OVERHEARD on the #7 HAIGHT BUS
(Scene: Crowded #7 bus on Market Street. A young fellow in a light blue t-shirt and red windbreaker is sitting across from me. A large, grizzled, yet jolly-looking man in a knit cap (bearing a remarkable resemblance to Cheech Marin) plops down next to him.)
"Hey man, you smoke dope?" he asked the young fellow in a low, gritty voice.
Looking out of the corners of his eyes, but not turning his head, the young guy responded, "Yeah I don't need any."
"Heh heh heh," the older man chuckled. "Well, I don't have
ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?
I shot this short video of Point Reyes Light Station during Mom's visit in June. It takes some time to load, and once it does, I had to click "REFRESH" to get it to play. But it's a lovely video - with a beautiful, lonesome foghorn. Turn your sound up!
It was a spectacular day, in a remote spot way out on the edge of the continent.CLICK HERE
to view the video.
BOSS of the YEAR
I took a dumb religion quiz, to see how it would try to peg me. It was dumb because the questions were poorly worded and leading. I don't encourage you to take it.
But here was my result:Pagan/OccultistDo what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Spending your entire life searching various forms of philosophy and religion, you choose to observe everything and believe little. You're personality is one of truth seeking, nature respecting and god/goddess accepting. Lastly, you don't judge anyone, but if annoyed, you will exact some form of revenge. You don't believe in the Three-Fold Law.
I don't even know what the Three-Fold law is... and I'm real sure I'm not a pagan. But the funny thing is, that description otherwise pegs me pretty damn spot on.
So, while I'm thinking about it, what do I believe? Well, I'm of the belief that it doesn't matter what you believe.
Religion, for me,
is a way of making sense of the universe and how it works - and a way to understand my place in it. In other words, it is an attempt to understand an ultimate Truth that fully incorporates everything, from nothing (zero) to myself (one) to everything (infinity). But I think that there is a truth for everyone, and that truth is an individual truth, and that there are as many truths as there are living beings in this world. Your
Truth lies in your heart, and only you can know it. Your
Truth holds the secret of who you are and your place in the universe.
Truth/God/Self - that is the trinity I believe in.
Why do I believe this? Because for most of my life I held beliefs I learned from others. I believed things that were so untrue for me, to believe them was to believe there was no place in this universe for me. I searched for answers, but in looking to others, there were no answers, just the confirmation that the world had no place for me - unless I changed. And I tried. And I prayed, because that's what I was told to believe in. But I didn't change.
And when I had lost hope completely, I heard a voice. And for the first time, I listened to it. It asked me, "Why do you question my creation? Do you think I have not made you exactly how I want you to be? Look inside yourself and know the Truth. Trust that I have made you good. Accept my creation, and learn to love it. Stop killing yourself trying to change, and be what I've made you to be, and know that it is beautiful."
That voice was my Truth speaking to me. The voice of God, that voice was my own voice,
inside me. For I am the creation of my Self, and it is all I have to trust in. So I stopped listening to others, and started listening to my self, trusting what I knew in my heart.
My entire life changed. Things began to make sense, and I discovered what it felt like to be happy. Gradually, through much difficulty, I was able to accept love and the idea that people could love me (I mean, the real
me, not the person I had pretended to be for two dozen years). Eventually, I was able to feel and express love myself.
The truth was inside me all along. And I don't question it any more. It is what I know is right, for me. And I know that is all that matters.
There aren't words for my ultimate Truth. I can't express, describe, or verbalize mine for anyone else to wholly understand. Just as a photograph can not capture the experience of standing on a warm beach under a blazing sunset, you can't tell your Truth to someone else, or take someone else's for your own. Too much is lost in the transfer - and the more you try to record, rewrite, translate, and study the truths of others, the farther from your Truth you actually stray. I could photograph my sunset for you to view, and you could make a photocopy for someone else, and eventually there would be nothing even remotely recognizable about my sunset anymore.
So, it doesn't matter what I believe. I have been guided - by my Truth, God, my Self - to simply trust what I know. So I trust the Truth within me, and be. That's how I share my sunset.
Take the quiz, if you must: "WHAT RELIGION BESTS SUITS YOU?"(If you think I'm going to Hell, please send me $100. Thank you.)
QUESTIONS of INTEREST
"If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates." - White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, Oct. 7, 2003.
Today, President Bush backpedaled a tad on that pledge, stating anyone whom the investigation proved had committed a crime
by leaking classified information would be fired.
What a great boss! Can you imagine how great it must be to work for this guy? I could be as dishonest, negligent, inept, and careless as I please, and as long as nobody proved
I committed a crime,
my job would be secure!
In fact, I might just get promoted!
OVERHEARD in SAN FRANCISCO
On July 7, London was shaken by a series of terrorist bombings. As of this posting, the death toll stands at 55. The media responded with 24-hour coverage, timelines, maps, images, personal video footage, and of course, slick, provocative title graphics, complete with musical scores, instilling fear and rivaling some movie previews, declaring "Mayhem in Britain," "London Carnage," and "Terror in London."
This relatively small graphic is from CNN's web site.
Now, since the United States began its war with Iraq, it is estimated that as many as 37,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, with more conservative estimates at around 23,000 (Source: BBC and Iraq Body Count)
. Some of these deaths were the direct result of our military actions - bombs we dropped and weapons we fired. Many others have died due to the terrorism that plagues the nation in the wake of the political instablitiy resulting from the war.
A sample of recent events in the city of Baghdad:
23 killed at kebab restaurant, June 19
8 killed at bus station, June 22
11 (at least) killed by car bombs at restaurants, June 22
20 killed in marketplace, July 2
3 adults and 24 children killed as soldiers hand out candy, July 13(Source: Iraq Body Count)
This past week alone, 170 civilians were victims of terrorism
in Baghdad. Take a moment, now, to imagine that these news items are describing events that took place this week in the city or town you live in.
These are just numbers. But these numbers illustrate that the media can provide accurate information without providing accurate perspective.
Of course, England is our ally. I have friends from England, and friends in London. Many of us do. As our ally, we understandably share their grief in this time of tragedy, and the media has an obligation to be thorough in its coverage.
But, I have neighbors from Iraq, with family in Baghdad. And I ask, is Iraq our ally now?
I think we'd all agree that providing accurate information
is the media's responsibility. But, should the media be responsible for providing accurate perspective, as well? Is it even possible?
As much as I fault the media for not providing accurate perspective, I also acknowledge that it would likely be impossible to do so. Knowing this, do I use the media effectively and appropriately? Or does it use me?
Pop Quiz: Do you know where Darfur is?
In the Darfur region of Sudan, 500,000 villagers have been murdered in the past 2 years. The death toll continues to rise at a rate of 1,500 per month.
I searched for more information on this ongoing tragedy, but unlike the London Bombings and our war in Iraq, there are far fewer news reports from which to draw information. Is this a lack of media access? Or interest?
The media's interest in an issue is a variable that directly affects our access and exposure to the news it covers. What is the media's interest? Are we the media's audience (or its consumers, or its market, or its populace, or its flock
does the media have in influencing our access and exposure to its product? What role do we
play in influencing the product the media offers? And is there a conflict of interest(s)?
What is your
relationship with the media?
Sunday, Outside Zeitgeist Bar, Valencia and 14th Street:
(Scene: I'm crossing Valencia Street in front of Zeitgeist. A man in leopardskin creepers
is standing in Zeitgeist's doorway. Crossing the street directly in front of me, is another man wearing very ragged and worn shoes full of holes.)
Man in Creepers: Dude, go shopping - time for some new shoes!
Dude in ragged shoes, pointing to the creepers: Yeah whatever, I used to wear THOSE back in 1984!
Man in creepers, stepping out of doorway and calling after him: Your mom likes 'em!
I went to Nebraska in June to visit family and get my yearly "home" fix. I love Nebraska in June; there are fewer places more beautiful.
While mid-continent, Jay and I drove to Kansas to visit my dad and to rendezvous with his parents, who had driven up from Oklahoma. They delivered us Jay's Grandma's old car, which she'd gifted to us. It's a 1987 Oldsmobile Delta 88. We named her "Puddin' in a Cloud."
If you could drive a marshmallow, this is what it would be like.
Jay flew home, and after taking Jay to the airport, I set out in Puddin' on a cross-country drive, with Mom as my co-pilot. After a four-day drive, we arrived in San Francisco. She stayed with us for a few days before flying back home to Nebraska.
And by then, I was ready for things to get back to normal, after three weeks and about 5,000 miles of driving. But it turns out, I've had a hard time adjusting to "normal." I've felt kind of empty. Dissatisfied. A little depressed. Sometimes sad. Prone to thinking - usually, introspection.
I've been worrying that I didn't appreciate all the time I spent at home, visiting family, and driving with my mom. Not enough,
I mean. The whole time I was home, there was something next.
It's so easy to occupy my mind preparing for what's next
at the expense of what I have at the moment. And the moment might be really special, but it's over in a flash and I've had my chance. And then I look back and all I see are the chances I've missed, the moments I should have appreciated, and I can't wish them back - I can only wish. And time spent wishing...
Is it possible to appreciate my grandma as much as she deserves to be appreciated? Or my new baby cousin?
Why did I waste my time arguing with my dad about something I don't even care about?
How do I know if I've valued my time with Jay, until I've put him on a plane and I'm alone?
When will I ever get to spend such precious time with my mother again? And why didn't it hit me until I watched her disappear through the doors of the airline terminal?
On our drive, Mom and I read each day from a book titled "Attitudes of Gratitude." It claims you gain joy from expressing and feeling gratitude for the experiences you have and the people in your life. Despite these daily reminders, the moments flew by, and there was always something next to think about, the next photograph, the next pit stop, the next exit.
But I can't spend all my time appreciating... To appreciate things in the moment, I must separate myself from the moment to examine it - and I lose a bit of the moment in the process. Some
of the appreciation has to come later. And some of it will eventually become nostalgia.
I hope I at least created enough memories that I can continue, for many years, to appreciate what I had these past few weeks. I will remember the time spent with all my family for the rest of my life. And I'll try not to waste too much time wishing it back.
Mom and I each kept a road trip journal. I don't think they turned out quite the way we imagined! But I'm posting mine here to accompany my gallery of photos.14 June 2005I-76 milemarker 165
- We've traded Nebraska's cottonwoods, Russian olives, and bluebells for Colorado's yucca and purple sage. Puddin' in a Cloud's sailing down the asphalt like ambrosia (if I may use a whipped dessert to desribe the behavior of a car named after another whipped dessert).
Mom's taken the wheel for this segment of the journey - perhaps to command Puddin' all the way to Denver, where we'll visit my little brother Wade and his gal, Deb.
The sky is streaked with jet vapor trails,
and our windshield with bug entrails.15 June 2005I-70 milemarker 235
- Overheard at Idaho Springs gas station:"I misdid the math."
(You misdid the English, too, buddy)I-70 milemarker 225
- Passed a scruffy looking mountain goat grazing by the side of the road. (I didn't get a photo, but in lieu of that, I googled "Scruffy Mountain Goat" and found this:)
"Service Engine Soon" light came on, then went out.I-70 milemarker 188
- Elevation 10,662 ft.
Approaching Eagle, Colorado, this rocky road cuts through cliffs that rise above us like giant slices of cherry pie. The bushes are cupcakes on the low hills.16 June 2005Torrey, UT
- One word: "OMIGOD!"
Highway 24 in Utah is probably the most beautiful drive I have ever taken. Not only was the scenery stunning, there was a stunning variety of colors and landscapes that changed at nearly every crest or bend in the road. At times, the white marshmallow clouds bore pink underbellies, reflecting the red and white peppermint swirl of the soil. Then, suddenly, we'd pass beneath gigantic jagged boulders looming over the road like huge chunks of caramel. I noticed a feature on the map, just a few miles north of here, has been named "Big Rock Candy Mountain."
I don't know how many times Mom and I scraped to a sudden stop because of the photo opportunities we'd come upon. Then we approached a roadsign that read, "Scenic views next 14 miles."
Wha?! And here, we'd been wasting our time photographing the non-scenic stuff. How embarrassing! What a couple of Yahoos we must have looked like.
Passing through Capitol Reef National Park, we took a short hike to see petroglyphs that had been scratched into the red cliff walls. Some of the drawings, though vaguely human, bore distinctly non-human features - -perhaps depicting mythological creatures or alien visitors?
By the time we reached Torrey, and the motel we'd reserved, I said to mom, "I've had just about all the spectacular scenery I can take!"
In fact, we decided right then to skip Bryce Canyon and press on to Yosemite, with the hope of arriving in San Francisco a day earlier. Today, we will see how that works out for us.
Last night I dreamed that we had entered our mayonnaise in a mayonnaise contest. (For a full description of this dream - read "A Green Ribbon For My Mayonnaise"
on MindScrapes (mindscrapes.blogspot.com). However, I felt that we should have invented a guacamole
-flavored mayonnaise, rather than a chicken-flavored mayonnaise. "We should have invented Guacamayo," I said.
It occurs to me now (that I am awake) that a dessert mayonnaise would have been more appropriate - perhaps a line of mayonnaise ice-cream toppings, for example.
And thus concludes my road-trip journal. I've posted a photo gallery from our cross-country drive:
to view the large-format slideshow (with arrows to navigate between photos).
to view a smaller format (with thumbnails).Enjoy!