Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dreaming of You

You are comfortable here with the fire crackling and your chores done. He is seated in front of the fire relaxing, perhaps he has some port or some whiskey or some apple wine. Somebody knocks on the door. You are startled and are startled anew at the fire. It sparkles and snaps with anticipation. They came! You look at him, would he please get the door?

You are not decent, you are only wearing your underclothes. He is also, but a man in his long underwear can acceptably answer the door. You remove yourself to the back room behind the great stone fireplace. You worry that he'd rather not answer the door and you'd like to have him be most comfortable. Is it the case that all men are most relaxed at home, alone (you don't count, you are a part of him), partly undressed? You worry that the peaceful spell has been broken, and you can't give that back to him.

But they are here! They didn't know if they would make it or not, the trip was long and the children young. The children glow as if they'd just stepped out another door and not traveled for hours. You happily greet them and their parents. The man sports a mustache, still brown. She barely registers, gathering the children, hands on shoulder, presenting them. You and the three children meet eyes, feeling that bond of friendship that almost excludes their mom and dad. You wonder if your old friends know this and if it would bother them. You are unconcerned, you and the children know of the magic you can create together.

You look out the window and see tufts of foam roll in from the ocean, blown up like froth from a lager. At least you think it is that at first, but the puffy drifts gather volume and you realize it has always been snow. You have not heeded the silent outdoors, and the dim grey sky has obscured the falling flakes. You make plans with the children to explore the snow while the other three adults catch up on the city's news. You know he will give them food and drink and he will be gracious and hide his discomfort.

On awakening you ponder the open floor plan around the fireplace, and you fancy the notion that this came from the past. Or could this dream be a story asking to be written? The feeling of contentment mixed with the edge of danger from the elements lingers in your body. You can feel her (you) asking to be remembered, don't forget, invite her into being. These two, did they build this house? Have they reached out to you from the timeless fire and stones to give you a glimpse of their love? You get a glimpse of the core separateness preferred by the man, and the inherent togetherness felt by the woman.

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Lisa Mann Update

My friend Lisa Mann is vying for first place with Tripdavon in the famecast competion. Time is running out. Please vote for her, spread the word, and help good things happen. Here's what Lisa has to say:

Hi friends and fans, this is Lisa Mann, back from the big Finale show in the Famecast competition, LIVE from Austin, TX- you can watch a replay at

I'm wearing pink in the video in honor of my friend Sonny Hess, blues guitar legend diagnosed with breast cancer last October, and using the interview part of the video to spread breast cancer awareness.

VOTING IS NOW OPEN-- The grand prize in each category is $10,000! I can make a new CD, as well as help Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation and the Sonny Hess Fund with a $1000 pledge if I win. DON'T DELAY! Voting closes early Tuesday morning at 9am on the West Coast, noon Eastern (USA)

If you haven't registered yet, go to:
Then check your email for a confirmation, log in, and find me on the ROCK STAGE. Click the check mark under the video and a pop-up should say "you have successfully cast your vote!"

You can register up to TEN VOTES per IP address, as long as they are different people voting from different email addresses.

I am hovering between #1 and #2- just a few votes can make a difference- please ask a friend or family member!

While you're logged in, also visit the pop stage and vote for Portland roots rocker Amanda Richards and her fabulous band! She did an amazing performance! (voting for Amanda closes at 9am Monday morning)

Thanks so much for your support!
Lisa Mann

Thursday, July 26, 2007

HNT #25: Yes I Read It

Last Saturday I worked at the library, and I also happened to get my library copy of the latest Harry Potter. Since I was working I couldn't spend the day reading as so many fans seemed to do, finishing by nightfall, but I did finish within the week.

Before I show my HNT pics or say any more, let me put in a plug for my friend Lisa "Rent-a-Gent" Mann. She's a blues singer, got a big voice in that little body, and she made it to the finals on the web version of American Idol: If she wins, she'll get $10,000, and she would put that money towards her second CD, as well as some to a fund for Sonny Hess, local female blues star battling breast cancer and the subsequent bills. So please, promise you'll check out Lisa and her Really Good Band here: and then register and vote for her. (Unfortunately the sound recording isn't the best, please don't let that keep you from voting for her.)

You went, listened and voted, then came back here? Good, but my pics will be a step down after that. I can't compete, isn't she great?

Of course I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There were some side stories that I'd like to know about, but the book was already thick enough. While this is supposed to be the 7th and final book, there are rumors that JK Rowling may find a way to bring us an 8th book. Maybe we could get some of those side stories.

Our library had some temporary tattoos to give out. I snagged one for myself, my way of participating in the excitement, and I did get some comments. I must say though that I think the most excitement at the library was generated for book #5. A lot of people placed holds on book 6, but then went to midnight parties or bought it cheap at Costco, and cancelled their holds. This year I believe there were less holds.

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So I finally got a chance to read on Monday, and while I intended to do other things, I kept going back to the book. I did have an errand to run, and I noticed while riding the bus that a couple of people stared at me wide-eyed, as though I sparkled with a bit of the magic that danced through the pages.

Before I began reading, I knew if that Vast Great Oceanic Wisdom of Plot were to be fulfilled I knew, I just knew, that Snape would be redeemed. I wasn't the only one, this librarian was called a traitor. I won't say one way or other if I was satisfied, I don't want to spoil the book for others. Clearly, this songster got a look at one of those pre-release pirated versions, or else he is truly a Potter geek to have guessed all those plot points.

I finished the book before my temp tattoo disappeared:

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Ok, if you haven't, please please go vote for my friend Lisa Mann, and spread the word.

Visit more of the Half Nekkid crowd here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another Wisconsin Visit

It seems like yesterday, but it was the week of the 4th that I visited my family in Wisconsin. My thanks to you who expressed concern about my dad. He seems to be doing alright. I think he wanted some way to take matters out of his own hands, and the structure of jail was suiting him for the moment. I went for a short visit, my days off from July 1st to the 5th.

I took my mom and grandma out to lunch several times, and they took me out.

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My grandma is much more confused and forgetful, but still able to take care of herself. To recap: she's 89, has slow-growing lung cancer that she's elected not to treat, visits her doctor every two months, and my mom and her sister call her every day. I went to visit because my grandma kept asking me, "When are you coming to visit again?" She's full of stories of old, and I recorded some so they may end up here.

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There was a small bit of drama on the plane as I traveled there. I had one stop in Phoenix, and the daily temperatures at the time were 115 degrees. We were all seated, ready to disembark when there was a small delay. The plane was hot, and we were told the air conditioning piped in from the airport lost its efficiency at around 105 degrees. Delay over, the captain announced our imminent departure. As if on cue a woman across the aisle from me threw up on her feet. The woman next to me worried the smell would get to her too.

Of course that caused another delay. They brought in a maintenance man, who cleaned it up, sprayed, threw some coffee grounds on it, and came back a second time to sweep them up. The flight attendant and others around me chatted about the smell-reducing merits of coffee grounds. The woman had been ushered to the front where they gave her a bag of ice for her neck. The man sitting next to me stirred fitfully.

Floor cleaned, woman given her seat back, we were ready to go again. Not quite. Now the jet engine wouldn't start. It stopped working as efficiently at temperatures higher than 105 degrees. They were sending a jump start machine, it would take about 5 minutes to get there. The woman held her head in her hand, ice still on her neck, occasionally exclaiming, "I was just so hot!" The man next to me stirred again. "Are you alright?" I asked him.

"No, I don't feel well at all."
"Do you need to get out?"

He responded by reaching for his bag, and I and our other seatmate stood up to let him out. At the front of the plane he spoke a few moments to the attendants, then dropped like a stone to the floor. They sat him there, got another bag with ice, and soon he was let out of the plane. I hoped he would be well. Me, I've learned the less I fuss, the less extremes will bother me, and then I enjoyed the empty seat next to me.

Back to my visit. My first order of business on the 2nd was to find out if I could visit my dad. I called the Sheboygan County Detention Center. The woman answering the phone was less than cordial. She confirmed my dad was housed at the detention center, and informed me the only exceptions to Saturday visitation would have to be approved by the Captain. She patched me through. I was cut off. I called again, and she patched me through to his voicemail.
When my dad first tampered with the fire sprinkler and was sent there, my brother Eric wasn't allowed to visit "due to his mental state." Later, when Eric was finally able to visit during the short visiting hours on Saturday, they told him my dad was moved to the jail. He wasn't allowed yet to visit dad at the jail.

Later that day I talked to my sister-in-law. She asked me to call the DA, that maybe I could find out what was going on. So I did, and I got the phone number for my dad's lawyer. He actually answered the phone himself. He was originally court-appointed, but when the court discovered my dad's money, the money was requisitioned (or whatever legalese term they use) to pay the lawyer's fees. That took care of my dad's worries over the burden of that money. His lawyer informed me that the DA was offering a plea that would mean only probation, and they were also looking into the possibility that my dad could be declared "mentally incompetent at the time." Something, he said, that would be complicated to establish, but would mean no charges. Either way, it sounded, mental health facilities would be involved. When I said my brother and I didn't try to raise bail because we wanted our dad where he could be watched, the lawyer agreed, saying that's why he didn't try to get the bail lowered.

The usual way one could get an exception to the Saturday visitation rule was if the inmate asked for a visit. I couldn't call my dad, only he could call me. Since I have only a cell phone, he couldn't call me collect. The only way for me to communicate with him would be through a letter. I was informed of this by the rather cold telephone operator at the Sheboygan County Detention Center. I asked the lawyer if he could get a message to my dad about visiting him. He readily agreed.

I never got a call back from the captain, so the next day I called the Detention Center again. The cold operator informed me the captain would not be back for the week, and if he didn't contact me, I obviously didn't have permission to see my dad. Wasn't there anyone else who could help me? No.

On the off chance my dad was in the jail, not the detention center (I don't know the difference either, just that they're two different buildings) I looked up the number and called the county jail. Yes, my dad was there, and yes I could visit him...someone was supposed to have contacted me. Wow. Excuse me, but what a bitch that other woman was. The holiday? Actually a holiday visit would be better for staff. I already had plans to meet my brother at my dad's apartment to pack some things, and it turned out the jail was not too far away. (There would just be a 4th of July parade blocking my way from one to the other, but I was prepared.)

My brother told me he'd received similar cold shoulder treatment at the county detention center. What did these strangers think of us? My mom told me her friend C. worked at the jail, as opposed to the detention center. Perhaps that was the kind person I spoke to that set up my appointment. Years back, we'd made horseradish together.

I was allotted a 20 minute visit at 11 am on July 4th, no physical contact. My dad was the only one there, we were alone in the row of booths. There was no phone, just an automatic intercom built into the separating wall.

They let us talk for 40 minutes instead of 20. My dad was still saying the Christian path was no longer for him. He knew he needed some kind of structure, couldn't really live in the city...unless it was a group home situation. He was doing better at the jail. The week before he'd stopped eating and taking his meds, so I wonder if that was why they moved him. We talked about his cat. He agreed that my brother could give it a try giving it a home at "the farm." (That's what we call my brother's place, even though it's more of a woods and orchard, with barn.) I was relieved the cat wouldn't be put to sleep. He'd seen his lawyer once. As far as he knew, the trial, if there was one, would be set at the end of the month. I suppose I should call his lawyer again and find out the latest.
My dad looked much older, scraggly with his beard grown out. When I asked if I could take his picture, he stood up, straightened his prison reds, tucked in his shirt, and stood back next to the wall.


He seemed to me to brighten a little, but that doesn't necessarily show in the photo. His glasses were still back at his apartment. Later that day my brother told me he didn't think they'd let dad have his glasses, so he hadn't tried to get them to him. Probably not, as my dad wasn't yet allowed even a pencil.
So that was my first, hopefully only, visit to a family member in jail. Here I've been facing the mortality of my grandma, but now I wonder how much longer my dad will be alive. All these years of taking meds, years of lithium, then the newer drugs I can't keep up with, I wonder what these do to him physically, and then there's always the allure of checking out. My brother bears the brunt of this. I am glad Eric has become softer, kinder in the face of this illness. More on my visit with my brother later. Hopefully not too much later, but I've got a zine to finish and other articles to write before the second week of August.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movies Seen

For Your Consideration
The same folks that did Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, this movie reached moments of brilliance as it made fun of the Hollywood world.

Orwell Rolls in His Grave
The media doesn't serve the public it supposedly informs, it serves the corporate interests that own it. Media consolidation stifles the voices of democracy. We have the illusion of choice and the illusion of democracy, and this documentary rolls over example after example. Interesting analysis: much like the former Soviet Union where you could criticize individuals in the communist party, but couldn't criticize the party itself, so too you cannot criticize capitalism itself, only a few scapegoats. If one is aware of the underside of the mainstream news, there will be no surprises here, but there are many who need this lesson about the biases of the news.

Carl Hiaasen's books are quite popular, but I haven't read any. If one likes Disney movies, this will satisfy, though it isn't produced by Disney. A kid moves to Florida from Montana, and finds himself getting more attention than he wants from bullies and from cops, but he can't help following the mysterious barefoot runner. Jimmy Buffet plays a role. Owls have a starring role, of course.

Friends With Money
I don't know why I watched this vehicle for the Friends actress playing a maid who has rich friends. I think the movie tried to be real, but it was a very narrow slice of 'real'. It was background noise, what can I say.

The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The Emperor's New Clothes
The same stop-animation, even some of the same puppets, as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph. The tale is changed a bit. The swindler has more noble intents than the traditional story.

Look Both Ways
Australian movie, themes of death. Look both death, and life. Neat art animation of imagined scenarios in character's head. While she's a painter and her imaginings show up as drawings or paintings, the photographer's thoughts show up as snapshots. I liked this unusual creative effect.

The 40 Year Old Virgin
OK, I finally saw it. I even thought, I might as well get it over with. Heh that's what I thought ummm let me think, those 22 years ago when I shed my virginity. The poor guy is made out to be a perpetual teenager, and all is fixed when he finally gets a girlfriend.