Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Dusk, when the air is thick, and families turn off their car alarms and step inside, readying themselves for the journey home. The evening hour, hour of police sirens and horns, hour of the gradient sky, mauve into turquoise into aquamarine. Dusk: one pinprick star in a pastel, muted universe, one lonely lamp on an aluminum foil balcony, round and round the sleepy turnabout they go.

Sometimes one needs to look away

Sometimes one needs to look away from the digital devices, away from the strobing, pulsating L.E.D.s and L.C.D.s, peer through the air into real streets and real trees, listen to real sounds and real cricket noises.

From the bars on this last evening of the weekend come yells, screams, and cheers, the cries of freedom railing against the dawn of Monday.

Nobody looks up. Nobody peers into the sky, except for the cosmologists, and even they have stopped looking. Nobody looks for the stars, for there are no stars to be seen, and the moon is obscured by the trees.

A crack in the sidewalk, a fissure, a gulf, darting of the eyes, words whispered in a foreign tongue, the buzzing of a moped, the smooth gliding of airplane lights across the night sky - these all say, Be safe,

Be safe.


This is one of those days when the sun is shining and families sit contentedly enjoying their meals quietly together. Old men loll to their tables, speaking in hoarse voices; students cross the street in brown corduroys. And running - always running - running with sideburns, speaking of pork chops, walking slowly and gesturing and gazing.

The Mercedes of Palo Alto are especially fine, and thoughts come easy to those at ease. With the sunlight comes a shimmery happiness, an ecstatic goosepimple upon the back, the rush of mathematic, out come the sunglasses, a raised eyebrow, a nod of the head,


Flu and fever

I am sitting at a table in a diner called The Creamery in Palo Alto, California, waiting for my order of scrambled eggs with toast and hash browns. I'm trying to take it easy today, as I came down with the flu yesterday. I'm battling it with a combination of Cold-FX and Extra-Strength Tylenol.

Being sick is a miserable way to be. To all who are healthy: cherish your healthiness! Revel in it, exult in it! Remember it, for it will not always be in your possession.

I simply had to go outside. Staying in my hotel room was getting to be toxic. I believe this is what is called "cabin fever." I pity those who are confined in prisons. Having no change in scenery is a kind of visual toxicity, an imagistic stagnation. It leads to madness in those with weak wills.

Monday, July 23, 2007

An hour to kill before bedtime

I am at present sitting at a bus stop on Hamilton Ave and Ramona St in Palo Alto, California, a thousand miles from home, at 10:10 PM on July 22, 2007. There's an hour to kill before bedtime, so I thought I'd write. Behind me, three young men and a young woman speak Chinese. They laugh at something in the shop window of University Art Center. Another group passes behind me, talking of "maybe just traveling, something like that." The same hopes, the same needs, the same amusements, a thousand miles from home.

There is something great about writing, in public or private. It is a kind of listening, to your thoughts, to voices around you, to the sounds of machines and of nature. It's a listening with your eyes and with your gut, a probing into the why of things. More voices behind me. "I'm numbing the pain." "Yeah, asshole." "You messed up."

Here you see headlights, and people holding hands, vague talk, a bit of singing, the stench of rotting fruit, a plastic cap kicked in the darkness, someone whistling C# D C, then all of a sudden, silence.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A day well lived

I want to try living each day as a separate project. Because each day is its own independent universe, with a beginning and an end, and a constellation of appointments and goals and plans complete and incomplete. Isolated by sleep, each 24-hour block of time is its own separate entity, its own array of conflict and harmony.

And so I want to live each day as a separate project, a polished gem, a production performance from curtain rise to curtain call - beginning the day with the morning routine, then living the day, pushing forward through it with strength and mental acuity, or bearing the weight of suffering or loss with equanimity - then ending the day with the evening routine, with no loose ends, finishing the day with the dignity of a day well lived.

Each day an independent performance piece, brilliantly executed or experienced - those would be days well lived.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Spacetime and the Muse

I have a free day today, and so I'm heading downtown to get some new images into my brain. The net offers a limitless array of ideas and images, but sometimes it's nice to go into reality for inspiration and for ideas to bring back. So I dropped into spacetime and am on a bus to downtown Victoria.

I need ideas in the sci-fi vein, so I'll start with Curious Comics on Johnson St. I might take a detour into Chapter's, or check when Transformers is playing at the Odeon. I've heard it said that inspiration is for amateurs, but it certainly helps and I'll take whatever the Muse deigns to shower upon me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Sit, on a block, in the damp air, under a nuclear sky. And ask: Why do they do it like that? Why do they do it at all? It walks toward you, it kneels at your feet, out of reach, it sits behind you. Then rain falls, and it slinks away. Rain on the forehead, rain on the back; rain on the shoulder, on the knee, on the fingers.

The wanderer needs to walk and the walk needs a wanderer. Limbs that quiver refuse to move. Animals stoop at the feeding bowls. And the roses pay no heed.

The porcelain bowl rings as it's dragged. Why do we look, why do we ask, why do we write, why do we be - why do we sit and stand and do nothing? The rain starts up again.

Sky, wind, and weakness. Time and age; speed and slowness. Phases, rotations, purring noises and little ants. Contentment, fragility, and weakness. Movement becomes motion and motion becomes motionless. And above all is the waiting, solitude, sentience, judgement, birth.

What I am carrying about my person

- Eyeglasses
- Watch - Timex Rush Indiglo

Left Pocket:
- PDA: Dell Axim X30, with case serving as wallet, containing cards and bus tickets
- Book: Kreeft's "Prayer for Beginners"
- Keys: home, work 1, work 2, luggage, car, room, filing cabinet

Right Pocket:
- cell phone with earbud
- Moleskine notebook, ruled
- fountain pen: Lamy Safari, 1.1mm

Friday, July 13, 2007

Proof that one has time to do both blogging and journaling

Alas, I miss blogging on this personal blog. However, my writing energies have been directed toward my private journal - my little notebook that I have on my desk. Handwriting is a unique experience, but so is blogging, in which the world is your audience. I'm torn.

It reminds me of the speed of light. I'm reading in Greene's "The Elegant Universe" that everything travels at the speed of light - not through space (x, y, z), but through spacetime (x, y, z, t). We don't notice it because most of our speed is applied to the t-axis (time). I was intrigued to learn that this explains why time slows down for things that move faster - when you apply more of your speed along the x-, y-, and z-axes, less of it goes to the t-axis (because your overall speed is constant - the speed of light).

In the case of journaling vs. blogging, we have a different set of axes: journaling, blogging, and time (j, b, t). It is plausible that, again, we move at a constant speed - that of light. Of course most of this speed is diverted toward time, but sometimes we divert a portion of it to journaling, or to blogging. This explains why when we are journaling or blogging intensely, we appear to outside observers to be living at a slower pace. And, because of relativity, these outside observers appear, to us, to be slow.

j2 + b2 + t2 = c2. Time for journaling takes away from time from blogging, and vice versa. But because c is so huge (3×108m/s), there is time enough to do both. Q.E.D. █