Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Surrender your thumb

Today I was woken up by jackhammers. I tried to reclaim my sleep but the noise was like a machine gun and I could feel the vibration in my teeth. The t-house I sleep in rests among many citrus trees: orange, tangerine, blood orange. There's also some peach trees and fig trees. What finally led me out of my bed, though, was the voices of a woman and a man. The woman was oohing and ahhing about how delicious the blood orange was. The man gives in to her temptation and agrees with her oohs. "Lets try the tangerine. Ughh the tangerine is terrible." I hear her say. By the time I zip open the canvas and step out of the t-house, the man and woman are gone. I still do not know who they were...

As I begin my yoga/tai chi practice I receive a call from Bill. "Do you want to help me get the Volvo to the auto body shop?"

"Sure, give me a call when you are ready."

"OK, it'll be 30 minutes."

My practice takes over an hour but I know that Bill's 30 minutes equates to 90 minutes real time. Sure enough, I finish the exercises, hop in the shower and as I am putting on some fresh clothes: the phone rings. "Meet me at the guesthouse in a couple mintues." Bill says.

We take off out of the estate, Bill in his new blue Cross Country Vovo and me in the now old (only 65,000 miles though) brown Cross Country Volvo. First we have to stop at the new bank in town. Then we are gone, west on 33 and then south on 101. It's always interesting following Bill. It seems like he's trying to lose me but it doesn't happen. I imagine us racing in the Indy 500: no contest, I'd win that race. He seems distracted and we get off on the wrong exit twice. When we make it there he's like: "My blood sugar's off or something. I don't know how you go without eating? How do you do it?"

Driving back up 101, Bill has me open a notebook, grab a pen and begin taking down the work order which will end up having 22 tasks for me to take care of for the upcoming house rental.

After we return home, after I have eaten an amazing lunch prepared by Eliza, after helping her with some food prep for her todays catering gig, I begin to take care of some of the work on the list. Its all easy stuff: moving beds, cleaning the outside of a yurt, fixing a fan, measuring a doorway...

I decide to stop at 6:15. Devin and I will meet to play tennis at 7:15. This gives me time to make a blueberry smoothie and then watch Will play the Revenge of the Sith video game. He just loves video games. He lives for them. This game is amazing and the graphics are the bomb. I spot Devin by his truck.

We leave the land in Devin's truck, ease down the hill, slip thru back roads, cut thru the traffic of main street and then pull into the parking lot for the lower tennis courts of Libby Park. We warm up for at least 30 minutes. I feel loose. My forehand feels more natural than it has in quite a while, serve is ripping, net game is on, backhand is backing Dev up. We begin with me seriving. I am up 40-5 and then I hit a winner that Devin lunges for, trips and falls. He rolls on his back and is holding his thumb. "Why is this happening? Why is this happening?" He says with a powerful whisper.

I drive Devin in his white natural gas powered truck to the hospital. When we arrive it seems mellow. Just as the nurse begins to ask the preliminary questions, the phone rings off the hook. Five phone conversations later, she places her attention on Dev. Who knows how long this will take. Dev suggests I go get some dinner and I agree. While eating at Rainbow Bridge, Dev calls me from a hospital phone: "Get me out of here" he says in a whisper. Turns out he'll be there another hour; asks me to get him some food from his studio.

Back at the hospital, the floresent lights are bright and false. Almost all of the nurses and doctors I see seem unhealthy, overweight, sallow complexions. It can't be good for you to be under these lights all day with all of these sick people around. I chance upon Devin waiting for the results of his x-ray. I hand him his meal and a book; he expresses much grattitude towards me for helping out. "Didj Nightingale" I say.

Soon enough, the doctor arrives and they both stare at the x-ray picture of Devin's damaged thumb. The doctor uses a pen to show where there is a small crack on a small bone. There is a fracture and a couple small pieces of bone. He will need a hand specialist. The doctor refers Dev to another hospital that can refer him to a specialist. This means that devin will go wait in line at the county emergency room. This will expedite the time it takes for him gain an appointment. Otherwise it might take 3 weeks. Dev takes it all surprisingly well.

While walking back to his truck, he thanks me again for sticking with him and helping out. "You are a good friend." He says.

"I'm impressed by how well you handled all that. That stuff drives me crazy. You have to go to another emergency room. That's crazy."

Dev: "At this point, I just surrender to what ever is going to happen."

Monday, May 30, 2005

Skip wants a monkey

Skip is not into washing his truck. He only has his hair cut once or twice a year but he does change his clothes a couple times a week. His t-shirts are always clever and humorous. Many of them mention dirt. One day Skip will go to the pet shop and order a pet monkey. He'll think to himself: I'm not getting any younger. Thus, it is enevitable that he will find himself at a pet store saying something like: "Excuse me, I'd like to order a monkey who can dig, stack rocks and roll cigarettes."

The pet store employee will think that this is some kind of hoax. Maybe his name is Bob. Bob will look for hidden cameras and act sarcastic so that the viewers don't view him as a sucker. Maybe he'll ask dryly: "Are you qualified to care for a monkey?" Then he will gaze snobbily at Skip's dirty t-shirt, ripped short shorts and old black sandals before letting a silent snicker out of the side of his mouth.

You think Skip's gonna take this crappy service? Then you're bananas! Skip is gonna put Bob in his place. Bob's gonna be Skip's monkey bitch!

Maybe Skip takes a dramatic pause before he shows his teeth and pretends to smile. He'll say something like: "Bob, I suggest you listen to me carefully. I aint getting any younger. My work takes me from the one end of the continent to the other. When this country's infrastructure collapses and all the softies, like you, get all catatonic and agraphobic, it will be me and my monkey running the show. Now, you have a rare opportunity to make some points with me. This could be the key to your survival."

Bob cannot believe that Skip's for real. While Skip spoke, Bob's jaw dropped and a small thread of saliva slipped out of the side of his mouth. He uses his right arm to wipe the drool off his face.

Skip continues: "What happens when there's no more lumber? Where are folks gonna live? You don't think about these things because you are a weak boy. You are dependent on the physical labor of others. I build homes without wood. I dig them out of the sides of hills and turn them into works of art that folks can live in. What do you do Bob?"

Bob is now convinced that Skip is some loonie tunes homeless man living on the street. "Sir, it is now time for you to go. Please leave the store."

Hey, relax Skip, there's other stores where you can find your monkey. You can try the yellow pages or the internet. Why not go on an expedition to South America and you can find your monkey yourself.

Skip mellows out and leaves the store without a fuss. He'll think something like: There's more than one way to get a monkey.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

You write your own story

I do not surrender my will for a thrill I do not surrender my will for a thrill
If I only knew what to do
If I only knew what to do

It’s a biological imperative a diabolical narrative
An empirical recollection from a random inspection
Can you find the bias that lets you lie to us
The denial of deception doubles the inception
Multiplies and fortifies the agents of regression

You can write your own story or you can write your own story
Or you can write your own story or you can write your own story

You can make me a believer a wide-eyed receiver
You can terrorize me with terror
And the end of the world cliché
It’s a jackhammer media with a monotone for drones
A lackluster war crime circus
Battling sticks and stones

You can write your own story direct your own life
Score your own music cultivate second site

The truth is what you make it how well you fake it
Acting is believing and when it’s great
It’s self deceiving

A square dance for circles or a circle jerk for squares
Thanks for the performance
Glad I am here

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Do you have amnesia?

It has come to my attention that you have managed to come down with a case of amnesia. You don't know who you are, where you are from and who your friends or family are. You don't know what country you are in or even remember what planet. Consequently, you are feeling a little alienated and confused. So, your finding this site and specifically this particular post, means you are damn lucky so give some thanks. Anyway, out of the infinite compassion in my heart, I will point out where the hand holds are on the side of the cliff that you are hanging on so to speak.

Before we begin, I want you to remember not to look down. When ever you feel any vertigo, take some deep breaths, rub your hands together and place them over your eyes.

First of all, the world that you have woken up into is completely mad. It is obseessed with death and destruction. The country that is in charge rules from the end of a gun. Its leaders use the threat of force to spread fear and panic over the various medias that they can influence. They mostly concentrate on mass medias that have a high saturation quotient. Basically, the main religion worships death. The religion claims to follow the words of this one guy. He said to "turn the other cheek." He was an anarchist who liked to heal the sick and encourage people to love eachother. Somehow, this religion has formed around him that uses a story of his crucifixion (a form of torture) as its symbol, theme and foundation. How can this not lead to feelings of persecution and the need to extract revenge? Thus we have a war where innocent humans are murdered in his name.

The norm for many people at this time is to invent scenarios to cause stress to themselves. Then they are able to smoke cigarettes, drink beer and eat junkfood and feel justified because they "need to relax". What better way to relax then to participate voluntarily with the process of death?

Turn on the television. Find a news channel or a drama. Sit back and observe the violence and death. It seems to be an epedemic. Why is this happening? Advertisers have found that people become more impressionable to their messages when they are emotionally vulnerable. The advertiser's ability to persuade becomes magnified when the viewers have seen some hard core violence, death or maybe some sex. Horror is one of the most popular genres in fiction and motion pictures.

I hope that my words have helped you to understand a bit of what is occuring around you. Just remember, the closest you can get to truth is when your mind gets quiet enough so that you can hear the wisdom of your heart.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Do you want to play some eight ball?

Skip finds a location he likes. It is on the side of a hill. He starts digging and ripping vegetation out of the ground. He punctuates his dirt and foliage rearranging with swigs off his 2-liter plastic bottle of Dr. Skipper soda. Then he rips open a machine rolled clove cigarette and dumps the tobacco on a tin lid. Skip blends the tobackey with the wackey and rolls it all up with a Zig Zag. He places the rolley in his mouth and lights it with a florescent green lighter. He crosses his skinny legs and communes with the carbon dioxide that he is releasing with his shovel. Then he's back spinning around like a tornado digging, exploring, sorting rocks, stacking rocks and then he stops and builds a fire. Skip drinks some more soda and rolls another cigarette. He grabs a twig that is burning on one end and lites his spliff. Skip gets up and collects brush, branches and twigs and throws them on his fire. Embers ride the waves of heat, shoot into the sky and blink out into flimsey grey ash that rain onto the ground in slow motion. The coyotes begin to sing in their way and Skip smiles. This is where he will sleep tonight.

Skip hops into his old grey compact Toyota and speeds off. He's heading to one of his kivas in Meiner's Oaks. He sleeps here on occasion. Less than he used to. His friend John is the owner and his apprentice. John has allowed his back yard to be the focus of Skip's machinations. The kiva initially was pretty small and unobtrusive. As John's inspiration grew so did the kiva. One day Skip and John put their heads together. They decide to dock the kiva to the house. It will be an addition. Don't worry about inspections or zoning laws. This is art baby!

John gets more and more inpired. Pretty soon, he's got three more kivas for a total of four. Too bad he only has a 1/4 acre to work his land altering magic. He must feel the need to expand because one of his kivas is starting to grow onto the neighbor's yard. Yep, so what if there's a fence in the way, just dig under it.

And of course, the earth is pretty big. Damn big. Why not dig a tunnel? There's no water around here. John digs and digs and digs. Pretty soon he has a tunnel that travels 23 feet down and is 92 feet long. This is where John will make his pool hall. Not for swimming, We're talking billiards, cueballs, eight ball. It is kind of like getting a ship in a bottle. John carries all the pieces thru the tunnel and then builds it in his newly dug out pool hall.

In his eagerness to play some pool, John does not leave enough room for the cue stick when the cueball is near the edge of the table. Get back to work John, shave down those walls. Finally, there is enough room for some eight ball. John waits for Skip to return from his adventure in the state of New York. The day arrives and John finds Skip at his own personal commisary: Antonio's.

John tells Skip that he has something to show him. Skip agrees to meet John at his place. Skip finishes his giant burrito and guzzles down a giant icey margarita and smokes one of his roll ups. Now he's ready to see what trouble his apprentice has been up to.

He arrives in his tiny car with a rush of air and the sound of tires skidding on sandy asphalt. The gate to the back yard is open and he walks on thru. The kiva's wall is made up of green, brown and clear bottles. There are multi-colored christmas lights which circle the the roof and proved a bizarre carnival atmosphere. Still no sign of John, Skip enters the exanded kiva and walks down the steps. He can see the tunnel now and does not know whether to be concerned or excited. He can hear a familiar sound but he's not sure what it is. Rock's clicking? hmm. The tunnel keeps going and Skip has to stoop his shoulders and hunch down. "I hope there won't be an earthquake." He mutters. Finally he can see the light at the end of the tunnel and then he is walking into the brightness.

John smiles: "Do you want to play some eight ball?"

All are chosen

All are chosen
Few can realize
Their true nature
Buried in lies

Shovel fed garbage
Junkfood college
Processed packaged
Global genocide

All are chosen
Few can see
Most are frozen
In a silent scream
All are chosen
If you can see
How we create
This waking dream

We come here to gather
To focus ferocious love
On Gaia our planet
Who's dreaming everything
Around us inside us
The space that is in between

Super Power Lizard King
I can see your puppet strings
Tell-a-vision hypnotise
Lizard brain you utilize

Yeahhh we come in peace
And we shoot to kill
And if you don't like
You can take a pill

All are chosen
Few can realize
Their true nature
Buried in lies

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Burning thru layers of clouds

This day began overcast and then the heat of the sun burned it all away revealing that big blue sky that we all love so much. My first task involved removing my belongings from the t-house paving the way for one of the guests. We are at the midpoint of this particular house rental and it seems like the wrinkles of discomfort have all been ironed out by the hot iron of time and good intentions of those involved.

I just finished playing the didjeridoo for a restorative yoga class. This didj performance followed the pattern that seems to happen frequently. I started off with some internal resistance and self doubt. My response is to buckle down and concentrate on relaxing various centers of tension in my jaw, neck, spine and torso. At some point it all starts to flow and I begin to enjoy myself. It gets easier to chant the various random mantras and then to sing them. Soon I am polyphonic and my mind is quiet. Next I find myself returning into my body, where am I? And then I am sinking in and realize that I am playing the didj and it is good.

Earlier today, before I'd burned thru my own layer of clouds, I lay in bed listening to an intense sonic cacophany of birds. Watching the various cycles of thought waves crashing on the shores of my consciousness, I choose not to surf any of these waves, they seem polluted with melancholic bias.

Yesterday, I was checking out a cool site: infowars. The major theme of the post I was reading involves the allegorical nature of the Star Wars movies. It seems like George Lucas may be a genius in this regard. He has produced a movie that seems to explain our predicament in this country. Mr. Lucas has commented that he never new his portrayl would be such an accurate depiction of how things are now.

Basically, the "empire" in Star Wars represents the "empire" that our country is. The Star Wars empire is attacking its own cities and planets in order to create chaos and fear. They are then able to enact legislation to gain supreme power. The U.S. empire appears to have been using the same strategy for over a century. Hitler bombed his parliment building and then was able to leverage the fear factor to gain more power than he could handle. The evidence is becoming undeniable that the 9-11 debacle was the same kind of ploy.

The media is the cloud cover which keeps us as a nation from seeing the blue sky of truth. The Star Wars movies are a window thru the clouds with all the characters portrayed within the context of a fantasy. On some level though, we all know that it is true. Our future's so bright you better wear shades.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Visibility: 20 miles

The cell phone pulls me from a dream about skulls. I let them leave a message. It is one of the assistants asking if they can give someone another space. My thoughts are painted with dark colors as my breath explores the pain in my right lat. I know that I may have to give up my space and this leads me down a path of resentment. It feels like the earth is being pulled out from under my feet. Bill answers the second ring and voices my fear about taking my space for the guest. We have a little tug of war and I just let it all simmer. Bill: "I love you bro but you know where the gate is."

This guest ended up changing their mind. I did some yoga and tai chi. So now I'm sporting my happy face and the day takes on another color. Kind of like yellow and green with a tinge of orange.

I shave my head and face for the first time in 4 or 5 days - ahh.

The retreat organizer asks me if I'd play the didj for a class. At this point I feel ready and tell her: "I'd be honored." So tomorrow, I shall begin playing at 4:30 PM. I may decide to go the entire 90 minutes without stopping. The yoga style will be restorative. The didjeridoo will enhance the students' practice to the Nth degree. I am already feeling hyped about it.

My morning consisted of walking the land and checking the various structures. I also went on a supply run in Bill's brown Volvo: two straw bales, four forty pound bags of salt and some turtle food. I throw some straw over the ever growing pile of compost and dump water softening salt into the pool and jacuzzi.

It's nice to have WiFi in the main house and the guest house. I sit on the chair outside the guest house waiting for Robin. I'm supposed to give her a tai chi lesson and she's supposed to give me a thai massage. I end up giving her feet a massage. She's feeling a bit unearthed. I've actually learned to enjoy giving foot rubs and I can feel the relaxing impact on her as I go over various reflexology points.

Will's been waiting for some food. We've been waiting for Bill and Dev to return with Bill's Volvo so I can take Will to Farmer and the Cook. It's a fun trip down. Will pulls a sheer golden piece of fabric over his head as we cruise down the back roads to our destination. As we cruise along the streets in Meiner's Oaks, I pull a veil over my head as well. Please do not worry, worry mongers, the veil is super sheer and does not hinder my ability to see the road, its purely for effect. While we make a turn, someone walking on the road sees us and goes: "Oh my God, their going to rob someone." We laugh and pull the fabric off our heads. Time for some grub.

When I return, Dev pulls me aside and informs me that another guest needs to move into my t-house. They wil vacate his studio which he will return to, thereby vacating the vista yurt which I will move into. At this point, I am OK with leaving the t-house. I guess it shows I'm in a better mood or something.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sarcophagus society

Sarcophagus society your façade is eroding
You got a Hollywood history
There’s never been sobriety

It’s a Dorito super syndrome
A Melanoma metropolis
It smells like a gasoline picnic
And tastes like plastic goldfish

It’s like stealing TV while on TV
I want to steal TV on TV
I want to steal TV on TV
I want to steal TV on TV

You say the world is sinking
And so you keep on drinking

Sarcophagus society
You’re at war with biology
Your sand castles don’t wash away
But your façade is eroding
Your façade is eroding
Your façade is eroding
Your façade is eroding

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tear off the roof

You've been pretty good lately so I've decided to throw y'all a couple bones, treats & sweets. Yes, you guessed it. It is time for a couple updates. I just spoke with Skip over the phone and learned that he wants his truck fixed. His catalytic converter had reached the end of its filtering days a few weeks ago. It seems like Bill is loosening his evict Skip stance. Instead, when Skip gets back, he wants them both to tear the roof off the hovel. (I will post a photo once I have a digital camera or borrow someone's.) This roof deconstruction thing is supposed to symbolize them reassessing their partnership. I only spoke briefly with Skip but I think I detected a weary tone to his voice - he's missing home.

My other update concerns Trisha - AKA Snakey. I have heard word that she now is renting a room in an apartment here in town. I am glad to hear this. It does come as a surprise based on the previously documented phone conversation - the bits are still fresh in cyberville.

Tonight, I was granted a reprieve from the retreat to go with Sunny and Daniel to a film festival hosted at University of Santa Barbra. Danny M's documentary on saving coastland in Hawaii was featured along with about 8 others. It took an hour to get there. The ride was smooth in Daniel's black convertable Jaguar. We just watched the first five documetaries before heading out for some dinner at a cool vegetarian restaurant: Sojourners. There were aobut 10 of us from Ojai eating, all of us had been to the film fest.

Not much to report on this retreat so far. My back went a bit funny earlier today. luckily, I had a massage from Alla just after it happened. I shall hop in the jacuzzi in about 10 minutes to help relieve some of the pressure.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Invisible tug of war

The following exercise is just a suggestion. You tell me how bored you are. You complain that your life has not worked out the way you expected. All I do is listen. Anytime I offer advice. You look at me as if I just stuck my finger in your pie. This is the consequence of all your bitching and moaning. If you lay in bed for 20 years like Charlie's grandparents, don't be surprised if the muscles in your legs atrophy. The same thing has happened to your brain. There was a time in your life that you are now unable to remember. A time when your brain had the capacity to create. A time when you posessed the most valuable utility in the universe - an imagination. Those days appear to be over. Quite possibly due to an extemely powerful advertising complex that has reengineered the human brain. Some of you are immune to this virus, this meme system, this song and dance. You are the exception, the one eyed primates in the land of the blind. Congratulations. How many of you real eyes noticed? How many of you sacrificed your sight of imagination to fit more snugly within the herd?

Don't worry. This little dirt road on the information super highway has the antidote for your dis ease. You may follow my instructions. You may alter these directions. You may close your eyes at any time and click your heals 3 times - "There's no place like my brain, there's no place like my heart, there's no place like the earth..." You can always change the road you're on.

Find an old suit that fits you the way you like it. Go buy a bunch of grass seed, a 3 inch paint brush and a gallon of Elmer's glue. Paint the glue on the outside of the suit. Be quick about it. Before it dries, place the suit in the bag of grass seeds. Shake the bag. Let it dry. Might as well give it 24 hours. You got nothing better to do any way except watch TV. Take the suit out and water. Repeat the watering for a few days. Congratulations, you now have a grass suit. It is alive. You are beyond rock and roll.

So you wanted to be a performance artist? Here's the next step. Recruit a friend. They will need an old suit that fits them. They are to then get a couple newspapers. It might be nice to get ones that have different colors. Please use your discretion. Magazines might work too. Whatever. Next get some thick clear plastic tape. Tape the newspaper to the outside of the suit. OK you are doing fine. Take a break. Go for a walk or mow the lawn or something.

Lets take stock of the situation. You: super styling in your grass suit (beware of lawn mowers and weed wackers). Your friend: newspaper suit dude (stay away from open flames).

Now go to a road that has some traffic but not too much. This is what you're going to do: invisible tug of war. Got it? Yeah, one person is on one side of the road, one is on the opposite, Now your playing invisible tug of war. Get into it. Remember: acting is believing.

Feel free to email your stories or leave some comments. Have a nice day.

Friday, May 20, 2005

How to get a girlfriend

I've been giving alot of thought to your quandry. There seems to be no potential women for you in this country. You've given it your best shot but you say the cultural conditioning on what makes a male attractive - ($) - has spread all over the world. I am sure I could find examples which disprove your theory. You say the exceptions prove the rule. HMM. Maybe you're right. I think you can turn this to your advantage, though. Why don't you go to another country where you'd be perceived as wealthy? I bet you can find a nice girl in the third world who hasn't been totally spoiled like the ones here in the good ole U S of A.

Here's what you do. Tomorrow go on the internet and find a flight to India. Don't worry about bringing any clothes. You can just buy them when you arrive. Everything is cheap there. I'm serious, bring your pennies. Get ready for wall to wall people. Everywhere you go there will be people. At night they are sleeping everywhere on the street - watch where you step - in train stations, bus stations, everywhere. Head to the river Ganges. When you get to it keep your eye out for funeral pyres. You might have to wait a while for the right situation. At some point a young male will die. When his number's up then you're in business. You have to time this just right. They like to cremate their dead so get ready for some burning flesh. The tradition is for the wife to throw herself on the fire so she exits with her hubbie. This is your chance now, go on, you're a hero, mate... Good on ya! You just saved a beautiful Indian girl from self immolation.

The next step is to get her on a plane and take her back to California. Congratulations, you now have a beautiful Indian girlfriend who is not corrupted by the consumer culture. A couple things may go wrong though. You both might not hit it off. Don't be hard on your self. Maybe it would have been wise to get to know her first. There's also the possibility that she may become infected with the consumeritus virus. So, don't get your hopes up. And, if it does go all wonky, you can always go back to India and find another one. Yeah, there's a hundred million more where she came from.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Save our coast lands

Last night, I stop by the Mercedes Trish residence to pick up my t-house bug screen that I'd left with her to repair. I end up showing her a couple Bardo surfer posts which luckily delayed my exit long enough for Dimitri and Danny to stop by. We sat around on Trish's couches and channel surfed her satellite TV for how ever long. Trish ran out for booze and junkfood and Danny remained in charge of the remote, complaining about the content of each show and then changing to another station. Trish returned with potato chips, cheetoes, peanut m&ms, a milky way, cup cakes, a whatchamacallit and rollos.

It is then that Danny pulls out a VHS copy of a 10 minute documentary that he created in one night for a city council meeting in Hawaii. Danny used to be an editor/writer/director for various Hollywood productions. After several years he made up his mind to retire and pursue other interests. He ended up in Hawaii and was soon recruited by the native Hawaiians to help preserve and protect their coastal land from development.

One of the Hawaiians asked Danny to go down to this one bay that is in the sights of a developer. He only has this one afternoon because the city council takes place the next day. When he arrives, no one is there. He thinks: oh great, what am I going to do? As if his thoughts have been answered, a monk sea lion surfaces, only 10 yards away. The sea lion looks at Danny and lazily swims around yawing and glistening in the afternoon sunshine.

Monk Sea Lions are not supposed to be in Hawaii according to the experts. They are an endangered species and are one of the oldest mammals on the planet.

Suddenly, a large family arrives. They are very excited at seeing the sea lion. Danny was able to film the animal for 2 hours. Now he has a family to film as well. He encapsulates this amazing afternoon into a 10 minute documentary.

The next night Danny presents his afternoon experience. People are crying. The mayor says: "The deal is sealed." A few of the natives come up to Danny and thank him. Every one is blown away. They have trouble believing that he filmed it in the bay and that he did it yesterday. But of course it is true. This world is so much more intelligent and aware than we have been led to believe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Snake less Trish hits the road

I stopped at Danny M’s residence for a quick chat. I glanced at the now unoccupied trailers while walking down the driveway and thought of Trisha, master slacker. Word on the street has her now living in Santa Barbra. When Danny’s in Ojai he’s always putting time into landscaping and refurbishing his house, studio and various other structures. Today was no exception but he took some time to converse on the mini studio’s back porch. He mentioned that he was considering the acquisition of a giant Buddha statue, which would sit behind the t-house. I enthusiastically endorse this enhancement saying “the bigger the better”.

Danny’s cell phone then does its little jingle. He opens the phone and says: “Hello… oh hi Trish.” They talk for a few moments before the phone’s handed to me.

“Hi Trisha, how you doing?”

“I’m about to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.”

“Wow, heading to San Francisco.”


“Cool, where have you been living? I need to update you on Bardo Surfer.”

Trisha laughs and says: “I was staying in Santa Barbra. After San Francisco I’ll go to San Jose, Costa Rica and then Hawaii to see Danny. It all means that I’ll have to be snake less for a while.”

“Then we won’t get to call you Snaky. It sounds like you’re on a roll.”

“Yeah, but it’d be nice to have somewhere to put my stuff and come back to. And then make some money.”

I say I understand and we say our good byes. Danny and I talk some more and he compliments the rock pathway and rock steps that I put in 5 years ago. I laugh and say how I am surprised that it has remained so solid [there’s no cement, just dirt]. Its then that I notice for the first time that the steps are not centered properly. Danny doesn’t seem to care or have ever noticed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I don't know

The flack generated by Newsweek's story about the Qran being flushed down the toilet has opened up a big can of woopass. Many issues are now seeing the light of mainstream consciousness that normally are reflexively dismissed with labels such as: paranoia, conspiracy, partisanship, liberal, radical etc. Bush spokesman Scott McClellan is now on the public record admitting to the whitehouse "encouraging" the press on what to say and do. Seventeen people died in riots as a direct consequence of Newsweek's reporting of this story. The shit has hit the fan in a major way because Newsweek retracted the story saying that it was inaccurate. The pentagon "approved" this story BEFORE it was published according to the Drudge Report. That's a story in itself. This is classic information warfare occurring before our naked eyes and provides a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of pressure and control that normally only get reported in alternative and easily marginalized news outlets.

The underlying theme that we will see in my opinion is how hard it is for most people to admit that they are wrong. What happens to our consciousness is that we have such a fear of being wrong that we will only perceive and remember those facts which suppport our own personal opinion as being "right". Anything that goes against our view gets labeled to trick ourselves into thinking we understand it. Thus we will have "experts" on all different sides blatantly distorting reality to reinforce and protect their own beliefs. Most of us are just too weak to withstand the feelings of disorientaion and insecurity that natually arise when our core beliefs are under attack. Sadly, this leaves most of us incapable of growing or learning because the only way that happens is by saying: I don't know.

The smartest thing I have ever said is: I don't know. That's what allowed me to begin practicing tai chi almost a decade ago. That is what led me to be able to play the didjeridoo.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Seatbelt overkill

The Ojai Valley News reported on Friday that the Ojai Police Department has received a $9000 grant to give out a bunch of citations to drivers not wearing seatbelts. Ojai reportedly has a compliance rate over 90%, which is one of the highest in California. The creation and enforcement of seatbelt laws is a classic example of civic absurdity in my opinion. I wonder when there will be a shoelace law. I can easily envision police officers handing out tickets to citizens to protect then from tripping.

Speaking on behalf of motorcyclists, I think we should be exempt from seatbelt laws. Lets face it, when you are cruising around on your motorbike; you are significantly more vulnerable than when you are inside a four-wheeled vehicle. From this perspective, seatbelt laws seem silly.

Sometimes it seems like the various forms of government all slip into the quagmire illusion that it’s their purpose to protect us – whether we like it or not. When we compare our endless slew of driving laws to other countries’ policies, it becomes easy to feel like we’re all being treated like children. Maybe that’s why I enjoy riding a motorcycle. It allows me to step out of the seatbelt corral. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that driving laws are necessary, I just draw the line when it comes to seatbelts. Oh, and by the way, your shoe laces are untied.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Androphobia art show

Derek reminds me of an art opening taking place at a new gallery on the main street of this resort town. I'd been on my back for a few hours watching bad movies on the SciFi channel with Rob and Iratia at their house. His spine is out of allignment or something. His voice is different - raspy, weak somehow - one shoulder's higher than the other. He's a trooper though and still rides his bicycle to the exhibit. I rise from the floor and am out the door and on my motorcycle passing derek in 23 seconds.

I see people out side with glasses of wine and bottles of beer in their hands as I park my CBR on the sidewalk. My spontaneous arrival leaves my fashion quotient on the low side. My jean shorts and t-shirt are met with blank stares from the various patrons who are dressed in all kinds of ways. A few look like they are on their way to a country western dance where they'll be drinking lemon-aide. Others have a sort of retro feel to their garb. Most have a cosmopolitan look that would work in LA.

One woman catches my eye but I never speak with her. She's a gorgeous black woman, smooth skin, bright smile, long white sheer dress. She's one of the artists whose work's being presented. The entertainment consists of a woman playing a harp and 4 'models' . 3 are women and one a male and they are all topless. It's all bout art so don't get any ideas. The dude has on a pair of beat up boots and a leather loin thingamajig with a tiny lepard pattern sock covering up his willy. The women have long flowing white toga type setups where one breast is exposed. They are loosely based on the 'modeling for the artist' scenario that has been a mainstay in the artworld.

The typically mundane art show had been spiced up a bit. The girls were all kind of cute so I did not mind being exposed to their breasts. They tried to act majestic and artsy I guess; freezing in dramatic poses while the old lady harpist strummed out ballads and the various guests stared at them while they drank wine and ate cashews.

What made this excursion interesting to me was that I'd just read an exerpt from Robert Anton Wilson's latest ontological cannon ball shot over the bow of the American funeral progression. I'm referring to his latest book: Email to the Universe. The exerpt is concerned with andophobia - the marginalization of the male perspective. The premise of this essay is based on the documented oppression of males in our culture and the taboo on discussing or acknowledging that it even exists.

This provided an interesting subtext for me as I gazed at the various giant paintings hanging from the walls. There were some sculptures as well. All of the paintings depicted women as goddesses. Beautiful, sexy and in their prime. On the other hand the men were all depicted as decrepit, lying at the feet of the goddess/women like a dog or not pictured at all. Yeah, this thing was all about celebrating women and bashing men - androphopbia.

At one point the topless models are 'posing'. The women, all dressed like Venus; the man, dressed like a caveman - has a look like a dog begging for food starting at the woman like she's a - you guessed it - deity. To me this was all the equivalent of an academic experiece in the random school of life.

Today, I get the call from Gates at around 9:30 AM. He needs help with the geodesic dome that is being bulit behind the hot pink metaphysical bookstore that has just opened. I pull up on my bike and park it in the back, near the framework of the dome. Its exactly 1 PM. I call Steve to see what I can do and to express my awe at the size of this thing. It has a 36 foot diameter - yikes! Little do I know that we will be here till dark; an eight hour day. Putting this thing together is like 3D twister. geodesic domes are made up of triangles which in turn make up hexagons and pentagons.

I will not bore you with the details of this one but suffice to say - "its a monster" to quote Steve.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Giant legos

The delivery people have arrived. You are so happy I am getting a contact high just being near you. Ever since you were a little kid, you have waited for lego to come up with a giant version of their plastic snap together building toy. Look at that eighteen wheeler in your driveway, what a thing of beauty. They drop off the 1000 piece set in record time using forklifts and a crew of 10 children. Hey, aren't there child labor laws? Oh, they're Chinese. Nevermind. Does the 1000 piece set come with a blueprint? Where are you gonna bulid your lego house? Too bad they are all different colors. Oh, thats how you ordered it. Do you need a permit for that thing?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Army recruitment of magicians

Have you hear the latest news? The army has been recruiting magicians to fight in the war against terror. Of course nothing ever goes smoothly so the jury's still out on whether or not they've been effective. The word is that many of the magicians cut the Iraqi terrorists in half with big saws. Miraculously, the enemies of freedom are unharmed by all the sawing. It actually ends up building up their confidence in Allah and motivating them to fight harder for the jihad.

At night, the black suits and capes that they wear are pretty good at keeping them invisible but during the day they stand out like a sore thumb. The army has been having countless problems with the magicians going AWOL. One moment your joking about pulling rabbits out of hats with your favorite illusionist and then - PUFF - he disappears. "Where'd he go?" says Private Milroy.

There are success stories to go along with the head aches though. Some of the magicians have been quite effective at making the terrorist suicide bombers turn into terrorist fart bombers. You should see the embarrassed look on the terrorsists' faces when instead of blowing up they cut the cheese. We're talking major, eye-watering, nauseating, overwhelming; odors that a skunk would be proud of.

Yeah, the magicians are a mixed bag. The other night, I was playing poker with this one short and stocky magician. He ended up winning the most dollar$. I hate to say it, but I think he must have been cheating or something. I hear this has been going on all over the place. So, we are on to you - magic men. Cut it out! I mean it, knock it off, we got wives and kids back in the states that are depending on these peanuts.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lucy's moment of freedom

No money? no home? no job? no biggey - just relax. There's another way around the whole basic needs game. Have you ever heard of house sitting? Its a nice gig if you like having a sweet house, a food filled pantry and a big flat screen 60 inch TV hanging on the wall like a giant painting. And of course there's wifi too you knucklehead.

What's the catch? There isn't one. You do like cats, right? I want you to meet your new meal ticket, Lucy. Lucy is a grey long-haired feline who knows which side of the bread gets buttered - hers. All you gotta do is feed her, give her massages and tell her how beautiful she is. It's sort of like girlfriend practice.

The owners of the house are Lucy's servants. Their a little over zealous. Due to all the automobile activity, they will only let the cat outside if she has a big long leash on. Yeah, I know, it's kind of weird to treat a cat like a dog. What happens if a big ass german shepherd decides to chase after her while she's all chained up? two words: shark bait.

Lucy definitely does not get off on the leash fetish routine but she accepts it grudgingly - until today. The lawn care crew arrives with leaf blowers and weed wackers and begin their assault on weeds and leaves. Oops, Lucy is not digging all the raquet, she's out of there like Houdini.

Now it's time to worry about where the damn cat went. Walk around the neighborhood, ask evryone you meet if they've seen a long-haired cat. No body's gonna notice a tiny cat but ask them all anyway, it'll make you feel better. No sign of her, oh well, she'll show up when she's hungry I bet.

ALLRIIIGHT! What's that? Oh, she's in the closet hiding. She must have dashed back in the house when the weekly display of gasoline powered noise began. Ahh, what a relief. You know, Lucy really likes you. Listen to her purr.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Two jobs are better than one

I am starting to see a pattern here. My cell phone again woke me. Looking back, it seems as though this happens 4 or 5 times a week. This morning, it was Steve Gates. He used a number I was unfamiliar with so I did not answer it and tried to reenter sleepville. When he called me again, I’d left Angus the cat and was back at the estate. He needed some help with a geodesic dome that is being raised in the backyard of a new metaphysical bookstore. I agree to the tasks, which will end up taking 3 hours and 15 minutes. Steve: "It'd be good if you wear one of the 'Living Systems' t-shirts I gave you."

"I'm already wearing it."



This store’s only been open a week or 2. I’ve never been to it but I am aware of its location. I park my CBR 900 in the front of the store, swing off it and then stare. They painted this place hot pink. Wow, is all I can think.

My first task is to move bundles of poles about 35 yards and stage them at the deck in which the dome will rest. After 3 or 4 laps I start wondering if I am capable of completing this without some kind of injury. The bundles differ in weight. Some are around 40 pounds while other are around 60. There are 23 bundles. Forty-five minutes later, I’ve completed task #1. Task # 2 involves labeling each pole by a letter (identified on the bundle wrapping) with a black sharpie. This ends up taking me over 2 hours.

Next, I head to job number 2: Weedwacking for John. I zip along back roads and arrive there in 5 minutes. I weedwack a few of the gentler areas with John’s newly purchased battery operated weedwacker. This thing is pretty mild and needs to be charged again after just a half hour. Time to get Skip’s Stohl. This things a gasoline powered monster: loud, devastating and proud. I borrow John’s Probe to snag it from the back of Skip’s illin’ cream Toyota.

Before you know it, I am in the backyard amidst the fruit trees, boulders and rocks, tearing up the earth and shredding the weeds that had the nerve to grow back so quickly. John comes back to watch. He’s greatly impressed by this machine. “That’s about 10 times more powerful than the one I just bought. Geez.” I just keep going at it. The amount of time it takes to do this will now be cut in half. John gives me a mask to wear so I don’t breathe in the huge clouds of dust and debris this gasoline powered tornado and I are co creating.

Two and a half hours later, I have finished that job.

Bill gives a call. He wants some help with the sweat lodge he’s having tonight. There’s no way that I am gonna sweat tonight but I will pitch in and support it with my last remnants of sweat.

Andrew has found a new site for the sweat lodge. He uses willow from the end of Matillija Road and bends it in the shape of a dome. He has many people helping him. I contribute by bringing a couple bags of blankets, carrying some wood and hauling a bag of stone people that were gathered outside of Mammoth.

That’s it for this day. Now it is time for some rest and relaxation. I shall hang out with Angus, watch a movie (Criminal) and then soak in the tub. Ahh...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tell me what to do

The cell phone’s techno jingle pulls me out of dreamland once again. It is John. He’d like me to mow his lawn and weedwack in between the rocks and fruit trees. One hour and 45 minutes later, I am pushing the lawnmower across his yard. It is set as low as possible to give the yard a real close shave. There are more weeds than grass.

The whole lawn-mowing thing has always kind of been an example of overkill to me. All that gas and power to trim some blades of grass seems like a waste. But it’s a way for me to make money so I do it. When will we come up with a quiet device that can just run on human power to accomplish this task? Oh yeah, they had something like that in the 50’s. Seems like it might be time to update that machine.

Last night, during yoga class, Kira mentioned how we all have trouble being told what to do. She used an example from her childhood. Kira’s mom used to always ask “Do you have your manners in your pocket?” Kira said she kind of resented this and would rebel against the “Miss Manners” agenda. As a young girl she did not see the value. It was at this point, that Bill exited the class. Sometimes he just bails. Yen Yoga is not always easy.

So, today, while over killing the lawn of weeds, I reviewed Kira’s statement, which had the premise that we don’t like anyone telling us what to do. I found myself disagreeing with her conclusion. I think that it is the opposite. It seems to me that most people set up their lives so that they don’t have any freedom at all. But very few are able to admit it and gain this insight into their own psychology.

Look how much freedom men have until they have a girlfriend. They don’t know what to do with themselves and will use every resource to find one. Women are always on the hunt to find a husband. They start practicing when they are little girls with “dress up” and planning their wedding. Why? So they can have a baby, which will tell them what to do; SCREAMING - translation: feed me; SCREAMING – translation: change my diapers. You finally out of high school, what are you gonna do? Military, college, job.

Very few individuals stop the endless train of distractions: radio, TV, thoughts, words, party, beer, to examine their mind. Yeah, I think most of the world is screaming for someone to tell them what to do.

Another example can be found among our children. When school is in session, kids continually complain about having to go, homework, my teacher told me to do this…
But when school ends end summer begins, the mantra of “I am bored” begins.

What does all this mean? I think it means that the media consumer machine agenda is succeeding when imagination death becomes so normal that it goes undetected.

I currently believe that our whole culture, system of governance, school system, and various religions all exist the way they do because everyone is shying away from taking any responsibility. Carl Jung called this the collective shadow. What also leads me to this conclusion is the careful observation of my own behavior. I am still amazed at how I was able to give my decision making process completely over to my ex. Its been a few years since that slow motion train wreck of a relationship. Now, as I begin to find the pearls of wisdom strewn about the debris of memory, I real eyes that I was a co conspirator in that debacle. I deserved the experience because I chose it. End of story.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Emotional remnants

I drove Bill's Volvo into Ventura to pick up the vacuum from the repair department of Sears. It was about 30 days ago that I dropped that sucker off. When I get there, once again, I am dealing with this woman who was pretty miserable the last time I was there. She continued with the same vibe that I remembered. It all came back to me then. Their computer system was down. This caused a problem because then they did not know if we had a warranty for the vacuum. If not then they needed $$. I ask to speak to the manager. The manager has totally diferent attitude and takes the vacuum. So any way, back to the present, I just keep smiling thru the misery of this woman. Of course she hits me with: "We called to get a confirmation on a 10 dollar fee, no one ever called us back." I keep smiling, unsurprised that my little drive might be for naught. Ms. Misery says: "I'll have them check in the back, maybe its here. Please wait out in the lobby."

While sitting on a bench in the lobby, I see these red signs on the swinging doors I'd just walked thru. They say "no admittance" and "authorized personelle only". It dawns on me then that I have been ignoring their protocal. That could explain the frosty reception.

Five minutes later, Ms. Misery is all smiles. "Here's your vacuum sir." She makes a point of going over the receipt and showing all the things the repair guys did. They did a very thorough job and went beyond just fixing the broken swivel part.

I'm back on the 101 going North, listening to music. Its totally uneventful until just before the highway ends. Some burly looking neanderthal type, beard, long hair in an old GM pickup tries to pass me on the right. He's uable to and makes a big fuss over it. His face wears the mask of rage which he directs at me. I put my hands up and shrug, clueless as to why he's directing this anger towards me. He gives me the finger. I don't do anything except just keep driving. Its pretty rare that I am subjected to random tantrums. For a little while, I can feel the emotional remnants peppering my aura but soon it fades away.

Road rage seems to become an issue on these So Cal freeways in cycles. A couple drivers have been shot in the last few months but not up here. I did think of this though and it probably added to my non reaction motivation.

Yin yoga with Kira was super grounding. While laying flat on my back in corpse pose, I had a few dreams. I love when this happens. It means I had a very relaxing class.

The night concluded with me watching a movie: "I am David". This is a good movie. I definitely reccomend it.

Once I hit the freeway, a message on the dashboard said: "performance is reduced". Sure enough, I could feel a difference in the responsiveness of the engine. The car stalled at a light on the way there and while driving thru a light on the way back it to town. Kind of freaky. First Skip's Toyota now Bill's Volvo; I guess I'll stick to the motorcycle.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The message is the massage

I received a call from Alla at 8:59 AM. She wanted to confirm our getting together. My voice had that just woke up fuzziness which Alla immediately detected. "Were you just sleeping? Sorry if I woke you"

Sleepily I reply, "No problem, I was just getting up."

We talk some more and I push back our start time to 11. I reset my cell's alarm and then drift in the ethyr in between sleep and awake trying to recover a dream I hazily remember.

I manage to practice yoga for an hour, organize my laptop and other gear. Then I am on my CBR 900 to meet up with Alla at the house she's sitting. As I reach the apex of a hill I see her, she has a hoola hoop spinning over her head, tight blue sweat pants and a clear smile to match her clear eyes. The place has a gate and a view over Meiners Oaks. The sun shares the sky with dark clouds that are breathing together to try and make some more rain for tomorrow. But on this day, it will not rain and the sun will shine in between the thick bunches of clouds which are mostly hung up on the surrounding mountains.

Before I begin my tai chi lesson, Alla gives me a tour of the house. At her request I spin the hoola hoop around my hips for a minute or 2 and then I balance on a device whose name escapes me now but involves a skateboard deck with a groove that fits onto a cylander type object. The trick is to keep your balance while rolling the deck back and forth.

The lesson begins and it goes well. I first teach standing meditation which basically involves alligning the head, shoulders, hips and feet. Next I teach her one of Dr Hyatt's methods in his awesome book: "Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation". It's kind of a Kundalini Yoga technique that was quite effective for me. Finally, I end the lesson by teaching the first moving posture in the form I know and have practiced for 9.6 years now.

We're doing an exchange. After the tai chi she gives me an amazing massage. My body's been pleading with me in various nonverbal ways for this kind of attention (as most of you know by now). So then for the next 60 mins I am in heaven. Before I know it my hour's up and we say our good byes. Thank you Alla is all I can say.

This day is unplanned. I decide to ride my 900 to Libby Park to check some drumming after my salad at Farmer and the Cook. The music sounds nice. I listen for a while and then I stop in Rainbow Bridge for some snacks. While staniding outside, talking with John Hemp, Randal, Danny M and Steve Right, Guy and Julia drive by in Guy's big black Toyota Pick up. It turns out that they are heading to a tamale Mother's Day party. They invite me to hop in the truck and go. I end up going there on My CBR.

The party turns out to be super chill-cool. Many old school Ojai folks are present and the tamales are great. I sit outside on a slab of concrete checking the view down to the river with mountains behind it. A hawk glides in the air 30 feet away. It moves slowly, stalling, its head darts from side to side as it scans for prey. A feather moves and it is gone.

The spin of the earth has brought the sun to the horizon and I leave the party with Johnny, Thereasa, Tyler and Michael. We go across the street to Steve's where we soak in the hot tub before ending this day recharged and already talking about this year's Burning Man.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Clearing the air of smoke

Asked last week to bill: "Do you need my help with any of the events this upcoming weekend?"


Today I get a call from Bill. He wants me to weedwack.

"Sorry, I'm still letting my back recover. I really screwed it up. It's a lot better now but I want to pamper it."

"It pays 20 an hour."


I enter the yoga studio and immediately smell smoke. The fireplace is spewing smoke instead of sucking it up the chimney because the remnants had spilled too far forward. Five minutes after opening the windows, doors and turning on the fans, the studio air quality becomes suitable for my deep breathing exercises. Soon enough, I am flowing through the exercises - moving the CNS switch from parasympathetic (fear based) to sympathetic (heart-centered).

I shower and make my way up the hill to the basement where my clothes share space with a couple hundred cases of wine. The shelves hold some of my belongings that I end up organizing for the next 20 minutes.

After walking up the steps, I see bill speaking with a woman. He looks at me briefly, rolls his eyes, hand signals for me to wait and continues to talk. The discussion concludes and we begin to walk together up the driveway. Bill's going off, he's manic, feels abandoned by every one and asks me for some help. Basically he’s overwhelmed because 2 different events have overlapped. The Young Presidents stay was not “coordinated” properly. The land conservancy group arrived while the young pres folks were eating lunch. The kitchen was in chaos and Bill needed like 5 fires set, compost dumped in the garden, lights turned on. Setting fires is one of my specialties so this was right up my alley.

After an hour and fifteen minutes, the tasks placed at my feet are complete. I exit the estate in the beat up cream Toyota loaner; destination is Farmer and the Cook. After my salad, it’s back in the truck. The red “check engine” light on the dashboard comes on. The truck, which always sounds a bit wonky, is emitting sounds of engine distress and as I travel further down El Roblar Street it begins to smell as well.

I decide to head back up to the estate and pray the Skip mobile can limp up the 500 or so vertical feet. The vehicle makes it. While walking to my motorcycle, one of the land conservancy volunteers who is directing the parking, tell me that it smells like the catalytic converter has clogged. In fact, he’s certain of it. So now I’ve got my diagnosis to relay to Skip.

I stop by Sunny’s to check on the dogs and puppies. Trixie greets me right away. Wow, I really love this dog. There’s a bunch of peops waiting to get their hair cut. No bald jokes today. While talking I mention: “If you diagnosed the typical American corporation according to the DSM manual, which psychiatrists use, you’d discover that they [corporations] almost all meet the criteria for being labeled as sociopaths. And that is what our government is: a conglomeration of sociopathic corporations.”

Sunny looks at me quickly, her eyes are strained and I can see that my declaration has annoyed her. She’s never liked my political discourse and has always discouraged any expression by saying: “That’s propaganda.” And then she’d slag me off – have a go at me. But that was a few years ago. She seems to have changed, matured. This is so nice to see.

This all flashes in that split second of eye contact and is enough because she simply changes the subject without missing a beat or a cut in the head of strawberry blonde hair beneath her face.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Red and orange

The clouds outside look like a giant marshmallow this morning. My head feels the same and I linger in bed savoring the extended sleep. I drift in and out of slumber. At one point, Bill’s voice can be heard as he gives a tour of the various outdoor spaces. At last, I climb out of the bed and begin the day.

The yoga studio delivers its typical peaceful setting as I go though an hour of yoga and 15 minutes of tai chi. It then hits me that I want to wear red and orange today. My colors are typically dark and with the over cast sky lingering I need some color therapy.

I throw my big green bag of laundry into the back of Skip’s yellow cream truck and head down the hill. There’s a spot for me right in front of the laundry mat. As I get out of the vehicle, a homeless man approaches me and asks, “Do you have a match?”

I am biased against this man. He spends a lot of time here trying to get change from the folks who are washing their clothes. My response is minimal: “No.” I don’t make eye contact, look down and mentally dismiss him.

He’s sensitive to my response and tries to get some of the energy of my attention which I always with hold from him as much as possible. He says: “Are you mad at yourself?”

I recognize that ignoring him further will only tweak this tweaker and so I say: “No are you angry with yourself?” He’s over weight, scruffy, mustache and obviously drunk even though it is around 1 PM.

“No, I just want a match.”

“I am sorry, I don’t have a match. I cannot help you. Have a nice day.”

“That’s OK, I’ll ask some body else. Have a nice day.”

The laundry all fits into a triple loader. The timer says that 27 minutes will pass before its completed the various cycles of rinse, soak and spin. I head to Second Helpings – a thrift shop. Many of the elderly frequent this store and today is no exception. There’s a back room with stereo equipment and some speakers catch my eye. That’s when Demetria walks out of another backroom and we engage in a brief conversation. She compliments my choice of wearing orange and red today. Her new Gateway laptop is a bit for confusing for here to operate and she asks me to come over and help her become familiar with its basic operation.

Time to toss the clean and wet clothes into the dryer. As I pull up, I see the homeless man, who is in his early 40’s I’d guess, wearing a scowl and talking angrily to himself.

I feel compassion for him. He puts on a front but when the mask is down, the cloud of anger, pain and sorrow surrounding him, becomes tangible.

Demetria’s house is not hard to find. I knock, she opens the door and I walk in. Her small apartment is filled with amazing pieces of art. She takes me to a small backroom where an old school Dell laptop sits on a table. I end up showing her how to get online. Next, I connect with live streaming audio from a radio station (Pacifica-kcrp out of Santa Monica). We talk for a while and I learn about the new man in her life. They’d broken up 32 years ago before getting back together. Their reunion is an inspiring story for those of us who are terminally single.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Master slacker Trish update

Its time for an update on one of the local legends and eccentrics that help keep this town interesting and bloggable. The character I'd like to discuss is Trish. There's an earlier account I posted about Trish called: "100% Slacker perfection". Although that was a fairly recent post (month or 2 ago), the actual event took place more than a year ago. Rest assured, her latest transition is fresh, still warm out of the oven of experience.

A few weeks ago, Trish moved once again. Please, do not worry. She's still in Ojai. After Trish was evicted from her home by her landlord Richard (a BMW driving lawyer), she ended up at her friend's (Iratia) house. She was only supposed to stay there a month but lets face it, Trish is a master slacker. She ended up living there a year! AND she did not pay any rent. How do you do it Trish? She smokes American Spirit cigarettes and paints relentlessly for days at a time. She has difficulty ending a painting and will keep adding layer after layer. Trish mostly paints women - one at a time. She'll paint a face and then paint another one over it and then another one over it and so on and so on...

Some how, Trish managed to live in a trailer with no electricity in the backyard with her big black smelly dog Cloey who recently passed away - R.I.P. She also had a couple snakes, which she'd allow to come and go as they pleased. These snakes became a big source of tension between Trish and her benefactor - Iratia.

Interestingly enough, I think I was present when the proverbial straw (snake poo) broke the benefactor's back so to speak. We were watching some cable TV most of us sitting on couches. Suddenly, Iratia's nose crinkles and she exclaims, "What's this!" We all look to see that Iratia has lifted the pillow her head had been resting on to reveal a classically shaped piece of snake poop. I remember laughing a bit at the complete and utter absurdity of Iratia watching TV with a piece of snake poo an inch from her head. Oh, by the way, snakes are carnivores and their shit stinks! Iratia looks at Trish for an explanation. It’s important to know that Iratia is very uncomfortable around snakes. in fact she doesn't even want them in the house.

Trish reacts in a bitchy tone "What, who cares, I'll clean it up, don't worry about it."

I remember thinking: this can’t last...

A couple weeks ago, Trish moved out of Iratia's trailer and into Danny M's trailer. Danny had upped the rent and the 3 dudes living there all decided to move out instead of paying what they all felt was overpriced. Mario is still in town and moved several blocks away. Matt's a recently transplanted east coaster who has returned to Virginia. Then there's Rob. Rob's kind of a mini veteran of the Ojai scene. Rob used to sublet a room at Trish's before she became a master slacker. He'd water her lawn, garden, feed the dogs and pay a big chunk o' rent.

Trish and Rob thus pulled a switch a roo maneuver. Rob went to Iratia's trailer in the backyard and Trish ended up at Danny's. It’s not over yet for Trish because Danny's going to take his Honda Civic to Hawaii in a week. Trish has had use of this vehicle for the past 2 years except when Danny's in town, which is, like 2 weeks every 6 months. Trish is also supposed to move out and find somewhere else to live. I can't see that happening - come on, she's a master slacker.

A couple days ago, Trish and I sat on the small wooden deck that quaintly frames the (temporarily?) Trish trailer. We sat on chairs that face the small home made pond and listened to the fountain's endless chuckling. I asked, "Are you going to stay here when Danny leaves?"

"No, I have to go in a couple days."

"Where to?"

"I don't know. Somewhere."

"Well, you can stay here until you figure it out."

Trish just smiles as if she's got other things on her mind. She stubs out her American Spirit cigarette and we say goodbye.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Dear Mom,

Wow, you amaze me in so many ways. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my mother and sacrificing so much to raise me. What makes this so astounding is that you raised 5 children. After my recent adventures with the puppies I caught a glimpse of what you went through. The timing could not have been any better. So now I am in a deeper place of understanding for what a great mom you were to all of us at “569”.

You have taught me so much by the way you have led your life. You treat your body with much respect and have always been fit. What’s really extraordinary and inspiring is watching you grow in so many ways: emotionally, spiritually and mentally. So now, you have 6 amazing grandchildren and 1 more on the way – wow.

I want you to know how much I love you and how much gratitude I have for all that you have done for me. I always knew that you had tremendous love for me even when I could be so difficult with my endless questioning, stubbornness and eccentricities.

There are so many qualities I received from you. Too many to list; but the top ones are: (1) Fire, yes fire Mom; you have so much passion and joy, you taught me the importance of emotional expression. (2) Devotion, you were so dedicated and devoted to your children and husband that it awes me and brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. (3) Forgiveness, Pope John Paul II once said that the key to happiness was forgiveness. Your ability to forgive the disrespect, that I showed you at times, set a supreme example for me to follow. (4) Love, You taught me how to love unconditionally, Mom. I want you to know that I see how beautiful you are and have always been - inside and out. So…. [drum roll] Happy Birthday!!!!

Love, Michael

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A method actor's dream

Your girlfriend is an aspiring actress. One day she says: “I’m going to take some acting classes.” You decide that you’d like to as well. She seems to not mind but you realize now that she was acting when she smiled and said yes. The first day of your acting scene work class goes well. It’s fun to act again after all those years since college. Dwyer Brown seems like a very nice person and a knowledgeable, passionate teacher. The time is spent breaking through the layers of emotional armor individually in front of the class. Here’s the plan: we’ll all be paired up or put in a group of 3 and spend the 8 classes perfecting one scene. Some will also have a monolog/scene all to themselves. At the end of the 2 months we will all perform in the small theatre which will be open to the public. The audience will consist of invited friends, family and strangers. Dwyer’s idea is to put me in a scene with my girlfriend and David. Just before he gets in his car he turns and asks me: “How good is your relationship with your girlfriend?”

The classes fly by. Its not long before you realize that this is a great form of therapy for you to regain the confidence that’s necessary to perform. The confidence you’d lost when your bio computer’s operating system stopped functioning. Yes, suddenly your name did not fit any more. You did not know who you were or how to feel anything except shame, fear and guilt. You’d thought that you’d lost your mind. You became fearful of human interaction and would sit in the basement all day staring at the ceiling.

Congratulations, somehow you drove three thousand miles across North America to the Golden State that is California.

The scene work goes well, you and your girlfriend, Dianna, drive to David’s house to rehearse on a weekly basis. You have a lot of lines and a few monologues but you manage to learn them all. In the scene, your girlfriend plays your girlfriend. The drama in the scene involves your girlfriend spending the night with someone. You find her hiding in the closet. She’s left you for another man. You have an individual scene as well from the play: “The Rainmaker”. In this one you are Starbuck. You have to convince the audience of farmers that you can bring aqua pura to their parched land.

The two roles are a nice contrast. In one you play an uptight social worker from: “Ten Thousand Clowns”. The other: an extroverted conman with the confidence to make skeptical farmers believe you can make rain.

2 nights before the first public performance: Dianna breaks up with you. Well, sort of. She’s met someone else. He works at a video store and he’s a professor. She’d like to see both of you. You don’t even consider it. This relationship is over.

Of course, the show must go on. You will now go onstage with your fresh ex-girlfriend but you will not tell anyone that. This is a method actor’s dream you lucky bastard. You’ve invited many friends to witness your performance that’s now crossed over and become your life. All those rehearsals had become a way for Dianna to get used to the idea of breaking up with you. At least you did not find her in some dude’s closet wearing his big white shirt with a button down collar and nothing else. She just told you on her driveway while tears slid down her cheeks leaving trails glistening in the last rays of the sun.

Have no fear though, the sun will appear again tomorrow with fresh rays; both nights will be spectacular. There will be audience members who will think that your 2 roles were done by 2 different actors. Yeah, you only dated Dianna for 3 months anyway. She let you off easy. Count your blessings. You don’t even want to know what its gonna be like with your next girlfriend. She’s gonna put you though the ringer.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Magical massage in time makes me feel fine

Sunny and Daniel finally arrive at 11 PM or so. They seem super mellow after the 6-hour drive back from the festival. I ask Daniel a couple questions: “How many people were in the audience?”


“How’d it feel?”

“The day of I felt a bit off in the head, took some Rescue Remedy and it really mellowed me out. In the past I’d always have 5 glasses of wine. So now it’s a different experience. Rescue Remedy really works that stuff’s great.”

Sunny: “He was fabulous, Peter was too. They are both beautiful men. Daniel’s just slimmer and more beautiful.”

I gave them the puppy rundown. They thought it was funny. They fed them all a whole bunch of food and let them out of the cage to run around the sitting room and then out the door.

Finally, its time to head back on to the estate in the mellow yellow Toyota, when I arrive, Scout greets me. He follows me to the t-house that I’ll be sleeping in. Scout crashes out on the floor.

Scout wakes me up around 8 AM so he can get outside; I let the big yellow lab out and then its back to sleep. My cell phone’s alarm prompts me to wakefulness. I zip open the canvas and Scout smiles like only dogs can. I quickly give Alla a call and let her know my location has changed.

She arrives in her white sedan and soon we’re carrying her massage table and related items into the Amrita Yurt. I go back to the t-house to grab my PowerBook so we can listen to a CD of music she brought.

The session goes amazingly well. I don’t want it to end. Afterwards the back trouble I’d been experiencing feels greatly reduced.

I have to say thanks at this point. I feel a lot of gratitude. Interestingly enough, my back trouble began Saturday morning. The bodywork was scheduled the previous weekend. Tomorrow, more bodywork for me, this time it will be Tai massage from Robin. Wednesday night, I’ll be giving a didjeridoo circular breathing lesson in my friend Andrea’s private natural hot spring.

This kind of timing is typical for Ojai. This town has a collective consciousness that seems to utilize us residents in a way to support our growth and healing. Somehow, these women unconsciously anticipated the back attack. They both want to learn tai chi and offered to exchange bodywork sessions for my teaching them. All I can say is: wow.

My experience with the pups has made me greatly appreciate my mother for raising my siblings and me. I cannot speak for myself, but they’re all well adjusted, raising beautiful families and contributing responsibly to society. My mom raised 5 children. The amount of time and energy must have been staggering and overwhelming. Of course, I have to thank my Dad as well. He was extremely responsible and grounded. He provided a very financially stable environment, encouraged athletic endeavors and was very generous in many ways.

Tonight, I wanted to get to bed early but here I am writing today’s post and listening to Moby.

Danny Miller’s back in town to fix up his property for the new tenant: Department. Yeah, that’s his name. He’s a DJ. Danny’s doing well, just bought a new house on Hawaii. He’s been living there the last couple years, working on various documentaries. Mostly editing. Currently, the project involves filming native Hawaiian activists as they try to save their island’s coastline from the mindless developing. Danny’s stoked to continue his work as a film editor and not have to work for the Hollywood scene he checked out of a couple years ago.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The puppy cacophony society

The puppy cacophony society began their yapping at 4 AM. I woke with a shock and immediately felt my upper back spasm. I slowed down and tried to relax. I began to open a can of dog food for them and then saw the time. Much too early, I jump back in bed trusting that the cage will contain the tornado.

I drift in and out of sleep awakening with the regular waves of puppy noise. At 6:30, I gingerly ease my body out of the bed, open 2 cans, place them outside and open the door to the sitting room. The female puppy, which I’ve named Felicity Monkey, was the only one to get out. She can easily climb the fence. She only peed once and that was the extent of the damage.

The way to let the pups out of their jail is to lift up the fence. They came rushing out like a canine river, through the kitchen and out the back door. Ten seconds later they are by the door clamoring for more. I close the inside door, put on some clothes and depart to let Angus the cat out.

I cruise back on to the estate with the Pretenders cranking “Middle of the Road” on the tuner less radio. The sun sits comfortably above the horizon as the birds sing their previous night’s dreams. I turn off some lights, clean up around the pool area, put on the Jacuzzi cover and turn on the pool filter. Next, I check in with some folks, drink some fresh squeezed OJ and then roll down the hill back to puppy headquarters.

I soak in the tub with eucalyptus oil and salt. This soaking seems to relieving the tension in my back more that anything.

Last night’s kiva performance was cancelled. Sol felt like it was a good time for everyone to decompress I guess.

I stopped at the farmer’s market on the way back to compete the retreat weekend duties. A country western band is playing a song about dosey doeing across Texas and Lucas and Cheyenne are square dancing. I see Robyn and converse with her. She’ll be doing some Thai yoga massage on me Tuesday – good news for the back spasms.

The estate shimmers in the late morning light. The guests are in the last yoga class and the silence feels like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Everything has started late and so my closing duties begin later that usual. Finally I begin to: straighten the various outdoor spaces, empty waste bins, arrange comforters, straighten the back porch etc. I end up finishing at 3:30 PM. I feel tired having basically started this day at 4 AM.

Back in puppy world, I soak once again. My back has begun to spasm once again; mostly the right lat. The eucalyptus and salt work their magic and I am able to feel some peace. Time to walk the young couple: Rupert and Trixie. They’re both raring to go and we climb the hill quickly. If I had rollerblades on they’d pull me up the incline in no time. On the way, we see a black cat in a field that watches us closely with unblinking yellow eyes. We see 2 rabbits near the top. Soon we’re making out way down the hill. The exertion has mellowed both canines and then my cell phone jingles and vibrates: it’s Sunny. We converse briefly: Bauhaus rocked (both Daniel and Peter are great performers), Rachel totally dug ColdPlay. Then, fabulous news, Sunny and Daniel will be coming home early: tonight at 9 PM (Its 9:38 currently…). “Cool” I say.

Rachel then calls to check on Angus and let me know that she’ll be home tonight as well. She confirms that ColdPlay was awesome but gives the logistical aspects of Coachella a poor rating; thus the early departure. She just wants to return to her home, relax, chill and ground out before work tomorrow.

I think I’m gonna sleep in tomorrow.