Monday, July 31, 2017

Nikon D850


(D810)


This yet to be released camera sounds as if it will be much closer to the camera that I wanted from Nikon when I bought my D810. There are a few problems with buying it when it is released, though. The predicted price at $4400 being but one of them. I love my Nikon lenses, though I'm not sure that I love them that much. I'd be lucky if I could sell my D810 for $2000, which leaves a significant gap between those funds and the funds that would be needed to upgrade to the "mini-D5." 

Sometimes I wish that I would have never bought my Fuji X-Pro2, though not very often, and mostly only when I am looking at other things that I want to buy. I shoot with it more than my Nikon, though that is mostly a matter of convenience. The Nikon is more versatile and creates better images, though there is a quality in the Fuji that I like, especially how it handles skin tones in the jpeg conversion. Fuji is, after all, a film company. Lifting the Nikon to my eye to take an image is a bigger act. It's like powering up the Death Star's laser beams and pointing them at Alderaan. It's nearly impossible to take pictures with it discretely, so it struggles as a street camera, one that people barely notice. But it does great when there's no question about whether or not the subject is having their picture taken.

I think cops should start shooting DSLR photographers. It will bring some much needed press to our struggle. 

There is a prime lens that I still want for my Fuji, which is much more cost effective than considering the new Nikon body and would "complete" my set of prime focal length equivalents - 24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.2. Though some would argue that with a 24 and a 50 I don't really need the 35. Some people....

A normal person can not reason with a lover of lenses. Lenses permit the world to be viewed and framed, reduced down to parts that speak something within a context that can be felt if not always understood. Most people don't know where or how to look, or what to see when they do. When I am looking through the viewfinder and scanning the world around me, prepared to press the shutter release, I think that a part of the world might not disappear, that this framing might preserve some small part of something that may or may not matter.

Later, when transferring the images to the computer, there is often a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Parts were preserved, some unexpected, some lost, some as you remember them being - a stillness that invites a kind of reflection, an undisturbed moment where there had been motion and perhaps even chaos before. 


The world is so huge that people are always getting lost in it. There are too many ideas and things and people too many directions to go. I was starting to believe that the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. It makes the world seem not huge and empty but full of possibility.  
- Susan Orleans, The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Love and Obsession
I would argue that it might be easier to endure loneliness than to endure the idea that you might disappear. - (Ibid)
 





.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Lake of Locusts


(Birthday party went well)


The only reason people come to Sonoma is to drink, it seems from the inside. Some people, I assume, must come to Sonoma to crawl closer to God. They want to fight their guy's sworn enemy on his own turf. Meet him face to face, if you will. 

I'm not sure if it's a great place for spiritual battles of that or any other sort, but it does offer some great backdrops for the battle scenes, particularly if spiritual battles are mainly surface to air confrontations with a lot of surprise counter flanking. 

The land itself is a metaphor, though everywhere feels that way. It's something that has out-streteched itself, a bit, especially the wide open parts. There seems to be only one possible use to ever pointing out such a thing - to see it again. 


A friend just texted. He is not here to find God, I do not believe. He is at Gloria Ferrer with friends and drinking champagne. We will meet for lunch soon, I believe. I will try to be quiet about the framing and composition ideas I have for the nighttime fight scenes over the vineyards. It makes no sense - there is a limit to what listeners of unexpected conflict can be expected to endure. 

Though, if it were to me, I'd have the dragons up in the skies doing their skirmishing and clashing. 





.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hello, climacteric





I'm feeling sentimental lately - old songs in the car, thoughts of people from the past. I happen upon wandering memories trapped in old photo apps. I'm not sure if I miss New York or the group of friends that I had there, but I'd like to go back and find out. Though I suppose there is only so much separating of those two things - places and people. Could I go back to New York and sneak in and out of the city? I wonder what that would feel like. Perhaps there are better cities to try that in than in New York. At some point that plan would break down. During the phone call when I am booking a hotel room and I am about to provide my credit card information for a the smallest room they have at $350 a night, it will occur to me that I've always preferred to visit with my friends. What sort of a monster would deprive my friends of me.

How did I go from feeling sentimental to trying to visit NYC without seeing my friends in one paragraph? It must be menopausal - these waves of fluctuating impulses. Maybe I'll start crying here in a few seconds. 

It frightens me when women laugh while putting on lipstick. It seems nearly diabolical, even at its most innocent. 


I imagine that there are some people who have lived their lives in fear of not having enough money. Not me. For me, those feelings just started, right as I parallel park into my fifth decade. I haven't had to endure those feelings for most of my life. which worries me a bit. Is it too late to worry? 

No, it's never too late to worry. It's only ever too late to act. One can always squeeze in a little emergency concern. Among all of the other great things about youth, it's the capacity for capriciousness that I tell myself I miss the most. 

Starbucks should make a Caramel Capriccino, but only when they feel like it. 





.
 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Automatic Slims, circa 2003





She wore cutoff denim shorts tonight, a white summer top - Rachel - everywhere herself. 

She came tonight for dinner. I could have exhaled more. It seems so easy, dandelion dressed in cotton, then me with practiced strong cardio. Dandelioness - the sparkle parts, also spherical flower; meant for winds, awaiting breath. The abandon that breath offers - unstated escape.  


I had bought the boy a little chocolate cake that said RHYS in cursive font across the top in orange flavored frosting. Tasty curlicues where the letters might otherwise have begun or arrived at their frosty corkscrew end. 


For dinner, a chicken roast with quartered potatoes - butter, lemon, and lots of vampire denying garlic. From a recipe book the famous and enduring household name in housing, Sasha, gave me. He is an enviable cook. I miss living within walking distance of his kitchen and wine closet. Once I had robbed his wine cellar, we would talk casually about music in abstract terms with the occasional agreement on the specific goodness of certain new artists - to self-guarantee that we were and always had been serious about our tastes.


How long should I heat butter up, with which foods, prepared howAnd, what about the.. when do I know.. when.. the butter is it to bubble, is it? to sweeten, toffee, or burn? One can't ever truly know a stove, because of that Love Song. Is there no way back, once the butter fat has bubbled away from the flat heat of the pan? Is it just gone, was that the initial smell that you were pointing at when it happened?


Eventually I would try to convey to him a sense of my deep and abiding love for country music, or maybe jazz. Our culinary agreements could no longer hold us together in coherent conversation after such a blundering series of unshared assumptions. I blame gerrymandering, along invisible cultural lines.


Ah well, I love him nonetheless. 

One time, after a bitter and terrible late-night confrontation, I wooed him back to being buddies with a song.

In the beginning, middle, and end... friendships are luck that agrees upon itself, even after the worst arguments you can both offer against it. 

If your arguments keep failing then you just might be worthy of love. 







Life is short, and a terrible tipper





I never thought I would say this, but: I love boys. I mean these ones ^^^. They are tremendous fun, just look. They're really good kids. They make me laugh. Being young seems nearly indistinguishable from being in love, except that it does not force the question, What does all of this mean? 

Why does adult love always have to mean something? In that way it posits itself as an antithesis to the feeling of youthfulness. Youth is unbridled love, unburdened by prescience. 

So far, I've only seen my son be afraid of a few things: imaginary fears, me being unhappy, or legitimate danger - in that order. 


Burning Man might feed off of people that don't have children in their life, or people that don't yet know what to do with them, or those that see children only as some sort of "tribal burden" -  non-radical-superficial-self-reliability-ishiss-ness-issues. I have never before heard so many people cite the supremacy of "self" in an environment that, if unstructured, would take their lives from them as if it was they had never been invited to it. 

I mean, I get it - the claim is that this unique power arises from togetherness - but don't call that freedom. It's encouraging and mitigated safety, at best. The distinction between being invited and being lured to an event is lost. Everybody's a star when the skies have fallen.

Kids are very selfish, but they don't do drugs that I care for, so you get all of the engagement without most of the burden. 

Real drug users will refine their behavior such that they appear before the intoxicated mind as the most refined children you've ever met; beautiful in their innocence, but unpredictable in their experience. 

If it were legal then I would sell $600 tickets to my apartment every week, just so that you and your friends could dress up here in costumes. I could play loud music, my son could throw dust in your face while laughing at you, but also sending love in the cosmic dust sense.

Think about it, dear readers... What would you rather do: spend a week wandering around the desert, or wear my son's underwear on your face and pretend that you're fucking Batman?


Well, this business plan will have to be run by Mom before it takes flight or jumps naked from an airplane onto a lakebed with a parachute shaped either like a titty or a penis head, but you get the idea. If you want to feel free, just jump into a pool with kids. It's really something. If that doesn't work, then you have real problems - the playa is your Gaia. 


Even the most joyless among us must have a weak spot where the chlorine sometimes gets in. You can see it in the corners of the eyes. Swimming in a pool is either the greatest thing ever, or just a portal into the demons of bad Renaissance-era art. 


Renaissance-era. I love that stuff.





.






Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Graduation Day



(Cramming for finals)


Rhys graduates from pre-school today. Yes, there is a little ceremony. Mom and I will both be there. Anything less than being there is a type of child abuse, we're oft reminded. In truth, I am happy that they are making a little production out of his leaving the place, Sunshine. It is, quite literally, the pre-school they used as a model for the one in Toy Story 3, called Sunnyside.  The resemblances are visibly noticeable. John Lasseter lives here in  Sonoma, etc. 

The boy had attended a pre-K class for a couple months over the summer, that's why I wrote about his "First Day in Kindergarten" which doesn't actually start until next week, Monday. His buddies will be there with him, all also graduating. It's a little bit touching, I'll admit. There is the sense of departing a place that can no longer be returned to. Some saudade in the making. 


Okay, I must run. There are meetings and showers and coffee and breakfast that must be wrangled from the morning before all of that.





.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Softly, we'd met with our lips..."




A penis slit begins to dry out at unexpected and inversely matching gradients along both curves, which often results in a dehydrated tangent, a dual off-shooting of sorts. 

At least visually, if you were to describe it, would echo that basic pattern. The same can be witnessed among the labia - majora and minora - though with sometimes less than dramatically tangential results, and sensibly positioned closer to the target toilet object.   

Perhaps my math-memory is failing me now, also. A better description of the phenomena: old people piss themselves whether in front of a toilet or elsewhere - men, do. 

It is the indignity of aging that speaks most clearly and loudly to my own sense of self-irreverence. If laughter can not be gleaned at this absurd aggregate of circumstance then what will it likely do to me? Everybody says you have to keep a sense of humor, but nobody quite wants mine.

People say, keep breathing!, also. But if you question them on it, in a moment of need, none of them know why, and in that moment, none willing to find out. 


Becoming the unexpected participant of an obtuse urine stream is a warning notice, and also its own problem to solve, until it stops, several seconds, after, what, you might... had hoped . . . for, before it was all ruined with urined. 


No, no, no' no'...  
Remember (walking sand in sand)...  
Oh no, no, no....


I've learned my lessons; well


I have always misunderstood and often misused the word obtuse, as any regular reader of these posts and the attendant comment's section might already know. I thought it meant "awkward and easy to be misunderstood." It's important to not misuse the very words that identify you best.

It offers so many opportunities for the satirists of heart. Like; me.


Like: sanguine.
Or: restive.

as; or; else. 





.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Insert: Talking Head




I'm really disappointed with the state of information. 





.

"Tokyo Glasses"




No idea where he came up with the phrase for the round accoutrement from Burning Man, Tokyo Glasses. That is what he calls them so that is what they will be. We listened to Ryuichi Sakamoto's Left-Handed Dream at the pool on Sunday because he asked me to play some "Tokyo music" and that was one that I happened to have on my phone. It was between that and Happy End. I figured mom might enjoy Sakamoto more, being closer to Bowie - an assumption and preference on my part. 

The boy wore an old pair of Ray Ban aviators to school today, also from the bag of left-over Burning Man gear. The kid sure loves to wear costumes. It's fun to have a son. He does naturally what I must remind myself from time to time to do. 

We discussed writing our own song on the piano and guitar this morning. After learning the two main notes (A and D) from "All I Want Is You" by U2 he has decided that we should now rely more on original material. He wants to write a song together, so we will. 


I've tried to show him the evils that water can have with visual distortion but phrases like "dynamic refraction" aren't quite landing yet. He gets to live in a world of perception and has little use for knowledge of that kind. That's just more dad nonsense. 

Bring on the underwater sunglasses! - says he.









.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Hike Of Morpheus




The Cub Scouts are fun. We went for a hike through the woods north of here yesterday, chatting along the way about nature. Rhys and his buddy Sebastian will receive their first official badge for the outing. They are well on their way to being fine killing machines. I felt as if I deserved one also, a badge and an official kill. The day started out terribly for me. I had begun having some sort of anxiety issues. I noticed it when I was riding my bike the day before, as if there was something wrong with my body's electrical system. Then, by yesterday morning it was becoming a full blown anxiety attack. I had to resort to the healing powers of chemistry to knock it back, which took its toll over the course of our 100 degree summer day.

There is no easy winning. There are only hard won victories, or loss. I made myself a healthy dose of medical marijuana tea, which has well known anti-anxiety properties, and also ate a few Xanax, which possesses the same. Then, I was ready for a two hour hike in the sun. I brought my Nikon D810, the heaviest and largest of all my cameras, because nothing quite says relax as does five pounds of extra weight strapped to my body or around my neck. I brought the lens that made the most sense to me, 17-35mm f2.8, and made sure I shot close up as much as I could. I'm not a photo-journalist, I just try to do photo-portrait-journalism, always. The thing about photographs that interests me the most, sometimes at all, are the people in them. Few photographs cause me to do more than glance at them, though I find myself more willing to assess a situation in which humans are involved. 

When in a museum, gallery, or showing I like to glance at landscape photographs and quietly say to myself, Well, that one is less than Shakespearean, isn't it? It angers the artists, and that's what's needed. Less than agitated artists are useless. They may as well be making nests for birds and selling them at their local craft fair.


Kids can be animated, which helps, sometimes allowing them to be good subjects. Interesting is not always good, but you get the idea. They mostly do their own thing. Sebastian and Rhys are in their shared world when they are together, so it offers the occasional moment of insight into the oddly adrenalized space of childhood. 








.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What a Weekend Does


(submergible selfie)


A new weekend yawns before us. There is a Cub Scouts hike for the boy, then a birthday party, also for the boy (to attend). Then, maybe there will be time for dad to do something. Who knows. Dad stuff: staining a table that I've meant to get to for months, re-organizing my socket set, wandering around muttering in the garage. 

I don't have a garage, so maybe the neighbor's. I'm at the age where my behavior is beginning to resemble Robert Downey's during the troubled years. It's a combination of age and then more age.


I received my three eclipse glasses in the mail yesterday. I want to wear them everywhere. They are safe, like wearing condoms on your eyes. You are guaranteed not to get sun spots. 


Okay, I must now run. I have squandered my morning listening to old rock and roll



"I never really thought that her orgasms were all that beautiful, either." (overheard in restaurant)





.


Friday, July 21, 2017

"I Want The Hobo To Watch"





I'm empty, almost nothing to report. 

The Bill Murray thing was quite cool. I'm not sure what I expected, and I suppose there were some things that I could find about it to have not liked if I tried, but the thing mainly worked. He read passages of or about writers, alone or to musical accompaniment, and also sang a few songs, classics, some Gershwin from Porgy and Bess

There were three musicians - cellist, pianist, violinist - that played beautifully together. The cellist is of some note - Jan Vogler. 

Murray has a natural charm, one that isn't diminished by his occasional seriousness. He can abbreviate gestures and reactions perfectly, without any loss of intent or meaning. His vacant expressions are never flat. He doesn't quite condescend; kind but devilish. So much can be done with a well timed smirk. 






Thursday, July 20, 2017

How not to take pictures of anything you choose





I can't seem to make cameras work any more. I took my Fuji X100S into the city yesterday morning with the intention of taking some pictures at the ball game. At the office I charged two batteries. Who knows, I thought, maybe I'll be in the mood to shoot a bit today. Once one of the batteries was fully charged I turned it on, a warning came up on the bottom of the screen that I would only be able to store pictures to the internal memory, which is very limited. I had taken the memory card out of it and put it in my newer underwater camera. Useless.

I'm pretty sure CS thieved one of my 128GB cards. He sent the camera back with a 64GB card that was titled "Leica." Very suspicious, and in line with his other questionable, if not nefarious, behaviors. He wonders why I have not framed and hung his pornographic prints. I am waiting until the boy hits puberty and then I'll let him loose on them. 

No, they are quite beautiful and I likely will frame and hang two of them eventually. They are very large, too large for my current living space. One day....


The game was fun, though. It was a nice day at the park with a surprising last inning victory by the Giants. I've been pretty lucky with the games that I've chosen to go to at AT&T Park. I was there with Rachel, her dad, the boy, and Cato when Angel Pagan got an in the park homer, one of the more exciting live sports moments I've ever witnessed. Good stuff. My buddy said yesterday that the Giants have fallen apart since losing Pagan, they no longer have a unifying person to help focus their hatred. Apparently he was quite a prick.


Well... I have a date tonight with Rachel, to see Bill Murray perform a selection of literary readings with musical accompaniment. I am looking forward to it. We're going to go to dinner and everything, like real grownups. I will wear a button down shirt, even. I will say nice things and be charming and hold her hand and the door for her. Maybe I'll bring a camera so that I can somehow find a way to not take a picture of us. I'm getting quite good at it. 

That's okay. We still have quite a story to tell, she and I.





.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

SF Giants vs. Cleveland Indians


(AT&T Park)


Today is a special team outing at work. We will go to a ball game at noon. Is there anything better than a day game, on a workday? It's nice to work for a company that does stuff like this for us. Truly. One of the guys is visiting from Madison so there will be an added air of festivity to the event. We don't get much social time outside of work. To be able to go watch a game and drink beers on the company card is sweet.

There's another team outing tomorrow, but I won't be able to make it. 


Working remotely from my kitchen table, alone in an apartment, every day, with most of my conversations being held only with a five year old boy, has had an atrophying effect on my social skills. My conversational style could previously range anywhere from graceless and frightening to entertaining and humorous. Lately, my speech and thought have become clumsy when not outright blundering. I sometimes speak haltingly now, in a way that I never used to. Though, hesitancy has never quite done me the harm that my unexplainable sense of urgency has. But it is not thoughtful pauses that are entering my speech. It's mostly just a series of empty bubbles drifting up towards the surface,  an effervescence in diction, rising vacuums where there used to be words.







.





Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The light at the end of the horizon





No stories to tell from the Farmer's Market. It was among the more relaxed of all the visits I've had to the square for that event. Sunshine passing slowly; music in the distance, kids playing, people laughing and chatting; snacks and water and wine. 

I somehow managed to screw up the cards in both slots of my camera. I was only able to salvage the above image out of it. I have not had the best luck lately letting things work on their own without somehow ruining them. I have "shot" six rolls of film now that, after being processed, were completely empty. Blank. It's not a great feeling. 

I don't mind challenges, it's the recurring mistakes that will devour you. 





.

The rewards of heresy




I'm sick of the underwater shots, also. I just haven't had time to go through the drive on the camera I brought to Florida. I only grabbed a couple off the camera the day before we returned. There are more, but mostly vacation shots. 

Okay, am on my way to the local Farmer's Market; maybe I'll bring back a story.




.

Monday, July 17, 2017

You have found your Gen-X'er




Well, my vacation is over. 


I just received some news that, while I knew it was coming, was not exactly welcomed. I had hoped to be considered for a new position - a substantial personal opportunity, a promotion - though that doesn't look like it's going to happen now. I am of course disappointed. Their reasons had little to do with me as I am, but rather that I had not developed the requisite skill set needed for the position alongside of my current qualities. Marketing is my "area of improvement," which is coincidental, if not also ironic. I used to be a product that was marketed. 

Rhys' mother, Rachel, has worked in marketing for many years and is now the marketing director for a health provider. Perhaps I should have been listening to her all along. What did she say?  


Funny. Just the other day I was, again, writing about how most things come to me more easily than those same things might for others, which has allowed me to try less and still succeed. That approach has its limitations. When surrounded by highly proficient people the cracks in such an approach show, and even advertise themselves. I have pursued my interests, mostly, and only pursued things outside my interests as needed, after a personal cost-benefit analysis. 

So, if anybody is looking for someone with a strong background in leisure intellectualism, rock and dance music, non-specific forms of portrait photography, or a smattering of literary interests then look no further.... You may have just found your very own Gen-X'er. 

Go ahead, you can pet him. His name is Sean. He's a rescue. We found him mercilessly abusing himself to pornography. 


It is a good and lucky thing that I like my current job quite a bit. It will not be a chore at all to return to it today, or tomorrow. Nothing was needed to save me from a life of misery.

It's disappointing, though. At some level we wish to contribute, then at another level we wish to contribute more. 

I was on the precipice of that other level, like in the picture above. 



When Diogenes was on the slave trading block, being sold in Crete, he was asked to announce his trade: 

I can govern men, therefore sell me to somebody who needs a master. 






.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Swimming to Orlando



(How he steers his balding submarine)


I can't seem to catch up with my life. I had thought a full weekend, including a day off on Friday, would allow for that, but no. My bags are still packed and where I left them near the door at home.


Yesterday, we all went to Angel Island to ride bikes. We rode the ferry across from Tiburon. Perhaps mom and I were a little ambitious in terms of what we believed our son's riding skills to be.  We did pretty well going along the side of the island that faces the city and the Golden Gate, which was mostly uphill, but when we hit a sign that said that we had only gone 1.6 miles and there was another 3.4 to go to circumnavigate the island. Circumnavigate is perhaps not the right word for being on an inland road that circles the island, but fuck it, you get the idea. We did the perimeter. 


Once we turned around to go back the way we had come the first words I had to offer our son were that things would become easier now as we would be heading mostly downhill, but to be careful, going downhill can cause you to accumulate speed at a rate that you're not used to, you have to be aware of how to stop when you're afraid.

Nope.


We hit the trail that led away from the road and down back towards the cove where the docks are that went from being paved to being gravel a few hundred yards in. The boy passed me and excitedly explained that he was meant to be the leader and that he should be in the front. Immediately I said, Nope, brakes buddy, brakes... as he headed towards the next switchback turn in the trail. 

It was too late. I screamed Brakes, Brakes!!! againloudly enough for mom to hear from way back up the trail but words could not stop what happened next. He hit the wood guard rail without his feet on the pedals and without his hands on the inline brake lever on the handlebars. It was him hitting it at that higher speed which broke through the wooden guard rail, though his body went over his head in a single front-flip motion. He disappeared down into the crevice which the wooden rail was ostensibly meant to prevent riders or hikers from entering. I was there as it was happening, in a sense, but there was nothing that could be done to stop it. If there's anything that a five year old knows, it's who should be leading the pack. He led us about fifteen feet down the side of a hill covered in what at first appeared to be poison oak. 

I was down the hill with him and had him picked up off the ground pretty quickly, with amazingly only a few scratches on his arm and back that I could find while holding him as I climbed my way out of his adventure. I verified that he had not been impaled, that no part of the external world was now in contact with any of his vital organs. Somehow he had avoided being stopped suddenly and dramatically by any of the sharp sticks or thorny bushes that populated that fallaway side of the turn above. He had hit hard and then slid down the only possible path that didn't include a boulder or stump or something else equally horrible or eternally damaging. He was wailing, which adds to a sense of panic in a scenario like this, but I had him back up to the path quickly and was passing him over to mom to do another vitals check. 

Amazingly, he was mostly unharmed. It took mom and I about fifteen minutes each to believe it. I tried to act as if it was no big deal, but seeing your son disappear over the side of a trail guard rail and into a drop-off of unknown depth and character is not something that leaves you easily. The mind begins to work its way through other possible outcomes, some of which seemed more likely than the one we were lucky enough to have experienced, and what the rest of our day might look like in terms of a helicopter medi-lift off of the island with EMTs working to do what they can.


There was one other witness to the whole thing, a woman who was quite reassuring to him after it happened and as we were recovering from the shock of it. Later, by the ferry, I saw her blowing kisses to the sun and walking around as if it was maybe her lone, personal celebration of her 500th strong acid trip (she doesn't count single doses), blowing more kisses to the sun and being in a general state of confused euphoria, a smile on her face that advertised her sense of self: ex-California cult member, now doing quite well and living a happy life without The Family. She no longer goes by her group-given name of endearment, Mandala Gangbang


Anyway, the boy survived his first near death experience. I say that with no intended humor, though I know there has been a hint of that in what I have relayed here. The rest of our lives could have unfolded very differently from that moment. In an instant that can not be returned to, we lucked out, and were even afforded a nervous bit of laughter about it later in the day. I'd like to think that my temporary renaming of him as Evel Kneivelhead helped a bit. Had we known in advance then we could have set up a ramp. I'm confident that with his speed and direct approach on the trail he could have easily landed forty-five feet down the side of the embankment. Who knows, maybe sixty. 

The sky is but one limit. 









Saturday, July 15, 2017

The deepest of sleep






Nope, I slept well last night, even after a day of very deep sleep. It makes no sense - I don't feel sick, I haven't done anything that was particularly depleting. If it was not for my back hurting from being in bed too much then I would lie around a bit more, but I have already left the apartment to get a big Starbucks' coffee and soon I will want to ride my bike or go to the gym, or both. 


There is a baby wailing somewhere in the near distance. I have heard it for maybe fifteen minutes. I want to go and check on it, but I know what I will find: someone first apathetic and then angry at my appearance.  What right do I have to question to the unceasing wails of a child? 

Nope, it just stopped. I hope that's a good thing. Fifteen minutes may have been an exaggeration. It felt like fifteen minutes. Now that it has stopped it seems that things must have been fine all along. Some people let children wail it out. It is a different style of parenting - no cause for alarm, no need for intervention. 


Today there will possibly be a journey out to Angel Island. We have talked about bringing our bikes and riding around the island. I must do some sort of physical activity. 


The internet is becoming too useless to use any more. I just did a quick search to verify if when you sleep too much your body will accumulate carbon dioxide in your bloodstream and I landed on two sites that seemed like they might offer a coherent answer and twice I could not back out of the site to my own search results. There is some voodoo out there that, once you have made a click mistake, will lock you into popup ads and  misinformation and will never let you find your way out again. The internet could have been such a fine and damn good thing, but they let all the people on. It's proof of the failed concept of democracy. Not everybody should have a say in things, and advertisers should be ostracized. 

That is too large of issue to tackle this morning. People ruin everything, ask anybody.


Okay, whatever the day holds for me it won't magically appear at the table in front of me. I will need to do stuff myself today. There is a growing list of things that are meant to be prioritized, but prioritizing the list has fallen to spot number three and the things that occupy spots one and two are overwhelming. Until I can correct for that and maybe break some of the larger tasks down into components I will just have to learn to live with a paralyzing sense of failure at making and completing lists. Or, even starting them. 


I watched the first episode of "The Defiant Ones" last night. It had me buzzing about all sorts of things. I've known the name Jimmy Iovine for many years but had never stopped and considered his history or even what his major accomplishments are. It was a good biopic on him and his relationship with Dr. Dre, particularly from a music fan's perspective. Or rather from someone who enjoys the history of music and how it gets made. There were a handful of quotes and clips that had me buzzing but also left me a bit melancholy. 

The realm of electronic music only has the occasional crossover into the "real" music world, at least in terms of smash success, but when I look back at my own experiences I realize that I could have tried more. I cultivated an idea that I didn't have to try very hard and most of the time it would still be good, or interesting, and sometimes marginally better than what else was being made. I was, of course, wrong, and that approach was lazy, and that is the nicer term to describe it. I could have done more and could have made what I had done much better. It's easy enough to hear that now when I listen back.

There is a great quote about him, Iovine, wanting his fears to be a tailwind and not a headwind, which resonated with me. I suppose at some level I was afraid of genuinely trying and that effort somehow not being good enough. So, instead I tried to show that I could make cool tracks without really trying all that much. It was foolish and wasteful, the output perhaps of a drug addled sense of self. It was a lesson I learned only later that there is more shame in half effort than there is in full efforts that don't quite land. You end up becoming the thing that you practice to become. Being half-assed results in an average that is lower than what you might have initially hoped for, even with the occasional success. I made a lack of trying the goal, rather than allowing the thing that was being created to matter the most. 


I remember one time I came home with some new recordings that I had done. My girlfriend at the time commented on them as not feeling quite as complete as some of my other efforts. I remember being pissed that she would dare say such a thing, even while knowing that to some degree she might be right. The tracks I had made on that trip didn't quite stand up over time as well as others I had made before or after. 

Reminding myself that she had never made a single piece of music and asking why should I even listen to or care about her opinion on such things only went so far, particularly as there was some truth in what she had said, though she was never quite known or loved for that quality.

Perhaps I treated love similarly to how I treated the creative process, too willing to accept the results of half efforts as being the expectation, too willing to accept the outcome as self-justifying to any further effort.  

Maybe she was just not the right woman for me. Time, it seems, would support that claim over all others. 







.



Home again, home again



(Henri Cartier-Bresson)


It must have been the sun yesterday, or the traveling today. I came home from the airport and fell directly into the deepest of sleep. Rachel woke me up after a couple hours to announce that she had made shrimp tacos, which were perfect and delicious. I ate two of them, feeling as if I had been brought back from a tremendously distant place, half in a daze from the depth of sleep I had been in, drifting somewhere along the bottom of the mighty Pacific. Then I fell back asleep for six or seven more hours, finally waking as the sun was setting. Even on the best of nights I don't sleep that much, never in the daytime. Or rather, not since bender-recovery was no longer a part of my life pattern. 

I'll be awake all night tonight. Perhaps I'll write hourly post updates here. Because what could possibly be more fascinating than my wakefulness?

It is nice to finally be home. The east coast seems much farther away than it used to. I think that maybe the airlines have moved it eastward in the last twenty years, so they can charge more for in-flight snacks or something equally stupid and insidious. They've added what is know as a "courtesy hour" to the flight path and have tacked on a commensurate "convenience charge" for it. 

Perhaps this feeling of greater distance is only a byproduct of traveling with a five year old boy. Of course it could equally be blamed on me being almost a fifty year old man now. It is never easy to say, even more difficult to know. It could also be both, or neither, but something has definitely changed. I was flying United. Maybe I was just afraid of getting my ass kicked, which made time drag a bit. 

The boy let me sleep a little on the plane, offering me his night-night to ball up and use as a pillow, which I did. Though sleep on a plane does not really count as being official. It only adds to the accumulation of your fatigue if you get none when you need it the most.


I remember once flying from Athens to Prague. I had to play that night and I had already been up the entire night before. There had been the initial outbound flight from New York to Athens before that, connecting to Thessaloniki and then back again to Athens in the morning. I had done the late night set which stretched into sunrise. The only flight that I had any chance of getting any sleep on was the slightly longer one one between Greece and the Czech Republic. After the flight took off I eased my seat back to do just that. The guy behind me started pushing back against it. I turned and looked at him. I believe that I may have even tried to ask him what he thought he was doing, and why, but there was a language barrier there, possibly more than one. We never did come to a consensus, he and I, but neither did he stop pushing my seat forward while I was trying to sleep. 

I was in my younger and more temperamental years and was perpetually nursing a fragile inner state, one always on the verge of further cracking, which combined to create the occasional storm of unforgiving emotionally youthful outbursts. I tried and tried to just ignore it but I couldn't, and neither could I sleep with this fucking Turkish goat herder behind me rustling my mind, denying my spine any reprieve from being in its locked upright position. My skull, a uselessly lumpy dumbbell lodged against the plastic wall of the plane's cabin, nearly in tears. 

I had seen Midnight Express so I knew not to push my luck in these matters. Who knows what death sentences I had in my pockets at the time. I stared out the window and tried to locate Dubrovnik and Zadar, then Venice far off in the distance, but nothing relaxed me, nothing permitted my hatred to subside. I became nationalist in my loathing for the injustices that must be commonplace among the people from whatever savage nation this terrorist sympathizer behind me came from. I had worked myself up into some sincere aversion to all people east of Switzerland by the time the plane landed. When I stood to disembark I stared at the guy with my jaw tightened, knowing that his shame and guilt were likely the only satisfaction that I might get as recompense for the precious lost sleep that I had wakefully longed for. He looked back with soft and understanding eyes, emphatically apologetic in very broken English. It made no sense. It almost ruined my hatred of him and his people.

I wanted to scream in his native tongue and find out why the fuck he was being apologetic when it was his selfish behavior that prevented me from getting the desperately needed sleep that might allow me to do drugs for another 24 hours, but it was all useless. I knew it. I was ruined by confusion. It made no sense, yet that was precisely the kind of thing that I told myself that I did drugs for and I was probably getting a version of what I deserved. Just not with him, stuck on that plane. How could I now get this pretty well dressed peasant to understand that he had ruined what might have otherwise been brilliant drug moments strung along precariously between a Friday and Saturday night with only critically timed connecting flights between and holding them together, as if by magic? How? - I seethed.


That was perhaps the magic to my life, then. I lacked the communication skills to adequately transmit my importance to others in a way that did not require me also explaining things in details that would make no sense to them. The often used phrase, I am an artist, seemed too generic and lacked the hyperbolic arrogance that matched my persona at the time. I needed something that meant much more than that, and I shouldn't always have to be the one saying it, either. After all, anybody can claim to be an artist. I needed a claim that somehow suggested that I was born to be the thing that I now was and shouldn't be expected to have ever truly worked to arrive where I had. I needed a phrase to suggest that I had won the lottery, just that there was no money involved.

I never quite found the phrase I was looking for. Of course I was later ushered out of dj'ing by the very crowd that had only a few years before seemed as if it was their idea that I was there in the first place. Some people you just can't reach.










.







Thursday, July 13, 2017

A day at the beach





Selfies in the mirror; nothing else, nada mas

I had pretended to forget how oppressive the heat and humidity is here. It is maddening, as if Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in a swamp. 

God's Anvil - made of mold, mildew, and the punishing rays of direct sunlight. 

Into it we now go, to get our kicks. 

Aqaba.... Aqaba...






.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Danger abhors a vacuum




I'm not always the first person to realize that I fucked something up, but this time I am, barely.

It took arriving at the beach before it occurred to me that perhaps we - Rhys, the cousins, my brother, and I - should have had one or more days of doing absolutely nothing at all, preferably at the beach. Without realizing that maybe I was doing something "wrong" I made plans every single day - Pool Party, Zoo, Disney, Kennedy Space Center, then letting them get launched into the space of a parking lot. I had those kids and my brother running around every day, as if nothing might disappoint them. I'm doing nothing now. It's quite relaxing. Kids eat this shit up, as if time were of no concern at all, beyond having more of it.

Now that I am at the beach it has occurred to me what we probably should have all done: go to the beach, do nothing; repeat - .


I am relaxed and calm, even though we are enduring the friction and heat of the furious palm of the devil. Florida is where Satan goes to masturbate. It's wonderful and beautiful and a kind of paradise, but the sky is made of fire and the asphalt is much worse than anything the bible ever threatened, well beyond its suggested cure. Florida is as cute and enduring as nature's butthole. This place screams "spilled seed" in a way that the good book could have hardly imagined. This place is Pornhubcom when compared the famously best of things they had going on then: Sodom and (every so often) Gomorrah, as the mood takes one. 

Wait, no bible bubbles today.

Though, don't forget that Sodom is and always has been just above or below the promised region, depending on spiritual flight path approach.


I knew that this vacation would be tiring. We hoped to pack so much into such a short period of time, and Mommy's not here. That means Daddy is on duty for 168 unrelenting hours, all lined in a convenient row.

When I'm honest: I miss Mommy, too.


Being a single parent is no special honor. It is exhausting, but lots of other things are also, so people can dismiss the struggle easily enough without having sullied themselves with proving the effort. When people try to bestow special honors on the parents of special needs' kids, I always try to put things in perspective for them. There are certain worries and obligations that need not enter the minds of the parents of those children, though certainly those differences must arrive as little comfort or reprieve. The caring for of humans requires multitudes.

I could use one among those multitudes now: Mom.

Motherhood is immanence.

I'll mercilessly bludgeon the brute who claims otherwise.






.

Boy Astronaut!




I haven't gone through any of the pictures in my cameras since Disney, where I only took a couple. So you get an iPhone pic, one I took for and sent to mom. Yes, I bought the boy the astronaut suit. He could not have been happier about it. We left the Kennedy Space Center and our visit with my brother and his boys to come south to Melbourne. A couple days at the beach visiting friends and then home. 

We stayed up a little bit later than normal last night, playing. Three boys - two five year olds and one ten. I think he's ten. The family is comprised of old friends from Miami, then New York, then Berlin, then Florida again. The beach. The drive south from Kennedy Space Center along Florida's A1A was quite a reminder of what Florida beach towns can be like, an incredible disparity between wealth and the type places that exist just above the point of desperation, natural beauty and the abandoned buildings of failed dreams. It doesn't seem possible that that many businesses could fail and nobody would bother to take over or buy the buildings they once failed in - miles and miles of collapse and decay. All that it would take to convert most of them into crack houses would be more people and fewer cops. Multi-colored foundering and rot.

Then just on the other side of that, the lovely and lengthy Atlantic. Today, we will go swimming in the ocean, the boys and I. We will walk to the beach, we are that close, just a bag of beach necessities - sunscreen and towels - dressed in shorts and flip-flops. 

We're not supposed to say flip-flops any more. I have come to understand that it is a pejorative towards native Filipinos, though I find that hard to believe. I suppose it is possible. If Americans can somehow make a slur by naming something simple and commonly used then you can pretty much count on us to seize that opportunity. We sure do love our freedoms. 

Sandals, I suppose would be the better word to use. But somehow sandals do not seem to describe the thing as well as the term flip-flops. I hope I never get into politics, because I am sure to flip-flop on this issue. 


The visit with the boy's cousins and uncle went very well. They were all good kids together. It was sweet to witness, kids being kids. It is too bad that all people can't find common ground as quickly as children can. Give them a subject, almost any subject, and their imaginations start fleshing out some scenario - Spiderman always vanquishes the villains, Batman employs devices to do his metropolitan goodness. The world is filled with heroes and villains. They're not entirely wrong about that. I try to assert some ambiguities and nuance into that imaginative world by offering that each might have decent and indecent qualities. Batman is a misanthrope, for example. It's why he is my favorite. Who doesn't love the occasional heroic mystery?

So yes, they were all good kids together, but being around kids non-stop has worn me out a little bit. A child's emotional world too closely resembles my own and I must fight for attention where it all used to come so easily. Now, I must find inventive ways to outdo them when it comes to having my emotional needs satisfied or satiated. The deck is stacked against me, as the banality goes. But I don't mind. I have much clemency when it comes to defeating children in the battle and subsequent victory of having my emotional needs unfairly weighted in my favor.  

No. Having a son has made me a better person. Perhaps I am the wrong person to make that claim, but fuck it, what am I supposed to do, wait for others to figure it out and then tell each other? That could take years, or more. My son could be a teenager by then, when all bets are off in the accelerated hormonal sphere of hackneyed phrases, met by the impending tired cliches of age.  







.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

All roads lead to Main Street




Disney: done. 

It's nothing short of thinkable, when you're standing in it and looking around, the price of it. Had we bought entrance tickets yesterday then the entire day would have cost us somewhere around a thousand dollars. We rode three rides. My brother bought us a quick lunch, the easiest that we could find, somewhere in the dubiously named Tomorrowland - five hot dogs and five waters: $65, eaten in the direct heat of the overhead Hades.  

We stopped and had a sit down dinner in air conditioning on our way home: also $65, with tip. This is, after all, Florida. Food is cheap, so even the poor can be as fat as they care to be. Calories here are of the inclusive kind. What Florida food lacks in nutrients it makes up for in low density lipids. 

I know that it is commonplace knowledge, but still... it boggles the mind that people come from all over the world to throw their currency at Disney. They do a good job at manufacturing magic, mystery, and wonder in the minds of children. They invoke shame, hysteria, and disdain in that of parents. Or, should. I kept trying to make eye contact with other parents, and teenage girls, to see if they were as ashamed as I should have been at what was happening between us. 

It is truly a kingdom of magic; the dark arts of late capitalism. 

Space Mountain was closed. They wouldn't tell us which had failed, the space portion or the mountain part. That was the only ride that I cared about and that's mostly just a bit of nostalgia for when it opened when I was a boy. That ride opened in 1975, the same year as Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic was released. They have both held up about the same, still feeling like cheap speed - over too soon and too expensive. It's ephedrine at cocaine prices. They share common side effects. 

Rhys loved The Haunted Mansion, but that's because I told him that his dead grandfather now lives there. I can be ghoulish. 


I made the mistake of bringing a camera and three moderately heavy prime lenses with me. The lone image above represents the misguided and misspent labor from that completed endeavor. Don't let the sky in that image fool you, this is Florida. It rained 60 seconds later. Just enough to soak all of us, not enough to cool the surface of the earth any, but rather only sufficiently to make walking on pavement sticky and humid. It was as if the Disney gods poured a little water on the sauna rocks that line the edge of the swamp, nothing more. I would show you a picture of the skin between my legs and my balls but here is not the place for that sort of thing and I try to keep those images attached to posts in which I have not already mentioned Aerosmith. 


Today, we'll go out to Kennedy Space Center. The boys will get to see rockets and astronauts' suits and listen to boring talks that suggest the advancement of mankind through science, technology, and taxes. Also that.... a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for....

Indeed, what is a heaven for. It's only a matter of time before it ends up being the great storage unit in the sky. Sort of a "Two Men and a Ghost Truck" for the spiritually inclined. For those who have been storing up riches in heaven, like stacks of old National Geographic magazine, or old family furniture that mom just could not bring herself to part with. 

If heaven ever has a yard sale then they'll need to keep it open to the public. That's my plan to sneak in. I'm hoping to find a nice hiding space somewhere deep in the climate controlled portion, after the big weekend sale comes to a close and the pearly gate begins its automated click of electronic descent. By now the road to hell must be well paved with resold paraphernalia. 





.










Monday, July 10, 2017

Walt Disney World




That's right. July 10th, 2017 - Disney Orlando. It will be hot, it will be crowded, it will be expensive. This is a Florida summer. Well, the expensive part will be somewhat mitigated by the generosity of a couple local friends. They have passes that they can use to walk us in. Otherwise, there is a loan application that can be filled out for entrance, collateral that can be held or seized. 

The kids simply love this stuff. 

Well, in truth my nephew's mother told me the last time they were there they wanted to leave after an hour. I am hoping that is not the case today. My son believes in the magic of Disney far more than he does that a man named Jesus ever made any feature length animation films worth watching. For the boy, the illusion is complete and vital. It has been almost all that he talks about.

Jesus has a branding problem. 

Yesterday evening, again, we met up with a few friends at a local sports' bar. It was very nice to see so many of the old crew, to see that they all turned out as you would hope. I mean, that they are all okay. The kids are alright. They're in their 40s and 50s, but they're all alright.


I should not spend much time here writing. The boy is still sleeping but once he wakes up it will be a race with the clock and with the the central artery that runs from Tampa to Daytona, Interstate-4. For anybody that knows this road, there are few things less pleasant than commuting it. It is a heresy of urban planning.

I almost wrote "an heresy."

A friend reached out the other day because I used the word "an" in front of the word "historical". I believe the rule is that you use "a"when the word that follows begins with a hard consonant and you use "an" when the word that follows begins with either a vowel or a soft consonant. Maybe I have that wrong, and probably do. Maybe it must be a vowel sound only, and not one that sounds at all like a soft consonant. 

Okay, Space Mountain awaits. There is the commute to consider. One must always rush to arrive early. There are lines that do nothing but wait for you, and they are everywhere you look, every direction you wander. 



.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What it feels like to be loved



Yesterday was great, a pool party at a friend's house. The kids all had a fun time. The parents and friends all had a fun time. Friends arrived from both sides of the state - Melbourne and Tampa. It was everything that I hoped a visit to Florida would be. That was only day one. 

The underwater camera was a hit. Everybody was able to take a turn or two with it and everybody in the water had their underwater picture taken. 

Novelty, sure. I didn't have time to set up any lights or a set....



You accumulate a few friends in 50 years. That is the idea anyway, I think. I suppose you don't have to, but I'm glad that I did. If your friends happen have kids then your population of friends doubles, and kids are easily twice as much fun to play with. It helps if you really like kids, which I now do. It is perhaps a lucky byproduct of being a dad. 


This afternoon, again, there will be another get-together. We were limited in terms of space at the pool party. I did not want to overrun my friend's house with a horde of unknown visitors, so I kept the invites there to a minimum. I tried to invite only those people with kids, or people who could not make it today. So, today we will go meet more people at a local sport's bar at 4pm. Gator's Dockside in Lake Mary, if you're reading this and live locally and are so inclined to stop by and say, Hello! 


More than just my feelings about yesterday, everyone seemed genuinely pleased to meet Rhys, many for the first time. I know parental pride is silly nonsense that almost anybody can feel, but that doesn't make it any less real as a feeling. My son is growing up to become a very sweet and well-mannered boy. All of the kids there yesterday were the same, but mine was more so, of course.

I was wowing the youths with my aerial acrobatics and many feats of anti-gravitational semi-aquatic daring. 








Water slows a 210 pound object down at just the right rate when catapulted from the edge so as not to do damage to the object itself. A lucky relationship that has always been. Kids love a pool. I have never bothered growing up. 

Well, there is only so much that can be written about how happy a thing made you and I've likely already exceeded that upper limit. So, I'll stop. The happiness of others does not hold interest for very long. It can only be shared in the most modest of terms, and even that seems somehow excessive. 


I'm not sure what I had hoped to get out of a trip to Florida, at least for myself - it was mostly to let Rhys meet and play with his cousins and our friends' kids. In with all of that slid the feeling of being loved myself, to feel myself loved by others. It is a powerfully good feeling. Everybody should give it a try. 

I'll try it again today, as time will let me.








.