Jeremiah's School of Levitation
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Nature Needs More Comfy Places to Sit
And, then, of course, I sat. Here's the view.
I tell you, life would be so much more charming if people would just occasionally drag soft, fashionable furniture to great views and leave it there for all to enjoy. I mean, an occasional sofa in the front yard isn't going to cut it--a view of your El Camino on cinderblocks isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a king-sized, cushy bed by the lake, or a loveseat on the edge of a canyon.
Thumbs up for scenic furniture disposal tactics! Ask not what your country can do for you...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I was going to rake the leaves, really. There was going to be a movement, a progression, a formal declaration of leaf war whereupon I was going to remove every leaf from the yard, with the scythe-like sweep of my mighty rake, I was going to rid the land, or at least my land, of some actually really beautiful orange and yellow patterned pieces of nature that I'll then stuff into a yard waste bin and shut the lid, the warm glow of fallen leaves in the filtered sun forever shut up in the dark, like crazy aunts.
Yeah, I was going to do that and, by golly, rotten luck, it snowed. It didn't just snow, but it rained snow. A gigantic snowball somewhere in heaven just blowed up real good and dumped, pumped, deposited, spammed, overloaded, dowsed, and embraced our fair Northwest town with white, marshmallow shards, ice twinkles, and little snowflake mermaids dancing in the dang streetlights (didn't I spray for little snowflake mermaids just last week?). Infested, I say!
It doesn't snow a whole lot down by the water here in the Great Northwest. We get the mountain snow, just about an hour or so away, so it's not like the sight of snow is so rare and weird that it makes us stand still and go "Duuuude," (though, to drive on our freeways in it, you would think so, as it seems to make people forget what order the pedals are in…). But, we are more used to waking up and finding puddles in our yards than we are to finding snow drifts, so it is kind of cool to see your yard in a different light, and to not go to work in conditions that some of the country operates normally in for three months out of the year.
And, the kids' voices get a little more electric, their faces a little more smiley. School gets shut down and they get revved up. They stand in the driveway and watch the flurries like they're watching a ballet performed entirely by pieces of candy.
We relish our little bit of snow, and, so do the muscles involved in pulling rakes across leaves, which, by the way, weren't hurting anybody anyway. Give 'em a break, not a rake! (Geez.)
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Famous Turkey Quotes, Part 2
"Okay, no more for me. I am absolutely stuffed."
"New Year's Eve? What's that?"
"Look, all we say is 'gobble gobble.' So really, they're just following orders."
"Remember, son, in America, any turkey can grow up to be eaten by the President."
"You don't think they admire us more than you? Then how come there's no whiskey called Wild CHICKEN?"
"Don't make me go Thanksgivin' on yo' ass."
"Now there's a brave turkey. He's really got giblets."
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I'm So Not Blogging
The world is flying around me like the sparks from a welding torch, and I'm just sitting here licking on a lollipop. A real big lollipop. About the size of my van. I'm going to finish it though. Sometime around Jan. 2nd.
So, let's cruise in the lollipop, children.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
So, anyway, here they are. Use freely:
Seeds of Christians
Love in the preordained days
Blood in the cracks of the pages
I reach for the toothpaste
Several long dusty stares
I can't read sideways
Don't waste my toes
Grab bag of rotten peaches
Bad, bad socks
Puddle of secretion
Special effects cheerleaders
Slipping into uncrappiness
Look both ways before eating the booger
Speaking of my stomach
Cold indecision disguised as a milkshake
My whole world revolves around itself
Life under the bleachers
Sing mouse, sing
Modern man, antique inflatable woman
Trouble is on the bottom of my shoe
Like a giant squirrel I will reign over the nuts
Friends of carpet
Royal order of disorder
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
To caress the time, I go to look at my boys sleeping, watching those delicate chests rise and fall under the covers. Their dreaming faces are the picture of peace and I smile thinking that they feel so comfortable under this roof to fall asleep with their innocence on display. I wonder why I ever get mad at them. They are really just me repackaged. All my latent talents, all my arcane tendencies, all my hidden fears, all have become a Broadway production in my boys. I want to whisper an apology for giving them some of my faults, and I want to shake their hands for having the guts and ability to be ten times the artist/humorist/scholar/handsome dude than I ever was and will ever be.
The night is quiet, unsettlingly so. It's quiet enough that I wonder if my thoughts are leaking into the audible range. Maybe dogs on the block can hear my shrill synapses firing. I listen for a howl of understanding. I only get the whine of my hard drive, and the occasional deep breath of those sleeping guys of mine. I'm home. In more ways than one. That thought alone is what is going to finally get me to sleep.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Today's Agenda: Daydream for Five Minutes
Just a week! One week! Then I'll come back to work, I'll slip back into my life, and I'll look perfectly normal except for this gigantic grin on my face that you'll swear is one step from psychotic, and you will be right, except it won't be the bad psychosis. It'll be the one that makes you laugh because you've realized that your socks actually TICKLE, that eyeglasses are really funny, and that "toenail" and "pants" are hilarious words and that if you put them together to read "toenail pants" they multiply themselves with funniness, and you also realize that not enough people use the word "funniness" with enough-ity.
All it would take would be a week where I could stand in the middle of the floor for an hour and not have to move. I've got to schedule one of those weeks. I'll make that a to-do item, and block a meeting, and check dependencies and deliverables. I've got to see to contingencies and make sure that all is covered, going forward, and I need to see that I've examined all sides of the issue before I ship my decision and, it needs to go through testing and verification phases before I can finalize it, and then, and only then, can I enjoy it. I think the market can support a free week for Jeremiah, so, let's move to phase two! Adjourned! Grab a donut on the way out!
Friday, November 10, 2006
A Tolerant Friday
Of My Desire, I'm Tolerant
There was this thing between me and the girl. It was a wall. No, a real wall. She lived next door, with her mother, and I lived with my wife. The girl came out at 7 am each weekday, to go to her job at some diner, I was sure. She was dressed in a pink skirt, a white blouse, and a tiara and she carried a black leather purse and she chewed bubblegum. I know this because I can hear her alarm clock go off at 5:30 am and I can hear the shower burst on at 5:40 am and then I can hear her sing and then stop suddenly because she didn't want to wake her mother, who was an invalid and who would just scream for her to shut up because that was the easier thing to do, and the most effective. I'd then hear her tromp about, bumping into things, closing doors, sliding her windows open and shut. Finally, I'd hear silence, complete silence, and I'd wonder what she was doing. Was she praying? Was she reading something? Was she contemplating plunging from the window to leave a doll-dressed, beautiful corpse cracked and split on the sidewalk?
One morning, I timed it just right and I pulled away from my wife's sleeping heat and went out to the hallway to get my paper just as the girl came from her apartment. She was glowing in the dull light that managed to get in through the smudged window down the hall. She was demure and had pearl skin and little eyes and her red hair tumbled like a jumble of the letter C, thousands of the letters C. She looked at me as she closed her door and she smiled and then, just as quickly, turned her head and kept walking, the pink skirt bobbing just below the curve of where her legs began.
I watched her too long and she looked back and I glanced down to the paper I held. It was upside down, but I could read the headline:
"Evidence of attack…" the headline said.
I heard her get onto the elevator and the door slide shut, and I went back into my apartment. I was breathing like an accordion.
For a few days, weeks, I caught her out in the hall. I would just lie in the bed, waiting for her routine to finish, then I nearly darted out there to see her, in her same pink outfit, her same red hair, only the paper headline and the color of the light changing every day.
Finally, I got the courage up.
"Hey," I said as she closed her door and I picked up the paper and read the headline. It read "Man confesses…"
"Yeah," she said, frowning.
"You are beautiful in that skirt," I said. I smiled, acted embarrassed, and looked back to the paper.
"Oh. Well, thank you," she said, her voice sharp as a summer morning. "So, now I suppose you think I should fall in love with you?" And she winked and walked away.
I stood there until my feet fell asleep.
I don't go out there early anymore. I keep the wall between us, and I wait until she leaves. As I hear her door close and her feet landing on the hallway carpet as she walks to the elevator, I imagine her pink skirt, bobbing, just below the curve of my straining heart.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Drop Down and Give Me Zen
I exercise not because I need to get back into college shape because, frankly, that would mean I'd need to lose 50 more pounds, gain about 20 Saturday night poetry night's worth of hipness, gain ten thousand minutes of naive bravado, and increase my social life by about three girlfriends, (1000 if you count the ones that I WISHED I could date). Not going to happen.
No, I exercise because, for an hour, I don't have to think. When I exercise, my mind shuts down, or, maybe, just gets outrun. I can then just be a body. I can ram my legs and arms into weights, whip my legs round and round on a stationary cycle (with "no destination, no scenery, and no roads" as Speech says--though, sometimes, there IS scenery, if you know what I mean...), and stretch my thighs across distances that, in normal life, I wouldn't bother to cross unless there was no one around to pick up what I dropped. I can stop my mind from racing with itself.
When I exercise, all I do is hear the music coming from my iPod, count my reps, and feel my heart pounding in my neck. I don't mull over anything, curse my awkward day, or replay all the things I COULD have said. I just sweat, pound, lift, groan, hear Apples In Stereo (great band), count my reps, feel glorious pain, grunt, shiver, and, finally, feel the wonderful release of muscle deciding that it has had enough and will now miraculously become a bowl of spaghetti, thank you.
No thoughts. No self-criticisms, regrets, arcane desires, or flat-out annoying bursts of inner ranting rising and bursting like a rolling boil. Nothing but a series of levers and pulleys I become. I'm the physical rendering of all those workers' efforts in that movie Metropolis. This is glorious. This is a release from myself. An old friend of mine once called me a shark. I wondered if he was calling me that because he'd seen how I attack a plate of boiled crawfish, but, actually, he explained his comparison by saying that I was like a shark because it seemed like I never stopped moving.
But, I do stop moving, I just never let anyone see it. You ever drop the strings of a marionette? What happens to the marionette is what it looks like when I stop moving. Not pretty.
So, I keep moving, but I can't deal with all the movement being done by monkey mind. Sometimes, I need to go fight some resistance, like weights, or having to wrestle stuff from my head and onto a keyboard.
Which brings me to why I keep coming back to this blog. It too is another release, another way I can drain the thought swell in my head. I wish I had brilliant thoughts. Instead, they are more like chatter, more like what you hear if you attend a pro football game--60,000 or so voices, all at a different tone, only every now and then a majority of them rising to concentrate on and speak about the same thing--a great play, or a bad call, or the cheerleaders.
My blog is hard to come to because I know when I do, I will spill my thought bile and drop my marionette on it and it'll look funny when I'm done, sometimes so much so that I'll pull the plug on it and let my words drain out into the ether. Most of the time, the mess I make stays, and you "get" to read it.
So, anyway, what I think I'm trying to say is the same thing I want to say to the health club. Thanks for being here, thanks for welcoming me when I show up, and thanks for letting me pound on you for a while. It's therapy to me. I'd need a few more blogs, and a hundred more years, to really get my mind flossed, and I'll need to gain about 500 pounds more bravery to even approach a blog daily to work out. But, geez, my mind needs to lose some weight, so I'll keep showing up.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Mind in the Toilet
One second before, I was dreaming about some game involving shoeboxes and personal possessions that we were all scrambling to collect and I was having a strange conversation with a tall girl. The next second, I was wide awake, rain hitting my roof like pebbles, and I was thinking of toilets.
Of course, at that time of the morning, it isn't unusual to think of toilets since, well, I'm sure there are toilets that get some action around 2:39 AM or so. But, that wasn't the direction of my thoughts. No, actually, I was thinking about more than one toilet. I was thinking about the WORLD'S toilets.
I was thinking that it would be a great idea to write a travel book about what different toilets were like around the world, both public and private, and the how the history of sanitation in that particular country led to the current state of the facilities there. I wanted to explore ancient means of "disposal" and look at the most innovative, as well as the least, and tie it all in to a short, overall social/political history of personal privacy in the country or place that I visit. I want to explore toilets in the Philipines, or in Thailand, in rural areas of East Europe, in the expanses of Alaska, in Africa, and, of course, of the rich and famous.
I want to call it: "When You Gotta Go."
I lay in bed, mentally trying to write the introduction, and after about an hour, I was officially insane. I could feel sweat beading up around my neck, my stomach went sour, and I kept visualizing sewer systems rushing past, effluvia tumbling through them, and me with my notebook, scribbling descriptions. My insane-o-meter went into the red, and did a buzz that meant, if I kept following this thought process, I will not get back to sleep ever again.
I finally had to just get up, go downstairs and pace for a while. I drank some milk, futzed with my iPod, went outside and looked at the rain (gutter, there's a gutter--flowing, stuff flowing, bubbling gurgling....aaaaah!) and I came back in and went back to my bed and finally went to sleep, because I still needed to finish talking to the tall girl. And, no, I didn't tell her anything about the crazy thoughts I was having in my waking life. Thank God for the deliverance of abstract dreams.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Taking the Friday Train
Anyway, though I sent in my entry early, I'm still going to contribute today because I'm feeling all levititious, which is much better than I felt yesterday. I was pretty grounded. It was one of those days where you wonder if there's any Prozac in the first aid cabinet, and you go to look, and of course there is none, but you actually think that might be something to suggest in the next meeting.
So,first, in honor of the word "train", I got up today and listened to "Train, Train" by Blackfoot ("Train, train. Take me on out of this town"), "Train in Vain" by the Clash ("Stand by me, or not at all"), "Stop That Train" by Bob Marley ("Some live in big, but most live in small") and "Breakdown" by Jack Johnson ("I hope this old train breaks down, then I could take a walk around").
And, then, I opened up my journal, my train of thoughts, and I thought I'd invite you for a ride by excerpting it here. In my journal, I write as a guy named Ignatious Abalone, and all he does is just drive around and observe stuff and try to write the story of it. He's a hobo on the train of life. Here are some of his ramblings:
Drive anywhere, all where, until the road signs no longer make sense. From the car, I saw a roadside sign that read "Good Luck Comets and Mules". I thought, "Yes, good luck. But, what about the oranges?"
They call them vast skies, the torrent under which she lives. She wishes for hurricanes and meteors because that would be a relief, a calming of sorts. The stimulation is sometimes too great and she must dig a hole a thousand memories deep to hide within. So sad. And, yet, so much like forgiveness.
They resided somewhere between black and white. Heaven gave them the tools to be of great influence. Sometimes, they spoke like prophets and, other times, they spoke like fools. No one could tell the difference.
Observation: An old lady was sitting at a table and her face looked like her thoughts were frozen in 1960. As I passed near her, a man behind me said: "She's a hypochondriac." The girl with him then said, "Oh, then we should walk the other way."
There are tests everyday for which there is the feeling that no study was ever formally undertaken. However, know that life to that point was actually the study and to pass the test only means to include oneself fully in the test.
Across the silent water to talk to a boy that she loved. There was always water, deep, but receptive, no danger--you are always boyant. Water simple--we ramble past explanation and land at the shore where the winds pick up as the sun goes down and fathers stand with their children, pulling aloft kites that slice the breezes.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Musical Revelations, Part 6
"Hotel California" is a reggae song!
Listen to the beat. It is the classic reggae "one drop" rhythm (or, as they say in the Isle of Springs, "riddim"). The skank (guitar stroke) is on 2 and 4 and there is a kick drum on 3. Classic reggae beat. The drum fills, the vocal phrasing, it's reggae! It just hit me on the freeway the other day. The Eagles were about 30 years ahead of me, as well as probably some of you. Also, now that I'm thinking about it, America's "Horse With No Name" would make a great reggae song itself. Somebody get on it.
"Deacon Blues" is a beatnik version of "American Pie"!
Taking nothing away from Don McLean's classic happysad sing-along, Steely Dan came up with a hipster, hipper version. It had all the components of "Pie": drinking booze, dying, and youthful enthusiasm and carefree-ness, and verses that may take years to memorize, but an instantly unforgettable chorus. It added a certain smarmy careless poet air, evoking images of smoky bars, crooked Kangols, slinky ladies with cigarettes, and self-important guys with goatees.
Blue Oyster Cult still holds up!
"Don't Fear the Reaper" remains scary (but still needs more cowbell). "Burning For You" is still on my top ten list of being one of the grooviest rock and roll tunes I've ever heard. I played "Joan Crawford" for the kids and they both told me it scared them too much to hear again.
Eminem is a(n evil) genius.
Yeah, okay, I lost you. But, man, the guy has a real talent for poetic rapping (I know, to some people, that's like saying that flies have a real talent for throwing up, as if you want to glorify throwing up). He curses horribly, is generally hateful, and even has what I think is one of the most violent, ugly songs I've ever heard (check out "97 Bonnie and Clyde" if you dare--I don't endorse that song, by the way), but just listen and be amazed by his cadence and pacing and exceptional internal rhymes, and not to mention intensity, in "Lose Yourself" and "The Way I Am" and "Stan" and you know you are hearing a gifted, albiet very messed up, young man.
I've been doing too much nostalgia lately, huh?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The result, as you are probably aware of, especially if you have kids, is that we get stuff so sweet that it gives you cavities (Little Bill) to cartoons so hateful that YOU even want to strangle a cat after watching it (Ed, Ed, and Eddy) to cartoons that are so vulgar and inappropriate that you laugh uncontrollably at them (South Park) to cartoons that, somehow, land in the middle of all of that (Sponge Bob). You can no longer just turn on some cartoons for your kids and then leave the room because, while you're in the other room, you'll suddenly hear "You are such an ass!" come from the TV where, you swore, there was just a family cartoon on, where a whole family was just in a car going on vacation. I mean, there was a dog and a baby. How could that go so horribly wrong? (Well, okay, if you've ever been on a long car trip with the kids...)
I then got all nostalgic in my head and I tried to remember the good-natured, albiet pointless, cartoons that we watched growing up, and I sighed at the bright-eyed goofiness of them all as they seem like Steamboat Mickey to us now, in their awkward animation and stilted messages. But, hey, I spent hours with them, and they deserve some props. And, now that I think back on them, maybe they weren't as innocent as I thought they were:
Hong Kong Phooey
All I can recall is his nasally voice, and that thin mask that apparently kept him unrecognizable, though, from what I knew as a kid, dogs didn't "recognize" each other by paying attention to the head end of the body, but, nevermind, Hong Kong Phooey had the neatest theme song. "Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy. Hong Kong Phooey, quicker than the human eye!"
Oh yeah, another nasally dog hero, but who was perpetually in love and who spent his powers rescuing the same dog over and over again. That was special, but amazingly boring. His theme song was far more menacing than he was. And, for the rest of my life, whenever someone says "We are the underdog", I'm not going to think of a person who struggles valiantly, often victoriously, against grander opponents, but I'm going to think of a little white dog with a "U" on his red shirt, and a voice like a nose.
A chicken with a lion sidekick. This should have been a disasterous relationship. Instead, it was about a guy who who drove around in a spaceship thing and he had a seizure when he became super. That sounds like an acid trip to me. But, at the time, it was delightfully over the top. And the line "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it" lives forever in my repertoire, as does the reasurring "buck-akkkkk!" at the end of the theme song. Whew, here comes a chicken in a spaceship to save us all! Pass me another mushroom!
George of the Jungle
I could never figure out this one, which is why I was compelled to watch every episode. I thought that eventually, I'd learn that slamming yourself into trees was actually going to teach me something. In a way, now that I look back on it, it did try to teach me pretty much what it's like to go to work every day. And, that Pella and Persa thing--I didn't get it as a kid, why he'd want these yucky girls hanging around all the time. As a college boy, though, it made perfect sense.
Our first exposure to anime. Little did we know how hooked we'd get. The big eyes, the poses that the characters would hold for about an hour while only their mouth moved, the spectacular fiery crashes that we just didn't get in the Jetsons, and, of course, the unintelligible, rapid-fire dialogue that, I now believe, had more to do with speed than they were going to tell us. I loved the Mach 5. It was a boy's dream. I used to tell my parents that if we got a Mach 5, we could go anywhere--we could launch ourselves over traffic, we could cut down trees as we roared through the forest--why didn't we just get a Mach 5? Mom just said that it was Speed Racer's car. His legend only grew.
The Super Friends
It was hard for me to imagine super heroes around a table. It was like trying to imagine football players, in full uniform, knitting. But, when they sprung into action, I was rapt. Wonder Woman in the invisible airplane, which I didn't get, and Aquaman controlling the ocean, Superman knocking over big stuff, and, of course, Hawkman, who I totally identified with because, in my own creaky social maneouvers, I often felt like a shirtless guy with huge wings and a really stupid headpiece.