Friday, August 31, 2012

Yesterday's wine

This site is collapsing. It has been hemorrhaging readers for a couple weeks now. I blame the accounting department. They should have seen this coming. I'm about to step into a meeting with the board of directors that I'm certain will be a thorough stripping down. We have our investors to consider, our stockholders placed their trust in us, etc. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they let me go.  I don't blame them. I can't blame accounting, really. It was my responsibility. I have failed myself. 

I've spent the morning looking around for a cardboard box to empty my desk out. I've never really liked my new office all that much anyway. My suspicion is that they'll promote the new guy.  He's got two teeth breaking through, so I'm sure he's hungry. All the ladies in the office just swoon over him, they think he's adorable, with his soft blue eyes and locks of flowing brown. I'm just yesterday's uncorked wine.

Speaking of... unholy forgotten corpse of christ, did anybody see Clint Westwood's televised incoherence last night? They wheeled that electrified corpse out there to ramble to an empty chair for about ten minutes. The pasties all ate it up like it was pure uncut Elmer's. He was like HAL 9000 towards the very end. I'm still amazed he didn't break into song. 

It really was like listening to a vacuum cleaner that had been unplugged. He was pretend-playing with the prez, offering to give him Air Force One, trading imaginary invectives. I've never seen an actor retire before.

It was the closest I've ever been to witnessing the sink and slide into dementia. 

And they say that the right doesn't care about the infirm.... They sure proved all of us wrong. 

Everybody has a place in their new society, especially make-believe presidents.


Thursday, August 30, 2012


(Carlos Amoedo)

Up long before the sun again. We are heading towards daylight savings time, or away from it. I can never remember which is the one that is "wrong" in relation to UT. Selavy will be disappointed in my lack of complete and total knowledge pertaining to orbital chronology. My zodiacal predictions will no longer be safe from his celestial scrutiny. Oh well... 

My whole life has been a fluctuation back and forth between various things: time, money, love, fitness, other things that I can not now recall.

I will title my personal essay this morning, "5 warning signs that you might have already forgotten that you have Alzheimer's..." It might help increase traffic to the site, though sadly they would not remember having been here. I want to shoot a Christopher Nolan Memento-style film about a guy who wanders around the hallway of his apartment building, pooping his pants, not really knowing why. I'll call it "Remento"...

There's something wrong with me.

I joined a gym yesterday, a real gym. You know it right when you walk in. It smells like sweat and there are very few women working out in there, if any.  It is a place to work-out, not exercise. It is not a health or fitness center, it's a gym. But it was relatively cheap, $35 a month with no contract. I plan on getting my money's worth. So far I've been every day since I joined. Two days, I mean.  But I've pumped out a couple 10 minute miles and struggled with a few modern torture and humiliation devices. 

I am completely covered in sweat within 5 minutes of walking into the place. There is no air conditioning. It is that type of a place. The front door is always open and there is a big floor fan there, a guy sitting on a stool, nodding to everybody that walks by. I didn't get a card with my picture and a bar code on it when I joined, I got a handshake from the owner, Juan. He told me not to worry about the rest of the month, my first month will start in September. I like him already.

Something had to be done though, and nobody else was prepared to do it. Nobody else had the cojones. Most of my friends had stopped calling me "fat." Commercials would often make me cry for no reason. I dreamed each night of ice cream. When I would awake I just wanted to go back to sleep and be alone in the dream.

But once you're fat everything works against you. It's like a monster that has to be fed. It takes more beer to enjoy a slight buzz, compounding the problem. It is difficult to fight it all off. None of my clothes fit and I won't buy new ones. I have been telling myself that "I'm on the way back down" for about a year now.

I've ballooned up to 226 lbs, dwarfing everything around me. Kids will step off of the sidewalk and watch me pass, their little eyes filled with wonder and fascination, clutching their skateboards in fear. I've started stepping from side to side instead of having a steady gait forward. Each step is a claimed and earned victory. I look like I'm wearing a children's pool safety float around my waist. Sometimes I'll wear brightly colored shirts just to accent the visual simile. When having sex it seems that Rachel needs to be rescued when it's over. Sometimes I can sense her fear. I'll get distracted and wonder what it looks like from above, picturing her skinny arms and legs coming out from the sides, scrambling for air as I collapse, both of us right on the verge of calling for help.  

The last time we went skiing they pulled me aside, out of everybody in our group, and asked me to stay "near the base of the mountain," for "everybody's safety." They handed me a stack of drink tickets and slid me over towards the bar and left me.

The only thing worse than being fat is being fatter, or older, or both.  

But I know how these things work. Yes, metabolism plays a big part in it. But you must burn more calories than you ingest.  Sounds easy, right? The difficult part to contend with is that you can never go back to being young again. Ever. I've tried. All that you can do is exercise so that the chemicals that make you happy get released in greater abundance.

"Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." (dubiously attributed to Kate Moss)

Here I am playing "fetch" with the dog, Barkley. Up until yesterday it was the most exercise I had done in months.

(Carlos Amoedo)

I am the rather large object on the left of the image. For comparative purposes there is a normal-sized human, Olivia, near the center foreground of the image. You can see my dilemma, it is all there, wrapped around me, cutting off my blood supply, demanding to be fed sausage. Now, I intentionally chose a picture that reveals the extent of the damage done. Were it not for my exceptionally developed calf muscles then my legs might have broke attempting this maneuver. It is truly hideous.

Ok, I am just kidding here. I don't know where else to go with this and if I take it too far people will assume I'm being serious.  Here is a sentence that I had to cut out from above, knowing that it would get me in some kind of trouble: "I don't eat McDonalds because I like the food. There's this girl that works the morning shift there that I'm trying to bang."

See? Nothing but real trouble from imaginary sources.

I am comfortably rotund, but currently hoping to shed a few pounds, that's all. To get below 200 is my permanently stated goal.  

That, and to forever remain 26 years old, or less.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I believe this is our stop

The race to write is on. I just put the boy down to sleep, let's see how far I can get.

Facebook is alight with political, social and economic wisdom. There seem to be only bad guys and then worse guys. The repubs are bad, but not as bad as rich people.  Not all rich people, just the investors. The only people worth agreeing with are democrats, and then only after they've proven that they hate wealth and republicans equally, and as much as you.

I can't help it, I'm lonely. Facebook fills an emptiness in my life. I browse the hallways looking for an open locker, or a discussion, then I pick a side, or political affiliation, and then the pain goes away for a little while.  It always comes back, but then so do I.

It's like when I used to burn and cut myself. That moment of intense pain pushed all other feelings into the darkness. Seize the day indeed, and bring some matches. 

At least I'm not smoking a lot of crack.

Ok, that was a joke. Crack actually is a laughing matter, sometimes.  

A group of some sort was formed here in Sonoma, MAS, Mothers Against Crystal-Meth.  I might have their name wrong, but you get the idea. They are going to clean the community up, presumably. That is their stated mission. 

I always wonder how people become addicted to drugs. I mean, I've seen it happen, from a unique perspective, but I still wonder at people's reasons. Was there nothing satisfying on tv, or did you live in a boring town, or were you trying to connect more deeply with a boyfriend/girlfriend/runaway, or just escape home on your own?  Or, did you just like getting high, a lot. Do you really love music, more than anything? Those are the secret key words. Anybody that professes an abiding love for music is already addicted. Trust me.

I don't know enough about the mechanics of addiction to intelligently comment, so I'll comment the other way. When does recreational drug use become addiction? If you believe the organizations that hope to help people recover then there is no distinction between the two. But I've known people that do a lot of drugs and yet they are not addicts. They can stop any time they want, truly. I've watched them do it, and wondered.

Try quitting coffee. I get headaches that aren't worth it. I'd rather just manage my addiction with rich Costa Rican coffee each morning, a gift from my friend when I was there. Is he an enabler?

Ok, so far so good. I'm trying to not get too wrapped up in paragraphs, in the event the boy wakes up.

Where were we?

Addiction. Well, yes.  I read the other day that 1 in 4 people who experiment with heroin become addicts. That doesn't seem like that many, but the rate is much higher than most other drugs. But those other 3 out of 4 people aren't out there telling everybody that they've tried it, several times, and they never became addicted. If there were then the picture of the drug would become a little bit more clear. But nobody wants that. People don't want the truth, they prefer horror stories. Nobody cares that you snorted heroin a few times in the late 90's, they only really care if you started sucking cock for crack.

Augusten Burroughs, Jim Carroll, Hubert Selby Jr., John Rechy, William Burroughs, Gus Van Sant, and on and on....

"To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving." -Jean Cocteau


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

... in a word

I aced the practice exams. Now I must schedule to take the actual exam, jump through a few other administrative hoops, then I will be ready to be a substitute teacher.  Imagine that, your kid is sitting in a class somewhere, their teacher calls out sick, the school calls me, I arrive and introduce myself to the class, then teach them how to perform polynomial degree 1 equations, or how to determine the author's intention for writing the article, how to state and support a theme. Easy, right? 

No, I'll let the kids talk about themselves like all substitute teachers should. They say that nobody listens to kids. Well, maybe they should have one class each day that just has a substitute teacher in it. 

I haven't quite figured out how to improve the California school system yet. Still working on that.

At night I'll be studying to get my Master's degree, hopefully. I had a meeting with an instructor at the local university that went well, except for when she asked me what my degree is in.

I said, Motion Picture Technology. 

She stared at me. 


Ah, that's too bad.

Off to a great start already.


Rhys just woke up. That is my post for the day, then. 

Enjoy the abbreviation that my life has become.


Monday, August 27, 2012

What? I'm just big-boned...

(cheeseburger repository and son)

The local farmers have returned from their trip. I went by yesterday and got peppers and tomatoes and squash. 

A Jim Gaffigan tweet: "How about a cucumber that tasted horrible?" - pitch for squash

I like squash. I like all vegetables, even lima beans. It is something I've learned as I've gotten older, my body tells me. Healthy things actually do taste good. Kale.

I wish that I would have known all of this when I was younger. I spent too many years eating cheeseburgers, which I will still occasionally do, though not quite as consecutively. 

Now I must be careful. My body has become a spontaneous fat generator. I am somehow producing more fat cells than the overall weight in food that I am ingesting. There is a substantial net gain in the process. I'm like a perpetual lipid machine. I tried to sleep on my stomach the other night but it hurt my back.

Ok, a new week ahead of me. I have sent feelers out to a job search agency, again. We will see. The bay area has a lot of jobs in the tech market. It is a hotbed for such things, I'm told. I am eager to try something new. The idea of making money appeals to me. There are things we want. Bookshelves, various things for the house, repairs and modifications. Rachel wants another baby, which seems crazy to me, but what can one do, really? There are hormones that get released and there is little negotiating with them. 

I had an idea to tell a story about my brother here today but I've decided to tell it another time. The impulse hit me last night and I made a note to remind myself to tell it. The very thing I've bemoaned not doing in the past, but this morning the inclination has abandoned me. Either that, or it has converted itself into fat cells that are now roaming my waistline looking for a place to call home.

Ok, clearly I have even less to say today than I had yesterday or the day before. I'm not really that fat, I'm just big-boned, with a healthy amount of excess flesh protecting those prodigious bones, etc.

Rhys is right on the verge of saying "dada." He gets very close, he studies Rachel and I carefully when we're repeating it for him. He'll say "ba" and sometimes even "baba" but he just hasn't quite gotten the d sound down yet. He was saying "mama" for a couple days and now I haven't heard him say it in a few. 

I downloaded the sample tests provided by the state of California that, when passed, will put me one step closer to substitute teaching. Then there only remains a background test. Simple enough. Each day I get closer and closer to my next cheeseburger...


Sunday, August 26, 2012

A ghost from playa past

Wow. First I cut my readership in half, then I cut that in half. I'm down to only a handful. I might go back to just writing group emails. 

A friend sent a link to an article yesterday where the writer was explaining that fewer and fewer people read blogs any more. The article didn't interest me as much as the length of the comments that followed it. People were writing full paragraphs, online. I had hardly ever seen such a thing. Many now write in sentence fragments or less, punctuating their "thoughts" with emoticons. It simply takes too much time, reading and writing. I didn't bother reading any of the comments but their length impressed me, etc. 

Soon magazines will just be pictures....

I saw an interesting article online yesterday. A man had passed away and he had amassed a rather extensive digital book and music collection. His family wanted to remember him and listen to his music and browse through his books. Nope. Amazon and iTunes said that the content they provide can not be bequeathed to others. It is for the person who purchased it alone. If you don't know his password then you can go fuck yourself. 

Buy it again if you want to hear it, assholes. 

Think about that. If a book is meant to be read, and once you've read a book you might like to pass it on to a friend or family member, who in turn might donate it to a school, or give it to a charity, etc.  iTunes and Amazon are saving the trees, you see. I wonder if any of the billions of dollars they make goes into environmental conservation of any kind. Apple is finally getting into the charity business but it was a resounding "hell No" when Jobs was alive. They've guilted the world into buying digital merchandise, at no real savings to the customer, then they won't let your family enjoy any of the music or writing that you've collected. The concept of owning access to a work of art, and sharing, just vanishes into the aether upon your death. I want to start a website that sells digital art for the home. It's just expensive flat screen tv's mounted on the wall projecting your paid-for, downloaded images to suit the various occasions of your life. When you die your family can only see their reflection in the black screen on the wall. What a tremendous scam life is.

But we tell ourselves that this is the way forward. I can't wait to tell Rhys what an encyclopedia set used to be. Relaying to the little boy the wonder and respect that I had for a shelf of Encyclopedia Britannica's when I was a child, that we once owned a set but in a fit of foolishness I gave them away when we moved from NYC. A few months later they stopped making them. The dvd can be bought from the website, $40, but it's incompatible with my operating system. My computer is currently too advanced for it, I guess. 

I just checked, the regular set at $1400 is sold out, all gone. The "Renaissance Edition" is still available though there are fewer than 100 copies left, $4000. Looks like we won't be owning a set anytime soon, if ever. 

I packed my bags yesterday and secured a ticket to Burning Man, made desperate last minute preparations to go to the festival. I packed my tent, sleeping mat, bungee cords and a few other basic implements of survival for a week in the desert. As I rushed to get out the door to head into SF to meet up with my friends it occurred to me that we have a guest arriving on Wednesday, the mother of a close friend and her boyfriend. Rachel had never met her before. It was unfair to expect her to entertain a friend's mother for two days while I am out wandering the desert, naked and high on DMT, telling everybody that I am a dj from the past, sent to remind them of something vital that now escapes me. 

So, I cancelled the ticket purchase that my friend had arranged for me and went into the city anyway, to meet up with other friends and have a beer. Dejected and sorely disappointed. 

On the drive home I fell asleep a few times, the reflector lights on the side of the road waking me up just in time. There is a system to highway hypnosis and sleep. Try not to do it on the turns.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Help us improve our products...

What to do, what to do? Today marks three months after having left Apple. They just won a massive lawsuit yesterday. It will mean bad things for their competitors. It was patent infringement and now Apple will be able to force other platforms further into the background of the market. It is bad for business, overall. But if you'd like to see the neo-fascist impulse alive, well, and dressed in blue, then just go into a store and ask one of the employees on the floor what they think of it. One of two things will happen: they will either have no opinions whatsoever, any of them, or they will smugly explain that the verdict is the result of other companies (they'll refrain from naming names even though the lawsuit was with Samsung) imitating Apple's technology and that's not something anybody's allowed to do. 

The first response will have been the result of a company-wide email going out expressly instructing everybody not to discuss the outcome of the trial upon threat of being fired. The second response will just be the universally undifferentiated view of the type employees they hire, a climate they greatly encourage within the company. It is a form of tribal group-think that is astonishing to witness first hand. My favorite thing to do with other technicians was to occasionally just agree with overarching customer complaints. The people who are tasked with solving problems would never quite know how to react. They would look at me as if: You're supposed to be on our side.... They spend more time trying to find ways to deflect customers questions than with how to adequately address design and manufacture failings. If you point out that people have a right to be pissed that their phone doesn't work as a phone and that a CEO should not be telling their customer base that they're simply "holding it wrong," then they'll just look at you, confused and hurt. I swear to it, they all believe in Santa Claus.  

It was sometime after the initial iPhone 4 launch that I realized my days at Apple were numbered. It extinguished any remaining sense of pride I might have had for their products, and to be working for them as a company. Much can and will be said about Steve Jobs, but when the leader of a company derides their customer base as being too stupid to use the phone they've just purchased then something is terribly wrong with that company. It is difficult to imagine any other CEO doing such a thing and keeping his job for very long. The devotion that he provoked within his employees was terrifying. Most of them thought it was great... Yeah, you tell 'em, Steve... 

They'd make a great invading Army, if only the battle could be conducted with joysticks in cyber-space.

Apple employees (most) can not and do not see the need for any other company to even be in existence. They don't view competition as healthy, they see it as a baffling threat, or merely laughable. Trust me on this. I've heard entire groups of people question why other companies are "even trying." They deride every other company's products as inferior in every conceivable way. When I would offer the lone rebuttal that maybe other platforms appeal to people for the same reasons that Apple's platform appeals to their customer base they'd just look at me as if I've shit on a crying statue of the virgin mary and her son. It's nuts. It is the most self-convincing atmosphere I've ever witnessed. Dissent is neither encouraged nor permitted. If you want to see a bunch of nerds all experience a collective mind fart then say loudly enough for a few of them to hear that you think the new Windows operating system is better than Lion (10.7) and that Mountain Lion (10.8) will reduce their computer to an overpriced iPad, it'll be too weak of an OS for a power user.... Just dare to question the sense and purpose of making an OS that gives the user less power, hoarding more for itself to perform "background" functions. 

They'll blather something about "new features".... That's all they do any more, add features and remove power.

Ok, I'm a nerd. I'll stop. The company makes nifty products. I own a bunch of them. I had promised only yesterday to not look too much into the past. I just got excited because it's my 3 month "run-for-my-life" anniversary.

A word of advice to anybody that uses an iPhone: go into Settings > General > About > Diagnostics and Usage, and set that to Do Not Send. Trust me on this. It creates a weakness that can be exploited by App developers (Carrier IQ, among others) that can be used to compromise your personal data.  For anybody interested they can read this article. But, for the most part don't worry too much about it, just turn that function off. 

Okay, that's my wisdom for you today. If I suddenly disappear then you'll all know why. I'll be getting my kidneys punched in some underground facility that stores Walt Disney's hatred for Jews, Dick Cheney's heart, and Steve Jobs' contempt for his customers.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Trick questions

A race to write. The boy is sleeping but somewhat restlessly. It won't last long. 

I have destroyed this site, cut my readership in half. The other site skyrockets, this one continues limping. I've increased my overall readership between the two but this is the site I care the most about. I suppose that there must have been a fair amount of people who came here only for the unexpected stupidity of it. They get that in a more concentrated dose at the other place, so they've abandoned this one. They don't have to wade through all of my nonsense to get to the other nonsense, the distilled stuff. So be it. The money's rolling in over there, so who cares...? Who would have ever guessed there's such good money in advertising? Pennies from heaven.

Also, some have told me that they can't find this site any more, that the other one seems to be "in the way." The only explanation is that they were using Google to search for my site each time they wanted to read it, instead of bookmarking it, or noting the address. 

I remember taking a tour of our school's library when I was a very young boy, they taught us how a library works, the Dewey Decimal System, etc.  There should be some introductory classes to the internet. How to navigate, how to get back to a place you've found that you enjoy, why some sites might have less reliable information than others, how to browse privately, why not to give your credit card info. to porn sites, how to clear your cache and cookies, etc. If only there were a place to find all of this information....

I go to meet with a woman today that will provide me with details as to how to obtain a teacher's certificate, if that is what I choose to pursue, teaching. The idea of having somebody else pay for me to get my Master's degree is an appealing one. I've tried it the other way and found the outcome to be less than satisfactory. There were several instances in the last 20 years in which I could have paid off my student loans, but I didn't, so they have grown to gargantuan compound proportions. I have made a decision to spend less time in the past here so I'll save the story for another time. I'm focused on the present and the future. I'm going to shed off the past like an aging cobra releasing a layer of skin, though I think they do that much more often, a few times a year.

I might teach history or science or literature. I hope they don't ask me if a lamb is the same animal as a sheep. Trick question, especially when I'm the only one talking.

I need a manager, or a handler, or a handle-bar manager.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Velour Cryptogram....


Yesterday I had a minor revelation, an epiphany. Difficult to verbalize but I seem to be moving a different direction now. Whatever I was waiting for never quite came. Instead, some inner impulse pushed me to move on. Yes, I'm sure many of you will giggle to yourselves and think that I have run out of money, but it's not true. I have enough of it, by my standards, to continue this way for months. But I guess I've bored of waiting. I had hoped to start a few things during this time but none of them materialized the way that I had hoped. Perhaps I've only temporarily tired again of my wayward listlessness. 

But I feel eager and enthusiastic to do something new. I drove by a gym today and looked through the windows, verifying the monthly price advertised there, trying to get an idea of the place's amenities. It's time to sweat some things out, to convert some potential into kinetic. I need to lose some weight. It's easy, I know. It mainly requires a change of habits. Things are such now though that those changes might need to be extreme. I'm not even sure how much I weigh now, but it's a lot. I know this just by looking around, I'm surrounded. None of my clothes fit. Every time I lie down on the couch, or in bed, my body emits a massive sigh of spinal relief. It is terrible, only beer and wine seem to make me feel better, and then only temporarily. Why can't they make an alcohol that lasts longer....

No, nobody wants that. I know.

I think I'm going to eat some acid, then strip down naked and cry in front of the mirror for a few hours. That usually does the trick, it kick-starts me into some sort of rigid fitness regime. I have a Fascist inside of me somewhere, sleeping, dreaming, awaiting orders.

Ok, I'm only kidding.  I was off to a pretty good start the first paragraph-and-a-half. Let me try this again:

I feel good, better than I have in a while. I wanted some time to settle into our new lives, to bond with Rhys. I got that time. Rhys and I have a great relationship. It's obvious the kid loves Rachel and I. He is a very happy boy. His face lights up with smiles and giggles whenever he sees either of us.

Now I'm ready to pursue something in life, some new challenge. Tomorrow I go to get information on getting my teacher's certification. After that, I will check into Cirque Du Soleil training camp, etc.

We'll see....


I was going to write about an email I got this morning, an advertisement for a dj/producer that was ripe for comedy, but I stopped myself. I have a handful of gay readers here and I didn't want to offend any of them. The thing that I found funny about this guy's email ad was his youthful sassiness, a thing that he apparently wishes to exploit.  But I suppose it's not fair. It somehow comes off as something other than funny to insiders when an outsider critically observes, even when done through humor. 

I'll include the ad below for anybody that wants to read it for themselves. 

The track he's peddling is abysmal, the very worst electronic music imaginable. I couldn't stop myself. As I was listening to it with Rachel this morning I posted a comment. A comment before mine was, "I can't wait for this track to come out." So, of course, I posted, "I can't wait for this track to end."

In his ad he states that his "infectious lyrics and electric live performances are what separate him from the crowd." Rachel offered, "No, it's actually the stage that separates you from the crowd."

Ok, enough... he compares himself to Freddy Mercury and Lady Gaga.  A sort of Freddy Gaga... 

I present to you: Velour Cryptogram, aka Lady Mercury:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

LDAP.  That's what I read about for four hours yesterday.  Boring stuff, truly. But potentially important for me to know. I might be applying for a job soon. A similar job to the one that I had at Apple but with a slightly different set of skills. Reading about technology implementation is truly boring. Actively troubleshooting technology is only marginally more interesting, but in most cases, that's enough. 

Many online resources for information are either poorly written or incorrect. When they provide the correct information they are often very dry. If you think that you might be interested in taking a quick peak then go to this site and read a paragraph or two. You will see what I mean, and that's just an overview of the history and uses of LDAP, when you get into implementation then the honeymoon is truly over.

But life is a struggle and we must always try to learn more. Nobody wants to be old. One sure way to get there is to stop learning, to stop trying to learn. I'm halfway there, maybe more.

I meant to read "Ulysses" this summer but will wait until winter now. I feel vaguely ashamed that I have never read it. It is considered by many to be the greatest book ever written in the English language. I have read portions of it and understand it to be a book that must be studied to be enjoyed, or is best appreciated that way. I will try to get Rachel to read it with me. The "finer things book club" has been dissolved, to the best of my knowledge... so Maria, Zoie and the other assorted members of that stalwart institution will no longer be under the guiding hand of my presidential tutelage. 

I question whether I will be able to convince anybody to undertake such a reading project with me any longer, Ulysses. We have abandoned America's cultural center. Nobody reads in California. If you don't believe me then go to Amazon and try to order a used book, examine all of the states that have the book available. They are all on the east coast. The furthest west that anybody has ever read Ulysses thus far is Chicago. It is a well documented internet fact. 

As Capote said, one loses "an IQ point for every year spent on the West Coast."

No, I kid. It is all true but I don't mean any of it.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ever misguided

Something has changed within me. I'm not sure what it was that I had hoped to accomplish by taking time off from work, but yesterday I hit a sudden change in stride. I'm not sure if I've bored of it, or if I somehow achieved an unknown imaginary state without any inner knowledge of having done so, but I'm done. Today I will start looking for something else to do. I have tired of being too sedentary, though in truth I have hardly been so. I will become a money-maker again, a tax-payer, a provider, an earner. 

I hope that I don't also "grow up" and become a Republican, as my old friend B.W. has suggested.  Now that I have a child it is a genuine fear and possibility.  All that I lack is residence in Florida, an ugly demeanor and outlook.

I got an interesting email yesterday morning. I had decided to develop a site that Rachel and I owned because the term was the #1 Google search result and had been for a couple of years based on a post I wrote here more than two years ago.  So, I put a little bit of effort into developing it and started posting faux news headlines, ones that were often linked to actual news headlines and events. 

Things got off to a good start, a friend posted a link to one of my articles on a chat about dolphins that had gone viral and within just a few days of starting it I was getting a thousand hits or more each day.  Good traffic for a brand new site.  But then the new visitors tapered off and it settled down to anywhere between 200 and 400 pageviews a day. Then yesterday I got the email...

An old friend from NYC wrote me an email that he hasn't been able to read any of my posts any more, that he can see lots of new posts but they are just previews of news events, there is no writing there any more to read. I sent him the link to this blog and explained that I've developed the new site and that it is something different. He explained that he finds my site each time he goes to read it by searching the term "Laziest Nerd Ever" and then follows that link to the newest posts. 

So, the thing that was preventing him from getting where he wanted to be (all of the new articles that show up now under that search term, rather than the one old post from this site) was the very thing that indicated to me that I should develop the new site.

Perfect. Very typical of my life. I've spent a week thinking of ways to maximize all of this interest that has developed around my new site in the last two years and it turns out to have been one friend that was  using the term to navigate here. He and I should probably go into business together. It was meant to be.

Oh well, it's still the #1 result and the new site has been a fun learning experience. The money has not exactly avalanched in on us yet, but I still have much to learn about how to maximize earnings from traffic. When  all is said and done I will be that much wiser and with that much more experience under my belt. 

A lifetime full of experience that results in about $1.36 each day.

On Friday I go to meet a woman at SSU (Sonoma State University) about getting my California state teacher's certification. There is a test that I can take. If I pass then they will let me teach and perhaps I will embark on a new phase in my life, possibly heading towards getting my Master's degree, as they will foot the bill if I act accordingly for long enough.  I have been told by many friends that teaching should be my "calling." If I fail the test then there are courses designed to help me pass it the next time that I take it.

But I don't fail tests, I never have. I excel when under intellectual pressure. I have the mind of a starved three-legged jackal. I believe that I was once a Caribbean dictator in a previous life. I have visions of having people beaten with a horse whip under soft, clear moonlight... the breeze from the Gulf Of Mexico dancing through the palm trees.  

I get aroused at the phrase "standardized testing procedures..." I am what is known as a "squirter", etc.

No, I kid. I have aged and I worry about my diminished capacity to learn. My memory fails me now and I find myself asserting confusing visions of an imaginary world, demanding their relevance. Just a few days ago I was insisting to Rachel that a lamb is a different animal from a sheep.  My sense of taxonomy being skewed unfavorably by my voracious culinary tastes. 

Oh mutton, damn it all.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Someone to talk to

Selavy writes this morning about not being able to relive the past, not being able to get back to it. It's true of course, since early Dylan we've all known it, perhaps even longer. I have spent some time, too much really, preparing the past for revisiting. I have never been very good at preparing for the future.  If it has happened at all it was a byproduct of something else.  I had a 401k but I only had that because the student loan people couldn't take it away. Apple was matching my contributions so I saw it as free money, which it was, in a way. It gets less free every time I make withdrawals from it.

Ok, I just spent 15 minutes with Rachel clarifying little conversations we've had over the last few days. In addition to the many other changes that have occurred in our lives since having a child conversation has taken a few hits. There is more noise in our lives now. Not just the actual noise that the child makes, but the static from the baby monitor, the sink running to clean the various little accoutrements, the "baby-bullet" whirring to make food, the trash compactor to do away with some of it. It is a nearly constant disruption to conversation. 

One misunderstood word is all that it takes. 

Was he Austrian, I thought he was Australian?  

Yes, he's Australian.  

I'm not so sure.  

After looking it up, trying to speak over the sound of the sink from another room. 

Yeah, he's Australian.

So what. Why are you screaming?

I'm not, the sink's running.

It is all a pointless conversation, then there is clarification needed to resolve the pointlessness. There is no easy solution for it.  

Rachel wants another child. I just want someone to talk to.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Benziger winery tour, dinner, then darkness...


I had an idea for a post today but it's escaped me somewhere in the night. I should make notes. I have an iPhone, it would be easy. 

A full Sunday ahead of me. The child and the wife are still sleeping. The guests, with their daughter, Olivia, also still sleeping.  Only me, up and staring at a blank computer screen, sifting through the details of last night and yesterday. There was a barbecue dinner, chicken and fish, corn on the cob, spiced potatoes, lots of wine, beer. I awoke this morning naked and not bleeding so I might have had sex with something, probably Rachel. That's all that I know.  Ah yes, there was also ice cream. We had locally made ice cream. Delicious stuff, truly. Living in an agricultural region definitely has its advantages. There is much to be said for the goodness of the food here.

There are empty bottles everywhere and no trails of blood on the floor. The party must have been a success. 

I should probably crawl back into bed with Rachel and see if she hates me. Then, and only then, will I know if everything went well. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

365 degrees, burning down the house

One year ago today was my last day in NYC. I had thought that I would go back to visit at least once or twice, but my life has shifted. We will visit some of our NYC friends in Florida in October. We all have children and we are making a plan to meet up and see each other then, to go to the beaches and bring the kids to Disney.

But there is the city, Gotham. There are both little and large things that I miss: Artichoke Pizza on 14th, Tomkins Square Park, the dog park there, riding my bike to and through Central Park, my local pubs in the East Village, Thai restaurants, sushi, Ippudo, the coffee shops in Soho, the track on the East River, the park that runs up the west side of the island, Chumley's in Greenwich Village, my friends scattered throughout the city, the overwhelming history of the place, the immensity of it, all of it.

I will never miss riding the subway. I never liked it. 

There is nothing in Sonoma that even comes close to the ugliness of the NYC subway system. The mechanical screeches - the quotidian rudeness of the people - the naked, brutish, and open wound of urban life.


Friday, August 17, 2012

The World Series

Up long before the sun and the moon. Today is the new moon so they will rise together, one unseen. It will cross the sky near the sun. They don't name the new moon the way that they do the full moon, to my knowledge, but they should. I guess one could consider it the ending of the Sturgeon Moon, or the beginning of the Harvest Moon of September, then comes the Hunter's Moon of October. Then there are more after that. We will get to those as they come.

Guests arrive today, visiting from Florida, a whole family.  It will be a somewhat new experience for us. We've had guests but this will be our first experience with having a whole family as guests.  What could go wrong? We'll all go to sleep shortly after sundown and awake at some ungodly hour, the house filled with the needs of children.   

I am trying to break myself of the habit of two spaces between each sentence. It is difficult, killing one's habits.  But we must all do what we can to preserve resources.  I want there to be spaces left when Rhys grows up. Perhaps we can go back and recycle a few. Maybe I will leave some to him in my will. I will find Rachel hoarding them. She will have a shoebox hidden in the closet and it will be filled with them. 


I have been watching the Little League World Series here and there when I've had the chance. It has reminded me of my childhood, somewhat. I played baseball when I was younger. The coach never liked me very much. He believed that I was a smart-ass and he seemed to enjoy punishing me more than just about anything else he did. I remember one instance in particular. He used to make me run laps for "insubordination." That's what I called it. I doubt he knew what that word meant. One day I just told him no.  He threw his finger towards the field, which was my cue to take off running, and I didn't. I explained that I hadn't done anything wrong, and that just because he doesn't like me there's no reason for him to make me run laps. He asked me if I wanted a challenge. I said that his two sons were on our team, that was against league rules but he had somehow managed it. I reminded him that my parents could file a complaint about it and he'd never be able to coach his kids again, and was he the one that wanted a challenge.

For the rest of the season I played the minimum allowed by the league, two innings each game. He hated me and I hated him. It was a nearly perfect relationship. I played one more season and then quit. 

The year before I quit our team made it to the finals, the one with the monster coach. It was the championship game. We were up by one, they had one man on. Two outs and two strikes. One more out and we won, just one more strike. Nope. A home run clinched the victory for them. I remember crying and crying. It all seemed so unfair, though I watched it happen. I heard the crack of the bat in disbelief. I saw the ball clear the fence. I could see it falling far into home run territory as if in slow motion.  My budding excitement of victory turned inward and became a sudden crushing loss, a heartbreak. I watched the kid who hit the home run round the bases, his team jumping up and down at home base, awaiting his arrival there to make it final. I never saw him touch home plate, a point I later tried to make.

I felt as if something truly great and wonderful had been taken from me, though I knew it to just be the nature of the game. Still, I felt cheated. Even though the coach hated me I felt like I was a part of something that was winning. 

The next year I was on an even better team, though in truth I was its worst player. I knew it too. These guys were good, much better than me. I'm not even sure how I ended up on that team. The pitcher later arrested me. He had become a cop in the small community where we lived. It is a story for another time, perhaps. I still remember his smug condescension as we drove to the city jail where I waited to be transferred to county. I reminded him that I was only being arrested because of the law. He had to work all day long doing this stuff, I was just passing through. I hadn't done anything wrong, in my mind. But there were no laps to run in an open field at the county jail. There were blocks where as many as 16-20 men slept each night. The cells were made in semi-circles, with two levels, where the guards could see everything that was going on.  

The worst part of jail is waking up there, other than being raped, that is. Before you open your eyes you can hear the sounds echoing from within those horrid cement walls, reminding you where you are. You have far fewer choices in jail, fewer than most people care for. You lie there wishing that you were somewhere else, knowing that it will be some time before you are. You don't even have to open your eyes to know.  You know in the darkness. It is all around you, moving in.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sex Smells

(Jaqueline Bisset)

My experiments yesterday in soft-core erotic literature proved quite successful with my target audience. It was my practice for "50 Shades of Grey" fame. I'm quite exhausted afterwards, don't even know what I'll write about today.  Maybe I'll just take a little nap.

I did do something slightly different in yesterday's post and nobody commented on it. I used only one space after each sentence instead of my normal two. I saw a somewhat poorly written article in Slate magazine arguing for the single space.  I had been told, long ago, that the standard is two.  I never bothered questioning it and have been using two ever since. Yesterday's post begged for one space after each sentence and before the next. I was hoping that it added to the "feel" of the easy piece, etc.

Apparently that article in Slate is the most viewed article they've ever published. How disappointing.

Well, my other site has really taken off. I get about five to ten times as much traffic there as I do here. So, now I'm just going to sit back and watch the money roll in.  I feel like I've just won the lottery...

Well, no.  If any of you know how online advertising works then you'll know that the money is not exactly rolling in yet, or possibly ever.  I still have much research to do on how to maximize my efforts.  Everything takes time.  But the traffic is exciting.  

Ok, I have much to do today, many unfinished efforts lie scattered around my mind, and desk. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

... they both stop moving

(Ira Bordo)

The key slides into the lock and is turned. Its mechanical release echoes into the hallway. They both enter quickly, her then him. He turns to lock the door from the inside, she walks into the room, flipping the switch, bathing them in soft light. They set their bags down. He asks softly if she wants champagne. 

“The cheap stuff is fine.”

He prepares two glasses from the small bottle in the fridge while she opens the blinds. The night outside is complete. They are above the skyline, facing south. The room’s view is of only sky and distance. He studies her outline against the window, her figure from behind, facing outwards, reaching, drawing the light blinds open. It somehow seems to make the room larger but darker.

She comes to him, they kiss. They each drink from the flutes. They kiss again, then drink again slowly.

She heads off towards the bathroom, taking her glass with her. He crouches at the stereo and puts on some music. It’s music that the hotel has left in the player, a collection of songs that are meant to be heard. It begins, innocuous as possible, a modest defense against silence. He can hear the water running in the sink. He sits on the edge of the bed and considers their evening. 

She asks for her bag, her voice muffled slightly by the water and the music. He obeys. He brings the smaller of the two bags, knowing. At the door to the bathroom he notices that she has already taken off her shoes and belt, they lie tossed aside and coiled together on the floor. He approaches her from behind and holds her, looking at her in the mirror. She leans forward and laughs, putting her hands face down on the counter, turning her head to look back at him.  

She holds her head in profile for a moment, her mouth open as if she is about to say something for him to consider. She stands up, placing herself against him. He wraps his hands around her and buries his face in her neck, in the hair around her neck. His hands slide to her waist. He steps back and out of the room.

She emerges seconds later, as she was. They each abandon a few more pieces. She playfully leans onto the bed as he drops his belt next to his shoes. Her hair has been let down from the clip that held it. Each motion she makes leaps forward in time. Their abbreviation of restraint dissolves in front of them.

She moves towards him. Time stops. There is a flurry of motion, then they are united.

They undress quickly, standing closely together, as if they are traveling together through airport security. All the while they are staring at each other, face to face, rushed hands offering to help one another. They move together, naked enough, towards the bed. His hand slips behind her and then moves lower, pulling her into him. They fall onto the space beneath them. Time passes and begins again, though slowly.

Together, underneath the covers, the soft light soaks them in tandem, in shared fever. Beneath this sheath there is just the pungent smell of sweat, of them. He raises up, the light floods in from both sides. In that light a secret between them escapes. The fresh air reminds them. More. He lowers himself towards her, into their shared shadow. A drop of sweat lands on her chest, her neck, and then her chin. She closes her eyes again. Their lips meet over and over.  He moves onto his his elbows. From just above he admires her, relieved to be able stare.  

As they move together again there is a look of determined concentration on her face, almost childlike in its soft intensity. Her jaw tightens.  Sighs burst forth, exasperations in breath. She turns her head towards the bed, her profile to him, the twist of her neck. Her mind constricts around its hidden idea of pleasure, her body follows. He pulls back, adjusting, he holds her legs in the corner of his arms, then leaning far forward in to hang closely above her face, breathing into her. Her eyes open mid-pulse, in fever.

There’s a sound in the hallway, they both stop moving, as if they were just caught stealing.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Release the Kraken (In defense of social media)

I love to argue.  It often brings me the most excitement that I experience in a normal day.  I'll argue with anybody, over almost anything.  Well, to be more factual: I am conversing, not arguing.  But since most people like to think of what I do as arguing, I'll let it go.  I'd prefer to argue about other things.  Choose your battles, etc.

But Facebook.... Oh, Facebook... you tempt me.  

Most of my life I have heard people bemoan that there is not enough conversation in this country, about "the issues."  But then Facebook appears and this claim can no longer be made.  Or, at least those that are making the claim retreat to, "There is no substantive conversation in this country..."  But for me the substance is the argument itself.  I am equally fascinated with the anecdotes and examples people use to bolster their argument, the cliches, and the semi-illiterate nature of their posts, as I am in the actual content of their statements.  It is incredible.  

Now, I spend a fair amount of time on my phone.  I understand that spell-correct and the nature of the diminished screen can have its effects, along with the difficulty of typing with your thumbs.  Add being in a rush to that combination and, of course, mistakes will be made.  But I try to look past those.  I try to see the ways in which people articulate their beliefs in that abbreviated form, that is what is most astonishing to me.  

But people are conversing, or arguing, or whatever you want to call it.  People bolster support for issues through social media.  They either post their own comments, or post links to articles which shed light on their beliefs, or engage others on mutual friends' pages.  Their voices get to be heard about all manner of things.  

Does it matter?  Maybe not.  Are there dissertations to be found there?  Rarely.  Do many people remove themselves from the interaction because they don't want yet another aspect of their lives to seem unpleasant?  Definitely.   Has it done anything to help unite the two halves of the country?  I simply don't know, but I tend to doubt it.

There is little that I can honestly call "moderate" when it comes to what gets posted on Facebook.  The Chick-Fil-A debacle made me realize that even intelligent, thoughtful people (on both sides) are reduced to SCREAMING halfwits when it comes to issues of sexuality, or sexual equality.  Most of what I saw posted there made me ask, "Who would have sex with any of these morons anyway? They should all abstain, out of deep guilt and personal shame."  No, I kid, of course.  They should abstain because their bodies are evil outside of the context marriage and labor.

But honestly, that the different sides of that "debate" were able to mobilize support for their cause was encouraging.  It lends credence to the idea that a sudden social revolution might actually be possible in this country.  What the results of that might be would be interesting to witness.  I never suspected that the Occupy Movement would be able to solidify enough of a collective agenda to really matter.  But that they were able to do what they did, in the way that they did, spoke volumes.  Screamed volumes.  Do not think that the government at large sat back and just waited to examine the outcome.  They are deeply involved in preserving their way of doing things.  They might have sent warnings to individual cities to reduce the public displays of violence (PDV), but you can know deep in your hearts that they were treating that phenomenon as anti-american activity.  

Back to things that hardly matter:

Facebook isn't like having to sit at your friend's house for dinner and suffer their father's dogma: an endless stream of invectives and warnings against "otherness."  Here you get to experience your peers' dogma in its rawest form.  It's like heroin for me, or should I say speed.  Yes, speed, definitely more like speed.  I am sitting here, bleary-eyed, right now, still wanting more media.  Almost unable to speak, craving a beer, wanting to cheat on my taxes.  

Some people prefer Twitter, where they get to blast their abbreviated wisdom to the world with much less chance for response, unless you're famous and in a public feud with another celebrity.  Then, all of the rules change.  The press will take up your arguments for you.  But there are no "like" buttons.  You have to put a "dog in the fight" by "retweeting" if you find something you like.  Seems fair, though.  140 or less seems inadequate....  #TooMuchCharacter. 

There are others but I have less and less experience with each of them.  I tried to participate in and lost interest pretty quickly.  It seemed like just a bunch of frustrated, pubescent "gamers" and porn aficionados engaged in telling each other to STFU and GTFO.

Even though I enjoy much of it, I am deeply committed to poking fun at all of it.  That is my primary joy, in fact.  In this odd new world - which offers questionably little otherwise - the opportunities for irony, satire and parody seem nearly boundless.

My new site, dedicated to just that, got an enormous amount of hits yesterday.  

But you know what I've always claimed... luck favors the preposterous.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Ba-ba-ba, Mama...

Rhys has been saying, "Ba-ba-ba" when he wants his milk bottle for a little while now.  Rachel realized that he was repeating this sound, then she pointed it out to me.  Sure enough, he was using sound to express desire.  One small step for boy.... 

Monday's are always the most troubled days for Rhys.  He gets very accustomed to being around his mom for two days, then she goes back to work.  It is always difficult to get him to take his morning nap after she leaves.  I just spent twenty minutes trying.  During that time he said "Muh-Muh" twice, then a very clear "Mama."  

I immediately texted Rachel.  She wants independent confirmation, but I'm calling it.  I heard it.  First word said on 8-13-12.  We have no way of knowing what he meant but we must assume it was a very poor rendering of "Daddy", etc.

I've been coaching him on Mama and Dada for some time now.  It is funny, and I suppose predictable, that his first consonant sounds would be for the bottle, and natural that his first word would be for his mommy.

Cute, adorable times.  He started crawling about two weeks ago and now he is ready to go fully mobile.  He must be watched at all times as we live in a two story townhouse, so...

When I was in Costa Rica, a young woman that I was chatting with told me to just wait until he says, "I love you, Daddy."  She emphatically relayed that there is no real preparation for that moment, no matter what you tell yourself.  It will leave you changed forever, and for the better.

I believe her.  Wouldn't you?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Limantour Beach

We went to the beach yesterday.  A nice family outing, the boy's first, sort of.  We took him to the Point Reyes Lighthouse a couple of months ago.  But this was the first time he was able to experience the shore, waves rolling onto the beach, the wind, the kites in the sky, the patches of people, frisbees and footballs.  Barkley seemed to be having the most fun.  It was ready-made puppy joy.  He chased along the shore, darting back and forth to avoid the incoming waves, barking delightedly in his lilted puppy trot.  Once, unsuspecting, a wave made it to him and partially overtook him as he stood looking up at us excitedly.  Ocean water somewhere around 50 degrees shocking him into immediate doggy action.  It was only his paws and legs but it was enough to teach him that the ocean is not to be ignored.  He spent the rest of the time running along with the water as it broke on the shore, never quite turning his back on it again.

We were unprepared and ill-equipped to have a baby at the beach, though it was still fun.  Babies do not stop crawling because you want them to and a sheet does not contain them for very long.  They require constant attention, circumvention.  Somewhere deep in my unprimed mind I imagined us all four relaxing on the beach together while the sound of the waves rolled over us in a gentle breeze.  Not exactly.  

We both scrambled to keep Rhys out of the beach sand.  Rachel, in her cute little hippie-beach-outfit, had brought a small umbrella to be used as a block from the sun for the little guy.  Nope.  It was twisted and inverted in the wind, Chaplin-esque.  I think I might have been able to protect him more effectively by waving my hands between him and the sun, hoping to block an occasional ray.  The umbrella required almost constant attention only to keep it in place.  There was no guarantee that it would not suddenly collapse and possibly hurt the child when the wind picked up.

I make it sound like the experience wasn't fun.  Not true.  It was a lot of fun, just not the traditional fun one expects at the beach, like a Florida beach.  It was a fresh, new experience for us.  We discussed various contraptions that other parents had acquired for such a trip: collapsable playpens that have good protection from the sun, bright colors, etc.  The types of things I've ignored my entire life, even somehow when on heavy psychedelics, until now.  Now I find myself actually looking for them, seeking them out, wishing I had thought of them in advance.

The drive to and from the shore is a markedly pleasant one. The terrain changes dramatically from the rolling hills of our valley, through the farms, out on to the point and through the forest hills, then to the dunes that lead to the beach.  Much like the valley here it can not be relayed in a single image, somehow the accumulation of details does not tell the story either.  Only the eye can capture it in the way that it is experienced through time, moving through its vast open spaces and the subtle changes of doing so.  It is known by the life moving through it, and it moving through that life.

The beach teaches us things.  When I was young it taught me not to drink in the sun.  I remember passing out in the back of a hot sand-filled car and waking with a terrible hangover maybe an hour later, covered in sticky and abrasive unpleasantness.  It was Malibu Rum or some other hideous concoction that did it to me.  That, and me, of course.  A dangerous combination.

We will search out an appropriate beach apparatus, one that contains and entertains and protects.  If they made a version that was for 20 year old kids back in the 1980's then I might not have even needed to write the previous paragraph.  

But I did anyway.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tiny matters

People will treat you however you let them, pretty much.  That is what I've learned.  That if you go through life never being able to say "No," or if you spend your time trying to accommodate others in the hopes that they will be happy then before you know it you've rendered yourself unhappy, or worse.  There's no easy way back.  Once somebody's used to pushing you a bit they don't often like to be told to stop, sometimes it requires some pushing back.

I say this because I'm struggling with one of my personal relationships and a friend is struggling with an entire group dynamic, one in which it is a "make or break" situation for them and what they want out of life.  In both instances we will have to learn to say no a little bit better.  Things can not continue as they have been.  It is easy to pretend that you can say no, it is another thing altogether to do so, especially when the persons on the receiving end of that "no" are not the type of persons that are accustomed to being told such a thing.  So be it.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay, I would write more but we're going to the beach today.  It is what we do now, to watch the glacial waters rise around us, wondering how far up the hills the water will one day come, wondering how far we will all be able to one day step back.