Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Editing Is Over

I bought iHome Portable Speakers at the Carlsbad, CA Apple Store.
The first time I took them out mi amigo Max asked if I "was holding the future".
Fifty buxx.

I'm telling you: this pair of speakers are magnetic.
The size of two limes, they stay together but also bounce out.
For better depth.

A simple press-and-twist maneuver pops a spring,
releasing the top to create space for bass.
And they bump.

Like I said, the bottoms click and clasp for compact storage or
hand-held portability, plus long-lasting lithium ion batteries
which charge through a USB to the computer.

So here's the point: my iPod plus these speakers equals
me being a super-mobile potential-dance-party at-all-times.
This excites no one else?

Plus I think I can use it in class, so kids can learn
a new language through music, and or video if appropriate.
Use it to trick them into comprehension.

Fools. Oops oh no. I'm nice. Right. So,
here I am in Mexico, high on a balcony for the first time.
Took more than five days to find it, though

it was above my head the whole time but I was too timid
to even wander up those mysterious stairs behind the communal kitchen
just to see.

I like it here. I have fast internet access and a hammock,
except for now I choose plastic table and chair.
Still slouching.

Shouldn't I be writing in Spanish?
That would take too long.
How else will I learn?

I only know the present tense.
Is that in no way profound? I speak like a child,
except with less vocabulary.

But I'm learning, even starting to dream en espa├▒ol.
I have my little phrases, becoming more and more rehearsed.
Te amo. Lo siento. Perdonáme por favor. Muchas gracias.

Who else just learned about Ho'oponopono?
I did. I like it. Hawaiian-style healing. Look:

Cool, well, great. Hope everyone out there is feeling fine tonight...
Boy I tell ya what, that Brett Favre sure is sorta talented, isn't he?
I suppose I always knew, but now I know that I never knew until now.

My one wonder, is why we resigned Childress so quickly.
He has not done anything yet. We've had half of one good season.
Now the guy who was about to get sacked is worth what, 5 more years? Really?

Anyway, we won. We're 9-1 for the first time since 1998
(knock on wood with your fingers crossed) and are only getting better.
AP's mere presence disrupts the entire defense. And Percy Harvin, woo.

The Seahawks had negative rushing yards at the half today, an ended up with 4 total.
We controlled the ball for 42:11 of the game and did not turn the ball over.
That's the recipe for victory if I've ever seen it.

Okay I'm done for now. Not a good sign if even I'm getting bored.
Think iHome will pay me for writing nice things about their product?
Mom, will you refresh this page about 500 times for me so I have a lot of traffic?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Different

And so here I am in Mexico. Of this there can be no doubt, for I comprehend about half of what is said, and then have very little, if anything, with which to respond. Not so abnormal, I suppose.

Arrived at 5 this morning. Had an intense nap on my hostel cot. Showered far longer than normal, then took to the streets. I managed to buy water. Failed to find a proper school notebook, though I think I now know where one will be found. Strolled the streets of Guadalajara, gave myself a downtown orientation course. I zigged and zagged and did my darndest to misdirect my sense of direction and am happy to find I failed. Pretty simple city it seems. Some spectacular old churches, the very best of colonial architecture standing nobly in the midst of a bustling commercial district - an open-air mall (almost, except I think it went underground and indoors through passageways I was not yet willing to explore) chock full of colorful linens, questionably brand-name electronics and funky sunglasses.

In the central square I stumbled upon a mime show. I stopped to watch. Turns out my Spanish is sadly lacking, for I was unable to comprehend even this, a silent drama.

Surrounding the central mall, two styles of store are clearly dominant. Wedding gowns and mattresses dominate the landscape. I'm not saying they are related (though this is a thoroughly Catholic country), but one after another they align themselves down the street, los vestidos de novia elegantly displayed in window after window along el Calle de Juarez, walking East towards downtown, the white gowns interrupted only by sidewalk construction and showrooms putting every sq ft to good use with fresh bright white colchones. I suppose people gotta sleep and get married (not necessarily in that order) no matter where one goes.

Seriously though, I do not speak Spanish. I find myself shy about using even the few phrases I assumed I knew. Speaking aloud in English, muttering the proper Spanish under my breath, after the fact. I trust that this must change before too long (tomorrow, maybe?).

This is good though. I believe I have successfully exited my comfort zone -- a zone which, as it turns out, is rather expansive, showing me new and old hometowns that stretch from Maine to Carlsbad, NYC to LA, and includes places I failed to find this time. I am ever more amazed at the grace I encounter on a daily basis.
And to be perfectly clear, human grace continues to unfold before me more and more. Most everyone I've met (ie smiled at) since I crossed that Southern border has been kind as can be. It's just that I don't yet recognize the vocabulary they employ in the process of explaining just why exactly it is that they're smiling.

Soon... Soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Purging of Paranoia

I throw myself for a loop. See if you follow me.

It's Halloween, and I've been licking the soft stretch of flesh between my thumb and forefinger for an hour now. Phish is about to cover The Rolling Stones album, Exile on Main St. with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings helping them out. I am in the Hunky Dory campground vaguely waiting for my group of friends when I am irresistibly pulled toward the concert field. A moment before I wander away, I say aloud, "I need a babysitter," but no one hears me and so off I go alone into the wild dark night.

As I walk I cannot be sure whether I am about to vomit violently, spewing undigested pulled pork all over the pedestrian path, or if everything is fine just fine and so I can only wait to see what happens and my legs keep moving me forward so I have to guess everything is fine.

Things begin to get different as I approach the entrance to the venue. There are bars creating lines that funnel people toward security personnel who expect you to doff your hat for them as they grope your pockets. As I'm passing through this section, I get caught in a border war. With a mass of people at my back, I am approaching an invisible line, across which there are guards demanding my retreat. I scramble for my passport, and to my dismay, have left it back at the campground. About now the chain-link fence begins to curl around me and my border crossing companions, twisting tighter until we are being herded in close circles, forced to continue circling or be trampled. We are livestock: aware and terrified of our captivity but too dumb and disoriented to combat it.

There is a snap of light like a flash grenade and my vision is temporarily blurred. I can feel the discordant sound waves pumping through the air, engineered to disrupt normal brain functioning. The high-pitched whine in my mind prevents any cohesive thought from forming. In the confusion I ask someone for a drink, I take it quickly, then think, "O shit, who can be trusted?" And when I ask the person about it they say rather ominously, "Well you just drank what I gave you," as if he were not quite the stranger I'd first thought him to be. As we circle our corral, there are throngs of evil red-necks who jeer at us, welcoming us to our new detention camp, calling us gullible hippies, druggies who are finally going to jail for good while they take over the country and run it right, with ground beef and Bud light for all. I say, "How can you do this?" and they respond, "It was easy. You walked right into it," and I see they are right. We herded ourselves into their trap, and now here we are out in the middle of a desert, being held like cows outside the slaughterhouse.

The terror is overwhelming. I kneel, and weep. There are Arab pimps or Persian playboys taunting me, asking, "Who's country do you think you're in?" and I don't know. I'm in the desert. There are elegant shelters and beautiful bright lights gleaming beyond the palms, but I am being held against my will with these other people, some of whom are not even panicking, some of whom have crying children, some of whom appear to be eating grass. I want to know where I am, where's my stuff? It seems that the whole thing is a set up, my flight, my tent, my pack, have all been swindled, as has been intended from the start. Someone yells something pejorative about getting attached to my nice new gear and I grit my teeth. Then I feel funneled toward a covered area. Echoes of slamming plastic doors emanate from the shelter like the muffled dropping of a team of guillotines. It smells like hell. As I approach the entrance, it begins to glow red, and I hear the red-necks heckling me, saying sarcastic goodbye's, gleeful as they watch us wander down the path ahead of us.

Here, I say No, and turn around. I do not want to go in there, I think. I go back, and, still feeling trapped, look up and ask for help. I yell for help, and ask the people around me, Am I wrong? I seem to have their support. A young man runs up to me and gives his encouragement. I am standing as tall as I can, watching the moon and stars. Patterns are revealed, alignments become obvious. The warm moon is full in Aries. It is all hallows eve, when demons arise and are appeased. I hold a white band in my hand, wet with the sweat from my head. I hold it out in a desperate gesture for peace.

There are helicopters buzzing overhead. They are transports for the controllers who will escape this place and leave us here to, to, I don't want to think about it. I ask if there is a helicopter for me and the Arabs just laugh and continue dancing on their luscious carpets. Help.

Coordinated thrusts of flame blast out from the wooden structures encircling us, momentarily enlightening the entire scene. I stand alone amidst the crowd. One among many, mesmerized by the fire until big invisible voices begin explaining how it's just a joke, this is not a death camp, but a surprise party in my honor. They thank me for being a good sport, congratulations for being brave. They say that this is a grand celebration, universal in its scope of attendance, that this moment has been long awaited, and that simply by cultivating and allowing harmonization within myself, I have blessed the earth and those around me, and brought an end to thirteen-thousand years of discord and war.

At this moment, I see myself in profile, giant in the sky, being crowned in golden light which radiates instantly outward to encompass the whole globe, and it is a joyful moment for all. A procession of dignitaries, kings and princesses surround me now, and I say in wonderment, "That's all that was needed, really, for all this to end?" And they all smile and tell me, Yes. Then a girl carrying a gourd of water looks up to me and says that she would like to be on whatever I am on.

I walk forward again, feeling better, until I realize I am still not safe. I am now a target. I can feel the crosshairs trained on my temple. A forceful yet intimate voice arrives in my mind, directing my every step, telling me when to stop, turn, forward two steps, now SIT. I think I cry again. Things go dark.

Then someone is sitting next to me. I ask, "So I die here today?" He calmly says, No, you're just having a difficult moment, it'll pass. And it did. Or, it had. And I stand up, and there I am among the bright lights and elegant shelters. The people around me are happy, and dancing. I ask if I'll be allowed to dance. Yes, was the resounding answer. So I dance a little jig.

Later on, some evil Arab elites brush my shoulder as I pass and ask me, Where you at, playboy, but I give them no response, because they are obviously far more wealthy than I am and it isn't worth arguing over.

Finally, an anonymous friend reassures me that in fact, the universe is benevolent, and gives us the free will to create terrifying trouble for ourselves as a catalyst for soul-growth. I think I went through a great cleansing, willfully excavating the darkest depths of my human ego in order to let all that fear and self-suspicion pass up and out to be absorbed and transformed by the infinite creative force underlying all consciousness. I can't shake the intensity of awe I felt at the fear, and then at its instant disappearance just as soon as I asked for help from the stars. And I do believe I received it.

If that makes me crazy, you might be insane.

"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let Us Start (What We Have Come to Do)

I have tried this before. With the same template, no less. Scribe. Is this truly who I intend to be?
It still seems self-indulgent. Yet perhaps this aspect of writing, the solitary self-importance inherent to the very act, ought not be my focus. I foresee this to be a continuing issue, but indulging my ego by writing about the ego-driven nature of writing serves only to tie my little mind in circular knots and probably puts off readers who find quasi-existential paradox inconsequential and ultimately boring. Thus, we move on.
(Question: is paradox the plural of itself? or can I add an i, as with cactus?)
In this space, I intend to create a written record of my movements, imparting action plus opinion and possibly insight, but that will depend upon the fragile perspective of my hypothetical audience. (Hi Mom. Send money.)
Enough then, let's get on with it.

I will now provide context. Briefly: After spending January through mid-April at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California, I flew home to Minneapolis, then drove to Mount Desert (say it with a French accent, 'dez-airr'), Maine, by way of Chicago and New York City before flying to New Orleans for seven days of JazzFest that first weekend in May. I spent the summer (May through early-October) living on the Northwest shore of Echo Lake, in a cabin on the property of my dear and overly generous friends, the Sevigny-Pierce family. In the stead of a fiduciary rent, I tended to the grounds, cultivated various garden plots and kept the grass cut, plus various other tasks of this nature. Evenings I spent waiting tables at Red Sky restaurant, located just down the road in Southwest Harbor. Here I switched out my patchwork corduroys for a shirt-and-tie to create a veil of professionalism that allowed me to pick out pricey wines and smile nice for the folks who were happy not to know better. Though many did, (know better), in which case I became perfectly invisible and so who knows how or when they received a steak knife and new water, but they did and now, oh wow, This, sir, is your steak; Ma'am, the lamb. Fun game, that. More wine anyone?

So, okay, well, then that brings us (i.e. me; and Mom of course, but she already knows these things) up to this last, past weekend, meaning that of Columbus Day. I disappeared from Mt Desert on Friday the 9th of October, when Ellen and I had a disco dance party in my car until I found a place to park at the Homewood Suites in Windsor Locks, CT, where all our friends from Suffield (Academy) were already playing Beirut in room 123.
We stopped once along the way, for a true Country-style dinner at the Cracker Barrel. We both had the Chicken & Dumplin's (dumplings, with a G, are something altogether different, a more Oriental-style pastry often involving cream cheese, we believe) with two sides. For my choice of "Country Vegetables", I opted for the special Mushroom Rice Pilaf and the standard Corn. Ellen also had the Corn but went for the Mashed Potatoes. There was no shortage of gravy, and thank goodness, because the cornbread was tragically rather dry. The two of us ate heartily for less than twenty dollars, including tip. Later, my unlucky tummy understood how this was possible. And I apologized too, but by that time it was a natural moment for people to clear out of the hotel room anyway...