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.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been oh-who-the-hell-knows since my last confession...

My Sunday night, as it were, posting from my parent's house. Mom and Dad are vacationing in Montana at the moment, leaving the kidmandoes and me a place to party, raid the pantry, splash around in the hot tub; while yours truly drinks the rent's crappy wine, kids watch their vids on a screen the size of a persian carpet. In exchange for taking advantage of the amenities, Mom and Dad rest easier knowing no one is stealing their guns or their collection of kitsch.

The downside is, well, this is not my place, this isn't my computer, my things aren't around, convenient, close. As I type this I'm creating a mental list of the things I need to do or get when head back to Chez Shithole. Also, I'm mentally composing a list of cute kid things to report here. Having been pigeonholed as a "single dad blog" I feel obligated to post daddy-is-awed-by-too-cute-kids and I know I've been remiss in those kinds of posts although I suspect the majority of you who come here on a regular basis know poopy-diaper posts only constitute about a tenth of what I write. Still, my Catholic guilt hammers relentlessly on my sense of what I should post given the daddy-blog mark.