Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm a far cry from sleep tonight but Sequoia is out like a light. He drove to the Bay Area and back in 24 hours; brutal. This was his final visit to his family home; the sale closes on September 3. 57 years the Pearson lived in that house; boggles my mind. For me, growing up in California was defined by transience; everybody moved, then moved again. Up, down or sideways, it almost didn't matter which direction you were heading as long as you kept moving. I grew up in a culture that valued mobility, freedom, the right walk away whenever you chose. How do you think all those white people made it that far west? We come from a long line of leavers.

The Pearsons took a different approach: they dug in and started acquiring. Sequoia himself has been indulging his badly suppressed hoarding tendencies. I guess that's how he deals with the stress. The amount of stuff he keeps bringing back with him! Some of it is precious, like his grandmother's steamer trunk, but most of it is trash. Ah well, it must bring him some kind of comfort. Clutter makes me a little crazy, but I'm holding my peace for now. If there are still boxes of crap stacked about the house in a month's time, well...

I spent a couple of hours visiting Ken this evening while Sequoia made the epic round trip.. Aristotle tells us that tragedy arouses pity and fear leading to katharsis. Ken takes me to the place of pity and fear, but I'm a far cry from catharsis yet. Maybe that's why I can't sleep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peek a Boo

Someone asked me today why I haven’t posted in awhile.
Aw… I didn’t know you cared.

Frankly, I didn’t think anyone actually read this blog. I thought this was an exercise in self-involvement; mental masturbation if you will. Now that I know yer out there, I’ll watch my mouth.


Let’s see, what’s happening that I can report on? There were nine, count ‘em NINE homeless hippies camped out in the meadow last week. How they got here is a long story involving my brother-in-law’s ex-wife’s step-son (how’s that for six degrees of separation?) Suffice it to say they were unexpected, but charming. Every last one of them was “cute as a button, dumb as a trout” as my friend Eric says. So sure of themselves, so certain that the world is cleanly divided into black or white, right or wrong. They have yet to discover the gray areas, but the life has a cure for that particular malady, doesn’t it?

I remember certainty. I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

Starting Saturday, here’s my schedule for next week:
Saturday morning – BTGS plays the Farmer’s Market (talk about incongruous…)
Saturday afternoon – Brenda’s wedding
Sunday morning – drive to Tiller
Monday afternoon – drive home
Tuesday morning – work
Tuesday afternoon – see American Night
Tuesday evening – rehearse with Hamfist
Tuesday later evening – rehearse with One Night Band
Wednesday morning – work
Wednesday evening – Hamfist plays the Green Show
Thursday work
Friday – Hamfist plays Tease
Saturday – collapse in a heap.

Pray for me campers, I think I’m in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


O Poesy is on the wane,
For Fancy's visions all unfitting;
I hardly know her face again,
Nature herself seems on the flitting.
The fields grow old and common things,
The grass, the sky, the winds a-blowing;
And spots, where still a beauty clings,
Are sighing 'going! all a-going!'
O Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

The bank with brambles overspread,
And little molehills round about it,
Was more to me than laurel shades,
With paths of gravel finely clouted;
And streaking here and streaking there,
Through shaven grass and many a border,
With rutty lanes had no compare,
And heaths were in a richer order.
But Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

I sat beside the pasture stream,
When Beauty's self was sitting by,
The fields did more than Eden seem
Nor could I tell the reason why.
I often drank when not adry
To pledge her health in draughts divine;
Smiles made it nectar from the sky,
Love turned e’en water into wine.
O Poesy is on the wane,
I cannot find her face again.

The sun those mornings used to find,
Its clouds were other-country mountains,
And heaven looked downward on the mind,
Like groves, and rocks, and mottled fountains.
Those heavens are gone, the mountains grey
Turned mist--the sun, a homeless ranger,
Pursues alone his naked way,
Unnoticed like a very stranger.
O Poesy is on the wane,
Nor love nor joy is mine again.

Love's sun went down without a frown,
For very joy it used to grieve us;
I often think the West is gone,
Ah, cruel Time, to undeceive us.
The stream it is a common stream,
Where we on Sundays used to ramble,
The sky hangs o’er a broken dream,
The bramble's dwindled to a bramble!
O Poesy is on the wane,
I cannot find her haunts again.

Mere withered stalks and fading trees,
And pastures spread with hills and rushes,
Are all my fading vision sees;
Gone, gone are rapture's flooding gushes!
When mushrooms they were fairy bowers,
Their marble pillars overswelling,
And Danger paused to pluck the flowers
That in their swarthy rings were dwelling.
Yes, Poesy is on the wane,
Nor joy nor fear is mine again.

Aye, Poesy hath passed away,
And Fancy's visions undeceive us;
The night hath ta'en the place of day,
And why should passing shadows grieve us?
I thought the flowers upon the hills
Were flowers from Adam's open gardens;
But I have had my summer thrills,
And I have had my heart's rewardings.
So Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

And Friendship it hath burned away,
Like to a very ember cooling,
A make-believe on April day
That sent the simple heart a-fooling;
Mere jesting in an earnest way,
Deceiving on and still deceiving;
And Hope is but a fancy-play,
And Joy the art of true believing;
For Poesy is on the wane,
O could I feel her faith again!

John Clare

Coming? Or Going?

Once again, I find myself involuntarily involved in a game of “approach, approach, back away.”

Once again, I have no idea how I got here.

Why does this keep happening? Why are the passive-agressive drawn to me? If I could figure out what I do to attract them, I'd quit doing it.

I guess I need to develop better defenses; keep my guard up, keep my distance. Less trust, more suspicion.

What a world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Nights

Driving home through the night, the smell of ozone and damp asphalt evoking the summers of my youth. Storm rising in the south, a band of black across the wild profusion of stars. Lightning flashing from cloud to cloud, the bursts and fades partially obscured within the bank of thunderheads. When I finally arrived home, I stood stretching in the driveway and almost fell over backward tracing the milky way with my eyes.

Another late night playing at the Prospect Trophy Room. The audience outnumbered the taxidermy, but not by much. We shared the bill with our pals in 8 Dollar Mountain. I was so tired that I could only stay for a few of their songs, but they sounded great. The bass player plays an electric stand up bass; it looks and sounds pretty sweet.

Awaking early to a heavy sky and the faint smell of smoke, I willed myself back to sleep and dreamed vividly of my recently deceased boss Peter Thomas. I was in room with a bunch of work folks. At one point the actor G Val Thomas was sitting next to me; at another, Artistic Director Bill Rauch was watching me from a window. I was bitching vociferously about some work outrage, consciously choosing to air my grievances in detail, even though I knew Bill was listening. As I was ranting, I noticed that Bill was gone and Peter was sitting next to me, looking at me with deep and genuine compassion. Peter was a compassionate man, but that wasn't really his default mode of expression, at least not with me. He and I loved to bitch and dish about work absurdities, and his sense of humor was wicked. In my dream, there was nothing remotedly wicked or cynical or ironic in his countenance; he was beatific. He listened to me complain with such love on his face and, in a kind and supportive tone, suggested that I talk to the HR manager. I threw out some excuse about HR being a big part of the problem, but then, unbidden, I immediately recanted. I said that he was right, I shouldn't bitch about work unless I was willing to do something about it. Then I woke up.

Lying in a post-dream fugue state, I tried to recall what had set me off in the dream. I could clearly recall the conversation with Peter but, try as I might, I could not remember what I was complaining about. It was a specific incident that felt real and important, but I couldn't recall a single detail.

Another message from my unconsciousness: It does no good to complain unless I'm also willing to do something. Am I willing to change that which I cannot accept?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I’m taking a poll. What would you do in this situation:

A friend sent me an email asking a question. The question required me to do a little online research. I then replied with an email that contained the requested information and several pertinent links. I received no response.

Should this person have acknowledged me with an email saying “thanks”?

I’ve quizzed a couple of people on this issue. Most say they would have replied with a “thanks.” One person said that she never sends one-word replies because they clog up the recipient’s in-box for no good reason.

Myself, I ALWAYS say thank you whenever anyone does anything for me. If I didn’t, my mother would roll over in her grave.

I was sorely tempted to send one last email saying "yer welcome, asshole," but I refrained. I'll probably just let it fester, as is my usual practice. Of course, that leaves me with this residual bitterness. How do I off-load it? Part of me wants to call him out on what I perceive to be rudeness; the other part of me thinks I'm being petty.

Is it too much to hope for one small gesture of gratitude in this surly world?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lifestyle Choices

I’ve been living off the grid for 13 years now; no power lines, no phone lines, no propane delivery. We didn’t make this choice because we’re ecologically “pure.” When the local utility quoted $45,000 to bring out a power line, the choice to invest in alternative energy was clear.

Living off the grid does not require a 19th century lifestyle, but it does require commitment and consciousness. We have to do periodic maintenance on our battery array and twice-yearly repositioning of our panels (we don’t have a tracker – yet.) We never, ever leave a light on when we exit a room. I turn off the shower as I wash my hair and turn it back on to rinse. All of our electronics are plugged into power strips to eliminate “ghost loads.” Our house is heavily insulated and its passive solar construction keeps us deliciously cool in the summer and above freezing in the winter . Our woodstove is small but efficient and, you know what they say: wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and once when you burn it. We do not make superfluous trips to town; if we’re out of milk, we’re out of milk.

"Lifestyle upgrades" require power, but not as much as you might imagine. I refuse to be a martyr to ecological purity. We choose to stay “plugged in” and have purchased enough panels to support that choice. We receive TV and the internet via satellite and lobbied our cell carrier until they finally upgraded our tower to digital. I can surf the web, but I don't have a microwave or a dishwasher or a toaster (heating elements are notorious energy hogs.) We have a washing machine, but not a dryer. (Personally, I wouldn’t use a dryer even if I lived on the grid. With a clothesline outside and a drying rack inside, who needs one?) I have an electric toothbrush but no blow dryer.

Our commute would make a compelling SUV commercial, but I spend much less time in my car than my friends who live in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas. The only traffic jams on my road are caused by free-range cattle.

My lifestyle definitely does NOT save money. It will take a lifetime to recoup our upfront and ongoing investments in panels, pelton wheels, inverters, back up generators and batteries. My lifestyle is not going to save the planet. When I compare the carbon footprint of our commute, well pump, woodstove, back up generator and replacement batteries to our carbon savings on lights, appliances, air conditioning and heating, I figure we come out dead even or maybe a little ahead.

My advice: Don’t choose this lifestyle unless you’re willing to work hard and do it yourself. It’s not for those who are easily discouraged. But, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s pretty sweet to be “the captain of my fate, the master of my soul,” at least, electronically speaking.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

When The Spell is Broken

Richard Thompson resonates in my core.
"...When the spell is broken
(Can't cry if you don't know how)
Oh when the spell is broken
All your magic and your ways and schemes
All your lies come and tear at your dreams
When the spell is broken
(Can't cry if you don't know how)
When the spell is broken
Now you're handing her that same old line
It's just straws in the wind this time
When love has died,
There's none starry-eyed
No kiss, no tears,
No farewell souvenirs
Not even a token, when the spell is broken..."

When is enough enough? When is it time to cut losses and throw in the towel? Let the chips ride on the sure thing or throw it all down on the long shot?

I came to the crosssroads and chose a path. Is there no going back? Lately I find myself pulled in an opposite direction. I don't know where that impulse comes from and I don't trust it, but I can't get it out of my head.

We're all heading to the same destination. The risk and reward comes from the paths we chose to follow and the paths we leave behind.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that oppositesex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

God bless Judge Walker!