Wednesday, June 30th 2004

posted @ 10:09 am in [ ]
How many blogs does it take to satisfy me? We may never know, hahahahahahaaaaaa! My bloglust is apparently insatiable! Lisa (a.k.a. Drunken Webmaster) and I have set up a blog for my now former writing students to practice their craft and share their cleverness with the world. I’m really proud of them. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, June 22nd 2004

posted @ 10:17 am in [ - ]
She was back on the road a little after sunrise, after saying an affectionate goodbye to the luscious, sleepy-eyed Seth. She had to make Reno by afternoon, she said, and was gone with his scent still on her hands. The ‘vert sang along beneath her, as if it were just as happy to be there as he had been.

About 20 miles into the drive, the streaming road began to sputter tiny houses alongside it, mostly bright white ones, almost seeming to be their own sources of light. The houses consolidated somewhat, and organized into a small town. She found a white stucco building not much bigger than Bungalow 2 with a Tecate sign in the oversized window that overwhelmed it, and restocked Jose.

A handsome creature, fortyish, with rugged features, a slightly greying mustache, and a flannel shirt wearing at the collar and elbows, looked her over as she came in the door. She smiled and glanced away. Clearly he was the local operator, and she didn’t like them too smooth. Alan was smooth now. He had been awkward and sweet when she met him, shy about looking at her or talking to her, often looking at his beautiful, perfect hands. She thought it was adorable. Now he argued like Socrates, glaring right at her, full of evidence and high sentence, having completely forgotten that he had hands at all. Smooth was entirely unappealing.

She asked for a fifth and two half-pints of Jose, and Mr. Smooth reached back behind himself and pulled them down for her without taking his eyes off her. Flattering, perhaps, but much too steady. She handed over two 20s and pulled her hand away before he could “accidentally” brush her fingers. He gave her her change and placed the bottles in a brown paper sack, still not watching what he was doing. Beginning to feel like an antelope haunch, she looked past his well-built shoulder and caught a glimpse of the stockboy, shirt off, in a pair of not-quite-snug jeans with a telltale band of boxer brief just barely peeking out of the waistband. She watched him for a few seconds and let him catch her at it. She smiled, looked him over, and left, tossing an afterthought of, “Thanks,” toward Mr. Smooth.

In the parking lot, she tucked the fifth and one of the half-pints into the suitcase, and dropped the other half-pint in the map pocket that would sit next to her calf. As she perched on the seat, car door open, she could see the stockboy watching her from the open back door. She slowly pulled her long, mostly bare legs into the car, smoothed the left calf as if it were covered with a fine, slighly rumpled, organza, closed the door, and fired up the ‘vert. Just as she pulled away, she took one more look, up and down, and blew him a kiss. He half waved, but mostly blushed. She grinned for the next several miles, and got started on the half-pint.

Sunday, June 13th 2004

This just in…
posted @ 4:50 pm in [ - ]
I’ve gotten several queries about life at the bike shop. As anticipated, the shop as run by Matt is a great place to work. He has that rare combintation of being supportive of his staff while at the same time being rather hands-off as a manager. It makes one feel as if one’s boss trusts one’s work. I know, just imagine! Currenly none of the reservations I had about going back to the shop have panned out. I’m being treated like everyone else and I’m able to use and expand my skills, just like I always wanted. So the short answer is that it’s going really well.

And now, a brief rant:

In other news, Ronald Reagan is still dead! Seriously, when the hell is that news cycle going to be over?! There are two, no, THREE things I really resent about this.

One, the media is talking about Reagan as if everyone loved him and he was just the greatest president we ever had, as opposed to the reality of having been the asshat who institutionalized greed and scared the hell out of anyone with the capacity for critical thought. Furthermore, he did NOT end the Cold War singlehandedly! Nobody did. However, if any one human being deserves the credit for this, it’s Misha Gorbachev. Last I checked, seizing the credit for something you didn’t do is a serious impediment to being a good person. The national amnesia right now is astounding.

Two, one awful dead man completely eclipsed two unbelievably important events: the death of REAL American hero Ray Charles, and of course D-Day. Ray Charles wasn’t just an unbelievably cool cat. He wasn’t just an incredible musician who overcame real adversity to become wildly successful. He has influenced just about every soul/rock/blues and sometimes even country musician who came after him. And who could forget his duet with Kermit the Frog? He lent a whole new dimension to “It’s Not Easy Being Green” while still keeping it playful. Why don’t we get a week and a half about Ray Charles? Huh? WHY?! Where’s his state funeral? I would argue Ray Charles’ life is the stuff of the American Dream, and he stayed happy, humble and kind his whole, hard life. His accomplishments were monumental, his struggles uplifting, and he never took credit for anything he didn’t do. How is Ray Charles not a national treasure? Fortunately, his spirit so permeates American music that he lives on, even if his consciousness is bookended by recent events.

And D-Day! Can you believe it?! At a time when America has started DOING the very things that we used to fight to FREE people from, we have a proud moment in American history to observe… except we don’t get the observation we should have. Some things are worth the cost of human life: stopping real evil, freeing enslaved people, defending against direct attack… Was “halting the spread of communism” in a tiny agrarian country 10,000 miles away? Is “fighting terrorism” in some nebulous way? Is occupying Iraq? People and governments have behaved dishonorably in war since there have been governments and wars, but surely there is a giant moral chasm between occupying a faraway third-world country in which we have no interest but oil; and combining division-sized forces with other nations to land on several beaches on a single fateful day in the fervent, shared hope of snatching the world from the powerful jaws of fascism and genocide. My grandfather was proud to have fought at Omaha Beach. I’m sure he was scared, but I understand he felt like part of something larger and important and right. My friends who have served in Iraq take pride in having served their country, but are still somehow uneasy, as if they are not quite sure if they did the right thing. Was there ever a time we might be better served by the lessons of D-Day than this very year?

Reagan is partly responsible for putting us on this path to begin with: institutionalizing greed, deepening our dependence on foreign oil (totally ignoring the lessons of just a few years earlier when the oil crisis crippled the country), and starting off the Bush legacy, now more disturbing by the day. How ironic that his death overshadowed the observance of true American patriotism when his administration also wrapped itself in the flag while doing some very questionable things and ignoring the consequences. Carter is now the loudest ethical blip on the presidential timeline of this country since Kennedy was shot. How do you like them apples, America? Now will you please either vote well or take the streets already?! Sheesh!

Third, I don’t want to see some stupid backward-booted horse or some lameass military flyby, each shown dozens of times a day, for that attention hog (well, at least until Iran-Contra–then he was conspicuously absent from the screen…), and I resent that there is so little else available from the media, even a week or so after the actual death in question. One of the many events being eclipsed by this, this intelligence-insulting deathfluff, is my fellow Americans’ heavy protesting at the G-8 conference in Georgia. I have a very dear friend who is there right now, risking life and limb to be a voice for social and economic justice. A few nights ago, he was obliged to get four stitches in his head after a cop hit him with a state-issued blunt instrument, breaking his lacrosse helmet and declaring him to be a homojewboyniggerlover (my friend had responded to this honkycrackerredneck hatespeech by blowing said cop an inflammatory smooch). How DARE the media subject me to one more INSTANT of Reagan-related saccharine lies while good, unarmed Americans are being publicly beaten in response to exercizing OUR CONSTITUTIONALLY-GUARANTEED RIGHT to peaceable assembly?! Either put that f*cker in the damn ground and let’s try to forget about him already, or stuff him and stick him under glass like Lenin (or a roast pheasant) and let everyone who gives such a tearful rat’s ass file by at their leisure. I want some measure of media programming back, or barring that, effusive coverage of the deeply felt loss of Ray Charles. As it was, I watched my DVD of The Blues Brothers today. Thank you, Ray, for the music.

Finally, there is a part of Plato’s Republic that I always find incredibly moving, and I can’t say exactly why. For those of you not familiar with this work, I highly recommend it. It’s a 2500-year-old justice rant, and it still carries a lot of currency. At the very end, Socrates is describing what happens to the souls of the dead as they pass through the Elysian fields and choose their next lives. Odysseus, warrior, lover, and action hero, chooses the life of an ordinary man. He could have been anything, anyone, with that high lottery number, and he just wanted to have a quiet life minding his own business.

It also makes me wonder about the lives the recently dead may be choosing. Might Ray Charles choose the life of music teacher to the world again? Or perhaps that of an obscure painter? Or of a quiet frog herder who minds his own business? If Ronald Reagan is not honoring my decades-old request to rot in hell, perhaps he is choosing the life of a beauty queen, soulless but looked on with adoration for a few short years. Or perhaps he is choosing to improve his soul with the challenge of the life of a true patriot, sacrificing his own blood at the hands of a corrupt state that has forgotten its mandate to receive and protect all homos, jewboys and nigger lovers, and instead serves only its wealthiest clients. If he does, perhaps he can begin to atone for some of the damage he did the last time around. The truth is, money pools at the top. Only justice trickles down.

Be safe, Dan, in working to pry open the floodgates.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Tuesday, June 8th 2004

posted @ 11:21 am in [ - ]
2:32 found her standing at the window of Bungalow 2. The moon, the giant desert moon, was reflected by something in the sand. The desert floor twinkled as if it were placid water. Inside the bungalow, everything was blue and grey and black. She looked down at her bluish arms and turned suddenly as Seth stirred behind her in the bed. He was beautiful as he slept, she thought. It gave her a little twinge to think of leaving him.

At home, Alan would be moved out by now. Most of their apartment had been his, and he would have taken every living thing: the fish, the cat, the plants. The red velveteen garage sale couch might still be there. They had bought it together, but Alan didn’t like it anymore. He had wanted to replace it with a hard antique leather one. Her clothes would still be there of course, and her pictures.

She had a wall’s worth of images of American landscape icons: the Grand Canyon, The Las Vegas strip, a Key West sunset. She picked the best shot from each trip she took and put in on the wall in a plain glass frame. The wall used to be in the living room, but after Alan asked about her trips he wanted the pictures in the dining room instead. They hardly used the dining room, but she started to drink her coffee in there in the morning. The last two weeks, she had been looking at her pictures a lot.

Outside, the desert sky teemed with stars. As she sat on the edge of the bed and looked down at her pale blue thighs, she couldn’t see the moon through the window anymore, but the same bluish-grey light shone all over the room. She leaned over and brushed Seth’s shoulder with her lips. Maybe he was a light sleeper. He murmured softly and the sheet slid away as he rolled toward her onto his back. For a moment, she just sat there, the enchanting starlight saturating them both. Pulling back the sheet the rest of the way, she kissed that one spot she found so delicious, the flat of his lower belly just over his right hip. She would only have a few more hours to explore this luscious beauty and wanted desperately to make them count.