Saturday, January 17, 2004

It's amazing how much you can wear yourself out in a short amount of time. I spent the day relaxing and doing a good job of it. A good portion of the day was laying on the porch swing with Boingo on my chest while I was trying to read. That went on until I could no longer ignore what a good idea he seemed to have in taking a nap. I took a nice walk and had a big supper.
Then I worked out my arms. I don't think I mentioned before that I got arm weights for Christmas. I asked for them because my legs are a like a Georgia mule from all the walking and lifting I do, but my arms were like a guy what gets sand kicked in his face at the beach, possibly by a Georgia mule. And I've got my lovely leftover stomach as a gift from the old alcoholic Paul five years ago (thanks, Alco-Paul.) I figured that, rather than trying to lose my stomach (which is far too uphill of a battle) I'd just try and bulk up my arms. I figured I'd try and look like John Rhys-Davies in Lord of the Rings instead of John Rhys-Davies in Indiana Jones.
And it's working. My upper body is beginning to bulk. I started out walking with the weights, but I got all self-concious when I'd get to the flapping my arms like a bird part of the exercise. So, now I do it in the comfort of my living room right in front of the window so everybody walking by can see me flapping my arms like a bird anyway.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yes, tired.
So, then I filled another box and sorted out some books from my personal library that may be left behind, some videos I'm going to try and unload on somebody, and which action figures are going with me. Two things occured to me while I was doing this. One was that I'm never going to have enough space for my personal items and my inventory. Two is that I've got way too liberal of a mindset as to what "only the essentials" means.
My brain hurts. I'm going to quit thinking about moving for the night. I'm going to put on a Phish concert and have some tea. Maybe play some Trogdor. Take a bath. Sleep in.

You know, if I get called to be interviewed for Survivor I'm not going up to Chico until all of that's over. I guess my whole point tonight is that I'm trying to keep grinning because I'm finding myself right in the middle of flux.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I got my filled SASE back from the San Diego Historical Society today. I'd written asking them for information on John D Spreckels. They told me that they have a lot of information on Mr. Spreckels in their archives. They could research some of it for me, but it would cost $50 for the first hour, $40 for each additional, $0.50 per photocopy and $7 for shipping.
This is how they make their money. People who live far away and need information pay these fees.
Then they said that I could come down and research myself for $6 for a full day ($2 with student identification.) So, I have one more thing on my list of things to do before I leave the area. Some Wednesday or Thursday I'm going to drive down to San Diego and do a day's worth of research on John D Spreckels.
They finished their letter with a piece of information that I knew and one that I didn't. They said that there was one book written on the man (which I know because I own a copy signed by Mr. Spreckels himself, for those of you just joining our story or those with short term memory loss.) They also said that Spreckels was so very rich from his family. His father was Claus Spreckels. That's right. Of Spreckels Sugar. Back in the early half of the 20th century, you'd walk into a grocery store and Spreckels Sugar was the only brand worth buying. It was like the C & H of its day. Pieces are falling into place. It also makes me assume the reason why Spreckels employed sea captains. His sugar most likely came from Hawaii.
So, now that I'm wrapped heavily in the story of Captain Samuels, it's time for us to get moving on the story of John D Spreckels. More very soon I'm sure.
My father bought himself a motorcycle. I had no idea he was doing that until I saw it today. He bought it for his birthday. They had to special order it because he's so short.
It's a brand new motorcycle. I wish I knew the lingo, but I don't.
"It's a Kawahama with tricked out pumps and chopped aeros."
He's nuts. His idea is to ride it to work every day so he can zip in between traffic.
I wish I had a motorcycle.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Just packaged up the Survivor video, application, cute little photo booth photo, and copy of my passport from when I was drunk and puffy. Wondering if it was just a silly idea, the adventure of a lifetime, or the biggest mistake I've ever made.
I've been thinking about my sense of smell today. I've been thinking about smell for three reasons.
The first is that it's winter and half of the season I spend with clogged sinuses. It's not so much from the cold, but more from the dryness of being indoors with heaters. Also living in this land of concentrated smog doesn't help. The dirty air is something I'm not going to miss.
The second thing was a piece I read of Neil Gaiman's talking about his favorite smell and he came close to stealing mine. He said Autumn. My favorite smell I only get once a year and I never know when it's coming. Sometimes it will last for a few days though. It usually comes around late July or early August. I'll wake up with my window open from the heat, but in the morning it won't be oppressively hot yet. And with my first long intake of breath I'll smell summer. It floods me with awareness of the season and I'll spend the next month hyperaware of how magnificent of a season it is.
The third thing, and the most potent of all, is that I've been going through my old letters and throwing most of them away. I don't need most of it. But in the process I'm finding a lot of things I didn't know I'd saved and would never get rid of. I had four boxes with "My Ignorant Past" written on the sides. They were full of letters, pictures, ticket stubs, and so on. I've got them down to around one and a fourth boxes.
I found a bag that Nissa gave me before she left. It's a tote bag with a hair care products name on the side. When she gave it to me it smelled like her. Her smell was kind of a cross between her shampoo, some cleaning product used in her house, and just a hint of her dog Daisy. The bag smells like my last car now, which is where it sat for many months, so I'll probably get rid of the bag now.
The thing I keep running across are letters from Wendy. I met Wendy about twelve years ago. She had burgundy Louise Brooks hair, a round 1940's pop singer type of face, and a richly feminine voice. Her voice was to the female voice what James Earl Jones' is to the male voice.
Wendy nursed me back to health when I had my botched wisdom tooth surgery. She used to write me letters often in crayon. I loved her, but not in the "I'm determined to spend the rest of my life with you" way that I loved Nissa. Wendy and I would meet and hang out and make out and play minature golf and have milkshakes twice a month or so. It was wonderful.
Wendy smelled like a fragrance called Exclaimation. I'm told it's a cheap, crappy perfume. It's like cotton candy of perfumes. But everytime I smell it I think maybe, if I follow it, I'll find Wendy.
I don't know where she is anymore. The last time I saw her, her father had just died. She was living in Berkeley. But this reminds me of a good thing that I've realized from going through all of these old letters. I think this is the first time in my life I've gone through old letters and not come out of it sad. I think it's because I'm happy with where I am right now and I've become what I wished I was back then.

People sometimes ask if you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose? I know it wouldn't be smell for me. I'd probably choose my sense of moral outrage. That's the one that gets people into the most trouble.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Oh the bubble bath would be nice right now. I just thought of that with my aching back. But I used it all. I don't save things for special occasions.
I'm not sure I ever posted my philosophy on that. Back when I worked in the retirement home I heard of a man with a beautiful nightgown hanging in his closet. It was about thirty years old and never worn. The reason he had it was because his wife bought it for herself and was saving it for a special occasion. She passed away suddenly and the man kept it as a reminder that special occasions may never arrive if that's what you're waiting for.
After hearing that I drank all my good wines right off. And nowadays I don't save anything. I enjoy them as soon as I can. But now I have no bubble bath when my back's a smartin'. So it goes.
Today was Albert Schweitzer's birthday. Schweitzer's name, busts, and pictures were all over Chapman University because Kurt Bergel used to be a professor there, before that was a friend of Schweitzer, and donated a bunch of Schweitzer's personal effects to the school. Most of the other students at Chapman knew nothing about Schweitzer (K.N.A.S. Knows Nothing About Schweitzer.) I knew a little about Schweitzer because I'm a Quaker and he's the kind of person that Quakers talk about a lot. Schweitzer turned his back on a lucrative career as either one of Germany's greatest surgeons or, if he'd chosen, one of the world's greatest authorities and players of the organ works of J.S. Bach. He turned his back to go to Africa and treat people who wouldn't otherwise have had any health care.
The thing that I take most from Schweitzer was his response to how he never spoke out against the Nazis during WWII. The reason he didn't was because during WWI Germany shut down his hospital in Africa and deported him. He kept his political profile low from then on to keep his hospital running. So, at the end of his life in the 1960s when people would comment on it, he'd simply respond "I live my example."

Today I worked my fool butt off. I meant to take it easy this week. I usually end up working harder than ever when I mean to take it easy. There were many many heavy boxes full of books moved to one place, opened, and moved back. Books were carried around and wrapped for shipping.
I may be entering a new era in my business. Business hasn't calmed down since Christmas and it's beginning to occur to me that this may be the pace that I'm selling at now. I have 15 books to ship tomorrow. I could ship two more, but I'm saving them for Friday because I have to ship my Survivor application then anyway.
So, work might be one day of buying and inputting and the next day of shipping.
I did finish the Survivor ap. I just need a copy of my passport and then I send the durned thing. I spent a good hour looking over my video collection to try and figure out what to put as my favorite movie. I have a giant footlocker full of videos with an auxillary box full on top, and a shelf of DVDs. I moved that around a lot, further irritating my back. I was split between The Third Man (possibly not seen by the executives), Monster in a Box (too topical at the moment), The Hudsucker Proxy (again possibly not seen by the executives), and Brazil. I settled on Brazil. There were many other questions I put a lot of thought into, but they didn't require moving heavy boxes.
And I also boxed up some of my personal effects. My back feels like a rubber band streched over too much space. Or like butter spread over too much bread. Sorry. I did think of putting LOTR as my favorite, but it figured too many other people would put that.
So, the good news is that I got a lot done today. More good news is that I'm having the cuffs of my new overalls hemmed so I'll be able to wear them soon. And the good thing about my new overalls is that it's impossible to look serious in them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

If you ever decide to tell me that I should be careful not to get Krazy Glue on my hands, you might as well just pour a bunch of it on my hands and save some time. I spent hours scrubbing and peeling off my skin.

In other news, many people called or wrote to me with concern today. I thank them all. Spalding Gray was a hero to me when I was a young artist and he was a huge influence on my writing. I really hope they find him.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Well, I thought that last posting might have pushed the earlier one onto the blog, but nothing doing. I guess it really is gone. Too bad. It was a good one.

I'm not going to write it all over again though.
Rats. Another posting seems to have gone into the ether. It was about how super cool my Survior video turned out and how I'm generally happier than I've ever been in my life right now. Trust me, it was a really great posting. But now we'll never know.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Much happenings and goings on. Today is the aArtist Salon, so I figured I should probably catch up on yesterday before I have more to report from today.
Yesterday I went shopping for essentials for Chico. A space heater is essential. I got one of those industrial heavy metal ones. New pants were essential seeing as to all but my organic cotton pants are worn and tired. I also managed to get myself a pair of overalls.
Then my mother and I went to see Big Fish. If I have time I'll write a review later. Briefly I'll say that not only is it Tim Burton's best since Ed Wood (which, you know, looking at what he's done since Ed Wood isn't too big a feat) but also that he seems to have overcome the lion's share of his shortcomings as a director and become quite a craftsman and story teller.
That last sentence was far too long, but we must move forward.
Today I'm going to film my Survivor application video at the aArtist Salon.