Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Next year should prove eventful.

As for 2010, I find that it's hard to characterize a whole year based on a handful of events that just happened to occur during that time span. It might be better to reflect on the recent past in terms of personal growth or artistic accomplishments, although I think in some ways I'd consider this year a failure on that account.

I'm glad that Jeanine was a part of my year. She helps me reconnect with my playful, spontaneous side. Maybe I do the same for her. Either way you look at it, we have fun playing together.

I can't reflect on this year without mentioning my mom. It has been nearly a year now since she died. Her house has been sold, and her belongings are either with the survivors or in unknown homes. It's still strange and sad that she is gone. It was perhaps a blessing for her that she went quickly. I have at least one small additional tribute planned for her early in the upcoming year.

For now though, December is waning, and it is dark and heavily raining.

Currently listening to: Twinsistermoon "Then Fell the Ashes..."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Right now, I'm in the middle of the eye of the Christmas storm. All of the preparations are done, but the gifts are as yet undistributed. The weather is likewise in the middle of a lull, with an air of anticipation hanging over the valley. Much rain has happened, but more rain is coming.

I was raised with a secular version of Christmas. Personally, I've always been drawn more towards paganism, with the Winter Solstice having more intrinsic meaning than the christian holiday that has supplanted it. The Earth sustains us, but I guess if some people need a complex mythology to help sustain them, then that's okay too. After all, we are all made of stories. Each day adds a new page, or if you live an interesting life, a new chapter. I remember being a child and living through Decembers that seemed to last for the duration of a trilogy. Now it seems December is over and done with in a sentence or two. In the future, the month will no doubt flash by in mere words.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season, regardless of which traditions you follow, and if you must consume, do it with care.

Currently listening to: Thomas Bel "For Lorn"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

After having to contend with a bit of cloud cover during the first few minutes of the lunar eclipse, we changed locations and got treated to an unobstructed view of the moon getting eaten by reddish shadow. We watched as the bright disc shrunk to a fingernail crescent and then to nothing, leaving behind a coppery shadow moon. The last time a total lunar eclipse occurred on the Winter Solstice, the year was 1554, a year when a great many more people no doubt viewed the gradual erasure of the moon with alarm. Come to think of it, I'm sure there are plenty of people who still get all bent out of shape about it. I base this supposition about a story I once read about how some people reacted during the 1994 earthquake in L.A. Apparently, at least some people who were awakened in the wee hours of the morning by that particular earthquake got rather scared upon exiting their homes and discovering a bunch of "new" stars in the sky. Of course, most people knew that the power outage caused by the quake made it easier to see the night sky, but a few called 911, asking the no doubt amused operators on the other end of the line if the earthquake had somehow caused the extra stars to suddenly appear. I wonder what these same people must have thought when the moon gradually turned to blood last night? We'll probably never know.

This morning, Jeanine and I got up before daybreak to watch the Solstice sunrise, but didn't hike up to our usual hilltop. We figured that, since it had been steadily raining for the last few days, the hike might leave us look like we'd been wallowing in mud. Instead, we walked out over that weird new suspension footbridge that appeared over Highway 280 sometime over the last year or two. The pigeons were still asleep on their wires, and the clouds cooperated by opening up to the east. There were just enough of them to make the sky interesting, and we stayed there together as the light washed over us, bathing us in an orange glow and finally waking up some of the nearby pigeons.

Then we had doughnuts. Welcome to Winter.

Currently listening to: B'ee "Songs to the Sun"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Outside, the rain is pounding down so hard that earlier it sounded like there was a helicopter hovering over my home. The apartment is bathed in the glow of Christmas tree lights. For the last couple of holiday seasons, due to the fact that there isn't much space where I live, we've gotten a tiny little tree. This year, Willow and I just said to heck with it, and got a 7 foot tree. It touches the ceiling and makes it hard to get through the front door, not to mention making the patio nearly inaccessible.

It was this very inaccessibility that prevented me from going on onto the patio earlier, when I noticed a small, moist bunny squished up against the glass of the sliding door, perched on a pile of wet cardboard. The poor thing looked miserable, and to make matters worse, I didn't have anything on hand that a rabbit might eat. I decided to go grocery shopping, making sure to buy some rabbit munchies while doing so. Of course, when I got home, the rabbit was gone. Later, I told the property manager about it (actually, this isn't the first time I've seen this rabbit, and there is another one about somewhere too) and she had the idea to call another tenant, one who works at a veterinarian's office. The tenant, in due course, showed up at my door with a small pet carrier and a blanket. With a little effort, I managed to squeeze past my tree and out onto the patio, but the rabbit wasn't hiding there anywhere. Fortunately, where he was hiding was out front, over by a neighbor's walkway. We came at the little critter from both sides, and soon I was holding a very fluffy, but very wet, little bunny in my hands. An Angora rabbit, I think. The woman gently put it in the carrier and went home with it, saying that it would be easy to adopt it out. It's a good thing she has connections with the rabbit rescue people.

That's at least one rabbit who won't be dying of exposure this holiday season. I'm not sure if it's an escapee or if it was abandoned by its owners, but either way, there was a lack of responsibility involved. Domestic pets often either die in the wild or cause other animals to do so.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My first day of vacation coincided with the onset of a cold. My throat was sore this morning, but that has now morphed into a runny nose and general malaise. Because of this, I've spent the afternoon drinking tea and reading, which is something I often do anyway. I just do it less guiltily when I'm sick. Illness: the new cure for guilt.

Last night, I felt fine. Jeanine and I went and saw Om in San Francisco. On the way there, I discovered that the miles of brake lights winding through the hills of highway 280 look like a lava flow if you squint your eyes just right. It pays to be easily amused.

Our new tradition of being on top of a certain nearby hill on Solstice morning might be thwarted by rain next week. Perhaps we'll still do the doughnut shop part of the ritual though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I was shuffling through multicolored drifts of moist Autumn leaves and thinking about dog crap when all of a sudden a large, gray rabbit popped up in front of me. It hurriedly hopped away and attempted to hide under a dumpster. I didn't even try to catch it. I'd tried that yesterday when there were two of them, and they laughed little rabbity laughs at my attempts. Somebody nearby should have done a better job of securing their hutch.

As for my thoughts of dog crap, I often ponder it when I'm walking near my place, mostly because the parking strip is mined with little brown gobs of it, nicely hidden by the aforementioned Autumn leaves. The parking strip is the last pit stop before their owners drag them over to the nearby dog park. I just know that any dog crap in the park itself is quickly scooped up, mostly because other people are watching. People like to appear to be responsible citizens when fellow citizens are nearby. This reminds me of a woman we saw inside Color Me Mine (a paint-it-yourself ceramics place) yesterday. One of her small children dropped an unpainted ornament, breaking it. She mildly scolded them and was heard shushing them when they talked about it later. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but was almost certain she was going to sneak out without saying anything. Sure enough, she did. It gave me great pleasure to tattle on her. After all, she'll have to come back to get her ceramic pieces after they've been glazed. I'm not sure if the employees will confront her with the broken merchandise, but I fantasize that they will.

Why do I care? I don't want dog crap on my shoes, and as for the woman, I really hate it when parents do this kind of thing in front of their children. Her kids are well on their way towards learning that personal responsibility is for suckers, and that things only matter if other people see you doing them. I don't want to live in a world populated with people like that. If I had been absolutely certain she hadn't said something about the incident before leaving, I would have confronted her on it then and there. Now I'm wishing I had.

Behind most messed up children are equally messed up parents. It's another one of those self perpetuating cycles.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm sitting in my office chair at camp, with the heater vent rattling away on the ceiling above me. For some reason, I've been feeling the need to go back and read earlier blog entries, and have even gone so far as to pull out my old paper journal (you know, the stuff people used to write on before we all started being born with laptops grafted to our fingers). The paper journal contains a lot of relatively bad writing - I always figured that since I was the only one who would ever read it, I could be lazy and cut corners where style was concerned. It's also much more private and personal than anything I've written here. As for the early blog posts, I find that I like them more than the recent ones. Maybe rereading them will re-inspire me. I sure hope so, because I've felt quite uninspired lately, perhaps because I feel like I've written it all before, or perhaps because I've become dangerously used to spending too much time consuming what others have created rather than creating on my own.

As for now, I'm sitting in the middle of a camp of sleeping children. As usual, a lot of them arrived at camp on Monday with inadequate supplies. A case in point would be the girls with blankets that one of my coworkers described as "thin as towels". Uh, it's COLD at night here. You'd think that parents would send their kids to camp with what they need. I know that some families can't afford a lot, but I find it hard to believe that a home could be without at least one serviceable blanket. Good thing we have extra supplies, mostly things left behind by other kids and washed by me in the middle of the night. Right now, the dryer is spinning around with some newly washed poo clothes (that would be clothes which recently contained poo) plus a sleeping bag and pillow case which were discovered to be slathered with shampoo (again - what the heck??).

Time to do some reading now (uh, I mean consuming what others have created...), or maybe time to raid the giant box of candy that appeared on the table in the staff room. So many options.

Currently listening to: Current 93 "Faust" (remix by the wily Andrew Liles)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Today is the day after my 43rd birthday, and I'm spending it inside with music and books. The rain promised in the forecast is finally sweeping the region, and I can see tossing trees under gray skies out the window, a sight that fills me with gladness - a kind of aesthetic joy that I've yet to successfully put into words.

Yesterday, I spent the day with Jeanine. We ended up at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where we spent a number of hours peering in at toads and snakes, as well as taking in a planetarium show and wandering the other exhibits. I always come away for the Academy inspired in some way, usually in ways relating to my continued fascination with the diversity and beauty of life on this planet (although my idea of beauty tends towards creatures like snakes and toads).

The end of the year approaches, and I find myself reflecting on changes I want to make. I hesitate to call them "resolutions", but that's more or less what I mean. I almost feel like I've slid into a second childhood this year, at least as far as my increased concentration on entertaining myself is concerned. At least I haven't run out and purchased a Porsche. My idea of entertainment still revolves around my music obsession.

Currently listening to Chu Ishikawa "Tetsuo" soundtrack.