Wednesday, December 31, 2003


With the New Year barrelling down on us like drunken hippos on crack, I guess it's time for me to talk about resolutions.

Everybody makes resolutions it seems... if you watch a lot of sitcoms, at least... the key here is not to go overboard. Don't resolve to love all peoples, to save the world, to cure cancer. Screw that. Resolve to do something you can do... for a change!

With that in mind, here's my New Year's Resolution: I've had a pair of sneakers now for nearly ten years, nearly a decade. Rosa and I moved into our house in 1995 and I had those shoes. Those shoes saw me through the dying days of my marriage, through my divorce, through loneliness. I've been on walks with them, on stage with them, on drives with them. They're fucking old.

Tonight, I'm throwing those shoes AWAY!!!

... let's see if I can do it.
Shrub's nothing if not consistent...

Well, it appears as though those wacky Repugnicans are at it again. Check out this article to see what (and who) is next on their hitlist:

President George W Bush was sent a public manifesto yesterday by Washington's hawks, demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites.

The manifesto, presented as a "manual for victory" in the war on terror, also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies.

... oh yeah... we can trust them!

Regime change in '04!!!
The whole dating thing...

Just a quick note for those of you who were shocked out of your chairs at the thought of me having a date last night. Actually, this sticks to my bi-yearly dating schedule very well. It's been around for three years and, with the abberation of dating Rosa earlier this year (which turned out, oh, so FUCKING WELL!)(... but I'm not bitter...), continues with last night's date and Friday's possible date.

... so, stay cool.
Why can't things be simple???

Well, I went out with Karrie last night. Actually, we met for tea and talked for several hours. She's very nice... but... well... (Considering how my words could incriminate me, I'll just say the attraction wasn't there physically.)

As you could probably guess, the incrimination began almost immediately. "You're not attracted to her physically because you want Rosa. You'll only be attracted to Rosa." "You're punishing yourself over the loss of Rosa. You believe you deserve to be alone." "Then, why don't you leave? Huh? It's because you're afraid of loneliness - afraid of being to afraid to stop being alone!" "Note to self: Buy cigarettes!" "You could live alone for the rest of your life and never worry about this again."

This went on the entire drive home - and I did buy cigarettes - and I sat outside and smoked one.

I thought of some of the positives. Hmmm... she's a liberal... she loves nature... she has a good sense of humor...

But she's - And then the negatives... like an inverted pyramid, the biggest one was on top. She's not Rosa. She's a reminder that I'll never have Rosa back.

I lit another cigarette.

Is it my fault I'll never have Rosa back?... well... yes.
Am I to blame for her pushing me away?... well... kinda.
Could I have done anything differently?... um... sure.


But the bottom line is that I'm going to have to survive. Right? I've tried dying; it didn't work. So, if I have to survive, shouldn't I survive as best I can? ... This one took a while to answer... about a half hour.

I picked up the phone and called Karrie and asked her out to dinner on Friday. I'll find out then what I'm going to do. (When in doubt, put it off!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Three strikes - holy shit!

Could the "3 Strikes - You're Out" nonsense, er, law put a man in jail for cheating on his driving test?

Yes! It can!
So, think Clinton flaked?

Turns out (check out this link) that Shrub has taken more time off from work (you know, the Presidency) than Clinton did in eight years! Maybe he'd be a better president if he showed up for work now and again...
After nearly four years... have I come to rely upon my loneliness?

In a previous note, I mentioned that I leave some things out of My Side. After such a long weekend, there's quite a bit I've left out. And here's another one...

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to go out with someone. Her name was Lysa. Regardless of my reasons, I ended up not going. Worse, I ended up pushing her away. I spent a lot of time focusing on the whys and wherefores but, in the end, the thing that stuck was a fear that, after four years of missing Rosa, mourning Rosa, being empty without Rosa, I was just as afraid of losing that as I was of losing Rosa.

That brings us to this week - and, suddenly, two women are interested in me. (You heard it here first!) One of them is very attractive if not especially smart or accomplished. The other is smart and accomplished but she's not pretty like Rosa was pretty. I mention this to show you how, already, my voice of doubt insinuates its way into my brain. The cute one is a Medical Assistant, which Rosa once was. How could I date someone who does what Rosa did? I think, "I don't want to date anyone like Rosa." The other is nothing like Rosa. I think, "I don't want someone so different."

I try to stretch out the timeline from what would happen after a date and it doesn't take too long at all to realize what I'm so afraid of. I think, "You're going to end up hurt." And there you have my bottom line. I've been hurt so bad, I'm afraid of being hurt again. Not just afraid. In losing Rosa, I lost everything - my sanity, my sleep, my friends, and very nearly my life. Could I take that again?

I don't have much time for deliberation. One of these girls, Karrie, has asked me out for tea tonight. I'm so conflicted, I could cut my arm off at the pectorals.

I'll let you know what happens.
You can breathe now - it's safe to eat beef again!

Or is it?

According to Yahoo, and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, a heap of new regulations are being put in place to make the food we eat (the beef we eat) safe once again!

Here's what they're not telling you. The USDA employes only a handful of meat inspectors to safegaurd the US food supply. There are actually more inspectors for food that is exported than for the food we eat in the states. The vast majority of food is left to the meat packers to inspect on their own - we trust them! The USDA tells Inspectors to give deference to meat companies, stopping production lines Only in certain, rare, circumstances.

The sad truth is that Ms. Veneman's acts are not going to make beef safe to eat because, for at least a generation, it never was safe to eat.

A little knowledge can go a long way, folks. Watch out.
Stories from Arizona - Part One

(Heck if I know if there'll be a part two!)

So, we're at "On the Border" for dinner and Blanche is making all kinds of conversation.

It was at this point that I began thinking about how useless conversation with me really is. I mean, most of my life is written right here for you to read. (Kind of strange, really.) What's the point in talking? In fact, there were several times when I just wanted to say, "Yes, Blanche, that's all in the Blog." And that's so - I don't know what - that I get disgusted with myself.

On the upside, what writing all of this does (if, indeed, anyone reads it) is give me an opportunity to let others speak about themselves. (No matter what either Tim might say!) You know, I'm not so self-absorbed in my real life because I've dealt with it in my Blog. (Mind you, you never hear some of the best bits - I have some discretion!) There are some things I won't talk about because writing about it rids me of that need to talk - the subject then bores me! So, we spent a lot of time talking about Dad and Blanche and their house hunt and their plans, etc.

Everyone gets into a little self-absorption now and then. It's all a matter of when you do it, I guess.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Ben Franklin: Terrorist?

Well, I don't know if you've heard but the FBI has told us just what to look out for - how to spot a terrorist a mile away! Yes, that's right. You guessed it. Almanacs!

That's right! Beware of almanacs! You see someone carrying an almanac, they're probably a terrorist!

I say, fuck the almanac carriers! Look out for people who refer to encyclopedias!

Fear those who use dictionaries!

Kill anyone who thinks!!!!!!
Absolute fucking hell... but a rather nice visit...

After a long break, I'm back to the whole blogging business. The business of blogging, of making a blog, of producing blogness...

This weekend, while long and containing no work, was, surprisingly, a big, fat pile of dogshit. I'm rather irritated at the whole thing, if you must know.

It started Wednesday night (yep, nearly a week ago), when I came home a little early and proceeded to lose my mind. I had nothing to do, you see, and filled each moment with loss. All I could do was sit there and miss Rosa - so, I jumped on the phone, hoping that would help. Not too many folk were home, though. It was Christmas Eve. People were out with loved ones and couldn't be reached or they were staying in with loved ones and didn't want to be reached. The night took forever.

The next day, Christmas, I made it a point to sleep in - after all, I hadn't gone to sleep until very late the previous night, having spent so much time tossing and turning, tortured by the shouting in my head - and made it to my mom's for Christmas dinner just in time for me to leave. I have a really hard time sitting in the same room with Joe, my step-dad. The man obviously hates my mother's children, which - being one of them - offends me.

That night, more screaming in my head, tortured screams from the loss of Rosa, so I decided to sleep in again. Thursday afternoon, I drove out to see my dad and Blanche in Arizona. Though I left early, nothing really compelled me to stay home, I didn't end up in Arizona until around 7pm. Traffic. Heaping mounds of traffic - it was awful. That said, I do want to recommend that every take the 60 east sometime if only to see the immense wind farms. Turbine towers stretch off for miles; it's nearly impossible not to get hypnotized by the things. Though the desert was beautiful, I think Oregon gave me enough of driving. I just wanted to get there.

I pulled up to their house rather late and we went out to dinner at a place called "On the Border". (It's a chain so you might have heard of if.) We got a seat and of course it made sense that, since I was far from home, out of state, the waitress flirted with me. Of course. I couldn't possibly date her! (The logic of my life is a real pain in the ass.)

We returned home and soon went to sleep. When I laid down and closed my eyes, I thought nothing would feel better than some sleep. I began to drift. Suddenly, I found myself at a vacant lot (outside Apple Valley, if you must know) three years ago but I knew what I hadn't known then - that I had lost Rosa forever. As I realized this, the screaming in my head got louder and louder until - I woke with a start. Only a few minutes had passed. I tried going back to sleep but knew I wouldn't be able to so I picked up my book and read - and read - and read until I drifted off sometime after 2:30 am. I awoke soon, it seemed, but a couple of hours had passed. It was 5:12 am and I had awoken from another dream about Rosa - or about losing Rosa. I wasn't going back to sleep. I stayed up and read.

Later, when the folks were up, we went to breakfast. I paid, though Blanche didn't want me to - too bad, Blanche. I had to leave shortly thereafter - I didn't really want to but I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep my mouth shut through my father's right-wing diatribes for much longer!

The ride back was, surprisingly, relaxing. (Then again, maybe it wasn't so surprising. My sleep had been off for days.) I say surprising because the voices still haunted me, just on the periphery of my hearing. This constant stream of word/images that did nothing but emphasize my sense of isolation and loss and put Rosa right at the forefront of my mind. Despite all of that, though, I was able to enjoy the Indian reservations I drove through, the wonderful, diverse scenery, the snow (of all things) as I drove down to San Diego via Interstate 8.

When I reached Tim's that afternoon, I didn't stay long. Tim was in a bad mood (or, at least, he seemed so) and so was I and when he started talking about how fat I was (yes, I've put my weight back on) or getting on my back over a girl I didn't date (though Tim believed I absolutely should have), I was too sensitive to dead with it. I left early in the evening and got home in an awful state. I couldn't concentrate on anything; the voices were so loud. I just sat on my sofa for several hours, suffering through the loss of Rosa. It's been nearly four years and the pain just gets worse every day.

Sunday morning, I cancelled my plans with Sean that afternoon. I hadn't slept the night before and looked awful. I told him I had a bug, which isn't far from the truth. My mental health had gone seriously downhill. Then, at around 5pm, I got up, took a shower, went out, and began to drive. I didn't' know where I was going or what I was doing. I drove on reflex, kind of like sleep-walking. I drove to the desert and out to LA. I didn't think about where I was going or why. I was just so tired, I couldn't fight the impulse to run any more and, once I gave in, I really didn't know where to go.

When I got home, it was late. I didn't get to sleep until nearly 4am.

Don't really know how to close this. I miss Rosa terribly and feel a bitter sense of resentment for what she's done to me. Unlike her, I can't even live a normal life. Yet, I'm seen as the monster and she the helpless victim. After four years of sleepless nights (and much worse), I wonder if it will ever end and if I will ever have a life like normal people or if I'm meant to live in torment.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Oh... so it wasn't Bush's fault...

Once again, Shrub is trying to put the blame for his illegal war off on someone else. Obviously, he's beginning to feel a little heat and is trying not to get burned.

So, once again, Shrub acts irresponsibly (illegally) and we're supposed to let him slide? I don't think so!

Regime change in '04!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve...

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring
not even a -

What was that?

Did you hear something?

Billy? Billy? Is that you?

OH MY GOD! Billy! You poured sulfuric acid in your eyes! Oh, fuck! The oozing, Billy! The oozing! I can't hold your eyes in - they're oozing over my fingers!

Margaret, call 911! Margaret? Margaret?! Take that gun out of your mouth! It's not as bad as that! Oh, god - NO! The bullet went right through your head and now my face is covered in brains!

OH GOD!!!!!!

(This message has been brought to you by the LGOC, lonely guys on christmas who are just sick of the fucking holidays. Thank you.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Merry Fucking Christmas to all...

Well, it's another Christmas - another Christmas without Rosa - so, should it come as any surprise to anyone that I'm depressed? Yes, depressed. Not suicidal, mind you but certainly "put your head down wherever you are and let the tears flow" depressed.

When did it start?

I was at Tim's this past weekend and realized that, as relaxed as I was there, my anxiety would increase relative to my proximity to home. (It's kind of like that bathroom law that say the closer you get, the more you need to go!)

Then, I went to the Cabrillo Playhouse on Sunday for the final Christmas show and was reminded of Rosa and Rosa's baby - or, more appropriately, Rosa's absence and how we never had a baby and never will and I'll always be alone and - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

After the show, I was given the gift of a personalized Christmas ornament. It was the first time I'd touched a Christmas ornament in four year - literally! It reminded me of the last time I'd touched an ornament. I was with Rosa. We had accumulated a collection of ornaments, all of which had a special meaning, and I - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

The next day, yesterday, at work, I saw all the Christmas decorations in the new building (we just moved) and thought about how wonderfully Rosa would decorate everything and how special it would - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

I went home. I could barely sit down. I was so upset I opened a box of Wheat Thins and started eating them until I'd polished off nearly a whole bag - just trying to take my mind off how much I missed Rosa - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

I went to the gym to get my mind off of things but I'd eaten so many crackers I was bloated. I started burping on the treadmill, which only made me feel worse because I wouldn't be seeing Rosa - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

I hurried back home. I thought about the days ahead without Rosa. When she was with me, we'd put up the tree, we'd lay beneath it and cuddle, we'd - AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

I bought a pack of cigarettes. I needed to calm down. God, I hate the holidays.

Hope yours are happy ones.
Not that I'm one to give diet tips...

So, I won't.

This article, however, is taken directly from Bruce Campbell's site. And he's always good for a laugh. (And maybe you just might learn a little before you're through. Okay? Hey, hey, hey!)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Hi, I'm single - FOREVER...

... at least, that's how it seems.

We're entering the fourth year without Rosa. The fourth year technically starts on March 24th, when I asked Rosa for a divorce, but officially begins towards the beginning of the year, when Rosa started telling me to find someone else. (I'll assume you all know the backstory.) So, anyway, four years.

A few weeks ago, I had a run-in with a girl that ended pretty badly. I was left with the thought that I knew what I wanted in a woman and it wasn't much. I wasn't asking for much and this made me feel a little...

But then, I considered the other side. Sure, I wasn't asking for too much from a woman - but what was I asking her NOT to have? What attributes was I avoiding?

Overweight. Unethical. Republican. Greedy. Rude. Dirty. Unambitious. Lazy. Boring. Compassionless. Fast food frequenter. Born again Christian. SUV owner. Animal hater. Diseased. Trendily pierced. Country music lover. Not a reader. Unconcerned. Impolite. (And this was just the start of the list. Oh sure, I'd take some of these traits to a very limited degree - she doesn't have to have the perfect body and she could have voted Republican once... ONCE!)

The problem was that I soon realized how discriminating I was being. I mean, at this rate, I'd only meet a woman on the third Thursday of a month without oysters while the moon lies full in the Hudson Bay... not likely. While I could start eliminating items from that list... did I want to? How desperate was I to be in a relationship? What was I willing to ignore to get laid?

I'll try not to worry about it... after all, today's Thursday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

It's what I do...

My triumphant return to the gym was heralded last night with streamers, trumpeters, and dancing girls. They all left before I got there, though, when they found out I would only be walking on the treadmill... walking... and for only 20 minutes.

Hey, I have to start slowly, right? Tonight, I'll walk and ride the bike. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Anyway, I'll be smoking again this weekend. I'll be stopping by Tim's on the way back from visiting my Dad in Arizona and, if Dad talks about Sadam's capture like I think he will ("You see!? You were wrong! He was captured! He was evil! If he wasn't evil, he wouldn't have been captured!"), I'll need to smoke.

For those of you who haven't seen "Angels in America", shame on thou! Steve, the director who always corrals me into these goofy shows, told me he wanted to direct it and cast me as Roy Cohn. Sure. I won't hold my breath.

Christmas is only eight days away and, to be very honest with you, I'd rather it just disappeared. Honestly. The worst part about Christmas isn't the even, either. It's the harbinger of New Year's Eve. It's the calendar's way of saying, "Hey, lookie Ken! You're alone on Christmas and you're going to be alone on New Year's Eve, too." Fucking calendar. I wish Rosa and I hadn't love Christmas as much as we did, always celebrating it so gleefully. Putting up our tree, making love beneath it, unwrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, wearing the bows, being silly... Now that I've finally begun to learn how to turn down the torture dial, dispensing constant torture over her absence, how do I figure out how to stop missing her so much? How many more years before that ends?

I got a call from Dwight last night, who seemed a bit perturbed over my comment in the last entry about hitting him. I should really take that back. I wouldn't hit him. I'd tie him up and put him in a crate full of spiders until he promised he stop talking about how often he's getting laid and how good his love-life is.... but I wouldn't hit him.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Have yourself a merry little...

Christmas is coming. It's a time of year that causes me a great deal of pain and tonight it kicked in with both feet. Rosa and I had our little traditions we shared every year and now I can't even look at the holiday without crying. With as much progress as I've made, it's still going to be a painful Christmas.

Dwight called me tonight to tell me that he had the day off, and he got laid, he may get together with his ex-girlfriend, and he got laid, that it wasn't raining, and he got laid, and that he had a weird day... and he got laid. I try to be a good brother - I honestly do... but if he'd been here, I would'a hit him.

Later, I missed Rosa so badly. I thought, "Maybe a quick call."

Instead of calling here, I phoned for help. I called Keith - got his voicemail. Sean - voicemail. Tim - voicemail.

So, I called Rosa.

... I got her voicemail.

Good thing the universe has a sense of humor, huh?
Saddam Shame...

Well, they found Saddam. Yep. Caught him like a rat! Really beat the basta...

Um... so?

No. Really. So?

Let's think for a minute. Has Saddam done anything wrong? Did he build weapons of mass destruction? Did he wage war? Was there any proof of anything?


Shrub says he's going to put Saddam on trial. For what, exactly? This I'd like to see.

Also, a lot of Repugnicans are now saying that they were right to wage war on Iraq because they caught Saddam. What the fuck? Isn't that a lot like saying you were right to break into a house because you got to kill the homeowners? Iraq was still an unprovoked and illegal war no matter what the body count was.

So, welcome back to the show, Saddam. I'm sure they'll get their mileage out of you.
Best Christmas Pageant... Ever...

This is a story I have to begin, well, at the beginning. (I was planning on telling you about my weekend, but you'll get much more than that!) About a month or so ago, Jeff and Steve both called me about a problem they had. Steve was directing a show that he'd cast Jeff in... that Jeff couldn't be in for nearly half the shows! They were asking for my help... because they knew I was a sucker who couldn't say "NO".

The play was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a children's play. Now, I like children about as much as I like the color white; on most days, I'm completely ambivalent. But considering that Rosa had just had her baby, and considering how much I've been hurting over it, my first impression was that I would more than hate this show. The last thing I needed was to be reminded of the children I would never have with Rosa.

Maybe this is why I only went to two rehearsals.

But, with the clarity brought on by a week in Oregon (not necessarily something you want to put on a travel brochure), I was able to put in one show two weeks ago and start my full week on Wednesday.

Friday night, I knew I had four more shows ahead of me but that would be it and I would be free, with no more thoughts of children to bother me. It went as any other and I returned Saturday. Saturday, I had everything packed up because I knew I wouldn't be coming back home until Sunday night. Saturday's matinee went well. As we tidied up after the show, I mentioned to Lori, our stage manager, that I would hang out for a few hours, until our evening show. I'd brought my book, so I'd have plenty to do. She said, "No. Why don't you hang out at my place? It would be far more comfortable." She lived down the street - by the beach! How could I say "NO"? (Oh, wait. I can't.)

The shoreline, a short walk from her house, looked wonderful and I thought I might like to talk a bit of a walk. "Go ahead," Lori said. "I have to run some errands but I'll leave the front door unlocked." Leave the door unlocked? How could you consider...? But, then, I realized... here we were in this well-to-do San Clemente neighborhood... we're not in the hood where I grew up. "Ok," I said, and went for a bit of a walk. Afterwards, I returned - the door unlocked - and read for a bit. Lori invited me to stay for dinner - BBQed salmon and potatoes - it was really nice. In fact, it reminded me very much of hanging out at a friend's house whose mom made dinner... when I was 12.

I returned to the theater that night and we had our best show yet. I told Teresa, my leading lady, that I was stealing the laughter. "I'm a laughter magnetic!" You know, I was getting into the whole thing... one day before it would be over.

After the show, I headed down to San Diego. Tim insisted on drinking - I'm surrounded by alcoholics... thank god - and we stayed up until the wee hours talking about the kind of stuff you talk about after several vodka&cokes... you know... stupid shit. (Tim put on 80's music and kept saying, "Remember this song?") I didn't want to wake up the next morning. I was having the coolest dreams - and for me, that's saying something! But I had to get up, which I did at 9am, and slowly, through exhaustion and the slightest hangover, pulled myself together and got myself on the road by noon.

I made it to the theater in time, more or less, for my 1pm calltime. I was tired. I was making silly jokes to try to jar myself awake - yep, they met the real Ken. I told Teresa that I'd call her "Muffin" on stage. Then, about a half-hour before showtime, noise erupted from the boy's dressing room. One of the boys, John, screamed and two parents pointed to me and said, "Go in there." Up until that point, Parents would get involved. Parents! People who had borne children! Breeders! Pro-creators! Not me! What did I know about kids screaming? I was no parent... which really should have been apparent! Apparently, it wasn't. Teresa gave me a look and in I went.

I shut the door behind me.

Within, there were three boys. Trevor, who I guessed was the oldest one and who I didn't like from the beginning because, when I was his age, I was far geekier than that with my bottle-bottom glasses and wiry hair. Jerk, I thought. Matthew, the kid who played my son, Charlie. For his age, whatever that is, he's a pretty solid little actor and a nice kid. I hoped he'd be on my side. John, the kid was sitting on a countertop, crying. Oh no, I thought. One of those. He reminded me of myself at his age, maybe eight, far, far too sensitive. I cleared my throat. "Okay. Look guys. You gotta help me. Now, the parents sent me in to settle you down but I'm not a parent. I'm like you guys... but bigger. Now, if I don't do what they said, they're all gonna be mad at me. It'll be my butt. So, could you help me out and chill?" Sounded good. Sounded like something from a movie.

John's crying grew worse. "I hate it when people say mean things about me."

Trevor: "We were only trying to help."

Matt: "That's why they call it 'criticism'."

Shit. Wrong movie, I guess.

I looked at Trevor and Matt. "I said, Chill," I said in my most adult voice, not one I use very often. I turned to John. He was really upset. I put my hands on his shoulder and said, "Look, I know what you're going through. Anybody whose ever been on stage knows what you're going through." I had no idea what he was going through. "But you gotta pull it together. We got a show to do." Then, he started telling me about all the things he hated and how upset he was and... well, he started to sound a lot like this Blog, actually. Here was a kid who was crying out to be heard. I remember! I was once his age, the kid who got picked on... you know, cause he was a dork... and I remember! Wasn't anybody listening to this kid? That was half the problem. I remember wishing nothing more in the world than to be listened to... which, I guess turned me into a writer. I wanted to take John's father and beat him with a bat. (Except I'd seen his father... and he could hurt me.)

Lori poked her head in. "You got everything under control," she asked.

"I will," I answered. Still, there was a long way to go. Being an adult wasn't helping. I had to think fast... like a kid! I asked them about the Lord of the Rings movies, if they'd seen them. We talked about Spiderman, X-Men, Hulk and, thankfully, it was soon showtime.

I'd never been more happy to see adults.

The play commenced. There's a place towards the beginning where I had the line, "Could you spare some supper. I haven't had a square meal in three days." It's a throw-away line. Stupid, really. Then, I realized what the play was missing was a little Dickensian character. So, I got on my knees and said, "'Scuse me, mum. Could ya spare a lit'le suppa? I hav'n't had a squa' meal in fffreee days!" This always got the audience roaring... or, at least, helped work the stick out of their butts. This scene starts when I'm behind a door and Teresa opens it for me. So, there I was behind the door. I put on my best beggar face... and then I realized I was being watched by about four or five little girls - all a'giggle. Great, I thought. I have a following.

Kids love silliness... and I am rather known for that, I guess.

Later, I ad-libbed a bit of business with Matthew (um, Charlie, I mean). The audience didn't get it - they were an insolent bunch that day - but it was so fun watching his face light up at the idea of a bit of improv.

Near the end of the show, Charlie (er, Matthew), and I switch robes - actually he gives me mine... it's a long story - and, as always, Stan (one of the other adult actors) helped me into it. It wasn't the first time that I was struck by his kind, gentle, unassuming, humble nature. You don't meet many actors like that... or many people. Several of the parents thanked me for my work in the show as I walked into the wings for my last scene. What a nice bunch of people!

But I couldn't finish the play without one surprise.

I walked out on the stage.

Teresa said, "You're not going to wear your bathrobe, are you?"

I replied, "Why not, muffin?"

Teresa laughed and snorted.

My work was done.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

This is what I call ecoterrorism...

There's been a lot of talk about "ecoterrorists". Those nasty ecoterrorists! Oh, they'll sabotage innocent oil companies and land developers! Those rotten, nasty ecoterrorists!


What is an "ecoterrorist", anyway? The World Reference Library defines it as "someone who uses violence in order to acheive environmentalist aims". Sound like someone who is trying to defend the planet to me, someone who is trying to defend life! I mean, who's worse? The so-called ecoterrorist or the conglomerate who logs old growth forests? The fictional ecoterrorist or the oil company that kills a shoreline? The imaginary ecoterrorist or the developer who destroys a wetland? The bottom line is: what do you value - life or money?

But isn't it nice that we've let the uber-right steal our language from us so we think of the person defending life itself as a terrorist!

Now, if you want to see ecoterrorism, I'll show you ecoterrorism! But, before I do, let's redefine our terms. Ecoterrorism would be more accurately defined as someone who violently destroys the environment - like an oil company, DOW chemicals, the Republicans!

How's this for ecoterrorism? According to the article, global warming killed 150,000 people in 2000 and the death toll could double again in the next 30 years if current trends are not reversed. Now, that's what I call ecoterrorism.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Look who's NOT talking...

I sent an email to Rosa yesterday. I know. I know. I shouldn't have but I did and there's no going back.

I received an immediate reply.

Rosa has blocked my email address.

I was stunned for a moment. I couldn't believe it. But there it was. You think she's trying to tell me something?

I guess that's the way it is. She wants nothing to do with me and that includes hearing from me. She's cut herself off. She's cut me off.

Didn't really expect that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Conjectures on a woman... part 2...

What would it be like to meet someone with a great spirit?...

What would it be like to meet someone who made me laugh?...

Hitting work...

Let me tell you a story about my morning, the morning I very nearly hit work...

I was rushing into work this morning, rushing in as I do every morning. Gotta hurry up so I can be miserable. I rush in every morning because when I'm at home I have only one speed - 87 years old. I move like an 87 year old. The alarm goes off and I'm 90. I pound the snooze bar that goes off in the shortest ten minutes ever recorded. I turn off the alarm and get out and I'm 89 and I stagger to the bathroom. I brush my teeth and try to will my eyes slightly more opened and I step carefully into the shower. I step carefully because I remember the last time I tripped over that raised side around the shower; once I forget it, I'll do it again. I step in and turn on the water and I'm 88. I take my shower, allowing extra time for the shower to pound my shoulders, a feeling close to heaven, and I step out. I get dressed, grab some breakfast, sit down on the sofa to eat it and I'm 87.

... It's about this time that I realize I'm running terribly late. So, my 87 year old body hurries as fast as it can and gets to the car. Once I'm in the car, once I don't have to walk around, don't have to get up, don't have to do anything but drive, I can close my eyes and speed towards work and it's about that time that time retreats and I'm 38 again... and I'm wishing it would retreat just a bit more for crying out loud.

I drive as fast as I can to work. This is usually about ten miles an hour since I'm on the freeway. I exit the freeway and I take the route from there and I pull into work. All this time from the freeway, I'm trying to win back some time so I won't be late. I whip into the parking lot and zip into an empty spot.

This morning as I did this, I realized I was zipping extra fast and I put on my brakes and stopped - just short of the building - and angel's wing short of the building - any closer and I split atoms - any closer and I start a chain reaction that could destroy the world. Just think what a reputation that would bring!

My heart leaps in my chest and I realize how close I came to actually hitting the building, actually running my car into my place of employment. I don't think about how lucky I was not to. I don't think about how I shouldn't drive so fast into the lot. I don't think about the last time the brakes on my car failed me and how that should have taught me a lesson. I think, instead, "Honestly, Ken. What would you say to someone if you had done that?"

Who put that there?!

The building just pulled out in front of me!

I park in the same spot every day - someone moved the building!

I get out of my car and I look at the space between it and the building and I think, "Moron."

Monday, December 08, 2003

Conjectures on a woman...

What would it be like to meet someone who liked me and for me to like her?

What would it be like to have someone attracted to me to whom I was attracted?

And so the play begins...

I had my first performance for this play on Saturday. It went rather well. The kids were great and we got along famously. Better still, I got plenty of laughs.

Just one more week of this!

Tim also came by this weekend and we made our regular attempts at gluttony, cirrhosis, and cancer. We're just full of pluck! (Now, I'm back to working out and taking care of myself - BORING!)

Can you believe how fast Christmas is coming? What's wrong with our calendar makers, anyway?!

Friday, December 05, 2003

It's just another Fuckin' Friday... (for the Bangles)

Well, here we are, coming out the business end of another work week, wondering what we'll do with our weekend.

My weekend will be a busy mix of misery and fun.

Tonight is the Linksys Christmas Party and, rather than show my "can't get a date" ass there for hours of being a third wheel amongst married and otherwised coupled people, I'll be going to the theater for a brush up on the part before my first performance tomorrow night.

About the dating thing. Here's the deal. Ready? There are two ladies here... attractive... both of them say they'd never date a nerd or a geek and won't so much as say, "Hi," to me, which I figure puts me beneath nerds and geeks. Lovely. Well, I overheard both of them say today that they didn't have a date for tonight. Apparently, their standards are so high, they'd rather be alone than with a nerd of a geek or even acknowledge my existence... what the fuck?!

Tim's coming up this weekend, just in time for my depression. I was doing better last night, shooting pool with Sean, kicking Sean's ass (!), but today I'm under a cloud.

Fuck it.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


So, I'm at rehearsal last night. It's my second rehearsal before performing - damn, I love taking advantage of Steve! I go through the play without a hitch - though there are some deadly pauses between my cues and when I say my lines, but oh well - and we get to the end.

At the end of this "show within a show", there's a scene that takes place after where we all congratulate each other. Pat on the back. "Good job." Blah. Blah. Blah. Now, I don't act with these kids - actually, no one does. They don't act! - so I don't know what to say. It's a lot of, "Great job, Big Guy." "See you at the bar later on." "Anyone got a smoke?"

Okay, I don't ask for a smoke. The point is that when Teresa (the mom) or Jeff (the other dad) do it, you can see this familial sense about them - as if they really were a mom and dad. That's probably because they really are a mom and dad! (No child between them, though.) Me? I'm like the oldest kid there. I don't know what I'm doing. So, my blabbering continues: "You were awesome, dude." "Which way to the can?"

But last night, one kid walked right up to me. It was Charlie. Well, actually, it was the kid who plays Charlie. And what a kid he is! I kid you not - this kid can act. First sign of this was when I noticed he always answered to the name "Charlie". (The joke would SO be on me if his real name was Charlie.) He buys into it, you know? It's not pretend for him. As I believe is the case with most talented actors, no matter the age, they believe in what's going on, they're invested, it's real.

So, last night, he walks up to me. "Great job, Charlie," I say. He answers, "Thanks, Dad." and I give him a hug.

What was that, I wonder for half a second. Simply, I was invested in the role. I was his dad.

That thought doesn't last, though. A voice in my head says, "But you're just acting. You'll never be a father. You'll never have a child. Rosa has a child. You don't. You lost your chance."

Shut up, I tell it. I don't need that right now.

"You're just acting. This isn't real."

It's all I get.

... It's all I get.

"All I get" is fading from my ears as I walk off stage. All I get? Well, shit. Then, I haven't done too bad a job. I mean, I'm working with these kids pretty well, playing around with them. Not once has my family fought or suffered. We're doing pretty well. If it's all I get, I've done a pretty good job with it.

The next scene called for me to walk out... kind of meander, actually. We're cleaning up after the play. There's cookies off-stage. Well, if we were really cleaning up, wouldn't we also clean up the snacks?

I grab a cookie and walk out. "Well, I guess that's everything," I say through a bite of chocolate chip.

Yep, that's who I'd be if I was a father. I'd eat cookies. I'd joke around. I'd probably forget my lines sometimes. And I'd always remember to say, "Great job."

I lost a lot when I lost Rosa and, perhaps, I'm starting to realize that she lost a lot as well. The question that still sits in my head is - I realize it. She doesn't. Who's better off?
Today's lesson in Double-Speak...

Today, Shrub signed the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act". This Act allows timber companies to chop down our forests.

... let's run through that again in case you missed it the first time.

Today, Shrub signed the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act". This Act allows timber companies to chop down our forests.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Conundrum #583...

Do you laugh or cry?

Terrifying, isn't it?
Blocking writers...

Writer's block. That's what they call it.

I'm blocked so bad, I feel like a colonoscopy! (Having one, not being one... metaphorically... or forget it...)

I'm supposed to write a commercial at work - nothing.
I'm trying to write this year's Thanksgiving trip - nothing.
I tried to sign my name - NOTHING!

I'm blocked!... (I'm sure I could conjecture many reasons why... but my folks might read this...)

Monday, December 01, 2003

A Ring to It...

I'm back. For those of you wondering how my trip went, look for "Thanksgiving 2003", coming soon. (Did you want one?)

While I was gone, I found myself thinking of my wedding ring.

After Rosa and I split up, I didn't know what to do with my ring. Should I pawn it? Should I sacrifice it to the sea? (After all, it was a penny pitched into the sea that brought Rosa to me...) Not knowing what to do, I kept it hidden away in my sock drawer where I would occasionally look at it and ponder...

Well, a few weeks ago, I had the strangest dream. I dreamed (pay attention) that I was sleepwalking and I did something with my ring. I didn't remember the dream when I awoke and didn't recall it for a while. When I did, I couldn't be sure if I had actually sleepwalked, if I had dreamed that I'd sleepwalked, or if I'd confused everything. Surely, my ring was safe.

Then, while on vacation, I thought about some of the bizarre things I had done while sleepwalking: hiding things away, bringing all my bedding to the creek... It was entirely possible I had done something to the ring.

Upon returning, I looked... and it was gone. I don't know where it is. I probably never will.

And so I'm welcomed home...

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I'm ba-ack!

... that's it. Just wanted you to know.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Final Day! Preparations to make...

Well, this is it. In less than 24 hours, I'll be winging... er, tiring (exhausting?) my way to the wild, wintery wonderland that is Oregon. This year's trip won't be nearly as pleasant as it was last year. I'll be facing much worse weather, with plenty of snow!

What will I find up there? Autumn's candy. Tim's smokes (a different kind of candy). A room - no sofa-sleeping for me this time! A place where Rosa and I never were, a place untouched by ghosts and demons (though I did see Deanna's doppelganger as a stripper the last time up!).

What am I looking for? A moment of peace, just a moment would be nice. Time away from the constant nightmare of my life. Time away from the black hole of Rosa's absence.

I won't have Internet access up there - so you won't hear from me again until December.

Here's a bit of irony for you. Last year, while heading back, driving through the Siskiyous and the mountain passes, I thought about some of the cliffs and how easy it would have been to steer my car over the edge and out into... This year, those roads will have snow and ice - they won't need my suicidal tendencies to make them treacherous. They'll do just fine by themselves.

Oddly enough, there's a part of me that looks forward to returning. I've got DVDs to watch and acting to do and This They Call Freedom to finish and writing to do and cats to pet and a life to live - what's left - if I can figure out how you do that without Rosa. But if you're looking for some difference between this year and last... this year I'm looking forward to figuring out how.

I know that sounds funny but... look. Rosa never replied to the letter. She never said a word. I asked her if she'd received it. She never said a word. Michael sent me pictures of their daughter, not knowing that Rosa had completely shut me out of her life. She never said a word.

What better sign do I need that it's over? I'm nothing to her. She got what she wanted. I still love her with all of my heart - but it's not enough for her. She's done. She won't even speak, it seems.

I've been thinking, recently, about the need for closure. I don't want closure. I don't want things to close. No, I'd prefer resolution. I'd rather resolve than close a problem. Maybe that's a difference between Rosa and I. I've spent the past years looking for resolution. She chose closure.

And, so, as I ready myself to leave, it looks like all the doors have been closed - all the doors I worked so hard at keeping open - it's time to try to find a beginning, a departure, a start... tomorrow morning.

To all of you, a Happy KillAllTheIndians Day. (This year, though, just eat turkey instead.)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Nothing much to say...

I don't have my usual focus today - that thing I have to write about - but I sometimes get people who bitch when I don't write (Hi, Tim!) so I figured I should...

Late night last night. I wanted to sleep but my mind kept working... and the topic it was working on was a four-letter word that began with an "R" and ended with an "osa"...

I was thinking a lot about dualities. We live in a world of dualities. Light and dark. Good and evil. Have and have not... and other Bogart films.

Try this with me. Complete this list:

Short and tall.
Bitter and Sweet.
Back and forth.
Ken and _________

You get the idea? You spend your life looking for that person to fill in the blank. The person who is everything you ever wanted.

What do you do when you aren't that person's fill in the blank? When you're not everything they ever wanted? Well, you don't have anyone. You remain alone.

In a world of couples and families - alone sucks.

The CDs are pretty much done. Now, duplication begins. And not a moment too soon! I leave for Oregon on Saturday!

Yes, I leave for Oregon on Saturday. I won't have computer access so you don't need to check for new entries until December. After returning, I will, in all likelihood, write "Thanksgiving Adventure 2003". Let me know if you want a copy.

It looks like I'm picking the most hazardous time to be on the road. If I end up dying from a car crash, due to driving off the road, skidding on ice, etc. etc. just remember not to refer to my vast intelligence at my funeral, let someone laugh so hard they spit scotch or a martini (the Official Drink of Ken's Funeral) on you.

Last night, another night of rehearsal and I nearly broke down crying. I'm surrounded by all these kids, some of them downright beautiful, surrounded by reminders of what I will never have, reminders of Rosa's abortion, reminders of Rosa's child, reminders of Rosa - and my heart is just ripped from my chest.

... I hate this play.

I'll be sure to write more happy thoughts tomorrow and then I'm off for the week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Not to Rush to judgment...

Don't you just love Rush Limbaugh.

Didn't you feel sorry for him when he was exposed as a drug-addict, while having nothing but contempt for drug addicts?

Isn't it a shame he's prosecuted unfairly... like when he's exposed as a thief?

Why can't people leave MODEL REPUBLICANS like him alone?
Shrub has such a way...

I think the headline says it all: Bush Urges Europe to Help Rebuild Iraq.

Yep. He was reported to say, "Hey, we did half the job. You know how many bombs it took to get it this way?!"
Can you say "HOMOPHOBE"?...

Our dumbass pres, the inevitable Shrub, came out yesterday against same-sex marriages:

President Bush criticized Tuesday's ruling by Massachusetts' highest court striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage and said he would work with Congress to "defend the sanctity of marriage."

"Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman," Bush said in a statement released shortly after he arrived in London for a state visit. He said the ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court "violates this important principle."

I suppose it's not ironic that someone who is against gay marriages is such a dick.
Baby pictures...

This week continues its slope towards armageddon... I'm really expecting the asteroid to hit any minute now.

Yesterday, I left work early, feeling sick. This head cold's been going around work and zeroed in on me. Fun. So, I went home. I figured that, between nose blows, I could work on the CDs. Somewhere in the afternoon, I got an email from Michael, Rosa's guy. Opening it, I found myself looking at a picture of their baby. If that won't punch you in the gut, nothing will.

Why did he send it? In an email conversation, he explained that he thought I wanted to be "in the loop". I told him that, as long as Rosa didn't want me "in the loop", it hurt too much to be "in the loop". I know he wasn't being malicious. It was just a misunderstanding. Still, I couldn't help but wonder how he couldn't know that she'd shut me out. How weird! Not weird enough, it seems - he didn't even know about my letter to her. This made me worry that, maybe, she never got the letter. So, I wrote her a quick email saying, basically, "I understand if you don't want to reply to the letter but please let me know if you got it."

Anyway, once the emails were done, I tried to get back to work on the CDs. You know, proceed as normal - right! I ended up destroying half the contents of a CD and fell back on my bed, crying and crying. One box of Kleenex later, I went and bought a pack of smokes. I needed to calm down - smoking helps you do that.

Then, this morning, I had another nightmare. It was another one of those, "Ken, I don't want to marry you because I'm marrying Michael" kind of nightmares. Marry? Hell, Rosa won't even date me!

And so, I'm thrown back into the nightmare realm in one short day.

What's next?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Okay, this week sucks...

As a prologue, I went to the grocery store last night to get some laundry quarters. The checker said to me, "We don't sell quarters any more." "What," I replied. "We can't because of the strike." I said, "You mean that, because there's a strike, you're not allowed to sell people quarters?" "Yes," she said. "Are you afraid of people throwing them at the strikers?!" Though I was able to get some from the Del Taco next store (only two bucks worth), I had a feeling this began a trend.

So, last night, I worked very hard on the final disk, Ken 3.7. I figured that, if I could get half done last night, I could do the other half tonight and make a completed disk Wednesday. Then, I could review it and make any corrections by Thursday and be done in time to pack on Friday. Unfortunately, I forgot I have rehearsal on Wednesday and Thursday. So, I must work faster! (Mind you, I was up until 1:30am working on this last night...)

Woke up this morning feeling sick - like most people where I work. Great, I thought. Nobody at my job with share a smile but they will share a germ. Now, I'd better get better before I go.

And lastly, the pass ('tween California et Oregon) just gets colder and colder. Now, it looks like it will be a balmy 19 degrees when I head up. Oh... fun!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Waking Dreams and Waking Life

I had this really interesting dream that I awoke from this morning about ten seconds too early.

I was walking through a labyrinth with Rosa.
Rosa: How are you doing?
Ken: Not too good. I've been having nightmares and lots of bad dreams.
Rosa. Well, you know, they way to end the nightmares is to -

Which is when I woke up.


On the subject of dreams, the Richard Linklater film, Waking Life, which Tim bought me for my birthday, has been discounted to about $5-$7 in stores. We're talking bargain bin stuff here, folks. You owe it to yourself to buy this movie. It won't open your mind for you but it will show you where to jam the crowbar. It's a phenomenal film - you need to buy it. (I know several people who will be getting it for Xmas...)
Too much to write...

A lot happened this weekend. Normally, I don't have to worry about that and can tell you about my life in every last, disgusting detail.

Not so today.

Some highlights:
1) I got chains for my tires. It looks like I'll need them, driving over the pass from CA to OR. (This wouldn't happen if Tim and Autumn simply had the decency to bring Milwaukie, Oregon down to Orange County!)
2) Tim came to visit and we had the great, philosophical discussion about being awake (as opposed to living in a dreamworld or sleepwalking) and all its connotations. We also discussed the taking of communion. Is that just a ritual in Christian churches or is it something we do every day in all of our relationships? I could write you a book on the subject... if you'd pay me.
3) More work on the disks. Oh, you're gonna be surprised. By the way, if you want a copy of the 2003 Christmas CD package, email me.

Meanwhile, I've got five days left before I go. I still haven't finished the CDs so I'm going to forego the gym this week and work, work, work. (Autumn may get violent if I don't have them on arrival.)

This weekend, I also bought an incredibly old (about two years) video game: Wizardry 8. I've always loved the Wizardry series, great RPGs, and after seeing it in the stores for so long, my resistance broke down - and I bought it. ... And with everything I have to do and the trip I'm going on, I probably won't play it until December. (I am such a fucking idiot.)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Many years ago, with Rosa...

It doesn't happen that often, but sometimes during the day I hear the voices.

Now, for the sane out there, let me explain something. The "voices" aren't exactly voices. They don't tell me things or speak to me but there is a sound there - like a deafening, hard to hear screaming. There's also a video element sometimes, flashing before me like a strobe. As with the voices, I can't always make something out. But sometimes...

So, I'm sitting here at my desk and - zippity zap - suddenly an image appears in my head. It's 1985, and Rosa and I are standing at the top of one of South Coast Plaza's parking structures. We'd just come out from seeing the movie, Creator, with Peter O'Toole and were talking about our futures together. We had no idea what was out there (or how tragically it would end) but we knew we could face it together.


And since the day I've lost her, my life has become something I find very difficult to face alone.

A few days ago, a line hit me: "Never find the girl of your dreams." You know, because if that ever ends, where do you go from there?

Where, indeed.
Not so Intelligent design...

Be on your guard, folks! Creationism has a new name.

Yep, those moronic fundamentalists decided that we could be bamboozled into believing that some spooky father figure said "Poof" and that's what created everything by changing what they call it.

Now, they've decided to call it "intelligent design". Hmmm... intelligent? What's so intelligent about ignorance? What's so intelligent about not asking questions? What's so intelligent about living in the dark.

They change it to "idiot's design", I'll go along with it.
Preparations begin for "Thanksgiving Adventure 2003"...

You know, this is beginning to be an annual thing! Well, I've got the week of Thanksgiving off, which means you won't be hearing from me from the 22nd to the 29th. Yep, I'll be on the road.

Where on the road? I'm not sure. I know I'll be hitting Tim & Autumn's place but the long-range forecast is so shoddy at this point (and it is "long-term" so it could be wrong, right?) that it looks like all the mountain roads are going to be socked in with snow. Not good. Ken does not have snow tires. As much as driving off a cliff to my doom appeals to me, with my luck the cliff will only be five feet deep and the doom will be a car repair bill.

Must think... think think... think think think...

The Christmas CDs are only partially prepared. I'll need to get those done before the 21st, even if it means not going to the gym. One thing I'll tell you - my voice could put a narcoleptic to sleep! I just drone on and on and on and... well, you know. Who the hell's going to want to listen to that?! (I better hurry up and find someone to blame this debacle on!)

I'm toying with the idea of visiting Audrey, my sister, while I'm in Oregon. Audrey and I have some bad blood between us after, a few years back, she asked me for dad's address so she could send him some rather vitriolic hate mail. I took that as an abuse of our relationship and have been at arm's length since. Now, I'm wondering what a short visit would hurt... and also what good it would do...

But I have a week and a half to figure that out... and to get the CDs together... and to find out about the weather...

We'll see then.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

There's always one more...

Now, it seems that Wesley Clark has jumped on the terrorism bandwagon. He's suggesting lots of Black Ops methods for killing the fictitious leader, Bin Laden, to counter Bush's carpet-bombing methods.

Why don't these guys get it? For that matter, why don't the American people get it? Am I the only one making the connection? Listen, folks, let's say for a moment that there is such a person as Bin Laden. Let's say, for a moment, that he's actually alive. Now, let's say you kill him. What do you think? That terrorism will magically disappear? Hell, no! Someone else will come and take his place. What do you do then? Kill him? Fine. More will take his place. You gonna kill them, too? Then, there will be more - and more!

There will always be more!

That's why killing people is not the answer. It has never been the answer - but our nation has decided to ignore the logic of this and try killing anyway - cause you just never know until you try, do you?

So, when are we going to be done trying?

And, once we are, what are we going to do then?
It's like that story of the guy who builds a bridge...

... except, then he decides not to but his friend tells him too but then, halfway, he tears it down, only to find out he really needed it.

You know... that old story...

Last night, I went to the first rehearsal for HELL ON EARTH... um, this Christmas play Steve's directing, which he suckered me into... you know, HELL ON EARTH. Turns out, I'll have to do seven performances - nearly twice as many as the original four I was promised, thank you very fucking much! I'm also on more pages that they originally mentioned. Basically, I agreed to a lie and was further lied to and that lie lied lying lye with a lie lie lie and a lo lo lo and a hey nannie no nannie ninni-ho! Fuck!... But, then, what are friends for? Once I agreed, they had me by the balls. I think Steve knows that I'll do anything to help my friends... I think Steve counts on that... basically, I think Steve made bets.

Worse, still, I have been asked to grow my mustache for this part. OH, COME ON! I just shaved, for crying in the mud! Something you should know about me, if you don't already, I am not a speed-facial-hair-grower! I've got three weeks until my first performance... eeek! I've been asked to grow my mustache so I look a bit older. While this might be flattering on one end, the reason I have to look older is because my "wife" is about ten years older than me...

And, so, I've been suckered in... again...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Rosa dreams...

Ack! More dreams about Rosa! I'm sorry, folks, but this is enough to drive a guy nuts. We were sitting on my sofa. My arm was around her and I held her near.

You can imagine that awakening was not too pleasant... at all.

Thanks to Tim, down in San Diego, I've recently been turned on to the work of Stephen LaBerge, author of a famous book about lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming? The ability to realize you're dreaming while you're dreaming? Hmmm... that could be a very useful skill, considering the problems my sleeping life has caused me. I've done some reading on it but it looks like I'll have to read quite a bit more.

Something's gotta change, that's for sure. It's not like she's ever going to come back into my life. (I have to keep reminding myself to discourage hope.)

Monday, November 10, 2003

How was your weekend?

Busy. Busy. Busy. Oy, what a weekend!

Friday night, I hit the gym - hard! I did a massive workout in anticipation for helping Sean move Saturday morning. It's nice to know that I'm in good enough shape now to do that... if only it wasn't quite so round!

Saturday morning, I woke up early (groan) and drove to Sean's (sob) to help him move (nnnggggghhh!). He and a couple other people were already moving at full-tilt, though he'd only rented the moving truck an hour before. I dived right in to help them and, for as long as we were moving things, felt fine. After we were done, at around 2pm, and we were sitting around their new house, a very spacious mobil-home, things started to bug me. There, for instance, was a big picture of Sean et Megan's wedding party. Rosa was there. When no one was looking, I turned the picture around. And there were so many memories of when Rosa and I moved into our house. And I missed her so much! Within about a half and hour, I had to leave - between my heart breaking (it's rather good at it now) and wanting, and having, a cigarette - or I'd either smoke more or start crying or both.

Besides, I knew I had things waiting for me at home... or thing, rather. My plan was to do the recording for "Ken 3.7" Saturday or, at least, the majority of the recording. Ten hours later, yep at 1:00am, I finished - and I wasn't even finished! I still have to record the intro and the last bit. Oy!

I turned off my alarm and went to bed, allowing myself the luxury of sleeping in! I knew I wouldn't have to be awake until 10:00am anyway, to go to the movies with Keith.

At 9:30am, Keith called. "You know it's not ten, yet, right," I said to him when I answered the phone - after I ran around my apartment, searching for the phone. (Why don't I just let the machine get it?!) Oh, he knew. He just wanted to make sure we were still on for ten. (grrrrr!)

We went to the noon showing of Matrix:Revolutions. Matrix: Revolting is more like it! I couldn't believe how unbelievably bad this movie was. It was filled with characters I didn't care about, doing things of little or no consequence, to an end I could barely stay awake for! How this mighty franchise has fallen! I won't give you any details, in case you're determined to test your endurance, but I will say that, for my money, Link evoked the most empathy and there was only one small surprise in the entire film. Aside from that - tedium. It was depressing. Thank god I saw it for free!

After the movies, Keith and I were supposed to get together with my mom at 3:00pm, to watch a tape of "Play it Again". (Sadly.) At 2:30pm, my mom called Keith's cell-phone to make sure we were still on for three. MY GOD! My family is so anal! Well, Keith had to bail before the show - smart guy - but my mom and I watched it..... BORING!

I was a popular guy that night, my phone ringing off the hook... sadly, not with Rosa. Dwight, who'd been talking to me about the heart-ache he'd been going through from the loss of his girlfriend, called to tell me about his prolific dating. (Cause I needed to feel more pathetic.) Tim, from San Diego, called so I could listen to him smoke a cigarette. (Not only are there no women in my life but, also, no cigarettes for mourning!) He mentioned he might be in town next weekend.


Anyway, that was it. My weekend. I woke up early this morning and took a half-mile jog. Still 225 pounds - but working on it.
Rosa, Rosa... no Rosa.

It's been about two weeks since Rosa's baby was born, by my best guess. I'd asked her to read my letter after the baby was born so, two weeks after, I guess it's safe to assume she's read it. Still, no word from her. I guess it's pretty clear at this point that she wants nothing to do with me - she doesn't want me as a part of her life.

No joke now - when does the hurting stop?!
Small but LOUD...

The voices are hitting hard tonight - for the first time in a while. As a result, I'm having a devil of a time sleeping, despite a rather busy weekend. (We'll get into that tomorrow.)

As usual, as loudly as they may be screaming - and they are screaming - I can't make out what they're trying to say.

Here's a few bits of what I've heard, though:

Tell me what you lost.

I lost you and you and...

The rest is gibberish, background squak, like a mass of people trying to talk at once. It's enough to make a guy think he was going crazy... again.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The fucking moon...

What is it about eclipses?! We're having another tomorrow night! I just went through a lunar eclipse (and wrote about it here on My Side) back in April. Now - another!

I suppose I don't need to tell you that Rosa and I had a thing with the moon and, so, it hurts for me to look at it.

So, what do I need more than the moon drawing attention to itself right now?!

Fucking moon.
3.7 begins...

As I've probably mentioned, I'm working on a new project called "Ken 3.7". It's part of my Christmas present package presentation present... package.

With only two weeks ahead of me before these need to be done - hey, I'll be going to Oregon on the 22nd! - last night, I began recording.

... Okay... weird.

It was weird because it was something I should have been able to do. I mean, I'm an actor... right? And I'm a writer. So, reading my own writing should be a breeze... right? I started on a short bit about fast food. One page. Over and over, I read it to get it right. I had to rewrite a little of the clunkier parts (I'd written this years ago, after all) to help me wrap my mouth around the words. (I am infamous for writing things that sound good... if only people could say it.) Then, when I started recording it was: false start, false start, false start.

Two hours later, I was finished with the first recording. (This was before putting in effects, overdubs - oh, this is going to be a bitch if all goes as planned... but a beautiful bitch.) The end result was two minutes long.

Two hours for two minutes.

I'm in for a lot of pain.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Suicide Watch... this month...

After my little trip to the Grand Canyon, it seems that whenever things aren't exactly smooth as glass in my life, my mom suddenly goes on "suicide watch". I start getting calls. Am I all right? Am I "handling" things?

What my mom doesn't understand - and not because I haven't tried telling her - is that, once I lost Rosa, nothing was smooth, nothing was all right, nothing could be "handled". This is not to say that I'm ready to try to kill myself again, having found out Rosa gave birth, having another reminder that Rosa doesn't want me, being forced to see how evicted I am from her life... no, that's not getting me thinking of suicide.

What my mom doesn't realize - and, yes, I've tried telling her - is that my life is one long nightmare. It stinks. It's painful and there's nothing I can do about it - but I'm not going to try to kill myself because of that. If any inner peace has been gained over the past six months, it's that my life just sucks, that is my life. I can't control that. I will forever be bereft of Rosa's heart and I will forever suffer as a result. The peace is gained in admitting that I cannot change that.

I know this sounds weird. Maybe that's why my mom doesn't get it.

So, I've got to make a call to my mom now and let her know I'm not going to kill myself... and remember not to blame her for bringing me into this world in the first place.
The Return of Health Day!...

This week's been quite a ride so far. I found out about Rosa having her baby, I sank into depression... and then there's yesterday.

Yesterday, I decided to try and get back on the wagon by returning to the gym. I didn't do a complete workout - after all I'd been smoking a bit - but I was close.

This morning, I woke up to find that I weigh 225! Finally, some progress made on my weight!

... but the weird thing is that this happened after not going to the gym...

... I should not go to the gym more often!...

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

work, work, etc...

A couple days off from the gym. After finding out Rosa had her baby. It was too difficult to move for a while, so I didn't.

I took some time to work on a couple Christmas cds. One is called "Love Out of Time". As I make more of these, I begin to see them more as art than just a silly cut-and-paste exercise of music. This cd talks about love but there's so much more and the title can be taken in so many ways. I like that.

Another will be called "Odds 'n Edsels", sounding as odd as the name. I decided it would make a nice counterpoint to "Love Out of Time" to make some silliness.

The third, "Ken 3.7", will be the most difficult. Most of the cd will be me. For the first time, I've decided to put myself on the cd - my monologues, Blog entries, thoughts, other things. This is going to be difficult because you usually don't just sit down and record. I'll have to, though, because I don't have a lot of time. Also, I'm planning on doing some rather complicated editing - and that will take some time. So, my plan right now is to get in there and just record and record and record until I'm blue in the face... see how that comes out.

I can't help thinking that this is a poor surrogate for having a child. But it's either this or nothing right now. I've got to force myself to be busy, force myself to ignore the sadness of reality. I'll be returning to the gym tonight.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


There's been a lot of noice coming out of Repugnicans lately about this CBS mini-series about Reagan and how it should "be fair". (I only put it in quotes because they don't really know what it means.) As a result, the mini-series has now been cancelled.

You want fair? How's this for fair:

$640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.
Two days later...

Well, I've slept. That's the good news.

Other than that, two days after finding out about Rosa's baby (through the fucking grapevine!) I'm in a lot of pain, both existential and otherwise. I don't have solid footing. I can't even seem to be able to string two words together.

So, let's keep this short today with: OUCH!

Monday, November 03, 2003

Rosa's baby...

Well, I'm back again. With no sleep last night, I decided to come into work early this morning. On the way in, I realized that my very brief entry about Rosa's baby probably was not communicated very well. Being a writer, that speaks rather poorly of me.

So, let me try again.

Rosa's baby was probably born around a week ago. Both mother and child are doing well. That Rosa is well is always a relief to my mind and her baby is a miracle worthy of a lifetime of love.

And so, you figure, that makes everything well and good and it should by all rights but what is left out of the equation is yours truly. I can't begin to tell you exactly why her birth fills me with such despair. Maybe it's because it's just another reminder that Rosa never wanted to have my children, that she doesn't want me, that she doesn't love me, and that I've lost her forever. (As such, it would be a reminder working overtime.) Maybe it's because I asked to be a part of this child's life and Rosa rejected me.

Maybe it's...

It's that third maybe that always kills me. It cuts open my stomach and leaves my guts hanging like yesterday's laundry. It eats at my head like maggots. It ruins any hope of ever moving on, of ever being happy again.

Maybe it's because I still love Rosa and miss her more than I ever thought possible, because I walk with her image always by my side, with her whisper forever in my ear, and her face implanted in my head, because I was supposed to be the father of her children (natural or step, it doesn't matter), because it's just not fair.

So, of course, I wish her all the best. She doesn't need my wishes, of course, any more than she needs my love, but there they are anyway.
Shit like this'll make you lose sleep...

At least, it did me.

Rosa has had her baby. Yep. Just one more consequence of my leaving her and another sign - if anyone needed another - that she does not want me.

I didn't sleep last night. How could I? My life lay scattered before me, an utter ruin.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Yes... I'm a geek... so?...

Though I'm a writer and an actor, I've always had an interest in numbers. Math, I suck at - but I've always loved numbers.

Here's an example: When I go to the gym, my workout is devised around the number 3. I do the stairmaster on level 3 at three miles per hour. On the treadmill, my speed and inclination must total 6 (as there are two settings). I do 90 situps. I work on three weight machines, at 60 pounds, three sets each. And I finish on the bike, doing 6 miles on level 6.

Yep. I'm a geek.

But, if you think that's bad... try this. It shows the uniqueness of all numbers. For instance:

0 is the additive identity.
1 is the multiplicative identity.
2 is the only even prime.
3 is the number of spatial dimensions we live in.
4 is the smallest number of colors sufficient to color all planar maps.
5 is the number of Platonic solids.
6 is the smallest perfect number.
7 is the smallest number of integer-sided rectangles that tile a rectangle so that no 2 rectangles share a common length.
8 is the largest cube in the Fibonacci sequence.
9 is the maximum number of cubes that are needed to sum to any positive integer.
10 is the base of our number system.
Oh, the things I do...

Not much to write about today. Well, not much you want to hear - just the usual crying over spilt Rosa...

So, instead, I just thought I'd let you in on what's happening for Christmas. As I mentioned in a previous entry (see Friday, Oct. 24), I'm planning a few cds. Yeah, I know - the same old shit. Well, these won't be. Every year, it's different.

I've started assembling bits and writing new bits for one of this year's cds: "Ken 3.7". All I can tell you at this point is that it will be chock full of vulgarities. Yep. Ken cussing up a storm. I guess it's in response to what a fucked up year I had - how else could I sum it up? And, just think, a copy will be going to my folks.

Yep, I'm a good son!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

My new role...

(No. Not kaiser.)

I must really have a soft spot for Steve... either that or I'm collecting guilt points for the next time he makes a movie...

Last night, I got a call from him. He's directing a new show and it turns out one of his actors can't perform during one of the weekends. (It's a three-week run.) So, he asked me if I could fill in. It would only require 3-4 rehearsals. It's a small part. I wouldn't have to postpone, delay, or nix my Thanksgiving trip.

I figured, well, why not? I could help him out. Sure.

Now here comes the part where you say, "Ken, you're stupid!"

I'll be playing a father. No, not a priest - a dad. And I'll be doing this at the time when Rosa's will have had her first child... without me. Yep. I'll be playing a dad - something I can't be in the real world.

But it gets far worse.

This is children's theater. That means there will be children. Lots of them. Lots of little reminders of my failure running about.

And I won't be able to smoke. (My next window for smoking comes between the rehearsals and performances: 11/22-11/29. But there will be no smoking at rehearsals or performances.)

(By the way, no, I'm not saying when performances are. I want to get through this with as little exposure as possible.)

What am I? A fucking idiot?!
I'm on the NRA's BLACKLIST...

You can be, too!

Are you tired of living in a nation full of gun-nuts? Are you sick of the NRA and what they stand for?

Well, guess what. This week, the NRA released a blacklist of all those nasty, evil people who actually (shudder) think! People who oppose our nation's infatuation with guns. Surely, such a blacklist would put these people in their place! Right?

Not so. Instantly, it seems, thousands of others wanted to join their ranks and get on the blacklist as well. Hey, you bet! There's a list of sane people? Put me on it, too! And so, I got myself up on that blacklist as soon as I heard.

You can, too. Let's show the NRA what a bunch of fools they are!

(Note: The server on this site is so busy - so many people are trying to get on the list - that it might hang up a bit but keep trying.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

When is a trim a slash?...

I just read online that Sony is "trimming" 20,000 jobs.

20,000 jobs.


I'll bet that to at least 20,000 people, that is NOT "trimming". In fact, I'll bet they have a whole other four-letter word for it.

What kind of world do we live in where we cannot even face the reality around us? Where we have to find nicer words for atrocities, lest they be real? But then, why should this surprise me? Just look at Shrub's war - no, not the one in Iraq, though that is one - one the American people by destoying our liberty, our right to breath, our government.

I guess he's "trimming", too.
Get used to it...

This one starts with a cliche: Life stinks.

Everyone has bad things happen to them; it's a fact of life. It would be the utmost arrogance to believe that nothing should ever go wrong for us. In fact, I think just about everyone would agree that, from time to time, things don't always live up to our expectations. It isn't the small things that bother us - the weather's not perfect, our hair isn't perfectly in place - those things we could get by with. It's the huge things, the losses and the pain, that make us wonder why.

Why? Why does it have to happen to us?

Life stinks, that's why.

Having already admitted that things sometimes go wrong for us it's not an enormous leap in logic to continue this train of thought into the idea that pain and loss are just as much what life is about as pleasure and happiness. You get them both and, though we like to find patterns in things, it often happens in a wonder of randomness.

Random happiness. Random pain. We never know when it will happen. In fact, we'll often say, after suffering a loss, that we never saw it coming. And if we knew the good that lie ahead, would it be as good?

So, things go wrong for us sometimes and, knowing this, it's easy to see that it is part of living. That said, it's easy to conclude that you aren't here to be happy. Life isn't meant to make all your dreams come true. Knowing this, perhaps we should appreciate the good things all that much more when they do come our way. Perhaps, too, we should understand that pain is as much living as is breathing.

As the Buddhists say, life is suffering.

... Pardon my irony when I say I've been living life to its fullest...

Monday, October 27, 2003

Monday is HEALTH DAY...

(Before you ask, I got one hour of sleep.)

Well, it's been a week since my last cigarette and since I started working out every day. Boy, am I a moron.

My current weight is 230. My goal is 210. (Let's see how this goes...)

Keeping away from the cigarettes isn't as hard as I thought - probably because I know I'll be having a smoke with Tim up in Oregon next month. (It's called "delayed gratification".) The really tough part has been living in constant agony! All this exercising is killing me! Last night, I jogged 2.5 miles, biked 6 miles, did 90 sit-ups, and did 3 sits of 12 on 3 weight machines. (I'm doing everything by multiples of 3 so I remember what settings the machines are supposed to be at.)(Yes, the 2.5 miles jogged fits into that somehow.) That's a workout of about 1 1/4 hours long - long enough! I even had to tone things down a bit because I could barely walk, but I'll kick 'em back up again eventually. I figure that if I keep this up, I should be halfway to my goal by the end of next month. (That's 2 pounds/week - not impossible.... I think...)

The downside, of course, is that all this time at the gym is taking away from time at home... doing nothing... you know, the "good old days". Oh, I still have some time. I got my list down to nine items this weekend (from the original 29 items). Saturday, I spent some time watching movies. It just so happened that, in all the movies I watched, everyone smoked! (Oh, I hated that!)

And so, a new week begins.

Rosa had her baby shower this weekend (or, should I say, one of them), which means that we're getting closer and closer to D-day. The effect I'm already feeling is so awful, I don't want to know what's going to happen to me when she delivers. (Just forgive me if I start smoking again.) I mean, think about this. Not only did she not want to have a child with me, she didn't want me around this child, either - even when she was carrying it. To her, I must be the lowest possible...

And now the weather! As some of you may know, we're in forest fire season here in Southern California. Now, while the fires are nowhere near me, I can say that it's brought some showers in my area... showers of ash! The interesting thing (I don't dare say "cool thing" - I doubt anyone whose home burnt down would think it's "cool") is how all the ash did a number on the sun. Sitting behind this cloud of ash, the sun looks awful small and the ambient daylight is like a neon orange... surreal. I also wanted to mention that one of the fires is in Alpine, in San Diego county. This isn't near me - obviously - but it is near where Roberson used to live. I hope he's okay.

And that's it for today... that's enough...
I want a cigarette!...

It's nearly 4:30 am. I've been up all night with the same thought.

Rosa's having Michael's baby. I was never good enough for her. She doesn't want me.

Okay, that's more than one thought... but it all hits me at once - over and over and over...

It's times like THIS when I REALLY want a cigarette!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Just a note before I go... to sleep...

I was talking to Sean earlier and something finally clicked inside my head.

"This isn't going to make any sense," I told him, "but smoking and drinking helped keep me sane."

Having to face every day without Rosa is so very difficult - it's crazy to take away cigarettes and be beated up at the gym daily on top of that. I miss her so desperately.

As much as I miss her, I've begun to think that I'm getting used to being alone - not comfortable with it but used to it. I'm afraid I'm becoming the male equivalent of an "old maid" but how could I date anyone?


Friday, October 24, 2003

The List is My Life...

Nothing about working out in this entry - I figure you've heard enough for a while.

Back to the list. Now that the letter is done... you know "THE LETTER"... I've started working on a cd for Rob. He was so cool to send me a cd when I was down and this is my way of paying him back. The cd is called "Plastic Ties" and harkens back to our days fresh out of high school. (If you want an explanation of the name, you better be used to disappointment. It's too long a story to type here.)(Rob knows.) So, it's full of old music and old comedy.

That's nearly done.

Now, I can start thinking about cds for Christmas. It's become something of a tradition of mine, to make cds to give for Christmas. I mix a bunch of weird music and sounds that I think nobody would like - with my taste, it would be no surprise - and it turns out people love them.

Well, enough of that, I say!

This year, I have a strange idea... what about a cd full of... ME?! My voice... droning... on and on... and on and on... and on and... well, you get the point. Me reading Kenmails, My Side entries, old monologues, old writings... just generally babbling on! Yes, I kind of like it. And how more egotistical can you get, really? It's like giving a picture of yourself! But that's why people like me... I make them feel good about themselves. ("At least I'm not a loser like Ken!")

Another idea would be called "Odds & Edsels" full of B-sides and odd cuts that you may not have heard before.

The last idea would be called "Parental Guidance", full of foul language and suggestive bits. I kind of like that.

What do you think? What should I make? Talk to me!
Just so you know...

I have the theme from "I Dream of Jeannie" going through my head.

Neither Victims Nor Excecutioners...

As in most things, I came upon an interesting essay yesterday about the war in Iraq. It's a very interesting read that harkens back to Camus's statement that we should strive to be neither victims nor excecutioners.

What would that mean, to be neither? Is it possible? This is a subject I've been dealing with for the past couple of decades. I remember when a gun-nut, right-wing whacko friend of mine, back in the mid-80's, asked me, "You wouldn't kill, huh? Well, what if someone was threatening to kill Rosa... or rape her?" My answer was simple, pragmatic. You could break his ankles, beat him within an inch of his life, bring him to the brink of death. I will not kill - but that doesn't mean I won't defend myself. I will not be an executioner. Recently, maybe five years ago, so left-wing, hippie, touchie-feelie friend of mine said, "We should be willing to line up before the forces of evil like the chinese kids before the tanks or the hippies armed only with poppie." No, sorry. I don't believe in passive passivity. One can be non-violent while being aggresive. Look at Michael Moore. It is possible. I will not be a victim.

Neither a victim nor excecutioner.

The article refers to the war in Iraq - and is very good. Then, it refers to Camus's closing words, which I'll include here:

Yes, we must raise our voices. Up to this point, I have refrained from appealing to emotion. We are being torn apart by a logic of history which we have elaborated in every detail--a net which threatens to strangle us. It is not emotion which can cut through the web of a logic which has gone to irrational lengths, but only reason which can meet logic on its own ground. But I should not want to leave the impression... that any program for the future can get along without our powers of love and indignation. I am well aware that it takes a powerful prime mover to get men into motion and that it is hard to throw one's self into a struggle whose objectives are so modest and where hope has only a rational basis-- and hardly even that. But the problem is not how to carry men away; it is essential, on the contrary, that they not be carried away but rather that they be made to understand clearly what they are doing.

To save what can be saved so as to open up some kind of future--that is the prime mover, the passion and the sacrifice that is required. It demands only that we reflect and then decide, clearly, whether humanity's lot must be made still more miserable in order to achieve far-off and shadowy ends, whether we should accept a world bristling with arms where brother kills brother; or whether, on the contrary, we should avoid bloodshed and misery as much as possible so that we give a chance for survival to later generations better equipped than we are.

For my part, I am fairly sure that I have made the choice. And, having chosen, I think that I must speak out, that I must state that I will never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder, and that I must take the consequences of such a decision. The thing is done, and that is as far as I can go at present.... However, I want to make clear the spirit in which this article is written.

We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity to make such a choice. Those who really love the Russian people, in gratitude for what they have never ceased to be--that world leaven which Tolstoy and Gorky speak of--do not wish for them success in power politics, but rather want to spare them, after the ordeals of the past, a new and even more terrible bloodletting. So, too, with the American people, and with the peoples of unhappy Europe. This is the kind of elementary truth we are likely to forget amidst the furious passions of our time.

Yes, it is fear and silence and the spiritual isolation they cause that must be fought today. And it is sociability and the universal inter- communication of men that must be defended. Slavery, injustice, and lies destroy this intercourse and forbid this sociability; and so we must reject them. But these evils are today the very stuff of history, so that many consider them necessary evils. It is true that we cannot "escape history," since we are in it up to our necks. But one may propose to fight within history to preserve from history that part of man which is not its proper province. That is all I have to say here. The "point" of this article may be summed up as follows:

Modern nations are driven by powerful forces along the roads of power and domination. I will not say that these forces should be furthered or that they should be obstructed. They hardly need our help and, for the moment, they laugh at attempts to hinder them. They will, then, continue. But I will ask only this simple question: What if these forces wind up in a dead end, what if that logic of history on which so many now rely turns out to be a will o' the wisp? What if, despite two or three world wars, despite the sacrifice of several generations and a whole system of values, our grandchildren--supposing they survive-- find themselves no closer to a world society? It may well be that the survivors of such an experience will be too weak to understand their own sufferings. Since these forces are working themselves out and since it is inevitable that they continue to do so,there is no reason why some of us should not take on the job of keeping alive, through the apocalyptic historical vista that stretches before us, a modest thoughtfulness which, without pretending to solve everything, will constantly be prepared to give some human meaning to everyday life. The essential thing is that people should carefully weight the price they must pay....

All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless strugle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circum- stances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.