Wednesday, November 30, 2005


One day you walk down the street
and a giant sheet
of particle board
ugly and hard
slams you in the face!
End of race.
What a disgrace
you are
a failure.
You've got a worthless tenure
so just drop dead why don't you?

So now you're dazed
and nearly
at your dumb self.
As if
you might have been raised this way,
with that glazed look in your eyes.

Now spies.
They're everywhere. Here and there.
Out to get you. They'll break in. Shhh... quiet. They'll hear.
Is it them again?
Is the key rattle him or her?
Have a beer.
Drop a tear.
You'll feel better.
Put on your favorite sweater and get some fresh air.

Summertime lulls.
Peaks and... dull moments.
Capture in time
snapshot in a mind
that was once clouded.
It's clear, despite the smoke,
that all is
worth saving.
You're amazing. You're the king.
You want to dance and shout and sing
so you do.
Boo! You're back from the smack.
The whack.
Made you whacko.

Baskin' in the glow.

Fall is all about now
so it looks golden and crisp
minus the sugar bear
and without a care
you walk down that same street
unphased now; the power of your own two feet.
Breathin' in the fresh air
powerful but threadbare
and smiling.

Looking to sup
You're but a pup
in a world of old dogs.
Lap it up.
Maybe whacko
but always yourself.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Day of the Sweaty Monkey

Part 1: The Day of a Social Monkey

Have you ever reviewed a day that seemed so simple and in retrospect is anything but? It is my current feeling that I am a complete socialized monkey following a series of motions that are interrupted only by fleeting thoughts or actions involving exercise, yoga and the un-named spice of life. And I think I'm "ok" with that.

  • Awoke at 5am after a restless night of sweaty dreams and cats impeding any comfortable positions
  • Consume Cinnamon Life cereal and read section A, B, C of LA Times.
  • Drove to work to meet with co-worker in the parking lot. Got there early, went inside and finished reading the paper
  • Walked outside 20 minutes later; combined into one car and drove to Los Angeles
  • Traffic
  • Arrived at 7th and Figueroa, went to Starbucks and talked about anything but work. Drink tall Americano. Grinned.
  • Stopped at bank (deposit, withdrawal, minor robbery, etc.)
  • Started working on servers: adding, removing, moving, lifting, installing, configuring, cabling, tunneling.
  • Ponder what a corporate mind-fuck it would be if I were in the office
  • Hungry... eat peanut bar from vending machine because it's the least evil not the most tasty.
  • Phone call #1 about a broken network in Japan
  • Phone call #2 about a broken network in Europe
  • Tear open middle left finger with power screwdriver. Bleed profusely.
  • Phone call #3 about an invoice for something ... blah blah blah
  • Phone call #4 -- when does work get done again?
  • Phone call #5...6, 7...
  • Break for lunch: sushi in a big way
  • Respond to the 6,495,293 emails received during lunch despite being 'off-site' for the day
  • Outgoing call to announce that there's no way to finish all the work so it would continue that night (tonight)
  • Drive home from Los Angeles
  • Got home, throw on running clothes and pant, stumble, limp and sweat your way to freedom -- 5K
  • Arrive home sweaty. Decide to wash car (can you say A-D-R-E-N-A-L-I-N-E ?). Virgo tendencies take over. Must clean outside, inside, rugs... ugh...
  • Car washing complete. Considered laying down but thought better of it. Made lunch for the next day, prepped dinner, and basically got life in order for the next day
  • Record transactions from morning in Quicken
  • Decide that procrastination is not helping; begin the 'evening' work
  • Quit working at 5:30pm to head to yoga
  • 1.5 hrs of absolute lovely Iyengar bliss
  • Mandatory cup of post-yoga herbal tea
  • Drive home to the 'prepped' dinner. Boil water, make pasta, heat sauce, cook fresh sausage.
  • Call beautiful woman and smile at how long this day is
  • Eat dinner, read magazine
  • Come to realization that crosswords are not my forte
  • Resume working. 1 hr. 2 hrs. Finish work. Send massively detailed email after pouring through web code.
  • Brain is fried.
  • Blog
  • Read the latest geek news

Part 2: The Night of a Sweaty Monkey

This part hasn't happened yet but I have amazing ESP so don't doubt me.

  • Shower because I've exercised TWICE today and not yet bathed and I smell like a sweaty monkey
  • Realize that I am a sweaty monkey but even sweaty monkeys like to smell nice
  • Read for 10 minutes before passing out
  • Another night of restless sleep -- what's my deal anyway?
  • Get up, rinse, repeat minus driving to LA, minus two workouts, minus temporary insanity.

Bored yet? Well, who told you to read a log of my day!? Eeeek! Eeeek!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The World is Ending

Well, forget any chances for world peace, folks. This pretty much ends all chances. Personally, bring on the cancer.

Oral sex linked to oral cancer

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Avoiding oral sex is one way to avoid getting cancer of the mouth, Swedish researchers say.

Dentist Kerstin Rosenquist compared 132 cancer patients with a control group of 320 healthy people. Her finding: Thirty-six percent of the cancer group also were infected with the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, vs. just 1 percent of the healthy group.

The result is in line with a French study last year, which found that oral cancer patients infected with HPV had three times more oral sex than those who did not have the virus, Swedish Web site The Local reported.

The virus also has been linked to cervical cancer.

While oral cancer is most common in middle-aged men, "in recent years the disease has increased among young people and we don't know why," Rosenquist said.

"We can speculate over whether the virus is one of the factors," she said.

Rosenquist also advised people to visit their dentist regularly to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Triple Shot

Grande Americano on an empty stomach
83 degrees
oh so accomplished and entering the sprint
the race is on
brain vs. heart
both executing their respective duties so authoritatively
with no desire to slow down
pumping and processing

If your standard race
has one starting gun
then this one
has three

How lovely to crave
raw human emotion.
The desire...
when were we
last driven
by something
other than ego?
It's recommended in
The Big Book of Real Life

Now the caffeine creates two
side effects
one is a stomach churning --
we'll live with that.
the other is
a false sense
of extraordinary clarity

not to say
we're blinded
right now
but perhaps
that last ride
on the carousel
made us dizzy,
just maybe.

so we work;
use those digits so
and choose
to be optimistic
that when the speed
(within reason)
all will be
as it should be.

cheers to that.
and stay off the decaf.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Life in the Kitchen

It was that bottle of Pepe Lopez "Silver" that your friends polished off with such zeal for life.

The 'to-die-for' Lasagna that came as some kind of divine inspiration.

Or maybe that one talk that saved your relationship

The phone call that made you feel 17 again as you sat on the kitchen counter and smiled and giggled and felt the butterflies.

Perhaps the Drunken Viking looking confused but cheery and toasting as the background of friends created some new martini concoction.

Conversing with Parents. Grandparents. Children. Partners. Spouses.

Cleaning after a dinner party, a small gathering, a SuperBowl fiesta, a seder. Working alongside another in close quarters and distracting each other from the reality of the chore with smiles and conversation.

Making sausages, red bits flying around like some distorted home-makers meat packing plant ala Martha Stewart.

Baking cookies. Thinking of Mom.

Frying eggs. Thinking of Dad.

Cooking up the future. Creating life.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monkey Land

I pledge my allegiance to the united monkey frontier.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Evil Carousel, Pleasant Carousel

It's my belief that the carousel is evil. Before you accuse me of being un-American or just downright nuts think about the carousel's you've seen in your lifetime. Do the 'artists' who create this monsters of amusement understand that tigers do not always bear their fangs and horses should not have dilated pupils and bared choppers? Why can't the animals be... well, regular animals. Do we really want to subject our children to a rabid panda bear leper colony escapee?

At the Irvine Spectrum this past weekend I saw a carousel which defined all that is wrong with society. Call me a social pariah if you will but the "Carnie Code" of legend really applied here. The masks on the swirling rooftop were something out of a twisted Greek-tragedy-meets-Bride of Chuckie context. The animals looked as though they were running, desperately and with a look of deathly fear, from the Island of Dr. Moreau. And the children on the carousel (granted, there were only two because the remainder were likely eaten alive by one of the more ferocious animals) looked fearful. No, not happy. Fearful.

So I'm doubting the whole concept. But what else is new? It's a world where men are trained to kill by an administration who believes the 10 Commandments should adorn our courthouses ("Thou Shall Not Kill" ring a bell?). We feed on a soufflé of endangered species and wonder why we don't sleep well at night without the crickets singing us to sleep.

But at the pinnacle of it all is the knowledge that we can change the very ferocious nightmare that haunts each and every individual with the blink of an eye. Simple action yields simple happiness. We're just monkey people after all. The whole shabang yields to pleasant vibrations with a smile that's true, a warm embrace, a reassuring touch, or a deep kiss. And afterward, ride the carousel to the other side one more time and see if it looks a little more inviting. Sing on Brother, play on drummer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tales of the Sea

Crazy tales from the sea in today's LA Times I wanted to share because they're plain old whacky. And who doesn't need more wackiness in their life?

Pirates Attacking Cruise Ships! What the hell year is it again?

200-lb fish on a Southern California Highway?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Wardrobe of Wines
I opened my wardrobe this afternoon to throw on some clothing before hosting a small dinner party. Lo and behold there were 3 bottles of wine staring back at me. I stood for a moment, dumbstruck. It wasn't for knowledge of HOW the wine got there. I'm well aware and it's a story I'd rather not recount at this point. Hidden from a time I thought I had long since cleared from my mind. Just goes to show that a welcome surprise can come from the least likely source. In a view that could be looked at as happy or sad the wine is most definitely worth more than the wardrobe itself. Probably more than the clothes as I've not been shopping on Rodeo Drive lately. I just smiled and laughed aloud at how silly life is. There are few pleasures in life as wonderful as being profoundly shocked by providence.

So I opened one of the bottles for dinner. A lovely red table wine from Mayo vineyards in Sonoma. Tannins linger on the tongue not overwhelming the palette but present enough to say, "Thanks for taking me from the wardrobe!" Along with my homemade lasagna (courtesy of a slightly modified new Cooking Light recipe) and a finish of truffle brownies it was a perfect accompaniment.

Lovely finish to a day where I cleaned the sinks, vacuumed cat litter and endured 3 hours of Iyengar yoga and came out feeling splendid.

Friday, November 04, 2005

TV Pizza Joint

Just 24 hours ago I found myself in a bit of a quandary: what does one do to fill the time between work, a bit of psycho-analysis and teaching yoga? A common situation. So common in fact that the answer immediately came to me: eat.

Of course, eating is the answer to almost all issues in life. The other common answer is exercise. The 3rd most common is recreational drug use, however I felt that smoking a bowl of crack was not the answer to this particular dilemma. So eat it was.

I entered what was, on the outside, a newly built brick-oven pizza place. The last time I had brick-oven pizza I was on a date in Washington, DC and I remember only one particular thought: at my salary level at the age of 23 (at the time mind you) I really shouldn't be buying beer at $6/glass. But what the hell.

Well, the salary issue no longer being the chief player I sauntered up to the counter and ordered the house special pizza (personal size despite the temptation to take some home in lieu of actually cooking something healthy for the next 2 nights). It wasn't until I sat down that I realized I was in the most disturbing of environments.

Every table had it's own 10" flatscreen television and a remote hooked to a cord (lest we give into the temptation to steal white 9-button remote controls from pizza restaurants across the country!). And at each table were children. Drooling. Watching TV and mindlessly stuffing pizza into their oversized American mouths. A very scary scene I tell you! Something out of a badly written "Brave New World" but without Aldous Huxley's brilliant futuristic vision. This was very much stuff in a "Year 2005 Pizza Place with No Taste" atmosphere. It was worse than "Jaws" and "The Ring" combined.

I'm not so sure that the children themselves, or even this false feed (TV feed, fat feed, brain-wash feed) frenzy was to blame. Worse than them by far were the hideous parents. One couple actually put their 4 children at their own "booth" to argue over which channel to watch as they sat at a high table on bar stools. This was Thursday night. Time for family bonding. Discussing the latest at school. And here they had absolved themselves of responsibility for FOUR children. All to be fed a healthy dose of pepperoni and Disney channel.

Another Mother saw an open booth (it was quite crowded... of course, who wouldn't want to be in on the scene?!) and encourage her child to quickly hasten toward to the open spot to gain the table. Then she looked at me and said, "It's got it's own TV!" as if proud of her ability to separate herself from the situation. After ordering she praised her daughter for so quickly obtaining her spot at the booth. "Good work," she said.

I could sit here, midnight Saturday morning preparing myself mentally for tomorrow's intense yoga workshop, and analyze the situation further. But it seems to really speak for itself. Need there be further commentary from this peanut gallery? I think not. But I'll let you order some pizza and watch some tube while you think it over.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cruisin' the Yangtze in the Land of Strange Meats

Having landed back in the USA I reflect back now on the Great Chinese Adventure and think to myself, "Well, that was a learning experience." It feels strange to return to a world where everyone can communicate without excessive confusion.

I have now eaten nothing but salad or vegetables (ok, I admit I had a ham sandwich but I love pork products so give me a break) since my return just to 'flush' my system of the fried goop I was somewhat 'forced' to consume.

The last days of the trip were extremely busy. Shopping for bargains in the markets of Shanghai (Yang Xiang -- sounds like a Chinese rock band!) and tasting the virtual limitless amount of teas available in the local shops.

Of course, the biggest piece of the journey was the river cruise up the Yangtze River. The Yangtze winds through the 3 gorges which are most definitley breathtaking. And where the cruise was a bit slow (never been on a cruise before and though this was a river cruis I don't plan another anytime soon) activity-wise the scenery was absolutely astounding. I kept busy the rest of the time doing yoga (it felt very Chinese), reading and playing Chinese checkers. When in Rome...

So I come back a man richer for the experience and poorer for having purchased 3 oil paintings, a new carry-on suitcase, some tea, cashmere sweaters and candles. All in the name of contributing my part to the 9.5% yearly growth of China's GDP. Given the conversion rate I think the country of China actually owes me money at this point rather than vice versa. I'll keep my eyes peeled on my Visa statement for the line item that says, "Credit from People's Republic of China -- Thank you, please come again".

I could go on and on describing the randomness of this country but I have photos to put up that should pretty much speak for themselves showing the beauty of the country. And in 20 years when the Mongolian BBQ Goat has faded from my memory I'm sure that the ideals of a gorgeous Fall trip to the Eastern cities and Western Yangtze will remain.