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barbtries a blog
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
bekah and rory

the sky during an electrical storm july 2003, new mexico

Sunday, January 25, 2004

andy emails from the navy
RE: i miss you

hi mom. okay, first things last. im not sure when im getting my phone,
but it should be soon. my internet hasnt been working. which is
to say, my computer isnt working. i dont know, its very strange.
the modem is well lit, implying that its connected. when i go
into network connections, it shows me that ive been connected
for however long, and it shows that ive sent a few packet, i seem
to send like one or two packets every ten minutes, but im not
receiving any. so, i cant connect to anything. cant play counterstrike,
cant use AIM, and for some reason, my navy.org email address
doesnt work on these computers at work(the session automatically
expires). anyway, the navy.org address costs money, ive payed for
a year, and in four months the payment will expire, and damned if
im gonna pay again. so you
may as well get used to writing to this address.

i have a car. its pretty sweet. its a 95 mazda 626 with a
cd player and a high-tech remote locking keychain. oh, and it
drives too.

now, as for hard copy stuff, well i have only one newspaper clip
and, quite frankly, im way too lazy to go to all the effort of
getting an envelope, a stamp, writing two addresses on the envelope,
and finding a mailbox. the rest of my stuff is online. just go on
google and search for Andy Zask. youll find links to some of my
stories, and of course,
links to your own website. oh, and stuff about my uncles Arie and
Ezra and all the people named Andy they happen to work with. and
then a few random people who supposedly have the last name Zask,
but i dont trust them. theres a story on the onion somewhere
about Bill Clinton Googling himself. its pretty funny.

soon i will get a phone, if for no other reason than to sit in
my room and bitch at the cable people till they fix my shit.

k, this vegas christmas thing, im down. i was thinking in october,
my birthday's on a monday, so ill prolly just take one day of leave
for that tuesday, and then i can just walk to the bar down the street
and have a grand old time. ill put down as the reason for my leave:
"hung over."

also, im planning on taking a couple weeks to visit home this summer.
my shop is blessedly overmanned, so getting the leave will be easy. i
only have a few things that need to be done during summer--a new
submarine is getting commissioned, and at some point im [censored].

anyway, it's lunch time, and god knows i cant miss lunch.
love you

Saturday, January 24, 2004
Norfolk Submariners Boast High Retention Rates
he hadn't even sent me the link for this one. how am i going to keep track of his writing for him?

painted in taos, NM, july 2003

COMSUBLANT Partners with Oceanair Elementary School for Holiday Help
another picture and feature story written by the intrepid Andy Zask, navy journalist, AKA my son. :)

Friday, January 23, 2004
tribute to bekah

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
a view of los angeles post-fires

taken by my son the other day while he was out skating pools

Saturday, January 17, 2004
Dragonfly (2002)
so i wake up at 5 something and this movie is on. after reading a couple reviews i wonder why i'm crying over this dead woman getting the message to her husband that their daughter is alive.

i guess a lot depends on your point of view, your position of perspective, whether you live with a grief...:)

bekah's 23rd birthday present to her loved ones

the friday five
1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?

King Solomon: "Justice will only be achieved when those who are not injured by crime feel as indignant as those who are."
B E K A H Z A S K July 6, 1980 - murdered July 19, 2001
my only girl

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?


3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?

i dunno. i don't. probably BEKAH. someone must have that one already. BKHTRTL - there. bekah turtle. lol i dunno

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?


5. What would you like your epitaph to be?

this is the reason i did the friday five, which i have never done before....

Epiphany and Irony
Together build the frame
That holds the canvas of my soul,
Which Love and Wonder claim.

in unrelated news, the meeting went well, very well. we have to agree to disagree about whether nick rini would have won a conviction for murder, but at least now i understand the thinking that went into his decision, that it was his decision, and that he does appreciate the true nature of the crime committed against my girl. i know now that he did take bekah's case seriously and personally as well, and that he understands the travesty and the guilt as well as he can [not having lost a child, i mean].

i am lighter today. more ready to carry on again. closer to recovery, not further away. it was a concern. i am very, very glad i went. i told him about the turtle, and the flower shop the day before we buried bekah. he told me that he could tell she was special, and i believe he could.

also, nuts and bolts! we got her CDC [ca. dept of corrections] number, and will be able to learn when she gets out, the terms of her parole, and be able to contact her parole officer with our concerns. she's not getting out until may. why the extra 3 months he didn't and we don't know, but it works for us. the more time that - person? i use the term loosely - stays inside, the better off we all are. trust me on that.

Friday, January 16, 2004
miracles like wildflowers
yesterday when i picked rory up he said, "oh by the way i have one of your notebooks," and pulled it out of his backpack. sixth graders carry more shit to and from school than i did in high school...anyway. i found this beginning of something from 10-07-03. at first i didn't remember it at all, now, kinda. it had slipped my mind entirely.

i gather miracles like wildflowers,
in this field of all and nothing
It is now it is yesterday it is
tomorrow. It is

Gooseflesh changes my skin.
I gaze at the sky; the breeze becomes
a gust of warm wind...
The sun is setting and as it does,
all these people gaze and know wonder,
while i pluck miracles like wildflowers from the sky

A blushing cloud, lit red-orange by a sinking sun
grows four leathery limbs, which support the
weathered shell of a turtle as
strollers gaze and witness in wonder,
as you grow wonders like flowers for your mother

The clouds travel on as the horizon eats fire,
using the last drop of pink for a valentine heart
you present to me like the sweaty dandelions
your nephews collect from the grass near your grave.

I've scribbled a bouquet - baby's
breath to deep red roses - calla
lilies to dyed pink daisies; kissed them like
wishes commended to the sky...please my little girl,
Please her precious soul,
Give her the clouds and every color.

there's more, but i'm not sure about whether i like it enough to share it. but there are two lines:

Oh she made me proud to be
her mother! She did, she did indeed.

i meet with the DA today at 2:30. i want to remember everything i want to say to him. i wonder if he'll answer my burning questions. in a month the woman who murdered my daughter on 07-19-01 will be getting out of prison. i wonder how he'll explain that to me.

just let me stay sane and not crying today. and not so forgetful today. amen

Saturday, January 10, 2004
AlterNet: New WMD Report Slams Bush White House
Three leading non-proliferation experts from a prominent think tank charge that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush 'systematically misrepresented' the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

so this is news now?

AlterNet: Personal Voices: Bullies at the BorderFrom Iraq to Guantanamo to Calais, Maine, Bush's bullies are detaining and interrogating in the name of homeland security, and people less lucky than myself have been held in military prisons on mere suspicions, without trial, without recourse.

ok. i don't know yet who i will vote for in november. i know who i will NOT vote for. i am thinking seriously about doing something more active than voting this year. i mean he has GOT TO GO.

i try to see issues from all sides. but this president is so bad it is fucking scary to even imagine four more years with gw in charge. i barely recognize my country as it is.

there is not enough time in the day to collect all the news detailing the abuses, deceptions, corruption, power- and war-mongering of the present administration. so this is where i just get stupefied. how could anybody think he should have ever been president let alone that his presidency should continue for another second?!

i mean it. there are not enough minutes in the day to study this bastard. so - take my word for it, he must be stopped.

this guy would do a better job of serving our country. unfortunately, if nominated he will not run, and if elected, he will not serve...

Friday, January 09, 2004
Bush In 41.2 Seconds
thanks to deb

Thursday, January 08, 2004
Bush in 30 Seconds
great site. watch and vote. and prepare to vote bush OUT of office this year.


Wednesday, January 07, 2004
DatingGod: Sybil Goes Granola
This entry from katherine regarding her morning spiritual exercises reminded me of this - what i think may be one of the final chapters in my book. and a good thing it was, too - because i discovered i had never pasted it into my diary let alone my book.

so thank you katherine.

as always when i post book chapters any commentary whether it pertain to the content or to the writing itself is welcome. thanks. it might be nice of me to mention that following bekah's death, if i felt fallow or empty about what to write i would sometimes practice stichomancy, using the deepak chopra desk calendar that bekah gave me for christmas in - wow! not sure, i think 1999. also, most of the book was written in the form of letters to bekah. so you know, she is the baby...:)


The inner experience of meditation can be had without any kind of forced discipline. The outer trappings – how one sits, breathes, dresses, and so forth – are irrelevant. - Deepak Chopra

01-20-03 late a.m. early p.m.

Oh yeah baby this dude sends me straight into a trance. This statement is – well, the word that springs to mind is ridiculous.

Okay. I’m trying to fathom what the fuck this is supposed to mean. Basically it looks like he’s saying you don’t have to meditate with attention to the pastime by making sure you are comfortable, by breathing from your toes to your crown, or whatever.
Do you need a quiet space free of distraction? Or can you have an “inner experience” of meditation while, for instance, standing in an hour-long line and then taking a seat on a rollercoaster and going for a ride on that monster? As I sit here explicating the diminishment of the respect I once held toward Chopra am I partaking of the inner experience of meditation?
I don’t think so; in fact meditation as I understand it does not want one to apply thought to any single idea – if thought goes there, then meditation would counsel one not to follow it with any concentration – the concentration in meditation is kind of anti-concentration, except to that very task.
I’ve an image, loosely a tunnel, or a hall, and what I concentrate on is the need to release my thoughts, to blow by my thoughts as I am swept by concentration to the core of spirit.
I am who I am. It is a given that there will always be thoughts. But just as I give myself permission not to attend to them while meditating, I give them permission to wander about the grounds.
If I tried to shut thought out, the meditation would surely either fail, or grow beyond meditation to true hypnosis, or I would fall asleep, sedated by my thoughts that would not stand for their attempted exclusion.
So – roaming thoughts, like a crowd of strangers. Spirited meditation creates its own setting though I’ve been prepped and taught about visualizations. That is the first leg of the trip. Later I go elsewhere – the tunnel, the cave by the ocean. The lovely meadow and the gate and the huge tree give way to walkways, paths, where spirit – at least that “Sam” dude – walks and I can see him, smiles broadly, showers affection upon me.
With Grandma Blanche, in retrospect, I cannot say with total confidence that I saw her. It’s like I did see her but the way I might in dreams: I know it’s Grandma Blanche regardless of what she looks like.
And right now I have a memory of Grandma Blanche, and a memory of the cave where I first realized that she is my guide, and visually speaking the memory of the cave is very sketchy regarding how she looked. But that it was Grandma Blanche, that was abundantly clear.
I think Aunt Geri is near too.
Anyhow. This my experience, meditation, communing with Spirit, all of that, takes faith to be fruitful. Especially if I’m to meditate alone. In circle, at church, etc., there is a collective energy applied that is powerful; enough to knock out doubts that might impinge on a solitary meditation enough to nullify it altogether.
Anyhow – Bekah – I love you. I wish you were here, in the flesh, breathing, laughing, doing your growing and your learning back on earth.
You gave me this calendar, and I love you for it. I appreciate your concern for me, and do conclude that I am your mother and you were my daughter and you are my daughter always. Though roles may eventually reverse because of the deplorable interference of your destiny by the worst crime we know of.
I need not worry beyond the confidence of being your mother. I can speculate but even that would be effectively worrying it don’t you think?
All is done; the destinies were rewritten in the space of one final heartbeat. The space of your death – what unfolds from here to when we are together again and even to when one or both of us returns to a mortal state for another life – these transpirations perhaps scripted in haste, under duress, and also subject to unforeseen – well, we’ll go as we go and learn as we go, right?
Oh, yeah, I should not forget – we’ll decide as we go, and between all that even without the capricious and homicidal actions of another, we will decide and continually decide. We’ll use our minds and minds do change.
For not the first and not the last time the unchanging and immutable element pipes up, saying minds, yes, but not this most vital aspect, that which has in the past, does now, and always will speak to the most basic of needs, fulfilling them through lives after lives, validating those whose lives appear to have ended, maybe, if you like, the aspect that finds a way for virtually anyone to feel acceptance of destiny even if it has been altered from without….

Do you know? Yeah. Love.

I could argue over a lot of things. Without your brilliance, your affirmations, manifestations, without goose bumps or cosmic rhymes dropping in to keep my spirit on its toes, etc., without all that and more, I would just withdraw, maybe even shut off my awareness of love, reception to love, issuance of love. And mourn my altered destiny until I catch up to you by dying, much weaker and sadder than had to be….

But Love, keep me open. Your love is free to be wherever and whenever it wants or needs to be.

Someday maybe fairly soon I will know it to be true…
until then, I will simply believe.


meantime I will nurture
all I may
by the grace
of infinite love

and gratefully partake
grow strong on
depend upon
infinite love

Okay…Words run out, mind tired, life intrusive, accusatory. Because of my faults and weaknesses they ramble near senselessness, or so it seems that may be true…
(Birds chirping from outside my window)
But the hand, Bek! It insists, and it is digging into a tired field of answers that may not always make a perfect fit to the question but must satisfy it nonetheless.
In this pile, validation, over there, intuition…my five senses never abandoned me yet but appear gratuitous to the wisdom that must grow the soul big enough and strong enough to carry the love on past the shocking wrongs.
All the help I need is at my disposal and the outcome for me is up to me. Because your life was stolen prematurely against that thing that defines me (and you, and all who love you), and I could not change it, it was fact.
It whipped it some, yes. To my will, your will, the wills of those who love you Bekah, and still survive over here, it was a blow of great proportion.
So in the field I reclaim my will and as I do, I notice that it is a mighty will. It has always been. The forces that tried, still try, to break it: they cannot break it Bekah.
It’s been too well-fed. When it needed to retreat it did, joining you in non-places, we partnered Bekah in this endeavor to triumph.
And triumph is certain – yours, all over the spirit, love, and serenity you impart when you visit this plane with your copious love that nourishes me…back to health, wholeness, a commitment to life within an unusually close attachment to death and the determination and agreement between you and me that at the most basic and important level of who we are – our souls – we love and find within love peace, happiness, hope, and each other. amen

I love you Bekah-la – mom

Friday, January 02, 2004
email from andy on the east coast
Subject: from the future

hi mom. you have one and a half hours to go, and even though im sure you will have caught up with me by the time you read this, i figured id give you a taste of your future. 2004 is here. the scenery hasnt seemed to change yet, but im sure it will soon. i am alone and sober, for the first time on new years since i was 13 (yes i drank when i was 14, and no i am not an alcoholic). my nearest friends are 3000 miles away, trapped in the vile past known as 2003.

and yet it is a happy new year, for one simple reason--2003, that horrid, despicable year (let it be stricken from all records and memories) is finally dead. before we obliterate the memory of the last 365 painful days, let me recap just once.

the year started off bittersweet. i had a good car, an awesome job, a loving though not always happy or functional family, entertaining but depressing friends, and a gross counter strike habit that gave me something to do while stealing countless hours of my life away from me. life was as good as could be expected i suppose, but it was made bitter by the knowledge that in just a few short months it would all be gone. in the news every day, our fearless leader(fearless as
in too stupid to be afraid) George W. Bush demanded that saddam hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction, and insisted that weapons inspectors be allowed to survey Iraq. and, every day, saddam hussein denied that he had any such weapons and said please, send those inspectors and quit bothering me.

then came the fateful day of february 17, 2003. i said goodbye to friends and loved ones and spent the night in a hotel to enjoy my last comfortable bed for the next 9 weeks. navy boot camp is like a cocoon, where normal Human Beings metamorphosize into Filthy Recruits for approximately 40 training days before they finally emerge as Navy Sailors.

during my time in boot camp, george w directed his vast horde of bloodthirsty minions, i mean the coalition forces, to
rain firey death over iraq, and then to stomp out any semblance of order, business, government, military, or personal security left behind from the death bombs. no one was really sure why he had released his death troops and all their high-tech killing equipment on the under-developed and impoverished iraqi people(other than having to do with fighting terror), but CNN polls showed stone cold numbers proving that America strongly approved of the actions. my boot camp division approved as well, and our RDC's seemed to think it was a good thing. i didnt voice my opinion, and i usually try not to.

well, boot camp days are long as hell but the weeks flew by, and soon i was out of there. good days those were, liberty weekend (you were there) and the plane ride to fort meade. fort meade fucking sucks. dont ever go there. oh wait, you were there. well, dont go back.

first sunrise, 2004, hawthorne, CA

so i went on to journalist A school. it ranged from fun to hellish, but usually stayed boring. somewhere during my first
course at DINFOS, Old Fearless declared Victory! in iraq. unfortunately he spoke too soon, because as soon as you say Victory! you are posed with a tough, tough question-- what the fuck do we do now? well, i dont know, and neither did he. however, i can sleep well at night knowing that i had nothing to do with getting us into this mess in the first place. and the head honcho used the easiest possible answer for the question: same damn thing weve been doing. what, you think just cus the war is over were gonna stop fighting? teach you to elect a texan.

i would interject here that we did NOT elect gw; he strongarmed the election. back to andy:

so i went to a DOD school to learn how to write and talk and use cameras and video cameras and radio equipment and above all, public affairs. easy shit.

and then i got busted underage drinking in a fucking park on post. not my proudest moment. well, i got busted and written up and sent to Mast-- Captain's Mast, that is. Non Judicial Punishment. N-J-P. 14 days restriction and extra duty, and im not sure what the other punishment was. it had to do with pay, maybe my rank got suspended or maybe i was supposed to lose a week's pay. either way it got messed up when they put it to paper along with the date, so i think im done with that punishment.

on my first or second day on restriction, i was eating breakfast at the galley and saw on the news that Johnny Cash had died. i guess i looked sad because a friend of mine came over and sat with me. he knew i was on restriction and at the time he and i both thought i was about to lose my school and spend the next four years swabbing decks and chipping paint on some god-forsaken destroyer. so he asked me how i was doin and i said, "I think im gonna cry." "that bad eh?" but then i explained to him that johnny cash had died and i had just found out. to this day, no one has stepped up to the plate to be the next Man in Black. which means that millions of people across the world are dying and suffering and no one is mourning for them. worse yet, the Navy is talking about getting rid of the Working Blue uniform, affectionately referred to as the "Johnny Cashes."

restriction sucked but i got over it as i worked extra hard to pass my broadcast course. i had 7 people tell me i wasnt
gonna make it over the course of a week, four for the drinking thing and three because i suck at talking. well i showed them!! how dyou like them apples? huh, Sergeant First Class Kaufman? whats up now? been teaching this bullshit course for 16 fucking years have you? been teaching since you was a civilian? so you know when someones doomed to failure right? well shove it up your ass, cus im done with your precious radio course and your boring school and your abysmal fucking army post and above all, im done with your worthless ass! look at my sleeve bitch! J to the mothafuckin O! J-O! Journalist asswipe!

i would add here that not only did andy PASS, he passed two points away from earning honors.

sorry mom, having one of them crazy DINFOS flashbacks. so i graduated. my good friend and roommate is stuck in Limbo, i mean fort meade. i recently passed the ten-month mark in the navy. this is the longest ive ever had a job and also the first time any job has promoted me. i have two diagonal stripes cus im an Apprentice and a crossed quill and scroll signifying JO. i have a "real" job now, as in i am no longer training.

one of the first things i learn about my job is that 66 percent of it is watching the news. soldiers are still dying. they arent killing quite as often though. george (he doesnt mind if i call him george does he?) still makes speeches all the time, and he still sounds like a fucking moron, but he seems to have figured out a way to deal with his chronic dyslexia. so now he sounds like a dangerous moron, rather than a funny one. WHO THE FUCK VOTED FOR THIS MAN!!!!

anyway, now that im public affairs, i recognize every Bush speech for what it is, and i know the correct terminology for it--every fucking word Bush says in public is part of a Command Message. i get to deliver Command Messages too, sometimes. all of the Command Messages i have are basically advertisements to taxpayers to keep paying their taxes, because that cash is going towards these submersible vehicles that can really fuck shit up. did you know that 30 percent of the tomahawk missiles used in Operation Iraqi Freedom were launched from submarines?

thats a Command Message, and we (we being the submarine force) are very proud of it.

so, some soldiers caught saddam hussein, and Bush's approval ratings rose. makes me think of this picture in the onion(you should check out the onion by the way-- www.theonion.com) showing Bush in camoflauge holding a rifle
leading infantry troops through the desert. but no, i think he was somewhere in america when saddam was captured. but bush gets the approval. good for him.

now every day the news reports that saddam is speaking to a certain extent, but still will not give up the whereabouts of his weapons of mass destruction. the Media(geniuses they are) have come up with the theory that Saddam Hussein just "made up" those weapons of mass destruction and that they dont really exist. well, its a very smart theory and i do believe ive been saying it since 2002, except that GEORGE FUCKING BUSH MADE UP THOSE WEAPONS while saddam adamently denied their existence.

now, im not going to defend saddam hussein. for all i know(assuming everything i know is true--ive never heard a first-hand account) he deserves to be ousted from power and tried and jailed and possibly even executed, but to this day, we still dont know why we blew the fuck out of iraq and i am sure that, to this day, the soldiers stuck there are looking around and saying, well, what the fuck do we do now?

so thats 2003, from my perspective, condensed and edited(it was such a damn long year--i dont think i can take too many of those) and now let us forget this year ever happened. its 2004 now, and im gonna change a few things. i have a few resolutions, and here they are:

1: I am going to figure out what my job really is.
2: I will go this whole year without locking my key in my room even once.
3: I will vote!! thats right goddamit i am going to voice my opinion in a way that will really make a big difference, right along with 80 million other californian democrats.
4: I am going to put my best foot forward(ow! i stubbed my toe).
5: I will swear off puns forever.
6: I will give dirty looks to any picture, moving or still, of either the president or the governor of california.
7: I should try to quit smoking. thats not so much a resolution as it is an acknowledgement that i should.
8: I will turn 21 this year.

Happy New Year Mom!

love, Andy

Thursday, January 01, 2004
Now is Now's Into Darkness Music Video
CC's video is done...i like the song, enough to want to check out the rest of now is now's music. go look, listen, ya? :)


the moon at sunset yesterday

sunset yesterday

the neglected ficus on the balcony a moment later with the night setting on the camera and the sunset looking like a blaze in the background.

fireworks from our balcony
from here we could hear and almost see fireworks from about 180 degrees around us. firearms too. do people never learn? why do drunks shoot their guns in the air to celebrate, and why do people need guns anyway! we get our food at the grocery store, godammit.

sigh. steam. happy hippy new year. let's all elect a democrat for president, shall we? :)

Who am i, what am i
A picture's worth

moon phases

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