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Apr. 26, 2009 · Today, er, Two Days Ago In Music History · Dec. 15, 2008 · The Contents Of The Rest Of The World's Dream Do Not Concern Me (or, Why I'm Not Turning 40) · Oct. 22, 2008 · Delinquency 2008: The State Of The Art · Aug. 27, 2008 · Question of the day: The First Time In Your Life That You Noticed Someone Cheating At Something · Aug. 7, 2008 · The Zen Of Patrick · Aug. 1, 2008 · A masterpiece of doublespeak · Jun. 10, 2008 · Day nights · Feb. 16, 2008 · A matter of definition · Sep. 19, 2007 · Copyright Notice · May. 28, 2007 · Song For Hume, And Wacks, And Dan, And You · May. 26, 2007 · The Measure Of A Poet: an explication upon empirical qualification of authorial poesy in three lines · May. 5, 2007 · Shortbus: A Fairy tale About Sex · Apr. 5, 2007 · These Are The People In My Neighborhood (4820.html), III · Feb. 19, 2007 · Ode To A Curl-Up Bug · Jan. 24, 2007 · Feedback · Jan. 16, 2007 · Max's First Movie · Nov. 6, 2006 · Out of sight, out of mind · Oct. 30, 2006 · A question of time · Oct. 24, 2006 · Inspiration & Perspiration · Oct. 14, 2006 · Infernal Algebra · Jun. 14, 2006 · Funeral business trivia · Jun. 9, 2006 · In memoriam (nearly) · Apr. 16, 2006 · Lock Of Ages · Feb. 28, 2006 · Report On My Weekend · Feb. 12, 2006 · The most evil words · Nov. 27, 2005 · These Are The People In My Neighborhood, (3062.html) II · Nov. 20, 2005 · Ode to "Ode To A Croaking Man" (1866.html) · Nov. 7, 2005 · A step towards understanding (instead of) violence · Oct. 16, 2005 · These Are The People In My Neighborhood · Sep. 7, 2005 · In heaven, everything is fine · Sep. 6, 2005 · San Francisco lexicon ( · Aug. 31, 2005 · "The Light Shone On Me" · Jul. 31, 2005 · Ode To A Croaking Man · Jul. 2, 2005 · New York Story · Jun. 19, 2005 · Aging · Apr. 29, 2005 · Fascination, and dangerous weather · Apr. 19, 2005 · In dreams, I walk with you · Apr. 18, 2005 · The most suggestive term in telecommunications · Apr. 15, 2005 · Verse Upon Bank Of America Holding My Checks And Angering My Cat ·
"The lamb sat down in the flowers," she said. "The lamb was all right."

Vocabulary words:
SENESCENCE: the process of growing old and showing the progressive effects of aging; the quality of being aged.
ABSQUATULATE: A southern US regionalism, "to go squat somewhere"; to abscond, to disappear.
SUSURRUS: an indistinct sibilant sound; the sound of crowds of people whispering or of waves crashing in the distance.

That website again is
 My friend Patrick accidentally killed some sea urchins.
Their spines all fell out so he took them home and dried out their shells and put them on a shelf.
I thought,"What a shame. They used to be so ugly, and now they're so beautiful."

Three adages I have learned are true:
1. Timing is everything.
2. Never use a chainsaw where a scalpel is called for.
3. If it bends, it's funny; if it breaks, it's not funny.
4. Just you've got a hammer, doesn't mean everything in the world is a nail.
5. Don't believe everything that you think.


Please note that the information in this personal weblog is provided for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice. Where necessary, professional help or the application of independent thought to one's individual circumstances ought to be sought. No romantic relationship is created by any person's reading or use of this site or any information on it. The author disclaims all responsibility for any emotional harm or damage, however caused (whether through the author's negligence or otherwise), by believing any information on this site or anywhere else.

The views expressed on this site are the author's right now, alone. They are not intended to represent his views at other times, past or present, in any way. I'm sorry already, ok?

4/26/09 @ 04:10 pm   
Today, er, Two Days Ago In Music History
location: Cave
Current mood: none
Music: Paul Simon & George Harrison, "Here Comes The Sun"

aving taken a day or two away from my laptop, I was just catching up on my weekend's reading and came across this list. The last paragraph sent a shiver down my spine. I should have posted this on Friday:

"Today In Music History: April 24, 2009

1942 - Barbra Streisand was born.
1968 - Louis Armstrong was at No.1 in the UK with the single 'What A Wonderful World"
1968 - The Beatles new company Apple Records turned down the offer to sign a new artist named David Bowie.
1984 - Jerry Lee Lewis married wife number six, 22- year old Kerrie McCarver.
1992 - David Bowie married model Iman, in Switzerland.
1982 - Kelly Clarkson was born.

On this day in 1976, Paul and Linda McCartney spent the evening with John Lennon at his New York Dakota apartment and watched Saturday Night Live. Producer of the show Lorne Michaels made an offer on air asking The Beatles to turn up and play three songs live. Lennon and McCartney thought about taking a cab to the studio, but decided they were too tired. This was the last time Lennon and McCartney were together."

It's not very well known that by the mid-seventies John Lennon and Paul McCartney had renewed their friendship. There is even a 1974 studio jam consisting of McCartney, an extremely coked-up Lennon, Stevie Wonder and Harry Nilsson available on a bootleg entitled "A Toot And A Snore In '74". Unfortunately, despite what you might hope from the stellar line-up, it is an absolute mess of drunken, unfocused rambling, Lennon railing against whatever crosses his mind at any particular moment, and sloppy, unfinished attempts at '50s songs - not even worth the download time, unless you're truly desperate for one more recording that happens to have both Lennon and McCartney's voices in it. (See a typical review and track listings at Bootleg Zone,§ion=2)

Nonetheless, having heard George Harrison and Paul Simon's beautiful acoustic renditions of "Here Comes The Sun" and "The Boxer" ( from their surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live the following year, I tend to look favorably on the idea of ex-Beatles showing up at NBC studios in the mid-'70s with guitars in hand.

So, just imagine what might have happened if Paul McCartney and John Lennon had been a little less tired that night. Just imagine what we might have been treated. Imagine how music history might have changed. If they hadn't been too tired. Just imagine.

Original source:

12/15/08 @ 12:00 pm   
The Contents Of The Rest Of The World's Dream Do Not Concern Me (or, Why I'm Not Turning 40)
location: Cave
Current mood: relieved

or the record, I was born on Dec. 11, 1968. I turned 39 last year, on Dec. 11, 2007. I can't say I thought about it much, at least at first. But a month or two ticked by, and I thought of a number. The number 40. Just as I had thought of the number 40 on December 11th of ten years previous, in 1998, it having arisen unbidden following a brief consideration of the number 30.

Nine years before that I thought about the number 21, 18 three years before that, and five years earlier still, 13.

According to conventions of the religion I was born into, I became a man at 13, amidst much fanfare from my family. Secular society called me an 'adult' at 18. At 21 I proudly told the grocery store clerk I'd be happy to show him my ID, at 30 I was no longer trustworthy, at least by the reckoning of some folks, once upon a time. And at 39, I was one year away from life "beginning". And so the number 40 crossed my mind. But of course, it wasn't only a number.

You know, from pretty conventional beginnings, I've managed to sculpt a pretty damn unconventional adult life. Certainly not the life I expected to have. The adult life I expected to have was what you, if you're one of my older friends reading this, likely have: house in the suburbs, 2.6 kids, wood-panelled station wagon, metaphorically speaking, at least. But the long-range goal I saw for myself, it turned out, was in opposition to the collective result of the individual choices I made along the way.

So I found myself, at 39 years old, in a place where I was content, but nonetheless a much different place than I had expected to be, and a much different place than a vast number of my friends seemed to be. Like the wise man said, it isn't easy being green, and when you find yourself standing across a gulf from everybody else, it's only natural to step back and question your position.

What did it matter that I had built a moderately successful consulting career out of nothing, had the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted, traveled, slept late every day, and supported myself well in one of the most expensive cities on the planet while working an average of 10 hours a week? I had met none of the conventional benchmarks of reasonable success in our society. I don't own a home. I don't have kids. I don't have the benefit of a partner's constant love, support and company. With only occasional exceptions, I wake up alone every morning. None of these things particularly bothered me, until this great, glowing icon of the number "40" appeared in my path, beneath the light of which these truths suddenly cast some harsh shadows.

And then I realized: what kind of shit is that?

"Not until you're 18." "Under 21 not admitted." "Don't trust anybody over 30." "Life begins at 40." Our whole lives we're fed expectations and preconceptions, implicit beliefs hung upon milestones decreed by holy men, by lawmakers and greeting-card company presidents, long dead men whose lives bore no relation to mine. And yet, how many of us ever think to challenge these presumptions? I never did, until my life, seen in the light of those men's inventions, and of other men's lives, even my friends, started to cast shadows that I didn't like.

But despite how it may have looked to those around me at times, in 39 years of life I was lucky enough or prescient enough never to have made a major decision that, given the information available at the time, I wouldn't make again. And in a moment of clarity I realized that if my approaching 40th birthday caused me to see my life in a light that disturbed me, clearly, what needed to be changed was the bulb.

So I'm not turning 40. I decided to abandon the whole loaded system. I needed to go back to my youth, when each birthday was joyful, a celebration of another year of growing, of learning, of thriving - a new accomplishment, another step into a wonderful land, instead of a mapped and labeled checkpoint on a well-trodden road that I once followed but now was no longer on.

I gave a lot of thought to how I could mark the passing of my life without evoking the dismal specter of life passing by. Celebrating day milestones seemed a natural and obvious scheme - every 100, 500 or 1000 days - but I felt like a simpler system would be more likely to be adopted by my family, who get sentimental about occasions like birthdays but would be unlikely to be willing to do that much math to determine the date. Weeks have always felt like an artificial division to me, and still require the use of pen and paper to determine the important multiples of.

So I compromised, keeping the day of celebration the same for the sake of simplicity, by celebrating important intervals of months since my birth - multiples of 10 months or 25 months. So, after doing some initial calculations, I realized my 470th month anniversary had passed a few days before, on February 11, 2008. so my first month anniversary observance occurred, without fanfare, on my the day I was 475 months old - 25s and 75s seemed important enough milestones to celebrate - on July 11, 2008. My 480th would be Dec. 11, 2008, today as I write this, then my 490th will be in October 2009, then nothing until the big 5-0-0 in August of 2010.

The mathematically astute among you may detect that today's anniversary, my 480th, is particularly significant for an unrelated reason. It is that this means I have completed 48 ten-month celebration cycles, and 48 is divisible by more integers than any number up to it, or, in fact, any number until 60.

The system still had some flaws, though. For it to be a valid new paradigm, and not a desultory intellectual curiosity, I felt it needed two more pieces to tie it all together. I needed a name for the 10-month span of time - ten years is to 'decade' and ten months is to what? - and I needed a derogatory name for the old, year-based system of marking birthdays.

Surprisingly, no amount of research could uncover an existing term for a ten-month span. After conferring with numerous intelligent friends, web pages on Latin and Greek word roots, and much introspection, I eventually settled on "decemester", which literally means "10 months." "Decamensus" and "Decad" were strong contenders for a while, also.

The system was nearly complete. All that remained was to come up with a derogatory term for the old, annually-based birthday scheme.

As luck would have it, a few weeks later, I was relating my thinking to Jeff, a good friend and astute observer of the human condition. Once I finished explaining it all to him, and had said that all that was missing was a derogatory name for the old system, without missing a beat he looked at me and said,


Good old Jeff. My system was complete! It works!

I'm no longer anxious about where I stand in relation to predetermined notions of where I should be as I move through life. The goalposts have been removed. I no longer recognize "years" as a valid measurement of age - they're just irrelevant to me.

I just celebrate accomplishing another month, or 10, of life, with no burden of dreams of success or love beside which real life might come up short.

I'm feeling really good about the new system. It suits me well. I'm really glad I came up with it.

Especially as without it, I would have turned 40 this year. Whew! Close one! Talk about dodging a bullet!

10/22/08 @ 02:46 pm   
Delinquency 2008: The State Of The Art
location: Fruitvale
Current mood: surprised

ight now it's school hours, and there are a bunch of kids hanging around on the plaza right outside my office window. They've got a huge rolling AV rack out there with them, and they're playing Guitar Hero on it.

Man, juvenile delinquency has come a long way since I was a kid.

8/27/08 @ 01:26 pm   
Question of the day: The First Time In Your Life That You Noticed Someone Cheating At Something
location: Saigon Wraps, Fruitvale
Current mood: nostalgic
Music: bland electronica

uestion of the day:

The First Time In Your Life That You Noticed Someone Cheating At Something

Actually, the first person I noticed cheating would be myself. I totally figured it out on my own before ever seeing anyone else do it. I think I got my first inkling when I tried to tell my friend Steven Axeman I was 4 1/2, not 4, because I thought it made me sound grownup. Somehow he knew I wasn't 4 1/2! So when I turned 4 1/2, I told him again, and he said, "Yes, today you are." I never found out how he knew exactly when my half-birthday was, but it was an epiphany that mysterious means existed by which I might be found out.

But really, my first experience with real cheating would be in second grade. I hadn't finished my homework, and my teacher, Mrs. Beekman, wrote a note in my notebook for my mom to sign. So what I did, on the bus home, I forged her signature. Of course, what I failed to consider, was that I was a second-grader and unwise in the ways of the world - I wasn't aware of my own ignorance. So I figured it was fine that instead of scribbling "Ann Krubopple", my mother's name, I printed longhand, in widely spaced letters, "Mrs. Krubop" - and then I hit the edge of the page and ran out of room. But I wasn't going to let an obstacle like that stop me. I simply added a hyphen, and continued the name on the next line, so my "mom's signature" came out like this, printed:

Mrs. Krubop-


The next day, my teacher called me up in front of the whole class to show her my mom's signature on the note. I turned to the page nervously - I still recall this so clearly - and showed it to her. She got very quiet, and just looked at it for a moment.

After looking at it thoughtfully, she looked at me, and said, "Michael, is that really your mother's signature?"

I said, "Yes."

She looked at it again for another thoughtful moment. "Now Michael " - here she paused for emphasis - "your mother is in the next room. If I take this and show it to her, will she say it's her signature?"

But clearly Mrs. Beekman was underestimating me. Did she think I'd conquered the running-out-of-space-on-the-first-line crisis only to be undone now by a bluff, a transparent lie? Not a chance!

I said, "Yes."

Once again, genius! I was at the top of my seven-year-old game.

And Mrs. Beekman walked out of the room for a curious moment. Had I known at the time that this was the very last moment of my innocence, that immediately following it I would have the first adult experience of my life, I might have savored it. But I didn't. As it was, I just stood quietly in front of the class waiting to see what was about to happen. And a minute later, Mrs. Beekman walked back into the room with my mom.

Mrs. Beekman held out the notebook, and theatrically said, "Mrs. Krubopple, is this your signature?"

And my mom said "no," and turned and walked back out of the room.

Several important life lessons were learned in that single seminal moment:

1.) Life is funny.

2.) You're not as smart as you think you are.

3.) The devil is in the details.

4.) The best-laid plans of mice and men, etc.

5.) Payback is a bitch.

Needless to say, I got in some trouble over this incident, both with Mrs. Beekman AND at home that night. Years later, my mom, who was very active in the PTA, told me she had happened to be in the next classroom that afternoon working on a PTA project, and that she and Mrs. Beekman had shared a very good laugh in the hallway. "It was really cute, " she said.

So, that was one more early lesson that I took to heart:

4.) If you're going to make some sort of trouble, at least make it funny. The authorities are people, too.

I still heed those lessons to this day, especially the last one.

8/7/08 @ 11:37 am   
The Zen Of Patrick
location: Fruitvale
Current mood: caffeinated
Music: Cheap Trick's "Dream Police" stuck in my head

y friend Patrick does Vipassana meditation retreats. He goes to this Buddhist center out in the foothills of the Sierras and spends 10 days meditating in silence - no talking allowed, for the whole time.

Last night he told me a story about one of his first Vipassana retreats. He said he spent a lot of time thinking about what his first words would be when the 10 days of silence ended.

On the last day of the retreat, an hour and a half before the silence was supposed to end, he was walking outside on the wooded property, when suddenly, from just beyond the treeline near him, there was a tremendous clatter and racket. Several other nearby retreat members, all also awaiting the end of the 10-day period of silence later that afternoon, looked up in curiosity, and saw that Patrick was close enough to have gotten a glimpse of what caused the noise.

As he walked away, with an hour and a half left to go, one of the others broke the vow of silence. As Patrick walked by, the man asked, "What was it?"

And Patrick told him.

As he related the story to me, he ended with, "... and, after all the time I spent thinking about what the first thing I was gonna say after ten days of silence would be, the first thing I said wound up being, 'A dog.' "

8/1/08 @ 12:19 pm   
A masterpiece of doublespeak
location: San Francisco
Current mood: censored
Music: bad 80s song running through my head

esterday's New York Times reported that Sun Weide, the chief spokesman for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, clarified earlier promises of unrestricted internet access for foreign journalists during the Beijing Olympic games with this statement: "It has been our policy to provide the media with convenient and sufficient access to the Internet.”

An about-face on the part of China's internet censors? Not on your life. This was Weide's way of explaining that foreign journalists' surfing habits would be subject to the same censorship restrictions as everyone else in China. The Times piece goes on to say, "Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages — among them those that discuss Tibetan issues, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown on the protests in Tiananmen Square and the Web sites of Amnesty International, the BBC’s Chinese-language news, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse."

Nothing new from the Chinese government - but what skill at spinning totalitarianism into a plus!

You know, I once promised my girlfriend I'd give her convenient and sufficient oral sex. She didn't appreciate it either.

6/10/08 @ 06:51 pm   
Day nights
location: 5 AM
Current mood: awake

gotta do something about them day nights.

I was just walking home from the store, bopping down the street at 11 PM, a time that I grew up believing was a sensible time to be in bed. 1 AM used to be alien terrain, exotic, strange. 2 AM - well, that might as well have been a million o'clock. It was like the furthest frontier. The night might have gone on forever beyond that, for all I knew, ending only when the last human had decided to go to bed before we could all wake up in the daylight again.

Nowadays the small hours of the morning are familiar to me. More than familiar - ordinary, 1 AM no more mysterious than 1 in the afternoon (and probably not as mysterious as 10 AM, a time I haven't seen in many months but that somehow still fails to hold a fascination for me.) Even 4 AM is pedestrian. I call it the "day nights". It's just another part of the day. If you're up long enough, it becomes literally day again, and what once seemed the endless rolling mystery of night is revealed to be nothing more than the day going slack for a while, drooping into in a bucket of dark water, but soon enough pulled taut again. Sunrise doesn't just break the magic spell - it announces that it was, after all, just a spell. Daylight shines even into the darkest recesses of the day nights.

When I was a kid, I snuck out of the house a few times late at night, either by myself or with friends who had stayed over for the express purpose. I once ventured out into the unfathomable territory of 3:30 AM - alien, not as mars, perhaps, but as the arctic. It was a broad frontier. Now, it is no different than a trip to the cellar.

I had the experience once, as an adult. I had decided to catch a nightcap, last call at a nearby bar, at quarter after 1 in the morning. As I walked the few blocks to my watering hole, the neighborhood was quiet and still. Perhaps it was just that, or perhaps it was in conjunction with some inner psychological or chemical fluke, but suddenly, it all came flooding back. It was late night, that foreign land - past the frontier, well into the secret, wild territories of the 1 o'clock hour! Here there be tygers!

And I was on my way out! To a bar, to play with the adults in an adult outpost out in the wilds of 1:15 AM! I was delighted.

That was a rare exception. Once 4 AM became familiar to me, and sunrise mundane, the territory was charted, tame. I know the riverbed from shore to shore. 11 PM isn't the last outpost of the known, it's just 11 o'clock in the afternoon. And hence we have the day nights. There's no beacon, no hidden land or hour out there far in the night, far into times that we don't have a name for yet, which I might stay up later and later and still never find. Tygers don't exist. Dawn always comes.

So, I gotta do something about them day nights, because, you know, the quintessence of romance lies in the beckoning. Once you've conquered the unknown you have familiarity and safety and comfort, and if you believe the world is a terrible place that may be all you need. I am a romantic, because I am, at significant cost to myself at times, an optimist - a cynical, scarred, and unfailing optimist, in that I believe better things may always lay just a couple of steps into the unknown. And really, they don't have to be. I just need the potential to be there.

Note: This little bit of exposition is dedicated to Ray Bradbury, a longtime companion who I have never had the pleasure of meeting.

2/16/08 @ 11:41 pm   
A matter of definition
location: cave
Current mood: indescribable
éjà vu: a false sense that something new has been seen before
Jamais vu: a feeling or impression that something familiar is not familiar or is being seen for the first time
Presque vu: the erroneous sense of having something on the tip of your tongue, or that a mental epiphany or breakthrough is about to occur

I wonder if the French have a word for the strange feeling that something wonderful has just happened, but you don't have any idea what?

9/19/07 @ 04:05 pm   
Copyright Notice
location: cave
Current mood: plagiarized
Music: Brendan Perry, "Sloth"

he text and original graphics, logos and slogans used in my blog "Sloth And Dignity" (as seen in the main page here) are copyright (c) 2005-2007 by Life In A Mikeycosm. Please do not steal them and use them in a gay porn video like these people did.

5/28/07 @ 12:39 am   
Song For Hume, And Wacks, And Dan, And You
MP3 link included near end of entry
s some of you may have noticed, I do not generally write posts about the day-to-day events of my life except in the course of telling an amusing story or explicating some idea or other. So, we interrupt this blog for an unusually personal moment.

On May 27, Christopher Hume's parents met up with my friends Dan and Mike at Bard College, and they went down to the on-campus waterfalls on the Sawkill Creek, where Chris and I had spent so much time back in school, to scatter Chris's ashes.Interested parties can click here to read the whole post and listen to my song about it.Collapse )

5/26/07 @ 03:12 pm   
The Measure Of A Poet: an explication upon empirical qualification of authorial poesy in three lines
Current mood: Doggerelistatical
Music: electric fan

hat better a measure of man as a poet
Is there, b'sides seeing some poems he's wroet?
If better exists, I sure do not knoet.

5/5/07 @ 10:49 pm   
Shortbus: A Fairy tale About Sex
location: Cave. Again.
Current mood: geeky
hy I posted a movie review is a mystery even to me. But if you want you can read it here: Full ReviewCollapse )

4/5/07 @ 11:16 pm   
These Are The People In My Neighborhood (4820.html), III
Current mood: Evesdroperous

y living room, 11:15 pm, 2/24/07
[As I was walking through my living room with a glass of wine, my laconic roommate Gil was having a conversation with his friend Dean the video editor.]

Dean: ...all we need is Anna Nicole Smith's body! [pause] There has to be a way.
Gil: Yeah, well, I was outbid.

2/19/07 @ 03:31 pm   
Ode To A Curl-Up Bug
Current mood: unimpaled
In memoriam Christopher Hume, Sep. 20 1968-Feb. 17 2007. Ridiculously talented musical prodigy, ludicrous poet, co-conspirator, inspiration, trickster, friend, enemy.


O! pity the poor maligned curl-up!
Its form, tho' well designed, inspires many to fear!
But many a curl-up has faced
a cruel and untimely fate
'neath some shoe or sneaker well-placed
So it raises its hackles to have some such footwear come near!

Though 'pill bug' it's properly named,
so low on the food chain, one hides behind cautious deceit!
The 'pill bug's kept secret and dear!
Mere 'curl-up' when others are near!
Lest the higher aesthetic, they fear,
of some higher predator find 'pill bug' deliciously sweet!

In the science museum on a visit,
I viewed an exhibit of insects both fearsome and small.
But one creature displayed, I saw not!
"Unworthy of view, or forgot,"
so I thought, 'til chagrined I did spot
In some beetle's food bowl, poor curl-up lay curled in a ball!

Injustice! Whose foul vision is it
that sees fit to visit on poor curl-up such indignation!
Can poet not visit museum
And look upon curl-up, and see 'em
regarded with higher este'em
than chiefly of value as some beetle's mere delectation?
My wrath hits its limit! I must make a stand! Steeling my courage, with clenched fist I tilt towards exhibit!
Beetle and beetle curator be damn'd! By indignant poetic hand I SHALL FREE 'IM!


Unlike my own hue and cry,
Without heave nor sigh the small pill bug awaited his fate.
So stoic, as if deep in thought
In spite of what fortune had wrought
the pill bug appeared undistraught!
As if unconcerned that a curl-up's thought best to be ate!

So nobly it faced its demise?
Rubbing my eyes, I peeked close at small curl-up again.
Yes! Naught but peace shown on his face
Him placid and stately with grace
Disturbed not by impending fate
For such is the curl-up's exemplary practice of zen!

Embarrassed I was, I confess,
For mine lesser grace and finesse than the doomed curl-up shew.
Perhaps, then, this pill bug has shown
a strength we can find of our own
when looms near that darkness unknown,
should we ever come to be ate by a huge insect too!

So heed now all creatures my call!
Should you walk, fly, swim, slither or crawl!
The merest of pill bugs is mightier still than us all!

This poem, previously published on my website, is based on a real experience that happened to me and Chris in the Boston Science Museum in 1993.

1/24/07 @ 08:44 pm   
Current mood: nervous
Music: Funky Meters bootleg, live in Boston 11/21/78

Tags: , ,

Good to hear on eBay. Not so good to hear in bed.

1/16/07 @ 10:43 am   
Max's First Movie
location: Krypton
Current mood: Jamais vu
Music: "Put The Clock Back On The Wall" by The "E" Types

he other night I talked to my old friend Zigmo Parchesi, the funniest man in the world. He told me he took his toddler son Max to his first movie. "Oh, yeah?" I asked. "What did you choose to scar him with?"

"Porn. We took him see some hardcore pornography. Told him we were going to show him how he was made. 'Not like that.... not like that... not like that... Yes! Like that!... No, no, not like that!... Not like that... not like that...'"

* * * *

A few years ago, Zigmo moved out to the edge of the woods in northern New Jersey. I asked him, "New Jersey? have you seen the jersey devil yet?" Without missing a beat, he said, "No, I haven't seen the jersey devil, but I have been to the mall."

* * * *

Update, 5/31/07

I almost left out the funniest part.

Zigmo had his first son about 2 years ago. When he was talking about naming the kid, he said they picked the first name "Maxwell" very easily. For the middle name they wanted something to honor their fathers, both of whose names start with the letter "J". So, "Maxwell J. Parchesi". They just had to decide what the J would stand for, that would honor their fathers.

Can you guess what they picked? Think about it for a minute. They geekiest among you may get it. The rest won't.

Starts with 'J'. Honors their fathers. Get it yet?


As in, Superman's father. Jor-El of Krypton. From the comic book. Maxwell Jor-El Parchesi.

I said, "Jor-El?!?!?!" Zigmo said, "What? He was very wise."

"That's great," I said, "now all you need to do is make sure the none of his peers ever hear of this between, oh, the ages of 8 and 15."

"Oh, he'll have much worse stuff to be embarrassed about at that age than his name," he said. "Like, his father."

I asked if they were going to go with the hyphen or if he was going to wuss out. He said his wife originally pushed for no hyphen, spelling it "Jorel", but Zigmo talked her out of it. Maxwell Jor-El Parchesi.

You probably have to know Zigmo personally to know how lucky that kid is.

Now, kid #2 is on the way. I'm waiting with bated breath. I'm going to suggest "Clea" if it's a girl, "Dormammu" if it's a boy.

11/6/06 @ 12:12 am   
Out of sight, out of mind
he other night, as I was laying in bed, I suddenly saw my thoughts from the 'outside'... almost like when you look at your reflection in a mirror. It's like, some people say they have out of body experiences, where they can look down at their body from the ceiling of the hospital room. It was like that except instead of an out of body experience, it was an out of mind experience.

Isn't that weird?

10/30/06 @ 12:29 am   
A question of time
he other night I had a dream. This sort of androgynous figure, I think it was a young girl, was causing all sorts of violence. She desperately wanted to be free of linear time, to be able to travel and move around in it however she wanted, and was willing to hurt of or kill to be able to do it.

I asked what she hated so much about being stuck moving forward in time like the rest of us. She said she couldn't stand the constant stream of seconds, one after another after another after another after another... "It's like being covered with a million flies, picking at you." The scary thing was, for a second I knew what she meant. I felt it.

The blogger wishes to note that despite the implications of his choice of phrase above, it has always been his firm belief that we are not moving forward in time. We are standing still, and time is moving backwards around us.

10/24/06 @ 05:07 pm   
Inspiration & Perspiration
think it was Edison who said the thing about genius being composed of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But I feel fairly sure that what he left out, was, it's a particularly joyous sort of perspiring.

10/14/06 @ 12:39 am   
Infernal Algebra
Current mood: evil

arlier this evening, my friend and I were at the store. I picked a bottle of fine belgian ale out of the cooler. The bottle was priced at $4.59. When I got to the register, my friend was in line ahead of me buying a slice of pound cake. Knowing a good idea when I saw one, I went and picked a slice of pound cake also. I did not know the cost of the slice of cake. When the cashier rang up the slice of pound cake and the bottle of ale, the total was $6.66.

Today's date was Friday the 13th of October.

Q: What was the brand of the ale that I was buying?




A. Duvel, of course.

6/14/06 @ 03:07 am   
Funeral business trivia
Current mood: morbid
espite how solid they look, most coffins are designed to collapse once they have 100 lbs of pressure on them. This way they break before the grave is even finished being filled in, so the grounds crew doesn't have to run around later filling in occasional sinkholes around the cemetery.

My cousin learned this the unfortunate way, after cemetery staff made an awful mistake and he had to bribe a grave digger $100 to get my aunt's body moved from the wrong plot into the right one without an exhumation order or a lawsuit.

6/9/06 @ 11:57 am   
In memoriam (nearly)
Current mood: mournful
'm in Seattle right now, stuck in a youth hostel, which is a truly ridiculous place to sit in a room crying. My grandfather had a massive stroke this morning. I just got the phone call. My mom is en route to Florida. According to my sister they're going to try to keep him alive until she gets there.

I need to do something. Might as well write about him.

I idolize my grandfather. I've never told him. How could I tell him something like that? This is a guy who, when you say "I love you, grandpa", answers with, "Swell." A lot of my mom's side of the family are like that, very straightforward people, not very emotionally demonstrative, which is a trait I dislike, but what are you gonna do.

When my grandmother was terminally ill, my mom told me about it on the phone, and before speaking to grandma & grandpa I said to her, "What am I gonna say to them?" I didn't realize it, but my grandfather had already gotten on the phone, and he said, "You're not gonna say anything. She's your grandmother and you love her very much and you're lucky you had her as long as you did." And that's it - he told me how it was, issue closed. My family is like that. My sister said she had once told him when she was first training to run a marathon. She asked him, "Aren't you proud of me?" - which took screwing up her nerve a bit to ask. He shrugged and said, "People do it." She was so pissed.

Strange, though, because although I've never seen him display much sensitivity, he was an artist for a lot of his life. We have a lot of paintings of his. When I was younger I left a one of those little rubber superballs at his house, and he returned it in the mail nailed onto the nose of a whittled seal. You have to understand, this was the sort of whimsy he never, ever displayed in person. He played the violin, also, when he was younger, but then he took it apart and couldn't put it back together again, which makes him like me in more ways than one.

Here's a story for you. It's real easy to tell you what my grandfather is like, because you may have seen him on TV. Did you ever watch an episode of "Seinfeld" with George Costanza's parents in it? I always said they were exactly like my grandparents. Then a few years ago someone mentioned "Seinfeld" at a family dinner, and someone else said, "I wonder how the Seinfelds are." Turns out they're friends of the family. I think my great-uncle grew up next door to Jerry Seinfeld's dad, or something. When Jerry was in high school, he used to come hang out at my family's factory - where my grandma and grandpa worked the front office. So, I'm not saying it's based directly on them personally, but it's the same circle of people. Certainly the same mentality. So any time I mention my grandfather, if you use George Costanza's dad for your mental picture, it's not a bad fit. So picture that character turning out to have been an avid painter, or carving a seal out of a block of wood to nail a superball to the nose of. It was weird.

One time he also made me sit and listen to big band records, because he didn't like the rock & roll I was listening to ("Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh, incidentally.) I hated his music, and my grandmother yelled at him for making me listen to it... but, you know, he cared, which is something he rarely showed. I didn't even know he liked music.

By accident or design, I'm a bit of a "character", I've been told. My grandfather wasn't... isn't. He's straightforward. He's an old-school child of immigrants and worked his whole life. His dad, who lived until I was in college, worked on the floor of our family's factory until he was 90 years old. He lived to 97.

Christ, I don't know whether to write about him in the past or the present tense. If he survives this stroke, he's fucked. His mother, who also lived long enough for me to remember well, survived a stroke, and she was confined to a wheelchair and could barely speak.

You know what? This is sorrowful but good. He's been alive a very long time, he was slowing down, and he didn't like it.

Two years ago I was down there, and my grandfather was getting out of a chair, and he look up at me and said, "I'm old! I never thought I would be old. But look at me, I'm old." I remember thinking, I hope I'm doing as well at 90 as you are, grandpa.

He's getting laid, too, he has a little old septuagenarian girlfriend who his physical relationship with embarrasses everyone in the family except me. I think it's great. A few years ago we all went to a hotel for the holidays, and everybody arrived to check in at about the same time. Every we all went to our rooms to unpack, we all met down by the pool. After a few hours, somebody said, "Where's Morris and Molly? They never came down." "They must have been tired after unpacking. They must be taking a nap." "Oh, that must be it," someone else said, "they're taking a nap." I started to nod and looked at my sister, and she was shaking her head and mouthing the words at me, "DON'T SAY IT. DON'T SAY IT."

He refuses to stop driving, it's been a bone of contention between him and my mom for a couple of years now. He did something scary when I was down there last month, we were in the car waiting to make a left turn at a red light and as soon as there were no cars coming in the opposite direction he said, "OK, you can go." We pointed out that the light was still red and he confessed that he hadsn't been paying attention. But he won't stop. Until not too long ago he had a volunteer job - until recently he's always taken volunteer jobs - driving other old folks around to their doctors appointments. He lived in one of the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. A wall got blown clean out of the building next to his, and he lived without phone or electricity for like 8 days or 12 days or something. My mom found someone who had a relative who lived not too far away but still had phone service, and was willing to go pay a call on grandpa to see how he was doing. "So," I asked when mom told me about it on the phone, "he's alright?" "Oh, sure, he found a restaurant with a generator, he was taking Molly out for the early bird special."

But last time I was there I asked when he does with his days and it was the first time he didn't have an interesting answer for me. He puttered around the house, played with the computer, that was about it. I privately wondered what the next few years of his life were going to be like, how a workaholic like him was going to deal with slowing down like this. If this stroke kills him it may be a mercy. God, I can't believe I just wrote that.

This is sudden. That's the amazing thing. At 90, if he dies today, it will be a sudden and untimely death. He wasn't a frail old man, slipping away. He was grandpa. He was like an oak tree. He was hale and not going to die any time soon.

Not long before my great-grandfather died, he told grandpa, "97 is too long to live. 80 would have been enough." I heard grandpa telling someone this not long afterwards. He seemed spooked.

For two people who were so different, we were a lot alike in a lot of strange ways, and I identified with him because of it. Besides the artistic leanings, we also had the same taste in food. If I liked something, I knew he'd like it, and vice-versa. Except for borscht. Everyone in my family likes borscht, I think it's gross. But other than that we like the same things: we liked our fries burned to a crisp, we liked spicy food. Like everyone else in my family, he had a taste for alcohol as well, although he was mysteriously content with just getting a buzz on. I don't remember ever seeing him noticeably drunk. I always respected that ability. Wish I had it.

I guess that's all, right now.

4/16/06 @ 01:59 pm   
Lock Of Ages
location: cave
Current mood: alone
Music: Chicago Transit Authority

have one of those old Kryptonite locks on my bike. I've had it for years. It used to be my regular bike lock, but it got really sticky until I was worried that the next time I locked it I wouldn't be able to open it again. So I got a new lock. I kept the Kryptonite lock on the bike, though, because I figured I could open it one more time, and someday I might want to permanently lock something of someone's to something else when they weren't around. This was a couple of years ago. I just looked down at it today and realized it's one of those damn locks you can open with a Bic pen.

NOTE:The blogger wishes you to know that he did not use any further puns like 'my locky day' or 'for those about to lock' out of consideration for you, the reader.

2/28/06 @ 11:35 pm   
Report On My Weekend
Current mood: Sartre-riffic!

y god, if I knew how my little weekend of excursions was going to turn out, I would have made it an event and invited you all along. My report:

PT. 1: Cold Wind To Valhalla

On Saturday at 1430 hours I procured a late model red Chevy Cavalier. One of those self-driving models so I would be free to hang out the windows and waggle my tongue at the hoi polloi as I sped past. Although finances dictated that this would not be an extended sojourn into the greater countryside I packed for several days as a precaution. Having grilled Rick and Mike B____ for information, I decided on a trip into Marin to locate a suitably pastoral swimming hole in which to ease away my troubles. On advice of Rick, I headed for Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Samuel P. Taylor is beautiful, but if you blink, you'll miss it. One road through, with one already-full campground, and every likely swimming hole packed with cars. And so it came to pass that I found myself on the other side, driving through the woods above Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

At about 5:30, I came to a stop at Sky Trail head, where I was offered a choice of the trail uphill, into the wooded hills, or downhill, into the lowlands and scrub. A few minutes into the scrub it became apparent that the trail was going to stick close to the road rather than dip down into the lovely gullies and valleys as expected, so up into the hills I went.

Sky Trail is stunningly beautiful. After passing a number of hikers between the trailhead and Sky Camp, a backcountry campground about a mile in, I found myself alone on the trail for very long stretches, catching gorgeous views of the ocean from on high. This is the first solitude I have found since being caught on the back playa in a sandstorm last Burning Man, and probably the first true solitude I have encountered anywhere in the Bay Area in the entire time I've lived here.

Sky Trail begins as a dirt road and over the course of a few miles narrows gradually to a footpath. Each bend in the path revealed more beauty and I simply could not turn back. I saw deer, flurrying glimpses of what I think were grouse, flowers that looked like orchids or lillies, a small black beetle, and almost no humans for miles. Every turn in the trail reveal a new, beautiful vista or forested glade, and I was compelled forwards until I was a little over 4 miles in, where the path rounds its final hill and begins its descent to the shore.

And then

Pt. II: Hymn 43

I passed a sign that indicated I was 3 miles past Sky Camp, so I had covered about 5 miles in all, including jaunts up and down side trails just to check them out. The sun had begun to creep towards the horizon. The sign indicated that another mile further, Sky Trail met the Coast Trail far below, which, I knew from signs at the trail head, would meet the first path I had started down through the scrub at the bottom and then after a 3 mile uphill hike lead me back up to the car. Although Sky Trail had just entered new and even more beautiful terrain, I decided to turn back and walk the 4 miles over which I had just come, rather than walk at least one more mile down to the coast and three miles uphill back to the car plus the unknown length of the Coast Trail between the Sky Trail and the trail back up the road. I estimated I had enough time to return over the 4 miles I had just walked by last light, plus the trail over which I'd come had a lot of western exposure, so I'd be able to milk the sunset for all it was worth. I congratulated myself on making an intelligent decision and turned back.

Not intelligent enough, as it turned out. Having left at 5:30 pm to go hiking in shorts and a t-shirt and without a flashlight, any further attempts at intelligence were probably a moot point. So, I soon found myself walking alone through the woods in the dark wearing only my beachwear.

It's amazing how fast it gets dark in the woods. The sky was still light, but under the canopy things began to take on an ominous tone. The birds sang for quite a while longer than I expected into the approaching night, but eventually they stopped, and I heard the wee nocturnal beasties began to slither, pad, and prowl... the raccoon, I imagined, the fox, the mountain lion, the sasquatch, the giant carnivorous centipede, the mothman, and various other Mikevores looking for an easy meal of stupid hiker, all skulking just beyond visibility in the growing gloom. I passed gallows and a sign on which was written in blood "Beware" and large creatures circled above through the treetops on the edge of my vision. Yes, the mind does play tricks, doesn't it. Having just had the creepy experience of being harassed by an unseen, mewling mountain lion while scoping an event location up in the Berkeley Hills a few weeks ago, my senses were on edge.

I began jangling my keys as I walked. I began to get the doppleganger, which I had noticed earlier in the day, but which came on more strongly as my hearing grew more acute in the gloom. You know when you're walking through the woods, and with every step you take you hear an concurrent step 20 feet behind you, or just off the path behind the brush? Every time you stop, it stops, but hollering at it does no good and as soon as you are going again, there it goes. That's when you know you have to hurry up, because if you let the doppleganger catch up, it will overtake you and reach your car before you, at which point it will pull out a key identical to yours, and drive back to civilization and say rude things to all your friends and family - leaving you with a hell of a lot to explain when you get home, besides being stranded at the trailhead without a ride. This actually happened to a friend of mine.

It was a relief when I finally reached Sky Camp again - both to hear human voices, and to know I was only a little over a mile from the road. The last of twilight was fading into night, but the last stretch of trail finally widened to dirt road. I walked along in the darkness, jangling my keys the whole way, not in the least comforted by the familiar noise.

What security I experienced at some semblance of civilization passing Sky Camp soon dissipated. As I walked past an open meadow on the trailside, a shape sat in the dark and and watched me pass. Tough call - you could have told me it was a large bush, and I would have believed you, or you could have told me it was a sasquatch, and I would have believed you. The meadow was shaded maddeningly from the moonlight by the treeline, and in the gloom it was impossible to tell if the thing really did shift to observe me I crossed its field of vision. As long is it didn't get up and bolt towards me, I stayed on the close side of sheer panic and kept an even gait, swinging my keys. It sat on its haunches and I kept my ears open for massive footsteps from behind as I passed back into the trees. The darkness was silent.

Suddenly I heard a sinister whisper up ahead. I trained my eyes and saw movement on the slope right next to the trail. Brigands! At this point they surely were aware of my approach, but having nothing of value with me and presumably still being within shouting distance of the campers at Sky Camp I forged through. As I walked past them, the smell of jasmine incense filled the air... hippie brigands, sitting on the wooded hillside, burning incense and smoking pot as they no doubt waited for some hapless traveler to stumble into their crutches. I "put on my wings", a threatening manner of walking I learned when I used to have to pass through Times Square on my way to work at three in the morning, and they wisely let me pass without incident.

A last moment of danger came as I reached the portion of the trail near the road and was momentarily relieved by headlights glinting through the trees. Until I heard a car pass by a few minutes later on the other side of me, and realized that the brief discs of light I had seen flash to my left were in the opposite direction from the road. Whatever's eyes had flashed at me in the dark, it had allowed me to pass, perhaps preferring to gorge itself upon my doppleganger, which I at this point realized was no longer audible.


2/12/06 @ 03:22 am   
The most evil words
ach snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty."
                                 -Stanislaw J. Lec
I think "fuck 'em" are the most evil two words, the worst thought, in the english language.

Maybe they're not terribly evil, said once, by themselves. But no words are. Catastrophic evil is a compound phenomenon.

11/27/05 @ 01:02 am   
These Are The People In My Neighborhood, (3062.html) II
Current mood: tired
Music: Stereolab, Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements
ront stoop of my apartment, day after Thanksgiving, 11/25/05
[As I was arriving home, my eccentric neighbor Ellie was just leaving her building.]

Ellie: [waves at me]
Me: Oh, hey, how ya doing?
Ellie: Good. How 'bout you?
Me: Good!
Ellie & me: [awkward pause while I hunt for something else to say.]
Ellie: Thank you!
Me: [pause] uh... you're welcome!
Ellie: Thanksgiving, and all.

11/20/05 @ 11:57 pm   
Ode to "Ode To A Croaking Man" (1866.html)
Current mood: very pleased with myself
Music: 'Ode to "Ode To A Croaking Man"' running through my head
h poem that spoke of a man who croaks
Were you not my own I would quote you
I would think that whoever composed you smokes dope
but I know it ain't so 'cause I wrote you.

Which poet is it, that constructed you, ode?
'Twas me! Though I scant deserve credit.
For a poem's not a poem 'less it stands on its own
through my 50 neurotic edits.

And, let's not forget the post-poem note!
Doleful lament upon poem just wrote
Pensively telling of muse that had flown
Though reader, perhaps, was just glad poem was done.

The poet wishes it to be known:
It's not his intent to promote or condone
the writing of poems about one's other poems.
Do as I say, not as I've done.

11/7/05 @ 07:57 pm   
A step towards understanding (instead of) violence
’m a big believer in personal responsibility and people being accountable for their actions. That said, there’s only so long you can do something to people that they perceive as unjust before they lash out. It's as certain as a natural law.

It's true even if only they think you're acting unjustly to them. If people don’t understand that or don’t care, violence will continue.

This also allows both sides in a conflict to believe, with moral certainty, that the other side started it.

Complicating the issue is that violence as a means to an end, even as an attempt to end injustice, is bound up within the larger issue of what violence, for any reason, is: a forceful attempt to achieve one's goals when someone else's goals stand in the way. Sometimes this is completely successful against the very weak, but most often what violence primarily accomplishes is socially strengthening an opposing force's resolve. Why is that so hard to understand?

(Although I think that some people who appear not to understand that actually understand it very well.)

10/16/05 @ 03:08 am   
These Are The People In My Neighborhood
Current mood: fuschia
Music: Hollaback Girl. Yes, Hollaback Girl. I will fight you.
ly Bar, Alamo Square, 9/2/05
[My eccentric neighbor Ellie walked into a bar where my friend Brendan and I were sitting at a table near the door and I called out to her.]

Me: [to Brendan and Ellie] Do you guys know each other? You both live in the neighborhood.
Brendan: No.
Ellie: I don't think so. You might have seen me around the neighborhood. I always walk around with a little dog. [pause.] ...I used to walk around with a little dog. He died three days ago.
Me: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
Ellie: Yeah, he was sick for a while. A few days ago I could tell, it was the day, so I put him out in the backyard and he curled up in the grass... I went out for a while, and when I got back... ...
Me: I'm really sorry.
Ellie: I put him in a bag in my freezer. [pause.] Well, I have his body in the freezer. I cut off his head.
Me: [stunned silence]
Brendan: WHAT?
Ellie: I cut off his head. [pause.] I'm gonna put the skull on my bicycle.

9/7/05 @ 09:25 pm   
In heaven, everything is fine
have an idea about what happens after you die. I think when you go to heaven, St. Peter lets you in, they show you to a room. You take a sauna, somebody brings you a plate of cookies or a slice of cake. Then you take a nap.

Later on, when you're ready, they take you to a huge room, and everyone you've ever met is there. And everybody gets together and tells each other exactly what was going through their fucking heads. Then you all have a good laugh about it all. I see lots of back slapping and smiling eyes.

Wouldn't that be a great thing to look forward to?

9/6/05 @ 02:58 am   
San Francisco lexicon (
Current mood: embarrassed
Music: Robyn Hitchock, "Element Of Light"
ere's some words I've either coined or found useful to make sense out of what I've found in the Bay Area.

Counterconformist: someone who convinces themselves (and other counterconformists) that they are nonconformist by conforming to a set of fashions and sensibilities that run counter to those of the greater mainstream society. (cf. "Camp".) Counterconformists can be identified by their tendency to form countercultures, usually around real nonconformists, like snowflakes form around airborne dust particles.

Look for the genuine iconoclasts in your neighborhood. The counterconformists are the people clustered around them, who think that slavishly following a unique person's lead makes them unique too.

Punk: a particular counterconformist sensibility that originated with a handful of Sex Pistols fans who wore handkerchiefs on their heads at the very next show after guitarist Steve Jones wore a handkerchief on his head as a joke.

Tattoo: a permanent mark or image, similar to a cattle brand, that many counterconformists put on their skin so everyone can see what herd they're part of.

Parrot people: the counterconformists who are impossible to miss, with unnaturally bright multicolored hair, prominent tattoos, and shiny piercings (either visible, or hidden but loudly and often mentioned.) Parrot people believe that adhering to this uniform set of fashion conventions makes them more unique and individualist. Parrot people can typically be spotted by watching out for their garish thrift-store plumage.

Trivial Arts: the branch of the performing and visual arts that involves spending a fortune in time, effort, talent, and actual dollars to create something that doesn't matter. San Francisco has a thriving Trivial Art scene.

Margarine: my friend Zigmo, the funniest man alive, coined this one in high school to describe a certain sort of people we had in our class. I can't top his explanation of it: "The Margarine are... well... picture someone who stands out in a crowd. Now, just picture the crowd."

Blogorrhea: do I really need to explain this one? I'm sure I can't be the only person who's come up with this. The behavior it describes dates back centuries, to the earliest roots of the Information Revolution - I'm sure that back in the 1700's, when the ease and availability of the printing press made printing flyers a huge fad, and everybody had a leaflet to distribute expounding their views, somebody must have coined the term "flyerrhea".

Heteroflexible: I didn't coin this one, but boy has it come in handy since I hit the west coast. Heteroflexible behavior is characterized by someone's highly vocal, vehement insistence that they are homosexual, and by how totally not surprised you are when they then settle down into a long-term relationship with someone of the opposite sex. (Sometimes they practice for this beforehand by screwing members of the opposite sex all throughout their claimed 'homosexuality'.) This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the coin you're on: I've been both the frustrated pre-switcheroo rejectee and the delighted beneficiary of the heteroflexible "Yes I'm gay, oops! now I'm not" about-face. As one formerly heteroflexible friend explained to me, after we finally succumbed to the silent battle of hormones that had raged any time we were in a room together throughout her years of loudly-proclaimed lesbianism: "Oh, I grew out of that." Sweet.

Bonus points if you're on the losing end of the coin toss, but you find out that while they weren't into you because they were 'gay', they were heterosexual enough to fuck your friend. And your boss. And your other friend.

OK, that was a low blow. Sorry.

Camp: word used to describe the creative output of people who know they don't have the talent to create good art, so they create bad art on purpose instead. I guess elevating lack of talent to an aesthetic does real well for some people's self-image. Camp is a big favorite among certain counterconformist types.

Camp has a second, related, meaning: Take something that is total crap, and add 20 years to give the people who were children when it came out time to develop a disposable income, and it's camp. You may not have any problem with this, but wait until it's 2015 and and all the hipsters are into the Billy Bass and "Achy Breaky Heart". Then tell me what you think.

GOAT: Girlfriend Onceupon A Time. For when calling them an "ex" just doesn't cover it. (Hey - I don't mind if they call me a BOAT.)

The "consolation prize": When someone beautiful tells you they "like you too much to sleep with you." Great.

California: the act of telling someone something false as if it's definite, without the least bit of regard for the truth, like it doesn't matter or something. "I knew we should have asked someone else how to get there, that guy totally california'd us on the directions." "We had plans for Saturday night, but she california'd me on them and I spent the whole night at home waxing my duck." The reason I live in San Francisco is to make sure I get my life quota of this.

Costume: a conjunction of the Early English words "conform" and "buffoon". I once saw a guy show up at an Edwin Gorey-themed costume party dressed as Tigger from Winnie The Pooh. (No joke, this really happened.) Behind his back, he was widely ridiculed by the other partygoers, because while he had excelled at the "buffoon" part of "costume", he had failed miserably at the "conform" part.

"Costumes" are often confused with "disguises", but the difference is that a good "disguise" fools people, thus risking the wearer not being recognized as conforming adequately, or as being a buffoon.

"Sweet Grapes": A phrase I use to describe the irrational, desperate desire to always believe that everything is just great. This term stems from an old fable about a fox who tried very hard to get some grapes that were hanging on a high branch above his head. The fox jumped and jumped and reached real hard, and just when he was ready to give up, he caught the branch and pulled the whole bunch of grapes down.

Feasting on the grapes, he said "Mmmmm! These grapes are absolutely delicious!"

A parrot flew down. "Try some of these grapes!" said the fox.

"Mmm-hmm! These grapes are great! I love them!" said the parrot.

Just then a skunk, who went to a lot of events with the fox and the parrot, walked over. "Hi," said the fox, "have some of the grapes I picked! They're amazing!"

"Thanks!" said the skunk. "What a good friend the fox is," he thought. His lips puckered slightly as he bit into a sour, too-hard grape.

"Wait a minute," said the skunk, "these grapes don't even taste that good."

"I think they're delicious!" said the parrot.

"I love them!" said the fox.

"Isn't it great to live in a city where we have such great grapes?" said the parrot.

"They're not even ripe yet. They're inedible." said the skunk.

The fox and parrot then said the skunk was too negative, and stopped calling him.

Futility circuit: a series of bars that you wander all night, by yourself, from one to the next, as if you expect to find something. Where the fuck is everybody?

Futility Fridays: a weekly ritual, back when I used to spent every Friday night on the Futility Circuit.

Defensive drinking: the drinking you do at a bar when you know your best friend might show up arm in arm with your "lesbian" heteroflexible GOAT later on. A quick duck out to do a short Futility Circuit can spare you the embarrassment of them showing up and seeing you before you're completely drunk.

Window shopping: Admiring women in a bar who you're too chickenshit to go up and talk to. No shame in that, as long as you're honest with yourself about it. This is California, after all - free to be you 'n' me. [NOTE: It's not 'window shopping' if you're just holding off on approaching until you have a few Manhattans in you. That's called 'stupidity'.]

The author wishes it to be known that any resemblances to persons living or dead are completely intentional, and if any of those people have a problem with it, I suggest they grow a sense of humor. It's satire, ok? If the shoes fits, baby... it doesn't mean that I don't love you.

You should have seen it before I edited the really nasty stuff out.

8/31/05 @ 01:27 am   
"The Light Shone On Me"
Music: dog howling in neighbor's backyard
hat started as my latest blog post became much too long to inflict on my friends' "Friend" pages. Almost 6000 words. So I only put it up here: "The Light Shone on Me"


Note, much later: Since the team of incompetents destroyed my website, the essay is only available through

7/31/05 @ 01:38 am   
Ode To A Croaking Man
Current mood: awake
Music: "The Life Aquatic" commentary track
h, croaking bloke beneath the moon
so like a toad, it makes me swoon
whence "ribbit!" rises like balloon
which euphony just fills me with delight

Beneath my window every evening,
the dish of night's picante seasoning,
the soft "ribbit!" I find so pleasing
commencing 'pon the fading of the light

Placidly it comes, the presence
with the evening's supple pleasance
a "ribbit!", mellow beyond measance
from someone hiding 'neath my window, out of sight.

I know of those whose souls are burdened
who're prone to start and feel consterdened
when bloke near window they have heardened
but I've no need for being so uptight.

For tender is the twilight mood
whence blissful metaphors of food
from placid "ribbit!" are construed.
Such beauty, I donut connect with fright.

Tho' others shoo him from their windows
I hope wherever I go, him goes
whose "ribbit!" fills me like pimentos;
the sausage in the jumbalaya of night!

The author wishes it to be known that he had wanted to add more references to food, but unfortunately the muse had departed.

7/2/05 @ 03:53 pm   
New York Story
Current mood: lethargic
fter a night of shooting on a small movie I was doing sound for, a bunch of us went to the Russian deli Veselka on 2nd Avenue in New York. It was peak hours - about 2:30 in the morning - and Veselka was packed, so we had to wait for a table on a line that trailed out the door.

As we waited on the sidewalk, halfway up the block a vagrant sat on a box and wailed. "I'm HUNNNNGRY. OOOOOOH, GOD. I'M SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HUNNNNNNGRY." The guy sounded like if he didn't get some food in him immediately he was going to keel over and die. So Beth, the production manager, and I took some pity on him, and decided to get him something to eat. After a moment of strange negotiations we somehow agreed on splitting the cost of a bagel and cream cheese for him. We went in to the take-out counter to order such.

This being New York, it took 15 minutes to order and be served a bagel with cream cheese at 2 in the morning. By the time we got back outside with it, the vagrant wasn't there. We saw his box sitting alone on the sidewalk where he had been.

We cased the block up and down, looking into side alleys, so we could give him the bagel. He was nowhere to be found.

But while we were looking for him, I saw someone walk up and steal his box.

6/19/05 @ 08:03 pm   
Current mood: coaybtete-leranous
'm 37. But age doesn't have anything to do with the number of years you have been alive. Age has to do with how far removed you are from someone who can get you ecstasy.

4/29/05 @ 02:07 pm   
Fascination, and dangerous weather
pringtime hits hard in some quarters. I call this 'dangerous weather' - like, you've got to watch out where you're going. You might trip and fall. Somehow this always coincides with the rise of halters and midriff shirts.

Fascination, you know, is a universal feeling. I hesitate to call it an emotion, it's more than that, it's a condition, a thesis. It's strongly rooted in our biology, I think. I'm sure our closest animal relations feel it the same way we do. It's tough to know what's on a housecat's mind most of the time, but when he's gazing at that fish swimming around that bowl, I know exactly where his head is. And it's not "I'm hungry" or "how can I get that?" or "in a moment I shall execute my plan", as you might think. It's not something that rational, like when he wants something - in that case he meows, shuffles and generally makes his state of need, if not an exact complaint, known. It's just being transported, lost in the presence of something mysterious and wonderful. It's fascination. I wouldn't be surprised if our more distant kin further down the evolutionary chain don't feel something like it too. Perhaps a protozoan feels something like it for the mold in the soil. Or even a flower, for the sun.

An explorer feels it for the horizon, for the negative spaces just out of visual range. It's no different, I honestly believe that. You're enthralled, you impulsively long to engage it, you want to touch it and immerse yourself. Maybe to a cat killing a mouse or a fish, it isn't killing, it's dancing.

The difference between cats and humans is that we know a richer vocabulary of dance, not that the spark that pulls us towards a dance partner isn't the same. Women's bodies are fascinating, seen through male eyes. The important curves are so simple, in the right photograph the bottom of a breast, the arch of a back, the curl of a hip are enough to convey the thrill in its entirety. Yet when you see one in person, once someone takes her clothes off in front of you, it's always more amazing than you even expected, because besides the simplicity there's also something so complex that the mind can't ever carry it. You can't anticipate it. It always comes as a surprise. It's fascinating.

Sometimes I talk to a woman, and it's like a good song. There's no real reason, nothing I can point to about it, to indicate why it should make me feel so good, but it does. I'm transported. And then I realize it's probably just the flowers, and the sun.

4/19/05 @ 02:02 am   
In dreams, I walk with you
Music: Astor Piazzolla's Best Tangos - Aquiles Delle-Vigne, piano
had two wonderful dreams last night.

In the first, there was what started as a movie, set undersea. Someone was talking about the cgi graphics.

Believe it or not, it wasn't until after I had actually typed that line that I suddenly felt like a real dweeb.

The setting was within a dark abyss... deep brown in every direction, distinguishable from black only by being warm in appearance instead of foreboding. A comment pointed out not just the animation but the irridescence effects, and sure enough, I saw huge schools, clouds of soft neon forms swarming through depths striated with shimmering pearlescence like a ghost of an abalone shell.

It's funny how the subconscious takes waking life for a springboard. While all this sounds imaginative, the fact is that last night's episode of the Simpsons ended with something like this.

The point of view became immersed within the scene instead of watching it like a film. After moving for a while through this glowing undersea wonderland, a narrative began to take shape. Unfortunately it's late the following night as I write this and the details have hazed out on me. There was some sort of machine, a mechanistic and consuming presence from above. The surface of the water came into play as part of the dramatic setting, perhaps with some of the larger fish - still glowing neon - jumping into the air in opposition to this large entity. The atmosphere was the same indefinite dark brown field as the water. There was a ruler of some sort, either entreating the masses of sea life against this encroaching thing, or congratulating their efforts against it - I can't remember the sequence. But the overall character of the dream was visual, and long parts of it were nothing but passing through depths full of a multitude of iridescent life, seeing it but unaware of myself, with no limits on the dream's physical setting... just warmly dark depths... no sea bed, no ground, no sky, no shores enclosing, just one single median boundary, between sea and air, and none other in any direction. Amazing.

In the second dream, I was working a mixing desk in a garage, working with Pink Floyd on a song they had just recorded out on the driveway. The driveway ran alongside a small drainage creek, which ran under the road.
It was all four guys from the '70s lineup, they were in good spirits, and I was having a good time, the song was really cool - sort of an 'Animals'-period epic piece, not a 'Wall'-type pop song - and they were digging my production job.

I remember wanting at one point to tell them that if even I didn't have a single other musical accomplishment in my life, being able to do one thing these four particular musicians really liked was a honor enough.

Somehow the scene shifted into me wandering the nearby neighborhood with my dad, his wife, and my sister. Can't remember what the original reason for taking off with them was, but pretty soon it was time to start finding our way back, and things got sort of confusing. We lost track of my sister, and I guess it struck me that she'd somehow slipped into a different period of time, and this was almost by our turning a corner and finding myself of a year ago hanging out there. I was thrilled that something was happening that had never happened before, but when I tried to engage in some conversation, it turned out myself of a year ago couldn't see or interact with myself now, which is a drag, I was sort of into it for the novelty. My father & stepmother were able to talk to him, though, and asked if he'd seen my sister, and he said no, so I guess she wasn't a year ago. I took a good hard look at myself of a year ago before we left, and as soon as we were gone, I asked my dad & stepmother, "Does it look like I've lost any weight since then?" And they said, "No." Funny how those little waking insecurities creep in when you're asleep.

My dad's wife got out a tape of the Pink Floyd song I had just been working on & said she liked it. I asked how she had gotten it & she said she had some friends down by the bridge who taped stuff that went on down there.

Isn't it weird the stuff your subconscious can come up with? A few months ago I had a dream that I was driving a car around & at one point I had this sort of holy man/guru in the passenger seat and before I dropped him off I asked him to give me some wisdom and he said, "Your days can be as joyous as your nights."

Now, I don't know how that sounds to those of you who don't often spend 24 hours a day inside this particular head, but that was fucking profound, because if you were to ask me, ordinarily I'd tell you that I couldn't think of a hell of a lot of joyous shit that happens during the daytime. I woke up, and was like, where the fuck did THAT come from?

I've had even wilder shit than that, but I don't want to make this post any longer.

4/18/05 @ 05:09 pm   
The most suggestive term in telecommunications
Current mood: lonely
he 90 days after the creation of a new area code in which either the old or the new code may be used to dial that area is called the permissive dialing period.

4/15/05 @ 06:15 pm   
Verse Upon Bank Of America Holding My Checks And Angering My Cat
"These checks will be held for two weeks", they said,
"because they are very large and from New Jersey"

This much is true
But I am now home and
my cat is angry

He looks up through
his sloth with narrowed eyes
He querulously naiows his consternation

Tonight I will sleep the sleep of a good man
but my cat will not know rest
burring hair on his back, whiskers fanned
looking out on the rooftops with disdain and contempt
at spots where other cats have sat
outdoor cats
cats with no collars no names
cats that dig through dumpsters clawing towards the smell of day-old filets
skittering perhaps like a word whispered into a wind
on a moonless night in a dark alley
behind the bank that holds my checks.

Bank of America should not be in the business of angering cats.
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