Saturday, May 19, 2001

It's funny. I'll have all these things occur to me throughout the day and think, "That'll be worth writing about!" But lo, when I sit down at the box I find that these fleeting thoughts have fled.

Yesterday my friend Brian called and told me that he and his wife are splitting up. It was not terrbily surprising, seeing as they have lived the past nine months on separate coasts, but it was bad news all the same. We went out on some piddly errands, drank margaritas in a bad Mexican restaurant, smoked, talked philosophy and just hung out. It was the male equivalent of "girl time." It's funny that men have so few conventions for emotional support. Back-slapping and getting drunk seem to be about it. The casual attitude in the face of hardship and all that. Who needs it? No wonder so many men are total assholes. Not men at all, really. just boys in man-suits.

There have been several upsetting things which have taken place since I started this post, things which I need to ponder. I realize that I cannot be the protector for my daughter I would like to be, that there are things beyond my control. It is, perhaps, the hardest lesson for a parent. It is one thing to have this realization for yourself (realization of mortality, realization of your failures, realization of loss, etc) but to see it for your progeny is heart-rending. Now and agin I need a good cry, I suppose. A grown man standing there blubbing like a six-year-old. Some days are hard even when everything is perfect.

Friday, May 18, 2001

We sure have a lot of dogs. Not just dogs, but male dogs. Actually, we have three dogs, two of them male. But Mr. Plymouth is very very large. And pretty stinky. Not just regular dog smell, but Ass. Ass is a peculiar smell, eminating from the scent glands around a dog's anus. In male dogs these are much larger and, well, muskier. This translates into many, many moments of the day when you smell Ass and look down and there is the smiling, baggy face of dear Mr. P panting away with a look of stupifying contentment. He is a very sweet dog, massive and slow to learn. You can hug him with all your might.

I am oddly irritated today. There is much to do, of course, and I am feeling put upon. I absolutely do not want to go back to the old house and deal with the wreckage of the move. It's all odds and ends now, with only a beat-up old futon and my desk remaining to be moved. There are boxes and boxes, too, so I will be gathering up the detritus and hauling it over here. This is the sort of shit which keeps me up at night.

I've been reading Michael Ondaatje's Collected Works of Billy the Kid, a riveting and gruesome book. He's a talented writer, the sort who writes so effortlessly as to make you feel a bit sick. I saw him read last year. He was touting Anil's Ghost, his latest novel. In one section he lost me, though... he was talking about Tucson and he mentioned an armadillo running across the road. I grew up in Tucson. There are no armadillos and never were. That kind of glaring inaccuracy, especially coming from a writer who is know for his vivid details, is appalling. But his old books are still good. Maybe he just missed a step... bound to happen now and again. Hemingway pulled his head out of his ass for one last good novel (The Old Man and the Sea) after a string of failed attempts. Many of which have been published posthumously, I might add... guaranteed sellers for the publisher to have a "new" novel by Papa.

They don't do this with Faulkner, I've noticed.

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Another day at 56k. Gar, what a spoiled brat I am. Mr. DSL. But peoples, ye must understand that I got DSL back in 1998 when it first, first came out. And before that I had a dedicated modem line. I am truly Mr. Net. Yeech. It used to be cool. Really. Now it's like riding a scooter. Which, I am starting to think, are so uncool as to be cool again. Actually, they were never cool, but hey... fun as shit to ride. I loved mine. Then I saw this fat dotcom dude in a goatee pushing a Razor down the street and that was all she wrote. Bikes are better, I suppose, but you can't put one in your backpack.

Been getting some nice emails from folks. Thanks Andrea and Paige for the letters. After posting to the vacuum for so long it's nice to get readers. I'm updating my link-jumper to include many of my new friends in the age-old Blogger tradition.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Ah, dear Blogger saw fit to doubly post that meadering and cynical lecture. I feel fortunate that I can delete it, but I will leave one copy as a reminder that I can work myself up into a damned good froth over the state of the nation. That's a bad thing to get worked up about.

Better to comfort ourselves in the age old way of pilgrims. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed... all thse guys were big on idea that we're all just passin' through. The brithers I used to hang with were fond of being deep into things, part and parcel of the whole mess. Of course, that can be a comfort in itself because we feel powerful, responsible and grown-up.

I see my mood has not really improved, so I shall close.

Feeling low today for no good reason. That's the worst of it. One cannot rreally feel sorry for oneself unless there's a damned good reason to. I have none.... everything is going swimmingly. I suppose that the ongoing move is eroding my psyche. I suppose that I have it so good that I feel bad about it (and if that isn't bullshit I don't know what is). There is more I could say, but seeing as this weblog is part of my public face I will defer.

And instead turn to questions of a philosophical nature. I wondered early this morning if history will judge the leadership of the United States as inherently evil and self-serving throughout its brief tenure. I don't just mean the president; I mean the entire elected and unelected assembly.

View the rebellion as a case in point: a coalition of elite businessmen in whose best economic interests lay succession from the Crown utilized a few high-minded and articulate social idealists (Thomas Paine, B. Franklin, Jefferson, etc) to galvanize the colonists into a fighting whole with grand words and ideas while experts in Franco-British politics fanned the flames of war between France and Britain to extract military support.

Jump to the systematic exterminationof the native peoples using a combination of lies and military force.

View the conquest of the Southwest during the Mexican-American war.

View the Spanish-American War and its rationalization of American imperial expansion into South America and the Pacific.

Look at the internment of Japanese-Americans and the permanent seizure of their property and businesses; the firebombing of Tokyo; the Atomic bombing of two untouched and beautiful cities.

Look at Korea, the Cold War and Vietnam.

Look at the "freedom fighters" of El Salvador, the allegations of CIA-run drug farms, the sanctioned policies of strategic assassination...

Most importantly, look at the virus-like spread of the culture of Buy Low Sell High and the incredible carnage left in its wake.

I am sadly disgusted with the whole fucking mess today.

But, this being America, I can write this without fear of reprisal. At least for the moment.

The right to bitch incessantly. This is what your ancestors fought and died for.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

I sit on this misty morning drinking coffee at the kitchen table. The coffee comes from Torrefazzione, a local purveyor known for theor Italian-ness. Walk into the Torrefazzione on NW 23rd in Portland and you will be greeted politely by beautiful and elegant people wearing fashionable clothes and modern hairstyles. They are reserved and helpful. That is, unless you order some Starbucky nonesense like a tall nonfat blueberry mocha with soy-whip and carob jimmies. Then they will throw you a look which will shrivel your appendages.

Italy, God bless it, has rejected the milky sweetness of Starbucks. In Italy, espresso is drunk standing, rapidly tossed off many times a day from small porcelain cups. The crema should be thick and nutty and leave a ring in the cup. Hissing espresso machines are found on every street with businessmen in loafers leaning their tailored elbows on zinc bars, tossing down their cups and talking on cellphones. Milk, even a little, is brutto and should be avoided.

Of course, this is also a culture which closes shop at noon, walks home to a huge lunch with wine, takes a two-hour nap and then resumes business until evening. They know what they are doing.

Monday, May 14, 2001

Well, we spent the bulk of our evening talking to faraway people. I think of the weeks it would've taken to talk to New York when this house was built (in 1908). Maybe a phone connection would've been possible... maybe, but you'd need to be switched through countless local exchanges and even then it would be dependent on an unreliable technology. The rest of the house seems timeless, but the disembodied voices of faraway friends never cease to amaze.

Let alone this shit, brother...