"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Autumn Rhythm XXVIII

Storm's a'comin'. Flocks of geese headed down from Oregon signal a turning point in the season. This morning the wind kicked up from the South -- not its usual direction -- and knocked out the county's fiber optic link, which kills the internet as well as most ATMs and credit card machines. Over at Bank of America they were only letting people in and out through the back door one at a time. All systems down. Torrential rain will no doubt follow soon.

Still, I'm feeling pretty good. The loamy smells of autumn and the sound of dry leaves skittering along the ground bring me a kind of nostalgic peace; crisp bittersweet memories of adolescence in Eugene, frozen breath and teenage heart-thobbery. Times of greater purity, back when there were all sorts of things to believe in, peace and prosperity, when cynicism was just a romantic pose.
the other week to describe times when you go out or stay out after your roommates go home.
My hand is still pink and tender (hurts to go into my pockets for stuff) but whole and presentable to the world. I no longer feel freakish about it, and I'm hoping I can regain that sense of momentum I had coming out of Burning Man: strong and sexy and free, walking tall and lithe, without those dark circles under my eyes. The El Sargento Propane Explosion certainly kneecapped that feeling, but I'm optimistic about getting it back now.

To that end, it was truly a Good Thing™ to get out on the scene this past weekend, jumping back into the world of art and theatre vis-a-vis a 24-hour/10-minute play festival in Eureka. These local avant-guardians have somehow occupied a historic movie theater, from the '30s, and are renovating in into a hub of creativity. Much glory to them.

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I Will HEAL You

So, my hand is pink and dry and flaky, but whole once more. I will have to be careful about sunburn, chemicals, and heat/cold for up to a year, but I'm back in action and it feels good. It was a real bummer, being one-armed for the past three weeks. It seemed like I was getting some nice momentum coming out of Burning Man and headed into Autumn. This was a little disruption. But we carry on.

Also, having been in the docs once a week for the past while, I have observed my blood pressure and weight rise, which is interesting biofeedback. Burning Man/Mexico had me slimmed down, and then I wasn't (penicillin) touching the beer for a while. Was all the way down to 198 with clothes on, which is skinny for me. In the past two weeks I got back up to 208, which is close to my norm of 210. Still, it makes me wonder if being a little leaner and more active was part of why I felt better at the end of the summer. It probably can't hurt to drink less and exercise more.

As for the blood pressure (and the circles under the eyes), well, it's stress. Sadly I'm not very good at avoiding that.

Anyway, on the upside I'm going to do some motherfucking art this weekend. Got myself signed up as a director for this 24-hour/10-minute play thinger as part of Arts Alive! in Eureka. It's time for Josh Koenig to get back in the game...

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Another Box Checked

Well, here's a milestone: I'm a published author.

I'll have to buy one. Here's an excerpt from my chapter:

bq.. America is full of characters, freethinking individuals with the kinds of personalities that don’t necessarily fit well into blunt institutional molds like High School or Corporate Bureaucracy. A lot of us also happen to be highly capable individuals: creative, hard working, intelligent and passionate. A campaign that lets these sorts of people connect as supporters can tap deep resources unavailable to those that enforces rigid “message discipline,” that sees their would-be citizen-enthusiasts as pawns.

The genius of making empowerment the core of Dean’s candidacy, something that was explicitly made possible by the campaign’s Internet-enabled character, is that it turned the whole operation into an incubator of new leadership rather than a place for conscripts to sign up and wait for their day to be called upon to act (or more likely, to donate money). The grassroots movement growing around Dean's candidacy was decentralized, yet connected. It was in some ways elite, yet very heterogeneous, inclusive and transparent. It was unabashedly idealistic, but also stubbornly pragmatic. It was a nationwide network of individuals grouping together in organic and ad-hoc ways to reclaim responsibility for their country.

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That's the man, back in 2005, about to get told by the Texas law that if he wants to hang out at the Alamo he'll have to put on a shirt. For the past year, he has been under the philosophically heavy thumb of the Germans -- slaving away over a hot data-set at the Max Plank Institute for Quantitative Social Research -- and only just last week returned to the welcoming arms of Lady Liberty. We had the pleasure of hosting a few nights of his re-entry tour this weekend.

Luke and Mark and I have a kind of special relationship, one that we've all made the choice to maintain and deepen over the years. At this point, getting well into the meat of adulthood, it's quite something to have someone who went through your teenage fire and blackness years still be a part of your life. There's a kind of perspective there that just can't be matched. I mean, who else will bro down with you about various international health care administration tactics, and shift seamlessly to baby fever?

Over and above it being really great to see him again and spend real-time together, visiting with Luke got me thinking about the future in a way that I haven't done much of lately. I used to have these outlanishly outsized dreams. We like to joke that "part of becoming a man is watching your dreams die," but it's not so funny when you wake up and realize it's happening.

I wrote before about my trip to Mexico, how it got me thinking about life's possibilities again. This is basically the same thing. The idea of moving to yet another new city, starting yet another new chapter, etc, or even just opening up new avenues in my existing life. Who knows what the next few years may hold, let alone the next decade.

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It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock and Roll

It's the last day of summer, a summer of many scenes, travel, exploration, some hard yards. You learn things about yourself, things you didn't even know you didn't know, those fabled unknown unknowns.

You might come back from Mexico and discover from your roommates that you displayed a rather more zesty case of wedding-fever the other weekend than was previously known. It's all second-hand knowledge because you honesty don't remember yourself, and it sounds kind of tawdry, but making out with your friends' ex-girlfriends is a staple of Portland culture, so it's all good, right? Right.

One just like the other, Sin's a Good Man's Brother.

You might have your friends from Burning Man roll through, and go on and on about your square-ass work history over pre-dinner cocktails, and find out that the one you had an eye for already has a man back home. It's all in the game, but would you have found this out if you handn't had a burned-up hand and talked a bit more pretty? Might it have played differently, more like you'd hoped? The world may never know, but you try not to stress it. You resonated. That's rare and true and more than enough.

It's been two good years since I've felt clear like I'm starting to, back around the last time I returned to Brooklyn, post-Vagabender, starting up as a legitimate young man. I found myself a pretty nice girlfriend then, or maybe she found me (as has tended to be my m.o.), but regardless we had a pretty good thing for six months or so in Park Slope. The Belle do Mois. As has also tended to be my m.o., I got lured away by another bright sweet one, a real peach, and then I moved to the hills of California and didn't come back, lost her too. I wonder in hindsight what was really behind that decision to run.

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The Update

I made use of my health insurance for the first time ever today, visiting the Mckinleyville clinic and getting the thumbs-up (and some American antibiotics) from the docs there. They say everything is looking good, which is a relief. I'm looking forward to being back at 100%, but it's another week at least.

Still playing catch-up on a lot of fronts. Work is drinking from a fire-hose. Some friends we made at Burning Man (girls! oooh girls!) are dropping by tomorrow, which is exciting. Fall is definitely on the way here, with cooler temperatures and windy days and leaves starting to flutter on down. We're going to need firewood soon.

Also, I'm bummed to be missing out on Drupalcon Barcelona. I got a little Skype message from Alex Barth the other night, links me to some photos. It sounds pretty awesome. More than 400 people in attendance, and apparently the conference facilities are primo. Lots of nerdy action reports on Drupal Planet these days if you're so inclined.

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Back In 'Merica!

Well I have returned to American soil, LAX to be specific. I've got a nice four-hour layover before I can catch a wing up to Portland, hop in my truck, drive down to the Euge to crash out at my mom's house, then get up at 7 and hit the road for the HC on Monday.

My handMy hand and arm are healing steadily. It's looking more gnarly than ever as you can see, thanks to the fact that we've reached the "crack n' peel" part of the process. I'm trying to keep the outer layer on as long as I can but all it takes is a bump or jostle to create a new grisly-looking sting spot. I'm covering these with ointment as they appear, which is helping, and the areas that came exposed yesterday are showing promise. It just needs some more time, but I feel increasingly like a freak walking around with my hamburger-hand here in the first world.

Speaking of the first world... some thoughts from Baja

My experience with medical care, where I was able to roll into a clinic at 8pm, get treated right away, get antibiotics and a prescription anti-inflammatory, and walk out paying $14.50 total stands in sharp contrast to your typical US ER experience. I wouldn't want Benito to perform surgery on me -- until he's finished his studies, that is -- but the truth is that the majority of urgent healthcare concerns aren't on that scale. In spite of what Michael Crichton's brilliant TV series would suggest, not everything you'd go to the ER for really requires a hospital. Throughout Baja I saw lots and lots of small "24 medical emergency" clinics; storefront type operations, really. This decentralization of urgent care seems like a good idea. Jamming everyone who needs quick attention into one place creates all sorts of problems. Maybe there's something to be learned here.

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Manos? Hands Of Fate?

Well, things have been going pretty well here in La Ventana. Life moves more slowly south of the border, but there's a lot to be said for being perched aside the sea of Cortez in a spacious concrete compound, carrying on our merry way with a homebrewed point-to-point wireless internet link. It's not the office, and it's not home, but it sure is something.

Zacker speared a fish, and so did Farsheed, and we cooked 'em and they were good. Matt has started his idiosyncratic observation of Ramadan. Kevin (aka "the new guy") brought his kick-ass mountain bike and has been exploring the local trails.

I, on the other hand (ho ho ho), have been learning about oven safety:

Now, let me say up front that I am fine. I have a taste for posting grisly pictures of my injuries, it's true, but this is far from the worst thing that's ever happened to me. Our boy Benito, who's the medical student assigned to La Ventana for a year of service before going to specialize in surgery in Mexico City, took excellent care of me, and 36 hours later I'm already back to typing with both hands. Full recovery is anticipated and expected.

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Pre-Mexico Monkey Mayhem

Well, I just lost my nice five-paragraph post, so here's the short and sweet:

  • I'm on the D concourse, looking to blow down to a glass house on the beach in baja for a week-long work retreat.
  • Mary and Ron's wedding was teh awesome. Monkey reunion makes me promise many future portland visits. Also, camping at a wedding is a cheap way to make responsibility fun. Good idea.
  • The highlight reel would include tearing my pants open on the dance floor, getting lost in the neighborhood, and cooking up some whiskey-fueled power-yenta game and convincing the beautiful young people to make out.
  • That last bit I do not recall, Senator, but I've heard it from multiple parties, including a lady who I carpooled up to Portland with who had my friend's hickey as proof. So there you have it.
  • I spent Sunday in recovery, visited my grandma and had a nice Thai dinner w/the moms, then a quick catnap, then the road.

More from Mexico, most likely.

UPDATE: I have arrived at the house of glass and all is well in the cosmos. Tecate tall boys and a little Cortez Sea skinny dip put everything right. Now we've got to get down to biznass.

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The Emergency Kisses

Headed up to a wedding in Oregon that should be better than the 10-year High School reunion I skipped. I'm feeling some comedown from the high and heady days of re-entry. Life's a grind sometimes, and loneliness is such a drag.

Haven't done any Burning Man writing to my chagrin, other than an outline and two paragraphs. I feel the moments slipping away, but trying to run my whole show this week while my Baja-based cohorts weathered Hurricane Henriette left me little mojo in reserve. I'll be joining them post-wedding for a week of retreat and grand planning, which should be interesting at least. Maybe I can get'r'dun there. I'm hoping for some nice peaceful moon and ocean action at least; rapture at sea.

Weddings, man. I love the big family party aspect, and of course I love my friends being in love and tying the knot, but they cast a long shadow too. I realized the other day that virtually all my significant non-recent lovers are married or engaged to be married (or had been married and then divorced). Maybe that speaks to my good taste, and I don't bring it up in anguish over anyone who "got away." It's just a contrast.

There's no rush, but it makes me realize yet again that finding that partner-type relationship (the one I've been talking about lo these many years) is more than a matter of finding. It's also a matter of building and growing. Trite, but true.

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