Subject: What is this thing called home???
Date: January 22 2003
So confused...

so very confused...

apparently I live in San Francisco Now... the details of this will be forthcoming... just you wait...


okay take three... thrice I've tried to start this and failed...

Okay, so there I was. December 31st 2003. We were preparing for a new year's party at Beth's house in Seattle, in the heart of the mexican ghetto. Lovely lovey Southpark, around the corner from Boeing factory #2. Seven miles south of downtown. I'd been staying at this house on the patronage of Beth and her benefactors since I'd returned from Thailand. In the last couple of months I'd made mad progress at various deep and esoteric subjects of computers, music, andd design. I've been relishing the freedom of joblessness and unemployment insurance. I had also managed to piss off just about all of my friends. It was clear that things had to change.

So the next thing on the list of "things to do" was this. Go to fucking Grad school. Thus I embarked on my current adventure. Now, the obvious next question is always "to study what?" Well, the plan is a three front assault beginning with a feint(sp?) toward a Computer Science degree, a frontal assault on a Masters of Architecture (to validate my undergrad work) and a subtle, yet persistant infiltration of the philosophy dept for a Ph.D Philosophy, Philosophy degree. When I dropped out of Appalachian State University back in the days of Boone, my intention was clear and has been clear ever since. I did not want a Bachelor of Philosophy and Religion from ASU. If I was to do philosophy forever, I would require a Doctor of Philosophy from U.C. Berkeley and nothing else. So in a way, everything else this whole time has been subterfuge.  Everything else has been smokescreen, and the next five years will further that trend.

So now, here I am in San Francisco... no wait, there I was doing yoga on the last day of 2002. It was 11:30 in the morning and I'd just had a heart to heart with Jason, Beth's boyfriend. When I emerged from my yogic solopsism the answer was clear. It was time. The time had come. Now was the time. And seventeen days later I boarded an Amtrak train for Ventura.

My ex-boss, Frank Bott, upon his hasty termination at Terabeam had relocated within thirty days to Ventura and the Brooks Institute of Photography. As a child he had dreamed of attending this school. So years later, he finally made good on this, and much to everyone's amazement was in California and enrolled in a New Life within 30 days of having all of his hopes and dreams dashed on the rocks of downsizing layoffs. Of course, not to be outdone, here I am in only 17 days from the decision. Still, since I'm not enrolled in school I guess he still wins...

I woke up on the morning of January seventeenth, a cold clear morning. After showering and a final (upteenth) assessment of my gear, I boarded my laden bicycle and rode to Union Station in downtown Seattle. I bought wine and cheese and vegetables and the best damn smoked salmon I could find, for two, on a premonition which later proved to be true: that surely I could find someone with which to share... That someone turned out to be Beverly. She was on her way back home after coming to Seattle to check it out before moving. So there we were she moving from Cali to Seattle, me moving from Seattle to Cali. We had everything in common and a 1.5 litre bottle of wine over which to discuss this.

Upon arriving in Santa Barbara, Frank came down from school and met me at the station. I explored while he finished his homework, then we went back to his marina in Ventura. I spent two days on his boat. On Martin Luther King day, I took frank's beautiful sea kayak "Gypsy" into the Pacific ocean. With no bib or Lifejacket, I rode the swells of the sea with trepidation, knowing the catastrophe of rolling a quarter mile out to sea with sharks and seals and dolphins and everything. So I stayed close to the sea bouy. Also was I trepidatious regarding other vessels after my brush with mortality snorkeling in Thailand. One feels small and vulnerable in a Sea Kayak and I was very happy that it was mustard yellow. The seals on the sea bouy and I played together, the pelicans followed the line of the ocean's swells fishing for shallow prey, and the luxury yaughts (sp???) came and went. I just sat in the ocean and floated, feeling the gentle rise and fall of the sea, the plaintive moaning of the sea bouy breathing with the passing waves through its gutteral horn mouth.

Then, of course, since no trip in a kayak is complete without getting wet, I started pushing my limits. I started going in closer and closer to shore, surfing on the swells. Then I saw for the first time the back of the waves one sees crashing from the shore. Terror gripped my heart and I started to understand the attraction of surfing. I also decided to head over to the kiddie pool before attempting a virgin surf landing in a kayak.

I heading back into the breakwater and saw waves of only two feet and decided to give it a go. I wanted to fuck up. I knew I could do it. So I started coming closer and closer until I caught a wave and surfed right up to the shoreline. Then, it suddenly occurred to me what would happen next, I looked behind me right as the NEXT wave broke over the stern and swamped the open kayak, not to mention also my tobacco, wallet and cellphone in my pockets (I planned ahead and left my cellphone in my pocket to keep myself humble and cautious, as the delphi oracle read, "Know Thyself" :-) Sensing disaster, and also a delightful panic, I tried to turn the bow into the waves. I got about half way around when the next wave rolled me. Now I know what will go wrong in 8 and 10 foot seas. And knowing is half... never mind..

Anyway, that night, Frank and I started up the coast. We made it to San Simeon for the night and camped, he in his car, myself under God's beautiful sky and a large shrub. My bike still beside me, I realized that I must be the slackest bike tourist the PCH has ever seen... giggled, and slept in peace. The next day we woke early, and heading up the coast we stopped for every patch of sunlight and interesting saturation of colors we saw.  We played in a foul smelling barn with a flash and his D1H. As for me, I shot a roll and a half through his F4 on this excursion (fully manual, mind you. That thing is complex!) We found Lots of great beaches, I talked to some scuba divers. It was great.

Then, before I knew it, I was navigating frank through the wilds of San Francisco, up Van Ness, across Broadway to Kearny, where I have now "moved in" to the Green Tortoise Hostel. Today I worked in exchange for rent, vacuuming the never-before-vacuumed corners of several rooms. I found two lighters, various foriegn currencies, a necklace and made a new friend named Jennifer who's into independant mulitmedia design and production. She and I are like mirror images of eachother. We're close to the same height, have similar glasses, and discuss Derrida and art and collectives with passion and at great length. The only significant distinction between us is that she's in a five year strong relationship with a Frenchman who's somewhere in Switzerland right now. THere are no frenchmen in my life. So after cleaning the Hostel together, we aimlessly wandered the streets of Chinatown, Market and the Mission, Discussing at great length, breadth and depth linguistics, deconstructionism, cinematography, and swapping travel stories. She totally kicks my ass as a traveller, with her dual Canadian/Swedish citizenship, her six years in France, Switzerland and Spain, Her six months in Chile, and various other smaller trips. Oh and she speaks four languages.

<sigh> Oh well, so we're to be only friends, though when I found out she had read "Dissemination" (in the original french I'm sure) I did propose marriage. And meant it. Later that night we saw a really odd play at the Exit Theater, which is a three stage playhouse. It was modeled as a greek tragedy, done in Iambic pentameter, to a buck rogers sci-fi Frankenstein (loyal to the original "genius monster" theme) theme, with a twist of Rocky Horror and the unnecessary inclusion of the character "mother earth." In the end, Mother E. accepts the cloned "Dreamboy" as her own and embues him with life, much to the chagrin of the Evil Genius who was masterminding a plot to transfer his soul into the pinochio puppet he attempted to create. The script was great, the acting very good, but the stage set was neither minimal nor well constructed. Costumes went only about halfway, so in all, Jen's continental sentiments were freaked by the inclusion of any of the above, while my inner craftsman was balking at the off the rack slacks and shoes on several of the actors. "The Harpies" were rad, true to mythology, and well costumed, well acted, and well, okay, they were totally hot and hotter still for the well-thought out lesbian overtones.

Coming back to the Green Tortoise. Its among the best hostels in S.F. with amenities such as free bagels, coffee and fruit for breakfast, a sauna, and free wireless internet... (though, the latter is prolly courtesy of the really posh house up the hill:).

Um., so I think the sauna is really the key to this whole beautiful world in which I now live. Daily saunas have a profound effect on one's stress level. I'm working on a Bikram Style meditation technique.

Yesterday I biked from North Beach (the Youth hostel is in the DMZ between Chinatown and North Beach, where all the strip clubs live) to the Mission, then over to hippie hill in Golden Gate Park. Everything is still pretty much where I left it, except "the scene" and its scenesters have all moved to 16th and Valencia. I haven't made it that far yet. I keep meeting too many beautiful people here that keep me close to home. This hostel rocks. And today, I'm spending a quiet day at home, writing this (obviously) and catching up on email, job searching, etc. I have the room to myself for the last two days due to the aforementioned cleaning. Though when I went to bed last night there was someone in bed D, he was gone by the time I awoke.

I am so confused. I know S.F. very very well, so I feel like a local, but I've only been here two or three days so I'm not yet. I feel like I'm travelling because everyone around me is, yet I'm putting down roots here. I feel like I am "wide as the air to learn a secret" as Rumi said, and moment to moment, I am dwellling in the signless and the wishless essense of existence. Life is good in otherwords, and Grad school beckons from across the bay.

...More to come [next]....

all original material in this site is Copyright Hudson Cress, 2003. All events are part of the elaborate fiction that is my reality. And resemblance to actual events is pure coincidence

se was full, and anyway it was the top floor of the building, so they knocked 800 baht off the price (6800 baht, includes room, international certification, rental equipment, etc. minus 800; 6,600 baht for advanced open water, minus 400 baht, 10% discount for doing both... more than I have with me, but we'll work it out at the bank, courtesy of VISA... err... actually we're digging deep into rent for when I return... not gonna think about these things :-) and sent me with the travel agent next door, on his motorbike (moped), on sand roads, to find a guest house. And as luck would have it, for 100 baht too much, (a whopping 200 baht/ five bucks), I have a bungalo perched atop boulders jutting right out of the ocean, about five minutes walking along the sandy, picturesque, paradisiacal (is that a word?) beach to the dive school.