Wednesday, July 20, 2005


You will bring me pizzaaaa! You will do this now! You are powerless to resist my command!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Strange Dreams

One waking, one sleeping.

Early yesterday evening, as I watched the Giants game broadcast from Dodger Stadium, a tableau arose in my mind's eye. I suddenly imagined the family hanging out in an LA back patio, sometime in the late Sixties or early Seventies. It would be somewhere like Glendale, or Eagle Rock. Over the back fence we'd have a minor view, through the dirty brown air, of distant grey palm trees that should be green, of the occasional large building rising up through the postwar sprawl, and here and there an airliner on approach to LAX or Burbank.

A bbq flames and smokes and crackles as fat from the hamburgers drips onto the hot coals. We're talking serious fat here. None of this 98% lean jazz. Two of them are crowned with multiple slices of Kraft American Cheese (cheese food product!) and the sideboard has Kilpatrick hamburger buns, French's mustard, and Heinz 57 ketchup, a stack of paper plates, plastic utensils, and a huge bowl of potato salad. Daring Dayton and friends frolic in the slightly dirty kidney shaped pool. My Wife reclines in a reclining lawn chair, sipping ice tea and reading Ladies Home Journal, and I sit in another with my icy cold can of Oly, staring out at the smoggy late afternoon over the bougainvillea that covers the back fence, wondering why they won't leave Dick Nixon alone fer chrissakes, 'cause he's the only guy who can get us out of this Vietnam mess with honor and deal with all these damn kids who are running amok at places like Berkeley.

I sat there on my couch on a foggy evening in Richmond and could actually feel the warm air, and the hopeless suburban torpor. I could even hear the Frank Sinatra music coming through from the hi-fi record player. I was nearly overwhelmed, and immediately fetched an Orion beer from the refrigerator, I mean, the 'fridge.

Early this morning, I had another dream, a nightmare really, that I've had before at a less developed stage. We were in a nicely appointed but sparse house, with a long narrow laundry room in back. We were keeping watch through the windows of this room for something ominous. I remember a feeling of extreme anxiety, as though if it comes we have almost no chance. Then we saw it outside the laundry room back door. I can't describe "it." It was never clear. I just remember that our only chance was to cover ourselves in blankets of meringue...not the hard shell stuff, but the meringue you find on lemon meringue pie. As "it" broke in to the house, we all scrambled underneath our blankets of meringue, but it got mine and was pulling it off and I began to panic. My soul was at stake. An indescribable horror awaited me if I didn't somehow fight it off, and I was losing the battle. In the dream I began to yell "No! No!" and then I awoke. My Wife said I was hyperventilating and muttering "No! No!"

The dream never returned, but this morning I feel exhausted. I'll think about this one for awhile. I wonder if Frank Sinatra was coming to get me, or maybe Nixon. Now I wonder, can I muster a large enough army of crows to fight them off if they come again?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Danny Boy

There is nothing like Jackie Wilson's cover of "Danny Boy." How many could've turned "Londonderry Air" into a gospel freakout? Get it, hear it, and go beyond.

Longing for...

...the Library.

We were driving in this morning along Oxford Street at the eastern edge of downtown Berkeley. As we crossed the intersection of Allston Way and Oxford Street I was seized with a moment of nostalgia for the hours I spent with my nose deep in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the reference room high atop the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library. Generally speaking, at times like that I should've been in class at Berkeley High School a block to the west, but why bother? There was nothing compelling in class, but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, there was a treasure house of strange facts and fuel for the RE Howard knockoffs I was continually starting and never finishing. I could wander into the reference room, grab one of the volumes of the chronicle and instantly find myself in some west British swamp in the year 733, clutching a battle axe and waiting for sounds of the approaching enemy. Having survived the resulting melee, I would then be surveying the Severn Estuary from the north coast of Cornwall, on the lookout for Irish pirates. How could algebra possibly be more fun than that, I ask you? Yes indeed. Thus the agony and confusion of being a socially inept teenager afflicted with acne and fear was swept away.

I have happily left behind that kind of agony and confusion, but the nostalgia remains. Just the impact of that total escape is nearly impossible to recreate now, and there are moments when I could really use it for just a little while. Libraries are not at all the same around here. The mustiness is gone, which some would say is a good thing, but not if you fancy yourself to be a character in a Lovecraft story, studying certain rare and arcane formulae. You need the smell of dust and old wood, and the creepy quiet of the darkest corner of the reading room. You need grey, silent people padding about. You can't reach that place in a modern, mechanised, computerised place like the library at Cal. Perhaps I'll wander downtown one of these days and see if they even still have the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. I can't really go back, but I might catch a glimpse. That might be good enough.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Springheel Jack

Here we have the famous protector of our household, and all around strange animal. this is a photo taken by the esteemed animal photographer, Hip Liz.

Damn this thing

For some reason this post never saved. It was supposed to be a diatribe about losing about 150 carefully thought out words on another post. Now this! What the hell?