Monday, July 31, 2006
The conversation had started well. He came into the smoke room while I was on the phone. I hung up, told him I wanted to meet him, introduced myself. He just stared at me with an odd look. I explained that he had talked to my friend J., told J. there were two kinds of people in the world – those with longhaired values and those with short ones. I applied that to an analysis essay on Easy Rider, “yes the flick,” and got a B, so thank you. He stared.
“I said that?”
Well, that is what my friend said. My prof wrote “very clever” next to it.
He looked down at his shoes and furrowed his brow. “I don’t remember ever saying anything like that. I mean, I don’t really think that man.”
“I’m sorry, it must have been somebody else than.”
“I mean, I don’t really think of the world like that man,” and this is where I lost all control of the conversation. He went on to explain that prices had gone up. I never figured out which exactly he was referring to, but I doubt he knew either. He just kept saying that he didn’t know who made prices go up so fast and he would like to ask them why they did that, before –
“Have you seen a kid around here, ‘bout six feet, got a, physical defect?”
“Yes, one leg longer than the other? Walks with a limp?
“Yeah, that’s the one. Real nice guy.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen him.” I pulled hard on my cigar and blew smoke rings. Before he responded to anything there was always this silence, this pause. I would try to break it but he would stop me with a syllable, then resume his silence. After I said I knew who he was talking about, he starred at me with utter delight in his eyes, his brows raised in surprise, his lips wide.
“I’ve been looking for him.”
“I haven’t seen him tonight. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, okay,” he said, settling back into his green stuffed chair, his face resuming its odd pose.
I pulled on my cigar. I had apparently gained some control back and decided to test my luck. “So what are you up to tonight?”
“I just came in here to see if you’d seen him.”
I had been alone in the smoke room before he came in – we were still alone. He looked at me oddly. Then I remembered J. saying this man was one of the oddest encounters ever, near impossible to talk to, so I had to try.
“So what do you do around here?”
His face went neutral. “I just came in here to see if you’d seen the cat with the deformity. He helped me, you see.”
He gave me something this time – a why I hadn’t asked for. I went again, this time without the question mark, which hadn’t been working for me, “Yeah, he seems like a really nice man.” Oh shit.
He leaned forward in his chair. This is when I realized how strong he was, how broad his hands were three feet away from me, getting closer, gesturing out of time with his comments.
“I’m no kid man. You got to understand. I ain’t no kid man. You understand me?”
“I don’t need you to tell me that. You think I don’t know that already? Fuck man.”
Mayday. I finally realized that the odd look he sported was the unsure hostility of an alcoholic.
“I came here a long time ago – I came decades ago – to calm down man. Then I run into these psycho types – they’re everywhere, you know? I ain’t no kid man. I don’t know why these psycho cases are everywhere. I ain’t no fucking kid. There’s no way I could be one of these kids man, no way. You’ve got to understand me. He’s the – he is the youngest man – youngest person who has helped me, cared about me. He looked me straight up man, told me straight up what they were doing to me was wrong and I should talk to them, explain the situation, get the bill dismissed. Well because of him I went to them, sat down, and got the bill cut in half man. You’ve got to understand me. He is the youngest person who has cared about me and helped me out. But I ain’t no kid man. I can’t go back to being one of these kids man. You know?”
“Yeah, no I understand. You aren’t a kid.” I was getting bored listening to him repeat his I ain’t no kid man mantra.
“I don’t need you to talk to me like that! I ain’t no kid man. You have to understand me. You think I don’t know that already man? I knew that probably before you ever existed. My mom and dad made me a kid man. I know what went down.”
I ashed my cigar early, a nervous habit I had developed since he sat down.
“I know man. My momma's pussy made me a kid,” he emphasized the word pussy almost to a shout, groped his crotch while he said it. “I know what went down.”
Silence. I was curious. I wanted him to keep going. I wanted to help him like the cat with the deformity had. My father always says that when his grades were going down, he would stop thinking and start repeating his professor’s words, then he would pass the class. My own attempt on this theme failed. “Yeah, your parents made you a kid.”
His face twisted into a mass of hurt and hate. “I don’t need to hear that man. You think I don’t know what went down? I know what went down.”
I tried submission, “I’m sorry – I – I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I don’t need to hear you say that man. I fucking knew that before you were around man, before you even existed.”
I took a vow of silence, wondered if I could hold him off if he jumped me, just long enough for a rescue or a getaway. I decided my cigar would make a good weapon if it had to.
“I been here long before you man. You think I don’t know that already? What’s making you talk like that? What’s making you say that? You smoking more than just tobacco?”
“Good man, don’t get started,” he seemed to calm. “I ain’t gonna tell you what I went through.” I wanted him too, but remained silent. “I ain’t no kid man.” Pause. “What’s make you talk like that? Listen, I don’t have to tell you what I been through. I came here long before you did.”
He got up. There was still a coffee table between us.
“I ain’t one of these people just here to get their degree man. I ain’t here for school. That’s why you came here, right, to get your degree?”
He had already taken everything – I had nothing to lose by being truthful. I took another pull of my Dominican puro before saying, “I don’t know.” It was honest.
“Well you can just fucking get your degree then leave. You came here for a degree, right?”
“I don’t know,” I had become accustomed to his repetitions.
“Well I ain’t no kid man. I don’t know what’s making you talk like that but I know where I came from. You think I don’t know what went down? Man, don’t tell me what my momma did – I know. I ain’t got to cop to nothing, and you motherfuckers can cop to whatever you fucking want to!”
He turned to his right and exploded into the hall. I looked after him as the door bounced back six inches. I took another pull of my cigar, my hand shaking, my face taunt with calm. I turned the unfinished page of my book. I wondered if he would come back with a knife, or a gun. I got up and left just in case, checked my mirrors all the way home, bolted my door shut.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
fall, its practiced pulse, it even blocked out the sun
for a second when, looking up, I saw it silhouetted -
a halo glow around its feathered outline revealing
the form of that prophetic beast. Be proud now,
father, that raptor is no longer with me.
The one band I couldn't find a video of is Troll's Cottage (below), a wonderful group from Seattle telling people on their website to burn their CD's from friends because they are out.
The entire list is, in no particular order:
The Juliana Theory
Album: St. Elsewhere
I have been harbouring an intense love affair with Danger Mouse ever since Grey Tuesday, and when he came to Seattle and the gorgeous Chandra offered to get me into the 21+ show three years ago.
Download: Just A Thought & St. Elsewhere (the title track)
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no, hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greating nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim. Between them there exists a disquiet, a strained curiosity, the hysteria of an unsatisfied, unnaturally repressed need for recognition and exchange of thoughts - and also, especially a sort of nervous respect. For, one person loves and honors another only as long as he is unable to assess him, and yearning is a result of a lack of knowledge.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I looked and looked and looked, then on the last roll found what I was looking for: the caption to the weekend, the title page of the trip.
And this is it, that explanation I looked for in words, that expression of the silhouette that told everything in black, that color that lied through its teeth, that tilt of the camera pushing them right off the dock, this is it, this is it, this is it.
Can you hear the lap and clack of the dock?
Can you taste the cold beer?
Can you feel the tight shoulder sunburnt leather skin?
Can you see it?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
My weekend will be:
1. Spent with people I love
5. The funnest time I've had since last year.
Now it's off to the races! Wohoooooo!!!!!
(I can afford only one race a year, so blame any childlike enthusiasm or grammatical mistakes on my ability to fully satiate my obsession only once per year, then leave me alone until I calm down again in about a month and a half.)
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Today is a national call in day for the situation in Darfur. Since February 2001 citizens have been systematically raped, starved, enslaved, and killed in Sudan's Western region. I believe the international community should focus on true disasters like this more often rather than letting Rwanda the Sequel unfold before our eyes. Please help. These are fellow human beings in grave danger. The rivers are literally full with bodies.
Officially, the national call-in day is to "appoint a Special Envoy to oversee the United States’ involvement in stopping the Darfur genocide." But with another aid worker killed two days ago, a few kidnapped within the past week, and the increasing violence the people face, a UN peacekeeping force with a strong mandate is desperately needed to protect those who are still alive. The AU force has repeatedly stated that they are useless - underfunded and ill-equiped. And while the $220 million pledged today will help, especially the $116 million President Bush gave, a UN force provides the only real opportunities for an end to this devestating conflict.
Please help. Thank Bush for the $116 million he gave to the AU. Ask his help in getting blue hatters in the region. Ask him to appoint a Special Envoy to himself so he can stay current on the complex conflict. Please help.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Hooray For ME!!! Part 2
Well, the WR 2006 finally showed up today but I have only looked at the photographs so far. I have two pieces inside. Some of the visual art is very good and I look forward to reading it.
(Last year I helped publish the WR 2005 to a glorious year. A full PDF version, minus the coverart, is available here. One of the strengths of Community College journals is the variety of ages available to participate.)
The Department of Architecture has completed its review of student candidates for entry into the second year professional portion of the architecture program. It is my pleasure to inform you that after a review of your cumulative GPA and progress with prerequisites you have been granted provisional admission to the professional program in architecture. Please register for Arch 253 as soon as possible. Your final admission will be considered after a review of your GPA, portfolio, and academic progress next year. Portfolios will be due May 18, 2007.
You are required to have your own laptop computer for studio courses this year. The department will provide some of the required software. (Please refer to the enclosed letter from Brian C. which explains software options and the CAA website which outlines specifications for computer hardware and software.)
Looking further ahead, you will be applying to the College of Graduate Studies before Feb. 1 of your fourth year studio and you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be accepted into the M.Arch program.
Congratulations! The Faculty, staff and I wish you great success in your architecture studies.
Wendy R McClure
Professor and Chair
Department of Architecture & Interior Design
Saturday, July 15, 2006
We took a walk to his old high school. I don’t know what we were doing. I don’t know if it was for old time’s sake or because there was something left—some unsaid word or phrase needed for closure. It was more than the two blocks we’d thought it to be. He said they were putting a new surface on the field. I didn’t care much but it was nice to talk with him a while. He is crazy. We both walked back towards my car, talking about The Mars Volta and last night’s White Stripes concert. I hadn’t gone. He said the woman in front of him flashed Jack and Jack was so high he just stopped playing. We crossed the street where two hours earlier there were cars, people, a freckle contest. We’d both cheered the winner. We crossed the tracks where logging trains used to run. Now all they hold are rusted hulks waiting for restoration money. I said my car was to the right, an’ he followed me. The house across the street was his old friend from high school’s. I said I should get home and keep packing. He said he’d call up a friend to hang out. He wasn’t quite done yet. He wanted to make the drive all the way out there worth it. I got into my car. He walked across the street. I saw him dial his cell phone as he stood on the front porch. I drove away.
Hurry up or we’ll miss it.
Live, live, and keep on living.
It feels like we’re floating
It seems all this is a dream.
But you have found her!
Nothing has happened!
(What of the man perpetually
-------lost and compromised;
of the blind maiden
-------browsing the art museum;
of two lovers together
-------and apart like oil and water?)
The sea is all around.
We are destined
to sail forever,
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
If only the world were just mountains and lakes I would be in heaven with blues and greens all around. Red and yellow would be so surprising in the fall and at night, unlike now with tungsten lights and LCD alarm-clock radios. Perhaps humanity should be grey and leave the colors to nature. But then, we've always envied nature - her beauty, simplicity, reliability, mystery. Above all, I see my life a struggle to emulate nature. I always feel closest to God in the mountains, in the water. And when I am diving with sharks or sleeping beside mountain goats, I feel the last pieces click into place: somehow I see the path from Lego’s to legs, from grape-juice to booze - it makes sense. But I am sleeping in a bed now and I no longer understand. I have taken it out of me. I left it fifteen hundred miles away in a cave of Canon de Chelly, at an overlook of the Grand Canyon, in the hills above Taos, in the ocean around Hawai’i, in the Enchantments of the Cascades. I left it on Aasgard Pass where my expletives echoed up the fifty degree climb. I left it on Little Annapurna in my footprints. I have a childlike fascination with things complex, predictable, and surprising. Nature is all but she pulls it off in simplicity. I say hello to her in the morning, the trees outside my window. I tried to paint them once. Perhaps humanity should leave the colors to nature. I know a painter who wants to mix every beautiful color she finds. I just want to watch it, learn it, see that color in my life.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
This is what it is all about. This is where life is. This is feeling, this is longing, love, hope. This man had a cat on his chest. I waved. We talked while he rowed past. I didn't ask his permission to take his picture but it had to be done. I had to capture him, keep him in a little pocket of dye and silver halide slid into a plastic protector. I scanned him to CD, ripped him to my laptop, printed him, color corrected him (took out some red, added a little blue to even it out), published him, and after it was all done, I missed him in it. Please take him. Take a piece of him. Keep him in an imaginary folder on a golden colored little disk. I'm sure he wont mind, wont know, would be flattered. This is America. This is longing.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
The film opened with an in camera exposure trick forgotten by most cinematographers. That theme of oblivion fading to knowledge fading to moving on carried through the cinematography of the entire film, heading directly down the plot path of Justin Quayle. All the elements of this film worked together - rare in cinema today - to make the movie powerful. The soundtrack was perfect at all the right parts, the plot was believable, lines weren't cheesy, acting was acceptable, cinematography was refreshing, and the point was good, but perhaps too blunt.
This film justly implicates everybody in the changing world for the plight of the forgotten continent, but the final speech from the pulpit is too blunt for me. However, in a world that re-fucks the most fucked land every day, this is more necessary than I would like to admit, but that is my activist bias coming through. From a purely cinematic standpoint the film forced the point too much in the last third. Like I Am Curious - Blue, Constant Gardener leaves too many questions answered. However, at the end I felt a longing to do something, to find out more about drug companies foreign policies, to be a journalist and expose.
In short, this film provides a much needed break from the usual mindless dramas coming out today. Like Jarmuch's Broken Flowers, this film takes a new look at old tactics and isn't so much original as it is refreshing. The point is also one that needs to be made unmistakably, but perhaps this film did it a bit clumsily.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Margo Chase, founder of Chase Design Group in Los Angeles, is famous for her typography work spanning Target, ESPN, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kama Sutra, USA, and Lexus, also designed this lingerie store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
I traded shifts, left work early, turned my cell phone off just so I could get two days off in a row. Coming down out of the hills over Lake Coeur D’Alene and the city, the north is flat as far as I see through the bug spattered windshield. I see your mountain from here, far on the other side of I-90. I meet you there, in Rathdrum, sleep at your house. The next morning we wake early, make out, go shopping. I was at Priest Lake once, but I was young and I don’t remember.
When we leave I drive into nothing, everything is new. After we pass the S near Spirit Lake, the road falls into a valley and I am enclosed by hills like I haven’t been since I left home. In the Cascades, growing up, I felt life in the claustrophobic gorges the roads snaked through. Here I hold onto your hand and watch the familiar peaks pass. At Priest River we dip into Washington then turn onto Highway 2 back into Idaho. I rode Highway 2 to get home from the hospital at birth, then drove it every day since I turned sixteen: it is magic to me. But we turn off, heading north.
There we find a Student Driver car in the ditch, a deer fifty meters later, then a valley that reminds me of Stevens Pass. I pass an airport, ranger station, campgrounds, river, restaurant, and numerous bars before turning onto Reeder Bay Road and glimpsing Chimney Rock. We stay in a cabin across the lake from Chimney. There I meet your family. There I try out an underwater camera, a jet ski, a few chairs on the beach, a diving board, two boats, and a few conversations. Two days later the fireworks are gone, half the family has left, we’re running low on money, and I have to get to work.
This is a vacation. This is a celebration. This is a reunion. I feel more at home here, among your family, than I have in years. Life takes hold of me and won’t let me leave the futon, the blanket on the beach, the plastic chair in the shade, the air-mattress we play Scrabble on. Love too.
The drive back is sober. We don’t want to touch each other for fear of sunburnt skin, but lust gets the better of us. We make out at your house just long enough for me to be late for work, after climbing back up into the hills above Coeur D’Alene.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I bought some good cigars today.
I got an extra day off to visit my girlfriend and her family at Priest Lake this weekend and next week.
The Audi R8 (below) went out winning its final race. Check it out at my racing blog.