Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Modest Proposal of very little merit

I hear the cries from the experts - Let our children drink ! And I think not a half bad idea. I propose lowering the drinking age to sixteen (yes 16). I believe that as soon as teens can earn their own beer money, they ought to be spending it. This will be good for the economy (at least the alcohol industry) because we the taxpayers need more people paying the so called 'sin' taxes which are needed to pay for government services like alcohol education programs.
I know what you are thinking, that I must be insane to propose this insanity, but I say Wait - there is a catch. I propose that teenagers wait till they are twenty-one to drive. That's right (21). That way they can have five years of drinking under their belts before they get behind a wheel. Most underage drinking is done on a campus where there is no need for cars. This way kids can have sweet sixteen parties, get drunk and only puke in the bushes instead of driving the car into the bushes and then puking. This also helps out all the cool parents who let kids drink. The world needs more cool parents. This way the cops can ticket or pull over anyone that looks young and check their IDs. This plan also helps conserve fuel and makes sure that teenagers stay off the road and in the house drinking.
I am not sure what is wrong with this plan but I am sure you will let me know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lazerus and the Anti-Bob Vila

Yes, I am back from the dead and yes I probably mis-spelled the title character's name. I have been slaving away at making art creations look okay for the past two weeks. And yes, it nearly killed me but now I am back from the writing dead. I have been released from the zombie-like existence of not writing creatively. I have the anti-christ (I mean the anti-Bob Vila) to thank for it.
I was watching the Olympics, closing ceremonies, when a commercial or two came on. Doing what most people do, I changed the channel. And there HE was the Anti-BOB VILA god - Ty Pennington.
You may wonder why I think Mr. Pennington is the Anti-BOB so I will explain. First of all, Bob Vila is christlike because he helps others help themselves. He showed the way to home improvement.
Ty Pennington is the opposite. He says: I'll do it for you because you'll never get it right and you'll never have the means to do it yourself. You are hopeless and you need ME - Ty Pennington, the anti-Bob. Worship me and I will give you thiings like a new house. Everyone knows you need material things to make you happy.
Yes, Ty Pennington is the great deciever.
I also know I am weak. If Ty came to my humble doorstep and said You need a new house to help you write. I will give you one. I probably would accept but I know in my heart I don't need a new house to write - I need something to spur me into action, something like the gospel according to the anti-BOB ( the Ty Pennington show). So I thank Ty Pennington for bringing back from the unwriting dead.
Now I have to go watch rhythm gymnastics (I have it taped).

Friday, August 15, 2008

The artful Dodger

I don't know if he is playing games or naturally shy, either way he is good at it. He is a hummingbird, one of three that come to our hummingbird feeder (it works !) on a daily basis. He is not shy really, just camera shy. Each of the hummingbirds had to scope things out before they dove in to the plastic flowers which contain a sugar water solution. I accept this as the natural order of their instinct. Humbert the first was no exception, slowly exploring the four flowers until he was satisfied that there was no danger. He is all business but you can get a shot of him if you are quick enough. Hummesina too was shy but now has accepted the camera as part of the package - she even poses now in several angles after every feeding.
And then there is the artful dodger - he was the first on the scene and the last one everyday right before twilight. He makes a great spectacle entrance, smacking his lips (I know birds don't have lips but that is what it sounds like) to let you know he is there. Then the game begins. He waits for you to fumble for the camera, he waits until he hears the whirr of the auto-focus then he darts behind the feeder. If you move to the left or the right to get a better angle, he adjusts also, keeping the feeder between you and him. If he sense you have given up by putting the camera down, he will come around the feeder and taunt you by smacking his lips and posing all around the various windchimes and prayer sticks and of course the feeder. He will do this until he hears the whirr of the auto focus and then he will dart away to his safe house in the bush (in which of course he is virtually invisible). This is where he will stay until he hears me say "He's gone." At this point, he does one of two things depending on whois trying to photograph him. If it is me, he will stay away because he knows I am wily and could be trying to trick him. If it is my wife, he comes as soon as he hears her put on the lens cap on the camera. Click. Appear. Unclick. Gone.
One saturday, he did this dance with my wife for tens minutes straight. I had to interfene at that point as she was about to throw the camera at him. This was hard for me to do because I was rolling on the floor up to that point. laughing.
So there is no picture I can post of this little one because he has lived up to his name. Still I wonder why he does it - perhaps for my own amusement. I enjoy teasers from the natural world, it seems like they are playing. My wife however does not enjoy the joke as much as me. I wonder why.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spiritual Reatlessness

He does this routine everyday, except of course when it is raining. He is a wasp and he has been trying to build something (a nest?) in my wind chimes. The chimes are hollow tubes of metal with a pleasant blue and silver design on them. The wasp keeps bringing strips of dead weeds, as much as he can carry, to the chimes. He takes his cargo into hollow center of any of the metal tubes, places it there and leaves to go get another strip of dead weed. While he is gone, the weed he left behind falls out the bottom, slowly and steadily. By the time the wasp returns, it is gone. This does not dissuade the wasp. He keeps flying back and forth with more and more dead weeds. I am the one that has to get rid of the pile (a very small pile) that lies on the deck below the chimes each morning. The wasp is not consistent in which metal tube he flies into, usually choosing one seemingly at random out of the six that are present. Occasionally the wasp comes back with no weeds and goes into a tube to inspect his work. It is then that he re-emerges distraught because there is nothing to show for his effort. He flies away angry but usually comes back carrying a dead weed.

I am feeling a restlessness right now, a spiritual restlessness, which causes me to wonder if anything I am doing has any meaning. Am I, like my friend the wasp, going about my day, doing what I think is important without a clue. Am I as unaware as the wasp ? When I do notice that nothing has been built, am I the same as the wasp ? Do I just go back and do the same things again, even though I notice nothing is getting done ?

I don't have any answers. I keep looking at the wasp hoping he might give me a clue but I don't have one yet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Death of the Guru

For the past week or so I have have been struggling to read a book about the death of Carlos Castaneda. He died in 1998. The book I just read was published in 2003. You might wonder why there was a gap of five years but I think I know why. I believe that it took the author five (four?) years to recover from her experiences with the cult activities of Mr. Castaneda's 'sorcery ' group. The author describes her years associated with this group in painful anecdotes full of cultish mind control and mixed messages. I had scanned the book when it first came out and was shocked by its content. The author claimed to have sex with Carlos (many times) and claimed that he had sex with countless women. I could not believe it. Not Carlos, the spiritual heir to the mythic Don Juan Mateus - the man who said celibacy was the key to obtaining the energy needed to break the veil of this life.
For me, the message was hard to bear because I had read all the Carlos Castaneda books and they touched me. (At least the first four did. The fifth book I found weird and strange mainly because Don Juan was not in it.) After a period of ten or so years, Carlos began writing about Don Juan again. These three books had Don Juan in them and revealed other aspects about his time with Carlos. They were not as good as the first four but they were helpful to me. i was going through a period of change and unsettledness at that time and those books helped give me something to hang onto, an anchor of sorts. Something to believe in.
Then the last set of Carlos books came out in the '90s. They were beyond strange and they were meaningless (to me). I had wondered why I felt that way. Now reading this book, the Sorcerer's Apprentice by Amy Wallace, I knew why. Carlos had strayed from his path with heart and fell headlong into debauchery. Without anyone to guide him, he began forming a cult of groupies around him. I guess that is the temptation of all leaders.
Strangely enough reading this book stirred up a bunch of emotions inside of me (some that had been lying dormant for years). I had considered myself cult material once because I felt that there was nothing for me in the 'ordinary woorld'. I wanted to run away, I wanted somebody to take care of me. I wanted to belong, I wanted to learn the secret knowledge, whatever that was.
I don't think of myself that way anymore. I have discovered that one has to love oneself before looking for that love in the world. Like attracts like. Love attracts love.
I want to thank the author of that book for her brave recount of the goings on that she admits she fell into. She helped me with my own recapitulation of my guru, Carlos. Thanks I want to say, I needed that.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 14 - Conections with Bacon

I am watching the news when a report comes that scientists at Microsoft have theorized that everyone is connected to everyone in this world in less than 7 degrees. The easiest way to think about this is to remember the hubbub about all actors being 7 degrees removed from Kevin Bacon.
Another example might go like this - I have an aunt Jane who went to Vegas and sat next to a Japanese man at a black jack Table. This Japanese man has a brother who lives in Seattle whose wife knows via an internet chat room a woman in Texas who once educated a man named George Bush. So I have a connection to the president. (This is just an example).
What the example means is that What I do in the current moment has the ability to affect the world (through varying degrees). Thus, if this theory is correct, our greatest power is in the current moment and the choices we make. So if you want to change the world, change yourself. Sooner or later it will get to Kevin Bacon and then everybody changes (at least in the acting world). And the world of entertainment affects us all, so thus the world changes.
Now if I can just figure out how to heal Brittney, world hunger might go away.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day something - Does it really Matter ?

No the title of this installment does not reflect my feeling down - it does reflect the notion that I have lost track of what day this is and does that really matter? What really matters is that I am doing something and that is what I intend to do. Something. I just wont know what that something is until I have done it. Sort of like last thursday.
On that day, we went to the Vogt art Center to pick up Bev's various masterpieces. Before we went in, we saw someone familiar just in front of us. It was Sharon from my writing class. We then decided not to pick up Bev's great art, instaed we would show Sharon the whole exhibit. And that meant we would have to come back tomorrow. Which for some reason felt like the right thing to do.
So on Friday, we went back to the gallery. On our way, a fire truck with sirens blaring past us. As with the case of most exciting things that pass by us, Beverly wanted to chase it. So we did not because I am driving and I want to get this over with. However, as we pull up to the Vogt art center, we could not help but notice all the fire trucks and police cars with their lights flashing. No, it was not the Center that was on fire but an apartment building a block further away. I went into the Center, which allowed Bev to investigate. It turned out that we knew some people who lived in that apartment building. Their apartment was not burned or damaged but they had to wait for the fire and police to let them back into the building.
And Bev spent a lot of time talking to them - time I spent taking down the paintings and packing them up - for some reason I can go much faster by myself. Julie and Bev came back into the center just as I finished but no that does not mean we were ready to go. What did happen is that Julie's phone rang and some people were coming to bring in some art - fabric art - aand they could not figure how to get there because all the police and fire trucks were blocking the roads.
It turns out that one of these people was a minor celebrity - Harry Porterfield (Someone You Should Know) - his wife had some very good looking pieces of fabric art to hang in the next show at Vogt. Strangely enough, Harry was a man of few words - his wife did most of the talking. Perhaps, that is not so strange.
But the real point of the matter is that IF we had taken our pictures down on Thursday, we would not have had our little adventure on Friday - So Yes it does matter what choices you make but sometimes the best choices are not the most logical. I am hoping to get this done soon so I guess I will quit here.

About Me

I am a crabby old man who hates everything
or
I am a tiny wonderer in a large world
or
I am a young hippie tree-hugger
or
I am a mid-life crisis disaster area.
or
I am an attitude of stillness waiting for a wind.
or
I have not decided yet.