Friday, December 29, 2006

When the going gets cold, the cold turn to each other

Half foot, foot, foot and a half, two, heh; blow it across the roads and then we got hell, three or four inches of pure frozen damnation. Fender wells, wheel rims be damned, through the white whale we plow, oh, how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition. Overtime enough to send us into the void, snow at sixty miles an hour and me at the same, where was that blue truck ahead of me?

When the wind hits and all you have are four wheels on ice, you count your blessings and figure up your karma, project the trajectory, hope for the best. Sliding wherever forces one into immediate and complete surrender, the here and now given full throttle then diced up like onions before an omelet. Reality ratcheted backwards, past the “oops!” then thrust like a bottle-rocket to bang around in the dark, into a pole and flat against the “holy fucking shit.”

Yesterday, huddled and warm with my kids; today, heading for a ditch in the service of the man. Then, I wanted to be them and now, it sucks to be you. Can’t get your shit to work? Well, let me tell you about my day, you whiny hunk of snot. Yeah, you’re not talking to a machine or an Indian, whoop-dee-doo, neither of them will fuck with your head and this is your last time to listen and do what I tell you otherwise I’ll have to transfer you to someone who has training dealing with retards.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I colored wads of paper and taped them up, just for you

…and the end of the message said, “and Daddy, I love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.”

On my way to work I saw people on the side of the highway, digging out beneath plowed mountains of snow. A cold Colorado morning, sky clear as ice, you have to keep moving just to stay warm and digging out a car derelict for the past two or three days seems worthy of a few Slim Jims and a shitload of coffee after everything’s back on the road. Considering Manitou was hardly hit at all, I felt a little guilty driving by the intrepid rabble scooping stacks of shit on the side of the highway.

We stayed inside during the blizzard, played games, cleaned house by ever diminishing degrees, tussled and tickled each other and lots of pasta, watched cartoons and shared candy. We traded laps and listened to Mozart at the end of the night, made up goofy poems and pretended we were dinosaurs. As you saw from the title of my last post, I thought we’d be gnawing on each other’s bones by the end of the ordeal but I’m blessed, I know it – I have good kids. They’re fun and creative and not vindictive, not selfish, like they know we’re all in this together and we might as well make the most of it.

If there’s anything I’ve become aware of since I started taking this medication it’s that there are angels all around me, beating wings brushing air across my shoulders and cheeks. Mamacita sends packages of presents to My Kids and my kids, spends time with my eldest on the phone to boost my big girl’s sense of who she is. Random friends and readers send me huge packages of love, encouragement, comments and emails.

The tree we have is two foot high, a tiny thing sitting on a table; there is no room for a proper tree. The tree came pre-loaded with lights but I wrapped it with three thin stands of white lights. The kids hung tiny ornaments on it and called it ours. Then Lilly began to put “presents” under the tree, wads of paper she’d colored with crayons and then bound together with scotch tape. I don’t know what is beneath the paper but the packages look divine. Marni, in deference to her goddess, followed suit. Soon, the shadow of my tiny tree was sucked up by brightly colored wads of tape and paper.

The message on my machine was Lilly reminding me to bring to our Christmas Day gathering some Pokeman thing that Mamacita sent her so that Mamacita’s present could get it’s presents. Her voice was insistent and proud, sure that the Pokeman present would be thrilled by her present. Then, as certain and insistent and proud as the first part of her message, she left me my present.

Where we started.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You're invited to our little holiday Donner Party

Hello from within the chilly white center of the Blizzard of 2006.

The governor has declared a state of emergency, the city is shut down and the wind shreds skin in two seconds flat. The house creaks with the pounding of the wind and posting anything here is an invitation to the complete destruction of my house.

Not outside, inside. There's only so much children's TV I can tolerate and when the shows go off, the engines go on, screaming, shrieking, whining, tattling, oopsing. Be that as it is, I'm forced to post something from two years ago and save the scream of insanity for tomorrow.

You, with the wreath on your grill: what is that, a bull's eye? You're not fooling anyone; he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, so WAKE UP, it's a thoroughfare not a damn parking lot.

Hey Mr. huge checkered flag decal on the rear window of your Chevy Cavalier, that thing doesn't qualify you for the Daytona 500, it only qualifies you as a loser stupid enough to put that idiotic sticker on your piece of crap car. So slow down, quit switching from lane-to-lane like you're going to get ahead. It's been ten miles and I still see your decal, moron. If you're trying to be Dale Earnhardt, the only part you're likely to achieve is being dead; good luck!

Lady, we all know you're driving that H2 because you're married to Thimble Dick. It's not our fault you got stuck with a guy who can't reach the back of the cabinet so stop taking it out on us. Eyes front. Rip the cell phone off your most extreme makeover before it becomes a Borg implant. If you don't like the traffic take it off road, your H2 can handle it, right?

Pops, what would the rest of us crazy, dissolute drivers do if you weren't sitting in the passing lane enforcing the speed limit? Why it would be anarchy, what with hundreds of drivers actually going somewhere without having at least one person on which to wish a quick trip to hell. Those of us driving twenty miles an hour below the limit because you're up ahead enforcing the limit will be happy to contact the police regarding your selfless service and say, yeah, I did it, someone needed to shoot the self-righteous old fart.

Ms. Pathfinder, thanks for not being able to not find a path into the passing lane when I wanted to merge from the on-ramp, even though we were the only two vehicles on the road for miles. Then turning your head away when you passed, pretending like your were looking at - what, clouds, because that was the only thing over there, twit - well, you sure had me fooled. Because I was thinking you were an inconsiderate zipper nit. Likewise, turning your head the opposite way when I passed and glared told me you were respecting the unspoken rule of road safety: always check the weather on both sides of the road before letting the air out of your head.

There's three lanes, little Ditzy Saturn, a right lane, a left lane, and a turn lane, - PICK ONE. Then, call your therapist. Obviously, your issues have gotten in the way of common sense.

That little lever on the steering column? Try it, it's fun; push it up and a little light on your dash blinks on the left side; push it down and a little light blinks on the right side! Try it, get some exercise, work off that pecan pie. Or better yet, walk it off, genius. Turn signals: not just for smart people.

Snow. It happens, especially this time of year; you know, "White Christmas" and all that. It's not a big deal, in fact, it's been happening for millions of years. So Florida Plates, don't freak, five miles an hour only keeps you out in it that much longer. And Mr. Stupid SUV, I'm positive your owner's manual doesn't say "In snow, drive twice as fast as normal!"

Aren't you lucky, finding a parking spot a mere 400 yards from the mall entrance? So while you're sitting there, with your blinker sounding like the Gulls in "Finding Nemo", waiting for the current occupant of the space to load in two tons of packages and strap six little kids into car seats, MOVE IT OVER. Hear the honking, screaming, and yelling? That's the rest of us letting you know that our search continues, it's not us celebrating your good fortune.

I know a lot of these drivers are on the road every day but never all in the same proximity; ah, the way the holidays brings us together.

Next year I'm moving way far into the mountains and making everyone presents out of pine cones.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still waters run ragged

I’m happy to report that the midget mafia is mad about Mythbusters. Their first taste of the show came last week with the Christmas myth episode (burning Christmas trees and building a Goldberg device) and they were instantly hooked. When I picked them up today, one of the first questions out of Zeke’s mouth was if we’d get to watch Mythbusters - that and if he could get a piece of bubble gum.

I love Mythbusters. In the midst of mayhem, things exploding for the most part, Mythbusters presents scientific explanations for their stunts along with some close approximation of the scientific method. This I can’t object to: blowed-up stuff in the service of rationalism. If my kids learn that science corrects itself, constantly trumping faith with each new twist and convolution, I’m elated to expose them thus. Put some lipstick on that pig and then throw its corpse into a brand new Corvette to see if the stench really makes $200 a steal, I say play it, someone will learn something.

Earn something.

Day Three Lexepro. Gritting my teeth and jittery, energetic, feeling myself reemerge as a shuffle becomes a stride. Tomorrow is a spinning top, twirling towards the edge and then the inevitable fall but now is nice; it holds promise. Nothing like last Tuesday where there were just two ways - out or up.

Soon, I can breathe. I know.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Long night it was, sitting and waiting

Here's the pivot, I think.

Sunday night, after I dropped the kids off with their mom. It had been the first time in months I'd enjoyed my full custodial schedule and those days and nights with them did wonders in improving my outlook. They give me purpose, filling my emptiness with love; my reason to go on, try love, thive, strive - to live.

Returning here on Sunday, house devoid of giggles and protests of not getting to be the princess in "the game", devoid of requests for juice or to take a place on my lap left me feeling especially empty. It was as if the momentum of the previous four days had come to a dead halt, alone in the murk and mire of my self, drowning. Sitting in my chair, staring blankly at my TV, paralyzed, anhedonic, smoking cigarette after cigarette as a way of shooing away thoughts I did not want to have, I allowed the dull glow of the glass to hypnotize me so I didn't have to stumble around alone in my head. For the past few months, the TV had become heroin for me.

Everything happens for a reason, I'm told. When an informercial came on instead of the show I was waiting for, I became irate, irritated that the universe had flopped another card out I didn't need; fold and wait for the next deal. I rose from my chair to change the channel when suddenly the face on the screen began talking to me. Not literally (I'm not completely crazy) but the spokesperson for the commercial was talking about so much that I have been experiencing. Standing there in front of the television, I watched, listened, heard my life as it is now being described with uncanny accuracy.

A knot in my stomach when I wake up. Loss of appetite. No energy with a desire to sleep the day away as if whatever sleep I'd had the night before was insufficient. A fear of starting things because the task seems insurmountable and doomed to failure. Obsessive thoughts of death and destruction to the point of agoraphobia. Feeling like a the walls are caving in, trapped by failure and despondancy. The more the face on the screen described the symptoms, the more I heard my own life described in detail.

The infomercial was for The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety and I went to the website to see more. On the site is a self-assessment tool that I filled out. The results said I was probably suffering from severe depression and that I probably needed more help than the program could offer and that I should consult a doctor or a therapist. To the credit of The Midwest Center, they were advocating that I not spend my money there at this time but seek professional help.

And so I did. I contacted the local mental health crisis line and they recommended that I go to the ER for an evaluation. Third time's a charm, the evaluator also said I was severely depressed and that I need to get on medication ASAP. They wanted to hold me on a 72-hour Psych hold but I was able to convince them that I was more interested in getting help than ending it all, that the suicidal ideation was just the logical conclusion to a negative thread that unwound itself at every turn. Contracting to a treatment plan and a promise to follow through on referrals, they eventually let me go.

And so today, I have been running around trying to fulfill the various aspects of that treatment plan. There's recommendations of Lexepro and weekly therapy. A promise to get out once a day and walk for at least 20 minutes, practicing attentiveness. Find a charity to involve myself and the kids in and volunteer. Write everyday (not here but as a "brain drain").

Here's the pivot, I think. I hope.

Check in, please, because I'm going to be blogging this from time to time as well as taking advantage of my daily "brain drain". I want to describe the feeling as well, this dark cloud that's been smothering me.

After I begin crawling back out of this hole, I may try The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety program, I think it's a sound Cognitive-Behavioral based program. I just can't afford the $70 a month price at the moment. As I said, here's the pivot. We'll see where it turns.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Enjoy the yams and shut up, already: my predictions

At some point in the afternoon, at least one of my children will have put black olives on his fingertips to wave that hand around, showing everyone what priority food looks like. Someone will attempt to get out of the age-dependent (bites = age) expectation of the green bean casserole by hiding their portion under a roll. Someone will mention the Broncos/Chiefs game a dozen times.

I'll eat a slice of pecan pie topped with whipped cream, drink coffee, determine what else needs to be done as far as the Christmas lights. Stand on the roof and wonder where the hell the broken bulb is that has sabatoged the next 25 feet. Wonder when I'll have time during the next week to fix the manger scene. Wonder why I worry about the state of a plastic creche, plastic Wise Men, plastic sheep, a plastic Baby Jesus.

Wonder if no Plastic Baby Jesus is better than no Jesus at all.

Harry hildays, ya'll

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OOOooooh baby, we gonna’ NUKE EM’!!!

Yes, my babies, it’s time to get the burners rumbling for the tumbling of massively booty-shaking music for your next Mixmania! masterpiece. In this round, you’re gonna’ drop a bomb in da’ house, an explosion of groove so exquisitely danceable that any butt not jiggling by your mad mix skills will be deemed DOA and therefore worthy of being kicked to the curb (and they can take the damn Zima home with their dead ass). This is your Ultimate Party Mix for the Ultimate Party Night, New Year’s Eve, the mix you’d play at your own party or the songs you’d wrestle the host of some lame-ass party to hear because God knows, Taylor Hicks deserves to be out on the curb along with the Zima guy.

My folder for my potential cuts is titled “NYEUKAM” (for “New Year’s Eve Ultimate Kick-Ass Mix”) or Nuke em’ and that’s how I think ya’ll ought to approach this – hit em’ with everything you got, dammit, be relentless and unforgiving, brutal; it is, after all, your damn party.

If you’re not familiar with the rules for playing, go HERE and the transpose these dates:

Dec. 15 – last day to sign up
Dec. 20 – email matches
Dec. 22 – mail it out

If you have any other questions, my email address is over to the left. If you’re not smart enough to figure any of this, well, you’re not smart enough to play. Sorry, but that’s how it goes; if I see ya’ bitchin’ about it in the comments, dumbass, expect to be ignored.

As for the rest of you – get your bombs ready; get new-kyu-ler on the dead asses, get radioactive on the asses set to boogie.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let there be peace on Earth and... yes... Yesssss.... YES!!!

As a confirmed vampire (my creative juices don't kick in until well past dusk), I'm not one to fear The Longest Night of the Year. Indeed, I can't count how many times I've bah-humbugged by the dawn's early light and the insipid sounds of twittering birdies. Fun's over, draw the shades, and egad, I have to be up in two hours. Sometimes the night can't go on long enough.

Not that I celebrate Winter's Soltice in any religious way (I'm a confirmed believer that this is all one huge chaotic game of chance) although this year I have a reason to make plans for December 22: a couple of peace activists in California are calling for all of us to get our jollies that day for the sake of world peace.

Check out the website for Global Orgasm (turn down your speakers to avoid the wretched new age music) and you'll see it's simple to do your part. For myself, I intend to do what I can at least a dozen times that night (probably alone but I am open to any offers). After all, it's a long night and I can't think of a better way to wile away a cold December evening than making noise for the sake of world peace.

I hope ya'll come!

Friday, November 17, 2006

More on me, moron me

A couple weeks ago, The Zero Boss provided some sound advice for bloggers who desire traffic - whatever that means. My guess is that if I'm going to toss off into the tubes of the internets, I might as well actually find readers, something beyond a few family members and the shit picklers in human resources. Jay makes some great points I think - considering Da Boss gets more hits in a minute than I get in a month, yeah, I oughta' listen to the man. Indeed, with the whiny tone of my last post, one would think I'd put Jay's advice to the service of being Teh Awesome Single Dad blog sensation slash studmuffin (all righteous motivation) or something. It's gotta work better than what's amounting to my role as toilet-paper stuck to the bottom of a shoe at next year's BlogHer will be confirmed as friends introduce me around to the blank looks that signal "Who?"

Serves me right: what Jay suggests seems to have slipped past me much in the same way his advice to buy IBM was pooh-poohed by me back in the 1940's. Anyway, the suggestions and my failures:
Write regularly. Daily is best, but at least two to three times a week is fine.

More shit, only shittier. I can do that.
Keep posts short and pithy at first.

Damn, I screwed this one from the start and I must have assumed Jay had a lisp with the "pithy" thing.
Be a regular reader of other blogs.

I really - REALLY - try to do this, I swear. Do this and wonder how much it benefits my own writing (or whatever you want to call what I do) and well...
Comment on other people’s blogs.

I am sooooo bad at this. I read other people's blogs and then I'm stuck with the dilemma of writing - what? - "well said, my friend, ha ha, been there a million times, good luck with that, um yes, hmmmmm."
Link to great posts by other bloggers. Add your own meaningful thoughts to the discussion. They’ll notice you linking to them, will read you, and may even link to you (or at least add you to their feed reader) in return.


What's left is far too tech-y for me to pass on to people more stupid than me which is... heh,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vultus est index animi

Something I’m coming to terms with in having this blog is that I feel I owe something to my handful of loyal readers. To be honest, I’ve never understood why anyone takes an interest in this slow-motion train wreck other than to play the Secret Santa mix game I organize. Yes, I write well enough (enough to achieve stardom as the wacky columnist of a backwater newspaper, probably) but that hardly seems the reason. Yet read I am and not just because they got here googling “upskirt pics” or “how to unscrew the lid of an Ocean Spay juice bottle and keep skin on your hand”. I get a lot of hits for the “Back Yardigans” on one of the first things I posted on Patriside and one or two of those readers actually still stick around (apparently the Back Yardigans are huge in Latin America). Something keeps a twisted few intrigued.

Maybe it’s the way it takes me forever to say something. As in, the reason I haven’t been posting much lately has to do issues not involving ropes, jello, or mounds of cocaine.

Obviously, the election (especially that last month when the media tried to turn it into a squeaker) had me busy and preoccupied. Fortunately for all of us, I wasn’t the only American who felt that things weren’t just swell with the nation. A week after the votes were counted, it’s apparent that the GOP continues its streak of fucking up, the inertia of screwing the pooch (and hot man-on-man sex) too much for the brakes. That crew has leapt the curb and is skidding across the lawn, straight for Junior’s bedroom.

More than that, though, has been the wretched past few weeks at work. I started writing this post last Friday but I was beat up, sore, my hands swollen and my knuckles sore, a bruised rib throbbing every time I took in a breath.

The thing I hate the most about my job is a kid so out of control that he needs to be restrained. For two months I had been lucky, the guys in my cabin were going along great, I had probably been involved in two restraints that whole time. Last week I was involved in a restraint every day, three on of those days. Sunday I was involved in six restraints (though to be fair to My Kids, I was being called to other cabins to help out). After shifts like those I’m drained, physically and emotionally; I can’t read, I can’t write, I can only turn on some tunes and decompress.

Then, get up and do it again, amen. Except, the low pay and time it takes from my kids has made my mornings/early afternoons before my shift a grind of cranking out cover letters and sending out resumes. And searching, oy the searching.

The least I can do is offer that explanation to you intrepid angels who keep checking me for an update along witha heartfelt thanks for being so faithful. I wish I could promise to be better about updating but that’s not happening, at least for a couple of weeks. For those of you who are waiting for the next mixmania! theme, I’ll try to get that posted by Friday but again, no promises.

Until this all works itself out, I hope you’ll keep checking with me to see if I’ve poked something up from the slot in my hidey-hole. I can promise this: whatever I shove out into the light of day won’t be something I shouldn’t have eaten. I wouldn't do that to you fine people.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moonbat dad does his part for the future of his children

My palms are sweaty and my jitters have gone from being a vague uneasy feeling to a Magic Fingers machine in a cheap motel room. My intuition in these matters fails me and so I get spun, dizzy, nauseous. Back in 2004 I was positive that Bush would go down in flames and ended up spending a week in catatonic depression. Not that I thought Kerry was a spectacular candidate (quite the contrary) but he was a damn sight better than the idiotic bully elected on that dark night two years ago.

As the bumper sticker says, if you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention. As I see it, tomorrow is mostly about my children and what kind of country they'll have when they are old enough to vote. You can see from my last post the concerns I have are too numerous to ignore.

Check those issues in that post and check your own conscience to see if you honestly think this country is headed in a positive direction, if your own children and grandchildren live with the same promise of America that you grew up with. Ask yourself if this war has made us any safer, if it's cost in dollars and lives has amounted to progress; ask yourself if the balanced budget this country had 6 years ago was better than the tab handed to our children (to the tune of almost 50 grand per citizen).

Even The American Conservative magazine says the GOP must go, that Bush and his rubber-stamp GOP majority has created a mess that will take years to clean up. Naturally, the editorial is hardly complimentary to Democrats but it is candid in its assessment of what wrecakage has resulted in the past few years.

Whatever happens tomorrow night is so far out of my control and all I can do is take some time to cast my vote. Not for my future but for the future of my children. It may be one of the most important gifts I can give them.

I hope you view your vote in the same way.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Swarm of the fuckup fairies

"Of flesh and bone;
And when through all the town there ran
The servants of Your enemy,
A woman and a man,"

- Yeats

MMMmmm, it must have been in the mid-70s this afternoon, a thrill in November. Nothing else to do but hang out with Zeke in the park, watch him throw sticks in a stream and sand in his hair. Hang and dry in the golden light of a year creeping away like it had pissed in the sink and had been busted.

Too nice outside for the Spongbob marathon, surfing updates of the laughable demise of the Right, conservative cocksucker porn by the hour, “We want you to vote against gay sex while we have some ourselves.” The slackjawed few wondering how far the jaw unhinges before turning toes in a pool of drool and heading back to replace the old rugged cross, broken on the lawn. Yee Haw; k-chunk, bappity bappity-bap bap bap motherfuckers, let’s get stupid, let’s get retarded.

It’s been awhile since I’ve dome political rant so I’ll let Tristero at Tbogg say it (say it sistah):
Which Just Goes To Show You

by tristero

...that the Bush administration is as incompetent at keeping documents secret that (many reasonable folks agree) should be kept classified as they are at everything else.

9/11: Incompetence.
Afghanistan: Incompetence.
Pre-Iraq intelligence: incompetence.
Post-Iraq intelligence: incompetence.
Post-Iraq reconstruction: incompetence.
Katrina: incompetence.
Science and health: incompetence.
Homeland security: incompetence.
Global warming: incompetence.
Diplomacy: incompetence.
Education: incompetence.
Torture and other human rights issues: incompetence.
Nuclear proliferation: incompetence.

What the hell are these people doing still in charge of the United States? What will make this nation catch on that these people are fucking hopeless? What?

Y'know sometimes I think that the only way this country would wake up is if some really high official was shown to be so stupid and inept he accidentally shot someone in the face!

Oh, wait...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

They weren't saying "Boo!" They were saying "Youuuu.... SUCK!!!"

The mood I’m in is strange and orange and ghostly blue, black-lights and jack-o-lanterns; Until I sort this all out, go amuse yourselves, World O' Crap on Halloween and Mamacita's favorite abusive shriekers Gary and Lisa Ruby. Have fun.

See? Wasn't that fun?

Now go visit these people:
~d (tilde)
UPDATE: Also two angels who sent me mixes just cuz'... TYVM luvs!!! :-X
Draw Circles
Punchbuggy Blues
Duble, Duble, Toil & Mumble
Soiled Dove Inn
Evil Mommy
I Hate Cows
Tell It To Me Slowly

to see if they mixed your disk. Then try a bit a reading. Go for the mix but stay for the ambiance.

My own mix recipient knows I’m the one who slapped together the future coaster he got. He read the postmark apparently, clever lad. I’m half inclined to not even post my embarrassing list (so there) but figure what the fuck, I have almost a full bottle of Nyquil to kill.

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Theme from The Exorcist)
Punchbuggy Blues has a chilling tale about his experiencing my disk for the first time. Graciously, he leaves out the part about the projectile vomiting.

Police – Every Breath You Take
Some people think stalkers are scary but I think they're great. Getting my tires slashed and having my cat ka-bobbed on a rake are almost as fun as the phonecalls at 4 AM, what with the screaching babble and threats of suicide. Let loose the monkeys.

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
If the cool 80's beat doesn't scare you, Cohen's mortician voice will. Oh yeah, and the lyrics.

David Bowie – Ashes to Ashes
Since I figured someone would include "Scary Monsters" on their mix, I opted for the scarier cut from that album. Scarier still is the thought of Bowie and Lou Reed hanging out together in Berlin back then.

Garbage – Queer
More scary monsters.

Bauhaus – Stigmata Martyr
I don't even know what this song is about but it sounds scary.

Ministry – Stigmata
So does this. See, I told you I half-assed this thing.

Throbbing Gristle – Hamburger Lady
This really is scary. Almost everything by Throbbing Gristle is horrifying. Or sublimely silly.

Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Certainly silly.

Rob Zombie – Living Dead Girl
Sillier still.

The Clovers – Love Potion #9
(the Sousa march theme for Monty Python)

Howlin’ Wolf – Goin’ Down Slow
Knowing you're dying and... wait. Don't we all know this? And hey, it sounds like he had some fun.

Portishead – Glory Box
Also sounds scary.

Massive Attack – Angel

Ok, two more shots of Nyquil and then, I'm going to bed.

Wall of Voodoo – Wall of Fire

The end of the song sounds like the aftermath of an attack by aliens. We've all been replaced by pods of slobbering goo. Which explains the election 2004.

June Carter & Johnny Cash – Jackson

Jackson sounds like a scary place. And I bet there's lots of pods there, too.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Miles Away

Boop a doop doop doop, doop doop doop, aw Christ, where'd I put the peanut butter?

Talking Heads – Swamp
It takes an incoherent cough medicine buzz to understand what this song is really about. Good thing I won't remember tomorrow.

Tom Waits – Filipino Box Spring Hog

This is the Halloween party I attended.

Ooooo K, children, now that you're all a-skeered, it's time for bed. Don't mind the scraping sound from behind the dresser.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Daddy says

Ever since my post on becoming acquainted with the daughter I knew of but never knew, I've been silent on how things have been unfolding. Chalk it up to my superstitious self: as Nicole and I have navigated uncertain waters, placid tropical sounds and some tempestuous passages, I've felt more comfortable keeping our relationship out of this tiny spotlight with the intention that I'd do well to spin my wheels and gain traction away from the prying eyes of the blogosphere. Several friends have asked through emails how things have been going and I've been friendly - and vague - in my replies. Despite those well-meaning concerns, some aspects of my life are best held outside the microscopic view I often present here.

Having said that and all things considered, everything is as it should be between my daughter and me. The distance thing (her in Florida, me here) has been an issue and I've restricted my role as "dad" accordingly. She is, after all, 16-going-on-17 and the standard issues of defiance and child becoming a woman are frankly, outside my purview and I am more a million miles away than some 2,000. At this point, the respect I give her matters more than the respect she holds for me.

Until recently, Nicole and her mom had been unconnected from the net. The few pix I have were the result of a friend who apparently had access. However, a few days back I got a call from Nicole's mom asking for my email address, my blog URL, etc., information I was happy to relinquish if only because it was another point of contact, another way to reveal myself to my daughter. Indeed, single-dad I am, I state on sites (OK Cupid and MySpace) that the best way to get to know me is to read this, here.

Which, um, seems counter-productive. At least in the dating scene. Reading through my archives I pretty much come across as an angry idiot. Which probably explains why I'm still single.

Excuse the digression. My point here is that my daughter also has her own MySpace page and has also started to blog (no link, alas). She's been emailing me her posts for reasons that should be obvious to all of you - it's certainly obvious to me. Her first two posts escaped mention from me, standard stabs at adolescent angst, heartfelt and well, banal, all the things we all suffered when we were that age, the confusion of having all the parts and no clue what to do with them. Equal parts appalled at the content and the atrocious grammar/spelling, I felt as I do when Zeke proudly presents me with pen scribbles on the back of the phone bill: "Oh, how wonderful" and "Why did you do that there?," appreciating the uninhibited creativity while wishing it was done better, somewhere else.

As I'm sure all of you are thinking about me at this moment.

There's something about being a dad and that intuition, that sense that there's more (or less) to our children's aspirations and waiting for our hopes to become manifest, their shining voice floating above the chatter of the playground, the moment where we smile and appreciate with complete authenticity and say, yes, this is excellent.

Nicole's third post was essentially a book report on her first viewing of American Beauty but oh, so much more. She told her readers what she felt as she allowed the movie to sweep her into that singular reality, how she interpreted the images, how there are other teenagers apprehending how fucked up so-called grown-ups can be and maybe being a fucked-up teenager isn't incongruent with how everything really is.

All my friends with teenagers tell me how embarrassment is an essential quality of their adolescent. I guess I remember some of that from my own old days but as a parent I can attest that the ineffable urge to embarass is inate. And although I never held Nicole when she was sticking My Little Pony stickers on her dresser and headboard and though I don't know her nearly as much as I'd like to as she starts slamming into adulthood, I can say unequivocally that daddy is very proud of his little girl.

I won't put her post here (if I had the URL you know I'd post it) and I'll only email you a copy of her post if she says it's OK though I'd say she'd be OK with me showing her work. Instead, my response to her post suffices at this point:
I am so happy you're sharing your writing with me. This post was especially good. Yes, the other posts showed your raw emotional side but this post revealed you actually thinking about something and reporting on it from your own perspective. Art is not us representing the world but representing how we PERCEIVE the world, the point of view we bring that actually adds to the world. Consider how empty and boring our world would be without paintings or music or poetry or literature. All of those things (and so much more) are memorable and timeless because they add to everything under the sun. They are unique and universal and, until the artist brought them forth, unknown to our existence of things we know.

I'm not going to critique your grammar or spelling. I'm too old to remember what it was like to be 16 or 17 (in many respects) so I'm reluctant to put a red pencil to what you've done. For the moment, I want you to write and write and write - which you seem to be doing. It's only through doing that we refine our craft.

I don't know if you've been reading my blog at all and if you have, I don't expect you to fully understand many of the things I say. I write with the advantage of someone whose had years and years of a college education and many more years of someone who fell in love with books from an early age.

If there's any other advice I can offer than "write - ALL THE TIME" it's to read, read like there's not enough time to read all you want to know. If someone enters an art-study program, they study all kinds of other artist's work; if one decides to be an actor, they study how others have made a character their own. Reading allows to see how an artist has taken their view of the world and presented that view as their own.

I am so proud of you when you strive to become something more than you are right now, to do well in school, to be a great role-model for your sisters, to look into the future and realize there is nothing that you can't do. Please hold onto that and remember that everything you do that makes you a deeper, more realized person are the things that make me happy. More importantly, those very same things are what will make you more happy. Anything else is immediate gratification and as such, empty calories.

I love you so very much,

She is my daughter, indeed: dark and dramatic, flambouyant, searching for love because we've both been rejected - in profound ways. She'd love it if I posted her pretty piece of writing. The more embarassing thing for daddy to do is paste his letter to her and as you see, that's been done.

I'm a dad. That's what I do.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Grace says

Are we really heading to BlogHer next summer? Grace says she’s intent on Shanghai-ing my ass off the road to Chicago and I say “Do me, baby.” Well, “Do me” in a totally platonic blogger kind of way, y’know. Y’know, not actually pulling over to spark up a bowl and rut like dosed toads in the weeds, you dirty-minded swine. Good God, I can’t leave you people alone a few days and you’re making up dirty stories about Grace and me. Shame on you (and please, send me your dirty libel at any email you have for me), get a goddamn life and, um, excuse me…


There are a lot of women I hope to meet at BlogHer (again, gutter-mind be gone!), Mamacita primary amongst the hoard, Vicki, et al – a veritable feast of intelligent, articulate, fascinating women. Women far too smart for me, so it’s not like I’ll be getting lucky at all. I’m positive the extent of my participation there will be limited to reluctant stud, all kinds of drunk and poster of crap like this. Y’know, total bullshit.

I intend on playing multiple hands of strip-poker and I plan on winning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I scream so that others may look into the dark, dusty corners beyond the Pepsi machine and desire that I might STFU.

Actually, the title is a play on my son's response to looking out the window and seeing everything obscured to a fat outline by a hefty snowfall. "No!" the inhibited, clipped, frozen nostril cadence of a Mini so Ton, the economy of air at the expense of syllables, dropping the 's' in favor of breathing or just being four.

Lots of no where I was at tonight. Sopping fat flakes of October thrown down immediately in a big whump of a storm. After I got home, I noticed my jeans were wet to mid-calf. I was lucky; my jeans could have been a lot more soaked.

The pass I drive down every night is a deep canyon cleaved by a small stream, deeply graded towards the negative, almost impenetrable by light even on nights with a full moon at its apex, all headlights and curves and tree trunks and hoping there’s no suicidal deer eager to stick its head through a windshield. Tonight the added attraction included mounds of wet snow thrown up by tires ahead all night, turned to ice.

Oh, but wait. Not only did I get mounds and pools of death but Colorado also offers this: twits who view inclement weather and dangerous conditions as a good reason to drive badly at twice the speed. Not only do these drivers find themselves in a spin directly in front of me but they ALSO give me a stupid look as you pass them by while they sit stuck in a ditch! In other worlds, you’d make $90k, $100k, $125 - $300k – to deal with this shit but in this special “real world” offer, it’s done for eight-fifty an hour. EIGHT FUCKING FIFTY AN HOUR.

Yet, my jeans were not that wet. Usually, the wreck in the ditch was some big dumbfuck in a big dumb truck, a smashed out grill grinning imbecilicaly into the chill, steam rising like a thought balloon saying “Doh!” Driving my beater down the pass with care (because the slightest ding would be catastrophic at eight fucking – yeah, you SEE), I passed some obscenely large pickups that had moments earlier gone barreling by like some drunken, rolling turd looking for a place to sink. Yee haw motherfucker, you may have had a good car but I’ll always have good karma. Laugh, laugh laugh, laugh, laugh laugh laugh laugh.

My grandmother used to say that laughter dried up tears but she was crazier than a shithouse rat. Not that I’d shed any tears for the chumps in the ditch and their crumpled lumps of tin on which they’d botched their credit. Nor had I laughed at their misfortune. Indeed, I hadn’t even considered that the morons stuck miserably in the snow probably made much more money than me. Any tee-hee from me was purely my sense that I’d soon be home in fresh, warm jeans and writing this wickedly, grill still intact, grinning like a chump at home while some dumbass stands freezing in the no, explaining to some state trooper how this, uh, came down.

Sitting here, looking out my window, I could say no. Nancy Reagan wanted me to. But, no, it’s been said, right at this window, by sweeter lips than mine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Excuse me, hmmm, hey, gimmee some room goddammit!!!

Normally I celebrate the birth of a baby, any baby (except those unfortunate celebrity mutants) is the source of joyous celebration, mylar helium balloons, cheesy floral arrangements, bouquets of bottles that will go unused, the unwanted relations milling around and pigging the relish tray. A new life is a wonderous addition to our experience, an equivocation of our own existential despair.

But I'm a little reluctant to break out the confetti for Baby 300 Million, the newborn who just pushed the US population into "where are we going to put all these people?" territory. I know the little bundle of joy had no choice in the matter and I hate to think of the legacy the kid will have to live with but I confess I resent the landmark the baby represents. And yes, if not her/him it would have been another child (and 300 Million is "just a number") but really, this "go forth and multiply" imperitive has gotten too far out of hand.

Your own gripes will be appreciated.
Mea culpa to the mixmania! participants. The angel Mamacita will be mailing out the matches tonight (I do love her so!) and the mail-by date will be adjusted accordingly.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wait is why we hate

Neil would look at the paperwork and then look at his computer screen. Then look at the paperwork and then look at his computer screen, scratch his head then look at his paperwork. Then look at his computer screen. Then look at his paperwork and maybe, get up and walk in a circle, look at his shoes, look at the fat ass of the Samoan manning the next booth, circle around like a lost moth but s - l - o - w, almost backwards. Then look at his paperwork.


All I needed was Motor Vehicle Record. The people consigned to the "renew your license" circle camped in the torture seats, starved and hollow-eyed, had a zombie stare saying "Movement... brains... eat...yummmmm."

Watching him work was like standing and waiting for my house to sink another inch into the ground; knowing it's going to happen and knowing I'd never see it happen yet having to be there to document something. Instead of doing something enriching like watching a penny jar grow into a decent weekend in Juarez.

When I was a kid, I'd capture tadpoles and put them in a big bowl out on the patio, just to watch them do tadpole things and turn into frogs. Some wouldn't make it and man, they'd stink up the entire patio. I never knew when they’d jump out and run away but for the longest time they’d just swim around and eat the flies I fed them.

The next time a Jehova’s Witness or Mormon pops up on your doorstep, you can scream at them and declare, truthfully, “I’ve been to hell and it stinks like dead tadpoles! It’s the DMV!!!”

He’d stop and try to count the change in his pockets with his fingertips and then sit back down to look at the paperwork then look at his computer screen. Then look at the paperwork, look at his computer screen, scratch his head then look at his paperwork again. Touch his computer screen and mumble, “Wait.”

“What’s that?”




Look at his paperwork and then look back at the screen.


Then pause,

“Your driver’s license says you’re ‘Wilford Smith’ but the computer says you’re ‘Wil, then something that looks Daffy Duck wearing a World War One German helmet and then Ford and then Smith.”


Touch the screen and then look like he was really concentrating. Then rise back from his screen, hold up his finger, look, really look, a flake of dandruff that had drifted off his head had stuck itself across a zero or an eff, then think about snow and how he liked to scoop it off of things and eat it, well, except the snow with dog poop in it, definitely not that snow, especially not the snow that makes it hard to drive, no that’s bad. Bad.

Then look at his paperwork and try to remember what the point was. Then look at his screen and wonder where all the snow went.

This is Colorado after all and the snow melts fast, what with all the sun and the dry air and the crazy drivers turning snow into red pellets of death. Yelling and honking and giving him the bird, then coming into the DMV to get their shit straight only for more yelling and honking and giving him the bird.

Then take one more look at the flake and carefully place the flake back on his head.

In my field, I have to provide criminal background checks and those can be had for six bucks on line, in a tenth of the time it takes to examine a flake of dandruff. “Murderer, yep. Rapist, uh hmmm, yep al queda, sure. Shoplifting, too.” All on line and quick as electrons can fly (depending on your internet connection, of course). Painless and requiring no patience. The last time you got caught speeding or that bogus ‘failure to use turn signal’ ticket is another matter; laying in a lake of fire and having your genitals flayed is apparently the only punishment for those sins.



Eventually the earth would shift, East Africa a little closer to the Indian Ocean, and Neil would call the next stone in line. The stones sang and they sounded like this:


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lighting up the lawn with a little salt and a lot of gasoline

The girls were plucking yellow leaves off my parent’s elm, gathering them like paper dolls in their arms, cradling the beloved treasures until they could get inside and press each leaf baby between sheets of wax-paper. Ignoring the leaves on the ground, the orphans, the girls stripped the lower branches of every last perfect specimen. They all end up there on the ground, I said, attempting to make a bigger point about The Circle of Life (terms they’d understand) and the inevitability of all things falling and carried away by the wind. Yet they went on, oblivious: harvest season.

We were there to put up Halloween decorations. A call came in a couple weeks back reminding me that the season (and the task) was at hand and I’d have to arrange my schedule to suit mom’s need to have the most garish house in the neighborhood. One of those calls that is expected yet dreaded; if you don’t pay those parking tickets we’re going to hunt you down and boot your tire, it’s your turn to bake several thousand cupcakes for the upcoming PTO extravaganza. See, it’s not as simple as tacking up a few day-glo monster faces and installing a blacklight bulb. I swear, my mom owns massive shares in Hallmark and I’m convinced that several Chinese factories have a temple devoted to her, incense, candles and plastic statues showing her arms outstretched, both hands brandishing a credit card.

After risking life and sciatica, several large boxes were pulled from their space in the garage and placed in the courtyard. Muttering to myself (if you’re going to get free labor from me, bygod, you’re going to get muttered curses), my muddled mathematical mind calculated lengths of extension cords, minimum labor, and what circuits could handle the load of glimmering crap without exploding like cherry bombs. As I pondered, fuses crackling (my own and the ones I imagined), the wee ones raided the boxes, playing with rubber skeletons and tangling up strands of little orange lights. They placed plastic spooks and ghouls around the lawn, not as ornaments but as new-found playmates. As I went about my task, imaginary friends relocated to a permanent spot, plugged into the web of power, the kids squealed with delight every time their toy took on a new aspect and glowed softly in the rarified light of an Indian Summer’s late afternoon.

Mom had White Chili (whatever THAT is; anyway, it was delicious) simmering on the stove and a secret beer for me as compensation for my efforts. I say “secret beer” because dad no longer drinks (not having the mind for it - he’s in AA - nor the body for it). He’s become like the elm tree out front, leaves plucked by children unaware that their own fate awaits like his, leaves piling up on the driveway, branches broken by an unforgiving wind. Facing that, his autumn, his sunset, he simmers in his own resentment and sorrow- me and not him, setting up Halloween, too weak and infirm to do it himself. He and I were never close and indeed, I was never his true son. He adopted me but never accepted me, black sheep that I am. Yet among the sons he sired, I am the one who comes by and hangs cheap plastic crap or fixes gutters or captures the garter snake coiled up in the basement.

Not having a yard (per se), I love working on my parent’s lawn, landscaping, putting in plants, showing my children how vegetables grow. I tore out wretched lava rock this past summer and replaced it with vinca minor. The way the vines have come in has convinced my parents to let me take out the rest of the rock, put in some slate blocks and grow more vinca.

The stuff that I put up comes down in November and I have a brief reprieve. Indeed, as I take down the Halloween stuff, I’ll set up the big inflatable turkey and that’s all I have to do until Thanksgiving and fuck.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

There's a place I go where they do this sort of thing:
They took me from my bed and threw me in a van. No one else was there except the cops and me. They didn't tell what it was about and in fact they didn't have mouths, they hardly had faces.

We rode for a long time and I really had to pee. They hadn't blindfolded me so not only could I see where we were going but I got a good look at the inside of the van. Stuffed in a crease of one of the rear quarter-panels was a red, plastic beer cup. I shuffled over to the cup on my knees, my ankles shackled and my arms cuffed behind my back. Kneeling before the cup, I motioned to the cops around me that, hey, fellas, one of you are going to have to help me here and take my Johnson out so I can, you know, fill this cup.

The faceless, dumb cops just kept looking ahead at the road. They looked like mannequins composed of black holes.

We stopped at an IHOP and some Mexican busboy helped me take care of business in a bathroom thick with the scent of urinal cakes.

When I left the bathroom, I saw the cops sitting at a table, staring at their food. After all, they had no mouths.

I've invited some people to go there and a few have replied but I'd like to see more.

So if you have recently received an odd invitation and don't know what it's about - it's not about cheap Cialis or Barnyard Girls.

And if you want to know more, you know how to email me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Excellent question.

String theory is all mathematics and unprovable propositions so why shoukd we place our faith in it?

For one, mathematics has served us well, with no animony. It describes the universe well, with no inconsistency.

Secondly, there doesn't seem to be a better alternate theory - none. Reconciling the macro (General Theory of Ralativity) and Quantum Physics necessitates strings, how gravity behaves between the two theories only makes sense with sting theory. No other theory suffices. Excuse the pun but strings tie up everything in a not-so-neat bunde but there you have it.

Yet you are who you are despite all your particles zipping off into infinite flux. Somehow, the you that you are maintains some stability, conisistent instanteation of the You that you are. We don't just wiggle around as two-dimensional objects on a screen but just who we are. And yet, everything that is you is a particle, wave, whatever, squiggling into the ether and other dimensions, slipfinny and elusive, the slippery and undefinable You zigging and zagging elsewheres and at the same time here. So what's to say you even exist?

Because there You are.

Nothing really explains that or even quantifies that; not You, your essence. Nothing can. Yes, we can explain how everything within You works but we're clueless as to that which makes you You.

Take comfort in that lack of knowledge.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Direct experience proves String Theory

So, correct me if I'm wrong. Quantum particles aren't just particles but waves and well, strings or something that meander off into God knows where but are continuous instantiations of their essence - dependent on the dimension they're expressed.

Is that so? Do you ever ask youself that? Do you wonder why mathamatics so elegantly describe the universe up close but the rules go ka-flooey when totality is held up to the light? Really, is that so?

Or are you worried about the next big dinosaur-killing comet? Trenchcoats in the restroom, wrenchcoats in the testroom, creepy street people and corporate clowns? The Next Big Thing that will turn us into fertilizer? Is the Brown People threatening our way of life or are they our kind of folk just eager for the opportunity to clean the swimming pool? Because by God ya gotta remembah tha hep, speshully on Xmas. Give em sumpin shiny shuh-gah, fascinates em for dais.

Anyway, we were discussing doubts or skepticism or sting theory of fears or something dumb and that's just why you come here, right?

A little fear and string theory on the grill - ksssssssss....

All my fear is about the unknown; some unknown threat leading to losing something I already have (i.e. my life, after some loon in a hockey mask hits me in the jugular with a hatchet) or not getting that which I think I deserve. And that's it. Think about it too and I doubt you'll come up with something outside that.

Really, I've thought about this for about 15 years and have yet to find that anything else composes my fear. Some junkie was on a nod in my bathroom and I wanted to understand his need for obliteration, his need to jam a spike in his veins and go, essentially, out.

"No fear," he mumbled, shook his head and smiled, "no fear."

"That's it?" I asked, "Just that - no fear?"

"That's who I am, man, the man won't let me be anything else."

It was one of those Zen stick in the head type moments the awakening that masters call that Zen stick in the head type moment. His, ours, mine, all our fear summed up in two simple concepts. I've continued to wonder, almost daily, whether there's anything outside not getting ours or losing what we already got.

As far as string theory, I have no clue, figure it out for yourself.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I didn't want to write this

Something of a "shhhh" that happens this time of year. Nine years ago yesterday - this.

Something of a "shhhh" because as much as I don't want to remember, I want even less to forget.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lucky numbers

Life is a crapshoot, really. I recall Aristotle saying something about one must be virtuous, industrious and lucky - all things I’m not - to truly succeed in life. No sweat. Aristotle never stood in my way on a mountain path nor siphoned gas out of my car. There’s very little in my life that I can’t count on but the few that I have are big and generous and all that really matter anyway.

Among the gems amidst the mud is the blessing that I could not have asked for a better Big Sister than Lilly. She glimmers, Sirius she says (her favorite star); serious yes but still shining, opulent, grabbing light and sending it back into the ether a ten-fold. Not too thrilled with The Hunter and his cut of cloth (killing animals) but OK with his dogs. All dogs are wolves after all and as wolves were once puppies, sister and brother were once babies. With that knowledge, Lilly knows she’s the Alpha. Having that power she could be The Supreme Bitch but she is so much The Loving Mother.

It was not always that way. When Marni came along I remember the first born attitude, “Nice. Another baby. So… when do we get rid of this and get an actual puppy?” After six months, she was still expecting to give that yawping, mewling thing to those who would have her because for God’s sake, no one would have that thing, she insisted. It’s noisy, it takes up way too much time and ewwww, the stink no matter how much lotion and powder you throw on the thing.

The Thing grew up and so did Lilly. Fortunately, The Thing worshiped Lilly (still does), making the transition almost seamless. Three-way worship beats two ways but I don’t think that's it, I really think her mommy urge is huge. She wants to save the world, take it under her wing so we can stop all the killing; empathetic, philosophical, enamored with the written word. Not my mother but the mother of all things good and beautiful and eternal – love, unconditionally given amidst the music of the spheres.

When Zeke came along she advised her little sister: “It’s not going away, trust me, get used to it.” And though little sister loathes little brother, Lilly thrives, blossoming. Among those many little gems is watching her become, her grace and beauty and her silly side, smart as hell but often times lazy, sometimes bossy but more often sweet, loving, compassionate to a fault. sometimes hurt that, yes, not everyone is that way.

Whatever she is becoming becomes more and more wonderful every day. A becoming beyond words and concepts, that which we can’t describe, eluding us and still driving us on our own inevitable drive to evolve.

It’s all her. My own guidance is whatever capacity of love I have for her to own and share, all that and the infinite thoughts of others, available on books and tape,
I don't like your fashion business mister
I don't like those drugs that keep you thin
I don't like what happened to my sister

So another little gem (they're small but I have plenty): her lack of concern lends to my own. A couple weeks ago I talked about Zeke's Buddha nature when I mentioned his birthday. Lilly has no less Buddha nature but where Zeke's is more rarified joy, hers is all love, sometimes tortured, becoming, the bodhisattva.

No Buddha nature with the second child. She was Blue but now she's Aqua Marie and flamboyant and wicked smart, scheming between the the two Buddhas who have two birthdays in the same September and get all those presents.

Little gems won throughout this crapshoot and now wise enough to realize I have too little and too much to risk on luck or Aristotle. Laugh as I remeber the last lucky roll when those last numbers hit, last friday, three and eight.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Another Box of Wonders and my wonder continues to confound

More love arrived at my door yesterday, a big box with several books and loads of snacks and even beads – a care package for My Kids. Books meticulously chosen for their craft and content, goodies for their taste as well, doo-dads for anarchic potential, lovingly packed and mailed for the simple grace of giving love.

The generosity of the friends I’ve made through this little blog is astounding. As I mentioned a couple posts ago, Vicki from Outside In sent a box full of goodies for my kids, again, an act of grace with power far beyond the things in the box and the act of sending it. It should go without saying that the package for My Kids came from the goddess Mamacita, she of infinite grace and goodness. She did not send it for this feint praise or to endear herself to me but for the simple fact that My Kids could use the power of the gift. Given and done not out of obligation or heavenly reward or as a tick on a line on a tax form but because the giving is more than enough reward and done without thought of that reward.

Yes, my kids need to feel that power, to experience it, to understand it. Some are well on their way – they’ve come to know it in the months they have been at the center, working through their “trust levels.” Others are experiencing it anew, the loving gestures of many hands and hearts as foreign to them as breakfast in Paris. For most of them, as they finish their program and either reintegrate back into families or the foster system or emancipate into the adult world, they will have had the lessons of compassion and giving to guide them; they will have learned the value of simple, loving acts that call all of us to something larger than ourselves. Hopefully, a few will step out of the cycle of destruction forever and will return what they have learned to mend some broken part within their spheres.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be touched and among My Kids are those who are lost, damaged to the point that no amount of love and attention and prayer will redeem them. Although no one throws up their hands with these kids and we certainly do not start with them thinking that they are “lost”, eventually we have to acknowledge that the welfare of the other kids is more important than continuing to spin our wheels with a child who cannot or will not move beyond the bondage of self to learn the virtue of loving without condition.

My latest problem child is oppositional and unlikable, offensive to his peers and even the staff working with him. His Zyprexa causes GI disturbance and he can reek with his gas but it’s also his sudden turns of paranoia, confused rage, irrational conclusions. With most of My Kids you get a sense of the child after a day but no so with this one. This one stays in the dark, snarling and snapping, shivering, consumed with fear and hunger.

Tonight he shared some of his “poetry” with me. Meandering monologues spelled out phonetically in the clipped dialect of eastern Nevada, fears presented in sparse clumps of words scattered across an improbable landscape. His imagery was all void and loss with the standard abstraction of salvation tacked on at the end in that characteristically adolescent way. But where other kids allow Salvation to swoop in Deus Ex Machina and serve as a ladder, his angels were just bits of undefined matter stirred up in a dust devil, spiraling and ascendant far outside the void.

It was like trying to understand an alien with only emotion and gestures giving a sense of what’s being said. Exaggerations as semiotic signposts, this is pain, this is frightened, this is not understanding or never understanding, was there ever really any understanding or even toy cars and rocket-ships and stories and a soft bed and a night-light? No sense that there was seven-years old once, not even that there was any child at all but only confusion, empty movements, expressions screaming for coherence and understanding.

His case history helped me sort through his words, to interpret the gist that there was only a cold, crimson taking away. The inevitable logic of his language, everything defined tautologically, circling in on three brief moments all occurring within an hour. Screaming and yelling and anger followed by gunshots, blood sprayed everywhere as daddy fell silent onto the carpet; screaming and crying and confusion, soaked from holding the unspeaking head, wishing; the police arriving and the taking away.

In his void, the only lights are flashes from those three moments, bang, bang, bang, followed by shadows, menacing and indecipherable. To flee the shadows is to forsake the lights, to forsake the lights to flee back into the shadows. Nothing makes sense except the inescapable logic of staying there and staying scared forever.

He had an issue with his roommates, threatened them, his twisted logic leading him to threats such that we decided it was best he was moved out of his room to sleep in the common area. Yes, his roommates had provoked him, teased him, pushed him to the threshold of his mental illness to the point he’d react – teenage boys do that. Especially boys with Conduct Disorder, they’ll light a firecracker anytime, anywhere just to see it explode but mostly to see how it pisses off the most people possible. The Zyprexa farts are unbearable and so I can see why the roommates conspired to set sparks flying.

My Kid admitted his part, confessed that yes, he said he’d kill him and his family, with the same pencil. For his part, I think he was glad to be away from them and just wanted some peace. Zyprexa also makes one very sleepy.

I watched him as he curled himself up on the couch, still and serene, safe. His blanket was twisted up around him as he pulled at it in his sleep. Suddenly he was alive to me, real, not shrouded by his fear. Just a boy sleeping, his energy spent.

Among all the boys, he’ll be the one most dismissive of Mamacita’s gifts, the one with the most sense of entitlement, and the one most likely to be cheated out of things by the other boys. Among all the boys, he’s the one who would benefit the most from the power of that gift. If he has any chance of escaping the void it is by taking hold of the spirit of that gift and allowing it to carry him to the light. However (and I hope I’m wrong), I don’t think any power or spirit will save him from his endless terror.

Not all is lost. Mamacita, you touched eleven other boys and that power and spirit will touch them in a way that will continue them on their path to being loving adults, big hearts entering into a world where heart is diminishing faster than oil reserves. The love and goodness shared by Mamacita will expand exponentially in those hearts, a gift given in infinite kindness to be manifest in infinite results. As usual, Mamacita, your love is felt far beyond the horizon.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The mullahs told me it was time for a new mixmania! and so I made a bomb out of several tuna fish cans and lighter fluid

So what songs scare you?

Really scare you. Sets you to shuddering under your blankets or screaming into the night. I know that's sloppy criteria - Hanson sends me screaming into the night - so make of it what you will.

Think of this as the disk you'll play at your Halloween party, whether you want to keep them drinking and dancing or whether you want to answer the door all night and hand out candy. Or both. Or whether you're putting this mix on three glasses after you heard someone spiked the punch with acid.

The rules are simple: sign up, make the mix, send it to the person you're matched with. Likewise, someone will get your address and you won't know it's them when you get your disk. It's up to you and the RICC (or RIIC or reisen or RICO or whatever) to figure out the rest. I'm tired of posting up pointless rules that no one follows. If someone flakes and doesn't give you a disk, speak up, you'll get something, not just an apology.

If you're intention to play is reflected in the comments but you haven't emailed me, you won't play; there's too much work in this thing for me to chase down your information. If you can't figure out how to email me - geez, I don't know what to tell ya'. However, if you want to play, you have until October 10 to let me know. I'll email you your match on October 15 and you'll mail your mix on October 20. Everyone will post their list October 31.

BTW, as a reader pointed out, I've yet to post the links for the people who mixed 9/11 disks. Here it is now. You'll see some fine lists and excellent essays on what that day meant. You'll also see some folks never bothered to mix a disk or post a list (duh) and you have my permission to give those schmucks a passel of shit.

The wonderful Mamacita
Waltzing Mathilda
I Hate Cows
If you can't say something nice...
Punchbuggy Blues
Soiled Dove Inn
The Daily Bitch (oh, so sweet!)
The Ice Palace
The Journey
Evil Mommy
Got Cow?
If it's not one thing, it's your mother
Life in the sticks with all boys
Duble, duble, toil and mumble
Draw Circles
No fish, no nuts
Sterfish's Place

A few notes - I don't know what's up with Avrowife's site; when I click there I get some bible study site. (Update: link fixed - thanks, Ster!)

Special thanks to my goddess mamacita, the uber-gorgeous ~d (tilde) and my good friend Sterfish for sending me copies of their mixes (Sterfish also sent me copies of several other excellent disks - thanks man!). Generous friends like ya'll make the headaches of mixmania! worth it.

OK, get to emailing and mixing. Maybe I'll kick out a real post one of these days.

UPDATE: I dumped MyBlogLog because it was making my blog take forever to load. I don't know if it's an issue with just Blogger (I noticed other Blogspot blogs using MyBlogLog were also taking a long time to load) and although it was a nifty tool, it wasn't worth making my blog take all day to come up in a browser. I hope they fix their issue but I'm done with them.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Box of Wonders brightens my otherwise dismal weekend (revised)

I had - HAD - a very sweet post about how well-behaved my kids were while I was sick all weekend and how a box sent by Vicki from Outside In brought such a bright spot to us as we all huddled in our hovel with daddy sucked into the couch with his crud. Ah, it was a sweet post.

and now it's gone, dispersed into the ether, a non-post, nothing I said preserved for posterity. Firefox overwhelmed by fucking Google and all the damned loose ends they can't seem to tie up. Because if anything is going to crash my browser, it's either Blogger or goddamned Gmail and all the happy horseshit they're throwing into it in their race to compete with Microsoft.

So instead of getting a sweet post about the munchkins and Vicki, you get me screaming at Google, "Get your shit together, gnat brains. Quit coding shit that crashes my browser!"

Guess I'm kicking myself as well because I grown accustomed to how well the gang at Google has managed to replicate the Monty Python "Upper Class Twit of the Year" sketch. In this day and age of Google's talent for fucking up a bowl of cereal, I've taken to composing my blogs in Word, having no faith in the Blogger template's ability to actually publish what I've written. However, hopped up on cold meds and half-assed silly with the buzz, I decided I'd give Blogger the definite of the doubt.

And it screwed me. Holy Christ on a Wheat Thin, set your expectations low with the lot at Google because they're going to stir up a big steaming pot of fuckup and spill it all over the carpet. Shitheads.

So thank you, Vicky. I wish this was a sweeter post but it pisses me off when a thousand some words go traipsing off into Nowhereland.

And fuck you, Google, fuck you very much.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vanity of the Carnivals Friday for the severely retarded

I had a pic of a kitty in a chimp suit but I think I deleted it. Either that or I downloaded it into my porn file and, well, I never look in that thing.

Since Tuesday night I've been battling a virus that dealt out body aches, fever, congestion, and a desire to die. I wanted to post (especially considering I spaced posting mixmania! links) but preferred to groan and roll around in my own sweat. Oh wait, that's a video from my porn folder.

So let me catch you up:

Tuesday I meant to blog on the fact that the Back Yardigans bring more traffic to my blog than any other random search. The damn Back Yardigans - God love em'. Random search result posts are pretty lame though, so good thing I was sick and dying.

Wednesday I was going to bitch about airline nuts ("What's up with that?") or something, I was hallucinating so I'm not sure if the blue bats circling my bed did not eat every morsel of my brain. Some of you who read me will ask, "You mean there was something for the bats?" and I'll ban you, bygodallmighty, I'll make sure your snot ain't shook on my grass again.

High on cold meds, I shook my socks at the neigbors, shattered the walls with Hall & Oates blasted, shaved my Hoo-hah.

Thursday - is that today? no? it's Friday? shit - I was going post another 100 things about me but this time only include those things I've done while wearing a dress.

Today I met Cam fron Trusty Getto and I must say, the young man is impressive. He's articulate, smart, and the lady's love him. No matter where we went (and we were in the finest clubs in the Springs, drinking madly), Cam was the center of attention, swamped with babes. Getting his castoffs was the high point of my afternoon.

Seriously, I had a great time and as we parted I commented, "We need to get together again when we can get seriously trashed." It went that well. Like sitting down with an old buddy and everything picks up from where it left off. It was hard to let him go.

OK, so what do I win?
UPDATE: Cam posted his thoughts on his visit and shamelessly horked my attempt at teh funny. Unfortunately for him, he also posted a pic of me and that's sure to send folks screaming away before reading his obvious libels against me - ha ha!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A screaming comes across the sky

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just dreaming, a recurring nightmare with planes flying into buildings, people jumping hand in hand to certain death, the WTC erased from a skyline that had become as much a part of my consciousness as Mr. Peanut or Tony the Tiger. Like a Ketamine trip where mental constructs swirl around the rim of a black hole's event horizon, skating precariously between obliteration and infinity, sucked in and shot into another dimension as streaming sub-atomic confetti. Denial still simmering beneath the surface, distrorting the placid face of what was and is, them there that what, a tick from the bottom that didn't just destroy two towers but threw a nation into utter chaos.

Then I realize that if it was all just a dream, my two youngest kids would also be chimera and who the hell else would have made this mess in my house?

All us kids and our house a mess. Bloated corpses of poor people drifting along in fetid water, the Constitution in shreds, chickenshit pettiness pitching us against ourselves. Our house at war with each other and against another house.

Instead of just going after a few bullies we decided to kick in the doors of some house somewhere down the road, tear up shit and kill people. Didn't matter that not only were the bullies never there but were never even welcomed there. But well, the people in that house were brown-skinned like the bullies and they spoke the same gibberish and even believed in the same goofy God. So they were asking for it, we reasoned.

Later, standing amidst splintered furniture and shattered walls, bloodied clubs in hands, we strutted around the damage rationalizing, boasting, blathering, brushing away canardy and craven justification with lies, hubris, and the belief that if we fuck something up really bad that the bullies will leave us alone. Done this, set fire to the lawn and punched out the windows, we never figured the neighbors might, you know, disapprove or anything about us destroying a house on their block just because we thought it would make us feel big and bad.

My "Chickens have come to roost," comment almost led to blows with a neighbor pissed that I'd dare to say that then, there, as if I'd the temerity to remind someone what an essential asshole the gussyed-up stiff was decaying in the coffin. Fortunately, no punches were thrown because history was on my side, oppression and a habit for over-looking a lack of democracy for the sake of oil, evident to even the most unctuous Republicans amongst us. At some point facts overcome the spin and the asshat has to lay back, defeated, imploded, admitting that yes, you have me there.

Hopefully you'll see that these mixes have me there, questioning and angry at the lack of answers. This is the first time I haven't given a play-by-play on the cuts I chose. You'll notice the mixes are scattered, emotionally and thematically. Several cuts are just what I was listening to that day. There were times during that day (and the following weeks) that I had to turn off the chatter on the news and play some music.

Working backasswards, opposite of the way the disks are meant to be played. Just because this is an anniversary of the topsy-turvy; so many lives changed forever, so many lives lost then and since then, so much mindless destruction that day and continuing to this day (and unfortunately, beyond), as I've diagnosed - national PTSD. So scattered we are, aren't we?

Disk 3 - "9/11/06"

Constructed from parts of greater mixes, this disk describes how confused and conflicted I still am, five years later. There's some part of me that still wants to see pictures of Osama bin Laden, his sorry carcass stripped and strapped to a board, jumper cables clamped on his nuts, attached to a truck battery. That so many have been stripped and strapped to a board, with God on our side, troubles me greatly. This disk is all over the place, a jumble.

Still confused but certain the crew in charge five years ago has done nothing but stumble around on fuckups like ice cubes spilled on a parquet floor (BTW - where's Osama, George?).

There's optimism and anxiety on the disk, hippie-esque blissful wishing and barely controlled rage, talking bout' the barely believable and the banal

  1. Dandy Warhols - Pills
  2. AC/DC - Who Made Who?
  3. ELO - Mr. Blue Sky
  4. Lee Dorsey - Working in a Coalmine
  5. Da Pack - Vans
  6. Steely Dan - Bodhisattva
  7. Elvis Costello - (What's so Funny Bout')Peace, Love, & Understanding
  8. Ziggy Marley - Brothers & Sisters
  9. Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
  10. Smash Mouth - Why Can't We Be Friends?
  11. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
  12. The Vandals - Urban Struggle
  13. Dead Kennedys - Police Truck
  14. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
  15. John Prine - Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
  16. Mouse on Mars - Yippie
  17. Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc.
  18. Otis Redding - Coffee & Cigarettes
  19. Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Compared to What?
  20. Grieg - Morning

Disk 2 - "9/11/01: PM"

Points to those who know the role of Nimrod (cuz God knows, people come here to collect points); I saw it coming, frankly, clear as a gigantic slab of Prime Rib rolling down Boulder Street, war, Afghanistan first but we'd be in Iraq very soon, Junior was itching for revenge. And good golly gosh, we find out a few days ago that Saddam had zilch to do with 9/11, Osama, or much else aside from his plan to make nuclear weapons out of a few sticks, mud, and aluminum tubes suited to making righteous bongs. As soon as they jailed Tommy Chong, Saddam had to be next.

Autumn was creeping up on us, what was nine-thirty a month ago was seven-thirty then, night in the wings ready to leap out and say, "Hah, it only gets darker." There we were, standing together as Americans, drinking beer and smoking dope, wondering what our country would do, wondering how, as country, we'd respond to the attack we'd just experienced. As I said, my impolitic comment almost caused a fist fight but only because I spelled out all the facts so logically, so tight, so succintly.

The idiot in charge swore that day would bring us together and it did, for a few days. My PM is a hangover from the AM, the reason 2004 was a WTF moment, why we put this shithead back in office. Even my most Republican friends admit "If I'd thought this dumbacc would be back in office, I'd have never pulled the lever."

If you pulled the lever, you get what you got.

  1. Dixie Chicks - Sin Wagon
  2. Pixies - Nimrod's Son
  3. XTC - No Thugs in Our House
  4. The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry
  5. Alicia Keyes - Fallin'
  6. Tanita Tikarim - Twist in My Sobriety
  7. War - The World is a Ghetto
  8. Soul Coughing - Unmarked Helicopters
  9. Front 242 - Headhunters V 2.0
  10. The Cure - Killing an Arab
  11. Thomas Newman - Six Feet Under Title Theme
  12. Metallica - Seek & Destroy
  13. The Ramones - Gimmee Gimmee Shock Treatment
  14. The Minutemen - Little Man With A Gun in His Hand
  15. Brian Eno - Driving Me Backwards
  16. Camper Van Beethoven - Might Makes Right
  17. Jay-Z - H to the Izzo
  18. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
  19. James Brown - Cold Sweat (Pt.s I & II)
  20. Radiohead - Go to Sleep

Go to sleep, hope it's all a nightmare, soaked in a cold sweat tossing and turning wondering if the papers trickling through the skyline weren't just orogami doves, that gray people running for their lives from complete collapse suddenly wondered if a Starbucks wasn't wuch a bad place to be.

So goes our tenuous hold on life.

Disk 1 - "9/11/01: AM"
I don't remember thinking about what a beautiful day it was at first. Just had to get to work and chew up shit to spit out and let someone else eat the results. One of those pit in the stomach everyday on the drive to work jobs, the kind of job where you lay awake and wonder what you'd need to do to murder people and get away with it. Coding a database for a call center amongst a born-again crew, proselyetized every damn day, preached at, shut out of the basic sense of what was what because I wasn't buying issues of a comic book called Jay-zuss-ah. I'd do the work and see I'd never get anywhere within the crew as long as I wasn't with them that breathed deep and held hands in a circle, glad the King had blessed the Company and Free Enterprise and other Godly endevours, all that and the Free gour,et coffee in the break room. Every goddman day. "You want to pray?" they'd ask and "No," I'd say, "But can you bring me some of that Blessed coffee."

The call center was still dark when the first report came in; I had just loaded in a bucket of New York calls to the telemarketers. Honestly, I took the first plane as a fluke, figured it was some weird-ass shit, a two-headed alligator from Arkansas or laundry spontaneously catching fire in St. Paul. I hoped, I thought, damn that was bed news but um, I had a job to do. Frantically, I tried to pull northeastern area codes from other data buckets so I could pull what I'd loaded previously but the prayer group vetoed me - "It's God punishing those New York inta-leckshulls," my boss told me.

About two-point-five seconds later Holy Shit, the second tower was hit. A hundred eyes that had been rolling moments before were suddenly stolen forward, staring with the realization that it wasn't just Yahweh slinging some stupid random act of veangance but violence, brutal, bestial. Still, I could see tumblers turning, minds riveted to abstractions, columns, balance sheets. Sociopaths with being Born Again as a rationalization for being slimy shit pools. One genius suggested that we just take mortheastern area codes "to not offend those prospects" because, after all, we still had a half hour before Central standard could be called.

"We're under attack you fucktard," exasperated I was, breathless by the utter vulgarity. "If anyone's offended it's because you caught them on their way to hide their ass in the basement."

I stepped outside for a smoke and was struck by the silence. NORAD nearby but - nothing scrambling, no jets crisscossing the sky to protect us from planes used as missles - hell, it was eerie. This is a place where a screaming across the sky registers as much interest as a finch.

Graveyard silence everywhere I went. Even as I stood in front of the TV screen and watched it happen, again and again, plane, tower, people jumping, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania, again and again. I remember picking up my daughters and holding them tight but in those memories there is no sound to those images. Just the life I held and the death I watched, again and again.

  1. Grieg - Morning
  2. Pink Floyd - In the Flesh (Pt. II)/Run Like Hell
  3. The Beatles - Good Day, Sunshine
  4. Donovan - Sunshine Superman
  5. Eve - Blow Ya' Mind
  6. The Doors - The End
  7. Velvet Underground - The Black Angel's Death Song
  8. Stabbing Westward - I Don't Believe
  9. Black Sabbath - War Pigs
  10. Wilco - Ashes of American Flags
  11. Siouxsie & the Banshees - Cities in Dust
  12. Sisters of Mercy - Black Planet
  13. Dave Matthews Band - The Space Between
  14. Bob Dylan - Masters of War
  15. Tom Waits - Dust in the Ground

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My bittersweet day away from my little man

Two days ago he was fighting to crawl up on my lap and snuggle while the girls were fighting over the remote. He was having none of the conflict raging before us preferring to sit in daddy's lap where the love was, the warmth, the strong arms to hold him.

He's my little Buddha. Yes, he even looks like the Laughing Buddha, the little pudge, arms in the air with the expression of utmost joy and a smile as wide and authentic as the ocean but it's not just the resemblance that makes him my Buddha. From the moment he wakes up until the time he drops immediately to sleep (with that sleep that we can only dream of), he is the happiest child I have ever seen. Blessed with happiness in abundance and an enthusiasm for the here and now, his ebulliance is breath-taking. If I could bottle his spirit to sprinkle on the wounded souls I work with, I'd be the richest therapist in the world.

Today he turned four, a big boy now. It broke my heart that I couldn't be there but it's X's day and I make it a rule not to infringe on her time. Besides, I had My Kids to attend to this evening so there was just no way I could spend my time the way I wanted. All I could do was phone it in and assure myself that we'd have our time together later.

Four years ago I didn't have to phone it in and I remember every blessed moment, him screaming and squealing as they lifted him from the womb, cutting the umbilicle cord, the interminable wait outside the nursery before I was allowed in, caressing my angel's cheek as another boy in the next room howled through a circumcision (assuring my boy he would not have to endure that unimaginable pain). What endures from then was firmly on my mind today, tonight and I'm not sure if I was all there for My Kids as I kept thinking about my little man turning four today. Phoning it in, yes, much like this post.

My little man's milestone demanded that I write a little something to mark this day. The little red fire engine I bought for him will probably end up being sold in a garage sale some day but someday, these words will remain. This is my real gift to him, to say, "I love you, you are the world to me, you are my teacher, my Buddha."

Friday, September 08, 2006

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Bored and bone-achingly exhausted last night, I happened to catch The Princess Bride on Bravo. No huge accomplishment that (since it’s shown on cable almost in perpetuity) but it had been at least 15 years since I’d watched it. Ample entertainment for someone in my slack-jawed semi-comatose state. Much of the comedy was still fresh (unlike Shrek with which I found myself making unavoidable comparisons), laugh-out-loud funny, and although I barely had the energy to lift a beer to my lips, I saw the movie through to the end. A shame it was on too late for the kids; I need to hit the DVD sell-or-trade stores to see if I can get a copy.

My impression of the film years ago was that it was clever and well done but other than that, I didn’t give it much thought, there was no reason to analyze it or pick it apart then.

A decade and some change later the movie still possessed its initial charm but I was oddly troubled – not it but with myself. Years ago the central theme (that True Love conquers all) was quaint, a lark, something that had no place in my chrome-studded coke spoon view of our trash bin universe. Anyone who believed in True Love was deluded, worthy of my scruffy assed scoff and as far as I was concerned, welcome to their fairy tales, God love em’. Alone, in the dim light of the television and years of experience behind me, I wondered if I had been a little too self-assured and cynical all those years ago. Couldn’t help but wonder considering I was watching the flick all by my lonesome, nothing but a half-empty, half-warm Fat Tire to hold onto.

A couple of years ago I dated a woman who lived in Denver (about 90 minutes through rush hour traffic from here, as the hellbat flies), sexy, fun, very smart. Sometimes I’d spend a few days at a time up there, drink her wine and eat flan while she was at work, hang out and talk about everything when she got home. Screw like crazed weasels. Eat, drink, see a movie, watch Jon Stewart. Drink more, talk more, screw more, if it was the weekend.

However, if she had to work we’d retire early, settle into bed and read, she with her book and me with mine, each silently back in our own worlds but still intertwined. Sometimes the inspired, “Oh you have to hear this,” or “Holy shit, she can write, listen,” but otherwise entranced elsewhere. Then turning off the light and screwing some more, Monkey friggin’ “Sorry-officer-we’re-just-having-fun” sex.

At the end of the weekend, though, all we had was that, those moments. And she’d been clear about that, that that’s all she wanted (an acre of that’s, obviously). I knew what I was signing on for and honestly, that was fine with me. I was just a little over a year having split up with X and I wasn’t ready to tumble into something else serious. The point is, the experience gave me a glimpse of something, beyond that.

That didn’t resemble anything like the True Love of The Princess Bride but it had some of the essential components: a shared sense of fun, mutual fascination, passion, passion, passion. Everything but shared goals and chemistry.

Ahhhh, chemistry. The free variable, the radical number that just keeps growing larger with each minute, the ineffable last thing that won’t let any of the other parts work if that one grain of substance is missing. Sitting there in the dark, my beer still not finished, I conceived that chemistry as one little spring on which everything else hinged, a small and seemingly insignificant part that lost, sends everything else into an inevitable tailspin.

As the movie ended and the lights dimmed then came back up to guide me out, I stood in the cold night air, smoking, thinking,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,

Looking to see if that little spring was on the floor somewhere but knowing the vacuum had picked it up long ago.
Special thanks to my mixmania! mixer for a sad and scary mix, many songs I don’t know but the inclusion of Robert Johnson in the midst of every incredible song inspired me in ways that you just read.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

To those who Dwell in Realms of day

We came back in the Misty Mountains last night, chilled to the bone as the sky sagged down on us like a drenched wash rag. The four of us huddled together in this hovel guarded against the cold, the girls boppin’ in their room to Malcom McClaren’s “Buffalo Girls” while the boy went down hard, unhappy, lacking a lollipop for refusing to touch his spaghetti. He snuggled under an electric blanket and his cries ended about ten seconds later. It was good to be home.

Without waving the white hankie of the why’s and wherefores, I took another day with my kids, called off of work. Although I had one down with a stomach bug and the other two camped out for marathon Disney, our 2nd of September socked in with a too-early autumnal gloom, we made much of our one more day, a day more than had been planned. We cuddled and made grilled cheese sandwiches, drank hot coco, picked which characters we would be from the DVD we were watching and acted out our own plot lines (most of which involved me as the villain, chasing heroes around the living room until they were caught and tickled and given merciless belly blows). The sad sick one arose to sip Seven-up and eat soda crackers a few times but most of her day was spent sleeping off her misery. She missed out on the unpopular spaghetti.

Coming back to Manitou was a function of sheer necessity; already a day late on getting the mixmania! matches mailed out, I was also without my “things”, you know, you can lounge around at the finest resort in the world but eventually, without the availability of your “things” you get fidgety and all the mimosas and massages lose their magic. I was not the only one missing the comfort of the mundane; the kids were also clamoring for what passes as normalcy in our little shack in the mountains. A night in our own beds, with out “things” close at hand, was a good segue to take us to the ritual of goodbye as I drove them to their moms and started my work week.

At least the segue was good for me. After I dropped my kids off from the mountains, I drove to see “My Kids” in the mountains. When I left My Kids Wednesday night, it occurred to me that they were becoming My Kids and as terrible as my wages are for working at the facility that employs me, it was becoming impossible for me to think of leaving My Kids. Promises are made and now I’m obligated to fulfill my oath, to prove my fealty.

One of my kids had no snacks last week and I had to refuse him the generosity of a brother cabin-mate who had snacks and wished to share. It is against the rules for My Kids to share their snacks and as unfair as that sounds, I enforce the rules – the love I give to My Kids includes providing them with a structure that they have not had in their lives. However, as consolation for following the letter of the law, I promised him that something would be in his snack box the next night.

It wasn’t much – it was my last 5 bucks. Some cookies and pudding cups and a energy bars, a few packages of ramen noodles, what I could scrounge from my surplus at home and as much as I could get for my pocket of change from the sales bin at Safeway. As I said, it wasn’t much and I was a little ashamed that it was all I could bring to him.

What I’d forgotten was the lesson my own kids have taught me, that it’s not what I give but just that I give. My Kid hugged me as he thanked me, “I’m not used to someone actually doing for me what they say they’re going to do,” he said, quietly, almost imperceptibly, “I’m not used to anyone actually caring.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied, almost silent, hugging him back and then turning quickly as he left, afraid I would collapse into a sobbing, shuddering heap of grief. Breathing deep, I collected myself, shook of the sting of the previous moment so I could turn to watch the rest of My Kids, “Watch your language. No horseplay. You need to get in the shower, now.” Enforcing the rules, paying attention, providing guidance - being a dad. The more I work with My Kids the more I realize that I am not so much a therapist or counselor but I’m actually being paid to yes, be a father. That’s what threw me. I hadn’t actually forgotten the lesson my own children taught me but I wasn’t aware until that hug and those few words that my love and concern (and my commitment to discipline) applied as much to My Kids as it does to my kids. Maybe even more, now that I think about it. Because my kids have always known that, all that I give them where tragically, My Kids are coming to know that for the first time in their lives.

It’s not what I give but just that I give. Even if it’s nothing material but only my attention, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant the achievement, it amounts to more than anything I could ever measure.

“Daddy look, I can hold myself up with one arm,” balancing on the wicker chest, a leg tucked up and under.

Turning from the computer screen, whatever it is I’m reading not a tenth as important as this little moment I tell him, “You’re the strongest 3-year old boy I know”.

“And I can pick up heavy chairs… and I can pick up this heavy book,” lifting the unabridged Complete Edgar Allan Poe from my bookshelf.

“There are some scary stories in that book,” I warn him, “Are you sure you want to lift a big heavy book full of scary stories?”

“Did you read dem?”

“Yes, I’ve read them all.”

He looks at the book, ponders what must be inside, and carefully places the book back on the shelf. “One day I’ll read them all, too. When I’m big and strong like you. And I won’t be afraid then because I’ll be brave like you.”

It’s puzzling to me how this simple equation escaped the tiny minds of the parents of My Kid: that it’s not what you give but just that you give. What you get in return is just as immeasurable and so much more immense. Because you matter, matter in a way that will remain long after all the diamonds in the world have turned to dust.

Back in Manitou amongst our “things” it became evident that it was not what we had but what we shared. If we’d returned to a burnt-out shell of a home, we would have lost all our “things” but nothing can take away the thing that matters the most. When I drove up the pass to be with My Kids again, I realized that I brought that thing with me. Not something measured in pudding cups but in the value of a promise kept, the value of recognizing the strength required to pick up a thick, scary book. That thing that keeps us warm and safe on a cold, damp night.