TOAD REPORT 2013

 

 

Well, I gotta be fast about this because I may lose momentum at any minute.

 

I turned 49 this year after all, and inertia has become a palpable force.  Oh letÕs not pretend that this is a new horizon in personal development, or that my creative efforts are beginning to bear fruit, or that my health has stabilized after years of discomfort, or that I am happier now than I have ever been, or that I seem to have accumulated a small modicum of wisdom despite countless demonstrations to the contrary.  All this may be true, but I am also just getting older. 

 

 

So HereÕs What Happened In 2013

 

After dating for over ten years, Mollie and I decided to allow the state to bless our relationship.  We had a very small ceremony, without much fuss and only a couple of family members and a friend as witnesses, and then had a nice meal at a San Diego waterfront restaurant.  Among the many cool things about getting married, I found, is that the courthouse hallways have excellent acoustics for boisterous impromptu arias, I can now feel strange about saying Ņmy girlfriend Mollie,Ó and nice new clothing and fine jewelry are an actual necessity for some occasions.  Also, I can now have high hopes that Mollie and I will no longer be persecuted by our progressive Unitarian Universalist friends for Ņliving in situ.Ó  No, but seriously, the coolest thing is that I really enjoy being married to Mollie.

 

 

 

We are slowly putting together an appropriately artsy printed album of images from our wedding day, and intend to have an online version of that available too.  In the meantime, here are a few unvarnished moments:

 

http://toadlandproductions.com/OurDaySlideshow/?detectflash=false&

 

 

A few weeks after our ceremony, we were compelled to throw a couple of big, fun parties – which was either an added benefit, or the primary one, depending on which of our friends and relatives you ask.  One was at our Spring Valley home, and one was in a Phoenix restaurant.  We had an absolute blast at both of them. 

 

 

Our handfasting party was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be mainly because the quality of folks who attended.  All of our friends have an exceptionally high pedigree (of course!) and I was delighted that my brother Sam was able to drive down from L.A., and that Wendy and Greg, my aunt and uncle from San Francisco, were also able to make the trip and even spend an extra morning visiting with us.  There was a lot of laughter this day, and it was also the first time we had been able to engineer any sort of party at our new home (which vigorously incentivized some overdue home improvement project completions!). 

 

Here is a link to more photos from the gathering at our house (thanks to Shawn Underwood for the great pics):

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4948946520701.1073741825.1209971049&type=1&l=060403c025

 

The Phoenix get-together was equally festive, with most of MollieÕs family and friends from the area converging on our dinner.  It made for a splendid evening.

 

 

It should be noted that one of the most unforgettable moments of either gathering was the speech that Glenn Michaels made on our behalf at the Phoenix Dinner.  To his credit, he did so in response to a surprise request from me when he was already deep in his cups, and so it is easy to understand why he began with an account of all the horrible things that had happened to Mollie and I over the course of our relationship, extolling the amazing resilience of our love despite such horrendous odds.  He then descended into the further darkness of untold sufferings that we ourselves were not even aware of (such as the time Mollie supposedly wrecked my car?).   But between the heckling and boos from a crowd of friends and relatives vainly trying to defend us from GlennÕs merciless onslaught, Mollie and I were laughing hysterically.  Glenn was truly magnificent; heÕs the 3rd from the right in the photo above.

 

 

A Trip Back East

 

My dad died in January.  At the end of this Toad Report IÕve attached the obit I wrote for the local paper in Winthrop, Maine, and we had a fine memorial gathering in a park in southern Maine, attended by many of dadÕs family and friends.  It was great to see so many loved ones after these long years apart, and to reconnect with humor and bittersweet memories of Bill.  Several appropriate ironies sprouted that day, including a crazy person who stalked our gathering (could he have been one of dadÕs old patients from Monson State Hospital?), a recommitment to staying in touch with folks catalyzed by a man who never stayed in touch with any of us, and a good many of us getting drunk over a dinner celebrating the life of someone killed by alcoholism.  Of course we summoned as much of dadÕs dry humor as we could muster, and shared some edifying and healing stories from our past.  It was a very gratifying get-together, made better by the unplanned coincidence that most of us happened to be staying in two adjacent hotels, so we could even have breakfast and take a morning stroll together the day afterward.

 

The highpoint of the event was auntie Deene and sister Karin slogging through the mud to deposit our written goodbyes to Bill in the river running by the park.  It was a tidal river, you see, so when I first scouted the park and imagined our gathering at this spot, the tide was in and the river came right up to the overlook pictured below.  But when we shared in our ceremonyÉthe river was a couple hundred feet away.  Kudos to Karin and Deene for being so braveÉand so goofy.

 

HereÕs a link to some photos of the day, most of which were taken by my lovely wife:

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200699136060023.1073741830.1209971049&type=1&l=e046acd98e

 

 

 

 

Our trip to the East Coast served as a great opportunity to visit with other family there as well, and to show Mollie some of the environs where I grew up.  We had a relaxing dinner with my mom in Manchester, CT, stayed with MollieÕs aunt in upstate New York, and had a nostalgic tour down memory lane with my sister Karin in Amherst, MA.  We have friends in San Diego (Tomas Firle and Joan Cudhea) whose family owns a Thoreau-esque cabin on a lake in eastern Massachusetts, and staying there for a night was a nice break from the frenetic driving schedule.  I was even able to take Mollie out in a canoe!  Then, at the end of our visit, Mollie and I escaped to the Big Apple for some Broadway shows, fine art gawking, mandatory tourist attractions, and really superb food.  We both enjoyed NYC more than we expected, and I hope we can find an excuse to go back beforeÉwellÉanyone else croaks on us.

 

 

(Above:  A visit with my mom in Manchester, CT)

 

You can find many additional photos from our trip here:  http://toadlandproductions.com/TripEast2013/?detectflash=false&

 

 

 

Another Type of Family Reunion

 

Those of you who have followed my relationship with MollieÕs children know that their father expended extraordinary amounts of energy trying to keep them alienated from me (and, to a lesser degree, from Mollie as well).  As is often the case with such efforts, both kids figured out that their fatherÕs fabrications, exaggerations and irrational fears werenÕt aligning with their own experience or what was best for their well-being, and so they rebelled.  As a result, each of them eventually left their fatherÕs home to rejoin their mother and reconnect with me.  MollieÕs daughter, Oni, was the first to find her way to freedom of heart and mind, and just a couple of months ago her brother Petyr followed suit.  It has warmed my heart and delighted my soul to get to know both of them again; they are both smart, funny, creative and insightful young people with lots to offer the world, and I had missed them both.

 

Oni is now living with her fiancˇ, Shawn, near L.A., and they come down for visits as frequently as they are able.   To the right is a selfie Shawn took of the two of them at our handfasting celebration in San Diego.

 

In the last several weeks of Petyr and my becoming reacquainted, we have discovered a plethora of shared interests and passions, have enjoyed each othersÕ company, and have partaken in regular ŅadventuresÓ together – I think all of this has been healing for us both.  Petyr was much younger than Oni when his father engineered a barrier between us, and so we werenÕt sure how Petyr would react to my presence in his life again.  But, just as Oni and I were able to do when she moved back in with her mom, Petyr and I have found an emotionally safe place to share honestly and openly, and begin to bridge the chasm of our time apart with kindness and caring.

 

Below is a link to pictures from a recent outing with Petyr, where we trained our cameras on the surrounds of a local reservoir.  You can also see PetyrÕs work at http://www.petyrcirino.com/.

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200993361575477.1073741832.1209971049&type=1&l=84d63a804a

 

 

 

Concerning Food

 

Food was a recurring theme in 2013.  So much so that I had to install this rack in the kitchen:

 

Why?  Because IÕm now cooking a lot, usually breakfast, lunch and dinner for three people every day.  And I love it.  On the one hand cooking provides a creative outlet – which is a good thing because I donÕt tend to follow recipes very well; if itÕs more than a list of ingredients and a vague description of the target outcome, I feel like IÕm trying to dance in a straightjacket.  For me cooking is about subtleties of taste, color, aroma, presentation, mouth feelÉall more spontaneous art than repeatable science from my point of view.  And itÕs therapeutic to produce new dishes and share them with people I love.  Plus I get to boss people around the kitchen, which is now unquestionably my domain.  Ha.  So of course there is a lot of experimentation, and the occasional failure, but I have a few proven dishes I can fall back on for guestsÉor when IÕm really tired.  In the sense of Like Water For Chocolate, I do believe our emotional state is often conveyed through our cooking.  And so there have been occasions when Mollie has taken one bite off her plate, then turned to me and asked:  ŅDid you have a bad day?Ó 

 

I have always enjoyed cooking for people, but what precipitated this trend of preparing nearly all of our meals at home was my own health.   A few years back, I discovered an extreme sensitivity to gluten in barley, wheat and rye, and as anyone with food sensitivities knows, navigating restaurants with such a condition is always challenging and often fruitless.  Mollie and I have found some reliable options in San Diego, and gluten awareness is on the rise all around the country, but once I got into the habit of cooking everything at home from simple, fresh ingredients, the desire to eat out rapidly waned.  Mollie claims the food we eat at home is better than most restaurants anyway, and I always thank her for that observation, but the truth is that you just never know whatÕs in restaurant food, even if you ask the chef to show you ingredient labels (yes, IÕve done that aplenty).  Trans fats maybe?  MSG?  Too much salt?  Corn syrup?  Gluten contamination in the fryer or on the grill?  Hormone-filled meat?  Unethically sourced produce?

 

I know it hasnÕt been scientifically validated yet, but IÕll bet someday it will be proven:  beyond ŅorganicÓ practices, consuming happy, free animals and untampered, unfertilized plants has nutritional advantages.  In fact I would say that the wilder something is – the closer it feels to its natural life process – the more flavorful, energizing and life-sustaining it will be as a food.  WeÕve only just begun to understand the function of the nutrients we consume, and the negative impact of chemically enhanced or bioengineered substitutes that increase yields and profits.  In any case, I discuss more ideas about food on my www.glutenfreesd.com website, where IÕve also posted some GF recipes, restaurant reviews, etc.  Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Other Highlights from 2013

 

Lots of other good stuff happened this past year, so much that IÕm finding it difficult to recall everything.  But here are a few of the shiniest bubbles rising to the surfaceÉ

 

I am still passionately compelled to write, and thatÕs been rewarding.  If you want to track my efforts I have a website dedicated just to writing at www.tcollinslogan.com, and reader reviews of my books appear at http://www.amazon.com/T.Collins-Logan/e/B003C8GTM0/.  This yearÕs efforts culminated in a book entitled Political Economy and the Unitive Principle, and I really enjoyed working on that.  If you Google that title youÕll find it available in many different formats, some of them free (as are many of my e-books).  This latest book is basically my attempt to answer the failures of capitalism with a combination proven alternatives, and a way to approach the challenges of the current era without repeating the failures of the past.  ItÕs a meaty topic, but rest assured that the book is entertaining, relatively brief (only 170 pages), and even has pictures for the faint of heart.

 

Essays, photography, poetry, music and fiction still lure me into sporadic fits of wanton creativity, and my focus has revolved mainly around the interior, interpersonal, philosophical, political and spiritual, with just a touch of science and history thrown in.  In the past couple of years, Facebook has become an avenue for stimulating discussions about new ideas, and impromptu expressions of those ideas.  For some examples, you can peruse my Facebook interactions here:  https://www.facebook.com/tcollins.logan/

 

IÕve also been updating my www.toadlandproductions.com website with new images, music and video projects, so you may enjoy that too.

 

And here is a poem I wrote in the course of exchanges with a Facebook friend:

 

 

 

 

TodayÕs Libation

Intellect weighs sideways glances

thoughts fermenting ego into clear broth

whoaÉthatÕs a hit! 

felt this tingling before

at a baptism maybe

ahas submerged in groupthink

stillness drowning in pop culture

liberation gurgling through a lake of cravings

touch the flame with pointed rhetoric

dissemble with erudition

these strange sensations of the Void

ŅI caught you peeking!Ó say the smiling gods

wagging an indifferent finger

but I feel blind and dumb

numb to questions circling on themselves

can we name them?

can we name the psycheÕs sycophants

however inward their narrowing gyre?

cÕmon, donÕt hold back!

name them please

itÕs academic

(though not essential)

 

So I, a mystic in the modern age

pretend to a translatable gnosis

ink blots, Rorschachs

swirling into pixels

approximating quanta

locally coherent

across digitized swelter

and that's the end of it:

nothing springs forth

into nothing

and once again the letting go

the boiling of clear broth

the steam of relinquishment

like a frothy belch on a crisp autumn day

letÕs not confuse that

for proof of life

or spiritual certainty

but hey, itÕs a writerÕs lament

to become this empty-handed

toiling in anonymity

because all the storyÕs characters

have no names

ah, well

this is still the best story of them all

 

My own?

maybe I evolved yesterday

maybe I congealed

some pedigree of emptiness

that complains no end

to revised perceptions

or higher degrees of compassion

or attenuating self

Yes! 

that resonant essence

chuckling through the muck

intending with constancy

and immutability

to excel Beyond

exhorting others to excel

hinting at the cost

here, now, the many themes and pieces

the many levels and vectors

of infinite spirals within

all yearning to comply

crying out in bashful creativity

 

But while the sea swells

and waves break

in illusive movement

is there only eternal returning

to the darkest depths of being?

perhaps the question is misnamed;

if being is a point

intersecting all dimensions

where does it reside?

in which direction does it move?

how can it evolve

other than to expand beyond itself?

perhaps the noble ones

who say Ņthere is no more becomingÓ

have apprehended this paradox

but I am not so noble

so I merely speculate

 

Thus immovable foundations

crash against irresistible impulse:

to live and grow and thrive

in echo of this fateful union

where consciousness emerges

questions and stories

questions and stories

questions and stories

when we exhaust the asking

and the telling

I bet thatÕs Death

and between this moment and that moment

a pathless land

irradiated with art

wafting the scent of love

luridly luring the Abyss

with mortal, undulating dance

welcoming unspeakable felt sense

to climax in unknowing

 

So I do not knowÉ

honestly!

my ignorance is vast

and IÕm too proud of it

the way a child is proud of a new toy

even though it does not belong to me

secretly I weep

because I cannot keep this gift

it will vanish at Dawn

and I will be responsible to myself once more

but for now

I revel in the rap-tap-tapping

grateful for impermanence

and the long arc of forgetting

and smell of frying onions

and the kindness of a friend

and all the little pains

and fractional efforts

that forestall the really big ones

someday, I hope

I will be less a coward

but for now

my doubt and knowledge

weigh equally on my mind and heart

and I tuck my secrets

under my pillow when I sleep

 

So thatÕs todayÕs libation

flavored by a yin/yang soul

a pinch of Buddha mind

and lots of Sufi heart

a spicy dash of GaneshaÕs flesh

infused with the spirit of Christ

brought to a simmer

amid this vale of years

sometimes held reverently

sometimes carelessly spilled and splattered

but here, now

in my overrunning cup

an offering to fellow celebrants

please enjoy

and drink it deep.

 

 

 

Now, since it has been a long while since my last Toad Report, IÕll also offer a few highlights from recent yearsÉ.

 

 

The Great Outdoors

 

I still love to be out in Nature as often as I can, and the past few years have provided some wonderful opportunities to do that with Mollie, as well as with my friend Bill and his son Max.  Here are a few images and links from some of those adventures:

 

Skiing with Bill in Big Bear in 2012 (thanks to Tom Clare for loaning me those sweet parabolics!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010 Zion Trip

 

Zion National Park is one of my favorite places.   In July of 2010, Bill and Max invited me along for their sojourn at this stunning natural wonder, and I eagerly tagged along.  Here is a link to pix of our time there:  http://toadlandproductions.com/Zion2010/index.htm

 

2009 Zion Trip

 

Just the year before, Mollie and I had journeyed to Zion to catch some of the incredible the Fall foliage there.  Here is a link to some images from that outing:  http://toadlandproductions.com/Zion2009Slides/?detectflash=false&

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

2012 Urban Escape Vehicle

 

I decided it was time to vacate my beach apartment and the responsibilities that went with it (I was an onsite manager for that complex for eight years).  However, I still needed a place I could spend the weekends, so that Mollie could have time with her son Petyr, who at that time was still under the spell of his fatherÕs phantasmal narrative of fright.  I also needed an office space to do research and write.  And so an idea was born:  to sell my Nissan Maxima and use the proceeds to purchase an RV.  It was a great solution, right?  Freedom from rent, an excuse to explore the hidden byways of San Diego or camp out in Nature, and if I wanted take a walk, or peruse some library books, or spend an afternoon shooting pictures, I could just drive over to one of my may favorite places to do these things. 

 

So I sold my 2001 Maxima and a few days later bought the lovely 1989 Ford Club Wagon Class B RV pictured here.  I never even took the cash out of the envelope the Maxima buyer had given me, I just handed it over.  Boy was I excited.  Of course I didnÕt realize that RVs are kind of like boats, in that whatever they donÕt invite in TLC they continually demand in repairs.  But even after a few breakdowns that had me jacking up the vehicle and crawling around underneath on the side of the road (these included a rear drum brake failure, replacing a shredded fan belt, fixing a leaky gasket, and rerouting rotted coolant lines) I was still hopelessly enamored with my newfound freedom.

 

And hereÕs why.  Take a look at these views from my Ņmobile office,Ó much better than new screensavers on a laptop methinks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anywhere I had cell phone coverage, I could tether my laptop to my phone and have decent Internet access.  I even watched a few Netflix movies that way before catching shuteye at a campsite.  I added an extra battery, a small fridge, a water pump for the sink, some nifty instruments for monitoring all my onboard systems, and you could say I wasÉwell, a happy camper.  At least for a while.

 

The only downside to my planÉwhich worked quite well for nearly a yearÉwas that I began to attract the attention of busybodies in some neighborhoods I frequented and, consequently, the interest of law enforcement.  Why would that happen?  Well, consider that OniÕs first reaction to the RV was to say Ņit looks like a rape van,Ó meaning of course a vehicle used to abduct people.  Mollie commented that I shouldnÕt Ņpark too close to any school or group of young children with that thing.Ó  I was sure these observations were just well-intentioned paranoia, but I tried to be mindful of the RVÕs impact nonetheless.  Even so, it was quite a shock when, sitting in a local park, typing away on my laptop, a La Mesa police cruiser pulled up behind me and two officers jumped out to surround my RV with guns drawn.  It was a tense standoff, what with me having to remove my ear buds very slowly, and the officers likewise taking their time to re-holster their firearms, but after about twenty minutes of pointed interrogation and suspicious, condemning glares, the officers finally let me get back to writing poetry.  Apparently, according to what the officers told me, I am now in a database of suspicious vehicles, Ņin case anything happens near where your vehicle is located, weÕll know where to find you.Ó  Wow. 

 

The good news is that Mollie and I have more plans for the RV, including a trip to Yosemite and other camping trips, and using it as a mobile studio for previewing and editing raw video in the field.  Why not, right?  Mollie thinks, however, that the Ņrape vanÓ needs a nice new paint job, and I thought maybe a business logo on the side, just to avoid any further unwanted attention.  IÕm also considering adding a solar panel on top to recharge the batteries.   And maybe some scientific instrumentation up there as well.  That way we will look like, I dunno, a stormchaser or UFO fanatic or survivalist or something.  Maybe IÕll put some anarchist stickers on bumper, too.  I think weÕll still get some mileage out of this vehicle, and some fun.

 

 

 

2012 - Frankfurt American High School Reunion

 

This was the only FAHS reunion I have ever attended, but it was conveniently located in my own town, so how could I not go?  The event itself was pleasant enough, and it was nice to reconnect with folks I hadnÕt seen in thirty years, especially since our experience in Germany was so unique, and had such a powerful influence on our worldviews.  It was a particular pleasure for me to visit with Marcus Calvin, who was able to swing by our house for a more intimate visit after the reunion itself; Marcus and I were on stage together at FAHS, and travelled Europe in an ISTA theatre troupe in our senior year, so it was great to see him again.  And then of course there is Geral Martin, who was my mentor, teacher and friend in many memorable adventures during my time in Germany.  Jerry and I picked up right where we left off, staying up late at night shooting the shit, then doing a vigorous hike in the Laguna Mountains and exploring some favorite haunts in San Diego the next day.  Jerry was as spry and giddy as a teenager in his hiking physique, his excitement and curiosity over a broad array of topics, and the detail with which he could recount his dalliances with beautiful women.  Both Jerry and Marcus flew in from Germany for the reunion.  Is that cool or what?

 

I donÕt have any photos from the reunion itself, but here are some pics from the day Jerry and I spent together gallivanting around the San Diego area: 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3759522625847.2144922.1209971049&type=1&l=17be83e2a2

Along these lines, I can also offer some photos from my years at FAHS, which some of you may find interesting.  I came across these while hunting through my old slides a couple of years back, and you can explore them here:   http://toadlandproductions.com/FAHS/index.htm

 

And yes, thatÕs a photo of me playing Dracula in a senior year play, with Marcus Calvin as Renfield.  In rehearsals of this particular scene, I would sometimes become too immersed in my role, resulting in Marcus not being able to voice his next few lines.  Oops.  One interesting note:  Mollie was playing Lucy in her Phoenix high school version of the play at the very same time!


 

 

 

2011 Occupy Events in San Diego

 

Yes, right now it does feel like the Occupy Movement has fizzled out, but being part of those early rallies and marches was invigorating, and I do believe it has inspired greater awareness in the general public about corporate cronyism in U.S. government, the widening gap between rich and poor around the globe, the exploitation and hoodwinking of our electorate, and the prevalence of self-serving indifference to everyone else in the 1% ruling elite.  I also believe the Occupy sentiments will resurface againÉhopefully soon.  As testimony to their broad resonance, I remember business people exiting offices during one march and asking ŅWhatÕs all this about?Ó  When I told them the march was against corporate influence that resulted in fiascos like the bank bailouts, every one of them put down their briefcases, raised their fists, and joined in the chanting. 

 

You can see my videos of Occupy events here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/tcollinslogan/videos.  And a handful of Occupy photos here:

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2110364877934.2110915.1209971049&type=1&l=24e3f20a35

 

 

 

2010 Home Acquisition

 

2010 seemed just the right time to buy a house.   Mollie and I had some savings, interest rates were low, there were those juicy government and state incentives for homebuyers, and rents were skyrocketing.  So we spent weeks looking at houses in our price range, trying to find something that was conveniently located, but still large enough for two growing kids and two adults with eccentric hobbies and tastes.  In San Diego, this can be fairly daunting.  When we finally came across a stucco house in the shape of an ŅH,Ó built in the fifties and sported nearly 2,000 square feet, we knew instantly that it had potential.  It was pretty seedy, and had been poorly maintained in the last few years, but it had good Ņbones.Ó  So we made an offer.    

 

And, about six months later, we had a home! 

 

No, it wasnÕt a short sale.  It was a contested estate sale, complete with lawyers (we required two), angry beneficiaries, clueless realtors, and one probate judge who, after hearing our case, actually dressed down our opponentsÕ attorney in front of everyone for bringing such a pointless, poorly constructed case before the court.   It was painfulÉand expensiveÉbut we prevailed and had all of our court costs taken off of the purchase price.  As a result, our mortgage (with PMI and county tax impounds) was less than our rent had been.  So, there you go.  Then, after being on pins and needles all of those months, it was time to launch a 400-hour rehabilitation project into high gear, so that we could actually move into the home.

 

Below are just a few of before-and-after pix to give you an idea of what we were dealing with.  Keep in mind that the ŅbeforeÓ pictures are pretty close to the condition of the house when we closed escrow.  Most of the trash and mess was still there when I began work on the houseÉ.

 


 

Kitchen Before

 

 

Kitchen After

 


 

Studio Before

 

Studio After

 


 

Bathroom Before

 

Bathroom After

 

 

 

 

Living Room Before

 

Living Room After

 

 

 

Patio Before

 

 

Patio After

 

Now we really enjoy our home, and are trying to schedule folks over for dinner on a regular basis.  The only challenge there is that San Diegans tend to be lead very busy lives, so nailing down schedules can sometimes take months.  But we have faith that, before we move out of this house, we will make at least one complete circuit of entertaining all of our friends and relatives, and perhaps even expand out from there.

 

 

 

Favorites

 

ItÕs been a tradition for me to include a brief list of my favorite things in each Toad Report, and now I have a few years of backlog to pick from, and MollieÕs discerning input to help with the selection, so here goes:

 

Destinations:  New York City; Dover, NH; York, ME; Big Bear, CA.

 

Movies:  Dallas BuyerÕs Club, Lincoln, Searching for Sugarman, Mud, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, The Avengers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (all of the original films), Let The Right One In (original), Restrepo, Exit Through the Gift Shop, WinterÕs Bone, Black Swan

 

Books: The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss), Mother of the Buddhas (Lex Hixon), Living as Form (Nato Thompson); EuropeÕs Promise (Steven Hill), The Social Conquest of Earth (E.O. Wilson), Chomsky on Anarchism (Noam Chomsky)

 

TV Series:  Luther, Downton Abbey, Justified, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Newsroom, Hit and Miss, Slings and Arrows

 

Restaurants:  Solare Ristorante (San Diego),  Tractor Room (San Diego), Pita Jungle (Phoenix), Toloache (NYC), Esselon Coffee Roasting, Co. (Hadley, MA)

 

Wines & Spirits:  God Send 2005 Cabernet (Thanks to Bill and Lori James, who introduced this to us in the course of some excellent meals at their home!), Casa Azul Reposado Tequila, Dark & Stormy (ReedÕs Extra Ginger Beer & MyerÕs Dark Rum - Thanks to Andrew Hapke for introducing us to Dark & Stormies during our NYC visit.  WeÕre definitely hooked.)

 

Music:  Punch Brothers, Natacha Atlas, Kate Rusby, Antje Duevekot, Bruce Cockburn, Lucinda Williams, Fretwork, Mumford & Sons, Radiohead, Iron and Wine, Allison Kraus and Union Station, The Roots, Sigur Ros, Piffaro

 

Video Games:  Skyrim – Gratitude to my late dad for sending me a copy!

 

 

 

What The Future Looks Like

 

If you were to follow my Facebook posts or read my essays and books, you would know that I believe we require major, fundamental, systemic changes in the U.S. and around the globe.  And we need them soon if we expect human society to thrive and evolve.  Or maybe humanityÕs failing on a global scale will be a necessary step in that evolution.  I donÕt know.  But I canÕt remain silent, so I voice my concerns and offer some solutions.  We shall see.  If youÕre interested in participating in the revolution, there are many resources at www.integrallifework.com that can help shape a more positive, constructive trajectory – and of course there is my latest book to provide some possible ways forward. 

 

In the meantime, Mollie and I will continue to plug away at the creative, social, familial, professional, political and physical elements of our own well-being and the well-being of our fellows, along with all the other dimensions that make life interesting.  We intend to make a trip to Italy some time soon, and that is in the planning stages.  The house still demands lots of work; the RV could use a tune-up; IÕd like to be playing Frisbee more regularly; I keep intending to take Mollie to Seattle and Portland some August or September to catch up with old friends and visit my favorite locales; Mollie and I have a number of creative projects in the wings involving music and video we want to complete (you can see her work at www.molliekellogg.com); I have another couple of books that are waiting to be written; there are lots of friends in San Diego IÕd like to see more often; and there is a huge stack of unread materials (books, magazines, papers) sitting by my desk, calling out to me like a relentless siren.

 

 

Much to do, more to be conscious of, all grounded in grand intentions.

 

Hope you have a ridiculously joyful 2015.  IÕll try to keep in touch if you will.  J

 

 

 

 

 

DadÕs obit (thanks to sister Karin for scanning this for me):