Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The World's Greatest Questions: ANSWERED

1) Time is not a constant thing throughout the universe.  We all have our own personal time, and an atomic watch would show this.  So asking when time began is like asking when did the universe start reading blogs.
2) How can anything be infinite?  That's ridiculous!
3) Actually, you do drive through your driveway to the garage.  You only park in it if it is full of junk or someone else's car.
4) Just kidding!  It's not a guy.
6)  Cause they somehow, together, made more of a TEAM than all the stars of the past.
7) Yep
8) 2PAC, Dylan, this guy:
9) Glenridge
10)  Depends...

Has anyone ever wondered...


1) When time began?  How did all this start?  And if it started,w hat was there before?  And if has always been there, what sense does that make?

2) Does the universe go on forever?  Doesn't that mean eventually there will be another Dan somewhere, just like me?  And one kind of like me?  And one totally different?  What the heck?

3) Why do you park in a driveway, and drive in a parkway?

4) Who the heck is this Manuel Labor I'm always hearing about?

5) Why is some science that seems to contradict the Bible okay to believe in, and some not?

6) How the heck did that group of Giants win the World Series?

7) Is a large part of what/who we are, a stew made of simply our memories, and what we tell ourselves about them?

8) Who is the best rapper of all time?  Folk singer?  Break dancer?

9) Where did Dan go to nursery school?

10) Is this worth my time?


Glenridge Downstairs

When the Glenridge afternoon program began, I was entering a new phase of awareness.  At 4½ I was no longer a baby, and I didn’t feel the same as the babbling toddler I’d been a year before.  Unlike the morning program, we were downstairs, always a few steps away from running out into the canyon that surrounded us.  My teachers upstairs have receded into memory, but Helen and Barbara are as clear as the paper and pen before me.  Helen’s long sleeve shirts of denim or flannel, her curled black hair, thick 80’s glasses and, upon review of photographs, very Jewish features.  Her soft voice, the way she looked us in the eye while reading to us, we children, arranged in 2 concentric semicircles for storytime.  Scrambling after her on nature hikes beneath eucalyptus trees that swayed and whispered above us, leaving scythe shaped leaves and many sided nuts on the forest floor to be found and pocketed, both of which contain smells that instantly take me back to those days, not just as memories, but through my senses.  As fast as the speed of light the world skyscrapes up above me and the ground rises to meet me and a dark aura surrounds me with the lemony scent of eucalyptus.  Much more distant, as if from another world, is the light, stuffy inside wonder of the upstairs morning program, this feeling of the mysterious world presenting its doors and paths to me for the first time.  And no less a presence was Barbara, her husky voice leading us to the corners of the room for art projects, squeezing clay and smearing paint across large sheet of off-white construction paper.  From her, admonishing felt only a different side of the coin of laughing.  We ran giggling on the tops of the logs and hiked up the hill to spaceship rock, an outcropping of stone that resembled the millennium falcon in some way I can feel but not understand anymore.  What is the secret to this time of my life, of exploration and love, when I cried on the weekends because I wanted Glen Canyon, Glenridge, the trees, the creek, the smells of papier mache, wet earth and eucalyptus trees.  Barbara and Helen, my friends Jason and Jason and Justin?  Why do I feel a hint of it on my yearly family trip to Yosemite, or the mountains of Sequoia, the dust of black rock city, the empty days in the woods and playa?  Places that finally have room to be filed with the present moment?  And I wonder if much of my anxieties of daily are not from fear of it, but a side effect of the constant forgetting I must do to drive in traffic and go to work , to pay the  bills and vacuum the carper, instead of running through the forgetmenots and fennel among the dirt path in the woods to meet my younger self on a rock of rivulets and corners, a boy who is manning the helm as we blast off into space.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Life: Glenridge Upstairs

Like much of my childhood, my recollections of the years before nursery school have blended with stories from my parents and photographs of that time.  I read from many experts on memory that the more you remember something, the less concrete the original memory becomes.  It, in essence, becomes replaced by each recollection of it.  A group of something close to eight sets of parents became friends through a childbearing class, and stayed friends long afterward.  These other children, who were born within a year of my own birth, were my first friends.  For the early years of my life this small community got together at their children’s birthday parties to reminisce and share similar stories.  Over time the families went their separate ways.  By the time I began going to nursery school I only saw them very rarely.  A new set of friends was coming into my life, some of which I still have.

Glenridge is a wide, two story building nestled in Glen Canyon near a creek that almost drowns out the sound of cars that pass by less than a mile away.  To me, this canyon was a vast wilderness of trails, hills, hikes, trees, and the footprints of giants.  The building is built into a hill, so that you can enter at the first floor or, around back, the second.  As I remember it, the younger children of 3 and 4 years old, spent their day upstairs in a large room of books, carpets, toys, and other normal things you’d find in a place of small children.  Just outside the door sat even rows of green picnic tables, and just behind them a path that led up the rest of the hill.  If one walked along the picnic tables to the end of the building, one could walk out onto the deck that wrapped around to the front of the school.  From there I could look down at the creek and road, but still look up at the eucalyptus leaves shivering gently in the wind.  I could survey the land to the left, which was closed off where the trail entered a small forest of trees, blackberry bushes and thickets.  In front of me, past the eucalyptus, the smell of which still sends me back to those days, I could look up the massive hill.  To the right the land opened up on an area called the Meeting Circle, where rows of logs surrounded a large campfire.  I remember waking along and trying to balance on these large logs, at least 2 feet in diameter, for hours at a time.  Beneath the eucalyptus ran the creek, which came through the canyon from the left, and extended to the right toward Glen Park, and the city.  I can’t recall where this creek ends, but there must be some place it drains because in my mind it seems to simply expire just before the baseball fields begin.  Just on the other side of and running parallel to the creek is the dirt road, the lifeline from the city, the only way to drive into the canyon from O'Shaughnessy.  This is where we were dropped off in the morning and picked up at lunchtime.  It was here, in the morning program, that I leaned that men could be nurses and women doctors, but I don’t know when I ever got the idea that they couldn’t.  It must have been a combination of what I saw on television and commercials and the fact that my doctor and dentist were male.  What other ideas about the world I picked up in my first few years I don’t know, nor which of those have survived, in some form to this day.  I only know the ones I later realized.  Men are taller than women, people marry within their race, every couple has to get divorced at some point, L.A. was a different city form Los Angeles, one God was better than many, China was the leader of the countries in Asia, girls didn’t have penises, but little slits that seemed nothing more than the absence of a penis.  I’m sure there are many more such views of the world that I incurred during these times that I have not given much thought.  Adults are more likely to do what I want if I ask nicely.  If my skin is cut I bleed.  The food I eat becomes my own poop and if my stomach hurts pooping usually makes it felt better.  My mind is different from my mother’s and father’s.  They don’t tell me everything, but I can keep secrets from them.  I’m not suppose to drink water after 7pm because I wet the bed, but if I take a sip while no one I around they won’t know.  This idea that my thoughts were my own was often confusing, because often my father did know, channeling some mental telepathy he would never admit believing in, or reading my thoughts as I eyed a half full glass and then offered to take it to the sink.

First post

Well, here I am writing my first blog post.  Over and over I tried to get cool names and they were taken.  Then, while listening to San Francico's Tuesday Noon Siren test of the Outdoor Warning System, this name came to me.  But it doesn't only represent the sound of far off explosions (eeeeek), but also the beginnings of thoughts and ideas, the distant rumblings where things begin, far across the ocean, or deep in our past.

Sometimes these posts will be my thoughts, sometimes stories I'm working on.  Sometimes they will be funny, sometimes they will be...hilarious!  Can't you tell by the name distant booms?  I think I will start with recollection of my childhood.  Everyone loves those.