Trout’s en route

He’s on the road, in Arkansas currently. He says: never go to Arkansas, they have more mosquitos than the Great Dismal Swamp.

He’s looking for a place to crash when he gets here, at least temporarily. As he says, he doesn’t need a restroom or a kitchen, more of a dry spot. I guess his real problem is the dog. If anyone knows of a dog-friendly motel around here that’d be great to know. He said he has enough cash to float for awhile until he finds a real place, anyway. But if you hear of any weird night watchman/sleeping bag living situations, drop ’em my way.

His own cellphone is dying but I have the phone of the guy who’s driving him.

you know that some day I’ll walk out of here again

It has come to my attention that I need a vacation. Alone. In the desert or up the Central Coast. I usually do this twice a year and it’s one of the things that keeps me from completing my transformation into Howard Beale.

It doesn’t have to be long or cost a lot of money. A long weekend, two overnights in a cheap motel, and a digestible series of patty melts will do if the scenery is okay. That’s great news, because I’m completely broke, too.

The Fix My Damn Brain project ate everything for a year, starting with my time. Neurofeedback, which ends at least temporarily on Tuesday, will have lasted almost 11 months straight with no breaks, twice a week with some extra days. Forty-seven weeks! No leaving town or taking time off. Plus shrink lady once a week and doctor once a month. Plus doing enough of my job that I didn’t get fired. I’m a little surprised thisl happened at all.

And it ate all my money too. In theory I’m getting reimbursed for some of this stuff at least, but out of pocket for the period since NFB start includes

Neurofeedback: $8930 <- !!!!!
Shrink: $6815 <- !!!
Drugs: $2200 (est) <- !

Oh hey look, it's almost $18,000. No wonder I'm in the hole. Must defeat ADD and get that paperwork done. If I can get even half of that back…

The unspeakable lured by the unreadable

I try not to to be too hard on hack writers most of the time. It’s hard to make a living in journalism, and a lot of jobs are at boring and stultifying industry house organs or shilltalk ad rags. These are people who wanted to be ink-stained front page reporters or film critics and they get to write about aluminum foil or fabulous getaway weekends. Sometimes, though, they cross a line. This piece, from a credit card company’s luxury travel magazine, is… well, I’ll pay you a quarter if you read the whole thing straight through. It’s for our local South County seaside resort, and the writers decided that instead of the usual luxury porn template that bored them so, they’d use an alternative literary form for thier puff piece: A film script! Because that’s what they really wanted to do anyway.

THE SCRIPT

bife bife bife

Argentina on Two Steaks a Day

steak

“Steaks here are ridiculous – not so much in diameter, since they rarely overhang the plate by more than an inch or two – but in thickness, having roughly the proportions of an American canned ham. But what the Argentines have really mastered is flavor. Strange cuts of meat that would be ground into flavorless paste up north come to your table here infused with a delicious texture and flavor, provided they are cooked right. And they are invariably cooked right. The waiters are solicitous about asking (in English) how you want your meat done, but if you let them make the call, you get a two-inch thick of meat that transitions seamlessly from carbon to bright pink and back.”

The Still Center of a Turning World

As a child I spent a lot of time in art museums. My parents were culture vultures and we traveled a lot in Europe, including a year in Paris and some summers in Italy, France, and England. From the age of 7 to 14 I tagged along to every church, museum, archaeological site, castle, and concert in the First World.

Despite my strong desire to run in circles and eat sweets, I enjoyed high culture as a child. I could sit staring at a favorite artist’s work for a long time, and even if I didn’t like the stuff it was a fun game to learn all about it. For an agnostic I know way too much about Catholic saints to this day. There were downsides to this life (my mother would delay lunch way, way too long if the museum was good), but on the whole I was happy.

My favorites were Henri Rousseau’s big, colorful, naive paintings; Monet, especially the biggest ones; Arp’s shiny sculptures; Caravaggio’s paintings; and, although we never visited any of those countries, almost anything from Asia.

I have a particular memory of sitting in front of a large bronze Buddha. The museum atmosphere was sterile and white, and the only sound was that of the hygrometer occasionally ticking in the corner. The gallery was mostly empty. I sat on a wooden bench slightly too high for me, so that my legs swung, and looked up at him. I think this must have been a Nepalese or Indian Buddha, because he had the half-twisted little wry smile I associate with Hindu art. His patina’d hand was held up in the Buddhist benediction sign. I wanted to be that statue, and for an hour or so I thought I almost was, under my own personal Bo tree, unmoved.

That experience is in the library now, and I can go there when I need it. I’ll never be a Buddhist, but I can go back to that moment in a forgotten museum and sit on that bench next to Buddha and be still any time it’s necessary.