Friday, May 27, 2011

Cancer Man: Random

"Oh, sorry," she said. "I was talking to myself.

I turned and smiled. "I didn't hear a thing."

And this is true. I'd just come out of the bathroom and was thinking about how little I enjoy where I sleep, though I do get better sleep these days and how much I hate washing the dishes, how much time is spent cleaning the plates other people eat off of.

A lot of thoughts... none of them concerning whatever was going on inside of the mind of the threadbare, overly perfumed middle-aged woman in the hallway.

"Mister, can I talk to you?"

And sure, she could. In fact, uttering those words is the easiest way to get me to listen to whatever you have to say.

In the span of a couple of minutes, she explained the reason for her black eye --a fight with an apparently occasional boyfriend she'd known since she was a kid --and her desire to donate her hair to a charity supporting women who have breast cancer.

"I don't have any money," she said.

"You need money to donate hair?"

"I need money for the haircut."

And that thought never occurred to me.

Her mother, she told me survived breast cancer and now her sister was fighting it, but because of the fight with the guy, she'd been off of work for a while. There was no money to pay for the haircut.

So, I told her I'd help --not today, not right now, but she wasn't looking for a hand-out precisely --well, maybe she was. I gave her my card and told her to call me Tuesday. I'll have cash then.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Say cheese

Today is all about beginnings. I went ahead and threw my hat in the ring for the film challenge thing. More than a couple of people have pushed me forward to give it a shot --what the hell, right? I'm also meeting with someone to talk about the poetry slam idea --just to see what kind of resources I might have at my disposal to make this happen. I sent off the check that should help us finally get to the next phase of purchasing a house --that's a funny thing in and of itself. I'm not doing this for me, but I am doing it.

There is the idea that the things you should do should be effortless if they're right. The path tends to open up become easier when you're where you should be, not because it's well-traveled, but because it's the path that fits your stride.

The great discussion in the back of my head is always whether there is such a thing as free-will or are we all just following a piece of track we have no hope of escaping. Honestly, I can't tell any more. Some days, the things I want seem so far away --are so far away. Yet, often, I am offered reasonable alternatives that are pleasant enough.

So, I will do what I can, I suppose. I will own a house with a yard. I will make a movie that only a handful of people will see, but will be a cute diversion for some, and I will try to start a poetry slam that will help somebody find their voice. These are all noble things, I think, honorable things.

Maybe I can have what I want later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me vs the china shop

The interview was going fine. It was barely an interview, really --more like teasing out a couple of quotes for a story about the 72 Hour Film Challenge.

The event is new and maybe hasn't received a lot of attention outside of a fairly tight circle, but it seemed like something different, something unusual --and Uncle Bill supports the odd. It's almost a religion.

At the end of the conversation, the guy told me, "You should enter."

"I don't know anything about that stuff." A bald lie. I do know a very little about film --more about editing and some about writing for film or television.

"You could do this. You're a creative guy."

"I don't have time."

He reminded me it was 500 bucks for first prize then a couple of people I worked with suggested how it might be done. I know how it could be done... so, maybe. Uncle Bill makes a movie? It has potential.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to meet with someone from the Arts Council about setting up a poetry slam. It's something I've been batting around for a while. I've been reading a lot of poetry and writing some. Poetry is spoken word. It needs a live audience and I figured with as many writers there are in this town, maybe such a thing might draw them out.

Others have pointed out that this has been tried periodically and it's often failed. I'm okay with failure. It's in the trying that things eventually are born, I guess --and the way I see it, I'm sort of a poster child for what is possible, if you're a writer who tries.

If I can do it, if I can stand up there and read off one of my ugly literary mutants, anybody can do it.

This is the kind of thing where being good isn't required. You just have to not care if you fail.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I got my kid into soccer for what I thought were all the right reasons. I thought he'd learn something. He could meet other kids and do something he doesn't get the chance to do living where we live: play outside.

We live on the side of a hill that you practically have to rappel down just to cut the grass.

Of course, he's five and over the course of this waterlogged season, I've watched him lie down on the field and roll around like a dog during practice. He's stomped dandelions in fear of bees during games and has approached the game of soccer with the sort of disinterest usually reserved for leafy, green vegetables.

Saturday was his last game. He had his uniform on, but, really, all he wanted was to go outside and poke a stick in a mud hole for a couple of hours.

So, I let him.

It was hard. Playing soccer meant a lot to me when I was a kid. I made friends playing soccer. I also grew aware that despite my fractured self-esteem and weak self image, I was stronger than I thought, faster than I believed and while never a finesse player, I discovered there was room on the field for a hard-headed thug who took some pleasure in reducing the aspirations of college scholarships for the opposing team.

Soccer helped me get in touch with my dark side and gave me a decent outlet for some of my teenage angst and rage. It gave me a certain amount of confidence and taught me that pain could be endured for the right reasons.

But... my kid isn't me. He's also five and not twelve and trying to define his masculinity by playing a sport more brutal than swimming. He has plenty of friends and kids who already think he's great and look forward to seeing him every chance they get.

This was just another lesson in that education.

So, I let him off the hook, which wasn't easy, and let him go outside to drag his action figures through a muddy ditch and pretend they're fighting evil. He's too young for real demons and when they come, if they come, he'll find his own ways of confronting them. With a little luck, the things he discovers, the things he develops a passion for, will bring him joy instead of only release.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gym notes

In the years since I started going to the gym I've avoided the treadmills. I've reviled them as only half a workout, mocked them as being the lazy man's (or more likely, lazy woman's) half-assed way to fitness. To me, it seems there are more effective, efficient and energetic machines in the gym and I've chosen them over and over.

They're better on your knees besides, which truthfully, my knees give me some trouble these days. The arc trainer and the elliptical machines don't stress the joints as much, but you can only go so far doing the same thing over and over. It's a truth, even if what you're doing is the right thing, your returns eventually diminish. Life is the gym. Change is necessary for growth and doing the thing you don't want to do is almost always the thing you must do.

I didn't want to get on the fucking treadmill.

I didn't want to run.

I was afraid of it --the pace, the pummeling my joints would take. I've slimmed down a bit, but I've also muscled up. My weight is the same as it was six months ago, maybe what it was a year ago, but now I can bench press a lot more. I'm back to my college weight plus five pounds, but I wear it differently.

I plugged the information into the machine and started off at a flat run. Two minutes later, the run was reduced to a brisk walk calculated to be a couple of paces faster than the 65 year-old grandmother marching next to me in her overly tight battleship gray.

There was shame --only two minutes. I could only hack two minutes before my knees started begging for me to stop. I walked and consoled myself. Hey, you're 40. Hey, you're heart and lungs are fine, but you know, you've got to be lighter to do this --then I looked over at the 350 pound amateur sumo wrestler sprinting on his treadmill down the line.

I punched the speed upward, went from a walk to a jog from a jog to a run.

Just another two minutes, I thought. Two more minutes and that would be a start.

Funny thing. Two minutes turned to three then to four then to eight. The pain in my knees vanished. My breathing was fine. I could do it.

Elation. I wasn't a cripple. I wasn't an old man. I could still run. Grinning like an idiot I kept at it until the muscles in my legs burned, until I felt it in my hips and knew it was time to let it go.

I could do this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I am a survivor of many self-help programs and have a tendency to pick up books on the subject when I'm on the edge of something.

Once upon a time, I was in a relationship that over time had grown toxic. I would talk to her about how toxic it had become. I used words like co-dependency and emotional abuse and she would nod and sort of agree that I was right, but then nothing changed. Nothing got better. So, I started bringing home books from the library. When talking fails, I read.

I brought home books on dealing with your own inadequacies and the inadequacies of your partner. I read "I'm OK, You're OK." I read "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "The Five Love Languages." There were many others. It went on for months.

The last book I read in that particular cycle was "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." The book basically states that men and women have two different relationship languages --and it's in failing to try to understand what it is the other is saying is a major reason why relationships fall apart.

I remember that book pretty well. Two weeks after I read it for the second time, I quit. There is no question in my mind that the book influenced my decision.

Since then, I monitor what I bring home from the library. I don't really go in with a plan. I'm just a kid in a candy store. Oh sure, from time to time I might be in the mood for a particular flavor, but for the most part I just grab what grabs me. I'm reading a lot of poetry now, books on travel and self-help --lots of self-help.

I've been listening to audio books by Deepak Chopra and another called "The Secret." I've begun to feel like it's not enough for me to be the change I wish to see in the world. I want the world I live in to be a better place for me to be.

I wish it was all the same, but it's not.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interviews with semi-naked men

"Are you the guy who plays music?"

It seemed an odd question to be asked while sitting in the humid, foggy bank of a steam room.

"No," I said. "I don't play music. I did in high school, but I wasn't very good. The right thing to do was to stop, I think."

The guy nodded and fiddled with his swim trunks.

"You look like another guy I used to talk to," he said --a familiar line-- "He's like you." He pumped his arms to signify that he thought I was a little buff --an unfamiliar line -- "He had a beard --looked just like you."

The steam machine roared and for a moment drowned out any point in trying to talk, which wasn't my idea in the first place, but I don't know how to shut up.

"No, not me," I said. "I do write about music, though. I work for the paper."

He got my paper on the first try.

"Boy, that must be interesting."

I shrugged. It has its moments.

"I used to play music," he told me. "I got a fender stratocaster and took some lessons --had a whole bunch of a equipment and thought it would really be a rush to play in a band." He frowned and again, fiddled with his short. "But everybody wanted to get drunk or high before or after we played." He shook his head and smiled. "I'm not 21 anymore."

Then he told me, in big brush terms, what it had been like for him to be 21. It sounded familiar --drinking too much, smoking dope and chasing girls.

"I didn't really care for pot, but the girls really loved the weed."

Maybe that had been my problem, I thought, but no, my problem had mostly been I didn't know how to relate past fairly superficial levels with women. I could talk to them, drink with them, but man... I had no idea about how to ask them to come home with me. That always seemed accidental when it happened, which was rarely.

He talked more about drugs: Cocaine, heroin, crack --things he'd never tried, never seen and only understood because of cop shows. Things I'd never tried because nobody thought to offer them to me or because they rightly figured I had enough of whatever I was doing at that particular time.

I listened for a while, eventually grew bored and wondered if this was leading up to either some sort of proposition or a witness. I wasn't really interested in hearing either. Besides, I had to get to work.

"I've got to go," I said.

He followed me as far as the showers then peeled off after he said that he thought it was very sad when people overdosed on drugs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dimes and nickels

He scurried across the parking lot and around the building; right after the woman on the previous shift bolted for home and left me to stand watch over the gadgets and geegaws that make radio magic.

He had a half-empty cigarette pack in his hand and I thought, "This is it." I grabbed a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and went out after him.

He looked up from the ash container as I came around the corner, smiled harmlessly as I lit a cigarette and tried not to inhale.

"Just getting the spares," he mumbled then pushed two half-smoked butts into his flimsy, little paper box.

I nodded. I wasn't stopping him.

Up close, he seemed taller and poorly fed --a scarecrow stretched too far on too little straw.

"Hey," I said, as he walked away. "I'm not hassling you, but I see you over across the street most nights when I leave. I guess that makes us neighbors here. My name is Bill. What's your name?"

He smiled an ancient and ruined smile with teeth like collapsed pillars then said, "Elsa."

"Eldon?" I asked.

"Elsa," he repeated then slunk away, across the street and under the poor shelter he'd chosen.

I watched him go then went to the urn and dropped two cigarettes, unburned into the can --for later --a kind of neighborly gesture maybe.

Inside, I looked up the name Elsa. It's a girl's name, a derivation of Elizabeth.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A, B and C

It's probably speaks to the kind of person I am, but it's easier for me to remember my worst pains rather than what has really given me the greatest joy. I can cheat and say, "Well, my kids being born. That was my highest point, my happiest moment," but that's not true.

The thing I remember about my children being born was being frightened --of knowing the worst, waiting for the karmic lottery numbers to be pulled and hoping that it would all work out for the best. I also remember being hungry and tired. I also remember having to go to work, resenting the need and feeling ashamed.

Agony is easier. Wounds leave scars. What does joy leave?

The worst was when I was probably three or four. It was an ear infection and it felt like the left side of my head was going to split in half. The sound of infection is white noise, like the off channel on an analog television, like a steady rain pounding on a wooden roof.

The broken arm I got at 15 is a close second. I broke both bones at the wrist, but scarcely felt the wincing snap that everyone around me heard. No, I remember the horror and the jolt when the doctor set it before the pain medication had even started. It traveled along every highway and nerve path in my body.

I still dream about the pain and some nights I jerk awake just before the scream.

I remember my broken hearts, too, but have a harder time remembering what each love affair was --except for need. I remember the desperate need, the craving, the longing. I don't remember the joy so much. It's a struggle to remember the exhilaration, the novelty, the features that made each and every time special. It's easier to remember after; the grief, the sadness, the impenetrable gloom, the despair and the inability to even breath.

I've been trying lately to see beyond that.

My happiest moment was a single day seven years ago that was perfect. Somehow, it was also my birthday, which made it the more special because it was unlikely. Other moments were the five seconds in a pickup truck with the rain pouring down when a woman told me she loved me or waking up in a borrowed bed long, long ago and receiving something completely unexpected at the very beginning of a relationship. There was also a little boy telling me he was my best friend and always would be --twice in the span of ten years --the same words spoken, but by different little boys.

Oddly enough, my happiest moments are things that can not be repeated, which in some ways makes them as painful as the broken arm, the rotting ear, the woman's husband telling me they'd decided to work things out in spite of it all and to never call again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Power to the people

Outside of 31 Flavors the lights on the dash flickered then faded out, while the angry red battery symbol came to life. I know where the red battery symbol is --it's right across from the "fucking feed me you cheap bastard" symbol, which appears with some regularity in my little, much maligned and scarcely loved Dodge Neon.

The Neon and I have an uneasy alliance these days. We both know it needs significant repairs --new brakes, rotors, tires, a couple of belts and something called a harmonic stabilizer, which the even mechanics think is too pricey at $350 --not that they won't take the money. The have to make a living, you know? Anyway, I have promised some of these things --along with an oil change, which do to the design of the vehicle must be done by a professional --but I've been a little slow in fulfilling my obligations.

The car failing to start seemed to be a message --particularly since I was in possession of an ice cream cake.

But I had jumper cables and right away --after I popped the hood --a guy traveling with his family in a big SUV left the store and offered to help then abruptly he began yelling toward the store and his wife on the other side of the glass wall.

"Get me a strawberry sundae. A strawberry sundae. Strawberry. A sundae. I want a strawberry sundae." He pounded on the incredibly durable and transparent material then mimed what he believed was the international symbol for strawberry sundae.

Fuck if I know if he got it right, but I'm sure he had his doubts.

Still, he'd come to help. He popped the hood of his vehicle. He wasn't sure which side the battery was on. After some consideration, he decided he should move his SUV to the parking space on the other side of my car, which might have been helpful, if we could have located his battery.

We never did.

"Sorry, man," he told me then offered to get some tools out of his trunk which could be used to test my battery to see if it was dead.

I thanked him then he offered to move his vehicle, if I needed him to, eventually, if someone else wanted to help me jump the battery.

"Sure," I said. "Yeah, whoever would need to be on this side, I think."

Of course, he didn't mean right now, but later, like tomorrow. So off he went in a rush to talk to his wife about that strawberry sundae he wanted her to order.

A few minutes later, standing there with the cables, looking like a great big boob, an old guy pulled up in particularly handsome later model pickup truck that, quite frankly, looked a little too good for a truck older than my youngest sister.

"Need a jump?" He asked.

The answer seemed obvious to me, but I looked toward the guy with the SUV. He watched us through the window, spooning strawberry sauce into his mouth. I motioned toward his vehicle. He nodded and took another bite.

He had a long way to go still.

We decided to go on without him. The old guy didn't really mind and with skill that I would call fairly impressive for a guy who probably fought the Nazis, he managed to deftly navigate this very large truck into an obscure position where the line from one battery to the next would reach --if just barely.

The Dodge started on the first try. I thanked the old guy and his wife handed him a waffle cone. I let the car idle for a couple of minutes, just to be on the safe side, then the man with the SUV left the restaurant with his family. It looked like a little strawberry had gotten on his shirt.

He waved as he left.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It was a funny weekend. My passport arrived and along with it the possibility of becoming a flight risk. Next, I need a destination and the means to get there. Russia, Asia, Europe and even South Africa sound kind of cool. I'd even be tempted to see Egypt. I'd love to visit South America, but I don't know --too many stories of Americans getting dragged off into the mountains by kidnappers--of course, that might not be so bad.

The other thing is the guy sleeping across the street from the radio station moved on. I don't know if the cops rousted him, the building owner got tired of seeing him there or if he just found a better place to sleep. With a little luck, he's simply got a better place to go than an entryway of an old building.

As part of the blog, I'm bringing back my half-assed book reports. I still read tons. Currently, I'm working on a couple of books by Noam Chomsky, some poetry anthologies and another attempt at Wallace's "Infinite Jest." I found it tedious and disjointed last time and quit after about 30 pages, but so far, so good.

Staying away from Facebook has been good for my soul. It just became too lonesome.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wandering stars

Two preachers were talking between sets; shoulder workouts using the cable machine; both of them lathered in sweat, but smiling broadly --a good natured pair if ever I saw one. They were black, but it's only mentioned here because it has to be.

I have a habit of listening in. I enjoy their political discussions, which falls short of being an apologist for the Obama administration. They want to like the man. The want to love him. They want him to be their John F. Kennedy, their Ronald Reagan, but can't quite find themselves on the same side of the fence. It's a struggle and I enjoy listening to them work through each issue. They're both thoughtful, passionate men and I believe in their faith much more than I ever believe in my own.

Today, I caught a discussion, during one minute rests between reps, about differences in poverty. The poor they knew, the poor they understood were their people in their congregation. A few were shiftless assholes living on the state. Others had chemical problems, criminal backgrounds and mental problems, but most were struggling to stand on their own. They might collect a check or take a little charity, but they were trying to find their way. They were working to raise children and make a life for themselves they could respect.

To them, it seemed like most of the poor they knew were poor by circumstances. They came from little means to begin with and moving upward was difficult. Gravity was against them --but they were trying. One of them had met a man who'd been on the road, holding a sign saying he was homeless, unemployed, hungry, whatever.

"He dressed up in hobo clothes and went out every day," one said to the other. "He didn't have to do that and so I asked him, why?"

The man told him he could make eighty to a hundred dollars a day, tax-free standing out with a sign. He didn't even have to be out all day most of the time.

"You can't blame him," the other preacher said. "That's good money. I hear out west, in California, a lot of young people do that --they go out and panhandle."

The word sounded alien in his mouth. He wasn't used to using it.

"They do that instead of work --kids, you know?"

He meant white kids. Neither of them understood why able-bodied people with what to them seemed like opportunities people in their community might not have would choose to do something so distasteful.

And me, standing there, remembered the words of Milton. "Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven," but also I thought the bottom is deep. Once you make up your mind to fall, you don't get to decide how far.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hold the Mayo

At the Mexican restaurant, the thing I noticed right off were the paintings --sort of fantasy pictures of the imaginary old Mexico. Happy peasants worked the fields while someone looking vaguely like the Cisco Kid waved from his horses.

The colors were bright. Everyone smiled and the nipples of the women were working their way through their simple cotton shirts like old nails through cheap ply board.

What the hell?

What amazed and amused me is while I could clearly make out the shape of nipples on the women, the half-naked boy, playing near a stream in the background didn't have nipples. None. The artist had evidently determined that, for the sake of art, the boy did not require them --even if anatomically, he'd be a freak not to have them. Likewise, the guy on the horse, appeared to be wearing a shirt of the same kind of material, that was easily as sheer, but were his nipples poking through?

No, they were not.

I did not check the horse.

So looking at the pictures, I asked a waitress, "Do you know who painted these?"

She looked at me like I was insane then shrugged. The fuck if she knew and why did I care?

I'd have asked the waitress her opinion of nipples, but figured the dark-eyed cook with the carnival prize West Coast Choppers hat in the back would have dredged me in flour and dropped me headfirst in the fryer.

So, I went back and finished my beer and hoped someone would bring more chips.

They never did.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deer, Antelope, etc...

We've been looking at houses.

As it happens, I'm not entirely unhappy with where we live. We have too much shit --a never ending stream of objects of limited function and aesthetic value enter the house regularly where they lie in piles, rot and gather dust. Occasionally, they wind up in boxes where they continue to rest in peace, barely remembered and seldom used.

Of course, paying rent in and of itself sucks. It's consumerist truism: You never get rich renting as long as you're giving your money to somebody else. Over the last four and a half years, we've given our landlord something like $30,000 dollars --slightly more than what we've paid for daycare. So, I don't object to not giving the landlord any more money. It's good business sense and my wife talks about wanting peace, about wanting a place of her own, about needing that kind of ownership.

Mostly, she means living outside of the city, with few people around --the country. It speaks to her happier times, to her childhood, to her dreams even. I respect her needs. I understand them and I support them.

For me, it's different. When I've dreamed about becoming a "gentleman farmer," a guy who raises tomatoes and probably has a small still somewhere, it's like how other people dream of having a yacht. It's where I live after I'm a bestselling author and think I need seclusion.

Currently, I am not a bestselling author and being able to walk to a store or to work if my car breaks down weighs heavily on my mind --particularly given my sad automotive history. I pick piece of shit economy cars because I like small vehicles and hate paying for gas. Piece of shit economy cars tend to save me money on fuel, but fall apart because they're made of tinker toys.

For me, living off the grid is only attractive if the grid comes crashing down and barbarism is reinstated as an alternative to the First Baptist convention.


As I see it, the "things" you own end up owning you. My father told me that. I am sure he got that from a movie, but I understand what he meant and I've seen it.

You spend money to buy the car you want to get you to work then you spend money to keep it on the road so it can get you to work so you can keep it on the road. This is endless. The only way to break that particular circuit is to walk.

You spend money on property because if you do the government says it belongs to you. You fill it with furniture, books and appliances. You work and you work and you work some more just to maintain it, to keep it from falling in and at the end of it, you or your heirs end up having to sell it.

Part of this is my middle-aged complaint about being tied down and the craving to move along to the next thing, the next phase and finding that there might not be another step to take on this particular journey. I am a nomad who has never gone anywhere, a would-be explorer who didn't get picked for the trip or who didn't complete the necessary paperwork. I am a landlocked mariner with a raccoon tied around my neck. I am utterly ridiculous and I know it.

So, we're looking at houses. I think we've probably found one.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Adjustments are ongoing. Today, I threw a post for my Gazette blog to Facebook and responded to a comment on that post, but I managed to stay away otherwise. No attempts at being clever or weird or deep. No thinly-veiled pleas for help. No useless and pointless profile searches, looking for a conversation.

It's not as easy as it sounds. I'd gotten into a habit.

It's weird. Over the past year or so, I've gotten used to having a dozen or more e-mails each day from lots of people, following comments back and forth and now... there are none. It's eerie, but I remember back when I didn't have e-mail or back when I only had a work address --and in some ways that's what I'm trying to do: step back toward.

Less = more.

I will not speak ill of the people who've "friended" me or the people I reached out to through Facebook. I really had the best of intentions. I thought that this would be the mechanism that would put me back in touch with every person I ever missed --and there are a lot --the waitresses I worked with when I was 17 and 18, the guys I hung out with in high school and college, the family I've neglected year after year or avoided because of the turns my life have taken... lots of people.

But what I really wanted, an actual connection, and what the service could provide, a shadow of relation, turned out to be different.

The Facebook thing, I think, is a symptom of a larger change going on with me. Self-improvement begins with caring about the self --and I really haven't. I've mired myself in obligations, responsibilities and a long list of reasonable exceptions to the basic rule --you've got to take care of yourself.

So, I'm taking care of me. That's what this is about. I deserve better than to be haunted by electronic ghosts and I deserve better than to be one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Here, now.

I tend to pay attention to the people in the building on the other side of the parking lot at Public Broadcasting, where I work at on the weekends. In the past, the place has had a number of interesting residents --the dude who kept the curtains open, never left his apartment and watched classic television shows in his underwear; the ex-con truck driver who let the hooker into his heart and into his life; the middle-aged lesbians who stood by the window and felt each other up; the probably younger lesbians who tossed a planter and maybe a television onto the hood of my piece of shit car.

I love that place.

But lately, I've been noticing a guy sleeping next to the building across the street, over next to the bakery. I see him around town, collecting cigarette butts to smoke whatever is left, but quietly apart from the rest of Charleston's ever-growing homeless population.

I've been meaning to talk to him, see why he's staying away from the shelters. The neighborhood is getting worse. You get the feeling that people are a lot more desperate. Muggings are more noticeable. Goblinfolk are lurking in the shadows and when midnight rolls around, you tend to wonder who is lurking in the parking lot.

Anyway, I'm worrying about the guy --think global, act local, I guess. Somebody needs to watch after him. Since no one else appears to be around, I guess it should be me.

So, that's my plan for the weekend: talk to the guy. See what I can do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Digital Kiss Off

It's not a big thing, but I'm going to be stepping away from Facebook --or as much as I can. I blog for the man now --my fault, my idea and it was a good idea --and I kind of need Facebook as a platform to chuck random bits of information out to the masses (since the man is not really all that interested in promoting my blog).

However, I don't need the updates. I don't need me trying to come up with haiku lines about the latest ache of my withering soul. I don't need to get drawn into discussions that are mostly about me being bored, not actually me interested in the topic. I don't need going through pictures or wandering from page to page looking for answers to questions I don't know how to ask.

Anyway, it's a very shallow platform of expression and like every other overly-refined product (granulated sugar, corn syrup, heroin), it's addictive and damaging --or at least it is for me. Facebook eats up my time, breaks my heart and makes me feel like every worst thing I've ever been. It devours my dignity and trivializes my loneliness, my fears and my successes.

So, I'll be staying away as much as I can --quitting it in as many steps as it takes.

Meanwhile, there's this blog I've been neglecting. Here is where I make my stand, I guess. I'll try not to fuck it up.