Thursday, May 29, 2008

The sarlaac pit.

My concerns have begun to peak the last two days. First, I learned that my premonitions voiced in a recent blog about my father were and continue to be correct, albeit not in the manner I had supposed- he's been in the hospital for a few days due to apparently massive arterial blockage, and for all I know is getting his heart sliced up as I type (he's scheduled for bypass surgery today, but I don't know when, so I'm pretty much useless as far as productivity goes). Even given the occasional fears you have about somebody you suspect might not be well, this has the potential to render me useless for some time if something bad happens. I sort of wish that I had still maintained some vestiges of the Catholic upbringing I'd been forced into as a child and could've prayed for his wellbeing with the idea that there's a specific god listening, but while I still thought those thoughts, I had no particular faith in where they were going, nor any hope that they were being heard. I think it's still valuable from a self-reconciliation standpoint, though.

So, unless I'm pretty chummy in general with anybody reading this, I should warn you it might not be too chummy a day for me. I'm presently wondering lamely how I'm gonna get it together to deal with all this other shit that's swirling around, most of it financial. It's a bad position, because the financial stuff is very important objectively, but until I know how my dad is I can't physically muster the verve to work on it. I don't think I'd be much good in a job interview anyways, though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This is just to say.

I just finished listening to a particularly entertaining/disturbing episode of This American Life which had been recommended by a friend of mine (and thus friend of this blog), Jason. It's called "Mistakes Were Made," and tells the story of a cryonics salesman who got in over his head and began stuffing three to four bodies into a single chamber while bouncing checks to keep the liquid nitrogen flowing. The second part, though, regards the poem by William Carlos Williams that is alluded to in this post's title.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

It was mentioned that apparently poets will have some fun by trying to make the most humorous or interesting satirical offshoots of that poem. I had recognized the poem from high school, but hadn't thought about it in a while, so I think I'm gonna ruminate on it for a day and then offer up my best shot at it.

Saw a video online yesterday of some lady on Fox News- named something like Trotta?- who first mistakenly called Barack Obama "Osama" (hardly new territory), and then states "well, both, if we could," to the notion of the two being assassinated. She offered up this apology:

"Oh yes, I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor. I fell all over myself, making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm or any other candidate, for that matter, and I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It is a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said."
I can sympathize. I always end up cracking especially bloodthirsty jokes when my field of expertise is at a level of unprecedented interest and intrigue. It sucks, too, cause everybody's all watchin' and shit.

While it kind of goes without saying at this point, this blog officially endorses Barack Obama (earning him at least one general election vote!), although I like to think I'd want people to not joke about killing him even if it didn't.

I applied for a job at a theater in Sausalito a few days ago. It's the first job I've ventured to take in over a year, since my notorious fall from grace as a wedding video editor. Incidentally, my two roommates who worked the same job months after I quit (or rather, stopped showing up) had the same sort of burn outs I did at approximately the same pace, so I think that exonerates my behavior (although my climatic bridge burning with the 24 Hour Fitness people doesn't help my reputation).

Plans for today? Gotta make a call to a northernly neighbor, hit up the DMV, then birthday dinner for my mom. If you've never eaten at the Robata Sushi Grill, it's quite a treat.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's my reading rainbow.

I always used to watch that show on the KQED station when I was a real little kid. Same channel that aired Sesame Street and Donohue. I remember loving the former and being not so crazy about the latter, although I did think he had a funny name (the Phil part, I had no gripe with the Donohue surname). They also held lengthy pledge drives from time to time, so their normal broadcasting would get booted in favor of the cash gathering telethons. Not understanding this as a four-year-old, I once dumbly waited and watched almost an hour of people answering phones until I realized there wasn't going to be any Sesame Street that day.

Anyways, my laptop burnt out a couple months ago. It doesn't boot up at all anymore, and seems to have some sort of massive hardware problem. I have all but conceded my laptop, a loyal companion for the past two years, is deader than Strom Thurmond (voted America's deadest man in 2007!). I lament the lack of on-the-go tech (I'm writing this on a laptop borrowed from my little bro), but until I can save up for one of them MacBooks, fuck it. No more of this PC shit.

Point is, all my documents are gone-ish. There's a possibility they may have been saved on my roommate's external hard drive, but I don't have a computer to transfer them to. I had written a tremendous amount, and had kept the files safe for a long time. Somewhere lurking in that burnt out husk of a computer is a fantasy-fictiion story I had to write for a middle school assignment but ended up extending to five chapters of my own volition (as I recall it involved a hypercompetitive hockey-esque sport with three player teams and sharp, treacherous spears). All my creative writings and essays I wrote in high school and my one year of semi-academic college. An I-Search report from sixth grade for which I read all three of the Oedipus plays (heavy stuff at age twelve) and put in nedless hours of research, only to get a ninety-five percent because I didn't indent the second lines on my bibliography. I resented Ms. Mesplou deeply for that, but she was also the hottest teacher at my middle school, so being twelve, I couldn't stay angry for that long.

This momentary loss of documents has rattled me, because I'm a very nostalgic person in certain ways. I recently discovered a bag full of my old schoolwork from first grade, and I spent a whole night sifting through it, reading over it as best I could. Terrible handwriting. But when i could make something out, it felt sort of chilling, like reconnecting with something I'd lost a long time ago. It's a disturbing but also seductive feeling, having those gateways into your past. It's one of the reasons I wan to write as much as I can. I want the fifty year old me to know what the twenty year old me was all about, in the event that I can't piece it together for myself.

Here's a poem I wrote about a year and a half ago. It's a romantic sonnet I wrote for somebody. I didn't come clean to her at the time that it was about her, but that's since been rectified. I think it's probably the piece of poetry I'm proudest to have written, maybe because the breadth of emotion that enters a romantic poem makes it seem somehow greater than it is. Worth noting, it does break form, since there's only eight beats per line in the closing couplet. But the words were exactly as I wanted them, so I left it.

It’s sweet and fine to sit beneath a tree
Tangling eyes and hearts beneath the flesh
Where romance is but doesn’t try to be
When every deep breath feels so pure and fresh

Such love could only strike a man by luck
To dive headfirst into a soul so deep
To fight to keep his eyes from getting stuck
As soft lips and hips through his mind do creep

It’s the light of the world you give to me
With windswept features that burn my memory
And selfless courage that sets my worries free
If only you could be my one, my every

Your eyes, your nose, your ears, your hair
Have left my heart beyond repair

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The big sleep.

I was often told when I was in high school that I seemed to have an overly morbid worldview, or at the very least that I pondered my own mortality more than seemed normal for a kid in his late teens. Let it be known that I was at my angstiest not the sort of guy who'd romanticize suicide, not least of all because all of my angsts were about things I wanted to do that would be decidedly difficult were I dead. Whenever I'm at a party that goes into the early morning, and people start playing ten fingers or truth or dare or any of those personal revelation games, I'm always surprised at how many people admit the thought of suicide brushed their minds in their teen years; not a judgemental surprise, just surprised because it's such a foreign idea to me.

In actuality, my morbid reputation was the result of me trying to protect what I perceived as a fragile body and a fickle life. I admit some of my instincts seemed strange. For instance, I'd often curl my hands into fists when riding in a car, the idea being that if we got in an accident, I didn't want an errant bit of glass of metal to shear off a finger (one of my greatest phobias of that time, and still a decent one today). Never mind that if the car accident was sending blades of metal slicing around I likely had bigger problems than losing my pinky, but the worry always stuck.

My mother's side of the family also has a bad history of heart disease for males. Having been pretty overweight in high school, as well as pretty sedentary (I had, unbeknownst to me, an iron deficiency which made physical fitness feel like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer), this also worried me, knowing full well that my grandfather (again, mother's side), who died before I was born, was only in his early fifties when his heart exploded as he was driving to work. Certainly those worries ignored my father's genetics, as well as the fact that my grandfather was living a hyperstressful lifestyle managing a business while supplementing enormous amounts of cigarettes and coffee for food, but I was still a bit spooked. I remember vividly being unable to sleep one night because I'd become gripped with fear over the idea that someday I'd know how it felt to die. I stayed up a whole night trying to fathom what that would feel like, and when I felt like I had best approximated the feeling, slumber overtook me.

I've since lightened up a little (a lot, really), mainly because nothing ever seems as important in the adult world as it does in high school (although I still really wanna keep my digits from getting sliced off) , and because I think I've managed to replace a mild propensity for gloom and doom with a mild propensity for aw shucks optimism. It's a more calming lifestyle, and with rare exception it keeps me from getting too up or too down.

I think the reason this has been on my mind is my father. I have, for those who don't know (and why would you?), a pretty old father, for my age. I believe he's sixty-five now, or getting close. He grew up in Brooklyn through the fifties, and eventually moved out to San Francisco where he became a successful (critically, not at all financially) poet. I've never read as much of his poetry as I should. He recently sent me a small volume for my birthday, and while I can read it and tell how good it is, it's not something I feel I can relate to. I've written a bit of poetry over the years, and in some respects reading his poetry feels like seeing a writing style that fights or clashes against my own. It at times seems to make no sense, and doesn't seem to care if it does, which is a very alluring quality to me, but one that I can never achieve. While I recognize it as being great poetry, I don't feel like I can use it as a touchstone the way the son of a blacksmith might use his dad's technique with metal. It embarasses me in a strange, personal way, so I shy away from reading his stuff.

In any case, he moved to Philadelphia some time ago (my inability to recall exactly when betrays a certain detachment from it all), as he and my mom had a falling out when I was in high school and he had little enough money that housing in Marin was a complete uncertainty. We probably talk about once a week, mostly about my acting, both of our writings, and whatever's happening in basketball at the time. The last couple times we talked, though, he mentioned in a very casual way that he was trying to get a doctor's appointment because he was having a great deal of pain in his esophagus. While I think my concern barely registered over the phone, I remember very clearly thinking, "holy shit, is my dad dying?"

When he'd been living out here but not in my mother's and my home, he had lapsed back into a smoking habit. I had once asked him to stop, a conversation in which I fell apart crying halfway through because it felt so damn awkward. He was a heavy, debilitating alcoholic before I was born (although I guess the way alcoholism is defined, he still is), and met my mom at the treatment center where he finally sobered up. Knowing this, I couldn't understand how he couldn't recognize the nature of addiction, or even short of that, addictive habits. He told me he'd cut out the smoking, but he didn't. He'd have to be pretty damn foolish to think I couldn't tell. I don't hold it against him for not keeping the promise, because I know that most addiciton mantra states that you have to want to quit something for yourself, and that saying you're doing it for your family can be a foil that won't work. But I also know that I opened up a pretty big wound in talking to him about it, and I can't not feel bad that it continued to go on.

Anyways, my dad never takes proper care of himself, something my older brother (half brother, actually) has seen more of firsthand than I have. He takes a dim view of doctors. He wrote off his high blood pressure to momentary stress, which might be reasonable if not for the fact that he has naturally low blood pressure in his youth (I seem to have inherited this... better than high, I reckon). So the fact that he called me, mentioned this mysterious throat ailment, and admitted he was actively trying to see a doctor because it hurt so bad he was having trouble eating... I have an instinct that it's something very bad, maybe lethally bad. And I feel somehow corrupt to have that instinct.

I think what worries me most about the possibility is that I have trouble communicating myself emotionally to my father. I feel like when I'm in the position to, I'm already starting on the verge of tears. And in addition to being unable to articulate the kinds of things I'd want to, I'm not even sure what I'd want to say. There's some frayed wire somewhere that makes something not feel right, and I don't know anybody in the electrician's union.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just a pinch.

I've come to a horrifying and soul-crushing revelation this evening, been dealt a scar that may hear physically, but never emotionally. I believe I may be allergic to onions.

There's a bit of a history to this. The first time I realized something was wrong was at a birthday being held for the father of my dear friend Jason. They were serving hamburgers off the grill, so I nabbed one and proceeded to apply the three same things to it that I always do; lettuce (only the green leafy part, fuck that crunchy white shit), a bit of ketchup, and of course, a copious amount of sweet yellow onion. Onion, you see, is the ultimate thing to put on a hamburger (not to mention almost any other savory meat dish). If you feel I need to provide more reasons as to why the onion is king, you probably won't end up sharing my passion, anyways.

I got the slight inkling something was off with the first bite I took. The delicious onion taste seemed to linger in my mouth longer than usual, and I felt an odd itching on the roof of my mouth. The itching masked a soreness that felt to me to be otherwordly. I have never had any sort of allergic reaction to any food of any kind. When I abandoned vegetarianism in high school (made it two years), the return of meat to my system barely registered, and was in no way uncomfortable. This considered, I wrote the odd pain off as an anomaly.

Tonight, however, was a bit different. Jason and I were fulfilling a tradition of ours. We enjoy trout. When he's in town, we'll end up snagging a few trout from the seafood counter and frying them at my apartment. We've had varying and interesting degrees of success, perhaps the least fortunate outcome being when, for lack of oil, we attempted to fry the fish in salsa. It did work, mind you, but it wasn't terribly smooth. Regardless, Jason shares a few of my culinary tastes, so we decided tonight to stuff the fish with sliced onions while they fried. It's a genius tactic, mind you, because the onion taste cooks into the fish, while the onions themselves are sauteed in the oil (in this case in butter).

The trout ended up being as delicious as expected. I ate the whole thing over the course of fifteen minutes while watching the end of the Hornets/Spurs game on TNT (by the way, am I the only person who thinks Gregg Popovich doesn't get called out enough for being a sore loser? Listen to him get snippy in his postgame interviews. What a fuckin' baby...), as well as every bit of onion that was packed inside. I had noticed the familiar soreness on the roof of my mouth, but thought little of it, perhaps because I'm a moron. Within five minutes of finishing the meal, though, I was burning up.

My head felt tingly and I had an uneasy warmth in my stomach. My legs and arms felt weakened somehow, and an immense, exhausted gloom fell over me. When I explained the series of feelings to Jason, he immediately guessed food allergy, which wasn't good since he's a man very familiar with them. I ended up lying on the couch sweating quietly for a couple hours before starting to feel better. Even now, four hours later, I feel peculiar and uncomfortable.

Tomorrow I'll have to eat a little red onion and see how I do. This is deeply worrisome to me, especially since I'd always prided myself on my ability to take a bite of an onion as if it were an apple, without batting an eye. Odd thing to be proud of? Certainly! But when you're not a great dancer, you take what you can get.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And away we go.

I've decided to start using this damn blog, for a few reasons. First, it's five thirty in the morning, and I haven't slept. That isn't exactly a unique happening, especially since I just wrapped up doing a play that ran me through the wringer as far as my sleep schedule was concerned (my fault ultimately, though) and it's still lingering in my system. Nonetheless, the thing I hate most about sleeplessness is the boredom. I don't have any good books I haven't read (I owe the library money), masturbation is only so charming every so often, and my XBox is always more interesting in theory than in practice. So hopefully this blog will help everything slip into a proper priority slot.

The second reason is that I really snagged a slick title for this thing. The Great Cave Offensive, for anybody who doesn't know (and how could you not), was a chapter of an old Nintendo game called Kirby Super Star. In it, you played as the lovable pink marshmellow Kirby, and you had to spelunk through a treacherous cave and underground castles to find fifty treasures chests. It was all on you whether you got all the treasures, some were easy, but some you'd only get one shot at. It was simple to beat, but very difficult and unforgiving if you wanted all those cool treasures. I loved those treasures.

The third reason relates again to that show I mentioned before, namely that uber-director Carla Zilbersmith, to my surprise as I idly surfed the web at this abysmally early hour, updated her blog at four in the morning. Now, I suspect her four a.m. wake up call was a result of an early bedtime, but still, I can't sit around comfortably doing nothing when I'm up at four knowing that other interesting people are blogging that early. Not gonna happen.

I also want to write more, just anything at all more. I don't think I've ever written anything that somebody didn't like, so even if all I talk about is self-indugent crap, my average life experience suggests that there's somebody who'll be following along (I actually used to think about that when I was a kid, like what if there was a person in Brazil who somehow knew about me and was a huge fan of mine? Seems more likely now that we have internet, and that I'm 22 instead of 8, but also because of that, it seems like less magical of an idea).

So, anticipate a few thoughts each day. I know that's an ambitious goal, but I'm running on fumes right now, and I have nothing if not my confidence.