Thursday, January 31, 2013

To Retain a Light Step . . .

. . . when life becomes slightly intolerable, and you feel the need for some of that old time music, I highly recommend:

Now and then, I need a tune that's free of comment, or irony, or cynicism.  This is it, in spades. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


It strikes me that watching a dog's tail wag while not seeing the rest of the dog is a little like listening to half a telephone conversation.

All for now

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weird Canine Habits

Kona, our hound dog pit bull mutt, has an interesting habit of standing and staring at the back door for quite a few moments before whacking it with her paw.  She stands there with her head down for a while, then looks around to see if anyone will get up to let her out.  She doesn't approach any of us, just stands there waiting.  If we don't respond, she walks half way back to the living room, as far as the dining room, then turns around and repeats the whole performance.  It's as if the walk back will reset everything, and perhaps then we'll get up to let her out.  Cruel it may be, but I can't resist not reacting just to see how many times she'll do it before she yowls at one of us. 

She actually never utters a sound.  She just stares and whacks softly at the door, multiple times if need be.

OK, then we finally let her out and if one of us doesn't go out with her, at least at night, she generally will not go do what she needs to do.  She'll turn around before making it to the edge of the patio, then run back and start clawing frantically at the back door.  This is probably the one thing she does that just annoys the hell out of me.  I do not appreciate having to stand around in the freezing cold while she looks for a place to pee.  Jayzus!  She has jaws that cause my brother to refer to her as our "death machine" and she can't stand to go out into her own territory to pee.

She also makes a sound sometimes in the morning that you could describe as baying.  If she's really hungry and I am not moving fast enough, she gives me the word in this way.  It's a bizarre edgy baying noise that I've never heard from any of other dog.  Once she's delivered that statement, she spring loads for when food fills her dish then goes after it like a huge furry piranha.  She never takes more than 30 seconds to finish.  Not unlike American travellers witnessed by de Tocqueville back in The Day.

There we are.  She's a golden dog; a classic children's dog and as affectionate as a dog could be with the capability of ending a human life.  Still, she won't go out into the dark, but she will tell me to hurry the hell up.

Odd.  Wouldn't live without her though. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cut the Funk

Even in suburban California, morning light has a way of cutting through the murk.  I refer the murk of the mind, a musty, green gurgly fog that fills the perception after a night of too much red wine and snacks . . . after dinner.  My mind is murky this morning, but slicing through it in the form of a blade of sunlight is the dawning of a new day.  Off through the shimmering oak leaves I can see blue sky.  This means that the chilluns can be taken out into the sun shine, away from screens that steal their soul, away from the motionless frustration that freezing rainstorms bring on.

Already the Princess is whining because "no one will play with me."  Five year olds don't understand the concept of starting a beautiful day with a positive frame of mind.  I tried that, just to see what would happen, and she frumped away a little more silently, but now she's stomping out here as loudly as possible to pester me again.

So, what started as a hopeful observation on morning and possibilities has been slapped away by a little girl's desire to be played with and her complete lack of patience.  I only finish these last few lines because she needs to learn to wait for things.  OK, away I go.  Time for a Saturday morning jigsaw puzzle!

OK, the morning meal has been consumed (pancakes with blueberries and bananas for adults, pancakes with chocolate chips and marshmallows for kids, in the shape of a wombat head for the Princess).  We have taken on our traditional American load of sugar and fat and are ready to face the day.

Movement is desired, toward anything that doesn't involve stress and strain, fighting children or obligations.  Perhaps obligations are the thing to be most avoided.  We have a rare weekend here where we don't have to do something we committed to.  The temptation to sprawl is nearly overwhelming, but I fight it by remembering that I sit on my ass for a living.  I've even taken to setting my watch timer for 45 minutes to force myself to get up once per hour and move around, stand on one leg for a minute each leg, do pushups, squats, touch the ceiling, run up and down the stairs, anything that gets me moving with some effort or forcing me use muscles I don't use much. 

I'm in that mode today.  I don't want food or drink until dinner.  I don't want to sit and watch. In fact I don't even want to write this anymore.  I want to use the junk that sits in the middle of the garage as a blocking sled and shove it out into the gutter.  Trouble is, it would block the street.  I want to strip it all back to the walls and start over!  Aiiieeeee!

Friday, January 11, 2013

On the Sunny Side-yeah well....

I had started a post here talking about the swine flu death of a three year old girl in India, the wee cousin of a friend of mine who went there to spend time with her mother and other family members, only to have to sit with cousins as their daughter died off in a ventilator that did her no good at all.  The disease was too strong.

At first I felt utterly wretched and utterly blocked.  Where could I go with a thing like that but farther into a babbling darkness and pointless maundering about the shattered faith of the family and cruelty of life?  Nowhere, that's where.

So, I've decided not to write anymore about it except to ask that Fate deals them a better hand for having paid such a heavy price. 

Otherwise, shit, it's a new year, and the weather has been lovely.  Why not think no more of death?

Pitchers and catchers report in just under a month, February 12 for the Giants.

Uh, yeah.  Uhhhh, Apophis is not supposed to hit Earth in 2036 after all, so my 79th year won't be remarkable for some monster tsunami sweeping away half of Ireland, or something equally cataclysmic.  That's a good thing, right?

Hmmmm...thinking of death again there.

The manager at Mel's Drive In on Geary near Stanyan told me to have a blessed night last night as I completed paying for our dinner.  Being an old style Anglican Protestant, i.e. Episcopalian raised in Berkeley in the Sixties by a 2nd generation Anglo-Irish American and an Irish American from the Depression Era Rocky Mountains, that remark just kind of put me off.  We just didn't take well to that kind of evangelistic sounding Christianity.  Nice of her to say so, I guess, but it was said with the same level of conviction that one might have for saying "Excuse me." to someone who bumped into you, as though you had bumped into them.  That is, no conviction at all.  I wonder if a fundamental "Christian" runs that place and has decreed that his floor managers follow a script dictated by his or her pastor.  She acted as though she were delivering a line she didn't believe in.  Perhaps one look convinced her that I was a lost cause.  I wonder if my son playing with his flick knife at the table caused her some concern . . . .

Well, no reason for her to worry.  We cleared out and didn't steal anything on the way.  We faded back into the cold San Francisco Night on our way back to Jordan Street.

Where in God's name did Eric Burdon get the idea that there was such a thing as a "warm San Francisco night?" 

Well, I'm giving up.  I have a head cold and feel about as lively and creative as gum on the sidewalk.  Maybe in a couple of days.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy New Year, I think

Yes, it's me and we're home now from the Silences of the South, which was actually great.  Los Angeles can be a fun place as long as you just don't expect anything and just take what comes, secure in the knowledge that you don't have to live there.  I even enjoyed driving up the Glendale Freeway to Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge.  There was no one out there, it being on Sunday afternoon.  Still, I sure am glad my Doktor Perfesser Wife didn't get a job at Occidental College.

I am not sure what state I'm in.  A long drive up I-5 has a way of taking one from reality into a zone of unknowing.  I thankfully walked in through our front door not sure if I was tired, or not, hungry or not, or just plain sick.  I-5 used to be the quick alternative to 99 or 101, but NOT ANYMORE!  It's slow, then fast, then slow, then fast, then faster in a dangerous way, then suddenly slow once you get momentum going.  I fucking hate driving that road.  There's dangerously impatient drivers of large vehicles they barely understand barrel-assing up the road at 95 mph, barely missing a car with a family as they suddenly change lanes.


Anyway, here we are, and there's no need to go anywhere near that dismal, dangerous, nerve-jangling road for a long time.  It's 101 for me the next time I go south by road.

Never mind the angry, animal noises I recreate here, or even the heavily implied desire to throttle the selfish bastards who endanger everyone else who drives out there.  I hope anyone who reads this had a lovely time over the holidays, wherever they were.