Saturday, March 12, 2005



I decided to find two things yesterday. I knew they were in the house, so I started at one end of the living room and worked my way to the other end. There are various places where the eddy currents in my life tend to drop small items, and there they stay, under growing geologic laminae, until I realize I'm missing something.

This time the layers were deep. I'd been looking for the multi-tool for months. I used to take it with me to work. A multi-tool is rarely the best tool possible, but if it's the only tool you have--I once installed a camera for the City of Los Angeles, 45 feet up on a pole, with one--it's by definition a great tool. I started at one end of the living room and examined all of the usual settling places, and didn't find either the multi-tool or the Powerbook disks. And it wasn't just because I'd started the cleaning process by having a lunch of barley. In its liquid form. Specifically, McTarnahan's India Pale Ale. It was good, and so was the Full Sail Amber that followed it. That was the only success.

So, I sat down and let my unhinged mind wander. Time off for good behavior. Then I remembered the "Church Kit," which I hadn't opened for months. I sometimes put the multi-tool in there in case Lu had a problem with the sound system at Beverly Hills that I couldn't solve with fingers only. I had found the Church Kit, so I got up and looked. There was the multi-tool. It's odd how these things happen. Why didn't I think of that months ago?

One down, one to go. The software disks for the Powerbook weren't where I thought they should be, over on top of the flat file. Usually, computer CDs are beside my desk but there was nothing in that stack that matched my memory of what the disk package looked like. I went through it again, idly, one by one looking at the disks instead of seeing what I expected. There's Photoshop 4.0, BBEdit 4.5 (I never thrown these things away, never can tell) and then some nondescript disks that, on second look, turned out to be the Powerbook software. I'd remembered them as being a black box full of CDs, but in reality they are two grey DVDs. So, they wouldn't have helped George, whose machine has only a CD drive.

How about that. Success. Two out of two. I opened another bottle of beer to celebrate.

One salutary effect of all this was that I could now see more of the living room floor than I was used to, helped by getting rid of the old Power Computing Mac clone that refused to start. Death through lack of use. I took out the disk drives so I could recover the data, and the ROM module (Apple, 1997) as a memento, and then hauled the remainder out to the trash.

So, all the settling places are clear, ready for new deposits. I sat down at the desk for a time, alternating between reading about Samuel Pepys and working on various Blog ideas. When Nate honked the horn, I was ready to get out of the house for a while. Killer Shrimp time.

I've not had much contact with people, other than at work, for a few weeks. I'm just tired of how it seems that if I don't constantly push, nothing happens. I feel as if I'm trying to start a fire in wet wood by using a blowtorch on it, but now I"m out of fuel. Accept reality. There's not going to be a fire. Maybe God is holding up a sheet of asbestos, so that I'll concentrate on him instead. Fine. If that's the way it is, good enough. It's amazing that the God of the Universe is even interested in what I'm doing, but he has proven it over and over.

A relationship with God is like any other in that it takes time. We talk about this, there in Killer Shrimp with the big white bowls of spicy sauce, and various other things.

"I think that as you spend time with God, you will change. You light up. That scares the crap out of me!"
"Because I'm a bottom-feeder! I'm used to drifting through life, not really being noticed. I stay out of the way. God's kind of life is different. I'll get turned into a torch. I'll get noticed. People who get noticed get shot at.
"Oh, I don't know about that. The leaders, the guys preaching, don't get shot at. They have ministries."
Debbie looks away, but smiles. "Oh, Larry, it's too late. You're already a torch. That's why we like having you at the life group. As soon as you walk in the door..."

That stops me in my tracks. I'd probably have freaked if the wine hadn't knocked the edges off my awareness. The taste of pinot grigio is a little odd after the beer. The name God has for me is becoming brighter, and I'm not sure what to do.

If Nate isn't talking with his hands, he's using them to draw. He'll use anything available. Tonight it's a napkin. He probably appreciates high-class places like this that offer good napkins; the cheap thin ones tear too easily.

"Do you pray for specific things, Larry?"
"Mostly not. For myself, anyway. I ask God for things for friends, but I figure he knows better than I do what I need. What would I ask for? I have everything I need. More than I need. Jacob wrestled with God to get a blessing. I wrestle so God will leave me alone." Maybe wrestling is the main idea. Contact with God is better than no contact.
"We ask for specific things. Little things."
"Why not? God really does love us."

"Tomorrow we're going to a meeting in Playa Vista. Pray that we'll get the unit we want. Number 216."
"What do you think about that, Babe? We asked God for a place in a certain area, and Playa Vista isn't in that area."
"So, we changed."
"But we thought God would find the place."
"So that means you'll miss the meeting tomorrow, or the unit will go to someone else. Does it really matter that much?"
"We like the Playa Vista place."
It's an interesting question. I ponder it, somewhat hazily, as we park in front of my apartment.

Debbie is a designer. She likes to have things in their places. She designs space. The space in my apartment happened by accident. Things hang on the wall where there were already nails, and things sit on the floor where they ended up when the help ran out. Nate loves it. Debbie keeps quiet. Except to ask questions.

"Why is this here?" She's holding a Kinder Surprise toy, liberated earlier that day from the paper overburden on my desk.
"That's where it ended up."
"What is it?"
"A toy. See how the hippo, or whatever that animal is, attacks the boat when I flip its tail?"
"I see. And what about this?"
"That's a sacred acorn."
"What are the rocks for?"
"Rock-rolling. Like golf, only longer and more fun."
"What's in the flat file? This is great. You don't mind the questions."
Actually, I'm very nervous. I have house guests about once per year and it almost feels like a raid. Manners hold.
"Photographs, maps and such."
Debbie opens the top drawer and finds the pile of proof sheets and miscellaneous photographs. Sheer density dissuades her, so she moves on to the second drawer.

"This is beautiful! It reminds me of a humpback whale, breaching."
"One of the early small sculptures. 96F-5. It was really windy so the sculpture had to be heavy. I got rained on too. A beautiful day." Roman 2. I still feel his absence even if I haven't named a sculpture for him in years.

Under that is a drawer of bigger photographs. She pulls out the big one of the Cold Canyon falls. "Which way does this go?"
I let her turn it around, and she figures it out.
"Did you take this?"
"Yes. Medium format."
"What's that, medium format?" Nate asks.
"Big negatives. Here's a 35mm camera." I show him a small Pentax, and then reach into a drawer and get out the 67II. "And this is medium format. The negatives are four times bigger."
"I see." Nate turns back to my Powerbook. He's exploring the Blogosphere via bootlegged wireless, trying to figure out the reality underlying the slippery concept.

Debbie keeps looking at photographs. "You're a photographer, Larry."
That's a very long story. No time tonight.
"We should go, Boom. The puppy."
"How long has it been?"
"Since 6:30."
"Pee timing, or loneliness?"

Nate gets up from the chair by the computer.
"I'm not sure I want to start a Blog yet. I don't know what to call it."
"Which of these do you like?" I show them 16X20 prints of the dudleya I shot in Castle Canyon, the Cold Creek falls, and the hills above Gorman with polychrome wildflowers.
"I lean toward this one," Nate says, pointing to the hillside.
"That's the one that draws me, too," Debbie concurs.
"OK. Happy birthday.
She hugs me in the narrow space between desk and flat file. When Nate first mentioned doing something for her birthday I'd thought of a photograph, but forgotten until now. The Holy Spirit at work, again, spreading God's light. Even that captured for a time in silver.

2005 March 12

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