Tuesday, January 18, 2005

shoot me again, sam

A dentist found the source of the toothache Patrick Lawler was complaining about on the roof of his mouth: a four-inch nail the construction worker had unknowingly embedded in his skull six days earlier. The tool sent a nail into a piece of wood nearby, but Lawler didn't realize a second nail had shot through his mouth.

Yeah. Alright. My only question is:

how could he not know?
This guy. I mean, the jokes he's enduring...no doubt. And I'm guessing, for the rest of his life he shall always be reduced to, "what's wrong with you? Is it phantom-nail-in-the-head syndrome?"
Well...he's in good company. We all tend to deny serious matters in life...
It's a wonder he didn't keel over with tetanus. And, to think...it was a dentist who diagnosed him...hahaha....I would have loved to be the person who developed this x-ray. Would have made my fucking day...
All weirdness aside...I actually know someone who did the exact thing. However, the nail gun shot the nail into the wood...it ricocheted off a hanger (it's a metal deal in construction)...this nail did an about-face...(so to speak)...and shot into his lower lip.
And there it remained.
While he showed everyone on the jobsite...
While he went to the Rite Aid to get a camera and take pictures of himself, so as to show everyone on the jobsite...and on other jobsites...and, subsequently, to show family and friends...
...as well as complete strangers.
And...after half a day of show and tell...this nail continued to remain jutting from his lower lip, as he sat for hours in the Emergency Room.
(They later remarked to him that they would have given him swifter attention, but they misunderstood his situation...they all thought it was a piercing...)
As a puncture wound...it didn't bleed at all. (Which is a bummer for show and tell...by the way...one is reduced to acting all in shock...and freaked out...without true evidence, except the dumb nail still in the dumb lip..)
Some half a day or so later, it was a nurse...not a doctor..who gently slid the nail out of his lip...commenting, "Geez...why didn't you just do this yourself?"
(Yikes. What an attack on the look-at-my-pain-and-suffering ego.)
Then yesterday, er whenever, this x-ray and story come on the news...and this guy: He's first to jump up, point and scream, "THAT HAPPENED TO ME!!! IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT!!!"
...and...once again...we all have to sit and swallow his account of his near death experience.
...with photos...
(He keeps 'em in his car...easy access.)
You got the guy with the nail in the head...ignoring it. And then you got the guy with the piercing-gone-awry...wishing he could be the guy with the nail in his head...
Life is just unfair...
I've never had anything shot into my head.
However, years ago, I contracted spinal meningitis...and eventually had to have neurosurgery. (That is...they shaved half my head and went right in with scalpels and pointy/jabby things.) The neurosurgeon at UCSF was this cool dude...but he overlooked a staple...which annoyed the hell out of me for a few months...until it was discovered in an xray. So, I guess I can empathize on some very far removed level...when really trying...(if I put on "imagination cap...")
I guess the moral to this story is:
Keep your mouth shut on the job...
If it feels like a four inch nail embedded into your skull...perhaps that's because it is one?
Ice Cream and Vicodin don't cure all pains...(but they sure make it all cozy....)
And...of course...a nail in the head is better than one in the lip...
my bad...have a groovy day...

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Went to the horse races last night. It was groovy. I so dig on that scene. Beyond the fact that I never lose...I know alot of the folks behind the scenes.

I've done the track for as long as I can remember...

I used to handicap...trip on stats...paddock reports...and it choked out all the fun. Then, one day I was thinking about long ago when I was a competitive skater. Before a competition, we would get a list of who we were competing against. In what order. The mandatory program...

And...we had like a month and a half to master our routine.  It becomes mind numbing...the routine...the stellar parts...the nightmare jump combinations...the music.

I did this one routine to Dvořák's New World Symphony, 4th Movement... The damn thing was like 11 minutes long...I had to entwine 12 mandatory jumps and 6 mandatory spirals...a shitload of mandatory footwork...and heaven help you if your arms aren't UP the whole time. (When you get tired...your arms are the first to go...they provide half the energy in accomplishing the jumps...)

I was 11.

And my instructor...known as a "pro," was this dude from Italy, his name was Leonardo. He was "hot," I guess, as I hadn't discovered boys yet, but all the mothers were just giddy about him. And when I would land a jump I'd really struggled with...or just solidly nail some really difficult jump combo...he would yell out "YOW!! DAT WAS GOOT!"

And that's when began to face my limits...and realize I could have complete command of pushing past my self-perceived "limits."

To doubt oneself is to create your limit. And I doubted alot. But then...I came to the realization that perhaps if I could use that very energy of doubt to define my limit...then, perhaps if I were to challenge my doubt..perhaps...I could push past my limit...recreate my potential. Not take no for an answer.

So I'd practice. I'd go before school...right after school...sometimes non-stop on the weekends. I'd hurl myself into the air and either land or crash. And, if you take enough crashes...you figure it out. I over-rotated...my shoulders weren't square...I led out with my weight on the last 4 toes on my left skate... And, it's like picking a lock...you get just the right set up dynamics...it's fucking yours. And there's this intensely, this almost spiritual realization when you finally master some challenge...you always hoped you had it in you to do this...but you can't believe it's really happened...and it really happened to you...and you are the one who really made it happen.

That was the best character defining lesson I could ever receive with all those years of trying. Winning wasn't nearly as exciting as those quiet moments on the ice...midnight...when you've finally discovered you have won the fight with what your little mind thought was "the impossible..". That one jump...that one mocking fear...the self doubt...the anxiety of defeat...and finding, deep inside yourself the willingness to not be defeated by yourself. To choke back the tears...and to force the win.

I would employ this reasoning later...when I dropped skating for my goal of being Valedictorian in high school. For whatever reason...this was some huge deal to me. And, long story short, I got it.

The competition against self... the willingness to reject insecurity...the willingness to take the focus off "the competition," and realize the victory is only really measured accurately if it is in proportion to the level of deficit you began with...and conquered.

Being better than someone else isn't a big deal...Cause everyone's better than someone else. But...am I better than myself? Than who I thought I was yesterday? Or 5 minutes ago? If so...and when that happens...I find myself in this silenced awe. I find myself intimately aware that any gift I might have did not originate with me...It's a gift. And I have been blessed enough to discover it was there. It does not define me...As it really isn't mine.

What is mine, is my character. How I use what I've been given...selfishly...or humbly? To tear others down or to build others up? To be a taker...or a giver? To destroy...or to edify?

So...being the winner. I remember that when I pick out horses. I look into their eyes...I behold their presence. Winners may be pensive...but amidst their timidity, they are intensely focused. They're generally not nervous or unsteady...because the battle of anxiety surrounding possible defeat has already been fought with themselves, alone. They know their potential...and can assess their opponent's potential.

And...for me...if it comes down to do or die...then the victory is mine. I am all about pressure. That's when it just flows. And I find myself sitting back...watching myself do this thing, under intense pressure and seeming doubt...and sensing the ghost of anxiety in my head...but chosing to press on to the victory. And it rocks.

I got to ride in the car last night. The one that leads the race. It holds back the horses from the start. And, at the last minute, the gates swing wide open.

So...here I am. In the back of this car...going backwards...looking at the horses inching up to the gate. And...here they come. And this one...he is literally 6 feet away from me...this horse...he's looking straight at me. And his breathing...shots of hot steam shooting from his face...his mane flying like flames...and the sound of these horses...the hoofbeats...the rumble of their steamy breath....their strength...the definition of their muscles...such an explosion of force...their legs pounding away so intensely...that they appear to be floating.
And this one horse...I'm looking into his eyes...and I saw it...
that unmistakable look in the eye of the winner...

He was focused, although looking straight into my eyes, he was looking straight through me...and I knew it...he would win. It was an amazing silent transaction, intangible, yet certain...a knowledge and excitement I hadn't experienced since my youth.

And it hit me...that epiphanal moment. Like seeing a shooting star...

Being the winner. The intensity. The shine. The unmistakable essence. It's almost tangible.
...and this horse did win.

Having had that opportunity to be face to face with this creature was such a "stirring of the coals," for me. I'm so glad I have failed and fallen so many times in my life. I am so glad I know that effort really only has an impact upon the one to whom it is directed. If it is directed against an opponent...it may very well assure his victory over you.

But effort focused against one's own doubt of self...and redirected into the certainty of seizing a victory which is purely possible...may, indeed, be the mere driving force necessary to grasp what lies before you...
Being the winner...

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."  Buddha

have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


My best Valentines day story.
Okay. So like, I'm on my way home...and it's misty raining. I'm walking downtown to the little Smoke Shop on the light rail strip. And so...there I am...soaked. Jeans, oversized brown sweater...Doc Martins...listening to...(hmmm...?)...probably Weiland. (I was huge into him at that time...)
And THERE THEY ARE. The sweet, loving, perfect little fucking couples. Oh, and she's got roses. And he thinks he'll probably get laid tonight. And they are just sweet. And fucking perfect. Their perfect hair and shoes...and their plastic manners...
And, of course, THEY ALL have to give me that EW, LOOK AT THE SOAKING WET BLONDE GIRL look. You know, that look that seems to silently say thank-God-I'm-not-you.
And. I felt their look.
Shards of shattered glass shooting straight into my single pathetic soul, you heartless, mindless, plastic fuckers!
Well. I now know, without any doubt, those couples ain't together anymore. Cause, the rumor has it that less than 50% of married couples make it 6 years...So HAH HAH FUCKING HAH.
But...um...okay...well...I make it into the Smoke Shop. And there's this Iranian dude all sitting on this barstool behind the counter, listening to the Motherland radio station...and it's piping out some whining/shrieking woman and like citars.... I'm guessing their Middle East version of Mariah Carey...
Okay...and so like I ask for my cloves. And he's all like gesturing that he has to go get them from the back. (I'm sure he mumbled something too...but I was doing Weiland...okay...?)
So like...my heart: heavy. My being: feeling so alone...
And, the only person I have a chance to speak with...he walks away...
And I dropped my head...from sorrow...being tired...discouraged...alone...
And right there...down by my feet...I see a wad of cash...
I look over to Ahmed...and he's all still in the back...so...
*If I pick it up and give it to Ahmed...that would be honest...
*But, Ahmed is gonna keep it...
*Nobody at fucking all around...
*Therefore, by theory of deduction modulo...It's my wad...or it's Ahmed's...
*And I've always found theorys to be somewhat unstable...and, given the present situation, I believe it best to associate the axiom of asymmetric deduction modulo. (This works for me.)
*All logic aside...therefore..my conclusion to this matter is simple...
So...yeah. I swiped it!
Ahmed returns, and is all showing signs of his impatience with me for actually making him get up off his barstool...
and I pay...
and I bolt!
I got about a block away...and, there, wrapped up in a FIVE...was also a TWENTY and a FIFTY.
And...I knew it was God's little Valentine to me. I really did. And that was the best Valentine's gift I've ever received...
...to be reminded of the Source of comfort...of which, men are swell imitators...but ain't nothin better than to know that
even all by myself: I am never really alone.
And that's my story.
And I'm goin to bed.
Alone...but not really....
Theme song of the day: "The Young Crazed Peeling" by The Distillers.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

.It's fun to be a star... it's nice to have a car...Yeah...you'll have to admit, that I'll be rich as shit!
I'll just sit and grin...the money will roll right in...

Okay. Is it me? Or is it the fact that I am actually awake before 8AM...but...
...I am...
...and, I was trying to do the normal things I do after I get up.

And, just as one's computer freezes up when too much information clogs the whatever...(technical explaination unknown, but solely owned by Microsoft...)...well...I'm really needing someone to CTRL+ALT+DEL my fucking head. Reboot me, man.

Cause...like I'm reading the daily MLB headlines, as I do each day...and somewhere along the line they're all talking Carlos-baby, here. So, I get into and out of another 1/2 dozen websites and somewhere along the line someone refers to Mr. 14 year old Beltran (well, maybe he's 15 now) is looking at a $120 million contract with his Pimp, (I mean, "Agent,") Scott Boras.

And the column also goes on to remarking how the Yankees are "on the brink," of going over their $200 million payroll.


This is baseball, right? I mean, pitchers...hitters...repititious cup adjustings (by the way, guys, we women aren't with you on that one. you're being icky.)

Look...I know it's a business...but...godamn...look at this kid! He's like still waiting for his wisdom teeth to erupt! ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLION? Jesusfuckingchrist! That makes my head swim.

Well...I'm just glad the Yankees aren't dying to get him. He's not one of us. I don't know exactly why...it's just a feeling I have. I'm still holding out on some hope that they'll get some of them A's for me...but, I think they're all on contract...but, hell, contracts are for suckers... huh, Carlos, honey? Why not just make the deal on a handshake?

We all know that no matter what he signs, Boras will sell him again within 2 years...justyouwatchandsee.


Monday, January 03, 2005

the glory of mass transit

A few years ago...becoming instantly car-less, I began to bitch and moan and come up with a plethora of reasons I just couldn't continue to function "on foot."

And it's fucking true.

However, I had this roommate, this totally cool dude (a gay hippy) (yes. gay hippy) named Kent...and he was all shovin his mother earth shit in my direction. Okay...I'm a total hippy. I am. But...I bathe. And I have plastic money. Fuck, I have money... And a job. But I totally dig on patchouli and incense...and free love (shhhhhh!) and every other aspect of Hippy-dom. (I even like the smell of sweat.) (Well, some people's sweat.)

So like my roomate, Kent...he's all heralding the glory of mass transit to me. So, realizing I'm getting no fucking sympathy with his whole attitude...I listen to his sales pitch: ad infinitum reasons to try the bus.

Oh, now Kent had a car. And he took the bus like exclusively. So, realizing he wasn't givin me a ride anywhere, I broke down and submitted myself to the utter wasteland of bus taking.

Somewhere on the first week of bus takage, I began to get the whole routine down.

First, don't even think the bus schedule means shit. It don't. And don't think you'll just get on and it will all just be a ride. Ah hell no. They pack that shit with losers and freaks for entertainment purposes. THEIR entertainment...at your expense.

I used to try and be nice...then it became an issue of survival. Like the jungle. I take this seat and don't fuck with my space.

Okay, first off...the fucking bus drivers get all pissed off if you are minding your own business, sitting quietly, but blasting your music. They make a big speech IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

So, I'm just sitting there and allofasudden we're so not moving. In fact, allofasudden the bus driver is standing. And he's saying something. And he looks really mad. And everyone is looking behind their shoulders...and they're looking at....me...? Me? What the fuck have I done? Jesus, I'm a victim here.

Look around, I'm the only person on this goddamn contraption who knows what fucking planet we're on! And, I also stand out, as I have not eaten, puked, or taken off my clothes and locked them outside the windows so they would dry from the fucking river water they were just "washed" in...

So, like, I learned early on to sit in the furthest-away-from-the-whole-freakish-lot seat.

And, in time, I became a Jedi Knight of bus taking. Ah, hell, I could go from state to state just using the local routes...on a Day Pass. And I'd tell those bus drivers to radio ahead to my connecting bus and tell them to fucking wait for me. And they would...

My attitude and attire were basic. "Any fucking part of your body that comes in contact with mine--YOU DON'T GET BACK." And then, my walkman, I put a big black and white sticker on the side that faces everyone in front of me...it read: I HATE YOU. And I would blast my music and wear my sunglasses, so as to stare at people, but not be caught. Also, you don't have to acknowledge someone when you do your music and sunglasses on the bus, cause they won't know you saw or heard a fucking thing from them...

Not long after I began riding, I was headed home. And the bus stopped at the usual stop. And then we sat. And sat. And sat. Finally I stand up a bit, and at that moment I witness the bus driver shaking this homeless guy's shoulder. Then the man just falls over face first into the aisle. And I was like, bummer. Then, I realize no one is doing a thing. The driver goes back to his seat...and we remain motionless. Mind you...the man is lying in the aisle...and not one person seems affected by this. One dumb bitch was actually filing her fingernails. A couple of minutes go by...and then sirens. The bus driver gets up and directs the paramedics to this man...and they all just hang out. No CPR. They look him over, and exit the bus.

Fact is, the dude had died.

That fucking freaked me out. That dude got on that bus...and that was the last trip he ever took. Dying while on the bus...and not a soul knew when he had passed...surrounded by people, yet, alone in death...

Everyone began to exit the bus, as that was the "end of the line,"(in more ways than one, I suppose.)

I slowly walked home in the pouring rain...rivers of tears rolling down my freezing cheeks. I wept for this anonymous man.

Someone's newborn child, at one time...perhaps someone's brother, father...his brief existence within this fragile reality known as life, forever ended.

I wept because I hadn't even considered the gift of "life," I had been given that day, was sufficient enough to choke the shallow frustrations and vain concens I had so entrenched myself in. I wept because I was once again reminded that amidst day in and day out living, our lives are but a flame, that one day will blow out...the death rate is still one per person...

So, from that moment on, when I began to fixate on selfish frustrations, I remembered the man in the aisle...

I remembered the bitch filing her nails.

And I chose to receive the lesson of seeking to be alert and grateful for the blessings and hardships in life each day.

For the response to such events weave the very tapestry known as each man's life.

I want my tapestry to have some redeeming value...some contribution. I don't want to be anonymous in death. May I live my life in such a way that when I die, someone will actually see my departure as a loss, and not an inconvenience, not just a story to tell in some fucking blog someday...may someone know my name...

And may I seek a higher consciousness of each day, and every day...a gift, each one...with the realization and conviction that I am one day closer to being on the same existence of the man in the aisle...

And so...

Take the bus. Take it at least one time in your lifetime. Perhaps you'll begin a trip which will take your mind to places where it's never been...

Or to a place where you really need to be...

But...take some music and blast it. In honor of "the man in the aisle,"
which lies in us all.
Theme song for this day: Seek Up by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Heroes and Friends...

This photo really takes me back. Lately, I've been listening to alot of Bowie stuff...older stuff...Heroes.
Many many moons ago I worked with this guy, Mike, he was a chef. And the guy was hella weird. I avoided him. Beyond that, it was my understanding that we just acquired him from like Germany and he didn't speak a word of English. Every so often I was forced to have to converse at him...and I could just feel his "who the hell do you think YOU are," attitude toward me. So, I guess I secretly rejected his shit, for spite.
One day, I had this party of like 30 people...and I mean full courses...desserts...cocktails...blah blah blah. One woman orders like a fucking sandwich...not an entree. And, of course, she's all particular as to exactly how this sandwich must be. So, like on my little notepad I'm jottin down everyone's fucking salad dressings and beverages...and she's all doing some shit with the cheese on a separate plate. So...I deal with this crowd...and I felt a sigh of relief when they finally all herded their shit out the door.
So this Chef...he is like staring at me. And I'm all looking away. And I look back at him, and he does the "come here" finger gesture. And I was like, "Oh, what the fuck does HE want?" So, not looking at him the entire walk over, I step up to him and say "Yes?" And he says, (in perfect english/no accent...) "Didn't you order the Hero with the cheese on the side?" And I was like shocked by hearing him speak for the first time, and then twice as shocked to suddenly realize I had totally forgotten her dumb fucking cheese... And I was like, "Well, I--" And he goes, "Cause there's a plate of cheese over there and it's got your name written all over it." And, embarrassed, but undaunted, I approached said plate.
There, I beheld 3 slices of Swiss cheese...I quickly grabbed the plate, before anyone else would think I was some dumbshit...and, looking down, I beheld my name written over and over in a rainbow of ink. I looked back, and he smiled. I was so taken.
I had an opportunity to hang out with this guy, and discovered he was a purist Bowie fan. He was the first person to introduce me to Heroes. And he told a story of a couple, in love, who were to be forever separated due to the building of the Berlin wall...living on opposite sides. The man was at the wall, yelling to his true love (on the other side) of his love for her, and his fantasy of being together just for one day...
I was forever imprinted by that story.
I believe in true love. I also know that sometimes circumstances, or passing needs, can cause people to remain together, as opposed to love. I feel for all the people I work with, or people I encounter, who are in a loveless relationship. It seems such a waste of our God given capacity to know, give, and receive love. And, fuck, life is so fucking short. But, I understand.
I wound up going out with this guy for a few months. He was truly one of a kind. I didn't love him, but I was very blessed by having his company...maybe an impression more solid than what I would consider "love," later in life.
Weird. And so...he would send me these postcards. They would say like "Main Library. Brothers Grimm. Pg. 241." And I'd be like...? So, I'd cart my ass down to the Main Library, ask the gal for all the Grimm shit...and begin going into page 241 of the stack. Inevitably, I would find another post card..."Macy's shoes. Red Bandolino Stiletto." And...I was off and running. In a way, it was exceedingly annoying...all this treasure hunt...but, somewhere along the line, I began to realize how much someone like him must have cared for me to be so motivated with this surprise. And, sure enough, there would be the Stiletto...and, in the toe, another note. "Fifth Godiva box by the elevator..." And, fearing what I may come to eventually find...I carefully counted 5 boxes...lifted the stack and found THIS famous kiss...(the above picture)...as a postcard...
On the back, he wrote, "We could be heroes..."
And I knew, the depth of love this boy offered was well out of my capacity to appreciate.
And...although I wound up trying to fall into/and maintain various "loves," for years after knowing him...I have come to be reminded of the true spirit of pure love...
From a friend.
Just thinking aloud.