Our time here is but small.
Happy Birthday to the Wild Woman of Borneo, who attains her majority today and spends it yet a free woman.
As gift I have only my enduring love and affection, offered freely.
The gift I receive and treasure on these days is the memory of her birth, which day is blurred in parts and in parts burned in as by fire. My wife and I are intimate creatures, drawn to our small world, and that day was one in which our small world contained the whole of creation, made for and by us and like any worthy thing did nearly destroy us in its coming.
And has not yet completed its destruction.
I settled in my mind early on that love was what mattered to me and would be the flag I carry into battle, the land on which I spend my blood and sinew, and it is my pride that I have done so as a man.
In all the ways that matter, I am innocent of all knowledge or wisdom. But I am contented to take the bit in my teeth and go on. There is work, there is love, and there is leisure. We are each of us being led to the slaughter and will not be spared. Nor one of them we love. Nor blade of grass nor spark of light.
I raise my glass to you. To my child on her eighteenth birthday, to the woman who brought her forth, the our parents and their parents, and to you and yours and our numberless progeny and ancestry.
May you be calm.
May you be at peace.
May you be happy.
I have a book on my shelf entitled “Forensic Taphonomy” that details for me all kinds of postmortem changes that dead human beings can be subjected to. It shows me what happens when a body is left underwater for a few hours, a day, a few days, a week, a month, a year. It shows different effects of predation. It shows the effects of heat, moisture, dryness. Acid baths, chopping up, smashing to bits, etc.
It shows a photograph of a retarded man who covered his entire head in duct tape and suffocated. He had done it a number of times. It was an obsession with him.
I have a book of wax models of a dead woman with a fetus inside her. You can take out the organs, the womb, the dead wax baby. It is Italian, from the 17th century. La Specola museum, something like that.
I keep a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, too.
I have a book of murder scenes and different wound patterns from gunshots, knives, ice picks, hammers, baseball bats, fire, poisons, acids, machetes and axes, etc. Strangulations of differing types.
I refer to it often.
It has been so hot here. Over a hundred the last two days. So last night we slept in the lair, out in the backyard.
Under the three-quarter moon. Among the chirping crickets and occasional sirens and gravel trucks passing by on Main street.
Avec le bulldog.
Last night I made hummus and a chilled shrimp, kalamata, tomato salad, and a chilled cucumber, feta cheese, greek yogurt salad and these crazy spice-rubbed bacon-wrapped broiled scallops.
A cold, cold bottle of Justin chardonnay.
And for after, home-made lemon sorbet.
I ate myself sick and had to lie down.
Today the heat wave has broken and we walked along the cliffs over the ocean in rolling fog and cold, tangy salt air. We held hands and talked quietly, as is our way. I rambled on and on about the nature of reality, the impossibility of moral action, the heat death of the universe.
She smiled quietly to herself.
Now I gotta make us some lunch.
The dead continue their dirt naps.
do not judge what you cannot apprehend.
I have returned from my travels. It is good to be home.
I am engaging in the Saturday routine. Coffee, art, breakfast, walkies, housecleaning, dogwashing, dinnermenu planning and shopping, cooking and eating. And reading. And napping in the hammock or the lair. Handholding.
I don’t know what I’m going to cook, but I do know there is going to be a big, fresh, juicy salad and a lush bottle of wine. Something earthy and complex as a main course. Some good veggies. Crusty bread.
I’ll let you know.
My daughter is harder to figure out than chinese arithmetic.
She is the Higgs boson of my life.
May you get what you want today.
I decree it!
I love this image.
Today I am cleaning the house, one of my favorite things to do in the world. I didn’t used to be a clean freak, but after standing around in enough tweaker shitholes I started to seriously want everything I looked at and sat on and slept in and ate off of or showered in to be clean.
My wife hates a lot of stuff about my job. She doesn’t complain much about the cleaning part.
I am craving the mixed seafood quesadillas at Pier 46, which is this tiny and awesome land-locked fish store in Templeton, forty miles from the closest water. But the owners are passionate and crazy and they have live crabs and lobsters and oysters and mussels and clams and fat loins of sashimi grade tuna and fresh ceviche and I am going there with my gorgeous wife for the quesadillas and I will buy three pounds of green lipped mussels and I will cook them for dinner in a godawful mess of garlic and butter and we are going to eat them and drink a cold bottle of something white, something I’ve never had before, and goddamn if we won’t have chocolate souffles and ice cream after and then watch something Japanese and snuggle up on the sofa and that, dear reader, is my precise and compricated pran.
I am not any more disturbed than it is useful to be.
Today was liars. Asking me for help and lying about why. Lying about what. Demanding I do this and that. Putting a plate full of shit in front of me and telling me to eat.
The woman in tears asking me to find her son.
The man begging me to get his daughter back from his ex-wife who kidnapped her.
The woman who said her husband’s been molesting their daughter.
The man who said he hasn’t been locking himself in his daughter’s room for hours every night.
I could hit someone, I swear to god.
Get in line.
So after work today I am driving to the store to get more vodka because I have gone through the last bottle already and there is some fuck in front of me going too slow.
There is a dreadlocked dirt-head in the intersection walking in circles, dazed, smiling.
Slowing me down.
There is an old lady in the checkout paying with singles and nickels and pennies and I’d like to snap her neck. There is the fucking semi-retarded clerk making her start over with the counting of pennies.
A guy backing out and blocking the exit.
I am on a short fucking fuse today.
You come here, you read this shit I put out, you might get the wrong idea about me. I sometimes aspire to spiritual creaminess, but don’t get me wrong.
There is in me a slithering meanness.
I do not mean to complain about my small troubles. I just mean to say that it is often a mistake to hold others in high regard.
For we are flinty-souled and poor in spirit.
We have bad dentition.
I can breathe because I have a small refuge from the world. My wife and I have built this craft that carries us on the waters. Sometimes we raise the sails and the sun shines and the wind fills the sails and we drink wine and laugh and squint into the abundant sunshine and sometimes the wind fails us and the sky grows featureless and the waters still and I man the oars and sweat and heave and haul until my hands blister and bleed and my back aches and I collapse and then she mans the oars until her hands blister and bleed while I sleep or whimper or just stare out to sea. We get storms and hard weather. We see mirages. The food spoils. Hull springs a leak and we spend days and nights bailing. We drift off course.
But we don’t abandon ship.
We paint her and decorate her, we bring her gifts. We tinker with her engine, we keep the fuel cans clean and full. We ask everything of her and we withhold nothing from her. When we get to port we haul her out and scrape her clean before we take our own showers, before we run into the dark jungle for more mangos.
We bind ourselves yet tighter. Sinew, bone, and blood.
I know I am going to die. I know. My wife, my child. My mommy and daddy. My friends and enemies.
I just don’t believe it.
I just read Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, because it is about the axe-fall of sudden loss, which interests me. I did not like the book and found myself not liking her because she was too rich, too privileged, too precious for me to take her suffering seriously.
How fucked up is that?
I guess what that book showed me was that it really doesn’t matter how tragedy and loss do their work, it always feels sudden, complete, overwhelming. I find it so compelling and strange that it seems such an insult when the wheel of life turns and crushes you beneath it. Like, “Man, I didn’t see that coming!
You didn’t notice it happening to every single other person on the planet since man walked the earth?
But we don’t. Not really.
Not until it’s our turn.
I suppose it keeps us sane. That peculiar kind of willful seeming blindness.
Keeps us paying our mortgages and fixing the roof.
Thing is, if we could only keep that horror fresh, in front of our eyes, see it for what it is, wouldn’t that make our lives so much richer? But it slips away. I mean, I see truly awful shit every day, it’s how I make my living. And I’m interested in it. I actively seek it out and study it, look at it hard, taste it, but still it mystifies me and won’t stay in focus.
I keep thinking it’s not really going to happen to me.
Next week I’m going to sunny San Diego for a week long class in investigating child abductions, the child sex slave trade, and child murders.
After I get back I’m going out to Front Sight for another four-day pistol class. I’m a lefty, but I’m going to go through this class right-handed.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Am I supposed to figure that out?
Meanwhile, other people suffer.
Yesterday’s dinner was dead good. We had my Dad and Stepmother (not evil) over. We ate and drank wine and talked story.
It was fine.
Today we are both dragging ass. The cops came to the door in the middle of the night. We’ve had a lot of the in the past four years, so we were steeled for more bad news, but it was the wrong house or some shit, I don’t know.
After that we couldn’t sleep. We watched The Life Aquatic again. Tried to get our heart rates down.
So today has been lounging about, a walk on the cliffs, lots of coffee and internet and scrambled eggs and bacon and leftover potatoes and french bread and she’s working on a new quilt and I did a little bit of…well, call it art for lack of a better word. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me happy. I get a charge out of working with these images. That photoshop makes up for my inability to draw and paint. I get to make art anyway.
I love that we can have a whole day to lounge about, lick our wounds, eat, sulk, snuggle. Take insanely hot showers and ice-cold showers and drink coffee and watch crap and read good books and keep each other in sight, in a casual way, like it doesn’t matter all that much.
But it does.
Hope you are living it real. I know you are.
You make a marinade with Apricot nectar, ten cloves of garlic smashed up, chili pepper flakes, a half cup each of kosher salt and sugar, two cups of water. Pop a couple of pork loins into a big ziploc bag and fill it with the marinade and chill several hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, remove the pork, pat it dry, and coat it with canola oil then rub in the spice rub, which is ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, cumin, salt, pepper, brown sugar, lemon pepper, chipotle chili powder, and whatever else you like. Cover the loins with the rub and put them in a 350 oven until the internal temp is 135.
Pull them out and brush the glaze over them.
Glaze is a half cup of apricot preserves, juice of three lemons, a clove of garlic smashed up or grated, salt and pepper, and a big bunch of finely chopped cilantro. Mix that together and brush over the pork loins, but set at least half of it aside for later.
Pop the loins back in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes, until the internal temp is 145.
Let them rest for ten minutes or more. Slice into 1/4 inch slices, then dredge them through the rest of the glaze.
Serve with oven roasted potatoes, which is super easy- cut up a mess of red potatoes, leave the skin on- halve them, quarter them, slice each quarter into thirds. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add any other herbs you like, but wait until the last five minutes to add the herbs. Place on baking sheet in oven at 450 for thirty-five to forty minutes until they are dark and roasty.
I’m also doing this salad:
Fig Salad with Goat’s milk yogurt and Arugula
which is as many mission figs as you can find or two dozen, halved, on a bed of baby arugula, drizzled with red-pepper infused olive oil and the dressing:
half cup of goat’s milk yogurt
half cup of crumbled soft goat cheese
juice of three lemons
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
salt and pepper to taste
After dinner is the key lime cheesecake I made this morning.
I love this goddamn world. It is a fucking catastrophe. I wish sometimes that I’d be spared, but I won’t be. Neither will you. We’re both for the boneyard.
Let’s not squawk about it, okay?
Let’s have a little dignity.
I have found that I love to cook. I love it in the same way that I love to fight or shoot. It is like car chases and doing art and writing a good poem and hitting someone with a solid right cross.
Only it tastes better.
Test of a man:
Chop down trees and build a log cabin.
Build a boat and catch fish and cook them in a cast iron skillet with onions and fennel.
Get the best woman there is and make her love you. Don’t give her a choice.
Go into the woods and find the monster living there and fight him and either break him or kill him, his choice. Cook him and eat him or throw his rotten body into the sea or burn it up or become best friends.
Write a good book and read all of the good ones you can get your hands on.
Save a damsel in distress.
Get a tattoo from a disreputable character, drunk or sober.
Fight a lion, a tiger, and a snake. Win or lose, it don’t matter.
Bury someone for a friend.
Do what’s required, damn the cost.
Love with abandon, harder than you ever hit anyone.
Lash out in fury. Make the earth quake in fear of you.
Look death in the eye and watch him blink.
Put your daughter on your shoulders as you walk through the crowds at the fair. Give her the giant pink bear you won at the bottle toss booth.
Change the tire.
Take out the garbage.
Fix the roof.
Kill the chicken.
Put out the fire.
Get the cows in.
Batten down the hatches.
Do what they’re afraid you’ll do after all.
When it’s time to go, go down swinging.