Not Older. Just one Year Closer to Burial.

Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy Birthday to Me-ee.
Happy Birthday to Me.


You Can't Take the Sky From Me

Today my canopy opened with me dangling above a thin, gray, cloud. It was an ephemeral thing, translucent, still in the process of coalescing some three thousand feet above the ground, more a bank of mist than a cloud at all. I doubt anyone on the ground could even see it.

As I glided gently over this evanescent bit of atmospheric moisture I passed directly between it at the sun and there, for a few heartbeats I could see the shadow of myself, hanging in air, my canopy and my body sharply outlined against the miasma. Around my shadow I could see a halo of color, a perfect, round rainbow encircling the impression of my shape.

I am not yet skilled enough to be allowed a freefall camera so I have no memento save my own recollection. Perhaps it’s better this way, the memory of something so lovely and so rare can live as a motivation for excellence, the possibility of such a sight pushing me to jump and jump and jump.

For those who keep wondering why I insist on repeatedly “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane,” picture that and it’s not so hard to understand.


A Reminder

This blog will be decommissioned next week. The whole of it's content as well as all future rantings are moving to Badass Bard Dot Com.

That site is already up and running if you want to go ahead and pop on over.

Get In My Belly

I once had a friend of great and unerring moral principal who refused to consume any product that was created through the perishment of another creature. While she would eat eggs and cheese, she would eat no flesh of any kind, terrestrial, aquatic, vertebrate or otherwise. She wore no leather and couldn't bring herself to string a tennis racket despite an overriding love of the sport.

When questioned on this conviction she would reply, "I don't believe in meat."

Not to defame someone that I love and admire but, excuse me, you don't believe in meat?

Meat is a fact. It cannot be denied. It's existence had been proven empirically.

You can disbelieve in Santa and you can disbelieve in the Easter bunny. You can choose not to believe in the fidelity of your lover, the promises of politicians, the potential for cold fusion and your teenager's explanation of late night tardiness but you can't choose not to believe in meat.

Meat is real. It's actually there. It's existence is confirmed by billions of individual reports. You can see it. You can touch it. You can pick it up. You can, if you are so inclined, eat it.

Yes, I understand that that's not what she meant but the English language is a semantic and semiotic tool of such power, efficacy and grace that we really should give some thought to it before we casually misuse it.


Freedom FROM Religion

Faith is rather like a rhinoceros, in fact: it won't do much in the way of real work for you, and yet at close quarters it will make spectacular claims upon your attention.

- Sam Harris
The End of Faith p.215
ISBN 978-0-393-32765-6


Everything is Perfect : Everything is Sick

Many of the best products of the human spirit are both achingly beautiful and entirely superfluous.

This is not to imply a similarity with the worst products of that selfsame spirit which often manifest those same properties.

The heart's greatest challenge may be recognizing the difference.


Hey, So Ya Know

This blog is going to be decommissioned in the next few weeks.

All of the relevant content as well as my future pontifications will henceforth be housed at BadassBard.com.

Currently, I'm cross-posting everything but that is for a limited time only.

Suggestions and comments for the new blog are welcomed and appreciated.

This is a Open Road Song

It's a bad idea but we've all done it, driven when we should have been sleeping. We've let our eyelids droop while behind the wheel. In a few heartbeats we realize and snap awake, hopefully while still on the pavement.

Once, when speeding down a desolate, pin straight, empty stretch of Arizona interstate I did exactly that but when I snapped back awake four songs had gone by on the CD.

I choose not to contemplate the potential ramifications of this.


Public Notice - Don't Fuck with Me While I'm Making my Movie

With the plethora of media production in the US, odds are that you will come across an active location shoot at some point in your life. Here are some tips for when that happens.

1. Don't stop anyone who is in the middle of a task to ask what it is that's being shot. They're working. They have something to accomplish other than accommodating your curiosity.

2. If a PA tells you to hold on a minute, to go around the block or to not look at the camera, do as they ask. Best case scenario, you end up in the movie in some small way. Worst case scenario ...

3. Do NOT, ever, for any reason, honk your horn or cat call at the production. This is doubly true if we're shooting on your block or somehow inconviencing you. Extraneous noise corrupts the audio recording and distracts the actors and thus guarentees that we have to do more takes. Ergo, if you make a ruckus, we will be there longer than we otherwise would have been.

4. Do not ask if you can be in the movie. Only one or two people on set are empowered to decide such things and they're not going to stop to talk to interlopers. Besides, no one who couldn't be a playboy centerfold has ever gotten into a movie that way.

5. Above all, remember that the people shooting this film are, at that very moment, at work. They are feeding their children, paying their rent, earning their paycheck. Movie business or not, they probably have a job that is as desultory and as aggravating as you. You don't need someone fucking with you while you're on the job and neither do we.

You have been thusly enlightened.


Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here

"Are you gonna be okay?" the B operator asks me.

It's three am and I'm laying backwards on a poolside deck chair, feet elevated and head hanging off the side where one's feet should properly go. I'm grinning from ear to ear and can't go a full minute without chuckling. I imagine my words are slurring a bit. How could they not be? I'm a bit tipsy, it's true, but I'm not nearly the drunkest one here, not by an order of magnitude.

"I'm fine. I'm just fine," I say.

He shrugs and wanders back towards the bar and the DJ, leaving me to wonder how I'm going to get up, should it become necessary.

I love these moments, rare as they are.

We're halfway through the season and the camera and art departments, with some help from the executive producer, have thrown the cast and crew one hell of a party. We're all having a great time, carousing, toasting, bullshitting, terrifying the hotel staff and living it up on sponsor-provided beer.

For as much as I complain about working on low budget projects, about the long hours, the crappy accommodations, the mediocre pay and the lack of prestige, these shows do have a precious and transcendent upside. Tonight I talked skydiving and album art with the creator/star of the show. I shared home brewed mead with the executive producer. Told dirty jokes with a first team actor and lost a game of beer pong to the gaffer. I've partied, without a trace of self-consciousness, with just about everyone involved in the show.

This doesn't happen on the big shows. On multi-million dollar projects everyone is more guarded. Above the line stays aloof and I.A. people keep largely to their own departments. Parties and other events are more a medium for producers to impress friends and investors than an avenue for camaraderie and release. Everyone is very politic and stays high on their toes lest they say or do something that will be looked upon unfavorably.

In low budget world though, we all know we've got the same shit gig so no one's that worried about impressing anyone else. There's an intimacy, a dedication to craft and a shared love of the work that's unique to works of this scope.

It won't be like this next season. When the show blows up, and it will; it's that kind of funny, the actors will all become famous and acquire assistants with assistants, the crew will double in size and each technician will keep to their family of similarly experienced individuals. The jokes will get cleaner, the tones of speech more serious, the stakes higher.

Sure, we'll all get paid a lot more but we won't have these moments, these times when we can all smile and marvel at how lucky we are. It's a trade off that we all know we'll have to make and complaining about it does about as much good as cursing the weather.

For the moment though, I'm fine; I'm just fine.


Johnnie Walker Gave me a Moment of Clarity

I love scotch, scotchy scotchy scotch. Down, down, into my belly.

I'm a particular fan of the Johnnie Walker family of scotches. Some will question my taste, it's true, since aficionados prize single malts like Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet and McCallan's and eschew the more prolific and milder blended varieties like JW. What can I say? I'm a plebeian and I like what I like.

The crowned jewel of the Johnnie Walker collection is JW Blue. Perhaps you've seen it at the package store in it's satin lined box, kept under lock and key. It does retail for well over two hundred dollars, after all. Maybe you've seen it on a featured shelf at finer public houses. Perhaps you're familiar with John Spencer's monologue about it from third season ofThe West Wing. If you can afford it, you should try it, at least once.

Myself, I'm not so wealthy at to be able to indulge in more than a portion per year but I do love it so. I love it, but not why you'd think. Sure, it's flavor is smooth and robust. It's timbre uncharacteristically dark. It's aroma rich and inviting. It goes down easy and can be a digestif for a proper winter meal, a perfect compliment to a finer cigar or a distinctive standalone treat. These things are all well worth the savoring but they are not why I love Johnnie Walker Blue.

I love JW Blue philosophically.

Some of the individual malts that go into this blend are upwards of sixty years old. When these whiskeys were first fermented my father was but a boy and my mother not yet born. The peat for these libations was harvested during the second world war, before computers, before commercial air travel, before the space program, before the cold war and before television.

Don't misunderstand. I don't love the heart of this scotch because I fetishize what is old. No, I don't so much admire the age as I admire the patience involved. Any decent scotch sits in it's cask for at least twelve years. Finer scotches age for upwards of two decades. That's a mighty long time for a distiller to wait to see if their hard work, their execution of craft has come to fruition.

The malts in JW Blue sat in their barrels, absorbing the wood tannins, deepening in color and tithing to the angels well more than half a century.

That means the man who first casked that whiskey at the tail end of WWII did so knowing that he would not live to see it bottled, fully aware that he was beginning a job that he would never see finished.

That's a kind of dedication to craft, a kind of long haul thinking that we just don't see any longer. Does anyone even think in terms of legacy anymore? Does anyone have the gumption, the pride, the altruism of spirit to work and slave at something knowing they will never get credit, that perhaps their grandchildren will reap the rewards?

That's why I love Johnnie Walker Blue. It's a taste of history, three fingers of posterity and a reminder of an ethic I can only hope to emulate. That's on top of being a fantastic scotch.

And so, to that man who casked my scotch without the first hope of ever tasting it himself, I raise my glass. May the road rise up to meet you.


My First Solo Jump

Perfect diving exit.

Hard and fast 360's in freefall. Hard back loop, four rolls over, for three thousand feet.

I could have stood up the landing but I wimped out and rolled soft.

I can't remember a time in my adult life when I've been more proud of myself. I exited, free-fell and landed m'self in near textbook fashion without a single word of advice.

After today, I am properly and truly a skydiver.