Fuck Off, Ian

Ironically my late brother was named Ian, and I imagine the title phrase has been said out loud, oh, a thousand times. But nevermind that, for now.

This is about the namesake hurricane.

This freaks me the fuck out: my best friend in the whole world, someone I have loved for decades, lives just about under where that cluster of rainbow spaghetti hits FLA, and I really, really do not like that.

I know there are a million people who may get clobbered if Ian hooks more north and west, and i’m sorry, but I don’t care. I can only care about the few people I truly love, and I need them to stay safe.

I know, no hope or thought or prayer will turn a hurricane; it’s all goddamn physics. But animal brain still says force of will can turn this thing, and if I have anything, it’s force of will.

Hurricane Ian



Anniversaries, so to speak

I was trying to find dates for something nearly 20 years back. 

Anniversaries, so to speak – when I met certain people, when certain social things happened. 

I like to commemorate things like that, or al least acknowledge them. We met X years ago, that sort of thing. 

There’s a cluster of those dates coming up. When I wrote Wanton, for example, which is very much the beginning of a period of life for me (I tend to list that as Nov ’03 but it was probably more like spring of that year; I have no record of the actual writing, though, only mention of it in email archives when I first shared it, fall of ’03, and when I first published it, Nov ’03, so that’s where I put that date). 

Things happen after that writing only partly connected. I definitely found a number of kindred souls, who responded to it with the same intensity with which I wrote it. But also the making of it produced something in me, in terms of wanting to reach out and communicate differently. 

When I started blogging (encouraged by people I shared my novella with like Jen & Circe). When I first connected to people I got to be close to after they read my work (Doxy, a number of others). 

And then orkut – there are probably a bunch of things in my archives about orkut, and I should write a whole piece about it now, near 20 years later. But it was, for a while, the best social network that has ever or will ever be, until it collapsed under the weight of expansion too fast. But it was founded in ’04 and I joined not long after. So I met a lot of people who impacted my life in positive ways, may of which i’d still consider friends, even if we rarely talk (Gregg C and Andie being the most important, with a half dozen others I retain on facebook as friends).

Nearly 20 years ago, which in terms of the internet, is a geologic age. 

But I was trying to fix specific days, because once I started wondering, it mattered to be exact. If one is trying to commemorate an anniversary, saying ‘fall of that year’ doesn’t do it. 

I thought all my email from that era had been purged when I transitioned from an old-style mbox based, command line email (elm, and then mutt, for those geeky enough to care what I mean), and started using apple Mail.app (I will always prefer Mutt, but getting it to play nicely with modern email just started to seem like too much work).

I found it all the other day, though, archived at work, compressed and saved as an archive ‘just in case’. 

It took some digging to find the conversations I needed, but I got specific dates for when we started talking, for various people.

Wow, what a trip it was, reading conversations 20 years old. Seeing evolutions of friendship, seeing how much effort I put into dialog. My own flirting style from 20 years back. Hell, I’d fall for me, I was good. 

In some ways it was painful; in 20 years there have been a lot of ups and downs in my life (in everyone’s), so some conversational branches remain uncomfortable to think about overmuch (I compartmentalize extremely well, but some compartments, I just do not want to look into, yet).

But in others, the warm glow of nostalgia for good times suffused me; truly excellent memories, brought back my snippets of conversation with a number of people.

I have not yet gone through all the archives; there are hundreds of separate conversations, grouped by email addresses I sometimes don’t even recall without opening up files. So there’s more treasure yet to find. But the dates I was specifically looking for, I found. I now know which days I met certain people, and when to mentally celebrate them, or us, or at least when we met. Which matters to me a great deal.

The world changed

My god it’s been a long time.

I miss being what you might call a writer or at least a blogger.

I miss days when it mattered.

I miss being creative, and living a life that routinely got me in trouble – I miss the trouble, and the people I used to get into it with. Well, certain people anyway.

It’s been a long fucking pandemic; will any of us ever be the same, when this is objects-closer-than-they-appear in the rear view? Not the over that people are pretending now, the ‘it’s not over at all but we’re too tired of it to know that’ kind of over thats’ whole-cloth nonsense. Will we ever, though, be who we used to be?

I need a martini, but I need it with the people I used to drink martinis with. My dogs are good company and all, but, well, it’s not the same, now, is it? They can’t mix a decent drink, and though they’ll definitely kiss, they also don’t kiss nearly as well as – well, as some other people –  and gin doesn’t cover dog breath.

I need to write something better than this. See if I still can.

Maybe i’ll be back tomorrow. Or maybe in another year.











A drink to…

I sit on new year’s eve. I’m drinking wine, cooking for family. And thinking of those not present.

My mother, alone in the prison of her home and her infirmity and her fear; she could come here, but will not.

My father, my brother, dead now ten years or so; the first, a heart attack because he loved his cigarettes and brandy and bacon better than he loved – well, than he loved anything; my brother, because he chose self-pity and the need to justify himself, to himself, over treatment for an ailment that was mostly between his ears.

My father in law, who lies now in a hospital bed, drugged into insensibility because waking forces him to deal with his own mortality; a surgery that took half his insides to save his life. He sleeps, thanks to chemicals, with the innocence of a baby, while tubes bring him nutrients and fluids, and take away his waste; machines help him breath, and insure his heart keeps beating.

And I imagine others; some who should be here and are not, friends with families or loves or responsibilities; or those across a country or an ocean, missed, longed for, desired.

I drink to you all; be ye here, or me there, or all us in some fine, warm place where the new year can be welcomed by the light of bright stars.

My wine glass sits empty, and i’ve a pot of soup to stir, stock from christmas’ roasted turkey, a bounty of vegetables, butter and cream and herbs and fresh baked bread perfuming my kitchen.

Happy new year, friends, lovers, loved ones, relatives, readers.

Happy new year, those gone, across a distance of miles, or years, or below a layer of simple dirt. Happy new year all ye; love to all, and I drink to a better year for us all.

Leigh Ann Hussey


This is a friend of mine – or used to be, hadn’t talked to her in a couple years. Old ‘net friend from motorcycle newsgroups; a gifted violin player who played in local celtic bands.

LIVERMORE – The Alameda County coroner’s office identified the motorcyclist killed when a dump truck ran over her Tuesday night as 44-year-old Leigh Hussey of Berkeley.

Authorities were investigating late Tuesday the circumstances that led Hussey to inexplicably lose control of her BMW bike about 7:20 p.m. and slip under the back axle of a yellow dump truck on westbound Interstate 580 near North Livermore Avenue, Highway Patrol said.

Hussey was crushed by the truck’s two rear tires and was then thrown to the right hand shoulder, Highway Patrol officer John Pabst said. She was pronounced dead at the scene from massive trauma.


While she wasn’t a close friend, she’s a close friend of several of my friends. And I don’t even know what to say. Other than, you know, ride safe people.

Friends in Love

Shhh. Don't tell anyone. [looks around] I'm a hopeless romantic. Shhhh! I know. Me. The cynic. The realist. The practical guy. The big pervert. The sexual omnivore. The guy who wants to take a girl and bend her over his…

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

[looks around]

I’m a hopeless romantic.


I know. Me. The cynic. The realist. The practical guy. The big pervert. The sexual omnivore. The guy who wants to take a girl and bend her over his knee.

I grew up the son of a logician. I was, I told myself, Spock. All about the logic. No emotion. But you know what? I’m not Spock. I’m more about Kirk. I want to teach the silver-haired alien girl in the slave collar about this earth “kiss.”

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I see my friends on teevee

So it’s a singularly strange experience, seeing a person you know well, have known for years, a person you’ve seen go though a lot of life’s peaks and troughs, seen drunk and sober, single and married, with and without kids, a person you know very well, suddenly on TV.

There’s this show. It’s about people on an island, and they’re playing a game. And we’ll just call it Survivor And there’s a guy; and if you’ve seen my picture, and you’ve watched the show, you’ll be guessing already which guy it is, but we’re just call him Lex because it’s a pretty good name, and in fact, it’s his name.

So you’re used to watching a guy you know. Eating, drinking, talking, laughing, angry, upset, sick, happy. All the normal things we see our friends do.

And then one day, there he is on the tv screen.

Ok, so that’s a little weird. A little. But you get used to it.

And then suddenly, there he is talking to Regis fucking Philbin.

That, my friends, is where the line is crossed, from odd to completely surreal.

If you don’t watch survivor, I may lose you here. That’s fine. I love you anyway. Click on over to Orkut and see what’s up on your favorite groups, or fire up a blunt, crack a 40 and listen to eminem. Getcha next time.

Ok, now they’re gone. Who needs ’em anyway?

So I’ve been a big fan of this show since it started. I was down on the idea, and still am, of reality TV. It’s lame. And as a general rule I don’t watch it. There are exceptions, sure. But this Survivor thing looked cool from the previews. And I was hooked from the very first for one reason – it looked fucking great. Great camera work, great editing, all the technical stuff. That’s really what got me. The game – I wasn’t sure. The people all seemed a little annoying. But the look and the idea were cool. So I went with it. I got hooked. Became a fan of the game, and the show, and some of the players.

But it’s all so different when you watch a friend.

I don’t just mean the novelty. That, you can imagine. And it wears off for the most part, Regis aside. I mean – the game changes and the show changes.

Suddenly, you feel it. The misery, the hunger, the stress. When you care so much about who wins. When you care about the person, his kids, his wife. When you know you’re some of the people he’s thinking about out there in the wild places. When you know the expressions and body language and can read misery with a vividness impossible for the casual viewer.

I watched Lex go through starvation, dehydration, stress and terror in Africa. Watched it knowing how sick he was when he came home. Knowing he’d nearly died, knowing, just from seeing him (For he could say nothing that might reveal the game’s outcome) how much of a toll it had taken.

It hurt. It took the fun away, and made it hurt to watch. And watching him fail at the end – not him failing, but his illness and weakness causing his body to fail – it was like a body blow to watch it.

And then I could barely watch the show after. Because for all that it hurt, it was also as compelling as anything I’d ever seen on TV tat wasn’t real reality. So the next season or two; who cared? No one mattered to me. Once you’ve seen a person you love play the game, who wins and who loses seem unimportant. Yet you know they are feeling the pains and stresses, they have loved ones who feel as we do about our friend. So I watched. It’s still damned good TV

And then Lex went back again, for the All-Star show. And now it’s worse.

It’s worse because of all the reasons before; but now it’s personal. Personal because I know some of those people now. I’ve met a few. Know a lot more as friends of friends. But more, personal because they’re all friends with each other in real life. So it’s almost like watching old friends break up on TV for our entertainment.

Deeply surreal. Weird and painful and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But I don’t dare look away.

And this time, even more, there’s the surrealism. Because last time, no one knew in advance. This time, though Lex could never say, we all knew that this show might happen, and we’d talked it over, ad nauseum, with each other, with Lex, what would happen, how he might play, who he’d like to be with. All well hashed over. And we’re not watching him with strangers; it felt like watching a party I might have in my back yard, but on TV. Oh, but the food would be better at my house and we’d all be cleaner.

And then Lex was voted off. And we won’t talk about the whys here, whatever happened, he’s my friend, I love the man, and I stand behind how he played.
But again, I had to watch the face of abject horror as he realized what was happening, and I felt that pain, could feel him watching it with his family, and – almost couldn’t watch. It was reality TV made too real. It hurt.

And then he’s on Regis. Lex. Showing tattoos I saw him get, and talking to Kelly Rippa about how the tattoos where done.

It’s just – truly, truly odd. Too real. Regis Philbin is a tiny annoying man about six inches high in the TV. He’s not real. So how’s he standing next to all-too-real Lex?

It still doesn’t make much sense to me. But in a silly, giggling, stoned sort of way. Different than watching your friend suffer for a game and for america’s entertainment. Very different.

But it’s all still strange.

I can only imagine how strange it must be for Lex himself.

“Andy Warhol must be laughing in his grave”
–Crowden House, ‘Chocolate Cake’

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