now you know what I did last night

I accidentally spent well over two hours last night on a forum post. It was heavy philosophizing, the kind I ain't had a chance to do much in ages, and brought me great joy. I thought I'd post it up here in lieu of other content. It's been a strange day. Bernie the homeless guy gave me an awesome untouched Starbucks hot chocolate someone had given him, main boss gave me work to do related to a restaurant-related project of great importance and secrecy, and people started coming to me with their zillion questions related to payroll.

I mailed out Magic cards and rent, did tons and tons of work, and generally had an incredibly busy and productive day. So I'm glad I have the below text to add!

It all began when I started a thread called "Choosing a religion." It contained an excerpt from a previous post here. Good ol' sputnik replied with questions that seemed logical and thoughtful, so I replied, "You're not by any chance
volunteering to take part in a discussion where terms are rigorously defined, are you?"

:D Apparently he was!

Quote from: sputnik on Yesterday at 02:14:13 am
"Shall I begin the long walk to the short drop?

Premise 1: people will do what appears to be in their best interest, or they will attempt to do what seems to cause less damage if under duress."

Granted. Though I'd prefer to say the second part something like, "or they will attempt to minimize damage in situations where a good result appears unobtainable." Under duress implies outside pressue on the decision-making process. Since outside pressure can be a big factor in choice of religions, the whole issue should be left for the discussion at hand.
May I propose a second point?

2. What people perceive to be in their best interests is determined by the values in which they have chosen to believe.

If this is agreeable, I think it allows us to reach the third point, the question and the meat of the matter:

3. In what ways can a person's chosen values be related to their choice of a religious affiliation?

"This seems to be the heart of the issue, or at least a good place to start:
'[W]hat is the difference between ego gratification and ego transformation? In both cases the individual measures his own beliefs against those of other group members. People who are in it for cheap ego strokes will simply discount and vilify the opinions of those who disagree with the beliefs they already hold. People whose commitment is, as you say, teleological, will perceive the judgments of some other group members as authoritative and will alter their own beliefs in order to conform.'

For now, let's assume these two qualities, ego gratification and transformation, to be the most obvious of the reasons one may join an order; certainly more subtle classifications may become apparent in subsequent discussion, and I hope this is the case: I sophia'd philo a long time ago. Now, those two seem clear enough: both being internal states that use external sources for their continued existence, although the latter, transformation, seems less concerned with external status relative to the first; perhaps it can be safely assumed that the latter is less concerned with states of "now" as with states of "idealism" or "what could/should be."

It seems your extrapolation of my term, let's call it ego transformation or teleological, differs from the point I had mentally made, but failed to make clear in my post. You define one sort of person, while I define another, which perhaps points out a flaw in my thinking. The teleological person, in my mind, is wholly unconcerned with the opinions of the group. Again, your point was:
Quote from: Fiat Lex
'People whose commitment is, as you say, teleological, will perceive the judgments of some other group members as authoritative and will alter their own beliefs in order to conform.'

In my mind, the wholly teleological person would judge the opinions of the perceived authority against their personal standard and keep what is stimulating according to their perceived goal. My question for you is, do you see this teleological person as built upon the "gratification" paradigm, or is it something completely else. To begin I need to you define what you mean by ego gratification and ego transformation."

A flaw? Pshaw! :D A "flaw" permits sculptors' eyes to intuit hidden form.

You're right, we've made a good start by ferreting out two categories already; there may certainly be more. But I will talk terms for a bit first before moving on to address the two classifications we've already got. At that point I will be emboldened to suggest more!

The first and, I often find, stickiest term to pin down is desire. People have various kinds of needs--what kinds there are and what they consist of is way too big a question to tackle here. Some needs are directly perceptible to consciousness. Others may be acted upon without conscious awareness, and each of us as people must study the patterns of our thoughts and behavior in order to discover the nature of those needs and the means that we are using in practice to meet them. Value judgments begin to enter the area of the personality accessible to the conscious mind when people begin to consider how to prioritize their needs. I love to borrow a term from economics here: "opportunity cost." When one must expend a limited resource in order to obtain some good thing, the opportunity cost of choosing to spend that resource on one thing is the inability to also obtain another. Belief is a limited resource when a person is considering the opportunity costs of their various desires.

A value, we seem to be agreed, is a state of being which a person holds to be desirable for its own sake. Values are ideals in the sense that they cannot be perfectly realized in a world where everything and everyone changes constantly. Rather, they serve as templates against which reality may be measured. When the states of being in which a person participates come to closely resemble their ideals, they perceive this as good; when reality is sharply in contrast with the ideal, they perceive this as bad. Combining these two qualities, unattainability and desirability, we may perhaps agree that a person's values are the things they hold sacred.

Now, valued states of being may encompass only the individual's personality, or they may encompass larger ideals, qualities which may characterize a social group. May it be said, then, that values specific to the personality are what people call virtues, and those which refer to social groups are memeplexes? I would like to talk more about the types of values that exist and the various ways in which a person's values can be expressed. I believe that differences between personal and social values and different methods of expressing them have a profound effect on people's motives for, and methods of, integrating themselves into a group. Let's leave that, though, till we've settled what we're saying values are, and decided on which basic types of values are important for this discussion. Cool

Goals, let's say, are secondary aims, means by which people believe they can obtain the values they seek. A goal is not identical with a value, but is a realistically obtainable state which a person believes to most closely approximate a valued state in a given context.

To recap: Values represent ideal states in which the fulfillment of various needs are maximized. Goals represent realistic approximations of valued states. The level of belief invested in a given value determines the perceived opportunity cost when a person must choose between the pursuit of various goals. Belief in values, then, is the way that individuals determine how they will choose to act in general, and values themselves are employed by a personality in the process of deciding how to act in a given situation. I say "personality" rather than "person" because once a person's values are in place, any decision-making process can be carried out with very little conscious oversight. This is the case whenever conscious attention, itself a scarce resource, is not applied to all aspects of a particular choice.

We are discussing here the limited cases in which a person has chosen to pursue membership in a religious group.

There are many different types of social groups, too numerous to get into here! The only kind of group we're talking about is a religious group. Defining religion is an extremely difficult point--as I recall there was a thread about it recently. But our work is made much easier since we're not defining religion itself, only setting aside among social groups those which are formed for the principal purpose of practicing a particular religion. Different religions may define in their memeplexes (which are bigger than written doctrine or explicitly stated dogma! these also encompass "unwritten rules" such as social norms!) what forms of social interaction are to be valued, even as they may define which personal virtues are to be valued. A religious society, then, is a group formed by individuals who all profess to hold sacred the values, both personal and social, prescribed by a particular religion's teachings. The explicit ones at least; the implicit ones are a matter for further discussion.

Now I can talk about the imaginary people we are using to represent different motivations for choosing to seek membership in a religious group:

Persons who seek ego transformation see a disparity between their current or previously held values and those values they perceive to be characteristic of the group. They believe that altering their levels of belief in certain values to more closely conform with the perceived value judgments of the group will result in generally more effective need fulfillment. (I expect argument on this point! I've been over and it and over it and it just needs more discussion to pin it down!) Which is to say that they have weighed the opportunity costs, and come to the conclusion that the values they already hold in common with the group, along with those in which they will invest greater belief in the course of their membership, are worth sacrificing those values which must lose primacy as a result. I'd like to call this category of people "earnest converts."

Persons who seek ego gratification may or may not see a disparity between their values and the values of the religion they choose to join. I think this category may, in fact, need to be further subdivided. More than once!

Those who do not see a disparity between their values and those of the religious group may be mistaken, or their perception may be accurate. If the perception is accurate, the person's identity does not need to change in order for them to participate fully as members; in this case membership merely supports their existing identity. We may call such persons "true believers." If the perception is inaccurate, then some other factor, internal or external, hinders the person from becoming aware of the disparity. Depending upon the nature of said hindrance, the actual disparity of values combined with the person's lack of conscious awareness of it can produce various effects, all (I dare to assert) deleterious to the personality's capacity for need fulfillment. Why don't we call such people "solipsistic followers."

On the other hand, we have those who see their values as differing from those of the group, who are consciously aware that a disparity exists, and who nonetheless choose group membership. These, I think, can also be divided into two sub-categories. People who consciously affirm that the religion's perceived values are more worthy of belief than their own, but for some reason are unable or unwilling to alter the investment of belief within their own personalities, I'd like to call "waffling converts." People who believe instead that their own value judgments are superior to those of the group, but choose to join with the group regardless, we can call "would-be reformers." Would-be reformers might need another category split. They run the whole spectrum from "cynical followers" at one extreme, who inwardly scoff at their fellow religionists' foolishness but don't choose to try and change others' minds, to "passionate crusaders" at the other, who attempt to transform their religions in order to bring the religion itself closer to their own ideals.

Quote from: sputnik
"I imagine the teleological person as a stampede: eating what it likes and smashing the rest in it's path to safety."

I dunno, there's a lot of stampeding going on up there! The earnest converts are stampeding over themselves to get closer to their chosen religion, while the passionate crusaders are stampeding over their religions so that the religion may become more palatable to themselves. Those two, in case you were wondering, are my favorite types out of all of 'em.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 32

Here I had typed up all sorts of fun stuff about my yesterday and this morning and the dreams I've been having lately, and a few accidental keystrokes erased it all. I usually take that as a sign I'd been about to violate my own information control protocols, and wasn't getting the message from the bottom of my brain clearly enough. I mean, look at me, blogposting at work and all! Tsk!

Well, as I was saying right before I subconsciously decided to start over, here's an ingredient list of what little Fiats are made of:
60% intellectualism
22% irony
15% tact
3% spite
Apparently I'm getting enough better at math that those ratios I worked out in my head actually add up to 100%!

My desktop background on the computer at home is now the art from the Magic card Angelic Page by Rebecca Guay. I adore Rebecca Guay; her art is comforting and stylish and always classy. I dunno whether it's my weird mood lately or the amount of time I've been spending on my fart-joke-happy forum, but last night I looked at it and giggled mightily because I thought of a wonderful caption: "Oh my! Looks like someone needs a visit from the Sodomy Fairy." Y'know. With her mischievous expression and her great big lance and all. I'm sure a nice angelic girl like her would be able to make such a visit pleasant enough. Or maybe I just haven't been watching enough porn. Stupid LimeWire not working at home unable to complete the blacksmith porn challenge grumble grumble.

Speaking of things that sound horrifying but actually turn out rather well, Dave had his first visit with Paula's favorite acupuncturist yesterday morning. This is a cat I'd seen previously, a few years back when I got that pinched nerve in my left foot. Does good work. Dave said he actually felt much better afterwards. And even though a nap and some hours brought him back closer to his recently normal state, he's intrigued enough to be game for a second visit and even keep up on the passle of herbal supplements the nice fellow recommended.

Maybe it's because I've dubbed this the Year of Great Changes. Maybe it's because everyone around me is intoning some variant on the dread, always-inaccurate "it can't possibly get any worse." Or maybe I know something most don't--not even me. But dogmannit I am STILL optimistic. I see the bright seeds of chaos at the bottom of this aftermath. The gold ring winks from the bottom of the sink.

[edit later in the day]

Gaah it's even stronger now! The effect on me personally is mild but the little omens, the little events of the day which can be read one way and another, add up like suspicions too. But these are the sort where one suspicions a surprise party. :D Main and lady bosses may possibly have just snuck into the storage room for some marital nookie.

...Ah, not nookie, darn. I was hoping for that; bosspeople slipping off to make kissyfaces would be WAY better than them slipping off to argue. They didn't seem to be fighting at least! The taig rejoices anyway, whether they're getting into the spirit of spring or not.

I feel like a damn windsock with these stupid little hands with tiny knitting needles. Must...stitch up holes...before awesome warm airfront arrives!

content update!

The second chorus for this one came to me several years ago, while the Elgin house of legend was all still together. For the record I never did live in Glencoe, but I know a rich person who did. Also it rhymed. I think there may be yet another verse afterwards, but I can't see how to beat that final chorus. Punlicious! Hopefully I'll update a smidge more content when I gets home, but I wanted to get this up soonest.
Edit: Done and done. Added a third verse so I could have the nice strophic structure and the story element made more sense.

[movin down in the world]

raised up to be a middle class kid
hell, how long could that’ve lasted
thought they taught me what would matter
climbin up that corporate ladder
but the world kept spinnin faster
recession, divorce disaster
don’t you weep for what you’re losin
got to keep on, keep on movin

movin down in the world
ah yes I’m movin down in the world
I live in Wheaton ‘stead of Glencoe
I got much less time to play Nintendo
movin down in the world

I went to get my own BA they
had to turn my ass away
ran out of cash and credit too
I got a job—what else to do
at least I get to work indoors
no benefits or stock of course
and it’s myself I keep on provin
got to keep on, keep on movin

movin down in the world
ah yes, I’m movin down in the world
I live in Elgin ‘stead of Wheaton
I smoke cigarettes instead of eatin
movin down in the world

no more pockets left to delve in
dream of books and lust for shelvin
broken doorbell, yappin canines
can't even call half my brain mine
claw my fingers in the dirt
or else I'll fall right off the earth
dig out my little space to groove in
got to keep on, keep on movin

movin down in the world
ah yes, I’m movin down in the world
work is for suckers—guess I’m dumb
butts off the sidewalk, here I come!
I’m movin down in the world

Now, I didn't think this one was much great shakes, just casual mirthmaking. But the esteemed Bonsai Ent said he was putting it up on his wall. Which I assume is not a wall of shame, so I thought y'all might enjoy as well.

[my impression of Bill Cosby doing a rap album]

If you're drinking, fighting, or playing with guns
Your life, young person, will be no fun
Respect your elders and work all day
So when you get home there's time to play
It's a big bad world and you've got to be smart
Got to use your head to protect your heart
Don't go with a girl who's fast and wild
Do right, get married, and take care of your child
Pay your taxes on time and obey the law
Or I'll smother you with Jell-o! Haw, haw haw.


When I logged into Yahoo immediately after finishing the previous post, the first thing I saw was the following email header:

Subject: Your payment has been refunded
Date: Thu Apr 24, 2008

p.p.s.: When a person is experiencing conflict between his currently held beliefs and those beliefs necessary to maintain the constellation of his trusts, this psychic discomfort and the resistance to conscious awareness of it can manifest in various ways. Which assertion is well supported in the annals of psychology. A magician merely asserts (or chooses to believe) that patterns of behavior in the random events surrounding people and their actions is one of those ways.

now for my next trick: watch my rent check disappear!

That's right, folks. Somehow or other, between Friday when I bought it and yesterday morning when I first went to look for it in the back of my legal pad, the cashier's check made out to my landlord vanished out of my bag.

It is not in my bag, on the kitchen table, anywhere else in the apartment, wedged into some other book or bundle of papers that sometimes gets put in my bag, in my room, in the garbage can where I threw shit out when I was cleaning my room, at the office, or at Dave's house. Which means it either fell out on the train or the bus or while I was digging in my bag on the way to or from the train or the bus, or someone stole it out of the back of the unassuming yellow legal pad in my bag. Despite its not being cash money and considering the fact that no one but me knew it was there.

The nice folks over at my local bank branch were genuinely sad to inform me that a cashier's check, unlike a regular check, is equivalent to cash and hence cannot be canceled. If it goes unclaimed for ninety days, the money can be returned to my account. But before then there is nothing they can do for me.

Now that I think of the folks at my bank, though, I wonder if it would be possible to get a credit card, get a cash advance on the credit card, and buy a cashier's check with that money. It does contravene a stubborn insistence of mine to never have a credit card. But I never bothered to make that determination into a personal vow, so I wouldn't be messing myself up morally by doing it. Have no idea whether it's possible and it does sound a bit farfetched; I'll ask Bob the banker in the morning.

It's better than Dad's idea, which was to ask main boss to front me the money. Dad points out that it's a reasonable request since it might have been stolen while I was at work, and besides, having one's office manager get kicked out of her apartment is bad for business. I really, really, really don't want to do that though, because of that shit with Elmer and Lisa the psychic and Elmer's "missing" five grand that he still believes in his heart I stole. Wish I had fuckin stolen it, I'd've had five grand and would have paid off my parking tickets and have a legal driver's license now. City don't ask where it came from if you pay in cash money.

I have always hated asking authority figures for favors. Because in my heart I believe that deep down everyone is Brick Top. (From this movie.) In the sense that once you're in his debt, you're in his pocket--and once you're in that, you ain't never comin' out.

This morning Mohammad called me on it when he saw I had a blogger window open. He was very nice and seemingly off-handed about it, telling little anecdotes and things, but I know that's just his style of delivering a first warning. Doesn't make it any the less deadly than a more forcefully delivered warning. Which means I have to seriously consider a "no blogger at work" vow, which would fuck with my head right about now.

But the incident got me thinking. Not the kind of thinking where you sit and have a thought, scribble it down and move on. This is the sort of thought that comes on like a suspicion. The little acts and facts that pass across your hands and brain over the course of a day seem to weigh it down, until it's heavy enough to break through into conviction, belief.

When this thought came to me I had couched it in the terms taig, group mind and mana link, but I'll render it here in more usual words because I think it's an important point to be clear about.

When your average conscientious person (whom we won't define more vigorously for now, beggin' your pardon) takes on a job, he requires certain things of himself. There is a powerful trust relationship there: "This group accepts me because it expects me to fill a role; I mold myself to fit that role. While I am here, I will accept and believe that X things are important, and I will make it my personal mission to ensure those things are accomplished." The requirements of the job thus become part of the conscientious man's personality.

I think I have a weird relationship with my personality. Very little goes in or comes out of it without my knowledge and acquiescence. I may make impulsive decisions or use bad judgment, but the judgments and decisions are mine. Entered into with malice aforethought--well, usually not malice, but most definitely calculation.

An analogy here will help us avoid having to carefully define a number of words and then be careful how we say things with them. It ain't science, but it's much faster. Now I seem to remember learning in some biology class that while plant cells and animal cells have many similarities, two important ways in which they differ are permeability and thickness. Animal cells are thinner and more permeable, in order to sustain the animal's body during its more vigorous life. Animal cells have more varied types of materials to absorb, and must be able to do it with ridiculous haste in need. Plant cells' thickness and rigidity make the whole plant tough, able to withstand punishing winds and grow to gargantuan sizes. Given enough dirt and light and water and time.

But trees do not join herds, or armies. Or management teams. Unlike cells, personalities can be reconfigured. They can alternate functions, or integrate them, when properly managed. Provided, of course, that the consciousness driving the personality can be convinced there is a reason to do so.

(Ah, now. There's a pretty definition. Wonder if it's from anything:
Magic is the art of changing one's mind.
Which one, is an exercise for the magician.)

These kinds of experiences, as a category, are the seat of the whole Anatomy of Trust. I've been calling them the transformations. The transformations are categories of situations in which a person must change his mind about the sort of personality he is going to have. Consciousness provides the personality with three limited resources: the ability to pay attention, the ability to choose, and the ability to exert control over the body. Which transformations occur at what time is determined by how much of these resources must be expended to sustain the interactions made necessary by the sum of the individual's trust relationships.

And because I much prefer to have my personality resemble the cell walls of a maple or ebony tree, I tend to experience great difficulty with some categories of transformations. We can all rest assured that the job role transformation described above is in one of them--though at this point I have not yet developed a working model of what the transformation categories are. There are two reasons for this. One, I just figured out this afternoon what a transformation is in the first place! Cut me some slack, me and possibly other people! Two, the transformation categories will have to be based upon the different types of relationships. Which is a problem I've hardly even begun to tackle.

I have decided, had decided long ago, that going through this transformation at this physical location was the right thing for me to do. It was, in my own terminology, the next item on my invisible curriculum. The next flaw in myself I wanted to remedy by acquiring a new system of belief or skill set.

But it requires a degree of permeability with which I have never, ever really been comfortable. The causes of this, even if you don't happen to know them, can be easily deduced from the fact. It runs sharply against the grain of a group of beliefs amply supported by the preponderance of my will for all two and a half decades of my lifetime. Everyone, in short, is Brick Top. (Another analogy, but I hope one that gets my point across. The alternative would be a longwinded discussion of the strain placed on consciousness by unequal trust interactions.) Even at the best of times the only difference between a friend and an enemy is whether or not he has changed his mind. That is an inescapable fact--and those who try most desperately to escape it are pitiful creatures indeed.

Thus it is not necessary for me to change my opinion about the existence of that risk. I must only change my mind about whether the benefits of a particular trust relationship outweigh it. A decision I have made before, yes. But in entirely different contexts.

More clearly delimited ones. Less public ones. Ones where practical matters like housing and food are only secondarily affected by the outcome. Personal, not professional relationships. Where if you fuck it all up, your heart and soul are in peril. Instead of your survival.

You see how I talk myself into things?

The difference between spending every spare desk minute on the internet and spending nearly all your time at work working is a transformation. Difference between going to work because you get paid and going to work because you actually want to do your job is a transformation. An alteration in self occasioned by an alteration in trust status. You have to decide that in this instance, for this entity, at this time, trust is worth the risk.

"No, really! I *can* do magic!"


Lookit the nice roasty photo Payne made for me. He has a thread where he does mock portraits of all the regulars and this is latest entry.
:D Nice thing about a good webfight is it gets you notoriety. Few more efficient ways to establish oneself in a group mind, no?

Plus consider this. I have found a forum where I get to be the laid-back hippie whom nobody takes very seriously. Which is damn hard to do on the internet when you are polite, capable of occasional logic and have good grammar. I had despaired of finding such a thing! How better to restrain one's innate pomposity!

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 31

Good news for me on the internet front. Maturity levels higher than previously suspected! Seems I've merely embarrassed myself, which is much nicer than having to search out a new forum. Not the nicest of possible things to be sure. However, it relates to what I want to talk about here.

Has to do with distribution of energy. Priorities, excuses--but really, identity.

Part of the reason one has a peer group is to judge oneself against them. One seeks approval, ultimately; to be judged and not found wanting, to have one's judgments accepted and validated by the group. To form relationships within which the growth of one's identity can take place. This is a purpose of any social group regardless of the stated reason for which it is formed.

In religious or religion-based groups, however, this purpose is primary. In my opinion one chooses a religion based on the character traits that are most likely to be fostered by the social groups formed within it. In other words, you choose the religion whose adherents (as observed) you most desire to resemble.

You can say the same thing about what books you read, what music you listen to. What job you have. The popular phrase is to call each of these personal choices an expression of one's identity. I will say rather these choices all make an impression on the identity. Or as Lois Bujold has put it, "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." You choose the religious group on the one hand, and the workplace on the other, most suited to the sort of person you are trying to become. Rather than the one most comfortable for what you already are.

Which is really a serious question. Quo vadimus is the question, the motto of that entrepreneur fellow from the last few episodes of Sports Nite. Where are we going? Are my interests and intentions best served by going out into the suburbs to work as the backup person to a securities broker, or by staying in the city as the office manager to a restaurant?

I suppose it's a bit late in the action to reconsider whether I actually want to change jobs or not. But better late and hastily done than incomplete and unusable, which was my motto on homework all through college. My objections to this stupid restaurant and the infuriating way it is run are not out of consideration and still stand. My objections to newplace are yet to be seen, apart from the issue of transportation which everyone agrees is a major problem. Everyone except Mom, who sees a lovely solution in my coming to live with her.

Had my phone interview yesterday evening with the broker whom I would be supporting. Seems like a nice and reasonable fellow and I'm sure I wouldn't mind working for him, keeping his clients happy and well-informed and his paperwork all in order. From what he and others at that office have told me, it can be a high-stress job, no two days the same, issues and concerns rising and falling with the market and other, less traceable factors. There would be the usual office politics and espirit de corps, socializing, occasionally going to seminars as a group, that sort of thing.

But it would not infuriate me. It would not make me yell and grind my teeth and mutter that Dr. Kills Everyone was going to have her horrible vengeance, just you wait and see. It would not make me write angry poems about food or how I hate being a manager, because I would not be a manager. It would not, in short, challenge me and force me to grow the way this job has done.

Really what happened on the forum made this occur to me. I don't pick things that are easy. I don't go and join social groups where I already fit in. Out of the whole wide internet full of dumb I picked this ridiculous forum. Where practically the first thing that happened was I accidentally started a fight with a mod I respect and then made an ass of myself because I'm not used to being able to stab people in the front. And successfully navigating a trial by fire does forge a bond. Whether you pass with flying colors or by the skin of your teeth.

This stupid restaurant has definitely made a mark on me, as much as me on it. I consider, though, what sort of a mark has it made. Yes, it does eat my brain--but less so now than before. I have in spite of myself gotten better at giving orders, both to bosses and people lower on the command chain than me, better at every stupid damnable little process that keeps a place like this running, better at balancing them all.

Yes, I do work a lot of stupid hours--but my commute is a breezy 30 minutes instead of a hellish 2 and a half hours. Still no benefits, which is ass. But also no requirement that I get my City of Chicago parking tickets paid off and my license reinstated and get myself a car before winter comes. And no Mom standing over my shoulder reminding me how she got me the job and couldn't she just give me a ride now and then. (And by the way worship Jesus and obey her.)

So. Am I still considering taking newjob? Certainly. Am I going to wait and see what kind of offer they give me? Yes, yes of course. Am I more likely now to simply use that offer as leverage in a cold-blooded attempt to get a raise than actually leave? Absofuckinglutely.

I think after work today I'm'a go sit by the tree and think on it some more.

my unicorn chose a bad spot to take a piss

Once a rock-headed bint
Who did not take a hint
Smeared some spooge on Dear Roger's pet forum
He asploded with rage
Across many a page
She cried "Zounds! Better stab, then, than bore 'um."

To be honest I was glad today to have something internetty, hence not terribly serious, to feel angry about. I was hoping for a slightly higher than normal level of maturity on my new forum, and for the most part that's been true. We'll see what happens. If The Good Reverend Roger takes me up on my offer to leave and I have to find a new forum, maybe I'll hit Baen's Bar and be able to hat about books with fellow fans. Worst comes to worst I can go back to Gaia on a new account, or one of my many multis. The house I built there is still standing and I can still give and receive poetry critiques. If no one is interested in my weird made-up magical craptasms, perhaps it is most polite to restrict them to my blog!

I actually went to sleep angry and woke up angry, which I was not best pleased about. I've read that's a dangerous thing to do; anger is, among other things, highly corrosive. But over the course of the morning I was able to use all that spare angry mental energy (RED MANA har har) to master the usual bevy of work crises with even more style and aplomb than usual. While keeping a grimly determined grip on my positive attitude. As me and Dave discussed yesterday, keeping my positive attitude is going to require a heckuva lot of grim determination. And I am going to NEED that positivity in the coming weeks and months.

The forum tussle did give me a reason to reconsider a few things. We must all question the systems of belief through which we approach daily life. Failure to do so, at least once in awhile, results in painful and horrible reality checks.

My system of belief is DIY, perpetually under construction. I'm perfectly well aware that there are a lot of wheels I'm reinventing needlessly because I would rather do it myself, including six or seven shoddy attempts before I get one that sticks, than take up someone else's symbol set and not understand all its subtle uses and nasty implications. There are those who would probably argue that I'm reinventing five or six wheels when four or even two have been known to get people from point A to point B. That, in other words, there is no need to even posit an invisible world, that life can be lived fully and sensibly if we don't believe in any aspect of the universe for which no scientifically verifiable evidence exists. And for a vast majority of people, that objection is probably true and would make a lot of people's lives easier.

However, there are two reasons I won't give up on this.

One, developing my crazy ideas until they one day, hopefully, become something entirely sane and explicable, gives me enormous satisfaction. I have already gotten what I consider good results in terms of personality construction. That is, I have been able to change myself from an unbelievably irritating boor into someone friendly, upbeat and charming that people generally want to spend more time with than they get to. Chalk that up under positive achievements for my crazy made-up system.

Two, the less positive side, I don't think I can think of the universe without considering an alleged invisible side to it. Having been raised in deadly seriousness to believe in demons and the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues and all of that fun stuff, the habits of belief are grooved into the formation of my personality at a pretty deep level. I have to put something there. Because if I don't do it consciously, my unconscious self will do it for me, and we all know what a conniving little saboteur she is. At least, if "we" have chosen to waste the time reading my dream logs. I personally re-read them almost obsessively looking for some interpretation or clue I can use. I imagine if other people keep dream logs they do the same thing. Then again it's my solipsism that's just got me into my first online fight in ages, so I shouldn't be too hasty!

The bummer of it is that this has been rather a nice forum and it would be a shame to have worn out my welcome so quickly. Overall the quality of posters is very high, which makes up for the small numbers and slow thread movement. I suppose if someone goes to all the trouble to erect his very own internet masturbatorium he doesn't want silly hippies messing his threads up with their pet theories. Pfft. That's what the internet is for, in my silly hippie opinion. I want people messing my threads up with their theories. Then I get to know what their theories are, and may learn something that contributes to mine! Win-win proposition. But of course not everyone takes insane glee in coming up with crazy theories all the time.

Hmm. *taps tip of nose and ponders* Can this be made into some sort of aphorism? "Play ye not games of air in a fire mage's den," or something like that. It's like having to possibly leave a forum because of a freak gasoline fight accident. Hilarious but dumb, and a waste.

dream logs, and the bugs that breed in them

Yesterday after getting home from a day of interviewing, optometrist visiting, and hanging out with Mom, I was very drained. Moreso after listening to Dad for an hour or so upon my arrival. Yada yada. Mom wants me to move in with her so she can have all her fun play-toy spawns under one roof again, Dad wants to kill himself because he feels terrible for being a crippled old man and a burden and not being able to succeed at any of his various schemes. Encouraging him not to takes up a lot of my time and emotional energy. The thing about pity is that it can be scrubbed out by the recipient. Scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed until nothing is left but a brownish stain on the sidewalk.

Not that I would say any of that to either of my parents' faces.

Dave gave me very good and encouraging advice last night. Bossman's problems are not my problems; Dad's problems can make me only as sad as I let them. And whatever happens in the future beyond my control is no more worth driving myself nuts over now than it was before. God, I miss Dave.

So I've been thinking more about that dream I had last Monday ("happy Monday dream log"), where I went to the basement and saw the little girl(s) in a bad time. Surprising really it's taken me this long to consider that said little girl could be the little girl who represents my Shadow in the Jungian sense, the selfparts too dangerous and important to be easily integrated.

I've written earlier some thoughts on the difference between dreams that seem to represent things inside my psyche and those that seem to represent things outside. Whether that means the outside things are part of the collective unconscious or the world of ideas or what have you, I admit I don't know. And I admit too that this idea of outside factors being part of dreams is also an idea whose accuracy I don't know. It's one of those working theories that is difficult to verify one way or the other, because the data set to which is refers is obstinate of rigorous study. Does "true dreaming" in the sense of traveling while sleeping require conscious intent and forethought? Or can it occur naturally for reasons difficult to sort out until well after the fact? Is there such a thing as traveling while sleeping? Are the little creatures I encounter in dreams and later interact with in waking life merely symbols for various aspects of my psyche? Or are the representations with which I interact expressions of living creatures, separate from me, who choose or are constrained to enter my fiat for one reason or another?

Lines like this are very difficult to draw. Any theory about the personality is a map; the experiences one's personality goes through are the territory. If two nations are at peace and keep few guards at their borders, could an alien outsider easily learn enough draw a boundary line across his alien map which matched the boundaries in the official records of the two nations? That is in the nature of the same problem I'm considering here. Personalities of living beings must be interconnected in various ways, there must be many forms of exchange, mana and content passing across the edges of their envelopes. Even if one is able to say "Here I end, and you begin" to a particular being, the very next moment the relationship between the self and the other may have shifted so that the stated definition no longer holds true.

And if it is difficult to make such distinctions between living humans who at least have bodies by which to distinguish their actions, how much more difficult must it be when one postulates invisible beings, who are assumed to take up residence inside one's psyche when filling various roles?

I know I am far too fond of postulating entities. It could be reasonably alleged that I needlessly multiply entities. I retort that while it may be needless, it is certainly useful in some contexts. With creative works especially I'm pretty well committed to believing that they are separate beings in some sense; it produces the optimum mental attitude for composition in my experience. With psychological problems as well, I have my theory of demons, which is much different than other people's theories of demons. I have no way of knowing, again, any extent to which my theory may or may not match up to scientifically verifiable reality. The important thing is that it works, works better than anything else I've tried. The map allows me to navigate the territory and that is ultimately what matters. I don't give it any credit beyond that. If my knowledge of the territory changes, the map also must change!

With all these things in mind, I have been reconsidering that dream.

I've referred here in one post or another to something in my psyche I call the demon factory. Many people have one. My own demon factory is closed, thanks to my horrible, exacting labors and the love and aid of the people I hold most dear. But I know perfectly well that this little girl, the shadowy aspect of my self who was once the CEO of the demon factory so to speak, is absolutely not gone. Self-aspects can only be pushed out of the way or transformed.

So I can clearly think of that dream as a chaperoned visit to the former site of the demon factory. Basement of the house I grew up in, large room scrubbed clean and well-lit with the walls painted. She still is where she always was, about to come in through a hole in the floor. Symbols are very obvious and exact in retrospect. Couldn't speak to her directly, didn't know what to say even when reacting afterwards. Had an urge to lend her my beasties, which is a fucking terrible idea in light of the interpretation I'm working with now. Har, har. Good one. Give some freshly scrubbed and housebroken creatures to the vindictive and not entirely integrated selfpart who once operated your demon factory. Sneaky little bitch I am down there, n'est-ce pas? Though in defense, said sneaky bitchery was of enormous help yesterday in dealing with Mom. I was doing clever passive-aggressive shit I didn't even recognize as great tactics until minutes after the requisite interaction had been completed!

I had another dream last night, a long one (because of a good long sleep, yay!). It involved me, Dave, and dream-people filling out the roles of close friends and trusted associates. One dream-person was even in the role of girlfriend to me and Dave! I have a feeling that this would normally have been one of those long, complicated dreams where I wake up knowing I knew what was going on but without any memories with which to make sense of the process.

First part I don't remember at all. Something was happening, all the people were involved, no images stuck. (Wait a minute. Right when I started to think on the third part, with the weird rot forest, bits from this part began to come back to me. The group was wandering down a street; I was looking at clothing through shop windows, but all the shops were closed. The street seemed crowded or hard to navigate, but I don't remember there being any other people there. Even the other people in the group with me I didn't see, simply had the vague sense that they were all there.)

Second part we were in an enormous room. I don't know whether the room itself was our opponent, it had been programmed by an enemy, or had been activated by us when we knew that we (typo: wrote "he") had no idea what effect our actions would have. Some situation like that. It was kind of a cross between a videogame level and one of those long high-energy scenes from an action movie. Things would move and we would move and do stuff and dangerous things would be happening and we would respond, with varying degrees of success. The tail end of that part had the whole group fleeing from the room to seek medical attention. The dream-person in the role of me and Dave's girlfriend actually fell on the hallway floor when we were running, and I stopped and held and kissed her and said something reassuring. There was something a little too soft or insubstantial about her, like she wasn't firmly held together, now that I've thought about it. Oh, hell, that dream-person was probably some sort of bait. Stupid sneaky unconscious self grumble grumble...

Third part me and the girl were sitting in a treehouse in a forest. The colors of the forest and the smell of the air were not normal. They appeared to be at first (right after I typed those words I began to remember the first part of the dream) but the more you looked and smelled, the more you noticed that the greens were a little too gray or too neon, the browns were a little too ashy or translucent, the smell of normal forest rot not underlain by the smell of new growth. These were things I did not notice at first, but they are important. Anyway. We were about halfway up a tree, sitting on a wooden platform and talking. I kept fidgeting; the boards underneath me felt soft and I was worried they wouldn't support my weight. She was saying she really, really liked it here, that it was a good place for hiding. I had an idea that she had something in her hand--no visuals of her or hand or thing though--and she showed me how she could scoop out a handful from the platform, as it was loose and spongy, to make a little space to hide a thing in. I reached down with my left hand and scooped out a similar scoop, interested to see for myself how bad was the structural integrity of the platform I was sitting on. When I brought my hand back up to look at it I noticed movement--a tiny, translucent white bug thing like a caterpillar on my hand, about to burrow under the skin. I got the one I saw first but there'd been another next to it that I didn't get. When I turned my hand over to look at it there were little black dots or bumps everywhere under the skin, even under the bed of one of my fingernails, which was what the tiny white bug things turned into once they got inside. I tried picking at one of the bumps to get the bug out from under there, but I'd've needed a sharp instrument, and I couldn't see an easy way of getting the one out that was under my nail. I was irked to have been tricked in this way. Dream ends there.

Even without a factory it seems I generate or accumulate demons from time to time! Grr! Must remain vigilant, and develop perhaps some sort of spiky mental magnet to draw them to the surface and cut them out! How am I supposed to make peace with and integrate my shadow self if the way she demonstrates affection is by tricking me into taking up stupid tiny nasties that I have to bother with and root out and clean? I am secretly pleased and thrilled to have interaction at this new level, where "she" respects and trusts and knows "me" well enough to try sneakily tricking me instead of attacking me full frontal. But at the same time it is aggravating.

Far less aggravating than the situations and problems in my external, visible life, however. And much more fun to ponder and ruminate upon, since all of the issues herein discussed are things I can actually DO something about.

vae victus

Once you have emptied your bladder on him
and you’ve broken the back of his army
You find there is nothing else sadder than him
that he’s sweet and attractive and smarmy
And you cannot resist but to collar his wrist
to escort him to your habitation
Not to want, not to waste: he’s reformed to your taste
and, in short, good and sure of his station.

Latin for "woe to the vanquished."
Finally, a poem worth that title.
There are two things I'm going to do in a different order in the future, namely:
1. Look up a supposed literary agency on a watchdog website.
2. Send them a payment over Paypal.
I did send their accounting person an email saying I'd changed my mind, and could they possibly refund or cancel my payment? Fortunately, perhaps, I had not yet sent the associated contract so I don't think they have a legal right to keep my money. Three parts to a contract--offer, acceptance, and payment--and only two parts have been completed in this case. We'll see.

This isn't really about that, but the incident seems to have been what made me angry enough to push the poem out. Shitologically speaking. Don't know why it's a "him" in the poem. Possibly in the interests of balance. I'm used to writing in the second person when I'm discussing something truly evil. This is so that I consider it as being addressed to me; it actually forces me to comes to terms with my own desire to carry out the evil act being described. Only once I've had that sobering experience is it worthwhile to think about why other people are doing it, perhaps even to me.

First line that came to me was "and you've broken the back of his army." The phrase occurs to me often when playing Heroes, since usually once you get the other player's biggest army off the map they're pretty much a pushover. Except ever since I bought the Gathering Storm expansion I've been playing all the maps at a higher difficulty than I'm used to. So even my favorite game is, as a troll I am aware of recently put it, shock full of fail.

Oh, woe. This irritating but not disastrous incident should scar me horribly and prevent me from being optimistic about anything in my life, especially certain upcoming job interviews. Like the one I have tomorrow. Yes, indeed, I should mope and make drama about having made a stupid mistake.

Nah. This time, I start a new Heroes map on the LOWEST difficulty setting. Winning of at least one kind for me!

just venting.

Tried and failed several times today to get a blogger window going. My brain is slow and sluggy today, probably because I stayed up late watching Baseball Tonight and Idol and IMing Dave.

I'm chomping at the bit for something that I don't know what it is. Probably I'm getting all kindsa selfparts ready for leaving and going away.

But AHHH I'm surrounded by people talking and doing things and asking me for things! I have not been alone for two straight minutes the entire day! I fucking hate everyone why won't they go away and leave me alone!

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 30

Well if they catch me around
Playing rock the boat
I'm gonna catch hell
~White Stripes

Starved for something to read. Nyaaah. Novels aren't doing it for me anymore, my math book is good but slow, can't really read The Art of Memetics here at work with the bosses in the house. Did I mention they're in the house? You can tell they are here by the sound of new problems being created to replace old problems, and people I like who get fired for reasons I agree are appalling once I find out and subsequently swear never to reveal said reasons. And this one I can't even tell my coworkers or other managers because none of them seem to know yet. Damn.

...And I just found out I fucked up somebody's final paycheck AND failed to mail somebody's 1099 that I promised I'd mail. Grr.

But for me, it's actually been a good day so far. Way better than I expected and mentally prepared for. Finished a good song, got lots of work done, have paycheck in bag. And the paycheck is also better news than I expected because I worked almost 98 hours last pay period! Second most overtime in the company this time at like 2.7 hours! (The guy with the most had me beat by a mile, though. XD We've been trying to cut down on overtimes.)

Mailed my Federal taxes this morning! I had a hilarious sequence of events yesterday afternoon. It involved me sitting in the Mart common area with pages 10-64 of printed copy culled from the 1040 instructions document, repeatedly calling Dad to have him Google for the document and look up information on page 9 and, later, page 67 or so, at a pay phone that repeatedly gave me back my five dimes after I successfully finished the phone call. Even ran back to work once to look up something online myself.

Got through all that wonderfulness to find out...I didn't know what address to write on the envelope. Didn't want to call Dad OR sneak back into work again, so I looked it up when I got home and mailed it, as I said earlier, this morning.

Haven't done my State of Illinois taxes yet, but I still have all my numbers and scribbles and the rough copy Federal 1040 I was working from yesterday, so I should be able to just copy the appropriate numbers and mail it this afternoon. Lather, rinse, repeat.

According to my calculations, however, my federal refund amount should be an amount! Which I can use for, oh, debt repayment, reinstatement of cellphone service, laptop computer repair...any number of things that don't involve alcohol and cured dead plant leaves and ebooks and new/used clothes and concert tickets and SHELVING. FIFI NEEDS SHELVING. Dad finally cleared off the shelf from his room and gave it to me, by the by. Tonight I think I'm'a move it out of the middle room and rearrange stuff in my room so it'll fit.

Still must ask Bossman for this Thursday off. Been waiting the opportune moment.


So this'un was a long time coming. First verse and chorus were written way back last fall, inspired by guess what, my job. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, there will probably be some edits. (As there were to the soundpost, though I still haven't updated the post text referring to the need for them.) But it's what it is. There are some similarities between songwriting and taking an enormous dump, especially if the song carries a tone of great emotional strain.
If you're a creative type, try composing on the toilet! If you don't like what comes out, you know where to flush it!
Updating currently in progress while bosses are on phone with other people...
Done now! HA-HAH, AWESOME! I didn't think this would end up a with love song ending but it is much better this way! Take, that, all other songs that have ever been partially composed on the toilet!
Oh yeah, and I remembered that word. A song or poem with a verse-chorus-verse structure is "strophic." [manage] is strophic, [the world's alive] is not. Vocab lesson over for today. :)

I am tired of giving orders
number me with the recorders
I will stay within the borders
of a solitary pride
fingers trailing in the dust
the last clear railing on the bus
I cannot keep the balance
of the thing I stand inside

go, earn some advantage
go, learn to speak Spanish
don't seem to be damaged
you'll manage, you'll manage
run your tongue over the tips
of the teeth behind your lips
they don't seem to have vanished
you'll manage, your

every phone line rings
I speak and scream and never sing
it aches and bleeds but never stings
in where I used to feel the flame
I cannot pay them what I owe
the sidewalk crack begins to grow
the green within begins to show
to push beyond the frame

I'll earn some advantage
I'll learn to speak Spanish
don't seem to be damaged
I'll manage, I'll manage
run my tongue over the tips
of the teeth behind my lips
they are hidden, not vanished
I'll manage, I

love you from a distance
only one who really listens
I am sick of only missing you
who lifts me when I sink
into the cold, stochastic firmament
the gutless bastard government
the mutilated innocent
a fine and fitting testament

we'll earn some advantage
once burned but twice bandaged
yearn for you, I'm famished
we'll manage, we'll manage
find a shelter and a space
press your lips against my face
it's just hidden, not vanished
we'll manage, we'll manage
we'll manage, we'll manage
we'll manage

lack of raw, red data

(Now up on my bulletin board where Leonard Cohen's words used to be.)
new here

Alright. How are we this morning?

Infused with sort of frustration that makes me want to say things like "Grr! I am small and ineffectual and have not rocked the world with great changes!" Belly mostly filled with good soup, seven nicely rolled cigarettes in my tin, having arrived at work at eight minutes till nine and having gotten almost six hours of sleep. So, in fact I have less than usual to complain about. I did have a rather nice weekend and even got a good long sleep during the Saturday-to-Sunday wee hours and morning. Saturday morning Paula's neighbor with the drum kit woke us up around eleven, which at seven hours is still more sleep than I've been getting during the week. And last night I did end up playing a little more Heroes than was strictly necessary, but I still got to bed around 1:15. I feel better today because of it, I think.

Still it's mainly my own fault I've been staying up late not doing housework, not working on poetry or guitar playing or reading useful texts, but playing computer games instead. Dangit, I shouldn't be so impatient with myself. Just because I'm impatient with the situation. It's still cold enough to feel like early March. And even if the envelope is filling up again with all the extra lifeforms of the biome's summer habitat, I am not good at being prepped for optimized mana draw in temperatures under 50 degrees! If your physical, chemical and emotional energy resources are dedicated to keeping warm and conserving what's already in your body, you are not reaching out into the environment around your body to see if you can get more energy resources. Simple as that. You do, in fact, get more energy resources, psychic as well as chemical, from a nice hot bowl of soup than you do from a taig in a good mood. It's just that if you have both the nice hot bowl of soup and the taig in a good mood, you feel much, much better than if you'd had either one without the other.

Just went and got the regular 1040 AND the instructions and printed out pages 10 through 64 of the 155-page instructions. Stupid having a 1099 and not being able to use the 1040EZ because I didn't know how to make corrected payroll checks into regular payroll checks so it got classed as "non-employee compensation." They were nice though; on page 10 they had a copy of the 2-page 1040 form with a little circled number on each line indicating which page of the instructions explained how to use that line. So I just printed out all the pages in the range indicated by the circles. Yes, I could have gone through and only printed out pages which reference lines I know will apply to my return. So I'm a paper-wasting bastard. Take that, environment. After work I'm'a stop by the Mart and scrape together enough change for a cuppa coffee so I can sit by the food court, finish my taxes, then drop them in the mail on the way home. According to my calculations on the train yesterday, I should be entitled to a refund. Take that, government. Or on second thought, don't take it. Give it to me like you promised. [whiny voice] Yoou proooomissed!!1! [/whiny voice]

Had a dream with two things I remember from it.

One was being upstairs in a house--odd lighting, more dim and blue-greenish than usual--doing something typey or computery. Amber was there also, but in a different room. Several times I had gone from one room to another through this hallway that got very narrow in the middle and had two little wooden doors that had to be unlatched and opened each time. But on the last one I got all the way to the middle of the hallway, laying on my side in the slightly torqued position necessary to wriggle through, and the second door had been locked from the other side. I was irritated by this and pounded on the door, even though I knew there was nobody within earshot on the other side of it.

For the other thing, which came afterwards, I was downstairs in the same house. There was a big plate-glass-looking window that faced some sort of courtyard or flat area with other buildings visible a little way off. Only instead of being made of panes of glass, the window was actually made of two force fields with several inches of empty space between them. I stuck my head through the first force field; I felt the shift and could see the second one glowing right in front of my eyes. But when I had my head in between the two force fields I could feel the air pressure drop by about forty percent, and decided not to try going through the second one.

Looks to me like two images of the same situation, emphasizing different aspects. I am caught between two things, one very irritating (my current job?) and the other uncertain (my potential other job?). I have navigated the irritating one successfully in the past, but I can't get past the uncertainty. Mind doesn't do well with lack of data.

Over the weekend I had a dream that I'm really having trouble figuring out.

I was in Japan. It was night and the streets and buildings were all dark in the gloam, the only light was from billboards and neon signs and the ads on the sides of buses and such. When I really looked around, standing on the sidewalk, the signs were in this crazy mixture of Japanese and Chinese and English. But the English words were all bad grammar-having or misspelled and none had to do with the actual point of the ad, so I knew the English was only in as flavor and cits were not expected to be relying on it for information. And the taig there was definitely a city and definitely not a city I have ever visited in real life. Doesn't mean I was literally "traveling" to real Japan, but it was definitely a mindplace I don't visit often and felt like one outside my brain proper.

There were other people there; I was in a place that felt like a bar but was sparse, not a lot of color or decoration, just white walls and a sushi counter and some seating maybe. It was filled with dour people in various stages of gruntlement who wouldn't have taken kindly to somebody who didn't want to mind their own business; they were all sitting around, more escaping the noise in mutual non-botherment than there to eat sushi per se. It's odd, but this pair of visuals inside and outside the restaurant is the clearest image I have from the dream.

But the thing that bugs me happened at the beginning. I was in a different place than the sushi bar or the sidewalk in front of it, more like a vendor's table in a large dirt mall with dark-colored cloths all over the table and various things for sale. And I'd bought a piece of meat, raw and red, maybe five inches by an inch and a half by a quarter-inch thick, no idea whether it was from fish or beast. I tore a piece off one end and ate it; it was good, if raw. Buying and eating the meat happened first, then I was in the weird monochrome sushi bar, which felt like a smoke-filled room even though no one was smoking, then I was out in the street looking at everything and deducing that I was in Japan.

It could have been a communication. It could have been me having a weird dream because I ate weird food, except I didn't eat weird food, I was at Dave's house. And I haven't been thinking about Japan or eating Japanese food (except some Botan rice candy) or playing Japanese videogames or anything. Maybe it was just I'd been craving raw red meat so much in real life that I dreamed up some and then an explanation for how I'd gotten it. Or maybe I catapulted from the wanting to eat raw, red meat feeling and created or found a place filled with other people who felt the same way. A sushi bar filled with disgruntled Japanese businessmen who felt more than happy to stab anyone who got between them and a little peace and quiet. Oh, that's comforting.

sandwich of density

got meat. z came in to check over my payroll numbers one last time & gustavo finally listened to him after ignoring me and sofia all day.
so i got some weird-tasting apple and arugula salad that i devoured like a ravenous demon even though i didn't really like it at all.
then finally a busser came down with my burger. i had just let sofia cut herself off a piece, gathered the juicy hot burger up in my hands, and started to lift it off the plate, when gustavo sits down next to me and says, "would you do me a favor. call aramark right now and ask why didn't i get those extra aprons and towels i ordered this morning."
i got mad at him as was like "jesus! you really know how to annoy me. let me just go get a towel and wipe my hands off before i pick up the phone. why don't you just eat my burger for me while you're at it?" and with deliberation he obviously thought was comic her leaned forward and made like he was going to pick it up and eat it. he looked up at me first and I was like, "what, they don't have sarcasm where you come from?" then he pretended like he didn't understand english and started to pick up the plate like i said i was done with it.

don't get me wrong. i love being the butt of good-natured jokes. nothing more quickly cements you in the hearts and trust of your peers. but i got three hours of sleep, have not eaten since 8am, and have been bleeding like a stuck pig since 10am.

fucking bastard. now i'm kind of glad he's already given notice and will be leaving before i quit.

friends, roamin's, cuntrymen...

O good dog, o nasty evil god, I pray, defend me from wickedness!

I am now TEH BLEEDING. I used the caps and misspelling because I don't usually get cramps etc. I have a feeling the bloodening was delayed again by red meat deficiency and that wonderful sandwich I had yesterday was my body's signal it could afford to lose all those corpuscles.

In order to make my lie more true, and also to get more facetime with me, Mom has made a tentative appointment for me at LensCrafters next Thursday at 12:40. The eye exam is $49 of which Mom will pay $30. I think I can swing that. I can't pay for the glasses themselves yet, and I'm leery of any deferred-payment deal. Have no way of knowing if future me will be as poor or even more poor than present me. But it'd be nice to have my prescription so I can shop around.

Dog, I hope the 3rd-party poetry critique company takes PayPal. But I'll deal with that next week. I've been squirreling away five and ten bucks here and there into my PayPal account for just such purposes. I haven't even opened the contract from the poetry marketing company. I don't have the bandwidth to deal with it right now, though it is a good and happy-making thing. Even though I have all the forms printed out and assembled in my bag I'll be lucky if I haul my sorry ass into gear to get my tax forms filled out and dropped in the mail by the 15th.

Last night Dad was up sitting at the table coughing and hacking till around 2am. Bout ten minutes after I gave up on sleep and shuffled into the living room to watch a MASH he stopped coughing and went to sleep. So I finished watching "The Colonel's Horse" (Which I hadn't seen before!) and tried to go to sleep again. This time it was my own rage keeping me awake. I had to go send an email to somebody based on something me and Pearl had talked about earlier, I was that pissed it wouldn't leave my mind.

In a way it was more comfortable to be me when I would get panicky and sad when bad things happened. Now I get angry. And an angry human uses whatever weapons they are skilled with, and I've got rhetoric. Tasty, juicy rhetoric. Providing, in the same package, both a warm hug and a hard kick in the ass, as a screamapillar I know once described it.

In another way, though, anger is really nice. It burns cleaner than panic and doesn't leave that sticky-tar residue of helpless guilt along the organs of perception. Once my womb stops feeling all sprained and I chill out a bit and enjoy the lovely spring day I should be able to reach a pretty good mood. I can feel it burgeoning even now under my growliness.

Time to step outside for a smoke.

small good / bad news

Good news!
I got my $30 reimbursement that had been sitting in the reimbursements folder for ages. So now we can afford to do that thing we usually do!

Annoying news!
Me and Z didn't have a chance to do anything related to punches yesterday, so we'll be doing that thing we do with punches today. I can actually submit the payroll anytime before I think 3pm on Friday, but I'll want to have at minimum the Squirrel stuff and the Excel stuff done before I leave today. Which means I might be working hella late again tonight.

[time passes, much later in afternoon]

Based on big Z's lack of punch-doing so far today, I'm'a go ahead and put the unedited punches into Excel. That way when he gets around to editing them later tonight and leaves them on my desk tomorrow morning, I can just change the people who have edits tomorrow. So I might be leaving at a reasonable hour, if not on time. Definitely not on time. Sevenish, sixish, depends how long I waste time typing on my blog before I finish this Excel junk.

I got me a free sandwich today! I was stupid hungry and ran into Pablo. I was like, Hey, when you're not too musy upstairs, can you make me a pork sandwich? He was all, Sure, with fries? Yes, thank you! I said. Time went by; no sandwich. He poked his head into the office and was like, Did you get your sandwich? No. Apparently the bussers had seen a mystery sandwich go up on the shelf, and since it didn't have a ticket, had assumed it was a mistake and just eaten it. Both Pablo and Tom yelled at them for it when they found out.

But me, I was happy that me and Slavy and Angel-the-guy all got some free sandwich love. Even if it cost the guys a couple lectures. The bussers and especially the stewards got the short end of the stick when we stopped serving family meal. I can go out or get the managers or cooks to comp me food, the cooks make themselves a little something off the line between shifts, and the servers can either go out between shifts or (while we were still tipping out in cash at the end of every shift anyhow!) order something for themselves. But most of the cleaners work an eight-hour shift with no break, and it's all physical labor. Life sucks for recent immigrants, even legal ones.

Also I've been listening to Bjork's Volta, just for a change of pace for my techno-while-you-work. The one that goes "Untouchable / Innocence / It is still here / But in different places" is really awesome; I dunno why it wasn't a radio song on like B96 when it came out. And I'm really warming up to the one that goes "Raise your flag / Don't let them do that to you!" XD

"I'm a financial *planner*, not a financial consultant."

" panther..."

So I have TEH INTARVIEW next Thursday!

We don't know what time yet. So I have to wait a bit to lie and tell my bosses I have an appointment with Barry S, Optometrist, because my prescription is old and my eyes are hurting waah boo hoo and this was the only time he could fit me in. It would be nice if I could just say I'd like to take a personal day and leave it at that, but we are a close-knit group and it wouldn't fly. So lies are the way to go.

I still worry that if I give my notice and tell Bossman I accepted a job offer, he'll get pissed and tell me never to darken the door of his establishment again. That would be terrible both for me and for the restaurant. I am still debating whether to ask the nice people at new place whether I can give three weeks' notice instead of two or some such thing. Or whether I should take the initiative and pay for a Craigslist ad for my replacement myself as soon as I hear good news from new place.

I did not ask about compensation in the phone interview; I think it's bad form to ask about money before you've met face-to-face. I would be really sad if it isn't enough, because it does sound like a good place to work and a good position for my work environment preferences. This is a team of support people, each informally tagged to the support of either one or two financial consultants. Said support involves customer service, seminar setup, client nagging by mail, email and phone, and info research on securities in support of financial consultants on the go. Plus the company just merged with another company, which caused their areas of potential financial service to expand considerably. Meaning the areas of financial consultant responsibility, and hence the responsibilities of the support people, have expanded as well. This position is available because of said expansion and not because someone else got fired or quit, good news there. Nice lady didn't know if there was bus service in Hanover Park. I dunno if asking was the right way to play it, but I wanted to show off that I had researched the route!

The idea of what will happen to this place if I leave has caused me great anxiety and sadness in the past and probably will in the future as well. But right now I feel kind of elevated about the whole thing. I hope I'm not prematurely withdrawing my fiat from the taig, the way Elmer did when he was so sure he had sealed the deal for the sale of his buildings with Chris Whatsisname. Maybe it's just hope and excitement and shit like that. The residual high off the positive vibes nice lady was giving me on the phone.

I have this ad posted on my cork board right now. It was from a linen cleaning service, one of those glossy ads folded up to the size of a regular #10 envelope. The picture is of a portly middle-aged woman in chef's clothing, pointing belligerently at the camera with one hand and raising a meat cleaver in the other. She bears more than a passing resemblance to Mom, which I find hilarious. And the caption over her head reads "Are you asking for TROUBLE?" I'd like to bring it with me, if and when I go, and post it over my new desk, ideally where it's easy for me to see but not immediately visible to others entering my workspace. For me it's an inspirational poster: a warning if I'm going to do something reckless or ill-thought-through, an encouragement if I'm going to stand up to a bully.

And I found the perfect thing to make the wallpaper on this computer on the day I give notice, be it later or soon:

put this job in your pipe and smoke it


So I re-read the job description the nice lady emailed over to me. Not a bank job actually, it's support for securities reps out in the burbs. It sounds a helluva lot like a cross between the support job the FSRs at Metlife do--processing their reps' paperwork etc--and the job I did at Fitch, researching stuff for people, keeping their files in order, and mailing shit out that needs to be mailed. A doable job for me once I get the hang of it, and a front-row seat from which to observe the collapse of the American economy.

It involves an hour train ride and a 1.72 mile walk. Assuming there isn't any bus service in Hanover Park, as my wrestlings with the RTA's website have led me to believe. I'd be going through our dear friend the Union Station every morning and evening, as well, so I needn't worry about feeling lost and bereft of my familiar taigs. The long walk in wintertime or rain would be a bitch, but I'd have the whole summer to get used to it. Call it a two-hour commute, when you count the bus to Union in there, and generously assuming the walk takes me a half hour to forty minutes. Given my commute now is about thirty minutes each way, that jumps my travel time from one to four hours daily. The drawback is less time for sleep, TV, computer games, and communication with peeps. The benefit is a lovely long train ride during which I can think and read and write and listen to music and not listen to Dad's misery. Exercise versus effort and dealing with weather pretty much cancels out, in my book, as far as the walk goes. At least my start time would be early enough in the day that the worst of the summer heat won't be going on during morning walk time.

All things considered, if this Beverly chick says things I like about my starting wage rate, I'm'a have to bite my lip to keep from saying "How soon can I start?" I'm still not that much of a bastard to leave without at least proper two weeks' notice. Plus this here will be a phone interview, with a successful conclusion meaning we'd move forward to scheduling a live interview. I'll be interested to see how I manage to get a day off work without telling the three musketeers it's for a job interview.

Miércoles con los Amigos Invisibles vol 6.

So I've been at work for about forty-five minutes, and I'm already bored enough to be turning to my blog. Too early for baseball, too soon after arriving to go outside and smoke. And while I found a couple Mercedes Lackey short stories in the Free Library I haven't read yet, the way I feel right now they'd just be one more way to kill time, and I'd rather save them for when I really need to recharge.

I wanted to do a Tuesdays yesterday but ended up not having the time. No complaints about the soundpost, though; it's on my blog, posted on my forum to positive responses, emailed to Dad so he can show it to his friend who's got a viola-playing daughter, and Dave liked it too. For me, that's rave reviews. Woo hoo! I really hope Cheri's client likes it. But so much depends upon (the red wheelbarrow? hehe poetry joke) the monies I may or may not be able to obtain between now and Friday. Or earlier if possible, for maximization of Dave's peace of mind. And mine.

This morning I was sitting there eating my muesli, and Dad was going on and on, rehearsing the pitch he was going to make if he got interviewed for this Google job he applied for by making the pitch to me. He'd been going for a good twenty minutes--and I was actually holding solid, kinda pleased with myself for that--before I thought of a clever way to break it up and smiled my smile of bemused irony. "Can I make a recommendation?" I said. "Sure," he replied, always happy to have input on a sales pitch. "Take a deep breath." We both took a deep breath. "Thank you," I said, "I feel much better now." Then he apologized and said, "Was I going too fast again? I'm too wound up this morning. I'm just trying to, you know, get a little bit of hope." Ahh, Dad's guilt trips are more interesting than Mom's, because his intent isn't to actually crush the spirit. Just to let the misery he makes for himself spill over so you feel sorry for him. "But getting that hope from me first thing after I wake up in the morning is...not always a winning proposition," was my reply. Fucker has three hours to sit there and mentally lash himself into a frenzy of guilt and fear and desperation before I even reach consciousness. Thank dog we switched rooms so he's not sitting there right outside my door waiting to pounce like some sort of brain-eating leech with grasshopper legs. One of these days his mental listening skills are going to improve sufficiently under my tutelage that he'll be able to hear the words "horrible old man" off the top of my mind when I silently bellow them.

[time passes]

Ah, now main boss has given me another reason to want to throttle him. It has to do with money and the payment of people and things like that and relates to other issues about which I have been very angry for a very long time. The solution I was given could be marginally considered to address the most current, urgant issue but speaks nothing to the more underlying long-term causes. And as I was reading the one-line email he obviously tossed off in twelve seconds which will require both myself and the management staff to enact sweeping changes that will drastically affect the lives and fortunes of every employee in the company and take months to calm everybody down and work the bugs out, a thought occurred to me. The thought was, "Maybe I shouldn't bomb this phone interview for a bank job that Mom helped line up for me. Maybe I should try to actually get the job."

Getting paid more, despite the direness of my financial straits, actually is the least of my concerns. Bonds are really important to me, require much effort (not always visible) for me to form. And I have bonds with my coworkers, my bosses, the time of the organization, the taig of the buildings, the taig of the Loop and specifically the areas I move through during the course of my work week. I have a routine and a route and I cling to those routines. I must admit a fact which has always been true but is easy to articulate with the terminology I use now. I actually need a daily routine with a clearly predictable possible-event tree in order to coordinate my mana draws and expenditures in such a way as to keep my personality stable.

Plus there's the fact that Mom helped line this up for me. That there has two edges, both suboptimal. One edge is that Mom would then feel I owed her one for helping me out. Other edge is Mom would feel she had successfully exercised power over me because I needed and accepted her help. So she starts demanding more facetime and if I refuse, she feels justified in rolling a snit. I say rolling a snit, rather than throwing one, because Mom is still very controlled and decorous in her ways of hurting.

I really want to last a year here. But I don't have very much faith that the three bosses will be able to break the curse on this space. They have all fallen victim to it in various ways, by allowing themselves to be distracted, by quarreling with each other, I dunno. I'd have to be inside their heads to know what happened and how, and I wasn't even working here the first few months while the chaos here was becoming embedded. Frankly I don't know quite what to think on the subject of curses. The closest thing I can come to a description at this point is that it seems to be a kind of illness in a taig. When humans interact with their taig without consciously attending the process, they absorb the taig's energy as normal without recognizing the illness. So instead of reinforcing the health and strength of the taig, they reinforce the weakness and imbalance in it, often making it worse when they become imbalanced themselves.

The preceding description is a tentative group of thoughts on curses that does not quite merit the title of rough working hypothesis. Not even close. I've just gotten to the point where I have some awareness of my own individual interactions with the times and taigs with whom I'm acquainted. So I'll admit I have NO clue about the mechanics of interaction for a group or the long-term effects on a taig of particular interaction types, or even how or to what extent it is possible to diagnose the present condition of a taig. And that's the sort of theories one would have to put together to be able to speak intelligently on the subject of curses, like the one on this restaurant space (presumably) or the one on the Cubs (allegedly).

And here I thought this Wednesdays with Invisible Friends was going to be unusually light on invisible stuff. Ah, a true representative of my patronymic (almost typed it out, there!), I always bend the word-stream in the direction of my interests.

the soundpost

It isn't just
to kill the pine
to wrest from it
some feeble whine
It isn't just
a violin
the space inside
lets music in
when all was closed
where silence ruled

No varnished flames
or cunning scroll
can keep the bridge
or purfling whole
make strings pull taut
or ribs curve true
No eye can see
the air flow through
but music knows
It can't be fooled

Scrawl paragraphs
that never tell
Take photographs
that ring no bell
Or strike four strings
from right to left,
caress the neck
peer through the clef
and listen well
All down its length
the face can't show

the soundpost holds
an open throat
a wordless cry
The perfect note
awaits the hand
who finds the strength
to draw the bow.


YAAAAA ha ha ha yay whee! *dances*
Finally I got that poem I promised Cheri all that time ago! And it's GOOD, fo' sho', right up there with my favorite good ones. And here I thought I was getting all rusty! I'm still not sure whether to use punctuation. Right now I'm just using capital letters to indicate beginnings of sentences, and I'm not 100% certain of all of those. There's one or two word choices I'm iffy about yet, especially in the first few lines of the third stanza, and I'm sad I had to mention pine without mentioning maple, since violins are made from both types of wood. But I'm nitpicking, not really complaining. It's that good that I have to worry over all my choices to make sure everything is just as it should be!

Lemme write down the story of this poem for my remembrance and in case I hadn't told all three of y'all that have my blog url.

One time me and Dave were over at Pete & Cheri's and Cheri told us this story. She isn't exactly a home health aide but something similar. She helps people move around and go to the store or go out for a walk in the park, because their health is bad enough that they can't do those things on their own anymore. One of her clients is a really old guy who's been a musician all his life, a violinist. In his later years, though, he stopped really playing violin music, though he was very good, and became obsessed with the construction of a violin. He is convinced that if he can get every little piece of everything inside a violin tuned and fitted together exactly right, he can make a violin that can play a perfect note, every time. His family thinks he is kind of nuts and worries about him. Once Cheri took him to the music store and he stood there looking through soundposts, something she hadn't even known was part of a violin, for an incredibly long time as he agonized over which ones to try next. Cheri was getting bored, so she asked the store owner how much they cost. It was a really small amount, like twenty-five or fifty cents each, and she just said "We'll take all of them." The old man was ecstatic. Cheri had the biggest grin on her face as she described him coming home from the store with the bag of soundposts clutched in his hand like a sack of pirate gold.

But after he finished experimenting with his best violin and all those soundposts, one time he had her sit down and listen. He played only one note, but she said it moved through her head, down her neck, and vibrated in the center of her chest with an ache like her heart was breaking. Just like the way it hurts when a song comes to you and wants to be brought into the world. And she understood, finally, why he was on this quest and why it wasn't all that crazy. And I promised her I'd do my best to write this poem so she could give it to him. Someone who put in the work to complete a quest like that, to make a sound so perfect it can open the gates of song in anybody's heart, deserves a poem this good and better to honor them!

"Tiger" Lilly beats up pirates...

Haha! I pulled up the Cubs gamecast just before their big scorefest in the 4th. When I first opened it up, it was like, "hey, they already took a couple runs off the Pirates, good deal." Then I switched to other programs for a bit. Then I heard Mr. T talking out of nowhere and got weirded out for a minute before I went "oh, the gamecast probably has an ad going with audio." When I went over to check, not only was Mr T. advertising Warcraft, but the Cubs had just beaten up Gorzelanny like a gay black dude at a Klan bar! Wonders never cease!

Maybe not the best metaphor up there. XD But still. That's way beaten up. Also from the comments people have been leaving on cbs's chat channel the announcer was mangling the poor man's name as well.

Let's hope the Cubs play the Pirates a lot more! Keep the schedule weak so they can look like a real team for a couple months, that's all I'm sayin'. Keep Fukudome's spirits up so he's even more crushed later in the season when everyone around him starts sucking and they expect his .400+ batting average to carry the team all by itself.

Also Cincinnati has just about wrapped up today's loss against the Phillies. Go Reds!

[update later in the afternoon]

Graah! I should have known my posttitle would later prove hasty and ill-omened! Still scoreless in the tenth inning after the Pirates tied it up due to the Cubs' inability to defend properly or something!

[several minutes pass]


[several more minutes pass]

...And the go-ahead run in the top of the twelfth thanks to some good walking!
I can leave work now, secure in the knowledge that nothing can possibly go wrong in the bottom of the twelfth with a very tired Jon Lieber probably still pitching. I mean, heck, he was a starter until recently, he oughtta have the stamina. And all those other Pirate runs were a fluke!

happy Monday dream log

Had this dream last night this morning whatev.

First act started with video-game style running around, maneuvering. There was some kind of barbarian horde out there (not pictured) and I was trying to either avoid them or get my forces in place to defend against them. There was a me-character who looked like Wasp from my current Soulcalibur III campaign, with the samurai sword and the red armor and red cloth over her face.

Second act. Time track is a little messed up, so I'm not sure which thing (typo: wrote thine) here happened first.
There was me-as-Lisa-Simpson explaining how her email program, represented by a cartoon unicorn on a computer screen, was different and cool. But then she was kind of abashedly explaining how it did require a lot more maintenance than a regular email program and you did have to go through and delete your old emails every day. Then for some reason the unicorn had to take a huge piss and she was asking Marge if it couldn't just go in the house, but Marge said no, so she had to unhook all the cords and carry it out into the yard. I didn't actually see the unhooking and carrying, instead moving on to the next part.
There was me standing outside the house and there was something in my eye. Prior to sneaking in, with awareness that the house I was about to be sneaking into was enemy territory. I think there was something stuck in each eye, actually. One of them it was a little hair like a very thin thread from a garment, the other like an eyelash that had got a little dug in so I had to like pinch it out and there was more than one layer. I was using that tiny little hand mirror I keep in my bag. I had sensation and it did hurt to be picking at my eyes like that, but not as much as doing the same things to my eyes in real life would have. (And after I woke up I did not have anything stuck in my eyes, so that was an actual dream-image and not an intrusion from physical reality.)

Third act. I was in a basement, laid out kind of like our old basement at Manton with a main room, a side room off to the right, and a third room your could only reach by going to the side room. Except for the structure the rooms were completely different. The main room I did not notice any features. The first side room was smallish and empty and had very old greyish-tealish kind of paint over bricks or horizontal wood slats, and a single lightbulb hanging in the middle of the room.
Through the door to the other room, no scene shift. The other room was better-lit with the same type of paint, but much much bigger. Got the impression that I was along for the ride, that I was seeing things-that-were. (Much resistance on typing this part up. Phones ringing, people coming into the office asking me for things, etc.) Room empty, no visible light source, no contents, just daylight coming in from somewhere. There was a hole in the floor, rectangular, offset to the right of the entrance in about the middle of the room. I went over there, hunkered down and looked in. Underneath (whoo! phone and fax ring, distracting!) there was a dark space piled and filled with bodies, old charred or decayed bodies that didn't much look like people, except for one little girl near the top. Maybe two. I honestly am not sure. Looking her (them?) in the eye I got a feeling of what had happened, who had done what horrible things to them and how they ended up thrown onto this pile and left to die and become corpses like all the many, many others. I am not to write down specifics, the interruptions tell me that much! The sense of the people who had done the horrible things was like a larger echo of the sense of the unseen barbarian horde I had earlier in the dream.
Then I (we? Jimmy might've been along for the whole ride, like in the shark guy dream) withdrew to the side room. And I felt I wanted to say something, something appropriate, because beings like the girls in there probably don't get a lot of visitors and I'd been in there and known not to say or do anything while I was in there. So I touched the wall and said something like, "I hope your dreams will be more pleasant." Then I 'heard' someone else say "Rest easy, old soldier." But I'm not 100% on who was speaking. My best guess is it was Jimmy saying what I was trying to say in a less awkward way! Then I pulled the lightbulb chain to turn off the light and we went back out of the basement.

I'm not sure how to interpret. I like to think I can tell the difference between when a dream is entirely internal to my psyche and when it has to do with people and things outside myself. And in the mama's house dream I remember there were multiple representations of other children there; the door covered with black & white headshots with the eyes all scribbled out, the long line of kneeling children I slipped in the door to kneel at the end of. The real spot where communication happened in that one was after I looked in the mirror, when I walked down the hallway, felt the spacetime start to shift and slide out from under me, and knew when to turn around and head back. The stuff after that was secondary, making sure I understood what had gone before.

Here I am even more positive that this was something not entirely from my personality. The other dreams where I've come to the conclusion there was communication and not just defragmentation going on have had similar aspects. There was Jimmy being sort of--the hell is the word?--reinforcing my shield, or layering his presence over with mine, which wouldn't be necessary if I was inside myself. There was something about the time, where the shape of the time I was in came up against the edge of a different time (in the specific sense where a time is a spirit of a group or series of events!). That pushing of times against each other would have been really unnerving if I hadn't been used to it, or maybe the James or the people I was visiting took steps to make the time-jostling less rocky.
And hey, in this dream also communication was preceded by looking in a mirror! Picking hairs out of my eyes is a dual reference in that context. In an older version of my images, me messing with demons was represented by having worms under my skin that I had to pick or dig out. Picking things out of my eyes is necessary to be able to see clearly. Me picking stuff out of my eyes in a mirror before going inside was just a little bit of, hehe, occipital hygiene. So that I was not distorting my ability to perceive on the one hand, or on the other hand bringing potentially infectious little ones into someone else's domain, which is just rude.

I have no idea why I went on that visit at this time or whose idea it was. And I won't say I emote about it one way or the other. Communication is cool and I am honored, but I don't want to go around feeling all honored and saying "wow! how awesome!" Because people who live in a time like those girls live in are not people you want to be visiting every day, and who certainly do not enjoy being where they are and do not consider it awesome. I'm not sorry it happened, though, and I hope us being there was in some way helpful or good, because nobody should have to be stuck in a time like that even after leaving their body. That's bullshit.

Also I hope I'm not making it all up and being crazy. Now is not a time for me that I can afford to go any crazier than I usually am!

[edit later in the day]

I wonder if it's possible to loan the cats to people, if the cats are willing and the people are ones to whom I've been properly introduced.

By the cats, I refer to firecat and secretcat, which are my names for two little ones I apparently acquired over the past few months. Firecat is that creature shark guy shot at me, then apologized for shooting at me. But only after I'd had a short series of dreams where I saw it and dug it out of its infection vector, then watched over its transformation from undisciplined angry bitey thing to somewhat unruly but basically friendly creature. I decided to call it firecat, because its last image was a little white cat with big bright eyes and orange flames blooming around its chest. Secretcat is the one I picked up in the psychic-society dream where the chase sequence ended in a graveyard. I was carrying Shashi in my yellow bag at the beginning of the dream, but then at the end there was a Shashi in the bag and behind her was another cat, who when I looked at it more closely I got another image for. He was vaguely catlike, but shaped high and thin and sleek like a greyhound, white with blue tones and blue eyes and long skinny jaws with sharp white teeth.

When I was first putting together my menagerie I thought only in terms of demons, and came up with names and templates based on the four elements. These two fellas are the only little ones that have come to me openly since I shut down the demon factory in me. The other day, when I was conversing with a little one and ended up drawing waay too much "air" energy and freaking out afterwards as a result, that was firecat I was talking to. He is still too undisciplined and turbochargey for casual deployment! I thought I had to be PMSing the reaction was that bad. Not good to be typing hate hate hate hate into a browser window when material circumstances have not much changed. Once I figured out what was happening I took steps to correct it, and lemme tell ya. Earth energy comes in through your root chakra, and extreme fluctuations in the spiritual energy of any center will affect the physical systems around it, so I had a really uncomfortable bus ride home that day. XD Secretcat I can't really say whether I've deployed successfully or not, that being not only the nature of secretcat but the nature of me. It's harder to discern skill area for a creature where it was like "he followed me home, I'm'a keep him!" than one somebody else was already deploying and I could see what it was attempting to do. Firecat works, seems like, as an energy siphon; secretcat I think has to do with deflection, replication, shifting things to one side or another of surfaces. Since that was how he arrived, mimicking my kitty and slipping from the outside to the inside of the bag I was carrying. But he did politely ask my permission to stay, after that, and give me a good image of himself, so to me he's not sneaky in a bad way!

They both seem to be, in elemental terms, primary air-thingies, one with a fire subcomponent and the other with a water subcomponent. Which makes sense given me and how I operate.

So getting back to the beginning. If it's still too iffy to try deploying these cats (one of them, at least) in response to real-world situations, I wonder if it's appropriate to ask them to do stuff for me in dreamscapes. Since that's where I officially met them and all. Like, in future, if I were to go visiting some being who exists out there in mindspace, and I visited them a couple times and got to know them, and valuable knowledge or something were exchanged and there was a basis for trust, and they needed some work done on their "house", would it be a good idea for me to bring my little ones with me and attempt to accomplish something on behalf of an ally?

Maybe this is too much speculative and not a sensible thing to be pondering at this point. But dangit, it occurred to me, and I want to write down stuff in this area when it occurs to me so I can read it later and be like, "Hmmm." Also if I have a dream where I show up someplace and notice one of my cats is with me I want to have already thought it through so I'm not making a decision completely on the spot!