the wave, your wave, reverberations of woodstock and hand-me down memories to last for these years of what once was and maybe someday will become the only way to survive an interminable fate
let your memories be as pool noodles, not anchors… and if you find yourself floating out on a sea of fear or anger or mistrust, let your noble spirit be your GPS and an open heart be your map back to shore
“perdu, perdu” but then Galoup, our unreliable narrator, may just have been imagining that Sentain found his salvation. I guess that’s the rub, when we send someone to walk (or ourselves go walking) in the desert, we never really know how the Devil will garnish his temptations. We barely know our present, except sometimes we know our just desires and sometimes we know that we get frightened and sometimes we decide what it means.
That existence precedes essence is a better description of the human condition, but it is still remains an inadequate one. We are not blank slates. True freedom is chaos: We are not chaos. We are a thousand freedoms at each moment in the river, but from the top of the canyon we see that the river runs its inevitable course. Existence is perquisite to essence, but they have both since evolved symbiotically. One feeds the other. Ouroboros. Baudrilliard argues that the simulacrum is the truth which conceals that there is none, but more simply the simulacrum may have come about via an ambiogenesis that we can no longer perceive or measure. Alternatively, we may consider that the truth is still there, but concealed still further; or that the truth was once there, but has passed; or that there was a precession of truths before leading to the ultimate simulation. It seems facile to conclude that there is no truth behind the simulacrum.
Truth is funny in its own way.
Our just desires. Khalil Gibran said that it was better to know the pain of too much tenderness. I say: Fuck Khalil Gibran. It is better to get it right the first time. But that’s wishful thinking. Eventually we stop being kids, we realize that no matter how hard we want something to be so, it doesn’t matter. And, by this point, the first time has long since passed. Wishing for the past is the pinnacle of futility. Khalil Gibran was right. Fuck Khalil Gibran.
And still. Why not take the direct route?
Somedays I try to forget the memory of past wishes.
Buy the ticket, take the ride. Pull the trigger. Push the button.
Andrew David Kennedy
PO Box 51700
Pacific Grove, CA 93950-6700
1997. Pat Boone had released “In a Metal Mood” and I’d relocated from Monterey to Berkley, Michigan (suburb of Detroit). It was my first time living away from home. The motivation for the move had been to remove the question mark from a potential romance. By the time I was packing my new GMC pickup full of books & clothes the question mark had been removed: The answer was “No.” I didn’t have a job, I didn’t know anybody in Michigan, I didn’t even have the foresight to reserve a hotel room. But I did have my black motorcycle jacket and a sense of adventure.
Later that month, I’d landed a really good job working for EDS at the GM Tech Center in Warren, but I still didn’t have any local roots. Folks in Michigan are very friendly, but relationships tend to be static and insular and it would be a while before I built up a network of friends. In the meantime, I discovered that Michigan was near a lot of places I’d never been. GM gave us Good Friday & Easter Monday off, so I decided to take the four-day Easter holiday and head out. A friend of mine from California, James Brown, was from Montpelier, Vermont and used to talk about how great it was. I decided it was time to find out for myself.
I called some friends back at Casady & Greene to get directions and advice. My old boss, Donald, said that if I was in the area, I should check out the Backside Inn on the “backside of Mt. Sunapee” in New Hampshire. So I got in my truck with two goals for the weekend: Visit Montpelier, and stay at the Backside Inn
I arrived in Monteplier on Friday, 28 March. My first order of business was to get a Montpelier High Football hat. That’d freak out of James the next time I saw him. The folks at Montpelier High office were very understanding. It wasn’t football season, of course, but they agreed to send me hats as soon as the order for the new season was in (true to their word, I got my hats a couple of months later). I strolled around Montpelier, visiting the State Capitol building and James’ much-hyped (and then-rare) Ben & Jerry’s establishment. One feature of Vermont stood out: The personalized license plates. So few autos are there in Vermont, I saw plates like “Car,” “Jeep,” and “Mike.” In California, people have to have their plates written in code that is almost as much gibberish as the standard plates.
Having all options leaves you feeling like you have no options. That realization hit me the next day. I talked to the hotel staff, explaining that I had no freaking idea what I was doing there and was open to suggestions. “How about… uh, skiing?”
My only other time skiing had been exactly 10 years prior, but it seemed like there was nothing to loose so I headed to Sugarbush. Not wanting to buy expensive snow gear for what was presumably a one-off event, I rented skis and wore what I had:
As the lift operator commented, “You’ve been going down this same slope all day, and every time I see you, you’re more wet!” True enough. As the day wore on, my muscles grew tired and I gave up on trying to turn and focused on going as fast as possible.
One evening (I forget which), I went up to Montreal, Quebec. St. Catherine’s St was amazing; tons of folks were out & about even though it was freezing cold. The other evening, I was going to go to the Lobster Pot in Montpelier, but decided that “while I was in the area” I might as well do the real-deal and go to Maine for my lobster dinner. I ended up at DeMillo’s Floating Restaurant in Portland; I ostentatiously ordered pre-shelled lobster. It is besides the point that I think lobsters are ugly and I don’t even really like seafood.
Bruce, Mackie, their daughter Taylor, and me were the only people at the Back Side Inn (http://www.backsideinn.net/) on Sunday evening. The Inn is still there, but Bruce is now doing home inspections in Florida. It was a little odd staying at a bed & breakfast by myself, but they were very nice people.
Before heading back to Michigan, I stoped by Salem, Mass. Salem has drawn on its history by becoming a haven for “real” witches. Not a lot of stuff was open when I got there, except for the Crow Haven Corner, run by Laurie Cabot’s daughter (Laurie Cabot being the “official witch of Salem”). As it turned out, most everybody except for me was preparing for what would be the biggest snowstorm to hit New England in many decades. I tried to scoot out of town, but it was too late. After getting stuck on the highway for exactly 2 hours, I was able to proceed in 4WD. The only cars I encountered beyond that point were crashed or engulfed by snow. People were huddled inside gas stations, stores, anywhere but on the road. Except for me & my trusty truck. At first I was deteremined to make it back to Michigan, but it took me all night to get to Albany, New York. I finally conceded defeat and got a motel room.
I was delighted to find out that my friend Dorothy was going to college in Wheaton, just outside of Chicago. We had a lot of fun exploring Chicago together. Much like the obligatory lobster at DeMillo’s, we orderd a Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Gino’s East. We got back to the car, opened up the box, and stared at a huge 1″ pile of tomato sauce. “Huh… I don’t really like pizza sauce…” I remarked. Dorothy giggled. “I don’t really like deep-dish pizzas either.” We had a good laugh, ate half a piece each, and tossed the rest.
In July, I came back to California to visit along with Tony & Doug, two friends from Michigan. It was like an alternate reality oompa-loompa California. When I mentioned that Salinas was the home of John Steinbeck, they were overjoyed beyond any reason. We had lunch at the Steinbeck House, we went to the Steinbeck Library, we went to Steinbeck’s grave… it was like an adult Disneyland. A sedate, literary adult Disneyland. We also went to San Francisco:
It is too small to tell, but the hat I’m wearing is my “Montpelier Football” hat.
On another occasion in 1997, I had the opportunity to meet the then-governor of Michigan, John Engler. It was a very cool experience, although I’m not sure how my views today would square up with Gov. Engler’s. The suit in the picture was purchased especially for the occasion. It is one of only two regular suits I’ve ever owned.
The picture below is from late 1997, when I was taking pictures around Windsor, Canada. There was a very strange-looking gold-tinted window on the side of a building, and I decided to take a picture of my reflection in it:
I had to give blood. All my blood. I don’t remember why. But I remember the fear. The decisions were all made and the needle was in, surge of crimson and desperation. The terror of the unknown, that this was it. The last moments, beyond which was anhiliation. Praying to a Jesus and God I wasn’t sure I believed in. Knowing that at that point I’d give anything for it to stop, anything to know that I would be waking up again. The Devil would have whispered and I would have listened. They tell me, just go to sleep…
Maybe if they could tell me why. If I knew that one of my boys would have lived with my blood, it would have been easier. But to be meaningless is to be afraid. Sometimes that’s a good thing, because meaning can induce a man to blow himself up in a crowded market. Fear limits our range of actions. So: Is it possible to be both free of delusions and unafraid of death?
the washington & oregon coast
seni gidi findik kiran, yilani deliginden cikaran, kaderim püsküllü belam, yakalarsam...
The camera slowly pans across a mural as the first verse of the chant of the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion is recited.
Opening scene – African women dance rythmically to Simarik by Tarkan. A song I’d never heard outside of the movie.
It has been bouncing around in my head for 7 years now. I had a dream the other day that I would meet a girl who knew this song and we would fall madly in love.
And there we were, at the beginning of a long night. I know this song, she said.
I met a woman across the sea, her hair the gold that gold could be
Are you a teacher of the heart? Yes, but not for thee.
– Leonard Cohen, “Teachers”
why I oppose the death penalty
I don’t oppose the death penalty because it is wrong it kill people who commit heinous crimes. I oppose the death penalty because it is unncessary. Human life should only be taken when necessary, such as in self-defense, war, preventing terrorist acts. Retribution will neither bring the victims back to life or aid in the healing process, nor is it a valid basis for public policy.
Even though I oppose the death penalty, I do so on practical grounds, and do not find common cause with those who oppose the death penalty on radical grounds. Mumia Abu-Jamal is probably one of the most deserving of death. And if in the heat of his crime, his death could have prevented the loss of an innocent life, so be it. But what purpose would his death serve, 20 years after the fact?
the alvarado fire
8 Feb 2007 – Much of Alvarado St, the heart of downtown Monterey, went up in flames. My car was caught at ground zero – right between the fire trucks and the flaming inferno. Pummeled with ash & debris, it nevetheless survived.
Around 2200, we were across the street at Lallapalooza when a wisp of smoke floated out of Quizno’s. I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of photos, but at that point it looked like things would be controlled pretty quickly. When we emerged from the Crown & Anchor a few hours later, Alvarado St was ablaze. Steve & I walked around until 0300 taking pictures. We talked to the Monterey Herald the next morning – they bought one of my pictures for the print edition of the newspaper and a set of 12 photos for an online slideshow. And that’s how I went from amateur to professional photographer! At their request, I also provided a complete CD of the photos to the police & fire departments.
Click on http://www.montereyherald.com/ci_5434884 and scroll down to Alvarado Street fire photos, submitted by reader Andrew Kennedy, Feb. 8. Or click here to link directly to the slideshow. These links are current as of 27 April 2007.
I’ve also posted the photos as a set on Flickr:
If you would like to download the original, high-resolution versions of the same pictures, I have posted them here. Note that these pictures are very large (> 2MB each).