Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring in name alone

Yesterday's snow was funny. Not really ha-ha funny, just, fer-fuck's-sake funny. Like having your car broken into after having your bike stolen. But the snow melted and sun came out and plucky orphans rose up to sing again. They always do.

It's still chilly. I've spent the morning trying to edit one of several looooooooooooonnnnng essays about the contemporary fire service. I'm not going Johnathan Franzen about it--because I don't have the skills, for I certainly would if I could--but my tendency to seen a massive, interconnected narrative severely impedes my progress in the short form. I'm making some progress with this revision/edit. Went through it proof-wise last week and have been altering and arranging the paragraphs into a cohesive, linear, reader-pleasing flow (or that's the thought). But I'm just mired in the shit, and around each new pp I find another section. It all fits (says he who sees the macro in the micro) but I'm trying to keep it fluid/flowing. Too, this is the same challenge/problem I have with two other VERY similar essays. In fact, I've started them over the past several years to alleviate the stuckness I found myself in with each successive essay. My hope is that I'll smooth this one out, then be able to condense and integrate the trio of 'em into one gorgeous whole....... Sure, kid.

As I wander the house to clear my head, I find myself chilled. Not enough movement of blood while sitting and typing. Plus, it's fucking cold outside. And I turned off the heat to spite God or Mother Nature, those abusive, negligent parents of us all. How's that working out, slugger? I was coming down the stairs when my stupid new slipper/houseshoe slipped off my foot. Before I could do ANYthing, both feet shot out from beneath me, I flipped onto my ass hard, and bounced down the remaining four steps, smashing both heels on the tile floor. I sat for several moments, taking stock. Fuck me. That hurt. And it happened so fast, even MY cat-like reflexes couldn't prevent it. Neither heel is broken. No ankle twists. My elbow struck the wall and the stairs, but it's fine. My right shoulder was jarred pretty good when the elbow hit the step, but it remains in place.

And this is how the end will come, I thought, dropped down the stairs by my five dollar rubber slats, left to writhe, cry, and bleed out on the kitchen floor... Ick. So many bad ways to go out.

Speaking of such, my friend shared a video from her town in NM where a mountain lion strolled onto the porch to sun itself and lap some water. A mountain lion. Big, strong, fierce, deadly cat. Another BAD way to go out.

Annie's off to Philly for a fortnight to work on a project. Surveillance and public space. It's cool to see the ways she can explore her devious interests w/o becoming a drug mule or moonlighting mommy hooker... I appreciate that the kids aren't unsteady so our travels don't give them bad feelings or cause meltdowns.

I'm off to pedal to clear my mind. Glad the winter gear hasn't been stored yet. Hope I don't get swallowed by a pothole.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rewards for not being a deadbeat dad

Monday was a glorious family day. We'd had a rough night at work, including the brutally smoky basement fire in store next to Bulldog on Lyndale. (Which is a separate discussion.) And some dipshits running around setting fire to trashcans in the alleys of Seward. Yay! But I got home, did some editing of some endlessly unformed, sprawling fire-related essays, and mainlined coffee. Initially I was going to nap early, but that seldom works. Annie taught early and we met up at the health club industrial ego complex for a pairs workout. It was great fun to grunt and groan and sweat w/ the sweet Ace, on machines totally free of bacteria. She's a stud and we had fun. I had smoke fumes pouring from my skin all morning, and after she split I did some CV to force more of it out the pores, then sat in sauna for a while.

We got home about the same time and promptly took a nap. Totally punk rock wild-child freaky, yes? Sure. I took my pants off, in case she had dreams (and intentions) of ravishing the first man she saw in her bed. Except we both slept hard for 90 minutes. Glory. Picked up girls from school and collected ourselves to go for a nature walk. 'Goddamnit, you kids! Turn off your devices, step away from the screens, and go look at some fucking nature! (Psst, honey, do you get reception in nature? Phew...)'

Much as our house & its taxes are expensive and stressful, the area we live is awesome and the access to cool shit isn't to be devalued. I stumbled upon a dunn brothers, which apparently slings a mean cup of joe, and we set off for the river. Initial intent was to walk a bit, then help Lux look for pigeons for her school report. I had it on good authority that a passel of the winged rats loiter beneath the 3rd Ave bridge on Main St. We walked out on the Stone Arch first, checked the raging, raging Mississippi River. Sheer power. Terrifying force. Beauty and awe, both.

Then we walked out along the power plant promenade--getting even closer to the mayhem of spring thaw. The view and span of downtown Mpls vista is gorgeous. We went to check the chickens, er pigeons--no dice. Perhaps they were too busy breaking the economy with their cushy union jobs. We did find this:

Drunk with river stank, we altered our plan & hit Tuggs for burgers for dinner. For the last time. Ridiculously expensive (is this really a tourist attraction? Fucking Lame) and not great burgers--I'd do Burger King over them, seriously. Then we walked to Lunds so Flannery could continue her performance piece in which she is an orphan who happens to rent a room from us. Her commitment to it is admirable and a pain in the ass. I/we hope it's a phase. She uses her money not for glitter or for Tweetering, but she coupon clips, saves, compares, and shops for herself. She's made a section of the fridge for herself, and hollowed out space in the cupboards for her provisions. It's a bit scary in its thoroughness. I can't imagine where she gets her stubbornness from...

We chilled, had H-Lux read to us, then after she went to bed, following a couple educational episodes of Arrested Development (a show so much finer than, say, 2.5 Men x 1000 that it's criminal it was cancelled, but we'd crucify jesus if he walk into town nowadays, too), we sat down on couch w/ Flann to watch The Birds. So campy, so shrewd, so mean and smart--and those pesky birds... Great stuff. She was thrillingly terrified, and bemused.

A great day. The kids are so interesting and thoughtful, sweet and funny, that it's painful to worry about the pitfalls that await as part of life. The needless hazards and unexpected tragedies... But nothing stops the wheels, so be present and speak honestly and let the shit shake itself out.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

transitional gestures

We suffer through the inconveniences and unpleasantness of winter, long winter, here for those pearly days before and after summer's swelter kicks in, with humidity befitting a southern state, mosquitoes befitting a swampy state, and tornadoes from Kansas. My three-day swing was exemplary. Annie and I caught a matinee, Source Code, which was enjoyable and interesting; I later watched Love & Other Drugs, on a mini-Jake Gylenhaal kick. Those eyebrows--so disconcerting. But that one was good, too. Read (another) depressing article about the stupid cynicism that drives Hollywood: basically, white men make movies and they don't want to watch, nor support, movies in which they're not the epicenter. This particular article was about the travails of women in film: smart women, funny women, real women. Three-card-monte rigged marketplace. Same song for films for non-whites. Something was on at work the other day, with Dana Owens/Latifah, and it was so piss-poor in the writing department, it hurt my head. And the execs will point to its dismal box office as 'proof' that (white) people don't want to see these movies. Bleah.

So I got my cinematic swerve on. Got three good days riding in, too. 40+, 60+, 30+: not bad miles for me. I'd aimed for Stillwater the second day but the Gateway turned to ice/snow field and, after a fall and several slide-outs, plus lugging bike increasing yards, I bailed--and then ate it HARD on the penultimate patch of recrossed ice. Hard like--gasping for air, shocked and minorly panicked: the instand reminder I wasn't near home, or near much at all. I'd been humoring myself after the first fall (where I bounced through some slush, lightly abraded my arm & knee, and soaked my sleeve) that, Hey, it's just slush. Falling won't be a hazard, just an inconvenience. I was deep in I LOVE BIKING reverie when whooooooosh, down I went. Bike hit hard; I hit harder. Cold sparks shot through my gut from my right hip. I had to pause to consider that I might have broken my fucking hip. Dumbshit.

Then I remounted, chastened, and biked in shame out of the emerald forest. I did keep riding and, while short of a century, put it over 60 for first time since last fall. Right side is bruised/tender/ouch-y over a 12" x five inch swath of haunch and love handle.

I rode yesterday to make sure the leg didn't get stiff. I felt really good, then, as I turned around, I realized I'd actually had the wind cutting across my back the whole time. Return trip was dispiriting. Until I got out of wind and life was good again.

I was pondering this as I rode: 'If god is unknowable.' Period, that's it; not follow-up clause. If god is god, there's nothing we can say or know about him, his preferences, his grand plan. If we can guess his intentions (and note how frequently his inferred intentions match well with those diviners...), then he is not god. By definition, that is true.

And why do people keep building towns on flood plains? And why, why are they surprised when every spring the river floods (again)?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Can't tell what's more worrisome: the pundidiots calling Michele Bachmann Palin-lite or saying she's a more-complete Palin... And, somehow, she's evidenced ANY legitimate qualities of leadership.

Years ago, dear aunt Linds was visiting DC and Liza was telling a story about some schoolmates of hers, granddaughters of Marriott clan; they're Mormons and their inheritance was dependent on the girls being virgins at marriage. Linds snorted and wondered how the old man was going to satisfy his blood demand--sitting bedside for the conjugal consummation? Girls played nice and clocked their ducats.
Same as it ever was.

None of these shitbirds is actually spiritually motivated. Power is its own false god, far more palpable than the unknowable old media one. Code words to 'the faithful' keeps the wool over their eyes and the keys to kingdom in the braying Gantry's sweaty palms. We deserve what we bring on ourselves, I suppose. But it's some stinky shit.