Blog

Book Parts & Body Parts

March 20, 2017

Today, I sent the updated manuscript for the 15th anniversary edition of THE ORGAN DONOR to Bloodshot Books. In honor of this, I share with you this cool video a friend recently posted on his Facebook wall. My only reservation is I don’t think I’d want this guy’s liver. Click “More Info” below.

Yet Another Jiu-Jitsu Video

March 5, 2017

Here’s a video I put together about my friend Johnny Morales. I help him to teach the kids class at Total Defense Martial Arts. It includes a clip at the end of him kicking my ass. Enjoy!

Bob Ross painting #2

March 5, 2017

This time, we tackled Chill With Bob Ross S1:E13, “Artic Winter Day.” It took three hours to do what took him 30 minutes, but I feel like we improved over the last attempt.


Here’s Deena’s.


Here’s mine.


Before we started: the grimace of determination!


Profanities made things easier.

Letter to City Council

February 24, 2017

Today, I wrote a letter to my local city council requesting they pass a resolution calling for President Trump’s impeachment. You can read it below. Sorry for the bad scanning.

If you’re curious, Richmond CA’s resolution can be found here.

I hope you’ll consider sending a similar letter to your local government.

Another Hobby I Don’t Have Time For

February 16, 2017

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Deena and I each painted the “Valley View” painting in S1:E3 of the Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere series now on Netflix. Click to view a gallery of our attempt to paint some happy little trees and mountains:

Oil painting would be another hobby I don’t have time for, but damned if I’m not interested now. This is far from over (he said, shaking his fist).

Tableaus

February 11, 2017

A couple scenes from my life over the past 24 hours:

#1. School Field Trip

Kid picks up a rock. “What’s this?”

The scientist answers, “That’s coprolite. It’s fossilized poop.”

Kid drops the rock.

#2. Sleepless

The band played a discordant cacophony of Les Miserables while trapeze artists swung overhead and baton twirlers cavorted downstage. Disheveled men with armfuls of paper staggered around, shouting about work and schedules. Confetti and Roman candles completed the tableau.

Pointless to try to sleep. I gave up and got out of bed. Might as well check email for a while.

Satisfied, the band immediately stopped playing. “Take five, guys.” They vanished from the stage.

It’s OK to Lose

January 25, 2017

There’s a troubling myth being propagated in our national culture. It says winning — success — is everything. That if you lose a fight or other contest, you’re worthless. We saw this in the juvenile commentary after the Dec. 31 UFC women’s bantamweight bout between Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey, and we’ve continually heard this from our president and his sycophants.

I’m coming up on four years now as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, and one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on the mat applies to life in general. It’s that it’s okay to lose. It’s how we learn.

There’s a spirtual aspect to this if you’re a fan of Taoism. The yin-yang symbol is one of motion: the white and black halves tumble over each other, propelling each through the cycle of development. The Tao Te Ching says, “Yield and overcome; bend and be straight.” Because when I accept defeat, I release my ego. I acknowledge that someone else might be better than I am at a particular task, that someone might even be stronger or more intelligent. When I accept the Socratic paradox that wisdom begins with knowing that I know nothing, then I am ready to learn from others.

The opposite of this is someone ruled by ego. He whines and lies if he thinks he’s going to lose, and he swaggers and taunts when he wins. He gaslights when objective truths don’t serve his popularity. And he learns nothing. When this person is an average Joe, it’s a tragedy. When this person is a national leader, it’s a catastrophe.

There’s probably nothing I can do to solve the problems at the top of our government. All I can do is ride the storm out, spending that time teaching the next generation the equanimity it will need for actual success. In the meantime, I entertain the fantasy that Ronda Rousey and Hillary Clinton will set their sails in these winds of fate. So, you’re not a world-champion mixed martial artist, and you’re not a president. So what? It doesn’t matter anymore. Ride the sailboat to where you should be now.

It’s OK, Ronda

December 31, 2016

Here’s me this morning.

The Masque of the Red Death

November 11, 2016

“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe. Just a short review.

Read it.

If you need help interpreting it, let me know.

A Meditation from the Dark of Night

November 9, 2016

I woke up at 3 a.m. to use the bathroom but resisted the impulse to check the election results. What if Trump won? sober thinking said. There’s nothing you can do about it, and you won’t be able to go back to sleep. That lasted for an hour until I finally checked my phone’s browser on the bedside table.

At that point, I got up to do dishes.

I have a feeling that keeping my small corner of the world clean is all I’m going to be able to do for the next four to eight years, as the United States of America lurches toward its ignominious end. I’ve done all I can for the world outside my house.

On the up side, I predict a resurgence of the horror genre.