Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Why do we fall?

I have less to report today than yesterday. Everything seems to be dwindling into the present tense. The past and future have dried up or exploded. Being this locked in with anybody is torturous. Rachel and I, it seems, have decided just to try to stay out of each other's way, but that hasn't worked. It seems impossible that this will go on as it is for another month, but that's the plan and there is no easy way out. 

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. - Two Face


Monday, March 30, 2020

The excesses of replication

I guess it's this death is coming feeling that I don't care for. 

I'm sure you have already thought about what this means for you. Here in Sonoma we have no known cases yet, to the best of my knowledge, but we will. Maybe when the world is burning across the bay, hopefully later, according to the flat curve societies. 

Death is on its way. They're trying to let it happen everywhere a bit more slowly. They're trying to get the dying down to an acceptable level

The future is less like the past than ever. 


Suspended In Disbelief

While I knew that the shelter-in-place requirements of California were likely to be extended through the month of April, the reality of it has become another thing. It might still become something else, yet. I will need to find ways to get some time to myself, however possible. We're all adjusting, of course, but I am slower to adjust in some ways than my younger familial counterparts. I am tempted to return to cycling, in spite of the pain it has caused me. 

The boy and I have been trying to find ways to disrupt the monotony. We're playing baseball in the back yard and taking pictures jumping on the bed and going for bike rides and doing art work at the kitchen table and reading books and that's about all that we can do. Well, to that short list he has added playing video games. 

That's it. I've started my new job, so I must recede somewhat from public life.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Reflex got the best of me

I have some other pictures on my other computer. I'm already in my room and the computer is on the kitchen table. That is how lazy I have become. Not just in the last few weeks, but since early adulthood. Somewhere it happened. My energy levels dropped off. I've heard it can get even worse. 

CS sent me an article about the health benefits of journaling, so I took a few days off. I didn't want to risk it. I had stories to tell, and I thought of telling them, but they were sucked into to the invisible vortex of daily time. I don't remember a time for before March. Today lasted a week. 

There is not much new here that is not likewise new for everyone else. Adjusting to this new world, to its demands and unexpected contours and curves.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Do we call it the American-Flu now

Fuck. I am exhausted. I know more about how my friends will react to the plague than I had ever guessed I might. I always pictured the plague involving me running for my life, cut off from all communication, desperate, alone, scared, probably naked. Wait, that was my audition for Cops. I confuse the two.

I have been able to make Rachel and Rhys laugh here and there throughout the day and they have done the same. The phone and the laptop will be sleeping on the couch tonight. We had a falling out, you see. I'm not sure that we both want the same things from the relationship, and I feel as if I disappear when I am with them.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Death or Sex

Like any conscientious American, I am exploring a number of competing doomsday scenarios. My fear, of course, is that the president and his team will prove to be minimally competent or incredibly lucky, or a combination of both, which would disrupt my expectations.

Oh yeah, no politics. What the fuck am I doing? I guess it's not really politics, it's a jest made of hatred and poison. That's the beef I have with the paragraph.

I was 33 on 9/11. At 51, I am beginning to understand how people reach a place within themselves in which they just don't want to live through things any more. 

People watching lately has been interesting. Taking the dogs out for a walk around the neighborhood, something I do almost every day, has become an adventure in pop psychology. My observation is that everyone is amplifying their most reliable trait, whether they want to or not. In addition to the feeling that we can not stop the spread of the virus, we can not stop ourselves. 

A friend of mine offered me some acid to help get me through this with some clarity. Told him I might take him up on it.  Sometimes it is best to stare right into the sun, if you ever want to see the thing. Or, if you ever want to see it again. When I am trying to go to sleep I will sometimes stare into an amorphous region of purplish that is generated, I believe, by my cortex visualis or maybe the optic nerve. Or, maybe the mind generates the impression of a color seen as a reaction to the absence of stimuli. I'm not sure. But if I can stop talking there in the darkness long enough then I can fall into it, but I can never remember having fallen. Hell is the lingering in the extended, restless darkness. But you already know that.

The infrastructure will collapse
Voltage spikes
Throw your keys in the bowl
Kiss your husband goodnight


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Repetition of Days

Kids look for, and often find, a vast wealth of hypocrisy in their parents, as they hit a certain age. The kids, I mean. Kids hit a certain age. They discover the hypocrisy of parenting. They look for it. They detect that we are attempting to make them into something that we are not, instilling them with values that we only demonstrate as needed, something that we are not, something that we are barely, something that we maybe had never hoped to be, though something we never wished not to be, either. Something that we maybe had never even hoped. We maybe had. Something. Never hoped. Maybe had. Kids. 


Monday, March 23, 2020


All of the experts seem to agree: we have been doomed by a hoax.

I returned to work today. There were many people telling me that they will miss me and congratulating me on the new position, others just congratulating me, then there were others who ignored me, as usual. Actually, I can never tell how much I am being ignored at any given time because I work remotely. I live a solitary life in some key ways.

The onset of the coronavirus seems to have suddenly created this new world for the boy. He is teleconferencing with his friends. He has been making some art online with one of his school buddies. They do the same instructional videos together online and then compare drawings. One of his early master works is below - Shark.

I do not wish to document my quotidian ailments but I have a headache today and am not feeling up to much more. Stress, perhaps. In conversation tonight I could feel how brittle Rachel was. She went to bed early, before I could. I will go now and listen to the boy read through one of his stories before bed. The sound of his voice working his way through a story is so much more superior to anything and everything else in the world right now.


Sunday, March 22, 2020


Yes, home-schooling starts tomorrow. Our self-quarantine continues. 
Yes, I understand that my underwater selfie is not as pleasing as the pics I took of my son. 
It's my nose, et all.
Yes, that explains it. 

I try to maintain some composure in the face of threat or danger but I'm not liking the global numbers. I have been chatting about it most of the day, as I'm sure any reader here might have, also. So, I won't add anything to the discourse of apprehensions. I have friends that are pregnant, and unwell, or older, or fragile, as we all surely must in connected corollaries and combinations. It is impossible not to think of them, to want to love them, to send them love without causing any further concern through that expression. To love invisibly. 

I almost offered to say a prayer before dinner tonight but had just finished another book by Houellebecq today and could not muster any words of tranquility or utterances of invocation. Yes, None.


Saturday, March 21, 2020


And just like that, mom and dad seem to be getting along together again. The stresses and strains of being on vacation in an RV while the world contracts a new virus may have just been too much for us. We each have rooms that we can go to now, doors that can be closed. Not slammed, just closed. We are back to our comfortable spaces. I can lie in bed and play the guitar now. 

I may purchase a synthesizer if the shelter at home demands linger - they will. Based on my current online scientific studies, this is a measure that will hopefully slow the spread, only. The way for it to be effective is for it to last several months. During that time treatments will be devised and supplies will be manufactured to manage the influx of the infected with issues. That flow of patients and bodies will be staggered some by this tactic. Until a vaccine is developed, or we achieve herd immunity otherwise, there will be much suffering everywhere. 

This is why the holy bible instructs us not to eat penguins, bats, or flamingos. And some other stuff. I've been reading a little bit of pre-apocalypse Leviticus, to help clear my head of the noise of newsfeeds. 

So far; so, so. 

Did you know that a semicolon tattoo has a coded meaning?  


Friday, March 20, 2020

Loathing and Fear

I took down a post from yesterday. I had a bad day with Rachel and vented a bit about it. It was not a great look for me. There are some people that aren't great to camp with. Mom will remain in that category until further evidence suggests that she belongs in the preferred group. That's all. 

It has been unusually stressful to be out on the road with a child while the world burns to the ground with viral infirmities. So, I'll grant that it has not been an entirely ideal situation, for any of us. Though her behavior camping is indistinguishable from her behavior elsewhere. So, I'm not sure what to think of it. Perhaps camping is not the problem. 

I should stop. Having not stopped yesterday was my reason for taking down the other post.

The boy and I have been having fun, though.  We've been playing in the pool and ocean and campground and elsewhere. I chased him all around the trail-heavy hills of the campground on my mountain bike yesterday to his intermittent squeals of childhood joy and excitement. He has been reluctant to play with other kids at the campsite. I wish that I could be 8 years old with him, sometimes.

We go home today. Tomorrow, we return the RV. After that, we will be home-schooling the boy for a while, where hopefully my 51 years will be an advantage. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dream Beneath A Desert Sky

We fled the desert. There was unexpected rain. Perhaps I will tell more tomorrow. We drove most of today, from Joshua Tree to Half Moon Bay. After driving in to the national park well before sunrise this morning in the hopes of viewing Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the crescent Moon all clustered together in the morning sky - it was mostly overcast; we saw no such thing - we came back to the recreational vehicle and I took a nice long nap. When I awoke mom had already hatched a plan for us to leave. She wanted to be closer to home. The rain just played into that wish conveniently. 

It is very odd to be out in an rv having a family vacation while all of this pandemic is consuming the world. The boy is only as afraid of it as what we have caused him to be, so far. It seemed to land when we told him that he wouldn't be going back to school when we return from vacation, and that we're not sure when he would. 

The drive up the 101 - we took that instead of the 5, which we've seen too many times - was beautiful. California is a beautiful place to drive around and visit. If I would have had a hit of acid this morning when we departed then I would have eaten it. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Emerald Desert

The world is progressing just as one might expect it would, at least when driving around the Joshua Tree area. Most people, when out in nature, practice social distancing more readily. We drove through the park from the south entrance to the north entrance yesterday. The boy was bored witless. Mom and I offered what precious and incomplete little data we had, presented as reasonably certain facts. We listened to some Gram Parsons tracks - Hickory Wind, his cover of Love Hurts, and the Byrd's cover of Dylan's You 'Aint Goin' Nowhere. We also listened to U2's Joshua Tree. Why not?

Once we had driven through the park we stopped at the Joshua Tree Inn. Raquel and I had stayed there once before on our first night of driving across the country together, almost twenty years ago. We stayed in the room in which Gram Parsons passed away. It was not our intention. It was simply offered to us and so we took the chance, as a novelty.

I was enjoying a modest pouring of bourbon on the drive. Rachel took over and drove about half the way home. I insisted that I am perfectly FINE! a few times but this message didn't seem to land with mom. The pot edibles help keep an even keel when you're drinking.

I am half kidding. I was drinking and I was eating pot edibles and mom did decide that she should drive, but I never claimed that I was fine.

Today is Raquel's birthday. St. Patty's Girl. We're just going to take it easy and go swimming and drink more bourbon or wine or champagne.  Well, after we pack everything up and head to a new campsite, where there will presumably be more kids for the boy to play with. We may not have the pool to ourselves forever.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Recreational V

I'm trying to get my photo library to load, but I am getting error messages and I care far too little to try to fix it, at least for now. I just tried to drag and drop them into the library from the camera's memory card and now I am getting a permission's error there, also. 

Yesterday, as we walked along the beach north of Santa Barbara, we found a small river that made its way out from the hills to the Pacific. The boy hiked up it a short way, eager to enter any body of water available. There were freight and passenger trains passing along the bridge above the river. We could see people wave at us and we would wave back, the location being that novel. 

We talked for a few minutes about the land and the fresh water that had made its way here and from how far away. That now we are seeing it become part of the great vastness in front of us. There being something funereal and slow and graceful about it. Something simple. 

Today we will drive into Joshua Tree National Park. We may rent a car to do so, as we do not want to burden ourselves with the RV and all the work that is required to move the behemoth. We are parked in a private club made just for such vehicles. I have never seen anything like it before in my life, and I could walk from site to site and just chat with people all afternoon and evening. They are suspiciously nice and generous. 
I will bring some 35mm film cameras out into the desert and pretend to be Anton Corbijn. The boy will need to be Bono, for this photo shoot, but they share a similar moral intensity. Both seem to feel with equal certainty that there are many more cookies in the cookie jar than the world is admitting. 

I will attempt to capture that look of righteous indignation that hangs like a scowling mask upon the self. 

I know it well. 

We have all started to get along a bit better, which is nice. We went swimming yesterday in the campsite's pool. Yes, we are RV camping and not tent camping,. so there are amenities. The two types of camping are very different things, barely resembling the other at all. We seem suspicious here because we are neither retired nor are we golfers, and we brought a youth. When we went swimming in the pool yesterday we had the entire area, including the hot tub, to ourselves. Thousands of retirees had stayed away. 

CS is wondering what he should do next and I stumbled upon his answer almost by accident. The documentary to watch is About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson. It will give you the premonition of yet another kind of story that can be told. Grand mistakes are not just for the kids, any more. 

More and more, in pictures, my son has started to look like my brother. And mommy, well... for the first time since I have known her she has stopped wearing bikinis when we go to the beach or pool. But she still looks just like mommy.

where water comes together with other water 

I love creeks and the music they make.
And rills, in glades and meadows, before
they have a chance to become creeks.
I may even love them best of all
for their secrecy. I almost forgot
to say something about the source!
Can anything be more wonderful than a spring?
But the big streams have my heart too.
And the places streams flow into rivers.
The open mouths of rivers where they join the sea.
The places where water comes together
with other water. Those places stand out
in my mind like holy places.
But these coastal rivers!
I love them the way some men love horses
or glamorous women. I have a thing
for this cold swift water.
Just looking at it makes my blood run
and my skin tingle. I could sit
and watch these rivers for hours.
Not one of them like any other.
I’m 45 years old today.
Would anyone believe it if I said
I was once 35?
My heart empty and sere at 35!
Five more years had to pass
before it began to flow again.
I’ll take all the time I please this afternoon
before leaving my place alongside this river.
It pleases me, loving rivers.
Loving them all the way back
to their source.
Loving everything that increases me.

- Raymond Carver


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Jalama Beach

We made it to the beach. It is on the coast, north of Santa Barbara. Now we're just waiting for everybody to adjust to being in an RV with very limited space together, and having that process be our vacation. We'll see, not every moment so far has worked out perfectly. It's not like Burning Man, where I can stuff my pockets full of drugs and wander away for 24 hours. Anything more than one hour here would start to seem unusual. 

But there have been walks on the beach. The boy loves it and there is that.

Today, we head further south, Joshua Tree. It was raining in Big Sur. 


Friday, March 13, 2020


Amid the panic, we prepare to depart on vacation - luckily, we were not flying anywhere. The boy has long held a dream in which all of us are camping together as a family. Mom doesn't like to sleep in tents. An RV became the obvious solution and consequence of these facts and opinions. So, off we will depart tomorrow morning in a ~26 foot long vehicle that we will also be sleeping and eating in. When we pick it up today I'm going to ask if the previous renters were Italian.  Mom and I have discussed a backup plan if any of us become ill. One of our close friends here in Sonoma is in forced quarantine. These are times.

I will bring books and cameras. We will be somewhat off the grid, which should be nice as long as the basic structures of society hold. I can't decide if I want to bring my guitar or just the little ukulele. This might be the pleasant family vacation we had hoped for, if we can learn to let go of the worries that tend to circle in flight around any issue like this.

Have I lived through something like this before, or was that just the memory of having read Don Delillo? He is what will soon become an "at risk" writer. 

Some experts say within the next week or two there will be pockets of breakouts in the US that are very similar to what we saw in Iran and South Korea. Though they also questioned if the US response will be as coordinated and successful. These are the details that I hope to avoid while out camping. I withdrew more cash than I needed from the bank this morning. More than we would need for a camping trip in which we paid for most everything in advance.

Fears seem so silly afterwards. 


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Raises and Responsibilities

Well, CS was telling a fertile version of the myth. It is not official yet, but I will be moving into a new role at work soon. There will be some money and a different set of responsibilities. More of them, I assume. It will not be so much money that you will notice any difference in me. I'll still chat with all the little people who helped get me where I am today.

There is not much more to say about it. It is not exciting. I might buy myself an immodest reward for having achieved so much. I have been drinking wine for two days straight now, to celebrate. I may go to the pub now and have a few beers. The boy and mom have put themselves in the car with a destination of Costco. I opted out of going, though I pretended as if I wanted to join them. I like to give them time to themselves sometimes, also, especially on the Costco trips.

The sun has come out here and I should go for a bike ride, to help keep my head clear. I will let my boss know that I am leaving soon. He is away on vacation. He had a good indication that this might be happening before he left. I will encourage him not to cry at the thought of losing me. He is a very good guy and I like him a lot. I perhaps cause him more stress than happiness, though that has never been my intention. Increasingly, fewer and fewer share my worldview and life approach. I must be doing tremendous spiritual work for God.  

Well, as I said, it is not exciting. No reason to explore the boredom further. 

Come to the pub, if you want to chat about any of it. 


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Or Lot's wife

I have no idea what Cafe Syphilis is talking about. I encouraged him to buy some new beachwear and play the ukulele, maybe the harmonica. From this he has drawn inferences all his own. 

I would write more but now I am a busy man, with a lot on my mind. 


Friday, March 6, 2020

Espirit de Core

I often develop a ghoulish preoccupation with anything that might kill me - from wildfire to acute hypertension to suicide. Lately I have been reading about all the newest diseases. Any fool can brush up on the coronavirus, and many have. You can sense their expertise on social media. It takes a malignant mind to stay up late to read about infectious diarrhea the way that I do, but rarely do I run out of things of which to despair late at night.

Here are some pics of the boy and the dog playing, to help lighten your spiritual burdens and woes.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Big Trouble

That kid that you see above is in big, big trouble. He became angry with mom yesterday morning, after I left for the city, and threw a baseball inside the house, breaking a terrarium she had made that was hanging in the kitchen. So, now he's on lockdown - no screen time, no baseball practice, no playdates, no bike riding, no fun

I added him as a beneficiary to my 401k this morning. You just never know. For tax reasons, I should probably replace him with mom on all of that stuff. I normally have mom do all of that. Yes, I know... I should be responsible for my own life, but it bores me. I have never aspired to be an administrator or manager or principal or an executive of any kind. I hate even asking a person where they want to eat. Even the thought of asking a group that same question angers me as I sit here. The only time that I've ever liked groups is when they were cheering for me. 

CS recalls a similar fondness for fledgling stardom this morning. There's my one true sentence.

It is better to be cheered than to be ignored, better to be remembered than forgotten. Better to live than to die.

Better is better than what is worse. That is my koan. 

Jesus. I just ran out the door to pick the boy up and take him to baseball practice and then to the store to get some dinner. I had some thoughts and observations during that time that I was going to note here, but they have slipped my mind. I am a man of that age

I did, however, ride my bike today. It was the first time in months. I have been getting fatter and drinking more, so my guilt pushed me into activity. It was a glorious day for a ride. There was that, which was good, and was enough, and was better. 


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Nudes of Mom

(Waiting to glimpse Mommy)

I meant my mother yesterday, not innocent little Raquel. It helps me relieve stress to look at naked pictures of my mom. It makes me feel vice, presidential. Pence-ive. 

Yes, yes, yes... I saw the humor in the sentence yesterday, and the horror, and went with it anyway. I was going to write mommy, but kept it simple.

Mother knows best. Mom can be anything.

Like most boys, I used to sniff my mom's underwear. Not that most boys sniffed my mom's underwear, but maybe theirs. I didn't know that you were supposed to sniff the dirty ones though. You can imagine my surprise when I first encountered a real vagina, excreting its own glandular and bacterial scents. I was driven wild with lust. At fourteen or fifteen that's mostly all that you have is wildness and lust. I was blessed with both.

My mother lost both of her breasts to cancer, so I had fewer childhood opportunities to connect with them as desirable flesh. I connected them with fear of loss and disfigurement, and the pain of femininity. I remember my mother talking to me about what their loss meant to her. She centered on it not mattering, as long as she was able to stay alive to be my mother. I also saw them as a connection to life, even in their absence.

Like most boys, I found the breasts of the girls and young women that would show them to me or let me touch them or put my mouth on them to be miraculous, and still do. Few things appear as naturally beautiful as do breasts. Titties.

I agree with CS. Such things are interesting. It is very rare that anyone has ever offered me too much information. If I've ever said that phrase to shut somebody up it was because of their personality, not the information they offered.

I am torn between preparing for the coronavirus and buying a new camera. Sure, I could do both or neither, but what the fuck, do I have to do everything, or ignore everything that there is to do, around here? All the time?

My problem is that I have already "invested" so much into photography. As the boy gets older he is becoming ambivalent about the process, and mom and I are getting older. Neither of us finds many portraits of ourselves that we like as much any more. Mom asks me to take sunny portraits of her so that she can update her LinkedIn profile. etc. How many cameras does one need for that?

Sure, Rhys will be playing sports soon, so I'll need a better telephoto lens, but beyond that I probably have all that I need.

Nobody sleeps naked around here any more.

 (Pre-Dad and Pre-Mom)

(The Babymaker, with feeders)