Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Summer in Review: seasons

The seasonal passing of time is hard to measure in perpetual summer. The leaves do not change, snow does not fall, and your wardrobe changes consist of a jacket in the evening. Everything is a perpetual now.IMG_4790

Before you know it time has passed and you’re wheels haven’t turned. You remain where you were. Or so you think. Or so it feels.

But time always passes. The kids get bigger, the knees start to ache, and the sun sets.IMG_4198

Quickly a new school year is starting and the grind you never took a break from is beginning its cycle all over again and you stare at that date as it bears down upon you relentlessly, mercilessly, unyielding. Time does not tire despite its continual aging.IMG_3487I have done my best to follow time’s path but have been unsuccessful in both body and mind. The body I get, the mind makes no sense. A friend and I have talked about the need to always have something to look forward to, a goal, a destination, maybe even a carrot of some sort. Destination gives purpose and fuels drive. It makes a difficult now- easier to endure.IMG_4191I have jogged out to this tree on several occasions. I suffer from inertia and have realized that outside forces like gravity and laziness are hard to counteract. I set my sights on this tree, this destination, to get me to go just a little further, to prevent me from deciding I have gone far enough and aborting my much needed exercise just a little too early. It works.

But jogging to that tree really isn’t much fun. It is really quite the opposite.IMG_0941

I am not that guy who enjoys exercise. Of course I feel better if I do it, but the process is worse than drudgery, it is hard work. So are most valuable things.

Valuable things. Like views of lonely trees, mountain paths, and time.

Jogging to that tree I most often kill the value of the journey. No. Not true.

I don’t kill it but rather I trade one value for another. I sacrifice the view from solitude and joyful journey with accomplishment and the potential of one day seeing my own belt buckle.IMG_4493So in talking with my friend about looking forward, I wonder about the missing of now. Sometimes now is pretty cool and now never comes around again.IMG_4364Now must be harnessed and loved. Now must be carpe’d and capitalized upon. There must be a tenuous balance between the enjoyment of the present wrapped around the driving toward tomorrowIMG_4312Whatever balance I achieve, zen-like or teetering, what I do know is that the new school year starts way too early around here and I need to carpe before I run out of diems.IMG_3228

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

That Flag

The confederate battle flag is being removed from the South Carolina capitol grounds. I have never thought, nor do I think now, that everyone who flies that banner hates black people. That being said I want nothing to do with that flag any more than I do a bright red Nazi banner. I have been somewhat disappointed though not surprised, that so many are complaining about this recent confederate flag backlash. “Things have gone too far,” some say. “It’s just a flag. People need to be less easily offended,” I have heard. “It is ridiculous that they want to outlaw this flag.” All of this has made me do some thinking and reflecting.rebel flag at capitol

I like Mummers. I am more than amused by mummery. My little family and I visited the Mummer Museum in South Philadelphia some years back and we were all amused as I tried on various bits of feather and sequin outfits as is part of the mummer experience. Seeing me all bedazzled was amusing to all, including myself. Whilst adorned in glittery wonder I stood and read a plaque describing how the roots of the mummer strut was the cake walk and how the wearing of black face, meant to mock uppity black folk,  was a proud part of mummery till forced by the government to cease the practice in the 60’s. This story, this historical truth, sucked the fun out of my feathered cape. I looked over at my wife and daughter, both with deep brown skin, and felt ashamed at my outfit. I took off my rhinestone crown and my wife, still smiling, said, “Let’s go see the glockenspiels.”rebel house 001

I don’t think mummers are racist. Wearing that outfit did not make me a racist. Yet in that moment, wearing those symbols of mummery and learning the racist roots, I had no desire for my black wife to see me and those symbols intertwined.  The confederate battle flag is coming down from the South Carolina State capitol building. This doesn’t exactly make me happy, but that is mostly because I am sad it was ever there in the first place. So much more so than gaudy mummer clothes, that flag is a symbol of racism.greenwood 007

When I first moved to Greenville South Carolina they did not officially recognize Martin Luther King Day. There was at that time a raucous debate going on among local politicians and the public on whether or not this should be changed. I was not involved nor was I vocal. I had other things on my mind and I knew where I stood on things, I didn’t need a holiday to teach me things, I went on about my business. Part of that business was getting a new driver’s license. I found the local DMV and during regular business hours paid them a visit to get myself legal. They were closed. Across the door was stretched a festive banner that read, “Closed in celebration of Confederate Memorial Day”.greenwood 012

A message was sent to me right then and there that in this state, my new home, that the memory of white rebel soldiers was more important than black people in general. Perhaps I was jumping to conclusions and misreading the situation. Perhaps. But the message was sent. Those in power at that time wanted to pay honor to rebel soldiers in an official and governmentally endorsed manner, but were in open opposition to doing the same for a civil rights leader who believed in non-violence. What else was I supposed to think? With that in mind I would drive around town and local communities and the confederate battle flag was everywhere. On cars, on flag poles in front of people’s homes, and even affixed permanently on trees lining the highway. It flew from the top of the state capitol. That flag, the same one waved by segregationists as they screamed and spit on black kids who were trying to go school, the same one that leads Klan parades, was being officially waved by the government of the state I now lived in. Those segregationists chose that flag when they gathered in opposition to black people. I’m married to a black person. Every day I would drive around and see that flag, then go home and see my wife and children. How was I supposed to feel welcome anywhere?

It shouldn’t matter that my wife is black. A person doesn’t need to have ever met a black person to care. Why would I want to wave a banner that tells black people I am against them? Why would I want my government to wave a flag that tells black people they are not welcome? But many people do want that flag there. Those who do in fact hate black people repeatedly choose that flag to wave. Because of that, I want nothing to do with it.

No. I’m not happy about any of this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Museum of Man: they refused to put me behind the glass

They call it the Museum of Man. I haven’t yet decided if that is a grandiose title or overly simplistic. Either would be fitting. The building’s exterior is indeed grandiose, and the interior is surprisingly… not.IMG_4623

I appreciate the learning experience a museum potentially provides young visitors, but as I walked around looking at words written on walls next to plaster casts of this and that, or diagrams of things not actually housed in the museum, I wondered what a museum provides in this regard that can’t just as easily, or easier, be found via Google. I walk quickly past these sorts of things.

I’m looking for artifacts.IMG_4688

The sign on the wall talked of how green is a symbolic color meaning something other than illness or frogginess. I am dubious. I can imagine an ancient artisan spinning some tale of how this color glorifies the deceased, when really he just ran low on brown paint or the deceased owed him money.IMG_4687

I have decided that men in all places, times, and sorts, like to play dress-up but are afraid to admit it. Consequentially we call our costumes “armor” or “ceremonial” and so on. What a tragedy that man will wage war with each other as a means to justify costumes devoid of childish or feminine insinuation. I mean you put a Groucho mustache on your armor. Do not get me wrong, I love it, I just don’t think you should have to stab people with spears and swords in order to wear your “scary” outfit.

Speaking of scary…IMG_4616These stacks of money represent wealth held by the varying “races” of humans. Now race may have no biological reality but that difference in stack size matters. Now while I realize that I, a white guy, contribute very little to that giant stack of white man cash, I also realize that at least 2/3’s of that black stack belongs to Oprah. We average folk of all shades hold very little relative wealth, but I do hold the knowledge that skin color still matters in America.

But then, after all the walking and looking at descriptions of men and manliness, I reflect on not only the most basic and descriptive, but also the most informative and lasting knowledge regarding man- bacon on hot dogs is wonderful.IMG_4604

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Being a Kid

When you are little the world is controlled by giants. Everything is taking directions from someone else whose kneecaps look you in the eye.IMG_8005

When and what to eat. Or not to eat. What to wear. Where to live and to whose family you belong. Everything is decided and dictated by someone else and you have no say in who that is. They decide if you are rich or poor, hungry or overfed, blonde or brown haired. Everything is up to them. They control everything and when you are young, your only hope is to eventually get taller. Getting taller takes time, it takes years, and years are the longest things there are.IMG_3683

When you are little the world is measured out from task to task. School comes right after breakfast which comes after you get dressed right after you wake up. Then you color, then a snack, and then a nap. You play. At the end you clean up and then you wait, and if the worst happens, you wait ten minutes because they forgot about you and you almost died because you knew they weren’t coming. But those horrible minutes are erased by cartoons which lead into dinner. After dinner they like to torture you. Sometimes baths but always bed. Bed, where you lie there in the dark being quiet forever until it all ends. Why do they make us do that? It is boring, it is scary, and most of all it is long.IMG_2059This is a day, and to grow up they want us to wait a year? How many bath-times is that? We all want to grow up faster but they won’t let us. They say it isn’t them, it is just how it is, but however it is, it is still out of our control. Just like everything.IMG_2915

They tell us to enjoy it and be happy. They tell us not to cry. They say they wish they could go back and be where we are, then turn around and give themselves another scoop of ice cream and stay up late watching television. We never got extra ice cream and always had to go to bed. They say they want what we have but they never do it. They stay up all night.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Black History Month: which, and whose, civil rights are you advocating for exactly?

History can be a funny thing. Once those who lived it are gone, we can tell the story in whichever way we wish, in order to serve our own circumstances. It seems that we ignore living figures regarding them as old fashioned and outdated until they die. Then we revere or demonize them in whichever light we choose. Opinions are never historical because they are always current.

Like I said, history is a funny thing.IMG_1989

One of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement was not MLK’s speech, or the signing of the civil rights bill (though those things were great), but rather the convincing of black folks, who were just trying to survive, to walk out into the face of danger in the name of rights… and not defend themselves.

You see, there was a time, a long time, when Black Americans didn’t have any rights let alone the one in the second amendment. They may not have had rights but they had some sense, and when you live in a world where vigilantes regularly come and haul you away at night, sense means you keep a gun in the house.

What a miracle that people could be moved to put down those guns, intentionally, and walk to the polls, or walk across a bridge, or to a lunch counter, or to Ol Miss, when you knew full well that those against you had guns… and especially at Ol Miss, they also had badges.

But they had to leave the guns at home so the press could see more obviously what was going on. They had to leave the guns at home so no one could argue about who shot who or how “they” were dangerous. And it worked- kind of.NRA

It worked in that it got laws passed, but passing laws has never been the same as people following laws.

So eventually these Black folks, who had put away the guns, who had already got laws passed, got tired of still getting beat down. The laws passed but they still didn’t get actual rights.

So a lot of them got the guns back out.

And wouldn’t ya know that is when “the law” got real worried about who owned and carried guns. The law came and took the guns away. That is when the people getting their guns taken away crafted the argument that the constitution protected their right to bear arms. They were Americans in a regulated militia fighting against actual tyranny. America took their guns.

But that was history.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Are Words Necessary?

Why do I love food so much? I’m addicted.

My House

My House

Dog Haus

Dog Haus, Pasadena

Cheese Cave, Claremont

Cheese Cave, Claremont

"Lette, Pasadena

“Lette, Pasadena

Slaters 50/50, Rancho Cucamonga

Slaters 50/50, Rancho Cucamonga

Seoul Sausage Company, LA

Seoul Sausage Company, LA

The Dip, Rancho Cucamonga

The Dip, Rancho Cucamonga

Tijuana Taco, Pomona

Tijuana Taco, Pomona

lunch at my desk

lunch at my desk

Philly's Best, Rancho Cucamonga

Philly’s Best, Rancho Cucamonga

Some Crust, Claremont

Some Crust, Claremont

Cowgirl Creamery, San Fran

Cowgirl Creamery, San Fran

Home

Home

IMG_1700

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Building a Child, Reluctantly

I am probably not the best parent in the world. I am definitely not the best parent in my house. I normally think of myself first, my wife second, and then there are these small people with these endless needs and demands that normally don’t fit neatly into my ideal plans on how to spend my day. I am currently working on being less self-centered, but it is hard to do since everywhere I go, I find myself tagging along. I am hard to shake. Not only am I hard to shake, but I’m also a little bit lazy.IMG_9091

This is problematic in that when the kids are too lazy to clean their room, I am frustrated because I am also too lazy to clean their room. There are those who will (and if they are reading, already have in their minds) retort that a good parent doesn’t clean the kid’s room because they need to learn to do it themselves. I make no claims at being a good parent and find myself in a pickle because teaching a kid to clean their room is much harder than simply cleaning it myself, and as stated before, I am too lazy to clean their room.

With this as context, I was sitting in the living room reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol II, when my six year old looked up from her note pad and asked, “Dad, what are these things called?” pointing to the door hinges. “Those are called hinges.” She went back to the couch and her note pad, then asked, “How do you spell hinges?” I answered appropriately.

“Dad. Will you build me a house?”IMG_2141

She presented to me a drawing, plans really, of a house, complete with directions of where each “nale” should be placed and instructions on putting h-i-n-g-e-z on one side of the door. I was impressed with her level of forethought and terrified, not by the thought of saying no to this child, I’m good at that, but rather terrified at the amount of work building a house would take.

“Uhhhh, we already live in a house.”

“No Dad. Like a small one. Like maybe this big,” she said holding her hand about four inches above her head.

“No.”

“Then can I build one?”IMG_2131

A child willing to do something I was unwilling to do is hard to turn down. Maybe I was enticed by the possibilities this principle might introduce, like maybe I say no to doing my taxes and she offers to do them for me. Paying bills? Going to my job? This had possibilities. “Sure you can build a house, but it’s going to take some planning. Where is this house going to live?”

“Out back.”

“The courtyard out back looks very nice. What if I don’t want to look at your house? We are renting our house, what if we move? How will your house fit through the door when we want to move it? Nails don’t come apart.”

She bit the back of her pencil and looked up at the ceiling. She didn’t have an answer. This was perfect, because I am not only lazy, but I am also a know it all. “What if you use hinges instead of nails? The whole thing can fold up like Ikea. Go re-draw those plans.” She re-drew the plans.IMG_2130

Were I to write a book on being a great parent, which would be fiction, I would recount all the events that followed. Not only did I allow my child to pursue her dreams but I let her use a power saw in the process. My theory on fatherhood is that if you are lucky enough to get a good kid, don’t mess them up. This is best done by getting out of the way. If getting out of their way takes effort, like getting off the couch, then by all means let the child get themselves out of the way by building their own house out back. This is what I did. Rather, this is what she did.IMG_2152

My next plan is figuring out how to motivate this six year old to want to pay rent. After all, her house is on my property.IMG_2161

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized