Who are we?

I’m so sick of politics I could vomit.

Actually, that’s not true.  I’m so sick of us.  Of the American people.  Of Republicans and Democrats and 24-hour news networks.

I’m sick of a culture that forgot the lessons of Kindergarten.  That forgot common human decency.  Of a culture that cares more about what the Kardashians are doing than about what is happening to our fellows half a world away, let alone in our own neighborhoods.

I’m sick of people who will get into bed with racists and bigots because of a tax plan.  I’m sick of people claiming the moral imperative, and then supporting misogyny and hatred.  I’m sick of people shouting for tolerance and understanding, and then attacking the ideas of thoughts of others.

I’m sick of all of us.

When asked, a recent poll found that 56% of people believe their children will be worse off.  I’m one of them.  Republicans in this country read that poll and claim it’s a repudiation of Obama’s Presidency.  Democrats read it and spend the rest of the day arguing about how to fix it.  All of them act like the French politician that saw the people running, and said, “I must find out where they are going so I may lead them.”  They have the numbers, but they don’t understand.

I do belive our children will be worse off.

I belive that humankind is causing climate change.  I believe this because I have read the studies and looked at the math.  Because 99.9% of all climate scientists have told me so.  Because volcanoes produce somewhere between 65 million and 300 million tonnes/year of CO2, while humans produce 29 billion tonnes/year; we, as a species, produce massive amounts of green house gasses.  If a doctor tells me that I’ve got to change the way I eat or I will die, I believe them.

I believe that people should be treated fairly, no matter the color of their skin or their beliefs or whom they choose to love.  I believe that the Founding Fathers didn’t want religion within miles of their government.  I believe that the economy is stacked against most of us, and that the top 1% hold more wealth than the bottom 90%.  I believe these things because I read studies and abstracts and lectures.  Because I was taught critical thinking skills and am able to use my God-given faculties to find answers to questions.  I question.  I seek answers.

This election has been said to be about so many things.  A rejection of political correctness.  A rejection of the bicoastal elites.  A rejection of the norm.  Of “draining the swamp,” and finding a new way.  But, to me, it is a rejection of something else; a rejection of thought and civility.  A rejection of fact and embrace of fiction.  A focus on the felicitous and salacious.

And before you begin to think that I’m just angry that my candidate lost, my candidate lost in the Primaries; the Democrats nominated the worst candidate they could find.  I’m not angry that a Republican won; I think there are some great thinkers in the Republican Party, and I look forward to years of healthy debate with conservatives in the future.  I am angry though; because the American people have been had.  The liberals gave up the fight, and the conservatives jumped in bed with ugly people.  So, we’ll repeal the social safety net.  We’ll walk back our commitments to international climate change agreements, and find new ways to get involved in wars we have no business being in as a show of American “might.”

Yes, I do believe our children will be worse off.  But because we didn’t go far enough in the last eight years.  Because we elected a reality television star as our President and hailed it as a victory for a cause he doesn’t believe in.  Because we can’t talk about the ugly things it exposed in our culture without it devolving into an ugly conversation itself.

I do have hope though.  I hope that it will inspire new generations of liberals and conservatives alike to start the conversation over.  That is will inspire people to pay attention and get involved in the process of our government.  That it will inspire all of us to reconsider the role we play in our society.

And yes, to Mr. Trump and his administration, we will remember every word you have said.  We will remember the times you should have spoken and remained silent.  We will remember every forgotten tweet and campaign promise.  All of us, conservative and liberal alike.  And those of us that disagree with you, we will fight back.  For as Winston Churchill once stated, “we shall defend our land, whatever the cost may be,…and we shall never surrender.”

Because we believe our country, and our world, are worth fighting for.

Goodnight my friends, and good luck.

The Process

Have you ever had an idea, that seems so evident and complete, that you are sure that it has been done already?  Like Paul McCartney writing Yesterday, the melody was so complete he knew it must have already been written.

I had an idea pop into my head, the rough story of a novel.  It is so clear in my head, so visually evident, that I am doing bizarre internet searches trying to make sure that no one has already written it.

So far, I’m coming up empty, but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t already exist.

The muse has been avoiding me lately it feels.

Or, more likely, I’ve been avoiding the muse.  It is easier to not write, and ignore the thoughts in my own head than to take the time to write it down.

The world has been irritating me.  Not just politics, although that is certainly some of it.  But just my world, has seemed small and petty.  I’ve been very wrapped up in the details of life, and that is not conducive to my general writing process.  My days off have been spent either sick, or caring for a sick little one, or trying to catch up on all the life I missed when everyone was sick.

It keeps me from writing.  Which has the effect of making me doubt my writing, which makes it harder to write.

The travel bug is biting.

Group-On keeps sending me amazing deals on international travels.  I want to visit cities I haven’t gotten the chance to see, and see where that creativity takes me.

However, life is always just around the corner.  Also, it is winter, and who wants to travel in winter?  Unless it is to the Carribbean…then bon voyage!

I have 4 blog posts sitting in my drafts folder.  None of them are finished; 3 are only missing a conclusion.  But I can’t finish them.  Mostly sure I never will.  I am afraid to post them, afraid of the thoughts inside of them and of releasing them to the world.  Rather they just stay in the dark, locked away from seeing daylight.

It isn’t that I don’t think they’re good, I absolutely do.  It is mostly that I’m not ready for the conversation, and for that I will leave them.

For now.  Maybe I will find the bravery to trust and take a leap.

It is almost a new year.  It is time to reflect and renew.  A chance to start over.

And after this year, we need to start over.

God, what a dumpster fire…

My dog has made himself quite comfortable in my lap.  It does make typing on my computer slightly more difficult, but totally worth it.

Completely worth it.

The process of writing is a deeply personal one.  I’ve never asked how anyone else does it.  Perhaps that is why mine is so poor; I’ve never found a better way.

But sometimes you have to purge, to get rid of all the waste that is clogged up to allow fresh ideas to flow.  This is but a taste of what my brain looks like when I sit down to write.

Now, it’s time to get to work.


Until next time friends…

The Next Four Years

Plenty has been written about the election, and plenty is still left to write.  Both sides have their post-election breakdowns to do, cable news will spend countless hours on every detail of success or failure, and the rest of us will watch as time continues to moves on.  But before we do, perhaps we would benefit from a little soul-searching; to look at our country and decide how we wish to move forward, no matter which side of the aisle you land on.  It has only been a few days since the election, and I am just starting to make sense of everything that has happened.  It played itself out over almost two years, and will not be parsed in a single day.  It was filled with fire and brimstone, vitriol and anger.  The primaries were rough for both sides, and the general election was somehow even worse.  But, that part is over now.

Just over 59 million people cast a vote for Donald Trump.  Most of those were from people that are angry at the system, weary of eight years of a Democrat in the White House and ready for a change.  Others liked the message and toughness that he draped himself in.  For still others, it was the Supreme Court or Free Trade or guns or countless other policies.  But for some, it was a different message.  A message of hate, and of fear.  If you watched his rallies you saw America’s dirty secret; the racism roiling just under the surface, yells of, “sieg heil.”  Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and others being called terrible things.  Donald Trump gave this deplorable faction a platform and a leader to rally around.  No matter how intentional or not, it was on his part, the country has been shaken by it.  The alt-right and their ilk have taken his election to mean that the change people are ready for, is their kind of change.  Even in my sleepy little corner of Central California, rocks and shouts of “President Trump,” were hurled at a friend because he is hispanic, a day following the election.

His message speaks to millions of people.  The people who voted for him because of the economy, or change, or toughness, those people I can understand.  Those that voted for him because of a deep-seated hatred for a group and culture that they don’t know or even seek to understand; those that voted for him because they believe that America was great when it was full of hatred; these are voters I do not understand.

Donald J. Trump is our President.  His name will be written on that wall with all the others.  He must represent everyone, not just those who earned his vote.  And thus, he must understand what it is like to live as Americans.  If you don’t like the job he is doing, write him, email him, call the White House.  Call your Senators, your Congressperson.  Call your State and Local representatives.  Don’t yell, don’t curse, don’t threaten.  Talk.  Explain.  If you are angry, not just about the election, but about the system or the direction of the country, get involved.  Work to change it.  We have a system of government that is of the people, by the people, for the people, but it only works if people are involved.  If you are scared, not just about the election, but about the future or intolerance, get involved.  In a democracy, all citizens voices get to be heard.  If you find yourself angry or hating another person, seek to understand, talk to them, find ways to listen to them, and most of all strive for compassion.

The United States of America did something truly amazing this week; we made our voices heard.  We were able to do that which so many in this world never get the chance to do.  As, over the next few months, power shifts from one group to another, peacefully and without bloodshed, that is just another small miracle in our already miraculous country.

America is already great.  We are not perfect; we fail, we start over, we endure.  We push the boundaries of what is possible, we push ourselves and our world.  We believe that freedom is always a generation from extinction, that it must be fought for and protected.  We believe that, while we can’t help everyone, everyone can help someone.  But most of all, as our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, said, “If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.”

Until next time, stay safe, stay sane…and God Bless America.



I recently visited Washington D.C. for the first time.  It is incredible, with history everywhere you look.  I viewed the Founding Documents; the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution.  I saw the Capital, the White House, Union Station, and the magnificence of the Washington Monument.

None of that compared to the Lincoln Memorial.  It sits high upon a hill, a giant edifice.  As you approach, you remember the moments in our nation’s history that have taken place on these steps: Dr. Martin Luther King and the March on Washington, Nixon talking to protestors, speeches, and movies.

The monument was built in such a way as to encourage the visitor to first walk up the almost 100 steps, to recognize that the path is not easy, to keep looking upwards towards the President.  Once you reach the top, and enter the memorial, a quiet reverence surrounds you.  You pass through a double row of columns and are finally able to gaze upon Lincoln.  To think about the Man and what he means to the country.  Then, you are meant to visit the side chambers, where his most famous speeches hang: the Gettysburg Address to the left, and his Second Inaugural on the right.  The visitor is meant to be able to touch the untouchable here.  To feel the presense of Lincoln, and to commune with him.  As you turn to leave, the Mall spreads before you.  The President’s stare focused on the Capital Dome miles away.

Fellow-Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.

The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865

In the weeks since my visit, I think often of the Memorial and how it felt to be there. I think of what it represents. I think of what Lincoln meant to the Republic. I think of where we have come in the scant 150 years since Lincoln. I read the Second Inaugural and think of where we are as a nation. In some moments I am proud, and in others dumb-struck. I am reminded of words of other Presidents; Reagan, “…ours is not a perfect nation. But even with our troubles, we remain the beacon of hope for oppressed peoples everywhere. Never give up the fight…”; Theodore Roosevelt, “We must dare to be great…;” and Bill Clinton, “There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed by what is right in America.” All of these statements speak to a hope in our nation, that ours is a fight worth fighting. That we strive to be more than we are.

Please read Lincoln’s speech, and reflect upon the Nation you want. And, perhaps, remember one other quote from ‘Honest Abe’, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Thoughts on an Early Morning.

It’s early for me; as I sit to write this the sun has yet to peek over the hills.  The streets are still quiet, and the cafe that I’m sitting at is still empty.  I’m sure it won’t last.

I am not an early riser.  My ideal day is to wake up at 9, read some articles and browse the internet, before finally getting up, eating breakfast, and finally getting dressed.  A successful day off is not getting dressed before noon.  That is decidedly not this morning.

It’s fun to see people in their usual routine: the guy on a motorcycle that just pulled up, greeted the barista by name, laid perfect change on the counter, and picked up his already made drink; the man in a suit on the phone as he walked by, firing questions to his assistant; the woman out for a run with her dog.  We all have our rituals and routines.  We all have a way we want to see our day go, a way to help us move the day forward.

How do we continue to move our lives forward though?  The time keeps passing, but are we moving it?  Are we pushing the day, or is it pushing us?  In a sea of Yesterdays and Tomorrows, are we adrift on the raft of Today?

We spend so much of our time exerting control on the everyday nuances of our lives: there is an app to control the temperature and lighting of your home, we can find exactly the show we want to watch when we want to watch it, we can have our coffee in incredibly complex and ridiculous ways.  We spend so much time trying to control the mundane, perhaps because we have now feel we have so little control in every other way.

I have felt my days getting away from me.  I have felt the moments and the time getting a little too far in front, always keeping me off-balance.  It’s time to slow down, to make sure I have a solid footing.  To take control of my Today, to get the Tomorrow I want.

Until next time…


I would love to be able to say that my break has been due to work on other projects or because of trips to exciting places.  Instead, it is because I am exhausted.

We went on a great vacation to Portland (which I talked about here), and then almost as soon as we got back from that we moved into our own place.  For the last couple of years, while my wife was going to grad school, we have lived with both her parents and then mine. So now we are finally moved in, but that means we have spent weeks going through boxes, finding space for things, eliminating things, and discovering enough spiders to make our own horror movie.

Roughly a week after moving in, my wife and I went to Washington D.C.  It was incredible and amazing and almost indescribable.  It was also a whirlwind; with us being gone for less than 36 hours, and squeezing in a tour of the Capital City, an Oriols game, and some sightseeing.  It was an adventure and a half, but it also left us both wiped.  Once we got back from that it was more moving, more work, and plenty of late nights with early mornings.

All of this is not to say that my life is busier or more exhausting or harder.  My life is great.  But the last few weeks has been busier, more exhausting, and harder, than it has been in a while.  I haven’t been writing.  I haven’t been doing much more than surviving.  I’m done with that.  I am ready to start living again.

So, here’s to the hope for a better tomorrow.  Here’s to trying again.  A thousand starts is still a start.

Until next week…

Adventure Time!

So we are sitting in Terminal 6 of Los Angeles International Airport, waiting for a delayed flight to Baltimore, Maryland.

This is the first trip we have taken without our son since he was born, and we are both having a little bit of trouble with it. We do fine, right up until the moment he isn’t fine.  It’s a strange feeling to be without the little guy, especially to be traveling across the country. 

We take off tonight at 10:40, although we have already seen that change once, and land at 6:30am, east coast time. From there we head straight to WashingtonD.C.  I’m hoping to get some sleep on the flight, but I hate to do that. 

Flying gives you such an opportunity to work, to write, to think, and to dream. To fly over dark country, to let your thoughts wander as you cruise a couple of thousand feet in the sky. It’s pure magic. 

Until tomorrow friends, keep safe. And keep dreaming. 

On The Road…Part 2

This has been an especially wonderful trip to Portland, and only served to reinforce how much I love this city. From food to transportation to weather, this has been a model trip.

Our last trip to Portland was done in by one thing; location!  We originally thought we were booking a place in the North West section of the city, but it ended up being in North Portland.  This time we were much more selective in our choice. It makes a huge difference.  This time we are in the Nob Hill neighborhood of North West Portland, and it is great; a beautiful neighborhood in every sense of those words.

We are using AirBNB for our accommodations, and no matter how you feel about the subject, you have to admit they’ve changed the game when it comes to finding and booking rooms.  We booked about two months in advance, and spent just over $100 per night for a beautiful house, built in the late 19th-century.  More than that, it is right in the middle of great food, shops and feet away from the streetcar pickup.  Which brings me to my next favorite part of this trip.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I didn’t have to get back into my car for two days, a full 48 hours, until we checked out on Friday.  We used the Portland Streetcars, and MAX Light Rail. (We avoided busses out of personal preference, not lack of choice). These conveyed us to the Oregon State Zoo, downtown, food carts, a great Farmer’s Market, coffee, dinner, lunches, and home.  We never once worried about traffic, parking, or safety.   It made one of the most stressful parts of a trip a complete non-issue.

Portland has long been recognized as a “city on the go,” with an expansive public transportation system, but if those trains have no destinations, what’s the point? The City of Portland has a lot of reasons for that system; over 10,000 acres of public parks, a world class downtown area, and beautiful neighborhoods, each with their own flavor and mood.

This is my third trip to Portland, and each time I go I find something new and exciting to do.  Portland is an incredible city with amazing gifts.  And I love it more each time.

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Oregon State Zoo
Elephants Delicatessan
Eastside Distilling
South Waterfront Farmers Market

My Best Friend

I want to tell you about Max.

Max is my dog.  He is 7 years old, a chihuahua and dachshund mix (more commonly referred to as a chiweenie).  And he is my best friend.

I have been fairly open about my Depression and anxiety.  Max has helped me through all of it for the last seven years.  He curls up with me.  He lays with me.  He doesn’t mind spending the day watching movies, or letting me pet him for as long as I need to, trying to quiet the racing thoughts.  And while this sounds just like any dog you might find, Max is special.  He comes to me when an attack starts.  He curls up in my lap, or paws at me, or just lifts my hand onto his head.  He cuddles and licks me when I hurt.

Max was a rescue dog; abandoned by his former owner as too high maintenance.  We adopted him, walking into a Pet Smart to find a bed for our first dog Milo.  We saw Max and couldn’t stop looking at him.  I asked if I could hold him, and as we walked around the store he fell asleep in my arms.  It was love.  Now, seven years later, he still falls asleep with me.

Today Max is going in for surgery.  He has a growth on his lip that needs to be removed and sent to the lap for further testing.  Under the best circumstances I wouldn’t be handling this well, and these are currently far from the best of circumstances; in the middle of a move, between trips, and during a fairly busy time at the day job.  He needs to have the surgery, and I know that the vet is excellent.  But anytime a dog has to be put under for a procedure, just as with a human, there are chances you take.  And then we wait for the lab results.

I have tons to say about Portland, a wonderful wedding in Olympia, and a crazy road trip.  I have things to say about moving and living in our own space for the first time in four and a half years.  I have things to say about the election and politics and the current state of our world.

But tonight I wanted to say that I love my dog.  My Max.


 PUPDATE (8:00pm):  Max’s surgery went very well. A mass was moved from his lip and was sent to the lab. He is resting at home and everyone is happy to have him here. A big thank you to the Las Tables Animal Hospital. 

Update From The Road

I am traveling this week, but I wanted to share a little with you.  Enjoy these images from a wonderful trip.  I will be back next Wednesday with a regular post.

Fire escapes are plentiful in the Alphabet District.  This one particularly grabbed my attention.

One of our favorite buildings in the Alphabet District. Mixed use buildings are so amazing to me.

“Keep Portland Weird.” Portland has a wonderful sense of humor!

A wonderful day at the Oregon State Zoo.  My son had a fantastic time.

The architecture of Portland stuns me when I see it.  It is uniquely Portland.

A great Farmer’s Market by the waterfront.