Sunday, August 24, 2008

Current Favorites, Preoccupations, and Distractions

Mr. Zog's Sex Wax
The best smelling surfboard wax known to's my potpourri. Seriously. Have a bar sitting here right next to me. I'm a huffer. I huff surfboard wax.

Pine nuts and currants on salad. Can't imagine life without the pignoli. Toasted of course.

Book Title:
I Don't Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges
Haven't read the book yet but I think the title is hilarious.

Journal Article:
Why Ivy Leagures Can't Think: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar, Summer 2008
Articulates wonderfully much of what I have thought and preached for years...but he makes the critique as an insider after realizing he doesn't know how to have a conversation with his plumber.

Magazine Article:
Why is There a Universe at All? by Adolf Grunbaum in Free Inquiry, June/July 2008
Get out the truth tables and philosophy dictionary for this rambling exploration of "primordial existential questions" and "the null possibility" and "the ontological spontaneity of nothingness." I studied the article and there is a much more accessible way to say this stuff...but then, maybe I got it all wrong. After all, my education was not an elite one. So I decided to answer the primordial existential question for myself by expressing awe at the ontological spontaneity of nothingness and quoting Neutral Milk Hotel: "Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all." I guess I will always land with the NMHs or the William Blake's of the world over the positivists and haughty logicians. Nonetheless, I do enjoy the intellectual meandering.

I recently injured my back while working out. Got to hurtin' so bad I resorted to two days of serious drugs which is unusual for me. The vicadin made me sweat and have nightmares, but the good thing about being on a narcotic is that one doesn't care so much about such things. And my back didn't hurt. Feeling much better now thanks.

Dr. Bruce
My hyper-competent, caring, and hilarious chiropractor who completely appreciates my perverted and irreverent humor. He hurts me so and then soon after, I feel better. We have such a physically intimate relationship for two people who barely know each other. God bless the chiros.

Bed Buddies:
I used to sleep with women but now I sleep with books. All kinds of books...even comic books. Sometimes I sleep with magazines or journals. When I change my sheets I find books or magazines I had forgotten about...books that slid into the cracks or got lost under a pillow, old magazines with crinkled pages and yesterdays news. Although it is my intention to sleep with women again, books never snore or hog the bed or fart in the night...and I will leave it at that for now.

Conflict Resolution
Love teaching but got a little depressed when I found out that several of the students couldn't write at a graduate level. Some couldn't write at an undergraduate level. Told them I would fail their asses if they didn't get help and stop turning in crap. I was slightly more diplomatic. Only slightly. Most everyone got their shit together and odds are there will be no failing grades.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why does Coke bottled in Mexico taste better than Coke bottled in the US?

Because they make it with sugar in Mexico and high fructose corn syrup in the US. Next time you are in a taqueria check the label yourself. Isn't that fascinating?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


If you haven't seen this movie and you love surfing...or appreciate those who do, or like stories about nutty folks who jump off the grid and choose a very different path, check it out. An eccentric Jewish Stanford doctor drops out, gets back to surfing, meets the love of his life, screws every day, and raises 9 kids in a 24 foot camper. They roam the states, the Americas, and surf the west coast like it was their job. In fact, he made it their job. Fascinating story. And here are a couple interesting quotes from the old dude (he's 86 years old now).

Fucking to me is the word of god. Right here in America, we're a bunch of weirdos. Our culture is going to pieces and no one is saying, well, it's all because we're awful fuckers and the more awful fuckers we become, the more pornographic, the more promiscuous, and the more prurient and x-rated we become. Cultures that are all fucked up about sex, about fucking, are the cultures that will decline and in the process of their decline they will cause war.

~Dorian Paskowits

Interesting perspective. I suspect there is more than a little truth to it.

Surfing recreates you. I have gone into the water literally ready to blow my brains out and come back out of the water a warrior.

~Dorian Paskowits

I relate deeply to this statement. Although I have never been ready to blow my brains out, I have certainly, many times, experienced the profound healing affect of riding a wave on my board. An hour in the water is worth a thousand hours of therapy. It is one of the most restorative things I have experienced in my 44 years of living.

Picture: Me over a decade ago at Angels Camp, K74, Baja, Mexico. I still ride this board every summer (9'), although she has a few more dings and I now only go out on small waves (and now my hair is grey!) But I aspire to be like Dorian (and Woody, from Surfing for Life...if you know that movie) and still be surfing in my 80s. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What Do You Sip and Read at Midnight?

When I don't have to be up early, I am often quite the's often when I think, write, read, contemplate my naval and other fascinating subjects. Recently, a new friend noticed on my gmail-chat that I was up at midnight and she started a conversation. She is quite the witty one and asked me what I was doing up so late...and then wrote: "I picture you sipping whiskey and reading Voltaire." Voltaire? I haven't read Voltaire in over 20 years and have no plans to do so now. And I hate whiskey, with a passion. So I tongue-in-cheek confessed that I was sipping a Bud Light and reading People magazine. A more representative answer would have been sipping mescal and reading La Cuadra. But the truth is, I was drinking a Blackberry Honest Tea and reading the dictionary.

I am always amazed how we human beings formulate impressions of each other. I have contemplated this topic for years, formally and informally, trying to cultivate some rudimentary understanding of what informs our sense of who we are in the world, our subjectivity, our sense of connectedness and belonging....or not. My friend Jill and I have had many conversations exploring the idea that in so many ways we are our relationships...what others reflect back to us, the good and the bad, is the fodder we use to create our internal subjects, our internal constructs of "self." We use this feedback and it informs how we dress, talk, parent, fuck, work, etc...the list is endless.

There are those relationships that have long informed our sense of self, provided the fodder for our cumulative internal construct of "me" that provides the foundation for our ego-ic existence. Our family, old friends, people who see the best (and the worst) in us and consistently reflect it back in their words and deeds. And then there are the newer relationships, those with little history...for me, folks who never knew the angsty teenage Mer or the jock Mer, or dare I confess, the makeup wearing Mer (it was wrong, so very wrong and so long ago!). They only know the contemporary Mer, the Mer developed over 44 years of living and processing input from countless interactions and relationships.

So back to my late night gmail-chat. How does this women, this new friend come up with Voltaire and whiskey? And what do I do with this information? What notion does it fuel in me? It's fresh....a compliment, succinct, isolated. She thinks I am smart because Voltaire is not simple. She knows I drink...whiskey? Sort of masculine. She knows I am butch and queer and appreciates that about me. None of my family or old friends would have guessed such a thing as they have too much history and knowledge. Typically, the shorter the time one knows someone, the more weight each comment or observation carries, if it is valued. There is a liberty in being perceived fresh and anew...and there is a comfort in being known for decades by those who love me. The former brings opportunity and exploration, new fodder for growth and reinvention, a weightless and fresh immediacy. The latter brings comfort, a sense of safety and familiarity. Each has it's unique brilliance.

The next day I told my brother about "sipping whiskey and reading Voltaire." I asked him what he would sip and read at midnight? "Wheat grass and Deepak Chopra," he lied. That's as believable as me sipping chardonnay and reading Bridal Magazine! My brother? A Fat Tire and Spin Magazine. There is no doubt. So what about you? What do you sip and read at midnight?

A Social Equation

mer + brother + indie rock show + The 500 Club = trouble

I formulated and solved this one all by myself!