Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Knock knock knockin' on heaven's door

Last night, after we had returned from Alexandria, LA, and after I had reviewed a lengthy memorandum written by another lawyer, I sat down to watch "The Naked Gun" for the umpteenth time.  I was clad in flannel pants bearing Homer Simpson's likeness, with no shirt.  DW was fiddling around on the Internet in the back of the house.  Right after I plopped into the La-Z-Boy, there came a knock upon my chamber door.  Yes, I was weak and weary, after several nights of poor sleep and a very busy holiday weekend.  Anyhow, I wrapped a blanket around my top parts and answered the door.  There was no raven mocking me; instead, there were two young LDS missionaries looking to visit with us.  I ran to the bedroom and changed into a short and t-shirt, then I let them into the house and fetched DW.

It was an interesting visit in a couple of ways.  First, DW didn't mince words regarding how she feels about our local congregation.  My only concern about that is that people will get the impression that we bagged church solely because we were offended away; that's a very common LDS misconception about "less active" church members, and it's only partly true in our case.  I suppose I should have jumped in and said, "and I'm into Zen to boot!"  Second, after we established that we really aren't interested, the senior companion commented that he felt a good spirit in our house and that it was obvious we have "strong testimonies."  It's likely that the missionary was just blowing smoke and attempting to flatter us.  However,  I had to wonder whether anybody with legitimate spiritual discernment--LDS or otherwise--could interpret the vibes/energy/whatever in our home as something holy, positive, or life-affirming.   

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend, Alexandria, Louisiana

Toby pushed the elevator button, then ran away as fast as he could. Posted by Hello

Damn, that's a fine hairdo. Toby and Adam both were made up for church on Sunday morning.  Posted by Hello

Are we there yet? Posted by Hello

Adam's first roller coaster ride.  Posted by Hello

"How can I get him to stop taking pictures?" Posted by Hello

Toby the trucker. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Road trippin'

I googled up some funny road signs, starting with this one that's about 45 miles down I-12 from my house. Posted by Hello

From Wisconsin. Posted by Hello

Craig is back!

If you're tired of reading my blather about kids, psychotherapy, and my silly hippy-dippy wannabe self, Craig the Filosopher is back with some serious intellectual material:


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Self-awareness, painted blue

I'm not alone! There are other people out there who say freaky shit about self-awareness. Burning Man's art theme for 2005 is about psychology, consciousness, subconsciousness, and unconsciousness. These people from Burning Man sound just like me (click on the 2005 Art Theme link). What does that tell you?

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Sandman Cometh

I've experienced a sleep disorder in the past couple of months that has required a prescription for Ambien. It helps me stay asleep, for sure, but it also causes me to snore like a buzz-saw. I don't snore all that much by nature, but the medication seems to have slowed my breathing stimulation to the point where I saw logs really, really loud. Last night--no Ambien, no snoring. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Depression, again

I was pulled under by a sharp attack of depression early this afternoon while I was on the eliptical. It's been several weeks since I've had an episode like that. I thought I had recovered fairly well before I went to the St. Mary's parents group this afternoon, but one of the other parents commented on my appearance. The immediate cause was an intense empathy for my son Adam, but there's a lot of other angsty midlife stuff going on too. Being over the hill sucks out loud.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Down in 'da Quawr-tuhs

Today we ventured into the city and the French Quarter. I had an impulsive craving for a gigantic cheeseburger, so we ended up having lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. I had the bleu cheese version, with a nice horseradish sauce. It was fabulous. We ended our Quarter trip with a visit to the lapidary supply shop, where DW purchased some stones. I like the amythest she bought, but I have no idea what it's for. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Remembrance and a reminder

I had some trouble getting underway with my jog today, so I took a break at the N.O. Holocaust Memorial. The memorial consists of nine acrylic pillars that are painted so that the images change as you walk around. The images bring to mind the chaos, destruction, evil, and death of the Holocaust, and the survival of the Jewish people in the aftermath. It's quite moving. It's also a reminder that my concerns, challenges, and personal angels and demons, while significant to me in the here and now, don't amount to all that much in the greater scheme of things.

[Edited because my little haiku can't do justice to the subject].

 Posted by Hello

Haiku anxiety

Last night, I joined the yahoo newsgroup for the N.O. Haiku Society. A few minutes ago, I posted a few of my haiku for comments from the other group members. I'm interested in what they might have to say, but a little nervous about it too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Vicarious burning

In an apparent overreaction to my guilt trip of earlier this week, I was parousing some photos in the art section of the Burning Man website. I can't picture myself running around naked in the desert, with flowers in my hair and nary a care in the world, using substances that make me look ten feet tall in the mirror, but I really dig some of the creativity of the event. I like the vitality and spontaneity of the whole thing too. Posted by Hello

I had a dream, I had a silly dream

I had an odd dream a couple of nights ago that I only vaguely remember. I was hanging out at K-Mart for some reason, and Ted Kennedy was an stockboy in the store, complete with a uniform and everything. Sen. Kennedy wanted to take time off to interview for a high government position, but the manager fired him on the spot instead. I remember commenting to somebody that Kennedy's odd progression from U.S. Senator to K-Mart stockboy was unlikely to endear him to whomever was interviewing him for the government position.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Things just keep getting better today. I slept poorly last night, so about an hour ago, I thought I'd check on the status of my Ambien refill. After some runaround from Walgreens, it's been taken care of. My doc thought he had it all taken care of on Friday. Annoying. Then I got up to take a whiz and go buy something to eat. I had a little leakage in the process, so I'm having to walk around with some papers in my hand to cover the wet spot on my light-colored pants. Does anybody have any ideas about what I can expect next?

It's a small world, after all

Yeah, I realize it's totally geeky to get meta about blogging, but I'm dweeby, so this morning I took a look at the "organization tracking" chart on my sitemeter. The 17% share for the U.S. Government doesn't mean that Big Brother is watching. Instead, it means that I park on Complicated Shadows at work far more than I should. There are far more hits from Canada than the chart suggests (via ".net"), and the one regular reader from Germany that I'm aware of uses a ".com" or ".net." I knew that Complicated Shadows has regular readers in Norway and Italy, but I had no idea that there were so many hits from Sweden, Japan, and Brazil. It's flattering to have readers from so many different places. Thanks, everybody!  Posted by Hello


[Edited to delete some specifics about my current guilt trip] All I know is that I'm not sleeping well, and it doesn't seem from an intellectual standpoint like the shit that's causing me grief really should be making me feel all that guilty to begin with. I suspect that my tendency towards excess guilt is in part a residual of my cultural/subcultural conditioning; in part my own internal process of taking responsibility for things I can't control; and in part a reaction to some funky family and personal challenges. So what to do?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Stormy weather

According to the National Hurricane Center, our upcoming hurricane season should be a doozy. The water is warmer than normal and the wind patterns in the Atlantic are favorable for tropical storm development. Our first choice as an evacuation destination is Alexandria, Louisiana, and I've charted an alternate route to get there that I hope will bypass most of the traffic chaos that comes with a South Louisiana evacuation. I suppose Oxford, Mississippi, will be our fallback destination. Not a terrible place to be in a holding pattern for a few days. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Cross-cultural experience

This morning found DW and I attending Japan Fest at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I signed up to man the info/sales table of the N.O. Zen Temple, and I felt well enough to go, so off we went. DW--who has absolutely no interest in Zen--came along to humor me, and because we had talked about heading to the Quarter after our stint at the table. Unfortunately, both of us are nursing queasy, raw gastro-intestinal tracts, but we were doing okay this morning.

We got to the museum and found a couple of the NOZT folks setting up the table. Our group had a table on the first floor of the museum and a miniature dojo upstairs. Our table was next to the N.O. Haiku society, which was a fun table to visit. They had a renku going on, which is a progressive poem written by whomever drops by. They also had a magnetic board on which they had hundreds of words to arrange.

Four members of our group went upstairs to arrange the dojo in one of the contemporary art galleries, then came downstairs in their black Zen robes to walk in a processional. They walked around the marble lobby on the first floor, ringing a bell and clapping blocks as they went along. Evidently, they had several people follow them back upstairs, only to leave once it was time to sit cross-legged on the floor and face the wall. One of the people who came by the table asked what we do at the NOZT, and he seemed a bit disappointed when I said, "seated meditation, and that's it." I suspect that our verstion of Soto Zen practice is just too dang simple for some people to wrap their heads around. I knew we were in for a hard sell when I noticed that we were seated directly in front of a gigantic painting titled "The Baptism of Christ." None of the people around here think of Zen as a religion per se, but it was ironic to have our little table in front of that painting.

Fortunately, not that many people stopped by to ask questions, so DW and I had a chance to chat a bit. We also availed ourselves of the opportunity to tour the rest of the fest once we were relieved at the table.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Local flora

I've recently become much more aware of my local environment. Maybe it's the haiku jones, or maybe it's just a mid-life thing. I notice more of the beauty of Louisiana than before. Then I see all the garbage on the side of the road, but that's something for another day. Anyhow, our gentle reader Kristian in Norway mentioned magnolias recently in his corner of cyberspace. Magnolias happen to be native to Louisiana, and, in East Asian art, they represent feminine strength and sweetness.

Magnolia blossom--
Earth speaks softly to the South
with a sweet fragrance. Posted by Hello

More local flora

The blue iris, another plant indigenous to this area, represents strength and vitality in East Asian art. Irises bloom mostly in March and April in South Louisiana.

Blue iris blooming--
Cupid's arrows, points sharpened,
Shoot into the sky. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Trout fishing in America

I've only been fly-fishing twice in my entire life, but I was thinking this morning about the brief fishing trip to Montana I made with my father-in-law and brother-in-law, and how I could use the beautiful imagery of trout fishing as metaphor:

Beaverhead River--
Water flows, trout evade me
Mayflies have their day.

The morning commute

Pontchartrain fogbank,
Slick dew on a blade of grass--
The May sun heats the sky.

Fun lawyer trick

Yesterday, in another venue, I had an opportunity to employ a favorite trick of people in my profession, particularly in my motherland, the Whole Other Country of Texas. Anyhow, I wrapped my argument up in the red, white, and blue, and further argued that the opposing side was downright unAmerican. Then I added one of my favorite "Animal House" lines: "and I will not sit here while you bad-mouth the United States of America!" You can do that with just about any side of any issue, and it's pretty dang fun to accuse people of being unAmerican. It might not be quite as fun as it was to call them pinkos or Communists, but those labels don't have the ooomph they had back in the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Old photos

As promised, here are those old photos I'm using to motivate myself to take off some weight. Here I am on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Spring 1998. Posted by Hello

With Toby in New Orleans, February 1997. Posted by Hello

On my wedding day, Logan, Utah, January 12, 1994. Posted by Hello

Yukking it up with my law school friend Peter, March 1990. Posted by Hello

Coldwater boy

Toby had just run straight into Bear Lake, Utah. Even though it was July, the water was still 50 degrees. Brrrr! This is exactly what I looked like around age 2. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Down a memory hole

In order to motivate myself to drop the 50-60 pounds I need to lose, I rifled through thousands of photographs this morning to find a few in which I appeared less flabby than I do now. I'll post a few of them when I have access to a scanner.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Good times

I directed a law school buddy here today. Let's just refer to him as "the Kosher Cowboy." I thought about posting a photo of the law school, but the old one has been torn down and the new one is kinda boring to look at. So here's a picture of the Arch instead.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Somebody must think I read books

I just pulled from my office mailbox an offer for a "preferred professional discount" on a subscription to the Times Literary Supplement. It was underneath my copy of the Atlantic Monthly, so nobody in the office was able to see that the snooty TLS is soliciting little ol' me. Perhaps I should take them up on the cheap subscription just so people will see it in my box and think I must be really smart.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Sunday at the park

Whee! Twist me up, push me hard, and watch me spin! Posted by Hello

Sliding down the hill, just like a big kid. Posted by Hello

I love to swing. Posted by Hello