Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

Of course, you can visit my website for more info about me, or feel free to email me anytime.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

No Answers, Just Questions

Went for a walk, looked at the stars. They're always there, dependable, reliable. Shining down and smiling at us, showing us the way. Or trying to at least. I used to recognize more of the constellations, or at least my memory fancies that I did, back in my youth. But now I just know a few. Maybe it was always so.

I just finished a made-for-TV mini-series on Hulu called Looking for Alaska, based on the novel by John Green. I haven't read the book, but it's on my hit list to acquire. I think I just liked that it references Alaska, but in the book (and show) it's a person and not a place. Still, small details can attract us to things which we may have otherwise overlooked.

The story is about a group of friends at a private high school that more resembles a camp than anything. Several of them have troubled pasts - including the main girl, Alaska, who has a fairly serious drinking problem that no one seems to really notice until she drives off upset one night and dies in a car crash. But it's never clear whether or not it was an accident; in fact evidence seems to suggest it's not.

But wrapped within all of this happiness are serious questions about life and life after death, and why we're here, if there's a reason at all. And it ends with the hope that there is some place for us after this life, and that it's beautiful. But the reality is no one knows. To paraphrase one of the professors: the only questions worth asking are the ones without answers.

So tonight, I have no answers. Only questions. The show left me unusually emotionally drained. I'm not sure why, as I don't relate personally to anything in it. But I find I could not function, so I had to go for a walk. To get some air and clear my head. The characters in the show are prone to doing this too.

So now I swing on my swing and look at the stars. And they stare back at me, and everyone else, just as they have for millennia. They don't have any answers either. Maybe no one has any answers, just questions.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Kid Thoughts

Kids say the darndest things. And no, I'm not referring to that failed late-90s comedy TV show hosted by the formerly revered Jell-o salesman. My son turns six, two weeks from today. We know that because he asked me this morning how many days it was until his birthday, and I asked Siri, and Siri told us. He automatically began processing the timeline, and pointed out that after this week it would be mommy's week, and then my week again, and that's when he would turn six. Kids at this age have such a unique way of looking at the world. It's so innocent and unfiltered - and often so profound. We could learn a lot from them. We should already know these things that they seem to know; after all, we were all this age once. Perhaps we've forgotten much, in all of the hustle and bustle of life and of growing up.

This morning as we drove to school along the massive building construction going on along East Commerce Way, Connor suddenly started babbling about construction. "I know how the guys make buildings. First, they do the walls, and second they do the roof. Then third is the lights. They do the lights third. And fourth is the windows." Then he paused for a second, so I prompted him, "What comes fifth?". "Oh! Fifth is the painting and the flooring. Carpeting and pretty flooring. And they paint the walls. Then sixth they do the rain tubes." (he means the exterior downspouts. Apparently those are so important that they require their own dedicated step). "And seventh is the last step, that's when they move in the furniture." It's a pretty accurate, if overly simplified, description. He's not wrong.

Of course we, in our adult wisdom, know that there's innumerable steps in between all of these things. There's the concrete slab, and the pre-wiring, and laying out of the plumbing groundwork, and insulation and sheetrock and on and on. And it occurs to me just then, that we make life pretty complicated. I mean obviously the building of a house or office building IS complicated. It needs to be structurally sound and pass all the necessary inspections. So, too, does life need to be complicated sometimes, I suppose. To a point. But maybe we make life a little TOO complicated. Maybe we should take a lesson from an almost-six-year-old, and just focus a little more on the basics. The things that are really, truly important. The things that matter. Perhaps, in the end, that will help to solidify the foundation even more so than if we constantly nitpick all of the little details that pass us by in our daily routines. (Don't try this in 'actual' construction though; you certainly don't want your roof collapsing on you...)

On the other hand, last night's conversation with Connor as he sat soaking in the bathtub went more like this:

Connor: “I have my two tentacles!”
Me: “TESTicles. They’re called testicles.”
Connor: “....I have my two balls!”

So, there's that. Pure unfiltered wisdom from a little tiny package. Well, not so tiny anymore; he's 48.25 inches tall and weights 55.2 pounds, as of his physical this past Tuesday. But of course he still has a long ways to go. And in life, don't we all? Well we hope so anyway. We could drop dead tomorrow. Who knows? Better not wait to live, I guess, just in case. Just in case. That warrants repeating, because it's important: better not wait to live. For who knows how many tomorrows you have?

I actually started compiling Connor's random spoken thoughts, which have become somewhat infamous on Facebook under the umbrella of the "Connor Quote of the Day". I started this right after the new year, this past January. I suppose initially it was a device to distract me from my separation, which was very fresh at that time. It was also something new to start in the New Year. Not so much a resolution per se - I don't make those, really. But the Connor Quotes have grown throughout this year, and I have quite a collection now. I'm thinking of publishing a book of them soon. Not really for public use, just for myself and my family, really, and eventually someday for Connor. Perhaps they will be wedding gifts at his wedding, someday. That would embarrass him, I'm sure. The first of these, recorded on January 4, 2019, was this:

"Did you know I’m allergic to bad guys? I might cough at them and make them gross."

Well. That's not a particularly profound way to end this post. And I do like to leave my handful of readers with something to think about throughout their day. So I'll jump ahead to March 14, and offer this profound little bit of five-year-old wisdom:

“I still love you even when you do mistakes.”

There. Think about that for awhile. That's almost as good as this little gem from five days later:

“Daddy, I love you. I love you even when you’re sad. I love you even when you’re dead.”

Well. That's a little morbid. But unconditionally sweet. And it is Halloween season after all, so I'll call this "holiday appropriate". Perhaps it's a bit of a stretch. But I don't care. I'm going to be more like a five year old, more carefree and simple about the way I approach life. That's what we should learn from these little kid thoughts. My kid has so much to teach me...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Exploring Humanity

So this past Saturday I took another of my frequent trips to San Francisco. Unbeknownst to me, it was "Fleet Week" there (shows how much I pay attention), and much of the Marina Green area was closed off for the pending festivities of military prowess. Who knew? That was my normal go-to parking location, as it's free to park there, usually. And it's right next to Fort Mason, which makes for an easy walk over to the Embarcadero area. Fortunately the area around Chrissy Field was still open, although they had traffic monitors with orange vests and little orange flags, frantically directing people where to park in order to maximize the available space. And it was already filling up at 9am; they were already given to having people park on the gravel areas. Packing us in as if at a sports stadium, and with no trees for shade to boot. But still, it was free. In a city as expensive as San Francisco, free is always a nice option to have.

This put me an extra mile or so away from where I needed to be, but I don't mind the extra walking. And I was early enough that I had time. I actually got another discounted ($49) ticket to see the matinee showing of Hamilton, as I had done back in early June. Really fantastic seat - row K in the Orchestra section, and just two seats left of exact center. It was a sign when I saw it online, saying "Buy me...buy me...". So, I did. The walk was as usual quite pleasant, if not a little tiring due to all the hills. There's so many interesting neighborhoods and cool architecture and store fronts and on and on, not to mention the panoramic views you are treated to as you reach the top of the hill near Hyde and Lombard Street.

Along the way I also stopped at a little local bakery for a chocolate croissant. I'm not even sure the name of the place, but they had a quaint neon sign in their store that proclaimed "I got baked in San Francisco". It made me wonder what exactly they put in their baked goods... Their to-go bags were long and pink and adorned with big block letters: "C6H1206". Not being too well-versed in coded languages, I had to google that; if only to make sure I knew what I was really ingesting. Turns out, it's the chemical formal for simple sugar. Whew! I guess I don't remember much of my last chemistry class, way back in...1992 or so. I'm sure they probably went over this. Stay in school, kids!

In any case, as the walk progressed back down the hill it came closer and closer to the theatre district, and that's when you start seeing more of the interesting locals. And by "interesting", I mean "crazy". Literally. Like, truly suffering from mental illness. It's the homeless population of San Francisco, and just like in Sacramento, ever appearing to grow and grow. It's society's cancer, and it's spreading unchecked. And it's quite sad really. At first you see random people just milling about, yelling mostly incoherent obscenities at each other, or at themselves, or at walls, or at blank space. There's the guy at the bus stop, straddling some lady sitting on the bench. She's fairly unresponsive, and you can't tell if he's trying to help her, put more drugs into her, or rape her. An older lady at the stop must have seen my concerned look, and assured me, "She's fine, she's fine". I guess that sort of thing is just normal routine for that neighborhood. I grew up far more sheltered.

Then you get further along and find rows of people camped out along chain link fences that block off vacant lots. They have nothing to do, nothing to say, and seem to not even be too aware of what's going on around them. One guy in particular had visible red track marks up and down his arm. He was so out of it already that he moved clumsily and as if in slow motion. He was completely unaware of anything around him. But he was desperately trying - still in slow motion - to get a needle back into his arm. That's all he has anymore. That's all his life is. So many people like this, they hardly even seem human anymore. Most of their humanity was long sucked away. That's why, I suppose, society does little or nothing to address these problems. They don't see these people as "human" anymore. As "alive" anymore. And there's so many, it's become an insurmountable problem to even begin to deal with. I don't know if that guy ever succeeded in getting that needle in, in finding a vein. He probably did. He's probably still there, right now, doing it all over again. It's all he has left.


In any case, I made it to the Orpheum Theatre a little after 11am and picked up my ticket. Even the guy at the window said, "Oh you got a great seat, right in the middle". I smiled. Yes, yes I did. Then, to kill a little time, I went and had lunch at a little local diner about a block away. It was called, curiously enough, Local Diner. Not very creative, but it works. They seem to specialize in breakfast, but also have lunch selections. I had a club sandwich. It came with crinkle cut fries. Seriously, who serves crinkle cut fries? That seems like something you'd buy in the frozen food section of your local supermarket, then promptly burn the edges of in your oven at home, as you curse your poor luck.

I then went to the same CVS that I had once bought a homeless guy lunch in, much to his surprise as he was only asking for change so he could buy something, anything. I let him pick out whatever he wanted, and he got a free lunch that day. Guess I was in a good mood back then. In any case, I saw no homeless people in the store on this day, so I just bought some snacks for the show. Why not? Snacks are always good. There was a religious group of musicians playing for and yelling at passersby across the street. Occasionally getting in arguments with the mentally deranged homeless population. They were really, really, concerned about our everlasting souls, and wanted us to find Jesus as quickly as we can. But alas, I had a show to get to.

Hamilton was, just as last time, amazing. It's so intelligently put together, the crafting of actual historical elements with modern-day hip-hop music. Really, quite brilliantly done. And expertly performed! You can tell the actors are really enjoying their roles. I may have taken video while the exit music was playing at the end. Shhh! Don't tell anyone! I feel like such a criminal! After the show I walked back down Market Street all the way to the old Ferry Building. You can see firsthand the transition as you leave the theatre district: from homeless and crazy people, milling about with nothing to do, trash floating along in the breeze everywhere, it slowly transforms into a more respectable city with a diversity of pedestrians heading off in every direction, and eventually you hit the more famously known tourist areas along the waterfont.

The Embarcadero was quite crowded; apparently the Fleet Week festivities had concluded, the Blue Angels were done performing, and the crowds were all out trying to enjoy the touristy spots. And they were EVERYWHERE. I have a general disdain for large crowds, so I sped through the area as quickly as I could squeeze through, stopping only at the last Ben & Jerry's near the end to get a milkshake made out of their Half-Baked ice cream. So good! I should have gotten a large one instead of a small. In any case I sucked that puppy down right quick. Or as quickly as I could given a paper-based straw that stared disintegrating partway through. Stupid paper straws.

In any case, I followed my typical path along the waterfront and up through Fort Mason. The sun was already getting low on the horizon; I had entertained the idea of taking a walk along Baker Beach and watching the sun set, but I don't think I would have made it in time. Even my favorite bookstore at Fort Mason was closed, as it was just after 6pm. So instead, I hit the Chrissy Field beach area, which was still quite nice and not too crowded.

I'd never really walked along this particular beach much, though I've walked past it many times when heading directly to the Golden Gate. It was nice to get my shoes off and get my feel wet, though it was a bit cold. The changing of the seasons is upon is. But who doesn't love watching the sun set with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, as you walk through the soft, sandy beaches as gentle ocean waves chomp at your feet? It's a beautiful and awe-inspiring experience. I suppose it offers a glimmer of hope, by showing that there is still beauty to behold in the world. and I kind of needed that after traipsing through the not-so-good parts of San Francisco. What a diverse world it is! It's hard to have hope sometimes, when you so often see only the dark side of humanity. And I drive through downtown Sacramento everyday, so I see it, everyday, even if it is just quickly passing by in the car.

I ended up staying later than I normally do in San Francisco, but it was worth it to see the sun fully set and darkness set upon the world once more. Another day and another adventure, come to an end. And of course now it's back to the real world with work and responsibilities and raising a child and all of that. I'm glad I'm able to get out from time to time, though, to get away and experience things. I think it's human nature to explore, and not just our own world and surroundings but our own humanity as well. I can't really help those poor souls along the otherwise barren streets of San Francisco. But I can't help thinking, they were once like me, a child with parents who grew up and went to school and probably fell in love several times. They, too, once lived. I hope they do have some humanity left in them, somewhere, and that they might someday stop and look around and decide to explore it for themselves. Maybe they'll find some salvation. But I imagine, pessimistically, that those who survive this day and the next will still be there, the next time I visit. Things rarely change. Sad.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Vortex Of Insanity

So I had the pleasure of driving to Vallejo the last two days for a little music gig. On Interstate 80, just west of Fairfield near the old truck scales which rarely seem to be in operation anymore, there's a section where some sort of construction is going on. Or, WAS going on. It's hard to tell, as there doesn't seem to be any actual construction happening anywhere. But the usual signs adorn the freeway: "Construction Zone - Reduce Speed", and "Speed Limit 55", and "Speed Limit WILL be Enforced." Apparently, they were serious about this rather unassuming looking section of pavement winding through the dry brown hills at the edge of the valley. Then there was another sign: "Lanes Shift Ahead". Except, it wasn't JUST a lane shift...

Picture this: you're driving along the freeway. Your lane starts, slowly, to shift to the right. You think to yourself, "Well, this isn't so bad, I didn't even need to slow d..." And then, suddenly...all hell breaks loose! Before you even see it coming, multiple lane lines appear, going every which way and intersecting one another. You have only a split second to decide which of the three set of lines you should actually follow. And you're not alone - there's several dozen other cars along for the ride with you. Suddenly, everyone is swerving this way and that way, narrowly avoiding crashes left and right. It's like watching a grownup version of the old fair-style bumper car rides, except everyone is trying desperately NOT to bump into one another.

And then, just as suddenly as it began, it's over. You began this psychedelic trip in Lane No. 2, but somehow ended up in Lane No. 4. You look quickly in your rear view mirror to see what the heck you just drove through - but in hindsight all of the lanes appear perfectly straight and clear, and there appears to be only one set of them. Right where they should be. What happened?? Did we all just suddenly shift into an alternate reality? Some sort of parallel universe? A different dimension that's superimposed onto, but just slightly askew from, our own? Or are we all just collectively losing our minds?? There's no honking. No yelling. No obscene gestures through the driver's window. No road rage of any kind. How can there be? Everyone that just experienced this is glad to have gotten out alive. And I'm sure we were all thinking: "Did...did I do that??" But we survived, together, as one species, through this vortex of insanity. And I got to do it twice, two days in a row. I can't imagine what regular commuters through this area must feel. Maybe they're used to it. They should have just posted a sign: "Drive drunk for the next 200 yards, and good luck!" The results would have been similar, I think.

In any case, I got to play a gig that amounted to a musical revue at a high school in Vallejo, directed by an old friend of mine who used to be a pianist at Sac State, and actually worked on my stage managing staff for a time. It was nice to pull out the old Ibanez bass guitar and play again. To dust off the chops a little. I don't play as much as I used to, in the days where I'd do six productions a year that ran for four weeks apiece. Or in the year that I played 8 shows a week of Forever Plaid at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret (RIP). But every once in awhile it's nice to play again. And the 8 piece orchestra was made up of Sac State alums, so it was nice to see some old faces again. And hey, who doesn't like to dress up in all black and go out of town?

I suppose, in a sense, high school itself is like a vortex of insanity as well. And even these private Catholic school kids are not exempt from that. They were quite...spirited. Energetic? What's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah - crazy. But the concerts went well, at least as well as they could considering we had only a single, one-hour long rehearsal that didn't quite touch all of the pieces on the program. And that rehearsal ended as the doors were opening to let in the audience for the debut performance. Now, two performances later, we're done. Actually, if we had the chance to do it a third time, I think we'd just about have it down...

But the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. It was a mixture of a variety of choral ensembles, along with a couple of solos and duets, and even a hand bell choir performing Phantom of the Opera. Seriously, what high school even HAS a hand bell choir? This one, apparently. We had a good time, in any case, and the music was varied and fun. And the director pays well for services rendered, so, there's that. Afterwards the musicians went to BJ's in Vacaville for some food and drinks. It was actually a little funny, as we were all dressed in black - and we looked EXACTLY like the waitstaff there. I suppose we should have told them that we were the new crew, taking over, and that they were all relieved of duty. They might have bought it. If only for a minute.

And now, after a week of semi-intense playing, my bass is safely stowed away again. It's basically just going to sit in the corner of the room for awhile. Until the next time. When will that be? I have no idea. You just never know. Or, at least, I never know. Gigs are infrequent for me these days, which I suppose is okay as I don't know if I could realistically work many more into my schedule. Life is busy, and even finding time to do small gigs can be a challenge sometimes. There's just always so much going on, and seemingly all at once. I guess life, too, is a bit of a vortex of insanity.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Lyrics, Part 4

Oh, just when you thought I was done torturing you, here I am again. I actually find it fun, though, to really explore the meanings behind songs. And of course sometimes the meanings I find go beyond the original intent of the song, as I clumsily apply them to my own life, to my own existence as a human being. But that's okay; music should inspire us in that way. And in any case, no one is forcing you to read this. But if you're waiting for me to spout out some profound wisdom, like how 'life is like a play, performed without rehearsal', well you're probably going to be disappointed. Well, I mean, that is, if you keep reading past this first paragraph. And even that tasty little tidbit was inspired by a song from the Spin Doctors. So there. And away we go!


1. It's a long way to happiness, a long way to go. But I'm gonna get there, boy, the only way I know.

2. Sometimes, I see past the horizon. Sure of my way, where I am going. But where's the prize I have my eyes on? Where? There is just no knowing! And when despair tears me in two, who can I turn to but you? You know who I am. Take me as I am.

3. It’s a question of lust; it’s a question of trust. It’s a question of not letting what we’ve build up crumble to dust. It is all of these things and more, that keep us together.

4. We all lead such elaborate lives, wild ambitions in our sights. How an affair of the heart survives days apart and hurried nights, seems quite unbelievable to me. I don't want to live like that. Seems quite unbelievable to me. I don't want to LOVE like that. I just want our time to be slower, and gentler. Wiser. Free.

5. Loving can hurt sometimes, but it's the only thing that I know. And when it gets hard - you know it can get hard sometimes - it is the only thing that makes us feel alive...And it's the only thing we take with us when we die.

6. Take me back to the place where I once belonged. This could be anyplace - a place where you and I could sing this song. Take me back where I hear waterfalls flowing. Let me dive into the lake where winter hides the snow. Then comes the summertime; fields of scarlet poppies grow. Take me back where I see butterflies to-ing, fro-ing, and the river flows.


There now, that wasn't so bad, was it? Well if you made it this far, either you cheated and skipped to the bottom - or hopefully you've gained some insight. Into life, love, whatever. It's all good. As an unrelated side note - I mentioned previously about my "banner" month of blog posts in September. It actually was the highest amount of posts I've ever done in a month (10), narrowly beating out my previous record of 9, which happened in the second month of this blog's existence. Way back in July, 2009. Doesn't seem like it's been all that long, but 10 years have gone by. What a way to track time, clickety clackety on a keyboard! Well, anyways. On to brighter adventures...

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tasty.

My brother suggested I write about chocolate chip muffins and cookies. Well, and also Disneyland. But, we really need to focus on one thing at a time here. I just can't handle this non-focused rambling on multiple topics all at once. So here goes: chocolate chip muffins and cookies are yummy. Especially with milk. There, that ought to do it. Literary excellence, this is not. But hey, everyone needs a springboard to start from.

There's only three months left in 2019, and we're slowly winding our way into the holiday mega-season. It used to be just a "season", but since retailers now typically start stocking Christmas items in July, I think it's fair to give it an upgrade. Anyways, during most holiday seasons I take advantage of the breaks from work to bake up some batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yes, from scratch. With actual flour and cubes of butter and brown sugar, and so on. I suppose this is perhaps a last vestige of the days of my youth, when our grandmother used to come over one weekend before Christmas and bake all sorts of cookies. It was an event, to be sure. And we kids got to decorate the sugar cookies. Some family members of mine who shall remain nameless used to use "red hots" in their decorating. I always hated those. Though they did make convincing eyes. But anyways.

The picture here is the ACTUAL plate of cookies mentioned in my previous post. I'll call them the "Santa" cookies, based on Connor's assessment of the situation at the time. These were not, unfortunately, made from scratch. They weren't even from a tube; it was those Pillsbury packages where they are already neatly separated into 24 convenient squares. How lazy is that? Well, they eat well, in any case. And this famous plate of cookies is now long gone into the annals of our memory. This picture was previously only shared by me to one person, an old close friend who is very special to me. (No, not the "short bus" kind of special). They know who they are. But now here this picture is, resurrected from the deleted file on my iPhone, for the pleasurable and mouth-watering enjoyment of all of you fine people. Whoever you are.

No really, who are you? I can see that there's people viewing this, and it's not just me. It doesn't track me when I'm logged in and view it. You are all a a bunch of stalkers, that's what you are. But I digress.

Now where was I? Oh yes, cookies. So we used to bake all sorts of varieties of cookies when I was young. Or rather, the adults did the baking, and we mostly hung around in kitchen and got in the way. And oh the smells...can you imagine the smell of all manner of baking cookies, wafting through the house and your infiltrating your senses? It was simply delightful. That's what Christmas smells like. It kind of reminds me of going through the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, as it's decorated for the holidays, and smelling the fresh gingerbread in the dining room scene that they somehow magically pump in. Not that we ever made gingerbread per se, but the sensory stimulation is similar. And I had to somehow work Disneyland into the discussion.

Well, I could go on and on here, but really how much can one write about cookies? It has to end sometime, and you just need to go eat some. Because you know you want to. You know you're salivating right now just thinking about it. I think everyone should bake some cookies this fall or winter; preferably from scratch, but even refrigerated cookie dough will do in a pinch. And then everyone can enjoy the warm smells of the holiday season, and reminisce about the carefree and joyful holiday seasons we used to enjoy as kids. Or something like that. If you don't have such memories, I suppose you can just create new ones. All traditions have to start somewhere, after all.

So what else? What else... oh yeah! Muffins. Those are also good. Tasty.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Even The Weather Can Be Interesting

So tonight I want to talk about...writing. I suppose that may be risky, sort of the blogging version of talking about the weather on a first date. But sometimes even I wonder why I blather on and on in this medium. It started about 10 years ago, and I was talking then about Disneyland and chocolate chip muffins, as I recall. But this wasn't intended to be a travel blog. Or a food blog.

I used to be a composer. Of music. Well I suppose technically I still am, though I haven't written anything new in over a year. The problem with that is, well, music just isn't IN me anymore. It used to be, it used to itch and scratch to be let out into the world. I guess you can call that inspiration. It comes and goes sometimes; it actually left me awhile after I earned my bachelors, and didn't return again for several years - when I started my masters. In any case, it's gone again. Music doesn't live in me now; I lost it some time ago. Perhaps one day it will return again.

So now I write on this blog. Even that has been troublesome, as there's been times when I've been lucky to churn out one post a month. I just finished a banner month in September, though I cheated a little: three of my posts last month featured lyrics. Someone else's words. It wasn't plagiarism, I swear! It was...an experiment, of sorts.

Someone told me tonight that I write very well. Do I? It isn't the first time I've heard that. It is perhaps the first time I entertained the notion to believe it. I suppose in some alternate fantasy life I might have imagined myself a writer. Like Vonnegut or Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. Or James Michener or Gregory Maguire. Or whoever. But I don't suppose I would know WHAT to write about. You should write what you know, as the saying goes. But what do I know, that anyone would want to read? Difficult to say.

So, I guess, I write for me. I explore the trivial and mundane in my life, right alongside the ponderings of some of the greatest dilemmas of the human experience. I write what I feel, what I experience. I suppose that's enough. It has to be. And I find it as interesting, actually, as a discussion of the weather. The weather is quite interesting! Stop and pay attention to it sometime. Perhaps discussing the weather has gotten an unfair rap as a social faux pas.

Oh - and the weather was beautiful today - sunny and clear, but cool and refreshing. I could elaborate, but, well, you know.

Monday, September 30, 2019

What's Going On

So, today is October eve, the last day of September. It's now officially fall. I know the fall equinox was technically a week ago, but it hasn't felt like it up until this past weekend. We got rain! To be more specific, on Saturday evening the dark clouds rolled in and chased away the sun and blue skies, bringing with them thunder and lightning. And for a brief time, it rained. Hard. It was quite invigorating to take a walk out in the deluge. Even with my "big boy" umbrella my shoes and jeans still got a bit wet. But it was lovely. A great friend of mine caught a picture of a complete double rainbow in Citrus Heights. In Natomas though it was just dark and scary, with tremendous awe-inspiring thunder claps that seemed to roll on into eternity.



But before all this happened, it was nice to get away a little bit towards the end of last week to the river, to hang out in nature and just enjoy being outside in the fresh air for a little while. There's lots of little hidden gems around Sacramento, where one can find peace and tranquility, away from the hustle and bustle of our normal everyday lives. This particular video was shot by the American River, in the Sunrise Recreation Area. Great place for a little picnic, and a bit of wading in the water. Just watching the world float by. I then went to Old Town Sacramento, and hung out by the riverfront by myself there for awhile to enjoy the sunset. It's quite a picturesque area to be in, despite all of the human pollution there. I posted some lovely shots of the Tower Bridge and the Delta King on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Yesterday I also repaired the flat tire on Connor's bike, and we tried going without training wheels for the first time. It was...a little sketchy. But he was a brave trooper and willing to give it his best. And he didn't crash per se, so that was a positive. Well he did kind of run into a bush. But hey, no one's perfect. We'll try again real soon. Later in the evening I baked some chocolate chip cookies for us, and brought them out to the living room to surprise him, along with a glass of milk of course. One cannot forget the milk. His first response was: "Are these for Santa?". Cute kid, so innocent. So, we shared some cookies and milk before bath time and bed time, and afterwards he proudly proclaimed, "Now we're both Santas!" Apparently, cookies and milk are the only criteria for being Santa Claus. Duly noted.

So, again, here we are on the eve of October. The month of ghosts and goblins and tricks or treats. The season of the macabre, before the Christmas season steamrolls in and obliterates all of this wonderfully dark decor. I find that I'm a little more in the spirit of things now than I was last year, and that's a good thing. Several decorations have already been placed, I've already started my collection of bags of candy for the trick-or-treaters, and birthday parties are being planned, as Connor will turn 6 on Halloween. I expect a far better holiday season this year as compared to last year.

Anyways, it was a fairly nice and relaxing weekend. I had originally considered taking a trip to the Bay Area on Saturday after Connor's soccer game, but the impending weather did not seem conducive to a frolicky romp on the ocean beaches. So I stayed home Saturday, treated myself to lunch at Dos Coyotes, and generally frittered the day away until the rains came. And until Connor came back to me on Sunday. The weekend at home turned out pleasant, and not a bad way to prep for the work week, which unfortunately has now begun.

So, that's what's going on in my life.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Video Stuff

So, throughout my life I've never been big on videography. No particular reason per se, I just never wanted to see myself on video. Or hear myself. Is that what I really sound like?? Yikes. And we didn't have that technology in our house when I was growing up; the home video craze was still new back then. That's how old I am. But when Connor was born I started taking more videos, to capture him, both at birth and as he grew up. I never really did anything with those videos though, aside from occasionally posting one on Facebook. Most have never seen the light of day, and continue to exist only on my computer for my own personal nostalgic fetishes.

Recently I've begun re-acquainting myself with iMovie, so that I can actually do some editing and compiling of my material, and post it on my You Tube Channel. Oh yeah, I have a You Tube Channel. I've actually had it for many years, I just never really did anything with it. I meant to. I really did. But I've been inspired lately by one of my dearest and oldest friends to get more into videography.

So yesterday I wasted away a little over an hour and a half of my time pulling together this video (thanks a lot Rebekah!), and another 45 minutes swearing at the computer as it had difficulty sharing directly to You Tube. Some sort of problem with privacy settings or some damn thing. And also it apparently takes a long, long time to upload a video on wifi. But in any case, it's working now. And you can see the fruit of my labor below. It's a compilation of scenic videos I shot this past summer on our family cruise to Alaska. It is (if I may say so myself) tastefully edited together and set to music. I'm rather proud of the end product, actually.

I really tried, on this trip, to shoot more videos and not just hundreds and hundreds of static photos. Videos do make the post-trip memory experience come alive. I still did not shoot really any videos of people on this trip, and certainly none of myself. But I'm working on that with my "therapist" Rebekah. So in time, more good things should appear. And if I can find some more time to waste away this week, perhaps I'll dig back into my video and photo archives and whip out another one of these things.

In the meantime, enjoy:




Friday, September 20, 2019

Cosmological Constants

So I had a discussion last night with one of my oldest and closest friends, which among other things dealt heavily in religion and afterlife and things of that nature. I don't often talk about religious things; it is after all one of those "taboo" subjects that one is not to discuss at fancy dinner parties. Along with politics. But as this was no fancy dinner party, I suppose I should be given some leeway here.

I am not a particularly religious person, really; I have not been for many years. To be technically accurate, I consider myself an agnostic these days. I believe in possibilities, or at least I do not discount anything that cannot be disproved. I don't think we, as meekly little humans, are really meant to understand or are even capable of understanding the nature of the universe. Or of life. Or of death. I actually grew up in the Baptist faith, largely due to the influence of my maternal grandmother. After her passing and after going to high school in a new town, we drifted somewhat away from religious influence. I suppose it wasn't until much later, really, in late college or early adulthood perhaps, that I really started to define my perspective on the matter.

There are many different religions of course throughout the world (over 4000 by some estimates), many of which believe in some sort of creator. And most, it seems, follow the idea of a union or marriage of two people. One of the common attributes of marriage ceremonies in many Christian faiths is the idea of marriage till "death do us part". The idea has permeated society so much that you see this promise thrown around often in TV and film. Some, however, believe that this is not the end; that marriage transcends death and exists in perpetuity throughout all eternity. Of course that begs the question, "What happens to us after we die?". It is practically impossible for us mere humans to imagine a state of being where we simply do not exist, neither to think nor feel anything. Ever again. I've tried to imagine this. I cannot. This alone should support for the idea that there MUST be SOMETHING after death. But what is the answer? (Fans of Douglas Adams would be screaming here, "42! The answer is 42!"). Well it's difficult to know the answer when the question itself is difficult to fathom.

So, I like to think there IS something after all of this lovely mess we call life. But what? Another lifetime to explore? Another world? Another plane of existence? Who knows. Will we be able to be with all of those loved ones we've lost through time, with those we now call our "soulmate"? Who knows, who knows. Some believe that if you're bonded in this life you will be bonded in the next. And the next. And the next. But what if the two of you don't share the same beliefs? Do those with different beliefs end up being screwed in the afterlife because they did not choose the "correct" path, the "correct" religion? Or do they get pleasantly surprised when they find out that they were wrong? Does God say, at the end, "Sorry, you didn't follow the right religion, so you're done...just kidding! I still love you anyway! Here's your eternity." He must have a sense of humor like that. Wouldn't that be neat? So many questions. So few answers. That's why I think we're not meant to truly know. Agnostic.

There was a movie awhile back that dealt with some of these issues - What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams (RIP) and Cuba Gooding Jr. It was a delightfully profound movie about life and death and love, that critics seemed to hate for being too obtuse. But I find I relate to its thinking, in a deep and meaningful way. Some notable quotes from the film:

"It's not about understanding, it's about not giving up".
And: "You didn't (disappear), you only died".
And: "What some folks call impossible, is just stuff they haven't seen before".
And this little gem: "I realized I'm part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn't join you. So I left you alone. Don't give up, okay?"

If things like this don't cause you to stop and think - you may be dead already. Check your pulse. Do it now. I'll wait.

So what is the answer? Is there one? I find the more I think about it, the more questions there are. It's a never-ending cycle, it seems, which prevents us from truly understanding. But I'd like to think that there's some great cosmological constant, that is somehow, somewhere, looking out for us. That we will be okay, in this life and the next. In any case, I'd like to think that it's safe to keep taking steps forward on our journey. That we can enjoy life and each other without worrying too much about the ending destination. That's hard, sometimes. We let our worries and fears run our life, and it prevents us from feeling ready to move on, to move forward, to experience happiness and joy. We are true masters at talking ourselves out of things. I said this in closing to my friend last night, and I think it rings true here: "The first step in being ready for anything is to stop convincing yourself that you're not". Read that again. And again. Yes, you.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Rain, Rain, Come Again

Here it is - the first "rainy" day of the season. After weeks and weeks of temperatures in the 90's and even 100's, there is finally a change in the tides. The clouds have rolled in and blanketed us is a great grey mist, and droplets of rain are struggling mightily to reach the earth. And they do. And they will. Actually I'm not expecting a whole lot from this current system, but all the same it's a welcome change. A VERY welcome change, from my perspective. I like the rain. I like the clouds. I don't miss how drivers on the roads of Sacramento suddenly turn into bumbling idiots at the first sign of rain. It's like everyone suddenly loses their mind. But that will be a challenge for later, when the rains really make their presence felt. For now, I'm safely tucked away at work at the start of another work week. And by the time I leave for the day, the rains will most likely have passed on.

It was a fine weekend, after all. I know a couple of weeks ago I had hypothesized about taking another trip this weekend to San Francisco to visit the great ocean once more. And I do so love such adventures. But I got sidetracked by an admittedly better offer. I actually caught most of Connor's soccer game as well on Saturday; he scored the first goal of the game. While playing on defense. It was a nice straight shot down three-quarters of the field that obediently stayed true to its course and rolled gently into the opposing team's unmanned goal. But hey, a score is a score.

And I feel like I scored as well, in a manner of speaking. I got to spend several hours hanging out at Sac State with a dear old friend whom I originally met in junior high...way back in 1987. That was...32 years ago! More years than I can count, even using both hands. (How old AM I?? Yikes). But it was so refreshing to hang out and talk about days gone by, and our own personal first-world problems, and enjoy a friendly hug or two, all whilst enjoying a walk and touring the greener areas of Sac State. And...a little bit of breaking and entering into buildings that probably should have been closed. Well we didn't do the breaking, anyway, just the entering. So I will still proclaim my innocence on that account. But it was so nice to see her in person, after so much time. We used to be closer friends, back in our college years, back in the 90's, when we used to write letters back and forth (this was well before the invention of texting). Then we drifted apart, as people often do. But in recent weeks we've reconnected, and it's just like old times. I feel young again. I feel alive again.

And it was nice and calming to sit by the river, underneath the Guy West Bridge, and watch the world slowly float by. It's peaceful there, and not terribly trafficked at all, even on such a beautiful day as we had. How refreshing it is to waste the day away in such a manner! But of course it was not a waste, not at all. So many stories to share, and even the five or so hours we had was not nearly enough to tell them all. Or to remember them all. It's funny how many experiences of the past, long pushed aside and forgotten, can suddenly resurface and be just as fresh as if they were yesterday. Where have those memories been hiding? The whole experience was like life letting out a great big sigh as it reflects back upon itself and the many times gone by. And my heart and soul did sigh. Probably just as much as if I had gone to the ocean this weekend. Perhaps even more so.

Nostalgic much? Yes. Yes I am. But now I must stop in this frivolous reverie and look to the present, as work is unfortunately beckoning me to come forth and be productive. I'm sure there's a piano somewhere that needs moving. Or some messes that need cleaning. Or whatever. But the memories from the weekend, they will stay, for the moment. And they will help me move forward.

Sigh.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lyrics, Part 3

Yes, in fact, there was a planned Part 3. And here it is. Read. Absorb. Feel. Transcend. Heal. All of that good stuff.


1. "I tried so hard not to give in. I said to myself, 'this affair never will go so well'. But why should I try to resist when I know so well, I've got you under my skin? I'd sacrifice anything, come what might, for the sake of having you near. In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night and repeats in my ear: ‘Don't you know little fool, you never can win? Use your mentality, wake up to reality’. But each time that I do, just the thought of you makes me stop before I begin, because I've got you under my skin."

2. "Without you, the ground thaws. The rain falls, the grass grows. Without you, the seeds root, the flowers bloom, the children play. The stars gleam, the poets dream, the eagles fly. Without you, the Earth turns, the sun burns. But I die, without you."

3. "Tell me why, don't we try, not to break our hearts and make it so hard for ourselves?"

4. "I can curl up and hide in my room. There in my bed still sobbing tomorrow. I could give in to all of the gloom. But tell me, tell me what for? Why should I have a heavy heart? Why should I start to break in pieces? Why should I go and fall apart for you?"

5. "I want somebody to share the rest of my life. Share my innermost thoughts, know my intimate details. Someone who'll stand by my side and give me support. And in return, she'll get my support. She will listen to me when I want to speak, about the world we live in and life in general. Though my views may be wrong - they may even be perverted - she'll hear me out, and won't easily be converted to my way of thinking. In fact, she'll often disagree. But at the end of it all, she will understand me."

6. "There are secrets on a leaf, in the water, in the air; hidden planets, tiny worlds, all invisible. Not a person seems to know, not a person seems to care. There is no one who believes a thing I say. Well, I'm fairly certain at one time or other, great thinkers all feel this way. I'm alone in the universe. So alone in the universe. I've found magic but they don't see it. They all call me a lunatic. Okay, call me a lunatic. If I stand on my own, so be it. Because I have wings. Yes, I can fly, around the moon and far beyond the sky. And one day soon I know there you'll be - one small voice in the universe, one true friend in the universe who believes in me."


I promise, this will most certainly, possibly, be the last of these. Maybe. Until then, go out and enjoy the world. It's a nice day, after all. And for fun and visual interest, I post a picture here that I shot this morning from my iPhone. This is near the base of the Guy West Bridge, looking back at Sac State. The place where I've basically lived for, well, too many years. More than a quarter of a century, in fact. And that's a long time. It's hard to imagine so much time has passed, all in this same location. Where did all that time go?? Honestly, sometimes, I have no idea.

Anyways. You can see in this photo that someone hung a rope there, some time ago, from which to swing into the river . A dangerous proposition in this particular river, to be sure. Now it stands as an almost forgotten testament to the care-free days of summer, now long gone as we enter our third week of school. Well. Back to work!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Pondering

Sometimes I like to go to the park late at night, as it is right now. I sit on the swings and sway gently back and forth. Stare at the moon, the stars, the silhouetted trees blowing gently in the wind. One can transcend reality, if they aren't too careful, and slip back to the time of youth. When playgrounds and swing-sets held our fancy. It only lasts a little while; the cold breeze on your cheek startles you back into reality. You're much older now, and so much has transpired.

There were many paths back then, all open and inviting. Just waiting for us to choose. And choose we did. So many decisions led to so many paths, until we arrived finally at the place we are right now. Did we choose the right path? Have we arrived at the right destination? Who can say, who can say.

And what does the future hold? Maybe wrong paths of the past paved the way for right paths of the present. Or of the future.

Do we stay on our path, stuck in our current familiarities? Do we branch out, take a risk, take a chance? Would it work out if we did? Who can say, who can say. We will never know what may be if we don't try. There's comfort in the familiar, to be sure. So comforting that sometimes it's hard to imagine anything different. To trust in anything different.

The stars shine dimly within the city. Too much interference. The moon doesn't mind, it's a lone beacon in the vast darkness. Showing a course, lighting the way. Why do I suddenly feel so poetic? Who can say, who can say.

Just pondering. And now it's time for bed.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Lyrics, Part 2

I threatened this in my last post, and here it is: part 2 of my special on inspirational and meaningful lyrics. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, you need to go back and read my last post. As before, I've deleted some repetition of words and added in punctuation to turn poetry into prose. Or make it closer to prose, at least. Hopefully you, dear reader (or future Glenn...) will gain some insight into life from these deep thoughts. Hopefully these will, at the least, inspire you into thought, or at their best inspire a motivation for change in your world, in your life.

And again, see if you can recognize any of these; the answer key will be in the comments by and by...


1. "We start with stars in our eyes. We start believing that we belong. But every sun doesn't rise, and no one tells you where you went wrong. Step out of the sun if you keep getting burned. Step out of the sun because you've learned. On the outside, always looking in. Will I ever be more than I've always been?"

2. "Together, we will go our way. Together, we will leave someday. Together, your hand in my hand. Together, we will make our plans. Together, we will fly so high. Together, tell all our friends goodbye. Together, we will start life new. This is what we'll do." (side note: one of my dearest and oldest friends is a huge fan of this artist...and this one's super easy! So she better recognize this one, or else she can no longer be my friend. I kid, of course. Well, maybe.)

3. "Talking loud and clear, saying just what we feel. Lying in the grass with the sun on our backs. It doesn't really matter what we do or what we say. With every little movement we give ourselves away. Opposite and opposite, decisions are reversed. Facing one another with words that couldn't hurt. With every little word you're getting closer to me. Talking loud and clear, saying just what we feel today."

4. "When you try your best but you don't succeed. When you get what you want but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can't sleep. Stuck in reverse. When the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can't replace. When you love someone but it goes to waste. Could it be worse?"

5. "I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don't know if I believe that's true. But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you. Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun, like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood. Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

6. "I peer through windows, watch life go by, dream of tomorrow, and wonder why the past is holding me. Keeping life at bay. I wander lost in yesterday, wanting to fly but scared to try. But if someone like you, found someone like me, then suddenly nothing would ever be the same."


Well there you have it. Did you find some joy? Some peace? Some sadness? I hope so, I hope so. Even the sadness part. I mean after all, sadness is a part of life, it's a part of us. We could not know happiness if we never knew sadness. And embracing sadness and bringing it to the surface, so it can be set free, is a good way to cleanse the soul. And you can not move on if you don't set it free; that's the key. Admittedly, looking back on these, of course I recognize that most of these do have a somber quality to them. There's not a lot of outright joy in these. Perhaps somber, or pensive, or otherwise sad qualities are best for spiritual growth, if only because they are best at inspiring introspection. Does that sound crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. Something to think about anyway.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Lyrics, Part 1

Have you ever really focused on the words in songs? I mean, REALLY focused. There are so many songs I have on my personal iPhone library - which I play every time I'm in the car - that have special meaning to me. Sometimes they elicit an emotional response, or trigger a memory. Sometimes they relate exactly to things going on in my life. And it's the words, not just the music, that really affect me. That is, if I really pay attention to what they're saying. Some are happy, some are sad, and some just make me think. Or dream. Or cry.

So, I'd like to try something a little different today. Below I'm going to post six different quotes from random songs that mean something to me. In most cases I have eliminated repetitive words, and added punctuation, to more clearly demonstrate the flow and meaning of the text. Call that...artistic license, if you will. All of these have had an impact on me on years past, or indeed whenever I hear them. Some even affect me right now, today, as I myself read through them again. But these quotes are not meant to be just read. They are meant to be absorbed, through your skin and through your veins, and transported directly to your heart. Or your mind. Or wherever you wish them to live within you. So read these, think about these, and enjoy these. See if you can guess where they come from, and maybe in the comments I'll post the sources to see how many you got right...


1. "Somebody hears you. You know that inside. Someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to say just the right thing and show that you’re understood. Here, you’re known. Leave your life open. You don’t have to hide. Someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these mindless decisions and moments you long forgot."

2. "Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?"

3. "Time stops when suddenly you see her. Time stops, and what you thought you knew, changes. And life beyond this moment is better, bigger. Time stops, but still your heart is beating. Time stops, though you don't take a breath. She's there, and all you've ever wanted is nearer, clearer. I used to think the world was small. Now I don't think that way at all."

4. "Was it something I said or something you read, that's changing your mind, that's turning you around? Was somebody wrong or somebody right? What was it made up your mind, what could change overnight?"

5. "And the house felt so big, and I felt so small. The house felt so big, and I knew there would be moments that I'd miss. And I knew there would be space I couldn't fill. And I knew I'd come up short a million different ways. And I did. And I do. And I will."

6. "We're meant to be friends, that's what it says in the script. Is it really the end if sometimes I stray just a bit? Oh no, it should be poetry not prose. I'm in love with you. Do you think it shows? And everyone knows when they look at us; of course they do, it must be obvious. I've never told you, now I suppose that you're the only one who doesn't know."


There now, that wasn't so bad, was it? Sometimes the words and thoughts found around us can express things better than we ever could. I hope that you, dear reader, have been affected some way - some positive way - by this little experiment of mine. I hope some of these made you think, made you feel. And by all means, feel free to share your own with me, if you like. Perhaps this could develop into a sort of shared mood-enhancing music library. Who knows? Anything is possible. I'm sure you noticed that the title of this post says, "Part 1". It won't be the last...

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Journey and the Destination

So one of my good friends did her weekly Facebook vlog this morning (is vlog even the right term? I have no idea. I'm so not 'hip' to these trendy social models). Anyways, one of her themes was talking about the journey versus the destination. She actually usually has a lot of themes going on in her 20-30 minute talks, but I can only focus on one thing at a time while at work...so I picked this one. But it's a curious theme that I think is often overlooked by most people in life, as we're so distracted by everything going on around us, and everything in our past that we carry around like unwanted baggage on our soul, that we tend to just put blinders on and push forward as best we can. So, here I will babble a little bit about it.

My first recollection of dealing with this theme is in music. It's a really a big one in performing arts, or at least it used to be anyway. Question: which is more important as a developing musician, the journey (the rehearsals) or the destination (the concert)? It's really, I think, a very good analogy for life. It may be a good analogy for everything, though the answer may vary depending on the application. Obviously everyone wants to have a "good" concert, so the destination is clearly important. But the steps you took to get there - the rehearsals - is where all of the growth and learning occurs. Or most of it anyway. Which is more important? My college band director who loved this topic was all about the destination. And I suppose, as an educator, in many ways that makes sense. (But of course he wanted to put on a good show at the end of the day as well. Well, who wouldn't?)

These things can apply to life as well, and specifically to our relationships with others. I'm at a point in my life where I'm completely free, with no clear course of direction. Like a sailboat bobbing along all by itself in the middle of the vast ocean. Except I have a small dinghy tethered to me as well. He'll be turning 6 next month. (I do tend to use a lot of nautical analogies, don't I? Perhaps I was a fish in a former life. A whale. Or a dolphin. Maybe I WAS a boat. Who knows?) Anyways, I don't know when or if I will ever be involved in a relationship, but I think the next time around - if there is a next time around - I'm going to try, really try, to focus on the journey more. I will try not to worry about where any potential romance may be leading, and just enjoy the moments with that person. I mean, after all, that's what we're supposed to be doing here, isn't it? Enjoying each other with what time we have.

Too often we worry incessantly about little details that we often have little control over. Oh, this relationship won't work because of this thing or that thing. Well you know what? Screw all that. Just enjoy having time to spend together, to appreciate life and the beauty that this world can still provide. While you still can; life is fleeting after all. The longer you wait, the less you'll have left. It's not going to last forever. So if someone makes you smile, if you enjoy your time together and find you think of them often, just focus on that. Chances are, the little details will work themselves out along the way. But even if they don't, so what? At least you had a nice journey (if you did it right!). Here's the thing about life: you can't go back and change the journey. BUT, if you don't like the destination, you can ALWAYS change that. Just turn around, and take a step forward. And find a new journey. It's as simple as that. Am I oversimplifying? Perhaps. I guess time will tell. But life is nothing but a series of decisions, piled on top of another one after the other. We just need to make the right decisions.

In deciding recently that I need to include more photos on my blog, I'm including here a shot of the sun and clouds not long after sunrise this morning, taken from outside my son's school. Does it have any relevance? You bet. The clouds are on a journey. So is the sun. So are we, literally, as we hurtle through space on this tiny rock we call home. Everything we see around us is on a journey. So I suppose, considering that, perhaps the journey SHOULD be more important than the destination.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Beach. Nude beach.

So yesterday I got away, to the City by the Bay. It was a wonderful trip, at once both familiar and new, both relaxing and exciting. Which, really, should be a good indicator of any successful trip. I had originally intended to start at the beach, doing some out-of-the-way hiking, but it didn't end up that way. At least, not at the beginning. That's one of the great things I love about San Francisco; I can go and see where the mood takes me, and there's always so many possibilities, so many directions.

I started, as I most often do, parking under my favorite tree in the free parking lot by the Marina, next to Fort Mason. I began with a leisurely stroll down along the waterfront, through the beaches of Crissy Field and towards the base of the Golden Gate. It was in view today, a stark contrast to the last trip I took in which it was shrouded in fog the entire day. But I didn't get past Fort Point. Instead, I turned around and headed back towards the city.

That was not part of the plan. Usually when I first arrive, I am either in a somber or pensive mood, and try and steer clear from the more touristy spots for as long as possible, so that I can think. Walking time is the best thinking time, after all. But I was in an entirely different mood, on this day. It was as if a bright spark had ignited deep inside me - which usually doesn't happen until much later in the day on one of these trips. It acted like a beacon of sorts, or like a divining rod, guiding my path along the Embarcadero and down to the Ferry Building, before taking me up Market Street and into the Union Square area. And then back along Columbus while stopping at a couple of bars along the way.

I took a lot more photos than I normally do, simply because a really fantastic friend of mine wanted to see them. So I played the tour guide, of sorts. Pointing out little visions of beauty that most people fail to recognize, or else they recognize them as something important but do not know why. So along I went, stopping here and there and taking pictures, and sending them off into the world to find their audience. In this way, she spent the day with me, in a manner of speaking, and I am immensely and humbly grateful for her presence in spirit.

Later in the afternoon, she called me out on a minor point - she had read my previous blog post, and knew that this was not the path I had intended for myself. I was supposed to be out along the great beaches, immersing my soul in their grandeur, and looking for parts of myself that had been lost long ago. So I went back to my car, and I left the bustling city for the high cliffs of the Presidio, stopping at the overlook to the batteries and Marshall's beach. And then something else happened. Well, several somethings, as I'm sure the reader will glean from the title of this post. But first, one more side story.

My good friend...well, wait a minute. I find the term "friend" somewhat lacking to truly describe what her presence in my life means to me. I'm afraid I cannot think of a better term off the top of my head that will do it justice. Maybe one hasn't been invented yet. Or maybe I am just inadequate to the task. I will need to ponder this further. Anyways. She suggested that I take off my shoes and socks and actually, well, get a little wet. This is a common practice on the beach for normal people but fairly foreign to me, as I almost always wear shoes and socks everywhere I go. Even along the beach. I think the last time I went barefoot at a beach was in Hawaii in 2015. But again I digress. She said it would be healing, something about receiving energy from the earth. She was speaking in a physical sense; I am not aware if she realizes that it also works in a spiritual sense. But I suspect she does; she's pretty smart. In any case, trusting her opinion and recommendation, I did it. And I walked along the beach and let the waves literally wash over me, and not just figuratively. And do you know what? She was right, she was right.

And then there was the nudity.

To quote a snippet from Hamilton, which I had actually tried unsuccessfully to get a discount matinee ticket to go see: "Ladies and Gentleman...the moment you've been waiting for." So, apparently, there was this all-male nudist group enjoying the beach on this sunny afternoon. I have no idea if they are regulars or if this was a one time thing; they certainly weren't there the last time I visited this beach. And they were actually attractive guys - if you like that sort of thing. This beach is also a popular spot for photography, so there were a lot of clothed individuals around as well. One of the fully-clothed men walked past me fairly close and smiled and nodded, and I think I detected a small glint in his eye that seemed to say, "I'd hit that". I was definitely not in Kansas anymore. But, it was actually refreshing to see everyone functioning in harmony together, the clothed and un-clothed alike, the straight men and gay men alike. To summarize the experience: I saw a lot of penises on this trip.

And now, as the weekend is fading into history, I think my soul is primed and ready to tackle the 'real' world again. Connor is back with me and we have the day off tomorrow for whatever adventures suit our fancy. I might go back again to the Bay in two weeks, you never know. And no, it won't be just to see if I can find another nude beach. But hey, anything can happen in San Francisco.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Week One: Done

I'm pretty sure I wrote another post with this exact same title some time ago. It's a recurring theme anyway, as so many things in life are. The first week of school is finally done. We're off and running, so to speak. And here we are with a 3-day weekend to unwind and decompress. I'm going to take a trip to San Francisco tomorrow before getting Connor back on Sunday.

A good friend asked me yesterday why I go to San Francisco. I'm not entirely sure that she's aware of how often I make this trip in the course of a year. I suppose I like that it's fairly close and has lots to see and do, things appropriate for whatever mood I find myself in. Really though, when I pass over that last crest of a hill and I see the ocean coming into view for the first time, an immense calm comes over me. It's as if the waves themselves are washing over my soul, pulling away the loose sand and debris that has clogged it. It's like I've come home.

In a word: serenity. That's why I go.

Over the last 24 hours I've subjected myself to waves of a different kind: nostalgia. I've been going through my file cabinet in the folder where I've kept personal treasures for years and years. Mostly cards and letters from times gone by. It's amazing how much we forget over the years. The people who touched our lives and affected us in our youth. Those who pulled us along when we needed a tether to keep us on our path. There was even a couple of letters from people that, honestly I can't yet remember who they are. I stare at their name on the page and concentrate as hard as I can. But they've been completely washed from memory.

But that's not true of most of my treasures. There were some people I was very close to, who meant the world to me and yet I drifted apart from them over the years. Like a small dinghy hopelessly lost, further and further out to sea. Maybe that's why the ocean calls to me now. Maybe it wants me to keep an eye out for this little ship to finally drift back home. So the world will be right again.

I can't really say that I have any regrets in life. I believe that the only way a person can truly have regrets is if they aren't happy with where they've ended up in life. And I'm not prepared to admit that. Things aren't perfect, sure. Things need work, sure. I'm not finished, not by a long shot. But I'm content with who I've become, with who I am at this instant.

And yet, I cannot help but look back on potential missed opportunities and wonder: what might have been. It's silly, I know. One cannot change the past. But perhaps the present and future will change now, as I've relived through some past memories - GOOD memories - long forgotten that now bob incessantly on the surface of my consciousness.

Life is funny. The first week of the first semester of my 21st year at Sac State is done. Tomorrow I will take a good, hard, long look across the sea. I wonder what I'll see.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Missing Donuts

It's Tuesday morning. 9am. Day 2 of school. Where are the donuts?? Honestly I've grown exceptionally disappointed in this certain student organization's ability to consistently supply me with my insatiable craving. Once upon a time, long long ago, there were very consistent. It was a given, a mathematical certainty, that they'd be there, peddling their wares in our building on each and every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I could count on them, and I would always get a chocolate bar. I miss my donuts. Anyways. Times change I suppose.

The school year is off and running, and as usual it's an exceptionally busy time with a seemingly non-stop stream of students coming by looking for lockers. And keys. And directions. So many people are lost (and not just physically, it seems). It's always bittersweet for me when a new semester starts. I miss already the peace and serenity of the holiday break around here, but it's also nice to see some familiar faces again. And let's face it, the work day goes by much faster when you're much busier. And slower when you're not. I do believe you could apply a mathematical proportion to that relationship. I find I'm a bit tired already though, even though it's only Day 2 and not even 10:30am at that. That may be just a by-product of this past closing weekend of the Yeomen of the Guard with LOTS; playing five performances of an entire Gilbert and Sullivan opera is definitely taxing! Though it is perhaps that I've just been staying up too late besides that. Hey, I'm not in my 20's anymore. Bedtime is 9pm! How old I've become. But I'm proud to admit that on Friday night I stayed out at a bar having drinks and appetizers with a certain oboe player from our orchestra, and I didn't get home till almost 3am! How wild am I?

I'll have to keep this short as it's just too busy here right now; I've been working on this for over an hour already (lol). I did want to say though, that last night I reconnected with an old friend from my *gasp* junior high days. From way, way back in my history. I had mostly fallen out of touch with her over the years, only catching glimpses of her existence now and then on Facebook. (To be fair, I mostly have fallen out of touch with everyone - I'm like a hermit. A recluse even) But it was so nice to catch up a little bit on each other's lives. How many years have gone by?! Too many. I think our respective lives were quite a bit of a surprise to each other. SO much has happened. Hopefully we'll continue to chat, and even find some time to hang out so we can catch up on missed hugs from years gone by, and become good friends once more.

Hey look, it's 10:30am now. Back to work I guess. I do wish I had a donut right now...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tuesday Morning

It's a cool morning. That's saying something, after weeks of daily high temperatures near or over the century mark. It's supposed to be 'only' 89 today. Hooray for simple pleasures. It's fortunate in my job that I don't always have to stay cooped up in my office, as it was a delightful morning to stroll through the campus whilst still completing necessary errands for the State. And it's fortunate that I work on a campus that basically amounts to a giant park, laden with trees including dozens of redwoods. And occasionally, squirrels. And now, being the week before school starts, it's still pretty peaceful out there. It's still possible wander about and foolishly imagine that this park exists for only me. At least, for a little while. Next week, we'll be overrun with tourists, and those of us who are more permanent residents will just have to sigh in acceptance. Summer had to end eventually, after all.

It's been a decent summer over all, some new adventures and some old ones, and hanging out with or otherwise reconnecting with people I had more or less lost touch with in recent years. Another summer and another cruise to Alaska, but my first as a single dad. On the performing arts side, we're midway through our run of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Yeoman of the Guard" with the Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento, and the show has been going well and drawing decent crowds, who have had enthusiastic responses to it. So that's fun. I haven't actually seen that many people I know in the audiences, but perhaps that will change in this our closing weekend. I'll probably head out for drinks after Friday's show at least, just a way to unwind and celebrate all of the things that are ending. Summer. The Yeoman. Peace and Quiet. The usual end of summer routine.

What will this school year hold? What will the fall and winter hold? Who knows, who knows. I prefer to keep my mind and options open, I suppose. I'm still in the midst of dealing with all the changes of the past year. I suspect there will be a lot more to deal with in the coming weeks and months, as we approach what promises to be, for me, a whole new sort of holiday season. Last year's was a bit of a mess for me personally. But that's all over now. Now, I trudge along, day by day, and I'll see what unfolds. Perhaps that is too passive of a way to go through life, I don't know. But there is a certain spiritual calm to it, just letting things fall where they may and trying not to worry about the minor details along the way.

Of course I may have to start interjecting some drive and ambition into things, just to spice life up a bit. We'll see.

But for now, it's only Tuesday, and there's still a few more days left for adventure before the semester starts. Onward.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Walk In The Night

So tonight was our first full run of Yeomen of the Guard, with a full 20-something piece orchestra and the cast in their full, period styled regalia. It actually went really well, I thought. This show seems to me to have a bit of a slower pace compared to other Gilbert and Sullivan shows. But the operatic sound is rather delightful and - dare I say - pretty. It will be interesting to see how this show comes off.

I got home a little after 10pm, which for any community theatre tech rehearsal is actually exceptionally early. After being home for a bit I decided to go out for a walk. I don't why. Because I could, I suppose. What other reason does one need?

Anyways, I started out around 11:30 and followed mostly the same path I usually go when I walk around sunset. But this time, it was quite different. It was...peaceful. Calm. Serene.

Quiet.

I experienced the world in a way that few people ever do, for no other reason than they simply choose not to. At first I only noticed the apparent absence of any sound within the dark canvas that surrounded me. But then the music of the night started to fade in, as if someone was slowly edging up the volume knob of a radio, higher and higher until it virtually begged to be noticed.

I heard crickets at first, perhaps only one or two initially, until they eventually grew into an entire army. There might be a whole bustling city of them out there, all past the edge of human sight. And then over the top of it, like a solo piccolo in an orchestra, came the tweets of a single bird. It was far in the distance, and seemingly tentative yet incessant. Repeating. Again. And again. As he threw his song out into the world, with no one but me and the crickets to hear, it seemed as if he was merely practicing. Testing out his voice, as it were. Probably he didn't expect anyone to be listening.

As I continued walking, I must have gotten fairly close to him, as his song grew more urgent, almost alarmed. He was probably spooked by my presence, since it's so unusual for him to see humans out at this hour. As well he should be. Creatures from my species are dangerous creatures indeed. But eventually he must have decided I was not a threat, for his song simmered down and continued on its original course.

I found that I could focus my hearing like an antenna, and I picked up the distant sound of cars on the freeway, which at this distance sounded almost like the crashing of waves on a beach. Steady and unrelenting. It's pretty easy, at this hour, to remove yourself from reality and transport your mind to just about anywhere.

As I walked, the day passed through that invisible marker of linear time: midnight. A new day had begun. The transition was so seamless that it wasn't even noticeable. A moment ago it was Tuesday, now it's Wednesday. Time marches on. Who really notices?

I wish I could reveal more hidden miracles of the world that I discovered on my journey, but unfortunately the reverie was broken by some idiots in cars doing donuts in a nearby parking lot. Why do humans have to go screwing everything up? It's almost like the moronic masses believe they've found their own distorted meaning of life. "Welcome to earth, your purpose is to muck up everything as much as you possibly can". And they do, they do.

It's a good thing the earth still retains a lot of beauty that mankind has not yet found a way to tarnish. Oh well. Time for bed.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Click. Delete.

Well today was the Sitzprobe for the Light Opera Theatre production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Yeomen of the Guard". The show opens this Friday and runs for two weeks at the 24th Street Theatre, a theatre I've been playing shows at now for 13 years. So, it's tech week. Late nights every night, and an abundant lack of sleep. Except for tomorrow, Monday - that's my only free night. I guess it will have to be my "party" night of the week. Most likely it will be my "close myself up in the house and draw the shades closed" night. Just me and the cats. So it goes.

I'm not quite back into playing shape yet. I mean, I haven't played the upright bass since...well last year's LOTS production I guess. The fingers tend to forget where they need to go. Just a little bit. But it will come back to me. Slowly but surely. I mean, it always does.

Hopefully I'll see some familiar faces in the audience for this show. I usually do. I've been around the block enough, this being my 34th or 35th show or so, that I've seen and met a lot of people who run in the musical theatre circles. New ones are always adding to it, to be sure, but many of the old ones are still there as well. It is fun, to be a part of that world, that family, again; I haven't had a lot of opportunities in the last five years. At least not as many as I used to.

So most of the rest of today, outside of rehearsal and after turning over Connor for the week, I spent going through my substantial digital photo library on my computer. I've kept them pretty organized over the years, with albums chronologically ordered dating back to 2006, separated by events. This wasn't a stroll down memory lane, or at least it wasn't originally meant to be. It was meant to be a purging of sorts, to get rid of memories - and people - I just don't want to come across my screen anymore. I'd like to think this was an important step towards the cleansing of my soul, towards branching out into a new life and leaving the old one behind. But my soul still feels tarnished.

It's interesting to note how much photography has improved since 2006. Technology has grown leaps and bounds, and cameras today are far superior to what existed back then. Of course, my eye and skill has improved as well, I guess. You don't think about it much as you're going through life's events and trying to capture each precious moment. But I suppose after taking thousands upon thousands of photographs, anyone will improve. I have grown a lot.

You ever wonder what happened to all the people you've met over the years? Over the last quarter of a century at Sac State, I've seen thousands of people come and go. Some I used to be rather close to. To most I was not. Some have gone on and made remarkable lives for themselves. Most have not. Most have just melted away into the fabric of society, never to cross my path again. It is the way of things, I guess.

I was wondering tonight as I went for my sunset walk, what became of certain people I knew 20, 25 years ago. Before the time of social media. Before cell phones and text messages and all of those things that link us together in today's world. There were people I liked, people I hung out with, people I've subsequently never heard from again. Where did they all go? Do they ever wonder about the past, and what might have been had we taken a left turn here or there instead of a right? Who knows what may be different today, had one little thing, 20 or 25 years ago, worked out differently. Guess we'll never know. But it's an interesting thought experiment, as I trudge along the path watching the crimson sunset on the horizon. What may have been?

So now, back at home, as I sit at the computer remembering many times and experiences I've had - and remembering some even earlier that never made it to digital film - I cannot help but become a little nostalgic. All of these snapshots, capturing moments in time. I cannot help but wonder, What If? What if I had made one different turn, here or there. Or two or three. But I have to stay focused; I'm on a mission after all. Slowly erasing those memories and people that were once joyous parts of my life, but are now at best bittersweet. With emphasis now on the bitter, I suppose. So it goes.

Click. Delete. Click. Delete. Repeat. Goodbye.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer Breeze

In Sacramento, at least, there's one small bit of redemption from the hostile and unrelenting summer heat: the Delta Breeze. It blows in from the southwest and washes over the sun-soaked land, making this season a little bearable. I can almost forget my desire to live in an area with a more temperate climate. Almost. But that is still some years away, and won't really happen until a variety of aspects in my life return to alignment.

The cool evenings here make for enjoyable evening walking weather. And so I take advantage of the neighborhood I'm in and it's many biking and jogging paths. And the timing was in sync to enjoy the end of another day, as designated and punctuated by the passing of the sun down below our line of sight.

The sunset. What a marvelously simple thing to watch, as the sky paints a line of color along the entire horizon, slowly shifting from blue to orange, then pink to violet, and on to deep purple as is slowly dissipates into blackness. What a wonderful painter our little planet is!

And then the stars pop out one by one, saying, "Hello! Look at me! Here I am!" It's amazing that this little planet in the middle of nowhere is suddenly in the middle of everywhere, and simply by the act of turning around.

And, I think, it's important for us to turn and look around too. To notice the things around us and appreciate their existence. After all, you never know what (or who, for that matter) you might be missing if you don't look around once in awhile. Such are the hazards of getting stuck in a never-changing routine in life. Be careful! But take some risks, and don't be afraid to live.

Or at least, enjoy the cool summer breeze across your face anyway. It will likely be hot again tomorrow.