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February 27, 2006

I feel like I'm dying everyday. That's the life I know.
Abraham Polansky
Force of Evil

Vic Captain America
Click images for desktop size: "Captain America" by Vic
Life isn't a movie.
Its messier than that. Slops over the edges, gets episodic and some mysteries never get answered.
I still like movies best when they have a happy ending.

This week has started with exhaustion staring at me. Call from my Doc friend. It was to brace me. Stand firm for Monday and don't assume anything. There's more tests still not in.
Not damning but not reassuring either.
I hated the movie “Love Story” but I admired the end. I like the way that people die in movies. Disease doesn't ravage them much, and often , disease seems to free their spirits so they become more and more beautiful as death takes its stranglehold.
I'm from Southern Cal. We don't mind dying so long as we look good doing it.
I'm not dying anymore than anyone else is, or I'm dying just as much as everyone else is.
Stoned Life is harsh when it can relate to Bob Dylan lyrics: “He not busy being born is busy dying.”
Why not, “He not busy being alive is busy dying”? Not dramatic enough. That's why I don't have 32 platinum records.

As Usual I think about people. I think about art. I like paintings that move me. I like sculpture that startles me.
I like little black puppy dogs who are entertained by bugs and lizards.
I don't know. I laughed today. People came and talked to me about stuff that had nothing to do with their business. I listened to theories and notions. I like dreams the best and stories that sometimes have a point and stories that are sometimes just a reflection of memories that sooth and please the teller.

What am I rambling about?
I don't know either.
I'm just living and most times living doesn't have a point.
No more a point than dying anyway.
And that is the point. Life has the meaning we give it.
Its a meaning we decide and its no ones business to interpret that meaning.
That's not right. You can't deny any one meaning.
You can say that the judgement that people seem determined to weigh in with is nonsense.
Cocteau thought that the last circle of hell was the home of those who were forced to judge the dead.
There is no greater hell than to judge others.
I buy that.
Which is why I'm always surprised to see so many people doing it. Harshly or sweetly. To me, judgment always seems the same.

February 25, 2006

I feel the hot wind on my shoulder
Stanard Ridgeway

Click images for desktop size: "Dawn" by PixelGirl
This week was even worse than I anticipated. Nothing big but after the shots and blood taking Weds my body seems to be in rebellion. Dehydration and the dreaded fatigue.
Thursday I couldn't get out of my chair to answer the phone.
It felt stupid.
I'm lucky I have a puppy who pushes me to play and feed her.
We have become inseparable. Which is not bad except when it takes all my concentration and energy just to raise my hand. She's good about it and tells me her “good” jokes.
What a young dog thinks is funny can take some getting used to.
I've dealt with it before. It signifies nothing. Its worse than the pain that accompanies it. Pain you can control, this fatigue seems to take control away from you.
But I listen to my iPod Shuffle and that makes me smile. I skip over any slow stuff and stay focused on stuff like Alkaline Trio and Eighties B-Line Disaster. Anything with a drive and a snarl that makes my body want to twitch. Rockabilly too.Unleashed[Spn] Funniest thing is when I let the music carry me away it always brings me back to California.
I wasn't born in CA, but I was there from when I was 2 weeks old. It always used to feel like home. All the way from Baja - Ensenada, Rosarita Beach, TJ and K37 p through San Diego, San Onofre, Manhattan, Seal Beach and into LA.
Its the place where the surf rules the way of your day. Where you know there is no life east of I5 and every pothole and mud slick of PCH is meaningful and significant to you. Where you surf and dance around the fire rings at Surf City, where your buddy got a cretinous tattoo at the Pike and you were sober and watched him do it.
Into LA itself where dreams are more important than reality because in LA the dreams and the nightmares most often come true. The line between dreams and reality is too thin to discern in the bright sunlight and the cool dark shadows.
Where the guy busing your table on Monday is firing studio Exec's on Friday.
Where the guy manning the gas station sells his first script for 7 figures.
Where you have to be nice to everybody cause anybody could be your boss tomorrow.
And you melded the dreams under the magnificent sunsets of a polluted sky.
Up north to the Valley, where guys like me thought the plastic people lived but a place where second level stars could afford near mansions. And Altadena with the quiet super rich hiding behind bigger walls and security than they ever imagined in Beverly Hills.
Then you get to the Inland Empire, the burning desert where land is almost cheap enough for a guy to be able to live.
Gene Vincent is buried there. I've been to his grave, cleaned up the weeds around his headstone and watched the big trucks roll by on there way to Long Beach and San Pedro, rocking the ground where he's resting.
Deanwilliams Knockout-1
Click images for desktop size: "Knockout" by Dean Williams
A break to be ill.
I closed the door but my puppy has learned to bump on doors to open them. She came in inspected me and then lie on the floor near me and licked my hand.
Its alright now. I don't like her worrying. There's really nothing to worry about. Just the way my life is for now.
I still keep thinking about California. he artichoke fields, the avocado orchards the raisin fields and in the middle of that is Yosemite. I've been all around the world and it is still one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even Bakersfield with the cowboys and herds shelters Sequoia Park. And then the Mojave and death Valley that I crossed on foot, hating every step of the desert cotton fields, but that leads to Palm springs and Taqhitz Rock, Joshua Tree and Needles. Carmel, Big Sur, Napa Somona and the Sierra Madres. Jerry Brown had trade agreements when he was governor, trade agreements with other nations.
I loved California. But not what its become.
I sometime long to be there again and then I remember.

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February 22, 2006

A Walk In The Rain

Brushed Metal
Click images for desktop size: "Brushed Metal"
I took my regular day off today, to the dismay of my bosses who really had no choice but to agree.
Its not much of a day off. I had to go to sleep early so I could go and be bled . . . I wish they use leeches, it would have been cooler and a little less disgusting. They just take a lot of blood venal and arterial, and they take it in all these tubes and from all these locations. It comes to just short of a pint and always leaves me woozy.
And it left me walking in the rain.
There was a movie or a comedy skit where someone says, “I know I'm getting old because instead of the sports section the first part of the paper I read is the obituaries.”
I didn't claim it was a good joke.
Death always makes some people giggle. Its why we have horror movies.
Atom Man Vs Superman, Ep#00-B (1950-Teaser)It always makes me think of when I was about 16. A couple of friends, another Dave and Mark, dragged me to go mountain climbing. El Capitan, the Salathe Wall. Took us three days.
On the second day the climb wasn't being as challenging as my friends would have wanted it so we decided to do a couple of pitches free, just so we could have some time for self expression, I guess.
So I was soloing up a pitch and got into trouble. It was a flaky wall with no cracks and the flacks I was using for hand holds gave way, as in fell a thousand feet or so to the ground.
I remember thinking their fall was interesting.
It was about the same time I realized that the only thing keeping me from following the little chips was the three fingers I had clawed onto another higher chip. And that I was just hanging there, feet dangling held by the friction of my chest and three fingers.
I thought, “well, I'm gonna die.”
I guess my life flashed before my eyes. I liked it and decided then I wasn't going to die.
I remember it hurt a lot and at times I was thrashing and clawing like a maniac.
I wouldn't have wanted anyone to see that. I wasn't afraid so much as I just wanted to keep living to see what would happen next. Just to see if I could get up that 12 feet of wall and to the next little crack/ledge.
I made it, of course, then it would make a better story if I hadn't made it.
About an hour later I met up with my two friends. We all decided doing it free (rock climber for no protection) made for a better rush.
But I'm telling that story because I don't like people dying. Even people who I've only met briefly.
For purely selfish reason too.
Forget the sadness and the condolences and the anger at someone I know passing away.
What bothers me most is that each person's death takes something from me. It makes my world that much smaller. I'm afraid that one day the world will become to small for me and my puppy and I'll just be squeezed out.
Selfish and unreasonable but at the bottom of everything I feel about losing someone, there is always that.

When I got home from the clinic I had a nice lengthy conversation with my puppy's breeder. She had surgery and was full of pep! I liked that. I liked hearing about dogs and my puppy's family travails.
It was the opposite of death.

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February 20, 2006

A holiday

Click images for desktop size: "C-Waves" by L
A day off from work.
Nothing went well but I had the day off from work.
We waited expectantly all day hoping that we could go in and and let my puppy be a therapy dog. But too many doctors had taken the day off . . . small town stuff I guess.
We went for a long walk.
It was interesting that my puppy somehow senses when we are on a walk for our survival and a walk for its own sake.
On our ten mile hike she was always playing and telling me bad jokes and showing me disgusting things. She'd get scared (she doesn't like new things) but she never let her spirits dip.
Today she liked some of the things we did but she kept stopping and wondering, examining everything in a nervous way, as if she was afraid that she might forget something important and be forever lost.
Kungfuhustle(13)We saw plenty of dogs on the way and she had to show them she wasn't afraid or I fear the day would have been hard on her.
At home I watched Dario Argento's “Trauma”. I was sadly disappointed. especially as, during the night I woke up and watched a Korean film, “The Diary Of June”.
Odd movie trying to be CSI on the one hand but being unable or unwilling to not be Korean. It was a film about bullying and about a mother. Parts of it were trite take offs but other parts were deeply affecting.
Other than that I've been working at getting my new computer into a shape I'm happy with. Changing and re-changing defaults, discovering things, recreating data bases, having the fun of seeing things that I built up for years, and then lost, seeing them come back in a new sleeker form.
Of course I've had to wedge all this in with playing with my puppy.
We seem to like each other plenty.
This week is, thankfully short. Tuesday I'm working the split location again. I'm not taking my puppy. That will make things grim and tedious if not downright sad.
The person I'm replacing called me tonight about some details. I was sort of chagrined to find out that she'll be working 4 hours in the afternoon but still be getting paid full time wages plus travel expenses!
Seems I'm somehow getting the short end here, but its not worth thinking about. Its only worth remembering.

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February 19, 2006

You can have a life without a dog but who would want it

Mrbusdrvr Ferriswheel 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Ferris Wheel" by Mr Bus Driver
My puppy is blowing her coat.
When I find tufts of her hair its hard fighting back the memory of my second chemo. Then I'd reach up and run my hand through my hair, finding most of my scalp had come loose between my fingers.
I don't like that my puppy is blowing her coat out of worry over me.
Everyone who meets us notices that she and I laugh a lot. We bicker too, but mainly we laugh.
She plays tricks on me and laughs. Being a dog she doesn't grasp that its easy to trick me once. She thinks if I was tricked once I'll be tricked over and over again. She's determined to prove it. And I do always find her tricks funny.
Last week I started a difficult turn at work. I'm doing so well they want me to fill in at another place in the morning then bus across town to do my usual job. So instead of making a five hour work day somehow fill in eight hours I'm cramming a fourteen hour day into eight.
Fearless But I can't take my puppy on the bus.
On Thursday I left her home. When I got back in from work I was greed furiously, at first with joy, then with anger and then with relief. Over and over again for almost 15 minutes before we could even go outside.
On Friday I took her with me. At the “new” place there is a lot of physical stuff to do. Just picking up almost a year's accumulation of garbage. then there's dealing with a different group of people who don't know me. I tend to be calm but one customer wanted to be a jerk.
He wasn't any better at that then he was at the rest of his life. What I didn't like was that I saw my puppy had coiled and was watching him with grim intensity. Even the jerk couldn't help but notice that even though she wasn't growling or woofing, just staring, he still asked, “He's not going to bit me?” I told him, “She. She's female.”
After we left place one we walked the ten miles or so to the usual place. We had a world of fun exploring and getting lost. It took us three hours.
She took a ten minute nap and wanted to play.
Some of my regular customers came in. One seemed to have come in for no other reason to discuss the rather stupid commentary on TV's coverage of the Westminster Dog Show.
I guess he watched just to see what they would say about my puppy's breed. he muttered, “Pulled machine guns in World War One!” over and over then said loudly, “Like that tells you what kind of dog you got there. Pulled machine guns. Damn.”
Another customer just wanted to let me know that my puppy was prettier than the ones on TV. I agreed with him.
But since Thursday my puppy has gotten more attached to me. More afraid of me leaving her.
I have to work on it with her.

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February 14, 2006

Say it ain't so, Joe

Billy Dagwood-Autumn
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn" by Billy Dagwood
One night the disciple woke up crying.
The Master heard him and went to him, asking, "why do you cry?"
The disciple, between sobs, answered, "I had a dream."
"Was it a bad dream?" the Master asked.
The disciple said, "No," and continued to weep.
"Was it a nightmare?"
"No," and struggling the disciple said, "I had the sweetest dream imaginable. It was wonderful."
"Then why do you cry?" the Master asked confused.
"Because I know it will never come true."

~ A Bittersweet Life

I've been getting deluged with calls, emails and visits asking me to play baseball this spring. I want to play. Its been almost a year since I last played.
For me baseball has been the poetry that made life seem true.
Tyg-Poster-01 I could only play football through college, and my body wore out.
I've always surfed but surfing is a solitary sport best for self indulgence and private joy. You share it with your friends, not with the world.
But baseball. I've played it since I was 7. I've played in leagues, in sandlots. I played in two college world series in front of 50 thousand (pre-ESPN).
I've played in Korea, Japan. I was in a league in Europe playing against the Spanish, the Italians, even the French and Germans.
I played in the Dominican Republic and my teammates used gloves that were craftily constructed folded detergent boxes.
And it never mattered if I was wearing a uniform or whether the game would decide the championship, or if I was in a T-Shirt and jeans and teams just wanted to show off and impress the girls.
I played in Africa, in the desert where biota bags stood in for bases, in Thailand where the sweat poured into your eyes even if you just stood in the dugout.
If you ever played the game you'd know this: Every time you step on a baseball field you step onto all the baseball fields that ever were.
When your teammate climbs a ladder to snag a frozen rope that should have been a base hit its the same as having Don Kessinger climb that ladder.
When the pitcher glares at you its the face of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Don Larsen glowering at you wanting to take the bat out of your hand.
And no matter how many people were in the stands or if there were actually stands there you would always feel the crowd as the ball came at you tight inside on a 2 and 2 count.
And somehow you're always 12 years old and dreaming about the majors and how great it must be to have to play baseball as your job. Your JOB!
On this romantic day I have to say goodbye to that. It has to be a memory.
Last August I went to a pick up game try out. I was terrible. I couldn't throw. Its only gotten worse.
Last year I played in a league in Texas. It was the first time in my life that I'd ever pitched. I had a 7-1 record and a no hitter. That's the thing about baseball, you never forget stuff like that. You can always relive it, because its always the same game.
Ivory Ocean Blueflower
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Flower" by Ivory Ocean
My life was awful then but I still played every week. practiced and took my dog to the games.
Just like always I savored every pitch, every crack of the bat, every glower, every expression. The sun was always shining bright, the bases were always loaded two away and the count was always 3 and 2.
It's always just that way. Always.
It was my last season.
I bought a ball to work with me today. Last year I painted a batters box on the fence.
I walked the 66 feet and turned and fired. My pitch was 4 feet over the top of the box and the pain in my arm was excruciating.
I tried playing some version of pepper with my puppy. I could still dip and scoop and I started to have glimmers of hope.
I whipped the ball into the fence and watched it roll in and bit back the scream as acid etched my arm from shoulder to elbow.
Everybody safe on the slow roller.
Its over.
Happy Valentine's Day Baseball. You gave me more than I could ever give you.

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February 11, 2006

We're all alright

Fluff On A Stick
Click images for desktop size: "Fluff On A Stick" by Elliot Greenbaum
I've been busy trying to make my new computer go. Its a Mac. It merely works as well as you'd expect it to.
I figure that most people know that I'm alright. I always am. Sometimes alright on my own but most of the time because of the aid and friendship of others.
I have always felt that we are all part of a community, a part of something that lives within ourselves and in others.
I think it is the last thing that will die when the world decides to end.

On the day to day I had my final treatment. Its made me tired and cranky. The pain doesn't subside but it should abate now. In two weeks I'll have the blood tests and we'll all see,
I have to stay on the oral chemo. I get the impression it might be for life.
There was some distress involved in this.
My puppy was blowing her coat - doggie slang for heavy heavy shedding. I love my little dog and I was worried badly.
I took her to the vet. Our regular vet, Dr K, had her child so we had to see the owner of the practice. He couldn't for the life of him find anything to cause the shedding.
That was on Tuesday. On Friday there was a visiting dermatologist. We went to see her. She pointed out that Shelby was incredibly bonded to me. After a careful examination I was much happier with her assessment was that m puppy was distressed because I was clearly physically distressed. My puppy didn't know what to do to make me well.
She said that she was happy, well nourished but worried.
Fistsoffury Part of it was just losing her puppy coat. Part of it was stress. No need for additives or meds, just keep loving her.
I was nervous when I asked her how much for all the exams. I had $15 to my name. Her response startled me.
"I couldn't charge Dr Dog! My daughter would kill me! We'll call it professional courtesy."
It seems her daughter was a patient at the hospital where my puppy works as a therapy dog.
See, community.

On the job front I was offered a job commensurate to my abilities. I'm not taking it.
It's clear that it would kill me and I'm committed to outliving my dog.
The job I have is poor but it pays enough. I can take my puppy to work with me. I'm left alone most of the time and deal with people. I like people.
That doesn't mean I appreciate the Valentines I've been receiving at work. They seem very inappropriate. In most cases it seems that because I don't shout or tell people to shut up, because I listen they get some crazy ideas I like them or approve of things I do not!
One of my co-workers (about 6 miles away) finally got a job that fits her talents. She'll be leaving soon. I'm glad for her.

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February 6, 2006

Pittsburgh 21 Seattle 10

Click images for desktop size: "Alone In The Universe" by Cody Nicholl
My skill at picking NFL games continues to be disproved.
Funny thing was that the game played out pretty much how I expected except I never counted on the ref's. I think this is something the NFL is going to have to deal with soonest.
With all the money involved and the fact that none of their officials are full time it is pretty easy to wonder whether their was some outside inducement for some of the strange calls, calls that were crucial and changed the game.
Darrel Jackson's touchdown being taken away was incredible! And their where 4 other calls just as questionable.
What else I didn't figure was how deadly dull this game would be. There was some outstanding play but all in all it was just sort of creepy.

Last night, after midnight my puppy decided I need a complete re-enactment of the SuperBowl. She got her football and proceeded to toss it around for an hour. Even sleepy it amused me. She's so happy about everything. For that I'm very glad.
I got to see my neighbor's pit bull puppies tonight. As much as I deplore the way he keeps them I know he does the best by his standards, which are just different to mine. Can't change how wonderful I thought the puppies were. Little things were all very tough with me, just as they should be.

HugMy Powerbook continues to struggle bravely on. But it is struggling. I have a new one coming.
I remember years ago I had a PC that I used to dual boot, Windows, BeOS, and Linux. Under Windows the machine crashed constantly, under linux there were some odd problems, under BeOS nothing. No problems at all, just rock solid.
BeOS did one day tell me that I was running the wrong voltage through my cpu . . . I fixed it and Linux ran as rock solid as BeOS and Windows . . . crashed a bit less often . . .
Mac OS X is rock solid too. Even as the hard drive disintegrates it struggles manfully on! Or woman-fully along, if you prefer.

Oh, and Mick Jagger should not ever wear short sleeved shirts!
I can't believe these guys have outlived the Ramones.

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February 3, 2006

Why do the good die young

Click images for desktop size: "Down and Out" by MacMonkee
The hard drive on my PowerBook died.
Had to erase it but I have it up limping along for a while.

Lost a lot of pictures, projects, art work and music. It's all replaceable except for some of the puppy pix. Backed up a lot . . . not enough it seems.

Its a pale comparison but it feels a bit like surveying the damage after a fire.

Interesting note: The 6 apps I bought that were designed by Mac only developers sent me the lost registration information almost immediatley!
Four Windows/Mac deveolopers haven't answered. Adobe asked me for a whole lot more info for Photoshop and Macromedia/Adobe pretty much said, sorry you lost it, tough break wanna buy a new copy?

This Sunday is the SuperBowl. Finally and sadly. I hate the last game of the season.
Who knows if this will be a good enough game to carry me through.
Matching up the two teams it gets surprisingly even.
Cowher's been to one SuperBowl and lost it.
Holmgrem has been to 2 and split them.
Even. Ed Allen-Cyber Reader 1024At QB Rothlisberger has the hype but Hasslebeck has put in the time. Rothlisberger has been great but he choked last year in the big game. He has a blog on typepad too. Not very interesting but it is pleasant enough for kids and fans. I still have to give a slight edge to Hasslebeck.
O Line - Seahawks win this one. The line is quick and strong and should handle the Steeler's front seven pretty well. The play action can freeze these guys. The Steeler line is great for run blocking but weak against a pass rush; they set up mediocre screens.
D-Line - The Steelers have the name but the Seahawks line is fast and crazed. Ball hungry. I'd call this even.
Linebackers - I like Porter running his mouth. It lets everyone get on with business and is a cool diversion. A slight edge to the Steelers here. But mainly becasue of Troy Polomonu who is really more a Rover Back than a Safety.
Secondary - Seahawks play better man and give up fewer big plays. The Steelers play good zone and depend a lot on their front seven. Nice edge to the Seahawks.
RB's - Bettis will be pumped but banged up. He'll not embarass himself but Alexander is a man possessed looking for recognition and the killer payday. Advantage SeaHawks!
WR - This is a bland a group as ever reached a SuperBowl. Jackson and Hines cancel each other out. Look for the TE's to steal the glory here.
My pick is take the SeaHawks and the 4 points.

I had an odd job interview today. I have to think about it some more.

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