11/6/15 Friday: An Addendum to Yesterday’s California Dreamin’

Since I got a worried mid-day call from my parents, who read yesterday’s post and wanted to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind, quit my job, and fled to California, I thought I’d point out that any post tagged “California dreaming” is somehow related to my love affair with the Golden State (California) whether literally or metaphorically, while posts tagged “dreamwork” are journal accounts of dreams I had while asleep (usually at night).

So concerned readers should know that posts so tagged (above) probably don’t mean that I have gone off the rails, quit my job, or moved to California without a job.

Ok.  Thanks!


California Dreamin’

11/5/15, Thursday, 6:15 am

Hi & I  woke up in the living room, as per usual, at 4:09 am and headed to the bedroom.  As I needed to get up at five am, I didn’t have much time, and fell into a fitful, dreamy sleep.

By some miracle we had flown from Memphis to Oakland and managed to arrive at Chaos by 6:25 am, the last leg of the  journey executed at a frenetic pace in a bus with Love at the wheel.  We arrived to a dark common room, greeted by S. who said she’d call someone tomorrow and ask them to give me a job.  The conversation was brief and to the point, and soon  we found ourselves in D.’s room.  I was pretty panicked because I couldn’t find my phone, but Hi crawled right into bed with D.  K. was  there as well and initially started out in the bed right next to theirs, but when I fell briefly to sleep in the 3rd bed, I awoke to find him asleep beside me.

I slept fitfully, alternately worrying that I couldn’t find my phone, and panicking when I thought about how to explain to work that we were in Oakland and I wouldn’t be making my opening shift.


Next Stop – Goa, India – A New Generation of Pilgrims Hits India’s Hippie Trail – NYTimes.com

In case you missed it… here’s a terrific piece from the New York Times back in 2006.  I know that I was only dimly aware (if at all) with Goa’s hippie history when I was becoming of age. Certainly, if I had been more aware of Goa’s role in the formation of the culture I claim as my own, I would have made sure to do more than touch down there en route to somewhere else when I was “in country.”  If you ever wondered why Goa, India has such a hold on the more Bohemian-minded among us, this article has it all.  It even references a DVD documentary I own called, “Last Hippie Standing,” which dates from about the same time period. If you ever wondered why India in general and Goa in particular hold such power among the more “artistically” (raver) inclined folks, this is why.  I may still write more about this or my experiences  at a later date, but I did want to pass this link along now.
Anyway, check it out if you like:


Two Vignettes: Studies in Dominance & Submission

English: The Eye of Horus, done in photoshop

English: The Eye of Horus, done in Photoshop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

22 September 1998

I was thinking just now about this ring I used to have, the one with the Eye of Horus on it.  It was just a cheap metal thing, seemingly entirely forgettable, and yet it was my first ring, and I really liked it.  Curious about what it looked like?  I Googled Eye of Horus ring and found one almost just like it, except mine was sheet metal.

I lost my original ring in a parking in Arizona in 1992, when I was on a pilgrimage to see the Grateful Dead at the Sacramento Speedway.  I was with one of my best friends and his then girlfriend, who we’ll just call Bella.  My friend, Gene, could be a real  dick, but he could be sweet and was, in any case, attractive and a real cock tease, especially with his friends.  I was really hung on him, but he was one of my best friends, and we were on a buddy trip with his girlfriend to see the Dead when we happened to stop in a parking lot in Arizona.

I no longer remember why we stopped at that point, but it was such an intense trip and even though we had a destination, we had a bit of time to get there, so we were probably just tired of driving.  I remember it was nearly dusk, and we were just hanging out, talking shit, and kicking the dirt.  At some point, Gene started teasing me, which was a favorite pastime of his.  He grabbed my key ring and began throwing it up in the air, blocking my attempts to catch it, letting it hit the ground, and then snatching them away when I tried to pick them up.  If his girlfriend hadn’t been there, we would eventually have gotten to wrestling for control, and if the ground wasn’t too rough, we might even have ended up rolling around in the dust until he had me pinned.  Knowing him, Gene would rub in the fact that he had the upper hand by pinning me with his crotch or his pits in my face so I could feel how fully in control he was and smell his dominance.  I can even now remember many times in our room at college when he would pick such a “fight,” and we would wrestle for control.  We’d roll around, knock over furniture, twist the carpet into a ball, and nearly always we would come to an impasse.  Gene would pin me in a wrestling move.  I would twist out of it, he would pin me again, and many, many times, I can remember feeling how excited pinning me had made him.    Gene wasn’t bigger than me, but he had played competitive sports for most of his life, so he usually had the upper hand.  We occasionally had these wrestling matches when he had a girlfriend, but mostly I think they occurred when he was in between girlfriends and needed to work off some sexual frustration by dominating a friend.

But back to my ring and that parking lot in Arizona.  His girlfriend was there, and he couldn’t really properly torment me in public anyway, so he was taking it out on my key ring.  He threw it up, blocked me, and caught the key ring, or the key ring hit the ground while he was blocking me because he was, after all, not superman and sometimes he couldn’t control both the ring and me simultaneously.  Anyway, the second or third time the ring hit the ground, there was a little flash of metal, and when I retrieved my keys, the ring was gone.

Truly, it was just a sheet metal ring, but I can remember being really irritated.  It didn’t help that Bella said, “Well, maybe you weren’t supposed to have it, ” as if cosmic forces instead of common rudeness might have been to blame.


[This next bit originated when I still did a radio show on a community supported radio station, which I is something I did for about a decade between 1996 and about 2006.]

Last night I had a “grandfather moment.”  What happened was, in the last half hour to forty-five minutes of the show, I got in an increasingly discordant mood.  I finished the show with ten minutes of a fourteen minute piece featuring rusty hinges.  About six minutes before two AM, this furious older gentleman called and hissed through clenched teeth that he was a card-carrying member of the station and that he did NOT like what he was hearing through his radio.  Then he hung up on me.

I let the track go on for another three to four minutes (I am not one to let go without a fight) and then eased into “Coil” by Robert Rich off of his album, Seven Veils, a stunningly sinuous album of experimental electronica and percussion that is well worth hearing in its entirety.  As was my habit, I slowly faded out of the rusty hinge track while gradually blending in the Robert Rich track and in my best, soothing radio voice, I described “Coils” as soothing to the savage beast and ruffled listener.

Later, after I had signed off, I realized why the incident had both upset and unsettled me.  It’s not just that I don’t like upsetting people.  There was more to it than that.  I was flung back into my childhood, when my family was visiting my Cape Cod grand parents one summer.  I was still a kid but had developed a habit of locking myself in the restroom when I needed to use it.  (Don’t ask me what that was about — maybe bathroom shame, I don’t know.)  Anyway, my grandfather tried the door and found it locked.  I guess maybe he was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out, and he’d be left to figure out how to unlock the door.  Instead of going away and leaving me to poop in peace like any normal human would, he hammered on the door with his fists until I fumbled it open, and then he stood towering over me yelling without explanation until I ran sobbing to my parents’ bedroom and hid behind my mother.

I had  forgotten about that moment right up until that old man yelled at me and I had my “grandfather” moment.  For a drawn out, discomforting instant, I was back on that pallet on the bedroom floor with my mother kneeling at my side trying to comfort me.  Sobbing, I saw over her shoulder, through the partly closed-door, the reflection of light off my grandfather’s glasses.

Portland: Seven months of mist and gloom

Fields says she lived in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and NY.

Portland, OR

It rains (“mists, really”) for seven months of the year.  It is gloomy then, too.  But it goes from lush and tropical to semi-arid and doesn’t rain a drop — not a drop — for the other five months of the year.  She says the trees there are astonishing too.

3 August 00 Thurs. ~3:30 pm

Funny thing is, I had the chance to speak to Paulie in August of this year when he came to town to take care of some medical stuff.  He said that “seven months of mist and gloom” routine is essentially propaganda spread virally, with the intention of keeping the newcomers to a minimum.  He says it is beautiful and that the gloom is minimal and quite manageable, even for someone like Hi who is very effected by the weather and the lighting.

His view of reality essentially amounted to this: Oregon is much more progressive than Tennessee, and Portland, especially, is much, much more progressive than Memphis.  We should go that way as soon as convenient and not let the doomsayers sway us from our intended path.

14 Oct 10 Thursday morning at Elsewhere

Valley View, Santa Fe, and California Dreamin’

Talked to N.W.’s friend Lawrence last night.  He recommended that I check out Valley View, Colorado because it’s a “hippy heaven” and “dirt cheap” too.  He also suggests that I would really love Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He said for visual arts it’s as important as New York or Los Angeles, and it only has ~100,000 residents.  L. said that New Mexico is great because the desert is very forgiving and has a softness and beauty that’s uncanny — and safe as well.  It is unlike Arizona or Nevada where the desert is pretty hard and unforgiving.  If you fuck up in AZ, L. says, the consequences can be dire, whereas in NM, you can screw up without too much fear.  The landscape of New Mexico is more forgiving than AZ and NM, but it still has that incredible powers that desert landscapes so often have.

While in Santa Fe, L. suggests that I venture into the hills above to an incredible bath house called 1000 Ways (1000 Waves?).  L. said that it’s a place of many rooms and quiet spaces that are constructed in such a way that you never quite take in the full experience of it.  They also have coed, nude hot tubs.

He or someone said something as well about the power of places with hot springs.


2:32 pm

I told G. of my plan a few days ago and saw the lines of consternation form and then dissipate as I told her I was hoping to move to California with no job waiting for me there — just a really strong desire and an opportunity for growth.

I asked her advice about herb books for the area, and she told me what I had suspected already — Michael Moore is the man.  She suggests Herbs of the Pacific West, Herbs of the Mountain West, and one other.

She also mentioned San Francisco’s Chinatown as being a good place to study.  Local to Berkeley, there is also a herbalist, a protege of Michael Moore’s, that G. describes as totally brilliant.  His name, I think she said, is A.S. and G. describes him as a “real (or really?) radical urban herbalist” who specializes in junkies and HIV cases and who makes no bones about practicing medicine without a license.  He does this and is defiantly upfront about this.  G. also says that he knows physiology really, really well, and if you study with him or at his school you will have to go back to school seriously in order to make it through.  G. also gave me her email address and asked that I keep up.

Life in Southern California is Like No Other

21 January 2000 Friday ~8:55 pm

“One of the oddities of life in Southern California was the sense of timelessness that set in.  There were no real seasons in California and each day was about like the last one.  People were probably startled out here to find that they’d aged.”

— from Small Vices by Robert B. Parker, p. 217

22 January 2000 Saturday ~early AM

I love being home with my parents, but it makes me kind of sad just the same.  I guess being here reminds me all too much of the brevity of life, of how my parents and I have aged,  separately.  Being in Atlanta makes me yearn for some aspects of my younger life.  I want to ride through the quiet night with my brother at the wheel, to see a movie or hang with some friends.  I am also reminded of my high school sadness and depressions, of my nights of lonely driving, taking endless wrong turns, stretching one more Pink Floyd track or WREK evening into the early dawn.

My sense of loss is proportionately greater here as well.  When I’m home, like no other time, I feel trapped in a time warp — a place where time never unloops, and it is always 1988 or 1989.  Highschool was a lonely time for me, and I think I’m seldom so reminded of this as when I am at home.

I’m listening now to the demo that my brother’s band put together.  I am reminded of nothing so much as my nights alone, out taking in shows here as a teenager.

I love my parents, and I value my chance to be home with them — but, but, BUT this place brings up entirely too many sad, painful memories for me to stay here for very long.

I’m here not even two days, and already I’ve returned solidly to the sad, chaotic, lonely time of my high school existence.

3/19/00 Notes on a California Dream:

A guy I talked to down at the radio station mentioned that small towns outside of L.A. and the immediate Bay Area are actually quite reasonable to live in.  He mentioned the Modesto, CA is a beautiful little town, though he did not mention the cost of living.  Also, he mentioned a little town called Atwater (or Atville?), which he said was about two hours north of San Francisco.  He said he had a friend who rents a decent apartment for about $400 a month.  He also said that the BART runs about 40 miles out of San Francisco, making a long commute a reasonable possibility, provided that I could find work in my area.