Sunday, December 28, 2008

Update

They stopped the flooding by shutting down the water. But, of course, everything is still wet and the apartment is not really somewhere a person could live, so Denise is staying at a hotel. Pain in the ass.

We went over, brought her chinese food, drank a few beers and played Settlers of Catan while the Sound of Music droned in the background.

Well, Crap

Just called Courtney at her mom's house, and this is what I hear (all frantic)-

"Hello? Hello? Ty? Listen, we've got a really bad situation over here. Can you hear that? We've got water just pouring down the walls, the mirror just fell down, mom's bed is soaked and all her clothes- A water pipe blew out in the apartment above hers and now it's just pouring down! I'll call you back later-"

So, here I am, without transport while my wife and her mother play dutch-boy at the dike or whatever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pictures of the house






Here are some pictures of the new house - and the tree!! $15 at the Flea Market. Super duper deal.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dancin' baby

Bryce rocks out to Flight of the Conchords.

Actually, this is posted by Courtney
video

Bonus video! More rockin!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shilling

Hey, so if you look over on the left, you should see a picture of Forgotten Albuquerque the book! Don't see it? It's there, right under "contributors". Still don't see it? Well, maybe you should turn off your AdBlocker, Mr. Commie-Obama-Voter! Your guy's still only a President-Elect, so we've got until January 20th before capitalism stops working and our great country becomes a backwater third-world Soviet satellite state. Anyway, turn off the AdBlocker and take note-

If you want to buy my book, consider using the link over there. It throws a little extra cash my way, and lord knows Bryce has to eat. You don't want Bryce to starve, do you? Take a look at those videos of him down there, think about that cute guy having to eat shoe leather for breakfast. Terrible thought, isn't it? So do him a favor and buy 30 copies of my book, using that link over there. Do it for Bryce, do it for America.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oh, hey!

Forgotten Albuquerque now has an Amazon entry! You can even pre-order it!

Here! Buy ten!

Bryce Walks! Not really.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sarah Palin Educates Americans as to Realities of Turkey Slaughter

File this under Bad Ideas: For some reason Sarah Palin decided that the best place to hold a televised interview was right in front of an in-use turkey slaughtering bench. Warning: contains graphic footage of several turkeys being killed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Would Be In Exile Now, But Everywhere's the Same

Here's an oddity. One of the last songs Phil Ochs wrote was about John Train, his violent alter-ego. It seems to have been written in 1975, though it was never recorded. After allowing "John Train" to destroy his life, Ochs hanged himself in 1976.

The Ballad of John Train

Phil Ochs checked into the Chelsea Hotel,
There was blood on his clothes and they were dirty.
I could see by his face he was not feeling well,
He'd been to one too many parties.
He walked in the lobby a picture of doom,
It was plain to see he'd been a-drinkin'
I had to follow him up to his room,
To find out what he was thinking
"Train, Train, Train"
From the outlaw in his brain
But he's still the same refrain

He walked in his room and he fell on the floor
Hanging in his hangover
Now the act from the stage he plays on the street
Handing out piles of money
His audience now is the bums that he meets
Is he a phony or funny?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ballad of John Train


"I'd heard through channels that Ochs had only recently come off a severe and protracted manic – in fact, psychotic – episode that had lasted many months. During that time he'd changed his name to "John Train," announced that Train had murdered Phil Ochs, and threatened violence to anyone who called him by any other name but Train. At the start of this period, Train had performed a drunken, dispirited and embarrassing "Phil Ochs Farewell Performance" at Gerdes. Not long after, he opened a bar on Broome Street called Che – after the revolutionary – which quickly went bust, costing Ochs the last of his life savings. Train – Ochs's "Mr. Hyde" – did not seem to care about that, or any other misfortune that might befall the dead folksinger. The delusional Train planned myriad illusory projects. "Train [said] he was going to produce a movie version of Billy the Kid better than all the other versions combined. Elvis Presley was set to play Pat Garrett; Bobby Dylan, Billy the Kid," writes Ochs biographer Marc Eliot. In the final scene, Elvis would gun-down Dylan.

"Soon Train, penniless, was banned from the Village apartments of Ochs's old pals, including Dave Van Ronk, who thought him downright dangerous. Van Ronk was right. At one point, Train physically attacked another friend of Ochs's, Wendy Winstead. Train beat her in the head with a telephone and then picked her up and threw her against a refrigerator.

"Train spent nights sleeping in alleys and days trying to find bars where he was still welcome. He'd embarrassed himself and caused trouble in so many that doors were closed nearly everywhere. Porco would let him in, but Train – wielding a hammer – nearly ruined that when he said he'd kill the proprietor after Porco mixed a purposely light drink for the ill-tempered alcoholic.

"At one point, Jerry Rubin convinced Train to place himself in a mental hospital. Train departed the place in less than 24-hours and spent a night sleeping in the boiler room of the Chelsea Hotel. After eventually making it to L.A., Train walked around for a time in the all gold, sequined suit Ochs had worn to further outrage folkies at his electric Carnegie Hall show in March of 1970. The suit was stained with vomit. Once again, Train was homeless. He showed up at Peter Asher's house in Beverly Hills and managed to bum a hundred dollars.

"On the coast, Train continued to concoct fantasies and believe them. He told all those who would listen that he was a member of the CIA. He also said he'd recently spent a night in a Los Vegas jail-cell with Howard Hughes and the dead Bobby Kennedy. Amid this, he was planning a "Save New York City" concert that would feature not only Bobby Dylan but Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Leonard Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic – all on a marvelous rotating stage at Shea Stadium.

"Train was dead by the time Phil showed up at Porco's party. Ochs was Ochs once more. Just as pathetic, weary, overweight and ill – but Ochs, hanging with Bobby Neuwirth, David Blue, Joan Baez and Dylan – every one of them but Ochs a part of the newly formed Rolling Thunder enterprise. A film crew followed Dylan around, shooting some moments that would eventually find their way into Renaldo and Clara. I was already fairly fuzzy when I went up to Dylan. I reminded him we'd met before, and where. He said "Sure, I remember. How's Pete?" After a few words of my muddled response, Dylan patted me on the arm: "Well, alright." Then he moved on.

"Dylan and Baez launched the party with a nostalgic set: 1963 all over again. Dylan wore a large white cowboy hat. As soon as he stepped off the stage, a grinning Phil lifted the hat off Dylan's head and donned it himself. Phil wore the hat for the rest of the evening. The party went on and on, set after set, liquor flowing. Ochs didn't play until about 4 in the morning. I remember that at one point he invited Dylan to join him but Dylan, somewhat drunk himself by that time, declined. Despite being demolished, Phil turned in a pretty good performance as I recall, playing on a borrowed guitar, and talking more than singing his songs. But then I was not positioned to recall much. . .

"A few days later I was downtown once again, playing at Malachy McCourt's marvelous bar The Bells of Hell. I was not far into my set when Phil – whom I'd evidently informed of the gig, although I didn't remember doing so – wandered into the back of the room, taking me by surprise. He looked just as disheveled as he had previously, but was smiling and gave me a wave.

"Later on, after my set, we sat across the table from each other and drank. Unlike at Porco's party, where his mood had seemed good throughout the long evening, the booze this night quickly made Phil sullen and petulant. He damn near erupted into violence when a passerby happened to brush against him where he sat; and he scowled bitterly when the music and laughing in the tavern made it hard for us to hear each other. I probably would have been quite elevated, having the opportunity to get loaded with one of my heroes, except I'd by then seen just enough of Phil to realize he wasn't my hero any more. He was just a sad story. Still, I sensed that it was not his fault. A nagging whisper told me that Ochs was a victim of a beast larger than himself. Fate, I thought at the time. There but for fortune. But now, looking back, I realize it was something far more ominous than mere fate. It was biochemistry.

"Ochs complained to me that Seeger hated him, that he could no longer write songs, and that his voice was shot. He also said "the bastard John Train" had burned all of his – Ochs's – bridges, leaving him stranded and abandoned in desolate territory, with no means of escape. I told him I thought tunes like "Changes," "Miranda," "Crucifixion," "When I'm Gone," and "No More Songs" were masterpieces destined to echo for a very long time, unlike Phil's or anyone else's topical material. He told me even his best songs could not save him now, and that "No More Songs" was the truest thing he'd ever written. There would be no more songs. He'd hit an artistic brick wall. The muse had fled from him. Maybe he'd have to chase it down with a shotgun, "just like Hemingway."

"Ochs had no money. I paid for our drinks. We both put away quite a bit. We wound up closing the place. (Later on, I wondered if his appearance at my gig was just a calculated move contrived to achieve an evening of free liquor. This is possible.) Outside, I hailed a cab for the two of us. Phil directed me to a rather seedy transient hotel where he got out and said goodnight. I continued on to a friend's apartment, where I'd arranged to crash on a couch. I never saw Ochs again. He hung himself at his sister's house in Far Rockaway five months later. " - Ed Renehan

Seems like only yesterday
I climbed aboard the plane
Drinking distance in the sky,
while diving in champagne
I would be in exile now,
but everywhere's the same
Ticket home
I want a ticket home

-Phil Ochs One Way Ticket Home

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cry It Out

He used to sleep so well. He used to get drowsy, and we'd put him down, and he'd go to sleep, and that was that. Unfortunately, times appear to have changed.
Bryce now fights sleep. The instant we lay him down in his crib, he freaks out. Like I said, this didn't happen before... I can only guess that it's at least partially a result of object permanence. At any rate, we get screaming fits now when we put him down. For a while we would sit in there with him and that calmed him, but that stopped being effective after about a week.
Now, in order to get him to take a nap or go to sleep at night, we seem to be stuck with Cry-It-Out. This is something I really resisted, and I tried EVERYthing else - nursing him, rocking him, singing, car rides. In the long run I probably created more problems for him, since the "routine" changed too often.
But, now we have consistently a bath, a change to PJs, Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Bryce, and to bed! The hollering typically goes on for 20 - 45 minutes, but on bad days he can keep it up for an hour. The instant I put him down, he rolls to his tummy, gets on his hands and knees, and pulls himself up, screaming all the while. Initally we tried holding him down, but that just felt like a really bad idea, so we started to leave the room and go back every 5 minutes/10 minutes/ 15 minutes.
I feel horrible. I hate hearing him cry so much. And articles like this one don't really help me feel better about it. On the other hand, he has GOT to nap, and we have GOT to get things done around the house while he's asleep. At night, it's important for us to have some time together sans kiddo. I don't consider this selfish but necessary for our relationship.
Still, I really hope that I'm not causing any serious damage here. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike- Seabrook Afterward

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever hit the United States. It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season...


As I've mentioned a few times, my mother's house in Seabrook, Texas got walloped by Ike. Fortunately, she had the good sense to evacuate, and was never in any danger. However, she still had to come home to a mess of apocalyptic proportions. She and her boyfriend Mike have been working nonstop to try and get the house back to a livable condition since they returned in late September, and it's been an endless headache. She finally had a bit of time to send me some pictures detailing the damage, both to her house and the surrounding area. I'll be posting a number of them over the next week or so-

I'm going to start with some pictures of the Seabrook destruction in general. These places are all much worse off than my mother's.

seabrook house door

Not sure where this house is. Looks like nailing those boards up didn't help very much.

toddville house 2

This is a house on Toddville Road, which runs right along Galveston Bay. The houses on Toddville suffered the worst of the damage.

near asha's

Because of the danger of storm surges, almost all the houses on Toddville are on stilts. Something you may not realize when you look at this picture: A friend of my family's used to live right next door to the home shown here. Their house is now completely gone.

toddville house
Unfortunately, a house on stilts can be blown down.

broken house

Jeeze. The perils of coastal living, I guess. I certainly hope that no one was in this house when this happened.

I feel a considerable disconnect looking at these pictures. I recognize the locations, but it seems impossible that this could have happened in the town I grew up in.

Next time, I'll have a few pictures from further inland.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Nicknames for Bryce

Burrito
Babykins
Da Kinz
Kins
Monkey
Brycey-boy
Boy-O

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'll Finish the Week

with another single sentence post.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All Hail

President Black Hussein Anti-Christ!

NaNoWriMo

Well, there it is, I'm doing it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scenes from Bannerland

A baby picture? On this site?


Bryce's new favorite activity: pulling himself to standing and bobbling around until he falls backwards.





Our friend May designs a cat-o'-lantern at our 2nd annual pumpkin carving party.


We stopped by Johnson Field to see our friend Barack Obama on Saturday.

Oh look! There he is! Just us, him and 45,000 of his New Mexican supporters. Very intimate. Makes me miss my 3rd Party days- At a Nader rally you can pretty much sit on Ralph's lap.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Voted

The worst part about absentee ballot voting is that you don't get an "I Voted!" sticker.



Not my dog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I have a happy son


I don't know whether all babies are this happy and outgoing, but I sure do feel lucky that Bryce is. Things he really loves this month: taking baths in the real bath tub (rather than the plastic infant tub), going for walks to the grocery store in the Moby wrap, smiling at any and all people (he particularly loves flirting with surly teenage boys), and touching the dogs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain Campaign Resorts to Despicable Theft

In what is perhaps the most depraved and desperate act of attempted political sabotage to date, the Albuquerque chapter of the John McCain Presidential Campaign engaged in outright theft on or about the evening of October 14th. Yes, the rumors are true, and I have found myself at the epicenter of an election season scandal sure to have rippling effects throughout this important battleground state, and thus the country as a whole.

They stole my motherfucking Obama sign.

I'm not sure who did it exactly, but I'm fairly certain that it was either John McCain himself, or his evil harpy henchwoman, Sarah Palin. They had the motive, they had the opportunity. As far as I know, neither one has an alibi. I mean, sure if I did some kind of "research" or "googled it" or whatever I could probably find some sure-to-be-made=up story about a speech one of them gave somewhere or a fundraiser or debate preparation or blah-blah-blah, but come on! Who can't see through those flimsy excuses?

Besides, just look at the guy-

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Abort it's no good!

So, I guess Tina Fey has a competitor. I present to you, La Pequena Sarah Palin!

Um... Fair warning: This is the stuff of nightmares. But the good nightmares where you wake up screaming and then wind up laughing. And then you just sort of feel worried all day. And vaguely nauseous.

October 15

The man who is traveling and does not yet know the city awaiting him along his route wonders what the palace will be like, the barracks, the mill, the theater, the bazaar. In every city of the empire every building is different and set in a different order: but as soon as the stranger arrives at the unknown city and his eye penetrates the pine cone of pagodas and garrets and haymows, following the scrawl of canals, gardens, rubbish heaps, he immediately distinguishes which are the princes' palaces, the high priests' temples, the tavern, the prison, the slum. This- some say- confirms the hypothesis that each man bears in his mind a city made only of differences, a city without figures and without form, and the individual cities fill it up.

Italo Calvino was born 85 years ago today. He died in 1985 at 62.

In vain, great-hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past: the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper's swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen's nuptial procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of a guttering and a cat's progress along it as he slips into the same window; the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering; the rips in the fish net and the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredeth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen's illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock.

As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the bannisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.


From Invisible Cities

Friday, October 10, 2008

October Country

When I was very young, perhaps pre-Kindergarten age, I checked out a record album of scary stories from the local library. The stories on that album were- and I'm not engaging in hyperbole here- absolutely the most frightening tales I have ever heard, before or since. I couldn't stand to listen to the whole thing. I was terrified that the album was in the same room with me as I tried to sleep that night.

I don't remember any of the stories that were on it, except one-

It began, "There once was a hill that ate people."

The name of the hill was Garglemouth.

The hero of the story was a rabbit.

Dogs don't understand algebra

And I don't understand the economy.

As the Dow takes another plunge, I once again encounter a frustrating fact: I have no idea what's going on. I mean, I know all the pat answers about subprimes and housing markets and derivatives etc, but I don't really understand any of it in anything but the most simplistic terms.

I take comfort... er, no... I am horrified to find that I am not alone in this.

George Soros, the prominent financier, avoids using the financial contracts known as derivatives “because we don’t really understand how they work.”

We're all doomed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Phonecalls from Seabrook

So, Mom's back in Seabrook, has been for about two weeks now... It's pretty horrific, apparently. Ike hit Seabrook particularly hard, with the storm surge some 17-20 feet high. High enough that it flooded Mom's house, at 12 ft above sea level, with several feet of water.

Salt water is pretty corrosive, nasty stuff. The floor boards are warped beyond repair, and she had to spend the past weekend hurriedly moving all of her belongings out of the house so that contractors could begin ripping out the floor this week. Of course, FEMA has been typically lax with providing her any kind of shelter. Maybe they'll set her up in an apartment next week, maybe not. In the meantime they're stuck in the Seabrook house with a non functioning air conditioner (a big deal on the Coast, even in early October,) no stove, no furniture except for the bed, intermittently working telephone lines etc.

She fared better than many in Seabrook. As I mentioned before, the house is on something of a hill, a grand 12 feet above sea level, the coast equivalent of a lofty mountaintop, and only a few feet of water got in. Others, closer to the coast weren't so lucky.

This house, for instance, is representative of the fate of many on Toddville Road, just a few hundred feet from my mother's.




Here's another from Toddville, in case you doubt the destructive power of a 20 foot wall of water.

These photos were taken by a friend of the family, a guy named Chris Kuhlman. There are other, similar photos on his site, so go check it out. Don't have any pictures of Mom's house yet, when I get some I'll post them.

Of course, what happened to Seabrook is small potatoes compared to Galveston. Our friend Stephanie, who sometimes comments here as Zan, evacuated from her house on the Island and is now having to deal with the aftermath of an apocalypse. She's blogging about the recovery process at 26 Days Later. It's a time of uncertainty and chaos for so many people out there. My heart is with them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Boring

All I read about is how dull the debate last night was. Am I the only one who found the lack of the usual theatrics somewhat refreshing?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Joe Six Pack Comix!

It would probably be unworkable, because "Joe Six Pack" would either come off as overly romanticized "small-town everyday salt-of-the-earther", or a toothless, white tank-top wearing hick. Too bad, because, all things considered, it's a pretty good comic character name.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Soon to crawl...

video

Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin Debate Flow Chart

After getting all political yesterday, I figured I had to say something on the morning after, as it were. Something about how, even though she managed to put together coherent sentences and not saying anything outrageously stupid, Palin still stuck to her "don't answer the question, don't answer the question, don't answer the question," strategy, even going so far as to actually state that that was her intent! Anyway, instead of some long winded half-baked "analysis", here's a funny picture that sums it all up rather nicely-



From here

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Huh

Maybe the media really *does* hate McCain-

Surely this headline is entirely made up?


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

All of Them?



So far, Palin's various interviews with Katie Couric have provided plenty of cringeworthy, what-the-fuck moments, but this one is different. Previously, when Palin rambled incoherently about the bailout/healthcare/alaska/russia whatever, I got it. I mean, I *got* it. She hasn't spent much considering these questions, her governorship in Alaska was occupied with local issues rather than nationwide economic questions, or foreign policy issues what have you, and her weeks of cramming information haven't really helped her gain any perspective on them. I understand that.

But this? She can't, apparently, name a newspaper or a magazine that she reads?

What does this *mean*?

Look, whether she reads them or not, she obviously could name a newspaper or two or three and satisfy the requirements of the question. Although inexperienced and arguably out of her depth (see! I'm charitable!), she's definitely not stupid (despite what the previous Couric interviews might lead you to believe), and she probably doesn't have some sort of bizarre amnesia, so why doesn't she name even one news source?

The only possible conclusion is that she chose not to.

Which presents two further questions: Why did she choose to not answer the question? And, was it a good choice?

My current pet theory- The McCain/Palin Campaign has recently voiced some harsh criticisms of the press. It's likely that Palin wanted to avoid saying she read any of the newspapers that her campaign director had said were "in the tank" for Obama. When you're sort of generally blaming bias in "the media" for your party's lapses in the polls, it could potentially be seen as hypocritical to turn around and state that you rely on that same "media". Could that be what went through her head after Couric asked the question? Was she like, "Oh, crap, which newspapers are 'in the tank' again? I better not screw this one up." So she chose to try and dodge the question rather than give an 'endorsement' to one of the media outlets her campaign is currently denigrating?

That seems most likely to me, anyway. Second question: was it a good choice? Well, is it better to come off as a hypocrite or a dumbass? A hypocritical politician is a dime a dozen, but one that can't name a single newspaper is a true rarity, a paragon of dumbassitude. Besides, she could have named a paper and then made some offhand comment that addressed the "bias" ("Oh, you know, the New York Times, at least *before* this election, hahaha,") and saved herself. Instead she looks like... well... a moron who can't name a newspaper off the top of her head. So, yeah, probably not the best choice on her part.

What else does this tell us? Well, this is a politician who's so afraid of being judged, of giving the 'wrong answer' that she dodges the simplest questions with gibberish and inanities rather than give some insight into who she really is and what she really believes in. Plenty of politicians do this, of course, but Palin does it really, really badly. So, far from being a "maverick" who "tells it like it is", she's just another mainstream politician who desperately tries to tell everyone what they want to hear and, well, fails every time. Not a good sign, really.

Okay, so there's at least one other possibility. She may actually read "all of them", in which case I stand corrected.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bryce in action

video

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Various Updates

First off, the post-apocalyptic wasteland (only a handful of disasters can actually provide an apocalypse, and a hurricane is one of them) of Seabrook:

















Highway 146 through Seabrook, 9/14

Several neighbors managed to go by the house, and reports are encouraging. Very little external damage, although there is mud inside, indicating that the storm surge did enter, perhaps even flow through the house. And that's it, that's all we know for now. No power in Seabrook yet, all water is of the boil-before-you-drink-it variety, and the smell of dead fish, raw sewage and seeping gasoline fills the air. My mother's workplace, St. Joseph's Hospital, will not be opening for at least 4 weeks, so she'll continue to live in New Mexico until then.

Update: there is a hungry tiger roaming loose in Galveston County. Update 2: Also a lion.

Otherwise- I got the page proofs for my book in the mail yesterday. They look... awesome. Official publication date- January 29th.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Interpretation is Everything II

Disaster preparations are based on what you expect the disaster to entail. What did this man expect?

Hometown Blues II

Shitty little town...

Seabrook's sewer system 'critical,' residents should stay away


SEABROOK, Texas – The city of Seabrook is urging its residents to hold off from returning home.

City Manager Chuck Pinto said that not only is the city without electricity, but that its sewer system is in critical condition. He said the entire system failed and worries about the potential health hazard because floodwaters have deluged the sewer lines.

Pinto worries that the city may have to build a temporary sewer plant just to get the system up and running again.

For that reason, Pinto said they want residents who fled the city in advance of the storm to stay away until the city can get the sewer issue resolved.

Hometown Blues

This flickr set shows the destruction wrought by Ike.

My hometown of Seabrook, Texas was one of the hardest hit communities. My childhood home, still owned by my mother, is almost certainly flooded and possibly worse. We won't know the extent of the damage for a few weeks. Fortunately, my mother, her boyfriend, and Courtney's father and his girlfriend all made it out safely (some quicker than others.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interpretation is Everything

Offered with no further comment:

People may ask themselves, why would there be faces in the smoke, and also, why so many? I believe I know the answer to that question.

Demons can feel and experience things like we can. Consider that picture of the demon below that has its head sticking up like it is on some kind of rollercoaster ride...Most acts of violence are not as huge as this one, or last as long, or kill this many people, so this was DisneyLand for demons. There was the planes impacting and exploding and people jumping, and then the buildings falling down and killing over 2,000 people in the process. This was a dream come true for demons.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Waking up to the Misery

So, in the morning I listen to NPR as I complete my tasks of shuffling Bryce from the crib to the swing to the mat with the toys to the crib, etc. Oddly, in Albuquerque we have two NPR stations, KUNM, which is the local university station, and KANW, which is an odd hybrid beast. KANW is funded, apparently, by Albuquerque Public Schools, and divides its programming between typical NPR news/interview fare like Morning Edition and Terry Gross and the like, and loud top-40 style "New Mexico Music", which apparently consists of classic 1950s rock sung in Spanish.

Anyway, I like KANW a bit better in the morning because they play Morning Edition in full, and Fresh Air comes on at 10 when the other station is polluting the airwaves with Performance Today (gugh), but there's a two hour block between ME and FA that's something of a crap-shoot of various oddities, including overly dramatic readings of New Mexico's political news, New Mexico trivia, and, my favorite, the Radio Reader.

For those not in the know, the Radio Reader is a hundred year old gnome named Dick Estell (the spitting image of Hans Moleman, in fact), apparently a man who built the first NPR station out of bakelite and Indian Head nickels or somesuch and long since retired to slowly succumb to mortality. Except, of course, for the Radio Reader show, which he records in his basement studio.











What is the Radio Reader show, you ask? Well, it's Dick, reading things. On the radio. Primarily pop-lit novels, authors like John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks show up repeatedly on his program, as well as such less seemly fare as Ann Rule. His voice is strangely prosaic, I don't think I've ever heard him emote past a "slightly-annoyed" level, and his enunciation is as precise as you'd expect from an old radio man like himself.

It's usually the kind of thing I can happily listen to without listening to at all, just sort of go about my routines while his lulling voice drones on in a comforting way about characters and machinations I don't care about at all. Every once in a while there may be a sex scene that crops up, which is terribly disconcerting. Just look at that picture again. Imagine that man talking about pert breasts. Now stop and seek therapy.

Lately, however, the elderly Mr. Estell has been reading a book called Desperate Passage, which chronicles the tragic trek of the Donner Party. This is much harder to ignore. Starving, freezing, screaming children, endless wandering and despair. And, of course, pulling frozen bodies from shallow graves and hacking the flesh from withered arms and eating it. All of this, described in ridiculous detail by Estell's passionless, precise diction, droning on and on about the worst of human desperation as I dangle plastic keys in front of Bryce, as I take him in the back to change his diaper...

Somehow this all seems terribly appropriate, though I'm challenged to explain exactly why. Little Brycey, all smiles and babyish optimism. Dick Estell, slowly shrinking into death somehwere in Michigan. The Donner Party shrieking and crying and dying in the snow over a century ago. I'm not sure how this all fits together, but surely it must? Somebody figure out the meaning of my mornings.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Settling

I'm not entirely sure what my life is supposed to be right now. Obviously, the baby is the priority, but all extra-baby time has been unpredictable to the degree that I haven't been able to make anything of it. Courtney's work has had her traveling to the various far corners of New Mexico for long, post-work hours on most days, so my time away from Bryce has mainly been a desperate attempt to take time for myself and waste it in as efficient a manner as possible. All well and good on a day-to-day basis, but I've been feeling hollow without anything constructive in my life.

I think I'm the kind of person that *needs* a project. Up until the first week of August, I had one. Or rather, a couple. Getting the book done and recovering from the wee touch of cancer pretty well took all my free time, and although I was feeling frantic toward the end of both, I didn't have to worry about what I was going to do with my time. Now, I have to figure it out again. Fortunately, Courtney's schedule should be stabilizing soon, so I'll have a better feel for what I'm working with when it comes to free time. It's a strange feeling, like I have to build all the non-baby aspects of my life back. Fortunately, I've always found autumn's good for new beginnings.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I Enjoy Talking About the Weather

Shared human experience, ain't nothing wrong with that.

Cool autumn breezes in the morning and the light is just-so.

Boring Life

As has been noted by... certain commenters, it's been a while since the last update. No good excuse for that, except to say that after the many excitements of the summer, life has lately been... boring. More or less. And thank god for it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

First Solid Food

Rice Cereal. Nyum, nyum, nyum.
video

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July Happened to Other People

Finished. Well, finished for now. Now the editors over at Arcadia get their crack at it, then they send it back to me, then I send it back to them and then they publish it. Still, the majority of my work is now done, and what a huge amount of work it turned out to be. Of course, the whole cancer thing couldn't have been more poorly timed it terms of the book, I have a hard enough time concentrating on the task at hand under the best of circumstances, much less when having to fight nausea and the creeping erosion of fatigue. But it is done, and suddenly I am a free man again. No more daily appointments with radiological misery, no more driving, desperate push to finish those last chapters.

What now? Well, there's the baby, I'm back with him (Denise and my mother were incredibly giving of their time during my various distractions), and we are readjusting to 8 hour days with each other. These days he's a little more demanding of time and energy, but he's also a lot more fun. We take walks by the river, check out my garden, read stories (he's a big fan of books, mainly of flailing his arms wildly at the pictures, ) tickle and sing songs. Then there's the original Forgotten Albuquerque blog, which I've been neglecting as baby, cancer and book all happened one after the other. I'll be getting back to that, try to get shorter entries more regularly published. And then pursuing freelancing opportunities as well. Full plates, all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From the Depths of Book Hell

This is it, the last week to finish Forgotten Albuquerque. My editor called and offered me a nice little incentive to turn it in by Friday- I have never struggled so hard not to laugh in someone's face in my life. It's coming along, but I have a lot left to cram in in the next few days. Fortunately, the after-effects of the radiation therapy have mostly evaporated by now, so I can both get stuff done and remain in a reasonably good mood (although Courtney might tell you otherwise).

I've got a 12-pot coffee machine, a stack of books with "Albuquerque" in the title, a comfortable set of pajamas, an understanding wife, and a July 22nd deadline. See you next week everyone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Last Day

Yesterday. One last time beneath that glorified X-ray machine, one last time settling into my beloved ass-cast, one last time being pushed and lifted and rolled so that the sharpied-on marks on my skin lined up with the ceiling-housed laser guide, one last dinner spent not eating . Now it's nothing but follow ups for the next few years (hopefully), CT-scans and chest X-rays every three months, blood analysis and whatnot.

This is no longer the Cancer Blog.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fatigue

Last week, the nausea disappeared almost entirely, except for the first few hours following treatment. It was replaced, however, by fatigue.

Fatigue is weird. It seems like such a terrible excuse for a side effect, that I should have no right to complain about it. "I'm fatigued", like I'm in the middle of a hike and I just need to get over it and stop whining already. But it's actually one of the more irritating side-effects that I've experienced. Where the nausea is acute and relatively confined to one part of my body, the fatigue is pervasive and sublte.

I feel like I've been up all night no matter how much sleep I get, my mood is rotten, I take lots of naps. I really don't feel like doing anything but gazing blankly ahead, even reading seems like too much of a bother. Fortunately, the effects are mainly confined to the afternoons and evenings. I wake up feeling relatively normal most days and manage to get stuff done (good news, as that twice extended book deadline gets nearer and nearer). Unfortunately, as the week wears on, the fatigue gets worse and worse. By Thursday I expect to be in a full on daze. But I'll also be extremely happy- Wednesday is the last treatment.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Denied

Last night, they told me that I wouldn't be allowed to take the ass-cast (that is, the cast of my ass) home with me when the treatment is done. :(

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Radiation Therapy

Here's how it works-

I show up to the same place at the same time every day. Every one else there has cancer, naturally, and many of them are much worse off them me. Some of them are much much much worse off than me. I grab a red folder from the check in desk and take it back through the cancer center into the radiation therapy waiting room, I give it to the girl behind *that* desk and then step into a small dressing room and change into your typical hospital robe. Within a few moments of emerging one of the techs calls me into The Chamber.

The Chamber is dim and everything happens very quickly. Before I get a good chance to look around the techs have me on The Slab (nestled into a special ass-cast that they, well, cast from my ass). Asking questions or making small talk at this point is discouraged, these techs are not here for me, they serve The Machine. The Machine hovers over The Slab, a mechanized unblinking eye with terrible secrets lurking somewhere inside. The techs push me, pull me, trace X-es and lines across my stomach in permanent marker, raise The Slab, lower it, and eventually leave.

Then it's just me and The Machine. The Machine is quiet and motionless for a few moments, than springs suddenly to life. Behind its glass lens, a light turns on, a few whirring noises emerge and then a loud buzz. This is The Moment, this is the radiation. It feels like nothing, I sit there trying to feel something as invisible rays tear the cells of my lymph nodes to shreds, but there is nothing. The buzz continues for maybe two minutes, then The Machine is quiet again for a handful of seconds before it lurches into motion. The Machine is attached to a long arm arching over my head and ending somewhere below The Slab, and this arm turns, revolving The Machine to end up somewhere below me. Another buzzing, then quiet. The Machine is done.

The techs reemerge, lower The Slab and send me on my way. A few minutes later as I'm walking to the car I begin to feel distinctly uncomfortable. There is a touch of nausea, but more noticeable is the drug I've taken to combat it, which instead makes me dizzy and very tired. I lose track of conversation, the flow of words in an article. For the next few hours, I am good for nothing but staring blankly at the computer screen, or dvd episodes of television shows I've seen many times before.

The next day, some discomfort remains, but I can eat at least. Until 2:00 rolls around and I take my pill and prepare for the next round.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fotos de Brycito