the leafless limbs are stark
as they stand out within the moonlight
I stare at your face through the dark
as your memories drain me of might
you once were my only true love
as no other lover could be
I always am dedicated to you, love
even as you forget me
no other can take your place
within my heart this day
as I stare upon your face
this cold, dark winter's day

[circa 1992]

Go forth and live

I only dream in shades of gray these days.  Life seems to have taken on a hue less colorful than before.  I struggle to comprehend what I'm feeling, where I'm going, what I'm doing.  Has some part of me lost its way?

It seems that just a few short months ago I was mourning Derek's passing.  I lamented the loss of such a good friend, the horrible pain and anguish he went through in his last few years, the heartache I knew his family was feeling, and, even if somewhat selfishly, the emptiness I felt without him around.

I have struggled to get through it all.  There are times even now when I cannot help but think of Derek, perhaps in some context with The Kids, perhaps because of something I see or read in the news, or perhaps only because I enjoyed spending time with him and miss him so.

It has been almost four months since he died, yet it's like I'm waiting for time to fix some part of me that keeps on breaking.

Most of my own anguish has been caused by guilt — guilt for being upset about the whole situation just a few short months before he passed away, guilt about the uncontrollable anger I've felt for many reasons, and guilt about calling his family when Derek had made me promise time and again not to.

Guilt is a funny thing.  There's nothing so bad that you can't add a little guilt to it to make it worse.  There's nothing so good that you can't add a little guilt to it to make it better.

But guilt distracts us from the greater truth of what we're feeling.  That is what makes it such a powerful weapon, something a limited few members of Derek's family have attempted on me.

It's sad.  As if I hadn't already been through enough and hadn't already suffered long and hard just to take care of Derek during his last years, some misguided souls from his family have made it their quest in life to place all the blame at my feet — the blame for Derek's situation and the blame for their own absence from his care for the two years before he died.

It angers me.  It's a betrayal of Derek's legacy and life.  Empty promises of understanding and shallow attempts to betray what it is to be human simply make the situation worse.  The most offensive aspect is that these same people are breaking promises they made to Derek in his last days just so they can throw their own guilt in my direction.

But that is blindness caused by guilt.

Life is already a confusing deluge of events and people.  From our perspective, it can be confusing and overwhelming.  I like to think that from the best perspectives, though, life… everything… even death… makes sense.

Life is not just a kaleidoscope of sensory and emotional overload.  We're all connected.  It's beautiful.  It's funny.  It's scary.  And it's good.

Sometimes it doesn't make sense from our perspective here in the heart of life where we seem to have no control.

Despite these things, however, we humans have an inherent ability to heal ourselves.  We seem intent on living through even the worst heartaches and anguish.  How?  Practice.

Life is about living, something even I myself have written about before and know in my heart.

I need to find a way to get past this.

The Chronicles of Riddick

Last Sunday I was so tired that I didn’t want to do anything except be a complete sloth, so I went to Blockbuster and both rented and purchased some movies to help me waste away the day.  By the time I went to bed that night I had watched six different movies and had truly wasted the entire day (much to my own satisfaction as I’d not enjoyed a lazy day in more than six months).

The Chronicles of Riddick turned out to be a much better movie than I had anticipated.  As a sequel to Pitch Black, I was not expecting much when I watched it.  Pitch Black was at best an OK movie.  For that reason I had not expected much from The Chronicles of Riddick.

Vin Diesel returned as the anti-hero Riddick, five years after the Pitch Black story line, who finds himself in the middle of a galactic war.  As you might expect, it falls to Riddick (someone we know as a bloodthirsty criminal) to save mankind.

The special effects are excellent, the story is surprisingly full of depth, and it never hurts to have someone like Vin Diesel to look at for a few hours (that’s a body built for sin!).  I was pleasantly surprised by The Chronicles of Riddick and would absolutely recommend seeing it — but don’t expect too much from it.  It is a sequel which happens to be significantly better than its predecessor, but it’s not going to go down in the annals of history as anything more than just another sci-fi adventure.

It is a B movie, so one must expect the repercussions thereof.  It suffers from tissue-thin plotting (or should that be “plodding”?), a horrifically apparent lack of character development, and what could only be described as skimpy roles that appear to waste the talents of Thandie Newton and Judi Dench.  Despite these shortcomings, however, the movie is what it is — a mediocre story brought to vivid life on a vast digital landscape with the conceptual allure of a lavish graphic novel.

So much for winter

After the frigid arctic blast we got last week (struggling to make it up to freezing several days in a row), we're back to the 60s and 70s this week.  It's amazing that more people aren't sick.  I want winter.  I like cold weather and much prefer that to anything else.  Now that it's officially winter, I'd like some winter weather, please and thank you very much.

Dallas’ strong mayor initiative

Dallas has never had a strong mayor.  Our system of government is based on a city manager who controls the city budget, the city personnel, and the city programs.  Although we elect our mayor, the position itself has very little control over what happens in Dallas.  The position of mayor could actually be called “chairman of the city council” and “head of marketing” as those are the only real duties assigned to the mayor's position.  The city manager, on the other hand, has complete control over the city while not being elected — meaning the city manager is not answerable to the people.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a big problem.

A group calling themselves "Citizens for a Strong Mayor" recently put together enough registered voter signatures to get the issue put on the ballot in our election to be held May 7, 2005.

Regardless of what others may say, this city needs a new form of government.  As it's currently implemented, our city government is neither by nor for the people.  The city manager does not answer to the people, so we have no direct control over our own government.

Beth Ann Blackwood, a member of "Citizens for a Strong Mayor," recently said, "I am confident that after the discussion has taken place that the people will decide that they want to have greater accountability in government.  They want to actually be able to elect or not elect the person in charge of the city."

I agree wholeheartedly.  Let's hope she's right in that the people of Dallas will also want to have more direct control over our government.  It'll all depend on the proposed solution, though, as not all strong mayor plans are equal.