Today is Memorial Day. It's a day to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty. A day to show respect and honor those who served the armed forces with courage and decency.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Okay, so it all seems trivial to a lot of people. But to me, raising Madeleina, paying a mortgage and all the rest, trying to help pay for my wife/ex-wife's new kids and my first grandbaby, well, it's not trivial. I make $32,000 a year. Before write offs. That's from a 9 month full time job as a writer, a 10-time a year columnist for another mag, a free-lance writer for other mags and an Amazon guide three-four months a year.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 4:43 PM
Monday, May 21, 2012
Well, what do you know? The review on Amazon.com that I was so pissed off about--not cause the person hated the book, but because they cooly claimed that I was "known around town for questionable habits"--has been removed from Amazon. And that is cool. They could have just removed the offensive claim by someone who has never met me and left the bad review up--the guy really didn't like the book and couldn't even finish it--but went ahead and dropped it all.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 7:56 AM
Friday, May 18, 2012
Hello All: I'm slightly pissed off. Not your fault, but I'm gonna share with you because I've been here for years and this is the first time I feel wronged. Not that I have not been wrong before. I'm sure I have and I'm pretty sure someone has put me in my place now and then. But here is the deal: I've got my book, Ayahuasca in My Blood--25 Years of Medicine Dreaming out there. I think it's a pretty honest book. It's a good adventure book but it's also a book about a regular guy who wound up drinking aya for 25 years and learning something. Not enough. I think my book talks about a weak point--my drinking alcohol--a lot. I think I'm very honest about that and very honest about everything else. Now my book is sold on Amazon.com and people can put up reviews. So today a person put up a review that was not good. It's not the first. But I never responded to the other few bad reviews. I've been a writer long enough to know that while three people may love you, someone else hates you. So that's not my issue today. My issue today, and I am really livid about it, is that there is a new, anonymous, reviewer on Amazon.com, suggests that "Having a wide range of experience in Iquitos over a few year personally I know this book is completely made up.. could not even finish it.. the author is trying to come across as some enlightened guru yet In REALITY he is known around town for very questionable habits.. the book is 3rd rate fiction at best.." I have spent three-four months annually in Iquitos for 29 years. I married there. I had kids there. I had a bar there. I know my fuckups. I acknowledge them in the book in big BIG letters. So what I'm objecting to, publicly, is that this person suggests "he he known around town for very questionable habits..." I don't think I have any "questionable habits." Do I sometimes drink too much? Yes. Do I sometimes dance on the boulevard? Yes. Do I love living and all that? Absolutely. But this reviewer is suggesting more than that. And I don't know what he/she is suggesting. IF you were on my trip and wanted cocaine, you would lose the trip, pronto, as has happened. IF you were on my trip and wound up with a boy/girl/dog/chicken or whatever sex partner under 18 years old in human years, you would lose the trip. So I am very very upset that there is an anonymous person out there who suggests I have "questionable habits." I'm just me, with all my faults. But my faults are open for public discussion. To hint there are other faults bothers me, cause I think I've been honest with my book and my life without a hint of hiding anything. And I'm printing this here because some of you might know me, know my flaws, know my really bad imperfections. But I trust you also know I own up to them. Which doesn't forgive them, but does make this person's attack mean. Just trying to make the record clear. And if you agree with this person, by all means tell me. I just think the words "questionable habits" is very very loaded and I think it's unfair, considering who I am and who I have been for this life. Sorry to lay this on you. I'm just angry right now. I don't care if this person hates my book, that's fine. But suggestive allegations about my character are not something I'll put up with. Thanks for listening. I apologize for taking your time.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 5:12 PM
Thursday, May 17, 2012
So a Rev friend of mine wrote me today about poverty in the area in which he lives. Not far from me. His impoverished people, it turns out, make more than I do. So I wrote him. And here's what I wrote. And sorry for posting twice in an hour but I'm on freaking fire here. And the wine hasn't even kicked in yet.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 3:37 PM
Posted by Peter Gorman at 2:41 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Someone I don't know has been writing me. He's taken ayahuasca at the camp of famous curandero previously and is now going to go to the curandero's home for another group of sessions with the same curandero. But the first time he was at camp, he drank with 35-40 other people. At the curandero's home he will be with three or four others, no more.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 3:21 PM
Sunday, May 06, 2012
Okay, so I'm writing this to avoid mowing the lawn I complained about yesterday. But I'll still wind up doing some of it, just like I did yesterday, old, tired, weak and a pansy crybaby that I sometimes am.
Lynn came over the other night on the way to his Mom's place in the Hill Country of Texas. I forced him to eat marinated shrimp from the grill, along with marinated asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli, plus good rice. Then I forced him to take a half-chicken, roasted with new potatoes, baby carrots and onions down to his mom for a surprise treat.
Tonight he's coming back through and his mom, hearing Lynn tell the story of how everybody at the Fort Worth Weekly, the fantastic alternative weekly for which I work, was laughing at me for all the stains on my shirts and me trying to explain to them that if you cook, you get grease stains. They insisted I probably just dropped food onto myself because they don't actually cook--and microwaving Dinty Moore doesn't count--and so have no idea of what it's like to saute swordfish, chicken, salmon, good steak or veggies in olive oil. And I will never remember to change my shirt before cooking.
In the restaurant you just put on a chef coat with an apron daily and when that gets full of grease and blood and you're asked to come to the dining room to accept accolades you just change your coat and apron and nobody is the wiser. At home it's different.
So Lynn's mom, who is 89 now, I think, told me today she'd bought me an apron and Lynn is bringing it back on his way into town. Excellent. Great present for me. No more ruined shirts so long as I remember to wear it.
So tonight, I'm gonna cook, even though Chepa is not talking to me and won't come over and will not bring the kids over or even Madeleina. Which means my daughter-in-law won't come over. Which means I won't see her baby or Chepa's babies or my kids and so it sucks. Why is she mad? Because I didn't pay for her car repair the other day. I took her to the mechanic, but didn't have cash on hand and he only takes cash. So I'm a monster. Oy vey!
But just in case they come, I cooked some ribs last night. 90% done. Nice and plain, in the oven. And I've got chicken thighs and shrimp and good and hot sausages.
So I'm gonna marinate the chicken in the sauce--oil, garlic, onion, good white vinegar, teriyaki sauce, cilantro and a handful of Peruvian spices--then roast them mostly through. When I put them in the oven I'll put the shrimp in the same marinade for an hour. When they are ready, I'll put them on skewers and put the veggies that I'll have par-boiled in that juice.
The sausages will get stuck with a fork--to give the fat a way out of the skin--about 6 times each, then boiled, then baked. When they're nearly done, they, with the chicken, ribs and shrimp will go on the grill. The grill is fired with charcoal and pieces of the trees that lightning has brought down: Oak, cedar, pecan. Nice combo.
If anyone more than Lynn shows up I might marinate a piece of salmon as well and put that on too.
And when that's done, I'll put on the par-boiled veggies. They only take two minutes.
And while all that is going on the rice will be cooking with that good garlic and the spaghetti squash will have been baked and then sauteed with garlic, red pepper, parsley and a bit of butter.
And for a sixth or seventh veggie (let's count: garlic, onion, spaghetti squash, red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus), I might toss spinach in a pan and when it's been reduced in its own sweat I might add a touch of balsamic vinegar and some blue cheese to simmer through it. Now that is sweet. And that is a lot of veggies, even if you only have two bites of each.
And if nobody shows up, well, Lynn is gonna have a lot to take home. Cause I don't eat much when I'm alone. Couple of shrimp and the squash will do me.
But you know that I love cooking. And I do firmly believe that if you keep cooking well, well, the people will eventually come.
Notwithstanding a wife/ex-wife who currently isn't talking with me.
I hope all of your plates are as full as mine and that you have plenty to share with whomever passes by your door. And the desire to share that goes along with that.
Have a great night, everybody.
Damn. Still light out. Time to mow that lawn. Ahhhhh, nuts.....
Posted by Peter Gorman at 2:22 PM
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Sometimes I am so old and weak. Today, I was cutting lawn. Not normal lawn. This is lawn that has not been cut since last July, Italo's wedding. Much of it is two feet tall, or at least the weeds are. And the push mower bag gets full after about 12 feet of going back and forth across those weeds. And it weighs about 40 pounds, mostly dirt, because I have the mower set low.
And I did maybe 12 by 30 and then watered the lawn and then quit. It's just hard. Now I don't know if it's just because I'm a pansy or if I'm just old or what the heck, but I had emptied probably 20 forty pound bags in doing that and just got so damned frustrated I decided I'm gonna call in a lawn service, just once, to get the thing done. Parts of the lawn, just 1.5 acres or so, are more than two feet tall!!! If I knew how to sell hay I could sell three or four 300 pound bails! I mean, I'm overwhelmed.
Why? Because I'm lazy, number one. Also because I've written the hell out of stories in the seven weeks since I've been back from Peru: Working on my third cover story, two inside features and another due in two days, four 400-word pieces, two columns for SKUNK and another due in three weeks, trying to organize 3 Peru trips in June and July....raising kids, feeding dogs, changing cat litter boxes, washing clothes....same as you.
But today, doing that lawn and wanting to not have that lawn, I decided that I might break down and ask what it costs to have it done professionally, which, in Texas, means by illegals we hate in public but hire in private. Personally, I love them, so I have no problem with them being here illegally. And if the lawn costs $200, I'll probably tip them 24 cold beers and $100 on top of that. And no, I won't pay taxes on that. People who make $30 grand a year while holding 4 jobs don't have to pay federal taxes. The 27% TAKEN from my gas money, for medicare/ssi, local taxes is plenty. I also don't take deductions on the $3000-$4000 I give in charity every year because I think that's sort of cheating. I mean, if you want to do a good dead, do it, but don't ask for a tax break to prompt it. FULL DISCLOSURE: Last year I only gave $2,765 in charity that I wrote down. It was not declared.
Anyway, I'm thinking I might hire a lawn service for one day. I can't afford it, but hope they'll take a bad check. Cause I'm really gonna have a hard time pushing a lawn mower through some of what is growing out there!!!!!
Which might mean I'm getting old and weak.
Which I would rather not address.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 4:33 PM
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
First, I'm gonna say that since I discovered the button that tells me what keywords bring people to the site by the day/week/month/year, I am amazed to discover how many people ask about magic mushrooms in India on the net. I mean, I wrote a very funny story about that topic years ago and posted it here. But I had no idea until pretty recently that maybe four in ten people coming to my blog have used some variance of that phrase to find me.
They'll punch in Magic shrooms, India; psilocybin, India; Cubensis, India; shrooms in Kodaikanal and 50 other variations and subsequently see my story pop up on google and wind up at the site.
That's weird because there are not that many people going to India looking for magic mushrooms, I wouldn't think. I mean I get hit 10 times daily from those google queries. And if I get hit 10 times, maybe people punched those phrases 1,000 times!
BUTTTTTTT.......if you think that strange, how about the number of hits I get a day from people using keywords: naked swim meets; swim meet naked; no trunk swim meets; Catholic school naked boys swimming and dozens and dozens of variations of that? I am not kidding. I wrote a funny piece on the blog called Swim Team 101, about my utterly and famously failed attempt to learn how to swim by joining the swim team as a supposed non-participant in swim meets in high school and while attending my first swim meet discovered that one of the teams was naked. AND PUBICALY SHAVED. And that was another catholic school, like mine. You can read it for yourselves. I still wonder who did the damned shaving for those boys. I found it sort of gross and unbelievable at the time. Funny story.
But who in the hell are the more than 2,000 people who have punched keywords about naked boys swimming that eventually directed them to my blog story in the last five years? Are there that many perverts out there or are they just people who hit the keyboard by accident? All former catholic school kids in the late 1960s who want verification that they were at such a meet because their families now say they must have imagined or fantasized it? I don't know. But it gives me the freaking heebie-jeebies, I'll tell you that.
Okay, glad to get done with that information part of the piece here.
Now, why I'm really writing. I'm sad. I'm sad because Chepa's boyfriend is moving here in a week or so. I'm happy for his babies, Sierra and Alexa, and if Chepa wants that, then I'm happy for her. But for me it changes the game: I won't get to take Sierra to school much anymore; they won't show up for dinner a couple of times a week. More: It just changes the family in a big way. Having him show up once a month or two for a few days is very different than him living here.
So I was feeling glum at that news, despite knowing it was coming some day, and that my job has been to love those baby girls as hard as I could even knowing I would have to give them up to their dad and that that's the best thing for them. Still. I was glum. And I was in post-cover story-parnum to boot. Plus, I've been trying to get some friendly spirits to help fix some people up who need real help and that always takes it out of me.
Plus, Chepa picked up Madeleina yesterday from school and did it again today--perfectly fine cause she's the mom--but with the rest of it, well, I was double glum and thinking how odd that 10-15 people a week who never met me, don't know me, get in touch for one reason or another. To help them with a trip to Peru they're planning, even though it will not coincide with one of mine. Or someone with a sick dad who wants me to pray for him. Or people who think the justice system is doing them wrong and want me to help.
All those people, in desperate straits, call or write me. Hell, people even look up "naked swim meets" to find me. And here my family lives down the street and I don't hardly get to see them. I guess it's easier to have faith in me if you don't actually know me.
SO I was feeling that way and went out to buy some food and gas and smokes and my four minis of whiskey and when I came home, I was surprised to find my son Marco's car in the driveway. As I got out with the groceries he stood behind me. I turned into him and he put his arms around me.
"Dad, did you ever lose faith in us, Italo and me?"
I held him tightly. "Not a chance. Not for one second."
"Thanks, dad. That's what I needed to know," he said.
"Nothing. Something. Just today someone reminded me of something you taught me--an important lesson--that I would never do and this person did it and I'm fine. I just wanted to check if you really believed in Italo and me."
"Always. From the minute I met you."
"Thanks, dad. I gotta go."
"Call if you want to explain any of this."
"I will. Thanks for being my dad."
"I love you. You know that. Drive safely."
And then he was gone. I hope he's okay. I mean, I know he is, I just hope whatever happened didn't break his heart too much.
And I've been writing this with tears coming down my face since he left. Guess they just needed an excuse to come out.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 4:25 PM
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Well, yesterday, my daughter Madeleina, who turned 15 on April 9, discovered that it was National Lupus Awareness Month, and so she and some friends approached their school principal and asked if an announcement about it could be made on the school intercom system. The girls also asked the principal to ask all students in the 9th grade campus to wear something purple each Tuesday of the month as a reminder of the awful disease and the search for a cure.
The principal evidently thought it all a splendid idea and made the announcements, both about the month and about Purple Tuesdays.
Madeleina was understandably thrilled.
Until she remembered that she has no purple clothes. Then she was distraught. Then she was angry. Then she wondered who would do something so stupid as make everybody in school wear purple on each Tuesday in May anyway?
By this morning she'd calmed down a little. She refused the dark red shirts I offered to lend her which, if seen through the right pair of blue sunglasses lenses might look purple. She refused to wear the purple witch hat left over from some ancient Halloween as well. Instead, as she got into the car for me to take her to school I watched as she took an old piece of a purple sheet or something and pinned it onto her tee-shirt. It will be flapping from that single pin all day.
When she was finished and I complimented her on her complete insanity, she grew serious.
"Dad," she started, "just what is lupus anyway? I mean, I know it's horrible and it's Lupus Awareness month and all, but what does it do exactly?"
That's my girl: Jump in head first then ask if there's any water in pool.
15, going on six some days and going on 35 on other days.
Thanks for being my baby, baby.
Posted by Peter Gorman at 9:03 AM