Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Floating - A Healthy Trip Into Your Mother's Womb and Your Own Twisted Mind

Floating is the new craze. Or if it isn't, it should be. It's the closest you get to tripping in a salty environment.

So you go to this place called Float On on SE Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon that looks like a gay sauna club from 1977. They have six float tanks, sell legal drugs over the counter, and if you don't watch your back they'll get you juiced up on herbal tea. Then you're put in your own saltwater tank that's the same temperature as your body. It's totally dark inside, no sounds reach you except for the beating of your heart (if you have one). After a few minutes you feel you're back in the womb of your mother or being embraced by stress-free archangels.

I've floated six times, and it's a great meditation unless you suffer from claustrophobia or a fear of imaginary sharks. The first time I got so bored I tried to drown myself though, but the salt keeps you afloat no matter what - and slowly you melt into the darkness like a humid little demon. Every muscle relaxes, and after a while your neck learns that the water isn't dangerous; it's your friend, your lover, your muse.

Some people get in touch with unknown anxieties when they float. Others have lucid dreams, or just empty their bladders into The Great Unknown. I've had two small flashes from past lives, and at one point I thought I'd invented the toaster, but when I came out somebody told me I was sixty years too late. I also DID empty my bladder, hoping it was a rite of passage because I don't want to be a Danish pig. But man, the water is SO relaxing, and the float hipsters clean it afterward with their state-of-the-art filtering system.

That's right, you get your own water to soil, including visions, longings, and ideas for your next novel or snack. Floating is not a trip down memory lane but a journey into
altered states you had no idea existed  - a scenic drive on the freeway of your subconscious. Or at the very least, you get saltwater in your eyes, which can be a religious experience, too.

So friends, followers, health nuts, I can wholeheartedly recommend an anti stress floating to anybody who can stand their own company for an hour and a half. Most people can't, of course. That's why they get iPhones, but that's another story altogether.

(Check out here in Portland. However, they have float tanks several other places in the world)

This is a picture of the float I did this morning (it's me in the middle). Float On in Portland offers three kinds of rooms, two ocean floats, two oasis tanks, and two float pools. I like them all and they seem to like me.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dammit, Why Did We Miss The Naked Bike Ride in Portland? (Sweaty Balls and All)

I'm still disappointed I didn't make it to The Naked Bike Ride Saturday night in Portland. All those bloated bellies and saggy balls flapping in the wind.

My Pale Beauty and I wanted to go, but as everybody knows it's hard work getting naked. First you have to take off your clothes, then you need to make sure that your genitals are behaving.

But if God has blessed you with a great body, you have a responsibility to flaunt it. We belonged in that race, and I wasn't going to wear a sissy helmet or a g-string like all the Germans I know. No, I was going to get Danish and dirty, ripping off my helmet and shouting obscenities at Volvos.

The ride is supposedly part of The World Naked Bike Ride, an annual occurrence in Portland, San Francisco, and several pornographic cities in Europe. I've heard they even have one at Guatanamo bay. This year thousands of Portlanders biked through downtown to prove that riding naked is the thing to do when it's 56 degrees and your nipples are as hard as kidney stones.

But as I said we never made it. My Pale Beauty and I had just stripped naked when we found a mouse in the house. The mouse raced through the apartment and hid under the sofa. I tried to get it out with a broom. When that didn't work I went New Age on the rodent. "I see God in you, so get the fuck out of there before I call Rent-a-Cat, okay?"

And it's true. I don't want to kill sentient beings; it's only people I feel like terminating. God, we did everything in our power to get rid of the mouse. First, we put on a noisy fan, then we ran around screaming like maniacs.

"No, we have to do something nastier than that," I said to my girlfriend and put on the latest Justin Bieber CD, but the mouse still stayed put. Later we found out that it had built a nest under one of the cushions. It was quite comfortable there, munching on tofu crackers and baba ganoush - the rodent even enjoyed watching Dancing with the Stars.

So yes, My Pale Beauty and I missed The Naked Bike Ride. And we wanted to go so badly - not to show off, but as an homage to naked cyclists who are killed every day - by truck drivers wearing too much clothes.

So it's high time that we take action - and Saturday thousands of cyclists in Portlandia made the kind of political statement that can bring world leaders to their knees - at least if we hand them a pair of binoculars.

This is a rewritten and updated version of my blog about The Naked Bike Ride in 2009. We still haven't caught the mouse, by the way.