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August 31, 2005

Alone in my arms

Torment-Frankfrazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Torment" by Frank Frazetta
I pushed myself to hard today.Only pressure from inside and people asking me questions that even on a good day would tax me.
Getting asked for Advice about things that interest me only because it's people, and people are always interesting.
A lot of questions about why people pursue the things they know are bad for them. Which isn't very deep but painstakingly difficult to talk about with someone who has the habit of seeing others as good or bad instead of just realizing, (like I believe) that we're all just human.
Managed to get a plan in place to pickup some needed furniture, some stuff that will function but still keep the bare bones spartan look that I can absorb and enjoy in my home. I like emptiness in my furnishings, art gallery like emptiness where people and ideas fill the space instead of kibble. (See Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep)
That took a lot out of me but was pleasant work but entailed to much gossipy conversation.
My puppy is making those steps to independence. I like that but, of course it fills me with that gentle nostalgia where you miss being the center of someone's universe.

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August 30, 2005

Up in the sky

Lawnelf Obsession
Click images for desktop size: "Obsession" by LawnElf
Fell asleep and dreamed it was raining.
I was disappointed to find the ground had stayed dry.
I spent a half hour or so at work today staring into the sky. My puppy stared at me.
I was watching four hawks swooping and riding the air currents. It seemed odd to see four of them together. It's too late in the year for courtship and breeding.
I figured I only know west coast hawks. Who knows what these guys get up to or how.
They weren't vultures. They have vultures here but they are smaller more thuggish looking than the vultures I know. Up close these are dramatically ugly, sad and cruel looking; a doppelganger of the cartoon vultures we all know.
Looking at the hawks cavorting, being certain they weren't hunting but only playing, made me think of love.
Love is an overwhelming thing, isn't it?
There's a time in most of our lives when we judge ourselves by how much love we get. Then as we, hopefully, mature we take the lateral position of judging ourselves on how much love we give.
Finally it comes down to . . . I'm not sure what to call it . . . contentment?
Lovemetender(1956)-01It's always amazing to me what different people call love. Yet we only have the one word for it. There's only one word, a few modifiers but only that one word.
Everyone defends their brand of love with passion and fervor, as if it were the only true love and the only one that mattered.
Love is a defense against the night, and love is a defense against the day.
We expect love to carry us through wars and to quell the flames of hell.
I don't have much use for those kinds of love.
I've seen people use love to define control and to justify manipulation. I've even heard of love as a way to be cruel and hateful.
I heard of loving strawberry tarts and oyster stuffing. I've even known people who loved cruelty and hatred.
I seen people loving themselves and a few who loved mankind.
Mainly I've seen people convince themselves they were in love when there was no reason for that love to exist.
That means I've seen an awful huge amount of "unrequited love" turn to hatred.
I've seen this "unrequited love" not being recognized as mere desperation. And like the unsuspected thief it is, I've watched it destroy all that is good in someone.
Love doesn't stink. (J Geils 80's tune reference) What people lie to themselves about certainly does stink.
What people contort themselves into in the name of love (60's Supremes reference) is a stupidity we can all fall prey to.
The way this type of illogical phony named love can make us distort others is the real crime we commit against mankind.
Love.
I do love my puppy though.

August 29, 2005

I have watched the best minds of my generation reduced to bullshit
~Allen Ginsberg

Blackwidow1024
Click images for desktop size: "Blackwidow" by Jammeister33
All the motion is startling to settle down.
Transportation is a problem still but not one to worry me greatly.
My health seems to be deteriorating. I'm on a pre-trial drug that's making it's appearance known. Three of my back teeth are looser and all my teeth hurt. My skin feels like it's on fire and even a breeze makes it feel worse. Lot of pain, lots of irritation.
It's better than dying. I've watched people die. Anyone of them would have swapped me for this. Even the ones who bought dying on themselves would have swapped.
So don't worry about it. It's not bad.
Although the dizziness and screwed up body did make me lose my mobile phone. Just another thing that's not trivial but not important either.
The things to worry about are the simple things, the grief in getting the internet connection. The tedious phone calls and having to deal too deeply with odious corporations.
It's done though. I've got the internet, a TV, a land line phone. And a puppy.
Contest Girl (1966)The puppy continues to be wonderful. We have our issues, what relationship doesn't have issues.
She makes me happy and sad. I fret over her and feel at peace with her.
I'm relieved that she's just a puppy and doesn't fret over me. She just likes being with me and likes playing with me.
I'm pleased just to look at her and to watch her learn things. Things like the sound of the birds, the motion of bugs, and all the silly things that people do.
The woman who bred my puppy (an oncology nurse - will I ever escape them!) is coming to pick up her male dog, Hank.
Hank had spinal surgery, similar to mine! He's gone through 6 weeks of physical therapy to get him back to perfect shape.
I can't wait to see the two of them. I'm curious to see how well my puppy remembers them. I'm hoping she'll be ecstatic and full of joy.
That's what I'm always hoping. I get disappointed often but I'm never so stupid, dull, sick or miserable to stop that hope - people, puppies, all full of joy.
Yesterday was my birthday.
Thanks to everyone who remembered. A friend sent me a detailed listing of everything happening in town for my birthday. I opted for the ballgame . . . I admit, I'm dull that way.
I was pleased my friend got to watch it on the internet even if they couldn't be with me.
Saw a 6'6" 200 pound 22 year old kid with mid 90's fastball pitch a 2 hit shutout for 7 innings. It was hyper impressive and made me feel sweetly nostalgic. I think that's the full of joy part of baseball.
The team here is Triple A, so it was even sweeter to think of this big kid getting ready to step into the big leagues.
Working could be better. I hate my job. Of course I'd be good at it.
The only joy in it is that I can take my puppy with me most days. With her there everything is a bit sweeter.
Bobdylan And football season is underway. I get two days off this Labor day weekend, unpaid days but still two days off.
I'm planning to go to a high school game on Friday night. I love high school ball and the earnestness of the young men and the sweet attempts at pageantry.
Saturday, after work I'm rushing home for College Ball. Then I'm going to see one of the Div 3 black colleges play. The price on these tickets will be about 3 bucks each. What a cheap price for pleasure.
Then Sunday I'll be immersed in puppy and the NFL. No NFL team here so it will be TV only.
MONDAY - my extra day off will be a long hike to somewhere with my puppy moving doggedly along.
Sounds like a solid weekend to me and will brace me for the battery of tests next Weds.

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August 21, 2005

And here I am

Frazetta-Conan
Click images for desktop size: "Conan" by Frank Frazetta
I'm in the new place which I'll now call home.
I'm tired. The heat was enervating, over 100 with 84% humidity. But the major work is done.
I have a bed. I have a shower.
I have my puppy.
We're happy.
No steady internet connection yet. I'll post when I can.

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August 20, 2005

Tomorrow is another chapter

Ansdell Richard Lost In The
Click images for desktop size: "Lost In The Storm" by Richard Ansdell
Tomorrow I move.
It's a nice house. I'm pretty stoked about it.
I'm tired with the fatigue that seems like an icy thing that reaches through and tries to pull you down by the bones. It makes me stagger like a homeless drunk.
A night of too much sleep and I'll be fine.
At the new house the internet won't get turned on until Sept 1, so updates for the next 11 days may be spotty.
I might be able to hit a wifi hotspot but no guarantees on that.
There's nothing to worry about. The stressful part and the hardest work part is done now.
Tomorrow might even be nothing but fun.

August 19, 2005

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo ~Traditional

Waiting1024X768 Today a fellow came into the place I work. He was tall, thin, about 6'1" and 135 pounds. He wore ironed and creased bib overalls, a plaid shirt buttoned to the neck and a clean engineers cap. His face was lined from work in the sun but wrinkled only with good humor. His blue eyes were surrounded by bone white eyeballs, that showed clear white over and under the pupil..
When he spoke he did not stumble or halt, he spoke fluidly but with an amazing slowness. It wasn't the speeded up rhythm that Hollywood started and TV accelerated. It was the speed of a man careful with words and feelings. Happy to communicate and knowing that such things shouldn't be rushed by custom or impatience.
His speech was simple, plain but so slow that you either had to shake him or relax and listen. It was a pleasant conversation. I forgot to say much of anything.
I thought today about death. There are a lot of ways to deal with your own death. Some fly to it, some welcome it, some encourage it and most ignore it. I've done all of those at one time, including just inviting death in.
It's hardest to accept that it's just going to happen and to accept it with no rancor or bitterness.
I don't accept dying. I intend to fight it like I fight everything I think is wrong.
Being There I've had this war with death before. I'm not afraid or welcoming this time. It's going to be okay. Eventually I'll lose. We all do. As John Garfield said in "Body and Soul": "What you going to do? Kill me? So what. Everybody dies."
I'm not going to go skydiving. It looks like I won't play ball this year but next year I plan to.
Planning for next year and the year after that and even the year after that is reasonable and fair.
With me babbling about death, the big taboo subject, without injecting slinky blondes holding smoking 45's it might be hard to understand that I'm very happy today.
It's been a busy day, even the job I dislike but whose checks still cash seemed less tedious.
I have my puppy.
She makes me laugh. It bothers someone that mainly I laugh to myself. Maybe it's because the laughter and its happiness are important and private to me.
Not only do I enjoy the silly puppy games but I love watching her instincts take over.
When she plays she easily beats dogs 3 times her size with the same tactics that her ancestors brought down wolves that were nearly 3 times the adult size.
I adore watching her watch me and the world. She's a puppy so she doesn't know what she's watching but she was bred to look over a flock of sheep, alone and unassisted. Even as a baby she practices for her task.
She's begun to protect me. She's painfully shy but she has begun to stand between me and strangers. If they reach towards her she runs behind me. Her instincts haven't told her what to do with friendly strangers.
I have friends.
All of them special and one more.
If you are my friend you know how important you are to me. No matter what, I never feel all alone in the night.
I'm moving on Sunday. I might not have an internet connection until the 1st.
Ghost In The Invisible Bikini I'm happy about the move. It's a big enough house with a fenced yard big enough for my puppy and I to play and annoy each other. It even has a washer and dryer and for some reason that pleases me too.
What pleases me most is that it will be a home for my puppy where she can be whatever she wants with only me to lovingly guide her. She can be a dog with no fear.
Moving is a pain in the neck but the stress of lifting toting and planning is far less than the quiet pleasure.
For a while I think my puppy and I will have a little peace.
This coming Wednesday I have to go and do some stress tests to see if I my body can cope with this experimental drug.
They're also helping arrange for my puppy to be a leader in the Hospital Therapy Canine Program, so my puppy can go and talk to kids and people who are just afraid and lonely in hospital.
Facts prove that petting a dog lowers blood pressure and slows pulse. Our ancient instincts, our lizard brain, still knows what is best for us.
At least these doc's have gotten past the stage of doubting what my puppy and I can do.

August 18, 2005

I can't wait until tomorrow cause I get better looking everyday
Muhammed Ali

Mickey Mouse Dreaming about the fires and passions of yesterday.
Dreaming about the passions of life.
When I was 20 I took a motorcycle tour of Africa - from Casablanca all the way down to Madagascar. It took 3 weeks and cost 1200 US. My traveling companions were all middle aged guys who owned bike dealerships.
We made the trip on Honda 250's.
It was a great trip at a great time - poverty, vice corruption and a sense of adventure. Last time I was in Africa I saw what the future brought and I realize just how very lucky I was.
I remember the animal preserves. You knew them because the roads were suddenly lined with human skulls. I pretty sure this was in Kenya, but it might have been Uganda. At the end of the road was a crudely lettered sign, painted with looked like human blood: POACHERS WILL BE KILLED ON SIGHT, in English, French and German.
These roads were dirt and formed mainly by buffalo drawn wagons. So the road was a huge hump tracked by two deep but thin grooves.
On a bike the only way to navigate the path was to do a serpentine up and down over the mound. It was dry dusty work and your mind would just rock itself to sleep in the pleasant monotonous motion. Which explains how i turned a corner and suddenly realized I had ridden into the middle of a pride of lions.
The massive male was sprawled across the length of the road, sunning himself. To the side were two females nursing some cubs. In my peripheral vision I saw two more females and a young male very quickly moving behind me on either side.
Manwhoshotlibertyvalance,The X01 (1962)The big male looked at me. I was frozen and operating on instinct and I realized then I like being alive but I could handle it if it was going to end like this.
It's like when you're hanging from a cliff - you know you want to live but you're not terrified of death.
All I was thinking was, "Boy, these guys are big!"
The large male was looking at me, still lying down he roared, big deep and, in other circumstances, beautifully. Then he easily got to his feet, growled and started to move.
This time my only thought was the old Stepin' Fetchitt line, "Feets, don't fail me now!" I started to back up the bike with my feet, slowly, absent mindedly or nervously (I can't figure out which) gunning the motor.
I kept backing up slowly when behind me I heard the sound of the others. The guide was in a jeep. He came up about 50 yards behind me and starting saying, "Shoo Simba. Go on get away from here. Shoo!"
And with grace, reserve and elegance the lions got up and moved out of the way . . .
In the tradition of Arlo Guthrie, I told you that story so I could tell you this story.
The return flight to America was out of Paris. After the veldt Paris seemed enchanting and human. I didn't speak French but I was getting by. I was looking for the Cinematheque when a cute girl started talking, in French. I thought she was talking to the girl besides her and kept moving, until she stopped and yelled, "Stupid'!"
Then I knew she was talking to me. Women don't accept being ignored in any language.
She spoke as much English as I did French. But we sauntered around the streets until we encountered some of her friends. Boys and girls, all my age, walking arm in arm and singing the Who's "The Punk Meets The Godfather" - in French. I knew the melody and the chorus.
So we all locked arms and moved down the road singing at the top of our voices when we turned a corner and saw - it.
SenriyamazakiAt least 5000 kids, our age in a square. Three sides of the square were surrounded by policemen in the latest leather fetish riot gear. At least 500 of them were on horseback.
The crowd was roaring and surging towards the cops. In our group the singing continued until from all sides we got caught up in the surge of bodies moving towards then away from the riot squad, music and the rhythm of moving bodies - it was highly erotic.
Then the tear gas came and the riot broiled.
It was great. Plastic shields and helmets. Billy clubs and government thugs. No translator required. It was a day for individual battles and a group sense of war, them and us decided by age and lack of riot gear, although somehow I ended up with a shield that was fabulous for charging and blowing up police phalanxes. The cop wedge was nothing compared to the Notre Dame wedge.
When it seemed there was just general milling about all I thought about was thugs and bullies defy nationalizing. they are as universal as gonorrhea.
It was a war and in the gray streets of Paris, surrounded by delicate pixillating light and ancient statues screaming of liberte and freedom, I felt like a lion waiting in my own road.
Most of the battle was in the side streets now. I was just ambling away wondering whether I'd ever see the cute girl again when the Surte showed up, armed with Stens (burp guns - trench sweepers). Even locked in full battle mode you don't go up against a Webley-Vickers Machine Pistol with out proper motivation. As to this day I have no idea what the riot was actually about I let myself be lead meekly to the Gare Du Nord.
Future LordThere several hundred of us were prodded into a cattle car that soon began moving. No one asked my name at anytime, we just herded and dispensed. I figured we were going to jail or some sort of processing center. My plans to overpower the two guards and jump ship were ignored. Some of the guys were in shock but no one looked beaten up to me.
The doors opened suddenly. We were in a freight yard in Belgium. I walked to the terminal, brought a ticket back to Paris.
I realized I smelled heavily of sweat and tear gas.
Now, I told you that story to tell you that I saw the doc's today. They are all bright and healthy looking. They are all people you'd be happy to know and meet, clean, bright intense faces.
The leukemia is no longer in remission. I'm doing fine. I just keep pushing through as you knew I would. They're going to give me a pill to see if I can handle an oral style of chemo.
That's all.

August 14, 2005

Love and friends

Janesko 008
Click images for desktop size: "8" by Janet Janesco
You're in a bar at about 2 AM. The smell of spilled beer and cheap cigarette tobacco is becoming noticeable but it's not yet to the point of being stomach churningly thick.
You catch someone's eye and in that glimpse you see something that haunts your memory for a second.
Without realizing it you're drifting closer to them. Not moving with purpose but moving with an elliptical precision, not to a person, but to the haunting memory.
You see each other. A look. A smile. You wonder what you're doing there, you wonder what the memory is.
When two strangers meet it doesn't always have to be about sex, does it? Sometimes it can be two people, just two people, meeting, just being people together.
So you sit together and there are no smooth lines, no fancy plays. You find yourself talking, talking about things that only seemed important to you, things that you thought no one else could ever care about.
For some reason you reveal to another person that tiny  bit of your soul that you actually understand. In revealing your soul for the first time in your life you have no concern or reaction or worry about another person seeing you exactly as you really are.
1945 The Body Snatchers When you finish you realize that the other person has listened and you, you're staring at your shoe and the thought crosses your mind that the toes of your shoe is scuffed.Then the other person slowly responds to you. They tell you their life's story so far.You relive their life in a dream that fills in all the spots and gaps with a reality that only a fool would consider harsh.
When they finish the world starts to slowly seep back into your consciousness; like a sad and gradual awakening from a dream of sex.
Without thinking about it you grab a pen and a chunk of paper. You scribble your name and your number and watch with quiet amusement as they fold the chunk of paper and put it in their pocket, a pocket close to their heart.
then I don't know what happens. I only watch. I have no opinions here.
Are you lucky or are you unlucky if you never hear from or see them again?
I don't know. It would depend most on how you feel about these things, about the possibilities of what might happen against the day to day of what will.
If you never hear from them I think the world would be grayer for a while but you'd forget. We're human and human beings forget everything. I've said it before, it's the way we survive this life.
If they never call and you pass each other on the street, like anonymous strangers, with maybe them remembering or maybe you'll remember. Maybe they'll be laughing, maybe you'll both be laughing but somehow you'll see each other and bring back that moment of a moment that you don't really recall because if you did you'd never be able to survive in this life, but you remember a twinge of something, and that twinge colors your day again.
1965 Corvette Coupe If it doesn't affect you at all, even in this dim way all it means is you've begun the walk to death, the long walk where all the scars have made you tough enough to survive anything but at the price of feeling nothing much at all. Like a country priest who has had all his teeth pulled.
And if the very next day the once stranger calls and you begin on a path to meet and to explore each other and to learn how much of ourselves can exist in another person, are you better off?
Are you doing better to see your body and soul twisted by a world that has a different shape because the once stranger has squeezed into it and distorted the balloon shape of your universe.
New bones will break and new pains will evolve as old pains fade into the same memory drawer where we store painful surgeries and serious rejections.
And for the rest of your life you have to accept that a beautiful figure nude under a thin trench coat will never run up to you and beg you to save them. Never will there be a furtive knock on the door and someone you thought you knew well will be standing there with a smoking gun in their hand.
There'll never be mountains climbed or seas crossed ever again.
There will just be this life in this new world.
Is it worth it?
Was it worth it?
Yeah, here I have an opinion. The opinion is yeah.

August 9, 2005

A bucket of dreams, a thimble of time

Achenbach Oswald Don Quixot
Click images for desktop size: "Don Quixote" by Oswald Achenbach
My time has been filled lately.
It means there's no time for forgetting.
I realize that through it all there's nothing that I want to forget.
My little puppy takes up a lot of time. She's welcome to it.
Sleep takes up a little bit too.
Sleep takes up even less since the puppy, but she's being so good. Trouble, but good trouble.
I'll be moving soon, and that takes time.
Time helping. Time taking care of myself.
I still read and I still think and I remember.
That means that life is going on. Reading, thinking and remembering are what makes us.
Not just my life, I mean something about how I can see the life around me. That feels the best, seeing things live and grow and become something.
I got the first reports from the doctors today. Nothing worth repeating. Nothing exciting and little in it to think about. There were no surprises. No urgency.
I'm supposed to set up a meeting with "the team" some time soon.
I like them calling themselves "the team".
It makes me feel sorry for them in some ways.
I've been on teams. I know what that really means.
As a player I was on football teams that won a CA state championship, 3 National Championships. As a coach my teams won 4 National Championships.
Taxi-DriverIn baseball my teams won 2 little league championships, 1 HS State Championship, and 2 College World Series.
I know what it's like to be on a team, a real team. I understand why people without the gifts we were blessed with would want to pretend that they were on a team, a real team.
A team is composed of strong minded individuals who are so confident in their own unique abilities that they can submerge their egos and concentrate on a singular goal. They then devote the time, pain and blood to honing their bodies to execute certain moves with speed and alacrity and grace.
When the body has achieved that element of near perfection the mind has to be hammered into shape.
The things we learn then drive for new ways to shape the body.
Anabolic, metabolic stress, training the nerves. Reducing reflex to instinct.
We then have to bring that into a new sphere, a team. Fitting or near perfection into a framework - a gear in a motor, a bolt in the rifle.
Learning what we can rely on from our teammates forces changes in what we learn and how we forge our bodies.
The honing, the pounding, the thought, the imagination the hours of drudgery and the days of toil until the energy can be unleashed against an opponent.
By then, if you are a team, there are no opponents except the battle for perfection within yourself.
Frazetta-Werewolf
Click images for desktop size: "Werewolf" by Frank Frazetta
The others on the field are only there to test your resolve and to show the balance and grace of your end results.
The excitement comes because you do what you dreamed you could do.
The dream come from a commitment to yourself. A commitment to your teammates. A commitment to your goal.
See, in my bumbling simple life, I think that if all these pretenders were actually teams there'd be no crime, no disease, old age would fade away and peace would be an expected thing.
I don't blame people for being human. I love them for it.
I'm flattered they want to consider themselves a team. But I'm not fooled by it.

August 6, 2005

I'm a be bopping daddy and I'll be your date

Are-You-Ready 1024
Click images for desktop size: "Are You Ready?" by Illona Rastopovich
Way to many of you like to ask me: "With all you've been through, with all you're going through; how can you still smile and enjoy this life?"
There's only one thing I can say to that: With all that I've been through and all that I'm going through I wonder how you can't smile and enjoy this life.
It was a bad day because the pain was terrifying today, my left side went completely numb for a couple of hours, and the vision went blurry in my left eye.
It was a good day as I got lots of fun emails and my puppy was near perfect in every way.
My puppy and I wrestled, fought, told each other jokes. My puppy went and tried to play with my neighbor's puppy. She makes my heart sing to the point where you know that pain is such a small thing and worry is just a diversion set up to keep us from enjoying ourselves.
Even I wonder why sometimes I feel so good about life.
I miss people. I miss the family and friends who've died and the others who have just drifted away. I sometimes even miss the people who worked to try and make me miserable: the deceivers, the false friends, the schemers, the real losers.
Date Bait (1960)I love too many things to be miserable anymore. I love too many people to ever feel lonely, even when I feel all alone.
I like stories. Almost all stories but mainly I like the stories people tell you face to face.
I think I only go out with people to hear them tell me their stories. I find them enchanting, revealing and sometimes shocking and wonderful.
When I go out with people I never go out to movies, seldom even plays. I don't understand sitting in the dark with someone watching someone else . . . it seems so distant. Like people telling me how they like family nights when the family sits around and watches TV.
I like to go to dinner and art galleries. I used to love seeing the work of Duane Hansen.
Hansen made these incredible life sized statues of people out of fiber glass, like bondo for car repairs, and then he painted them so that they almost seemed to breathe.
They weren't commissions. He didn't do celebrities. He was an artist and he created people. When his works were masterpieces his statues would stare at you and tell you their stories.
I saw one piece called "The Butcher". This piece is of an overweight man wearing a tank top t-shirt, a blooded butcher's apron and jeans. His cleaver is stuck in his back pocket like a wallet. The butcher is sitting on the ground; he is drawing his knees up to his chest and he is crying so hard his face his distorted as his hands make meaningless gestures in the air.
Another old timer stands against the gallery wall, smoking a cigarette and staring through the spectators.
To me this is high art because as you circle these sculptures it is impossible not to hear the statues tell you their stories. When you come back to them later they tell you yet another story.
I went with a woman and asked her what she thought. She said that all that bondo and rubbing; "This Hansen guy could have made a fortune repairing dents in cars". She's still my friend to this day.
I went with another woman and her response was, "Why doesn't he make statues of someone interesting." Her? We never had a second date.
Beraud Jean Au Bistro
Click images for desktop size: "Au Bistro" by Jean Beraud
If I went out a second time with someone I'd always ask them to pick the restaurant or the place.
Even if I didn't like the place they selected I enjoyed thinking about why they would want to bring me here. Then I would ask them.
I loved the stories that they told. Some times of past joys they'd had wherever we were, sometimes of love that grew and withered.
I loved most that wherever they selected it had a special meaning to them. Because it had a meaning to them the places became special to me too.
the world is too big and beautiful to see with only one set of eyes. there is too much beautiful music to hear it with only your ears. There are too many real emotions in this life to feel them all by yourself.
It's why I trust people so much, even when there is no reason to trust them. It's trite but the untrustworthy need our hope and trust the most.
We're all people and we all have stories.
Clive Barker wrote sardonically: "We are all books of blood. Wherever we're opened we're red."
We're all books, we're all stories.

My health seems to be a wreck today. I'll recover. I have a dog who has told me so.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~Sidney Harris

Bonsai-Test2 It was a bad night.
For the first time in a few years the fatigue hit me.
I don't know how to describe it. I've never been that cold and if i ever were I'd tend to look for places to get warm, but they claim that this fatigue is similar to that experienced by Arctic explorers, a sort of ennui where it seems the best thing to do is too sit down and just sleep.
It's a scary feeling but I've been there before. I just didn't expect to walk that path again.
It's not painful but it's the type of feeling where you don't want to move or talk or listen or feel or live. You just want to lie down wherever you are and let whatever is going to happen happen. You're not a participant, you're merely an observer of your own existence.
I can push through it. A puppy helps.
My puppy must have known what was going on because she let me sleep nearly 2 hours later than usual. Then she really had to go out. She waited until she got outside.
I've taken my pills and had a cup of coffee and took Good Ol' Dog and the puppy on their morning walk. It wasn't easy for my body but it was fun for my heart.

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August 4, 2005

Retelling a story

Waspinthecup 1024
Click images for desktop size: "Wasp In The Cup" by Adam Dickson
I appreciate all the thoughtful notes and calls, but as my furry friend would say, "You're making me crazy!"I'm fine as I could hope to be.Two things to remember:If you pick up a newspaper and you don't see my name anywhere you can sit back, put your feet up and say, "Ah, at least David is doing well!"AndNature imposes nothing that Nature has not prepared you to bear.Now, some of you may think I'm unnatural but I'm not. It all reminds me of a story. Everyone knows I like stories, stories not only show us who we are but who we might have been and who we were meant to be.It was in Hiroshima about a week after America had dropped the first Atom Bomb. The people were bedraggled and facing horrors that had never been seen anywhere else in the world. Not since Sodom and Gomorrah had flame so terribly scorched the earth.
There was a woman and a child. The woman's hip was shattered. She limped along on a homemade crutch. You could not tell if she had ever been beautiful or ugly, the hair on her head was a crisp matt of uneven burned straw, the flesh on her face was burned. the effects of radiation poisoning were making themselves apparent.
Diary Of A MadmanBut the child was in worse shape. It was a miracle they had survived the blast. The child could do nothing but sob. Even breathing was painful. The atomic blast had seared his flesh into a chitinous hide. Even though the child was naked it was impossible to tell if it was a boy or a girl.
Enveloped in the despair that was wrapping the city of her birth and the nation she loved in its icy embrace the woman found a sliver of glass and prepared to end her and her child's suffering.
A Japanese Catholic priest came down the road. There were Japanese Catholics, and Shinto priests and sufi priests. At this the greatest scene of carnage in the history of the world they were all out ministering to the dead and dying. For in Hiroshima there was no one else.
So it doesn't matter that he was Catholic. It only happened that he was.
He saw the woman as she steeled her nerve to kill herself and her child. The old priest had seen this far too many times. He had no thought that at least this time he was in time to stop it.
He stopped and spoke to the woman. "Are you in pain daughter?""It doesn't matter" she replied, not looking at him.
"Offer it to Heaven, child."
She looked at him coldly. "You think it would please God?""If you offer it, yes," said the priest.
"I cannot understand a god who is pleased by my baby's hurting!"
The priest winced. "No. It is not the pain that is pleasing to God, child. It is the souls endurance in faith and hope and love in spite of bodily afflictions that pleases Heaven.""Save your breath priest. I'm not complaining, The baby is. She can't understand your sermon. She can hurt but she can't understand." And she raised the sliver of glass like a dagger aimed at her moaning child's chest.
"I had a cat once," said the priest, "when I was a boy. He was a big gray tomcat with shoulders like a small bulldog and a head and a neck to match. He was a pure cat. Do you know cats?""A little.""Cat lovers don't know cats. You can't love all cats if you know cats, and the ones you can love are the ones that cat lovers don't even like. Zeke was that kind of cat.""This has a moral of course?" She watched him suspiciously.
"Only that I killed him.""Stop. Whatever you're about to say. Stop!""A truck hit him. Crushed his back legs. He dragged himself under the house. Once in a while he'd make a noise like a cat fight and thrash around, but mostly he lie quietly and waited. 'He ought to be destroyed' they kept telling me. After a few hours he dragged himself from under the house. Crying for help. 'He ought to be destroyed' they said. I wouldn't let them do it. they said it was cruel to let him live. Finally I said I'd do it myself. I got a gun and a shovel and I took Zeke out to the edge of the woods."Bang the priest continued, "I stretched him out on the ground while I dug a hole. then I shot him through the head. Zeke thrashed a couple of times, then got up and dragged himself towards some bushes. I shot him again. I thought he was dead. and put him in the hole.""After a couple shovels of dirt Zeke got up and pulled himself out of the hole and started for the bushes again. I was crying louder than the cat.""I had to kill him with the shovel. I had to put him back in the hole and use the blade of the shovel like a cleaver and while I was chopping with it, Zeke was still thrashing around. They told me later it was just spinal reflex. I didn't believe that. I knew that cat. He wanted to go to those bushes and just lie there and wait.""It is the reason I became a priest because I wished to God that I had just let Zeke crawl to those bushes and die the way a cat would if you just leave it alone . . . with dignity.""Shut up," the woman whispered.
The priest said, "If I am being brutal it is to you, not to the baby. You said the baby cannot understand.""You are telling me to let her die slowly and -""No!" the priest said softly, "I'm not asking you. As a priest of Christ, of Bhudda I am commanding you by the power of Almighty God not to lay a hand on your child, not to offer her life in sacrifice to a false god of expedient mercy."

If you can - think of me like the cat.

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August 3, 2005

Where's your gun?

Africanight
Click images for desktop size: "African Night"
Once when I was surfing an old pot bellied guy came up to me on the beach.
These type of guys I was figuring out if he was just hot for the hard bodies or what. All I remember is that he wore a straw hat with a little red feather in, madras shorts and sandals and socks . . . at Malibu Beach.
He started out asking me, "Son, where do you keep your gun?"
I was perplexed. Why would he think I carried a gun in my baggies. I thought maybe the turista' was thinking Hawaiian and was looking for my big wave stick.
After some bickering back and forth he wanted to know where I kept my gun to shoot the sharks while I was surfing . . .
Two weeks later my buddy Mark and I were up in Yosemite doing an easy 5-9 at Half Dome. "Nibbling at the toes of one of the giants," he liked to quote from someplace.
There are tourist paths there. We were about 25 feet up a wall when some guy comes by and starts yelling up at us. "Where's your gun?"
Mark was about 10 feet out on the rope. I always followed and Mark led. It got me an undeserved rep as a hotshot climber.
Everybody's Girl (1950)"Where's your gun?"
We mutually decided to ignore the guy because we had no idea what he was talking about. After he yelled again he started chucking rocks at us.
This is foolish on his part. He was not a fit guy and his rocks had to travel upward, up a rock face where all they would do is plummet back down.
We watched him nearly kill himself that way and finished the climb.
That evening we were back at Sunnyside Camp Ground and talked to some of the other climbers about this "Where's your gun" guy.
It seems a few of the crew had similar encounters. One of the old climbers explained that the tourist was looking for our mortar. A lot of people east of I-5 had it in their heads that the way you climbed a mountain was to shoot a rope and a grappling hook up the mountainside and then climb the rope.
"Where's your gun?"
That's what I was thinking of when they drained the blood out of me. My puppy got to be with me for that as a "hospital Dog" in training.
When they did the bone marrow test she had to wait with a nurse. She seemed okay.
Bone marrow tests are pretty bogus.
They hurt. It feels like they're driving a spike into you, a dull and rusty spike and then they wiggle it around a bit. Or at least that's the way it feels.
It will be next week when they get the results back.
I know what they're going to be. I've been down this path and I knew what was coming.
Now I've just got to ask myself, "Son. You've lived it large. You've lived it small and you've lived it in tears. You've felt them chemo's going through you and making your blood boil up something nasty. But now, son, you've got to ask yourself: You got the guts to do it again?"
That's assuming that they even want to try chemo again. They may not think that it's worth the time, the money or maybe they'll even think of me and decide something human for a change.
Wiley
Click images for desktop size: by Chuck Jones
Don't mistake this. I'm not giving up. I don't know how. Maturity is supposed to bring reason and a sense of calm and an ability to discern the fights you can't win. All it brought to me was a mulish streak that says the only fights worthwhile are the ones they tell you that you can never win.
I was pretty limp on the ride home. I held my puppy in my arms as she put her two little paws on the window jamb of the car and lolled her head out the window.
She's so scared of things still and she looks to me and then looks back out the window and she yawns and tries to understand what she's seeing, what's happening.
She looks to me to make sure I'm holding her well.
She doesn't ask me where's my gun.
I think; we'll do sit stay come tonight and get the metal taste out of my mouth and out of my brain. And tomorrow we'll go to work and I'll buy a new pair of jeans and a box of those cookies the puppy likes.
Because that's all there is that's worth doing.

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August 2, 2005

Where have all the concrete soldiers gone?

Blake, Urizen
Click images for desktop size: "Urizen" by William Blake
Tonight I walked 7.4 miles (per MapQuest) It was hot and I was drenched in sweat but I have a dog you see so I couldn't stop).
I still like those moments when the sweat is burning into your eyes and you shake your head and see the spray like a true heavenly aura surrounding you . . .
Of course it used to take more than just a walk to make it happen.
It took me about two hours . . . Sneer if you want but it was a feat!
About two miles from home my body got this creepy (even though familiar) electric thing going. It's like my whole body is a tooth with and amalgam filling and the air is tinfoil.
It's not fun. I've done more recognized things but walking through that sort of intense bodily invasion felt heroic.
When I approached the final hill to the house the iPod kicked into "This Must Be Love" by Alkaline Trio. It's not appropriate or anything but it felt like a reward.
It felt like my silly walks with Ethel, those life and death marathons we plundered in order to just survive.
Even with the new puppy, whom I love more dearly every day I still think fondly of Ethel, my little dog.
In fact I've called my puppy by almost every name of every dog I've ever loved, so you know how special this puppy has to be.
Tomorrow morning -work.
Tomorrow afternoon - The oncology department. More blood tests . . .
I figure they'll tell me that I died 6 weeks ago. Which would be cool because I'm still standing and feeling feisty.
(Feisty? Isn't that like a word your grandfather uses?)
I think that would mean that I'm immortal or the living dead . . . either way I think that's very cool.

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