Friday, April 29, 2011

A campfire, a ghost story (perhaps the hook on the rearview mirror, it matters not)




It is a story of personal and professional truth, of the difference, inherent. Each to each. Of the truth that is in the telling, the tone and rasp of the old man's voice, the flicker and glow of the firelight, the lingering taste of the scotch, of the metal of the flask that held it, cradled it, a home, away from home, and homeward bound. Further up, further in, further along the path, the road goes ever onward and the clearing at the end of the path, may you find water and shade.

He believed there may have been facts but remained unconcerned. If their lack was anything it was not apparent, it was not felt or missed. The truth is in the telling, the teller. And the old man spoke with authority, a voice imbued with the power of the muses, the force of gods unbound, and in his silences we experienced death, emptiness, the draining out of the human vessel. Empty, made clean. The is-ness of things, Being-in-the-World, Being-as-Such.

He wanted another s'more. Perhaps the phrasing was just that he wanted s'more or even s'more s'more, but that felt redundant and cloying on the tongue, and he desire the gooeyness of the marshmallow not words, not now. Soon it would be his turn to tell. He was nervous, to follow such an act, such a telling. The close of the old man's story drifted away with a slight evening breeze, the forest's gentle Nachtmusik, but nothing was lost. Nothing is ever truly lost. It was now his turn, eyes had refocused on him, heads turned, slightly elevated, expectant. He put the flask to his lips:
In a forest not unlike this very forest, Баба-Яга began to sing...

Self-importance; or, impotence & thoughts during an early lunch

Mawkish. A man in Teva sandals, board shorts and an all around look of disheveled ignorance. As if he didn't realize that he didn't look stylish or new professional, like the kind of kid that can get away with that look and still demand to be taken seriously. As he voided his breakfast order, gathered his things, made protestations of time, late late for a real and actual meeting. Said he comes here all the time, this place is the best, dropped a Hamilton for his coffee (not enough for the whole check, where does that money go? is it a tip? a short payment? who takes the hit: waitress or establishment?), will get you next time, and out the door with his pen and legal pad and documents and smug self-satisfaction. I disliked him immediately.

I took his emptied table.

The waitresses mock him after he is gone. They do not think of him the way he thinks they think of him. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

I begin writing, this piece and another: a book of stories, a story of the book, of the people of the book, of a shelf of books dusty unread to be read full to the bursting with their tales their woes their lives and words unlived unbreathed not breathing; we wait. My sandwich arrives, I sip my coffee.

I eat. I return to writing. I take two photographs. I pay and leave.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

And so, Perhaps. [beach combing thoughts]

Following. A strange act to follow, rampaging wild and say, footloose. But frankly, if such an act remains possible (remains at all): to be frank, to speak frankly; regards to one's biases and seeking to acknowledge and eschew them. But frankly, it is the act of following, to follow, to follow after that remains strange, the strange. To choose a page, a stage, a path, a venue that has been chosen, chosen before, chosen for, chosen again; established.

I sit on the beach, it has been so long, so long, my friend. Blessed be. I sit on the beach in the late morning wind, shirtless to the high and rising sun, pen succumbing to the elements, elemental decay, wondering if I should take the plunge. No one is swimming, perhaps I should have checked the flags before cooking my feet on the hot sand, or called ahead. The surf is up with the wind but there doesn't seem to be any extreme wildlife danger, the sharks keep to the pier. Wondering if any of the women - they are all women at this hour - are watching me, watching me waiting for me to watch them, to notice they have undone their tops to remove tan lines from their backs how risqué, how much more absurd to only have them up front, pale breasts shyly exposed to husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, empty fitness center lockers with lines extended to the clavicle no further. I don't watch, they are incidental, I have come here to film. Perhaps meditate. I have begun to sweat.

The water was cool, cool to warm, nicely so and the sunlight sparkled beneath the clear waves. There is a shot in there, if I can get it. I have limited equipment. The ice has melted from my bottle. The women do not seem to think (perhaps they do not care, perhaps they revel in the audacity) I have come here to film them. Perhaps this is common. Perhaps nothing is absurd enough to pull them from their sunbathing, their beach reads.Just a man, ankle deep in the water, staring out to the horizon with a multiplicity of eyes. Also, perhaps, perpetual motion.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Four String Plague (to obtain more productive distractions)

[composed while watching The Stand; thinking about plagues and strumming on a ukelele]

In a perfect world, I suppose I could just call them hobbies. In a perfect world, I suppose they would be equally legitimate pursuits and I would be a renaissance man and not a dabbler. Sure they keep me from writing, but with a toddler around, there are a lot of times when simply can't be writing. Today I'll be a bricoleur.

"I've got blisters on me fingers."


I bought the uke a while back, something about the four strings. I didn't quite realize it wasn't tuned in fourths like my bass, though. I still need to look up how to tune the stings. Fifths and re-entrant and all that. Initially, I had thought to use it as an odd and tiny acoustic bass. Not quite. But I've gotten into it. Learned a few chords, and when I get around to changing the strings (lousy factory strings) and getting a clip-on tuner so that I don't have to be continually assaulted by the jarring not quite right notes, it might actually sound ok.

Finn loves to play bass with me. Or, rather he is far more interested in fucking around with the electric tuner while I muddle through. So much so that he throws fits if I don't let him whether I am interested in playing or not. Or I have to spend the whole time keeping him from smacking the guitar with his blocks or toys or whatever. Bad enough that he broke my practice amp the other day. Turns out one should not smack all the buttons and turn it off and on in rapid succession. I think he just caused a connection to break or fray in there somewhere but I haven't opened it up to take a look (it's not worth it to take it in to get fixed, I'll tell you that). Got me thinking I should get myself an acoustic bass. Won't need a cheapo amp to hear it; less breakable parts, less wires. I was thinking of going fretless.

I was also considering a mandolin. Something about those four stringers (in this case they're doubled, but same dif). It would be considerable smaller than an acoustic bass, the unwieldy bastard. And size is a big deal when you have a toddler that wants to mess around with every not white childproofed thing in the house. Not to mention that buying a hardcase or mounting the bass on the wall out of reach costs almost as much as the guitar itself.

See, I'm sorta looking to make this degenerate four string electric blues sound. I feel like playing the uke through a harmonica mic would be a solid component o' that sound. No idea where that thought came from, don't think anyone's bothered to try that one yet. Be a while before I do, though: too much money, too many wires. Add in a hollow body bass with a slide, a four string banjo, and maybe Finn can drop in on Einstein's electric violin (fiddle of gold against your soul...). Fourth String. Hmm, makes you think...

"No gigs yet... Just got together... Is Tuesday night cool for you? ... We'll just, you know, jam."


So that's another reason agains the acoustic bass - it's not really part of the sound, of the idea of the music I think about hearing in my head. Not being able to afford the one's I really want (or imagine I desire), I feel like I should get something that furthers me down the road. Ideally something that teaches me chords for a GDAE axe. (I've considered retuning the uke, it doesn't seem to be recommended). It'd be nice to play bass chords. There is that.

Because I'm not exactly a musician. Not anymore. Not since I left Montana and the last good band teacher. Maybe not since I got the braces and fucked my horn playing royally. And since then (despite another five years of active band participation) I've mostly been a dabbler, getting by on what I could fake (and back in the day I could fake a lot on the trumpet). But I, like almost everybody else, like the idea of playing music, like playing music, and certainly love an adoring crowd lavishing the praise (I can hear those yaks already). It is a much more immediate gratification that writing can provide, and a live show is a lot more verifiable than an hit counter on the blog, an easier energy to feed off, feedback on. Maybe someday. Keep building the callouses.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Drinking and writing and being a dad

Tequila Gimlet; rocks no sugar.

You watch a lot of the same movies. Luckily we've been able to avoid the mindless schlock normally marketed to toddlers. Finn likes Pixar. And Wes Anderson's stop-motion.

A non-exhaustive list:
Bolt
Cars
Castle in the Sky
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Finding Nemo
Kung Fu Panda
Ponyo
Ratatouille
Totoro
Toy Story
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 3
Up



And for that I am glad. Because if you are going to watch a movie over and over, it had better be good. Of course, it all becomes so much background noise. And with luck I can use it as an opportunity to scribble.

In fact, you do a lot of things over and over. Like getting up from the couch to reassemble a Duplo truck (cement truck according to the manufacturer, garbage truck according to an obsessive tot), or to open the fridge to say no to more milk or orange juice, or to reopen the shades revealing the greatest play area ever (windowsill FTW), or to search the house for the bear he needs to hold to calm down but will abandon in discreet corners and under tables and behind beds. Or all manner of additional activities relating to toys, food, annoyances, and tasks he can't or decides not to do on his own. There are many. It has been one of the more difficult things for me to adjust to. I like to sit still, to lie about/in. I lack boundless energy. He doesn't. Getting up means I can't nap. Or finish typing most sentences. C'est la vie avec l'enfant.

There is a Magic Hat bottle cap on the fridge. While the inside of the cap is generally printed with a witty or quirky phrase, usually in rhyme, this one reads: "You need to write more". No, I do not expect it is so unique as to be made just for us, but it is amusing in it's assumptions: writers drink and feel that they need to write more (and need to be reminded of the latter while they are distracted by the former). Given all my trips to the fridge, for Finn and my own aimless wanderings, it's a nice reminder. Occasionally it leads to something (two posts in one day!). Often not. But then there is also the Bukowski magnet: "until you die or it dies in you." I ain't dead yet. And for that, I suppose, I should be grateful, and I should keep writing. Hooray beer! Hooray responsibility!

I worry about his exposure to violence, so redolent in this fragmented Age. Getting tired of the repeat viewings, I occasionally try to watch something else on the side (Netflix for iPad). I've been meaning to watch Baader-Meinhoff Complex for some time, but the violence of it all (disturbing, senseless yet meaningful, timely) is beyond his ken. And it's not like I can explain what's going on when he glances away from the big screen. I think I might save that one for while he is asleep or entertained in another room. [though I am much less concerned, not unconcerned but less, with letting him watch nature shows as lions take down zebras] And so I take to the page, sipping my alternative gimlet and watching a rat cook haute French cuisine. Ah, the days, they are so fleeting. 物の哀れね〜

"... the rat ... he stole my documents..." (sans papiers)




Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

We have coffee again (with adorable photos)

We have coffee again. The new grinder came in yesterday afternoon. Led to Finn running outside chasing the mail lady. She was amused. He wasn't wearing any shoes and, chasing after, neither was I. Does great things for the floors. So as long as I don't break this one...



Finn is making incongruous shapes out of his duplos; calling them food. We both partake. "Food. Good."


He decided he could read all his books at the same time



Enough photos.

***
It's an odd thing, coming to grips with being a dad, a stay-at-home one at that. Puts my artistic narcissism in a new light. I hate being the guy that only talks about his kid, but when he is your sole companion all day (and when so few of the people around share my odd and divergent interests)...

My instagram feed is mostly pictures of him, my twitter feed is mostly about him or a "Being-without" when I get time away (though it's really about 80% RTs). There is a certain claustrophobia to it all. Did I mention he's sitting on my lap now?


***
I guess it comes down to a phase shift, switching a twentysomething's listless drunken ennui for a suburban stasis, a holding pattern where I hope I don't run out of jet fuel before John McClane sets fire to the runway. I guess when thinking about my future, I never really considered the reality behind chasing after a toddler. I don't want to call it growing up or maturing because while that has been an aspect of it for me, it isn't for many, much as they would protest. Parenting no longer fits on that continuum of events that one "does after high school" in the same way that I contend that college in not inherently necessary to a good life. In fact, the more of those way stations on the road of life that I pass unheedingly, the more I realize the absurdity in thinking that this is the way things must be done, should be done. At least I'm now in position to give advice to the next generation. Of course, looking, acting, and thinking the way I do, I doubt many will listen.

A thought to leave you with: Ravensburger puzzles have interchangeable pieces.



Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lo, the compositor (a man, a plan, a kid, & Spaceballs)

Bolt is on for the third time today and yet again no one is watching it. I'm grabbing a rare minute to write after fucking around on the GarageBand app creating a distinctly out of tune statement of bass guitars. I am fairly convinced that I need a translator to turn my rough music ideas into a actionable composition. Oh the degenerate hobbies of a dilettante. I am also drinking some Earl Grey tea. Finn is playing with what sounds like duplos or his trains (likely both) in his room and hasn't needed me to come in a fix something for a few minutes. A lucky respite. If he hadn't woken up at 5 (and spent 15 minutes lying on the floor outside our bedroom not knocking or coming in for reasons all his own - but I could hear him out there) and napped so early that I just took it as opportunity to go back to sleep myself, this might be a more exciting turn. But you take the time you can get. And I am always exhausted on Mondays...
"Yes, little man, what do you need?"

***
Two puzzles, a book, and a piggyback ride later, I return. Finishing the tea and cracking into a Sam Adams Scotch Ale (not too bad). I've grown tired (and mildly depressed) that I can usually quote Bolt better than Spaceballs. Though due to multiple daily watchings of this another, mostly Pixar works, my favorite movies no longer number anywhere near the top of the list of Most Watched. So, not much of a surprise, but still. And Since we picked up the Mel Brooks collection not too long ago; perhaps it's time to remedy the situation.
"You went over my helmet!"


He seems not to object. Of course he is more interested in the train on the open page of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. You have to start somewhere. If this works out though, I'll be glad. Glad glad glad glad glad.
***
Problems you never knew you would have as a parent #217: explaining that a Mog is not a Lion.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Sunday, April 10, 2011

When I say 'fifth' I really mean 750 mL {part v}




Anthony ordered a porterhouse (rare) and three fingers of the Talisker 25 year. It seemed fitting. (They were the same age) Ocelelot splurged on a chicken Caesar, dressing on the side, no croutons. Sir Talis just drank water, glass after glass, mumbling incoherently (inchoate) about Chapel Perilous; a garden or gardener.

They overheard two men in boxy American suits (cut large to poorly conceal their bulk rather than say the more interesting plot arc concerning sidearms that would indicate that they were hit men or the brand new heavies):
"I don't have the time, Werner. Sonny and Walt will be here any minute."
"But it's envy, see. Universal envy. That's the news, Cort!"
"Viacom!!!"


I am full of incomprehensible nonsense. I call it education. I call it a fever. And the cure is more cowbell. Also books. And black magick. They stopped listening to the two ugly extensions of corporate America when they realized that they were not going to be a meaningful plot device. When you put a gun on the mantel in the fifth act ...



Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Saturday, April 9, 2011

To see a man about a book {part ii}

So hold on to your horse, my friend. And if your horse should pass away then simply pretend that you can build them again.

"Barkeep, I'll have a whiskey. And a whisky."
***
"Not from around these parts, are ya, partner?"
"Not from around any parts, friend."
***
"Why they call you 'Ocelot'?"
"It's a good enough name, I suppose. Fits me near enough."
"Fits?"
"I'm the fastest gun East of Shanghai."
"The hell you say."
"Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?"
"You wanna step outside and dance?"
"I'll be your huckleberry."
bang. pow. zap.
"¿Quién es? ¿Quién es?"


That combination of wood smoke and sandalwood just does me in.
Ritual, I suppose. Ritual without worship, detached and descending. A pattern or a routine to cling to in the face of the Smiling Voids.

They rode for hours, in and out of days, weeks, months, years, decades, lifetimes... This is the place:
It was a small town with a big fence. Like castle walls of old. Protecting the town from dangers unknown. Protecting the town from the likes of them. They stopped at the Waygate to shit, shave, & shower. Anthony looked at the spare bit of parchment he had been carrying since the Territories. A name. A place.

"State your business!"
"We're here to see a man about a book."
"You may enter. For the day. You have to be out by Evenfall."

Location:Florida A1A,North Palm Beach,United States

Friday, April 8, 2011

Concerning a Quest, a Hunt, & Some Food {part iv}

The road clouds, Ocelot and Anthony make their way to the town gate. Best be gone before the sun. Before anyone asks about Beth or her house. Before the Night's Watch finds what's to be found; the stash.

Truth & Beauty: spilling out of the folds of her dress

There's nothing there: we craft the walls of our own prisons and fill them with our exception's imagination.


Even in the Outlands, closer to death more aware more at peace with all and everything, he thought longing of his books. What had become of them? Had they succumbed to the fires as so much else? He hoped not. He dared not dwell.

"Ocelot."
"Yeah."
"Got any food?"
"No."
"Well... Got any money?"
"No."
"Well, what do you got?"
"A good bit of rope. An appetite for destruction. And a two illegal knives."
"Do you have a plan?"
"Well, Anthony... I say we steal some food. But first we need to steal a couple bandit hats."
"I am intrigued. But first, lend me one of them bitchin' knives."


I write in bursts. In fits and starts and Sunday rains. It don't mean nothing.

The world is ending and we are ending with it. Whimper. Bang.

"Excuse me, sir."
"Yes?"
"I have this here stabbing knife as does my esteemed associate. Lest we use them to decorate your viscera, give us some food. Also, is that your daughter behind you?"
"Yes. Her name is Beth. Also, what type of food?"


Location:Florida A1A,North Palm Beach,United States

On exorcising the bad taste of disagreeable locals

I find myself more pleasant company. I used to think I liked to talk just to hear the dulcet tones of my golden voice. Maybe it used to be true. Maybe it still is, conditionally. I am not an evangelist.

It's another bright sunshiny day, but I'm inside because the ac is nice and my skin burns easy. Forgot to put the sunscreen on this am and frankly don't need to go all lobster. Going out tonight. With adults. To a show. Have to look my best. No, the vanity is still intact. Oh, the yaks. The fields and fields of gentle, unassuming yaks.

Headphones. They keep the world at bay, allow me to wallow in my chosen filth. Allow me to avoid and ignore the ignorance around me, the bad taste, the foolish belief systems, and general stupidity of the world, of this little sunburnt corner of it specifically. I have chosen this life, it's relative poverty (financially anyway, but we are rich in spirit & spirits). I don't need to bother with the talking points of a gaggle of MSM parrots and their reality tunnel vision. After a couple hours though, the the headphones make my ears hurt. Hours is better than minutes though. I am the mad prophet. I like to listen to myself ramble, miss the semantic arguments with people who know what the word 'semantic' meant. But I find that I have no desire whatsoever to preach to these lost sheep, I do not seek to save the lost from Glenn Beck (what will they do now that his tv show is cancelled? Huddle around the radio? Just like real Americans used to when men where men and women and minorities knew their place? No, I will not take book recommendations from you, sir. Not all reading is good reading.)

I was irrationally upset by having my afternoon ruined yesterday by a conversation with a man who not only disagreed with me on every issue, but knew he was right and couldn't figure out why I didn't embody the straw man positions that he has been told 'liberals' have. Sure, I wasn't able to write but it was more than that. This man ruined a bar for me that I really wanted to like. I mean, it's not great. It has a quaint charm but it's beer selection is shameful. But it was the best one in stumbling distance. And I guess, this is the final nail. I don't belong here. I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo. And now I'm ready to go. Last one out of Liberty City, burn it to the ground.

The real issue is that I no longer have any desire to engage with people who are narrow minded. It's not that I only want to talk to people who agree with me, engage with those who will massage my ego and assure me that the world is still a rational and sensible place. Because it isn't and I don't. But I do expect the people I talk to to realize that they have chosen their reality tunnel and that there are others and that all of them are equally legitimate and equally manufactured nonsense. Open-mindedness. Critical thinking skills. A glimpse behind the curtain (pay no attention to that man!). Not all talking is good talking. I don't care if you heed my message or not: I'm not looking to save heathens, just entertain friends and fellows.

So hopefully you are entertained. And I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States (a Starbucks)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On the immediacy of writing on the interwebs, a quick note

Why is it that I find it so easy to ramble here or the tumblr but so hard to compose the lengthy publishable pieces I need? Immediacy, I suppose. I like the idea of people reading my work. People other than Gina. And a dormant perfectionism. I get so bogged down in the details of my various long form pieces that I rarely can bring them to a satisfactory close; they languish in an limbo bogged down in one insignificant detail that no one will look up, that three people in the history of ever might complain about, all because I know that it is probably wrong or contains within it the potential to be misconstrued. Then again, what doesn't? And so I am placed in a position where I really need to get over myself and get on with it. Because while it is satisfying to check the blog stats and find out that some 49 people have read my writing, it would be so much more satisfying to know that my writing had been legitimately published in a journal that boasts an actual readership and a substantial distribution/subscriber network. But enough of that, food's here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Florida A1A,Riviera Beach,United States (Brass Ring Pub)

Wake up, it's nearly noon...

A stream of fungible rambles to wake the brain and let the words flow in a rather more coherent and marketable fashion; begin:

"He's not selling any alibis."

4:48 and he's in the room asking for mama his bottle his white noise off and to just be with us generally. But I have my contacts in, they are the sleep in kind [the kind that it doesn't matter that I leave them in overnight and they last a month but I'm wearing a new pair after a week in the glasses and six months in the last pair (an optometrist's nightmare, I)], and unlike yesterday I can see the clock and recognize that neither he nor I nor my lady wife nor any reasonably sane person that isn't working graveyard or partying like it's 1066 should be waking or woken at this hour (a full 30 minutes earlier than the day before and 50 minutes earlier than the day before that - no way I was jumping down that defeatist rabbit hole).

***

He screamed, fussed, bitched, moaned, and smacked the door that I was holding closed to keep him in his room, urge him back to the comfort of his bed, his stuffed souls (bear, frog, lamb, paisley). 16 minutes. I have the stronger will. For now. I returned to spoon the lady wife.

***

"God said to Abraham, 'Kill me a son.'"

Testing, a ritual of self-flagellation, proof positive that we are human, that we are epic fail. Being towards. Some would argue, poorly as the lay audience of self involved parents giving over their lives to vicariously ruin the lives of their spawn have given me the general impressing that they lack a philosophical vocabulary let alone a wit to effectively construct and communicate such an argument (an apology for reproduction and self-effacement), that once one becomes a parent one ceases to be an individual. While it can be easily stated (less easily followed look at all those shitty parents out the) that when one has a child a significant portion of one's life is indeed constructed as a 'Being with' or a 'Being for' the child (as they are incapable of effecting such a Being for themselves for a period of time unique to the individual and I'm sure there are plenty of studies on this that you could look up and decide which is right for you and yours) that is not, nor should it be, the whole of one's ontological character. The self is always first s constructed self. Should you choose to construct that self as a subject of another (an Other), it is clearly a choice amongst the plethora, but the self-effacement is a choice and not a necessity nor really should it be a goal. Personally, I find it to be a rather depressing form of escapism. I have far preferable means of effecting escapism, I think I'll keep to those.

***
6:13 and he's back and looking for hot milk and hopefully a cuddle that let's daddy go back to sleep on the couch and mama shower and get ready to wrangle those cats into orderly rows, desks, and everybody do your lessons (you can't have your pudding unless you eat your meat!). Half a banana, two cereal bars, a tickle fight, a game of chase (Attention: Today all trains will be re-routed over the windowsill, expect delays) later his sitter drops by to take him out. Kung Fu Panda has played through three times (I think, it's getting harder and harder to tell). And now it is my day to write. I download a solitaire app.

"Because something is happening here but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States