elemental, my dear.

What I want to do most of all is write right now!
The songmaking gave me a burst of mental energy. I'm all suspicious and thinking "shouldn't I be using this to get more work done?" But then I'm like, "Naaah."

The four qualities of poetry, as I learned them in poetry class, are:
-scansion (I Googled the word and got a very good definition: The systematic analysis of metrical patterns of stress, syllable by syllable.)
-rhyme (also called word-musicality; the sounds of the words themselves as opposed to the emphasis with which they are spoken)
-image (the ability of the words to evoke sensory impressions)
-story (how the meaning of the poem hangs together as a sequence of events)

My weakest category is story and my strongest is probably scansion. I'm real good at rhyme but I tend to lay it on a bit thick, which is itself a weakness. And image I have become good at through lots and lots of hard work.

But it never occurred to me to try and fit this four-category division into the four elements. I mean, that's kind of the point of the four elements. They are categories into which anything can be sorted. It's the sorting process itself where the magic of the thing lies, because in the midst of that process you have to really pay attention to the things you're dividing up and sorting. Later on your concept of the element, which has been enriched by being used to help you pay attention to many things, can be used to focus the force of that understanding on new things and new problems.

(I said this to Dave last night at one point and I don't know what to think of the statement: "Life is made of problems! Fortunately, most of them are someone else's.")

Here's the thing. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the four elements, what they mean to me, how various mental states, emotions and paths of endeavor "count as" elemental to some degree. But virtually none of that is transcribable. Even as poetry. It is an understanding that built up out of a relationship, in this case, the relationship between me and this group of concepts that I use for paying attention to things. (Remember, magic is about relationships.) What I think of as the "classical" qualities of the elements are the ones you'd naturally associate with the word-images for earth, air, fire and water. Earth is hard but fertile, air is changeable and speedy, fire is transformative and dangerous, water is reflective and mutable, kind of thing. But the classical qualities of the elements are usually the last things I bring to mind when I'm actually using the concepts of the elements. Sort of as a diagnostic check-up on myself, "okay, have I gone off on the wrong track here or does this make sense."

For sorting out the four qualities of poetry, I know I have a couple problems. One, this is a subject where I have a lot of knowledge and experience, at least when compared to most other things I try to think of in terms of the elements. That means I can't think about poetry itself, the process of writing poetry, until I've already thought it through in another way and have some idea of what I think the categories might be. My thoughts on poetry itself would be too loud and would overwhelm the elemental concepts I'm trying to box it up with. Two, I have suspicions about with this division of poetry into four categories because I didn't come up with it. This would give me trouble if I tried to take the poetry categories and kind of deduce from their characteristics which element they belonged to. I'd sit around saying things like: "well, story holds everything together, so it might be earth--but then again scansion also holds everything together, and story is also transformative, so it could be fire too." So I don't even start on it from that direction in the first place.

Instead I will think on it by comparing my relationships with the four elemental concepts to my relationships with the four categories of poetry. I know air magic is my "primary" style, the one I'm so comfortable with that I tend to overdo it. So I can tentatively connect air with rhyme. Fire is my weakest element; I can use it, but if I have a choice I tend not to because it's difficult for me. So I'll say maybe story is fire. Earth I tend to pick up quickly when I put a little effort into it, gaining basic proficiency without too much straining or deep thought. Water I'm good at but it didn't come naturally to me and still usually requires conscious effort to use effectively. The similarity is less clear there but I'm comfortable saying, for the purpose of further consideration, that scansion is earth and image is water.

Tentative poetic elements for further pondering:
scansion - earth
rhyme - air
image - water
story - fire

Now that I have a hypothesis, so to speak, I can go back and compare my knowledge of the writing process to my element-concepts.

Just thought of another thing I could do, which would be great fun if I had a poetry scene to test it out in! Look at the strengths of poets whose work I read. Compare the elemental strength suggested by that to other behaviors and personality characteristics, ones that I have already come to an understanding about in terms of elements. The null hypothesis (that I got the poetry categories totally wrong) could be confirmed. Or there could turn out to be a relationship between which elements a person uses most readily and which they use best in their poetry. I would guess the relationship to be direct; that's the assumption I used in trying to identify the categories in the first place. If I find a lot of other people who seem to have an inverse relationship between element use in their personality versus their poetry, I would have to go back and re-investigate my understanding process from the beginning. Because if I had a direct correlation and others had one that was inverse, I'd need to know why, whether the connections I saw were an artefact of my assumptions or reflected some more complex reality.

So there was a quick whirlwind tour of the kind of thoughts Fifi thinks all day. Magic and science, mishmoshed into something that produces what I consider awesome results!

content! live! without a net!

Whew! Feels like ages since I wrote anything. As in days of yore this one got me out of bed repeatedly last night--once because the compy battery started to die as I typed, once because I thought of a revision (not shown) that I had to put on paper after the compy was off. There's a word I forget for a song that has a verse-chorus-verse structure. This is the other kind of song, that doesn't. It starts out as a fairly expectable pop song; I've heard dozens of different musicians take on this song-spirit so I'm glad it turned into something quite different.
I'm doubly happy about this song because of that property songs seem to have where they reflect the emotional tone of a time whose forward edge has just impacted my psyche. Meaning the bulk of the time this song is from is in the (hopefully near) future.

[the world's alive]

this message is for general release
the birds, the beasts
the turds, the teats
the verb that eats the words
at least you heard
it beat, it beat, it beat

the elevator door and kept its fingers whole
it wasn't waiting for a tip to take control
I find it spilling from my lips and hands and soul
and so, and so, and so and so

turn out your pocketbooks
for clever hooks and let your brain run dry
turn out your friends, your cat,
your coat, your hat, your skin, your bones

what wrapped so tight around your light heart
you touched it but the bottom's not in sight
if it's all right
if it's all right
if it's all right
if it's all

too vast to hold between your hands
too strong to tie down with your plans
too fast to last unless you dance
in rhythm with its stride
you cannot always need to hide
just grasp the hand you stand beside
your vision of it died
the world's alive
the world's alive
the world's alive
the world's alive
the world's alive

bod oeurgulo

Really, I should be in bed now, but it's so nice to have quiet and time to think.

I hate it that my decision tree for the next few months depends so heavily on what Dad may do. He may suddenly get rich, or get another job, or get another job and go on disability, or continue as he has been for yet more weeks or months. And in any of those cases he may or may not move out, may or may not be able to support himself.

I would have serious qualms about finding my own place and urging Dave to find a job and move in and help me if Dad were not self-sufficient. Because then he would likely have few options but to move in with me.

Dave finds the idea of me and Amber and Pearl all living together terrifying. He's seen us together for short periods and assumes we'd be running at that pace all the time. I tried to explain that once we've had a chance to catch up we usually settle down and become quite mannerly but I think he thought my perspective on the subject a little too biased. So the four of us kicking free of all parents and establishing a household together is not something he would consider at this time. Which is a damn pity because I think it would be the best thing logistically. As the book of Proverbs puts it, "better a dinner or herbs on a corner of the roof than a meal in a house with a contentious wife." And a sullen parent is as contentious as a waspish wife, if a smidge less close to the seat of the soul. I had much rather work out who would pay for what bills and how everyone would stay off each other's toes with my boyfriend and sisters than with any of our parents. Because we-all trust each other and are in fundamental accord about how fellow beings should be treated--and none of us presume an inherent right to command the others. A distressing habit of all parents whose children are grown and earning a living.

Due to the distressing nature of the times in this country and the sad state of our social order overall, if we are to come out of the next half-century or so in one piece we will eventually have to all stand together and keep our wits about us. And perhaps I am selfish to keep returning to it, but it is hard to keep the best wits about one with a despairing and pain-addled old man always talking one's goddamn ears off! And though Mom's meddling is more overtly polite it is much more wearing on the soul. Dad's aura encroaches, but he does not truly mean to control or pry in the same way and one does not need the same constant and unrelenting vigilance.

We cannot spare that vigilance for our housemates in the time to come. We will need it to meet and hold fast against the crumbling of the outside world. I am not enough of a diviner--nor do I wish to be!--to see anything more clear than what common sense also confirms. At the very least the first half of this century in this country are going to be times of want and fear and exhaustion on many levels and great care will be needed even for the well-off.

I need to keep the job I have and not push too hard on anyone to rearrange themselves. But if I see something moving I will try to roll it forward because I am wary and on edge about the future and as a change must come, I had rather it came quickly.

memo from Doctor Kills Everyone (not as interesting as it sounds)

Today was repeatedly infuriating.
Not in a terrible way, just little stuff. Like both printers going on the fritz at once while multiple phone lines were ringing and number one boss was sitting around telling me stuff we need to work on.

Note to self: change supervillain name to Doctor Kills Everybody. No one would suspect it was me, because "kills everybody" is so never part of my evil plans. Telepathically enslave everybody, perhaps. Secretly foment everybody in a direction of my evil choosing, absolutely. But I like the image of me hunched over my keyboard like some harried brunette Quasimodo going "mumble mumble teach you to mess with Doctor Kills Everybody little bitches."

Didn't see Mom this Easter or call her back Thursday like I said I would. Instead Dave's mom was out of town and he and I spent the weekend at her place. So my weekend was good. Two wake'n'bakes in one day good to be precise.

Finished Ill Met By Moonlight and it was tres awesome. Not as supremely marvelous as it would have been if I hadn't read By Slanderous Tongues first and had all the plot points spoiled for me flashback-style, to be sure. But still very very good.

Feel like I'm forgetting something I should be writing about. But this is possibly just because I've got several things that absolutely positively have to be done before I leave the office toda. And all of them are stupid and unnecessarily difficult because of things I have to deal with the public embarassment of even though they were in no way under my control.

I dunno what to make of me. I've been feeling all kinds of unaccustomed emotions lately. Not just major ones, I mean like getting annoyed at people and things whose foibles I would ordinarily have barely noticed. Doctor Kills Everyone does not have time for such foolishness.


I was just on hold with a food vendor who had a salsa remix of Coldplay's Clocks on their hold music. Wow, that was fast. I feel old. I still adore that song, no matter how overplayed it got.

Today I'm listening to Imogen Heap's Myspace page again. There's a line in Just For Now that goes "secretly on your side." The way she says it, the music, plus the words themselves, often get me to have to blink very quickly to get the moisture out of my eyes. That is some good songmaking. My envy of her isn't as sharp as it is of Leonard C, maybe because her works seem more approachable. If I could devote big gobs of energy and time and resources to musical craft I could approach her level, I think, if in a different musical style. Leonard on the other hand is a person with Meg's juice and my people-paranoia. Almost impossible to replicate.

But I'm back to reading the adventures of Fey's literary doppelganger, Elizabeth. There IS a book between This Scepter'd Isle and By Slanderous Tongues! It's called Ill Met By Moonlight, and I dipped into my scanty PayPal funds to buy myself access to the ebook. First time I've done that; congrats to Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis for wearing away my resolve. And what a fiendish clever trick, too, making alternate books free so I was dying of curiosity to read exactly what happened when a later book only gave me a teasing synopsis. Of course the great likelihood is that Fey already has the hardcopy and just didn't know I hadn't read it yet or some such thing. I still don't regret my decision because with the webscription thing I can read this book while at my desk. Which will give me greater comfort and enjoyment than a physical book I would have to go outside to read.

Of course it's snowing, it's the first day of spring. Clever equinox. I thought we had our last snow, what, three weeks ago; I figured it'd cap off that unnaturally warm period at the end of February and that would be the end of it.

A couple days ago my little rune deck (I still can't find my Rider! Don't get it!) told me repeatedly that I needed to adjust my attitudes, especially about work. Things are changing around here, seemingly for the better, and I as usual am dragging my heels. Not because I don't want things to improve, but I am always distrustful of seeming change. Homeostasis in groups of beings is very difficult to break, and the easy transformations are all to a lower overall energy level, in other words, more chaos. But if the restaurant in general gets better organized I will have to slack off slightly less. Reduction in slackage being something I won't readily do, I can see me needing a good head-smacking to become aware of it.

Le sigh. Sometimes I think I need divination to even notice things that would be blindingly obvious to others more grounded in external events. More hip to their times you might say. And I know for a fact my obsession with personality has been a sort of bridge for me to move from where I was to the place where I can learn to form interpersonal bonds of intermediate strength.

I actually had a conversation with Dad last night where I talked about Mom and some of my views on what happened when I was little. He kept trying to do his salesman thing (oh, call it by the name I prefer; sorcery!) to turn the conversation to other matters, but I persisted until I felt no more could be done without seriously disrupting his mental state over a period of time greater than a few hours. Dogmannit, I want him to understand. Part of this is my own feelings of guilt, and one cannot, I think, be truly forgiven unless one's actions are comprehended truly. Part of it is that Mom never can and never will be able to be made to understand, so if Dad doesn't, I'm s.o.l. in the parental blessing department.

He understood, understands, at least partially, what happened to Meg and Fey. They did what he would have done, what he likely did do in comparable circumstances. He had no frame of reference for me. Amber resisted and fought and became hard and sharp and brought out Mom's hardness and sharpness. Pearl was not given a chance to react, yet no matter how she was bruised and twisted and tossed about, her deep inner desire to love and be loved never altered. It just had nasty things put in there because Mom's, ah, companion I think had a very "experimental proving ground" attitude towards Pearl.

So to recap. Amber sensed that her self-mastery was to be violated and resisted, with degrees of success at the time that I can't know, because she hasn't told me. Pearl remained herself while absorbing indescribable amounts of psychic (and some physical) damage. I grasped immediately that I was to be broken, and broke. Dad didn't push me away, but he didn't invite me either. And Amber and Pearl were sure enough of his love that they took up his attention, which excluded me pretty effectively from the circle of trust. I concluded therefore that I was not wanted there, which confirmed what I already knew about myself: that there was something horribly, incurably wrong with me which was obvious to everyone but me. Which feeling Mom's companion knows like the back of its eyelid, and who knows, may have put there in the first place. I am sure that Amber and Pearl had the same feelings but am equally sure that such were not the primary rulers of their lives, the engine that drove them through every hour. It was a selfish and nasty and petty thing around which to center one's personality, but even creatures like Mom's are driven to reproduce themselves. And Amber wouldn't allow it for herself; Pearl simply could not, could not by the very structure of her power, be bent into that shape, not for want of trying. So it was me by default. And casting me in the role of protege or pet or whatever, subtle as it was, further drove a wedge between me and my sisters and made me even more her creature. That the role was played by an automaton made not a mote of difference, and it's not as if she noticed.

Maybe I spent a little too much time thinking about it yesterday, I don't know. But I have to think about it sometime. Resolving my feelings about that time and leveling my own judgment at my past self for my actions within the time is the only way to get past the tangle that keeps me from access to my memories. And if I cannot access my memories I cannot bring order to them, and if I cannot bring order to my memories I will always be vulnerable. I suppose it is inconsequential whether Dad ever understands or not. But I can't afford not to. It's what I'm made of.

prune away the fence you grew through

I want so badly to post today but I think today's not a good day for it. We'll see.

Had a very strange experience yesterday. Loneliness.
Now loneliness is not the same thing as missing a particular person. You'll think of a person, or have a feeling or mental state aspect that reminds you of them, and say to yourself, "ah! I miss so and so, I wish they were here or I were there." Loneliness is an entirely different animal. The difference between the emotions is a difference of kind, not merely degree. I must be changing in more ways than I can say, because it's been one of those things I just don't "get", like jealousy is or relaxation used to be.

It only lasted a few seconds. I'd just hung up the phone from talking with Amber, it wasn't be time to call Dave yet, I didn't need to call Pearl, and Dad was right in the other room but I didn't want to talk to him. And without going in there and at least talking to Dad first I had no way of getting on the internet, with its many forms of almost-interaction. I wanted friendly, positive human interaction and the loneliness came when I became aware that just then I couldn't have it.

Maybe that's why I don't usually "get" loneliness. Because the main ingredient is the desire for human interaction. My comfort zone is at a pretty low overall level of that.

Mmm...maybe "human interaction" is not specific enough.
After all, hatting, creative or purely intellectual discussion, definitely counts as interaction. But the thwarted desire for hatting does not produce loneliness; it produces resentment. "Here are all these lovely minds all around me," the hat-deprived person feels, "who will not reconfigure themselves to give me what makes me strong and happy. Fie on them. Behold my pouting!" And this resentment quickly sours into the hubris/humiliation thing. You know, where the hatty person turns up their nose at others for not being what they'd prefer, but at the same time has great self-disgust and self-loathing for not being able to be like everybody else.

So okay. Being more specific. The main ingredient in loneliness is the desire for the presence and positive regard of trusted persons. Er...silver or above, if we use the metallic levels that I'm increasingly unsure about. I worked out in my notes that silver is the level where you begin to be able to absorb norms and operant assumptions about the nature of reality directly from a trusted being's personality. If trust runs both ways then the two people can simultaneously "feel out" each others' perceptions and reactions. The greater the level of trust, the less conscious oversight is required by or applied to this process. Close friends can come to a more harmonious mutual understanding of reality without external information exchange through symbol sets such as language. This is the magic of trust, and it's a doozy. Like that inspirational poster says, "The language of friendship is not words, but meanings."

That's why I'm fond of saying that telepathy exists, but it works only for people who don't really need it. Surface thoughts can only be exchanged by those whose underlying cognitive and emotional structures are already virtually identical in the content areas to which the thought refers. And if their cognitive and emotional structures are virtually identical, odds are they both would have come to the same conclusion independently anyway. "What would Fred do?" is a question best answered by good friends of Fred.

I've known for longtime that when I don't "get" or don't often experience a major emotion or emotional category, that's a red flag that my personality is missing a vitally important piece. Even if not experiencing the emotion is comfortable and a relief. I've met plenty of people who would give one of their arms to be missing that piece. But completeness trumps comfort. And hell, some of the best songs and poems in the world have been written about loneliness, right?

I suppose there's another point here also. As occurred to me when I posted "the poison tree", not feeling an emotion is NOT the same as not being in the state which produces the emotion. The fact is still true even if you force yourself to be ignorant. Having people I trust and craving their company, becoming aware that I hurt for its lack, is a really important step towards spiritual health. Even if I only felt it for a few seconds.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 28

In real life news:

Yesterday Dad did get his car back, although he and the friend he cajoled into giving him a ride spent a lot more time on it than they intended.

I have emailed both Amber and Pearl and hope to do so more! I've been scraping the crevices of the Baen Free Library for awhile now. And though my addictive craving for fantasy is still strong, I need quality pushers like Lackey and Moon and Bujold and Weber to get my fix. So real life human contact (through text) would be a perhaps even better thing to do with those tedious several minutes every hour or so when I'm sitting at my compy between errands and crises.

Dave may be perilously close to seriously searching for a job. Paula's hinting / nagging has gotten more insistent. To the point where Dave thinks she may kick him out if he doesn't find a job, and he is unwilling to live in any place where Dad lives. Dad's aura (and general behavior) is extremely corrosive to anyone who lacks self-confidence, as I know from experience. Being around him makes it hard to have confidence in anything or try anything new; he doesn't mean to shoot it down but his misery, when he's miserable, is terribly infectious, and his confidence can be infuriating when he's confident. Maybe this is the rock and the hard place that'll get Dave in motion. I have great faith in him and I think that he will adapt well to job-having, especially the part where they pay him money and he gets to spend it.

In other news:

I had a dream last week that is a continuation of the spaceport dream. Can't believe it took me this long to write it down.
It was mid-to-late afternoon, judging by the angle and shade of the sunlight. Nice, warm day, no particular season. I was walking from a building out towards the area where the vehicles were, along a gravel path with little scraggly green patches next to it. Not to give you the wrong impression: this was an overall well-maintained facility. The spot I was in was just an out-of-the-way corner of it. The little girl (yes, "the" little girl of repeated dream participation) was sitting on a green area next to the road. I think I may have asked her for directions. She smiled at me and offered to take me over to the (term not found? place where my transportation was at?). I had Shashi with me, she was riding in a sort of square backpack on my back. I told the little girl thank you profusely and sincerely, and said something like, "you've done enough for me already."
Then me and Shashi were in a shuttle orbiting the earth. We were weightless. I felt the jolt of latches unclamping and the shuttle we were in detached from the larger craft it had been attached to. We began to spin and I caught sight of the larger shuttle whooshing by--it was one of those fat wedge-shaped black and white space shuttles with the smooth lines that you'd remember from NASA launch videos on TV. The sense of motion got faster and faster and I saw Shashi at full extension, trying to get her balance. I was grabbing onto the edge of the window, and thoughts were running through my mind really fast. I was worried for Shashi, but I was thinking too about the spinning. I felt like I knew why the thingy was spinning and more or less what I should do about it--it was something normal and expectable and I just had to do...something.
But now, sitting here typing this, I cannot remember what the something was and that bugs me.

Seems to me like the spinning of the shuttle I was in and my mind beginning to race with purposeful thoughts comprise the same event in dreamspace. The little girl was friendly and seemed languid when I spoke to her--but my dream-self was still wary enough of her that I did not want her to come with me wherever I was going. After all, the first few times that I can recall seeing her in dreams our interactions were a lot more like deadly combat than anything else. I'm not sure about the shuttles breaking away. Obviously it indicates that a time has ended and a new time begun, the new time to be characterized by greater independence for me in some area of life. I've just got to ponder what manner of a time it refers to.

When I say "a time", I realize I ought to define that term a little better. In an earlier post I talked about a "taig" as Elizabeth Moon uses it in the Paksennarion trilogy. A taig is the living, aware, mental/emotional component of a physical place. (Self-aware or not is a question I can't begin to answer; I don't even know if it is a meaningful question.) A time is the living, aware, mental/emotional component of an interconnected web of events which occur over a duration. The key word there is "interconnected." When people say "an idea whose time has come", that phrase gives a good idea of how I like to use the term. I think of a time as an environment, just as I think of a taig as an environment. The difference of course is that a taig has a physical territory that you can walk around in, take satellite pictures of from space, sample the soil of, build houses on etc. Any of these actions may affect the taig, its mood, the way spiritual feedback bends and shifts inside it. Although building houses will probably have the most noticeable effect of the things mentioned!

However, in order to even perceive a time, you have to be personally involved in the web of events. That is equivalent to walking around in the land from which a taig emanates. And unlike physical territories, we don't have a way to take satellite pictures of chains of cause and effect. (Reading a book about a time which has passed might be similar, but to continue the analogy, it would be as if you could only look at photos of lands after they had been destroyed by bombs or volcanoes erupting or earthquakes or what have you.) If you are peripherally involved--ie, you have a friend who vents to you about it--then you may be only peripherally aware of the time. If you have special insight into the nature of the people or actions or subject matter or organizations involved in the events, the time may be more perceptible to your understanding than other people's. If that is the case you may be able to force yourself into deeper entanglement with the events, which in turn connects you more deeply to the time.

The more deeply connected you are to a time, the more effectively you are able to work magic within that time. Same as for a taig.

This somewhat expands the idea of the "magical link", which has been discussed in every good magic book I've read--Carroll, Knight, LaVey etc, though they all have different views on it. A magical link is a symbolic representation (usually a physical object) of the relationship between the mage and the person, place or thing their magical action is directed towards. Because remember, magic is all about relationships; science is about things-by-themselves. And taigs and times are most certainly magical beings, since they emanate as a result of the energy exchange involved in relationships between interconnected persons, places and things.

I think a fascinating possibility is that you can have an indirect magical link through the mediation of a time or a taig. Of course for me personally I'm more interested in the relationship between the individual and the time, what it means for divination especially. Divination the way I do it is kind of the magical equivalent of licking your thumb and holding it up to gauge the wind. But hey, many snipers swear by that method. All it takes is lots and lots and lots and lots of practice and some sense.


Myke is no longer my friend. It wasn't official in my mind until this weekend, when I learned that Pearl had finally lost patience with him and cut him off. I'll say that again. Pearl, Meg, Dr. Poily, the dramliza, the soft-hearted human-relationship craving sister, got fed up and annoyed with Myke and cut him off. She said she was perilously close to screaming at him, "do I have to rip all the skin off your back to get you to show some damn spine?!"

I then compared him to the Screamapillar. This was an endangered species of caterpillar which moved into a decorative fountain Homer had given Marge so she could have a calm place. It screamed whenever it felt...pretty much anything, and the instructions the EPA gave them about it said, "without constant reassurance, it will die." We all agreed that was a funny and apt analogy.

It's a damn shame, I think. Myke's the kind of person I would have hung out with in high school for crazy-idea-discussion purposes and then have that natural contact-break of going away to college. And as I have often been heard to say, he is capable of taking advice and learning new behaviors. Some things, however, can't be addressed by advice-giving. Some lightbulbs you've got to screw in yourself, and first you have to realize (without assistance!) that the room is dark.

And it's not like he did anything terrible to make me not approve of him anymore. Just emotional math, really. Whether he's up or down, you always come away from contact with him with less emotional energy than you had when you arrived. (Kind of like Dad. Except Dad has an excuse; he spawned me, he gets more leeway.)

busted! ...NOT

Well, here I am again, at my desk.

Last night at around 9pm I was not certain I'd be here today. I got pulled over for (duh!) driving without headlights on. Considering I had an expired license as well as some...cargo along with me, I got off fairly light with a couple tickets and the towing fees I gave Dad to get his car out of the facility. The kind officers did not locate my small cargo, which had caused me some concern at the time. So I still have that for my personal use. Ironically it was concealed inside a package of Hershey's chocolate Nuggets, which makes both the chocolates and the dead plants which rode along with them my "lucky nuggs." Until they are all consumed. :D

We (me and Dave) had a lovely visit with Pearl and her friend Dan this weekend. We ended up watching TV almost the entire time. I did get a chance to talk with Pearl about some relationshippy stuff while she took me to the ATM and thence the grocery store. We both have, I think, the paranoidly reflex that it's better to talk about painful, personal emotional stuff in a very public place unless you can find a weird out-of-the-way place no one else would think to converse in. That and the fact that I can't give her relationship advice about a situation in which Dan is also a factor when he is in the room. Could she not have just invited me and Dave, or perhaps spent part of the weekend with me and Dave and Dan and part with just me and Dave? Huh? Well, Pearl has been developing good sense and restraint in many areas at once lately. She'll get subtle event-organizing stuff like that soon enough. Plus she does a lot more social interaction and social bonding than me and the weighing of multiple loyalties makes any decision-tree tougher to climb.

The results of my unpleasant time yesterday are as follows:
Written warning for driving w/o headlights
Ticket for driving w/ suspended license (court date will arrive in mail)
Dad's car towed to lot in Naperville (he is getting a friend to drive him there today)
I have vowed not to drive again until I have my license back.

Now, this is a serious vow, kind of like "I don't drive till I've had at least an hour to sober up after drinking/smoking" and "I don't play EverQuest / Warcraft or any real-time 3d graphics-based MMORPG." I haven't got many of them for a reason; they are restrictive. But this event was definitely an omen, and as a person who loves to note and interpret omens I took that meaning immediately. No more driving for Viz until I'm legal to drive.

Also, reading the back side of the omen, I have concluded that this year is a great year for me to see if I can find ways of participating in Operation Mindfuck. Which is Discordianese for "doing random creative things that disrupt and annoy people who really, really suck and who, by sucking, enslave the minds of others."

For easy things to start off with, I could do things on the internets perhaps. For medium difficulty, I would lurve to find out if there are Scientology-related gatherings in this area I could crash / infiltrate / pass out leaflets near / organize an hilarious demonstration about.

The reasoning is that the getting arrested was a stressful event, but I kept my cool and did my magics (or desperate appeals with my mind all squinched up with nervousness and concentration, if you want to be like that). And somehow, between the inattention of the officers, my coolth, and the merciful aid of various beings who are (or think I am) helpful, I managed to avoid getting busted for posession.

Maybe I should make that a Rule of Omens: Every omen contains both a warning and an encouragement.

time demands no apology & accepts no excuse

Emotional dynamics are easier to picture in terms of fluids. Any emotion can be imagined as a fluid; some are stickier (more viscous) and some less, some are more dense and others comparatively thin. I think by describing the variables of stickiness, density and temperature, it should be possible to develop a model wherein any emotion can be represented by an imaginary fluid. And as such, described mathematically, emotions' movements and forces can be understood in a way that resembles physical ("hard") science.

When I talk about the structure of the personality, I am also thinking of something that can be represented in terms of a model with characteristics drawn from physical science. The structures of the personality can and do act as channels, barriers, filters, furnaces. Whatever things can be done to a physical fluid most likely has an analogue in the movement and alteration of the imaginary fluids which represent emotions within a personality. Though I would not be surprised if the fluids comprising emotions have properties no material fluid exhibits.

The result I am working towards, when I think of Anatomy of Trust, is a model of the personality with the characteristics just described. I want the model to be able to describe the systems of the personality with a level of detail comparable to how Gray's Anatomy (the book!) describes the systems of the body. I want people to be able to form a mental picture of the inside of their personality which accurately represents what is going on. I want to encourage an engineering-type attitude, where an aspiring mental engineer can draw a diagram of portions of their own personality, can estimate flows, stresses, choke points, siphons etc and be able to embark on a course of personal change based on the analysis made possible by the model.

As it is I came up with one of those metaphors that describes how annoyed I am at my situation at the moment.
Sure, a person could work at this stupid restaurant all day and then come home and write poetry all night. They could also break rocks on a chain-gang all day then go back to their jail cell and practice the ballet routine they learned at the Joffrey.
I think the comparison is apt. My mind is strong, but it ain't that strong.

Zelda is good for keeping me sane. And I look forward to having Heroes IV again soon--the post office left a note that it's being held at a local depot and Dad's going to try to pick it up for me. However, I need to demand more of myself than maintaining right now. The warmer the weather gets, the more the envelope fills up with unattached energy. When I say envelope, I'm talking about the thing a material location has which is roughly comparable to a personality. Elizabeth Moon calls it the taig. In real life a taig has properties I don't even know the extent of my ignorance about. However, the level of ambient energy of a kind the personality can access appears to ebb and flow with the seasons. I don't know how much of this is the body's reaction to external temperature variations and how much is actually caused by things exterior to the self. But the upshot is that in spring, summer and fall I have more flexibility with how my personality is managed. Changes I attempt to institute are easier to pull through; when I crash from overload the bounce-back is quicker and more, I dunno, bouncy. So the onset of warm weather is a good time to experiment with emotional energy management.

And I want to be doing more things with myself. I am sure I can find a way to have enough left over to experiment with, to still be working like a fiend on "the work" even after being drained by regular-style work.

Which I must get back to now. Stupid everything.

post-weekend update (sorta with content?)

Doing much better today after a very restful weekend.

Dave also reminded me so that this time I remembered to bring the N64 back with me. Last night before sleeptime I actually got to play some Zelda: Ocarina of Time! Tis my personal favorite Zelda, and very soothing. My subconscious mind knows the game backwards and forwards and all I have to do consciously is look at shiny colors and decide in what order the game objectives should be pursued.

If only real life were like that more often, I would have fewer posts like my last coupla. XP

Parenthetically, I have GOT to remember to keep taking vitamins every day. I had been forgetting to for awhile, then took some vitamins over the weekend, and my low, lagging energy level finally stabilized. I woke up today feeling like I'd actually slept for the first time in a week! This could also be that I got good sleep over the weekend, managed to eat some fresh vegetables, etc. But I shouldn't be taking any chances.

In the words of Bjork,
"I don't know my future
after this weekend
and I don't want to"

Oh, and here's something similar to a poem I wrote on the train on the way back from Wheaton:

Not sick exactly or poor exactly
or lucky the way you might think.
Not so much lazy or surly or hazy
with too much to smoke or to drink.
Just the edge wore off the brightness a little
that drove me to sleep and to wake.
Just what gave me the worst fright; it's the middle.
I see no road other to take.
I thought I'd be maybe remembered while living.
For that you must give up all joy.
I thought I would make the cold camera forgiving.
For that you turn into a toy
that the shrewd can wind up and reprogram to suit them,
their carefully-plotted regime.
The crowd will sit up and let everyone loot them
with what they expect as it seems.

the minor fall, the major lift

Just tried to look up Pearl's Myspace page and couldn't find it.

I was going to call her last night--I was also going to go to the grocery store last night--but instead I fell into bed the moment I got home & got my coat off. I slept until eight-thirtyish, got up just long enough to eat some soup Dad made, then went back to bed. Woke up at like one forty-five, called Dave, then made some tea and toast and finished re-reading Paksennarion book 1, went back to bed at almost four. Alarm rang at seven fifteen, hit snooze until about ten after eight. And now I am still tired.

Got Hallelujah stuck in my head. One of the guys on American Idol performed it this week (I think it was this week--with DVR I'm not so sure) and the extreme goodness of the song distracted the judges and everyone from the mediocrity of his performance. I figured he deserved the pass just for having the good taste to select Leonard Cohen. Now, though, I've got it stuck in my head and I had to look up the lyrics. Oh, mistake. Too powerful a thing to have bouncing around in your head when all you've done in the past few days is work, sleep, sneakily read novels and complain.

I am envious of Leonard, you see. I know, I know, "decisions, like incisions, stretch to fit / what passes through them" and you can't write a song without something taking a great big bite out of your soul, the bigger the bite, the better it's possible for the song to be, all that. Still envious. 'S worth having your soul missing great big chunks if that's what comes out of it. I have a shrewd, educated guess on exactly how much it would hurt. (A lot. A whole lot.)

Maybe it's that I really want more music in my life right now. Dull and mundane is how my day looks, rolling out in front of me. Which I know is a wrong perspective. Everything is magical; my mind is too narrow if I'm seeing my life this way.

But my life also is too narrow! This morning a lady asked me if I knew where was the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I pointed right across the street from where we were standing, where the sign next to the door said "Chicago School of Professional Psychology." And again, I was so envious. That's where she's going! I want to be going to there and instead someone else is! Arrgh!

The things I want, I still want them even though I can't have them. The things I am best at are least valued. This makes me feel angry and useless. People close to me will agree with me which of the things I can do are most important. But it doesn't matter. I have to do what I'm doing in order to eat and have a place to live. I fucking hate it. I have to sacrifice the beginning parts of my adult life so Dad can rehabilitate the end of the middle part of his. I won't buy into his emotional dynamic, I won't drink his kool-aid, I have my own kood-aid that I don't know why I even bother to mix because no one's going to drink it.

And there it is, ladies. Mom and Dad are eating our lives right out from under us. They believe their own lies and bullshit and they expect us to believe in it too so we don't mind that they're stealing our best years from us. Most people get to pick a stupid romantic partner that they can hate forever for stealing the best years of their lives. Instead our parents are draining away our money and time and emotional energy as if they had the right to it. We have no future and it's because of their past. I would say it's because they hate us but the truth is that they just don't care. They torment themselves with feelings of horrible guilt and imagine that that's the same thing as accepting responsibility for their actions. Well, if they really accepted responsibility for their actions they wouldn't be constantly mooching off us.

The closer Dad gets to his "deal" happening the less patience I have with him. He's talking about getting his money by the end of April but then not moving out of the apartment until September. Okay, money or not, by the end of April I will not have any patience left. I have been very patient with him. I have sat and gritted my teeth while he depresses me endlessly with his dreams of how he's going to spend all the money he hasn't got yet and the life of ease and plenty we're all going to have when he gets all the money he hasn't got. While he sits there and makes plans for what I'm going to do with my life with all the money he's going to give me that he hasn't got. I have paid rent and bought groceries and paid utility and phone and internet bills. I have sat and listened to his bullshit, the same stories over and over and fucking over, and pretended I didn't think he was horrible and stupid for needing to hammer that same stupid fucking shit into my skull day after squalid boring day. If it's so damn hard for him to convince himself to believe in his own crazy schemes, why the fuck should I waste my time and energy allowing myself to be convinced of something he can't even believe himself without browbeating other people into believing it first?

And it's just as bad for Amber and Pearl. Pearl described to me her feeling that most of the reason she goes out every night to hang out with one person or another is that she wants to spend as little time as possible in a house where she feels like a prisoner. And Amber escapes as best she can into internet and book things but is still paranoid about having written records of what goes on in her brain or exploring spiritual adventures. So Mom ropes them into paying rent and bills on a house they can't afford, and even though Mom is contributing the least she still manages to put herself in charge of everything and make them do what she says. So that she can steal from them and bully them whenever she wants to. Because Mom doesn't have anybody else in her life who will listen to her because she drove them all away by being an insufferable bitch.

I probably would be throwing my life away at a shitty job that doesn't use my best talents anyway. But I fucking resent throwing my life away so that my stupid parent who helped put me in a position where throwing my life away is my only option can continue in their miserable delusions.

And I want this music and I feel this envy for someone who clearly has it because the music counteracts the kind of bitterness I feel. Something takes a great big bite out of you, and the music comes in blazing gloriously and it cauterizes and disinfects the hole in you so that nothing nasty and festering grows in your soul while you heal from whatever took the bite out of you. I feel like I don't even have any clean wounds though, like what hurts is a hundred little papercuts or a thousand little needlepricks. And if I want a nice clean hole big enough to fit a wonderful fiery piece of music in through I am going to have to carve it out myself. And I just can't find a spot where I want to put the edges because there isn't anyplace clean enough to hold a good edge.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.


Can I whine? You guys don't mind if I do, right? Hope not. This is a blog, after all, and blogs were invented for whining.

Oh, sure, every so often I'll get frustrated with myself and make a resolution to "stop whining!" or "stop talking about myself so much!" or similar pronouncements. But all such pronouncements quickly go the way of the VHS tape because I want to whine sometimes.

I'm tired, I'm still sick, my apartment is filthy, my computer is dead, I only see my boyfriend on the weekends and I miss him, my phone is dead, I don't get to talk to my sisters enough, I haven't gotten to hang out with my friend Clarissa in way too long, and I again don't care what's happening to Myke again after many vacillations on that issue. It doesn't seem to matter what actually happens at work these days, it just all pisses me off much more than normal. It's like I have a normal person's temper instead of my own. I suspect this is a result of being sick; body energy is used up in the fight against microbes that otherwise would have been available to me in the fight against murderous rage.

My mind is never empty enough for proper writing; I wrote a poem last week and it was okay, but a poem a week is a paltry crappy amount and I'm not satisfied with that. I've been reading lots of books on the Free Library and the prospect of reading another one actually bores me right now. Me! Bored! At the prospect of reading a free sci-fi book!

After I lost my debit card a few weeks ago I've been using this stupid red temp card they gave me at the bank, which you can't use for online bill payments or payments over the phone. So even though I temporarily have the money to do so I can't turn my cell phone back on. And I feel inadequate when I go to my message board because I feel like other people are out doing things to promote chaos and justice, even if those things just involve annoying other message boards, and I'm sitting on my thumbs not making pretty speeches. Not making them because I can't find the mental wherewithal to write any.

Not to mention Anatomy of Trust, where I'm stuck again in the same place I've been stuck for ages, in the stupid levels / transformations paradox. Okay, look. The contents of a trust level--the behaviors that distinguish one from another--may be radically different for different people. But the effect on the personality of the truster is the same in form or it couldn't be studied categorically. Each trust level, while it is in effect, can thus be considered for any person without worrying too much about individual differences. By the same token, the transformations--the experiences through which a person moves another person between trust levels--should be equally generalizable. But it is a big problem. Hard to come at from either direction. If I knew exactly the personality structure components of a trust level, I could sort of ass-backwards reverse engineer what the transformations would have to be. If I knew exactly which aspects of a transformation experience were essential, I could use them to define the trust categories. As it is, it's a dilemma. I don't want to arbitrarily define one without having a good handle on the other because they're so interdependent.

And I don't have time or energy to sit around for hours poking at the problem because when I get home from work all I want to do is hide in my room and curl up under blankies and play Heroes which I can't do because my computer is dead. And my mp3 collection is gone and a lot of my writings are gone and my IM logs are gone and all the pretty pictures me and Dave collected are gone as well as I think our only copy of Where the Boys Aren't 16, greatest exponent of the series, and Maniac Mansion and dog knows what else that I haven't used in forever because all I do on that damn thing is play Heroes. Which I can't do. Have I stressed that point enough? Has that point stressed me enough? I think it is seriously messing with my mind.

It's weird, you can go through privations and hardships of every description, but the chink in your armor is always something that you don't expect to have taken away. You don't mind losing a leg to the grenade blast, but when the flash blinds you as well it's too much, kind of thing. And I can be a sweet pig to everyone all the time no matter how much stupid bullshit is required to go through every day as long as I can come home and play Heroes for several hours. As a substitute, mind you, for hanging out with Dave every day, which I had got used to and then had to get UN-used-to again because Dave can't live in the same house with Dad because it makes him miserable all the time.

Well, fuck, what about what I can and can't tolerate because it makes me miserable all the time? Who do I get to complain to? Who the fuck cares? Everybody's got their own problems and can't help with my situation any more than I can. Oh, great. Now I'm feeling sorry for myself first thing in the morning. Not a good way to start the day at this clusterfuck of an excuse for a restaurant.
Last Wednesday and Thursday I was so sick I had to go home early, both days. I would be sitting at my desk in all my sweaters and scarf with the space heater pointed directly at me and a cup of hot tea in my hands, still shivering all over. Bad times, people. The only place in the whole restaurant warm enough that I wasn't shivering all over was the furnace room. Which is sort of hidden behind the storage room where we keep the employee files and spare plates and stuff, and is so dirty and spooky and dim most people won't venture into it on any pretext. Fine by me; I wish I could've gotten a blanky and spent the whole day in there those days. Friday too, though I wouldn't have actually needed to on Friday.