Saturday, January 26, 2013

the cat that ate the canary

image credit... things that dreams are made of blog

(idiomatic) A person who appears self-satisfied or smug, especially while concealing something mischievous, prohibited, or private

(idiomatic) A person whose appearance and behavior suggest guilt mixed with other qualities, such as satisfaction or feigned nonchalance.

this recent 4 day week has left me at once drained of thoughts yet full of wonder and hope. i have found myself amidst a myriad of projects which leads my manic-leaning brain to a really lovely place, but while there i am forced to remind myself of my limitations and a mandate to forgo perfection. 
my duties have taken a swift and slight turn to my "right" and it certainly feels that way. my fear (connected to hope) is that this shift will somehow just be temporary- but this last bit is completely my own psychology getting in my way.

last summer, while i was spending a short time as a member of the board for a local recovery advocacy organization, i was taking steps to begin to add to the current culture at my workplace. and by add i mean to start including the idea of success and recovery to our programs. since methadone is such an integral part of our clinic's make-up and there are such a multitude of peripheral issues with that population-i.e. criminal, mental health, physical health, poverty- that success may have just slipped to below the horizon when working with our people on a day-to-day basis. re-introducing this idea and integrating into our daily operations has the potential to be a magnanimous gift to all concerned- clients and staff alike. 

in grantee fashion, it is time for our annual customer satisfaction survey. most of our patients are at our clinic 3-6 days a week and we are conducting the survey for 1 week. this year i asked to include the peer specialists and some patients who are doing well in their recovery to participate and help facilitate. i am thrilled that we get to include the peers and highlight peer support and the idea of success. we will have a drawing for a free week of treatment. i believe strongly that each time a client participates, we are acknowledging their ability and their value.

i have been facilitating a group for gay clients (mostly hiv+) for 3 years. recently my schedule changed and it became necessary to end that group. i am working to start a new one at a different time and i have tried to re-brand it and give it a new personality. as groups go, it was probably time for a change anyway. the new group has struggled with attendance over the last 2 months, but the last 2 weeks have brought some new blood. yesterdays group included a referral from a state agency who seems to be a bit of a drifter, unemployed and reports to be living with a meth addict. he seems puzzled why he has lost 2 jobs because of his mandatory UA's. this is one great example of  the kind of outreach i hope to generate. i think it is called unmet need. i have been struggling with the logistics of developing a service that might be aptly called pre-treatment. it basically is outreach that supports helping people get connected with services (especially substance abuse) by enhancing their motivation to change. there are not many funding streams for this activity which creates challenges in grant funded operations. personally, i believe it also falls under the umbrella of recovery support services with the support being aimed at before recovery. hopefully GAB will be allowed to grow and we can see if this might have a positive effect. here is the new marketing collateral deliciously served up by jenna legrand at rocket house designs. i contacted malone sizelove in chicago and he graciously agreed to allow me to panhandle the name of his satirical and penetrating  GAB magazine which had a long and healthy shelf life emanating from boystown chicago in the 1990's. you can see more about bhicago's GAB magazine on facebook.

i stumbled upon this mash-up from summer 2012 and it's haunting quality has captured an unfinished part of my spirit. feel free to listen a time or two. i believe there is magic in here. if you are interested, you can listen to a plethera of mashups from daft beatles on soundcloud here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

event of a thread

Jetsyn greeting an old woman

In a large field Jetsyn came across a very beautiful girl, about fifteen years old. He went up to her , and she kindly invited him to her house, pointing, "It is over there. Wait for me at the door. I will come directly."
Accordingly, Milarepa went to her home, pushed the door open with his staff, and went in. At once an ugly old woman with a handful of ashes rushed at him, shouting, "You miserable yogi-beggars! In the summer you all show up begging for milk and butter! In the winter you all come for grain! I'll wager you wanted to sneak in to steal my daughter's and daughter-in-law's jewelry!"
Grumbling and trembling with rage, she was about to throw the ashes at Milarepa, when he said, "Wait a minute, Grandmother! Please listen to me!"
He then sang:
Grandmother, you are an angry woman,
Question your own thoughts and examine your mind.
Practice [the best of] the Buddha's teaching.
When you were first sent here,
Did you dream you would become an old nanny-goat?
In the morning you get up from bed,
In the evening you go to sleep,
In between, you do the endless housework;
You are engrossed in these three things.
Grandmother, you are the unpaid maid.
Question your own thought and examine your mind. Then things may be different for you.
The head of the family is the most important one,
Income and earnings are the next most longed-for things,
Then sons and nephews are wanted most.
By these three you are bound.
Grandmother, for yourself you have no share.
Question your own thought and examine your mind [if you can, so far as you can].
Grandmother, you are burned up with fury.
Gossip about other women and their manners is what interests you;
To talk of widows and relatives is your delight.
Grandmother, are you so gentle when you gossip?
To lift you from a chair is like pulling out a peg;
With feeble legs you waddle like a thieving goose;
Earth and stone seem to shatter when you drop into a seat;
Senile and clumsy is your body, Grandmother, you have no choice but to obey.
Question your own thought and examine your mind. From that you may find out how you have changed.
Your skin is creased with wrinkles;
Your bones stand out sharply from your shrunken flesh;
You are deaf, dumb, imbecile, eccentric, and tottering;
You are thrice defonned.
Grandmother, your ugly face is wrapped in wrinkles.
Your food and drink are cold and foul,
Grandmother, you are now a wretch,
half woman and half bitch!
Now, with fear and grief at heart,
You watch the time of death draw nigh.
Grandmother, can you face death with confidence?
Upon hearing this profound, melodious song, the old woman was so moved that she regretted what she had done to the Jetsun, and could not help shedding tears. [139-39, passim, and slightly modified.]

the event of a thread from Paul Octavious on Vimeo.

Monday, January 21, 2013

party in the usa

We were here before the mighty words of the Declaration of Independence were etched across the pages of history. Our forebears labored without wages. They made cotton 'king'. And yet out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to thrive and develop. If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. . . . Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho' we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny.

Martin Luther King-- "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
For more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.
For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.
They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.....Barack Obama Inaugural Speech 2013

So I put my hands up, they're playin' my songThe butterflies fly awayI'm noddin' my head like "Yeah!"Movin' my hips like "Yeah!"

Got my hands up, they're playin' my songAnd now I'm gonna be okayYeah! It's a party in the USA!Yeah! It's a party in the USA!

So I put my hands up, they're playin' my songThe butterflies fly awayI'm noddin' my head like "Yeah!"Movin' my hips like "Yeah!"

Got my hands up, they're playin' my songAnd now I'm gonna be okayYeah! It's a party in the USA!Yeah! It's a party in the USA!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

the past is practice

image credit....

last july, we (the staff of a small agency)  visited the 18th precinct probation office to discuss a new meth recovery group (MRP) we planned to start at a small agency in englewood. it would consist of 3 evening groups m-w-f which would focus on 3 different parts of recovery- MET- motivational enhancement therapy, CBT- cognitive behavioral therapy, TSF- twelve step facilitation- more realistically connection to sober communities.

we were received with reservations and went on our way. in august we received our 1st referral from a different probation office entirely. since that time we have had 10 referrals, we have 1 client (our 1st client) has been clean since his 4th week. the 18th precinct has sent us several of those and their dui referrals have increased as well. englewood is a small suburb of denver which has a reputation and a history of substance abuse especially meth. when i was starting the mile high meth project (now the mile high recovery project) in 08, we consistently got a volume of calls  from englewood's social services about individuals (specifically parents with small children) who had ongoing and agonizing meth issues. i was well aware of this unmet need going into beginning our MRP.

last night as we talked about what recovery means for each of us, i talked about the real miracle that comes with sharing experience with others.and i also talked about the idea that i get to do "this" meaning working with others who find themselves on a similar path. a participant indicated somewhat sarcastically that "get to" might be disingenuous. but as i consider it all, it is real. i do feel incredibly lucky to spend my time with an activity that holds meaning for me. damn, it has been a journey, with loadz'o twists and turns, but i am certain i am here and i am with enjoyment. life continues to move forward, definitely sometimes with more twists and turns.

the vibe of the agency that my friends had purchased left quite a bit to be desired in my opinion. it has been part of my mission to help it leave the 70's and come into the 21st century. brown faux wood paneling everywhere and rust/beige carpeting.  finally the makeover is underway- we have painted the bathroom, the main group room, and just finished the main office areas. and we acquired some show room carpet tiles that will be a welcome relief from the rust and brown. there is certainly quite a lot more to do, but i am thrilled at the prospect.

me circa 1980...

my cousin gave me a journal that i left at his home after i moved to colorado in 1988. the 1st entry is dated 4/2/1981 and it goes through 1989. i didn't do a very consisted job of writing entries, but it did take me on a trip back in time... there is an obvious void from 1984 until 1988 as that is when hiv really starting hitting my friends and my own life. my drug and alcohol use became its own animal and went on a nasty tear.moving to colorado in 1988 seemed to change the course of my journey. i drank heavily for 12 more years, but drugs were not as accessible here as they had been.

 following is an excerpt dated...10/12/1983... (it could be titled "morning at the golden nugget".

i wonder if it really is as much a time of restraint as it seems.outwardly people really do seem to be much calmer and more conservative yet they remain the same. what is to become of pent up emotions? they surely do not just fade away, do they get put on the back shelf and collect dust? perhaps they were in the window but faded to pale and matter little. just memories. either way time continues. so i sit at the counter at the pancake house at 5:30 am after having walked here in the rain. what really brings me here? it's entertaining certainly, but i am sure that's not why. so up walks Regan- a very bold and sassy trannie, to say hey, ask for my phone number and a few spare dollars. she drinks my water, takes it with her, drinks some of my coffee, leaving magenta beeswax behind like pigeon droppings.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

clown & sunset

image credit.. music is okai

Clown & Sunset is an independent record label founded by Nicolas Jaar[1] in 2009. It is part of Clown & Sunset Aesthetics, an interdisciplinary production house founded by Jaar and film producer Noah Kraft.[2]
Nikita Quasim, Soul Keita and Nicolas Jaar met in the summer of 2004 while traveling with their respective schools on a field trip to the Sonora desert.[3] Although they were uninterested in each other at first, they quickly bonded over their mutual interest in music.[2][4] In January 2009, on his nineteenth birthday, Jaar decided to formalize his endeavors with Quasim and Keita by founding Clown & Sunset.[5] He created the label in order to share music that he felt was too personal to release through any other label.
Clown & Sunset’s first two records were a series of EPs entitled Sunset of a Clown, released in February and October, 2009 respectively. Each EP contained a song from one of the three founding artists. Clown & Sunset’s next EP, Russian Dolls, featured the song “Russian Dolls” by Jaar, and a remix from Detroit DJ and producer Ryan Crosson.[6] In December 2010, Clown & Sunset released Inés, a ten-track compilation. The LP was well received by fans and critics, receiving 7.7 out of 10 rating from Pitchfork.[7] Following Inés, Clown & Sunset began to expand its original roster. As Nikita and Soul searched for musicians to incorporate into the label, Jaar continued the momentum of 2010 releasing his debut album Space is Only Noise to critical acclaim,[8]receiving "Best New Music" from Pitchfork.[9] In June 2011, Valentin Stip, a French, classically trained pianist and electronic musician became the first new artist to debut on Clown & Sunset, releasing an EP, Anytime Will Do, in June, 2011.[2][10]
In February 2012 Jaar and Kraft premiered Clown & Sunset Aesthetics in New York City with a sold-out Clown & Sunset showcase at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and an 5-hour improvised live exhibit at MoMA PS1.[11]..... reposted from wikipedia..

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

life imitates art

image credit... ddmag


When and why did you start to write?


I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn't seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.

INTERVIEWER: You regard addiction as an illness but also a central human fact, a drama?

BURROUGHS: Both, absolutely. It’s as simple as the way in which anyone happens to become an alcoholic. They start drinking, that’s all. They like it, and they drink, and then they become alcoholic. I was exposed to heroin in New York - that is, I was going around with people who were using it; I took it; the effects were pleasant. I went on using it and became addicted. Remember that if it can be readily obtained, you will have any number of addicts. The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It’s as psychological as malaria. It’s a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them. In Iran, for instance, opium was sold in shops until quite recently, and they had three million addicts in a population of twenty million. There are also all forms of spiritual addiction. Anything that can be done chemically can be done in other ways, that is, if we have sufficient knowledge of the processes involved. Many policemen and narcotics agents are precisely addicted to power, to exercising a certain nasty kind of power over people who are helpless. The nasty sort of power: white junk, I call it - rightness; they’re right, right right - and if they lost that power, they would suffer excruciating withdrawal symptoms. The picture we get of the whole Russian bureaucracy, people who are exclusively preoccupied with power and advantage, this must be an addiction. Suppose they lose it? Well, it’s been their whole life..... reposted from an interview with Conrad Knickerbocker in the Paris Review on NYE 1965 and re-pusblished at

i am not clear how much change the new year will see. however i am sure i have changed. having been at my workplace for 4 years has afforded me some peace of mind. i have become familiar with not using for several years and my emotions don't seem to run the risk of sabotaging me any longer. don't get me wrong- i am still overly impulsive at times-more than i would like- but my recovery process with regard to those impulses has become like a well-rehearsed swat team. 

in moving forward this year, i hope to regain a sense of security that i misplaced a few years ago. i hope to work the steps again with a new sponsor and gain additional insight as well as let some further unneeded baggage go. i hope to pay off some debt that has been haunting for a few years and become a little less dependent on 2nd and 3rd incomes for entertainment. at this point, i am not sure i will ever write a short book, as i might have incorporated "confidentiality" to a fault in my writing that is public- or perhaps i should just be writing for myself with a privacy setting so no one can read. i know that somehow my spiritual connection to this online journaling has altered.

 i registered for school last fall, however i never did follow up with it further and i would very much like to pursue this. i have considered painting as a form of expression. i have no idea if it is even something i can do, but i am very aware that paintings move me - and abstract and neo-expressionist works seem to grab my gut. 

i spent nye day painting the office in the suburbs where i facilitate a meth recovery group. i enlisted the help of 2 persons whom i have worked with over the years and they came through with flying colors- pun intended. i sincerely hope that the metaphor of putting a new face on life for the new year somehow takes hold on them both. 

i have made a new friend who appeared in my life almost like magic. uncertain of where we might land, i am very grateful for a new set of eyes and ears. and i am very blessed when i meet a new friend in recovery- it's culturally competent. my intention is that a new relationship or two will continue to flourish within my world.  i am hoping to head to chicago to be with friends and perhaps see "the book of mormon". i will be ready for a break by that time. i would like to catch up with my cousin who lives in rogers park as well.

these are plans i have and