which showed the boy and I tent camping underneath a tree with a campfire burning melted my heart a bit. The boy is nothing if not sweet in his affections for me. 

Soon, we will go to breakfast. There is a jazz festival in Oakland which we will attend, an event of my choosing among the three presented. We will relax together and listen to the notes float and dance across the lawn, eating barbecued foods and sipping refreshments as the shade stretches first one way and then the other, all the day long and then into the evening where the shadows become determined by less than solar sources.






.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Black Uhuru - Red




Rastah-Christ-I, I love this album. If you don't have it and love it as much as I do then you are stupid, wicked, vile, or dehydrated. They were great. I wish that they had held their shit together a bit better after Marley died. They were the obvious band that should have taken the torch from him.

Ah well, that was the 80s, things were very topsy-turvy back then. Punk and disco had merged to make new wave and bands suddenly seemed to lose their temporary fascination with reggae, all at once. They wanted to indicate to everybody paying attention that the 70s were over, I guess. 

Their loss. 


My buddy, Kelli, sent me a cookbook. So far I have only made one thing from it, though I have made that twice: lasagna. I don't wish to brag... but it was better than anything else anybody has ever tasted before. That's my James Lipton, Inside the Actor's Studio, assessment. Truly. I am up there with the greats now, the culinary masters, on par with Chef Boyardee and Emeril Lagasse.

The impulse to cook has been reawakened within me. It's the cleaning up afterwards that discourages me. I need a submissive maidservant, preferably one who derives sexual pleasure from mild, playful humiliation. An unrepressed woman is nearly useless for my purposes. Women scare me when they flaunt their freedom. It makes me want to convert to Islam. 

I have been practicing the mating dance, which culminates in a sudden honor beheading - mine. 

I want to find out if the body becomes paralyzed once the head has flown aloft with Allah. 



Okay, I have nothing to report. My mind is beaten, exhausted from work. I have been trying to take on more and different tasks, which is always the steepest uphill effort at the onset. 

I am going to listen to reggae all day today, and enjoy the sun moving across the valley. I will follow it up into the hills on my bike, my heart pounding against my rib cage in echo with the rhythm of the cosmos.





.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Cheater, cheater...


(From a bathroom)


Saw this picture on Facebook and loved it so much, laughed out loud, as if sitting with humans. It's all that I want to look at, makes me so happy to discover someone being crafty and clever, could watch it all day long, just sit there and stare. 


Well, you're dirty and sweet, clad in black, don't look back and I love you... You're dirty and sweet oh yeah


.


That's why I want to be young again, because of That.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

"... appalling and detestable lies"




Hello sir, we're looking for two hikers that went missing near here. We were hoping that you may have seen them?

I didn't burn them!


He started off his testimony with a statement defending himself against the appalling and detestable lie that he had colluded with Russia. It's an interesting way to open the conversation - to sprint right out of the gates defending himself against a heinous criminal accusation - particularly since nobody had accused him of such a thing.

That shouldn't matter though. This is a man that has been falsely accused his entire life. Did you know that he was found to be too racist to be a federal judge. He would regularly call one of his employees - an assistant US attorney - "boy" and they held that against him, as if he meant it in the wrong way just because the fellow was black.

Does nobody understand that for a white man from Alabama to use this generous term of endearment that it's not racism, it's his way of easing racial tensions around the office. You should hear what he calls the black folks that aren't attorneys working for him. That should give you a better idea of how difficult it must have been for him. He's a victim of a long, ongoing American misunderstanding, practically a freedom fighter. Maybe with a little luck he'll soon be fighting to maintain some basic freedoms for himself.


The market has been flooded with corruption and resistance. America has become a bazaar, or flea market, of opposition. If people would just stop accusing our president's team of wrongdoing then maybe they could begin the difficult task of some right doing.



Everybody wants to burn a witch but nobody claims to love the smell.

The more I watch the congressional inquiry into Trump's campaign's ties with Russia the less I care. I just can't write about my feelings here any more, for now. I have arrived at a personal impasse.

Who knows, maybe some dirt will be discovered that will get my head back in the game. It's tough to predict with any certainty. Lately, I want every person I see on tv to be burned at the stake. So, it might take a while for me to come around on this issue. My own problems seem so much less severe when I look out at our great national swamp being drained. 

Before the Berlin Wall came down the idea of Russian collusion with a presidential campaign would have been the most mind shattering news imaginable, but the times have changed. Rex Tillerson is the Secretary of State now. What other possible evidence do we need that our government has been the target company of a hostile takeover? In this instance, both the acquirers and the current board of directors all seem eager to get the proxy deal done and dusted. Then the capital should just start naturally rolling uphill. 


If you can't look at Jeff Sessions and instinctively know that he's a coal-hearted little hobgoblin of a racist then you are just not liberal enough in your assessments. What may have started out as a witch hunt seems to have actually uncovered some witchery. We know that Sessions has had encounters with witch doctors. How else did his skull become shrunken? What else could explain the mystery policy that allows Sessions to invoke the president's executive privilege when testifying in front of Congress? It's a long standing policy that anybody with the middle name Beauregard have their head used as the presidential keychain, a totem of his supremely vast privileges. 

There are only two types of people left here, the justified and the ignorant. 


Saudi Arabia still has legislation on their books that allows for the hunting of witches. If I ever became interested in something other than cameras then I would pay to go to the crescent kingdom peninsula and hunt the ultimate prey. I think it's bullshit that they don't allow foreigners to behead witches for cash there. How else do they expect to bring honor back to those communities that have been infected with sorcery? You need an outsider to snuff witchcraft. It's the motivated insiders that too often do the job poorly. 

We live in fucking crazy times.

Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest military budget of all the nations in the world and still they do not allow foreigners to hunt witches. America is soon going to take the paintball ethos one step further and let people hunt the uninsured. Large swaths of fenced-in land where the Affordable Care Actors can be dealt with by the swift, armed, and insured hands of the market. A team building exercise for white people.

Repeal and Replace! Repeal the law, replace the branding... Voil√†!

The image of Ayn Rand would be seen smiling down upon these open hunting ranges. Finally, a rational and tactical resolution to the enduring problem of poverty. The slain could be claimed as type of legitimate tax deduction. Just imagine itemizing your expenses for that trip.

I don't think it would have surprised anybody if, in an unexpected fit of elven-anger, Sessions would have responded back to the committee's questions with a demand to know when America is going to once and for all address its crippling regulations on the industry of hobo-hunting.

Let the trigger-finger of the free market do what it does best! 


Why does the honorable Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III have to defend himself against the slings and arrows of false accusation when the uninsured get to walk the streets freely? Being uninsured is a pre-existing condition, or should be. How else do you explain people being born without insurance? What could possibly be more pre-existing than that? It's handed down directly from your parents.


"Nobody has a sense of humor any more." - Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III







.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A small taste of the earth's indifference




I don't have anything left to say, again. I hope this time that it lasts. Saying things doesn't help much. It's like voting. Everywhere I look there is a deadlocked two-party system. If I didn't know any better then I might start to suspect that man has a dual nature. I mean, mankind

We have been awakened to the evil that is man-kneivel - spokes on the wheel of woke

Carbon-based bipedal lifeforms do pretty well until they have to tell stories about what day and night might mean. Then, in creeps the heroics. What follows is the Death of the American Dream

Others perceive the rise of a new American meta-myth


I rode yesterday for the first time since re-ignitig the misery lurking in my heel. A ride taken so leisurely that I forgot to set my watch to document my time, distance, and heart rate. That metadata is now lost to the mountains. It was almost as if I was just riding to ride, except for the fact that I took a very familiar route. I'm like that, though I would hate to admit it - a man of many rituals. 

By using the word man I did not mean to suggest all of mankind, I meant only me. By rituals I meant the things that bring me a simulacrum of joy. Those repeated actions that provide, in the moment, their mitigated sense of freedom. A freedom that we are reminded is no longer free for the having, or taking, but only for the wielding. Indignant claims of protecting the thing presumably possessed. 








.



Monday, June 12, 2017

Anyone for Tennis?


(Pic by Mom)


I have run out of things to write about, again. I could offer an opinion, as I did yesterday, but my heart's not in it. There are few stories left to tell. The boy is happy and trucking right along, full of energy in a way that his dad is no longer. It does feel like the passing off of the baton in a relay race. To where, no one knows: the implacable future. Time, the enduring, insatiable beast. 

If a second passes in the forest and there is no clock there to count it...

See? I don't have the headspace any more to tell stories. I am running in blind circles - twice upon a time - where there is only darkness and the sound of feet shuffling.  

And that was just my weekend.


(Ibid)


(Ibid)


(Post-serve pic by Rhys - Over the line, Smoky!)




.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Turn the turrets on the torches




I can't seem to find anything to write about. I've been staring at the blank screen off and on for an hour. I should probably give up. 


One last try:

It's always an odd time to live in America, with so much division between those carrying torches and those with fire extinguishers. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a torch is a good guy that removes all the oxygen from the room. 

America's two biggest enemies might only be fire and water. Very biblical, that. 

I'm not even sure what opinion I can hold on it any more. I'm not quite as sick with neoliberalism as I am with conservatism, but I'm not far off, either. American libertarianism is populated with too many frustrated republicans and angry conservatives for me to be interested. Bernie Sanders was always the Make-A-Wish candidate. He lured enough voters away from the bad candidate for everyone to get a good glimpse of the moment of impact. Either party would run with Ronald McSanta Claus if he polled better with millennials and wasn't currently trying to evade rape charges. 


Perhaps this is just me getting older, I keep wondering. I'm growing tired of expecting people to shut the fuck up when confronted with the facts of their own wrongness, so maybe it is an age induced thing. The expectation now is to fight through your shamefulness and don't let any facts or data make you feel bad about yourself. You don't need that shit. All things vile find their validation online. The line between critical thought and unmotivated skepticism need not even be blurred for those who can't see it already. We are entering the great recession in observable criteria. 

Democrats keep rolling in catnip at the latest drop in the president's approval ratings, as if that is somehow tied to the loss of past electoral votes. The right seems to be contented with Trump's approval rating never going over 50%, which assures them that he has no support at all from the democrats, which is all they ever really wanted, a candidate unanimously hated by the other side. 

Little known fact: George W. Bush's highest approval rating was 21% higher than Barack's highest. There is an obvious reason for this, but still... (his lowest was also 13% lower than Barack's, so don't bother explaining the high part to me). Republicans seem okay enough with a Russian-influenced election. They had to endure Obama, for Christ's sake.

Running Trump out might cause a short-lived sense of euphoria for people like me, but we'll have bigger problems after his wake of destructive incompetence. The only coherent thing to come out of the last year is that there is an ever decreasing population who wish to see the experiment survive on any terms other than their own. Why can everybody see a bad relationship except for those involved in it? The non-stop public argument that is America has proven that some of the darkest observations of post-modern critical observation were not only accurate, but they low-balled the consequences. We are being manipulated into defeating ourselves by entities whose benefit for having done so is not at all clear, leaving it almost impossible to even define the terms of the cheat, much less to convince others that it's happening. Who can possibly trust the opinions of such a bi-polarized electorate?

Who knows, maybe when the two parties were working together to achieve "compromise" it was perhaps just the smiling version of the same economic fraud and collusion. Now, as the booty diminishes, each side is fighting for total victory, risking total loss. Everywhere there is too much desperation. With each election I get the feeling that it might not be as much fun to taunt the losers next time. Without that personal joy I question whether voting is even worth it any more. What could possibly be more fun than starting fires, except maybe really powerful firecrackers?

All the joy that the dems had at Trump losing was squandered leading up to the election, afterwards it mostly only seemed funny on SNL. Once we lost Sarah Palin being on a national ticket then I knew that things were going to be much less fun around here. I could watch her lose an election every month or so, just to help boost morale. 



Blessed be the haters:

“Hey, the more they’re pouring it on, the more I’m going to bug the crap out of them by being out there, with a voice, with the message, Hopefully running for office in the future too… Bless their hearts, those haters out there. They don’t understand that it invigorates me. It wants me to get out there and defend the innocent,” she said. “It makes me want to work so hard for justice in this country!”  - Sarah Palin, 2014









.






Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sonny and Cher


(Nick Offerman / Megan Mullally)


I just picked up my Fuji X-Pro2 and had a little camera rush. The feel of it in my hands made me want to shoot today. I've started to lose little pieces of my enduring love for the D810. It seems unwieldy, unnecessarily large, heavy. It's nearly impossible to conceal that you are taking pictures while using it. The zeitgeist would hint to us that Nikon and Canon are done as companies, completely over. They are suffering all the bad press of the two-party system, I think. Sony is emerging as the new Trump, mostly famous for its successes in the 80s, now repackaged as a genuine trail blazer, one that points to a brighter future for all if we could just admit cameras that lack a mirror in the optical path are classy, and simply amazing, really the best.

Perhaps there are no corollaries between camera systems and political parties, but pretending's fun








.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Genius of Evil





Everything an afterthought, except the pre-worry. Tried to put on a new soul album but nothing, or everything, something wrong. I can't relax. Uncertainties or worse; death from sickness. This too a mood of undone things. 





.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

... but do


(August Sander)



Long, tough day, after a good evening spent eating rotisserie chicken at my buddy's place. We chatted around his dining room table - watched the unfolding of the Atwood misspellings - swore our devotion to our ideas of love.

The table was round. 



You're not allowed to take pictures of children precariously placed atop the nut-crushing balancing bar of a bicycle any more, but wouldn't the world be a better place if we all admitted that we just wanted to, every now and then?



An old friendly acquaintance from NY, a vibrant life lived, fell to earth with cancer. A woman of much laughter.

I was too busy to respond. I'll deal with it first thing in the morning.

It bothered me - I could say anything but do nothing.

If you want to feel hopeless, let it die.

Don't respond, it's what the old do, then the dying.

Just stare until everything stops moving. 

It'll be sleep.











.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The risk factors are identical





The disabling pain in the heel is back. I have no way of knowing if it was from the four hour hike that we took on Saturday or if it is just another minor episode in the eventual disintegration of my body. The hike was a bit strenuous - 1900 foot elevation differential. But still, that was on Saturday and my heel just started hurting again yesterday. It seems that the time that it takes for pain like that to re-emerge should be a little bit sooner, but what do I know... I expect everything to appear too quickly and with too much of it to manage or enjoy, otherwise I am left feeling less than overwhelmed. 

I treat pain like love, when it sneaks up on me I become suspicious. 










.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Practicing a return to the south



(Fight climate change: get wet)


Okay, I was in a rush yesterday. I ate a quarter pounder with cheese and fries for lunch. I'm not proud of this. It affected my body and mind like a poison. I was in a foul mood for most of the remainder of the day, which partially explains my post. My diet has room for improvement. I try not to be fat, but I simply love eating cheeseburgers. Maybe there aren't enough mirrors in my apartment.


Well, the tickets have been bought and plans are now being made to go to Florida in July with the boy. He is quite excited. He will get to meet his uncle and cousins, go to DisneyWorld, Kennedy Space Center, and he'll get a taste of the Florida beaches that I grew up near. Once you've embraced a beach lined with cars, like a vast one-sided sand parking lot that faces the eyelids of infinity, then nothing else really compares.  

I hadn't realized how much I would miss Florida beaches, but they are really something. They are the state's golden lining, without which the state might have been sold long ago to the first or lowest bidder. The peninsula disappears into the Bermuda Triangle every so often and comes out weirder than ever. CS sent me an article yesterday about cannibals wandering the state and eating human flesh to cure their diabetes and depression. The mainstream media and big pharma have kept this truth hidden from us for too long, of course. They refuse to even discuss the important scientific findings of these men. 

As soon as I bite a woman's butt my depression starts to go away, works almost every time. 

Coincidence?

I once read an article by Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider, who asked a simple question and then tried to answer it: Why do we bite each other? The implications of the behavior range from playful to disturbing. This new knowledge almost acted prohibitively, though it didn't stop me from biting women's butts as an antidote to my depression. I would just have to remind myself every now and then that it's totally fine that I'm emulating eating this woman. She seems to enjoy this mock ritual of consumption. 

I've read that in Japan they have developed genetically modified butt flesh that is now more pleasing to the teeth and releases a greater concentration of anti-depressant hormones. Clinical studies indicate that this augmented gluteal flesh is even more effective in curing depression than its natural counterpart, and they are still working to improve its Band-Aid flavor. 

The science is still out on diabetes. 


Where to next? 

I'm arguing with an old friend about the debunking of climate change online right now. He believes that no question concerning statistical data is too small to prevent us from completely tossing out all physical evidence of the existence of man-made climate change. I posit that maybe we should be looking at the evidence, especially since so much of it points to a similar conclusion. He sees uncertainty in how quickly the climate is changing as the lynchpin of an assured conspiracy. He mocks Al Gore, so I know he's done his research. 

It's tremendously pointless, I know, but what else am I to do while I wait for my next shipment of genetically enhanced butt flesh to arrive from Japan? Am I expected to do nothing at all to treat my crippling depression?

Winners make things happen, losers let things happen...






.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Sugarloaf



(Pic: Cato)


Went camping with a couple buddies - Cato and James. A state park a few miles north of where I live. We hiked to Gunsight Rock where Cato took this picture. The camera adds ten pounds. Since this is a panoramic it may have been six or seven times that. 

I'm becoming one of those middle aged men that exercises a lot but refuses to change their diet. Instead of looking good it just seems like I can't afford quality steroids, that I'm doing far too many low rep sets, lots of huffing and slamming. I'm getting bigger but it just looks as if I've somehow inverted the fat on my body to a slightly more northern position, so my chest is ill-defined rather than my belly. No, that's not it either, My belly still resembles that bag of blubber that Oprah scarred us all with when she could still hurt us. Mine looks like that, but with sporadic dark hair on it. Like an early stage of mange, where it hasn't fully taken over yet and made the poor mutt un-pet-able, just not exactly a smooth carpet of puppyish invitational fur. I have to look away from it in the mirror. I'll only stare if I get an ingrown hair or some other requirement. 



Ah well, I don't want to change my diet. I'm a stress eater and I have a lot going on for the next twenty years or so. Bad time to consider a dietary shift of any sort. If I start adhering too strictly to any popular or self-invented diet plan then the only exercise I stay interested in is the goose-step. I have to be wary of too much regularity. It works too well. 


We hiked one day - each with prohibitive ailments to discuss in reasonable detail. My strained or torn ligament is still a lingering malady. Cato is more than ten years our junior, so he may have been fabricating his affliction just to fit in. James' ankle is either sitting in the joint as expected or is sometimes just near. It pops, and he'll know.


We sat around the campfire and told stories, played cards, and guitars, wheezed at the moon until it moved off of the leaves. Management had positioned us in the dead, lower middle of the "kids/family" section of the campground, a sort of drainage field with a steel drum half sunken in the mud to make fires. A kiln would have also been useful. This was half tactical error and perhaps half effective forethought by them. We were much better behaved on the second night than we were on the first, once we had a full day to soak in the disdain of our local neighbors and their villages of children.

No. We were as well behaved as three guys can reasonably be expected to be. On the Saturday night there was a rave two campsites down. 


Having a prom every now and then might be useful. It would give a concrete date to focus on losing a certain number of pounds. I function better when my goals are both written down and unrealistic. Maybe I should try to get invited to a wedding. Do people still fall in love? Are there still youths? 

I guess I could prepare for a funeral, add a sort of speculative conditional to the game of life. Who knows, maybe I'd be morbidly good at predicting the season and relative order of people's deaths. There would be betting, gambling, excitement. 

There'll be an app for that. I wonder if the insurance company that develops it will calculate that it makes more financial sense for them to keep it as a proprietary tool to maximize the denial of claims or if they can make more by selling a faulty version of it on the app store, or both, they work towards subtly maximizing the risk and minimizing the gains.




.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Try to set the night unfire


(Lead drinker of The Chairs)


Jesus, growing old is weird. Well, how would Jesus know. He was 33, we're told, when the Romans handed him over to his people to be, you know: murdered. The book to read on the subject is Constantine's Sword, a real page turner if you're interested in a personal and historical telling of the relationship between Judaism and the Catholic church. It's a barn burner.

I've been swapping out the cds in my car again lately. Giving the boy and I new stuff to listen to. Well, new to him. It has been mostly an embarrassing assortment of 60s, 70s, and 80s, rock and punk and post-punk. Two of those three designations seem superfluous, but I get it... Generation X doesn't want to be lumped in with sonic baby booms.

In any event, it has been mostly fun. Then there was yesterday: The Doors debut album. It has been years since I have willingly put it on. It was my "coming of age" album, among the first that I had that mystical, musical experience to. I had an abiding crush on a girl. I won't mention her name here, because she is as old as me now, and aging is a grim truth that I neither accept nor promote. She liked The Doors,so I went to Skaggs-Albertsons (maybe it was just Albertsons by then) and bought (or stole) three albums: The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun

The Doors are a great band for a child shoplifter to embrace. Nobody would bother to guard their back catalog with much enthusiasm. Their lyrics appeal mostly to a soft mind that is too young to know any better. He says some really far out things, that Jim Morrison, then at other times he is imploring us to listen for the scream of the butterfly. Miserable.

I see Morrison as more of a tragic clown now than as a poet, a harlequin that can't escape a circus of his own making. That first album was great, though, as was the last: L.A. Woman. Most of what occurred between was patchy at best. The Soft Parade is insufferable, a sunken sausage. The best moment on the album occurs right after the title track comes to a close. The entire thing is sung in the halted pre-burped cadence of a non-recovering alcoholic. Not in the fun way like The Replacements, who came across as more irreverent than apologetic about their own drunkenness. I have no idea what The Bores were thinking with the blundering Touch Me, but anybody that has to implore C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon.... now, that was touched, indeed. Can't you see, that I am not afraid? Yes, I can, and I can also see that you have pissed yourself again, Jim. You smell of once stale feces, perhaps now reactivated by the recent distribution of urine to your pleather pants. 

They were trying to legitimize their music by adding the horn section from the Howard Johnson's lounge bar. Hideous.

"The Crytsal Ship" and "People are Strange" are masterpieces of that time, though. Deliver me from reasons... Still, it's arguable that the best thing the band ever did was act as an influence to Iggy Pop. What happened from '67 to '69, though? He went from trying to set the night on fire to pissing near its smoldering morning embers, and not even getting that part quite right. Only Elvis rendered himself more useless than did Morrison, though Morrison accomplished it more quickly, as if he somehow knew he only had a limited time left to enjoy waddling his fat ass up onto the stage so that he could fall over the microphone stand. A cautionary tale for anybody that might otherwise romanticize either drinking or saturated fats. 

We're told that there are good and bad fats - Morrison was the bad kind. 


Okay, I hadn't thought to write a rock review today and have done an incomplete job of it, perhaps an appropriate way to handle the subject. As an adult I've never been able to listen to "When The Music's Over" from beginning to end. No other song has ever asked to be silenced in a more persuasive manner, and as a built-in part of what it is trying to communicate.   


Here, listen to this bit of beautifully coherent wooziness, a hint of what this band could have been:





I'm going but I need a little time, I promised I would drown myself in mystic heated wine.

He was at least an honorable man of his slur. 








  

.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

How many of us have them?






Everywhere there is death, for all time. I haven't been in the mood to write. I'm being depressive. But I missed the sound of my voice against the keys, so here I am, like a surprise visit from the hospice. 


A few days ago I received an email asking for help moving a playground fire truck from the parking lot of a church into the playground area of my son's former pre-school. Diligently, feeling useful, I agreed. The fire truck was a memorial of sorts for the little three year old boy that had been killed here in Sonoma a while back. An awful accident in which he fell from a stroller in front of the path of a car. I hadn't thought that it would affect me, but once there and having moved the thing from its crate to the outdoor play area it was difficult not to be mindful of how tremendously sad its purpose there was, the result of something horrible, implacable. 

I said my goodbye and walked to the car to go home. I was afraid that if I stayed any longer I'd ask everybody to say a quick prayer. 

If I were not an atheist then I'd be an out of work minister, for sure. I seek out systems of nonsense, whenever they don't find me first. I'd be inviting troubled young girls to motel rooms to pray, imploring them to let Jesus into their heart, hugging them when the spirit takes us. Non-sanctioned baptisms, etc. I would carefully explain that the Lord smiles on any type of love and frowns on all those who would deny it. I'd make a great evangelical. I have the requisite emotional pitch for it. 

Being on the news has never brought me the happiness that one might guess, though. They never want to tell my side of the story. At least I wouldn't have to used the word allegedly in every sentence.



There is a friend from the NY clubbing scene that has been fighting cancer. The messaging now is that they're going to make her as comfortable as possible for however long the next few weeks last. Everyone close is preparing for her transition, bracing themselves for the shock that they already know is coming.  

I've done it, it's not easy - to feel relieved that someone is gone, that their suffering is no longer an open impossibility to bear. For weeks after my mother died I felt shame for having felt relieved that it was over. Is there anything that could be more selfish and natural. I thought that I would only be sad, with no idea that I would somehow find a way to make my own mother's death more about me than her. 

There it is, always happening around you. You can't touch it, nor do you want to. I don't imagine that death is like watching a Bergman film any more. That was a youthful connection, one that could not possibly last under the weight of experience. It was a convenient vision of death that any naif might tote.


I recall a conversation from ago. A friend offered, Perhaps death will be so fantastic that we will regret ever having lived. 

My cynicism could not stop itself, You need not wait until death just for that.... haven't you ever sung Bohemian Rhapsody in your car before?


It's never easy. As CS said, it is a significant moment in a person's life. CS must laugh at my modest experiences in this regard, reminding me that thoughts of one's own demise become no easier with age, only more frequent. 


Even my old anarchist buddy is having a lump-scare in his throat. His mother passed away a couple years ago. His father in echo went not long after, nearly within the year. When the season returned he also hopped on, perhaps in hope of finding her. 

The grenade-thrower with the mystery throat mass is still kicking and skipping along, though. Maybe I should not be writing about him now, lumping him in here with the dead and dying. That has been his fear, of course. It's sensible to be afraid of death. Every time we test it the results are conclusive. Nobody's prognosis looks good for long. When planning things out for you nature lacks an imagination. 

I have assured him that his throat lump is purely menopausal but he has little interest or faith in western science. He is an enemy to capitalism, also, which is why he has refused to pay me for my learned diagnosis. I asked him how it was possible that he got genital warts all the way down in his throat, but then the question answered itself in an imaginative flash just as I was asking it. Oh, I see. I asked him to measure the distance from his lips to the lump to see if he could determine which man did this to him.  

He's a goner, though, I'm certain of it. I've never been so sure of anything before in my life. I give him fifty years at the most, not an hour more, if he can learn to swallow food and get it past that lump of viral broccoli that occupies his windpipe. Anything beyond these next few months will be pure gravy. The revolution needs him. I have demanded that he empty his bank account so that we can enjoy life with whatever time he has left. 

There should always be a few middle-aged revolutionaries around, reminding the kids that they're doing it wrong. 


Friends, they've stopped making the old ones. My newest are from about twenty years ago - except for the one exception: Cato - my oldest buddies were made around 40 years ago. That means that there was a twenty year window in which I was actually friendly. 

Can you imagine what a friendly version of me must have looked like?



Old and young, we are all on our last cruise. - Robert Louis Stevenson


(Post-kindness version, Q.2)




.





Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why to be ashamed of your body





I found a folder of old 35mm pics. You'll be seeing them here for a while.


I'm lying in bed next to my sleeping, snoring son. He is sure to wake up soon with the energy that is generously afforded a five year old boy by a universe that has nothing but contempt for an aging father. Last night as I was making dinner and cleaning up - a whole chicken roast with gravy, potatoes, and greens -  the boy nearly drove me out of my mind. He's testing his boundaries, a perfectly normal activity for a curious mind, but one in which I am tempted to let him out to discover the natural boundaries, without my instruction or oversight. 

But I love the boy, so something prevents me.

Why can't he just wander out into the world and come back terrified just once, harboring a newfound love and respect for my parental edicts and affection. 

Few parents want to see their kids in the hospital or jail, but there must be a touch of satisfying, I told you so, wrapped up in there somewhere, safely hidden within the disappointment.  His mother and I are too lenient at times, perhaps a byproduct of being divorced. Who knows. At other times I seem to be an unreasonable dad, admonishing him for screaming Vagina Fart! at his swimming lessons. His instructor was a girl of maybe fifteen, understandably not quite used to this brand of youthful celebration, what may soon become a regular occurrence. I mean the hearing of the phrase, not that she will have to suffer the aural indignities of air unexpectedly leaving her vaginal cavity during or just after coitus. 

Isn't the body complex and shameful? It's a miracle of earthly guilt.

If men had something that could make that sound then you'd never hear the end of it. 






.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Looking at pictures





Nothing is timeless. 







.

Friday, May 26, 2017

How I yearned to stop wearying (and love the bombs)





Nothing to report. 

It occurred to me a few days ago that the evil that Trump has brought on me is that some of my natural and healthy cynicism crept up on me and became pessimism. I could hear it in my voice, that exasperated yet deflated tone of near-anger. If not anger, then too close in proximity for it to sit and stay. It's made me feel old, or at least middle-aged, neither of which are goals for anybody that isn't dying. 

My online friends seem universally upset that he has the launch codes, convinced that he's an admitted rapist - supported, of course, by Melania's recent hand slap - and yet titillated by the fact that he is a vainglorious and media obsessed blundering demagogue. Something about that equation, or series of observations, eats at me. He is a shit, no question about it, and deserving of all the pent up hatred that each generation can muster, certainly. Each demographic can't seem to get enough of hating him, unless they like him. It's clear that he is a confused old megalomaniac that is alone in the world and starting to realize it, through the external eyes of the television. He certainly has been good for his ratings. He almost seems encouraged by America's frustration towards him where he used to seem motivated by their hatred of others. 

This newest groundswell of division among the two peoples of America doesn't speak to me any more. It seems an ignoble result to an overly manipulated populace. Or, maybe that's just how one feels at this age. I'm not sure what any revolution that might come out of this mess would look like but I already oppose it for the obvious reason that the result will be neither enhancement nor improvement. 

I've often thought, Fuck Everybody. Now I can feel it, also. It's not the same when it comes from the vitals. It's sickening. 

Someone once told me, An angry young man becomes an angry old man - best not to become that. 


So, try to laugh it off, I tell myself. My son says, penis-butt-fart! 

That often makes me giggle. He says it with such youthful passion and conviction.







.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Deo Optimo Proximo





A day spent racing things real and imaginary. I slept in this morning - I knew I would during the last drifting off into the dark, too soon to the moment of need. Didn't care enough to set an alarm. When I snapped to wakeful attention at 5:45 I jumped from my pillow to the bucket seat, raced to Starbucks without driving gloves, the wheels of the car lightly screeching as I careened into the parking lot. The rest of the day resembled the rest of every other day.

I had the window down for the drive home from the city. A sidewalk proselytizer caught my eye and blurted it out as quickly as he could, God Loves You!

Tell him that he'll been in my thoughts.

He shot right back, He'll be there with you. You tell him!

Okay then, I'll let him know. Does he still speak Latin?





.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What did anybody expect?





Some friends sent me the unfinished mix of an album project they are working on. I listened to it at the gym and then again in my car. My conclusion is that I wish that I had made those tracks. 

What happened? I used to make music, then I stopped. Now, I barely play an instrument. They just eat up space in my apartment, for display purposes only. There are museum stanchions set up to keep visitors from touching them. I've forgotten how to make a G chord, probably, my sensibilities have atrophied. I might still be able to play barre chord versions of Louie Louie, or Wild Thing. Everything else might as well be fucking King Crimson. It is all beyond me at this point. 

It's Time, there's none of it left. CS protests daily of its absence though there is perhaps more there, or more to tell. 

Anybody that worships time probably shouldn't have children. Having kids is like being held in a half nelson by the Star Gate scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Much is sacrificed on the altar of procreation. Time stops, in a sense, at the age that you have children. Or rather, it partially starts over again at an oddly accelerated pace, with you more of a witness than participant. The way that I've found to enjoy it is to try to adopt my son's frame of mind. Once done, everything makes more sense. I was born immature. What did anybody expect? I'm trying to dismantle patriarchy by being a bad dad. 


Time. I've been reading a biography on the life of Hector Berlioz. It has taken me about a month to get to page 140. He has just recently finished his Symphonie Fantastique and married the actress Harriet Smithson with Liszt as his best man. The myths are really heating up around old diabolical Berlioz. 

Averaging just under four pages a day - I can hardly stand the suspense. I'll be looking for early bird dinner specials by the end of this decade. 


Today would have been my father's birthday, my mother's would have fallen on Friday. They both would have both been old. My memory of mom has changed quite a bit over the years. Or rather, how I feel about those memories has. She ran a one woman campaign of suggestion and innuendo against my father my entire early life, a thing I grew to resent her for, though all is forgiven now. 

Implacable stone figures of father and mother, both gone to dust. If the passing of time ever bothered either of them they never mentioned it. 


What did clever old Bette Davis say? Just because they're dead doesn't mean they've changed. 








.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Then this and then there





What should have been a day spent resting turned out to be half of that. The first half of the day was quiet and relaxed, spent mostly in bed. Then, I went to pick up Rhys... Whatever was left of a sick day turned into a trip to the grocery store, a ride home, watching the boy go swimming at the pool, a last minute text that there was a Cub Scouts introductory meeting at Sonoma Square, the drying off and getting dressed of the boy, a ride back to the square, the meeting itself where the boy would neither sit still, sit down, nor be quiet, then I was too tired to make dinner when we would have arrived home so I decided to stop at a pizza place called Mary's where he can make his own pizza and I could have some comfort lasagna, almost an hour spent there watching a barely post-pubescent kid try to manage the two tables he had to get water for and then give both of them a bill for the food and services provided, a nearly fifteen minute wait for that bill to arrive after having requested it, the drive home, a turnaround drive back to mom's to get the boy's medicine, home again, getting the boy dressed in pajamas, brushing teeth, getting him in bed, retiring to my own after he had gone to sleep, dreams of another sick day in the morning, prayers to nowhere that another day might unfold differently this time.


Speaking of dreams, I had a series of terrible ones last night. The last of them involved being kidnapped by Russian mobsters who were famous for cutting people's fingers off, leaving them with two bony nubs. Rachel somehow arrived late in the dream to help bring me back to America. The ransom had been paid but something went terribly wrong. I realized that we were both going to die after some unspeakably unpleasant things happened to us for the entertainment of our very sinister and humorless captors. I had no idea where our son was. Our kidnappers were of the worst kind. They would laugh at all the wrong times, at things that didn't seem at all funny. 

I woke in a panic that didn't entirely dissipate upon waking.

It was that kind of a night. I haven't had a nightmare in a while. Mine are not usually so dramatic. My custom made night tortures have slowly become about the debilitating effects of compound interest, not usually quite as cool as Russian mobsters, but now I'm ready to go back to floating APRs swooping and screeching at me in the dark. 











.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Many Must





Stayed home sick today. The boy has had an infection, and now me. 

I am having very conflicted and contradictory feelings lately. Riding my bike again - that's how I can tell. My head is filled with two competing sets of chaos, each with surprising reservoirs of resources. 


There's a tremendous bargain you must strike at times to just be civil, decent. You do it and you tell yourself it's for the best and that maybe you accrue some compound spiritual capital, but in time you act the other way and tell yourself a very similar thing and barely notice.