Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam a-go-go

Wow, that was some hanging. The image of the two executioners in ski masks slipping the noose around Saddam's neck speaks volumes. Set that man free, they did, first his mind, then his ass, in accordance with Funkedelic protocol. Freedom to do whatever he wants? Of course not. Release from the meat wheel? Doubtful. But freedom from expectation, and it's sidekick delusion, oh yes, the most practical freedom in my opinion, though elusive for me and so many. Seems like such a short time ago we were taking away his shoelaces to prevent strangulation. Hanging embodies the poor person's intentional death, a favorite among pre-teens and lynch mobs I gather. What would Jude The Obscure have been if those kids hadn't hung themselves with the moving box string to save their parents trouble & expense? Just another Tess of the D'urbervilles, that's what. Media field day. Now don't get me wrong, I'm against the death penalty, for voting purposes, but Natural Born Killers remains my favorite movie; conflicted I suppose. Part of me now expects the imminent execution of the rest of the pathological bureaucrats in power. Freedom from expectations, I need constant reminders; repetition works, repetition works.

Dang me, dang me, they ought to take a rope and hang me, high, from the highest tree, woman would you weep for me. --Buck Owens

Gwar's Saddam-a-go-go:

I at the time was a communist
Lived on a collective farm
She was a part time anarchist
Our sex went off like a bomb
Living the life of a terrorist
Looking for the man Saddam
Who gave me a gun
As Iran to the sun
If you die like a dog
Then you are


Going to Saddam a go-go
Everybody is there
Business of strange bed fellows
Makes you dance around like a bear
Ein, Schwein, kick him in the eye
They were the ones
Who could rice from the sun

As they dived in their planes
And they die!
How they died!

The running paper tiger chases it's own


He was someone
Who was there for
People like me
Hi there Saddam
Love the party
Yes they're all here with me in Saddam

Bloody Saddam
Loves you always
Always a kick
Bloody Saddam
Even though the
Smell is making me sick
As we sit on our roofs
And cheer as your
Scuds fall like rain

Here at the ancient ziggataut
Saddam is presiding there
Running around with a saxaphone
Where is the president where?
Here it comes the black tornado
Let's have a cheer for Sarejavo
If you survive what
Falls out of his mind
You'll make the political world

Friday, December 29, 2006

2007, Year of Revolution

Clouds roll in cold, foreboding gray with brief blue holes. Too much coffee and unfinished tasks manifest as short breaths and chest pains.

Saw an owl hover above a bush lastin a howling wind, not 10 feet from me. Then it dove into the bush after some small brown birds, two of which flew away right past my head. Owls speak to me, and the ancestors within me, their faces so primate-like, their voices strike many chords spinal and dark.

2007, 2 + 7 = 9, the number of revolution, so I'm hoping for some hot ones this year, especially on the bicycles. All measures and limits shall be debunked, with any luck.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tastes Vernal

Breeze blows through my window, smells, feels, tastes vernal, full of new life, green grass. The hairs on my recently shaved head wave 1-mm above my scalp wave and cheer, each of their radiant faces turning toward the window. Each hair recieves transmissions of a certain wavelength range. That information loaded energy washes down my spinal chord, and from there to my various glands, each of which begin to glow with distinctive hue. Smiles plaster my face, inside and out, perquisites of remaining open to life force dynamo hum coming through the open window.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice

Happy solstice everybody; feel that winter steal into your heart and awake to the land of long nights growing shorter. We enjoyed a pre-Christmas visit from Santa, complete with stocking booty shown here. No, the 2002 issue of Zoonooz was not used as a stocking stuffer. Later that morning the boy sang, which is to say that he swayed back in forth with the music, in front of our packed church. He was by far the youngest, and it amazed me how he made it through the whole 15 minute program without losing stage presence. Father-son performance art pieces dance like sugar-plums on the head of a pin inserted deep into my cerebellum. When we asked him what he wanted for Christmas he said "Candy". "Anything else?" "No, just candy, and chocolate." I've become convinced that my kids have all the memories that I have up until the time of their conception. My father-in-law tells me that theory has been disproved, but science falls short often enough that I remain undaunted, and sure that it's true.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sacramento Primus Pit Fantastic

I had my doubts about driving all the way to Sacramento, by myself, on a Sunday night, to see a band that used to play at my old housing co-operative in Berzerkeley, but I'd bought a ticket to see Primus at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, so there I motored. I'd heard that the crowds at Delta shows were more wild & crazy like the old days, and Tim guaranteed it to one of my top five type shows of the year. I got there during Gogol Bordello, the opening band. The action was minimal, no pit, but the folks were youthful & friendly. When the lights came on between bands I walked as close to the front as I could, where I got to listen to a bearded young man explain pit tactics to one of his two female companions, who had apparently never attended such a show from this intense a vantage point. When the lights went down and the music started the rush took me away like a raging river, sweeping me into impossible crush after impossible crush, people falling all over the place. That girl is running for her life about now, I thought to myself. About a hundred people sat down on me as I realized that the fools behind me had fallen to the floor, no lasting worry though, as arms did, in accordance with age old pit tradition, reach down to help pull me up. A guy next to me asked all of us around him to please feel for his shoes, but no luck. That first song, the one about "...those damned blue collar tweakers...", took a serious hold of that blue collar tweaker crowd. The crowd surfing started and I started howling and growling at random intervals; a true pit opened up, allowing for air flow and motion. Not as graceful and flowing as the pits of my drunken memories, but far better than can be found at just about any bay area show, with perhaps the exception of Slayer. Tim made it up to join me in the craze a couple songs later, soon to have his shirt vacuumed from him by the human blender, during Jerry Was A Racecar Driver I think, never to be seen again. Frontman Les Claypool came out in a pig mask, then a monkey mask with tail, played this amazing bass like none other, deep freaky. The girl that had never slam danced before held her own in a death defying fight for survival fit for Animal Planet or the National Geographic Channel. A number of other females held their own at the front, including one ribald young blond lady that insisted on repeatedly raising her top while riding some guy's shoulders. So many females, in fact, that Les stopped between songs to comment that this concert had the most women at the frong of all the shows they'd played, and it refreshed him to see something other than the usual "sea of testicles". I lost half the buttons on my Hawaiian shirt and got soundly knocked to the floor to practice somersaults in the pit. The pit was full of fresh air and a particularly obnoxious shaved headed young man that charged me like a bull, plowing into my left kidney area, leaving me with a resounding and prominent pain in my gut. The problem with resting past the edge the pit was the lack of air, no flow there, much body odor and carbon dioxide, so I'd fight my way back to the fray. Started getting tired, life kept flashing before my eyes, but I kept stopping it, so I wouldn't miss the band, but it would just resume flashing when my breath would get real short and my heart pounding loud. Went to get a drink at the fountain once, feeling like my kidneys were upset with me, actually four drinks, then rejoined the fun. The bouncers had decided to aggressively grab anyone crowd surfing, even the relatively benign girls. These guys looked like they could use an extra dose of high blood pressure medicine, or some inner peace; those bulging veins and eyes screamed stress. When the crowd sensed the last song all the girls that had wanted to crowd surf but hadn't wanted to get grabbed took too the air, quite a sight. Tim and I hung around after the lights came on to look for his shirt, but no luck. My belt had bruised my hips good, what with all the pulling of the crowd crush. My keys had cut my thigh, and pain wracked my every limb and especially my head, throbbing. Now I saw the wisdom in driving all the way to Sacramento to see a show like this, so worth it.

The moon shown like the noon day sun through my sunroof on the way back, just a wee but louder than the ringing in my ears. I howled and grunted and beat the parts of the car I though could take it. My skin soaked up the moonlight into special moonlight storage nerves, to release as needed in the form of everyday miracles. I got a call when I was still about 40 minutes from home that my boy had awoke in a bad mood and was screaming bloody murder and searching the house and yard for me, turning on all the lights, demanding chocolate. He waited up for me, quietly sitting at the top of the stairs, greeting my the moment the door opened with an expectant "Daddy?"

"Yes Choppo, I'm home" After I'd congratulated him on waiting up for me so patiently and quietly, we feasted on a variety of snacks (no chocolate) and had a regular after-show party session, including the reading of an exceptional Frida Kahlo letter out loud, one from when she lived in San Francisco, before passing out on the futon. Stellar night, all in all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gawking Rainbow

Pant & pace, pant & pace, that's about all I do behind my net enclosure. The rainbows file by and gawk while I pant, and pace. Posted by Picasa

Feeling Vicious

This cold weather lends me that vicious and angry edge I just can't get a handle on in summer months. My inner hunter draws back his atomic bow, lets fly a thousand laser thought arrows per short Autumn day, right out my eyes with each blink, burning world after imaginary world to kind of what Burning Man looks like on Sunday, hell of hung over. Some country singer, whats-her-name, Patty Loveless maybe, sings, I can feel bad if it makes me feel better, only she calls I and me you. The October Country warned me of all this chaos, payment for Indian Summers spent living inside Hesse short stories, thinking my name is Chinaski Yossarian. Laugh Now, Cry Later, the new Ice Cube album released 6/6/06, and the story of my life, with the emphasis on now. All the same, Ann wrote true when she penned the to-the-point proverb "Sleep is for pussies". This hunger it burns like fortified wine for breakfast, unleashes armies of H.P. Lovecraft style demons, graceful and dangerous, ever famished, my great misunderstood musketeers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Her First Cold

Here you see the sweater that lovely Laura knitted for my darling. The sweater still fits a little loose, but rocks none the less. Her nose shines red and eyes appear glossy due to her first cold, replete with snotty sneezes and frequent night wakings. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Evening Walks

I've started taking the boy for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Tonight little sister got to ride along in the sling, quiet with wide eyed wonder for most of the trip, except near the top of the hill, where she graced us with some pleasant and appropriate vocalizations. Traipsing through the fog like that, answering all the toddler questions about flickering blue lights in windows, wafting music, and the potential terribleness of nearby monster teeth, I felt extra alive. It felt so styling to walk with my children, like we were riding in a convertible Rolls, or a fire-breathing hovercraft w/ superbass, but better.

"Lord, I ain't goin' down to no race track
See no sports car run
I don't have no sports car
And I don't even care to have one
I can walk anytime around the block"

--excerpt from Bob Dylan's Blues

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All Long Brown Hair All The Time

Shaved the little rock star's head the other night. I cleaned up the rough spots the next night, and it's coming in nice now, but here it is the morning after, looking a little rough. The whole experience took our family out of this world, as any good head shaving should. Yes, there were tears and screaming involved, but not too bad, after the second bath. His pre-school teacher, who hails from Germany, thought we were violent neo-Nazis trying to encourage his violent side. What the hell? We can't all have long brown hair all the time. All has settled down now, just a haircut after all.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rock & Roll Night

The in-laws came to visit about a month ago, guess which one is shown here (hint = I have no brother-in-law). Check out the difference in their hand sizes. People come from far and wide to hang with the ultimate gangster of love, otherwise known as my sweet daughter. During their visit we also got to hit the Fillmore as a family, which was special. I remain devoted to the night life, even though recovery from a night out takes longer than ever of late. Sharing my devotion with loved ones pumps me up, and we got Thai food in Berzerkeley on the way back, just to put the official stamp of "Rock & Roll Night" on the outing. Where did that moon get to? I feel like howling.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 06, 2006

You play blocks with me?

No block structure too simple or too complex for me & my boy. We take turns placing blocks, or build whole sections by handing blocks to each other to place, or trade off removing blocks. He often gives words of encouragement such as "Whoa, that's cool" or "That's a great job". Hard to resist the "You play blocks with me?" request. I asked my mother to give me a set of blocks for years as a kid, but never got them until my brother's dad sawed up a bunch for them. I think my mom thought that I had grown too old for them each year, but they still kick toy ass. Note the dead Furby sitting on the shelf.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quick, Memorize This Elegy

My mother's youngest sister tells me that, as a school girl in Canada, my grandmother, along with all the other kids I suppose, memorized Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard". My lovely aunt warned me that it would jerk some tears, and indeed it can, if read with enough attention to get what the heck the clever 18th century riddler tries to communicate. Just a glimpse at the flavor of a youth spent in Canada in the 1930s. Funny how literature and arts, in context, can act as time machines, reflections of visions and philosophies.

In 8th grade I memorized the Gettysburg Address, but it did not make a huge impression upon me. I only had it for a minute and it dissappeared, except the "Four score and seven years ago.. " part. Grandmother knew this whole mournful epic for years, how I can not fathom. My mother still knows more Shakespeare than I can believe, so not such a huge surprise. If only kids today were made to memorize more long poems maybe we the world would taste more Utopiated. In 9th grade I memorized Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", and it has helped me, many a time, much love to Grace Slick.

Boy Eats Cod's Eye

On the way home from work Friday night I picked up a nice whole braised cod with black bean sauce from our favorite Berkeley Chinese restaurant, Long Life Vegi-House. The boy saw the the tail sticking out of the container and right away asked what it was. I got that good feeling one sometimes gets when about to share something with a loved one that the loved one has never experienced.

The fish, partly covered with tofu, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, impressed him plenty. He asked about the various parts, then came back to the eye, asked if he could eat it. I told him that, although some people did eat them, even considered them a delicacy, most Westerners did not partake, and that, even I who consider myself adventurous with food, had not ever tried them. So we sat in the dining room and he ate the chow mein, vegetables and rice, but would not stop asking to see the cod's eye one more time. He almost threw a fit about it, but I explained that I did not want to get up during my meal, and that I would show him the eye again as soon I finished my plate. He kept on it, so when I walked my plate to the sink he trailed right along behind to check the eye. I asked him if he wanted me to remove it. He did. I spooned it out and mushed it around a bit to reveal a perfect sphere of a white eyeball. We looked at it for a moment, in awe. He still wanted to eat it. I double checked his resolve before spooning it into his mouth. This chain of events fair astounded Ma Kettle and me, but we tried not to make a big deal of it since he was still busy chewing. For several minutes he chewed on it until reporting that the remainder was too hard to eat. During those long minutes images of my son as a brave dragonslayer, valiant hero, and brilliant innovator flashed across my vision. I sat there wondering what that eye tasted like, and why I'd never had the cool to eat one. You know I wanted to plenty of times in my youth, but had lost all nerve years ago. The middle turned out to be hard as a pearl and just as round & white. It still sits in our garden window. The boy & I had to scoop out the other one just to check it out, but Phantasma got to eat it, pearl in the middle & all.

We had a bunch of high fives, down lows, & gimme skins over the successful eye eating, and then inspected the carcass for a while longer before settling into a rousing after-dinner blocks session. Ma Kettle soon left the building and the booming bass dance party started. The boy asked to hear Funkadelic's "Butt to buttresuscitation" again after the track ended, singing what he thought the chorus was so I'd know what song he meant. We rocked out serious the second go-round, that being the first time he'd made such a request.

All that rocking upset little daughter's tummy, and she let me know she'd had enough careening aroung the room by showing me how many times an infant can spit up in half an hour. Such a sweet thing, even more so with a fresh blouse. She fell asleep on my hip a short while later, chin to chest in classic baby style, cool as a cucumber. The joys of fatherhood keep coming around the mountain, ever more to reveal themselves.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dearest Phantasma

I stepped through a third door into a room where lay a dog with eyes as wide as saucers that shone with a light as bright as any moon, the better to talk through. Such expressive eyes my dearest Phantasma.

Best Halloween of my life last night. Maira had a party. Her housemates fired up all their fire toys. I noticed that, when I see some inspiring pieces of fire, the feeling resembles that of a hug, and not one of those wimpy half-hugs. Other fires light my laugh reflex and I can't stop laughing. I can still hear the howl and backfire of the fire jet, feel the bass of the fire ring blowing truck puffing rings 30' into the night, smell the woodsmoke in my nose, hear the sounds of smashing glass as the fire-breathing robots destroyed the model of a corporate headquarters type building, yes it was all that and more. Hmmm, I thought, these folks know how to have a nice time.

Right after the "Rodney King Riots" my mom put a big sign in the rear window of her Valiant, black paint on cardboard that read "BURN LA". Not that I am in favor burning ALL of LA, but she impressed me with that one. "From what I've tasted of desire..."  Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

Compost me

Been an action packed weekend.

Found out on Friday that my mom's mom died at the natural age of 88 at her old folk's home in Petaluma. Funeral tomorrow, that's right, on Halloween. As good a day as any I suppose. Lovely lady that grandmother.

We're going to plant her in the ground, no embalming, up in Santa Rosa. Not a bad cemetary, and I'm a cemetary afficianado. What to do with all our corpses, such emotion gets tied to it, for the deceased and the loved ones often times. For the record, I'd like to be wrapped whole in a sail and slid off a plank to go sleep in Davey Jones' locker, but I've heard that could be pricey or difficult, so if I don't figure it out by the time I kick then, realizing people will do whatever the hell they want to after I die, I kindly but strongly suggest composting.

The Rebirth Brass Band at the Independent Friday night ripped like holy hell. Loved it; without a doubt one of the best shows of the year . Would see them again in a heartbeat. They did the best cover of that "One love, one heart, let's get together and feel alright" song I'd ever heard. A show like that could easily change the cadence of my walk forever, like a book that you can't think the same after reading, or electro-shock therapy, the beat goes on, second line style, no end to this groove in sight, a fantastic and delicious transformation.

Pumpkin carving party at our house for the kids Saturday. Great row of jack-o-lanterns sitting on the deck rail. Pumpkin curry, pumpkin corn bread, pumpkin cookies, roast pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin wine. Just kidding about the wine, that'd be freaky though, and probably pretty nasty tasting, whatever gets you through the night kinda booze.

Took the boy to his fifth week in a row of Sunday School yesterday, where he got to carve a pumpkin. He passed out on the way home, so I had myself a deeply satisfying swim in Strawberry Canyon, but when he woke up I took him for his first dusk to night hike in the hills above our house, very fun. Kids just love flashlights, moons through trees, deer bounding by noisily, dried wild artichoke flowers glowing in the moonlight, and tunnels of trees. It's the bleeding woods at night in late October - who wouldn't love it once they got over the scary movie brainwashing, and all the unidentfiable sounds? Hmmm, better check myself and the boy for ticks, come to think of it.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Post bath, busy eating her towel. Many developments since she turned five months. Graspy, very graspy. You know your blemish is noticeable when your infant tries to scratch it off your face. Now she likes books too, touching each page as we go. Her brother and her can amuse each other with peek-a-boo type games to the point of them both shrieking with laughter. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Single Brown Pelican

From my typical slouched position in my chair the window shows sky. Crane tops appear if I move my head only. Sure, if I stand up, or walk around the partition into the neigboring cubicle I can see all kinds of landscape oddities, but mostly I groove on the passing clouds and birds. Seagull flew by earlier, extra nice because it's flight path formed a dramatic ellipse. Thought to myself "nice to have an office so close to the bay as to see seagulls out my window". Then I thought, "but you know it's funny, I never see pelicans, guess I'm not that close." About an hour later a single brown pelican flew by slow, from north to south, close enough that I could feel the intricate brown/white/black variegation on it's wings. The pelican motion sent sculpted undulations washing over me; I became the pelican. Back inside my human frame now thankful, brisk, bright avian Autumn. Devil may care, happy go lucky.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's That Car Up There

The boy and I cruised down a local street in our large red sedan one recent weekend morning. With my window part open I let a silent but violent one slip, not figuring that it would "affect" my son. The release proved more potent than forecast. Almost right away he announced in a bold and confident voice "I smell farts!". As I hesitated before responding he continued "I think it's that car up there." pointing to a smaller red car ~50 feet ahead of us.

To verify, I asked "You think the farts are coming from that red car up there?"

"Yeah, that car's stinky" as he held his nose with his right hand and pointed with his left. My quiet but persistent chuckling precluded divulging the true details at the moment, but I must grant him due credit for thinking up such an original, albeit far fetched, excuse. I tend to go with "low tide", "cattle ranch", "leaking septic tanks", or "apple processing plant", in accordance with my West Sonoma County roots. To qualify this bit of lowbrow, I almost did not post it due to the inherent necessity of admitting to all who read this that I farted, unless I wanted to create a fictional farter character. What the fart? I read somewhere that it happens to the best of us, praise Charles Buckowski. Besides, "Shut up Beavis" is a phrase that I still enjoy "whipping out" upon occasion.

Woke up Happy

The boy woke me up at ten til five this moring, shining with palpable vim and vigor, in what I would term an exceptional good mood. He got me to follow him to his room after I'd changed the little daughter's diaper. He requested eggs & toast. I requested that he turn off his light so that I could snooze another ten minutes or so in his bed. He countered with a request for a story, bringing me his book of pre-meal prayers and songs from around the world. I read a few, he insisted on leaving the light on; he hopped downstairs like a bunny rabbit while I did indeed fall back asleep until ten til six. I gave him a small dish of almonds, cooked him his eggs & toast, poured him his apple juice, and prepared a small after-breakfast bowl of pimento-stuffed olives. The kid's fabulous mood filled the house, disintegrating bad vibes wherever they hid, very nice. Monday, Monday with a light rain beginning to fall, so many chores left undone. A pile of freshly picked pumpkins from our backyard patch lie stacked in the middle of the rear lawn, awaiting front porch presentation. The commute dragged extra slow, but the memory of my happy toddler keeps running around in my head, squealing with delight. Can't put that in a pill.

Take Away Your Fear

Grandmother reached the level where she needs oxygen all the time to keep from passing, can't open her eyes anymore, or talk, although she tries, responds to talking and touch. Doc says that she is "actively dying". I sat by her bed for the last 20 minutes before the end of visiting hours last Saturday night, saying what came to mind, practicing pumping salt water out my eye sockets. What to say, to do, for a stoic and beautiful grandmother in her time on the edge? Whatever one can, whatever one feels one should I suppose. If you think you know I doubt you do. We travel the October Country regular just like every year, but the skeleton faces present involuntary grins in greater dimensions. The annual plants present their corpses in more striking fashions, and every microscopic monolithic thing aligns with instinctive time and energy tranfers. Lighting bolts shoot through me from the hot electric clouds in my head when I close my eyes and look around. Have I not had sufficient time to prepare? All the time in the world, no less.

Lucinda Williams sings:
"Did an angel whisper in your ear
And hold you close and take away your fear
In those long last moments."
in her classic Louisiana dying song "Lake Charles".

That Lucinda's got a hold on me.
But not on Grandmother. She gave up the ghost Thursday October 26th at about 19:00, deep in October Country, in the neighborhood I spent some serious years of my childhood, in Petaluma. I got the news on a high blood pressure office Friday afternoon, no time or space for emoting. Felt disorienting. October ain't over yet.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

See my brother Big J from the Ghetto enjoying our throne chair with the chillunz. The girl draws the boy to her, too irresistable to remain unfawned over for long.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fleeting Memory

Memory, my shiny trick gadget of yesteryear tranformed somewhere along the line to a fair weather friend. Any particular moment might recall in Kodachrome, or have gone galavanting the coldest back alleys of inter-galactic space. As a young kid I listened with amazement and concern to adult after adult tell me that they had almost no recollection of life prior to about ten years of age. Would I too, lose my vast collection of detailed memories? How young could anyone recall, for how long? At my 6th birthday party, on the grass under the big oak tree at 1020 B Street in Petaluma, I vowed to recall that moment in 10 years on my 16th birthday - no problem. While waiting for my mom to get ready for a Thanksgiving car ride in 1978 I once again made a vow, this time to remember that rather unremarkable moment for the rest of my days - no problem, the shrubs, the sun, the gate, the red berries on the shrubs, the gravel driveway remain with me. One must select with unconcious care what one commits to permanent memory after awhile, or at least that's my excuse, because I forget hell of moments now, even fun ones. My grandmother has the Alzheimer's and can't remember much anymore, and I can relate, although it's somewhat scary. Kind of like being super-drunk I'd guess. Elliott once told me that many of the homeless drunks in Stockholm can't even remember their own names. That's how Grandmother is, but little memories still glimmer through. Drink To Forget always was one of my favorite MDC songs, about a guy repressing his memories of fighting in Viet Nam with alcohol, available and satisfying. I quit drinking to forget (not that satisfying), but unconventional cat skinning is my middle name.

I've read about folks remembering straight back to the womb, but I have a hard time imagining such. Some of my memories stem from a quite young age, maybe around one year old. Took the boy to the carousel in Berzerkeley's Tilden Park last Sunday. He hadn't been there since he was about 18 months old, a couple years ago, but when we got out he indicated that he remembered by asking if it was Christmas, like it was last time we were there. Then, as our ride on our respective zebra and goat ended, he pointed out the ostrich, the very one he'd ridden almost 2 years previous. I was surprised that he remembered, but of course, why wouldn't he? I did. He had puked all over that ostrich, after all. What else does he remember? For how long? More than I thought, ever more, even things I can not. More good memories and less crappy ones seems a wise path, and a default mindset of "People love me and are trying to help me" rather than the popular "Everyone hates me and is trying to hurt me" fallback.

The tastebuds, the eyesight, the flexibility, the body itself must all go, so why not these fleeting memories? Snazzy while mine to play with though. Vonnegut's idea from Slaughterhouse-Five of viewing each person as a long snake with an old person at the head and an infant at the tail visits me often. The whole life laid out. One could dwell in any part of the snake for as "long" as one wishes. How could the now be less than eternity? No need to fret, or dwell in bitter spaces and odious comparisons.

Bryn once wrote me that, although he liked my writing, he found it a little Astle Greystoner. I had to ask him what he meant. He clarified the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe "Castle Greyskull" reference. Cracks me up, and I admit the odd mystic medieval wording my subconcious continues to gravitate toward. A fine example of a repressed library of memories. What else would we expect from a thousand-year old were-wolf like me, details of a dozen lifetimes coded into the laminations of my vertabrae, releasable only by the tenth Rolfing session, or a skilled sorcerer's touch.

The October Country has arrived once again, and the Bradbury book of short stories by the same name calls my name in a spooky voice from a dusty corner of my bookshelf. Love these foggy mornings, Summer moldering away beneath rocks of time. Brown leafed, gray skyed Autumn accepts every dance, denies no reasonable comfort, no matter the consequence in some far-off Winter, just like I remembered.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Order: Scorpiones

Found this beautiful specimen in the fishtank filling bucket in the garage. First wild one I'd come across since moving away from West Sonoma Co. The boy and I basked in the glow of the poison sac for a good while before letting her go at the end of our yard. Scorpions have occupied a special place in my mind since early childhood, first seen in movies, then dreams, pet stores, dead on the floor of my Bohemian Highway room, then crawling across my walls, fighting with our cats, sleeping in the collars of my freshly laundered shirts, and so on, from fear to love & admiration. I've missed them these past 18 years.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Life That Ate Me

Too much. Much too much I bellow, silent in unsteady freefall flux. Too much pressure, too much information, too far behind in so many ways. Anxiety comes with this, but not in direct proportion. Reactions shape-shift in ways I can't figure, obscured, with only occasional tangiblity.

Light beckons at the ends of countless tunnels, ever distant, tantalizing, bedecked in promises of attainablity. I overthink, underact, put too much stock in pointless comparisons and measurements. The light remains buried deep within while the dream world maze in front of my eyes persists.

For everyone else that feels their heart rates rise as the traffic comes to a crawl, while clocks tick past appointed meeting times, I hope we see through it, get in touch, stay present for each days pinnacles, live lives more classic than classic movies, poignant as mind opening novels, masterpiece lives like hand-hewn sculptures against sunrise clouds. A bike ride, a swim, a lingering perusal of the clouds might do it; then work on with unshakable joy and love. Advice for myself, sounding almost doable, but I sit here trapped under a mountain, unable to move a muscle, peace of mind far away, fleeting, and drowned in discomforted heartbeats. This is the point in the writing process when dreams of Helen Keller's mindstate take to the wing like bats at dusk. They tell me I should stop now, kick the tar out of the KFUCK radio DJ (my thinking), and work on that list of crap to do. Even the fear of fear itself must someday go.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Turned Out to be Another Train

The boy impressed me with this one, both with the final product as well as the artistic process. He drew it just before bed, knowing he had limited time, with the utmost attention, as I prepared his bed and room for sleeping. To me it seemed sad, industrial, and three dimensional, although fatherly love adds to it for sure (I didn't know what it was, thought maybe a shadow frog). A couple days later, while reviewing my photos, he told me that it was a train. I feel blind and stupid now, maybe getting old, better check for pride, the surest sign.

Last Sunday night he squeezed in between Ma Kettle & me & Sissie and admonished "You are a great family". Where does he get this stuff? Yeah, probably TV or books, like so many others. He's been putting on shadow puppet shows ever since we saw a really cool one over at Stormy and Elisa's house Labor Day weekend. He uses these really bright solar path lights that he figured out how to remove the covers from. I showed him my repertoire of a rabbit, a dog, and a squid the other night and he does a similar routine, but still hasn't got the distance to size ratio deal with shadows. The shadow knows.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nose Cone Knows

Oh yeah, that rocket makes dreams & visions, velocity stomach butterflies, and the air of danger. Seth built it, with some help from his daughter and I don't know who else. Just look at the nose cone! Parachutes and everything but live cargo, expected to reach 5,000' and 375-mph. Next launch: Black Rock Desert, NV, this month, and I'm scheming to attend. Yup, this rocket has true magnetism, the distribution of Gravity's Rainbow (read ultra-condensed version here), unavoidable.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Forest Comfort

"She found out, presently, that going into the forest was a source of comfort. When there seemed no comfort she went to the lonely solitude of trees and brush, of green coverts and fragrant wild dells, and always she was soothed, sustained. She could not understand why, but it was so. She began to prolong the hours spent in the woods, under a looming canyon wall, or beside a densely foliaged gorge from which floated up the drowsy murmur of a stream. All that the wild forest land consisted of passed into her innermost being. She sensed that the very ground she trod was full of graves of races of human beings who had lived and fought there, suffered in their blindness and ignorance, loved and reared their young, and had grown old and died. No trace left! No more than autumn leaves! It seemed to be this lesson of nature that gradually came to her. Thereafter she went to the woods early in the mornings as well as the afternoons, and finally she had the courage to go at night."

--excerpt from "Under the Tonto Rim" by Zane Grey

Yes, to go at night, howling inside my mind but all ears outside with the crickets, does suggest a plan. The moon approaches fullness and my muscles twitch and twitter, ready for the transformation. I love the woods at night, know I need more of that sound & energy. The brightness of the night sky excites me past my bedtime, sings that siren song. Zane sure did know what he wrote about. I can tell because I get that eery feeling that we both lived it, universally personal and invigorating. Night hiking anyone? Maybe next full moon, the harvest moon. That one got me all revved up and transformed last Ocotober, and that's how traditions, and, um, full moon rituals, get started. So it's set, Friday October 6th we'll hike from my house to the ridge and back in the light of the harvest moon, unless you have a better plan....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Landfills & Reservoirs

Took the son to the landfill to say goodbye to some assorted waste on Saturday. Took him to San Pablo reservoir to break in his new fishing pole on Monday. Looking at it through his eyes, both events were solid fun, neither better than the other, and I feel it that way too, in retrospect.

The thrill of riding in the front seat together, which we only get to do in the ancient pick-up, would make any fool smile. For $22/cubic yard the West Contra Costa County Landfill sports stunning bay views, seagull watching (he kept calling them eagles, easy mistake to make), mild offroading fun, and people/vehicle watching as good as any in San Francisco. Unlike my childhood dump, where I recall my first prize scored for braving the jolly roger bulldozer was a globe with only a minor amount of animal feces on it, children are remanded to the vehicle. I cleaned that globe up and had it for years.

The reservoir might have stood out more if we'd caught any fish, besides, three may be a bit young for true fishing, a sport of patience, sharp barbed hooks, live worm impalation, mud, and lead weights. All the same, we did it, and it brings a tear to my eye to picture us out there on the edge of the water, eyes on bobbers, eating the picnic lunch packed by Mama Bear. As I write of it now I realize that it was the first time since I was a kid that I went fishing with someone less experienced than myself. While the experience did not leave me aching for more, I have not stopped scheming about how I could catch fish since then. Different baits, hooks, times of day, fishing spots, use of chum, yes I'm glad we went.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The boy enjoys borrowed pastels with lovely Robin at Zahra & Kate's birthday party at Rebecca's house in the Mission. Every time we do art together he brings new techniques and symbolism to the table, reminding me of me when I was a bit older than him, looking for tricks to make drawings look more real, and later still, more surreal. Doubt I could draw a better train. Thought he had overdosed on candy and begun to transform into an impossible devil-child, but the quintessential sugar high kicked in. Like the cowboy in the drugstore he rode on, started having a good time without random violence, although he does still sport a swollen purple knee from tripping running laps through the crowd. When I gave Erica a hug he seamlessly and with perfect timing broke from his laps and hugged her from the back. Sight gag prefecto; belly laughs from all witnesses. The kid could have invented flirting. While using a big pink towel to convert him into a burrito the previous evening I added beans, cheese, and was about to add rice when he asked Zahra in the sweetest voice, "Can you be the rice?" Hot one for shore. To demonstrate that we were in father-son party mode I wore pants cut from same fabric as his vest; thank Mama and her sewing machine.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rain washes over me - I sprout

Had a concrete pour at my Oaktown site last Wednesday. As I got close to the truck to check the load tags to verify the mix design, felt and smelled new rain. Dark clouds covered the sky I got jiggy with the thought of sprinkles in the East Bay in the month of Augustus, with me outside to enjoy them. Visions of seeds germinating and growing inside my fractal layered soul soil washed over the backdrop of my mind's eye, little green growing things my loyal friends. The miniature drops appearing on the load tag caused my vision and thoughts to sharpen. Nose picked up the smell of fresh rain and ran with it. Life that much better with the water for the moment. A leaky black hose hooked to the truck from janitor's closet on the 2nd floor of the building caught my eye, forced me to admit the artificial nature of the mood lifting precipitation. No matter, the seeds had already sprouted. Fields and forests continue to thrive within me, rivulets feed rivers that swell and sing on their way to magic moonlit dream seas seasoned sweet & salty with endless tears of pointless & hopeless resistance. I practice releasing past & future, leading my anxiety ridden spirit back to the here & now.

When I arrive home each night Wife passes daughter off to me. Daughter & I sit together as I eat, her legs pointing toward me to maintain connection. She smiles and blows bubbles, kneads me like an affectionate feline, kicks me surprising wake-up jolts for an almost 4-month old, smiles delightful. If I hand her off to Mama for a minute she keeps her eye on me, lets me know she enjoys our short evening times. Darling rides my left arm like twas ever thus, prostyle like the X Games, laughs at a most of my jokes, a perfect companion with silky hair and Baby Feels So Real skin. Never did get that Baby Feels So Real doll I wanted as a kid, but this angel infant showers dense blessings with an unmatched & pure generosity.

The boy rocks & rolls so icy I feel like I live with a superstar, perhaps Jim Morrison or Beck. Whenever he gets out of the bath he requests to be wrapped like a burrito in the towel. We eat artichokes together, sharing the hearts. We devour peaches and other summer fruits with tremendous gusto. The horses have started walking right up to our fence; he feeds them carrots, talks to them like they understand, and it seems they do. Time spent together adds life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

So there I contemplated mortality, cremation, friendship and long stretches of paved and unpaved roads, Joshua Tree. I can see why JY bought the place, very rugged and spectacular. Best star show in years. Go back someday, root around in the rocks & dirt, confront death on level after level, become the wild life.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ranch Life

Horses on the loose! Horses on the loose!

Horse ranches blanket El Sobrante, including the property behind ours. Some workers we hired took down some of the unsubstantial wire fencing to bring some building material into our yard, and should have put it back. The wife told me to put it back but I didn't get that our workers took it down and so did nothing. Next thing you know 900-lb giants clop clop clop right down the drive to Jesus' lawn; he waters his lawn much more regular than us. Left a voluminous pile of road apples on our other neighbors sidewalk too. A neighbor had the ranches number, so they came got 'em after a minute. The brown one caught easy, but the paint went tearing up the hill like a racehorse, amazing to watch, what with the main flowing out behind and a horsey expression of determined defiance. The guy from the ranch bitched about someone taking down his fence but I didn't know it was us yet, so I just agreed that it were a dern shame, and that I was glad no one got hurt too. When the paint first was introduced to the other horses, a couple of years ago, I saw it bite and kick the other horses, and chase them around, heard noises I'd never heard from horses before, noises that got the dogs riled and brought neighbors out of their homes in distress. Horses cruel to be kind; men also tend to see bullies as charismatic. I love living by them, especially the fiery tempered paint, except for the flies. Last night when I walked the daughter outside to try to quell her cries (wife had an evening out) I heard them whistle and grunt, felt good, wild western, ancient communication resonating in the vertabrae. Doesn't hurt that I'm almost finished with my 3rd Zane Grey (western) novel in a row. One morning after staying up late reading one, I realized that I had subconciously worn my cowboy hat, cowboy boots, western belt, and a semi-western shirt. Next time I'll wear the leather vest too.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Very ladies

The Purpose Remover published a hilarious photo of me on a bicycle. Thanks Aspbryn.

Took the fam to the Ashby Ave flea market in Berzerkely last Sunday. As we approached the boy noticed a mom and her two teen-age daughters walking across the street. He asked me, "Are those ladies?"

Against my grandmothers advice, which told me that they were actually women or girls until character verfication, I told him, "Yes, those are ladies."

His response: "Very, very... ladies." I told him I knew what he meant. We enjoyed the drum circle and the college kids and the displays of sundry mineral, toys, and jewelery.

The moon waxes almost full, which revs the boy up plenty. He looks out for that moon with vigilance.

My brain stumbles over the poetry of Octavio Paz. Not very enjoyable to read, but it stays with one through the day, daring the reader to recreate those worlds of nostalgic Mexican angst de amor.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Imparting Rhythm

Rhythm I impart to the chilluns to the best of my dancing while holding a human ability. The girl got a lesson in The Doors first LP, listened to on vine hill, for that authentic hi-fi hyphe sound. She wore one of them tie-dye fits that looks like the wearer wears burning coals and flames. I wore my Grinch boxers and a plain white tee. Break on through to the other side. We danced the one-legged boog-a-loo off into the night. The boy looked over from his block sculpturing and commented "Daddy's dancing". Derned tootin'. When that energetic, life may not be crap after all, let's whip up some fun spirit enters one's leather bag of bones & blood I say ride that wave, rip curl, hang eleven. The boy busted with the rainstick after a time and we had to calm down to avert injury or property damage.

Took the boy to the lake (Anza) during the recent hot spell, his first time swimming there. We made friends fast with an 18-month boy named Salmon that lived up to his name. Very relaxing scene. When a playful woman splashed water in my boy's eyes he cried, but a little girl 7 or so with long red hair came up and with expert ease got him laughing. She informed us that she would play a mermaid in movie her dad planned to make at the lake later this summer; looked the part very much, full of questions. Saw a rural looking mother catch a wild duck for her son - you don't see that every day, that duck was pissed. Lakes kick ass over pools; sorry pools. I remembered after we got home (with a little help from the wife) that we'd met Salmon at the Temescal Street Fair when he was only a couple months old. A name like Salmon stands out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I admit it. I'm happy most of the time. Blessed. But tired, very tired. Meditation & exercise, meditation & excercise, why does every doctor tell me to adjust my life? Whatever happened to good old surgery & drugs?  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eyes Just Starting to Turn

Bryn turned me on to this great art creation site inspired by Jackson Pollock and I've created a many already. Try it.

White praying mantis found on screen door today. Good omen. Smart insect. Got some keen eye contact with Mrs. Me. Seemed very much to communicate. Assisted with removing itself from the home. Did a dance. I had a book on them as a child, which helps brighten and extend their auras of magic & power in my mind's eyes.

The little darling my one and only daughter rocks the party like none other. A more attentive, aware, communicative and sensitive playmate never have I found. Her variety of gurgles, grunts, whines, and sharp inhalations astounds. We played a game tonight where she kicks my right hand while we giggle and grin into each others eyes, baby talking and reading each other. Such unabashed expression in those eyes just starting to turn from gray to brown, inspires me.

Lightening Over Generations

Me & Daddy-o, chillin' for the first time in 34 years. We both did our best to stay relaxed. Cool that we both ride them cycles. See the resemblance? I barely see it myself, but the personality trait similarities were striking.
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

James Hendrix Plays Guitar With My Son

The boy played for a long time at the far end of our large yard, some three year old child's game it seemed, happy and focussed. He came in and told his mama that he had been playing guitar.

"Playing guitar?" she asked.

"Yes." said he, "I was playing guitar with James Hendrix."

"James Hendrix?!" said she.

"Yes!" the boy again reported, "James Hendrix and I were playing guitar together!", pleased as punch with himself. "Right out there." He pointed to the fence near the edge of the woods, by our potted palms.

I've believed at times that Jimi Hendrix's soul mingles with my own, partly since he died ~6 months after I was born, but mostly to do with his "Cry of Love" LP, which used to help get me to deep nuther levels in my teenage years. Goosebumps galore gala when I heard the James Hendrix imaginary friend story. Maybe someone told him about James Hendrix, but I can't recall even ever hearing Jimi called James, but that was indeed the birth name a little web search reported to me.

Two of my brothers worked in the yard for me today. The boy picked mostly green strawberries while watching uncles work. Elder Bro asked him what his favorite song was, to which he promptly responded "Strawberry", and with little prompting busted out a freestyle about strawberries, the main refrain to which was "Strawberry, Oh", complete with an accompanying dance routine. A halcyon July afternoon. A number of songs mention or feature the last day of July, and fuck pain hot love juicy sweet blackberries I know why swimming at night.

Brothers left the side gate open. Ghost Dog and the wife's dog took themselves for a 7 hour walk. Came back wreaking of skunk, full of burrs, tongues a meter long. Daydreaming about what they did and saw on that perfect summer adventure a must, just try it. Those dogs teach me canine wisdom, remind me that I too can take myself for a walk, even a seven hour one maybe again someday, sniff a lot of nature, get thirsty and stiff in the legs. Didn't know those dogs had it in them. They're sleeping like dogs as I cultivate painful anxieties, practice self-soothing, sleep - the obvious. Hmmm, lie around waiting for inspiration or go back to work. Work sounds more promising.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Feeling I Hunt

This picture sums up the feelings I hunt daily and am able to conjure occasionally. Howlin' after midnight, riding those cycles, attending memorial services.

Going to scatter JY's ashes in a few weeks, in Joshua Tree, with any luck. He named his cat Rocket; I felt honored.

Gratitude & humility still the keys. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blood Quantam Shift

So indeed I did meet me father for the first time since age 2 yesterday. Surreal and complex, another ordinary day. As a kid I'd wondered about him quite a bit. As an adult not so much. I thought about the details of my heritage more as an adult. Race became a hot topic for me in my undergraduate years, and my faith in my mother's version decreased. So sure enough, her story was somewhere past incomplete. Turns out I'm 1/16 "black" rather than 1/4; 1/4 Sudanese (Arab), not Saudi Arabian; am Cherokee, Chocktaw, and Creek, making me twice as Native American as I am black, that's 1/8 for those of you who lack the skills to add things up right, and 9/16 European, otherwise known as mostly white. My Chinese coworker has already started calling me whiteboy, which rings painful and hilarious. Yup, this means that I will have to revise my whole wardrobe and music collection, as I will my voice and view of the world. The whole story ain't short, and it's late, but I wanted to write something, search for resolutions and revelations between the written thoughts.

The Crucible's Fire Arts Festival rocked like nothing else in these parts last night. God hell love fire fascinates and warms me. One of my favorite parts was when one of the Megavolt guys sat on a wooden stool and put himself in the Tesla coil arc circuit, causing the stool he was sitting on to burst into flames. So badass. Hats off to the fire tornado folks and all the dancers too. Makes me want do some fire art of my own, pretty bad.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thin Ice of Hot Life

JY collapsed at his house in Joshua Tree and died at the hospital down there shortly after. Coroner called me 7/2. Bummer news. I'd just spoken with him a few days earlier; he said that he'd got a promotion at work.

Meddlesome but kind sister-in-law contacted my biological father I've never spoken with and now I'm going to meet him this Saturday. Fine but surreal.

Work stress has reached a new pitch of crazy.

New daughter hasn't been sleeping well.

Seems like it's all getting to me. Send good vibrations.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The boy let Maira know his party was over by falling asleep on her. Ah, to be three again. When I try that people talk smack.  Posted by Picasa

Brother Sun and Sister Moon, together on the red bed. She started talking a couple days ago, just a simple "unnnh"s to get our attention. Sure does catch one off-gaurd at first, and so dern adorable. She already smiles too, whereas the boy didn't smile like that for another couple months. Darling devils. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006

Start Writing

Writing brings out ideas and memories when done right, and the stars line up to dance punk rock underwater ballet. Thoughts race by in vehicles whose propulsions systems hum lights years ahead of their time, crazy kids. Aloofness abounds, gets belligerent, demands war. Scalpel & I retreat to my labyrinthe of Martian canals, dissecting Bradbury's brain while he cries "I CHANNELLED it all, NOTHING to do with me!", painless through yellowed paperbacks, rolfing, and acupressure. Ah, to just write, free of judgement or cohesive expression, whistling up & down country roads on moonless misty nights, the double-yellow line glimpsed once every three or four minutes, the sound of gravel underfoot steering legs back towards asphalt, miles gone by, miles to go, dozing while ambling, whistles at fears forgotten in a rusty dinosaur that drank it's last gallons of gasoline in the land time forgot, cold ears & nose numb. Sure, this may read like rough draft drivel but it's endearing snapshotz ruff-draft drivel to me, and Abraxas knows a repressed memory could slap half my vocabulary out of my head any moment now, now, now, well, maybe soon. All seriousness & idiocy a side, we had a kriller birthday party for the boy last weekend. Humble gratitude clarifies itself as an powerful ally.

Monday, June 19, 2006

No male or female, no rich or poor

"According to the world there's male and female, rich and poor. According to the Way there's no male or female, no rich or poor. When the Goddess realized the Way, she didn't change her sex. When the stable boy awakened to the Truth, he didn't change his status. Free of sex and status, they shared the same basic appearance. The goddess searched twelve years for her womanhood without success. To search twelve years for one's manhood would likewise be fruitless." --The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine from 'Wake-up Sermon'

Bodhidarma knew what the deal. Gender has become as real to me as race, national borders, and military intelligence. Yet another clever illusion, a veil to be lifted, a comforting but doomed idea.

Last week I went to see a stage reading of Myth Smashers, a play put on by Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE). The play entertained us all well enough, and provoked quite a lot of thoughts and memories for me. Memories of how rough kids often treat each other. Bullies of all ages tend to focus on difference or perceived weakness. Attacks I experienced didn't depend so much on whether or not you were of a particular race, gender, or sexual orientation, but if you were perceived as such. Man oh man did I hate bullies, and in my rapt hatred at times became one, and oh man oh man did I hate myself, although it was fun writing K-I-L-L on my knuckles. So long ago for most of us, but happening as I type to someone.

The play brought good memories too, like of all the counterculture kids I grew up with, people with all sorts of family arrangements that I'm glad my mom never taught me to trip on. Not everyone's mom can be as cool as mine, so I was heartened to see the COLAGE people getting the message out and having fun.

Bodhidarhma also writes, in his 'Breakthrough Sermon' "Invoking has to do with thought and not with language. If you use a trap to catch a fish, once you succeed you can forget the trap. And if you use language to find meaning, once you find it you can forget language."

Language take us so far, but not all the way. That I like. Language attempts to fuddle my mind on a more or less constant basis, so try thinking in colors, sub-sonic vibrations, submarine songs of heartbeats and blood in transit, anything to get away. Buckminster Fuller tried not talking for more than a year to shake his brain up. Talk, talk, it's all talk.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not all fun and games child rearing. He conveys his feelings well. Just stay back from the bed cause he has no qualms about getting physical to defend his sad angy space. We all know how much we loved to be photographed crying. I'll admit I have a mean side, all in the name of science, like eugenics. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Call of the Wild Road Bike

Threw the stack of rolled up carpets off the rusty, red, thirty-something year old, thirty-something pound Nishiki Sport last Saturday. A few pumps of atmosphere in her tires, a minor adjustment to the front brake, and we were one, ready for the paved world. Quintan drove over from the city and we made our way to debating routes on a sunny but blustery unseasonably cool June day. A couple months or so had passed since my last ride, and longer than that since my last road ride, so the relief of snapping that pedaling lull added to the high. The overhanging trees, the nervous cars, the almost silent zim of my tires on the road, the three whomper acceleration cranks followed by the steady cruising metronome pushes and pulls on the drivetrain, the creeks that flowed under the highway and through my veins conspired to rev me up and force a fire in my eyes. Not a very long loop, just through Orinda to Lafayette, back across the 24, and over the hill some pomposity name the Orinda Downs. The Downs sported many a mansion and some nice country views but had a distinct and distasteful planned community Ritchie Rich and his dog Dollar vibe. We succeeded in keeping the rubber side down and not letting anyone pass us, the usual basic goals. A group of three pigeons played the game of flying ahead 100 yards, standing there until we road up and then doing it again, and again. What goes through those bird's brains? Some kids had TPd the hell out of some nice old trees at the park; rich kids tend to crime strong in my experience. I would never think of wasting valuable toilet paper, especially on majestic matriarch trees, and I'm verifiably criminal minded. Ok, ok, I threw a few once upon a time, but not my own toilet paper, and it was over a crappy cookie cutter house wherein dwelt one 12-year old Ricky Layton, one of the many Santa Rosa kids I never did like. The ride ended in no time so it seemed. The bike rolled off to relax in the garage and my name became Papi again. Thought about how much I am looking forward to helping my kids experience the engrossing thrill of estimating speed in relation to the tightness, smoothness, and width of a curve, releasing the brakes and leaning in, pumping out while estimating the next, crouching for it, factoring in the shadows of the late day and roadkill mines. Steel's real. Rise up & ride the revolutions.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fatherly Love

The joys of fatherhood defy description but their wonder insists that I convey something. Rushing trying to get out of the house to work this morning, but all time stopped when the new daughter reached out with her eyes and started interacting. Her eyes grow continually more alert, focussed and full of portent as the weeks go by (week 6 is upon us). I danced with her in my arms, her gaze steady up at me, pressing her hair into my left arm, looking as quiet, alert, and relaxed as possible for any human, bonding by any other name. Couldn't conceive of running out the door just then. Got that beautiful sunset, height of the party, indelible moment, oh yeah, THIS is having fun feeling that pulled no punches. The gaze we shared allowed vast galaxies of understanding to flow between us, felt like standing next to a mighty river as it slips over a cliff, ever deep and humbling.

The boy also never ceases to amaze. He asked his mom "Can we go to Burning Man?" out of blue the other day, after looking at one of our framed photos. Saw a new purple tie-dye dress his sister got, and stated with a certainty that made us wonder "That's for concerts". A rocker and a roller, right on out of controller, just like his Papi.

He misses the breastfeeding he sees the girl getting, lays down as close as possible to the action, and has perfected projecting the eyes and look of an infant at will. He gets upset if I work late, and doles out love like nobody else. We share the moon, the stars, the wildlife, tasty foods, good music, love of water, so many blessings.

Like 50 Cent raps: "If I die tomorrow I'm happy how my life turned out". Hard to feel less than fulfilled with so much timeless wonder in my hands. No less than all the time in the world for whatever other summits line themselves up. This will be the summer I teach the boy to swim. Think back to when you learned to swim, assuming you know how. Now let's live it again, good as it gets.

Heard that Sweet Honey in the Rock song based on the Khalil Gibran poem "Children", and it hit me like never before, strong, strong, wise. Poem reprinted here for easy perusal:


And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, 'Speak to us of Children.'

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

--Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Toddler Discipline

Took the boy to the city & back on the BART & Muni trains earlier tonight. First time on BART in about a year, and his first time on Muni ever. He talked to people, looked out the window, got scared in the tunnels, a regular human on mass transit. He loves trains, so I figured he'd be happy as pie the whole time, but he wound up have a kicking, punching screamfest on the BART on the way home, wanting to get off at each station, clawing the glasses off my face, etc. I admit I'd been warned about keeping him out past his bedtime; an idle warning not. I stayed calm and redirected his attentions before driving too many patrons to utter distraction.

Discipline of children has many nuances, forms, and repurcussions that have had my brain and hands quite engaged in recent weeks. Not long ago I got a copy of 12 Point Buck by Killdozer, which is an old favorite of mine that got damaged years ago and is hard to find. The disc holds many excellent lyrics, but the one that mesmerizes me the most, that I find myself chanting for hours, is the opening line from Cotton Bolls: "When I was just my father's son he would beat me in the head with the butt of a gun". Now, my mother did not mete out any corporal punishment directly to me, but did let a couple of her boyfriends try me on it, and my brothers' dad did threaten me with one of his guns one rural drunk night. I loathed the spankings and slappings, never trusted any of those fuckers that laid hands on me; still gravitate to violent solutions.

In March 2002 Scientific American published an article titled Scars That Won't Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse about how the changes in the developing brain associated with mistreatment often last a lifetime. According to the article males receive the most damage from neglect and females the most damage from sexual abuse. Those brain changes can make it difficult to "Just get over it" or fix it with psychotherapy. Behavior modification based on negative reinforcement formed the cornerstone of my early learning on the subject - rub the cat's nose in the shit said my mother's mother; my old dog Thurber used to yelp and cower as dude beat and kicked it for barking too much; make them fear and hate you even in the undeniable light of their love for you. Learned so much by taking the dogs we have now to puppy training school a few years ago, positive reinforcement based. I believe that many folks these days don't plan on beating their kids, pets, or lovers but end up doing so out of anger and desparation, reverting to what they were raised on. Those kids grow up to kick their dogs and smack their daughters. I very much hope that the wife and I can make it through raising these children with a minumum of negative reinforcement and zero smacking, but easier written than done.

Very clear to me so far shines the fact that to focus on a behavior encourages it, and that ill treatment of a person stands a good chance of propagating through countless generations, causing untold grief and sorrow.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Need Miracle Each Dawn

One more magic dawn in El Sobrante. If this is the burbs then I guess I like the burbs. On my first day back to work after family leave I passed a dead coyote on the side of the road. I was in a piss of a mood, and as I passed the carcass the sunken eyes caught mine and pulled them in, morbid vacuum pulling on my soul rich sockets. My eyes bulged with the pull of once vibrant wild canine. I heard canine thoughts ricocheting in that lifeless skull. They said, "What bright and alive eyes you have, which I would take advantage of if I were you. Use your limbs as I would mine, to lope from ridge to creekside, meadow to copse, and remember to smell the smells worth smelling. Run! Go you stupid human!" Posted by Picasa

CIA Director Senate Confirmation Hearings

Listened to a chunk of the Senate confirmation hearings for the new CIA Director, Air Force General Michael Hayden, the other day. Beyond Orwellian, truly hypnotic with overtones of venomous slithering. When I was 14 I listened to baseball on the radio to relax sometimes, ball, strike, ball, blah, blah, blah. Worked OK for hangovers and feverish boredom but I had to quit. These hearings were like that times ten. Human intelligence, operational intelligence, integrate information, factors, shit, my thesis on multivariate statistics was more lively, and apparently quite relevant. You see, like I did, the intelligence miners want to find the factor[s] that influences the other factor[s]. Ways of harvesting meaningful conclusions out of too much crazy data. Going over it all in my head, the expectation of security and safety from our government seems further away daily. Robotic assassins seem close though. So much jargon/newspeak/brainwashing I found it impossible to concentrate for more than a few minutes and doubted whether any human could steadily follow it while remaining human. Dude kept attacking the media, saying they had to tow the fascist peeping tom line or wind up wearing cement galoshes, in so, so many words. Hayden's a real nazi's nazi, scum of the earth, but what other type of demon would sign up for such a job. Like MDC sing: "the police is the Klan is the mafia, and they're out to get me, and pretty soon they're gonna be out to get you, so you'd better take your stand if you know what's good for you" Don't believe me? Just give those confirmation hearing transcripts a once over and feel what side you're on. Plenty of good fight left to be fought.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Laugh Out Toes

Yes, May shapeshifts into quite the moonth, chock full of raw mid-spring energy, and today the extraordinary blessing of some solid rain. Got to ride one of my skateboards around Berkeley and Oakland before and after work, sliding on the slick pebbled surfaces, picking up speed for the lumpy concrete/asphalt transitions. I pretty much never ride anymore, due to associated pain, but suffered no falls and had a splendid time. Got an excellent smile from a passing rain moistened pedestrian as I roared by with that light in my eyes; also three frowns that were also appreciated. As I zimmed by the cops had to wonder if law enforcement still needed skateboard sensitivity training, after all the hating years. Proud to say I have been ticketed for both skateboarding (Berkeley) and hitchhiking (Sebastopol), which I view as essential art forms in a paved world.

New good feeling generation method discovered last Thursday morning: starting with your left big toe, laugh out it like playing "This Little Piggy Went To Market...", only you don't need to use that beat. Use a different laugh for each toe, saving real good ones for the little toes. A typical progression might go like ha ha ha ha ha, hee hee hee hee hee, hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo, yah-ha-ha-hee-hee huey, whoooooooooo-hooooooo! Sure you'll have fun developing your own, the laughs of course dependent on your toes and mood. You'll want to start the laugh in your low belly and then use your abs and chest to direct it down the leg, pick up speed coming out of knee curve, controlled slide past ankle corner, then ride a bee line snug down each tarsal and meta-tarsal to each particular toe. If you pay close attention and see like me, various colors and vibrations will shoot out the ends of each toe. Holy Devil Girl! My toes just thanked me for the attention being paid to them in this post, in unison. The leader wore a silk tophat, and they had a gifted piano player in the background. They also respectfully requested a medium duration barefoot walk along the surf, and a cermonial dunk in fast moving Sierra snowmelt water. Wow, toes are the shiznits, my buds.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guitar Star Child of Revolution

Playing guitar on the sofa, back in the good old days of life as an only child. The boy has had to do some fast growing up, what with the responsiblities associated with becoming a big brother, to which he responded by regressing and advancing, just like Papi. Ann had the good sense to give us a book called "So You're A Big Brother Now", which he enjoys quite a bit. After a little more than a week of family leave I started to get high anxiety about my unfinished work tasks, which came with a deflated mood. Hard to match the thrill of the birth and all, and my brain's funny like that anyway, never happy too long. I heard about a book by a guy named Roth, maybe Philip, in which he writes that some lie around waiting for inspiration while the rest of us go back to work, which is what I did. Good for something I guess (I feel somewhat better), although this transition time adjusting to a new family member proves more difficult thant first surmised. Challenges foment growth, so what the hell. The boy and I did get to ride the Steam Train in Tilden Park for the first time last weekend, so milestones continue to click by.
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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Father-Daughter Dreaming

Nothing like a much needed father-daughter mid-afternoon catnap. The marvels and benefits of sleep never cease to amaze me. I can only imagine how my heart sounded to her, lub-dubbing along so much slower than her own, in time with my heinous snoring. The in-laws from San Diego have come and gone now, leaving just us chickens & our pets. The weather has a timeless and poignant flavor, t-shirt in the night, the hills abuzz with insects and more. Found a new game to play while driving across the Bay Bridge the other day. When you get to the suspension part on the upper deck, start inhaling when the cables are at their lowest point. Keep inhaling, or holding your breath if you run out of room, until the tower. Then exhale all the way to the lowest point of the cable and repeat. Pretend you're riding the cable up and down like a roller coaster. Careful while driving though; don't want anyone passing out or getting "distracted". If you do it with whippets, you'd best be a passenger. I find that a minimum speed of 60 mph works best, although you can double breathe if traffic is slow or your lung capacity demands. Of course, the breathing is just a starting point. You'll want to incorporate any Pilates or kegels you know into it too, and music of course.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 08, 2006

First Night

Couldn't resist posting just one more, just to show off the hair. Posted by Picasa