Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tune up time

For the mind and body; the yard will have to wait. We're off to Ashland, Oregon, for a week of plays and gorgeous days.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


When I read this headline on page 9 of my Seattle P-I, I experienced such intense cognitive dissonance that I was momentarily unable to make any sense of it:"Bush to take Japan's top Elvis fan to Graceland." But it is exactly what it states. The POTUS is taking Japan's Prime Minister to graceland, Elvis's monstrous former home and current "museum." Bush at one point says," Think about the American president traveling to Graceland with the prime minister of Japan. Let me ask you something - 60 years ago, would you have thought that would be possible?"
Yeah, yeah, I see what he's trying to claim here, but what struck me is how low things have sunk, how degraded his concept of cultural exchange is. And Japan's, too, it seems. Elvis. Hmm, what might be some other comparable events? Must be some world leaders out there who'd enjoy NASCAR. Or a canned game hunt, shooting animals from SUV's; or some patriotically-themed country western concerts. Or I bet some of those female European leaders would love a shopping spree at a Walmart. Show 'em the best of Amurka.
The world is slipping into the surreal, and I do not find it amusing. Not able to sit back and enjoy the slide.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Elysian days

When it gets back down into the low 80's and high 70's, we sometimes have a string of perfect days. It seems we muck along through the rest of the year just for these pearly wonders. If you've lived here long enough, you desire a moderate climatic range, and any extreme variations unbalance your equilibrium. Days like today spin you along like a gyroscope.
Walks, talks, and grilled dinner.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Whole state goes red!

At least on the weather map; it's supposed to get into the 90's today, and although that garners no sympathy from Parts Hotter, USA, it's unusual here and makes Seattlites swoon. My neighbor and friend with the chickens has been keeping a thermometer in her car out of curiosity, and it had broken yesterday afternoon, busted out like one of those old 1950's cartoon characters losing his temper.
It did get up to 90, but a coolish NW wind kept us sane.
Went to a barbeque at a friend's house which included her son, nephew, goddaughter, our son, a friend of his, and a couple including a young woman who is the daughter my friend never had. Pleasant evening, whiled away eating and drinking, listening to travel tales and young guys playing guitars. The hour passed midnight almost unnoticed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Molded jello brains

Running along Green Lake was the coolest place to be this afternoon, with the wind coming off the water, and not the great hordes of people ambling along that I had expected, but many prone on blankets or draped over folding chairs. Not in my path, so I didn't need to run hurdles over them. The LED reader at Jock n' Jill's store read 82 degrees around 1:30 when I went in to get some new running shoes. Not so bad a temperature, but the contents of my skull were liquified by the time I got back up the hill and on our block. Two six year old girls were manning a lemonade stand, vying vigorously over who would pour out and who would take the cash. I suggested they each pour half, and then they could have all my change to count, all 55 cents or so. They were thrilled, and I got a brain-cooling beverage.
Cold items for dinner. Watched a Nature of Things special on what they called The Great Flood of 15,000 year ago which they think created distinctive landscapes due to the release of an ice-dammed giant lake east of present-day Missoula all the way to the Pacific Ocean, past Portland to Astoria and even down to where Eugene is today. Astounding depictions of what must have occurred, including theories and demonstrations for various land formations such as giant potholes and huge "riffles." Perfect fare for my heat-retarded mind.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Weekend oblivion

Some very mellow hot air drifted up from California, and dude, it's so warm and lovely we can barely move. Walks are taken. Sensations are experienced.
Brief visit by one of our son's friends, a lively and intelligent guy. He and our son are heading to Ashland soon to see some plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, something they've been doing since they were in middle school.
Dinner was barbequed, at least until the propane ran out, and the chicken needed to be finished in the oven. Still flavorful despite the chain of indignities it endured.
The coup de grace of the evening was administered at Mona's, a nearby watering hole which features live music on Saturday nights. Decent versions of Brasilian classics.
A walk back up the hill in still-warm air, a rare treat in this area.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happiness algorithm

Not really, but some kind of math was involved: "Scientist Cliff Arnall, A CONFIDENCE AND HAPPINESS SPECIALIST from the University of Cardiff, UK, identifies June 23 as the happiest day of the year. His calculations are based on childhood summers, holidays and more." Hey, how about that speciality?! And his office is right next to the Ministry for Funny Walks! Wonder where one can obtain such a speciality? Let's all play the freakin' Glad Game!
The above nugget o' good news was juxtaposed with a photo of a Utah woman mourning the re-entry denial handed down to her husband by the U.S. Supreme Court. Latin last names, of course. And a photo of an East Timorese woman in a refugee camp, arranging mosquito netting above her sleeping quarters. East Timor, where things are so jolly that the prime minister is considering resigning. On to Ohio, where violent storms caused flooding, and Sedona, AZ, which is suffering the effects of wild fires. But Not In My Backyard.
Me, I'm going on a hunting and gathering hike.
Green Lake was rife with life, and death. As I passed the boat house, an EMT squad was tending to a fisherman who, by the sounds of their jargon, was having a heart attack. Along the shoreline, fishermen ranged themselves like solitary animals staking out their territories. One fellow a few territories down had a garish teeshirt declaring that "Hell was full, so I'm back!" Around the next bend, there was a big patch of waterlilies in which sheltered ten big turtles, sunning themselves on a log. A little girl stood there watching them, and as I started to leave she cried,"Look!" I turned to see her holding out a handful of birdseed, upon which perched a red-winged blackbird, picking away. Its mate was giving that unmistakeable cry that they do, as it watched from an overhanging tree branch.
Babies were out in full force, from a little guy strapped onto his dad's back facing out like a bagged hunting trophy as dad biked briskly along, both of them sans helmets, to a very young one swaddled into a stroller, looking around with that wild almost wall-eyed expression they can have.
And I brought home maple butter. Reason to be happy any day.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Constrained writing

"Constrained writing" is supposedly a literary genre. An example of this form would be a novel written without using the letter "e", or some other arbitrary limitation. It showed up on a list from Wikipedia in a post to a book group. Never knew that's what these works were called.
Absolutely flawless today, everything suddenly exploding into bloom, swarming with bees, and exuding fine fragrances, so heady even my mom's old nose can detect them. Today we looked at some ripening raspberries, and she recalled growing purple ones, a cross, she said, between red and black ones. I've never heard of such a variety, and upon a spot of googling, found at least three varieties of purple raspberries which sound as if they'd thrive monstrously well out here. Anything brambly goes apeshit in this climate.
On the way back from a run and workout, I passed a trio of boys around 8 years old, all on razor scooters. They greeted one another economically - "'sup?" - and continued some kind of communication while fiddling around on their vehicles. One little guy had a nifty way of spinning his scooter in a 360 while holding the handle bars, nonchalantly every so often as he muttered to his cohorts. The topic seemed to be about who was out of school already and who was not. When they started scooting and maneuvering all over the streets and hills, I could see them growing up to be surfers.
Such a lovely walk this evening, down to Lake Union, in a glistening lowering sun. Up the hill again into a cool breeze.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Da solstice

It's summer, and we've been out taking the dulcet airs and balmy breezes. Tiger swallowtail butterflies are emerging, and we've seen several of them careening about the neighborhood, looking mad with sun and nectar. They're evanescent creatures, so must drink up life's pleasures in a matter of hours.
Last evening's meeting of Drinking Liberally was interesting, as it has been every time. Met another local writer, who was, well, a bit problematic in conversation. Perhaps these guys live inside their heads a good deal, but I have gotten the sense of needing some kind of translating device in order to communicate with them effectively. Spoke with a few local political bloggers who responded to questions and responses in real time, which was reassuring.
Winding down the last few canyons with ole Ed Abbey.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Last day of spring

Just the kind of day requested. Perfect in every way, except for the bit about our governor, Christine Gregoire, expressing her worries over North Korea maybe aiming a big old missile our way. She was talking about the big cut in Homeland Security funding - I hate writing that title, it sounds so damned much like Orwell - that Seattle took this year. Governor Gregoire was telling us Seattle folks to be vigilant with our personal security, to report anything suspicious.
Oh what the bloody hell, woman?!! What good will that do if a big old bomb comes our way from North Korea? Stop, drop, and roll under our school desks, shall we? Will that help us as we all vaporize? Bush & Co. could give a flying fuck if Seattle goes up in smoke. They'll aim for a nice PR bounce like they got from the 9/11 attack on NYC. Of course if North Korea don't aim so good and it hits Alaska, Bush&Co. will lose some supporters and that little bit of oil they've been jonesin' for...and don't get too comfy, San Fran or LA, they could hit you, too, ya know.
Frankly, I don't believe anything about this North Korea threat. How can you possibly believe anything Condi or W. or which ever GOP barbarian tells us this fear-mongering drivel? It's propaganda. More and more of their spew. I'm about ready to haul out the biggest monkey wrench I can find and head out for very specific parts...
Meanwhile, off to our nearest Drinking Liberally, to see what's on for this evening.

Monday, June 19, 2006

What happened to spring?

In two days it will be summer. It really hasn't been much of a spring here in Seattle, mostly a chilly damp miasma, with teases of loveliness. The weeds seem to have prospered, crab grass, morning glory and dandelion varieties, but nothing really attractive. Roses are sporting black spots, aphids and rust, and the atmosphere needs some kind of sunny burn off. But not for too long.
Lay awake in the wee hours, after drifting up out of strenuous dreams of climbing adventures. Read a bit from the Edward Abbey reader which has enabled me to revisit this quirky, maddening yet moving fellow. He observed that he liked coyotes, in a selection describing a long ago trip down the Green River in Utah, through canyon and desert country. That triggered a Joni Mitchell musical cascade in my brain, the whole Hejira album, which triggered cascades of spinal chills. Gradually lost consciousness in memory shards of coyotes chorusing at pre-dawn, dutch oven delights, and the feeling of sharp crystalline rock on my skin.
Late to bed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Diminutive Dogs Dazzle Denizens!

The Ferrari Brothers were back today, as their owner, my friend, and I were heading over to the Ballard Farmers' Market to look around. I got a gorgeous chunk of troll-caught king salmon for Father's Day dinner, and the dogs had a good time trundling along with us. They fell apart in her car on the way home, though, having a snarl-a-thon on my lap, which they resumed in our house. They were worn out from marketing, seeing other dogs - the younger one hasn't been neutered yet, and was keen on a frou-frou little Pomeranian (with a matchingly frou-frou mistress - no, really, same orangy color of hair), who wasn't so keen on him and bit him a couple of times, - experiencing a lot of stimuli, with sibling rivalry thrown into the mix. We separated them, and after a bit they engaged in a neck twining behavior that evidently signals the end of hostilities, at least for a while.
The baked salmon was divine, as fresh a piece of fish as we've had in some time, along with asparagus another friend and neighbor had brought us from a trip to eastern Washington.
Night time walk, and back to the canyons with Mr. Abbey.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pretty day at last

Waiting for my good friend and climbing partner, who's somewhere watching the World Cup game. We're heading over to the climbing gym for a session, and I'm feeling restless. Been out for the first walk late this morning, running a little gauntlet of yard sales across the street. My mom espied a Sponge Bob stuffed creature, so I splurged and spent the fifty cents to get it for her. At our friend the chickenkeeper's, we acquired a freshly-laid bluish green egg, so were walking around looking like something most unnatural had occurred.
Nice session at the gym. Definitely feeling the effects of only going once a week, in diminished endurance and courage. Break time is over.
Another lovely late evening walk.
Onward with E. Abbey, onto desert isles and into barrancas in Mexico.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wild morning

Dodging rain spritzes for a morning warm-up walk, getting inside in time to watch the skies dump furiously; after lunch, the neighborhood sparkled after a hard "warshing." It constitutes "wild" for very old people, especially if a blustery wind chime flinging wind is thrown in. Had to convince my mom she didn't need a coat, since it was almost 70 degrees, just very windy. She worked up a sweat on our long rounds, and marveled at the clearness of the air.
Late evening walk with spouse, down to Lake Union where the setting sun was igniting the skyscraper windows at the south end of the lake. Small sailboats glided across the illuminated stretches of water.
I came across a short paragraph about a distant view of buildings in one of the Edward Abbey selections in his Best Of book. He's describing a ferry ride to Manahattan from Hoboken, New Jersey, on the long defunct Erie-Lackawanna line:
"It was strange, that approach to Manhattan, over the open water. No sound but the slap of waves, the wind, the gulls, the distant signals of other boats. The city itself swung slowly toward us silent as a dream. No sign of life but puffs of steam from skyscraper chimneys, the motion of the traffic. The mighty towers stood like tombstones in a graveyard, leaning against the sky, and waiting for - what? Someday we'll know."
This was probably written in the late 60's. He had held forth earlier on how he thought New York City was dying, but that it would take a long time to do it. He's not around these days to make more pointed observations about this process, which is affecting much more than one city.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Slow out of the blocks

Well, it's been a strange week. Beloved spouse has been afflicted with shingles, in an eye and surrounding areas. The worst place in which to suffer such a condition. It's a bizarre thing, though, that must run its course. We've seen doctors, obtained various medications, applied ice packs, looked online for information, and left well enough alone.
I'm still bothered that W. will be polluting this neck of the woods, shilling for Reichert. Drumming of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I hope Darcy Burner, Reichert's opponent, wins, forcing these venal Repub rich folks to have wasted their hard- earned tax refunds. Hope we can throw a monkey wrench into their machine.
Back to reading Edward Abbey.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Strange Day

Beloved spouse has been stricken with shingles, and we have been seeking medical attention most of the day. I brought along a copy of The Best of Edward Abbey, which turned out to be an excellent choice for waiting room reading. Abbey seems almost quaintly outraged by today's standards, but he could hold his own in an environmental battle. He was prescient about the illegal immigrant issue, saying the country would be in trouble if it wasn't sorted out. He made the observation over twenty years ago.
Back home to make something more out of that cauliflower.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Family doings

My sister arrived, and we are busy talking and having pizza. Mother is very happy to have both her girls to beam upon.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Weekly march

Into the breach. Out for the chicken viewing, which is down to two birds these days. Freckles died last week, after appearing to improve. She laid an egg, then lay down and died. Her demise has caused a shuffling of the trio's pecking order, but the biggest bird doesn't seem to have done any harm to the smaller one. Chickens don't last forever, but she is missed.
It's getting dark early, threatening to rain.
Been reading the collected stories of Katherine Mansfield, who as I've mentioned before, completed 88 stories before she died of TB at age 34, in 1922. Her family, the Beauchamps, had been in Australia and New Zealand for three generations when Katherine was born in Wellington, NZ, in 1888. Despite a kind of old-timey feel to many of the stories, she had a fine acuity for landscape and human behavior coming along. It would have been interesting to see her later work, had she lived and written more. She moved to England and was friends with Elizabeth Bowen, with whom she shares a kind of strange flavor of writing. I was reading a travel piece in the New York times online which was about Alice Munro, a Canadian writer who lived in Vancouver, BC, in the 1950's. She has some of her non-traditional characters reading Katherine Mansfield in one short story, which made me think perhaps Munro herself had done so as well. Munro's short stories have some of the kind of off kilterness to them that Mansfield and Bowen do in their work, idiosyncratic voices, female characters who are often on the outside of regular social activity.
Tonight I tossed some cauliflowerets with potato chunks, olive oil, freshly dried oregano, salt and pepper, and baked it; quite delicious!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

To market to market

After a good little gym session with another good friend and climbing partner, she and I dropped by the Ballard Farmers' Market, another outdoor event similar to the one in my neighborhood, only older and bigger. She was on a mission to acquire certain items for her household, and I was just meandering along, eating every free sample of just about everything offered, since it was mid afternoon and I'd been clambering for a couple of hours. The heavy morning fog had finished melting away, there was a lovely coolish breeze, many fine odors wafting about: Freshly picked stems of mint, lamb sausages, vegetarian stir fries, gigantic baroque-looking handmade pretzels, strawberries, flowers, and incense. Huge dewy heads of cauliflower were piled high at one farmer's stand. For $2.00 per, I couldn't resist getting one, along with a big bunch of cilantro for a buck. Yeah, I'm a sucker for a nice head of cauliflower...
There were a couple of young twenty-something guys playing decent covers of Dylan, energetically belting out how "the pump don't work 'cause the vandals tooks the handles!" We went into a little plant store called the Palm Room to get an asparagus fern my friend espied. In the little shop, the real Dylan was urging everyone to go out and get stoned.
Home again home again.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fullish moon

Strange things afoot in the world, from the comparatively hilarious image of Jack, a 15-pound cat from West Milford, NJ, who treed a black bear, to propagandists defending hideous speech by one another. She Who Shall Not Be Named Aloud - kind of like certain names of demons from hell that it is better not to say aloud - who recently spewed hate upon 9/11 widows who dared to criticize the Bush administration, is being defended by the likes of Mary Matalin, GOP propagandist. It occurs to me that the Bushistas use victims of 9/11 and the Iraq occupation to their advantage, as in no one may criticize the US military for getting in harm's way, losing nearly 2500 soldiers, getting nothing accomplished; the Bushistas say we must not question, it is a dishonor to these dead soldiers. As long as their survivors don't speak out against the fake war, that is. So there are the honorable parents of 9/11 and Iraq victims who still support Bush; they are useful. The administration uses them as a gag for anyone who would object to their machinations. There are victims, and victims, and some are more useful than others. I have been wondering what kind of "humorist" might counter She Who Shall Not Be Named Aloud, what that person might say in the same horrific spirit of hate. Not in the relatively gentle style of say, Al Franken. Things like, oh, say, 9/11 was great because it killed so many GOP voters? Or, the nightmare in Iraq is at least getting rid of a bunch of young people who would grow up to be Republicans? Or, ha ha ha, won't someone put cyanide in Her martini?! Oh, just kidding! Can't you Neo-cons take a joke?
There's money to be made from this kind of sewage, if one can stomach the production.
Went out ostensibly to pick up groceries, but found I wanted to go somewhere besides our local QFC, a Kroger-owned supermarket. Went through a nearby park and listened to the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band playing in a gazebo, old "Chicago" songs and other hoary selections. Very sweet and affecting. Loaded up my pack at PCC and started back up the hill. The people working on the Solstice Parade floats which will be part of the Fremont Fair festivities next weekend seemed to have made some progress; strange things made of paper mache and odds and ends lay about their site. This parade has been famous for its naked bicycle riders for years, as well as clever political floats, belly dancing troupes, neighborhood themed marchers,
and eclectic musical offerings. I hope to see it this year.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Into the teeth of death

Oh, it's not really THAT scary to go to the dentist, at least not until all these choppers threatening to become crown affairs start coming home to roost... No, what made me think of this title was some of the family history my wonderful dentist related to me yesterday during a routine clean up appointment. Her parents were in their early twenties in the mid 1940's, living in Shanghai when the Japanese arrived. Her father witnessed what is called "The Rape of Nanking," and saw piles of dead bodies in the streets. The Japanese soldiers were hunting down Chinese college students and exterminating them, so my dentist's father got a group of his friends together and left Shanghai for the Chinese interior. These were city people, she told me, not hardened to walking all day and foraging for food and water. They walked upwards of sixty miles per day, and went through three provinces. At one point, they were down in some canyons with very sheer walls. Her father saw Japanese soldiers up at the top of the cliffs, looking for people to shoot. He told her the cliffs were so sheer, the soldiers didn't spot them. They hid in a monastery, and the Japanese soldiers came upon it and pounded on the doors, trying to knock them down, very nearly doing so, but didn't succeed and gave up. Her mother, a young married student pregnant with her first child, lost the baby, which my dentist said was fortunate: If you had babies that cried and gave away your position, you were hunted down and killed. It happened to one of her mother's friends. The war ended soon after, and a woman in their group was able to contact her father, a higher up in the Chinese military, who arranged water transport for the group back to Shanghai, so they didn't have to walk home. My dentist's father arranged to come to the University of Washington for further education, and thus came my dentist's family to Seattle.
Astounding and horrific, this story. May the misleaders of the USA not provoke a world conflagration in which experiences such as these will be repeated on an even wider scale than has been done to Iraqi citizens.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Mostly I was thinking about Ann Coulter and her evil-spirited money-making ranting. Thoughtful people have been saying that now not even the rightwingin' can excuse or support her any longer. Wrong. They are, and will continue to do so. Thoughtful people keep saying she should be ignored, but I disagree. She has access to national exposure that everyday thoughtful people do not in order to counter her bizarre poisonous outpourings. I have been thinking about her antecedents, who they might be, other than Joseph McCarthy. There was a priest back in the 40's and 50's who used to spew forth hatred on his radio show, Father Coughlin. He was pro-fascist and anti-Semitic that I've heard about, maybe racist as well. He carried on in the excrable traditions that came out of Jim Crow laws. Coulter's just the tarted-up version of this nastiness, and she's worse in a way because she claims to be using humor. Poison Supreme Court Justice Stevens? "Just kidding!" screeches Coulter. Thoughtful people perhaps ought to research how previous hatemongerers were put out of business. Racist laws were repealed, Coughlin was ordered by his Archbishop to cease his propagandizing or be de-frocked. I don't want to see Coulter out of her frock - it's hideously short enough already! - but I think she should start facing consequences for her words. Time for a big "X" on her. Off the list.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Same sexy marriage!

Yep, thirty two years the beloved spouse and I have been together. I was a June bride - hahahahaha! Quite hilariously ironic, considering me. We'd been living together for about a year - radical behavior for 1973-74 - and decided to go for it. Rode our bikes 25 miles, drafting a combine, dragging along a friend to be our best man, to get hitched by the mayor of Findlay, Ohio, the only Democrat in the county. Fine fellow. He refused to take any money from us, so we bought him a hamburger and a coke in a bottle from a machine at a little greasy spoon across the street from the county courthouse. Rode back to Bowling Green, with a stop for a beer at a co-worker's house along the way, and I had to go back to work that evening at the Holiday Inn, in the kitchen. We celebrated later, with our friend/best man, who brought us a little "wedding" cake from Piatt's Bakery, which used to exist in our home town of Perrysburg. The head cook at the restaurant had given me a big steak to barbeque, so we had a deluxe evening.
Tonight we had a steak I got at a new farmers' market in our neighborhood, sold by a little stand representing an organic farm which produces amazing cheese and beef and pork. We went out for a walk and observed the weather changing, and at one point, heard flamenco music pouring out of an upstairs room at a community center. We rushed up to try to hear more, but they took a break just as we got to the door. Exotic looking women came out into the hallway, and one of them gave us a little flyer about their upcoming performance. There were several musicians, including a couple of drummers working away on what looked like big square wooden boxes, but sounded like muted congas. Intriguing.
Here's to my wonderful spouse. Again, te amo, Felipe!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Day of the Beast!

And how shall we spend this fine day? Sacrificing to appease angry dieties? Naw. Mowing the lawn, slicing down greenery. Aiding neighbors with sick chickens. The latter is serious, no joke: Our dear friend across the street has a chicken which we suspect has a jammed up egg laying function. Freckles has been very ill, and one of her cohorts, Effie, has been attempting to peck the living crap out of her, literally. Chickens will cannibalize one another. We speak of the "pecking order": They enact it mercilessly, pecking a sick chicken and eating it while it's still alive. Well, at least chickens have an excuse, they are quite primitive animals. So perhaps are many humans...
Again we went to our local Drinking Liberally chapter this evening. Lots of political bloggers and local politicians and writers. Met one of our district reps, Ed Murray, an openly gay person, as well as a political writer I've long read and appreciated, Geov Parrish. Really interesting and stimulating to talk to these people and find out what's shaking.
Time to peck a bit at Europe Central.

Monday, June 05, 2006

On the end of a species

All this sturm and drang by the fundies over the imperiled family; they are screeching so loudly, I think, because they are on their last haul to the lemming cliffs. So threatened by nonwhite people, by anyone who isn't a model of 1950's era comportment. At least I hope the tide turns against them, since the conclusion of their drives is destroying the world. There is little tolerance and forgiveness in their so-called faiths.
A slow day for my mother. May she sleep tonight, and not get up at all hours as she did last night...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Growing season

So humid, warm and often sopping wet, the plant life around this neighborhood is growing explosively. You feel that if you tarried too long by that vine on the wall, it would wrap around you and incorporate you into its form. The linden tree in our parking strip seems to be pushing out new lengths to its branches daily. I've whacked it back and you can't tell anything was removed.
Wondering how the gay-bashing amendment will go tomorrow. The Repugs get something out of it either way. If it goes down, they will have made their hypocritical stand before their moronic base, and can of course point to the godless perverted solons who voted against it. Desperate measures for desperate people.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Critical mass

General level of anxiety rising, as it seems the world is edging into wars over resources. My dad used to talk about this decades ago, how if humans reproduced madly, overpopulating the planet, that eventually they would fight over food, water, and raw materials. Moderation and conservation were his standards. Oddly enough, as much as he could get honked off and go on a rant about something, he was always calm and measured when he talked about the possible dark ending of this planet. He wasn't very optimistic about the scenario being averted by reasonable human behavior, but he didn't appear to be frightened by it. There may have been remarks to the effect that my generation could get things headed in a better direction. Glad old dad isn't around to see how some of us fifty-somethings fumbled that option.
Pleasant evening with friends at a belated birthday barbeque. Many plans for kayaking and hiking this summer discussed. Here's to good weather.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Buddy system

The person I've climbed with longest, a good friend, finally pried me out of the house and off for a session at the climbing gym. It was good to see her again, and have a good strenuous couple of hours of getting up routes, even if we had to do it inside.
Still plugging away at Europe Central, but its nightmarish qualities keep me from immersing myslef in it for very long. I've started the collected short stories of Katehrine Mansfield, a writer originally from New Zealand who died of TB pretty young, at 34, between the World Wars. There are 88 completed stories, ranging from 1908 to the early '20's. The more intimate quality of her settings gives me relief from reading about the unconscionable horrors of WWII. Don't know if it's my current state of mind, or some innate part of my make up that gives me the horrors while reading the Vollmann opus. Probably a bit of both; I've never appreciated Hollywood catsup splatters, even though it's fake. And although Europe Central is fiction, it's firmly set in concentration camps and battle fronts. Maybe one's imagination runs away with the possibility that we might suffer similarly, oh, say, like they do in Iraq these days...