February 16th, 2010

asleep at mal 9/09

Dirk Smiler

I just got a call from officeninja and I've called those who I should, but this is sad and shocking and not at all what anyone would have wanted or expected. Dirk, you will be missed.

And now, a story, a memory, because I don't want to forget, and you were always a most excellent storyteller...

What now seems like eons ago, "back in the day" I used to go to Tracks, which is where I first met you. But I was terminally shy, and you came off as a rather pushy guy hitting on my endlessly. Although you could dance and dressed well even then. But I didn't really get to know you until one of the parties at B & J's house in Jersey.

As usual, the party was great, and early in the morning when everyone else had passed out, we spent a few hours talking. I finally met the person, not the persona, and he surprised me - a lot.

We talked about books and music and why you'd memorized those poems and stories. I listened to you quietly declaim The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (I think), and for the first time I got it. You were calmer than I had ever seen you, cradling your girlfriend so she'd sleep soundly in a strange place, and you were happy to do that. That Dirk and I became friends, partied together at Pennsic, saw each other out dancing, shared food and thoughts and good drinks.

It probably took me too long to get to know the real you, but I'm glad it finally happened, and I'll miss you lots. You lead exactly the life you wanted, but I wish it wouldn't have ended this way or this soon.

I care about you enough to talk to my ex this morning, because as much as I hate his behavior, he didn't deserve to find out about this on failbook.

Here are a pair of pictures, from Dirk's visit to LA for Kyrrin's wedding to Karen. And dancing at Das Bunker and Malediction.

asleep at mal 9/09

Food, obesity, America


Jamie Oliver is brilliant. He may be a bit hard on people, but he's also right. America (and England and...) is killing itself and it's future with food; "child abuse" because kids don't learn to cook, to eat healthily.

I didn't really learn to cook or eat healthy food every day until college and touring with Shakespeare on Wheels. After weeks of being physically active doing construction & setup and eating nothing but fast food, I realized that I'd gained 15 pounds of fat (not muscle). I came to the conclusion that touring with the company and being healthy meant I had to change the way I ate. For me, the only way to make that work was to stop eating meat and learn to cook food that was healthy, fresh, portable, and vegetarian (if not I'd be ordering McDonalds along with everyone else). I was veg for 5 years or so.

I learned a lot: how to balance proteins; how to make my own hummus, tabouli, refried beans, etc; what tasted delicious while being lower in fat and calories than anything I could pick up at a fast food joint; to cook in big batches and freeze freshly made food; to shop smart and spend less money on things that were way better than junk food. Not that I gave up flavor or fats or even sweets entirely, but I cut back seriously, and over time my tastebuds changed and soda, candy bars, cookies & cake became too sweet. Instead I wanted fresh fruit or sorbet or juice, and my favorite snack was hard pretzels with cream cheese or hummus and cucumber.

I stopped eating entirely veg but continued to eat healthy. Good habits are as hard to break as bad ones. Everyone needs to learn that fresh food is easy and delicious as well as good for them; then things like diabetes, heart disease, and other food related illness will begin to decline.

A better attitude toward body image would help too; dieting is not the solution to our country's problems with food. Not everyone is meant to be skinny or even thin, but we should feed our bodies and minds good stuff rather than negativity and processed crap.
asleep at mal 9/09

"Quote... of a lifetime"

In memory of Dirk, and as a reminder for myself and all of you, my friends.

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

From Roger Ebert: the Essential Man in Esquire.

Dirk always seemed to make those around him happier, freer to be themselves, confident with their choices. To my eyes he lived his life in this spirit, and that was a gift to all of us.