September 1, 2009 Header

October 2009 Seven posts

Thank You All

Thank you to all who have offered condolences and warm thoughts in the past weeks.


This photo is from the “Celebration of Life” event we had at Mt. Soledad, the last formal event as part of my Grandfather’s funeral services. Other posts about this are here: Previously, previously, and previously.

I semi-dropped off the grid, quit my dayjob, went freelance, and Leah and I are working our issues out in a mode of honesty and quasi-separation and a sensitivity to good BOUNDARIES. I have acknowledged the fact that yes, she is mentally ill, and yes, that affects our relationship, and no, her feeling shame about that is no good, and me being in denial about that is no good either. I was in denial a long time. So we take it a day at a time, and move forward.

That’s me explaining San Diego harbor to my cousin Michael.

Other changes have been in the area of health. I had had a housemaid’s knee for a full month. It was a collection of viscous fluid just below the skin and over my knee — painful, sensitive. I was concerned it would last forever, that it would need to be drained, etc. Luckily, After 8 weeks it did eventually subside. I got it after falling heavily on pavement on September 12th. It might be hard to see, since I was nearly 400 pounds, is that in the past year I’ve lost about 70 pounds. The numbers are iffy here, because my scale’s accuracy is poor. But I have lost several pants sizes and now fit into shirts I very much did not fit into a year ago. In fact, one pair of pants looks like one of those “big pants weight loss photos” on me. So I’m happy for the weight loss and the better mobility that affords. It’s frustrating to see photos of me and see a fat man, still, but I can see that the fat man is less fat anyway.

Weight loss is maddeningly gradual, and unpredictable for me now. I eat less, and I do more. But I’ve not given up sweets. I tried a Hostess Orange Cupcake and for many months a staple meal was McDonald’s: small coke, milk, 3 chocolate chip cookies, and a double cheeseburger (skip the bun). This is a cheap meal (my boys love the Carl’s Jr. burgers which cost about the same as my whole staple meal), and has been a part of my weight loss non-plan for about 6 months.

The main thing that I can feel has changed has been my awareness of stress eating. Eating out of habit, eating for emotional reasons. MAS has been instrumental in getting me to think about eating. I know I don’t eat as he might recommend me to eat, but I have started to think more about what it means to eat, and fast, and exercise, and live. I never used to do that. To me, the body was not important: it’s the mind – intellectual pursuits are paramount; or the soul – spirituality is the only thing that matters, ultimately. Only with time have I come to realize that a healthy life must encompass all of the parts lest it derail like that train at the beginning of The Fugutive.

So I’m getting back into the swim of things now and feeling better.

The new directions feel good and healthy, for which I’m thankful.

It’s Readers That Matter

From Exclusive Interview With Ashok Banker!

Where can we find more info about you and your work?

From me directly. I follow a one-on-one approach to marketing. That means I wait for a reader or prospective reader to contact me, whether through Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, my blog, etc, and then I interact directly. It’s not unlike what we’ve done here in this interview – multiplied several thousands of times a year. I’ve structured my life in such a way that I give my time and energy first to writing and my family, then to interacting with readers one-on-one. I don’t do signings, readings, launches, conventions, etc. I do very few media interviews, and then only in some years. But I am accessible 24/7 to readers. I share everything I write WHILE I’m writing it with readers, and let them comment, suggest, edit, etc. You can see hundreds of them acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section of all my books – instead of the usual agents, editors and other crap that most authors fill the front of their books with. I write lengthy introductions to my books in which I spell out my political and personal agenda in the work they’re about to read – I intrude and involve myself completely with my readers. And they love it. And I love it. And my sales have increased steadily with every passing year, as has my income and the popularity of the books themselves. And what else matters?

More from him at

I found out about this interview via Nick Mamatas

Rest In Peace JJC


Part of Joseph James Crawford, Ft Rosecrans Memorial.

Previously. And previously. Thank you Leah for taking these photos.

“Things are difficult”

Clark Gable and Jean Harlow

Things are difficult in my life right now. I had no idea that I could feel so much as though I had lost my identity. I felt this somewhat when I moved out to Los Angeles from Virginia, but that went away rapidly as I threw myself into work and learning. It happened again when my first marriage imploded. And now, again, here I am at the state where I am not quite certain where it is I am, what I am for, how I am useful. I know I am useful, though I can easily fall into uselessness. I have fallen into pits of despair before and been incommunicado with the outside world. It happens less than it used to, but it still happens sometimes. I have to make things right with the world outside now. Perhaps by making things right with the outside world, my inner life can also feel solace. I remain blessed to have positive thoughts sent to me by various people. I am thankful for that, and for tolerance, and forgiveness.

The photo of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow gives me lots of thoughts. Visually it reminds me of time shared with Leah while watching movies. The act of going to the movies, so common when dating, is something we can always enjoy together. Now, the act of being partners in a marriage; of not allowing resentments to build up; of absolute trust; of empathy for your partners shortcomings — these are things that are much harder. It is something we are working on, though when times are hard, the bar is raised on that task. The more feelings are hurt, the harder it is to work on the common communication and feeling necessary to sustain a marriage. In that spirit Leah and I are figuring out what makes the best sense for the two of us. We’re committed to our relationship, and I think to our marriage–we both seem to believe that a marriage and partnership with each other is what we want in the long term–the problem is that the devil is in the details. How do we get from here (where things are strained) to there? I suppose this is the question for all marriages. But I know part of it is to acknowledge that we are already right where we need to be in the long term. The key is to find the balance that serves us both emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I am grateful to have a partner with whom I can talk about these things, so together we can move onward.

Quotes of the Day

via Eden Kennedy :

“Holding onto anger is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die” (quoth Felice Dunas).

and another:

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” —Albert Schweitzer

Happy Birthday Ty

He combines the attributes of serious-minded and jocular in a most unique and awesome way. And as of today he is 17 years old. He is my stepson. Happy Birthday Tyler!


Obituary: Joseph James Crawford

My Grandfather always read the paper. He kept up on the news. I don’t think he ever set down to read anything on the web in his life, but he was a man who would get the paper. When I was a teenager and into my twenties I also had this tradition. As a teen I would be sure to buy the LA Times, because I was a little snotty about LA being the “real” city.

When I lived on my own in Charlottesville, Virginia — this was 1992 to 1994 — Sunday mornings, often after working the night shift, I made it a point to buy the Sunday papers: The Daily Progress, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Staying informed was how I looked at it. I think there was a thread between my purchases of the paper and the example set by my Grandparents. I can’t really articulate it, other than to say that staying informed was important. How else would you know what’s going on?

Now everything has changed for newspapers and news. One of the things we have lost is the tradition of the obituary. A printed obituary no longer means what it once did. Well, my Grandfather is now here in the paper. Living in Moorpark, I would have to drive down to one of LA’s many newsstands to get a copy, but instead I can get it on I’m told though, that it will only be online for 365 days. The site says “(Obituaries online 365 days. Guest Books online 30 days, unless sponsored.)” I find that particular aspect of the obituaries particularly stupid. Once the entry is there, why would it not stay there forever? It’s antithetical and nearly offensive to my “web” sensibilities that it would disappear.

In 1998, on a page which 11 years later is still there, Jakob Nielsen wrote Web Pages Must Live Forever, which is a sentiment, a belief, a DOGMA I have as well. There are efforts like and Archive Team, sure, but I like to try and lead by example with regard to web pages. Put them up, and keep them up.

In that spirit, I repost my Grandfather’s obituary here today, for what reason? Do my readers really want to read about a man they do not know and will never get to meet? No, but I want it here, because otherwise his obituary will disappear from the web, his page will die, and that is something I cannot cotton to.

Joseph James Crawford Obituary Photo CRAWFORD, JOSEPH JAMES Joseph James Crawford, 91, of San Diego, passed away on Friday, September 11, 2009, in his Clairemont home. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on September 4, 1918. He was the third of four children born to Frank and Mary Crawford. He is survived by his beloved wife of over 64 years, Jean. They met as Omaha neighbors in their youth as Jean was his sister’s best friend. He is survived as well by his six children, Jim (Phyllis) of Roanoke, VA, John (Karen) of Dunwoody, GA, Jody, Joanie, Jeannine Eddy (Lee) and Jacqui, all of San Diego. He was also so proud of his grandchildren, Joe (Leah), Kelly (Daniel), Katie, Jessica, Bud, Jonathan, Michael and adopted grandchild Candi Lewis of Australia. He is survived by his sister, Mary, and brother, Bill of Omaha as well as many nieces and nephews. He will miss his faithful dog, Duchess, as well as his horse racing buddies; “adopted” daughter Helene Kelberg, Flo Thomason, Wendell Larson and Larry Smith. He was a retired Navy Chief Quartermaster who enlisted in the Navy in his teens. He was decorated for his service in World War II and was involved in many key battles in the Pacific, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He served during the Korean War as well. He also was a mailman in San Diego for many years, making lots of friends among those on his route. He volunteered at St. Catherine Laboure’s bingo program. His generous, loving spirit, curiosity and love of life have endeared him to all who have been touched by him. A Rosary will be held October 15, 2009, at 7 p.m. at St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church. A Mass will be given on October 16th at 10 a.m. at St. Catherine’s followed by a Military service at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at 2 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at Mt. Soledad’s Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA on October 17th at 11:30 a.m. followed by a reception at the Crawfords’ Clairemont home. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to San Diego Hospice who kept him comfortable in his last days. Or, pass on a hug or do a good deed for Joe.