Wednesday’s Bumper Sticker


Tuesday’s Theme Music

After reading some news last night and this morning, my anger spilled over. “You must be evil,” I said in my head to several of the articles’ principals, evil for how their minds work, evil for their indifference about what their actions do to the world or other creatures, evil for their willingness to rationalize murdering and victimizing.

From that came, quite deliberately, Chris Rea’s 1989 song, “You Must Be Evil”.


Multiple Dreams

I had multiple dreams last night. Most remain in pieces in my mind like debris after a storm. The essences:

  1. I was plotting a murder and intent on carrying it out. I don’t know who I was killing or my motive.
  2. A cat was the size of an American nickel. A happy little animal, he was kept in a jar. I watched over him, ensuring he wasn’t lost or injured, and played with him.
  3. The third dream found me playing a game that may have been a show on television. I was winning by answering questions and advancing through levels. It seemed to combine physical prowess and the ability to answer questions.

Not much further information is available on the murder dream. Awakening and thinking about it, I attribute it more to my writing muses than an intention to kill another person. I’m always thinking about escaping, surviving, killing, investigating, flying, traveling, exploring, and robbing places. They’re exercises for my imagination, IMO.

The cat dream was a simple anxiety dream. Quinn hasn’t been well. His breathing bothered us. We’d endured a summer of wildfire smoke and hazardous air, so I put his breathing problems down to that. We’d been keeping him inside and addressing his breathing issues. When he didn’t improve after the air improved, I thought I’d take him in for an antibiotic shot.

But the vet found a lump on Quinn’s neck, so we’re going through the challenge of treating him, keeping him hydrated, and feeding him. We’re not certain of his issue, yet. Never a large cat, he dropped two pounds and now weighs just five. He’s mostly perky, though, but not eating and drinking enough on his own. I take comfort and hope in signs like him rubbing up against me, jumping on my lap, stretching, trying to claw furniture, and yawning.

Meanwhile, I’m going through the process of letting him go. I’ve endured this with other pets, so I understand some of the emotional, physical, and intellectual dynamics. It’s always different, of course, and it’s never easy.

I enjoyed the game show dream. First, you’d press a button to start the big wheel spinning, and press the button again to stop it. The big wheel had activities and numbers. If it landed on the activity, you did it. Doing the activity, such as twenty push-ups, authorized you to rob a competitor by taking a token or moving them back by a spin on the punishing wheel.

If the big wheel landed on a number, that was the number of spaces you’d move. Climbing, crawling, jumping, and swinging on ropes were required to move along squares. After moving forward and stopping on a square, you were asked a question. Fall to answer it correctly — it was timed, but you had three chances — meant you faced the punishment wheel.

Come to think of it, there was a television audience cheering us on. Writing about it today prompts comparisons to an updated game of Life combined with Trival Pursuit, which sums up my writing life, I think.

Spinning wheels, killing time, chasing trivia, and hoping to advance, it’s a writer’s life.


Yes, I’m wearing orange today.

I don’t belong to a political party. I support those who will speak truth, and support freedom, justice, and equality for every person. Neither the G.O.P. nor Democratic Party does that well in America in recent years. The Green Party and Libertarian Party try, and they have some good ideas, but lack the political will.

I like what America’s founders set out to do. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are fine documents, with great aspirations for what we as a nation can be. It is not a perfect document. Neither were the people who wrote and ratified it. As the Preamble says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

They were forming a more perfect union. It wasn’t perfect, and it isn’t perfect. It was not meant to be never changed, for the founders recognized they weren’t creating a perfect union, and built several mechanisms for change into it. They recognized that not many ideas or plans begin as perfect. You do the best you can to give yourself a place to start. If you want for the perfect plan, you’ll probably never begin.

I support the idea of a more perfect union. I want to secure the blessing of liberty for ourselves and posterity. To achieve this, we can’t support or give in to lies, fear, or oppression. To continue the pursuit of a more perfect union began over two hundred years ago, we must continue to address wrongs and injustice, and change and adjust  without abandoning the basic premise that everyone is equal, and have certain rights that others cannot abridge nor abrogate. Until that level, we continue to seek a more perfect union.

Which is why I wear orange today. 

The Coronado

I, Juancho, a mere bureaucrat, but essential to the mission, I assure you, was worried. Even I knew that the frying pan was gone and we were now facing a danger of being incinerated by growing flames.

Commander Alves is a fine person and a good commander. I have great confidence in her, and was pleased to be selected for the Coronado’s first mission on Feymann. (Her second, the snide Lieutenant Commander Cark, is not viewed with the same joy, and I did not look forward to this situation now with him onboard.) However, I doubted Commander Alves’ optimism and reassurances. “That may not be the Beagle that exploded over Feynmann,” she told us. She was being hopeful, I know, but each consumed tequila and coke that I consumed convinced me that the end was closer than we thought.

Let us review. We’re on the Coronado. It’s a fine vessel, new, as well-built as human robots can conceive and execute. We don’t lack for protection or comfort. Fully armored, each of the thirty of us onboard have private quarters. They’re not as large nor luxurious as those we enjoyed upon the Beagle. Of course not. The Beagle quarters were permanent. These quarters are temporary, for the Coronado is an explorer. (I don’t understand why they named the ship after a luxury resort chain, but that’s another debate.)

That is the difficulty with surviving on the Coronado. It is an explorer vessel. Our mission on Feynmann’s surface was to be for twenty-one day’s duration. We have food for a little longer, and fuel, and the life-support systems should not be troubled, if all works well. But, that is the but in my drink. They always tell us that we must be prepared for failure, and then prepare for our preparations to survive failure to fail as well. This situation was the prime example of that maxim.

Should anything fail on the Coronado, we expected backup and support from the Beagle. If one of us became gravely ill or injured, we would be lifted to the Beagle. In the end, our tunnel on the Coronado was twenty-one days long, and the light on the end was the Beagle.

We would not survive, no, I was thinking. The question was more about how agonizing our deaths would be, and whether suicide or murder were better options.

Do I shock you? Those were the choices for each of us, as I viewed it. Suicide didn’t appeal to me but waiting for rescue against small odds was less appealing. Murdering others would extend my food supply. Maybe that would provide a chance for rescue, but I would then need to explain the others’ deaths.

That might be difficult, given our personal recording devices. However, as we’ve all been taught since childhood, for every system, there is a vulnerability, and the means to exploit it.

If I could learn that vulnerability and exploit, I, Juancho, could develop a plan.



The Beer Group

The beer group met last night, and I attended. Naturally, conversations rotated around weather, movies, literature, science, Trump and murder.

The murder is the worse topic of the moment. A twelve-year-old boy, Zeke, stabbed his fifty-two-year-old Mother to death and injured his older sister. We were asking why this happened. Three of the beerites personally know the family. Zeke was a loner, without many friends. The family seemed well off, living in a 4,000 square foot home in a good location. They’d just moved in in 2015.

The father was away. He flew home to this situation yesterday afternoon, his wife in the morgue, killed by his son, his son in a juvenile lock-up, and his daughter in the hospital, injured by his son.

Returning to more comfortable topics, several members told of bad weather experiences, sliding off roads, breaking axles, encountering abandoned vehicles, having chains snap. Then it was to the movies, where nobody save me has seen anything recently except ‘Rogue One’. 

That was astonishing; ‘Fences’ was a play here last year and several went to see it. It was mildly surprising to learn they didn’t see the movie. I’d seen the movie and was eager to discuss and the rest. A few were talking about going to see ‘La La Land’ because of the Golden Globe Awards won. None had seen ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Loving’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’. Two others had seen ‘Arrival’. Most surprising was that none had seen ‘Hidden Figures’. Several of them were engineers in the space program in 1962 and were working on the problems highlighted in the movie. I’d think they’d want to see how the era was portrayed, if nothing else.

But no; they waxed on about different problems and the creative solutions found for them, and the challenges of new math, or of coping with the complexities of shifting variables very quickly and things never experienced before.

TRump, of course, was villified. Not all were Hillary supporters, but none present can stand TRump. With head-shaking and angry voices, we talked about his press conference, the urine leaks, the Conway interview with Seth Meyers, the recall of the ambassadors, and his plan to turn his finances over to family members.

Ed, celebrating his eighty-fourth year, bought the beer and pizza. The rest of us donated twenty dollars to the cause of supporting STEM in school and after-school activities in local poor and under-privileged areas.

The establishment was still offering that porter that we all detest, and will continue offering it until the keg is gone. Fortunately, we endured with some local Ashland Amber and Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA. It was a good evening in the warmth of friendship, and a pleasant way to whittle off a few hours of life.


So the big question to ask this Thanksgiving Day is how to explain to the police why I was following a stranger, a guy who I always saw at the coffee shop, a local musician who once played with Janis Joplin.

…And why I was looking in his window….

…And why, if I didn’t kill him, I’m the last person to see him alive…?

Other than the murderer, of course.

So, really, the question is, do I tell the police anything or just pretend like I know nothing?

They say that if you’re innocent, you have nothing to fear. I’ve watched enough television police procedurals and read enough news accounts to know that explaining something like this will be challenging. Being believed will be harder.


Counting Waves

You know the words. You can write the cliches for me.

Talking about another, you note or say, “Oh, he/she is in one of those moods today.” Curl a little snark into your tone. We joke about women and their cycles, because that’s how many of us were socialized and conditioned. “Women’s cycles” are visible. They’re “emotional and irrational” when it’s “that time of month” or “they’re going through the change.”

Men’s cycles are more often ignored. But we talk about male bosses and spouses and how they seem angrier, more irritated, or conversely, they’re in a great mood. “Maybe now is the time to ask them for ____.” Fill in the blank of what’s been considered and rejected because of their mood, but now, it’s a possibility, because they’re cheerful today.

Or you notice it about yourself, but you don’t know why. You don’t know why you’re sad. You don’t know why you’re happy. You rationalize reasons, develop a logical explanation for why you must feel this way. We think we know ourselves best, but I know myself better. I have large, dark windows that I can’t see in. Monsters are back there….

Everything seems like it’s on a spectrum for me: energy, optimism, dreaming….

I dreamed many times and vividly last night.

I wrote with speed and intensity yesterday. And what I wrote? Honestly, I’m amazed that I’m so talented. What an imagination! I am fucking brilliant.

I’m optimistic, hopeful and cheerful. I look forward to visiting with friends. My body feels great.

I feel like I’m enjoying life more. Food and drinks taste better, and that sunlight, golden on those scattered soft gray and white clouds above the verdant tree filled mountains against an azure sky late yesterday afternoon, wasn’t that the most magnificent, inspiring sight? Did you see that soaring hawk?

But as I dreamed and awoke last night, considered the dreams and returned to sleep, I thought of how alike it was to being on beach at the ocean. Like waves, there’s a pattern to the dreams and the ocean’s movement, and there are high tides and low tides of dreaming. It’s not the first time I’ve thought this and written about it. Even now, it seems like deja vu. I dream; the dreams increase with strength, vividness, and impact as my cycle progresses through its spectrum. I wake up and write about it. Then the dreams peak and begin diminishing.

Ah, yes, you see that, how my mental acuity increases as well? I’m able to observe more clearly and understand myself better. I wonder, are Jeopardy contestants aware of this? Do their personal cycles affect their winning and losing? I really would like to study that, because, you see, I’m almost at the top.

During the rising mental, spiritual and physical energy cycles, I write, and the words come faster, clearer, more quickly and easily, and then I peak. I begin back down. Writing becomes a greater and greater challenge, until, down in the trough, it’s a slog to get to the coffee shop, sit in the chair and focus on the stories being told. My rituals and routines, and the tricks I’ve learned to encourage and engage my inner writer help them. But the stuff I write. Oh, God, help me, please. How could I ever believe I had any skills? I’m worthless, less than zero, with the creativity and talent of a gnat’s ass.

I know this week’s optimism and cheerfulness will crest. I will begin a slow descent into gloom. I will crave isolation. Small irritations are imagined to be major insults. I become a more aggressive driver, and a more bitter person. I’ll hunger for and reward myself with the junk foods, desserts and fried foods that I deny myself when I’m ‘up.’ Then I’ll bottom out, silent, weary, angry, self-loathing, and begin to arise back from the depths. I drink coffee but derive little energy from it. Even reading sucks. My needs and responses are wildest at the bottom. I’m more emotional, needier. I want to shop and buy new things, as a salve for how terribly I’m suffering, but I want to do it without others bothering me.

I know, too, how my cycles affect my world perceptions. When I’m rising, I’m more open. I post and comment more. More cheerful, I have greater self-confidence. When I’m in the pit, I disappear. I don’t check Facebook and don’t post, because it’s all the same jokes, I tell myself, the same crap, the same garbage from the same people, and the news? When I finally bottom out, I have a sense that the world is a terrible place of killing and brutality, our leaders are shits, and we, the common, the less than 1%, have no chance. I am resentful and hostile.

Being in the depths is miserable. I feel lifeless, a sawdust man, without purpose, direction or hope. Down in the trough, it’s hard to see my way through an hour. Food tastes terrible, and taxes are way too high. Everything costs too much then, and it’s all junk.

I wonder, how many people kill one another or themselves because they’ve descended into their pit. How many cops are more fearful and frightened, more ready to kill because of their state? How many others are more willing to take up a knife or gun and seek vengeance and make others pay because of where they are in their cycles and spectrums?

Now, climbing toward the peak, I’m on top of the world. The view is magnificent, and I believe that we can work together, change the world, and solve all the problems.

We just need to hurry, before I start down again.



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