Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bulbus Glandis

I should be packing the car, but I'm not. I had hoped to finish up packing last night, but I didn't.

If I drag my feet a bit then I'll get to see Rhys before I go. That's my plan, anyway.

People have been reaching out from near and far to tell me that Burning Man is not what it used to be. 

Well, I certainly hope not, sort of.

As long as there are tall, barefoot, skinny blonde girls wandering around topless in just white panties and construction helmets then I'm sure I'll find the festival worthwhile.

No, I kid. naked people are disgusting and should be ashamed of themselves and their bodies. I dismissed everything I learned in church except that little sliver of useful science.

Shame and the overcoming of it are powerful sexual motivators. You can have shame without a religious upbringing but it never comes out right. It's somehow never guilty enough. It doesn't dig as deep.

Something about god watching you masturbate. It changes things.

A last-minute friend is staying in my tent with me, so I have been shopping for two. I went and bought what I thought was a lot of canned food. When I packed it all into a small cooler there was still a fair amount of room left over. Ah well, perhaps I will finally lose some weight out on the playa.

It's not fair that some people seem to enjoy life so much and they are still thin, and young.

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a dad now. I'll see some naked girl out there and I'll be thinking, She should really put a sweater on, she's going to catch a cold. You can see her nipples are hard. Her body is trying to talk to her. The sun doesn't even come up for another few hours.

I hope that I do not think those things while out there. It's tough to say. It could go either way. Things have changed for me, too. Maybe I'll love Burning Man more than ever this year. Maybe it is growing old with me.

Perhaps there are no naked people at Burning Man any more, and that is what my friends are trying to tell me.

That would be awful.

Ah fuck it. I'll go nudist while I'm there. Perhaps I should have told my new tent-mate that I've made this decision before he arrives.

He might become alarmed at the sight of my ding-dong out in the desert, covered with alkali dust. 

It's a good thing that humans don't get erections like dogs, where the pink fleshy part comes out of its fur covered sheath during moments of arousal. Humans would just ruin that poor, tender, exposed flesh underneath. I know I would. 

I'd be dipping it in bottles of liquid morphine.

People would be screaming at me, Hey, that's for all of us!... but I wouldn't care.

I look back to the many horrific things I've done to my penis and I am grateful that it is covered in some protective skin - it would have never had a chance otherwise - even though the church took some off of the end. 

I believe it is called 'tithing."

It seems such a very odd thing to have to give back to god, and so soon.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stranded Man / The Chicken of the Sea

The anxiety from the earthquake seems silly now, only two days distant. It's difficult to believe that it was as displacing as it was. The memory softens, recedes to the place where experiences can be safely relayed, retold. I imagine that the next one will affect me even less. In time, I'll be a true Californian, sleeping right through the tremors, dreaming of listening to The Eagles in the desert.

Early this morning, I can't sleep for all the other reasons. The terrors of normal life, no earthquakes to distract me from that.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Burning Man, I hope. There was a rainstorm/hailstorm up there so they have closed off the entrance.  They are concerned that it is going to be a muddy mess for everybody. So much for radical immediacy

They have turned the revelers back to Reno, unleashing them back into the wild.

I am looking forward to being back on the playa again. I have been rushing around trying to get all of the last minute supplies: scarves and beads and my old day-glo man-thong, etc.

Where have all my wigs and panties gone?

Did I really buy a 4-pack of albacore tuna to bring with me to the alkali flats? Seems improbable, disgusting even.

Eating canned tuna at an altitude of 3900 feet feels wrong, but so much of life feels wrong. We must learn to trust the food in the can. It is our friend.

That will be my slogan: Food is anything that can be a friend.

I've never met a tuna that I wanted to introduce at a cocktail party, though.

They will love my new dietary wisdom, out in the high desert of affluence, where the winds rip at the skinny people with gentle disproportion.

I am like a billboard turned sideways out there.

I should check into sponsorships.

Red Bull and the Starkist Bumble Bee...


Monday, August 25, 2014

Quakers (edited)

(Art that makes sense)

It was my first. 

I knew what it was with an immediacy, coming out of a deep sleep, that is nearly impossible to describe.

I bolted. 

I was sleeping in the downstairs bedroom, Rhys and Rachel were upstairs. 

To say that a primal fear takes over is, again, nearly impossible to give an accurate accounting.

I was prepared to chuck virgins into volcanoes, and was regretful for not having thrown many more in the past.

The gods were angry, very angry in the dark.

It was as if two earthly forces had come together, lightning without light and a hurricane without wind. It seemed as if rocks were flying.

I went from a deep sleep to sprinting through the house and up the stairs, literally, in split-seconds. 

As I ran across the living room floor I could feel the floor shifting underneath my feet, each step was slightly "off" from where it should have landed, as if the floor was surging and tilting. It was surging and tilting. 

With each foot that remained temporarily planted I could also detect a shifting to-and-fro. 

The stairs were no easier, though I bounded them in maybe three steps, maybe two.

I don't even remember breaking through the baby gate. We found it downstairs, later. 

I hadn't yet known that the power was off, all was in darkness anyway. The sound of breaking glass everywhere was a shrill and terrible reminder of what was happening. 

Only human screams on top of it could have possibly made it worse, or so I thought.

I hit Rhys's room first. I saw Rachel coming down the hallway from her room.

When I say I booked, I mean it.

There was silence in his room, all that I could think of was the horror of the glass near his bed having already shattered, rendering him, well... as I suggested, only silence can be worse than screaming.

I searched the bed with my hands and found him, picked him up to me as he came to wakefulness. 

His little voice saying, "Daddy" was all I needed. I turned for the shaking door.

I don't remember Rachel pulling us into the doorframe and keeping us there for a time, but that is where we ended up. Only a few seconds and then we all three headed downstairs in the trembling darkness.

The main shocks seemed over, or lessening, but the house was still rattling. There was no way to know what glass had broken, what glass still remained to fall from above. 

I shielded Rhys as best as I could and headed for the front door. 

Once out, the tremors were mostly over. 

It could not have lasted more than 15 seconds.


That it gives no warning is perhaps what produces the psychic tremors afterwards. That, and the thought of all that could go wrong, all that could have gone wrong. Over and over. 

I was edgy and nervous all day, had a difficult time relaxing, talking. 

I wanted to go somewhere, to do something, to remind myself of something; mobility, life, the solidness of the earth beneath me.

I could not relax later in the day, either. My roommate and her boyfriend invited me out of my room for dinner. We sat and chatted about it all, and laughed, but also we did not laugh, we acknowledged the gravity of the thing, the possible graveness of it. Its proximity in terms of miles, and presence in its immediate sense. 

There is an odd inner-sensation that resembles the sound and feeling of glass breaking. A shrillness that will not settle quickly, or easily. There was the sense for me of shards still lingering, pieces of danger still falling, shaking. 

I awoke many times in the night, watched dumb shows on television, thinking about the sudden power of the earth heaving and rolling beneath us. 

It seemed as if I could not possibly get any closer, any safer than where I was, what I was doing, and that that was not good enough. 

Walls cease to seem as walls.

I had a strange desire to get closer to the earth, though I am going to spend the rest of eternity there, I still wished to sense its solidness under me, long after it was over.

Under all of me, unmoving. Not breathing.


Later in the day Rachel asked Rhys if he remembered anything from the earthquake.

I remember daddy woke me up and the stars were shaking.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

6.1 Magnitude

Earthquake. Just outside of Sonoma. 

The power's out, water pressure seems to be dropping. 

Broken glass everywhere, but we seem safe, though shaken. 

More later, as the earth allows. 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Talk to the shoe

Rachel has asked me not to post any pictures of her any more. It's too bad. I take plenty and she is among my favorite subjects. 

But, we are entering a difficult time and perhaps she does not want to be reminded of it. Does not want to be exposed to it, or the memory of it, any more than she already is.

I understand. Vulnerability is a necessary and difficult component of the time.

She might read this and ask me to not write about her also. Who knows.

I can't post pictures of other women, either. That might send a confusing message. Like, that I'm straight. No one, I do not believe, wishes to be reminded of that right now.

I took promo pictures of a close friend recently, a man. But he has other, professional uses for those and I never discussed posting them here, so I won't do that either. A few of them came out quite good.

I'll just post pictures of the boy, and the dog, or the boy and the dog. What could be more heartwarming than a picture of a boy and his dog, except perhaps a girl and her cat, for some?

I have friends who had twins, girls, and admittedly the mother's posted pictures are quite cute. Little sisters growing up together, often in toy sun shades.

I didn't used to give a shit about pictures of people's kids. Not any more. Now, I like to see them. It genuinely warms my heart, and I say that with no touch of sarcasm.

I have become quite used to being around people's kids. It's fun. 

It might be strange to be removed from them for a while at Burning Man, though I doubt it. I imagine I'll adapt pretty quickly.

Perhaps I will become a nudist, or worse. I will lose some more online friends by writing about, or discussing, the experience.

People have an intense need to define themselves as being in opposition to Burning Man. They are eager to describe it as a failed experiment, to point out its failings as an actual utopia, which seems silly. In many things, I am like them, and tend to draw others' attention to the weaknesses, or faults, of a thing. ]

Though it seems silly to do so with Burning Man, unnecessary.

... Burning Man invites it, with their hokey list of principles (I haven't even read that link or the articles contained therein, just found it)

Okay, I have run out of time again.

Here is a screenshot I took of me "talking" to Rhys on Facetime in the mornings when he is watching Elmo, or Curious George, or something.

It's easy to detect how captivating I am in conversation.



Friday, August 22, 2014

Each beat

Well, damn.

The day has gotten away from me, again. 

I've spent what little energy I had this morning battling injustice elsewhere.

Today, I go home to see Rhys. I haven't seen him since Sunday last, other than on the computer. We video chat each morning, a thing I will greatly miss at Burning Man. 

He tells me about his busy day, and explains the various procedures involved in his different toy kits. 

This morning, with a play stethoscope, he was checking Rachel's heartbeat. 

I could nearly hear it, too.

A single beat also includes the pause before the next electrical signal, which then completes the cycle with yet another thumping in the chest.


Thursday, August 21, 2014


The problem with black people today, you see...

Last night I posted a semi-farcical post about police officers being "public servants," which caused a rather lengthy conversation between myself and a couple friends. I was not too surprised to find one of my friends sympathizing mainly with any cop that has been forced to shoot a surrendering black man, while performing their normal duty, serving the community.

Haven't they already suffered enough, he implored.

I think perhaps that when all cops wear cameras and are prosecuted for any number of weekly felonies they might commit, and then serve time in prison for those felonies with all their old neighborhood buddies, then... and only then, might I think that they've finally been through enough.

But not until.

One of my white pro-gun friends took the time to explain to another friend of mine, a black guy, what the real problem with negroes today actually is. It has something to do with Al Sharpton, I think. He surmised that their reluctance to police themselves is the real problem. That, and that more of them don't scream about black on black violence.

You never hear anything at all about black on black crime. It is completely absent from the public conversation.

It's true, a total mystery... that nobody has ever thought of this before. A wonder of the data age.

No reliable information on black cops harassing innocent white folks, either. 

Why don't more blacks participate in the time-tested and honorable solution of law enforcement?

He seemed genuinely puzzled at the quandary of it all. 

Why, I would think that as much opportunity as they get to interact with police officers, from their early youth on upwards, that more of them might wish to join up and help the fight, finally serve their communities. Doesn't that sound appealing to you?

Near complete and total befuddlement at the enigma of it all, I swear. 

Why, wouldn't you want to be a servant with a nice job, maybe even on the inside of the station house, where it's nice and cool. Would you like that?

He actually claimed that any black man that attempts to offer ideas for improvement of the black community gets "blasted as an Uncle Tom" unless they do so solely along a stringent, seemingly pre-determined path.

He uses the term "Liberal" in much the same way as he does "Porch Nigger."

You see, this friend of mine has taken the time to assess the black community through rigorous nightly study of televised news reporting and is now prepared to explain their problems to them, and offer simple solutions. He counters any frustration with the simple premise of, Well, what would you change?

Solid State Logic, there.

Have you tried just being more respectful? I mean, to the police? Have you thought that maybe that's all they need to do their jobs, is a little respect?

He's just about ready for his own Ted Talk, just needs to shuffle through the TV Guide for some last-minute facts to add to his presentation.

I kid, of course. He's a smart guy with a penchant for selective data presentation and unanswerable questions as responses. In that way he and I are at least aligned.

His concepts of justice are straightforward enough, as well. 

Do you even have any idea how many unreported crimes blacks commit? Don't even start with me about incarceration rates, our nice new prisons are overflowing already, and we've barely just finished building them. Who's going to pay for those?

I mean, if they don't like the current relationship they have with the police then why don't they just do something about it. 

Why don't the blacks get more involved with the law?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

... too much fucking with us

(Michelangelo - Slaves)

I don't want to get out of bed. I want to sleep until daybreak and then wake slowly as if I was not waking at all, a man without intentions. The simplest freedom of life is the release from petty responsibilities, an exemption from the baseline obligatory discomfort of subsistence.

The deliverance from feeling that the things one does are both trivial and required. That, too, would be nice.

It is the middle-class struggle, to achieve a luxury of living, an essential leisure.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

- William Wordsworth

That is the poetry of the day. I was talking to CS a few months back and explaining to him that poetry no longer exists. It is of little use and even less consequence. It has been replaced by the short story. Poetry makes people feel awkward because it is the most contrived of all efforts made in written language. It is self-consciousness raised to the most precious extremes. You would have more people interested in conducting a seance than listening to a poem.

I never set my alarm, but I did last night, for unknown reasons. It just went off, to remind me of what I am saying here.

My "alarm" is just a little useless .m4a recording of me reciting this:

and when love came to us twice
and lied to us twice
we decided to never love again
that was fair
fair to us
and fair to love itself.

we ask for no mercy or no
we are strong enough to live
and to die and to
kill flies,

attend the boxing matches, go to the racetrack,
live on luck and skill,
get alone, get alone often,
and if you can't sleep alone
be careful of the words you speak in your sleep;
ask for no mercy
no miracles;

and don't forget:
time is meant to be wasted,
love fails
and death is useless.

- Charles Bukowski

"I saw the angel in the marble and I carved." - Michelangelo


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So says the desert dust

(A geometric suggestion)

The last time I went to Burning Man I was in my thirties. I wasn't wearing glasses at the time, for sight, didn't need them. 

2008, 2006, and now 2014, which forms an imaginary mathematical echo, for those that care for that sort of thing, a regular ripple in the numbers.

I am closer to 50 now than 40, with giggling ripples as I go.

I'll be wandering the playa like the great white whale, searching Ahab; floating ships and wobbly boats and harpoons made of foam aimed at the skies, trained on the moon.

Oh, there were lots of other attributes of my life that were different then as well. It was two years before I started writing for this site, which soon hits the five year mark. It has been an odd five years to document, in some ways unexpected to me. Inevitable to many that have been reading along here, perhaps. Who knows how well others can see your life, or how much they might care. For some it may be amusing, others perhaps strange. 

Who knows which lines they might be reading between. At my age the lines have grown to become chasms all arranged parallel. An ocean of warm age.

Well, I am sitting here at work thinking of all the things I will need. Goggles, of course. A keffiyeh, or two, daytime and evening wear.

Scarves, I love scarves. I wonder if I even look good in a dress any more.

Why is it always too late to lose weight. Why?

I put in my request for time off yesterday. I must prepare to be spontaneous, that is my best guess at life. My immediate manager is Israeli, served in the Israeli military, etc. I sent him a picture of Israel and told him that it was a great kibbutz in the mountains, and I a wandering kibbutznik. He approved the time off request within an hour, and I was in a sudden mad dashing search for a ticket, and a ride.

Since yesterday I have found a ticket and a car pass.

I let a friend who arrived in SF borrow my car last night, so that he could run errands today. To buy a bike, shop for wigs, etc. Already my life is arranging itself around the exclusive order of impulse, falling into smaller, more preferable pieces. 

Last night another friend pulled down some see-through plastic bags from storage. They had been left from yet another old mutual friend. The bag was just filled with colorful absurdities: tiaras, boas, oversized clown shoes. Packed with nonsense.

The sticker on the top said, "Burning Man, Casual Wear"

It was the thing that made me chuckle silently from my abdomen, and smile.

From there, I felt differently. The night unfolded around a simple joy. I walked through the Haight with my friends and felt the unexpected lightness of being.

Oh dear precious mystical shenanigans, here I come.


Monday, August 18, 2014


I once had time, lots of it. Days and then weeks and months would just float by as noiselessly as clouds. 

Now, time is passing so much faster, also with more effort. 

It seems unfair, life. 

I never tire of saying it, Life's not fair! 

I suppose I am waiting for somebody to provide a better response than the standard, Well, whoever told you....

It is perhaps why older people are often reminding everyone to slow down and enjoy it. It is a hard-earned lesson. When you're dying, some say that your life will flash before your eyes. But if you die slowly then it's probably just an elastic smear that starts around the age of....

I felt bad inserting any number at the end of that sentence. I experimented with several. They all felt cruel.

I left NYC for California three years ago, to the day. Here is the last post from NYC

Funny, to look at it now. Funny is one word for it, I guess.

I enjoyed the time when Rachel was pregnant with Rhys. I think back to those times affectionately.

There is that to remember. 

You must remember this. A sigh is just a sigh.

Why all of the reminiscing, you wonder?

... Rhys started pre-school today. Rachel sent me pictures of him entering the school. 

Little milestones. 

He is equipped with all of the things that will keep him feeling safe: his bear backpack, his new public-servant doggy lunchbox, and of course.... his Thomas the Train wellies for emergency puddle jumping.

Rhys was talking to Mommy this morning and he was telling her a story that included the statement, "... when I was little and Daddy put me in your tummy."

Oh, where does he get these silly ideas?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The problem of problems

(Others, elsewhere)

There is no federal law in the United States which requires police departments to report on how many people they have shot, or killed.

Read that sentence again:

There is no federal law in the United States which requires police departments to report on how many people they have shot, or killed.

I try to have a balanced view of events, like the one still happening in Ferguson, Missouri. Online, people will sometimes prevent me from maintaining any such a view. They are often successful because I am easily excitable. But in my reading about the events in Ferguson I am reminded of this simple fact: we have no idea whether our anger about improper use of force is justified, or growing, or disproportionate, or not.

I hate to do this, but... The Constitution has a provision which calls for a periodic national census. It is incredibly expensive and yields questionable results, but a single addition would help us to better understand things.

Question: Was the cause of death an action inflicted by a government employee?

Oddly, we have statistics on gun violence. The police happily report on the violence that occurs. This is part of what helps justify the ongoing militarization of our law enforcement community, and they even include shootings and killings that they perform, but without clarity or distinction.

Read that sentence again, too.

The violence being inflicted upon us is used as partial justification for the increased use of force against us.

It gives a new meaning to the sometimes misemployed phrase of "domestic violence."

That what we do know shows a sharply unequal occurrence rate towards black men only further supports the need for a federal mandate for police to keep and publish records of the use of their weapons. 

No distinction is made in bullets used for practice or on people. We are being taxed so that our own "protectors" can become better at abusing us.

I'm sorry I shot you, honey, but work has been so stressful lately. You know how my boss is always riding my ass.

What civilized society would allow the police of their nation to not have to maintain and present records of when they have killed their own citizens?

Shockingly, records are kept if the person is found guilty of a crime and the death occurs while in the care of the penal system. It is only presumed innocence that prevents us from knowing how many are put to death each year without a trial, or even a charge.

Even if cops were forced to prove that the person they killed was guilty of a crime, by a conviction in absentia, then we would know, or at least have an idea

But a deceased person can not be charged criminally. That special use case is reserved for the civil courts, in the unlikely event they had anything of value, beyond their own breath.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

... and Effect

Ah, sweet weekend, precious time. Some claim that it is all we have.

We have discovered that Rhys does not respond well to my absence. It takes him some time to calm down and resume his normal little loving boy self upon my return.

So, things are going wonderfully here in Sonoma. Parents being separated produces profound feelings of security in children, all the studies show.

Victory for the Team.

The best you can do is all that you can do. 

I'll let you know if any of this ever feels like the best that I can do.

Or, we.

Speaking of we... we both look at the same set of facts and come to the same conclusions, until one of us states the implications of any of those conclusions, then there seems to arise an invisible disagreement. It floats between us the way love used to. Disagreements have no path to resolution, no way to verbally address. Resolution is not required when denial is the approach. 

There is only the recognition of the wrongness, a noted suggestion of the seeming source. 

It is best to just keep agreeing, never draw the inevitable deduction, never state it. That is how the dynamic of failed love magically becomes your fault, your defect. 

Avoiding fault is the way. It's easy, you just let the other person talk, nodding your head in agreement, amenable to the facts, a sworn foe to all fictions. 

One can be disappointed, never bitter; expecting, at no time demanding; suspicious, not accusatory; always losing, not once defeated.

Ever uncertain, always agreeable.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Ferguson in brief

Trouble in Missouri.

As far as convincing the police that para-military gear is antithetical to the concept of freedom, am I the only one that thinks that maybe molotov cocktails and fireworks are not the most convincing counter argument.

People seem very inspired by the level of resistance that is rising up out of the anger in Missouri - and I am always happy to see cops get frightened - but if you take any time to wonder what the cops' reactions to any of this are then you'll have an easier time understanding why they're going to keep their tanks and assault rifles.

Police reaction to street violence and threats against their authority is never going to be a newfound love for pacifism.

Don't misunderstand me here. I'm not on their side and am not trying to justify their behavior - past, present, or future - only trying to point out where certain freedoms function best, and how grasping a taste of freedom by lobbing flaming shit at the cops has its limitations.

When a cop looks at that picture above he might very well see it through the site of a barrel scope:

I had the subject in my site and when I realized that he was about to throw what appeared to be a lit incendiary device at a group of fellow officers I was forced to squeeze the trigger of my regulation semi-automatic.  The subject fell immediately to the ground and I continued to secure the area.

That sort of thing.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Its incompleteness

I sat at the SF mall, wishing myself elsewhere, and had lunch in the food court. It is a nice place to dine, most of the time, really. I usually eat raw fish, spiced ahi poke or salmon, or both. 

I know, I know... Fukushima. Recently, I perched upon the shore and felt myself growing warmer by invisible degrees.

As I sat in the mall, a thousand and ten miles from land, I could just barely hear a song being piped over the speaker system. Normally these tracks are either bland and flat, or simply atrocious, but this was sad and lonely and beautiful. I strained to find and follow the drifting melody. It is perhaps why I loved it, the feeling that I couldn't quite latch on, to hear its refrains, to find the moment when it might repeat, and that it would too soon be over.

Then, just like that, it was.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tarkovsky, etc.

(still from "The Mirror")

Well, last night I wrote a lengthy screed defending suicide to imaginary online foes in argument. 

But... it makes no sense now here in the morning with a nice salmon bagel on my desk.

The short version: I attacked Jesus as a type of suicide (he knew the consequences of his actions in the temple) and made the argument that fear of cowardice is what sends "the troops" to their deaths, many of them.

Emotional exploitation abounds in the formation of heroes. 

Best not to pursue some nighttime lines of thought in the morning, though. That way lies danger. 

Besides, Robin Williams is old news already. This site and its editors are dedicated to moving on, putting the tragedy behind us.

Besides, Lauren Bacall, etc.

If you have some free time on your hands, and wish to explore one of the greatest filmmakers ever then go here and be prepared to have your mind blown. Tarkovsky is unlike any other filmmaker. I won't bore you with the many things that other people have already said about him, but dreamlike is the quality that echoes.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Batman, and now Robin too

I feel as if I have a new life. Nearly a week still left ahead of me in San Francisco, Nob Hill. The fancy part of town. Apartment sitting for a friend, living a life in which I can pretend again.

Parking is a relentless curse here, but ah well... I imagine that there must be spacial obligations anywhere worth being. This neighborhood has everything else I want. So, why bitch?


I walked to dinner last night. Nob Hill Cafe, sort of. I never use the Yelp app but downloaded it to choose among suggestions made through the democratic process. There was an hour and a half wait for a table but not when you're eating alone. They sent me to their "sister" restaurant up the road a block.

No waiting for a seat at the bar. I felt as if I was on a date, except for the glaring omission of there being no datee, a counterpartner in crime. That, and I was sitting at the bar, facing a mirror, checking Facebook. I suppose it did not feel like a date at all.

Lovely though, nonetheless. The sautéed pork, with shallots, spinach, the beet salad appetizer, a cocktail made of ice and business. The chance to sit next to a businessman of some sort who was writing a piece called "Mystery" on his laptop at the bar.

The only mystery was how somebody that isn't forced to do hard manual labor for a living could write so poorly. I know the "mystery" genre relies and even thrives on self-consciously poor writing, but Jesus...

Example: He patiently opened the door and stepped inside when he suddenly heard a car pull up outside. He almost jumped from being startled but then his foot tripped on something heavy lying on the floor in the cold darkness. Could this be the body he was looking for? He had to think fast. Where did he leave his gun.

On and on like that, for pages. I was fascinated. I sat rapt.

I haven't struck the right tone for imitation, though. I should have taken out my phone and snuck a picture, or jotted down actual lines. But you get the idea. Everything was an action, or an instruction concerning the character's thinking. The plot seemed to be advancing rather rapidly, as if it also was trying to escape something.

I started to feel bad after a while, though. I imagined the guy had gone through a recent divorce and he was fulfilling a promise he had made to himself, to write a book. This thought didn't improve his writing any but at least it helped me to stop reading. I was consumed by the suicide experts giving their advice freely on Facebook, making their proclamations of shock and heavy-heartedness.

Suicide gives everybody a chance to talk about themselves.

It never ceases to amaze, then disappoint. All sorts will trot out their nonsense, agreeing how selfish an act suicide is, often using it as an opportunity to discuss their eating disorders, or some other bullshit.

- Suicide is NEVER an option.

- So, you think it was murder?

I only make people angry.

Only in America!, I'll suggest, for reasons unknown.

I figure that if there's ever a time to make unqualified claims then this would be it. I try to force gun laws into the conversation, anything.

Some will act as if you should revere their personal relationship to suicide, and I suppose there is some sense and purpose to that. Not to the point of silence, though, which is what they're hoping for, at least from me. They will reveal publicly the pain they went though when uncle so-and-so offed himself, how it doesn't end the pain, it only transfers it to the survivors. 

The survivor-victim dynamic is not often one worth getting tangled in. Best to avoid.

It is quite sad, of course, even tragic, that such a loved person decides that life is no longer worth living. To end a life of affirmation and humor in what many must see as a final act of desperation.

One online friend even described him as "a very sick man."

Who knew?

People get so angry at me when they're talking about how brilliant and insightful Williams was.

I'll suggest, So, you think he was right then?

Brilliance is more easily recognized by some when it comes in the agreeable form of comedy. Few wish to engage in the disagreeable versions of brilliance. Persuasion pulls, never pushes. Charm convinces.

Oh, Robin, why the sudden and final negation? You always made so many people happy...

Why, indeed.

That perhaps he found life to be unbearably tedious escapes those who can not imagine a man like him enduring the feelings that lessers might have to contend with. Success is no greater defense against misery than intellect or talent. No one is immune to the effects of time. It can only be defeated here and there, in the moment. No victory can ever be claimed as final.


My pork dinner sat quite happy in my stomach. When I left the restaurant and began the walk home, back up the hill towards the cathedral, I was in a pensive mood. I took note of the regular population of street lights, the compressed shadows of the trees falling across the sidewalk beneath. The irregular, moonlit, and temporary patterns of life. The wind barely moving between.

I stepped out into a shuttered world that cost more than it could possibly provide, even when closed, perhaps then most of all. The value of things had shriveled, the expenses ballooned. The shops always close far too early in affluent neighborhoods. What do they possibly have to fear, except only the trouble that night delivers.

I glanced down the hill and out onto the lights in the bay and felt something like luck. My own life and the many mistakes contained therein have always been my greatest source of pleasure and pain.


Monday, August 11, 2014

My ever increasing waistline

Even XL shirts feel too tight around my shoulders. They don't sit right around my waste, either. How can that be? They didn't used to feel this way.  They used to feel comfortable. Perhaps the fat on the back is pulling them towards the fat on the front. That must be it. There is a space battle happening and I am beginning to resemble the shape of the Death Star.

Each time the moon passes I feel a slow tugging move across my belly from one side to the other, then around the back.

I sweat too much now, also. It makes its way through the shirt faster than it did in my younger years. I feel best when I take the shirt off, but not when anybody else is there. Anybody except the boy, Rhys. He accepts me as I am. He runs around naked as often as possible so he understands the value of being unrobed. 

Maybe that's what I need, a robe? That suits being fat perfectly. A robe will make me feel much better. Who can question the wearing of a robe in public? Maybe even at work. I could make it an HR issue. The employee manual is curiously silent on robe wearing. Perhaps I could claim to have become a sultan and it is part of my required religious garb. 

Don't dare questions my freedoms.

Shit... I have run out of time to write any more today. 

I am at work and do not have a robe to distract from my egregiously poor work practices and performance.

Whenever I take a nap here I always wake up by raising my head slowly and saying, "Amen!"

It helps.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tiny Slivers of Mercury

(Land Shark)

CS has given me many writing ideas, though not quite in the way that he accuses. The effect of his writing has functioned in more of a cautionary way. 

Writing is rewriting. Though he takes this maxim to a different level through simple inversion, rewriting is his writing, in a sense.

He used to be a science teacher, many years ago, and I think back to one of his most memorable biology lessons... It was called, "The early bird gets the worm." He was very proud of this. It involved him waking up early and believing that to be of some biological advantage for him. He was fond of emphasizing this point, "Early bird, worm, get the picture?" 

I would remind that humans don't eat worms. I mean, they can, but if you're up early then you might as well go with other options.

You get the picture. 

He still possibly believes in this earlyism, though now it has something to do with time zones, the shape of most planets, and the relation of the moon to the sun as its light bounces off and back towards the earth. It's sometimes difficult to differentiate between his confused crypticness and his early onset dementia, particularly when he believes in himself as being clever. 

Also, there is a well known cure for syphilis, but the cure can not reverse the damage that has already been done. Perhaps more on that later.

I will need to bring my computer back in for another repair. The unit will occasionally boot to an all grey striped screen, sometimes bursts of static will spring from the speakers. Clearly, something is wrong.

I don't remember if I wrote about this here before or not. I was looking at having to purchase a new computer, but then Apple decided to cover the cost of the repair for me, which was very nice, but now the machine has refurbished parts that are little better than the failed ones that came with it at the original time of purchase.

It will mean another drive up to Santa Rosa, quite possibly today, to drop the machine off, and then a drive back up to Santa Rosa to pick it up again when it is ready. It is a lucky and good thing for me that the drive up Sonoma valley is so beautiful and pleasant. 

In an odd way, most of the time, I look forward to it.

I even look forward to visiting the Apple store. It is also a cautionary exercise of sorts. It's the first real job I ever had in life and the first that I quit without having another. I learned much from both experiences. It is part of what has led to me being where I am now, for good or ill.

Okay, that is the Q6 report for the day. 

Stay off the internet, kids, just look at what it has done to me.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Bridges of Canada County

The problem with relationships is that they don't work. They are incomplete in the same way that most humans are incomplete. I know, people will often provide much talk about the other person "completing them," two halves that make up the "whole," but it's just not true. Relationships satisfy some needs, some of the time. Few ever allow another to become accustomed to that. Or, the ones that do also imperceptibly - perhaps without their own knowledge - teach you how to be selfish and good at breaking up, a quality that should cause those that possess it to be ostracized by all. Be wary of anybody that is adept at ending what they call love.

What starts in joyful anticipation ends in laborious expectation.

But, I should be careful, relationship advice makes assholes out of otherwise acceptable people. Just look at the magazines that center on the idea of it, advice. If you find the word "manage" in the title of an article about love then cancel your subscription. But you won't, of course, because that is what so many wish to do, manage it.

That simple observation is particularly difficult for the romantic heart to accept. A romantic craves immersion and sees as sinful or worse, useless, anything that does not satisfy the impulse.

Silly, I know, and dangerous. But what is one to do?

Even those happiest in love also yearn for something else, privately or publicly restrained. Not always, but often. There is some other impulse that must be shelved for the betterment of the relationship, its needs. It's natural, I suppose, to hold off some real or imaginary part of yourself so that you might have something else in which to one day turn, some fantasy retreat that reminds you that the relationship is not all that you are, an escape hatch made of unvisited places, an untried life made of unknown wardrobes, new fabrics moving across the skin.

When this illusory escapade is known by the other partner it is either encouraged, permitted or dismissed, if not outright ridiculed. That is, until the dream grows wings and tentacles and then springs to its own life, screeching into the painfully unknown... your once lover has run off to Cirque Du Soleil Academy, living somewhere in north Montreal, and is now with a muscular blue-eyed trapeze artist, leaving you in shock paralysis, stuck still with that silly look of past love caught trapped across all the useless photo albums of the world, the framed posters bought in better times, hung from better days. 

The many curious circus objects of love that accumulate, numbering, the remnants of incompletion.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Balboa and Magellan, both

No time to write today. Friends in from France last night.

A sunset drive along the jagged edge of America to a place which I will return, both there and here, as time allows.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sean - 2, Universe - 0

(Debra Joy Groesser)

Jogging, again, out the door at 5am. Down to Fisherman's Wharf and back again. I love being in the city in the early morning.

The hills on returning, they are six steep blocks from the spot where the incline starts, though they are the short side of the rectangle. It doesn't seem that way, at all. By the time I summited I was in Denver, or at least at eye level with it.

Fisherman's Wharf. Even in the early morning there is a strong stench of pre and post-wrongness. When crowded, it's the kind of place that Humbert Humbert would bring Dolores Haze on a date. When empty it's like indigestion, washed in pepto-abysmal.

But it does feel good to be forcing some sausage out of my heart again.

Everybody has commented on my weight gain lately. It's unpleasant, fat. Some like it, for reasons that I might not ever understand. Some, like myself, can't seem to avoid it. I have always struggled with maintaining my ideal weight, which is anywhere below 200. It's because I am a monster of intake. Something clicks inside of me and I demand more.

But that is also true with exercise.

I have devised a system in which I will compete with the universe. Each week has seven points. Each day that I exercise for 30+ minutes I get a point, each day that I do not, the universe does. There are no ties in life any more, only glory or defeat. A little bit is not good enough. I either emerge each week victorious, or I get to wallow in my own ice-cream flavored tears.

I resist the concept of "empty calories" though I understand its importance in some people's thinking. No calories are empty, if they were then they would not be calories. It defies the logic of the definition. A better term would be lopsided calories. When your diet leans too heavily towards carbs or fats (or even proteins) then other areas suffer.

I was at my most fit when I was ingesting a near balance between the three. Not an even balance, but a balanced ratio. It's a lesson that I had forgotten until I was in Florida with my buddy CS. We were trying to buy yogurt and he refused to buy the 0%. He demanded 2% fats and was not going to be dissuaded. He is a very angry yogurt buyer, you see.

But it got me thinking.

I remembered that I used to insist on ingesting a certain amount of fat also, because my body was regularly using it, and it is good for you. I had burned off the excess by giving my body some of what it was letting go of, though slightly less than I was ingesting.

Sounds easy, right?

Homeostasis. You can't entirely deprive your body of something essential if you also wish to expel it. Your body will hold on to what it is not being fed.

The body does not know your plans. You must trick it into giving up what you do not want it to have. Feeding it fats will cause it to relinquish its fatty deposits, in increasingly larger doses as it learns to trust you.

But then you betray it, suddenly and without warning.

That's one reason why complete abstinence results in a boomeranging effect with weight. You are forcing your body to give something up, then it will seek to replace it as quickly as it can. Your body is not interested in your wishes.

This is my diet science. It worked much better for me when I inhabited a younger body.

The ghost in the machine is no longer ghostly, but rather overly earthly.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Flatulent's Wharf

I have returned to a friend's house in a nice section of San Francisco. I haven't been here in about ten months. October last.

The experience has elicited a number of feelings. It doesn't help that I went back and read all of my posts from October, never a good idea. What an autumnal whirlwind. 

The old sensations here, the ringing of the church bells just outside the window, the view down the hill to the bay. The experiences I was having at the time filled me with so much uncertainty and presumed doom. Now it is all just an unfortunate memory.

Almost as soon as I got here I put on my jogging shorts and told myself that I would jog or vigorously walk the route that I used to run in the chilly mornings here, with my friend. Jesus... what a stupid mistake, but one I hope to try again in the morning if my legs aren't too sore from tonight. My heart was cursing me the entire way back from the Fisherman's Wharf.

The Wharf. What a monstrous shithole. I had never actually been to the very center of it, the calamari's asshole. There is something so revolting about abject American consumption. The smell of fried food, stale beer, vomit and stupidity. I swear it, there are some places where the residue of perpetual stupidity leaves a foul scent. It can not be removed. It must be capitalized on. 

Well, anyway, that's one of them. But I was not there for the purpose of conducting an investigation. I was there to shed some of the animal fats from my circulatory system.

So, I jogged 15 minutes down to the Wharf, timed by my mini-ipod, then turned around and headed back, which was foolish. The return trip was much further uphill, from the wharf up to Nob Hill. The elevation differential must be a mile or more. There are five consecutive blocks that just get steeper and steeper. After two of them my performance was comical. I was gasping and wheezing and likely farting, my mind begging for help, or mercy. A passer-by, a young woman with shaded aviators, actually asked me if I was okay.

I could barely get the word out: No.

I pushed on. There are only so many times that you can be told you're not good enough, even by your own inner-voice, before something changes, something snaps, and you decide to do something about it.

The voice in your head turns on you and starts coaching, encouraging, demanding. 

It becomes the voice of Burgess Meredith:

There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!


Dulcitudo Dulcitudinis

Well, I am up early but somehow not early enough. I wanted to go jogging this morning, to kick-start a change in habit, but it is quiet and I am in a makeshift bed. I slept at Cato's house, on my old air mattress, my fortress against gravity. I came over after work to get my running shoes and we started chatting, then I guess I didn't feel like finding a parking spot on Nob Hill, didn't feel like being alone.

We stayed up until 10pm talking of life, and also much of death. Our extensive collective wisdom on the matter didn't amount to much. There was only the gasping futility, with just a ghost of something more, something else. I made the claim that, "Empathy is the religion of atheists" and I believe there to be a partial truth there, for some.

We found various ways to justify suicide, and agreed that all of humanity would disappear without a trace one distant day when our sun dies. We will, of course, send several ships into space before that happens with enough samples of human dna and the instructions to replicate that there might be hope elsewhere, but that's it. I worry about oxygen and water levels in other places. I worry about those things here. The proposition seems dicey, but it is all that we will one day have, and even that is based on the assumption that we can accomplish such a thing before our enforced reversion to an unlivable world.

So, I didn't sleep well, as you can guess. I woke up to piss three times, for no apparent reason. Perhaps it was my preparation for intragalaxy space travel, though I recognize the arrogance of that. I'll try to pick up some Tang online today, that'll help. For my teenage readers: here.

Well, soon I will have to get up and shower and go into the office. I am a nearly model employee, which makes no sense considering my thoughts on the absurd futility of life and time being the only true currency we have to spend or share. That, and a hopefully renewable dose of empathy.

It makes no sense. We are all going to die, at a certain age we all become aware of this. Though we have no reason to be kind or courteous or much less loving to one another we spend our lives trying. Many of us. We fail and we stumble and then we try again, ad infinitum.

Dum Finitus.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I want that on my tombstone, even if I'm cremated

I forgot to write a post today. Lofty ideas, lost in the bay.

The drive into the city this morning was fantastic, lots of murky clouds with patches of light breaking at a distance.

I spent the rest of the morning working on my Risk Preference Profile.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Rhyszilla: It Takes A Village!

Day one in the city will be spent in Sonoma. Late last night Rachel became ill with a virus, which means that I will be attempting to manage Rhyszilla this morning and this afternoon, hoping not to get sick myself.

I don't know why I expected that having a child would be easier for me than most, but I did. It seems unfair that I must suffer the same difficulties as others, and worse; to sometimes perform poorly, even after practice. So many other things are easy for me, or easier.

The universe tricks me into believing things about myself. 

For some, parenting seems to be the great universal test. There exists an open mania to get it right every possible second. I can understand, everybody's parents were fucked up, or are fucked up. There is a desire to disprove them, distance yourself somewhat from their effect upon you, though within the closest proximity possible.

It's part of what makes holidays so much fun, for visitors, witnesses, etc. 

I notice my age in different ways now. Vietnam Vets will almost treat me as their peer. When the shit really hits, man, it's the guys with the guns who got your back

I look at these crusty old fucks and think, Not a chance. But they treat me like I'm one of the guys. 

Khe San, at Langdok, at Hill 364....

Perhaps I should go back to exclusively doing things that I'm good at.

Rhys just woke up. I must leave this, and other things, unfinished.

I'll be sick by tomorrow.

The congestion is becoming increasingly clear.