Saturday, October 22, 2022

Tales From the Darkside

A couple of weeks ago I watched a vlog post on YouTube by the Grimmlife Collective.  These vloggers specialize in spooky stuff and horror fiction, so they did an episode on a TV series from 1983 to 1985 called “Tales From the Darkside.”  I was intrigued and looked for somewhere online where I might stream the series.  Alas, I couldn’t find one, so I ordered a pack of DVDs containing all three seasons, and began watching them on my laptop.  

Frankly, I was disappointed.  Most of the stories are pretty lame.  Each episode is only 22 minutes long, not counting time for commercials, and it’s hard to generate much of a plot in so short a time.  Most stories start off interesting but due to time constraints seem to slap on a weird or abrupt ending to finish it.  So in literary terms, there’s no denouement or epiphany.  The endings are usually less than satisfying.   “What?? That’s it??”


Fall Weather in Northern California

I’m sitting here in my backyard, just enjoying the Fall Weather.  I love this time of year.  The world always seems quieter in the Fall.  Big white clouds are drifting by on a blue sky.  Very peaceful.  

Next month I turn 78 years of age.  My wife and I saw our doctor this past week, and were told we are both in disgustingly good health.  That’s good, I suppose, but I don’t fear death.  Both my brothers are gone and I have a small amount of survivor guilt.  It’s hard to communicate with those on the other side.  I look up at the sky and wonder “Where are you?  When you’re dead, do you know you’re dead?  Do you remember life in this realm?”

 I suppose I’ll find the answers sooner or later.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Suicide: the Selfish and Cowardly Way Out (Usually)

When I first heard about my niece’s suicide, my emotions were not of sorrow and sadness.  My major emotions were disgust and anger.

Shannon threw away 25 years of life that could have been spent watching her three children grow, marry and have children of their own.  She made herself into a pathetic, tragic figure, losing respect in the process.  In the minds of many family members and friends, she will be forever thought of as someone who had something terribly wrong with her.  That’s not a great way to be remembered.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

My Niece Commits Suicide

My niece Shannon lies comatose in a hospital bed tonight.  Today is her birthday, the last one of her life.  Tomorrow they will cease life support and turn off the machines that keep her heart beating and her lungs respirating.  Less than a week ago she went into the garage of her home in Santa Clara, California, stepped up on a sofa there, wrapped a curtain drawstring around her neck and stepped off.

Minutes later, her husband Dan and eldest daughter found her hanging in the garage.  They quickly cut her down and applied CPR, as did the medical alert team that quickly arrived.  She was taken to the hospital where she was put on life support and tested for vital signs.  After two days the doctors could find no sign of brain activity; she was in a vegetative state.  

Shannon had been experiencing Covid 19 symptoms for several weeks, which started after she was vaccinated against the disease.  She was told by her employers at San Jose State that she could not resume her teaching position until she got the booster shot.  She got it and the symptoms worsened.  She was in constant pain and suffering from anxiety, but her doctors said she wasn’t dying and death was not expected.  

What drove her to commit such a terrible act?  Did the vaccine cause insanity?  I am no doctor and can only speculate.  She leaves behind a husband, a son and two daughters, the youngest of whom will graduate from high school on June 1.  

Shannon is 53 years old today, forever 53.

Update:  She passed away peacefully at 12:13 Pacific time today, Sunday, May 29, 2022.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Reading Charles Bukowski

Lately there has been a few YouTube documentaries on the life and career of author Charles Bukowski.  I found him intriguing so ordered three books of his works.

The first was “Post Office,” his first successful publication.  The common advice to young authors is “write what you know.”  Bukowski worked for the Post Office as both a mailman delivering mail and later as a clerk sorting mail in the office.  His character Chinowski reprises that role in this seemingly autobiographical novel.  The writing is entertaining but there is no plot per se, no denouement, no epiphany.  The same is somewhat true for his novel “Pulp.”  However, the latter shows some interesting flights of fancy.  

In “Pulp" Bukowski is a private detective (named Nick) in Los Angeles.  One of his clients is a beautiful woman called “Lady Death.”  She is the feminine version of the Grim Reaper.  She wants Nick to track down a man named Celine, who in previous decades was a buddy of Ernest Hemingway and his literary entourage in Paris. Everyone of the members of the group have long since died except for Celine, who has fled and hid and escaped death.   

Another client claims he is being harassed by an alien from outer space, and it turns out to be true.  

My biggest gripe about “Pulp” is its ending.  It appears to be a rushed and arbitrary ending just to finish the book and get on to other things.

The third book I bought is a collection of Bukowski’s short stories.  Some are pretty good, like “The Most Beautiful Woman In Town.” Others are crude and pointless, like “The Gut-Wringing Machine.”

If you like a gritty protagonist, a hard drinking, rough looking, cigar smoking and anti-social hero who gets into lots of fights but occasionally gets laid, you’ll like these figments of Bukowski’s imagination.  I do so I’ll keep reading.

Charles Bukowski
1920 - 1994

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Resting and Refreshing

The tax season has ended and I’m home trying to rejuvenate and lose this feeling of fatigue and angst.  It was a brutal tax season. 

The good things for today is that I have a remaining cigar, the company of my dog and cat, and it looks like rain.  I like rain.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Rainy Weather

Today the sky is filled with big dark fluffy clouds, portentous of rain.  I am working on tax returns but this coming Tuesday I will be able to sit on my couch and watch YouTube videos while cuddling with my dog and cat. 

I can hardly wait.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Fear of Death

When I was young, the fear of death bothered me a great deal.  I remember taking my first business course at West Valley Junior College, when classes were still being held on the former campus of Campbell Junior High School, before it moved to a permanent campus in Saratoga, California.  During a break, I stood outside the classroom drinking vending machine coffee.  I was filled with horror and dread at the knowledge that I would someday die, that the world would go on without me.  Traffic would still fill the streets, people would still go to work, students would still attend classes but I wouldn’t be there.  

As the years passed, the dread and horror lessened and now, in old age, they have ceased completely.  So many friends and family members have preceded me in death that I feel somewhat guilty at having survived them.  Why am I still here?  Am I being punished?

A subject that interests me greatly is the near death experience, a common phenomenon among those who have flatlined but still survived.  A common characteristic is that the experiencers have felt enveloped in a bright light and immersed in feelings of great love, i.e., that they feel loved beyond all prior experience.  They meet loved ones who died before, and are even reunited with deceased pets like dogs and cats.  Most do not want to come back but are told they have no choice, that their time is not yet.  

An original researcher into the phenomenon is Raymond Moody, whose book “Life After Life” introduced the subject to millions.  Moody reported that after studying thousands of NDEs since, he finally just accepted it for what it seems, that there is an afterlife and that we survive physical death.

I hope so.  I would like to rejoin departed friends, family and especially my dogs, in another dimension, in a better world than this.  Is it true?  Hope costs nothing and I will find out in not too many more years.  

Saturday, April 09, 2022

One More Week of Tax Season

Only one more week of labor in the tax office.  I will be glad when it’s over.  

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Will Smith’s Nervous Breakdown: the Cure

Will Smith’s pugilistic demonstration at the Academy Awards was really a nervous breakdown.  The man is deeply grieving the end of his marriage, which is not so much an open marriage as an open wound.   For that there is only one cure:  dump the bitch.  Only then can the wound begin to heal.