Art in a time of darkness

marvel-dc-and-the-art-of-darkness-8I have been frustrated for a long time.

As long as I can remember, in fact.

In my youth, I listened to angry music to feel something.

In my early 20s, I rebelled against the politics of the evangelical conservatism I was raised in.

In my 30s, I was too tired to remember what I was frustrated by, but it was there underneath the surface and in the music I listened to with my headphones in the garage on Saturdays when I had a few minutes to myself.

Now I’m in my 40s, and the frustration is out in the open, where I wear it plainly.  Continue reading Art in a time of darkness

Gym Notes: Priviledge 

Something splendid happened at the gym this morning. As I got myself situated on the treadmill, I looked up to see that one of the televisions on the wall of televisions in front of me was tuned into an episode of “The Simpsons” instead of Fox News.

I watched, read the subtitles and listened to my music during what turned out to be a blissful first 20 minutes of my run.

It was an episode about behavior drugs for kids, wherein Bart tests a new drug that is supposed to help him concentrate.

As always, the animation and satirical brilliance shined, and I laughed at the silliness of society.

And then society struck back.  Continue reading Gym Notes: Priviledge 

Fidel

I looked up into the thick Havana air at the brightly-lit poster on the wall of an old, stone government building.

Viva Fidel 80

The old revolutionary was somewhere in this town in a compound contemplating his retirement announcement, which would happen just a few days later on my last day in Cuba.

The old man didn’t really even make it out for his 80th birthday celebration, and his thin and frail image on television barely registered in a country where his black-bearded and green fatigues image is as ubiquitous as the Cuban flag.  Continue reading Fidel

The Sky is Falling

nero-on-throneIs this what America’s life looks like as it flashes before its eyes?

Like opening and closing my eyes to reveal the chaotic scene of The Great Fire of Rome and Nero dancing and singing as the flames spread from the Circus through the narrow streets below.

Or maybe I’m tired and it’s later still, the middle 400s, Rome has no emperor. Only enemies. Enemies it has hired or enslaved, who now destroy the city in their cold revenge.

Are we on a precipice? Eternally compared to the greatest Empire the world has ever known. Twins unable to escape eachother’s orbit or trajectories.

You can almost hear the echoes of their voices off the marbled walls through time itself.

“Let’s make Rome great again.”  Continue reading The Sky is Falling

Sliver: Chapter 1 (The Cullings)

NGC 5907 galaxy
NGC 5907 galaxy

Somewhere around the turn of the 21st Century, the world of man imploded. From what I gather, it had been intent on doing so for the better part of two centuries, which is how humans depicted chunks of time that consisted of 100 years, a year being 365 days, a day being 24 hours, an hour being 60 minutes, a minute being 60 seconds and so forth.

Growing up, I wished to know what life was like before our time. All permanent records were lost, but not the impermanent records in the minds of the very ancient ones.

But they would not speak of that time. The story of man was no longer passed down from generation to generation.

A generation of people who knew the stories of the time that came before silenced themselves for the sake of those of us who came after. Continue reading Sliver: Chapter 1 (The Cullings)

I leave it up to you

Joy

Omakase is a Japanese word that means to entrust. As in, I leave it upto you.

It’s a culinary tradition wherein the chef chooses the courses based on what is inspiring to him or her.

Entrusting someone is hard work. It’s casting aside all your cares and worries and believing that the person you’ve entrusted will at least meet your expectations, if not surpass them.

A week after one of the worst elections in my lifetime, if not US history, my friend Aaron put together an Omakase gathering for sixteen guests. Continue reading I leave it up to you

evitcepsreP yM gnignahC

Changing your evitcepsrep is all about exposing yourself to new views
Changing your evitcepsrep is all about exposing yourself to new views
It’s been a challenge to change my perspective this week.

I’ve been coming at this from one angle since all hell broke loose on Tuesday night.

Finding the negatives lying around on the floor, picking them up, weighing them, and then moving on to the next one.  Continue reading evitcepsreP yM gnignahC

A Hard Walk

These slopes are impossibly steep, impressively rugged and home to the mythical chukar

I once ran a marathon in almost the same time it took me to walk up a hill in search of small gamebirds known as chukars.

Chukars are mythical little creatures, undoubtedly the inspiration for wingsuit flying and possibly the Phoenix.

Originally brought to Oregon from India in the 1950s, they live on hillsides with slopes that seem to defy mathematics, they can run up hill faster than any hunter can go, and they dart away suddenly, as if carried away by the very hands of the gods.

I’ve perspired before. It’s a skill I’m rather gifted at, in fact. I rained down on those parched eastern Oregon slopes, and all the water from the turbulent Deschutes River a thousand feet below me couldn’t quench my thirst.

My colleague David has been telling me about chukar hunting since I started working at ODFW more than a year ago. Continue reading A Hard Walk

Trump is president and Leonard Cohen is Dead

I was killing time at my best friend’s condo in PDX tonight, waiting for the protests to die down when the news of Leonard Cohen’s death broke.

My friend didn’t know who he was, so I played “Hallelujah” on Spotify for him and his kids.

Of course they only know the Jeff Buckley version, or, more realistically, the John Cale version from “Shreck,” but my point was made.

The man whose lyrics I read more than I ever listened to is dead at 82.

And Trump was in the White House today.

Continue reading Trump is president and Leonard Cohen is Dead

A Day Removed

Like many Americans, I woke up sick to my stomach.

Did that just happen? Did we just put a tax-dodging, racist misogynist in the White House to spite the establisment?

It sunk in as my daughter came down the stairs and asked me tentatively, “Did Hillary win?”

I’m sure she already knew from the despondent look on my face.

It was soul crushing to answer her.

I gagged as I said the words.

“No, honey, Donald Trump is the president elect.”

Even now, that has an absurd quality to it I can’t process.

Continue reading A Day Removed

"THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE, AND AFTERWARD, SOME ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES." – HEMINGWAY