Saturday, March 15, 2003

It's cold and weeping skyed (skied? or skyed?) I know friends in New York and Pennsylvania are laughing and calling me a big old femme, but a California cold is a totally different game from an eastern cold.
I've been in both. I went shirtless in Burlington on New Years Eve in -7 Farenheit for Ah Pook's sweet sake. Leave me alone, you libertine Yankees!
Granted California isn't the below zero, being tatooed on any piece of exposed skin feeling of the east right now. Friends in the bay area get it worse than we do down here. A coastal California cold blows through you, all of your layers, to your joints and lungs. It's a sailor's cold.

I talked to my friend Sean about my thoughts on the protest movement. He helped me come to some personal resolutions on the issues mentioned before.
1) I want to be Allen Ginsberg. I want to sit in the middle of the provoking protests and say "OM" for a few hours. For some reason I'm not. I should probably work on that.
2) The protests that I've seen recently where people are combative to the opposition are the protests that are poorly organized. In contrast, the peaceful protest I went to in Yorba Linda was well organized and part of a global effort. When I'm at a poorly organized protest and I realize that, I should probably leave.
3) I feel strongly enough to feel the need to take a stand. I just need to be strong enough to do it with my own voice. There are going to be the people who get on the news and make the anti-war movement look bad by burning flags and smashing windows. I need to do just as I was saying, live my example. Come back at all the negativity with positivity every time.

Good Lord, it sounds like the roof's going to buckle under the waves of raindrops any minute.

Anyway, doubts are like drugs. I'm not sorry I spent the time with them that I did. I learned a lot from them. Then I moved on and used the lessons from them to make my life better.

Today the video store was having a "get triple points on your Mark of the Beast store club card." My mom has the card so she took me down to the mall to have me show her things I'd like for my birthday. I wont list them here because I'd like to try and forget them by the time my birthday comes (4/20 for those who don't already know. The day of Columbine. Hitler, Van Gogh and Tito Puente's birthday. The day to get twisted on drugs all day for some people.)
I tried not to think of the old Andre Gregory arguement that going to the mall and looking for DVDs for ME ME ME are comforts that insulate me from reality and true feeling (although I wish I would have thought to look for "My Dinner With Andre" in retrospect. And before I go on, I'm not terribly serious about these thoughts. I don't make a habit of mall shopping and not just because I can't afford it.) In other words, whenever I go shopping now I think about how we're about to go to bomb humans and the high unemployment rate and the growing rift between classes and the dumbing of the masses. The act of blind consumerism could be seen as a source of these and other problems. And why shouldn't I be thinking about all of these things? Why should I keep the armor on?
Nissa said, last night when we were griping about the show, that she completely understood when I had said that there's no place to cry in Orange County.
This is not to say that I want to go ascetic and rebuke all pleasure. These are simply awareness exercises by somebody who's had one dollar in his wallet for the past week.

This reminds me, and this might be a horrible thing to bring up right before the war starts, about some thoughts I've had on the last two protests I've been to (which were the Chapman and the Orange protests for those of you playing along at home.) I didn't go to today's protest because it's raining and I wanted to go look at the movies.

Ouch! Let me try that again.

The last two protests, as I've written about them before, have made me understand a lot better the position that to protest against the war is a way of joining the war. You just happen to be the opposition. Kind of like how, if you look at it in these terms, Satanism is a form of Christianity. Same key players, just from the other team (of course, I'm sure Anton LaVey would take issue with me saying this. If he weren't dead!)
The end of Farenheit 451 got me thinking about living my example. I've talked before about how if we disarmed and decided to be benevolent and good, this would not make people want to bomb us. Some would think it's a trick. But if we dismantled our war machine and started acting and reacting with compassion and love instead of greed and aggression, this would not cause people to bomb us. And anyone that thinks that would make us look weak has no idea what it's like to be non-violent in a ragingly violent world. If we disarmed first, the armed people might still rattle their sabres like we've carefully taught them to. But some (maybe the French) would give us a chance to say our piece and see if we're honest. Nobody really wants to die, no matter what conclusions the Emotional Plague has brought them to. Nobody naturally wants to die.
I told Nissa the other day that, given the hostility I've already seen against these pre-emptive war protests, I think that violence against the anti-war people will start when the war starts.
I'm not sure I want to march down the street with a banner against something anymore. Not because I'm afraid of being beaten by the hawks. I could care less. In fact, being a martyr is kind of an overly romanticized dream. I picture myself with convieniently placed Hollywood bruises that don't harm my face, laying wounded in Nissa's lap while she strokes my hair and says, "You poor, determined man!" Like a hippie Pieta.
But, I think I might prefer to live a lifestyle that I should like to see globally.

Let me point out that I'm not sure. I'm not railing against the protest movement here. I'm airing doubts. The unexamined life is not worth living. I'm not sure I'm doing what I should. Maybe there's a better way.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Worked until sundown.
Niss and I went to see the worst piece of theater I've seen since the last time we went to South Coast Rep. Maybe I've had too much freedom lately, but I've got a mild headache and feel like I've had an interrupted nap from being forced into that seat for that long. When we got out, I said, "So, what, is it like 2 A.M now?" It was a few minutes after ten.
It was called "Elizabeth Almost By Chance a Woman." It looked like it might have been a great script with great actors and a great set design. Unfortunately, all of the life was sucked out of it. The characters didn't connect to one another. They had no focus on what was going on, no care for moving the plot forward. The text was thrown out the window. They all had about three different pitches and tones of voice, which made it grueling to try and listen to. So I didn't after a while.
This all boils down to a production that placed all of its focus on character and style work. I wished the seats were more comfy so that I could have snoozed. We had to stay for both acts because Nissa has to write a critique on it for one of her classes. She plans on being glaringly honest, but I don't think she can hurt the show the way the show hurt us.
It sucks because I got a degree in theater. I'm reading a lot of great books and poems, watching a lot of great films, listening to great music, and seeing a lot of nauseating, blasphemous theater. It's no wonder I've turned my back on the theater like Lear to Cordelia.

Except, of course, for the melodrama I spew in this blog.

Oh, and I stopped by the Orange Library to borrow some more films today. I got "The Rainbow War," which is a short film about different colors trying to fight it out and ending up with a rainbow (anti-war propaganda served camp style, one of my favorite dishes!) Also "Looking for Richard" which is Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, and a bunch of other big ol' Actors (who know it) putting on Richard the Third and putting on a performance about rehearsing for a performance because they know that cameras are on them making a documentary. The third is "Life is Beautiful." My cynic friends never fail to mention "The Clown that Cried" whenever the film comes up, even though they've never seen it (either of them, in fact.) My soppy friends tell me I must see it, it's brilliant (Life is Beautiful, not The Clown That Cried.) I've never seen it. I love Benigni's work with Jim Jarmusch. I look forward to making my own opinion.

Dr. Shrinker reminded me that I can cry out in supermarkets if I choose to. I can be Walt Whitman open to the four winds. I can do all of that. I just haven't been.
She also said that I should remember to notice the progress I've made and say, "It is good." This is something I don't do on my own, along the same lines of locking down all of my emotions. I just charge ahead like a bull, like a Taurus. Like I said to Niss, I don't think I'm in any danger of failing in my work by slacking off. So I can probably afford to allow myself to slack off some. Dr. Shrinker reminded me of that and made me realize that I can do that in all facets of my life if I want to.

I'm sleepy. My cell phone, which is also my makeshift business line, is the same number for the College Hospital, but in a different area code. So I get about three or four calls a day for the hospital. I usually don't mind except when it's before the time I'm supposed to be waking up. Today was one of those days. I simply don't answer (what a glorious day it was when I realized that I don't have to answer the phone every time it rings!) But I couldn't fall back into sleep.

Also tonight I was approached to be interviewed by the Chapman newspaper about the closing of all of the waterpipe factories and head shops. Creeping fascism. I get to rant at a student reporter for a while. That should be nice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Worked a while putting books on line. Sold an oddly sized book today, which I have no idea how I'm going to ship tomorrow.
Then I got to read in the back yard for a while. Boingo thought it would be better for me to pet him than to read and he told me so.
Nissa came over around five. We made dinner and went to Prissy's where they're having a buy one get one 1/2 price sale on all waterpipes. Like I said before, a whole industry has been wiped out in a time of a rapid downwardly spiralling economy. Keep an eye on that creeping fascism.
Then we went to the nickel arcade. It's been a long time since we've done that. Last time we went was to a different one than the one we went to tonight and we had our pockets picked. That was about a year ago. At that one, the place was shoulder to shoulder snot-nosed brats.
The trick is to go late on a Wednesday, so long as it isn't summer. No kids! We got to play all of the cool games with no waiting. I think there was a maximum of ten people there the whole time we were playing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

That's Alexander Pope and not the Pope in Rome. Alexander was a dwarf. The current Pope is on my good list right now.

I like the Pope.
The Pope says "nope!"

Which gives me hope.
I can't get enough workahol!
Shipped two books today. Also got to visit with Charles. Writing that reminds me that he gave me a paper about Wordsworth, Pope and Eliot and each of their approaches to doubt which I'll go read as soon as I finish typing this. It's a golden age for friends giving me things to read. Rob gives me great things, Charles gives me papers, Nissa even wrote an awesome social satire piece today. Mark my words, the cultural vortex is building steam. Times of adversity set them a rollin'.
Also went to lunch with my grandmother. She's probably going home to Pennsylvania for a month once the thaw comes. Then I came home and catalogged, walked, ate, and catalogged some more. The pace is slowing though. I'm ambling along with the catalogging.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Today I worked for a good 80% of my waking time. I finished "From Here to Eternity." I saw it as a statement about violence begetting violence. The tragic hero's downfall is his violence, being pulled down by it after standing up non-violent for so long through so much adversity. Sinatra is killed later because of his earlier violence. The war takes a lot of lives and gives us the tragic ending of taking the love away from Burt Lancaster.

Monty Clift had a very doomed look about him. There's a tragic story to rank with Gene Wilder in my opinion.

America is the global Srgt. Fatso Judson right now.

`Farenheit 451' is really disturbing me in a good way. It's shaking me up. Bradbury is usually such a comfort to read. He really digs into the emotional guts in this book. It's a passionate romance!
It made me want to take a walk around Garden Grove in the eight o'clock at night hour. I did and it was scary and rousing. Seeing the blue glows in the front windows of all of the tract houses was unearthly. It also made me want to write about something beautiful and extremely personal from this weekend.
Heck, it also made me have all of those twisted thoughts about television in that last posting. This is a dangerous book that poses a serious threat to the status quo of our nation. I highly suggest you all read or re-read it immediately.

Oh and I had two book sales today. Tomorrow I might not do any catalogging, or I expect to do less than usual because I've got to get them to the post office. I'm more relaxed now that I'm in the last 300 stretch of deadline catalogging. I could take the next ten days off and still get it all done in time. I won't. But the knowledge that I could is probably going to get me out of the house a little more this week.

I was talking to my mother about reality television. She had seen the one where America votes for who marries whom. She said that all of the contestants looked like Thad and Jane Slabody. I said that it was easy to figure who was going to get voted for. They showed the two people and inevitably one looked like the hero of an action movie and one looked like a villian from an action movie. The hero was the one who won.

I had the idea for a show where you get a bunch of weird looking people (or normal looking people by our standards. Weird by tv standards) and America votes for what kind of plastic surgery they get.

This lead me to the idea of a porn reality series. You get two groups of people and America votes for who they want to see hump. Take it down another notch of degradation and you got one row of people and one row of things like horses and lightbulbs and firehoses.
I've left the realm of polite blogging, I fear.
I didn't tell my mom this idea, but she one upped me anyway. She thought it would eventually lead to the show where you vote on how people die.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

So when the tree murderers ripped an ecosystem from my back yard, they also pulled up some old roots at the other end of the yard, which was good. Shrubs had been growing from those roots and strangling the rose bushes. The holes from where the roots were go down about a foot. They look like giant claw marks on the lawn. When I first saw them I thought, "What a glorious place to play in the mud!"
I filed that in the back of my head until this afternoon. I stuck the hose in the hole and let it get good and muddy. Then I stomped around a while, dug my hands in, threw mudballs back and forth at Nissa and a few at Boingo (who surprisingly seemed to enjoy all of this), and got filth on every inch of my body. I looked like Pap Finn with short hair. At one point she gave me a Hitler mustache. She said it was a Chaplin, but we all know why people don't wear that mustache anymore. I told her it was more Oliver Hardy, what with my weight. So we turned it into a Groucho instead.
I waited for her to get towels and try in vain to find a camera. I sat on a piece of the slaughtered tree trunk. Boingo rubbed against my leg and then got all indignant about the mud that transferred onto his fur.
The water from the hose was cold as I got myself to a point where I could walk on the carpet to the shower. The mud water was mostly warm from the sun and our bodies, but the hose was somewhere between invigorating and painful.

The lesson of the day is to make sure you don't go too long without feeling the earth all over you.

I also wrote this:
"Two rocks.
Full is easter egg shaped, color of the bottom of my foot after a Sabbath in the garden, setting patient in the grass by the weed pile.
Broken looks like I could continue to rip it apart like stale bread. Find it as solid as the easter egg.
In fact, mineral sparkle shards take some of my skin off instead."

I'm the John Muir of the backyard!

I made an awesome mushroom, basil, butter cream sauce for on top of the chicken we had for dinner. We also had rice with diced garlic cloves and tofu.

Oh and I had an awful dream last night that my grandmother, the living one, had died. I went around crying because I felt like I'd been taking her for granted lately.
I called her tonight. She was sitting alone with the tv on. We chatted for a while. I didn't tell her about the mud, but I did tell her about how the drier crapped out on me when I tried to dry the clothes I'd been wearing and had just washed. She told me to check the lint guard. She also reminded me to move the car so I don't get a street sweeper ticket (one of the greatest rackets in this county.)

I thanked her.