Sunday, February 27, 2005

here is one list for young Atticus:

Across the Universe The Beatles
Longer Boats Cat Stevens
Into the Mystic Van Morrison (though I love Valerie Carter?s version)
Wayfaring Stranger by anybody, but listen to Johnny Cash doing it
Spoon River recorded by Steve Goodman
Love Affair with Everyday Livin The Woodentops
Everybody Hurts R.E.M
She Breaks for Rainbows B 52?s
Time of the Season The Zombies
It?s Not What You?ve Got, It?s How You Use It Carrie Lucas
Stars are in Your Eyes Guild of Temporal Adventurers (Kendra Smith)

with love, from Shari

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Radio Free Nepal

A reminder that the world keeps on moving when we all go to sleep. I began this early Saturday morning exploring the amazing number of blogs in existence. I came across Japanese girls who yearn for the days of metal, Singapore men who detail their dating misadventures, right wing blogging that calls all democrats terrorists. It is amazing what's out there.

This is all connected to talking with my sister last night. She is in Boston working on her thesis and I miss her but talking to her is like opening doors into other worlds. So Seema, thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Had my EEG this morning at 7:30. The EEG man gave me some meds to knock me out and when it was done after an hour I was pretty woozy. He was right in saying that I would feel drunk. God bless Lisa Slodki for being there and waiting for me and being patient with me in my state.

Me and Irene (Irene and I) went to see Gabrielle do her Black History Month speech in persona yesterday. I have mixed feelings about the whole set up: kids doing speeches in persona as a famous African American. Most of the kids plagiarized straight from the book while with others you could tell that their parents wrote it. There is a point when the education stops being the learning and starts being kitschy one act plays for the bemusement of the parents. That being said, it was completely intriguing to watch these fourth graders. Do you all remember your fourth grade classrooms? The shy ones, the outgoing ones, the class clowns, the nice ones, the bullies. They were all there. I tried hard not to be an adult, the kind the Little Prince would have furrowed his brow at, and see them in the future and instead just watch and treat them like they were their age. Let them be kids and treat them with respect.

That being said, my favorite, besides Gabrielle, was the first kid who did Mr. T and said, "You can watch my show every week on channel 26" and ended with, "And his famous line was I PITY THE FOOL."

The shirt is courtesy of Deana Dorfield and Nate Van Allen Posted by Hello

Gabrielle as Harriet Tubman Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I make my own chai every morning. Been doing it for years. My own recipe. In this pot which is my most prized possession. It belonged to my grandfather. My lovely sister rocks the chai too, and she is my best tea critic. Posted by Hello

you can see my grandfather's name etched in the side: B.V.Patel Posted by Hello

mom and half sleeping baby Posted by Hello

mom and sleeping baby Posted by Hello

I have to take a lighter tone today amidst it all.

Mike C asks that everyone check this movie out.

Also, I am posting more pictures.

And if you haven't already checked it out you should visit gigposters where my friend Doug has his art on display. Amazing work.

Mikey says
03-20 Chicago, IL - Museum of Contemporary Arts (performance)
03-21 Chicago, IL - Columbia College (symposium)
De La Soul

and for those of you concerned about the upcoming brown line closings, they are holding a town meeting at Lane Tech on Western, Wednesday March 2. My assemblyman, John J Cullerton sends me emails (well at least someone is his office does). Here is what he sent...

The 94th General Assembly has just gotten started and I would like to update you on a few important pieces of legislation that I have introduced. However, first I would like to encourage you to attend the upcoming brown line meeting. Both CTA Director Kruesi and CTA Chairman Brown will be in attendance and I urge you to come and express your thoughts on the Brown Line closures. Sadly, the General Assembly is in session that day or I would attend the meeting personally, as I have many others. A member of my staff will be there as my representative.

Wednesday, March 2nd at

Lane Tech High School Auditorium

2501 West Addison (at Western)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Went to get yet another MRI today, this one with contrast meaning they injected me with dye to contrast against the non-dye scans. They found a cyst on my brain, an arachnoid cyst which is fluid filled. The debate isn't over whether it is malignant or benign (they assure me it's the latter), it is whether, because of the size, about 6 cm, it needs to be removed. I must admit that having someone tinker with my head scares me to a great degree.

Brain Scan Posted by Hello

Sissy said this looks like Homer Simpson Posted by Hello

It has been a long week so far. There is so much to say yet I have no idea how to say it without getting lost in the words and becoming completely tangential and emotional.

My friend's father recently passed away and she has been in my thoughts daily. I haven't the strength to see her but I will make that journey soon. Last night I found out that one of my old students, actually one of my first students when I began teaching up here, died in Iraq on Monday. There are so many emotions going through my head and I won't be disrespectful by talking about him in this public space but I will say that his light and love touched everyone. This tiny tiny boy, who loved crazy death metal and such and horror movies, had so much light in him that gang kids, hip hoppers, country music boys, school administrators, they all had respect for him and always acknowledged him verbally. If you can see that, if that can help you understand what kind of boy he was then you will understand what kind of man he became. I taught him for almost three years and kept up with him after he left my classroom and I have to say he taught me just as much as I tried to teach him. When I think of him I think of fathers and sons and their relationships and my own father. We had many talks about that. I think he opened up his father's heart in a way that no one else could. I cried yesterday and went home and held my own son. Whatever your thoughts on the war are I hope you will understand that it's boys and girls and young men and young women out there and whether the war is right or wrong they are doing their jobs we love them for it. I say this not in the I'm proud to be an American way but rather in the human way.

I love teaching. I really do. I had to leave it for awhile but when I was there I did good and I did touch a few lives. It's a hard thing. I used to tell my friend Lisa that it's like being in a cave. A student comes in and they are scared and angry and stubborn and eager and they give a shit and they don't. You don't take them by the hand but you ask them which way they want to go and then you grab a torch and you light their way. Every now and then you give them some advice, watch out for that hole or this part of the journey is rough, you'll need better shoes or close your eyes and listen, you'll figure out where you want to go. You walk with them, lighting the path and eventually you come to a place where you have to say goodbye to them and they get scared and look at you and say they can't do it, how are they going to see?? Where are they going to get light? And you look at them and show them their own torch and tell them you lit it for them a long time ago and they have been lighting their own path for quite awhile. Good luck. You know where I am if you want to come back and visit but it's your time to go see what's out there.

All my love John,

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This Friday at 7:15 am.....



Brain wave monitor
Brain wave monitor

Alternative names

Electroencephalogram; Brain wave test


An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test to detect abnormalities in the electrical activity of the brain.

How the test is performed

Brain cells communicate by producing tiny electrical impulses. In an EEG, electrodes are placed on the scalp over multiple areas of the brain to detect and record patterns of electrical activity and check for abnormalities.

The test is performed by an EEG technician in a specially designed room that may be in your health care provider's office or at a hospital. You will be asked to lie on your back on a table or in a reclining chair.

The technician will apply between 16 and 25 flat metal discs (electrodes) in different positions on your scalp. The discs are held in place with a sticky paste. The electrodes are connected by wires to an amplifier and a recording machine.

The recording machine converts the electrical signals into a series of wavy lines that are drawn onto a moving piece of graph paper. You will need to lie still with your eyes closed because any movement can alter the results.

You may be asked to do certain things during the recording, such as breathe deeply and rapidly for several minutes or look at a bright flickering light.

How to prepare for the test

You will need to wash your hair the night before the test. Do not use any oils, sprays, or conditioner on your hair before this test.

Your health care provider may want you to discontinue some medications before the test. Do not change or stop medications without first consulting your health care provider.

You should avoid all foods containing caffeine for 8 hours before the test.

Sometimes it is necessary to sleep during the test, so you may be asked to reduce your sleep time the night before.

Friday, February 18, 2005

A collection of intense comics

Very intense

The comments button now works on this site.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tonight seems slower than usual. Unusually fast paced before now it eases on ahead at a snail's pace. The minutes may move forward but my head stands still.

I'm sorry. That all sounds so very cryptic. My head is in a million places. I am thinking of my friend and of the world around us and as cheesy as that sounds that's exactly what I am thinking. The walls of our apartment disappear and I sit wide open trying to organize each falling thought in some hindu zen whatever kind of order. I am finally realizing something important. Maybe I just ate too much and am getting sleepy. Atticus and mom and Gabrielle are out visiting. I am home alone.

Health update: they found a cyst on the right lobe of my brian measuring about 6 cm by 3 cm by 2 cm, The neurologist assures me that it is normal, I may have even been born with it. That leaves only the cardiologist's results, though the neurologist did order another MRI just to make sure.

Miss Megan Douglas has sent in her playlist. A nice fat one too, props to her for including a song off of Lagaan. What a wonderful surprise. Have any of you all seen it? Irene showed it tp Gabrielle a few years ago and it is gabrielle's favorite Indian movie.

I wonder if you all have heard Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Hai from the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack. Very old track. My dad translates it to "The weather is unfaithful, not favorable. But if someone does something and is unlucky they can use it as a phrase, like The Weather is unfavorable." It's by Mohammed Rafi. It's the song that I had in my head when I imagined Atticus before he was born. That along with this song from the eighties Indian movie Hero with Jackie Shroff are my favorite Indian songs.

Anyway, here are Megan's words:

Ok, time to stop trying to get it perfect... In no particular order (and yes, 24 is the new 10)
Teardrop - Massive Attack
Fade into You - Mazzy Star
The Cool, Cool River - Paul Simon (off 1964-1993)
Let it Be - The Beatles
Te Deum - Arvo Part
Valentine Heart - Tanita Tikaram
Angels Song - Bodhi Busick
Cello Song - Nick Drake
Amazing Grace - Ani Difranco (off Living in Clip)
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
O Pallanhaare - Lata Mangeshkar & Udit Narayan on the Lagaan Soundtrack
The Wind - Cat Stevens
Twinkle Little Star - The Read Letter
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack
The Cross - Prince
As - Stevie Wonder
More Than This - Roxy Music
Promenade - U2
In This Heart - Sinead O'Connor
The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In) - Hair
Dancing to the Rhythm - Stevie Wonder (off Natural Wonder)
Starfish and Coffee - Prince
Life is Good - Los Lobos
May This Be Love - Emmylou Harris
Wow, this is really mellow (for the most part). Hopefully I will perk up as he gets older.
Enjoy Atticus!

bath Posted by Hello

Being born in Tanzania and having a household that was as full of African lore and Swahili as it was full of Indian lore and Gujarati and Hindi, I have carried a lot of traditions and epitaphs with me.

The Africans say that a human being dies two deaths. The first is when his physical body dies and the second is when the last person who remembers him dies.

To my friend, all my love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An important lesson

The Donaldson:

Sorry it took so long, but here's my list of music for new ears, in no
real order.


01. Hey Jude -- The Beatles
02. The Girl from Ipanema -- Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, w. Astrud Gilberto
03. Ripple -- The Grateful Dead
04. Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness -- Elvis Costello
05. Message to You Rudy -- The Specials
06. Trouble -- Coldplay
07. Good To Be On the Road Back Home -- Cornershop
08. Innocent When You Dream (78) -- Tom Waits
09. Arlington Girl -- Shivaree
10. What is the Light? -- The Flaming Lips


Atticus Songs

Sit Down – James
Kooks – David Bowie
I Don’t Wanna Grow Up – Tom Waits
Satellite Of Love – Lou Reed
Olsen Olsen – Sigur Ros
As Long As The Grass Shall Grow – Johnny Cash And June Carter
Oh Yoko – John Lennon
Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again – Bob Dylan
Mercy Mercy Me – Marvin Gaye
Give Up The Funk – Parliament
Isobel – Bjork
Say No Go – De La Soul
Animal Farm – The Kinks
Honey Don’t Think - Grant Lee Buffalo


geneva - the god of sleep
autour de lucie - guiding hands
autour de lucie - island
gene - we'll find our own way
jeff buckley - hallelujah
magnetic fields - nothing matters when we're dancing
massive attack - teardrop
mc almont and butler - falling
the postal service - such great heights
james brown - i feel good


so many other songs got the cut for various reasons...honorable mentions include - suede - saturday night, marvin gaye- whats going on , suede - simon, gene - somewher in the world , acdc - dirty deeds done dirt cheap :P


Rock on, Atticus. Always remember: The Wheel in the Sky keeps on turnin'...
Love, The Other Redhead.

The Band - The Weight
Aretha Franklin - The Weight
Black Sabbath - War Pigs
Roy Buchanan - The Messiah Will Come Again (for the guitar, if nothing else)
Howlin' Wolf - Highway 49
Angel Eyes - Emmylou Harris/Willie Nelson
Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Last Caress - Misfits (not until later in life)
Me & Bobby Mcgee - Kris Kristofferson
Always on my Mind - Willie Nelson
On the Road Again - Willie Nelson
Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys - Willie Nelson
Burn One Down - Ben Harper
Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Happy Song - Otis Redding
Ms. Jackson - Outkast
Karma Police - Radiohead
Midnight Rider - Allman Bros.
Ain't Wastin' No More Time - Allman Bros.
Zion - Lauryn Hill
Up on Cripple Creek - The Band
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band
Wildflowers - Tom Petty
Wheel in the Sky - Journey
Seven Spanish Angels - Ray Charles/Willie Nelson

Monday, February 14, 2005

When I first left school, college, I, like most people was in a bit of a shock. I really missed the sense of community around me not to mention having access to all the equipment. I was at a loss what to do, how to keep making art.

My soon-to-be friend and artist Wendy Jacob told me about a project she did when she first got out of school. For a whole year she drew a picture of an egg. Everyday until the year was up. Everyday a new egg. You might raise your eyebrows at this but to me it was an epiphany and I knew in her very minimalist and subtle way Wendy was sharing something with me not as a linear teaching lesson but more like opening a window to let some air and light in.

Two of the bigger things that I was doing at that moment was trying to reconnect with my sister whom I left at home when I went away and watching a then rather unknown program called Inside the Actor's Studio. Back then James Lipton's end of the show questionnaire was actually longer, containing more questions. So I put the two together, I really can't recall what was going through my head, and used the questionnaire with more added questions and started an interview process.

The questions were very polarized: what is your favorite word? what is your least favorite word? what is your favorite smell? etc.... So I took a tape recorder and went to everyone, people I knew, people I'd see on the street, in cafes and ask to interview them. Obviously I scared a few people but I got a lot of takers and I always began the interview telling them that they could come back and interview me anytime they wanted, with the same questions or ones of their own.

I really learned a lot about listening during the process and the questions often melted into the background, providing a loose backbone for a conversation. There were joyous and beautiful moments and some very sad ones. I was surprised at how many people just opened up. I went to apartments, places of work, offices, school rooms-so many different spaces. I learned how the cadence of my voice and my sitting position could alter and bring out the conversations. I must have interviewed more than two hundred people and it became this monster of a thing, cassette tapes everywhere and then it occurred to me that I wanted to give all these tapes to my sister. I had my reasons, many of them having to do with wanting to give her something meaningful, to give her this beautiful thing that would be an opening into the world. I interviewed everyone, covering a spectrum of ages, professions, etc....

I mention all this because asking people to donate their playlists has sparked a lot of discussion and words about the meaning behind it so I figured I might as well fess up. I had ulterior motives for asking people. I won't know what Atticus will choose. My friend Mike told me

he will find everything he needs in due time and the worst thing is
waiting. why give him 'this' or 'that' now? he will find it when he
needs it. i think of my summer of paul simon. when i found the
pillows. janis joplin. bob marley. when you first played morphine on
my stereo in watterson. i can taste those times that they came unto
me still. and the rediscovery is there again and again.

And he is right. He will. Often the voices of the child are far different from what the parents think or want. I am eager to see and watch what he takes to, what he desires and craves and creates. In no way do I wish to overtly influence that. What I really want to give him is a sense of who I am and who the people around me are. I can't really explain it. I want to give him a time capsule of his early days, of what was going on, where we lived and who weaved in and out of his life. Who my friends are and, odd and cheesy as it sounds, what they listened to. Will my heart be broken if he looks at me and says, "God dad, I really hate Stevie Wonder's voice." Well, yeah, of course I would but I would rather him grow old and hold these song lists in his hand and ponder them, maybe say to me one day, "You know, Uncle Arturo really likes Morrissey." And I would say, "Oh kid, you have no idea."

I would hope that after all the zeitgest of his teenage years, he can come back and be able to look at us and see us with headphones on, doing crazy and stupid and funny and sad things. That he will be able to look at us, well me, as a human being who sings along badly to hip hop and knows all the words to Barry Manilow's Mandy. He may or may not. Whatever his journey is, I am going to give this stuff the way other people give their kids Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls. I mean, he can still play with all that, Trucks OR Barbies, ahem. Oh I don't know.

I rambled on yet again.

Oh, and a lot of people really did come back and interview me. And they have those tapes somewhere with them....

Megan D wrote me this

So I am sitting here, thinking about this playlist long and hard because although Atticus doesnt have the language for it, he already knows Music. We inherit that knowledge genetically. Sitting in the womb he knew music as a heartbeat, hearing your voice from outside, the sound the fluid around him made. So my line of thought is something like this: at this stage in his life what message/communication/conversation do you want him present to/aware of.

I guess my answer is that I want him to hear everything.

So the playlists are coming in, thanks to everyone who's taken the time to do them. I'll start posting them on Tuesday.

I've posted pictures as promised. Enjoy.

In the middle of shaving this morning, I heard the baby cry, washed my face and went to check on him. Unfortunately I forgot to finish so now I am at work and I have a half shaven face. Very embarrassing. I will not post pictures of that.

Latest painting. Not sure if I like it. Irene likes it. I think it's too....sloppy? Who knows.... Posted by Hello

My current project Posted by Hello

Punk rocker Posted by Hello

Stella Posted by Hello

Domestic bliss Posted by Hello

The Chihuahua, Matilda aka the Flirt Posted by Hello

Gabrielle at her birthday party this past December Posted by Hello

The Basset Hound, Stella aka Godzilla Posted by Hello

The Siamese, Sariah aka the Queen Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Yet again it's Sunday morning, my favorite time of the week. Before Atticus came I would wake up around six and begin the day writing or painting. Now I'm lucky if I wake up at all. We've settled into a schedule, up at midnite and at 4 am. Irene feeds him and I change the diaper and rock him to sleep. I wonder what he thinks and sees. Sometimes when he looks at me with his eyebrows all scrunched up he has that who the hell are you look. I like that. He'll probably have that same look later on in life and the words to accompany it.

Yesterday Irene and I saw a stunning movie called Afterlife by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Here is the plot summary from imdb

Plot Summary for
Wandafuru raifu (1998)

After people die, they spend a week with counselors, also dead, who help them pick one memory, the only memory they can take to eternity. They describe the memory to the staff who work with a crew to film it and screen it at week's end; eternity follows. 22 dead arrive that week, assigned to three counselors and a trainee. One old man cannot find a memory, so he watches videotape of his life. Others pick their memory quickly, and the film crew gets right to work. The trainee, 18-year-old Shiori, helps a teenage girl choose a memory other than Disneyland. The youthful staff have a secret and feelings, too, which play out, especially Shiori's affection for her mentor, Mochizuki

I don't even know if that captures the feel and beauty of the movie. One of the many questions it asks is What one memory would you take with you in the afterlife? The movie moves at a snail's pace, comfortable in its own unfolding. It is what my friend Lisa would call a quintessential Hilesh movie.

Right now I am watching Stella struggle to get up onto a chair. Once actually up there she walks in a circle for a minute adjusting herself then slumps down for sleep. If Sariah, the siamese cat, happens to walk by...then the spell is broken and a chase ensues and all hell breaks loose. Have you all met everyone in our family? I'll post pictures of the crew so you can get a better sense of our animal kingdom.

I'll also post pictures of the latest painting and a little project I am working on for Atticus. I cut up my very old Sex Pistols t-shirt and am sewing one of the images onto a tiny hoodie. I am using this nice deep red embroidery thread around the edges. Hopefully it'll turn out ok. I'll post the in progress pic.

Friday, February 11, 2005

hilesh's brain side view Posted by Hello

hilesh's brain overhead Posted by Hello

Just to clear it up

This is what I posted earlier

"During the day when I am at home I play as much music as possible. That has always been an everyday occurrence but I am more into now to gauge Atticus' response and see what he likes. So......I am asking everyone (all you seven people-hi megan) out there to come up with a playlist of what you think an essential mix for the little one should be. What is the ideal music to introduce to a new soul? Well......whattya got?"

So send me your song lists, top tens.....


Let's make it a ten-song list...

Last night Irene and I joined Jon, Lisa, Sargon and Angie at our favorite Vietnamese/Laotion restaurant in the city, Nhu Hoa on Argyle. There are two gold lions in front and if you remember to ask to sit in the back (the smoking section, not that I smoke but anyway...) you can watch videos on the big screen TV. It's a little like watching a high class talent show. It's great. We brought little Atticus on his first official outing and he slept through most of it.

Since I have been going to this place for years I have watched this certain little boy, who is the son of one of the employees, grow. I know his name is Rashan (spelling??) and I know he has down's syndrome and he is one of the fastest, sweetest and most mischievous kids I have ever met. He kept folding Atticus' blanket and putting it on him and shushing everyone to keep quiet. Then he ate his food behind us just to be close, you know what I mean? He kept coming back over and over again, giving everyone candy, pickpocketing my checkbook from my back pocket. In the end, a truly lovely evening.

I cut up my old Sex Pistols t-shirt yesterday afternoon and am sewing patches of it onto various clothes for Atticus. Right now I have a mini hoodie with a faded Johnny Rotten half sewed on the back. I'll post a finished picture soon.

During the day when I am at home I play as much music as possible. That has always been an everyday occurrence but I am more into now to gauge Atticus' response and see what he likes. So......I am asking everyone (all you seven people-hi megan) out there to come up with a playlist of what you think an essential mix for the little one should be. What is the ideal music to introduce to a new soul? Well......whattya got?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I have three more poems. Somehow they are not quite as good as the ones I worked on last month. I think I am trying to hard to force the issue, force the words. They don't ring true? Maybe. Anyway.

Like a candle

I have this quiet inside me that nests in between

my muscles and metastasizes – finding every corner,

ligament, merry go round joint and blows it out

like a candle

I collapse, flutter like a broken bird on the ground

I cannot see your tiny hands that can hold my life

still – better than a bookmark. The days tiptoe past

me not looking

pulling their hoodies tighter, averting their eyes – maybe

they are afraid to become involved. Maybe it will

violate the rules of time. I flutter on the ground

trying to re-imagine

you after birth. Before I only had sparks from your mother

Now I must sew eyes and mouth and hair into a postcard

that I can carry with me when the quiet moves to the lowest

levels of cells

This is the gift of cancer: A shy lover who comes into your house

whose memories become shared. Who, after years of living

together, has the ability to watch you on the ground with an

eye of disinterest.

Parent Night

Clouds on the principal’s head, scrub brush on the teacher’s.

The parents come in with their parent masks on and begin

the Halloween ball: empty sockets and fruit punch my dad

wearing a three piece suit and my mom not wearing a sari,

thank god. Some of the parents pass around instamatic pictures

of divorce, I imagine my mom flirting with the principal

and wonder how life would be different. My dad moves to the

back, uncomfortable and bowing to everyone with a smile.

The other parents play memory and fondle stale cookies

and Maurice the classroom turtle moves in real time across

the floor. My teacher, Mrs. Dietrich, eyes my parents like

spice on a rack. Mentally she commands a notebook and pen.

She lists, alphabetically, impressions: awkward silence,

broken English, words hanging in the air like mobiles:

dyed hair, incense stick smell, k mart shoes, and They didn’t

respond to the story of my friend who went to India last summer.

The Hairdesser

She asked me things I didn’t expect:
I need an orange right now or I’ll die
Can I touch your face when I want to?

When I first met her I asked for a haircut

she cut my ear instead

Later I asked for her hand in marriage

she gave me a child instead

I love her like the water loves the moon

In the evenings I sneak into the hair salon

smelling the process of water and chemical

I see her erect behind a chair


The client:

eyes agape,

lost hair on the floor

Our child:

seduced as if by flame

wanting the introduction of blades

and the comfort of her hand on his head.

So it seems the chemotherapy may end after all. They seem to have found a cyst in my brain but are assuring me that it is benign. I have an MRI scheduled on Friday to shed more light on the matter.

Has anyone seen Hannah and her Sisters? It's my favorite Woody Allen film, also one of my favorite films ever. Sometimes I feel like Mickey from that film. Nowadays especially. Maybe all we need to do is watch some Marx Brothers and the world's woes will melt away. I am a casual socialist after all.

Monday, February 07, 2005

from Ms. Megan Douglas in regards to my earlier post about pretty in pink.....

there are also those of us who never stopped screaming at having seen Mollys dress. Really, all that build up for that peice of crap? I couldnt even get to being mad about not picking Ducky. The DRESS! What a train wreck, even then.

See, the dress threw some of us gals into this tailspin of, wow, I think thats hideous. But shouldnt it be cool? This is her defining moment, and this is the dress? I must be even less cool than I thought because I see nothing in this. What kind of hero picks Andrew and wears that dress?

My world doesnt match up with that one.

It seems a sad day today. I'm not sure if it's the weather or maybe I am just tired. I am tired of the chemo and its complications. Now they tell me there may be something wrong with my heart. I am considering quitting the treatment, partly because it is wearing on me mentally and mostly because the physical side effects are starting to compound. My skin is breaking out in lesions and me teeth are start to, well, rot away. The chemo wears down the immune system so other ailments can surface without obstacles. I have finished three months and have three months to go. I think I will talk to my doctors and see if they can stifle the side effects. If they can't be stifled, if the side effects overtake the benefits of the treatment then they will have to stop it, according to the doctors. Which I can't say doesn't make me happy. If that does occur then I will seek alternative therapy. I'm going to talk to someone this evening about learning more about holistic treatments. As of now I'm in good shape as far as the tumor returning. They caught all of it, as big as it was and are putting my chances of survival at 80%. The chemo elevates that percentage to 87%. So strange to look at life in parts of a hundred.

Friday, February 04, 2005

So does everyone know Mikey Peterson, lead singer of The Read Letter, my friend and editor? He does this thing, he sends me songs from unlikely people, people we are supposed to hate and be too cool for, be above because we really have punk rock souls.

So he sent me Ryan Adams last time, maybe some of you remember that post. This time he sends me Conor Oberst, Mr. Bright Eyes himself and again, I think, goddamn it. To make matters worse, Conor's up and got himself Emmy Lou Harris as a backup singer and I love Emmy Lou, absolutely love her and I think that mofo, who does he think he is. I hear this guy is supposed to be the second coming. I even saw him in Time magazine so you know his shit is sweet. So Mikey sends me easy lucky free, landlocked blues and another travelin's song. And they're all pretty damn good. And I get mad and

Mikey says:
maybe we are struggling not to be old bitter and jealous
hilesh says:
what's wrong with that
Mikey says:
Mikey says:
a hell of a lot

So I give.

And then he sends me William Shatner doing a song called Together.


I don't know if anyone's heard of it but there's a new film out there I just read a review of that sounds amazing. It's a Japanese film called Nobody Knows by Hirokazu Kore-eda about four siblings led by Yuya yagira playing 12 year old Akira (he won the best actor at Cannes) who fend for themselves after their mother abandons them. The opening line of the review is

There's a special poignance to children who, because of circumstances, are forced to conduct themselves with the seriousness of adults.

The reviewer likens it to a Satyajit Ray or Vittorio De Sica film specifically the Apu trilogy and De Sica's Umberto D which I will always love for Umberto himself and that lovely dog. The premise and the tone of the film also remind me of my favorite Steven Soderbergh film, King of the Hill. Of all his films it is my favorite. It's based on A.E. Hotchner's memoir about the depression and has a similar set-up. It also features Lauren Hill (Miss Education herself) in her first, brief film role as an elevator operator.

Humanist films are always tricky to pull off. You need a specific balance. The Indian film actress Nargis stood up in Parliament and accused Ray of selling India's poverty to the west. A brutal attack - at the time it was felt that the "poverty" view of India would become mainstream and firmly embedded in the minds of outsiders. Regardless, Ray hasn't had a space cultivated for him in the midst of India's Bollywood. A shame. I grew up on Bollywood - I knew more about Amitabh Bachan than I did about ray but I love both for different reasons.

It reminds me, maybe rather abstractly, of the term subaltern and of British colonialism and the nature of Indian masculinity. I once was the subject of a therapy session where I was observed by a group of professionals whilst I was interviewed. I talked a little bit about watching Indian men acting politely and bowing informally every time they met a "white person" and I later found out that an aboriginal woman was part of the observation team and she broke down and started crying because she recognized that, especially in her own father. I did too but for the record and for my dad, he stood up for us and himself many times - and boldly. But I digress.

That was a long tangent from the movie I originally talked about it.


I've decided there are two types of people in the world: the ones who screamed in fury at the screen when Molly didn't end up with Duckie at the end of Pretty in Pink and the ones who cried with joy when she got together with the incredibly smarmy Andrew McCarthy.

There are, of course, those who absolutely hate John Hughes too. Not that I'm a John Hughes fan, but Duckie is one of my favorite characters in fiction.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

As many have you noticed the Casual Socialist blog became the Casual blog. With the abundance of baby photos and the abundance of relatives, both mine and Irene, visiting I caved in and freaked out worrying someone would be asking why the hell am I a socialist. Well, I'm not....exactly.

There are so many things going on at the moment, not just with me and to those who are experiencing it and feeling the weight of it, my heart is with you.

My own stuff consists of a CT Scan of my head today to insure that the chemo has not had any adverse side effects. A visit to the cardiologist next week will accomplish something similar.

Last night I heard screaming from the bedroom whilst I was making dinner and naturally freaked out I ran and found Irene half in shock and half laughing because part of her and the TV was covered in baby shit. Atticus has discovered the wondrous joys of bazooka shitting. Appropriately when the diaper is OFF. I swear that boy's eyes cross in pleasure every time he does and I can hear the sounds from the next room.

The t-shirt designs have come in from my fellow employees for little Atticus. Once I iron them on I'll post the pictures of them.

I haven't heard George's speech yet but I'm sure it's online. They (whoever they are) have said he did a pretty good job. Diction-wise. Good for him. About time. My mom refused to listen because all the social security talk makes her angry. Most everyone I know does not like this man. I personally don't know him so I cannot pass judgment on his character. He was a better governor than he is a president though and I don't think he translates well to a larger stage but Dick can handle it and I disagree with a majority of his policies and I think Karl Rove is an axis of evil but in the end he is MY president, no going around that and it's about time I started interacting with him as MY president, questioning his policies, disagreeing with him and generally being aware. Because the alternative is becoming a disheartened democrat who talks about him like he is the bogeyman and that is just as bad as an artist claiming ambiguity as profundity. I mean, I love Barack Obama but I disagree with him just as much. It's what's called being a good American citizen. Being aware and questioning.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

For my friend.....

A Late Morning Shave

The stakes get higher as you get older:

The feeling of coarseness like tree trunks

The stains that can’t be removed, lists

of things that tumble upon each other.

They don’t tell you these things in school:

How to watch fathers die, how to shave

their faces and look into their eyes.

They don’t teach you about the end.

They worry about the beginnings, the eve

of life. Seeds and incoming drops of rain

never floods and falling trees, never

oceans overwhelming your eyes and feet

Sorry I haven't posted any words in awhile, been mostly focusing on photos. For those of you who keep with this blog (all six of you) you'll remember how I boasted waking up at six every morning and taking in the world, writing and painting. Dear God, how life has changed. I haven't slept in days and the alarm barely wakes me up in the mornings. I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's strange how much your life changes in an instant. I realize that sounds very shopworn, been uttered a thousand times, but I see this little boy in front of me and I see the possibilities of a life arc in front of me. All the possibilities that a life could take. My friend Jon used to tell me that waking up in the morning, you can face the day with an infinite number of possibilities. How is it we choose the ones we do? I have so much stubbornness in me that I have resisted looking at my own contoured arc of a life so far and ahead.

Well, that's enough of the new father poet posturing.

All is well within the household. We are all growing each day a little bit more.

Little hipster Posted by Hello