12.28.2007

proton beams in the ny times

was alerted to the fact that this appeared in the ny times
a couple days ago. if there is a financial imperative to use something
will it be overused? used improperly? i am biased naturally, as a recipient of proton beam therapy. perhaps that speaks to a broader problem in modern healthcare, ie the financial imperative but i'm not well-read enough to speak to it.
all i know is that some 2 years ago, held in place by the face for 35 radiation treatments at MGH (10 photon, 25 proton) for the remaining bits of a two-time surgically resected brain tumor, (a skull-base chondrosarcoma)i was grateful and thankful that the technology existed. it didn't 20 yrs ago. which begs the question, at least in my own mind: who knows where i'd be if that was the case.

today is the penultimate day of our san fran xmas extravaganza. got to see friends last night, which was awesome. the other days/moments are the stuff of future novels for margaret. which is good. in a way i suppose.

12.14.2007

see the water rise...

last night was the latest reading for write around portland, for their most recent anthology, [their 25th!] i've been to several of these in the past couple years and i always leave in the same emotional state: reduced and renewed. It is so humbling to hear people's lives written and read back: their devotions and their grace as they move toward or away from second chances or triumphs over adversity, whatever form that may take. it's also frequently breath-taking.

the beautiful thing about write around portland is the disparate nature of the writing groups. [They are so varied that it sometimes feels like too much, like the idea will collapse under the weight of its desire to be inclusionary - but it never ever does]. the connections between these disparate groups are like little glowing stars imprinted in the blackness, little beacons of human-ness blinking in the dark and - all put together, they have a brilliance to them, a resounding affirmation of being alive and what it all means.

this was margaret's second session as a facilitator (the ILR group). getting to hear her students (if that's the right word. facilitees maybe?) read was triumphant. in fact, the title of the anthology comes from a staggering piece that came out of margaret's group.

someone should really make a documentary about write around portland already. lindstrom? you listening?

12.07.2007

winter, thoughts on



depending on your interpretation of time, our book has been humming along. we’ve established a good working rhythm and been able to make headway in what for months has felt shapeless, like so much infinite and unidentified black goo. this week we read through what we have so far [the book is divided into four parts - winter, spring, summer, fall - and we’ve just about wrapped up winter] and believe it or not we were both not repulsed by a majority of. That may not sound celebratory but it was actually very exciting. With this quarter of the book laid down, this cornerstone, this first trail-blazing chunk, we now have a way out, a road-map up and into the light.

11.28.2007

through the nasal cavity, etc

thanksgiving come and gone. hard to believe that 2 yrs prior we were in a hotel in boise, id for thanksgiving, one day away from returning to portland after a weeklong drive across the country, after 35 proton beam treatments.

say, that reminds me. how interested are you in seeing some endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery? probably a lot, right? just click here. i didn't have endoscopic (meaning incisions were made in my case) but still. the general uproarious effect is the same!

now december just lays there in front of me. asking me to care.

11.14.2007

no words




margaret and i had the grand (mis)fortune to stumble across this on tv last night.

11.09.2007

humboldt again


i'm reposting this video from august in honor of the fact there are quite a few folks from humboldt in town this wknd. by coincidence mm's story, that she just published, is set in arcata, at the minor theatre.

11.08.2007

audio file of radio emissions from Saturn


you can listen to the planet saturn here. then be sure to go here and compare the sound to Forbidden Planet.
more info from the cassini site here

actually, all that got me thinking so i dug around and found some more sounds of space from the European Space Agency. check it.

11.07.2007

Moon, The

i've been getting a little geeky about astronomy lately but this is sincerely cool. gives me goosebumps and that tingle in my stomach

hdtv movie of the moon

The movie consists of two sequences - one shot over the western region of Oceanus Procellarum. The other is a fly over of the Moon’s north pole region, flying over the northern part of Oceanus Procellarum to the north pole.
more info here

dennis k. v. tucker c



the mainstream media, if they regard Dennis Kucinich at all, are prone to marginalization and reduction. which is predictable but still annoying.

you can say long shot or no shot, or you can make jokes, or you talk about his wife instead of him but every time i hear dennis kucinich speak my cynicism is punctured, neutralized, mitigated. i can take a deep breath for a moment and trust that it isn't poisoned. Seek him out and read what he has to say and see if you disagree with any of it.

Coincidence put us in the same room in homer alaska w/ him in 2005 and he was just as impressive there, speaking casually and off the cuff.

NY Times & Portland, take 2

twice in one week, this time about the disgraced and 'despicable'
PT Barnum like showman who ran out of town oweing buckets of cash
but who is rising, phoenix-like, in seattle. That is, if you consider the ascension of self-promotion and hucksterism as per se rising. Something about it leaves a bad taste in my mouth but i can't pinpoint exactly what. Part of it is perhaps that i've reached maximum saturation level w/ portland's food culture and those who discuss it.

maybe it's just me though

11.06.2007

autumn, and other bits



saw this item about a lawsuit online today. brought me back 2 yrs in the amount of time it took the photons to reach my eye. A photograph w/ time-travel facility. for this you see is the MIT dorm in Cambridge right across the street from the park we took Maxwell every night 2 years ago. When we weren't here, that is, for my radiation treatment.

seeing that structure has several levels of strange but the simplest one to convey would be this:

we've been living in the past the last couple months. It's mainly because of our book, the co-written his/her, husband/wife, patient/caregiver memoir, the writing of which has forced us into a sort of semi-constant state of reliving unpleasant moments in all their stark unpleasant detail. What i had tied up and shelved in my mind as a sterile antiseptic box named Surgery One has now been pulled down and unwrapped, freeing a swirl of specific moments and general memory, some better left forgotten: the jerky ride of medical turmoil, the emotional highs and lows based on numbers on charts and interpretations of graphs, the malevolent stink of a friend's misguided email, the acrid bite of black fear, the hazy fog of post-surgery, of late-night MRIs, of a black and uncertain future. Real good fun.

Obviously, it's been really f**king difficult to write about. Both of us have wondered about the sensibility of doing it now, about the value of doing it at all, trying to think if the whole project has any value at all except to us and if so, why the hell are spending free time, weeknights and weekends, reliving these horrible things in horrible detail? Merely to exorcise? What is it we hope to gain from this experience?

One choice tidbit has been pulling the word 'chordoma' up from the ocean floor, as for 2 months we thought i had chordoma instead of chondrosarcoma. There was some hope heading in to Surgery One that i had a pituitary tumor, which would have led to a different world. not to be. the distinction between chordoma and chondrosarcoma was not known to us then. i suppose it didn't really matter. any way, found this today which addresses some of the difference.

so, we are trying to balance all this unpleasant-ness w/ fun, whatever that might mean and whereever we can get it. last night went to the laurelhurst to meet D & L
and see brazil, which is still real great. if you've seen it you'll recognize this:

japan - video



here's a video from tokyo/kyoto back in 06. it was an early experiment w/ cutting a bunch of footage together, using the limited effects of windows moviemaker. i've had japan on my mind a lot lately. don't know why but watching ozu a few wks back was probably a contributor as is current book i'm reading part of which is set in tokyo. look forward to returning ...

11.05.2007

NY Times & Portland

we cancelled the Oregonian a few wks ago, mostly b/c they're not a good paper [typified by their generally backwater editorials and that specifically ridiculous sunday cover story about an old man teaching his granddaughter how to shoot and kill birds] and have been receiving the ny times, which increasingly seems to have portland on her mind. today there was more love for portland. bikes. culture. etc.

11.01.2007

black fog of depression

"...a patient’s psychological functioning may be affected by the psychological implications of receiving a potentially life-altering diagnosis, the direct effects of the tumor on mood and cognition and treatment side effects..."

wow this seems obvious. i suppose it's good that it's being studied though.

article can be found here

10.29.2007

??

weekend



there are ways to tell that you've crested into middle-age, leaving youth behind. if you should, say, wake on a saturday AM and think going to the japanese garden is good idea, that might be an indication. Further, if while there you should happen to, say, wander in to a presentation of ikebana and find it fascinating, inspiring and moving, that would be another. If after that lovely experience on a lovlier autumn afternoon, you found yourself looking at couches on hawthorne or, say, at the mall 205 home depot purchasing toilet seats, anchors, bamboo blinds, rubber gloves, fire extinguishers, wood stain and brushes willingly, that would be a resounding and thundering confirmation that you are now in your mid 30's and no longer can claim 'early 30's' even though you feel no real difference between yourself now and yourself then. What can you do but submit. And surrender.

10.26.2007

k-mac




here's some awesome paintings by our friend kathy m. we have a photograph she took hanging in our living room and a print she made hanging in our bathroom. Also, there's a portrait of us she did (you'll see it at her site) which we are currently struggling to find a home for in our house. Our previous (rental) houase had 12 ft ceilings and the painting fit perfectly there. she's awesome though. and happy to do commisions.

10.25.2007

brain trauma, miscellany

interesting article on bob woodruff today.
we feel notable kinship w/ the symmetry of their experience. very interested to read their book as well but not until our own is written. don't want it to influence our layout or structure or whatever.

in other worlds, the blazers beat the sonics in a preseason game last night at the rose garden. got to sit in some decent seats this time. no kevin durant, no greg oden but still an entertaining game. also, a shiny brand new video screen w/ shiny new parts.

and finally: man, if i had an extra 400 bucks laying around. saw this item featured in the nytimes today. don't know if it would be updated to include new information though. how would that work? like say if i pointed it at saturn's rings. would i learn about moonlets? what about new black holes?

10.24.2007

London

didn't shoot very much video in london so i didn't have too much to work with which will be readily apparent i believe. we were completely exhausted, staying in Victoria in an easy hotel, getting ready for a week in paris. point being london was unfortunately sort of an afterthought.

10.23.2007

tuesday musings

from an interview w/ pema chödrön and bell hooks
that can be found in its entirety here.

Pema Chödrön: For me the spiritual path has always been learning how to die. That involves not just death at the end of this particular life, but all the falling apart that happens continually. The fear of death-which is also the fear of groundlessness, of insecurity, of not having it all together-seems to be the most fundamental thing that we have to work with. Because these endings happen all the time! Things are always ending and arising and ending. But we are strangely conditioned to feel that we're supposed to experience just the birth part and not the death part.

We have so much fear of not being in control, of not being able to hold on to things. Yet the true nature of things is that you're never in control. You're never in control. You can never hold on to anything. That's the nature of how things are. But it's almost like it's in the genes of being born human that you can't accept that. You can buy it intellectually, but moment to moment it brings up a lot of panic and fear. So my own path has been training to relax with groundlessness and the panic that accompanies it.

10.11.2007

Mesas in the Nilosyrtis Mensae region of Mars



this is a possible landing site for the mars exploration rover in 2009.
click on the picture for fuller detail

more info can be found here.

10.10.2007

jet plumes on enceladus



i know this is old news to everyone
but the implications on astrobiology are profound
and certainly exciting for everyone at jpl

self-promotion, office of

Here is an interview/podcast that i did earlier this summer. give a listen and let me know if i sound like a buffoon or not.
because i'm never sure.



topics covered: humboldt state film, LA, screenwriting, brain tumor, god

10.09.2007

good news

yesterday marg learned that she is a finalist in the Wordstock Ten, meaning that her short fiction is going to be published in the anthology that will come next month in conjunction w/ the festival Wordstock to be held here in portland. been a long time since either of us had any substantive creative good news in a long time. some close calls here and there between us both but nothing this exciting.

way go go mm!

10.03.2007

the sun in different wavelengths

here

rambling and sputtering

alone at home this wk as marg is in boston visiting LC and checking out our old haunts of 2 yrs ago. if you're a regular reader (read: hi mom) then you know about my bewilderment of late with these strange translucent membranes of time that slip and move around me only to dissipate as i struggle to get hold of them. things sometimes move into a surreal dream state where reality is fleeting and ephemeral, existing maybe in parallel worlds. identical motifs and objects keep returning to me seemingly of their own volition. on more than one occasion i have wondered if i am dead or in a coma and my brain is re-presenting swirled elements of the past 3 years. Shit, that makes me sound crazy but i can't articulate it any better than that. At least, i can't right now. Here's a smattering of photos
from 2 years ago in and around boston

stayed home sick on monday and tuesday so i was able to get a lot of mindless televison watching out of the way. saw season 5 of the shield and a couple movies. last night, feeling a little better, i ventured out of the house and went to see a second-run movie. i knew it would be bad since it features giant talking robots and i was ready to accept that b/c the price of admission was 3 bucks but man o' man it was absymal. should have known better.

9.25.2007

arrival, the

2 yrs ago yesterday we awoke at a Red Roof Inn in Syracuse, NY. It was crisp and autumnal and the complementary coffee from the lobby at checkout was brown swill. We got into the van with Maxwell and drove through town to Aaron's house. He and I had never met in person before but we had shared some extended online screenwriting commiserations and it seemed silly to not stop in and say hello since how often am i in Syracuse? Afterwards, we drove through town, across the campus just to see it. We bought bagels and coffees and got onto the highway, headed toward Boston. It was our shortest actual day in terms of driving, but longest in terms of what lay before us. Getting in to Cambridge, finding the Residence Inn, checking in, unloading the van, seeing my parents, going to dinner at an atrocious restaurant nearby, waking at 6am [after an already restless night] due to the monstrous chirp of the fire alarm in our room requesting to please be changed and my well-intentioned but poorly made decision to attempt to pull said fire alarm off the wall triggering an immediate call from the front desk and subsequent visit from their onsite technician – it was the longest patch of 24 hrs imaginable.

on 9/26 we met w/ Dr. L, i had an MRI (my 4th that yr), had a CT scan, got my face fitted for the mask that would hold me in place for 25 proton beam radiation treatments (plus 10 photon treatments).

on 9/29 I had treatment #1

9.24.2007

Tu Fawning




these guys call themselves Tu Fawning, which
apparently translates into 'we are real damn good'.
no, really.

9.14.2007

latest, at wk's end



sunday is our 7 yr anniversary. doesn't seem possible but here we are 7 yrs prior

i continue to wrestle/battle w/ some dark days and emotional turmoil (which is great fun for marg!) aided no doubt by our continued work on the book. we are well past the point now where each word has completely lost its emotional charge which makes editing difficult. we've (re)lived through the brain tumor experience many times over in our heads but we forget the sheer force that the story inflicts on the casual, uninitiated bystander. it certainly is a conversation killer. when i've been introduced to people at parties and it's come up i may as well have said that i was gang-raped. people aren't sure what to say. what's (in)appropriate?

switching gears (sort of):

dave sent this over yesterday.
i can't stop reading it
(be sure to use scroll feature to
read the whole thing)

9.13.2007

good news and bad news


first the bad:
greg oden may be out the whole season
unbelievable. particularly as relates to the prices my dad had to pay to get the same
game package as last yr.

the good:
the cassini spacecraft has taken new saturnian moon photos.

9.07.2007

demarcations and points of entry (w/ video)

so, we are coming up on some key pts in september. 9/16 will mark me and mm's 7 yr anniversary and 9/19 will mark the 2 yr anniv of us leaving for a wk long van drive across the u.s. ultimately arriving in boston, wherein we lived in a residence inn for 2 months so i could get proton beam radiation for the remaining parts of my brain tumor.

boston was a strange period, both in terms of the brain tumor year and just in general in our lives. it was both quick and endless, dark and light, high and low - it represented me getting reprieve from the tumor but it was surreal and odd, at the intense pitch that being in hospitals and around the infirm and the direly infirm can trigger. it was very much like living underwater. the two of us in separate air bubbles that would bump into one another on occasion. also surreal: to be back in the state where i was born, in the city where mm lived for much of her childhood, where some of my cousins and mm's friends still live. working on the book has churned some stuff up so yesterday i started to look at some video bits that i'd shot out there, nearly two yrs ago. spent last night and this morning cutting together what you see below.

a primer: every day mm and maxwell and i left the residence inn (kendall square) walked down to the charles for an hour long walk around the esplanade. my parents were present for our last wknd (also our first), helping us over the hump emotionally and financially. and then there was the long drive back across the country, further from boston, returning to portland, back to an uncertain world w/ tenuous margins...

9.05.2007

arrivals

and september arrives from nowhere. spent the holiday wknd
attending a variety of gatherings, some family, some friends.
marg and i continue to work on book and have arrived at a
comfortable working rhythm, ironing out the kinks, making
decisions where readability is not the only determinant but
an important one. we're trying to be true to the experience
and yet avoid bloat. it's tricky given 2 voices, 2 separate
experiences that revolve around one collective one. blah blah blah.

meantime, trying to get some action going w/ the movie. bit by bit and drop by drop. saw melville's "army of shadows" yesterday. amazing and inspiring. reading the mother garden by robin romm. only a couple stories in but it's damn good.

8.30.2007

touching the void - (but good touching!)



better work on the book last night. we worked a little past the time we thought we would and are starting to carve our way word by word, sentence by sentence. the hope is
that each progression will feed into the next and become self-perpetuating, like some large turbine engine clunking to life. yes, we are still at base camp looking up at the mountain to be scaled but we are slowly discerning the best route to get there as well the best way(s) we work together. in fact, this very metaphor – mountain climbing – we have used before: attempting to get thru the peaks, plains and valleys of the year of the brain tumor. so I suppose in some sick and twisted sense of (dry) humor, it’s a fitting and humorous metaphor. anyway….

parisian apartment (video)

here's some random bits from the apartment we rented for a wk
in paris. the wheezy breathing at the beginning belongs sadly to me
despite having just run the vancouver bc marathon. what can i say? it's up 5 windy flights. you try it.

the man standing in the apt toward the end speaking french into his cell phone is Monsieur Gilles, the owner and proprietor who was attempting
to fix the cable/internet/phone-line w/ the (lack of) help from a parisian operator

8.28.2007

august moves on

whiffs of autumn in the air as we round the corner
toward full on indian summer. and where-o’-where did the time go?

very tired today as we woke up last night around 3am to
watch the moon eclipsed by the earth and get all red and dark

marg and I continue to work on the book and w/ each passing day it gets easier to contend w/. There are multiple levels and complications naturally.

The most basic is simply how we work together, being two very diff writers w/ two very diff styles and approaches and disiciplines. another is the book itself – slippery and very hard to get a grasp on what exactly it’s going to be. not quite literary memoir but mainly so, only w/ visuals but not visuals that merely illustrate the text but hopefully illuminate it so that text and visual threads connote something larger and harder to define. it’s serpentine and spidery. thirdly, revisiting and reliving some of the highlights and lowlights of a year dealing w/ a brain tumor naturally churns up some things better left forgotten, some emotional things tug at us, urging us underwater, threatening to keep us there.

I still have deep anger and hurt and confusion and befuddlement and fear as I remember and relive this time. This era that this dec 27 will have begun 3 yrs ago. it exists right alongside me, both separate from me and forever intertwined w/ my being and memory. It still messes w/ me and I suspect it will forever.

8.23.2007

wknd (w/ video)

here's some video bits of last wknd. still feel slightly buzzed off the whole experience. trying to reconcile pasts and presents even though they may intertwine and break off and rejoin each other. is this a function of having survived a brain tumor, this hyper-sensitivity to personal history? is it a mere function of aging somehow enhanced by my recent proximity to oblivion? am i merely a freakshow? Will this continue on through adult life? anyways....

8.20.2007

persistence of time




it is quite the ride, stepping back in time to places of your youth where each thing your eyes fall upon – be it structure, or person, or restaurant, or tree – has an emotional charge, summoning up bits of long-forgotten business. this wknd then – back in Humboldt county, mainly Arcata – was a strange swirl of past and present for me and marg. We each have history and memory in Humboldt that predates when we knew each other. Also, we have shared history and memory from when we knew each other but only in a platonic capacity. Also, we returned there 7 yrs ago (which was 3 yrs after leaving there) to be wed in patrick’s pt state park which just happens to be where we went this wknd for a marital celebration/reception. Also, Arcata seems fundamentally the same but w/ some cosmetic changes and yet it was very different from when we were there, but not really. Like a giant moebius strip of space and time.

each place we went seemed to be a sort of box with sub-compartments and hidden doors, where things would flash out at us – be it individually or collectively. There’s the place where I stood when I heard ___. There’s where we first _____. There’s the X where Y told Z about A.

But also, we’re older. We noticed things like the new sod on the plaza (!) or the sq footage of commercial rental space (!) or the outrageous prices for real estate.

we checked in to hotel Arcata. we went to bubbles, northtown books, café mokka. walked the streets and saw Pete. [Yes, that Pete. Yes he is still there and yes he still told us he loved us.] ate at folie douce. met red and friend for a drink at everetts. later jervis joined us. we got drunken donuts at dons.

after sleeping we walked around plaza for farmer’s market. a band played their music thru solar powered amplifiers. we walked to daybreak café. headed back and saw a house being moved down the street (which involved multiple agencies), we went to tin can mailman. we went to wedding/celebration/reception and met a handful of people from portland. that night we returned to café mokka and everetts. next morning, we checked out of hotel, headed up to redwood park. after we drove around the town, hitting all the high points of our past: the Beverly house, the 11th st house, sunnybrae shopping center, the Arcata marsh etc etc etc. drove out to samoa to go to cookhouse for breakfast, said goodbye to folks and drove away.



on way out of town we stopped back at patrick’s pt state park and went back to wedding rock. how strange and surreal to regard this stunning rock outcropping
and to recall w/ precision events of 7 yrs ago. we are grateful to have been married there.

here's a smattering of pix

8.18.2007

8.17.2007

return


in arcata. humboldt co. just arrived. have not been here we determined in 4 yrs. a strange phenomenon to be back. more in due time
...

8.15.2007

blowing dust




as mentioned previously, marg and i have re-begun working on THE BOOK. it's difficult and slow-going b/c neither of us has written a book before for one.
for two the subject matter is difficult. for three each of us has a very
particular writing style/approach/discipline that may or may not line up w/ the other person's.

in any case. on sunday, the new moon, we sat down and hashed out a schedule.
we mapped our approach to tackling the text and non-text parts of the book
and how we'll contend w/ them. monday nite and last nite after work we
sat down and catalogued the mountain of supplemental info we've amassed. most
will probably end up in the non-text parts of the book but
we elected to look at it now in case it should trigger/inspire
ideas or approaches to the text part that were heretofore unseen.
already, just a couple days in and we've found some rich troves on
previously unmined ideas. most attributable to the passage of time
and perspective i'd suppose. still, it is highly emotionally charged
and coming across a bit of paper or an email or an article from
the early part (ie, diagnosis, before surgery) is enough to send us both
reeling.

however, w/ each conversation, w/ each passing second that we are discussing the book, we are refining it. The concept is slowly coming together, fused and compressed into an actual thing. Moving from the nebulous gas of the abstract into being. the motion is exciting and we are entering a new phase.

8.03.2007

the crash(ing)




they all said it would happen. they all said count on it; it will occur and there's no way it couldn't. margaret had hers about a year ago, after we moved into the alder house, shortly after returning from boston, after her role as 'caregiver' had been rescinded due to the good fortune of my health. she was in a daze, a fog of exhaustion, depression, heavy-limbed and unsleeping; a point where i currently find myself residing.

it makes sense in a way: after the giant time and energy-consumers of buying the house, running the marathon, going to paris etc, further paired w/ a sort of
stronger willingness to emerge from the cocoon of living day-to-day and trust
the infallibility of strong numbers there would have to be some type of
external reaction. a depth charge exploded deep under the ocean dark 2.5 yrs ago. Living in that world came equipped with the comforts of an automatic schedule,
a framework of points and margins against which to measure progress, experts to rely upon, to pour faiths into, specific tests and scores and quantifiable goods and bads.

now, finally surfacing, a clenched fist uncurling slowly, back to the real world, the everyday life, the mundane and routine and the peculiar position of trying to be grateful for things, even if they're annoying. the miracles of drawing breath and beating hearts. certain things cannot be reconciled, you just have to live among hazy realizations, you have to accept things, you have to continue - not in spite of them, but because of them.

in any case, this picture was taken in boston in nov 05, after my 34th and penultimate radiation treatment for my brain tumor.

7.30.2007

onward, onward, onward

marg just called me from home. 3 envelopes from the nicholl foundation. I had her open them: 3 rejections from Round One. depressing yes but further cementing the absolute random nature of (not having) sucess and how you define it. one of those scripts advanced pretty far in a previous yr, netting me an option (which sounds more exciting than it was, if I find myself w/ a surplus of time i'll recount) and one of the other scripts advanced far as well and got me enough attention to get some semi-respectable representation. Both of those scripts are unchanged and now summarily dismissed from the contest. The other one was the one I love most deeply, the most recent, in other words the one upon whom i had rested my hopes, the one i poured my post-tumored self into, the one that might be The One, the ladder up to the light, the hand from the clouds, the Celestial Nudge but no. Nothing. Silence.

It never gets easier, all these rejections, year after year, it just gets more familiar. As marg said (she a breadloaf finalist this yr, but ultimately a rejectant): why do we do this to ourselves? why are we not accountants?
well, neither of us has the stomach to do accounting but it does, on days like this, seem like a blissfully pain-free and oblivious undertaking comparatively speaking.

the answer was not present in the inflection...

went to see finding normal last night
we'd seen it before but about 8 mos ago
and wanted to show the love for the theatrical run.
it's a stunning movie, stark and hopeful both but
dealing w/ people edging away from darkness, or attempting to.

ran into BL in the lobby and walked around NW w/ him for a spell.
turns out he was meeting an old friend of his from college, a friend who came to the premiere on Friday night, a friend who as it happens
has/had a brain tumor. so we got introduced. no greater
social adhesive than a shared horrible experience to get
the conversation off to a lively start. in any case, it
was like a mirror, an echoed response coming back across the
canyon walls, a reminder of the recent-ness of my own diagnosis
(a mere 2.5 yrs ago) and Sign #22 lately from the Universe to
get to work again on the Book. It also was so strange after
seeing this great movie, to see similarities in life, the life
of the recovered and of the returned, of the spared. A similar
bewilderment, a similar admixture of fear, anger, hope.

7.27.2007

the kitten goes home

There was fretting, handwringings, uncertainties. Possible futures stretched out in front of us and found us making the space for them as the day went on – will we foster this found kitten until the owner finds him? Will this be a duration of days? Weeks? What if no one claims him? Ever? Then would this be our new cat? How are we supposed to afford it? Can we find a way? What to do? What to do?

We hatched a plan to place him. Some friends got the hard sell, some the soft but only negatives echoed back: X is allergic, Y has too many cats, Z might one day possibly move in with boyfriend and he doesn’t like cats. Contingency plans collapsed, back-ups foundered.

M registered kitten on the Oreg Humane Society. I posted on craigslist. Meantime, that night we’d bring some flyers down to the school field where we found kitten and keep fingers crossed.

Margaret got home first. Woody, as we’d christened him, was glad to see her, bouncing and purring and eating and yes, bouncing. His enthusiasm hadn’t ebbed by the time I got there. He was impossibly cute and the multiple futures and their inherent choices lay in front of us like fingers of spreading rivers. Rather than drown in them, it was time to walk Maxwell. We headed back to the field where we found Woody and began to put up flyers. We stapled probably a dozen flyers throughout neighborhood as we walked Max. Visions of driving by months later, the weather-beaten flyer still tacked there flashed through me. Would this be that?

But, impossibly, we got the call moments after returning home: I think that’s my kitten.

The reunion is sweet, edged with relief from both parties. A brand new kitten. So brand new as to not yet have a collar. A sleepless night. Just as we’re standing there a neighbor power-walking passes us and chimes in “oh, you found him! Good. He was so worried” and then continues up the street, as if she was an extra, timed into the shot perfectly, the moon emerging overhead in the blue sky. We leave armed with unnecessary gifts – wine, Belgian ale – tokens of gratitude, and spend the rest of the night trying to determine if we did the right thing or not? Should we have just left him there in the field? Look at the strife and headache we created. What was the point of all that? But we would do it again if necessary.

Later, over glasses of wine at a wine bar on Stark, outside and looking up the street, the midnight blue-hued sky, the lights from a marquee, the fist-fight spilling out of a bar across the street, conversation of life, death, brain tumors, friends, ex-friends, and what (not) to do when you find a lost kitten. We are so happy to live in Portland and we are so happy to be alive.

7.26.2007

the kitten arrives

so we walked max later than usual last night.
we stayed downtown to watch bands play at city hall for pdx pop
then rode our bikes to the co-op for coffee and beer
and then rode home. it was dusky twilight when we finally got to the school field and played ball w/ max. and that's when we saw him, a frisky kit
who seemed a little skinny and had no tags but was cute. what to do? what should we do? we brought him home

7.18.2007

homeowning, joy's of - concluded

so, if you've been following along,
margaret and i capped the sprinkler system. you can see the
video of that below if you're so inclined. we have been
getting our water - since the lawnmower incident - from
a temporary line that was put in by a Water Bureau employee
and when i say temporary line, i mean a hose that runs from
the meter box at the curb over the sidewalk and across our lawn
into an outdoor spigot, which has been closed off to allow
water to enter into our house.

since the entire ordeal was stressful and further since we did the work
ourselves w/ no plumber involved and further yet since the last time
we did the work it necessitated calling the Water Bureau back out b/c the employee
who came to check determined that we had not capped properly (which was in fact the case since when the water was turned on at the street water sprayed into the yard from under the cap) left our water off but took the temporary line (!)
necessitating us calling the after hours Water Bureau crew back and dealing w/ a crusty dispatcher who eventually sent us the guy who put our temporary in in the first place, etc etc --- we were nervous about having the temporary taken away.
But you can't live all your life w/ a hose running across your yard and sometimes you just have to step up and put in the call. Yesterday afternoon, I put in that call
and we returned home that night - margaret went to yoga so she picked me up - somewhat trepidatious about how it would go.

Sure enough, when we pulled up the hose was gone. The temporary was out.
We set our groceries on the table and went to the basement to turn the main water valve on. We ran up to the tub to run the water for a couple minutes, to let all the sediments and whatnots drain out. We turned the knob. Water.

Gushing beautiful flowing water! Lush and potent and gushing and signalling an end to this chapter of homeowning, to this cruel initiation and rite of passage and ha ha we made it through okay and...wait...wait a second, water slowing, water slowing, it's trickling, now it's just dripping. okay, it's almost stopped.

We must be doing something wrong. Take it easy. No big deal.

Back to the basement. The valve closed and reopened. A variety of sinks tried.

Same thing. Only a trickle.

Baffled and befuddled we trundle to the curb, toss up the meter box and - armed w/ screwdriver and crescent wrench - turn the meter. Maybe they left it turned off? Maybe that's the way they do it? We run back in, trying all variety of combination of street meter and main valve in basement and this sink and that sink etc etc etc but nothing is working. Our hearts are sinking into a swell of frustration, aided in part by our cat tearing through plastic to eat the tops of several slices of bread in a recently purchased loaf that didn't get put away b/c of the water drama. What cat eats breads?

Margaret phones the water bureau to see if maybe we're doing something wrong. The same crusty dispatcher answers. He has limited concern and patience for our mini-drama, clearly not interested in sending someone out but after several back and forths and have you tried that's and is your main valve on he reaches his breaking point and submits to send someone. He takes down our address. Wait. Wait a second. Are you near Powell? We are. A truck hit a fire hydrant at powell. There's no water for anyone near there. It'll be hours until the water is restored.

Ha ha ha, we laugh as we walk Maxwell through the neighborhood, down to the park, what are the chances on the day we call to have the temporary taken away that there's some water casualty in the neighborhood and we have water we just can't get to it yet? Ha ha! Just our luck. A continued part of the lesson plan. No big deal. Nothing to fret about. We'll wake up tomorrow morning and I'll go out to the curb and turn the meter on and we'll have our glorious water. Everything will be just fine
and so why don't we go get dinner after we drop maxwell off and...wait...wait a second....

As we're walking up the hill, back home, we see a Water Bureau truck pulling up. Impossibly it's the same guy who has been out twice before to our house. Yep, it's him, getting out of the truck just as we're at the front of our house. Hey man, we say, HA HA we just talked to your dispatcher and he shouldn't have sent you out. But you don't have water, he says. No, no we say, it's okay, there's that accident on Powell so our water's shut down in the neighborhood. That accident has nothing to do with you guys he says. It doesn't? No, you're nowhere near that accident. There's something else the matter. There's something else wrong. Now why don't you tell me exactly what happened when you got home. A vague sense of something bad is flashing through us. Something bad is coming.

We tell him exactly what we did when we got home. This valve, that sink, this meter. Hmm he says as he takes his instrument and turns on the meter forcefully and asks us to run inside and try the water now. We do. Same thing. A trickle.

Back outside. Uh-oh he says. This could be bad.
Bad? Bad how?
There's a plug somewhere in the line. It could be anywhere. He thinks. He thinks. He's reaching the bottom of his bag of magic tricks, the point in the transaction where you have to hand off the problem to another person or agency. Wait. Let me try something.

CUT TO:
moments later, armed with a cache of plumbing instruments and pipings, he has rigged a hose to blow backward through our line - the idea being that whatever sediment/mud/whatever is clogging it will get flushed out. If this doesn't work you'll need to call Risk Managment and see if they'll pay for any/all of your troubles. This triggers an image in my mind, the bloat of City bureacracy and endless forms in triplicate and no end in sight but before i let despair in I think, why not wait and see if this works, this crazy jerry-rigged backwards waterline blow-out thing. It..just..might..work!

My man is ready to go. A valve is turned, some water is ejected. But no plug. No.
No. Nope. It did not work. No, it did not. The ship has left the shore, the door has closed, hope a mere indulgence. Visions of an uprooted yard and endless phone calls come to roost on our shoulders like black crows. A new line will have to be put in. A plumber will have to be called. Money will have to be minted to help us cross this vaccuum, this abyss, this inky black endless swamp that i created w/ my careless mowing, my thoughtless clomping across the yard. Tiny black seeds inside me are sprouting depression as...

He is not ready to go.

He asks to come inside and look at the basement. Seconds later
we are standing down there. He is looking at the main valve. Thinking. He is looking at the main valve where the pipe comes from outside and curves down in an S shape at
the handle. Suddenly, without warning, he knocks on the pipe at the S with a few sturdy clangs of a crescent wrench and we both hear it, he and i: the water flowing though the house.

7.17.2007

more random spray

that last post got me thinking about the wknd and all the crap
we managed to do --
i am struggling to recall it all
(note: note b/c it's inherently interesting or anything b/c i don't believe that it is)
fri, had K & A over to the house for thai food that they brought over
sat am, we walked to R & K's house for breakfast, then
walked home, then went up to bamboo fest in hoyt arboretum
to get some tips on how to manage the bamboo we bought last wknd
but which turned out to be a gaggle of people standing under
a pavillion muttering and handing out pamphlets
but we skirted the arboretum and that was good.
[note: that trip has a whole sub-story about the zoo parking lot
being closed and us parking way out of the way and taking the shuttle bus in and getting off in washington park but eventually - not having been to the arboretum before - realizing we were far from the bamboo festival and getting back on the shuttle bus all the way back to the parking lot and getting back into the car and driving back into washington park past where the shuttle bus had stopped at the zoo to let us out and taking a serpentine road all the way to the top]

then
i got haircut at new place, which wouldn't warrant
a mention except it was so great. also, since we were catsitting
for C & J, margaret just walked over to their place whilst i
got my hairs cut. after that we went to laughing planet in our old hood
and saw old neighbor next door. we asked how new tenants were and she said 'kind of noisy' which we laughed at since our old neighbors were prone to lighting
firecrackers for any/all occasion and blasting music and for the one late-night
fight when the guy was yelling at his friend to 'go ahead and shoot me, do it' etc.

oh, we went to library and then to storables in nw to buy rolling cart like we had seen at R & K's at breakfast. 200$ later... that night marg did moon lodge while i
depressedly flipped thru some channels, watching a few moments of COPS. Later we watched Primer, several yrs old, which was utterly confusing and baffling and spectacularly awesome.

then over to Sunday AM which i discussed in prev post. had to leave true brew to get home b/c a photographer from a local publication was supposed to come over or contact me and/or photograph me. we waited a bit but no one called so i proceeded to do the grass and the weeding. eventually photog came. as did my parents, dropping by unannounced and quite stunned i'm sure to see their lazy son in the yard working.

that night went to dinner at new place in montavilla w/ D & L. We convinced L to come down to arcata for wedding next month and they convinced us to go to doug fir to see adam franklin. good times indeed

ooh, forgot to mention that the book - our book! - long ballyhooed and much discussed but with little action on our part has moved from the backburner, where it had been aging and marinating and ripening, to the frontburner, w/ some
good ideas on both of our parts as to both approach and execution. we had thought it would be done by now but no, it needed more time. For the longest duration it was nearly impossible to get our fingers around it, too slippery to even discuss: 2 different narrators reflecting on the same event(s). where does my voice come in and where does margarets? how is the book structured? trade chapters? paragraphs? and what of the whole visual component of things, important to both of us? how would that relate to the text? just discussing it among the 2 of us became impossible
and - aided by the depressing nature of the subject and the busy-ness of our lives the past yr - we found ways to not work on the book. anyways, which brings it all full-circle as i had a great semi-breakthrough idea for the book sunday morning
as i was laying in a chair getting acupuncture.

the end

random spray


been doing acupuncture lately, or rather i've done it the past 2
wks. quite simple and relaxing and, due to their sliding scale, affordable.
went on Sunday AM while marg was at yoga. afterwards
we spent a little time at True Brew in our old hood, hanging out
w/ R and catching up. afterwards,
i went home and mowed the grass and weeded.
it was a strangely satisfying experience and i've had gardening on the
mind lately, ever since we moved in to house.
don't know what it means, except that i must be aging.

been thinking about/missing japan lately. found this pic of the silver pavillion in kyoto

7.12.2007

coasting



been a little behind the updating of events of late. no surprise there I suppose
but a lot has been going on. a couple wks ago we went back to ocean-haven
and stayed at our favorite place.
the plan was a vacation. that’s it. no musts or shoulds or
have to’s.
might sound ridiculous since we’d just been
to europe but traveling is diff from vacation.
the weather was stunning and tremendous.
we ate at both yuzen & landmark again.
hiked up to cape perpetua again.
drank wine out under the starscape again.
a word popped up over the wknd that I’m still grapppling w/: transmutation.
more on that in the coming year(s)

7.09.2007

homeowning, joys of - part 3

sipes is our friend who knows things about houses and we’ve called upon him say 100 times since we’ve moved in for questions about this or that or this or that
so we were hesitant to go straight to him in
this instance but what choice did we have?
he came over.
snipped the sprinkler head off and capped it

problem done.
all we had to do was let it dry for 24 hrs and
have the water bureau come to take away their temporary line

CUT TO:
us at home the next Tues, awaiting the water bureau. they want us
to be home when they come just in case there is any issue and they have to turn the water off. they don’t come.

CUT TO:
WED am. no show. I go to work assuming they’ll come that night.

CUT TO:
WED PM. margaret has bicycled home and is hot and sweaty and in
need of a shower that she cannot take b/c the water
bureau has come when we were not home and turned the
water to the house back on and realized that the sprinkler head
was still leaking so they turned our water off and took
away the temporary line, leaving us with no water on the
night before a holiday that’s supposed to reach 90 degrees. margaret is not that joyous. nor am i. we don’t know what to do.

I call the main water bureau dispatch line. tell him what happened.
he does not appear to care and tells me I’ll need to get a plumber
to fix the problem before the water is turned back on. I tell margaret this. She does not accept it and calls the guy back. “Yeah, I just talked
with your husband” he says, grumbling at her as he eventually
capitulates. They will send someone back out but they have
a VERY busy night and it may be HOURS and HOURS b/c
there are higher priorities ahead of us.

When I get home I got out to the street and turn the water on
and sure enough water starts spraying from under the cap we put on the sprinkler. we didn’t cut down far enough in our haste. there’s nothing we can do about it now b/c it involves taking out a coupling
which is involved and beyond my skill set.

a couple hours later, a guy shows up and it turns out it’s the
first guy who helped us out on Sunday. He says no one can
believe that the other guy took away our temporary water. “Who would do that?” he asks sincerely. We do not know. We are as befuddled as he. but we now have water. we can take showers.
but we don’t. we get dressed and head out to have dinner
w/ sipes and his folks who are in town. we will shower later.

TO BE CONTINUED

7.06.2007

homeowning, joys of - part 2

so margaret and i return home, armed w/ all the
possible equipments we'll need
and a vague sense of what it is we're to do.
since we could care less about having a sprinkler system
(sorry dad) and since we
cannot find the shutoff valve,
despite the previous owner telling us that they
installed one. we've elected to
cap the leak. this is as opposed to installing a shutoff
valve ourselves. this is - we understand -
the path of least resistence.
this will make our sprinkler un-usable but it will stem the
rising tide of grass and mud and let us return to our lives
of quiet dissatisfaction and box-unpackings.

all we need to do is dig down a couple feet to find the T
where the sprinkler line meets the main line from the street,
use a hacksaw to cut the pvc off, apply some
adhesive onto a pvc cap, apply the cap and let it dry.
then we'll call the water bureau 24 hrs later, have them
take away the temporary line and hook us back up.
problem, solution. nice. easy.

CUT TO:
2 hrs later. our hands are calloused and sore. our necks
are red and sizzled. our demeanors are approaching joyless.
we've dug up a sizable portion of the yard, following
the pvc piping, looking for the T but nothing, no hint
or sign, only more pvc snaking underground. we've gone past
all the logical points for the pipe to come in.

it is time to call sipes

TO BE CONTINUED

7.05.2007

homeowning, joys of

THE SETUP
so we've been adrift, awash in boxes and bookshelves and
things that look good in one corner for a few hours and
then need to get moved and an out of tune piano
and the pets who still are adjusting. in the middle
of all that/this chaos is the grass, uncut for so long
that we now must be the talk over coffee on our street,
the new neighbors whose yard looks like crap
dandelions sprouting.
the catch: even if i wanted to mow the lawn
the mower is locked up in our new shed the keys to which
i wks ago misplaced or set down or tossed haphazardly into
a box or shelf that i cannot find any longer.

CUT TO:
Sunday 10 AM. W/ Margaret away for a couple hrs to do yoga
i figure i can score some husbandly points for taking the initiative to
cut the grass. I call brian and cheryl and borrow their push mower.
i walk it back to the house.
it works real good but it only takes a few minutes for me to realize
that the lawn is too far gone. the push mower can't handle the
dandelion stalks and the sun is beating down already.

CUT TO:
moments later. I am unscrewing the hinges from the door to the shed
to extract the lawnmower. It takes a bit of exertion but
i manage it. the lawnmower is free, sitting on the driveway.
and there's gas in it. but will it start?

CUT TO:
moments later. it started. I am mowing the lawn. i will be done with this
in a few moments. margaret will come home and maybe
we can go for a hike up mt tabor and then go to breakfast? no, maybe
we can ride our bikes to breakfast somewhere and spend the
day in leisurely fashion: some lounging, some reading, some more unpacking, easing into our status as homeowners on this, the 4wk anniversary of us moving in.
one half of the front yd is done and i cross the path that leads
to our front door and begin to mow the other half. I push
the mower alongside the tall grass that shoots along the brick
siding at the front of the house and that's when it happens:

i blindly slam the mower into an unseen sprinkler head.

a moment.
then

water.

not a light spray or mist (as the word sprinkler might suggest)
but a steady rising mass, spreading up from some unknown
depth, spreading across the lawn,
paralysis. i stare. it's running down the walkway into the street.
not drops of water
but an insistent gurgling organism, spreading. moving. growing.
what to do?
who to call and what dollar figure is attached to what phone number?

CUT TO:
mad scrambling ensues, a dash for some type of handle or valve or person
to stem the flow but nothing comes. nothing works

CUT TO:
margaret calling on the phone. not now i say

CUT TO:
margaret coming home

CUT TO:
us trying to turn water off at the street, the meter spinning and spinning
as gallon after gallon goes. we don't have the right tool.
we don't know what we're doing. we are freaking out.

CUT TO:
Water Bureau emergency employee pulls up in his truck. laughs when
i tell him what i did b/c he's done the same thing recently. turns the water off
at the street. gives us some advice for fixing problem. sets up temporary line
so that we can have water until problem is fixed. He is a life-saver. don't let it ruin your sunday he says

CUT TO:
margaret and i later, at genies having breakfast and coffee. it is 3pm.
we will go to hardware store. we will buy 3/4 inch cap for pvc and
a shovel and some adheseive. we already have a hacksaw. we will go home
and dig a trench until we find the T where the line from the street meets w/
the sprinkler line. we know more than we did an hour ago but not as much as two days later

TO BE CONTINUED

6.20.2007

where have you been?

indeed indeed, where to begin? where have you been?
the swirl of event and activity over the past several wks
has been notable, a lazy-susan of event and situation wheeling
past me every few minutes, seemingly only providing
a momentary consideration b/f it’s overtaken by the next bit.
but then again
where to begin?

there was the marathon.

there was the purchase of the house.

there was paris. un-sum-uppable and multi-faceted
and everything we thought it would be and more
and which included a brief los angeles leg and a brief london leg
(both legs only served to make paris all the brighter and
portland too for that matter).

there was the return from paris,
wherein we had exactly 6 days to box
up all possessions and get them
trucked over to new house.

there was The Move
which proved unsurprisingly traumatic to the pets
(who are only now getting settled) and
utterly exhausting physically and emotionally
and which included the full cleaning of
the rental house and the studio.

there was the painting of the bathroom in the new house, about
which the less said the better

there was the response from manager about
latest script: not going to be able to sell this one
which is turning into a bit of a refrain
but one reminding me I am glad we moved
from LA and now live here

there was the surgery on Maxwell’s mouth to remove a growth.

there was mm not getting in to a writers’ conference that
she deserves to.

there was birthday and corresponding dinner
for my sister, the big 3-0.

there was, the following day
my official entryway into my mid-30’s.
35 yrs old and what have you done?

there was the bicycle margaret got me for said bday
which I’ve ridden to work the past 2 days. ah, portland.

there was last Saturday, wherein we rode our bikes
partway up mt tabor, getting off and trundling uphill
to find the finish line of the 5K my sister was running
which – due to the massive nature of the park and
our fumbling uncertainty as to locale – we missed her
crossing at the end, but did get to see her nonetheless.
it was awesome and inspiring to see her, the
expression of achievement on her face, edged
with possibility, the limitless nature she contains.

and finally there was the email from out of the blue
from a childhood friend, 25 yrs ago which has
put a spin on my already-spinning head.

and keep in mind, those are all the broadest of strokes,
a thumbnail, a placeholder and
that one of these days, I hope to expand upon them
all. in the meantime,
everything is good
and I return: back to unpacking…

5.08.2007

attempt one

okay,
early morning and i'm awash in emails asking where the
pix and marathon update is. apologies all. was in a van for
most of yesterday, driving back with the family
from vancouver.

i want you to try this and see if it works. it should. a handful
of photos from the trip.

so, vancouver: mm & i honeymooned
in vancouver 7 yrs prior so it was a strangely surreal experience
to be running past buildings we went in, parks we walked in 7 yrs ago.
Oh, to add to the irony we found ourselves staying - by sheer chance -
in the exact same hotel we had stayed in on our honeymoon.
given the nature of why i was running (ie brain tumor)
i couldn't help but to be a little reflective already but
to recognize things on the course that i had visited previously
but in a life from 100 yrs ago and to recognize
the decor in the hotel
restaurant where we ate on our honeymoon in a life
from 100 yrs ago was the height of strangeness. did
a number on me.

so, the race: i got down to the staging area about 45 minutes early. just kind
of stood around, keeping to myself. i was wearing a t-shirt
w/ "brain tumor survivor" written on it in marker. standing there
before the race started, surrounded by thousands of folks i felt
naked and exposed. it wore off when the horn sounded
and we started running.

i bumped my run/walk ratio down for my legs sake and it
hurt to take the walks b/c i didn't want to at first, felt
strong. mile by mile people around me started to flag and
i became grateful for adhering to the ratio. saw mm around mile
6. we planned to re-meet at mile 11 which happened to be
directly in front of our hotel.

at mile 11 saw mm and sue and mom/dad & carrie. it was threatening
rain so mm handed me a plastic rain poncho which i had
to put on a mere few minutes later and was quite grateful for as
the rain continued off and on until the very end

the 1/2way pt was deep inside Stanley Park. i was already exhausted
and my legs burned and my mind began to contemplate
not finishing, or walking the rest, or also not finishing.
these are little tricks the mind plays. so i played one back
and adjusted the run/walk ratio, bumping it down further, telling
myelf you just have to run for X minutes, now go. By the time
i looked up i was seeing my family again and only had 9 more miles to go

you lock into a zone when you run a marathon. about mile 18
i locked in and - despite the pain, which was growing w/ each successive mile,
and the fatigue, both physical and mental - i knew i would finish. let me qualify: i knew i would finish anyway but i reached a certain point
where the worry floated away, the concern for each wince or ache vanished. i locked in
and just enjoyed myself

crossing the finish line was fantastic. met up w/ the family, got my tshirt.
went back to the hotel and had a bath
and ate a cheeseburger and had a beer. epic.

that's the best i can do for now
in the next couple days should have more official marathon
photos
and hopefully some video
keep yr eyes peeled
best
bp

update:
here's some official marathon pix

5.07.2007

done

i'm back and i've done it
been trying to post a photo but blogger is
giving me trouble
i'll try to do some tomorrow
along w/ a semi-coherent narrative of the
event itself

5.04.2007

training run 5/4/07



this proves to a month of months:
tomorrow we leave for vancouver, run the marathon on sunday
next thurs we (ostensibly and barring complication)
close on a house
the following wednesday we fly to los angeles
and then on to london & paris
whew

been cranky & edgy these past couple days
find myself worrying about things like
the race course, the weather on race day
fatigue factor by mile X and on and on and on

i'm almost up to 4200$ though

so, this AM
I strapped on the shoes and set out for a final
training run - for this marathon anyway - thru
laurelhurst park. tried to go real light
and not push it. felt gratitude
at being alive and being able
to draw breath.
i'm not really concerned with time
or where or how i place on Sunday
i just want to finish standing up
that's it

onward

5.02.2007

training run 5/2/07

did a light run in the light rain this AM
in laurelhurst park. only a few days to go
my friend tim told me about something
called taper madness which I wasn’t familiar
w/ but which I must have some strain of
b/c I’ve been a little loopy the past few days.
it’s hard to tell though how much of that
is brought on by all the crazy events around us
or just my personality or some combination therein.

mm got a lovely short story rejection
the other day “deeply impressed” w/ her
writing. close but no cigars. she’s had a few of
these editorial backpats. which is good
news even if it doesn’t feel like it

4.29.2007

beginning of the end

just came back from my last wknd training run! whooo hooo
did the familiar old loops: around laurelhurst park
up stark to 60th
and around the mt tabor reservoir.

the marathon is a wk from today. in fact by a wk from right now i'll
be done.

i felt good and strong and thankful while running. i couldn't help myself
from doing a sort of inventory, realizing all the people
- friends & family - that had gotten me to this point.
the shoes from jon e, the headphones from dad,
the songs on the ipod from david h, the running jacket
from sue, the headband from mm - and this naturally gave way to
another sort of inventory, a historical one filled
w/ friends & family and others w/o whom
i wouldn't be sitting here typing this:
the doctors and nurses just doing their job, the random kind word from a stranger,
the boundless love from family - all of it unquantifiable and all
of it essential to me currently
being alive.

thank you

4.27.2007

no rhyme or reason

sad news yesterday

she just turned 13.
her service is on may 5
and on may 6 i run marathon
don't know what that means
if anything
but i will run for her and her
family







life is a precious gift

4.25.2007

tick-tocking downward




indeed indeed. some voices from the past have
echoed back to me lately out of [seeming] nowhere and this, in
conjunction w/ my general state of befuddlement
and the encroachment of my 'middle aged'-ness [not just yet, but
coming, coming, coming] has led to
a state of semi-stupor. watching the UP series has(n't)
helped since you'll be looking at a person who's lived for
nearly 5 decades but w/ only a cut separating her at 7 from her at 35 or 49
baffles me. but then i'm generally baffled. radiation has(n't) certainly
helped....been reading house of leaves which also has(n't) helped and which
can be blamed for any [parenthetical] asides on my part

too much coffee today. or not enough.

ran in laurelhurst park this morning. knee started aching right away. stopped
when i stopped. only a few runs left.

mm finished write around portland
today. nuts. that was a ten wk blip albeit work intensive for sure.

been planning trip to paris. found a nighttime moonlight bike ride. def doing that one. oh and the french cinemateque will be showing a bunch of great stuff when we're there
altman, renoir, hitchcock, kurosawa, bunuel. plus the bldg was
designed by f. gehry no less. plus a friend i used to work w/
in LA now lives in paris. hope to see him

4.22.2007

4/22/07

6 mi run this am. went up to the mt tabor reservoir, circled a few times and came home. no sweat. 2 wks from today is the marathon. unbelievable. also, 2 wks from today i'll take my first sip of alcohol in over 6 mos. been on the wagon for
training's sake but there's a bar in vancouver that mm and i wandered into on our honeymoon w/ an extensive scotch & whisky menu that i'm planning to celebrate
at. certainly we'll imbibe in paris as well, which we'll be in 4 wks from today.

saw into great silence yesterday. a 3 hr movie about monks in the french alps. all the perversions of the monastic life on full display. lots of contemplation. lots of praying. then more contemplation offset by bouts of praying. snow. sunshine. then praying. rather amazing film, though certainly one that demands an amount of patience on the part of the modern viewer.

(un)titled

mm bought me a cd of american experimental noise & music spanning back several decades. here's the first pass at tossing some footage together to one of the tracks.

4.20.2007

4*20*07 training run

i need a haircut quite desperately but mm has said no, that
i should let it grow until the marathon, as good luck, a talisman, something.
it's quite voluminous and floppy, so much so
that i've been required to run with a headband
which makes look, along w/ my
full running regailia in mm's estimation like
i fell out of a wes anderson movie.
or crazy. or both. ah whatever. i just don't care. almost
done w/ training! slept in a bit today
put on my headband and set out thru laurelhurst park.
3 mi. Nice and easy, though my knee pains flared up again
a few minutes in. must be ITBS (or whatever the initials are)

in unbelieveable, meaningless-yet-somehow-infuriating news, pitchfork
gave 31knots a 4?! excuse me? a 4?!! wtf? it raised the slumbering but never quite
dead discussion mm & i have about critics and criticism. such a crapshoot as to be useless, except of course that a good review from a place like that can do wonders, so you find yourself hoping for a favorable response from a venue you don't respect anyway? swirls of conflict. what does it all mean? i suppose that you have to give as little credence to the good ones as the bad. how can that be though?
the math doesn't seem to add up here.it always feels like those who cannot do, review. [hmm, i guess that doesn't really hold up, witness the nyt bk reviewers (many hypersucessful novelists & writers), witness the cahiers du cinema critics (ie, the truffauts, the rohmers, the godards). must revise position
and ponder further, except that i don't want to really]. at bottom, it just bums me out b/c 31knots is incredible and deserves - at barest minimum - some type of institutional acknowledgement. a 4 doesn't cut it. even if you think the album has missteps you should acknowledge the intent of the artist. whatever.

up




been watching the up series. made it thru 42 up. only 49 up left to go.
utterly fascinating and all-consuming and just all-around incredible
as an epic work of art and a social document. i'm prone to hyperbole
but it's tremendous, amazing, vital, essential, etc. go out and buy it, rent it, borrow it, watch it.

4.19.2007

intersection(s) & rising tide

we've had several balls in the air for the past few mos
but now it feels as if they're all intersecting
little tributaries joining w/ tremendous
force and power and - naturally - a dizzying effect.
things feel like they're surging. full throttle.
nbtf has sent my press release out to several outlets.
today i was told i had a chance to talk at the expo
in vancouver on the fri b/f the marathon but
due to a variety of schedules and times to negotiate
i'm not going up there until saturday. oh well,
it was exciting for a few minutes.
meantime mm is finishing up write around portland.
only one more wk. meantime mm and i have each
managed to finish writing projects that had been dogging
us like albatross(es)(sp?). meantime planning for paris trip continues.
meantime, took maxwell to vet today just to be sure that
his urinary system is order and vet discovers a growth in
his mouth that will require surgical removal and biopsy
sooner rather than later (and several hundred dollars).
oh, and the house. on and on.

yesterday ran 3 mi. ran fast and hard b/c i could and
also b/c it was nice and lovely and - if all goes well w/ house
buying - laurelhurst pk will not be an option for
nearby runs any longer.

running again tomorrow. script is done, at least this draft, so i can sleep in
and run at my leisure

4.16.2007

22 mi

set out on sat AM armed w/ several packets of liquid carbohydrates, a handful of ibuprofins, a new pair of earphones designed to actually stay in the ear during running (thanks dad) and a headband, with which to mitigate the floppiness of my hair - which mm won't let me cut till after marathon. by the time i returned home it was after 2:30 in the pm. i'll be up front w/ you: it hurt. but at least it's done. all that's left after a meager training run here or there is the marathon itself.

the first couple hours were fantastic b/c i modified the walk/run ratio. brought it down to 9min of run to 1 min of walk. (down from 14/1) it made more of an immediate difference than i thought possible and had the added benefit of not making my knee flare up until deeper into the run. around the 3 hr mark i stopped at mom and dad's to refill water bottle and say hi. headed back out and only got about 15 minutes
b/f i started to feel wiped. ate a packet and walked for a bit. then walked for a bit more. then kept walking. frankly i walked more than i wanted to but i would rather save myself for the marathon than push it on a training run. in fact, i had such success w/ the modified ratio that i plan to push it even further on the big day - say to 8/2? maybe? - to guarantee that i don't collapse.

very much looking forward to going back to BC. mm and i honeymooned there some 7 yrs ago. then, a mere 10 days after the marathon we fly to europe for a vacation in paris.

saturday night went to see 31knots
awesome, as per usual.

4.13.2007

hiking w/ sipes & mm (& maxwell)

this was something i tossed together last yr
after we hiked up to angel's rest in the gorge. messing around w/ movie-maker
and a 2 megapixel camera.

4.12.2007

4*12 training run

3 mi this am. due to time constraints had to dash off into the chill and wet
w/ the dog. he was well-behaved and seems to
be recovering nicely from whatever
urinary malady caused him to pee blood
this wknd (and separated us from a couple hundred of our dollars)
ah, pets.

trying to carbo-load and hydrate myself properly for this wknd.
i'm planning on doing a diff walk break ratio but i haven't decided what yet. 7/1? 9/1? convinced it'll be dumping rain on me so i'm just going
to invest in some lame sort of poncho or whatnot. i guess they're called
garbage bags.

had family gathering last night b/c aunt mary was in
town. good times.

4.10.2007

entracement and dis-junction

3 mi training run this am.
starting to really get mental fatigue/burnout again
mm suggests a running partner and/or modulating
the intensity of work out w/ more walk breaks.
i currently am running 14/1 ratio - ie every 14 min i stop running
and walk and gather myself for a minute
maybe i should up it? sometimes i lock into a goal
a little too directly, to my own detriment? also knee troubles about 90 min in for the past few wks
prob not a good sign.
or, at least, a sign of pushing too hard. too much, too soon
my goal here is to finish the marathon really, nothing more.
i'd prefer to beat my previous (slow) times but
whatever. who cares. this wknd is the big, big, biggest
training run to date.

meantime, i'm doing my best to finish a script in the next 2 wks.
it's gonna be tight. [i mean that in terms of the time allotment
not as in street vernacular for the dope-ness of my script].

been reading m. pollan's omnivore's dilemma which i find
both endlessly fascinating and disturbing.

4.09.2007

cresting

rain on saturday, so i slept in.
sunday went out for 14 mi but only managed 10.5 due to a combo
of knee problems and fatigue, some of it mental.
this upcoming wknd is 20 plus
the last big run b/f the marathon
almost there

4.02.2007

18 going on 19

started raining friday night and by all accounting it was to continue into and through the dawn. when i woke, there was a grey pall overhead but no actual precipitation so i ventured forth armed w/ a kneebrace and 2 packets of liquid carbohydrates.

went down to the river via hawthorne br. and all the way up to sellwood. wove my way through the streets, picking up the new part of the springwater corridor. timed it so i'd end up at the parents to refill water bottle and refresh w/ only an hr left on my run. ended up feeling good (and being far enough from home) to do 19 mi instead of 18 which was good. my knee started bothering me about 90 min in which was bad. still kind of hurts today. may ease up on the training/mileages in honor of the idea of actually finishing the marathon, which is now a mere 5 wks away.

a busy wknd. saw friends, saw houses, did taxes. oh, learned today that p & c
had their baby and all is well. oh, and on friday heard from tim and from tom and both had good news to report on recent scans. awesome all around.

3.28.2007

tremendous-ness

ran 3 mi yest and today b/c i can't tomorrow due to a work thing
to boring to get into.
must admit to some trepidations about this wknds upcoming 18 miler
not to mention rain is forecast for both sat and sun
outstanding.

oprah just picked 'the road' by c. mccarthy. holy crap
i finally got around to reading it last wk. found it epic and
stunning. all superlatives are appropriate.

3.26.2007

12 mi run

weather not agreeable at all on Sat AM. plus i did not feel like running.
mm and i went to see 'rules of the game' at cinema 21. afterward it had stopped raining so i took my chances. 4 minutes in it began to rain. soldiered on
and it ended up being fine. sunday was gorgeous of course but what can you do?
you never know.

worked w/ mm on the press release for the nbtf. very difficult to have perspective on this event and i found myself veering into darkness. mm had to yank me back.
hopefully done by today. i'll email it to them and that'll be that.

saw lives of others yesterday. damn impressive

3.22.2007

das hund was eine blutwurst

mm been having terrible coughing fits at night, impacting both of our sleeping schedules, not aided by the cats, nocturnal i'm reminded. haven't had good sleep for a wk. but plus we've been busy.

next wk mm has a wk off from write around portland. well-earned and sure to be well-enjoyed. as for me, i realized i only have a couple more super long runs before the marathon. the training goes up and down you see. you'll do a 14 one wk, a 10 the next, a 16 the next, a 12 the next. this wknd is 12 and i'm tickled b/c that's a short one. funny the shift of perspective.

ran 3 mi this am. slept in till the latest possible moment and hence had to take maxwell w/ me. naturally, there were off-leash dogs everywhere. i'm sure if max was more controllable or better trained i'd have less of an issue w/ it but
it's a big frustration.

riding the bus to work this AM down Morrison. red light at 12th. The 70 crossed n bound. saw daniella sitting en route to work (i presume). two souls w/ film-y backgrounds transplanted from LA going to work at their non-film-y day jobs. what does it mean? maybe nothing but it felt like it should mean something. or could? the notion of success has been in the air this wk - pouring full self into work that is not acknowledged while lesser talents or those w/ baser aims find wide-scale approbation. random? godless? difficult to determine. the key is to endure.