Sunday, May 31, 2009

Full Service Hiatus

Just because I've been on hiatus somewhat, now looking back, doesn't mean I've neglected the blog entirely. All of the newsletter stuff and the real life visits -- all that's gone by the board. I just haven't done any of it, and I've felt better for it.

It's very refreshing to take what I used to feel was a responsibility -- sending out the newsletter, etc. -- and just drop kick it through the goal posts of life. I gave a stern boot's full shank to it and sent it packing, in a manner of speaking, to wander shank's mare quite on its own. Then the real life visits -- meeting with the readers/subscribers ... that was pure drudgery from the start, and it makes me yawn just to think of it. Like baby birds with their mouths open: Gimme, gimme, gimme!

I hesitate to mention again the worst of the bad lot -- Garrett Al -- because of something I read the other day. I was reading a thing about literature, about the good guy and the bad guy. In this case of course I'm the good guy and Garrett Al's the bad guy. But this literature expert -- probably a professor with a corduroy jacket and padded elbows and beady little glasses -- said the bad guy is just a projection of the good guy. They're basically, thematically the same guy. In fact the bad guy might have the upper hand because people like to hear about him more, and anyway, he exists as the good guy with his bad tendencies expressed openly.

The way I take a literature point like that is that this guy is saying Garrett Al and I are one and the same. Which has to be a crock because we exist quite independently of the page. But as far as the public knows, the professor would argue, based on the narrative of this blog, we're both at odds and mutually dependent, with him being thematically the same as me. I wouldn't say such theories are over my head. I've read, maybe not extensively but I've read. I don't always agree with everyone's assessment of literature, though, to tell you the truth. Like Shakespeare. I don't know why everyone's so gung ho about him. He only wrote one book, after all. But take someone like R.L. Stine, who wrote maybe 400.

We're not the same. Never have been. Never will be.

Anyway, in spite of my hiatus being a full bore reality, I've stopped in and kept things going at least at the daily maintenance level. So I appreciate knowing that about myself, and want to wish myself a happy rest of my hiatus, and many more.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hiatus Sweet Spots

As I've been enjoying my hiatus -- really, a whole lot -- I've been reacquainting myself with some of the simple joys of life.

Just today I was out on the lawn with the dog, thinking of the simple joys. Like flower buds, maple seeds, mosquitoes. Once in a while it suddenly hits me that it all works together. The maple seeds scatter all over the place profligately. Life's basic desire is to put out a half million seeds to maybe get one tree. It's sort of like Dad and Mom's great desire to reproduce -- with Dad having how many countless cells swimming and they ended up with me.

So I'm happy to be here, but I guess if I weren't here there wouldn't be anyone here (me) to feel sad about it. In a way it doesn't make much sense to say I'm happy to be here, since whatever happiness I have is very much a conditioned and conditional thing. I think of this whenever I hear people say -- like I believe I heard somewhere just yesterday -- people complaining about getting old "but it's better than the alternative."

Anyway, for whatever reason, vain or not, and I tend to think the universe has a right to enjoy itself, there I am, rhapsodizing, pensive, mulling, and appreciative -- then of course my dog takes a crap. I'm suddenly on edge because she's maintaining the hunch a little too long, meaning there might be a blockage, and meaning I might be called upon to shake her entire backside, then perhaps do some cleanup spritzing with the sink sprayer. But it's all part of life, which, while not the most enjoyable part, at least contributes to her happiness in not having to walk around the rest of the year with encrustation.

In all my rhapsodizing and mulling today I've been thinking of life's sweet spots. And if it weren't for this hiatus, I'd be right in the thick of the rat race and not fully aware, so that's a sweet spot right there. There's so many sweet spots it'd be impossible to list them all. Everything seems to have one. Like say you're pumping water. The pump is rusty and it's making a whining noise. You pump it up and down and can hear the various workings down there. With a little more work, you sense a fullness and presence and you know the workings have made contact with the water. There's a slight rush and definitely a sweet spot of knowledge when you know the water will be pouring out ... now.

I mentioned the dog going to the pot. We do it too, like taking a number one. That's just like the pump in the yard, especially when you get older, being rusty and taking work. When you're a baby, you're just peeing in your diaper. Then you're a slightly older kid, the on switch is no problem. You're peeing, laughing with your friends, messing up the side of the barn. But you get older and it can be tougher to get started. Especially like in a gas station toilet where you have several big truckers to your left and right standing over a six foot trough. Which hasn't happened to me lately, since 1) I try to avoid all such experiences; 2) They've retired most of the troughs now and have gone to your basic individual wall fixtures. So anyway, let's say it's sometimes hard to get started. It's partly mental. But then something happens, and you suddenly notice a sweet spot right in the center of your brain, and a full release is now your blessing.

I would love to study the phenomenon of sweet spots further. It's like they're peak experiences that could probably be multiplied. I think Zen is really a philosophy of sweet spots, but in that it's different from our Western distinctions of pleasure and pain, good and bad; in Zen you're seeing everything as a sweet spot. How they can see this entirely is beyond me at this point, because I still think their feelings would be the same as ours, and that pleasure would be a more objectively true sweet spot than pain. Like a mosquito to the neck. How is that a sweet spot? Maybe it's a sweet spot because mosquitoes have to eat too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Hiatus Through Thick And Thin

You don't know how hard it is for me sometime to maintain, or enforce, this hiatus break I took.

I see the way the world is, how society's going, politics, all that, and I almost feel compelled to jump in. I feel I probably have it within me to lead us all to a safer, saner world, one in which brother loves brother, and sorrow is gone.

How would I do it? Well, of course it depends on how high up I'm able to go. Let's say I just wanted to bring together the family heads or chieftains of my immediate neighborhood. I might start with a few speeches on the corner of our lot -- and I'd probably rally them with a free pig roast. People will come out for food. Then once the speeches were done, we'd synchronize our calendars and schedule meetings for better understanding. The Slumps always had the Swishers as their bitterest enemy, and vice versa, but were we to come together on the basis of a common humanity and a common neighborhood, some good might come out of it.

Then the higher up I went, at the citywide level, then county, then state, then nationally, then the western hemisphere, then the entire world, the speeches would have to vary to match the greater challenge. And for the pig roasts we'd obviously need a lot more pigs. You can figure that one pig would feed probably 25 people, and more if there's quite a few kids, which we know third world countries have in great abundance, just going by the ad on TV for the place where you feed an entire village for 99 cents a day.

Eventually the president would be having consults with me. I'd be on TV in some weird native dress I'd need to come up with, a turban, a big symbolic poncho, a Nehru jacket, and bedroom slippers, to show how pacifistic I am. I would have my team of advisers come up with a new universal symbol we could trademark and print on all our literature and coffee cups.

We would have a one world government without the fear and unpleasantness usually associated with that concept. Because anytime there was an outbreak of hostilities, I'd be there with one of my canned speeches and pork, which by then would also be canned so it wouldn't spoil. The people, I would reason with and send them home well contented. Any hotheads who would continue to stir up trouble we would -- I don't know what we'd do with them precisely. We'd probably have to resort, once in a while, to torture and lobotomies, and if those didn't do the trick, send them to the Phantom Zone. Just so it wasn't overdone.

Without a doubt it's hard to bring everyone together in a feeling of mutuality and brotherhood. Look at our own country. We have the entire Republican party wanting to secede from the Union, all the while proclaiming their love and patriotism for America; there's a disconnect there. But it could be done. Listen to their grievances, get them to shake everyone's hands, count to 10 if they feel their head going hot, give them counseling with the rates on a sliding scale, and maybe hire more civics teachers. Plus, all the time they'd know torture, lobotomies, and the Phantom Zone were out there. Since we already know they're amenable to torture if it's for the common good, I don't see it being a problem.

These things I'm tempted to jump in and do. But I will not violate the terms of my hiatus. I need to watch out for Number One, and that means time off, time away from responsibilities, no matter how great the opportunities for good are.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hiatus Pride

Everyone's got pride these days. The football team, the speech club, the debate society, even the ladies' aid:

Of work, work we're not afraid,
For we belong to the ladies' aid.

They're proud that they're not fearful of work. Which would make them poor candidates for a prolonged hiatus, unless you called it a retreat for renewal. Then they go off to a bunch of cabins at the camp, at which a speaker flown in from some rugged place like Montana comes in and tells them they need to work harder. But be refreshed.

Ack! I wouldn't give you a dime for the whole works, and, yes, I'm proud of my ability to discern the complete sham all this is. The rest of the world -- probably you reading this -- may go right along with the whole thing, but I don't. And I don't really know, maybe you don't either.

But ... pride. That's what we have. Ethnic groups have it, so they're out there marching in the parade with their native dress and a few cliche symbols from their heritage. Sexual orientation groups are out there marching in the parade. Flaunting it for all to see, and why not? There's no big reward in keeping it to yourself. You might say you're humble so you won't have pride. Right, sit in your little room and keep telling yourself that. You'll be sitting in your room till it falls off.

The actual fact is no one cares if you flaunt it in the parade. And no one cares if you sit in your room and playing humble. A few enemies might care, but the average family is just out there for their own little drama. And to get going as soon as it's over, hoping the line won't be too long to get a pork burger and needing to change Junior's diaper.

I've got pride right here. I've withstood the many attacks of my enemies. And I feel like marching in the parade. They ought to have a parade where everyone marches. Like we've got half the people watching the parade and half the people marching in it. Then the next year the half watching would be marching and the other half watching. Or twice a year and alternate so everyone gets a chance to march each year.

Then when you're marching, you can hold up or display whatever you're most proud of this year. Like if you bought one of those commemorative coins on TV -- one where the mold is being destroyed after the first 5,000 -- you could have it in its little case, and you're holding it, and moving it back and forth so the sun can hit it occasionally. If I did that I'd hire a couple of kids to hold a big banner in front of me, with some slogan like, "Behold The Coin."

I know what I'd be marching with this year. This big sheaf of hiatus posts from my blog. I'm printing them out and keeping the papers flat. I've got close to 50, something like that. They make a tiny pile so far, but they're growing. I've had actual enemies, friends. It does something for your pride to have actual enemies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kentucky Fried Hiatus

I honestly wasn't paying attention to what was right before me.

Like I was writing about yesterday, I was just letting my mind wander, and again I found myself seeing things in terrycloth towels. I saw a nude woman from the waist down close to one wrinkle. But just for a few seconds. I wasn't trying to focus but let her come into view as she chose and let her vanish as modesty dictated.

I really could find someone's daily fortune in the towels. I was thinking in terms of this, probably too analytically, as to what symbols I might see that would correspond to well known symbols, such as in the Tarot deck. It could lead to a whole new thing. Next time at the beach I might examine how towels are spread by people unconsciously. Because were I to know the predominant patterns of natural layouts, I would have the key to the spreads that would correspond most closely to what the psyche is most comfortable with.

OK, and this is funny, I want to comment on the picture. That's the garbage can in the bathroom. So I'm sitting there, not really paying any conscious attention to any of this, except the bottom half of the female figure in the one towel. She disappeared and I let her. I was just lazily looking around, not really focusing. For some reason I must have glanced down and I saw what looked like random black patterns on the sack in the garbage. And in a few seconds it suggested to me Colonel Sanders, which seemed strange; why would I be thinking of him? Then I focused in, and, amazingly, it was Colonel Sanders! It was a KFC bag and not a grocery sack like usual!

In a way, that sounds like a downer, because I really thought they were just random black lines. Then it turned out to be something very commercial and obvious. But the good part of it is that my consciousness made a good connection with what was actually represented even if I seemed to be straying in an unfocused, unconscious way. Which, if logic means anything, leads me to conclude that what I'm seeing in these towels actually is there! If I'm seeing what really is there on a bag -- without expecting it -- then it has to be true that I'm seeing what really is there in the terrycloth patterns. I need to find the other half of this girl!

I'm thinking this is a terrific breakthrough. It advances my journey by light years. I'm so far ahead at this point, I could lay down in the bushes and take a long nap and still beat the tortoise. I'm really going to go places with this. Every towel I see has a story to tell and I can get some kind of vibe going with it.

And to think ... none of this would've happened had I not been on hiatus. My time would've been occupied with all kinds of normal sorrow, depression, and frustration. But I took this break -- despite my many detractors -- and now I've had this breakthrough. It's stunning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Seriously Invested In My Hiatus

I think I've got a killer title today, huh? Huh? I'm "seriously invested" in my hiatus. Any old portfolio in a storm. When you've made an investment, you sit and wait for it to pay off. And this one has come up with three cherries every time.

I'm not much of an investor. But I've been known to buy a few scratch tickets. All without a payoff, of course, but the hope was there and that's also a reward. I've invested in myself too. Again, without much of a payoff, but occasionally I'm happy enough with life to get out of bed. If you know me, you know sometimes I just stare at the wall, but, hey, doesn't everyone?

Speaking of staring, one day I was sitting on the -- I was taking a -- I was in a particular place not doing very much, but whatever I was doing, it was a very personal thing. I was there, anyway, and some towels were hanging on the rack by the tub. And I was just looking at them for no particular reason. My eyes started going funky, crossed, and I thought I could see various shapes in the terrycloth. Like we do with clouds.

So, whether staring at the clouds, staring at the wall, or staring at towels, it's all the stuff that makes life so interesting. And that's worth all the investment we are willing to make.

But I wanted to say, the big thought I had that day, was that I could go around to country fairs and renaissance fairs, and tell fortunes based on staring at towels. Because I think I could. It's just as valid as staring into a crystal ball, obviously not as cliche. I've never heard of anyone else doing it, you can say that much for it.

I haven't really tested out the theory. Now that I'm seriously invested in my hiatus, maybe I could use some of the free time to practice a few fortunes. What might I see? I don't know. But I'm sure it could potentially be very spooky. When I was just drifting my eyes together, I was seeing actual people's faces, the outlines anyway, and filling in the blanks with my imagination. I could see some very frightening characters. Now that I look back on it, maybe all that was a premonition of some of the enemies of my blog who have been dead set against me taking a hiatus.

But it's all a blur, really. One of the weird things -- like I said, I've done this with towels, and I've also seen it in curtains, anything really -- is that you can see what you see. But then if you look away and look back it's hard to conjure it up again. I did that as a kid too, except most of that was with dust motes floating in the sunlight. I hated to lose track of the least little mote because I'd never be able to find it again. So somewhere out there, probably settled in a dark corner, are lots of dust motes that I've lost track of.

I could probably tell fortunes by looking at dust motes. I probably could. That would be wild. There'd be a story, "Local Man Reads Future In Dust Motes." Cool article. I think I just have a natural knack for telling fortunes. But to be absolutely honest I've never actually told anyone's fortune. If it didn't come true, I'd be very consternated.

The thing to do when telling fortunes is to keep it fairly non specific and indistinct and if you see anything too specific, just look away, and say, "The motes have gone silent." Or "The towel refuses to speak further." Then in your exhaustion, wipe your brow with it. Look, most dust motes are very silent anyway, so everyone would believe you. And there are very few people who believe that towels speak at all, so you're on solid ground there too.

"Seriously Invested In My Hiatus." What a killer title. That's a great one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Any Old Hiatus In A Storm

Of course I thought being on hiatus would be the answer to all my prayers. I felt the weight of the world, like Atlas carrying it around on his shoulders all day. But at least Atlas got a book named after him. All I got -- I was going to say All I got was this crummy T-shirt, but I'm afraid souvenir stores might have a copyright on it.

Anyway, don't make me laugh, because I don't think I can. That's how down I feel. I'm going to have to reach down deep today, and I don't know what I can pull up. Have you ever gone hog fishing? I haven't either except I've been there when other guys did it. You're crawling around in the river, reaching under stumps and down in holes hoping to get hold of a fish. I've heard some guys say they can sit there and pet the fish, and that's probably true, because you want to stroke it up till you get to the gills, then gently insert your fingers and finally come yanking it up out of the water, by then a mad, thrashing mess.

As far as I'm concerned, you're stroking things sight unseen, something might bite your hand off. That's what it's like, me crawling around here today. I could become partly paraplegic. Life is dangerous. It really is true that things can mash you, fall on you, crush you from the side, or open up and you suddenly disappear in a sink hole. My other grandpa and grandma were always telling me about the factory they worked in, who all lost fingers and hands in the last year from punch press accidents. Most of the old people of that little town walked around with missing pieces, physically not there but mentally still twitching phantom limbs. And that was the Grandpa who was dead at 59 from losing a lung to emphysema, then having a car fall on him and crushing the other one. There's a sharp edge somewhere waiting to slice you up, or a big dumb bulk just waiting to make a waffle out of you.

I'm really feeling it, the blunt end of life today. Like I'm under a mallet and a big blacksmith is about to pound a square peg into a round hole. Like insects feel when they're scurrying across the floor and someone chases and steps on them. Like a martyr at the stake.

I myself am Mr. Nice Guy when it comes to some bugs. Not flies. I rescued a big bug with probably 50 to 100 legs the other day. Took him out of the sink with a tissue and took him outside to let him go. I'm thinking How can I crush something that intricate? He's got more moving parts than a punch press. It'd be wild to hook sensors up to one of these bugs and watch his thoughts register on a tape printout. Let's say you had a tiny microsensor on each foot, and he's dropping them one at a time or maybe 10 at a time. It'd make an exceptional printout. If you could read his thoughts he'd probably like to have fewer feet but still he'd be hitting on every cylinder, at least mentally with phantom limbs.

It could be that I'm protecting nature just so nature can rally its forces and get me. I no sooner rescued that bug than I went out and a mosquito bit me. I think that's the first time in like three years. I've been remarkably lucky. I think maybe I've been spared out of the power of positive thinking. Like if I believe I won't get bit, I won't. I was out there and someone else had come by, a neighbor lady. She got bit by a mosquito and said so. At that second, I utterly lost all confidence and positive thinking and started thinking I might get bit. And it happened literally within two minutes, I got bit. Let me back up on that. It was around 10 minutes. I felt the sting and my hand swatted down and I smashed a mosquito to bits.

I've lost something. I'm not at one with nature. There's no sunshine on my brow. I'm undergoing what the old saints called the Dark Afternoon of the Soul. A storm is brewing, percolating, a slow drip. Here I sit, on hiatus. At this point I feel I can do no other.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No Hiatus Like An Old Hiatus

Age before beauty. Respect your elders. Don't badmouth an old person. As you are now, I once was. As I am now, you also shall be. The more wrinkles you have the more hiding places you have for your money. We have lots of well known sayings concerning the aging process, getting old gracefully, dying young, staying pretty...

I always liked the one about being too old to cut the mustard. It brings up a great image. And of course the one that says, There's no fool like an old fool. That's probably my favorite expression when it comes to old guys. It means you're a fool, but when you're old and desperate you show it more. Why? Well, you have lots of younger guys who are constantly aided in their foolishness by willing girls and other guys. You're young, lah-de-dah, and the world is your prize. But by the time the same guy is old (and a fool), the others have died from various STDs and he's busy groping at nurses who don't care. Hence the expression.

My hiatus -- at first pictured as short, sweet, and to the point -- has officially entered the phase of being so old there's no way back. It crossed a threshold at some point, maybe a week or so ago. It's gray around the temples, it's holding in its stomach when something in a short skirt walks by. There's cragginess on the face, a wrinkled forehead, and a sinking feeling when cleaveage is exposed. At this point, it's going to be nothing but shuffleboard, razzing waitresses, and competing to see who pays for coffee.

I thought it would be a great breather, a time to recoup my strength and resolve. But something happened on the way to recuperation. I took a wrong turn and ended up at Hopehaven Manor, which has the depressing slogan, "The last stop before the last stop." The aging process has advanced. I have brown spots. I look like crap. I have become Grandpa!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Hiatus On Top Of My Hiatus

It is the seventh day, so I must rest from my labors. That is, my labors of being on hiatus and defending it with every fiber of my being. I've been up, I've been down. I've had much strength -- at my peak I've been like Hercules. And I've experienced much weakness -- I felt like I had the backbone of a doily when my enemies came at me hardest. But what can you do? I fought back and got my second wind.

Resting from your labors is what should be done. You can work yourself into an early grave. Or you can say, Thus far and no farther!

You've probably seen some of the great rasslin' shows of the past. I know I have. You've got the guy standing there getting the tar beat out of him. The enemy is prevailing, doing these massive body chops. And the other guy stands there, wobbling. It seems like there must be an invisible rope holding him up because no man can stand so much torment.

But then the enemy takes one chop too many and it sparks a light of rebellion in the other guy. He becomes rigid, alert, and obviously about to begin a new, unexpected journey down the warpath. He's alive in his eyes, his shoulders are squared like iron, and he stomps with fury, with the worst fury a man can stomp with.

The first guy who had the offensive suddenly realizes I'm dead meat. So what's he do? He throws up his hands in a plaintive gesture of begging for mercy; he knows he can do no other. But we all know he was the last one to show mercy before, so he'll be the last one to receive it now. There will be no mercy.

His opponent has life running over the brim. Something perhaps in his muladhara has been struck, right in the sweet spot, like one of those strength things you pound at a carnival. And a beam of pure light and energy has ascended in a sensuous dance, twisting up the ida and pingala, all in a flash. And lights have gone off at the top, bells and sirens. The force of God has registered itself! No man can resist such force! It's at that moment that all mercy and pleas for the same are swept away in a tidal wave of the sternest wrath. Oh, this is going to be good!

The crowd at ringside senses it too, instantly, and they know the other guy will not live to see another morning. His children, if he has any, will ask their mother, if there is one, What happened to Daddy? if that's what he is. If they exist, and if they have an ounce of sense, they will soon realize, Daddy's not coming home, except perhaps in a body bag, with a toe tag describing the contents in the bag, because his face will have been beaten beyond any recognition and ability to identify. The gravedigger will insist on supernatural rituals of purification, lest the mourners call down judgment on themselves and him, not recognizing this was a righteous kill.

So there's the scene. The crowd at ringside takes a collective deep breath. Every eye has bugged out like a snow globe. The guy is begging for mercy, but the other guy stomps that stomp that is the last sound anyone in the area hears ... until they hear the most pulverizing cacaphony of echoing punches, gouges, bites, crowbar gongs, folding chair splats, thumb tack noises as he scatters them and gives the guy a full suplex right on them. Then he KOs the ref and borrows a can of lighter fluid, dousing the guy, who's passed out. He just happens to have a keg of gunpowder at ringside, so he hoists it in an instant and breaks it all over him. Then he strikes just one lighted match. Before he casts it down he looks around the arena, grinning, beseeching the crowd's continuing ovation.

Then there it is! The flame strikes! The guy's little beard disappear in a flash, as well as all body hair. In fact it was such a massive explosion, you couldn't even make out the beard and the body hair disappearing; that's just my conjecture. It was completely over with. Most of the crowd was killed, but not one survivor demanded his money back; it was that good of a show.

And so I have said, Thus far and no farther. I will continue this hiatus, and today, the seventh day, I will rest even from that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Hiatus Persecution Complex

The longer my hiatus goes the more obstinate I feel about it. At first, when I first had the overwhelming sense of yearning for a hiatus that could not be stemmed, I thought it would be quick and painless. I would disappear for a few days, no big deal. But then...

...We all remember the basic skeleton outline, framework, and scaffolding of what happened. Something went haywire in the minds and hearts and spirits of my "friends" and "followers," including a few who knew my actual address, where I live, from our real life meetings, and were there, at first solicitous and wondering, then they became cold, as though meaning to scare me straight (to return prematurely), then they became very hot when it was clear that their tricks of persuasion, including cajoling, were not going to be successful. (I don't do blue material, but I mentioned it already, that one tormented soul -- G.A. -- even went all perversion ballistic on me, or at least tried to, but I fought back and called the law on him.)

The whole thing with Garrett Al, I think, threw some of the others into a tizzy. They could see I meant business -- so that made them up the ante and boycott the blog. And when someone does that on the internet, thanks to the lightning speed of emails and hateful blog postings, it's generally successful. Because the typical internet user is someone sitting on the edge of his seat just waiting for someone to boycott. Or to bombard with hateful emails, descriptive with all sorts of filthy language as to what they picture me to be like, what my attitudes and actions have suggested about me, and what they'd like to do if they could lay their hands on me. In that regard, Garrett Al was typical, although with him his actions spoke louder than words.

Different ones suggested different things as to what Grandma and I may be doing together here in the house, which was filthy and completely out of bounds. Some of the emails mentioned her looks, accused her of Photoshopping her picture to make her look younger, of using Botox, of having a boob job, and lots of other things of this sort. It really taught me something about the internet, that everyone's minds are in the gutter. The fact is that Grandma has been entirely chaste since Grandpa's death -- and probably long before, since that's not what killed him. She's nothing but a little old lady who's biggest thrill in life is to find doilies at garage sales. She has a few thrills actually, that, and eating apricots, and sleeping.

And I made it clear in my replies that I did not appreciate their vile sentiments. I responded in kind, I will admit, turning their vile words of slander back on them. You'd be proud. Even though I don't do blue on the site, I know how to string it all together with the best of them in private, and so I strung together numerous F bombs and many words of slang for body parts, functions, solid excretions, liquid emissions, and well-known acts together with very personal attacks -- even including some geographical stereotypes where appropriate -- to let them know I can give as well as take. It's always been my firm belief that if you can't say something nice about someone ... then you may as well tell it like it is.

Of course all of this only stiffened my resistance to calls that I end my hiatus. It's the oldest truth in the book: "The persistence of resistance is equal to the insistence of existence." It's quite literally an existential crisis when you see it in those terms: The enemies insist on the existence of my blog, probably my newsletter, probably the real life meetings. But when they insist, I resist, and therefore my hiatus persists. And not only that, but whenever words rhyme so well and tell the actual truth of the matter, you can't help thinking there's some divine inspiration at play.

Being intransigent in the face of bitter persecution was what gave the martyrs their strength. They fed on it. You know, it's something that oppressive regimes have never learned -- Pol Pot, Stalin, George W. Bush -- that the best way to get rid of your enemies is to ignore them. Then they fold like origami, at least the second generation does. But instead these evil leaders plotted and schemed and worked their evil intent on the lives, bodies, and minds of their enemies. And what happened? In each case, the vile leaders were eventually swept into the dustbin of shameful history and their opponents triumphed.

So here I am! Nagh, nagh, nuh-lagh, nagh. The hiatus will go on as long as I feel I'm being persecuted, just to teach you all a well-deserved lesson.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Navel Gazing My Hiatus

I've never been accused of being a navel gazer before. Regular readers -- those who were here before the mass desertion following the start of my hiatus -- know I was always looking onward and upward. I feel I've always been a "next mountain" kind of guy, not planting flags under my feet during present conquests, but always looking ahead to the next mountain, where maybe I would plant the flag.

But with the hiatus and with being left essentially alone, in reviewing my thoughts from the last couple of weeks especially, I can see that I've degenerated into navel gazing. There's something very inward happening, even downward; I don't know if I'd call it a downward spiral quite yet, but it's close. My eyes are strictly averted downward toward the center of my stomach region and perceiving in their gaze, staring back, my own navel. Which, you know, if you put your finger in there and twist it a couple of times, quickly becomes painful. I wonder if you can get cancer of the bellybutton.

Actually, the phrase "navel gazing" isn't meant to be taken literally. It's a term that refers to one's self-preoccupation, whether physically or emotionally. It's another way of describing a person's withdrawal from outward circumstances, for whatever reason, and becoming more inwardly directed.

Checking around on the internet I found this interesting quote: "Actually, the phrase 'navel gazing' isn't meant to be taken literally. It's a term that refers to one's self-preoccupation, whether physically or emotionally. It's another way of describing a person's withdrawal from outward circumstances, for whatever reason, and becoming more inwardly directed."

Now, finding myself a navel gazer indeed, everything begins and ends with me and what I'm preoccupied with at the moment. I'm feeding on myself. I've become a parasite whose host is myself, and once I've consumed myself, I don't know what will happen. With my last braincells I'll probably have to find a way to clone myself just so I won't miss too many meals. But how can that be sustainable in the long run?

Well ... that will be the "next mountain," something to worry about and conquer when I see it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wrestling And Rasslin' With My Hiatus

Thank you for stopping by today. I'm amazed that you found this blog, because in the last month or so it's mostly been abandoned. When you've found yourself here you've found yourself in one of the loneliest backwashes of the internet, where there's a lot of forlorn birds standing one-legged on fence posts, looking bleak against a gray sky backdrop. One sits alone this morning, overlooking a mostly mossed in northern fork of a lake, and a lone carp does that whole thing of coming up and slowly gulping at the surface.

What's happened to make it like this -- this blog -- is that I made the decision a little over a month ago to go on hiatus. For various reasons, some of which I can't even recall -- it's been a real stew -- I felt that I needed the time off. I was heavily involved in the lives and personal clinging of some of my readers in real life. I was cranking out a newsletter for those who felt the severe hunger we get in our media-deprived world. And of course I was right here, day after day, endlessly on top of many issues. It turned out that I had some abilities to guide people spiritually and psychologically, so there for one beautiful moment in time I was cashing in on the whole self-help fad.

But for me, it turns out, the more I give, it's not necessarily the more I get. That drying, mostly abandoned lake is a picture I resonate with. The hopelessness, the fear of the future, the feeling that you're being sapped utterly and completely -- these are all feelings that make up the average day for me. And you know, below the surface of any lake dwells all kinds of bottom feeders and very funky troubles in the mud at the bottom. The bottom of a lake like this can have bubbling underwater heat pockets and it can happen that a hole will suddenly appear and suck down the lake's precious life water. You see that ... and you see a lone bird standing one-legged on a fence post ... and you know that life can be a real downer.

So I took the time off. That's the hiatus. Ya-ha. I say that facetiously. Because nothing about it has been quite right. I've been up, I've been down. I thought I'd made peace with it, that I'd come to grips with it, etc., only to realize that it's still an enormous struggle. A little while back I did a very good study on the difference between wrestling and rasslin'. Those thoughts keep coming back to me, with this strange conclusion: that I'm both wrestling and rasslin' with my hiatus. Both!

Wrestling is a gentleman's sport, sticking out your dainty finger as you minuet around the ring and eventually come to light grips and apologetically take the other guy down. Rasslin' is when you're a couple of braindead gladiators and you're sticking your finger in the other guy's eye -- what will fit of it -- and you're dull to human feelings as you despoil the other guy in a worthless heap.

Wrestling is being finicky about whether your toe brushed the out of bounds line and insisting that you be released via that technicality. Rasslin' is carrying the other guy to the line, crashing him down well beyond it, then picking him up and delivering him downward at 100 mph with his butt bearing the full impact of your positioned knee. Then killing the ref for good measure.

Wrestling is to shake hands with your opponent, or lightly bump knuckles, or touch foreheads, or give light shoulder taps, and afterward go out for a glass of milk and wish each other well for the evening. Rasslin' is to take the guy's hand off, nail it to a board, retrofit inside it the workings of one of those old Billy Bob fish plaques, then push the button and watch it flop around while singing "Take Me To The River." Meanwhile the other guy is sitting in a bar with a bloody stump plotting his revenge, which he hopes will include after the next match him nailing something else to a Billy Bob plaque of his own, specifically a center protuberance and two hanging sidekicks.

This's what my hiatus has become, both wrestling and rasslin'. The good and beautiful, wrestling. The bad and depicable -- but always more interesting -- rasslin'.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coexisting With My Hiatus

I'm a child of the Cold War. I'm terrified of all enemies. But I also know that Mutual Assured Destruction is not the answer. Because look, it's destruction, it's mutual, and it's assured. Assured means it's going to happen. So something's gotta give. Either we figure out a way to destroy the other guy without destroying ourselves or we have to take the next best option, find a way to coexist. I hate coexisting, like anyone, but that's what you have to do if you didn't nip the other guy in the bud when you had the chance.

All that to say that sometimes I've viewed my hiatus -- the time off I've been taking -- as an enemy that might lead to my destruction. Already I have seen "friends" and "followers" desert me in droves. That made a real dent in my pride, and I don't know that I've yet experienced the full, terrible psychic price there is in such an experience. I was riding high there for a while, surrounded by readers, well-wishers, and hangers-on. I was bringing in a hefty income from Google Ads. Until it all went away, like Girl Scout cookies.

Now, just because I wanted to take some time off -- you'd think I killed their dog -- all of it is a fading memory, leaving me full of bittersweet longing and plenty of salty tears. I don't like crying. I've always felt it was unbecoming for a man to shed tears, and I know that most psychologists back me up on that. Some things are best kept in or repressed. But I'm able to admit it's happened to me a few times, and even now I feel choked up, like there's a knot in my throat the size of a ping pong ball, but heavier, like a pinball marble, only bigger.

So if you've been ignorantly saying, Take time off if you want it, or What's the big deal anyway?, now you can see what the big deal is. It hasn't been an easy experience for many reasons.

But still I've insisted on taking this hiatus, and that's where the need for coexistence comes in. If it, my hiatus, wants to exist, it has to meet me halfway; don't be cutting deals with enemies of the blog, such as striving to drive me into the ground, further in the hole. This hiatus, after all, depends on me for its continued existence. One could argue that I have the upper hand in this whole "arms race," because I am a living thing with a will, and the hiatus is only a term for the time off that I, the living thing, am taking. In a very real sense, then, I'm at loggerheads with a concept.

The concept, however, becomes more than conceptual when I, the living thing, set it apart, or, rather, when I divide time -- my own living space -- into hiatus and non-hiatus time/space. That's where it becomes a part of my life essentially, because it is now the environment in which I move and breathe. To terminate it out of pride, let's say, is to change my environment in a rash way and thereby to affect myself and not just the concept. If I'm driven by the money I've lost, simply, or the influence I've lost over my readers, then I'm pursuing vanity, because it takes away my choice of a hiatus, of future concepts. So it's a real struggle. If you lose your concepts there's nothing left.

What I need to do is to realize that I am this conglomerate of concepts -- made up of all my physical parts and mental parts -- my self-image itself is a concept. And realizing that, I need to find a way to coexist with all the parts, including this present hiatus, which has thrust itself to the fore over and above all other parts. (It might be more accurate to say that I have done the thrusting and the concept has remained stationary. It's tough to understand, like math class.)

IN OTHER NEWS -- I visited another guy's blog yesterday and was stunned to see that he was on hiatus too, and had blogged about it! His situation is this, that he is a gamer. I'm thinking a gamer is someone who plays a lot of online games. I can see how something so obviously empty and fraught with vanity would be very unfulfilling.

The way he mentioned his hiatus -- as I'm recalling, having only skimmed it in a few seconds -- was that he needed the time off from such a vain pursuit (my words) and that having taken the hiatus, he might be ready very soon to come back to his friends online to play more games with them.

So, however he did it, I don't know, but somehow he went on hiatus and still managed to keep friends. That's a first.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coming To Terms With My Hiatus

Finally, after what can only be described as a very tumultuous, gut-wrenching, agonizing, and unenjoyable time, I feel like I am finally coming to terms with being on hiatus. It's been tough.

I know that sounds weird to just about everyone. Why would anyone feel themselves so drastically at odds over having time off? You might say, You want time off, take it. Or you might wonder, He's taking time off? Big deal. Why is this something we should concern ourselves with?

Those are all good points, I will admit. I do share the power of normal reasoning and can see that people take time off in life all the time, like a vacation, a couple of sick days, a morning and afternoon break, maternity leave, not to mention various expulsions, time out in the corner, and even prolonged imprisonment.

Little Johnny taking time out in the corner and Big Johnny taking time out in the penitentiary are two sides of the same coin. You're hoping that Little Johnny learns his lessons early and doesn't grow up to be Big Johnny. And you're hoping that Big Johnny will be set straight, steered right, get his ducks in order, learn to fly right, and eventually get out and save the taxpayers a lot of wasted money.

I'm not adverse to taking time off. I agree. You want a break, take one. If you work yourself to an early grave, someone else will be doing your work then, thus proving you weren't irreplaceable. Life went on without you before you were born, chances are it won't come to a screeching halt just because you worked yourself to death and were buried at 35.

But there's a whole different dynamic at play here in the world of ideas, teachings, the wisdom that is shared in my blog, and formerly in the newsletters and real life meetings. I've been putting forth things at a higher plane, let's say, things that you can't get anywhere else. I feel responsible for that, as though I'm like the Mama Bird and the rest of you are the hatchlings. If I simply kick you out of the next, where will you feed? See?

Were I to make my hiatus permanent retirement, that would be something major. As it is it's still a hiatus, designed to be temporary. And I'm hoping that's the way it will stay, and that I will be back in the full swing of things sooner rather than later. But just so you know, I'm pulling away a little bit at least, and am feeling better about it. I'm not so nervous, antsy, or as strung out as I was. I am definitely coming to terms with my hiatus and the idea of being on it.

Again, I'm hoping to be back one of these days, and at least to get the blog going again in full force. I'm not sure about the newsletter. And I'm very pessimistic about restarting real life meetings -- in fact those will not be happening again. A certain act of perversion attempted against my person left a mental scar that time has thus far been unable to heal. (For this we have Garrett Al to thank.)

Perhaps I shall be back. I feel like I should. But not at this time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Making Peace With My Hiatus

I finally feel like I'm getting acculturated to being on hiatus, and am settling in.

This might sound weird to you -- like, Why would anyone need to adjust to time off? Or, We thought you were already so into your hiatus that there would be very little acculturation necessary, in our opinion, if any.

Oh, my friends, you still do not know me? I have had your interests perpetually before my mind's eye. The idea that tending my little flock here was (1) a responsibility, and, (2) an opportunity. It would be an opportunity because of the many valuable teachings about life I can pass on, wisdom, that sort of thing; and a responsibility because I set my mind to write this blog one time, and I don't like to give up easily.

You should know that it's been rough for me to be on hiatus. A quick scanning of my posts over the last month ought to prove that. I've been up, I've been down. My spirits have soared but more often they've been in the toilet. Right now I feel like I'm choked up, gasping for the breath just to get me through the next few minutes of breathing. There's perpetually a dagger in my heart, and that gets old.

But as time goes on, it's getting easier. This of course moves me closer and closer to out and out permanent retirement, I should warn you of that. But I'm still not saying it's a done deal. Because I could come back at any point. We're not there yet. What's getting easier, though, is the sense that I can't (and probably shouldn't) see this blog as such a terrific responsibility. Just as I dropped the newsletter and the real-life meetings I should be able to drop the blog as well without too many qualms.

I know a few of you still check in to see how things are going. For some of you, those who still view me in a positive way, you probably want me to end the hiatus all together, as well as all talk about permanent retirement. The vast majority of my former visitors -- those I would call enemies at this time -- would probably taunt me to my face. Stay or go, it makes no difference to us. I sense your apathy. But it's not strictly apathy, because you're still emotionally involved in seeing me fall. That's not apathy, that's spite. Or wishing someone trouble. It hurts, but that's your way.

As for my own feelings -- I won't deny it, there are still some very raw moments. But over all, like I said, I'm starting to make peace with the whole thing. The time off, the time I'm killing, there are some satisfactory moments. It's not all fretting and being consumed by the sense of responsibility. For the most part each day is a blessing. Putting my feet up, scratching when and where I need to, and just taking it easy. I don't know that I was made to be a public person. I'm just me.

Well, that's where we stand. This may not be welcome news to you -- whether you like me or not -- but I am definitely making peace with the idea of being on hiatus.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Theme From "Hiatus!"

I've got time to kill now that I'm on hiatus. Serious time. And when you've got time to kill, you don't care how you kill it.

I was killing a little time listening to music. I'm sure we all agree on the obvious, that anything involving the arts is a massive waste of time. And music is right up there on the top of the list of massive time wasters. It's in the air, then it's gone. It's like smelling a strange gas odor but your ears do the picking up, not your nose. It's in, it's out, it's gone.

I'm bothered by the serious finite qualities of music. A song is over with very soon, the notes they use are always the same. The same old rhymes. With some music, though, like classical music, they thicken it up a bit -- like putting a lot more flour than you need in the bread -- with a lot more instruments squawking back and forth at each other, and they make it more mysterious by having everyone do his own thing once in a while. Then they throw in a lone kettle drum. But even with that it's so obscure you lose interest.

None of this is to say that I don't like music. I obviously do or I wouldn't be going to garage sales all the time picking up everyone else's castoffs. That might be part of the problem. It's hard to treasure the music I have when I'm getting it for a dime apiece. Usually it's more. So I have big stacks of CDs occasionally falling over and getting stepped on.

But one huge problem for me is the way they act like the music in the CD is so precious that they're going to have the FBI on you for playing it. It's sound in the air. Anyone can hear it. I was just reading the fine print on a CD and it explicitly states that "Any performance of the music herein" will have the FBI on you. There's enough warnings there that each CD ought to come with a small chunk of barbed wire, just to make sure you stay away. Then the FBI could hang out at doctor's offices, and anyone in for a tetanus shot they could immediately arrest.

One of the ones I got yesterday was a collection of Henry Mancini songs. Easy listening. Grandma even likes easy listening. It's pabulum fun. I also got a couple Guy Lombardo collections, and some others from the Guy Lombardo family of music, like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. So you can see I scored big time. Next thing you know some of Grandma's friends might start coming around to see me! And as far as I'm concerned, Any Old Port.

I probably shouldn't admit it, because of the weird laws we have, but somehow I did accidentally hear some of it ... a few of Guy's tracks, a few from a collection of old singles (Dooley Wilson, Larry Clinton, The Ink Spots), and some by Mancini. He has a few tracks there that knock me out, familiar stuff to all. Is he still alive? If not, he really knew his stuff. If so, he really knows his stuff. But like most stuff like this, it's over in a flash. I'm thinking Is the FBI here yet? How much hard time could I get for listening to a three minute song?

The FBI did visit me one time and it was enough to scare me straight. I myself hadn't done anything wrong, but they were interviewing everyone in the neighborhood as to what they knew or didn't know about a particular individual. And when they knew or didn't know whatever it was. I gave them only the facts, hoping none of it would come back to haunt me on the witness stand in months to come, that I in fact didn't know anything about the person or the matters involved in whatever case it was they were investigating, which I still don't know. Maybe he had a big record collection and they put 2 and 2 together.

It was a valuable experience for me, because it gave me a definite fear of the FBI (1), and additionally it taught me to keep my curtains closed and to try not to know anything about anyone. To this day if I'm anywhere and I hear people talking about anything, I put my fingers in my ears and loudly go, "La la la!" And now here I sit with all these cheap CDs warning me about the FBI, whose agents might actually be able to hear them playing even through the thick curtains. They do have one of those "Big Ears" that you see at football games.

DISCLAIMER: Everything written in this blog post is for entertainment purposes only. I don't actually have any CDs nor do I listen to them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Hiatus Kind Of Numb

I'm barely stirring this morning, let alone up and at 'em.

It might be a chemical imbalance kind of day. Or maybe the synapses are misfiring. I've got nothing, no Zoloft, No Doz, Loadoff, Crank, Horny Goat Weed to deaden the pain or dull the senses. In fact I took my very last children's aspirin this morning, so now the little clacking plastic container has fallen silent. It's very zen to shake an empty pill container. But science tells the reason it's silent, no compressed molecules within to make contact with another body. It's like a pair of maracas if an enemy came in the middle of the night and drained out the beads. The beads inside are the musician's slaves. He shakes it and gets the applause but the beads are the ones sweating out a very jarring experience.

I do have a cup of coffee. I stood looking at my dwindling supplies. Milk that expires today. I thought maybe I'd have nothing. Just enjoy the experience. But I went for the coffee, then some milk, since we still have today, then a little orange juice, then three pieces of bacon, then some Grape Nuts, a tiny bowl. That was a turn around for someone who wasn't going to have anything. So at least I have the desire to make an upward swing, assuming this helps. The coffee will probably help more than anything, although, you know, coffee has this one curious side effect, which means going to the bathroom a lot more.

I should have kept Old Faithful around to receive the drainings of another Old Faithful. (It was installed at the south end of our property back in March.) There's really nothing like urinating in Old Faithful, as a couple of guys have discovered, according to the news. It doesn't really hurt the geyser, of course, and it brightens your own life. Maybe that's what I need. But you really do need to time it just right, because once that whoosh of scalding water comes against you you'll wish you'd just gone against a tree.

I like that one album by The Who that shows them taking a leak against an old concrete coal bunker or something. It'd be great to be together, let's say, the two guys in Wyoming, me, and The Who, all having a pee party at Old Faithful. But if we timed it wrong, it'd never happen again. Because The Who won't be fooled again, and once they saw the water ascending they'd definitely be going mobile, peeing as they ran over the hills, maybe singing, "I Can Pee For Miles."

That lifted my spirits a little, but now that paragraph's over and I'm feeling my old numb, sinking feeling starting in again. Maybe I need to do something. Some days the hiatus is a great thing. Today it's not so great.

But the hiatus lives on...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Local Man Takes Hiatus

If you want to take the temperature of the nation, start with me. I am the local man, who just so happens to write his own blog. I'm as average as they come. I'm grassroots, rank and file, salt of the earth, and local.

Sometimes I know I seem to flatter myself that I'm above the average station. That I'm thinking thoughts mortals aren't generally privy to. That still could be. But when it comes to official demographics, socio-educatio kinds of stuff, stats, consumptive patterns, all of that, I'm very very typical.

I'm true to type as the local man. I consume what is necessary in the course of a day. About a half a pound of bacon, a few cups of coffee, other food and beverages, utilities, a roll of regular toilet tissue, and a few public services. I maintain a solid existence as a breathing, pulsating individual, intent on keeping his life going whether it seems vain or not.

When threatened I fight back. I avoid pain to the best of my ability. I try not to be taken by surprise, whether by criminals, crooks, perverts, terrorists, or unexpected medical expenses. I self diagnose to the best of my ability and seldom cry Wolf to my doctor. I keep him happy by exercising twice a month whether I need it or not.

You would think someone so typical would make the news occasionally. But it seems to be just the opposite that happens. The local man is overlooked in favor of the more eccentric, imbalanced individual, or the sick who suddenly fly off the handle. That being said, when I take a hiatus, it doesn't make the news.

I can tell about it at my blog, which I write without any outside help or assistance. All the ideas and content here are of my own doing. I use my imagination to the best of my ability. And I shun prefabricated ideas that may be suggested at "blog idea" sites. The day I use an idea that someone else has secondhand will be the day that I go into mandatory permanent retirement.

My hiatus will continue. Let there be no misunderstanding about that. But when I come back -- assuming I do -- I will continue on as the local man who has works only from his own ideas. I believe in that as a principle and no one will be able to talk me out of it.

I seek not vainglory or vain glory!


CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two seasonal Yellowstone National Park concession workers have been fired after a live webcam caught them urinating into the Old Faithful geyser.

Way to go, brothers -- or maybe brother and sister -- I've done this myself. It's a very satisfying experience and leaves pleasant memories, especially after the scalding heals.

As you may recall, back in March I actually owned Old Faithful for a short time. It was an interesting time, which can be found in the March archives.


Those guys who peed in Old Faithful, they're really "in hot water" now, huh? Huh? Huh? Give it to me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Left Behind By Hiatus

The world is spinning on its merry way. And time marches on. While I sit here in my hiatus, watching it make its way farther out of sight.

At one point I was right there in the saddle, keeping up, sometimes setting the pace, calling the shots, and writing my own ticket. Life was a banquet and I was at the head table. I called to "Garçon" to bring another round of drinks as I made rather merry with my friends. I was swinging with the best of them, boy. All the best clubs, discotheques, blog rolls.

I guess I didn't know what I had till it was gone. Which is always a lesson worth learning. If only I could grasp the lesson before suffering the consequences. My father had the same trouble, which was how he became a monk in the first place. It's a little something I like to call "not looking before you leap." Or not looking far enough ahead to know it's going to be a disaster. Because once you've renounced everything, it's hard to get it back. You're left scratching like a blind bantam hen.

He got some of it back, leading of course to his marriage to my mother and my birth seven months later. But he had to leave behind a bunch of stuff in California, probably because the other monks needed to know they weren't supposed to be doing those kinds of things. I'm thinking he didn't look before he leapt, but maybe he did. It's one thing to put it out there, it's another to put it in their face and make them grin and bear it. At least in the short term. I don't think he got the last laugh exactly.

But enough about ancient history. I've got my own grief today. Caused by taking this hiatus. Which seemed like a good thing at the time. Until now when I look around and see how much I left behind, and the fact that life is leaving me behind more and more as we speak. It's all going away. I'm left here alone.

If I were outside -- which I'm not -- the rain would be streaming down my face, washing away my tears. You know what? I think I'll do that. It's still raining pretty good. I'll go outside, stand in the rain, and shake my fist in proud defiance. And shout words of derision in their general direction. You never know. Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. There's a certain value in being the only one left. I may rise again!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stolen Moments Of Hiatus

Why am I even here? It's ridiculous to have these precious moments of my hiatus stolen from me, and right under my nose while I watch. But I keep right on a'givin' and everyone else keeps right on a'takin'.

I will allow it for these few moments, but, please, I must get back quickly to my reverie. Anyway, today might be a good time to allow myself the chance to climb up on the soap box and spout off a little on certain personal issues. Something like this, as to what the future may hold.

I'll hasten to say that I don't see the hiatus coming to a complete end. Permanent retirement seems like the most obvious option to take at this time. But I'm still not there. Officially, the hiatus goes on with the possibility that it will end. Were permanent retirement to happen -- just saying -- the hiatus would have a more definite status or stability. It would be subsumed by permanent retirement, making the usage of distinct terminology to describe my activities -- hiatus or permanent retirement -- moot. I pledge that if I take the step toward permanent retirement that I will also permanently retire all talk of a hiatus per se.

I would guess that permanent retirement would mean no more updates here. Just like my present hiatus ought to, technically, mean no updates. But it's more likely now, such as my status is, for updates, because the situation needs to be stated and its details made clear. To take a hiatus and not to say so is to give people the impression that I'm in permanent retirement. And since a hiatus by nature is not an ending, although it can evolve into that, periodic updates are only reasonable. My own willingness to make regular updates speaks to my attention to detail, always wanting to be upfront about my intentions.

But I go both ways on that. One, I do want to be upfront about my intentions. Then there's the other side; I resent the moments that are essentially stolen from me in order to do so. Because when I'm on hiatus I want that to stand for something. I want people to back off and give me some space. Standing too close or being up in someone's face is rude. Everyone wants their private space, a chance to withdraw once in a while. And I'm no different.

Monday, May 11, 2009

When I Hear The Word "Hiatus"

Every time I hear the word "hiatus," if it's in the next 10 minutes or anytime in the future, I will think of all I've accomplished here.

I took this hiatus and essentially declared independence from those who would clamor after me, those who would make demands on my time, and those who expect much while giving little in return.

Not that I expected anything in return. What I do in life is a labor of love, that's well known. I see a challenge, a target, and I bend my head down like a bull and charge full bore into it. Out of love, which is just how my mind works, in concert with my heart. I'm all heart and all head.

But a month or so ago I was drowning here. I was going down for the third time and no one would throw me a rope or inner tube. I was sinking without the slightest bit of support. I looked to you to help me but you stood there, oblivious to my plight.

It was then that I had to reach down and find something in myself, and I saved myself. I said, Enough! I made one of the firmest decisions of my entire life when I saw that despair, and knew that there and then I had to take a hiatus. It was a matter of me going down for the last time. And that moment was the moment of truth.

I don't know exactly how I did it. But I do know why. Because it wouldn't get done otherwise. No one came to assist! As far as you were concerned, Let him drown. Maybe he'll bob around out there like a cork in a very pleasant way before eventually ingesting enough water to kill any man.

It's true. In a figurative way, I felt my lungs filling up with moisture. My breathing became shallow and nearly stopped all together. I felt a kind of bombasia in my mind, glistening up and enlightening all my senses, and I knew in my last seconds of sentience, I'm overwhelmed, yes, but I still have it in me to save myself. The swirling sensation in my mind was like a kaleidoscope with many special effects added to it. Some were beautiful. I could have drifted off looking at them, except for my natural fighting spirit that came to the fore.

At that second, all at once, I tightly clutched my fists. (This is figurative, not literal, but picture it.) I looked up toward the surface and could just see the sun as a small, hazy, and indistinct flicker. But I went straight up toward it like a Titan rocket and launched myself six feet out of the water if it was an inch. Then I swam to shore. In fact I was at the shore the second I aimed myself toward it.

It was then that my last ounce of energy was completely spent. I crawled on the beach and gasped for air. And I swore in thoughts, not words, that without any further ado I must take a break, a hiatus. I must. I'll repeat that: I said, I must. When that happens you know your fate has been determined, there's no turning back, no alternate course that may be charted.

So my hiatus was begun.

Friends, no matter the great resentment I've stirred in many of you, and I've heard enough to know you're simmering, I feel it necessary to continue my hiatus. So it was, so it shall be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rubble My Hiatus Has Left

Everything's desolate. Old ladies are screaming. Old men have given up their pills. Young men have little hope for the future. Young women have dropped their compacts and fled. It's like that one famous Picasso painting, "Generica." So named for the generic havoc that was caused when people had no hope, like when war consumed them. You see their bitter struggle, how they turned on each other and were at each other's throat.

If I knew anything about painting I could definitely give a blank canvas a run for its money. The canvas would see me coming and meet me halfway. I'd go to the art store to get supplies and people would fall to their knees to commission something from me. I would be signing my autograph to blank canvases and simply selling those. Because I have the art up here, in my mind. But, alas, I don't have any actual artistic ability down here with my hands.

One big reason for my artistic limitations has to be the fact that I'm way too self-conscious. I know what would happen if I looked at a blank canvas. It'd be just like this, I'd be thinking I don't want to imitate, I don't to paint cliches, I don't want to do what they expect, I just want it to be real. But exactly what that is ... yes, I have the ideas up here ... I wouldn't be able to paint because my hands wouldn't coordinate with my mind when I picked up a brush or a pencil.

Really, though, I do have enough masterpieces stored away in my brain, up here, that I have to triple bolt my door at night just to keep art thieves from stealing me. Then they'd have me on sale at Sotheby's -- and because I would have to waste so much time everyday trying to explain why I'm so valuable, I know I'd get bored and very frustrated.

I think there's a lot of inspiration in desolation like war. I like to drive by poor neighborhoods, like a block away from where we live, just to be inspired. And you know that I'm something of a Skidrow aficionado. I'm a connoisseur of condemnation. If I see a kid wandering through the rubble, it puts me in an artistic frame of mind.

You know how some people hate those commericals for the Christian League Of Helping Poor Children in other countries. You've got the big well-fed guy from the United States walking through a slum. And you think, couldn't this guy at least have lost some weight before he filmed this commercial? And you know he's staying in a fancy trailer or hotel somewhere. But there he is crying big tears for their plight. I like those commercials, especially if we could get rid of the American guy. And I'm sitting there with my hands framing the scene, as though I'm about the paint another masterpiece. Because squalor is a great subject for art.

Well, squalor ... rubble ... desolation ... that's what my hiatus has wrought for me. There have been good times. Walking around the half acre, having the sun smile on me, all that. The days off. The occasional root beer float. Dreaming of bigger and better things, like going to the store and seeing what food they're giving away samples of today. All those things take time, and having a hiatus from the blog and my newsletter has given me the time.

But like I said, it's left behind a lot of desolation. I've lost everyone who ever came to this blog. They've deserted me for other Grandma imitators, and possibly news sites. And certainly the internet hasn't been the same since they introduced pornography to the general public. The day they did that my traffic dropped like a rock. And I never got that traffic back either. But I'm strict on one subject, I will not run any blue content here ... not for any reason. If you're a pervert looking to get your jollies off from something twisted you think I might say, then please, I'm begging you, leave this site right now!

So I don't know what will be next. Maybe I'll use some of my hiatus time to get some art supplies and try again. I wonder how big a canvas I should start with. It can't be any bigger than the door. I don't want to leave it out overnight and have thieves take it half finished. Maybe I'll get some of that fluorescent chalk and a black light and make some art that has deer's eyes glowing in the dark. That's very artistic. Or I'll tell you another, some glowing white chalk on a waterfall, as though it's beamed there from moonbeams. Extremely nice.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Hiatus Clock Is Broken

Grandpa used to always say that a broken clock was right twice a day. I said, "What? How can something broken ever be right?" And he pointed out that when a clock is broken the hands are still pointing to a particular time. Say the clock broke when it was 9:40. The hands are going to keep pointing to 9:40. Then on any given day when it is actually 9:40, as it is in the morning and again in the evening, the broken clock will appear to be showing the time. But it's not strictly true that a broken clock has to be right twice a day. Because you could be sneaky, and just before 9:40 you could pull the hands off. Then it'd be broken and never right.

Grandpa certainly knew about broken clocks though. It was funny about the cars we had back when he was around. They always had broken clocks in them. You'd drive a '57 Chevy or a '62 Chevy off the dealer's lot and immediately the clock spring would go BOINNNG and that was it for the clock. I think Detroit had a contract with the county home full of halfwits somewhere to make clocks. The body may have been by Fisher, but the clocks were by Morons. But at least they were still right twice a day, whatever actual use that really is.

Anyway, to this day, I'm always interested when the old car show come to town. I'll be down at the park looking at them. Sometimes the owners think I must be some kind of expert, the way I'm peering inside like I'm really focused. But I tell them, I'm just trying to figure out if the clock in this old car still works. Because I've never seen one that worked. Immediately I know, if it works, that it has to be a replacement.

Well, friends, I've been "driving" this '09 Hiatus for quite a while now. And guess what, the clock must be broken because I've lost track of how long it's been. Must be over two weeks, maybe a month, I really don't know. When I pulled it off the dealer's lot, I didn't know if it'd be a day -- I figured it'd be more than a day, I guess. But as far as I knew it'd be over with in a few days. At that time I still had "friends" and "followers" on the blog and subscribing to my newsletter. And I was pulling in a fairly decent income simply from Google Ads.

But since then, I let the days drift by, I didn't put forth much effort, and everyone basically went away. Where they went, I'm not sure. But there are some competitor blogs I know about -- Grandma Swisher has one -- and they're off adhering and aligning themselves to those imitators. But you know the whole "Grandma" fad started right here at Grandma Slump. But because of my hiatus, as far as everyone's concerned, I've given up, gone by the wayside. They've written me off. It's like I'm AWOL, but this is my business, right? Am I right? Am I really under some obligation to keep everyone else happy?

I don't mind losing a little money if I really do need the time off. Yes, some days I regret the fact that we can't afford the luxuries we had before. That does hurt. Some of the expensive paintings we bought, I had to sell -- at a loss -- just to pay the bills. A lot of my bling I had to pawn. But most of it was just weighing me down and not really doing the trick anyway, because girls kept passing by the house without stopping. It must not really be that appealing, as far as they're concerned, to see a 50+ year-old balding man with his shirt unbuttoned all the way and 75 pounds of bling reflecting everywhere, waving a cane and trying to get them to pull over.

So, that's it. The hiatus clock is broken. Maybe it's already been a year. I don't know. But this is one clock I don't care about. If I sit here and vegetate for the next 15 years or until I die, it's all the same to me. You don't care that I've been putting forth a great effort on the internet or with the newsletter? I don't care either. I still have my back issues. I can reread them myself and enjoy whatever wisdom I was the writer of there for a while. Sometimes I sit and reread my stuff and just shake my head ... Did I really write this great stuff?

Friday, May 8, 2009

From Hiatus To Eternity

Oh, I can't tell you how great the temptation is to simply pack it in. Brother, I'm this close to just saying the heck with it and making my hiatus a permanent retirement.

What do I need this for? My so called "friends" and "followers" are nowhere to be found. They're long gone. And frankly I don't even care. If they couldn't bear with me through a little thick -- as in thick and thin -- this brief hiatus, then I don't need or want them around when things get thin again.

But maybe things will never get thin again. Not if I give in to this aching, nagging, persisting, insisting temptation to, as I said, pack it in permanently. I'm this close, very very close, right on the edge, the verge, the precipice of saying That's it, that's all she wrote, bye bye, don't write and, especially, don't visit.

And the day I say Bye bye for good, you shouldn't expect to see me again. When I ride off in the sunset, I don't come back. At that time, at that point I have nothing left to give. Either because I've given all I can give or because I refuse to give any more. I can be very stubborn like that. You don't want to know. You don't want to push me.

Retirement looks great to me, I have to say. Nothing to do all day but sit around. Maybe grill a slab of meat, shoot some clay pigeons, take a walk down by the old millstream and watch fishermen cuss out their snags and fart on their bait for good luck. Plus, retirees get a special license plate and, I'm not sure but I think they get a handicap sticker for their car. That doesn't really make any sense though. I'll check that. I don't know where I got that idea ... I'll nix it.

Everyday for a retiree is blue skies as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, a retiree rises and looks around. And what he sees astounds him. Because he can literally see forever and ever. If you know anything about the infinity of space that poets tell us about, you know that you don't suddenly reach the end. That's what these precious ones can behold all day, all because they've quit their job, packed it in, reached the end of the road, and now have nothing more important to do than to be looking up at the endless skies. And occasionally having a root beer float.

That sounds great right about now! Just great. And I'm this close to going for it. Can't get any closer without going over the edge. If anything happens to push me over the edge, this is the absolute last word you'll hear from me. I'm sorry but that's just how it has to be. I said "If." Because if not, I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What If I Took A Hiatus And No One Cared?

I suppose that would be the ultimate feeling of liberation. That I work my way back from notorious fame to blessed obscurity. So that I'm able to step out on a morning and fling a dead mouse to the road without paparazzi and hangers-on worrying whether it was a 10 or just a nine.

There aren't really any paparazzi of course. Just a little joke on my part. I guess that means something, that through it all, in everything I've suffered through here I'm able to laugh again. A chuckle anyway. Who knows? Maybe I'll get everything back and will be able to chuckle everyday. I can almost see myself. Let's say I get everything back. Then I'm smiling, chuckling, laughing.

Just as I stood in the middle of the half acre in proud, fist-shaking defiance, it could happen that I could stand there and laugh myself silly. Picture it with me, if you will. The rain is streaming down. I'm looking toward the west at the deadly lightning. I'm laughing up a storm. Finally I collapse to my knees, laughing, oblivious to everything around, knowing that nothing means anything. I'm just completely lost in this body shaking, lightning-defying laughter.

I think I've got quite a ways to go to get to that. I've never done it in my life yet, to tell the truth. And I have a hard time seeing why I'd do it now precisely. But there's something of liberation, the sense of being totally cut free in it that sounds appealing on the surface. But then what? See, that's always my hang up. So I'm standing there, collapsed, totally laughing. What? Do I just stay there wallowing in the mud? What happens when the laughter stops? Do I keep fake laughing all night? Do I fall asleep laughing? I'm going to wake up sooner or later with mud caked on my face. Maybe I'll drown first. Or do I stop mid-storm, go inside and get dried off, sit in the chair and read movie magazines? Grandma goes, "What you been doin'?" And I'm all muddy faced, going, "Oh, nothin'." That seems like a let down.

Nothing about it sounds right. But I should wait till something remotely like that happens to worry about it.

I've taken the hiatus, that's a fact. And just like laughing in the rain, I wonder what to do with it next? It's true that people did care for a while, but they're all gone. All I have to that phase of my life are the memories. The blog "followers" -- Judases each one -- all left. They kissed me off faster than a boy with his portly aunt with the small whiskers. All my "friends" are off on a tangent somewhere, I don't know. I hope they get stuck in quicksand. If there are any quagmires like that near where they live. Life would be so much better if quicksand had a mind of its own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Children Of The Hiatus

The hiatus goes on. I'm sure glad I took it. Being possibly interminable, it's given me tons of time for reflection, memories, and to shoot the breeze with myself. There's been ups and downs, of course. I've not only tasted the blessed sunshine but also the normal bile of life that is so familiar to everyone, especially those who die young.

Certainly I'm not burdened with visitors much anymore. That frees up my senses and lets me catch my breath. The real life visits that I encouraged there for a while with "friends" and "followers" from the blog and the newsletter never amounted to much. It was all just awkward standing around or someone trying to pick my brain, or, worse than that, lust and perversion. To be fair, in the area of perversion it was just the one guy who really went off the beam, Garrett Al, who then spent the night in jail, then came back around ... I just want to forget it. It was a mess.

When I started this whole thing I didn't realize I was a Pied Piper kind of guy with the ability to attract the lonely, the dispossessed, the feeble-minded. I showed up on the internet the same way everyone else did, oblivious to the reach it has. But it didn't take long before I opened my eyes. The way I see it now is that there's the potential for everyone in the world to check in.

So let's say I say something about Paul McCartney, which I'm not ... he might read it and show up at my door demanding satisfaction or seeking an audience with me. Or political leaders, who you definitely can't trust. You know, you say something bad about George W. Bush -- and I know this by personal experience -- he has one of his goons pay you visit, brass knuckles, waterboard and all. He's like a poor man's Bill O'Reilly. Without a doubt Bush is a criminal ... oops.

So I try to steer clear of a lot of specificity when it comes to lowlifes like Bush -- or even making comments on other famous people -- the great, the near-great, the infamous, or the has beens. Not that I wouldn't want to meet them, I guess, but I'm afraid I'd do to them exactly what my own real life visitors, people from this blog and the newsletter, did to me. Stand there, shift from one foot to the other, ask them stupid questions, and generally just act awkward.

Let's take Paul McCartney as an example. I'd love to meet him, sure. But then I think Why? What am I going to say, "Oh, Paul -- may I call you Paul? -- I've enjoyed your work for quite a number of years. I really liked the Beatles, ever since I was a kid." OK, I've said exactly nothing he hasn't heard a million times before. He'd hate me. But just trying to say something that no one else has said wouldn't be the answer either. Because what does he care? He's probably sick of talking about the Beatles and would just rather get away from people (fans) like me. I know the feeling.

The actual solution to all of this is simply not to meet him or anyone else. Except people in the normal course of your day. The check out lady at the store, teachers in college classes, etc. Even then, they don't really want you trailing them around, admiring their work, giving them phony compliments, asking them nosy questions, all that. Who could like that? You have your life to live.

So ... "friends" and "followers" ... I'm enjoying my hiatus ... immensely. And I don't miss you. You followed the wrong Pied Piper this time. Not that there's a right one, since the first one led the children into the river. So it's a little mixed up.

It was my error, I'll admit it. I mistakenly led you to think you could follow me. But I wasn't up for it then, and I'm not up for it now. Consider this your official abandonment notice. You're officially cut off. You must either go back to your homes or proceed on your merry way toward some other mentor, hero, role model, special friend, or involuntary lover.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Beautiful Hiatus Sunrise

I had to go out today and fling another mouse to the road. I'm usually thinking, Brr, the morning's cold even when it's a nice day. Get it over with. But today I had my jacket on and was carrying him by the tail, and got out there, and suddenly I felt a special peace with the world. It was a beautiful thing. So I quickly tossed the mouse and decided to stay out and enjoy it.

There's a place midway between the house and one of the corner posts (the half acre is T shaped, so it'd be the center of the T if you moved the up and down piece of the T to the left a little bit). If you got that, I would've been midway between the house and junction in the T, which, by the way, is not strictly proportional to the actual half acre. (I should have been a surveyor. I'm describing what we call the half acre, the non-yard portion of the property. There is the yard with the house, so if you included that it'd be more like an upside down L).

I was at this place midway there -- you have it in mind -- looking east, and I beheld the most beautiful sunrise. It gave me a very simple feeling, hard to describe. If you ever see the simple styles of clothing, the colors, the hair, and the stances of the people in old photos from 1972, it was that feeling. The feeling that you get when you see a Peter Max sunrise, if he ever painted one. You know that the totality of the piece is right before you, speaking of something metaphysical yet simple enough to grasp quickly and thoroughly with your instincts. I wish I had a camera, because I could've gotten some good shots. The shining, the glinting, the sun was smiling on me.

That's a great feeling, to know the sun is smiling on you. I don't get that very often, but when I do it's intense. I wonder how the sun even notices me. I believe it has some kind of GPS thing it looks at and can focus in on you like that. Ha ha. I'm definitely taking it as heaven's blessing on my present course, the hiatus I'm taking. Sometimes I second guess myself, but today was not one of those times. Today started off with an unpleasant task, to dispose of another foul rodent. But thanks to that mouse's timing, to die precisely this morning when I needed it most, it led me to behold this heavenly vista in such a way that I was affirmed. I felt alive, happy, and free.

I stood there for a while soaking it in. Then I was thinking, I could run and get the camera. I could look at the picture all day and think back, Too bad it's over with. But at least there's a picture of it. But as it turned out, it turned out not to be. No picture. Just my memory. A big old memory stew up there, all mixed in with every other memory, some good, some bad.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Hiatus Gunslinger

I've got a very itchy keyboard finger today.

I'm staring down an imaginary muzzle, my eyes very intent, taking dead aim at every purposeful person in my path. Notice I said purposeful. I've seen enough westerns to know that any gunslinger who stands on Main Street pays no attention to old men dashing out to pull children back in their house or ladies hurrying home with their hats. You might have the old undertaker standing over by his door, but he's OK too. It's only the hombre that comes strolling out with purpose, looking intent, just asking for it who's going to get it.

There'll be no self-berating today. I'm all stewed up. Nothing new about that. But today all my wrath is outwardly focused. Toward those purposeful hombres who say I shouldn't have taken a hiatus, that I shouldn't have prolonged my hiatus, that I either ought to be here or simply go away -- no muss, no fuss -- and every other variation there may be on the subject of my hiatus and what I should or should not have done or should or should not do now.

Well, the time for talk is over, that's a given. Now it's time to meet one's maker. I wonder about some of my enemies here if they were made at all. Maybe they were formed, you know what I mean? Like something that exits the back gate. Patties. Pies. Piles.

A guy just went by my house with his black dog, Extra Crispy, and Extra Crispy dropped one of my enemies (a representation). You remember the old creation story about the god who threw dollops of mud behind him and those became man. That's what I'm talking about. Extra Crispy arches his back toward the same purpose. They teach that in Instinct School. He has a look of quiet intensity. He may not make many decisions on his own, but this is still one that can't be performed by others on his behalf. He knows when he needs to go and when it can be pronounced done.

As to my enemies -- self-pronounced, because I am as harmless as a feather; I'd do anything for you, just ask. I greet with a smile, no scowl, no scorn. As to my enemies, whether they are made or formed, they must meet their maker. Because I am standing in the street -- just itching to reach. It's high noon. There's a light sweat at my temples. My hat keeps the sun out of my eyes. Someone's got some western music playing softly on their boom box. My fingers are rubbing themselves, hovering just over my holster.

I've got my legs spread a little. I'm slightly bowlegged anyway, going way back to when I was a baby and Grandpa set me on sawhorses. Those tiny pelvic bones had a way of remembering. But it was OK with my Mom because it made it that much easier to get my diapers on. So I'm waddling along. And anytime we played crawdad soccer in gym I was a natural. When the other kids would see my legs spread and my feet at an angle hurrying across the gym floor, they knew they didn't stand a chance. The only way to slow me down was to tie my hands, and even then I could still drag the upper half of my body at the same speed the other kids were going normally.

Anyway, my legs are spread a little. I'm waiting for my enemies to appear. You don't like my hiatus, huh? You think I should either get on with it or drop out all together, huh? You're calling me out? We'll see about that. I'm calling you out! Come out and show me what you got. It better be something or I'll drop you like Extra Crispy's latest thud. Waiting, waiting ... anticipating.

Until -- this is a mental picture -- Garrett Al, whose name always reminds me of Geritol, steps out of the Skidrow saloon. Typical. The man is drunk with lust. He's tipsy. He's over the legal limit. And that's why every man, woman, and child has a restraining order against him. He doesn't know anything about taking me on. But let him try. I could drop to my crawdad stance and be wrapped around his legs before he knew what happened, but I'll play fair ... this time.

We might have a conversation. "Great day to die, Al." And it would go on like that ... until, finally, he would be lying in the middle of the road. But then, after everyone has given gifts to one another in celebration, after a couple of days, Garrett Al rises from the dead and vanishes from sight.