Which Road Are You On? You Should Spend Some Time On “The Road to Edmond”

The Road to Edmond

Which Road Are You On? You Should Spend Some Time On “The Road to Edmond”

Just finished watching “The Road to Edmond.” It’s been over a decade since I’ve watched something that centers on telling a “Christian” story. I just don’t have time for stories with two-dimensional characters where the only “honest” people are the brave Christians who, in the end, have all the Bible-based answers to rescue the sniveling former-non-believers. “The Road to Edmond” isn’t that kind of story. It may have taxed the acting skills of the two main actors and the story sometimes felt like a weird parable, but getting past that, it shows how sloppy and difficult real love can be and the pain left over from lost opportunities when one is restricted by literal religious beliefs. As a former-believer, I appreciate the struggle for human connection despite the objection of orthodoxy and that these film-makers have added their Christian voices to recognizing our shared part in this journey “On the Road to Edmond.” I hope you get a chance to catch this interesting tale on one of the streaming services, now that this recent pay-what-you-want on-demand offers is expiring (on 2/28/2019) at https://theroadtoedmond.lpages.co/the-road-to-edmond-pay-what-you-want/

I love the ending credit song:

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Loneliness

2018-09-02_velveteen-rabbit

If you are an adult and experience loneliness, society seems to be saying that you’re doing it wrong. Yeah. I have known no greater depth of loneliness than at one point in my marriage when my wife & I just weren’t communicating and much later when I was desperately in love and my lover had retreated to another bedroom in her huge house.
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TLDR: Dealing with a Dead Drobo

2017-10-11 Drobo5C blue light flashing

I’m spoiled. I buy some piece of tech, I expect it to work, no muss, no fuss. I’ve been doing this long enough to remember how hard it used to be to get anything done to the point where I’m now often unprepared for what to do when tech things don’t work. I posted in my social media feed that my Drobo died and was met with mostly “meh” and some confusion.

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Reflections from the Road: June 26, Day 5, San Antonio Riverwalk & a Bucket of Coronas

I just spent 39-days driving cross-country & here is one of my reflections from the experience. Enjoy

On every level, what’s the plan? Maybe I’m starting a bit too deep. It’s a Monday night and I’m sitting outside at one of San Antonio’s Riverwalk restaurants watching the couples stroll by. Four Coronas in, I have serious doubts about my observations & my ongoing unspoken commentary. I’m making great eye-contact with the help and assume my complete invisibility to the strolling tourists. I’m friends with the laughter around me though I know they’ll have no memory of the shared conspiratorial smiles. Then again, I took my glasses off, so I’m gonna be hard pressed to confirm anything I allegedly “saw.”

Blue-t-shirted Googlers and lots of folks from somewhere else hold court around me…. The mansplainer behind me talked nonstop for over an hour about whatever  and I scarcely remember hearing the voices of his two companions. People put up with a lot.

Damn the food was good and the bucket of Coronas even better. After the Googlers left I was surprised to discover that I was surrounded by a whole host of Apple-people and ADEs. I melded into their conversations (that I cannot hope to remember at the moment) and the world seemed right to have such passionate intelligent educators in it. Then on my walk home, Apple Maps took me way off course and added a lot of unwanted steps to my already long day. Shit.

Another Excuse to Not Write About to Disappear

Daily Random Shit for 2016-06-27: Another Excuse to Not Write About to Disappear

I’m running out of excuses for not getting my long-form writing projects done… Grrrr, I mean, Yeah!!! Actually I’ve been dying for the long delayed release of the iOS version for quite awhile. But with the purchase of my jumbo iPad Pro it went from “this would be nice,” to, “must have.”

Resource:

Scrivener for iOS: It’s Time to Talk

Subliminal Ethnicity

Ethnically not fitting in is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life. Some are even surprised that I’m of any particular ethnicity. The following essay was published in Fuller Theological Seminary’s student journal, Ember, in 1985. At the bottom of this post is a downloadable PDF version of the original submission and footnotes. Enjoy.

Ethnicity. At my wedding my Pastor made a passing comment to my mother about “How nice it is that Kim and Joe got together, coming from different backgrounds and all,”[note]As if it wasn’t bad enough that I wasn’t being married in the Catholic Church then my well—meaning very—Anglo Presbyterian pastor made that comment … What a way to begin married life.[/note] I’d understood the comment to refer to the fact the Kim and I grew up under different family arrangements and had different educational experiences, and how nice it was that the Lord brought us together. Unfortunately my mother saw it as some sort of ethnic put-down.

1960s, Mich, Joe, Kathie, Dad, Matt and Joyce

[/media-credit] 1960s, Mich, Joe, Kathie, Dad, Matt and Joyce

Even before leaving San Gabriel[note]My parents were born and raised in San Gabriel, CA of parents that immigrated to this country sometime around the First World War. San Gabriel lies in that area of Metropolitan Los Angeles that would eventually be called East L.A., L.A.’s major barrio.[/note] in the 50’s my parents had pretty much acclimated to the larger culture around them. They had been fortunate and resourceful enough to be a part of America’s Post-War Prosperity and any reminder of their “heritage” by an outsider was in some way a denial of their full rights as paying customers on this voyage. They weren’t like some minorities with a chip on their shoulder who lamented their supposed less-than-privileged status. But having chosen that road somewhere between San Gabriel and the fabled American Melting-Pot there were more than a few volunteers to remind us of our ethnic “heritage” and how fortunate we were to be here.[note] In 1977 my father (self-taught landscaper who spent many years digging ditches for college grads who couldn’t landscape themselves out a sand box) made his way into a “White-collar” position at the Irvine Company in the early 70’s. (Can you tell I’m proud of the man?) He took us from Walnut Creek, CA (near Oakland), where we’d been for two years to an little known collection of track homes just north of San Juan Capistrano (in Southern California) called Mission Viejo.[/note]

Having been raised in white neighborhoods all my life, my Ethnic Self-identity suffered from that sense of not really belonging, I’d essentially come to see myself as a white kid with a Spanish surname and an appreciation for good Mexican food. But no matter how well I identified with my surroundings, on the basis of my last name alone, I was always “that short Mexican kid that lives down the street,” or just “Joe Burrito.” Not that I have any problems with being called a Mexican, I am one (I think), I just wonder what they mean by what they say. I mean, I have yet to hear someone refer to another individual, second generation American, no accent, maybe a serving of sauerkraut once or twice a month, as “that short German kid that lives down the street.” There’s a subtlety here that disturbs me.

I am about as “Oreo” a Mexican as they come.[note]An “Oreo” Mexican is a Mexican that looks Mexican on the outside (Black hair, brown eyes, olive skin, etc.) but inside he’s as white as Jerry Falwell (political views not included). What is white anyway? I’ve never seen a White person. I’ve seen some that come awfully close. But if we’re going to be honest with ourselves we might as well confess that we are all just different shades of the same color.[/note] So why the differentiation? Why the preferential treatment, the EEOC quotas, etc.?[note]In my case, five years of undergraduate work at two private universities funded by the State of California to a large extent because of that infamous surname of mine.[/note] To make right the wrongs of racism committed in the past? Then why the almost simultaneous prejudice? Why this persistent distinction?[note]I may have not been refused a seat on a bus or admittance to a restaurant or theater or employment opportunities because of my race but I have had my share of relationships with females end because of a parent’s “concern” over the “unnaturalness” of the relationship. You’d think I was a Cholo or some’ting.[/note] What it seems to boil down to is that we are Ethnically more of what we think we are than what we may actually be. Subliminal Ethnicity. In my white neighborhood I was the token Mexican kid but when we went to San Gabriel I was the “Oreo” that didn’t fit in. Subliminal Ethnicity. The road back to San Gabriel is paved with memories for my parents but for me and my siblings it doesn’t exist, though our white neighbors always seem to assume it does.

In my white neighborhood I was the token Mexican kid but when we went to San Gabriel I was the “Oreo” that didn’t fit in.

And as more groups are swallowed by the Monolithic Caucasian culture it’s important that those of us that are aware of our ethnic heritage (even if it’s just subliminal) retain it and express it for the right reasons. Too often ethnicity has been used as a means of exclusion from being a part of the whole. Even in a setting such as ours where Ethnic groups seem to have a voice in our social policies, if this voice, this platform is just a means to placate the demands of the minorities than we are obviously still not part of the whole. The important thing to me (coming from my white neighborhood and all) is not to see my ethnicity in distinction over again my white neighbor (whose only concept of heritage or history is completely egocentric —patterns of our existential ideal?) but to see it as something greater than I that has had a part in making me the kind of person that I have become. It is a point of unity, a point of community. It is family. For those of us that are Hispanics, it is our common Hispanic experience. And for all of mankind, if we’re willing to face it, it is the common human existence. Subliminal Ethnicity.

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Sex & the Single Brain-Cell: Breast Augmentation Fall-Out

If there was ever a time when one of my journal archives could have been more visual than wordy… Sorry. These posts came from the somewhat stormy time with my live-in girlfriend, Dani (not her real name). Around the time we met she had lost a lot of weight, but didn’t like what it did to her figure. So, she decided to have breast-augmentation surgery. Needless to say, I was pretty happy, but needed to make sure that I wasn’t too happy with her decision…

July 2, 1990
1988_jbb-chillin-at-home-croppedWhoa, haven’t we come full circle since that last journal entry was made? For those with less than perfect mind-reading abilities, what I am referring to is the little explosion that occurred last Thursday night, June 28 (yes, I know, there I go explaining the unknown with the obscure). Let me just write that with Dani’s decision to go ahead with the breast surgery and its unclear ramifications, there has been a discernible level of emotional uncertainty between us.

Again, it involves questions about my eagerness for this surgery and the nature of my primary attraction to her. It’s been voiced more than once by Dani that I should be hanging around with someone like Pam (an attractive busty blond in one of the aerobics classes that I teach) rather than being with her. And in the absence of some tangible evidence of our love’s logic, Dani continues to chip away at the question as to whether having a relationship with her is what I really wanted. As if love is a logical argument that can be argued and won! Ugh.

So last Thursday (June 28) … it had been a while since we had had sex (since the weekend before) and I was feeling particularly randy. So after Dani’s son had been sent off to bed I made it clear to Dani that I wanted to go to bed with her before having to head off for my midnight shift at work. Ignoring the exhaustion of the preceding week and the aerobics workout that I had just finished we blasted ahead. But all stations were not “go.” This was going to take more of an effort than I had anticipated. I became distracted because it was so warm (duh, July in Southern California and no AC) and in the course of our sexual efforts, I started sweating (an old distraction). Then there was the thought that I was going to be heading to work within the hour. It was indeed not-so-slow-motion-disaster in progress. Mr. Erection swept in and out and presented no particular evidence of staying. And in the middle of all of this lay the temptation to bolster my fading hard-on with mental images of large breasts on vaguely familiar women (oh no, the forbidden fruit!). But it was a lost cause.

I decided against the “big breast” strategy and lost the battle to my many distractions. Explaining to Dani what had happened was not going to be easy. I decided to start with the part about not employing a fantasy to keep things going but then quickly realized that that was not a particularly brilliant decision. She was understandably upset that such a strategy should ever be needed. Things quickly spiraled in a downward direction from there.

Loud accusations erupted beginning with, did I love her at all or was I just making a fool out of her? How does one respond to that? Yeah, here was another case where honesty was not advisable, especially considering how skillfully Dani was able to employ “honesty as a weapon” from which one usually didn’t recover… I got up to take a shower. She got up to take it out on my desk chair with a none-to-brilliant right-hook on the thing. The chair is fine. She bruised her thumb and palm something fierce.

A dangerous level of instability descended on our household over the weekend. It took from that night until this morning at three AM, five-days, when she called with further disturbing questions, I’m guessing in order to find something of the trust that we had before my disclosure. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this breast thing, but even then, my mental indiscretions have nothing to do with the surgery. If anything it is might be my own sabotaging the relationship/fear of success that previously badgered my path.

Dani has been a lover and girlfriend like no other. Complex and simple, forward and easily frightened, playfully sexual and seriously demanding in her eroticism; she doesn’t often see her own sexual appeal but boldly takes charge when the whim is the air. She doubts her femininity and then does the career-woman-mother-lover-housekeeper thing in the time that it takes most of us to decide whether we want toast for breakfast. There is a girl-next-door, tomboy class-clown nature to her that she verbally rejects but faithfully maintains. Whereas my previous girlfriend drew me in because of her cloak of emotional silence, Dani has drawn me in with her openness and feisty spirit. It’s too bad that it seems to take our verbal fire-fights before I can even come close to understanding how I feel. JBB

There were six posts between the last one and this next one and all of them were about various computer configuration woes. What does that tell you about my state of mind? Ugh. Even then, I begin the next entry with computer shit. Sad.

July 19. 1990 Surgery Blues
This is the first actual entry made in Word for Windows. I had to redo the margins to one and a half itches because the page ran off the edge of the screen when it was set at one inch It’s silly that I should be writing about this fucking program when there are so many other things going on. For example, this morning Dani had her breast-augmentation surgery.

I have since found myself in the position of being her nursemaid. So far it hasn’t been particularly difficult. She’s spent most today in some state of slumber. But the emotional responsibilities… now that’s another thing altogether. Prior to the surgery we had our share of °discussions.” They were mostly about the possible reactions of “others” to her surgery and our own related fears. It’s been pretty difficult to keep a handle on it. Needless to say, we’ve both had ample opportunities to say, “I’m sorry” to each other. This surgery has put a strain on us but I think in the long run it’s going to be good because of the bonding we’ve shared in this endeavor. I just have to be really careful to not be too “happy” with the results.

Well, my duties call me so I’ll have to end this entry for now. JBB

1991-08-10 Oregon Trail with Denise - 05 cropped

July 26. 1990 An Emotional Week
It’s been the better part of week since my last entry. It’s also been a very busy week. In the intervening Dani has left her previous state of slumber for one with an evolving self-image. I can sense the frustration in her over the patience needed for the healing process to be successful She is not used to being still for very long and less used to having to depend on anyone. In the past week she has had to ask for my aid and that of her friend, Connie, on numerous occasions. l have tried to remain sensitive to her frustrations but my efforts have not all been successful. For example, one of my duties has been to massage her breasts to help prevent hardening around the implants and encourage blood flow. At first I was unsure about how much pressure to apply because I certainly didn’t want to hurt her, but Dani quickly interpreted my timid touch as some indication that I didn’t like the results. Ah… no! But no matter what I said she was convinced that I wasn’t happy with her new curves.

1990-05_Denise-apartment-03-croppedAnd then on Saturday, in the midst of all the emotional tip-toeing, one of her pets died. Fortunately wasn’t one of the ferrets, that would have been horrific. She and her son, Brian, had had the small female rat (affectionately named “Rat”) for a number of years. About a month ago, when she was cleaning Rat’s cage she mentioned that the rat was looking pretty old. But Rat couldn’t have timed her departure more poorly. Denise was at a loss in controlling her emotions and embarrassed with even having these emotions. It was sad.

I tried to provide Dani the encouragement and space to say goodbye to their little furry friend. I placed Rat in one of my computer paraphernalia boxes along with Rat’s last piece of bread, some sunflower seeds and a last loving touch from Dani. I then place Rat in the dumpster behind our apartment amidst a giant pile of newspapers—Rat would find ample material to build her next home in the next life with the newspapers. Dani openly sobbed and hugged me when I returned from the dumpster.

It has been an emotional week. JBB

Diving into the Past without Drowning: Day Trip to Laguna Beach (1973)

Diving into the Past without Drowning: Day Trip to Laguna Beach (1973)

Original 8mm Film by Joe Bustillos
Edited by Joe Bustillos & Random Chance
Music by Smartsound Music, “Visions 22K”
Filmed on location in Laguna Canyon & Laguna Beach CA in 1973
Featuring Lynn Tschirgi & cute white puppy

I just spent the last hour watching an 8mm film that I and several others shot in the early 1970s. The film is a collection of footage that I’d gotten from Creagan’s family, the western we’d done in junior high and several other reels that I had lying around and converted to VHS when I did the 1994 “Looking for Creagan McConnell” documentary. I recently had the 8mm film converted again, this time to DVD/digital format. I’d remembered the stuff from Creagan’s childhood and our “Come Against the Rain” footage, but I’d forgotten about all the rest of the stuff.

The forgotten part consisted of footage I’d taken in 1973 during a rare family vacation to Olympia, WA with water-skiing clips, a day trip to Laguna Beach with my girlfriend, Lynn Tschirgi and her little white powder-puff puppy (see the embedded video below), and ended with life-on-campus footage my older sister, Michaela, took at Mission Viejo High School.

The cars, the hair, the clothing, dudes on choppers, hippies with fishing poles walking on the rocks; It only seemed fitting that, particularly the Laguna Beach scenes, were slightly out of focus and blown out. These are moving images that come from an era over 40-years ago. Oh my god, we were so young and that was such another time. But after watching the whole thing, in silence, I feel very lucky to have these reminders of the journey I’ve been on.

With all of scanning of photos and papers that I’ve been doing these past months, I’ve been warned more than a few times that one can overdose on too much nostalgia. That’s obviously true and if I were looking at these things wishing I was back there, that’d be a problem. And this isn’t something limited to the regretful memories of us old folks. Hell, I’ve known a few in their thirties who talked about the “good ol’ days” before they were married, like it’s already all downhill for them. But, for me, this is not the case. I’ve been forced into a transitional mode where I have no idea what lies ahead for me. I simply can’t say that the past was any better than what might follow. In fact, I consider myself fortunate to have so much access to so much of the journey I’ve been on.

The day-to-day grind that I’ve been on, especially the level of concentration and effort for much of my teaching career, tends to afford one very little connection with past accomplishments in the rush to get all the stuff on ones priority list done. And over the past six-months of looking and not finding the next job, one can easily allow ones sense of accomplishment diminish. I mean, if no one seems interested in ones services, after a while one can begin to believe that there’s nothing there of value. That transition can happen really quickly. But I’ve been lucky enough to find scores of articles, recordings and projects that I did as a writer, as a journalist, as a researcher and as an educator, enough to remind me that there’s more here than the need for a wage. Add to all of this, I’ve been fortunate enough to have shared this journey with some amazing family, friends and lovers. I may have no idea where I’ll be in another year, but I’m really glad that I left digital breadcrumbs of the paths I’ve taken along the way.

“Air, Dirt & Ink” Issue 1 – The Satirical Newsletter That Began It All

In the late 1980s I was ready to publish my own satirical publication. Ditching a class, probably one of my journalism classes at Cal State Fullerton, the idea of ADI came to me while enjoying a double-double and fries at the In-n-Out Burger on Placentia Ave., across the freeway from CSUF. The publication’s title “Air, Dirt and Ink” (ADI) came from the slogan, “We’re here to air all the dirty laundry, kick up some dirt and waste a lot of ink.” ADI lasted all of five issues and, obviously, the “ink” part got lost in the world of the Internet. Here’s the premiere issue from April of 1987. Enjoy. (Please scroll to view the four-pages – or click the Box-Arrow to pop-up a full view of the PDF)

ADI issue 1 – April 1987

Click to download the following versions: