Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I'm worried about my friend. I think it's fair to worry about him since he worried about me a little while ago. I think I'll buy us both a couple of scratch tickets. That's all I will say.

I have been listening to Beck's Guero and contrary to popular belief, or at least to music critics, I think it's amazing. My son digs it too. Though the only thing that really calms him down is Garvey's Ghost, a dub version of the old Burning Spear album Marcus Garvey.

I have also been listening to M. Ward (today) and Prefuse 73's new one over the weekend. Both are floating in my head. Good stuff.

I had a wonderful talk with Sissy today about blogging and its level of intimacy. It's pretty intense when you think about it, all the daily existence and intimate knowledge that goes up on these sites. Today I was reading Mike Doughty's blog and he is serving jury duty at the moment and had this to say:

I have a strange daydream that my old drug dealer--who actually cut me off at one point, when it looked pretty clear that I was about to die--is going to be standing in front of me, on this grand jury, and I'm going to have to vote on whether he gets indicted.

So I was talking to Sissy and we were discussing the intimate characteristics of blogging and I remembered when I was doing addictions counseling years ago I came across this article by Steve Earle, the singer, about his time befriending a death row inmate. Both had gone through rehab of some sort and he said that as a result they both had a sort of spiritual shorthand that cut through all the bullshit and testosterone.

Me and Sissy came up with phrase Digital Spiritual Shorthand for blogging.

I like that.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Temper. Jack. Posted by Hello

The corner of Clyborn and Fullerton. Friday morning. Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sunday morning. Made chai, put little man into his swinging chair, put on Beck's Guero and danced while he looked on puzzled.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hands still numb. Feet still numb. Feeling very lost today, full of anxiety, like I'm trying to stay above water. It happens. As I am writing this I am mentally trying to ground myself. I'm a lot like my father, a lot like most immigrant fathers, hell, like most fathers, I keep a lot of stuff bottled inside. You'd think that after cancer after they had to physically remove something from inside of me I would have learned.

We all stand on this precipice, of being who we want to be and who we inevitably think we are. I feel this really isn't the place to explore these issues. I have a lot of qualms about exposing myself to the world as it is. I know that sounds odd, this being such an emotional ripping off the roof of my life so y'all can peer in but...well I don't really know.

Yesterday evening was fun actually for the most part. I was supposed to go to the head surgeon doctor guy but it was postponed and so I gave Sissy a ride. We had to stop to pick up Gabs at her after school program and we hung out for awhile at the book fair and I bought Gabs two books, How to Draw Manga characters and Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Gabs is making her own comic book, very Sailor Moon-esque, about these super girls from Saturn who come to earth. Gabs and Sis discussed the book and plot lines. It was all very cool and very sweet. After dropping Sis off we went home and saw our little fussy man, who really makes it all better for both of us. All of us, really. He was incredibly fussy. As a sidenote I brought him into work yesterday for a brief few minutes and all my fellow employees stood silently around him in a circle and just watched him as he in turn eyed them suspiciously. Very amusing. Gabs worked on her book projects and contemplated her comic book. She is leaving this weekend to spend time with Dad and Grandma and I am sad to see her go. The house is a little empty when she is gone.

As to my earlier comments a few paragraph's ago, I didn't mean to sound so alarmist. I just feel there are a lot of things I have yet to expunge from my body, cancer was one of them. I'm working on the rest.

Black Bear Combo is playing tonite at Phyllis'. I haven't heard them live as a three piece so I am quite excited.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wednesday. Wishing I could slice my body open and peer inside to see if everything is ok. Irene went out last night and I stayed home with Gabs and Atticus. I was unbelievably tired. I wonder if I am just tired or if something is wrong. Me, who never went to the doctor no matter what happened, I am now questioning everything in a panic state.

Years ago I was highly focused on the Sex Pistols and their place in history. It started when I was in high school and continued on through the years. The idea I had in my head was this: at a specific moment in time they came along and not just shook things up but responded to their surroundings. That maniacal scream of Johnny Rotten's begged everyone to wake up. I mean, seriously, that's really what he was doing, smacking everyone on the head and asking them to open their eyes, look at the projects on their way to work, look at all the things we normally fold into our days as just scenery, environment. Sometimes I look at the projects in Chicago and I think of Sean Connery talking to Kevin Costner in The Untouchables (bad movie example, sue me) telling him that everyone knows where the booze is, the question is who wants to take on Capone (say it with a scottish brogue). Well, everyone does know, me too. I have been obsessed with those moments when a spark or scream happens that begs or shatters a bubble and the term "wake up" appears. Do The Right Thing was filled with moments like that, even Samuel Jackson's dj said on his radio show: Wake up, wake up, up you wake.

I had tried to incorporate these ideas in my art or at least I used to consciously. I realize as I have gotten older that you must strike a balance in order to keep yourself aware and not fall asleep. Your obligation is to the world and how you treat in on a daily basis. Ten years ago I would have framed that in a post modern context. I would have gone on about sincerity and responsibility and being awake. Now I see the road before me and I no longer desire a straight narrative (a long rolling amalgam of all the things I have learned and that are right in the world so that I may create a handbook for myself) because the minutes move and I need to learn to ride them. I am not raising my child for myself, for my vanity or to take care of me when I get older. I am raising my child for the world. I need to get moving and, as they say, wake up.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Oh the drama Posted by Hello

Mrs. Pipilas's reaction to Atticus' loud....expunging, heh heh Posted by Hello

Alexis guarding Atticus Posted by Hello

More laughing Posted by Hello

Laughing at Peter's stories Posted by Hello

Irene and her sister, Ana Posted by Hello

Peter telling stories to us at Mrs. Pipilas' Posted by Hello

Little man sleeping. Posted by Hello

The gas station that the car is at. Can you see another one inside the garage?? The gas station is called Six J's because the owner has six kids with names all beginning with J. Posted by Hello

What a beauty Posted by Hello

My dream car. It's at a gas station near Irene's mom's house.God, if I had the money AND a back yard I would buy it. Can't you just imagine me and Stella riding down street in it? Posted by Hello

A new painting that I am finishing for Irene's mom's birthday present. Posted by Hello

So many things to say. I'm not sure where to start. This Monday morning I am seething with anger over so many things not the least of which is the Senate steroid hearings and the idiots before them. I have been very touchy about baseball ever since the strike but now I just don't know. Jose Canseco's a dick. I'm one of those kids who was dreamy and really believed in baseball. After all the bickering over who gets the extra .2 million dollars, this is just ridiculous. As I told Mikey this morning, I'm sticking to kids tee ball and minor league games.

I'll rant about a few more things but I'll wait until the end of my post to do so. This weekend was full, life jammed against the margins. Saturday we took Atticus to see my parents. It was the first time since the birth that they've seen him. My dad hasn't been in the greatest of health but he was beaming. And my mom has rarely been so sweet (heh heh, just kidding mom...sort of). He certainly is a charmer. On the way we forgot the baby bag at home and didn't realize it until we were already near Lake Shore and Illinois so we have no pictures of the event. My parents took some. I'll post those when I have a chance. On the way there we saw a car with this bumper sticker: Save our country. Stop immigration. Teenage Riot (Sonic Youth) also came on the radio and I had two memories, one of the first time I heard those openings chords after I had bought Daydream Nation and looked at that Gerhard Richter painting of the candle and the other of when I was teaching. This punky girl had just started in my class and I saw that she had a Sonic Youth patch on her bag. I asked her about the patch and told her they were a great band. Her response: "They're a band?"

At my parent's we filled Irene in on our old neighborhood (where I grew up-my parents moved as in moving on up when I had already left home) and all the characters in it like the Sicilian man next door to us that would walk around with his machete and the cop and his son who lived down the street in our cul de sac who hated, just hated foreigners and how for the first six months we lived in our house it was egged and vandalized day after day.

Sunday we went to celebrate Irene's mom's birthday. A fun day that involved lots of seafood (we went out to eat), chocolate and coffee. I don't know what it is but the past few days I've been drinking coffee like it's going out of style. I mean I know I should be watching my intake of things into my body and it IS coffee but I always end up sitting in a chair zonking out and shaking. I think I do it because I just want to feel normal again. Sounds crazy but it makes sense. I'll cut back though.

My feet are still numb. No diagnosis yet. My hands have started cramping up again and my nails, I kid you not, are in pain. They have started forming ridges, has anyone seen this before? Anyway, the neurosurgeon visit is this week. We'll see what the head is doing.

I have more to say but I'll write again later. I'll post some pictures of the weekend up. I'll leave you with this disturbing news, from a lead article in today's salon.com:

March 21, 2005 | One day in the next two weeks, a uniformed colonel from the U.S. Army is expected to pay a visit to William Cala, the superintendent of the Fairport Central School District in Fairport, N.Y., east of Rochester. While Cala has not been told exactly what's on the agenda, he knows why the colonel is coming: to try to talk some sense into him about how he's handled the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. It might seem strange that the Pentagon is sending an emissary to a school district, but it's actually the law.

One day in the next two weeks, a uniformed colonel from the U.S. Army is expected to pay a visit to William Cala, the superintendent of the Fairport Central School District in Fairport, N.Y., east of Rochester. While Cala has not been told exactly what's on the agenda, he knows why the colonel is coming: to try to talk some sense into him about how he's handled the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. It might seem strange that the Pentagon is sending an emissary to a school district, but it's actually the law.

The colonel's visit is the latest move in a three-year dispute between the Fairport school district and the government over a little-known provision of No Child Left Behind, the controversial landmark education legislation passed in 2001. The provision, under Section 9528 of the law, requires districts that receive federal funding to share students' names, addresses and phone numbers with military recruiters. This is where Cala, an outspoken critic of NCLB, has run into problems with the law -- he doesn't want to hand over student data to military recruiters without explicit permission from parents. "The Fairport Board of Education has a very long-standing policy that we don't share student information with anybody, period," says Cala, who has run the Fairport schools for eight years. "We're being forced to reverse this policy because the military says so, and we don't think that's fair or right."

The government is hoping the colonel will help Cala change his mind. Schools that don't comply with the law are at risk of losing their federal funding, and a visit from a military officer is the government's first step toward rectifying the situation.

Friday, March 18, 2005

New poem. I don't like the line And I know you know that I am jealous because that is pretty much implied in the poem. Mikey, my editor, agreed with me. The first stanza needs noodling because it needs to be apparent that she goes outside and also the chronology is off. But I digress.

I am thinking of this quote at the moment from an Iraqi soldier: “We are all waiting for death, like the moon waiting for sunset.”

Black Temper

Upside down your hair swings like a curtain

You remove yourself from us at the dinner table

And claim the tree as kin,

feet firmly wrapped around the branch like it was your lover

Our father, moon eyed and teeth flashing

burns you from inside the house, his anger melts

Away the walls and he wants you,

I can see

He never wanted me that hungry

And I know you know that I am jealous

I can’t understand your face eyes like black

Temper, cold and coyly not meeting his gaze

Staring off at something I cannot see

I know you could drop

Down monkey like and pick up a stone and

Shatter his head at the trunk

Watch blood feed the roots

I heard you say motherfucker once and hide behind the smaller

Tree next to the mailbox. Now you just swing and I can hear

You inhale the world around us, slowly, as it pales in front of my eyes.

Do you like Damien Rice?

I have a song of his and have been listening. I like. I really do. He's got a gentle and beautiful voice but I just don't know about the whole confessional folky singer songwriter thing anymore but then again I am the asshole who sings Copa Cabana to his dog.

He's dating Renee Zellweger so he's got Hollywood cred.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

webster, between ashland and elston Posted by Hello

Grandma Pipilas and little man last week Posted by Hello

It is snowing outside. When I go home I'll let Stella out and she'll eat half of it off the lawn like it was powder, that kind of powder.

This Missy Elliot/Le Tigre mashup got me and Gabrielle from home to school today.

A lot of news today from Washington. Edward Kennedy for the first time in years cancelled his appearance and meeting with Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams in response to the IRA coverup of the murder of Robert McCartney in Belfast. After a bar altercation, three members of the IRA also at the bar dragged and kicked him in the street and he eventually died. The story has all the trappings of becoming a Rashomon narrative so before I participate in a game of telephone I suggest you visit the BBC, The Belfast Telegraph or CNN. The McCartney sisters and his partner are visiting the U.S. and have met with the Senator and others asking for help in the inquiry into his death. A timely St. Patrick's day visit.

There are rumors going around that the oil production numbers espoused by major companies are wrong and we may face a crisis soon. In related news, the bill to begin drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve has passed despite opposition from John Kerry and others. I think the actual vote was 51-49. If you ever want to see how senators are voting and see their voting records I suggest you go here.

I'll stop the politics for a bit.

I spent last night babysitting Gabrielle and Atticus while Irene had a ladies night out. Much needed for her. Gabrielle practiced her Irish step dancing moves for her St. Patrick's day performance and after catching her improv show I settled down with the little man and conversed with him all night. He's a good conversationalist. I asked him if he would like to learn how to skateboard and I talked to him about my health issues and other stuff.

My body is slowly starting to feel ok, despite the fact that my feet are numb and I have trouble walking. After so long, my body slowly starts to feel like I can claim it. Slowly. I am still waiting for brain surgery news, a yay or a nay but at this point new things pop up all the time they don't really faze me. I do have to admit that I feel a little emotionally lost, unsure of which direction to head after weathering this storm. Is this post-cancer blues? I keep wondering why I am returning to normal daily life after all that? I mean, I should be grateful for just being alive, that they caught it, but I guess I want a debriefing of sorts. I wonder if HMO covers that?

Words are coming through slowly. The poems are appearing slowly. We'll see where this goes. Now I can safely worry about money and bills again. Maybe I'll write Oprah and ask her for two thousand dollars. What do say, Oprah? I'm good for it.


This is from DC's Inside Scoop, a blog about current news on Capitol Hill.

Is This Compassionate Conservatism?

37 Republicans JUST voted against a Specter Amendment to the Budget that would have increased cancer research money at the NIH.

Specter offered it with almost all his hair gone, his body emaciated

And then Senator Mike Enzi gets up and says he can't support cancer research money because it comes out of the "wrong account."

Mike, you're a prick.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

From an online message board:
'You know, Ian Mackaye? Like Jesus, only with better tunes..?'

Ian Mackaye and Amy Farina have a band called The Evens. I haven't heard them yet. Just a heads up.

So I've had a lot of reaction to my earlier post about young Atticus becoming Greek Orthodox. Seriously, emails and calls have flooded in. I feel I should clarify the situation and part of me feels I should not. I spent the good part of yesterday up in the North Shore talking to my friend Al about social work and teaching. The town we were in is a very strange town indeed, very insular and protected and I think the kids are a mirror of that with their emotions. For all you residents if this town out there I am hardly trashing the place. It is a lovely town just very removed from my daily life in terms of income and values. Being there made me think about Atticus and about the large and varied reaction I've been getting.

My sister clarified her opinion to me, she wanted to make sure that the kid understood and knew of his Indian and Hindu background. I get that. I too want him to understand that. He will understand that and I understand my sister. Absolutely.

Other reactions have me puzzled. You'd think I'd said my kid was going to be a Maroon 5 fan (sorry donaldson). Religion is a tricky subject. In this current climate religion often equals the right or conservatism. Faith seems to have become a dirty word. Those who really know me know that I am not a religious person. I am however a very spiritual person. I do not like organized religion but I have nothing against god. She seems pretty cool. Am I going to raise a compassionate conservative? Hardly. Will he believe in god? That's up to him, only him. We will show him the fireworks and trimmings that go along with it all. I'll also show him the wonders of Dostoevsky and Ganesh and the Buzzcocks and how to make noise with two turntables and a kaoss pad. If he wants to embrace it, good for him. I have equal love for everyone. For people to imply that religion and religious people are persona non grata and red state republican freedom fry assholes....that makes them, well, republicans (oops, did I say that out loud?) I welcome any comments on this subject either here in my blog or directly to me.

In other news and on a lighter tone, let's talk about Bono and Bill Clinton. Did you know that Bill Clinton keeps his own blog. At least I think it's his. It could all be a joke. Check it out for yourself and tell me if this tale of Bill, Bono and Tony Blair jamming to Angel of Harlem is for real.

Also, I know I mention it a lot but Fingertips is one of my favorite sites and it has this amazing song from Devin Davis. I'll let them do his bio.....from the site:

Chicago bedroom rocker Devin Davis opens his mouth and Ray Davies all but tumbles out. This is a fine thing in and of itself, as I am kindly disposed to anyone properly inspired by the Kinks. But Davis (and isn't come to think of it "Davies" pronounced "Davis" in the U.K.?), to my ears, has much more going for him than a Kinks fixation, a fact made clearest by his achievement as a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/arranger/engineer/producer. Technology has made it easy enough to be a one-person band in your own home studio, but rarely will you hear a bedroom rocker who sounds as loose and unfettered as Davis does. Think of it: to do all this yourself requires incredible precision and repetition; how do you then produce something that sounds so loose and alive? Playing the part here of a crestfallen turtle who appears to have lost his true, inter-species love, Davis delivers a song buzzing with spirit and life. From the quiet, bouncy-sad electric piano intro through to the heart-opening chorus, with its stirring melody and ramshackle feel, he not only transcends his influences, he transcends his technology. "Turtle and the Flightless Bird" comes from Davis's debut CD, Lonely People of the World, Unite!, set for release on (of course) his own Mousse Records imprint next week. The MP3 is available on his web site.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I already posted this picture but...I heard an npr story about diane arbus and they asked listeners to send in their own favorite picture with a 150 word or less description. So I bit and wrote one about this one.....sappy as it may be

After the c-section she was bound to her bed like a ball and chain. The first glimpse of energy: she took the child into the bathroom to give him a bath. I snapped the photo not to commemorate the event but because I saw his face. His skin, more ruddy than red, is glowing. It contrasts with the green towel underneath him and the white porcelain sink full of soapy water. He is neither Greek nor Indian at this moment but a small vessel. He looks up at her face with a complete trust. The beauty of the photo is that you can’t see my partner’s face, you only see her through his gaze, through his reflection of her gaze. He is on the precipice of the sink ready to have his head rinsed and I think my god this is it, this is the beginning. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

A long weekend. Many things to say.

First off, the lovely and amazing Kristine Chan sent me here and I have been stuck there clicking on one flash stepping stone linking to ten others that have taken me to characters at war and to tokyo lab among others. So thanks Kristine but seriously I have been here for hours, help me. I want the characters at war poster. The tokyo lab page was nice. If you have the patience or the foresight to sit through the intro (during which I wondered if there was a difference in the Western sense of patience and the rest of the world's) then you would get to the next part. I clicked and navigated for awhile and found a wonderful audio artist named Afra with an album called Digital Breath. Good stuff.

Friday night I went to see Interpol with my friend Jose at the Aragon. I haven't been to a show in a large venue in ages. In retrospect I had more fun hanging out with Jose than anything else. Interpol are a great band but they are hardly anything new onstage. I was more intrigued by being in a space I hadn't been to in years. I kept seeing spectres of my younger self leaning against poles or walking around the crowd. That may make me sound old but whatever. It was a good show. My birthday present from Jose, bless him. When did the Aragon invest in a light show?

Atticus was given his forty day blessing this Sunday. Since I am not the best of Hindus and Irene was raised Greek Orthodox and it is more a part of her than hindusim is a part of me it would be better that Atticus be raised Orthodox. I have talked with Orthodox priests and am slowly learning the aspects of the religion. Some of my older punk rock and maniacally intellectual friends have chided me on choosing religion for the little one. Granted, the Greek Orthodox church and, hell, God too, has got some big guns, you know what I mean? The church is big, the ideas are big, God is big (so they say). It's a tricky thing, raising your child religiously, but I like community and I think it's important for him to have a religious one. I have enough friends who are jewish, baptist, unitarian, buddhist, hindu, atheist and generally angry at the world and would gladly engage in angry, joyous and scathing indictments of organized religion that I know there will be plenty of balance. I would love to have him engage in those arguments. There is a marked difference between spirituality and God says go to war. We'll try to teach him the difference in between healthy doses of the Marx brothers, Charlie Chaplin, Miyazaki and Arthur Schopenhauer. Plus, you always need something to rebel against when you get older.

Anyway, we got all dolled up and went to St. Peter and Paul in the north suburbs and waited till the end of the service at which point, along with another family, we went up with our kids and waited at the entrance. As everyone looked on the priests walked towards us to begin the blessing at which point Atticus took a thunderous dump and I thought this kid'll do just fine.

The rest of the weekend is a blur. I haven't been feeling myself lately. This weekend I felt like I did before I had surgery, the same fatigue and listlessness. With sadness I dropped my sister off at the airport Saturday morning and our house was a little empty without her. Irene and I, enjoying the babysitting prowess of Irene's mom, Mrs. Pipilas, went to an engagement party Saturday night. Congratulations Laurie and Brian.

Yesterday, Gabrielle, Peter (Irene's future brother in law and mine) and I watched this cartoon on Nickelodeon called The Avatar, The Last Airbender. She adores it. I won't embarrass her too much by describing how, just like most of us when we were kids and I know you know what I mean, she is mesmerized by a show and secretly and with her amazing ability to create worlds in her head imagines herself with the same special powers. It was more nostalgic and heartening than seeing spectres of myself in a Naked Raygun t shirt at a concert.

I also re-read a short story collection called Drown by Junot Diaz which is positively one of the fiercest and stunning collections I have ever read. Where have you gone, Junot? I am waiting for more. I recently read The Short, Wonder Life of Oscar Wao (older) and Homecoming, With Turtle, both in the New Yorker.

Mikey told me about a movie called the Mayor the Sunset Strip. You should all go check it out. Also The Best of Youth and Head On, a six hour Italian family drama and a German-Turkish punk rock love story respectively, are coming to the music box in April.

So, for being away from this blog for a few days, how's that for an entry?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

before the port and the paint Posted by Hello

night Posted by Hello

we call her big bells, partly for her name and partly because her ears are like two big bells swinging from side to side Posted by Hello

hunter/gatherer Posted by Hello

I cut this man out from an oil painting I was working on. I want to put him on something or create a background but I have no idea what or where. Posted by Hello

The infamous bottle of port next to the infamous pacifier Posted by Hello

a feeble attempt. i tried painting onto a map of kosovo. i was intending to follow it up with stencils of birds surrounding it. we'll see Posted by Hello

The calm before the storm Posted by Hello