Sunday, October 09, 2005
Two Lives – One Path, on the day Vicky and I were married, that saying was everywhere to be seen. That’s our philosophy and, so, that will be our story. If links work as they should, you should be able to click on the name and be taken on over to our new home.
Ironically, after searching through nearly a dozen blogging sites, we ended up back at Blogger. It may have been because it sounds like Frogger… no, wait – no that’s not it… Anyway, new features allow for better security, so I can enable Comments without having to worry about people flaming and spamming with their bile and hate.
Everyone’s welcome to come by our new home and send us comments. But you’re not welcome to be rude and hurtful – leave that at home.
My Side is over.. for now. Though I’m still coping with all the changes losing Rosa put me through – we’re talking sleepwalking at the top of that list – I marvel every day and how wonderfully things have turned out.
Oh, I’ll bring My Side out of the attic one of these days – hell, I’ve been pushing it on people since 1982 so why stop? – but, for now, One Path is where you’ll find me. Now, I’ll post this last My Side, close the windows, turn of the lights, and shut the doors…
… the party’s not over… just moving…
Friday, September 02, 2005
I am extremely pleased to announce completion on the first draft of my 10th novel: With Eyes To See. It's a horror novel, my first, and tells the story of someone with an... eye condition...
This is my first new book in half a decade - Vampire Society was started in the late 90's and A Grand Canyon was compiled... from this blog mostly - and I am very pleased with it.
I'll be more pleased when I find a buyer. I'm just saying.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Ah, but it's not "part of nature", my friends. Weather-related disasters get worse and worse with no one admitting to any correlation between that and man's rape of the environment. What do CO2 levels and depleted ozone have to do with extreme weather? Everything. You don't have to be a genius to know it. You don't have to do more than watch the Discovery Channel. We are destroying our atmosphere and, while people 20 years ago were talking about saving our planet, it's about damned time we start talking about saving ourselves!
Today, I listened in horror to a man in Tennessee who lost his whole family and all of his belongings to the devastation. He was only one. They're having to mark the homes of the dead because they can't bury them and they can't store them. About 100 have died so far. There will be many more. (And, let me add, this is but a fraction of those killed in Iraq. Think of the horror we are inflicting there. Their storm is called USA.)
Now, those who know me know that I am by no means a rich man. Still, I could see that there are plenty of people worse off than I. These aren't people in a far off country, speaking another language. These are Americans, our fellow Americans, and they need our help. (Not only that, but these are people who voted for Bush - and what has done so far? Not a damn thing. However, I do hear he's planning on flying Air Force One over there and shitting on them.)
Well, I decided I could do a little something. I donated $100 to the Red Cross. Not much. Still, I figure if I can do it, a few of you can give $50, $25, or even $10. That's just a couple packs of smokes... for those who indulge. Go to www.redcross.org. Their site is very busy, which is a good thing. Just be patient. Remember, your wait means more donations from someone else.
Monday, August 22, 2005
My world is now about Ken & Vicky and Vicky & Ken and all the combos therein.
Which is not to say I can't still squeeze out one more My Side for you. I've always felt this should end with one more Rosa story and it turns out it will.
Stick with me, we're going fast.
Two years ago, I lent Rosa $10,000. She said she'd pay be back in six months, with interest. She never paid me back.
Follow me so far?
So, during the first part of this year, I really had to question how much I wanted that money. Hey, $10,000 and change is a huge sack of money. I could use that, you know? Then, of course, I realized it was about more than the money. Rosa had done it again, taken from me with no concern for how it might affect me. I decided I wouldn't give her that pleasure. After watching her ruin my life for 15 years, I decided I would stand up for myself this time.
Well, that's when the court case began. Now, I know I haven't been mentioning this, so it might come as quite a surprise. But, look, what was I going to say? Really? I didn't know what was going to happen until it happened.
… Which is not say it did…
Anyway, I got an attorney who made Rosa a very generous offer: Sign a lien on the property so that when she sold/refi-ed the house, I'd get the money. It wouldn't cost her a thing. Very fair, right? Wrong. She refused. Then, we found out she had refi-ed (add this to years when she had the money but simply didn't want me to have it), and all bets were off. We filed for a trial date.
Then, Rosa got an attorney and we learned how she would defend herself - by crucifying me. Big surprise, huh? Basically, their plan is to assassinate my character in the hopes the judge will favor them. (See, I'm relying on things like FACTS and PROOF…)
The court date was last Thursday and I spent the entire week getting stressed out. As it turned out, they had to reschedule - they didn't even show up in court! Well, the case was rescheduled to 10/13/2005, three days before my 40th birthday, and long after the last My Side - that's why I'm writing this, you see?
So, I have a couple months of looking forward to seeing her again and she's come full circle, from hating her to loving her to hating her again…. Right?
Fast forward to Saturday. Bachelor Party. The poker game breaks up at 2:30 am and everybody leaves. I'm saying my good-byes, totally drunk and totally blacked-out - right, I don't remember a word of it! (Scary, huh?) Tim and are sticking around in the hotel. He passes out in his bed pretty damned pronto but I'm wide awake… and this I can remember. I started talking to him, babbling really, for about a half hour, pacing back and forth before him, smoking a chain of cigarettes, and drinking a ton of water. (Yes, I didn't remember to do that until then…)
Before I tell you the gist of it, stop eating or drinking… sit down… okay? Here's the gist: I miss Rosa. I honestly do. I miss having her in my life. I miss the continuity I had with my past. I miss (here's the big one) what I thought was the person I knew. I miss thinking I had a marriage once with a person who loved me. I miss the person I thought was decent and good. My second point was one often repeated: I love Vicky so much. I am such a lucky guy to have found someone who is so good to me and just so good, such a warm, decent, funny, and downright good person. I lucked out big time and I won't forget it.
Sean drove Tim and I back to my house the next morning. I was PAINFULLY hung over. Vicky was cleaning the patio, looking really sexy in a 1970's porn, sweaty/sexy kinda way. We talked that night, last night, about some of the years this blog had covered and I told her I honestly don't know how I made it. How did I live through years of insomnia, nightmares, sleepwalking, depression, fear, loneliness, and despair? How the hell did I do it?
Well, I did do it and I worked like hell. A new chapter in my life will be opening soon and we'll get a new Blog.
I wonder how many people read this Blog hoping for a happy ending. Well, this might not be the one you were expecting, but I couldn’t be happier with it.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
He's definitely one of the good ones, a nice guy and an enormous talent. In another life, we'd be buds, I'm sure.
In lieu of that, though, let me spread the good word: Brett Waller.
I just didn't realize how much.
It began with something of a surprise. A shock, really. I got a message from Tim Murphy Saturday, called him back, and quickly found out that he won't be able to be one of my groomsmen at the wedding. He couldn't get the time off of work and he felt horrible. I assured him I understood and told him not to worry. I wasn't angry at him… I wasn't anything. Then, I got off the phone - and I was pissed. Not at Tim, mind you. I was pissed at the world for screwing things up. The bottom line was that Tim not being there is gonna suck ass - a very large ass. Tim Murphy and I have always been very close, even when we weren't, and I really wanted him to be a part of my wedding. Vicky and I talked about it and agreed that some things just suck and this was one of them. Even though I understand Tim's situation, I've been there before, and I feel bad for him as well as myself, this still sucks. I can feel that without judging anyone. Then, I started considering Plan B…
Mind you, I'd spent a lot of time in the past few days passing judgment on people. We were heading to a street concert/block party in Santa Ana and, having spent a great deal of my life in Santa Ana, I was sure it would suck. We drove down to Wilshire Square, down by McFadden and Ross, a neighborhood I'd been to plenty of times. Vicky said they'd have live music and I pictured Pedro and his cousin on borrowed guitars. Vicky said they'd have food and I remembered all the bad meals I'd had with my ex-in-laws. (Mind you, it probably didn't help that they wanted me dead…)
Then, we pulled up. An enormous, portable stage filled an entire intersection. All the streets that fed into it, were blocked. Local restaurants, like Memphis and Pangaea and others had booths set up. Starbucks provided free coffee. In front of the stage, the street was filled, for an entire block, with tables.
Already, I felt like an idiot.
We met Vicky's friends, who'd invited us. Claudia, this little, powerhouse of a girl, works with Vicky and so does her brother, Mark, a small hill of a man. I also met her husband, David, with whom I got along very well - and many, many relatives. The bands were actually decent. There was lots of food. David handed me a couple of cigars.
Yep, I was a jerk. But I admitted it to Vicky. I'd prejudged without any basis.
The next morning, we had to be out early. We were driving out to Alta Dena. Turns out there's more to the story of the found wallet. You remember that, don't you? When Vicky and I found the old woman's wallet at the mall? Turned out the woman owned a honey-ranch and invited us up. We took her up on the invitation, thinking we'd meet some down-home, salt of the earth kinds folks.
Then, the night before we left, Vicky looked up the woman's last name on the Internet.
Turned out, she was the widow of a man named Jirayr Zorthian… a rather-well accomplished 20th century artist.
This changed things a bit! We read about bohemians and parties and artists and celebrities and wild… this was going to be interesting. Right away, I figured we were going to meet "my people". After all, I consider myself something of a bohemian. I'm an artist. I looked forward to fitting in…
And then we got there.
And it wasn't just the heat that rang us like a bell but the architecture, geography, atmosphere, aura… the world had changed. We had walked into something cooperatively created by Gaudi, Escher, and Charles Foster Kane. I don't know how Vicky took all this in - the place was immense - but that should be one benefit of the new site. (Coming in Fall of 2005!) I will say, though, that I was having trouble. Take the voices I used to hear and give them building materials… it was all disconcerting…
It wasn't beautiful. It wasn't ugly. It was… interesting...
This all would have been fine. It would have been perfect. Then, we met the rest of the people. You see, there was going to be a gathering at the house (which is a silly way to put it, the way the ground seemed to puke up buildings, half-finished, half-destroyed) and we were to be a part of it. All of these old friends and family got to know Vicky and I as the "Good Samaritans". In a way, I'm glad. If they had known I was Ken La Salle, writer, philosopher, et al… it all would have turned out very differently.
There was Mike, who Dabney (our hostess) referred to as "extremely talented", though his greatest talent seemed to be remembering Jirayr. There were two Roberts, one of whom worked at JPL and the other… I don't know. The two women married to Mike and the vague Robert seemed nice enough. Then, there was Allan, Jirayr's son, who was like a little prince (in his 40's) with seemingly no accomplishments excepts his eccentricities. We met Michelle Feynman, daughter of the famous physicist, and her family. We spoke with Brett, LA artist and seemingly down-to-earth and nice guy, and his family.
They were all so annoying. So many of them were clinging to the past with dirty nails; there was little talk of the present. For the most part, they suffered from that liberal failing that I hate so much, that confidence in their own righteousness, as if (burning) Bush would fail simply because he was evil. I realized that if this was bohemia, I had terribly misjudged myself.
I had a better time sitting in the midst of Santa Ana than with the elite bohemians of LA… which simply served to remind me that, for all my aspirations, I'm really just a guy from Santa Ana, no different than ever.
Oh, we'll be back again. We'll see Claudia and David at the wedding. (He's helping me get some of those cigars.) And we'll go back to see Dabney Zorthian. She's an incredibly sweet woman with a rich outlook. So what if she knows some self-righteous blabber mouths… Vicky lives with one.
We both had fun stepping out of our comfort zone for a while and, then, returning to it… that's living.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I'm not kidding.
This made it necessary to ask myself if the person was correct. Does a belief in Tolerance necessitate Tolerance of all things?
Obviously, this is not true. If it were, we would have cheered the Nazi's for genocide… and that certainly didn't happen. That the person's accusation was specious, at best, did not set me free from this line of inquiry, however. I wanted to know about Tolerance, not just "what" but "why", and what limits it was held within by reason.
Let's start with a dictionary (dot com) definition. Tolerance is the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others. Therefore, Tolerance is not the permission to do whatever you like but, rather, a responsibility to accept those around you. The phrase "within reason" is implied here, which is easy to see if you apply it to any extreme. Someone gouging your eyes out with an oyster spoon is not something I would suggest anyone tolerating.
Tolerance is a means but what would the end be? As I can see it, the end that most people can agree upon is the spread of peace and harmony. Tolerance is a means to that end. So, when we talk about tolerance, we are talking about a road to peace and harmony. It would seem reasonable, then, to assume the inverse true, that anything that does not end in peace and harmony would not begin with Tolerance.
Let's test this. The Nazi's genocide did not end in peace and harmony and were not started with Tolerance. True. The work of Martin Luther King helped promote peace and harmony and began with Tolerance. True. I could go on and on but I won't. I'll leave that to you.
Let me try a couple other kinds of tests. It's safe to say that most people support equal rights for homosexuals. It's also safe to say that most people wouldn’t support the right of two men to fuck on the hood of your car in broad daylight. Gay rights promote peace and harmony, which applies to most people and is within reason. Most people, however, would find it unreasonable for anyone to have sex on their car in broad daylight. Let's say I asked your opinion on this. You could reply with, "I disagree. I think Gay Rights are not tolerable and here's why…" or you could say, "I fucked your mama's asshole last night and she said you have a small cock. If you like fags, suck my cock! You're gay, mother fucker!" Which of these responses promotes tolerance?
There are such things as intolerable acts. For the most part, we agree as a society on what they are. When the lines begin to gray, however, and it's possible to promote peace and harmony, that's when it's important to remember to be tolerant. It's not a sign of weakness to do so. Nor is it hypocrisy to say that you won't allow intolerance. This is clearer to me now.
Monday, July 11, 2005
For those of you who asked, yes, My Side will be ending its run very soon. In the next few weeks, you'll be seeing less and less posted to this site. One last one will be posted at the end of August and, then, that'll be it. A new site will be opening in October, however. If you're a new reader or anyone who wants to know where the new site is going to be, click the email link and let me know. I'll be sending invitations to the new site once it's up.
Yes, the new site will contain "anti-flaming" measures. This is not meant to stifle anyone's freedom of speech but, rather, to enforce a little common decency. In a friendly atmosphere, I've never thought that would be necessary. But I have learned that is not the case. "Flaming" is not simply disagreeing. It is not debate. It is contrary and counter-productive to debate as well as insulting and hurtful.
Before I wrap things up, though, I'm planning on writing a few essays on general topics, which means you won't have me here to keep you informed. You're going to have to work on that on your own, and I hope you do. I also have something in the works for mid-August. I won't mention it until then - so please don't ask - but I will say that it will signify the end of a few things.
Lastly, here's some news on the novel front. Does my return to novel-writing signify an end to my acting or play writing? Not at all! Let that be clear! Vicky and I have sat down and talked about this. After the wedding, I'll be doing another show. (How soon really depends on when I get cast but the humiliation of auditioning will begin shortly after returning from the Bahamas.) Then, in spring, I'll be returning to Cal State Fullerton to continue my educational journey. This will take up a lot of my time but I should still be open for a little acting and writing. All work and no play and all that…
But about the novels… Vicky and I have started marketing Vampire Society. Vicky's helping a lot and I can't thank her enough. As much as she's protested becoming "just another fan", I'm beginning to think her will is weakening. (And, anyway, being a fan of Ken La Salle really includes you in a very tiny, er, ELITE group…) This week, I'll also begin working on the rewrites to "A Grand Canyon". Providing I finish that before the wedding, I'll then forward it on to my step-mom, Blanche, for her take on it. This being a very personal book, I wanted someone who I knew I could trust but would also see the material with a fresh eye. Blanche is that person.
But wait! There's more! I'm now 15,000 words into my new book - yes, ANOTHER ONE! Still unnamed, this is a sci-fi/horror/mystery, three genres I never in my life thought I'd be writing. But the idea is too good NOT to write and, so, here I am.
In a word: busy.
So, those of you who thought I was sitting on my laurels can be assured otherwise. Anyway, I need new laurels and can never find good ones at the store...
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Even if it’s not a name for a fantasy novel, I’ll usually sound it out, testing both the sound, the shape, and the feeling of the words. I want them to fit just right. So imagine, if you will, a far younger Ken, sitting at a desk, creating a name for the magical creature made of palm fronds and assorted junk who would show the protagonist something about his humanity in A Hex Upon Rynia.
I couldn’t go with “palm” as a root for the name but “bamboo” right. Bamboo. Bamboo Be… something. No, not Bamboo… Bandoo! Bandoo Le… and the words people write for generic singing entered my head – the phonetics of singing – “la la la”
There hasn’t been a person yet who, upon reading “Hex”, wasn’t taken by the little monkey. Of course, I was.
So, I guess it was inevitable when, in 1996 and only about half a year after we bought our house, I would give that name to someone else, someone not of my imagination.
Rosa and I had gone to the vet for Chloe and were drawn to the kittens in the lobby, for which they were trying to find good homes. The little gold one was my favorite. He was so calm and loving and would come right to my hand. It was like he knew me, that bond we are always seeking that is probably the sole reason why people get pets at all. I wanted him.
But when we came back the next day, he was gone, and I was asked to pick another.
There was this white one who’s legs seemed to big to balance on and who’s tongue couldn’t be kept in his mouth. He was perpetually licking, a strange attribute for a cat. But Rosa loved him so we took him. Which is when they found the little, gold one in the back. To this day, I’m sure it was a scam to get us to take two cats home. But they’d “fix” him for free and his shots would be very cheap. We even got a free cat carrier and some free food and – Okay! Fine! I’ll take them both!
On the way home, I help their carriers on my lap. “What are you going to name them?” Rosa asked. I’d always named the pets. I had a flair. There was William Artemis Winky. Francois Manhattan. My names were appealing for their oddness. And, anyway, Rosa had her dog, little Chloe. She didn’t care much about the cats. To the end, she would refer to them as “Your cats”.
On to the naming. For the white one, I used an old pun: Alacrity Fitzhugh. Alacrity, after all, means “cheerful willingness”, and this guy had so much bounding enthusiasm, I was sure he’d be cheerfully willing to jump off a roof! So, it certainly fit him. The other one, the gold one, was sort of magical, in a way. I could sense that about him. What better name than Bandoo Lelala?
Later, he evolved into Bandooli or Bandoo Lee, the ninja cat, which is less a reflection on him than a statement about my weirdness.
That Bandoo was extraordinary needs no mentioning to those who met him. For those who didn’t, however, here are a few comments. After Jazz, the cat we had when we picked up the kittens, passed away, Bandoo went to Jazz’s favorite spot, the spot where she sat every day, and cried for several days straight. This not only showed a connection and intelligence beyond words but also gave me someone with which to mourn Jazz. After a couple of days, when I was ready to do this, I held Bandoo in my lap and cried with him. Maybe just being held quieted him down but I also like to think that mourning together helped him as well. The downside was that he picked up, very quickly, Jazz’s natural distrust for people. Over the weekend, he went from being very trusting of everyone (just as Alacrity was with his huge tongue) to being exclusive to me and those he trusted. This exclusivity proved to be a necessary part of my life after Rosa and I split up. I would judge people by how Bandoo felt about them; he was a fine judge of character. When Vicky came along, and we walked right up to her, offering his side for her to pet, I knew she’d be okay.
You can’t deny his athletic acumen. I saw him race the entire length of my back yard once, leap 10-12 feet in the air, and fell a large bird in mid-air one summer day while I worked on my garden. His attitude was keenly feline. He was not above stealing food from his fatter brother or sitting on my lap at any time with that “You know you’re going to pet me” look. Bandoo and Alacrity were inseparable from the first day. They’d play very roughly, causing me some concern, but that would always end with one of them (usually Alacrity) dominating the other and then start giving the other a bath… I’d call them my gay boys.
When we moved into this house, however, something happened to him. I can’t explain what it was but he did lose some weight as a result. He was still eating plenty, though, and I tried to chalk it up to his return to outdoor play. (Now that we could let them out, Bandoo and Alacrity would run up trees, fences, and pretty much anything.) And, anyway, he did seem to put a little of the weight back on. After Alacrity got sick a couple of months ago, I used all the credit available to me to get him better. Then, earlier this week, Vicky and I noticed that he’d thinned out again. But I couldn’t bring him to the vet. I had no money.
Then, he stopped eating. Yesterday, he crawled into a space beside a counter. He wouldn’t come out. When he tried to move him, he didn’t cry out. He simply looked at me and moved further into the space. It was obvious he wanted to be left alone.
Vicky was gone. It was just him and me. I knelt beside him and said, “Bandoo, what’s going on?” He was breathing heavy. His eyes were barely open. “You’re dying, aren’t you?” My hand on his side was visibly irritating. I pulled it back. I couldn’t take him to a vet. I couldn’t take care of him at all. I felt so fucking helpless. I felt about as shitty as you can get. “I’m going to let you stay there, Bando. You sleep.” He wasn’t crying; he simply looked like he wanted to sleep. So, I’d let him sleep.
But I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to get drunk. I spent the next five hours having a couple of drinks per hour and, of course, I’d also picked up smokes. When Vicky came back (she’d been at a wedding), his breathing was very shallow.
Eventually, I passed out.
She woke me and said that he sounded like he was in pain. She was bringing him to the emergency vet clinic and maybe they could put an end to his pain. But he went in his own way, on his own schedule, before they could insert the needle.
The Buddha tells us that all life is suffering. From the moment we are born, we are faced with the loss of having that life stripped away from us until, eventually, even that life is taken. It is by acceptance of this loss, by learning to let go, that we can live in this world. I didn’t drink because I couldn’t accept that it was Bandoo’s time. It most obviously was. I drank because I could not ease his suffering and I felt very small as a result. Not only that, I drank to his memory, too… but, in typical Ken fashion, there were a whole lot of memories there…
He was the finest feline I’ve ever known. Though he was only a little over a foot tall, he had a majestic stature. He carried himself with grace and refinement. His capacity for love was without equal.
I was incredibly fortunate to have known him, to have had the opportunity to love him, and to have been loved by him. He lived very well and very comfortably and was truly cherished.
He will be missed.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I finished my 9th book, A Grand Canyon, today. Mind you, I'm referring to the first draft here. It is 505 pages long with a total of 157,000 words. I figure I need to snip away 30,000 or so words. Yes, my work is cut out for me… so to speak.
But it's done.
No more novel writing until after I'm married.
Monday, June 27, 2005
And yet, people try to escape it.
In some ways, it is funny. It has to be because it is so horrific.
This current stream of thought began when I read Tim Murphy's blog. I was surprised to find him writing about recent events here on My Side. His opinion, as I see it, is that, after a barrage of very despicable comments resulting in the removal and eventual shutting down on this blog, Tony (the poster of those comments) and I should "get along". And it has to be, we are both his friends. I do not see it this way. Tony's foul comments show me that there was more than just a disagreement of opinion. Tony's disrespect for truth and flagrant disregard for decency destroyed his humanity in my eyes. Who I once saw as human, I cannot bear to think about.
Sadly, though, this isn't rare. When I look around, I see that it's all too common throughout our society, from rappers to elected officials. I believe it is because we have devalued common decency, because it cannot buy anything of material worth.
Then, I noticed that Tony had polluted Tim's entry with one of his comments as well. And this comment, not surprisingly, was not in answer to Tim's writing but, rather, an attack upon me. And it wasn't an attack over something I wrote, either. It was an attack upon something I did NOT write.
As I wrote My Side after My Side about the common good, human decency, and the ideals that I believe founded this country, Tony mocked me because I did not write about a recent Supreme Court ruling. I'm not going to go into details but, in a nutshell, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is the government's right to seize private property, pretty much abolishing a fundamental human right enjoyed by most citizens.
But that's just it, don't you see?
It took me a while to see it. It took me several days.
I went about my life, thinking I wouldn't write about it because I could see little relevancy to it. After all, how can you ignore a nation that tortures innocent people, neglects those most in need, comforts those who do the most harm, and then cry out in a rage, "Hey, they're taking my stuff!"
And then, I began seeing it on the news and hearing it on the radio.
Hey, they're coming after me now!
Okay, this is where I try the line.
Bunch of fucking hypocrites.
Was the ruling wrong? You're damn right it was wrong.
But it's far more wrong for people to sit on their greed and watch injustices carried out in their name as long as they can keep their stuff.
The longer I'm alive the more I realize that events of the day mean nothing. I've found that names are interchangeable and places are illusory. Is Karl Rove any more evil than anyone else? No, he's not. His deeds are evil. Evil is performed every day. The ideal is not to stop Karl Rove. The ideal is to stop evil. If you concentrate too hard on Karl, you miss the bigger picture. Is the war in Iraq unjust? You bet it is. But, then, so are many other wars in many other places. The ideal is not to stop just the war in Iraq but all wars.
Most people don't see it this way. They are far too eager to assign an exclusive form of guilt and end conflicts only where it affects them.
Right now, the Supreme Court is also moving to rule against public television, national public radio, and the National Endowment for the Arts, programs that perform inestimable good and cost literally less than a penny a day. People say, "That's my penny! I want my penny!" It's short sighted thinking like this that has led to the poor quality of public education, an upsurge in homelessness, and inexistent health care for most in this country.
Do you want to get outraged because your pennies are being taken but not because people are dying? Then, I am ashamed of you.
Welcome to the Vampire Society.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
The driver's license within showed it to belong to an old woman named Dabney. (Hey last name is hard enough to pronounce, let alone spell.) (See the subject line.) We looked all around the Market Place, the mall at which we were seeing the film, but we couldn't find her. Next - and I can't remember whose idea this was but it was a good one - Vicky dialed 411 and, using the info on the license, got Dabney's phone number. She called… and got a voice mail.
So, we went in to see the movie. (All I can say is, thank God they're over!)
After, Vicky had a voicemail from Dabney and called her back. She was, of course, very glad to see that some honest people found her wallet and kept offering the $50 as a reward. But we couldn't take money from an old lady - it just didn't seem right. Vicky Fed-Exed (or DHL'ed, or something) the wallet to Dabney the very next day.
Cut to last night.
We get our mail and there, in our mailbox is a big package addressed to us. It's from Dabney. Turns out, she owns a ranch outside of Pasadena that makes honey. A bottle of honey was in the envelope! (Plastic, you know, so it wouldn't break.) There was also a letter inviting us up to the ranch.
I told Vicky that we ought to go. Who knows? Maybe instead of $50, we might get a new friend out of this. Mind you, we didn't return the wallet for a reward. It was just the right thing to do. But that seems like a very nice one to me.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
... which totally falls in line with a country that condones torture...
Monday, June 20, 2005
And yet, people try to escape it.
In some ways, it is funny. It has to be because it is so horrific.
This current stream of thought began when I read Tim Murphy's blog. I was surprised to find him writing about recent events here on My Side. His opinion, as I see it, is that Tony and I should "get along". And it has to be, we are both his friends. I do not see it this way. Tony's foul comments show me that there was more than just a disagreement of opinion. Tony's disrespect for truth and flagrant disregard for decency destroyed his humanity in my eyes. Who I once saw as human, I cannot bear to think about.
Sadly, though, this isn' - not to forget Greene - are as endearing and as familiar as the group in "Not a penny less, not a penny more" and the murder mystery is chilling exciting, but as you read more and more, its not the murderer itself who catches your attention - its Dante HIMSELF !!
I have become facinated by the guy (with due respect, one of the greatest writer/poet of medivial culture). It will probably take me months to figure the guy out simply because his origional work is in Italian and Latin, translation is by Longfellow in a form of english that long became latin to most of us - I have trouble translating any form of english that comes close to Shakespearean English.
I think Dante's work was an irreverently intellectual challenge to the then corrupted society he lived in and he is unabashedly an icon - a tortured and blindingly brilliant mind. He is nectar of the medivial society - society he mocked with panache in his literary brilliance - La Divina Commedia - Inferno Purgatorio Paradiso (translates to The Divine Comedy - Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven") "
which traces his imaginary journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven during which he encounters historical and mythological creatures, each symbolic of a particular fault or virtue. Beatrice, Dante’s great love, whom he regarded as a manifestation of the divine, is his guide through paradise. Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of the great works of world literature, and it was also proof that in Italian literature the vulgar tongue could rival Latin.Read about Dante's mindboggling classification of sinners and Dante's structured vision of Hell
In the Inferno, sinners are organized by three vices -- Incontinence, Violence, and Fraud -- and further subdivided by the seven deadly sins. In Purgatory, penance is ordered on the basis of three types of natural love. Paradise is organized on the basis of three types of Divine Love, and further subdivided according to the three theological and four cardinal virtues..
Read on below, a chillingly captivating beginning of Hell, a slow realization of where you are:
"A heavy thunder breaks the deep lethargy within your head....
...causing you to upstart suddenly, like a person who by force is awakened. Before you stands an enormous gate with an inscription that reads:
"Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, ye who enter here." aker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, ye who enter here."
"Is this your way of saying that you're giving me one last chance to change my mind?" I asked.
Hmmm... well, I could always try to get back together with Rosa one more time, couldn't I??? The world is filled with beautiful women... Hmmmm....
See, I was going to say all this to Vicky but I decided not to because, as much as I love giving her a hard time, she's as sweet as a sundea in Heaven. So, I didn't. Anyway, as I say in the book, "There are far too many beautiful women in the world to fuck them all. The trick is to find the one you like the best."
I like Vicky the best.
So, the invitations are on their way. And I couldn't be more excited!
"I know. I know," Vicky replied. "Me too." This from the woman who has been losing weight…
Today, for those of you watching the calendar, is our anniversary. We were going to celebrate it last night, since our first date was on a Sunday but opted for tonight, instead, on the actual date. We're going back to Dave & Busters. We're going to shoot some pool, have a drink, eat something yummy…. but NOT injure Vicky! At least, that's the goal.
It's absolutely astonishing. I never thought I'd be in this place. After four years of one short relationship after another, I'd kind of grown to accept that it would be my lot. And I was okay with that, because I figured I'd already had my chance. I blew it. That was all.
And now, here comes Vicky. Walking past me at Dave & Busters a year ago, I remember thinking, "Damn, she's cute!... and there she goes…" Immediately, I knew I'd only have one date.
Here we are, a year later. In September, we'll be married.
Spooky, that's what it is. When did I get this lucky?
One year ago. That's when.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Vic, do we have a food processor?
Now, for the changes. As you might surmise, the have to do with this site. I don't really know how to put into words how I feel about the way My Side has been fouled…. Here's a allegory for you:
So, there's this guy who's built something he's very proud of - a house, a ship, whatever. He decides to show it to his friends when someone says, "Oh, yeah? This is yours? Here, let me piss all over it! Now, let me kick it a few times and break it. Is this wrong? I'm sorry. Here! Now I'll shit on it!" And so on.
That's what I feel has happened to this site.
You can probably guess that means it won't be around much longer. My Side as we know it will soon be over. And let anyone think otherwise, it was a loss I will never forgive.
I'm looking into alternatives but I expect this site will close sometime in August.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
He said it was wrong for the administration to say Geneva Convention protections do not apply to suspected terrorists.
"They claim a person detained in the war on terrorism has no legal rights - no right to a lawyer, no right to see the evidence against them, no right to challenge their detention," Durbin said. "In fact, the government has claimed detainees have no right to challenge their detention, even if they claim they were being tortured or executed."
Durbin said in the speech that the national debate should not be about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, but about how the United States should treat prisoners no matter where they are being held.
"To close down Guantanamo and ship these prisoners off to undisclosed locations in other countries, beyond the reach of publicity, beyond the reach of any surveillance, is to give up on the most basic and fundamental commitment to justice and fairness ... " Durbin said.
As part of his statement, Durbin quoted from what he said one FBI agent saw.
"I almost hesitate to put them in the record," Durbin said of the observations.
"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water," Durbin quoted the FBI agent. "Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."
The agent's description of conditions said the temperature in cells ranged from so cold as to make the detainee shiver to well over 100 degrees.
"The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor," the agent reported.
"If I had read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said in the floor speech. "Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
Durbin said such actions imperil Americans who will be taken prisoner in present and future conflicts.
"I hope we will learn from history," Durbin said. "I hope we will change course. ... To criticize the rest of the world for using torture and to turn a blind eye to what we are doing in this war is wrong, and it is not American."
I applaud those who seek out the truth and seek to help others, however unpopular. Good work, Senator.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Tonight, Vicky sent me a petition that she's learned about. Now, I had already signed it but didn't want to make a big deal about it. I mean if being against torture is seen as an objectionable offense, just think what being on the side of truth will get you! But maybe it's time I stopped being so worried about speaking the truth too often...
Here's the petition. It's already gained some legs in Congress and a voice in the Senate. The intent is to finally get somebody to pay attention to the facts surrounding Shrub's illegal war. We can only hope.
I know Vicky would like you to sign it. But you must do it right away. It ends tomorrow! So Go! Sign!
I come from a time and place where people who were not enemies behaved in a civil manner. They might not have been friends. They might only have been acquaintances. But they did not behave viciously towards one another.
This, however, is no longer the case.
About a month ago, I made a mistake. I gave the link to My Side to someone I didn’t know very well. I thought I knew him but it has turned out I was very wrong. So, when I wrote about things in the news that bothered me, this person decided to respond by insulting me. And I know what this is about. People who believe in evil are very insulted when that evil is questioned and can only insult back. They don’t feel the need to engage in friendly debate; they can only be rude.
And so, today, I wrote a blog about the injustices that I believed were wrong. I believe torture is so wrong that it is an issue beyond debate. It’s like child abuse; no rational person would argue in favor. But this person decided to answer my sincere concerns by calling me a hypocrite. He said that other countries do wrong things, so we must be allowed the same privilege. I believe nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that, as Americans, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our actions should reflect the best of our ideals, not the worst of our weaknesses. He inferred that I was just as bad because I bought products that might have caused harm in some way or another to someone. In this, he’s probably right. But he misses two very obvious points – points which, yet again, I don’t believe I should need to reiterate for his benefit. I will now as example. First, this does not make torture right. Second, the ideal is to do as little harm as possible. It is impossible to do absolutely no harm.
His comments don’t just disgust me. They make me very sad because they show what has become of the time from which I come. It’s one thing to debate an issue in a civilized manner but another thing entirely to cast aspersions.
It was never the intent of this site to engage in petty name calling or flaming. The intent of this site was, in addition to keeping you informed as to the events in my life, to inform and, perhaps, engage in some discussion. But this person’s constant insults are so offensive to me that I’m now debating taking the site down all together, that is how tainted he has made this feel. In a world where some find common decency and tolerance unacceptable, I would rather not allow such indecency and intolerance.
For now, I’m going to take down the comments on this site. Some sites get spammed with ads. Mine has been spammed with despite. And this makes me very sad.
As always, you can email me at the link on top if you’d like to keep in touch. Many of you reading this also have my home address and phone number. I am always interested in talking about the events transpiring in your lives and in this country.
In this case, however, I feel I must.
Republican Congressperson (lest we claim that he is a man) Duncan Hunter has been touting Gitmo's imaginary menu as if Gitmo is the only gulag we're currently running.
As if we don't have other prisons in foreign countries were we can hide detainees.
As if lemon chicken can appease our guilt.
And he talks about these people as if their already guilty, though they are held illegally, no charges pressed against them, no access to due process.
And I keep seeing this. And I've been thinking about it a lot.
And what it comes down to is this:
Give those people their day in court, not twice-baked potatoes.
Give America back a little pride in the fact that we can do the right thing, not the illusion that the most powerful nation on earth is the victim of those it has illegally detained because it has to feed them.
The fact that Shrub's administration lies isn't what offends me. I've become desensitized to that. But that they lie so egregiously and so arrogantly makes me sick. The fact that the people of the US can keep themselves from simultaneously vomiting in the face of what they've made of us, renders me ill.
And now that their backs, sweaty from sadistic coitus - fucking the world, are against the wall, they are talking about closing Gitmo. But the problem lies not in one prison but in all of them. The problem lies in a world that cannot see the bigger picture clearly enough to realize the injustices perpetrated on the America in the name of, gasp, SECURITY.
They act as if it's wrong for people to want justice. If that's the case, what good is America anyway? People are cheering for the jackboots of democracy. That's what's wrong.
Monday, June 13, 2005
… and everyone's excited.
And that's the problem, my friend. That is the problem.
People find their entertainment in the most perverse pleasures. I understand this and I accept this. But when the majority of people in our society find their entertainment in things like war and suffering, it becomes a problem. When they're paying attention to this verdict, rather than what is going on with their government, that is a problem.
For you see, whatever verdict comes down it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. It is the business of the court and of Michael Jackson and his family, and the families of those children. But it is none of yours. Your business is in how your government functions and what you are doing to make this world a better place and how you are living your life - you know, things that affect you and in which you SHOULD be involved.
At no time should you ever assume that the gossip that is now passed to us as NEWS is any of your business. There is a very clear difference.
And we've forgotten what that is.
And it's a problem.
I think I'd try one of the Range Extenders that my company produces. I was given a version 1 product and told that, while it didn't work as well as the version 2, it was all I was getting.
So, I tried it.
Now, you don't need to know a lot about wireless networking to get this next part… cause stupidity is universal.
It didn't work. And it didn't work in a great big way…
So, I brought it back today and talked to the guy who had given it to me.
"It didn't work."
"Yeah, I figured it wouldn't." he said.
"Here's the thing. I thought I'd go onto our website to look at the manual but the manual is wrong."
"Well, we're selling version 2 now, so it doesn't matter."
"But the website shows version 1… and that's wrong for version 1… so I don't think it would be at all right for version 2…"
"No, but that's what we're selling."
"Well, then why don't we put the version 2 book on the website?" It's when I ask these kinds of questions that I get into trouble.
"Because we have a huge back stock of version 1. We couldn't sell it because it doesn't work."
And that's why their still giving people the wrong directions for version 2…. Because they have a whole lot of version 1 products in a room somewhere that they couldn't sell…
Excuse me while I go muck out my brain...
I'm going to be getting the guys together the last weekend of this month for tuxedo fittings, etc. Yes, when I refer to "the guys", I'm talking about the wedding guys (sans Murphy, who will be there by proxy). I just have to figure out where and…... what the hell I'm doing! (Calm down, Ken. Calm down.)
Went to a play yesterday and felt that old, familiar pull… wanting to jump up on the stage and show its previous habitants "how it's done"…
I was walking the dog Saturday night and a whole play exploded in my head. "The Dressing Room" is about a very stressed out actor whose life is falling apart an hour before he's supposed to go on stage and doing it right there in his dressing room… but I have no time to start new projects. I have a book and a marriage and a honeymoon and… so the idea faded back away.
I reached the 75,000 word mark in "A Grand Canyon" today… and I've just returned from the first "Thanksgiving Adventure"… something tells me I'll be going over 100k…
And I just fell into a micro-nap for a split second, dreaming that I was having an affair with Marlene Dietrich… and Marlene was very worried about Vicky catching us…
Like I said, I should be used to these by now...
Friday, June 10, 2005
Donating my parts has never been a problem.
Yesterday, here at work, signs were put up. My employer's name was emblazoned in huge script "invites you to donate at their blood drive". And, once again, Nonsys has found a way to put something innocuous is the most offensive way.
And I'm the only one who sees it.
"What's wrong with that," Becky, who sadly is also a writer, asked. "It is their blood drive."
The problem, I explained to her, is one of relation. In this case, the relation of US versus THEM is firmly maintained. This isn't OUR workplace. It's THEIRS. This isn't OUR corporation (even though we all own stock in it). It is THEIRS. And it isn't even OUR blood drive, even if it is OUR blood that could end up going to US. No, it is THEIRS - and make no bones about it.
Charity drives, and I doubt there's anything more charitable than giving away your parts, have always shown the best of our underlying (and lying far too low these days if you ask me) socialist nature. You certainly couldn't call giving away your parts as capitalist. But when these idiots claim that even our blood is theirs, well, kinda makes me want to deny them the privilege of poking my skin. At least, I think I still own my skin.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
But today I'd like to take that out of the realm of western philosophy and look at it from the site of the eastern mind. "Tat tvam asi" is a way of thinking, which, in Sanskrit, means "Thou Art That". It means that when you think of what you are and when you think of anything else, you are basically thinking of the same thing. Another way of putting this is that you are not alone but, rather, part of a larger web of creation. I'd like to expand on both of these for a minute to show you how they come back to my initial, western premise.
When tat tvam asi means that you are both you and everything "outside" of you, the relationship is one of self meeting self. This is probably confusing to most people used to thinking in a western mode, so let me put it in a western mode. I am presently sitting at my desk, looking at my monitor, whereon these words appear. I am an animal made of carbon, water, some minerals, and so on. My monitor is an object made of carbon, minerals, so on and some water was used in the process. The very same atoms that formed the universe are in both of us, both animate and inanimate. Our only difference is one of animation. But should I treat it with less respect simply because it cannot move? Now, let's look at my relation to another person. We are both made of the same materials, have the same parts. In a very real sense, I am that. The difference between us is miniscule and primarily accidental, when you think about it. So, why should I have less compassion for a Muslim or a homeless man or even a killer?
When tat tvam asi means that you are part of creation, the relationship is one of interdependence. It's easy to see why you wouldn't kill your family as you depend upon them; our society calls such people crazy. Would it make sense to kill a cousin or a grand-nephew? So, why then, are we hell bent on killing off so many of our distant relatives in Iraq? Aren't we interdependent with them? By disrespecting them, are we making it easier for others to disrespect us? Remember, we're setting the rules for our own comeuppance. The same applies for the animals we make extinct and the planet we so happily foul.
Buddhists believe that the closer you can come to tat tvam asi, the closer you are to enlightenment.
I believe that it is simply an inescapable fact.
In response to this, some of these evil librarians have set up their own website: Librarians Against Bush (that would be the Evil-President kind). On their site, you can:
Read the actual Patriot Act
Read the Bill of Right
Read the Consitution
... you know... get informed... because we really need to worry about librarians when Shrub's folk are out there torturing people...
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
So, I stopped shaving a week or so ago. (I had a pimple… it's a long story…) Now, the typical, crappy, Ken beard growth has come in to it's limit - you know, just about when you start seeing it.
And I've noticed something. Nobody, not one person, here at Linkshit has said anything. "Growing a beard?" "Get a rash?" "You dribbled some food on your chin."
And I think I know why this is. I think they've become so used to me here, so used to me looking like shit, that they don't even think of it as a beard-attempt any more. They just look at me and say, "Boy, Ken looks like hell - no change." And that's it.
This is good for Vicky, though. With the exception of Maude Maggart - no competition at all!
That would put us at last Thursday. Thursday night was Bingo Night and Vicky was getting ready to go. She thought she might need a jacket in case it got colder later. She began looking through the coat closet and I was lying on the sofa behind her. She said, "Which jacket do you think I should wear?" I was behind her, quite a ways, and couldn't see a thing but I thought I'd humor her. "Wear that one," said. And then, I added, "No, not that one. The other one."
Vicky turned to me with a look that said, "You can't see in here so why don't you just shut the hell up?!"
And I laughed my ass off!
Friday night, we headed off to the Hollywood Bowl. We were going to see A Prairie Home Companion live at the Hollywood Bowl. For those of you who don't know about Garrison Keillor's show, shame on you. I'm a huge fan and Vicky had bought these tickets as a surprise for me, which was really quite a surprise when you realize that Vic is not a huge fan - or any kind of fan. On the contrary, Keillor's voice puts her to sleep!
Vicky had found a bus that would take us to the show from the LA Zoo. We'd park at the zoo and it would save us the necessity of having to fight our way out of the Bowl's parking lot. I thought it was a pretty good idea. So did she. We would soon learn differently. When we got to the zoo, we quickly discovered that there are a lot of other huge fans out there, hundreds of others waited for the bus. A huge line stretched across the parking lot and that line was not moving fast enough. When we finally caught the bus and got to the show, we arrived a few minutes too late - but we got there! We took our seats as Maude Maggart began singing. I fell deeply in love with her immediately - the only thing stopping me from being with her now my deeper love for Vicky! The show was just great. When intermission came, they actually took an intermission… which I thought was positively quaint! I should not, by the way, that Vicky had a head cold and was suffering from it quite a bit at this point. But she stuck it out. (Then, I asked her to put it away.)
After intermission, Keillor warmed up the crowd with a little singing. He began with "My Country Tis of Thee" - a song I never liked a whole lot from my school days - and Vicky gave me hard time about not singing. Yes, he wanted the audience to sing. The next song was "America, the beautiful" and I sang along (mostly to shut Vicky up). The whole crowd was singing. Then, he wanted to sing another verse - yes, there's more than one verse… and the whole crowd was silent… cause nobody but Keillor knew the words. Lastly, he had us sing that old, American hymn which begins, "Wise men say only fools rush in but I can't help falling in love with you." Okay, so it's not a hymn but I sang along (even though it's an Elvis song) because I had put it on one of the Christmas CDs. After, the lady next to me, an older woman, said to me, "We were so proud of you for knowing all the words. You sang so well." Come on, lady. It's an Elvis song - I'm not that young!
When the show was over, I was so happy Vicky had brought me. I loved it. Then, we had to fight our way out to the busses. It took forever to get out of the stadium and Vicky and I took a wrong turn. We walked around the back of the Bowl and found the cast meeting fans, which I thought was pretty darned cool. The busses, we discovered, were on the other side of the street. To get there, we had to crowd into this teeeensy tunnel - I could touch the ceiling with my palm! I haven't had an attack of claustrophobia in years but that sure brought one on. I'm sure Vicky was thinking, "Sleepwalking, nightmares, hears voices - AND claustrophobia? What's next?!" When we got out, it took forever to find our bus - which was back on the other side of the street. I was so pissed off, due to how poorly managed this outfit was and the fact that they'd unnecessarily made me go through that tunnel, that I was walking in front of moving busses to get us back across. (Sorry, Vic.) Then, the line for our bus took… we didn't get home until nearly 1am…
Never going to the Hollywood Bowl again… certainly not by bus!
Saturday, Vicky was sick. So, I spent the day as male nurse. I liked it. Vic's a pain in the ass but I love her to bits. She said, "Do you think you'll be able to manage this when I'm sick and we have a child?" Of course, I will.
Sunday, I was finally able to catch up on some World of Warcraft… you know… important stuff.
My sleep had been off all weekend long, waking up in the middle of the night and not falling asleep when I wanted to. But at 3:00am Monday morning, things just got worse. I had this nightmare about zombie babies tearing out my intestines and feeding off of them, only to awake with the worst pain in my gut ever. On top of that, I was nauseas. Basically, I just wanted to die. I tried going back to sleep and had another nightmare (which I've been able to confirm as such) of waking up again and awaking Vicky, complaining about my stomach, hearing voices and seeing people who weren't there. I said, "Oh, like I need that!" and went back to sleep…
Monday, I stayed home from work, except for a trip to get a brake job on my car… which I'm hoping to write up on Metroblogging OC later today.
This morning, I awoke again with the same stomach ache and nausea. The nightmare that had preceded that featured Rob Sassone. (I knew him as a boy - old joke.) I haven't seen Rob in forever and, in the dream, I went back to his old house. The house was like a hotel inside. I ran into one of his sisters and forgot for a minute who I was looking for… she was very attractive, but I was engaged, so… where's Rob? I found him in a darkened room with lab equipment all around him. He was trying to find the answers to all of his old questions, both personal and scientific. With the lab equipments were stacks of paper with poetry written on them. I noticed he was smoking a Camel. "Rob? You smoke?" He said, "Do you really think anyone makes it through life without any scars, Ken?" When I woke up, I didn't wake Vicky.
Some say that every person in your dreams represents some side of you. I'd recently told Vicky this - and it was on my mind. I could surely see myself in Rob. After all, what is this book I'm writing but an attempt at just that. The further along I progress, I can almost feel a regression in my own life and I'm always looking over my shoulder for ghosts and voices. Today, I reached the 50,000 word mark, which would be about halfway through a typical novel. It's the beginning of the summer of 2002, with the Grand Canyon just around the corner…
My stomach still hurts.
I gotta finish this book.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Last night, Vicky and I played BINGO… and we haven't even retired yet…
Sean and Megan live in a mobile home park that is positively crawling with old people - they need an exterminator, I swear! - so, of course, they have a weekly BINGO night. Every Thursday, once they found out Vicky likes BINGO - Vicky likes anything that will win her money. If "Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey" paid good odds, she'd play. - they asked if we'd like to come over and play. And we were doing a decent job at giving them the cold shoulder, for a while there… but, sadly, Vicky really did want to play.
So, off we went last night, to meet Sean and Megan at the mobile home park's rec center. They were all ready… they even had those big ink pens. "They're called Daubers," Sean told me, that poor, poor man.
And, so, we "daubed" away…
BINGO's the only sport I know of that almost requires you to smoke at the same time, I thought. I mean, here you are, doing nothing but waiting… somebody give me a martini and a Camel!
But then, I remembered why I had agreed to go. Vicky, while a very attractive woman, is not always a "cute" woman. You won't often see her be "cute"… except when she's having fun, then she's adorable. So, I sat there, "daubing" my sheet of numbers, and watched Vic have fun and be "cute"… I nearly attacked her right there! Especially when she won! I was ready to jump on her!
(Calm down…. You're writing…. Calm down….)
Anyway, we had a pretty good time and all but, honestly, BINGO? Isn't that what people did before they had TV and video games? Which reminds me, I have no plans this weekend, so I'll be sitting around, watching TV and playing video games...
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Von Rumsfeld calls it "reprehensible".
They could be talking about the truth but in this case they're talking about Amnesty International's reference to Guantanamo (and the many other "detention centers") as a "gulag".
AI's reponse was classic. "The administration's response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida Khan told a news conference.
Right or Wrong? Hopefully, the truth will out - as they say.
Personally, I can't wait for Shrub's response: KHAAAAAAAN!!!
Among the laws passed:
- New York, Jersey, Washington D.C, and the great state of Chicago (you won't get the joke unless you read the article) have put a stop to those pesky cell phone-using drivers, but not to New Yorkers, Jerseyites, Politicians, or those pesky Chicagoans...
- After stiffening many other things, Nevada has stiffened penalties for running people over while putting on your make-up... and it's still permissable to laugh...
- Virginia won't let you watch pornos in your above-dash displays any more... apparently that was a problem. (Way to go, Virginnie!)
- And Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi have all tried to ban crazy-quilts... no kidding...
My only defense to using my cell phone when I'm driving is that I never do it while putting on make-up, watching porn, or quilting... at least, I can say that.
I find it amazing that those idiots are being allowed to call this brave man a traitor without someone smacking them on the backs of their heads and reminding them that it was Nixon and his cronies who were the traitors for perpetrating the illegal activities to begin with!
Meanwhile, Congressman John Conyers is introducing a resolution to recognize that this man was truly a patriot:
"As the world now knows, Mr. Felt disclosed this week that he was the confidential source known as Deep Throat. As one who was a first hand witness to Watergate, I can only state humbly that Mr. Felt helped bring our country back from the brink of a constitutional crisis and an out-of-control White House.
"Quite frequently, it is courageous whistle blowers such as Mr. Felt who are responsible for disclosing corruption in our government. I have no doubt that, absent Mr. Felt's involvement, we would never have learned about the illegalities and obstruction of justice at the highest levels of our government, up to and including President Nixon.
"Our nation owes Mr. Felt our gratitude. He was a courageous public servant who risked his career to expose wrongdoing, and he was a model agent and administrator. I therefore believe it is altogether fitting and proper that Mr. Felt's service be commemorated and honored by the Congress with the Resolution that I plan to introduce when Congress reconvenes next week.
"With this latest revelation, I am reminded that the lessons of Watergate are eerily important today. Back than we had an aggressive press corps, men of courage, such as Mark Felt, John Dean, Leon Jaworski and Archibald Cox, who were willing to challenge authority. Back then we had a Justice Department that was willing to take an investigation wherever it would lead and a Congress that was willing to hold real hearings and conduct real oversight of official misconduct.
"Today it is unclear who will step up to the plate to expose the wrongdoing of the current administration."
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
File this under the "Because you asked for it" section.
When I started work on this new book, Vicky would ask me, "Where does it end?"
My reply would be, "Whatever date I stop writing it on - that will be the end of the book." That seemed reasonable, I supposed, but I realized later that it made for a horrible ending to a book. Books need story arcs and development of some kind and ending it "Whenever" didn't fulfill any of that.
Then, a few weeks ago, Vicky and I realized what the ending should be. I should return to the Grand Canyon and face the demon I'd left behind when I went to kill myself, years ago. That's an ending!
So, we packed up the car and set off Saturday morning for my return - not realizing, of course, that Memorial Day weekend would be a pretty dumb time to return. After driving through the Monster, years ago, there wasn't a soul there. Saturday, it was packed!
We had to stop over a mile before we reached our goal, because of the long line of cars waiting to get in. Slowly, then, we progressed. I was nervous the whole - the whole trip! Mind you, I didn't think I'd suddenly get the urge to jump. (And, writing today, I can tell you with some certainty that I probably didn't.) But it was like chasing a ghost, following the trail of my own specter, that broken man who had come out here to jump over the side.
Waiting there to get in, in bumper to bumper traffic, it began to rain. Perfect, I thought. Of course, I'd be welcomed back with rain!
But, upon entering, the rain stopped. We found a place to park and we walked to the edge.
I didn't know what to expect.
We got to the rim… and here's what happened in the first, few seconds there, which I didn't tell Vicky. Like working an old wound - my shattered wrist, say - something popped inside. I felt something inside of me whimpering, weak. "Oh, god," it said. "I really wanted to jump." My guts did a summersault. But I remained okay. It was actually kind of anti-climactic. I said, "Yep. Really big hole in the ground."
I could see nowhere that I could have jumped, no precipice that led straight to the bottom. There was always some kind of slope. I would have spent hours looking for the right spot.
I turned to Vicky. "Okay, let's go," I said.
Well, she wanted to spend a little more time there than that. We took some pictures at the edge. Then, we drove to some tables and had ourselves a picnic.
I hope you'll allow me to digress for a moment to mention how great Vicky is. She's wonderful. She let me walk out to the edge and didn't once ask me if I was okay. She knew I was conflicted but didn't do or say anything to make me think she thought I was still crazy. She had faith in me. And then, she made me lunch under some wonderful shade.
Returning to the place where you nearly killed yourself is a lot like walking over your own grave. She knew I needed to do it and she had a picnic ready for me there.
Could I love her more?
After, as it was getting late, we started to drive out. We took Highway 64, south, to US-180, which led to Flagstaff. We were heading to Phoenix and I would normally take the major highways, 40 to 73… but we decided to do things a little different.
We drove on a road we'd never been on, without a map, to wherever it went. We weren't entirely sure it would take us to Flagstaff. We navigated entirely by dead reckoning.
"It's how I do most things," I told her. "Writing. Acting. Most relationships are navigated by dead reckoning."
"Even ours," she asked, with a smile in her voice.
"Especially ours! How do you think I knew to propose two months after we met? I'd been burned so many times before but there was no doubt in my mind that you were the one."
On the horizon, a massive thunderhead painted the sky with lightning - another Monster waiting for someone to pass through. But not me. Not this time.
And so we drove into approaching night, not looking back once.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Then, the neo-con-artists make out like it's the media's fault we're at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, for dissing the Koran...
(No, it doesn't make sense. And that's the point.)
Now, it turns out that the FBI has documented evidence that US soldiers dissed the Koran - which fits so handily with all the torture and misery we've been propogating in our many Gulags.
Mind you, the Pentagon is now calling the FBI "uncredible"... because they must not be PATRIOTIC enough...
Meanwhile, Shrub has admitted that there were no WMDs, and the Downing Paper provides evidence that he lied to start a war... but that's okay.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Just another example of the folks at My Side going OC Metroblogging!
(This shameless plug brought to you by the fine people at Plugs4Pugs, providing shameless plugs to politicians, celebrities, and plain old shmoes since quite some time ago...)
But since I've reached the second third of this book, and haven't posted nearly as much as I had originally intended, I'd make today's story an excerpt from my new book, which tells how I became a playwright. It started at the second cast party for 40 Carats... and goes something like this...
It took nearly two weeks to plan and, by that time, we were ready. But actors are a transient breed, one job finishes and another begins, so we had to make the party last to allow windows for everyone's schedule.
Which gave us plenty of time to drink.
The party was a Sherryl's house, down in south county. Sherryl's husband was gone on another trip and we were drinking and music was playing. Before long, Sherryl and I were in each other's arms, dancing in the front room while everyone was in the back. Amidst the dancing, there was kissing. Suddenly, Annie Mezzacappa walked in the room to ask Sherryl where her restroom was. She only got about half the sentence out, which ended in a gasp. If the rest of the cast didn't know what was going on, they knew now.
We rejoined the group outside.
That sunny afternoon in May, we were all seated around a fire pit in the back yard, talking about the show. We had all worked together so well that the conversation seemed to focus and refocus on one thing: that we should all work together again and soon. But how to do it? Theaters had their seasons planned already. We certainly couldn't hijack a theater! What to do…
"Well, Ken's a writer. He could write a play and we could all be in it." I don't remember if it was Annie Mezzacappa or Lori Williams who said that but they were each sitting at either side of me and it could have been either of them.
The other agreed that it was a great idea.
"No. You don't understand," I said. "I write books - and I haven't written a book in years." The last book I had started was Vampire Society, and that was in late 1999.
"So," one of them said, "it can't be that hard. And you're really talented. You should do it!"
The other agreed.
And then, the rest of the cast agreed.
I said, "You're forgetting that just because I write a play doesn't mean it will get on stage. I'd need a director. There's no sense in writing a show if I don't have a director."
Steve Gomer leaned forward. "Ken, if you wrote a show, I'd direct it."
I would have gasped - but my foot was tickling my tonsils. I had to think of a way out of this mess and I had to do it fast; I was fighting a very large swell.
I thanked Steve but added, "If I'm going to go through all the trouble of writing a play, it only seems right that I get cast. In fact, I wouldn't write a play I couldn't act in."
Steve said, "Ken, we all know how talented you are, and you're a very good actor. If you write a play, I'll cast you in any part you want."
Which sealed it.
I was stuck.
And that's how I became a playwright.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
... let's stop there, please!
I've always heard that a mid-sized book is about 100,000 words. It is by that estimate that I announce: I have now completed 1/3 of the new book!
Yes, I'm firmly on the path that leads to the Grand Canyon. Presently, I am writing about 40 Carats, Sherryl... all sorts of craziness. In fact, if one thing has become clear to me, it's that I started heading towards the Grand Canyon years before I started driving there. (And this book tells you how!)
I still don't know if this book is for the public or for me but now that I've started it, I feel compelled to complete it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Hold on. You okay? Get up off the floor. Now, sit down. Relax. It's going to be okay.
Yes, the Atheist has been reading his Bible.
I have three.
Why? Well the right-wing neo-con-artists have done their amount of spouting about how Jesus hated gays, how Jesus hated the sick, how Jesus hated the poor…
As close as I recall, Jesus didn't hate anyone.
So, I was reading the other night. Ephesians. Chapter 5. Verse 21.
"Be subject to one another…"
Subject to one another?
There's something you don't see. What would the world be like if we did as the Bible says, if we were subject to one another? Subject to the poor? Subject to the meek? Subject to the weak? Subject to the hungry and the sick and less fortunate?
It would be a world without right-wing neo-con-victs, that's what.
No wonder they forget stuff like that.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.
"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"
At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.
"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.
Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
I started as a Marketing Writer, you see. Then, after a couple of years doing that, I was removed from that position because, as it was explained to me, "We don't need Marketing Writer." Or badges, even. So, I was demoted to "Writer" and I wrote both Marketing and Technical material. Then, last year, they hired a new Marketing Writer, which I was not qualified to apply for, and I was demoted to "Technical Writer". But the Technical Writers didn't really write, not as such. We copied what others wrote and pasted it into a pre-ordained format.
We were formatters.
And so it was that I went from writing the copy for data sheets (think flyers) to copying and pasting the copy onto data sheets. I was also told that I could never ever nerver - neuvenbaum - change the copy no matter how inaccurate or stupid it was, lest I hurt someone's feelings.
Monday, we began a new chapter in the saga. On Monday, the guy who writes the copy got tired of people telling him how crappy it is and - probably inspired by the (burning) Bush administration - claimed that it was the fault of the Technical Writers for not fixing his writing. That's where I came in. Why didn't we fix his writing, I was asked. Well, because we were told not to. Who told me? The people asking me the very question. Did I have written proof? No, because nothing is put in writing. I don't even have a job description. So, why are the writers trying to back out of this? Why don't they write? Why do they foist their responsibilities on others?!
There was no backing out. Fine, I said, if you'd like, I can rewrite his crap. No!, I was told. You have to respect him more than that - anyway, I'm not qualified.
And on and on it went.
I was hoping this would all blow over when the Hellmouth - my boss - left for vacation yesterday. He'd spent the week yelling at me for decisions he'd made. It had to be over… right?
You see, the guy complaining about the writing - done by a guy who writes so poorly, by the way, that he's already been responsible for one class-action lawsuit - still had crap writing to deal with. Now, his solution is for me to ANONYMOUSLY rewrite the writer's work, which would not result in any hurt feelings, I am assured.
If I don't help this guy and change someone else's work behind their backs, I have been told I'm hindering the process… even though I was told never ever nerver - NEUVENBAUM - to change the copy.
If I do this behind someone else's back… well, you see where this is going.
… ANYBODY GOT A JOB THEY WANT TO GIVE ME? I CLEAN TOILETS! REAL GOOD!
I've said many times that my luck improved when I met Vicky.
Do I need to give examples?
With Vicky, I found and bought a house. (Seriously, I never thought that would happen!)
With Vicky, we won our honeymoon trip. (For those not in "the know", we'll be going to the Bahamas.)
Now, we have the third - the trifecta.
This morning, on Star 98.7 (a local radio station), Vicky won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii!!! We'll be staying at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki!
When will we go? We don't know - we already have our honeymoon booked! I guess we'll just HAVE to fit it in… somewhere!! (Oh, the burden!)
On most days, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world for having Vicky in my life. On days like these… Vicky, I think we need to look into you playing the lottery!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
So, with apologies, I use another's:
In Orwell’s 1984, the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society’s dictionary, explains to the protagonist Winston, “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy — or worse.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.
"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.
"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war...
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
"If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
Thanks to Krup, who has a great Blog - you should read it - for the transcript.