Watched this really amazing documentary on Netflix last night. I’m sometimes struck by how men who have spent so much time embedded in a war zone can afterward convey this sense of utter calm and inner peace even in the face of huge life obstacles. Nayyef conveys that sensibility in interview clips in this documentary, no matter whether his post-war life is despairing or joyful.
This documentary brings us an example of steadfast love between these two men through years of hardships. Altho
West Mountain Road is likely a not uncommon name for a road in North America. I’m sure Google Maps could identify a dozen or more in less than a second. The particular West Mountain Road in this story is in Idaho and runs alongside Cascade Reservoir near the town of McCall.
I was out for a walk on this road Saturday last enjoying the sight of the great, green leaves of lysichiton americanus or western skunk cabbage that covered the banks of the reservoir, the conversational ducks and Cana
The rain blew in tonight. Plan A had been a run in Central Park after work this evening. I ended up working about an hour later than planned and it was drizzling when I left the office.
Plan B should have been running on the treadmill in the hotel gym. But when I walked off the elevator instead of turning left towards Radio City Music Hall, I turned right towards Times Square. The discount Tkts booth was only a block and a half away. Seems I was going with the other Plan B, doing something I
We’ve all been in one, right? A Target department store, discount retailer of stuff for the home: groceries, cleaning supplies, school supplies, linens, small electronics. Last night I dreamed I went to a Target store. I was going there for something standard, toilet bowl cleaner or the like, but I’d never been in this particular Target before and, having stood in the entrance and surveyed the vast labyrinth of red-decked aisles under fluorescent lighting, I headed to the right side of the store
The Big Picture has always been where my focus lies. I have a tendency to gloss the details. Of course, to obtain any sort of success in school, in my professional work, I had to curb the tendency to overlook the details. Teachers, bosses, clients…they are all about the details. The big picture was secondary. The big picture was the concluding paragraph of the essay, I learned, never the meat of the essay. The essay’s substance must have details. Nonetheless, I continue to be drawn towards grand
I haven’t been round these parts for ages. Haven’t been reading or writing much for that matter. This is an overdue post on a topic that’s out of the headlines now but I figured I’d drop this here anyway.
As a practice, I pay scant attention to the daily news. Reasons for this range from the pragmatic to the political to the philosophical, but for now my deliberately uninformed existence has me ticking along nicely. I get the headlines (mostly via the Captivate screen in the elevator of my o
Strange encounter with a stranger on Sunday. Two days later and I'm still thinking about it. I'm thinking about my feelings about it which range from narcistic pleasure to shuddering dismay.
After my swim on Sunday I realized I'd forgotten to bring a towel. Fortunately it was a warm day out at the beach by Crissy Field so the sun could dry me. I stripped off my wetsuit, left it in the plastic bin in my car and walked over to sit on the cement pony wall along the beach. I was only wearing my
We’re finally getting rain here in northern California after two years of very little of the wet stuff. It’s great to see. It’s great to feel. I went swimming in the rain yesterday. But for running, I’ve moved indoors to the treadmill. Until last month, I probably hadn’t run on a treadmill since 2011.
Treadmill technology has improved in the last two years. The gym has two machines made for long distance runs with bases better at absorbing impact. The difference between those and the re
My family gathered last week to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. I come from a close family. Several factors play into our having maintained that sense of closeness and loyalty not the least of which is a basic respect and compassion enculturated by our parents. I also attribute our familial adult friendships to the frequent relocations we experienced as children. Moving so often, my two brothers and I were one another’s most reliable and consistent playmates. My parents talked to us about t
My partner and I often take walks in the evening and some months ago we saw that a new restaurant had opened a few blocks from our home. Under the name of the restaurant, in elegant script, were the words “A Brazilian Steakhouse.” The architecture was modern. Large, plate glass windows offered a view of the bar and beyond that we could see white tablecloths under atmospheric low lighting. It looked inviting, but expensive. We determined to keep it in mind for a special occasion, most likely my b
Every year, on the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Reuben Zubrow delivered his lecture on the nature of money. A brilliant economist, Zubrow also had the knack of being an engaging lecturer and enthusiastic instructor. He taught Macroeconomics 101 in the largest auditorium on campus. His classes were always well-attended but the august lecture on money packed the hall year after year. At the age of 18, my take away from the lecture was that money is essentially an illusion, a fantasy t
Passion is everything, eh? Any topic is interesting when discussed by someone who is passionate about it. Those who tend to drone can be helped by an adroit interviewer and an editor with a light touch, but for the most part the best material an expert has to offer is down in, down in their words, way inside. The best stuff isn’t a quip or snippet or bite of sound. You’ve got to let them get there, talk on, and be willing to follow them to that Eureka moment when you think, “yeah, I get it;
I swear very rarely and rather poorly…or comically…when I do. I was reminded of this last night. My partner and I went out for pizza, and I was spouting off about the number of hours I’ve put in at the office this week and about my expectation that next week won’t be much better. I dropped a swear word somewhere in my rant which I only noticed because Reed’s eyes momentarily widened as he listened to me.
“I’m sorry work is so rough on you right now.” His comment was softly spoken and sort of
Christmas carols played repleatedly in our home during December when I was little. We had three albums of carols and I would stack the wax records up on the spindle of the record player so they would drop automatically at the end of one side of the disc. I don’t think we ever had more than three albums. If my parents ever possessed tapes of Christmas music, it was after I’d left the house. Money was always tight when I was growing up and music was not something my parents spent money on. My
Sunday afternoons are for swimming. I’ve been swimming ever since I can remember. When I was 18 months old, my father went to Vietnam and my mother moved back in with her parents, taking me with her. They had just relocated to Florida and their home backed up onto the intracoastal waterway. They docked their boat at the back of their house along a floating dock that would rise and fall with the tides.
All this was, of course, blocked off to me, a curious toddler with an uneven walk but a wic
Last night my partner and I were grilling out near our pool house. It was twilight and we noticed one of the new residents watching us from his unit. This particular condo recently changed hands, and the new owner moved in last weekend. We met him then, a young guy from Beijing who works down the road at Google. The gentleman watching us was older than the fellow we’d met; I guessed him to be a relative, probably the owner’s father. After about 10 minutes of pacing in the window, he came o
I keep running into this person in my neighborhood grocery store who is obviously having a lot of fun playing around with gender presentation. This person is probably mid to late 50s, assigned male at birth. Preferred gender now? Hard to say.
E seems to have split gender presentation 50% male and 50% female. From the waist down, e’s going for a feminine appearance. Strappy little sandals, pedicured toes and painted nails, shaved legs and short shorts in a women’s cut. From the waist up, regu
I got an email from a friend today when I wasn't expecting it. Well, I was expecting it in a sense because we correspond nearly every day. But time had gotten away from me so I was surprised when I glanced at my screen and saw the (1) next to their name indicating I had an unread message. Receiving that email, only a few sentences, made me happy. An instant smile just seeing that (1) in bold. I also felt a throb of arousal, some Pavlovian response to the as yet unread words.
I wanted to memo
Not long ago I finished reading Warrior Princess, the recently published biography of Kristin Beck, retired Navy SEAL. Kristin is a transgendered woman who came out and began her transition from male to female upon retirement from the Navy. Transitioning, undergoing sex reassignment, is always public. There’s simply no way to be in the closet about what’s going on when someone decides to live life in a gender different than that which they were assigned at birth.
Kristin’s transition is
My mom was 21 years old when she had me, her oldest. In many ways, I look back on my childhood and think I had a pretty regular, middle class upbringing. Sure, we were a family with a religion outside the mainstream and we moved around quite a bit when I was young, but nothing else set us apart from the other families on the block.
The more I reflect, though, the more I become aware of how individually unique my parents were and are. They are each special people in their own right, someth
I’ve driven across the United States six times, thrice between Denver and Boston, twice from Denver to Tampa Bay and once from Boston to San Francisco. I’ve also driven Boston to Tampa Bay a few times and once returned from Tampa and headed all the way north to Prince Edward Island. The last long road trip was the Boston to San Francisco route in 2001. All the previous ones were in the ‘90s. I drove most of them in a 1992 Saturn, the most basic model available when I bought it new from the deale
Every once in a while, I'll dream something that I don't want to forget. This one was odd, as all dreams are, but emotionally vivid for me with very sharp visuals.
In the dream my partner and I are on a cycling tour of the British Isles. We’re spending a number of weeks in the north part of England where I’ve gotten to meet a friend I’d been corresponding with via email. We’re at a sidewalk café. It’s not the first time we’ve met up with my friend, and today he’s asked his two brothers a
My partner and I spent last week in Key West. If you like lazy days, galleries with painted driftwood and water sports, you can’t do better than the Florida keys. We took a day to go snorkeling and though I’ve been several times before, this is the first time I wore a snorkeling vest.
The vest is lightweight, thin and only becomes a flotation device if air is blown into a valve attached at the front. A vest had always appeared more an encumbrance than aid in the water, but since I was go
Strange dream last night. It was in two parts. I’m not altogether sure whether I dreamed the first part on Friday night and the second last night or if the two parts both happened last night but were interrupted by a period of wakefulness. I wanted to capture it in writing early this morning but haven’t had a chance to put it into print until tonight. I’ve thought about it on and off today, wondering at its meaning. That in itself is unusual. I don’t remember many dreams and don’t typically
This is a long and rambling self-indulgent post. I needed to clear my head before the weekend and this seemed a good place to air it out. Lots of half-formed and inconclusive thoughts in an essentially boring post...
My partner and I are traveling up to his sister’s wedding this weekend. He use to always, before we met up with anyone in his family, warn me that they weren’t like people in my family, that they weren’t like people I know. I heard those precautions less and less as I got t