nothing big here

October 30, 2008

I’ve just been churning inside and not externalizing it very much, which explains some of the silence here. Plus I’m not very well groomed for social commentary and I don’t watch TV or listen to the radio much, so I’ve not had much to say about the big topics at hand, like the election and the financial meltdown.  I’m glad to have a number of friends who are better equipped in this arena. With that in mind, onto something completely different.

First, here are some photos from the butch femme bash I attended when I went to SF.

I was really moved by Forest Church talking with Terry Gross about living, loving and death. Early on in the interview he talks about not believing in an interventionist God. A God who micro-manages our lives. He goes on to articulating how he does not find solace in the face of tragedy, whatever the scale, when folks say “It’s part of God’s plan” or “God has his reasons.” His words were powerful: God doesn’t throw a three year old child out of a window. Or allow a drunken driver to kill a family crossing the street. These are accidents if life and death. If God is responsible for the a tsunami that  obliterates the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and leaves their families in tatters, then God is a bastard.

I’m thinking about my friend who is having her first round of chemo today and hoping for the best.

And I’m heading east next week to see one of my most favorite people in the world and then to meet this girl I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time now.



October 23, 2008

I meant to post this last night, but I guess I didn’t hit publish. It still stands though, so up it goes.

I hung my coat on the peg inside my front door after an angry ride home and felt utterly alone. Sun was nearly set. Apartment was empty. Nothing was on the schedule except dishes, eating and working out. Alone.

Anger is a good first sign that sadness is lurking beneath the surface. Sadness and confusion. I can’t say that I know what I’m doing these day because I just don’t. I don’t know that is. I think I talk a lot like I do, but inside I’m confused and sometimes, like right now, I am sad and lonely. I keep telling myself it’s good work to just try and stay with the sadness. I’m resisting turning on the radio or calling a friend or thumbing through a catalog. I’m resisting distracting myself too much so I can experience the fear and the sadness and the yearning for something to change those unwanted feelings into ones that are more pleasurable.

This is me today. Still sad and I think fighting off some sickness. This is the first time I’ve called in sick to work since I started this job more than two years ago. I need to sleep. I went to bed at 8:30 last night and got up today at 10 and will probably go back to bed pretty soon.

There are moments in experiencing all the unwanted feelings when I’m able to summon the courage to let the experience open me up to other folks’ pain. Last night I thought about my mom and dad and my girl in western Mass and RU and my friend with breast cancer and some of the people I saw on the street in SF. I thought of all of them and I felt such tenderness. I felt a little in awe of the human condition too.  The capacity for suffering. It made me think about my own capacity for suffering. Made me think about how I cause my suffering. What a silly human I can be. Seriously. I say that with mild judgment, because mostly it’s a curious and humorous endeavor.

I’ve been struggling a lot this year with trying to figure out how to connect with people–people I love, people I like, people I work with, people I just know–understanding that connection is not an all or nothing endeavor. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to manage what makes that hard for me, which means not shutting down to fear and fear is at my core, not that it’s the only thing there, but it’s in the mix. RU left a comment about fear that was right on target about how it prevents connection. In my experience fear shuts my ass right down, makes me smaller and meaner and tougher and more apart. But as I’ve worked with fear, sometimes I can loosen the grip and not take all those attendant feelings so seriously. Fear doesn’t exactly soften me, but it doesn’t rule me either, not every time. I say that and immediately get superstitious that now fear is gonna get me back and show me about how I should take it seriously. Ah, this is a perfect example of my monkey mind.

But it’s not just fear that get’s in the way of connection for me, it’s what’s at the bottom of it, and I’ve not been ready to get to the bottom of it until now. So what is it? It is this fundamental mistrust. This core belief that no one will look out for my best interests. No one has and no one will. Not because everyone’s mean or cold or so fucked up. I’m not a misanthrope. Folks just get broken in such a away they don’t have it in them, don’t have it to give. By the way this is not a personal reflection on anybody I’m close to or his or her capacity to be close. This is just me putting out there why it’s hard for me to be close in return.



October 17, 2008
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extend your hand

October 15, 2008

San Francisco is not my town. Not that I thought it really was, but the first few hours I walked around I kept saying to myself wow, this is great. It rocks here. And then the buzz wore off and I got that old familiar feeling of being out of place.  I marveled a little at how I keep thinking some where besides Indiana is going to sound the bell that I’m home. So far, I’m striking out.

There is something amazing about SF though, the way so many folks can live together so closely. The unconscious and inadvertent collaboration that occurs just to move down the street and get in and out of BART. Cities remind me that people do have the capacity to cooperate with each other. I think part of it is getting people out of their cars. Getting people in each other’s proximities, even if they avoid the face to face contact. I’d like to believe all those folks walking around and chatting into cell phones that seem attached to their ears are at some level aware of the mass of humanity around them. That it seeps in down through their skin or maybe up through the soles of their shoes and unbeknown to them it changes something inside.

I know I’m likely just talking exposure here, but we’ve got to start some place, right. For me it is impossible to be in a city like SF and not be reminded of suffering. Maybe if I saw it every day I’d feel helpless or defensive and that would give rise to the indifference thats stand between me and making meaning of my life. I dunno.  I had a job for thirteen years that was all about suffering and meaning. I’ve tried to carry that forward in my familiar and intimate connections working at being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. It is messy endeavor.  And I imperfect in my practice.

This weekend in SF I was outside the ferry building and checking my messages.  I was sitting on the ground, leaning up against a column. I had my head in my hands and my phone pressed against my ear when a hand reached down. I tried to shake the hand off, but the holder just extended his or her hand closer. I looked up, but because it was sunny I never saw the face. Just heard the voice.  A guy saying, oh, you’re ok. You’re just on the phone. It’s a cheesy analogy, I know, but we can all put a hand out there, like that guy, or this guy John Records who works with the homeless in Petaluma, CA.

Give to COTS and take action to end poverty.


things do and don’t happen

October 14, 2008

I am some where new or not really new,  more like I lost sight of myself for a long, long time and I finally got myself back in view.  I will try to explain this later.  I went to SF this weekend and am glad to have gone, but not for all the reasons I thought I would be, which is a funny commentary on expectations. Speaking of which, it is a curious place to be, letting go of some expectations, which I seem to be doing around various things, like when I might get to see my girl in Western Mass. I keep purging stuff at my house and spending hours on end trying to write a little bit of a story I think I’d like to read.And I feel like very slowly I’m conscious about how I spend my time.

My fingers are corssed so tight that Obama can pull off a win here come November that I swear my knuckles are gonna break. McCain and Palin are sinking to new and dangerous lows and I can’t help but think of them as anything but mean little fuckers.

News for my friend with breast cancer is not as good as we had all hoped. It’s fucking weird.


life and links

October 8, 2008

A post of mostly links because last week I found out a good friend has stage 1 breast cancer and today I heard news that another person I’m friendly with has lung cancer and has been undergoing chemo since June. Fuck.

I ran across a couple images today that made me think of how I manufactured a boyhood from spare parts, some of which were the goods I coveted and some the goods I liked.

Stunning photos of the Earth from Above.


how things are

October 3, 2008

Biden did a good job last night. And I agree Pep, maybe we’ll pull this one out. My fingers are crossed for sure. I gave some money today. My god, I just can’t imagine the alternative to Obama/Biden becasue because we’re already in such a fucking shit storm. I don’t even wanna say the other ticket’s names because living under their administration is utterly unthinkable.

Oh man, I wish I could articulate all that I’ve come to understand about myself lately, but every time I try it ends up coming out kinda fucked up because the language I have to describe my human condition is so loaded.  If I say something in me is broken, everyone except my therapist responds with a kind and loving version of “but you don’t know, you might change; you might fix it”, which is sweet. But I wanna figure out how to to adapt, how to to work with what got fucked up (for lack of better words).  I don’t wanna be the super disabled dude who climbs a mountain; I’m fine being the guy with a ramp to get his chair up into his house. Dunno if this analogy is working. For some reason I’m thinking about how I’ve always loved playing rhythm guitar, never been a lead kinda guy. Anyway, what’s so wrong with figuring out one’s limits, one’s capacity, the boundaries of tolerance for things like being vulnerable and open. So what if I’m not quite as capable in some areas as others, does that make me incapable? Even now I’m not sure I’m getting at this the with the right words or ideas, but I thought I’d give it a try. Among other things I grew up with a lot of dissonance and darkness, as well a kind of understated danger about wanting or needing someone. I lost something along the way and even if I don’t get it back, it doesn’t mean I can’t figure out how to move forward on the things I want in my life and make adjustments.  Like, if the way I love large, looks faint, then I need to find a girl, to whom it looks obvious.

I’ve been listening to this Johnny Cash version of Wichita Lineman. It’s a great cover.  Just great. I love that Rolling Stone called it the first the first existential country song, because it resonates with this lone and longing cowboy motif I’ve been exploring in therapy.


geek alert

October 3, 2008

So I spend a big chunk of my day writing code, specifically CSS and XHTML.  And I amuse myself immensely via the power of nomenclature — giving names to ids and classes in my CSS. Such as calling some generic classes for floats “rightwing” and “leftwing” or calling an image container “pictureThis”.  It’s similar to the same fun you can have when you’re naming vars and functions in Javascript or PHP.  What else are you gonna do? You might as well have fun with this shit. PLus you’re mkaing it intuitive at the same time.  Last week I had to wrap a div around a bunch of other divs just to accomplish some superfulous designy element.  I almost called it dumbAssDesignContainer.

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October 2, 2008

Mostly, things are ok and I’m very lucky that way. I realized the other day how ‘ok’ can be such a luxury. So I try to be grateful for it cause I’m not entitled to it. Lately I’ve been thinking about all the people I know. So many are so kind and generous.  So many are so nice and sweet.  And everyone puts up my with horrible typing. Everyday shit happens that distracts me from the truth of all that. But then I’ll have a nice phone call like I did tonight or another friend who never emails me sends me a message and I remember that I’m a lucky guy.

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see some stuff

October 1, 2008

A little taste of what it looks like to bike in Portland.

I uploaded some photos from the rest of the summer and short backpack trip up to Indian heaven.