Thursday, January 26, 2017

Is this rock bottom?

Look at me typing words.

My fingers are so slow that my mind is already paragraphs ahead of the sentence I just wrote and I've forgotten most of it already, so now the phrase Look at me typing words looks completely idiotic and irrelevant.

That's the real challenge of writing, isn't it? Not observation, contemplation, mastery of language, the translation of ideas into useful words, into mood and imagery, into effective storytelling. No it's this bloody impossible task of getting the sentences out of your wretched head and onto the wretched page before they fucking dissolve.


I'm pretty sure I'm fatter than ever before.

It's too warm in here for this sea lion biology of mine but I'm too lazy to navigate the hurdles: vacuum cleaner, bag of empty wine bottles, non-disposable grocery bags containing whatever stuff I haven't got around to putting away; cans of tuna and black beans perhaps. Maybe the guitar strap and hardware which I have still not installed and which must be somewhere... Too lazy to navigate these hazards and kneel down painfully and reach way under the desk to turn off the electric baseboard heater which I rarely use. I like it cool, or even downright cold and I have a duvet although I'm still just using the cover; which is of course just two bed sheets sewn together and with a zipper. The actual pocketed goosey thing is still in the closet with too many other things. It was two or three winters ago when I last used it despite the habit of leaving off the heat. I do just fine under a couple sheets.

I want to write in this space every day. I want people who struggle with a journey in their lives to witness my struggle and learn from it or garner support. Or not feel alone. Or maybe even reach out and say, Hey! Me too! Let's do this together!

But so many pieces I don't publish or don't even write. Sometimes for laziness. Sometimes for sleep deprivation. And many times for the sake of other people's privacy.

I once decided that what I had to say was too important to ever discourage anyone from reading my blog. And so friends have found it and some can identify the aliases of others and this compromise to anonymity leaves me handcuffed. I don't want any secrets for myself but some of my associates might. And some of the people I love most might not like me getting all mushy here.

So I'm fettered somewhat. But that is still no excuse not to write here every day.


Facebook is becoming a source of - depression perhaps? Am I susceptible to depression? I'm not very joyful these days despite the knowledge that I should be.

All the Trump stuff is just plain ghastly. The admission that I'm actually capable of wishing another human being dead - yes dead - assassination; bath tub slip; attack by a flying devil-hunting piano - I don't care. It's just a sad sad state to realize you feel that way about another human being.

It's not just him and all his ghastly intentions; it's what is coming out of myself and others; especially those who support the cretin for their own tiny reasons which seem so big to them, and are so indignant at our outrage because they can't see past their own noses!

Look at this impatience of mine! Look at this lack of pity! I know better than this. All my bad habits and non-mindfulness are piling up and getting in the way of everything.

Yet even in my sleepy self-critical malaise I know the answers. I know what momentum is available to me, to turn things around. Do I just need to hit rock bottom and then begin the rebound? Am I there yet?

My room is too cluttered and needs dusting. Stuff needs to be given away again. This should not be a daunting project! I know that a good friend even offered to help with that but I can't remember who, but why should I need help?

Messages to someone very dear have gone unanswered for two weeks and I feel fear from that, though I am almost certain the fear is irrational. I have no feeling that the fear is irrational. It is strictly an intellectual process. All I feel is the fear.

But to say, "Hey! I'm scared! You need to reply!" is to up the ante. What then if there is still no reply? Panic?

All I feel is the fear. But just seeing it on the page like this - makes it feel less real.

How disappointing. Look at all the fears I once defeated through consciousness. Yet this one I cannot or perhaps just won't.

Is it because that to defeat one's last fear is to dispel the myth of identity? Is that why? Because everything I have taught myself threatens to cure an addiction which I mistake for my very being? I am the one who loves hopelessly. That is me. That is 99% of my life. Loving hopelessly. If that goes away then what is left? Harmony? Oneness? The tough question is: Do I really want to know?

I once discovered such a surprising wealth of power in myself, at a time when my ego was soft and the realization was not a giddy one but a curiosity. Where is that power now? I really sense it is not far and has never been far.

Why not reach out?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Needs

It was perhaps ten years ago when I came to fully understand that I had only three needs.

1. Food to eat.
2. Protection from the elements.
3. Protection from predators.

The same needs as any mammal.

It seemed clear at that time that I would evermore be joyful as long as these three conditions were met. I have since succumbed to an instinctive need, illusory of course: the feeling of need toward that who I love most. Of course I must admit consciously that this (or rather a great component of it) is not actually much love from the universal perspective, even though it feels to me immense. I know that the universal love I once felt is the far more real. But enough of that for now.

I understand fully the truly recreational nature of the hundred and one needs most people think they have and which they pursue with the bulk of their energy, as I once sort-of did, though without typical vigor.

We think we need promotions, respect, wealth, safer accident-protective automobiles, handier cell-phones, someone to love and vice versa (and at times pretend to love and vice versa) at the exclusion of others, affordable hydro, job security, spiritual faith, the correct wardrobe, hope, etc…

And some might add purpose. Though purpose is a cinch. Anyone can design their own purpose. It’s not a need, but it’s pretty useful and there’s nothing to stop us from having it, other than lack of clarity; optimally an “outer purpose” (societal purpose) as Tolle would say, along with recognition of our innate inner purpose; which is to become conscious; fully human.

Here’s the terrible irony: all these illusory needs, which I realize a lot of people probably cannot easily conceive the falseness of -- both alone, and/or in combination with each other, manifest a short list of inevitable consequences in the realm of tribal disconnection, environmental devastation and social/economic erosion (which are all thoroughly related) which brings about this realization:

Pursuit of all these recreational and illusory needs is swiftly destroying:

1. Our food sources both animal and vegetable.
2. The manageability/survivability of the elements.
3. The suppression of inevitably- widespread human predators (preying on other humans).

The relentless pursuits of all the false needs are swiftly and precisely pushing all of our real needs out of reach.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa Baby

The following article was posted by dear pal The Bablatrice back at Christmas 2006 down in Arkansas. Ten years later it still remains my favorite holiday article ever. I am re-posting it here with her permission. At least I assume I would have her permission if I asked for it. But I'm not taking any chances. Now excuse me while I turn off the spell-checker:


In the local paper this week (yep - our town only has a weekly paper) there were letters to Santa from kids at the local schools. Here are a few of the better ones, with my comments. Did you really think I wouldn't comment?

Dear Santa,
Is it cold up ther? I am shr it is. dont wre it will be wrm in my house. there will be hot chaliket. i been bad and good sometimes. I hop I get the theng's I want for cricmus. I hop you will give me wut I want for cricmus.
Love,
Will

Will- I hop you get what you want for cricmus, too - as well as a few vowels. You need them.


Dear Santa,
How are you and Mrs. Claus? Thank you for the gifts that you gave me last year. I would like to have pjs also a barbie. I will leve you cookies and milk.
Merry Christmas,
Jennifer.

Jen - If Santa doesn't bring you pajamas and a Barbie, he's a big, fat mean bastard, and I will personally help you kick his ginormous, lard-filled ass.


Dear Santa,
I hope you and Mrs. Claus are okay. Thank you for the prezes. I wuld like to have for Christmas this year I'd like to have urk eestrik log shot. Id like to havv ddgn. I will leave kookez and nelk.
Zakkari

Um...Zak..are you an alien? 'Cause the last half of your letter sounds a lot like what I would imagine alien-speak to be.


Dear Santa,
I wont to send you a meshig. What I rillie want is a new puppy. Next, I rillie wont is a horse. Last, I onte is a nother puppy for crismus. I rillie want theshe things.
Love,
Kensey.

Kensey - you're entirely too young to be drinking. Lay off the sauce until you're at least in the 5th grade, okay?


Dear Santa,
My name is Autumn. I really want a baby bed for all of my dolls. I would like to say "I love you, and be safe, your going to splash your bottom going into my house."

Autumn, dear child, do you possibly live in a houseboat? Swamp? A raft in the middle of a pond? C'mon kid, I'm dyin' to know exactly how Santa's going to get a wet tush going to your house.


Dear Santa,
I hope you and Mrs. Claus are don w wenl. Thank you fur the presents. I would like to have for Christmas this year is a makn chrowch chok. And I wont is a now viteo gom. And the last sta I kan am irtnel is I wont a I wont a naw bike.
Gabe

Yo Gabe! Are you by any chance related to Zak the Alien?


Dear Santa,
Emily is my name. I would love to have a yellow moon shape touch light from the dollar tree. I would like to say "Merry Christmas and tell the rain deer hi for me."

It just breaks my heart that Emily only asks for one thing from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree, people, where everything's a fucking dollar. Emily, if I knew who you were, I'd go to the Dollar Tree and buy you every single yellow moon touch lamp they had.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'Tis the EPUC season...

Martian receives giant yam for Christmas

New Rudolph model




Eat cat you poop

Santa misses Christmas

Ancient tapestry discovered

Octopus holiday rituals
Rudolph the red-nosed spider

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ghosts of Belle Castle

“It’s creepy,” says The Flaming Liberal, speaking of the correctional services college where, primarily new corrections officers, probation officers and parole officers do their training, not to mention the tactical crisis specialists etcetera, and where the basement of this historic primary school building has been outfitted with an authentic jail cell environment. Indeed the old place emits a lot of weird noises; all of which I attribute to after-market heating and air conditioning measures.
Such explanations are not embraced by the security guard who insists he heard voices talking to him through the intercoms at primary exterior doors during his rounds or the voice in the fitness room which told a night shift manager to “Get out of here!” all while the building should have been empty of other life.

Another manager claims that a 200 lb dummy used for some kind of training had moved positions between his visits to the gymnasium; had got itself up off the floor and seated itself in a chair.

Stories abound of guards who have left, swearing never to return to the building, including one guard who locked himself in the guard office all night and refused to do his patrols before resigning at the end of his shift.

Other folks have offered to share their stories and I have declined. While never having had much use for ghost stories, nor suspecting them legitimate, I am a writer after all; with an imagination, and being occasionally alone in the building and walking my rounds, I don’t necessarily want to be thinking about certain ideas.

I walked into one conversation between night shift occasionals and immediately departed again, hearing one say, Which ghost? The other said, The little boy. The first: Oh good. He’s the nice one.
The nice one! Who the hell is the other one!

It’s okay. I don’t want to know.

But wait. I am having a change of heart. I am a writer (at least in my own mind) and an explorer; a seeker. Why would I not take this opportunity to delve into something new, as I have made it my policy to, for years now?

There was an incident of sorts during the Thanksgiving weekend when all staff and residential students had departed for the entire weekend. The place was officially closed. On my first outdoor patrol I saw that the light was on in (residence) room 108. On my next indoor patrol I stopped at room 108 and discovered the door unlocked, which is a no-no, and quite strange that the Friday evening guard had not remedied this already, as there is a mandatory security room-check on Friday nights. Otherwise we do not normally touch the residence rooms.

I checked out the room; one of the few which was not currently rented. It was thus clean and pristine inside. I shut off the light and locked the door and carried on.

The next night when no one should have been in the college except for the weekend day shift guard, I did my first patrol – indoors, and suddenly found myself testing the door to room 108 which I don’t recall was my intention. The door was unlocked again and the light was on again. Very strange. The next time I crossed paths with the intervening guard, he claimed he hadn’t touched room 108.

So…

Weird.

And not terribly frightful as far as poltergeists go, I admit. Still I was creeped out.


Captain Vino
Yo kids

FWG
hey

Captain Vino
Word

FWG
Hey Jo!

Friendly Exorcist
Hi

Captain Vino
There we go

FWG
What are you doing the Friday after next, late at night?

Friendly Exorcist
let me check....

Captain Vino
Ghostbustin'!

Friendly Exorcist
apparently yes
what time?

Captain Vino
Bustin' makes me feel good!

Friendly Exorcist
oh god make him stop

Captain Vino
Boo

Friendly Exorcist
so what time do you want me there?

FWG
I don't know. I'd prefer it was just you and me in the building. Is 2AM too late?

Friendly Exorcist
can it be a bit earlier?

FWG
I'd like to say 1AM which should be safe. Everyone should be out by then but we might have to be a bit flexible.

Friendly Exorcist
Just tell them I'm the call girl

Captain Vino
I'll be your pimp

FWG
good grief
you should come too Captain. I will need someone to hide behind if things go sideways

Captain Vino
Did you just call me fat, motherfucker!?

FWG
No Captain, I didn't.

Captain Vino
Alright

Friendly Exorcist
So just a thought. If some of the others have seen things then they might want to share their stories with me. why not just tell them that you know someone that is willing to come take a look and see how they react?

FWG
I could mention you and see what they say.

Friendly Exorcist
Ya just mention me and see their reaction

FWG
tell me what to say about you

Captain Vino
Fun loving party girl

FWG
LOL

Captain Vino
Likes long walks on the beach

Friendly Exorcist
I do clearings and paranormal investigations all the time....and I'm willing to check the place out

FWG
can I call you Buffy the Ghost Slayer?

Friendly Exorcist
sure

FWG
Sorry. Okay, I will talk to them.

Friendly Exorcist
great. Let me know what they say

Captain Vino
Have you mentioned what you've encountered, to the other staff?

FWG
Only to one other guard - to ask if he unlocked the door. Which he says he did not
Okay, Jo. I will

Friendly Exorcist
K great

Friendly Exorcist
Looking forward to seeing you again and checking the place out

FWG
I think the visit would have to be unofficial. I think it would not be an income opportunity

Friendly Exorcist
understood.......I'm not going to get arrested am I??

FWG
No. You're my guest. It is just a school after all.

Captain Vino
I've been in there a few times. They like me there.

FWG
there you go

Friendly Exorcist
ok good

Captain Vino
Not that I intend to go at o' dark thirty

FWG
you disappoint me

Captain Vino
I disappoint a lot of people

FWG
I'll get back to you as I get feedback. The night MGRs rotate. It will be a while before I get to hear from all of them
thx for setting up this conference Captain

Captain Vino
Any time!

FWG
I'll mention you when the book comes out

Friendly Exorcist
lol

Captain Vino
The story of how two of your friends got killed at your workplace?

Friendly Exorcist
sounds good......I'm still trying to convince the Captain to join us

FWG
He really should

Friendly Exorcist
I agree

FWG
Two people screaming are better than one
(I expect Jo to keep her composure. She's a pro)

Friendly Exorcist
Lets hope

FWG
lol

Friendly Exorcist
Are you working right now?

FWG
No I'm at home not-writing

Captain Vino
Better strap on a pair of depends

FWG
I'll just have a good pee before she arrives

Captain Vino
Good call

Friendly Exorcist
Take care all!

Captain Vino
Ditto!

FWG
g'nite !!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

EPUC Entourage

Another telephone-pictionary trek from the eatpoopucat gang:


Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Tips

When folks ask me for film recommendations I have been in the habit of directing them to my facebook movies page, touting "anything I've given four or five stars." However, facebook now seems to have silenced the star-giving so it looks like the blog will be taking over that function. Here's my take on some flicks you may want to see – or avoid, given your own priorities:



Dr. Strange ***
(2016) Benedict Cumberbatch
If you’re not quite sick to death of the constant bombardment of super-hero movies, this one should do it for you. All the required shtick and a main character who is almost three-dimensional. Almost.



Arrival *****
(2016) Amy Adams
Dynamite stuff: intriguing, suspenseful and particularly resonant given the struggles of our times (and of all times). This goes deep beyond the sci-fi banner, digging up rare insights into the significance of language and the magic of human relationships. Catch it in the theatres while there’s still time!


Cartel Land ****
(2015) documentary
Gutsy, penetrating, laudably-balanced look at the criminality of drugs, the criminals who thrive from it and the devastating effects on both sides of the international border, all through the eyes of the peoples of these borderland communities. A very intimate view of their particular struggles and the conflicting beliefs for which they fight. Tense and unsettling.


Hitler’s Olympics ****
(2016) documentary
A satisfactory dissertation on the nature of the modern Olympics which we all seem to whole-heartedly embrace while imagining it is something else, and a reminder of the architect whose vision we have made a reality.


Ex Machina ****
(2015) Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson
Creepy, twisty, thrilling and fascinating. The most compelling look I’ve seen at the concept of artificial intelligence since The Matrix and by far the most emotionally and viscerally striking.


Hello My Name is Doris ***
(2015) Sally Field
Surprisingly satisfying feel-good fluff.


Entertainment ****
(2015) Gregg Tarkington
Uneasy, off-beat, perversely humorous fare with a serious creep factor. It’s like a book you want to put down but can’t.


Mad Max: Fury Road **
(2015) Tom Hardy
The wispy plot and cast of caricatures are just barely stable enough to hold this action and special effects bonanza sort-of together.


Ricki and the Flash ****
(2015) Meryl Streep
The package looks deceptively corny but Streep’s fine performance is just one of the gems that keeps this neat little effort afloat. It’s Little Miss Sunshine without the kids.


Spotlight ***
(2015) Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Some excellent, arguably under-rated actors made an Oscar splash with this Best Picture which is nice, but is that the reason it won? I found it a routine, competent unfolding of a true story


The Boy ****
(2015) David Morse
A troubling little tale of a boy who is trapped in unacceptable circumstances and seeks a logical solution within his considerable limitations. Gripping and eerie. And if you’re a writer, don’t miss it for its modelling of tidy efficient short-story telling!









Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Addendum

The snowfall has turned to rainfall and the ground snow, orange here, in the orange lights, is speckled; pelted into a field of tiny stalagmites.

Great drops plummet from the trees, aiming for my head which contains not much of a brain or I would have worn a hat. My footprints, lingering from the previous lap, have pressed the snow into slush-bottomed pools. Dark ruined leaves fall and further muddy the scene. 

At an early age I believed that the snow fell for some noble purpose; not strictly to provide for Santa’s sled, but to purify; to virginalize, which I perceived vaguely, not knowing such words. I would trudge sparingly at times, re-tracing paths, or sometimes tracking at will, with shameless indulgence, but paying for the privilege: honoring the snow gods with a snow angel.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ominous shore

I’ve never until now been down at the shore at night during one of these carnival snowfalls; these bright peaceful wet snowfalls where the ground is white with it and the sky immediately overhead glows with it and everything is gently illuminated by added streetlight reflection.

But standing, looking out at what should be the sea (a great lake officially), the view is arrested and without glimmer. It is no usual vista tonight nor occasional wall of fog. It is instead a dark translucence. A thick, blurry realm with a darkest imprecise layer where the horizon should be, but pressing unnaturally close to the shore, just out of reach.

Without this glowing shoreline modernity, the lake would be left alone in the darkness I suppose. A simple void, unpenetrated; unperverted.

I have never seen a natural space so visually unsettling; gloomy; foreboding. Like a giant filthy window pane; like a dome which seals from some most final dystopia. It is the edge of some dark unstable half-world.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Pipelines

Kinder Morgan
The Ponderer has been pondering the current crisis of North American oil pipeline projects and the chaos that surrounds them. She shared her latest thoughts; sensible ones, which I have responded to from a perspective of perhaps wider context:


The Ponderer:  Maybe the best way to stop the Pipelines is to stop creating a demand for the oil that it's transporting. But we can't do that can we? We have to have our cars and our vehicles and we have to heat our homes among other things. I think very few of us are willing to live without those things. It's easy to be all pro save the environment until it causes us discomfort or inconvenience. Perhaps the pipelines are the safest way to transport the oil, that we tell ourselves we so desperately need. Is there a safer way? Train? Ship? Trucks? I don't think so. Don't get me wrong I am not pro pipeline I just think the solution is a lot more complicated and I think our government made the best decision in a bad situation. And thank you to my friend Barb for giving me a different perspective.


New Day Rising:  Yes, we're very greedy, very spoiled. Life itself is not naturally easy. Life has been a very difficult thing for every species except for a small percentage of humans for a tiny blip of time. Us. But as bizarre and unholy as our circumstance is, it is our normal. It is natural for us to embrace the unnatural normal we are born into.

But it will not be our normal for long and we'd be really smart to get our stubborn heads around that and plan accordingly instead of so fully embracing this brief Disneyland with such entitlement. What we have not yet discovered about ourselves is that we do have the capacity for change and for embracing new normals. Oil will be gone in another tiny blip of time no matter how much extra destruction we wreak to get at it. And if we survive the disaster that is born of denial and inequality and our enmity against the biosphere then we'll do just fine with the next normal, as all the YA dystopia books so brightly suggest, but unfortunately the next normal's forecast grows worse and worse every day that we resist it. Every day that we refuse to cut a deal with mother nature, the less she will have to offer when we finally do, or else on the bleak day that there is no more leveraging available. The life-capacity of the biosphere is shrinking every day. We are trading it away for the gadgets and comforts which can not last, which we pay for with death. And if we never cut that deal then the Earth will have almost nothing left for us.

North Dakota
The new oil pipelines are an investment in the future. They are a commitment to expansion of death; a commitment to cut no deals. They are a migration in the wrong direction. I know its very hard not to be greedy but if I woke up tomorrow and every gas station was dry, I would be immensely delighted. Giving up my car would then be easy because we'd all be in the same situation together and we would survive just fine. We would adjust together. Where as giving up my car on my own tomorrow would seem disastrous because my society would not cooperate with me; would not bend to the changes I would require.

"Oka could happen again..."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The end of NaNo

On November 26th, 26 of 30 days of National Novel Writing Month gone, I had a word count of 24,751. Not even at the half-way mark of the 50K target. Two evenings later, having jumped to 29,365 I said, fuck it. Fuck you universe and your rules! I am going to write 20,000 words in 48 hours… somehow! Or at least try! I mapped out the next 48 hours assigning sleep time and 750-word writing hours and nothing else, planning to write my balls off. Planning to hit 40K by 1AM on the morning of November 30th and then breaking my personal record (8,500 approximately) with a 10K final day! Hell yeah!

The 29th did not go precisely as planned. For one thing I discovered that I would have to take breaks to eat! Surprise! And I traded away some writing hours to go to bed earlier. That may have paid off. I got the only good sleep of the entire cough-ridden month last night. Almost eight hours I think.

It is just after noon on the final day and I am just now approaching the 40K mark. I am sitting at the Station One Café in Grimsby; their former fire hall. Sickboy and The Liaison and Sweetproserpina have departed leaving me and the Healer. The Healer met her 50K goal earlier here, and now remains with me while I tap away, lending me some of her woo-woo energy perhaps!

I am writing about some of the things most dear to me. People. Longings. My connections with the universe. The things that the big ol' universe and little ol' me have in common. Which should be much. We are the universe after all. We are the universe’s consciousness. We are how the universe dreams.

Word count check: 39,857


I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it went. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

No. No you didn't

The Toyota Motor Corporation should be given an award for being the most dedicated mockers of people’s intelligence.

Right on the heels of their recommendation that we buy a camera-studded Rav4 in order to turn parking into a video game where we must avoid carnivorous shopping carts on the loose – Oh,  and presumably more realistic parking hazards such as – well: dancing fire hydrants maybe? Evil lance-brandishing gremlins riding giant rats? Am I missing something?

So right on the heels of this indulgent farce; this gratuitous tech-nonsense which no one has ever needed unless they’re such an incompetent driver it is scandalous they have a license, they come out with this possibly-most-belligerent claim I’ve ever heard:

“Can you make joy?” They ask. “We did!” Then you see an image of their shiny car scooting down the road with the label Joy.

I can’t think of a more ignorant message.

A whole lot of people will go through life without ever experiencing a moment of legitimate joy but could any be so hopelessly removed from the possibility as automakers?

And by automakers I mean the masterminds who shape our culture: our car culture. I’m not talking about the people who are trapped within that culture with me and who happen to be employed in the car industry because they require employment.

Joy is a product of truth, beauty and love. Three things which automobiles fiercely oppose.

You know what? Come back in April! I have decided on my next April A-Z topic: Twenty six important perspectives on the automobile. And I promise I’ll try to be polite about it!