Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Carbon Footprint of a Burger

Via Treehugger but originating (and containing a complete breakdown) at Jamais Cascio's new site: Open the Future. Jamais was the former managing editor over at Worldchanging, one of my favorite eco-chic ass-kicking sites...

anyway, he... "recently got to wondering: with all the recent hubbub surrounding carbon footprints, credits and offsets, what do everyday, common items contribute to our warming globe? He started with an American institution: the cheeseburger, and, after a little digging and number-crunching he came up with 6.3 to 6.8 pounds (2.85 to 3.1 kg) of carbon emissions per burger. This includes a myriad of factors, from growing the feed for the cattle for the beef and cheese, growing the produce, storing and transporting the components, as well as cooking them all, and he appears to have done a fairly thorough job. So, why choose burgers? The average American eats three burgers per week, or about 150 burgers per year; that's a lot of beef, cheese, shipping and grilling, and it really adds up. According to Jamais' calculations, America's love of burgers contributes approximately 941 to 1023 pounds (that's 428-465 kg) of greenhouse gas per person, per year -- the rough equivalent of the annual carbon output from 7,500-15,000 SUVs if the 300 million US citizens hit the 3 burgers/week average. Will Carbon McCredits soon be appearing on menus across the country (and the world)? Jamais' discerning look at this common food item suggests we may want to think about it."

I'd also like to point out how creepy McDonald's UK site is, and that it's vastly better than the U.S. one, however disturbing.

Okay, so us alternative fathers need to take this site by storm.

I find the website to be stereotypical and demeaning to men in general. Look at their topic bar on the left column. It's sections include: Dating & Sexuality, Love, Women, Men, Entertainment, Fashion & Lifestyle, Health & Sports, Power & Money, Gaming, Poker, and Cars. Nowhere on the site can I find a trace of quality info on fatherhood or families or caring for children or the importance of a man in a kid's life. Who do these fucking horny assholes think they are, pretending to speak for men's interests in general when they just end up contributing to our being typecast as senseless, sexed up, power-hungry, celebrity-obsessed, money-grubbing studs who drool over tits, video games and chrome bumpers? Fuck them and fuck that. I urge you to send them an e-mail at: (or just send them a bunch of spam and viruses)

If they truly plan to live up to their image of representing men and providing resources and entertainment then they should buck up and hire someone who's not shallow and deluded by pop culture's glitz and glamor. See if they'll let any of us alternatively minded men write for their shitty little site.

Maybe I'm being too judgemental but this shit really pisses me off. Then again, I suppose most of the people in the United States piss me off as well and perfectly embody this Image Of Man we spin off to the rest of the country and world. Well... I'd like that to change sometime.

The mainstream slowly, slowly, learns a thing or two

Alternative Medicines
Are They Key to a Healthy, Happy Pregnancy?
By Jacqueline Rupp

A decade ago alternative medicine needed a full introduction. Most people had rarely heard about it or tried anything beyond the pharmacist's counter.

Today, holistic therapies are part of the American mainstream, with an ever-increasing amount of doctors researching and using these alternative medicines and a rise in the demand by the general public for an alternative to prescription drug-based treatments.

For pregnant women, alternative therapies can offer unique solutions for both common pregnancy-related annoyances and some serious complications. In general, holistic therapies focus more on the individual as a whole, not just a specific symptom, and offer pregnant women the chance to take stock of their overall well-being at a time when so many changes are occurring both physically and emotionally. Because the term "alternative medicine" refers to a large group of individual treatments, we've taken just two forms – homeopathy and herbal therapies – to explore what they can offer pregnant women.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Youthful Tendency Disorder

Lifted from Dadventure, originating at (of course) The Onion.

Ah, thank goodness for The Onion, that online bastion of satire without whom we would never find out about a new, horrible disease striking kids all across the US: YTD or Youthful Tendency Disorder.

The article describes YTD as:

Youthful Tendency Disorder (YTD), a poorly understood neurological condition that afflicts an estimated 20 million U.S. children, is characterized by a variety of senseless, unproductive physical and mental exercises, often lasting hours at a time. In the thrall of YTD, sufferers run, jump, climb, twirl, shout, dance, do cartwheels, and enter unreal, unexplainable states of “make-believe.”

The article identifies 6 signs of YTD parents should be on the watch for:

1. Near constant running, jumping and skipping
2. Sudden episodes of shouting and singing
3. Preferring playtime to schoolwork
4. Confusing self with animals and objects including dinosaurs, tigers and airplanes
5. Conversations with “imaginary friends”
6. Poor impulse control with regard to sugared snacks

Fortunately, there seems to be a cure, a miracle drug on the horizon to counteract YTD.

Help for families struggling with YTD may soon be on the way. At last month’s annual AMA Convention, Smithkline-Beecham unveiled Juvenol, a promising YTD drug which, pending FDA approval, could reach the U.S. market as early as next spring. Already available in France and Sweden, Juvenol, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported, resulted in a 60 percent decrease in running and jumping among users.

But until such help arrives, the parents of YTD sufferers can do little more than try to get through each day.

“I love my child with all my heart,” said Alexandra Torres, Jesse’s mother. “But when he’s in the throes of one of his skipping fits, it’s hard not to feel a little envious of parents with normal, healthy children.”

Here’s hoping an outbreak of YTD hits your house this season!

Monday, December 25, 2006

tilting at windmills on saint crispin's day

I have discovered that all human evil comes from this,
man's being unable to sit still in a room.

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)

Breakfast alone at The Reef
a tossed green salad, italian
cottage cheese, light salt
cup of coffee, cream

Don’t know how to tell Stephanie
why I don’t want to see her and our daughters
today of all days,
something symbolic. (only period)
[insert change of pace here]
Purposefully don’t order a bloody mary. (never mind)

I swallow tiny ice cubes whose little sharp edges
tickle the inside of my throat,
melting all the way down
and never hitting bottom.

My hands tremble a bit
as I delicately manuever
a dollop of cream into my coffee cup,
it’s color the stock dusty reef brown.

A fly alights on my salad.

I am a solitary withdrawn man
behind a mask of sociability.

[you know, that pace thing, changing again]

Winston Churchill was born in a coat check room
at some bourgeois grand ball.

Mostly I just want to be left alone.

When he was older he rationed himself
to fifteen cigars a day.

But then I miss my closely distant friends.

Upon his death, the mortician saved
four hundred some odd dollars on embalming fluid
due to the levels of brandy in his blood.

Smile. Cough. Feel old beyond time.

[I made that last part up, by the way.
But it sounded good, huh?]

I wonder how large my aperture is
as I snap a shot of 4th ave,
in simple awe of this day
and what it does to people.

I guess I just wanted this experience:
A window into the world
of those who spend X-mas alone,
whether by choice or otherwise.

Last night at McCoy’s Doug and I met a very nice man
who asked if either of us had a little marijuana to sell.
We didn’t but chatted awhile; eventually he invited us up
to his nearby apartment for a little x-mas eve party for which
he obviously didn’t have anyone in attendance yet.
He boasted seventy some DVDs in his collection.
He was lonely.
We respectfully declined his invitation and continued
our exodus from the bar.
Down the street I felt guilt in my gut mixed with sadness.
He was black.
[leave open to interpretation with devious cackle]

I scrape my lack of appetite off my theeth with a dirty sleeve.
Mispell words ‘cause I write to try to match speed of mind sometimes,
always failing,
except when mind’s on empty.

And so I stumble back into breakfast slowly,
deliberately, resolving to read the newspaper today
and let it be a metaphor about new leaves
and turning them.
[this poem ends here]

then i curl into my little shell that no one knows, fall asleep for my only christmas date at the casino and reluctantly call it just another day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Whiskey Tattoos

More snow on the ground and a tree across the driveway this morning when I crawled out of bed to say goodbye and Merry Humbug to Ben before he flew to Connecticut for X-mas. Back in bed to cuddle with the girls until they ask for food, then downstairs to get the fire built and up to a rip-roarin' 1200 degrees to take the edge off our winter palace. No bookstore due to fallen tree so I enjoy a warm relaxed day by the fire, get a few things done around the house that have been neglected (specifically not including the dishes), read Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman to Lyli and Scarleht, who listen attentively and talk about feeding the animals. I choke up near the end of the book, flashbacks from my own childhood elliciting a hint of tear. This is my newly found malady since becoming a parent, I get moist at the most sentimental romantic bullshit imaginable. Crap. Don't tell any prospective ladies...

They sit on the sofa, unaware of my eavesdropping. Lyli holds her flower hat (the kind with petals that stick up and out from her head in a semi-circle) and grips individual petals, chanting "wheech one? other one, other one, other one." Scarleht advises me all day long that the old circular light switch on the wall behind my desk doesn't work: "this light not work" (repeat about two hundred and twelve times). They ask to see a picture of me in my wallet (how'd they know there was one in there?) and when I show them my driver's license Lyli says: "Papa 'ook sad eena pishur."

Snap a few polaroids of the girls, Lyli and Scarleht look my way and pose and shout "Whiskey Tattoos!" Their mantra whenever a camera points their way these days and a phrase for which I beg no forgiveness or explanation. We talk about how snow is cold and why, eat meat-free, gluten-free hippie nuggets for lunch, snack on the okra and corn bread and catfish Ben cooked up the night before. The word catfish intrigues the girls and I bow out on the explanation front, just letting that one ride for awhile until I have the presence of mind to come up with some clever answer. In the meantime we discuss the intricate subtleties of fireplaces and woodstoves and the differences between the two. Scarleht then asks for two notes (little scraps of paper I take notes on) and they spend the next hour folding and crumpling and pretending to write on them. I suppose this comes from watching their Papa work at his desk throughout the day and it hits a soft spot.

I wrap the last of my stupid x-mas presents in a self-absorbed funk, take the edge off with a nice glass of planing mill red, 2004, from Seven Hills winery, and settle into a quiet introspection that revolves around the rest of the day and into evening. Nap on the sofa after ladies fall to sleep and then back up to work into the wee hours, my normal routine these scattered days when I barely have enough time to tell if I still have a heart ticking away within the confines of a chest which lost its treasure. What kind of pirate am I? A lone one.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sustainable & Organic Kids Toys

Why buy a bunch of plastic crap that makes dangerously loud noises for yer kids or yer friend's kids when there are amazing alternatives out there? Though sometimes a bit more expensive, when natural capitalism's ripple effect is factored into the mix the benefits greatly outweigh the slightly increased price tag. This fold-down wooden horse from Hazelnut Kids carries a $69.90 price tag.

Check out Ecomall's list of kick-ass Organic & Sustainable kids toy providers for a ton of cool gift ideas!

And scope Elodie Details for pirate, punk and camo kid gear.

This is fucking ridiculous

From GizModo.

Just when you thought you'd seen every iPod accessory in the known universe, scientists discover a new one. This is the iPod baby stroller. I mean, I guess it could be nice to listen to music when walking your baby, but doesn't that kind of nix the whole baby bonding thing? Kolcraft has no care for this kind of emotional baggage, because its iBaby stroller (enough with the "i" prefix already people!) comes with a built-in iPod (no mention of which one), iPod mini adapter, holder and speakers. So get that Metallica on your playlist and crank it up for junior next time you're heading to the playground. I'm sure the other parents will totally appreciate it.

Scared of Santa Gallery

These are hilarious! Link via Michael atThe Tiny Revolution, via Boing Boing.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Coolest 8 Year Old In The World Talks About O'Reilly

This is fucking sweet. And evidently, quite the stir among certain circles less radical than my own. Judge for yourself, but me, I don't think this is exploitation or child abuse, especially considering she's a paid actress and professional child actress. Now, I could rant about that for awhile but it has nothing to do with how funny this is.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tracks through December

Crazy long work play day at the bookshop with myself, Steph-o Lyli, Scarleht, Dave, Cora, Heather, Rowan and Dylan, many friends stop by the play throughout the day as I grow more and more exhausted but satisfied and perfectly at home amongst other crazy young parents. Power out all across western war-shington so Oly's downtown is flooded with people seeking hot coffee and breakfast. schools are closed, phones are down, the internet plays hooky half the day just to piss me off. I dash around helping customers and observing my girls interacting with this marvelous multitude of shining souls. They pay me little mind and I pretend to be too busy to notice, so we dance around each other in little increments over the course of this river of a day.

We have extended family dinner at Dave's after closing our cute little anarchist bookshop and sit around sipping wine and watching Lyli and Scarleht and Cora make a disaster zone of Dave's living room. Palenta lasagna and a quiet cigarette. Dave tried his damndest to read a book to Cora and Lyli and Scarleht and me but it's a little advanced for my ladies and they are utterly exhausted from the day's activities. I put them to sleep in Cora's bed as Dave cuddles his daughter in the big bed. This room we used to live in... now sleeping here again. Odd twinges of guilt and raw emotion as I lie here thinking and dozing for an hour as the girls nodd off. Then downstairs to learn pinochle for too many hours of fun with Dave and Doug and Hannah into the wee hours.

Leave my ladies at Last Word with Mama and gang of friends 'round noonish and hightail it down the demon gutter with Hannah, saying hello to the mountains, paying respects to the rivers, smoke and comfortable talk. A refunded ticket in Portland for arriving sans train, nice $25.33 in the proverbial pocket of the mastercard. Quick smoke and romance amidst the bustle of city life, then on board the Empire Builder to all points East. Most social train-ride I've ever taken. Chatty Chatty with the workers and passengers alike, unsure what exactly has put me in this mood but have a hunch or two. I link up with a professional bull rider from Kennewick named Jack and this awesome black dude whose name I can't recall who trains 12 to 20 year olds how to BMX and MotoCross. We talk and joke and drink across Washington, take a smoke break, lose the BMXer to relaxation rather than frantic bizarre conversation, enlist a 17 year old musician/songwriter and force him to play Texas Hold-Em with us for the last hour (actually, he was ready and willing). Talk it up with ladies across the isle. Meet a little boy named Noah and share Pirate Papa with his parents. Matt, the diner car attendant, and I hit it off big and joke the whole trip, thoroughly disturbing the other passengers I'm sure. I love the train. Sometimes I like to shack up and write and read and sleep, sometimes I like to party with total strangers for a matter of hours. I can't wait to take the girls on the train, I suppose I've just been apprehensive for whatever myriad reasons.

Meet up with Pops in Pasco and take the long dark way home, thru talk and fields and silence and smoke. Share some words with Aly, far away. A nice talk until 4 a.m. with Trevor in Hawaii revolving around Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. A movie and vegetation into downstairs futon. No words then, tho I pray a bit for them to come today, however mundane. Tomorrow the grindstone, beautiful bookwork and a few friends. It is cold here. But I am ready.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fatherhood Statistics & Links

Not too much to report. Exhausted from kids and work and erratic schedule and wild mind. Going to Walla Walla to work a bit of the Christmas rush at Earthlight Books, my father's shop. Hope to get a bit of more academic, serious research and writing done while I'm there but I've also learned not to get my hopes up, especially around X-mas time, who knows what wayward souls will blow home for the holidays? Working Last Word Books with Eamon and Lyli and Scarleht tomorrow if anyone happens to be in the vicinity of downtown Olympia and needs a fix of my fine-ass ladies.

A few sites I dug up:

Seattle Dads
Old article on Seattle dad's group.
Northwest - 'eh', it makes me make that sound.
Solid Indiana Fatherhood Initiative Program

Father Facts pamphlet you can order, out of which the following is excerpted:

Top Ten Father Facts

1. 24 million children (34 percent) live absent their biological father.

2. Nearly 20 million children (27 percent) live in single-parent homes.

3. 1.35 million births (33 percent of all births) in 2000 occurred out of wedlock.

4. 43 percent of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60 percent of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.

5. Over 3.3 million children live with an unmarried parent and the parent's cohabiting partner. The number of cohabiting couples with children has nearly doubled since 1990, from 891,000 to 1.7 million today.

6. Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not. The best predictor of father presence is marital status. Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.

7. About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father's home.

8. Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.

9. From 1960 to 1995, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes tripled, from 9 percent to 27 percent, and the proportion of children living with married parents declined. However, from 1995 to 2000, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes slightly declined, while the proportion of children living with two married parents remained stable.

10. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Herbal & Natural Treatments of Alcoholism

Excerpted from the University of Maryland Medical Center's website, thanks gang, this is some excellent information. Check their website for some of the best all-encompassing, mostly unbiased medical knowledge I've found.


The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care and only under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of herbal medicine.

Luckily this isn't a problem if you aren't on anything else! Ha! Take that Western Medicine! I haven't had any of your silly pills in six years! Anyway, moving on...

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

Although more conclusive research is needed, there is some evidence to suggest that this herb may lessen cravings for alcohol. Evening primrose is often used as an oil extracted from the seed of this herb. This is commonly called EPO. The main active ingredient of EPO is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that can also be found in borage and black currant oils.


American and Asian ginseng (Panax quinquefolium and Panax ginseng respectively) may help treat alcohol intoxication because each of these herbs speed up the metabolism (break down) of alcohol. Faster break down clears alcohol from your body more quickly. In addition, animal research suggests that Asian ginseng may reduce the amount of alcohol that is absorbed from the stomach.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Some studies evaluating milk thistle for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease have found significant improvements in liver function with use of this herb. People with the mildest form of alcohol-related liver damage seem to improve the most. Milk thistle is less effective for those with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis. (Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring and permanent, non-reversible damage to the liver. It is often referred to as end-stage liver disease.)

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Those with depression and alcoholism share certain similarities in brain chemical activity. In addition, some people (especially men) who are depressed may mask their feelings or try to cope with their low mood by drinking alcohol. For these reasons, researchers have considered whether St. John's Wort, often used to treat depression, may help reduce alcohol consumption. Animal studies suggest that this may prove to be an appropriate use of this herb. St. John's Wort interacts with many different medications. It is particularly important, therefore, that you check with your doctor before using.


Additional herbs that an herbal specialist might consider to support you while undergoing treatment for alcoholism include:

* Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Traditionally used for liver-related problems and as a nutritional support because it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Tends to work well with milk thistle.
* Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): Traditionally used for tension and anxiety, this herb may help ease the withdrawal process.


There have been few studies examining the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. Professional homeopaths, however, may recommend a treatment for alcoholism based on their knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. In homeopathic terms, a person's constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual. The following are a few examples of remedies that an experienced homeopath might consider for symptoms related to alcohol abuse or withdrawal:

* Arsenicum album for anxiety and compulsiveness, with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
* Nux vomica for irritability and compulsiveness with constipation, nausea, and vomiting
* Lachesis for cravings for alcohol, headaches, and difficulty swallowing
* Staphysagria for angry individuals who tend to suppress their emotions and may have been abused physically, sexually, or psychologically in the past

Mind/Body Medicine

Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist is a very effective treatment approach for alcohol addiction. This type of therapy, which is geared toward restructuring your beliefs and thought process about drinking, can help you cope with stress and control your behavior. Talk to your health care provider about finding a qualified cognitive-behavioral therapist.

Acupuncture has shown potential as an effective treatment for addiction, according to a 1997 Consensus Statement by the National Institutes of Health. While some but not all studies of acupuncture for the treatment of alcohol abuse have shown benefit, many addiction programs that currently offer acupuncture report that people appear to "like acupuncture" and, in many cases, want to continue with their detox program for longer periods of time when acupuncture is provided as a treatment option. This is very important since attendance is essential for the success of treatment.

Acupuncturists treat people with alcoholism based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In the case of alcoholism, a qi deficiency is usually detected in the liver meridian, while the gallbladder meridian tends to contain excess qi. In addition to performing needling treatment, acupuncturists may employ other methods such as moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points). Although not all studies agree, auricular acupuncture may be particularly beneficial.
Traditional Chinese Medicine

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

Although a modern day scientific study suggests that this Chinese herb does not reduce cravings for alcohol or improve one's chances of staying sober, traditional use does include treatment of alcoholism. This one study was quite small; therefore, this traditional use of kudzu requires more thorough research to determine whether it is safe and effective or not.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

...I took the one less travelled by

I lounge behind my desk, utterly satisfied and exhausted, sipping wine and watching The Doors and reveling in simply being and being simply satisfied amidst these trees and rotting salmon stench which permeates all persons present. We who have hung our heads out windows, easy targets, waiting for a view of heaven or some star when we should be watching where we place each footfall and frail breath released into space to mingle with this ether we suppose elicits artwork.

I cast myself in a one-man play behind my eyelids, watching from afar, tucked away behind synapses and grey matter that really doesn't matter much at all. I spy the constituent pieces of myself, incongruous with the puzzles of others for the most part, parceled out over minutes and milestones, spread thin like an emaciated hooker tricking for a quick fix of lust or love. Alas, at times the lines in-between the lovers blur, a kaleidoscopic frenzy of frayed emotions, threads read and woven, binding our bodies into one.

I see each archetypal image of myself bound against reality's rendering of a lens. I see parent, bookie, poet, printer, drinker, dancer, loner, loser, lover, fighter, fucker, faithless fool, flop, sullen sucker, soulless savior of sad saints, glue that holds far hearts together across loss.

Where is the nobility in ego? Where does hate sleep in the house of love? Why do the stars blink when we look them in the eyes? When will we feast upon last year's harvest? When will our telephones laugh instead of ringing in our ears of corn?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Randominities #067k

Strange happenings the other night while carousing with Eamon and Afton... Eamon had, merely hours before, reminded us that it was December 7th and the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. While we were sitting around after dinner playing adult games I started going through a stack of comic book promotional posters I snagged from the back room of my father’s bookstore last trip. Lo and behold, halfway down the stack was a copy of...drumroll...The Honolulu Star-Bulletin 2nd Extra from Sunday, December 7th, 1941, an eight page news supplement focused on the disaster unfolding. Crazy shit huh?

Just received my 4000th hit on pirate papa (since installing the counter a little less than a year ago). 3,000 of those hits in the last six months alone. My buddy Ben over at Honky Tonk Dragon just made his first few bucks off adsense or some such advertising. Makes me think... I mean shit, I don’t like consumerism, but if I can choose the ads I definitely wouldn’t mind getting paid to work on my blog. Fuh-gid about it.

Eamon gets home at 4:45 in the morning to my insomniac ass cracking out on the computer. He weaves a very sad tale about a meth-addicted mother he befriended years ago and how he ran into her father in the 4th Ave Tav tonight and had a regretful blast from the past. I listen and share what few words I can muster.

Gotta be movin’ in a few hours here, girls into Steph, maybe a late morning nap at el bookstore-o. Hopefully this weekend I will travel to the far-off mystic lands of Seattle with Luke to see that Bodies Exhibition and the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Don’t know why I haven’t written anything about it yet, but the 2nd Papa Party was great! Still small but twice the size of last time (three times, counting little wobblers), the 2nd papa party was a casual hoot! Myself, my business partner Dave, Jason and his daughter Aurora, and Rob and his son Ezra all attended at Traditions Fair Trade Cafe last Saturday night for almost an hour and a half. Dave and I were sans children so part of the time was of course spent chasing little ones around Traditions, playing drums and sporadically talking about local politics, parent groups, food, kids, partners, our own parents, and future meetings of our fatherly minds.

My buddy Aaron Wesley officially became a father yesterday, little Noah popped out at NINE AND A HALF POUNDS and 20 3/4 in. Jesus. I mean, I know I had, like shrunken pygmy preemy twin babies but damn, that’s a big kid! So Congrats all around Aaron and fam-damily.

more links!

Divorce & Custody

A Kid's Right

Joint Custody and Shared Parenting

Shared Parenting Works

Fathers & Families

Men's Activism

Friday, December 8, 2006

for forever, love now

There is not such thing as darkness; only a failure to see.

Fog rolls in from the cow pasture this morning, up and over the creek splashing with exhausted salmon whose hides are spotted with experience. I revel in this morning's waffle-dance (even though we have no waffles) and listen to Lyli talk about "when me ah beeg gurhl ah cut appo wita nife." Scarleht talks at great length about the "pah-kit" of her "fwooyoo" (sweater). We move into "five anananados!" (five things colored orange as we begin to pick up Spanish left and right). Lyli complains that her socks are not working, then talks about yesterday when Scarleht threw a fit and didn't want to clean up her toys. Lylis says with utmost seriousness: "Lyli no cwy, lyli toys away" and punctuates it with her affirmative, headstrong single nod.

In other news I aimlessly, doggedly trudge onward, though the monotony of freedom sometimes stifles in ways you wouldn't imagine. I change hats to improve my despondency, smoke a fancy cigarette and watch the groundsquirrels and chickadees dance across the landscape of our cold, wet yard. Friends seem few and far between, even when perched next to me for a spell. When you only have little pieces of yourself to portion out it narrows your opportunities a bit. Or sequesters them to dark barrooms on those nights when part of me pretends I'm not a father. Other people seem to move so much faster than me, their emotions granted more time to work themselves out and evolve. With the passing days comes an increasing, encroaching loneliness I attempt to quell with cheap beer to little avail. I tell myself that crutches come and go in phases and that everything will be okay. I space out and don't listen to myself. I wonder about far away friends living out fantasy lives even though I know they feel as stagnant and small and forgotten as I do.

In the Pacific Northwest, this seems to be a seasonal ineptitude, our collective bioregional funk that starts to settle in around October and finally lifts her gloomy mantle whenever little miss spring gets around to pulling up her skirts enough for us to spy a little ankle and sink our hands back in her still cold soils with images of cherry tomatoes and strawberries driving us onward.

Changing hats works a bit, as does the thought of tea. I abandon my sorry self and start to sort out this dreamless day replete with routine duties. To that end, peruse some links, o gentle distant readers of my little world:

The Porn Myth

Naked Man Smokes Crack and Gets Attacked by an 11-foot Alligator

Christian Groups to Boycott Hate-Based Video Game Based on that Nutjob Tim LaHeye's Left Behind Series - YES!!!!! Thank you Jay-sus!

Green, Socially Responsible Gift Giving

The Fable Game: DIY Storybook

2006 10 Worst Toys List

Just Plain Awesome

Dwarfist, Deaf Parents Down With PGD

Eating Chocolate Reduces Risks of Miscarriage!!!

Captain Picard Sings the Alphabet Song

McSweeney's Has Kids Books! - Just a cool dude runnin' a cool site

Culture Seed

Disenfranchised Father

Disenfranchised Father Syndrome

"Be it thy course to being giddy minds with foreign quarrels." - Little Billy Shakes

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

stumbling towards profundity

When I am eighty I will live alone and smoke a pipe and read my news and books as the sun comes up. I will garden and split wood and walk to watch the salmon because there will, of course, be salmon nearby and wood in need of splitting and, I would imagine, we will still have weeds.

When I am eighty I will move slowly and think fast and never have to drive anywhere. I will write poems when the muse is upon me about old friends fallen by the wayside and drink red wine in my flower garden amidst the graves of a hundred cats.

When i am eighty i will hurl epithets at young hoodlums on street corners because it is my right and my duty and my retribution. My daughters and I will stroll and talk of things large and small and here and gone as my four-score worth of leaves swirl about our feet.

When I am eighty my girls will perhaps be grandparents, maybe twice over, and the world will be a realm unimaginable through today’s lens, a world we walk through with barely a thought thrown back to these days, these humble, lonely beginnings.

When I am eighty I will worry about everything and nothing all at once. I will live in an old lighthouse overlloking the Pacific somewhere and I will light lanterns to guide in wayward travellers and poets and princesses and dragons alike, to whisper to them the secret homes of rocks and danger.

When I am eighty I will play the piano each night while the sun burns down into the ocean. I will stretch up to pluck apples from the tired old tree, whose limbs are younger than my own. I will lie on my back in whatever yard I have to speak or write of and gaze up at the same stars I spy upon tonight, thinking some of the same thoughts, living parts of the same life I’ve always led


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Erectile Dysfunction Ads vs.Birth Control Ads

About Those Ads?

Kids see a lot of ads. And a lot of those ads deal with impotence drugs. Pediatricians would prefer that kids see a lot less of those ads and a lot more ads for birth control.

Children should be exposed to fewer television ads for anti-impotence drugs and more for birth control, and need to be shielded from an advertising onslaught in general, the leading U.S. pediatricians' group said on Monday.

..."We'd like to see more birth control ads," Strasburger said, "and less ads for erectile dysfunction drugs because it makes sex seem like a recreational activity."

He said there was no evidence that advertising birth control products would increase promiscuity.

The pediatricians group urged the U.S. Congress or government regulators to restrict the airing of erectile dysfunction drug ads until after 10 p.m. when fewer children are watching television.

They also recommend that children should be taught media literacy so they could be immunized against the overwhelming onslaught of ads that are vying for attention.

What a boffo idea!

Link courtesy of Pacific Views

Friday, December 1, 2006

lumberjills, thises & thats & Hi

As the legend goes, if you hold a book upon its spine and let it fall open the pages will spread their leaves to the sexy parts of the story because that's when the entranced reader bends the book open the hardest. I try to live my life like this whenever possible, especially these days, when I am a father first and an individual second. So I bend my spine, shuffle through the fallen leaves, speed-read these slender pages because I do not know when my eyes will find the time to next grace a text or dance upon a nape of neck.

My new affectionate term for my lovely ladies is lumberjills, a nice twist to our patriarchal roots here in Cascadia. They seem to like it, strutting around our frigid abode in their insulated pants and thermal long-sleeve onesies. I at last find conclusive proof of foul play regarding the ongoing instances of unscrewed knobs on cupboard doors about our cluttered domicile. Lyli has a fondness for toying with their succulently round shapeliness. Case closed.

They begin to utilize "this" and "that" today in common speech and I listen in fixated fascination from across the room as they point at toys and dub them with this fresh term. From time to time over the course of the day they run up one at a time and shout "Hi" at me in a shrill tone. My favorite is when they both subtly burst into song while doing something and harmonize behind the happenings of the room. They caress the pages of Madeline, softly telling the parts of the story they can wrap their tongues around: the girls brushing their teeth and lying in bed. Second only to their new-found delight in a little magnetic-black-dust drawing board, which takes up hours of each day invested in this quiet cold wonderland we inhabit.

I drift back and forth, build bookshelves, sleep irregularly, eat when I am hungry, piss when I have to, and exult in the tiniest occurrences and the subtly sexy signatures of tomorrow's unread pages.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

hold the regrets

nothing to write about. nothing to talk about. i utterly fail the telephone. my brain and hands are on autopilot and bored tearless and fearless and flying through slow cool dreams. robotically i perform my most necessarry duties as late in the day as possible, loaf around and read and watch a movie and recite books by memory to my girls as they flip the pages back and forth. it feels as if I am the snow outside, looking in the window at the warm house and fractured family, slowly melting into this dark cowl of night.

Lyli and Scarleht’s concepts of time are evolving rapidly right now, having both added the words ‘soon’, ‘almost’ and ‘mai-yo’ (tomorrow) to their formidable employ of the word ‘now’ and the phrase ‘right now’. We stay in a hotel for a night in The Dalles (like anyone not from right around here knows where the hell that is), forced off the rainy dark roads for the first time in all our road trips. The girls love it, run shrieking down the hallways, jump on the bed for hours. We horse around, order salmon thru the roomservice for dinner, look out the window and babble at the highway outside. We practice our colors in English and Spanish, their favorite is ‘Morado’. Upon finally reaching Portland on Saturday morning we visit Auntie Jess and Uncle Mike #2, check out the farmer’s market at PSU and have a lovely scramble at their apartment.

Mike gives Scarleht a Rubik’s Cube with financial advice for stickers. A women at the market spies her tpy and explains to her son that it’s a Rubik’s Cube. I correct her, saying “Actually, it’s an financial Rubik’s Cube.” She replies right off the cuff: “Of course, what else would she have?” We part ways without another word and get lost in the crowd. After claiming the purple wooden cow in the center of the market and fiercely defending it from a few other rug-rats, Lyli notices a little boy crying with his papa. “Eyo-person cwying.” We go over and Henry (as we are soon to learn) stops crying. His papa and I chat for a few seconds, nothing meaningful really, just tiny-chatter and then gone in the sea of people as my Chai Latte arrives.

A nice break before the return of the I-5 demon gutter run back to Oly and the shelter of home. I drop the girls off with Steph and try to work at the bookstore but I am frazzled from eight days of travel and can only manage meager efforts while I reboot my head.

They’ve started asking “What is it?” “What is that?” “Whata Papa Do-ink?” and I love it. Now I can really start to craft their moldable little minds into the sharp tools they will need to combat this future world we’re throwing up. Just kidding...? sort of... I toss an old animal textbook down on the floor and Lyli flips through it for almost 20 minutes (longest single book session I’ve noticed yet).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please and Politely have become everyday words we work with to learn how to live with each other in relative peace. I almost broke down in tears last night when Lyli and Scarleht both said “Thank you for cooking dinner Papa.” Kisses and hugs all around. I am short of breath. Their long sentences string together with a few enunciated words, new and old, at the beginning, a series of tonal approximations of the words they already know (cadence carrying meaning as well as words), and then another series of new and old words, fairly well articulated, at the end to cap off the thought.

Scarleht practices her mad jump skills on the couch to my left as the fire crackles in our woodstove. She climbs up to the arm of the couch, balances perfectly and then leaps off, landing upright on a cushion. Only days ago she was still diving head first, with no thought of landing the jump. I shudder, picturing my children base-jumping off skyscrapers for kicks or maybe cash if they have some crazy government job to piss off papa (or pay for my kidney machine).

My mood seems to be a slowed down version of my girls’, shifting several times over the course of an uneventful day of talking to myself and echoing my children. Mercurial and tempestual and drifting with the winds as I wrap my nightmares up with dreams, sprinkle sugar on top after baking and devour, hold the regrets.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

dreams, dances, denver. houses, homes, hopes. ferries, friends, fantasies.

Best vacation ever to Denver and a few points east of everywhere I'm used to. At
Red Rocks I learn that 'unconformity' is a geographic term as I gaze in awe at one
of the most amazing landscapes I've ever laid eyes upon. My friend Alyson spoils me
with a fabulous feast on Saturn's Day and shows me little bits (and beers) of the
city. For a smattering of days I am injected with a feverish fervor for the Denver
Broncos and am transported to have-to-be-a-football-fan-land. Aly's family seems to
like me, and I them, an interesting laid-back bunch of people. Plus it's always
fascinating to see where a good freind comes from. Too short a trip but there will
be others and it was a quiet, quite necessary break from my usual routines. However
cool my life may seem it's no less stressful than any other, and it doesn't serve
solid interests to compare one's miseries and happinesses to those of others
anyway. That just leads to a deep solemn grave of resentment and judgement.
Entranced by snow on the Rockies I try to put my future in perspective, aided by
the mere presence and rose-tinted lenses of a dear old friend's beauty and home and
roots and dreams. For once I abstain from the dark halls of bookshops to which I am
eternally addicted. Saving that experience for a trip to Denver with my business
partner Dave, having recently reconciled the shambles of our relationship.

All in all a soul-searching expedition that let me know my self and my own desires
more intimately than before.

My recently discovered cosmopolitan capabilities know no bounds beyond the
occasional economic restrictions that tend to bite us all in the ass every now and
then. Upon arriving back at Sea-Tac Rob picks me up and we dash to our friend
Ryan's new house he has purchased in Seattle off of Ranier. A fixer-upper he plans
to pave his future with, further injecting me with a wide variety of dreams and
aspirations I used to think were unattainable or far far away. But dreams are what
you make of them. Don't think for a second that just because you're young and poor
and a parent that you can't still travel or that you have to press pause on all
your fantasies for eighteen years. If it needs to happen then fucking find a way to
make it work. Quit yer stupid job and find a way to work from home, everything else
will fall into place.

A forty and some excellent tacos chased with top shelf tequila and a sobriety break
later we abscond to the ferry docks and take the 10:30 over to Bremerton, vastly
preferring the hour long ferry ride and easy drive down Highway 3 to the horrors of
Interstate Five, the demon gutter. Packing for another trip at 1:30 in the morning,
hurriedly packaging up the onslaught of orders from a weekend away from my central
-brain-hub-desk-literary-internet existence. At 2:30 a.m. we make the late-night
run to Oly and spend several hours talking and dancing to Zorba the Greek at Rob's
house. Then it's up early for a nice couple hours with Steph and the girls, the
longest time we've spent together in some time. It feels good, friendly again, as
if our harbored guilts and blames have evaporated given time and space. We don't
talk about much important, just hang out with the girls and then head downtown,
Steph off to work, me off to Portland in my shitty station wagon. A mostly
dependable car, just uncomfortable to drive. Windshield wipers on the fritz and
smearing the outside world that rushes by along I-5, I find myself driving in the
worst conditions imaginable. Pouring torrents of rain and waterfalls kicked
backwards by the thrumming thunder of eighteen wheelers. I hydroplane at 85 miles
an hour between two semi-trucks, sweating while the girls (thank god) sleep in the
backseat. Ten minutes later I find my station wagon perpendicular to the freeway,
still travelling in the right direction at sixty-five m.p.h. Behind me everyone
slams their brakes on as I cooly look to the right out the passenger window at two
dozen speeding cars rushing towards us. A quick counter-intuitive crank of the
wheel and we whip back around and speed off while I-5 South comes to a virtual
standstill behind me. Never done that single-handedly before! I count my blessings for all the driving experience I've got shoved under my belt and down my gullet. But christ, I've never been so scared in a car before.

Finally we leave the rains behind and make it to Portland for a quick beer and
words and smoke with Jess and Mike and Sparky Mark (proud new owner of a 1960s
speedboat my mind can only drool over) and friends. Then off in the dark (dammit)
to Walla Walla, arriving exhuasted around 9 pm. I recoup, sleep until 1 pm (thanks
Mom!) as mi madre takes care of the girls all day and I run around getting all my
errands 'round town done or at least kickstarted to allow for an easy-going
Thanksgiving with the folks. The soundtrack in my head plays songs from high-school
brought on by simply being in this place of my abandoned youth, songs from college
inspired by folks I think of missing, songs from Denver I couldn't manage to expell
even if the desire were to strike. Tomorrow promises more books, coffee with the
Burgesses and a drive back across the state to Portland and a small party for my
girls and their P-Town aunties and 'nuncles. Back up to Oly and a kid-free weekend
of working at the bookstore, unwind, regroup, try to plan out my schedule for the
next few months (something I've never been good at). I plan to sigh and relax and
spend next week (at least 3 days straight) wrapped in the comforts of a home grown
less lonely because of the sweetness of words and hearts and the reassuring
kindness of fresh dreams being realized and old wounds being licked finally.

My muse and music merge to become an image of a life that makes me cry with joy for
the possibilities it holds in store and I pretend these tears are merely warm rains
preluding a springtime of the soul. Sometimes it takes a healthy dose of happy to
realize you always carry some, just have to learn to find its depths and wrench it
up to see how light and bright your eyes are capable of shining.

I give thanks for my darling daughters and inimitable parents.
I give thanks for my beautiful shining friends who have helped and continue to aid me along this winding road.
I give thanks for my baby mama and wish her the best of wellness.
I give thanks for this world of continuous wonder in which we live.
I give thanks for your song inhabiting my warm den of dreams.
I give thanks for all the parents, young and old.
I give thanks for all the children who will carry us to the edge of life and beyond.

I give thanks.
I give thanks.
I give thanks.

Friday, November 17, 2006

i wish i could get away with this

Well, that's what happens when you post a link to an image inside your own private gmail inbox... no one else can see it! shocking! sorry that took me so long to fix.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

“dear mr. _________________, you are not my father, please stop writing me letters.”

It’s hard to be a single parent in this incestual, sexy, alcoholic, uber-social setting of Olympia. It’s hard to have one night stands when all you have are single nights chopped up over weeks and so many friends to see and social obligations you'd rather not have. You aren’t supposed to care about one night stands, but what about when that’s all you’ve got? How do you get to know someone before they get to know someone else better? They pretty much have to be addicted to you from the get-go for it to have any chance at success and the odds of that happening don’t make me overly hopeful.

It’s hard to kiss someone and then not see them for a week or more and try to hold onto the hope that they still think of you, even though time must move so much quicker for one of their breed (versus us breeders).

Love a thousand miles away that feels as close as yesterday,
love next door that does not stay, instead a thousand miles away.

I bless the fire with wine and forget all my lines.
Ashes smudge the keyboard as I juggle emotional stones in this glass house of a heart.

“They told me I couldn’t see my daughter again until I stopped shooting smack, my husband cleaned up before I did and took care of our girl for a year and a half while I was in rehab. Now everything’s fine, we’re just flat broke.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

hammering home

I wrote this at the beginning of July, I just never had the guts to post it for some strange reason.

Over and over again I must have the importance, nay, the dire necessity of taking my twin girls Lyli and Scarleht out into the world hammered home. Having grown up almost entirely removed from the torrent of society before becoming a dynamic party hub in college I have reverted to my introspective hermetic self since I caught the papa bug, even more so since moving to a rural area outside Olympia, even more so having recently separated from my baby mama. I usually spend my half the week shacked up with my girls and leave the socializing time to Stephanie as it seems to be more important to her and something she enjoys doing despite the stresses of going anywhere with twins. At the farmhouse we invest our time gardening, going for walks up and down the long driveway and the abandoned logging roads, chucking rocks into Puget Sound, reading and learning at a breakneck pace.

Every few weeks I realize that I have not taken my girls out for a spell and have to kick myself and do it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being in public with them, although there is that awkward unwanted feeling imposed on papas by our culture, I suppose it is my way of giving them what I got and what I value so much now in hindsight: a sheltered but open view of the natural world, a place to do things with one’s hands, a break (at least for the beginning) from the endemic hustle and bustle and frantic pace of life these days, a slow yardstick with which to measure the rest of life. So, being an outsider from the get-go, not to mention attending the radical anarchist hippy college in the woods, tuned me in to those frequencies and I feel them everywhere, from the playground to the Food Co-Op to the freeway. Many of the encounters I have with other mothers and fathers are valuable and lift my spirits but the overall vibe I get from society at large frightens me. I suppose we are indeed rarely spotted beasts in this patriarchal nine to five piggy bank landscape the majority of fathers are locked into.

Almost immediately after becoming a father I felt ostracized (I’m going to assume I’m not alone on this one) to a certain degree from my group of friends. This may well be due to the simple change in levels of responsibility, a forced art of the long view, new time restrictions brought on my parenthood, and/or economic limitations. Work ethics change, social schedules change, I know for me at least I pretty much had time to hang out with anyone who had time to hang out with me, observe my new lifestyle, lend a hand. It was hard as well, not having my masculinity affirmed in the ways I had grown accustomed to and having to learn new ways to feel like a man. I think that’s what I miss most from my male friends, is that support one feels when a common bond is present. Jesus, that’s a whole other essay. I’ll skip back to present day and leave the rants for elsewhere.

These past few weeks have been hard and strange, my partner having moved out and going from taking care of my girls almost all of the time to just half… now a creeping loneliness and stagnant static fills my free time. I almost have to make myself have fun or work or just sit and look at something, now that I sometimes have time to look around. At the bookstore I walk around like a zombie shelving books, smoking cigarettes and talking off and on with Rob. I hate it when reading becomes a chore or a self-help necessity. It’s like coming down from a hard party or a conference that you’ve just slaved away at nonstop for months. Everything else by comparison seems dull and unproductive, lacking that luster which accompanies the always-busy and the polaroid of the happy family. Some of it I’m sure is due to the sensations lost and gained by losing or changing our family structure, or pressing pause (or is it guillotine?) on a relationship or whatever it is confused parents do when they think they don’t need or want each other, whatever it is we think we are doing right now.

Are we gaining something from this time apart? Are we rediscovering our true selves or undergoing radical new changes that have been shelved for too long? We question our every decision, past, present and future, hoping to unearth some revelation that will explain the rocky roads. Is this a futile move? Perhaps, but the lessons learned along the way are still lessons, even if you walk the road alone. Have faith that life goes on, that there is time to invest in oneself as well as those one loves. Have faith that your children themselves are the answers you seek, the way they look at you and learn from you and love you unconditionally. These are some of the mantras I mutter to myself between breaths or beers, trying to dispel or embrace this mix of hollow heartache, foreign freedoms and fresh horizons.

It is only by experiencing and taking part in the spaces and places around us that we may come to learn what sort of world we really want to live in. Armed with these new tools we actively fashion our future.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I'm addicted to good beer
I'm addicted to sunshine and gasoline and pumping my gasoline and watching beautiful women pump gasoline
i'm addicted to cigarettes and woodsmoke and smog
i'm addicted to frozen pizzas and organic vitamin supplements and
certain kinds of cough syrup
i'm addicted to writing and reading and computers and children and parents
and... did I say sunshine?
I'm addicted to a veritable plethora of colorful chemicals in my drinking water, my french fries, my rainfall, my food, my clothing, my cleaning products
I'm addicted to sex and tongues and shoulder blades and loneliness
I'm addicted to television and movies and radio
I'm addicted to the fringe, the underbelly, the counterculture crazy, the voodoo shamans on barstools and their crows that haunt our streets

Where do we draw the line between addiction and habit? How do we
delineate between physical heath and mental health and their paradoxical panacea?

Our vices and our virtues bleed into time across the same value line,
biorhthymically complimenting each other's inadeqeucies and acting together to help us hold ourselves above water. If heady dank local beer and an irregular sleep habit is what keeps you going, what keeps you sane, what keeps your family on track then
so be it. So be it if you spend enough on beer over the years to send
your kids to college... would you, would they have ever made it to the
point where they can question "which college should I go to?" WITHOUT
that beer you drank to fuel you through shoring up the foundations of your own business? Through dealing with the trials and tribulations of shoring up a nuclear family? Silly questions in my mind.

How do we attempt to justify our own ineptitudes and failures? To what extent do comments and criticisms from loved ones play into our cycles of binging, purging, being?

Look what a kiss will buy
or sigh giving
or die living

An odd day yesterday, completely unpredictable, like I like them. A blue foul funk of a mood blew over me so I bought some bookshelves and played blackjack at the casino. Sure, I may have lost money, but I bought the experience, I bought the drive home, the presence of mind it gifted me, the tips for the dealers, two beers, and an hour of pure random entertainment with older strangers guffawing at the outside world inside a dark dank cave where daylight fears to tread. It was great. And I got to smoke inside! [a luxury here in Washington State] So I proceeded to spontaneously stop at Sage Books in downtown Shelton 'cause I wanted to write and had not a pen upon me and they have one of those nifty free internet 'poo-koos' one can utilize at one's leisure. Then a drive around the island, a beer, some beach before the darkness settles. Tenses and times merge within me. I take the weekend off to winterproof the house a bit, build shelves, push books around, get some yardwork done. Today I end up sleeping until 1:30 p.m. Suppose I needed it. My inner workaholic yanks his hair out. My inner shrink taps his foot and frowns. My inner witch brews tonics. I do what I can, take some time for myself, go with the flow and forget about everything I planned on accomplishing this weekend. Fuck it. Do what makes you feel good and keeps the moss off the stone.

"Exactly how much cocaine can you fit in a #4 diaper?"

I've decided to start posting excerpts from some of the e-mails and letters I receive whose overall content and subject matter is too private to post in its entirety.

"I'll be in the military until both my girls are all grown up..."

"The bitch gets pised[sic] when I wanna go drink with the guys!"

"She split right after _______ was born. I've had to hold down two jobs while someone else takes care of him, I barely make enough money for us to eat and I never get to see my own child."

"I'll just hire someone else to take care of her, I mean, it's not like I don't have a life."

"We had twins once, but both of them were stillborn."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I will piss on Rupert Murdoch's grave

This is absolutely disgusting to throw all over myspace. Why can't we at least be blessed with a nation of hypochondriacs into herbal medicine?

I'm sorry, I believe that there are strange ailments and mental imbalances out there but I refuse to believe they are as widespread as we make them out to be in the United States and Canada (I can't really speak for anywhere else as I don't follow BigPharm overseas too often, though I should). I also don't think we should be baiting people with ads hinting at things they might have... how can we get away with luring vulnerable souls and still deny the idea that our very culture breeds these ailments and afflictions and the weaknesses susceptible to them in the first place?

Okay, enough ranting. I hope Tom pulls my plug for this one, that meddling bastard.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Magic Bottle

Lifted from my roomie Eamon's livejournal...

Yesterday, I was watching the twins while Sky was grabbing us some food. I was working on the computer, so the girls came over and commandeered my lap as usual. Scarleht grabbed this little corked bottle off the desk. Sky had given it to her to play with the other day because she was jealous of her sister's sparkly wand. He told her it was a magic bottle. This time, I told her it was a magic bottle with a song living in it.
"Nooooo," she says.
"Oh, yes," says I.
"Open it and see..."
She uncorked it and I began to sing twinkle twinkle little star, as they are currently obsessed with the song. They run around the living room chanting "Tinko, tinko, diamon tar!" over and over. It's really cute and a little irritating after an hour. I got about three words into the song and she slammed the cork back on the bottle, so I immediately stopped. She opened it, I started from the beginning. She would alternate long openings and short, and I'd start from the beginning every time. (Lyli just sat and watched all of this.) Finally, Scarleht held it open until I finished the song. We sat there in silence for a few seconds, then Scarleht demanded, "Moh song!"
"No more song honey, it all got out."
"All gone!" says Lyli with a scrunch nose grin.
"We'll have to wander around and look for the song, now."
The girls quickly slipped off my lap and looked at the ceiling. It was funny to see them actually looking for the song. We walked around the living room for a minute before I told Scarleht to bring me the bottle. I gnashed my teeth in the air and made strange noises and let slip a word or two of the song before gnashing more. Then, as the girls gazed in wonder, I spit the song into the bottle and corked it fast. I handed the bottle back to Scarleht who stared into the glass.
She held it up and said, "Tinko tinko, Unko Eamon."
"Twinkle twinkle, little star," I replied.
And now I have to sing a song everytime she brings me her bottle.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

there is no more perfect drug than having children

they keep me up for hours
make me fiercely productive at times
and profoundly lazy at others
jerk my emotional yo-yo

initially they spark and then eventually totally ruin any chance of a "solid", "normal" relationship with someone else

they make me happy, mad, sad, distressed, impressed, frantic, stoic, hungry, not-hungry, dirty, clean, arrogant, very, very small, tired, tall, strong, weak

they run the gambit from Ground to God and back again to smash me against the rocks of exhausted single parenthood, leave me wanting merely a massage, a meal, a bath in someone else's love for I cannot find my own but am filled to overflowing with my children's

i bear witness daily to these little miracles that run around building themselves with my gentle guidance and the experience itself rebuilds me at the same time and part of me is filled with wonder and part of me is filled with fear and part of me is worried that i don't know how to steer

thanks for the comments recently, they warm my soul.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

First Papa Party!

But only one [future] papa showed! Actually it was better that way. My new friend Aaron came out for five or six hours this afternoon. He will be new father to a little son in two and a half weeks, lives in Longview and is probably the coolest person there. Our conversation ranged from serious topics of parenthood, sexuality, drugs, relationships, and family to books, broads, kids, crushes and cigarettes.

Six were supposed to show but I was more than satisfied with one, especially after my night lacking sleep but stuffed with salmon coming up the creek. Gretchen's birthday inspired me to have more birthdays thrown here in these humble woods. Long witty conversations, free vietnamese kung-fu books for all party-goers, a smidge of whiskey mixed with roadside sins.

We talk and walk around our dreams together, words relenquished in the dead of night to ears I wish were closer than the stars. But wings are cheaper than harps these days and our clouds cannot help but cry.

Aaron is dismayed about portions of his existence but holds his head high. I try to assuage his guilt with tales of my own woes and wonders of papahood but most of his mind is minding its own business. I watch his roving eyes caress this fresh landscape like dawn's sun bathing trees in light. His giddy fear resonates across our shared emptiness as we fill each other with hope disguised as hunger. I revel in the morning of his transition despite our collective worries and whimsical forethought regrets.

His tales of love unrequited from his own end remind me of me and I tear up, talking circles 'round my self until the knots knit themselves a nest in which to nuzzle and puzzle. I cannot help but feel the sage and wish that I had had one or two or ten at a similar point in my life. Aaron speaks of his reluctance to read parenting books, a natural aversion to the accepted obligations of those expecting, a willingness to brave the storm with innocent eyes. The map is not the territory and relying on the map can get your hopes up only to dash them and can lead astray even the most dedicated and cautious travelers. His hopes and aspirations and fears quell my own restless heart a bit, persuading poems from the stone that was my soul.

Friday, November 3, 2006

10 top reason used to argue gay marriages

Please excuse the atrocious grammar and spelling, but I had to repost this on mere principal 'cause the heart is in the right place and I didn't have time to copy edit it.

1) Being gay is not natural.


Then we must also reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay


In the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society

Can we never adapt to new social norm? Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

4) God said man and women, not man and man.


it wasn't that long ago that the arguement of "GOD'S WANTS" were used in courtrooms around our nation to inforce that:
women are mans property
blacks shouldn't marry whites
and because God said it was wrong divorce was illegal.

5) Straight marriage would be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed

The divorce rate for hetrosexual marraiges ages 20-40 have continued to rise 3% annualy making it likely that by 2007 53% of hetrosexual marriages will end in divorce.
To think that the sanctity of Brittany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children.


More then half of the worlds children live in orphanages, foster care, and the streets. Hundred of thousands of children will die in these orphanages every year.
But we want to argue that marriage need to have the out come of children,
Then you most also argue the marriage of infertile couples, the elderly and gay marriage from being allowed to marry because none of those marriages can produce children of the own.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children.


Since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion.

With thousands of different religions in this country and a US Consitution founded on the belief that church and state should be seprate and all should have the right to follow their own faith. A Country founded by the belief that no one religion would dictate our country's out come. We can not inforce law by religion, unless we are prepared to determin the our country's founding fathers were wrong.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home.


It saddens me that we as a nation feel that a single mother, single father, or relative can not possibly raise a successful child consitering that as of 2003 US Statics reports state that:
42.7% of American Youth are living in single parent households,
with that percentage expecting to raise 1% per annual calender

10) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior like allowing a person to marry their dog.


If you can train your dog to sign his name to marrage certifcate then the speak his name to a judge then who am I to argue... cause that talent.

"No loss by flood and lightening, no destruction of cities and temples by the hostile forces of nature, has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed" - Helen Keller

Thursday, November 2, 2006

kitchen floor

Lyli tells me my beer is cold as she and scarleht cook their white rice and tomatoes in their ‘ayuh oben’ [little oven]. Then we play one variety of the new hand-warming game. What else is new? Spinning until dizziness sets in, the jump game on the sofa [which looks like a gymnastic event for dwarves], Eamon teaches them to ask ‘what is it?’ today, they refer to Alyson’s myriad bracelets as a little song, they have begun to go out of their way to do something nice for each other once in awhile [oh my god, yes!], scarleht dabbles in fifteen word sentences occasionally, they dress as twinkle twinkle little star for halloween [stupidly entertaining american holidays tend to piss me off although I enjoy how happy they make other poor saps].

so many aunts and uncles around this past week, too many to count but shining stars, all of them. auntie smash gets to spend some quality time with the ladies, as do auntie jess, auntie aly, auntie caitlin, and two too brief encounters with auntie crystal, to name a select few. I love it when my girls meet my powerful lady friends, however awkward any other fallen bones may be, it warms my spirits like nothing I have ever experienced before, merely to have them observe a sliver of my newfound self: me as papa rather than me as drunk or me as ex-lover, or me as ex-[fillinyerblank].

as for my own weekend, suffice it to say I danced through life and time with my favorite people on this planet doing what it is we do best: letting loose and talking from the heart. distance tears my troubled heart a new one but my friends help me heal when they can, without even trying, without crying or fucking or bullshit and I love it, I love the raw elemental feel of these beautiful folk I’ve found over the years and lives, truths and lies.

my head spins in new directions, romance and reality lay seige upon my soul at the same time, my thoughts torn in so many directions I can’t… just can’t… can barely breathe sometimes it all happens and then isn’t happening so fast and then I’m alone with my thoughts once more and she’s gone out of my life for awhile again except for words across lines I wish were written.

it rains all day and I love it, the mists hang like white ghosts from these trees romancing apples and I think about the future, I think about the past, I delight in the present… this gift that keeps on beating out its heart upon my scattered days as my dreams weave a slow rug out before my confusedly determined toes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

limping the volvo

...across the state yesterday, damn good thing we left when we did, what with a dead battery and a fauly alternator. a series of charges and jumps and we make Rob's by dusk with no headlights to speak of or shine. miss my girls something sweet. currently waiting for steph-o to swing by the bookshop with 'em in tow. the next few weeks will be spent primarily at the farm slogging through mountains of books, playing with toddlers and getting some semblance of a winter garden in place. this keyboard is sticky from too much beer so please forgive any typos.

good to see me ma and pa. been awhile since I was in Eastern Wash two weekends in a row. My lungs will be recovering for days [curse you dry dry dust!]. Patched things up with the madre, got a bit of work done in padre's dusty gold mine, sneezing in between marvelous literary discoveries, absconding to the brew pub for beer and games one and two of the world series, oh silly sport of my youth, on which so much used to depend.

first crack of sun through the morning clouds and then gone again, like so many days.
preparing for my wild and crazy crew to descend upon our fair city this week/end. what tales do we hold in store for each other? ashley will get to spend some time with the girls for the first time ay-ver [to quote some dirty hippy]. excited about that slice of the pie. will report back when she freaks out over their levels of adorableness.

an idle tuesday so far, but storms are brewing. soon the dash begins, to empire and all realms outwards.

Monday, October 23, 2006

up at four a.m. 'cause I'm a mostly-worthless drunk who shouldn't go to bed at a reasonable hour 'cause it screws everything up.

i think about how much i hate myself and my life sometimes while rocking rhythmically back and forth on my old wooden horse as Rob sets up the Brio train set of my abandoned youth. a nice lunch and serious talk with mi madre today, i hope things went as well as I thought they did but only time can tell that.

Attempt to watch the first two games of the World Series with Rob and Padre at the brew pub across from my pop's shop but I'm too scattered to stare at some screen and gift it my attention for too awful long. Stress and the bottled-up masks of internalized emotions ask me to take a shot of whiskey and I don't refuse. the nights get black if you stop thinking about sunshine, and I'm not very careful sometimes.

entertaining to say the least to dig through my father's back rooms, hunting treasure we don't know by sight, smell, dust or dream. a signed robert anton wilson over here in a box of junk books, my father's delta tau delta memorabilia box from whitman college, some old batiks, an enormous h.r. giger book, assorted records, a shotglass, twenty-seven pairs of sunglasses in a safeway bag, a little box of old silver dollars, weird sex books too strange to sell (at least here in Walla Walla). These are a few of my favorite things. But oh, the dust! Oh my aching lungs! Oh cigarettes and beer to ease this ache (at least temporarily).

I miss my girls and Steph is pissed off at our lack of co-parenting. I think everything's going great for the most part and actually prefer that we keep things short, sweet and simple, especially when dropping off the girls. Curious what other single parents, divorcees, used-to-be-nuclear parents, etc. have to say about these matters. Obviously we need to spend some time together to talk about details, work out kinks, be a family (however disfunctional) but I really don't think that more is necessarily better.

Oh brave new forgiveness, wrap me in your robes and let the people that I love love me back full and real and honest with no strings attached. Oh brave new heart and sick old lungs, drag yourselves out from behind the bar, from behind your masks, from behind your relentless egos and shape yourselves into some other lumps of clay that hold up a bit better to the storms of other folks' emotions. Stuck on my own established automatic monotonous patterns, my groove, rote, rut, approach, manner, method, madness, strat, style, tack, scheme, tradition, all of these and my policies need dusting. Do routines still increase skill if you loathe them?

Strange trip this time, spent almost entirely in either my father's bookstore or the brew pub across the street. no cabin, no mom's house (banned for a bit), no leaving the limited downtown arena. I have time for those hearts who make time for me and it drives me insane not being able to share my being to its utmost. I pick out books, add them to the pile of 25 boxes we will drag across the state later today, walk a few paces on this old tired track. Worry about my parents too much.

Come to Walla Walla to work for my father but there's not much to do in so little time other than just haul a bunch of shit out of his way. What a gold mine this old store is. I dig and dig and dig and never make a dent. I remember coming here over the years with all the different crews, women, drunks, poets, students, dragging them all back to see the place of my birth, the cabin, the books, the insides of my mind. What does any of it mean to them I wonder? Do they still smile and count their blessings when they think of me or have I shuffled off that mental coil, should I give it more pause?

Five twenty now and fuck all but I want a cup of coffee and a new identity in South America and several hand guns. Goddamn Walla Walla. I hate Beatrix Potter right now. This pencil needs sharpening. I am a bitter, jaded, cynical human being who should mostly just be left alone to stew in his own juices and try not to hurt the people he pretends to love. I don't want to drive across the stupid state today. Maybe I'll make Rob drive since he actually evidently knows how to sleep. Wish I was better at talking to the people who matter. Too many feet in this old mouth to make room for words. Alas, lackadaisical existence, tense heart-strings, impersonal audience with whom I share personal secrets and stories on this stage of our own making. What say you to my shifting sands? Am I still desert? Am I not dry? Would not a rain of tears quench this thirst?

Friday, October 20, 2006

always plenty of criticism, never enough support...

...from friends, family, lovers, painters, dreamers, drinkers, thinkers. kind intentions often reveal themselves in rancid robes. how many times are we gifted the partner of our dreams only to have those idealized dreams dashed on some insignificant rock of detail? when we need words we get worry, when we need silence we get sound, when we need love we get sex, when we need sex we find friends and then forsake them.

half the time i dismally fail to utilize my free time, choosing instead to wallow in some sort of psuedo-self-pity/philosophical coccoon, banking on the chance it will grow me wings I know how to wear.

spoiled. thoughts and heart given too much time to ferment, foment, fester into some sweating knot of sick love thirsty for a fix it doesn't need, just yearns for hopelessly, helplessly. hindered by indecision i blunder and wonder 'round blind alleyways and deaf avenues, listening for that perfect blend of silence and sound to wrap my eardrums around. but what percussive paradise could lure this sour lust?

tomorrow's pictures flirt with today's temperament, eventually and ultimately seduced by yesterday's proud insolence and rash hips. lips locked around the word, seeking a she to share it with in secrecy, in silence, in solitude, together.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

bartered away the dregs of my dreams for some new ones...

...not nearly as threadbare, quite the haul at barter faire: a corn fritter, turkish coffee, 3 bells, 2 rocks, 2 blankets, a pipe, some books, salsa, pickled beans, hot and spicy pickled veggies, pumpkin seeds, a slug of kids clothes, a nice basket, some old hand tools, a sharp hand-scythe, two pairs of gloves, a scarf, a hat, an awesome knit ball for the girls, a sweater from India, absinthe and some other unmentionables, strawberry mead, a fir tree, 2 coat racks, ten bags of herbs, twelve tinctures, a barrell, e bars of soap, some salve and some lip balm. Oh, and $600 from hawking Loompanics books! Yeah Undergrtound Economy!

we arrive friday at 6:30ish, cruise the barter guts after the obligatory nightmare of parking the truck crammed full of books with tricycle strapped atop. food, a beer after the long hot road, unpack, pitch camp with friends. make new friends every half hour or so, too many connections to possibly keep track of. I apologize ahead of time for my absentmindedness, joke about being away from my desk/brain, talk fast and true, handing out pirate papa and business cards, pushing myself hard. the smoky din of the faire, i had forgotten how dusty and smoky it gets there. sleep in the dust and straw wrapped in my sleeping bag with no zipper under my left-in-shelton-tent. hardballin' it, eastern washington style. i love it. i belong to this landscape.

One of the largest Barter Faires ever, I believe. We awake on saturday morning to 3,500 folks camped at the front gate waiting to be let in. Owen and Paul and Alex and I rock the vendor scene for two days with the oyster mushroom grow kits and "crazy books" enticing all the wierdoes at once. We holler out Loompanics titles to lure in our prey, guilt tripping the folks who won't stop walking. "Books for people with long hair and red hats." "Mushroom grow-kits, a bomb waiting to happen." "Revolution between the covers!" "We've got crazy ideas over here, crazy ideas, come and get them." Imagine an anarchist used-car salesman jacked up on psychedelics and life in his vision of heaven's huge parking lot. More bent on the sheer process and art of the deal than on capitalism and profit. There to get a smile, a handshake, to get spat on, to inflame, to cause to blush by wit or wine. Effectively cornering the book market at Barter Faire has its benefits, we were immediately a landmark for navigation purposes and attracted a lot of strange stories from our passersby (also thanks to Loompanics).

Our tent bursts with life and light and laughter and strange ranging talk. Apples, water, mushrooms and books. Paul's and my prophecy from six years ago comes true, our dreams become the life-lines we weave around us, reckless visions turned valid ventures. Now we're living yesterday's dreams and actively crafting tomorrow's. I notice a definite shift in my logical patterns and processing, my cerebral self expanding to look back in on where I/it used to be. I develop the ability to move my own thoughts around like one would rearrange a desk.

Around the lopez island fire on saturday night I learn to dance again without self-consciousness to a fantastic marimba band. it had been a long, long time and felt extraordinary to let loose around an absolutely enormous bonfire surrounded by friendly, familiar, whole & total strangers. We have a prayer circle, offer cedar blessings, I get up, bless Lyli and Scarleht, silently promising to bring them next year, bless all the young parents and the old and wish everyone luck walking their waking dreams. Up on the hill Owen and I watch the steady stream of headlights, absorb the myriad noises emanating from the sea of tents below us. Movement is evident everywhere, a restless, flowing tidal hive.

Overall a wonderful time, dreams of next year already fermenting. This place inspires the poet, the father, the businessman, all parts of me entwine here, culminating in a sharp-edged honesty of character and a lens through which I can verily see the future. Sunday night we abscond with our loot to Owen's cabin, a lovely handbuilt home at 3,500 feet above sea level in the Okanogan highlands. Gravity-fed well and solar power. All the comforts of a place well loved. We shoot rifles, celebrate, take a sauna and walk around in the crisp night air, whiskey and beer and woodstoves and smoke and residual effects of the uber-social faire whispering in our ears. I remember my roots and where I want to plant them. I recall the taste of clean air and water. My head opens up and heaven peers in, gifting me this lucid light like day inside the confines of my cluttered consciousness, a spotlight I shine on my insecurities and ambitions to try to clip the wings of wishes that might fly away without themselves.

A casually idle tuesday morning with Owen as we clean the cabin and prepare to depart for more westerly destinations. drop in to say goodbye to his folks in okanogan and then down the road. Stop for burgers at Easy's. I receive the tiniest ketchup bottle I have ever seen and pause to ponder the meaning of life in this grain of sand. We whip back to Oly and I deal with car trouble, eventually bumming a ride back home for myself and the girls after realizing my headlights aren't really very bright and my taillights are nonexistent. Eamon rescues the car the next morning and we spend an easy day at home, Becca joining us off sick from work and Eamon's friend Leslie coming to stay for a few days. We lounge and play with the girls. I sporadically do housework in little doeses. Deal with the enormous pile of laundry from Barter Faire (wash everything so the goddamn scabies don't attack!).

Back on the home front Lyli and Scarleht are saying new things left and right, combining old ideas with new words in fresh sentences. Blowing my mind daily. Lyli dubs her nipples "nopels", which I find remarkably appropriate. Life is good, halbeit somewhat quick-paced. This weekend I will make up with my mother, talk about all sorts of crazy shit with my father and work my little ass off with Rob at my pops' bookstore in Walla Walla. Then back across the state for next week's parenting and the arrival of my debaucherous group of friends from all points out. As my schedule grows increasingly complex I may start posting less but more, if you wanna make any sense out of that. Regularity goes down, quality and quantity go up, yes? yes.

heave to and prepare to be boarded! the pirate papa ship sails for your shores soon. in the back of my mind I assemble the next pieces of my book empire, waiting for that simple day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

yoka da doke on a tipe-a-yoyo

that's okey dokey on a typewriter to the lay-parent.

instead of marvelling at the things we have, we dream about and worry about the things we don't.

i'm full of ambiguous aphorisms, hot wind, vile temper, wit, pith, pathos and vinegar.

Darkness falls and I imagine myself in different fatherly roles, a father in some East-coast urban ghetto, a father on the Serenghetti, in feudal europe, paleolithic northern Siberia, modern-day Palestine, barrio Mexico, a military father, a homosexual father, the stereotypical outsider father - an anachronism spread thin across cultures and eras, always forgotten, persecuted, barely documented, an anomoly no one expects but everyone silently appreciates.

Off tomorrow at daybreak for the Okanogan/Tanasket Barter Faire, a little mind-expanding literary woodsy socialism to whet unknown appetites and gather winter clothes for little ones to keep warm. Riding the only shotgun with good old friend Owen to a series of blankets, tables, bonfires and beautiful people dancing even though it's fucking cold. I will be incommunicado for the next several days, but feel free to leave a message. I shall return.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

go be patient somewhere else

An unduly distressful completely unproductive lazy morning leading up to hours at Kinkos and the Post Office, lines, toddlers, tiny wars over stickers, spinach feta turnovers disentigrated over corporate rugs. Moving on to the hardware store, a parking ticket, a dead battery, running out of baby wipes, a trashed house, two weekends worth of business/pleasure/road trips and home neglect on the horizon. I get home and burn a bowl of pasta while splitting wood outside. I give my girls leftovers and "cookies" [read: no fat fig newmans] and exhaustedly put them to bed after Becca and I fly them all over the downstairs. They're hyper so Lyli gets up 3 times before sleep. I overload, therefore I energize. I store up energy, only to let it all flood out. Sometimes my myriad projects pile up to overflowing... I feel an accck! worthy of Bill the Cat, or Cathy.

Musing on the oddities emanating from my own mouth these days:

"kitty doesn't go in the oven"

"go be patient somewhere else"

"you can have more food the next time you eat sweety"

"run with scissors after you clean your room"

"did you just say 'coochie time time'?"

"please abstain from hugging papa's leg until you have successfully removed all the applesauce from your person." [yeah, I really talk to my kids this way]

[insert bizarre parental trick of the tongue-mind here]

Some friends appear when providence calls upon them to perform, sometimes these angels are devils temporarily gifted wings and a mission, sometimes these momentary angels take the form of total strangers, new lovers, a man from out of town, a new customer, a fresh face at the drive-through bank window.

Their presence reminds us that our actions and emotions are worthwhile and admirable. Their touch reassures us that we are human, manifold, sexual, real.
Their wings beating against the windowpane makes us dream in staggered instances, little polaroids of yesterdays and tomorrows, dream-smells more real than their very impetus.

I sweat beside my woodstove, currently cooking at slightly over 700 degrees farenheit, my visions of the future bleeding out my awkward grins that should be tears as I sit alone in a house I call a home.