Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Tale of Two Days

I thought I would write about the last two days together, since they we similiar. 

On Saturday, I danced along my usual morning routine.  I woke about 5:30 AM and went out for a morning walk when the eastern sky was a pale blue.  It was a beautiful California morning covered with the fog that is typical of this time of year here in San Jose.  The highlight of the walk was as I circled near Starbird Park I heard the sound of geese calling as they flew through the fog.  It was their classic call and response as they formed up to move on. I visited my usual chat haunt and had an hour or two of good conversation as I drank coffee and listened to music (Warren Zevon). 

From there, I went up to the Pleasanton Highland Games (Pleasanton is in the north bay, up east of Oakland).  It is about an hours drive.  I went with my friends Pierre and Helen and my nephew Tom.  It was a good time - the whether was hot, but not pounding heat we have encountered there before so that really made the whole experience completely enjoyable.  We ate a variety of foods, bangers, sheppies, corn dogs, gyros and washed them down with beer, lemonade, and cold water. 

My favorite parts of the Games this year were the music (Tempest, The Browne Sisters with George Cavanaugh, Alex Keaton), the pipe bands (something about the sound of a bagpipe that is very stirring), and just the overall weather and company.  We left about 5:00 PM and made the drive back home.  I took a nice splash through the swimming pool, ate dinner (a burrito - seems to have been a convenience food day), played online a little and then curled up with a book (still reading "The Good Fairies of New York - I excepted a paragraph from it in an earlier entry).

I got an excellent night sleep and this morning woke up at my usual time, took a walk, and then came in and curled back up with my book until 8:00 AM or so.  That was an excellent way to spend a lazy late summer morning.  I came online and went to chat - and then the phone rang.

My aunt Marie, who lives in Rapid City, SD was severely burned in an accident in her home. They currently suspect that she was asleep in bed when a lamp shorted out and caught the bed and her night clothes on fire. One of her grandchildren was staying with her and was woken when she cried out and was able to summon EMS quickly. 

She was treated at the local hospitaland then flown to a burn specialty unit in Greeley, Colorado where she remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma. The burns cover a significant part of the left side of her body, arm, neck and face. Her prognosis is "wait and see".  Aunt Marie is in her late seventies and was in frail health prior to the accident, so the prognosis is not good.  Her immediate family (kids and grandkids, my mom and step dad) have all been to visit her and spend time with her.  So, the whole thing is a waiting game at this place.  After talking with my Mom I took another walk to recenter.  They are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Recentered, I went ahead with my plans to go downtown in San Jose to the San Jose Art & Talent Festival (a big three day festival in downtown San Jose).  I drove over to Campbell and took the light rail to downtown San Jose to avoid the parking snarls (and fees) in downtown. I missed the parking lot turn so had to circle around Campbell (the Campbell Farmers Market had the main street blocked off), which meant - I missed the train by a minute (it was pulling out as I pulled in).  It was a perfectly good excuse to walk downtown Campbell, get a tall cup of black coffee, and watch the people at the Farmers Market, then walk back to the train station. 

The ride downtown from Campbell is on only about fifteen minutes on the light rail, so it was a quick hop.  I was on the same train as Jim and Valerie (Helen's parents), but a different car so we did not even realize it until we met at the festival.  It was a great day in San Jose - the sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue, and there was a cool breeze that made the festival very nice.  We had lunch at Askew (a restaurant that does skewered food) and then wandered the festival looking at the arts and crafts, people watching, listening to live music on three different stages, and sitting in the shade and just...enjoying the day.  I caught the train home about 5:00 PM, had a simple dinner of pasta alfredo, and have settled in for the evening.

All in all, incidents and accidents aside, it has been a very good weekend so far. One more day to go and I am looking forward to that as well.  I have not yet decided if I am going to go out and do something tomorrow, but I may, especially with the great weather that we have been having.  Seems an absolute shame to waste it.  On the news of course,Gustav is bearing down on the gulf coast. Best wishes to my friends in the region and I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Downtown San Jose

I am sitting at the fountain in front of the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, listening to the crash of water. The sun is warm on my back and shoulders but there is a cool breeze flowing across me. A band is playing somewhere in the distance and I hear the accents of a dozen countries around me. I am drinking a raspberry lemonade and watching the crowds wander by here at the San Jose Art & Wine Festival. It is shaping up to be a beautiful day and I plan on spending most of it here, eating, drinking, visiting friends, and listening to live music. I love the simple celebration of life a crowd represents, with the diverse symphony of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. I will have to run around and touch things to make sure I get all five senses covered. Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Excerpt From The Good Fairies of New York

"This Johnny Thunders is a splendid person, or ghost. He told me some funny stories about a place called Queens where he was born and showed me his tattoos. Even said he would keep a look out for your poppy. In return, I will help him look for his 1958 Gibson Tiger Top, which apparently was a wonderful guitar. It's called a Tiger Top because it has stripes." - Morag (a fairy), in Mark Millar's "The Good Fairies of New York". Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Off To The Highland Games

I am off to the Pleasanton Highland Games today!  One of my favorite weekends of the year.  I will take my camera and share some pictures on my return.  It has been a good morning - coffee, chat, fog burning off, beautiful day dawning.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Handful Of Last Thoughts

Cooling down enough to sleep. Window open, fan blowing. Dinner was crab stuffed sole, with baked potato. Night time reading is "The Sword of Lies" one of the comics in The Red Star series by Archangel Studios and "The Good Fairies of New York" by Martin Millar. Both are excellent. Thoughts still lingering in silken imaginings, soft voices still whisper at the edge of sleep. I dream of doors and gates and of figures in silk and of powerful horses. Sheets are cotton and cool and comforting. Tomorrow is the Highland Games, one of my favorite weekends. Friends and family are traveling and are in my thoughts and prayers. Storms blow in from the Gulf of Mexico and I think of those who evacuate and those who do not and wish them all the best. The end of a good day, all in all. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Direct Expression Is Often Less Expressive

I was reading another journal (my friend Sparkles - the link is to the right) and she made the following comment...

"And a reminder that direct expression is often less expressive in reality and less invitational than indirect communication where trust and intuitions come into play."  

I think this is simply a brilliant observation. Direct expression sometimes simply stumbles and fails. Consider all the words we use to console a bereaved person - all of which can be overcome by the simple act of...holding their hand. When my father died I recall vividly many of the things that were said to me, but the one that strikes me still to this day was my cousin Honey simply wrapping her arms around me.

A Sonnet For Lord Krishna

A Sonnet for Lord Krishna

In this valley of steel, concrete and glass
There are certain places hidden in shadow
Ordinary doors we are tempted to pass
Nothing draws us into them that we know

But we pause as we walk on by and turn
As if our feet move on a well known vale
We slip through their frames and inside we learn
They are passages to places beyond our pale

Quiet, we move inside their familiar embrace
They smell of mountain streams and Simla pine
The scent of curry caresses our face
We sit on the floor, strangers in a line

Beyond a simple door we discover
A feast to celebrate Radha's lover

Sonnet 30 - Cyrano de Bergerac

Her touch, her kiss, her glance - what slaves me more? Those three define my world; with touch I know. The wind alive and merciful; her kiss, the passion of the earth; her glance, the call to penetrate the wood most dangerous. She is a moon who dominates my night, a pearl whose weight I cannot bear, yet must. What pleasure to be crushed by the sublime. - Excerpted from The 60 Lost Sonnets of Cyrano de Bergerac, a Poetic Fiction by James Louis Carcioppolo. Sent via BlackBerry by AT

A Hot Night

It was a hot night here in San Jose and it took me a while to drop off to sleep. Once I went though I slept fairly deeply and soundly. I dreamt of a woman in a red silk dress. I dreamt a friend of mine told me my door was open, laughingly. I dreamt of series of four digit numbers. Today is the last day of work and then I slide into a four day weekend I am looking forward to. Right now I am just kind of lingering, watching the sun rise, listening to birds singing over the hum of the fan. Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Subtle Things

Just thought I would share with you all the subtle influence of friends. The other day I was having a bad day. I was cranky by the end of the day. I was running on a short fuse. It had been a long day and I was pretty much done. I circled home and had just settled in for the evening and the phone rang. It was a friend of mine. She needed a ride home from work. At 10:00 PM. I could think of a dozen reasons not to do it. But, what I thought of was a story a friend of mine had told in chat about a friend of hers. Her friend, when he had a bad day, or was feeling down or cranky, would go out of his way to deliberately do nice things for other people. So I said sure. I did it. And danged if it didn't work. A life lesson - but also the subtle power of friendships. A man I never met, through the chain of friendships, helps a woman he had never met - the power of subtle things. Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Love You Fruity Rudy

If you get HBO and haven't watched "Generation Kill", I would give it a high recommendation.  It is an HBO mini-series based on the book of the same name and some excellent television. It is seven one hour episodes and just wrapped its run, but HBO continues to show it in re-runs and it is available On Demand. It is a true story and as part of the overall show collateral, HBO has many small behind the scenes features including interviews with the Marines themselves. One of the Marines (Rudy Reyes) portrays himself in the mini-series. (The title of this entry "We love you fruity Rudy" is shouted by the other Marines in the first episode as he runs through the compound in full battle gear wearing his gas mask.)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Seven Daughters Of Silk

Blue Silk

Last night I dreamt of blue silk
She is the sea of desire
Her voice whispers urgently
Her hands bind us in ribbons
Her form moves beneath cascading sheets
She is made of lines and curves and points
She is a cartographers dream
Of hidden currents in an ocean
That carry us into uncharted waters

Green Silk

Last night I dreamt of green silk
She is the landscape of life
Her voice is a soft murmuring river
Her embrace the warmth of the earth
Her cloak is a forested mantle
She lays beneath us and gives us life
She is the wilderness
And the hidden mountain hollows
That beckon us homeward

Red Silk

Last night I dreamt of red silk
She whose fire forges us
Her voice is edged with iron
Her caress cuts us to the quick
Her dress is made of fingers of flame
She wraps us in arms of fire
She burns us inside of her passion
And leaves us ravaged and spent
That open us to be reborn

Yellow Silk

Last night I dreamt of yellow silk
She is spilled like precious gold
Her voice is soft with the warmth of butter
Her caress slides smoothly on our skin
Her dress falls about her like the sun
She arcs across our sky
She carries us from cold to hot to cold again
And leaves us with the memories of dawn
That embrace us through the night

White Silk

Last night I dreamt of white silk
She lies next to us with a cool purity
Her voice is the song of a bell
Her caress dazzles and dances on our skin
Her dress is simply cut and severe
She sits on a throne of wisdom
She watches us with porcelain blue eyes
And holds in her hand the dragons of our dreams
That she unleashes without pity

Black Silk

Last night I dream of black silk
She comes to us a subtle shadow
Her voice is a whispered breeze
Her caress as cool as night rain
Her dress swallows the stars in the sky
She trails long nails along our spine
She engulfs our very souls
And in the end leaves us as nothing
That knowing nothing we cannot weep

Raw Silk

Last night I dreamt of raw silk
She spills across the floor in waves
Her voice is hiss of the loom
Her caress is spun like a web
Her dress is gossamer and lust
She laughs as she takes us
She is infectious in her excitement
And leaves us breathless and happy
That we see the potential of all things

blue silk

last night I dreamt of blue silk and the landscape of desire of a soft voice whispering urgently of binding ribbons and cascading sheets of lines and curves and points a cartographers dream of an ocean of blue silk and the hidden currents that carry us into uncharted waters Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Last Night I Dreamt Of A Rock

Last night I dreamt of a rock. It was a very big rock embedded in a hillside overlooking a river valley.  It was thirty feet tall, twenty feet wide, and twenty feet deep. It weighed 600 tons. My job was to move the rock from the hillside to the valley floor. I knew that I could dig the rock out and once it was free from the hillside, I could tip it out and gravity would do the rest.  I had to move the rock by hand, using only hand tools, working alone. In the first day, using a pick axe, I cut a trench four inches wide and two inches deep and twenty feet long across the hillside at the back of the rock.  At that rate I knew it would take me 180 days to free the rock from the hillside.  It was a daunting task. But, it was quite possible to do. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Curiousity, Irish Waitresses, and The Music In Our Head

About two this afternoon, I decided I had to get out and about, a little to long inside. So, I drove over the Old Santa Cruz highway, up through the redwoods, down to the coast at Santa Cruz. It is a beautiful little trip, and I stopped a couple of places and just...was.

In Santa Cruz I drove downtown, onto River Street, and angled toward a nice little Mexican place I know. On impulse, at the last second, I went into a nearly empty Italian restaraunt, Cafe Mare. I had eaten there once before, last year, and had recalled with fondness their gnocchi.

I was between lunch and dinner, so the only ones in the place were me, my nephew, the bartender, and the waitress. I took a table outside, so I could people watch. The waitress was a little slip of a woman, five nothing, red hair, white skin with a splash of freckles.

I ordered Alaskan halibut in a diabla sauce, with new potatoes, and an artichoke and spinach salad in vinagrette, and a bottle of peligrino. Then, I just sat there and enjoyed the moment, one of those near perfect California days. I enjoyed the architecture - eclectic. I enjoyed the people passing by - eclectic. I listened to the music piped through the cafe speaker at the low, persistent volume that your hear but don't quite notice. It was italian american musak standards.

The waitress brought our orders and I noticed she was humming something under her breath. I thought for a few moments that she was humming along with the musak. I excused myself for prying, explained I was cursed with a near infinite curiousity, and asked what she was humming. She demurred at first, with a small laugh. I persisted politely, told her that it would be a closely kept secret between her, me, my musically inclined friends and my online journal. I told her I had friends who continually had radios running in their brains. I told her I had an almost constant inner monologue that sometimes was an entire ensemble cast of mad men, gifted women, and second rate character actors.

I told her how difficult it was to go through life with an almost continuous running commentary by Peter Lorre. I did my Peter Lorre on the virtues of arugala imitation. When K.T. finally stopped laughing she agreed to tell me the song playing on her brain-radio. It was powerful song that kept the musak at bay.

So, for everyone who inner voice or inner radio keeps them sane in a sometimes insane world, here is the magic song one irish waitress in an italian cafe in Santa Cruz California was humming on a perfect Saturday afternoon in paradise.

The Ramones.

"I Want To Be Sedated."

Sometimes life...dazzles. K.T. - thanks for dazzling and good luck in school.

Last Nights Dream

I had a dream last night that contained four dream elements that were strongly felt, though there was no coherent narrative. I dream of a very tall man who was laughing in happiness. I dreamt of a woman who was not tall, who was infected by the laughter. I dream of a designer duffle style bag. I dreamt of a lake surrounded by lush, deep green trees. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Song of the First Frost

The Song of the First Frost

It is that perfect moment just before the sun breaks the horizon. I have come out of the house, down the back steps, into the far yard.  Chieftain, my father’s dog, a half coyote half who the hell knows what kind of dog is standing by the stair, alert.  He smiles, thumps his yellow tail a time or two and then falls in alongside me.  I cross the quiet yard and hear my boots crunching through the grass.  The world is white and glistening with the first frost of the year.  Chieftain bends his head to nip at the white grass. 

I cross in front of the half finished garage, past the saddle shed, around the root cellar and up and over the fence that surrounds the pen that stands just to the west of the small barn.  Chieftain drops and wiggles under the fence.  The two horses in the yard look at us and toss their heads and begin to move through the frost coated dirt, following us into the barn.  Chieftain promptly begins to sniff along the base of the barn, searching for something.

I take the knife from my belt, snap it open, and slice the top of the bag of horse feed open.  I heft the bag and pour it into the trough.  The two horses, the big Morgan and the smaller pinto, lip the pellets, scattering them about, as if they are searching for specific ones.  The water trough is full, the water still and black against the painted bottom.  I press down on the float switch, hear the electric pump click on, and then release it.  I walk out of the eastern door of the barn, Chieftain scooting out behind me.

Looking east from the small barn there is next to nothing.  A hedgerow of cedar stretches out to my left in a dense line, buttressed from behind by the taller Chinese elm.  Both are colored in shades of green and coated with frost. Ahead and stretching out to the right of my field of vision are the rolling plains of South Dakota.  I can see the white sand of the buffalo wallow on the hillside a thousand yards to the south-east.  I can see the paths and trails through the grass.  I can see the cold glistening barbed wire that separates the pastures.

Chieftain stands next to me and presses against my leg, leaning into me as I stop.  For all of his life he is playful dog, even in his twilight years.  I reach down and pet him, running my hand through his fur, rubbing him at the base of the neck. His tail thumps against me.

The sun breaches the horizon line.  Golden light slides across the plains like a wave, fast enough to watch it move.  And then I hear the Song of the First Frost.  A delicate popping sound, almost a whisper, as each blade of grass and each tree leaf shakes the cold grip of frost and feels, again, the warm caress of the sun.  Winter is still distant.  Fall is upon us, with its hot days and cool nights, with its fishing and hunting and football games.  Frost sings with the promise of winter.  It sings to tell us it is coming, but it does not hurry. Winter knows that it's time will come.  Frost sings as winter's herald. 

Two horses, a man, and a dog hear the song.  Chieftain pushes his nose into the grass and blows. The heat of his breath melts the frost a second ahead of the sun, a single green spot in a small field of green and white.  He smiles and looks up at me to see if I noticed.

Oscar Wilde Quote

Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and gets to see the dawn before the rest of the world. Oscar Wilde Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Ballad Of Fay - Or - Bondage Nurse (Rescue Me)

On Sunday, while in chat, chat went off on one of those riffs that chat is capable of taking.  The riff centered around one of the regulars super-power and secret Bondage Nurse.  Combined with the approach of tropical storm Fay, the room piled on detail after detail until I was laughing so hard my sides hurt. I could not shake the idea from my mind and so, over the last couple of days, wrote this folk song for SeaSprite - and for everyone else who participating in a memorable Sunday chat.

The Ballad of Fay - Or - Bondage Nurse (Rescue Me)

Somewhere in the gulf a mighty storm starting turning
Spinning around and around those warm waters churning
The satellites saw it growing and NOAA sent a plane
They said there's a big storm coming it's gonna hit like a train

Every eye was turned to the TV, watching the Weather Show
Folks braced themselves for the worst, said watch this one blow
And somewhere out there our heroine sitting quiet by her pool
And somewhere out there our heroine looking calm and cool

Well that big storm came roaring in, sluicing over the Keys
The tide kept on rising and the floods did what they please
The best and the brightest gathered round ready to leap
And somewhere out on old Longboat Key the water got too deep

Well she finished her glass of tea and slipped into her rescue gear
On the chopper that picked her up the crew knew they had nothing to fear
He was pinned in the wreckage of his hotel, all tangled up and bruised
He looked up with eyes wild and wide as into his vision she cruised

With a rush and a roar the rescue chopper lowered her on cue
And every jaw dropped wide open as she hovered into view
She was wearing nurses whites her cape billowed in the wind
Two sizes to small one button to far she was showing all her skin

Her stockings were white lace, her CFM pumps gliding along
Her garters flashing in the falling rain, her legs gleaming and strong
Why her lip gloss was perfect and her curls formed a halo
And the swish of her whip was heard round the world don't you know

The stringer with the camera sent the feed to WWSB
It was picked up by the networks and sent for the whole world to see
As she strode to the rescue in that amazing slow motion
As she whipped out her bottle of Mango Rescue Lube and Lotion

All the switchboards lit up, everybody hitting nine one one
See the storm was a bust, it was over before it was done
But the disaster everyone remembers followed right behind
As the world watched in slow motion her costume struck 'em blind

Every red-blooded man from Tampa to Marathon Key
Was suddenly lying there crying "Bondage Nurse, come rescue me!"
Thousands of men pinned under palm fronds desperate in need
Suddenly lying there crying "Bondage Nurse, come rescue me!"
Every red-blooded man (and some of the women) all down the Keys
Suddenly lying there crying "Bondage Nurse, come rescue me!"

"Oh please Bondage nurse rescue me!"
"Oh please Bondage nurse come rescue me!"


A few casual conversations in the last couple of weeks have me thinking about fireflies.  I have two very distinct images of fireflies that are tickling at the edges of my memory.  I grew up on a small ranch just to the south-east of St. Francis, South Dakota. 

A River of Fireflies

We were high on the plains, far from running water. Fireflies, in general, live in watersheds.  If you follow the map from St. Francis south on BIA Route 13 you will cross the South Dakota/Nebraska border north of Kilgore at the Minnechaduza creek.  The Minnechaduza meanders through a broad and shallow valley, a marshy tree lined watershed, filled with cottonwoods and cattails and a wide variety of low lying scrub and grass.  The creek itself is small, maybe fifteen feet across at the widest, maybe three or four feet deep in certain holes. During the summer, when the heat lay heavy on the plains, on certain nights, if you drove south out of St. Francis down to the Minnechaduza, pulled off the side of the road and turned your headlights off, you would see…The entire watershed, from side to side, filled with fireflies. There were probably millions of them, a river of fireflies, glowing and flickering.  Located in the middle of nowhere, only a few nearby ranches, the sky was a velvet black filled with an endless vista of stars from horizon to horizon, and beneath those stars, that river of fireflies. When the fireflies were particularly vivid word would spread and in a slow pilgrimage many of the people from the surrounding towns would make the drive down to the Minnechaduza deep in the stillness of the great plain's night to see that river of fireflies.  Even now it is easy for me to close my eyes and see it. When I close my eyes and remember that river of fireflies I also remember quite vividly all the people I shared it with - friends, family, lovers.  It is a good, poignant and powerful memory.

Fireflies On The Missouri

I was a Boy Scout growing up. (Troop 210 Rosebud, South Dakota).  In the summer we would go to a week long Boy Scout camp at Lewis & Clark, on the Missouri river. I have some very fond memories of my days as Boy Scout - we had a great group of kids, some of whom remain my friends to this day, others I've lost touch with over time. Lewis & Clark nestles up against the northern bank of the Missouri River and the camp itself was bisected by apair of steep valleys that served as drainage from the surrounding plains. Those valleys were firefly havens.  We would spend the evenings at Lewis & Clark running, playing, and sneaking through the night, engaged in a hundred games, formal and informal, organized and unorganized - and in my mind, many of those games are played in and among the soft glow of fireflies.  It is here that I have the memories of jars full of fireflies, natural lanterns, whose soft glow filled old canvas tents as we lay there in the dark and told the stories of our young lives.

Fireflies In California

I have never seen fireflies in California.  I have friends here who have never seen a firefly.  I never really thought about that until now.  I have seen many other wondrous things here, but never the magic of fireflies.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Purity of Falling

Lately I have been running over a very specific sense memory - a sense memory of the purity of falling.  Probably everyone has had the experience of falling more than once in their lives.  Sometimes they are simple slips and falls, sometimes they are controlled falls, sometimes they are all out tumbling free fall.  Sometimes they hurt at the far end, sometimes they are embarrassing, and sometimes they are actually funny - nearly pratfalls.  There is purity in falling - a moment when you simply are - not in control.  You have crossed the threshold and all that remains is the anticipation of the moment of impact. There is a small window of time when you are falling and you have absolutely no control. That is a very pure moment.  I am not sure why I am circling around the sense memory of falling, but I am. I don't think I am falling. But then, would I know? Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

The Dream Fragments

I slept about ten hours last night, falling off early in the evening while reading and then waking up at about four AM. I had two dream fragments - the first was receiving a telegram that said something like "I want you to take me there" and the second fragment was being kissed on the back of the neck. I suspect the telegram dream originated from "Alas, Babylon" - one of the characters in there is a telegraph operator, because other than that telegrams are hardly in my vocabulary. The other dream, being kissed on the back of the neck, speaks for itself. It was a pleasant dream to wake from. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Sunday is winding to a close. The sun is sliding over the horizon with a golden glow. It was a good weekend all in all.  It held some twists and some complications, but was basically straight-forward and restful. I spent most of the weekend nursing my shoulder and it seems to have helped a lot. 

The acid test will be after the first full day of work, which will fall on Monday.  If I need to, I will switch to working virtually so I can lay down when I need to comfortably, but I suspect that if I am watchful, make sure I keep stretching the shoulder out and pop the occassional Advil, I should be good.

I did not do much this weekend.  I spent time in chat, I spent a lot of time reading, and I had a few good meals.  My plan is to go to sleep early tonight, get a full night of sleep, and then slide into the morning.  I had a lot of fun in chat on Sunday morning, laughed so hard that my sides hurt - the crowd was good, the mood was good, and the humor was flowing and funny. I always like chat when it turns like that. Chat can be like having a lot of great and funny people visiting your living room in the early morning.

Life twisted and turned over the weekend and I am not entirely sure right now what I think of it, but what I do think of it is this.  I had written before about allowing people the dignity of their journey - even when that journey is taking them in a direction that you might not want them to go.

So, after the twists and turns of this weekend, I ultimately hold true to that. I may have wished for a different outcome, but when you know the person making a decision, and you know the reasons they are making the decision, all you can do is support it.  So, that being what it was, I will continue forward. I won't lie, I am sure I will have my wistful moments, and I am sure there will be moments and days when I miss them, but that is all part of being human. Love and respect the other people in your life and support them in the decisions they make.  That is almost the definition of friendship in my book.

I am hoping to write more this week - I laid off the writing for a while well my shoulder was being nursed - I did a lot of readying - I reread two books (Lamb by Christopher Moore and Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank) and made a lot of headway in "The Dragon Never Sleeps" by Glen Cook. (I had posted an excerpt from the book a little earlier).  The Dragon Never Sleeps isone of those epic Science Fiction novels with multiple plot threads running simultaneously, so it took a while to get them aligned and running - but they are running now and the characters are starting to take hold.  If the book continues at the quality it has reached, then I would definitely recommend it as a good Sci-Fi read.

Work stress has been creeping up as the tail of The Project That Almost Broke Me continues to thrash around.  It has thrashed itself close to exhaustion a couple of times and then always seems to regain the energy to thrash some more.  It is frustrating, but from a philosophical position - it simple is what it is.  If I stay tight, stay focused, it will eventually thrash itself out. The trick is to not get thrashed around to badly. On the heels of my vacation I am better equipped to deal with it, not being as close to total burnout as I was back in June.

Finally, to my friends in Florida, you are in my thoughts, and I hope the storm slips over you without too much damage and dislocation.  As several of you has said - it's the price of living in Paradise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Dragon Never Sleeps - Glen Cook

"The breeze off the sea carried the murmur of spirits and sprites and a coolness that kissed Blessed Tregresser's cheeks. He stared out at the waves, watched one after another roll in and smash itself on the foot of the cliff, a hundred meters below. Darkness slithered over the water. The sun was setting behind him. As it did the evenings party came to life." - Chapter 26, Page 58. "The Dragon Never Sleeps." Glen Cook. Excellent Sci-Fi novel so far. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Requiem For A Comet

There are people who move along the edges of your life very brightly. Sometimes they appear as stars, bright, constant. Other times they appear as meteors - swift, brilliant, and then gone.  Sometimes they appear as comets - they arc across your sky, growing in brilliance, until they pass and fade. Today, a comet faded from my sky. She was always a muse to me, and like all muses, she possessed a sufficiency of mystery that I will always wonder. Sometimes comets return. Sometimes their cycle is so great we will never again see them in this life. Where ever her path takes her - out there - "beyond the loom of the last lone star" - I wish her all the best in her journey.

A Thousand If's

There are a thousand if's. One of them is this. If I thought for a moment that even one of them was true I would turn heaven and earth. But I am left with a thousand if's - and no truth. So, patiently, I wait. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fortune Cookie

Tonight's fortune cookie says: Success is being at peace with yourself. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


So, I am laying here flat on my back staring at the conference room ceiling. Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of a muscle spasm in my back - actually high up under the left shoulder. Most likely a result of too many hours at the computer (work) and poor posture last week manifesting itself this week. At its peak I could see the muscle clenching and unclenching. So, I made it through the day by the expedients of muscle relaxants and laying flat on my back. Today is much better. Still laying on my back when I have to, but Advil is doing the job of holding the worst of it off. Loads of fun. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Fifties Dream

I had a very cool and very funny dream last night. I dreamt about a whole cast of characters (people I know) in a variety of 1950's settings - like we have been transported in time - or into an episode of Leave It To Beaver. I woke up and found myself laughing at some of the images. I made a cup and coffee and fired off some email to friends who were in the dreams. Even now, on the far side of a chaotic day, I am laughing at some of the images. I will write up the best of them and add them to the journal later this evening. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Every Act

In spite of the appearance of commonality every act is singular in it's expression. If you understand that you will go a long way toward understanding the specific and local phenomena we call life. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, August 11, 2008

All The Things I Cannot Say or The Devil's De Canto

All The Things I Cannot Say

I close my eyes and I see the years
All the years that fell away in time
I see the smiles and I see the tears
That got all tangled up in my mind

A thousand currents shaped us
Like a river shapes tumbling stones
A thousand suns burned us
Like a desert burns fallen bones

And all the things that I remember
Are so beautiful and terrible
I kneel in silence before the altar
I bow my head in prayer and tremble

I hear the angels voices rising
I am burned in the crucible of memories
Where the devils sing de cantos
And we mark the crossroads with lies

A thousand currents shaped us
Like a river shapes tumbling stones
A thousand suns burned us
Like a desert burns fallen bones

I close my eyes and I see the years
All the years that fell away in time
I see the smiles and I see the tears
That got all tangled up in my mind

Beauty strikes me sharply into silence
My words fail me and fall away
The tears show me the terrible clarity
Of all the things I cannot say

A thousand currents shaped us
Like a river shapes tumbling stones
A thousand suns burned us
Like a desert burns fallen bones

Beauty strikes me sharply into silence
My words fail me and fall away
The tears show me the terrible clarity
Of all the things I cannot say

The Company of Friends

I had a great little weekend road trip to Lake Tahoe, Reno and Truckee (and many other little California mountain towns in between). I am something of a technophile - my laptop and my Blackberry go almost everywhere with me. There are times when I deliberately set one or the other aside to temporarily sever my electronic umbilical cord, but they are rare.

I very much love the fact that almost where ever you go in America you can be connected to your friends and family scattered across the country and they are only a few electrons away. The age is rapidly approaching when "always connected, always on" is the norm and not the exception, and that age is right upon us. There is room for a huge debate about whether or not that is a good thing or a wise thing but that is mostly like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of pin. It may be an interesting, amusing and perhaps insightful debate but largely an irrelevant one.

There is a subtle power in it though that was simply and powerfully demonstrated to me over the weekend. On Saturday night, as I was waiting for my nephew to get ready to go and get some dinner I popped out the Blackberry and sent a quick slew of emails off to my friends, describing the trip so far, highlighting what I liked, extending that comforting touch, checking on other things going on. 

When I woke up Sunday morning one of my friends had responded to disagree with me. I had told her that the best part of the trip so far had been the Scallops de la Mar at Rojo's. She politely disagreed and told me the best part was the experience of Lake Tahoe with the mind/body/spirit. She was absolutely correct. If you have never seen Lake Tahoe it is an incredible place. The word stunning does not do it justice. But in the rush of our lives it is easy to miss the lake because you are watching or captivated by all of the things around the lake. I did not miss the lake, I just valued one small thing (the scallops, which were excellent) more that I valued the very large thing (the experience of the region). Being analytical by nature and inclination and training it is easy for me to lose sight of the scope of things.

That simple email response from my friend was enjoy to serve the purpose of a smack alongside the head with a Zen stick. It's didn't enlighten me (that would take repeated smacks with a very large stick), but it did snap me out of the tight focus and remind to also know the entirety ofthe experience. I think that is one of the sublime blessings of friendships - that ability to see things through another persons eyes, if only for a moment, and in that moment to see more than we normally would have seen.

I know that one of the many things I enjoyed very much over the weekend was seeing the Lake Tahoe area with my nephew, who had never been there before and was initially reluctant to come along, probably wondering why his Uncle was dragging him 400 miles to look at a lake. Watching the impact of it on him, beholding it for the first time, was very cool.

Now, I am back at work, the ordinary things of ordinary life are swirling around me. But I simply think back and recall that brilliant blue lake and I center. Beauty, in all its forms, is an astounding thing, whether that beauty is the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe - or the company of friends (either in person or electronically). Sent via BlackBerry by AT

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Slept late. Woke up. Showered. Drank coffee. Off to Donner Lake this morning, then probably back to Kings Beach (Lake Tahoe) for lunch with my friends. The trip has been excellent. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, August 9, 2008


One of the best things on vacation is you can change directions without preamble. We ended up going down toward Carson City, then up across the mountains (8,000 feet) past Mount Rose, took an hours hike along the edge of Mt. Rose, then drove down in Lake Tahoe. If you have never seen Lake Tahoe - it is a visually stunning place. The aforementioned dinner was excellent - simple outstanding. The scallops were done in a light cream sauce with aged cheddar cheese and spices. The sauce was excellent and the scallops done to perfection. All in all in has been a great day. Going to rest a little and then wander out to see the bright lights of the biggest little city in the world. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Scallops a la Mar

Dinner is scallops a la Mar at Rojo's in South Lake Tahoe. Spent most of the afternoon just wandering through the Sierra's and around the stunning beauty of South Lake Tahoe, broken by a two hour trail hike around Mt. Rose. Hungry and the restaurant smells good. An excellent sign. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

In Reno

Checked in the hotel in Reno. Hot August Nights is ongoing, so we are wandering downtown Reno and admiring all of the classic cars. It is a beautiful day here, warm and clear. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Penryn, CA

140 miles down the road. 100 miles from Reno. Stopped at Le'Omelette in Penryn for breakfast. Biscuits and gravy, eggs scrambled with sharp cheddar, sausage, coffee and a bloody mary. Now, we'll cross over the Sierra's through Donnor pass. Should be in Reno a little after noon. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Off To Lake Tahoe

Paused for a few moments before I take off to Lake Tahoe and Reno for a quick wandering road trip.  The weather looks to be perfect for it. I am in a good mood and ready to slip out onto the road. I love just sitting here watching the dawn - the sun is just now slipping over the horizon and the swath of golden light is tickling the tree tops and sliding toward the windows.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Y Chromosome Density

As one of those fortunate people gifted with a Y chromosome, I can be, at times, incredibly…dense.  It can be a gift at times – moving through life without an awareness of subtlety and nuance. Sometimes I think that is why men are often happier than women. It is not that we really are happier.  It is just that, being generally clueless, we think we’re happier.  I am joking of course. Happiness or unhappiness is entirely a local and specific phenomenon. I may be happy. You may be happy.  To take it much beyond there is to stumble into error.

Today, because of, in spite of, my Y chromosome, I am happy. I managed to catch a subtlety. I managed to notice a nuance. I managed to navigate through the territory of miscommunication and only bounce off the rocks a couple of times. That is a good feeling.  The best part…the very best part…I felt as if I heard and was heard. Even those of us suffering from a healthy case of Y Chromosome Density can appreciate that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It was long day. From seven AM to a short while ago. It had its frustrations. It had its moments of darkness and its moments of light. It had its bright and shining times - a conversation, an email, a text. People made it bright. There is I think an Angel that stands just inside the doorway of life and collects the cover charge. Tonight I paid. Tonight I danced. Tonight I sat at the bar and looked at my reflection and there was a moment that passed. It might have just been a moment. It might have been the moment. Loss. Need. Want. Hope. One glimmering flash in a strangers eyes. rolled on. It has that habit. Cynical or philosophical or realist, I am only me. I cannot be more or less, whether the day is short or long. Today was...long. Now, I will sleep and tomorrow will be tomorrow. I wonder who counts the stars in the night sky...and who misses that one bright star that slips out of sight. Me, I think. And the Angel collecting the cover charge at door of life. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

At 2:15 AM

I dreamt I was watching a black and white documentary film about dogs traveling on ocean liners during the gilded age. About how the dogs of the very rich traveled with their masters and mistresses in the very lap of luxury and how their whims were catered to by the serving staff of the liners. It was a very vivid dream and certainly an unusual one. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Be Done With It

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. - Emerson Sent via BlackBerry by AT


Monday, August 4, 2008


Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn's death had a strange effect on my today.  I spent part of the day thinking about the eighty nine years of his life, about how that life inspired and perhaps compelled his literature. As a literary critic I am not qualified to comment on the body of work that is his legacy. I would not consider myself a fan. I often struggled through his work, but I read him, and I recognized the brilliance contained within those works.

I thought about all of those people in life who influence us in passing. They may touch us only very briefly, but they touch us. The memory of them resides within us somewhere. Sometimes we remember the actual person or the event.  Other times I think it is more likely they attain a semi-mythic half remembered state. They become - images, icons, very specific memories, of very specific events. The moral of their story, the ghosts of the memories of them are always there, sometimes shrouded in light, sometimes in darkness, mostly in those swirling images of light and shadow that comprise all of us and the influences we have on each other.

I know there are others to whom I have been the shadowy ghost, the incident and accident of memory. I have had the pleasure of being told those stories a time or twenty in the course of my life. Indians are big story tellers and often we tell stories about - each other - it is often amusing and surprising the stories we occupy - stories of the things we did and failed to do, or failed at doing. I think it is good to be a ghost sometimes. It is good to have ghosts.  It is good to have known ghosts.

After thinking about ghosts my thoughts turned to one of my favorite songs about a ghost...

Unknowing captor
You never know how much you
Pierce my spirit
But I can't touch you
Can you hear it
A cry to be free
Oh I'm forever under lock and key
As you pass through me...

Ghost, Indigo Girls

A Giant Dies...

"It is history's sorrow, the grief of our era, that lie about me like an anathema." Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn 1918 - 2008. Sent via BlackBerry by AT

I read the Gulag Archipelago years ago, through the course of a long winter weekend. I sat or laid on a big leather couch in the living room, warmed by a wood stove, snacking and drinking coffee.  I read myself to sleep three nights in a row. I read myself awake three days in a row. I lived on coffee, sandwiches, and cigarettes. I was a different man then and the miles between here and there were alternately dark and light. But I remember that weekend well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Final Thought For The Night

This was from a note sent to me by an online friend. I thought I would share it here. "Be kinder than necessary. Remember everyone is fighting some kind of battle." Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thoughts At The End Of Vacation

Thoughts At The End Of Vacation

Well, I have just finished up seventeen days off.  As far as vacations go it has been the longest stretch of time off I have taken that I can recall. It has possibly been three or four years, maybe more since I have taken time off in a long stretch like this.  Normally, I take my vacation a week at a time and split it between a variety of destinations. 

This time, I took four days in San Jose, then eight in San Diego, then five more in San Jose.  I have planned to spend the last three days up at Lake Tahoe, but that part did not pan out, and that is fine. Had I gone up there I would have spent most of today getting back.  So, I thought I would take a little time here in the evening and compose my thoughts about the vacation in general.

-It was very nice not to bend my knee to the clock.  On several days I woke up, got up, tinkered around and then went back to bed.  Those were enjoyable days.  There were also a couple of nights when I stayed up late into the darkness.  That was also very nice. 

-The trip to San Deigo was excellent.  The length was just about right. It was long enough to enjoy the San Diego area, but not long enough to get bored with the area. San Diego itself is diverse enough (being a major California city) that there is plenty to do.

-Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the San Diego Comic Con.  It is the ultimately pilgrimage for the inner geek and just all in all a good time.  I will attend next year as well, having already bought my four day pass.

-There were a few things I would have liked to have done around the apartment, but they are ordinary things that I did not do because I chose not to do them.  There is no real regret there - I will simply tackle them in the upcoming weeks.

-Following vacation it is pretty clear to me that the major stressor in my life, probably like a lot of other people, is work.  I did have to spend part of two of my vacation days attending meetings related to work, mainly to bring me up to speed on developments when I am out so that I can hit the ground running when I get into the office tomorrow morning.  The project that nearly broke me has developed a very long tail and that tail is thrashing around.

-I do feel much more centered than I did two weeks ago, so to that extent, I would consider the overall vacation a success. The main thing I wanted to do was settle things out, give myself a chance to spin down from the work stress, get refocused so that I can dive back into the fray on my return and to that end it was a successful vacation.

-I would have liked to have spent more time writing.  I did write a lot of notes, a lot of scenarios, a lot of frames that I will be fleshing out over the course of the next couple of weeks. Hopefully that will be the tail of the vacation.

-Now that I am recentered and feel a great deal of clarity, it will be interesting to me to see how much that will carry into the work environment where I had previously been off center.  As you can see from the frequency that work has appeared in this particular entry, my brain has already begun the process of shifting back into "work Rod" mode.

-So, with that, I think I will conclude this entry.  It was a nice vacation, well deserved and excellent. I enjoyed it very much.  So, with that in mind, I am going to call it a night, curl up in clean sheets, and try and get a nice nights sleep before I dive back into the fray.

Idle Day...

It has been an idle day, quiet and unassuming. Going up to Texas Roadhouse for a steak and then call it then end of vacation. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Which Way The Heart Lays

I woke up this morning and I tumbled from a dream. The last thing I remember was the phrase "which way the heart lays". Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dreams of Sleeping

This morning, as I lay sleeping, I dreamt I was sleeping. I slept in very late for me - about 9 am. In the dream, I dreamt I slept until 11:30. So, I have an extra two and a half hours of dream sleep under my belt. That should keep me extra refreshed today. I am off to get breakfast with friends now. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T