Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

some bullshit

How am I supposed to choose what to do with the time I have on this planet? Who to spend it with? I forget sometimes that it is ultimately up to me to make those choices. I get caught up in fear of reprisal, but I don't have any enemies. And that's precisely the problem. Tread lightly enough and you won't even be noticed. The real problem is that I'm fucking self-centered. The humble truth is that I don't have that much power over other people. I censor myself because I don't want to offend or upset. The key to happiness is not having everybody like you. That's just the key to being boring and afraid and deprived. Careful, careful, you might accidentally live for a second.

I want somebody to teach my how to be an asshole. Treat the people you love with dignity and respect, and fuck the rest? Maybe. I want every moment of my life to be white-hot intense with meaning. I want to burn with the holy fire. Every instant sharp and clear and direct. Would that get old? I think perhaps we can get used to almost anything.

BEGIN FREE-ASSOCIATION

The last time I saw you, you were on the floor with my dog. Now you're both dead. Relish the time we had together, you said, and then I went and fucked it all up. I'm over this tip-toeing around the flowers bullshit. I'm pretty sure that people aren't flowers, and we're not interchangeable like light bulbs either. If we were we could just throw the dim ones out, couldn't we?

You've got that fresh factory smell on you and your hair is always perfect. Hot off the assembly line. God damned robots are stealing all our jobs. Always stuffing your face with antifreeze. Always cowing to the perfection of iPods. Smoking poles in the stacks. Smokestacks beneath pillows. Clean out your waxy intestines with blasted charcoal. Blasted. I say. Fuck.

END FREE-ASSOCIATION

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

a surfing tale: you are helpless and delicious

Sometimes the truth hits hard that you are just a soft, chewy little morsel in a neoprene candy shell.


North end of Ocean Beach and the shit-covered rocks
I knew it was useless to fight the current. The biggest rip I have ever seen had opened up around me and I suddenly found myself in a river that was fast pulling me out to sea. I was already about two or three hundred yards out surfing the outside sandbar. My friends were at least fifty yards south of me, outside of the rip. I caught glimpses of them from the peaks as the swells rolled past, each glimpse finding them farther away, disappearing behind curtains of rain. They were waving me over.

"Fuck you guys," I thought. I had been paddling and paddling as hard as I could for a long time and I was not moving any closer. The only direction I was going was out.

My throat constricted with frustration. In the space of an hour we had already drifted about a mile north, to the big rocks at the far end of the beach. I had caught a wave and got separated from them when this new current showed up and started to carry me out. My only chance was to paddle across the rip, parallel to the beach, but I had no good options. Go north and get pummeled by the huge swells against the bird-shit-white rocks, or go south and paddle against the current that had brought us here in the first place? I opted for the latter, but it was only keeping me away from the rocks as I entered deeper water.

It was still early, around 8:30 AM, and nobody was at the beach on this cold, windy day. Steel gray mountains of water rolled past on every side. I could see no horizon, only a wall of rain and whitecaps.

A seal jumped out of the water not far from me. A few minutes later a pod of dolphins cruised past. Things were getting really eerie. Seals and dolphins are beautiful, majestic creatures and all that, but when they get close to you you realize that any thousand-pound animal that wants to will have its way with you and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Seals and dolphins also like to surf. Sharing the lineup with them can lead to some fun situations, like when a dolphin jumped out of a wave I was riding and landed in front of me. Or that time when a seal almost landed on top of Jack. The image is burned into my mind: the seal at the lip of the wave staring down at Jack, Jack about to duck-dive the wave staring up at the seal.

Some days I really question the sanity of dressing up like a seal and hopping in the ocean. I don't think about sharks much when I surf, but now I was out in deep water, all alone, exhausted, and in what seemed a hopeless situation. At this point I was only paddling to maintain some facade of control over my destiny. I figured the coast guard would pick me up after I got swept into the mouth of the bay. If I didn't get eaten or run over by a cargo ship first, of course.

A big set rolled through and the wind threatened to push the wave over on me, so I paddled towards it as hard as I could. I really didn't want to be under water or anywhere but on top of my board.

As I came over the top of the wave, I saw a fin hurtling towards me, the tip of it thrust twelve inches out of the water. It was coming straight at me so fast I could see an arc of water coming off the top of it. I could also see the gray cylinder of its body just below the water, like a big torpedo about to strike. I think I stopped paddling. I just sat there, stunned and stupid, watching my death approaching.

Right as it was about to hit me, it went under. I felt the water rush around me as it passed.


Flipper: cute friend of man or terrorist of the seas?
My heart thudded in my chest and I released the breath I hadn't known I was holding.

I knew after a second thought that it was a dolphin: I only saw one fin. It was just riding the swell towards the beach, probably to go terrorize my friends.

I thought maybe it was time to go home now. The rip current had moved off and I was finally able to paddle back in. After nearly breaking the nose of my board off on the way back in through the big sets, I washed up on the shore and kissed the beach. Then I saw a nice set come in and had this strange urge to paddle back out...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

stop all the downloading!

My home computer's power supply crapped out at the beginning of this week. Caveat emptor: don't buy PSUs from a company called BFG. It may look awesome, as a 600V PSU with two 30A rails can only look, but it will start randomly failing after about eight months. If you build your own computers like I do, don't skimp on the power supply. Go with a name brand.

Friday, March 2, 2007

sometimes the universe has other plans

Woke up to go surfing. Car was not where I left it. Strange. Construction on 16th St starting March 1. What's today? March 2. Hmm. Walked around the blocks in my neighborhood -- maybe I just forgot where I parked it. Called Nick. He says we parked on 16th St. Damn. Called tow company. Yup, they've got it.

I blame February. If it had 30 days like a real month...

Well, it wasn't so bad. I got to see pretty girls heading to work on BART, got to walk through SoMa with the early morning sun on head, watching the city wake up. The surf wasn't that great anyways, Jack says.

$220 to get the car out. Oh well. I probably would have spent it on something silly anyway. Like, um, 250 superballs. Or 880 25 cent cigarettes. Or some shit off eBay. Good thing I woke up to surf, otherwise it would have been at least until tomorrow till I discovered it.

conversations in my head

Sullen club kids on the BART train from Oakland, nerves sprung and spent, seeping an aura of burnt out drugged exhaustion and apathy. Leaving the station I'm welcomed into the moist gloom of a trumpeter's strained, lonely song, soft tones lingering like quivering jaws. The heavy smell of weed and booze drifts from the staggering ghosts of 16th street, dissipating into the air, forgotten and lost once more. I walk through funnels of dance-pop and past the chattering packs of smokers steeped within them. Egos collide outside Delirium and addicts weave through crowds with wide-eyed abandon, straining and focused on the next fix. No, I don't have a quarter. Sorry. I can't help you.

The truth laid bare is that we're all fucked up in some way or another. You've got to save yourself, man. Sometimes walking down the street is running a gauntlet. Just keep dodging bullets until you come out the other side. Do it again tomorrow.

Hey, hey, little monkey, that's not the way. That attitude's not helping you. You peel back the layers to expose the chewy center of grief of pain all too often, but you're just looking in a mirror and picking out the parts you don't like. There's love there too, and joy.

Change your attitude and the world is transformed. You just came back from eating chicken and waffles in Oakland with some new friends. And some old friends. See? Remember how you melted every time that tiny girl's belly laughs ended with a snort? That was just a couple hours ago.

Ah, yeah, sorry, I just haven't been sleeping much lately and I'm getting up in 5 hours to go surfing. I'm sort of dreading it.

And? That's awesome. Leave yourself open to the possibility of life happening. Just keep showing up no matter what and everything unfolds before you. And remember: it's all a tremendous amount of fun. At least, it is if you think it is.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

bipedal robot

skip to about 20 seconds in:

scientist 1: i've got it! you build a robot that doesn't fall over, and i'll build a robot to poke him.
scientist 2: sweet!