Saturday, October 31, 2015

Three Pumpkins by ANDY RUDAK and JWT London


Further to Yesterday’s post, I should add that I feel very lucky to be experiencing life as I do in spite of finding it challenging to meaningfully fill time. I quite pleasantly got through yesterday, as I get through every day, as an indigent.

I decided to take the subway to the airport to have lunch with my bro, Dwight. As soon as I was on the street I was very happy. Nothing beats being outdoors and on foot. 

The airport was incredibly busy—as Dwight says: Vancouver is now a major hub—and many people were in costumes. I don’t understand the appeal of Halloween to adults.

In one aspect, yesterday was truly remarkable: Voice management. When I called Dwight to see if we could have lunch together, it was the first time I had used my voice and it was gone as it had been the day before. And I mean seriously gone, just as it was a couple of years ago. So I began manipulating my larynx with my fingers as I have been taught to do at the Pacific Voice Clinic.

Then… without thinking, I did something instinctual.

My throat did not feel right. I had never sensed anything physical in past episodes of aphasia (the medical term for loss of voice), but this time I did and I felt relief by pushing my larynx gently but harder than I ever had before to one side of my neck.

Suddenly I heard a “pop” sound. It was quite loud and similar to that “pop” you can hear when if bend your fingers backwards. And I knew it was good. I spoke out loud certain my voice would work and it did. It did magnificently and so I burst into tears because I knew that years of problems with my voice are over. I am in charge now. Whenever my voice goes I can pop my larynx back into place.

I amass quite a collection of images as I read recreationally on the web. It fulfills this founder of a public art gallery of photography to share them. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

I am in transition.

I retired ten years ago thinking I would never work again. But I was wrong. I had all these things inside me that I didn’t know where there and they came out one by one: two books, two plays and one screenplay—and they were all successfully monetized.

The last item on my bucket list was “Africa.” I meant “animals,” and I got my fill. That trip ended in January 2013 and that is when I stopped travelling.

In April 2015, I decided that the closing of my second play would be the end of my career as both playwright and performer. Ever since, I have been adapting to a second “retirement” from self-determined projects.

As in childhood, I have endless time, no partner or dependents, no sex life and live alone with pets and a healthy allowance. This second childhood is a banquet of comforts that comes with a surfeit of time.

I should be blissful. Instead, I find the lack of engagement rather challenging. I have only two “dates” in the next twenty days. One is with the exterminators (our strata has a problem with ants) and the other one is with “fish boy,” the delightful young man who helps me manage my aquarium.

I have ruled out volunteering—too regularized.
I have rejected taking a course—they convenience the slowest learners.
Reading and writing is a challenge—too much sitting (I have sciatica now).
Cooking is risky—too many calories.
Cleaning is fabulous—but everything shines and all non-essentials are culled.

Walking is great but it only lasts only three-to-four hours a day and is weather dependent. (I must mention how stunned I was to be walking yesterday in a t-shirt on October 29th!)

And fuck. My voice is gone again. Today is my second day in a row fighting to speak. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. These “golden” years are brass—and even the brass is a patina.

Photo dump:

I covet these clothes. Oh to be rich and European.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Summer of '68

In 1968 my friend Mike wrote to me from Germany to suggest I join him for the summer travelling together through Europe. I bought a ticket to leave at the end of my academic year at university but by the time of my departure Mike had returned home, broke.

I did not want to go alone but I was too ashamed to say so, so I got on the plane.  

When I arrived in London, all my anxieties poured out in a quiet meltdown of limitless tears. An empathetic family who recognized me from my plane took me under their wing. I took me three days to become emotionally stable enough to venture outside and three weeks to summon the courage to venture to Bruges, Belgium where I would experience being in a foreign-speaking country for the very first time. On the boat I had another meltdown and was rescued by a priest.

In Bruges, I had to find someone with whom to travel. I met Sharon (who had been dumped by her husband on their honeymoon) and we voyaged for the ensuing three months together—an unbelievable three months:
  1. While I had been in London under the care of my temporary guardian, Professor Elliot, we witnessed the arrest of the murder of Martin Luther King right outside the pub in which we were having a drink.
  2. I had sex with Sharon all summer. Me, who otherwise has been exclusively homosexual throughout six decades.
  3. In Vienna, we flipped a coin to decide whether we should go to Prague or Budapest. Prague won but our train had to back up as it filled with refugees; that was the beginning of the Prague Spring, an invasion by Warsaw Pact member countries.
  4. In Paris we were trapped for three days in our hotel due to serious rioting in the streets—see the photo above taken in Paris in May 1968. It was seeing this photo that reminded me of these incredible events that happened between May and August of 1968.

And I Thought I Was Immature

Leck mich im Arsch is a canon in B-flat major composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, K. 231, with lyrics in German. It was one of a set of at least six canons probably written in Vienna in 1782. Sung by six voices as a three-part round, it is thought to be a party piece for his friends.

"Leck mich I'm arsch" is translated as "lick me in the ass."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Tears of Jesus

My all-time favourite New Yorker cartoon by Jack Ziegler.

I love this story; it made me laugh. I love it for two reasons. One: I used to drink all our family Castoria, a laxative that was deeply rich with vanilla flavoring. And two: I swooned over the expression “tears of Jesus.”

“When I was six, my mom caught me trying to eat pure sugar out of the container so she asked me: ‘Would you like to have something even sweeter?’ Of course, I said, ‘Yes! Yes I would.’ So she said, ‘Smell it first and then decide.’ And then she let me smell her bottle of straight vanilla extract and of course it smelled like the tears of Jesus, so I said, ‘Yes, give it to me.’ And she let me take a huge swig and this is why I have trust issues.”