Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Guice

I suppose the danger of being too often emphatic is that once you're gone people might just think of you as the boy who cried heart, heart.... wolf. 

No matter how lonely you are you should never masturbate while the song "The River" by Bruce Springsteen is playing. 

Duck, duck.


The Last Picture Show

(The Last Picture Window)

Time is passing so slowly that it is almost unbearable.  For many, tonight will speed by in a barely recognized and hardly remembered blur.  Not us.  Something has happened, something has changed. I haven't been able to put my finger on it.  Oh, of course, the expected child.

Even before we were expecting the child I noticed a change, a deceleration.  I wasn't able to ingest the same quantities without a recognizably pronounced effect, a shift in behavior that surprised me with its sudden onset.  There was some difference.  I was losing my edge.  

Love, perhaps, had softened me, or time.  They were both working in tandem against the iron-clad faculties that I am well-known and less-loved for... No, not that either.  It was as if all things were working against me.  Very few people want to see a 43 year old man act as if he's 23.  It only works in books and films, where we can chuckle from a safe distance.  Where we can laugh at the character and not have to deal with the person.

So, there will be no New Year's resolutions this year.  I'm waiting for them to be imposed from external sources. The looks of disapproval, the grimaces of disdain, the heads nodding horizontal in unison and disbelief.  When people stop laughing then it's probably time to tell some new jokes.  Mistakes are very content-rich though, they are often tempting in that way alone.   

Last year was a little bit different for me, a little bit.

We watched "The Last Picture Show" last night.  A world filled with mostly empty regrets, both cavernously haunting and direct, a ghost town of fading... somethings.  I try to imagine what the film climate was like in 1971 when that film was released.  How different it must have seemed then, how out of step with the other films of that time.   From another era but somehow speaking volumes about the climate of the time.  

That's my guess anyway.  

I found a quote a few nights ago.  I was searching for an anecdote about how Arthur Miller responded to a question about Marilyn Monroe when the audience had been warned to not ask any questions about her.  I never found the anecdote, but instead I found this:

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets." - Arthur Miller

(Post-Christmas Lot)


Friday, December 30, 2011

Never look back

Our dog, Barkley, is losing his ability to socialize.  Since moving from New York he has lost his "social network." I noticed this yesterday at the dog park here, a place that we bring him to less and less, as we are able to walk him with greater regularity at home now.  In New York we would often bring him to the dog park so that he would have some time to run and play with other dogs.

Shih Tzu's are susceptible to developing anti-social behavior, they are known for it.  Yesterday at the dog park a puppy wanted to play with Barkley. Before, he would have played and have been quite evidently happy to do so.  This time he was stand-offish and even began to aggressively growl and bark in frustration at the puppy that was trying to get him to play.  Rachel wanted to beat the dog mercilessly to curb this behavior but I talked her out of it.  The image of a woman, 10 months pregnant, openly beating a poor beast at the dog park was too much for me.  

No, that's not what happened at all.  We discussed it like New Yorker's do.  We decided to do some research on the matter. To consult a therapist.

No, again, I kid.  

I'm trying to fictionalize less lately.  This past week I fictionalized a few things hoping to get a response from two readers who prefer to have these posts arrive directly in their email inboxes than having to click on a link to enjoy them.  But I got no response, so I'll give up, for now.  I have an extremely compulsive personality, so I'll come back to it. I am certain of it.

We did, however, notice that the dog needs more time around other dogs, that he's getting a little bit feisty. Corporeal punishment was not the answer.  

Speaking of, I used to get the living skittles beat out of me as a child in the public school system.  An old friend of mine and I were discussing it.  He was relaying a story to me that brought him much pleasure concerning my response to a particular teacher.  He suggested that I tell the story here, but it is too awful.  When they say that, "Kids say the darndest things" well, this time they're quite right.   

She used to make us hold the palm of our hand out to her, then she would grab us by the wrist and spank our open hands with a metal ruler.  If we pulled away, a natural response that any animal exhibits to danger, then we would get extra licks.  If you've never had your palm spanked with a metal ruler then you have not lived. The thought of it still makes me curl my hand into a fist.  Perhaps one day I'll relay the story in full.  I responded wildly to her abuse one day, a moment that lives in grand infamy with my friend, Bobby.

I used to get spanked thoroughly and often in school.  I remember fighting back the tears, the memory of the paddle hanging there in the principal's office, the fear, the shame, the gasping for air afterwards.  I used to have visions of hurting the principal.  I mean, really hurting him. I wished for his death.  I still do.  He was a sadistic creep who apparently was hired to alone perform this one barbaric task.  He was likely rewarded with full retirement benefits. His ability to brutalize children being praised under the banner title of "esteemed disciplinarian." It was all I remember him doing.  That, or the fear of him prowling the hallways, as a vacuum of righteousness.  

There was always a stream of children waiting to get called into his office where, after a short talk, you were told to put your hands on the desk and he would then distribute justice evenly across your butt cheeks. Unless, of course, when he missed and hit your upper legs where it would result in bruises instead of the usual pink flesh tenderized by terror and wood.  The outer waiting room was akin to a death row for children.

The sounds of the other children getting spanked coming through the door was almost, and I emphasize the word almost here, as bad as the actual hits you would receive, for your crimes. You could always tell the children that were also spanked at home, they rarely yelled out or cried afterwards.  Miniature stoics were we.  When it was your turn and you were in place, legs apart, hands on the desk, then the sense of the paddle swinging through the air towards you would remove all sound, all the air, even all known things from the entire universe, for one brief split second.  All of that would end with a crack and then your entire attention would suddenly be very focused on one area:  the gun rack at K-mart.  

This cruel fucker would usually say something before the licks would come. Something like, "Now I hope this serves to remind you the next time you feel like disrupting class."

I believe the punishment was elective. Parents had to sign off on their approval or disapproval.  My mom was quite liberal in this regard. She distributed leaflets in our neighborhood instructing other parents to beat me, and how, when they deemed it necessary.  No, I kid, but almost...  She eventually did a 180 degree turn on corporeal punishment in schools but it was well after I had made it through, slightly bruised and then suddenly angry.

When I tell Rachel about these experiences she is mortified. She went to school after they had done away with this particular form of correction.  It became illegal for anybody to touch or harm a child, though the practice seems to have just gone underground, sort of.  A society does not easily do away with a custom that brings so much joy to its wardens of education.  How some of them must really long for the good old days, their biceps swelling with pride.

I guess I slipped in just under the wire in terms of age. Lucky me.  I think of the horrible future fate that awaited me without that intense physical punishment and I tremble at the thought.  I might have ended up as a ne'er do well of some sort, a wandering tramp, a hobo on the skids.  But with the swift plank of guidance I was kept from that cruel destiny.

I quit school shortly after I turned 16.  I'd like to say that I "never looked back" but I just did.  Somehow there's still a paddle swinging towards me, the demented grin of order still wielding it.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


(Soho gallery window)

I opened up the behemoth photo library, the 200GB problematic one, and started looking over shots from the last 12 months.  I think I'm a "shutterbug."  I take pictures of the most useless things. The library is filled with blurry, non-sensical, nothings.  

It is useful for me though, to go through pictures of the past.  I have a terrible sense of time and it helps me place things in my memory, in relation to one another, to put them in some semblance of order.  I used to use music for that function. The years were always held in my memory's timeline by what relationship they had to certain albums, when those albums were released, what I was doing at the time, who my friends were, what car I was driving, the girl I was dating, etc.  

Now I can usually pick the decade that something happened and possibly even guess at early or late in that decade, but that's about it.  It'll be a quick and easy step to senility from here, hardly noticed.  20 years slipped away from me as if it were one long intoxicated weekend.  My only regret, if it can even be called that, is that I simply did too much for too long.  I would do it all over again though, and gladly.  I suppose that disqualifies me for either regret or remorse. The only lesson that I might have learned from it all was that you can have just as much fun ingesting much less.  There are many that will tell you otherwise. They're only right some of the time, less and less so as the years accrue.

Writing on this site has also helped me store memories in place and time.  I have learned that if I drink while writing it only seems to help while I am still relatively sober.  There is a point that, once I am passed it, I become self-convinced that the writing gets much better, great even!  But I face the difference in the morning.  I see with different eyes, when it is floating there in front of me, illuminated on the screen like an advertisement for moderation.  All of my pleasure from drinking occurs while I can still read and write, after that there is usually only the feeling of silliness when I see it afterwards.  The shame of many mornings.  It is no coincidence that I also struggle to read or write the morning after.

Who knows, maybe I will use events in my child's life to mark the passing of time now.  Whereas most moments before faded into a still or barely moving blur, an out-of-focus postcard from the past, now perhaps life will gain a greater sequential clarity.  I might become a paragon of time, a minister of moment.  You will hear the clock ticking within.  Just put your head to my chest and listen gently for the moving of the hands, the faraway tolling of the hours and years less clear, as from distant church bells beating, not lost, but echoing ever over their own blurred repeating.

(Soho gallery window)


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coney Island, Baby...

I never liked riding the subway. My reasoning was that I was going to spend the rest of eternity underground so why start now?  Sort of.  Riding the subway just isn't sexy.  When you know there are cars up above that will get you there also, from door to door, while you chat on your phone, text, or expand your social networks.... I mean, think about what happened to all the people on the lower decks of the Titanic.  If the end of the world is going to start anywhere then it'll be in the NYC subway system or any LA freeway, but it better happen before the Mayans get us.

But I do sort of miss it...the things I claim to not like, the subway rides, the transformative nature of them.  You go underground, slide your card through, hop on a train, minutes later you're emerge elsewhere, somewhere magically different. 

Ahh, but remember that the city is a funny place, 
Something like a circus or a sewer, 
And just remember that different people have peculiar tastes, 
And the... 
Glory of love, the glory of love, 
The glory of love might see you through. 

- Lou Reed, "Coney Island Baby" 

Maybe I should go into SF and ride the BART around for a half day.  That should extinguish any silly homesickness I have for such a thing.   Either that or I'd ride the subway from here all the way back to the East Village in an overnight staggering hallucinogenic haze.  My triumphant return celebrated with the usual parade of local misfits. I could reclaim my dignified place as "temporary suspendee" at my favorite local bars.  The mayor would give me the key bump to the city.

Ah, in a perfect world....

No, I wrote this post for my friend, P.O'Toole.  He's too lazy to check on my site directly so now each post will get emailed to him somewhere up in the hills of Woodstock.  They've just had the internet installed up there on Yasgur's farm.  So, now he'll be in touch with the virtuals.  I believe it comforts him to think I'm homesick.  

So this morning, I am, but sick from a safe distance....


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daniel, my brother....

(Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Christmas 2010, NYC) 

Clearly I was up late drinking with Facebook again last night.  You remember what your parents always told you: Be careful who you choose as friends....

I have so little time to myself.  I end up coming home late from work and relishing the little freedom I get before I go to sleep. I want to make the time nice and special so I'll open a bottle of wine.  I try to avoid calling Facebook to come over and hang out, but by my second glass I've got my finger on auto-dial.  The rest, as they now say, is my timeline...

Now the camera place is backtracking a little bit on exactly what they're going to do for me to replace my lost camera.  It started out with lots of big promises and apologies, now it's devolved into a settlement type strategy. This obviously doesn't help me because I have no money to put into this unexpected fiscal adventure. So I might end up with a meager settlement check and no camera. We'll see... I'll keep you posted, and I'll remind them that I am a famous blogger, one who occasionally gets compared to Elton John, etc.

My friend, Z, gets emailed these posts, hot-off-the-press, as they say in this industry.  So she doesn't get to see any of the corrections or revisals. She asked me who Slavy was last night.  It was her 37th birthday, she was out celebrating.  I tried to get her to slur it properly, to clutch the nuance.  I said it's a play on C'est La Vie, a French phrase approximately meaning Such is Life.  She couldn't seem to grasp it, though it was spinning right there in her martini glass with her, whirlpooling away.  I believe she was having the first of many early-onset menopausal hot flashes.  She is currently a MILF, sliding quickly into Cougar territory.

I tried again, "It's short for Slavia Minora, it's a body part."

She seemed to understand this. She asked if the author of the other site was my old Australian buddy.  I explained that it was.  She insisted that she liked my site much, much more but that perhaps there was something lost in the translation with his.  She wanted to emphasize that point, that she really liked my site more, so that I would understand.  So that I fully grasped precisely what she was saying.  There was precious little room for error here.  It became extremely important that no misunderstanding creep into the conversation on this point.

I wished her a happy 31st birthday and went back to work...

Rachel bought me some dumbbells for Christmas. Never before has an item been more appropriately named. They resist everything that I do. They are 5 pounds lighter than the ones I left in NYC but they feel 5 pounds heavier.  I'm convinced that the manufacturers of these things are using the same type scaled mathematics that Z is when calculating her age.

Okay, I have to get some sleep before returning to work at the differently diamond minds... otherwise I'll have no energy left for Facebook tonight.... 

C'est Labia...


Your adoring

Facebooky, I love you, but you scare me sometimes, a little bit.  My friends tell me to be careful...  I've had some painful relationships. I've exposed an awful lot to you, physically, facefully... the way you always like, and never ask, and then the other way too, when you don't want to have to not ask, when you've had a hard day at the server. 

I hope that you are as careful with me as I am with you, or even more so, a little bite...  jk -xx

Your memory's always been so much better than mine, etc... I hope that one day we can get married, secretly, even though you've warned me many times not to get too "legal" about it, you've had your troubles in the past, and the present, our "unfriends..."  they're always out there not watching us anymore, as you say.... but they're so confirming, I wish they had one button so we could just ignore them all.

But, I do want our "friends" to "like" our relationship.  You're not embarrassed of me, are you....?  I want us to (in italics): like each other forevzbook... 

Your adoring friend,
(Like) Sean Cusick


Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas came and went without much trouble.  It was not the same as the other years: like passing a santa-sized kidney stone.  No baby yet, so we still patiently await its arrival.  Some days less patiently than others. I didn't take any pictures this year.  Christmas is a different experience when I'm not walking around taking pictures of everybody.  I just sat and chatted.  As the afternoon/evening transitioned I started talking about politics with a table full of strangers. Not sure why I did that. But nothing went terribly wrong with it, I think.  I do remember getting a blank stare or two, perhaps that helped quiet me. 

I sent a camera in to get fixed a few months ago.  It was the little DMC-LX3, not the Nikon D7000. After about 2 months of waiting for it to be sent back and monitoring the status of the repair they finally sent it back, but to the billing address rather than the shipping address. I checked the tracking numbers. It had been left on a front door step in NYC. I called the repair place, they apologized, launched a full scale investigation, which lasted another two weeks, Then they finally conceded defeat and offered to buy me a new camera.  I discussed options with them as the camera that they lost was not the most current model and that I'd prefer the newer model, if possible. They seemed to agree.

So I might be getting a brand new camera in a couple weeks.  I've been without a small point-and-shoot for months now, which has affected the amount of material I have for the blog.  I don't always feel like bringing the Nikon to work with me. There isn't very much to shoot at work, or on my lunch break, but there is lots to look at on the way there and back, which would be perfect for the smaller camera, which takes great wide angle pictures anyway, with an approx. 24mm wide setting.  So, hold out dear readers... soon we will be back up and running with my cataloging of the western territories.

I called Selavy on Christmas and begged him to give his life over to Jesus before it's too late.  He said he was like Paul McCartney, which I think means "Yes," though I left the conversation without really being sure.  I'm getting tired of partying for his soul. Oops: praying for his soul.  I know I shouldn't admit that, but I'm not Job and it's not a mere 200 years after creation. Times have changed.  I worry about his sinful ways.  We all have our cross to bear, I guess.  

He says that I remind him of John Lennon, Iggy Pop and Keith Richards all combined into one rock-and-roll star, but with the physique of an early Brando. 

I think he had been drinking.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

Well, this picture was from last year, but Barkley doesn't know it.  It was him secluded with one of his presents. 

He has really grown to love Christmas morning.

Below he was taking a break from giving his new duck toy the business... hair rustled with the fervor of play, and the joy of possession. 

I have played "Little Drummer Boy" about 10 times between last night and this morning, marching around the house screaming along with it... for the dog's pleasure...

Our finest gifts we bring, ba rump bum bum bum....

So to honor him, ba rump ba bum bum, when we come....

I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a king, ba rump ba bum bum, rump bum bum bum, rump ba bum bum.....

Shall I play for him, ba rump ba bum bum....

... I played my drum for him, ba rump ba bum bum... I played my best for him ba rump ba bum bum....

Then he smiled at me, ba rump ba bum bum...


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa and Eve, in the garden

(A California Christmas tree) 

Well, Christmas out here in California is not quite the same as it is back in NYC.  Rachel and I drove around last night looking for houses with Christmas lights up. There were a few but not many.  We were both a little bit homesick for the New York winter, I guess.  I wouldn't have thought that I would miss that season there, ever, but it's true.  There is a stronger sense of Christmas there.  I'm sure the weather has a lot to do with it. That, and the fact that every Christmas movie ever made was shot there and almost exclusively about the place.  

Other than "A Christmas Story" of course. The best Christmas movie ever, says Z.  

In the car I joked that one doesn't get the feeling that California played a very big part in the civil war, maybe that's it.  It's almost as if there is only a north and a south on the east coast. The west coast is just west... upper-west and lower-west.  I'm sure there are names for it, but it isn't real at all.  It's all just west coast here.  I hope that I'm being incredibly ignorant on this point.  

It makes me happy so it's probably wrong.

I think I'm going to modify the Christian myth of the Garden of Eden a little bit. Tell my child that it was Santa who had the serpent and then tempted Eve, getting us all cast out of the North Pole because she bit from the Christmas Tree of Knowledge, pictured above.  That the North Pole used to be a lush tropical paradise but Santa's willful and wanton ways caused the abominable polar bears to eat all of the people that refused to leave.  Casting Christmas as being the origin of all sin, that's why fruit cake tastes so bad, etc.

Well, we'll see.  Mom might not let that one fly. I'll be a lone reindeerless storyteller. 

We have Christmas visitors driving in from the city so I better go, before Rachel catches me writing any more blasphemies here.  She'll be a Christian in the next few months. I can feel it coming.  She already prays for me. I can almost hear the blessed invectives under her breath.

Below I leave you with an image from last year in NYC, to give you an idea of what we're missing, and a place to pause and give the breath of nature its due..... 


Friday, December 23, 2011

A child's blog

Yes, I've decided once again that I'm going to change the direction of this site. I'm going to transition to writing only children's stories.  Single syllable hyper-events, locked away in binary, somewhere in the grand cloud that is the worldwide Infobahn.  Certainly I will seem like a god then.  It is my will.  So be it.

Perhaps I truly am a believer.  Not an atheist, but instead only a-selftheist. 

No.  I'm just afraid of having children.  God must have also felt this way, knowing what was going to happen to poor old Christedeliajesusavior-faire. 

There are always a number of unseen components involved in my irrational fears, but the loss of freedom is likely the main one that matters now, I suspect.  Lots of people tell me that it's "all worth it" but when I carefully consider their lives it doesn't seem to me that they really made much of a sacrifice in that regard.  All they had ever done before was work to pay bills. It must give them some sense of relief to feel suddenly meaningful in dong so.  

Most people lack imagination, I am cursed with it.  I've never liked working to pay bills.  I've never liked bills. I've never liked working.  Combine the two nasty concepts and it feels like the fiscal inferno, the eternal pit of pittance.  I can see some deepish satisfaction that others get out of it, but I'm amazed at how this could actually be. I worry that I'll just feel trapped, I already do.  The expectations will never cease and yet instead always somehow increase, never by my own choice.  Never by my own doing.

This is not just my imagination speaking.  It's what I see all around me.  Men with that stupid look of happiness on their faces because their bodies produce sperm and allegedly one of them, or more, has inadvertently, against many odds, grown into babyzilla proportions.

If you watch old godzilla films and recognize and understand that the set you see on screen was not actually Tokyo, but miniature replications, shot on a sound stage... then, just watch a child once it can stumble through a living room and you will see what I mean here.  Godzilla had Mothra.  Just let a child loose in a daycare setting and watch the mayhem.

Men are designed to recognize terror, sometimes to create it.  It is science.  Women are designed to be aghast at terror.  That is also sound science.  It is proven, politically.  That's precisely why I continue to maintain that George Bush is not even a eunuch, but  a sexless AND genderless creature secretly formed in the radioactive tubes of Desetron.  Our only hope with Barack Obama is that he shows a little less audacity this time around.  His hope is starting to terrorize me.

I only feign terror here. I am mostly hopeful, though not B.O.'s kind.

I am as much in apprehensive expectation as any other feeling, but my nerves are finely attuned to the sudden sense of danger, like a gazelle, or a cobra.  I'm like a Cobrazelle.  I often adopt a karate pose when Rachel walks towards me now, for protection.....

Then one day, hopefully, I'll see my child happily running through a park with a balloon. Will it all seem worth it then?  One can only hope so.  Only.

I love Rachel, I love our dog, Barkley.  Now I will have another creature to love also.  But what if they have a really bad personality, or they whine a lot, or cry, or want me to look at their bad art.  What if they're not very good conversationalists.  What if I simply don't like them.  Or worse,what if they don't like me, and they prefer playing poker online.  I've never been very good with obligatory love.

Luckily for me others are much better at it than I.  

I have been quite blessed with the obliging love of others.

Is it possible to just "pay it backwards" and then call this whole emotional time-warp credit crisis even...?

Do you see how much life energy this unknown, barely seen baby is already stealing from me?  I think I'm going to have it arrested, first and foremost.

Tough love, etc.  Send it to The Hague for crimes in the universal mind, the om womb.

No, I am just howling some fears here and there to the stars.

Everybody is so happy for me that it leaves me a little bit in fear of it all.  

The matrix of the human heart is long locked, often only unlatched by others, and much more easily that we might have guessed.

It is the fear and wish of most creatures: somebody, perfectly free me from me.

Below is the little child, barely over two months ago, just lazing around inside the womb, sleeping, not even aware yet of what a titty is.

Soon, my little child, soon....

He/she seems like a nice enough little guy/gal.  Who knows... maybe we'll get along great and it'll be the most delightful thing I've ever decided to do.  I'll take a disproportionate amount of credit for the act, of course.

Perhaps I'll be screaming from the rooftops at what an unbounded joy fatherhood is.  I'll walk into work afterwards with my head held high, shirt without wrinkles, looking younger, stronger, more able, proud to be a solid contributor, a donor of my talents...  Always doing my part, gladly paying taxes, reading the news.  In fact, I'll look at each and every virtual paystub and kiss the screen of missing money; both Federal, State, and Local...praising Allah for the gift of industry, and God the pain of childbirth.

Cain Abel Cusick, we'll call the miracle, unless that's illegal.

Everybody will smile and ask what happened?  You never hang out any more....

I'll just say, "You guys never drink at the womb. The beer they have on tap there is simply amniotic."


Thursday, December 22, 2011

You fly, I drive

(Ancient reindeer landing path, re-enactment)

Today is my "Friday", then I have 3 days off from work, all nicely grouped together.  It will be our first Christmas here on the west coast with each other.  I'm not one of those atheists that can't see the secular pleasure in Christmas, Oh no....  It's like a Thanksgiving that people have actual heavenly reverence for, spiritual connections to. They reveal their intimate bond with a fat German chap, dressed like a bearded drag-queen from the mountains of another century... a far simpler time.  

It's usually fun to watch people trot out their agendas concerning the day, either for or against.

I've come to terms with it all.  There are those that unceasingly bemoan its "commercialism" but perhaps fail to remember the joy they had as children in the morning when their waking eyes fixed on a room of miracles. That is, if their parents could provide miracles, of course. I remember those moments well.  I suppose you could make the argument that it just indoctrinates children into some sort of twisted capitalism, but are children in other societies any less desirous of toys?  I suspect not.

Somehow the commercialism never touches me.  I simply never buy any presents, problem solved.

So, I've learned to just accept it and enjoy the day.  It is a day off from work, when much of the world stops, or at least slows down.  It's a good day to go to the movies, Scorcese's "Hugo" is playing.  I'm okay with the day being some perversion of a pagan winter festival merged with the concept of the birth of Christ, as it needed to fit into the Roman calendar at the time.  In fact, I prefer it that way.  It gives me something to find historical weirdness in.  The day is mostly silent, unless I get suddenly taken by the christmas-spirit, on miracle wine.  

Sure, it might be empty ritual to a non-believer but most other days throughout the year are far worse in comparison. Most other days are just the unceasing monotony of industry.  Christmas, at least, lets the nightmare of indentured gainfulism halt for a moment.  It is quite precious in that regard.

I will admit that it gets tedious when I am confronted with some overbearing, ornamental nitwit, expecting me to show reverence for their day, as if there is some sanctity to the actuality of it all.  Don't get me wrong... I like to go to church on Christmas, and Easter too.  To watch others parade their charade, to tow the proverbial lines, though never from Proverbs, etc.  A good Christian stays away from the Old Testament on those days, out of respect.

Perhaps I'll prepare... I'll fill my stocking with some juicy stories from the pre-christ days, just a stoning here or there, or Eglon, or Onan and the talking donkey.....  No, too humbug, I guess.  I'll just close my eyes and pray with the prayerful, reminding myself of the day, many decades ago, that I saw Santa Claus sneaking into our neighbor's house from the side door, in broad daylight.  I announced it to the whole car as if it were an emergency.  I could detect the placating nature of their responses, even my brother's...  

I mean, if he wasn't on board with this whole Santa thing then the fat guy's got no possible chance of survival, right?  There weren't even any getaway reindeer waiting for him on the roof.... It made no sense at all. None.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two fresh wet-wipes

This morning I was lying in bed and made the mistake of browsing what normally passes as a news website (  Before I knew it I had been sucked into an advice column, reading about the moral dilemmas of the suburbs - minds flattened with virtue, the heartbeat of the people, etc. It's amazing to me how self-convinced and self-righteous these people can be when dispensing their wisdom to the world.  It was like reading my own blog when I'm stuck on the topic of America. It's truly awful stuff.  Speaking of... I've rethought the progressive tax issue and I rescind what I said about believing in flat tax. I'm not sure how I feel and I'll need to do some more research on it before dispensing my wisdom, freely to you, on the matter.

Moving on.  Here are my predictions for the day....

I'm told that I will be a father in the next week or so.  It is a strange feeling.  At times I recognize that many people do it.  It is, in fact, a very commonplace event, though one that lasts a lifetime, hopefully.  On the other hand it is something I've never done before and of such lasting importance that it be done well that it brings me considerable concern.  There is very little room for middle ground in this set of feelings.  I have not had my usual irony and ambiguity to fall back on when facing unfamiliar events.

I've decided that all hipsters should be forced to have children. It would resolve the hipster problem. Though I question whether children raised with such obscure cultural tastes would acclimate well.... there would perhaps rise within the hipster community the trend of not naming their children, for fear of having to decide on something.

Ok, no more hipster talk this morning. New York is back there, always moving out ahead of the west coast, towards the next sunset, at its given distance, somewhere between Europe and Asia.

So, making babies...  I am so eager to have this child that the other night I stood by the side of the bed that Rachel was lying in and started chanting, "Labor! Labor! Labor!"  I felt just like a union agitator in a John Ford film.  I've decided to picket Rachel's frontside until the time comes.  I'll march around her with a sign that reads, "Which Side Are You On?" or "Solidarity Forever!"  I don't know. I don't pretend to have it all figured out yet.  As they say, The longer the picket line, the shorter the strike... So, who knows.

"Kickin' ass for the workin' class...."

I set up a baby camera yesterday. It involved configuring the thing into our wireless network, something that gives me some purpose in this whole process.   We were able to view what the camera sees with our cell phones and we could even move the camera around remotely, just by touching the screen, or take pictures at will.  It's really something.  The instructions for the camera were part of the cell phone app.  Rachel said that when she read the reviews of this baby-camera online many people noted that it did not seem that the people who wrote the instructions had the luxury of English as a first language.  After reading them carefully I was convinced that Cantonese or Mandarin might have not been first either.

While I was driving out of the valley towards my daily hell yesterday I called a traveling friend of mine and we were discussing what it takes to make it.  I offered the wisdom that, "Sometimes all you need in life is two fresh wet-wipes."

It's true.  The wisdom of a lifetime flickers right there on my phone......


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the grip of grips

I was relaying to my wife, again, the surreal underside of Sonoma and she was, also again, telling me that I am crazy, the one who is presumably unhinged, etc.  Just as I was about to give up...  some freakin' larry stumbled towards our car, apparently mistaking a Volvo for a massive moving silver crack rock. But luckily this stinky fellow thought of something better to accomplish at just the last second and wandered off in an inspired zig-zag pattern of sorts.  

I've read about spiders that also do the same when weaving their nightly webs under the grip of grips... It was a scientific study to determine how spiders might act at Burning Man, I think.

I had almost started to question whether things are normal out here and that perhaps I am actually the cause for concern. My only fear, of course is that my paranoia is waning, that I have settled into complacency with my suspicions.  No, not possible.  I'm an accomplice in all things unseen. I still amass evidence against invisible monsters everywhere.  I read my horoscope daily, etc.

And then this....  we were walking the dog this morning and we happened upon the front porch of one of our neighbor's houses.  This ghostly soul was there waiting for us, sending out its death rays towards us, into broad daylight.  

If this guy doesn't have a drug problem, then who...?


Monday, December 19, 2011

a poem dancing for its life

The vines are nearly leafless now.  The rows of gnarled creepers appear ominous and deadly, strangely poisonous. The twisted skeletons hint of lost allure, the remainder of remains, in leisure.

Mechanical rows clutching the hills, like graves; a warless Arlington. The arthritic fishing net stretched across the land in trusted farm fashion; stapled to the earth, fishless, awaiting wine.

Two empty miracles collide in silence.

Some mornings I take the backroads to the highway; the long way across, to the state road, number 37.  It is a better drive, lovely in its hills and then across its valley plains.  It covers more earth and sometimes gives one earth to look at.

Each morning I cross a different land.

A day before there was a stretch coming down out of the hills and starting across the fields where all things were obscured by fog; the famous bay-area murk moving.  It drained much of the color from the land.  At a distance it ended all sight though not all glow. Vision falling off in directions to grayness, or worse;  eyes still yearning to be young.  The fields of cows and sheep move past closely and quickly as a soft haze of blurred ghost.

Nothing at last is real, or again it is, and one could disappear into it.

On other mornings, with no tellable difference in weather, the fields are perfectly clear, crystal as suggested.  Flocks of birds moving in their unusual unison, ripples of a single wing, pirouetting into and then across the light.

On yet another morning, further back, I saw three large birds hunting a flock of much smaller ones, all flying tightly, together just for now, enacting the odd dance of living;  giving and taking, striking and receding - all a single poem, dancing for its life.

Most mornings, and then again at night, backwards always racing, I cross this valley in fog; darkness falling, rising... its grayness just the same.

The two lanes stretched out unseen ahead,
twisting all points into approaching mayhem,
miracles never colliding,
but instead only the enduring yellow,
yet ever herding us away


Sunday, December 18, 2011


I have begun to move away from traditional dog portraits. 


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Lady from Shanghai

(Philip Guston)

I have a one-day weekend this weekend. I decided to spend it in bed, watching old films, eating as I wish, drinking somewhat likewise.  The day in bed was nearly a success excepting the one portion of the afternoon when I got out of bed and went to the local Irish bar with Rachel for a bleu cheese n' bacon-burger.  Well, that was what I ate.  I believe she had a mushroom, the lunch-sized portion.

There was an Irish wake happening at the pub, a festive time was had for all, but one.

Later, in bed:

We watched mostly terrible movies with the occasional gem in there.  Hulu is dangerous.  It is internet speed. Once you've given in to its coarse seductions it becomes difficult to move away from it.  We did manage to watch Bogdanavich's "Targets" and Orson Welles' "The Lady from Shanghai" but beyond that it was silly lines of Hulu done right off the computer screen.  

I kid.  What I say is quite true but the media-drug references are starting to get weird.  Rachel is 37 weeks pregnant now.  We are in what is known as the home-stretch.  I use that word quite gently now.  

The only drugs we'll likely be doing soon will be Pitocin. 

Bogdanovich had a genuinely crazy chapter in his life. I recalled and researched, whilst reclined.  It involved the death of his girlfriend at the hands of her estranged husband, the peeling off of her face, the chopping off of a finger, sex with the corpse, a homemade sex bench that was used during the satanic death orgy, found days later covered in ants, apparently satiating themselves on the remains of fallen love.  Truly. It is the material of the authentically eccentric.  

As is often with these types of things Bogdanovich, then 50, went on to marry the dead woman's 20 year old sister.   It's all true. I pass no judgement. I only find it interesting. 

A friend of mine was once booked to play (to dj) a nightclub in Israel.  That night, while he was at the hotel gathering his stuff to go to the event with a few people, a bomb went off outside the club which knocked them to the floor, the work of a suicide bomber.  Many people died but my friends survived, being in the adjacent hotel bedroom.  They spent the following days trying to make some sense of it all with their other friends there, one of whom was the girlfriend of some unknown guy.  

When she came to visit NYC recently, while my friend was staying with me, they almost immediately excused themselves to my bedroom where they had victorious sex, almost 30 minutes worth.  Later my friend said that it was something that he always felt this strange obligation to do, as did she.  They were drawn to each other from the experience they shared.  Aren't we all, though I have heard of other similar encounters.  Apparently when some people go through emotionally exhausting near-death experiences sex is one of the ways that they can attempt to come to terms with it,  I guess.  It certainly has helped me out here and there through the years. 

Though don't forget: God does for those who do for themselves...


"The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics." 
- Christopher Hitchens

He was a late hero of mine.  He was one of those rare writers in whom it was as exciting to disagree with as it was comforting to agree, emulate and even borrow from.  I mean: steal.  He was worth stealing from.  I have done so often, proudly.  I will miss his writing and the strength of his convictions.  Even those that I mostly disagreed with will be useful in the years to come, when expressed so well.  

The world and I need the free. 

Well, I had hoped to write a quick update, something light and informative about my day in bed.  This has turned into sex, death and doom sex.

Speaking of,

Selavy has shown me some new images that are among the best I have seen from him.  I have always admired his work but one of his new pieces has really stuck with me.  It haunts me.  I see it when I close my eyes, and wonder about the darkness there around it.  The theme I have seen before.  It is irreverent and suggestive, even eternal.  But it is uniquely his and I am jealous of its unblessed, unholy creation.  

"Light macerates, the lamp infects, warmth, more warmth, I cry." 
-Jim Harrison

(Philip Guston)


Friday, December 16, 2011

E pluribus peril

(Edward Ruscha)

There was an Edward Ruscha exhibit that went through Orlando when I was younger.  It was a rarity. Most of the exhibits that the Orlando Museum of Art would host were centered around Meso-American pottery.  I do not kid here.  It is well documented, by them.  It is a vast and silent place where cracked pottery from the Mayans goes to live on without fanfare for the remaining, waning years of The Humanican race.  The term derives from when all humans eventually submit and confess to being Americans.

I chose the image above for today's blog post because, for me, it evokes the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, without which this country might have been formed along very different lines. It is difficult to speculate, but there were several precarious, and sometimes arbitrary, factors that led to America becoming the country that it did.  

But today's post is more about that country that it has become.  The National Defense Authorization Act will very likely be passed by Barack Obama today.  If you read the comments of our elected leaders concerning this act very carefully you will discern the problem.  They are all denying that the bill grants the military the right to indefinitely function as a law enforcement agency within our borders.  This "war" on terror now extends into and across this nation, as it already has others, and affects how and when the military can detain America citizens without due process and/or the right to a speedy trial.  But wait, there's more... if you only worry about what it can do to our citizens...well, it grants itself much more room to act willfully and without question on "others."

A footnote was added to the bill stating that it in no way affects the current and existing laws concerning American citizens but one need only look at The Patriot Act to see that the tide of constitutional freedoms has flowed and now ebbs.  

E pluribus peril.

I'm once and for all finally embarrassed for this country and wish that sometime in the very near future every lawmaker who voted first for The Patriot Act and now for this act will be tried as traitors.  I do not kid at all with this.  It is my sincere wish that the people who have destroyed the liberties of the constitution be imprisoned, and by the military.... My fingers slipped and I used the word "trial" in the first sentence of this paragraph.  I meant only that they would be subject to a military tribunal, only if the forces-that-be deem it necessary.   They are not worthy to serve because they do not understand the principles behind the doctrine that is the force keeping this country from being a despotic tyrannical empire.  Do you see how naive I can be when I choose to be..... I meant, being a despotic tyrannical empire towards its own people.

This act places The National Guard Bureau Chief on The Joint Chiefs of Staff....!!!  If any of you have had any doubts about the direction that this nation is going in terms of military rule then please consider, if you understand at all, what this adjustment means for all of us.  The nation is at war and it is a purely ideological one but with immense implications about how we will live our lives here in the future.  Your elected lawmakers are acting in an extremist fashion and directly against the founding document of the country, and they're doing so for your protection... Sound familiar ?   It will no longer be an occasional occurrence that the military becomes involved in civilian affairs.  In the past they only did so when there was a crisis of some sort, and they were there to presumably help.  But military divisions operating within the borders of the country to effect arbitrary laws and force against suspected terrorists will soon become a commonplace event.  We now live in the perpetuity of said crisis

Ok, enough.  I have seen the future.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."  Interesting that the Supreme Court justices dress much like Jedi warriors and are tasked with a similar charge, to serve and protect the republic from conflict and political instability.  I kid, of course, because this act that will be passed into law it is very, very serious.  One can only hope now that the act will be questioned legally and that the case will make its way quickly to The Supreme Court on appeals where it will be shot down. Those 9 humans have the responsibility of deciding the constitutional legality of any and all matters that come before them and their verdict is final.  All of my readers, please pray for Clarence Thomas to announce his retirement..... He has done as much damage as any one human should be allowed to.

Ok, again I quit, before The Department of Homeland Security dispatches a brigade of soldiers to question me both persuasively and indefinitely on what exactly I meant by questioning our crisis.

A person who questions a crisis, or creates one: a crisisist. 

I love Wikipedia and have donated a little money to them to help them remain in business.  It's a good starting point for basic internet research, with its crazy democratization of fact.  But every now and then you come across a stated gem that could only be produced by the genius of the anonymous, semi-literate mob...

"The Vikings had first visited the America nearly five-centuries earlier that Colombus, and had made trips there since." from the Wikipedia article on Christopher Columbus

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I awoke last night to the sound of thunder.....

I haven't had much free time to take any new pictures.  I imagine that I know what I'm doing when it comes to computers but the proof against me is growing.  I have mismanaged my iPhoto library and now it has bloated beyond reasonable size.  It turns out that I haven't ever thrown away any pictures that I've put into the trash. But rather, through no real fault of my own, I have just made them reasonably inaccessible to me, managing to bloat my library up past 200GB.  One day I should go through it and save only what matters to me and ditch the rest.  For now I have chosen to create a new photo library and, having had no time to take new pictures, it has been left quite wanting in terms of images.

More on computers later, much more, one day.

I am beginning to suspect that I am living with a Trojan horse, of sorts.  At any moment something is going to pop out and take over.  The apartment we live in, that I've renamed Troy, will be overrun with it.  It will crawl amok for months until it is finally able to do some real upright damage.  I will be enslaved to its whimsical biddings. The Hellespont will be lost.

Perhaps we will name the child Dardanelles.  No.

I mean that would actually be it's name, Dardanelles No!  
Or... No, Dardanelles, No!!!

I also like the name, Uh-oh....
It's a family name, etc.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I must miss New York already...

(Eat more hot sauce...)

Nothing much to report today, still exhausted from yesterday's post.  I'm becoming an old man, but very slowly.  I watch tv and I find myself saying things like, "Life wasn't like that when I was younger." and "Things have really changed."  I'm about a year or two away from saying, "This country is going straight to hell."  Stay closely tuned here, it's only a matter of time.

The funny thing about that sentiment is that it is true for all that say it.

It's all true, in fact.  Now, with a wife as pregnant as it is possible to be (36.5 weeks), I'm starting to worry more about the future.   I've got my scientist friend trying to convince me that global warming is a myth, a scam that's being played on the other scientists of the world by Al Gore, which is deeply comforting and precisely what I need to hear right now.  I don't need yet another part of the future to collapse in front of my eyes, or rise in front of my eyes.  I just want the future to return to being place I want to get to.  

Denying global warming helps.

Speaking of terribleness... I was eating at Taco Bell the other day, early in the morning, long before the madding crowds.  I know, I get it, it's not health food.  I had ordered the #6: two steak Chalupas prepared "Baja" style.  It is several ingredients afar from being health food.  In fact, it is nearly complete in its embodiment of the definition of junk-food.  Were it not for the tomatoes it would be perfect in that regard.  I'm praying that nobody alerts me to the fact that the tomatoes are somehow radioactive, made of a combination of plastic and lead, sent to Taco Bell daily from a Chinese toy factory.  

Please, just let me eat my terrible delusions.

So, as I was sitting there, ingesting these wrapped harbingers of awfulness, this man walks into the Taco Bell, blunders over to the section where the straws, napkins, garbage can, and sauces are, and begins to fill his pockets up.  When I say that he was filling his pockets I am not exaggerating.  He literally stuffed each side pocket, one with hot sauce, one with mild.  He nearly emptied the place out.  Once his hot sauce pocket project was complete he turned and staggered right back out the door he came.  

At this angle I got a pretty good look at him and things became a little bit more clear, though probably more for me than for him.  His eyes were marbled with a sort of dirty crimson pattern, streaked across its nearly original yellowish here and there to offset the deeply ingrained damage, buttressing two black holes that very likely used to serve as pupils but which have now expanded to consume whatever was left of the cornea and iris.   He had an overly Downey-esque look about him.  I focused on the wonders of industrial food production in front of me, trying not to seek a secondary visual verification, trying to think of some sudden way that I might somehow use the food to defend myself, to use its power for good rather than evil, for once.  

Clearly this guy was already immune to hot sauce, so that option was out.

But the moment passed as quickly as it could stumble by.  I looked towards the counter and it was business as usual there.  Just another day at the taco factory.  When I was done eating I went to throw away the remains and return my tray to its appropriate spot on the top of the garbage can, from whence it comes so does it return.  There was a young kid standing there at the register.  I informed him that they were running out of sauce. He smiled and told me that the guy comes in about 3 times a week and does exactly the same thing every time.  They've just learned to leave him alone, it's easier that way, he says.  

I imagined what a vinegar based diet would eventually do to a person.  I envisioned extreme detox's sweeping the nation, talk shows, book tours, all based on Taco Bell's hot and mild sauce.  Potassium Sorbate enemas, tomato paste facials, all of it.  Perhaps it was the only thing keeping this guy alive, his daily detox sauce. Who knows.  I put about 6 of them in my pocket and headed for the car.  A long day standing at the fantasy factory still awaited me.