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Monday, November 28, 2011

ACTION: Mad As Hell for the Nth Time

Today, my good friend Todd over at forwarded me an article to read:

My first reaction was to email Senators Murkowski and Begich, my representatives to the United States Senate. Then I helped spread the word, something I'm continuing to do through this blog.

Then I processed the real ramifcations of this proposed Senate Bill 1867. In the name of "security", our elected officials would grant the unprescidented authority in the president to detain American citizens and hold them without a trial.

Some argue that this measure will help keep us safe. I argue to those that there is no point in such safety if we sacrifice the rights we created to make us the most free nation in history.

Imagine what could come next? I see (and granted I realize I have a penchant for the dramatic) either TOTALITARIANISM or COMMUNISM, us giving away everything to those who would keep us "safe".

I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but for my own sake, for my family's sake, I hope and work to ensure that we have choices and abilities to defend what we hold dear, and S. 1867 would go much, much farther than being a simple inconvenience to protect those choices. It's another step in taking those choices away.

Call your Senators. Help us take our country back. This is a moment we cannot afford to waste.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

CHRONICLES: A Quick Update

We have been blessed today with some blue skies. Last week, we had a few inches of snow, but yesterday it rained and washed it all away. Today, with grace and a chill, the sun has shone through for a few hours, the small Alaskan window between dark morning and dark evening. Even now, the sun has begun it's quick descent towards the hoizon. It's 2:45 in the afternoon.

Still, the lack of sunlight and outside civilization seems to draw Alaskans closer together. We celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a handful of similarly disenfranchised friends, separated from their families either by geography or opinion, neither of which is easy, but both of which easier to cope with by having the non-blood extended family of a close friendship.

Malcolm continues to grow. The boy, who by my estimate is near three feet tall and thirty-five pounds, is walking, talking, climbing everything in sight, and laughing at ridiculous things, things that we adults have forgotton were funny. Well, most of us, at least. He laughs at faces, at things falling, at noises, at the cat's reaction to him petting her and saying "nice". It's very neat to have the tangible reminder of what little it takes to make life enjoyable.

Leftover turkey fills the refridgerator, and I am still not sick of eating turkey sandwiches. I think one of these days, I will make a turkey-noodle soup for dinner. Lyss made a home-made stuffing from scratch for the feast, and it was absolutely joyeous and delicious. Paired with her shell and cheese and her pumpkin pie cheesecake swirly thing (also made from scratch), we had a feast fit for royalty.

To paraphrase Mr. Garrison Keillor, that's the news from Ketchikan, where the woman is strong, the man is good looking, and the child is well above average.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I heard the knocking.  It wasn't at my door, but it was early enough and quiet enough that I had to get up to see who was outside anyway.  I saw my neighbor talking to the gentleman, and I wondered, because of the hour, if everything was alright.  I returned to my room, a large, empty, dark loft with wood floors and one big window on the far side of the stairs.  I could tell it was going to be a long morning.


I prepared for the drop.  Our plane was flying low enough that I didn't need to wear an oxygen mask or anything.  I was a little miffed that I was unanimously voted to go first.  Sure, Earth was a place I used to live.  At one point, I was comfortable there.  But I had lost friends.  I lost my family.  Things were different.  What few friends I had left were on this plane with me, ready to jump to an unknown fate.

I sat in my chair on the front of the load.  We were going out together, the load and me.  Someone had to make sure it landed safely.  The bay door opened, and I zipped up my black leather flight suit, ready to go.

I don't remember much between me leaving the plane and me hitting the ground, but I survived.  We set up camp in a small house.  My old friend, she checked me out to make sure I wasn't messed up on the inside.  We tried to find a quiet corner of this old, small house, but we were thwarted by others in the group, focused on the mission at hand.


I swam downstream.  It wasn't difficult.  The river was raging.  I had to keep my eyes keen for the culvert on river right, the portal.  I had almost passed it twice, and wound up backtracking, swimming with all of my energy.  I finally got to it, dragged myself into it's mouth, and lay there panting for air.

After a few minutes, I started crawling deeper inside.  After fifty yards or so, I felt a blinding shock.  The next thing I saw was an old, dusty road, and men with gas masks.  I watched as cars drove by.  Old beat up cars. I wondered how they could run without oxygen.  Apparently, they had been converted to run on CO2.  I felt the sunlight.  It must have been 80 degrees.  The buildings in this ghost town were either derelicts near destruction or completely encased in glass or plastic to keep the oxygen inside.  The few people here were hardened.  Tough.  What was this place?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I was raised in a small town. It wasn't tiny by any means, but graduating with eighty-five other people, by most standards, that's pretty small.

Small towns work very differently than cities do. In small towns, the general consensus is that cities are too fast-moving, too big, too corrupt, too crowded, too expensive, etc. Small towns are very proud of themselves, of their school sports teams and their elected officials, their arts and their new buildings. However, the thing that really sets small towns apart is that they're also highly critical of themselves in a passive and quiet way. There are a few public dissenters, but those people are nut-jobs, right? Everyone quietly talks about how messed up things are before they politely smile and move about their business.  In cities, people don't put as much value in etiquitte as they do in direct confrontation. Skip the pleasantries, get stuff done.

I moved from my small town to Denver and stayed there for almot seven years. I loved it. I liked that there was so much stuff conveniently located nearby. However, I missed the small town serenity, which brught me here to Ketchikan, Alaska.

If you all have been reading the news at all, you know about our small town's big problem. It turns out that a certain public official has done some very bad things. The irony for me is that when I moved to the city, I was always wary of somebody not being a good person. It was, after all, the city. Sadly, after moving to a small Alaskan town, I've met people, some very good people, and others, back-stabbers who've hidden under the guise of that ettiquite we small town folk seem to value so much. I've seen very personally more dishonesty and disgusting behavior here in a year than I ever saw in Denver.

Maybe it's time we stopped lying to everyone and to ourselves. Maybe it's time to take responsibility for the things we do, and to hold others accountable for their actions. I understand that small towns, especially places like Ketchikan, very isolated from the outside world, people need to depend on each other, but I refuse to accept that dependence negates trust and writes our neighbors a blank check to do what they will at our expense.  Teamwork is rooted in trust.

These things have been a disappointment, and it's disappointing to be sure. However, those things are greatly outweighed by the good people who are also here and in other small towns who are great friends, loyal and honest, especially when you don't want to hear what a putz you've been. There's always hope. There's always light.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

THOUGHTS: Dreams and Mornings

I've been waking up the past few days with shadows of very vivid dreams, dreams I can't remember after only minutes of being awake. it's so bizzare. It's like details of my subconscious life are being brushed aside and replaced by the sound of an alarm, the smell of coffee, the taste of cinnamon toast. While the morning routine brings me a certain amount of comfort, I feel like I'm robbing myself of a good story, or a strong emotion, or an insight into what I'm thinking and how.

Dreams are power. They allow us to face fears or escape from them. I remember the first and only time I realized I was dreaming. That was also the first and only time I've ever flown in my dream.

I can't help but wonder, though, if our minds are this powerful in our sleep, while we aren't focusing our thoughts, why are we held back in our waking hours? Why do we limit ourselves so much with clutter and incidental bullshit, instead of enjoying the simple focus and joy of a child?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CHRONICLES: A Day In The Life...

After a very short night of sleeping, I managed to fade in and out of sleep for a couple of hours before my alarm not-so-gently prodded me to get out of bed and get to work.

Raising a kid is hard. Toddlers are little Tasmanian devils in disguise. One moment, all their toys are put away and they're sleeping soundly. The next, there's a mixture of toys, a bottle, a sippy-cup or two, and a bunch of Apple Jacks all over the carpet. The only reason you notice is becaue they're now in the kitchen banging pots and pans on the floor.

All this, of course, after a full day's work, and solo while the wife is making final preparations as the assistant director for "Anything Goes", which opens Thursday or Friday. She's even been sick the past few days, which makes more for me to do.

Fortunately, we've got good friends here now. Our friend Jen Tucker watched Malcolm yesterday afternoon while Lyss slept, and our friend Heidi Poet, who coincidentally wound up in my top ten list of all-time favorite people, has been accompanying Lyss to rehearsal almost every night.

It's such a relief to sit here in my kitchen, sipping a cold beer (which will be followed by another cuppa joe, I'm sure), while Malcolm sleeps in the next room and Incubus's "I Wish You Were Here" plays in the background.

Today, I scraped by on a cup of coffee, a cigarette, another two cups of coffee, a bunch of water, another cigarette, and finally, some time with my son before I put him to sleep. No matter what happened, that's a good day.