Planet 9

There is something in our solar system; they say it’s a big hidden planet. We only know it’s there because other planets react like it is. If only it were that simple.

They’re calling it Planet 9. I’m thinking: what the fuck is Pluto thinking?

Earth is rotating while spinning while tilting and every other celestial body is doing the same… we should bounce into each other more, but gravity keeps us in place; we’re all just rotating, spinning, and tilting uncontrollably, apart.

Inside, we’re doing the same. Windmills and wheels and wild women.

There was a homeless man on the street who asked for my change. I wanted to give him all my credit cards and the keys to my apartment and my friends and lovers. I didn’t have any change.

San Fransisco is changing. Los Angeles is changing. Deep space is changing. I have a kitten that is learning French. I have six tadpoles in a Dixie cup. I have the hands of a man made of oil.

The planets will continue their endless travels. We will continue to grow cats and frogs. Everything returns to the same place again. It’s our time around the sun, and our time around each other. Until it’s another’s.

The crushed sand in the glass of my watch lets me see the slow/quick slapping of time. That unseen current. Pulsing like the blood in my beating wrist where time is wrapped around.

Time and space and life and death. Pleasure and pain. It’s our gravity. It’s the detritus and flotsam of our existence.

Every moment you open up, though, you release its power. Every thought you let go of you become free. Every detachment leads to acceptance. Open up your heart and soul and you become a drop of water in that gentle river that carries us along, indefinitely.

See that star shooting against the mauve midnight sky? It’s a satellite. Watching us watch it. Let go of the words…

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It’s all one long run-on like a love affair gone bad (sitting in a coffee shop in Zurich)

We were on a mountaintop looking out over a valley of Autumn colors,
all orange and ocher and maudlin maroons climbing and falling and
undulating in the breezy atmosphere of 7,000 feet and your mittens
in my mittens and the beauty so real and intense that it makes you morose
to contemplate ever going back to the city; although, that’s where
everything waits: your job, your family, your friends, but you wonder
if maybe there isn’t another you that stays on the mountaintop and
lets the moon wax and wane like an anorexic chalk outline while
deer and elk make tracks in the leaves and you learn the inside language
of the universe talking in seasons and maybe you’ll turn into a stone
and it was always what you were meant to be, through the years
falling in and out of love, and going job to job, and changing the oil
in your car and wrapping Christmas presents and cheering for your
sports heroes and laughing at jokes on bad sitcoms and sending texts
and buying drinks and planning vacations and crying when George Bailey
picks up Zuzu and carries her on his back as Doris Day ushers in the town
and you know that this life is more than being a stone, but also more than
paying online bills and ordering Amazon Prime and you were almost 40 years old when you learned that the North Star is part of the Big Dipper — that and the Little Dipper are the only constellations you know so how do you speak the language of heaven when you can’t even identify it’s pebbled path — like neurons, we’re firing in patterns of grandiose propaganda, articulate blathering that make me sound poetic, but dissected it’s a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and Fruit Punch, take off the couch cushions and you’ll find the detritus of these youthful days, and it’s thinking about the past on that mountaintop, with the Earth changing into winter robes, that makes you sort of sullen and sort of sad and you feel it down to your wool socks and would prefer to be in a Zurich coffee shop writing on a pad, but as you look at her and she looks back at you with those melancholy eyes you could fit spaceships in,  you wish you could describe just what the moment and the mountaintop does to you — these feelings, frozen in time, dripping from the sky, landing on the tip of your eyelash — the ache and emptiness of it all, but unfortunately you’re the quiet type, so you merely sigh and scratch your nose and point out a cloud that looks like rain.

mountain top

(((inspired by this photo… I don’t know the original source… but it came from a Tumblr page… I don’t mean to steal it, just want to show where this stream of conscious rambling prose started)))

The Melting Poles, Bad Metaphors, and Love

The sun is too hot today.

I don’t dare step out on the concrete for fear my cheap rubber shoes might melt.

At noon I was woken up by church bells, first time I’ve heard them in three years. The church is three blocks down and I pictured the parishoners filling into their seats in their starched-suits and conservative dresses. I thought of a boy in the back nervously staring at his hands folded in his lap.

It was this thought that propelled me out of the bed like I was fleeing fire ants. The sky was a cracked egg spilling in through the windows and I dressed in shorts and bravado ready to take it on.

Alas, a giant alas, once I opened the door to the porch the blast of valley air singed the hair on my face and I retreated expeditiously to the comfort of my air conditioned micro-environment.

(The writer in me wonders how he can think in conditions like this? a day so scorching it was made for lizards alone? what story could possibly live at the bottom of such a geothermal vent?)

Before I fell asleep last night, I was lying awake thinking about the North Pole. I was thinking about the ice; how if it melts the world’s great cities will drown. It dawned on me: an Oprah ‘aha!’ moment. Why not build pipes and aquaducts all the way south to the parts of America that will need it? even further if need be? If the Southwest is going to have a drought why not tap the runoff from the north? is it really that hard?

We could drink our way out of this catastrophe, continue to water our crops, power our waterslides, and proceed to divot up golf courses with errant swings. Most importantly, it will buy us some time.

I saved the world and I was barely tired. Can’t do much for the polar bears though.

The clock was fluttering like flirtatious eyelids.

“You can’t be no poet,” the poet mumbled, “if you ain’t a drunk.”

Shut up, John. Shut up.”

If my life was an extended metaphor it would be the sea.

As soon as the keys are pushed I cringe. Did I really just think that? much less write that?

That’s the kind of crap you can’t take back when your name is in print and lights. Amatuerism that will come back to bite you in the butt like the dog in those old Coppertone ads.

I grinded some coffee beans in my Magic Bullet and brewed a pot of fresh coffee to help me adjust to the day. The sound of the water gurggling through the filter got me thinking about the Industrial Revolution and Love.

Love with a capital L.

As evolution dictates, the wider spread of the gene pool allows for successful adaptation and advancement. The societies that had more liberal marriage patterns moved into First World status quicker than those that clung to the old way. In some places of the world arranged marriages still go down. Places that are struggling to keep up. Think of the lack of romantic love in the Middle East and think of their problems coping with the 21st Century.

If I was a lady I’d rather be repressed by a bikini than a burka, especially in the summer.

On a purely Darwinian level, when arranged marriages decreased and individuals began procreating with a wider diversity of DNA carriers, the descending generations evolved socially, perhaps in time, genetically too.

In addition, on a cultural level, finding your own spouse sets the stage for self-determination and free will, key components of capitalism and modernity. The drive to mate was now a wild free-for-all, where before even a poor family could probably hook up with another poor family to hitch their kids, not to be cruel but it’s the truth, now there’s no guarentee — it’s sink or swim.

A few centuries later, think of the billions and billions of dollars the beauty industry and dating services make every year. On a more obtuse level, the bars, the clothing industries, fitness clubs, advertising…

Yeah, sex sells, because we all want love. And capitalism has pimped that.

Our entire world economy runs on trivial, needless consumption – this blog definitely included – gadgets and distractions to fill us up and define us. Plummage of sorts. The car you drive. The house you own. At some point that urge is sparked around puberty. Tweens are the worst sort of consumers. They also fall in love at the drop of a hat. I was a hopeless romantic at that pimply age, still am, though only one woman holds my fancy now. When I was in middle school, though, I blushed at every toss of hair and glimpse of bare neck and every year I needed new shoes, a new backpack, and new shirts or I felt woefully ill-equipt to survive.

Now my wife loves me clean shaven or not and I’m okay with shopping at Target.

I love my car. I love my jeans. I love this band.

Love really does make the world run.

(I’m still staring into the vent like it’s some sort of crucible, trying to spot something meaningful inside it. But it’s difficult this close to it. Life is a story told in the present. The moon rises scimitar-shaped. The city lights leave a fine layer of dust upon the mauve sky as if we humans were searching for fingerprints in the heavens. I guess that right there is some sort of story: the story of our times.)

I’m grateful to have found love, and like George Bailey I want to lasso the moon for her.

I want to give her the world.

Now that it is night, I walk downstairs and turn off the AC. I ask my wife what she wants for dinner. She replies, “Indian.”

That’s all right with me.

I get out the Brita, pour myself a glass of filtered water, drop in an ice cube and watch it bob up and down until it settles to the surface. I wonder what the melted ice caps will taste like?

Probably salty.

The World Is a Piece of Fruit, You Are a Seed. Let’s Have a Picnic.

I was going to start off with a snappy line about how not much has changed since I last posted when I looked around and realized, holy shit… it’s a whole different world now.

It’s been about a week.

Google Street View has finally put entire cities into a little box.

Scooter Libby is going to jail for a couple of years.

And the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the Finals!

Okay, so maybe the world is pretty much the same; but in a small way this week illustrates how fast technology is evolving, how the Neocons are really just a bunch of crooks, and how Lebron is fucking amazing.

The world might not have changed much for us, but ponder the man in Poland that recently woke up from a coma he had been in since communism ruled his country.

What’s amazing to Grzebski, I’m sure, is that he looks around and sees that so much in his country has gotten better, has improved over the years, yet the inner life of his fellow man seems to have suffered.

According to his wife.

“He was so amazed to see the colorful streets, the goods,” she said. “He says the world is prettier now” than it was 19 years ago, when Poland was still under communist rule.

Listen to his observations about modern life and take heed.

“What amazes me today is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning. I’ve got nothing to complain about,” said Grzebski.

He must really wonder why everyone is acting so skittish. So hectic. And so beat.

I wouldn’t know what to tell him. All I can say is the world is a piece of fruit, you are a seed, let’s have a picnic.

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I went on a great hike this Sunday.

Cold Creek Preserve. Up in the Santa Monica Mountains. In Malibu.

It was a curvalicious, meandering trek down a mountain side and along a ridge, that started through shady, twiggy trees that bent overhead forming a canopy. They reminded me of a scene from Sleepy Hollow. Except for the blazing heat and all.

About a mile and a half down the road we ran across an abandoned Dodge truck from what looked like the 19th Century. It was rusted and hollowed out, filled with animals. The hike down the mountain is way too steep to drive so it really makes you wonder what the heck it was doing down here.

What’s the story behind it.

A small amble away the trail bottoms out next to a little babbling creek. The creek is fed year-round by the sandstone cliffs that absorb water in the winter and then bleed it out.

This year the creek ran dismally thin, a mere puddle or two, one measly ripple connecting them.

This is me staring at it like a dork.

Still, the hike was beautiful. Quiet. Peaceful.

We passed only one other pair of hikers. Let me repeat that.

Smack dab in the middle of 2 million people, there were only 2 other hikers on this gem of a trail!

There’s even a little waterfall. You can kinda see it here. I was standing on top of it looking down.

I bet the Westfield Fashion Center was jam packed though.

Suckers!

Only problem with the trail was once you got to the bottom you had to hike back up to the top.

No Pain No Gain, they say. Those sado-masochist.

It did give us a chance to check out the rock house some more.

A dude in the 1890’s lived there for awhile in a blasted-out boulder. Not bad digs. Right next to the creek with a view of the canyon. Supposedly he lived there in between wives.

It shows.

It could use a woman’s touch.

Hiking back up to the top also afforded us the opportunity to gaze out at the view again, take in the natural wonder of Southern California, and ponder the fact that we’re surrounded by a sea of seven million people.

Yet, up there we were all alone.

I can’t wait for next Sunday.

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Is it just me, or has Los Angeles seemed a touch more kind and intelligent since Paris Hilton has been locked up?

At least, that was the case until Victoria Beckham moved in.

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The world…
it go round, go round
Everybody know now, know now
You sell your soul…
You going down, going down
— Nanoo Nanuck 2013

Robotic, Ghost-Like Hyenas

I live in a desert. Los Angeles. Basically it’s a desert. We’ve gotten three inches of rain this year. I wonder if the water were drying up, all the aquaducts running into LA began to slow to a trickle, how long would they wait to tell us?

Would it be too late?

3/4 of the world doesn’t have proper drinking water. I take it as a given that we will always have available water supplies in America, even in the middle of a desert.

Always have.

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In ironic news from the year of our lord, 2007, George Orwell‘s apartment, or the apartment he lived in when he was still alive and breathing and writing anti-authoritarian literature, in London, is now completely covered by surveillance video.

1984 has finally arrived.

Orwell warned against the encroaching State and here we are; his place filmed from all angles, 24/7. Big Brother is watching.

By preaching the doctrine that nothing is to be admired except steel and concrete, one merely makes it a little surer that human beings will have no outlet for their surplus energy except in hatred and leader worship.

We’re pass the point of hatred and leader worship. The terrorists have given us our Oceania and Bush is running with it. If there is one thing Bush hasn’t lied about, it’s that he knows this is going to be a long war. Decades, he’s told us.

That’s part of the plan.

We’re following Britain’s lead in installing surveilance cameras everywhere, the Patriot Act helped remove some civil liberties too so the government can peer into more of our lives, whenever they want, virtually all the time.

These days it seems to catch the fox in the garden we’re willing to blow up the whole goddamn garden.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from Orwell; this one is probably more metaphysical in nature than political, when you think about it.

Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

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I could walk around, and round, and round the block,
and talk so much you hardly have to hush,
but still I don’t think I’ve learned a thing,
in fact I know I don’t know…

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I was bored so I went looking for footage of Albert Einstein. I don’t know why, I just felt like it. Came across an interesting doc on string theory, in which one scientist described Einstein’s quest as trying to read the mind of god.

I like that image.

String Theory is also described as vibrating strands of energy, a close description to Bill Hicks’s infamous Prositive Drug Story.

And in more poetic and prophetic ranting from Mr. Bill Hicks, peep this daddy.

Folks: It’s time to evolve ideas. You know, evolution didn’t end with us growing thumbs. You do know that, right? Didn’t end there. We’re at the point, now, where we’re going to have to evolve ideas. The reason the world is so fucked up is we’re undergoing evolution. And the reason our institutions, our traditional religions, are all crumbling, is because … they’re no longer relevant. They’re no longer relevant. So it’s time for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion, you see. And that’s okay ’cause that’s our right, ’cause we are free children of God with minds who can imagine anything, and that’s kind of our role.

Einstein and Hicks, those were some interesting saints.

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I once got in a small spat with my wife, I don’t even remember what the argument was about – that detail is long forgotten – we were feuding in a French restuarant on Ventura and when we got home and she went to sleep I grabbed a Styrofoam cup and filled it with purple wine and hiked to the top of the hill.

There’s a secret spot I know with a small footpath that climbs into the hills above the houses, a sorta no-man’s land that is opened to the public in the daytime and, if you’re quiet and stealth, free to enjoy at night too. I had brought my Ipod and a backpack with a notebook, (as if I was going to jot down a poem upon moongazing).

I sat down in tall grass, underneath a tree, and drank my purple wine and contemplated the vast lights and meditated a spell. I dealt with my emotions, first with the booze, inflating them untill they existed in mythic proportions, wallowing in them; and then by releasing my anger and my hurt and whatever was going on in my head by sitting cross-legged in the grass and listening to the crickets and the sound of far-off car sputter.

I began to feel good. Somewhat enlightened. Certainly tipsy.

Then I heard a sound that I will never forget.

A robotic, ghost-like hyena howling.

The sound of its wail richocheted through the canyon.

It was not the sound of a dog.

My heart does not fly out of its chest cavity when I hear the sound of a dog barking. This was otherwordly. This was a bad spirit. But the howling had a metallic ting to it too. This demonic creature had been created by man. That’s what was most terrifying.

I grabbed my things and treked it down the hill as fast as I could without falling in the dark, the lights of the Valley coming at me like a rising sea. I hate littering and I had left my cup behind but I was too frightened to return for it. The sound my footfall on gravel disappeared as I hit the cement and the padded sounds of my sneakers on the asphalt comforted me along with the addresses written on the sides of the curb.

I descended down the hill laughing at myself, laughing because I’m afraid of ghosts of robot hyenas or some such thing, and because I realized I really had forgotten what the hell the whole fight was about.

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If you had a key to your mind, would you give it out? Would you make a duplicate? Would you put a little rubber band around it so you wouldn’t mistake it for your housekey?

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Some people collect animals in cages
I collect mine online @ ARTOFSTARVING

Notes From The Ant Empire

Recently I drove up to San Francisco, zipping up the Central Valley as fast as I could, escaping LA for a night to visit a friend. Cemeteries. Gun Ranges. Oil Refineries. Fast Food Restaurants. Trucks and Truckers. Shredded tires baking on the asphalt. The road itself is a tale of two cities, but with the same plot: man, buildings, and money.

I love to drive. It’s what I do. Some people dance, some swim. I take road trips.

I once drove straight to Missoula from LA in about twenty hours, saw a lot of bountiful country and hardly a town, it was beautiful. There is something reassuring about being nowhere. Being off the map. Being amidst so much, much nothing. Being somewhere even Google can’t find you.

But lately I’ve been amazed how fast nothing can change. How one year it is a dusty field and the next year it’s a Carl’s Jr, a web of roads and stoplights, a whole town with a name, complete with disillusioned youths and shopping centers.

I’ve done this trip so many times I can tell distance by the roadside landmarks. Harris Ranch. Pea Soup Anderson’s. So I notice what’s changed. What part of the valley has filled in. The familiar attractions allow me to know just how much further it is till San Francisco, or how close I am to home, like Magic Mountain – which breaks my heart to pass knowing it’s closing soon and the best roller coasters I’ve ever been on are shutting down.

At 80 mph, paradoxically, the world comes at you a bit more gently, in slow motion.

Fenceposts stabbed into the earth keep time heading north, as the sun descends to your left, and in both directions rows of alfalfa spread to the horizon like a lake. It’s easy to lose yourself in the momentum as the hours tick down and you get closer to your destination.

Right next to every gas station is a fast food joint, it was only a matter of time before someone put them together where they belong. Now the Subway is in the Texaco and the Arby’s is in the 76 station. I park outside and watch fat people going in and out and decide to enter too.

I order something tasteless, fatty, and that will probably kill me one day. I eat it quickly, nervously. I can’t wait to get back on the road, back to my car, my turtle shell, upon which is stacked all the cars in the universe, and we’re all holding the world aloft.

Out on the road, it’s obvious that the power lines strangle us all.

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The bad thing about the Internet is that there is no individuality in the text itself, the font withstanding. You can’t take a handwriting sample, for instance.

You can’t tell that someone was angry by how hard they pushed on the pen.

For someone to really notice, you’d have to write like this:

I’M REALLY MAD, DAMMIT!!!! I WANT TO HURT SOMEONE………

I was living in Boston during the 2000 elections with my brother. We stayed up late awaiting the results but he went to sleep and told me to leave him a note who won. When they gave it to Bush I scribbled BUSH FUCKING WON! on a piece of paper and left it there on the coffee table.

The next night we noticed that I had written so hard it scratched the words BUSH FUCKING WON into the coffee table. Double bummer.

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I bet from space we really do look like an ant empire.

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Since Day Light Savings was moved up I’ve been thrown off by the sun setting so late. It’s getting dark now as I type this and it’s almost 8 o’clock. I look around my apartment, wonder if the plants notice the time change and that reminds me to remember to remind myself later to water them when I get around to it, and I exhale and let out carbon dioxide and watch it fly out the window.

I’m pretty sure the plants don’t think about time.

But we do. Obsessively.

I read this article about a man who works in Mexico, which chose not to move up their date, so he has to leave home an extra hour earlier for work, since 8am here is still 7am just twenty miles south of him. This proves time is an illusion.

And so is breakfast and its propaganda, with its fascist lies that it’s the most important meal of the day. The egg cartel needs to be broken.

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What will we ever do if we run out of things to sell? Offer dinner in the dark?

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This afternoon I was driving to a friend’s in Highland Park and passed by the so-called “Hollywood Fire”. I snapped some pics of it with my phone. Probably should have been watching the road but I couldn’t help staring at it. I felt like some kinda arsonist.

Later on I watched the news and the talking heads were all excited about the possibility of the fire possibly being able to, hypothetically, burn down the Hollywood sign.

If conditions were worse they asked the fireman in front of the microphone, with lust in their throats and high drama in their voices, it could have posed a danger to the sign, right?!

That’s all anyone really seemed to care about.

The sign.

The news of the small brush fire, a rather common occurrence in this dry county full of hills and brush and fuel for that sort of thing, beamed all over the world because the pictures of the smoke behind the sign were so compelling.

Drudge had it blasted on the top of his page like it was signs of the apocalypse.

The smoke was billowing high in the sky and it did make a bizarrely spectacular panorama. I guess I don’t totally blame the news anchors for being somewhat breathless about it. Pass Burbank, a large orange cloud of smoke passed overhead and darkened the freeway a pumpkin hue, it felt like Mars in Total Recall.

Reminds me, I haven’t heard lately, does Bush want to go to Mars still?

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If wildfires increase due to the earth heating up there may just come a day when the poor people will be living in the hills and by the rising ocean and the rich people will all live in the valley and the east.

Bel Air will become a flammable ghetto. Sun Valley home to movie stars.

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Also today in LA, the LAPD announced the use of new 5-inch flashlights instead of their old skull-crushing Maglites they used to roll with. This is all in response to a beating they gave some guy three years ago, 11 blows to the head, all caught on tape.

LOS ANGELES – Police will soon be outfitted with a cutting edge flashlight that is not only brighter than others, but too small to be used as a weapon.

The idea for the 7060 LED flashlight was conceived just days after news cameras broadcast images of LAPD officers beating car-theft suspect Stanley Miller with a two-pound, two-foot long standard issue police flashlight.

That’s bad PR, ya’ know.

So instead of teaching their officers restraint they made it so they couldn’t use their flashlight as bludgeons anymore. Am I missing something? Don’t they still have batons? And guns? Your child crashes the truck so you buy them a car.

Isn’t the point to just apprehend the suspect instead of pummeling him?

I wonder if cops lament the new lights and think they make them look girly.

Or if they’re generally relieved not to have to carry those old, heavy suckers from their belt anymore.

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Some people collect their thoughts in a journal.
I collect mine online.

Get Your Bananas While You Can

This is one of those things that I never knew. (Like how I make that seem like a relatively small number?) The banana is not an original reproducing species. It’s a clone. A clone from bananas thousands of years ago.

So pretty much the bananas we eat today on our bowl of Grapes Nuts, or underneath an ice cream sundae, are the same suckers that they plucked out of trees thousands of years ago.

In otherwords, a banana is an old-ass fruit. And one that’s in danger.

Almost all the varieties of banana grown today are cuttings – clones, in effect – of naturally mutant wild bananas discovered by early farmers as much as 10,000 years ago. The rare mutation caused wild bananas to grow sterile, without seeds. Those ancient farmers took cuttings of the mutants, then cuttings of the cuttings.

Plants use reproduction to continuously shuffle their gene pool, building up variety so that part of the species will survive an otherwise deadly disease. Because sterile mutant bananas cannot breed, they do not have that protection.

Can you imagine a world without bananas? What sort of peels will cartoon characters slip on from now on? What will monkeys eat in the movies?

I knew that 80% of American avocados originated from an East L.A backyard avocado tree owned by a man named Hass. Thus the Hass Avocado. All that guacamole is the result of one mother tree from the 30’s that finally met its fate in 2002. She must have been a proud mother.

But I had no idea that bananas were clones and not originally-reproducing fruits. I guess I’m not shocked, there’s plenty of things in the world that I’m in the dark on, but I am surprised that they are in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth.

I always assumed that bananas would outlast mankind. They still might, but it’s a tough race now.

I can’t imagine a world without bananas, and I don’t even like bananas. I find them too smushy. I do like peanut butter and bananas in a blender with some milk, sugar, and ice. Makes a pretty good shake.

So eat em’ folks. They might not be here forever.

Two fungal diseases, Panama disease and black Sigatoka, are cutting a swath through banana plantations, just as blight once devastated potato crops. But unlike the potato, and other crops where disease-resistant strains can be bred by conventional means, making a fungus-free variety of the banana is extraordinarily difficult.

What are your thoughts? Does anyone care about the possible extinction of the banana? If not, which fruit would you be sorry to see go?

I would write more, but another episode The Bad Girls Club is on, so I gotta wrap it up.

Thanks for reading.