Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dog. Drum. Duet.

Up at Metro Tobalaba, where the Tip y Tap beer garden fills the plaza in front of the entrance to the metro, a couple of musicians had set up shop. One had a guitar, another a drum kit, and they were good - I mean, really good, or at least they almost certainly would have been, but when I came into the plaza, the guitarist was putting away his guitar with a face like a sucked lemon, and the drummer was going at it on his own.
            The dog thought he was fabulous.  He was a big black dog - mostly labrador, with a bit of mastiff about the shoulders, and he had parked himself nose to brass with a cymbal, and every time the drummer hit a drum the dog barked a great big whoouff.
            The drummer hit a drum.  The dog barked. The drummer hit another drum. The dog barked bigger. The drummer drummed faster.  He reckoned he could out-bark the dog. Pretty soon he was going about a hundred and fifty beats a minute, but the dog's tail was going about double that -
            As far as that dog was concerned it was an ecstatic, practically hallucinogenic, full-on meeting of souls and minds. It barked and it barked and it barked.
            The drummer was beginning to look a wee bit lemonish himself. He and his guitarist had counted on a beer-generous Tip y Tap audience, and what they had was about fifty people laughing their heads off and holding up their cell-phone cameras - not even pointing at him. They were all aiming at the dog.
            I would have love to have stayed, but I was late for an appointment, and slipped past them into the metro station.  A machine-gun whoouf-and-drum-kit duet followed me all the way down the stairs.

It was a GOOD day.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Just before Halloween I went a little bit mad - my local supermarket was selling Halloween pumpkins, I bought seven.
            We didn't carve them for Halloween, and miraculously, a month and half later, in this high summer heat, they are as hale and whole as the day I brought them home.
            So we carved Christmas lanterns. Santa-lanterns?  Ho. Ho. Ho.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why Architects Really End Up Talking Like That

It's November, and it's getting hot. Yesterday I went down to our bodega (storeroom) to put away my winter sweaters and pirate hats and I came across a box of drawings from back in my first year of grad school.
            The drawing on top was a sort of vector diagram - done in footprints. Memories came rolling back. It had been a "assignment now - final product tomorrow!" all-nighter sort of project - in which we neophyte architects had been asked to go someplace where a lot of people came through and map the traffic patterns - putting all the four-dimensional traffic down on two-dimensional paper in an exciting and really neoteric fashion. (Neoteric: architecture-speak for 'an artistic vanguard that you imagined up right now all by yourself."
            And then we had to write about it. Obviously, the drawing would speak for itself, but in practical terms, a short museum-style blurb wouldn't go amiss.  (A good professor is way ahead of student neoterism as a matter of course.)
            The problem with being asked to describe a drawing project in a paragraph or two on short sleep and shorter notice is that you end up turning out some purely awful drivel.
            Because you weren’t thinking clearly. You weren't thinking at all - you were snoring between your words. And you were surrounded by people who'd gotten even less sleep that you had, and while you were confident that your own ideas were pretty darned great, to your sleep-deprived ears theirs approached towers of literary genius.
            There’s no color of jealously like sleepless green.

And I remembered that I'd written about it, afterwards, when I'd woken up. And pasted it to the back of my neoteric masterpiece so I wouldn't forget:

            One fellow held a degree in ancient literature.  He had mapped the smokers on their nicotine breaks in Dundas Square.
            “Since the Dawn of Time” he said solemnly, “Ancestral Man has been Drawn to Flame.”
            “That’s probably true” I agreed, grinding my teeth, and went off to ask editorial opinions on “The pulse, the tide, the ebb and flow of harried, feverish commuters at the Bloor-Yonge Subway station” from two students lying on the floor behind me and looking, respectively, vacuous and pained.
            One of them winced.
            "Isn't that a little…damp?"
            On cue, Mr. Ancient Literature walked past declaiming “And Now, a Tattered Subculture of Social Pariahs Clusters Around the Vestigial Memory of the Ancient Hearth Fire!”
            I, who belong to the extremely tattered Subculture that feels stoned rather than euphoric when we don’t sleep, turned back to my laptop, typed out ‘In my map I marked out a sour by fix goot frid” and ran spell-check twice.

Down in the bodega, I shut the box and sealed it up with tape, but I won't forget. I think I need a little ceremony.

            I'll unfurl the map.  I'll enter the pulsing commuter tide that hustle down my street at rush hour every evening. When the ebb and flow of shoulders and elbows have crumpled it beyond the reach of even the most accommodating professor, I will go home and make it an offering on the fires of my BBQ on my balcony.  Neoterically.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Summer Kitchen PSA

Advice for when you drop a cherry pitter:

Don't do it. The splatter radius is indescribable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Jacaranda trees are in blossom, and the wisteria is blooming on the fences.  In the park, a young man and woman climbed a tree to sit in the canopy and kiss up there. It's a nice day.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Doctor Strange

I've just seen Doctor Strange - the new Marvel movie starring the very British Screen God Benedict Cumberbatch. It was mildly jarring to watch a film about holy men studying the eternal verities so that they could learn how to kick someone's nose out through their earholes, but then things went boooom and i remembered that this was a Marvel movie - these fellows weren't holy men, they were doorkeepers!  And the fellows knocking on the door burned with manifest destiny and carried nuclear weapons. With the safety off.

            (I wonder if any of the 21st century Americans involved in the project picked up on the irony of that?)
            Mr Cumberbatch plays a bossy white guy who thought he knew everything, and then found out he didn't, and then he did, and then he saved the world.
            And there are three whole women in the cast! Really! And two of them even have speaking roles! One of them is a very nice white lady who was the Supreme Sorcerer, and she gets to say lots and lots of portentous wisdom things that clearly looked better on the cue cards than they sound being wrestled around a set of actual tonsils (portentous wisdoms are all right in their own time and place, but two or more characters standing gravely in a mostly-Tibetan-temple taking it in turns to drop fortune-cookie truth-bombs does not cinematographic conversation make) and the other is the love interest!
            She gets to say things too, whenever Doctor Strange needs an emotional reaction beat. She also gets to sigh, and be sad, and look worried, and look determined. She even gets to tear up!!
            The very best bit was learning just how the studio rationalized turning the Very Tibetan character of the Supreme Sorcerer into a white lady:
            "Well, the character is traditionally a Tibetan male, but Tibet won't play well in China, and we didn't want to make the Supreme Sorcerer a "26-year-old leather-clad fanboy dream girl" because we wanted diversity."
            True story.
            That somebody gave decision-makers of this caliber a whole movie's worth of budget to play with tells me a lot more about the pharmaceutical industry in Los Angeles than I ever wanted to know.

The wonderful Benedict Wong was stuck as the Ur-librarian with the original humorless biblio-funk, but Chiwetel Ejiofor did his very best Royal Shakespeare, and he and Cumberbatch between them have more charisma in their little toes than a whole summer's worth of blockbusters.

            It was boom-boom, popcorn, a little snark, with action sequences so deliriously kaleidoscopic that they must have needed heavy medication to even visualize - as for story-boarding them, possibly migraines and a rest-cure.
            It was pretty.  It was fun. And the climax of the whole fun-house upside-down mirror-ride was a privileged, 1-percent white guy flying into the heart of absolute evil, and standing nose to nose with the face of scorched-earth selfishness and telling it to GO AWAY.
            He died for it, of course. And then he got up to die again. He went down over and over and over, dying in a million terrible, painful ways, and every single time he got back up - doggedly, tirelessly, willingly-
            Until he wore down even the embodiment of ego and "I want," and then Doctor Strange took back the world. All of it.
            I'm almost certainly reading too much into this, but right now it's an image I need right now. I'll take it and I'll keep it. It was a good movie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WorkPlace Health And Safety for the Win!

As seen on the streets of Providencia today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Everyone is Going to Have to Stand Up Now.

If you live in the Unites States and you're a woman, a person of color, trans-sexual, non-heterosexual, native American, a person who has suffered a sexual assault, a person with a disability or a chronic illness -
Maybe you're not a Christian.  Maybe you're not a citizen, or you are a citizen but your parents weren't citizens, or you've got a name that maybe doesn't sound like it started out in Western Europe way back when - 

Maybe you're related to or know someone like that -
This is starting to be an awfully large number of people, isn't it?

This sure is one extraordinary day.

I got nothing.  Except a song.  This is by Danette Beavers, a member of the Washoe tribe who writes and sings at The Good Elephant.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic (Recipe Not Included.)

Say you find a recipe called Roast Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. The instructions read"throw everything in a slow cooker and wait four hours," snd say that the garlic cloves turn out  really really good - particularly smeared across a fresh sliced French baguette.  And say that after you’ve dreamily chewed your way through half a loaf, your husband yelps and says "Hey! I've only had two cloves!" and you look down and discover that you've eaten the other 38.

Hypothetically speaking.

That night, you just might just find yourself sleeping by yourself on the living room sofa. For health and safety reasons. 

It's just like French onion soup. Only louder.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Memories Don't Keep You Warm Enough.

The neighborhood around the Los Leones Metro station in Providencia is full of second hand and vintage clothing shops. They bring stock down from North America and the neighborhood is  a godsend for those of us with rangy gringo builds that don't fit lines designed for the rather more petite Chilean figure.
            Right now, that's me.  I left my leather winter jacket in a taxi and I'm looking for a new one.
            There are a lot of really lovely leather jackets in Chile - but I'm tall, and broad across the shoulders, and if the jacket doesn't fit so tight across the back that I can't lift my arms, the waist doesn't drop below my bellybutton, and the zipper won't meet across my chest, and when I ask hopefully for a larger size, I'm already wearing XL and the line doesn't go any higher.
            Yesterday I went to Los Leones.  I started in a store called Vintage, just off of Calle Santa Magdalena, and deep in a rack of high-eighties leather (bat-wing sleeves, malignant shoulder pads, vented fronts, elasticated waists, studs, fringe, patchwork and brocade - and every benighted bit of it on each and every jacket) I hit the jackpot.  On my very first stop.
            You could practically hear bells ringing.  Because this was it.
            This was really it - a soft suede duster, with a flared collar, and a gentle drape to the long skirt and wide split cuffs that ran almost all the way up to my elbows.
            It was the sort of coat that Destiny's Child would have rocked if they'd dreamed that high.  My college-aged self would have given a half a point off of my GPA for a coat like this.  The Dixie Chicks would probably have thrown in a solid gold record.
            It didn't  fit me like a glove.  It fit like a memory, like a song, you know -  the one where you copied the lyrics into a notebook because they got you - got you in a way nothing else ever had before.  They laid it all out like it was, and told you who you were in a way you'd always almost known, but had never quite understood until you heard that song - 
            That's how that coat fit.
I stood in front of the mirror and admired, and I turned one way, and then I turned the other, and then I turned back the first way again  -

            and I suppose one day I will be grateful to the big burly fellow with the Harley Davidson beard who was put his hand on my shoulder and said, very gently, "No. This is not a winter coat. This is not 2003.  You are not buying that coat today."  

It could have been. It could have been 2003.  Because I have dreams.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Doors and Holes

Mr Tabubil is feeling peevish. That 8.3 earthquake last September knocked our front door out of skew. and we now have a one centimeter gap between the bottom of the door and the floor.  It's not much gap, but in cold weather it leaks heat like a broken sieve, and whenever there's a wind, the draft hits the far side of the apartment with a speed that makes one ponder more exotic aspects of physics and meteorology.  It's probably something quantum.*
            Mr Tabubil has bought a rubber weather strip to cover the gap. 
We didn't get one last winter, because most of the city was in our position, and there was a run on the hardware stores and by the time everything was back in stock, the weather was warm.
            This evening he took the door off its hinges, screwed on the brass plate of the weather strip, and spent three quarters of an hour fussing and straining and worrying and fiddling and putting a hold in his hand and hammering and crimping and bashing and pulling to get the un-skewed door back on its hinges.  Turns out a lot of things were out of skew.
            And then he closed the door - and the rubber bit of the weather strip, quite unceremoniously, peeled off.


Right now he is browsing the websites of the major hardware chains with the request to be left alone please, and, at intervals, huffing hugely.

*(Sir Pterry - respect.)

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Flat Roof of the Shed

It is still winter, and the air is still grotty, and curling up with a book and being somewhere else still feels like Very Good Idea. Back in June, I wrote about Surf Sounds - a book of poetry by the Australia poet Roger Higgins. Surf Sounds is full of somewhere-elses.  This one is a memory.

The Flat Roof of the Shed. 

As a boy he would lie on his back
spread-eagled over the corrugated iron
on the flat roof of the shed.
He would look for familiar faces in the clouds,
his second grade teacher as she tried and failed
and tried again to make him a right-hander
leaning over his shoulder to gently take the pencil
from one hand and place it in the other,
and the long unshaven face of his grandfather
who kept a high gloss on the old green chevy
and sometimes let him ride in the rumble seat.
The boy would anticipate whether the next arrow head
would drag a contrail in from the north or south
turning the sky on a clear day
into an ancients’ map of the world with places
that were just names to him around the rim
and himself in the centre.
He did not feel the metal ridges
under his shoulder blades and buttocks
and easily filled in those aimless hours
between school and the family dinner
climbing down at the last minute to do his chores
chopping and bringing in wood for the combustion stove
or picking fresh corn and carrots from the garden.

Surf Sounds: Poems by Roger Higgins

Roger Higgins' poetry is both day by day and exotic. The poet washes his socks and jocks when he showers. He prefers description, narrative and irony to self-dramatization; there’s a lot more to Surf Sounds than ocean, beach and desert.
~ Graham Rowlands, Poet

Surf Sounds can be purchased through Liquid light Press , amazon, and Lulu.

Roger Higgins has been published in various magazines and journals.  He is an Australian who has traveled widely and lived in (alphabetically) Canada, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, and the USA.  Roger is an engineer by vocation, and has utilized his pen rather more than his camera on many of his travels, bringing together his physical and emotional responses to the environments and situations which he has encountered.  First collection Hieroglyphs, Friendly Street Poets 2008. Most recent collection Surf Sounds, Liquid Light Press 2014.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


It is cold tonight!  The air is cold and damp and I'm puffing it out in clouds. I'm rugged up - coat, scarf, gloves and a big pink wool beret.
            And as I headed out, a family walked in the door.  A small girl gasped.
            "Look!" she crowed, pointing at my beret.  "A pirate!"
            Her face had gone white and eyes were as large as stars.  Every storybook she owned had just come to life in the middle of mundane everyday-world Santiago.
            I grinned and said "That's right." and came very close to screwing up my face and growling "Argh."
            But I didn't.  I settled for a pirate grin, and walked out, feeling rambunctious and yo-ho-ho-y.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Copa América: Chile vs Argentina!

Tonight is the Final Match in the Copa América, and it's Chile  - vs Argentina!

We're the defending champions.  Last year we beat Argentina, so this year, there's honor on the line - on both sides. 

            The streets went through a mad rush of unseasonable traffic a little while ago (traffic jams on Sunday night of a long weekend?  Did the festival of Peter and Paul agreeably accommodate itself to a night when the whole country wants to sleep in on Monday morning?) as people rushed home to their televisions, but now the streets are so empty you could walk down El Bosque with your eyes closed from Apoquindo to Eliodoro Yanez and not meet so much as a shadow.
            It's so silent out there.
            So still.
            You can hear a pin drop -
            Until a Chilean grabs the ball and the cheering rises up - and the hooting and shouting and barracking and the choirs of men singing footy songs and the children who've been unwisely given vuvezulas stick them out of windows and set off the neighborhood dogs -  and we're only 15 minutes in to the first quarter.
            We're settling in for an amazing night.

Update:  Chi-Chi-Chi!  Le-Le-Le!  (We won.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Surf Sounds

Today the air tastes sour and smells like burning rubber.  We are on the fifth straight day of pre-emergencia, where the government tries to keep cars off the road to give the city a chance to breathe.  There's a rumor of mountains out on the horizon, but I'm taking it on faith because I'm straining to see the buildings four blocks over. It's winter in Santiago. On days like this, all I want is to curl up in bed with a good book that will take me somewhere else.
            Summer is my favorite.  Summer with a beach.

This post is about a very good book: Surf Sounds - a new volume of poetry by the Australian Poet Roger Higgins.

            Roger knows beaches.  Australia is  coastal country and summers are mostly spent by the ocean, squinting into the sun on the water and learning how to walk. You don't walk fast, or slow. It's a proceeding sort of pace - one you can keep up for hours, or the end of the beach, and in Queensland, where Roger was born, you will generally run out of day before you run out of sand. He has learned how to walk and he has mastered when to stop - for a good shell, or a jellyfish,  a crab or a cloud, a sunset, or a place where the tide is running out and braided channels form to carry the beach with it out to sea. Channels need to be dammed and new ones dug out with your foot.  You have to stay and watch the patterns change, the way the different sands settle out, dark over white, grain by grain, making little sandbars, marking little currents -
            It is good to have another person walking with you, to teach about tides and little rivers.  Alone, though, is better.  Alone, you don't have to talk to anyone.  You walk, and watch and you stop, and you think. Your stories are all your own.

Roger's first poem, Travels through Time and Place, was written in a Moscow hotel room - which admittedly is not a beach, but he has walked a lot of beaches since, traveling from one place to another place. Along the way he has done a lot of writing - on restaurant napkins and torn of sections of paper tablecloths, the back of airline boarding cards - even credit card slips, when he has needed to.

            It's amazing what you can find in your pockets, in a pinch.
            Roger writes about the places where he lives: Canada, Australia, and Chile, from the Atacama Desert in the north all the way through the Isla de Pascua down to Patagonia and Lago Grey. He writes about the places he passes through: Kazakhstan, the Cook Islands, the Congo, Mexico -
            A walking beach, Roger reckons, is a state of mind - you find it in long roads, long nights, long showers and the long flat roofs of sheds.
            "I write," he says "about the places that I love or have hurt me.  Places where words lead into emotions and points of view I'd never anticipated that they'd hold."
            Kitchens, late night bars, horse paddocks, bare desert mountains,  long roads, long nights, long showers and the long flat roofs of sheds.

            Little rivers that shift and reform beneath the weight of a toe -

            The drag of waves of your feet as you stand ankle deep in a rising tide-

            Waves that wipe the pattern clear and write it fresh - 

Surf Sounds: Poems by Roger Higgins

Roger Higgins' poetry is both day by day and exotic. The poet washes his socks and jocks when he showers. He prefers description, narrative and irony to self-dramatization; there’s a lot more to Surf Sounds than ocean, beach and desert.
~ Graham Rowlands, Poet

Surf Sounds can be purchased through Liquid light Press , amazon, and Lulu.

Roger Higgins has been published in various magazines and journals.  He is an Australian who has traveled widely and lived in (alphabetically) Canada, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, and the USA.  Roger is an engineer by vocation, and has utilized his pen rather more than his camera on many of his travels, bringing together his physical and emotional responses to the environments and situations which he has encountered.  First collection Hieroglyphs, Friendly Street Poets 2008. Most recent collection Surf Sounds, Liquid Light Press 2014.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dogs in the Dark

Last night, being a crisp, cold, clear sort of night, I walked down to the park.  Wrapped in an aura of twilight and church bells ringing the local faithful to evening service, I wandered all the way down to the slides and swings, and was standing happily under a lamp post when two small dogs came boiling out of the dark. Their teeth were pinned back over their lower lips and in a torrent of snarling and snapping and loud whuffs, they were aiming directly for my shins.

            I shouted "NO!" in my biggest baddest "bad dog" voice, and to my extreme surprise, they actually stopped. The schnauzer subsided a lunge-length from my knee and with a filthy look, commenced to growling:
            "Boy oh BOY," it said.  "Boy oh BOY.  If you ever let me to get my hands on you, I'll, well I'll -" and it flung me a look of such furious passion that it brought him to its feet in another howling hail of barks. "Get you get you get you get you" - and the dachshund joined in  - "Yowowowowow!"
            From the darkness outside the cone of light came a voice.  "It's your hat."  The voice said.  "They don't like hats."
            Me and my winter hat stepped forward into the dark.  A man stood in front of me. He was wearing a hat himself: a woolly beanie pulled right down over his ears.  A cigarette flared.  A woman sat with her feet up on a park bench, nodding her head.  
            "They don't like hats."  She had one of her own as well - a wrap of elderly fur.  Behind them, another young woman - hatless - wrestled with something enormous - possibly a wolfhound - on a leash.  It leaped in silence, but the silence was pregnant with menace.  The little dogs boiled around my feet, yapping shrilly, telling me they wanted blood, - or at least a bit of skin from my knees -  and an enormous German shepherd looked up at me with liquid brown eyes and pressed her nose against my hip pocket.
             "Shut up, dogs." The man said casually. He aimed a kick at the dachshund and they subsided abruptly into silence.
            "That's Sofia" he said, pointing at the shepherd.  "She's a good dog." 
             Sofia sighed and looked up at me, and her tail thumped, once. I reached down and scratched her ears.  "GOOD Dog, Sofia."  I said. "GOOD dog."  
            She sighed again, and lowering her chin into my hand, sat down at my feet.  She was clearly ready to sit there forever, to settle in there with me for the night.
            Behind her, the little Schnauzer cocked its head.  He looked at Sofia, and he looked at me; you could practically see the little cogwheels working inside his little skull. Perhaps a different approach was in order?  With a short, conciliatory "gruff!" he trotted over and sniffed my trouser leg. 
            "Nothing doing, kiddo."  I said.  "After the way you carried on?"
            I bent and scrubbed at Sofia's soft neck, by way of illustrating what he'd missed.  Sofia got in on the game with gusto - twisted half on her side, she was leaning heavily against my legs and  banging out a tatoo on my thigh with her long brown tail.
           The schnauzer gave her a disgusted look and turned her back.  I stuck out my tongue.  Behind her, the dachshund made a spluttering sound.  The young lady with the wolfhound had clipped a leash onto its collar.  With one furious bark it leaped for the wolfhound, aiming for its belly.  The wolfhound yelled in shock and bit its own leash, and the schnauzer, yapping joyfully, leaped into the fray.  The wolfhound tried to eat its leash, the dachshund tried to eat the wolfhound, and the schnauzer was getting in a few good bites anywhere it could.  The man in the beanie was in the middle of the fray, bellowing and flailing.  The young lady tried very hard to go in several directions at once, and on the bench, the lady in the fur turban contemplatively extinguished her cigarette.  Fur was flying, sand was flying, and in the middle of the scrum, Sofia got up and lay down on the man's feet and rolled herself around on her back, tugging his trouser legs and begging for a cuddle.
            Very quietly, I tiptoed away.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Peak Chocolate

My parents are visiting us here in Santiago.  Today today we reached peak chocolate.  The two are not unconnected.
            The Chilean Easter bunny over-calculated how much chocolate four people could eat. The Australian Easter bunny wasn't interested in how much four people could eat - she knew how much chocolate she wanted to bring, and that was took up most of a suitcase.  A friend gave us a reasonably large chocolate chicken that turned out to be brooding a reasonably large clutch of chocolate eggs, and what with one thing or another (and most of a chicken) I am not feeling entirely my best.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Finding the Light

Today a friend of mine is having surgery.  She has cervical cancer.  It was treated, it went away and at the end of last year it came back. Today she will undergo a rather radical procedure - quite a lot of her insides will be removed.
            It is difficult for her and for her family. She has a husband and two beautiful children - a boy proud of his missing front teeth, and a girl with an urchin grin and the largest curls a small child can reasonably carry on her head.
            It is difficult, and she finds consolation in what she phrases as "finding the light" - the light of a dinner with friends, a helicopter trip over Niagara, a son in second grade and a daughter old enough to imitate grownups and be useful - even if that useful is scrubbing down the bathroom when she can't reach the taps on the sink. The water in the toilet solves that problem, and the hysterical laughter that goes along with a hasty shower for a kid and a Clorox scrub for all bathroom surfaces under 4 feet high is about as much light as a human body can stand.

Today she reckons she can use all the light she can get.
            I find my lights in the endlessly variable dimensions of human imagination. Like your daughter, my friend, we dream, and when we have dreamed - then, we simply can't help ourselves. We make it. We tinker and fix and because we did this one thing, we make the dreams bigger and bigger until - to take an example that is not mine - "we find ourselves playing complicated instruments while marching in complicated patterns in lockstep with half a hundred other humans, all of us wearing funny hats" and the result of what is, considered soberly, a rather odd collaboration, sets a million watchers on fire, screaming for joy.
            Sometimes those million people, building and tinkering, iteration by iteration, adjusting and learning and loving, find themselves coming together in a different sort of dance - their million labors condensed into a dozen people with dozen complicated tools each, dressed in masks and silly gowns, moving in unison beneath a circle of bright surgical lights and making life.
            And it is exhilarating. For this to happen, someone dreamed.

You got this, my friend.  You're gonna come out flying.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Among Friends.

Daniela and Mike have a deep-pile shag rug on their living room floor.
            I was sitting on the rug.
            My earring fell off.
            My big, bright, sparkly, knuckle-dusting Christmas Eve earring - as hard to miss as a Christmas cracker.
            We found two almonds, three crackers, half a walnut and a raisin before we found that earring.
            Mike reckoned that if we expanded the search beyond the immediate area where I was sitting, we might have enough to serve up to his sister's new boyfriend when he came for Christmas day lunch.
            Mike is a composer and a singer. A very good singer. The boyfriend came into money five years ago, bought a guitar and collected a band of like-minded two-chord enthusiasts. As he layered raisins and cracker crumbs on a plate, Mike played us a recording of the boyfriend's latest, and it was a very special recording - like the last Karaoke song of the night before the bar closes and the microphone is pried away from the leftover lush.  We felt for him, and suggested a vacuum cleaner with a stocking tied over the hose. To dig up the good stuff.