week 48: invention

the pen, or pencil... proof that they are, or can, be mightier than the sword.  So much so that oppression resort to fighting them with guns and bullets - and they still lose.

this isn't a holy war.
don't bring God into this,
this is fucking murder. 

earlier this week in paris:

Wednesday, a black Citroen C3 drove up to the Charlie Hebdo building in Rue Nicolas-Appert. Two masked gunmen, dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles got out and approached the offices.
They burst into number 6, Rue Nicolas-Appert, before realising they had the wrong address. They then moved down the street to number 10 - where the Charlie Hebdo offices are on the second floor.
Once inside, the men asked maintenance staff in reception where the magazine's offices were, before shooting caretaker Frederic Boisseau, 42.
One of the magazine's cartoonists, Corinne Rey, described how she had just returned to the building after picking up her daughter from day care when the gunmen threatened her, forcing her to enter the code for the keypad entry to the newsroom on the second floor - where a weekly editorial meeting was taking place.
The men asked for the paper's editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, by name before opening fire and killing the editor and his police bodyguard, Franck Brinsolaro. They also shot dead seven other journalists and a guest attending the meeting.
Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Greatest" in Arabic ("Allahu Akbar") while calling out the names of the journalists.
Twelve people were killed in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices: eight journalists, two police officers, a caretaker and a visitor.
From left: Economist Bernard Maris, cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean "Cabu" Cabut, Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier,  Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac and Philippe Honore and Michel Renaud.From left: Economist Bernard Maris, cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean "Cabu" Cabut, Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac and Philippe Honore and Michel Renaud.
  • Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, 47, who had been living under police protection since receiving death threats
  • Cartoonists Jean "Cabu" Cabut, 76, Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73
  • Economist and regular magazine columnist Bernard Maris, 68, known to readers as Uncle Bernar
  • Mustapha Ourrad, proof-reader
  • Elsa Cayat, psychoanalyst and columnist, the only woman killed
  • Michel Renaud, who was visiting from the city of Clermont-Ferrand
  • Frederic Boisseau, 42, caretaker, who was in the reception area at the time of the attack
  • Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, who acted as Charb's bodyguard, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, who was shot dead while on the ground
    from w

    -please feel free to use these icons for your personal use in support of freedom of expression and in memory of Charlie Hebdo and the eleven others who lost their lives.-


week 47: sea

come back tomorrow for the text entry for this weeks post, i have a lot of things that i plan on writing about and only twenty minutes to get to work.

i haven't been to the ocean in a long time. even when i lived in san francisco, i rarely went. in retrospect it strikes me as a little odd that there was so much to do and see and i didn't take the opportunity to make the most of them. i may be getting a little ahead of myself here though.

those times i have stood on the shores of the ocean i have been moved in a way that i can only describe as religious, i mean not exactly that, but the way that i get the feeling some people get when they talk about god. there in front of me is something so vast, so powerful, that i am overwhelmed by it's enormity, and for some reason i am affected by this in a way that even the endless night sky fails to impress.

a few days ago i had one of those moments where something in my universe shifts by a degree and things come into focus, i was able to see or at least begin to articulate something that i have danced around for as long as i've been writing in this blog. it is the beginning of a lesson that has taken me nearly thirty-six years to learn and has been part of most of the problems i have created for myself over my life.

that the fear of the enormity of choice, of commitment, of perfection has kept me from truly trying.
i'm not sure if i'm really using the right words here but its like the idea of what i think i should be capable of and failing that ideal, opting out. to quit or surrender without putting forth my best effort because i "know" it won't be what "think" it should be... 

i think what i mean is that essentially i have been so afraid of what might or what ought that i have missed out kept myself from experiencing what is, and what might have been if i had just tried.

i'm not sitting here bemoaning the loss like i have done all those years, i just acknowledge that i might have made more out of those years. what is important is that i can make a decision to make the most of the years i have ahead.

i have been so selfish, so afraid, so afraid.

it has been several months since my last post here, in that time i have found employment, i have returned to school to finish my degree, i have built a relationship with myself, with those that i love.

and yes it can be hard.

earlier this week i was working on a final project and was not nearly as done as i wanted to be. i simply got as much as i could finished and went to class the next day, turned it in, and am waiting on the results. i know that this might sound like no big deal, and maybe it isn't, but in the past id have medicated, not gone to class, not turned in a project that wasn't some perfect polished and unrealistically ambitious product.

the point is that i chose to participate, i didn't shut down, close off and give up.

and for me that is something that would have been as alien to me as would be breathing water.

These songs aren't hidden messages, at least not intentionally, these songs are reminders to myself to let myself, well. 

These remind me that i have wasted enough time not letting myself live.

"Love is not determined in the distance of flesh but in the position of the heart. Mine will always be with you."

"We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow" - Soko
Give me all your love now
'Cause for all we know
We might be dead by tomorrow
I can't go on wasting my time
Adding scars to my heart
'Cause all I hear is
"I'm not ready now"
And I can tell
That you didn't had
To face your mother
Losing her lover
Without saying goodbye
Without saying goodbye
'Cause she didn't had time
I don't want to judge
What's in your heart
But if you're not ready for love
How can you be ready for life?
How can you be ready for life?
So let's love fully
And let's love loud
Let's love now
'Cause soon enough we'll die

"The Book Of Love" - The Magnetic Fields

The book of love is long and boring No one can lift the damn thing It's full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing but I, I love it when you read to me and you, you can read me anything The book of love has music in it In fact that's where music comes from Some of it is just transcendental Some of it is just really dumb but I, I love it when you sing to me and you, you can sing me anythingThe book of love is long and boring and written very long ago It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes and things we're all too young to know but I, I love it when you give me things and you,
you ought to give me wedding rings 
I, I love it when you give me things and you,
you ought to give me wedding rings

applewood asiago and bleu


week 46: fragile

for as long as i can remember i have lived in fear. i have reacted to every new crisis, challenge, or consequence, that has presented itself in my life. i know that i am not unique in this, but the point is that instead of assessing the situation, consider my options, and make an informed plan of action i have basically jumped from one frying pan into another, after another, and eventually into the fire, where, once there, proceeded in running around in circles spreading flames around as i panicked.

there have been many things that i have come to learn over the past few years - one being that there are things that i no longer have the luxury of indulging anymore.

the fragile balance between hope and despair, the urge to quit when things dont work out as i had expected. immersing myself in my depression, nurturing the ennui and dystopic world view i had come to expect every time i woke up or ran out of drink. heh, even that isn't entirely accurate either - those same attitudes were there in my dreams and in my cups.

i find myself fighting these old mindsets, mindsets that helped me cope with life, kept me alive - until eventually nearly killing me.

its like dragging a shadow, or carrying around a half shed skin, and the part underneath - me - is soft and  and hasn't been exposed to anyone like this in over twenty years.

so small steps.

the depression probably will never go away but i can try to work my through those times without wallowing in it, perseverance, in things (important things anyway) that are not always easy, and might take a lot of work to realize.

i can hold a hand and know that it's no longer the had a drowning man grips to in desperate fear for his life, but a hand of an equal - one that can be warm and loving and occasionally lends support to keep me steady, and to know that my hand is doing the same for her.

i no longer want to fix or save, but listen and assist as requested.

it's a lot of things really.

but i can't be fragile anymore, i cant fall apart anymore. i need to be that person i was meant to be. i have seen parts of him over the years and i know that those times where i felt any sort of pride in myself it was that "me" showing through.

That's What's Up - Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
I'll be the church, you be the steeple.
You be the King, I'll be the people.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.
While I was being such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
But you helped me change my mind.
I'll be the sun, you be the shining.
You be the clock, I'll be the timing.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.
While I was feeling so upset, I thought the sun never shine.
Then I found Forever
Hey! Hey! love!
We've been best friends forever darling.
That's' what's up!
No matter what!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
That's what's up!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
No matter what!
You be the book, I'll be the binding.
You be the words, I'll be the rhyming.
While I was feeling such a wreck, I thought of losing my mind.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought the sun never shine.
You be the bird, I'll be the feather.
We'll be the best of friends forever.
While I was feeling such a mess I thought you'd leave me behind.
When I was feeling such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
Then I found
Forever! And Always!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days!
Come with me!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days
All of our days
Love is a shelter.
Love is a cause.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love will leads us all.
Love! It is our honor.
Love! It is our all.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love it is our home.
Oh yeah!
Yeah! That's what's up!
Oh yeah!
That's what's up!
Yeah That's what's up!

video here

video Lennon and Maisy cover here


week 45: summer

when i think of summer, i think of many things. heat, for one, outdoors, longer days, barbeques, and that one color of blue that i only really see a few weeks out of a year at sunset. i think that i have mentioned that color in these posts before, so ill spare you the repetition.

i have been processing a lot lately. reconciling my past and looking towards the future. summer also brings to mind some unfortunate memories as well.

when i was around five or so my family moved from the bay area to fresno. i hated it. i had to leave my friends and the neighbors (Ruthie, Janie, and Al) next door behind and start kindergarten with strange kids in a strange place.

it was also the first time i really remember the weather. fresno tends to skew towards the extremes, cold and foggy in the winter and hot as hell in the summer. for those of you who have spent time on the peninsula, you know that the weather pretty much as one setting and that is more or less cold.

it was in fresno that i learned how to swim.

i don't know why my father did things the way he did, how his choices and methods could be justified in his head, or if he even bothered at all. i wish i could say that there were memories i have that illustrated any admirable qualities he may have had, but i don't. honestly, i have spent a lot of time going back and searching for happy memories that involved him and i came up blank.

what i remember most is fear.

for whatever reason he decided that he was going to teach me how to swim. his approach was to hold me under water, throw me into the deep end, let go when i wasnt ready. i hated the pool, it was a source of anxiety, terror actually.

it got to be so that i would start panicing when i heard the theme song of different strokes on the television - i remember that clearly - and would search for a new place to hide. i knew that he come home from work around the time that show aired and it became a sort of pavlovian response. it was so bad that my mother (who had tried to intervene) began to send me to friends houses before dinner, that hour or two when he would want to jump into the water, grabbing hold of me and swimming to the bottom and just stay there until i felt like i was going to drown. kicking and screaming for help from mom or god or anyone as he pried me off the security gate and pulled me into the water.

more than anything it is the smell of the pollen, this sort of buttery smell, from one of the trees that takes me back there the most.

in a way though, he achieved his goal (probably not in the way he had intended) and not only did i learn to swim, i became a very strong swimmer after he left. i was helpless and i hated that feeling so much that it drove me to hold my breath longer, swim a little deeper, tread water until i felt like my arms were going to fall off. all of that so that one day, if i ever wound up in a pool with him again i would not only be able to endure whatever twisted lesson he wanted to teach but maybe teach him a lesson as well.

i never got that chance.

what i did learn from him has been mostly good examples of how not do things.

so this summer, two nights ago, after a lot of writing and meditation i went outside and sat on the driveway and i had my last conversation with my father. i told him that i forgave him for all of the horrible things he did (the swimming lessons were nothing when compared) but that i don't think i will ever forget. i told him that i no longer want to hold onto that part of my past because it has been one of those things that has kept me from having a future. that i hoped he found the peace he couldn't find in life and that i was done with him.

it was a beautiful night. it was water warm and a breeze that occasionally picked up enough to muss my hair. and when i was done talking - i lay there and looked up at the stars.

fresno, in the summer, was the first time i remember really noticing them.

edit: here is a picture from that summer - me with pepper.


week 44: mask

i know, i know. it has been a while since the my last post. there have been several things that have been taking up my time  and energy and inspiration has been somewhat - less - forthcoming than it has been in in in some time. this is not to say that i haven't been productive, i have been talking to school to see if i can finish my degree, i have been looking for work - aggressively - among other things. basically i've been working on becoming an adult, even if it has been past due for a considerable amount of time.

this week's prompt, mask, was actually used early on waaaaaay back in 2006 - you can see the post here things have changed somewhat since then (oh, thank god!) i no longer (well, mostly) try to make myself fit the situation, to be one thing to one person and someone else to another. i have found that it takes a lot less effort and yields better overall results. i have been braver when facing things that scare me or are unpleasant. and i since i can no longer hide in a bottle i have had to accept things as they are and do my best to process and accept them.

also, i have been seeing someone.

i know that in the past i have talked a lot about the relationships i have been in, and i know how the cycle progresses. i think, this time things might be different. i'm different for starters.

i have been completely open and honest i have been present and willing to work to spend time with her. i don't have to play games or worry about being played. this relation so far has been based on friendship and communication.

like i said, things are a little different.

there was more that i was going to talk about, but i find myself a little reluctant to share some of those things at this point. what i will say is that i told her the other day that: "i can't tell you how i feel about you without sounding like a crazy person."