"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

My Favorite Soul Songs From The '70s

It's a big long life. As everyone knows, the art of living is a lot like surfing, and the key is remembering that the ocean is in fact bigger than you. Any illusions of control you may entertain are just that, illusions. But, you can catch a wave, and that's a real thing. You can catch a wave and ride it as far as it will take you, all the way to perfect laughter. This is the greatness, the best of all possible worlds. I don't surf myself, but I can imagine what that feels like, to suddenly harness the power of the sea.

Being back in NYC rekindles all sorts of things in me, ambitions, drives, the hero complex. Not that these have been latent or dead, but being here running the mix with this great world-capital metropolis is like dumping white gas on all those fires. It makes me think I could really be somebody, you know?

Last night I danced my face off at the wedding, helped construct a "who's next" pool afterwords -- something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but which in the grey light of morning feels questionable; who feels great being near the top or the bottom of such a list? -- and made an impulsive move to dance my face off again after I got back to Brooklyn.

Curiosity made me stick my head into Union Pool, which has completed its transformation into uber-scene. However, there was a man selling empanadas out of a cooler in the nice back-bar-with-stage space, and more importantly another guy with a huge stack of Soul 45s. Good times.

As I'd heard, the burg has continued on its trajectory without me. New construction is everywhere, quite obvious towers and a startling number of boxy row-house replacements, some with highly questionable "design". The Kellog Diner looks like something straight out of South Beach.

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Bachelor Party Headline: Piven Cockblocked

Continuing my tremendously successful run here in the NYC, at the Bachelor celebration for our beloved A-Stock the possible highlight of the evening was that we collectively cock-blocked Jeremy Piven.

(Note, this is meant in the following spirit: To interfere with someone who is getting acquainted with, conversing with, or hooking up with a member of the opposite sex, though actually I think you can cock-block on homosexuals too. In the name of all that is holy and decent, that's all the detail that I'll publicly reveal. Let the rumors and speculation flourish.)

It's better than any other shenanigan I can think of (really, tits are so passé), and gratifying even though I quite like Mr. Piven's acting. In truth, all things being equal would like him to attain whatever naughty fun he sought with his attractive young lady companion -- which, really, he still might have; we just don't know -- but I'm psyched that there's a great PG-13 story from the evening.

Anyway, it's been a week for the ages already, and it's only friggin' Wednesday. Let's keep on rocking in the free world, y'all.

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Further Annotation

Ensconced now in beautiful Fort Greene Brooklyn, one of the best neighborhoods around; all brownstones and creole glory. It's Monday before election and everyone is a bit nervous, but possibly excitedly nervous. Butterflies before a big event.

I saw some theater and had a moment of gastric nirvana, talked pretty late into the night about the coming new world. Today I'm a bit more weary and my thighs are sore as hell -- an alleged outbreak of dirty dancing back at the party after depositing the sister on Saturday night -- but my thinking is that the only way is to move forward and push on through. Can't stop the machine or the machine breaks down.

While I'm certainly burning the candle from both ends (and melting through the middle) that's sort of the point here, elevating my existence, raising my game. There's just something so irreplaceable about the energy here. I feel confident, stronger, clearer. Gonna have to figure out how to visit a lot more often I think.

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Chant With Me: Day-light. Sav-ings-time!

NYC continues to be a hell of a wild run. I managed a small rally for Halloween after nearly crashing and burning after running our of PlaneSleep energy, made it out into the world. The old neighborhood is indeed changing, though as they say the more things change the more things stay the same.

Bea's diner was closed on health code violations, and the sketchy bar on driggs is shut down -- bricked up the doorway and turned it into an apartment by the looks of things. Fine dining encroaches ever further -- high quality coffee window, beautiful cranberry-haired women slinging cappucino -- and McCarin park is enclosed by highrise condos on two sides now.

Last night I ran with the sister-pal, who's soon to be a Master of the fine arts (I remain a contented Bachelor, natch), and after reliving Pete's Candy Store of most of a bottle of scotch and entertaining a few guests, we went to a party which was literally next door to the house on Humboldt and Devoe where we used to have many friends, held a back-yard Axiom, etc.

It's a good world, here.

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A fantastic journey so far.

  • Emergency exit row is key. Sitting next to some guy haxing Python too. I was already sleepy and wanted to maximize that, but it was neat to fly along side a fellow traveler.
  • Emerging into the new JetBlue terminal at JFK, it's a pretty grand entrance. They've taken over the old TWA terminal 5 and are doing Ildewild proud. It's futuristic, and seems like the kind of place you might go just for a drink (if you could). Second best way to arrive next to Grand Central.
  • I love the early AM A-train to L; full of kids on their way to high school. The fusion of hip hop and hipsterdom is in full force with the 15 to 18 set, so expect more of that.
  • As planned, I roll out at Lorimer, take in the remodled Kellog diner and massive amounts of new construction, laugh, jump into the natural food store for a Kambucha (gotta keep the immune system up) and walk over to Atlas, which has also gotten a facelift (and some italians), where there are almost as many WiFi hotspots as at my office.
  • Here I will work away the day, hopefully picking up some keys soon enough to shower and maybe grab a nap before heading out into the all hallows night.


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It's Hard To Slow Down When Your Picking Up Speed

I'm sitting here in the mid-renovation Oakland terminal waiting on my overnight flight to NYC. They finally have gratis wifi on the scene (good move, Oakland), and it's as good as an airport gets. I got through security with no waiting and all smiles for my bike-chain bracelet which gets me a wanding every time, scored some Advil PM from the quick shop, and snagged half a table in the crowded little makeshift bar that's serving this wing while the old spot is under reconstruction. Things have gone so smoothly I've got like 45 minutes to kill.

It's been a pretty good run the past few days. This weekend I got some much-needed bonding time with good old LGD and his special lady, some late night whiskeytime and a great tasty family dinner too. Cooking delicious group meals is one of my most favorite thing to do, and I honestly can't say why I don't organize these things more often. Seems like something to consider going forward.

I'm gradually becoming aware that the primary reason my social life has felt a bit fallow is that I've largely stopped arranging for things to happen, become just another lamp-ray go-along follower, picking up on other peoples action. One undeniable pattern in my history is that the better times in my life tend to coincide with taking on the role of instigator, provocateur, catalyst, etc. Again, something to consider.

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All My Lovers Were There With Me / All My Past And Future

As a followup to my Californication post below, I'd like to try and shed a more positive light on things. Clearly that kind of writing elicits a reaction -- hey, sex still sells, and it's some of the more honest blogging I've done of late -- but I think I may have given some people the wrong idea. Not that I don't appreciate all the ego-boosting, but I can't help but feel a little bit guilty, like when as a kid you'd fake or exaggerate an injury for attention.

So yes. Let's get down to brass tacks. In our last installment, I concluded that there was some serious Fear going on, and this was why my sex life was more or less dead. And yeah, the more I sit with that the more accurate it feels.

That's not particularly great in and of itself, but the first step to happy living is figuring out what you want. Then you have to get it, and that's another mountain to climb, but just getting some direction is a vital and necessary first start. I honestly feel better already.

When I survey the past couple years -- relatively sexless and workaholic -- they seem a cocoon. On the one hand maybe I've been gestating, and am preparing to emerge chrysalis-like in new glory. On the other hand, maybe I've been in hiding, retreating into the woods to bury my shame under a thousand layers of self-made silk. Or something.

Maybe it's both. More than anything else, I get the feeling I've been keeping myself under wraps, off the scene. It's not a new revelation, but every time it comes up it's with ring of truth. I think I've got a stronger way to say it, one that comes to mind with an anecdote:

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The Great Release

Things have been busy to the extreme but thankfully its the good kind of busy that brings a sense of purpose and joy to life.

I've been struggling in my meditative moments -- mostly on mass transit -- with the cyclical trap of self-awareness. Third-person camera vision; thinking about telling a story about a girl to another girl and asking advice about life, and knowing this is on some level a maneuver, and that killing the whole appeal.

Thinking about how this condition of cynical self-consciousness prevents interesting things from happening, prevents simple happiness and authentic experience from emerging, creates an unattractive air of uncertainty, hesitation and pessimism.

And I look across the BART isle and there's a middle aged man, kids-off-to-college age, assembling a book of Magic the Gathering cards, which I remember from high school, and he's got a look of pure and unadulterated joy on his face, putting his new cards into their little plastic holders, arranging them just so. Totally unconscious to whatever else and just loving it in whatever personal world he inhabits. It was a poignant moment for me.

To use a theatrical phrase, sometimes we have to suspend our disbelief in our own lives, perhaps as a precursor to Really Actually Believing again.

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High Octane Nostalgia

I'm back in the Bay for a week. BadCAMP coming up, and business to conduct for our budding Cycling Empire. Also happy birthday Zacker. Good fun and a nice drive, so I'm content with all that.

Oft's the time I wonder about graphing my changes in mood and fortune, a little personalized stock ticker of the soul. Regular journal-writing is beyond me, and actually recounting the details of my daily life would be debilitatingly dreary. No one must know just how ho-hum my routine really is. Gotta preserve the mystery.

A numerical composite would be interesting, while (probably) allowing me to retain whatever shards of sex-appeal I can still muster. And what might such a life-market show? Finances flat but stable. Politics looking up and responsibility on the rise. Stress back down after peaking in August.

It's all well and dandy, and I'm especially happy that visible signs of over-stress -- e.g involuntary muscle-twitching -- are declining, but as things level out I worry muchly about the void, that it may just sit there gaping at me. Nature abhors a vacuum, and although I could really use a vaction, the kind of soul-emptying boredom that may be in the offing here seems dangerous.

The best answer seems like a long shot. Short-sellers are killing the Love index. The gut feeling: flat-lined.

This is starting to become a problem. Aphoristic wisdoms along the lines of "age is a state of mind" are cold comfort when contemplating a creeping case of cynicism. I really don't want to end up a jaded or pessimistic person. It's a shit way to live, but objectively that's the trend. Me no likey.

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Wonderland Fortress

Concept album for a psychedelic Red Dawn fantasy rock band. Working track list:

Trip Narnia

Rockin' Out in Xibalba

Sleep With Your Third Eye Open

Rebel Unicorns

I can't claim any more than collaborative authorship. I'm just a conduit, one of many tiny condensing cells of consciousness, small sparks in geological time, looking to do battle with entropy. Maybe the b-side will feature dirty-beat and dub reggae remixes.

The Autumn is upon us. We are honest outlaws. We've got a shed full of wood and we're not afraid to use it. We recognize decay and even calamity as parts of every life-cycle, and we're not afraid of a little turbulence.

Most of all, we're winning.

It's a very two-steps forward one-step back kind of winning, but you have to recognize progress when it happens. Is it enough? Of course not. It's never enough, but it's something. We're winning feet and inches with miles to go, but that's a hell of a lot better than giving up ground, because in addition to (slowly) making progress, we're also getting stronger.

What do I mean, "we," white man? I mean the forces of hope for the 21st Century.

It's easy to see the apocalypse around every corner. Seductive even. The undercurrent of doom runs strong throughout our world, and it too is a real thing. Stock markets crash. Carbon dioxide accumulates. Our lives slip away in a fitful series of fluorescent flickers, gasping for traction. As the good word says, "it’s so easy to be sad."

But there's light out there. There's promise in the sun, in snowflakes on mars, in the premise of a Black President and Millennial Power. Every year there are more people like us, and not just because people like them are dying off, but because we're right about a lot of things. We're right and we're passionate and passion+truth is a powerful combination. We win converts every day.

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