Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Writing is good for the soul. Get your thoughts out of your head and out there, out for the universe to work with. Express your energy.

I'm back at Panera Bread in Sunnyvale for "Shut Up and Blog," a meetup for bloggers to gather and blog together. Today, I met Bill Belew, the organizer of the meetup. In fact, I'm sitting to his right as we type together. He's got quite a collection of data that allows him to get traffic a lot more than I've gotten to date. What I mean is, he's collected and analyzed a bunch of data and has uncovered some guidelines for being more successful at blogging. I took one of his webinars and learned about how to optimize connections with search engines and such so that you can garner more traffic to your website/blog.
I want more traffic because I want to make more connections with people who want to write and read and make their life better. I want to connect with other bipolar people who are looking for a better way of life, or just looking to improve their health or learn how to cope. Of course, I'd like to somehow turn this into a money making endeavor, but that's all secondary. That would be icing on the cake.
I am getting close to the end of my finances. The temporary disablility that I get could run out any day. Our savings is getting very low. I need to get something going financially. Some sort of job or something-- maybe a bank job? As in, robbing one? I don't know.
This is the one hundredth post that I've made to this blog. I've done some really good things, reading back over some of my work. Quite a bit of interesting stuff.
But this entry? Well, I ain't feeling it yet.
That's okay, it comes and goes. Just keep on moving.
Harder than it sounds...
I'm frustrated by this keyboard on the laptop. I can't seem to type without brushing the mouse button, so my cursor is constantly jumping all over the place. Must be some way to turn off the stupid thing.
Keep trying.
All caught up in the production construct. Worried about the output. The product. Can't get over the editing.
Want so badly to produce something inspiring. But I just feel bland today. Nothing but blandeur. Grandiose images of mashed potatoes without gravy.
I get to help my neice move again. She's got to move an awful lot. Luckily, she doesn't have a lot of stuff. And since I have a truck, I'm the favorite uncle. Oh well. She's a good kid and deserves the help. So I won't complain too loudly.
I am reading a book by a witch. Her name is Starhawk. She is the author of "The Fifth Sacred Thing," the book I intend to read next. This one is "The Earth Path," and is about spiritual practice. She speaks to the ways of nature and its mothering role. How nature is the grounding basis for spiritual practice. I love her summaries of schools of thought. It's a very intellectual account of things, so I'm reading quite slowly, but I'm enjoying it.
She has a way of presenting things and being politically savvy, such that she gets her point across without being totally disrespectful to her counterpoint's views and opinions. A good read.
So, despite feeling uncreative and kind of blocked, I've succeeded in blogging this whole time. Impressive.
Let's see how much attention this post gets.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Hundred, Take Two

Seems my count of over one hundred posts to this blog was erroneously padded by a few false drafts. All drafts have been deleted and I now sit at 98 posts. This will be 99.

So the milestone awaits further production. I know, you're on the edge of your chair aren't you. Relax and enjoy the show: I bring you something that I call ninety-nine.

99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall is not only a song, it's the name of a bar in Santa Cruz. By drinking the 99 different kinds of beer that they offer there, one can get his or her name on the wall. My wife and I both have our names on the wall, having frequented the place for more than a decade. It took several trips (many of them overnighters) to Santa Cruz to get on the wall, and almost nine years, but I did it. And my name plate says, "Ten years I'll never remember."

My wife's name plate says, "Still prefers wine."

She's the sophisticated one.

What say we take a prompt?

If you could have your favorite dinner for your birthday, what would it be?

Ah, when in doubt, talk about food.

I love my mom's tamale pie. Have had it for several special occasions. Whole olives really make it special. Yum. So I'm hungry already.

Pizza is always a hit. Hard to go wrong with pizza, although it does happen (Thanks, L'il Ceasar's). But it's hard to beat mom's tamale pie.

I just realized that I haven't had dinner yet tonight. And I'm on my own... might have to set out and hunt down me some food like right soon here.

And now is the realization that I'm distracted from my task at hand, here, in delivering to you 99. I must break for sustenance, in the interest of artistic integrity. Besides, I'm starving. So an abbreviated 99, but 99 nonetheless. I hope you have enjoyed this session.

I know I have.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding the Flail-a-whirl

Flailing, flailing, over the dah da dum... however the song goes. I'm flailing along trying to find the steering wheel to this craft... wondering and wandering in the ocean of possibility.

If you're gonna find inspiration, you gotta act. You gotta go for it, cause it doesn't come and get you when you're all primed and ready for it. You gotta exercise and fight for it.

So that's what I'm doing today. I'm writing to you from the Flail-a-whirl. Hands and feet and legs and toes and all just spinning, whirling away. Fingers hands nose and toes. All hands on deck. To the mustard room, stat! To infinity and beyond!

I wanted to stop and get a drink before I started. So I did. Just ended up being procrastination. But now I'm here, and I'm creating. In creative mode. Create in, create out. Breathe in, breathe out. Spell check now, spell check later. There goes the procrastination again...

Had someone come to our door the other night and ring the bell. The dog was in the back yard but still started going crazy. I listened to the spiel and found my cue-- I asked for a flier that I could respond to later. He was glad to oblige and thanked me. It was pleasant and left me wanting to do more. Wanting to help.

Not like when that isn't enough. Like when they want you to buy something or give them some money like right now. I'm bothered by that, but who isn't? This was a nice man doing his job for the United States Mission, an organization that helps the homeless to help themselves. We have a "chapter" in San Jose, and I've helped them out before with monetary donations. And they are thankful for whatever you can do. I once took a bag of clothes and old shoes down to them and they were very thankful for that kind of donation too. Not like Goodwill who refuses to take things if they can't see a profit in it. They flatly refused my dad's set of golf clubs. This was a donation, certainly they could at least take the irons and melt them down or something? But no, there wasn't any worth in them, so I had to dispose of them. Made me angry.

Surely some sports organization looking to make its way would appreciate a set of golf clubs in any condition-- for some kid that has none, perhaps? Would that a young wannabe Tiger be assisted in some way, if he (or she) were in need of some equipment?

I dunno. It seems to me that we're all thinking in small minded ways these days. We don't see the forest for the trees. We see lumber to build houses, but for whom to be able to afford? There is no shortage of empty buildings in my current city, but there is no economy that could ever afford to house it again, since the dot-bomb boom. We are lavished in things like television sets, high definition flat screen beauty, but there are hundreds of channels of nothing on. A parade of blandeur. I just made up a new word. I think.

We all are searching for something greater than ourselves. That's what it means to be alive. We are looking outside of what we know and what we have to find something that brings more of the magical, festive emotion to our hearts. We do things like paint, read, converse, write-- all with the intention of getting somewhere better. Of uncovering more truth or awareness. Or learning about your supposed enemies. We flail on a scale that includes all parts of this whole thing we call life. We're all connected. Interwoven like cloth. We reach out and touch each other as we flail, realizing that we're trying and we're in it together. Each of us strings in the blanket of life. Somewhere, String Theory comes into play here. But that's a subject for another ride.

There's something special that goes on when we dream. We find out things that we thought couldn't happen. We find answers to unanswerable questions. We create reality out of nothing.

Imagination is the engine that churns out life. Reality is just our perception of it, our consciousness of it. Imagination is in flux, just like life. It is dynamic, organic. Like a river or the ocean. A moving train.

I've stopped typing long enough to think and that has derailed my train. Don't know if I can climb back on track.

All in the name of progress.

I do this because I'm trying to get somewhere. I don't know where that is, but I'm still flailing along, trying to do it. Writing, imagining, yearning, dreaming-- reaching out into the dark to find my way to where I'm going. My most re-quoted quote, from Anne LaMott, who was quoting E.L. Doctorow: "Writing is like driving at night with your headlights on. You can only see a few feet in front of you, and yet you can make the whole journey that way." I flail, but I make progress. I spin, zig and zag, but I move toward the goal.

"You have to admit, it's getting better. A little better, all the time." -- The Beatles

What am I? A brain? A soul? An amalgam of parts that add up to make an entity floating in the river of life? There are so many millions of things that are a part of me-- ideas, concepts, dreams, fingers, organs, blood, sweat, toenails-- and all of these things are moving with me on the flail-a-whirl. Up, down, spin to the left; up, down, spin to the right. My right pinky finger and its however many cells-- Millions? Billions?-- spins on the same axis as the rest of the world, relatively speaking. I share much in common with my fellow human organisms. And there are trillions of things that we have in common, yet are each separate and our own. Trillions of conceptual atoms that form our bodies, our worlds, and the universe.

Trillion is a really big number. Relatively speaking.

What do I really know? I'm just thinking here. Just trying to figure it out. I'm flailing along this rapid river without so much as a paddle-- just a keyboard on this stream of consciousness. Feel free to jump in and swim to your own conclusion.

As for me, well, I just keep on imagining that I'll somehow find a way to get off this carnival ride and find the Tunnel of Love. I've heard good things about that one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Triple Tripolar Digits

This is my 100th post here at Tri-Polar Machinations. Congratulations to me. Now, for the party!

Hoot hoot holler.

I'm taking a prompt from the Journal Jar. Whatever will it be? Well, let me tell you...

What is your favorite book? Tell about your favorite books as a child, teen and adult.

Okay. I can remember one of my favorites from childhood being Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. As a teen I liked Michael Chrichton, Steven King and Mark Twain. As an adult I've enjoyed Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, and Anne LaMott.

There. That was a lot of writing.

To continue... I read a lot as a very young boy. My mom encouraged it by reading to me when I was young. As an adult, I don't find the time to read as much as I used to. I do enjoy it. It's been difficult sometimes when I am fighting depression to pay attention and have much reading comprehension. I'm thankful that I have that right now, and I'm looking forward to my next read, whatever that may be. I recently read Carrie Fisher's autobiographical "Wishful Drinking" and really enjoyed it. It was easy reading. She's a great writer. I thoroughly enjoyed Anne LaMott's "Operating Instructions" and "Bird by Bird." Another very great writer is she.

Now, time for another great writer to do some writing. That's me. I'm a great writer. I can write up, down, around and through. I can even write pink and orange. Can't rhyme with orange, but then, who can?

I'm in a really good place these days. My mood is up, but not too up. I'm inspired to do things, yet I'm not all racy thoughted. Whatever that means. I'm getting things done, writing to friends, making knew ones. I'm finding my way back into commission. I'm getting closer to recovery.

I guess this means that, if it continues, I will be trying even harder to get a job soon. Maybe something temporary is the way to go. I dunno.

My office window is open. I can hear the neighbor having a telephone conversation. He paces in and out of the house, so I only hear parts of sentences. The rest is just echoing tones. Not meant to follow along while eavesdropping anyway, right? It's rude.

So many distractions in life. That is life. I'm tempted to go get something to drink instead of continue writing. Nothing alcoholic, just some tea or ice water. But that would mean stopping this really astounding riff I'm on about life and writing. I mean, I just know you're transfixed, hanging on my every keystroke. Well, you should be. I know I am.

(Smacks lips. Maybe some lemon in that water?)

I used to have a lot of picture books. I was well read as a child. People took care of me, lavished me in books. Harry the Dog. Clifford the Big Red Dog. Frog and Toad Are Friends. Dr. Seuss. I wrote my first story when I was in the fourth grade. It was a pretty good one too. Toot toot.

That was my own horn.

My sister is even more prolific a reader than I am. She's an English teacher. So she reads a lot. She loved the book "My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes" when she was young. She had it memorized before she could read and would flip through the pages, telling the story as she went. That little paperback picture book got some miles on it.

My wife is now home. This probably means the end of this exercise is coming soon. She is getting me something to drink, because she is a saint. And she loves me.

I really enjoyed reading The Great Train Robbery in high school. And Terminal Man. And Huck Finn. I even enjoyed reading Exodus by Leon Uris, though it was a stretch for my intellect at the time. But that what learning is all about. Stretching your limits. Pushing on through and making the next phase a little bit better.

Learned about a peace festival in Berkeley next month. Weekend of Sept. 11th. Would like to go but it's expensive. Not sure that this unemployed boy can afford it. Maybe I'll just send my wife. She has a job.

Tonight we celebrate a young man's birthday. Hugh is usually in Japan, where he lives. But he's visiting his Nana (great grandma) and we all get to visit. He loves to play croquet.

So much about life is seemingly mundane and uninteresting. But it's mostly your perspective. It's all relative. If you're feeling good, things tend to be good too. So celebrate when you can. When it feels right. And when it doesn't, celebrate anyway. Might turn things around for you.

I don't know. Sometimes it's out of my control. But it's cyclical. And it passes, be it depression or happiness. We are all riding waves. Better hope you like to surf.

I think I'll try and read "B is for Beer" next. It's a short one, should be easy to get through. Some times you gotta ease off the throttle a bit and let 'er ride. Can't push too hard. Gotta let the river float ya. Go with the current.

I'm pulling out all the stops here today. I've been prompted by the journal jar; I've reminisced about books and learning, writing, and my sister; I've gotten ice tea. I'm moving on down the river.

I forgot to take my pills last night. Had to count them all out for the week today. Now everything I do today becomes suspect because I'm not medication compliant. I'm not really worried. But you should be. That might get some comments on this here blog, alright.

I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna live. I'm gonna read what I want to read and I'm gonna improve my health. I'm gonna eat better. I'm gonna find ways to exercise my body that don't break it down and tax it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna get better and better at doing what I like to do, and I'm gonna find a way to get things done. I'm gonna find a way to organize the garage. I'm gonna find a way to write my stories. I'm gonna find a way to make more friends and make my blog a more happening place. I will do all of this because I want to and nobody else needs to but me. I want to do it, so I will. And if I don't, so what. Gonna try.

I also enjoyed reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury in high school. And I, Robot by Issac Asimov.

Just so you know.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Manic Memories

Soon after I had my ceremony with the ash tray/trash container, Suzy was summoning me to come with her to our hotel room. She hoped to get there and find a way to relax me and calm everything down. But I was impossible.

I started down the hallway, suitcase rolling behind me. I settled into a rhythmic march that syncopated with the clicking wheels of the suitcase. The hallway shape shifted in my mind, and I sensed a curvature that I was walking around in a grand maze, as if a slave chained to his routine. The trip to the room turned endlessly for awhile, and then I noticed a change in scenery.

Suzy came to the end of the hallway and turned to the right. Right about where the hallway changed direction, there was a room, and the door was open. There were people inside. My mind raced to the opening.

I went inside the room and approached the individuals there. "Is everything alright?" I said with utmost concern and expedience. It was as if I was running a triage of some sort, behind enemy lines. The people in the room stopped what they were doing and just kind of gawked at this total stranger that had waltzed into their room. "I'm a doctor," I assured them, as Suzy caught up with me again. "Michael!" she chirped. "Let's go!"

"If you need anything, let me know," I said to them, with authoritative panache. Again, empty looks, mouths agape. I was in doctor-in-the-war-field mode. They would surely confide in me if needed. As I turned to go, I muttered something about my wife's name being Suzy. Suzy Buffet.

After the flagrant doctor posing and name dropping, I floated down the hall again, in time with my suitcase.

We got to the room, and I can still hear Suzy exhaling, ten years later, like we had reached an oasis. Suddenly, I was struck with how much stuff we were carrying around. "Look at all this stuff!" I exclaimed, and proceeded to open the closet cupboards. I pulled blankets and pillows from the shelves, flinging it into the room. All the while chanting, "Stuff! Stuff!" My mind raced on the baggage, of all kinds, that I was carrying around with me on this trip. Lots of stuff to be reckoned with. Lots of stuff to think about.

After I rampaged aloud about stuff for a few minutes, I became exhausted and plopped down on the bed. My physical self came to rest in that position, slid somewhat between two beds shoved almost together. But my mind raced on.

I began to think of myself as an artifact-- a sculpture carved in marble. I imagined myself as still for thousands upon thousands of years, stuck in the same shape. I traveled faster than the speed of light. I imagined myself light years into the past, light years into the future. I saw rivers carve canyons into the earth, mountains ebb and flow. I let my imagination do the traveling, and I could go anywhere at infinite speed. The laws of the physical world melted away, as I obsessed on an algorithm that took infinity and multiplied itself factorial, exponentially. Infinity, infinity, infinity... faster and faster and faster I rode on this lightning bolt thought. Other things popped into my mind and I pressed them into the replication algorithm-- Shamanism, shamanism, shamanism... faster and faster and faster. Mt. Shasta, Mr. Shasta, Mt. Shasta... all of it is connected by a single thread of thought. All of it makes sense. All of it makes sense...

In trying to write this book, I keep feeling like I'm rewriting things I've already mentioned. Like I've already told the story so many times. It all overlaps. But I still have the sense that there is more to be told. That I haven't gotten it all out yet.

Man, do I need a cleansing.

There is so much more out there. To think that I had it all figured out, that there was a part of me in the whole that felt it was it, and that there was nothing else to know... I don't know if that's what happened, but it kind of looks that way, upon further review. What I forgot to mention to myself while I was full of it was that there's more than just "me" at work here.

And I am working. Honest.

When I stopped ranting and raving about "stuff" and let my mind wander, it took me to places so astounding, so rapturous that here I am, ten years later, and I still can't describe it distinctly.

As I was walking down that hallway, pulling my stuff, trying to catch up with Suzy, I was in psychological turmoil. And the reasons for this are why I continue to try and explore my recollection. And try to get it down in one place where I can look at it with others and get a sense of what was happening.

Because I don't want to go back there, where I'm living like that. But I want to go back and make sense of it. I want to make peace with it. I want to somehow solve it.

And maybe that's not possible. But it's what I want to do. I want to recount the thoughts, images, concepts, and see where things went wrong AND where things went right. I want to see the good, too. Just labeling me as bipolar and affixing a tab that says "manic episode" doesn't go far enough in healing me, in seeing what transformative processes took place during those moments. I was lucid enough to listen to Suzy, to take cues from her and keep following her. I was very creative in my thinking, was making some fantastic connections between thoughts. This is not all good and not all bad. I want to parse it all out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spinning the Waste

Well it's August, folks. Time for scootin' around, finishing up all your summer fun and headin' back to school. For my sister, school starts next week (kids are back on the 15th, I think...) So. What did you do for your summer vacation?

We're heading to Santa Cruz this weekend for a little summer R & R at the Boardwalk and beach. Should be fun. Will most likely get a chocolate dipped cone. Traditions...

Will also most likely ride the Big Dipper, one of the best roller coasters in existence. Again, should be fun.

I'm trolling for a writing idea here. Not sure what to write about. Would be a good time for the journal jar, but I'm not at home. I'm visiting my parents and using my mom's laptop.

The words just aren't coming. I'm stymied. Or something.

I didn't "shut up and blog" this week. Opted instead to sleep in. Kind of regret that decision. Oh well. Bygones.

I'm going to keep going here. Hope you can bear with me. Just feeling my way. Hoping that inspiration is just around the corner.
I could talk about things. Nouns. Tape. All things sticky. Or cassette tapes. Mix tapes. Music. Radio. But then again, I could go take a nap. I kinda already am napping. My mind is a bit asleep, without dreaming. I'm dull and have vacancy. Load 'em up! The surrounding sounds are light as the air. A ticking clock, the tapping keys, my breathing in and out, the moan of the laptop organs... I think I'm getting somewhere, but it only feels like it. I'm not sure what I'm doing.
Sometimes you've got to push out some of the bland, white bread filler stuff and let it ride. Ride the current downstream towards the treatment plant. Where it all gets filtered and decimated, titrated down to the finest trickle.
There's wisdom all around us. In the elements: air, water, earth, fire. We are of this soil; born of it. And we return. Life circles, round and round. Yin and Yang, ebb and flow. The tiniest seed can progress to cover the expansive meadow. The shining light of a star millions of light years away shares its past with us in our present. Air tastes tinny and cold. There are meanings.
I don't purport to understand it. I am but a vessel. The cell which travels through the blood to the organ of origin, sustaining life. Where is our consciousness located?
There has to be answers, I keep telling myself. Has to be. There's reason for a reason. Logical, dare I say? It pays to be evident.
I'm just feeling my way in the darkness of the unknown here. Trying to mute the fears and allot strength to the visions and understated knowings in my mind. Chlorination unnecessary. Publish and save now. Live now. Breathe now. All we have is now.
Now fleets with the gathering dawn. Therein we think and try to make sense. But only for a moment. We move on.
There's exhaust. Defining moments. Definitions of grandeur and even bigger clues. Are all the words merely cogs in the machinery? Latex.
I'm not enjoying this as much as I hope you are. There's still ore in the hillside. Got to pound about and get her out.
Once upon a time I was a writer of my own future. A million outcomes later and I still have yet to stamp a project "completed." Such is the beast. Such is the beast.