Saturday, February 15, 2003

The beautiful Phish song was "All of These Dreams." It's from the new album, "Round Room". I got the new album towards the end of my time at Sweetwater and I think I only listened to it once. Until now. It was holy. Yod called it the new "Ripple."

Okay. Now here's how the Orange anti-war protest went today. I went alone. First of all I met a large group of other Quakers from a Santa Ana meeting. My sign was the same one from the Yorba Linda protest that reads, "Another Quaker for Peace." They invited me to their meeting some Sunday morning. I'd love to. They have a traditional silent, unprogrammed meeting, which is what I've been looking for all of my adult life.
The crowd grew. I'm sure it was larger than the Yorba Linda protest, but that might have been perspective. The Orange Circle is smaller than the Nixon Library.
I listened to some of the rally speakers. The best line was, "This is the story of two dictators. One befriended Rumsfeld in the eighties. The other befriended Rumsfeld at the beginning of his current administration."
Or words to that effect. I wasn't taking notes.
I wandered up to the people standing at the side of the road with signs. There was only one television camera that I saw. Three people across the street showed up after an hour or so and held pro-war signs. I'd say close to eight hundred, maybe slightly more or less, stood on our side with anti-war signs. The camera man went over to interview the pro-war guy, without interviewing any of us. Mercifully, some people more vocal than I didn't let the media bastards get away with this. While they were interviewing, one peace punk kept shouting across the street at them, "So when are you enlisting, huh? Oh yeah? Well, it's a free county. I can yell at you as much as I want."
A great wave of laughter went up.
Then some young ladies, no older than junior high, one upped him and ran over to make sure that their peace signs were in the shot behind the pro-war people and their joyful shouts would be heard with whatever they tried to say. The rest of the day, the three pro-warriors were flanked by a good thirty anti-war people so that drivers by would see the bold lettered, "NO WAR" instead of the tiny letters on too small of a sign "bloodshed & terror, change regimes in iraq, depose saddam hussein."
I kept my mouth shut like a good Quaker.
This turned out to be a harbinger of sentiments to come. There were about as many people passing by who gestured or yelled against us as had been at Yorba Linda, which is to say a very small minority. The difference was that they were much angrier in Orange. An old lady passed by yelling at us some nonsense about "Fighting battles." That's all I heard her say, but she locked eyes with me when she said it. I don't know if it was a religious hate thing or what. I stayed silent and smiled. In my head, I said, "Om Padre Mani Hum."
On the march to the circle, a man with an American flag with a peace symbol instead of stars read my sign and said, "I'll say one thing about you Quakers. You're consistent!"
By some bizzare schedualing error, a small table from the Civil War re enactement society was there. They watched as hundreds funneled into the circle with looks as perplexed as the ones we gave them.
I got a good spot right at the edge of one of the circle's entrances where all incoming cars would see my sign (because the police were only letting cars in five at a time.)
A CIA agent kept circling slowly in an SUV, Buster Keaton faced, with a camera just barely peeking over the edge of his window so as to capture all of our faces. I'm mearly extrapolating that he was CIA, but come on!
I walked back in a nice sized group with many children and dogs around my knees, which somehow made me feel safer. I sat until my calves stopped mooing (bear in mind I'd walked around the Forum parking lot many times about twelve hours prior. I'm a walker, but I'm not that much of a walker.) Then I went home and took a nap.
When I woke up, I didn't see myself on the news or any of the Orange protest. The news mainly showed violent people getting arrested and throwing things and burning US flags in big cities. The media has never been kind to protesters. They also showed celebrities at protests. I was a little jealous because I saw that Pete Seeger played at one of the East Coast protests.
But I did my part anyway. Until the next one.


Alright, first I'll write about the Phish concert, then I'll tell of the anti-war protest later tonight.
Yod and I left at about four. On the way up he told me a great story. A friend of his was at a Dead concert and very high on LSD. He said that when the lights on stage turned yellow, he could smell the yellow. Then they turned green and he could smell the green. Then he looked over and the guy next to him was eating Gummy Bears.
I think it took longer to get down the street and parked than it took to drive to LA. The first thing we were surprised by was that there was a large amount of alcohol being consumed.
We met Lob and Muffin and got in line to go in a little after 7 pm. In the line wrapped around the building, a guy passing to the end of the line commented "Isn't there anybody inside?"
We finally got patted down and in the doors around 8:30 (thanks, Great Western Forum.) Lob found our section just as the crowd started roaring about the band taking the stage. We ran up to our seats and joined 20,000 screaming Phishheads.
They hotboxed the Forum. I couldn't believe it. There was so much smoke in the air, I had to go out into the halls a few times. My lungs tightened like fists. What with all the smoke and the alcohol, it was like seeing Sinatra in Vegas or something like that.
20,000 Phishheads can't be sober! I was though.
The first set was rocking, high energy, with mainly old songs. I was delighted at the end of "My Sweet One" when a heart shaped balloon came onstage and Trey popped it with his guitar. They sang "Cover of Rolling Stone" which I believe is a Dr. Hook song written by Shel Silverstein. That day, Rolling Stone had released their newest issue with Phish on the cover, natch.
In the second set came the 'Possum.' Easily the high point of the evening. Then, it started to get a little ominous. In the middle of "AC/DC Bag" some crackhead jumped out of the stands behind the band, climbed over John's drums, right in the middle of the song, pushed Trey away from the mike and started screaming something in the microphone. Security fell upon him and smote him. The band jammed on the song for a good seven minutes more, which shows a good spirit. After that, the set took a more serene turn.
There was a beautiful song about your dreams being in a cave and if you open your eyes you can go there and actualize your dreams. I look forward to figuring out what song it was. I don't think I'd heard it before.
When they went off stage for the first time, Trey was holding his wrist and looking strained. Lob and I both saw it and hoped that Trey wasn't injured. What an awful way to come back to touring!
They came on for the encore and people started throwing glow bracelets and beachballs at them. As they went off stage again, somebody threw a glow stick, which went right past John's head. He stumbled down two of the stairs. They didn't do another encore.
In the parking lot, we saw a girl laid out on a stretcher and the paramedics came. We saw a rich kid in a Mercedes slowly ram into the crowd of people as they tried to get to their cars. We saw many people run over glass beer bottles.
We also saw a balloon animal tied to the antennae of my car!

You know, there is a much different energy with Phish than with the Dead. Phish is more playful, fun, but also more edgy. There's more of a danger there, which gives them their "spiritual seeker" cred. I mean, I've always got that from their lyrics and the live experience kind of cemented it. But Lob told me, I think it was on Trey's solo tour, that there's something about Phish audiences that can be unpleasant. There tends to be a lot of college kids, out and intoxicated for one of the first times in their lives, who therefore think the experience is all about them them them. You get a room of thousands of those and the energy gets static. That was my experience last night. Seeing Phish live was a gas and I'll go again next time they come around, but frankly I'm really looking forward to listening to last night's show on the stereo.



Friday, February 14, 2003

No need for concern.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/terror030213_falsealarm.html

And I'm sorry I was so pissy earlier. Turned out I just needed a nap.
Oh, and that reminds me, Happy Valentine's day.
It amazes me how much planning and work goes into free time. We're all planning on how and where and when to meet for the Phish concert over cell phones. Nissa will not be coming. She decided to stay in Utah because it costs a lot to get her ticket moved sooner. She's decided to stay and relax. I hope she gets to.
I'm worried about her auditions. First and foremost I hope that she gets what she needs, no matter what that may be. It looks like the only one she might be up for is one where she would be travelling around our nation's schools to teach theater for a year. Needless to say I wouldn't be going with her. Needless to say this brings up some abandonment issues that I've been supressing successfully for a few years. In other words, love is not selfish, but that doesn't mean a lover isn't at times in some part of their brain.



Thursday, February 13, 2003

Today was spent in the city of Orange. Procured about 100 books. I had to walk many blocks in the pouring rain clutching a great sack of books to my chest beneath an umbrella to get back to my car. Mercifully, there was no damage done.
My shrink and I hammered out an idealized work schedual for me. The idea is that I need to liberate some free time.
Niss may come home tomorrow and, thanks to Lob buying extra tickets, may be able to go to the Phish concert with us. It depends on when she gets in.
Before my shrink, I was sitting on a bench and a lady came up to give me a flier. It was a flier for the anti-war protest in Hart Park on Saturday. I told her that I was already going and that I'd been to the Yorba Linda march. We chatted. Turns out she wasn't with the group putting it on. She was just a good American who printed up some fliers and took it upon herself to pass them out on campus. It reminded me that no matter how much you do for good, there's somebody out there doing more. Although, this could be concidered an online flier distribution.
Yeah, go here and get the info and meet me at the Hart Park protest (http://ocpeace.org/) or go here and find your own damn protest (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/)
At my folk's dinner tonight my mom made a sugar free chocolate pecan pie (dad is diabetic, so I can look forward to diabetic children.) It was heavenly. I tasted God in the pie.


"`I will forgive the nations of all their sins,
Except for the sins of spilling the blood of My children',
So saith the Lord who lives in Zion."
-line from a Hasidic song I heard

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Many of you may have noticed that I borrowed "Mutiny on the Bounty" from the library and a scant three days later was comparing our nation's leaders to Captain Bligh. Besides the Saint Peter thing, there's a good reason why I want to fill my head with great films. It widens my metaphor vocabulary.
For example, our leaders. Are they Nemo? No. He was somewhat of a megalomaniac, but not actively violent and somewhat noble in his adventures.
Ahab? Well, we sure seem to be seeking the white whale (terrorism) no matter what the human cost. But Ahab wasn't driven by thinly veiled greed or a savage reaction to questioning by his crew.
It's Bligh that grew fat by reducing his crews rations to below subsitance (economy.) It's Bligh who flogs his crew brutally and constantly rattles his sabre (war & kind of the Patriot Act when you think about it.) And in the end it doesn't matter if Bligh is a great seaman. He's a sorry excuse for a human being and his mindset of violence is rejected by the civilized world when he's brought before the judges in the end (we can only hope!)
This is why I need to fill my head with brilliance and classics, even if they're modern. If I'm going to work for a peaceful world with non-violence, I need the weapon of language. Widening my selection of tools is essential. This is why I seek art.

If you have never seen it, I highly recommend making the trip to the library. From the moment Charles Laughton steps on screen to the last frame he's in, his performance is breath taking! Makes me despair over what's passing for Oscar material these days.


Thanks to Dr. Oblivious for giving me the link to this long, dark rant. I warn you that it's quite heavy. You may want to put on something fun after you read it like a Weird Al album or a funny hat.

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/02/28839.php
Well, everything's gone nuts again and I'm stuck at home. The skies have opened like a faucet. Orange County, at least the part I live in, has never had adequate storm drains. City officials might argue that point, but the fact remains that every time it sprinkles a fine mist over the land, Newland and Gothard streets turn into Venice. Sometimes Magnolia as well, which is to say nothing of the residential streets. The plan was the Huntington library today, but I fear my car wouldn't be able to get there and back again.
Which reminds me, I made a little faux pas in the post about shaving my mustache. Hobbits don't grow facial hair at all at all. That occured to me this morning as I ate breakfast. I imagined fans twitching as they read that post. Of course, the reason hobbits don't grow facial hair is because they don't really exist.
So, I'm under house arrest under God's orders. I'm at the mercy of the elements as far as procuring for my business goes.
Then I heard that my father has been called home from Las Vegas because the two nations that are pushing for war have gone crackers over recent threats. Something has caused Los Angeles County to call back their network troubleshooter from a vital convention on the future technology of the trade. In other words, something has spooked them enough to put aside our future for the moment in order to focus on the present. I hope I'm not the only one who finds that disturbing.
Heathrow is locked down with gun toting soldiers stomping around every now disturbingly named "terminal." I've been to Heathrow. It's a monster of an airport with thousands shuffling around inside at any given moment.
We're in an Orange alert, which may or may not mean anything. I certainly live in the appropriate county. The love of my life is several states away and flying back on Sunday. I'm going to a 20,000 person, sold out Phish concert on Friday and a giant protest of the upcoming war on Saturday (by the way, be sure and go here:
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/
and find out which protest is closest to you. Go to it if you're sick of saber rattling Captain Bligh's representing you and putting your safety at peril by going into the world bar looking for a fight. Personally, I'd feel a lot safer if we disarmed first and started acting with compassion and loving kindness to the rest of our global community. War is never nessicary. What's needed is for us to create a world environment where war and violence are unheard of. The world is whatever we make it. It makes me ill to see what our representatives are making it right now IN OUR NAME! So get out to any protest you can!)
Where was I?
Anyway, it's a strange day to be a Quaker, an American, an Orange Countian, and a human being. That's really all that I'm saying. I mean, it's stranger than usual. Enough that I would remark on it.


Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Nissa called to tell me she arrived in mint condition, if not exhausted. She said that Salt Lake City reminds her of one big church. She's at the American College Theater Festival to audition for theater companies and hopefully secure a job for after she graduates, which is far more than I ever did. One of life's paradoxes is that the fact that you're traveling with somebody doesn't presuppose that you're on the same paths. Luckily, I can do what I do where ever I end up, so it doesn't matter where she gets work.

When I left her at LAX I said the old Bob and Ray line, "Write if you find work!"
She said, "What?"

Tonight I saw Boingo, my other cat, reach into a cup of milk with his paw and lick it off as though his paw were a spoon. What would Jane Goodall make of that? Like I say, he's just like me. People think he's crazy because he's smart.
I have much better luck with animals when I let them choose me rather than the other way around. Boingo certainly chose me. Back in college, I came home one night and my mom said that there was a surprise for me in the bathroom. The bathroom door was closed. I thought it might be a still! But it turned out to be two kittens that my father had found shut in a box in the parking lot of his work.
I spent some time with them. The other one was off in his own kitten ego. Boingo kept playing with me and climbing on me. They told me I could have one and the other went to dad's secretary. The cat made the choice for me.
The epilogue is that the secretary had to give the other kitten to a farm because it was too crazy for them.
I wish I could surrender to the flow as much with people as I seem to be able to with plants and other animals.


On the other hand, as this article shows, it's cool if you write a bunch of crackpot weirdness in your books. We used book dealers love that crap. Sometimes a chortle is worth having a worthless book in stock.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,890548,00.html
It's amazing how much a slight change in schedual can royally screw your body and mind for a day. I drove Nissa to LAX at six in the morning. Actually she drove there so's I could scrape my brain together enough to find my way home. Lucky for us it just started raining when we left which gave us an hour and a half to talk in the car on what should normally be a half an hour drive. Rain seems to wash the common sense from the southern Californian freeways.
Nissa stayed over night. We slept together for two hours. Then she got up to finish her Buddha paper. She only got those two hours of sleep last night. I got five. Somehow she can do that and keep plowing ahead. If I get less than eight hours I'm ready to tip over. Besides, last night I went down another Benedryl pill, so my body's about ready to scream at me.
Nissa told me to take the day off because I hadn't taken Sunday off. I didn't. But I only got about fourty books today. By the way, please don't write your name in the front of your books or put stickers on the covers or anything like that. It make my life suck.
I also took a break from work to hand feed Bugsy pieces of ham. Bugsy is currently curled up on my bed, all purrs with the olfactory memories of a man who filled her belly.
The birds are going nuts in the backyard. Their large feeder has turned into bird bath in the rain. They're treating it as such.
Oh, and Nissa's mom sent over the most awesome cookies. I mean "awesome" in its traditional form. They're transcendent. They have macadamia nuts, rich chocolate chips, a smattering of raisins and bits of oatmeal secreted in the dough. Ambrosia! And I've got like three dozen of them.


Monday, February 10, 2003

It worked.
Okay, so my last message hasn't uploaded yet in the past four hours. I feel kind of like when you're talking to somebody on the phone and finish and after a minute they say, "Okay, I'm back. Now what did you want to say?"
So I'm sending another post that doesn't have anything to do with anything to see if it pushes the other blog onto the site. So I'm blogging about not being able to blog.
Okay.
There weren't many big finds today. I found a book about comic strips in the '70's called (I believe) "Is Kurt Vonnegut The Exorcist of Jesus Christ Superstar" for some reason. It's got a thirty five dollar price tag. Otherwise it was a bulk day.
I gave six extra dollars at the Garden Grove Library today because last week they undercharged me. The Friends of the Library lady was taken aback. She said nobody'd ever done that before. I also picked up "Mutiny on the Bounty" and a documentary about Hasidim in New York. I've been borrowing the great films from libraries for almost five years. There are so many films I'd be ashamed if Saint Peter asked me if I'd seen it and I hadn't. So, I'm trying to foil him while I'm here on Earth.
I also shaved my mustache today. I've just got a chin goatee now. It makes my face look a little longer, which is good for us round hobbitlike folk. Makes me feel a little thinner when I pass by a mirror. Also makes me look like a very young C Everett Coop.
Last night I won an ebay auction of a leatherbound, limited signed edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A Hunter Thompson signed first edition usually doesn't sell below five hundred. I plan to wait until the good doctor croaks before I put it up for sale. But the way he's been going, that means my children will probably sell it for peanuts after I've had a stroke in my eighties. Lousy kids.
There's another side of me that thinks I might just make it an expensive present to myself. I haven't decided yet.


Sunday, February 09, 2003

Charles' observation : "It will be a great day when our elected officials rise to the level of the animals on the Island of Dr. Moreau."

In other news, I failed. Phish and Chas invited me to join them at the swap meet and I bought a bunch of books. One was a brilliant find though. It's called "The Truth About Elvis." It's this UFO, Jesus' new messages, beyond the grave kind of book billed as calls its self "the remarkable book he yearned to write."
Poor Elvis.
It sells for fourty dollars.