Day 649

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wow, Friday all ready.  Writing in the morning and off to Wendel in the afternoon.  Alice's in the evening.  

Day 648

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lost my semi-final match against Tyrone tonight, 15-13-, 6-11, 8-11.  It was a good match but I still lacked energy.  I may be getting too old to play tournaments.  They really take their toll on me.  I'm firing up Hollywood Hound, getting a draft ready soon.  

Day 647

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Still recovering from my weekend in Stockton.  I planned to go to the gym this morning, but ended up sleeping in until 8:15!  I had only 30 minutes to arrive at Varinsky.  After V, off to Wendel from 2-6, then an evening of cleaning up and reading.

Day 646

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I was still pretty sore today.  I spoke with a couple of folks from Louisiana that were involved in Dorian's project back in 2010 and 2012.  I have a good handle on what occurred and why the project ultimately didn't go through.  The overall story is a lot more complicated than race and discrimination, though that certainly came into play.  Unfortunately, Dorian got caught in the middle of a nasty rivalry in which he ended up on the losing end of everything.  In piecing together his story, I can see how disappointing these last few years have been for African American entrepreneurs who believed certain doors would be open to them once Obama became president.  It hasn't been the case.  In fact, it seems some things have gotten much worse.

Went to Wendel in the afternoon and met Rossana for dinner at Shakewell in the evening.  I like what they did to the place inside.  Very hip and relaxed.  

Day 645

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wow, was I ever sore today. I knew I would be.  I worked at Wendel from 2-6.  From 8-1:30, I tidied up my apt and read.  After work, I watched five episodes of

on disc through Netflix.  Hannibal is a brilliant show.  The production values, lighting, set designs and pacing are all of the highest quality.  The acting is superb and the writing is constantly surprising and strong.  The level of creativity in this series is inspiring.  I'm plowing through season 2 in order to be ready for season 3 next year.  Of all the shows currently on TV, this one is my favorite.  Mads Mikkelsen is the perfect Hannibal Lecter.

Day 644

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 LPRT Stockton Champion Rhonda Rajsich
What an amazing finals at the LPRT in Stockton.  As expected, Paola Langoria and Rhonda Rajsich met in the finals.  I wasn't able to see all the games because I had matches myself in A singles, but what I did see was spectacular.  Rhonda won the first game 11-9, then lost in the second 5-11.  She won the third game 14-12, then lost the fourth 5-11, setting up an epic fifth game that hadn't been seen in LPRT play in many tournaments.  Paola hadn't lost a match in over three years.  The last time she lost was in Stockton against Rhonda, which was epic in its drama both on and off the court.  The fifth and final game was all Rhonda.  She was simply on a mission to take the title and she did it convincingly, 11-5.  What a treat to witness!

Day 643

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I spent the entire day at the 209 watching racquetball.  It was so much fun seeing the top women in the world play their quarterfinal and semi-final matches.  I stayed at the 209 until 11 p.m., watching the sponsor doubles event.  Mike Lippitt ended up winning with his partner Michelle Key.  Great playing from everyone.

Day 642

Friday, October 17, 2014

I drove to Stockton for the weekend to watch the Ladies Pro Racquetball Tour and play in a few singles events.

Today, I played elite singles for the first time and lost every game, but had a lot of fun losing.  I have so much to learn at this level and really become handicapped when my lack of fundamentals come into play.  The ball moves so much faster and my decision making isn't what it should be some of the time.  It was great experience though and a treat to watch the women play later in the afternoon.  I like hanging out in Stockton for a few days and forgetting about everything except racquetball.  I wish I could do it more often.

Day 641

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I spoke with Dorian and a few of his contacts in Louisiana today.  They have given me the details of what Dorian went through back in 2010.  In the evening, I went to dinner at Alice's.  She had over May and her two daughters.  One is a pastry chef and the other is a coroner.  We had lamb, rice and salad.  Very good.  I went to bed early in preparation for Stockton Friday morning.  

Day 640

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Up at 4:45, racquetball until 6:30.  Steve and I are in the playoffs for our league.  He plays the winner of Carlos and Alex and I play Tyrone.  T has lost a step but he can still play a tough game.  Steve has not lost anything and is playing as well as he's ever played.  He hits the ball hard and knows my game inside and out.  We are equal on my fronts but he has better endurance and has longer arms.  He will be a handful if we meet in the finals.

I worked at Varinsky this morning from 9-1, then came home and continued my studying of Dorian's story.  I have a good handle on it now.  I'll draft an outline of how the story might play out, using some of the elements of race and the optimism from the Obama presidency that was so high with African American entrepreneurs back in 2009-2010.  I'm speaking with a few of his contacts tomorrow at noon to get their take on things.

Went to bed at 8:30 because I was so tired.

Day 639

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I woke up at 7:30 and went to work at Wendel from 9-1.  I then came home and read Dorian's articles.  We talked for an hour, discussing some of the questions I had.  He sent more information and a video clip of a Parish Council meeting he attended in March, 2012.  I'm not sure there was any way his project would have gotten off the ground.  I'm talking with a few of the players who were there when the project first arrived at the Council office back in 2010.  It's funny how many angles a story has and how difficult it can sometimes be to extract the truth from a story.  Sometimes stories have many layers and finding the thread that carries the most weight takes a lot of time and patience, as well as reading between the lines.  I think about the various narratives that come with history.  Take for instance the Iraq War in 2003.  I wonder how the history books will portray that war fifty years from now.  I hope history mentions how a group of ideologues who were part of this grand master vision called the Project for a New American Century wanted to bring democracy to the Middle East and used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq, even though millions of citizens around the world protested their bogus reasons for doing so.  Saddam Hussein was an amoral dictator, but when we went in there and did what we did, making the mistakes that we made, we opened up a Pandora's Box that is now called ISIS.  What will it be called five or ten years from now.  For those people who love war and bombs and destruction, this is all playing out very nicely.  The military industrial complex is alive and well in America.  I don't know if I'll ever get over that horrendous, horrendous decision to invade Iraq.     

Day 638

Monday, October 13, 2014

Woke up at 3:50 and headed back to Oakland.  Played racquetball in the morning with Steve and Glenn, then came home and got to work on Dorian's story, reading through all his emails and newspaper articles. The story has many layers and strikes me as a good foundation for an article of a film script.

Went to work at Wendel from 2-6, then played racquetball at Mariner Square from 7-9, losing a game to Ivan 10-11.  I then met up with Jeff Parcher, who was in Oakland for the evening.  We went to Spices 3 on 12th and had a great time together while eating some delicious food.  I wish I got together more with my dear friends from the past.

I came home at 11:30 and quickly went to bed. 

Day 637

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I stayed at Alice's all day, reading books, researching Dorian's Louisiana project and watching the Raiders lose to the Chargers while my fantasy team came through with its fourth win in-a-row.  I found a very interesting book from the library that I'm reading:

Very good and so well written.  I love it.  I had no idea the concept of whiteness was such a new concept, only a couple of hundred years old, in effect to justify the institution of slavery in America.  I continued to jot down notes on my ideas of white males engaging in a conversation about race and the kind of fear that comes up for us when doing so.  I hope to spend the next week or so putting my ideas down.  Lots of activity on this topic right now.  

Day 636

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Had a wonderful birthday breakfast with Alice, then wrote in the morning and afternoon while talking to family and friends on FaceTime and on the phone.  For dinner, Alice took me and Austin out for sushi at Ebisu at 9th and Irving.  It's as good as Mijori on Grand Ave.  We ordered a 49er roll, caterpillar roll, rock & roll, and butterfly fly roll, sashimi and unagi.  So fresh and so good.  After dinner, we watched the Giants beat the Cardinals 3-0, had mango ice cream, then called it a night around 10 or so.  A very enjoyable, relaxing day!

Day 635

Friday, October 10, 2014

Went to the gym this morning, but didn't play too much because I played last night.  I was sore.  I came home and wrote, spoke with Dorian, and read all the newspaper articles he has about his experience developing his property in Louisiana.  Later today, I'm heading over to Alice's where she's hosting a party for out-of-town guests.  

Day 634

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I met Dorian this morning and talked about his project that takes place in Livingston Parish, LA.  It's the story of a town that turned away $400 million in federal funding due to one man's ability to manipulate the community into believing all that money was going toward a Section 8 housing project.  It's a story of race, fear, blindness and the legacies we leave behind.  In working with Dorian on his story, I've been thinking a lot about race myself.  I'm kicking around an essay tentatively titled "Inside the Mind of an American White Male When Talking About Race."  It's a perspective that isn't written about too much, but my experience so many years ago with the PBS documentation has allowed me to see things most white males don't see and deny.  The race conversation has deteriorated these past few years, illustrating the notion that for every couple of steps forward, there's always a couple steps backward.  Dorian has a great story to tell.  I hope I can figure out a way to tell it well.

Worked at Varinsky and Wendel today, then went to Active Sports with the new E-Force Demo bag full of nine new racquets.  I hit with most of them.  They're great, especially the new Apocalypse.  The only downside is their quite pricey at $250+.

Day 633

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Steve B. was a monster this morning in our singles match and wiped the floor with me 15-0, 15-13 in our league match.  He's improved so much and is simply a better player than I am right now.  I have two weeks to figure out an appropriate counter-strategy.  I put everything away.  I had my opportunities, but I wasn't hitting the ball as hard as I could and I was slightly off just enough for him to punish me for my mistakes.  I could have taken the match to a tiebreaker, but couldn't get those last two points.  Painful.

After racquetball, I spoke with Clark Edwards about his life for an hour across the street.  He's one of my health club friends who's lived a very interesting life.  Born in Florida in 1935, he's seen so many changes throughout the country, especially in terms of race.  He has several stories of racism and discrimination that most white males can't even imagine.  He's friends with Dorian, whose story I'm also listening to.  It's helping me come up with an angle on my own experience with race from the white male perspective.  There isn't a lot written about race from the highly privileged and predominately antagonistic white male perspective.  I can add my take for what it's worth, since my own blinders were removed back in the 90s when I participating in the PBS documentary Facing Racism and realized for the first time how much privilege comes with my gender and the color of my skin.  There's so much material here, especially during the Obama years.  It's another example of taking one step back for every two steps forward.   

Day 632

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I have a little more than a full year left of my 1,000 days of writing.  I've written two complete novels, edited and revised four novels, some twice, and just started my next book called Confessions of a Hollywood Hound.  I wrote 2,000 words this morning and another 1,000 words this afternoon.  I want this book to go quickly.  There's no reason a draft can't be completed by Thanksgiving.

Spoke with Chris this evening.  He has a novel in the works that could be written just as quickly, so long as he stays with it and writes every day.  I love the premise and thing it's gold for the genre he's writing for.  Talked with Alice afterward.  She still has a headache from staining the deck on Sunday.  I think the fumes and the heat got to her.  I hope she feels better tomorrow.

Day 631

Monday, October 6, 2014

Up at 4, racquetball at 5:15, spoke with Kevin from 8-8:30, then went to work at Varinsky from 9-2.  Came home at 2:15 and slept for twenty minutes before reading for 3 hours.  Then I went to Mariner Square for our singles league and played 10 games to 11, winning all ten and securing my number one spot for the next two weeks.  I still love my new Apocalypse racquet.  I came home at 9:30 and had dinner while chatting with Alice online.  I went to bed at 10:30 and slept soundly.

Day 630

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I helped Alice stain her back deck today.  We bought supplies last week and started in on the desk around 11 this morning after waiting for the fog to lift.  We finished at 2:20.  It was hot once the fog burnt off.  In the distance at Golden Gate Park we heard the Bluegrass Festival in action.  The deck looks good and should be protected for about five years.

Afterward, I took a shower and a long nap while Alice continued working.  Once she gets going, it's hard for her to stop.  We had a delicious dinner at 6 and watched 60 Minutes at 7.  I read for the next few hours while Alice watched her shows.  She crashed at 10 while I watched an episode of "Finding Your Roots."  I like this show.

Day 629

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I played Tyrone this morning and beat him 15-3, 15-7.  He was a step above him today.  We switched racquets afterward and I liked the feel of his new Head racquet.  Of course, I prefer my E-Force racquet best.

I drove to Alice's later in the day and we went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant on Irving Street called Baan Thai House and Wine Bar.  Everything was delicious.  Afterward, we watched Bill Maher's Real Time in which there was an explosive exchange about the Muslim religion between Ben Affleck, Bill Maher and Sam Harris.  Wow!  That was really something.  Is is true that leaving the Muslim faith is punishable by death?  I may need to learn more about this.

Day 628

Friday, October 3, 2014

I watched two documentaries today:

Still coming off my Cosmos high, this series of six 30-minute lectures by Neil deGrasse Tyson explains some of the physics behind the way the universe works.  It's amazing.  Tyson takes abstract, difficult concepts and makes them understandable.  For the first time, I feel I have a better understand of quantum mechanics, thanks to these lectures.  I also love how he shows how science, the scientific method and the power of observation dispels mysteries that, left unexplained, tend to fall under the category of God's unknowable hand.  With the Hubble photos and our greater understanding of the cosmos just in the past decade, we're writing a new Genesis that is as inexplicable and phenomenal as anything we've ever known.  More and more, we see to be part of a universe that may have millions upon millions of other earths just like ours, with life forms as varied and complicated as our own.  Do they also have DNA?  Are they carbon-based?  Are their intelligent life forms out there that make us the equivalent of monkeys or dogs?  Based on the numbers, life beyond our own planet looks not only probable, but almost certain.  We just need to find the evidence to support this.  Hopefully, soon, we'll confront our next "the world is round and revolves around the sun" eureka moment.

The next documentary I saw was

How interesting that his mother was a raging alcoholic.  No wonder I so admire and enjoy this fellow adult child.  I found this documentary fascinating.  To be honest, I've read very little Gore Vidal.  That really needs to change.  He nailed it about politics and people in high office, including Obama.  The system corrupts in the end.  I wish I had his and Christopher Hitchens's brainpower.

Day 627

Thursday, October 2, 2014

This is one of my last full days of work in a while.  9-2 at Varinsky and 2:30-6 at Wendel.  The Focus Group report is almost done.  My part is finished minus the actual assembly of the documents.  

Day 626

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Up at 4:30 and at the gym a little after 5.  No Glenn today, so Steve and I played three full games to 15.  We were both totally spent afterward.  He won the first game and I won the next two.  I was so tired afterward that I wouldn't have been able to play anymore if I were in a tournament.  My stamina isn't what it used to be.

I came home at 7:30 and got ready for another back-to-back work day.  I have a few more hours of the report to wrap up.  It's going out Friday.  I also wrote down a list of scenes for Hollywood Hound.  I have 30 scenes I can begin starting today.  Maybe after dinner I'll jot more notes down.  

Day 625

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I slept in until 7:45 this morning.  I was so exhausted that I needed the extra sleep.  It was a full day of work from 9-2 and 2:30-6, then home for dinner, FaceTime with Chris, a disappointing As loss in 12 innings to the Royals, and a few minutes of reading before bed.  Days like this go so quickly.

Day 624

Monday, September 29, 2014

I woke up at 4 at Alice's, drove home, got ready for the gym, then played until 6:45.  I went to the grocery store and got items for the week, then hit another full day of work.  I then played two hours of racquetball at Mariner Square, winning all but the last game I played.  Al got me 11-10.  His serves were blazing.  Afterward, I came home, talked to Alice, then watched Bill Maher after dinner.  I barely made it through the Naomi Klein interview.  I fell fast asleep and woke up at 3 a.m. on the couch before heading to bed for another four hours of sleep.