Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prostitute Mickey

Prostitute Mickey 1

OMFG...a part of me just died but I can't stop laughing. WTF?

And, as though I'm not already curled up in a ball weeping, I immediately watched

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My tree

I spent most of the day in Ashland today, my old home town and place I raised my children. It rained and even the melancholy of the rain was comforting. After lunch with a friend, I got coffee at Bloomsbury Books and waited until it was time to pick up another friend and take him to Fight Night at my in-laws... pizza, cake, ice cream and boxing. It's a tradition, Fight Night.

My tree today

I also visited my tree today. To some degree I measure my life by this tree, or at least my life since that Easter Sunday some 25 years ago when I sat under it and and experienced a "moment of truth". My tree lives in Lithia Park and, at the time, was just big enough to sit under and shelter me from the passing world from which I felt so estranged. Ever since that day, and even though we moved to Nevada, I visit it occasionally to see how it's doing. At this point, it is one of my oldest friends.

Unfortunately, my tree stands at the edge of a playground so its early years were especially hard. Kids can be brutal to young trees, grabbing and breaking branches but, in spite of all that, it is a lucky tree. It also grows close to Lithia Creek and the sloping bank has, for the most part, protected it from the children. Otherwise, I think they would have mauled it to death by now or at least mutilated and dwarfed it.

For several years it looked so sickly I was afraid it would die. Perhaps it took awhile for the roots to reach the creek. And one year I discovered that the top of its trunk had somehow broken over and died. It hung down black and bare into the lower branches. That was a desperate time. I was afraid the gardeners might cut the tree down but, like I said, it is a very lucky tree. Instead they have pruned it back to health. These days, it is looking really good, even with the new forked top. It seems shorter and bushier than normal but it is still growing upward. That's the important thing. Today I saw that the gardeners have pruned away some of its lower branches, the ones facing the playground. I am guessing that is so people can more easily sit in its shelter. It is a very accommodating tree.

(That's my tree on the left peeking through
the autumn leaves
from the other side of the bridge.)

And my tree was there when I released the remains of my uncle, John Chance, into the snow melt rage of Lithia Creek. The shocking wild flash of ashes turned the creek suddenly white, lingered a moment in the flow as though they didn't want to go, then vanished. My tree holds the memory for me. It's what friends do.

From Beatitude Magazine

Midnight notes along the way

Blue lantern on San Pablo Ave.

After the memorial last Sunday we stayed in the Bay Area a couple more days so Monday night I read poetry at an open mic in Berkeley. It's a weekly event hosted by Poetry Express at the Priya restaurant. I read there last spring. They are a good bunch of friendly, open-minded dedicated writers and it was nice to be back even though I didn't talk to anyone, just read and when it was over, left. I dedicated my reading to Philip. We're in Oregon now. We were going to return to Nevada in the morning but a new storm changed our plans. Looks like we'll be here until at least Sunday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Philip John Chance, RIP

He died on Halloween and his memorial was on a blue moon and that seems about right.

We went to my cousin Philip's memorial in Lafayette today. He was recuperating from a cycling accident in August then died from a blunt force trauma to the head in the nursing home. He was 53. Police are investigating.

The program from the memorial reads...

"Thank you for coming to remember Philip, the good, the living on the edge, and that he had the courage to even survive as long as he did. We ask that you awaken and practice moments of kindness."

He was brilliant, alcoholic, often homeless (unless you accept the fact that the forest was his home) and apparently lost (unless you understand that he followed his drummer through the Arizona mountains for last 30 years of his life on his bicycle because wanting to and having to were the same thing). I just don't believe it has to cost you your life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When words slip away

In the course of dying from a rare affliction which will first rob him of language, art critic and artist Tom Lubbock recently published excerpts from his memoir of the experience in the Guardian. It is well worth reading and, especially, I think, if you are a writer. Over the course of his disease he reverts to pure poetry, the first and last link, the voice of the soul.

Tom Lubbock died 9 January 2011. His obituary was published in the Guardian UK. If you do nothing else, read the end, Tom's final words.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Navel Gazing and Rambling at 8:38

Okay. I don't really want to be doing this but water has to go somewhere and we know it seeks the lowest level which, at this moment, translates into me slouched in my chair staring at the monitor, palms of my hands resting on keyboard, typing whatever comes into my head, the sounds of the house in background ... the squeaking of Mr. Lee's chair in the next room, the tapping of his keyboard, the whir of the fans in the laptop to my right and the quieter fans in the tower under my desk. There is also a low level hum in the walls. I don't know what it is. The heat's not on. Just a hum. Can you hear electricity in the walls? I sometimes think I can. Maybe it's just the tower. And then there's the infernal ringing in my right ear. When we were in Costa Rica recently, I realized that the ringing in my ears sounds exactly like the high pitched toneless buzzing of insects in the jungle. I don't know which insect, maybe some kind of jungle cricket, but the sounds are identical. That is some comfort actually because I like the sound of insects in the jungle and really don't like the ringing in my ear. I do my best to not obsess about it. Obsessing about it is definitely not a good thing so when I discovered the similarity between the buzzing in the jungle and the ringing in my ear, it was a relief. But enough about the ringing. Like I say, I don't want to obsess about it. I have that tendency. I am listening to the buzzing jungle.

Gustavo didn't seem to mind

So on to better things. What else grabs my attention this evening? I am too full, too hot and tired but it's too early early to sleep. I am too hot because the house is too cold so I have too many clothes on to stay warm. But now I'm hot. Which brings me to the thought that there must be a lot of people in the world who, in spite of the ringing in my ears, would be grateful to change places with me. People who are starving or cold or both. God. Life is fucked up. And this brings me to Catholic Guilt. I'm not a catholic anymore but seems most of us Xs never get free of the damn guilt. Which reminds me of my patron saint.

You might wonder why I have a patron saint being an X catholic. Aren't saints basically a catholic thing? Actually, I'm an X everything. These days I don't trust any dogma. However, when we were in Oaxaca a few years ago I found a saint I can do business with. My son was in the military at the time and overseas on a peace keeping mission. The entire time he was gone I lived in an undertow of deep unrest but sitting with Gustavo in the corner of that old stone church gave me some comfort. I didn't use the kneeler. Gustavo isn't that kind a saint. I sat in the chair.

Gustavo helped me sit with it

Actually, I'm not sure his name is Gustavo. There was a tombstone looking slab set into the floor or wall, I can't remember which, with the name Gustavo Santa Ana caved into it so I call him Gustavo. I spent a lot of time there. I even wrote a couple of poem based on the place and named them both Contact Language although one is subtitled letter 611. I've been thinking about Gustavo on and off these last few days. I wish in were in Oaxaca. I feel like sitting in the gloom with him.

I googled Gustavo Santa Ana just now and, although I found nothing on my Gustavo, I came across an article in the Orange County Weekly Navel Gazing section by Gustavo Arellano announcing that Jesus Christ Himself will be at the Santa Ana Artists' Village tomorrow to join the protest against the God Hates Fags protest Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church are waging against the Artists' Village because the theater is staging The Laramie Project, a gay-rights themed play. Just sayin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tampa grass

Florida grass

Okay. Time to change the top post. I don't have the inclination to write something at the moment so here's a new photo for you instead. The red stayed true. I am please about that. I took it in Tampa.

I am still organizing the thousands of photos from the trip and will post more soon. I think I like photography because it's more about seeing than thinking. But either way, it's work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My reply


Huffpo moderators censored my reply so, in answer to your question, here are my sources beginning with...

the comment you responded to:
“Here's a start. Go v3getarian. A recent United Nations report concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems — that means all of the globe’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.”

Here is the page I am quoting from:

Here is the 2010 UNEP report:

Here is a breakdown from that report:
"Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday."

Here is a quote from Dr Rajendra Pachauri elaborating on that report. He is chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize. He recommends that people have one meat-free day a week to help tackle climate change and added that they should reduce their meat consumption even further.

Love it or leave it

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One dog's journey

Help the Humane Society win this cash grant and help fund their fight against dog fighting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sloth poo time

Potty training at the sloth orphanage in Costa Rica.

Aviarios del Caribe is in Cahuita. We passed the place a number of times when we were there but didn't visit. The Sanctuary doesn't release many back into the wild and, as I don't like zoos or prisons, plus the fact that we thought we be tripping over sloths in the jungle, we didn't go. You know how that turned out. We never laid eyes on one although I'm sure a lot of sloth eyes were on us in a dreamy sort of way. Monkey's are easy. They make lots of noise leaping around in the trees. But sloths? They don't do much of anything except look cute. Why would I want to see them?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Local news at 10:22 PM

I can't believe we are finally home. We've been bouncing around since the 18th when we left Puerto Viejo.... Florida, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, California, Oregon but tonight, finally, we are back in Nevada. Good to be home although that idea is pretty abstract at the moment.

Photo from the bus.
Lovely Costa Rica.

It looks idyllic but it's not.

In Montana we finally got to meet, cuddle and coo Baby Leo. He's now two months old but still young enough to be a real baby. They grow so fast I was worried I'd miss this part. He's a total sweetheart, very strong and cute as hell. Photos to follow of him and more of Costa Rica but not tonight. I have to sort though everything first.