The War for Evermore

In My Life …

6.3 decades, in your face.

Enjoy.


Another orbit done and here we are again, a little older, not much wiser, but still chugging’ along and taking it as it comes …

.. so … once again …

… This one goes out to the ones I love … random, oft incoherent thoughts and memories of music, people, events, movies, places and whatever else … with a dash of air-headed cerebrations … and a cookie or three … with an understanding a life is meant to be savored, occasionally pondered … and never, ever taken too seriously …

… but first, Have You Been Experienced?

… Lemon Tree … The Sound of Silence … Wild Thing … Eve of Destruction … Gloria … Dead Man’s Curve … A Summer Place … Love Me Do … Happy Together … Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In … Street Fighting Man

… walking in a thick, damp San Francisco fog, the dripping sound of water, thick splats of noise as you move through an invisible city that is more rumor than reality, hidden by the obscuring mist … a city … dream of a city … muted … lost in another time …

… Linda … Florita … Leslie …

... It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World … Star Wars … Out of Africa …. Helen of Troy …. The Music Man …. Help … 101 Dalmatians …. Casablanca … The Graduate …

… sailing with the 40th Avenue gang on Greg’s ketch, coming out off Sausalito heading across the mouth of the Golden Gate toward the Presidio … none of us ever having sailed before … Greg deciding to head back until a oil tanker passed, but when we execute the maneuver, yanking lines, swinging booms, ducking and tying down, in classic Keystone Kops tradition, somehow we turn a full 360 degrees, ending up still headed for San Francisco … Greg, muttering something likely unrepeatable under his breath, shaking his head … “Okay, I guess we run for it, then – and hopefully we’ll figure out how to do this right before we run ashore” … we made it, of course, and it was a Wonderful Day … tacking against the wind to actually go under the bridge (what a hell of a lot of work that was) … then running with the wind … the ketch tacking at 45 degrees as Jimmy held her on a steady course while Greg ran up and down the mast …

… touch …

Peter Gabriel, 1987, Oakland Colisium …

… Stuff I really miss: … 6 … San Francisco State U. … a new Beatles album … being an outside person … motorcycles … Carl Sagan … running … being a kid in the Academy of Sciences … Tom … seven years old and getting together with the whole neighborhood and marching to Golden Gate Park to play war all day …39th Avenue … John Lennon … paper routes and all the stuff we should have gotten into trouble for with our Sunday morning antics … being innocent … barking at Playland at the Beach when I was in high school (sadly, as a Carny, I had something like Michael Valentine Smith’s problem ) … Michael OB … Herb Caen, who somehow meshed the old San Francisco with the new … the 40th Avenue Gang … Frank Frazetta … my knees … Granddad …

… Maggie … Marian …

… Worst year of my life – tie: 1983 & 1993 …

All Along the Watchtower … Norwegian Wood … Going to a Go-Go … Barbara Ann … Gloria … Brown-Eyed Girl … The Boxer … Dandelion … Ball ‘n’ Chain … Quicksilver Girl … Somebody to Love … Puff the Magic Dragon …

… Most important year of my life – tie: 1983 & 1993 …

Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

… Sitting in my car, looking through the open windows of the dojo, watching my daughter (her unaware), as she works with her master, a 2’ sword in each hand, dancing through her movement with grace and power, a look of utter seriousness on her face … and on the radio that warm late-winter day March Madness is underway, and I’m watching her and thinking hardwood and jump-shots and bookmarking this moment in my small stretch of existence …

Mary Poppins … the Unbearable Lightness of Being … Metropolis …  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid … Airplane … Fly Away Home … 2001: A Space Odyssey … Alien …

Alien – I still remember sitting in the Northpoint Theater, suddenly looking around to see literally everyone – long rows of people – sitting on the edge of their seats … and then the Alien jumps out and everyone slams back …

… The Tree – Sunset Blvd, SF – Jimmy and me climbing the sucker, sitting at the top, watching the sun set over the Pacific … sitting and jawing for hours …

… stimulation …

… I wonder if the idea of looking at one’s life as almost fated to happen as it does is an illusion (and delusion) of perspective, and nothing more, built into our DNA …

Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Mongo Santamaria – ’68 or 9 at Winterland

… floating in a raft with my lover on a hot summer day  on Lake Tahoe, staring down through the crystal blue depths, whiling away the hours, making love as the sun disappears beyond the horizon, under a canopy of twilight stars …

… Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band … Dark Side of the Moon … Blue … Surrealistic Pillow … So … Pirates … Days of Future Past … December … Aliens Ate My Buick … Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere … I, Robot … Crown of Creation …

A time it was
It was a time
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

… Favorite things about where I live, both in the here and now, and in my memories: walks through Golden Gate Park late 60s and free Sunday concerts in the Speedway Meadows, just a quarter-mile or so from where I lived … renting a boat and rowing around Stow Lake; Japanese Tea Gardens; Fisherman’s Wharf; Ghirardelli Square; North Beach and China Town; DowntownVesuvio’s, City Lights Bookstore …  driving around the city endlessly, seeing things, being seen … San Francisco International Airport,  when you could still wander loose down every terminal wing … Sausalito …motorcycling Mt. TamStinson Beach, Pt. Reyes … all the small bookshops and record stores that no longer exist, especially that wonderful bookstore on Geary with the best selection of SciFi in the city; the Cliff House (the old one); the Veteran of Foreign Wars Bar at the foot of Golden Gate Park, facing the Pacific (now Beach Chalet – much, much different; VFW was a seedy joint, lots of fun, exuding a character missing for most modern drinking & eating establishments with that kind of view …) … Moss BeachSanta CruzBig Basin Pfeiffer Big Surthe Russian River … Rogue Valley, Oregon

… 1968 and head shops with bitchin’ day glow posters under black lights …

… Jason and the Argonauts … The Seven Voyages of Sinbad … Forbidden Planet …

… I worry for my child, for her future; for the future for today’s children in general … I think they shall grow to hate us, the generations that came of age in the last half of the 20th century, for what we are leaving them …

... You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling … Twist and Shout … Good Lovin’ … Feelin’ Groovy … Casey Jones … Close Your Eyes … Last Train to Clarksville … I’m Free … I’m Losing You … Mona/Maiden of the Cancer Moon … Imagine … Nights in White Satin … White Rabbit … Dance to the Music …

… humanity’s legacy, that one bothers me, too … a lot … the idea of its survival, I mean … funny how our poetry – Homer, the Classic dramatists; the poets: Cervantes; Virgil; Ovid; Dante; ChaucerShakespeare … and I’m only speaking the Western influences – there is so much more in other cultures …

… but funny how that poetry speaks more to the soul of who we are, how we define ourselves … read the exchange between Hector and Andromache in the Illiad, and witness the intimacy of family … and abiding love …

… Raiders of the Lost Ark … Back to the Future … The Hunt for Red October … Shakespeare in Love … Platoon … Betty Blue … the Hunger … Schindler’s List … Reds … Nowhere in Africa …
… living in the house where the lights never went out … shining on like crazy diamonds …

… Space Patrol … King of the Rocket Men … Commando Cody … the late Dave Steven’s Rocketeer

… Paul McCartney & Wings, ’75 or ’76, Cow Palace

… I sometimes wonder what would have happened to my life … had I a normal childhood (whatever that is) … if I hadn’t wasted my years in Europe … if I’d not been creative … I’d not gotten to raise my daughter … or if she’d had two parents … coulda, woulda shoulda … didn’t …

…Rossi …

The Ultimates

… The Fantastic Four … The Justice League of America … Captain America … The Sub-Mariner … Iron Man … Supergirl … Thor … the Hulk …The Amazing Spiderman … The Avengers … Challengers of the Unknown …. The Ultimates … The X-Men …

… Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing …

… was it just yesterday that elements of the 40th Ave. Gang took this or that trip to Cynbad’s or Michael’s cabin for a weekend on on the Russian River, went on road trips to nowhere, threw parties and closed bars … the Halloween costume party at Liz’s in `75 … midnight movies on Ocean Avenue with the gang, hooting and hollering as Janet Leigh got slashed in chocolate syrup or the living dead were on a zombified rampage … Sunsets watched from the dirt parking lot (now paved like a drive-in) above the ruins of Sutro Baths …

… Pat, Liz & Linda – oh so Chekovian …

Get Together … Suite: Judy Blue Eyes … A Day in the Life … Rattlesnake Shake … White Room … Gold and Silver … Suzi Q … Days of Future Past … Want to Take You Higher … Daydream … Cowgirl in the Sand … Roundabout … Lay Lady Lay … Band on the Run … 40,000 Headmen … Darkness, Darkness …

… Stan and Jack … the Merry Marvel Marching Society … Not Brand Ecch!!! … True Believers … the Bullpen …

… a No-Prize …

… sharing an apartment with Geoff in downtown San Jose while Old Dead Bug was being formed and I was working at a small local theater …

… the now-defunct One Act Theatre Company on Mason Street, S.F., where I met my daughter’s mother …

San Jose State U., where I met one of my best – and I hope life-long friends … Semper Fi …

… I really never wanted to be a teacher … the times I did teach, I was passable, little more … I always worked better – and was more comfortable – in the role of a coach … that’s sort of how I looked at directing stage shows: as coaching actors …

… Elektra Dione …

… in truth, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up … still don’t …

… impassioned loves and lovers …

… Sunsets … Full Moon nights … Indian Summer in San Francisco … Autumn … walks on the beach … stopping in the everyday flow to take in something beautifully unexpected … friends … lovers … teachers …

Libraries

… walking through the farmlands of Germany on a warm Autumn day, a bottle of wine, some fresh bread, cheese and salami and good friends to share it and a whole day of nothing before us … a lifetime beyond that …

… Garth and Donna, who examined my science and pronounced it good …

… I wonder now and then, after the audition I didn’t realize was an audition, if I should have taken her up on the offer to work for her service as a male escort  … could have been interesting, no doubt …

… Sam … Sienna … Melanie … Charmayne … Thomas … Meadow … Bethany … Madeline … the Wanderer … and all the other characters taking up residence in the theatre of my imagination …

… guilty pleasures … Underworld movies … Bianca Beauchamp … Resident Evil movies … cheesy SciFi disaster flicks like Deep Impact and The Core … … Suicide Girls … Keanu Reeves movies … whipped cream … Dita Von Teese … whipped cream & Dita Von Teese …

… arousal …

… one moment I’d like to have back: I mentioned elsewhere I went to Space Con 3 and attended a talk given by Robert A. Heinlein. What I didn’t mention was what followed. The Heinleins were promoting a blood drive at SciFi conventions – a novel idea in 1977 – and to get an autograph from Heinlein, you had to give up a pint. Now, as I also mentioned, I worked the midnight shift at Mission Emergency. I’d also been up most of the previous day, so I was pretty exhausted and in need of sleep.Instead, I gave a pint of blood … but, wait, it gets better … I never thought to bring a pen or paper or, like most of the people there, one of Heinlein’s books to have autographed …

Robert A. Heinlein – To Sail Beyond Sunset, Royo cover art

… so there I was …

… anyway, the pint was given and me, thinking I was done, and being young and healthy (outward appearances notwithstanding) went to sit up, which freaked out the nurse, thereby setting off something of a commotion and – embarrassment of embarrassments – Heinlein, sitting at his table, in plain view, looked up and saw this semi-out-of-it longhair – and something about the expression on his face had a deflating quality, sort of “Oh, am I going to have to sign his book?” … so I laid back down until the nurse let me go … and I slunk away …

… *sigh* …

Boz Scaggs & Quicksilver Messenger Servicethe Family Dog, 1970 – we listened to Scaggs through the backstage door, then helped carry the equipment to the trucks and they let us in for Quicksilver‘s set … got to stand on the stage next to the amps and rock out while our ears bled … Steve Miller Blues Band, same venue, that time from the side balcony … great show from the Space Cowboy/Your Saving Grace days …

Alice’s Restaurant on KFOG every Thanksgiving …

… Contact … Blue (movie) … Spirited Away … The Wizard of Oz … The Matrix … Starship Troopers … The Lord of the Rings Trilogy … Stardust … Jurassic Park … Schindler’s List … Pulse … Thin Red Line … Sirens …

… I regret all the many times I was small, the accumulated sins of being less human to my fellows than I could have been, less responsive of their needs, of not listening to Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ …

… Amelia … Moonshadow … Learning to Fly … Long Time Gone … Madman Across the Water … Baba O’Riley … Yours is No Disgrace/Starship Trooper … Time of the Season

Our Mascot

… I don’t regret walking away from the Theatre … It wasn’t necessarily voluntary, but once it happened, I realized I was happier. Don’t get me wrong: I loved the time I spent in my muse’s embrace, I think I did some decent and sometimes wonderful things with that harsh mistress … and nothing says “home” to me like memory of the years spent in the SFSU Theatre Arts department, but ultimately this wasn’t what I wanted to do … regardless, it was a gift , a wonderful time that continues to inform my creativity in wonderful ways … and, yes, there remains a faint longing for the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd … though the longing is faint, and grows fainter as time goes by … … though it will never fully go away, I think … and that’s okay … I’ve made my peace …

…  The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds … A Midsummer Nights’ Dream … The Trojan Women … Moby Tick … When You Comin Back, Red Ryder? … Uncommon Women and Others … Fool for Love …

The Forum …  it’s website, Erotique … and a couple of marvelous years and a real friend, in the bargain …

… Words. Words. Words. … “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”“That’s one small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind” … “I have a dream…”

… I don’t miss religion, at least, not the theological/philosophical part of things … I think I pretty much got that whole concept early on, why it didn’t work … the social thing … yeah … and it was fun to sing in the church choir  … but I never suffered through that second loss thing … when people go, they go … I’m not going to see them again … and you won’t, me … in the meantime, though …

… I think the Beatles are the most amazing creative phenomena I witnessed in my life … these very hardscrabble boys who, with some luck, a lot of hard work, and bright people around them resonated with the youth of the Western world. They influenced so many that followed, and that is a big reason for the regard. But more important … but most important, they were really talented, lightning-in-a-bottle kind of talented … and we got to watch that talent develop, deeper, more sophisticated, but never losing the understanding of the simplicity of what they did – and they left us with a wonderful library of music that continues to please, long past their time …

… similar feelings about Joni Mitchell’s long and varied body of work, and her talent that evolved across decades …

… A Case of You

… Bob … Could give Beelzebub lessons in subtle motivation, and Yahweh lessons in patience  …

… Mikey … who read it all … .

… the wonderful actors and actresses I was privileged enough to get a chance to work with over the years …

…  catch and release … 27 … three months sequestered in a downtown apartment in San Francisco … schooled by a beautiful, self-assured femme who taught me things I needed to know … and who then tossed me back, never to let me back in  … all good …

Randomly & varyingly influenced: E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith … Bill Bryson … Phillip Jose Farmer … 60s music … Verne & Wells … Carl Sagan … Neil Gaiman … Robert E. Howard … Stephen Jay Gould … Andre Norton … Karen Armstrong … Robert Fagles … J.R.R. Tolkien … Robert A. Heinlein … Terri Gross … comics… Eric Frank Russell … Susie Bright … Granddad …

… 1975 … a gorilla suit, shoulder pads and a Halloween party … rare form at Liz’s …

… I do miss new Peanuts strips in the daily comics … new Far Side, too … And Calvin and Hobbes, of course … Bloom County or Outland or Opus …

… and am thankful for Non-Sequitur, Doonesbury and 9 Chickweed Lane for their smiles, thought and sometimes bittersweet sadness …

… coaching basketball …

… Tiff … Nancy and the Critters …

... Red Rain … Tea in the Sahara … Vogue … Route 66/Behind the Wheel … Born in the USA … Under Pressure … Who Can It Be Now … Tear in Your Hand … Dreams … A Girl In Trouble … Walking on the Moon … Burning Down the House … Rapture … In Your Eyes

… sitting on the side of dunes at Ocean Beach, watching thin ribbons of clouds stretching north and south across the Pacific move onshore, passing overhead, moments of cold shadow on a bright, windy day …

NCC-1701

… there are a lot of wonderful things in life, but amongst the most wonderful are women in all their infinite variety … just sayin’ …

… 1971, so many years ago just yesterday … fresh out of high school … an endless summer, where I said to Rossi before he left for Hilo that I wanted it to never change, that I wanted that summer to go on forever …

… and it ended all the same and I left for the Army and Tom the Navy and then the past became more and more something you cherished and less and less something to be lived …

the San Francisco Sound was special, one of the last real offshoots of creative originality in Rock ‘n’ Roll … don’t care what anyone thinks to the contrary … but you knew that …

… the sad part of Rock ‘n’ Roll is during its run in the 50s and 60s the recording quality of the music was generally crappy (this is true for Motown, as well) … the Beatles had George Martin … but most of the recorded music from that time was made on the cheap – the record labels, for the most part, relegated rock to the worst of their studio equipment (classical music got the good stuff) … so much of the catalogue, particularly what we heard on AM radio, barely has an bass line you could feel, and the bass guitar is everything in rock … to understand that unvarnished truth, just listen to the live studio recording of Voodoo Chile (Electric Ladyland) where Hendrix jams with Steve Winwood on the organ (yes, Virginia, there was a time before electric pianos and synthesizers … and auto-tune) and Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane … Casady’s bass soars right along with Hendrix’s guitar – and then dives to the deepest reaches of the audible spectrum to counterpoint …

And It Stoned Me … White Bird … Cloud 9 … I Am a Child … Who Do You Love Suite … Shaft … Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door … Cactus Tree … Crystal Ship

… but there are gems … Crown of Creation is probably one of the best stereo albums ever mixed – if you have access to a good stereo, it’s worth a serious listen – you hear two-channel at its warmest and most inventive … I miss that in music, an effort to shape the listening experience, to replicate sound to that it was somehow warm and human … not an overarching wall of sound that was often cold and detached … and to which modern sound seems to have gravitated to …

… not that I have anything against large walls of sound … hel-loooo Pink Floyd, Yes

… cuddling …

… The Dead, again, this time with Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Northern California Youth Choir – ’69 at Winterland

… I worry no one will like my book, even though I hear very positive things from folks who donated the time to read and comment (and to whom I am extremely grateful to for that favor) … and I know it is good. It’s a pervasive haunting that lives with me as part of the process, an insecure monkey on my back …

Uncommon Women & Others

… Doug & Bruce …

…I like women … other things, too, of course. But women are definitely in the top ten … like, items one through nine … maybe one through ten … I like being alive, knowing they are there, women, I mean. In part, what I write is a homage … mortal goddesses …

… but I do like being alive … not necessarily a frivolous idea, this, when you consider how many people seem unhappy with their existence …

… Chinese … def like Chinese food, even if it’s bad for me … a little bit of beef, too (sorry all you veggies out there) …

Close Your Eyes

… clear days, rainy days … hazy days when the sun would set into the Pacific against a blood-red sky …

… my Grandmother’s garden …

… The music, the movies, the concerts … all history … good history … except 1975, maybe, the Snack Sunday concert that ended with Neil Young and Bob Dylan doing a set together, while I, at the other end of Kezar Stadium, had my head in my lady’s lap, enduring an eight-on-the-Richter scale migraine, so lost in the pain I was zombified – and not in a good way … all I remember is the pain … and the unintelligible sound of Neil Young’s voice … and longing for a soft place with no sound or light …

… 12-14 years old … lying awake in my room, in the darkness, my small radio barely turned up to a whisper so my dad can’t hear … listening to all of it, all the energy, the wildness of it … and the poetry … Van Morrison … the Beatles … the Stones … Motown … top 40 at its best, cycling through the playlist … hearing Nowhere Man or Happy Together or Respect … and it all sounded so good …

… also, lying awake, listening to television sound tracks, movies I couldn’t see, only imagine in fleeting snatches of dialogue …

… DJOB …

… Bonnie … Laura … Rae …

California Dreaming … Dock of the Bay … The Rain, the Park and Other Things … Hold On, I’m Comin’! … I Fought The Law … Standing in the Shadow of Love … Magic Bus … Expecting to Fly … Good Vibrations

…trips to the zoo and the wharf, riding tugboats and fireboats, all thanks to Granddad … visiting Steinhart Aquarium and the Academy of Sciences with him, my favorite place in the whole world at the age of 6 to forever …

… daydreams …

… Loreena McKinnett at the Paramount, Oakland, 2008 …

Land of Make-Believe

… photographs of my extended family before I was born … sort of a private Ken Burns documentary … now lost to me through the vagaries of time and family dynamics …

Tear in Your Hand

the Schlock ShopOdyssey Records on Geary… the Family Dog and its neighbor, Playland at the Beach WinterlandMagnolia Thunderpussy’s … the Filmore West …all gone …

… Granddad & Grandmom …

Rome … Band of Brothers … Firefly … Battlestar Galactica

… almost any nature documentary with Richard Attenborough’s name associated with it …

… I can be painfully shy, even now …

… I was alive when man landed on the Moon. I was. Many of you were, too. Something that can never be taken from me, from you, that memory …

… and Woodstock happened the same weekend, in many ways marking the beginning of the end of two eras at the same time … years counted in millennia for the former, in single digits in the other …

Comin’ Back to Me

… I imagine a time – should the American Experiment last that long – a time when the last citizen who was alive when we landed on the moon passes, leaving us a nation with no living memory of that great moment, arguably the greatest in our history …

… good beer …

Let’s Dance … The Ability to Swing … Silent All These Years … Ice …

… my biggest regret: for eight years I was a single, full-time parent, the last thing anyone I knew growing up would have guessed to be a fate for me … I don’t know how I did it, but I wish I could have done better than I did … every child deserves the best …

… Music …

… Why I love San Francisco: think of yourself as an R. Crumb character (if you don’t know who R. Crumb is, I’m sorry) … you’re in a truck, all nuts ‘n’ bolts ‘n’ squeaks ‘n’ groans, bouncing over the hills and through the dales that are the neighborhoods of this fair city, and every time you crest another hill you seem to enter a new culture and place, divorced-yet-still-connected to the larger metropolis … different people, different cultures, worlds … delight beyond delight …

… loving …

… Christmas Season, when you believe in magic as only a child can believe in magic …

… Danger Grrls … (you know who you are) …

phanthom1The Phantom Tollbooth … Milo … Tock … The Humbug …

… She Blinded Me With Science … First Train Home … Be Here Now … 2-1 … Santiago … The Kid …

… of all the sad things about the human condition, I think, with rare exceptions, being lonely is the saddest …

… J …

… smiles, grins & laughter …

… Things I still want to do … I used to camp, got distracted; want to do it again – and I still have most of the equipment … learn to slow down, maybe even just a little, relax, let things go a bit … a telescope, maybe to take camping … publish … finish my books, my fictional ‘history’ of eternity …

IMG_2138… each moment … each moment you are alive and take the time to be aware of that special condition …

… in those moments we most understand why art is a nourishment to our souls…

… Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you …

… absent friends …

… waking up to her smiling eyes …

Rolling in the Deep … Into the Mystic … CrazyCaravanserai … Tomorrow Never Knows … Canvas

… my fondest wish beyond good for friends & family … that the human race could populate the solar system and then reach the stars and continue … dunno … guess it’s a weird conceit … I want us – our species – or whatever it would evolve to be – the descendants of our DNA – to survive … to witness … to stand there, deep in the corridors of time, and bear witness, finally, as the last star winks out …

… Susan …

The War for Evermore

Our Solemn HourStop MeCarnival

Broken Artemis …

… and in my mind’s eye, in a San Francisco lost somewhere down the corridors of time past and imperfect memory, as the warmth of an Indian summer night gives way to the chill appearance of enveloping fog, I look about me, turning carefully left and right, then slowly face the direction of home.  In the distance, a foghorn moans, the sound muffled. I walk slowly, quietly, listing to the night, mind roiling with unceasing energy as the thick mist closes around me until I fade into the gray shadows, wishing and dreaming things that will … and will never … be…

Time to start another orbit …

April 15, 2013 Posted by | Hodgepodge, Imagery, Telling Stories | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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