Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm In A Play!

Holy crap! I'm in a play! A really kickass amazing play with a really challenging meaty juicy blood-dribbling-down-my-chin role! Dude!

In case you didn't notice, I'm stoked.

The play is The Empty Bowl and it's by fellow Loaded Gun Theorist Tim Thomas. It goes up 4-21 at Arts On Real. I play a guy named Seth. I have never been as excited about a role as I am about this one. Tonight was my second rehearsal, and as it always is with second rehearsals, I and my fellow stage occupants were tripping all over each other and our scripts and everything else. But it's going to be brilliant, I just know it. Come. See it. Or else risk eternal suckitude.

More updates to come.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Little Quack-Quack

Henry says "Da-da" a lot. I know he's just trying out his voice and practicing the "D" sound, and that he doesn't realize what he's saying, whether he's calling for me or telling us the name of his favorite art movement. But I still like hearing him say it. He's saying it right now while he sits here with me in fact. The other night he was playing with his brightly colored plush blocks, all of which make different noises. The yellow one quacks like a, well, like a duck because what else quacks? He listened to it for a second and then starting quacking back at it. "Wa wa wa wa wa." The look that Ash and I exchanged at that moment, he might as well have said the opening lines to the Preamble of the Constitution while floating and shooting laser beams from his eyes. Except this was much much cuter.

OH! And Henry's first little human friend (don't wanna make the dog jealous, he reads this blog every day right after he checks his email) was born Friday night! Welcome to the world little Stella Lilly Thomas. Henry and his folks can't wait to meetcha.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So this is weird

Apparently if you google "massive pile of dead birds" this here site o' mine comes up second in the list, second only to the lovely and talented Mark Morford. Buh-freakin-zarre. Stranger still is that somebody found this site through said search. I think it was you.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Militant Buddhists

So on a lark, I googled "militant Buddhist" just to see what it would come up with. Honestly, I fully expected to find mostly a series of sarcastically titled blogesque sites that may or may not have anything to do with Buddhism at all, along with some history and sure, maybe a few stories from Buddhism's radical fringes, because what's a religion without a decent radical fringe, eh? While there does appear to be some of that, I was also fascinated and somewhat disheartened to see a ton of articles about the rise of real live no joke militant Buddhism in Sri Lanka over the years. I'll let you pick through the results yourself, but the long and short of it is that Sri Lanka and her government seem to be very much in the grip of a brand of Buddhist extremism comparable to our very own homegrown Christian right-wing fundamentalism. Did you guys know about this? Color me shocked and uninformed.

Militant Buddhism? WHAT THEEEEEEE FUCK?!

But then, should I really be all that surprised? When you stop and think about it, militant Christianity makes just as much/little sense...that is, when you stop and think about it. I guess militant violent warmongering bigoted Christianity just goes down easier because, well, we're used to it. On top of its bloody past, its present isn't exactly holy. And that goes for both its radical fringes as well as its politically oriented mainstream. From efforts to maintain cervical cancer rates to increasing coathanger sales in South Dakota to helping out gay teenagers, American Christianity is looking pretty ugly. Not that all (or even most) Christians fit into this vein, but seriously, I'm tired of these Old Testament-inspired social intrusions that are designed to recreate the world in some kind of bizarre pseudo-Christian fascist image where obedience to a POORLY INTERPRETED Biblical law is legislated, and failure to obey is punished. These people are known as fundamentalists, so all right then, let's get fundamental. Let's try loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Let's try judging not lest we be judged ourselves. Let's try serving the poor. Let's try some compassion. Could we try these fundamentals out instead? Please? Just for laughs? Just to see how it goes? If it doesn't work out, we can go back to war and oppression. Deal?

I dunno, maybe as human beings, we're just wired to constantly miss the point and focus on bullshit. Really, why should I expect the modern day followers of a fat and happy Asian fellow to be less susceptible to human failings than the modern day followers of a Jewish hippie?

Anyway, enough of this rambling. In honor of all the militant religious practitioners around the world, I present you with my dramatic interpretation of this sadly all too real phenomenon that is militant Buddhism.

Enlightenment Now!

Andy and Dominic sit under a tree, eyes closed, legs crossed, backs straight, deep into their meditation session. Oh, Dominic is Asian and Andy is white.

After a few moments of silence, Dominic's inhalations begin producing a high pitched whistling sound. This goes on for a few moments before Andy notices it. He remains in his meditative state, but his concentration is clearly breaking down until finally he just can't take it any more.

ANDY: Uh, hey man.

Dominic continues meditating.

ANDY: Hey, Dominic? Hey! (nudges him)

DOMINIC: Huh, what?

ANDY: Do you mind?


ANDY: Your...(motions to his nose)?

DOMINIC: My...? Oh! Right, sorry. Yeah, it's just these allergies.

ANDY: Yeah, it's just kinda...

DOMINIC: Yeah, I'm sorry.

ANDY: It's kinda loud.

DOMINIC: It's this tree, ya know?

ANDY: It's okay. I just, you know.

DOMINIC: Totally. I'll take care of it.

Dominic pulls some tissue paper out of his pocket and plugs some into his nostrils.

DOMINIC: Allright.

Dominic goes back to meditating. Andy looks at him somewhat incredulously for a moment, then goes back to his meditation as well.

Things go well for a few moments, except for the fact that Dominic is now breathing through his mouth which, while not all that loud, is enough to break the otherwise complete silence. Andy again tries to ignore it, but no matter how hard he tries to ignore it, his concentration is compromised. He finally can't take it anymore.

ANDY: Hey. Dominic. Hey.

DOMINIC: Huh? What's up? Did you get enlightened?

ANDY: Uh, no. That's kind of impossible at the moment.

DOMINIC: What's the matter?

ANDY: Your breathing.

DOMINIC: What about it?

ANDY: Well it's fucking loud.

DOMINIC: My breathing's loud?

ANDY: Yeah, it's like (breathes loudly through his mouth to demonstrate).

DOMINIC: It's not that loud.

ANDY: Yes it is.

DOMINIC: No it's not.

ANDY: It is dude, and you know what else? It doesn't sound natural.

DOMINIC: Doesn't sound natural?

ANDY: No, it sounds like you're doing it consciously instead of just, you know, letting it happen. You're supposed to just concentrate on your breath without consciously breathing. Hello? Meditation? Duh?

DOMINIC: Hey, I know how to meditate, okay? I'm just not used to breathing through my mouth.

ANDY: Well it sounds forced.

DOMINIC: It's not forced. I'm just breathing through my mouth and concentrating on it and that's all.

ANDY: Well it's loud, okay? Some of us are trying to attain enlightenment out here.

DOMINIC: Well then maybe you should be mindful of your own breathing and stop getting distracted by mine.

ANDY: Well maybe I wouldn't get distracted by your breathing if you knew how to breathe right.

DOMINIC: Well maybe if you knew how to maintain any level of mindfulness you wouldn't be so easily distracted.

ANDY: You know, I brought you out here to my favorite meditation tree because I thought you were cool. I thought, you know, you weren't like those other idiots at the meditation center who are just into Buddhism as a way to reject their whitebread religious background.

DOMINIC: Oh I see. So you picked out the Asian guy in the room and said to yourself, gosh look at that shiny yellow skin. Why I bet that guy is personal friends with the Buddha himself.

ANDY: Hey! Just because I'm white doesn't mean that I think that just because you're Japanese...

DOMINIC: I'm Vietnamese.

ANDY: Whatever. You're never going to attain enlightenment if you keep hanging on to all these identity labels.

DOMINIC: Yeah, well you'll never even achieve a state of mindfulness if you don't learn how to sit in a full lotus position.

ANDY: My legs won't stretch that far.

DOMINIC: I don't wanna hear your excuses man. And neither does the Buddha.

ANDY: Hey watch it buddy. You're the one with the breathing problem.

DOMINIC: Listen asshole, one more comment about my breathing and you'll be breathing out of your eyeballs.

ANDY: (imitates exaggeratedly loud breathing) What are you gonna do huh?

DOMINIC: That's it.

Andy and Dominic get into a fight, a vicious brutal nasty fight with absolutely no rules being followed. While they're fighting, the Buddha walks by. He checks them out from one angle, then another, then another. He exits. Andy and Dominic don't notice and keep on fighting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Big Brass Balls

I hereby demand that each and every one of you, particularly those of you who are the parents of boys, but also parents of girls, or anyone who is thinking about becoming a parent of a boy or girl someday, or else anyone who spends time around young boys or girls and is therefore a role model whether you like it or not to please go read this amazing blog posting. My friend Rob emailed it out today and I've been thinking about it ever since. It's basically a letter that this woman has written for her two sons to read when they're older, and it's all about the kind of men she hopes they'll become. It's poignant and well-written and I won't waste time with a junior high book report summary of it because all you gotta do is go read it yourself.

But I will waste time talking about what this post makes me think about. Ever since I became a dad and the Ash became a mom, the two of us have spent a lot of time talking together and pondering seperately what we can do to help our lad grow up and become one of the good guys. Becoming a good guy doesn't seem to be very valued in this society of ours. In its place, there seems to be this preoccupation with maintaining a tough "don't fuck with me" exterior. Concepts of masculinity and feminity are both being defined less and less by substance and more and more by superficial elements. In the case of masculinity, it's anything from the girth of your paycheck to the length of your truck to your capacity to manifest violence in the world. Funny enough, none of these things require anything resembling balls. The guy in this lady's story, Hugh Thompson? Now that's balls. Great big ones.

Violent Tendencies

I was sitting in Henry's nursery with him asleep on my shoulder while trying to read Thomas Merton, and the guy across the street was running his blower across his tiny little yard for what seemed an eternity, and all this stuff I'm reading about God and love and spirituality was completely drowned out by a dark inner voice muttering turnoffthefuckingblower turnthatfuckingthingoff turnitoffnow turnitoff killyou die turnitoffimserious imnotkiddingyoumotherfucker. Yep, that'll kill a contemplative mood real quick.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


So I finally finally finally got around to getting some picture galleries set up so that those who wish to (because I know that for some people, including the Holmes a few short years ago, baby pictures constitute torture of a Rumsfeldian magnitude) may bask in the two-dimensional digital photographic glory of baby Henry. Accessible also from the nifty nav box over there on the left. As you might guess, all of these galleries are devoted to the life and times of baby Henry. If I or the Ash make an appearance, it's because we were too close when the camera went off. If the dog makes an appearance, it's because he's a lazy smelly bastard. Enjoy, and check back on occasion for more pictures.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Holy Cow

Arundhati Roy talking about Bush's visit to India in this article.

"He's by no means the only war criminal who has been invited by the Indian government to lay flowers at Rajghat (Ghandi's memorial)."

Wow, it's like one of those things where a picture takes the place of about a billion or so words.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Goddamnit all to fuck

So I'm listening to Eklektikos today and Mr. Aielli is talking with one of the founders of The Byrds -- you know, "Turn, Turn, Turn." And this guy, who's close to his seventies now, is playing some songs in studio with some other guy, and they of course played "Turn, Turn, Turn" because you simply don't talk about The Byrds without talking about "Turn, Turn, Turn." And man, it was just so sweet because that's such a great song, but so fucking depressing at the same time, I swear to God I damn near started crying right there in my car. I'm listening to this song and wondering, when the hell is the "time to heal" and the "time for peace" gonna come back around again? It seems like we've been stuck on "a time for war" and "a time to kill" for ages now. Way too long. Not to mention "a time to torture", "a time to send soldiers off to die in a meaningless war", "a time to roll back women's rights", and "a time to fuck the poor over in favor of the stupidly rich." And let's not forget "a time to make a joke out of democracy" or "a time to ignore an entire city going under water because they're all poor." Oh, and "a time to claim God in the name of all that is bigoted and hateful and violent." It feels like the world is getting sicker and sicker, and we just can't take a whole hell of a lot more of this shit. It's enough to cast a cloud of meaninglessness over pretty much any endeavor. I thought all this while I drove around on my lunch hour listening to this song, and got myself all melancholy, and then I went to work and forgot about it. And then tonight I remembered and wrote the above drivel, and now I'm all shitty feeling again. Shit. Fuck it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bless You

A number of my dinners as of late have been eaten with the Biscuit (aka my son Henry) sitting happily on my lap. I shovel the grub with one hand, and hold him secure in the other. Up until tonight, this has been done at the dinner table, all wholesome and family like. This is not a bad arrangement. In fact, it is typically a right and good arrangement, wherein all is at peace and everyone gets to enjoy their dinner.

Except for tonight when we tried to replicate this arrangement on the couch for a reason that I have now forgotten, and my recently sick/now recovering little boy, sitting on my lap, was in perfect position to sneeze right into my edamame. Thankfully, I was already on seconds.

Back to the dinner table.