Friday, October 31, 2008

Wandering around in a fog

After consulting with the physician and nurses, the family decided to discontinue meds and mechanical life support of Dad. He wasn't making any improvement since being admitted, and as time passed, his chances of getting better were diminishing. My main concern was that he be in as little pain as possible and that we should not prolong his suffering needlessly. We all took our turns to say our goodbyes. I was feeling so many different emotions, but mostly, I was numb with shock.

Sometime before 4:30 pm, the nurses started "the process" of giving him morphine and taking him off the IVs and ventilator. His heart continued beating faintly and irregularly for about an hour, then his breathing completely stopped.

I think he was ready to go. His friends noticed that he was a little down during the last couple of weeks. His angiogram did not have great news and it was clear that he needed to have bypass surgery. He was likely thinking about how much he could tolerate the surgery itself and whether he was going to be really out of the danger zone afterwards. Little things he said lately made me think that he was preparing us for what might happen.

It's been good for the family to distract ourselves from the grief and focus the arrangements for the funeral service. I'm going to say a few things and get some help from a friend to work up a segment in formal Chinese (similar to what I did for my mom two and a half years ago).

It's going to be challenging to summarize this remarkable man's life. He was a hardworking entrepreneur who lived and pursued his dreams with intensity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Life Passages: Another door to enter

Checking in to say hi to my dear friends in the cyber-shala. I know it's been a while since I last posted, but forgive me for this brief update.

Had to rush over to Vancouver yesterday. My Dad, with his heart problems, had a major attack and suffered some serious damage. The paramedics arrived promptly, but there were prolonged attempts at resuscitation before getting him to the hospital. His vitals are stabilized with lots of medical support, but since his admission there are no real improvements to his condition.

I'm going over to the hospital now. The whole family is in town, and we'll have a meeting with the interventionist this afternoon. We'll have some tough decisions to make. I'll be okay, but I do worry for my eldest sister, who's been having the hardest time dealing with all of this.

Dad, we'll try to do the right thing for you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our new home?

It appears that we'll be finally moving away from Oddfellows Hall and over to the vacated Capitol Hill Arts Center. I'm hoping this will happen relatively soon, but I'm not holding my breath. Velocity (and the Diver) will need to raise a bit of money ($500,000) and do a little reno to make the new space fit their needs.

This could not happen quickly enough. Today and in past days, we've been practicing with partial electricty and louder than usual noises.

Here's the scoop from the Seattle Times story today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Burning Man 2008: A couple of quick pics

We had another bad windy dust storm that started in the afternoon. It almost canceled the burn, but it died down after 9 pm and word spread that it would start at 10 pm. We waited patiently until 11 and then fireworks kicked things off. When that was finished, the Man was lit with an explosion with fire. Even the veterans said it was a great burn. The Man blazed and crumpled in dramatic fashion. It reawakened the childhood fascination I've had with fire and pyrotechnomania.

After the Man and the tower fell, the crowd rushed towards the fire. We were all cold and sought out the warmth of the flames. Some guy in the crowd shouted, "All newbies run around the Man!" and soon we were all running along the perimeter of the fire. Crazed by the intensity of the moment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Burning Man 2008: Simple pleasures, simple truths

Is this utopia? A place where we all live in peace and as equals? It is so beautiful in the morning as the sun comes out. People are so joyful and friendly.

I had my first hot cup of tea this morning. Ahhh. There is a Coffee Camp with industrial-strength La Marzoccos and Seattle baristas (yay!), which is the only place you can buy anything with cash (besides Ice Camp) in this “gift economy.” Nothing else can purchased. You can give someone something, preferably something that reflects something personally, but you can't necessarily expect something back. I lent my lapptop to someone who was writing an email to his boss to say that he wasn't going to make it to work. I wasn't expecting anything but afterwards he let me pick a page from a stack of papers, which turned out to be a novel he had written himself. In another instance, a very handsome guy who walked by me slapped a sticker of my chest that said, “YOU.” “That way, if you forget who you are, look down!” he laughed with the purest sense of joy on his face. Of course, there's the usual SWAG (shit we all get) of glowsticks, flags, and condoms.

When I went to the temple two days ago, I was totally overcome by the serenity there. This is where people leave messages and tributes to lost loved ones, which are later burned on Sunday, the night after the Man flames out. Anyway, I don't usually get weepy over this kind of stuff, but I started to think about the loss of my mother and my wish for good health of my Dad, my family and friends. I also thought about my place in the world and how I might choose to live my life from here on in.

Yea, this is the place to think about big themes and simple truths.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Burning Man 2008: It has a beat (Thursday)

The most common question being asked at Center Camp is, “Can anyone get on the internet ?” It sucks here, but you have to understand that this is one connection for the 20+ users in the Playa Info tent at the moment. I'm told that other folks nearby are also pirating the line, booting us off, and slowing it down further. So I'm told by an IT geek next to me.

Yesterday was spent exploring the art installations on the main plaza, visiting the Man and the Basara Segura temple, which will be a lower-key burn that takes place the evening after the more wild and aggressive burning of the man. The quality of the art is surprisingly good. At least comparable to many things I've seen at municipal art museum.

The most interesting interactive piece I saw so far is a large sealed glass booth that produces soap bubbles filled with helium and other gas mixes, I'm told. The particpant outside the booth is uses a lighted stick inside to pop the bubbles as they float up the booth, and the bubbles explode is a fiery pop. Cool!

Yesterday was also a real test of loss and letting go. Mostly things like one glove, a little cap on my battery-operated blingy that is needed to make it work. This stuff usually drives me crazy. I also had bolts holding down my bike rack that I searched for ½ hour at Home Depot.

The EL wire fur coat is a HIT! Strangers, and people in my camp, make a point of shouting out compliments. I'll try to load a pic, but the connection is brutally slow and intermittant. Besides looking fabulous, there's a practical reason for being lit up at night. It's so you don't get hit by a mutant vehicle cupcake or some stoner dude on a bike wiping out on a mini-sand dune.

The parties last night were quite fun. I have to say that this music is totally foreign to me, but i think i'm hearing the difference between house and techno. One has melody and sometimes voice. The other music seems to focus on the beat or a groovy sound to create a vibe like mellow and chillaxin'!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Burning Man 2008: Princess Diaries (Tues & Wed)

The highlight yesterday was meeting this mobile pedi-massager. My bare feet were thrashed from the very alkaline soil on the Playa. I was wearing flip-flops and I left my boots and sneakers in the gear boxes that were being transported down for me. Duh. So, at center camp, this nice guy (who says he doesn't have a foot fetish), was offering to wash my feet, exfoliate, and massage mosturizer into my parched tootsies. Heavenly. A gay boy's dream...even if he was straight and talking about "chicks."

I ate another cold but divine lentil pouch thingie from Trader Joe's. Divine. It powered me for the rest of the evening to go out and check the sights.

This morning, my next-tent campmate was talking about taking a shower at the camp shower. He was also three days without a shower. I asked him how to use the solar shower bag. He assured me it was simple. So I went for it after he finished. I've never looked more forward to getting clean than today. The used wash water was surprisingly clean. Hm.

I might ask him how to use the propane stove tonight, so I can heat up hot water for a cup of tea. Ah, simple luxeries!