It’s 1311.5 miles from Pippin’s Tavern to Saskatoon, SK; 987.5 km from Saskatoon to Bozeman, MT; 1389.2 miles from Bozeman back to Pippin’s.

What if you jumped in a car and drove it before summer was officially over? Kinda impulsive, actually.

I should have never played “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon” on the jukebox. Damn you, Guess Who.

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Golly, L

Let’s call her L. She’s been living in Michigan this summer, so I was surprised when she called and said she was at Pippin’s.

It was great seeing her again.

I know what you’re thinking, “Christ, Lynn, she’s only 21 years old.”. To which I reply, “I know, she’s kinda old for me.”

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Destiny and evolution

Whoever they are, we have been playing a long game of chess against each other.  We are at endgame with my four pawns versus his one pawn.  My pawns stretch across the board so that his king cannot possibly defend against me promoting one of them to a queen.  His lone pawn cannot possibly bypass mine for promotion.

I tend not to think about my chess games too much these days.  They happen.  They end as wins, losses, or draws.  However, each game is a unique evolution of calculation, tactics, strategies, applications of rules of thumb, and decisions I cannot fully justify except for admitting time constraints forced a move upon me.  No matter how a game ends, it seems a strange odyssey.

These chess games feel like the evolution of my ideas and the metaphors I use to express and make sense of them.  I am often tempted to do some archaeology on my ideas and arguments, but I never arrive at a feasible endgame that does not require more decisions, thus more pressing concerns.  The present trumps the past.

Desire, fantasy, and calculation compete and create an evolution that feels as though an infinite process occurs even though all too soon the game will be over, rendering archaeology impossible.  Sometimes meaning feels like a road traveled rather than a destination.  Destiny is not a goal but a journey.

Published in: on August 1, 2009 at 10:26 am  Comments (2)  


The weather has taken a turn toward the spectacular in Chicago. Sunny and warm. That is the way western Europe was when I was traveling there. I did not take a jacket with me on the trip. The first day I spilled coffee on the only sweater I brought. So, I had to buy a jacket in Amsterdam. It was not easy finding a jacket that fit my stunning geezer figure, but I eventually did. It served me well and still does this fall in Chicago.

I did my usual over packing for the trip. I should have taken a better look at the Amsterdam, Bruges, and Brussels guidebook I took on the trip. It had a complete checklist of what to pack for the trip. I could have dispensed with more than half the clothes I took and done laundry along the way, which I did one night in Brussels anyway.

I lost some weight on the trip. Hiking about from early morning until late at night helped, for I certainly was not watching my diet.

One night in Brussels, I was tempted to go to a chess club I found via the Internet. I was tired though, and I felt my game would not be up to par against opponents who would obviously be much better than me. Next time though…

The European TV news during the trip was almost exclusively about the housing and financial panic. Right after I returned home, the markets took their worst tumble. I moved my major retirement savings from stocks to money market funds just before it happened. I am a lucky SOB.

I read Proust on the trip during the early hours of morning and late at night. I read almost the whole of The Captive, the part where the narrator holds Albertine captive in his apartment by his pathological jealousy over and suspicions of her lesbianism. Jealousy was much on mind for other reasons during the trip, so his observations about love and jealousy moved me emotionally more than it might have at other times. Then there are those long elegant Proustian sentences, sentences crammed with so many ideas one gets lost in them until one finds the proper gate to keep pace. It took me a long time to acquire a taste for Proust, but now that I have, I consider him one of my favorite writers, or even philosophers if I might be allowed to place him in that category.

I started writing this morning just before sunrise. The writing felt good as Hemingway might say. As the sky brightened, I thought about how it is better to have loved and lost then not to have loved at all. I sincerely believe it true. Love is often portrayed as a journey. The metaphor is apt in many ways. We never really know where love ends or if it ever ends. Even after we are dead, a loved one may encounter an event that triggers a memory of a good time they had with us. Naturally, as the generations pass on, memories of us pass on with them. However, I take spiritual comfort from knowing that the flames of our candles linger a bit longer beyond the grave. Eternity does not interest me much. It is enough to have been loved along the way.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Insomnia, etc.

Not sleeping began with jet lag, but then turned into viscous insomnia after jet lag was gone. I woke in the middle of the night and could not return to sleep. Too exhausted to write, or even read, I played chess on the Internet until long after sunrise. The insomnia, mixed with melancholia caused by a failed romance, and which has not deserted me since the beginning of summer, too much chess, a form of madness, and a cold that will not end, created a toxic low grade depression. Despite that, I did make a momentous change in my life, for which I am grateful.

Last night I woke at 2 AM fully prepared to stay awake the rest of the night. However, my body gave in to sleep from sheer exhaustion. So, now, I am tired, but my mind feels as if it is working better today, or at least it seems fit to do things.

I will start writing a new novel early tomorrow morning instead of playing chess. I have been thinking about this novel since the beginning of the year. It will be a quirky pastiche of many places and people and events, both contemporary and historical. A first person narrator will tell the story.

Tonight, I am going with Luci to see The Glass Menagerie at the Shattered Globe Theater. I’ve been looking forward to it.

And that’s where I have been, at least, as my mind recalls the recent past today.

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  


Went to bed early last night.  Woke before 3 AM.  Played some chess, since I could not get back to sleep.  I’m still jet lagging, I guess.  Today, I’m in an a post-travel depression too.  Some chess moves seem the only moves I feel good about making.  I’ve taken a manuscript from its hiding place, but reading it, trying to discover how to make it better, revolts me.  Life goes on.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Goodbye, Albertines, it was nice knowing you

It seems odd not to be searching for art today–art in museums, churches, and old houses–for my days in Europe were filled with that. I have my quiet moment with Proust (The Captive) this morning as I did on my mornings in Europe. I have the narrator’s obsession with Albertine’s stories, whether lies or truth, his confusion about whether he loves her or not, and his jealousy that knows no limits, whether justified or not. I have Proust weaving his intricate philosophy out of a surprising narrative.

I won’t have art today, but I have had a little Proust. I will also possess lovely company today–one last brief spurt of emotion that will surely leave me crestfallen by tomorrow morning at this time when I am alone. But that is OK. This is the year of short intense passions, and then abandonment. I would not trade hopeless desires for a dull placid existence.

The result of our loves are often loneliness, yet loneliness filled with cherished memories that last until the end of our days.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  

A ripple

I woke early this morning and still on Europe time. The first thing that crossed my mind was where I was going today. But I’m home, sitting in front of the computer, and writing. The city is dark, reasonably silent, and wet from the rain. This scene will reenact itself day after day. Before too long, the trip will will seem like a ripple on a pond.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Back in the USA

Landed at Chicago O’Hare at 1247. Now, I’m at Pippin’s drilling down Maker’s and waiting for the Cubs game to start. Golly, things really do tend to even out, or return to a state of inertia.

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last day in Europe

I’m back in Amsterdam for one evening. I’ve already gotten stoned. Now, I’m eating dinner. The trip was so delightful I can hardly believe two weeks have past in a twinkling.

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Yesterday in Paris

I spent a good deal of the day exploring Paris neighborhoods. I like the train system here. I found myself close by the Louvre in the afternoon, so I looked at more of the art. Then I ate an excellent dinner at the hotel.

I go back to Amsterdam tomorrow for one more night of weed. Then home. Big sigh!

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 12:53 am  Leave a Comment  

The Paris hotel

The hotel is elegantly decorated art deco style. My room is big and expensive. My window opens on a a courtyard with a beautiful garden.

Right now, while I sit in the hotel lounge, two young women hang their heads from an attic apartment window across the street and sing into the gentle Paris night.

Who knows, Elizabeth Bishop may have been right: god loves us all.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday in Paris

Dawdled over breakfast. Spent over two hours this afternoon in one wing of the Louvre. I saw David’s paintings last, which is exactly what I went to see. I was fortunate enough to see his The Death of Marat in Belgium.

Now, I’m drinking in the hotel lounge and feeling I’m on sensory overload from all the art I’ve seen on the trip so far.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday night in Paris

Went to the Left Bank to do some drinking; I’m staying in the 8th arrondissement. Took the train.back to the hotel before getting too shitfaced. Read some Proust before nodding off to sleep.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

On the terrace

Yes, I’m sitting on a hotel terrace high above the street on a warm cloudless late afternoon and reading Proust in Paris. And I wonder how life could be any better. Bringing Proust to read in Europe was a stroke of genius on my part, for reading Proust is always an act of forgetting and remembering for me, and certainly longing and desire overcome me.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 10:41 am  Comments (1)  

In Paris

I’m in Paris and drinking Leffe beer on the terrace of the VIP lounge at my hotel 6 stories above the street. It is warm and sunny here. A beautiful young woman faces me at the table next to mine. We make eye contact as we smoke our cigarettes. It is 1700 hours. Damn, I am so looking forward to a good dinner and a Saturday Parisien night.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Off to Paris

Saturday morning in Brussels. Ready to leave for Paris. I’m staying in a neighborhood some blocks from the Arche de Triomphe. I will visit the art museums and spend time wandering aimlessly and foraging for food and beverage. Until then, bon jour.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment  

last night in Brussels

Bruges was great on a warm sunny afternoon. My touring focus has been on art and the churches. Bruges did not disappoint.

Leaving for Paris tomorrow morning. Have to pack and drink some Stella before going to bed.


Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Bruges

I’m sitting in some bar on the Market Square in Bruges after a busy day of seeing the sights. I mean what’s the point of going to Bruges if you don’t sample the Bruges brewed beer? I hope I don’t lose track of time here and miss the last train to Brussels.

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  

To Bruges

I’m off to Bruges after some breakfast. These days of travel now hurtle by. I feel even more adrift than some days in Chicago.

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 1:54 am  Leave a Comment  

the banged up Brussels tourist

How I returned to the hotel from the bar last night I do not know. However, my gloomy health this morning did not deter me from a full day of touring beautiful Brussels.

I spent over three hours in the Royal ancient and modern art museums, excellent collections. As I walked the rooms, I meditated on the connections between Eros and art. At lunch in the museum cafeteria I discussed with a young Brussels woman the extent of the average person’s speaking vocabulary and how many words one must learn in a new language if one wanted to communicate effectively. We thought it might be 3 to 5 hundred words. I must look it up.

I’m travelling to Bruges tomorrow for the day, so I am staying in tonight with a six pack of Stella even though I found a good chess club today.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Communist Manefesto

I walked by the place where Marx and Engles worked on the Communist Manifasto while I was touring in Brussels today. Kind of a Mecca for me.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Brussels Wednesday night

I am in some Brussels’ bar, sitting at a table by the window, readng Proust In the half light, drinking Stella, smoking cigarettes, and wondering if the weed haze I’m in will ever fade. A weird electronic version of Amazing Grace plays on the bar speaker system. I am alone, spiritually beret except for my Proust, and for right now exactly where I want to be.

One more Stella, please.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Brussels

My first full day in Brussels. I did lots of touring during the day, so much my feet are still sore. I would llove to tell you what sights I have seen, but that is a story for another day, for telling how the sun glints off the spire’s of the cathedrals or the towers of the palais requires more than I can do on iPhone.

So, I retired to my hotel room after a heavy day of touring. I smoked one of those big fat Amsterdam joints, dined at the hotel, sat at the hotel bar, ripped down three double Knob Creek bourbons with various Belgium beer backups, and now, I am smoking another fat joint in my room. And for some reason I feel I must return to the Brussels evening, even though chomatose, even knowing I can’t drink or smoke the woman with the dark hair off my mind.

But life goes on. Things tend to even out. And this joint I’m smoking is getting way short. Time to hit the city.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Brussels

I’m in Brussels. It is probably a good thing. Smoking weed and drinking to excess has my brain more addled than usual, and as we well know, that is bad.

Anyway, what I’d really like to do tonight is find a chess cafe that serves alcohol and play some chess. Wierd-O-Rama, huh?

Anyway, the hotel bar has Stella beer and a virtually untapped bottle of Knob Creek whiskey crying out to end it’s virginity. If I had had the presence of mind to bring a chess set with me, I could have set it up at a table, and I would bet some weary traveler would have challenged me to a game. The only thing missing would be the weed.

Oh well, tomorrow is a new day filled with touring. It wouldn’t hurt to get some sleep for a change.

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment