blah blah blah

A lifetime’s like a fine-spun thread

The road goes up by the rope at the edge
When he pours his libation of tears to the ghosts in the stream
The ghosts gather, a shimmer on the waves
Meng Chiao 751-814

When your tears pour out to rain uncollected, to pool on the end of your reddened nose and sparkle on your eyelashes, is there still a gathering of ghosts? I suppose you simply can’t tell in the harsh bright phosphoresence of SAJE’s bathroom, it’s not a good place for such experiments though that couldn’t stop me today. Still, I would have liked to have seen one, might have scared me the hell out of sadness, I think I’m wearing thin, getting stretched taut, my smooth happy surfaces growing rough and jagged and becoming unfamiliar terrain. I’ve never been through such sustained and unending constant though low-level drama, will I last three more months? Three months and I’m gone, not a day longer, I’m afraid my bones will break out of my skin and my heart will just break beyond repairing. Today I felt like crawling under my desk and sitting curled up in the dark, listening to sad songs…it’s brutal to laugh and smile and work and play at normality.

The wind and waves know no pity for for the frail pond-chesnut’s branches
In the moon and the dew who can sweeten the scentless cassia leaves?
We tell ourselves all love is foolishness –
And still disappointment is a lucid madness
Li Shang Yin 812-58

Brutal, but what else do you do? You can’t really refuse to go gentle ino that good night, rage rage against the dying of the light while at the same time making an appointment to visit yet another poor family in yet another roach filled slum building to get some really good photos of cracked plaster, broken plumbing, and if you’re really lucky, a rat or two. I’m hoping for rats, we’re going early so they might not have emptied the traps yet…I need to round off my power point of horrors, and will all this work make a difference? If my analysis is correct (and in all modesty, I am almost always right) and unbridled capitalism is essentially the problem, then fuck me, I doubt it. It requires poverty and a desperate uneducated work force to cook clean and serve, though you’d think that rich people would care that their cooks and nannies live where TB still roams free, where women suffer from mysterious rashes, roaches in their ears, rat bites, lead poisoning…

Well then, now I’m more angry than sad, that’s good. Maybe I’ll return some of my friend’s phone calls and come out from under the table (two attempts at humour now! I’m writing myself better thank god). I’m a naval-gazing idiot as well, probably need a good shaking more than anything. Might just be the lack of someone to give me a good shaking that’s the problem, take my mind off things, girlfriends don’t tend to do that for you. It would, however, destroy the precarious balance currently existing in my house and I certainly couldn’t take 3 months of despair and fury so I believe it’s out of the question. If I wasn’t so well balanced I’d pick a fight I think. With a yuppie. I’ll just be dreaming of the promised land of Scotland and my freedom…

Step inside this house, girl
I’ll sing for you a song
I’ll tell you bout just where i’ve been
it shouldn’t take too long
Show you all the things that I own
My treasures you might say
couldn’t be more’n 10 dollars worth
They brighten up my day

That’s just about all I own
and all I care to I guess…
Lyle Lovett, 1957 –

Joshua Tree and the Salton Sea

Went camping the last two nights at Joshua Tree and it was beautiful, beautiful! Just look at these plants, they are amazing.

I haven’t been camping in so long, forgot how much I loved it! We arrived Sunday and went for a short hike then up to Keys Point for the sunset

The wind was blasting and we were chilled to the bone and stayed that way for approximately 24 hours, I have never been so cold for so long. As I lay in our tent shivering with no feeling in my feet the guys at the campsite next to us were drinking beers, talking loudly, farting, talking loudly, belching, talking loudly…that was the worst bit of the trip though the funniest thing to think back on since both bev and I were lying awake listening to these assholes, some quotes are “have you ever had the palpable taste of shit in your mouth? I mean, so thick you can actually taste it?” he was talking about staying near an outhouse…”I can’t believe you forgot the mayo! You know why this shit is so good? It’s 100% saturated fat, that’s why, nothing better.” “I fucking hate the lakers! I can’t believe you hate the lakers too!” “Hotdogs! God damn I love hotdogs.” And on, and on, and me shivering all night long and the marrow of my bones beginning to ache…

So the next night we went over to walmart and bought some fleece – a purple princess blanket for me and little booties, stopped over at the crossroads cafe where we were able to rationalize breakfast every morning in fact, and back to hiking. Here’s Ryan’s Mountain…

and then over to Cap Rock…when Gram Parsons died in the Joshua Tree Inn, his parents sent for his body to be shipped home. Two friends stole it from LAX airport and brought it all the way back to be burned here

Now, there isn’t even a plaque or anything to let anyone know this facsinating piece of musical history, but if the park rangers had an ounce of humour, they would use the following sign

Cap Rock

But they don’t…ah well, I suppose it might be considered in slightly bad taste. Second night was better, very quiet and toasty, took a last drive through the park, through the cholla gardens which were incredible

and then we were off to the Salton Sea in search of Salvation Mountain and Slab City. We found Salvation Mountain…it’s amazing!

Mr. Leonard Knight has been building this thing for years, and lives right behind it, right on the edge of slab city…which used to be a government outpost. When the government left, the people moved in, and now it is an outpost of people who are united in their dislike of civilization, here’s a view over Salvation Mountain

Salton Sea is an eerie place as well, made famous by the Val Kilmer movie which I must admit I have not seen. We were on the North shore which was abandoned to all intents and purposes. It was filled in 1905 when the Colordao broke through a levee, and now filled with pelicans and herons and gulls and other birds…but along the shore we found these

Never a good sign, and this picture frightens me even though I took it. There were hundreds of them, I have no idea what could have happened to kill them all, and there was no one to ask…

So that’s the photo bit done…I really wanted to go to the desert because I am thinking thinking all of the time, cannot stop my mind, it runs on and on and will not cease as my future looms up and the past looms up as well and i feel like I’m in some kind of trough between the two and I do not like it, it’s like treading water or walking up an escalator that’s going down, i cannot progress and I hate this effort to do nothing but stand still, like Alice in Wonderland I am tired and out of breath at the end of the day and have not left my square. I wrote, a lot.

Some places when you arrive you feel welcomed, held by the hills and the earth itself, a homecoming. Even though this is desert, not so far from my very own desert where i know every rock, every cactus, love every line of light and wind that breath and sing over the stones…still, it is foreign. There are no answers for me here, and so emptiness wells up a bit, the familiar and much loved song of the quail in the dusk, the coyotes in the dawning, they bring tears to roll silent down my cheeks. Some places comfort you like a mother would, and that is what I wanted. I lie awake, the wind is buffeting the tent and moaning across the mouths of the empty bottles on the table, I can hear it pouring over the rocks like water. It picks up one corner of the tent then another to send canvas against first my feet, then my side, I wonder if it could dislodge us entirely, send us bouncing across the desert the way I have done in my dreams, unhurt, almost flying, spinning and weightless. The flap speaks to me ceaselessly, rattling back and forth, and sand hits the tent, in waves like the sound of bees, and sometimes clumps, like a mischievious child dumping a small bucket of pebbles over us. Grit interferes with the slight scratching of my pen and the marrow of my bones hurts, my heart hurts…and the words still spin in my mind memories of the past and fears for the future, great excitement and great sadness and a great wondering of what exactly I need to be happy and fullfilled. What exactly I need to be able to jump out of bed glad to start another day. I shall find it I think, but not here, and forget all those sages who say that it lies only in yourself, because I think what I did find today was that some places hold you, keep you, make you well just being there, and the place I am, this place I have been? It does not.


The Doors 40th

It was Wednesday, imagine, the Doors at the Whisky A Go Go again! I had my special VIP pass…here’s what the spot looks like, Sunset and San Vicente at the heart of the strip:

Tafarai and I waltzed past the people in the line, right up to the very large bouncer who looked up our names on the list, gave us wrstbands and opened up the red velvet rope…it was magic. We strolled in fashionably late, and grabbed some of the free booze being passed around by the waitresses. And there was Ray Manzarek keyboard genious, Robby Krieger on Guitar, John Densmore on the drums…John called us over, we’ve met a couple of times before and he came to our big action at the Morrison Hotel when we were forcing our way into the building. That day gave me a high I shall never forget! We met the band, they thanked us for the amazing job we were doing making Los Angeles a better place and preserving the rights of working folks to live in the center city, and they they went on stage and played and the place just irrupted…

No, wait, that was just what i wanted to happen! Except for having met John Densmore before…like Dougal from father Ted I sometimes have a hard time separating dreams from reality I’m afraid. We arrived late, really really late which generally isn’t a problem where you’re out on the strip but we missed the program. Partly due to lateness, but mostly because we were in the damn vip line for an hour and a half…in the words of the guy behind me, “a fucking vip line just ain’t what it used to be!” I lost a bit more of my innocence that day I’m afraid. It was good for people watching though I never recognize anyone having never had mtv in the 80’s. Here’s some faded rockstars, they were on the corner while I was taking the above picture so I got a surreptitious shot in, the guy on the left was going on and on about his friend the drummer from the Runaways, but I particularly liked the guy in the skinny pants, black and white tiger stripe top and rockstar mullet, they were about to head off to the Rainbow Room…all my stereotypes come to life:

The line was made up of industry folks all going on about famous people they had worked with, skinny girls in short skirts and too much makeup were cruising up and down trying to make friends, people who thought they were more important than the rest of us were trying to talk their way past the bouncer and making phone calls, two guys got arrested by the cops and were dragged off, Tafarai was checking the scores from the Clipper game and the progress of his fantasy teams, the real vip’s were getting let right in, a few more rockstars from back in the day wandered by in leather and/or spandex. Gilby Clarke, guitarist from Guns N Roses rolled up in his black mercedes…wouldn’t have recognized him but for the talkative guy in front of us who knew who people were, but sadly his wife was a real vip and he got in far before us. While at the very front I saw the white light guy married to Piper in Charmed, he couldn’t get his friends in which made me feel better, Robbie Krieger’s wife took about 5 minutes to get past the barrier even…but finally, we were in!

It’s a small place, must have been amazing back in the day! The vip’s were on the top level, clusters of very stylish folks talking importantly…that wasn’t so fun so we headed downstairs to be with the proletariat, here’s a view from the stairs:

You can see there’s no one playing :-(, but some classic doors was blasting over the sound system, and everyone downstairs was singing along and dancing…it was a very cool mix of people, Mexican families and punk kids and old hippies, Roadhouse blues came on and the place just went nuts. Here’s one of my favourite characters:

I could not tell you the whys and wherefores of the wizard costume, but it was very cool all the same. So it was Tafarai and I; he was my ride and sadly had to leave early to get the car back to his girlfriend. Why didn’t I drive damn it! I’ll tell you, it’s a small matter of a warrant I belive I have, a question of a small unpaid ticket but that’s a long story…anyways, since the Doors now all hate each other they were playing in different venues, so we decided to go down to Book Soup to catch Densmore but that was over, and the Cat Club where Ray was playing had another fucking long ass line in the face of which our vip wristbands were worthless so…we headed on home. So disappointing, I was so disappointed, but I suppose you can’t recpture the magic that was once the Doors…Jim Morrison dead and 40 years and a long acrimonious lawsuit later…seeing domingosiete the next night and being able to dance the night away was miles better, and I think perhaps I shall just forget about seeing my favourite bands from back in the day and let them live larger than life in my imagination…much the best place for them really as the current reality is a bit sad.


Friday lunchtime…almost no one is here in the office, we had a huge fantastic event last night, domingosiete played, over 150 people here, and I danced as if there were no tomorrow, so now that tomorrow has come like a load of bricks to the back of my head, I’m feeling a bit the worse for wear. Could’ve been that last bottle of champagne that did it…glad that no one is here actually, cause I don’t feel like talking. I took a little walk in the warm sunshine, eyes half closed against a much too sunny sun, down to the mercado for a bean and cheese burrito. I’ve decided to be a vegetarian until Christmas, and I’m five days into it, and you know what? I’m a lot hungrier a lot more of the time. Why did I decide to do this? I’m unsure of the exact reason, maybe just to see if I could! Maybe because I think eating meat is wrong? No…don’t think that’s it, clearing subsistence fields of diversified crops to plant massive regions of soya beans and lentils for export to the international market is just as wrong as massive pasturage for beef, and I think our teeth prove we were meant to eat meat, as do my cravings…still buddhists might have a point. In short, I just decided to do it, perhaps I just feel the need for even more change than is already coming my way. But as I say, I’m a lot hungrier a lot more of the time. I am going to take a turkey break over thanksgiving, as I don’t think I shall require my folks to change their eating habits for my accomodation, but in the meantime I am going to have to buy lots of healthy snacks I think.

I wandered past Theosophy Hall on my back to the office, Cool old building and there are still theosophists running around LA it seems…their motto is “The truth shall set you free” which I like, but apparently there is no commonly accepted definition of their beliefs, or better put the are many different strands of thinking that could be called theosophy. I have always wanted to go in and see exactly what they’re all about, because I just know about Madame Blavatsky and her familiars and also that Yeats was a theosophist. Obviously, however, today was not the day. It’s on my list though, of things to do before I leave LA…a list which is getting ever longer.

I’m supposed to go out for a quietish night on the (china)town, but I’m not sure if I’m up for it…have been out on the tear tues, wed, and thurs of this week, have another big thing saturday night and am off to joshua tree for 2 days of camping on sunday morning so…maybe the exciting Doors event shall be posted this evening. We shall see…

Aterciopelada and hot

Which means velvety y caliente, and that’s how I’m feeling at the moment. Just got back from seeing los Aterciopelados at Amoeba records, and damn, they were fantastic! Too short a set, but no admission charge and they had a mountain of records to sign…I decided not to wait though I did buy the new album, I’m really liking it. Here they are in one of my favourite spots in all of LA

I’m the only one I know who was excited about seeing them, but you can go to the record store all by yourself without feeling too lonely or getting hit on by drunken idiots.

Apart from some great live music (and who honestly can ask for more from a day?), today was also the great voting day across the nation and I did my part though I’m not sure I believe in it anymore…and looks like Schwarzenegger’s going to win anyway, racist mother fucker. In spite of the fact that he is hated by nurses, teachers, firefighters, policemen, public employees, immigrants, and thinking people everyone. Enough to make you want to cut your wrists. If Steven Seagal or Tom Cruise run for any kind of office whatsoever, I will.

Passed this on the way home from work on my bike today…on Hill under the freeway:

Perhaps the homeless are celebrating his victory as well? Or burning things before the police can arrest them and throw everything away. Our city now has three cops on every corner of skid row, arrests people for being on the street though there are 90,000 homeless people in LA county and only a couple of thousand beds in the shelters…last week on my way home I passed 3 squad cars and 6 cops arresting the two guys who live near the drugstore and do nothing to no one. You’d think there’d be some real crime going on somewhere, in fact I know there is, instead of the war on poverty we’ve declared war on the poor. Makes me feel a bit like burning things as well I suppose, the fire trucks passed me a few blocks further on, I almost turned back but the Aterciopelados were calling me. Besides, the effort involved made me pause, it hit over 90 degrees today! Can’t believe it’s November, honestly.


Moving is a bitch. I’m going through all of my things, and I have far too many things…This weekend I’ve started going through my books which is heartbreaking enough, but the big news? The boxes of old tapes I’ve dug out of the closet…all those mixes I made back in the day (I was a huge mix maker cause music just happens to be one of those things I most love in life), mixes friends made for me, stuff I taped off the radio. I’m listening to them all, downloading all the songs I don’t currently have on my i-pod, and…and…and…throwing them away. I must say, it’s bringing a tear to my eye, and an avalanche of memories. And an embarassed chuckle or two, I found the electric slide AND la Macarena, what was I thinking?

Anyways, had a good day today aside from the trip down memory lane…who knew that John Waite’s Missing You could still make me cry? It’s going to take me all week, this playing tapes and throwing away and remembering things (Christ, just found some Ton Loc! Carlos from homeroom in Jr. High used to sing this fucking song all the time, thought he was a playa…and he was. Took steroids in the drinking fountain and was a dad before graduation…) So, anyways, I went on down to the farmers market in Hollywood on the train…just wanted to show an example of LA’s finest public art as seen in the Civic Center metro station

They have any number of these guys suspended over you, they all have numbers on their chests, and I find them a bit frightening.

I did overmaster my fear, however, in my quest for fresh vegetables. After the vegetables i went over to Amoeba music, the best music store in LA and I believe the world. I know I’m supposed to be getting rid of all my music but it’s depressing and what cheers me up more than looking at music I don’t have yet? Anyway, I wanted to buy The Doors Morrison Hotel on vinyl so they can all sign it for me on Wednesday Night. Didn’t find it, but thought I’d get some R.L. Burnside and found what might be possibly the best album cover ever:

A Ass Pocket of Whiskey? Why is there no n? How did they get that bottle of whiskey down their shorts and what will happen if they sit down? What is he going to do with his belt? It’s a good album and so I’m giving it to Dan for Christmas, he’s in law school and has no time be reading his sister’s blogs I hope…he doesn’t respond to my emails at any rate, so serves him right.

Anyways, to continue with the music theme, here’s a lovely view of capitol records and some typical Hollywood frontage:

The cave, nice! They even have a cash machine inside.

I also got a hair cut.

Puedo escribir los versos mas tristes esta noche

Escribir en espanol es como susurrar a las estrellas, rendir mis secretos al viento, cubrirme en la tela de la noche y sacar mis versos, topacios minados de mi tristeza, para regalar a las olas del mar. He estado leyendo Neruda, se nota creo, y lo hago para ponerme mas triste? Ando anhelando algo, deseando el deseo, queriendo fuego donde solo siento frio. Ahora tengo miedo. En general soy tranquila, hasta alegre. Son pocas las cosas que me saquen de mi tranquilidad, pero tal vez estoy no mas estancada? Me voy de aqui, tengo que irme, lo sabia por la fuerza que necesitaba para levantarme de la cama cada manana para enfrentar otra dia, lo sabia por la tremenda soledad que me ha inundado, la tristeza que me ha llenado desde el mas profundo. Vinieron estos sentimientos como ladrones, comiendome por dentro sin darme cuenta, y no se como mataron lo que sentia y creia tan fuerte. Ya me siento vacia, perdidas amores y ideales y fe. Soñando algo mas de lo que tengo. “Ay amar, es un viaje con agua y con estrellas, con aire ahogado y bruscas tempestadas de harina: amar es un combate de relampagos, y dos cuerpos por una sola miel derrotados.” Soy una romantica desatacada, idiota, a pesar de mi manera practica y mi calma, mi costumbre de pensar demasiado, buscar el porque de todo, esconder mi alma por el miedo que alquien lo pudiera matar con su desprecio… pero se que el amor no tiene nada que ver con la cobardia. Quiero sentir algo mas profundo que pensamientos, que no tenga un porque, que se olvide del miedo, que llegue mucho mas alla que la razon. Mi miedo existe en la duda que no soy capaz de sentir asi, igual de que no hay alguien capaz de sentir asi por mi. Sueño con una recorrida de labios llenos de miel, un calor que me puede rescatar de la niebla fria, alguien tan cerca que su mano sobre mi pecho es mia, tan cerca que se cierran sus ojos con mi sueno.

18-Pablo Neruda

Aqui te amo.
En los oscuros pinos se desenreda el viento.
Fosforece la luna sobre las aguas errantes.
Andan dias iguales persiguiendose.

Se descine la niebla en danzantes figuras.
Una gaviota de plata se descuelga del ocaso.
A veces una vela. Altas, altas estrellas.

O la cruz negra de un barco.
A veces amanezco, y hasta mi alma esta humeda.
Suena, resuena el mar lejano.
Este es un puerto.
Aqui te amo.

Aqui te amo y en vano te oculta el horizonte.
Te estoy amando aun entre estas frias cosas.
A veces van mis besos en esos barcos graves,
que corren por el mar hacia donde no llegan.

Ya me veo olvidado como estas viejas anclas.
Son mas tristes los muelles cuando atraca la tarde.
Se fatiga mi vida inutilmente hambrienta.
Amo lo que no tengo. Estas tu tan distante.



Had a crazy and wild evening of tv planned for today, but I feel like writing instead…and maybe playing with arg, we shall see if I get round to that. Thought I’d celebrate dia de los muertos with words rather than altars of marigolds and candles and statues, more my line after all…

My dad’s parents, Patrick Colum Gibbons and Margarette McCullough…here they are with my great grandmother Mary Barrett, direct from Ireland:

Mary Barrett died in Pittsburgh before I was born, her housecoat caught fire while she was loading the wood stove. Her husband had died long before that, not sure how…he was forced to leave Ireland fleeing gambling debts, made beautiful violins, and was a drunken bastard by all accounts. This is how I like to remember my grandparents:

My grandfather was much older, no one knows quite the year he was born…he used to drink back in the day as well, but never when I knew him. He spoke Irish. My dad said that he used to work in a steel mill in Detroit until one day the wire that they were using to bind a roll of steel broke, and the pressure caused it to snap around slicing one of his coworkers in half. He walked out of the mill and started selling insurance, but I remember him telling the dramatic story of how he got that job during the great depression, when men were crowding around the gates and they chose him to come inside and start working. I liked his stories, but it was so long ago that I hardly remember them. He loved pinochle. He loved me when I was very little, and my parents were living in Taos and could visit regularly. Apparently I started screaming when I was born and continued for several years without much pause, no one would babysit me but him, because he could always get me to laugh and smile. I couldn’t talk to him much when I got older because he was rigidly traditional and Catholic, and would go on about birth control and abortion and women’s places. He might have loved me when I was little, but I always think he valued my brothers more, being boys. He did not recognize me at all just before he died, and would ask about me whenever I left the room, he was convinced that my parents had had 3 kids not 4. He couldn’t seem to acknowledge that I had graduated from college, and would explain to me kindly that highschool was enough for any woman who wanted to get married, and I shouldn’t push my luck. Steel, steel was the industry of the future, and if I had to work, I should try and be a secretary for a steel company. I mostly just thought this was funny, but perhaps it hurt just a little. I drank my first shot of whisky and danced my first jig with aunt Kathy and aunt Barbara at the wake we held after his funeral.

My grandmother I knew a little better, since she came to live with us after my grandpa died, but I think by that time she wasn’t at all as she had been. She was immensely strong-willed, and immensely Catholic as well. She wasn’t born catholic though…she had 4 children with my grandfather, converted close to 15 years after the 4th was born, and proceded to have 3 more. What made me the saddest about my grandmother was that she could not tell stories at all, I tried before she died to know her better. I don’t know if she couldn’t remember things or didn’t want to, or just couldn’t find the words…so I just really know what she was like in the last few years of her life. She loved Harlequin romance novels that had sections in them that made me blush, she loved the Inquirer and other rags and I think she believed about 60% of what she read. She always feared the worst, if anyone was home late it was because there had been an accident, if my mum was cutting up vegetables it was “careful Ruth, don’t lose a finger,” if she was in any pain at all it was the worst most intolorable pain possible. She told me that John Kerry was a gay lover and a baby killer when I told her who I was voting for. I took care of her, did everything for her for a couple of weeks when my dad was sick with cancer in the hospital over christmas two years ago, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done both physically and mentally. When she died I think it was a blessing for her and for us because she couldn’t do anything for herself any more and was getting beyond the point of my folks being able to take care of her. When I heard the news I was at a conference in Portland, and I thought I would be alright but I wasn’t…I fled to the restroom to cry, and actually went and found a catholic church to sit in for a while. I loved her in spite of everything. My favourite story about her is that when the doctors told my grandfather he had less than a year to live because of his asthma, my grandmother travelled by herself from Detroit to Albuquerque with a cane and a broken foot, bought a house, and bullied the whole family into the move…my grandfather lived another 20 years.

My mum’s parents I hardly knew of at all…here is their wedding picture in London, during the middle of the war:

Grandma jean also married a much older man…it’s funny that both my grandmothers married much older men and both were very unhappy in their marriages, but Margartte stuck it out and Grandma Jean couldn’t. My grandfather’s name was Robin Dar Woodcock, and he died years before I was born. This is how I remember grandma Jean:

Here she is with her second husband at her home Wayes in Devon. he was an old farmer who spoke like a pirate and I understood very little of what he said. He wore braces that creaked a great deal. I believe the calf’s name was Daisy, and I loved that farm…everything except the pigs. I only met her twice, once when I was five, and again when she was dying of cancer and I was 13. I’m thinking i’d like to spend some time learning more about her, and about my grandfather. I know she could milk cows and make clotted cream. I know that during the war she unravelled an old sweater, dyed and respun the wool, and knitted herself a new one. She was a tremendous knitter, and used to send us these amazing bulky parcels wrapped in brown paper with loads of colourful stamps, with blankets and presents packed in plastic tubs that used to hold cornish ice cream. Mum said that grandma was very very shy, was afraid of conflict, and had trouble coming out and saying what she was thinking and how she was feeling…she had bleeding ulcers before she walked out on my grandfather on a Friday and split the family in two, lost most of her friends, lost her son for a while. I have only ever seen two pictures of my grandmother and grandfather, when she left him, my grandfather destroyed the photographs that she was in…she lived a tragic life I think, but I salute her courage. Unlike my other grandmother who became more opinionated and bitter, I remember Grandma jean as being quiet and kind and warm and lovely.

Father Al Lot…the only priest I have every truly loved and respected, he was brilliant. Here is a picture of him and my brother Dan:

he was very unorthodox or I should never have loved him…he believed in liberation theology and loving your neighbor, he did not believe in hell or most of the Old Testament. He was passionately in love with his wife. I remember him standing outside church smoking his cigarrettes, telling funny stories and cursing with the best of them. I have met few kinder, more compassionate people, who actually worked to practice what he believed in, and I respect him tremendously for that. He also had a fantastic sense of humour and an incredible singing voice. He told me this story once about when he was a priest in San Francisco in the 1960’s (fair boggles the mind, that), and was asked to officiate at a wedding. When he arrived he found that everyone, bride and groom included, were naked…this is the 60’s remember. So what did he do? Took off his cassock and married them in the nip. I miss him.

This has become a novel, but I’m writing it for me, not for you!

Jeannie Sweetser…she was beautiful, funny, and lived by herself in a trailer in the desert off of Valencia and had a bit of land and a lovely horse named Treasure. We used to go riding sometimes. She ran our youth group (parents were big churchgoers in case you’re curious, we were inflicted with a large number of church activities as children), and I remember seeing 21 Jump Street at her house for the first time and falling in love with Johnny Dep. She, on the other hand, was in love with George Michael, and I’m only glad she died before forced to realize the bitter truth! She had the fattest cat I have ever seen even now, affectionately known as hippo. She once let Jeff Voutas drive her truck down her dirt road to practice for his driving test. I was in the front seat with her, and my brother Mike and Steve were in the back when somehow Jeff hit the gas and couldn’t get his foot off to find the brake and we veered off the road and fucking ran over quite a large mesquite…um…tree? Anywhere but Tucson people would call it a shrub, but all of us remember the day that Jeff ran over a tree. I really thought I was going to die, and some major bruising occurred in the back of the truck, but I remember when the truck finally stopped and we had all poured ourselves out and surveyed the damage (minimal to the truck, maximum to the tree), we all burst out laughing and couldn’t stop for quite a long time. Jeannie was shot in the head with her own handgun that she kept for protection, and it was ruled a suicide but everyone believes her boyfriend killed her. I was in highschool then…she was probably only a few years older than I am now. I miss her too.

Dr. Travis, my freshman english high school teacher commited suicide with a handgun as well. He had this amazing warm smile full of teeth, and he wore a hairpiece, you could sometimes see the glue, and he wore this red v-neck sweater all of the time…he was a good teacher and actually gave us interesting things to write about unlike the substitutes who took his place. I didn’t know him well at all of course, but it was shocking that no one had known anything…he was always so jolly and laughing.

Ricky Zajac, a delightful little Polish woman from church as well…she also lived in a trailer for a long time surrounded by religious kitsch that definitely looked Catholic, so why she was at an Episcopalian church is a bit beyond me. She used to own a polka bar in Chicago, and the mob paid her off to use her basement, not like she had much choice in the matter. I wish I could have seen her back in the day, but she had no photographs from those times on display, and I never thought to ask her. She stayed with my parents for a few months when her daughter left Tucson…she died a few months after her daughter dragged her off to Seattle to live with her again.

Winding down…this year has been hard, lost Noel Zuniga who I didn’t know well but whose mother is one of my favourite people and it broke my heart to see her pain. Mrs. Alexander. Eddie Nunez. I hope next year I won’t have any new people to remember…and I hope there are none that I have forgotten!



Halloween, no fantastic west hollywood costume parade for me tonight cause my friends are rankers…the american ghetto equivalent of wanker, I wonder which came first and if they’re related? This brings me to the subject of tonight’s exposition, which is written to rid my mind of fears and ghosties since I just watched sixth sense…it was that, jeepers creepers 1 and 2, or Friday the 13th so I settled for the least frightening and bloody but I am a scaredy cat and required covers and a pillow.

So I was thinking about life, and realized that even after years of living and breathing and reading and watching television and talking to people I still have more questions than answers. Some of these questions are very large ones that I have asked before and doubtless shall ask again, such as why am I here? What do I want to do with my life? What is love and where is it found and how do you keep it? I’m a bit tired of thinking about those questions, so have decided to embark on a series of slightly easier questions, the kind that pop into my mind regularly throughout the day, such as why do armenian gangsters love tracksuits? Why must cats jump into empty boxes? What is so extraordinarily nice about tea? Why does buying things make me feel better despite my political beliefs against rampant consumerism? What is the swedish chef from the muppets actually saying? Where do oboes come from? Does playing Beatles songs backwards actually result in satanic messages? Did Elizabeth the 1st really die a virgin? Why doesn’t John Bastow get a haircut and better music for his infomercials, and exactly who buys those excercise videos? Why do British kit kats taste so much different than American ones? Do I prefer curly fries to regular ones?

I’m going to take a bubble bath, eat a bowl of mocha almond fudge ice cream and ponder the answers…who knows how many more I shall think of before breakfast tomorrow.

Dia de los Muertos

Arg here, feeling much the worse for wear on this foully sunshiney day, my eyes hurt!  I am currently squinting at the computer screen, and making my vow here before everyone that never, never again will I be talked into tequila shots, so help me god.  The tequila hangover is the worst hangover of them all, it could only have been satan put that bottle of poison on our table…The only good thing about today is that the hour changed!  And I don’t have to work…

So, day of the dead!  One of my favourite holidays where you celebrate those who have died, you go and keep them company at their graves, you build them altars, and bring them food and drink.  The graveyards of my loved ones are spread far and wide across continents and oceans, but it is nice to pull out photographs and things that remind you of them and just…remember them.  And remember that your own death is coming, so you’d better get cracking on living life fully and well and start doing all of those things you’ve been putting off for one reason or another.  Just make sure it does not involve cheap tequila…only the very expensive kind that you can drink like water, gives you no hangover and can most easily be found in Jalisco.

Went to Hollywood Forever Cemetary yesterday for the festivities, usually I hit Self-Help Graphics in East Los for the party, but the cemetary was really quite fantastic.  One of my friends was performing, so we saw her jarocho group play, then wandered about taking everything in.  We did miss Peter Lorrie’s grave, tragic that, but I might go back for a bit more of a wander, it’s a crazy place!  I’m off now to lie in a dark room and watch father ted, talk about living life well…

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