Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home again

I am finally home, after many hours traveling yesterday, connecting through Houston.  I don't understand how anybody would choose to live in such a place.  It is just horrible.

So, the gig was very frustrating for me.  There were technical problems.  It was nobody's fault, but a series of relatively minor things added up to difficulties with the night.  Without going into too much detail: they had tried to arrange the dj booth on the dance floor, to be closer to the crowd.  This would have been fantastic had it worked but it represented a timing problem for mixing, there was about a 1/4 second delay between what I was hearing in my headphones and what was coming out of the main system, which I was having to use to monitor.  Under other circumstances I would have been able to mix in the headphones, but only one channel worked on the pair I was borrowing, and it was too loud where I was positioned to try such a thing with only one channel.  The monitor speakers were also no good because the timing problem existed in them also and there was no way to overpower the main system to mix, it would only have broadcasted the timing confusion to the entire dance floor.  The monitors remained silent, unused.

So, I ended up having to mix "blind" the entire night.  This means getting the tempos of the two records lined up as best as I could, throwing the beginning mix point, adjusting the track that is going to be coming in a little bit forward to try to compensate, then bringing the mix in, using only the main speaker system as a reference.  This system's closest speaker is about 25 feet away, and I had to perform the entire mix live, unable to use headphones at all during the mixing process, having to try to figure out which record is advanced or behind based on what is coming out of the full system.  It made it nearly impossible to perform any mixes which required delicacy or sophistication.  In short, it made the mixing very blunt for the whole night, not what I would have preferred. 

Any dj reading this will know how difficult what I've described is to do.  If you ever watch a dj performing you will notice that they use their headphones quite often during the mixing process.  That is, if they are actually doing the mixing and not relying on a computer to do it for them.  It took much of the fun of dj'ing out of the process and the act became almost completely functional.  

Also, it was then only possible to play music that had been digital for its entire life, being a much better reflection of the perfectly intended tempo.  Any record that had been recorded off of vinyl would have too many slight tempo inconsistencies to perform a mix that lasted more than a few seconds, 30 or 60 or so, which would have made those tracks sound very rushed in comparison to the others, if not resulting in an outright disaster, a train-wreck, of which there were a few.  This limited my overall range of track selections, drastically.  

Afterwards I was told over and over how well I played, but I knew better, and it was impossible not to hide my disappointment and frustration.  I possess no greater scowl in my arsenal of unhappiness.  I was crushed and I never quite recovered for the rest of the night.  I was prepared to play well and have fun.  I needed everything to go right, etc.  I spent the previous night practicing and was quite comfortable with my new records and confident in my mixing.  It was heartbreaking to not be able to mix the music the way that I would have chosen to.  

No more about that.  I will hopefully return and play again in November with Rachel and (maybe) Rhys accompanying me.  We will need to decide if we want to travel with the boy or if we need some time away together more.  It will be less than a year since we've had him, so who knows if we will be ready to leave him with somebody else yet.  We will see.  

But I am quite eager to return and play.  I have tasted it again, it is like a virgin's blood to a vampire.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Fu*k Houston

I'm coming home.  

Ok, I have started to like posting without finding a picture.  I've gotten used to it, anyway.  

I've decided that I will return to Costa Rica and dj again. There were problems that made the night unacceptable, but those can be fixed.  It was heartbreaking and I did not accept it well at all.  I acted like a petulant child trapped in the body of an overfed albino ogre, one that has been forced to find another bridge to live under in an unfamiliar part of the hamlet.  I will post some pictures and you will see for yourselves.  It was hideous.  I'm surprised that I didn't choke a transvestite that was offering helpful advice to me at the top of "her" lungs.  

No more time to write today, not able to post a picture, nothing more.  

It all really is that easy, except for connecting through Houston.

Ciao, ticos y ticas.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Time delay

Technical difficulties. The night did not go well for me.  It was nobody's fault but it made dj'ing very difficult, perhaps I'll explain in a later post.  Now I am up past noon and wish I was sleeping. I am not quite ready to go to bed yet.  It is peaceful and I am enjoying it as an antidote to last night.  I think I'm simply too old for nightclubbing.  Some of the people have begun to annoy me beyond what I can stand.  Most people, I assume, hit that stage in their late 20's.  There are others of us who did not.  I might finally be there now.

Oh well, the country was beautiful even though it was overcast much of the time that I was here.  I didn't get to do a few of the things that I had hoped to, but I did other things.  

Hopefully tomorrow or the next day I will remember to write about the pilgrimage to the basilica.  It is a phenomenon of interest.

Until then.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Arenal Volcano

There was never any chance of me going to visit this volcano on this trip.  But I have been there a couple times before, once with lasting significance.  I will tell that story in a little bit.  

I have visited and stayed with my friends here in Costa Rica, at their houses near one of their farms, for several years now - about a decade.  The entire complex is centered around the grandmother's house, the abuela, whom I had never met until today.  She must be approaching her 90's.  I was expecting her to speak Spanish, almost exclusively, and was surprised to hear her perfect English with a French accent.  She gave fascinating glimpses of her life; being born in Brooklyn, living in Washington D.C., growing up in Paris, being of French descent, and of her eventual move to Costa Rica.  

She listened also at my stories of falling in love, getting married, having a child, as well as my family's regional and geographic history, etc.  

She told stories of the past, her memories of the 1930's and forward.  She was bright-eyed and encouraging, and was as interested in hearing my tales as she was enthused in telling hers.  In short, I was charmed by her, immediately.  We will hopefully have time to talk more at dinner tonight.

I asked if I could take pictures of her courtyard.  There are clever little mural paintings on the yellow walls of the characters from "Alice's adventures in Wonderland" found there.  It is a special place for Rachel and I.  After breaking up with my previous girlfriend and suffering a rather painful series of realizations concerning that relationship I needed a long break in a beautiful place.  I extended my upcoming trip to Costa Rica.  Rachel and I had resumed the intimate communications that had been somewhat hobbled by the relationship just referenced.  Eventually I asked Rachel to come to Costa Rica with me.  She was living in LA at the time, and I in New York.  Though we had had an intermittent relationship previously in Manchester and NYC it was there in Costa Rica that we fell in love.  Or, I with her, I should say.  She states that her love for me had its precedents.  

So, each of the individual memories of our time there have taken on special significance.  On that first trip together the grandmother was out of town and my friends assigned us that room to sleep in, as we were the guests and they wanted us to be as comfortable as possible.  The room was quite magical for us, enchanted even.  The courtyard that was off of the room, the light that made its way through the vines above, the yellow walls, the hammock, the paintings, the canopy, all of it.  It has become a part of the mythology of our love.

After a few days in San Jose we began the journey out to the beach, where our love took on its most increased physical manifestations.  In this way nature seems quite perfectly arranged.  We hardly left our room for days, and when we did so we both carried glowing but coy smiles.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Before we got to the beach we broke the journey up into two different drives, spread across two days.  The night between we stopped at the Volcano Arenal.  It has famed mineral baths with recognizable restorative benefits, though I do not believe we made it in time to bathe in them.  We arrived in the dark, after many hours on the road.  

It is an active volcano in the truest visual sense, one need only look at it to immediately know.  With its easily discernible volcanic shape from decades of lava strafing everything off of the mountainside and producing the nearly mythical volcanic cone: an opening at the top, often with telling steam floating up from it, and nothing but burned evidence down each steep side, ravines that tell of many previous molten flows.

Threatening in every way, fascinating without invitation.

We all met for dinner late that night at a restaurant that gave an impressive view of the volcano.  The power had gone off in the entire region so the only visible light was the candle light on each table, barely enough to eat with, mixed with the occasional red burst from the mountain.  In the near complete darkness we listened to the grumblings of the earth and felt the vibrations shaking the ground upon which we all sat.  Red lava dripped, poured, and shot out of the caldera at the top to everybody's excitement.  Occasionally there was a large burst of lava flying into the night sky, or alternately oozing down the side of the mountain, reminding us all of its pre-historic potential.  

To say that it was romantic, fascinating and a touch frightening would each be understatements.  Of what use are those words when held up against such memories.  What we held instead were each other's hands under the table in the darkness, fumbling for the occasional blind kiss at the table, bumping into one another with intimate excitement.  

After dinner we retired to our perfectly unlit room together where we continued our romantic discovering, the earth shaking and growling and forever spinning underneath us.


Irazu volcano

I was right.  I wake up hideously early compared to everybody else here, even though I went to sleep late (for me), sometime between 1 and 2 am.  I snapped to attention at 7 sharp.  Still, an extra hour or so more than I would get at home, but it would be nice to sleep as a normal person does.  I"m told they get about 8 hours a night, when averaged together.  

We did not go to the volcano yesterday.  There was cloud cover most of the day.  Had we gone we would have gone to Irazu, which is closer, though Poas is bigger I believe, and more dangerous.  They are both still active and have lakes currently occupying their caldera.  Several years ago they had to evacuate an area because the volcano Arenal had become active shortly after I visisted.  The same thing happened in Guatemala.  I read about it in the news after returning home, thinking the coincidences odd.  I assumed that the gods were catching up with me, moving from volcano to volcano in their tectonic search.  Their anger at my disbelief waiting to be released upon innocent villages.

So, instead of visiting the volcano we went to buy coffee for me to bring home.  The corner store would not do, we went to the source, out to the fields and hills where the coffee is grown.  It was a four hour drive each way, through city and jungle and across rivers and even a dam.  The bridges were all constructed by the British in the 1920's when Costa Rica epitomized what was then known as a banana republic.  Many of them were single lane suspension bridges traversing river valleys that ignited the imagination with disastrous possibilities.  If you met an oncoming car you would wait for them to cross, giving the mind time to do what it does, envision your death and the automobile free-fall that shortly precedes it.  The cables seemed to be made of strands of rusted licorice.  It was quite a drive.

I have yet to try the coffee.  I guess I will break open the bags when I get home and seem cool to Rachel and her mother for having brought home such an exotic treat.  That, and the pound of cocaine that I'll have swallowed in individually wrapped condoms.  I'm hoping that I enjoy their evacuation more than I did the ingestion, etc.

The same is true today as it was yesterday, no pictures to upload.  Maybe I'll insert some when I get home to augment my posts.  I'm certain that it has to do with writing and editing above the html level.  I'm using the easier graphical editor.  So be it.  I am in no mood to wrestle with a computer in paradise, especially if the outcome is for me to lose.   I've been warned to try and remain calm, that overexcitement can lead to overexcitement.

Who knows, perhaps today we will go visit the volcano, if the weather holds.  Last night there were heavy tropical showers through much of the night.  My friend and I returned late from having gone into the city center, the rains were both terrific and soft, quietly coming down in vast cloudfuls in the dark.  The sound of it put me right to sleep.  There is no saying what it was that woke me up, perhaps an angry volcano god grumbling at the hint of my return.  Or, the sun breaking in through the blinds, reminding me of my days remaining.  Or, only that my troll gene has finally been released.  I must now go return to my people who inhabit the mineral pools and caves under the volcano, losing all interest in humans and human affairs.

I will know when I look in the mirror, my eyes will have turned to anthracite, and I to metamorphic stone.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Poas volcano

A 12 hour journey, through the hell that is Houston, but I finally made it to Costa Rica.  Much has changed here.  There are many more chain restaurants, American ones, everywhere.  The airport has continued its rebuilding but it is still far from complete.  Corruptions abound, everywhere you look.  It has been that way for about 10 years now, the airport - the corruption much longer, like most places.

It is the way of things, to be expected.

After arriving at the airport and collecting my record box, a thing that most dj's stopped traveling with many years ago, my friend Leo picked me up and we went to a sushi restaurant.  There we had several beers and cold sake.  We chatted with the owner of the club at which I will play on Saturday.  For some unknown reason, perhaps fatigue, I blabbered on and on about American politics.  America this and America that.    Perhaps I have finally become the thing that I always cautioned myself not to, an American apologist.  Perhaps I was only tired.

When I was checking in with the dj box, in San Francisco, the woman at the counter asked what it was that was in the box. I explained that they were vinyl records.  She was amazed, she claimed to have never seen such a thing.  I wanted to ask how long she had been working for the airline, to get an idea of whether or not she was a dipshit or if it was really true that djs long ago stopped carrying these hideously heavy travel cases and they are now an anomaly once again.  It checked in at just under 70 lbs.  I will be glad to be rid of it once and for all.  I only brought the records as a gift for my friends here, many old dance "classics' that I'm sure they will love.

After the sushi restaurant we went to the owner's beautiful house up on the hill, overlooking much of San Jose. We drank more beers and chatted further, with me still expounding on America's many global iniquities.  Idiot, I.  But the view from his house was wonderful.  At night when looking across at San Jose there is always a glimmering of distant lights.  I have never been sure if it is a result of the heat or if it is an issue of pollution or from some other cause that might be obvious but to which I have not given consideration.  But it is a familiar view and one that I have missed.  It is the same in many Central and South American cities.  It has been about 6 years since my last trip here, about 19 since my first.  It is nice to be back.  I'm not sure what time I finally went to bed, after many beers, but I awoke at 7am sharp, an almost unknown luxury at home with the boy awaking each day with, or before, the sun.  The extra hour really helps.

Today, hopefully, we will go to the volcano, Poas.  It is the volcano that would threaten much of San Jose were it ever to erupt violently again.  It sits not far from the edge of the city, overlooking it like an ancient Mayan god.  It is active and has erupted several times in the last 100 years though not with such force that it has caused great loss, but the threat is always there. The caldera contains one of the most acidic lakes in the world.

I have tried to attach an image but so far no luck.  I'm not sure what the trouble might be and I am still too tired to troubleshoot it.  We might have to live without an image today.  I believe that would be my first post ever without one, though I could still be under the effects of lingering sleep.  I should still be sleeping while I have the chance.  Something I will go lie back down and hope to achieve.  The open blue sky will eventually call me to action, to explore, but hopefully for now it will leave me alone with my dreams for another hour or more.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"It's so noisy at the fair..."

(Nomads at the Orange County Fair)

I've never slept very well, last night proves that the night before was an anomaly, with its nine hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Last night the sleep came only in short doses, interspersed with dreams, pleasant and otherwise.  It is anxiety, I know.  I leave tomorrow for paradise.  I get anxiety before I travel now, I didn't used to.  I feel it even when heading towards Eden.  It is a place where people sleep until well after noon and stay awake until dawn each morning.  I remember it well.  I will seem like an overweight ghost in such a place now, sleeping just after dinner (or during) and awaking long before the others have gone off to sleep for the night, wandering from room to room, haunting the sunrise, cursing the night.

Perhaps by waking up at 4-6 am each morning I will be able to write posts while I am there.  Communiques from the foot of the volcano, the sound of virgins being tossed in echoing from the distance.  

It is a funny thing, writing.  I have gotten in the habit of doing it every day.  It is a personal ritual.  I miss it when I can not do it.  I find myself thinking about it as if I were.  Each day, attempting to order the universe a little bit, finding wayward virgins in my mind to give over to the volcano gods.  Giving personal structure to the miasma.  Is that the right word, miasma?  ... to the solidified vapors,  ... to the pestilent congregation of vapors. 

Is that Hamlet?  I think so.  I know it's Shakespeare.  Hamlet fits, for today.  Yep, I looked it up.  ... what is this quintessence of dust?  What a piece of work is man...

Good stuff, that crazy Shakespeare.

I was going to write about what a strange place the fair is, but it has all been said before, by those who've taken more time to say it.  So I won't.  There are many weird things to witness, bizarre foods, and pieces of the World Trade Center on display, presumably to remind.  A warning to stay vigilant against those who would wish to take the fair from you, a reminder that we are not pro-terrorism.  We are anti-terrorism in these parts, folks.  

(reverence in the shade of the sun)

It was odd.  There was astro-turf, flowers, and the big dead piece of metal on display.  The weirdest aspect of it was that, for some reason, they thought it important to list the piece's weight: 29,000 lbs.  I suppose it gives one an indication of the overall wreckage and attending carnage that was 9/11 in NYC, in the event that the video footage of the destruction was not enough.  I'm surprised they didn't have video monitors showing the destruction.  Here is a piece of metal to remind, in place of video loops of the planes fiery penetration.  They had it on a stage almost as if it was performing.   It would not have all surprised me if there were lights panning across it at night, to add to the spectacle of it all, to emotionally charge the thing with the hint of movement.

I've always found the phrase "Let Freedom Ring" to be a strange one.  It has no historical pedigree, as far as I know.  It was the title of a jazz album from the early 60's, a documentary about hemp produced by High Times magazine, and a book against Liberalism by Sean Hannity.   Which of those three items does not belong in that group?

The phrase has somehow caught on, meaning different things to different people, I guess.  But the word "Let" seems to suggest something less than vigilant, almost passive in its request.  I would think that people would gravitate towards something more like, "Freedom Will Ring" or "Hear Freedom Ring" or even "Freedom or Else"...

"Let" seems like it's almost asking permission.

(also prepared for nighttime sanctimony)

What would remembrance be without a reminder of Christ's sacrifice also.  There was one piece that was the shape of an inverted cross, presumably to remind the historically inclined of either St. Peter or of Constantine's vision.  I mean, what would a traveling memorial be without the merged concepts of inadequacy-of-self mingled together with the suggestion of the crusades, to purge the holy land of infidels; a dual duel, strung out in the hearts and minds like christmas lights.  

One almost wonders why there wasn't an armed military guard stationed at these relics of mayhem.

(The Petrine reminder)

But the fair, for all of its weirdness, was fun.  Life is very peculiar, particularly when up close and sweaty.  I should have gobbled a bunch of acid for it, as my instincts instructed me to, but I didn't.  I wasn't quite sure that I was prepared to see little Rhys while I was twisted on psychedelics.  I'm not sure how I would feel about such a thing.  I mean, he likes to smile at me, and I at him.  Seems like a perfect arrangement.  He also enjoys it when I'm being goofy, it's one of his primary charms.

(Rhys, a very happy boy)

(The second best seats in the house)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pretending's Fun

(Suspected of anonymity)

I am out of the habit of writing.  Three days in LA has ruined me, as I strongly suspected it would.  That city has destroyed many, some quicker than I.  I wanted to write each day when I was there but with no computer it was nearly impossible.  Well, not impossible, far from impossible.  But I brought no pen and notepad, no pencil.  I brought no will to write.

I meant to write here of Selavy's visit to SF (pictured above to preserve his long fought for and sacred anonymity) but the week got away from me and now I am floundering, waiting to leave again.  Who knows if I will be able to write from Costa Rica or not.  I will bring a few cameras with me and hopefully return with some fine, nice photos.  What a different person I am now from the one that I once was.  Barely recognizable, yet eager to pretend.  Pretending's fun as they say.

I used the pronoun "I" 13 times above to get here.  Unlucky, I guess.

The ones you love to hurt, always the ones you love.
Ashamed of everything you should have been thankful of.
Folks covered up with roses, might envy everyone
But you're just dressing up to go messing up
See you run around everyone in town
The one your thinking of's gone
Not coming back, but pretending's fun

You watch the days go by, dreading them one by one
You love your sleep so much, something that rarely comes.
Folks covered up with roses, might envy everyone
But you're just dressing up to go messing up
See you run around everyone in town
The one you're thinking of's gone
Not coming back, but pretending's . . .

Easy to do, I should know -- I've locked away the tears
I want to show, to you, but I don't know. I don't know

When I see you dressing up to go messing up
See you run around everyone in town
The one I'm thinking of's gone
Not coming home, but pretending's fun.
-Ryan Adams


Just pray the evil away, folks.

At first I ignored Michelle Bachmann's accusation that one of Hillary Clinton's longtime aides was a mole for the Muslim Brotherhood.  But then Newt Gingrich blundered in and defended Bachmann's wild claims, throwing his face weight around a bit.  Gingrich contends that the elites of western culture are not prepared to address the threats of radical Islam.  His apparent solution is to instead support a radically fundamentalist Christian whose answer to things seems to be making baseless allegations couched in the form of supposedly innocent questions concerning the nation's security.  Welcome home Mrs. McCarthy, you've found a hefty new host and partner in Newt Gingrich - no big or small surprise there.  This cretin will do or say anything to keep his jowls blubbering in the press.  It should shock nobody at all that he's peddling this sort of swill, trying to give it some traction, one more revenue stream for his security con-sultancy.  I'm surprised it's taken him as long as it has.  Well, to be fair, maybe it just took this long for the media to notice.  Who knows.

My god, do I wish he would have stayed in the race longer...  I was so hoping to hear some more about that new state on the moon.

As for Frau Bachmann... It seems as if she's taken a page right out of Palin's pop-up picture book of politics. Pure Us vs. Them:  If you're one of them, then you very well might already be a radical Islamic extremist without even knowing it yet.  They're so hell bent on America's destruction they'll let you eat pork, be gay, be married to a gay man, whatever.  These people will stop at nothing to infiltrate our country.  They will plant evil thoughts in your husband's mind to infiltrate your home life.  Only Christ's love can purify sin.  I should know, I've been on fire for Jesus my whole life...

It's all true, of course.  The evangelical eyes can always see it first.   When are people going to wake up and see this woman for the cheap hate-mongerer that she is.  I hope this latest slip ushers her out of public office forever.  Are people ever going to tire of this horrid nonsense being peddled off as patriotism?

Who ever knows...  What did Mencken say, Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.



As I went into SF last Thursday I hit some traffic as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.  I neared the incident that was slowing all of the traffic down, it was a jumper.  He had crawled over the railing and was holding onto a post, facing inwards, towards the passing traffic, with his back to oblivion.  There were two cops kneeling on the sidewalk talking to him.  He was standing upright, wearing a black hoodie, staring straight ahead, his head barely even with the sidewalk.  I passed slowly, as did all of the other cars.  Once past him, and the cops negotiating with him, traffic sped back up.  I pulled around towards the city, towards Lombard street heading into Union Square, looking backwards from the offramp as best as I could.  Emergency vehicles were rushing to the bridge with their lights and sirens blazing.  I was unable to tell if he had jumped, or if he had been pulled in, or if he was still on the outer side of the railing, waiting.

San Francisco Bay is part of the largest landlocked harbor in the world.  Depending on the state of the tides there are very strong currents forcing most everything that falls from the bridge either into the harbor or far out to sea.  The free fall from the bridge's edge is approximately a 245 foot drop.  Jumpers hit speeds of about 75 miles per hour, falling for almost 4 seconds.  The success rate of jumpers there is 98%, the highest of anywhere in the world.


Cursing the journey

(A carnival shaman, assessing my sickness)

Home again, after several days being gone, visiting friends and family in LA.  It feels strange to sit at my desk.  I will be leaving again early Thursday morning for Costa Rica.  Suddenly there is much traveling in my life.  An object at rest, etc.

I don't miss traveling.  When I was a dj travel functioned somewhat as a badge of accomplishment.  Dj's would discuss where they had been, where they had played, where they preferred.  It was an indication of how "in demand" you were, and as such, a reflection of your value as a product, a commodity.  But I never truly enjoyed traveling.  I like being places, not getting there.  Everyone seems to echo the dull sentiment that, "It's not the destination, but the journey."  I disagree, sort of.  That sentiment is only true when your express intention is to be a traveler, not when you have a destination and a schedule to meet.  Wandering is fantastic when life affords you the opportunity to do so, but getting places ceases to be exciting when it is almost all that you do.  It is tedious and tiring, ask anybody who has done it for a living.  

I go places because that's where I want to be, or that's where I am wanted.  If the places between were truly what mattered most then my trip would have been much shorter and I would have just stopped where I was.  This is not to say that I haven't seen many incredible things on the way to and from places.  There is much incidental joy in traveling.

I get it.  The statement concerning the "importance of the journey" is meant to be metaphysical encouragement.  I believe Emerson said it.  But metaphysics work best when you remove the actualities of life from consideration.  Because if the journey is truly more important than the destination, and the people who say that truly mean it, then they would never stop wandering.  I've only known a few people in my life who embrace such a life choice.  

The truth of the statement rests in its encouragement to enjoy getting there as much as enjoying the accomplishment.  I get it.  But fuck that.  I curse the journey as an evil that is to be endured.

No.  I kid. 

We had a nice drive down to LA and back.  Except for the LA portion of the drive all went smoothly.  It was our first family outing and Rhys was stellar, a truly happy baby.  It was nice to visit with friends and family from down south.  We went to the Orange County Fair on Saturday and had a BBQ at a friend's house the next day.  Lots of continuous weekend drinking bookended by long hours driving to and from in 100+ degree weather.  When I got home last night I fell into bed and slept for 9 hours.  I awoke back in my life at home, thankful to be in my bed, naked. 

I will try to write more about the trip later, or perhaps tomorrow, for now there is much to do.  Preparations, invocations; blessing my next journey in advance, etc.


Friday, July 20, 2012


Leaving for LA this morning, might not be able to post for a few days.  Thought I'd leave you, for now, with this simple image, a Chagall.

Yesterday I went into SF to meet up with Selavy.  We drank too much, and of too many varied liquors.  I feel ill today.  Not exactly hungover but there is definitely a sense of lost vitality.  There will need to be a time of recovery.  Seven hours in the car to LA, if all goes well, should just about do it.  I hope.

We visited several galleries, Rayko, and then the MOMA.  A thing occurred to me while we walked through the permanent collection.  Modern art, that is art from the modern era, doesn't really do much for me any more.  After having lived in New York for more than a decade, seeing many modern masterpieces on a consistent basis, I am now much less interested in them than I once was.  Selavy pointed out that perhaps I have only become accustomed to their messages.

What I speak of is not a complete condition, and it is not that I do not hold much of it in high esteem, but only that I do not get as excited as I once did to consider it carefully, to see it up close.  We walked through the gallery of the permanent collection quickly, without much conversation, stopping here and there to note a familiar piece.

The trouble I have is that there is not much to replace it with.  I find much contemporary art interesting but not as a collective movement.  I have less consistent enthusiasm for most of it.  Post-modern art leaves me cold much of the time.  I find myself considering motives, strategies and techniques rather than themes.  Yes, of course, that is often its intention.  Boring.

It is time to search again, to look for new meaning, to find new themes, to become excited for a time at something new.


Speaking of (sort of): Selavy unsuccessfully tried to convert me to agnosticism yesterday, claiming that there is as much evidence for there being a god as there is for there not being a a god, none at all.  More precisely, he called it a "conscious ordering of the universe", not precisely "god".

But there being no evidence of there not being a thing does not function in the same way as there being no evidence that there is.  I don't claim to know with complete certainty that there definitely is no god, I only claim that those who claim there is have offered no substantiated evidence for their claim.  I choose not believe in a thing that gives no signs whatsoever of its existence.  My assertion that there is not currently a knowable god in the universe is based on that simple lack of evidence.  I'm happy to reconsider at any time.

Likewise, I don't claim that man knows all that there is to know.  But I can say that not knowing of a thing is not the same as claiming to know of a thing, with certainty, that can not be evidenced.  Faith is not a substance, it is a quality of the imagination.  That it can be generated and sustained does not prove the existence of the thing it imagines.  That would be like claiming that all fairy tales must have actually occurred because somebody thought of them.  How could thought be possible if it is not based in tangible reality?  That absurd claim answers itself, we do it all of the time.  But there are no flying spaghetti monsters, yet.

I'll happily convert to whatever worship system the "conscious ordering of the universe" requests of me.  I just need to see the request, preferably with some grated parmesan and a nice glass of chilled chianti.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


A trip into SF today.  Selavy will be here this morning.  After he visits a few of his favorite bathhouses then we will tour the city, in search of weirdness at a photographable distance.  Maybe a light lunch and some chilled white wine, afterwards we will go brutalize the art world.  We are dangerous, clever characters.  If the nerves in my lower back hold out maybe we'll make it to North Beach, to City Lights book store, for an afternoon poetry reading.  As T.C. Boyle says, we read too much Andre Gide when we were young, it has ruined us for life.  Crime is our only remaining passion.  Jaywalking, littering, parking violations; you name it, we're in, etc.

Well, maybe not littering.  One must have some sense of community, else all is lost.

"It just does, Mom. I can't explain why it feels so good to be a gangster."

Speaking of weirdness.  I was in the car yesterday, running minor errands with the boy, listening to the radio.  I listen to a few stations in the area, most of which have their various charms.  There's one station that often has interesting talk programs on, mostly with a decidedly liberal bend to them, but often hosting well-informed discussions.  Then, out of nowhere a commercial came on...

Get your tickets now for Reptile Fest 2012....!!!  Extreme Herps!!!  You won't find lizards, snakes or amphibious moccasins like this anywhere in the far west this time a' year, at least not until REPTILE FEST 2013..!!!  God-damn it out there, are you faggots listening?  We're talking Tarantulas, Gator Wrestling, Monster Snake Shaft, Poisonous Heads, FANGS, COLD-BLOODED KILLERS...!!! Are you out of your beer-addled minds, HURRY THE FUCK UP...???!!!  There's gonna be Bud-Tubs every 10 feet at this event as mandated by our state license.  Don't waste this moment of your life.  Don't be a further disappointment to your children.  If you have to then drive the tractor to the store to get tickets, NOW!  Nobody cares. APOCALYPSE PYTHONS...!!!  Pull over at any and every gas station and demand to know if they have tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime event.  If they DO NOT, then threaten to blow those gas-peddling muslims off the face of this precious green earth.  Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch someone get bit by a baby rattler.  GOOD GOD PEOPLE, are you out of what's left of your minds? This event only happens once a year, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see somebody die from venom, right in front of your very eyes.  There's gonna be a Molly Hatchet cover band there, we've had sand shipped in from the desert, mud from Mississippi, and an above-ground Olympic size swamp pool with genuine cajun cedar slime.....  You'd have to be a god-damned gay retard to not have your tickets already.  Now, are you people out there lining up to vote for Osama or are you out there buying your tickets?  We're gonna have shotguns in the shapes of Boa Constrictors, Gila Monster Grenades and Semi-Automatic Assault Cartridge Cobra's...  POISONS, TOXINS, VENOM, FANGS...!!!!!  GET BIT...!!!

... and on and on for the entire time I was in the car.  It was like a monster truck rally for snakes.  To my memory I had never heard a feature length radio info-mercial before.  Eventually they had celebrity interviews, advocates from the scientific community, even a famous local pastor came on and blessed the event and all those who would attend, and all those who were currently considering attending.  It was so far beyond surreal I rushed home to see if I had any acid left.  I have never heard anything like it before and I grew up in the south, not far from the deep south.  I mean, it was nutszilla.

Luckily, by the time I got to the Circle K they still had plenty of tickets available.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


(Larry Towell)

The crazed dreams continue, disturbing visions that the mind forms to wake me, to tell me to get out of bed, to piss.  My only fear being that one day I will learn to sleep through them, that they will exist unquestioned, under the surface like some dark wandering disease, as I dreamily piss the bed around me.

Last night's visions were so disturbing that I can not repeat them here.  Many of you might worry about me if I confessed to their formation.  The sequence ended in a crowded hospital waiting room.  There were many misshapen there, waiting, trembling with their maladies.  Their desperate eyes followed me.  I felt ill looking closely at their elongated dream afflictions.  Before I had time to run my sleeping mind pulled me up and away from them.  I limped off lazily to the bathroom, then back to bed.  

Moving on.  Today is a big day, then tomorrow another, then the big days of the long weekend in LA begin.  It will be our first road trip with the boy.  Seven hours each way, if all goes as planned.  Two days in the sun.  LA frightens me the way that avian influenza frightens me,  that it will one day suddenly catch on and overtake the world.  There are areas of LA that I enjoy, though none so much that I would fight to see them saved from zombies.  I only vaguely wish them to be preserved in the impending apocalypse of the lifeless.  It does seem fitting that LA be destroyed in zombie doom.  LA requires a catastrophe commensurate with its leprous appeal.  

No, I only kid.  LA is a great place to smoke speed, lots of strip-malls and parking lots to wander around in.  One needs wide open spaces when in that condition.  

I am beginning to understand why men like to drink whiskey alone as they get older.  I will, hopefully, drink it more slowly when sitting alone than how I would when talking with others.  The effect of that particular alcohol is quite different when drank this way.  It carries a misty warmth that marks itself as opposed to what occurs when drank rapidly.  

Never tilt your head back when drinking whiskey.  That is what I've learned, it is my wisdom.  You are gulping the stuff when you do.  Always tilt the glass towards your lips, keep your head as straight as a toltec mask, eyes locked on an imaginary horizon.  Let your head be a stone altar piece, anything less results in upsetting the whiskey yahweh.

When drinking it with others there is much more room for trouble.  It is trouble lubricant, made of kerosene, WD-40, and trace amounts of alcohol.  Because one urinates less when drinking whiskey it creates more time for mischief, danger.  That is why beer is somewhat self-regulating.  Having to go the the bathroom creates an opportunity to reset, to reconsider.  People talk to themselves when pissing, or to god, or to mommy's little dancing soldier.  It is helpful to use that time wisely.  Also, there are often mirrors in bathrooms, a conditional glimpsing of oneself can have an occasionally sobering effect.  If everybody made it a habit to always look at themselves in the mirror when drinking then some of the world's evils would be cured.  It would, of course, birth other dilemmas, but we could get around to those as needed.

I used to get handed little bags of cocaine after dinner in restaurants.  I would then wander off casually or hurriedly to the bathroom to snort some.  For a time I got in the habit of looking directly into my own eyes for 30 seconds before doing any of the coke.  If, after 10 seconds, I still wanted to do some then I would.  But not every time.  Sometimes I would walk back to the table, pass the bag back in the direction that it came, and nobody would ever notice.  

Hard to believe, I know, but it is true.  It gives a different perspective on drugs, to watch others do them when you are not.  Much like alcohol it makes them less appealing.  To sit in a room full of people all jabbering away on cocaine, drinking to match their newly found intake levels, is a genuine eye opener.  You can watch a table, or room, full of friends reduce themselves to yammering demons, twitching with cravings that pass for desire.  Like the ones in my dream, only older, inflated with years, and twitching towards different things.   

I shudder at how I must look running, when seen from a dream.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"It is necessary to fall in love..."

(Morten Andersen)

It has been a year since Rachel moved to California.  Next month will be a year for me.  My, how things change.  I'm glad that I left Apple.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I got the job at Apple but I'm also glad that I left.  Five years is enough time dedicated to such a thing.  Now I stumble and struggle with what will come next.  It is time to reinvent myself but there seems to be a shortage of raw materials to work with.  Somehow I forgot to put in my order in time.

I keep asking myself if leaving Apple was the right thing to do and the answer keeps coming back "Yes!" so that is something.  Certainty is comforting, even if it is unpleasant job certainty.  Even if it is the daily annoyance of working with the type people that a retail corporate environment attracts.  Maybe one day I will tell the stories, but for now it is still where I get my computers fixed, so.... best to leave it alone.  

"But are there not many Fascists in your country?
"There are many that do not know they are Fascists, but will find it out when the time comes."
-Hemingway, "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

The things we endure for a paycheck and health insurance.  It is almost a "which came first?" scenario, the working or the stress-related illnesses.  Dickens has a few things to say about it.

I've been trying to read but as anybody who has a 6 month old baby will tell you, it 'aint easy.  He's sleeping now, of course, that's the only thing that grants me this time.  

I accepted hundreds of new friends on Facebook yesterday.  I was bored.  That should keep me busy for a while.  There was a stalker who was writing very predatory and threatening emails to myself and Rachel for a while so I just stopped accepting new friend requests, then yesterday I felt like changing something about my life.  Sure, a few new friends on Facebook might not be much but it's much more than I did the day before.    

Whatever.  I was going to write about how my relationship with Rachel has changed in the last year but  everything I thought to say was somber.  It is a time of difficult transitions for both of us.

Cato sent me this quote yesterday: "It is necessary to fall in love... If only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway." - Camus

I wonder if alibi is the right word.  


Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Plans, Dancing Harlequins

(Bruce Davidson)

Big plans, strange dreams.  So, Rachel and I have honed in upon a few possible income streams.  While I gravitate towards the wild-eyed pipe dreams (magically divined number combinations) she tends to reel me back in and focuses on projects that have foreseeable future income (work).  Such is our nature.  Somewhere in the middle we find projects to commit to together.

Everything requires research and education though.  Luckily, they are all subjects that I would like to learn more about.  But still, there is the time and dedication that it takes to get there.  With this new world there is always much to learn, always there are things that are changing.  

Many years ago I used to sit in a record store and sell records to the baggy-pants'd kids that would come in.  In the mornings it was not uncommon to have long stretches of time in which nobody would visit the shop.  When I was not sleeping I would read.  So, I got about a 700 page Netscape book and began to learn about how websites are built and maintained.  All of that information is now either lost or useless.  Everything has changed.  

But I know how to study.  I am still capable of it, I think.  Sitting and reading for hours on end doesn't bother me.  That is precisely what I will be doing today.  Well, part of the day.  There are the many errands and chores that I've accepted or have had thrust upon me.  I know what it is like to be a housewife now.  I get it.  I feel like I'm wanting to take night courses at the community college and my husband is openly suspicious of it at the dinner table, wondering who will make dinner on those evenings.  Sort of.  

Well, no, not at all, actually.

Mixed in with all of these wild hopes are the other developments.  I have a dj'ing gig coming up soon in Costa Rica.  Between now and then we will drive to LA to watch the beginning of the end of the world, then I might drive to Yosemite to meet up with Selavy (if he's still talking to me), then I must get on a plane armed with a usb-drive and plan to wow people with my musical taste and mixing proficiency, using a familiar device in an unfamiliar way (mixing without using discs of any kind, just playing off of the memory stick, scrolling through tracks on a small screen all night, hoping that I recognize the ones that I like, the ones that make sense to play in a particular order).  The last item mentioned on this list will happen in the middle of the night, by the way.  When I say middle, I mean early morning, 2am-10am.  This is a time that I have only recently glimpsed, through the weary and tired eyes of fatherhood, stumbling downstairs to fall sleep in the other bedroom.  

I will be expected to never act tired through all of this, of course.  Showing fatigue is an unacceptable admission of frailty in the nocturnal world of nightclubbing.  

Perhaps being near the equator will help.  I will be moving through space faster, literally.

Once, many years ago, I was on the phone with an ex-girlfriend.  I was letting her know that I was thinking of ways of getting out of dj'ing, trying to find something else lucrative to do with my life that I might enjoy.  She is a clever girl, and never one to let an opportunity pass, she responded, "Yeah, you finally gettin' tired of being cool?" 

That was close to 10 years ago now.  

I suppose I have not completely tired of it yet.  Or, to be more accurate I should say tired of the trying.  How many must look at their artifacts of youth and say to themselves, "I bet I can still ride that thing."

Then, the humiliating trip to the emergency room, filled with questions from the wife, "What were you thinking?", "Have you been drinking?", "Where did you even find that? I thought we threw that out, or gave it away at the garage sale.", "What, did you think that you were still a teenager?", "How would you have felt if you would have killed the neighbor's cat?", "If that car wouldn't have swerved you might not even be going to the emergency room. You know that, right?", "My God, you're lucky the tire didn't pop before you got to the fence. You should have seen it.  How much weight have you gained since high school?", "What am I going to say to the Henderson's about their begonias?", "Did you see the look on Paul's face when we were putting you in the back of the PT Cruiser?", "What's that smell?  You didn't?  Oh God, No!  Please tell me you didn't, not in the PT Cruiser...."


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Argentina, Panama, Oklahoma or bust

(Stanley Kubrick for Look magazine)

The offers keep rolling in.  I've just gotten another dj'ing gig in Buenos Aires.  Panama is still pending.  Any day now I'll have my own reality tv show.  The continued slow-motion fall of an already limping lion.  

My show could be called "Tarantulas and Tranquilizer Lawn Darts..."

It's a good thing I got a new passport.  I'll be stamping it up in no time.  I might make a stamp of my own, treat my townhouse as a sovereign nation.  Pretend that I'm at EPCOT for world beer day.  Who knows.

Well, we'll see.

I am beginning to think that I just might need a job, in the event that the dj'ing career doesn't work out for me again.  We will be running out of money soon and none of my projects have made it past the concept stage.  Some of them haven't even made it that far.  It's too bad, really.  I had hoped to sit back and watch the money just roll in through the front door.  I willed it that way at my yoga class.  Now - with the return of DJ Wile E. Loman - I'll have to be out that front door, hitting the bricks, as they say.

If anybody is looking for an aging entertainer with a set of badly crushed nerves in his lower spine and one balding testicle, then I'm your man.  I do vaudeville, sideshow, freak show, burlesque,  strip-tease, hair and makeup, all of it.  You will be entertained to the point of confusion, fear and desperation... never knowing which survival instinct will arrive first.  I promise.  Look into my favorite eye.  It's a double your money back guarantee.  Fuck it, triple your money back guarantee.  You have my oath, my very word in writing, floating there on the screen in front of you, sort of.  

If you can find better odds anywhere then my name still 'aint Nathan Arizona... 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anonymous attachment

(Gregory Crewdson)

My life is terribly uneventful.  It is becoming problematic for me.  I can feel a restlessness growing; the desire to seek, to wander somewhere.  But there is the boy, the wife, the family.  There will be less and less wandering for me.  There will be planned trips mostly, if not only.  Nothing sudden will occur in my life any more, nothing sudden and good, that is.  There will always be the future unexpected news from a doctor.   The shock of test results that one day await many of us.  There is that, then the other, sudden kind also.  

"I do not know which to prefer"... Grim thoughts on a Saturday morning.

Taking care of the boy all day is difficult, it can be.  It is far more difficult than I thought that it would be.  We had a bad day yesterday.  He wouldn't sleep and was unhappy with me most of the time.  Finally he fell asleep on the bed next to me after much playing and distraction. When Rachel came home I went downstairs and fell asleep myself for an hour and a half from the stress of the day alone.  It is exhausting.  There are some days when I would gladly go back to work at Apple, I tell myself.

I have been preparing for my dj'ing gig in Costa Rica.  I am very excited about it, almost scared.  That was sudden and unexpected and good, in a way.  I knew about it some time in advance.  But it was unexpected and good.  It has been a long time since I've traveled anywhere, a couple years.  

The passport agency eventually did return my old passport.  It was mailed in a separate envelope a few days later, as some had said it would be.  I was relieved.  Now I won't have to write Rhys a journal in any leather bound notebook (comments section).  Aye, people... Save me, Sartre...

I must be bored.  I am picking pointless fights.  Ones in which there is no possible way of winning.  Is there ever?  No.  Though I don't suppose I am arguing to win.  I am only arguing to argue.  It must be a joy unto itself, otherwise what is the point?  Truly.

It is a grey day here.  Our friends have left for Wisconsin for nine or ten days.  We must watch over the garden while they are gone, harvesting the squash and beans and zucchini and lettuce.  We must pull the edible basil flowers from the plant to encourage continued growth.  I am learning more and more though not through study, but rather through observation and experience.  My observation, their experience.  

I will, of course, snoop through their house while they are gone.  It is an obligation one has when given the keys to watch over somebody else's place.  I forget if it was Richard Ford or Raymond Carver that wrote about a man who becomes obsessed with "watching" a neighbor's house while they are gone.  I believe it was Carver.  But the story stuck with me, the awkward familiarity of an almost anonymous attachment. 

Who knows, maybe I will move in for a week and pretend that my life is another's altogether.  I wonder if they will read my site while they are gone.

"What good are insights? They only make things worse." - Carver


Friday, July 13, 2012

Guarding my corner

Horror.  Everywhere there is horror.  A fuel truck explodes in Nigeria, killing at least 95.  Many villagers had rushed to the overturned truck trying to collect fuel when it crashed into a ditch, then it suddenly caught fire, then exploded.  Children, charred beyond recognition.  

I spend my days arguing with a lonely retarded woman from Belgium.  What is the point in any of it.  Everybody tells me there is none.  But I feel like I'm right on the verge of winning, for once.  The whole world gets to harangue me into submission on a daily basis.  Can't I win just one fight?  Even when I'm dueling with a deformed moron, I still want to win.  Even if it is me.

Yesterday I drove to Napa to have lunch with Rachel while she was on her break from work.  It felt good to be alone with her, without the responsibility of the baby boy.  It is constant, any relief from it feels good, though we love the boy much.  Still, it felt like we were getting way with something naughty.  I wanted to have sex with her in the car, in the parking lot.  We both thought better of it.  It is, after all, where she works.  But the idea of it was quite pleasant, of course.  I am still thinking of it this morning.  There is that, at least.

It was on the way home, through a steep twisting mountain pass called Trinity Road when I heard the news of the fuel truck exploding.  It was NPR so their report came from a correspondent that had called in.  It was a very brief interview.  You could hear the distress in his voice.  His stark description of the many dead was heartbreaking, is heartbreaking.  The idea of such a thing, a stroke of incredible luck for an impoverished village that results in more suffering, ever piled on.  There is no end.  

It is a common symbol, I suppose, the division between the world's poor and the wealthy.  The poor are always getting fucked.  This time, in desperation, 95 of them being burned to death.  It was difficult not to imagine the little children scooping up the oil into whatever cans they might have had, thinking themselves so lucky, until the flames came.  Some were positioned in such a way that they seemed to be trying to outrun the sudden fire, with their backs to the truck.  

About the same amount of people died in a nightclub in Rhode Island many years ago.  There was a pyrotechnics fire that engulfed a small bar, trapping many inside, 30 or more in the exit hallway.  It received extensive coverage on the news for quite some time.  A tragedy of excess, it could be called.  A bunch of drunk Americans enjoying a rock and roll show, unable to get out in the smoke and the panic.  These little Nigerians were running in, thinking somebody might have dropped some pennies in the panicked confusion.

A friend from Tampa called yesterday. He's planning a trip out to San Francisco. We were trying to arrange to see each other.  He told me of a book I should research concerning the Casey Anthony story.  The book claims that she was innocent, though deeply troubled, the repeated victim of incest.  It tells a very different story from the one popularly presented by the media and accepted by many.  You can read an article about the book here if lurid stories of incest and child murder interest you at all.  I couldn't read all of the article, but had to admit that my perception of Casey Anthony, if I thought about her at all, was that she got away with murder.  Who knows.

Ah, the great freedom of the press.  If the pen is mightier than the sword then a keyboard must be about equal to a set of nail clippers and the internet is engaged in the most protracted and endless civil war ever.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A few of two....


"It is only a few crazies who have from the crazy place outbroken."

-William S. Burroughs


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Death to Tyrants, eventually.


Visitors arriving today, lots to do.   We are still far from having moved into our place, there are boxes everywhere, the closets are filled with them from floor to ceiling.  We need to build bookshelves but everything costs money, lots of it.  I suppose I could have lived my life with much less expense, but I wouldn't have wanted to, if given the choice.

I might have found a way to live more elaborately.  I might have learned to throw things out also.  I am not quite a hoarder but I am a collector of books and records, thousands and thousands of them.  They fill the closets, hallways and walls of our townhouse.

Fuck.  I just went to put the little boy to sleep.  After several minutes of rocking him, then swaddling him, putting him in the crib, petting his head, keeping my hand on his chest to calm him down, then he finally went slowly to sleep.  When I went to get up my aging knees both popped and woke him up with a startle.  He immediately had the hiccups.  Is there no winning left in life?

Ok, I don't want to promise anybody anything - we'll have to wait and see - but I might have lured the Belgian misfit, Nadja, over to my site to engage in some light international banter.  I don't want to get my hopes up, but with a little luck, this might be a lot of fun, for me.  We'll see how it all pans out.

Nope, she's decided to continue being a nuisance over at Selavy's site.  She just responded, disappointingly, that she would greatly prefer to continue being annoying there rather than here.  Oh well... such is life.  I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up.  I'll just have to continue tracking her outwit herself over there each day.  It's always just a click away.

Well, then she did post on my site....  She is one of the most elusive nincompoops I've ever encountered.  Who can possibly understand her mysterious European ways?