Baby Niece

October 30, 2011

Went to drop off some chocolate to my sister-in-law, who fell and had a level I or II concussion, the evidence of which was extremely scary. Shed whole new light on the NFL situation. My brother and she have three kids. A girl, 6, a boy, 3.5, and a 5-monther?


They live in the Oakland hills, on the very top of one of them, near a cul-de-sac. The CEO of the Raiders lives in the cul-de-sac, and doesn't appreciate disparaging Al Davis half-jokes, according to my brother. Guess he was loved.


Everytime I go up there from the wasteland of West Oakland, it's glorious. You walk in from the street on the top floor and there's nothing but a Bay view and sky, Mt. Tam. Also there're little kids to play with. Held the little one, who just wants to stand and play at a plastic piano with no batteries. And she sits in your lap with those bowlegged baby legs that tuck up into the lotus position so easily. Her head at the perfect height for nibbling. Pretty cute.


Anyway, that's a blessing, at least.


Adios.

Shots in the Dark

October 28, 2011

Yesterday, Oct. 27, at about nine p.m. I left home for a walk down Linden St. to Lowell Park.

Bullet path

There was a thick darkness about, just a day after a new moon, only 1.7 % illuminated. At about 16th and Linden, I heard what sounded like 20 or so muffled, rapid handgun shots coming from up Linden. I wasn't sure, so I went to the middle of the street, which was illuminated there by a streetlight, and stared down for a few seconds. It was dark. There were no lights from where the shots came, no noise. Then I heard 15 more rapid shots, no noise, no lights, no cars. Then a bullet whizzed by over my head within about five feet and I jumped behind the building on the corner. It felt like the bullet appeared out of the black; staring down, it was a black hole, quiet.


I continued walking down Linden's sidewalk, keeping out of the street, to the park at 14th and turned around. On the way back from the park, before 16th, three dudes smoking in the dark of their front yard halfway-called out to me as I walked down the middle of the street. "Did you hear the gunshots?" I usually ignore people talking to me in my neighborhood because, as this story attests, it's shady. Prostitutes, crack fiends and dealers roam around. He had to say it three times, softly, as if giving me the opportunity to willfully ignore three shadowed figures in front of the house that has the most shady action in the neighborhood, occupied cars always parked in the street in front, people milling around, kids, women, dudes.


I said, excited, because it felt like a close call. "Yeah, did you hear that bullet come by? Somebody was going for it down there." He said, "Yeah, I was wondering where it came from." I told him it was from down Linden, and one of the other two said, "Yeah, it was West Grand, then." We kept talking for a few more seconds and then I left, saying to he and the other two, "Well, I'm going into the belly."


I kept looking and listening for the cops, but never heard any. About 15 minutes after the shots a cop car casually rolled up at 16th St. and turned down Linden toward the shots. I strolled down. One guy, about 30, in basketball shorts, house slippers and a white t-shirt stood in the intersection of 21st and Linden. His girlfriend?, a bigger black girl strolled up, and we all started talking, and then started toward the action, a block away. The girl was saying, "I was just frying some chicken ..."


Twenty minutes after the shots, the cops were just starting, quietly, mindlessly, it seemed, to flashlight the dark area on Linden St. just north of West Grand Ave. Four or five cops milled around the scene, their flashlights, sweeping the area with sharp, cool, blue-white crisp beams. Back and forth, back and forth. Gave the impression of ants swarming a fresh kill. I crossed the street to get a closer look, but as the police presence grew, and I knew I'd have to talk, I backed off, not wanting involvement.


The action centered around a bullet-riddled off-white Cadillac that barely was made out in the haze of a weak streetlight, a block-jump north. A cop finally, casually, started stringing up the yellow Crime Scene tape across Linden at West Grand. Not one siren had sounded to this point, and none would. Must have been premeditated murder: the second-darkest night of the mooncycle. Another day in West Oakland.


This morning, it occurred to me that that bullet that whizzed by from the black hole darkness of West Grand and Linden was likely aimed at me as I stared down from the well-lit intersection at Linden and 16th. I was in the middle of the street and staring down. But I was, according to Google Maps, a third of a mile away - a long way for a handgun bullet to travel. I think. Went to the scene this morning. It looked a long way to 16th, which re-confirmed my suspicion that that straightline bullet was purposely shot downstreet from 0.3 miles away, and not a stray from the car-bombardment. Who knows? Next time, I'm ducking no matter how silent, quiet, dark. After seeing the scene again, it is definitely too far to be aiming at someone. It was a stray.

Street shot

This morning the street's open, as if nothing happened.

What's up, Sucka?

October 4, 2011

This will show the post-race photo of the Mount Diablo Challenge. Did the Mofo in 1:09.36. Hit my limit over and over. Could not have done it faster.

Champion

The winner did the 10.4-mile base-to-summit trek in 43 minutes. That's 14.5 mph! Uphill!!!!?? Don't think I hit 14.5 mph once. Damn.

A Hellish Ride

September 18, 2011

Hellish Ride

Another horizon photo from on high. This is from the summit of the 3,849-foot Mount Diablo that looms above the basin just east of the East Bay. ROAD MY F-IN' BIKE TO THE TOP FROM THE VALLEY BELOW.


And in the process realized that I'm maybe not a road-biker. Been doing it for several months and getting pre-proud I think. This was a test-run for the Mount Diablo Challenge on Oct. 2, where you have to do the 11.2-mile course from the base to the summit in an hour or less to get a T-shirt. That's AVERAGING 11.2 MPH UPHILL. I think it's impossible. I busted my a$$ today and did it in 1:15. There's no way I'm shaving off 15 minutes in three weeks, 'specially after eating some post-grueling-ride organic vanilla locally-made ice cream. The bomb. Anyhow, it will be humiliating to see people do the climb in an hour on Oct. 2 while I go dizzy, cross-eyed just trying to finish.


Mount Diablo is a scrubby, sunburned place. Don't know why it's a destination. The shaved mountain in the bottom-right of the photo above is a mine operation of diabase. Diabase is used, apparently, in roadbeds and concrete house foundations. Now you know.

Mount Diablo Challenge

September 16, 2011

Hellish Ride

A byproduct of pain.


Doing the Mount Diablo Challenge on Oct. 2 and training for it. If you do the 11.2-, 3,000-plus-foot climb in less than an hour you get a T-shirt. I want that f@#%in' shirt.


The above photo was from today's ride on the Berkeley Hills' ridgeline. Grizzly Peak Rd. runs along its length. On the 18-mile ride I averaged 13.8 mph, but monitoring the uphill sections I don't know how averaging 11.2 mph UPhill for ONE hour straight is going to happen. That's fast, that's tough. If I had to guess, I'm averaging about 8 mph uphill, and I'm moving. My quads are burning and my left lower back is twitching. So, eff you Mount Diablo. Doing a dry run on the course on Sunday to even see if it's possible. Very curious.

Fading America and Basketball in SF

September 14, 2011

The New Yorker's 9/11 edition was surprisingly macabre and navel-gazing. Maybe the naval-gazing wasn't so surprising; 9/11's tenth anniversary called for us to take stock. Is America in decline? In the bittersweet, twilight-filled "Coming Apart," George Packer recounts most of what reasonable Americans found so frustrating and painful in the last 10 years. The reasoning for the Iraq War was a complete joke. I remember, I was a student at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, then. The buildup to the Iraq War was mystifying to me. The whole thing felt trumped up, a complete reach, absurd. I thought the whole city of Austin would shut down with people pouring into the streets when America first invaded. I walked downtown to just be with the other mesmerized shellshocked masses and as I arrived, I sunk into a daze. Traffic was moving normally, life was going on as normal. I was heartbroken, sad, and something deep welled up that dealt with an understanding of what America was/is. It's still sad now.


Today I BART-ed into SF to play some outdoor basketball on the courts between Fell and Grove just west of Golden Gate Park. It's always nice to be in the city. And it's pretty sweet to not lose any of the two-on-two games, or games of 21. One other guy was pretty good. So there.

Lombard View

Post-bball view on top of Lombard Street, Alcatraz Island peaking through in the Bay. Touristic!

Poetry

August 9, 2011

The following is an adaption I did of a Shel Shilverstein-esque poem submitted to Modus Operandi. I thought the original wasn't so good, but the fiction editor did. Check out my Dali-esque response below:


Some Kind of Love


Banter with a keyboard designed for the soul. An anti-eloquent recital. Shift. Enter. Ctrl. Control? A button for the keyboard, a concept for me. Not just a commonplace finger-pad key.


Strange moves this mind makes. Dreaming deeply while wide-awake, an obscure body begging for an earth to quake.


By calm destruction is laid, a little King-Kong boy disobeyed. A fascinating struggle occurs, no doubt, twisted, carrying some stale fate, double-fisted.


It won't be long, just a lifetime. A birth-to-death blur, thrown up by life's most famous saboteur. FAIL FAIL pass. FAIL FAIL pass. What a beautiful, perpetual rhythm, the dormant-dead spume of red, wild psycho-social jism.


From a young and early age I was ready to fly. And so, from a young and early age I was ready to die. Living is fleeting, of course, and its distance repeating. The separation as poignant as some death-dead ship borne for our meeting.


Pummeled by an angry ocean on indecision’s shore, and salt stinging as righteously as ever before, I bask, gently warmed in loving light. God and me say together, “Yeah right!”


By body of darkness with light as a core, something grows to love you each day the more. Consumed by your embracing and radiant light, that great piece of darkness has everything to fight. Remember your hopeless ability to trust, and see our love buried in some ridiculous stuff.


It’s almost midnight. What do I do?!?! Continue to drivel, continue to spew? Be revealed as a fraud? To thine own self be true? Then silliness comes and offers a clue. An absolute truth that needs a million more proofs. Nothing I do, while living or dying, laughing or crying, will mean more to this moment than having known you.

Biking

August 15, 2011

Bike Bay

Since I’ve been not running or jumping, and I have an amazing road bike, I’ve been cycling to get in shape and somehow lose this extra 10 pounds that hangs on my body. The East Bay is a glorious place to ride because of the long stretch of hills that parallels the Bay about seven miles east of its East Bay shore. They flank the eastern horizon and offer many good views to the hill-people with houses up there. My brother is one. Three stories of Bay views, the Golden Gate bridge, the Bay Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, etc. Pretty stunning, and it seems that most of the hill-houses have that multi-storied view.


It’s the same view you get from turning one pedal and then another up the several winding roads that lead to the ridge. Some are steeper than others. Tunnel Road is an amazingly flat uphill route. It really feels like you accomplish something, but you really don’t, even though at the end you’ve climbed from sea level to the 1900-or-so-feet-tall Berkeley ridgeline. There’s a great road that runs along the ridge’s twisting snakespine, Grizzly Peak.


Bike riding takes time to get good. It takes years to build up the leg muscles to really fly. I’m not there yet, but I have friend that says that with silk tires and a perfectly-tuned body and bike, “It’s better than sex.” Hmmmmm. Don’t know if he was getting any at the moment he made that statement. But it no doubt is a very clean experience – riding up into the hills with just your body, your legs and a bike. Very sustainable feeling, simple. It contrasts, at least my attitude of it, with the mountain bikers barreling down all the trails in the East Bay Regional Park system. It’s just not right. It’s like seeing a cyborg in a nature video, a little jarring. Or runners, for that matter. It’s like, “I’m running,” or “I’m riding,” brains all out front – a peculiar American characteristic, maybe.


A couple of weekends ago I rode to Santa Cruz from a little south of Oakland. Not as far as it seems, but passed through dweeby Palo Alto, which was very different than I imagined. I was picturing rolling hills and shaded Ken Kesey streets, but it was a flatland and then a ridgeland, just like the East Bay. And over the ridge, west, was the ocean, pearl blue, cool, sun-holding.


For the next long trip I look forward to a partner. There’s nothing like drafting. If you ride just off the rear tire of a lead cycle, you can really feel an energy-pull. I’m sure it’s been well documented with very precise numbers, but I’m just going to say 30 percent easier. Maybe not, but the effort-saving rush and the pull sensation might account for the number’s exaggeration.


… When going downhill, fast, it’s very important to lean in with your inside knee, which carries your weight into the turn. Thor Hushovd won stage 13 of this year’s Tour de France by destroying the final downhill. He made up two minutes on the guy ahead of him.

Basketball

August 12, 2011

I’m 32. I was once very good at basketball. I played in high school and a couple of years in college. I was often the best player on the court, any court; whether a coach recognized it or not in a formal setting mattered a lot. But I got over it, slowly, when I quit the team in college and entered the Honors Program at St. Edward’s University and followed the older, pretty philosophy student to our class Worlds, Minds, Worldmaking, where we both acknowledged, comfortingly, to each other that we didn’t have any idea what the class was about, or what our class presentations were about even though we stood up and discussed a piece of art for 20 minutes or so and explained how the artist’s vision corresponded to his real, objectified reality, and how the pictures in our mind color our direct perception. Bullshit, I thought then … and think now, but our professor had some Catholic, arcane, mazy, out-dated, stale, dead-end conception of life built from Catholic philosopher Bernard Lonergan’s meticulously outlined ramble of systematic thought. His volumes span in the double digits. The tome of choice for our professor was 18, Insight. Too bad not a sentence in it displayed any little evidence of its title/subject.


Back to being 32 and at a crossroads in basketball. I’m in shape. I run, swim, bike a lot, probably too much. I used to be lightning-quick, and, now, blowing by someone on the basketball court is just not happening. No spring in the legs. I’m in denial that it’s a function of age. Is it? Maybe if I just did what I did when I was younger. Play everyday for four hours it would come back.


Yesterday, I played at Mosswood Park in Oakland, the home of Gary Payton. It has a newly refinished and painted court, glass backboards and nets. Showed up, and the ragtag collection of youth and aging youth were in full effect on one court. There were 18 and 19 year olds and some older.


When my friend and I got on the court for the next game, a young-ish guy kept getting upset that I stole his basketball each time he dribbled and then he fouled me hard all the way down the court. He was asking to get elbowed, but I didn’t scratch his itch. I was waiting for an explosive move, but found just elephant-dull legs. Come on! And then a hurting right foot. Come on! What the f#$k? This is no fun anymore. The game was always glorious when you ran free and fast and felt that burst of light-feeling power and agility that exposes a fully-pulsing chi. Things have changed?


I’ve been in rehab for about a month – no running or jumping. The Taco Truckers, my Oakland YMCA basketball team, lost in the championship game to a team of sub-20 year olds, and since then I want to make some changes. I had a good game, at the end. Started going on the attack, as must be the case in a Championship, and hit about 7 three pointers in a span of a few minutes in the fourth quarter. But the effort to get the energy up there was immense, and the come-down lasted for hours.

Kirin

August 5, 2011

Kirin

Kirin is my favorite beer. Hard to find. The Korean market down the street from me sells a 12-pack of cans for $10; an unbelievable deal. Maybe they hate the Japanese. Enjoyed it last evening at a chiropractic party, a disheveled house, neglected backyard, commodes sitting upright under the exposed houseguts, piles of dried vegetation scattered randomly about, and some dudes in nice clothes and a handful of pretty girls, some not-so pretty, an over-cared-for dog, and a severely-mutually dependent mother and young daughter.


But back to Kirin. It's light and so drinkable. Paired with sushi it's unmatched. On at least one of its larger bottles a Kirin is explained. It's a Japanese mythical beast, part dragon and part ......... deer. Inexplicable. But, somehow, Japan's mountain deer might warrant such placement. Years ago I found myself hiking solo on a Yamabushi trail with no flashlight in the vast mountainous territory that is everywhere not a city in Japan. It was a few hours northwest of Kyoto. And for some reason I decided to do a three-day hike, fast on the mountain trail. When I got there, a sign at the entrance to the mountain trail said no women allowed. And from there it went up. The hazy daylight moon that appeared from the craggy peaks and ridges solidified every landscape ink painting's flavor. The knotty ridges of the mountains lived in your chest and choked your sclera with after-images of every trial your life found itself before.


Every evening, I found myself racing daylight and the doppelganger of an idea's version of myself, lagging two steps, a step-and-a-half behind. Mountain shacks were stationed randomly apart. On the second day, with evening fast approaching, I was racing to my last night's cabin, as marked on a crumpled, copied map of the 40-plus mile Yamabushi trail. Dark was setting in on the ridegline and all of a sudden I felt surrounded by ghosts and a dark angel of fear emerged, and not an angel that would disappear; like Jacob's angel, it came to fight until the death.


As I raced down the rocky path in the evening mountaintop's haze, which caught evening's endlight and scattered it into a smoky 20-foot visibility and uniform ether, rocks I kicked up scattered down the trail ahead of me. And then in the mist shadows in all directions began moving, unseen beyond the darker-grey of their silhouettes. Mountain deer all around. Escorting me down to the mountain hut, nestled in a dip between highpoints on the ridge. There was a temple-like structure and the typical guest hut. It was about nine o'clock and I was strained and in a vision-quest state from the lack of food, and was planning, as usual, to sit before bed. I slid open the temple-like building, and there was candlelight and a 30-ish-year-old Japanese dude sitting. He looked up at me, said nothing and I Sumi-Yasened my way back out. I sat in the barnlike hut, then slept, worn and a little cold.


The next morning I woke up, went to the spring 200 feet away, tucked under a rock overhang, washed my face and feet, filled up with water and then followed the valley down to the way out. Toward the the end of the neverending out-trail, two massive bobcats appeared in the forest a hundred yards from me and scampered, just ahead of me, for about a mile. I kept imagining their ambush and them picking meat from my body. Was not necessarily fighting that.


So, those Japanese mountaindeer that protected me from some dark archangel might account for why I love Kirin, or it might just be because it's good and so often leads to getting busy.


... a snippet from a book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:


The frost is in little patches on the road too, but melting and dark wet tan between the patches where the early sun's rays strike it.

Fuck It

August 1, 2011

Firestorm

When I was a writer for the Berkeley Times this story popped up in my Inbox from the Berkeley Police Department's spokesperson. I'm going to try to get in touch with the main character. Crazy story.


Mike Martin, a 29-year-old graduate student in physics at UC Berkeley, apparently had a fuck it moment. On a Saturday afternoon in early July 2011, his cell phone was found at the base of Tunnel Road in the Oakland hills, a popular staging area for bicyclists before going up into the East Bay hills. See a video news story about his disappearance here. Martin was a former professional cyclist. But, apparently, he just decided to leave town and not tell anyone, even his girlfriend with whom he had a date that night at 8 p.m. After a day of people worried that he might have had a tragic accident, a hotel clerk positively ID'd him in Roseville, CA, 100 miles east of the Bay Area.


Here's the piquing string of emails from the Berkeley Police Department:


City of Berkeley Public Information Officer (PIO) EMAIL UPDATE Missing Cyclist – Anthony Michael Martin of Berkeley July 6, 2011


The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) detectives have confirmed a sighting of Anthony Michael Martin with his bicycle in the City of Roseville, CA. from a credible source as recently as yesterday. (July 5, 2011) Mr. Martin did not appear to be in distress and as a adult, he is legally allowed to make the choices he has made. Some of the details of this confirmation and methods of locating him are ones that we would prefer not to share as they may compromise efforts in other/future investigations. In addition, since this is no longer a primary police matter, but a private matter, we feel that it is not appropriate to expose to the public.


BPD investigators have advised Mr. Martin’s girlfriend and family of the developments. Although BPD is no longer considering Martin to be a “Missing Person” and that he has voluntarily left the Berkeley area, we will continue to work with other Law Enforcement agencies in an effort to speak to him directly.


Thank you for your interest in this story and your support in getting the word out.


Summary background.


On Saturday, July 2, 2011 at about 10:45 p.m., a Berkeley woman reported to the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) that her boyfriend, 29 year old Anthony Michael Martin, had not returned from a bike ride. According to the girlfriend, the two had spoken earlier in the day and were to meet for dinner at 8:00 p.m. She went to his apartment at 8:00 p.m., and the lights were off and no one was home. He had told her that he was going for a bike ride and may have left at about 6:00 p.m.


A community member (a cyclist) had found Mr. Martin’s phone near the Fire Storm Memorial Garden along Tunnel Road in Oakland and had reached the girlfriend to return the phone.


BPD officers did a welfare checked of his apartment, forced entry and found that he was not home. The case officer followed the BPD Missing Person procedures – writing a preliminary report, calling local hospitals, coroners’ offices, entering him into MUPS – a Missing Persons national computer database system and reaching out to any family or friends in the area. BPD contacted neighboring agencies and sent out a Critical Reach flyer with Martin’s picture on it. Some of the cycling route pass through many jurisdictions – City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD), University of California Police Department (UCPD), City of Oakland Police Department (OPD), East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPP) and Contra Costa County Sheriffs.


Mr. Martin is an accomplished experienced cyclist and one of the many challenges in this investigation is determining what route he may have taken of so many that are possible in the Berkeley, Oakland, East Bay Regional Parks and Contra Costa geographical areas. Tunnel Road is a very popular route to access many rides, some that travel long, windy roads that cyclists share with vehicular traffic.


And finally.


Further on Missing Cyclist.


“This is no longer a Missing Person case. Mr. Martin has voluntarily left for whatever private, personal reasons only he can speak to. We do not wish to speculate or share any further. A hotel clerk in Roseville was sent a picture and he positively identified/confirmed that Mr. Martin was staying in that area as of last evening. BPD will not be doing any follow up interviews as a result. We are most grateful he is not injured or worse.”

Horizons and a Bridge

June 19, 2011



Went north last week, which means north on HWY 101. The drive was in an SUV, which gave a remarkably different view than compared to the low-to-the-ground vehicles I usually drive up in. One of the most iconic parts of the drive up is the bridge seen from HWY 101 just south of Leggett. Check it out:




Also went to Harbin Hot Springs, just northeast of Napa Valley. On both drives, I made the transition from city to country; the transition crosses a fine, diffuse line, but you know you're in the country when you're there. At Middletown, just outside of Harbin Hot Springs, we pulled up to the town's grocery store and two country characters, youngish, standing by a truck, stood outside. We were in the country.




Harbin is tucked into the dead-end of a valley, encircled on all sides by mountain. And it's a bunch of crazies; enter the "spiritual" realm. People semi-had sex, made out in the luke-warm pool; the hot and cold pools were pretty much solo endeavors.




Mt. Tam is a lot closer to home and quite mysterious.

Oakland's Dirty Islands

June 10, 2011

Dirty Islands

Oakland's Lake Merritt and its dirty islands, its beautiful Bay-edged skyline.


What I've been up to: Stuck on another project, plus full-time writing and advertising managing for the Berkeley Times. Let ... Me ... Tell ... You ... About ... City ... Council. Mind-blowing.

Marcus Gerard

At the beginning of a recent City Council meeting where, like all meetings, five public speakers were chosen at random and spoke to anything under the sun, Marcus Gerard Robinson honored himself as co-founder of Teach For America. Competent and well-spoken, though a little loony, Robinson inspired councilmembers to look this way and that with slight, knowing smiles. Noone commented on Robinson's comments. He honored himself and then left the building. I, for one, believe him.

Council Crazies

City Council crazies lining up to talk.

Yosemite

Yosemite entré.

Rachel

Rachel, wearing my backpack, contemplates the Mt. Tam rainforest trail, pissed that we're not power walking.


Walks in Yosemite and Mt. Tam. Went hiking with my Stanford-bound (her new ID) sister a couple of Saturdays ago; will never live down the slow start - three breakfasts. Mt. Tam is far from the East Bay! And, oven-fresh scones and poor coffee at the inn overlooking the Bay at the crossroads between Muir Woods and the sprawling mountain was just too good to not linger for an hour. If you want a workout, hit the Stair Master!


Working for a startup, a startup newspaper at that, is a challenge. The background to my published stories are endless. My own blog site will happen, but in the meantime, I will write all the stories I should be writing in the paper here. It's tough to not write (do anything) the way you feel necessary, but it's the nature of our mercenary American lifestyles. My soul for an HD TV, the weekend, cappuccino, a beer every now and then, sex, basketball. A good trade? Ha!

Lightbulb

The lonely lightbulb of the soul.


Walked into the newspaper office today. The layout computer, the office fish, Berkeley, and the potted poppies all died this week. Damn.


Went balling at Mosswood Regional Park, the home of Gary Payton and others, in Oakland on Wednesday. Had a shorter version of LeBron James on my team. Nobody could stop him. Had few basketball skills but was somewhat coordinated and was massively strong. I'd get a defensive rebound and then just throw it the length of the court without looking to where he was sprinting (he never rebounded after the first game and ran straight for our hoop on any shot by the other team). He caught the ball each time. No matter who was one him, even three guys. Was amazing. We lost the last game, though, when this chunky, big-body dude with dreds kept hitting threes and LeBron refused to go beyond the three-point line on either side of the court. Wish I had a photo.


Playing in the Oakland YMCA men's basketball league. Was 10 for 25 shooting last game. 25 shots! Embarrassing with a capital E. I know how Kobe must feel now - horrible.

Karin

Photographer friend Karin on the draw.

Mt. Tam.

March 18, 2011

This blog is still alive!




Mt. Tam is amazingly diverse. Trees! and convoluted trails. Also, it was colder and wetter there. The inside of my rain jacket was sweating damp, cold moisture, like wearing a wet plastic shopping bag. But the water poured down gullies in the mountain's side with such force, and a middle of nowhere feel, that normal time and space became other things.


The video shows the glowing green light just south of Angel Island (that's the land mass in the photo) on the ferry back to San Fran from Sausalito. Stunning.

Redwoods

February 17, 2011

Redwood

Nice to be around.

Long Shadows

February 14, 2011

of variously grey shades

bring a cubist eye to your face

surround the dark

lighting it up

in the alpenglow of some Colorado

slanting gold-green sunset


A Black Swan sentiment,

a melted gold heart, hard

deeper than a cobalt midday ocean sky


violent fire eyes

beating, shooting, carrying

everyday's red to your throat

forehead flying


body, disconnected, tuned to

a bone-man's dance

of kaleidescopic Chagall color

a weird parallel-universe day


thoughts, birds, flying in the treetops

caught, impenetrable

upside-down, rightside-up

a Dylan-hush, mutter, stutter

in the smoke of the twilight, on a milk-white steed

Michaelangelo, indeed, could have carved out your features


a million tiny holes

a thousand lifetimes

a hundred smells

cardamom, coriander

10 loves

five deaths

three stories

one life


a million and one ways

Bolinas, CA

February 10, 2011

Amber

Sitting in the sun at a cafe that's spilled outside, looking at the stragglers, misfits of town, the impression of red wine and pot emerges strongly; maybe because that's what a majority of the population was doing right then on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., and what I imagined doing: moving to Bolinas, doing some type of manual labor, playing Charley Patton blues on a guitar and drinking red wine and smoking pot on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., then running to the beach with my surfboard to catch the pre-evening break that's just rolling in, riding the earth's wavelengths at the opening to the hollow, long, penetrating deadman's cove where deaths appear, "woman in pink skirt found dead in a canoe," and then lay on the beachsand still radiating sunwarmth and let the wind bury me grain by grain to be with all those million-year sea shells, hollow rocks, haphazard ocean sounds murmuring something less than sleep, something more than, than, than ...

Envy of the Nation

February 6, 2011

Moved to the ghetto that is West Oakland last week. Walking the neighborhood, getting its bearing, see prostitutes on a whole other level enter the street ready to work, displaying a genuine excitement about it even. Friday night, walking by one of the many tenement-apartment buildings hear the guttural howl of a woman/child/animal over and over, deep, torturous. And walk on by. Three raccoons crawl out of a gutter and amble single-file diagonally across the street, regard my corner-self briefly, change direction slightly, and climb one by one the fence I'm leaning against, pulling their hulking bodies arm over arm up and over, lumbering, waddling to a tree nearby where they commence their characteristic, inexplicable raccoon tree-fighting, howling.


Bright sunny, glorious Sunday morning ... a guy with long dreadlocks, sweeping a wasteland of a courtyard says hi as I walk down the middle of the street. As I'm just passed him, he says, "We're the envy of the nation." And I turn, ask, confused, "What do you mean?" He smiles and points to the sky, the sun gloriously, coolly shining. "We so are. It's glorious."


Walking down the middle of the street a day earlier, one of the many worn-out shopping-cart-pushing ghosts creaking down the sidewalk toward me. I usually avoid eye contact, but looked at him a second. And he hollered out, good-humoredly, "Looks like you got a good bench," as he benched pressed his arms in front of him. He repeated it, "Looks like you got a good bench," as he saw my incomprehending, disbelieving expression. I immediately smiled (at the humor of him overwhelmed enough by my image to say it, not by it itself); draped across my chest, over a fitting v-neck t-shirt was the broad leather band of a satchel. I'm still in shape from years as a work-outer and must have looked ripped. No doubt!