Thursday, February 11, 2016

Walnut Eyes

Walnut Eyes
by Steve Utz

I think it was the eyes at first,
so dark, like polished walnut.
Almond shaped, with a hint of remembered sadness,
But with a gleam of promised happiness.

I remember walking in the spring,
hiding beneath a great oak tree
taking shelter from the raindrops
that ran down your face like tears
of joy.

I felt what it was like
to hold you and feel your warmth
against the cold.
To feel your arms wrapped around me
to feel your heart beat against the cold
and the thunder
and the fear of being complete
and that the feeling of completion
would last but a moment.

And yet, a moment could be an eternity
lost in those eyes
gleaming like polished walnut
smiling like hope itself
smiling for me.

Jan 24, 2016

Monday, June 02, 2014

On Burning Fossil Fuels...

If you really think about it, 'modern' use of fossil fuels is really just the same old thing people have been doing for thousands of years, burning something to release the chemical energy it contains, while releasing all manner of toxic fumes and pollutants. From that perspective, we haven't improved much from when the first cave men ran over and grabbed the burning shards of a tree struck by lightning. 

The technology of how we do the burning has changed, and the choice of fuels has changed, but really it's the same old shit. Most of the 'improvements' have been more for economic reasons, and thus have usually been the simplest and least expensive of changes, not the most efficient and certainly not the most creative. 

We need to get on renewables, and quickly. Frankly, there is technology out there that would do most of that, but we don't for 'economic' reasons, which is to say, that the large powerful interests in fossil fuels won't let us do anything on a meaningful basis.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My circadian rhythm is just about hashed.

After a few months of fairly steady, if low-paying, work, I was laid off at the end of February, just a week before my scheduled eye surgery. Add in the two week recovery period from that, and it killed March, pretty much, as an “earning” month.
So the agency placed me at the beginning of April at another plant in Woodinville.  It’s not too bad, the work’s not really physical or anything.  But it is on night crew.  After a couple of weeks, I kind of got used to it.
Then, the whammy.  “Would you be okay with working weekends?”  “Sure.”  “How about 12 hour shifts?”  “Uh……ok, I guess.”
So there you are.  Thursday and Friday, I work normal 8 hour night crew shifts from 3:00-11:30 pm.  Saturday and Sunday I work 7:00pm to 7:30 am. Saturdays and Mondays are zombie transition days, where the major focus is sleeping and eating.
It’s 40 hours, at least. But I feel like I'm trying to maintain three different diurnal schedules 

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I selected the title "The Wounded Bear" based on a totem I identified with many years ago, that of a wounded bear. The basic premise being that of my penchant for spending time "in the cave." I do hibernate at times, isolating myself from the world.

Well, perhaps it is springtime in August, as I have decided to emerge. The wounded part, I'll leave to the reader's imagination. Suffice it to say that your intrepid blogger has, at times, suffered the wounds associated with surviving in our modern society. Certainly, there is no blame to apply anywhere other than my own self, as I have come to accept my own weaknesses and the wounds that spring from that font.

Meanwhile, the two great interests that have intrigued me over the past few years, politics and football are both in high gear.

I do not have much of a general love of the game of football. No, I am a fan, devoted to the Seattle Seahawks. After a very disappointing season, I look forward to some success this year, barring the kind of injuries we sustained last year. Excuse? Perhaps. We shall see. I expect to return to our rightful place as champions of the NFC West.

Politically, I am a liberal. Progressive. Leftist. Whatever. I am so tired of the continual dragging of my country into a bizarre right wing country where religion and corporate interests reign supreme. It is far past time for a solid lurch back into democratic principles, based on the people's needs.

RIP Ted Kennedy. Watching RW idiots dancing on his grave has been disgusting to me. The man did more for this country than a dozen conservatives. He deserves far more recognition and respect than Ronnie Rayguns got. He certainly did more for America than that stuffed shirt ever did. But of course, he wanted to do something good for the country, unlike his conservative detractors. His lifetime and career have answered his brother's call to "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." RWers babble platitudes that they think approach the eloquence of that simple question. Teddy Kennedy made answering that question his life's work.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My oldest surviving brother died yesterday

Tuesday, at about 3:00PM. It was a bit sudden, and shocking, if not exactly surprising. He had not been in great health for quite some time, and was a heavy smoker to the end, even after heart bypass surgery several years ago.

We were able to gather most of the family at the hospital, and I was there when, or shortly after he died. I'm not actually sure, but I had seen him just Saturday, so I'm OK with that.
He is survived by his three adult children. They had been estranged from him for about 10 years due to a difficult divorce situation, but thankfully, all had been re-connecting with him over the last few years. I feel the worst for the youngest. He actively sought out his father after those difficult times and was really getting closer to him. The irony is, of course, that he is a two time Iraq war vet, who returns to re-unite with his father, only to have him taken by illness and infirmity. I believe he did, however, learn that there are usually more than one side to any problem in relationships. Hopefully he carries that lesson with him for the rest of his life.

For my part, I never knew him as well as either of us would have liked. He was off in Vietnam while I was in High School, and I left for the service shortly after he was discharged. I would not return home to the State of Washinton until 35 years later. I had a short year to talk to him, and it wasn't enough. My other brother thought I might regret it if I hadn't said a final goodbye in the hospital room yesterday. My real regret is that I really never said a decent hello to him.

My brother was, in many ways, and for many years a real SOB. As the youngest of the brood, I always assumed I got the brunt of his teenaged angst and rage. But he was also capable of boundless generosity when one of his family, siblings, and/or relatives was in need. As always, we will eulogize the best of him, and hold the worst of him in the dimmer places of our memory.

My brother was a destructive drinker through most of his twenties, but was justifiably proud that he never took a drink for the 31 years after he quit. Unfortunately, he did not necessarily follow that up with other more healthful life decisions and was taken from us at the not so ripe age of 60.

We, as a family, have shed some tears, and probably more will come. As I have aged I have come to realize that my family is perhaps not quite as diverse as I used to think. We were able to come together and even start rational discussions about the funeral plans and such. As a Vietnam Veteran, his final resting place will be Tahoma National Cemetary in Kent.

My other brother, my sister, and I have let the three children make the decisions so far, but have of course extended our help as needed. We are in agreement that the immediate family needs to make the important decisions, and shouldn't be beholden to the older generation.

I'm not much for religion or the afterlife. However, when I left that room, I could only say, "Goodbye, bro. See you on the other side."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I recently wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper. The text follows:

I'm sorry, but I don't feel that enshrining bigotry into our Constitution via the "Defense of Marriage Amendment" is a good idea, especially when the country has so many more pressing issues to be addressed.

Does anyone really think that if we outlaw homosexuality, God will protect us from the terrorists? Not to insult my religious friends, but I need a bit more tangible protections than that.

The letter was published in the Monday, June 5, 2006 edition of the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Somehow, this issue strikes a nerve with me. It seems so petty, so mean spirited, and so un-American. Last night, conservative commentater Bill Bennett was on The Daily Show to pimp his new book. To everyone's surpise, especially Bennett's, Jon actually asked some serious sounding questions about fairness and true freedoms. One of his real zingers was to ask how someone could sound off about personal freedom to live as one likes, and how the government had no right to interfere with that, and then turn around and espouse a campaign to deny those rights to a large segment of the populace. Bennett had no real response, of course, except to hem and haw and mumble the tired old conservative response that that's the way it's always been, and how it will somehow harm heterosexual marriage. I'm still waiting for a real, concrete answer to why that is true.

The irony, of course, goes way over someone like Bill Bennett's head. I'm sure he expected less actual journalism and more obvious comedic digs at his position. The thing is, the position favoring the amendment banning gay marriage is so ironic, that its proponents are funny just by trying to defend it. Jon Stewart didn't have to make jokes, Bill Bennett and his position was the joke.

Hopefully, this ill-conceived notion will go down in flames, and its supporters will suffer for having once again brought it up.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This is more difficult than I thought. My intention was to practice the craft of writing while posting various opinion and informative posts.

It seems that my writer's block continues. Oh well. Today is looking good in the great PNW, so I will have to get out, I think. I've been spending too much time pounding the keyboard in non-constructive ways. That may be a bit of a harsh judgement, but hitting the message boards can be habit forming, to say the least.

I'm looking forward to taking in Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth but it is only showing in downtown Seattle, and that is a bit far to go. Certainly, I would ride the bus, at least from a local park and ride, but still, it is quite a trip.

Better to go out and hit the driving range. I've been working on my swing, and with the help of some tips I picked up on TV, I think I've made some progress. At least, I have mostly tamed my slice off the tee, or at least moderated it somewhat. Someday soon, I may even start keeping score. So far, I only count the number of balls it takes me to finish 9 holes.