Thursday, June 30, 2005

Scout's adventure, weed wackery and another timed mile run

"Hello?" is the word that woke me today. I still do not know who entered the house this morning and said it. I am grateful though because who ever it was woke me at the time needed to begin another day.

Painters are still painting. I water a couple plants in the front. I see a yellow fire truck in the driveway. They are here to make sure we have cleared the brush within 100 feet of living structures. The head fireman in charge walks up to me and says, "Are you the owner?"

"No, he's on vacation... what's up?"

"We're checking for fire clearing."

"Are we in compliance?'

"No, its pretty bad and I've sent 2 notices in the mail which have not been heeded."

"Sorry about that. We will comply as soon as possible. I'll make a call to our land manager right away."

"I'll be back in a week to check." He's wearing his dark blue uniform with a silver badge on his chest. His hair and mustache are speckled with grey. He tells me what areas need to be weed wacked. "You only have to make some progress and show that you are getting it done. If its not started then I'll have to send in our team. It won't be pretty. It starts with an administration fee of $650."

I respond with: "Thanks, we'll take care of it right away."

When I speak with Bill (still in Utah), he says that he never received any notices. He sounds very relaxed and only gets mildly annoyed with this weed wackery.

My conversation with Scout (see previous post) was partly successful. He went for a walk by himself but instead of exploring the estate, he walked down the road. Some one picked him up and took him to their home. They fed him and put him in the backyard with their dog and then called Devin who then called me. After eating dinner, they drive him back up the hill. I thanked them and gifted a bottle of Cabranet.

I bought a digital watch today with a stopwatch mode, cruised over to Nordoff Highschool and timed myself in the mile. The first split was 75 sec. My next lap was a stuggle as my upper lungs felt tight. Third lap I checked my time and tried to pick it up but only just maintained. Last lap I picked it up but still not like I wanted to. The results: 5 min 47 sec - shaved 12 sec off previous cell phone timed mile. It turns out that Devin ran 5 min 42 sec a month or two ago. He said that he really pushed it. This kind of gives me some hope that I can win the Casa Barranca mile and collect the prize of 5 c-notes. We are both pretty competitive so I believe that it will take a sub 5 30 to pull it off.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Motorcycle chandelier

I had a one-sided conversation with Devin's dog, Scout. We ran up the hill in the dark. I'm wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a jacket with flip-flops on my feet. Scout aint wearing nothing, just a bunch of fur. It’s just under a half-mile and some pretty decent vertical. I win this race and maybe it gave me the confidence needed to be frank with this big friendly yellow lab as we walked back down the hill.

"You know Scout, I think you need to explore the estate more on your own. You are so dependent on humans and divorced from your environment. You spend time chasing and scaring the cats. Maybe, you should watch them. Cats are able to interact with humans and yet still maintain some wildness and independence."

Scout seemed to listen. His big pink tongue hung out of his mouth and he tilted his head to the side a little bit.

How to make a motorcycle chandelier: Get a motorcycle. Take it to a volcano. Get a crane. Dip the bike in the volcano like your making a chocolate covered strawberry. Fly the bike home with a helicopter or UPS it, whatever. When you get it to your house, chip out a bunch of holes where you want to fit your candles. You might want to figure out if you want your motorcycle chandelier upright or sideways first though. Oh yeah, it'd be a good idea to use bees wax candles, they are so much more je ne sais qua. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Random visitation day

I am sleeping in the big house. The craftsman home built in 1909 by Green and Green for the Pratts, the # 2 stockholders of Standard Oil. Yesterday's random wake up was Scotty, teaching his assistant the finer points of painting a house. This job will take all week. Bill timed his Zion trip well. This morning, I was again woken by the painters even though I chose a different room. They are painting bits all around the whole house so there are no quiet places. It was too late to be getting out of bed anyone so I guess I can squeeze some gratitude out of my heart of rock.

In the studio, stretching, random radio gives me some Pink Floyd "Time". When I get to tai chi, Simmsie the carpenter walks in with three folks.

"Can I help you?"

"I'm just showing some friends the studio."

"I'm doing tai chi, can you wait about 15 minutes?"

He just ignores me, turns his back. Starts telling the three people what he did to help build the place. I remain calm at his trespass and snub routine. It’s to be expected with this character. He's always bringing some one around to show the place even though Bill has told him not to do this. I return to my form, look out the window and see another group of people. I open the door, walk outside and say, "Can I help you?"

This guy has a mustache. He asks, "Where's Devin?"

"Do you have an appointment?"

"No, I called yesterday and left a message."

"Devin's in Maui and Bill's in Utah. I am in charge of the estate. This is private property. You need to make and appointment to come here or at least talk to some body."

"Do you know Marty?"


"He's a friend of Bill's. We are all Europeans, we were drinking your wine with Marty and he told us that you had a winery here. We called yesterday and wanted to see it."

"Sorry, this is a private residence. No one is here that can help you. Please call in advance."

They finally leave. I can't figure that one out. Back in the studio. Do some tai chi. Belly breathing. Moving chi.

The major task today was to make sure a plumber came in and did something about a leak in one of the bathrooms. It involves a bathtub. The fixtures are something like 60 years old. This did not bode well with the plumber. I could tell that he was ready to go home before he even arrived here. The time was around 4:30 PM when he arrived and he was not happy to be working on plumbing that is anywhere from 60 to 95 years old.

"Where do you turn off the house water?" he asks me.

"Uhh... I don't know. I'll make some calls." I call Richard, Bill and Devin. They all don't answer. I check the emergency contact list and call up Miguel. He answers and describes the location. Then Roger the plumber starts to see what is in store for him and he's moaning and cursing under his breath. Pipes are moving that should not be. He's going to have to go under. I go into one of the basements and find the easiest access to the plumbing under the floor of the bathroom. It takes him about an hour to plug up the various pipes and then he's out of there. Bill thought he'd be able to band-aid this sucker with some fixtures but that aint going to happen. The bathtub shower will need new pipes as well.

The plants on the porch are thirsty so I soak them with some water. Start topping off the pool with a bunch of water. I roll five garbage containers to the street. Shave off 4-day growth of hair on face and skull. Turn off water flowing into pool.

Finally at 9 PM, I head to Gunnar's birthday gathering in Meiner's Oaks. I decide to take the CBR 900 knowing that I'll be able to find some one to push me to start it up when I need to leave. When I arrive, Jen's in the front yard talking with 2 friends. I go in the house there's Gunnar. Wish him happy birthday, and then greet a few folks here and there. Outside I see Remy and end up talking with him. I tell him the bike situation. He agrees to give me the push I'll need. We are in the middle of flatness here.

Around 10, Gunnar lets me know that he's ready for some didjing. I wait a few minutes and then all the power goes off all around us. All the neighbor's outdoor lights go black. I realize that this is my cue to go inside and start to didj. I play for a moment or two and then the birthday cheesecake is brought in with a circle of candles burning. Every one sings the classic happy birthday song and I didj it. 10 seconds after the candles are blown out, the lights come back on. The conversation engine revs up and soon is traveling in third gear. Gunnar wants to start toning and singing and so he does. Every one gets the hint pretty quick and starts to join in. Prana grabs his slidedidge and so we play together while every one tones, sings and moans. This goes on for an hour and then we fade back.

Time for me to return to the estate. After this day of random visitation, I want to get back and make sure every thing is intact. The bike barely turns over and will not start. I wheel the bike around so that it is facing the direction that water would flow. Gravity is barely on our side as Remy starts to push me. Momentum builds up just enough. Second gear pop: no dice. I try first gear: bingo! GRRRRR... I turn around and zip by Remmy, flash him the chaka and yell "Thanks Remmy - chaka!" over the roar of the engine.

Monday, June 27, 2005

On the way to Burning Man mid August 1999

"Who the fuck's in my bathroom!!"

Santa cruz felt cold under the cover of grey clouds. Swimming against the current of my anxieties, I finally took a much needed bike ride up a pier. Sea Lions lounged on the rough rocks in the sun. All they needed were glasses of Martini with umbrellas in them. i chanced upon a volley ball game and spent an hour with the most arrogant people that I can remember. I kept quiet and hustled as much as I could, accepting their condensation with a smile and left feeling sandy and better.

A thrift shop became the recipient of some clothes that I wanted to give away, sold my wet suit for 15 bucks, bought some snowboard pants & met Helga. We ended up talking and making a strong connection. Helgan and I talked the same language and intrigued each other. She's in here forties but has a fresh outlook.

I left Santa Cruz suspending judgement on whether or not I like it. Swells were tiny, overcast sky but the people were mostly pretty cool. I chanced upon route 9. The map had it winding thru the Redwoods. After several hours I began looking for a camp ground. I ended up in a natural food health store and bought a few snacks. On the way out I hear: "Michael." I turn and there's Helga. She says "That was fast."

I'm like: "Holy shit!" She introduces me to Susan who tells me of a free place to camp.

I find the place to turn easily, at a sign called "The Tollhouse". The trees are huge and the sky high canopy of leaves filter the last rays of the sun as I drive down the gravel road. I find the bathhouse Susan mentioned. It looks like it's public. Finally, I am able to take a hot shower, shit and shave. Just as I am wrapping things up I hear several vehement knocks on the door and the a "Who the fuck's in my bathroom!!"

I sing "I"ll be out in a second."

A minute later, after quickly toweling off my body and pulling on some clean clothes, I open the door calmly with a smile. A man with very little hair, 5'6" & stocky greets me. He asks "What are you doing here?" I explain that a young girl told me I could stay here and use the bathroom. While speaking with him I could not remember her name. I mentioned Helga though and told how I met her and blah blah.

His name is Trey. "You lucked out" he says. His piercing blue eyes stay in my memory and I am slightly surprised at my own calmness during the initial moments. He was radiating so much intensity. Quickly shifting gears, Trey showed me a cool spot to pitch my tent, just next to a tall straight Redwood.

I awoke quite early and had felt a strong sense of well being. Must be the Redwoods I think.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Burning Man 1999 late August

The patron saint of thermals

The orbit of Saturn leads to black rocks
Planted in the giant flat desert playa
That becomes a huge shallow puddle lake.
The hills blush pink
Eyes downcast sly smile setting sun.

White bunny rabbit skateboarding
Unidentified sidesaddle man coasts in the lull wind.
I travel back in time on my red bicycle
Pedaling against the wind to answer the call of rock.
I find them polished by wind and dust.
2 are white cardinal directions
{1 in northern air & 1 in southern water.}
My black bag presses against my spine
& shoulder straps dig into my traps and blades.

The plastic outhouses blown down
by northern wind
Have risen with the help
of unspecified humans
When I wasn't looking
Because I was somewhere else in time
Some other orbit or maybe
Outside or inside the sun
Observing touching smelling
A healthy corona hearing the happy pulse &
Wondering: does the sun have a heart?
Where is it?

Icharus (patron saint of all thermals)
Rides high on reward rollercoaster salad dressing
Sneaking a dip & before he knew it
His feathers (dipped in wax & drawn with a black felt pen)
Became wet - heavy like led.
I am not a penguin
I am not a fish
But I can hold my breath to learn to swim.

And the wind smiles & cries with raindrops
of wonder & fear. Changing direction
Like a woman who says:
"I've found some one else."
So much fear in her eyes,
Guilt ridden bags filled with led
Under her I's. These eyes will water the dry desert
Of her face & the wind smiles with horror
& Joy
& Icharus can now be a submarine for a while
Til the lake
Evaporates & transfers to the ocean stream river sea
Crusty corporate entity
Leaving him stranded across
The dry flat perfectly cracked bed
Where black rocks sleep slide
Dreaming they can fly

Saturday, June 25, 2005

First timed mile run in 23 years

The wine cellar that has doubled as Michael Brown's painting studio allowed me to wake up from the heat of my Big Agnes sleeping bag instead of the usual random noise deal. He's been out of town all month and his status here is on the rocks. Will he find away to repair it? Who knows? Skip was on the rocks, but he lives under a big one so that seems to be within his comfort zone. In fact, I've hear whispers of him talking about moving on but that's another post on another day on another fence.

Put on some clothes, walk up the steps, out the door into the bright sunshine and blue blue sky. Eyes squint to protect too large pupils and turn off several lights. Spot Bill in his blue Vovo as he's about to cruise somewhere in the direction of down. We say yo, tune in, then its later. Turn off some more lights, turn on the jacuzzi, check in with the cooks.

Sometime later, after I've eaten varous raw concoctions, I am able to CBR the 900 to Nordoff's brown bouncey track which is only like a 6 minute ride away. I arrive, survey the scene, no one on the tracks, no kids, no walkers just some lady walking the top of the far bleachers. I let the engine keep running for a few minutes as I stretch my calves, quads and hams. This time I am determined to measure the time 4 laps will take. No seconds on this phone so I wait until it changes to 5:08. Off I go shooting for an 80 second lap. As I run I check the cell to watch when the minute changes. If I had to put my effort in numbers I'd say I went about 85%. Still, I felt a touch of disappointment that I completed the fourth lap just before the time hit 5:14. Thus, I barely ran under a six minute mile. This time can definitely be improved on. The aquisition of a stopwatch now becomes imminent as the July 6th Casa Barranca Mile looms just 10 days ahead. Can I actually take 30 seconds off my time? YES! The motivation is there and heart will come into play as Devin and I run along side eachother. After my first timed mile in 23 years, I walk around the track once and then jog two more laps before getting back on the motorcycle. Fireblade starts up immediately and takes me back to the estate. Every one's in class. I hop into the jacuzzi and 10 min later Alla calls to invite me to the beach for some frizbee. I have to decline the invitation, we talk of getting together this week.

Dusk is only an hour or so away. Lights need turning on, rooms need to be checked and candles need to be lit. Dinner's all raw, every one is mellow after their fourth yoga class in 2 days. The flames of the candles dance in the slight breeze and the conversations sparkle with easy laughter.

The entertainment tonight is chanting. I hang out with the cooks in the kitchen while the retreatants are enchanted my Girish, Steve Ross, Dave Stringer and a bass guitarist from Argentina. Its nice to get to know these particular cooks and chill. With so many peops around this is the time to relax.

The show ends, most come back and go to sleep. Some eat the raw fudge pineapple dessert. Turn off lights, distribute some of the vino, head down to the jacuzzi filled with 4 women and 2 men, police the noise, take off clothes, sink into the hot water.

Andrew is one of the cooks. He is the elder. He's 54 and directs the conversation towards an area that can be controversial. Equality between men and women. He had some strong beliefs and spoke out against men creating men's groups and women going to women's groups. He thinks that it is detrimental. I defended this occurance: "When women are in the presence of men, the milkshake competition can become the focal point for their vast intelligence. When they are just with themselves, they are presented with the opportunity to develop other areas of their intelligence as well as create stronger bonds among themselves."

Andrew also talked about how much he hates sports. I felt compelled to respond to this as well by expressing what I think are some important benefits of sports: emotional expression, exercise, confidence.

Tonight was the night for conversation. Everyone leaves tomorrow, including Bill and Eliza. Then I'll have the house to myself.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Akiva's paradox

After living here for over 20 months I have seen people come and people go. Akiva is one of those who have left. I knew him before he started living here. He has a wiry frame, tends to hunch over and a nasal voice. Black longish hair frames his head and a black scraggly beard hides his face - or at least last year it did. Akiva was paradoxical and I still have mixed feelings about him and his being here.

When he arrived, Akiva talked a good game. He spoke enthusiastically about the estate: "It's so beautiful here!", "I am so honored to be here!", "This land is so special!" etc. After several months of this kind of talk {with nothing to show for it in terms of actually doing anything}, I found myself resenting his constant presence in the kitchen listening to NPR's daily B.S. about the legalized(?) murder and torture taking place in Iraq and other countries though out the world.

One thing that blows my mind about Akiva is that he was able to circular breathe through a didjeridoo within 10-20 seconds of my first lesson. After teaching him and giving him a piece of PVC to practice on, I never saw him play again. It makes me wonder about the importance of the challenge. I suspect that the 2 and 1/2 years it took me to circular breathe through a didj helped me to appreciate it. The struggle and difficulty gave it value.

Presently, Akiva resides in Israel as an Israeli citizen. He'd talked about going there for years. He'd talked so much about going for so long that I'd guess no one thought he'd do it. Now, he's lived there for over a year and is doing well from what his brother Eric tells me. Akiva's gig is permaculture and Israel is desperate for folks who have this valuable knowledge.

While here, he put in about one day of work over a 4 to 6 month period. The most work he did was deconstructing a floor that I'd spent 17 hours putting in. Down in the barranca we used to have 2 tee pees. One is gone. The one I'd stayed in is now occupied by Millennium.

Akiva liked to play the guitar and sing his own songs. One day we got into a conversation about time. I basically gave him my humble opinion that we create time. That's why we have timepieces - so that we all create the same time. Otherwise we'd have difficulty perceiving each other. I said something about existence being a record. Our awareness is the needle. We have the innate ability to change the speed of the record, the RPMs. The more present we are - the slower time gets. When our life is threatened - it becomes possible to slow time down to such a degree that split seconds are experienced as minutes. There are other various devices to slow time down as well. I also went on to explain more of my limited perspective; hypothesizing that women seem to exist in a slightly slower time than men. This allows them to process information faster and give the appearance of greater intelligence in some of the neurological paradigms.

Akiva really listened to this monologue. His eyes spun around in spirals and he said something like: "Wow, dude, that makes a lot of sense. I think you’re really on to something." That night he performed at a Farmer's Market in Ojai. He told me after the fact that he'd repeated what I said to the various onlookers.

He also witnessed my most challenging experience that I've had while living here. This was when the big 6-4 300 LB South African electrician, James Ross, threatened to "beat the shit out of me". I'll spare you the ridiculous details of Ross' meltdown. Suffice to say, he has a history of flipping out over nothing. What got me was Akiva's spineless reaction - seven feet away when this terroristic threat against me occurred.

My response to Ross: "911, Jimmy. You ever threaten me again: 911. I've got witnesses." I say to Akiva: "Can you believe he threatened me?"

"I didn't hear a thing."

At that point I just walk away.

Some how though, Akiva overcame his fears and went to Israel. From my experience knowing him over the years and then having to share a kitchen among other spaces, I never thought he'd go. Thus, it’s nice to be proven wrong. He went there because he thought that he could have a positive impact and stop the profoundly meaningless slaughter and waste of sacred human life. Godspeed Akiva.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Machinery, motors and people

Machinery and motors conspire to raise the raquet needed to get my sleepy butt out of bed. Toolio rouses himself into the classic cat sitting pose and squints his eyes at me while I hang my Big Agnes sleeping bag on to hooks and pull on some pants. Step out of the t-house under the deep blue sky as birds chirp. Head to the studio. Once again, Eliza has entered the yoga studio before me. The red curtains are drawn but I recognize her sandals on the red brick porch. Consequently, I begin the preparation for the upcoming retreat immediately.

Check electricity in various places, [Dear guest: Here's the rules...] sheet of paper placed on various beds, clean, fill up and turn on the Quan Yin fountain, plug in some light timers, go to the Vista Yurt and turn on the inverter. By this time 30 minutes have passed and I ascertain that the Studio is now available.

While into the first half of yoga I get to that place where everything goes away. It's just me. Flowing like a river and chuckling like a stream. Being a lover of randomness and music, I do all my stuff with the radio. There's four different stations that I listed to which are able to produce some good music for my listening pleasure. Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar" came on at one point. Nice that those guys are reuniting for a show. They are my all time fave band. Hopefullly they'll decide to do a US show. Cell phone rings... answer it: "Hey Bill, what's up?"

"Hi this isn't Bill, my name is Mary, I have to tell you something-"

"You found Bill's phone?"

"Yes, I found his phone at Libbey park. The thing is, I have to go to work."

"I can pick it up, where are you?"

"Farmer and the Cook, do you know where that is?"

"Yes. Just give it to Steve or the girl at the cash register."


"Mary, thank you very much. That was very nice of you. Have a great day.'

"Your welcome, good bye."

"Good bye."

Back to work, complete the list: check hot water flow, move a bed from Devin's space to the Chumash room and then hop in El Diablo, the giant black pick up truck that roars. Can't find the key. I know that Bill does not have his cell so I walk up and find Eliza in the guesthouse. She doesn't know where the key is but offers to let me use her silver Toyota. Off I go to Farmer in the Cook, buy some lime aid juice, grab the phone, head to Star Market for salt, fire starter and t-lights. Turns out, no t-lights.

Back on the estate we finish up the prep stuff: dump a bag of salt int the pool, dump two bags of salt in the water filter and I guess that's it. I see Bill, give him his phone. He's confused for a second "How'd you get it?" I tell him the story. Then Bill wants me to take Will to kumon and then Akido.

Finally, at six, the day of work is done. I go into the big house and up into the Maha Raj room to watch game seven of the NBA finals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Back on the track

Today's random wake up came from Eddie. He's a yoga teacher from Santa Barbra who will be one of two teachers for the upcoming retreat this weekend. The sound of the t-house zipper roused me from sleep and then Eddie's reaction followed: "Ohh..." and then the sound of the zipper closing. Turns out he was giving some one a tour. Nobody informed me, oh well. I was happy to get out of bed at that time and get on with it.

When I walked up to the yoga studio, Eliza popped out "Didj, do you know how to get the CD player to work?" I walk in and press the TV/AUX button and the sound of flutes and whatever come out of the speakers. I'd been planning on getting in there and doing what I do but wisely, I decided to give some space. No need to crowd Bill's girlfriend/fiancee. They're supposed to get married in July.

I learned today that they will be going to Zion this Sunday for five days or some thing. Any way, I shall be in charge of the estate. It will be nice to have the run of the big house. Devin left today for Maui and so now his big yellow lab Scout is folllowing various of us around instead of Devin. I fed him tonight and will take him on a few hikes.

So instead of starting the day with yoga, I went for a ride on the CBR 900 up 33 for about 10 miles. I parked by a water fall and wet my face. Cruised back, felt the warm wind on my skin, watched the blue blue sky and the green rolling hills and the black grey asphalt below me. When I got back, it was time to deliver another case of wine. I hop in Bill's latest vehicle: a big black Sivarado. Devin gave it its name: El Diablo.

Finally, I enter the studio and get to that timeless place duing the last 20 minutes or so of yoga. Twenty minutes of tai chi and twenty minute of the didj. AHHH...

For the first time in many years I ran around a track. Nordoff High school put in a new one last summer. It's brown and has great bounce and traction. I ran around it four times. That makes a mile for those of you who don't know that tracks are 400 yards per lap. While I ran around it there were also other folks there. None of them were running though - all were walking. Plus, there were a bunch of 2-3 year old girls who were sitting on the track. As I ran by in a nice voice I said: "Please don't sit on the track, have some respect for the runners." This was for the benefit of the overweight mother who responded by asking her girls to get off the track. The first lap was easy; I was surprised at the distance, it seemed shorter than I remember it. The second lap was easy. The third lap I felt it a bit but kept up the pace. The fourth lap I picked up the pace but did not go all out. Stay in control, don't push it, just get reaquainted with the distance. Afterwards, I stretched a bit. Recovery was quick. No pain or strain anywhere. I am very curious what I ran it in. Tomorrow, I will bring along some kind of time piece. My estimate is that I ran it in 5 min 30 sec or so. Definitely under 6. I feel that running up the hill has been great prep. Also, running every other day has been quite effective. Recovery time is crucial.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The clown that wouldn't smile

This morning's random wake up noise came from a (kit) drummer and a guitarist. It was nice of them to turn the volume up. They were able to make sure I got an early start to my day as well as sharing their fisrt rehearsal and I hope (for their sake) the first time they've ever played musical instruments. As I lay in bed, I admired Toolio the cat's ability to withstand the sonic onslaught. It is the first day of summer so my guess is that the noise makers were a couple kids happy to finally do what they want to do. Thusly motivated, I pop out of bed like a slice of bread transformed into toast. As my feet touch the ground, the sounds of banging and guitar warfare cease. Thank goodness for treaties or truces or maybe it was Mom or Dad.

The yoga studio is my first stop today. This is my asylum. My sanctuary. The place I prayed for. In the past I had to do these exercises in parks, under a bridge, on a trailer porch, a friend's frontyard. The past 16 months I have had the privelige to access the premier setting to get reconnected to my self. To switch from anxiety mode to calm mode. When pollution becomes omnipresent, it becomes invisible. A toxic ocean. Chemical mayhem. Normal neuroses.

Toolio the cat is there when I exit the temple, disembark from the DNA spaceship karma mechanic shop. We sit on the steps together, I stroke him and caress his face. We watch the birds dash throught the air and rest in the trees. We listen to their songs and conversations. Have you ever seen a cat smile?

Bill's Volvo drives nice. It is smooth blue and new. The radio doesn't work so we can only give it an A-. I'll be the one that fixes that thing. I drive to the Ojai Valley Inn. I am dropping off 10 cases of white wine. The note says go thru the service entrance. This is one big inn. I go thru what I've always thought was the service entrance. I wait for 5 minutes for this valle dude who then finally tells me to go to the front desk. I wait 10 minutes for her to clue me in to the location. When I get there I am again met with the corporate mask pesona. I guess every one who works there has their own personality erased and replaced with the Ojai Valley Inn's version of pretension. I unload the 10 cases my self while 3 Inn employees stand around and talk.

Back on the estate, I experience my thoughts weaving webs, a battalion of spiders that needs to be fed thru problem solving or problem invention, it does not matter to them, they just want to do something. Down the steps, into the basement where my clothes reside, I put on some board shorts and running shoes.

As I am running down the driveway, Devin sees me and says: "Uhht oh, there he goes."

He's 30 feet behind me when I say: "This is the view your gonna have."

"What? I'm gonna be this close?"

"With binoculars."

Despite the heat, the run goes nicely. I'm still taking it easy. Don't push it. Just get the heart beating, lungs breathing and muscles woken up. At the top of my run, at the forest road gate, I stretch my calves, hamstrings and quads. The return is all downhill and soo effortless. I decide to hop in the pool and swim several laps. Great way to end the workout.

The yellow Toyota truck gets a carwash, window cleaning and vacuum while I read the sports section on the heroics of Big Shot Bob. The drive down to Santa Monica is uneventful except for an accident (a guy rear ended some lady) that only happened about 50 cars in front of me.

I arrive early enough to walk around Venice Beach's boardwalk. That place never changes, same sunglasses, same paintings, pictures, t-shirts. But there was this clown that I've never seen before. He looked good although he could have smiled.

LAX is crawling with motorcycle cops when I arrive. Keeping us all safe from the boogeyman. I am 30 minutes early. Read a little bit of Palahniuk's "Diary", call up Skip's curator: Linda. She lets me know the flight number. Turns out I came at the right time. We talk for a little bit, I inform her of the "Skip at 18" post, give her BS's URL and tell her about the 1963 article on Skip.

Seems like Skip is one of the last off the plane. He looks tired, his eyelids hang, he's wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sandals with white socks. We walk to the car. Skip: "I thought since the plane was early that I'd have some time to sit and think, oh well."

We reach the car, I say "Do you recognize it?" (first wash in 6 months)

"Looks the same."

We exit LAX with me driving. I inform Skip of my post based on the 1963 article. "Do you still think morality's on the decline?"

"Morality's been declining ever since."

The music only flows from one speaker but at least the radio works. The tuner sort of changes stations now and I am able to tune into the bandwidths producing the rock I want: Stone Temple Pilots, ColdPlay, Led Zeppelin, Sheryl Crow. for the last 80 minutes we do not talk just listen to the music on the radio. We arrive at 8:30 but Antonio's has closed early. I stop outside The Hub to check if they are televising the Spurs/Piston basketball game. It turns out they are; so Skip leaves me there and drives the last half mile or so up the hill to his hovel home.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Skip at 18

Skip's mom visited several months ago. For me it was kind of a shock to meet her. Why? You ask. Well, I guess because ever since I have known him, he's been outside the norms of anyone I'd ever met. Skip's mom's name is Jane. She was very down to earth, sweet and totally normal. I guess it's hard to picture Skip having a normal family or even a human family at that. He's just so damn wild. Most of you know that he has been living in domiciles of his own creation for over 20 years now. He lives on Doctor Skipper (a soda) and eats at a Mexican restaurant (Antonio's) every day and night that he's home in Ojai.

A month or 2 ago, I informed the world with my microscopic blog voice that Bill had been doing a lot of talking about Skip moving off the land. This is an annual event. As annual as Skip going to NY for 3 months. This time though, Bill had Millennium deconstruct Skip's latest addition to his hovel. The latest update as of tonight is that Skip will be back living here once again. In fact, I'll be picking him up from LAX tomorrow evening. We'll probably make it back to town in time for Skip to eat dinner at Antonio's.

Jane, (Skip's mom), must have caught wind of Bill's eviction inclination because she sent a letter about Skip along with some photos of Skip in high school, family in front of X-mas tree, Skip as a baby, Skip as a 9 year old and an article about Skip when he was 18. I have to confess that I am still in shock at these revelations concerning Skip's formative years.

Without further ado, I shall give you the shortlist on these shockingly unprovocative pieces of history from one of the most enigmatic people I have ever met. [Taken from the article written in 1963 with permission from no one]

#1: {The picture of Skip in the local paper blew me away. He looks like he could have been a movie star. Great smile, very good looking and his hair... his hair is combed, parted on the side, short and clean-cut with a wave.}

#2: "Skip excels at swimming and ice skating." {What! you gotta be kidding me!}

#3: "I love music too," he said "I like different groups depending on my mood. I enjoy the Smother's Brothers, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Kingston Trio." {Whoa, hold on a sec... slow down, I'm getting dizzy.}

#4: He also likes to sing, though "just fooling around as he puts it, not professionally. Reading is a good occupation too. He enjoys novels such as "Brave New World" but prefers books with theological ideology and is interested in the history of the Greeks and Romans. "I also have a model railroad," he added. {Model railroad?!}

#5: Always interested in outdoor activities, Skip loves hunting and fishing. His love of animals and birds is indicated by his interest in the ducks he raises. He would like to go somewhere like Alaska where he could be self-sufficient. "I think most teen-agers are afraid to be alone, but I'm not. I feel I am equipped to survive." {Ahh... the seedling is sprouting}

#6: In addition to his other interests he is an excellent cook and even bakes bread for his family. {Wait a second, who the heck are you talking about? This aint Skip, say it aint so. The Skip I know never eats anywhere except Antonio's. Got it?}

#7: Skip will be attending C.S.U. this fall and he plans to study Wildlife Management, "I will probably be in the forest service only I will be interested in animals rather that trees."

#8: "I don't go steady with any girl right now," he stated, "but I have been dating one girl pretty regularly." Skip does not wish to become seriously involved romantically. "I don't believe in young marriage. Before you marry you should be financially secure. It should come after college and the service. As soon as you have found your niche in life."

#9 In discussing morals, Skip said that though out history there have been periods of moral decline and he feels that this is one. "It is kind of like and earthquake. You feel it but you can't stop it. I would say that only 10 of every 150 teen-agers are morally loose but these are the ones seen in public and the criteria by which the others are judged."

So there you have it, a small slice of Skip-apple pie, baked over 40 years ago. We are able to see some of the traits and interests that influenced the direction of his life. But how did he get from there to here? Hmm, I may have a few questions for Skip as we cruise back to Ojai on the PCH.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

When a soul becomes a river

When a soul becomes a river
It can make some people shiver
If they're already cold then they're gonna get colder
If their temperature's high then it's gonna feel good
then it's gonna feel good then it's gonna feel good

When a soul is like a laser it can hurt your eyes
It can make you cry it can burn out your retinas
& make you go blind
It can also take you deeper than you ever knew
& make you a seeker of inner truth

When a soul is like the ocean
It can never be frozen cause it's always in motion
It is always breaking on the shores of your land mass
Unless you are looking for an under toe
Or deep beneath the surface where the light cannot go
You may hear the songs of holy whales
One hundred fifty million year old tales

When a soul is like a radiator
like an electrical sun
It can take away the shivers & make life fun
When a soul is like a window
You can see the otherside You can watch it like TV
You can see what's inside
And when you pull the courtains
Then you can hide Yeah when you pull the curtains than
You can hide

Watch where you're pointing that thingamajing
Don't turn me into a projection screen
Watch where you focus your mental machine
Unless you turn it off it will over heat
Gotta keep it moving from thing to thing
Unless you turn it off it will over heat

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I hope you like oranges

Just for kicks, let's say that you will have an extemely vivid dream tonight; which has you travel all the way to China. On a whim you will decide to stow away on a ship filled with oranges. Lucky for you, no one will see you shimmy up one of the many ropes which keep the cargo ship from floating out to sea. It dosn't hurt that you'll be wearing all black and that it will be a moonless night. Just in case you forget, you will not realize that this is a dream. Please, remember to forget, thanks. I hope you don't mind the emphasis on this but it is quite important. Your arms will start to feel tired and sore at the half way point. Don't look down! Relax and breathe. Some how, you will manage to climb the rest of the way up the thick moldy rope. Soundlessly, you will climb over the railing. Like a cat you will slink over the deck until you find the hatch. Now you will open the hatch. Hey, get a grip, you just have to turn the wheel around counterclockwise. Come on, a monkey can do this. So, after some self induced difficulty, you'll open the hatch and climb below deck. I guess the crew will not be on the ship yet or maybe they will be playing hangman, crucifixion man, eletrocution roulette or poker in the galley; who knows? Anyway, you won't see anyone as you walk around the ship's innards. At some point it will feel like you are walking thru molasses. What did you expect? This is a dream, remember? What?! didn't I tell you to forget that? OK, where was I? Oh yeah, some how you'll find the cargo hold. There will be these giant vats of oranges, effortlesslly, like a monkey, you will climb up the the external framework of a 20 foot high container. It will be filled to the brim with navel oranges. Now you'll crawl on top of these oranges, smell them, breathe them in like a winemaker, love them, thank them and then lie on your back and stare at the ceiling. Then, you'll start to wiggle, squirm and work your way down several feet from the surface. Now, you'll basically be set for the voyage. Any time that you feel thirsty or hungry, you will rip open an orange, chew, suck and swallow. Bon appetite and bon vaoyage!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Life is a video game

Today's work adventure will leave you in a daze. I mean it. This morning you actually set your alarm. 9AM, get out of bed, says your piano key alarm. Actually, you awoke before it went off thanx to the friendly neighborhood leaf blowers. You know how this goes by now: check your list. Look, its your favorite, restock some toilet paper. Alrighty, all the commodes are no longer missing paper, scratch off number 1, congratulations. Now you can turn on the heater in the cottage, good job, scratch off number 2. Oh boy, a couple beds need the sheet of paper with the rules, take care of that, nice work. This is how it goes. We need some more beds set up. Get on with it, no time to sit and stare at the trees. Finally, it'd be nice to empty the compost and throw some hay on top. Due to your swift and efficient execution of the famous list, there is time to practice some yoga and tai chi.

You will experience a deep sense of well being after 30 minutes of yoga and finish in 60 minutes, then you will do tai chi for about 10 minutes. What a good little set of exercises you have. You do that every day? I don't know how you do it, I simply don't have the time or discipline.

The next phase begins; you will park about 23 cars. More precisely, you will tell the guests where they are to park. Everyone follows your instructions. No one rebels against where you tell him or her to park. They started arriving around three. Some will trickle some will clump. You'll play the latest Star Wars video game with Will while you wait for the various guests to arrive. By the time six rolls around, you are wired from killing clones and rebels. Will likes to be the empire. You like to be the rebels but then Will keeps killing you. Much better to be on his team. You don't like dying over and over, do you? So, every time a car pulls up the driveway, you dash out and lead each guest personally to their own parking spot. No one has any weapons, no light sabers, no blaster guns, no sniper rifles, in fact there's not even one alien.

It's almost seven, might as well turn on some lights, light some candles and of course light a fire in the back yard. Go back to the guesthouse and play some more video games. Will appreciates having a teammate. He's learning how much fun it is to cooperate. We take over many planets together. The empire grows in consequence of our collaboration. We fight along Darth Vader. He's not such a bad guy. He looks a little funny running around the various battle fields in a cape but that doesn't mean you should laugh at him. Have some compassion. Sheesh.

Hey, there are a couple dogs you gotta go let in. Yeah, your house sitting down the road. It is a place you are quite familiar with. You first sat for them almost six years ago. The dogs are pretty new though. The original dog lives in doggy heaven now. Have a nice sleep, I'll check in with you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

No one will be left behind

Devin and I hit some balls yesterday. Tennis balls. You all will be happy to know that his thumb, which broke 19 days ago, is healing quickly within a fiberglass cast. It was nice to just wack away and not play any games. While we hit he tried tossing the ball up in the air with his broken left hand for some serve practice. To his surprise, he had no difficulty. This morning, Devin played against Millenium. Devin won 6-0 6-3. "I let him win those games" Devin said "I practiced hitting the ball hard and going for winners. He had a good stroke. I was surprised."

Living in this quasi-community for the past 18 months has been interesting. I've seen many folks come and go. The latest on this sensitive topic is that Millenium will be going. He's been moved off the work-trade-for-rent deal and is now expected to pay actual dollars. I wonder who will move here next. Maybe we'll get somebody to replace our cosmic gardener. Poetically, I'd like to have some one called Century. Aeon could work to. I like the sound of Leap Year as well. I am not too particular.

While in my t-house this morning, Tool, my cat, lay beside me. The gas powered leaf blowers must have started at eight. This is the noise which woke me this morning and sent Tool off to some other corner of the estate. These little whining engines were relentless. I tried putting a pillow over my head, fingers in my ears, deep breaths, nothing worked, I felt the grinding vibrations in my blood, in my bones, in my skin. The residue of this noise pollution echoed, rebounded, lingered just beneath the surface of my consciousness.

When I finally surrender to the fact that sleep time has ended, jump out of the t-house and begin walking to the yoga studio, I see the two amigos, responsible for the abrupt end to my rest, climb into a pic-up and drive away. Oh well I think, Its yoga/tai chi/didj time any way. I spend the next 2 hours in there, screwing my head back on, bathing my own personal universe of atoms, molecules, cells, neurons, bones, body hair, discs, organs and space in healing vibrations, oxygen and rock n roll. Life aint so bad.

The list tells me what to do. I don't have to think. Look at the piece of paper do it. If I do think, It's OK, it might even come in handy. I walk out to the Vista yurt. Tooley follows me. The further we get from his normal territory the more he meows. I pause let him catch up encourage him. "Come on Tooley." He runs quickly, glancing around, big bushy tail between his legs. His ears twitch in concert with all the bird songs and bird voices, clicking, whistling.

Walk back, listen to the birds, encourage the cat to pick up the pace: "Come on, Tooley, no dilly dallying, I got things to do." Check the list. Water pressure in pool showers is low. Take apart the shower head, Clean out the debris. Check the list. Recharge the lamps in the t-houses, the Amrita Yurt. Check for Gaudalupe candles. Walk all the spaces. Make sure the maid knows what needs to be cleaned. Otherwise you're stuck with it.

The rest of the day will be getting the grounds ready for a hundred people. You will handle the parking all by yourself. No one can get boxed in. This is advanced Tetris - so pay attention. One out of every three drivers will ask: "You're not going to box me in are you?"

"No, I'm parking every one so that no one is boxed in. No one will be left behind." Then salute them like they are your commanding officer. Smile too, it's a nice touch.

The cars pour in, just a couple at first, then in fives, then tens. Its just you running around saying things like: "Park here, please make a right - just like the arrow, please follow me, thanks for your patience. Finally its full but the cars keep rolling in. They can park on the street now or down the hill on a side street or where ever. Who cares? You just want to watch the Spurs Pistons basketball game.

Your motorcycle battery has the night off but thats OK, we're on a hill. Gravity is your starter, momentum is your friend. Tonight, you'll watch the Spurs lose to the Pistons in an antique Airstream mobile home on an 8 inch TV hooked up to a satellite dish.

When you go to let Angus the cat in and feed him, you'll find him on top of the neighbor's house again. He'll be staring at the stars. For some reason, he comes down when you ask him to. "Thanks Angey" you'll say with wonderment. Of course, you left the back door open so when you carry him in and place him on the floor, he smells the fresh air and makes a dash for freedom. You anticipate his escape attempt and scoop him up. "Come on Angey," you say "you gotta try harder than that."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tony Tabla's push

My motorcycle's battery seems to have a tendency to weaken at Farmer and the Cook, a fantastic place to eat locally grown organic food. After finishing my lunch, I went inside and began to read the sports section of the LA Times. A car pulls up directly in front of me. The old beat up silver Toyota is familiar. Tony Tabla steps out. He eats a bird feeder cookie while downing a coffee. We catch up. It's been a while.

As we walk out the door, I say: "Hold on a sec, I might need a push, my bike's battery has been a little funny."

Tony: "OK."

Sure enough, the starter turns over a couple times weakly without sparking. Tony, exits his vehicle and gives me a push, I pop it into second it the engine vrrmmms. He follows me the back way to the estate.

Tony's spirit is high despite meeting up with a couple challenges. The recording of his CD has been put on hold and he's homeless. Lucky he's got enough friends to crash at here and there. He's on the road a lot performing. Last week he was in NY and a couple nights ago he was playing in LA.

Last Sunday night I gave Trish a call. Trish: "Hello?:

"Can I call you Snakey?"

"Uh... sure"

"Is it movie night?"

"Yeah, I have a couple DVD's, come on over."

"Do you need anything?"

"Yes, could you get me some cigarettes?"

"What kind?"

"American Spirit, yellow box... Oh yeah and some chocolate."

"OK, see ya in a few."

So I cruise on over with Snakey's vice fuel. What's interesting is that she lives right next to the cop shack. Snakey always seems to land on her feet. She'll be able to stay in this pad until August or September. The location is perfect because there's this violent schizo dude who has been calling up her friends and cruising the town trying to find her.

She has been painting lately. Buddha's eyes. She's been painting Buddha's eyes for days it looks like. I check out about seven of her paintings. They are all quite good. One is yellow, one is red, some are blue and some are green. One painting is a cartoonish landscape with a sunflower.

I end up watching Electra. It's better than I expected. While I watch, Trish paints, occasionally going outside to smoke a cigarette. She's broke she tells me. I still ask for reimbursement for the smokes. She digs up the cash and apologizes for having to give me four quarters along with the one dollar bills.

"I don't care, it doesn't matter."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fighter pilot sculpting

When you answered the ad for Fighter Pilot Sculptor, you basically thought it was a joke. Even though you loved flying planes and sculpting as well, it never occured to you that the two could be combined. So now, you're flying fighter planes for President Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 15 year old war against Iraq. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll let you come home eventually so that you can meet your child. He won't be graduating from highschool for another decade, I'm sure that you'll be released back to the civilian world by then. Stop your sulking, did you just eat a lemon?

You've done an awesome job of scuplting former pres Dubya Shrub into the mountainside. It really looks like him. The thing is though, I don't remember him having a short little mustache. I hope you're not getting any funny ideas. Today's assignment is to sculpt the Nike symbol into a huge boulder. The latest reality of war TV show is sponsored by NIke so stop your whining about child labor laws and free trade. If it wasn't for Nike sponsoring the war, you wouldn't be getting payed squat.

Monday, June 13, 2005

In search of television

I remember reading a stat from a book about 15 years ago that concerned televisions. Acoording to this book 99.9% of American households have a TV set. For the past 12 years or so I have not owned a television set. I still like to watch TV on oocasion. Mostly, it does not matter to me. But, during the NBA playoffs, I find myself pulling strings, making phone calls and getting creative in order to avoid having to watch the game at a bar. I'll drink a beer on occasion but bars just are not my scene - too many drunks.

Lucky for me, I have a few interesing ways to gain access to the wonderful world of television. I have a friend who has a 1970's Airstream in mint condition. He has an eight inch TV hooked up to a satellite inside this mobile antique. I've watched a few games in this rig. My friend Rob lives in a house with several hundred cable stations. I watched game 1 of the finals there. Rob's rooting for the Pistons. Whereas I'm going for the Spurs.

I ended up watching game 2 in Bill's bedroom in the bighouse. I thought I'd be alone. When I went inside, I ran into Dev. He'd brought a guy and a girl back with him from the wine festival. They were co-workers from the same winery and had been working the booth next to Devin. They were both pretty toasted when I met them.

"I'm gonna go watch the Spurs/Pistons' game." They want me to join them in the hot tub but the game has already started.

The girl ends up being a basketball fan of sorts and follows me up to the bedroom. Within minutes, Devin and the other guy are in there. All three are drinking wine. The guy ends up passed out just into the 3rd quarter. That's a relief, I think to myself, too obnoxious. Meanwhile the game's winding down with the Spurs dominating both ends of the court. Dev's making his move and I'm thinking: I need to get out of here. Bill arrives to find us all up there. He's totally cool about it (I'd left a message on his cell phone). He was planning on sleeping in the downstairs bedroom any way. He sits in a chair and we have some friendly banter. The passed out guy remains passed out. The girl gets bent out of shape from something Bill says. I cringe as the wine's impairment wreaks havic with her common sense. Here we are in Bill's bedroom, she's getting all rude over some invisible (to me at least) transgression. All Bill did was, get up and leave. He never said a word back. I was impressed.

We just had this long weekend consisting of a house rental and then an Easter Seals fundraiser. Then, to cap it off Sunday Night, we invade his room. Oh well what can you do about it? I just tried to go with the flow and I guess that's what Billy did. So much for avoiding drunks, a billion commercials can't be wrong.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Time for a new battery

My last 90 minutes of sleep today gave me some bizzare dreams to chew on - a feaky conglomerate bone for this doggy. I managed to walk into the yoga studio at 9 AM sharp for some more didjing. This time it was just with Diane. She's a cerified Tibetan bowl sound healer. Tannis was teaching the 7 or so students and directing when we were to play. She had me begin solo. I used the slidedidge in the key of C. After 15 minutes or so, Tannis signaled for Dianne to start. We combined well and as the time went on we meshed together in a seamless way. Afterwards, Dianne said: "You changed the key to match each bowl I played. That's really amazing, how do you do

I smiled and said: "I use my body, tune in and it just happens."

Next on the agenda was to blow some leaves around and make sure the prop is ready for and Easter Seal fundraiser that Bill's allowing to take place here on the estate. 80 people were supposed to show but at this point their might be half that. They provided a valet service. Nice.

There's a wine fest going on at Lake Casitas and Bill's wine company is there. Dev gives Bill a call: "Can you bring me my business cards? They're in the office."

Bill: "I'll get Didj to do it."

I take off on my CBR 900, stoked to get away and have a supremely powerful and responsive super bike between my legs. When I get to the fest, I follow the signs to the vendor parking. The parking dude needs to see a bracelet which I don't have. Bill gave me a piece of paper which said: "Vendor Parking". This did not suffice. Our wine company was not on the list. He asked me to turn off my bike. I said I could not because of the battery. He said: "Turn around and get out of here."

"I'm not trying to give you a hard time. My battery is funky. If I turn it off, I may not be able to start it. I need to on and incline so I can pop it."

Parking dude gets back on the walkie talkie and finally he gets the OK - "Go ahead in - sorry about that."

I am greeted by another wine fest worker after parking my bike by the port-o-potties. He whisks me by a security chick who wanted to see my bracelet. "It's OK, he's with me."

I drop off the cards to Devin, have quick words with him and Daryl and then I am gone. Back on the bike, it won't even turn over. I wait 10 seconds before I see a big burly guy come out of the plastic john. "Hi, can you give my bike a push? The battery's toast."

He comes over right away and the engine pops to life on the sencond try. "Thanks!" I yell over the roar of the engine give him the thumbs up and I am zooming away from the large gathering of drunk people.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The horizon approached the sun

Yesterday, just as the horizon approached the sun, I put on my new running shoes and ran up to the top of Foothill Road. I began at the midpoint and jogged the whole half mile. Initially, the steep incline challenged my initiative. Doubts found their way to the surface of the lake of my consciousness: what were you thinking? you don't stand a chance. Lucky you can still back out of the 1 mile Bmo challenge. The thoughts popped up as my legs felt heavy and my lungs struggled to distribute oxygen. Instead of identifying with them, I just watched and kept running. My body relaxed and I picked up the pace for the last 100 yards or so.

The downhill half flew by. the wind rushed against my face and bald head as I ran. The jacuzzi made the perfect finish line.

My new Nike running shoes are awesome. They know what they're doing. These kicks have lots of bounce, fit snug, are light, super comfortable and look sharp.

Tonight, I had a mini concert with a keyboardest and a percussionist. Somehow I managed to arrive before 10. My CBR 900 was parked at the corner of Lion and Eucalyptus. As I was about to push the bike to the top of an incline - in order to pop it - (Battery's funky or something), a cop car appeared at the other end of the street and parked across from my friend Daniel's house. The cop turned off his lights and walked toward Daniel's house. Curious, I walked down the street. Rock n roll music could be heard louder and louder as I got closer. Sure enough, the music was coming out of his motorcycle shed. What the heck is all I could think. I went in and turned it off. The policeman walks up and shines his flashlight on me.

"Sorry officer, I know th music was too loud."

"No problem, thanks for turning it off."

He's a pretty young guy. Totally cool about it. Turns like he's gonna take off right then. Then, Daniel can be heard on the other side of the fence along with his 4 puppies and 2 dogs.

Daniel: "What time is it?"

Cop: "It doesn't matter. The music was too loud and creating a disturbance. A neighbor called-"

Daniel: "Is it 8:30?"

Cop: "It's too loud. Creating a disturbance."

Me: "It's 9:30."

Daniel: "Oh."

The cop leaves.

I walk the block back to my bike, push it to the bridge, turn the ignition on, push it to the incline, hop on step it into first gear - nothing. Try again, this time push it down the incline, run, run 3 or 4 steps, hop on and pop it vrmmmmm second times the charm. 9:56, I walk into the yoga studio and join the 2 other musicians. Our audience consists of six women. We are able to mesh nicely and immediately. We play for 20 minutes and it goes well. I field some questions and share some didj mythology and methodology. The music was very well received.

Afterwards, some of us rejoin in the jacuzzi, savoring the hot water and champaign bubbles. We watch for shooting stars among the heavens during this moonless moment.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A humming bird in bee's clothing

The phone rang, I looked at the number, its Dianna. She called to try and figure out what the heck I'd said in the rambling message. We had a great conversation. She totally came clean, took responsibility for what she said at the party (previous post: Accept the challenge) and even expanded her viewpoint. She accepted that there are many diverse ways that we can contribute at Burning Man. I apologized for leaving such a long message. It'd have been a lot more appropriate to talk in person or at least with her on the other line instead of an answering machine. In the end, we both came to a greater understanding of each other's perspectives and more mutual respect.

I learned that the OBOP theme camp revolves around everyone working as a team. There are team leaders and there are workers. Its kind of like a bee hive. You have your worker bees and drone bees. In 2003, I did not work for anyone. I had my own ways of contributing (eg. First picking oranges for several hours hear in good ole California, then handing out the 11 boxes of oranges to random Burners on the Esplanade over a period of three days). Just like any good bee hive, the Queen bee and King bee along with their chosen nobility, were unable to process my random maverick currency - only the coins of drones and workers are recognized at OBOP. I was a humming bird in bee's clothing.

Ultimately, I am super grateful to Dianna for being so authentic with me on the phone on Thursday. "You made my day, Dianna." I said. Its so cool to be able to acknowledge what's actually happening and base my decisions on this instead of getting triggered into past unresolved trauma and hopping on the same old not-so-merry-go-round. This can be called spontaneous capitulation. Now, I know that I will stay somewhere else. It has nothing to do with not fitting in, not belonging, not being liked and everything to do with staying at a camp that has a style that I am comfortable with. I like to practice yoga, tai chi and play the didjeridoo. Duh! Why hang out with folk who drink too much etc. My presence in that kind of environment is incongruous and disruptive. Who wants a silly yogi aesthetic cue ball around when you want to get loaded?

Of course, I did a lot more than hand out a 1000 oranges. I had a blast performing at the OBOP's Palladium as well as playing for a thousand folks at Center Camp. I was also honored to pick up garbage. Special thanks to all Earth Guardians!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How can I experience unprisoned emotion?

Promise that you are not going to panic when I tell you what happened. This is a crazy way to tell you but there was no other alternative. Your pleas were accidentally overheard by someone dear to you and then I accidentally overheard them talking with an agent for the FBI. First of all, don't be paranoid but they are all in on it. Sorry, I can't give any of their names. Who knows what they'd do to me. Any way, here's some advice for me: you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think. And here's some advice for you...

Go to a dentist and get that new tooth taken out. The voices in your head will go away. Stop watching television except for Mtv. Only listen to radio stations that play alternative rock and classic rock. Listen to Pink Floyd everyday. Read every book that Chuck Palahniuk has written. When you wake up in the morning breathe deep into your belly and watch your thoughts. Subtly guide them towards goodwill towards yourself and others.

Don't worry so much about what others think of you. What actually happens is: they are deeply influenced by how you think of yourself. Love your self regularly like you water plants. When you do water plants, imagine that it's liquid love coming out of the hose. Imagine each emotion as a color in a rainbow. See and feel as many emotions as you can lining up next to eachother. In order to experience emotions separately, they have to pass thru living prisms. Humans are very rich emotional prisms/filters. Place your hand over your heart. Ask yourself: How can I experience unprismed emotion?

There are those who live off filtered human emotion. Many are addicted to the emotions of agony, aggression, hate, death and destruction. This is not a harmonious addiction. We can only help these extra dimensional vampires these paradoxical parasites these misery junkies by weaning them off their crutch. We have somehow become unwitting dealers clueless cattle in a sugary slaughterhouse prison zoo.

The fences can all be jumped over crawled under or walked thru because they are all just abstract ideas that have become customs mores taboos tacitly conformed to welcomed enforced thru indoctrination media media medium mean do you know what I mean? The prison bars are big enough for people to walk into, sit down, consume state sponsored liquid drug therapy, kill neurons, relax inhibitions, get violent (89% violent crime - perpetrator is drunk), watch TV tell you: consume, be afraid, you are not good enough, buy this, eat garbage, zone out.

You are a giant prism prison with billions of cells. Do you love your prisoners? Do you thank them every day? Do you feed off their emotions? What do you feed them?

Research: Opium Triangle, Bermuda Triangle, Eye in the Triangle, Triangle of manifestation. Eat: unfiltered raw organic apple cider vinegar, pure truly organic coconut oil, living food. Create: art, kindness, love, smiles, laughs. Share: your self.

Invisble placebo

The walls are made of dense thoughts
On the wings of shadow hawks
Reinforced with repetition
& the need for recognition
The sky is just reflections
Refractions and projections
Where the sun cannot be seen
& the darkness reigns supreme
The sky disappears, stars appear
And then we see for light years

The ground is what you lean on
What you dream you take for granted
The body is the stone
is the temple made of bone
The eyes are just the agents
of the invisible placebo
When you look into the mirror
Can you ever see your ego?

They see what they see
you believe what you need
We invent our memories
As if our gaze could make a river freeze
And we'd never seen it flow
Our me more me's are a hive of bees
Chopped down trees and circus fleas
This is how we construct realities

Every time we look inside
We change the world
Every time we look inside
We change the world

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Accept the challenge

Last night, Angus the cat decided that he did not want to come in the house before dark. He sat up on the roof of a house that is little more than a car length away. I tried several times, calling out his name, crinkling the plastic which contains his treats, whistling, clapping and singing his name. I tried to lure him in with promises of a good scratch. Alas, Angus ignored me like the cat he is. I gave Sunny a call and informed her of Angus' rebellion. This has been ongoing. She arrived at the scene a half hour later while I sat on the couch watching "My Life Aquatic" - a film starring Bill Murray. She spent an hour out there trying to get the cat in. Finally, she gave up and went back to her home down the road realizing that he's just being a cat. I reassured her that he'd be fine. "The roof is very safe." I said.

After the movie, Rachel (Angus' owner) calls for a status report. While talking with her, I grab a flashlight and go outside. I shine the light up on the roof but am unable to spot Angus. I sense something and look to the right on the ground. Theerrrre's Angus. He's walking towards me, tail slowly whooshing back and forth. I give Rachel the play by play keeping my cell squeezed between my shoulder and ear, scooping up the orange and white cat. She's very relieved and thanks me for coming thru.

Maybe you remember Sunday's post about the hand analysis? Lynn told me to be more authentic with my emotions. Thus, early today while planting three trays of sun loving ground succulents along the side of a hill while the bees made love to the flowers, I kept thinking over and over about something Dianna had said to me this past Sunday night about Burning Man in 2003.

Dianna: "I still can't believe how lazy you were at Burning Man."

So its like 36 hours later and I can't stop thinking about it. At 5PM I complete the planting task and call her. She does not answer so I leave a message on the phone. Basically, I say that her judgement of my being lazy at Burning Man is outrageous because its none of her business what I did at Burning Man. Second of all, "You're wrong. Third of all to be holding on to this falsity that's none of your business anyway for 2 years is pathological." I suggested that she get some kind of help and expressed my concern for her well being.

I felt so good after the call. I didn't feel vindictive. I felt authentic. Identify, display, communicate.

I am grateful that she expressed herself though. It took alot of hard alcohol. But she said it. Now, I realize that I'll definitley not be staying or have anything to do with OBOP. They are the closest thing to a concentration camp that you can get to at Burning Man. I forgave them for the 2003 whip snapping politics, hierarchial high jinx and self induced blindness thru intoxication. I forgave but I forgot as well. But I have remembered. Tonight, I heard that there's an anti-work Ojai camp this year. How refreshing.

Bill, Devin, Nick, Will and I ate dinner at Shangra La this Evening. Out of the blue, Bill asks Devin and I if we'll have a 1 mile race. He offers to give 500 to the winner. There's a 50 dollar entry fee. Devin and I both agree. Next, he gets Gates on the phone and asks him. Surprisingly, Gates immediately accepts the challenge. "I've never lost a one mile race." Steve proclaims.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just a human

I’m just a human in a goddess town oscillating between lost and found
You can’t see me ‘cause I’m kissing the ground
You can’t hear me ‘cause I don’t make a sound

Yeah, I’m just a human in a goddess nation all-alone I search for elation
I’m learning how to tune vibrations
& turn the dial to find new stations
I sift thru static and feel frustration I remember that it’s information
And then I find illumination

And I know it’s all just temporary what I see is how I feel it’s so surreal the cosmic wheel Achilles heal let’s make a deal I will crawl if you will kneel

Just a human in a crazy world hoping for a simple girl
Not a goddess I’m no god - just another hopeless sod
Who knows it’s time to throw in the towel
Get on all fours watch the moon and howl

Something sacred has become a game a game that I refuse to play
Deception takes me farther away from hard earned integrity
The price of this truth is too high to pay so we hide with a lie and turn away
We paint over pain with token toasts watery eyes and too much smoke
We measure our worth thru sexual conquest
Stealing the feeling and we become soul-less
And so you pretend that you are a goddess
Forgetting that there was a sacred promise
Between your soul and your body it is the first
Between a man and a woman there is a thirst
For the sky, the earth, death and rebirth
For the wind in the trees and the breath in our lungs
For the songs in our hearts that long to be sung

Just a human in a crazy world wondering if there is a girl
Who can love herself and love me
The ultimate mystery

I’m just a human in a goddess town oscillating between lost and found
You can’t see me ‘cause I’m kissing the ground
You can’t hear me ‘cause I don’t make a sound

Sunday, June 05, 2005

World Thirst Day

Sunday began with random folks walking into the room I was sleeping in. Estimated time: before 8. Consequence: I put the covers over my head. Some people would leave the door open and I could clearly hear the loud conversations in the kitchen. I thought about the "Dear guest" statement of estate rules that I put on every bed. I thought how it says in bold: silence until 9:30 AM. Oh well, I guess no one ever reads that thing. Too bad, try to get some sleep.

After getting things back into order, I enter the yoga studio. The yoga feels so good and puts me into a calm alpha state. Just as I finish, Lynn and Dee enter. Lynn says good bye. Dee and I are doing an exchange. She's an energy worker. I set up the massage table and close my eyes. My experience consisted of drifting into dreams and then waking. I did not feel much but sensed that something was going on. As I sat up I had a sense of relief behind my eyes like some space had opened up. Afterward, Dee said that a bunch of energy came out of my ankle. She said that there was many many spiders in my eyes which she cleared out along with tons of webs. Finally, she said that there was a major release of something and that it was difficult for her to handle. I remember hearing her twitch and teeth chatter when this was happening. In exchange, I gave her a didj vibration session which only lasted for 10 minutes. She said that she was "too sensitive" after the energy work. Whenever I got near her head I sensed that she was uncomfortable and so I was not surprised. Note: She did not know about the webs that Lynn spoke of the day before. Quite an interesting overlap.

Lots of blueberry cornbread, coffee cake and chicken shish-ka-bobs left over for the hungry. Speaking of hungry, I just remembered that world hunger day is coming up. Monday or Tuesday - I think. My own personal take on this is that I will fast. Yes, you heard me correctly. It is a perfect day to not eat any food. I will drink water and vegetable juice though. Maybe I'll have a fruit smoothie. Does any one Know if there is a world thirsty day? If there isn't then I predict that Kook-A-Cola or Pesky Cola will be starting one soon. Maybe Bud(not)wiser will start one. Of course, they'll (Bud.) use some kind of talking fish or skate boarding frog to kick of world thirsty day. But of course, their target audience will be adults as opposed to children, silly.

Excuse me, I digress. Now where were we? Oh yeah, tonight I got wind of a birthday party for Tree. Happy Birtday Tree! She turned 29. We all know what that means. Last year before the big 3-0. Time to live it up honey! Well, I have to say, Tree was living it up tonight. The party took place just down the road from here. It was kind of low key when I arrive. The party started at 2 and was women only till after 7. When Mike Brown and I arrived, the girls were all in that been drinking all day mode, dancing, group hugging, friendly, flirtateous.

I did not consume any alcohol, just took in the scene and danced a bit to the chill out dance music.

At one point, Nick takes my photo with his digital camera. All you can see was my silouette from the heart up. The rest was all lost in a blue fog. He thought this was significant and gave me a mantra to chant. He said alot of cool things that were quite nice and encouraged me to strive for helping all living beings to experience heaven in the now, like a bridge.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

You sunk my battleship - thanks

The latest rental to take place involved a wedding. No wedding activities took place here but this is where half the attendees slept and ate most of their meals. The wedding took place this morning at Meditation Mount. Just as the bride and groom were taking their vows, the sun melted the blanket of clouds and the sky became blue. Many of the guests then went on a wine tour.

Several folks chose to nap and relax. Among them were Lynn and Steve. Lynn and I had decided to exchange services that we offer. She is a hand analyst and I give didjeridoo vibration sessions. I arrived at the appointed time expecting tardiness. I played for a round 15-20 minutes and then Lynn arrived with Steve whom I'd agreed to vibrate simultaneously. We decided that I'd have my hand analyzed first.

As we sat around the pool area, Lynn studied my hand and talked outloud as she found the characteristics which formed the basis of her interpretation. The key to unlock my block is my style of handling emotions as they come up. If I do not express what I am feeling, the emotion does not disappear, it gets stored in a "receptacle". When the "receptacle" is full, I then become "reactive". This equates to Freud's concept of displacement. What happens here is that I over react in situations where I experience stress and take it out on others that are unrelated to the original experience. She explained that there is a window of time to express emotion in the moment: 3-10 seconds. She went over a few other areas as well. The lines in my hand told her that I am wired to be an artist in the spotlight and that I have a unique message that needs to be heard. Steve had insight as well about a lump I have in my left hand. It lies at the cross of my midline (work relationship) and heartline. He said that it shows where I am blocked and is blowing up as a consequence of blocking the flow of emotion. Lynn said that my work and who I am are synonymous. She also said that I have a mind that needs to be solving complex problems. If I am not regularly utilizing my ability to process vast amounts of information then I will create mental webs which will potentially snare, snag and slow me down.

The experience kind of reminded me of the game Battleship. Lynn and Steve clearly sunk most of my ships. She left me with a technique which will help me take the steps I need to in order to achieve greater authenticity in the moment with my emtions. Its a triad. One is to identify the emotion. Two is to display the emotion. Three is to communicate the emotion. Whew!

In return, I gave them both a simultaneous didj vibration session. I instructed them on a breathing technique, taught them how to circular breathe (without an instrument) and sent them in the yoga studio. Fifteen minutes later I enter the large room and begin playing Elephant Didj. This particular didj was made by my friend, Paul Human. They sat back to back on cushions with their legs crossed. I began with a deep drone. As the breath began to warm up I began to chant: "Om mani padme hum. Om ah hum. Om shiva. Om Shiva Shakti. Om gati gati para gati para sumu gati Bohdi Svah ha..." I then aimed the didj at various chakras. First the anahata, then the ajna, then the third, then second and then the root. The Wormhole Didj called to me. This didj is about 8 and a half feet long. I played it over their heads, moved it back and forth like a giant magic wand and sang. Next the slide didj. I stationed it at the C# location and played a song of love with the barest vibration of my lips and the softest song on my vocal chords.

They seemed so good together that I just assumed they were married. Thirty minutes later, I saw them by the jacuzzi as I turned on the various lights around the grounds. Steve called out "Hello" and they waved me over. They had a glow about them and smiled at me. Lynn held up her hand showing a golden ring with a green peridot and said "Look what you've done." Incredulously, I just stare, thinking did they just get engaged, but not wanting to say it. So Lynn does: "We're getting married. Steve proposed 10 minutes after you didjed us. Thankyou."

"Wow, I am honored." This is a first. What a trip. And I never left home.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Breaking news

Many people are reacting as if this is a joke. Others are pulling out their hair and ringing their hands. While other folks are staring up at the heavens saying things like: "Why God? How can you let this happen?" Police are bracing for riots and retalitory behaior. Maybe you have seen the increase in police presence, we call this saturation. Johnny Depp has been replaced by Michael Jackson for the role of Willie Wonka in the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Seems like a perfect fit don't you think?

I think they should have Jim Carrie costar in this potential blockbuster. They can graft Mask to the factory and come up with an orginal movie. Every time Carrie puts on the mask, he turns into Jacko. Instead of the mask they can use a white glove. This could be a good time to bring back the moonwalk. I can easily picture the new Wonka dancing with the oompa oompas. They can spoof Thriller. Its endless, what do you think?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Draw a cartoon in your mind

Tom Tomorrow had the greatest political cartoon I have yet seen concerning the ridiculous chains of words that keep coming out of the current organized crime family occupying the house known for being white. There are 4 frames to this work of art. A penguin asks a man. So, let me get this straight, You are condemning Newsweek for putting out false information which led to the unnecessary loss of life? Doesn't this sound the least bit familiar? NO. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

This cartoon once again showed how when we point a finger at someone or something, there are three fingers pointing right back at us. The condemnation of Newsweek by the Whitehouse is just amazing. It shows that they lack the ability to remember their past. Forget about learning it then. The repeat button is stuck on. Ground Hog Day siamese twinned to Caddyshack starring Dubya Shrubbed as Bill Murray. The Iraquis are just gophers ruining our golf course in the desert. Everyday's just like the first, gotta blow up those gophers. Same time, same channel, same day.

My own cartoon that has only been drawn in my mind: (A cluster of flys stuck on fly paper which resembles the desert) Fly paper has Middle East scrawled on it. Caption reads: support the flies.

More paradoxes coming out of the mouth of the commander of state sponsored terror: stem cell research. Suddenly, W is all about the sacredness of life. Hmmm, by golly, aren't you the same fella who took a bunch of false information, lies, manufactured data to further an agenda to gain control over significant sources of oil at the expense of thousands of innocent human civilian live? Aint chu the same fella that allowed and allows the wanton torture of sacred human life?

I remember a stolen election, constitutional ejection and staged inspections, I remember unsubstantiated accusations, grassy knole illustrations and media manipulations. I remember to read lips and who sank their own ships to blame it on the fall guy. Now you can buy a six million dollar fan to share some of the hot air. Now you got a bionic eye that lets you see the Cat's Eye Nebula, Titan's atmosphere and Paris Hilton's underwear but still you cannot see feel or hear your own heart.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Capture the snake and let it go

Task # 10 involved cutting off the bottom part of the cloth shower curtain. It had torn and looked ragged. The scissors that I'd brought down to the pool area were ineffective. They cut paper not cloth. I trudge up the hill and then down the steps to the west basement get a pair of scissors capable of cutting cloth. Immediately, I see Timmy the cat going after a snake. I can tell right away that it is a baby rattler. It has a diamond head and only one rattle. The snake is cornered and the cat wants to play with it as cats do. Timmy ignores my verbal orders: "HEY TIMMY, GET AWAY FROM THAT" so quicker than a striking snake, I scoop him up. I carry him up the steps and get him in the house. Then I see Tooley, grab him and put him in the house with his bro. Back down the steps, little snakey aint going anywhere. I walk by it and step thru the doorway into the basement. Hmm, I think. How to capture this little poisonous reptile without hurting it? [The story that everone always repeats about the baby rattlers is that they are more dangerous because when they bite you they release all their poison. The older rattlers are more conservative and hold back.] I grab a shovel and a plastic storage crate that has the lid which jigsaws together. The capture is anticlimatic and effortless. I scoop up the young little critter with the shovel and drop it in the clear plastic box and then close the lids together.

Dayla is in her car in the driveway with her beautiful baby girl: Sienna. I show her the snake and she repeats the story about the babies being more dangerous... She says: "Your dressed for the part."

"Ohh, yeah" I say. I am wearing camo shorts, camo t-shirt and a camo jacket.

The next faze ensues as I begin the walk to where I used to sleep back in the woods, a good 13 minute hike from the main house. The traveling is simple until I get to my trail which runs up a now dry stream. The huge amount of rain, this past winter, has made this hike more rugged and I carefully make my way over various obstacles and debris. I vigilantly keep the lid closed and have to make a few leaps here and there where the water carved deeper into the earth. I stay focussed and am able to climb up the last incline and make my way thru the giant prickleys which now own that part of the abandoned trail.

Finally, the snake's freedom is returned as I but the container on its side and watch as it slithers out of it. Fully straight for the first time it looks to be 22 inches long or so. I turn around and put a few things into the container and depart.

Many items on the list, I end up working till past six. I eat salad #2 at Farmer and the Cook. Back on my bike, push the starter. It just keeps turning over and over but will not fire. Back in the store I see Morgan. "Hey Morgan, feel like pushing a bike?"

His shoulders hunch forward, he looks at his feet: "I'm kinda tired... I'll do it if you can't find any one else."

I split. He's the only candidate. So, now I am pushing this increasingly heavy bike down El Roblar. The hill that will give me the kinesthetic advantage is only a quarter mile away. I push and push and push trying not to hold Morgan's reticence against him. Finally, There's enough of a slope for me to start running and building up speed, hop on the bike, turn it on... sputters, almost. More pushing... try again... no dice. The third time will be the charm, steeper slope, engine roars to life, relief. Open the throttle, let it rip. I feel much better now.

Heather is a new member of Ojai. I run into her in Rainbow Bridge and our conversation lasts for a half hour. Some people belong in this town. She does.

The bike roars to life, the battery recharged from letting it run for a while. Almost too long. It was close to the red. I head up the hill. On a whim, I stop at another estate, checking to see if Robin is there. Maybe she'll want to check a movie. Anyway, she's not around but there's a bunch of Burning Man folks hanging out. Everyone's supposed to be signing up for various art installations and tech work. Somehow, I end up signing up. I doubt that I will actually stay at the OBOP theme camp but it will be nice to help out with preparations and hang with the crew.

Then, I hop in the hot tub with Robbie. His role on this estate is similar to the role I have here. He's in a tough position currently. The owner's way into squeezing the work out of him: carpentry, plumbing, electrical, miscelaneous - but does't want to pay. His rent is literally triple what he is working off and then when he has gone beyond his rent quota he's not seeing ju$tice. This is not sustainable or honorable. Ironically there are 3 other folks there who's deals are stellar. It makes me wonder about pecking orders, scape goats, middle, upper, lower classes and how they pervade human systems. I tried to present this situation as an opportunity for him to perfect his negtiational skills and stand up for himself.

This seems like a clear case of exploitation. Of course I only have one perspective. It is fascinating how this parallels my own experience here. Currently, I seem to have graduated from the predicament that my friend is in. I advised him to seek out other sources of income and make them his priority. This will empower him to have the confidence needed to generate leverage.