Sunday, July 31, 2005

I am in a plane flying

I am in a plane flying over the Pacific Ocean. The journey to Hawaii began with Devin driving me in his natural gas powered white pick up truck with his big yellow Labrador Retriever, Scout, on the floor at my feet. The ride to LAX took about 2 hours and 20 minutes with several pockets of traffic pushing the old “will I miss the plane?" button. It turned out fine. I checked in, waited in line to put my rucsack thru the x-ray machine, went thru security and had an hour to spare before my scheduled departure time of 6:25 PM on Hawaiian Air.

The last moments on the estate were slightly tense for me as I am caught between 2 opposing forces. The guests want to stay past check out time, lounge by the pool and savor the supreme sense of well-being. After over 12 hours of intense yoga one has the tendency to be totally free of the typical sense of time. The feeling of being hurried is gone. There is only the moment. What better place to spend it than a cool blue pool. Understandably, Bill wants his house back and so he pressures me to pressure the guests. This particular last day of the retreat is further complicated by the fact that Bill has his sister and other family members coming by at 2:30 along with me having to catch my flight out of LAX.

I’ll be staying on Oahu on the North Shore with my sister, Elizabeth, and her family for the next 25 days. My brother, Brian, lives a mile or 2 up the road with his family. Brian and I plan on playing tennis and surfing.

The flight went very smoothly. The flight attendants continually patrolled the aisles, offering booze, water, headphones, a meal and pretzels. They also made many trash collecting laps around the plane. I wonder if there is a method to all the serving activity. I presume that this continual distribution of refreshments and such is designed to create a relaxed atmosphere and alleviate the natural fear and anxiety that might arise. All these people crowded together in a small tube precariously defying gravity thousands of feet above the ocean. We hit a few pockets of turbulence but quite minimal. The jostling reminded me that I was in a plane while the movie: “Guess Who” played over the small flat screens. It worked for me. Made the time go faster. I give it 2.2 stars out of 5.

My brother-in-law, Roberto will be picking me up in a big black pick up truck.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hiding the cost

We are hiding the cost of everything
And so we are lost consequently
The roots of unease begin in the mind
spread thru the body ahead and behind

Now we've forgotten we're makers of time
avoiding the void we're always annoyed
& looking outside for someone to shame
someone to scapegoat someone to blame

But this course of action always fails
Its just an excuse to build more jails

I don't want to argue I just want to scream
& maybe we'll awaken from this awful dream

Innocent people I sing this for you
Please forgive my country
Its a bomb with no fuse

'cause it's hiding the cost of everything
& so it is lost consequently

The drivers of this bus are blinded by hate
Their stomachs are bloated
There is poison on their plate
All they can muster & perpetuate
is a transparent bluster
that is driven by hate

I can forgive those some of us
who know not what they do
But I will not forget the cost
of ignoring the truth.

The end of war begins in my heart
This is the moment
This is the start

Peace only happens when no one's left out
When all are welcome
within & with out.

Friday, July 29, 2005


[The following song/poem was written over a year ago after some unkind words I'd spoken made it back to a friend.]

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart.
Tai chi and chi gong gave me a jump start
to look at my self with the critical eyes
that had fixed on my friends seeing only their lies.

I strive for compassion but lately I've failed
If I am a train than I have derailed
2 faced and angry is no way to be
when I treasure truth and integrity

I want to make amends with all my friends
Forgiveness is the way the heart mends
For reckless blame I apolgize
& hurtful names most unwise

Some how I forgot took too many potshots
& lost my connection with my heart
To feel is to heal this is my New Deal
I will not run away I'll face the truth each day

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Kinesthetic collage of the eclectic sublime or how the experiment began

Sometimes, I get the urge to use these words, from the English language, to convey, hint at, relate - experiences I have had within my body, mind, limbic system - that seem to not be ordinary. This: "seem not to be ordinary" could be a consequence of blind spots within the language of English and the apparent taboo on discussing anything that is not ordinary. When one lives in a society that has hyper social consciousness with the majority of constituents hair trigger quick to deny it, then one can see biological robots everywhere. Where ever you are afraid to look at yourself, that is where you will find society's programming. Denial is a key ingrediant for being a good robot. It is the oil, the grease, the fix that stops the friction of self observation. The unexamined mind is the advertiser's dream. The good robot finds the perfect array of distraction to keep the focus of the mind off its own DNA. Self programming is not for robots. If my words disturb you then stop reading. Go to CNN or ABC or Fox.

Fairly regularly, when I am introduced to a new face, I am presented as being spiritual. I smile, make a joke, change the subject. I am not comfortable when this happens. Why? Because I am not trying to be spiritual. I don't even know what this means. The term: "spiritual" has become quite abstract and ambiguous from the way it has been used by various folks thru the lens of my small perspective. In contrast, I just think that I am practical. I am over a decade into an experiment which invloves me placing the focus of my awarenes on my body, mind, emotions and breath.

This experiment has had many twists and turns. When I began it was a direct consequence of reading Dr. Christopher Hyatt's "Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation" ; which was a consequence of reading "The Illuminatus Trilogy" by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. Reaing that book happened as a direct consequence of meeting a Canadian named John while on an open-ended wander about which ended up lasting 2 years.

Hyatt's book jump started my awareness. It was super practical and hammered home over and over and over that one has to perform the body sensory exercises every day. These exercises: extremely practical (see: to aquire this invaluable map). Why every day? This is how our DNA has been programmed for over three and a half billion years. This is why so many read the newspaper every day (or used to?). This is why there are many who watch TV every day. Drink coffee every day. Patterns and routines help keep the robot cars on the road. Robot trains on the tracks. Consume. Work. Retire. Die. Stay inside the lines. The accepted standard. Do not deviate from the standard.

What is the standard? From my narrow perspective, the standard is brutality. When brutality is the norm, when brutality is everywhere, socially accepted, encouraged. When practical health is discouraged. When self-directed health is discouraged. When highly successful, practical, harmonious techniques (proven and refined over thousands of years) for health (such as: yoga, tai chi, chi gong) are ridiculed and hijacked by the advertising complex (Mc Donald's, Carl Jr). The standard is to deny the potential within. To find ways to harden the heart. To imbed mines within the mind. To destroy inviduals' sense of well being. To manufacture anxiety.

This culture is perfect for me. I am a natural rebel. I dedicated my self towards the experiment suggested by Hyatt. Highly encouraged. Highly empowered. After 2 years of practicing his first method in Undoing Yourself. Actually, I'd be able to keep up the daily practice for 2 to 3 months at a time before losing my discipline. I always returned, though.

The results of the first stage of my body sensory awareness experiment were not spectacular. They were subtle. The consequences were simple. I began to have a calmness in my gut. I had never even known how tense I was in my diaphagm. I had no memory of it being otherwise. After half a year, I could move it. That was basically the extent of the changes. Subtle? Yes. Simple? Yes. Basic? Very. Underneath it all was amazement. Awe. Core empowerment. It slowly began to dawn on me that I was capable of changing things in my body that I thought were permanent. Fixed. Immobile. Beyond the scope of my control.

Dr. Hyatt had done something sublime. Impossible. Dangerous to the status quo. He had inspired me to change the unchangeable. Alter the programming. Rock the boat. Take the wheel and steer. Thru a simple book scattered thru out several thousand esoteric bookstores. Offered on the internet ( He conveyed to me something beyond words. Using words and pictures, he gave me self knowledge. Access to a language infinitely more sublime than words. Invisible.

This was just the beginning of the experiment. An experiment that is now a journey. A journey that has had peaks and valleys. From sleep to Hell to Nirvanna to California to planet X and back again. Repeat. Speed up. Slow down. Stop. Skip. Jump. Go to home made jail in your mind. Get out of jail free card. From the east coast to the west coast. Now, as I write, 10 years have passed since those first 2 years. This decade has seen changes that I could never have anticipated. Expected. Predicted. Believed possible. Only thru direct experience do I know. You can't know unless you go. The catepillar and the butterfly. The human and the futant. The mundane and the sublime. To be continued.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The heat cooks my brain

Today began by nothing waking me up in particular. By 9 AM the temperature starts to get rather high in the t-house. This is what motivated me to begin. First activity: The five tibetans followed by some yin yoga custom fitted to me by Kira of Lulu Bandha and then to top it off: tai chi. I played some didj as well. Around 11, Bill calls, tells me to put together a bed in the Chumash room, distribute fans to outside spaces, move propane tanks and clear webs in t-houses and cottage.

I walk around for the next 3 hours. The heat cooks my brain. My thoughts bubble, steam and pop. How quickly the bliss found in the yoga studio evaporates in the hot sun. The tiredness I feel finally triggers the concept that lunch time is beckoning. Over the years, I have become used to eating just fruit for breakfast and then postponing lunch. Recently read that one should eat big lunches and small dinners. Ayervedic diet article in a yoga zine. The fire in my stomach burns in sinc with the sun's position in the sky. The message: eat a big lunch at noon. I decided to experiment with this concept but it seems difficult to implement already or... at least today. I manage to eat my lunch at 3 PM: salad, olive oil, apple cider vinegur, wild rice quinoa, red beet, carrot, sunflower seeds, raisins, an avacado and coconut butter on a slice of bread. Yum, yum, yum.

We're driving the B-mobile here, prussian blue 2005 volvo with all wheel drive, mega air conditioning and a radio which will only play AM (CD player works but I like the semi-randomness of DJs). Up El Roblar, cruising Meiner's Oaks, yee-hah. Turn in to Ace Hardware. Taking care of a recently added pick up item that I know will be a hastle. No details. Too boring. Walk up to the entrance, doors slide open all automatic like. The workers all wear these red shirts. Ask a red shirted dude about adaptors. "We don't do gas here. Try Coast to Coast or True Value. No gas adaptors, no sweat. They have fans. All kinds of fans. Cheap. I leave with 4 fans, 2 extension cords and one splitter with 6 sockets.

Coast to Coast has an age contrast to Ace Hardware. Ace staff are mostly young dudes, mostly young girls man the cash registers and always a few older gals on the register too. At Coast to Coast, there are always a few older dudes on hand ready to aid in your quest to buy whatever. All the dudes are in their sixties. But there's always a young girl working the register. Interesting how young women seem to be the ones to touch the money. Bank tellers are over 90 % female. Most of them young. This semi-short old dude with a mustache and a major gut tries to find the adaptor I need but to no avail.

Back into the B-mobile. Up the back way. Into the estate. Park in front of the yurt. Position fans. There's 3 in this big round structure now. Hopefully all the air blowing around will distract our guests from the stifling heat. This weekend the temps will stay in the 80's I think. Not so bad.

Dev gives a call. "What are you doing for dinner?"

We leave aound 7:20 PM and pull into Farmer and the Cook before 7:30 PM. I'm still feeling my "big lunch" and end up getting a bottle of water: reverse osmosis, purified, no bleach, no chorine, no flouride, no arsenic and fortified with medical oxygen. I also get a birdfeeder cookie. Devin gets the special: nut loaf bread, mashed potatos and some salad. We eat and discuss various items of interest. As we wind down, Chakra pull up in her black Toyota. We say hi and then she goes in to the store. Just as we are about to leave, she comes out and we start to talk about autism.

I say the bit about cacine and gluten.

She agrees and mentions that "borderline cases of autism have positive results with high fat diets."

"The whole Central Nervous system is made of fat. I bet autism is influenced by the deteriation of the mylen sheath."

"I think so to."

"I bet your coconut butter is quite effective."


That's when Dev says: "I'm ready to get out of here. I need to take Scout for a walk before it gets dark."

Chakra smiles and says: "We'll continue this conversation another time."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shop not surf

The ring of my phone thankfully pulled me out of a strange dream. Turns out to be Alla. She lets me know that I forgot my watch at her place last night. It is already just past 9 AM. Time to get up, shower and skip yoga - Lupe is cleaning the yoga studio and I need to get the dreded shopping over with.

I meet with Bill to discuss today's agenda. We walk the land and review what I need to get. Bill keeps adding new stuff. Then it turns out that I won't be able to use the Volvo. Bill suggests using Devin's big white truck which runs on natural gas. My list has almost doubled after meeting with Bill. In order to use Devin's truck, I have to fill it up at a natural gas fuel station. The closest one to where I'll be is in Oxnard. Devin also asks me to drop off his board to have some dings repaired and get some cement to repair his wet suit.

By the time I hit the road it is just before noon. I vistit Alla at her work to get my blue digital watch. We go for a walk around the corner and sit on a bench across from Bart's Books. This will be the best moment of the day. Too soon, I am off to run the first errand: mail some one their 2 shirts and pair of pants forgotted 2 weeks ago.

The heat of the day kicks in as I drive on the 33 to the 101. Get off on the Main St exit. Find the surf shop. Details, details, call Dev, sort out more deatails, call Dev... Out of there.

Back on 101. Cars everywhere. Yeah, this is So Cal alright. Get off at the Rose exit. Find the natural gas refueling station. Getting natural gas into a trucks fuel tank is different then the gasolene method. They even have a training vid that takes a minute. Then they give you a code that goes with whatever credit card you used. It's a gas as opposed to a liquid so the set up is different. I end up giving Dev a call when nothing happens after I follow the directions. It fills up and only costs $1.59 per gallon.

I am near a surf spot that Dev reccommended to smooth over all the extra driving and work. I get to the beach, park, look at the long stretch of beach and the small waves. Get back in the car. Drive. Find the 101. Start looking for Target. Let the shopping begin so it can end. Finding Target turns in to a bit of a struggle. Heat rising off the road distorts my vision. Distorts my thinking. My brain aint clicking, that is for sure. I get directions that take me to the vicinity. I get directions again and find the store. Bed, Bath and Beyond is in the same center. This brings me a drop of joy into the desert of my sandy limbic system.

What can you say about Target? I am not big on shopping so I have a bias. Despite my bias, I have to admit that it's a step up from K-Mart and Walmart. I managed to track down most of the items on my list. Professional scavenger hunt. Bowls, coffee mugs, pans, silverware, can opener, measuring cups but no fans, no creamery pitcher, no hotel pan... oh well.

I take everything to the truck, drive to the other side of the parking lot and then park in front of Bed, Bath and Beyond. This store surprisingly had mucho overlap with my Target expedition. Higher quality. More dollar$. I buy: curtains, rods and three fans. All nearly half priced.

Out in the parking lot again, pushing another cart filled with stuff, Devin calls. He needs his truck in 50 minutes. Shopping is done for this day. To me, shopping is war and I am a vet, suffering from a head ache after 6 hours of combat, on the roads, in the stores. Where's my purple heart?

I drive some more. Thought I might surf today. Not much of a bump is my consolation. 101 slims down from three lanes to two as I take the Ojai exit. 33 slims down from 2 lanes to 1 and the heat jumps up 10 degrees. Inland. The traffic is bearable but cars are everywhere until I turn off Ojai's version of Main Street. Slip up thru back roads. Patiently wait for some guys in suits to close a car door so I can get by a narrow street packed with cars for some kind of gathering. 1 of the 3 guys in suits eventually shuts the door. He never looks at me. Must have been an after thought. I say out the window: "Apology accepted." I look in the mirror, he seems to be looking up in the sky wondering where the voice came from. Puzzled.

Pull in to the estate. Place items in or near their new homes. It is after 6 PM. Head hurts. Need food. Hop on CBR 900. Cycle to Farmer and the Cook. The meal of salad, avocado, quinoa, rice etc. is the medicine, what I needed all along I guess.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wave emotion

Open your eyes
2 real eyes
You have more
than 2 I's

Open your heart
than you can start
to ride the wind
of evolution

I love the ocean of wave emotion
I love the dolphin down in the ocean
of wave emotion that magic potion
of wave emotion

Intend to ascend
Divine a crown
Feel the sound
All around

Breathe elation in formation
Feel elation for every nation
Comutation is revelation
Transfutation is exploration
Education is pure elation

I love the ocean of wave emotion
I love the dolphin down in the ocean
of wave emotion that magic potion
of wave emotion

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The wedding

The wedding between Bill and Eliza took place this evening. The tension accumulated all this week as the big day grew closer. The bachelor party on the beach helped relieve some of the stress but it came back on Friday and more so on Saturday. Now that the ceremony and celebration are over - except for some die hard remnants of the party soaking in the hot tub - I feel relieved and super grateful. I am amazed at some of the insecure debris that were churned to the surface of my consciousness. The manner in which I expressed them will be looked at closely in the upcoming weeks. Devin gets my vote for MVP. He contributed in all kinds of ways and was tireless. His massive cleanup in the kitchen was unheralded.

The ritual truly began at around 5:30 PM. This is when Bill had asked 3 of us to meet with him in the yoga studio. Devin, Tony, Bill and I sat in front of the fireplace on cushions. Bill requested some didjeridoo. I complied, choosing an easy drone and simple chants in Sanskrit and Tibetan: (some of the names of God). The boys joined in softly, with OMs and singing. We cleared the space between us. We expressed our love and support for Bill. He served us grattitude and then went into production mode. "Didj, I want you and Tony to play together [Tony on guitar] right now as people begin to arrive. Then, after the ceremony, I want just Tony to play while you help move the chairs from the lawn to the tables."

We break the huddle and head up to the house. Soon, Tony and I are playing music together on the back porch. We start in the key of C. This allows me to utilize elephant didj. This yucca didj broadcasts a deep resonent natural sound that seems to produce automatic bliss. Our impromtu jam sounds nice. The last time we dueted was around 3 weeks ago. As we continue, it becomes easier to follow his rhythm and melody. Finally, we are tight. We are in a sonic spaceship driven by God. We stare out the windows made of rods and cones. We listen to the vacuum and fill it with star light, comets and nebulas. We skim along the edge of the horizon leaving peace in our wake. The singularity opens and our orbit disappears. The ceremony begins.

Donna sings a song of true love in a voice so sweet and pure that the sheen of tears can be seen in the eyes of Clarissa (Eliza's mom). Donna plays the harmonium and keeps time with her feet and hips, fully involved, fully committed. Tony backs up her melodies, softly echoing her like a million tears of joy falling like rain in heaven.

The time comes for Bill to say his vows. He is calm. direct. Certain. Tender. He speaks so that only Eliza can hear him. She listens intently, enraptured. Pulls out a long piece of paper and reads her vows to him so that only he can hear. This moment. So intimate. So poigniant. To watch the pure display of emotions on their faces, unmitigated by the words. Raw devotion.

"I now pronounce you-".

Will interupts the minister. "What about the ring?" He's been waiting up there from the beginning. Shifting his weight from foot to foot. Looking around. Face changing expressions like a TV screen channel surfing. Trying his best to be present (he is only 9). The minister laughs. Corrects herself. Eliza places the golden ring on Bill's ring finger.

"I now pronounce you man and wife."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Slim's inferno

Slim's inferno hides in a 40.
He can see it grinning at him
out of the corner of his brain stem.

The fire makes him blush
and his eyse slide open slick. Flicks
his butt's specs

on his soiled shirt. The aroma of stink
frames his palor
and his articulations remain ridiculous
muddy incoherent puddles
splatter & drip
drool & spit
you're in a Pitt

New + York = Newk

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tim reaches inner peace

Pointed blue eyes
shear thru worn skin
dead face and lamb
Hair twisted wind swept
and scoured sits smugly
drifting above his head.

His smile hints
cold white teeth
& his lear
loosely pasted on crumbled
simmers & flames
stale fumes, burnt brows
and black ashes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bate's beach bachelor party

The noise of weed wackers, blowers and lawn mowers provided the initial wake up this morning. I tried my best to squeeze out some more sleep but the relentless onslaught on my sense of hearing overcame my will. I was out of bed at 9 AM, whether I liked it or not.

Before yoga, before a shower, but not before I brushed my teeth, I drove El Diablo (the huge bad ass, dual rear wheels, black, Silvaradoe truck) to Smog Plus in Meiner's Oaks for some much needed repairs. The truck is long and the trailer is longer. I managed to arrive unscathed. Immediately, Sammy is there to greet me. We talk, I explain what needs to be done, yada yada.

Sammy: "I only like dealing with one person."

I agree, thinking that it will be no problemo for me to pick up the truck and trailer at 5 PM and drop off the c note and a half. Well, of course, more important events overlap and it becomes quite difficult to pick up the pick up at the scheduled time. Sammy gives me a call around 4:30 PM. I explain that it will be difficult to get the truck. Sammy starts to mini freak, I try to expain, "I'll get the truck tomorrow morning."

Sammy: "I cannot be responsible, somebody will steal your trailer-"

"Sammy, I will not hold you responsible. I don't think there is any risk, this aint Lebanon."

Here's the deal. I have been picking up the various goods for the Billy Mo "conscious bachelor party" - taking place tonight at Bates Beach. I figure, grab the truck/trailer tomorrow, no biggie. Unexpectedly, Sammy has major problems. He's dead set against leaving the trailer/truck over night.

In the end, I had Dev call him and smooth it over.

Finally, we head out to Bate's Beach. When Bill pulls up and parks, we learn that the margarita mix has spilled. There will be no margaritas tonight. We have beer and wine though.

The party proceeds along. Bill swims out just beyond where the waves are breaking. Devin and his yellow Labrador retriever join him. George, Richard and Gates throw the Frisbee around. George dives into the water several times to make the catch, disappearing, then rising, Frisbee firmly clutched in hand, water pouring off his beard, smile beaming.

As the light dimmed and the horizon erased the sun, Skip and Steve built a fire. Soon enough we are all circled around, talking, laughing joking. Skip is creating a temporary kiva, using the various pieces of driftwood and arunda to sketch out a wall, boundary -the next step past a sand castle.

The roar of crashing waves and the heat of the fire provide a sensory backdrop as we discuss the hardcore issues that prey on our minds. Bill plays the guitar and lays his sonic soul bare. The darkness holds the sky but we keep it at bay, feeding the fire, feeding our minds with the chatter, camaraderie and love.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The hurdle toddlers race

The loud excited sounds of a Mexican radio station's commercials provided the impetus for me to climb out of bed. The t-house canvas walls are by no means soundproof. Lupe is the maid who works dilignently cleaning all the spaces on the estate. This moring she started cleaning windows in the yoga studio (which is located 15m from my t-house) before 8 AM. She loves to blast the radio. This is fine when the windows are closed... She gets the rude awakening award of the week and is in contention for the monthly award. July still has 11 more nights.

Rumors of thunder storms and dry lightening accompanied the high temperatures and high humidity. The night air, though still warm, has cooled slightly. The moon's shine wears the veil of clouds and bathes the land in a sleepy pale haze of white. Earlier today, at around 6:30 PM, Devin and I ran a couple intervals around Nordoff High School's track.

The plan was 2 or 3 timed 800s. Devin wanted us to shoot for a 70 second 400 split. We warm up by jogging around the track twice, then stretching for 10 minutes and then jogging around the track again at a faster pace. As we begin, I cannot help noticing all the children around. Several people walk slowly around the inside lane. It is nice that the families are getting out and exercising but it'd be nice if they had the awareness to keep the inner lanes open for the faster runners. Anyway, we run the first 800 at a decent clip but were both unable to run the sub 2:25 that had been our goal. Dev ran a 1:29 and I ran a 1:33. The next 800 I sat out and timed Devin. He struggled on the 2nd lap, looking like he was running in molasses down the back stretch. He ended up running a 1:30.

I then walked/jogged a lap with Dev as he cooled down. Scout, his dog following along. Scout seems to really enjoy the track he's good at sprints but is unable to keep up beyond 200m. We arrive at the starting line with dev unsure if he is going to run another 800. On your mark... get set... go. We are off and I lead this one. The first 400 split is around 73 sec, I try to pick up the pace, I hear Dev's breath fade away as he drops out. 400 was enough for him. Down the home stretch, I pick up the pace and finish strong at a decent clip. I feel like I still had something left, time: 1:31.

Devin convices me to run another timed lap. He wants us to see if we can both run a sub 70 quarter mile. We go out strong. He inches away from me down the back stretch. Around the last turn, my legs and lungs are both: "Sorry dude, we're pooped" and Devin pulls farther away down the home stretch. He runs an amazing 65 second quuarter. I run a 71 second quater.

To the credit of all the parents and children clogging the track, they moved quickly out of the way when they realized that they were blocking the lanes. There is a danger factor here and I hope that awareness will grow that tracks are for jogging and running. Thus unattended 2-5 year olds need more supervision when there are people running and jogging.

I have a feeling that I may be coming off as arrogant or hard headed. That is fine with me. I am just trying to prevent an accident by raising awareness that running tracks are meant for running. Ojai has a whole bunch of playgrounds. On the other hand we could have another addition to the world of track and field. Let's see, we have the hurdles, we have the steeple chase. There's always room for another event along this vein. We could have the hurdle toddlers race.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I don't need your gasoline your magazines your scaffolding
'cause I can fly in between
with my breathing wing machine

I don't need your TV screen leaving us atrocities
'cause I can fly in between
with my breathing wing machine

I'm a trampolene who loves to sing
passing thru infinity
'cause I can fly in between
with my breathing wing machine

The time has come to tell a vision
walk thru fire with precision
Spread our wings begin to fly
our meeting ground is in the sky
Time to open our hearts & breathe
in the love that's in between
you & me and everything

We all can see we all can be masters of reality
When we see the beauty all around the galaxy

I don't need your gasoline your magazines your scaffolding
'cause I can fly in between
with my breathing wing machine

Monday, July 18, 2005


You are sitting in a round low-ceilinged room with one window.
Thru your window
you are watching 3 persons
standing round a triangular table
inside a huge blue dome.
These 3 are trying to fit together
the pieces
of a 3-dimensional jig-saw puzzle.
The pieces are rotating and revolving
in private eliptical orbits
within the dome.
They still have not fit any of the pieces together.
The first person is laughing.
The second person is crying.
The third person is staring
at you.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why crow fights hawk

A long time ago, Crow and Hawk were friends. Crow would warn hawk when he saw danger approaching. Hawk would tell Crow where he could find food when he was hungry. Their friendship was like a blooming flower and made them both stronger. In fact, it was so strong that they fell into a trap. This trap is called conceit.

Secretly, Hawk began to think to himself: "Crow eats too much. What do I get from him?" Hawk had forgotten all of the times that Crow's "CAW!" had saved him from danger.

Meanwhile, Crow began to think: "I have saved Hawk many times from danger and all I get are these dried up scraps of fur. Barely enough for a bug!"

Both had the same thought: "I don't need HIM."

The flower of their friendship had begun to wilt. Crow and Hawk stopped helping each other.

One day, Hawk caught a chubby mouse. He glided on soft currents of air to his favorite dining nook, in his favorite tree. Just as he was about to take his first bite, Hawk heard a loud "SCREEE!" just behind him. Startled Hawk dropped his meal and wrapped his wings around himself as protection for the attack - which never came. Hawk had been tricked. Thru his feathers, he watched Falcon swoop down and deftly catch the mouse that would have been his meal. No one had warned him that Falcon was near.

Meanwhile, skinny Crow searched for food. he was very hungry but he was too proud to ask hawk for help. After many days of no food, skeleton Crow thought to himself: "That Hawk, he's so fat he can barely fly! I will steal a meal from him." Crow had heard how Falcon tricked Hawk out of his dinner. "If it worked for him then it will work for me."

Crow hid in Hawk's favorite tree where the leaves were thick. Soon, dinner time arrived and so did Hawk. If Crow had lips, he would have licked them as he saw the fat mouse in Hawk's talons. Without a sound, Crow dropped from his hiding place. Just like Falcon. Crow crowed his best Falcon impersonation: "SCRAAWW!" only inches from Hawk's head.

To Crow's surprise, Hawk did not drop his meal in fright. Hawk opened his wings and spun. Startled Crow crashed into Hawk and the mouse-meal popped out of Hawk's beak. Crow and Hawk raced towards the ground below where the stunned prey had fallen. Hawk got there first and grabbed the mouse with his talons. Crow "CAAAWWW"ed in exasperation and chased after Hawk.

Even today, if you watch the sky closely, you can see crow fighting hawk for that same mouse.

The End

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Quarter mile split Saturday

"Wanna go run some splits", Devin says with customary enthusiasm.

"Sure", I reply thinking that it has been a week since I have run or hiked.

60 miutes later Devin and I are slowly jogging around the track to warm up. After 2 laps, we're ready. I've got the stopwatch mode on my blue digital wrist watch. Devin wants us to beat 75 seconds on each split. I start us off: "On your marks... get set... go!" I take us out of the gate quick, wanting to hold the lead. We maintain the pace thru the turn, thru the back staight away, thru the last turn, down the home stretch, neck and neck, I manage to edge him, time: 66 seconds.

The second split starts the same but when we get out of the first turn, Devind pulls about 5 yards in front. I try to catch up but my legs have led in them and my head says: "I need more oxygen, chum." Down the home stretch, I really slow down, my limbs all feel that familiar numbness and my head wobbles. Dev stretches his lead to 7 seconds. I manage to run a 73 second split, Devin matches his previous with another 66 seconds - Smoking!

Split number 3, I decide to sit out and let my body recover. I time Devin. He flies from the get go. He is really moving. He runs the first 200 in 33 or so and never slows down. His split: 66 seconds.

My third split is Devin's fourth. We start out more conservatively but quickly accelerate. I take the lead and hold it. The second turn comes and I think I can pull away but out of the corner of my left eye I see his shadow right behind mine. As we come out of the last turn, Devin slips by me, he holds on and manages to beat me by about 2 seconds. My split 68 seconds. Devin runs another 66.

Friday, July 15, 2005

There's more than one island

Steel bars encapsulate a burning bush
on an island
in the middle of the sea
Cold northern wind chills the inabitants
fuels the fire
shadows dance
Zombies warm their hands
when not sacrificing witches
You survey this spectacle
from a small secure boat
orbiting the island since the day you left it
Another scream pierces
the media fabric of your dream space
a pin hole in the night sky
a white tear
that quicky heals
and you awaken
finding your orbit has decayed
The gravity of the drama
powers the machine
the fuel is obscene
isn't every thing
Row, row, row your boat towards the horizon
you can never reach
One day
you drift off the edge
of this cold flat world.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

End of the Millenium

Bill is out of town and once again has left me in charge of the estate. When ever he is leaving there is always a last minute rush and review of the various tasks that need to happen before the vacation rental begins. This morning I am following Bill around with a pencil and a couple pieces of paper, writing things down like: "clean pond filter", "fill up pond", "move table, chairs and umbrella to 1620", "go to Ventura and purchase glasses", "purchase umbrella", "get salt"... This is how it works, when Bill is packing or doing something, he's able to let the things that need attention float to the surface. He then fires them off to me in rapid succession. I record them adroitly with whatever implement is handy.

At some point, Bill mentions that he has asked Millenium to leave. I don't have much reaction. This move has been brewing for several months. I guess I thought it might drag out a little longer. Steve mentioned a few tidbits the other day that probably sealed the deal. I guess we may never know Millenium Twain's real name or why he was deported from New Zealand.

El Diablo fires up and sounds like a giant Harley. Since I am going to Ventura, my 8 ft. red and blue surfboard lies flat and upside down in the bed. When I arrive at the always full parking lot at Surfer's Point, I wonder how El Diablo will fit with its big rear wheel wells and super length. Miraculously, two spots open up ajacent to eachother and I am able to park and pull on my wet suit. Not taking any chances, I put on my rash guard and booties. As the water hits my feet, I realize that the correct apparel decision was made. The water is FREEZING! I paddle out easily because there is not too much going on. Enough to have about 13 surfers out there.

I don't even know the last time that I surfed, it has been that long. Yesterday's high volume debate with Skip underlined my need to surf. After only a few minutes out in the frigid water, my hands start to ache. I blow on them, put them under my armpits but still they ache. All I can think is: it is bleeding hot in Ojai, now I sit in the ocean and my hands are getting frostbite. The first couple waves I catch I lose my balance and plunge into the water. Finally, I think: time to get our of here, warm up my hands and get some glassware. The ocean cooperates, sending me a wave in a few minutes which I manage to stand up on and ride to the shore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Skip n flip

The alarm on my blue digital wrist watch only has to beep twice before I turn it off. I have been awake for a while listening to the various machines sculpting nature and quietly marveling how hot it already is. The weed wacker waits at the foot of my t-house. This day begins with me pulling the chord to start the engine. The next hour goes by in a blur of noise, ripping weeds and a cloud of green bits. The mechanism, which feeds out the green plastic chord seems to be jamming and this is the note that I end my short foray.

While walking down the dirt road that runs by the yoga studio, on my way to return the weed wacker, I see skip just ahead, rake in hand, he grooms the hill, sweeps along the road masking fury with a flourish and a cloud of dust.

“Clearing the side of the barranca is going to be a bitch, it’s really steep.”

Skip slides into my personal space and says: “I thought your were supposed to be sporting. You do all that surfing heh heh heh”

“Actually, I have been weed wacking more than surfing.”

“Well that’s good.”

Somehow the words between us twist, morph escalate until we are both yelling, some of this due to the various machine noises and some of this due to anger issues.

“You come here complaining. You need to get in touch with the land! I’ve been watching you for 8 years and you have shown that you do not want to know the land.”

“Skip, your crazy, who do you think you are? Don’t try to jam your bad mood into my skull. Why don’t you get to know your own head. You aint gonna find it in drink. You aint gonna find it in smoke.”

“You don’t know how to listen!”

“No Skip, it is you that doesn’t know how to listen. Everything you are saying to me is showing that you never heard what I said in the first place. You were angry before you saw me.”

“You need to get your own weed wacker and get to know it.”

“The truth is, I really don’t want to weed wack. I just fill in here and there when Bill asks.”

I leave Skip, crouched on the hill with his rake continuing the debate without me. He can keep this one going all by himself. I leave picturing him like a giant hot air ghost balloon, he finds some one to spark his limbic system, which fires the balloon and there he floats, above the landscape complaining about all the lazy humans. Up, up and awayyy in his horrible and beautiful balloooon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Scanning for shooting stars

Today was a scorcher. So far, Ojai's version of a So Cal summer has been mild; I'm talking 55 degrees at night - in July. My alarm rings at 9 AM. Instead of getting out of bed like a good boy, I roll over and drift back to sleep. John calls at some point and then I get a call from Bill; he needs me for some emergency weedwacking. This motivates me to get on with it. At some point, I decide to skip the yoga/tai chi deal. I have a good excuse... trust me. Yesterday was a bit traumatic for this cowboy. What can I say? Uhhh... how do put this? If I am going to report my life, somethings must remain unspoken, untyped, unsaid... but - and I do mean but - this is not one of them. I guess if I release this tidbit, then maybe it won't be so embarrassing and maybe just healthily humbling. So, here goes: yesterday, I had the worst hemroid experience ever. I remember George Brett was sidelined from baseball for a week or 2 for this. I now understand. We are talking one of the ultimate dilemas here. Who wants to eat when at some point it is going to come out the other end and freaking BURN! So, anyway, this is why I just wanted to chill today. The sweltering heat sealed the deal. I managed to lay down in the more shady t-house with my current read - Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Toolio, the super chill daddy cat, came in and joined me in siesta. Read a chapter or 2 and then drift into sleep.

At the end of the day, Alla calls. Thirty minutes later she picks me up. We drive to Rainbow Bridge. Grab some water and dinner. Cruise back to the estate. Eat on the observation deck while the horizon eats the sun and the hills change to grey. The temperature does not really drop too much. Finally feels like a summer night. We drive to the hot springs. Walk up the road past blinking yellowish light. Down the trail. Sideways smiling moon provides ghost light. River provides soundtrack. We step gingerly into the hot pool of water with the river of cold water only separated by a wall of dirt and rocks. We stare at the stars. The Milky Way. Scanning for shooting stars.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Flat tire Monday

Fire Blade, my high performance motorcycle, created by Honda, is finally getting the attention it needed. This leaves me without a vehicle. Even my Stumpjumper has a flat tire - easily remedied though. I left a message at the motorcycle repair shop wondering when they'd get a chance to look at it. I mentioned how adept I was getting at pop starting it on flat land using second gear. I also mentioned my need for a new back tire. Daryl (owner of the shop) responded quickly: "Bring it in today. You'll need to leave it for a few days though."

I stop by Sunny's and Daniel's to check on Sunny. She just spent the weekend at a Landmark Workshop. This particular workshop offers strategies to recognize unconscious behavior. They call this your "raquet". Daniel and I listened as Sunny recanted her adventure with Landmark. The experience seemed to agree with her. The one thing that I expected, did occur. Sunny confronted the "coaches" and had the whole class back her up.

Basically, the workshop revolves around the coaches calling you on your shit. They supervise the "class" through a series of techniques, encouraging the attendees to drop their masks. What Sunny wanted was the coaches to show that they don't have to always be in the driver's seat. All of this is quite ironic on many levels and would make for an interesting reality show. Come to think of it, Sunny should have her own show. Get a couple camera guys to film her throughout her day for a couple weeks and throw the raw footage at a couple decent editors and I bet you'd have something.

After the download, I mention my need to get the CBR 900 to the shop. Sunny ends up following me their in he black Mazda Miata converitble with the fat rims. The weather changes as we get off the Stanley exit. The fog clings to the shore and brings the temperture down at least twenty degrees. I pull the bike into the shop and am greeted my Daryl, Martin and Kurt. Martin immediately discovers that I have a flat rear tire. This totally mystifies me. It was not totally flat or anything but significant enought that you could press in the rubber. When Sunny walks into the garage they all perk up, stand a little straighter and smile. Sunny marches around the place in her tight black full body suit, checking out beat up old Hondas, she dreams of getting a small motorcycle. Daniel and I both think that this is a bad idea.

"When are you guys gonna start filming the shop? Jessie James aint got nothing on you guys." I posit.

They just laugh at this one but I actually think that they have more interesting personalities than that James dude although I have to admit his bikes are rad. Sunny and I say later and then we are off in her tiny black car that sounds like a rice burner. She is looking for a suit to buy. We check 3 upscale thrift stores and then the mall. No purchases. Back to Ojai.

Fire Blade, get well soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

How to start a union

Over the years you have done a tremendous amount of your food buying at two different stores. Rainbow bridge is the bigger of the two, kind of like a mini super market whereas Farmer and the Cook is much smaller, more like an expanded deli. F & C is 100% organic. Rainbow has maybe 33% organic. Tonight, you will go to Rainbow Bridge and buy a ginger drink, some chocolate malt balls and a chocolate chip oat bar. While speaking with three of the cashiers it will dawn on you that you can be of great service to these Rainbow employees. There are many things that can be done to make their life on the job more humane.

"It's time for you guys to form a union."

"What do you mean?" The female cash register girl will say.

"Well, I have seen many employees flow through this joint. The turnover ratio is obscene. Just when I start to get to know the cashiers, BAM! They quit, move back to Ohio, L.A., or find some other job. Enough already! You guys need to organize and I am the answer to your prayers. Well... at least that's what God just told me." You will say this with heartfelt sincerity.

The check out dude that looks like Ray Liota will nod his head in agreement and twikle his eyes. Egging you on.

"First of all, you guys need stools, I mean come on, staniding all day is bad for the feet and the back. Second of all the hours are crazy. More breaks, shorter hours. Third of all, I want you all to be able to make better use of your time when there are no customers. A major demand of ours will be that the management puts a giant 30 foot flat screen television on the wall so that you guys can play video games instead of just standing around. Also, we will get some DSL or WiFi so you can go online and stay updated with current events. And, for the ambitious cashier, there is always the opportunity to take online classes during downtimes."

One of the cashier dudes reminds you of Charlie Sheen, he'll furrow his brow and say something like: "Online classes? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you getting a bachelor's degree, dude, or maybe a master's or even a doctorate."

"Hmm, what kind of degree should I get?" Charlie Sheen-ish dude will ask.

"I don't know... uhhh hotel management, English, mathematics... or how about an acting degree. Yeah, California can always use another actor."

Ray Liota-ish dude will seem a little skeptical so you might have to loosen him up. Ask him stuff about the movie "Goodfellas" : "What was it like to be sent away to the big house?" and "What was it like to have all those helicopters following you around?"

They will doubt you - at first. Besides, they're all kind of apathetic, so, tomorrow you will have to start picketing Rainbow Bridge all by yourself. Make a sign before you go to bed. Set your alarm for 7. Go to sleep. Wake up. Then hop on your bike, motor down the hill and start your one man protest on behalf of your friends, the cashiers. Don't worry about the deli people, that's a whole different set of pajamas. Oh yeah, your sign will say something like: "Cashiers aint monkeys! let them play video games!"

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Be prepared

It is not easy working the cash register all day. Especially in an upscale health food store where many of the customers treat you like a machine, a servant or a dog. That is why it is so important that you keep a good attitude. Smile through the endless stream of pampered patrons as they grimace impatiently just because they have to wait in line for 60 seconds or whatever. When they throw their dirty money at you or take forever to write a check or you have to input the card number manually because the magnetic strip has been wiped out because of magnets - just keep smiling.

At some point some one is going to call you on the phone. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe in a week. Here's the deal: be prepared - like a boy scout on Mount Everest. Start practicing that smile right now. Please don't procrastinate. You need to build up some momentum because when that anonymous person calls you, alot will be riding on your response.

The phone will ring while you are ringing up some body. They will be buying stuff like cookies, avacadoes, bananas, dental floss, lettuce and quinoa. When that phone rings, you will have a smile that has some serious momentum behind it. Not that sorry ass grimace that hurts your jaw. You need the kind of smile that lets you breathe up your back, pops vertabrae into place and tickles your third eye. As you pick up the phone, ignore the irritated sigh from the customer who wants to pay and get the heck out of the store so they can do what ever.

"Hi, Rainbow Bridge" you will say with a genuine smile.

First, you'll hear some static and then: "Sorry."

You'll respond with a sincere "Its OK." Then you'll hear a click and then a dial tone. Mission accomplished.

What more can I say? Way to go. That person that just asked for your forgiveness is on a twelve step program. They have been calling everyone they have ever offended in their life as a consequence of their abuse of alcohol. When they heard your genuine forgiveness, a feeling of transcendence washed over their body and seeped into their soul. They finally knew in their heart that the nightmare of binge drinking and the inevitable consequence of chaos and destruction had come to an end. They have now entered a new chapter in their life which revolves around love, service and forgiveness. All because of you. Keep up the good work.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tonight's competition

Tonight’s competition involves Bill, Devin and myself within the confines of a tennis court. We play Canadian doubles. I start serving and am able to hold serve easily. Devin and I have been playing and so we hold our serves and Bill struggles. At some point during the first set, Bill manages to get some of his game back and goes on a roll. Some how, this surge of winners from Bill gives me the first set, abruptly, without warning.

We play another set and I win that one as well. My game feels good. Afterwards, Devin and I hit, just letting loose, practicing, until the light of the sun fades.

Back on the estate. Shower. Put on some clean clothes. Walk down four houses to the dud party of the summer - so far. Drink some wine. Dance. Look at the empty space. Try not to breathe too much smoke from the artificial smoke machine. Walk back up the road with Devin and Audra. Swim in the pool. Soak in the Jacuzzi. Laugh. Stare at the stars. Jacuzzi is too hot. Hop in the pool. Back in the Jacuzzi. Laugh. Laugh again. Walk Audra to her car. Down the road. Where to start? Where to end? I do not know.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And the winner is...

Gas-powered leaf blowers and weed wackers whined and screamed. My tight grip on sleep loosened as the cacophany got closer and therefore louder. Toolio, super chill cat, bailed before me. Finally, its like 9:30 AM, enough is enough, I immediately escape into the yoga studio: AKA yoga sanctuary. Close three red curtains - one for each door. Blast the radio. I now have my bubble of sonic protection from the onslaght of noise. Sounds like a chainsaw war. Thus I am able to practice yoga and tai chi and succeed in my goal of relaxing on race day.

My motorcycle decided that it did not want to start unless pushed today. It may be time for a new battery. I rode all the way up to Meyer Mount today. Sat in the shade of a tree. Stared thru the cloudy haze unable to see the Channel Islands. Then back down the steep hill, taking it relatively slow due to dirt and dust on the steep turns and a rear tire needing replacement. Some road work being done on this road. Several orange people run around with signs - "Stop", I stop - then flip it to "Slow", don't worry, all the dust and dirt is adequate warning but thanks any way.

Next activity involves some Star Wars video action with Will. Time for a superfood, coconut oil, raw caco smoothie. Race begins at 7:00 PM - three and one half hours away. I mosie to the spare t-house and nap - this one is out of the sun at this time and consequently is much cooler. Toolio follows me in and squints his eyes like cats do, stretches out on the rug and we snooze together. I read some of Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" - this book is his best hands down, it gets better and better every page.

6:00 PM - Time for yoga, tai chi and a little didj. Then I am off on the bike that only starts with a push. As I pull into Nordoff High School, I can see Gunnar and Devin running around the track. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Gunnar was a last minute entrant. He called me on the phone just after Bill informed me. The spirit of competition roped him in like cowboy in a rodeo - Yee Haw!!

On your mark... get set... go! And we are offf! I take the early lead for the first 200, establishing what feels like a 75 second pace of the first 400. As we complete the first 200m, Devin passes me and quickly has a 15 m lead. I can hear Gunnar's labored breathing behind me. It sounds like he's trying to stay with me. I allow Devin to keep his lead. I do not think he can keep it. My first split is called out by Bill - 72 seconds. Uh oh, I think, that's too fast. I keep thinking that Dev's gonna hit the wall and I'll be able to catch him. After another 200m, my fast pace catches up with me. Devin is about 60/70m ahead. The third lap begins, it is all a haze now, I remember trying to make a move but there is no juice, I can really just maintain what I am doing. The fourth lap - I am resigned to a second place finish. Gunnar is more than half a lap behind me, Devin is a hundred meters in front of me. Devin wins easily 5:19, then me 5:38, then Gunnar 6:10.

After the race, Devin confesses that he has been training doing intervals. He says he was trying to break 5 minutes. I am just happy to get under 5:40. I only started running three and a half weeks ago. Before that I'd had next to none cardio vascular workouts for the past 18 months. I plan on continuing to jog. My competition with the clock continues.

The audience consisted of Walter, Dayla, Sienna, Jennifer, Eliza, Will, Tony, Eric, Kira and Jules. We all ate Thai food at a restaurant afterwards and Bill picked up the tab.

Congrats to Devin. A great time and a gracious winner. Thanks Bill.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

.75 dogs

Poets are dogs
barking at a funeral
processing down a dusty road
Shiny black limos slip thru dust
& stretch from horizon to horizon
Each one carries a coffin
driven by automated personnas
androginous androids
smiling sunglassed robots
At the end of the line
professinal palbearers
slide the coffins
into an enormous fire burning forever.
Inside the coffins are
unopened letters to Santa
pictures of naked women
and constitutions

This is the fire which fuels our souls.

Hitler has shaved off his mustache
whitened his teeth
dyed his hair blonde
He stokes the fire
flames lick the wind
And ashes blow away

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Derek falls from a tree

Derek is an Ojai legend: a tall thin man with dark skin, a white beard, white hair and a penchant for wearing clothes that have helped him create his own fashion genre. I stopped by on the bike where he lives at Iratia's. She must have heard the loud engine because she had the front door open before I announced my presence. "Come on in" she says.

Her place has all kinds of paintings, artifacts and photographs on the wall. Most are from Africa. The floor is covered with layers of rugs from Persia. As I walked in, Liza greeted me. She is the one that applied the OM to the back of my head (it's still there). I then noticed Derek sitting on the floor, legs covered with a thin, worn tan blanket.

"How you doing?" I ask.

"Not so hot."

"What happened?"

"I fell out of a grapefruit tree."

Derek described how he reached for the fruit with two hands. Each foot stood on its own branch. One of the branches broke and he fell six feet down and landed on a curb. He's been chilling ever since it happened yesterday. He took a bath in epson salts. Iratia put in a couple drops of Lavender oil.

I ended up asking Derek about the Fourth of July Parade gorilla performance art. It turns out that Derek was there and was able to observe the reaction of the audience as The Constitution was taken over by corporate pirates. According to Derek, Most people were perplexed and subdued. A decent amount of folks reacted positively, cheering and laughing. While a small minority disapproved. One guy followed behind the float and loudly booed. No one join his protest of the protest. Derek overheard one man saying: "This is not a forum for politics."

Derek enjoyed the reaction of the judges as the float went by their stand. He said that the woman announced them as they were listed in the manifest: "Oh, here's Mission Accomplished of Fox Street. Isn't that nice?" Her smile disappeared when the other judges looked at her sideways.

Earlier today, my CBR 900 refused to start after a great meal at Farmer and the Cook. The side street has a very slight decline. I gave it my best, pushing the bike faster and faster, hopping on it and quickly popping it into second, attempt no dice, before the bike's momentum dies, I quickly pop the clutch again and grrrrrr I am mobile and leave the area in a hurry.

Tonight, Daryl and Devin joined me for my run around the Nordoff track. I did not go all out with the Casa Barranca Mile Challenge approaching. We ran the first two laps together to warm up. I then left them both behind as I took off and ran a 5:50 mile. I then jogged around the track two more times and then walked around it one more time. Devin says that his knees are bothering him after a long hike on Sunday. In fact, he's asking to see if the race can be postponed until Friday. It has already been pushed back to Thursday. This suits me fine. Every day, my legs, lungs, heart and will get stronger. I want to beat 5:30. I am competing with the clock. I do not think that Devin can run with me. Who knows though? He's pretty coy.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Mission accomplished

Ojai is one of those towns that loves the fourth of July. Our version of the ubiquitous main street is lined with chairs days before the parade begins. Some people want their spot so badly that they reserve it with a lawn chair more than a week in advance. One day soon, they will have to camp out with a tent and a sleeping bag but for now the honor system prevails and a chair is enough. Not every one in this town accepts Uncle $am's version of patriotism. In fact some of us believe the whole American revolution was a hoax staged by the British monarchy (currently the Queen of England is the largest land holder in the USA). Most of the folks I know are all suspicious of government in general but accept it as business as usual. There is one faction that have been using the stage as a way to portray their opinion. Today they took their performance protest to another level. They managed to Trojan their way into the parade under the guise of a float titled "The USS Constitution". So the parade starts, apple pie is being eaten, all you see is red white and blue and there are a bunch of dudes driving around in go-carts with little hats on their heads.

Suddenly, as The USS Constitution reaches the museum, corporate pirates attack the float. A battle ensues. The pirates have names on their backs - like: Haliburton, Rice, Rumsfield, Rove, Gonzales etc. We all know who wins this battle. Cheney is also among the pirates, he is the puppeteer and his puppet is Bush. Cheney stands on a pulpit (Jonah with a full mask and suit with a red white and blue tie) below him is puppet Dubya Bush (Mac was Dubya in a mask wearing a green fighter pilot jacket).

The crowd falls silent as this ambush of The USS Constitution happens right before their eyes. No one tries to help. No one protests.

We all know who wins this battle. The pirates drape a giant banner over The USS Constitution, it reads: "Mission Accomplished"

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Push the bike your self

The night before, I set my watch for 9:30 AM. Before the alarm on my new watch could beep though, the sound of the winery door opening was enough. I merely open my eyes and there is Bill looking down from the top of the steps. "Good morning, how'd you sleep?"

"Fine." I end up falling back to sleep and slip out of bed an hour later. Time to check various spaces, find some lights to turn off and then meet Tony in the yoga studio.

We begin to warm up. We'll be performing while the class is led through two hours of yin yoga by Holla. Ashley plays the harmonium and sings along. Her voice is clear and beautiful adding more layers to the abundance of harmony. Class flys by like a flock of Nightingales.

Alla calls me after lunch and invites me over for some hang time. I hop on the motorcycle and pop start it as we roll down the hill. Sunday traffic does not matter to me and I arrive in 9 minutes. I cannot take the bike with me, there's a sign at the entrance of this community which says: "motorcyles not allowed" among other things. Alla is house sitting for a friend of mine. I introduced them to eachother but this is my first time at this residence. She come out to greet me and I park the bike across the street, grab my helmet and then we walk togoether to the residence that will be her home for the next three months.

It's nice to get a break from the retreat and chill with Alla. She works on some paintings and I read a book called Pronoia that I found on the couch. It's a book that Alla recently bought and is radically optimistic. Too soon, it's time for me to get back to the estate. Alla walks me back to my bike and then skips away. I talk to my motorcycle and tell it how much I love it. For the first time this does not work. Fire Blade does not start. The battery is too low. We are on a road that has a slight slope. There is not a hill for half a mile or so. I point the bike in the direction that gravity will help and push it myself. I don't know if it is all the running but I get some decent momentum and the bike fires up on my attempt. I flash a peace sign at a young boy who'd been watching.

Zip back up to the estate, run up the hill, run back down, soak in the jacuzzi, take a shower. Crunch time is here, I light candles, turn on lights all over and then I wait in line for some stupendous food: tempe salad.

I am performing with Tony and Ashley again. Tony is leading Kirtan. We start off slow. Before each mantra song, Tony reveals the hidden meanings and basis for the song. He expains how it relates on many levels and we learn the history and purpose of the Sanskrit and then everyone sings along or listens. I get mildly annoyed when I can see Devin and Daryl chatting up a cute Aussie chick. Overall, the night is a success and everyone leaves stoked.

This night is basically over. No late jacuzzi or pool action. Last night was over the top and I guess I am kind of relieved that I won't have to play the authority roll.

We end up kicking it in the big house. I can just relax. Holla tries to keep the volume down. I relax and let some one put a henna OM symbol on the back of my head.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Shaving off hairs, years and seconds

Nothing woke me this morning. I just happened to open my eyes, look up at the windows and the blue sky thru the trees. "Ahh", stretch and linger, no hurry. By the time I pop out of bed like a jack in the box, my new digital watch says that it is 10:30 AM. It is so nice to wake up in silence. The winery has the musty smell of wine, the coolness of a fridge and the stillness of a monastery.

Shut off lights, check various spaces, turn off more lights, talk to a few guests... it's a living, a wave that keeps breaking, a little giving a little taking.

Finally, I enter the yoga studio and behold, it is empty. All the windows are open to air it out after the just-finished class. The radio gives me random music and then the stretching begins. At the end of the 5 Tibetans, it hits me: Vista Yurt needs a fan. Bodywork is happening there and it becomes a solar oven. Call around, Sonny: no answer, leave a message, Rachey: no answer, no message. Check the t-houses: first one, the fan is on, the next one, they are not using it. Run up the hill with the fan, drop it in the doorway, run back to the yoga studio and ssstttrrrrettcchhh. Then, some didj. Next, some tai chi.

Now, it is time for lunch. I munch down soup with dark steamed chewy greens and top it off with some home made Kip chocolate. Its made from raw coco beans, agave syrup, coconut butter, vanilla beans and something spicey.

Walk the house, check rooms, check bathrooms, check TP, check for towels on the antique furniture. Everthing is under control. I walk up the back trail of pea gravel to the winery and open William Gibson's latest book: "Pattern Recognition". I read the first two chapters and then snooze. I wake up and shave my face and head smooth as polished steal. I shave off black hairs, red hairs and some grey hairs around my chin. I shave off 10 years. By monday, 2 years will grow back.

It is time to run around the track at Nordoff again. The CBR 900 waits near the gate gleaming polished aluminum and promising speed, lightening in a bottle, 900 sleeping lions. I let the bike coast down the driveway, through the gate, no engine noise, just the sound of friction: from rubber wheels rolling on asphalt and the motorcycle cutting thru air like a fire blade. I slow down, turn the ignition on, pull in the clutch with left hand, shift into second with left foot, release the clutch and the engine comes alive, the 900 lions wake up.

The air polishes my skin and coaxes me to grin. 5 min later, I pull into Nordoff's giant parking lot. Don't turn off the engine, let it idle for 5 min while stretching hams, quads and calves. Time is now. Turn it off, leave keys in ignition, phone in trunk. Gate to the track is locked, pastic orange fencing corrales various areas in the infield and the outfield but the track is not obstucted. I hop over the fence and jog up the straight-away and then back to the starting line. Set watch to stop watch mode and... ready... set... go!

My starting pace is slower today. Last time's first split: 75 seconds - too ambitious. This time my first split is about 80 seconds. Lap 2 is not as debilitating but still tough. I manage to keep the pace. The third lap is more challenging. My upper lungs feel like they are tight, like leather straps are being tightened, like double bruises. I hear the sound of labored breathing. My breathing. But still, I push on, I must improve on my time. Last lap, look at watch, on pace, pick it up, go, go go go. Last turn approaches, check time, its gonna be close. Cross the line, press stop. Keep walking, look at watch: 5:43. Not too bad. Shaved off 4 seconds from last time. Temperature is around 85 degrees. I know I can still take more time off. At least 10 seconds. This is getting interesting.

The bike starts. Horray! We zip across the road, the air cools my body and soon I pull into the estate. Hop in the jacuzzi and soak. Instant recovery. Then, I am checking spaces for the usual and then I am in the kitchen. To Kip: "Need any help?"

"No, I think I am good." About 20 sec pass. "Ohh, look what time it is. You know, I think I could use some help."

"Cool, I'm always happy to contribute." So the next hour and a half or so, Ian an I cut up Romaine for the salad. Then my own personal crunch time arrives. Run around the land, turn on lights around Amrita Yurt, inside the house, outside the house, for the driveway, for the path to the yoga studio, pool bathroom lights, yoga studio lights and then light and place candles on the tables for dinner. Still not done yet, grab 2 bottles of wine and open them. Now you can finally eat. Whooey!

The meal is fantastic, vegan and mostly raw. There's quinoa, a huge salad and a scrumtious pesto. Everyone is digging the vino. They're clammoring for more. Every few minutes. "Is there anymore wine?" "Are you going to open another bottle?" This is Devin's department actually. Me, I'm just trying to eat. To chew my food enough to get the necessary amount of enzymes in my food. How the heck am I supposed to digest all this? Oh well, stop eating. Run down to the basement, grab 2 more bottles, pull out the corks. Now, I can kick back and finish the meal, this work of art, this reward for my labors, cutting Romaine, tomatos, my running around, my ssssttrrettcchhhingg, my muscles, shaving off seconds, years and then growing it back.

After dinner we head down to the yoga studio. I walk in and Holla asks for help - 2 speakers are not working. I get them going. The sound volume is too low. I fix that problem. Then, I am dancing in my crazy clothes: green felt pants, tight black shirt, black harry over jacket/garment thing. Pure rock n roll, baby. Then its outside. People are in the pool, naked, screaming. Now I am the noise police. "Please, no screaming, no diving board, sorry, thanks." They all comply. I went out in the first place to check the jacuzzi. Turns out some one has been messing with it. This is the second time today. Oh well. 20 minutes later, it is pretty hot again and a bunch of us are in there soaking, talking, relaxing.

I watch someone running to the diving board. "No diving board!" I say again "no diving board!" Now they are on it and running "No diving board!" They jump in and the diving board sounds like a hammer. 3 minutes later Bill walks thru the gate into the pool area. A shooting star scrapes the night sky just above his head. Light and I both witness this.

Bill comes over and says how he heard the diving board. I apologize. He leaves, back to the guest house. I remain, in charge, the sober one, the foot brake of the yoga party bus that is bigger than a football field.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Tom Cruise's recent comments spawn a rash of debates in the world of blog

{The following post was in response to a post by Rob Long: "I Heart Scientology" on the Huffington Post.}

Yes, Ritalin is a dangerous drug (as is Adderall). But ADD can be a difficult disorder. Not all ADD drugs are like Ritalin. That is, not all ADD drugs are stimulants.

You know as little about mental illness as Tom Cruise. Clinical depression is not just a bad mood. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are always good, but someone who is clinically depressed likely can't find the motivation needed to change their lifestyle. The lifestyle changes can only come after the depression is treated.

I've seen psychiatrists for the better part of 15 years and sex only came up once, when I hesitantly asked about hyper-sexuality. My psychiatrist wasn't anymore interested in discussing my sex life than I was. His response was, essentially, "Yes, you may be hyper-sexual". Trust me, hyper-sexuality really isn't that much fun.

Recommended reading - "Darkness Visible" by William Styron, or almost anything by Kay Redfield Jamison. And remember, your ignorance only increases our suffering.

Posted by: aethr at June 29, 2005 10:59 PM
{The last sentence inspired me to respond.}

"your ignorance only increases our suffering."
What a self limiting belief system you appear to have. Guilt trips have a tendency to lead to suffering - for the tripper and naive trippees.

Clinical depression is actually just an abstract label attached to a broad spectrum of behavior. Psychaitry is still in the womb. The fetus was conceived in Natzi concentration camps.

Question 1: Which organ regulates the limbic system, the cerebral cortex and the immune system? I don't think you'll find the answer anywhere in the DSMV.

Question 2: Can blaming others for your emotional state empower you?

Posted by: Mike Didj at June 30, 2005 03:52 AM
{aethr responds irrationally to my queries.}

"Clinical depression is actually just an abstract label attached to a broad spectrum of behavior. Psychaitry is still in the womb. The fetus was conceived in Natzi concentration camps."

All psychiatric diagnoses are abstract labels attached to broad spectrums of behavior. Of course, these behaviors are generally abnormal and unhealthy.

"Question 1: Which organ regulates the limbic system, the cerebral cortex and the immune system? I don't think you'll find the answer anywhere in the DSMV."

The DSM doesn't discuss the relationships between internal organs. That's not its purpose. Do you even know what the DSM is for?

"Question 2: Can blaming others for your emotional state empower you?"

At no point did I blame others for my emotional state. Absurd statements about clinical depression (or other mental illnesses), like claiming that depression can be cured by exercise and a healthy diet, discourage people from getting the treatment they need. People who need treatment and don't get it continue to suffer. But even people who do get treatment face unnecessary difficulties from who people think, in their ignorance, that psychiatric treatment is just some sort of escape or indulgence. Advocating that ignorance, as you and Rob Long do, only continues to make living with mental illness more difficult than it needs to be.

I'm not sure if you just have trouble reading or can't think rationally.

Posted by: aethr at June 30, 2005 05:28 PM
{My latest attempt to communicate:}

"And remember, your ignorance only increases our suffering."

This seems like a nice example of blame to me. I suggest you eat some blueberries, this can help you recover an obviously faltering memory. You could also reread your comment
before making such caustic and eroneous statements.

DSM is the diagnostic manual used by Amerikan Psychaitry to classify personality disorders. There's no mention of healthy human behavior. One interestiing bit of information is that many corporations meet the criteria for the sociopathic personality. These sociopathic corporations form the platforms and agendas that dictate the actions of our rogue/criminal government.

It seems to me that you have made up your mind and and are holding on to a lot of anger. I see no point in playing insult pong with you.

"I'm not sure if you just have trouble reading or can't think rationally."

This seems to be a classic example of projection. I do not mind being your mirror. Rational thinking is just one mode of processing information. 'You can't reason with a drunk.' :. You can't ______ with a rational thinker.

Suggested reading: The Psychopath's Bible by Dr. Christopher Hyatt.

Posted by: Mike Didj at July 1, 2005 05:52 AM