Monthly Archives: August 2009

Current canine conversations

puppy-wuppies

We are currently debating the idea of getting a dog. I shouldn’t say ‘debating’ since that’s a bit strong and we are of accord in the thought that a dog would be a jolly nice addition to the household, especially since the demise of the late, great Griffin has left us pet-less for the first time since we’ve been together. Actually it is one of the first times in my entire life that I have been sans furry creature about the place.

In some respects it has been OK in the sense that it grants us a lot more freedom to come and go and not worry about the wellbeing of another resident of the place. But, you know, we really miss not having a pet. I mean, I have my pond fish and they’re quite charming in their own cold-blooded way, but it’s just not the same as a dog or cat.

Wendy has never had a dog, though she is charmed by them in all respects. But she confesses she knows nothing about the caring for and rearing of a canine. I have had dogs and my caveat to her is that caring for a dog is an entirely different matter than sharing digs with a feline. Cats don’t really give much of a damn about their owners and that’s why they make very easy pets. Oh, they’re affectionate enough in their own way, but mainly all they ask for is a bit of food, some fresh litter once in a while, and somebody to clean the hall carpet after they have puked on it — yet again.

Dogs are another matter, which I have attempted to explain. I’ve had three of them in my lifetime. I had my ‘kid’ dog when I was young. I wasn’t all that bonded with him — he was just there when we were playing. He was friendly, dumb and mortally afraid of the malemute that lived up the street, and had good reason to.

Then, in the 1970s and 1980s I had the wondrous Muphy, my border-collie cross. Murph was magnificent. Smart as a tack, friendly as they come and the worst fighter on the planet. He was always getting the snot beaten out of him and the vet bills for stitches were steep. But, he was charming and wonderful and I still miss him after all these years.

When I was with Trudy a few years later we had Simon. He was a beautiful Tibetan terrier and dumber than a sack-of-hammers. Trudy used to call him our very own dumb blonde. He was charming and fun but I missed the intellect of Murphy. When she and I split, the missus got custody of the dog. I didn’t bother fighting it. Anyway, I was living in an apartment by then, so I wouldn’t have been able to accommodate a canine there. That was why I got Griffin.

So, some of the debate centres around the fact I do want a dog as bright as Murphy, so I am gravitating to a border-collie cross. I don’t want a pure border-collie because they are not only highly strung, they just gotta be out herding sheep or they’re lost. They’re working dogs and that has to be respected. We don’t have much in the way of a paddock in our back yard and sheep are notable for their absence at the homestead.

So, a cross would be good.

Now, dog or puppy? Well, I go all wet over puppies. Puppies to me prove there is a benevolent God. But, they’re also a pain-in-the-ass in some ways. They need to be tended to like a toddler and, as with that same toddler you are always cleaning up after them. Then there is training them and maybe even obedience school. It’s a lot of work.

I’m more thinking of a post adolescence female. Males are, quite frankly, too beligerent, whereas bitches never live up to that name at all. They are usually gentle and friendly and softer of personality. That’s OK by me. A spayed female of one or two years of age would be ideal.

We still aren’t fully resolved on the matter, and it may change, but we are at least thinking of going the canine route.

I’ll let you know.

Advertisements

Some mixed emotions about the man’s legacy

kennedy boyz

Some of us, if we have had a little sense of adventure in our lives and, perhaps ill-advisedly, decided to take a little walk on the wild side, have also had those epiphanic moments of discovery in which we are driven to exclaim “Holy shit!” and then ask, “How do I talk my way out of this one?”

I imagine Ted Kennedy had just such a moment on the night of July 18, 1969 when he stumbled ashore at Chappaquidick Island knowing well that Mary Jo Kopechne, 29, a young school teacher and campaign worker was lying under the water back there in the Olds.

What went on between Ted and pretty Mary Jo is purely a matter of speculation, so I am not going there. On the other hand, he was a red-blooded Kennedy lad – just sayin’.

This is one of the thoughts that went through my mind as I heard of the predicted, yet still sad demise of Ted Kennedy a couple of days ago. I know he did stalwart stuff in the Senate in his later years – highly commendable stuff, and he deservedly earned his ‘grand old man’ status — yet there are the other things.

How much should we be judged by our former sins? Not too extensively, I hope, or I am in a spot of bother when I reach those celestial gates. Many of us are.

But, I was never directly implicated in the unfortunate demise of somebody with whom I had little business in being with in the wee smalls. That would be too awful to comprehend.

There was much muttering in the aftermath of the incident, including the thought that he got off very lightly because he was a Kennedy in the heart of Kennedy country. There is no doubt some truth to that, and the assumption that most of us would have gotten at least a ‘dime’ behind bars either for manslaughter or criminal negligence. We can also assume he was intoxicated at the time – since he usually was in those days – so the charges might have been stiffer. It was also a time for tasteless jokes like: “More people died at Chappaquidick than at Three Mile Island.”

It’s further pretty well known that Ted was a prodigious boozer and partier back in the bad old days. If he wasn’t an alcoholic, then he certainly played the game well. The confessed alcoholic in the mix was his sad wife Joan, who was largely abandoned as Ted chased the skirts. For many years he needed to grow up, and he didn’t actually attain his quest for maturity until a relatively advanced age. But, and fair enough, when he did get there he shone, indeed he excelled, and that cannot be taken away from him. He could well have continued in his boozing and screwing ways, but instead he chose to serve his country in his later years and for that me must be praised in any eulogy.

Ted also, and most of us have not experienced this, suffered the most grievous losses in his life. Losses that would have sent many of into a long-term ward, or on powerful meds for the rest of our lives. His three older brothers, all of whom he stood in awe of, died violently in the service of their country. Talk about supreme sacrifice.

He also suffered under the stigma of being the kid brother, the also-ran once the big brothers were gone. Nobody paid him much heed as long as Joe Jr., Jack and Bobby were around, and suddenly he found himself thrust into the spotlight and be told to ‘perform’ as only a Kennedy must. Maybe he misinterpreted this and saw his quest as performing in the other areas of the Kennedy boys’ lives, which was to find the humans who wore panties and have your way with them.

But, as I said, he finally took up the slack in his life and gave it back. His last few months on this earth must have been hell, but he stuck in there and did what he felt he had to do. Having spent a long time being a boy among men, Ted finally became a model for what an honorable and patriotic person should be, so may he rest in peace.

To market to market to buy a fat pig and a Hawaiian orange

mo market

When people travel they have different inclinations as to what they want to see or do. Some go for the theatre, others for the nightlife, the bars, clubs and so forth, still others like to see the famous tourist sights and sites, or museums, galleries, or maybe even brothels if that is the proclivity. After all, the red-light district in Amsterdam is still a big tourist draw.

Since I travel with my wife I hardly ever check out the cathouses, no matter how famous they might be. What we really like — I don’t mean exclusively — as a diversion is the farmers’ markets. You can learn a lot about a people and their culture if you mix it up with them when they are selling produce, meat, eggs or fish without the interference of a big store.

We have a fabulous farmers’ market right here in the Comox Valley and we try to be in attendance there virtually every Saturday morning. We go to buy stuff like assorted bits of greenery, seasonal fruits, eggs, fish, seafood and confections. In that regard you can find everything from croissants to crepes. A special favorite of mine is custard tarts.

We also go to people watch, halter-top watch (mainly me) to mix it up with longtime friends, and to check out the dogs. Dog-owners always bring their canines to the market. We ponder the breeds because we are toying with looking in that direction, maybe in the fall. We don’t like being pet-less despite its liberating aspects.

We spend a few bucks there and come home with surfeits of bucolic joy circulating through our veins.

The only thing missing from our market, in my esteem, is what I remember from the city markets of my childhood, and that is baby animals, like ducklings, goslings and chicks. I think they should have those.

As I stated earlier, when we travel we also like to check out the markets. The most exotic probably was the one in the Arab quarter of Grenoble, It ran every day of the week. Aside from produce and other agricultural product, it also sold ‘stuff’. Jackets, knockoff watches, shoes, sandals.  — lotsa sandals — jewelry, CDs and varioius other itesm that maybe recently ‘fell off a truck.’ The people were multiculturally garbed — mainly because they were multicultural — and the whole thing was a great feast for the eyes, and the nostrils and palates since somebody was always cooking up a mess of kebabs or some such.

We also regularly attend various farmers’ markets on Kauai when we’re there. Before we went to one we thought it would be — what with being in the tropics and all — ever so exotic, and obviously wonderful fruits mangos and papayas and so forth would be abundant. No such luck. We couldn’t even find any Hawaiian oranges. If you haven’t had a Hawaiian orange you should, if you can find any. They’re wonderfully sweet, juicy and tasty. They look like crap, sort of gnarly and knobby, but they’re terrific. Otherwise, the markets we attended weren’t as good as the one we have at home, and not much more exotic. Lots of pineapples and that was it, mainly.

In tropical vein, the market on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands was much better. There running a market is a serious business and the rivalry for booth space is intense. I have read that there are sometimes fisticuffs over placement of booths. The local paper is filled with diatribes about favoritism and primo locations going to old family members. Sometimes these rants are written with so much spleen that the Maori language is chosen so English speaking tourists don’t get the wrong idea about this peaceful paradise.

We didn’t see any brawls when we were there, only a couple of major dogfights amongst members of Raro’s feral canine population. Those dogs are everywhere, but they only seem vicious with one-another, not people.

Otherwise, the market was a wonderful array of colors, fragrances, beautiful silks, artworks, pearls, earrings, foodstuffs of all description and the fruits that should be in the Hawaiian markets.

I hope you all have a good farmers’ market in your area. If you do, and don’t frequent it, you should make it a practice. It’s very soul satisfying.

Think I’ll keep shuffling along for a while, thank you

Jack_Nicholson_in_About_Schmidt_Wallpaper_1_1280

“Work, and your house shall be duly fed:
Work and rest shall be won;
I hold that a man had better be dead
Than alive when his work is done.”
– Alice Cary

On a fairly regular basis these days I get asked by people if I am planning to retire soon. My usual response is to ask the utterer if he has a lot of money to lay on me because I don’t come cheap and I demand to be able to maintain the relatively pleasant lifestyle I currently have. Otherwise, I think I shall keep turning my hand to that metaphorical plow, if you don’t mind.

Aside from the fact I don’t have a great big fat government or private pension, I have no desire to cease being ‘out there.’ It gives me a sense of self-worth and otherwise, what in hell would I do. I know when I was starting out I looked forward to the day when I might be pensioned off. It would be a kind of compensation for having reached a certain stage in life and having performed reasonably well. But now, not so. .

I have the advantage of being able to work at the pace I choose now. I write for my own pleasure and explore what creative skills I might have. I also freelance write for a few bucks, and I counsel for a few other bucks, and I’ve even managed to retain some investments. Furthermore, I have a younger wife with a very good job, who likes what she does and earns a good income. All in all, it’s not so bad 

Further, I like people and I like interacting with them and I like the fact that they think I still have some discernible skills to share with the world.

Finally, I have an example of how ‘not’ to do the retirement thing, and that situation keeps me wanting to be as functional as I can. As follows is an excerpt from a chapter in a book manuscript of mine that still probably needs a bit of editing – or maybe even a lot of editing – but nevertheless suggests a bad way for a productive person to pull the pin on an active life.

Consider, if you will, as Rod Serling used to say, the following:

 In his declining years my widowed father sat in the den playing solitaire and keeping company with the television. Nothing in particular was on at any given time, and he offered no conversation regarding anything he’d seen.

That was about it for him, as far as I knew. He belonged to no clubs, no service organizations, volunteered for nothing other than helping neighbors out on occasion, and only dabbled (less and less as the years went by) at the few hobbies he’d sometimes turned a hand to over the years. Yeah, he’d have been better off dead. It was very, very sad and such a waste of a talented and bright man; a man of accomplishment.

As a young man (before my mother’s ambitions for him, socially and professionally prevailed) he’d been a master machinist. In his later years, he boasted an elaborate and well-equipped workshop in his basement. Despite years of suits, white-shirts and ties, the uniform of his career as a college administrator, he was at heart a dirty fingernails kind of guy. He loved his tools and doing things with them. My mother hated him spending time in his workshop, because it showed the side of him she wanted no part of.

The man retired at sixty-five, and died at eighty. For fifteen years he was essentially a waste of space and oxygen on this overcrowded and polluted planet. A sad and needless ending for an otherwise intelligent and professionally capable man. A man who had risen from the lower ranks of vocational education and had followed his career through to the point where he left his working years as an assistant dean at a community college in a large Canadian city. He was well-respected, and those who had been under his tutelage or had worked with him, held him in highest regard for his professional skills and essential decency and honesty. What happened is unfortunate.

What happened was, he ‘stopped’. He didn’t really retire — he just stopped. He was of that generation that believed that a man’s entire identity revolved around his career, and if he didn’t have that career label, his life appeared to lose meaning. This is conjecture on my part, of course, for I don’t know if this is what he thought. But appearances indicated such was his view. So embroiled was he in a career (that I’ll take the liberty of believing he essentially disliked), he permitted it to take over his identity. The career became who he was, with the virtue being that he could, while on the job, come out of himself in a manner he was unable to at home. While he was often resentful and ill-tempered at home, his reputation in harness was a glowing one. He was actually ‘loved’, I was told by colleagues and former students. This was an aspect of him that confounded me and made me resentful.

As inadequate as his personal life was while my mother still lived, it became utterly banal when she died, some four years before he did. He took to dressing like a slob, didn’t bother shaving much of the time, rarely got around to getting his hair cut, and cluttered their once comfortable suburban home with dirty dishes, discarded newspapers and general filth. My brother and I finally got him a cleaning woman/caretaker just because we were so repelled by the sty our childhood home had become.

All signs of clinical depression, you would be quick to say. Of course they were, but he wasn’t a man to whom you could make such a suggestion. I suppose we were negligent in not being proactive with him, but we had spent a virtual lifetime bearing the brunt of his harshness towards us, so I must confess we had no inclination to do more than we did.

Warren Schmidt — the character Jack Nicholson played in the film ‘About Schmidt ‘ — was, in his retirement and widowhood, an accurate representation of my father in his. And, as Schmidt was lost when his retirement was decreed, and even further lost when his wife — of a fractious marriage — moved on to the next plane, so was our old Dad.

What killed my father, I believe, and what was in the process of killing Schmidt in the film, was retirement. How insane is that?

Sometimes life is strictly for the birds

DSCN1795

DSCN1789

When I was a kid, growing up in the Vancouver satellite community of Burnaby, I was fortunate to live in a relatively rural setting right next to a large city. We still had deer and rabbits, and even the occasional bear would be sighted. Burnaby then was a far cry from the ugly bit of urban bedroom suburb it has become, filled with crappy malls and too much humanity. Then it was, dare I say, pastoral. I like pastoral. I cherish pastoral.

One of my favorite non-social activities when I was a youngster, was to wander down to the bit of forest that started just below our property. It was a largely swampy bit of wetland near to a lake. But, it was a place crawling with wildlife and was chock-a-block with birds of all species. I had a particular favorite wooded glade that I would venture into, not for any nefarious reasons like smoking, looking at dirty magazines or playing doctors and nurses with the wanton little girls of the neighborhood. Not saying that those things ‘never’ happened in that sylvan hideway, but when I was by myself naughtiness was not my motivation. I wanted instead to become one with nature. In order to do that I had to follow the Elmer Fudd advice which is to be: “Vewy, vewy quiet.” As I would enter the glade the birds would invariably all head for the trees. That was OK because I knew that if I sat there without moving a muscle they would come back. They always did. They would hop around very close to me and their proximity showed they were unthreatened by my presence. I was not going to disturb them in their quest to do what birds do. What birds must do.

And what birds must do, as those of you who are feeder buffs like I am well know — is eat. Their quest for nutrition is a virtual constant. Next to procreation it is their major drive in their usually brief lives. Countless numbers of wild birds actually die of starvation on a regular basis.

But, when birds find sources of food they are in avian heaven. Often we are those sources of food, and they know it.

Now, back to pastoral. Where I live now is a bit like what Burnaby was when I was a kid. It doesn’t take long to get into the outback where the lions, and tigers and bears — oh my–live. Well, bears and mountain lions, at least. A favorite destination of ours is Mt. Washington, and we make at least one summertime jaunt up the hill. Mt. Washington, at about 5,000 feet contains a large ski resort and the road to the resort is an easy hour’s drive from our home. But, we don’t go there for the resort, other than to eat lunch there — they have a great restaurant — we go for the alpine meadows in adjoining Strathcona Park. Miles and miles of pathway go through the meadows and well into the lakeland of the forests. It’s great.

We also go to satisfy our interaction with birds. Special birds. The whiskeyjacks! Everybody who goes to Mt. Washington loves the whiskeyjacks, and most bring food along with them. And the birds know most bring food and that to them is wonderful. More wonderful is that the birds — officially known as grayjays (or greyjays to Canadians), first cousins to all other brash jays — are completely tame. They do not need to be enticed to take food from your hands, they demand to do so.

Miss Wendy and I always have our sunflower seeds a the ready, and as we notice the birds going from tree to tree we stop, step off the trail and have our interaction. I never grow tired of this, and neither do most others out on the trail. My ex, stepdaughter and I once went up Washington with a young Japanese exchange student who lived in the heart of Tokyo. She was so thrilled by the birds I thought she’d pass out with delight. Fortunately I still have video of her with the birds.

There are a number of explanations given to where whiskeyjacks got their nickname. It was something to do with early prospectors and their propensity for the strong stuff after a hard day of work. Maybe the birds demanded booze as well as sunflower seeds?

Anyway, if you want to have this avian fun you must head for the hills, as the birds live high up, never at sea level. They are also found throughout the northwest, so if you live in this part of the world, check them out. Just bring some grub along so they don’t get a resentment of you.

The passing parade on a weekday morning sidewalk

 

AL_Dog_Walking_PHOTO

I get up before Wendy by about an hour. That gives me quiet time (not that she is noisy and disruptive) to meditate, contemplate, bolster my caffeine quotient and ponder whether my day is going to be filled with angst or serenity. Since I don’t have to be ‘at work’, since, other than on counseling days, my work is largely here, I can map out roughly what the next few hours will look like.

I keep the living room dark and don’t open the drapes until Wendy arises. Once she comes out, coffee in hand, we open the drapes and shut off the lamp. This time of year it is light by that time and we can watch the passing parade of the morning people that use our street. We speculate on their stories and know they pass at a regular time each day. Should they not be there, we wonder about them.

For many of them their day out-and-about begins early, since it is only around 6 when we are sitting there, sometimes scanning the headlines of the morning paper to see what further crap our inept and dishonest provincial government has imposed on all and sundry. Sufficiently depressed, we move on to our daily study of the passing parade. The woman in the photo with the dog is not one of our parade. Indeed that is not even our street. But, sometimes a body just needs an appropriate piece of  ‘art’ as they say in the newspaper biz.

–         Granny: First off most days is Granny (we have, with an utter lack of originality, christened her). She is (obviously) an elderly woman who walks with a cane, yet seems to have a forceful stride and doesn’t seem at all infirm. I think she uses the cane to whack threatening dogs or maybe even possible mashers. Maybe that might happen, and Granny ain’t takin’ no chances. This is, by the way, a quite suburban street so not too many roués set on taking advantage of geriatric females.

–         Working Lady: Next up is Working Lady. I don’t mean working as in ‘working girl’ here. She is 50-ish and obviously has some sort of employment destination in mind. The bus stop is a couple of blocks up, so I suspect she is getting a bus. She is well dressed, but not flashy. One day she was carrying a bunch of white towels like the ones that are given out at hotel pools. Maybe that’s where she works.

–         Scooter Guy comes next. Sort of a geeky-looking midlle aged man on a little electric scooter buzzes down the street every day. He is thoroughly helmeted as if he feels riding his teeny ‘hog’ puts him at risk. He seems to be going to work as well since he has a briefcase with him.

–         Rough Trade: Then come the two guys who are sort of anomalies. Middle-aged looking sort of rough-customers in ambience who ride old bicycles. They look like crackheads, though I know that is really judgmental. One shouldn’t judge by appearances and principles before personalities and all that stuff. And they sometimes pass dorky scooter guy going the other way. They always wave and sometimes stop and chat with him. What’s their connection? He does seem to know them and they know him. He doesn’t look like he would be a dealer. It may be just the opposite. He may be their missionary street pastor and the bike-riding lads are in good recovery.

–         The gay guys. Actually I don’t know if they are gay, and it certainly doesn’t matter to me, but we decided they might be in a gay relationship just to add a little extra to our parade stories. One is very large and heavy-set and the other is short and slight. We have named them Penn and Teller. The last two mornings Teller has been walking solo. I hope everything is OK with them.

–         Older Asian Couple: He always walks miles ahead of his spouse, invariably with his hands in his pockets. She brings up the rear with a fluffy white dog of the sort that wants to sniff literally everything. I have never seen them walk beside each other. And, they must come back by another route because I never seem them return.

–         Boobsie Mom. She wheels her infant in a pram at the same time every day. Off to daycare? I assume so. She looks very pleasant but she always (not complaining, mind you) wears highly décolleté tops that sport her charms to amazing advantage. In my own perverse way I am not looking forward to the time when the whether turns chillier and she has to don a jacket.

–         Gas jockey. Young guy who rides a bicycle yet works at the gas station up the street. Is this an environmental statement on his part? If so, I respect him for that. More likely is he gets lousy pay for manning the pumps or serving customers in the convenience store there.

So, that is about it. My street scene on virtually any old morning. There are, of course, many others who pass by, but I thought I’d share the highlights.

Writing and writhing through the process

writhing writer

As I mentioned in a snippet in my last posting, the worst aspect of writing is that you spend your days inside your own head. That’s not always the most wonderful place to be. That’s why I sometimes have to go out, just to get away from ‘me’.

Dorothy Parker (I think it was her) was once asked if she liked writing. “I like having written,” was her response. Everybody who writes likes having written. While I still work on a part-time basis, the days that fill me with awe and sometimes fear are ‘writing days.’ Those are the days in which I have nothing other to do than tap my inner resources and turn them old inner resources into scintillating and cogent, not to mention cohesive thoughts on the printed page. Thoughts that will provoke in my reader such exclamations as: “My God but those are scintillating, cogent and cohesive thoughts that guy wrote there.”

My book type writing has no resemblance to my blog writing. Blogging is creative throat-clearing for me. It gets me primed for the other stuff. Furthermore, in essence it doesn’t matter all that much if readers like my blog entries or not. I mean, I hope they do but if they don’t that’s their problem. It didn’t cost them anything to read me other than a few moments of their time. 

But, serious writing. That is the sort of thing that ultimately has to be run past agents and publishers, and that is a scary proposition. I have two completed manuscripts, plus assorted other ones, sitting in my computer and on disks. Nobody wants them – yet. I’ll try again, but at this moment they’re moribund. Maybe they deserve to be. Yet, when I look at some of the poop that is published, I sometimes wonder where I have gone wrong.

Now, the MS on which I am now working is, I think, a meritorious bit of musing. It boasts sufficient wit and also sufficient gravitas, in balance, to work. I think. My test for me is often the question: “Would I like to read this?” So far with this thing I am still answering in the affirmative.

I think writers are often messed up people. They have an inordinate propensity to indulge in dangerous substances, and also a lot of them kill themselves. Sometimes suicide is a reasonable career move. You know, it captures a certain amount of attention. No points in doing away with yourself unless you are leaving behind something that will make the masses appreciate your sacrifice. “Hey, this guy/girl was good. Too bad we didn’t notice when they were still this side of the lawn.” Oh, and suicide doesn’t really work if you are already established and of significant repute as a writer, like Hemingway. “Hemingway; Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls and, oh yeah, he killed himself.” No, better to be only moderately appreciated in life like Sylvia Plath. “Sylvia Plath, wow! The Bell Jar was about her, and they she did away with herself in a gas oven. She looked a lot like Gwynneth Paltrow.”

My writing days, in case you were wondering, look a bit like this:

–         coffee

–         breafast

–         morning ablutions

–         turn on computer. Read e-mails. Play a little solitaire just to limber up the old grey cells. Go into kitchen and get more coffee and play a little NYT crossword to limber up more of those grey cells. Might find a word I want to use. Look, often in vain, for word I want to use. Finding little with which to conjure I wonder if ‘epee’ (French for fencing sword which is to be found in virtually every 2nd crossword ever published by any paper) might find a use.

–         Check out my blog comments. Wonder if I should be writing a blog to do a little more limbering – sort of like I’m doing now.

–         Call up the chapter I was last working on.

–         Decide said chapter is stalled, so call up another. Realize that the final paragraph in the alternate chapter is utter shit, so go back to the first while resolving to fix the second later.

–         Get stalled again.

–         Decide to start a new chapter. Write a couple of pages and then realize it all seems strangely familiar and note that I have already covered this ground earlier. No wonder if was coming easily.

–         Break for coffee at nearest caffeine bistro, which sits above my local supermarket. Bump into my favorite, esthetically-pleasing and slightly flirty check out girl and think how she would be a nice coffee companion. Think I would be wise to dispel such untoward thoughts as I have work to do and mini-fantasies do not aid the creative process. At least they don’t aid ‘that’ creative process.

–         Come back home, proud that I have been environmentally conscientious because I walked up for coffee.

–         Wonder if it’s too early for lunch yet. Decide that it is.

–         Check email again.

–         Check for comments on my last blog.

–         Deicide to write a blog.

–         Surf to find appropriate art.

–         Break for lunch.

And so the day goes. After lunch there are only three hours until Jon Stewart is on. The Daily Show can give a fellow inspiration as well as entertainment. Why is Stewart so successful while I am not?

Some of the foregoing is in jest, though not all of it. And, regardless of my mental slacking, I actually do manage to get some good stuff down once in a while. Guilt can be a great source of inspiration.