Monday, December 31, 2007

Winter Queen Takes Throne

Winter arrived with little fanfare save frosty mornings and daylight hours increasing ever so slightly in length. Death and new beginnings, bring them on, with cups of hot tea.

Darling daughter, almost 20-months now, learned how to start the iPod boom box playing. You see her here having just played some Johnny Cash for her own enjoyment. Notice also that her hair is freshly brushed here, yes, by me, at her request.

Both kids got bikes for Christmas, although the girl is small for hers yet. The boy seems to be starting to get the hang of it, with the training wheels attached anyway. Mama talked him out of the light blue bike with pink flowers, in favor of a more boyish green one, but sweet daughter was allowed a pink one - The Tigresse, which I've nicknamed Tatiana in memory of our lost wild-hearted Siberian.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beach in Alameda

Kids & I had a great time at Crowne Beach in Alameda the other day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nothing Like Family

So here one can clear see the blatant insanity that runs in my family. Such a delight, to run wild, unfettered by the chains of reason. Mother, John, and Sam, of course, on Thanksgiving. Dough, for some reason the machine won't let me post these photos, but soonn....

Friday, December 07, 2007

19-month Old Rockstar

With my enthusiastic coaching and the promise of candy our darling daughter managed to push poop directly from her body into a small pink European-style potty the other night. Cheers filled the air, candy for all, and the good feelings go on forever, like rural roads. I have to give the boy some credit. The night before he overheard Mama Bear and me discussing potty training, and afterwards he insisted that we read them their new potty training book "Lift the Lid", a book featuring many flaps to lift to reveal hidden objects and such. He kept asking to go back to the first page and look at the candy hidden in Mama Rabbit's skirt pocket, such a smart boy.

The girl grows every day. She used to cry when she woke up, then she moved on to calling our names. Now she just stands there grinning, practicing psychic paging, and it works heck of good.

We used to forget to clean her old bottles out of her crib right away, which led to some sour milk drinking incidents. Now she hands me her bottle before I pick her up each morning, such a good helper. She also insists on brushing her teeth each morning, something the boy never did.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Me, Walking Up A Hill, Away From the Fire

The boy impressed and touched me with this one. According to him the drawing depicts me walking up a hill with the assistance of a walking stick and a helper dragon fly, away from a hot fire. I love dragonflies, love fatherhood, love fire, love love, so stoked. At first I thought it was a cane in my hand, which made me feel a little funny since I don't use a cane, but then he explained that he only added the walking stick to memorialize the time we tried to walk up a hill too steep to climb. Stick or no stick, that hill proved too steep and slippery, so we just kept sliding down to the bottom on all the leaves, a memorable experience for all. You never know how steep is too steep until you try, true for walking, biking, and driving, smoldering fun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wild Artichokes In My Blood

Add "wild" to a word and right away it appeals to me more. Got this pu-ehr tea made from old-growth, semi-wild tea trees. It steeps up dark as coffee and feeds my wild side bold, which roams the wilderness around my home with garrelous gusto, night or day, moon or stars, clouds or rain, wild-eyed and open to new trails that require crawling and bloody sacrifice. You can see my house in the lower right quadrant of the photo. Photo taken looking northeast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Splish Splash, But Keep The Water in The Tub

The bathing ritual steams oppurtunities to appreciate warm fluidity. Tonght we did simultaneous baths, Sissy w/ Mama in the master bath, and me with Gumbo right on the other side of the wall.

Sissy showed me that she can wash her own face last night, something which the boy can do but usually won't. She helps around the house constantly and in the most amazing ways. My wallet was lost for days and she found it behind the downstairs toilet. She found the long missing valet key for the SUV too, along with many a remote control and mobile phone. She'll deliver anything asked of her straight to the compost, trash, or recycling bin, or to another person. She lets the cats in and out, rearranges furniture, and loves to give kissy encouragement.

Monday, November 12, 2007

924 Gilman Spectacular As Ever

Got to see one of my very favorite punk rock bands from yesteryear, MDC. They played with Citizen Fish at 924 Gilman in Berzerkeley the Sunday before last. Many a show I have seen at Gilman, but not for several years now, don't know what I was thinking, the place serves up fun like it ain't against the law (which it isn't, technically, yet). Siobahn steered me right by doling out the clue to expect dancing, that's right, slam dancing, right there in good old Alameda County. One of the best things about Gilman remains their all-ages policy, nobody slams quite like a 15-year old, which makes sense, new blood; that's about when I started getting my neck stepped on. A guy in the pit asked if anyone knew acupressure or massage; I looked down and noticed he wore only a dirty pair of white socks that were starting to come off, ouch. It was a beautifully co-educational pit, with one ~13 year old boy in an over-sized white t-shirt, weighing about 65 pounds. Massive power & healing to them; I survived with a fat lower lip, a bloody right knee that still hurts every time I bend down, about as many bruises as Evil Kneivel had broken bones, and a much looser fitting pair of eyeglasses. Gilman does not officially allow stage-diving but MDC said that the rule was suspended for their show, so I got to witness one ebullient young man fall from head height to the concrete floor with a resounding and sickening smack of a whack heard clearly over the music. He hopped up displaying two thumbs up and a shit-eating grin while doing a little hot dog dance; had to wonder how he felt the next day.

Ween at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium the following Friday did not hold a generic butane lighter to the Gilman show. Sold out show, no pit, and although one lovely "E"nhanced young lady did compliment the wife and I on our dancing, which was funny because the wife wan't dancing at all, the crowd was generally uptight like wealthy arthritic caucasians at a members-only ski resort. My friend Evan's mom had passed away the day prior, and he accordingly danced a wee wild, bounding into the other attendees from impossible angles. The group to our right sent forth a thin-lipped spokesman, a tall blond roll-playing game type from Harry Potter's generation. He tried to mellow us out without appreciable effect, if you don't count the drunken laughter. We had fun all in all, but will stick to shows with more funner dancing closer to home from now on.

Dylan's "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" started pumping harmonica from the corner of my family room last night. The boy asked me and Gumba "Can you feel the song?" I told him I could, she did a little dance. He replied, "I feel it in my back, [pause] and in my belly. It tickles." I recall washing dishes at Negri's at the age of 16, belting out the lyrics to that song almost every night for a time, and listening to my mother do the same while battling endless chores around our old Occidental homestead. Had to wonder what of those soulful renditions the boy could feel, or what he felt at all, since the volume was pretty low. Maybe he just felt the same thing my mom and I felt, "I Dreamed I Saw..."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Halloween 2007

The boy drew on the pumpkin and I carved it into a jack-o-lantern. You see the light at the bottom of the lantern because he insisted on drawing onto the pumpkin upside-down, something that had never occurred to me.

Mama kept saying he was a dragon, but Gumbo corrected her each time. He was a dinosaur.

Little Gumba had the cutest little stinger, and one antenna permanently cock-eyed, adorable. She and Gigi play the pointing game here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Water is Water

Those kids sure do love water. We're considering becoming a family of dolphins with our very own plastic surgery island survival reality show. Halloween photos coming soon, more human than human.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Too Much Fun a Myth!

Too much fun? Like a girl too pretty or a car too fast, I don't know anything about it.

Harbingers of doom rock High On Fire rocked the Independent deep, certain members of the audience even slam danced (yes! in San Francisco!). Lead singer strides onstage, shirtless, tatooed, giant stratocaster in hand - rippppps into it, sweat starts pouring off his frame, maniac grin the whole time. My hoodie-beanie combo had me sweating too, like a pig going down the chute to the killing floor, but just dove further towards the death, pulled the hood tight over the beanie to sweat more, busted hip-hop moves zig-zag through the pit, jumped, jump, jumping, shook my head from side to side like an angry bull, went into an alligator trance with those eyes that shine realms beyond fear. Rock and roll all the way, impossible loud, so loud my ears rang for days even though I wore those wax earplugs. Have a High on Fire disc but it never sounded like this - soooo boss. Next time they party through town you could not keep me away with a line of riot police brandishing cotton swabs soaked in pepper spray, but I'll look for a Sacramento show, where they slam more like the old days, more danger, more fun.

Kid's first time trick-or-treating. First house the boy tried to give away the candy he'd picked up at church earlier, with truly touching generosity. When he figured out that he received candy the excitement only mounted. He kept asking jack-o-lanternless people why they didn't carve a pumpkin. Love that boy.

Later that night...

HallofuckingWestOaklandween, had flame-throwing vehicles shooting 30' (10m) blasts, dancing in the streets, pissing in the streets. A plain blue mini-van backed up the street toward the crowd slow, stopped, dropped, rear doors popped open, two guys plugged a guitar and a bass into two amplifiers, launched in a legendary set of Misfits covers. Not quite slamming, but at least we were dancing. Maira had a party right nearby too, featuring the giant propane jet backfiring wild concussions and spewing various colors of flame. The main attraction at Maira's growled the eyeball of destruction, a track-mounted wrecking ball that shot multi-colored flames out the eye-ball while dripping burning methanol mixed with copper acetate down the chain. It wrecked mock office towers made from dressers, jack-o-lanterns, microwaves and every damned thing it could - my kind of remote control toy. Pumpkin pinata hell to break, especially with Maira swinging it like a madwoman. Organic suckers, what more to say. Siobahn! I told you to come.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sister's An Artist Too

Little sister gets in on the art game too, as shown. My mom showed her the trick where the kid lies down on a big piece of paper and lets you trace him or her. Last night she kept wandering the area near my chair, placing the paper on the floor, and then lying on it at various angles, until no daddy in the world could have resisted the urge to trace that little girl. Her toes came out the cutest because I ran the crayon around each one with the feet pressed flat to the floor. We had great fun drawing with chalk on unplaced hexagonal pavers in the back yard the other day too. And who could forget the fun we've had with modelling clay - the tools they give one to work clay with these days, snakes and boulders incredible. I'm tellin' you, kids know how to party right, all night, every night, so we get along swell.

Two nights ago the kids were tearing around the yard looking for goblins in the dark corners. Sister got bored of that and climbed into the wagon, wanting to be pulled around. I pulled them both over terrain 98% of adults would consider impassable with a Radio-Flyer. These moves would have added more value than dollar-Budweisers to the thrill of any monster truck mud bog dirtbike jumping alcohol burning funny car stuntfest, with only minor screaming involved. When we were all finished up and inside getting ready for bed I found a large black beetle deep inside poor Gumba's rainbow stretch-pants. Surprised me. Must have crawled up there during the the wagon adventure. The boy said that it stank. I took his word for it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All My Friends Are Artists

The boy amazes me with his art. I drew some similar stuff at that age, but his work often more resembles my art from two or three years older. That's a snake, not a worm, by the way. The starry night takes me places difficult to describe. And the "horn trying to blow the sun away" offers just a glimpse into what he must be thinking about. I mean, this is something I never in my whole life considered, me of the giant guitar-car ideas, lover of Tesla and sound demolitions, sonic weaponry and stereo wars. Much thanks to mama and both grandmamas for encouraging the art angle.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Iron Goddess

Claudia gave me the figurine on the left for my birthday, and a coworker gave me the box of tea on the right because she knows I'm a tea junkie, and it was just moldering away on her shelf anyway. Introduction to the Iron Goddess goes on, one leg tucked in to represent constant meditation, and the other ready to launch the body into action to help those in need. A female representation of Buddha. The tea (Ti Kwan Yin) drank down real delicious and invigorating too, superfine. These forms have drawn me to them, inspired heartfelt peace and aspirations of growth. I like the story of Buddha where she lets ants build a hill on her as she meditates. Life force control, it's the shiznits.

Another storm on the way. It kneads me and needs me. Just a few blue patches left in a darkening sky, no turning back, nothing to say or do (other than drag all my crap getting ruined in the rain into the garage).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Accordion skies contort, invert, and weep young widows' insanity laughter. The muffled shrieks follow me as sudden pressure changes, send icy fingers through my open window. Some would call it a storm, but I take it for a gray harbinger of clockwork death driving mindless dust devils to engage fallen leaves and relapse victims, cutting out the dead wood, cleaning up the cities and poisoning the bay. The rain falls on Mt. Tamelpais, I can see it now, but not here yet. The rain calls me, texts me, clogs my inbox with invitations, knocks on windows at odd hours, asks if we would join the dogs of weather that rule the sky, text messages of the wild just a short vibration on my hip, again, again, persistent canine questioning. This storms-a-gonna wash me right down the stormdrain to the bay, and from there into the wide Pacific, just what Dr. Feelgreat ordered.

Monday, October 08, 2007

17-Months of Soul Instruction

Seventeen months old now and growing fast. Peed in the potty for the first time last weekend. Twenty-nine pounds now, well on her way to catching up with her 40-lb brother. The line between walking and running blurs as she passes. Last night she passed me and I thought she was her big brother because she moved and sounded so much like him. She doesn't cry when I put her to sleep in her crib anymore, just lets me tuck the blankets in around her while singing the goodnight I love you song, so sweet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Window on the Seine

My coworker went to Europe and brought me back this nice little print of a scene on the River Seine. Quiet river noises on my cloth-covered partition wall, turn my head to the right and there I feel. French accents, the male voices only minimally annoying, mix with the sounds of watercraft and small splashes, birds talking. As long as I cycle, dance, and swim plenty in the good old US of A, there seems no pressing need or desire to travel, but as my gaze flows from the Seine to the mottled French sky, and back over the city skyline, I consider what wonders would come to light during such a journey. All the same, I'm sure, but is it? Fly high, hit hard.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Through Other People's Eyes

Not always easy to see oneself through other people's eyes with any clarity. I did not believe that this wonderful image could have been based on a photo of my own face, but it turns out that my vision has some growing up to do. The funny thing is that I imagined what the life of the poor soul whom the piece was based on must have been like. I thought he must have lived in the late 19th century or perhaps the early part of the twentieth, having come upon that hat by a wild story in his wild life of alcohol and fast living. I felt both sorry for and jealous of the poor bloke, obviously prematurely aged by his wonton ways. So so so surprised to be shown how it really is me, even though Bryn informed me of that at the beginning. I'd thought that I'd scientifically determined that it couldn't be me. I didn't want it to be me, even asked my coworker. She assured me it couldn't be me. Thanks Bryn for tripping me out so completely. I see it now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Equinox Cometh

The autumnul equinox exerts her limitless power upon my every blood cell, ebb tide, high tide, and again, ever stronger. My heart sings sinking spirals of senescence, turns colors bright with transformation. The moon grows large in anticipation of harvest. My fleshless skull streams long yellow flames of directionless desire about 30 feet out behind me every time I ride downhill, feeling springlike when I let my thoughts lose track of time. Have you ever taken a nap in the afternoon, woken up at sunset thinking dawn had broken, and then realized your inner clock was off by 12 hours? It's like that - wolf smells spring sometimes and fall other times in this chameleon climate, times for love and times for death, transposed. My life, my love, where dwell they now, deep in some October countryside?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tea the Magic Key

I love plants. I love water. Tea brings my old friends together to flash memories and myriad visions of the now through simple smell, taste, and feel, sometimes tingly, sometimes deep in the earth growing up through rare orchids. Found the boy playing with my favorite tea strainer when I got home last night, the kind that you squeeze to open the little mouth. He had a green grape of questionable edibility bouncing around in it. I asked for it back straightaway, informing him that it was meant for tea only. He, obviously & deeply enamored with the non-toy, refused to relinquish it, based on the argument that he was about to fill it with tea. It seemed an unlikely proposal at first thought, but when he flew out the back door to the mint patch it seemed more reasonable. Gumbo came back with the little leaves arranged just so in the strainer. He told me it was for me to make for myself a cup of tea. I predicted a weak brew because the leaves were few and unchopped, but set about with the water boiling regardless. After pouring the water and letting it steep for awhile the rich color surprised me. Then the smell hit and that extra bit of magic that a good cup of tea, traditional or herbal, can invoke got invoked. Turns out that he must have chosen one of the varietal mints, probably pineapple mint, maybe lemon. Smelled delicious, tasted tingly, invigorating. I poured a couple small cups for the little ones. They took turns taking long sips, standing facing each other in the kitchen, letting out exagerrated "ahhhhh"s after each drink. Moments like that ain't for sale. The boy got a little excited and said "This is the best cup of tea I've ever had. I love it." One of the best cups I've ever had. They both wanted seconds, and when my cup was done the boy came by and drank the very last magic drop.

My mind drifted back to caveperson times, the first cups of tea, the first cups, the joy of discovery, a future of scented steam wisps letting lightning & desire find their harmony, sing about life fantastic, beyond pre-conceived notions. False fences fall away, once so high I couldn't get over them, so wide I couln't get around them, one of the first songs I learned, like it was yesterday.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chilling With Bret & Son

Got to spend a nice evening with Bret, Suzy, and their 6-month old son last Saturday night. Doesn't his boy look just like him? Apparently my son has done and joined a gang of pre-schoolers and chose this photo to represent. Came as rather a shock to me. You just can't talk to them too young about the pitfalls of life.

Bret's been getting daily doses of radiation to treat his rahbdomyosarcoma. I read quite a bit about the effects of exposure to radiation while reseaching a term paper about nuclear war back in nineteen-eighty-something, and sure enough he' got them. Body temperature regulation, burned tissues, etc. all present, and painful for Bret. I always figured that I would see this in the other fallout victims and myself, after the limited exhange. I used to scan the sky for incoming missiles, but nope, the radiation is deliberate and will hopefully save his life, amazing.

Notice Jim Morrison in the upper right corner on the back of his American Prayer album. The boy wanted to hear some spoken word so I turned him on to Jim rambling about dead native Americans scattered along the desert highway. He thought it was alright. We just finished reading the original unabridged Pinnochio, which was at least as heavy and 171-pages long, and we both loved that, terrifying mayhem and all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

End of Summer

Summer ends and the seed pods prepare for the driest part of the dry season. Our old manx sits on the dried out rear lawn, as did Black Panther, our old manx. He's been puking all over the place a lot and I wonder what pains he endures sometimes. He's a good cat.

The darling daughter, also in the picture, advances along in leaps and a bounds. Just the other day she said "That's a ball."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hiking at Dusk

The boy and I got to enjoy some of the exquisite wonders of dusk hiking over the Labor Day weekend. Twice we ventured out a little before sunset and returned well after dark. The last rays of the sun shining on Mt. Diablo looked absolutely heavenly, and the tranformations of the woods around us in the later stages of the deepening gloom seemed ever new. On one of the nights we had left without a flashlight, and twice I had suggested that we turn back, but Gumbo kept pushing to go further, so on we went. Then we came to a section of dense oak trees that made the vanishing light all the more apparent. There, a particular tree caught the boy's eye, "Whoa, that's weird, look at that!" he exclaimed, referring to two trees growing out of one stump. "That's not right" he continued. We checked it out together for a minute, and I assured him that the treee was not so unusual, but did not manage to fully convince him. He responded with "I think it's best we head back now". Coming back in the dark, the last orangeness fading into the bay, the thistles were more difficult to avoid, so we each got spined majorly. Since then he always calls it "the Prickly Woods", a name that seems to be sticking. Sweet times up on that wild hill, so glad we live so close to nature.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

San Diego and Back, Full Moon Style

We survived yet another harrowing journey into California's bastion of conservatism known as Southern California, San Diego to be semi-exact, Scripps Ranch to be overly exact. Temperatures ranged up to 105 F going down and coming up. I recall rolling down all the windows at a rest stop and saying "Here's what 105 degrees feels like kids, check it out." Weather like that seems to wilt everyone, and to make some angry. I saw a homeless guy hanging out under the sparse shade of some tiny tree in Oceanside, mountain bike parked nearby, looking about ready to kill the next suit in a luxury SUV that gave him an awkward eye. The kids took it well and the sunset coming home, viewed from the west side of the Altamont pass, near all the windmills, was spectaclar and very red.

Later last night, back at our shack, the full moon shone with unreal lustre and temperatures remained in the seventies. I contemplated what a full moon hike would have been like as I unpacked the luxury SUV. Just then, little Gumbo says, "But, don't you want to go for a walk?" The little freak must have read my mind, or maybe we just think alike, but I couldn't say that I didn't. We had a nice little hike that included a lovely stare down session with a sizable buck that quivered and whose eyes and nose glistened in the brilliant moonshine. Sure feels nice to have a moon-loving son like Gumbo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sunset Never Ends For Us

Sometimes when the sun goes down and make all those fabolous colors in the sky I want it to linger longer, so I hop on my mega-bike and ride towards the setting sun. At cruising speed I match Earth's rotation so that the time remains just after sundown and full of colors. Once in awhile I race ahead to catch a glimpse of the actual sunset, other times lagging behind so that the first planets start to twinkle. Other mega-bikers play road games, risk their lives and the lives of others for anonymous sunset stunt glory. Feels good just to ride, to breathe high velocity air. Twas ever thus.

"Don't need cars because we learned to fly." --from Stevie Wonder's Saturn

Thanks to Bryn for doctoring that photo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One Big Brother and One Little Sister

The kids look so pleasant when they appear non-combative. In actuality they will try your patience, hurt each other, and hurt you if they catch you sleeping, with the wing of a small metal passenger jet, in your eye. "Daddy, wake up, and make me something to eat."

The other day he asked his mother "Is that Bob Dylan?". He'd asked me that before too, but while Lucinda Williams played, whereas this time he got it right. Important things for a four-year old to know, and after all, he did get guitar lessons at the far end of the yard on a windy day from Mr. James Hendrix himself, so it only makes sense.

The boy feels those extra senses real good sometimes. Back in June, after we got back from launching the rockets in Nevada, we all went hiking near the Little Farm in Berkeley's Tilden Park. We walked down a narrow tunnel of trees and shrubs towards Jewel Lake. The stroller couldn't make a section, and just as we were about to turn back he ran down the trail as fast he could. I abandoned Sissy, the wife and her pops, and chased Gumbo all the way to Jewel Lake. When we got there he ran all the way around to the far side of the lake. I finally apprehended him playing near the feet of a man sitting on a lakeside bench reading to his two young daughters, intently reading, near a stand of cattails. I warned him not to disturb the trio, and away we went. I read in the paper the next day that shortly thereafter the reading man got back in his car with his two daughters, rounded up his wife from wherever she was, drove down the road to Mineral Springs picnic area, and shot them all and himself dead. His name was Maurice, I think. I got all kinds of goosebumps, just because Gumbo seemed so drawn to the man. That imaginary boundary between life and death fascinates so many of us.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Launching Rockets in Nevada

"I saw myself driving through Nevada in a stolen red convertible with a rocket launcher in the trunk, occasionally stopping to take out a billboard." --excerpt from Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel

Shot off high powered rockets in the high desert of Nevada back in June. Amazing tools those rockets, fun too. The kids were amazed. I got to hang out with old friends and my cool father-in-law, rode bikes & ATVs, watched shooting stars, and kept waiting for the Burning Man crowd to show up. We saw some folks playing with a fire cannon way across the playa late one night, but I resisted the urge to ride out into the vast dehydration chamber alone in the middle of the night. Gumbo made a little friend named Chelsea that he would go looking for each morning upon waking, as would she, too darling. High winds prevented a good percentage of the launches, but I got mine in the air twice with a little help from Seth and Josh. No jets fell from the sky, so I guess the FAA permit thing worked out. Somehow I imagined that the rockets would stay visible for most if not all of their trips. The first one I saw launch proceeded to dissapear completely in less than 2 seconds, just gone, impressive.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pinball Wizardry

The better half and I stepped out for a flick at the local theatre the other night, saw The Simpsons Movie (what else?), and afterwards I noticed a Lord of the Rings pinball game in their arcade. I then proceeded to pinball wizard out to the max, racking up free games, hitting all the bells & whistles, including the Balrog. That's when I realized that all my time spent with the lovely Addams' Family machine seen above developed my special pinball reflexes, extra-sensory perception, and tele-kinesis to point of uncanny refinement. I have the repairman's phone number programmed into my phone. The other day I scored 64,000,000 points but have yet to win a free game on that haunted old computer, that would take 100,000,000. It's a killer game. Pinball rules forever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Canine Perspectives

The dogs have opened my soul, released the inner hellhounds, taught me to throw my whole weight against the fence so that one eye can clearly be seen through the gap in the boards created my unrestrained assault, freaking out pedestrians and testing my enclosure. When road undulations cause the vehicle I'm driving to rock front to back I become a racing Rottweiler. My tongue hangs out and commences to dripping, my eyes get that wild, far-away look, a red filter gets applied to all I see. As I race along I throw my head down and to the left, so as to sniff the width of the road as I raise my head, sensing the fears, history, and treats of the vehicles that passed before me, low-frequency dog noises issuing forth from my frothy maw, synchronized with twitchy zaps of dog adrenaline making my hind legs reach almost past my shoulders. Then I ease up just a bit and howl at the most available celestial object.

Gumbo woke me up from my passed out state on the sofa last Monday morning about 12:20 AM, just in time to check out the Perseid meteor shower. Howl, twitch, froth, yelp, mark my territory, time for sleep.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Someone got the boy a set of scented pens, similar to the scented pens I had at about the same age (4). Of course, he loves them. I remember my introduction to such pens. It happened hanging out at a neighbor's house in Petaluma one afternoon. Amazement and delight were in no short supply. Soon after, a second-hand set found it's way into my possession. I kept those delicious markers until only the licorice one had any scent at all left, and they left only the vaguest of marks on paper. I truly loved them. You can see the pen marks under his nose. The boy took the photo of Sissy watching me about to sniff the pen with no assistance. I was impressed with how he framed it, he shoots like a natural. Those pens bring back memories, crispy, well-preserved snapshots of life at 1020 B Street in Petaluma, in my dark little room at the front of the old red Victorian with white trim, thin oriental rug kicking up dust at the drop of, well, anything.

Killed the Tour de Max Sunday, all 7,000 feet of it. Felt good. Stunning scenery. Six hours in the saddle, 12 mph average speed, 38 mph max speed, blooming grueling. Hope to do it again next year, faster.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Flower Beings

Becoming the flower feels best. I used to just look at them, real close, maybe rub my face against them, smell them. Then, one fantastical summer day a thousand miles of desolate roads ago, I came across a new way of viewing the flowers. Become the flowers, so the colors shine out from you. Your body may try to contort in funny ways, as the spiders and insects crawl all over you, but the breezes feel wonderful, and the dawn light opens you up.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Few Words Before the Ascent

This kid can climb like a goat, and descend even faster, as fast as I would normally walk down. She just lays on her belly and make her body straight to slide down feet first. She's a regular powerhouse of locomotion, and there will we be, like a mythical family of dolphins spinning in the sun, wholesome grins showing gleaming teeth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oakland Summer

Morning Clouds, Afternoon Sun, that's our standard Summer weather pattern here in great old Oakland. Perfect for night owls that like to sleep in, and the transitions bloom dramatic. "Here comes the sun Little Darling." Love working in Oakland, near the bay, in a "bad neighborhood". The food, the people, the houses, the plants, the animals live within and without me, flirting with cross-dimensional perfection. Rode my bike to work today for the first time, over the Berkeley Hills, 21-miles, streets ankle-deep in the blood of the oppressor fun. Came across the youngest deer I've ever seen while climbing Wildcat Canyon Road out of Orinda. It could barely walk, and gave me look as if to say "Are you my mother?", before stumbling off into the oaks with a distintive irregular leaf-crunching sound. Loved it.

Counted the steps from the 1st Floor to the 3rd Floor, where I press myself into a cubicle the majority of my weekdays. Eighty steps in all. Made me think of that Pink Floyd song - "Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest. You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye, eighty years with luck or even less." The steps became the years of my life. The exercise consisted of walking up the stairs at my normal pace, but going through the highlights of each year during steps 0-37, and then imagining future highlights for steps/years 38-80. Very mind-taxing. The early years fill in with no problem, providing a plethora of easily accessible highlights. A lot of blank years over the last 15 or so, or so it seemed. The future difficult too, kind of painful even, and those stairs wind me pretty bad by the time I'm 80.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Kids Grow

As a child I, on several occasions, wondered what it would be like to start over in kindergarten, do it all better. I now realize that in many ways I am doing just that, only starting in even earlier, if I pay proper attention to the education of my children. Amazing that, after graduate school and all, there could be so much information at the pre-school level that somehow got missed the first time around.

Gumbo and I show an interest in Spanish, so we try to encourage it in each other. He brings me books written in Spanish. I translate the books written in English when he brings those, if the words are simple enough. Good times.

Gumba has no patience for sitting in my lap when I read to the boy anymore, but she hangs nearby. Last night I noticed that she perused each page of two books once and one book twice, upside-down, during the time it took me to read Gumbo Timmy Tiptoes. Her mind moves along at a tremendous pace, so much to teach.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Unrelenting Reminder Demons

Feeling the pressure. Details taunt me, unrelenting reminder demons screaming unfinished tasks. Wait, that's just my PDA, or is it? No rest for the wicked, the good die young, cowboy up. Cliches and memories of immersion in water - all I have left.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gumba Walks!

She started out slow, but then one recent evening, right about the 14-month mark, she steady walked around that turning point that separates the walkers from the crawlers. Gumbo took another six months to walk like this. The darling girl exudes gurgling joy regarding her achievement, happy to walk with me hand in hand, or leg hair in hand, as the case may be. Crawling remains the fallback mode of locomotion, temporarily retaining the edge with regards to speed and stability. I moved my exercise mat outside yesterday afternoon to get away from her interference for a moment, but did not close the screen door well enough, so as a lay down on it she rushed (race-crawled) toward me with all the excitement, velocity, and momentum of a small pit bull. I literally braced for the hit, but in keeping with her style, she stopped about a centimeter from my face, to stare, to loom, and to grin with overwhelming intensity, searching for her father's acknowledgement and response. Her strong personality and drive to communicate keep me amazed much of the time.

She loves the table that the boy eats at, and climbs into one of the little wooden chairs that are too big for her whenever she can. I sat with her at it for a time the other day while she enjoyed a piece of toast. She spontaneously broke the toast and hand me a piece, evoking the deja vu that lonesome altruistic travelers feel as they trek across time immemorial. That girl is good people.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Downieville Deathtile Loves Me

Let me start by saying "It was a different time, it was the sixties." But, um, really it was the last few weeks. The infinite and limitless true nature of the universe has once again been presenting itself to me, in a very becoming way. One might even call it fecund. If you can imagine it, it exists, and my imagination runneth wild through the densest of thickets, just, whatever you do, oh please don't throw me in that old briar patch.

Some vacations rule my memories with exceptional vigor, like lighthouses along an dark and moonless coast. Those excursions include my first time to Yosemite when I was five, a trip to Mendocino with friends when I was a teenager, my honeymoon in French Polynesia at age 27, my first trip to Burning Man at 31, and...... Downieville, Downieville, Downieville. I could just sit here repeating "Downieville" in a thousand different voices, all night, and every day. Arrived home late last night after spending an amazing 48 hours in the loving vibrations people call the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Historically a mining town, Downieville once had a population of 20,000 and was briefly the capitol of California. It now gets 80% of its annual revenue from mountain biking. The legendary trails called me for years, in the form of tales of fun and serious injuries from a group I ride with mid-week. Of course, now that I've gone, I can't believe I didn't join them every trip since before I was born, stupid parents I guess. Don't worry, they never read this nonsense. The town sits at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers, at 2,835' (930m), a great place to swim after a ride, right there by the old gallows. A shuttle leaves every hour on the hour, and for the paltry sum of $20, takes bikes and riders to Packer Saddle, which floats at 7,100' (2,336m). Magnaminous genii, or perhaps genies, have spent many an hour constructing and maintaining some of the finest (and I do mean sexy) single-track trails the world has ever seen, which connect Packer Saddle to Downieville, with many routes to choose from. Disneyland eat your heart out. Skydiving is weak. Burning Man is OK, but my every third wish is for another run through the alpine gauntlet of perilous angles, with a snowmelt stream skinny dip thrown in somewhere along the way. Aches and cramps wrack my body to point that I could barely operate a car last night, and I'm not good for a whole lot of anything, but nevertheless doubt I'd be able to refuse a shuttle leaving for Packer Saddle in 30 minutes, if I were still in Downieville. 

Part of it is the mountains. I love that color of sky, thin dusty pine air, endless varieties of flowers, alpine meadows green beyond belief, element ravaged trees, roaring emerald pools cascading into louder roaring emerald pools, pouring around islands full of yellow flowers, drunk with mountain love, talking loud, saying sweet nothing. The mountains rock, regardless of your mode of transportation, but try it on a full-suspension mountain bike and the rocks and trees want to eat you alive while feeding you bliss. There's a section called Baby Heads, where all the rocks approximate baby heads. They stare pitilessly at you when you eat shit. Plenty of narrow off-camber sections with drop-offs to certain manglement, where occasionally one's rear tire will spit out a rock to the chasm side, which one can hear chatter down the rocks in the distance behind, tink, tink, tinnnnnk, which gives me what I imagine would be the same effect as shoving a spike full of andrenachrome directly into my already racing heart. To prevent excessive erosion, and perhaps dangerous riding conditions, the trailbuilders have placed weird looking concrete tiles all along the path in certain very steep sections, commonly known as Downieville Deathtiles (they can be a little slippery, although they never sent me down, but would be hell icy). And get this, you share the trail with motorcycles! That's right, roaring, heavy, dusty, momentum machines blasting up what you're riding down, a complete eye-opener. Don't think it's all downhill. Many a brutal climb went on, and on, especially on the Big Boulder trail, many parts of which I had to hike the bike up. Like Greg the bike mechanic's shirt read - "Another Shitty Day in Downieville". By the way, the mountain eats bicycles for lunch, so everyone gets to know the wealthy bike mechanics well.

I stuck my head under a waterfall, sat on one of those islands in the middle of the rapids to get that mega-stereo effect, raced at breakneck speed along the trees, pushed my luck, used my helmet, used my pads, had some visions. Some part of me will live there always now, and it here with me. After jiving with a place that well, every time I go back I will be coming home, tears in my eyes serious, I nub it, til death do us part, om, peace, amen, allah-o-akbar, happy Indepenence Day, anarchy forever, spiritual revolution in my glassy eyes, lightning bolt beer bottle Johnny Cash jukebox Ghostriders in the Sky, yippy yi yay, yippy yi yo.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fishing San Pablo Reservoir

Epic day fishing San Pablo Reservoir with Gumbo, Maria and Bill. All out of power boats so we rented a row boat. The oars were mismatched, so rowing was somewhat lopsided, but we managed to row far anyway. Temperature varied between t-shirt and sweatshirt, but the wind played mellow, so no complaints, although Rocket got plenty sweaty in his lifevest. I let Bill pick the first spot, but after no bites for a good while I let me fishing intuition take control and rowed us to near where I caught a fish last time I was there. Bill professed doubt due to the depth of the water (14'), but Maria brought in a nice big trout after ~20 minutes, so I savored full vindication of my anchor spot choice. Once again the fish swallowed the hook and we made a big bloody flopping stinky mess trying to get it out, with no success, perfect eating size anyway, stringered that bad boy up and hung him off of one of the oar locks. I got all elated, Maria seemed less so, Bill was pretty happy, Gumbo became very interested. Then Bill became hard to convince that it was time to go, not wanting to get left out of the caught-a-fish club. After a reasonable time, in the interest of mitigating tired toddler behavior, I asked Maria to please pull up the anchor. My elation continued, but no one else seemed near as excited, which was slightly off-putting, but not everyone can feel just like me all the time.

As I had been expecting, Bill & Maria changed their mind about cleaning and eating the lovely trout by the time we got to the cars, so I got to take it home, where Gumbo and Robin watched with fascination while I removed the innards & such. I cooked it right away and we all ate some, but Gumbo ate only one of the eyes, after which he decided that he doesn't like fish eyes anymore. The eye from the cod must have been tastier. I myself have never eaten a fish eye and don't know what put the idea into his head to start with. Next time maybe I'll rig for sturgeon, and whatever I fish for I'll use a bigger hook so they don't be swallowing the thing, too bloody.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Finegold 2007

Memory jumps and skips spiralling outward in a zig-zag mental fall from grace. Just got back from camping in the Sierra Foothills east of Fresno. A little piece of paradise called Finegold, big orange dragonflies still buzz the back of my head, shoulders and forehead glow from too much sun. Frogs and rabbits came to me, imparted time-release knowledge I'll overstand someday. Rode my mountain bike to Crook Mountain, peered down at Millerton Lake at deepest dusk, flew down through the invisible dust drift curves which gripped my wheels with ferocity, almost throwing me once, imparting silent time-warp two-wheel drifts other times. Not a lot of smells out there, too dry, except near the creek. I mistook the bullfrog croaks there for horse brays, laughed about it later. The kids had a blast, although I did find little Gumba covered in large black ants once, and massive red welts cover the boy from who knows what type of critter. When we'd driven three quarters of the way home Gumbo asked "Can we go to Finegold?". Later, while getting him ready for bed I asked,

"So, which do you prefer, Burning Man or Finegold?"

"Finegold!" he answered, without hesitation.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dance? No, run!

Always something new, and another forgotten memory awakened when it comes to raising children. Same way with life deep down in a dungeon or a mine, come to think of it, but more in your face up here in the sunshine. I taught 12-month old Gumba to smell roses. It took three days, one lesson/day. The first day she mostly watched, maybe moved her head toward the large lavender rose slightly, tried to grab and eat it. The second day she moved her head toward the rose, and then tried to lick it. The third day she swung her body forward, lifted her nose slightly, put her eyes at half mast and inhaled deeply, like on a Hallmark card. How wonderful is that? Roses will ever smell sweeter.

I had the boom box cranked up on the rear deck, and was heading into the house for a quick breather. Gumbo, almost four now, had been watching me dance to the Mixtress' crazy break beats from his upstairs bedroom window, and grabbed me as I came in. "Let's go back outside Daddy, let's go."

I smiled down at him, "You want to dance?"

"No. I want to run!"

So we set into running in tight circles on the deck in our bare feet, to the tune of an 11-minute version of Sugar Magnolia (Dick's Picks Volume 14). The fun and hollering caught the attention of Gumba, who I quickly picked up and tucked under my arm like a football. We ran and ran until we were all out of breath, and then ran more. As the Grateful Dead are want to do, the song had a complete silence in it for a time, three minutes before the actual end. We thought it was over, and so when it started up again at the beginning it made me laugh, and we all had to keep running to the bitter end or accept defeat. Ever since her time that day as a football, Gumba has put her outside arm forward when I carry her, like she's flying or pointing, waving if we pass people. That gives me that feeling that I'm flying when I walk with her, makes me walk faster. "Up, up, and away".

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rattlesnakes and Butterflies

Life decided to play with me. With twinkling star eyes she keeps handing me every last thing I have ever wished for, until I feel like there is nothing more to wish for, unfulfilled desires fade into twilight fireworks. The list of blessings runs long for presentation here, but here are some recent highlights:

Saw five turkey vultures sitting in a dead oak tree, arranged for maximum psychological effect, on a hot weekday.

Ate lunch in a canoe moored to a dead oak tree full of woodpecker holes. Woodpecker came by while we ate, the vibrations travelled through the tie line, into the canoe, and up my spine to the top of my scalp, glowing gold, refracting time.

Swam with the fishes in Lake Sonoma, somewhere I hadn't visited in ~30 years, since before it was a lake, let a few tears of joy salt the water. Used to be nudists and hot springs, but those all bubble on the bottom of the lake now.

Called dragon flies to me, like when I was a kid in our Petaluma orchard. Hoka hey.

Saw a hawk carrying a 3-4 foot long snake from my living room window. The snake writhed and gleamed in the sun, the curves of the end of it's tail clear against the soft blue sky. I used to wish to see that so bad, soooo bad, ever since the time I thought I saw such a thing when I was 12.

Had an amazing afternoon trail ride at Briones park. Direct impact with an oak tree let me watch my blood steadily darken my new yellow gloves, the right glove turned as red as the oak where my bike chipped it's bark, nothing major but it woke me up, a ceremonial blood letting. I wrecked while avoiding the wreckage of the rider ahead of me, again. Funny how the passage of time changes during sideways slides, jumps, and right before wrecks, action packed moments blossoming solid seconds. Sometimes I feel like maybe those're the only times I'm really alive, then and in the throes of love. Maybe those memories just stand out better over the years, inner gyroscope activated adreno-testosto-fun reminders. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

Near the top of the biggest climb I saw a young diamondback rattlesnake, stopped to say hello. He rattled at me and slid off the trail back into the tall grass. What a beauty. The pattern on his back called to my ancestors, potent.

A butterfly bounced along just in front of my wheel the rest of the way up, leading me with levity, showing off for me with impossible patterns of movement and color.

John Muir, his body buried in nearby Martinez, got up from the spot his spirit reclined near the trail, blade wild oats dangling from the corner of his mouth. He ran along beside my bicycle, laughing and shouting and encouraging me with endless possibilities and mountain visions as the grade grew steeper. The thistles were purple, the mustard yellow, the grasses reddish-purple, blended together undulating satisfaction. John's my bud.

Willow had her baby and we're going to see her this Sunday, gift of gifts. Willow's cool as the ocean wind, and I feel so happy for her, excited for all our children & other dependents by any other name. My generation feels oats of late, clear light.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

White Lightning's Still the Biggest Thrill Around

This picture of Hurrican Wilma making risk-laden love to Puerto Rico back in October of 2005 remains one of my very favorites. Fall coconuts, fall, just don't fall on me.

This merry month of May it thrills me, riddles my muscles with pinball electricity, hurricane strength soul winds howling day & night, enough to drive a weaker mind mad. People tell me my facial expressions are often childlike, my friendship with danger juvenile, my fantasies adolescent, compliments that only goad me on. I have searched my whole life through, from infancy to Alzheimer's, and those giant stereo, rope swing into the lake, live on a boat fantasies keep coming back, wanting to dance past dawn. Fuddy dud fantasies, like living pain-free, can't hold a candle to good old storm-chasing, not for now anyway.

"Gone are the days when we stopped to decide
Where we should go, we just ride
Gone are the broken eyes we saw through in dreams
Gone, both dream and lie"

--excerpt from "Crazy Fingers" (Hunter/Garcia)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Once Around The Sun

Soon after her 1st birthday she stood up without the use of hand holds or other assistance, during a picnic lunch on the rear deck. I have yet to witness the phenomenon myself, but the mama says it's spectacular.

She sings little songs now, of her own composition.

She understands what we say more and more, and wants to be included.

She's learned to suppress the urge to cry when her brother hurts her now, as long as it's not too major. I think that her point there is to avoid endiing her play time with her brother, and not get him in trouble. Besides, she prefers to avenge insults herself, with a quick hair pull or ear scratch.

She loves listening to music, dancing to music, and making music, just like her daddy. My girl is a dream come true.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First Swim of 2007

Oakland's Lake Temescal welcomed me in, took me by both hands then held me like a long lost lover greeting her shell-shocked soldier fresh back from a life of carnage. Nature worked her charms with calculated synchronicity, extracting synergistic power surges that shade the memory with mists of plum & gold. The air temperature worked with the manzanitas, the collegiate couples with the tatooed gangster families, the sand with the grass, trees and sky forming a blurred periphery from my floating flat on my back in the middle of the lake vantage. Less than 15 minutes in the water and I staggered out, weaving to and from until I fell on my towel in the sand, did some stretching, counted some lucky stars, beat it on down the line home. Must build stamina, swim all night every night, transform or die, turn my head to breathe as I sleep, transform as many others as will join me. Swim, just swim until you can't.

The heat had the family falling out all over the rear deck when I got home, added a real special happy vibe. Counted more lucky stars. Great night at home, replete with emotional depth and spiritual wonder. Pondered rough estimate of lucky stars, based on luminosity of gratitude.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grizzly Peak Century

I scarce believe my feet pedaled me the length of the course, but as far as the questionable assumption that my experience consists of more than colorful figments of my imagination goes, they did, the left one in cahoots with the right. 71-miles, 5,500' of climbing, temperatures into the low 90s, my first century (metric). Also the first time in my life that I rode bicycles with my father. Epic, HELL of epic. Average Speed: 13-mph Maximum Speed: 47-mph

Words are crap. Crap on a stick. All the same, they are the primary communication tool given us to work with. Until I find a better way to convey my love to the masses, might as well distill goodness from them. Mmmmm, essence of crap, on a carved & sculpted stick.

Views of San Francisco, Mount Tamelpais, and the Golden Gate Bridge from Grizzly Peak did their best to take our breaths away, gasp, wheeze. Photographers lined the road with tripods trying to cram the crispy vistas into little boxes. At the top of the last (Rheem) hill my whole body commenced to trembling, and my sunburnt mind said in a helium voice from somewhere far over my head, "Hmmm, the onset of shock." Forced myself to sip a little fluid, quavered on down to the finish, got a 20-minute massage and felt a world better.

What a blast! My father and I floated to our respective homes on Cloud 9. Once again, words are CRAP! Let's do it again, faster. Ride to live.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Twas Ever Thus

Justine, lying back against a fallen column, one curl lifted by the sea wind, said "In the whole of English only one phrase means something to me, the words time immemorial." from Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell

"Twas ever thus." --Mr. Natural

I recommend developing a taste for loose green and Oolong teas. They help invite magic, beyond coincidence. Old ally tea, more effective than NATO. The abyss remains vast & receptive as ever, patient for our attention.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Live Fast, Die Young

"Live Fast, Die Young" from Bull Rider, by Johnny Cash

That looker of a wife of mine said to me, as we merged onto 24E off of 13S, "Whoa! Feels like riding in a go-kart!" A heartfelt and hearty thanks to the engineers at Ford and Volvo, as well as all the motorcycle riders I ever saw pop wheelies on the freeway. Racing along the trees at break-neck speed becomes a state of mind, alert & engaged.

Friday night: Rebecca's Soul Train "Takin' It To The Streets" themed party. Paint yourself a mental picture of at least 40 Mission hipsters dressed to the nines in bona fide disco wear, starting from 24th Street and Bartlett, shaking their asses off in the front of the library, on the BART, at Embarcadero BART station, in the middle of Market Street, turning the Historic F-line into a party extraordinaire. The F-Line operator even let us take over the PA system for Soul Train pep talks. People joined and left us all along the way. Rebecca organized us into the two Soul Train rows with that charismatic dance instructor voice, better than most could have, what with the wild whiskey pounding dancers. We hit the Castro sometime after midnight, which seemed a good time for Looker & me to hail a cab. After the cabbie heard about our evening, he turned us onto the side of himself that raps, the MC Mars side. He freestyled for 5+ minutes, rapping all about our soul training - hands down dope shit, reminded me of the teenage rappers on the J-Church that used to pound the windows for bass while tapping the grab bars with a pencil and flowing big fresh. We bought his book of short stories, Don't Take Me The Long Way . So surreal, so so so surreal, and chock full of levity.

Saturday: Went to see Bret in the UCSF chemo ward. The doctors diagnosed him with rhabdomyosarcoma (bad) a couple months ago, leading to chemo-therapy Round 2 of 4 last weekend. It felt great to be able to suit up and show up for Bret. That ward leans towards depressing the smile smack off even the most jocular human. The view from the eleventh floor went on forever and a day, striking beauty. Heavy stuff this cancer, but a profound blessing for me, a chance to feel true friendship, up along the rough wall of bonding pain & fear transcendence. Bret's boy turned four months old today, such a wise little being. Whoa Nelly that's a lot of love swarming over us. Makes me cry sometimes, but not too much. Maria told me long ago, "Crying is honest. Crying is good." Smart woman let some wisdom slip there, and mine, well, they might just flood Big River.

Drove the family up to Megan & Paul's cool 440-acre co-operative land trust community later in the afternoon. Megan & I had talked about a visit for the past ten years, so you might say we'd looked forward for a minute. The place, called Monan's Rill, rides Mount St. Helena about 1,100' up the southeast side. Exceeded expectations with a dramatic, gutteral, sub-sonic auditory hallucination. Trees, rattlesnakes in the middle of the trail, owls, flowers, flowers, flowers, flowers, flowers, flowers, and valleys, and rocks, big moss & lichen covered monoliths, the moon, the planets, the hip people, the shiznits by any other name. Gumbo played extra well, sharing all he had in a breathtaking display of emotional growth. A boy about a year his junior grabbed the hat off his head, and then demanded the tricycle on which he sat. I expected Gumbo's typical response would have consisted of throwing his new friend to the ground without hesitation, before deliverance of a well placed farewell kick prior to speeding off, but instead I overheard him cry "let's share!" Sweet, yo, very sweet.

Sunday: Rode from the San Francisco Ferry Building to the Larkspur Ferry and back. Took a detour and checked out the San Francisco National Cemetary, which I had never visited before. The oldest stones I saw marked folks' graves that died in the 1920s. No birth dates for most of those. Maybe they didn't know, didn't care. Our culture overrates quantitative analysis, tricknology promoting social inequality, trying to make a dollar out of shame. That's right, I said kill your television, a jillion pixels of high definition or not.

Watched the swimmers at Aquatic Park, promised myself once more that I'd try that sometime.

Laurent crapped out at the Larkspur Ferry, and I used the opportunity to chase that original 11-year old man coming of age ride or die quality of thought. Back then, in 1981, I just up and gave up on Saturday morning cartoons, preferring instead to start my morning by striding out into the brilliant Santa Rosa sunshine, picking up my yellow Ashtabula BMX style dual-tube framed killing machine half-way down the walk, having been left unlocked and ready for fast escape. I would ride to Kelly Beardall's house, and then we'd rip the world to bite-sized pieces in wolfish ways, travelling where our inner magnets led us, with the mandatory 7-11 pilgrimages. We sprinted when we felt like sprinting, jumped off every handicap ramp, layed down a 20' 180 degree slide at every stop, gave everyone the finger, lived on the bikes until dinner time, loved the bikes, took bruised and scraped up succor in the dried out creek bed with one vertical side. So I intentionally got lost, rode without direction, ignoring posted bike routes, choosing scary looking streets full of cars, stopping, sprinting, stopping, sprinting, observing the unfamilar, loving that pain in my legs. Got home and worked in the yard the rest of the day, then the standard Sunday night volunteer gig. The weekend still felt young and corruptible, so I did my best to lead her astray as she convulsed, and clung, to her long, last moments.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Heart of Spring

Topped 80 degrees in the wandering haze of West Oakland today. Spring has welcomed me into her heart of hearts. She dares me with fiery rays pouring out of her eyes to swim, swim, swim in the lakes and creeks. My vision goes blue, then gold, then clears to a Jackson Pollock depiction of myself walking along the rough asphalt path to the beach at Lake Temescal, the sound of ducks, people fishing on the opposite shore, gritty sand between my toes, that breeze off the bay rubbing me down, gentle now, not too cold, then plunge beneath the surface, off to swim with fishes.

This late April sunlight has me in the zone, singing to the stars, lighting candles at the feet of our wooden Buddha, ravenous for the bliss of deep meditation, whitewater roar of joy from a cave beneath a boulder right in the middle of the river, feeling love for even my enemies, don't ask me how, always hated those fuckers before.

Flower scents follow me for miles, play childhood games with me, tap me on the shoulder and then disappear, only to come back in 3 seconds to slap me with vague forgotten memories, make me want to cry and laugh and just lie there in the street like a old blind dog on a hot day, the fragrances know, have known me for years, tracked me across continents, genetic algorthyms for aromatic rings known as vernal spirits, ancestral floral allies from my grandmother's garden, microsopic fountains of youth that have come to show me the meaning of love, bless us with a hundred thousand more miracles, dole out reassurance that there're plenty more where those came from. The old story tells it that Jack from Jack and The Beanstalk had magic beans, but it turns out that that all them little seeds can wax magic if you work with them, fe fi fo fum.

This mood won't last forever, so I'm trying to make the most of it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Orifice By Any Other Name

In her zeal to convince me to shave my goatee, my venerable spouse took to calling me Crotchface and asking me when I planned to shave "that pubic mass". Gave me an idea, or two. Carol and I agreed though, no matter how I puckered and twisted, my faux coochie lacks the tender mien of vagina veritas. I think you will agree that the strong point would be the clitoral hood. We are still getting laughs out of it, and broaching Berkeley-esque topics such as how it relates to Jung's Man And His Symbols, east-west politics, and gender roles at home & in the workplace, weeks later. If you're a guy not having fun experimenting with different facial hair configurations, you are missing out, big time.