hooray for school

Last night's dream was a doozy.

I'd gone to bed early (around 11:45) because I was actually tired and we'd already hit for the cycle of fun activities. We may have skipped playing San Andreas, but we did that on Tuesday. Anyway.

At the start, me and the character who looks like Gothy were standing outside an enormous building that I knew was a middle school. I saw her name written on the wall, and she looked at it, then looked at me and said "don't call me Goth". Her scorn levels were high enough that she disdained to even say it forcefully, as though it were a stupidly obvious piece of information.

We went inside. Dave may also have been with me at this point, but I don't have real images, just a sense of events that passed in a jumble. There was rushing about and people getting sorted out. And whatever bunch of people knew what was going on, I didn't see them and they weren't aware of me and they certainly didn't bother to inform me what it was, and I was aware of this.

Next thing I remember, I was in a large room, like a conference room or boardroom. Many other people were there, not individually distinguished; we were all seated around a big table. I was extremely upset. Panicked, even. But it was one of those dream scenes where part of your awareness is in front, doing things, while another part watches in a curious but dispassionate manner. With the "doing" part of me, I was trying to scream, was desperate to make some kind of loud noise. But no matter how hard I screamed and hurt my throat and strained my vocal chords, only the tiniest whisper emerged. The watching part of me was equally puzzled why I couldn't make anything louder than a whisper and intent on planning out my path to the door that led out of there.

Once I emerged into the halls, I came upon an area where some sort of lame activity had been set up. No one seemed to be around. I took a seat on a blue mat, kind of like the padded mats they have in gyms, which was near a wall across from the erstwhile lame activity. I may have had a snack or something, or maybe just wanted to rest.

Before I'd even got settled in my seat, some brusque young lady in a fit of pique (obviously one of the people who'd known all along what was going on) stormed up to me. She thrust a paper citation at me and snapped, "You have placed your butt in a non-butt-sitting area! You are hereby sentenced--" I interrupted her with a wide, engaging smile, bowed from the waist, and said something like, "Why thank you so much! Now that I am aware of it, I am happy to comply with this regulation!" Then I snatched the ticket from her hand, got pissed, and decided enough was enough.

Last scene, I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror here in the apartment. The mirror and toilet and tub along what is the west wall in real life were all normal. However, the other side of the room was completely different. It had four very large windows, knee-to-ceiling height (the ceiling was very high), all of which were cranked half open and had screens. I made silly faces at myself in the mirror for a bit, feeling that this was the wrong thing to do for some reason but not minding it especially. Then I glanced up into a corner of the ceiling and saw an axe embedded high up on the wall. I looked down, and there right to the left of the mirror was another axe, shorter of haft but wickeder of blade, with what looked like gang symbols painted around it. I looked over my shoulder at the windows, and sure enough, on the one all the way on the right the screen had been neatly slashed along the right-hand side from top to bottom. Next to it I could see a wooden back porch on the building next door which led up right past that window. Hurriedly I cranked both of the right-hand windows all the way shut.

As of the moment, not too many ideas what it might mean. But it was cool as hell! I worked a nine-hour shift, all of which was busy, came home and watched part of the NBA draft and a couple of TV shows, and still had the whole thing!

Miércoles con los Amigos Invisibles special edition: Categories!

Categorizing things is a great hobby of mine.
The thoughts I had in my last post I can categorize as at least partially the result of panicky feelings. Amber and Pearl are still my awesome sisters and we still have a great sister thing going. I have faith in Dave and he in me and both of us in us. And I don't have to get any closer or truthier with Mom than I deem necessary. So there, panicky feelings! :P

I started out wanting to make this post about me and the everlasting Dave's categories for music. They don't have to do with sound or production methods. Rather, they describe the emotional tone the music-maker is aiming to produce.
The categories, as I recall them, are:


A musical group will have differing proportions of these qualities. The Waterboys, for example, have an enormous proportion of Soul (which may also be called Spirituality) and a respectable amount of Rock as well. Soul Coughing is almost entirely Funk (which may also be called Groove), but they have quite a bit of Smug and certainly some Rock. They Might Be Giants are more Smug than anything else.

This relates, in my mind, to the four qualities of poetry and lyric I learned about in college. These are:


Word-musicality is tough to explain, unless perhaps you've listened to a lot of Mike Doughty. The man oozes it. You can't even speak the phrase "buddha rhubarb butter" without experiencing a taste of the Funk. It IS different from rhyme, and for beginning poets a lot of times the focus on rhyme strips word-musicality and tosses it right out the window with the bathwater. My weakest category is story. Meter is probably my strongest--though given how I feel about categories, that shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

You might say it's an obsession, but obsessions I think tend to be more overt and specific. (See? Categorizing even now.) You could go so far as to call it a trait or a characteristic. I am a poet and a lyricist, which one doesn't usually associate with the sort of mentality that wants to put everything in a neat little cubbyhole. Or with someone who self-identifies as a Discordian for no externally discernible reason.

My attitude is this. I am essentially a cautious, even fearful person. Everything in the world is alive. (Always start there. Saves time when you later discover signs of life in a particular pattern, object or postulated entity.) Anything that lives has the power to choose, in other words, the power to change its mind. Which makes the world a place of extreme uncertainty, in which literally anything can happen at any time. All that is necessary for any wild and unthinkable event to take place is for many, many living creatures, all at once, some knowable and others--if only for reasons of time--unknowable, to change their minds.

So it is necessary to make one's way in a bizarre and chaotic universe governed by the whims of uncountable, ineffable beings. Some of whom borrow your pen and talk about the weather with you and would laugh at the idea that they are, in fact, ineffable beings actively involved in the continual creation of the mysterious universe.

My solution to this is to get to know all the people and things around me in a friendly sort of way. Because, according to my theories on trust and friendship, when you are friends with someone and they with you, you grow to understand them. Parts of who you are become similar enough to parts of who they are that you can imagine how they might feel about things, how they might be moved to choose for themselves. Though trust, you can get an idea of how and why a being is likely to change his, her or its mind. You come somewhat to understand what moves and shakes them, what changes their world and how the world changes around them.

Then--and here's the beauty part--you can take everything that isn't that, and stuff it in neat little boxes with word-labels on them. What is a being's religion is sacred to them, and when you're dealing with sacredness you have very little idea, let alone any control, over what might happen. But when you know what is non-sacred, is profane in a particular context, then once you've got it pigeonholed you don't have to worry about it anymore. You can just leave it in its little pigeonhole. Meanwhile you can concentrate on all the mysterious sacred things that might jump any which way, turn into a newt, or cause someone to get really, really angry at someone else in a way that you neatly manage to avoid by having an understanding of why the first person was likely to get angry.

So you see, it's really very simple. Categories are for all the things that can be categorized. Relationships are for all the things that can't. And if you tell me that's an oxymoron or a tautology or any such nonsense, I'll just go sit on my own lap and sulk until you see reason.

(If you do, would you please point it out to me?
Bastard owes me five bucks!)

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 38

I feel low-energy and sulky now.
Just crept up on me as the day went by. Maybe I should've eaten a bigger breakfast before leaving the apartment. Maybe I'm unsettled because Mom is coming to visit tonight.

You know what messes with me?
My lady co-workers asking me about Dave. Innocently enough, true.
Just simple questions about our current situation, but I hate their reactions. Their perfectly innocent reactions.
Like I ought to be embarrassed. Like I'm an idiot.
What the fuck am I supposed to say? I feel helpless. Things are going well, dammit, just slowly. I can't impart a timeline, can't give other people the weight of times passed to explain what is and what isn't reasonable. I can't be like, "Look, I don't see it like that for the following reasons." Because that won't help their opinion of either of us at all.

You know what? WE are the happiest couple I know. Lady boss and main boss are the only other actual couple here--and they are either too polite or too focused on their own issues to ask much about ours. These other ladies are single or very recently single and maybe their unwillingness to put up with one situation or another is why. Or maybe they'd picked crappy mates before. I dunno. I'm just mad that I can't explain and mad in a different way that I feel like I have to.

Me and Dave talked about this for awhile last night. So I'm not going to say anything else about it here because if we need to talk about it, we'll do it in person.

I'm also mad about Mom and Amber and Pearl. Not, you notice, mad at them. I haven't talked to Amber and Pearl much lately. Amber seems to be radically shifting her melant'i and I don't know where it leaves me. I don't know what's going on with Pearl at all. And Mom can't make up her damn mind about me. Which is fair, because I can't make up my damn mind about her. Are we going to be friends? Enemies? Continue this weird dance of let's-not-talk-about-it till the end of time?

We're not going to have the problem we had when I was younger. I'd tell her something she didn't like, she'd start out not believing me, then asking me to conform to the version of reality she did like, then going back to pretending none of it happened. We haven't so much been having that problem the past five or six years or so because when there's something she won't like, I don't tell her. Saves a lot of steps, you see. We'd get back to the point of both pretending an important aspect of reality doesn't exist anyway, so why experience needless pain and waste needless effort?

Pearl has had good results with being upfront with Mom and telling her the truth about stuff, however. Mom had moderated her stance on books, movies--all sorts of things that ease social polity but don't require an actual shift in worldview. The fact of the matter is that my problems with Mom are things that I don't have the language to explain to her.

Maybe if I get her drunk we can have an honest, heart-to-heart, Mom and daughter discussion about the facts of morality and truth. And how where morality and truth are concerned (especially in the area of family) facts have only the faintest relationship to what any of the parties involved are willing to accept as reality. And how the definition of reality is mostly in the hands of those a particular social group chooses to designate as its gatekeepers.

But she won't be staying the night after all, and was never much of a drinker in the first place. Only an idiot would want to let themselves be made vulnerable by a chemical, y'know. One is made vulnerable enough by the definitions of reality within which one is forced to operate.

happy twelve string dream log

Plenty of other things I could write about. Mom's almost-visit this evening. How furniture in the apartment is being arranged. My gradually shifting image of myself. Conversations at work.

Instead I will tell you about a dream I had about a bass guitar.
(And I wonder why nobody comments on this thing.)

Act one is completely gone.

Act two involved some squat, grey-faced, sharp-toothed dream people. They were little more than dark grey round heads on light grey bodies the shape of a thumbnail, but they didn't seem like the sort with whom one would want to associate. There were three of them. I know we conversed, but I don't know what we talked about or even what sort of an interaction it was. Maybe there wasn't even a conversation, just a slow measuring look. In a dream, that can count as an entire act.

Act three I was walking. Not precisely indoors or outdoors, I was simply next to a building. It came up on my right. The lighting was, as in a few recent dreams, just barely dim enough not to interfere with visibility. Same indoors and out. The building was dusty and disused; the windows showed little of the interior and the unpainted boards seemed weathered. I saw a sign on the door (the image a jumble of letters, I just got the meaning of the sign) indicating the place to be some kind of psychological therapy or rehab place, with an emphasis on feel-good smarmy group encouragement type stuff.

I passed through a lobby, only remarking the emptiness of the place, not any of its features. Again, a feeling that someone was supposed to be there or normally was there, but they were keeping out of my sight because I wasn't there for a reason that involved them. Then I quickly moved into the next room.

Either the light in this next room was dimmer still or the wood paneling of the walls was much darker. There was nothing in the room except a bass guitar on a stand, facing me. I walked up to it slowly, studying it. It seemed to be a decent instrument, not in as bad shape as the building around it. Instead of four strings, however, it had four sets of three strings each--red, yellow and blue. I looked at it dubiously and wondered how it would be possible to play the instrument, since three strings are much harder to press down with one finger than just one.

End of dream.

Now, last time I went out to visit our nice friend who told me about soundpost guy, she let me hold her twelve-string guitar. The twelve-string is a wonderful device invented by some smart person who realized that doubling each guitar string makes it much, much easier to play chords. When you want to press down a string with your finger, your finger naturally presses hardest into the space between the two strings. Because they are somewhat rigid, this merely presses them further down against the fretboard even as it presses them slightly apart.

The bass I saw in my dream was also a twelve-string, but in a different way. Four sets of three. Fans (?!) of my cosmology will recognize this instantly. Four elements (or modes of action), plus three forms (interactive qualities). Earth, Air, Fire and Water, each of which can be used in the mode of Sulfur, Mercury or Salt. The base (ha, pun, pfft), the foundation of the understanding of the universe I've hammered and strained out of the flaxy muck that is occult symbolisms.

So I go to disused part of my mind that is meant to be some comfort, but instead is nigh-abandoned and loitered about by unsavory characters. In a dimly lit back room all by itself I find a symbol of something I think is important to me, something I've worked very hard to make a useful method of determining and directing belief. And when I find the thing I essentially scratch my head and wonder how the hell it can be of any use.

I don't know whether this represents something good I need to pursue, or something non-good I need to back away from.

What ties it all together is a lyric from a Waterboys song I've had stuck in my head for the last few days. The song is called "Lucky Day Bad Advice." It is a collection of the bad advice people have given the songwriter over the years on how to "improve" his band by watering it down to fit their favorite fads. The lyric is:

You can't spend all your life
Sittin' on your cloud, playin' your twelve-string

dry runnings

Haven't used the internet really at all this week. I bet the dudes at my forum think I wandered off never to return. If they've thought of me at all, heh.

On Wednesday I got to hang out after work with a friend of mine. And among many other things we discussed, I declared that I was going to have to write a song for her to sing. It being written, I realized it suffers from a problem that keeps me from performing many of my songs; it's too on-topic.

You know that thing where it's very difficult to write an awesome song unless something has ripped a chunk out of your soul, and the song comes in to cleanse and sanctify the new emptiness in you? Well apparently it's true of writing songs for other people too. It helps if you have a frame of reference for understanding their hurt; it also helps if you're close enough emotionally to them where you can do that non-verbal telepathy stuff. Whatsit...empathy, yeah.

But what I did, with this, uses a sort of poetic conceit. The example that springs to mind is [for sound reason], which I don't think I've sung to anybody, ever. I basically wrote it trying to imagine precisely the way in which I might go mad with grief if Dave died or left me. I say [for sound reason] sounds like an angry whale getting stabbed, though done right it's meant to make your hair stand on end and try to crawl right off your arm. Take an intense emotional state, carry it out to its logical extreme, write a song about it. Most likely many people use the technique to write songs about subjects where they have trouble feeling their own feelings clearly, whether because the topic is painful to consider intellectually or for some other reason.

So here's your song, milady. Let me know if you think it would be sensible for you to actually sing it, and we can talk tune!

[drains you dry]

open up a ten dollar bottle of wine
and a piece of my mind
do you know you're real
do you know if you're really mine
if I run my fingers through your hair
will you crease your brow
will you turn and stare
like I'm out of line

tell me what you're after, baby
tell me what would make you cry
tell what's behind the shadow in your eyes

are you gonna drown it
are you gonna quench it
have I got your heart now
or even your friendship

open up a ten dollar bottle of wine
and a piece of my mind
fill your cup, bottom's up
do you know what you're gonna find
if I scream till I break your confidence
it won't mean anything
cause it won't make sense in your own damn mind

tell me what you want, baby
tell me what'll make you see
you can't lose yourself that way without losing me

are we gonna make it
are we gonna fail
I'll pull up my anchor
I'm ready to sail

before it drains you dry
before it drains you dry
drains you dry

the cherubim of the bored

On my mental mp3 player:
Selfless, Cold and Composed ~ Ben Folds Five

Today, I am grouchy for reasons not entirely clear to me. All I wanna do is go smoke and read novels and write things and not pay attention to anybody. The bosses are out of town, which has pros and cons. Pros: I can catch up on my paperwork, no one is around to tell me "stop working on that, do this thing for me really quick" umpteen times a day, no one walks up to me and demands instant explanation of some bizarrely obscure aspect of the business which no one has ever mentioned to me before and gets mad when I don't have it at my fingertips. Cons: No one is in the house to sign checks, give permission to order things from vendors or spend cash from the safe on sundries.

Had a fun conversation this morning with Eileen, a sales rep from one of the companies from which we buy most of our sundries and restaurant-related operating supplies. We talked mostly about career paths, the types of things different people want to spend their day doing, how we ended up in our jobs. She's in her fifties and has been with the company she's at for almost as long as I've been alive. The combination of freedom and flexibility, moving around from place to place but still being many people's go-to problem solver, and getting to meet interesting people and hear stories about their lives and jobs, is very fulfilling for her and makes her job a happy-making thing.

I still think being an English professor would be happy-making for me, but I don't think it would be so right now.

I find myself thinking back every day to "To Say Nothing of the Dog", that wonderful novel about time travel set mostly in Victorian England. The mood at the time travel lab in the futuristic "present day" of the story is similar to the way things were here at the restaurant over my first six months or so on the job. People were constantly getting exasperated and quitting, or getting better offers and walking out. Which left a skeleton crew of trainees, the underqualified, or the indescribably overworked to actually get everything done.

One lady, originally a clerk of some kind I think, ended up sticking around as the only person in charge of programming the time portal to send people through. People great and small, screaming and wheedling, smartly-dressed and soaked with mud, come rushing up to her in every scene in which she appears. She is continually surrounded by vying groups of desperate researchers saying "Me! Put me through the time portal right now! My transfer is unbelievably urgent and everyone else you are trying to serve can wait!" Oh, and she also does laundry and inventory control and a host of other necessary tasks which were meant to be done by others who fled from the project. The author describes her with ironic reverence as "the cherubim of the Lord", because in the crucible of her workplace she takes on a terrifying demeanor. Which makes it all too easy to imagine some great angelic being, wreathed in flames of pure and holy exasperation, with eyes and swords and rushing wings going in every direction.

I've been telling people Max Klinger from MASH is my work role model, but it's really that lady, the cherubim of the Lord from "To Say Nothing of the Dog." That's what I meant when I told Mom that I feel like there's something I need to do here before I can move on to the next phase of my life. I am working on a transformation. It seems evident to me that on the way to bodhisattva one has to pass through cherubim. A scary, dedicated and hopefully not too irritable angelic being comprises many, but not all, of the qualities of a teaching saint! And the only way you can transform yourself is by lighting your personality on fire and pouring it into the mold of a social role, a situation in which you must be something to somebody in order to accomplish something. And the only way in which I can learn to be a cherubim is to sit at this desk and become not only competent, but serene in the continual storm.

Still have a ways to go in the serene department.

don't forget

the diamond shows its face to you
and turned around it still shines true
c'mon, try one and two and three
first you see you, then you'll see me
can't see can't fight can't breathe can't fight can't walk can't fight
damn straight that's right
every level has its rules
the only ones who learn are fools

who know every gun's always loaded
they're careful their target is sure
never touch the trigger till their sights are on target
for what must no longer endure

don't forget that some rules change
and others always stay the same
no one can tell the difference but you
don't forget what's true

some clubs will batter down the door
and some you like to dress up for
step back before you hit the joint
breathe deep and say, "what is the point?"
think twice before you raise your hand
and when you ride, ride for the brand
you signed up for it--see it through
even if no one knows but you

you're only as strong as you're loyal
your fists answer both to your mind
a heart poured out like burning oil
is power no stranger can bind

don't forget the worst defeats
come from the ones you thought were sweet
they've always got a reason why you should
don't forget what's good

a golden cup can hide a drink
more bitter than you'd like to think
fill yourself up and do be clear
whether you hold love, rage or fear
learn to play to your weaknesses
what kind of game d'you think this is?
the power to heal and to forgive
is in your heart, long as you live

and after your living is done with
you'll bear your love into the dark
and hope what you learned to have fun with
will answer that you made your mark

don't forget the world's alive
no fathom is too deep to dive
the chalice of God's mercy it is always full
don't forget what's beautiful

they'll say your father was a sword
whose last years were dismayed and bored
a wheel-and-dealer just gone south
gone postal living hand to mouth
that's bullshit, kid--I stayed for you
past when my days should have been through
so let them whisper on the phone
"died in a bathtub, all alone--"

it's in the cards for everyone that someday
we'll move into the ground
forgive me, Love--I only know the one way
to lay this burden down

don't forget, don't forget, don't forget, don't forget
don't forget I love you
don't forget I love you
don't forget I love you

Miércoles con los Amigos Invisibles vol 9.

Remembered last night's dream.

Act one, I was outdoors in a beautiful woodsy / fields sort of place. The place-tag in my mind said it was India, but since I don't have a clear concept of what India looks like, the actual foliage was the type of plants you'd find in America. Summer day, blue sky, good temperature, slight breeze. Everything looked extremely alive and smelled wonderful. I wandered around for awhile, smelling and looking at and enjoying everything and (by so doing) drawing in happy mana like it was on sale.

I'd had a conversation with Dad, actually during the week before he died, about traveling. That week and the ones previous he'd wanted to talk guns and money-making schemes and such and I'd kept pulling the conversations to things I wanted to talk about, like Wretched Slum and traveling. We were discussing a dream I had quite some time ago that seemed to me was a real traveling dream, but that had gotten cut short before the images in it fully developed and I'd never been sure why. I was standing in what felt like a gargantuan loading dock, but one not currently in use, looking out through the friggin huge entryway at a gentlly rolling hillside of lush green grass with like early-morning mist on it. And in the dream I'd inhaled deeply, trying to smell the grass and appreciate its prettiness. That action kicked me out of the dream, back into my body, and possibly awake. Dad pointed out that in a real traveling situation, you've pulled yourself up out of your body and are connected to it by a tether of whatever the energy is that invisible people and stuff are made of. Mana, I might as well call it. After all the word literally means, "What is it?" So if you try to draw on environmental mana whilst actually traveling, it weakens the connection between you and your body. Incarnate people--for their spiritual health, I think--are supposed to get all their mana filtered through the body. So his theory was that I got kicked out of the dream experience by my own reflexes (possibly with polite help from whoever was trying to communicate with me) when I was about to do something that would endanger me. My silver cord just snapped back like a rubber band.

Told you that story to tell you this. In last night's dream I was sucking up happy mana like a sponge. Which I can thus take to mean I was not traveling, but rather staying inside my own mindspace.

Act two I don't have good images for; I only remembered it upon further review, and had initially thought this was act three. I was in somebody else's house. She vaguely reminded me of lady boss but I knew it was a representation of a relationship type and not a representation of a person. The house was wood-paneled, not brightly lit though visibility was good, reasonably well-maintained and decorated, but unfamiliar enough to me that I didn't feel quite at home. I was doing something on a computer or helping the person figure something out on a computer, and I'm unclear on who thought who was doing a favor for whom. But somebody was being helpful despite having second thoughts and I don't know what was up with that.

Act three me and Goth (yes, dream-person in the form of my ex-girlfriend Goth) were walking down a street and decided to go into a Japanese restaurant. I mainly knew it was a Japanese restaurant from the language the signs were printed in and the fact that the decor included those nifty walls made of paper. Much like the house I was in earlier, the lighting was dim but visibility was very good. But I couldn't see beyond the main "public" space of the room we were in, and didn't think to look more intently. I didn't actually see anybody who worked there or other customers, just got the vague sense they were around somewhere. Weirdly I did notice a hanging plant (or unlit lantern?) and one of those stand-up fridges full of cold beverages that they have in like Dunkin Donutses or other places where they sell beverages but it isn't a mainstay of the business.
So me and Goth sit down, and this guy comes up to us and takes one of the empty seats at our table. He is dressed business casual and well-groomed but still manages to seem unkempt and nervous with his doughboy figure and anxious body language. Looks sort of foreign, but in a way where you couldn't tell what country he's actually from or whether he's local. He has like a clipboard or something, but we can sense right away that he's a dweeb and is just going to waste our time bothering us without even working up the courage to ask us out so we can say no and be done with it. Eventually we do get him to leave our table but he just goes and sits at a nearby table, as if hoping we'll change our minds. Goth is pissed at him but thinks it's funny, too, 'cause he isn't a threat, just a dweeb.

It wasn't till I was running for the bus this morning that I had the following thought. If, in fact, the dream-person in the aspect of Goth with me was my the little girl, then I am way mentally healthier than even I suspected! It would make sense, too, because the last time I remembered seeing the little girl we were actually sitting down and talking. (Okay, yes, she tricked me into getting nasty bug-worms all up in my hand, but I could totally handle that. Plus I should have known better than to stick my hand in anything in a forest made of things-about-to-die. And she doubtless thought it was funny.)

If that were the case, then our relationship has progressed to the point where we are allies. Arriving at place together, sitting together, being accosted by dweeb together, rebuffing dweeb together, sharing thoughts on reaction to rebuffing of dweeb. That's, like, at least a steel trust level. Maybe all the way up into silver since we had a level of emotional understanding and agreement as well. For her to appear in aspect of Goth is also very telling because of my associations. Girl who is beautiful and dangerous, proud and impetuous, possessive, vindictive and in many ways callous--but as sweet and cuddly and eminently desirable as she is scary crazy. This, you understand, is the balance of my memories of Val as I saw her when we were dating. And five or six years ago this same aspect of my psyche was represented by a scary spider who confronted or leapt at me, from whom I fled in panic every single time. So for her to take on the image of my sexy yet scary ex-girlfriend is a massive and to-be-celebrated improvement.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 37

[convention in town] 6-9-08

oh, if I were a pickpocket
I'd love to work this crowd
they're innocent and indolent
from out of town and loud
take cash and credit cards
and brown bag lunches - I'm not proud
oh, if I were a pickpocket
I'd love to work this crowd

oh, if I were a murderer
I couldn't stand the smell
cologne and sweat and confidence
that I'm bound straight to hell
with every pair of eyes I see
I wonder, can they tell
oh, if I were a murderer
I couldn't stand the smell

oh, if I were a rapist
then these dames would turn me on
their hair and clothes and faces
all just look spray-painted on
they take a half-step back
and look relieved when I am gone
oh, if I were a rapist
then these dames would turn me on

but I work right across the street
where all these people come to eat
it makes the business bittersweet
I punched out - I'm already beat
I've got to fight my way through them
to get back home again.


I'll be crossposting this little songy thing on my new "official" blog. Maybe add relatives to blogroll later.

This song is a blues tune that I have written many, many times. At least once every six months I get a blues song--often comic or satiric, as this one is--with the same freakin tune and chord sequence. Don't always keep them or write them down, since I feel it's downright embarrassing to write the same song over and over. I try very hard to be innovative. Though I make this harder for myself by not practicing guitar and not learning to play other people's songs on it. Such would expand my musical horizons, fo sho!

I now have verses one and two of [don't forget]; there are going to be four. The first quatrain, posted below, will fit onto the fourth verse. As far as playing it on the guitar, I have yet to attempt even the chord sequence. One problem with composing on the fly (ie, not with an instrument to hand) is that if you're not all that great at your instrument, the background music in your mind tends to wobble and shift as you try to pin it down to the few chords or notes you know well.

Phone-conversating was weird last night. I called up Amber, and ended up talking to both my sisters and Mom as they passed the phone around the room. Only took twenty minutes, and it was nice to catch up, but it felt weird. I want time alone with my two sisters, dangit. It always seems like either there's only two of us or other people *coughcoughMom!cough* decide to tag along and bust up the three-headed-hydra effect. Now, Dave finds the three-headed-hydra freaky and prefers not to participate and let us do our thing, which I suppose is quite reasonable. For Mom it's a rush, I think, to see her three daughters get all animated and talky. Dad was also always happy to see us gabbling sororially. But even parental pride takes on a different shape in different people, and I don't wanna talk about that right now.

The hell do I wanna talk about?

I wish we had a big, shiny masterplan, a series of steps we could all follow that would lead to comfortable wealth levels and respectable positions in whatever communities we chose to join. But instead it's like every magic is. You can only see the next step, and have a dim awareness of the step after next. Sometimes the serendipity bird poops in your brain or on your timeline, and what you thought was the next step turns into something completely different and sweet. All I can do in the present is figure out what I need, what I've got to work with, what my duty is regarding those in whom I've chosen to invest my loyalty, and see if it all matches up. Plus try to consider ahead a little bit and see what avenues of possibility I open up with every action.

This, today, is one of those mornings where I will not be entirely human until after I've had my coffee. And unlike yesterday I will be a good girl and not hop up to the kitchen every ten minutes to see if it's made yet. These are our busiest days of the year and the cooks each have an elephant's diaper of crap to shovel to prep for lunch. Once again I find myself thanking dog and my past career path choices that I'm not a server or busser right now. Yes, they make good tips, but they earn them in spades. With the convention in town the front of the house turns huge numbers of tables, many with large parties who are from out of town, don't know each other well, and definitely don't know what they want to order. *shudder* I've become known here as a patient and (to my astonishment!) laconic person, but it would mess with me emotionally to have to be patient with customers while standing up for hours at a time.

Had a slight headache last night, I think from too much staring at screens. It went away for awhile before sleeptime, but then came back when I woke up this morning. Curses. I took an aspirin this morning along with my regular vitamin (alas, we ate the last of the excellent gummy vitamins yesterday). But even though the headache has faded again I'm sluggish and grouchy because of it. Ach, I've circled back to the needing coffee whine. That's it, I'm'a go read webcomics. Or, y'know, do real work.

news update. blerg.

Have now created:

Facebook account for general consumption (no content yet)
Extra blogger for communicating with relatives (one post)
Dummy email account for "spamming" or registering on lesser forums

List of chores, starting with the internet:

Update Facebook and connect with relatives
Put relatives on blogroll on extra blog
Find lesser forums from which to recruit potatoes* for Day of Discord discussion
Call Howard, talk about insurancey stuff
Call Jim, talk about landlordy stuff
Open utility bills, figure out which things need to be paid...then worry about switching them into my name

Actually got the first verse of [don't forget] today. Maybe the beginning of the second. Busy at work as expected; glad I went to bed somewhat early, cause I was beat and today I need the energy. New Saltation chapter finally posted after a month-long wait! This is one of those times where people are talking to me about random crap because I'm in a friend/confidant role to them, thus interrupting my work AND my play and it makes me mad at them. Interrupting me is the way to go! Sign up now for a free sample of my nonexistent wrath! Other people are also of course getting interrupted, but they get to get mad about it themselves.

Want to pout and be grouchy but it's too high-energy of a taig today for that to even remotely work. I'm just hoping I'll be able to print out a chapter of something and go outside for a few minutes. Day like today the peeps and their peeping would follow me out onto the sidewalk, around the block, all the way to the bus stop...
Unless I get my ducks in a row before steeping away from my desk. Blerg indeed.

*potatoes sit just as still as cabbages, but taste better and are more versatile as foodstuffs. I am also a potato.

there's a reason they call it websurfing

Work It Harder Make It Better
Do It Faster, Makes Us Stronger
More Than Ever Hour After
Our Work Is Never Over

~daft punk

Can you believe [Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger] has been one of those songs that always makes me cry since the first time I heard it? In an "I'm crying cause it's true and shiny!" kind of way.

I have no logical basis for believing this, but I like to imagine sapient machine creatures of comparable size are generally happier and emotionally better-adjusted than humans. They can still be evil and choose to do bad things, of course; all living creatures can. But I think this because in order to fulfill basic life functions, mech life would need to be even more cross-integrated both vertically and horizontally. The information storage capacity of matter is really the sticking point, as I see it. What would machine life use that is as small as a protein and capable of performing similar functions? What of RNA, the minute structure of the brain, how could such functions be fulfilled by other structures in a silicon-based life form? So many unanswered questions. But I guess I have this idea that a silicon chemical base would have slightly less efficiency at deep information storage and expression, and if that's the case, then the lack would have to be made up by much, much more efficient information exchange between and among mech organisms. What you can't get out of your own cellular (or cell-analogue) systems, you have to get from your social environment.

Techno always makes me think about machines, but that style of music is almost certainly not what mech life would consider music. It's all based around the heartbeat for one thing, let alone being written for the really narrow range accessible to the human ear. I think that's a tradeoff all forms of life have to make at some point though: narrow focus means deeper experience of detail, means richer connection to one's living environment. A precarious balance of many, many needs which much be weighted against one another from one moment to the next! Life is always foaming on the crest.

Had a dream and actually remembered it. Still don't feel like writing it down. Maybe when I feel a little less unsettled or something. However, today feels like a good day. I just have so many things on my mind that when I go to write about something here, it ends up being something totally unrelated, because otherwise I don't know that I'd be able to stop.

shitting psitanium

It won’t come out.
I reach back through a patch of disheveled relevancies, mismatched associations. Poke fingers of my thought through phrases lacking clauses, crumpled paragraphs that won’t fan out into their sentences.

Want very much to be angry. Hungry for anger if that makes sense.

Can’t write it till you’ve chewed it up, swallowed and digested it. The lyric is the shit.
The shit that feeds the tree.

Disheveled irrelevancies, old interlocking symbol sets.

Been reading up in Wikipedia on the science of the brain. It’s fun to follow the cul-de-sacs and turnabouts that connect and reconnect the sciences of brain and mind. As if science itself were a gigantic brain, which may or may not be inhabited by an invisible part.

Today will be a day I hate the phone. Almost typed hat the phone. Typo demons and all today. I have already hatted the phone in a sense, by answering a call from our phone service company where the tech talked me through creating a new voicemail box. Then I showed Lisa how to use it just now. In another, unrelated sense, however, I’ve been hating the phone as its ringing grates against my hurty feelings and thoughts, and I feel intruded upon.

Serves me right for feeling and thinking at work, cha.

The self-dissatisfaction is back, which in its way is a good sign. Dave was telling me yesterday: look, when you stop writing, first you always get down on yourself for not writing, and then it starts to scare you, then you kick yourself in the ass and write something awesome. But I know, too, that my today feelings are an early-to-mid step in the process. As I’m fond of saying, you can’t write something till you’re out the other side of it. And I do agree with everybody and their brother that it’ll take time.

I just wanna write something else, think about something else. Like climbing up a hill in a snowstorm when the bus stop shelter thing is at the top of the hill. You’re looking at the shelter and saying to yourself, Oh, dog, if I could just already be at the top of the hill and in that shelter, this snow wouldn’t be nearly as bad and I’d be so much more all right, I can’t wait. But you know, even if you try not to dwell on it, that once you’ve gotten into the shelter and caught your breath, you’ll realize how cold your feet and hands and face are and that your socks are wet, and all you’ll be able to think about is the bus that’ll bring you home. That, I think, is a really good analogy. Because while what I’m going through right now is hard and painful, the thing that follows it is no walk in the park either.

Respect your elders, girlie. Processes like this one are older than your species. Recognize, foolish human! Recognize your state so as not to stumble and get all tangled up and get in the way of your own transformation, thereby dragging it out into something much longer and harder!

I like my environmental mana but I’m angry at magic, because the next thing I need to work on is hard for me. Reality always being more limited and requiring of effort than fiction, that makes me mad too. And even mana exchanges are disrupted right now cause my personality’s all swirling and agitated from bereavement and everything shifting to new alignments. I hardly know how to feel about the taig right now. And I love the taigs of the places I go!

Yesterday when I got home I guessed wrong on the top lock on the front door (thought it was unlocked; it was locked). Which was my sign that my emotional state was not well settled and it was a good night to doubly examine all my judgments before speaking up. Kind of how Dad would try and win three games of Solitaire using his system and if it didn’t work, he’d know his mind wasn’t in its most optimized state. At any rate that sign was dead right; I kept finding myself thinking things that would have been really, really mean—mean to Dave, to me, to the memory of Dad even. But I didn’t say even one of them! Which is a huge improvement over the times even a year ago, let alone in college, when I’d get in the particular mood that one turned out to be. I’d just blurt out something horrible when the emotional pressure inside my mind was high and I didn’t think of any other way to relieve it.

I’m angry at science, too, because I still do kind of suck at it. No, really. Reading sciencey stuff has made me remember what a vast body of knowledge, training and discipline a person needs to be able to innovate within a field of science. You can half-ass your way through everything and still get papers published, yeah. But if you want to really make inroads against a theory, let alone establish a new model or hypothesis, you’ve got to work like an irritable god is watching over your shoulder.

So there’s many pressures in my mind right now. And I can’t let myself think too hard about any one of them, because at the moment I’ve just gotta put one foot in front of the other, mentally as well as physically. Science and magic, poetry and psychology, my theories and Dad’s theories and everybody’s stories. Rent. Shelving. Groceries. Politics.

Oh and now it’s worky time. Let’s working.
I am so gonna try and get myself a lunch break today. I could really use one. I am so fucking hungry.

Miércoles con los Amigos Invisibles vol 8.

It's in the cards for all of us that someday
We'll move into the ground
Forgive me, Love - I only know the one way
To lay this burden down

The lines in a previous post may or may not make it into [don't forget]. But these, above, are non-negotiable. I'm thinking the song should be a long rambling string of good yet sometimes frightening advice interwoven with bits of stories. It's coming together, as all good songs, too slowly to suit me. And I'm leery of overthinking during the percolation process. It's like digging up recently planted seeds; interferes with the growth of the root structure. The most important parts of creative works take place in parts of your personality you can't afford to watch. Quantum observer type interference; the act of watching changes what's happening.

Had such a dream last night! I knew it was rememberable, but didn't have the urge to remember. So I got right up, Dave fed me breakfast and I let it slip out of my mind. The issues'll come back in another dream if they weren't resolved in this without me getting the message.

I've been thinking a lot the last few days about the logic of the story. And when I say the story, I mean the story of my life. We narratize our experiences in order to invest them with meaning. A good story can build all our scattered moments into a coherent whole, by weaving together those aspects of daily life we choose to hold sacred. This is one of the most important things my father taught me; that your religion is the things you hold sacred in this sense, the things you choose to give shape to the story of your life.

Way too much of my religion is invested in the stuff I may as well call magic. Misleading, yes, because everything I've got in that area I patched together myself from a combination of reading, discussion with others, and lengthy and elaborate observation/interpretation dances with my daily life. If most of the people I know were aware of the full extent of my current belief set, they would be seriously weirded out. Invisible friends, sapient stars and all.

But I had some words with Dave about it yesterday that heartened me immensely. My favorite words he used were "unassailable" (in the sense that it all hangs together coherently) and "unassuming" (in the sense that it does not presume to contradict observed reality, only attempt to explain it). Dave doesn't share all my beliefs; he is actively agnostic. As opposed to passive agnosticism, where a person hasn't thought it through enough to decide, his active agnosticism comes from his epistemological position. That is, we shouldn't be so arrogant as to believe things that we know we don't know enough about to properly understand. And it's stupid to put the emotional energy of belief into something for which you have no verifiable evidence.

However he doesn't think I'm stupid for having the beliefs I do, because they are part of a coherent plan. I don't believe all this crap because I know it's true, nor do I claim to know what's ultimately true. But I have chosen to believe a host of things because a) the beliefs adequately explain my experiences, b) as mentioned in an earlier post, my psyche is so structured that I have to believe something in these content areas, and c) my beliefs have been carefully selected for their potency in promoting psychological health.

Of course I do still go off on bunny trails talking about the universe, invisible friends, the meanings of dreams, the shapes of times or how the taig seems to me to be feeling today. Which can sometimes annoy. I suppose that's another thing I learned from Dad, albeit by negative example. He couldn't turn it off, couldn't not be thinking a mile a minute at any given time. So I developed a decent sense of when a listening audience is just starting to get bored, lose interest or be weirded out. Even if what I'm saying happens, by happy accident, to be both true and useful, what good does it do anybody if I've bored or disturbed them to the point where they won't hear it? And if by unhappy accident it is neither useful nor true, where do I get off wasting their time?

Which brings me to yet another example of how I use my beliefs to promote psychological health. Magic, as I am fond of saying, is all about relationships. And if I learn how to be a better friend in physical life, then I will also be a better friend in invisible life. A possibility I use to encourage myself thusly: "In treating incarnate people better and becoming a better friend, invisible people will be able to perceive the increased level of awesomeness in your personality, and perhaps you will attract a higher quality of invisible friend as a result! Assuming that they exist, happen to be in your psychic neighborhood, and find you interesting!"

Like most things that work well for me it is needlessly complicated. But as Mary Poppins says, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Since I often find human-to-human relationships scary and difficult, sometimes holding out the carrot of human-to-invisible-person relationships helps me plod on forward under the weight of my fears. What else can a body do?

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 36

I have a few minutes here while lady boss's camera charges up.

Good morning over all today, but an afternoon that had me clawing at my desk trying to gouge through it in the desire to break something.

Does it make sense to say I was upset with only the top third or so of my personality, but the rest of me was unbothered? Sort of thing where other people caused the delay and difficulty. I just had the unenviable task of trying to email image files way too big to fit in an email, downloading file converters, winzip, finding upload websites, all because boss B was covering the ass of boss A who completely blew off a press deadline, which was 9am this morning. But we got at least some of the things to the right people by 5pm. Couple more things still need to be gotten out of the camera (whose battery is dead from being plugged into the computer all day) and emailed to couple more people. I'm'a be nice and give the battery a good few minutes to recharge, because I need to recharge.

Heard today, actually from lady boss's dad who stopped by the office, the Obama has all but clinched the nomination. We three had a short and pleasant discussion on the subject of politics and how nice it would be to see an Obama/Clinton White House for the next four years.

Only after the discussion was over and he'd left the room that I realized. I would have been discussing this with my father tonight if he was alive. And his opinion would be way more complex and shiny and involve all sorts of different mafias. It makes me angry because I miss him, and I do feel robbed. I do. I'm crying a little right now. Not a lot, just enough to bleed off some of the emotions. Wipe my face and no one around here will notice the difference, since unless I'm actively gleeful I look a bit squinty and perpetually harried.

Everyone's been telling me it will take time, that I can't expect to grieve all at once. I always thank them for their kindness because they are exactly correct. Just not nearly detailed enough to suit me--and the level of detail that does suit me is not something anybody else really wants or needs to have explained to them. But dammit I know what this did to my personality and I am going about it my way and I am going to do it right. Let each situational mind, each self-aspect vent out its little portion of my hurt as the wheel of days brings each to light in turn.


Wanna talk about something I just figured out yesterday while talking to Dave.

Believe it was on Tuesday the 20th, couple days after Dad died. I was sitting in the living room with my new (made Sunday the 18th, but before I got the news) burn CD and Jeff Buckley's performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah came on. I know Dad loved Leonard Cohen, and the words and emotions in song just resonated so powerfully that I had an outpouring of emotional response. Sitting there with my head in my hands, I felt wave upon wave of mana, emotion, power or whatever you want to call it, flowing not just from me but through me. It gathered up somewhere in front of or above me--not in spatial directions exactly, though that's how my inner ear located it. When the song started to wrap up I felt an ironic little thought (expressed in words it'd read something like, "You take this have damn fine vacation old man!"), and flung the massive something made of something out towards wherever he was at, where I visualized him at, among the stars for a time. 'Cause he'd made a point of telling me he was going to visit the gates of dawn (a star birth nebula) and the angel with the flaming sword (Ross-154) before he came back to plug into Maat (his name for the nascent personality of planet Earth) and get back to work.

A wave of emotion is an expectable thing, when one's father has just died and one hears a song that moved him greatly. But this was a different thing, or rather, there was more in those waves than just my emotions. I do not emote loudly enough, even when in extreme distress, to disrupt the signal of a cellphone call being made in the room next to me. Also I tend to emote in pointy spikes rather than in big clouds or waves. 'S a side effect of all the poetry and rhetoric; it makes my whatever-it-is very scalpelesque.

So I've been turning the experience over and over in my mind, trying to find a theory that fits what I observed. And it was actually something Lois Bujold put in the latest Sharing Knife book that gave me a possible answer. Bit of a spoiler on the series, but I promise it doesn't give away plot, just magic-tech from the storyverse.

In the Sharing Knife books, there are two major social groups, the Lakewalkers and the farmers. Lakewalkers have the ability to do that world's type of magic, by being able to work with the magical energy inherent in all things, which they call ground. They use their abilities (for the most part) to fight uncanny evil creatures called malices. Farmers lack the ability to perceive or manipulate ground but are still regular people with all the variety and quirks. It is known that if a Lakewalker uses their abilities on a farmer, the farmer sometimes becomes beguiled--weirdly obsessed or even hypnotized, depending on the type of magic use. Lakewalker superstition has it that such things are unavoidable because stupid farmers just can't help reacting to groundwork that way.

But in this third book, the main characters discover something more subtle is going on. Every time one person gives away some of their ground--for example, in a healing work--they receive an "echo" back from the recipient, completing the circuit. Either people hadn't noticed this before the main characters tried to figure it out, or they hadn't wanted to notice. So the farmer only becomes beguiled if the Lakewalker doesn't, or won't, accept the echo ground back from them. The beguilement, in this system, comes from the imbalance caused in the receiving person when they are unable to give back that echo, when they cannot complete the circuit. They become obsessed with the giver because they need to give back something, but have no way to even perceive what it is that they need.

I came up with this as a metaphor while talking to Dave yesterday, about this and several other things. It can be used, I think, to explain what was happening that day with the waves of mana-whatever.

Dad's personality was very open in many ways, but in some ways he was completely closed. He could accept the bad that the world gave back to him, but for whatever reasons, didn't seem able or willing to accept the good on an emotional level. He could appreciate good being done him in tangible or intellectual ways but could not accept comfort or help or gratitude emotionally. And this was a man who devoted the bulk of the latter part of his life, at least, and a massive chunk of the former, to helping people and empowering them and protecting them from harm. In other words, sending a lot of pieces of himself out into the universe without accepting back quite as many pieces of the universe in return.

So my hypothesis on that experience is this. That Dad had built up a massive backlog of good karma (or whatever, however it really works) because he had started up a bunch of spiritual exchanges and then not allowed them to complete. That when he left this side of the world all that stuff was still out there, pending, waiting for him to come and take it up. That what I did was accidentally, or to be more accurate, blindly, gather up all of it I could hold and fling it at him.

Too generous even in retreat, old man. Tut, tut! Whoever heard of a bank robber who had to have the sacks of money flung at his back as he fled the premises?

Though I suppose, given the above, it's really more like a fellow who goes to the bank to make a legitimate withdrawal, waffles around in the lobby not daring to go up to the confused and impatient teller, then has to have the sacks of money flung at him as he's sneaking off towards the door. Still. Glad I was in a position to fling, whatever the case.