Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Flag And Free Speech . . . About The Flag

Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the National Anthem. He chose to use it as a platform for protest. Without getting into the content, it is interesting to see the flack he received, implying he had no right to protest because he makes too much money. This argument makes no sense and is not what the people making it are really saying. 

What it comes down to is this: people tend to think that protesting the flag, or protesting police actions, means you are protesting EVERY. SINGLE. ASPECT. of the institution you are protesting. This is not the case. You can respect the ideals where they apply while recognizing the flaws and the failures. 

The Flag as a symbol has never been used solely for beautiful things. Think Joe McCarthy. Think what we did to Chief Joseph and thousands of others. 

Listen to what someone is trying to say before assuming it is about you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Blog, Succinct

There are many things that could be said about any given day. For today, all that needs to be said is that I walked with Miss P in the park; I watched her climb up to and climb down from the sofa; and she told me when she had a diaper.

I may never play a game on my phone again. Too much to see!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Life blooms, always.  There is darkness, there is pain, there is the worst that humans can inflict upon each other, intentionally or not. 

But life, like spring, always blooms again.

Watching your child transform from moment to moment fills the world with magic. Her first experience with an aquarium, when she starts to point at fish after fish, says the word fish for the first time, calls a ceiling-hung model of a whale "whale" without prompting, and when you see her run back again and again to look at coi fish in a fountain from different angles, that makes a lot of pain in life bearable.

And that moment you first take her in to a swimming pool, when you can bear those moments when she is upset and scared, when you can distract her by showing her how she can splash water like in the bathtub, and when she then starts to laugh and giggle while sitting on your knee on the steps of the pool, her first foray into swimming, nothing is better than that sort of moment. 

You can bring joy, and you can bring happiness and new experiences.

And when those moments echo the moments you remember from your childhood of that same aquarium and that same wonder, even if she is still a little young to probably remember every detail, your heart is washed clean of sorrow. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hidden Gems Of Life

I am off today after working some or all of the past 7 days, and P went to daycare, so I went for a long walk in Dimond Canyon.  It's a small slice of Montana in the middle of Oakland, a long, quiet canyon full of bushes and trees, although the oaks are uniquely California.  There are side trails down to Sausal Creek, which actually contains water at the moment, left over from Stormageddon.  It's surprisingly silent and empty of people, although the marks of people are everywhere:  the clever "I'm so hard" tag on a rock; the intricate and sometimes beautiful graffiti on the underside of a bridge, supporting the roadway with the names and tags of graffiti artists.  Have you ever noticed that graffiti artists have a fantastic understanding of color combinations? 

I want to spend my life noticing things.  I noticed the first blooming buds on skeletal trees, hopefully not too early. 

The new phone comes with a built-in pedometer, a built-in reason to sustain my iPhanaticism.  I've taken 9710 steps so far today.  I'm aiming for a minimum of 10,000 a day, to shed some extra pounds along with extra stress.  Walking in the canyon always makes me feel lighter, with a warm feeling in my stomach, kind of like the relaxing sensation after a nice, slow, comfortable release of waste, to put it delicately, releasing poisons both emotional and physical. 

Today I got about as far as I could go in Dimond Canyon, as far as I could tell; it appeared there was another trail on the opposite canyon wall, although access is unclear.  Next walking project: a circumnavigation of Lake Merritt (side note to job applicants: if you attended Merritt College, don't spell it Merit College on your resume; it earns you demerits in the consideration of those reviewing your information).

Miss P has not been in perfect health the last few days; whether teething or working through a virus, she has had various digestive complaints of late, but no fever and generally happy.  I'm taking her to a pre-scheduled 18 month check up today, the first time when I will be taking her on my own, without Marina there.  I realize that I tend to rely on Marina to be the grown-up, although I do my best to be mature.  Maybe grown-up is the wrong word; maybe I mean practical.  Anyway, I'm doing my best to grow up along with my daughter.  That effort provides gems of its own.  She's my sweet little child.

My weight has gone back up, reaching as far as 209, but down to 206 today after my walk.  That's success.  I have to keep the focus on healthy choices and making progress.  That's another gem, making the choice of going for a long walk on a day off, instead of sedentary hedonism. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Baby Updates, Because You Deserve Them, One Way Or The Other

For the most part, I've been sticking to my resolve of writing every day, even if the amount varies.  I will take notes here and there, on my phone and random documents.  The idea is practice, even if it is to be discarded. 

Baby has been keeping me busy.  Well, she isn't a baby anymore; she's a full-fledged toddler, with all the boundary testing and "no!" that entails.  She is also keeping us more than busy, especially yesterday, when she was not feeling so well.  She started the day with vomit, and then ended the day with more vomit while we were at a 76 gas station on South Van Ness - not the ideal spot for Mommy and Daddy to be tested with their first real experience of baby tummy upset. 

(got to stop calling her baby. She's a toddler in full flight, 18 months and counting!) 

It was a traumatic moment, probably more traumatic for Mommy and Daddy than for our princess, although I'm sure she was upset by how upset we were.  Somehow, we avoided a complete emotional meltdown and got home and gave her a bath and made her feel all better.  And today, after a cranky start and two naps, she bounced back to her marvelous self.  New accomplishments: holding her toy cell phone and saying "Hal-lo;"  drinking water like a big girl - although only after Daddy, in desperation, took a sip from the cup first, and encouraged her to copy him (desperation, not necessity, being the mother of invention). 

Life rolls on, unabated, at every height. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Magic and My M├Ądchen

Miss P turns 18 months tomorrow. Already!? Don't tell me that time's velocity is not relative. She makes us so happy. Watching her learn and grow convinces me that magic is real. Not illusions, actual Gandalf-level Magic, couched in evolutionary terms. Life and the news can be dark, but there is still room for love and magic.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Writing, Day 7

You learn things.  You learn that while you like and respect the people you work with, they can really piss you off and turn you into a razor-edged cynic, ready to be done with them at a moment's notice.  You learn that when there is something being talked about that you don't agree with, you can find a principle to anchor you, to say "I disagree with this, and it should not be done this way."  You learn that you can watch someone totally change tacks in the middle of a meeting, and wonder why that just happened, and you can wonder if you just made an actual positive change by throwing up a dam against a flood of mistakes. 

You can find victory in holding firm to a certain perspective that reduces the chances of mistakes and loss, rather than a creative strategy that creates gain and positive momentum, and maybe that is just as valuable. 

Numbers mean both more and less than the sum of their parts.  Business interests and the humanitarian perspective are in the balance, and you really have to fight hard for the humanitarian interests in the sake of being fair to everyone one.  Ironic, really.

You can be sick of everyone's bullshit and love them all the more for it. 

You can look at the regrets you are harboring over friendships lost, and realize: "What the fuck.  He threw it away himself."  You can be done with someone just like that. 

You can realize that you have a sneakily bad temper, and that it must be true what they say about Italians, even a quarter-Italian.  No wonder Italians snap and starting jumping on mushrooms and evil turtles.  We Mediterranean types don't tolerate princess-napping, even in 8-bit venues. 

You can think to yourself, "What if the narrator is a ghost?  Not a real ghost, but a metaphorical ghost?"  And then you can slap yourself for being a pompous ass.  And then you can slap yourself again for using the word pompous.  And then you can laugh at yourself for talking about yourself in very meta ways.  It's fun!

And then you can laugh at yourself for that too. 

Fuck it.  Life is brilliant, if stressful.  People will let you down.   People will haul you up.  You just need to be the John Lennon of your own life.  I'm sure that means something wise.  If you don't know what it means, then you need to listen to more John Lennon. 

It also probably means that I've had enough bourbon for one night.