Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Busy, busy, busy… This week started just where last week finished – just different locations. This week’s adventure in carpentry involves the remodeling of a French restaurant. The structure was originally built in 1905. The age may give you some insight into the degree of dry rot and termite damage that pervades the building. Once again, I am working for Mark Highlove. Mark’s take on it is: “When we started tearing it apart to see what was keeping it from falling down, we saw that all the termites were holding hands.” I laughed and added: “And the reason why they are holding hands is love, love is keeping that building from collapsing.”

This gig would be 100% supercool if were not for the unrealistic owners. They desperately want to have it ready to open this Friday. Meanwhile, the amount of work is ridiculous. The owner’s brother has been contributing his time to try to help expedite the process. His construction experience started 30 days ago and so I was a bit surprised when he said: “How can we make the siding go up quicker.” In retrospect, I realize that I should have not said anything but the fact that we are doing finish work and waving a nail gun around – which means there’s a high danger factor – well, it all adds up to: we are cranking this shit out as fast as we can without it looking like crap.

So, I work all day with Anthony, who has a great deal of experience putting up siding. Anthony’s also funny and so we spend the day laughing while we work – maybe this is something that the rush-rush dude doesn’t like. Anthony even started calling me “Sniper”. This comes from the possibility of me shooting nails into the next room if I miss the 2 by 4 which is part of the frame, spaced every 16 inches. At the end of the day, the drywaller dude was full of praise that no nails went thru – he said that he was worrying about being shot all day.

While we were all putting the tools away, Mark turned to the rush-rush dude and said: “So, are you happy with the progress we made today?”

Rush-rush immediately responds: “No, I think the siding needs to be put up faster. I don’t see how it is going to get done. Before you leave, can you come up and talk to us about it and about where we are financially.

When I get outside, the steam comes out of my brain and we discuss the snub amongst ourselves. The psychologist in me knows that we are the obvious scapegoats. The barnyard pecking order mentality is evident. Meanwhile, the other carpenters – including Highlove

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Thursday September 12, 2002 North Shore, Oahu

I stopped by North Shore Tree Service at 8 AM to work. Jersey Boy Johnny, the fugitive, was crashed out and did not immediately respond to my knocking. While waiting, I give the tied up black dog some water. It’s become used to me and does not bark at my close proximity. It just wags its tail and uses its eyes to ask for a scratch. I comply. 10 minutes later, Johnny opens the door and I go inside, sit on the couch and watch TV as Jersey switches from music videos to BMXing to surfing and then back to music videos. Eventually, phone rings. Johnny answers petulantly: “Hello?”

Turns out that it is Robby. Informs Jersey that work’s not happening today. I’m a bit let down even though not too surprised. I chill there for an hour watching the various extreme sports footage. I leave after a long board competition coverage ends. I cruise into town. Jorger is closed. I really want a long board but I love his Stinger. I know I need at least 9 feet but I can’t get the stinger out of my head.

It is late. I just finished 30 minutes of tai chi. My energy is relaxed but very alert. I will read, sleep and maybe work tomorrow. It seems that my non-work inertia is tough to change yet paradoxically, the money keeps flowing. I know I can tap into more. Patience. Strike when the time is right. Fortify your position. Get a board. Get a place. Get a truck. Build a business. Cash in. Invest in your self. Let the art flow where it wants. Music. Meditation. Painting. Photography. Video documentation. Patience. Hard work. Relaxation. Didj.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jump start

Monday October 21, 2002 Kauai

The next morning smoke rose from the embers of their dying fire while Leaf’s crew left the dyed blonde haired guy and his partner. While practicing tai chi, I heard some yelling, pretty intense, coming from the abandoned duo. Last night, the fake blond said: “We’re all in hell, we’re all dead.” I felt compassion for the pain that triggered a statement like this and did not respond. But, I did think to myself: “Heaven too, where ever you choose, there you are, begins with a thought.”

Robert and I swam across the protected cove and climbed up on the rocks, feeling the hot sun on my back and drinking in the gorgeous shades of blue-ocean thru my eyes.

The day slipped by sweetly. No where to go, nothing to be. I ate brown rice toasted circles with honey spread on with a Swiss Army pocket knife.

When I turned the ignition key in the rent-a-beater, that had been our chariot the past week, absolutely nothing happened. The battery or something, I surmise. A semi crusty white bearded hippy type walked over and handed me his jumper cables. He did not smile. He did not say a word. Kind of like he was helping us against his will. He turned around and walked back to his wheels.

I asked four different folks for a jump start but they all refused to help us out. One lady grimaced. A guy with a German accent said with an annoying voice: ”I’m just want to sit here.”

Finally, a sheller drove his semi beater over and parked next to ours. He jumped out of his vehicle, walked away and left it running.

We arrived back at the beach house, just before the moon rose. People hung around the picnic tables, drinking beer and smoking a pipe.

We ended up at the Lotus Blossom where we ran into Ray, a cosmic Mayan astrologer. The night passed by smoothly. Interesting perspective on astrology was presented by Ray – a way in which it could be broadened. His main message was that when Venus conjuncts sun 5 times over an 8 year span, a pentagram is formed. This time it happens on Halloween.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Be nice to your Highlove

The beep, beep, beep of my watch alarm takes me out of my dream and I lay on the shore of consciousness like a beached whale feeling heavy from the change in gravity. I don’t get out of bed right away. Instead I linger and half doze for another 20 minutes before brushing teeth and heading out to Ojai skateboard park once again.

Highlove is booked for the weekend and next week as well. This translates to us having to get the quarter pipe fixed tonight so that the park can open for the weekend. When I arrive, I know that this will be a long day. It went a bit longer than I expected. Starting time: 9 AM…. Completing time: 8 PM – 11 hour day!

Not as many kids helped out today but there still were a few. Not enough to call up the ghost of Tom Sawyer but there were 5 or 6 kids who contributed at least an hour of their time. Will enjoyed using the screw gun as well as Dawson. They both put in a few of the sheets of skate lite.

My main task today was painting the various bits and pieces that make up this structure yellow. Ojai Valley Lumber donated several gallons of this happy color. We’re using it to extend the life of the wood.

Mark was featured on the front page of today’s Ojai Valley News as he weather proofed the ends of some beams. It’s a nice article which updates the valley on the current skatepark dilemma: Got cement? Answer: No. Reason: City’s got no money, honey. But it does have enough to keep the repairs flowing. The problem with this is that it means that it is closed while the repairs are taking place. The paper reports that the cost of the already designed cement skateboard park is: $500,000. Conclusion: Don’t hold your breath skaters. Bonus unsolicited advice: Be nice to Highlove.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Keep on skating

Sir Angus hurries out of the bedroom just as I enter the sitting room. He's very intent on getting outside and taking care of business. I am back in the silver Land Cruiser less than a minute from when I pulled up. Then it is onward to the skateboard park for my third day in a row of helping Highlove with the repairing of the quarter pipe.

This day was marked again by many of the kids helping out. Today, they painted much of the park black. They all seem pretty jazzed by the color change. This does not surprise as it seems that 90% of the kids are wearing black t-shirts. One of the older kids, "Over the Fence" Mike, must have put in at least 5 hours today painting. He's on total volunteer time and is a professional painter. Xander and Will came thru in a big way when they climbed down into the cement runoff - ajacent to the park - and cleaned up all the garbage that had been thrown down there.

Xander really impresses me. He's so humble and unassuming, contributes all the time. While he won the state tournament this past summer. When I asked him for some details, he told me that the best kids from Northern California and Southern California from the ages of 13 to 18 were there. Xander is 15 years old and won it. I offered him congratulations and said how proud I was. I am still blown away, wow! To think 3 years ago I was taking him surfing and climbing. I even let him belay me on a 5.8. Sky's the limit Xander, keep on skating.

Meanwhile, Mark and I worked out buts off putting the quater pipe back together while 15-20 kids are skating the mini ramp and the pyramid. Carol Belser stops by and talks with Mark for a while. Then she takes a photo of him while he's screwing something into something. She's applying for some grant money to get reimbursed for all of this repair work going on.

Mark had me sawing and painting for much of this day while the music pumps out of his little beat up beat box. The sound of all the kids skaiting fills the air. It starts around 3, when they are all out of school. I am amazed by how good so many of these kids are. Sean was telling me how the kids have all been getting much better and that they are really chomping at the bit for some cement. All I know is that the majority of them are extremely willing to pitch in and always respectful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More Ojai skateboard park repairs

The last to days I have returned to the skateboard park, to give my friend Highlove a hand making repairs. Yesterday was delayed, as you might all ready know, but was still cool. When I got there, I handed Mark a smoothie that I'd made. It had blueberries, banana, apple, papaya and some fermented soy powder. I'd already consumed one. Consequently, we both were able to work continuously on the daunting task of repairing Ojai's skateboard park.

The quater-pipe received most of our attentions. 10 to 20 percent of it is rotting from standing water. Last year's torrential rains took a heavy toll on the various ramps. Mark is continually surprised at the degree of damage. My enjoyment at being able to contribute to the revitalization of the park is tempered my the tagging and littering that takes place. When I bring this up to Mark, he says, "There adolescents. Remeber how it was? They are like the most likely to die except for the elderly. It's a crazy time period." I have to think about this for a bit but I find myself agreeing with him and gaining some understanding. Yeah, it's getting harder to remember how intensely I felt everything when I was in my teens. 20 years ago... and the last 10 years of tai chi, yoga, chi gong and the didjeridoo have certainly mellowed me out a bit.

At one point today, a photographer from the Ojai Daily News stopped by to take our photos. The focus was mostly Highlove. He asked me my name and I responded: "Didj."

"What's your last name?" Tom Turner the photographer asked.

"You can just leave it as Didj," I say.

Later on, I here Mark having a conversation with a reporter. This is good news. The skateboard park needs some good publicity to help generate some funds. Without Highlove, the future of the park would be in jeopardy. He can skate, is great with kids and to top it off he is a great carpenter.

We've all been hearing a lot of talk about a cement park being built. I heard tonight, from Sean, that the plans have been drawn up and they have the land. The only thing keeping it from happening is that we need 200 grand to build it.

It seems to me, an impartial observer with limited knowledge of the various political and economic forces at play here. that if the kids can treat the park with more respect and show that they love it, then their chances for a cement park will dramatically increase.

Mark has been very cool in many ways. The last two days he has experimented with allowing kids to come in and skate after they pick up garbage. This has worked out quite well and may encourage use of the trash bins instead of the ground and cement creek. A couple of the kids have gone beyond. This one amazing skater, Mike spent 90 minutes painting today. He's legendary for being able to go up one of the ramps and jump a 8 foot fence out the park and into the parking lot. Xander has also contributed alot of his time to helping out. Xander won a state skateboard tournament this past summer. He's a great person, I used to take him surfing & climbing when he was younger.

Mark and I worked until dark and then took turns skating the mini half pipe. I am inspired to get a skateboard now and get on the ramp. It'll be great training for surfing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Race to the shuttle

When I got out of bed and checked the time on my cell phone, I was surprised to see that it was 9:54 AM. "So much for my alarm clock," I thought. When I looked at the date, I learned why it never went off: wrong date. So, I rushed thru my necessities: brushed teeth, get work stuff ready and some tai chi as I waited for Saskia to arrive. Well, the time just kept ticking and I began to wonder how she'd get to LAX if she missed the shuttle in Ventura. The shuttle that I'd agreed to take her to. The time kept on ticking and then, finally at 10:20 AM, I get a call, "I'm just a couple minutes away, do you think we can make it?" Saskia asks. I am not too sure having never been to this shuttle's Ventura location. My feeling is that we need about 30 minutes to get there.

Saskia arrives at my house sit and then we are out of there with me driving by 10:22 AM. She gets on the phone with an employee of the shuttle service. They give us directions. They will not delay the shuttle's departure. "Hmm, are there any other shuttle services nearby?" Turns out there is another one that leaves from the Oxnard airport at 11 AM. "That's the one," I say. Saskia ends up calling back to get directions.

We cruise along at a quick pace. I assure Saskia that I'll take her to the airport if we miss the shuttle. I realize that there really is no alternative. She's heading to Thailand and I do not want her to miss her flight. She'll be traveling for the next 2 and a half months. Her excitement is contagious and at the same time she remains calm as we speed along hoping to get there before 11. It actually looks like we are going to make it. According to the guy that gave her directions, we make a left on Victoria and then a left on 5th street. It turns out that these directions were eronious. Saskia calls up the shuttle service for the third time and they say that we should have made a right on Victoria. I make a quick uturn and we race back down Victoria.

Saskia remains calm and tells me not to worry. It's funny, but I am definitely more nervous. I did have the commitment to start working with Highlove at the skateboard park. He calls while we are in route and I let him know that I'll be around an hour late. Saskia apologizes to him.

"I am always late," Saskia says, "It's my bane.

Just as we pull into the small airport, we see the shuttle bus move forward about a foot. "No!" Saskia says in a high pitched voice. Then it stops, I look at the clock: 10:59. My face cracks into a smile and Saskia squeals with joy. I pull in front of the van just to make sure. We say good bye and I drive away.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hitch hiking random waves of peops

Sunday October 13, 2002 Big Island, Hawaii

Fittingly received a mini sermon from Manu. Soon enough, I'm back on the beach with Robert. Swam in the ocean for the first time here. It was a bit itimidating for me. I'll definitely need some flippers to join the dolphins although I have my doubts whether I'd see any. It felt nice to practice yoga, chi gong and tai chi on the beach. I spoke with Vladimir. He's always curious about my little exercises and didjeridoo technique (circular breathing). Left with Robert. The first ride that picked us up hitch hiking left us at the Spigget. 3 peops in the van. No one said a word. Tension written on their faces and shining in their eyes. Furtive glances. After the driver let us out we breathed a sigh of relief. Took a while for the next ride. I didjed the passing vehicles who refused to give us a ride heeding Manu's advice: "Bless everybody."

Fianlly, a guy named Anthony stopped and made room for us in his Honda Civic with a hatchback. He was right on our wavelength and stopped a the healthfood store and then took us, along with a chick with dreds, to the farmer's market where he dropped us off.

I chilled at the market briefly. Intrigued by an exchange between Mr. Ascension and Michael Hyson. Mike's conclusion: "This is a bureaucrat's view of the universe." Then, a woman named Gina invited me to her house for some throat singing and chanting. She's enthused about the didj.

I ran into Bud again and he offered to give me a lift back to Pahoa. On the way out, a guy named Ed asked if I was Mike. He wanted me to share info about the didj. He mentioned Gina's class. I told him that she's invited me. He said he'd give me a lift.

I ended up at Bud's place which actually is in close proximity to the Hari Krishinas. We could hear their devotional music seeping into his house. Bud's got lots of bananas. He's mostly solar powered, has 11 acres, 4 dogs and a growing cat population. He cooked me 3 cheese fajitas and reccomends the ETB card. We talked as the light grew dimmer and then Bud lit two kerosene lanterns. Sugar cane grass grows like crazy on his property and he uses Round Up to eradicate patches of it. The process takes like 4 weeks. He's planted many trees and is proud of them.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sweat lodge

My day began with my cell phone alarm clock jolting me into consciousness. Initially, I thought it was an error but as my head re-rested on the pillow I remembered: sweat lodge at daybreak.

I arrive on the estate just a few minutes past 7 AM. I can see the sun painting the side of a mountain pink as I walk down the dirt road that runs down the southern boundary of the land and leads to the location of the ceremony. As I reach the site, I see that either Bill or the wind had thrown some leaves on the embers from the previous night's ritual. The smell of burning leaves fills the air and sends a signal to the heavens. We begin by placing the grandfathers (stone people) on the smokey leaves. Then Andrew appears on the scene. He is the one who pours water (the one who will lead the sweat). He blesses the lodge with Lakota prayers and we three begin to build up the wood around the stack of rocks (stone people). The fire takes its time digesting the wood as though the flames are tired from the previous day's rock furnace show. Soon enough, the fire engulfs all the wood and the lava rocks begin to get hot.

We all crawl into the sweat lodge - there's 8 of us as Skip begins to drop the rocks, on at a time onto the deer antler that Andrew uses to place them into the center of the lodge. As Skip drops the third rock, Nick appears. He waits until all the rocks come in for that round, and then he joins us. The nine of us include Andrew, Linda, Sandy, Bill, Will, Tony, me, Benois and Nick.

We go thru 3 rounds before the ceremony is completed. The last round was super hot but very quick. I sat up the whole time, unwilling to lay down in search of cooler air. The main intentions of this sweat were to welcome a baby who is supposed to be born in ten days and to initiate Will into the earth clan. The prayers poured out of our mouths one by one and were all marked my sincerity and heartcenteredness.

When I crawled out, the cool air soothed and cooled my superheated body. I stood and soaked in the beautiful sunlight as we all reveled in the relief of a more comfortable temperature. After 10 minutes or so, I felt some nausiousness in my stomach and light headed as well. A sigh escaped my heart as I sat down and let my head droop down towards the ground.

An hour or so later, after an amazing lunch by Caspar, I took care of tasks which involved getting the various spaces back in order. The wind picked up and began blowing things around, leaves and trees in the pool, a pot with a palm tree fell over and broke and the tarps over the t-houses whipped into a frenzy. All I could think was that we certainly stirred something up.

Bill, Will, Caleb and I then played some 2 on 2 basketball on the court that Santa built Will on Xmas. Bill and Will won and then we played pig which I won.

Caspar had a birthday party over at Ian and Natalie's. This allowed me to have some more of his wonderful cuisine. I spoke with Tyler, author of Ojai Blog about some of his new websites which you can read about on his site.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Motorcycle healthy again, thanks Martin!

Rachel gave me a call at 8:42 AM which became an abrupt wake up call due to my consumption of 3.5 pints of Guiness the previous evening combined with sleep being delayed until almost 5 AM. The motivating factor of motorcycle retrieval shattered any possibility of returning to slumberville. I ended up walking to Farmer and the Cook in the surprisingly cold air where Rachel purchase her muffin which turned out to be a bit on the dry side.

The ride down is a blur now - my brain is not used to that much Guiness. When we arrived at the shop, I could see my beautiful CBR 900, parked in front of the shop. Martin popped out of the doorway with a smile and showed me the big white Cadillac that he was about to sell some dude thru Ebay.

Waved goodbye to Rachel as she drove off to L.A. and then walked into the shop where Martin proceeded to show me the culprit of my motorcycle blues. It was this tiny little thingamajig that shorted out because of some crossed wires. Damage: $145.00. Yep one hundred and forty-five buckaroonies...

The ride back was freeeeezing. Even though I had double jackets and all that. I guess I needed leather pants or something. When I got back to the house, I climbed back into bed, snuggled under the covers and watched some Austalian Open tennis action. It's funny but 30 minutes later, I am still cold. I feel it in my knees.

Fianlly, hop in the tub with a bunch of dead ants - or maybe they were swimming. The ants have been congregating on the bath tub lately. I wonder why. Is it their version of a scientific expedition or something? Trying to explain the mystery of porceline? Ants are OK in my book. They do a lot of cleaning up but seem to catch a bad rap anyway. As I raised my core temperature in the hot water, I pictured various Salvadore Dali paintings which depicted ants. Dali liked ants.

Back in the bed, dosing, cell phone rings, it is Tony. "Are you going to fire keep for the sweat?" He asks. I am kind of shocked, "What time does it start?" is my reply. "2:30." "I'll call you back in 15 minutes, I need to think about it."

In the end I declined. Not enough notice. I was ill prepared. My decision sits well with me. I recognized the flow, had faith that i was not integral and could have possibley stifled the heavy ceremony with feeling resentful.

Just found out that there's going to be a sweat lodge for little Will tomorrow at daybreak. I'm honored to be invited to this "Initiation ceremony".

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bike in the shop

The transition in my job seems to have happened right on cue. A retreat began today. My services where only required for a few hours (instead of the typical: hang out on the estate and turn lights on and off etc). Thus, I was freed up and able to ride my CBR 900 down to Ventura with my friend Daniel following. It seems as though my alternator has begun to malfunction (won't charge). The timing has been exquisite because I have use of a silver Toyota Land Cruiser and will not miss the bike for the few days that it takes to repair. The ride down actually was fruitful for Daniel, who rode his Triumph. It turns out that the complex of storage/work spaces, where my bike is being operated on, had a vacancy in which he was interested in renting for his 4 or 5 motorcycles and a place to write songs.

The ride back was slightly on the freaky side for this surfer. Lets face it, I much prefer to be the one controling the motorcycle, you know, steering, rolling the throttle, squeezing the break. Yeah, it is slightly disconcerting being on the back of the bike while it is traveling down the freeway at 70 MPH. I just tried to relax and let my weight sink into my hips while trying to keep my helmet from bumping into his when ever he hit the brakes, downshifted or accelerated. Daniel is the one exception to my rule of never being on the back of the bike. This may be due to the fact that wrote and composed one of my fave motorcycle songs of all time.

The winds been blowing tonight. There's a chill in the air. Had a great tai chi class and then a soak in a Jacuzzi. Chimes filling the air with the song of the wind while the leaves rustle and planes rumble above in the heavens.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Learn to forgive

Once again, you have blown up, my friend
lobbing words like your're in a war
I just watch and wonder who's it for
and where does the anger come from hon

I thought that this stagnant energy had washed down the stream
dissipated, put into perspective resolved relegated
but today I learn, that you still burn
with the fuel of madness
that I think covers sadness
and maybe you're just not even here
Maybe you are in the past
trying the impossible task
of correcting a permanent wrong
super imposing an ancient song
over the one that's playing now
ba bump ba bump
over the one that's playing now

I wish for you the present tense
I hope that you will stop hiding
behind the smokey fence
I picture that you will soon make sense
of all the emotions that make you whole
make you float, make you sink, make you rock and make you roll

Forgiveness is the magic way that keeps us coming back
to our center and to our friends and a loving way to act

But I know you know you gotta love your self
Before it can go to someone else
And I know you know you gotta learn to forgive
to open up your heart and really live

I can feel the umbra
that is making you crazy
The eclipse of reason
makes thinking hazy
go back inside
where the soul lives
go back inside and learn to forgive

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Have you heard about the space probe that’s just about to be launched - destination Pluto? What do you think the power source is? Tick, tick, tick… The answer: Plutonium of course. What surprises is me is that there’s a bunch of people protesting. All I can think of is Duh! The damn planet is called Pluto! What do you expect? I suppose they’re all nervous about the radiation or something. Well, I got some news for ya, there is not any life from the stratosphere to Pluto. But there’s a whole lotta radiation. It’s called the solar wind. You all want to protest about radiation poisoning? Then how about all the spent uranium that is all over Iraq. Maybe it’s because the story is so under reported or something but no one seems to care about it. But power a space probe with some plutonium and suddenly there’s a protest fiesta.

As you may have guessed, I have not surfed in over a week now. I have been waiting for the toxicity levels to go down since it rained a few days ago. Hey, there’s something to protest: The pollution of our streams, creeks and rivers from run off. What happens: sounds like the biggest culprit that is impacting my main surf spot is from fertilizers creating insane nitrate levels.

Life is good as far as where I am sleeping these days. My current house sit is just a block away from my favorite chow down locale: Farmer and the Cook. It’s also a hotspot which has become especially handy due to the sudden failure of Internet access here at my house sit. Tonight, a young local artist had a reception for a series of paintings that depicted horses. There were also paintings of a naked woman. Hmm… horses and naked women, where’s Sigmund Freud when you need him?

The last several days, I’ve been working for cats. They are the ideal pets. Their hygiene, their independence; basically, they are low maintenance. Dogs, on the other hand, require much more attention. This past weekend, I enjoyed a beautiful house with a Jacuzzi and a heated lap pool. The dogs were both Shelties. Started off shy but soon came around. The puppy showered me with affection. Just before I was about to leave, they both managed to get out of the gated, secure area. They decided to go under the porch where, of course, my access was quite limited. Eventually, the maid and I teamed up to get them back inside the fence. But this, along with a few other incidents, has reinforced my high opinion of cats.

Earlier today, as I was backing out of the driveway, I sensed something, I don’t know if it was a noise or if I spotted her out of the corner of my eye, but Na’la had climbed into the vehicle. I stopped the SUV, opened the window and out she jumped. She seemed pretty nonchalant about her little driving experience and sat and watched me curiously as I drove away.

My destination: the hospital. John’s wife has slipped into a coma. I went in and visited for a short while. Afterwards, I mowed his lawn and then let some one in the house who was picking up some medical equipment. It always surprises me how unhealthy everyone looks in the hospital. I’m talking about the workers, obviously the patients are all gonna be ill. But when the employees are all over weight it’s kind of a tip off, for me at least. I then got a call from John; he wanted me to relieve his vigilance for a hour or so while he goes to his house, takes a shower and put on a change of clothes.

So then it’s just Jovanka and me inside the hospital room. She’s been unconscious for 2 or 3 days now. Her breathing is labored. She’s hooked up to a bunch of tubes that administer food, painkillers and tranquilizers. There’s also machines that measure her hear rate and blood pressure. During the 90 minutes or so that I am there, she only makes two noises. If there were any problems, I was instructed to hit the red button which would have brought a nurse in. But nothing happened and I just read the sports section of the Ventura Star, a book by Greg Bear and listened to her breathe as if she were running around a track at a good pace.

In Roman mythology, Pluto was the god of the underworld, the god of death. We are now sending a probe to visit this icey planet whose growth was stunted. It will travel thru the vacuum of space for 9 years.

Monday, January 16, 2006

In front of the sun

Sometimes I imagine I'm in front of the sun
spinning alone and there's nobody home
isn't it fun to be in front of the sun
isn't it fun to be in front of the sun

Memorize my imagination
remember a memory
do you remember who you are?
do you imagine who you are?

Sometimes I imagine I'm inside of the sun
connected with strings to all living beings
isn't it fun to be inside of the sun
isn't it fun to be inside of the sun

Memorize my imagination
remember a memory
do you remember who you are?
do you imagine who you are?

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Now I find myself lost in your inner space
like a jaguar caught in the rat race
spinning in circles around a track
loco motive sonic breath attack
I'm spinning I'm grinning I'm spinning I'm grinning
I'm spinning I'm grinning I'm spinning I'm grinning

Sometimes when the clouds stroll in
I see angels in the shadows
building ladders to Apollo
we are whole and we are hollow
we are whole and we are hollow

Now I find myself exploring outer space
in my Jaguar winning the rat race
gunning the engine to make it purr
cruising the freeway just call me Sir

Sometimes when the clouds roll in
I see angels in the spotlights
a bridge across infinity
thru space in time to you and me

I'm spinning I'm grinning I'm purring I'm winning
I'm spinning I'm grinning I'm purring I,m winning

Paul Human on the left

Paul Human on the left, originally uploaded by surfer x.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Paul Human and Michael Didj

Sir Angus did not care that it was raining this morning. This cat does not like peeing in a litter box. Would you? So, the orange and white tabby stood just above my head and meowed until I woke up and let him outside. The time was like 9:30 AM or something and was close enough to my target time of getting off the couch, thus began my day.

Yesterday I'd already begun to anticipate the performance that Paul Human and I were scheduled for - up in the Yoga Studio for Robyn's birthday yoga class. Paul and I have not jammed since 2004, I think, so I was pretty excited. But, like any good story, there had to be some kind of challenge, right? I mean, nothing major, nobody's getting hurt or nothing... just some good old-fashioned mechanical failure kinda deal, so don't get all flummoxed or whatever.

Everything goes fine as far as brushing teeth and all that, feed the cat, give him a quick invigorating massage that he enjoys so much that he meows disapprovingly when you stop. Perfect, always leave him wanting more. Now it is time to leave for the Yoga performance, meet up with Paul Human and play that didj. Alrighty then, start up the ole CBR 900... ut oh... the battery just clicks, won't even turn over. Time to start walking.

The walk up is actually invigorating and helps clear up my sinuses. Oh yeah, I didn't tell you how much I was sneezing this morning. Lots and lots of flem. That's the price last night's giant burito, take it like a man and cover your mouth when you sneez, OK? Thus the walk feels nice and there is one of those Zen moments when a bunch of quale get startled and start flapping their wings in unison while only 10 feet away. Just below the estate, Jean Benois appears in his brown Range Rover, picks me up and drops me in front of the studio.

My arrival is right at 11 AM and I can see Paul sitting on the big rug in the corner with all of his instruments spread out around him: Tibeatan bowls, a black 'Johnny Cash' guitar, shakers, scratchers, thurnder making thing etc. He's got this huge set of wings ontop of a small blanket in front. They are silky black - 5 foot wingspan. When I see him, I am surprised to see that he's lost at least 30 pounds, looks a bit older, has a longish beard goatee kind of thing and long hair tucked under a hat. His eyes light up and we greet eachother with a warm hug.

Robyn delays the start of the class - remember, this is California - translation: there's gonna be some stragglers. While the class of friends patiently waits, Paul and I make some music, easy slow, simple and tentaive. We use the time to get sonically reaquainted. He strums the black guitar and I sing thru the didj searching for harmonies and rhythm.

Finally, the class begins and Robyn states her intention clearly and thanks everyone for sharing in this day of celebration. We all circle up and hold hands, walk in a big circle counter-clockwise and then clockwise. The yoga postures and movements begins and so does the Paul Humand and Michael Didj performance. The music comes easy, I let Paul take the lead and sit back in a role of support. We start very slowly and then the energy starts to build and we lose are selves as our instruments become vehicles of divine expression. We are inspired by the tone set by Robyn as she confidantly leads every one thru the asanas that have sprung out of the foundation of our intentions for growth and integrity.

I listen as Paul sings his songs that fit so perfectly with the moment, with the context of the situation. At one point he is chanting like a Tibetan monk and suddenly we are all transported into an ancient Tibetan monastery being showered with sacred blessings. Before we know it, every one is in Shavasana. We allow the blanket of silence to cover us all and then Sunny mouths to me: "Blow that thing." I grab the didj and start chanting; "OM MANI PADME HUM, OM AH HUM, OM GATI GATI PARA GATI PARA SUMA GATI BODHISVAHA, OM BRAMAH VISHNU SHIVA..." And then it is time for silence once again. I lay down and then Robyn plays: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo Ole'.

Friday, January 13, 2006


My three week house sit at Jmoe’s begins this Sunday and as has become the norm, it seems to magnetize other house sit situations. Thus, Sunday will bring a convenient overlap – convenient because the houses are in such close proximity. Meanwhile, the hippy girls are up in Oregon – the hippie Mecca – and have left Sundance in charge of the plants. Last night found us checking out a sci-fi flick, Serenity. It was high quality b movie that kept us entertained.

Sundance is a town legend who grew up in Ojai. He’s a virtuoso on the guitar and a gypsy at heart, traveling from Hawaii to Ojai to Oregon in a never ending triangular dance.

Paul Human has entered the Ojai arena all though I have yet to see him. Tomorrow we shall jam in the yoga studio up at Casa Barranca for Robyn Ember’s birthday. It is also my father’s birthday tomorrow – Happy Birthday Dad!

Paul and I belonged to a band called: Curl Space. We invented a type of music that was so mind altering that it has permanently shifted the orbit of the earth. In fact, we suspect that all of the earthquakes in the last 3 years are a consequence of our sonic break thru. So if you have been affected by any earth movements, sorry about that.

Anyway, Paul and I are supposed to start playing at 11 AM so if you are near the coast, watch out for tidal waves and if you feel the ground start to move then stand in a doorway or run out into the field. You can yell if you want, that’s always a good way to release pent up stress.

Currently, Sir Angus and I are listening to some crazy radio show on KCRW.

Morgan just hosted a cool dance party at Plexus tonight. Toby was the spinner and there were many fine ladies tearing up the dance floor and steaming up the windows. Tony Tabla brought in one of his drums and demonstrated why he is a percussion legend as he tapped into the cosmic flow and rhythmized the escatchalon.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Problem solved

Thursday September 26, 2002 North Shore, Oahu

I can hear the waves crashing on the reef as I write using my headlight. I’ve had this light for almost a year and still have the original batteries. This day proceeded on course like a sailboat with a nice tail wind although it began with feelings of trepidation and doubts about my future. It was difficult to start exercising but when I did, the blocks dissolved and evaporated. By the time my tai chi sesh ended, I felt utterly certain about my sudden course change.

The Big Island represents the unknown zone and can only be experienced thru personal exploration. I have once again overcome my fear of fear in order to embrace my shrouded destiny led by the soft murmur of my heart. A murmur that speaks with the certainty of utter calmness – reached, lost and then reached again. Carefully pursuing union with my self, my soul, my body and my mind.

Around noon, I biked to Waiamea Bay, where I enjoyed the completion of a VII boulder problem. I will call it the Micro Cosmic Orbit. I had some inspiration and help from Troy. He’s studying to be a physician’s assistant in L.A.. Also, there was a nice couple from Illinois who had fun watching us attempt to solve what I consider a classic problem. I was able to get up it twice and it definitely stoked me -. especially when I pulled thru the crux the first time. The sound that came our of my throat surprised me; it was a pretty powerful release. I ascended a couple other routes, receiving enough sun to redden my shoulders, upper chest and back.

Back on the bike, I continued on to Haliewa and purchased a one way ticket to the Big Island – the dye has been cast. I will now see why Prana and Rhianon were so keen on me exploring this vibrant isle.

I bike back to Liz & Ro’s surfing headquarters at Backyards in time to relax and shower before taking Caio to his Jin Jhitsu class. I watched Caio practice in his class just across the hwy. There was only one other student so they were able to get all the teacher’s attention. After his class, I watched TV with him. Nickleodian. Rugrats. After he brushed his teeth, I read him Rugrats, Ducks and Mr. Opposite & Mr. Whathisname.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

All you need is love

I've always been fascinated by the underlying factors which influence behavior in human beings. Primarily, I have used myself as the guennie pig/lab rat. The ability to introspect is a double edged sword that can reap enormous rewards when self knowledge is gained and can reap a great deal of pain when the soul starts to bleed. One experiment that had an enormous impact on me was the power of nurturing.

Until I'd worked with Sean, an emotionally troubled 9 year old, I'd been relatively selfish in my actions and thinking - a consequence of constant introspection (CI). The problem with this (CI), I think now, is that it can lead to a lack of confidence, low self esteem and run away self criticism. Once this siren song has been grooved into the record of one's unconscious, it is easy to become addicted to the neurotransmitters that set the stage for an emotional reality, a mood. When all of this becomes unconscious, then one's interpretation of the events, situations and relationships becomes biased towards recreating the self destructive mood. That is why working with Sean was so important in my life - I broke the pattern.

Thru nurturing another - deeper than I was capable of nurturing myself back then - I opened up my heart, healed a soul wound and gained access to deeper potentials. The child was suffering so much, was so ungrounded and explosive, my only recourse was to find deeper ways to ground myself. This motivated my tai chi practice like nothing else could. I learned that I could use my addictive tendencies could be transformed into discipline. At this day and age, nothing quite sets one apart from the herd when one knows how to nurture one self instead of the norm of self destruction.

My strong discipline of practicing tai chi an hour a day led to the opening of a door I did not think possible for me - circular breathing with the didjeridoo. These two practices stay with me today - over 10 years later - and continue to bring satisfaction, artifacts and knowledge. These are some of the physical rewards of self nurturing, self love. But the most gratifying gift was learning to nurture another.

The reason why nurturing is so powerful is a consequence of the neural distribution in human beings. I came accross this data after my experience with Sean and thus found a way to triangulate, confirm the components, that I feel, led to the profound results.

The startling 35 year old physiological data, that I still marvel at, is that the organ that we call the heart, is 60%-65% neurons. It's directly connected to the cerebral cortex, the limbic system and the immune system. The limbic system is our emotional body. The key thing here is that the heart responds to love, is stimulated by love, by smiling, by laughter. Emotions like hate, shut it down, frowning shuts it down, fear shuts it down. This is why The Beatles sang the song: "All You Need Is Love".

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Battery reanimated with a little help from my friends

Cell phone interrupts my dream, pop off the couch and learn that it is johnny. "When you gonna get your bike?" he queries.

"Uhh... what time is it?"


"Really? Wow, oh yeah, I was up till 4 last night."

"Well, take your time, I can move it or work around it, I need to get into the shed."

"Do you think the battery's charged?"

"Sure, I'll take it off the charger so it doesn't get too hot."

"Thanks, I'll be there in 30 minutes."

So, I brush the ole teeth, slip on some clothes and make my way out into the world where I can see the sun somewhere near the zenith burning thru some faint haze. After walking for the first 5 minutes, I break into a trot. Cars and SUVs pass me by, know one I know diving them and thus I end up jogging the whole 2 miles or so.

When I reach Johnny's street, I can see him at his mail box. He hears my footfalls, turns and smiles. We walk up his driveway, reach the bike and I give it the test - starts up easily and I can tell the battey has charged. Cool.

Phase two of Tuesday begins with my walking over to Jennifer's - where 2/3 of my belongings have been living under a tarp, under her car port. I go thru some of the stuff, duct tape up a few cracked bins, stuff all the stuff into her Land Cruiser and then I am off, up the hill, to the estate, to my new home - the geodesic dome.

I'd given this relocation some thought and determined that a wheel barrow would be the best tool to help minimize the labor. Down in front of Skip's hovel, I found a wheel barrow. Back at the silver Land Cruiser, I unload some bins, place them in the barrow and stage them at the top of the steps which lead down to the barranca. The process goes quickly and surprisingly smooth. The hardest thing was to carry the wheel barrow down the steps and then up them when everything had been safely placed withing the confines of the dome.

Afterwards, I confer with Bill and learn that a site vis is coming on Thursday. Thus, tomorrow I shall dial in a few different areas on the estate - probably just the external spaces. The fish pond needs to be cleaned, the pool needs some water etc.

Tonight, I am going to a little pot luck at Jen and Kristen's. They live next to horses and goats. This is their last month though; they plan on moving into Kristen's orange VW and going mobile like in the Who song: "Mobile" they'll be "air-conditioned gypsies".

Monday, January 09, 2006

Battery neglect

These are the easy warm days of January. The next retreat is a few weeks away - leaving plenty of time for tai chi, yoga and sleeping until whenever. Today, I awoke and never even looked at a clock until after I’d rewound some time and defrosted my limbic system within the confines of the yoga temple. Toolio the cat, waited for me outside and when I finished he delivered his classic “Meow.” This time it meant ‘I’m hungry’ – the give away being the licking of his thin lips while staring at me intently.

I decided to work a couple hours today pulling weeds out of the ground at my friend John’s house. This task is quite grounding. I do a type of meditation, which involves getting a kinesthetic sense of the roots as I yank them out of the earth. My knees get a little stiff and sometimes an ant will take a small bite out of my hand. After 2 hours, I have some lunch money and a sense of doing something productive.

The WiFi signal over here at the Sir Angus housesit has gone on hiatus leading me to take advantage of the Farmer and the Cook’s signal. Thus, after my meal of salad, avocado, quinoa, shredded carrot, shredded beet, wild rice, sprouted something etc, I surfed the web.

At one point, John Hemp came inside with his 17 inch PowerBook and enlisted a consultation on one of his new products – labels for a line of hemp powder super food for smoothies.

Two hours plus after parking my motorcycle, I learn that I left my ignition on. The battery on my motorcycle went nearly dead as a consequence of my negligence. I went in and enlisted John Hemp to give me and the bike a push in order to pop start the engine. After four attempts, I concluded that the battery was too rundown. John offered the use of his new yellow portable jump starter. This contraption actually worked to some extent. It got the bike running but even after letting it run for 15 minutes, the battery would not charge enough and conk out when I turned the light on.

Plan B took effect: call friends that live nearby. Jennifer: not home. Johnny, answers, says “Sure you can leave it in my driveway and do you want to borrow my charger?”

John Hemp drove me back to the house sit so I could get the cat in and feed it. Now I’m on foot; lucky that it’s such a small town. Tomorrow I will be jogging.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Nomadic tendencies

Once, I lived between two hills
on a delta
just above
where two streams meet
once in a while
when enough rain falls from the sky.

In this small town
I cannot remember
all the places I have lived
all the place I have slept.
Sounds a little suspicious
but I have almost always slept alone
with few exceptions - almost sounds sad.

More than once, I slept under a bridge
where water can flow in the winter
where paintings made with spray cans
and brushed on acrylic
line the cement walls
converting it into an outdoor gallery
where little white specs
of something would fall
onto my sleeping bag
while I slept
and vehicles
rattled and shook the road above.
Where one morning
I stood silently
while an unseen woman
cried for Jesus
cried for his help
and so I prayed for her
no need for middle men
I guess that is what I became.

Another day I slept in a multi-million dollar home at night
while working on an artificial waterfall during the day
with Gates, Jai and Skip.
We carried big rocks up the hill
for Skip to place.
We shoveled dirt mixed with cement
into a tube into a plastic sock
and rammed it with a tamper.
And we dug holes in the earth with magical shovels.

The next day, I slept in a rammed earth home
off the zoning radar
created, manifested by Jai
the blonde dredded skinny long
Baghavad Gita missionary

Waking up in someone's backyard
on a futon
with only the leaves and branches
of an oak tree
between me in the sky.
The only noise, the sound of the heater sporadically
firing to life to heat the jacuzzi
which I'd soak in
before yoga and tai chi

Soon, I'll move into a geodesic dome
next to the creek that is no longer dry
built by Gates
I will sleep on a pad
on the ground.
Closer to the coyotes
and where the constant soundtrack of insects
will lull me to sleep
and welcome me awake

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Next generation and then fun on the kayak

Saturday September 7, 2002 Oahu, North Shore

Roberto quietly awakens me from the other side of the door. I groggily reply: "Yeah, I'm ready." We cruise in his big grey Ford pick up, stopping for gas and then snagging Alex. We three head to the west side of the island. From the shore we can see the big overhead waves breaking. The paddle out zig zags around the crashing waves, the way to avoid unnecessary pummeling. It's a pretty long paddle out but I do not get tired. I manage to stand up on a big thick overhead. At some point, a local rides his board into mine and his fin cuts the board like a knive on a loaf of bread. This little snafu will end up costing me around $80 - part of the world of surfing. I have 3 more rides before the time runs out and make the long paddle in.

The next stage of the day begins with the guards at the satcom gate refusing to let us drive in because the safety inspection sticker on the truck has expired. We leave the truck outside the gate and consequently have to carry the surfboards as Pat escorts us in on foot. Ever since the nine-one-one deal, life has gotten a bit more complicated. Turns out, Bro Bri had to leave his white Jeep outside as well - he's 4 days passed safety inspection deadline and someone stole his registration sticker.

The day went smoothly. The next generation kept everyone focussed and busy. No time for the Byrne 5 to revisit any dramatics of the past. The occassion turned into a photo op shop as the 4 young ones were together for the first time. Soon, Jade will be on the scene. These kids are starting to pile up. Pat and Liz both have 2. I know Bri wants more and I imagine Kev's ready to start playing the family game. I can't help but chuckly glibly, savoring my hard-earned freedom from domestication. I know that there are plusses and minusses, but this fire horse needs lots of space to rome unhindered by the responsibilities of fatherhood.

The meal consisted of bacon, muffins, cinnamon bread, potatos (chopped with onions) and croissants. There was fruit, OJ and cake for dessert. I baffled myself by eating all the various kinds of bread. So now, 48 hours later, I have itchy eyes and a sniffly nose. Once again, I learn the difference between alkaline and acidic foods. After this meal, I could feel a drowsy fog enshroud my cortex accompanied by the hint of a slight head ache. I still ate 2 pieces of chocolate cake.

When Pat tried on my birthday gift - a sky blue dragon t-shirt, I was happy to see it fit. Bri captured the moment with his digital camera, he's become masterful at taking quality shots of the fam in 2s and 3s as well as the very difficult family shot. Too bad Kev's in Florida, we need him at these times.

The third stage of this long day occured at Backyards. Roberto and I took the kayak out and had a blast with some smallish, wind-generated waves. After catching numerous waves, we paddled in as the darkness arrived, leaving purple clouds and a grey sky.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Rincon waves

I awaken inside a dark room. The realization that I am house sitting for Sir Angus the cat dawns on me when I hear a gentle "Meow," just behind my head. 'Hmm," I think, "it must be close to 5:40 AM." Sure enough, the cell phone alarm goes off and I shed the last remnants of sleep, slide off the couch and brush my teeth. The sun still remains out of sight but Angus taps his claws on the door, letting me know that he wants to get outside and take care of business. Just before I leave, I say: "Watchout for the coyotes." I take off his little door that block his flap and he slips thru and disappears.

I arrive on the estate with enough time to help Devin unload a couple items from the back of his white natural gas-powered pick up truck. Then we are driving down 150 with the heat cranking out. "I need to build up some heat momentum," I say while trying not to think about my relatively thin wet suit - it is a 2/3 O'Neal Hammer. Devin offers to let me borrow his gloves and hoodie and I agree.

We arrive at Rincon and observe that there are not too many surfers. Devin's surprised, "That's interesting," he says "I wonder what it means?" We walk down a trail to check out the wave situation and discover that there are consistent shoulder to head high with overhead stand outs. After 10 minutes or so, we agree to give it a shot here.

The paddle out is easier for me even though I start after Dev. The waves are big and more powerful than I realize. Sitting on my board, near the top of the line up, I watch some of the surfers catching sweet rides, all of them overhead. I go for a few but am too far back on the wave. I go inside a bit and then a set comes in and I learn how powerful these waves are. The ocean once again humbles me. All of my North Shore confidence gets turned inside out as the thick waves pulverize me and wash me down the point. I finally manage to get out of the inside, just in time to watch Devin catch a big fast wave that takes him all the way to the freeway.

He paddles back and we talk a bit. The sun has risen high enough to warm my back. I can feel the heat trapped in the hoodie and the gloves are doing a good job of keeping my hands warm although I can feel the extra weight in my lats. I paddle a bit further up the point and sit and then I see a wave that makes me believe. Sure enough, I catch and am standing - lickedy split. The ride is big and fast. I shoot along as the other surfers stare at me as they paddle out of the way. I watch as the wave starts to close out and wisely turn and go straight until I am engulfed by the white foam and wildly rushing water.
I let out a few "Woooos" - this is my first Rincon wave. Finally got the monkey off my back.

Later in the day, I end up taking care of a few tasks at John's. They involve weeding and a severe retrimming of the persimmon tree. This took 2 hours and gave me a chance to ground out, nothing like pulling up roots to get connected to earth energy.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ode to Larry Bish

My friend Larry Bish
died a few days ago.
He crashed into a cement pole
under an overpass.
The cause is being investigated.
But I know how it happened.
While behind the wheel
he drifted off to sleep
and his car drifted off the road
and then his life was over.
It has been over a decade since I last spoke to him
and now I never will again.
I wish I could see him
or at least have him at the other end of a phone.
I would say: "Thank you Larry, for all you do.
You keep hope alive inside children
who have had it blasted out of them
or where it has dried up like a yellowed plant
that someone forgot to water. You nurture tortured souls back to life.
Your smile lives inside me. I remember those kids being enveloped
inside your bear hug like they have never been hugged before.
Like they were meeting love for the first time.
And then I'd see them smile with abandon,
faith restored
You carried a torch of loving fire
inside your heart and with it you
started fires inside others.
Your eyes twinkled and radiated kindness
compassion and joy."

I remember the first time I met Larry.
He looked deep in my eyes
instantly knew me
welcomed me
said: "You belong here, I think it'd be good if you worked here.
You're a good person."

I remember how Larry was always receiving and reading letters
from kids who had been inside the detention center. Years after their incarceration,
they were still in contact with Uncle Larry.

The example Larry set for me is to give
what is in your heart. Accept others, let them in,
see their beauty and acknowledge it.

I will always remember the spirit of love, joy and compassion
that resided and lived in Larry's heart
overflowing, spilling out of his mouth
shooting out of his eyes
if you were in the same room
you could feel it
and even now
I still can.

Thank you Larry, Rest In Peace

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

North Shore Tree Service

Friday September 6, 2002 North shore, Oahu

First day of work on the North Shore went well. I'm working for a big wave surfer from Jersey - Robby. He's 32 years old and extremely fit. After cleaning up various chain saw debris for a couple hours, Robby hands me a chainsaw, points to a line of trees that run along the side of the house and says: "Trim them to the level of the eave of the house." My experience with chainsaws had been limited to an electirc one that I used to cut up firewood. This task involved standing up on a wall, 6 inches wide, 8 feet off the ground and trimming this sort of hedge kind of deal on my tippey toes. I guess it was kind of a test that I managed to pass. All and all, the day went well and I received a 3/4 c note for my efforts. This amount was satisfying because of its built in $15 bonus. I think that I've gotten an instaraise or something. I want my minimum daily pay to be a c note; for the time being, I'll allow my work ethic and actions to speak for me. I finished the day with a leafblower strapped to my back, cleaning up all over the place - including the ajoining property's collateral messes.

Roberto picked me up from North Shore Tree Service headquarters. As I waited, I sat by the edge of the road watching the endless line of vehicles zoom by.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sky Painter and Manty

Sky Painter
took a break
from his never ending job
of painting the sky.
Once, he took a vacation
and the sky was blue
for a whole month.

This time, he was only going to leave
for a few hours.
He climbed down his giant ladder
thinking that one of these days
he'll get a parachute
and float gentle as a feather
back to Earth.

He jumped the last couple rungs
landing in his garden
The apples were shiney red
and the oranges were bright orange
As he took a bite
out of the corner of his eye
he spied a most wonderful site:
There, standing on a leaf, just inches from his nose,
stood a Praying Mantis.

This Mantis was not praying though,
he was waving his limbs around
trying to get Sky's attention.
That is when Sky began to hear what the insect was saying:
"Finally! What's a bug got to do to gain your attention?"
Sky was too dumbfounded to speak.
"Well, I just want to say, that I am happy to be here. I figured I'd have more of an audience...
but I am just starting out so I should be happy with just one."

"Huh?" Sky almost coughed out. "Are you some kind of performer? A magic bug? An alien?..."

"HA, HA, HA. No, to all of your ridiculous and silly guesses. I am a comedian."

This was enough to make Sky laugh and chuckle a bit. "Well then, tell me a joke."

"Alrighty then, why don't ants get sick?"

"Don't know."

"Because they got little anty bodies."

"Heh, heh... that's pretty good... I'm gonna remember that."

The praying mantis was going to tell some more but Sky Painter looked at his watch and said: "Hey, I only have a few hours before I have to start painting the sky some more. There's a band playing at a festival here in Ojai. Do you want to come?"

"Sure" said the big green bug. "By the way, what's your name?"

"I am Sky Painter. What's yours?"

"You can call me Manty."

So Sky scooped up Manty, put him in his dredlocks, got in his black Ford Mustang, and drove to Libbey Park. The music played on and on and Sky danced and danced while Manty rested in his blonde dreds and prayed for peace.

Soon enough, Sky met some girls and showed them his new friend, Manty. They squealed with laughter and joy as they held and hugged the funny green bug. Manty played it cool. He's a bit wary of the female species. The key to his longevity is remaining celibate. If he mated with another praying mantis then she'd eat him afterwards. The girls loved Manty. They loved Sky for bringing him. They thought the whole concept was hilarious. They promised Manty that they would not eat him. "I'm a vegetarian," said Jiggs.

Manty relaxed and went with the flow. He eyed the stage hungrily, wondering when he'd get his big break. "I'd knock'em dead if I just got a chance," he sighed.

Meanwhile the girls began text messaging various friends about Manty. They said things like: "Manty wears a thong!" and "Manty for president!"

Little did they know that Sky instantaneously intercepted their transmissions and he was furious. "How can you say such things!" he roared. "Manty is a monk, he'd never wear a thong!" he said with a dark frown. "You are stealing my concept! I have been drawing pictures in the sky of praying manti for aeons. How can you desecrate something I consider sacred?!"

The girls were stunned. They had no idea that their actions would be interpreted in such a way. They were just having fun and did not want to cause anybody pain.

Sky Painter grabbed Manty, put him back in his hair, hopped in his black Mustang and drove back to his garden. He had a sunset to paint, this one was gonna have some storm clouds.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I fall asleep with the rain drumming on the roof
of the trailer
after finally tearing my attention
away from the book
and turning off the flashlight.
The percussion of rain awakens me
along with a wind that makes me miss Hawaii.

Highlove calls after hearing my phone message
Ends up picking me up
in his white truck.
He wears a black motorcycle jacket
and a black Australian cowboy hat
We run an errand.
He carries sandbags
onto his mother's roof to hold down a tarp
while the wind blows
I hold the ladder.

We end up at Farmer and the Cook
for lunch. Wind gusts send water spraying
on John as he talks to a woman.
He smiles and shines
like he is on the bow of a ship.
He tells of how folks are running cars on coconut oil
and kerosine somewhere in the Phillipines...

The chill sends me in through the door
where I build my salad and mosey into the dining area

Dawsen arrives with Derek.
He wears an Eddie Bauer plastic rain suit - matching pants and jacket.
I notice how wet he is "Are you walking?'
"Yeah, I need to find a place to park my van - permanently. Then I'll walk everywhere."
"Are you having some trouble up the hill?"
"Yeah, we had a big fight... the whole family... Kelly slapped me a couple times... Yeah,
I just want to find a place to park my van and my trailer. I'll fill them up with all my stuff
and just walk everywhere."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

My name is Jenny

The music from Movinos spills out the front door
onto the sidewalk
and that's where I see Nicky
dancing. "Hey what's up?" I say as a smile
wears my face.
He's all lit up with the
rock and roll in his body.
He looks me in the eye and starts talking in that
rich voice with the smoothed over edges of a New York accent.
I don't even remember what he said
just how he said it
and how good it felt to listen.

A woman walks up and looks at his hand
puts hers out to shake as she says "My name is Jenny. What's yours?"
No eye contact, she won't look up just stares at the ground
"Hi, I'm Nicky."

Time slows and I watch the judgement in my mind pass by like a reel of commercials for the reelection of some liar.
It's obvious that she's impaired in some way; could tell within 10 seconds. Impulse: walk away. But I resist. Observe.
Admire the way Nick stays open.

Slowly rotates and turns to face me but only looks at my feet, reaches out to shake my hand
"What's your name?"
I shake her limp hand that will not grip and say: "Didj."

"Didj?" she repeats


Nick asks conversationally "What's going on?"

"Collecting cans." She points to the plastic bag in her hand which has the outline of several soda cans.
"I don't like my name." she says.

"What name do you want?" asks Nick.

"Sarah Beth. I like that name, I wish I was Sarah Beth."

"Why don't you change it?" Nick asks.

"It's too much trouble, too much money, have to go to court-"

"No you don't, you just have to decide to change it-"

Her face tightens. "NO! My name's Jenny." She says with a grimace, looking at the ground
walks away, feet shuffling with the plastic bag of cans banging against her leg.