Posted by: Dan | July 21, 2016

The Humble Man

[Going through some old journals, I came across some entries about an encounter I had once upon a time in a far away land — by which I mean at a pub in Vancouver about seven years ago.  This is the story, as best as I can piece it together now.]

I was standing at a urinal looking at a poster advertising a beer that probably had a lower alcohol content than  my piss when the guy who was at the table next to me, the guy who kept making jokes about the massive size of his dick (which prompted some  seemingly good-natured eye-rolling from his tablemates), walked in and stood at the urinal next to me.

“Moment of truth,” I said to myself.

The fellow glanced over at me when I spoke but  I don’t know if he heard exactly what I had said or if he was simply wondering why the guy at the other urinal was talking to himself.

Back at my table later that night, I stopped writing and closed my computer.  I had passed the point of drunk-creative and was more at the stage of drunk-happy-just-to-do-nothing-but-drink-more.  I continued to order pints and step out to the patio every now and again for a smoke. I stayed under the overhang and watched the rain appear and disappear as it blew beneath the streetlights.  There are joys to drinking at night in every season — in the spring when the weather first warms up and you can go to a patio for the first time, in the summer at a campsite by the ocean with the mountains rising up behind you, in the winter cuddled up under a blanket and trading secret kisses with a lover — but always in the fall in the rain with the wind blowing was when I felt most wild and free.

When I returned to my table, I noticed that the dick next to me was now by himself.  He nodded at me and I smiled because I like talking to strangers when I’m drunk.  I ask them to tell me things people almost never discuss in bars when they are trying to get laid, trying to get happy, or trying to forget – their greatest joys, their hidden sorrows, their hopes and dreams – and it’s amazing what people will tell me when they, too, are drunk and find someone who is willing to listen.  So, yes, I smiled and nodded and he got up and asked to bum a cigarette.

“I reckon I’ll have another as well.”  He was talking about himself before we got out the door and I took that as a good sign.  Lighting up, I took advantage of his first drag to say: “Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone else.”  He paused and eyeballed me awhile while he cupped his cigarette in his hand and blew smoke out of the side of his mouth.  Then, as best as I can recollect it, this is what he said:

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Posted by: Dan | July 18, 2016

Stories for those who sleep with the lights on

I once met a girl who could read palms.  She didn’t know that she could read palms until she was backpacking through Thailand and an old woman in a rural village grabbed her and pulled her into a hut.  The old woman told her she was marked, that she had the gift, and then, there in that hut in that tiny village, she taught this girl how to read palms (this gal was also a twin, which seems to be relevant for this sort of thing).  The problem, this girl explained to me, was that she couldn’t do it right when she was sober.  Her conscious mind got in the way too much and she overthought things or second guessed herself too much and froze up and didn’t know what to say.  On my birthday she got drunk (and so did I) and she came over and read my palms.

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Posted by: Dan | July 16, 2016

June Reviews

Half-heartedly discussed, with several items totally rushed just so that I can can get this done, in this post: 4 books (Independent People, Hunger, The War of the End of the World, and Evolution in Four Dimensions); 1 movie (Angry Birds); and 2 documentaries (The House is Black, and D’Est).

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Posted by: Dan | July 11, 2016

In the Morning Before School

In the morning before school, Ruby gets out of bed and comes looking for me.  She climbs up into my lap and curls up into a ball and I wrap myself around her, stroke her hair back from her face, and cuddle her like a dad who knows that kids grow old and that they do not always fit in the laps of their parents and that this, too, will pass.

Just last week, I was trying to sneak in a few more pages of a book in the early hours of the morning when Ruby came tottering out of her bedroom with sleep in her eyes, searching for me.  I put down the book, pulled her into my lap, and rocked her like a baby. “I love you, Ruby,” I said.  She turned her face, looked me in the eyes and, in a perfectly matter of fact manner, said:

“Everybody is going to die.”

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Posted by: Dan | June 10, 2016

May Reviews

[Pardon the delayed posting, I was in Iceland.  When I have forgotten enough of that experience to think I can speak of it, perhaps I will write something about it.  Until then, there are reviews to be done.]

Discussed in this post: 5 books (Waiting for the Barbarians, The Will to Change, Dying From Improvement, My Struggle: Volume Five, and Child of Woe) and 2 documentaries (Requiem for the American Dream, and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution).

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Posted by: Dan | May 12, 2016

On My Complicity with Patriarchy

Introduction: Three Vignettes


According to a list compiled at McSweeney’s, the renowned German actor Klaus Kinski claims to have had sex with the following people (I believe in this order):

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Posted by: Dan | May 2, 2016

April Reviews

Discussed in this post:

5 Books (The History of White People; Other Council Fires Were Here Before Ours; Ojibwe Giizhig Anang Masinaa’iganAusterlitz; and Nostromo);
2 Movie (10 Cloverfield Lane and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night);
3 Documentaries (Crumb; In the Realms of the Unreal; Salesmen).

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I saw a picture of you today when you were a child.  You had a gentle smile.  You look shy and sweet and tender – like the kind of kid who wouldn’t say a word if he was abused.  And you didn’t.  None of us did.  But for you abuse has just steadily been overshadowed by chronic pain, long-term illness, and dis-ease.  Yet, for the most part, you still don’t say a word.

(I’ve been thinking how strange it is that I used to describe our childhood as “sheltered.”  I think the term “deliberately isolated” might better capture what was going on.  It wasn’t that our parents were trying to protect us from the evil out there in the world – it’s that our dad didn’t want others to know the evil we experienced at home.)

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Posted by: Dan | April 3, 2016

March Reviews

Discussed in this post:

3 books (Geronimo: His Own Story, How Forests Think, and Mausoleum of Lovers);
1 movie (Underground);
4 documentaries ((T)ERROR, Land Without Bread, Night & Fog, and There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane).

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Apparently Kim Kardashian caused a bit of a ruckus by posting this selfie with the line “when you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL”.
At first I thought maybe I would replicate the picture, as I’ve done with other pictures of Kim or celebrities like Miley Cyrus.  It’s part of how I question cultural constructs of gender.  I find it amusing to explore how people react to an average-looking man in his mid-thirties posing in ways that are ubiquitous in images we see of women who are in their early twenties (or any age, really, as long as their body matches with cultural constructs of female beauty).  But, as I thought about it all, I ended up getting sad.

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