Thursday, December 31, 2015

Morning Medicinal Use

I have been waffling on whether or not to bring the boy to see the new Star Wars movie, The Farts Awaken. I recognize that this is no great moral dilemma, though I invoked the assistance of social media just to check myself against the mores of our times. Then, this morning, the boy awoke briefly, lifted his head and whispered one word, "Vader…." 

It seems that the legacy has engraved itself in light and stone. There is a noon showing today at the local theater. Two Jedis - one as ancient as Yoda, the other a young Anakin in training - will be there awaiting its arrival, dancing lights there on the silver screen.

Well, I finally set up the new coffee maker yesterday and ground some coffee beans and hot water into a cup. It was my first attempt. I must have done something wrong. It didn't taste very good. I know that I speak hyperbolically here for reasons all my own, but it was strong enough that I nearly wish that I had taken a couple before-and-after meth mugshots to document the experience for my audience of doctors. I felt that I was sure to die. I tried to focus on something, anything, reminding myself that I had only taken a drug, that I would eventually come down. I cooked an entire chicken in five minutes.

Well, I just made another cup now and it is much better. I bought the wrong beans, Peet's French Roast. I was desperate the days leading up to Christmas and at the wrong grocery store, the one on this side of the tracks. I'll need to go to the fancy store in the good part of town and buy the good stuff. 

As I said, I've ruined myself for the joys of the past, again, now there are only the rote mechanics of a new morning ritual. I gave in to the temptations of gateway coffee. I developed an expensive habit, and am already in search of the better beans.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Darth Vader tries his first Double-IPA

Dealing with government agencies is fun, though I try to find a way to get my kicks on any given phone call. I can usually get a laugh out of the person on the other end. In fairness, sometimes it is only me that is laughing. I too easily succumb to the irrational pleasures of absurdism. I'm certain that I am recorded each and every time. Something about the idea of it appeals to my sense of vanity and posterity. 

Trying to deal with any end-of-year issue is always a struggle. I've been on hold now for 45 minutes, listening to a loop of music and announcements that they must have spent the better part of twenty dollars on for production and/or usage rights. It's not actually a government agency, they only function like one. For anybody that has ever had to deal with them before, they sit somewhere between employment and the government; timecards, paycheck reports, benefit elections, etc. Their website accurately reflects everything that you need to know about them in terms of aesthetics, functionality, and competence. 

I avoid using their three letter denominator because I very much like my job and do not wish to disparage one of our partners publicly.

I must assume that there is only one person working in their office today, a Muslim. This is not to denigrate Muslims, rather only to recognize that this is a popular time of the year for Christians to be useless at home rather than on the job, as is their yearly custom.

It is a tax issue. There are miniature governmental benefits to having a child. Some of my earnings each pay period are taken out of my paycheck and then given back to me untaxed by an organization of bunglers. The struggle of dealing with them makes it almost not worth it, but I am able to still be productive in the background, so there is that.

Perhaps I am a Muslim now, in addition to my other faiths. 

I have never understood why it wouldn't simply be easier to put the money right back into my paycheck, untaxed, rather than the bureaucracy that is so mismanaged as to be by design. I have to use fax machines and wait for the regular post. I had thought that my mailbox had exclusively become a spam folder.

Dealing with the person that I am now can best be described as the oft-used and equally misused phrase, Kafka-esque. She is telling me something that is in direct conflict with the last bit of information that I was given when I called two weeks ago, and even in conflict with the last bit of information that SHE gave me. When I asked her to check on it she told me that she didn't have to, that it's all right in front of her on her computer. 

Having things on your computer makes things much simpler, I said. I then had her cross-reference the two forms that I had recently submitted and asked if the second one would make any sense unless I had been given misinformation. She did concede that what I had done made no sense at all. She was happy enough to confirm that for me. I then had her verify that I had called in about two weeks ago. Then, I had her quickly check that I have been operating under certain understandings and assumptions for several years now, and must have been operating on the different information that I was given then, two weeks ago. It was the only explanation that made any sense to her, or me, though I let her stumble a bit before I summated the experience with error on their part. 

She wondered how I ever came by certain numbers that appeared on the form, as they had nothing to do with me as an individual, but were rather account numbers that were nearly unrelated to me. How else would I have ever had the numbers that I submitted via fax shortly after that call, I wondered allowed to her. 

How indeed?

Dearheart, I believe we've already concluded how this error might have happened. Let's move towards a resolution together?

The "hold music" is so old that I can hear parts where the tape has stretched and I am reminded of how unintentionally psychedelic and pleasant tape recordings can sometimes be. It is that old, a tape loop that has stretched from perpetual use. I can envision the cartridge, on a top shelf in a closet near a manager's office, whirring lightly, playing through weekends. 

It was used in Nirvana's earliest recordings. 

Okay, she came back and explained everything. There must have been a misunderstanding on my part. My untaxed money was on its way to my via the United States Postal Service. In fact, it should have arrived some time ago, having been mailed on the 22nd of the month.

I giggled. I may have even farted. 

Oh no. You see... I live in a remote area, trapped neatly between California suburbs, though separated by two small mountain ranges, one merely a visible echo in the earth of the other. It's a small place called Sonoma. It is quite uncomplicated by highways, and mail trucks. Even the Amazon calls it remote. There is a two-lane road that leads up the valley that is colloquially known as "12." It's a bike path that was made for small energy efficient cars - able to drive in small dreams at night, almost wide enough from which to escape them, unnoticed at dawn.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Al NyQuil Akbar (demons never die)

Sick again; felt it approaching from the shadows, jumped, a vampire lurking at night, entered blood with the ease of liquid mercury. Stayed in bed for twenty-four hours straight, getting up only a fingerful of times to rub the bite marks, once to meet the delivery guy at the door. Lasagna, comfort food. I ate it all in bed with a bottle of blood red wine and all of the NyQuil that eternity requires. 

I dreamed of locks that could not be opened, wooden doors, lost keys, the trees, pathways of the past. I dreamed of sleeping as it was happening. Emerged from delirium, sick with the poisons, still weary from the cure, vampire I. 

Allah is silent on the issue of NyQuil. 

Akbar. Allah, I quill.

The boy had a grand Christmas, I believe. He seemed to enjoy the presents that Santa brought him. Once in the car, I fucked up the myth and referred to something that "we got." He quickly stated that Santa brought it. I corrected that "we got it from Santa… as is the North wish."


The seed-istic of atheism has been planted. A friend texted that the organization of atheism is "non-prophet…" I cited Hitchens, Dawkins, others. The problem with atheists isn't their lack of faith in a god, or lack of need for validation in their beliefs, it's that they're all just a bunch of assholes. Their belief exists in being something other than a "bunch" though bunch they are. 

Assholism. It's similar to alcoholism in that you must accept that you are powerless over your compulsive non-belief, and recovery depends on convincing others that they have a problem. You must find a replacement for your social groups if you wish to ever recover from religion. Good luck.

Or, you must be an agnostic, which quite literally means anti-knowledge and more specifically anti-textual knowledge concerning gods, and then just care any more than you should, or could, or can (edited for DJ Three). 

If you find yourself looking at pornography alone, then you just might be suffering from assholism. If you find yourself looking at assholes, then you just might be one.

Where am I going with this? I've explained that I was sick, right? I've been indulging in the dark dreams of illness. The only pornography I've indulged in was Hulu, which loosely translates to Mandarin assholes that hold the gourd of the golden, precious things.

If you buy that branding then I still have some Enron stock I'd like to sell. They are at the best price they've ever been, so strike while the iron is hot. 

I can print as many as you desire, or fewer, if it pleases your Allah.

Religion and atheism are alike in matters of supply, demand. 

Search the earth, find a trinket that shines.

Call it mine.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Feast of St. Stephen

Well, it's over. The magic of Christmas lives on another year. The boy was quite pleased with the bounty from Santa. I'll never drink pre-ground coffee at home again and Darth Vader will have a new life of adventure in Sonoma.

The day was overcast, though the sun broke through here and there, enough for the boy to get out and play on one of his new toys. He picked up on it right away and within a few minutes was navigating pretty well around the parking lot.

A memory of Christmas in the mid 80's has stuck with me, for perhaps morbid reasons. There was a poor kid from a trailer park near Orlando who got a new bike and he went to the air pump at the local gas station, when he went to fill up his new Christmas bike tires with air the bomb went off, ripping off half of his leg and leaving the rest of his body a collection of scar tissue. As far as I know they never found the guy who did it. I say "guy" with acknowledged presumption, but it's always the guys that do shit like that. We all know it. 

It's bothered me ever since. I was maybe fifteen or sixteen when it happened. It seemed so evil and yet still somehow petty. For someone to take out their inner anger on what they must have known would have been a child with a new bike on Christmas Day. A small act of direct and anonymous hatred. I am still vaguely suspicious of air pumps at gas stations. It left its psychic mark on me. 

That's not what I had meant to write about today. I'm not even sure why that memory re-emerged, except that it always does when a kid gets a new bike for Christmas. There is some dark shadow that follows the day.

I head now to the gym and will try to sweat the bad thoughts out and away. There was much wine consumed in the last two days. A good hour-long sweating at the gym should help. Then, there will be the setting up of the new coffee maker. I also received a French press as a gift, so my coffee options are wide open. The old Mr. Coffee must go, and the boy will go, go, go.

Today, I will celebrate with wine the first Christian martyr, as a recovering Irish-Catholic, tomorrow I will again celebrate St. Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin, as a friend to the Greek Orthodox parishioners, as an atheist that has once again returned to the fold.


Friday, December 25, 2015

C-Day, 2015

Well, the morning came and the morning went. Oh, to be young.

There is nothing to report here, the boy is nearly napping, having exhausted himself on new toys, candy, and clothes.

I am prepared to open the day's first bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon soon. Very soon.

I always opt to work on Christmas Day. It gives me something to do, something to focus on when the gym isn't open and I have exhausted myself thanking the Lord for his birth.

The Immaculate Conception had nothing at all to do with Jesus. Well, very little, anyway. Even most ardent Catholics that I know do not know this. It is the doctrine of Mary's birth, and her being free from sin, not the impregnation of Mary with Jesus through the Father's angelic seed, which is instead covered by the doctrine of Incarnation.

Another shocking fact, to many, is that Immaculate Conception was not officially accepted by the Church until the mid 19th century. Ineffabillis Deus! It is what is known as contemporary dogma, which partially explains its popularity as an object of derision, as well as its popularity as dogmatic doctrine.

Though, there are other reasons, as well. Witchcraft running roughshod through so much that we're told.

Happy Hocus Pocus!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

"If I could I'd fold myself away…."

From a NY Times article about public anonymity and/or confession: ''… traveling a well-worn path forged by people who learned early on that the internet was a suitable place - maybe the best place - to share a secret."

The word "divulge" could have also been used there, in place of the other. The truth of it would have remained untouched, though changed.

A friend whose family I recently visited sent me a quote about memory. Its context was drugs and alcohol: "It takes a huge effort to free yourself from a memory." - Paul Coehlo (I'm trusting my friend's source here)

I would agree and disagree, on a few levels, and could restate it in a number of ways where it might be more applicable to me… "It requires effort to develop an obsession."

"The happiness of youthful discovery should be neither forgotten nor abused into ritual."

"The romance of the past should never cross the county line with a minor."

"Repetition comes naturally."

There are so many ways to misstate a truth. That we get to chose among truths should be the first and foremost thing taught. No other single observation has led me to atheism more than that observation, that celestial truths have their origins in human thought. Well that, and my repulsion for most religion's explanation for the cosmos, and man's supposed place in it. There seems to be a fundamental misrepresenting of mankind's purpose, that they even have one. 

It is all absurd, this life.

I think that I might have been a better Hindu than just about anything else. I do love the inclusiveness of the Jewish social and familial fabric. Most religions offer some quality that I can esteem, or at least get behind, though I can get my arms around none of them. Something about each vaguely reminds me of falling in love with the wrong person. There is something terribly shameful about being willing to do so much for someone that doesn't deserve it. You want to tell them, but there is no adequate way to do so. How do you impart such a feeling to another person. You can rescind your love, but you can not rescind your initial reasons for giving it.

Afterwards, you find that all of your faith and devotion resulted in nothing. Less than nothing. You awake one morning and brush your teeth, looking up to meet your own eyes, wondering where the substance that comprised your faith and love has slipped off to, in what direction, the quantity of it soon to be depleted. The substance of life like the curled remainder of the tooth paste that you're brushing across the grinning reflection. It would be a growl if it were not for the purely functional nature of the act. 

Nothing ever works again the way that newness once did, not even newness.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I Wish You Christmas

Well, I made it homeward through rain and flight delays, landing at the wrong airport (Oakland), then taking a bus across the bay to SFO, then another to long term parking, then the long drive home, North along the coast, the end of the earths. 

I think they should put Planned Parenthood clinics in airports. Then, let's get down to the heart of the mattress. Make them all Duty-Free… … for a good liberal laugh.

I did get to listen to the new-ish Father John Misty album on the drive from SFO to home. Each time that I make that drive it feels as if it is becoming ever longer. Perhaps California is sliding into the ocean. Or, my apartment is only stretching away from the airport.

It's a start... I suppose. I'm glad to be home, even if I am tilting towards the Pacific.

Love, the tale of time.


CS wrote well this morning about adventure, its consequences. I relate to some of his observations about self; the self interacting with the idea of self; the memory of past selves; being honest concerning the results. It's tougher than many must guess. Most do not make a life out of confession, they form a life from it. Writing forces this, in a way, conceals it in another. Writing is like having a drinking problem. There are lots of oval justifications, that are barely navigable by others, yet they seem to almost make sense.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately, drinking. Some would say that thinking about something is significant, or meaningful, or indicative. This is of the, whoever smelt it dealt it variety of intellect.

People are uncomfortable discussing drinking, unless they're discussing it with someone who drinks more than them. Until they're drinking. Everybody needs a gauge. 

Similarly, when writers begin to publicly discuss what they do. It is shameful and few walk away feeling good about having witnessed any of it it. It is a form of wetting yourself and then wondering aloud how all of that urine came to be inside of your trousers. 

I only quote myself when I am speaking as another, you see. 

I have been drinking a bit more than what can be considered usual, for me; there was a smattering of memories stretching back towards the river Lethe, then Burning Man™, one dumb night out on Sonoma Square, one guest here the weekend before that, then a Vegas trip just this last. Then, today.

The weekends are hobbling me - candy corrosive, with the tiniest witch digits.

Weekends have become like small-people that are outrunning me in little potato sacks. I can see the rumbling of the root, feel it lifting from the ground. As if in slow motion, the mini weekends are beating my potatoes live at the jamboree, on tambourines. 

Like drums.
Like earth.
Like I.

The smallest of things matter more than can be stopped, or slowed. I seek to jangle.

Once you've seen those monkeys fly within The Wizard of Oz, then you are no longer obligated to believe so much in anymore.

It was Love at every site


Monday, December 21, 2015


All night I had brooding, unsettled dreams, matched with restless sleep. I blame the movie we watched: Iñárritu's The Revenant. Don't ask how. There are ways. You don't want to know about them. We tried to watch Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, though the methods I mentioned did not satisfy all of our cinematic lusts for theft. 

The film was disturbing; beautiful to look at, hideous to witness. The narrative was structured in such a way that the viewer had little choice except to wish to share in a revenge killing, a plot point which drives the entire movie. It had few laughs. The baddy did kill the son of Leonardo DiCaprio's character, an act that we also shared in, along with a bear rape scene that is unrivaled in cinema, to my knowledge. So, it all seems justified when the moment of determination arrives. Still, two hours and forty minutes of seeking pleasure in imaginary revenge exacts its spiritual taxes.

Also, what may have contributed to the dreams: we had a semi-spicy dinner at Lotus of Siam, a Thai place that was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show. This may have contributed, along with the winter solstice, coupled with the woman who pulled up onto the sidewalk and ran over almost 40 people on the Vegas Strip last night. There was a three year old in the backseat of the car. Perhaps the driver was motivated by some vague or acute sense of revenge, also. 

The media were quick to point out that the authorities did not believe this to be an act of terrorism. The pedestrians may have simply been overreacting. Who knows, the woman might have been blonde and without affiliations to a local church, perhaps not even interested in reading religious doctrine of any sort. Perhaps she made fewer roadside comments than Mel Gibson. Without some dogma in place, the label of terrorism doesn't quite stick. What is needed is the adhesive of a spiritual idea.

The authorities said there may have been a little bit of panic reaction or a touch of fear response, there were a few participants that may have even reacted in a fight or flight manner, but the authorities were eager to offer that it did not seem as if the woman was using this act as a tactic to sell advertising to sponsors in any long term or overarching way. This was just a lucky one-off. She has no brand, no convenient ism to attach to the act, or to the phrase which might be used to describe her inspiration. It was just one lone looney. Well, other than the baby in the back seat, she acted alone. 

They're testing the baby now for fundamentals. 

The world can be a horrible place, sometimes it is too easy to forget. That people may want to escape it is not the surprise, that there are so many who are against the escaping is the real shock. 

The only effective mechanisms portrayed in the film last night were guns. Beyond that, a world nearly bereft of industry was depicted, populated mainly by fur traders and Pawnee Indians. Killers, all of them, each with their reasons; some thoughtless, others nearly too thoughtful. 

What did Hobbes remind us about a world without industry:

… no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shards of Shame

Ugh. The party was good fun, almost too much. I can be an excitable type, given to the rhythms of chaos. I basically behaved. Being an unexpected guest has its perks. 

Afterwards, my friend and I watched a soccer match until 4am, or so. Barcelona spanked River Plate, 3-nil. My buddy is Argentinian, but he's a Boca fan. So, there is that. We will watch more matches today. It is the way of things.

I awoke too early and shuffled through vague memories from last night. Shards of shame, little stabs of regret. I did pretty well until the end of the evening. Boredom got the best of me, the whiskey then followed and finished me. Repetition is the death of joy.

It has been three days of consistent drinking now. I've reached my limit, I hope. I tried to convince my buddy to go to the gym but he was having none of it, at all. He has decided to honor the sabbath. 

I have decided to honor his honoring.


Saturday, December 19, 2015


I neglected to write a post yesterday. I was out running around with my friend doing errands. I did not want to send the wrong message concerning my trip to Vegas. It has not been all just hookers and blow, etc. There was some sushi, also.

I desperately need a coffee, now. I have slept much better and later into the morning in my friend's darkened pool/guest house than I ever do at home. Admittedly, there has been much drinking, and then some later after-drinking, then me trying to persuade my hosts to adopt some more refined country music sensibilities, and probably some Xanax and muscle relaxers and pain killers.

Now, there will be a lunch. Tonight, there is a themed party. I will be arriving adorned in a cossack and a Himalayan jacket left over from Burning Man, spinning wild tales upon my return to Mother Russia.

As is my custom.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Late of Pablo-Fanques Fair

Okay, so I'm not actually going to Vegas. I'm going to Henderson, Nevada. Presumably, the Hendersons will all be there, etc. It is the second largest city in Nevada next to Vegas, and is actually right next to Vegas, making the latter seem much larger than it actually is. That is just the boring geographic data. The other part is that it's in the desert.

I forgot to choose my seat on the plane, so I am potentially in a middle seat. I'll order sixteen whiskies and hope for the best. I've become terrible at flying, a regular Joe Schmo. maybe I'll stop at Cinnabon and bring it on the plane in its entirety and then try to eat is as the plane is taking off. Put the seat tray down and everything, recline my seat back and get comfortable.

Okay, I have nothing to report here. I am running around like crazy trying to be prepared for a Russian-themed birthday party that I'll be going to over the weekend. I'll be wearing the below hat, and maybe my KGB jacket, or perhaps my Himalayan. Who knows. I can claim that I am in transit, and with some verisimilitude believe that I should be able to pull it off.

Pull it off. That phrase makes me giggle.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Unsurprisingly, the RV repair shop sent me an estimate for repairs: $1200. 

Yes, that is the figure they quoted me. There is no decimal point there. That thing at the end is a period. Those are all round, full dollars. Twelve hundred of them. Keep in mind that I already provided the parts, which cost me about $100. This was just for labor... for replacing two brake lights and fixing a 3 inch fiberglass crack, on a 2003 RV.

The crack that you see above.

I called the guy, Mike. He tried to explain to me that he "puts his name on his work!" and I told him that I didn't want his name on anything, that I only wanted him to perform a very basic fiberglass repair, and that the RV did not need to be sea-worthy.

I talked him down to $347, which was still way too high, and then explained the meaning of this time-tested maxim to him: You can not polish a turd.

We seemed to come to some agreement and the work will be getting done at some point. I could have done it myself, and probably should have done it myself, but C'est La Vie, as they used to say. I don't want to apply fiberglass epoxy, nor do I want to sand it down once or twice after I've finished that. I don't want any part of this incident any longer, though it has become my albatross. 

Mike went on and on about matching colors and the difficulty of his job, and that the crack was on a curve (I encourage you to look at it). I carefully responded with my reasoning: that this was not a '73 Corvette, it was a fecal monstrosity on wobbling wheels, nothing more. I explained my shame at even driving in for the repair in daylight, and that I'm on Tinder, and what if a potential mate witnessed me dragging that dung capsule across the county line? 

What if, Mike?

The guy from the Casita corporation called me back and he told me that they have nothing but problems, particularly with repair shops in California. He's from Texas, you see. He seemed distressed that one of their RVs was even out here in California, away from home, and more so that it was damaged and in desperate need of help.

So, Burning Man just keeps costing. Even as nice as my new tent was before I brought it, if it was a total wash it still would have cost me a fraction of what this other business has, and the struggle is not over. Ah well, what is adventure but a story about where you spent your money. Mostly.

I kid, a bit, of course. 

Adventures are about making money: somehow using your intellect to exploit the efforts and labor of others. A misadventure is when you use your intellect to lose your own money. I'm pretty certain that is the golden standard for what differentiates the two.

Well, I was going to write some more but I don't even remember what I was going to write about now. 

Something happened. I don't recall what any more. I only know that an invoice is likely on its way.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Balance Due

Well, I wrote part of this yesterday, but then became busy with actually taking care of the thing that I was describing:

Today, I begin my amorphous preparations for Burning Man 2016, sort of. I am finally taking the little Casita RV that I borrowed from a friend in to a shop for its needed repair. I cracked a brake light and some fiberglass as we were careening into my parking lot in blind reverse. Some true American hero had their enormous pickup truck extended about a foot and half out past where it should have been along the covered parking strip. The result of the collision was a broken taillight and a small crack in the fiberglass. 

It has already cost me a hundred bucks. I'm sure that it will cost me much more before the time that the RV repair place is done with me. Car repair places are like prison cell mates for a week or two, ones that you don't have to spend all that much time with, lots of free time lingering in "the yard"... though you also can never be quite sure when the penetration will arrive, like a thief in the sunlight. You know, with certainty, that the moment will arrive. It will appear official, an invoice that is filled out with all of the details; alpha-numeric stick figures that, when examined closely, illustrate the bottom line of prison love.

Ah well, Burning Man has a way of costing much more than you had thought and hoped and prayed and begged and pleaded for... eventually conceding that it might, that it must, that it definitely will. Next year, if I go at all, I'll be tent camping. I prefer it to having an RV as they end up being a pain in the ass. Though they are occasionally very nice to have, like during a sandstorm, or if the mood strikes you to be inside of one rather than in direct sunlight.

Well, that is what I wrote yesterday.

Here is this morning's:

The actual experience was much better and much worse, in different ways. When I opened the box with the newly purchased taillights there was only one. I had initially called the Casita corporation and they told me that they no longer make the model that I needed. So, I would need to buy two of the newer kind, LEDs.

So, I did.

Then, about a week later I got an email from their parts/support guy, Victor, saying he had the older model and to just send back the two newer ones and he could sell me the older one plus $25 for shipping and handling. With shipping costs and everything else I just gave up and decided that my friends would get the newer LED brake lights as a gift from me.

Then I opened the box, yesterday. They had only shipped me one light.

Dumb Mother-Fuckers..., I thought.

I called them and raised my voice a little bit, describing both the situation and my frustrations concerning it. This did no good. I would get a call back, they said. No call has yet happened.

But, beyond all that, hooking the RV up to the truck and driving it over to the repair shop in Petaluma reminded me pleasantly of the Burning Man experience. I thought of the many hours that we waited on the highway to gain entrance, together under the moon and desert stars. I thought fondly of our camp, and the unexpected beauty of the ephemeral.  The lesson of how such feelings last in memory. Objects, all dispersed, yet subjects and memories somehow still pirouetting together.

Pulling the trailer was a much simpler affair when it was not loaded with all the shenanigans of the festival; people, food, clothes, and supplies of all kinds. It barely seemed that it was back there when its only extra weight was a floor full of playa dust. I put off vacuuming for reasons that still escape me. I suppose I surmised that a repair was needed and all cleaning could be finalized in concert with that event. Little did I know that it would take me months to accomplish such a simple thing.

Or, something that seemed so simple.

On the drive back to Sonoma I fell asleep at the wheel for just a second or two. I awoke with the truck drifting across the center line into oncoming traffic, of which there was plenty, it being around 5pm.

I have had sleeping problems again, spending entire nights up and alone. Sleep strikes suddenly, when it does. It is a relief that I do not drive for a living, for all involved.

It's a genuine eye-opener to experience something like that, coming back to consciousness after only a second or two and realizing what the result might have been had the bumps in the road not alerted my drifting mind to the impending danger.

Last night I slept many dark hours. I've been told that you can not actually "catch up" on sleep, though I don't believe it, at all. I went to sleep around 6pm and didn't wake up except to use the bathroom until 7am this morning. I captured the sleep in one night that I would normally only be able to take captive in two, even under the best hunting conditions.

It makes so very little sense, that the mind and body can be adversaries one night, then accomplices the next.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


Santa will be bringing me a new coffee maker, a gift from Rachel and Rhys. I'll never suffer from sleepiness again. This is the intravenous version, sold only to hospitals. Rachel had to forge a purchase order and license. No more drinking pre-ground coffee for me and my guests. It is a nice one, medical grade, born sterile, filtered water and features that I'll never use, probably never even know about. That one bag of freshly ground beans from a few weeks ago changed things for me. The taste was simply better. 

That is the thing about taste, if you seek to refine it then it will cure you of previous joys.

My visiting friend, April, and I also discovered a Cabernet that we greatly enjoyed:

$60 a bottle. A price that I would gladly pay again today, and tomorrow, but would maybe start to question my judgement after that. It is the nature of pleasures, they are both progressive and degenerative. 

The boy and I awoke to the darkness, the rain. I tried to convince him that it was not yet time to awake, that it was still dark, though he knew much better. His body clock is of the Swiss kind, mine more of a bent sundial, rusting in the rain.

We sit here now and watch Star Wars. I wish to go to the gym, to fight against time in whatever modest ways that I can, feeling like the R2 unit that has the "bad motivator."


Saturday, December 12, 2015

The fading image of the new world

Our guest goes home today. The boy has really taken to her. Kids are such fun like that. They just roll with it.

I processed a few rolls of old film. That's always a treat. Little time capsules. The processing lab, Fuji, accidentally made prints but the pharmacy didn't expect me to pay for them. So, now I'll have gifts for everybody. What a genuine and unique novelty. A printed image.

I would normally have the processing done at a lab in San Francisco, Photoworks, but these were just crappy little color rolls. Those types of places just keep closing. The places that specialize in actual film. Marin Film Works is gone. The digital revolution has killed them all off. Now, Leica is doing what they can to end black and white film.

Best to take a film picture of that old set of Encyclopedia Brittanica before it's too late. So much to do, before then. There are some days in which the only proof I have of the life I've lived is the number of my age. 

So many days lost, in anticipation of those nights.


Friday, December 11, 2015

St. Francis, the saint of ecstasy

Well, my buddy and I went to a food and wine pairing at St. Francis Winery. It was what you can expect from a thing like that, a place like that. The food was good, the wine was good, the people were the people. Josh, the twenty-eight year old spokesperson who discussed the merits of what we were being fed was a saccharine sort of kid who seemed to recognize that he was merely ushering these people towards eternity. 

For once, I was almost the youngest person in attendance. My buddy, April, is one year my junior. So, she beat me out by almost a year in the backwards race towards youth, away from the grave.

But, we had a pretty good time nonetheless.  

We had the intentions to go down to the town square here in Sonoma and keep drinking and eating and living the white life, but enough was enough.

I spent the evening refining a few haikus written while watching the fog roll across the lawn. I slept like an angel, which I can only assume is never. The demons do not seem to sleep, so what luxuries are deserved among the opposing forces?

I tossed, turned all night, reminiscing, agitated at an imaginary past. 

At the imagined one, past.


Thursday, December 10, 2015


(Alain Laboile)

Instead of sleep I was the recipient of something else, something different; not sure what it could be called, something like homelessness? 

Our guest from the east was not feeling well and became suddenly ill - though do not worry, her recovery was just as swift, with the help of the boy's mother, and 500 years of patchy science that has resulted in pharmacology.

She suffered a migraine, that had its waterfall effects. It came on very suddenly and was tremendous in its somatic impact. I never cleaned the toilet that I had promised to, and the burden should no longer be mine, even if it is.

This left one room in the apartment as a hospital, or possibly hospice space, and the other as the room that my son sleeps in, in a single bed. He kicked me and tossed and turned as young bodies do.

I moved to the couch, where our ideas of adequate human space conflicted without gunshots. It was as if I was being pestered by my own life choices. 

Why had I not purchased a waterbed as a couch... Why?

I tried, oh Lord, I tried. But then again, so did you.

I do not believe that the tale of the myth of the legend of Jesus ever long hovered over his sleeplessness, imbuing it with the spirit. It is an absence in the telling that brings pause to any mind that deserves the term.

Yet they claim that he was man, made of flesh, like me. He may have been many things, but he never slept on a tile floor. 

Or, so I have read.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Suspended from Disbelief

Victory. A full day spent in the city - at the office, a seasonal after-work-party, beers and dinner with some friends, hours spent trying to get some sleep on a couch in a dark room, a mad midnight dash to the airport to pick up a visiting friend, the long drive back home to Sonoma together, a few glasses of wine, some chatting, four hours of sleep, another day lies ahead.

My body feels as if its whining. My mind is. Its monologue very much runs on the principle of the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Recovery takes time, often much more so than does the damage. My input/output ratios are all screwed by age. All injuries are lifelong, now.

I've been part of the American workforce for almost nine years. I'll be planning my retirement party soon, if I'm not caught napping.

I've developed a nervous twitch. Longtime readers here might be shocked at such a revelation, but it's quite true. I have anxiety issues. Modern pharmacology can only relieve the pain. It can not produce a cure. When I go in to the city to work, even if I have had a moderate amount of sleep, for me - more than 4 hours, often less than six - my left eye will twitch all day long. It's unnerving, this nervous reaction. It only happens at work. I thought that maybe it was the lighting in the office, but many people comment on how pleasant they find our office lighting to be. I sit facing a big open window, also, where I have an unimpeded view of the sunrise, with an enormous amount of natural light pouring in.

The only explanation is that this is my body's way of telling me it's time to retire. I've put in almost a decade of work and now it's time to enjoy the fruits of my labor as I drift carelessly towards the sunset. My job here is complete. 

The time has come for me to finally meet with a retirement planner.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Possession, 3rd degree misdemeanor

(Alain Laboile)

My friendly wine aficionado reminded me that the real prize bottle from yesterday's picture was the '99 Barolo and perhaps not the '86 Margaux. He is, of course, quite correct on this point. The Barolo was my favorite among the many bottles that we tried - and summarily executed - on my last visit. So much so that I have tasked him with picking out a case of 2012 Barolo for me. The idea being that they will be very well aged when the boy graduates high school and then college, just slightly past their "sweet spot" in years. What a novelty it will be to have a few bottles of aged wine, from the vintage of his birth, to open in celebration. 

I'm not sure that the word vintage was used correctly in that sentence. I believe it is a combination of year and region that combines to create the intended meaning, at least when discussing wines, but ah well…. let us knot be snobs in the desperate pursuit of pleasures. The boy was born in America's wine country. We can still permit ourselves some marginal liberties in the land of the fleeing, the homes of the craven.

I chatted with another old friend this morning. He was in court with his daughter. She had received a citation from an errant officer for having been in a car with another girl who possessed a small amount of pot. While he is no advocate of drugs, not like myself anyway, we both heartily agreed on the draconian nature of our drug laws, the failure of our justice system, and then it was a quick hop to denouncing America's private prison system. 

We had exonerated the poor girl within minutes of our opening arguments. I closed with blaming Reagan, he faulted Clinton. That is the nature of our relationship, we each represent an opposing side of stupidity. 

No, I kid. Only one of us does.

Okay, the day at work has already screeched twice from the horizon, announcing its intentions, and its unobstructed arrival.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The oracle, upon the last few minutes of the 7th...

My goodness.... I forgot to write a post today. I meant to clean the apartment, also, but somehow each successive chore just slipped from my mind as petals from a dying flower. There is a visitor on her way, a friend from Florida whom I haven't seen in a few years. The toilet will need to be cleaned, at the very least, probably by me. I would not expect a woman to place her privates near it in its current condition. It is hideously uncared for, neglected in every way that might improve it. It is disgusting to think that I brush my teeth within feet of it.

Perhaps I can clean it when we return here, before she sees it. I like a challenge. It keeps me on my toes. Hopefully she won't have to go right away. I'm terrible with domestic duties, and I'm also an incorrigible sexist, beyond cure, so these things combine to make me seem monstrous to the tender contemporary sensibilities of many women.

I'm trying to improve about all of it. I haven't screamed, What? Get your ass back in the kitchen and make me a ham sandwich! for a few years now. So, there appears to be some progress.

I wonder if I can convince her to help me clean the place up when we get in from the airport. Pour her a nice glass of wine and start walking around the place picking things up. Sometimes you can trick a woman into cleaning by a sort of infectious magic.

What the fuck! She reads this site. I'm too lazy to delete what I've written and write any more. I wonder if I'm helping or hurting my chances. We'll see. I'll tell her that I have a widespread herpes breakout across my ass cheeks, so she might want to hover a bit, and to try not to foul my domicile, etc. There are some Wet Wipes but they only kill 99% of germs, or say says the packaging.

Dunno, wouldn't risk it if I were you, girl...

I'm sitting here drinking a glass of Cote Du Rhone, a blend, Grenache and Syrah 75/25. It is delightful at the end of an unusually productive day at work, though it does not solve my toilet issue. In some ways it exacerbates, or soon will. I bought a wine aerator. I know, I'm a fucking plebeian. I even bought it from Target, as if to emphasize the point.

I'm am listening to Leon Bridges, so perhaps there is hope. I was way ahead of the pack on this one. I sent it to a bunch of my friends this year when it came out and they all just ignored me. One even tried to tell me that I never sent the link. Bridges was on SNL on Saturday and performed beautifully, pure class and style. Soon enough everyone will be telling me that they told me about him. It is the way of things, and precisely what happened with Raphael Saadiq also. But Jesus, this album is good. Private message me and I'll send it to you for free. It's illegal, but I won't tell if you don't.

Now, I'm listening to Jason Isbell's latest album, Something More Than Free.

If you're one of those people who likes to say that they don't like country music then this next sentence is for you: Suck the grime off of my toilet seat, because your mind has no better plan for your lips than this modest task, and you know it as well as I do.

The picture for today's post is almost unrelated. These were some of the wines that my old elementary school buddy and I drank the last time I visited in Bellingham. I've decided that visiting him and his family is among the most cost effective vacations that I can take. I force him to eat seafood, preferably raw, and he rolls out bottles of wine from his closet that would cripple me if he let me drink them at my natural rate. There are kids in the house, so I must cloak myself in manners. He teaches me things about the subtleties of taste and I encourage him to abandon his whenever possible. We have an old lifelong understandment concerning such things.

The Margaux that you see there was from the year that we would have graduated high school together had I not dropped out to pursue my other sensory interests.

It's sometimes difficult to believe that such a bright, sweet kid as myself wound up writing about the perennial problems of powder room disinfection, and only as pastime rather than pure vocation.

Please tell me, blameless Pythia, where does the wine go.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Witches' Sabbath


Self-pity is dangerous. It never ends well, never starts very well, either. It always lasts too long. Last night after a lovely sushi dinner with friends I came home and looked around and felt it. I told myself it was just loneliness, but it was too destructive to be only that. I did about as much damage as I could in the short period of time before I fell asleep. I explained to myself how justified I was, though those reasons and that reasoning escape me this morning. 

I slept so well, and for so long, that I feel as if I must have taken something. Natural sleep of that kind and length is too much of a rarity for it to have been the cause, though there is no evidence. I feel oddly rested, without any lingering effects. I'll go to the gym and try to sweat out the evil spirits. Intense cardio functions as an effective barometer of self-damage. It's like trying to get the lid back on Pandora's vase. 

I had thought that maybe the Christmas tree would cheer me up. A little of the Christmas spirit. Last night I stood in the living room looking at it and it only seemed to magnify the emptiness. The boy is needed to complete the mystery miracle. I hope.

Maybe it's the holidays, or maybe it's only me.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nikon D5

(Nikon D4S)

Well, I somehow just deleted an entire post from yesterday. I used Command-Z one too many times and then it wouldn't let me redo the undo-typing, which was complete in its undoing. The whole page just disappeared and as far as I can tell there's no way to go back to the last saved version. It just seemed to auto-save the blank page and that was that.

Ah well, what can one do.  There were some funny lines in it, I thought.

I went to see a dermatologist. He told me that I don't have Actinic Keratosis or Squamous Cell Carcinoma. I have nothing to worry about, yet. He told me to use a special cream and it would help. The nurse that I had to take my shirt off in front of was very cute. I felt bad for her. Dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion, very composed. She calmed me just by me looking at her. I wanted to watch movies in bed with her. I should have asked. She was delicious.

So much for self-diagnosis.

Today, I go to some friends kids' birthday party, two of them. Rebounderz in Rohnert Park. Rhys loves it. He'll be quite happy there. It is right next to the Target so maybe I can go pick up a few more things I need, if I can convince Rachel to permit it. I guess I could drive separately, but the boy seems to like it when we all do stuff together. Who wouldn't, really?

I am not feeling very well. I have been taking everything that I can get my hands on: Oxycontin, Xanax, Aspirin, Aleve, Alka-Sletzer, Cialis, all of it. I guess you don't capitalize aspirin. The pain persists and now there is also a swelling in my groin region. That Oxycontin stuff has a very high abuse potential. Good thing I don't have much more of it.

Man, I want a new camera. All of the ones that I would want are super expensive though. The Nikon D5 will be around $7000, I bet, but it is what I want. Either that or maybe one of the Sony Alpha series cameras with a Zeiss 85mm f1.4 and a Zeiss 35mm f1.4. Those would be all that I need, for now. That would also be around $6000. There is no winning, there is only spending.

I don't need a new camera, of course. I have several. But that is how the hobby is. There are always more things to want. Now that I am not going to die from skin cancer I must find something to fill up all the free time that I'll have. I guess I can resume making my travel plans.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Proof of Correction

(Future Fireman)

It is no wonder that California has budget problems. I challenge anybody to find the section on this website where you can request a traffic violation extension. You can find the portion that claims that it can be done online, and the letter that I received encouraged me to do so at that site, but that is about as far as that process  seems to have been developed. It just keeps requesting payment information. Payment in full.

So, I sat on hold for forty-five minutes. Only to get an extension until Feb. 1st. Then, the next day I received a letter in the mail, along with my original un-cashed check that I had sent in with proof of correction, explaining that I had not provided proof of registration, even though the ticket clearly only listed that tinted windows as the violation that was in need of correction, which I did "correct" by removing the light tinting on the front windows of my car, for $60. I had initially included a picture of the ticket in this post, in preparation for my day in court, but then removed it, as I'm sure that I'm on the verge of breaking even more laws by the illegal copying and disseminating of government property.

Who knows. There's probably a SWAT team reading this as I write it, pre-publication.

Difficult to believe, but yes, it's true, California does not allow tinting on front windows. Of all the states that needs this option the most they have decided that hot cars are good for infants and even better for defining a target with a laser guided scope when a cop needs to open fire on a few black kids.

So, now that they've fucking pissed me off…. I'm taking the speeding ticket to court, 72mph in a 55 zone. I was with a friend, and we both repeatedly agreed that not only did I not deserve a ticket, but that the 18-wheeler that was right in front of us also going the same speed limit more rightly deserved the ticket as it represented a far greater danger to society.

The fucking useless twat of a cop that wrote me the ticket, from this little seaside dumpster of a city, did so without the courtesy of even being an asshole so that I could feel more justified in my anger and disappointment. I'll call a lawyer today and see if it can be fought without my presence. I wonder what happens when I claim that the cop who wrote me the ticket had been drinking gin out of a dixie cup when he waddled to the side of my car, and then offered to show me naked pictures of his son and daughter dancing together in their backyard wading pool.

Is that illegal, to make a claim like that? There must be some civil implications. Ah well, what is life if not braving a few storms.

What sort of lawyers end up fighting traffic tickets for a living. Only the best, I must assume. Go where the action is, etc.

I dunno, maybe I 'll just write them a nasty letter, filled with indictments and indignation. It's inconceivable to me that the courts have no way of verifying with the DMV that the registration had been renewed, and that any clerk looking at the ticket could see that it was not checked as something that I needed to prove correction on.

I have two weeks to prove correction of the issue. The dolt misspelled my name on the ticket. Maybe I can get out of it on a technicality. I've said it many times before: cops are just like anybody else, incompetent when they're not too busy being corrupt.

One wonders where all of the tax money goes, though one does not wonder for very long.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mona Lisas and Darth Vaders

The temptation to write about my lack of sleep is great, but, you know... too much of a good thing, and all of that. I don't wish to spoil my readers, make gluttons of them with my suffering, etc.

Last night the boy and I went to Target and bought some basic Christmas stuff. I spent a few hundred dollars. We came home and it all just disappeared onto the tree. It seems impossible. It's a Christmas miracle.

If you are wondering, then yes, that is Darth Vader at the top where the star from Bethlehem might otherwise be. We're also celebrating Luke Skywalker's birthday this month, coincidentally on the 25th.

We're still working out all of the details. Not sure if Lord Vader will make it all the way until Christmas morning. The type tree I bought didn't allow for the multi-colored illuminated plastic star that I also bought. I had wrongfully assumed that you just spend money on Christmas and it all somehow works out. No, things don't fit everywhere that they're supposed to, and having this dying tree in my living room only amplifies that simple fact to me. 

The tree does have a disco ball theme, lots of mirrored spheres. I think I'm going to call it the Life Star and start praying to it, or one of its balls, where kids come from.

This was the version of St. Nick that the boy picked out:

I was amazed that he didn't go for one of the brighter, gaudy, red and green ones. He picked a sort of Obi Wan Gandalf. Perhaps he is beginning to adopt my aesthetic sensibilities. The boy dresses much like me, mismatched socks and clashing colors. 

Whatever. It all seemed to make the boy happy, and we must always remember 9/11 and that Children Are Our Future….

I love that phrase, it's so absurd and impossibly untrue in every single way that it can be looked at, or thought of. It is almost stupid enough to be an Elton John song. 

There simply are not enough good Elton John interviews out there, particularly ones in which he discusses the terrible triple tragedy of losing Whitney, Amy, and Michael. It's a weeping shame.

I know that I'm going to hear some grief for this post. It is a well known fact that Tumbleweed Connection is one of my favorite albums from that era, and that singing "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in the car with my mom is among my favorite childhood memories, but no self-respecting music lover could withstand the lyrics (and then the re-written lyrics) of "Candle in the Wind" with a straight face. There must be a word that means: even beyond the reach of maudlin. One gets the feeling that Elton John has always ever wept at the thought of things.

But that's what this season is for, making memories.

I'm sitting here in the very early dawn, drinking a glass of red wine, waiting for what? Waiting for this day to creep underneath this evening. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for Elton John's eternal message to be heard and finally understood: that love is better than hate, and feelings can be described and monetized simply by describing them.

Jesus, his lyrics are fucking abysmal. That he had a co-writer who is now a multi-millionaire speaks to the true evil of our times. We worry about terrorism but then we let lines like, "Goodbye England's Rose..." slip by without a single hand grenade going off.

Because, when we allow this sort of thing... then the lyricists have finally won.

We'll come again next Thursday afternoon
The in-laws hope they'll see you very soon…


There's a joke and I know it very well
It's one of those that I told you long ago
Take my word I'm a madman, don't you know?


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Barefoot girls dancin' in the moonlight…"


What happens.

I'm at a transitional point, somewhere near the middle of the riddle of the Sphinx, a two-legged comma just in the pause of one well-telling.

I tussled with sleep all night, again, wrestling lovers' lost. I wanted more than ever before to exhaust myself into uncertainty.

This post should have a picture of myself, if I had a good one. This site is starting to feel like a webcam focused on my bedroom. It is concerned with nocturnal motion, the sweating upon of thread-count sheets, and then the occasional erotic mystery of dreams.

What happens...

Used to fuck, such dreams well of it.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Some people don't know how to be quite

Death: some season for it.

Somehow more graceful than the others, where it can be unexpected, even impolite. To die in the summer is grotesque, even rude. Many things can be forgiven, except perhaps a lack of response to beauty, or the expression of kindness, or the capacity for humor. Each is recommended, perhaps even needed. Too much of any and the sufferer drowns, each a white whale of its own making.

The petite days, and lengthy nights, longing for love, the urgent primacy that accompanies loving. Short-lived battles against and for eternity. Awaking again in darkness, seeking the body next. Seeking near, or nearer, or on, then into and through a ghost. These bodies falling, fumbling together in wakefulness, somewhere amidst the purpose of uniting - exhausting efforts at their best, and worst. This thing that supposedly lasts. Duplicity invites the easiest of recurrences. The body rests, telling of the many things that none wish nor want nor need to know. As the body does, the body knows. The body does, so it goes. 

Then again, mornings, where life and death are oftenest confronted. Evenings are easy, anybody can do a few of them. Any fool can die at night. Nights should be reserved for love, for quiet.

As if….

Two things will often find a way of being together. It is the nature of things.

Of this, just love and silence.