Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Halves and the Halves Not

A family could spend a full afternoon doing all there is to do in this town. Again, I have no idea why I came here.

After Walmart's Burning Man yesterday we came back to the room for a bit and watched the Cartoon Network (line of the day: "The more you know, the bigger bummer you are") and then went over our remaining possibilities to exhaust this town of its usefulness. 

Putt-putt golf and pizza it was.

Rhys did not have the patience for the traditional and time-tested techniques of miniature golf, so he created a sport that was similar to land hockey with a ball. The object was for him to get the ball in the cup before me, which he did on every hole, even if it required using his hands, or kicking my ball into the water. He squealed in delight and victory, reminding me 18 consecutive times that he won. It was unanimous. He had won his first Open.

Afterwards, we drove the Grand Prix and then I taught him how and why to use a gun to kill soft animals. If only his mother was here to express her pride and gratitude.

No, he tried to play the hunting game, but I wouldn't allow it, being a liberal. I know the picture shows that he got the high score and it's prompting him to enter his initials, but I swear that the player before us just left it like that. Rhys had just run over and grabbed the gun. I do question where he learned to pump a rifle, though. 

I'm being truthful. I have no idea where the kid learns these things.

If I wanted to teach a 3 and half year old how to use a rifle I'd do what other responsible fathers do: take him to a gun show and hand him an automatic weapon. What could possibly go wrong, America? Our forefathers mostly died of old age so that we could have these rights.

After all that, pizza; half cheese, half pepperoni. This simple arrangement took me three attempts at explaining. The girl taking the order kept saying double-cheese because I made the mistake of saying, Well, we want cheese on the pepperoni side, also… She never quite recovered from that verbal trick. She's probably still drawing circles with a line down the middle, trying to do the math. The place was called Round Table Pizza, so she's just trying to derive pie, the ratio of its circumference to its diameter.  I had to finally cancel the order and re-order it as: half pepperoni, half cheese. That was the only mathematical language that worked. 

The phrase full cheese with half pepperoni somehow kept getting translated to double-cheese, no matter what I did. There are no whole numbers in all of Fort Bragg, only fractions and multiplication. A little bit of knowledge is a job requirement in a dangerous place. The vetting process must be brutal for a position like that. The front lines of pizza at the farthest edge of the final frontier.

Then, we did just as we promised, the biggest bubble bath in history. The front desk had a $10 full bottle of the stuff and we used every drop. It was absurd, pre-school paradise. Neither of us wanted to get out. There were so many bubbles that at one point we drained the jacuzzi and refilled it and they were still flowing over the sides. Best $10 I've ever spent, and that includes the pepperoni half of that pizza with all of that delicious cheese.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Even the Mexicans…

I had no idea what I was doing driving up here with the boy. None. I only wanted to get away. 

This is the place where all the unwanted pocket change in the nation collects. They haven’t seen a shiny new quarter in decades. I have declined each handful of change that someone has tried to return to me. The coins seem fuzzy, a color other than nickel or dime. 

I had no intention other than to ride a train with him. It has all worked out, though only by the boy's standards. He doesn't care. He's just happy to be with me. It is an adventure.

We checked into a $200 a night hotel because the first two places I checked showed the Vacancy portion of their signs lit, yet somehow had none. I didn't bother inquiring about the functionality of the No portion of the signs. This area does not exude a sense of professionalism, nor even mild competence. I tired of the search quickly, and the selling point of this room was that there was a jacuzzi in it, which I figured might be a novelty for the little guy. He loves all things water, particularly water in motion. 

For $200 a night I'm going to let him turn this room into Wet and Wild. 

It just so happened that there was some sort of traveling carnival right across the street from the hotel, which ignited the boy’s sensibilities. What harm could come from it, I wondered. So, after trying to get him to nap in the room for a bit I gave up and walked him across the street.

Oh boy… It was a carnival, and of the wandering type.

It was populated with tremendously shitty contraptions, hobbled together from broken wheelchair parts. The type place where, at the right age, a broken arm would be a summer novelty, a rite of passage. The popcorn was kettled in bulk the previous summer and then warehoused, in a state that allows such things. The boy claimed that he loves ice cream more than me. What these upstarts don't understand is the history that I've put into each of these pounds. I have a well-pedigreed love of rocky road. 

We wandered from ride to ride. The boy was still an inch shy of the 42" requirement to ride most of the traps by himself, so I had the joy of heaving myself up towards my final moment of life. I got my money's worth. These things creaked and strained against my 225 pounds. What were meant to be circular rides wobbled into ovals. The other kids complained. The roller coaster was running much slower than normal, barely able to crawl up the modest hills and curves. Even the Mexicans looked concerned. 

You just knew that somewhere there was a retarded girl showing off her pussy for three tickets. I simply couldn’t find the right trailer. You could probably poke it with a stick for five, take a picture of the poke for seven. The First Aid trailer was closed for repairs. There were groups of creepy Christians wandering around trying to convert people. High-school focus groups. I was offering them 20 tickets each to come to the dark side. No questions asked.

In the hall of mirrors Rhys’ body looked thin and elongated. Somehow, the distortions lacked the power to correct for my physique. I watched the boy walk into a pane of plexiglass while I was trying to take a picture. He recovered quickly, but still… I recognized the lapsed moment of parenting. What sort of father pays to have his kid tricked into hurting himself, I wondered. I could have saved some money just by taking him to dinner and telling him he’s stupid and then laughing at him. I’m sure some families do, as an alternative to the carnival. 

Some of the “attractions” leave you wondering.

As soon as I stopped being myself I noticed that it was fun.

The kid was able to find a date pretty easily. 

The tea cups were one of two rides that he could go on by himself by being above the 36” requirement. 

Once the spinning stopped they each lost interest and wandered their own ways, already drifting within what will become those same ways of the world. 


Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg

This morning, Rhys and I will depart on an adventure, the Skunk Train. We will drive north for a handful of hours then take a train trip through the woods, up into the mountains. I want the boy to become accustomed to traveling with me. Later this year, or perhaps early next year, I want to take him with me on one of my bigger trips, possibly NYC or Florida. I think he's old enough, or getting there. He travels with mom, so why not dad. Why not, indeed.

We'll drive up to Willits, then West to Fort Bragg. I've never been. The girlfriend that I mentioned yesterday was there recently and seemed to think it was worth seeing. I have always known that there are great adventures to be had North of here, all the way up the coast to Alaska. So, that's what we'll do, have more adventures. 

She also agreed that "Combat Rock" was a better choice for album names than "Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg." It seems like a no-brainer, in hindsight. 

A friend is in town to play an important party in SF. What a phrase, an important party… But, there is truth there. It is part of what he has dedicated his life to, and significant as such. I do not mean just for him, but for all of us that were part of that group, and others. The desert kisser will be going, and reached out to see if I would be, but my life calls me elsewhere. I am dedicated to kissing her again, at least once more. Perhaps each year at Burning Man. We'll see. As I said, I am in the market now for some new kisses, and kissing. And she has lips.


Friday, May 29, 2015

How to outlive a rock star

(A constant foe to the bad guys)

Ah, the beginning after the end. Lots of good advice has come in from all sides: a fresh start, brighter days lie ahead, embark on the adventure of a new life, try not to fall in love, give yourself time to heal, let's hide from the bad guys, etc.

It's all true, of course, such helpful advice always is. The last part was Rhys' most recent recommendation to me. We were playing in the courtyard, dashing from one palm tree to another, to foil the plans of the imaginary ne'er-do-wells. 

All truly wonderful advice, though... Little do most of my friends realize that in my new life I will primarily derive joy from drowning kittens in the name of Satan, but their hearts are in the right place and I always appreciate the thoughts, kind words, and even prayers of those who love me most. 

I only get emails from LinkedIn any more, but my Facebook page is on fire.

Today is an ex-girlfriend's birthday. She is 35. We met more than half of her life ago, when she was just a young 17 and I was a spirited 28. I had outlived  Kurt Cobain at this point and was working my way backwards towards Jim Morrison. I have said much about this girl, who is now a woman, many years ago but not as much on this site. My relationship with the current ex-wife acted in a somewhat preventative fashion in that regard. That is the way of things. Wives can engage in a form of personal sharia law. It is unwritten and recited only from the eyes. It is as fundamental as the desert sands, and equally menacing. 

Oh, did I mention...? We signed the divorce papers yesterday. Now, we just wait to hear back from the court. It could be as little as three weeks or as many as five, we're told. For all practical purposes we are no more. 

So, ladies…. my remodeled underpants are now open for business. 

Jesus, that made me giggle. I can't imagine having sex with anybody right now. I can barely remember it. Women feel nice, as lost thoughts so often remind me. 

Well, I can imagine having sex, but can't imagine it being an unpaid reality. I'm sure that it will… I hope... though I can't tell yet if I have raised or lowered my standards. 

You, dear readers, will be the third to know. 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

The broken circle is complete


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Once more shall we part

Well, we were supposed to go sign our divorce papers about a month ago. Instead, we chose to contest things that are ultimately meaningless, spend loads of money doing so through a lawyer, and then losing whatever little faith that somehow remained between us along the way, and now... we have arrived at the same spot we were over a month ago, prepared to sign almost the exact same papers.

Something that is supposed to happen today.

Never involve lawyers in your life, if you can avoid it. An argument is never solved, it is explored at an hourly rate; possibilities are inflated, fears stoked. One thing that you will never hear a divorce lawyer say: Well, that sure was easy. We all seem to be on the same page here. Let's get these papers signed, I'm on the clock!

They are the very sleaziest of the trust merchants. The ones that I've been unlucky enough to interact with have been, anyway. Let me know if you find otherwise. I just don't feel as if his heart is really into our divorce.

I almost wish to publish the email exchange that I've had with mine here, just to elucidate the point.  Too much content would need to be redacted for it to make any sense. I'm not entirely sure that it would make much more sense with none of it redacted, and those same parts highlighted instead. It is all a maelstrom of stupid pain and drifting circular confusion, out of which two healthy parents are supposed to magically appear once the smoke clears.  

We're off to yet another good stop.

A few months back Rachel had asked me to stop using her picture on my blog, but today is a sensible exception to that request. It is one of my favorites. She was pregnant with Rhys at the time and had that "glow" about her. I was very happy to have taken the picture. This one image, in its own way, has a part of each of us in it. Do not think, though, that I am being nostalgic for her lost love. Those sorts of thoughts will only gut you like a fish, and I have lately turned the corner on them. 

Many will tell you that you must learn to accept that it is over, completely finished. Many others will tell you that nothing really ever ends in some universal sense. Many others will tell you both things at different moments, or even within the same conversation. They seem to forget themselves, a bit, as to what might be true. Few have the courage to tell you that it is both over and that it will never fully end. 

Though, there is the little matter now of getting both of our names on the same document one last time, for old time's sake, as it were. To make official the final idiom that we have been working towards for all of these years, that one about parting.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bad Intel


I was operating on what is known as "bad intelligence." We go to life with the army that we have…

The woman that my eyes kept noticing flew out the day of the barbecue, so she was noticeably absent from the villa festivities, where I had arranged what would have been our first conversation.

Such is life.

It saved us both the unpleasant moment of me having to explain anything.

Now, I'm home again. I go to see the boy in about an hour. I will take him to the Farmer's Market where we will play, dance, eat, and have fun.  Festivities. 

There will be women there, also. Things are starting to occur to me, again. The "groom" pulled me aside and told me that I need to drop a few pounds, to get back into fucking shape. The eye of the tiger, all of that. I agreed with him, having no other public options.

Coincidentally, if I were the King of Spain… I would change the word for "panties" to "festivities" as they mean nearly the same thing. 

I would also have the word shift from being a noun to a conjugatable verb. 

Though, I think that might already be the case.


Monday, May 25, 2015

"Half of the man's age, plus seven"

I should not write about actual people as if they are part fiction. The danger is that they will find out and perhaps not quite understand. Last night, I discovered that the young woman that has captured my imagination, whose name I now know, is almost twenty years my junior. Of course I have no moral qualms or otherwise with this, but it furthers the imaginary distance in the complete and total absence of communication between us. I don't understand it. When I look at her she seems perfect for me. A type of destiny, as it were. 

How could such a thing be.

She will be coming to the villa today for a birthday barbecue and I will need to communicate to her that, regrettably, things simply would not work between us. It is for the best. 

I will accomplish this in the same way that I have accomplished all of my other communiques to her, through silence.

A few people read my post yesterday and commented that it said much more about me than about her, seeming to forget that I wrote the piece, so it would be impossible for it not to. Though, it can be dangerous to write partly fictional personal essays. 

I never wrote in detail about the first night I saw her, important details concerning her light and lengthy dress with a slit up the front, nor the way she occupied it; her haloed blonde hair as it swept past, changing the weekend forever. I found her easily to be the loveliest person in the courtyard, more than only pretty but charming in all of her laughter and movements.  

Charm is the ability to make somebody say "yes" without ever having asked a question. That is just what she did to me.

It was my fault that I did not write more about that. Her dress was a pattern of soft pink and white, allowing me to understand things about her body that would require intimacy under other circumstances. It has been some time since I have wanted so much to hold a person in whom I had no personal knowledge. To hold, and to hug, and to etc.

Then, what I wrote yesterday was done in partial jest, tongue almost entirely in cheek. I have yet to have a single conversation with her, the person that has captured me for three days now. 

Late in the night last night I received a text urging me to come to my friend's hotel room, the groom, that they were having a party and the subject of my interest had just arrived. I decided to retain some mystery and tried to go to sleep. Here, as in most all other places, my efforts were met with restlessness. She has unstrung a part of me. I am an unusually shy person, though I rarely seem that way. In part because I surround myself with couples and people with whom flirtation need not mean anything, nor have any particular direction or purpose. It is of no harmful consequence, as such it allows me to do almost as I please.

It is when I am left alone with a woman that I am attracted to that this shyness makes itself evident. Few ever get to witness that, so they assume that it could not possibly be true. That I have not had a conversation yet with this lovely woman after three days, with many opportunities before me, should be proof enough. 

In another decade perhaps she will be deeply in love with me. At this pace it seems a near certainty. 

She is not far off from Elijah Muhammad's equation for the correct ages between a man and a woman: half of the man's age plus seven. In fact, I think she sits perfectly in the sweet spot. 

She certainly seems to.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

To gaze upon the shoulders, to consider the arch of the back

(My "wedding stare")

Well, the wedding was quite touching. It had all the things that you would want in such a thing. The bride and groom were both lovely and gave tender speeches, recited their vows sweetly and with much fumbling sincerity. The parents were glowing with happiness for their children to be departing on a life together, hopefully with children arriving soon. Their "first dance" as a married couple was quite impressive. The groom is a suave Argentinian and his wife a genuine and tender beauty, but I do not believe that many had expected them to perform a choreographed "Cheek to Cheek." Not the Fred and Ginger choreography that you see in that link, but a charming bit nonetheless. I knew the moves as they were doing them yet with each sequence I found myself more pleased than with the one before. I teared up a little bit with happiness for both of them.

Had I mentioned that I am here in Mexico for a wedding? The world now has two less singles in it.

The girl with whom I had developed a fascination the evening before wore the wrong dress, and did nothing with her hair to compensate. It looked as if she had stepped out of the shower, letting the ravages of nature be her stylist. I realized after a few minutes of watching her that I am well out of her league, which made it impossible to approach her. She is pretty and very much "my type" but I could not muster the insincerity to see any of it through, nor even try. 

She chose a black dress that did little to compliment her, at least compared to the one of the previous evening. It was open and rounded at the top about the shoulders with a sort of funeral doily that hid more than it showcased. You could tell that she had breasts but it seemed as if you would have to work your way through a cotton cobweb to get to them. I suppose the idea was that it was to draw attention to her delicate shoulders, which were quite lovely, but that is the most and the best that could be said for the dress, that she would look much nicer out of it, as I'm confident she does.

The evening before, every pattern and line invited the eyes, encouraging them to linger and follow in consideration. Her entire six foot frame acted in unison as a series of on-ramps to much better places. She appeared as a woman, inviting in every curve. 

Last night, she just arrived as any other attendee at a wedding. She disappeared into celebration. 

Ah well. She never strayed far enough from her friends to be very interesting anyway. Few things are as off-putting as a lack of independence in any person. They were all like a four-headed wedding monster that became louder and yet somehow less noticeable as the evening unwound, or as they did. Everybody's faces started to sag a bit under the effects of perpetual tequila, even though they tried to stave it off with celebratory bursts at periodic, pre-determined moments. The light of the candle of their eyes were still well lit, though the wax had begun to drip a bit. 

You could see the looks of concern if any one of their group broke free from the others. They danced in a territorial square that was meant to simulate a circle of sorts, and cheered belatedly at all of the familiar wedding disco moments. They were trapped in a world about two seconds behind the music, as if the soundtrack to the evening and the video had slipped slightly out of synch, never to meet again. When they would step off the dance floor they would grab each other's arms and then move like an eight-legged crab that had become slightly disconnected from its constituent components. Because they only ever faced one another they each got an entirely different view of the wedding at all times. It was like a fortress guarded by four poorly trained sentinels. 

It was dispiriting, but what can one do? I would have offered a more interesting evening, though I suspect she might not have understood it. Still, she at least would have had a very good chance at sex, a thing that their locked-friend-formation seemed to be actively working against. I don't get it, once you've stared at a woman for an hour or more doesn't she know to break away from her friends to allow nature to take its course. She did not appear to understand the codes which encourage and allow the directed unfolding of a man's lust.

Some people you just can't reach.

There is still today, though she seems like a non-stop party girl. She's probably again repeating a story to her three connected friends this very moment, while I got a nice stretch of five hours of uninterrupted sleep, the first since I have arrived. 

She would be a match, or no match, for me now.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Mayan Riviera

Day two in sultry paradise. I have grown far too accustomed to the lower humidity of semi-Northern California. Some call it a drought. Last night, I sweated entirely through my linen shirt. Luckily, it was all white so once it was completely drenched nobody really noticed, though women ceased hugging me in greeting and departure. I was met with waves of the hand, smiles of retreat. 

Speaking of women... there was one. I felt the tug of attraction and enjoyed it. It seemed as if she was there to be noticed by me. That didn't take nearly as long as I had thought that it might. My impulses towards her were mildly problematic, though. She was "of a familiar type." A close friend not only noticed, but jokingly cautioned me not to call her by another's name. 

So, I spoke with her briefly, confirmed that she was nothing like the previous type to which I am referring, and then proceeded to stalk her visually while she acted as single women often do at a wedding; dancing and looking good, having fun, appearing ready to act upon their fertility. I wished to chat with her more. She came back to the villa where we are staying, but there was only one brief interchange at the edge of the beach as she and her friends withdrew for their hotel. I was offering to be helpful.

Later, I was stricken with a reasonably mild case of the revenge of Montezuma, the traveler's affliction. It is impossible to state the precise cause. It could have been everything. I have lost all of the fluids in my body between this and the linen shirt. I will be hospitalized by morning if there is one available, somewhere upriver, deep in the malarial jungle. 

Tonight, I will try to conceal my intestinal bacteria from the one to which I am inexorably drawn. Each abdominal movement warns me otherwise. I want her to wear the same dress from last night, but I am confident that she will not. Perhaps she will, at least, for me, do her hair in the same fashion. 

I wish only to make her feel pretty, you see, and then to find out some more about it.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Equal parts

Okay, now I'm here. I sit about 30 yards from the water having breakfast, enjoying the Caribbean winds. It took almost 24 hours to get here from the time I left my apartment, but that is all behind me, like most of my adolescence. 

Well, I wrote that then I went to say hi to the bride and groom and ended up doing some light yoga as the waves rolled onto the shore and the breeze lifted my sweat into the wind. I haven't even taken a picture yet. That's how comfortable I am, already. Accept the screen-grab from above as my postcard apology.

I'm not going to be able to supply a full post today. We'll consider this post a semi, a chubby, over as fast as it began; equal parts shame and brevity.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México

It's when I travel that I feel most alone. I long for someone to call, to text, to touch base with, anything. Some hint of sweetness somewhere out there in the world. In love there is, at least, the illusion that you are not alone. One of the best tricks ever invented. It really is too bad that it doesn't last. Everybody gets tired of everything. 

Airports are awful places. They're like hurried malls. Everybody is trying to escape, with baggage. There is no leisure, only boredom. Kids don't even laugh. They all seem worried. 

I sit here now in Mexico City, with a three hour layover, at an airport restaurant, mainly because they have wifi. From the glassed second floor there is a view of the entire length of the terminal. It feels like an underfunded set from a film like Minority Report, or Logan's Run (for my older readers), or Brazil. The world is built on accidental dystopia. 

Terminal, that's a good word for it. 

I have a camera, so here, you get to see it now also:

I hope that picture bores you as much as it does me. I'm not exactly sure why I even bothered taking it, I feel stupid, now, and think less of you for even looking at the thing. What were you thinking?

It's what I do with my life. I point at things and say, See?

I used to have friends in Mexico City that I could possibly call to meet me while I had a layover this long, but they have mostly grown up, I think. That sort of foolishness evaporates somewhere in your 40's, like giving people that you're dating a ride to the airport at an inconvenient hour. It just doesn't last.

None of it. If it does, then somebody will poke me in the ribs and point at the old couple holding hands in the park together and say, See?


Raise high the crucifix

Traveling. I love being places. I hate getting places. 

People that have never traveled for a living romanticize it. You can tell right away when they get on the plane, especially in first class. They are giddy and talkative. They act as if a mimosa is some mysterious or exotic drink, one served only to the finest people, because of their fineness. I want to cattle-prod them in the kidneys, make them squirt blood. 

Okay, maybe not the last part, but all the way up to the cattle prod, that is all true.

I left my house and drove into the office just as early as ever. I had nowhere else to go. I want to go back to sleep for a couple hours, but I know that my mind and body will not let me. I would rather sit in an abortion clinic waiting room than be in an airport. It would be more interesting, and at least you can be certain that all the women there fuck. In fact, you wouldn't even need to use protection, except for the other reason to do so.

I am an awful man, but Jesus still loves me just as much as he loves you and everybody else. I'll always have that going for me, even if I am an unloveable wretch elsewhere in life. Never forget that. There is nothing that you can do to make Jesus love you any more than me. So, suck it.

I tried to chat with the boy on Facetime this morning, but his grandmother was in the room. She is chatty, to a fault. It is difficult to sneak a sentence into the unending prattle. There are things about her I like, but she has never developed certain sensibilities, ones that would allow her to recognize basic things, like that I did not call to talk to her.

Ah well, what can one do... I am happy that he has a grandmother at all. I didn't. I never knew a single one of my grandparents. The last one died when I was about two months old.

Cue: the tears. Raise high the crucifix. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Last of the Late: "Enjoy every sandwich..."

Here is a piece filled with great anecdotes concerning one person's experience working for David Letterman. The Madonna interviews get me every time. What a fantastic time for chatting. 

Lots of people don't like Jimmy Fallon, and certainly you wouldn't if you compared him to Dave Letterman, but he's an affable enough fellow and he exploits that one quality to his great advantage. It seems that his guests like him well enough. One was given a very different feeling from Letterman, even with the guests that he clearly liked. It was not just his inability to be in awe of them, it was their inability to stop him from expressing that lack of awe.

Few things were as entertaining as watching him effortlessly deflate the pompous.  In my younger years he was a God. His shows in the 80's and early 90's were a nightly template on how to be, how to think, and how to speak. I can watch that Paris Hilton clip about once a month and still derive pleasure from it. When he gets to the point where he says, "You see, that's where you and I differ…" Now that was just a hint of the old Dave

Even though Paris is clearly irritated (watch her leg), he somehow calms her down and finishes the interview quite amicably. Few can do such a thing. With most, there is a clear departure point where the host silently apologizes in transition for ever having made the guest uncomfortable by completely changing the subject and "moving on." Dave knows exactly how to leave his version of the conversation lingering in such a way that it can not be removed by anybody, and not by any change in conversation.

Another one with a few laughs, even touching. It's true, but I didn't mean it.

The times have certainly changed. It's difficult to imagine that we will see another like him. Consider any talk show host having Don Van Vliet as the musical guest for a nationally broadcast show, now... Van Vliet has since passed away, but you get the idea. Nobody is willing any longer to entertain things for the sole sake of their weirdness, and the value of that weirdness. 

Warren Zevon would often take over as the show's musical coordinator for Paul Schaffer. That linked clip is one of the few in which Dave is in genuine awe. He dedicates the entire show to the man as everybody strongly suspected that he was going to soon pass, which he did. 

"Dave's the best friend that my music has ever had."

A friend just (coincidentally) emailed, letting me know that tonight is his last show. I didn't even know. I'll have the boy tonight, so I doubt I'll be able to watch. He reminded me that I once claimed that David Letterman (and Hunter S. Thompson) invented the way that we now speak (particularly at after-parties, as my friend reminded).  

It is nearly impossible to imagine people talking the way that they do now without him. 

Things being true, but not meaning it.


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Larkspur Ferry, and back again

(Photo by Rhys Cusick)

The boy is getting good at shooting my style of photography, which is to just take lots of candid pictures and hope for the best. Here we were snapping a few on the Larkspur Ferry yesterday.

It's a good thing that my head is as big as it is. It's the only thing that even attempts to keep my nose in proportion to my face. It's part of the reason that I don't lose weight. I would just look silly. It doesn't help that I am leaning forward into a 35mm field of view to offer technical assistance and emergency camera security detail. 

We had a pretty good time. We walked around the Ferry Building and he watched me eat raw oysters with horseradish while he excitedly pointed at the lobsters and clams that awaited their buttery fate. Then, we decided on some expensive burgers before we walked outside to see the line for the return ferry, which already seemed about twice as long as the possible number of seats on the boat.

Immediately, I became the classic dad, worried that we would not be able to get on the return ferry and would have to wait two hours more for the next one. I started an imaginary calculation of the enormous taxi fare from AT&T Park, across the bridge to Larkspur. I thought of all the people that I know in SF with cars. I rated them in order of presumable sympathetic leanings. I considered petitioning one of the ferry employees, pointing to the child, describing my terrible chronological error and the needs of a child. Explaining what freezing to death would be like. All of it.

The young women in line directly behind us, apparent experts on such matters, repeated incessantly that there was no way we were going to get on the boat, that we would have to wait for the next one. Only one of them was even cute, so I have no idea what I was doing talking to them at all. I had to explain in hushed tones to the cute one how sad it was that the boy's mother had passed away twice in childbirth, but we were doing okay. It was a big burden, of course, though he and I were quite happy together, having several mansions up in the hills, each with many maids to help with the boy and to perform basic household duties; the cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. 

If only I had someone to share all of my many riches with...

All for naught. 

We made it onto the boat, easily. In fact, the entire line that had formed behind us while we were waiting also made it. I tried to get the ugly girls to watch the boy while I chatted with little Mrs. Cusick, but they were not into it. I offered to buy her a drink. She explained that she was 14. 

Rules, rules, rules. Always, and everywhere one goes. 

No, I kid, of course. Where would we be without rules and paperwork. If we didn't have those then surely we would need more laws. 

Part of this story was true, at least.

I fluctuate back and forth between writing complete nonsense and touching upon matters that are perhaps too personal and better dealt with elsewhere. 

But what is one to do, once the confession starts. Nobody wishes to disappoint the priests. 


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Time Flies when it has a Scooter

We never made it out on a boat yesterday, so today is the day. I've checked the schedule and we're set. I fear that he will become bored with it rather quickly and we will have the remainder of the journey there and then the longer journey home, but what can one do. The boy has it in his heart to go on a boat with his dad. 

Who could deny such a thing.

Yesterday we intended on going shopping at an outdoor mall near San Quentin, but he fell asleep, so I just kept driving toward the city. We picked up Cato and made our way to Golden Gate Park where a friend was having a birthday party. It was a lovely day everywhere else, but once in the city the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the humidity climbed. The boy had to borrow a hoodie from the birthday boy. He was a little Ben Kenobi.

I am finding myself becoming more and more protective of the time I get to spend with him. He is reaching the age where he really needs his dad. It is perhaps the most hackneyed of all the parental cliches, but the time really does fly and each moment should be cherished. You never get a single second of it back. Oddly, splitting with his mom might not have been the worst thing that could have happened. My relationship with the boy has become so simple, clear and unobstructed. Not that she was intentionally interfering. It's just the dynamic of the thing. 

It has been a very long time since I have felt so loved, needed, and valued by anybody. One gets so used to being told in subtle and not so subtle ways that they're somehow not good enough, and undeserving. When you step back from that lie, even a short ways, you can't believe that you ever suffered it, and even called it love.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Song of the Sea

Ever since purchasing this Academy Award nominee Rhys has wanted to go out on a boat. So, grand plans fell into place, though they were not meant to be. Perhaps another time, for those plans anyway. The boy and I might still go out on a boat this weekend, though it might only be something as dull as the Bay Ferry. Some time spent wandering the Ferry Building on the other side, then back again. 

Old sailors. Maybe we'll both get matching tattoos to commemorate our time on shore leave. He'd probably do it. I doubt I could stomach the wails and the tears. Mine. I am not the tattoo type.

From a very early age I read a review of Led Zeppelin by Robert Christgau from The Village Voice in which he described the drummer thusly, "… while John Bonham, as ham-handed as ever, pounds out a contrapuntal tattoo of heavy rhythm. As always, the band's medievalisms have their limits." While I never precisely wanted to be the drummer in Led Zeppelin I also realized that neither did I want a tattoo, nor its associations. That was but one of the things that clinched it.

Now that the boy and I are going out to sea I feel as if I should have the classic dual dolphins on my eyelids with my nose as the boat between them, or something. Maybe a "tramp stamp" of a torpedo heading down the crack of my butt with an additional arrow pointing downwards that says, "Exit Also…" I haven't really decided on the design yet. Maybe the torpedo should be emerging upwards from my butt crack. Across the top it could state simply, "War Head."

I still not might yet be ready to make such a permanent decision. Of all of the tattoos that my various friends have there is only one that I have ever liked. It's an Art Nouveau piece that is somehow less than repulsive as far as skin ink goes. Still, I prefer it on him. It's how some people feel about other people's kids, they like them a lot, but then they go home.

I always thought that I was one of those people. It turns out I'm not. My favorite times are when Rhys is here. It's only when he's gone that I start to really consider getting any tattoos.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

35mm, Black and White

Rachel asked me for this picture today. It is one of my favorites.

Don't worry, I have old cameras and will take new pictures.

In this one, even the horizon leans and tilts, suggests an exit, stage right.

And there are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don't know how….


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lateral Epicondylitis

CS is right. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here any more. There is something to say but I've been warned not to say it, most have tired of hearing it anyway. I'm still getting readers for the occasional meltdown that we can count on that comes along every so often. I'm sure of it. My heart is like a rubber clock being run by a series of bent corkscrews.

I used to use the reason that if I didn't write first thing in the morning then all was lost, but I can disprove that any morning of my choosing. I'm emotionally and spiritually exhausted, and people tire easily of my gym tirades, the people at the gym most of all. It's as if I am on steroids but without any of the benefits; a life dedicated to future regrets. 

None of the supposedly wonderful qualities that accompany age have arrived in my life. My elbow hurts. Tennis elbow, without the tennis. My friend that is a radiologist showed me what has happened. He explained how the old tendons have frayed from age, misuse. He described the tearing from a sudden shock or stretching, or from the ravages of time; like an old pier that is collapsing on one side, barnacles creeping up the side of the elbow, best to not use. He advised me to avoid vigorous recurring motion.

I'm confident that it arose from a specific self-abuse regimen that I have been lately experimenting with, pushing the upper limits, if you will. I have no clinical evidence to support this theory, though it is not for lack of trying. Documenting certain activities in the wild can be difficult. There is no "control group" from which to compare. It is all lost in the fog of tug. 

It has afflicted the right arm only. That is the one indicator that seems the most telling and the one in which everybody agrees is the strongest indicator of a causal link.

So, now I can't even conduct my rigorous private life without incurring a sports injury of some sort. When people my age talk about not wanting to be young any more, that they enjoy being this age, they must have no memory of their previously carnal lives whatsoever. It must all be a blur of physical pleasure that they are just as happy to have escaped from.

Not me. I want to love like I'm 43 again, or even 37.

One day. 

I'll bump up my cardio program at the gym, see what happens.

I received the miracle of sleep last night. Well, it weren't no miracle. It were from the snake potions.  It was the result of a planned combination of Ambien and Xanax oils. Eight dark hours where the mind, the spirit, and the elbow could recuperate together. 

I awoke, tempted to test the elbow, but remembered what the snake oil salesman said about such things. 

The greasy stuff is guaranteed to heal the body, but be wary of the soul that wiggles in the palm of the hand of the devilish one.


Monday, May 11, 2015

This Nation's Saving Grace

Nothing to say, even less than nothing; sub-nothing. 

I listened to the album cited above this morning at the gym and it invigorated me, once more, once again.

It's been a few years since I've heard it. There is an odd Mekons-like power to it. Only explainable in historical context, attention to detail that most listeners might resist. 

Apparently, 1985 was the greatest year for obscure albums ever. Fear and Whiskey. Tim. Fables of the Reconstruction. Psychocandy. New Day Rising. Rum, Sodomy & the Lash. Love.

That being, I will always remember it as the year that Joe Strummer betrayed each and every one of us. The album Cut The Crap can be summed up in one accurate and precise estimation: Didn't.

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

If I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems...

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.

If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Maybe I need a puppy

There is still so much that I need to do here in this apartment. I need a lamp and dresser for my room. My clothes are in a pile, those which could not fit in the closet, from hangars. I have far more than I need, more than I would wear. I save things that are too small, dreaming that one day I will be under 200 pounds again. If I hit 50 years and still haven't accomplished that modest task then perhaps I'll rethink my motives, and the results.

50. Gross. 

Or, isn't a gross twelve dozen? So, 50 is actually 144. Grotesque. 

This morning Cato and Matt and Jordan will come over for breakfast. More eggs and bacon and perhaps a seasoned steak from the local latino meat market. I ate six pieces of bacon yesterday and five eggs, to make sure that they were acceptable for guests. Now, I will need to go and buy more. Yesterday, I was part of a one man exploratory committee. 

I did not eat all six pieces in a single sitting, nor the eggs. They were divided almost equally between breakfast and dinner. I wanted to give the day a sense of unity and near balance. 

I won. 

I was shopping for clothes on amazon last night with the help of a friend. I recognized that blue jeans might not be the thing to wear on the beach in Mexico for a wedding. I bought a few pairs of linen pants, and shorts, the colors were described as Sand and Black, day and evening wear. Now, I will need lightly colored, loosely fitting shirts. The idea is to look naturally casual, a look that I have hardly cultivated. I am a jeans and t-shirts kind of guy, solid colors.

Though, it is time for me to add some new articles to my wardrobe. Like Joni Mitchell, I should learn to make better changes and to make them more easily. A lesson not always so easily re-learned. It involves spending money and doing things differently. Seems easy enough by those standards, but then there is the execution of it. One must practice all things. There is so little time.

Ah well, that is my plan for success, anyway.

Here is another:


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Great Escape, 2001

One of the few times that I get to listen to albums is at the gym. This morning, The Cure's "Faith." It's been on my iPod for months and I've scrolled past it about a hundred times. It has always seemed too much of a commitment, too brooding and morose. Tough times call for moody music.

With each listening of this album, about once a year, I am reminded of a sudden trip that several of my friends took from NYC in October of 2001, less than a month after the attacks.

America's intention to invade Afghanistan had been made. I reasoned that if the terrorists were going to strike again then this is when they would do so, and New York was the place. I spoke of chemical warfare, possible suitcase-sized nuclear devices. The implications were clear and ominous. We made our plans to load up in an SUV and escape. We discussed it vaguely then specifically over a Moroccan dinner of hummus, falafel, and lamb. There were six of us that I remember. Two couples, two singles. My buddy and his girlfriend, myself and my girlfriend, a photographer and a friend that helped manage the booking office at the time. Two of us were what would be considered and handled by the agency as artists.

We made no real plans. We just drove south. Terrorists would hardly care what survived in those desperate lands. There is no need for an apocalypse in such a place. Never more than a couple steps from becoming a living re-enactment of Mad Max, the south invites its own decay. 

The first city we stopped at was Washington D.C. Terrorists would never think of hitting there. We laughed about our strategy grimly, we pushed on. Wouldn't the people of NYC feel stupid now, or soon.

We headed towards the innards of the country. 

I got a speeding ticket in Virginia, 90 in a 55 zone. The officer explained that I would have to appear in court on the date listed. I explained that I could not. He offered to take me to jail instead, to iron things out with the judge in the morning. I looked him in the eye and promised that I would appear in court. I would be there, you can count on it. A phone call later solved the entire issue handily for just under $300. Those were in 2001 dollars, of course.

My buddy called his travel agent and we were made aware of a resort that would be the best place to hide. Little did we know precisely how right we were at the time. 

My girlfriend, Camille, aptly described the hotel's interior decor as the inspiration for several late Tom Petty videos. The entire place was a farrago of exploding colors and confused decorative ideas, all forced to exist together in what otherwise need not be cramped spaces. The eye never gets to rest, the mind never finds its center. It is the architectural equivalent of a flashback. What is meant to express a southern regal air instead perplexes the guest, inviting comparisons to a botched life-sized wedding cake made by an overzealous baker, one likely addicted to a specific opiate. 

We stayed only one night. It was much more than any of us could stomach. There was a bowling alley in the basement. Room service. Drinks. My buddy payed for it all. It must have cost thousands. The sting is perhaps still being felt.

We continued to escape the ravages of impending terror. We headed towards Asheville, North Carolina. This is where my girlfriend's mother was. Camille was originally from New Orleans, though her mother had a place in the mountains. I can't remember if this was the first time meeting her or not. I think that it was. She met us outside the Brookstone Lodge where we would continue to flee. 

The place was enormous, and built entirely by Keebler Elves:

We were all becoming good at sidestepping doom. It started to feel quite natural, this spree of victories.

We drank wine and went swimming in the heated pool that night. The office manager in her bikini started flirting with my girlfriend in hers and for a few successive moments I thought that they just might get it on.

Okay, I thought. Okay.

But, the audience and attention they attracted in their flirtations confirmed that it was, alas, not meant to be.

The next day we awoke and decided to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. The day was uniformly overcast, and gray. We stopped at a used cd place and bought a few cds for the drive; Neil Young, Roxy Music, The Cure. Nobody else seemed interested in Roxy Music so we started with Neil Young and then stuck with The Cure's "Faith" on loop once we had settled in to the driving.  We wound our way up into the mountains, smoking pot as we went, something the office manager had made sure to pack. The memory for me is imperishable. 

The winding, empty roads, the haze of the pot, the grey clouds moving across the face of the mountains and across the meandering path before and behind us. All silent as we climbed. The pace of the music and the mood of the view expected it.

We rounded a curve in the road where the crevice of the mountain created a fold in which the wind rose steadily from below. There, held aloft without effort was a raggedy blackbird, perhaps a crow. Its tattered wings outstretched, flapping loosely in the winds without effort or motion from the animal.  Hung as if in a suspended crucifixion. The car slowed as it arced past, silently we each turned our heads, transfixed by what was coming together before us, and within us; escape. 


Friday, May 8, 2015

The Event Horizon

(Sharon Kingston, Rilke's Sunset)

Well, I'm definitely home again now. The boy slept at my place last night. I have two lives, separated by nothing. I suppose that many people do. 

I need to find a woman with three lives, maybe more. I would describe my preference for the shape of those lives, though that might seem far too Roman of me. An emotionally complete woman with her own car and place to live would be acceptable enough. It would be nice if she did not have too much back hair, also. Little matter, that. Those things are easily enough fixed. Just look at me above the neck of my shirt. No one ever has to know. It's our secret now, baby.

The phone bill is due. I forgot to change the plan back after jacking it up to cover the excess minutes of my waning marriage. So, I just throw money from the back of a train.

I truly have nothing of value to say today. I am on the verge of a new life, but am not quite there yet. The old life keeps dragging me back towards it. The gravity of it like circling a black hole, awaiting the moment where events can no longer affect an outside observer, where my mass is split apart forever, spewing the invisible energy back out into the still-life void. 

I'm okay with it, of course, I have no choice. It just seems to be taking forever.


Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
one part climbs towards heaven, one sinks to the earth.

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs-

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

- Rilke