Saturday, August 09, 2003

Apokatastasis: The process of turning the infernal into the celestial.
Today started out miserable and wound out being a pretty awesome and magical day.
I had an awful dream about a building about the size of the Staples Center falling from the sky about three blocks away from my house. I saw it happen out my window. I could see the waves of buildings collapsing coming towards my house. I ran to get in the door jam and woke up to hear my next door neighbor running some kind of machine that sounded like the devil chasing somebody. He's been painting his house for the past week. He was running this loud machine at seven in the morning on a Saturday. But I forgave him. I put rolled up tissues in my ears and went back to sleep.
I got up and decided that I would make the effort to go to the Ray Bradbury book signing in Glendale today. I met Bradbury and had him sign a few books about ten year ago. It was a high point of my young life. Life changing. The man is one of my greatest, most positive influences.
So, I called Nissa (because I wasn't going to go alone) and she said to meet her at Chapman. On the way I thought about how great this was going to be and I carried with me a copy of Bradbury's ultra-rare "Chapbook for Burnt out Priests, Rabbis and Ministers."
When I was on the off ramp to Chapman my cell phone rang. Nissa said that she couldn't go because of a car problem that she knew damn well was a problem before. I replied civilly and got back on the freeway to go home.
I didn't call her for a while because I didn't want to call her until I could forgive her for building up my hopes and smashing them in, what seemed at the time, a long series of same from her. In retrospect she made a mistake and I most likely should have forgiven her much sooner. She called me and I told her all of this. She apologized and I forgave. She wanted to make it up to me. She offered Disneyland, but I pointed out that it's a Saturday in August, so it'd probably be more of a punishment for me than a reward (I get really edgy in crowds.)
Oh, it's essential at this point to mention that she was planning on getting her car fixed today and then take me out. We went to one of the magical meccas that I've never been to and always wanted to: The Movieland Wax Museum.
It was better than I could ever have imagined. First I got my picture taken with George Burns. No, actually first we got to see the star's feet and hand prints in cement as we walked in. We sized up to Mike Farrell, Liberace, James Doohan, Tattoo, Elvira, and a bunch of other people I can't remember. In wax inside, we saw the Marx Brothers, W.C Fields, Mae West, Brando, Mix, Charles Laughton, Garland, Hope and Crosby, Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly eternally dancing around a lampost, a set from Citizen Kane, Laurel and Hardy (one of my high points), Jimmy Stewart, the majors from Gone with the Wind, Patton, Shirley Temple, Clint Eastwood, The Duke, not to mention the chamber of horrors (another high point for me) where Vincent Price prepared to dip a nubile into wax, Bela held a swooning lady and stared at her neck, Anthony Perkins scared the crap out of me with that Psycho music jumping out at me, Karloff lurked, Jason did nothing, Jekyll became Hyde, and an unidentified vampire lady hissed behind a door that warned you not to open it. There was a lot more too that I'm forgetting, but I think I've expressed the important parts. It's really one of the places that's beautiful in its own way and serves to remind us what a vortex of energy we live in here in So Cal. It's easy to forget that in the OC.
Afterwards she dropped me off. Dad cooked some venison on the barbeque. We ate in the back yard. Then I went to get materials for the film project that I'm hopefully finishing on Monday. And I also finally bought myself a copy of the new Neil Gaiman children's book, "The Wolves in the Walls." It's a gorgeous book. It's also made me broke for the next week or until I get the money from the film project.
So, it was an exciting day. Magical. And transformed itself about half way through.

Friday, August 08, 2003

I did a lot of work today. Put a lot of books online. I figured that with so many books to input, I might as well go crazy go nuts before the sabbath and get in as many as possible. This haul of books is really going to push my business forward.
Today was also my final shrinking. Dr. Shrinker and I had our final session together. We talked about how I've changed in the last six months. How much better off I am than I was six months ago. Six months ago I was having a panic attack every day or so because I had been taking about twice the recommended dosage of benedryl each night to get to sleep and as a precautionary measure to knock out my allergies (the hives that had been gone for about a year and a half by that point.) I was in a relationship where we fought a lot (albeit getting out of that relationship was far from my idea.) I harbored great resentment toward my father for teaching us to supress any emotion. I was working for a boss (the best I've ever had besides my current one, natch) and dreaming of the day I could start my own business.
Now I've got that business running. I don't take anything except for valerian and melatonin for the insomnia. I'm dealing with being out of the relationship very well. My father and I can stand to be around one another and sometimes do household projects together. And when I do get panic attacks, I've figured out how to reason my way out of them. So I no longer need counseling. Dr. Shrinker agreed. We went on to talk about how people change and how change seems to be the only constant. We talked about how it's good to always have goals and projects you're working on, but it's also good to stay in the present as much as possible. And we ended after I said, "It's always good to bear in mind that your worst day is somebody else's best day somewhere."
Here's a poem I wrote when I heard Bugsy snoring the other night. It goes like this:

From her sleep whimpers, my cat is having terrible dreams.
The first is about a cat sized, fast moving, violent lizard that has taken over the backyard and dug a mound with a hole in the middle as its home.
The cats are beside themselves, so I go out with a shotgun and kill the lizard.
I know I'll be arrested for discharging a firearm in city limits.
So the cats remember me as a Messianic figure while I'm in jail.
The second dream is about my ex-girlfriend.
She's making out with a guy who she hates in real life.
He got away with rape.
But in the dream, I call her a hypocrite because she said she didn't want to be with anyone romantically right now and she hates that guy.
She tells me that she isn't accountable to me anymore.
I wish I could comfort my cat.
I wish I could shrink to her size and lay next to her with my arm around her.
But she'd think I was a hairless cat.
And she knows how much hairless cats cost.
And, like all mammals, she's suspicious of anything that makes more money than it needs.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Did a lot of work today both on the video project and the trunk full of books that I still have to price and put on line. It's the best haul of books yet. There's some very rare and very valuable books in there.

Speaking of which, Nissa came up with the coolest nickname ever for me. She said, "Smooth move, Ninth Gate." Because I've got the same job as Johnny Depp in 'The Ninth Gate' (and, yes, the book is better.)

Tonight I made the best chili in the state. It's ground turkey (although venison is ideal, we're out of ground), Arrogant Bastard ale, dark organic kidney beans, fresh basil from the garden, garlic, onions, kosher concord grape juice, a little honey, chili powder, lemon juice, a little bit of honey and a little bit of cocoa.
Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2nd time reading)
Watching: I'm of a few minds about this. I just finished 'Election' which is one of the only high school films I've seen after high school that didn't make me want to vomit from the earnestness. In fact, it made me laugh from the satire. But now I'm thinking about rewatching 'Bob Roberts.' What with the Govenator making his announcement today, it might be a good time for that. But I'm also thinking of going through the Kevin Smith universe again. And I'm thinking about watching Mary Poppins. I'll keep you posted.
Listening to: June Melby Live at the UCLA Hammer Museum.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Last night was the best poetry reading I've seen in years. Hands down. Nissa said it was the best she's ever seen.
It was Brendan Constantine, who is one of my favorite poets, and June Melby, who is now one of my other favorite poets. I hadn't seen Brendan in like four years and he's probably an even greater poet than the last time I saw him. And June I don't remember the last time I saw, but she blew me away. Check her out at I don't know if Brendan has a website but you can probably find out more about him on the Poetry Superhighway website.
Honestly, these are like two of the best living poets I know of. I'm ranking here with Bob Holman, Jerry Quickley, Rob Morris, Eirik Ott, Diane diPrima, and I'll quit here because I know if I start listing the greatest living poets in my opinion I'll leave some out by accident and some out on purpose and people will want to kill me.
So. Today I got a sailor's buttload of books from my aunt's tool shed. They've been sitting there in plastic bags for years. Some from her childhood, but some that my grandfather used to buy at auctions in Pennsylvania for a quarter for a hundred books. The most breath taking was a complete works of Shakespeare from 1854. Some of these are in ratty condition. Some have been eaten by bugs (the booksellers arch-nemesis) and some are probably currently being eaten by bugs. I left them in the trunk until I can check them all carefully in the open air.
I found a report card of my mother's from first grade. She got D's in spelling, but A's in dental cleanliness. I also found an autographed photo to her from Myron Floren, the dreamy accordian player from the old Lawrence Welk show.
All of this was in Orange with Nissa. We spent the day together because my shrink postponed on me again until friday. The funny thing is that it's my last session.
So, I just got in and have just worked on the project of the week. I'm writing an introduction to a video for the retirement home where my mom works (sweet Nepotism!) We're going to film it on Thursday.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Today I shoveled a lot of bird seed from underneath the bird feeders. The recent rains have made the bird seeds that have been dropped pungent. So shoveled they must be. And I shoveled three bags full. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Other than that it was a typical Sunday of rattling around the house like a rat in a shoebox.
This evening The Ahmish played at Chas and Phish's pad. It was another good set. Tonight I added to my drum set a metal lampshade (the one that we took down to put up the ceiling fan), a set of spoons, windchimes, a cardboard poster tube, and a coffee can.
Then I came home and wrote an ode. It's in the form of the ancient odes of Pindar (formal intro, invocation, prayer, myth, moral and conclusion) but it's in modern free verse. And in mine the prayer turns into more of a blessing, which is more modern too. It goes like this:

Ode on Sleep

The light of mind cools to prevent burnt filament.
Fifteen hours, or there 'bouts, sweat-move
flail-limb inside focus, focus, fly at each thought like flocks of hungry fighting sparrows.
Invoke veil.
Call the underthought to foreground.
Make the gods console you for having to deal with job-drive-anger.
And may they hear your mortal cry for nature's cosmetic and keep you from thinking about how you can't stop thinking about thoughts.
May you arise in eight or nine hours with a much needed break in continuity.
May your dreams be calm enough to minimize body twitch exhaustion,
or, if not, may they at least be sexy dreams.
I once dreamt that I saw behind process of all,
backstage peek because of the poor sightlines of dream's seats,
so the Timekeeper of Always shook me to concious commentary,
which was cruel and more disturbing than the glimpse.
My best rest comes from respectful approach.
Like most life, it's best when I loosen my doberman grip on ego.
Being in All body's unavoidable need,
laying sinless for nightmorn,
restore for another day's worth of scattered convulsions.