Monday, April 27, 2009


well it kind of hurts
when the kind of words you write
kind of turn
themselves into knives
and don't mind my nerve
you could call it fiction
but i like being submerged
in your contradictions dear
'cause here we are
here we are

--jason mraz

sometimes a book transitions seamlessly from one chapter to the next, with the reader in breathless pursuit.

what happens next? the writer teases.

i don't know, the reader complicitly purrs, but let's find out.

sometimes that's how it works...

* * * * *

by definition, an epiphany is an exciting, wondrous event. you have a moment of clarity and suddenly the pieces of thoughts and ideas and details snap into place and your eyes light up and you say, "wow. this is amazing. everyone, guess what...!"

other times the same sequence produces an entirely different result. the pieces coming together feels like the cold precision of vault doors closing, one after another, in unblinking synchrony. and while you're still left thinking, "of course, it makes perfect sense..." your eyes don't light up and you want to share it with no one. not even yourself.

sometimes that's how that works...

* * * * *

have you ever noticed, at times of unusual stress, that you don't think as clearly as you should? your peripheral vision constricts down to what's immediately in front of your eyeballs, like you're looking through a funnel.

that's when you notice you're not breathing properly, and a deep breath is one that makes it to the top of your lungs, if you remember to breathe at all.

that happens sometimes, too.

* * * * *

fun fact about paranoia: everything -- no matter how innocuous or contradictory or completely unrelated -- confirms your worst fears. corrolary: bad things happen to paranoid people, too, you know.

* * * * *

i don't like drama. it's exhausting. it sucks down time and energy like a black hole. or a black aura.

but sometimes it happens.

Monday, April 20, 2009

veni, vidi, viva...

how'd you like to be a cop in las vegas?

no, this isn't a recruiting post.

there are surely more thankless jobs in the world, but none immediately leap to mind.

outside a militarized mosh pit, where can you find more orchestrated chaos, invited debauchery, promoted drunkenness, and testosterone-propelled knuckle-headedness?

las vegas caters to masses of pent-up people eager to cross lines they might never cross at home. that's what the old "what happens in vegas stays in vegas" campaign told them they could do, anyway. and las vegas's finest are asked to referee this hilarity without antagonizing hoards of besotted bacchantes bankrolling the local economy.

does that job description sound attractive? how much would LVPD have to pay you to make it sound attractive? (it's a rhetorical question.)

the men and women who answer that call must have the patience of the sphinx and the stamina of sisyphus. a regiment of sisyphuses. sisyphii? a bunch of people embued with epic stamina, in any case.

* * * * *

more-thankless job #1: they face many of the same challenges as the LVPD, but they're less well-paid, not to mention unarmed. they're the security team at the las vegas hard rock hotel and casino. their employer puts on what they call 'rehab' parties, the flavor of which would be fabulous as a cable tv project named 'saturnalia gone wild'.

the anarchic premise is described as "Las Vegas' biggest, barest pool party [and] afternoon fleshfest" and it draws swarms of males like bees to macauley culkin.

it also brings in waves of scarcely-attired young women, most of whom are remarkably augmented with the latest in breast technology (or in-breast technology, if you prefer). all precariously balanced atop the tallest stiletto heels not licensed as stilts. i assume, but cannot confirm, that a significant percentage of these nubiles are working girls lending nuance to the clinical definition of 'rehab'.

[sidebar: we might reasonably call theirs "more-thankless job #2".]

affrenzied by loud, herd-driving rock music, the throng funnels through dark corridors that spill out into the glaring desert sunlight above the hard rock pool and gyrating grounds. the romans at their most depraved would have looked on with envy.

constantly circling the perimeter is the phalanx of wary and weary-looking fellows from hard rock security. they're ridiculously short-handed and under-muscled compared to the guests, but like the light brigade, theirs is not to reason why.

what they're looking for is open to debate since it seems everything short of a taser in the pool is acceptable and encouraged behavior.

full disclosure: i'm not in the demographic. i may have never been in the demographic. so it's possible everything described above is grossly mischaracterized. please do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

in the meantime, the las vegas convention and visitors authority would like you to know that "Las Vegas continues to capture the world's imagination as the destination where anything is possible."

i bet the LVPD would concur, if they had the time or the inclination. but while last week's ad hoc hedonists have returned to their regularly scheduled programming, this week's barbarians are at the gate. and the folks who patrol the really bright lines endure.

oh, the zumanity.

Monday, April 06, 2009

lost and found

Some things get lost
some things just disappear
but not my love for you
I'll keep that close and near
some things just fade
like scars and dreams
I got your heart right here with me

-- alice peacock

we pass the marker every day, without really noticing.

it points to the road not taken, and no matter which way we go, we're not on it.

there's a powerful allure pulling us "thataway," and why not, after all? that way is untarnished by disappointment, and so full of promise.

twenty-five years ago, if i had it to do over, i'd have gone to australia. or whistler. or the cayman islands. i'd have taken some job, any job really, making just enough to live there and soak up the exotic for awhile.

visiting such places these days, i see lots of kids who are doing exactly that. i look at them wistfully and think, yes, that's certainly what i would've done, back in the day, if i had the chance.

or would i, really? one change, at any point along the way, and the entire sequence of events that we blithely think of as 'our life' falls apart. which means i never would've met mrs. spaceneedl, that the little needls would blink out of existence, and i'd be a completely different person.

what road-not-taken would be worth that? the answer, for me, is that there isn't one.

but what would you change? what risk would you take to get off this road, and onto that one? the answer is twofold:

1. you can do it any time you like and
2. you'll never know

because no matter how many times you change lanes, you're still in the one you're in, and not a different one. ain't it a wild ride?

and you may ask yourself
what is that beautiful house?
and you may ask yourself
where does that highway lead to?
and you may ask yourself
am i right? am i wrong?
and you may say to yourself
my god! what have i done?

-- david byrne

let's say, hypothetically, that a friend of mine works for the seattle fire department. and let's assume, theoretically, that he thinks i'd be a good fit there. while we're at it, just for fun, let's take it one step further and say i'd even consider such a thing.

there's an allure there, i have to admit. i like the idea of the sfd. i respect the mission, and i admire the people who do the work.

and, like everyone in the history of people, there are days i look around and think, how did i get here? and, just generally, wtf?

so, where would a crazy new road lead? is it too late to consider, too drastic to even ponder?

of course it is.

then again, who's to say what's too crazy?

You said you'd realized in life
that chances pass you by
and what you thought was yours
slowly fades before your eyes
and part of growing up
is that you can't go back in time
you have to live with your regrets
and things you leave behind

-- alice peacock