Monday, July 27, 2009

Soulful songs

I am lucky to have friends with diverse musical tastes. Every once in a while, I fall instantly in love. Leonard Cohen was one. Rocco DeLuca and The Burden: brilliant. This guy is another. Heard it late Friday. Bought his most recent album Sunday.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009


Not a lot to add to this one:

"All you gotta say is 'I am roasting an entire pig' and I'm there!"

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Life ring?

The list of stuff I need to do is growing as quickly as my motivation is declining. I'd like to say that it's an unusually large wave of things I'm responsible for, but that would be an incorrect metaphor. It's more like a large river: constant and over my head. No wonder I feel like I am drowning most of the time.

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Time travel

Simply looking out the window isn't enough. She needs to be higher, so she drops the tailgate, picks her way around the bicycle and camp chairs stashed in the back and crawls up to the roof of the pickup.

There. The city spreads out below, finally visible above the tops of the trees. A cigarette burns in her hand, her eyes scan the sky above, a hint of wispy clouds visible in the sky, barely light from the late summer sun. The air is cool, laced with the sound of those songs playing against the hushing wind.

She takes a long drag off the cigarette and exhales slowly, time traveling. Countless hours spent in this spot. The windows were always closed then, the music loud enough to shake the windows and dampen her cries, screams, sobs, but little else. It never mattered how loud it was, how the bass reverberated through her body, it couldn't distract from the agonizing twists and tears. Screaming was really the only option in those moments when her soul was flying apart.



Come back.

She looks up and finds quiet in her insignificance under the sky.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Darkness descends

Yesterday afternoon, I watched from my office window as the column of smoke rose from the flats on the other side of the Tanana River. By evening, it had grown to a boiling cloud, sickly gray, visible above all the trees and buildings.

Today, the wind shifted, and the blackness rolled toward town, apocalyptic. The sun, first tinged red by the choking cloud, eventually disappeared as ash began to fall from the sky.

The world flattens when the smoke comes. The trees and hills become nothing more than silhouettes, cardboard cutouts stacked indeterminable distances away. The light is jaundiced, a symptom of air unfit to breath. And it is quiet. The birds don't sing and the ashy blanket seems to dampen every sound, save the waves of wind that fan the flames and bring more smoke.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mortal deity

"God is dead," the little one informed me. "He lives up in the sky and that's where dead people live."

Oh really?

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Who's in charge here?

A friend and I had an interesting discussion about love and relationships the other night. She is a pragmatist, a trait she would likely tie to watching some of the women in her family go through hell as a result of following their hearts and ignoring their heads. Falling hard, especially early on, makes it too easy for men to treat you badly, she reasons. It's a valid point.

My history is different. My model of romantic relationships is as close to ideal as most people get. I am a romantic. I believe in love and its strength and endurance. I know that falling completely and unconditionally in love can lead to a lifetime of happy companionship, passion and mutual respect.

We agreed that in order to find happiness in a partner, the elements of head and heart must synch. You must know that it both makes sense for you to be together, as well as being completely indefinable. You must be completely open and vulnerable to each other, know and accept even the less-than-desirable parts, while not losing sight of what is and is not practical and acceptable.

Still, that knowledge does not answer the underlying questions.

Do you lead with your head, find a partner who makes sense, and risk finding out five years from now that you simply don't love that person enough to stay?

Do you lead with your heart, find a partner you love without condition, and risk finding out five years from now that the practical hurdles are insurmountable?

Which path is wisest?

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Second-hand math

OK, let me figure this out:

We made about $210 at the yard sale today, between myself and my mother.
We paid about $50 for the newspaper ad and sign supplies.

The sale went for six hours today. We spent two hours this morning getting ready. We spent another hour breaking down and covering things for the next day. We spent about four hours the previous evening putting things out. And, let's be really conservative and say we spent four hours gathering all of the stuff.

So 160/2=80. We each netted $80 today.
And 80/17=4.70

What? I busted my ass for $4.70 an hour? This, friends, is why the wine at dinner was accompanied by a solemn pledge, "Never, never, never have another yard sale."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just a quick note to tell you that your son ...

I really do appreciate that the school makes an effort to keep me informed of my child's tardies via handwritten explanations from him. That said, it MIGHT be useful if I received those around the time they happened in March instead of in, you know, JUNE.

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So unusual?

This from today's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner police report:

"Indecent exposure

Fairbanks police received a report of two people having sex behind the Midnite Mine on Monday afternoon. Officers dispatched to the scene did not find anything unusual."

The question here is whether it is unusual for people to be having sex behind the Midnite Mine. How are we to know whether copulation really occurred?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Felonious broccoli

Food battles this evening in my household. The little one informed me that she was going to call the cops if I made her eat broccoli. After several minutes of screaming and howling and weeping, Captain Ranch Dressing saved the day. After dunking the spear of broccoli in enough ranch dressing to supply the Safeway salad bar, she remarked, "I can't taste it at all."

No. Way.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mother, may I?

This has to go down as one of the more bizarre stories I've heard in recent months, if for no other reason than the ridiculous set of facts, courtesy of a night on the deck of a local establishment.

This guy was irritated, and vocally so. He wasn't sure WHAT he was going to do. You see, he is a filmmaker in the, ummmm, adult, genre. And he found himself in quite a pickle when the star of his locally produced sci-fi porn film decided to quit just as filming was set to begin. Was it stage fright? Was this aspiring giant of the adult film industry unable to perform? Did he move on to bigger and better things?

Not exactly. Apparently, he asked his mother if he should do it. She said, "no."

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Employment criteria

My 15-year-old son made an astute observation as we were waiting at one of the local espresso stands. All of the baristas were young women, he noted, and cute ones at that. The technical term, or so I was told once, is "coffee hottie." My son wondered why no young men worked that the coffee stands. I said that perhaps none of his peers applied for the jobs because they were seen as jobs for girls.

As he glanced through the window at the girl making our beverage, he piped up, "If they were SMART, they would apply."

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Friday, July 03, 2009

It is NOT!

"It is what it is."

I don't recall when I was first introduced to that string of monosyllabic meaninglessness, but it's a phrase I have grown to hate and then some, as it seems to be the mantra of those too paralyzed by laziness or fear to make decisions. It is often accompanied by a half-hearted shrug and look of sheepishness. Even worse, my life has, on occasion, been completely tossed into upheaval by those who have that mentality.

Let me make it clear:
It is pathetic.
It is miserable.
It is bullshit that you are such a pussy.
It is the antithesis of being human and adult.
It is intentional, even if you are too clueless to realize it.
It is causing the people around you to suffer.
It is what you have chosen by default, for us and for yourself.
It is what you have made it.

But, "it is what it is?" Hardly. It is not. Please, people, quit trying to use that ridiculous phrase to defend the indefensible.

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