We could walk for ever

Forty years ago today, I sat in my family’s living room in San Jose, watching ghostly black-and-white images and listening to a message from as far away as any message ever delivered by a human voice. The little things are what I remember; the furniture, where the tv sat. The color of the drapes. And […]

Forty years ago today, I sat in my family’s living room in San Jose, watching ghostly black-and-white images and listening to a message from as far away as any message ever delivered by a human voice.

The little things are what I remember; the furniture, where the tv sat. The color of the drapes. And my brother’s screaming tantrum, while Neil Armstrong said one small step.

The universe changed. The sci-fi world inside a seven year old boy’s head was, suddenly, real, and possible.

All of us have moments that sear into memory forever; in a real way, moments that define generations. Where were you when Kennedy was killed, people used to say, for the generation just before me. My parents told me about about hearing serious, breathless voices reporting over the radio – A day that will live in infamy. Some of you, younger than me maybe, talk about Kurt Cobain’s death that way, and almost everyone I know over the age of 10 remembers the exact instant when heard, or saw, or read about two planes hitting two towers in New York City.

Some of these moments change the world; some only define a generation. I say only as if that carried less significance; yet for some, the death of Elvis or Janis, Buddy or Kurt or Jimi, Jim or even Michael, may be the day your music died. The point is that they’re those moments we will always remember, for whatever reason. Time and place and feeling burned like a brand into us.

But some of these moments, in a real and permanent way, do change the world. Who knows, when Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto sailed his fleet of aircraft carries toward an archipelago in the middle of the pacific, if he had any inkling that he was steaming toward the hinge point in the most significant war of his century, possibly the most significant war in human history. The nineteen hijackers in 2001 may have been in the grips of some delusion of grandeur; personally, they were simply fools attacking an irrelevant symbol, for the imagined glory of a mythical god. Yes, they cost many lives and billions of dollars; but the impact that lasts, decades later, will be changes to the political and social landscapes of the United States, the middle east, Europe; in a sense, the entire world. Industries were permanently changed. The word Terrorism entered the daily lexicon of ordinary people. Governments fell.

Violence, fear, destruction, and death defined both of these events. And ripples continue to roll outward from them; even now, 64 years later, Perl Harbor and WWII still define much of the relationship between Japan and the USA.

But some events change history, not with destruction, but with creation.

June 20, 1969, an entire world looks up at the moon, physically, or virtually, and say, we’re up there. Men stand beyond that unimaginable gulf, we realize; they may be looking up into their own sky, and seeing this blue and green ball. They may be walking, leaving footprints where no living thing has, ever.

Children looked up and said, I have no limits. I can go up, and never stop. I can fly. Men and women looked up and said, that’s why I do what I do, making what I make, learning what I learn. For one moment, we had won an almost inconceivable battle. We’d done the impossible. We waved flags and claimed a victory in an imaginary race, but every pair of eyes, every pair of ears, every mind that was in any way able to hear or see or read Neil Armstrong’s words, knew we’d just won some intangible victory over space and impossible odds.

Every scientist I know, every engineer, every writer or teacher or pilot; every one who was old enough to know men stood there above our heads, felt things change around them. We felt the limits move unimaginably far back.

We could do anything.

The generation who witnessed that moment went on to invent almost every single thing upon which our lives depend today. Medicines, weapons, tools. Computers, networks. We invented ways to fly, ways to go to space, ways to live in space.

And ways to die, tragically and pointlessly; proving that no matter how many years have come since, space is still a dangerous place, a place we don’t belong.

I was seven years old when Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong lifted off a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, and already, I lived only for space and adventure. I played with my G.I. Joe space capsule, watched Star Trek and Lost in Space with my father, and knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would be up there one day.

At 7:39pm PST on Sunday July 20, 1969 (forty years almost to the minute, as I type this), my family were clustered around a TV set that seems absurdly small now, watching a picture that was all but incomprehensible with snow and interference. And I was as glued to that image as I ever have been to anything, before or since.

Behind me on the couch, my brother Ian – five and a half years old – was in the middle of a screaming tantrum. He’d given himself a nose bleed, and, twenty nine years before the invention of TiVo, was demanding at the top of his lungs that we make the TV wait until he could watch it.

My memory of the event is rich in detail. Ian’s insane screams and wails, my parents frustration as he distracted them from the event; my own confusion and elation, (and irritation) as I tried to make sense of the snowstorm on the TV and Armstrong’s brilliant, nonsensical, unforgettable quote over my brother’s howling.

That night I lay in my bed, looking at G.I. Joe and Major Matt Mason, and all my other space related toys and books, and I imagined heroic men in space suits cooler than anything artists or toy makers could think of. I wondered what they were doing, where and when they slept, what they ate, and how they went to the bathroom.

Over the next days, I watched every piece of television news I could get; I read the papers with my parents. I ate and drank and dreamed words like Apollo, Eagle, LEM, Mare Tranquillitatis, Command Module.

I’m not sure, once the country had gotten used to the idea, gotten over the wonderment, that most of us really knew how much human history has just changed. I’m not sure most americans, busy with work, with school, with getting by, scoring, getting laid, thought about the hardware left behind in the deep thick dust, about the men who’d gone up there, about the ones on the ground working non stop to get back again, only better, and safer.

But for a generation of children and young adults, that was all we thought about; the gateway that had just opened. The fundamental difference the universe had after.

Eight years later, Star Wars premiered; movie makers who’s sat in front of their televisions like I had, had turned it into mythology that would leave it’s own explosive impact. That same year, the first space shuttle, named Enterprise by science fiction fans and young man who lived and breathed space ships flew it’s first test mission, as far beyond the Gemini and Apollo craft as they were beyond bi-planes.

In the years following the Apollo program, technology advanced in almost every field upon which the high tech industry depends. The study of power, physics, heat; battery technology. Things as basic as the teflon that coats our pans, the chips that drive digital wacthes and iPods and cell phones. Aerodynamics which are used everywhere from airplane design to cars to bicycles to speeding up swimmers in the water and skaters on the ice.

There’s been a great deal of dark history for Nasa and the space program in recent years. Budget cuts in the mid seventies caused stagnation in culture and technology; we’ve seen two massive, entirely preventable shuttle disasters, and no forward progress on what’s next in decades. Nasa, like any under-funded, over-worked government agency, began to make choices based on protecting itself instead of reaching out and up. Today we fund Nasa at a fraction of the (effective) budget they had to spend in the mid sixties; and worse, we began to say, as a culture, space? it doesn’t matter. We felt we needed to worry about here and now and how I’ll pay for a tank of gas.

Today, while I should have been catching up on work, squashing bugs after some weekend network updates, I instead watched videos of the Lunar Module docking with the Command Module, remembered building plastic replicas of them with polystyrene and glue and paint.

I’m not sure when I, personally, said goodbye to my certainty that I’d walk up on the moon some day. Maybe it got lost in my adolescent discovery of girls and music and drugs; maybe it was when I realized that astronauts weren’t the daredevils of fiction, but in fact were dedicated students and military men. I wasn’t a good student, hating authority and having no attention for anything that wasn’t interesting to me at that exact moment. I never forget that dream though; when I glide through deep water, the images of men and women in zero g comes to mind. When I watch video of multi-billionaire ‘space tourists’ visiting the international space station, I feel a searing envy, not over the money they have to waste, but that they have what it takes to go out to the far frontiers of human experience.

What changed in 1969 was that, for the first time in human history, we were there on the outer edges with adventurers and explorers. No one saw Richard Francis Burton search for the source of the Nile; no one but a few sailors were witness to Captain Cook’s ‘discovery’ of most of the islands in the south pacific. And in both cases, the discovery was one culture finding what another culture already knew.

But in June of 1969, an entire world watched and listened, in real time, as one single foot stepped on a square foot of dust no human foot has ever trod, no human eye had ever seen. And we knew it minutes after the explorer himself. The world of 1969 was decidedly short on frontiers; Neil Armstrong and his compatriots defined, for every human being alive, where the frontier was.

It’s going to be a long time until someone moves that line. When it moves, the universe is going to change again.

cobwebs and biomechanics

I’ve had my share of hallucinations in my time. Both the pure-fatigue type (which consist mainly of non-persistent but repeating peripheral visions), and the chemically induced type which can be persistent, but also include a distinct muzzy-headedness, and often don’t repeat. Last night, though, I experienced a wholly unexpected side effect of a medication i […]

I’ve had my share of hallucinations in my time. Both the pure-fatigue type (which consist mainly of non-persistent but repeating peripheral visions), and the chemically induced type which can be persistent, but also include a distinct muzzy-headedness, and often don’t repeat.

Last night, though, I experienced a wholly unexpected side effect of a medication i take semi-regularly.

I suffer insomnia sometimes; not consistent, but often enough that it’s a factor in my life. Sometimes this is good, because I used to get a lot of writing done after 2am, with bleary red eyes and fevered mind. More recently though, it’s been more the in-bed-on-the-edge-of-sleep kind; the kind where worries dominate and the brain gets stuck in repeating loops.

So on occasions, I use sleep aids which easily gets me past that portal to the land of dream.

Now, hallucinations are known side effects of certain meds; I see that every time I read the labels and warnings (which I obsessively do; I research every med I take, and every med my friends and family take, just because pharmacology fascinates me). BUt I’ve never experienced a single hallucination from normal sleep meds.

Last night, I had a full-blown hallucinatory experience, from a very normal dose (10mg) of a very normal med (@mb1en, spelled that way to avoid spammers).

I was watching the tail end of this week’s the fashions show, bravo’s project runway knockoff. And as the show ended and I turned off my teevee, I began to see ghostly cobwebs reach out from the still glowing teevee toward my ceiling fan.

I looked around the bed, and there seemed to be similar cobwebs on on the bed and, and then they began to stretch out onto the walls.

I looked at my bedside lamp; in bright light, I saw nothing other than a very slight haze. But in shadow, the general moving, drifting webbiness increased.

“I’m starting to hallucinate,” I said.

I began to describe the visuals to my nearly-sleeping bedmate, who tolerantly said ‘go to sleep’. But as I looked around, I found my wall paper (which is covered with a deeply-detailed, dark leopard print, as can be seen in the background of this image) was beginning to breath and roil, and then manifest in living, dragon-like shapes which would move as I did (likely it was my shadow and shifting point of vierw that animated it; the motion generally ceased when I held still).

I got up to pace around the room, wanting to explore what I was seeing. Close to the wall, the paper’s patters became blowing prairie grass, so vivid I felt I should feel it moving. Yet to my fingers, it was cool and papery-smooth. My eyes retained the visual of blowing fur or grass, but the experience wasn’t the least bit tactile.

I turned on bright overhead lights, and was left only with haziness; but when I turned the light out, all the visuals returned.

One corner of the room began to manifest as a sort of bio-mechanical, moving figure; made of webwork, but some sort of intricate flexible metal spider web. The shape resembled a witch or scarecrow, and again, it moved with my movements, breaking down into hazy cobweb when I moved close, but re-assembling into a consistent form when I walked away. Lights cleared it completely.

I turned and looked into my closet, where a figure stood – and this was the first one I actually found alarming. What looked like some sort of three-musketeers swashbuckler all in black, with a broad-brimmed hat. He grinned, though only grin was visible, no eyes. He bent his head and then faded into the shelving as I moved close, one of my hats and a pair of my boots clearly the source of the vision. I saw that only once, but it was startlingly vivid.

I prowled the room for several minutes; the experience was delightfully puzzling; never have I experienced hallucinations so consistent and visually organized. I roamed the rest of the house, still seeing creeping cobwebs and movement in shadows, but nothing in bright light (I think my daughters guinea pigs thought I was death from above when I tried to pet them, but I wanted to feel the webby trails they were creating as they scuttled and squeaked.)

I tried looking at my face in a mirror, and saw nothing but sleepy eyes and vague haze. Whatever I was seeing clearly had a light threshold. And I began to feel too sleepy to continue investigating what I was seeing. I went to bed and turned out the lights, and darkness obliterated any further experience. “I wish I could write this down now, so I don’t forget any of it,” I think were my last words before I drifted off.

—-

The most interesting things about the experience, for me, were that I felt completely lucid; I wasn’t high, or confused. I was sleepy, because that was the intent of the medication. But I wasn’t befuddled, so my attempts to define the difference between visual and tactile stimulation felt organized, almost scientific. The other thing was that the medications I was on – teh sleep med, above, and an anti-inflammatory I sometimes take a bedtime for my achy shoulder – are things I’ve taken many times, separately and together. So I have no explianation for why the hallucinations manifested so strongly this one night. I’m puzzled about it, and curious about a repeat of the same experience. The sleeping dose I took was on the higher side (I usually take a half, but a whole 10mg isn’t unusual). I tend to have a high resistance to medications, so this amount wasn’t anything Id’ have ever expected a visual side effect from.

I remain curious.

time and burnout

I think one of the reasons I haven’t be blogging lately is that I feel like a broken record. No time, fatigue, stress, burnout, beat until frothy and place in 350 degree oven. I get tired of saying it. There are few thing in the world a hate like I hate self-pity. Those who put […]

I think one of the reasons I haven’t be blogging lately is that I feel like a broken record.

No time, fatigue, stress, burnout, beat until frothy and place in 350 degree oven.

I get tired of saying it. There are few thing in the world a hate like I hate self-pity. Those who put themselves in a situation and then bitch; those who won’t take action to solve a problem.

But when I try to write, what comes to mind first is, how completely fucked up I feel right now. To the point that in blots out all other thought.

I look back at my last year’s blogging and in between tattoo posting and links to porn, humor, music and art, I find the interconnections all have the same theme. Burnout.

So I’m trying to figure out why it is I feel that way. It’s not that I’m working that hard right now – in fact, I’m not really getting much done at all. But I feel, for the first time since I joined apple nine years ago (almost to the day), like my job is dragging me down into quicksand.

My life is organized around my greatest strengths. What I do is solve problems. I didn’t have any grand plan for a career, so I derive what my career has been only by looking back at it. And to a one, the jobs I seek, or create, or thrust into, all have that thread. I’m not a projects guy, I don’t do organization and follow-through well. What I do, though, is look at systems and see the flaws, the missing pieces, the inefficiencies. My life also seems to follow that pattern. The people to whom I’ve been most drawn are broken in some fundamental way. Not that they need help, per se, but that they have some vast physical, mental or character deficiency

The cost of all that, of course, is that I put myself into broken systems, and being that I can’t stand things that are broken, I strive fix them, often via sheer brute force. I become the link that holds the chain together, and I’m the strongest link, because I tolerate no less of myself. But to steal a line from genesis and a hundred others, we’re only as strong, As the weakest link in the chain. So no matter how strong I make my one link, the chain will always fail elsewhere.

Chaos is the default state of the universe. We impose order for a while; but only will and energy can maintain it. Living things are a system slightly more organized than the baseline chaos of an ecosystem; an ecosystem is a system slightly more organized than the universe. Only man’s mind can create and maintain a system more tightly and carefully organized than biological organisms, and only constant thought can produce the ongoing effort that maintains such systems.

Thing want to fall apart; buildings want to fall down. Computers want to fail.

Due to inherent aptitude, genetic inheritance, and the way I was raised, I feel a great compulsion to hold that line against chaos. When I think if it, it turns into an almost cartoonish vision of some Moorcockian champion of order (where’s my black fucking sword? Where’s my companion and his winged cat?). But the reality of it isn’t as much fun; I won’t have another incarnation to continue the fight; I can’t call another version of myself for help through some portal in the multiverse.

I do this alone. Not because there’s no help, but because I can’t stand help that isn’t absolutely under my control and on my terms. Help, when I ask for it, has to be exactly the help I need and no more.

The cost of this is that I put myself in situations where I’m absolutely vital, and absolutely irreplaceable. Not only at work, but everywhere in my life, I have vast lists of things that need to be done, and in ways that no one else I see around me can handle. Because solutions have to do more than solve a problem; they have to strike blow against encroaching chaos.

That battle seems to get harder each year. I don’t know if it’s simply the natural progression of the world, the inherent growth of a system over time. I don’t know if it’s that life, inevitably, grows more complex as one acquires more things, builds investments, raises children. Or if it’s the inevitable fact of age. To steal another line,as soon as we’re born we start dying. But it isn’t linear; it accelerates with time, picking up speed with each round of auld lang syne.

Whatever it is, more and more of late my mind is full of the maddening minutiae of life, the crushing weight of task lists that grow only longer. And I find, at the end of days which flash by ever faster, that I have nothing in that part of my mind that yearns to put words together in creative ways. It’s easier to reach for a beer and the remote control. Because when I reach for my computer, nothing comes out but the same worn and blacked refrain about time and burnout.

done now, kthxby

Holy shit it’s been a week. This is almost entirely work stuff, so of course I can’t talk about details; you know how my employer is about details. But it’s been the kind of week that phrase like ‘for fuck’s sake’ were invented for. I’ve reached the point where I’m jumpy and flinching every time […]

Holy shit it’s been a week.

This is almost entirely work stuff, so of course I can’t talk about details; you know how my employer is about details.

But it’s been the kind of week that phrase like ‘for fuck’s sake’ were invented for. I’ve reached the point where I’m jumpy and flinching every time I open my email or check my phone for messages, wondering what’s broken now.

Here’s how things have been this week, in the insult-to-injury department: we actually had a server farm taken down this week due to a lightening strike yesterday, and then early this morning, my key software vendor who’s doing support lost his home phone, internet, and cell, all due to intentionally cut fiber optic cables.

Because we needed more goddamn chaos.

I don’t even have time this week to get my taxes finished, so I’m in danger of having to take an extension; I don’t have time to go to the doctor even though I’m pretty damn sure I’ve got a sinus infection going (wow, the allergies have sucked this season). I don’t even have time to take a goddamn shower.

Anyone want my job for a day so I can go sleep? No? I didn’t think so.

On the other hand, I had the most wonderful dream last night, about a stunning, exotic brunette, though I woke before we could get past the ‘looking at each other like something good to eat’ phase. But still, it was enough that I woke up vaguely in love/ Maybe I’ll actually have time to write the rest that down sometime next goddamn year.

what happened to the last year?

I don’t know what happened to the last year. I looked around last night at holiday decorations and wrapped gifts and thought, it seems only a month or two back that I was cleaning up the detritus of opened gifts. I can’t remember where my year went. I can’t think of anything I did without […]

I don’t know what happened to the last year.

I looked around last night at holiday decorations and wrapped gifts and thought, it seems only a month or two back that I was cleaning up the detritus of opened gifts.

I can’t remember where my year went. I can’t think of anything I did without looking back over my blog, and then, I see a summer vacation that was over in a blink and seems to be a few weeks ago.

Is this just how it works as one gets older? Time compresses, years becoming seasons, then months, then weeks?

When I was my kids age, I recall the glacial pace of time waiting for xmas; the feeling, when it ended, that it would never come again. I remember starting to count hours after my birthday, wondering how it could possibly be so many ’til santa arrived.

A month ago I was shocked at how quickly thanksgiving had come up; I remember thinking at the time christmas will be here in a blink, and I’m not ready for it.

Is it just that my mother’s death – and the stress, trauma and exhaustion that came with it – re-set my clock? Anything before september seems oddly compressed.

I feel oddly disconnected from the world. Christmas for me has always been an emotional time; giddy and happy, or dark and sad. This year, I look at tinkling lights and hear my favorite christmas music, and I feel like I’m watching a movie about something other people celebrate. Even Disneyland, with it’s old-fashioned-holiday-on-crack atmosphere, didn’t break through the bubble I’m in. It made me smile – I enjoyed the music and the beautiful holiday decorations (because no one, anywhere, does xmas decoration like disney), but it never crossed over into my nervous system and lit me up the way it has in the past. I didn’t care. I rode a few rides, but it didn’t matter than much if I missed one, or if I spent half my day waiting in a line.

It’s not that I’m sad – it just feels like I fast-forwarded past half the year. I seem to have missed the season changes, missed the leaves changing and the air growing colder. I missed the summer sun. It went from early spring chill to early winter chill without me knowing anything.

Where are the breaks on this thing? I want to slow it down.

i can’t even think of a title

I keep meaning to write something long about this because it’s a topic that needs to be addressed in depth. The short version is that I’m in an utter funk right now because my elderly mother is is a state of decline and I’m fighting kaiser to get her taken care of, AND fighting my […]

I keep meaning to write something long about this because it’s a topic that needs to be addressed in depth.

The short version is that I’m in an utter funk right now because my elderly mother is is a state of decline and I’m fighting kaiser to get her taken care of, AND fighting my own inability to feel sympathy for her choice to stay helpless.

One of the tag lines in my rotating ‘description’ line in the header of this blog says better at euthanasia than at sympathy and I’m finding it painfully true. I’ve always been the one who dispassionately handles injuries and deaths; dispassion I can do. Commiseration with those who give up, I find, I have no stomach for.

In any case, I’ve disconnected from everything non-essential in order to get my job done and take care of what needs taking care of, so if I’ve dropped anyone, it’s not personal. The fact that I can’t even think of a title for this entry – something that’s never happened before – indicates my level of distraction.

Pieces of Childhood

After Disneyland was opened in 1955, for whatever reason (economy? inspiration? copycatism?), many communities seem to have opened small local theme parks. I say this because every park I read about seems to have opened between 1958 and 1962. In 1961, we didn’t have much to do at home on summer days; we had longer […]

After Disneyland was opened in 1955, for whatever reason (economy? inspiration? copycatism?), many communities seem to have opened small local theme parks.

I say this because every park I read about seems to have opened between 1958 and 1962.

In 1961, we didn’t have much to do at home on summer days; we had longer summers (because school got out when summer started and went back when fall started, unlike today’s ten week summer vacations). We had no home video, no arcades, no wii, no ipods and internet. We had to go someplace.

In the bay area, we had parks like Frontier Villiage, Santa’s Villiage, Happy Hollow, Children’s Fairyland, and Marine World.

These parks were simple, inexpensive to visit, often incredibly cheesy. They had no roller-coasters, minimal rides. They were more akin to what we’d think of as a carnival today. No one traveled here from elsewhere for them; they were local attractions. By today’s standards they seem quaint and ridiculous.

However, for those of us who grew up with them, they were wonderful places.

Most of them are gone now; and I imagine that’s true most everywhere. Victims of better parks with wilder rides, of increased travel, and later, of sheer quantity of other entertainment, few of them could make make it. hose that survive are mostly now part of chains like six flags, and cater to modern crowds with cookie-cutter rides.

A few of the old ones survive. One such is Happy Hollow, a park every bit as silly and down-home as it sounds. This is a park my family visited often in the summer. Decades later, the park survives, changing little and slowly decaying. I haven’t been back since I was a teenager, even when my kids visited with other friends and family. I couldn’t quite bring myself to go see how small and silly it had gotten when in my memory, everything was new, shiny, and huge.

This weekend, Happy Hollow auctioned off some old artifacts. The claim is that they will modernize without changing the look and feel; new attractions, more environmentally friendly rides (ie, no more diesel). I assume some of this is seismic retrofit, and some of it may be a need to bring things up to modern safety standards for insurance reasons. The story sounds good, and the park remains under the same ownership, not part of some huge corporation. I hope what they do is to preserve this piece of americana, rather than obliterate the other-time-and-place sense old parks have.

I hadn’t planned to buy anything at this auction; I went more to see what the old park looked like, and to see what was being sold. But auctions, you know, they have a way of catching one up.

Next weekend I take delivery on the lamp, below.

This thing is fifteen feet tall; I’ve no idea who built it, but it was one of four, built in 1961.

Sometimes, one just has to own a piece of childhood.

light+post.JPG

2064376843_168ccd6e7c.jpg

inelegant S curve

I’ve had trouble doing any writing all week – or, in fact, any work at all, at least any involving a computer. This is a bit problematic given that at least 75% of my work day involved eyes to screen and fingers to keys. The trouble would be more interesting it it was some existential […]

I’ve had trouble doing any writing all week – or, in fact, any work at all, at least any involving a computer. This is a bit problematic given that at least 75% of my work day involved eyes to screen and fingers to keys.

The trouble would be more interesting it it was some existential crisis, some most of clarity about real life vs the virtual reality behind an LCD screen. Unfortunately the issue is purely mechanical. Something I did last weekend jacked my neck; maybe it was moving a seven-foot by fourty-inch bookcase (ah, I love new book cases) in from my truck. Maybe it was something else. Maybe it was just several weeks of bad posture at work or the configuration of my twin monitors.

Whatever it was, I’ve spent the week feeling my neck cramp into an inelegant S curve; a shape the human neck is most certainly not made for.

This makes productivity at the computer hell; I can’t be effective when I’m uncomfortable (pain? Sure. Discomfort? I don’t have the patience for it). Fortunately, with repeated applications of ice, adjustment, and therapeutic chemicals, I’m finally starting to be able to turn my head again, and my shoulders are finally below my ears for the first time in a week. Ok, I admit it, only some of the chemicals were therapeutic; some were just entertaining.

I’d intended to write about the jazz I’ve been listening to, and the book I just finished (Art Pepper‘s incredible autobiography, Straight Life; that will have to wait though, until I have a chance to post some musical samples, and ’til I can fully process the book. I finished it last night, and was left quite speechless.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, I get tattooed, something I’ve been looking forward to for a month. Later, we can talk about art, and Art, and maybe the, we can get back to the sex.

Shindig at the Chateau

I sort of intended to blog about my short trip to hollywood as it happened, every stripper-encounter, every meal or drink in a local hot-spot, every random celebrity sighting. It didn’t quite work that way in practice; work chased me down over and over, and I spent the majority if the two-days-three-nights in SoCal fielding […]

I sort of intended to blog about my short trip to hollywood as it happened, every stripper-encounter, every meal or drink in a local hot-spot, every random celebrity sighting.

It didn’t quite work that way in practice; work chased me down over and over, and I spent the majority if the two-days-three-nights in SoCal fielding questions and answering email.

That’s not to say there wasn’t fun to be had; but I didn’t manage to write any of it down as it happened.

When I say fun, of course, I mean, well, a celebs-eye-view of paparazzi action.

The party mentioned here was going on in my hotel wednesday night; I walked through the middle of it as I came home from seeing a show, after waking past an absolute phalanx of paparazzi to reach the door.

I was sitting in my room later in the evening watching celebs like Paris and Nicky Hilton, Gary Dourdan, Adrian Grenier, Gene Simons, etc etc, leaving the party and getting mobbed – and note that all those links are photos taken that night, as I was watching it from the hotel side.

I didn’t spend a lot of time actually *at* the party, other than walking past Elvis Costello and Diane Krall, Natalie Portman, Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer, Matt Leblanc, and likely several others. The real entertainment was the view of exactly how insane the papaprazzi swarm was. Even when I couldn’t recognize the particular people from the back as they left the party, I could tell exactly how big a deal they are at the moment by the number of flashes that went off as they walked down the driveway.

It’s a nutty life, being a celebrity; seeing it first hand from the inside really drove that home. And it’s funny to walk into a scene like that and have every eye go to you, asking the silent question are you anyone?