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|Thursday, January 26th, 2012|
|Monday, April 11th, 2011|
|-unedited thoughts on the weekend-
As the title suggests, these thoughts have yet to be put through the mill of editing, and the resulting edits (and additions etc) can be found on my tumblr account, which you can track down if you've a mind to. There should be links to it floating around here somewhere. I post there quite a lot, in part because it makes posting very easy--I still give love to livejournal and myspace, sites to which I am dedicated.
It is Monday, a little past noon, and I am still slightly deaf. Aside from being at work, which by its nature sucks, I couldn't be happier. Sunday's trip up to Chicago and the Peter Murphy concert were wonderful. Before I go into too much detail about them, though, here is this really, really, really, amazingly cute video:http://jezebel.com/#!5790571/cat-and-dolphin-are-best-friends-youre-not-made-of-stone
And then here are some not so cute links to stories I find interesting.http://www.asiaobscura.com/2011/04/fake-graveyards-outside-beijing.htmlhttp://io9.com/#!5790596/watch-jarring-footage-of-chinas-massive-ghost-townshttp://io9.com/#!5790504/hypnotic-24+minute-video-will-transform-you-into-a-taipei-mass-transit-car
So, I'll start at the beginning rather than just jump into the fray. I woke up on Sunday morning feeling the hints of a mild panic attack. These hints happen every now and then, and really are not all that worrisome, as most of them do not amount to anything more than a slight sense of unease. Knowing this, I tried to ignore it and drink some tea, which sometimes helps to calm my brain and set me on a path that is not so shaky. Instead, however, due to my persistent fear of traveling, I spent far longer than I'd like to admit simply not moving. Alex managed to bring me back to reality, and after taking a nap/an episode of Scrubs--the mind-wiping ability of such shows is wonderful--we headed out for parts west with a less than healthy Eric along in the back seat. It was an unseasonably hot day, ninety degrees in the City proper, so we all wore short sleeved attire that would also pass for club-wear. I wore a lovely silk shirt that ended up being not so lovely by the end of the night--it ripped down the back, for no reason at all, after the concert--and combat trousers on top of my new (and amazingly comfortable) jackboots. After a debate about the proper fashion for a goth concert (anything other than baseball caps, sports jackets, and polo shirts), Alex wore a simply lovely black dress along with silver tights and calf length black boots. Going with comfort over style, Eric wore a jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt. Honestly, when you are going to be in a club for an untold number of hours, comfort beats style every time. Alex and I both had jackets for the prophesied storm after the show, and we carried them in shoulderbags along with whatever else we wanted to truck around for the afternoon. The drive up to Chicago (team driven by Alex and Eric) was quite pleasant, and the weather was nice enough that we had blue skies heading into the city. We arrived and found the perfect (read: free) parking space only a few blocks from the venue, and strolled over to Chinatown. Having never been to Chicago's Chinatown, it was something of an experience for me, even in the punishing April heat. After walking a few blocks on the main drag of Chinatown, Alex shepherded Eric and I into the nearest Chinese restaurant, which looked like nothing so much as a combination of an automat and a deli, with grim furnishings that spoke of an origin sometime in the late Eighties. Despite the slightly drab surroundings, the restaurant was cooler than the street outside, and sitting back to enjoy water, tea, bubble tea, and potstickers was just the ticket for the afternoon. The place was reasonably priced, too, though the food was nothing really to write home about other than perhaps a letter stating that 'the food has not killed me, yet.' Draining final glasses of water, we ventured forth in search of excitement, adventure, and things to do before the concert started up. Excitement and adventure took the form of the most alluring of the many souvenir shops on the main drag. We walked in to find ourselves facing the most fantastic piece of holographic art any of our eyes had ever seen. Simply put, there are two things every red blooded male loves: scantily clad women and tigers. Combining these two things in such a way that from one angle you see a tiger and from another you see a buxom woman pouring out of a tiny top is simply a recipe for making millions of dollars. Amused, we all studied the piece, and the other similarly atrocious pieces nearby, for far too long. The extreme tourist-trap nature of the area combined with stores that were actually dedicated to serving their community seemed quite fascinating. We continued to wander in the store, trying on all sorts of hats and marvelling at the terrifying array of small statues for every religious preference. Seriously, we saw a miniature gold painted last supper--had it not been five bucks, far too much for such an abomination, it might have made its way home with me for the complete novelty of it--and I'm sure someone in my circle of people would have appreciated it as a gift of sorts. Darting over to the clearance area, I found a set of cotton meditation clothes which fit me quite wonderfully. Various purchases in tow, we headed to the nearby Buddhist temple, which had a fascinating array of books, prayer beads, and devotional objects. The nun inside was munching on a bowl of baby carrots, and after greeting us in a cheerful manner, promptly went back to her carrots and paperwork. We spent a few minutes browsing, Alex studying the small pieces under the counter while Eric and I discussed meditation and Buddhism in general. Our nun/shopkeeper broke all our trains of thought when she asked for help with sentences. Confused, we flocked over to her desk, and after brief shrugging, turned the task over to Alex, who had the strongest grasp of the English language of any of our group. While Eric and I continued to putter around and look at all manner of shiny objects, Alex helped the nun with homework involving dependent clauses and the like--I would have been just as lost as the nun trying to puzzle through that rather simple sheet. And yet somehow I ended up with a college degree. I ended up buying two books (one for Eric, one for myself), and we trooped on our way after having helped the very nice, carrot-eating nun with her English homework. There have to be some good vibes in doing something like that. Walking back to the car with our loot (after checking out a store selling nothing but swords, knives, and spears--all of which were quite pretty and expensive as all hell), the wind buffeted us at every turn, shifting and knocking us about. After depositing our things at the car and changing out some of our gear for more sensible pieces, we headed off to Reggie's Rock Club for dinner and the show. Dinner turned out to be a wonderful portion of food (a grilled hot dog and fries) along with sparse cups of water. After devouring our meals, we headed out to wait in line at the gate of the club itself, having heard the thudding bassbeat of the soundcheck through the walls of the bar. The seven or eight people in line before us were all over thirty five, and sat on the pavement with a detachment that comes from years of waiting for bands on sidewalk with countless points where used up gum has blackened the concrete. Behind the last of these lined folks there was a black chair with a slight bit of leather padding on the seat. Since nobody else could be persuaded to take the chair, I sat in it for the first twenty minutes or so of our wait before I yielded it to Eric. Alex braided my hair as I sat on the ground next to her. The sky looked black with the predicted rains, as if they were waiting for the moment the doors to the club opened to unleash their fury. The club doors opened on time, and after delightfully minimal searches we headed in and made our way forward to the third row of bodies, close enough to the stage to touch it if we reached in the right direction (okay, so the fact that I have freakishly long arms might help). The sound crew took an age to set up for the first band, but eventually they took the stage. The shirtless and shave-headed singer, Livan (also the name of the band) was full of a dark rock energy that had the crowd moving even though it was quite clear that no one could understand a word that the vocalist was singing above the din of the rest of the band. All the same, the sang their set, transporting those of us who remembered going to garage band concerts and setups in the strangest of locations back to those locales, wishing we could go to concerts like this every day--I tried to explain that I really liked music like that to Alex later on, music that you couldn't hear because of how loud it was, music that vibrated you down to the core of each chakra. To her, this is probably just further proof that I am slightly deranged. The energy that Livan had on stage was undeniable, and he played the part of warm-up man quite well, having drawn the eyes of the crowd toward the swirl of black paint on the left side of his face as well as to his ability to perch on a microphone stand that he probably made himself. The set up for Peter Murphy proper took an age, and by the time the drummer for the band showed up and solved all of the problems that the inept soundcrew at Reggie's could not solve, for all of their pacing about and shrugging, the crowd was ready to riot. Soon after this quick fix from the percussionist, the band took the stage, with Peter Murphy holding absolute control over the audience, making everyone forget that they had waited nearly two hours to see him. Peter's first song was slightly difficult to hear due to the various instruments drowning out his voice, but after that the flow of the music and the crowd harmonized, and in their own goth way, everyone danced. The 'Godfather of Goth' hates being called such, and seems to regret all the vanity and pettiness that went with that lifestyle. I have never seen a person more comfortable on stage or with an audience--not treating them as something to be worked, a beast of burden that will always spit out money, but rather as friends. When one man can make it seem as if everyone in a packed club matters, and is one of a very select number of people sharing the music with him, that is something beyond talent. As the master himself said: "I'm a genius."--and he totally is just that. An absolute genius. Alex and I swayed with the music, knowing many of the songs by heart and moving with them as well as those we'd only heard for the first time. On stage, Peter danced about in a fashion that seemed almost out of place for the creator of 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'--but here, now, he shed that persona and seemed to be truly himself--I don't think that is something many people can say. He played all of his hits, merging the wonderful 'Strange Kind of Love' with 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' to create an absolutely beautiful piece. I would swear he looked at Alex and I and smiled during "Cuts You Up."--as if our dancing and closeness made him happy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN3A91YQF7w
During part of 'Cuts You Up' it seemed like he simply stopped and painted the small portion of space occupied by Alex and I with his hand. It was an interesting experience. We are in the bottom left frame of this video from time to time, but in the dark of the club, it is hard to tell.
And then we have 'Ziggy Stardust'--the best version I have ever heard, mind you--a small bit of which is posted here. Listen closely at one point and I think you can even hear Alex laughing (you'll know where--how's this, at that exact moment, I remember her laughing clear as day, and since the man behind the camera was rather close to us, odds seem to be favoring it being her (or her clone)).
I'd write more, but my brain is turning to mush, and I desperately need sleep (I wrote this part in between the youtube links late on Monday night, and by late, I mean 11:10. I am getting old, and I need sleep).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70z9Ejb4t30
The first encore found Peter and co. coming back on stage and playing a few songs before darting back off into the hallways that make up the back of the club. For the second encore, Peter came out wearing only a vest and a string of pearls (and pants). It was during this part of the night that he sang both 'Strange Kind of Love' and 'Cuts You Up'--back to back and in an absolutely wonderful fashion. After a longer stretch, the band took the stage for the third time, with Peter calling up all of the other people on the tour, and inviting those he didn't know very well to come and lie naked with him after the show. If there is a human being more high on life and people...well...good for them, I suppose, but seeing someone who is truly comfortable in their element is always wonderful. While on stage this final time, Peter smoked and drank what looked like cheap beer from a plastic cup--it might well have been ginger ale (I forget whether or not he actually said it was beer), and announced that as it was the last night of the tour, he was going to get a little emotional. And emotions were high in the club, all of them (aside from the drunken emotions of fighty pseudo-goths who think all goth amounts to is white makeup and a slutty French maid outfit) wonderful and very positive. I wore meditation beads that I actually wanted to get some positive energy flowing into (like I've said before, my beliefs are strange, my practices even stranger), and now have good memories attached to those beads. And that...is a very good thing indeed.
After three encores, the show finally wound to a close and the house lights went up. I did not have a chance to get anything signed by Peter or introduce myself formally, but I think the informal smiles and touching of hands during "I'll Fall With Your Knife" more than make up for that. All the same, one of these days I'd like to get him to sign a copy of something by Rumi for me--I actually had a copy of 'The Whirling Ecstasy' in my pocket as well as 'A Place Where We Can Meet' in Alex's bag as possible things to be signed, but as the hour was late and the weather absolutely horrible, it was agreed (and really, sane) that we left for home right after the show. The light rain outside of the club quickly turned to a downpour as we walked eastward to the car. It was a hard, vertical rain that was warm at first but changed to quite chill by the third of five blocks between the concert and our ride home. This kind of rain, as Eric pointed out while we scurried along through it, really only happened in Chicago, and South Bend's heavy rains were always disappointing, never lasting as long as those in the city. Marvelling at the number of drops that barraged the street, I couldn't help but agree with him. The coats that Alex and I donned before going out into the storm were soaked by the time we made it to the car. After awhile of driving the storm tossed roads between Chicago and Hammond, we pulled off and got food for Eric, who was our driver for this portion of the trip. As we got back into the car, my silk shirt ripped horizontally along the back for absolutely no reason at all. Annoyed but also amused by this development, I displayed my now shredded garment to those up riding up front, who were likewise amused by it. We were all more than slightly deaf at this point of the ride, ears still ringing from the concert. Eric turned on the sleep-inducing 'Late Night Coast to Coast AM' and we listened to someone babble on about crop circles and Nibiru (the tenth planet) until Alex took over driving and I moved up front. We managed to keep one another awake for the nineteen miles home, and after dropping Eric (who had, of course, fallen asleep the moment he sat down in the back of the car) off at his apartment with a bag of mandarin oranges, we returned to the Robinson household and slept the sleep of the dead until we were awakened roughly five and a half hours later by our internal clocks. Spending a late morning, not having to worry about work or school when you normally would, is one of the nicest ways to wake up, especially when it involves lots of cuddling, snuggling, and wonderfulness. At exactly the stroke of noon, I sat down at my station in the main reading room--my proper station having been moved about slightly, as the chairs in here have been moved into little groups of three for no apparent reason. My new station is in the southwest corner of the room, and as I depart it for the afternoon (which will hopefully consist of more tea and more snuggling), I realize that it is actually a very nice place to write--allowing me to watch as the various people stroll through the room, but also to just Zen-out and focus on the words flowing across the page. That said, I hope that everyone has had a wonderfully fantastic weekend.
|Tuesday, March 29th, 2011|
|Midnight at the mental oasis.
Thanks for all the wonderful things people have said and sent me about Kerry.
Notre Dame has its own Wind Up Bird. Its whistle reminds me of a corkscrew. Not of the act of uncorking a bottle, mind you, but of the shape of the screw. It is curved, sinuous in chrome, and comes to an altogether shocking point. The bird carries this tune for several minutes while I contemplate its song. Scanning the pines and few surviving elms (a wave of Dutch Elm Disease whipped through campus two decades ago, and the elm population has never recovered), I spot the most likely culprit, a cardinal, red feathers brilliant amid the leafless branches of the tree (a sycamore) where he is perched. He is calling for a mate, early in the season as those things go, but in Indiana even the animals seem to operate on the theory of breed early and often. The spring-driven cardinal, mainspring winding down, slows to a halt in this particular tune and changes to a telegraph-like sound. This tune seems much more to be a pop-standard amongst cardinals, and can be heard from March until October (provided the weather is right), and after a minute or two of whistling, the avian tenor wings northward across the quad, landing in the knot of trees that screens the Golden Dome and Basilica from the rest of campus.
I have been reading more of late, but not as much as I should be (and not, honestly, what I should be--I'm still reading for enjoyment as opposed to edification and (most importantly) education.)--all the same, it is nice to feel something close to literate after so long in the woods of unliteracy (different, you understand, from illiteracy--worse in a way that the former is a choice rather than something the reader (or potential reader) has no control over.). Six Walks in Fictional Woods (by Eco) is one of those books I need to track down and devour in the way that I do with everything that brilliant Italian semiotician's writes. Just a thought, there, attached to nothing in particular. The main reading room is slowly filling with students to the clack of the keys on my keyboard. The more I type, write, create, the more students arrive--making me feel like the sorcerer's apprentice in a modern day setting. One student, the best looking of the male students, is chatting up his opposite number in the sunlit alcove that the rest of the room spins around in a half-axis, off center and yet, in its own bizarre way, still the axis-mundi of the library. They are both looking down and away from one another at points, smiling all the while--it seems almost voyeuristic of me to describe their conversation and slow verbal dance--she is playing nervously with her hair, tying it into a tight ponytail as if to tether herself to the couch, and he is talking with his hands, crafting worlds in the spaces between his palms and fingertips. They are both amazingly well dressed in that casual manner of students, her outfit costing more than what I spend in a year on clothes (though to be fair, as she can pull off the outfit, it is money well spent), and his pants shrieking of sweatshop labor that those eight-fingered six year olds should be proud of. Maybe not, though, maybe he is like other members of our generation (I must, after all, remember both my age and his), and buys clothes only from places that pay their workers adequately. They pay their workers, yes, but do they pay the cotton growers enough? How about the transporters and haulers? These are the people everyone seems to forget about who make modern commerce (all commerce, really) possible. I wonder. They stop their elegant word-dance, both, it seems, through gazes, wanting much more than words--from across the room her eyes, mixed with sunlight, are impossible deep cenotes, pools of umber. Perhaps she is Italian, from the Levant, or maybe Iberia. Her skin is that olive color that speaks of no need to really tan and yet a love of doing so. His eyes shine equally with a brilliant blue that speaks of ancestors from more northern climes: the Celtic portion of the world, perhaps, or even Denmark. He has returned to the red leather chair that will serve as his throne after smiling and nodding for what must seem like an eternity to both of them, his work sits idle on his lap as he continues to stare at her. Watching him watching her watching the world. He returns to his work, shaking his head slightly in that way males do from time to time (I think this is an exclusively male pastime) as if to clear thoughts from his brain. She gets up to talk with another student, walking towards the entrance to the reading room, away from our male subject and myself. He watches her, pen clutched in his right hand, gripped both vise-like and utterly forgotten. Her clothing betrays deliberate intention, far different from the casualness of his jeans, sneakers (Adidas), and Hensley shirt. Her boots, though, are more a nod to the weather than one often expects of students (law and otherwise), who seem to think that as long as it is sunny, one can wear sandals. It was twenty five degrees this morning, and the lined (perhaps faux-shearling, perhaps real) black leather (suede, of course) boots recall this. Both of them (the pair, recalling 'The Lovers' of tarot arcana and any number of myths) make good subjects, perhaps because their actions are predictable--we know that he will gaze longingly at her, distracted from work, and that she will pretend to ignore him for a while. Eventually, if things play out as they often do, their designer clothes will be shed and high-thread count sheets (only used when company is expected, of course) cast rumpled to the floor. That, however, is the province of writers getting paid to write about such tawdry things, not, I should say, one such as myself. Whatever their origins, intentions, and endings, the two of them provide interesting subjects. The girl who has spent the morning sleeping on the loveseat nearest me, facing the western window at my back, soaking up the sunlight at the same time her arm shields her eyes from it, has awoken from slumber and is now reading over some text or another. There is a quilted winter coat draped over her, providing a shield from the slightly cool air and random draughts that cut through the main reading room, reminders of chill morning that surrounds this island of warmth and central heating. Why students come in to sleep remains a mystery--sleeping between classes is understandable, and in fact supportable--but why one would leave the warmth and comfort of a bed for the cramped space of a loveseat is one of those things I've pondered long into the later parts of the morning. People, as always, remain eternal question marks in many of the things they do. Our heroine, leaving our hero watching, has exited the room. Our hero returns to work after shaking his head a final time, smiling in that way that one must when one forces oneself from pleasant thoughts. Two girls in equally hideous and probably quite expensive outfits gossip in the corner of the room. Our heroine returns, our hero getting up to discuss some Great Matter with her, perching on a small ledge near her. I'm certain they are discussing matters of the greatest academic importance, and smiling at the complexities of Civil Procedure. Our hero pulls a white sweater from his backpack, dons it, and, smiling once more to our heroine, walks towards the main entrance, grinning to light the room. Our heroine gathers up her books a few minutes later and exits. They are oblivious to the theatre they have created for me, a sort of private play or opera, perhaps a ballet or shadow-play, moves and tropes known down through generations, remembered in the ancestral corners of the brain--locations changing from fields and forests to villages and gradually advancing to cities knitted together with roads and wires, communication and romance possible at faster speeds and yet remaining exactly the same. Everything remains the same. Everything changes. Change is constant, change is beautiful. Everything is dynamic, yet, moves at the same rate, and so appears static. We are wonderfully charged with so much energy, static and kinetic, potentiality waiting inches below the surface. The birdsong of the morning provides background music, a screen of what should be green noise rather than white noise. White noise reminds me of the inventions of mankind, the products of Marconi and Theremin. An endless series of rumbling, squeaking buses and trolleys provide bass counterpoints to the feathered choir. A few delivery trucks serve as baritones, filling in the scale of noise. The bells provide occasional reminders that they too have things to say, things they have been saying for millennia, reminders to work and pray, to make appointments in town, to set up and close down the market in the village square, and to celebrate. Bells have rung for countless centuries in celebration of everything from birth to marriage to victories at sea. We will know that Western Civilization has fallen as soon as the last bell falls silent. That will be a sad day, and I hope that I am long gone, and pity any descendants I leave behind who live to see it. I wonder about rising sea levels, and what offspring of this generation, Generations X and Y (though X has already started breeding, and Y still sees breeding as an ironic and pointless act with all the suffering in the world--perhaps not realizing that the world has always been a place mixed with darkness and light, stillness and motion, and that breeding is just one of those things that must be done to carry on the great work of civilization) will think about when they think of the Eastern seaboard, will the beaches be the same, will the cities of New York and Boston depend on grand canals rather than grid-pattern streets? The future, I suppose, is for the future. The subtle vibration of my phone reminds me that there is a world outside the law library, and it is with amazing glee that I send a text back across the formless void to my lover, taking a break from my recording of everything that crosses my mind.
I dreamed many things last night, and perhaps these dreams should go before my previous statements and rambles, but I choose to place them here, only remembering that I should record them now.
My first dream was set right next to the main circle of Notre Dame, outside this very window, in fact--except, instead of the green and rolling expanse of quad, there was an archaeological dig, and at this dig we discovered evidence that the (Egyptian) Old Kingdom had in fact wiped out traces of a previous Caucasian kingdom existing in the area, replacing the Classical Greco-Roman images with those of Osiris, Isis, and Ra. The discoveries led to a book the excavation crew was in trying to find support for. I was barefoot in the dream, and this led to many discussions on the nature and point of shoes.
The second dream started in a post apocalyptic world where comets, spreading radiation and death in their paths to those not in shelter, ruled over a series of small kingdoms desperately holding on and hiding out in a series of castles--and into this world Steven Archer, Donna Lynch, several members of the Cruxshadows, and myself were sent to find a heroine who could defeat the comets and save one of the various kingdoms from defeat. The comets, as we found on our sojourn through the blasted wasteland, were actually alien spacecraft, and we had to hide from them on several occasions--with Mr. Archer, acting as the leader of our stalwart band, finding a way to defeat the probes that the alien-comets sent down to enslave mankind. All in all it was an awesome dream, as most dreams about Ego Likeness are. It should be mentioned that Steven Archer was riding a lion for half the trip, while the rest of us rode on horses and yaks. If I had the money, I'd commission a work of art (from Archer) based on the dream, but as it is rather difficult to describe ['Dear Steven Archer...please paint a picture featuring yourself riding on a lion, defeating comet-using aliens, while the Cruxshadows (sans Rogue), Donna Lynch, and myself look on from the shelter provided by various pieces of furniture in a post apocalyptic world. Also, throw in a few castles here and there, and maybe give yourself a breastplate and an axe.]--yeah, that would go over well. All the same, when I have money (see, I'm being positive there and saying 'when' instead of the more honest 'if'), I will try to commission said painting.
There were also other dreams, baser and more standard, but those...are to be expected, lovely as they are, describing them is rather difficult.
It is eleven thirty three, and I realize that I have not heard the eleven thirty bell. Perhaps I am going mad, perhaps I am simply wrapped up in writing--writing about dreams of Ego Likeness defeating aliens (robot aliens, of course) and riding lions is pretty awesome. Maybe I'll scratch the idea of a painting and just commission a mural or piece that would take up an entire ceiling. I think I am going to shift seats, over to one in the sunlight. It seems like a nice place to sit, and the change of viewpoint--although the chair faces the same way, it is about seven feet to my right, by the south facing windows that overlook the arch under the commons area of the law school. The arch is wide enough for six tuba players to walk abreast when the band and Irish Guard process into the stadium on game days.
This new seat deprives me of a view of the main circle--I'm not sure how I feel about that--but allows me to watch the students outside with much greater ease. Writing about those students, though, is more difficult than observing the students within the law school, as the latter group is closer to my cloth-padded observation post, and often lingers near enough to it (as with our hero and heroine) that I can write about them at my leisure. And all I have, while I am here, is my leisure. The sunlight feels nice, but the glare on my glasses (I am forcing myself to wear glasses as not to strain my eyes when I stare into that middle distance so often filled with students who unknowingly become subjects) is slightly distracting. I liked my previous seat better, but if loveseat-sleeping (now studying) girl notices me moving about too much, I imagine she will start to wonder (if she hasn't already). The flow of students in sweatshirts blazoned with the University logo (I actually wish I owned such a sweatshirt, as there are times when I simply want to blend, and my wardrobe prohibits me from doing so), North Face jackets, jeans, trousers, sneakers, flip-flops, and Uggs goes from a river of humanity to a slow and steady drip in the course of a few minutes--all those going to class are in class, all those free of class are elsewhere, aside from the few students going from place to place--maybe running late, maybe running down the clock until their next class begins, maybe simply running from themselves. I watch as the sidewalks below and to the right of me are free of students for ten seconds. Lacking a watch, I count the seconds in my head, noticing a squirrel, the boldest creature in the campus bestiary that includes rabbits, chipmunks, cats, ducks, dogs, crows, hawks, and deer when the weather is right. Finding deer tracks in the snow always gives me a certain glee that stems from mornings spent in the woods with my father and Sadie, the Old English Sheepdog with whom I learned to walk by clutching her fur. I still refer to such dogs, in my head, anyway, as Sadie-dogs. The dog was a four-legged Chewbacca, and I cannot think of her without smiling. If I write any more about dogs, I will start sobbing openly. And while I have no problem doing this, it might disturb some of the students, so I will move to the activity of describing those students instead. One student, definitely trying both to be a hipster and a law student, walks through in flannel, jeans, horn-rimmed glasses, and sporting beard which is trimmed in such a way to give it that uncared for look--cultivating a look of disinterest always requires more work than actual disinterest. This seat is heated unpleasantly by the sun, and as such I am going to return to the seat where my viewing station (observation post, ivory tower, whatever) normally is. First, however, I'm going to go off in search of fresh water--keeping to the 'Hydrate or Die' maxim from my days and nights hiking with the Boy Scouts in New Mexico. More on that in a minute.
I return with fresh water, ultimately from the aquifer beneath campus. I need to start bringing in a metal water bottle rather than relying constantly on the stream of amazingly wasteful plastic bottles that I have used for the greater part of my time working in the library. I have moved to my standard seat, and turned it into an island of me in a massive sea of not-me. The girl on the loveseat seems like a most unlikely law student. I suppose everyone is most unlikely simply by existence. I'm butchering a quote by someone quite famous when I say that. I want to say Wilde, but it might be someone a few centuries before or after that great Irish genius. The flow of students to and from the main commons area makes me think of the scone from Starbucks I have waiting in my bag for lunch. Deb materialized with it at ten minutes to nine this morning--and even though such purchases help support an evil empire, they are quite delicious. The bells must be silent for some reason today, as I have not heard them ring once (despite mentioning them earlier--I simply assumed I was not paying attention to them--noon and half past noon have gone by and they have remained unrung)--perhaps because it is Lent. As a pagan with Buddhist and Sufi tendencies, I forget the religious seasons which I don't actively participate or believe in. Hipster student is back, clutching his Mac laptop in one hand (open, running something or other while he walks, foolish) and a vitamin water (mostly sugar and dye, little in the way of vitamins according to the FDA) in the other. The urge to punch him in the face is rather strong, just like the urge to punch aggressive straight-edgers. Tights, despite what college fashion says, are not pants. That this needs to be mentioned at all should say something about the state of decay in which Western society finds itself. Western Civilization has always been uncivil in the strangest of ways. All civilizations have been, I should not single out the West--it is simply the one which I have studied for the longest period of time and thus feel the least uncomfortable writing about. There is a point, in the study of anything, when you realize just how little you know about the subject you are studying. There are two things you can do: panic or keep studying, now aware of your ignorance, but also knowing that it is vincible ignorance, and can be overcome, in part, by more studying.
More students fill the edges of the room, occupying the red and tan chairs and producing laptops of their own on which to study, read, create, and otherwise fashion what I can only imagine are all sorts of ideas. People, if you haven't guessed already, fascinate me, and I think I am going to start people watching at the Chicory again now that it is relatively warm out and the winter snows have hopefully had their last attempt to blanket the world in ice and cold. A couple, both in skinny jeans, walks through the room, the long red hair of the girl catching my eye and reminding me of the Little Mermaid--it is hilariously Little Mermaid hair. I scan the room for a talking crab with a Jamaican accent. All the same, I am actually excited about going down to the Chicory this Friday to write for an hour or two before the standard lunch and game of theoretical chess that takes up a bit of the afternoon. It is twelve fifty, and I am going to break for lunch.
Tah for the moment.
It is one twenty. Ariel and her white sweatering wearing crab substitute flutter back through the library. Another tights-as-pants girl walks through the library--having the audacity to wear these non-pants with white uggs (the uggs and her hideous sweater match in a strange way). I spent my break eating delicious bread from the Irish Cafe and enjoying the literary talent of Robert Wright's Nonzero, a study of cultural evolution that manages to be both sweeping, pointed, and amazingly readable. Usually books only manage one or two of those things, and to net all three--in the worlds of academic writing, the big three--is quite the accomplishment. Walking to lunch, I noticed two girls sitting in chairs on either side of a table--that in and of itself is not something very strange, however, that they were each texting and laughing (rather than conversing, as you'd think two people seated facing one another with about three feet of distance in between them might do) stood out. I'd use that as a jumping off point for a rant about the decline of communication in society, but what I should say is not that communicaiton declines, but that it changes. Oral history, great epics, were a part of human life for what can only be described as countless thousands of years. Now, however, much of that is lost--people don't, as I've heard someone say, talk like they used to. People still talk, and always will, but languages are wiped out every day, and with those languages, culture is lost, a way of life is lost--a way of speaking, of expression. Think about that for a moment. Think about all the songs you know. Now think about the day when no one will remember them, when no one will sing them because they cannot understand the way they are preserved, or perhaps because someone, somewhere along the line, has simply forgotten to preserve them. Kind of terrifying, isn't it? Linguistic extinction is something that needs to be dealt with--there are languages in the Andam Islands, languages that might be as close as we have to an Ur-Language, a proto-tongue, that are being ground under by bureaucracies, ignorance, and habitat destruction. These things need to be stopped, and need to be stopped rigt now. How do you stop what some call progress? When you find an answer, do let me know.
There is a chocolate chip cookie sitting on the table in front of me, and it has been staring at me since I pulled it out of my bag a few minutes ago. I imagine it will stop staring at me soon enough, or if it will stare, I will not be able to see it. The human body is one of those things (along with, I suppose, everything) that absolutely fascinates me. The wonderful complexity, and the realization that every living thing around us is this complex is simply amazing, really fucking amazing. And that they now have all sorts of chemicals and creations that can alter the way that body functions, make it 'better' in ways that generations before us would have thought possible only after drinking the water at some holy well (some of those wells, it has been proven, contain lithium, something that makes you feel totally awesome and improves your mood substantially) is almost beyond belief. Science is only magic that we have put a name to. Then again, magic is, in some sense, a science of itself, often focused with using the true name of everything. Finding and controlling the true name of a thing gives you power over that things. We know the name of the atom, and we have harnessed its power to do great and terrible things in our name. We have become Death, Destroyer of Worlds. And yet we are wonderful, and yet we are beautiful.
That is all for now.
I found these links, and thought you (yes, you) should see them.http://jezebel.com/#!5786233/farmer-claims-sheep-gave-birth-to-a-dog http://www.visualnews.com/2011/01/24/the-sound-of-awkward-album-covers-of-regret/http://ghiblicon.blogspot.com/2008/03/mononoke-hime-1980-original-miyazaki.html
|Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011|
|Wednesday, March 16th, 2011|
|A rather long entry, made up of several shorter entries starting around March 7th.
It is March 16th, 2011. And here is what I've been rambling about for the past few days.
It is March 7th, and this is what I wrote while avoiding work.
First off, Lemonheads do not taste nearly as good as I remember them tasting. The mind, in the absence of something, creates a likeness of that thing, and sometimes that likeness is accurate. Other times, long deprived of anything to compare it to, the likeness becomes slowly mythologized, and such is the case with most candy. The advertisements would always tell you, correctly, perhaps, that what you were eating was pure ambrosia collected by nymphs and...well, you get the idea. You also get, hopefully, that such ideas are planted in your head, and more often than not false. It is strange, perhaps because I watch so little in the way of TV now, how I tend to mythologize the ads themselves. I realize, though, that by doing so, these ads have achieved their purpose, they have, even though I do not buy their products nor even support their existence, won me over to the side of consumerism. I want things now simply because I am told that they will make me a happier human being. I know, on just about every level, that this is inherently false, and that the only thing whatever product they are selling (Kitten Mittons, etc) will do to my station in life is deprive me of what small income I am deriving from my rather mindless work. Work that, at the moment, enables me to write this very passage (which I will later edit and such before posting somewhere in the ether). I have become, to quote William Gibson, mediated. Influenced and saturated by media of all sorts. Soaked in it. Doused and lit by the candle of advertising, I am a torch to the benighted and unmediated areas, carrying the light of my flash and setting sparks off wherever I go. We all are like this, in our own strange ways. We all are conduits for media, for the world to see how media has changed and shaped us to its will. Ground us to its purpose. Molded us after being heated properly in the furnace of the advertising world, a world which we can never truly escape from--and would never truly want to, despite the parts of our nature which seek an escape from the modern world. This modern world that keeps us alive through vaccines, and all sorts of medical wonderment. Escape would mean a nasty, brutish, and short life. And when we realize this, we retreat into the safe coils of advertising, of the modern. The internet itself has fundamentally changed things. For everyone. Whether or not they even use it, even understand it. The distances between people are smaller than ever before, yet the gulf between two humans has grown beyond measure. We can now communicate at the speed of microprocessors with people from all across the world. Though our mind insists that since we cannot see them, cannot touch them, they are no more real than the numerous spambots that frequent any number of sites. And in a way, both things are correct. The mind, as I understand it, is terrified on a basic level that there is so much available to it, so much stimulation from any number of sources, so many indulgences. We can indulge the intellect by reading sciene-filled blogs, humor our inner gossip-monger by reading any number of fashion and celebrity blogs (jezebel is one of my favorites, followed by nerve.com), or give in to any kind of lust we have for anything through the perverse wonders of the porn-and-erotica industries. In many ways, the internet is like the mind, with very brilliant and very dark, twisted places that forget about humanity, forget that all people are in fact people, turning them into counters, pawns, chess pieces in some warped game. Objects in inner space.
And yet...the internet is not like the mind at all, it controls nothing, and yet has a strange sort of power.
It is a very odd world which we inhabit.http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2011/3/7casey.html
I suppose one of my biggest fears is Borgesian. That of loving books and going blind. Borgesian not in the sense that it is something he wrote of, but something that he experienced, gradually going blind as the years progressed--and worse, I suppose, knowing that he would go blind, as his condition was hereditary. He speaks of it in several published collections of lectures at various universities around the world. As always, his speeches fascinate me immensely, and I read them...well, whenever I need to fall asleep, in part because his writing is so brilliant (like Eco's in that regard) that it simply overwhelms my brain and forces me to sleep, to process all the information I've just taken in with dreams, dreaming of Babel and modern polymaths, of creating a society simply by creating the idea of that society, and watching as it creates itself, works itself piece by piece, through artifact and entry, into the world, crossing timestreams and multiverse boundaries. Curious. I need to read more proper literature, need to force myself off this devil-box and into the world of ideas, a world that...has different perils, but is altogether a more welcoming world than that of the internet, full of distraction as it is. If I want to write, and I take this advice from a number of sources, then I need to read. Everything. Everything of merit, anyway, and as the reader, I suppose it is my task to determine what exactly merit is. What is substance, what makes a classic. What makes an author brilliant? Better than his peers? Is it simply being read? Being a bestseller (I know several bestsellers who cannot write their way out of a paper bag, and several authors with a pen so skilled it shocks me who are hardly ever stocked because 'nobody reads them.')? Or having a devoted following, however small, that tracks down books and articles to circulate amongst however small the reading circle happens to be?
I must ponder this later, and return to my mindnumbing work, which I have probably put off for far too long--because of the distractions of the internet, of course. I suppose this writing itself counts as a distraction, which explains why I am enjoying it so much. It accomplishes nothing of note, but it allows my brain to work out these complex knots, to get to the roots of things, the kernels of thought that set off these Tunguska-esque explosions in my brain, leaving marks that can be studied by scientists and nomadic hunters alike.
I should write more on Tunguska...and will at some point in the future
I'm listening to 'I'll Stand By You' by the Pretenders. The song is actually quite uplifting and wonderful in its own '80s way, a slow rock ballad of devotion that strikes a chord with me, as it should with any who are/have been in a wonderful relationship. It is a sunny day, I am wearing a scarf because I am writing all of this by a window that is probably slightly ajar, the grout missing due to years of neglect despite the building having been remodeled rather recently. The scarf still smells like bacon, and was made originally in Madagascar. While it looks rather cool, it is also slowly falling apart due to the very natural way it was made, the strings fraying and vanishing here and there whenever I wear it. I have an appointment this afternoon that I am both looking forward to (it should help me in a number of areas) and dreading (I really dislike doctors, despite or perhaps because of the medicine/magic they control and its capricious nature. Shamans of any sort have always been held with that sort of fear and reverence. We never associate with them off the clock for a different reason--theirs is a different world, an interior world, a magical world that they have spent years learning to see. Also, they charge far too much money for their services, there is that too...but mainly my distaste for the profession stems from the first point.). 'Fire and Ice' by Pat Benatar just came on. It always takes great resolve not to sing along to this song as well. Tah.
I sometimes wonder whether or not I am deliberately malingering in the strange hope that it will get my fired--it isn't like I can find another job that will allow me to work without oversight. I hate oversight. Mostly because it means that I have to actually work, and there is not a worse fate than actually having to work when being paid! It might just be because I am anxious about various things coming up. Speaking of things--I need to bother the registrar and have them send transcripts along to IUSB soon. Tomorrow. That will be tomorrow's venture.
Sometimes, I pause and wonder about my beliefs with regard to religion, and then I usually stop such wondering, because I realize how much doublethink is needed to actually consider one's own beliefs objectively. Objectively, my belief system should not hold together. And in a way it doesn't. It is bits of theology, thought, mythology, and realizations from a number of religions around the world, mostly polytheist in nature, as...polytheism just makes more...sense...and...is older, and it seems that with religion, the older, tried and true methods are better than new things instituted and claimed to be the ONLY thing out there. This sort of declaration grates at me, annoys me. Saying 'EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG.' in large letters makes me shy away from whatever it is that is being sold (and religion, like almost everything else invented by humans, is a racket, and believers are racketeers in some sense or another, mobsters trying to force and cajole their ways (invariably crooked) into society. Just like the various mafias of the world). Granted, like some of the mafias, they do certain services to society that, in a society as complex and organized (all societies are complex and organized, especially, it turns out, those that are deemed 'primitive') as the ones we live in, the traditional role of small band shaman must be taken up by a larger group of shaman living who support themselves by enlarging their networks of believers, enlarging their tribes. My views tend to be as such, though as they are rather difficult to express, ask me on Thursday and you will get a different answer entirely:
1.There is the universe. There are many universes, many worlds, but this one is ours. It is more than we can ever really perceive, and any attempts to perceive the oneness of everything (the no-self) should be taken knowing that. See relation, see the divine.
2. Within that universe, there are things that move about and in some small way are able to influence things if it fits some sort of larger pattern. That pattern is the relationship between everything. Everything: stardust floating in the void and grains of sand on a wave-washed beach, the sun rising and warming the world around it, drying the sand. Sometimes, as we know, patterns get skewed or out of whack slightly. And other times, not being able to see the whole tapestry of everything, not being, really, able to comprehend it (both a mercy and curse), we think things are skewed, have been woven by mistake. It is the task of those things which move about the universe, these gods and such, to correct small mistakes where they appear, and show the positive side of what we consider to be negative things. Tragedies on all levels. And sometimes, there are things older and more powerful than these divinities, science. You can only fight physics for so long. Disasters, death, plague. The pattern takes care of itself in ways that seem awful, and simply are in some cases. Sometimes these ways are subtle, and we barely notice them. Other times, they are written of for centuries to come. Changes and repairs are happening all the time--with a pattern as complex as this one (all patterns and all people are amazingly complex, even and especially those that seem simple) it is a simple necessity that as things move, they are repaired. I need to phrase that in a way that sounds more sane. More rational.
3.One should also consider that people, humans, everything, really, has a sort of free will within that pattern. We can do whatever physics and our minds allow us to do. And that can include starting wars that will millions upon millions all for a few more miles of land, or all because you are listening to the voices that say 'everyone else is wrong, and they must suffer for their errors.' Humans are capable of so much greatness and beauty, and yet also so much terror and pain. It is up to us what we do with the world. Sort of.
4. Most religions have some ounces and grains of truth, of a realization of this massive pattern in them. Looking for these everywhere, and following as many of them as you feel comfortable doing is a good way to a happy life. I'd list examples, but as I could go on for ages listing, writing, pondering, I'll leave that to your own more than capable minds.
5. Other things included here.
I used to play in this area that is a wide open reading area, back when it was a hallway with a winding marble staircase leading up the heights of the third floor and down, past the main entrance, into the bowels of the building, the excitement of the student lounge, always a place of joy for a faculty brat. Things change, buildings are gutted, people are molded by time and their environments--of which time, I suppose, is a part--the pressure that acts on the coal, turning it into a diamond. Pressure and time. And when that pressure is released? What are we left with? It seems like not very much at first glance. But then we glance again. We look deeper than the surface, and now, without the pressure, the weight, are able to see all the things below, little worlds undisturbed by the chaos above the calm waters of an endoherric lake, fed perhaps by flowing snow, but with no actual outflow, no sea it meets and joins in the rest of the world's water supply.
I have an obsession with poisonous snakes, other venomous things interest me as well, but for the most part it is the vipers, craits, and cobras of the world which fascinate me. Most of all, I'd say the aspect I'm interested in, if I must pick one--is their relationship to humans. A viper guarded the well in which lay the rose of eternal life sought by Gilgamesh. Ramses the Great would have worn one on his crown at the same time that the Minoans of Crete worshipped the Serpent Goddess. Later on, serpents appear everywhere, as envoys to a number of gods, running this way and that, killing whomever the angered divinity wished snuffed, Cleopatra ended her life with an asp, as, according to Shakespeare, did her servants. Cleopatra did it in as classy a manner as one could expect from a Ptolemaic queen, and apparently allowed the venomous creatures to bite her breasts. As creativity goes, that is kind of near the top when it comes to oddly erotic ways to off oneself. The sex-death connection, I suppose, is always present, depending on who you listen to and how much you value their advice.
Funerals (ahem, life celebrations--soon we will be celebrating Life Day, at least that has some basis and and acknowledged creator) in Indiana are very strange things. They are overseen by cricket-like men with reedy voices, wearing tan sweaters, dark ties, and invariably blue blazers.
English, as I'm sure you know, was not my first choice for an advanced degree--that, of course, was medieval studies, but as that program requires Latin, and Latin is something I have not studied, and my skill with languages is negligible at best. More accurately, my skill with languages is akin to my skill with flying an airplane--I have the greatest respect for those who have the skill, dedication, talent, and knack for such things, but I also recognize that I will never fly through the skies dodging MiGs and strafing T-34s. I can be many things in life, yes, but a linguist and a fighter pilot are things that should probably be left out of that said 'many things.' Astronaut too, but I'm okay with that--mostly, I think there is some innate part of every human being (myself, a man, a being included) that wants to go beyond the sky, into the great and oddly welcoming ocean of absolute zero, to hear the stars sing without the interference of the clouds, to tune in, just for a few seconds, to the frequency of the universe. Of course, leaving the stratosphere is not a necessity for listening to this frequency--just like leaving home and wandering in the world is not necessary for gaining enlightenment. Yes, it can help, can make the process of several kalpa into that of only a few lifetimes, but these things will happen eventually. I am unbelievably exhausted, yawning every minute or two, struggling to keep my eyes open at 10:45 in the morning. This makes working (especially on something as surprisingly complex as editing a number of passages--and making sure those passages are properly spelled and punctuated (something I spent yesterday doing as I was not exactly capable of writing anything akin to a coherent summary of passages x and y on various things relating to national tax law) rather difficult.
I apologize for the lack of proper grammar. My brain is rather failing me at the moment, as previously mentioned.
It is Monday the 14th of March, and I am perhaps unsurprisingly exhausted. I’m still not sure how much sleep I managed to secure last night beyond that it was
less than I need to function properly throughout the day. My weekend went
wonderfully, in case you were wondering about that. Sparing some details, I’m going to force myself to write about the last few days, both to keep my brain
active and functioning, and to make it appear like I am doing my job (which I am
most definitely not, but enough about that). Friday went rather well. I had
several appointments on my plate for the day, but by ten in the morning I found
that all but one of them had been called off, which turned out to be fine, as I
ended up doing things that needed to be done while my brain was functioning
instead. I forget what those things were at the moment, but I’m sure they were
of little interest to you, dear reader, anyway. The afternoon was spent in part
on a venture to Target, which ended up yielding two very nice quality shirts
(collarless, four buttons on the neck—as far as non-dress shirts go, I prefer
shirts in this style. The buttons add a sort of class, and the cotton is quite
soft. Dinner at J.W. Chen’s, the town’s premiere Chinese restaurant, was quite
nice. I actually tried the fish and found it to be amazingly delicious (a
surprise for me, as I usually abhor food of a piscine nature. I returned to the
demesne with my Darling Love, and we ended up watching the first half of the
zany Swedish comedy that was ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’—the third
film in the wonderfully done but amazingly dark ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’
trilogy—a masterpiece of Swedish angst, murder, and brooding darkness
punctuated by hurried people wearing H&M coats and semi-permanent scowls.
The filming and cast are wonderful, and paint a better picture of what Sweden is
like (somewhere that has crimes and problems like everywhere else) than that
described in the glitzy nightclub scenes shown in The Local’s club
nightlife and ‘The Week’s Finest.’ Not to besmirch The Local for
publishing these things, as, unlike the films mentioned above, they show a
glammed up and pretty side of Stockholm, and that is just as necessary as the
knowledge that there is a dark underbelly of things. That dark underbelly,
however, is still aesthetically beautiful, and the establishing shots of
Stockholm and Gothenborg are quite wonderful—and remind the viewer that Sweden
has more seasons than the perpetual winter that some associate with the
countries surrounding the Baltic. The shots of winter, however, are not to be
discounted, and are quite pretty. We stopped the movie at about the halfway
point, as Alex began to drift off to sleep—the film is nothing if not slightly
soporific in nature. Saturday morning found me scrambling for trousers and a
brush to run through my hair. The brush invariably becomes tangled whenever I
attempt such things, but it is more of a gesture than anything else. I scrambled
for these trappings of civilization because Alex was joining the family for
breakfast, and I had overslept my alarms (which would have roused me in time to
find me shaved and properly turned out for said delightful company and
victuals). All the same, true perhaps to males everywhere, the time from asleep
to fully dressed was quite short, and I strolled downstairs soon enough, for a
breakfast of…Swedish pancakes. The connection between the film the night
before and the pancakes of the morning was not lost on me—however, the reason
for the pancakes was that my sister was joining the group for breakfast, and she
is particularly fond of said Scannian pancakes. It did not hurt matters that
there was bacon as well. The rest of Saturday was passed in a wonderful and
dreamlike fashion. Saturday evening was saved from a dull and dreary fate by
Alex’s suggestion that comrade E and I tag along to Niles and the Wonderland
Cinema. E and I ended up seeing Battle: L.A., a fine alien-invasion
film that really cuts out any of the moralizing often evident in such
films—though that the film was produced at all says something about the times
we live in—alien-invasion/abduction films reach their zenith when there is fear
of something outside and other (someone outside and other, a group of someones
outside and other) that a society thinks it should (ignorantly) fear. The film
in question (Battle: Los Angeles) skips out on most notions of plot and
really goes straight for the action-element most films spend far too long
building up to and then skip out on aside from a few minutes of combat here and
there. The result could be described as Blackhawk Down with aliens. It
had its flaws, of course, and the protagonists ended up being the heroes who
discovered their true natures and ended up saving the world from aliens—turning
what would have been a great movie where humanity didn’t triumph (and leaving
room for a sequel) into a cut and dry victory for mankind through some plucky
heroes risking it all for the world flick. The acting, though, was decent—not
that there was really much deep examination of any of the characters—but what
soul-searching was done seemed believable enough, and the actors were not
depending on their star-power, something I really respect, and think definitely
adds to the film. All in all, it was definitely worth the trip, plus, there were
delicious smoothies beforehand in the Riverfront Cafe. The journey back (with
exception of a brief interlude with the Michigan State Police) was full of
lovely conversation involving all four occupants of the car. Such late-night
auto-borne conversations seem like a lost thing in the digital age we inhabit,
and whenever they occur they tend towards wonderfulness. After a late night
encounter with a rabbit that appreciated our headlights, I drifted off to
Sunday found me sleeping in (by the clock, anyway, which had been set
forward the night before), and the whole of the demesne getting to a rather slow
start—something which was rather nice, and consisted mostly of reading a good
book and drinking several cups of mint tea, something which, in the absence of
the more standard Assam and Earl Grey (absence through need to avoid them for
reasons relating to my uncooperative prostate rather than the actual lack of
those teas), has turned into quite a staple. With the intent of helping me clean
my scattered and debris-filled quarters, Alex arrived at some time after noon.
Instead of cleaning, we spent a good portion of the afternoon watching various
TV programs and drifting in and out of various states of slumber when everyone
else vacated the house and silence reigned supreme. Living in a house with
2.5 other adults and two dogs, learning to savor and utilize the rare silences
is paramount to remaining sane.
Dinner on Sunday, rather than the usual affair at the Jones household, consisted of leftovers from the previous week. Chief amongst these culinary remnants was a pork tenderloin from Wednesday or Thursday that proved to be quite delectable when mildly salted. A flourless chocolate cake made by Deb more than made up for the slapped-together dinner. The first day of this week closed with my Lover in my arms.
Monday, however, has not found me in the best of physical shape, and my back feels like it has been attacked by a legion of gnomes. I am uncertain whether this is the result
of sleeping strangely (I’ve had very strange dreams this past week, and would
not be surprised if those dreams led to me moving about (as I’m told I often do)
in my sleep, or if the back-ache is merely a temporary symptom of the various
new and exciting chemicals that are flowing through my system. After a morning
of fetching books for the Circulation Desk, I’ve had the afternoon free to write
(and ostensibly to work on the project that leaves me with this computer,
but…I accomplished enough that it seems my work is going slowly rather than
not at all) and read up on various goings on throughout the world. For now, that is all.
Update: the rest of Monday went wonderfully.
I managed to write some 1400 words yesterday. This pleases me immensely, but is still not what I actually NEED to write (which is, of course, the dreaded personal statement for IUSB, itself a commitment to a program that I am terrified of simply because it is new, and as we all know, new things are frightening, dangerous, and can lead to all sorts of dangerous diseases.). Next up is probably a good thing--being that I have not written a single word of fiction in two weeks. In a way, this saddens me, for I hate not making progress, but also heartens me, because there is a chance that I could think of something new. With luck I will actually write something sort of...not as horrible as all of that which I've written, and keep only out of sentimentality.
It is now Wednesday, and though I've been quite successful in the field of work (I finished the work I needed to do for Monday, Tuesday, and part of today yesterday) I have not written anything of substance, of...merit. I do not really expect to, which might be part of my problem. My outlook itself might need to be shifted massively. My viewpoint, however, will remain fixed with me, seeing what I see through these mildly nearsighted eyes of mine. Having perfect vision, or perhaps even better than perfect vision, 20:15 vision or somesuch, is one of those dreams that is a common thing, I suppose. I had very strange dreams last night. Chief amongst these visions from Morpheus started thus: I am in what can only be described as a shebeen of sorts, with several friends (all of whom have in reality been blown to the four winds, but as this is a dream, we continue onward together), having drunk heavily from flagons that lie empty on a trestle table before us. In front of this table, there is a stage, dimly lit, but far better lit than the cantina itself. The stage is graced by another friend, whom I've known since the summers of my youth, spent on the beaches of Rhode Island. On those beaches, she was always a friendly idol of sorts, a few years older than the rest of the crowd that surrounded my comrades of surf and rock, the sister of my best friend. As it turned out (in the dream) she needed to pass me a message of some sort (the message itself was a shopping list for a rather large and involved dinner that evening at the Chateau Robinson. She chose to pass the message in the form of a strip tease given for the audience (to the delight of said audience--except for myself, as I was trying to decypher the code she was using to transmit the information). The dance eventually ended, and somehow I materialized at Notre Dame and was trying to find a path to the nearest fruit stand so that I could buy swordfish, corn, and pie for dinner. While this is actually the standard menu for a summer meal, why I would purchase all of these items at a fruit stand remains a mystery, like various things throughout the dream itself.
Anyway, the world of the mind is a curious and unmappable (unchartable also) territory.
Moving from that, to lands more charted, or perhaps unmapped in their own varied ways.
First of all, this article from Jezebel.com (yes, I read Jezebel--I make a habit of reading every news source I can get my hands on, and all the sites associated with Gawker.com are included in that--and Jezebel is probably the one that is most in-line with my social and political views (though, thankfully, all of the sites drift towards the Left, though none of them far enough, as far as I'm concerned--then again, as far as I'm concerned----I'm not going to go on a political rant right now, simply because I lack the energy, and my anger would be directed entirely (as yours should be) at the Free World for doing nothing about the popular revolution in Libya, sitting on their hands when they could be saving thousands of lives and ending a brutal dictatorship. If only there was a global organization to prevent the abuse of human rights.)....anyway...
This article from Jezebel is quite well written, and presents yet another reason you should be watching the British show Skins, one of those rare shows that (aside from being set in the Mirror World of England, where everything is the same, yet different in random little ways that make the world what it is, an endlessly varied and diverse place full of little things and ways) captures the terror of high school, and all the problems people actually face. Most importantly, the show does not shy away from the sex, drugs, and drinking (or the attempts to find these things) aspects of life--nor does it avoid the often unpleasant consequences of these various things. And for this honesty, the show is shouted down in America by organizations of 'Concerned Citizens and Parents' (save the world from such a fate and abolish all such Concerns whenever you see them) as being a negative influence, when it should be praised for being an honest depiction of life, realizing that teenagers, the youth of the world, are real people. The article also raises a valid point, and that is that the show actually addresses tough issues like sexuality and gender as dynamic things, not easily discernible static norms. There are no norms in life, and the writers of Skins get that point that America at large seems to have forgotten, or perhaps missed entirely.
So here is that link about which I ranted after promising not to rant.http://jezebel.com/#!5782312/meet-franky-skinss-genderqueer-character
I suppose the title of the link gives you an idea of the article, but...read it anyway.
You'll understand why I rant, why I rave.
I am listening to Morrissey's 'First of the Gang to Die' in the warming sunlight of the main reading room's red leather chairs, and actually getting the work assigned to me finished, leaving me much more time to write, even though I really have nothing to say. I suppose I consider this more of a running conversation with my brain than anything else. 'God in an Alcove' by the incomparable Bauhaus is now running through my ears, reminding me of two things: the first time I listened to this song was the last time I went out drinking with Eric, Steph, and Jeremey on St. Patrick's Day of 2009. I cut class, and it was a very fun afternoon and evening, soundtracked by a Bauhaus CD I had picked up in Edinburgh from a wonderful little record shop run by a very friendly gentleman who actually knew something about South Bend (I said South Bend, and he said 'Oh, yeah, Studebaker was based there.'--turns out, the old goth liked old cars, and what would have been a quick visit turned into a twenty minute conversation). The second thing this song reminds me of, is that despite my inability to drink, I get to see Peter Murphy on April 10th, something that has me quite excited. Despite the warmth of the sunlight, a seeming mercy after living through months of the permacloud that sits like a bruise over the city, a reflection of the flight of youth and the resulting urban death throes, a reflection of internal socio-economic bleeding, cool breezes filter through the not-quite sealed four foot high windows, many still lined with lead, the glass in some places beautifully warped and thinned. I suppose I like these windows immoderately simply because I grew up marvelling at their size, at the birds that would take up residence in the main stairwell when the windows were opened during the often unexpected warm days of spring. That stairwell is now gone, replaced by the reading room I now inhabit. The stairs were the one thing that were really botched when they rebuilt this building. I suppose it is a sore spot with me--I cannot count the number of times I would race styrofoam cups down the center of the stairs, sprinting past amused law students to see which cup went farther. My father and his many student aides would often provide opponents in these gravity-driven regattas of styrofoam, plastic, and paper. Later on that stairwell became a proving ground for a science project on paper airplanes. Needless to say, I was a little pissed off to enter the building and find the stairway had been largely filled in with concrete and steel. At least some of the windows remain, though the afternoon glow they gave the marble steps remains only in my memory. Sorry for that trip into a now-vanished and inaccessible childhood. Moving onward, outward, forward.
I am almost embarrassed to admit how little I've been reading of late. It would appear that my brain needs to be rewired so that I can actually read and enjoy literature, especially if I want to secure an advanced degree in English. But how do I rewire something I barely understand. Step one is not related to literature directly, and is [I hit a stumbling block here, my mind locks up trying to find the proper words] rather that I need to clean and organize everything. Not just books, mind you, though those need to be organized too, but EVERYTHING. I have attempted and come very close to achieving this goal in the past, but fallen short and then fallen back on the clutter and chaos within a few brief weeks. But before that fall into chaos, that descent into entropy, I often notice how nice it is that things are clean. The second thing I need to do is to give myself a rigorous reading list, and not just pick a book randomly out of a number of piles, boxes, and shelves. This list will probably be heavy with things by Eco and Borges. I suppose in that regard I am fairly predictable. I also need to contact Rami at LangLab and offer him the bulk of my sci-fi and fantasy collection, something which he expressed considerable interest in when I mentioned it some months ago. How we've all changed in the intervening months, the world, I mean, not just referring to myself in the Royal We, despite a habit of doing this from time to time. We change, shift, and yet...remain exactly as we are, still brutal and horrible, yet with the most random streaks of something close to humanity. This is something I'm sure I'll repeat from time to time--as a student of what I like to consider history (the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there, and yet they do the same things as everywhere else--everyone eats, prays, talks, laughs, fucks, sleeps, and sings in equal measure.), humanity is a fascinating thing, that will often surprise you when you think the world is a dark and terrible place (parts of it are, yes, but for every dark part, there is light and brilliance), it will glow with joy and laughter. The world is not going to hell, and never has been. Yes, we are destroying and changing the world in ways we are still coming to understand, but we are also creating so much beauty. Powers will always fight and try to kill one another, and it is the duty of humanity, of people everywhere, to help the rest of the world and make even a tiny corner of it into a better place. One cannot, really, realistically, just go off and change things today--which sucks, yes, but all in all, it is for the best. To do certain things, you often need to sit and wait in a classroom, lecture hall, or library for years, soaking up knowledge which will only come in handy years later, maybe decades even, when you finally realize that an education, even and perhaps especially that which you study yourself, turns out to be quite useful, and solves all sorts of problems. I look to the north, out a window, through the trees, to see the spire of the Neo-Gothic basilica that is one of a rare number in the United States that has the trappings to host the Pope if he should ever decide he wants to hold Mass on campus. The trees conceal the green expanse of the main quad, a delight in spring, summer, and fall, but a Siberian wasteland in winter, plagued by snow and impossibly frozen air, breath crystallizing, ungoggled eyes begging to be closed as the wind assaults them. Now, with luck, it is closer to spring than winter, and we are hopefully past the worst of the snows, and moving slowly, often under corpse-pallid grey skies, to the warm breezes of spring and summer. From sweater weather into skirt weather. I look forward to being able to wear a kilt and sandals again rather than the perpetual jackboots that are an accessory and necessity from October to April, change out the beret for the fedora and straw hat of warmer weather.
I look forward to flowers as well. Flowers and birdsong.
The seasonal changes of Indiana make it almost nice. Almost. I still want to live somewhere like Rome, where it seems there is greenery year round.
Maybe someday, when we have money, we strike it rich in our chosen fields. Until then, I have a feeling that I shall remain in colder climes.
For the moment, I'm off. This afternoon, I am pleased to say I get to go off and see Tangled at the dollar theatre.
'Wind of Change' by the Scorpions is now playing, and I don't think any band could so capture the zeitgeist as this song managed to.
Thoughts and reflections, continued.
Everything is rather curious. It is remarkable how much of the world, all of the world, honestly, is alive and full of movement. At the quantum level, everything is dancing, moving, shifting. And this dance, this constant and cosmic motion, is reflected through everything else, at every level.
Anyway, that's all.
|Friday, March 4th, 2011|
|Friday, December 24th, 2010|
|A short entry which is really just one long sigh.
I won't be able (well, able, but it would not be wise) to drink again this St. Stephen's. That makes me quite sad, as I really enjoy tossing down glass after glass of hot cider and mulled wine while listening to a decent Irish band or two saw away on instruments while I drink myself into debt and a slight stupor.
Seriously, though, I miss that kind of warmth that would just cause pain now.
Actual, stabbing pain.
Fuck the human body.
|Tuesday, December 14th, 2010|
My hand froze into place on the walk up to St. Mary's today. I was carrying hot tea for the darling Alex, who was quite surprised by said heated drink (which, thanks to the spiffy thermos cup, was still warm when I arrived)...thankfully, I know how to unfreeze hands/fingers when they get like that. I suppose it is one of those skills you just learn when you spend a lot of your time walking in cold climates. I'm listening to Deine Lakaien and Die Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt. The combination is wonderful, and I am excited about starting work so that I can theoretically afford the whole album. I'm old and still think in terms of albums. I also realized I have a record collection the other day. Not a very big one, granted, but all things that I really, really like. I realize a machine a hell of a lot smaller than an LP can fit thousands of times more music than a record...but there is something about vinyl which is just wonderful--and that goes for pleather too. Yes, I'll stand up and defend all kinds of vinyl. I'm listening to a lot of Sisters of Mercy, because it is that kind of night and I just need to let Andrew Eldritch's awesome vocals pour from the speakers.
That's all the news for today.
|Saturday, December 11th, 2010|
|another very short post.
I've decided, declared, and otherwise come to two conclusions:
1. Trying any new and exciting kind of tea is always a painful choice.
2. I need to start getting back into steampunk. And by that I do not mean just adding more clothes to my already disgustingly large collection of steampunk outfits...no, more in trimming down my collection of stuff and modifying things...plus...well, selling off a few things that I will never wear again and...I don't really want to sell, but recognize I probably should, or something....
I went to LangLab tonight with Alex, Eric, Laura, Laurel, Christina, and someone named Sarah to whom I was only introduced in passing. This was not just a standard excursion to LangLab (we need to take some of those, by the way, just fieldtrips to Rami and Nathan's lair of awesomeness), but in order to see 'Caught'--a wonderful modern dance/film/music performance being directed by the amazing Hannahbeth. There was also a sort of decent postrock band there...and since there is no such thing is a middling postrock band (especially what their definition of postrock was...not the same thing as the rest of the world's definition, but...feh), I'll change that to: Analecta, a postrock band with pretentions of being better than they actually are, supplied music which was nice, but a recording of it would have worked just as well...postrock makes for wonderful background music...and I really, really, really don't want to see the people performing it (I want them behind a sodding curtain, even at massive shows)...especially if said people are wearing skinny jeans and trying to do muttonchops badly, BADLY, I say. It seemed to amuse Eric that a number of people just came up and shook my hand...apparently I'm something of a known entity amongst the LangLabers, LangLabists, LangLabites....eh...all of those sound more than slightly dirty to my really tired brain. Still, aside from some issues with being able to see everything (not being able to see, as the case was), the performance was wonderful, and everyone had a good time.
Thankfully the stabbing pain didn't begin until quite recently.
I can now add green tea with fried brown rice to the list of things I can't drink without pain. YAY for adding to lists.
It could be worse: I've found a nifty old travel guide to Israel from the 1970s that will make wonderful backing for some paintings I have drifting around in my head. Might start the beginnings of that work tomorrow if the weather is as bad is it is rumored to be.
Also, the Corporations are now in space. Be ready for attacks that come from up the gravity well. I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to start reading Hardwired and Neuromancer with a little bit more attention.
|Friday, November 5th, 2010|
|Friday, October 8th, 2010|
|More thoughts, links, and other things.
So, this site has wonderful photographs--more can be found on flickr through the ‘info’ part of the website.http://www.ericlafforgue.com/
An amusing trailer for an introduction.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MahTKZDHXaAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WuYCB-Xv38
I now have health insurance until January. Which is nice.
Really nice, actually. I realize it is one of those things I'll probably have to get used to living without, though, so...there's that. But...that will be for the future.
I've spent the night relaxing in the arms of my lover, watching 30 Rock and various other diversionary forms of televised entertainment. The internet is really a fascinating and confounding thing.
This week has been more productive than the past few, in that I've already applied for three jobs. I have no real hope of getting them, but still, I'm moving in a direction that is not backward. I went to an interesting poetry reading at Lula's last night. I spent the hour before the reading, having landed a seat by a lamp and a large wicker chair, on the haunted couch next to the counter, drifting through the realms of Lawrence Durrell's collected travel essays. I'm a big fan of travel essays, as, well, I'm terrified of flying, and such things allow me to travel outside of the very small world I limit myself to, and that I am limited to. This small world is equally filled with wonder, though it is a kind of wonder that I fail to notice from time to time, the wonder of a car rolling down a curving road at night, calmly thumping over retarred patches and uneven sections of new asphalt, the wonder of spending an afternoon warm, held, and napping every now and then. The kind of wonder that if we are not careful we could take for granted. Let us be careful, then. Extremely so. For it is such things which make life wonderful. Make it life, rather than just slowly marching down the years without any awareness of the beauty of things. Travel essays, all the same, are still nice, and one reason I like blogs rather immoderately, they allow a window, an escape, an egress into another mind or mindset, or perhaps just place of mind, if not the frame. This particular collection of Durrell’s is wonderful, and saved me the expense of buying all his travelogues one by one, something I’m sure I’ll do when I’ve both money, time, and space in my book collection, but for the moment, lacking all three things, I must avoid. Reflections on a Marine Venus, however, might just be worth snapping up all the same, as there were parts of it that just reached off the page, grabbed my shoulders, and shook, saying ‘go here, find these people, or their descendents given how long ago this was written, and enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed, lounging on beds of moss under foreign trees’--a lot for a page to say, I know, but…I need to make some changes with myself before I can do such things, and…I suppose I need reminders that those changes have yet to be made by dangling all the places I’d like to go in front of me. Carrot before the horse and such. I’m allergic to horses. As in eyes and sinuses swell up and hate me for awhile allergic. Not just a few strong sneezes or such (it is remarkable how loudly some people, especially the people you’d least expect, can sneeze. I realize this is something that everyone notices from time to time, I just figured I’d mention it in what passes for writing.). I’d love to be able to make my living as a travel-writer. It seems to combine a love of history, people, and places. These things I like. Alas…travel itself…while wonderful once I get to these marvelous places, the getting there can be a terrifying experience. I’d use my recent (in the deep history scheme of things, anyway, an eye blink ago) trip to Rome as an example of this terrifying experience with a really awesome payout at the end, followed, of course, by an even worse flight on the way back--as we all know, the only thing worse than being trapped on a plane with thirty Dutch teenage girls (and five age-appropriately-sullen males)--all of whom curiously dogged my travel around Rome--is having to fly into and out of Newark. Plus, I hate Detroit, and not just because it is full of bears and wolves--which it should be, honestly. I think we should abandon most midlevel or decaying cities and just move back to a mostly agrarian economy. Sure people like me would really have very little place in said economy, and be forced to move to the City to write about how quaint farm life is and how wonderful it is that our brothers who work in the fields love giving us their food in exchange for little bits of paper that mean they can keep on giving us their food next year too. Regardless of my schemes based on that desiccated corpse of a city, I still hate Detroit. At present, to gripe about physical ailments, I feel sick as a dog. Hence why I am up this late writing--normally, or, lately, I’ve been forcing myself to sleep by 1:30, and somehow tonight I just don’t see that happening--which sucks. I mean, I really should just write during the day and shut off my computer at eleven exactly…but…I tried that, and I ended up reading much more, generally falling to sleep feeling erudite, and waking up with a lot less in the way of terrifying dreams. Yet, the talking devil box god calls me back to its perplexing fold. I am, however, breaking enough simple grammar and spelling rules that I think I should probably call it a night before all the English teachers I’ve ever had hear about this through the grapevine and thrash me for the sake of the language. Not that anyone reads my ramblings enough to do any serious damage, but all the same, best to be on the safe side, neh? Goodnight.
I finished George Mann’s The Affinity Bridge…and I almost wish I had something good to say about it. Frankly, it was mediocre in pretty much every aspect. Not that I could do any better, but…for the praise this had been getting, I worry. I’m switching, thus, back to Vandermeer for my science-fictional fix. I plan on picking up his latest book (Finch) sometime really soon. When I have money (that deliciously elusive time). I am still debating on whether or not I should start Stephen Hunt’s Courts of the Air series. There are a lot of firetrucks going in a roughly southern direction--I hope it has little to do with the gas leak in downtown. Oh yeah, there was a gas leak today on Jefferson street proper--or rather, under it, which caused downtown South Bend to be evacuated for most of the day. I’ve been meaning to pick up this book by Graves for years--I’m weird, and will hesitate on buying something I know I’ll read and snap up something I know I’ll never get one hundred pages in before giving up. Another reason for me to seek employment, I suppose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Goddess
Anyway, I forget where I was with things so I’m going to shut things down for the night and post this in the morning along with some rambles from the past week or few weeks below. So…enjoy that.
Muppets, singing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYXKaAzEJrk
I found out more in about five minutes about my family history by accessing the National Archives website than I did in a semester of checking for such things during Early Soviet History. It even has the names of people who came over on Famine ships…which…is in one way depressing, but it helps me narrow down the search of whom I am looking for.
Need to do more quality writing.
I know what I mean by that statement.
I thought you might be interested in reading what Cory Doctorow, one of the twelve Paladins of Net Neutrality, has to say:http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/oct/05/free-online-content-cory-doctorow?CMP=twt_gu
Steven Archer posted this, and I thought I should share it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zFXsm8y5b8
The bastard jungle closed in on us before we had a chance to escape, its green maw devouring our great expedition without even a second thought. I was eleven and we had spent the last week hacking our way through sumac, saplings, and thick cables of wild grapes with only pilfered two-by-fours and baseball bats. It was the start of a wonderful summer, and the sunlight coming through the foliage above us is one thing that will stick in my mind for quite some time.
It is early Monday morning, half an hour after midnight, and I am debating what to read next, what book to finish off, devour, and then send away to someone who might enjoy it a bit more--my first two attempts --The Sparrow, in which I lost my place and cannot find it again, so I opened it to a dog-eared page assuming this to have been where I left off--’twas not, I think, such a place, and threw me into the story rather wondering who the hell several of the characters were and whether or not I could invest myself in the story--it might just be a question of my mental state, but at the moment ‘Jesuits in Space’--though a wonderful idea for a Stargate-like program, does not really appeal to me.--and Lamb (By Christopher Moore), the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s childhood friend--struck me as boring and generally full of meh for a number of reasons--most of which I’ll not detail here. I’m now reading anthropology texts (I’ve been devouring anthro-texts of late, and might write Rahul asking him for recommendations on various titles and such) and had a wonderful discussion tonight with Alex and a thoroughly exhausted Nancy about the anthropology in general, how I’d love to study the anthropology of urban settings, a sort of urban ethnology, and other things of that nature. I kind of thrive on such discussions, even if they are mostly just seat-of-your-pants random-discussions, talking about the theoretical future and what I’d like to do with the education I so recently acquired is quite nice. Doing something, I suppose is where the difficulty lies.
A Table of contents for a book yet to be written, compiling various weird things and why the little details matter.
-Poveglia, or something like that, and island in the lagoon of Venice, and home to several thousand bodies buried there over the centuries. Plus, Vampires.
-Cannibals in Scotland? The Swaney-Beane Clan. Blood Libel or truth?
-Lost Cities in the Amazon?- New Evidence (and old legends).
--Perhaps mention the new ‘Lost City of Z’ book and Percy Fawcett.
-Early Medieval hairstyles: a fashion blog for the 7th-11th centuries.
-Warrior-Monks of Japan.
--Incorporate the paper written for Worlds of Buddhism.
-The Art of Zen Train-Riding.
--A short discourse on following instructions.
-Lawns and why we are obsessed with them.
-The pimp in history versus the modern pimp.
--Specifically the pimp in renaissance and enlightenment era comedies versus the comedic view of the pimp in modern society (hats, etc).
-Beds, a history.
I am cleaning and once again coming to the realization that as nice as all this stuff I am surrounded by is, I’d be better of getting rid of almost all of it. The possessions, that is.
After a night of really weird dreams (combining Borges, the Second World War, and Ego Likeness), I’m having a rather bad day--probably because I let little things get to me, but still…my mood is simply not the best, and weird things are setting me off. One of my favorite shirts has an ink stain on the sleeve, which confuses me, because I have pretty much stopped using pens, especially pens with black ink--anyway, the stain can be removed with some hairspray and very hot water, but still, that the stain exists at all grates on me an unexpected and rather highly annoying fashion.
This will sound bad, but I feel much better after going out and buying something for a new medicine bag I’m working on from Jim the Bead Man. The bag itself (always the most important part) has yet to make itself known to me. I’m not really actively looking--it is one of those things that will materialize somewhere when the time is right and when I can afford it--I always feel weird about spending money on them to begin with--the first medicine bag I ever had was a gift at a powwow up in Michigan, and it has served me rather well over these past…twelve years. Every now and then, though, on some impulse that is really hard to explain, I feel compelled to make a new one--sometimes for me, sometimes for those around me (I’d been working on one for Alex for about six months when I found the perfect bag at a small esoterica shop in Wickford, RI, and basically in one of those moments where it just seemed to click that the bag would be both functionally and aesthetically perfect for the contents, I snapped it up.). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11457795
So…I think the Church of the Jedi got recognition before Druidry did…though as a friend of mine pointed out, English Druidry is hilariously removed from anything close to ACTUAL historic practices--he has a PhD in these things, and so can at least be taken sort of seriously (I actually missed Hugh when he was in town last Friday--probably for the best, as he was holding court at the Hearth, the one place in town that I kind of forbade myself from going into). I’m simply not sure which is sillier. Oh, and notice that the name of the druid being interviewed is King Arthur Pendragon--pretentious much? If you read the article linked at the end of the one above (about Stonehenge and druids worrying), you can see a picture of KAP, and it is just what you thought it would be…so no surprises there.
And for once I find myself siding with English Heritage--who I usually think of as a bit too ‘Nanny-State’ about everything. I suppose that is one reason I’m really glad I don’t live in England--I think all the litigiousness would eventually drive me insane, and apparently now anybody can sue anyone for anything (seriously, what the fuck. I’d be quite happy in a world where frivolous law suits were punishable with keelhauling.)…anyway, I think that people viewing old bones is much better than those bones being kept in the ground.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/8606323.stm
If I had the knack, talent, and intestinal fortitude to dig for old, dead things…I’d totally love to become an archaeologist, or even a Loren Eiseley style bone-hunting man.
I am watching/listening to Babylon 5 on Netflix…I never really watched much of the show--always having been quite confused when it was on--and now, well, with nothing much to do (and yet everything to accomplish) I might as well catch up on deep-space shows of the late 1990s and early 21st.
You do realize that the Texan War of Independence was over their right to KEEP SLAVES…and Mexico was pretty much against that and really in the right in the whole thing? Another reason I hate Texas.
And the South.
Sorry, just thought I’d ask before I kept writing.
Today began with the kind of vibration induced headache that can only come with the re-shingling of the house. After staggering out of bed (due to the removal of all insulation in the roof above me, it is now even colder in the mornings) and freezing until I slid into a pair of wool trousers and a field shirt, I went out to Lula’s with Alex, where we breakfasted on delicious scones and hot chocolate, while listening to a church group from Holy Cross (Catholic School--rather than Hcrux College) sing and do generally confusing things whilst planning some sort of march or other. To each their own, I suppose. I went home to find that the work was about to start again, and fuckall if that was not quite unpleasant. My head is still ringing. I got an hour’s sleep, though, somehow, and had a very, very strange dream about chasing an Uzi-wielding mad doctor through the streets of a castled town while my scuba-suit wearing guards were killed before being able to sound any sort of alarm…the dream then morphed to Alex and I going to a rather nice dockside place on the mystical, magical Island of Jamestown in Rhode Island--while I don’t usually like such places, I have fond memories associated with this place which may or may not actually exist--I think I might be getting it confused with a Charlestown place called Jim’s Dock (wonderful teriyaki tuna for a place that is really just a shack and (shocker) a very small pier. I remember when a night of entertainment in RI would consist of just going down to the Pier to watch the people go by. Weird thing, memory is. The dreams were ended by a nervous dog and the thudding sounds from the skies above--the two were, of course, very connected. Alex and I watched an episode of Futurama and then passed out after the workers left for the day before going to see Pomerium at DPAC (courtesy of my parents, who joined us at the concert) and Velvet Goldmine, a movie I always think I like until I watch it and realize that, while I like parts of it, on the whole it is just too depressing and about half an hour too long. All the same, being with people (we watched it at Becca’s place at SMC) around people, friendly people, is nice.
I’ll write more in the morning, if I remember to. Tah.
I might actually do this, if I can drum up the cash…http://www.arthousecoop.com/projects/sketchbookproject/rules
And…Dolphins…are fucking awesome and smarter than you.
No offense to you…just that Dolphins are working towards a common language faster than we are…http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9045000/9045389.stm
Few things, music wise, get me out of a funk like listening to the Clash. “The Card Cheat” in particular tends to get me up and moving about. That is the thing for me--funks mean that I simply don’t move for an hour or two, much of the time just lying awake and looking at nothing inward. It is not a pretty thing, or at least I imagine it is not a pretty thing, as people are rarely there to witness such things. Other times there might be some movement in my eyes and hands (reading and typing respectively) as I simply drift on the internet. I hate that I do this…but it is kind of a compulsion that, try as I might, I cannot seem to shake. Enough about the weird things I do now that I really have no schedule at all--I suppose I imagined the post-undergraduate lifestyle as one somehow more glamorous than this…I imagined there would be a lot more holding court in cafes and dressing in fancy clothes. So far on both counts I’ve struck out across the board. Not that I really know enough people to appropriately ‘hold court’ (or that I even like the idea…just sounds better than ‘hold a salon’ or ‘babble incoherently’)…just that the idea sounds nice. I had a really weird dream a long while back in which I was assigned to be the security officer for a very small (we are talking ten city blocks by ten city blocks) island nation in the Atlantic. It may or may not have been constructed in part by Cedar Point. Just occurred to me that I should mention it. There were bridges and sentient dolphins. I think there might have been really nice sunsets too…but maybe I’m splicing the dreamlines. I’d say that I read blogs obsessively…and I do, when they are written…the problem is--very few people seem to be writing them, and this makes me sad, as it usually comprises a smaller and smaller part of each morning, checking the blog subscriptions on myspace and livejournal…and oft coming up with nothing. Not like I’ve been very good at writing things, either, so I suppose I should not complain when people who have lives that involve doing things are actually out doing those things.
Tonight at Five Guys, where, apparently, I know one of the cashiers from Notre Dame--he was in a class with me, unfortunately I mostly forget what class--though I think it might have been Neiman’s Death and Dying--tonight, my father and I discussed the Yalta Conference of 1945, the Stalin/Mao Split, the casualties from the various wars and famines, the fate of China today, and how far Japan has fallen in terms of political-industrial clout in the last twenty years.http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article7167161.ece
Six Degrees of People who Don’t Eat Bacon.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/23/stewart-fox-prince-alwaleed_n_692234.html
Seeing those Beethoven sonatas for piano and cello was quite nice. A wonderful break in what was otherwise a rather drear and chill afternoon--I wore my chesterfield, not for looks, but to keep off this almost biting damp. Lula’s was packed when I arrived, so I waited in a corner and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible whilst enjoying a delicious cup of cider. Alex and I made our escape to DPAC and classical music, successfully avoiding the gaze of professors (former professors, in my case). The performance itself was wonderful, if a tad bit soporific at times (I noticed myself dropping off here and there, and kind of had to jar myself into wakefulness). After the sonatas we headed over to Becca’s to watch Velvet Goldmine, one of my favorite films, but it was not to be, not tonight, anyway. I curled up and attempted to read Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle…but did not get very far in part due to the kind of dense (or perhaps intense) nature of the work and also to wanting to be a part of the conversation-flow that was drifting around the kitchen. In short, I don’t think anyone got much in the way of work done. The food was delicious, even if the atmosphere always has me feeling a bit out of place and socially awkward. Really, though, the spanokopita was wonderful, and that pretty much made up for some awkwardness as far as the conversation-flow was concerned. I should also learn not to sit at the corner of the table, but that is just reflex of a strange and unexplainable kind. Alex, Becca, Laurel, and I went out to Martin’s to get desserts for the group, confections which were devoured immediately upon our return to the Jones household. The turtles that Becca foolishly insisted on keeping are going to die eventually, given the way she cares for them--despite Alex’s numerous attempts to show her the proper way to take care of them so that they can survive in their world (consisting of a fish tank)--Becca seems to be of the opinion that the turtle care simply requires too much work. I tended to just shake my head, hunker down, and try to enjoy my book as best I could. I feel less stressed about being unemployed than I did earlier in the weekend. I have Alex to thank for this lessening of stress, of course. And perhaps some part of my brain realizing that this stress would solve nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all footloose and fancy free about my lack of employment, I’m just not as horribly depressed and feel nowhere near as immobilized.
We got tickets to the Dresden Dolls in Chicago…and a hotel room less than a block away. Awesome? Definitely. The Misfits are playing in Chicago, at the Vic, in the end of October…on Halloween, actually. And if there was a time I’d like to see them, it would be on All Hallows Eve…and yet…I don’t think I could actually pay to see one of their shows--not after seeing Michale Graves perform in South Bend--the performance was wonderful, and as he was my favorite vocalist of the band (and is no longer performing with them)…I really see no reason to haul myself up to Chicago for a show in a culture (what would count as hardcore punk) that I’ve basically disowned because I have better things to do than mosh, most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of a good mosh every three years or so, but…I don’t have health insurance, and won’t until January 1st unless I get some sort of employment that provides it (doubtful)…and damn it all if the pits aren’t hazardous to your health. Speaking of health, my cough has progressed from annoying to painful--and I’m worried that it might disrupt in some way the Beethoven sonatas that we are going to hear this afternoon. And my head feels like it is going to explode from sinus pressure and such--not exactly a fun feeling. On the upside, my persistent cough forced me to stay awake last night, so I watched Night of the Generals (starring Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif) on Netflix. It is a Second World War crime drama set in Warsaw and Paris in 1942 and 1944 respectively--all about interaction between the Wehrmacht, Abwehr, and the S.S. And there are some murdered prostitutes in there. I figured I’d only watch five minutes of it and then drop off to sleep…but I ended up hooked for the two and a half hour entirety of the film, keeping me up much later than usual, but glad that I watched a decent film that I’d never heard of before. Omar Sharif is probably one of my favorite actors (along with Peter O’Toole, of course--so Lawrence of Arabia has always been something of a treat for me)…and he played his role (as the Abwehr detective investigating the murdered prostitutes--and the three generals who don’t have alibis) quite well. Not that I was surprised--I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a role that I didn’t like, but maybe I haven’t seen the stuff he has done just for the paycheck--I’m sure there is a Zardoz equivalent for every great actor out there. I’d list the ones I can think of right now, but…I haven’t the brain power to do that. I picked up some old coins on Friday at the Mall--for two bucks--I’m very weird in my collecting of old coins--and for the most part favor European over American coinage…but it really depends on the year, the coin, and such--I’ve never, of course, tossed a wheat penny into a tip jar without it being a conscious decision (as such things tend to make my day, it is nice on occasion to make the days of others as well). None of them have holes through the center--which…well, holed coins are always doubleplusgood in my book, but then my book is rather strange to begin with, neh?--but most of them are either from the War Years (Occupied Belgium and Vichy France) or from the last (meaning 19th, I still can’t get used to the idea that we are actually in the 21st century--remember Cro? I do).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq95Blz5nxI
Case in point. Bitching show.
Picked up a coin from the reign of Napoleon III, and another from what I think must be Hannover before it became incorporated into the rest of Deutschland proper. This latter coin is rather hard to puzzle out, though, as the coin itself is quite damaged. Such is the way of these things, I suppose--not that I’ll complain--eight coins for two bucks (all paid for in quarters and a dollar coin, I might add--getting rid of the modern change for older spiffier change is always a plus) ain’t a bad deal. Now I have more things to put into various medicine bags--I should probably swing by and see Jim whenever he is next in town--he tends to have interesting old things at reasonable prices--or perhaps I might just swing up to the old landfill-hillside at SMC and go digging for a small bit of china or something equally old that could fit into a small leather pouch--one reason I regret not going (well, the only reason, actually) to the local powwow is that it is a damned good place to buy medicine bags and such for very good prices (I think they used to sell them for fifty cents a piece, why I’ve got three of them around--for how long they’ve lasted it was a hell of a lot better than buying parched corn or fry bread). Really just trinkets in each of them--except for the one that I stored a one hundred dollar bill in--but…that’s a long story. Ended up helping me square myself with the powers that help me with my finances and such--always good, I suppose.
My Lover and I have the most wonderful of discussions. We always have, and…sometimes I share snippets of them with the internet, not so much because I think you’ll find them interesting (though hopefully you will--my aim is always, despite my rants, to promote some sort of discussion and even dialogue. This rarely happens, but still, I dream of it. Speaking of dreaming, apparently I woke up screaming last night. Weird thing is, I remember the screaming, but not what caused it. Strangeness upon strangeness--more odd things have been happening of late, and I’m starting to think the local spirits are acting up--the way I discuss such things irks some of the more rational, I’m sure.) anyway, I almost lost track of the original thread of things. There is always an original thread, some thought that at a very base level drives other things. In this case that thought is a discussion with Kid. Yellow Fever, for lack of a better word, a more politically correct word, was the topic. She asked me to explain the attraction that some (Caucasiod) males seem to have towards Asian women. Long story short, though every male has been afflicted with such fever at some point, I, for one, cannot explain it--explaining attraction of any kind is difficult--on the one hand bioanthropology says that humans are attracted to people who don’t look like them….and the other hand says that the former claim is false, that people prefer breeding with people who don’t look exactly like them--ie have some slight variations but for the most part look the same. Of course, putting bioanth to one side, I’ve still got no answer to her Yellow Fever question--so I figured I’d put it to the internet and all ye denizens that lurk here. I tend to think that attraction really is on a person to person level rather than on a ‘Dude, Asian chicks are hot’ (almost everyone has something intrinsically beautiful about them, so the statement is kind of useless) level. I shake my head in confusion and go back to trying to write something that will convince me that I have a chance when it comes to writing (even short) fiction. I wish I could say ‘back to the salt mines’, but as I’m not getting paid, it is more like ‘back to the primeval forests to hunt for big terrifying game that could either devour me or end up yielding awesome tusks’--yeah, not really good prospects. It is a beautiful day (it is now Sunday, I started writing this on Saturday morning, continued much earlier this morning, and now, at 11:55 AM, want to listen to some Morrissey--coincidentally, I just found out that he has released a new EP…ah, to have money to be able to spend on useless things. I suppose that is the joy of capitalism, isn’t it, spending money on whatever the hell you want.) and I think, despite feeling rather down for the count, that I might head over to Lula’s and see all the happy shiny people for a little while. Plus, cider sounds awesome, as it feels well and truly like autumn out there. Actually cold enough to require a combat smock this morning--rather than just the usual light trench coat worn solely for aesthetic reasons. I regret not being able to drink coffee--as Lula’s also has a wonderful hazelnut latte that is pretty much awesome--unfortunately, I do not think such things would agree with me. Perhaps I’ll try one sometime this week, though, if the appropriate things align themselves. For the moment, then, I’m off.
I’m weird and find things like this interesting:http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/embroidery_frame.htm
Larger than the Bayeux Tapestry. Suck it, Normans.
I usually don’t delete things that I write--even things cut off mid sentence because something else suddenly pops up. But I just deleted what I can officially say is the worst paragraph I’ve ever written. At least I’m slowly becoming able to self-edit.http://hipsterhitler.com/2010/08/ironic-invasion/
The internet, I remember when that was capitalized, the ‘I’ meant something, it was this thing that existed in a sort of set place with set parameters. Now it is everywhere, the ‘I’ has become smaller (‘i’), to fit into cracks in the culture, in the city, in the mental-village, in the lone hut at the end of the dark road. Yep, that guy is jacked in too. We all are. And I hate it. Not because I am a technophobe or Luddite like my parents, no, I think there are some awesome things about technology and even about the internet. And yet, and yet it seems to force itself on me in a way I despise, I’ve got this compulsion to check all of my blogs (this one included, I only keep two that I remember the log-ins to) in the hope that someone has commented, that somebody out there is reading what I say and taking a bit of time out to say anything at all in a comment box. This is egotistical schlock at its purest. It bugs me, of course, that on waking and going through the standard morning levé, I flip on this demon box and click it until I realize that I haven’t had comments on other blog, for the most part, in a month or so. And that…well…saddens me in away by which I am quite annoyed. I’m not trolling for comments, here, by the way, more trying to observe my reaction (strange as it is) to the lack of comments, and my seemingly crazed obsession that more will be coming really, really soon. On the upside, I just got rid of 124 useless little boxes on Myspace. Mostly people from the steampunk community who only blocked up my newsfeed anyway. And then a few people I simply forgot to get rid of. If you are reading this…well…then don’t worry. Where was I, ah yes, comments. Anyway, though, I think it is all part of some lungfish-primitive desire for some sort of praise, no matter how fleeting: Og painted wall, you like painted wall??? Og asks to the darkness around his slowly dying fire in the depths of a cave. Sorry, got caught up in the example of primitive praise. I’m going to sleep now. So, goodnight.
So, these pants:http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=713500
I like them--they would be good for the tough winters we generally have here.http://io9.com/5644048/terraforming-earth-pt-1-how-to-wreck-a-planet-in-3000-years?skyline=true&s=I
If I knew more about music, I could see myself becoming something of an opera-snob. Thankfully, though, I know very little about the subject, and thus my desire to pontificate about it is less than my desire to know more. I think I lost my fucking wallet. Alex and I had a discussion over tea and beignets this morning which I think I am going to turn into something of a thought exercise. The races of Middle Earth in terms of early 20th century politics. The Orcs, of course, are the Germans, the barbarian Huns who spent the better part of four years shooting at Tolkien and friends in the trenches of the Western Front. Sauron can be seen as a proto-fascist dictator (I’m writing this without benefit of the internet, so if I’m uncertain of the publication date of LotR--I’m guessing at dates, is what I’m saying)--perhaps a Mussolini or Franco (or maybe even Stalin) more than Hitler. But perhaps Hitler. Perhaps the whole Middle Earth cycle is simply a prophesy of the Second World War, with the defeat of Hitler when his stronghold is invaded by Eagles and those whose land he has burned out (read this as the Soviets, who could be represented as living in the idyllic shire, refusing to believe anything they are told about the evils of the world outside until the evils come to them--these evils, the Nazgul, the black riders, could be seen as the NKVD, spreaders of terror and fear wherever they go, with pretty much infinite power. Or we could see the Shire as France, ravaged by war in the distant past, but now believing that it could never happen again…until it does, and our heroes leave their homeland (like the Free French at Dunkirk)--and Aragorn, who could represent Jesus (in the classic Medieval allegorical sense that he is the kingdomless king, without land and without people, needing to reclaim his kingdom from those who started out as regents, stewards, and ended up seeing themselves as kings themselves, led by the guy from Fringe…and he ends up marrying the Princess of Rohan, Imogen, or whatever her name is…which, well, could be a metaphor for the Royal Air Force, which Jesus totally favored, as we see in the Battle of Britain.), could be seen as a leader of the Maquis (Phillipe Leclerc de Hauteclocque) paradropped in to hostile territory and eventually leading the armies of the Free French into Germany (Mordor, or at least driving them from Gondor (Paris/France)). The Elves…could be England. Immortal and not all that associated with Europe except when they have to be, and showing up at just the right moment when everyone else is really embattled and slugging it out with the various fascists, though usually only after help from a monarch has been secured. Elrond could be seen as Churchill, someone who really wants to help and in the end does, just that he knows the true costs, having fought in the last war and seen the fallibility of men (Europe in general) when it comes to dealing with evil (Germany). The defeat of Saruman could be seen as the fall of Italy or the rest of the fascist puppet states…which might make the Ents Russia. Amazingly large and powerful, but used to inhabiting only a certain (massive) corner of the world, looking for something lost (Entwives/Capitalism), it is the Ents who eventually destroy the fortress of Saruman by simply smashing it to bits, not really caring about their losses in doing so. Sound like Operation Uranus to you too? I finally found a copy of the LOTR, which says the books were published in 1954...which simply adds more strength to this theory. The Dwarves are the Polish. Instrumental to victory and the first to feel the wrath of the Orcs, whom they hate with an understandable ferocity, also amazingly old and with tentative alliances with England (the Elves, whom they see as effete) and the Hobbits (whom they see as not really serving any foreseeable usage)…they eventually stand side by side with the Elves and Humans to defeat the Orcs and Sauron. And we are skipping over the sailing up the river with a ship full of Ghost Pirates (with Aragon and co at their head…as the men of…wherever the fuck they are from) these ghost-pirates and mountain spirits, first men, and such…represent the Free French forces and those of America, Canada, and Brazil (everyone seems to forget Brazil). And then we have Japan, whom it is clear that the Elves have been fighting along with the humans for some time, like they are the Uruk-Hai, this implacable enemy that seems to refuse to surrender even as it is being beaten in to the ground. For the moment, this is all I have, but by all means feel free to elaborate on it, as I surely will (eventually I might even submit this to some sort of magazine that publishes schlock, in a form greatly changed from this one).
|Wednesday, September 1st, 2010|
|Wednesday, August 18th, 2010|
|the first post in however long
Being unemployed and with no real prospects (employmentwise) at the moment (I hesitated on some things that I really should not have, but...such is the way of the world.)I kind of lose some perception of the passage of time, that thing I used to be acutely aware of, noting every missed second or forgotten minute.
However, all of this wonderful freedom that comes with a BA in a wonderfully useless field (without a PhD, of course...with that, it seems it has many uses) has given me a lot of time to pursue one of my passions beside that for the sadomasochism of academic pursuits...
Over the summer I've read or reread the following.
*Eleven Minutes- Paolo Coelho. This was my third time through this book, and I still find it to be rather pleasant if...predictable in Coelho's fashion.
*The Alchemist-Paolo Coelho. I've read this book once a year for the last...hmm...five years now, and it is still just as wonderful. I also have the audiobook as read by Jeremy Irons.
*After Dark-Haruki Murakami. Everything Murakami writes is gold, and this book proves it, starting in a Denny's in the way of all good works and ending somewhere quite different, Murakami's genius is simply further illustrated by After Dark. However, I recommend reading Kafka on the Shore before After Dark, simply because it will get you used to the writing style of Murakami.
*Kafka on the Shore-Haruki Murakami. The combined splendor of KotS and After Dark make me want to pull up stakes here and move to Japan. Of course, I realize it isn't all talking cats, well-read prostitutes, Colonel Sanders, and awesome libraries...but...it still seems like a very nifty place, and these books have definitely fueled my desire to learn more about it. And also, curiously, about other parts of the world too...parts both within and without.
*Throne of Jade-Naomi Novik. This is the second book in a series which amusingly combines the Napoleonic Wars (post Peace of Amiens) and dragon-combat. Worth reading if you want something that does not really require much thought, and is fantasy in the purest sense of the word. (being: Let's just take this and mess around with it a bit and see what we get.). As a rule I have been trying to avoid long series of books based on the principle that I have no money, and therefore should buy as few books as possible. This one, however, made excellent reading, mostly done on a rather nice rock overlooking Narragansett Bay.
Narcissus and Goldmund-Herman Hesse. I started this book when I was sixteen, according to the date I scribbled into the margins (back then I was in the habit of marking when I started and finished a certain text) December 2nd, 2002. I would have been a freshman at St. Joe and bloody terrified of most things and people.
Orphans of Chaos- John C. Wright. Miki sent this up, and...well, I cannot honestly recommend running out and buying it. It was interesting, but...it needed something more, and did not really inspire me to run out and buy the next book in the series.
Sharpe's Gold-Bernard Cornwell. On a whim I reread this book in the course of an afternoon. Still probably my favorite of the series (that I've read, anyway, again with avoiding series of things and such). Comrade E. got me turned on to the series about four or five years ago and I have picked up six or seven of the books since then. Nothing else by Cornwell, however. Though I've heard good things about his early Medieval series.
The Peshawar Lancers-S.M. Stirling. This book will be the subject of discussion at next month's Steampunk bookclub. As always a wonderful bit of alternate history, before Stirling got all...insane and obsessed with his own little post-apocalyptic world. Takes some wonderful pages from Talbot Mundy.
Metamorphoses-Ovid. Still wonderful after two thousand years.
Between the Woods and the Water-Patrick Leigh Fermor. Sir Paddy Fermor is best living travel writer, and you should buy and devour everything he publishes.
More later. For the moment, I'm off.
|Sunday, August 8th, 2010|
I managed to get a sunburn on both kneecaps and my right arm...
and pretty much nowhere else. Probably the result of digging idly through the sand for small rocks to toss at a pile of rocks.
Sunday afternoon. Around tea time, were it not Sunday.
I am writing this lounging naked on a bed, listening to the waves crash against the shore and considering my afternoon.
I spent three hours at the beach this afternoon with Matt, Omar, Mike, Doyle, Samuel, and Beau. Beau and Matt are still together, and that is quite good for them, as they seem to really complement each other. Beau…is still very much Beau, though she has thankfully shifted from being the group drunk (of the girls that hung with us she could put away the most by far) and for lack of a better word village bicycle in the best of all possible ways. We spent most of our time out of the waves just shooting the breeze and watching Matt construct sandcastles. At 23, he has gotten pretty damned good at it. Omar, the second best looking (after Matt, who is man-pretty in an effortless sort of way) spent a good part of his time speculating on various girls who walked by, and we played the game of guessing whether or not they were eighteen. This tends to a wonderful sort of ribaldry, and it really…well, the afternoon shifted from enlightened comments about literature to the bawdiest humor this side of putting Eric, Jed, Knecht, and I in a room and waiting five minutes. All in all it is that kind of easy camaraderie that is rather nice, just enjoying the waves and tossing small rocks at other rocks or piles of rocks ordered in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. The waves were wonderful. About three to five feet, so perfect for bodysurfing, and the seaweed was not that bad…at first: however, I spent a long time in and after showering simply picking bits of seaweed from everywhere. I caught quite a number in, though I lacked the distance caught by others, this was mostly by choice, as taking waves too far leads to being scraped up on the sand. It was nice to watch Beau, Matt and co. just bounce around in the waves. We eventually went in and wandered the beach until we found a nice place to sit, somewhere where Omar could stare without being noticed (the sunglasses helped too). After awhile they drifted off to surf the point, which I watched them do for awhile and then went back into the waves, which had picked up quite a lot by then.
And then I took quite a long shower to get all the seaweed off. Tonight, I think, calls largely for rest and recuperation after a day spent being knocked around voluntarily.
As my rather guilty pleasure I am reading Naomi Novik's Temeraire series...though I also have 'The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet' (or whatever the title is, to work through...I think I'll save that and Paul Theroux's book on rail travel across Eurasia for the ride back. )
What are some memories that you associate with summer?
Comment and discuss below.
|Friday, July 30th, 2010|
|Walking into a sign.
As you guessed from the title of this entry, I walked into a roadsign today. Not a signpost, no...the focking sign itself. Still hurts, a few hours on, but it is probably not anything serious, and I've definitely had worse head injuries...in places that it would be worse to have a head injury of some sort.
I'd catalogue them all for you...
but...well, I don't remember some of them...
though I am reasonably sure that they happened.
That is all.
Have a smashing afternoon.
I am off to the den of evil (though not as evil as Walmart) that is Target to help Alex pick out a dress for Sabrina and Jesse's wedding tomorrow (it is a small ceremony, but I'm sure it will be awesome as the entire cafe crew will be there) ...and then we are joining my family for Chinese at JW Chen's, followed eventually by a screening of Vertigo at the College Football Hall of Fame...what a waste of money that place turned out to be, but at least they show free movies every now and then when the weather is nice (though a midwinter outdoor showing of something like The Red Tent would be awesome). Tah.
|Friday, June 18th, 2010|
Found a nice hat while cleaning yesterday.
And...other things...LOTS OF BOOKS.
Seriously, 8'-3'-3' cube of books lined next to my bed...
and all of them are really quite good.
All the same, some cleaning is in order before Alex materializes to further marshal the actual cleaning efforts.
should be exciting...
the art festival at Leeper Park is going on, and we will probably hit that in the afternoon, hope to see all the locals (are there any of you?) out in force. A and I will probably be in full steampunk, and hopefully have Tovarisch Harlequin along with us.
That is all for the moment.
|Tuesday, June 15th, 2010|
|Steampunk Clothing FOR YOU!
So, with lots of time to kill, I've decided to undertake the Herculean labor of cleaning my personal quarters. This means a lot of things have been discovered that, whilst quite nice, don't exactly fit me anymore. Which is where you come in--most of these items (clothes, mostly jackets) are vaguely steampunk, or could be modified to be so with litte effort--and I'd much rather sell/barter them to someone I know who would have a use for them then to some random collector online...
At present, the following items are up for grabs...
-one World War II Ike style jacket, about a size 38-L, in decent condition considering age--no tears but a few moth holes, still has all its patches.
-One or two shirts, khaki, that go with the jacket. One of these is in almost perfect condition, the other...is decidedly not, but might make a good zombie outfit with a few bloodstains and such (it already has some rust/weird stains on it that are pretty much in the fabric).
-various tweed jackets and a vest or two.
-plus some trousers.
|Friday, June 11th, 2010|
Brevity exists at certain points only because the mind has deserted its user.
And here is a picture from World Steam Expo...
A very nice picture.
Funemployment begins today.
Sadly, I suppose, though I’m quite happy with the change. I am, on reflection, glad to be finished with a job I found to be absolutely mind numbing. And now, it is ten in the morning, and I’m going to walk to Lula’s…in a little while, as Alex just called me and informed me that she would be out and about for a bit…so, not that I’d avoid going there if a free meal will not be in the offing, just that I much prefer seeing her beautiful form as opposed to whoever else would be working the morning shift with her.
So, how to kill a half-hour?
I'll wait to shower until I know it won't see me me ambling about in the beautiful climes of South Bend an hour later. So, a shower before the events of tonight, then. The plan for tonight is to hit Cambodian-Thai downtown and listen to the Mo-Town concert playing on the garage rooftop across the street. You should join us. Yes, YOU!
Seriously, though, the more people we have the better.
|Thursday, May 6th, 2010|
|before I sleep
I thought I'd post a rambling thing I'm absurdly proud of.
Why am I absurdly proud of it? Because I wrote it from memory a week after reading Animal Farm. That's why.
And I wrote it in only 30 minutes...so...I probably left some things out and it could be much more streamlined, but...I'm happy with what I produced in that it is something that mostly supports itself.
Oh, and I bought a shirt from J. Peterman.
It is wool, tan, and should keep me warm in the winter.
It is sad that is the first thing I think of when I look at an article of clothing: will this prevent me from freezing? Yes-or-No. Hmm.
Anyway, more mulling tomorrow afternoon, when I'll be DONE WITH EVERYTHING.
Owell’s Animal Farm is a view of the early years of Soviet Russia from the eyes of a disaffected Democratic Socialist in a post-Second-World-War world. The overthrow of the sometimes tyrannical Mr. Jones (a characterization of Nicholas II) by Napoleon and Snowball (with Snowball portrayed as the definite brains of the operation, and Napoleon leading through force of charisma rather than concrete ideas or ideals) is prompted by the dream of the dying Major, a pig who represents the early years of Marxist/Marxist-Leninist thought. And at first everything goes quite well for Animal Farm (renamed to distance itself from the human-named Manor Farm), with all the beasts being united and a general spirit of inclusion and peace flowing over everything. This period could be compared to that after the February Revolution of 1917, when the Provincial Government ran thing peacefully but failed to cause anything in the way of massive sweeping changes. The pigs, representing the overall Bolshevik apparatus, gradually start to run the farm as they see fit, convincing, through a campaign of misinformation, paranoia, and later terror, the other (lesser) animals that they really have their best interests at heart. And due largely to the terror created by the dogs (taken and raised from birth by Napoleon, akin to the Cheka), the animals are cowed into either silence or admitting that they took part in the entirely fabricated machinations of Snowball (who is chased out of the farm shortly after proposing an idea for a windmill that would fix all the farm’s problems. This windmill is a symbol for the utopian state envisioned at the beginning of the Revolution--a utopia that is later forsaken by Stalin in exchange for a cult of personality centered around himself. The idea of the windmill is then picked up by Napoleon, who takes as much credit as possible for it but never actually implements it (and always blames its failings on the now entirely demonized Snowball--akin to the Trotskyite/Kulak purges of the 1930s--and his ‘collaborators’ on the farm.). There is also the undercurrent of a growing gap between the pigs and non-pigs on the farm--the pigs represent those actually in the Party, while the non-pigs represent the people actually doing the work and reaping none of the benefits--as seen by the famine caused by the plans of Napoleon to profit off sales to the neighboring Pilkington (Western Capitalist) and Frederic (German) farms--what is mostly sold, of course, is the food that the non-pigs had been eating and doing reasonably well on--representing the relative success of the New-Economic-Policy. Breaking the Seven Commandments painted on the wall of the barn (and then having Squealer, the propaganda-machine that supports Napoleon throughout the book, making it appear that things have always been as they are (and that things are simultaneously getting better), repaint the Commandments to fit the current reality), Napoleon handles money, sheds blood (but only that of animals who deserve it), and lives in the farmhouse--thus breaking all the rules that Snowball and himself had set down at the beginning of the rebellion--and in the end he begins (along with Squealer and the other pigs) to wear the clothes left behind by Mr. Jones (now deceased, having ended up in the poorhouse like so many of the White movement) walk on two legs, drink liquor, and handle money. Not only is Napoleon handling money (one of the driving forces of the sale and slaughter of animals in the first place--profit) but he is gambling with the various friends of Mr. Pilkington, something that, at the very end of the book, leads to a brawl when either Pilkington or Napoleon is accused of cheating. The alliance with Pilkington comes only after a failed alliance with Frederic resulted in the destruction of the windmill (which had been built but was never actually operational) followed by the driving off of Frederic from Animal Farm. The betrayal of the animals:
Boxer, the workhorse who clearly represents the working class, is seen as laboring for the dreams of Napoleon (as evidenced by his voicing of the maxims: “Napoleon is Always Right.” and “I will work harder.”) as he hauls rocks to construct the windmill (the dreamed-of utopia) while never really being able to understand the finer points of the Revolution as a whole (only knowing the very basic fact that it means he will continue to work, but without any of the privileges granted to him under Mr. Jones (namely the small hat to keep flies off)--however, as he is working for himself and the other animals rather than Jones, Boxer simply carries on until the apparatus finds him a threat (at which point the proves that he can and will resist, but not at the risk of displeasing Napoleon). He supports Snowball’s ideas, and initially does not believe the disinformation campaign of Napoleon and Squealer, and for this disbelief is later betrayed by them when he outlives his uses--he is, in fact, sold to the very people he had fought against earlier in the story, believing that Napoleon would never do such a thing until it was too late. This is quite similar to the betrayal of the working classes both before and during the Great Terror and the Party Purges--events that resonated with once-Leftist authors such as Koestler and Orwell, both of whom, in some form or another, commented on the habit Stalin had of removing any and all people he perceived as threats, even if those individuals (or groups) happened to have been guilty of being too productive and successful, or in many cases entirely innocent. The innocence of the hens, and their subsequent attempt at rebellion followed by a slow starvation and confiscation of their eggs is similar in tone to Stalin’s betrayal of the Kulaks. As in Orwell’s 1984, the rewriting of ‘history’ to suit the needs of the Party is probably the biggest undercurrent in the story--while in 1984 Winston serves as our voice from inside the Party, in Animal Farm our view comes mainly from Clover, the mare, who provides a window into what the lower classes (the motto of the Party and their sheep changes from Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad--to ‘Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better.” and from ‘All animals are equal.’ to ‘some animals are more equal than others.’) had to suffer through while being bombarded with a constant campaign of disinformation, doublespeak, and threats of terror if the ever-changing demands and ideals of the Party were not met on time or in the exact manner stipulated.