Running on Empty

Late at night, perhaps 3 AM, that transcendent and translucent time of  sleep. I hear a retching, more feel it. That is to say, I pick up the purely tactile sensations. I feel none of the nausea, and none of the horrible sinking feeling that goes with vomiting. After all, this isn’t happening to me. It isn’t even happening to a human. It is happening to a cat. And although I care about the cat, I really do, I care much more about my own sleep. Oddly, what I don’t seem to care about is the Read more [...]

Bixby Days

Does the day start well or poorly? Jane, helping me change shoes after my morning exercise, seems disappointed in my outlook. The exercycle has been particularly challenging this day. It's always hard. Perhaps I have a few more aches and pains than usual. And how does one add it up, this question of a good day or a bad one, happy or sad? I am influenced in this regard by what transpired during my exercycle hour. "Arts and Ideas," the BBC Radio 3 podcast, of course. Note, gentle reader, that this Read more [...]

Giving up

My working life could be said to have spanned 30 years. That would include the hardest part, the 10 years it took to find a full-time job, and the more than 20 years it took to lose, let's say, a full-time job. The thing about the was so unexpected. In my years as a writer for Silicon Valley companies, work came and went, the economy swelled and contracted. And the one constant was anxiety. I kept encountering dry spells. Work would vanish. No one wanted me to ghostwrite an article, Read more [...]

Airplane Days

I guess I wanted to look at airplanes. Honestly, I'm not sure why. But I was 12 years old, lived in a boring and culturally impoverished little desert town, okay, in the brushy desert near a little town...and there was this one thing, a small private field. The airport in the mountain pass west of Palm Springs had been there since World War II. Built for training? It never occurred to me to ask . In 1960 the presence of World War II was tangible enough to take for granted. There had been a war. There Read more [...]

After M

It's over. Lawn signs are disappearing. The Farmers' Market is selling produce, not politics. And what are the lessons? For me, it's simple. Stay involved. I confess to having been AWOL as Menlo Park's future took shape. In five years, there were lots of opportunities to support, oppose or amend the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan. Frankly, I wasn't paying much attention. I saw the occasional report, read an article here and there...but otherwise ignored the process. That's why Measure Read more [...]

Bryan Stevenson

What does your typical posttraumatic white-guy-crippled-by-black-guys audience member do while listening to Bryan Stevenson? Several things. First, you get stirred by his cause, reinstituting fairness in our nation's courts and prisons. Then you get stirred up, and in the very opposite direction. At the very least, you experience a flood of anger at what "they" have done to you. And there is a "they," three black kids with a gun. No doubt about it. Except that they disappeared almost 50 years Read more [...]