I wrote this haiku on Saturday, March 30th under a cherry tree in Golden Gate Park, near the Tea Gardens:

limerick dosage
bliss chip-static overture
cherry blossom love

20011005 – It’s Friday!

Today is finally here and it still seems like there’s so much to do. Probably always the case. “Not until my dying breath.”

So I’ve been looking for a journaling script to use for this web journal. Ideally, it would be something I can access via the web, as well as email directly to (password protected of course). This would also have a database (MYSQL) back-end and preferably be written in PHP. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Just ordered Sonic Foundry’s Acid 3.0 Music. I’ve used it before in previous versions and let me tell you it kicks ass. I’ll try and have some demos up in the near future.

Just saw the web site for the Richard Linklater movie Waking Life which seems quite interesting.

20010912 – what a crazy week

I was walking to Office Depot on Geary/Masonic for lunch. This guy runs out of Mervyn’s, TOTALLY in a hurry. I thought “Wow, this guy must be late for a lunch date!” He had jumped on his bicycle and took off like a bolt of lightning. Next thing, this guy runs out and yells “Someone call the police!”

I had my cell so I ran up to him and asked what happened. He said a guy had robbed the jewelery case of diamond rings, and fortunately no one was hurt.

So I called 911 on my cell phone. It rings and rings and then I’m put on hold even after I told them there had been a robbery.

Finally a guy comes on and sounds totally confused. By this time, I realize the clerk who was behind the counter at the time had managed to get through, so I hung up and waited for the police.

It took most of half an hour for the police to show up. While I was expecting to see lights and hear sirens and have bullet-proof stormtroopers appear looking to kick ass and take names. Some tired looking guys in uniforms show up and all they do is write down my name, number, where I work, and a description of what I saw. It was a bit embarrassing standing outside with a policeman while people were walking by looking at me as if I had done something naughty. 8)

A few minutes into this, a woman came in and said “have you been robbed?” to the clerk “there are a bunch of rings outside.”

Sure enough, in a place further west on Geary there were rings out on the sidewalk. Strangely enough, there wasn’t a feeding frenzy near the bus stop.

28 august 2001 – ok, here’s a little negativity

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
I walk past and acknowledge you
but that’s not enough
you sit in your own shit and say things to get under peoples’ skin
your existence is punctuated by some nickel and dime bags

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
you think you’re original, somehow poetic
but we know the difference between beautitude and lassitude or pompous verus gnoetic
not like you would care
is that dogshit in your hair?

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
days have gone by and your clothes are rotting right there on your body
it’s a shame you can’t find your way to the potty
it’s not my fault you have to act so snotty
when I offer you food, you grimace, and say something naughty

Oh, Fuck you Haight Street punk,
if you really even knew what three chords and a beat really meant
if you really understood the notion of no rules would make me REALLY hell bent
on taking your ass to the cleaners or sending you on a mission to the sun
your mission seems to not be of a higher order, it’s a selfish LOOK-AT-ME one.

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
there are people out there who REALLY need charity
and you create a smokescreen and help the rest of us become callous
they wander in a daze while you spread your malice
as you leech off those who care there are those who can return nowhere

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
go back to your suburban homes, you’re not Jack Kerouac after all
your smokescreen of filth doesn’t qualify you at all
you’re no hippy, or mover or shaker, or someone who stands for much . . . you’re just out of touch
you hang out in front of places that bespeak your ideals, I see McDonalds is where you get all your meals

Fuck you Haight Street punk,
if only you had any idea of how much your whole demeanor stunk
when I offered you a smile, you showed your true style
from this point on, I’ll show more guile
I will ignore your presence, reject your whole phyle.


Well I finally got around to posting pictures from Sailing Lake Mendota last summer. Actually I went a few times but this was the one time I managed to take a camera.

Thursday – arise to the cold March morning,
weather’s back to normal
I had my warning.

On the bus to work I started Timothy Leary’s Design For Dying. I’ve always enjoyed his sing-song prose and his visionary verbage. He had his critics, but I still enjoy the energy he put forth while he was still kickin’.

Apparently there’s a place up in the Wisconsin Dells called The Cheese Factory which is all vegetarian. The menu is full and creative and supposedly can outflank even the most diehard meat-eater, at least rendering them unable to bash vegetarian food as bland and without texture. Sounds like a good tip. Thanks Don!

Ran into my friend Susan on ICQ about an hour ago. She wanted to see what’s happening at Steve’s Bar. So here in a few her and Candleman are going to pick me up and we’ll see what’s shakin’. I think I might bring my Tarot Deck and leverage my televisionary powers for drinks. Hehehehe. No, I’m just determined to not let a little cold weather drive me back indoors. Hell the other day everyone was lounging out at James Madison Park.

MEDIA does not have to be MEDIOCRE
One thing I think I learned from Noam Chomsky is that you can and should throw the media/medium back at itself. Halo mentioned today how much time he spends reading the news on the Internet. No doubt one could spend lifetimes absorbing what others have to say. However, I don’t want to become a passive receptor of this externalized culture. Maybe it’s not the most high quality, or the most poetic, or even useful, but I am TRYING to add my two cents to this swirling mass maelstrom of information. If nothing else it causes me to touch base with my own thoughts.

Sin-dictated TV baby
without CNN you’d all go crazy
Dan Rather tells us what’s the matter
Our spirits become weak as our asses grow fatter
What were once protestors out on the streets
Are now MTV kids in air-conditioned seats.

OK, so cynicism isn’t as sexy as Tommy Hilfiger, or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, or even South Park . . . the Simpsons!!! But have you ever noticed that when you think or express yourself outside the hive, you are branded egotistic, or crazy, or dangerous or irrelevant? Have you noticed the TV junkies aren’t so much interested in what they’re watching as they are just keeping up? Cable television is like a noose that slowly drags ‘modern’ society to its death.

“When everybody thinks the same, thinking has stopped.”

Don’t believe a thing I say.

20000319 – disconnected

This morning I awoke and, looking outside, there was a soft quiet white blanket of snow on the ground. I don’t think I was expecting this. The weather has been on some level, a reflection of mentality. Or rather, the mods have been affected by the weather.

What a restless day. Couldn’t even sleep in!

Inanna called from El Salvador (she’s in Peace Corps there until around 2002) while I was in the shower, so I missed her call. What a bummer. I had this notion that she would call. Is the bathroom the place for thoughts because it’s always a place where you are alone and on some level tuned in to where you’re at? Is there some primal level of thinking that we tune out in other places? Some of my best ideas happen while in that room. Many people have said the same thing. In fact, I tthink I will just move my computer in front of the ‘throne’ . . . just kidding.

OK, so yes, I spent the better part of the day a little weirded out about missing a call I felt I knew I was going to get. At the same time I felt spared. Last time I spiralled into such a sad state. Not so much because of the distance, but I I felt she was (or wasn’t) dealing with the distance. Just my two cents. I mean, I know we are individual creatures in this world and lifetime. But one thing is that when you care for someone, you express that. Or at least *I* do. So it was back and forth (last time after she called) I went feeling bad about feeling bad or feeling bad because I felt somehow like she was being distant emotionally. No amount of factoids about the situation down there could satisfy my longing to know how SHE is doing. How SHE feels. Before she left, I felt we were very open and honest with each other. now I’m not so sure. I get the feeling she is being guarded and unfortunately, it elicits the same thing in me.

She called again, around 7:30pm and we spent a good half an hour or maybe forty-five minutes going over various tidbits of our lives but I really was afraid to offer words of connection of emotion for fear of bringing her down, or making her feel obligated to give me the same. Well, not entirely true, at some point I just said “before the phone gets disconnected, or whatever, I miss you and I love you.” No acknowledgement. This is sort of the same thing as last time. It didn’t phase me too much. I mean, what are the possibilities? Either she doesn’t have enough in her to express these things, or she doesn’t feel the same, or she’s afraid that if she says something it will create some larger mess? I would prefer the first two actually. The last choice seems the typical bullshit Madison meta-analysis that all too often acts to put up barriers between people than bring them together, or at least help folks understand one another.

The thing that really got me down though was, when the phone on her side beeped and said “one minute” she didn’t get into the ‘good-bye’ process. Do I over-estimate it?

Let me tell you a small story:

The last time I saw my mother alive was in 1988. I was on leave, visiting my family in Minnesota. I was stationed in Germany at the time. It had been a while since I had been back and my Mom had me over for dinner. I remember she made ragu and meatballs (I wasn’t a vegetarian yet). I didn’t realize that was the last time I would ever eat a meal my mother made. In fact I didn’t realize a lot of things. In fact, I was pretty much blind to how I was acting in general and more specifically how it affected those around me.

When it came time to leave, and head back to Germany, my Mom was, as any Italian mother, very affectionate and huggie and she cried. Me being Mister “tough Guy” I just ‘held it together’ and left. I think I pretty much gave a not-so-warm hug and then left. No mushy stuff for me . . . then.

A year later, in September of 1989, I was sleeping in one weekend morning in Germany in my apartment off post. I hear this banging on the window and was freaked out. It was a friend named Kevin. I get up and I’m pretty weirded out but I figured he just wanted to see if I was up for beer drinking or hanging out. Instead, he looked at me, looked like he was about to cry, and he said “Jack, your mother was killed in a car accident.”

“My Mother?”

Of course I was waiting for the punch-line. I looked around the room. It felt as if my consciousness was backing out of the driveway and going back, way back, deep within. I felt like a thousand voices were screaming at me from all directions. I looked around. It seemed like an eternity. I felt like I was the only person for miles. Words, for the first time, escaped me.

Eventually I managed a very weak “what happened?”

“We’re not sure yet, she was in a head-on collision with a van with children in it.” Kevin said, pretty much in tears now.

I kept looking around looking for some sign of change. Something that would give me reason to believe I was having a bad dream, or maybe this was just a really pathetic joke, or perhaps they heard some hearsay and THOUGHT it was my mother or, or or or or . . . .

As it turned out, my Mother and two youngest sisters were on their way back from a shopping trip in central Minnesota on a Saturday afternoon and were driving along a rural highway when up ahead there appeared a large van heading their way in their lane. My sisters say she swerved around into his lane to go around him, but, as witnesses in four cars behind my Mom’s car said, at the very last moment the van turned back into his lane and slammed into the driver’s side of my Mom’s Ford Mercury, a small car.

My sister Lisa (she was in the front) said she last remembered hearing sort of a last gasp from our Mother. And then Lisa blacked out.

Witnesses say the van went into the ditch and a small girl (she turned out to be the six-year old daughter of the van’s driver) ran out bleeding from the forehead and screaming.

Lisa said the next thing she recalls was being in the hospital wondering where Mom was and being told she had been killed in the accident. My sister Julie, was alive as well but had received a concussion and internal injuries from the seat belt (she was sitting directly behind our Mom). Lisa had glass cuts and some pretty bad bumps as well.

So the story goes, and it’s all true. Lisa is in college now and Julie recently returned from a stay in Australia (OK, it was last year but I’m still proud of her). They’re both OK and would probably be embarrassed to see me writing about them publicly.

But my point isn’t about wearing seatbelts or common-sense things like not drinking and driving (the driver of the other car, by the way, had been drinking this fine Saturday afternoon while on medication. he suffered a broken leg. His daughter lived and has a scar on her face the rest of her life. The driver was given the typical “you’re a white-upstanding-business-owning-male, we’re going to give you a token sentence of rehab and probation.” Rumor has it that the driver later killed himself. I hope not), my point is, when you part ways with someone you care for, when you say good bye, when you get off the phone, treat that person as if you might never see them again. Treat them as if this is their last day on earth. I take good-byes very seriously. I also take hellos very seriously. The person you are communicating with is so alive and so special and, even when they are your enemies, they still deserve the best energy you can muster. We can rationalize our way out of this in many ways. But ultimately, this is very true. I am definitely not perfect in this matter. All too often I have tried giving warm hellos and warm good-byes and I’ve been misunderstood, which only makes me less likely to be so sincere. But I keep trying. And I hope you, my friend, will try too.

peace and hugs,


20000318 – upstairs downstairs

Words are just that, words. I can say any of them and they still leave me feeling unsatisfied that I’ve conveyed the meaning which would elicit the same feeling in the reader.

I cannot convey the massiveness of something like New York, but it is there. Spaceship NYC. I flew out to visit Sal and Sophie in the Village. Their environs are a nice hard wood floor one bedroom apartment with a good amount of light and in the thick of things. Hop on the elevator and walk out the door and you’re in the City. Walking out into it, you can feel the buzz. Your body will vibrate with it. You can feel it under your feet. But most of all you can smell it. It comes in many flavors . . . garlic rainfall, Szechuan breeze, polluted harbor hues, and cut flower rush hour tie us, no, bind us to the grit and glitter that is the City.

Every direction you look, there is evidence that some human has made their mark. Which in turn only sends a thousand different thoughts at all times. Little explosions of meaning and non-meaning abound, we pick up on this usually imperceptibly, but sometimes it overwhelms.

So often I found myself thinking “so-and-so would love this!” Realizing full well that my limited means of expression will do nothing to impart the true feeling of BEing and DOing in this fair town. No, it’s not the best place in the world. I love it for what it is.

The best Pizza in the world can be had at Arturo’s. We wander in and grab a booth. Of course I was already full of pizza and was under the spell of the plentiful $1.25 slices throughout the village. Oh yeah! So we order and not much later comes a pizza. Oh, it was pizza, but it rivaled sex (well, not really, but it would be great DURING sex). Something about that space where the sauce and cheese and toppings meets the crust. Oh, that space between! Something in it that makes all previous pizza shine pale in comparison. And the pizza we did eat, and it was good. Meanwhile, over on a stool in the corner, was a ninety-seven-year old man who the waiter informed us was also one of the first owners of an electric guitar, was playing some very very old lounge blues. Topped with the aromas of the best coal-pven pizza place and the chatter of the dinner time crowd and you have atmosphere baby!

Hugs go to Sophie for suggesting that place.

Friday, March 17, 2000

First impressions last a lifetime. I was talking to my friend Ryan the other evening at Cork-N-Bottle and he reminded me the first time he met me I had a blue-glittered face, a peacock feather hovering overhead, embroidered mirror-vest, and broom-genie pants: Krishna . . . the Embodiment of Pleasure. OK, sure, it was right after Phish played at the Kohl Center here in Madison. And hey, at least I wasn’t the guy who ran up on stage in his birthday suit.

Thinking back about how fun it is to try and keep a straight face while you know, you just KNOW the person you’re talking to is trying their damndest to keep from cracking up. The juxtaposition of ‘serious’ content with comedic context makes for some great laughs. And that, my friends, is no mistake.

I’ve been spending some of my spare time putting up a links/search engine for Mind Space. Now it’s a matter of letting enough people know about it so they can add (useful) links to it.

Detractors come in all shapes and sizes and times and moods. So often I’ll offer up some notion or tidbit to a person I happen to be conversing with, and in a manner than seems to be directly proportionate to familiarity, I too often get shot down, or criticized for the idea. For every idea that gets accepted there are a thousand people who can tell you it won’t work. It’s not like friends and family don’t want you to succeed, they just sometimes just have a difficulty in allowing you to become different than their preconceived static picture of you in their head.

Over ten years ago, when I I became a (lacto-ovo) vegetarian, everyone around me told me how I was going to starve, how I was just doing it for attention, how I was going about it all wrong. Hmmmmm, I don’t feel famished. I know I don’t look famished. What happened?

On some level I am beginning to think that as nice as it is to share things that you are excited about with those around you, it all too often gets rejected or worse, ridiculed enough to stop you in your path. At least that’s the way I am. Maybe a bit too easily discouraged by those around me who might not realize how serious I take their feedback. Yes, I have the ability to carry through with my dreams despite others. And I do. But before you butt in to what someone is confiding you, with a deconstruction of their idea(s), think about how you would feel if it was you doing the sharing of your dream. Think about how important it would be to just LISTEN. Usually most people have the ability to come up with their own solutions anyway. Taking on some ‘helpful’ paternalistic modus operandi does nothing but corral the sharer into making a quick retreat and possibly deciding you’re not to be trusted with such delicate thought-trains ever again.

Congratulations (I feel just a bit cynical, sort of like William Burroughs meets George Carlin):

“You always were a headache
and you always were a bore.” — Burroughs

Tuesday, March 14, 2000 – flashbacks

Today while finally putting up Desert Storm Pictures I was overcome with the feeling of grief for my friend Aaron who was killed by friendly fire. He and I were in different units stationed in the same post in Bamberg, Germany. So we ran into each other since we tended to chase after the same group of frauleins at an out of the way “alternative/independent” dance club.

So the story goes that one night during the ground war, his vehicle was summoned forward to check up on a group of Iraqi soldiers who were apparently surrendering. Some of the more forward units saw the vehicle and thought it was non-Coalition Force and opened fire on it. Aaron was the driver of the M113 Armored Personel Carrier. I remember reading the report that said there was a huge explosion that had hit the driver’s side and one of his squad members checked and found Aaron lifeless. They evacuated the vehicle and were immediately pinned down by friendly fire. The conditions were dark and visibility was limited. They were stuck there for hours before anyone could come to their aid.

Some people from the unit who initiated the firing on Aaron’s vehicle said they thought the approaching group of Iraqis on foot was an attacking column escorted by an armored vehicle so they opened fire.

This all happened before I was twenty-three. Aaron was a year younger. The government first told his mother that he had been killed in the line of duty by enemy missile fire. Word soon got out among his friends whose families relayed the information to his mother, who felt uneasy about the line she had been given by the Department of Defense. She came to Germany, where we were stationed, to find out for herself what had killed her son.

I used to think this happened in other wars, to other people, just in movies. Here I find myself as a friend of someone who was killed and the Army was handing his mother an American flag in a neat triangle fold and a line of bullshit.

Aaron’s mother found out the truth and the Department of Defense later took back its story and admitted that indeed, friendly fire had killed her son.

Comparatively, there weren’t that many Americans killed in Desert Storm. There shouldn’t have been any. There also shouldn’t have been any Iraqis, or Kuwaitis, or Saudis, or anyone from anywhere killed. Not for oil!!!! NOT FOR OIL!!!!

We live in one of the most developed nations in the world and yet we remain quaintly retro in regards to our fuel-drug-of-choice. Something as inefficient as fossil fuels is what moves us around. Computer technology doubles every so many months yet our vehicles burn pretty much the same fuel as vehicles made fifty years ago. Let’s pull the wool over our OWN eyes!??

If you happen to know of any links that alternative energy resources would be one of the themes, please send them my way.

peace to all! Jack PS – I wish to offer my most sincere of apologies to the families, friends, and neighbors of those souls we killed or injured. I was in circumstances beyond my control as were most everyone on all sides. I feel I had more in common with even the “opposition” troops than I do with most of the governments’ “leaders.”

Please forgive us we were young
forgive us for what we’ve done
this story has long been told
yet the ground still is quakin’
this isn’t my kind of world
so cheap is peace easily forsaken.

One dollar
Two Dollars
What the hell are we fightin’ for?
you’d swear they think it’s better than sex.
Four dollars
Five dollars
Six dollars spent
Away the aircraft carriers are sent
Auto industry assemblies the governments do rent
tanks, missiles, munitions are sent,
Through the eighth,
the ninth
the tenth fucking dollar
Man those gas prices got us by the collar

Sunday, March 12, 2000 – sunday morning

. . . bring the dawn in. SSSSLLLLLAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! My closet door, for no apparent reason bursts open at 5:26am, Miles the cat is totally freaked out by it. I was in the middle of a dream where I was visiting Anne and I think in the dream we were on some hillside looking up and there was something weird about the moon. OK, so not to worry, I get up and check my email and phone just in case there are any weird messages or anything of the sort. I don’t know why, but usually when these sort of things happen it involves either birth, death, or sex. Or all three. (They are all related of course)

Back to sleep.

The phone rings, I get up to answer it and it’s Jasmine who wants me to come over with coffee. It took us probably half an hour to hatch our plan on how I was going to get there without spilling the morning fuel everywhere. Despite PLAN A being my taking the number 3 bus from the Square at 10:29am, I finally decide to take her bike, stop by the Co-op and get the much sought-after caffeine along with some other chow.

The air is brisk but not cold. The sun is out and I pedal along with a huge ear-to-ear on my face. There’s almost a ridiculous air to all this. It’s nice to be outside and getting away from downtown. Stop by the co-op, I somehow manage to not only stuff the baguette into my backpack (bread folds ya know) but also wrap the cups of coffee in enough plastic bags (and the Co-op loves that plastic, gotta have it!) to keep it from spilling. Back outside and once on this 27″ Girl’s Schwinn, I pedal pedal pedal my way . . .

Down Willy Street

Up the bike path.

I notice for the first time, an old mural painting on the Blue Plate Diner. It’s of a little kid and a huge hamburger. Mostly faded. Well done. I laugh at the fact that I’ve been past here a thousand times and I just now noticed it. What else?

The streets are mostly quiet.
I’m about to cut across just as some idiot pulls up behind me and slows and won’t pass me so I can make a guilt-free crossing. I shake my head, smile back at the car, and cut right onto Jasmine’s street. Down past the quaint east side houses. Past the bricks and flower beds and yard ornaments and tricycles, into the driveway, bring the bike up through the doorway, up the stairs and there is Jasmine.

She’s just finishing up getting the house tidied. Her Mom was coming up from Chi-town to pick her up.

Coffee time! We slip into the LET’S REINVENT THE AGES mode and somewhere along the way I find out her father passed on to the Other Side on September 14th. My Mom died on September 15th. I guess there are only 365 days in a year (except leap years).

Frannie is gone already. She flew to Boston(?) to meet up with Chaz, her darling. Chaz if you’re reading this, you are fortunate to have the admiration of such an incredible lass.

OK, so Frannie took her guitar with her and there’s none in the house. So I can’t play the song I wrote yesterday. That’s OK. No, it’s OK. Seriously, it’s OK. Alright, it sort of sucks . . . I should have posted it on the net so I could play it on their computer. That’s OK, it’s still rough.

Jasmine’s Mom arrives with her boyfriend and we head out. Such wonderful people! Since she’s German I managed to get a few coherent sentences auf Deutsch out. Jeez I need to practice! So many languages so little time!

Off to the Dew Drop Inn. The place is pretty happening. We’re waited on by a familiar woman who Jasmine later tells me is joining the Peace Corps and heading to Africa.

Jasmine and I slip into our Dew Drop Margarita mode. “It’s not just for breakfast any more.” Her mom is tres cool. Quite in tune and open. Very very wonderful people!!!!

We part ways. I’m a little sad to see yet another friend leave for a week. But I’m happy she gets to have a week off.

Home, home again. (Sometimes) I like to be here when I can.

Liz had called. She’s still a bit sick. In fact everyone is either busy, gone, sick, or not in the mood. Won’t anyone come out to play? hehehehehehe

nap time

Still nothing really to do. Oh I take that back, there’s plenty to do. But sometimes it’s nice to be around people. This is one of those days. The neighbors have some tunes on that sound more like a shop vac. No, it’s not a Fishman solo, it’s actually sounding like a shop vacuum. OK, I guess it IS a shop vac. Hehehehehehe, the beat was coming from the other side of the house.

Are we bored yet?

Grey clouds overhead
raise the ceilings
raise the dead
midnight overture slams open doors
dripping sweat from my pores

Have we been dreaming of being alive?
or living in a dream?
all times are the same
all places are one
you feel what is real
until you reel from what you feel.

LATIN JAZZ NIGHT There’s this incredible little hopping scene going on every Sunday night just a few blocks from where I live. It’s the Redbird where the Tony Castenada Trio was jamming jamming jamming. The bar kept filling up and the energy kept swelling. Felt like the place was going to explode from the amount of vibe in there. It was great, but we left early (Sparky, Shaggy, and I). No one familiar was there. Home by midnight-thirty. The drummer was phenomenal. Actually, so was the bass player. And the keyboardist had these cascading scales over rhythms which created this aural moire pattern with the other two instruments.

Two sax players, a hollow-body guitarist who could take it over the top, another percussionist and a flute joined the fray and then it became so much the walls started shaking and booty started waggin’. Monday well on its way, we darted out fairly soon since this was contagious and it was going to be a long night if we let it grow on us too much.

Snow in the middle of the night. Not cold. Night large wandering snowflakes more dancing than falling to the ground. Half life in the seconds upon contact with the ground, it was a crystalline night under the reddish haze of the sodium street lamps.