Thursday, August 31, 2017

California Girl

The color quality of the light during the eclipse was hard to describe, of course most cameras adjust the white balance. I could try to correct for it but this is only a jpeg. I snapped this one perhaps a full minute or two before totality. I suppose that it could simply be described as "darker" but that doesn't convey the entire experience. The eye could still take in light from the horizon, where all was as it should be, and it did not look as if a cloud had merely passed between the sun and us, though that comparison would be the closest. It was almost as if a cloud that had a color filter in it had done so. 

It's very nice to see Rachel again. It feels as if I haven't seen her in the longest time, since the eclipse nearly. We leave now to go do a number of things. There will be a breakfast with eggs and bacon and coffee. Well, this being southern California, there may be egg whites and wheat toast and avocado. 

I just asked Rachel, What do people in southern California eat - egg whites, and wheat toast and avocado?

Sure, that sounds great.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oh yeah: laughter

I awoke tired, a thing that has not improved yet. I leave for the airport soon. Once in LA there will be a series of things to do before we get back on the road to return to Sonoma. 

Another five days away from work. When I start to go too long from work I begin to acclimate enjoyably to not working. It's nice, though it can be a little unnerving. I like to be useful and productive. I'm not feeling very much of either of those lately. Having someone's father die who is close to you can cause all those feelings. There is so very little that can be done about it. Nearly everybody is ultimately useless in the face of death. You can't do anything, you can hardly say anything. Being near them is about the best that anyone can do, and that's not very much at all. 

Human warmth, I suppose, that's it. What else is there?

Oh yeah: laughter. 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A stone across waters

It is difficult to get back into work. I feel as if I am a stone that is being skipped across waters and has yet to submerge into the lake of technical tasks. 

I have come back for two days then three days, with weekends and unexpected days off between. Now, I will work tomorrow and then there will be two days off to go to LA and help Rachel come home, then a three day Labor Day weekend, so five days off again starting tomorrow evening. It is unfortunate that the cause for these extra days off is not celebratory, though time is needed to accept something like death, also. It is not good to try to process the grief of death and have work stress also competing for your intellectual and emotional resources. 

Time away is good, though late yesterday afternoon I went to the pub and sat for twice as long as I perhaps should have. Two beers turned into four. I was lucky to have stopped there, though I feel guilty when beer causes me to skip a day riding. My yin and yang can get a little pushy.

I brought my Fuji with a portrait lens over to the neighbor's house yesterday, to take some snapshots of their kids playing. There were a couple pics that I really liked, just little snapshots of kids.

What a great age to be.

I like shooting pictures of kids. The happiness on their faces seems so uncomplicated, so easy to come by, so always of the moment. 

Perhaps being a parent has made me a simpleton, but I like being around kids. They can be demanding at times  - Rhys would not stop trying to crawl onto my back in the pool on Sunday, leading to yesterday's saving grace of a picture of it - but the rewards in giggling and laughing seem to be pretty well worth it. I'll let you know if the ratios seem to start tilting in the other direction. 

I think I could go back and be a kid again. I would be prince of the apple towns...


Monday, August 28, 2017

The window to the pool

(Photo by Sandra Saldana)

Of course the purely exhibition boxing match was a vulgar sports spectacle, and yes, I should feel sickened at myself for having any opinion on such a thing, or participating with it in any way publicly, but this site was shipwrecked and abandoned long ago on the shores of shame. I'm an almost 50 year old man that regularly writes about the pleasures of masturbation. It should shock no one that I'm willing to give my opinion on a sporting event that is the near equivalent of two televangelists from neighboring states competing for ownership of a retirement community on the border between both. Each of those two fuckers should have been bullwhipped for loudmouthed shamelessness, but instead they walk away with almost as much money as can be found in a modest day's lottery winnings.

Okay, enough about boxing. 

Well, one more thing. I don't think McGregor came to fight, he came to fuck. Did you see him try to touch Mayweather with his hard-on at the weighing in? There are rumors that he kept whispering, I know it's ugly Floyd, but touch it anyway, it makes me so feel good.

Ok, no more on mixed-martial-boxing.

Yesterday we loaded up the picnic baskets and took the neighborhood kids to the local Morton's Warm Springs Resort where we swam most of the blistering hot day. We also went down to the river where the kids enjoyed the cooler, shaded, murky bacterial waters of nature. They would wade out into the mud and just laugh and laugh. I'm trying to strengthen the boy's immune system with a little early onset ringworm. 

I love the picture above, taken by our neighbor. Since getting the underwater camera I now have about double the amount of pictures of the boy and I than I did before. Best $150 I've ever spent, at least as far as camera gear goes. 

That and the Fuji Instax have made photography fun again. Who knew that fun photography is cheap, not expensive at all. It only requires enthusiasm. 

I leave Wednesday night for LA. I will go get Rachel and drive her and her father's ashes back to Sonoma. 

She and I once drove across the country. Did I tell that story yet? If somebody could skim through the 2500 posts I've made here since 2010 and let me know then that would potentially save me a whole bunch of time, and just think of the many forgotten rewards...

She and I started in Venice, CA and ended up in the East Village, NYC. It took us two weeks in early October. It must have been a thousand or more years ago now, before 2008 at the very least, back before there was death, loss, so many late nights spent apart in the outcasted confusion of love denied. 

Here is an unedited version of the first picture I ever posted of her on this site. I like it.

It's been said that the eye is the window to the soul, but when you're in love it's never very easy to tell exactly whose soul it is the window to, seems that it could be either. 


Sunday, August 27, 2017

My favorite athletes

(Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken)

What the fuck did people think was going to happen? Everybody seems upset that boxing is a different sport than MMA. It's corrupt as fuck, painfully slow to watch now (in comparison to UFC fights), and the officiating so heavily favors the established fighter as to nearly require a knockout for anybody to ever be convinced of a win. Even if there is a knockout, it's not good enough for some. It should be to the death, every single fight. There should one undefeated champion and each new challenger should likewise be undefeated with a string of dead bodies piled up behind them to earn their shot at the title. What sort of pussies would allow an athlete to walk away from a challenge. 

American ones, that's who. 

White people are crazy. I can see that now. I'm not sure how I ever missed it before. It's obvious, just watch any sport with them. They consume sports as if it's cocaine for the eyeballs. There was a point in watching the fight last night that I'm certain that I could smell blood in the room. I might have pooped myself, so there could still be a rational explanation for it. Either way, it's unsettling.

I'm no Mayweather fan at all, I hate his fighting style and he seems to be a despicable enough human, but fuck... McGregor fans need to simultaneously believe in his ability to kill and the largesse and magnanimity of his character by not doing so. It's bizarre. They want nothing more than to see "Mayweather in the octagon." It's all they can talk about, it seems. When did the pleasure of sports become purely punitive? 

Ah well, these are not questions for us to ask or answer this morning. There is a bike ride up into the hills awaiting me, then the gym. I want to train to kill.... once I've smelled blood I can not be happy until a life has left the earth. Maybe when I get back from the gym I'll watch a little classic boxing, like The Deer Hunter. I don't see any reason that sports can't be a protected category. The second amendment should be adequate.  


Saturday, August 26, 2017

My son's first title fight

(Bored by a defensive victory) 

I'm with CS on the Mayweather / McGregor travesty. And yes, travesty is the right word to use. I'd rather see two trannies fight over a slice of bologna than this hideousness, but what is a boxing fan to do? One must always verify that the champ is the champ. Sure, Mayweather might not be my champ of choice, but he's still the champ. 

I hear a few white guys prattling on about how Mayweather would never win in a street fight


None of them have quite done the math yet: street fighters don't get paid ~$100 million. If Mayweather were to ever win in a street fight then they'd just call him a thug. It's the new term that means something close to thugger, but the white guys who use it regularly are all too afraid to admit that. They know they'd get their little lily white asses kicked, possibly by a white guy, for saying such a thing. But it's what they all mean. Its usage is always contextual. 

They desperately need McGregor to not get knocked out in the first three rounds. Anything beyond that will be touted as an unequivocal victory. They are all rubbing their rosaries for that McMiracle punch. 

I think that's what I like most about this fight - the boxing ring is a safe space for racism. Why go marching in boring street rallies that might as well be craft fairs for whiteness when you can just sit back and talk about how a white man would simply kill a black man if there weren't all the silly rules of boxing in place to stop him. White people have been waiting for this moment since the Larry Holmes - Gerry Cooney fight in '82. They seem to need this. Just look at the big money they're putting on McGregor, counting on that one punch that would somehow re-dignify white people everywhere whether they like it or not.

If you want to know how Trump won then look no further for evidence as to exactly why that was. Don King could have told you Trump was going to win, and why, and I think he did. Trump would beat Mayweather in an open Irish election, also. Gamblers understand these things almost as well as promoters do. Voters prefer the disappointing confusion of certainties to the kind of speculation that these topsy-turvy times call for. White people are angry about any black fighter that uses defense so effectively. It goes against everything they wish to believe about how victory functions, and what should get you there. They simply hate it when I point out that Mayweather has more KOs, and in a sport that makes them more difficult to come by. 

I have my own reasons for wanting to see Mayweather win, based on an entirely different form of personal bigotry. He's an old man now (40), like me, McGregor is not (29). So, I engage heavily in age discrimination when it is appropriate to do so, or when I forget not to, or after a nap. It's one of the things that people let you get away with when you're almost 50. Like farting unexpectedly at the mall food court - adults pretend not to have noticed but the kids simply love it. An old man farting at the mall, what could possibly be better than that? If he doesn't notice he did it, then yes, it's even funnier. Old people, where did they come from?

I will need to find a place to see the fight now, possibly at a casino over in Petaluma. I'll need to get there early and drink a lot. The last time I was there I referred to a fighter as "the black guy" and it caused quite a kerfuffle among the kids sitting near me. They asked me why I thought it was okay to say such a thing. I pointed out that the fighter was not American, so African-American would not have made sense and neither would African, but that didn't help anything. I was the old white guy popping off at the bar about "the negro fighting style," just because I referred to him as "the black guy" and the other guy as "the white guy." I had to resort to their short's colors to avoid further controversy. 

That's not mauve, you cracker, that's purple!

None of my black friends have taken offense at the use of the black guy phrase, at least that I know of. That's because they can tell the difference between what is racial with what is racist. They have spent their lives feeling and living those differences, navigating the distinctions, suffering the attempts to blur them. But fuck... you get a bunch of white kids together and they will not hesitate to let you know that such a term deeply offends them. Suddenly they were all little versions of Eminem - experts on racism, rage, and righteousness. 

In the car ride on the way home from the casino my buddy, an American of Mexican descent, said, Yeah, it's not really a phrase you hear people say any more.

So what, I'm old, I said.

I'll be wowing the kids tonight about my travels to the Orient where I met some wonderful Indians from India! I'll make sure to praise McGregor's fighting style, too. 

Oh, he's very literate, so well spoken.


Friday, August 25, 2017


Rachel's father, the boy's grandfather, passed away the night before last. He had just returned home to LA from our trip together in Oregon to see the eclipse. 

It is heartbreaking to know what will come next - the explaining of it to the boy, what mom will also go through while trying to understand it herself. At its best life can be too much. I've never understood how some people do it. A part of it is in what we choose to ignore, it seems. 

We listened to Elbow (and Wilco) on the drive home from Oregon. He liked Elbow. After some initial questioning he compared them favorably to bands we had both heard before many times. It had not occurred to me that they should be compared to any of the bands he listed, but the connection in style, complexity, self-seriousness in tone, the air of pomposity... it all became clear within seconds of him having said so.

Isn't music just great that way? 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Then nothing

All of it, fleeting. Seconds pass as years ceasing before us, behind us, quietly within us. 


Wednesday, August 23, 2017


The darker thoughts during sleep were likely more related to my diet, temporary lack of exercise, and drinking wine for five days rather than it had to do with any solar event. I discovered that last night when I came home and had a similar night of troubled sleep. Though, troubled sleep in your own bed is more welcome than is troubled sleep elsewhere. Or rather, if I'm going to be restless I prefer to do it at home.

The dreams of others are not very interesting, particularly when they are not being relayed in a narrative, and that only helps them along the tiniest of bits by giving the listener the sense that there may come an ending to the misery of listening to it soon. So, I'll stop. There is no narrative string holding my troubled thoughts aloft in the dark.

Home is where I like to be, until it's time to leave again. 

I took an extra day off from work to recover from this trip. I'm very glad I did, now. Soon I'll go swimming with Rachel, some sunbathing, a mid afternoon lunch, maybe a bike ride. Just normal stuff, uncluttered by vacation or eclipses or driving or anything at all out of the ordinary. 

I took the boy to school today and dropped him off, where he stood hesitantly in the doorway of the classroom. He will likely have what will be new experiences all day long. Then, after a full day of that there will music lessons afterwards. He might start with the ukulele. 

Though in my dreams tonight maybe I'll be playing the banjo right along with him, under the just new moon lit barely on the front. The unlit half that seemed to block the sun, the daily mystery and forced orbital coincidence, still just doing the same thing it always does: not bothering to get between the sun and I.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

... neither solemn nor celebratory

(Child of the moon)

There was, of course, more than I relayed yesterday. Much of the sensation was that of disappointment afterwards. It all happened so fast. Its ending abrupt and final, or so it seemed. Its semi-circular transition continues across the sun, though nobody much cares. Everybody disperses, returns to looking at one another; faces lined along the horizon. This large orbital body moving in perpetuity speaks somehow to the brevity of all lifetimes. My lifetime first, then everybody else's, moving outwards from those that I know and love to others, to all of humanity whose story barely stretches back to a portion of that of the lunar. This odd inversion of the role of the moon - darkening daytime rather than lighting night - arrives unexpectedly and brings with it also a reversal of feeling.

It is easy enough to understand why people have believed that this was a malediction from the gods. It is. It works on skeptics, cynics, and nihilists alike.

I mean me.

My dreams last night were troubled, scattered and informed by fears. In everything there is a profound sense of futility, yet we do things anyway. We fill our lives so that they won't seem empty. At our best we create memories which dissolve in time, dragging feelings along with them into the abyss. It is one thing to claim that the universe is indifferent to our suffering, quite another to sense that in the moon, our moon - the almost binary brother to earth, our lifeless and beloved sibling. Even now, speaking of it in the possessive I know that I am wrong. If anything, I belong to the earth, not the other way around. Do not trust the Christian myths.

The mind can accept the basic mechanical fact of an eclipse, though its temporary blocking of the sun plants some dark seed that grows the fruit of mortality which ripens in sleep. Lunacy grows with all other things in the freedom of the mind.

As it happened I was neither solemn nor celebratory. I made no promises, and do not remember thinking anything specific. I felt only fascination. It was later that I sensed a trembling of dread - more and more mortal, less and less permanent, I. Nothing is fixed, nothing lasting, all things only returning in different forms, at different times. 

I'll try to never say I hope to see this thing before I die. It is a dangerous way to think, it seems, placing the focus on the menace of life's constant and inevitable opposition. I'll try to remember that the opposing face of that blackened moon was just as bright and unfamiliar to the eye as ever. From that perspective nothing would have appeared differently at all. How powerful and lasting are the shadows, the phantoms that we find.

... and try to remember that the moon isn't about me.

O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. Don't swear by the moon.


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Great Bright Ring In The Sky

It was cool. I'm glad I saw it. 

None of the emotions that might have occurred happened for me. Rhys hid in the car when it started, though he didn't seem scared by it. 

It unfolded as I had guessed that it might, fascinating nonetheless.

Weather: Neskowin, Oregon - mostly foggy, partially cloudy

Today is the day. There is an early morning fog cover, but the weather site says it will burn off. 

I'm not sure what I am expecting the experience to be. It seems that it should be easy enough to imagine, and many must make that assumption easily enough, though no one that has ever seen one before seems to feel that way, though perhaps they just don't bother writing about it if they do. Who knows. Whatever my feelings about it are they will occur quickly. What I will have to deal with will come afterwards, it seems, not entirely dissimilar from the earthquake though with this it is something that I know is coming. 

I read that the difference in the sun's luminosity between a 99% eclipsed sun and total is approximately 10,000 times in magnitude. The stars and planets become visible in the daytime and the entire horizon appears to be experiencing a sunrise or sunset. We are on a hill on the coast so we will, if we are paying very close attention, see the shadow of the moon moving across the waters towards in the split second before totality. It will be moving fastest here, approx. 2400 miles per hour.

Did I write about that yesterday? I think I did. I had to delete part of yesterday's post. I was angry and worked some of it out of my system, but I recovered. 

We spent a day at the beach yesterday - the boy, Rachel, and myself. 

Okay, we just checked the weather. It is mostly cloudy today and there is fog cover, both of which might not clear up or burn off until just after the eclipse. We might be getting in the car soon, though I suspect that is what many others will be doing now also. 

I've often preferred being in the shade, have never spent so much energy preparing to chase it. 


Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Letting the days go by..."

We are four days into a week long vacation and we haven't done anything at all yet, or very little. We have spent our time driving from place to place, going to the grocery store, making coffee. I know that we weren't really planning on doing much of anything, except arranging all of our other time around a very specific two minute event. 

It is worth taking the time to read Annie Dillard's take on the total eclipse experience. She describes the terror and fascination with it, then of course the letdown afterwards. I suspect that I will experience a version of those feelings as well. 

I'd like to see the moon knock the sun like a billiard ball across the sky, banking across some unseen bumper and then down into the ocean at what I must assume is a side pocket. Perhaps the earth is nothing but side pockets, no matter what the fools who use the four corners cliche would like to believe. I want to see the moon sink the flaming eight ball. Anything less will be the source of my celestial disappointment. 

Today I will try to spend my time as if I'm on vacation. I will read a book of short stories that I brought with me - Sam Shepard. I am trying to remind myself of his writing before it disappears into the past. He was not a writer that I read when younger, but has grown on me in the last handful of years.

By the end of my life the name Hemingway will likely seems as remote as did Balzac's in the last century - writers whose genius and impact is only vaguely acknowledged by those familiar with the name, rarely felt or intimately understood. It doesn't seem that people are developing the same type of cherished connections as they once did in the world of published works. I don't believe that a download has the same effect on a person as does holding a book, but that is maybe the silliness that a person feels at the passing of their own years. The romance of a thing happens in time, is then felt that way as a preference for the things of the past.

My hope for the eclipse tomorrow is that for that brief moment I am able to feel both alone with and part of the universe. That seems easy enough.

Where we are in Oregon the moon's shadow will be moving at about 2400 mph. Whatever it is that I hope to experience it will pass almost more quickly than the senses can process. If you are staring out at the Pacific waiting for it, a single blink will prevent you from seeing the moment when day seems to become nighttime. A curtain of darkness descending across the face of the waters.

Imagine a shadow that stretches the length of the visible ocean moving towards you at three times the speed of sound, then also way from you at that same stunning pace a handful of seconds later.

Nothing in the world can outrun it for very long, nothing can stop it, yet a single unluckily positioned rain cloud can prevent us from seeing its full effect.

When it's over I imagine I might feel disappointed, having cared so much and waited so long. What other possible outcome could there be.

Is there anything more piteous and dispiriting than to structure a portion of your life around the phrase once in a lifetime?

I suppose that adding the phrase not even would do it.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

How I distanced myself from virginity

We arrived at the house in Oregon. The picture above was the first that I took when we arrived. Those are horses on the beach. Well, horses and people. We will likely go riding today or tomorrow. I don't believe that I have ever prepared so much for such a short event, except maybe if you consider the handful of years I spent planning to rid myself of virginity. Three or four years translated into ~90 seconds of pure ecstasy. 

It was the longest I've ever lasted, a lifetime personal record. I don't understand why people spend so much time having sex. If you close your eyes and really concentrate you can finish in under one minute, if you're like me and have a visual memory.

That's just science. 

Ok, my buddy from up in Bellingham, WA just let me know that he has cancelled his plans to drive down to Eugene, OR to see the solar-lunar-earth event. He has encouraged me to write about Bhagwan Baba Sri Rajneesh this morning, but I have yet to do my abbreviated version of research.

I vaguely remember hearing the name, possibly from my buddy's mentioning of it. Rajneesh used to promote sex and drugs and every now and then also some religious thought. He amassed millions of dollars of course and drove around in Rolls Royces, was involved in all manner of things that the unenlightened seek to resist.

But not me, I'm always on the side of the guru with all the ladies. How else is one expected achieve a form of enlightenment that exceeds the 60 second mark, if not through unorthodox medication and excellence in tax evasion? 


Friday, August 18, 2017

May the shadow....

We made it to Oregon. 5+ hours in a car with a five year old who asked How much longer? from the time we left Sonoma until the moment we pulled off of the interstate. 

Beautiful drive, though. Mt Shasta is really something. It seems to emerge from practically nowhere, dwarfing all of the other hills around it. Now, there is another ~5 hour drive to the airport then to the house on the beach. Then, rest and relaxation, waiting for two minutes of shade.

I like road trips, and I miss taking them. There is a rhythm to the road that has been written about much better than I can attempt this morning. I am sitting in the dark and waiting for everybody else to wake up. And I am waiting for coffee. 

Okay, that is my quickly scribbled travel update. I haven't told anybody yet but I'm going to try to find away to worship Satan during the eclipse. I only have about two minutes for it. I like to think that he's listening when I speak. 

I haven't committed to anything yet. I might also try to poop my pants for it. I could get dressed up like that astronaut from Houston who was prepared to poop and kill. I just want it to be special. Who knows, maybe Satan won't mind if I try to do both.

I'll ask him: Oh great red Satan with the trident and bifurcated tail...  make Hades great again. But give me a sign, anything at all! Like, blocking out the sun would be fucking radical.

Who knows, maybe I can rub one out in public, also. If I was ever hoping for a diversion in which I might not be noticed then I can think of no better celestial opportunity. I wonder if its possible to cause an eclipse in the women's lingerie section of Nordstrom.  Now that would really be something.

It is the message that is written in the moving shadow of the moon: pleasure thyself.

I wish the bible had been more clear about the sin of spilling your seed in the shade. How are we supposed to know whether that's either wrong or just fun.

Commandment #11: Thou shalt not lie with thyself during an eclipse.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Hole Sun

I'm on vacation again for a week. That's two weeklong vacations in two months - Florida and Oregon. I wonder if I'll notice any differences between the two states. 

Few people know this, but Florida has never experienced any lunar blocking of sunlight, or any other kind of solar protection, for all of human history. Even their darkest rain clouds are built to amplify the sun's most harmful rays. They like it that way. The sunscreen they sell there is only tanning accelerator. There is a massive sun bathing light that hovers over the state for use at night. NASA helped them put it into orbit. It runs on power siphoned from the grid and teleported to the great tanning bed in the sky by a special team that Elon Musk and George Soros funded. 

Please don't tell any of your right-leaning friends. They have too many conspiracies to wrestle with as it is. Did you know that the Charlottesville event happened on George Soros' birthday? What more proof do you need that white supremacy is a liberal conspiracy, designed presumably only to make racists look bad by being associated with liberals.... 

Seriously. I saw people trying to merge the KKK / neo-Nazis with the progressive philanthropist who actually survived Nazi occupied Hungary. People are desperate when desperation is what their heart needs - a conspiracy to denounce thought that differs from their suspicions. 

Speaking of, I was thinking of the things that separate nationalism from white nationalism and I couldn't find any. That's because nationalism is just a slightly watered down version of abject stupidity. I'm not talking about being proud of the principles upon which your society was built. I mean jingoistic flag waving and empty sabre-rattling patriotism for your nation, regardless of its glaring errors. 

Trump has successfully blurred the distinctions between his own voting base and the KKK. He really has. His equivocation and support for white nationalist causes has lumped them together whether they like it or not. The big man with the president pants has, without anyone asking him to, pushed the rock off of himself and his cabinet to reveal what they were not quite able to crawl out from under on their own. The only way for a person wearing a bright red "Make America White Again" hat to recuperate now would be for them to take that stupid fucking hat off their head and to start speaking out against the monster that they have made, and what has become the clear intent of his presidency.

Many have already said it, but that man needs to go. What more can he possibly do to advertise his intention to aggregate power, disrupt democratic norms, and destroy any opposition. He is becoming the very dangerous populist that about half of us knew that he would. 

He said it best the other day, Where does it stop? 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Lost Cause

(Honesty is the first chapter...)

Everywhere I look I see indignation and strong opinions in support of what is presumed to be justified. Journalists are falling over themselves to find just the correct note of prevarication. Violence is wrong! Unless it's a leftist militant group employing it against neo-Nazis, then it becomes neo-necessary. That's an easy enough justification to make, it seems. It need not tax one's rationale too heavily. 

Why can't they just say that they're not really against violence, they're just mostly against people trying to use violence to advance a cause that is plainly stupid or counter to their own. Why are the ideas of others always so tedious and dangerous, we openly wonder. People can't seem to admit that they're not pacifists, they just prefer things to be peaceful.

They want the president to denounce neo-Nazis but he doesn't really have it in him to do so, which should surprise no one. Trump's father held sympathies for the Klan. Yet when it comes to addressing the unfortunate fact that leftist militants were engaging in violence also some want to compare the violent histories of one group to another, as if the morality of pacifism is somehow dependent upon a winning score, measured by fewer injured and lower casualty numbers. In a cultural war perhaps victory is determined solely by the successful inversion of fact. 

What did Patton say? You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his.

Or hers.

The violent resistance from Antifa seems justified when you hold it up to the fact that a white supremacist drove his car into a group of people, injuring many and killing one young woman.

At this point I should probably make it clear that I am only a pacifist insomuch that I believe unprovoked violence and war are unjustifiable. Beyond that, I have always claimed that if there is going to be violence then I want my side to be prepared for it. I want my side to win. You will find that this is also true with all other pacifists. I am a pacifist only when peace is the best option. After that, like most, I want the defeat and surrender of the enemy.

Didn't the south already surrender, though? The neo-Nazis wish to preserve the history of Robert E. Lee but they're not honoring his memory very well this way. They should have been whimpering at Appomattox rather than killing in Charlottesville. That car didn't look like a surrender flag to me.

Nazis are great at preserving history, by the way. We might not even know about the Holocaust if it wasn't for them.

And Mr. President, can you tell us specifically which Jews you believe were responsible for the Holocaust?

We live in crazy times, everybody notices it but the far right seems better poised to try to take advantage of the chaos.  This also should surprise nobody - resentment lurks and grows, stupid people need dearly held certainties to sustain them. Some convictions function best when unsullied by fact.

You cannot witness a national decline in education and then wonder where the wellspring of intolerance and racism bubbles up from. It comes from fear paired with ignorance. This is precisely the national conversation that America has earned, and the one that these poor dumb souls have been preparing for.

Everybody seems to agree that fighting Nazis is justifiable violence. When it comes to fighting white nationalists the argument drops down to an "only when necessary" status. Then for rednecks it's "whenever it's either convenient or funny," and especially when they're doing it to themselves.

Violence is never the answer! say some. I suspect that these white angry fellows in Charlottesville feel quite differently on the matter. Violence is an option-able answer when it advances your ideals. Some people conveniently forget that people do engage in violence to secure political or social goals, they always have. You know, when a group that is arranged upon racial or national boundaries attempts to annihilate another race or nation from existence then violence seems pre-justified. Beyond that, violence should only be an option.

Yet black people don't get to kill cops in self-defense. I'm waiting for that case to hit America. A Philando Castile situation in which the cop that pulled his gun gets shot dead by the citizen in an act of self-defense. I can't wait to hear the ever-nuanced arguments from the NRA about how defending yourself is appropriate when it's not a cop, or if you're a white gun owner. Their prolonged silence in the Castile case says everything that you need to know about their core beliefs.

That's one reason why cops won't fuck with the neo-tards when they are assembled. They know they'll get shot in front of a hundred witnesses that will testify that it was entirely in self-defense. The other reason is that's where their sympathies can best be found. Cops mostly only kill the people they can. In that they're not very different from any other like-minded group, those that are loosely organized around the strict principle of order and the swinging noose of consent.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Are you?

Florida is not really the south, and perhaps I could have chosen a better set of nouns than liberal and conservative to advance my soapbox to the next round. That being said, conservatives are enabling this disaster. In that I rightly align them with the white nationalists who also think the republican party is finally doing things right, and once and for all getting America white on track

Well no, of course we all know it isn't that simple. You can't blame republicans for the population of the republican base. But isn't it that simple, really? You can blame the republican party for this. It's easy, just give it a try. Every accusation seems to fit now.

You can also blame the implosion of the democratic party for part of this, but it really is the republicans that should be having him removed now. Everybody knows this, but no... there are still a thousand or so more federal judicial appointments they want to slip through before the turd dirigible ignites his entire helium operation, somewhere out in a New Jersey field. 

I suppose that my logic could also be used to align democrats with domestic left-wing or eco-terrorism. 

Maybe categorical thought and falsely manufactured associations really are a problem...

Just because I'm bored of neoliberals doesn't mean that I am a white nationalist, at all. In that same way, I long ago grew tired of the misapplication of feminist rhetoric and reduction of feminist theory, but that doesn't hold that I believe women deserve anything less than equal rights and equal opportunities. Having reservations about a movement or political affiliation does not automatically pit you against them by magically assigning to you the most extreme and repugnant opposing view. That is a bullshit byproduct of social media, nothing more.  One can still be a liberal and expect better, more robust, liberalism out of those that claim the affiliation. Likewise, noticing the tremendous ideological chasms that neoliberals have carved out for themselves does not make you a bigot or a racist.  

Even if the neoliberals did want to corner the market on moralism and inclusiveness they would have an impossible leap to claim a monopoly or even a market share on tolerance.  The liberals I am now meeting have anything but tolerance for intellectual outsiders. 

I mean, I get it: I scare the kids. But that doesn't mean that we haven't harvested a nation of undereducated liberal pussies. Everybody's a liberal until they have to act on it. The neos have tried to advance the vague notion that even having a sense of humor about any of their pet-left subjects is tantamount to bigotry. To respond with anything less than extreme self-righteous indignation to every social injustice that can be forced into a 30 second video clip then you must be a white nationalist, also. 

Criticizing the resistance does not put you on the opposing team. It just doesn't.

They became so good at making people cower at the charge of racism that they have diluted and deflated their own imaginary values and message, so they have to up the game or the bubble bursts. If you are not a frothing online neoliberal ready to pounce and denounce every micro-meaning then you must be one of those white folks that uses that funny but rigid salute. 

You know the one.

To wit, last night a friend texted me about the value of independent thought and how I am perhaps misunderstood by many. Then, he texted again to let me know he "didn't mean that in a white supremacist way." That's the dynamic we live in now, if you're not towing the liberal or conservative line perfectly then the immediate assumption is that you must have sympathies that align with the very worst of those of the opposing side. It's as if the entire liberal world suddenly joined PETA in the last ten years and they want to make sure that everybody knows that liberalism now is going to be a single issue platform. 

Again, I'm not against PETA. I am using them as an example of an ideology. Doing so does not mean that I oppose them, nor that my sympathies and support are against them in any way. I am simply enjoying the liberal application of sarcasm.  

Oh, I don't even know if any of it is worth explaining any more. It has occurred to me that most of the self-described liberals that I knew growing up didn't really seem to grasp what it means to be a liberal anyway. So when neoliberalism came along they were herded right on board, thinking: Well, this liberal thing is finally gaining some traction. The best thing that I can probably do for my country right now is to post articles from The Guardian. 

One of my favorite things that I used to say to my friends on the left was: So, are you an activist or a pessimist? It would get a chuckle out of my comrades, but not so much any more. Now, it's heard as the accusation that it is, and might be met with a series of articles posted about the strides that activists have made and all of the positive changes they have evinced from within our society.

So, I've changed it up a bit: Are you an activist or an optimist? 


Monday, August 14, 2017

To the jail bait who stole my life vest:

Okay, I stole a photographer from CS for my image this morning. He won't mind. I like it, and CS is good at sharing the names and work of other artists. 

There is no reason that I can't be making similar images to the one above, except that I don't own Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other photo editing software. I think that I have a copy of Apple's one. It is discontinued now, I think. Henson's other images would not be so easily imitated, I do not think. A soft focus lens will help, but will not carry the conceptual burden of the work through to completion. 

I think; I think

Aperture, that was its name. I just checked on my computer, and yes, there is a prohibitory sign that lets me know that it will not be used on their new and improved platform, along with a bunch of other software. That is a company that is always looking to future revenues, and one way of getting there is reselling software to users. Companies must be shitting themselves with joy over the idea of software as a subscription. Why sell anything when you can just charge people in perpetuity instead.

We're so happy we can hardly count... 

Cato told me that I was on my soap box recently, so I'll stop. 

I would offer my opinion of the weekend in Charlottesville, but for what purpose? 

Oh, fuck it, I have a couple minutes for soapboxing:

Liberals do not like to be told they are acting foolishly. Conservatives are used to it, though they'll still kick your stupid fucking ass for it. That's where liberals are out of their depth: violence, either understanding it or with dispensing it. I don't gravitate towards it but I have come to expect it. I grew up in a place and time - the south in the 70s and 80s - in which a challenge of almost any kind was met with a fist or several arriving in rapid succession, and not always from the person you thought you were fighting. 

So, you learned to speak in such a way that the dullards couldn't understand you, or you learned to take a punch, or dodge one. I settled on a little bit of each of those strategies, but I never expected to think that punch wasn't coming when I was either being a smart-ass or if I was in somebody's face reminding them how vile, wicked, and stupid they are. There are better ways to demonstrate that fact. One way is to just stand back and let them establish it all for themselves. It rarely takes very long. 

If you're going to challenge what people have come to believe are their traditions, with the intent of destroying those presumably esteemed traditions, then you had better arrive with something other than just a handful of liberal ideals. It's true that the only thing that can beat a bad idea is a better idea, but the same holds true for fists and boots. 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

A couch continuum

(Cato and the boy)

A new couch really changes things. I needed one, badly. I was being a guy about it and allowing the one that I had to be good enough. I wasn't wrong. I was maybe just allowing the convenience of not buying one partner with purely utilitarian impulses. A local friend whose son makes his way on here every now and then (below) offered one online and I was spared the indignity of shopping for something expensive when I don't know what I want. It's perfect. I want someone to sit on it. 

I want a new kitchen table and chairs, also. I am a little bit envious of CS' new cabinet.

That concludes the furniture discussion section of today's post. 

I went into the city last night to visit a friend. Well, a group of friends. I had no plans on staying in the city, but that's what happened. I awoke on a couch, miserable from the beer. Cato likes to eat every hour when he's drinking, cheeseburgers and fried potatoes, so there was that, also - a food hangover.

We went to breakfast early this morning, Cato and I, and there was more. A pork hash thing with eggs, sunny side up, which I ate until there was no way to eat any more off of the plate. 

(The couch)

Rachel just called and was laughing at me because I was writing about the new couch while lying in bed, rather than sitting on the thing itself. I'm still in bed, of course. I'll wait for a night with the boy here and we'll watch a movie. Maybe Star Wars.

At some point I'll need to nap on it. Is there anything that floats in time better than does a Sunday siesta?

(My buddy, the couch kid)


Saturday, August 12, 2017


These pictures were not quite taken in the dark, but not very far off either. It was dusk. I had to crank the iso up to 12800 and lower the shutter speed to 1/20th of a second on a 17mm  f2.8 lens, which is why they are grainy and just a bit blurry. I've been pushing my D810 to its stated limits, perhaps so that I'll have a good solid reason to buy the D850 when it comes out. It has native iso that is a full stop above the model I have, at 25600. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, the Nikon D5 of course. It goes a full two stops above the D850, but costs twice as much.

Camera reviews distort your desires, not entirely dissimilar from the way that a wide angle lens produces perspective distortion, forcing a narrowing of the visible space onto the camera's sensor. There is a lot of information that is forced onto the eye, where the mind interprets it as it is best accustomed to.

I don't need a new camera body. As always, there are more lenses to buy. If you buy enough lenses then eventually you are forced to buy a new body every five years or so. It has been less than two since I bought my D810

I don't know why I ever write about camera settings here. It's not as if I have a group of friends with whom I discuss the technical aspects of photography, nor the published specifications of cameras. CS will sometimes discuss processes with which I am wholly unfamiliar, every now and then offering a little hint of something I had not known, but for processes which I am unfamiliar. Everybody else just asks me when I'm going to jump ship from Nikon and switch to Sony. Apparently the smaller body is the greatest technical feat that can be accomplished. Convenience matched with image quality seems to be the best of the combined selling aspects. 

I'll admit it, also: I love my Fuji for those reasons. 

Remember a post from a while back in which I relayed that my son and I were looking at the sun with eclipse glasses? I just received a very important safety email from Amazon informing me that the glasses they sold me as being "solar safe viewing" and advertised specifically as being ISO 12312-2 international safety standard compliant have not received confirmation from the seller that those glasses are as such.


Now, I did look at the sun for up to 10-15 seconds at a time with them on and only noticed floating blurry spots in my vision the week afterwards, and possibly a few headaches. Who knows, maybe these images are not grainy or blurry at all. Maybe I have always had an advanced case of blindsight.

I am going to go for a nice bike ride this morning, 25 miles or so, straight up the valley to St. Francis vineyards.

Yesterday, I rode up the hills to the west of here, to the point at which Sonoma valley becomes Petaluma, where Sam Shepard wrote much of his Motel Chronicles.

CS wrote touched upon the American male mythos this morning, a thing that is quickly becoming pathos. We are told that the male vision is sickened to its core, has poisoned the wellspring of our otherwise perfect society, a condition which no liberal openly wishes to save the American male from. The self-described enlightened (a word replaced by woke) that I know wish to distance themselves from every possible aspect of maleness. Like their female counterparts they've been reading just enough feminism to ruin themselves. The titles of books freely replacing opinion in a magic act of jingoist exchange.

They generously apply the historic sins of patriarchy to every individual male they encounter, starting off with their all white friends and then tapering off sharply when confronted with anybody mildly ethnic, never confronting a latino about the problems they feel and understand with patriarchy. Each feminist finding there, or wherever else, the sliver of evidence they need to denounce the individual as being not only a product of the presumed sins of history, but its sole and privileged beneficiary, never quite digging far enough back in history to discover the roots of the liberalism they claim to embrace.

The protective capacity of a given patriarch has likewise been denigrated as a value. Let's see how the world unfolds populated only by strong thinkers, you know, the enlightened entitled.

Males can't do anything right any more. They should have never written their history. What the fuck were they thinking? It's used against them the way that this site will one day become part of a lengthy court document. Now hearing Q6 vs. Q6. I'd like to call my first and only witness, the accused. Each person digitally functioning as their own prosecutor and defendant.

I mean sure, maybe it's all true and it really was males that have caused all of humanity's problems. It can sure seem that way, especially if you look closely at the prospect of its destructive embodiment in a global nuclear exchange, or even a local one.

Beyond that, some of us can be very nice, also.

Tomorrow I will ride somewhere else.

You know, where ... good intentions and running away was always the cure.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Century MM

Little poems for the eye, some syntax from the past.

(Elliott Erwitt)

The images remind me of books I used to read, in the 80s. Books mostly written in the early part of the 20th century. I'm not sure why, other than them both being from the past. Each thing, in its way, focused on some unique component of a moment. As I was reading much of that stuff I felt as if I was a little bit of an outsider, or cultivating an outsider persona, nervous that girls might not notice. Maybe I was too charmed by the past as somehow being more authentic than the time I felt trapped in.

Knowledge of those books will begin to mean less and less. It's not as if there is anybody around now that I discuss Celine with. Well, that's not true. There is Cato. That's how he got the name, not for Celine, but I want to say it was him trying to find out if I knew the differences between William and Henry James. Pop quizzes about everything he was learning. Jesus, what is Cato going to do when I get old?

He asked me about buying a house today.

People still buy houses?

(Elliott Erwitt)


a lot of
it's not
either to
or even to

- Bukowski


Thursday, August 10, 2017



Running to pick the boy up from summer gymnastics class. No time for thoughtfulness. The world is a busy place, and me keeping step with it when I can. More and more there is less and less. Or rather, oftener there is. I am lucky to read, or play music, or to listen to same. Everything is happening as it is supposed to, a thing I could never quite see before. I worry about the future here and there - it's arriving faster than expected. I brace for the changes. The tempests are made of decades. 


Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I think the boy has grown bored of me being his father. He has shown signs of outgrowing my parenting methods. Kids have more energy to test the borders of behavior than a parent has to secure those borders. Wait, am I somehow Trump in this analogy? I'm going to build a fort in his room and make him pay for it. The next time I see the boy I'm going to insist that he prove that he's an American. I'll make him start carrying his passport with him everywhere he goes. I want his voter records! 

I've been looking for any early signs that he might be leaning towards conservatism, so that those impulses can be met with the appropriate derision. I picture all of my friends circling him, taunting, chanting: Rhys is a republican, Rhys is a republican...!!! 

I should be careful, one day that kid is going to beat me up and take my lunch money.

Doesn't getting your ass kicked suck? I remember a few fights from when I was a kid. They were awful.

To this day I think about how, with a little training, I might have lost those fights differently.

I spend as little time as possible in my kitchen trying to discover things that can be eaten with as little effort as possible. Today, I opened a can of barbecue beans and a jar of blue cheese salad dressing, then I wiped two spoons reasonably clean with my t-shirt.

You can just guess what happens next: lunch.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another Green World

So far today, again, this is all that I have listened to - Eno. Everything about it is artificial, except perhaps the feeling it evinces, which is unique among the Eno albums. No easy feat. 

I'll try to wrap up at work and go for a bike ride before I lose my mind and attempt the lofty turd dirigible of Floyd's Live at Pompeii again. That is some weird shit, man. I've been reading about music lately. I found an article that contained some good writing and observations, a rarity in what passes for music journalism. I wanted to print it out to read it, to savor it, to feel the written word in my hands. 

Bowie embezzled a fair amount from the above album, at least musically. Few, I do not believe, would ever bother imitating Eno's vocals. Yoko Ono, maybe, and that damned Peter Murphy. Actually, that would have helped Ono's vocals tremendously, had she only tried to imitate somebody. It was her unrestrained and untrained nature that has made her so enduringly unbearable. Fuck Yoko. How did I start writing about her? She has one song that I genuinely love, and a small handful that I'll tolerate. The rest is rubbish.

So yes, Bowie was a clever thief. He had the paranoid wherewithal to at least enlist Eno's talents in the heist as it was happening. Classic coke-head maneuver. Who better to flatter with thievery than the owner of the pieces to be stolen? Bowie tried to do it himself on Station to Station but must have just given up and decided it would be much easier to lift bits from Eno than it was to ever try and imitate him. 

Low, Heroes, Lodger; repeat. 


Monday, August 7, 2017

I swear

I've had the music of Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii playing on loop, interspersed equally with Brian Eno's Another Green World, all day, back and forth like seven or twelve maniacs all arguing their odd cases. I don't often listen to such demanding music while I am working, it becomes too distracting, but I read a couple things this morning that made me curious about the past again. The two recordings are very different artifices of affectation, such that nothing seems quite real to me any more. And all I'm doing is sitting here, as clear headed and vacant as I've ever been.