Thursday, March 31, 2005

Some Stories I Have Been Working On

Don't encourage me! At the request of Arc and Elaine, I have posted some stories I have been working out in my journal.

Love: A Space Narrative

Adapted from:

“Sex without Love”
by Sharron Olds

How do they do it, the ones who make love
with out love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other’s bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardiovascular
health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is
the single body alone in the universe

A woman is sipping a cup of tea aboard the Chinese space station. Alone, in the corner of the cafeteria, she is relaxing after a long day of work in the biology lab. There are a few other astronauts sitting, slumped at tables on the other side of the room, cradling warm drinks of their own in quite solitude. At the bar, the tender is wiping down the counter with a shinny silver rag and whistling a melancholy tune. In the middle of the room, like a warming fire, the holovision is on, creating dancing shadows on the cold metallic walls. From behind her cup of tea, the woman is watching the holovision program with curiosity and wonder. A holographic man and woman are having sex in the middle of the cafeteria, a lonely, sixty five thousand feet above earth.

The same program plays repeatedly day after day in homes and businesses across the solar system. A vision of sex without love. Zipperless sex, hailed the purist of human acts by popular intellectuals. An occasion in which zippers melt away and pleasure is experienced without the slightest bit of transference or spiritual communion between people. It is required by law that a person spend at least one hour a day watching the holovision program. However, the constant popup advertisements on the computers and the sexually explicit animated billboards add many more hours of program viewing to a persons daily routine. The result of this programming has taken the sacredness out of sex and has left the populace emotionally empty and socially isolated, two conditions that make people easier to control by those with power.

Why would one adhere to this desolate doctrine? Not all people do, but the allure of an immediate pleasure without the consequences of a failed love and a lingering pain, coupled with bandwagon propaganda campaigns, sway many to this self-defeating philosophy. Love is a contemptible thing in the space program. A full dedication to work does not allow time for love. The people on the space station have traded human love for the love of work and power.

The woman in the corner is staring deeply into the holographic lovers, as “[the] light ris[es] slowly as steam off their joined skin”. Jealously, she asks herself, “how do they do it, the ones who make love/ without love?” She has always been partial to love, a maladaptive trait in a modern egotistical society. In her moist round eyes, the reflected image of the mating couple resembles ice dancers gliding in unison over smooth clear ice. There is so much grace and agility in those strong athletic bodies. Hypnotized by the couple, she ponders--how do creatures designed to walk on earth move so freely on ice, or, how do people designed to love, make love without love?

Her pupils constrict and the image of the beautiful ice skaters shatters, replaced by the reality of two sweaty animals thrusting against each other, their “faces red as steak, wine, wet as the/ children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away.” They are hot and wet, drunk with lust and pleasure, and yet like an unwanted child, are deprived of a bosom embrace. The woman also sees embarrassment in those red faces. The embarrassment one feels when naked and vulnerable in front of strangers. But the raw quality of the red, steak like bodies also evokes an erotic, primitive, excitement in the woman and she squirms in the titanium chair.

“How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them[?]” A reflection of the couple’s perfervid climax rolls down the woman’s soft cheek in a tear. She remembers the last time she made love to her lover.
Years before, in a clearing, in the middle of a dense green thicket, she wept for her departed lover, called to war, to fight the evil Martians. He had left that morning to catch a transport to the moon with his battalion. As she lay wounded with sorrow in the sand, she felt the presence of another behind her. When she turned to investigate she was overcome with joy to see her square jawed, cleft chinned, lover before her. He had managed to book passage on a later transport. His Martian red fatigues, contrasted against the green of the wood, accentuated greatly her love for him. He picked her up and carried her into the still water of the pond nearby and made love to her. That afternoon of ecstasy gave way to much suffering two years later when she received an email, informing her of her lovers brutal but courageous death on a far away world. Becoming the chief botanist on this space station was her way of fleeing the memories of her lost lover.

The holovision flickers and flashes off the air, an after image is left in the woman’s eye of the professional sex actors, smoking cigarettes and dressing themselves with indifference to each other. Oh how she misses her lover, envious of those who fuck without guilt or attachment.
Putting down her cup of tea, she pulls her blue hemp space poncho over her shoulders to keep warm in the cold of space. Out of the corner of her eye she catches a glimpse, through the cafeteria window, of the station Commander jogging in the promenade, wearing tight red athletic shorts and a red white and blue head band. He is the “true religious, the purist, the pro, the one who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God”. The Commander has rejected all the noble qualities that separate man from beast in order to gain his high position of power as Station Commander. He has never, “mistake[n] [a] lover for [his] own pleasure”. Unlike the woman, who gains pleasure in sharing herself with another, and yet feels pain in his absence, the Commander does not feel the void of separation because he has never been whole in another.

The Commander has always distanced himself from attachment and love, making it easier for him to send his troops to certain death in battle. At the academy the commander was known as a playboy and was promoted by his seniors for being promiscuous. In this culture he is hailed as an enlightened one, finding power in himself rather than in others. He embodies the message of the holovision commercials and magazine adds which advocate selfishness and vanity, characteristics rewarded by modern culture and yet, in opposition to love.

The love story is a lost medium in this age, supplanted by the exaltation of pleasure and self gratification. Those that succeed in this new love are looked at as gods by the rest of society and are emulated by others until the humanity is socially bred out of mankind.
A chill blows over the woman, over the metal hull, over the promenade and over the commander. She watches as the commander jogs by the window and out of sight, to the dark recesses of the space station--to his bedroom. She wipes away the tear from her cheek and with it the memory of her dead lover. She reaches into her poncho pocket and pulls out a tube of red lipstick. She applies the lipstick generously and follows the commander down the corridor, to his bedroom, conforming to societies so-called truth--that, “[she is] alone in the universe against [her] own best time.”

The People On The Porch

This morning when the sun was still fresh in the sky, I sat on the porch and enjoyed a cup of cheap black coffee. On the street the buses passed, loaded with half asleep college kids on their way up to campus. The commuters sped by on their way to the interstate and the countless industrial parks the interstate feeds. In the trees the birds sang songs to each other and a mother sparrow fed her young in a nest in the rain gutter above me. After I finished my coffee I left the porch high on caffeine and fresh air, ready to start my day, joining the rest of the city in the daily grind. After school I headed back to the porch to share in laughter and insights with friends and neighbors also gathered there. The porch has become our refuge, a place that makes sense in a world that doesn’t.

When I arrived home I found the neighbors on the porch. Mike was smoking a cigarette and telling jokes. Beth was sitting cross legged laughing at everything Mike said. Mike and Beth live in the apartment above my brother and me. We call them our housemates although this one hundred year old house was converted into two separate apartments in the 1950’s. Mike is 29 years old, anxious about his quickly approaching thirtieth birthday and spends his nights sitting on the porch drinking locally brewed beer and reading train magazines. He will spend hours talking about environmental policy from under his Indiana Jones hat, all you have to do is ask him how his day went. Mike tells really dumb jokes he learns at work, delivered as slow as possible around our back yard camp fires.

Beth loves horses and has read the Lord of the Rings one too many times. She has been known to burst into Rohanian or Elvish song at those same urban bonfires. I enjoy her home made soups and the afternoon chats we have on the sunny porch talking about St. Francis of Assisi, or her horse Lily, or more often than not the Lord of The Rings. Beth is a talented writer who takes pride in her ability to communicate. She pronounces every word perfectly which is why I think her teeth are so clean and white. We share a garden in the back yard and every weekend in spring we are outside digging, planting, and laughing. In the late summer we have barbeques in the back yard with the neighbors: Diana, Doug, Nicole, Heather, and Justin.

Diana was lounging in the old corduroy recliner next to Beth. Her face was reddened with happiness and her short hair was pulled back into a cute pony tail. Her eyes are always shining and engaged. Diana would probably have made a good contestant on that old television show Name That Tune. I am envious of her music collection. Diana also has a place in her heart for horses. Last year my girl friend and I visited Diana at a horse ranch that she was house sitting. After cooking us steaks and eggs we followed her out to the coral and she taught me how to ride a horse. When Beth and Diana talk about horses their voices always get higher and more girly.

Next to Diana sat Doug on an orange burlap couch from the 1960’s. Doug is constantly cracking jokes that aren’t funny but he always gets a laugh because his face is so animated when he tells them. Sometimes I see a caged animal when I look at Doug. He spent two years living in the mountains of Alaska with only the clothes on his back and a hunting bow. I have no doubt that when he finally gets his college degree he will move back to the wilderness where he can stretch out and grow a long red beard. There is so much passion in Doug. Every week he starts a new project but has yet to finish one. He has attempted to build a force field, abolish carbohydrates from his diet, build a hydrogen fuel cell, make a movie, build a web site, and get rich on Wall Street. Doug is still poor but he is over flowing with ideas. Right now he is passionate about rice and beans. When I walked up to the porch Doug was shoveling rice and beans into his mouth.

The people on the porch greeted me with smiles and hellos and we continued the conversation that has gone on unbroken for two years. Our porch is like an internet chat room, the conversation never ends. People join and depart from the conversation when ever they like, comforted by the fact that it continues just outside our front door. Sometimes the conversation spills off the porch and into the mountains like it did last month when Doug, my brother, and I went hiking in the hills of Skagit county. Doug was in his element tracking deer and identifying plants and animals. The conversation in the hills was less about talking and more about sharing in the silent mossy woods together. But a physical presence isn’t required to be active in the conversation.

Heather is a friend serving in Iraq and her letters arrive on our porch once a month. We read her letters and together try and make sense of the war on terror, but mostly we just laugh at her witty commentary and write her about the exciting stuff going on in our lives. When we send letters back we are extending the porch into the middle east and to the soldiers who are fighting for us.

We were on the porch drinking nut brown beer when Andy showed up. Andy is my brother and my closest friend. Andy is going to be famous one day if he ever applies himself fully. He is an awesome artist with an intelligence and conviction that I try to emulate. He is younger than me by 18 months and I remember in our early adolescence we would brawl every afternoon. We became close after high school and have lived together in Bellingham for two years. The porch would not be the same with out Andy’s sarcastic humor and his grasp on reality. Doug and I would float off into fantasy land with out Andy keeping us grounded. Justin came out of the house and handed Andy a beer and sat down next to Doug on the scratchy couch. Justin just moved in next door.

Doug voiced his concern that rising gas prices might strain our economy to the point of collapse. I had pictures in my head of the Soviet collapse and the long bread lines the poor Russian people had to stand in. Doug prophesied anarchy, urban riots, and looting.
“I will move to Alaska if that happens. I am not going to stay in this asphalt city. We can’t subsist here. Most people can’t even grow Lima beans! They are all to busy watching plasma screen TV! I will go to Alaska when the killing starts.”

Mike calmly explained the intricacies of the global geopolitical landscape and assured Doug that doom and gloom are not on the horizon. Doug stuck by his plan to move to Alaska. I think he is just looking for an excuse to leave the confining halls of college and run free in the wilderness. I don’t blame him.

When our beers were gone we went inside and Andy, Justin, and Doug had a “jam” session. Andy beat the drums with old chewed up drum sticks, Doug slapped the strings on his bass guitar and Justin swayed back and forth with his head down while playing his pastel blue electric guitar. I laid down on the couch and listened to their music. They were communicating with each other without saying a word, speaking a language of vibration similar to speech except without the tongue and vocal cords. After each song they laughed and declared the song awesome and started again.

I left the couch eventually and ended up back on the porch. I sat on the couch with a glass of wine and watched the sun sink behind the horizon. To my surprise Brent appeared from behind an Azalea bush. He comes around periodically and then disappears for months at a time. I said hello and he sat down next to me on the couch. We sat there in silence for a moment before he nervously asked me if he could bum a cigarette. I gave him a cigarette and asked him where he had been. He told me that he had been in a mental institution for three months and had just gotten out. He tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a second story window before they committed him for treatment. Brent is struggling to overcome heroine and get his life back together. Unlike Diana’s sparkling eyes, Brent’s were dull and tired but intelligence and hope still lingered behind them. After a couple minutes of small talk Brent closed his eyes and listened to the music the guys were playing inside. He opened his eyes and self consciously began to speak, slowly, pausing after every word to gather his thoughts:

“I can’t read music but, I--I have come up with my own way to write music. I imagine the way my fingers look on the frets and the mood of the music and I draw pictures of the songs. It is hard for me because I have these thoughts in my head, I know what I am trying to say but I just can’t use the big words everybody else uses. It’s like, um you know--well, how we use our hands and body language to communicate. The natural instinct to use our hands to express ourselves has been perfected into a language--American sign language. Although I use my hands when I talk I can’t speak American sign language.” he stopped frustrated that he couldn’t say it any plainer and took a drag from his cigarette. The sun was down and it was late. Brent and I smoked another cigarette and then he went home.

Alone on the porch with a glass of wine I thought about what Brent was trying to say. It is the same thing we are all trying to say but it is buried deep inside of us under the useless statistics we memorized in school or behind the images of celebrities burned into our minds. Our instincts are displaced by rigid religious laws and our creativity is funneled through political agendas. The simplicity of life is losing ground to the complexity of modern culture. Brent is scared that the world will become so complex that he will lose his voice in the conversation of mankind.

The quietness was broken when everyone spilled out the front door talking and laughing. Doug was grinning under a scruffy beard and his eyebrows were dancing on his forehead. Beth’s teeth reflected a moon ray and almost blinded me and the others plopped down and started joking. I took a sip of wine and started talking with the people on the porch.


The warm spring sunshine turns Dylan’s neck a shade of salmon-pink. He sits inside the diner with his back turned to the storefront windows and the bustling city street behind. His broad shoulders cast a shadow over the plastic salt and pepper shakers, his mug of lukewarm coffee, the little packets of Smuckers jelly, and his open notebook full of blue ink scribbles, sprawled about the table.

“Coffee?” the waitress asks.
“Uh, yes, please,” startled, pulling the ear plugs out of his ears.
“Whatchya readin’?”
Dylan looks up from his tattered paperback book folded behind itself. “It’s a crime novel, uh, kind of a courtroom drama.”
“Whatever you say, honey,” the waitress says with a sly motherly smile as she shuffles away under slumped sagging shoulders.

Dylan catches a glimpse of his reflection in the window beside him. The title of the book, Feminist Theory, is highlighted by a rouge sunbeam. His eyes close and his head drops with a sigh of mild embarrassment. The ear plugs go back in and the sound of breakfast downtown becomes muffled and distant. The living, moving, vibrating world is shut out, leaving him alone with his own thinking voice, that silent-reading voice echoing in his head. It asks him, “Why does man fear being a woman?”

* * *

In a cloud of cigarette smoke, in the far corner of the dinning room, a woman sits. A large, loud woman. The mother of a little girl dressed in a pink cartoon jumpsuit, barely visible over the edge of the table.

“You want some pancakes, Baby? How about a tall glass of orange juice?” The mother asks. The waitress stands by, ready to record the child’s answer in her tablet. “Today is a teacher’s conference day at school. We have the day off, don’t we, Hun? You didn’t even wake up ‘til ten o’clock this morning. She didn’t even wake up ‘til ten but she wanted to go out for breakfast, and she gets what she wants. She is the boss, the little princess--or at least she thinks she is. They’re so much easier when they’re young. It gets harder every year, twelve, thirteen, by fifteen they are complete strangers. When her brother was fifteen I couldn’t even recognize him. What happen to my baby, that precious little one that popped out of me?” Looking back at her sweet child, “So you want some bacon, Baby?” Shyly, the little princess nods her head. The waitress writes down the order on her pad and hobbles back to the kitchen.

* * *

Emerging from the dark adjoining bar, a wild-looking old man walks into the dining room. His gray, greasy hair is combed straight back and he wears an ancient black leather jacket that can’t conceal his enormous beer belly. Two women are hanging on each of his arms. On the right, a feral Indian woman with pock marks and stringy black hair. On the opposite arm, a fat middle-aged white woman with vacant eyes and a quivering-open mouth. Their heads are pushing into each of the man’s breast, arguing about how to divide “the money.” They clamor through the front door to the sidewalk where the man leaves them to argue.

Dylan is unable to hear the raucous outside, but sees it out of the corner of his eye. To put sound with image he takes out his earplugs and the windows becomes a cinematic experience for him and everyone else in the cafĂ©. The white woman is pawing at the other woman, pleading and begging for her half of the money. The waitress is on the phone with the police, giving the play by play of the scene outside. Princess being the curious child she is, asks, “Mommy, what are those ladies doing?” Quickly, between drags of cigarette smoke, her mother answers, “Never mind baby, just finish up those pancakes. Okay?"

The inquisitive child-voice in Dylan’s head asks him, “What makes sweet, innocent, little girls, grow up to be hookers and drug addicts?” The silent-reading voice answers, “Never mind that question, Dylan, just finish up this chapter. Okay?”

The earplugs go back in.

Death Valley

It wasn’t just that the sky was clear and full of stars that night, driving through the complete darkness of the Nevada desert, it was the depth of it, how it started in the sand and stretched up forever, mixing with distant galaxies. The passenger side window was down, drawing in the cool midnight air over Patrick's sun-burnt face. He drank mouths full of it. The twang of soft country music filled the cab of the SUV. He desperately wanted the music to stop, the headlights to be turned off, and the car parked on the side of the highway; to hear the darkness of the desert and see the silence of the Milky Way.

“Roll up your damn window Pat, I have the air conditioner on, “ Rob said from the drivers seat. He was wearing a sleeveless Marine Corps t-shirt and cradling a carton of whole milk between his legs, “Lewis what’s our ETA to Vegas?”

Lewis was the exact opposite of Rob physically. Rob was built of protein powder, Lewis of hostess products and soft drinks. Earlier in the week he had refused a piece of barbeque chicken, complaining that it had bones in it, preferring instead to eat a package of Ding Dongs. Typical computer geek. In the back seat, lap top open, he glowed in an aura of neon blue. “According to the GPS we should be there any second now.”

He was right. Over the next hill a million billboards popped up, advertising everything from buffet specials to the law offices of a thousand different sleazy lawyers specializing in bankruptcy and DUI’s. “We are being spammed by real life junk mail.” Patrick pointed out, forgetting about the cosmos for the moment. The stars had disappeared anyway, drowned by the absurd brightness of the city.

It was getting to be very late and they were looking forward to settling into a comfortable hotel room where they could, “shit, shower, and shave,” as Rob had put it. The streets were crawling with people…drunk people, everywhere. Everyone looked so weathered and hard, as if they had never known a world outside of smoky casinos and dark strip clubs. Being on the strip in Vegas is a lot like sitting to close to the TV. It is dizzying, seizure inducing. The Tropicana was the nearest hotel and the quickest escape from the noise of traffic, the spectacle of Carrot Top in Technicolor on an enormous promotional marquee. Rob parked the truck near a tiny Astroturf island poking out of a vast asphalt sea. Orders were given to Lewis to go in and check for vacancies. Fifteen hundred miles they had traveled to get to this point, all the way from Seattle. They had spent the previous night in Salt Lake City, near the sterile, serene, Mormon Temple. Seemed surreal, going from a holy city to “Sin City”.

Patrick let out a high pitched operatic yawn while stretching his road weary limbs as granola bar wrappers and Styrofoam coffee cups blew from the open truck door behind him, swept by a gust of wind and collected by a rusted chain link fence. Rob was half submerged in the trunk, digging in the ice box for his Tiger Milk energy bar, when Lewis reported back. No occupancy at the Tropicana. What were they going to do? Patrick suggested pulling out the sleeping bags and setting up camp in the vacant lot across the street. It was a lonely lot behind the liquor store, full of tumble weeds, broken glass and busted chunks of concrete, not the most luxurious place to lodge but a place to sprawl none the less. Anything would be better than squashing themselves back in the Toyota, which was starting to smell like B.O. and warm hot dogs. They didn’t need the comforts of civilization, just flat ground and each others company. “Pat, you must have lost your damn mind,” was Rob’s response to the suggestion, that was his response to most
suggestions. Rob was right. They didn’t know this city, or what kind of danger lurked in the shadows. It was easy to imagine a desperate vacationing LA business man, who after a three day gambling binge, was hiding in the rubble across the street with a switch blade, waiting for the opportunity to mug three unsuspecting college kids on a urban camping adventure.

Their only choice was to get back on the road and resume the search for a cheap hotel. Every place they passed had signs made of fluorescent tubing, bent and blinking: NO VACANCY. The further they drove, the more drugged out and completely bankrupt the people looked. The traffic light turned red and Rob stopped the vehicle. In the middle of the intersection, two Mexican men were in each other’s faces shouting obscenities in Spanish. Their girlfriends were begging them to stop, pawing at them with long brightly painted fingernails. Rob drove off in a hurry, watching the scene in the rear view mirror get smaller and smaller, the tow men going to blows, the women scratching and tearing at each other.

They drove for what seemed like hours through unfamiliar streets, seeing two more gang fight before Patrick spoke up. “Screw Vegas. Let’s sleep in the dessert under the stars and come back tomorrow high on fresh air and rest.” They agreed and within and hour they were back in the void of the wilderness. “There’s a good spot,” Patrick offered, pointing to the darkest area of black he could find. Lewis and Rob agreed, Pat had lost his damn mind. “Listen you guys, when capitalism collapses and American citizens are standing in long soup lines, it will be the tough , the self sufficient who will survive and rebuild. We don’t need computers and room service. We have opposable thumbs and the knowledge of fire.”

They went to investigate the potential campsite, if nothing else to shut Patrick up. Out into the dry cracked mud flats they drove, further and further into nothingness. The world ended at the edge of the headlights. A howl went up in the blackness and then a blur of fur streaked across the dusty column of headlamps. Rob slammed on the brakes. They didn’t dare breath or even move, for outside there were glowing eyes peering at them through the dust and darkness. The beasts were just yards in front of the truck, in the light, appearing and disappearing like ghosts. Verbal communication wasn’t necessary, their fear spoke loud enough. Rob threw the vehicle in reverse and headed back to the city. The prospect of being eaten, forced them to sleep in sleeping bags on a well lit asphalt parking lot, heads pushed under the Toyota like a baby pushing into his mother’s bosom.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Movie Pick

If you wish you could go back in time and see The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Wars again for the first time, then you are in luck. Go--rent EarthSea. I can't rember seeing a better movie.

Post Script: Never would I go back in time to see Harry Potter.

Happy Days

I waved the spry old man in the leisure suit to go ahead and cross the parking lot aisle. He declined, directing me instead to an open stall hidden behind a beat up, late 70's ford pickup truck. I smiled and nodded and he did the same but with more enthusiasm. I parked and locked the door behind me. In the worn out pick truck beside me was that friendly old man and his dog. the dog sure was excited to see his buddy return from the supermarket. Those two started wrestling right there in the cab. "You old rascal. Yeah buddy, you ol' hound", he laughed, rubbing the dogs grizzly coat. The dog's rear-end was waggin up a storm.

That scene made my day.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Cellphone Etiquette

The whole juicy desert world was silent--like a deaf person watching wet, green leaf lettuce, showered in the mist of a produce isle sprinkler system. Schools of vanilla cream fish, swam in black coffee pools that steamed, mixing with the sweet citris tang of hotel air freshener dripping out of lemon-bee hives hung in one dimensional floral carpet forests. And there I was, floating inches above the firmament, my naked toes and brain-fingers swimming through salt waves of buttered popcorn, watching edited-for-TV golf soap operas.

Lunch time. My time. The whole world empty--I alone, free to roam the 78 kingdoms of cable television.

Enter boss man talking loudly on cell phone. With billions of light years of space unfolded in infinite directions, he chose to make noise in my fold. My lunch break serenity was laid to ruin when my boss came into the break room and blabbed loudly into his phone, just three inches from my ear.

"Oh, Matt, you don't mind if I talk to my brother on my cell phone do you?"

In a parallel universe I said something clever, making me the boss and also very very... very rich.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


I had another amazing dream last night but I will keep that one private. But I was thinking about dreams today. I'm staying at my parents house with satellite TV. When I'm here I watch way more TV than I should. The first thing I did when I woke up was turn on the boob tube. How happy I was to see the Outer Limits on. With over five hundred channels there's a pretty good chance that every show ever made will be on at least once in a day. I'll relate this to dreams eventually.

I have formulated a theory about dreams over the years, although recently, I found out that Jung developed a similar theory 50 years before I was born. I haven't read Jung so maybe I am on to something new but I doubt it. My first memory is a dream. I know I was younger than two because my brother wasn't born yet. In this dream I was a little baby wrapped in swaddle cloth, laying helplessly in a crib. My parents were cave people. I was a cave baby. We lived in a small clay hut in the middle of nowhere. The weather was gray and dreary and time felt new. My mom spent her days cooking over the fire pit inside the hut, in the dirt floor. My dad was a hunter who came home with game for my mom to cook.

While my mom was cooking in this dream and my dad was tending to his tools, a green, goblin-like monster appeared from the mist of the wilderness and attacked our homestead. My dad fought the monster but was slain. The beast then killed my mom-- making me an orphan. It was a nightmare! A nightmare that has stayed with me for all these years. But I've always found it amazing that as a young child, I was able to have such a detailed dream. The narrative and emotions are what I would expect in a child's dream--The parents as caring providers and a "boogie man" threatening to take away that security. It's also odd that my childhood dreams frequently had a caveman theme. I'd dream about dinosaurs and monsters coming from out of the wilderness. Maybe we are born with the memories, instincts, and fears of our primitive ancestor, and as individuals, we live the evolution of humanity, starting as cave people and moving towards modernity (and beyond?).

Maybe today instead of a caveman my unconscious has moved into Greek times, or a 8th century Europe, maybe Babylon...Lately I've seen a lot of bronze in my dreams--and intricately carved water fountains. So my theory is that the individual unconscious and the social unconscious are intertwined perhaps even the same.

How this relates to the Outer Limits is this: I was watching it and I realized "wow! This episode is the same as my caveman dream." A green goblin like alien crashed in the forest and ended up killing a boy's dad in a fight just like in my dream. The same stories are being repeated over and over and over again and I am not sure where they come from. Today we are telling the, goblin-emerging-from-the-wilderness story, except instead of predators or bogeymen bludgeoning us with stone tools, the bad guys are space aliens harming us with space age technology. The stories are never-the-less identical.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Cigarette Update

Today will be my sixth day as a non smoker. It has been so easy! Not even the slightest craving for a cigarette. I have been eating like a son of a bitch though. The great thing about cigarettes was that they gave me an excuse to eat a meal made out of smoke and enjoy that meal outside. I could use a few extra pounds on me, but if i had a wieght problem, i would continue smoking!

Also:I had such an encouraging dream just now! It was one of those walking through the valley of the shadow of death dreams. I was stuck in a city gone mad. In the four corners of the city stood a gang of zombies that wanted to kill me. My vision was all blurry like Frank Dukes' blurry vision at the end of Bloodsport. Armed with a very long and pointy golf flag, I made my way to one of the four exits where a man covered in black tar with branches for arms, and his chainsaw wielding dwarf companion, stood, blocking my way and heckling me. The dwarf had a roarous laugh like a crazy man. Then they began to chase me. My eyes started watering and I figured I was going to be cut into little pieces by the chainsaw. But then I became philosophical like obiwan kenobe, "strike me down and i will become more powerful than you can imagine," I said. I then surrendered my situation to God and channeled the "God force". I calmly opened my now healthy eyes and initiated a martial arts battle with the dwarf. My 10 foot flag stick easily took care of the threat. The Tar-ent chased after me with suprising speed. He was going to catch up and get me but again I used my jedi weapon, the flag stick as a polvalt to get out of danger. I landed in a poor Indian trailer park. There was one trailer that was particularly friendly looking with an astroturf patio and a plastic flower garden. I knocked on the door and a friendly old lady let me in. She was a holy woman and had a very attractive daughter. I woke up about ten minutes ago.

Something about that Tar-ent tells me this dream is an important element in my journey towards health.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Am Tiger Woods

Spring break 2005. No I am not on a Mexican beach getting liquored up and eating whip cream bikinis off inebriated college girls, I am spending a couple days at my parents house. Spring '00, went camping at ocean shores. In the spring of 2001, I went on a road trip to Los Angeles. '03 was another camping trip, this time to the Olympic pennisula. And last year we went to Salt Lake City, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Denver, and finished it with a night under the big sky of Montana. Four strait years of fun and adventure. I am saving money for life after college. Maybe I'll go abroad after I graduate.

So, here I am in Marysville. I need to leave my apartment more often. While I've been hiding out in Bellingham pretending to be a character in a Fantasy novel, the rest of the state has been paved over--turned into cheaply made, but overpriced, track housing. I almost wanted to cry driving the back roads today. In a city like Marysville, kids go into the woods for fun. Drinking, drugging, sexing, it's all done in the woods. Not that all my woodsy excursions were of the parting variety. The point is, my suburban neighborhood was surrounded by apple orchards, and farming fields (now the nieghborhood has been assimilated into the megatropolis starting south of Seattle and now ending here, in Marysville. Soon it will stretch all the way to Vancouver BC). Our Independence was found in the foothills, away from our parents in the valley. My High School, nick named "cow pie high," used to be in the middle cattle pastures. Not today. Row after Row of identical houses have turned the country side into a dizzying cubist painting. This morning, I found myself driving from memory to memory to see if the land still matched my memory of it. It is a whole new city. How do our grandparents deal with such things? The world they knew is gone. It gradually changed over 70 years. Washington has changed so much in the last 15!

I spent the day golfing though. Funny, even the course has been redesigned. I spent every day for two summers playing that course as a teenage boy. Played thirty six holes a day and sometimes at twilight I would play the course backwards with only my three wood and seven iron. The guy in the pro-shop was new. He had no idea that I grew up on that course. Just another customer on a slow day as far as he was concerned. Sure felt wonderful to get 0ut in the short grass for an afternoon. The sun even came out. I haven't had such a relaxing day in years.

I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to get the ball in the air with all the rust in my swing. I haven't played a round of golf in two years. How surprised I was when my first drive went right down the middle, in the air and everything. The front nine was a little shaky but I completed the back nine two over par. Not bad! I was thinking I should write MTV's Made, asking them to make me into a PGA professional. I wonder how good I could be with a year of practice and no worries about rent, food, and college debt.

Oh yeah this is what I wanted to write about: people that ride in golf carts. How lame can you get. Ninety nine percenent of my enjoyment from golf comes in walking the course. Thinking about the next shot, identifying the trees and plants, watching the clouds blow by--the narrative of the game. Every time I turned around during the first three holes, a herd of golf carts were raking up dust and challenging me with motor growls. I let them play through on four and things became serine. I am going to go golfing again tommorrow.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Beep Blippity Bleep Bleep Beep

An uncanny feeling came over me in line at the supermarket when from some invisible place in the rafters, Simon and Garfunkle began softly singing The Sound of Silence. Maybe this feeling was stirred in me because I was awash in neon light and the checkers were sadly missing. In their stead, rows of robots scanned the bar codes of hungry and vacant eyed shoppers. No one said a word. No smiles or friendly hellos. Just the hum of machines--the beeps of primitive R2 units. Unnatural light and silence at the supermarket.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Words are a charmed mist. Fairy dust.
To speak, to write, to participate in language is to practice magic.
There are good magicians and bad ones.
What kind of magician am I, Unleashing my army of opinions on innocent ears?
The thing that scares me most is the possiblity that truth is lost forever--burried under a mountain of opinions.

Who remebers history? Who understands the present? Who dares dream about the future?

And a white wizard is a poet, battling the forces of black magic language. His words stir life and make things grow.

Spell it out/cast a spell. Language is magic.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


I will no longer pollute my body with devilish cigarette smoke.

A friend of mine was stranded miles from home over Christmas break. He had managed to hitch hike halfway home but couldn't get a ride for the final stretch. A van full of "neo" hippies picked him up and asked where he was going. "Bellingham," he said, adding that he was having a hard time getting home. "Say it," suggest a spaced out, long haired, flower child in bell-bottoms. "Say: I am home in Bellingham. If you affirm something it is already done and you no longer have to worry about it."

What a great philosophy. So I am affirming it hear in writing. I am a non smoker.

I have quit before but every time something stressful happens I go right back to that familiar security blanket of poison. I will continue to update my progress in this endeavor. The hard part is out of the way, the affirmation.

Life Quest

I bought Ever Quest II yesterday. I heard one can get lost in fantasy while playing that game. Why is it illegal to escape reality with hallucinogenic drugs, but perfectly legal to pretend to be a wood elf while staring into a glowing cube of pixelated neon light all day. Oh the marvels the human species could accomplish, if only we were more productive.

I was disappointed when I brought the game home. How many times are we disappointed by situations in life while completely ignorant of the bigger picture. The forces of the Universe kept me out Norrath for reasons unknown. Maybe I have better things to do here on EARTH. Turns out the game is just so damn huge that my computer won't support it.

Went out for a drink at the Night Life last night. That place is really quite nice. I hear it doesn't get much bussiness. I need to go there more often. The place was empty. Bad for their bussiness but good for me. I hate loud crowded bars. Student's artwork hangs on the walls. Andy, my brother, who really is a great artist, and I made a comment about the painting towering over the pool tables. Typical Western Washington University student art work. Just blocks of color naively placed on a piece of gessoed paper, (canvass would be to patriarchal maybe!) with key scratches in it for texture. Literally a second after Andy criticized it, the artist and her professor walked in the room and stood near our pool table stroking their chins and tilting their heads. The professor gave no critisim she only encouraged more of the same. Where is the challenge! Students need to be challenged. That is the difference between my commercial design professors and the high-art sculpting and painting professors. I like critisim. I remember my design teacher defacing student drawings with pens during our critiques. All those hours lost, but a lesson learned. So, the night life rocked. The student art work--it has potential.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


I went and saw Robots tonight, the latest dazzling animated film to hit theaters. Not only was the animation phenomenal but the story was smart. I remember going to see cartoon movies as a kid. Movies like The Land Before Time, 101 Dalmations, An American Tail. Maybe I was just to young to notice, I should watch those movies again, but I don't remember those movies having the pertinent social commentary that today's G rated movies have. Like The Incredibles, Robots had a message of hope; that hard work, perseverance, and community can overcome THE MAN. I really needed to hear that message after dealing with a flippant comment made by my boss today. The rat race. After seeing that movie I wanted to volunteer for the peace corps or wear a ribbon or read to children or something. Lately I have really wanted to give to my community and do something constructive for man kind. Andy just walked in suggesting we have a yard sale. I took it a step further, lets sell everything we have and start a revolution! He rolled his eyes. "Let's start by cleaning up the apartment and see where that takes us."

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Unknown Goddess

Saturday stumbled onto Wednesday clutching her nemophilus.
The two were twissles on the branch of time.
Across the sparkling waves of an endless Ocean they sailed--
Heads, glowing furoles skittering over the ships deck.
A weathered grandmother clock chimed at the bow of the ship.
She was old. Her wood body was wrinkled and bleached,
Inevitable after ages exposed, vulnerable;
washed in the breeze of a salty sea. Bombarded by photons.
A white dress of the lightest most invisible material, twisted
In the wind around her intricately carved shoulders.
“What do the hands on your face stand for?” asked Saturday gregariously.
“A minute, a millennium, an eon. Do you not know about the universe child?”
“I know nothing about the u-n-i-v-e-r-s-e. Saturday and I go to public school.”
Giggling, a chocolate milk bubble burst from Saturday's nostirls.
She knew little about her creative powers. She had birthed a universe
Right under her nose. And the inhabitants, too small to smell,
built temples to The Unknown Goddess. And all the music they wrote hinted
Of freckles and pigtails and sunburns, concepts atomic sized milk chocolate men
struggle with but know intuitively, deep in their nuclei .
Philosophizing about time was instantly boring to the girls.
Granny time knew of no other topic of conversation, her sole satisfaction
In life was swimming in time, swan diving into it and then writing
Five paragraph essays about temporal splashing.
“Good bye now dear granny.” The children said
“Yes, until we meet again sweet children.”
Over the ageless sea they drifted. Forever and ever young and tan.
Granny time was medicated by the ships doctor sometime later; diagnosed as obsessive compulsive for her incessant counting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


We all have a security blanket.
Something that makes us feel comfortable.
In the winter I become a hermit.

Others find peace at the supermarket.
Every aisle a book in the Bible.
We all have a security blanket.

Satellites fired into Earth orbit
Reduce conversation to clear signals.
In the winter I become a hermit.

I know a guy that drinks till he vomits.
He cradles moonshine and smokes the herbal.
We all have a security blanket.

Video games with seven hundred bit
Graphics--making reality crumble.
In the winter I become a hermit.

The coming of spring is my manumit:
Backyard barbeques, friends, family, festivals.
We all have a security blanket.
In the winter I become a hermit.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sporadic Thoughts on a Gray Day

I am skipping classes today. I have had a really hard time going to school this quarter. I am learning so much, and I have been writing and looking at the world differently everyday. But all this learning is taking place out of school. It seems like I actually get dumber at school.

A guy on the radio the other night talked about nano technology and how advancements in miniaturization is going to truly reshape the world. He was adamant: this is not science fiction, rather this is cutting edge technology that is happening now, in reality. Imagine this: A wall made out of manufactured molecules. The wall is able to take on different property as the atomic sized robots change configurations. It has something to do with quantum dots. Look that up, quantum dots. So for example in a classroom setting, the teacher might say, "computer, chalkboard," and the wall becomes a chalkboard. Then she might say, "computer, map," and the wall turns into a three dimensional moving topographical map! What about walking through walls? Replication, "tea, earl gray, hot."

Nano Technology is also making it not only possible but necessary for us to integrate software into our biological systems. Technology is advancing and so fast that we are quickly becoming obsolete. Nothing a few atomic sized computer chips implanted in our brains and eyeballs won't fix. WE ARE BORG.

Borg. What a world, what a world.

Sunday night after working all day, I had this overpowering desire to shop. I never shop. I hate shopping. But something told me that going to the mall and walking around would make me feel better. It was to late Sunday night so I went yesterday. I bought some new jeans and shoes. Shit I don't need but it made me feel better on some level.

The malls are quickly dying. How can they compete with Wallmart and online shopping. My prediction is that malls will change in the future. Adapt or die. There were so many stores out of bushiness in the mall. With the exemption of Alderwood Mall, all the malls I have been to recently are ghost towns. The Alderwood Mall is succeeding because the Mall form has changed. The malls of the future will only become successful if they go for a community center strategy. So more entertainment. More good food. More outdoorsy stuff. More art work. The mall has been our church for many years, only it was disguised as a market. Mall owners need to shed the illusion of the market and just change the damn mall into a church. Then they will be successful. I went to the mall yesterday not because I needed any product, no I wasn't there to buy shit, although I did. I was there for a holy experience. Walking around, looking at other people, putting food in my body, watching kids play, the search for something. Mall designers need to give us a spiritual experience, that is the only hope for the mall. Change or die. Resistance is futile.

I walked home from the mall on old telegraph road. The road was built in 1867 as a pathway to Alaska and eventually to Russia. A telegraph line running from Seattle to Russia. Impressive. There are cozy little rambler style homes lining the road now. Most with a new car in the drive way and a horse in the stables out back. I walked through the ditch on the side of the road with my new tennis shoes on. I was amazed that I was able to walk in a ditch in February and not drown. We are in the middle of a drought here. Never seen anything like it. California is getting all of our rain. I saw a puddle of mud and fur and bones. The remains of an opossum. An odd thing to see after perusing the mall--a reminder of mortality.

So yeah, I am skipping class today. I have discovered shopping and have already, today, spent some of my tax return on books about nanotecnology. The mall is sitting on my computer desk. I no longer have to walk around in mall space, just point and click with my fingers and type in credit card numbers. It is a good thing I take long walks down historical roads and run on the tread mill. I could probably get through life just fine sitting in a wheel chair, wearing diapers, and pointing and clicking like a son of a bitch.