Saturday, December 29, 2012

Candles on the Cake

It's someone's birthday today.
Someone very special to me.
And she is happy.

And that is perfect.

She had a surprise meal and a cake of her own. She opened presents and cried with joy on my shoulder. She is beautiful and shining.

And I love her.

I pushed the candles in two groups into the top of the wonderfully rich cake and lit them. We sang Happy Birthday to her, and she smiled that smile into my eyes before blowing them out.

I got my wish, Sweetheart. Did you?

Happy Birthday, Jennifer.
I hope it was as wonderful a day as you deserve.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Dog, Wagged.

Breathe before you judge the words you will read here. 

What happened today was horrid. 
The way the media outlets handled it was worse. 
The fact that there is a logo circulating around Facebook for those who wish to use it as their timeline cover image is an abomination. 

A fucking logo. 

Some jackass felt the way to honor the memory of 28 dead men, women, and children was to create a Facebook logo and pitch it out there for everyone to use. 

In other news, another of my FB contacts posted a beautiful photo of waterfire, that wonderful gathering of the community. Of course, it mentions Jeff Buckley was singing "Hallelujah".  Really? Great song to honor the dead. "Maybe there's a God above / But all I ever learned from love / Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you" 

It's a horrible song sung beautifully, so I guess that makes it okay to use in every damned way that is touching, right? It's not a love song.

ABC had a live feed on their web site. It was updated every few minutes with alleged facts, later proven to be false. I listened to an NPR reporter on the ground who didn't report a single fact he couldn't verify for himself. I thought him to be useless at first, later I realized the journalistic integrity of it all. 

My heart goes out to the families affected, and I am saddened that it happened at all. I am thankful for the fact that my children are safe, or at least as safe as they can be in this world. 

I feel badly for those mentally troubled people who are unable to find a better way out than murder and suicide. I'd like to think that someday we will focus on caring for them rather than taking away our right to bear arms, but I refuse to go deeper into THAT argument. Suffice to say, we need a better way to care for the sick.

I'm just ranting, but I think you know how I feel.  There's so much more to say, but I'm having trouble saying it coherently. 

I'll take your abuse now, thanks. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On Hardness and Temper

It's been a busy week.  One of my commutes was in the neighborhood of 3 hours long, and I believe my total for the week was just shy of 16 hours in the car which, to me even, seems a bit much for a non-vacation total. But such is life.

I was lucky enough to see Stephen King speak at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA on Friday. Mr. King is someone who has been with me for long enough to say that I can't remember a time when he really wasn't. From age 9 or so, he's been in my life in one way or another. And I finally had the chance to see him speak in a very casual setting that was appropriate for his conversational style. He suffered an interview for about half of an hour before sharing a deliciously "King" short story never seen before called "Afterlife". The following Q&A was fun, but short as these things tend to be, and the night was generally a great success.

The one rub was Andre Dubus III.

Introduced as "bestselling author of 5 books, and professor at UMass Lowell's English department", he wore his shirt open, collar wide, and his glasses low on his nose. At one point my impression was of Alec Baldwin in Beetlejuice, but that might elevate this commentary to full on bashing if I say that too loudly. In any case, he was more "Look at ME" than respectful of Mr. King. There was some familiarity between them as King had been part of a benefit for AD III's dad years ago, but even that felt forced and insincere. The camera used to send the stage video up to the jumbotron spent a lot of time on him early on, even when Mr. King was responding to the banter, and in my cynical, steeled eye I wondered to myself if he had mentioned something to the camera operators before the show. He was CO-SPONSOR of the event, you know.

But the rub, the abrasive, grating rub came when  Andre's forced laughter loomed thick behind Mr. King's comfortable voice. Stephen King welcomes you in to his home, he sits you down in the front room and helps make you comfortable before sharing his words with you. He receives you as an old friend and treats you with respect and honesty before plunging headlong into the story he shares with you. It's one of the endearing qualities of King's work that drew me in so long ago. His writes his introductions just for you, the reader.  I didn't truly expect his voice to have the same cadence and delivery when reading a story. I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but it was a lovely surprise that he read as I heard his voice in my head so often. But there, on cue like an actor in some horrible B movie, was Andre Dubus III's forced chuckle over and over again. Like a laugh track to Mr. King's auditory feast. His head leaned forward, his eyes closed, then, at the exactly right moment, he would throw his head back and laugh.

It's Stephen King, not Cracked Magazine for fuck's sake.

But there is was. Over and over, that laugh. I thought to myself later that King might actually put that into one of his books at some point. It seemed like one of those habits that a King character would have, so I'm going to keep my eyes open for it.

This leads me to look into my own life.
I've been a little less upbeat lately. I've been a bit more of my darker self. Edgier, grumpier. Less positive about things. I've let it creep in bit by bit. It's the commute, I think, or at least partly. I want to get home. I want to just get the fuck home and be able to unwind from my day, but I can't every night. Even when I'm South, my 32 minute commute becomes upwards of an hour. And that sucks.
It'll get better. I will make sure it does. I will accept that the traffic is what it is going to be. I'll dig out some books on tape and listen. I'll record my stories on tape or something and type them up later. I'll try. I can't be that guy again.

Not again.

To those who I impact with my negativity, I'm sorry.
Time to get back on the stick, as someone I love says.

And did anyone get the metal reference in the title? Just wondering.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Second Free Thanksgiving

Already? It's here already?

How quickly the wheel of the year turns when you are busy living.  But here we are again, looking the holiday season squarely in the face and scratching our heads as to how it arrived so abruptly. Wasn't it just July? No matter. Another Thanksgiving means another blog entry, and you just never know how this is going to end up.

Seriously, *I* don't usually know how these things end. I have a little seed, I blurb out an idea or two, and I sit to write. It comes out of my fingers almost magically, and usually in a single stream of consciousness. My Muse grabs my brain and squeezes out words that seem to string together into sentences and paragraphs with little input from my waking mind. Where was I really, though?

Ah. Thanksgiving. 

It's been a year since I wrote my first entry from freedom. It's been a year since I thanked all of you for your friendship, your kindness, your love, and (if you are in the military in any way) your service to the country I love.  It's been a year since I returned to my own family's table and shared the meal without drama or worry. Last time, I shared a memory about my grandfather, and how he carved the turkey every year rather than my father. (just in case, it's here ). My mother explained why later that day, and I laughed when she did. My mother reads my blog. Oh my. 

Let me get back on track here, Muse. You are dragging me around town like a cab driver going the long way.


I have so very much to be thankful for this year. 

* My son. Oh, my son. Growing up and living in a world I bet he never thought he would ever live in. He's learning, though, and that's important. When he is older, he will look back on these times and know that they helped build him. I hate to see him go though such hardship, but I know he will eventually rise above it all. Strong and smart, but kind in heart. I'm glad he calls me now and then, too. It's nice to hear his voice.

* My daughter, resilient and growing. She's a beauty. The most Trumpet-playing-ist, Gymnastics-performing-ist, Hot-dog-ist daughter a guy could ever have. She's arty when it's art time, and she's dancy when it's dancing time. And best of all, she loves me. What more could a Papa want? She's bright and fun, and listens when it's listening time. 

* The family I'm actually related to, and the family I am not actually related to, including the families I am connected to through my loves. Even the family I don't see much (or barely at all, other than Facebook, and that's even hard to come by for me these days). I am thankful that they are still with me, and are still able to come together at the table. Old and new, and everyone in-between. You are all a part of me, as I am of you. For those I don't see nearly enough, please know that I want to see you, but our lives are so different that I truly don't know how. No matter, we sit together today, at different times and in different states, as one. 

I am going to single out my mother here. She's going to read this blog eventually, and I want to make sure she sees this in black and white. I am thankful that my mother does all that she does for her family. We give her a hard time, and we tend to say things like "You don't need to do all of this..." but deep down I know that she does. It makes her happy, and I like to see her happy. I am thankful for the chance to help pick up some holidays to host, but they will never be the same as what she put on.  Not better, not worse, but certainly different.  

* My car. My glorious chariot that carries me back and forth whenever I ask. Krähe could kick the crap out of Kitt and never even break a sweat. She connects the dots of my life. She is the pencil to my Funpad. She keeps me safe and gets me home, no matter where that happens to be.

* A steady job, and the ability to actually DO the work needed. 

* My Kittehs. All of them. Toady, Harpo, Pooper, and Meower. Ain't cats cool?

* For that particular person who got me to write all those years ago. That person who taught me about friendship, and  later about hookah. To you, I am ever grateful. (And I hope that you and yours have a grand day today!)

* And as always, My Loves. My beautiful, smart, strong, creative, caring, kind, daring, wonderful loves. They keep my heart safe, and my smile bright. <3

To anyone or anything I have omitted (not by intentional exclusion), I am thankful for you as well - Every single thing I have, every single thing I can do, and every single thing I can give.


I hope you all have a wonderful day no matter what you do. And I hope you know that no matter what that is, or where you are, you are at the table with me and mine today. We are all a part of each other. 

And I am thankful for that. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


There you are
Now you’re gone
There you are
Where... Where did you…?
There you are
Come here, my sweet
There you are
Closer, closer
Closer still
There you are
Where did you go?
There you
Gone again.
There you are
I’m holding you now
There you are
Right there
Right here
Where you belong
There you are
Here we are
Are we real?
Are we here ?
Are we?
Here we are
There we are
There you are
Not gone
Not there
Right here
In my arms
Never gone
Never there
Always here
Right here
Right where I can see you
I can see you
I can touch you
There we are
In my heart

There we are.

Alone in the dark, with myself.

I could not see in the dark, but I could sense the nearness of the thing there. I could hear the low drawing of breath, and could almost feel the bristled fur against my skin. How long should I wait before reaching out to it, before stroking it? How long would I last in the darkness against such a fearsome and ancient creature? I steeled myself against it, and rose to my feet.
There, in the dark, I touched something fearsome. There, in the dark, I braved the chance of never seeing the light again.
There, in the dark, I let ran my hand over the gnarled flesh, feeling the framework of bone beneath. I let the fur run between my fingers like blades of grass. I imagined lying in the sunshine, warm and sleepy, with my arms outstretched. I could almost smell the earth beneath me, could almost see the blue skies above. I remembered the feeling of slipping away into slumber, unburdened by fear.  But that was a long time ago. I had let the fear grow into this that lie before me – A beast of its own, fanged and clawed and dangerous. I came down here when I was feeling comfortable in life, stroking the fear awake and watching how it still writhed in the greasy black. Fear, and nothing more.

In the gloom, the fear was almost beautiful. A glorious, wretched thing I nurtured and tended in the depths of my mind, now vibrant and powerful. Fear without reason, without cause. Fear that had no logical place in my life, yet it gathered and formed with a ferocity that surprised me.  Now you have these fears, too. They might not be the same as my own, but they are formidable beasts all the same.  Do you venture into that night and stroke them? Do you wander bravely into their lairs and coax them out into the brightening sky?  I do. I need to understand them.

And they need to understand me. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Dog Has Fleas

There is something very interesting about picking up a musical instrument. Some you can simply pluck a string, or tap a key, and a sound comes out that might be pleasing, might be ghastly, or might just be a noise. Some instruments come alive in your hand, while others lay there, waiting for you to DO something. Like so many of you, I'm sure, I have often picked up instruments and had no idea what to really do with them. I can strum a guitar, I can bang away on piano or keyboard keys, and I can even blow into a horn of some kind. But make music with it? Hardly.

Things have changed, these days. I was given an ukulele as a birthday gift, and fell in love with the simplicity of the instrument... 4 strings are easier to make chords on than 6, and the ease of fingering the frets is much more inviting than a guitar of any kind that I've ever played around with. I strum. I pick. I make music with a few chords that I learned, and I am happy with what I am hearing. For the first time in my life, seeing the fretboard is not intimidating. Actually being able to play along with others, once told what chords to play, is fairly simple, and honestly - it's not hard to fake.  I can't read music, never could, but I can play chords, and I can see the relationships between some of them now... and that makes me happy, too. I can sit under the shade of the porch, listening to the world go by while I strum a few chords into a simple little melody. I can make music. It's not like I'm any good at it, but I think if I stick with it, I could be.

We'll see.

But music, well... it makes me happy to be able to play. And I play everywhere. In airports, in the park, hell, I even play in my car when stuck in traffic.   When all else fails, I just strum a finger down those lovely strings...


And if that doesn't work, it's C Am Dm G... Because YMCA is a hell of a lot of fun to play.

I wonder how many people I can get to sing that in a bar?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I held your hand as you picked your way 
          through the sand in your high heels
You stumbled and smiled
And we were free for a while
Our laughter like thunder in peals

That loving glow grew fast and deep 
Your eyes bright upon your face
No matter how often I drive past that sign
I'll always remember our place

For where we've been. 
And where we want to go. 

I love you. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bump in the Night

Here's a little piece of my soul.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1976-1978, my wonderful parents took the family to the Lonsdale Drive-In movie theater. We were there often enough during the summer, and it was just another weekend. I don't have much recollection of the first film, but the second was a real winner originally from 1974 called "It's Alive".  This was a film about a killer baby.

Yes. A killer BABY.

Now, allow me to point my finger back at the year (okay, range of years...).  I was 6 or 7 or 8.
'Great Moments in Parenting', are you listening?

I'm not sure how big a box office hit this movie was, but it was no award-winner.  Of course, I watched most of it hiding on the front seat floor.  Laughable or not, I was scared. Really scared. The kind of scared that makes you run up the cellar stairs, hoping that the long fingers won't catch your ankles. Yes.  THAT scared.

I spent too many nights in my parents' bed after that, and for years after, I would never sleep unless I had the blankets wrapped around my ears, protecting me from the monster baby. I was a mess.  Daytime was fine, but when the sun went down, and I had to start thinking about ... you know... sleeping, well... yeah, I'll pass, thanks.

Fast forward to 1979. Oh, what a great year. I turned 9 that year (for those of you keeping track...) and was still scared of the night. I remember very distinctly going with my parents to see the movie "Prophecy" at the beautiful Four Seasons movie theater. Another great move, Mom and Dad.  Just fabulous. I managed to be terrified enough to watch most of this film through the porthole in the door to the theater. From the Lobby. Alone.  Shaking.  Get the picture?

So now I was afraid of (wait for it...) Killer Babies and Mutant Bears.

Laugh. You know you want to.

Go on. I'll wait.


So, done?
Moving the story along...

Great Moments in Parenting  leads my mother and father to take the family back to the drive in... this time to see that great family film by Ridley Scott... you know... Alien.  Compared to killer babies and mutant bears, this movie is pretty tame. Except for the part where the astronaut fucking explodes from an alien in his chest... that sort of stuff.

So I wrestled with sleep as a kid. I wrestled a LOT.

One day, I decided to get the hell over all of this. I decided that I would no longer be that afraid ever again, and vowed to myself that I would find out how it was all done on film.  I started to read magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fangoria, and Starlog. I took makeup books out of the library.  I read a lot, and experimented where I could. In the end, I learned way more than I ever thought. I debunked the mystery of the darkness that gripped my soul. I learned so many secrets that there is still little wonder in film for me.

I mastered my fear, and finally let myself sleep. I found a way through, and I stripped a little magic from the world while I was at it. All those movies no longer held any power over me, at least not in a way that was really meaningful. The flip side was that I was now no longer scared of any movie. None of them. I could watch anything and point and laugh and say, "This is how that is done..."

There is something to be said for fear. There is something to be said for not knowing how the lady gets sawn in half... cinematically or right there on stage in front of the magician. There is something to be said for sitting back and just watching the film. And that was something I traded away for being able to sleep.

As I grew older, I found myself able to actually DO makeup effects for things like haunted houses and really gross costumes. I was that guy, and it made me kinda cool in the right circles, but I think I would have traded some of that for being able to have a better time at a movie, you know? So I learned that there must be a fine line between being terrified by a movie and being terrified by what the movie represented to me.

The killer baby? Well, come on. I was like 6. I was scared of my own shadow at this age, and killer babies don't help.  I'm sure it influenced my life in ways I simply cannot realize, but you know... that's life.
 The mutant bear? That was a part of my fear of what's out there... in the wilderness, waiting to eat us. It could have been a normal bear, all pissed off and running after campers and it still would have had the same sort of effect on me, I think.  Alien? Ridley Scott is a genius. The pacing of that film still feels perfect. It's a long, slow march to a startling finale. My hat will always be off to him for this beautiful piece of cinematic fear.

But all of these events also helped shape me. It rewarded my curious nature with mastery of my fear. It taught me to continue to dig deep into my own soul even after I felt I found answers. It proved to me that I could overcome fear with knowledge. I am who I am today partly because of these images of horror and dread. I love that my parents brought me to see these films. To this day I am a fan of the genre, and I do believe that I have an appreciation for what goes in to a great horror film because of my thirst to know what was under that hood.

 I love what others fear.
And I am happy to be this way.

How about you? What scares you when the lights go out?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Caution: Student Drivers Ahead

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"                                                                         - George Carlin

These days I drive.

 A lot.

 No, really.

One of my commutes to work averages about 90 minutes one way (If I get my hustle on), and I do this 2-3 days a week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know... move closer, change jobs, whatever. Not going to happen, but I appreciate the understanding . Back to the story... So, yeah. I drive a lot. And I get stuck in traffic enough that I'm really tired of quite a few behaviors. When I'm Godpigeon, all of this is different, capiche? 

I know many of you have a long drive everyday as well, so you'll understand more than most when I say "Yo, other drivers? It's just a broken down car, not an alien artifact... keep moving at the pace you just were when you pass it."  Know what I'm talking about? There's lots of other behaviors I can bitch about. Like when a cop has another car pulled over, you can keep going 80. He's not going to run back to his car and call for backup because there's 18 cars exceeding the speed limit. He's good. He caught a commuter doing something and he's a happy cop. He'll write the ticket and know that he helped the state gather another $100 from a hapless driver. 

 Also, when you are one of the 18 cars in a line going 80, please, please, PLEASE don't decide to tap that brake pedal just for the fun of it. Your brakes work just fine, and that sudden, barely noticeable flash of your brake lights will turn a well-oiled machine into a pile of rust and busted cogs faster than you can say "squirrel". That one tiny flash of red makes the other cars behind you slam on their brakes (OMG! What if it's a cop and I didn't see him?"), then resume their previously interrupted speed. This, of course, trickles down the line until there's a string of cars in ALL lanes slowing down, just in case. Traffic is a river. One ripple can change things for miles. Please, don't be that person. 

 When there is a lot of other traffic on the road, it might not be the best time to check your facebook feed. I know, Texting While Driving (TWD) is illegal in many states, but you know that you do it.  I know you do it. EVERYONE knows that you do it. Want to know how? Well, first of all, you go from  80 to 50 in just a short stretch, your head is up, but your eyes are downish, you are smiling as your eyes are down (well, actually, thinking about this now - maybe you are masturbating, so this might apply to MWD, too), and most importantly - you are probably swerving juuuuuust a bit to the edge of your lane before correcting suddenly. If you MUST check that FB feed, wait until there are fewer cars around... please? Beside, we might bump while I'm checking mine, and that would be bad. 

 Let's all learn how to merge when entering traffic from the on-ramps?  When last I was in driving school (30 hours, actually, but let's leave that alone for now), merging meant that YOU adjusted YOUR speed to fit into the flow of traffic, not just plowing into the lane of travel at your own fucking speed.  Merging does not mean that the 3000 other drivers in the area must accommodate YOU and your driving style. It means that YOU figure out how to use that right foot to go faster if you need to, and please watch out for other cars in the lane you are entering, m'kay? And - The breakdown lane is NOT an extension of the on ramp.  Seriously. And trucks can't usually just slide over and give you your own lane - they are generally screwed when it comes to just moving over suddenly. 

 I know it's hard, but if we could ALL just watch the road ahead, that would be great. We are all out there together, and being a douchebag driver, jumping lanes to gain an extra 20 feet, swerving from lane to lane to lane and back again, you know... the Speed Racer Mentality... well, that's gonna be a problem most of the time. See, again, we might bump while I'm practicing for the Indy 500.  I'm not planning on going there, but one never knows when an opportunity might arise. 

 Oh, and please... you. Yes, you. The Ballsack going 65 in the high speed lane? Who the fuck hired you to be the righteous roadblock? Get the fuck over. You need to learn what "Flash - Flash" means when you see it in your rear-view mirror.  In case you were studying for your urine test, it means MOVE! Politely, of course. It doesn't mean I want to wave to you and be your friend. It means that I am going faster than you and you have space to move over. In other words, sweetheart, the party is over so get the fuck out. When other cars are passing you on the right, you are probably in the wrong lane and should take the hint. Really. 

 It's been a trying week. Miles of backup because a drunk was getting a sobriety test.  It's just a drunk. It's not anything special.  If it makes you happy to see that, then stay the hell home and watch Court TV with the other sheep. We're trying to get somewhere. Sigh. To end on a positive note, here's to the folks who take turns out in front of the fast line of cars, and to the guys who let the truckers move over, and to the nice old ladies in fast cars who smile when you pass them... then keep up. 

 Now, is there a little Sammy Hagar out there to listen to?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Things Happen for a Reason...

I'm not a big fan of that way of thinking. Things happen because we make choices. Many times, the choices we make are obvious, other times, they are hidden amid our daily lives. There are always choices.


When we fall back on "Things happen for a reason" it both takes away our involvement in the process. It make us blameless when things go badly, and at the same time it takes away the credit when things go well. Applying the THFAR mentality, clearly it wasn't your own decision to take the more difficult path, so when you succeed, it can't be because you made it that way... it's because of someone else.

So many times, the choices we have are not between a great one and a terrible one, but among several terrible ones. Deciding which of them is the least terrible, and which one might lead to the best possible chance of having a better choice in the next round?  It's up to us. Maybe it's lack of blind faith in the controlling divine, maybe it's my own belief that divinity starts within each of us, or maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon, but I believe that in every case, we are ultimately responsible for our own lives.

I wasn't always this way. I spent so much of my life neither taking the blame nor the credit for my own decisions. It MUST have been 'meant to be', right? My first girlfriend and I were 'meant to be' and that ended badly too many years later. My career choices early on were 'meant to be', as were the choices I made over education, vehicles, living arrangements... so many parts of my life were simply 'meant to be' that when bad things happened, they must have happened for a reason, right? All part of the big plan, I guessed.

But somehow, I came to realize that I was in a bad emotional situation not because it was meant to be, but rather that I made choices in my life that led me to that place.  I made personal choices to remain silent, to be bitter rather than be honest about how certain actions made me feel. I made choices every day - many of them were the same choice - to remain in the current situation or to continue to o nothing to improve my own mental, emotional, or physical well-being.  When I was unhappy with my job, I made a choice to enter into an arrangement that I believed would allow me to return to go to school and complete my degree. I relied on others for my own personal success. No more of that.  These days, I try to make decisions that will better my life. Decisions that will hopefully better the lives of those I am attached to. I try to be the best father I can be. I try to be the best partner I can be to the women I love. I try to be more attentive as a son, and as a brother. An uncle, and a friend.

Things happening for a reason? No. Unless that reason is that I made the choice, or my actions led to the result.  I won't see it any other way.

Not anymore.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The fire danced in the desert evening, sending sparks high into the sky. Above, the night sky filled the eyes of a young boy and an ancient crow. They sat next to each other upon rocks worn smooth by lifetimes of children who came before to speak reverently to the aged creature. Grandfather Crow wrapped himself more tightly in his blanket, and looked at the young boy. One day, like so many before him, this boy would become a great warrior. Grandfather Crow knew this, and treated the boy with respect.

"Grandfather Crow, why do you chase the Grandmother Moon every night? You are so small to her, she mustn't even notice."

"Child, I may be small, but when she is full and bright, my shadow covers much land. When she shines upon me, I am not small. "

"But Grandfather Crow, if Grandmother Moon hasn't noticed you by now, why do you think she ever will? She does not stop, nor look towards you... "

"Child," the creature smiled patiently at the boy, "ask me again when you are in my shadow."


Many years later, the Great Chief sat alone in front of a fire, warming his bones beneath a sky deep with stars. He turned his eyes upward to see a crow's shadow pass in front of the full moon. The old man grinned, and knew deep in his heart that it must have been a very large shadow... at least three nations wide.

"Grandfather Crow, I see you wrapped in the arms of Grandmother Moon. You are not small at all."

The Great Chief sat, smiling, as he watched the night sky for a very long time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I decided when I got my own place to begin a tradition. In Japan, when one returns home from being out, the word 'Tadaima' is uttered upon entering the home again. The response, said by anyone home, is 'Okaerinasai'. Literally, they mean "I'm Home" and "Welcome Home" respectively. I like that. I like the formality of announcing your arrival back home, and being greeted by loved ones in return. It made me happy the first time I saw it in a Japanese video, and I always wanted to have that as part of my life. 

Now I do. 

I really do love the idea of being greeted when returning home. It's warming and sweet, and reminds me that no matter where we've been, our presence is appreciated at the places we call home. It's nice to be appreciated. And it's just as wonderful to greet a loved one with a smile, a happy face, and a word that acknowledges their presence in the home.  

So I'm here, waiting to acknowledge you when you come home, which of course, is 'Uchi'.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Today is Gina's birthday. So as I have done before, and will again, I present to you the ABC's of Gina:

Giddy and Gorgeous, Gleefully sweet
Interosculant and Illustrative, she may Illapse into her seat
Napaean at heart, Nyctanthous and fine
Acatalectic, Artistic, an Aubade divine

Happy Birthday, my sweet.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wagons East

"So there we were. Heavy weather, low on fuel..."
                            - Scott R.

     It was a dark and stormy night when we set off from California. Glendale vanished into a bright spot on the horizon of the night sky in our rear-view, and the open road beckoned.  Okay, not really, but it might as well have been.  On Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, Two cats, Gina Marie Terzino, and I set off on the road trip of a lifetime. We were driving from Beautiful Downtown Glendale, California to the Eastern shores of our continent. We were moving her back home to her beloved Rhode Island. For those of you who might not know, nor care to look at a map of the United States, Rhode Island is NOT a suburb of New York, nor is it part of Massachusetts. It's the armpit of America, nestled in New England, and it's NOT Sunny California. But it is home.

     So we set off about 5:00pm, just to make sure we hit as much California traffic as we could (I suppose it was an unconscious effort to get the complete CA experience). We broke free of the 210, hit the gas, and moved like a guppy towards the great open expanse of the 15, searching for the 40, the lower of the two coast-to-coast interstates. The little blue Saturn Ion, stuffed to the gills with meowing furballs and musical instruments (not that the cats could not be considered musical at this point) sipped her fuel and moved with grace through the western part of Arizona, on into the night and early morning of the 21st.

     With Runs-with-Scissors at the wheel, sometime in the late 1:00AM hour, a sudden misfire began to slow our course through the chilly AZ evening. I didn't panic, nor did I even wake the sleeping Gina. I simply stared at the rhythmically flashing 'check engine' light, and hoped it would cease. Soon. Please. Anytime would be great. No?  Hm... So I took the first exit I saw, dove onto the connecting road, and swooped gracefully into the gas station. Gina woke up, blinked, and asked where we were, to which I responded " Arizona. And we have a problem."  There's a lot to this story, including a VERY cold night trying to sleep while covered with a TOWEL (blankets? Who needs 'em...), an attempted parking lot fix the next morning, not one, but TWO mechanics, Getting lost thanks to Google Nav (and wait... what do you mean there's no damned phone signal?), an overnight stay in WINSLOW, AZ (YES! I know it's in an Eagles song), sneaking cats into the hotel, Gina's wrenched ankle (What DID you trip on, woman?), and a wonderful phone call to the mechanic that ended like this, "The car needs an engine. Okay. So when could you get one? No, next Tuesday or Wednesday won't work. Put it back together, we're coming to pick it up. Can you leave the injector to the bad cylinder disconnected? No? Okay." We picked up the car, I disconnected the injector to cylinder #1, and we hit the road, cats and all.  Three Cylinder Sally was moving again, and as long as we kept it above 2500RPM, we were good.

     Arizona disappeared behind us, New Mexico was a blur... then onto Texas (Dark AND Flat) and Oklahoma through the night. It was light out when we hit Arkansas, which was long, but smelled better than TX and OK. Other than the (I'm STILL giggling here) written warning for speeding and a brake light, it was all pretty uneventful. Welcome signs passed by, we took pictures, and it was pretty smooth. Three Cylinder Sally chugged along, giving me a couple good scares when trying to start after refueling, but finally shuddering to life.  And I gotta say that I love Denny's, but I'm pretty much all set with Grand Slam Burgers at this point in my life. Then came Tennessee.  The Longest State EVAR!!! It went on for what felt like days, and on... and on... and on... and just on.  It was fairly green, except for the blurbs of the big cities that went by.  Yes, I know, we should have stopped in Memphis, and Nashville, but honestly we weren't stopping anywhere except a gas station.  It was somewhere in the night that we went through Knoxville, and the leg North finally began. Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, then finally Rhode Island all appeared in our windshield, and we watched the changes fly by us flanking the highway corridor. The car performed admirably considering the mechanical state of it, and there were no other real issues.  We managed to get somewhere between 26 and 30 mpg as well!

     Would I drive across this beautiful country again? You bet. But I would have a much different plan of action, one that did not include traveling with cats. As a sidebar, the cats were marvelous. They settled in, decided it wasn't so bad, and Gina was wonderful in her care of them.  Bix didn't much care for the tractor trailers, I guess they were just too large to be comfortable around, and Sophie could really care less about anything other than getting back in her crate.  Win one for relaxed cats, I suppose.  If you've never driven coast to coast, it's worth trying. It's a beautiful land we live in, and I'm not sure we Americans truly appreciate the breathtaking grandeur of it all.

But there is no place like home, close to the hearts we love.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dream of the Raven's Gate XIII

Three women in white marched in step over beautiful grassy plains and down shaded, tree-lined paths. Each taking turns to drag their fingers over the bars of the ever-present iron fence, it's aging black bars reaching towards the sky.  They traveled in near silence, calling to the wind with wry smiles, and humming tunes that could best be described as rhythmic.  Each woman stepping lightly, but with a purpose held in thier footfalls. no dust soiled their shoes, no speck adorned their dresses.  No indication that they were real at all, other than thier presence in one's vision.

They stepped on.

The tormented creature, wrapped in his black shroud, waited for the calling and the madness again. He felt the shift as the Great Old One opened his eyes and gazed, at last, upon the green fields that were ready to receive Him. The depths of the tomb were irrelevant, and the time between blinks an eternity.  This was His time, His place. He would not again be turned back from owning the Dreamlands. Not ever again. The Key was here, ready to be taken, and that mortal creature would give it willingly.  In the pits, the hellish green glow began to writhe and glisten. It's tendrils working throughout the lush world just beyond . . . Chaos would rise and the world of men would be next.

The body of a man floated in the abyss, cradled by the luminous green flesh. His black eyes, unseeing in the darkness, stared. His snow-white hair lay streaming in all directions. The Great Silver Key lie within his hollow soul, and The Ancient One was drilling deep into his being to grasp it.  A whisper came out of the black, and fell upon his deaf ears as a clear peal of a tiny bell. "Remember" it sang. One word, nearly silent, but repeated... "Remember". The light ignited behind the man's eyes and he felt the struggle begin anew. He saw the Key flash bright, shudder, then cower behind his nearly-shattered psyche. It was almost time to lose, the man understood. It was almost time to give forever to the Chaos...

Three women stepped brightly into the blackened rays of a distant sun. Karasu knelt silently and waited for his Master to begin His ascent. The storms in the real world were roiled with Leviathanic fury and the seas churned with His power. "Husband..." Karasu's horrified eyes snapped open at the sound of the woman's voice.
"Husband," it repeated.
"Father." Another voice, similar, but younger.
"Grandfather" A third. Then all in unison, "Karasu".  He could not resist any longer. The punishment would forever mark his very form, but he could not resist. He rose, the cloak spreading like a death shroud around his form. "You are here without the boy. Why? how is this possible?"

"Oh, Husband..." The oldest woman wrapped her arms around Karasu, he melted into her as generations of misery throttled his black heart. He wept. He'd kissed this woman in her casket so long ago. She should not be here, not now, not without the help of the Key's Master...
The middle woman threw her arms around the creature. "Father!" He turned his face to her, stared into her eyes, and saw... something... unexpected.  Malice. He saw another reason for the presence. He turned quickly to the woman he called wife. He saw it there as well. Then he cast a glance at the youngest... And was taken to the ground by it. He was bound, and left helpless by these beautiful woman in white. He was unable to rise, unable to shift from this plane to another. He was held captive by the treachery of these women . And he realized too late that his fate had been manipulated so very long ago.

"Margaret... You?"
"Fool of a man. You had to have hope for the boy, didn't you? You couldn't simply do your job as the Great Old One commanded? Of course not. The fatherless boy, grown into a man, then given to the Ancient One as a gift by his Priestess. Did you think you were drawn to us that day by chance? Did you not know that we needed you to see the boy's eyes? You must remember when you saw us all together? When that useless hack gave his sanity to channel you?  You do. You remember. And you remembered your great-grandson's eyes.  You had to. You needed to know his eyes.  Have you seen them now? I have. They look a lot like yours. And he STILL won't give the Ancient One that damned Key.  YOU TOLD HIM HOW TO HIDE IT, DIDN'T YOU?" She screamed, fury in her voice.  Black ochre pouring through her veins and darkening her alabaster white skin like hellish roots from her collarbone upwards towards her face. "YOU WILL MAKE HIM GIVE IT TO US"

Karasu felt sickened for the first time in ages. His wife, Priestess of the Ancient One. his Daughter, and his Granddaughter, too. The Cult had found them, had given them power. His wife kept the secret and raised his daughter to carry the traditions on, and she had. The Cult had made them masters of men. He realized this all too late to save himself, it seemed. He slid away, shrinking into the womb of his cloak. The bindings kept him there, on the stone threshold, but he shrunk away, searching for the child he loved... those eyes must not ever be his own.  His Grandson. .  . The one he left screaming at the hands of his Master.

The betrayal wounded the Creature beyond his own comprehension. He was a pawn.

And he was broken.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Blue Dream

Deeper and deeper
     I spiral, becoming one with the murky depths
          Flesh pressed against bone as the pressure rises
               My heartbeat slows with every passing moment
                    I close my eyes against the rising darkness
                         Fathoms beneath the rolling waves
                    Where it is calm
               Where it is cold
         Where the black wraps me in comfort
     The stillness and the silence
Gripping my existence
     Calling me down.....
                    To where songbirds are not heard
                         To where my racing mind becomes untroubled
                    Serene in the deathlike cloak
               Of the home I fall into
          Again and again
     I am
          A stone in the sea...
               Without resistance I tumble
                    And twist
                         Until I come to rest
                    Without light
               Or sound
          Or companionship
     I am alone
In the deep blue sea
     And it is pacific
          In it's serenity...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


  It's who I am trying to be. I was not this before. I might have had it inside of me, but I wasn't it. I can feel all of it, I can feel the world just under my skin, and I WANT to let it free... but the real world encroaches and stifles. It drags its claws over my art, through my dreams. It rends the hope I try to keep close to me useless at times.

     The real world sucks the art out of a body, and injects it with morbid fascination. It creates desires for the common, and numbs the spirit. It clamps our wings closed and makes us earthbound, with only a memory of the sky in the fleeting corner of out imagination.

     Who do you want to be? It's getting late, as Derek Dick once sang, for scribbling and scratching on the paper.  It's time to grab the tail of a star, hold it close to your heart, and fly. It's time to resist the gravity of the everyday. It's time to see the sky under you, time to know the feeling of freedom, and not just the ordinary freedom of escaping from the bland, shriveled existence most of us eek out. It's time to know freedom as the rushing wind tearing past the tender skin on your face, seeing the ground come towards you as you reach terminal velocity.  Feeling the sky, itself, pulling at your shirt tails begging you to slow your descent, but throwing a hand behind and loosening its grasp.

     I am the Sun, Chasing his Mistress Moon.
     I am Whispering Willows caressing Faery Skin.
     I am the Servant.
     I am the Master.
     I am Powerful.
     I am Loved, and Lover.
     I am Light and Darkness.

     I am Wicked.

     I Am Artist.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sparking the Muse

The two old men walked carefully over the loose gravel drive towards the barn. They were dressed in their Sunday best, circa 1930, one in grey pinstripes, the other in black. They had their jackets open in the heat, hats pitched askew as they dabbed their foreheads with white cotton handkerchiefs. The taller man took off his jacket, throwing it over his shoulder, the dampness showing through his white shirt as a darkening spread between his red suspenders.  In the background, Billie Holiday could be heard singing "I'll Be Seeing You" from the rolling green back yard of the house, and from inside, the occasional wails of grief overcame the quiet music. They walked quietly, reverently, towards the large white building at the end of the drive, to their left, a well-planted island created a circular area where other guests had carelessly parked.

"Joe was a hell of a guy. I wonder if he kept up on the insurance?" The shorter man questioned off-handedly in the heat.  The taller man just shook his head and shrugged, patting his head again as he pushed his hat further up his brow.
"Not sure.  Probably. He was pretty practical. I doubt he would have left Mary with nothing..." he trailed off and they kept walking.

The barn door loomed before them, waves of heat fuming up off the dark gravel. It was white, the siding fixed vertically upon it, the paint ancient and cracking. There was no lock, only a single handle in the center of the door, near the ground. The two men stared at each other and blinked, their faces questioning as of to say, "Well? Think we can go in?". This time both men shrugged. The tall man leaned down, grabbed the handle and lifted. There came a sound that could only come from an old wooden door that hadn't been used in decades. The springs creaked and moaned as the weight was taken and it slid up, pivoting in the tracks on either side. Dust escaped from the long-sealed building, and both men coughed automatically as they smiled together, then turned their gaze back to the now-cavernous opening.

The light barely penetrated the darkness inside. It was as though the years had worn the shine off the sun, and the dim corners of the barn drank in the glowing yellow light as a man crawling across the Sahara might drink from an oasis. The men waved their hats around to clear the air, and slowly made their way inside. The shorter of the two stopped just inside the opening and stared, open-mouthed, at a shape covered by a dusty white sheet. It was enormous, and from the state of the sheet, it had been there for quite some time. The taller of the two instinctively reached out his left hand and found the ancient light switch, flipping it on with a gnarled knuckle. The single bare bulb above the shape ignited in a brilliant flash of white, then dimmed slightly. The heat from the now-glowing bulb began to burn the dust from its surface, and the rising smoke trailed along the fabric-covered cord suspending it from above. The men hushed and stood reverently in the harsh juxtaposition of light and darkness. The shorter leaned over, touched the dusty sheet and turned his head to the taller man. "He never said he had a car"

"Maybe he didn't want to brag"
"Well, it's probably just an old hunk of junk. He didn't ever seem to be real handy, even with Mary," The men chuckled a bit. They were comfortable with each other, with the memories they spoke of, and it showed. Old friends holding each other up in a time of grief. They shared the hush of men in church, greeting before service. "Think we should?"
"We're here. What's it going to hurt?" The taller man folded his coat over his forearm and leaned down in front of the shape. "Here goes, I guess..."

Like a barker of old, the tall man gracefully lifted the cover, baring the treasure hidden beneath so very slowly. He grinned as a bumper appeared first, then a tall grill followed, both gleaming chrome and looking so very new. The cover became caught on the hidden hood ornament and it took a bit of fumbling to get it untangled. When he did, both men hitched their breath in their chest and held it in. The shorter man spoke first, with admiration, "It's a Muse.  My good God, he's got a Muse."  The tall man tugged the sheet hard and fast, belying his years, and it fell at his feet in a dusty heap. There, in the middle of their dead friend's barn was a car so rare that it was thought to be a myth among collectors. A 1924 Muse.  It was worth more than the property the two men had arrived at today to share his widow's grief.  They ran their fingers over the graceful lines, touching the steel and wood. They brushed their knuckles delicately over the chrome trim, careful to not scrape anything. They drank in the beauty, the elegant forms, and the luxurious textures with their eyes, with their very souls. They caught glances at each other, smiling like schoolboys, and feeling younger than they had in what felt like ages.

They met at the front of the car again, each leaning down to kiss the beautiful chrome goddess that adorned the brilliantly shined grille. They noticed the crank together. Still clipped into place, awaiting use. again they looked once again towards each other. "There's no way this thing... You think?" Said Tall Man. His partner smiled and reached down, his hands seemingly free from the wear of years, invigorated by this gorgeous white creature lying here, unworshipped for who knew how long. Short Man moved deftly, tipping the crank into position and running it through it's range of motion. "Seems okay," he said. Tall Man smiled and nodded, backing away. It was then, and there, that he noticed how much better he felt than earlier today. His knees ached a little less, his back no longer cried at him. 'It must be the excitement,' he thought to himself.

Short Man cranked. Once, twice, and the third time around the Muse fired. It was an unearthly sound inside that barn, a deliciously sonus reverberation against the men's hearts. They leapt into the air as it rumbled ambrosially, begging them into the cabin... the supple leather gliding across their rears as they slid in and closed the doors. Gripping the wheel, Tall Man grinned ear to ear. His heart was dancing in his chest, and he was laughing as a child might - free from the years of living. Short Man bounced up and down on the seat as he began peeling off his too-large jacket and throwing it into the back seat. Tall Man pressed the clutch, shifted into gear, and they whooped and laughed like boys! "Go Go GO!" yelled Short Man, slapping Tall Man's back with enthusiasm.

The attendees began to move from the house and yard into the drive at the sound of a strange engine - melodic and rhythmic rather than a more modern sound. They were greeted by the sight of a huge white car tearing from the barn, it's wide wheels spinning in the gravel drive as it rounded the corner exiting the building. What might have been glitter streamed behind it, mixed in with the dust, and glinting in the bright sun. Two boys, dressed in someone's Sunday best, were in the front seat, their too-large hats flying from their heads as they ran the car through it's gears and down the drive...

And the sound of laughter filled the air.

"O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention."
     -William Shakespeare

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Questions, Questions...

Well now.  Seems I make a little more noise than I intend, so I guess a little Q&A session will (hopefully)  clear up some of the redness and that itchy rash.

I heard a couple questions in the past few days, and I thought I might share them with y'all.  Here goes:

"Dude... what's up with the whole Deux Dames thing on your Facebook Page?"

Aaaaahhhh.... yeah.  Well, see, Facebook doesn't allow more than one person to be listed in a relationship with you even if you list your status as "In an open relationship" (Oddly, that is the wrong description, but it's the closest one that the insane folks over at FBHQ offer).  The two beautiful women I am in a relationship in both deserve to be listed at the top of my page.  Period. It stinks to have to put one OR the other up (remember, I'm all about AND not OR, right?), so I found an interesting way around it.  A FB page for them. It allows me to get their beautiful faces right there on top, and it allows me the opportunity to give  both relationships the respect that they deserve.  Honest.  And even better than that, I had their consent (Really? Yes, really). We discussed various possibilities, but THIS one worked best, and I was more than happy to do it.  Both smiles deserve top ranking, and they get it.  Pretty cool, huh?

And no, it's not bragging or being boastful, but it is fair. I love them both, so why not have them be right there on the top of the page?

"You've badmouthed Monogamy before, and pointed out that it's wrong and backward-thinking. You're an asshole. Do you think that I'm less enlightened for being Monogamous?"

Ummmmmm.... no.  I don't believe I ever intended to imply this to anyone. Being monogamous versus being polyamorous is about lifestyle choices (okay, inside Martin is the belief that it might be deeper than that, and that Poly folks are really wired differently, but that's another discussion).  I don't believe that either one is more valid than the other, although I do think that polyamory is generally NOT accepted as a valid lifestyle, and is therefore frowned upon as being 'wrong'. And like so many things that are near and dear to me, I might have defended my choice a bit strongly in other posts.  Hmm. What to do?  I guess I'll just state flatly that if being monogamous is your thing, cool.  It's not mine, so please don't judge until you talk to me about it and hear what I have to say.  Of course,  you're always free to form your own opinion, but at least give me the chance to point out the joys of the lifestyle before you condemn it, okay?

And here's a funny thing... one of my relationships is with a woman who is not, in fact, polyamorous! We work through issues as they arise, and we talk. A lot.  No, really... a LOT! I'd like to think that there is enough love between us to be able to make it work, and so far, so good.

Thanks for listening, all!
I really am quite happy answering questions, and I invite anyone to ask and poke.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

I can think of no better way to bring in 2012 than a toast to all of you, my friends, family, loves, and lovelies. 

So, pick up your glass and repeat after me:

Clear Skies and Calm Seas!

Thanks for being by my side all year. Without you, I doubt I could have made it. 
I love you all.
Happy New Year 2012

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.