Saturday, February 28, 2015

Slip Slidin' Away

I hear the boy coughing upstairs. I sit downstairs at Rachel's house, waiting for him, them to wake up.

The pressures of separation are starting to show. The other night he was crying at my house, wanting to "go home." It was because Rachel was there. I am certain of it. He is fine when it is just he and I. It must be very confusing for him. We try to explain a parental thing that neither of us quite understands.

He asks from time to time why we don't all live together. These are moments that are rich in opportunity, but the many things that I could say that might be entertaining to me would very likely only confuse him further. He looks to me for truth, certainty, consistency... if you can imagine that. Fatherhood requires a gentility of mind and presence that I somehow never quite had for myself. It is better to develop it late in life than not at all, I suppose.

The triangle that would be our family is missing a part, seemingly never to return, comprised of three points and two edges; three vertices, two lines. One pencil mark has nearly been erased. It is an imaginary mystery, wrapped in the incomplete logic of failed love. It flunks the geometric litmus test, somehow too acid and without a base.

The toughest part is yet to come.

So many twigs for such a small nest.

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a man
He came from my home town
He wore his passion for his woman
Like a thorny crown
He said, Delores
I live in fear
My love for you's so overpowering
I'm afraid that I will disappear

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain't got no rain
She said a bad day's when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

And I know a fa-ther
Who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons
For the things he'd done
He came a long way
Just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information's unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin' away

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away


- Paul Simon


Thursday, February 26, 2015

The many murky dangers of anti-semitism (my struggle)

No, I'm not really in the mood to be a contrarian today. The title was just click-bait. 

Last night, however, I got into a mild debate with a fellow who told me that "free speaking" is not guaranteed by any country, and that anything that might provoke anti-semtitism is illegal.

I found him a used copy of Mein Kampf on Amazon for under $10, though he did not verify if he purchased it or not. I suspect not. I reminded him that the New Testament has provoked far more anti-semitism than ol' Fraulein Kampf could ever hope for.

I find some people frightening. In their efforts to eradicate perceived bigotry and intolerance they seem to have no problem with the many failed policies of censorship. He was on the verge of accusing me of a hate crime last night, just for suggesting that freedom of speech trumps most perceived verbal or written offenses. If you want Mein Kampf to be rendered meaningless then the answer is simple, let all those who care to read it do so.

I don't mean that the book deserves to be ignored or revered as a work, but instead it deserves scrutiny commensurate with its effect. It's a screed of poorly-written, half-baked political philosophy. Littered with anti-semitism, yes, but that's only a portion of what makes it hackneyed. Just pick the book up and read ten pages. If you're intrigued and wish to go on then keep that fact hidden, because you have the mind of a water rat.

Censorship does not do adequate battle with the ideas contained therein.

The book is still readily available in many countries of the West. Yet Hitler's ideas still pose an imminent threat, we are reminded to believe. It is all perhaps true, if only because there are those whose minds become excited by banal ideas come to monstrous life. Heidegger would lull those same readers to sleep, but few clamor for his expulsion from the library of life.

I hadn't even meant to write that much on the subject. It was concerning Hitler, online, etc. 

My adversary could not separate my belief in the freedom of press with anti-semitism. He seemed intent on citing a supreme court case that did far more to support my side of the argument than his, but what can one do in such instances? If you're not pro then you're anti. The shortest possible leap of conceptual logic, that. 

Few know that even Hitler distanced himself from the book after it was written.

In the marketplace of ideas each product should be given its chance to fly out the doors or to rot on the shelf. Keeping tracts or manifestos hidden in the back of the shop is a nearly guaranteed way to give them more credence than they deserve. 

All hail the suppression of poorly formed ideas!

Everybody is all for democracy, though they scarcely seem to understand what it is.

As long as there's somebody out there being wrong on the internet then I'm assured a place of contention in this wild world.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shakin' the Rafters

Going through old pictures. I start out with the intention of cleaning up my photo library, but it is useless. I find something to like about most all of them. Blurry and out of focus, not flattering but also not to be shared. I sit and giggle along with the past, far and near.

I was in an odd, happy mood last night. I did a Google search for "Tom Waits' favorite albums" and found several lists, mostly populated with stuff that you would expect: old blues, rock, and jazz. Among the selections were some albums by artists that I knew but might not have had the album mentioned, or artists whose names I had recognized but owned nothing, or artists to which I was wholly unfamiliar.

So, I entered into a downloading frenzy.

Now, I sit and listen to the oddest, obscure spirituals and forgotten jazz albums. Late for me, into last night, I sat here and smiled into my computer screen, feeling as if I was on the verge of discovering new worlds, or old ones. Out of the computer comes the most inviting weirdnesses.

I have been transported from the deep inside of Abyssinian Baptist churches to the Bohemian polka of Texas-Czech. Ironically, one of the most salient qualities of the digital age is in its power to preserve and disseminate the past. One need not even search through dusty stacks any more. It is all there for the listening.

I have little patience for serious talk of Jesus yet rarely tire of hearing his praises sung wildly by black southern baptists. I recognize my implicit racism here, but white people embrace Jesus the wrong way. I'm sure of it. They are not to be trusted with these matters. All of that mayonnaise can not seem to adequately oil the vocal chords, nor the soul. Okay, this is not implicit racism any longer, it is active. I am being a shameful bigot here. Though... one must collect and sustain a few hypocritical complexities along the way to be of much spiritual worth.

I look forward to working today in something other than my usual silence. I must be careful though, music is pleasant enough that it can change the sensation of time's passing. Each new note becomes invited, sought for such that time slows to nearly a stop. I emerge much happier, but perhaps only a single hour has passed, or less.

In silence, work occupies the clock alone, distracts it so that the thing that makes me "me" can make an easy escape. When you are in love with music... in that moment, you can be more present, aware of time's passing, which somehow distorts the internal lens through which it is felt and gauged. It is also ironical, counter-intuitive.

I used to believe that it was the exact opposite, and maybe it was, then. Things change, so why not time.

With music as with wine, whiskey and love, one need not feel alone.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Along the Barbary Coast

Why do I wait?

The day has come to a full trot without me. I started to write a piece last night, a meditation on the difficulties of love, but trashed it as useless nonsense this morning. And it was.

I look forward to getting in the car and driving home, fast.

On the drive in to the city this morning there was just a hint of orange sunrise over the dark, jagged line of horizon, of distant mountain range. It is really something, the view from the Golden Gate Bridge. For the minute that it takes to cross one can almost pretend that they are high up in the crow's nest, perched near the peak of a pirate mast.

But, it requires an imagination that practices such things, like escaping justice by your wits, a heart filled with lost treasure maps, secret codes and handshakes, one wooden leg, an eye patch from the missteps of past pillage, and of course... the jolly roger flapping high up in and against the winds.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Ridgewood St.

Yesterday, I got a text from one of my life-long friends. His father had also passed away, found dead on the floor of his home, only a couple months after the passing of his wife. We are at the age of loss. The onset of it, anyway. Basic math teaches us that there will be more and more of it in the future, ever near and nearer our lives will become crowded with loss until there is only one thing left to go.

We have no DNA left upstream. It is all downstream now, or waiting here in the calm pool around us, just below the falls. The past has become a Niagra.

I have very fond memories of his mother and father, both now gone. I spent a fair portion of my childhood being a nuisance in and around their home. Their home, to me, always seemed a great place of adventure and enrichment. Their swimming pool was always more fun than ours, populated with kids, family. My buddy had several aviaries in which he kept finches, budgies, and a few others. We spent hours in the summer and winter maintaining these wooden structures, caring for the birds.

I learned a lot.

In the living room there was a sound system that ended in Bose 901s from which the rock of the time would often loudly emanate; Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Boston. As my buddy got older he would even experiment with some rock that was not domestic, Dire Straits and then even Brian Ferry.

In that same living room was a hammered dulcimer, or perhaps two of them. To this day I have a fascination with the sound of those and similar instruments. The only musical devices that ever entered my home were the ones that I brought there, first an electric guitar, a cheap Stratocaster knockoff, then an Epiphone acoustic, then a 12-string acoustic that had little birds inlaid in the pick guard. It was on these that I first learned to ape my way through some Led Zeppelin tunes, fudging the opening riffs before plodding through some of the chords. I picked up an old guitar for the first time in months yesterday, also.

He and I would canoe up and down the Wekiva River, from up-river to Rock Springs to downstream where the river would nearly meet the St. Johns. Looking for chicks at the springs with a homemade jambox constructed of a Sony Walkman, some small but durable monitor speakers and a motorcycle battery. The thing sounded far better than any jambox that came near it, though it did not offer the same conveniences in transportability. It was a sort of component system, with wires dangling everywhere, to and fro from each piece. 

But, More than a Feeling never sounded so righteous before or since, at least on that river.

Once, when we were being picked up by a sibling (or maybe his mom) with their station wagon, smoke started coming out from underneath the dash. Within a minute we were all standing on the side of the road near some palm tress watching the thing burn to the ground. We had just enough time to get the canoe off of the roof before retreating to a safe distance to watch this automobile come to its own demise. The smell of burning plastic was overpowering.

The fire inspector that showed up saw the remains of a portable ham-radio relay under the dash and without further inspection announced this as the cause, a fact that came into immediate dispute by my buddy's father, a contention in which he emerged victorious, at least in the eyes of the insurance company.

We once saved a man's life there, also. He was drowning near the Wekiva Marina, which later burned to the ground, in echo of the car, though the source of this pyre seemed to be a greasy, uncleaned kitchen.

My buddy met his wife of a thousand years on that river. Three girls canoeing two different directions. They had drifted to the shore and we were just the boys to save them.

I can still see it all, as if it was yesterday.

I once remember his father asking me if I had read The Aeneid, by Virgil. We were chatting about "the classics..." I told him that I had. He had too, though he had read it in Latin. In truth, I had a copy and had only read portions of it; the flight from Troy and the suicide of Queen Dido. He was still quite impressed, and I was too naive to question whether he had really read the poem in its original Latin or not. I gathered enough to develop a vague understanding of Carthage's relationship, and threat, to Rome. It is a place that the enemy must not occupy. It was Rome's Cuba.

My buddy believed his father to be too stern and selfish and he very likely was, though that changes nothing in terms of the sense of loss. It is a significant passing. 

His father was able to send us scattering with a single terse sentence or fragment sent from the driveway of the house.

What are you boys doing? Never said in meanness, nor even sternness, just the voice of a dad. Off we would run, giggling with the glandular twitches and discharges of puberty.

We were kids, so we were often enough exploring ways to destroy something of his without intended malice. There were lots of things to destroy, all arranged on hooks in the garage, all in their right place. Electronics and tools of all kinds that we would borrow freely and then effortlessly fail to put back in their place. The struggle was not a lack of intention, but a paucity of the specifics of recollection. Life was always moving far too fast in one direction.

His father. I once sat in his ham-radio room with him and he briefly showed me how, from his cubby desk, the different pieces worked in concert to find and hold a signal. Through relays he could communicate with others around the world on a specified band. We would listen in on English speaking broadcasts from the Muslim world in which they would denounce the evil Ronald Reagan and his policies of colonialism. Each string of political invectives would end with, "Praise be to Allah!"

We listened to the American invasion of Granada, in which all of the major news networks were also getting their information of the invasion, from a single ham-operator. Then, we would listen to the perversion of that reporting as it ended up on the nightly news. It was an early and thorough lesson in cynicism. A lost art, perhaps.

I purchased a cheap, amateur receiver unit and ran an antenna by climbing up the tree that grew outside my bedroom window, the tree that my mother and I had planted. I would sit in my room, dialing in through static to a signal from far away.

Radio Free Europe, from a private bounce relay.

Sometimes, I could only get one side of the conversation, the other being returned on a different, unknown frequency. I would sit and pretend to respond, speaking my words into a handset whose cable was strung around the side of the unit. I would sit and await in the dark for the response to float back to me from across the great curve of the earth.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Too like the lightning

Mainly uneventful days; sojourns into the city that hardly qualify, hardly satisfy the term; the briefest of days; a children's park, a carousel, ice cream as we walk around a lake; ducks, boats, people; a chill in the shade of the trees, within the breeze; tears, always tears; a potato chip that was bitten vertically; the sudden and unexpected pains.

Last night, I stood on the pavement of a parking lot and contemplated the crescent moon, its impossible distance, hostile cold and heat, both visible.

... swear not by the moon, I thought... the inconstant moon.

I lie here now, flat on my back, looking up at the crescentless ceiling, wondering on the non-metaphysical qualities of life, of pain. The difficulty appears to be in the framing of the questions. 

Last night as I slept, I dreamed of a town so small that it was just a stop sign that people gathered around at Christmas.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Greek Gadfly

Ah, sweet budding flower of weekend. This morning we have a few people coming over for breakfast, a buddy and his boy. Then, Rhys and I might venture into the city. We'll have to see how he feels. He has stopped napping in the afternoons, which can make life increasingly difficult in the evenings. His temperament strays from the sweet towards the wicked.

One of Rachel's relatives recently said to me, Spare the rod, spoil the child. When they uttered it I heard it in a way that I had never quite heard it before, as two separated clauses, like seen above. Truly, spare the rod, and also spoil the child. 

Why not? Kids should be humored. Rachel and I don't administer corporal punishment. We are both against it. The science is out there, and has been. It speaks a stark truth. Children that are spanked are far more likely to exhibit signs of depression and aggression later in life. 

The "I turned out okay" argument has never worked for me, because nobody seems okay. Anybody that would invite scrutiny by making the anecdotal claim as a rebuff to overarching scientific study deserves to be spanked, more. Some much more than others.

They're the first ones to explain someone else's behavioral inconsistencies with, Well, you know they had a rough childhood, abusive parents, etc. 

You don't hear many saying, I leaped from the back of a pickup truck, but landed on the grass. I turned out okay.

I would love to see a series of video clips from prisoners behind bars, all of them just peering through the bars and saying, "I turned out okay." That's the problem with people, or part of it. They never consider that everybody in prison is okay, also. The suicides are all doing fine.

Okay, that's two mentions of suicide in two days now. I should stop, people will think I'm being spanked. I do not wish to die, or suffer.

My readers don't seem to like it when I discuss my ongoing efforts to obtain pentobarbital. Phenobarbital would work also. I am not necessarily a glutton for the stuff, not like other things. I just have a healthy interest in obtaining the stuff, which can be done in Mexico quite easily. You just bring a farmer to the pharmacy and he'll explain he has a sick horse that he loves. It is, apparently, more common than we know.

Anyway... humans are the only animal that can call putting a dog to sleep a humane act, but insist on letting humans suffer through abject misery. It is one of the few luxuries of cognitive dissonance. If I had cancer then people would likely rally behind my right to die. They would offer to fly me to Oregon. But it would take stage four cancer for that to happen.


Well, perhaps my attempts to argue for the right to die can be all too easily misunderstood, so I'll stop. It's just that suicide is not considered a crime in most states, but to assist in it is. What's equally perplexing is that suicide is only treated as a "common law crime" if you are shown to have had "sound mind" when making the decision to attempt it.

How fucked up is that? If you are clear of conscience and you choose to end your own life, then they will treat it is a crime, but only if you seem okay. If you are of unsound mind, well, then you clearly need help. The presumption being that nobody of sound mind would choose to take their own life.

That would be Socratic.

Speaking of, he was found guilty of impiety and sentenced to commit suicide (as an alternative to a worse fate). Impiety is a form of not adequately appeasing the gods of the state. It is like treason, but without a specific treasonous act to be convicted of. His crime was to exhibit that he was aware of his own ignorance, satisfying the oracle at Delphi's claim that he was the wisest man in Athens, which shamed those who likewise believed themselves to be wise.

A real thorn in the side of the Athenian intelligentsia. 

... reclining from a dose a impiety; the aromatic hemlock flower, clustered in umbals, trembling in the weekend wind.


Friday, February 20, 2015

"Asleep in Jesus"

Quick post today. There is a deadline at work. I have committed to completing a minor creative act by end of day today.

Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you...

Not that much pressure, in truth. Not the terror of knowing what this world is about...

Okay, must get that infernal song out of my head. Some of the worst lyrics ever written, even by Bowie standards.

I was asked about my father yesterday. I found myself unsurprised to be relaying that the grieving process has not been as difficult as I thought it would be. I suppose there are a few factors that have contributed to that; He died peacefully in his sleep, it wasn't entirely unexpected, and I had come to terms with my relationship with him and we had made peace many years ago, he was able to see his grandson just a few short months ago, etc. All things considered, I hope to go just like him, if possible. It is, perhaps, the only time that I have openly wished to imitate him.

To wit, I demanded some pentobarbital from some friends of mine that work at a veterinarian's office. I carefully explained that they would never forgive themselves if I offed myself violently, that they would greatly prefer for me to just peacefully fall asleep into the waiting, loving arms of Jesus. One of them is Jewish, though I strongly suspect he has some pretty heavy Muslim leanings. It's the beard he wears, and the way he wears it. I am certain of it. 

He is the Lindsay Lohan of the Old Testament. has trouble around heretics, deadly when left alone. A real pipe bomber. I have tried to bring him a little moonlight work, putting stray dogs down, but he cringes at the suggestion. I ask him far too often what it's like to be in the puppycide room. Does he ever try to look right into a failing dog's eyes when he goes down the big nap. He refuses to answer, just looks at me in horror. He's a sensitive sort, like Ms. Lohan.

It is all just a big joke, of course. Life, I mean. We get only one chance with each reincarnation.

Well, I booked two flights on my shiny new Visa card this morning. NYC and Bellingham will greet me soon. There is still the consideration of yet a third trip in that same time period, a sizable investment. It involves using a passport and booking a hotel, probably buying some new clothes, losing weight, all of that. A wedding, on the beach. 

Not mine, but a friend's. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Buy the Ticket

I received my shiny new Home Depot card yesterday. I checked the contract, realized that it's interest free for the first six months, then 27.99% APR after that. So, I dutifully went online and tried to buy some things that Rhys and I need; an area rug for the living room, a Martha Stewart clothes/toy/book organizer for Rhys' room, an $800 Weber barbecue grill.

All combined it was over $1200. 

Something was wrong, though. I tried again and again, there appeared to be something unacceptable with my mailing address. The same address to which they had just shipped the card. I started an online chat with a support representative. No luck. I kept her on the chat while I called the help line. Still, no luck. I instructed the guy on the phone as to what steps should be taken next. Everybody was working in chorus to get this card functioning for me. Finally.... we had the card services people on the line. They had blocked the use of the card without updating anybody as to why. They flipped a switch deep inside the imaginary machine and voila... The gears of industry began to turn towards me.

I have some debt, finally. Between Visa, Target, and Home Depot my soon to be arrears must be close to $1500.

An email came in late last night, the Weber grill had been shipped. It's on its way to the store where it will be assembled. There is some swarthy gypsy that arrives on camelback once a week and does all of their assembling for them. Then, they will deliver it shiny and new to my apartment, where I will be waiting, sitting out on the porch sipping a lemonade with ice shavings.

I am eager to start using my other credit cards also. I have been told that it is good, and right, and healthy, that it will greatly improve my standing among those that assess people for such things. Being debt free is nearly meaningless when it comes to one's credit. To use credit often is what matters most. It seems absurd to me, but if they think it's best that I buy an unnecessarily expensive grill then who am I to challenge their fiscal wisdom. I will be the envy of many of my friends.

There are some issues to modern life that are better left unquestioned. I suppose there were camera lenses that I needed more than a barbecue grill, but one can not only purchase the necessities. 

Moving on. Having a carpet in the living room will be good. Rhys will have somewhere to spill ice cream. Tile is far too easily cleaned. In truth, it is not the best living room for him. Tile floor and a three year old boy combine to result in tears.

We're having an informal father/son breakfast this Saturday. Jordan (Rhys' buddy) and his father, Matt (my buddy), will come over early and we will make pancakes and eggs and bacon and orange juice, bagels with butter and cream cheese, fruit salad. Who knows. We'll be four buddies and we will teach the kids how to live life, by example. Some adventure somewhere awaits us.

Ah, the marvel and bliss of domestic life.

I remember long ago, before Rachel and I had moved from New York, wondering openly what this site would be like after the move. I joked that it would become a review site for Black and Decker hand tools and that one day soon I would have a nice garage. I predicted that all of the weirdness would be programmatically removed from my life after making the great leap.

I wasn't far off. The train is right on schedule.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The day has chased me from the skies.

One of life's great unresolvable cruelties: 
white shirts make you look younger, 
black shirts make you look thinner.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Watching the Wheels

Rachel and Rhys went to the beach today. I had opted to work this holiday. So be it, though now that the day is nearly done whatever longing I had for the beach has passed, mostly.

Since living here we have yet to sit on the beach and watch the sun sink into the Pacific together. Us, the boy, and the dog. Eating oysters and feeling the moment come to its natural close. A thing I imagined would become regular practice when I attempted to peer into the future from my perch atop the past. 

Once, we went to Monterey and walked out onto a pier towards the end of the day after dinner, then heading back to the hotel before the setting to put the boy down to sleep, to make the room as dark as possible. To calm the excited mind of a child.

This morning, I made myself steak and eggs. I am getting marginally better at cooking. Yesterday, there was a dish of my own invention; chicken, mushroom, green beans, soy sauce and onions. I was so proud of myself that I sent a picture to a friend.

I have become a forty-six year old latchkey kid.


Sunday, February 15, 2015



I'm an idiot.

Or, I shouldn't say that. We know not to say such things about ourselves now. We have learned so much about the fragile psyche since the television began watching us closely.

I do idiotic things. 

That is the way to say it. I do idiotic things, and then I suffer because of them. If I were to do noble things, and suffer as a result, then I might be considered heroic in the Greek sense, but eating at In N' Out after recovering from a stomach illness can not fairly be called noble, even when done heroically. 

Yesterday, it seemed as if I was pulling out from under the muck of infirmity. I felt well enough to have two beers at the local pub around lunchtime. The problem, though, with California beers is that they are all trying to out-do each other, these high alcohol IPAs and Double IPAs. So, two of those beers is closer to three normal beers, even three good beers, like a German or Belgium.

I'm not sure why these beers are so popular here, other than their high alcohol content, but I have become accustomed to them and even like several of them. Pliny the Elder, for example. The decision to have a third Pliny is a departure decision. The police begin to take an interest in your affairs and expeditions after that, etc. Your peregrinations are meant to entirely cease after four.

So, I was fine, not even having had two beers that were as strong as Pliny. Racer 5 was what I had, and I understand how the name of that beer does not support my story, but it's true, it is weaker than Pliny, and useful as such.

Rachel had agreed to go to Napa with me, so that we could involve the boy in the purchasing of some things for his new room at my house. We first went to Home Depot, where they had none of the things in store that they had online that I was interested in. I finally found a lamp for my bedroom, or possibly the living room, and decided to put it on my new Home Depot credit card charge account. I didn't have the card yet, but the helpful voice over the phone assured me that would be no problem, just start shopping as soon as possible.

Which I did.

I brought the lamp to the Customer Service desk. They were confused in a way that the staff of any customer service desk should never reveal to the public, yet they seemed to have no shame whatsoever in their confusion and inability to help nor to process this transaction.

Now, I am not kidding here. Their advice to me: just go get in line at one of the regular registers, they should be able to help you.

Truly counter-intuitive help.

So, I got in line. When I got to the register, I carefully explained the situation to this hapless dolt.

Nope. Not a chance.

It was only when I went back and again said that I had been approved for a Home Depot credit card did something click, some distant glimmer of hope. She leaned in close and whispered, Would you be willing to tell me your socials security number?

I offered to trade numbers with her if it would help the situation.

I was out the door a few seconds later, though without having used the credit account. It occurred to me that I very much did want to buy that barbecue grill that I have mentioned here, and a first-time discount could be applied, so it made sense to use the charge account with a large ticket price item.

Math, etc.

Not to be dissuaded from exploring my credit options and newfound power, I put the lamp in the car where Rachel and Rhys were waiting. Rachel had suggested that I could find the things that I wanted more easily at Target than at Home Depot, and boy-oh-boy was she right. I filled a cart full of necessary things; a dinosaur lamp, a big stuffed Buzz Lightyear, Advil, toothpaste, a cooking sheet, a 4 qt. sauce pan to make soup or pasta in, some other domestic junk. I carted this up towards the registers, to the customer help counter. I asked if they did instant credit approval, and they said they sure did. Faster than anywhere so far. Within minutes I was being handed a register receipt that Sergio, the pre-teen that was managing the place, emphasized should not be lost. 

Treat it just like a credit card, he implored. 

I don't have any credit cards, yet, but I think I knew what he meant. I went and grabbed a few more things, whatever was closest to the registers that took my fancy, and threw them in the cart. There was something in there that was making a squeaking sound, a toy of some sort. That should satisfy the needs of the credit receipt, I thought.

I went to the register and Monica, somehow younger than Sergio, was all too happy to congratulate me on my decision to use Target credit, emphasizing that by doing so I had saved close to four dollars.

Perhaps I am not such an idiot.

The point of this story: I hadn't eaten since breakfast and had those two beers in the place of what should have been a lunch, and was now running on something like fumes, only moister. I made a very poor decision and recommended In N' Out as an adequate place to dine.

No sooner had I finished devouring a Double-Double (Animal Style), a shared french fries with the boy, and a shared vanilla milkshake had my indiscretion started to give evidence of its effects.

Rachel, who I mentioned already is smarter than me, ordered nothing at all. She might have had a french fry or two, or a sip of the milkshake, but nothing like Diarrheazilla sitting across from her. Then, there was the driving home from Napa, the begging to be left alone as soon as possible, the horror.

The moral of this story: credit causes indigestion.

I have three new accounts now, everyone is always so helpful and nice.

Is there no upward limit to the joy that credit can bring?


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Yes You Can!

I am slowly pulling away from the mire of infirmity. I don't think that I can quite leave the house yet, but maybe sometime soon. I need more fluids. I have all of these new wines here, sent from a friend as I mentioned before, but have been unable to try them, mostly. He believes me to be heroic in my intake of wine, but the truth is perhaps far less Roman, most of the time.

I find few people with whom I can honestly discuss alcohol. I have had people tell me that to discuss it openly, or question it at all, is the only indication needed of there being a problem, which gives you some insight into the hopelessness of the Western mind. People love to convince themselves of the impermanence of newly established categories. I know that I do. Dipsomania is a somewhat recently developed German idea. Nobody notices or cares. It is very real to them, like ADHD, if your kids are unlucky enough to have it.

CS, I can talk with, but only when we are both staunchly pro-alcohol. When either of us becomes "pure of heart," to purge the demons, then it's an all-out nun orgy, anything goes.

It's best to think of drinking as a sin rather than a sickness, like masturbation or gourmandism.  

Speaking of, I was able to cook myself dinner last night, and then even eat it. I am getting better at all of that, cooking stuff. It is an adjustment. When you buy food, you expect it to be good. You know where to go to get the food that you like to eat. When you prepare it yourself there are no such expectations. Everything that is actually good must be made in quantities that I can not eat. Lasagna, etc.

If I can make it to the market then I might try making Coq au Vin today/tonight, a dish named of course after my favorite restaurant in Orlando.

I am tempting the demons by drinking coffee with cream right now. I can tell. 

That which does not vacate you...

Hot coffee on top of intestinal weakness. Nine out of Ten doctors agree on curing disease. It's known as a pie chart. It is all so convincing. 

The thought just occurred to me to do some "chores" around the house today, clean the kitchen and do some laundry, wash the sheets. Why does this stuff make women so much happier than men? They'll deny it, but just look at the glow they have when it's all over. It's sexy. Women are different than men, I have noticed. You would think that age reduces the differences, but no... it only makes them less distinguishable for young people, who still have clearly recognizable sexual characteristics.  

Ignore that. That was just my testosterone levels dropping.

It has taken me since Christmas day, but I finally finished the fifty page general introduction to the Norton Anthology of World Religions. At this pace, I'll never be able to decide on a god, or gods. Best, maybe, to just dive in based on the geographic region from which I emerged. I was born at the United States Naval Academy, so I suppose Poseidon would be the best god to start worshiping. Though, that seems a bit Nancy. It would be like Aquaman being your favorite super-hero. It makes no sense. I do not wish to be ashamed of my god, particularly if I chose them. Though, guilt and shame do seem to play an important role in the process. 

I am undecided. I am going to go into the inevitable apocalypse as if I am waking up on SuperBowl Sunday without having yet picked a team.

In the massive first volume of religions, I have been skipping around a bit (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism) and haven't been able to yet settle on the appropriate deity that's just right for me, for this volume. 

I have a very sweet friend who has been praying, appealing to their Christian God on my behalf. I'm trying to let the other gods know about it, to find out if they are also jealous gods.

I do like it when women pray for me. I really do. I mean it. It makes me feel better.

Men, not as much. That is the nature of any true religion. I prefer for men to do my laundry, and I do not believe that is sexist, but instead is rather a strong stance against just that type of sexism. 

It is, at the very least, conceptually equal to the feminist argument. I am an advocate for equality in laundry, also.

See? I am feeling better already.

Okay, this is all just dull life-update stuff. I only wanted to let everybody know that I am still alive, though perhaps a few meters closer to Keith Richards.


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Prayers of a Retired UFO Pilot

Nope. Aspirin and NyQuil failed me. Over the last 18 hours my body has purged itself, at great personal and physical cost. I need morphine. All that I have is coconut water.

This is not a joke: I was so wildly delirious earlier I tried to join somebody else's online meeting. I was looking at their calendar and hadn't realized it. I kept getting kicked off and then somebody emailed me, wondering what I was doing. 


I'm sure I have a fever, but don't have a thermometer to check. Last night was the constant fluctuation between too this or too that, shivers and sweats. My comforter smells of malaria. I put up a mosquito net, just to be safe.

So far, there is no sudden northern migration, only southern. My intestines are composed of jelly. My entire insides are nearly phosphorescent. I wonder at where all of the material comes from. The intestines are long and mysterious, labyrinthine. At one point I am certain that a Minotaur was trying to escape.

I promise to eat better after this. I've been given a fresh start. An increasingly clean slate, as it were. The body truly is a marvel, that it can suddenly dedicate so many internal resources, and the full commitment of your back hydrant, to purging in this way. 

I stood in a hot shower and heard hissing as the water landed on me. I dreamed of upwardly standing, writhing snakes. Biblical stuff.

There really should be a setting on your shower so that it can be converted into a standup bidet. Life, on occasional moments, would be much more pleasant.

I no longer naively invite the phantasms, as I had last night. I wish them away, all of them, far, far away.

My new mantra: No midnight, please no.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rains, spores

Midway through today I knew something was wrong, the details of which are descriptively prohibitive. By 6pm, I was fully clothed and shaking underneath my comforter with the heat turned up to 74 degrees.

I pulled the emergency rip-cord, and have been shivering uncontrollably since.

Though now, most of it seems to have passed. I lie here after taking two aspirin, a swig of NyQuil. The most trusted name in medicine. Let the body rest, that's what I am fond of doing and saying. It is catnap karma, prying back from the swirling universe little slivers of lost stints, shipwrecked pieces drifting from shore.  Silence bereft a bottle

Aging is a form of salvage. Just ask cats.

I almost invite the hallucinations that I will endure. I can feel them arriving, as laughter among the lights.


The Difficult Ginger Question

The period of blissfully ignorant childhood lasted about a year. Upon returning from Colorado, my father's funeral, I showed Rhys a picture of myself holding my childhood dog, Ginger. The picture was one my father had left out on his dresser, found by chance by me just before returning home.

The boy marveled at the image when I showed him, understanding that it was me when I was a boy, just a little bit older than he is now.

Then, he came to my house last night and the real questions started.

Where is Ginger? Are you still a boy? What happened to Grandpa? What is dying?

Not all at the same time, not all in that order, and some were repeated. But the curiosity made the real question clear. I did pretty well, up to a point with these questions. I explained, little boys become big boys, then eventually they stop growing, like Daddy now. One day you'll stop growing, too, and you'll probably be even bigger than Daddy.

I pointed out how much bigger Rhys had already become. When we were putting groceries in the car I showed him that very soon he would be able to see his own reflection in the car window, and then I picked him up just enough that he could see his eyes looking back at himself. 

I said, Who's that? 

We giggled and giggled.

Then, we got to my house and he wanted to know why Ginger wasn't there, and where was Ginger, from when I was a boy. He wanted to know why if I was a boy, like him, then why did I stop growing. These were easy enough. I explained that puppies grow up, just like boys, and then one day they stop growing. 

He asked if I was still a boy. Sort of, I explained. When a boy stops growing he becomes a man. You'll be a man one day, too. You'll keep growing and growing, then one day you'll stop growing and you'll be a man. But you are always part boy, too.

Easy street. I could answer these riddles all day long, no problem.

Where is Ginger now? 

Here was a slight tactical error on my part:

Ginger was from a long time ago, when Daddy was a boy, so now we have Barkley.

Where's Grandpa Bill?

Okay, this was the important part, and I hadn't really given it too much pre-thought. I used the easiest line of logic I could come up with on the spot.

That's where Daddy just was. I was visiting Grandpa Bill's family. Grandpa Bill had finally stopped growing.

Not perfect, I knew, but not entirely imperfect, either. He went back to eating his chicken and green beans. We had had quite a fun time at the store previously, picking out potential dinners and hopefully matching veggies. He asked if he could see the picture of me when I was a boy again. I pulled it from the envelope and showed him.

Where's Ginger now?

Before I could even stop myself I heard the craziest thing just pop out of my mouth, as if it had been waiting there all along to jump mutiny on my mind.

Ginger is with Grandpa Bill.

What the fuck! Did I really just drop that nonsense on a three year old child.

I couldn't believe it. I knew that I wasn't about to propose any atheisms, existentialisms, or any pseudo-meaningful concepts of death on a three year old, but still.... "Ginger is with Grandpa Bill"? Now I was trapped on the Eckhart Tolle merry-go-round. I felt as if I had eaten acid at a Dutch carnival.

Another two sentences and I'd be trying to have this kid pray to the Easter Bunny, to promise his heart to Batman, and showing him how to break into his Thomas the Train piggy-bank for religious emergencies. There was no way back, no way out. I knew it was coming next. The kid had me snared. My mind twitched like a wet rat in a wine bottle. 


Oh Jesus, Jesus, Jesus... what had I done?

Now I was completely adrift among the great unanswerable questions. This kid was good, no question about it, he's a bright youngster. He knows the right questions to ask. I was prepared to toss all manner of complicated nonsense at this poor boy. To get him to accept any answer that didn't provoke another question would be thematic victory. I cursed myself for not remembering more about shamanism, paganism, druidism... any-ism. My mind leaped back and forth from the esoteric to the pragmatic, both mutually sinking ships. I felt like I had fleas.

Ginger and Grandpa Bill will always be with their families, in our hearts.

Fuck, FUCK, FUCK... Why hadn't I bought ice cream at the store? How else does an atheist get out of this mess? They should sell Emergency-Jesus ice cream. I knew those two fat fuckers from Vermont would let me down when I really needed them. 

Ben and Jerry's needs a flavor called "Caramel Christ Answers," with broken waffle cones and fudged philosophy.

I knew that one wrong step here would result in a rather difficult conversation with Mommy, the overlordess of disbelief. I could hear her voice floating in the aether above me, "You said what?..." She had even warned me that the boy had been asking questions lately, wanting to know more about why I was away, and had even been using the "D" word in sentences.

Maybe "Dark Cherry Death and Dying Sorbet." That seems a flavor for more advanced tastes, though.

It's also possible to go super simple: "Batman's Blueberry Parents"

I don't know... I'm not really much of a marketing, nor idea, guy.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Either Or

First day back at work, first day back to the gym. 

Having the habit of exercising and working each day is great, returning to the habit is brutal. I will have the boy spend the night at my house also tonight, which complicates my re-acclimatization to life in California. 

We'll survive. 

I have been granted an enormous amount of credit recently. Perhaps tonight the boy and I will go live as miniature rock stars. We will eat ice cream for dinner, steal all the toys that we can carry, then make a mad dash for the nearest border, or the furthest beaches.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Affinity (Beta)

(Whatever happened to the sad young boy on the right)

There's a new photo-editing software that is meant to compete with PhotoShop. I am not so convinced, but it's easy enough to try the 10 day free trial and see, I suppose. So far it has crashed on me twice when I tried to import a folder of photos. CS sent me a link to an article in which one can sign up for a beta version, blah, blah..

I am going to start editing my photos more. At least that is what I keep saying. I have focused on taking snapshots, doing as much as I can do within the camera, but it is time to expand, time to grow. My assumption is that learning more outside the camera will help me make better decisions within the camera. Many friends tell me that Adobe Lightroom is the application to obtain. Apple is doing away with Aperture soon and iPhoto as well, we're told. Two apps which I have been using for free for many years, having been given them as gifts from Apple. I mainly only crop photos and might adjust the exposure slightly here and there. 

For some reason the Nikon D700 does not employ spot metering as well as my other cameras, a thing that I use often, though it is more likely that I have somehow not figured out how to adjust the settings within the camera. 

Ah, I just did some research and discovered why the spot metering is so bad on the D700. It is a system that is left over from the 80's. That's too bad. I'll start experimenting with center-weighted metering more. I like to shoot subjects that are backlit, to give them a glow. This can be a metering/exposure challenge.

It's time to grow again. I feel a swelling in my heart.

I will borrow Rachel's copy of Rosetta Stone for Spanish, will stop watching so much pornography first thing in the morning, will memorize the Greek alphabet, and on Sundays I will try to help the poor, and all of the widows that I can find, starting with the youngest, until I run out of energy. 

Well, we'll start with the new photo editing software and see where things go from there.

At least I don't have to give up on video games, having never been lured into the world of gaming, though often mocking from its peripheries. Not really mocking, but sneering in quiet condescension. No, not that either, really. I work in a community of people that are smitten with gaming, and without much effort I have found a way of being a lonely outsider there as well.

Some say loneliness is the source of my troubles.

Yesterday, a confused meth addict referred to this site as the "I'm a sad man blog." It's all true, of course. It just took a temporarily wandering convict to point it out to me. Female meth-addicts cease being Ms. or Mrs. and end up being referred to solely as the alleged so-and-so

Oh, I should not be so mean. She just happens to have been involved with another addict who shamelessly stole several things of value from me, and then in a lucid moment tried to apologize by blaming his behavior on all of the ways that the world of music had wronged him over the years. 

One day, perhaps, I'll tell the whole story. It's a familiar one, the world of music and drugs is littered with people just like them. Everybody will recognize the common thread, the one that leads to the inevitable VH1 conclusion. Where were they then...

Loneliness gives rise to sadness, despair to contemplation, inspection to scrutiny, analysis to abstraction, thought to troubled action... All roads tend to lead. The labyrinth of addiction seems like a map to those entranced by its curved corridors. 

It's all quite sad, which returns us almost to the top of the paragraph above, somehow never making it all the way to the singularly unaddressed beginning, loneliness. 

It is quite sad, though, all of these old man concerns trotted out for open inspection. 

If you think these words look so terrible placed here then you should see them on the fading, cracked lips of a woman.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Genesis E-330 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill in Black

I look forward to returning home. The cost of last-minute flights is rarely liberating. When I do get there I will start a systematic program to build my credit from the humble nothing that it is now to a roaming, raging behemoth of capitalist influence. 

A Home Depot credit card should just about do it. 

I will buy a Weber Grill and a 9' by 12' carpet for my living room. I hope the Depot people will both assemble and deliver. I might be forced to buy the carpet elsewhere. The selections at Home Depot are limited. They have three patterns. I know that I want the grill, at least. What sort of a man does not own a grill? It is a Floridian's birthright, and I have been grandfathered in. 

Thirty years in that fetid swamp, I paid my dues. Florietnam. We took a lot of fire, lost a lot of dumb men back there....

Then, I will also get a regular credit card, one that can be used anywhere I choose, and a small secured loan of not more than $5000-$7000.

Oh, do not worry. I have a plan. I will be affluent in credit soon, swimming in the jelly jar. I have personally committed to not looking at photography websites once I am granted all of the access-to-cash power that I crave and deserve, along with the freedom to unleash it online and elsewhere. 

In truth, my desires are mostly modest and practical. It is only when in love that I dream of flying.

I also need a dresser, as does the boy. Those are the only purchases that might be considered large ticket items, unless tickets to see the final Rolling Stones' show also count as a major purchase.

I am eager to return to work, oddly. Most people that I know detest their jobs, either vaguely or acutely. I'm not sure what happened to me. Maybe it was nothing at all that I did. Maybe it's them. Who knows. Why question a respite from misery?

Don't get me wrong... if I was independently wealthy I wouldn't do the job for charity or fun, but as far as working for a living goes, I'm as happy as I've ever been. I don't consider dj'ing "working for a living..." It was more of a fantastic hobby that paid the bills and offered unique travel opportunities. I never treated it like a job, in time it returned the sentiment.  

Jesus, I can not wait to get my hands on this credit stuff. I have been talking about it non-stop with a friend of mine. It is so that I can build good enough credit to buy a house soon. Don't worry, he has warned me what not to do (see photog. link above). I am a reasonable and responsible man now. I know my financial limitations.

I do have a few trips coming up soon, though. There are three in particular, two of which will not be cheap, both within a month of each other, neither in the same country. Ah well, that is what credit is for... when you want something that you can not possibly afford, a thing that many tell you that you that can not have. What choice do you have, really?

When you want something far away, or close, to come much closer.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Riding in the twilight

Yesterday, I walked into my father's bedroom. In all of the commotion of him passing away his wife had not noticed that there were a few things left sitting out on his dresser, one of which was an old photo album that she had never seen before, but I had. It was filled with pictures from his childhood, and mine, and my brother's.

I am too exhausted to write much today, but wanted to post perhaps a final piece about my father.

He must have known that he was going to transition soon, based on the things that he had left out. He was perhaps reminiscing, reminding himself of his life, and mine and my brother's. There were no pictures of my mother, Stella, they had all been removed. 

Carla, his current wife of over twenty years, had never seen an image of my mother.

I found that strange. My father was from a different generation, as evidenced in the picture above, South Boston. It must have been taken when he was about 5 yrs old, having been born in 1932.

I will try to move on from this subject soon. It is for the best. I'm sure that recollections will emerge again as time allows.

Life is a bad bet at a traveling carnival, but it's still the best show in town.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

A veteran of foreign wars

It's done. I can see why funeral services are so useful. A thing I could never quite understand, or quite believe, before. There is a strong sense of finality. An added sense, I should say. A dose of self-denial is easy, anybody can do it. It becomes increasingly difficult when surrounded by mourners. 

Of the funerals I had been to so far there were a few old people, a couple drug overdoses, and a suicide. I had never been to a military funeral before. It was really something, unlike the others. 

When we first pulled up I thought that there must be two services scheduled for the same morning. There were a number of bikers gathered around, dressed in various leather outfits covered in POW-MIA patches, proud platoons, divisions, branches of service, deployments, wars.

It took me some time to realize that they were there for my father, a hundred of them or more. They were the most well-mannered biker gang I had ever met. They were all very sincere, and dedicated to paying their respects, without any knowledge of my father beyond his service. I found it both odd and touching, that there are those so committed to spending their time populating the funerals of others. But, it all made perfect sense once I saw it falling into place, the ceremony of it, and what that means to them, and then by proxy transfer, to me.

My father's wife, Carla, has an enormous family, a thing my Irish-Catholic father must have always wanted, and finally got. A hundred of them or more, also. Some I knew, some I recognized, some I met for the first time. Too many to personally meet, or to thank all of them. Most families sent over a delegate to shake hands and offer condolences, many relaying a fond or comical memory of my father, of which there were several.

All told, the funeral was a great success, if attendance by many minus one is the goal of such events. 

The service began with an appointed minister from the military. He recited what sounded like a very well rehearsed speech concerning dedication, duty, honor, nation, flag. In that order. The delivery was strong and convincing for those who are convinced by such speeches. I was more interested than moved, but must admit that it revealed perhaps a side to my father as others might have seen him, or even how he might have wished to be seen, even by me, so I listened intently, dutifully. 

In the end, that part was mainly rhetorical.

It was when my older brother stood up to speak that the seams of my analysis began to stretch beyond capacity. As one might expect an older brother to do, he gave a heartfelt and touching speech about what our father meant to him and how his perception of him had changed over time, through his own sense of maturation and responsibility. The speech was brief and informed by his own parental love. It was all true, and spoken from a deep sense of loss, mourning, and respect. 

I fiddled with my camera, trying to determine why I couldn't get a good exposure, to see what was clouding the lens. Too much backlight, I surmised.

Then, my father's wife's son, Gene, stood and said a prayer. It was a popular Irish prayer and one that I have heard a handful of times before, concerning the road, wind, sunshine warm on your face, and the rains falling softly on the land, until we meet again.

The military minister then stood with another, turned and saluted my father's ashes. Presented the folded flag with stars facing upwards to my father's wife, Carla, then turned and saluted the ashes again, gave a short speech directed to the container which held the remains, referring to my father as "Sailor" several times, ending with a final salute and an "Anchors Away..." 

My father had spent twenty years or more at sea. 

All of these rites, all of these rituals. So odd to witness, so fitting and serious, and even stirring. 

Then, several retired soldiers instructed by their leader fell into attention, marched into place, squared off, raised their rifles and fired three sets of seven into the skies, across an open field. The twenty-one gun salute, followed by a lone bugle player that raised his instrument to the sky above the horizon, Taps, followed by another, unseen bugle player. Taps, again from the lone distance; slower, sadder, more plaintive, if such a thing were possible.

As it was being played a long freight train that had been stationary across the wide open field in front of us began rolling away. The coincidental symbolism was impossible not to notice, several agreed later. Afterwards, I found myself thinking of other tunes.

Perhaps it was all the movies I've seen, all the dramatic moments, but with that lone bugle in the foreground and then again in the distance... 

He and I were very different, and it took nearly a lifetime for both of us to agree on that. We, at least, each developed a sense of humor concerning those differences. 

I know that my father would have appreciated the impression that it made within me. It was the closest I've ever come to saluting anybody in anything other than jest.


Friday, February 6, 2015

A post about sunsets in the west

(Book Cliffs)

The Greyhound bus ride was every bit as glamorous as I had imagined it to be. It was mostly people bitching about not being able to take more smoke breaks. In this it was not very different from jail, except perhaps that the seats were softer and there was more to see out the windows. 

As I-70 leads through the Rockies, following the Colorado River, the rock walls are awesome, in the truest sense and meaning of the word. Rachel, Rhys and I just drove through Glenwood Canyon recently, one of the most impressive roads in the country. An engineering marvel. One lane hangs cantilevered over the river. The other, an independent viaduct skating the canyon wall. It requires no knowledge of engineering, nor even much imagination, to be impressed with it. It is a visceral sensation, one of the best pieces of modern art ever made.

I have seen, or crossed, or been on, the Colorado River in every state that it winds through. I am not much of a fan of butt-kiss lists, but one day I would like to take a raft trip down the river, maybe through the big canyons.

There is much to see, much to do. 

As the land opens up and flattens out, once you begin to depart the mountains, the city of Grand Junction sits in what seems to be a wide valley, though I suppose it is by definition a mesa. I believe that is the name of the county, Mesa.

As we all headed together - prison-style with leg chains rattling - towards Grand Junction, there was a tremendously fantastic sunset, as if several sunsets were happening at once. The type sunset you can only see in God's Country; wider than the eyes can contain, as complex as the heart, and as temporary.

It may all end in meaninglessness. All love ends in loss.

The trick is to live, anyone can die.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Okay, I understand

Yesterday, I sat and watched the snow fall, from within the upstairs lodge at Arapahoe Basin. 

Lovely, the mountains and trees of the earth simplified, the sheets of falling flakes, their arresting sense of motion, the spruces' branches white and climbing upwards, of the winds then the stillness once the winds ceased. Snow simplifies the landscape; removes detail and distance, then opens the glimpses of distance revealed, then again removed. In this way it is pacifying. The recognition that nothing at all can be done, nothing can be stopped. Nature unfolding, exactly as it must.

I had wished that my brother was there, to talk with, though I do not know what we would say. He was closer to our father than I was, or so it always seemed. He was a good son, the eldest, dedicated to creating and sustaining a consistent relationship with "Dad." He would call him on Sundays, to check in and see how he was doing. For many years, I had believed that he attempted to imitate our father's life, if only to appease him. Though, I am not sure of his motivations and should not make such assumptions.  

There will be a service, tomorrow. Military honors, a rifle volley at the Veteran's Memorial Cemetery. The folding of the flag. It is odd, to think of my father honored by his nation like this, though I do not know why or what this sense of oddness is, nor where it emerges. Though I also know in advance that I will feel a sense of pride at him being honored, for his many years of service in the U.S. Navy. 

I have few regrets when it comes to my relationship with my father, but I do not remember telling him that I was proud of him. He and I had different versions of love, they need not be compared. It was only in his later years that he began to tell me that he was proud of me. A pride that I did not want, and told him so, which was a thing that I should not have done. It was arrogant, mean, and childish. 

My brother and I share a neurosis that seems to stem from our shared family life, though I struggle understanding precisely what the cause is. Looking back, I realize that we were not nearly as dysfunctional as I had once believed, and even insisted upon for a time. We each carry a loneliness with us that is troubling, a seemingly unreachable part of our nature drives us both, though we deal with it in different ways. Again, an assumption to which I may have less access than I know.

I have plenty of fond memories of childhood, many of which have been returning in these last few days, sitting and watching snow fall through the spruce trees.  

Nearly lost thoughts of playing sports of daily choice in the neighbor's open corner yard, swimming in another neighbor's pool through the summertime, building a go-cart that we rolled down the hill in front of the old house, a dog house made of wood scraps from the garage and then painting it, exploring the woods near the golf course where there were thorn brambles and a small river that ran through them, riding our bikes to the mall in tandem, driving to New Smyrna beach in the early morning in my father's VW Bug, racing our greyhound in the street, seeing my brother drive home his first car, a red 1970 MG Midget, parking on the side of the concrete driveway, a pine-needle path created for this new machine.  

We used to play a version of indoor soccer in our back porch, clearing out most of the breakables and then blasting this miniature NY Cosmos ball against the walls, the screens, the sliding glass doors and windows, and then the inevitable breakables. Blaming it on the dog, Farrah, the loving greyhound, long gone.

It has been four days since I returned the phone call from my brother. The first sentence from him still floating in my mind, Dad passed away last night.

The growing understanding that I will now go to his house where he will not be. It only appears real in glimpses, partial moments only half-believed. The thought of my father's absence has yet to become complete. The emotion of it fleeting and recurring, assuming its depth as it descends into me.

I don't remember the exact words that I responded with. 

I believe that it may have been, Okay, I understand.