Friday, May 27, 2011

"Things unfamilia' might sneak up and kill ya!"

It's an identity thing, an issue of forming an identity, crafting it. Who am I? And who do I want to become? There have been significant portions of my life where this has been decided for me. I was the good son, the irascible churchgoer, the smart kid. The roles were defined for me and I fit them, well enough, and maintained. But I've moved around enough that I have been able to recreate myself. A couple times. No history. No baggage except what you bring with you. And I've gotten better at leaving it behind. Of course the problem with not being defined by your surroundings or circumstances is that self-definition offers so many damn options. Choice anxiety. And a lack of time.

I take photographs. Sometimes videos. And alter them.
I play music. Bass. Uke. Mando. Harmonica. Trumpet.
I paint. Acrylics. Bold colors. Broad strokes.
I cook. Organic. Asian. Italian. New American. *Fusion*.
I have a bike. A lock. A helmet.
I want to wander off into the empty wilderness. The beach. A mountain.
I write. vox clamantis en deserto.

And I have a two year old that takes up all of my time while he is awake. Not to mention the financial constraints of a single income family and the expensive nature of my "hobbies".

I find it difficult, with my limited time and funds, to really fix an identity, to decide that I am the guy who does this thing. Whatever thing. I don't have time to practice, to get out and do any one specific thing. And so I dabble. A little of this, a little from column b, and presto chango alla kazam (jack of all trades and master of none). Also I'm lazy.

I like buying new things. Or the idea of buying new things. Experiences, experiential materiel, the ideas notions and progression towards experiences. New instruments, better amps, a fancier camera and lenses, handmade kitchen knives, survival tools, tents, bug out gear, books that I will eventually get around to reading, movies I hope to watch, music I might listen to at some point. I like thinking about the things I would like to buy, the things that would allow me to become the guy who has these things who can use them to do these other things. Everything would Neal verify adjust s bit more money, &c &c, and the rest of that tired routine. It's not a matter of solving all my problems, but it is a hope for an easy way out. When practice is the only way and there is either time to practice or time to sleep ...

You may say that I'm a dreamer but I'm not

in this case.

Actually, I probably am.

I'm certainly rambling. The point is I have several contradictory life goals. I want to live on a beach with no electricity while I play a hollow body bass through a giant stack. I want to live out in the mountains away from the rabble of society while writing (hell, blogging) about pop culture, allusive, recursive, self-referential. I want to become a survivalist in an electric blues band taking photographs of light and human detritus. I haven't been able to fully work out the kinks. I guess there is nothing specifically impossible about the combinations. Unlikely. But not impossible. Sort of a time share thing. A shack on the beach, a cabin in the woods, satellites, and touring in between (writing and shooting pics in the downtime, cooking when hungry).

Of course crushing student loan debt and a rambunctious two year old slow the process down rather significantly. But you can win the lottery without buying a ticket, right?

No purchase necessary. Some restrictions apply.

***
"Next time, Gadget."
- Dr. Claw, D.Div.


Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the consequences of empty time




My first impulse after being woken up in the morning is going back to sleep. I let my son out of his room (he no longer will open the door himself), turn off his white noise machine, make him a bottle. Then grab my pillow and fall over on the couch hoping he doesn't need me for anything for a while.

It's my second and third and fourth impulse too.
But it always seems to be the wrong choice. Staying up and I am exhausted, but with the kind of shut eye I get on the couch, ever interrupted to be part of some game or to put on some Pixar or to get his breakfast of the wife's coffee ready. I am better served by making that coffee, sucking it up and reading the news, engaging the mind so that collapsing isn't the only viable option. I waste so much time during the day trying to do nothing while Finn runs around with semi-caged pure wild animal craziness. It doesn't help that the weather is hardly conducive to outdoor play and our "yard" isn't fenced from the road (so enticing).

But he's going to school soon (both us boys, and with matching tin ninja turtle lunch boxes). Well, "school". Daycare. But ideally with a bit of structure and instruction. He's mostly going because I won't be home to watch him all day and for the development of necessary social skills (no spitting, hitting, head butting, screaming, or throwing breakables, and I guess sharing and listening too). I'm mostly going back to school because I hear that doctors are well respected in this country and someone needs to bring back the medicine show.

UPDATE: Finn just took me over to the couch and told me I should be sleeping. Clearly he recognizes my patterns.

Medicine show does sound like fun, doesn't it. A touring menagerie of musicians, con men, hucksters, comics, and preachers all selling my particularly cracked and absurd slant on the far side of the darkened glass. It is what's missing. But logistics would likely sink the op. Too many options these days. Why go to a show where you would be expected to learn something, to participate? A show without stars or celebrities or comfortable and recognizable household names? Put that on the list of other unlikely projects...

I was thinking yesterday about what injecting some stability, some routine, into my daily life would do to improve my mood/ the general state of things. Days would begin in much the same way, but after breakfast I would walk Finn to school and then come home to coffee, the news, daily blogging (*gasp). I could spend the days prepping for class, working on journal submissions (both academic and fiction). Ah, dreams.

***
"Life goes on, brah." - Lennon/McCartney

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Monday, May 2, 2011

A man is dead. headshot. Osama.

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” - misattributed to Twain based on a similar line by Clarence Darrow. Also popularly not said by Churchill


"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - MLK


"He's dead, Jim." - Leonard "Bones" McCoy


"So it goes." - Vonnegut


***
The getaway is the essence of the crime. And for the last ten years, he had gotten away. Never seen "justice". That is no longer the case. The implications of the death of Osama bin Laden abound:

(in no particular order or organization)

A week (two?) ago we learned on Glee that a diva can schedule a meeting and then show up hours later as if nothing is amiss. The President proved last night (when he preempted Celebrity Apprentice, made all the major news anchors embarrass themselves and expose the limitations of their wit and extemporaneous speaking skills, and made Fox News not insult him for a few minutes (and also proclaim his death "accidentally")) that he still wears the big boy pants.

It was 11:30 on a Sunday, May Day. And, coincidentally the 8 year anniversary of "Mission Accomplished".

Symbols, symbolism, symbology.

There are quite a few things we learned last night:

The White House is, and remains, if little else, a voice of authority. It's version is the version.

Cable news is dead, or at least, impotent, irrelevant, dying. How many talking heads proved their worthlessness last night? I'm looking at you, Wolf.

Twitter: Scoop. Jokes. Rumors. Misattributed Twain quotes. Troubling desires to abuse corpses. Ghost, zombie, and Osama in Hell accounts. Humanity. (and it seems that the whole op was live tweeted).

***
What it comes down to is:
either we are naive enough to think that the killing of a man who has become little more than alienated figurehead (anathema, pariah, etc) will take down a worldwide network of autonomous cells, or that revenge can bring back those we lost.
Or we are jaded so significantly as to render this into a political move, a power play, a theater of cruelty (they were dancing in the streets of Palestine after 9/11). What is the shock doctrine selling us today?

Of course it's not as simple as that. It never is.

Sure it is a political move. Everything is politics, everything is power and shifting alliances, especially at that level of society. Daes Dae'mar, The Game of Houses, The Great Game. But I don't know that I am ready to ascribe that level of conspiratorial power to the US or any other government. Strings aren't that easy to pull. But it isn't just a happenstance revenge play, a Hail Mary pass in the last minutes of the game.

Everything changes. Everything stays the same.

1. The same people stay in power.
2. You can't say democrats support terror, are weak on nat security, didn't really want to pursue him
3. Bush couldn't do it and his mission was accomplished
4. Fox News had to spend a few minutes without anything bad to say about the president. (perhaps it was as close to an apology as they could get for when Geraldo "misspoke" and said that Obama was dead)


"Bring the boys back home." - Pink Floyd


Will this change the status quo? No, but it might make some people feel better about it. And aside from the breakdown of civilization and is gentle comforts in an armed insurrection, that really is all we have: accepting our pile of garbage and scraps from the masters' table with a smile or at least a smaller grimace.

Will it bring the men and women of the armed services back home? Probably not. Sure the war in Afghanistan was about 9/11and bringing Osama to justice. And the war in Iraq wasn't about much at all. And this war in Libya has nothing to do with either. But you can't just pull out now and pretend you were wearing a condom the whole time.

But if nothing ever changes, what does it matter? And what does it matter how dulled and deluded the masses are, remain? If they dance in the streets and celebrate death, is it surprising? Does it matter to those of us who cannot celebrate death? No one ever agrees (always agree). Preach to the choirs, because we have all chosen sides and don't want to listen to proselytizing from across the aisle, pond, universe. Utopia is a thought experiment, it was never a real place, an expected outcome, a consummation devoutly to be wished. Comes out as pretty depressing, I suppose. Defeatist, sure. But when you spend most of your days bouncing theories off a two-year-old, you realize that it doesn't matter if you convince anyone of anything. Keep them entertained, maybe. The world is a place. Go on...

***
At least the burial at sea leaves something for the conspiracy theorists to spout off on now that the President has shown us his long form.