Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“You haven’t changed at all”

I don’t know if it was an accusation; a complaint; a criticism… or just an observation. I know it was some part of an explanation as to why Neo, who feels that our relationship is stuck in the past, is not currently entirely comfortable with the current dynamics of our relationship. Or rather, his perception of our relationship. He uses the word relationship more often than friendship. This in no way implies intimacy. One might wonder if it is a way of questioning whether we truly are friends.

I wonder what his idea of friendship is; what that word means to him. I have long felt that it might not mean much to him. He seems most of the time not to feel much sense of a bond; of a duty or responsibility to be a friend; to cherish the privilege; to honour that bond as a habit and not just when it suits him, or when he feels bad and needs someone to talk to who might possibly have a solution to his quandary.

But I also know that these impressions can not be solidly assumed. There is also the perception that he may at times be paralyzed from communicating at the times when any good friend normally would, because of rare mental pressures which he may be prey to.

I am not shocked to hear the accusation above. He has aged from 12 to 20; myself from 41 to 49. The adolescent period is naturally rampant with change. He has grown more clever and talented and exposed himself to many new experiences and grown from them. He has changed ever so much but not in many of the healthy ways I have always much wanted for him, and vainly assumed he would learn from me despite how little effort I actually put in to demonstrating.

Meanwhile, what have I done in terms of change? I met him right at the climax of my own period of rapid change. My thirties were a decade of extremely profound change in terms of mental evolution; spiritual perhaps, though that invites a very challenging question:

Was my evolution solid in terms of re-educating my instincts? In terms of uniting the mind to some large degree? Or was it all strictly an academic process which excited me so much upon my release from the darkness of it, that I coasted on some euphoria which was bound not to last?

Whatever it is, in some ways it has lasted but in other ways it has slipped backwards.

When I met Neo I felt almost at once he had the makings of a tremendous apprentice, not that I made any plans around that; not that I dreamed it possible at that time. I only planned to be available should he turn up again in adulthood. What a surprise when he arranged it himself so promptly.

But I ignored warning signs I suppose. His secrecy about us. The eventual pattern he insisted upon where our meetings became infrequent and intervening communication almost impossible. He embarked on life-changing experiments without my advice (as youth, biologically, must do). All while I went into a holding pattern; thinking everything would change when he became an adult and there was thus no potential interference with his choice of friends; and when he finally finished his schooling and could then embark on a freer system of learning and exploring; with the benefit of my input. I expected this to be the time of our teaming up as equals, both with privileged perspectives on the defeat of ego but from different schools of experience.

I wonder now if he was ever open to any of that.

I know what I did. Perhaps it was utterly foolish. I don’t know how conscious I was of it at the time. I released myself from the task of evolving. I saw a youth of extraordinary potential; in a mental state far superior than my own had been at that same age; a pre-internet age; a pre-information age. I knew at once I wanted to teach him what I knew and let him run with it; let him achieve what I had yet to, either ahead of me or with me. And let him be the one to become a teacher of many.

I’ve always been aware of these dynamics; always aware at some level or other that this is what I was doing; just not sure how conscious a choice it was. And what does it amount to? A cop-out? An excuse to be lazy? An excuse to avoid my own trials? My own test? My own risk?   

What I accomplished by 40 was not genius, was not even terribly difficult given the great luck which surrounded me; which cleared paths for me, making insights so available. But it was very very rare I know. And it was courageous. It terrified me to confront the illusions within myself and see the devil in myself and humanity and the tremendous ubiquity of illusion in our society. It was the only truly courageous thing I’ve ever done in my life.

But what since then? Neo is correct in this context. I’ve done sweet bugger all to improve myself since then. And at some point it had to do with love. I did not want to proceed ahead of him. More rewarding to witness him do it than I.

Foolish. Very foolish I now think.

I feel now that I need to let go. I need to follow my own advice. I always tell people: “The only thing you can do is give your best advice! You cannot save this loved one! You must share this good advice and then let it be! The loved one will accept it or will not! He will save himself or not! You have no say in that! The universe is not yours to command!”

How many people have I said this to? And yet do I live by this? I think I have not. I have worried about Neo as I’ve watched his behaviour become troublesome by my view. I have worried about his suffering and held myself responsible for keeping him from suffering. God, but this is foolish, isn’t it?

Have I held on too tight? Must I let go… and just let him know that I am here… let him (the universe) decide for himself how much use to make of me, if any? Must I not offer my advice and then recede? Let him do what he will without a sense of jeopardy in my mind?

Must I not be more concerned with my own evolution? My parental instincts are such a huge part of my own internal mind and my own identity. I know that very clearly now. But I also know that instincts and identity are the constructor and the construct of illusions. I have seen straight through them though perhaps not quite so clearly as I once did.

I feel today that I will always be available to him at the times he wants or needs me. But that I must proceed with my own path and let him go; whether to follow my path or some other, nearby or far, but with the chance that they will cross; perhaps often or perhaps not. I feel today that I am capable of letting it be.

The struggle is my own damned ego. I have felt at times that we are best friends; and that he saw me as similarly as I see him: someone I can trust entirely and be fully myself in his presence. The value in that runs deeper than just ego. Though I toy with ideas of being fully myself in other special friends’ presence I must confess: I don’t see that happening very comfortably without first becoming less sensitive to others’ comfort. To be entirely myself I must allude to realities which many people are not wanting to see. I may have to reveal myself a misfit in their view. Well... maybe that is my most useful role and should be embraced? Haven't successful leaders of change all weirded people out initially! 

When I became a wiser man and largely ceased caring what people thought of me, I found myself thought much more highly of! Who knows: if I stop worrying about the health of my friendship with Neo, maybe the friendship will become healthier. And that’s just a thought by the way; not a scheme.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Avitable Scramble Aroma edition

Thirteen thoughts in thirteen minutes:

1, I’m at the Aroma cafe at Euclid and College in Toronto because I’m way too special to be subjected to Q.E.W. rush hour traffic and so I make this apparently-now-regular trip from 2 to 3 PM and then hang out at the cafe-du-jour until the 6:30 dinner appointment at the Eloquent Potter’s tower.

2. I’m trying not to think about Neo these days. He’s back to mostly ignoring me. I wonder sometimes if he came back into my life specifically to torture me. I wonder if he knows how his behaviour is perceived when he continuously ignores me between offers of “Hey, let’s get together… when are you free?” followed by an immediate blackout period until the threat of getting together has passed. I keep trying to remind myself that this must be the product of some form of suffering and that I should not take it personally but it's very difficult.

3. I’m thinking of a very thoughtful and touching amateur documentary that was put together by a father and which mostly concerned his son, then teen-aged. At one point he narrates something  
like this: “I’m sure that teenage boys do not realize that their own fathers would literally murder them if not for the memory of the loving child they used to be.” I’m confident he was sane and sincere about that. I’ll get back to you with the title when it comes to me..

4. I paid twenty dollars for a fairly decent shredded steak and egg sandwich and a nice coffee in a bignormous wide cup which spills into the voluminous saucer every time this hysterically warped-legged table rocks back and forth as if it’s the Titanic’s final moments. I wedged enough napkins to supply the nation of Malta for a decade under one of the offending table feet to very little improvement.

5. Every time the saucer fills up with coffee I lift the cup and pour the saucered-coffee back into the cup. It’s a satisfactory system.    

6. Once you love a kid like your own son there is no going back, Ever. It’s just not possible. It’s a fucking life sentence. I mean - let’s face it: consciously I know that’s not really supposed to be true. Just like the spectre of rape, war or any traumatic event, it is fully possible to dismiss the past and experience no harm from it ever again. I know this with solid uncompromising clarity, The past does not exist. We subconsciously choose to hang on and we call this hanging on “scars.” But it takes oh god such a spectacular escape from the bullshit of our dedicated bullshit-only society to be so enlightened as to understand and conquer your own illusionary ego. No cell phone, no TV, no pal, parent, priest, politician or ubiquitous fucking corporation will ever let you get away with it if they can possibly help it. There is no sanity without firm and dedicated solitude. Except for - you know - hanging out with me!

7. I can’t imagine living in Toronto with a vehicle. Finding parking arrangements that are at all functional is like winning the lottery. Which is fine I guess. I used to park in my special little-known free parking place near the Islington station and take the subway in from there but I can’t do that any more because I am literally so decrepit I can’t carry my own briefcase more than a block and frankly I’m a little too attached to my laptop. It’s perhaps my own version of the dreaded cell phone at times.

8. This Aroma place must be a chain. It is exceptionally well-branded. Aroma notebooks $6.95. I don’t think you can get anything for less than $6.95. My sandwich is listed on the menu board for $6.95. but SURPRISE!! That’s actually the price for half the sandwich! If you want the whole sandwich you find out too late that it’s actually $13 and change. Hahahahahahahaha! Buyer beware! It’s utterly fucking amazing what a pathetic docile flock of dumbass sheep we are and what we let all our masters get away with. I’m sure we must be the most obedient morons on the Earth.

9. I think thirteen minutes expired a long time ago. I don’t care. It’s my blog. I make and/or ignore the rules on a whim. If corporations can do it so can I. Yay!!.

10. Speaking of some of the most evil and demonic maggots in the world… Monsanto believes they have the right to subpoena my personal information and communications along wiith thousands of other half-decent citizens for the world as part of a lawsuit against the entire Avaaz community for fucking with them and ruining many of their sickeningly corrupt cancerous schemes in which people and other innocent creatures die or are monstrously extorted for their immense profit. Personally I think that every Avaaz member should relinquish to this move but only after each and every one of us communicating conflicting plans around operations in which all Monsanto executives are to be kidnapped and have their leathery parasitic throats slit. Let them try to figure out which plan is the real one.

11. People often think I’m joking when I’m serious; and serious when I’m joking. Sometimes I appreciate the amusement in this.

12. The eloquent potter is a very interesting dude. He’s a very compelling writer and poet; a regular visitor to India and perhaps a seeker of enlightenment to some degree. His home is filled with his pottery and other art, bookshelves galore and… ready for this? A swarm of inflatable monstrosities. A giant inflatable donut. An inflatable Dalek. I don’t even know where he gets this shit. On my last visit the centrepiece on his dinner table was a slightly larger-than-life inflatable cooked turkey.

13. Tonight it’s just the two of us for the first time. I am very much looking forward to learning more about him.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thankful EPUC

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Return of the Avitable Scramble

Forgive me father for I have sinned. My last avitable scramble was back in September 2012.

1. I’m at a Portuguese restaurant for the first time ever. On College Street in The Big Smoke. It’s lovely. The waiter dressed all in black with shiny slick black hair is also lovely. He informs me that he has excellent skin because of the healthy Portuguese diet.

2. I ordered a meat sampler dish and found something on it rather distinctive and almost beef-like but with a decidedly avian bone structure. Weird.

3. I am here because the Ponderer suggested I travel early in order to miss the tres horrible rush hour mess that will decimate the Q.E.W. highway at the strike of three. Indeed my trip was a breeze and now I’m in town three hours early.

4. I’m invited to Doc Lock’s brother’s place - wait! Doc Lock’s brother has his own alias. He has appeared in this blog before. The Potter? The something-Potter? The Eloquent Potter? Damned if I remember. I will have to look it up.

5. It’s a game night tonight. We’re to play Takaido. I have done my homework by watching a Takaido-featured episode of Table Top - hosted by Wil Wheaton who once played…. Gordie?? Maybe?? in the Stand By Me film which is based solidly on the Stephen King novella The Body.

6. I have to finish the last couple chapters of The Dark Tower by Stephen King which is the final book of the wildly distinct and compelling series of the same name. I keep putting it off, not wanting the series to end. It will probably mark the end of my Stephen King experience. But I must move on if I am to get on to Soul of the Orcs which is a sequel to Lord of the Rings written by none other than my host tonight: the something-Potter. Or Sculptor. Not Potter? The something-Sculptor? And there I have gone full circle. Did you see that! Did you see what I did there?

7. My butt hurts from sitting here for nearly three hours.

8. I am assembling my first ever video compilation in order to support an upcoming blog piece. A very similar compilation almost certainly exists somewhere on youtube already but - I don’t know. I want to do my own. Maybe because it indulgently qualifies as a creative project which I can work on even when tired. Which is far too often.

9. I have no idea if Doc Lock will even be here tonight.

10. According to the excellent-skinned waiter I have eaten quail for the first time! Mystery solved. Damn. My only familiarity with quails up to now have been with cute live ones. [insert sad emoji]

11. My eyes have been continually drawn to the TV here which is blessedly silent but full of images and text of the CNN variety. I can’t describe how dog-vomiting stomach-turning this silent lunacy appears to me. HOW in the flying fuck do CNN watchers not go running screaming into traffic after ten minutes of this vacuous quasi-political horse shit? By god the human creature is a wonder.

12. That didn’t sound judgemental did it? Just a little bit?

13. How many items are in an Avitable Scramble? Thirteen? Wouldn’t twelve make more sense? After all, twelve is so preferable a number to thirteen that the ancient Babylonians assassinated an entire constellation just to bring the zodiac into groovy twelvacious compliance. Which is not precisely the reason that me and most of my “Capricorn” companions are actually mislabelled denizens of Sagittarius. That has more to do with the twenty-five thousand year wobble period in the Earth’s rotation. Regardless, there is just no way for the doubly-screwed astrology community to explain their way out of their mess.

I’m not sure that was a proper scramble. It seemed to be more of a narrative, didn’t it? I will try to be more random next time.

Fact check: Wheaton's character was indeed named Gordie Lachance. The potter has not received a consistent nickname but shall forthwith be favoured with the moniker: the Eloquent Potter! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Papal pansophy and Obi Wan-liners

Unfortunately the vast majority of quotes circulated not only on FB but literally everywhere are falsely attributed (mostly unknowingly), and the more famous or polarized a person is, the more quotes are invented or re-attributed to them by people more eager to push their agenda than to be honest. For instance 99% of published Hitler quotes were faked by those who wished to paint the words of their opposition in the worst light. And Yogi Berra rarely had anything intelligent to say. Most of the quotes he's attributed were redirected to him as a joke; a way to poke fun at him for all his authentic malapropisms and other ding-battery.

The human penchant for misquoting came about well before the internet by the way. Those captured in respected books and on posters are just as likely suspect. The only quotes you ever see that are more likely to be true than false are those that are published along with the full context (place/date/occasion/publication as applicable) which unfortunately is the only fully responsible way to share a quote.

This is a dilemma, I know. Naturally we want to share good ideas and we want to have integrity and thus to attribute them fairly. But we live in a world of rampant misinformation and it's important to me that people realize it, in the hopes we will demand better some day and achieve a sane society.

The comfort is that every quote is real in that it came from somebody! The answer, I suppose, is to check Snopes or such and add in the context if verified, and if not, change it to "attribution unknown." Unfortunately it takes a lot of work to be real in a world that mostly isn't. On my good days, when I succeed, the reward is worth it.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Music video shoot

I had a free day Friday and so I drove my sight-impaired musician pal Rick an hour north to a gorgeous log cabin and hung out for the day while he had a few of his latest songs professionally recorded to live video. I guess I got a little caught up in the spirit and dragged my ancient camera out of my briefcase and captured a few snippets of my own.

I then borrowed a lovely Bruce Cockburn tune which seemed appropriate; Messenger Wind, and tried my hand at some video editing. I need the practice. At some point I want to finish recording my own songs and shoot my own videos for them, including upgraded recording and upgraded videos for those half dozen or so I already have on youtube, which are little more than slide shows from static images.

The pro video production of Rick's songs are being handled by pals of his who I just met on this occasion; a very interesting couple of characters who call their operation very appropriately the TwinBrothers.

Here's their production of their own catchy tune, Give it a look. See if you don't find them interesting!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Front Page News!

Top headlines from today’s Scooterville Speculator:

A true statesman and “kindhearted” man
Expired former mayor of Scooterville Bob Morrow is remembered today as one who loved his community, loved his church, and loved his organ; who indeed loved everything except for hyphens.

Ex-neighbours locked in battle over cedar trees
Vince Campisi launches a law suit against neighbour Russell Danby over the death of cedars he planted along their shared fence-line. Says the judge regarding this bizarre, newsworthy, unheard-of phenomenon where two neighbours stunningly do not agree on everything: “It sounds unthinkable to have a neighbour who somehow does not see eye-to-eye with you on everything but I guess it can be hard to see eye to eye with all them cedar branches in the way. You could try standing on ladders maybe.”

Joey’s still turning on the taps
Joey Hollingsworth wins Ontario Black Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to tap dancing and for breaking the tap dancing colour barrier. Says white columnist Jeff Mahoney: “If everyone tap danced there might not be any more wars, or at least they’d be happier, better looking wars.” Yes, Jeff, between all the gunshots and tap shoes it would be a very snappy war indeed! And the soldiers would all wear tails and fancy dancy dress pants with diapers for when they shit themselves while dying and screaming for their moms - screaming into the rat-a-tat-tap-tappy happy cacophony.

Chips for her
PepsiCo is creating Doritos for women. Sadly, many women did not know that they could be arrested and jailed for eating the traditional sacred male-only Doritos, just in case choking down stale acerbic corn shells and getting powdery crap all over your fingers and house dress wasn’t punishment enough.