Stalker
Monday November 20th 2017, 11:44 am
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,holidays,nextish Tags:

Well, I missed a month again. I suppose, in my defense, I’m busier than I ever imagined busy being. But there have been a few times I’ve wondered about coming here. Just back from a final spin class – they’re closing. Moderate sadness over corporate failure – there was, in fact, a community, and even rarer for HelLA, an unprecious atmosphere of real people doing real exercise, the lumpy alongside the glossy, and, for the most part, a sense of collective encouragement.

Thæs ofereode, thisses swa mæg.

Speaking of which, the disturbed young woman who has been stalking me off and on since accusing me (falsely) of all kinds of shit re-appeared, first by email a few weeks ago, and then in my office on Thursday. Fun for the whole family. Oh wait. Even my cop-loathing self got the cops involved (who, true to form, managed to insult by asking, meaningfully, “does your wife know”?).

Time flying; deadlines blown; things passing around again; holidays and 90 degree heat projected for Thanksgiving. Just the season to leave the oven on all day. Sigh.



Pathetic
Wednesday May 03rd 2017, 1:23 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,himself,myjobfuckingrocks,nostalgia,whatsnext Tags:

I’m headed up to Santa Barbara to give a paper this weekend. The thing I’m most excited about for my most-expenses-paid, two nights in a beautiful beach town with good food and wine, plus a chance to chat with clever colleagues about work I love? Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. How times change.



Finishing the bottle
Friday March 17th 2017, 12:09 am
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,Miscellaneous, Truly Tags:

Which I meant to do, though the size of the full glass is more than I’d imagined/intended. So to justify it, I’m going to write, instead of read, create instead of consume, bloviate rather than ???. I’ve got 99 problems but an empty glass ain’t one. I sit here, he says, repeating a version of a phrase that started every journal I’ve ever handwritten. Which would be hard to know, given that the 93-98 journals, however many volumes that was, got lost in the mail when I moved to Oxenford. I persisted, like Senator Warren, but it never really stuck again after those magical quadrilingual (Eng, Latin, Greek, Russian) years of Peak Pretension ™ disappeared off the back of a boat. Today’s former student worried that she’s only written a single poem this calendar year despite her practice praxis since age 12 of non-stop writing. Hooray, I thought to myself, your juvenalia are coming to an end.

Bowl season almost upon us again. HelLA summer in a pleasant fishbowl, complete with incense-burning tenor guy. I almost felt guilty seeing Herbie Hancock at Disney Hall, wanting to explain to him the props he gets at the other venue. But he probably knows. He probably is a friend to us all. Though YCT’s friend’s friend, whose husband is apparently a misogynistic jazz pianist, given some shit he quoted Robert Glasper saying, who (YCT-friend)when she followed up sitting at a pool (on a cruise) with Terrence Blanchard and someone else, confirmed that I’ve lost control of this sentence, let alone this paragraph, angrily asserted the misogyny of the US boxing press crediential people so cogently one had to agree. Keeping up? Me neither.



Zombie
Wednesday October 28th 2015, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,himself,tired Tags:

Frittata. I couldn’t come up with the word. Egg thing that begins with f. Quiche. Quiche with an f. F quiche. Just gone. Other words have gone as well. I lost it 90 minutes into a three hour seminar yesterday. Just ran out of things to think, to say. I rambled unconvincingly. It’s week 5, of 10, and I’m hitting a wall. Two more reviews to write and a DH talk. I’ll get it done, cuz that’s what I do, and sheer force of will and coffee will see me through as they always have. But the ruthlessness that used to make that work is impossible in the face of a smile that glows and vibrates when you nuzzle his neck or chomp on his nose. Or even just look at him funny.

Dunno. But my god I’m fucking tired.



Boom
Friday May 01st 2015, 12:32 am
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,himself,libraries,talks Tags:

goes the dynamite. Maybe 125-150 people. Nailed it.



Thusly

And so the last weekend of a decade passes thusly. Errands, work, walk, drinks. Eat, narrative, more narrative. Walk, errands, play, narrative, eat, drink. Bustling, walk, music, drinks, eat, narrative, drink.

Much reflecting of late, as the decade ticks around again, but he looks up at me. Not much by way of conclusion, nor thoughts that add up to anything in particular. I’ll take it, I guess.



Just Like Moving
Saturday November 22nd 2014, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,fall,hangover,HelLA,himself,holidays,memory Tags:

Except, not. But digging through desk drawers of files and rubbish, the final step in getting rid of the desk and reducing my profile to a shelf and a book case. Extracting boxes that lived in the closet, rather needlessly in one case, and a protective sentimentality in the other, both relegated for now to the garage, and then at least one probably moved back to the basement. Where my bicycle will soon no longer live, so that there’s a place to store the stroller easily. Cuz, you know, everyone needs one of those.

Fuckfuckfcukfcukfcukfuck. A shitty lesson this morning, Mozart at speed not at all my thing, and all the more dismaying as I thought I had it much more solidly than I do. Followed by the mild hell of big retail on a weekend during the holidays.

But the other box, with a few pictures (of me in Cardiff, on a visit that hovers around the edges of memory), and a piece about the lack of pictures of me. About Blondie, and the train wreck of a few parties at the delightful coach house I could never really enjoy because I could never really afford to be living in London. The trainwreck that was my life a decade ago, the last few months between submission and the viva make for grim reading. But the reading, which I’ve been doing in between typing these sentences, isn’t really what I wanted to go on about.

WHat was it? Long walks of past selves. Wandering through Berkeley (and wincing at what I thought constituted long. HelLA’s child, indeed), through Oxford. Up and down NY on Christmas day, from starbucks to starbucks for caffeine and warmth. Of walks up various hills to various co-ops, across the Parks and across the Park, past the Mission and past the river. Most of them punctuated by the rhythms of the cigarette, the pause, the infinitely repeated action and like nothing else on earth sound of my zippo. Even as one dog frolicked and gamboled and did all those impossibly joyful dog things that make dogs dogs, and the other trotted along, eyes and nose and mouth open to greet the world avidly, a different long walk. Only two months since long waks in London – the genre isn’t lost, merely adapted to new realities.

And in 4 weeks (fuckfcukfcukfuckfuckfuckfuk) there will be a new reality to long walks with hardware.



showers
Saturday August 02nd 2014, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,holidays,jazz,nostalgia,summer Tags:

You would think the fact I’d been on on a small green rock in the middle of the fricking Atlantic where the locals wear, I shit you not, foul weather gear to go shopping in JULY when the rain and the wind pick up a bit, that I wouldn’t be quite as pleased to listen to the rain outside as I am. An odd summer (not of the ‘good summer/weird year; weird summer/good year’ debate) of West Coast humidity, plus drought, making the rain welcome, and the variation all the more soul filling as Donald Byrd sings “get in the groove” manfully as the Blue Note 75 radio station shuffles through its absurdities. (Ooh. Ornette Coleman. Those earings! Water tanks on the skyline!)

A few weeks of rustling and bustling follow the crazy of the work. If I could do that 20 weeks out of 50 I’d be a star, I suspect. Maybe I’ll aim for 15. Himself only a few weeks further along, 18 on Monday. Apparently we can be heard, which makes me want to curse a lot. And make the dogs bark, to habituate and make things easier upon arrival. As if anything can be made easier on arrival. Not so dramatic nesting plans, sanding and priming and painting the iconic piece of new arrival furniture, boxing books and moving bookcases and priming and painting a room somewhere in a shade of the welcoming palette. A shelf for speakers, the keyboard tucked under, a japanese screen to divide, or really suggest the division of, the room. 6 more weeks of teaching begin on Monday, then 2 weeks with the books in their native habitat, then an entire year, give or take. Plus the minor changes coming. None of which have been as frustrating as my attempt to buy a bike that’s neither a midlife crisis nor a dadbike. But the bitterness has faded on yesterday’s dire dirge, despite the meh of my attempt to re-embrace a taste for the popular at the Bowl last night.

Check Out Time, Ornette proclaims. At the Bowl last night, the incense burning tenor player was at his usual spot at the tunnel. “I’m a friend of [mumble], and I know he’d want me to say hi,” I said. He stopped, got up, came over to shake my hand, and said “I’m also a friend of Herbie’s. He’s a great man, Herbie, but he’s got time for us all. Any friend of Herbie is a friend of mine” Blink. Wifeblink. “Kirby!” I shouted, “the guy whose wedding you played a bunch of years ago. Kirby.” Pause. “Oh. Not Herbie. Herbie Hancock? Oh. Kirby? Kirby. Aaaah. Kirby. Any friend of Kirby’s is a friend of mine,” he offered charitably, no less warmth in the renewed handshake. It didn’t seem right to put money in the case, then.



Allowed
Thursday July 10th 2014, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,damn,family,HelLA,something new Tags:

How crazy is it that just fucking anybody is allowed to do this? That there’s no age limit, beyond 14 or so, no you must be this tall to ride this ride, no sobriety check, no banned substances check, no interviews of your friends or neighbors or your high school English teacher. No moment for everyone to say “he was quiet, kept to himself, mostly” before you go on the biological rampage that changes everyone’s fucking opinion of you.

My ?second cousin and her girlfriend in town, choosing to visit. A Bay Area duo if there ever was one, though natives, which is fairly unusual, particularly these days. If the Bay is artificially authentic, and HelLA authentically artifical, they’re just a drag king and a nice nurse (cue nominative determinism of the most remarkable variety, however), living their thoughtful, political, community believing lives. And they’re both awesome with the smalls – my two over-one, down-ones were beside themselves wiht trust and love and enthusiasm after maybe 30 minutes. The under 6 crowd can be surprisingly tough, but they were all in.

And articulating to them, in a brief interlude, the bigger, more awkward questions. On how to do this different. On how to do this so it matters (and not, a la Ms Plath, so it feels real, so it feels like hell. I worshipped that line at 16. How to do it so he doesn’t?) How to believe in interacting with others, as well as consuming narrative? Or does it not matter so much. We all turned out interesting enough, and I can’t think that any of the people in the world who mean the most to me had a particularly straightforward time of it.

So, perhaps, like cereal, there’s not so much you can do to fuck it up, or make it better.



In spite of me
Thursday May 15th 2014, 10:00 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,Miscellaneous, Truly,something new,whatsnext Tags:

No smoke drifting in the heat of the house after a wretchedly hot day, the indelible association of this song with cigarettes smoked and strangers not talked to, of friends who are and are not still friends. The buzz of the fans about as loud as the mandolin strumming, the volume down as she sleeps. And the wondrous possibility, hedged by the usual early stage uncertainties, that this may have worked. That all of this over these last 5 months wasn’t just an exercise, a way to expiate guilt or uncertainty. That it may have worked, in spite of me. 113 bpm. Who knew?