it’s a dangerous thing to leave the door

He’s been in the kitchen sink to watch. The neighbor across the way has been moving. There are a lot of things to keep track of across the street.

My cat Simon has a good life, but it is highly contained within the walls of our house. This is his everything. Well, sometime he will make a foray onto the back patio. He’s found a way to pry an incompletely closed back door with his paw. He will go out there to taste the grass, and then return inside. I will go back inside to find the back door open (What!) and him sitting with all feet tucked under his body as if he’d never moved.

Except his ears and slanted back. The outdoors is painfully shocking.

But the biggest part of his small world?

The food dish.

The twice daily serving of food are the two poles his world revolves around. He does not let me forget what time it is.

I know his world is small. And I am the one who provides for him. I have to be responsible.

He and I are not that different. My world is not that bigger. My day includes a few more places than his. But not that many.

Kitty has been struggling. His food is not quite right. He’s not eating his food.

He has become convinced that somewhere out there—he doesn’t know how—there is a better choice.

As his person, with the bigger world, I have to help his with this mystery. What else does the world have in it?

I bring him offerings. Will turkey giblet pate serve?
Yes. For a few days.
But then again….

We have gone through liver. Tuna and whitefish.

Sometimes he likes it to be there, untouched, while he eats his regular dry kibble. Just a little bit.

I even gave him canned tuna. Which was exciting for a day.

He was under distress. This process was not comfortable for him. He was licking himself bald and worse.

The vet got involved.

But we have come to equilibrium. We wandered all the way through the wilderness, and discovered that he liked his original food after all.

There were some paths he needed to walk down. Rough, unfamiliar territory that he had to experience.

We had some communications that had to be refined. More brushings.

There were things I needed to know that he had to find a way to tell me.

It was a portfolio of things. And it was a set of experiences he had to have to arrive at this understanding.

His world is small.

My kitty is telling me that homeostasis is not good enough. That he and I can have more. He didn’t settle and I don’t’ have to either. Things can change for the better. The view out the window changes and I can too.

Book Review: Gravity’s Rainbow

y Thomas Pynchon 1973

Dystopian and hopeless
Post modernist

Feels to me like the direct descendant of Ulysses by James Joyce, but with much bigger scope

Very Matrix-like, we are cogs in the machine

Paranoia, identity, physicality and intellectual

I could not find a character in the book was was acting on his or her own impulses…I coined a word

Before any of the characters were able to make choices, all possibilities were preselected by institutional non personal systems. Even the most primal choices of reflexive sexual desire was manipulated by impersonal and uncaring institutional forces. The intention of those institutions was not for the benefit of the individual. The individual was irrelevant for anything but experimental observation and potential use…like a cog in a machine.

Desires, aspirations and love for the characters are an unnecessary side effect of their purpose as unnecessary and embarrassing as a fart.

But let’s talk about the Plot and the characters briefly.

Slothrup, an American LT working in the UK for allied intelligence, and he is under observation by the firm he works for because of a connection between his erections and the V-2 rockets explosions.
Slothrup has already been noticing this trend, that everytime he has sex with a woman a bomb invariably lands at that spot.

—I’ll be honest I thought this was some kind of masculine fascination that the story would get past…I kept reading in the hope that this stupidity would pass. Really? A sci-fi fantasy that when this mane ejaculated a real bomb went off? Aggrandizement much?…But then I realized it was not a distraction…It was the whole story.

So what’s the story? Lt. Tyrone Slothrup (whose name is kind of an anagram for Entropy, the tendency to devolve into chaos) is trying to figure out what is happening…beginning of the story is him noticing a pattern, wondering if he is paranoid. How could he not be paranoid? But he discovers that his workplace…the allied intelligence…has him under observation for this connection he hold between the bombs and his erections

It appears he is not paranoid enough

A lot of this book is comedy—for the right sense of humor laugh out loud funny. It’s absurd and ridiculous. I think it’s a masculine kind of humor, I did not laugh. I did see that it was there, but sadly it didn’t make me laugh. Possibly because none of the characters were likeable, only pitiable.

In the heriod tradition, He does eventually go on a foggy quest to find out more about this weird connection between his sexual impulses and bombs going off. His travels/adventures reminded me of James Joyce Ulysses, although the scope was much broader, geographically, across time and with difference characters. Ulysses was rooted in physical reality. I could recreate the walk though the very real city of Dublin.

Pynchon’s gravity’s rainbow has a fictional geographay, like Catch 22. The action takes place in the psyche

He is pushed and pulled through this landscape, meeting people and exploring more of his questions. He and the plot focus in on the very first V2 rocket…with it’ specific serial number. This special rocket is held in reserve.

Through these travels. Slothrup knows his identity even though others mistake it because of the uniforms he has to wear (English, german, rocket man, rusian officer, pig)
His pig costume is worn by someone else, who gets attacked and castrated by actors who are intent on castrating HIM, but they are fooled by identifying as his costume instead of himself
Were they castrating slothrup to stop the bombs from falling?
Very backwards, and even so they got it wrong.

The sexual scenes in this book are perverse. Graphic and nearly constant. The book did win the National book award in 1974, and the Pulizter committee REALLY wanted to give it their award so bad, but drew back because of the description of sexual Fecal play. This institution played exactly along with the themes of the book by not awarding any litererary prize that year, annihilating itself in appreciation of this black hole of a book.

This book has layers upon layers of very important themes that can be explored. I don’t have the energy to go very deep.

For being the most masculine book I’ve ever read, this book does not have any male characters or characteristics I admire. No desire, no aspiration. All the characters are acted upon, not actors. Even the actions they do take are mostly facilitating the institutions’ broader manipulation and control of themselves and others.

Because of this, it’s very very relevant. The world has become more de-personal than ever. Pynchon was prescient in his description. Like the matrix the individual is reduced to a consumable material. I see in many places a war not just on individual thought, but on individuals themselves.

The idea of our sexual impulses being controlled and tracked by non-personal institutions is as relevant to today as the watch on my wrist.


I hate waiting. Don’t like it if I have to wait for someone else. Don’t like it if I have to wait for something. It’s tough if I have to wait for the right time. 
I like to go. Let’s do this! 

Still there are times when I must wait. I have to wait. 

The decision has been made and the decision action hangs in the eternal present. It is unfurling, but it hasn’t happened. 

The action might require another person or group of people to agree. So I must maintain my intentions and be persuasive. 

This looks like making a statement to an audience and staying silent. 

Wait for it.  



Let that person hear it, understand it and acknowledge what I said. 

That’s so uncomfortable. 

I have leapt into that breach, thrown myself into it with desperate offers or suggestions. I’ll handle it, I take care of it, just don’t make me have to sit in the agony of uncertainty. 

Even if it’s the opposite of what I want, It is better to have a direction and keep going. FINE! I’ll do everything, just let’s get started. I’m dying 

But the growth is in the pain. What I learn and who I become during the waiting is of greater value than what I thought I was trying to achieve. 

The synthesis formed in the two people working together and growing towards one another is the product of that growth. This is the transformation. 

But only if I stay true to myself. If I can get clear on what I what, what I need to ask for. 

Say it. Ask it. 

And let it shimmer like a ripe fruit on a tree. Let the other person pluck it.  

We can learn together when I have the courage to leave space.  


Why can’t you be in a good mood? How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?

-Lloyd Dobler “Say Anything”

It was a tough day at work and the boss had sent me an unexpected one-on-one meeting invite. I knew what that meant: nothing good.

The exact form the bad news would take took over my mind. What had someone else said about me? I knew I hadn’t done wrong, but I did not know what kind of mean-spirited rumors were being spread.

I’d been living in this attitude of dread for months. This meeting was a spark to a very ready panic.

I knew it. I’d been trying to find my way out of this pit of despair for some time. I’d found a new friend who was helping me. I’d shared my story.

“I’m not making this up! I have proof, evidence that there are things happening behind my back!” I wailed.

She nodded. “I believe you,” she said.

What  a relief! I barely believed myself. Surely I had some something to deserve this ill-treatment. How could people be this cruel when I’d done nothing wrong?

“But what if you didn’t have to feel trapped? What if you could see this as good news?”

This was a troubleshooting question. I was used to working with tricky equipment and wires. I’d often found incorrect routing and connections to be the problem.

What if I could try to see if I could believe this was possible?

My past experience would lead me to think it was not. But it was possible, even if it was a small chance.

I could hang on to that small chance. I decided that I would not let the dread over take me. I dropped a flag in the ground and declared that it would be good.

It didn’t take away the fear or what could happen. But I set my mind to look for what could be good. 

It let some air in, and I was able to breath and be more free.

It’s not impossible. Good things do happen. Even when I make them myself.

Nature is here to help

My orange tree is still full of very ripe delicious oranges. And the Mandarins, right next to it, are ripening too. It’s always surprising to me how generous nature is…so much fruit! So much possibility.

Everywhere I look, human beings have popped up around rivers. The rivers have water to feed the flora and fauna which feeds us. But they also move, and carry our stuff. Just put the food and the other things gently on a ship and they can go to wherever we need them to go

Of course, people would take advantage of this easy route. It would take so much work to carry that load over land, we might never have done it. Of if we had, we would have charged a lot more for those things.

Use the energy that is being given. That’s what my Sensei teaches me in martial arts. If someone is charging at me, it a great idea to step a bit to the side with a shove and give them a free path right down into the ground.

I’m all for hard work, but those early human on the edge of the rivers were showing that there might be an easy way. Imagine, a woman gathering food from up the river and trying to carry it back. She stops to wipe the sweat off her forehead and sees the leaves floating on the river. Couldn’t her burden float too? A little floaty barge with some rope would make everything easier.

I don’t have to do it the way it’s always been done.

I don’t have to keep doing it the first way I tried.

I can mix it up. Look at it a different way. Who or what might be able to help? Like I said, Nature is surprisingly generous. There is so much there ready to be utilized, it’s practically going to waste. Some inquiry, curiosity and gentle pushes could have huge effect.

We are here to help each other.

Always Moving

” We are very sorry but the tournament will have to start 15 minutes late,” the announcement came over the loudspeaker.

The concrete floor of the convention center bounced up the noise of more than a hundred people, mostly kids in their Karate outfits, but we couldn’t start yet. There was a problem with parking and they wanted to make sure everyone was there.

My karate daughter was waiting for her turn to compete, and fighting the feeling of overwhelming chaos and nerves.

Competition is tense in the best of circumstances. Just like a prairie dog, in these heightening situations we pop up to scan the scenery for anything unusual. Is that danger? DO I need to run? Do I need to fight? What’s that tiny motion over there?

This was not a quiet prairie. The roar of noise, and constant stimulation had us stretched tight. There were so many things that needed attention.

Human bodies have another response to threat. Science has observed that when in threat our extremities will get less blood, and our blood flow will go to the main organs to keep them as well –supported as possible. And our senses will narrow; In high anxiety vision has been known to narrow into tunnel vision. Human eyesight will actually drop the information of the peripheral vision.


There are reasons for both of these responses. In that big tournament hall tunnel vision would have been nice. It was clear we were not in actual danger. That prairie dog response was not helpful.

But I was not up for competition, nonetheless I had a lot of reason to be nervous and pay wider attention to make sure I handled what needed to be done.

I am a human, and I have choices. I chose to block out most of the noise so I could focus on what was most important.

Like the next loudspeaker announcement. “We are sorry, the competition will be delayed for 15 minutes again.”

I could switch between the two states. Wide awareness of the horizon would have to be taken again when we needed to move to another section, and then I could narrow the focus again when I was able to stay in one place.

I’ve had practice with the zoom controls on my focus. I am far from perfect. But it was a lot easier for me.

The awareness and the choice are key. There are a lot of things tugging for my attention. I have to come first or I lose the ability to choose where I need to focus. It’s always moving.