3:40 AM, I was dreaming, it was the present and I was in someone’s house. it was the middle of the night. I heard the downstairs door open, a voice screamed, “Evelyn!!!” the man, I could hear, was wheezing and all messed up. the man, of course was my grandfather, my dead grandfather.

my grandmother, who is still alive, immediately rose up from her chair and went to him.

me, I froze, my entire body locked up with fear. and I woke, half thinking, more than half thinking, I was about to receive a phone call that my grandmother had been taken to the hospital.

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the rattling pebble of afterthoughts after dinner

there are not enough hours in a day for me, for me. this is ten minutes or an acorn shot through a front door storm window while the crew is sleeping. I feel like a coal miner. in the morning I will have to explain that you cannot properly crank out a buscard run on any kind of photocopier due to the unsteady shifts of registration, especially double-sided. she will snap her fingers anyway, make it happen, and don’t return until! the rich, not for their money, but for the way they treat people, how they feel so entitled to everything, spin me about.

a lozenge just before bed helps me sleep at night. methol opens the air passages.

reading The Double by Jose Saramago. my goodness can this man write. a good book so far, though very long winded for tired and worn down eyes at the end of a heavy day that’s kicked your ass from courtyard to the other end of the breadbasket. one third of the story is dedicated to detective work that I could have accomplished in five minutes with an internet connection. I kept prodding the main character with URLs but he would not listen. so I am glad now he has made his discovery and is moving forward. like him, I cannot see what is ahead, what the future holds in store.

we make our flimsy plans. or outlines of plans. outlines of outlines.

and in bed, radio through earbuds, drifting off, dreams accompanied with this soundtrack, mussels, topics, events, gossip. sit and think, it’s true, you tire out certain words. it’s time to put further effort into branching out.

a purge. anything you want. the houstonians come back into town and speak of the blackbirds. what are you, an alien abductee or something? you smell different. you smell like an ABC television station. oh, there is a lot of crap on television, and a lot of good things, too.

the small birds have flown the whirley tailed squirrels back in from a long trip. everyone is exhausted from running, flying away from the tropical storm so quickly turned gigantic hurricane. albeit, belongings are in disarray, life is glad to still be alive. life is glad to be that pebble rattling around in a tin can, you know, when you really shake it.

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over on Chron.com‘s message board, Houston’s major newspaper, a thread was started on “thanking god” for having survived the storm. many local atheists spoke up with very valid points. one among them, C. added: “I love my my life and want to change the world for the better because it’s in my heart, not because the collected oral history of primitive shepherds indicates that it’s my duty.”

the entire thread was soon removed.

I have up a few relatively boring, uneventful photos taken over the past couple of days. basically this gives a feel for the neighborhood. what I was trying to accomplish at first was that the winds were starting to pick up, but this did not really come out. other than that, after everything was over, I drove around and snapped a few… link

In other news, mail delivery here will be suspended a week due to gas shortage. christmas crackers!

survival
is
a
good thing

all that worrying

for
nothing?

I don’t know

it was
good to
be prepared

but the
thing is
we mostly
slept
through
the entire storm

have not
lost power
any windows

the sun is up now
the ground
dry

nice

nice!

it is good to be alive

leaves everywhere…

a nervousness in the air
a nervousness in me

everyone is really cool
many of us are out
on the sidewalk
introducing ourselves
have long
conversations
forming a solidarity

“you can have some beer
if you want…”

another guy
with a psychology degree
says this is pact
mentality
that in danger
we group
together like this

“we are going to
throw a party in this
courtyard once it’s
all over”

then he says
“if I die, I wanna die
in my own home
not out on the highway”

today is spent
gathering things up to
the top floor
such as books
then the TV will go
at the last minute

we’re hoping for
zero power outages
for obvious reasons
and no flooding

the winds are here
you know, about
15 mph so far
took a few pics
out on the street
the trees blowing about
(will announce later
when these are up on Flickr)

people are
being very friendly
it’s a waiting game
these large groups
it’s like there are
waves in the conversation
you’ll be talking to one
person on one subject
and the next you’re talking
to someone over on the other side
then someone will join in

much talk about our pets
that is, cats

yesterday evening
drove up
put the car in the parking garage
and skated back

Houston
is now a ghost town
all the shops closed up
signs in them
“closed. hurricane. keep praying.”

people say they’re praying for us
advise that we pray
I haven’t prayed in sometime
don’t know if I ever will again
don’t see it does any good

I’m sure there was much praying
going on in New Orleans
yet they saw the worst of the worst
regardless
so when it doesn’t come folks
say prayers are answered
when it does
oh, well this is God’s plan
or test
way of seeing how
strong we are or whatever

I’m a different
man
over the years
I’ve come to see praying
as wasted energy

this is not to say
positive thinking
doesn’t help one through…

. . .

if you find yourself in a storm zone: don’t clip your fingernails. keep these long. you will need them in emergency situations. have you ever been put on the spot where you couldn’t peel an orange and you had to pass it onto a long nailed friend? how embarrassing. come on, be hurricane ready! results from various studies are in: those with longer nails wind up getting all the gasoline, before all those with nubby nub nubs, unable to fend for themselves, must retreat, but find they cannot.

a friend recently wrote and encouraged me to write as much as possible through this whole thing. and so I’ll continue to do that.

other friends have written to see if we’re okay, which we are for now. basically we’re just waiting, worrying, and preparing. we suspect this thing will hit us sometime late Friday night.

we’re doing what a lot of people in Texas are doing right now, and that is watching a serious amount of news on TV. the rest are out there on the road, sitting still, taking naps.

got up around 4 am, with slight asthma. heard a tap tap tap. thought it was someone boarding up some windows, but it was a man and his family packing up all their stuff. his sandals flopping on the stairs… by now they’re out. I hope they will be alright; since they just got here from New Orleans, you can’t really blame them for leaving.

THE TRAFFIC JAMS ARE STILL RIDICULOUS. route 45 northbound is backed up for 100 miles. cars breaking down in the middle of all that. families sitting in cars for 14 hours or more. 95%, if not all, gas stations are closed. there were some whispers that the southbound lanes would be opened up for evacuation as well, but this continues to be neglected. this is the biggest crime of disorganization right now. shame shame.

4:30 I hit up the Kroger where there was actually water. a new stock was being put on the shelves. the workers say they are taking it hour by hour whether or not they’ll decide to leave, though admitted with the roads the way they are, they probably couldn’t.

a very thick, hot air permeates the atmosphere, even in the middle of the night. any temperatures reported for Texas seem about 15 degrees cooler than how it feels.

the hurricane, by the time it makes its way up through Galveston will calm some, bringing very high winds and hard rains. but this will also bring on crazy tornados, which I think we’re more worried about than anything.

well, if anything, we may be late on the rent…

Houston worries

Houston –
fifty miles
fifty
miles from
the coast

we know
what happened
just next door

but we are
trapped
here

only with
half tank
of gas
the roads
already
gridlocked

cat. 5 probably
headed
for our heads

I cannot
write sensible
prose
in this
state of worry
state
of emergency

the helicam
shows the
roads all
down below

days ago
people were
saying
not to worry
they’ve since
escaped
in their SUVs

landlord
says this complex
managed these
storms before
water will
most likely not
make it up
into the courtyard

. . .

I guess
I’m angry…
at… the situation…
angry
at all kinds of things
frightened

where else
under these
circumstances
do we have to
go?

all we can do
is wait it out
and enjoy
one another’s
company

Your krsna consciousness is showing / confusing atheism

• so well meaning

• notes on open casket viewerships and ships that leave peopled up once the earth has all been used up and mass suicides and plagues have taken place. these things, by 2123, happen. shit. happens. all kinds of shit happens.

• old school. shaking hands with shaky hands. sweaty palms. the nervousness shows in your voice, also.

• a character study. low self esteem issues. this man, all men, have issues and staring problems, and are addicted to solving problems (so to create more and stay really busy?).

• a lot of good things are presented, presented to help, but are ignored and the usual drags on and on. any new comer is floored by this “third world.” my god, how you treat, neglect your people. how you make a big show of caring at just the right time but in truth do not listen to their needs. how you let them die. premature.

• help me to help you.

• I must remember… all kinds of things. there’s plenty to take care of.

• I must remember to write because it is much like meditation, it’s a way of processing what is in you and just what exactly is going wrong and should be resolved or healed.

• we are human beings that are hindered, feel guilt, and cause pain. we do things thoughtlessly and make mistakes. one such mistake was to join a goddamn cult in my early years, of course being naive and not realizing at the time exactly what was happening, the damage it was doing to my psyche. later, a new meditation was, yes, individuality, my own, which led me to drop it all.

• you became an atheist?

• I may as well have become an atheist. I fumbled the ball. I dropped what I believed for years. I analyzed it agonizingly on the bus and on the train and in walking in the rain with my umbrella, crossing the bridge with the snow falling, the sleet pelting, and in Roanoke, all those apartments I lived in that were barely renovated. in my mind, it all came together when I was living on the outside, outside of that society, when I had breathing room (though with asthma, it wasn’t easy). by the time we adopted our second cat, she still got the name Kalika. still these remnants from the old school.

• bio: I am allergic to cats. someone said, Get rid of the cats. I told her that’s like saying, get rid of your baby. there was her sixteen month-old, and I said, Can you part with her? well then, be sensitive to my affections just the same. it’s practically just the same… for my little bio in small scale, should say I grew up in the Silver Spring suburbs (Montgomery County) outside of DC and became influenced by many underground cultures, and moved around a bit in some sort of search for truth or peace and have been searching ever since. I write with the idea (fear) that I may never become the kind of writer I hope to be: accomplished, published, etc. I hate the police, but my own lacking a whole lot more. I am a cat martyr. they sleep comfortable; I wake up in the night short of breath to drink tea, to kick out writing sessions. I repetitively have taken on jobs at print shops that in my mind resemble sweat shops. certainly employers consider the typesetting and design to be grunt work and treat their employees accordingly. I continue to search out and find another way for myself. I’m aware I’m in a rut or have fallen into a ditch.

• if I become a “writer,” just what will I write?

• perhaps american buddhism is a really good thing. it takes the best things from another ideology to improve on it’s own way and there is no tyrant hovering over saying it has to be done any different. women truly have the same shot as men. is this true? is this true in anarchism?

• the eight ball says, I see a *haircut* in your future. the eight ball now has a nine-hundred number, charges by the minute and raises kids onto ponies squealing with joy. kids really like ponies. ponies and living rooms do not mix. kids must settle for the lincoln logs. I see lincoln logs in your future. oh, shut up.

• this monday the eight ball was bought out by walmart. when eight balls go wrong.

• all employees must wash their hands and this is final. this is good for the self esteem issue you’ve been talking about. um…

• cell phones are really loud. and go off in very echoey places. mine is set to vibrate and when a call comes in I get up to answer it outside for some reason I guess because I tend to talk louder on the phone than a person sitting directly across from me. can you hear me? can you hear me now? goddamn it, can you hear me now? can you fucking hear me now? apple has put out an new iPod and a phone that runs iTunes so that you can listen to Dido some more.

• I am studying/observing and thinking about how I can change. one day we will all turn into robots and live forever. right now we are all vampires but somehow still dying.

Work notes [week of Sep. 4]

My situation at work is unstable, all due to this production manager psychopath, who knows very little about the print industry, who is hyperactive and stresses everyone out in her path. A little hurricane in her own right. One guy calls her the Tasmanian Devil. He attempts cheering me up: “Take it easy.”

“I’ll try. Sometimes it’s not easy to take it easy…”

I’m in the hot seat. Seems I’m the one who gets to be the punching bag. “You’re fault finding,” I explain. She doesn’t wanna hear it. Everyone has told her this, how high strung she is, but she is unstoppable.

Fictitious:

what’s going on, what are you doing?

I’m opening the door

how are you doing it?

by twisting the door knob…

why on earth would you go about it like that?

because because…. [gets cut off]

well, we need it done in a certain way. we expect you to do it.

um, your tone… you’re coming off a little rude. and by the way, doesn’t turning the knob seem the most practical?

well, this is what we expect…

I feel as if I can no longer
do something as simple
as open a door.

It is a realm of fault finding. I am watching myself in that realm quickly go insane, become minimized. It is all unnecessary, of course. But it is a matter of survival that I take things into my own hands and not let the bastards have their way. The answer may be in having to take another job, but I’m not ready to jump ship, yet. Be nice, though, to find something closer, where I wouldn’t have to crawl through traffic every day and deal with the rest of it…

“I would like for you to read my mind,” she says.

“I would like to be able to read your notes.”

. . .

my mind has several tasks:

– somehow adjust to this environment
– make sense of the nonsensical
– make the best of a bad situation
– strike the match of innovation
– introduce solutions
– achieve higher accuracy
– remain patient

Unstable notes for unstable times

A new disaster for the people [largely neglected… suggests genocide]. The shockwaves are felt. 30,000+, for example, spill into our city, most of which will stay on permanently. Ten minutes away, “Doctors at the Houston Astrodome said Friday they have contained a viral outbreak that caused diarrhea and vomiting in about 700 Katrina evacuees. Forty people remained in quarantine as a precaution.” –The Chicago Tribune

The media spins this disaster around the clock.

I’m walking around with the images in my head. They basically say, “You’re a lucky son of a bitch for not having been there, amidst everything falling apart, all the death, desperation, the brutality.”

They continue to state: this is anarchy! Is it really? Fucking of course not! Anything but!

. . .

Time is passing. Moods up/down. This is the roller coaster of life. The good times, the bad, the tragedies. They throw the mind for a loop. I need time to process. Everyone is screaming specks of blood into my right ear. The bathroom can be one of the only places to go for privacy. Loot that privacy.

By evening, everything has calmed, except for a TV downstairs. I remember back on Bradshaw, Silver Spring, the TV in the background; but it’s all gone now; we’re halfway across the country. That was my grandparent’s house. My grandfather died, my grandmother moved in with my mom. They moved to Waldorf, then to Roanoke…

I never thought I would take decorating so seriously, but here I am, reading about Feng Shui. It’s that ISKCON conditioning that we were always on the move, living out of our suitcases, living in rooms barely unpacked. Well, it is time to unpack. Really settle in. Throw the ugly cardboard boxes away. Make a home for yourself. Remove all the eye sores. Brighten/dim the room to suit your needs. You can exert some control over your atmosphere.

Even if you live only for only five minutes more, a missile splits open your building – was that time making things better for yourself wasted?

So many self-defeating attitudes back there in ISKCON-land. All that talk about the body being as temporary as a night’s stay in a hotel room: if you’re only there for the night, why redecorate the place? Of course a lot of the analogies did not apply, but sounded so profound at the time.

Any moment beyond this one is not promised.

The backbone of it all is to have compassion for others. This is what would legitimize any religion. Which is why I have become a cynic towards it all. Yet somehow I am still open to the paranormal, the idea of UFOs flitting about, even visitations, abductions, and will watch these haunted house documentaries on cable channels. These possibilities seem more exciting. Still, that this is all a lie, nothing is out there, we’re utterly alone, I think is just as possible, fascinating, and a worthy pursuit of understanding.

I love considering it all. I love listening to intelligent people (even if they’re faking it). I love interviews. I love taking these walks with my wife, who tells me something that really adjusts my perspective, helping me to see with greater compassion.

Kanye West: George Bush doesn’t care about black people.