Saturday, December 29, 2012

Relationship Advice

If you don't want to marry someone . . .

Don't marry them.

See, you won't change the little uncomfortable responses you have to their ticks, and they won't change the incendiary regurgitation they have to your passivity and if you both convince yourselves that you are what one another wants, you'll just get more and more miserable.

But a lot of people seem to think that marrying is better than not marrying, and by marrying I mean "being with" for any extended period of time.

If it doesn't feel good now, it won't feel good later.

Added wrinkle: if it feels too good now (read: hedonistically, indulgently, good), it will feel bad later, because a return to some non-amplified baseline is guaranteed.

Another point: stop pretending that your partner can possibly satisfy all of your needs.  YOU satisfy your own needs, and you share in activities with your partner.  Your partner is not your parent, and you are not six.

Final point: it takes a least a year to understand someone from multiple perspectives (i.e. understand what they're like when they get mad, when their boundaries are pushed, when they're exhausted, and what the idolize, really, and truly).  Don't lie to yourself about your partner because you want to be in love.  It will come back and bite you in the ass in a permanent way, like a tattoo across the forehead. There's no undoing "I'm a divorcee" from your mental machinery, no matter how innocent and lively and fresh you feel.

And one more thing, since i'm dishing it: Nobody is immune to time.  If you want to see what you get in 20-30 years, check out the parents.  Are they a wreck?  Are they functional?  Have they stopped growing emotionally because of weird phobia-inducing conspiracy theories?  Do they drink a litre of vodka a night? Yeah?  Watch out!  Stop lying to yourself, telling yourself that you're exception.  The secret is that everyone thinks of themselves as exceptional, and the sad fact is that we are all much more average and similar to other people than we want to admit.  And so our the objects of our affection.  So go do some digging.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't Live According to Everyone Else

Be a rebel.  Don't drink.

Be a conservative cautious numbers person around your liberal wordy friends.

Find a link between the beauty and discipline.

Understand the patina of fatigue coating the commuters' faces.

Thrive on self-abnegation.

Remember: Being open-minded is by definition uncomfortable.  Try it out, write it up in the NYtimes as the latest fad.

Home-brewed monkism!  Asceticism!

Become beholden to standards you develop for yourself.

Try hard to have faith in the tumult of everyday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2.5 Years

That's how long I've been sober.  Life is quantifiably better than it was before, and different in innumerable ways.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Live Life Shame Free -

Imagine it, if you will, walking around without the crushing weight of wrongness, of deadness, of stale old lived in life, mocking you like a favorite outfit you've been forced to wear for days and now wreaks of body odor and wrinkles in all the wrong places.  Imagine knowing life without the desperation to prove yourself in a constant tug of war (to others, to yourself, to notions of whatever the good thing is or has been defined as), touching it in a way that is at once childish and innocent, truly interactive, and also knowledgeable,  aware of everything but the layer of cynicism that we often hold over ourselves in a coup not to feel, for the sake, always, to stay away from our previous failures, to hide it is who we are and run away forever.  Imagine not doing it relentlessly and with suicide-level zeal.  Imagine if it were just the case that you could be seen as human, instead of one-dimensional, and that this richness pervaded your own view of others too, and you might frolic into a dance of conversation and sharing bliss with those you felt least like you before.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hard, Dude - Backing Down

Imagine yourself in a fight with your spouse.  You are deep inside of it.  Making a point of unbearable importance.

Imagine backing out of your point.  Withdrawing from the engagement.  Sitting down for a few minutes.

Really hard.   Almost impossible.  Because the seething intensity of our cultivation of viewpoints becomes more aggressive, and because we are less and less accurate and more and more willing to engage pettiness, it is vital that we learn to back away from our own convictions, and to re-evaluate them as if we were a neutral third party hearing them for the first time.

What are the steps to that?   Realizing how frothy everything gets is a first.  Right at the moment of blood lust, right then, try to step back and let your pride take a notch down.  Honestly.  Hurt pride is a funny thing, since it is basically totally irrelevant to making a point, and changing one's mind when good evidence presents itself is a way to bolster pride, in the longer-run, not a way to show cowardice.  Rational skepticism isn't bad and doesn't forswear passion and involvement.  In fact, it allows us to distance ourselves from ourselves so the world might be a little bit richer, a little bit more nuanced, even when we're emotionally attached to a position.

Next time you're fighting with your significant other, right in the middle of the fight, pull back and earnestly cede the main point.  Let a few minutes pass.  A cool enveloping calm will snuggle you, I promise.  And so will your significant other.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Normalcy is Under-Rated -

Let's all stop pretending to want to be something extraordinary, please, and just relieve that pressure so we can enjoy the lives we do have.

No more double lives, mourning for all of the lost perfection, when the real people who matter are here, and our own lives are devolving.

All for the sake of a vision that will never happen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Alcoholic's Apology -

I'm sorry I don't go out and get fucked up anymore.  Mornings on the rooftops of brooklyn, a blazing golden sun just hovering into existence that illuminates dancing and laughing and occasional philandering of certain pleasure seeking friends with means. Fights over taxi rides and all the glory of a central belief in the centeredness of it all, at the moment, 5:30am.  The bagel shop is opening, and the earth is spinning; can you feel it?  From your inertia.  From your propulsion.  Without you, the earth might, well, you don't think structurally.  Inserts and gasps and wet kisses are more your style.

Am I bitter?  Only when I don't get my correct ration of Omega-3.

These days I have all the trappings of an objectively lovely existence, carefully pruned and masticated until swallowing and digestion are proto-conscious activities, slipping and dipping in the pooled layers of multi-hued ecstasy lolling about,, and are those your headphones in my ears, split in two, ready for a commercial if we were even half conscious of our duplicative essentialness?  Or are we too submerged in the moment of bliss to rectify the hue, which has blasted into the purplish green arena, such that our skin isn't so human anymore.

The wind is blowing in at me.  The day after the party.  When I slept until 5pm, woke up with a stranger in my bed, told her, no, unfortunately  there were no "army-navy" shops in this neighborhood, and she could just take the subway away from here as fast as possible while I take the remaining 5 beers left in the 6 pack SHE insisted on buying (not my fault she left them, or the half of the sixth that i had to finish too; she left that open anyway) and sip them tentatively, as if I'm not doing it, really, and I'm finding my rhythm again, in the third, and wondering why she left so abruptly 

My messiness is still on the extremely hip side of acceptable, and I've goosed myself into believing that a trip to the local dive to meet a few friends might be acceptable, now that I don't have to spend so much money on the beer, except maybe I'll smoke that joint I've been saving, on my own roof, and maybe it is colder than I thought, and maybe the rope that keeps the door open was foolishly recalcitrant, so I just unhooked it, and maybe now I have to find my way down into the iron maze of fire escapes and knock on my window in hopes that my own stoned 64 year old room-mate will open the window, and what a weird sight I would be right now.

And maybe my head is throbbing while I finish remembering, in graphic and then distorted echoing waves of lush detail, the beginning of the night before, and my heart is slamming in my chest, and it is morning again, and I've found myself well on the way to a full-fledged bender, maybe, a few weeks back, and left it like a rest stop for fuck sake, because we love our road metaphors, and now I'm alone again and nobody is here and my head won't be quiet and won't be pain-free either, and I just have to deal with that shit, and there's  an easy way to deal with it and a hard way to deal with it, and I don't know why I have to apologize to you, my so-called friends, when I chose, out of my own volition, the hard way of doing it, and when I make my own life harder than I thought it could ever be, even when I also know that the shards of my former life, however much they cut and however glittery they once were, also have sunken, amber-like into my roots, and when the light hits them in  a particular morning, with a particular breeze, they offer a kaleidoscope of rosetta stones to unlock something minute and fractal in intensity, and I can't stop wondering how it might be if I let myself get sucked into them again and I'm sure the beauty would compound into a miasma of sheer light that I could climb up high.

But I've got a few things to do now, that I've quit going out so late.  And I keep waking up at 7am, no matter what time I go to bed, and I like routine, and I'm boring and I don't have to indulge you, audience, anymore, not like it used to be, though I do favor some degree of empathy, if you please, and when you find my lost watch, just wind it smartly and be on your way.

Descriptive Accuracy Doesn't Equate to Pliable Feasibility!

Why is it that we fool ourselves into thinking that approaching a comprehensive and exhausting pronunciation of exactly what it is that we suffer from might in turn script a policy of prescriptive highlights and blow outs?  (What is it that the salon in our heads offers as a special?  Decomposed rodenticide-laced corpses?!)

Okay, side point.

Main point: why the fuck do we think that once we've got a handle on it that the handle will allow us to manipulate it?  At all?  Why is it that we're just as mindlessly obsessed with rationalizing all of our actions to the cohorts of people who are forced to be friends?

Here's my secret.  Gossip is relentlessly pointless when you are not part of the circle.  It holds negative weight.

And still.  And still, we ascribe endless loops and call them intentional meanderings, with a cross here and a supplication there, and we expect people to believe us; we expect them to capitulate to our own idolized notions of reason, however corrupt and obsequiously selfish.

I don't even know where life exists anymore.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Find Meaning Every Damn Day -

Today was  a fully normal day.  I could get righteously pissed at that.  Nothing miraculous happend. No special praise was lavished.  No lubrication applied to the pinwheels of my life.

In fact, it got a bit depressing, which is, come to think of it, also normal.  For instance, train was late.  Subway ticket needed buying, and there was a huge line of people at the machine, so I got in late.

And on the way home I missed one train and had to wait 20 minutes for the next.

But I did manage to hear a great blues guitar player while I waited.  And watch all the crazy frothy "I-must-get-to-my-train" commuters (like me).  And that was priceless.

Between all of the shit for sale and the endless things to accomplish, and the image to protect and the next big score, we should all try to make a bit of time in our daily lives to just stop getting through.  To just stop, in fact.  And just listen to the cacophonous roar of our lives.  We only have them this once, and they're already going by too fast.  Why rush to the next step?

Why be obsessed, always, with the next step?  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Takes More Work Than I Ever Expected!

Most things, if you want to actually accomplish them, and not, instead, just talk.

Damnit.  Just talking is so much easier and takes so much less time.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What's Your Strategy?

Base default strategy exists.   Question isn't even really whether it is something inherent or experienced and adapted to dynamically.  It is both.  Question is more about figuring out what your (my) strategy is, in the abstract, so as to "know oneself" more fully and find maximizing techniques.  Life is difficult and pointless.  Why make it more difficult by doing everything according to someone else's rules? 

Most of my life exemplifies this path (subservience and deference).  Maybe that's why I felt the inexorable tug toward mini daily "rebellious acts" in the form of binges?  Maybe that's why the relief I felt in drinking, literally harming myself, was warranted: because I could escape the dictates of my over-lords, ya know?  

Strategy 1: Always following authority in a strict sense

Strategy 2: Always not following authority in a strict sense (constant rebellious acts)--note, this is often a good way to wind up working at starbucks, but at times, it is also a good way to get famous and rich.

Strategy 3: Quiet rebellion

Strategy 4: Placate as necessary, and move on.

More (complicated) strategies coming soon.  

Here's an interesting note, okay: IF, at the end of our lives, we don't face eternal peace and happiness and judgment day, every day on earth is equal to every other day, one for one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recent Comment from CALI December 05

Anonymous said...
CALI said: Sober for 2 days...after drinking for 23 years (increasing more heavily as the years went by). I am now 39. More recently, I found myself drinking 2 bottles of wine or 1/2 a bottle of scotch some days. 1 bottle of wine became a light day (similar to what 1 glass of wine use to be). In social settings, who knows how much I drank sometimes...enough to forget my actions the next morning and embarrass my husband. I am functional - a corporate VP / lawyer, mother of two and married 11 years. My husband travels out of town during the week, so it has been pretty easy to hide the bottles, late night drinking binges and hangovers. I used a coffee mug often, so my kids didn't know I was drinking alcohol (as my husband would ask them if I had been drinking). Luckily, no DUIs or accidents; however, a lot verbal abuse/rage/broken items...I drank for quite a few "reasons" - to forget things I experienced as a child, reduce anxiety, alleviate stress, escape boredom, cure loneliness, raise my depressed spirits, be more friendly, become comfortable in my own skin, relax, reduce irritation, handle my husband, cope with the pressure of raising two children and managing a career while my husband is always out of town, etc. Today has been really hard - I feel anxious, nauseated and tense. My jaw is clenched/sore and I have a dry mouth and scratchy throat. I can't concentrate on anything and I am incredibly irritated by everything - I have no patience. My husband was very supportive of my decision last night when we spoke, but today he was cold and nasty - telling me I have to take responsibility for my own actions and to stop feeling sorry for myself. All I want is his love and support to help me be successful in my mission to stop drinking. I initiated this myself - there was no intervention. However, when he talks to me the way he does, I just want to hide in the bottle as I have done for so many years. I am trying to focus on my personal strength and determination, but it's really hard.

Letting Others Control {Your Mental State}

In the ongoing rush of interaction with others, often times debilitating, other times enthralling, and more often, by definition, prosaic, the struggle is a constant one: don't let them get the better of you!

Now that's a nice saying!

Except when you have to sit with "them" all day long.  What does the saying have to say about that?!  Oh, I figured, it repeats itself!

Anyway, my internet is out for a few days, at least, which explains the paucity of posts.  Rest assured that I'm as cynical and miserable and wrapped into bullshit circumstance as ever!

Instead of taking a break from work via sick day to ride my bike on the last warm day of the season, I went to work.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Navigating Conflict -

Naturally antagonists don't have to be explicitly antagonistic.  They might be neutral on the surface and antagonistic under the surface.  They may not be overt, acting antagonists, playing an indirect role only.  They may also be both beneficial in some way and disadvantageous in other ways.  At some deeper level below everyday experience, every interaction is colored with both shades and nobody is purely anything.  We like to think in terms of purity, on both sides, because it keeps things neat.  But the urge to navigate conflict in the previous post isn't necessarily an urge to do so in any actionable manner outside of recognizing reality appropriately.  That we are situated in a mix of people, people who each, individually, follow a strategy for their own goals, goals which may or may not impinge on our personal goals, and goals which are potentially malleable.  The smartest people recognize the most patterns the most accurately and act accordingly.  They are descriptively perfect and prescriptively prescient.  The rest of us are weighted in different ways, different mixes of descriptive and prescriptive, strong actions and no actions, and then we retrofit our memories and emotions according to the our own ego.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Navigating Slow Motion Conflict -

A large part of life is navigating conflict with other people.

And I don't mean like slamming one's fist into the face of another.

I mean slow motion conflict where you are unable to extricate yourself from your position easily, or to leave the other person alone.

And it only gets worse as we get older.

Drinking turns negotiation to mush.

I'm not particularly good at slow motion conflict.  I don't want to cause others discomfort.  I'm not saying it is always true, but if it is a zero sum game, the question becomes: How much discomfort am I willing to give myself in order to give someone else comfort?  Everywhere.  In everything I do?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taste The Repulsive

It is being open-minded, man.  To try on that which you hate.  To look at your hate from the outside.  What are the unbending walls doing over there?  Dancing?  What kind of babies will they have?  Tell me for a minute that you can't do it.  Tell me again.  Tell me once more.  There.  You're doing it.  Keep going.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheeks Inflated, Hands Busy, Eyes . . . eyes watching . . .

whether you are watching them.

That's the stance of the overly ambitious human.  Not centered.  Not focused.  Very little flow.  Superficial engagement with most items/people.  Concern exists for the ego, and almost solely for the ego.  Reads faces and emotions and academics for one purpose: fulfillment of self.

How different is that person from the person you see as yourself?

Why is it that we think we're any different?  Isolated, we are almost all those desperate acceptance seekers.  We've either given up, or worse, aggressively quit.

See, here's the truth.  Alcohol is easy.  Sobriety is hard.  It says something about our character, even if our character is never revealed to anyone else, whether we chose alcohol, or we chose sobriety.

I'd rather help others feel satisfied than help them be impressed with me.

I'd rather help myself feel satisfied, truth be told, than worry what the fuck they're all thinking.

In the heart of my chamber of hearts, I know that  a lot of depression and anxiety are really just struggles over character and standing.  I fucking hate it.  It isn't pretty.  It isn't even mildly pleasant.  It is one thing.  Dangerous.  Stop assuming away everything, quick minded "I want this to be over" self.  Just stop it already. Pick something to work on and work on it hard.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dueling Selves

1.  You may be very good at things you do not desire.

2. The things you desire may have no value to anyone but you. (The desired things may be boring, or worse)

In other words, simultaneously trying to assess your own values/preferences while trying to ascertain the demands of the world around you is messy because it is never quite possible to isolate one and measure it while moving the other.  My preferences change based on my location, and particularly, who I am with.  At least, they fluctuate.  More and more I'm learning what I prefer given a host of stimuli.  That's taken many many years of relative unhappiness precisely because it isn't easy to pinpoint one or the other.  Lots of times we might run around espousing a particular belief because we think we believe it.  And we're just plain wrong about believing that we believe it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lost in the Noise -

How do we evaluate importance?  Priority?  Our own desire?

Often times, we're very very good at becoming distracted and also very very good at justifying our distraction.

Unfortunately, this is the norm.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Complication Isn't Bad; Just Respect It

Simplification is nice, but often simplified elegance loses a lot of the necessary details to understand an experience, on the ground, step-by-step.  Of course, describing, in full detail, an entire experience is also tantamount to actually experiencing it, and as such, we who want to figure some stuff out conceptually before we actually participate in the stuff, have to find a way to get information that's neither too limited and not actionable, on one hand, or, on the other, so thick that it is impossible for us to differentiate signal from noise.

We basically need smarter people to tell us what's important.

And we need it bad.

Don't believe me?  Fine, go out and make your own mistakes.  But being bitter doesn't make anything better, trust me, and less ego earlier may lead to better results later.  Maybe.  I'm not sure.  See, I also know that assholes, i.e. those with high ego, may in fact have more courage to get what they want faster and with less shame than those with less ego and more concern for others.  At some level of decision  making and action, after all, we will run into the problem of competing interests.  It probably happens all the time.  Structural coordination that isn't highly efficient leaves loopholes for assholes to exploit and get ahead, and create more structural loopholes for their assholish behavior.  Fair doesn't cut it, in that world.  Knowing how many assholes are out there, and what their strategy is, and how to deal with it or undercut it, is much more effective, for instance, than muttering asshole under one's breath and losing a couple bucks/minutes in frustration.

I'm not advocating for assholes.  I am also not advocating for pure peace.  Simplification is an easy tool to let oneself become blinded, because it allows for post-hoc rationalization of everything and anything, and therefore, disallows learning, whether emotional or intellectual.  See, again, I'm forced to admit that learning is difficult because it is often times the place where waste happens unintentionally.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seething Discomfort

Yeah.  It is just true that I feel horribly uncomfortable in my daily life.

Strike that, as the guilt sets in: not horribly uncomfortable.  More like: How the Fuck did I ever land up here?

That's the feeling?  The unreality of my reality.  Day and in and day out, details added and whatnot, and still, there is no reality in my reality.  It is still strikingly alien.

It hasn't always been like this.

Maybe I gave up too much on my cliched dreams.

Maybe I gave in too fast to the stupid rush of possibility, without lining out a real plan.

Maybe I'm just doing okay, and this is what doing okay looks like.  How fucking depressing is that?

By any objective measure, I am, indeed, just fine.  Better even.

Classic dreams man, just classic stupid longing for the ease of creative inspiration.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When You Get Sober, First You Get Tired

It's just a natural consequence of malnutrition for so many years, and the transition from your body moving from alcohol as a primary fuel to actual food.

Eat lots of good fats.  Stay away from excessive carbs and sweets and caffeine.  Get into a moderate exercise routine.  Learn to cherish green tea.  Sleep.  For the first time in a long time.  Sleep.  I'm serious.

Let a few months slip by without relentless need washing over you all the time and just settle the fuck in and ride.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Desperate for Updates -

I know it isn't original to critique that rabidness with which we find the need to get updated (news, policy, gossip, health, air quality, car quality, food, and much more), but maybe ALCOHOL is a rational response?  At least, the first drink.

Problem is we can't be rational once we have the first drink.

Otherwise, we're perfectly good at critiques, aren't we?

Skin In The Game.

Conceptual understanding is fine. It is, after all, most of what we do.  But it doesn't quite indicate how we would act if we had to navigate the parameters of our conceptions.  We chronically under-value lots of important stuff and over-value our own positions.  That's not new.  But actually having skin in the game, wherein decisions have some realizable impact, sure does change how we evaluate and act.  Which is interesting.  If individual conceptual understanding doesn't do a good job of showing what we'll actually do in a given situation, what does?  Forced skin.  Money on the line.  What have you.  That's the only real answer, as unappetizing as it might seem.

Monday, November 12, 2012

When I Was A Wee Toddler. -

I once studied philosophy, and psychology.  Yeah, I was in college.  So, what?  Well, Socrates said this thing that not having knowledge, that understanding the depths of one's ignorance, is actually the first place for getting anywhere.  See, that's a nice statement, but virtually our entire code of attitude and behavior is linked to asserting our rightness, and post-facto explanations for our behavior.  To wit, we assert, without evidence, and with no real need except to feel better, that we know all sorts of reasons that we have no idea about.  All the time. It is the norm.

It garners attention, and when knowledge is faked with enough confidence, gets us places.  It is a perverse incentive, genetics and careerism.  And the point is that to be really careful, we do have to keep asserting, especially for those things we think are manifestly evident, that we might not have the fully accurate picture.  Unfortunately, learning isn't always blissful.  It is hard.  Emotionally hard.

Sharpening Darts - And Opinions

Let's just say our opinions don't matter that much for the sake of the subject matter of those opinions.

Why, then, do we have such strongly felt opinions?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Less Wasted; More Symbolic -

It is a signifier of something that I used the original glue/adhesive I'd planned to use before I started reading about how I should do what I had planned to do on the interweb, and that the original, after 7 hours of stupid mindless work trying yesterday with inferior just purchased items, worked like a charm.

In about 15 minutes.

Lesson to self: sometimes just trust your gut and follow it and let all other advice wilt.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wasted Day, Symbolic

I spent all day endeavoring to attach something simple in the bathroom.  One of a host of home improvement projects I've undertaken.  Most end up better than this.  I'm almost at 0.  Actually, I'm down 40 bucks and 8 hours of a fucking saturday.  Misery is the predominating flotation device.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's the sense of living if...

You just die anyway?  I mean, what's the point in finding out how it all ends, if you won't be conscious of it a millisecond later?

Overheard on the street.


It was when we were young enough to believe in our lives and to nurture hope; when we didn't have enough real world information to buy a car but thought we could crest the moon if we struck the right pose. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy to . . .

Come up with complicated historical narratives for why and how things are fucked up (and how multifarious that fucked-up-ness is).

Much harder to carve out a positive and good-natured future existence.  Clean and honest and resolute.

Too easy to justify one's ego and indiscretions for an honest appraisal ever to get done, mostly.  That's the fundamental error in human reasoning, me thinks.  Wink.  Yes.  I'm flirting with you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fighting With Spouse -

I had an incredibly incendiary fight with my spouse.  Objectively, fights are almost always architecturally similar.  One party feels slighted, and ramps up a slight conflict into something more major.  The other party now feels slighted and doesn't back down.  The two parties race at each other until words used are not there for the utility of communicating anything related to the original statements that triggered the event.  No.  Instead, they're pure hate speech.  Purely devised for maximum carnage.

It really works, generally, too, because spouses have access to information that is, well, as close to whole, if not whole, than even the infamous I.

Just for the sake of it:  It isn't pleasant to fight and I don't get kicks out of it.  I don't like it very much at all, and it generally erodes trust, even when the fight is patched up a bit.  Fights are not really useful machines.  They are slug fests of epic raw primitive urges to conquer and be insanely self-referential, while never ever backing down.

And while I respect the ideal of not backing down, not drinking as taught me to update my beliefs faster than when I drank, and recognizing that the net result of fighting is a worse loss than the gain from being alone and principled.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


My life's been a struggle to balance an almost manic pent up speed and need to "do" with a methodological stillness and simultaneous want for peace and order and containment.  I have been quite spastic, frenetic, and otherwise unfocused.  When I am focused and inside of the flow, I find eternal bliss and never want to stop.  When I am jumping from one activity to the next, nothing satisfies.

But these feelings are shells now.  I have much greater ease sustaining concentration than I used to, though it isn't always a smear of lightning that I want it to be.  Creativity--the production of stuff, whether for work, play, or personal (broad, right?)--is a process that doesn't surf straightly.  I wish it did at times, if only to be more consistent, but I'm sure I wouldn't feel as satisfied afterward if it was.  Unfortunately, though, patience is required in multiple stages of development.

Ah yes.

But in life, patience is often a handicap, right?  Aren't the fast-paced quick movers the ones who get ahead?  Haven't I been too sympathetic?  Too naive?   Too understanding?  Wouldn't it be best to be strictly strategic?  Phlegmatically unmoving?  Isn't it a crutch to understand everything from all perspectives and rest one's foot on none?

I'm not sure. It isn't in my nature to be decisive, see, so even my meta-decision to find a solid place to stand is belabored.  And that might be damning in some fields.  The trick is, perhaps, to sketch out the details of a "development path" where that particular attribute is advantageous.  I think I have one, but it probably won't be clear for some years anyway, and by then I'll be too set in my ways for it to make a difference anyway!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nutrition is Linked to Mental State

Don't eat potato chips for breakfast and expect to be productive.  

Not all calories are the same.


Lack Emotional Attachment -- Strategy 1

I think as a young person, it is very easy and natural to want work, that is, one's profession, to be emotionally fulfilling.  But let's face it: our professions are rarely that way.  Perhaps unfortunately.

But expecting them to be and having them NOT be makes them much less fulfilling than not expecting them to be fulfilling and having some tidbits of fulfillment, no?  In other words, we take ourselves too seriously.

Which is only to say that I've turned a bit of a corner and am not trying so hard to think that my profession matters.

What matters is what I do with myself outside of my profession.  At least for now.  That is, for me.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Liking Linked to Not Liking -

QUick, proffer a reason why you like something?

Is it coupled with exlusionary pathos?  I.e. do you like stuff because you don't like other stuff?  Or do you like stuff because you like that stuff, and not other stuff, inherently?

It strikes me that everyone comes to the same conclusion about what they like (that it is pure, authentic, and real) and what other people who disagree like (that it is crap, modern, fake, etc.).  Note how heavy purity plays a role

Also, a note about how this works with people.  Are people we don't like subject to fair treatment?  the answer to that question is at a host of a very messy policy and legal and gossip and human issues, and the answer is universally hypocritical (except, um, in the US Constitution, where due process was given status).   But I'm guessing that most of us are not fair to those with whom we disagree.

Why is it so easy to argue that certain people are evil, when we are, concurrently, treating those people the way we fault them for treating others? I don't know why we can't see our own hypocrisy, at least this kind of blatant stuff, more easily, except to say that from an evolutionary perspective, knowing who is on your side is more important than integrity.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Never Felt More Like A Drink

Than I do right now.

Can't explain the desolation of the moment.  It isn't frothy or exciting or in any way revelatory or artful.

I've just come to the rather prosaic conclusion that the celebratory capacity of my life has withered into countless days of repetition.

You'll say I should have hope.  I should have it.  You're right.  Go out and buy me some and keep the change.

Update:  Like this:

"As I get older I have a fundamental and bothersome itch.  Maybe I don’t realize it so much as live through it.  The fabric of magic, that rough and thick seam of ideals and hopes and, what would you say?,  bliss?: the bliss of possibility, even if wrong-headed, is gone, or at least vanishing into a bit of a thin not-quite-tattered rug that’s made for utility.  What is the line, “these boots were made for walking,”? and it is supposed to be empowering, this line.  But what I know is that it is not empowering; it is real.  There is design, and that design is practical.  And it breaks down and leads to problems.  My back’s been aching, for instance.  I no longer feel the headiness I used to feel.  It is thinner.  Thinner, but just as intense.  I’m not on the right plane to view it most days, but some days it comes through with breathtaking clarity, making the other days dull and vapid.  As if prior to these years I was held back, pulling through a webbing, and I’d been complaining about it, implicitly complaining, but then, once it vanishes, there is a clear nothing awaiting me, only shards of the leftover needle plunge of infinity and effortless energy in all directions."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gettin' Late -

I have the idea that I've fucked up.  Don't you?  I fucking hate it.  I hate it worse that I can't rectify how I've fucked up.

I don't think I'm permanently broken, though, because I no longer hold the naive indicators of youth, as in, I no longer figure out how i'm feeling by my standing in a group, what permutations of facial expressions might land on me, or how much I might be able to brag.   I haven't lost my ego.  But I have changed, in a few sharp strokes, my tastes, what it is I consume, who it is I chose to associate, and where I feel comfortable.

That's okay.

I certainly don't have a cosmic structural understanding of events, and I don't think anyone does.  That's painful, too.  I could be further ahead than I am, but I'm doin' alright, and that's a lot better than where I could be, and I have to remember that everyday.  It isn't a joke.  That's doesn't mean I don't want or have a sense of humor, or a sharp tongue that's gotten me in trouble.  Or that I can't appreciate the soaking epic beauty of a sunny sunday in the mountains.  Or that the passing of time doesn't drive me insane in a way that I can't articulate or seem weird when I try in any manner less superficial than weather-speak.

I'm here.  Working on what I work on.  I like to paint, mostly, and I've picked up the guitar after not playing for about 3 years.  It feels good to play it.  For me.  And not think about all the other people. But boy have I gotten rusty!

Still, I've got a painting here that I'm almost proud of.  I don't have a picture of it, so instead I'll show a picture of a previous similar painting and post the new one in soon (which is pink and green, but same style).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Facing the Facts of Your Life -

My chronic problem (and I suspect many people are afflicted with this problem), is that I have failed to make decisions based on the facts of my life as they are, but instead chose to make decisions based on the facts as I would like them to be.  Pinning hopes against ideals and making real decisions pegged to false  dreams makes a life riddled with mistakes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Out and Back

Well I've been on a bit of a real vacation folks, for 2.3 weeks, out to Barcelona, then driving the coast of Spain, France, and yes, even a bit of Italy.  The very small amount of French I picked up was really lovely, actually, and if you ever get a chance, go to Toulouse, and then drive through the fucking Pyrenees mountains.  I'll even post a pick from that leg in a few moments when I get the camera up and running and my brain sort of lingers into the reflection mode more fully (right now it is only in the sad disbelief mode).

I see a fair amount of comments have come in when I've been out (by that I mean 5 or 7 or so, which is a hell of a lot for me), and I'm glad that folks are out there reading.  It warms my heart to know that I could have helped someone in any positive way.

The truth is that not drinking can at times be terribly lonely, and without the perspective that a good hard drunk (i.e. the activity, not the person), can give, it is even potentially easy at times to get sucked down avenues of thought that are highly self-referential feedback loops of negativity and anxiety, which sort of compounds stress instead of relieving it, or creating clarity.  All of which is to say that not drinking still isn't easy, but it isn't not easy because drinking is so easy; instead it isn't easy because, for me at least, it forces me into a kind of Bayesian experimenter with my own life, trying hard to update my belief systems based on what is fact, sucking in data and filtering, filtering filtering.  But ultimately, that's not the only function of the human brain.  Part of the function is also to expand emotional satisfaction or payoff or whatever you want to say it is by explicating or grasping experience and hurtling oneself through it with other people who experience it similarly (i.e. shared).

Not that sharing experience precludes scientific living, just that scientific living can exclude shared experience with a fair degree of regularity.

 And what we sober alcoholics need, desperately, is a bit of shared experience.  Hence AA, or hence this blog, or hence whatever it is we want to convince ourselves of that gets us out of our heads and into the notion of meaningful interaction outside of hopefully permeable barriers.

I.e. the sin of aging is to be so rigid that one cannot update their structural diagnosis of how reality works, but instead only add new details to already understood categories.

I.e. this gets way too existential way too fast, and I mean it more of a blend of anecdote and discursive therapeutic exegesis.

I.e. I'm trying damn hard to maintain openness to new previously not-or-mis-understood categories that I can't just presume understanding of retroactively (which seems to be an all too human condition).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Drinking, Part Infinity (less numb).

So you want to endeavor down a path of abstinence, you tell yourself?  You affectionately want to lack something in your life, something that's been a bit of a friend, a bit of a family member, and has ruined both types of relationships in a predictable arch of power and sheer energy?

Sit back and ask yourself if you're ready not to be dependent.  Ready to re-engineer your social world, your capacity to relax, your inability to focus, and your desires, at their basest levels.

The world is a circus of complexity, I won't lie.  Grand narratives are easy gigs to get hired for and hard to add details to sufficiently for the second paycheck.  Technical manuals are boredom incarnate.  Romance is for the movies.  Cold hard reality is for the novels.   Your life is for you living it to your own self-ordained standards and authority.

Alcohol is a numbing agent.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Delusions for the Sake of Happiness -

Always been a fascinating topic for me: whether and to what extent self-evolved delusion really is delusion, or just a 'way of living' and to what extent the search for accuracy in all things leads to depression, or even madness.

There are infinitely many accurate ways to view a situation that will yield no progress whatsoever.  There are also probably infinitely many ways to delusionally view things while yielding no progress.

But there are subsets of both of these possibilities that allow progress.  Question is really: what sort of progress are you looking for?   But that question seems subsumed by the first question, which is really how to manufacture higher levels of happiness, flow, contentment, fullness, etc.

Naturally delusional thoughts can yield to harsh setbacks that pop up to snuff out fairy tale desires.

But I don't think seeking accuracy in life, whatever that may mean, is any less susceptible to the setbacks of reality.  Because reality is so huge, seeking accuracy alone is not a good means-test for which direction one should head, that is, emotionally speaking, so that one's life, both internal and external (how we relate to ourselves and to others), is as rich and multiplicitous as possible.

Which can leave us free to make up our internal subjective reality to some extent--whatever extent we are allowed given the confluence of genes and previous experiments.

Which is reality. I.e. most people are delusional, including yours truly.

Part of the hard part of life, though, is allowing others to appreciate and endeavor in their delusion when you know it is a delusion (maybe because you lived it previously).    This is ripe ground for hypocrisy and other assorted nasty but omnipresent phenomena.

Anyway, I've cycled through what I meant to say in the beginning.  Which is mostly that being delusional maybe not be inescapable, but it also may not be so bad.  It IS the norm, that's not an issue.  The question is whether we want to, or can, change the norm.  The answer isn't quite clear.  Mostly because of this, and here's the main point, I promise:

We rarely have structural level information about anything.  We are mere particles, individual pieces of data.

I know, I know, we should endeavor to understand as much as possible through collection of as much data as possible so we can, what: get higher than individual particles.  That is what we do, collectively.  I don't know if we can do it individually.

Searing insights, when they come, are fundamentally lonely things.

I'm sloppy and soft, I know, wallowing, even.  But I'm not kidding myself so much about how hard and unidirectional I am anymore, and that's a good thing.  '

To be continued.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fairy Tale Endings

I believe we desire a common ending: life without restriction.

But I'm guessing the life we desire in actuality is one without boredom, one wherein we're almost chronically engaged, where there is no tolerance to new experiences.

That's probably why fiction is so riveting, and so false.  It is at once pure movement, pure "doing" of some sort.  There are no red lights except as a pause toward something.  There are no moments of dull banality except as to point out a character flaw or an intriguing supposition that will flood out into a blossom of involvement.

But I'm being disingenuous.  Good fiction is like dipping into a greater mind than the one you inhabit, and also being able, capable, to inhabit it.  And good fairy tale endings are transitory at best.

But the point of this post was to express a simple piece of data: that we are often delusional about what makes us happy.  To wit: drinking, excess, extremes and endeavors that wreak of showing off, but rarely result in incremental upticks in sated minds, or even more than a glance or subjective bounce of placebic simplicity.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Infinite Reasons to Freak Out

The slice of the universe that I can touch and feel, the one that wraps itself around me and coos into my ear at night (the same one that beats me with a whip, or masticates my steak fat once I've flushed it (and yes I flush it), in some heap of liquid trash somewhere), provides endless stimuli for apprehension, anxiety, and general paranoia.  And this wholly disregards evil third parties--I'm really just zoomed in on those whom I think are reasonable people and can find a way to twist my reality into a grotesque though compellingly real mirror wherein I'm forced to recognize those things about myself that I do not want to realize.

My relative status in all endeavors, for instance.  It is not consolation that everyone's relative status in all endeavors (those who I meet) is low.  I don't desire to be high status in the fame and glamour sense.  I desire to have convenience and to maintain as much singular focus on my own interests as possible.  This is presumably the only reason for pining in such a way.  Interests provide a way to focus (to Flow), wherein life is neither too boring nor too anxiety-producing.

As soon as I establish flow on all days within the confines of a grey cubicle, naturally, there are interruptions.  Interruptions I loathe.  Like a high powered drill deep in the walls of my apartment building when I've just graced myself off to sleep.  Like my cat deciding to utilize the litter box mid-coitus (not hers!, mine--what a weird weird way to imagine my cat!-a contender, it would seem, for some serious fetish sites of which I would never frequent, but which, given that strange mix of non-specific references, I would have lived through in my mind's eye for long enough to write this).

To be straight: I don't desire laziness.  I hate laziness in myself, however evident it has been in my life (I used to have "emotional problems"--but these have been ironed out enough to shine with enough glean to show you that I'm straight, so long as you don't linger).

My ideal world is not 24 hour television, or imbibing in other fashions.  My ideal world is relative challenge and immersion.  I don't need to be structurally analytic, it's just what they taught me in school.  I don't even like it!  By that rationale, though, I must simply make up my own words, which happens not infrequently and forces me into a coffin of shame when they are murmured on unsuspecting ears, often in a light tone of humor. 

This post has no end.  There are no sages in life.  Anyone who tells you they're a sage is trying to impress you and get something.  For themselves.  

I'm slowly learning not to trust.  This compared to previous levels of trust that were wildly out of control.  This compared to a drinking trusting idiot.  This compared to an antique mirror.  This compared to the reality of myself.  This compared to that which I am learning to look at with a detached smear of a glare.  This is it.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drinking Exhibits Status -

Your choice (my choice, either way) of booze--even the word "booze"--is an indicator of social status, both self-perceived and actual.

For example, understanding the subtleties between types of red wine, particularly descriptive words for flavor, smell, dryness, and such, allows one to exhibit learned knowledge of previous consumption, expertise, and capacity for a lot of imbibing over time.

What does this mean?

It means you indirectly have the money and wherewithal to go out and become educated and actualize that education.  It means that, for instance, you are more likely to also express yourself with a tightly linked cluster of indicators that also crop up when talking of wine: travel, for instance, cuisine, and topics related to refined luxury.

The take home point is this: if you've been an alcoholic who is now cleaning up your game, and you decide to stop drinking, you are affirmatively stepping away from the circle of intimates who you've tried very hard to become part of for a number of years.

This isn't less relevant than if you've been drinking cheap beer, but note that even the number of microbrewed beers has increased exponentially in the last few years.  The reason isn't just that people intrinsically love their microbrewed beer.  It is as much a part of belonging to a group as it is drinking a microbrewed beer.

Showing team loyalty is paramount.

Which makes cessation of drinking all the more difficult.  It isn't just that you've decided to park in a different lot, or to use a different internet subscriber.  It is very much that you've decided to drastically change your social world, which likely provides most of the significant feedback onto your own self-identity that you have, absent family (or even including family), and it just isn't as meaningful to hoist a "cheers" to a great trip with a glass of ice water.

That is one of the social dollar signs that you must extract from your budget if you wish to get sober.

And you must do it now if you've decided to become sober.

I'm sorry.

I wish I could tell you that you will be able to continue as you have.  But you will not.  The sooner you accept this and stop trying so hard to fit into the old mold, the better for us all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why We Drink -

There's a fundamental reason. We desperately yearn for a sense of self as part of a larger social fabric.  Whatever that means.  Even alone.  Especially alone.

Because we maintain a relationship with drink past the borderline of intimate, and that skews all other relations to things, people, places, and events.  And skewed understanding of self-other references are about as problematic a thing as one might muster on a steamy night in a Russian bath with a good whacking of bamboo and a brutal splinter beveled into the left cheek of one's ass.

I tell you this from the cocoon of reclusivity.

I tell you this because I cannot tell anyone else.  Because I'm also losing my sense of distance.  Because a sense of distance is all I have anymore, a palpable tension of humidity that conducts stuff, I know not what, through the current of our mingling and maligning, and there is nothing healthy that is not toxic, so forget about the dualistic tendencies of obsessives and try to engage with your true self for a little while. He or she has been trying to show him or herself for a few years now, all the while smothered by your need to fit in.

He or she has been muffled by your teflon exterior, fried deep in fat.

I used to have a poem.  I used to have poetry.  In my journal.  Locked up for my own recognizance. Before I knew the plastic lining of costumes, the musty smell of body odor that's lingered one season too long.  Before I knew the heartbreak of aging, the desperateness of decaying ideals, I was already building new triumphs to hope toward, denying the outline of hope-lost, figuring that I'd fix that with the next fix, and on it went.

The most brutal fact of excitement is loneliness embodied.  The second less brutal fact of growing up is fornicating on the biblical notions of fidelity and righteous fulfillment, graduating to flossing daily and getting your exercise in before your body turns to mush right under once watchful eyes.  Now lazy, desolate, repining forthwith into the ether of ongoing effort and strained gaze.

It only matters if you make it matter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quick Maxim -

This is probably ridiculous, but:

If you stop struggling, you are no longer restrained.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Too Much Out There . . .

To even begin to form an opinion.  Allow me to consume for another few years, please.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm an Inane Fuck-Up and I Falsely Believe It Matters

My sobriety, that is.

As if there's a score card.

Quick, how long have you been sober?

Quick, tell me to fuck off. 

The details of my life have dwindled into a rusty barrel, brimming with the saliva of western movies' used chewing tobacco.  

The color of gasoline in the sun.

A dragonfly's wings.

The smell of musty attic, fraught with the voice of ghosts.

That condensed exhaust smeared onto snow. 

An after thought.

Tell me it matters.

That I can care.

Why is it we run from these thoughts even concurrent to having them?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hard Easy Realization -

Is just this: if you think you can make contributions to the world without steeping yourself in already existent knowledge, data, experience, and already established fact, I think you're probably wrong.

Said a different way: If you think that you can be successful by being totally anomalous, you're probably wrong.  There are counter-examples, sure.  But most people who have "made it" have successfully synthesized fields of knowledge,  and made a ton of errors, before they strike out into uncharted territory.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Laughter's Function

1) Laughter is a waste of breath.  To laugh is to show, simultaneously, that we don't need the breath for something else, mainly running

2) Laughter shows vulnerability.  When we want to signal comfort, we can use laughter to do it.  We do not have to use breath to run away = we are comfortable

3) However, laughter also can show dominance; it can be used as a show: I don't need to use this breath to run because I'm not scared of you.

When we are nervous, we often laugh to try for a return laugh, which could signal comfort.  We are also trying out a little dominance; we are testing the waters for a response.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Every Day -

I try not to hate the routine.  I try hard to stay energized.  I try to find meaning in the grey cubicle world that so many would long to relish.  I am pushed into many meetings.  I am forced to compel numbers toward electronic transmissions.  Am relegated to the inside of my head.  Have difficulty expressing the humor I feel everywhere.  Have lurking suspicions of eavesdroppers just out of my visual field.  Award myself for discipline.  Plan to accomplish too much.

Plan on grand connections that are asexual, but manifestly full.

Barely succeed in running out, the doppler effect of my scream changing tone for all those but me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Sin of Youth

That one's perspective is universal.

That one's insight about something makes it valuable to the something.

Loud laughter in a crowded train as a show of force.

Competitive humor--this one has always pissed me off.

Working hard creating opaque goals that justify laziness.

Lacking knowledge of one's own preferences.

Social standing as largest indicator of everything worthy.

Neediness and desperation (maybe that's just me).

Graceful hope that things will change, both internally and externally.

Being abused because of misplaced trust.

Lack of patience for hard work. <--this one is the worst, for me at least.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Don't Know . . .

We don't know whether God exists.

We do know that social bonding rituals are strong.

We do know that group coherence is a primarily important feature of future human generations and survival generally.

Role playing (specific designated functions) are also highly necessary, and specialization creates fields of expertise that take years to understand and learn.

It is intuitive to think that, above the structures of specialization that we've created, someone, a boss maybe, a super manager, must be watching, and that such an entity by default has more perfect knowledge, because only that entity has access to all the information.

The ideal of an all-knowing systems manager is behind assertions of God's truth.  But we are partial imperfect knowledge knowers, so we by necessity, cannot know whether God exists.

That doesn't stop most of us appealing to the notion of grand authority, and because group dynamics are strong, doesn't stop groups from causing conflict with other groups who hold different conceptions of authority.

The problem: human-created authorities are endless.  Hence towns of only 3000 with 7 denominations to worship in come Sunday.

The secondary problem: if there's not a grand systems manager up there, however abstract, the meaning for our role-playing as well as we might isn't quite as crystal clear.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Drinking to Fake Yourself into Extroverted Territory

For a long time I drank.  No surprise there.

But here's the pattern when drinking involved social outings of more than 3-5 people:

I'd dread going.  Dread it as much as giving a presentation.  And naturally I'd get spit-faced drunk.  And naturally THEN I'd get through the presentation, err, group of strangers.  And some days I'd feel that I was more successful than others.  Most days I'd be happy to have survived without total social opprobrium.

When I drank alone (often) I also tried to convince myself that I was extroverted and convincingly charismatic, outgoing in an effortless way.

And that's just the farthest point from the truth I could get.  Because since I was a  kid, I was rushing away from social situations, running home at 3:06, as soon as school let out (in 5th grade, I still remember it precisely), through doors that would allow me to circumvent the main throng of peers waiting to imbibe on my flesh.

I have always felt over-stimulated in groups of people greater than a handful.  My preferred group is 3: me and two others.

And I've always needed recovery time from the social world: home.  Alone.

And I've always told myself that I was to blame for needing these things, for being this way, and that I had to work on getting better.

But I was wrong.  Because there's nothing inherently wrong with introversion.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What Are You Holding Back For?

What are you surging ahead for?

Perfecting the Look: Orgasm, and . . . Chess.

I've been looking through a lot of bios lately.  There's one thing in common with these bios (mostly of writers, but artists in general, and professors, and anyone who uses their mind to create stuff that's artistic or artful): they all long to get this kind of far away, but deadly serious, look.  Inevitably, there's those little white sort of reflection bubbles in their eyes, and their cheeks are rosy, and the focus in their eyes is, how can I say it: unfocused, relaxed, peaceful, IN COMMAND, and also: hungry and desirous, nay, ravenous.  How the fuck do they get those two looks into one picture like that?  As if they'd just had an incredibly potent orgasm and then dove right back into an intense game of chess.  THAT is the look, my friends, and you too should start to perfect it if you dare.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Two Types of Friends

There are the types of friends who you go to because you want your ego restored.  You've been insulted, or you feel insulted, or you're just feeling crummy, and seek them out because they support your conception of your self as it already was.  They're shoring up the cracks.

Then there are different types of friends.  Those who don't worry about how you're going to maintain your image.  They're not disrespectful.  Perhaps they are even more respectful because they don't placate false versions.  They push you harder than you push yourself at times.  They tell good truths.  They falsify nothing.  They're honest and it hurts, but out of the hurt comes a stronger version of you.  These friends are harder to listen to at first, like some good music, but with time develop to reveal layers that the other types of friends can't conceive of, no matter their assertions to the contrary.

Of course there are straight up strategic friends, and there are people who only seek strategic friends, and only know friendship as strategy.   And there are lots of people who seek out friends only to assuage their own egos.  And that does upset me, yes.

But other people exist.  And they won't always be easy to know, to spot, that is, or to know over time, but they'll be much more varied and understanding and they won't placate.  There's something to that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Been Hurt? Yeah, me too.

But ever since, I think, I've withdrawn into a tightened self, and most of the time, I've been very very cautious.

Which is also to say that I've been scared.  Entirely way too scared.  It has been ridiculous.  It has been non-stop, for a few years now.  It has corresponded roughly with my sobriety.

But no more.  I have no reason to be scared all the time.  I know it sounds simple.  I know it sounds infantile.  I also know that I've been entirely too uncomfortable, really, all but seething to leap out of my skin at the slightest touch.

I'm not going to switch toward recklessness, but I simply refuse to walk around letting others dictate how I'll feel for reasons as yet unfounded.

Two Spirals Against Each Other Net to Zero -

1. Friends are people with whom you can feel excited about something.  If you can't expose your own excitement, perhaps these are just acquaintances.

2. Creativity isn't always inspiring/inspirational/uplifting.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In A Funk: No Fancy Ending -

I think we read fiction because it ends, and that's tremendously calming.

The reality is much less pleasantly clear.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Four Thousand Dollar Pens -

I'm the first to admire a fine writing instrument, okay.  I won't forsake such a thing, but, hey, let's face it: we don't write that much.

And another thing.  Pens tend to get lost.  Like, "whoops, no longer available for my use and will likely never be again, especially if it costs 4k."

Which is why I can't help but sort of drool at this four thousand dollar pen.  I could set you up with a very good stereo for that, and include a fair bit of music.  I could also get you two very good bicycles.  Or one bike and one stereo.

Then again, bikes and stereos are things to show off with too, so it might be hard to find one that satisfies you if you're the kind of person who considers dropping 4k on a pen.  A pen folks.  It writes.  Perfectly decent thirty cent options exist that cover the same ground.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

People Want Hope -

And they're willing to delude themselves to get it.

Hope any other way is just too hard, right?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

You're Not My Best Friend -

If you act like we're childhood girlfriends once again I'm going to have to mentally decapitate you and imagine myself staring at the nape of your neck, and the nape will be gurgling at me, and it won't be you, you see, but me, alone, with a nape, and then what?  Do you still desire my gossip partnership?  Do you still want to fill me in on the emotional vacancy of your marriage, and the fact that your daughter despises you, or get "cookies" with me as the afternoon wanes.

I don't need to expose myself to you, is the thing, and your presumption otherwise doesn't just "make me uncomfortable."  It makes me violent.  So watch out.  And step off.

So can you please stop talking at me conspiratorially?  

Can you find a way to produce your faux comfort at the mirror instead?  It would be  a lot less taxing for me.  Thx.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Belief in Justice -

We all presuppose the rule of law (or morality, or justice, however you want to phrase it), and we, all of us, also believe we're inherently better than other people, and mostly that we don't deserve punishment and other people do deserve it.

To say that we're hypocrites only begins to highlight the fiction we create to explain our own actions to ourselves: our narrative ascription is really wide and deep, and we're never in need to maintain our effort to propel it into action.  We're natural liars, in other words.

Even knowing this doesn't do it justice, though, because we, me included as I write it, believe, automatically and defacto, that, having greater knowledge we'll self-deceive less than previously.  And we're just as wrong about it as we were about initially recognizing it.  Because it happens in dynamic situations, over and under playing our hands, and selecting information.

Repeat after me.

I don't know.

Fuck if I know!

Fuck you, I just don't give a damn anymore because I don't know!

If I knew, I wouldn't be here.

It takes me a long time to process information.

I don't understand what you're saying.

My preferences are not clear, which is the reason that I'm unable to manufacture the appropriate level of confidence to be taken seriously, which is the reason that I'm unable to function in a normal and acceptable manner, and which has multiple feedback loops into my sockets of justification and self-belief in the exceptional and special nature of perfume laced feces.

Half of my thoughts are bullshit, but I say them just to fuck you over.

I have trouble trusting other people.

Other people are far too trusting.

Faith is like this: meaningless.

And yet.  I believe.  Unshakably.

And I'm scared shitless.  That I'm entirely wasted right now.  That my fragile ego won't be able to save me again.  That I'll spend the weekend wiping my ass with the window curtain.  That the curtain will not smoothly block light ever again, and that, despite repeated washings, will exude an odor notable enough to be remarked upon by the crudest of punk rockers or the waspy of fancy pants.

And if you tell anyone, I'll kill you, straight up.  Because other people's opinions matter.  What other people think about my thoughts matters.

Except that it all matters a great deal less than I used to know.  And I'd be happy with a little cabin and a cord of dry hardwood for the winter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Check In: Self-Pressure

Well, I'm not drinking.  That'll be the first thing.  But here in NYC it has been relatively hot and humid, and yes, I'm complaining.  I don't care if it is normal or not normal or temperate, or bloody-hell intemperate, it is uncomfortable.  And I'm too stubborn to buy an A/C yet, so hey, here I am, cranking away in a fan-chilled room with a cup of hot green tea and a head that's decently clear on a Sunday morning when I should be out riding my bike or running or grocery shopping, or STOP if you've heard this one before?

Oh, you have?  Is it because you've experiencing the same kind of numbing self-pressure that I experience?  Is that a new found sober personality characteristic?

Either way, I'm taking this weekend "off" from all of the exercise madness, and all of the outside of work hellish projects, and just existing, not trying to think about all of the work that I'm not getting done.  And slowly, slowly, it (my self) is starting to relax a little bit, and take things in stride.  Work will come, as it always does, but the lesson is just this: to be productive, we must--must.  this is not mandatory--not work all the time, even given the opportunity to work all the time, which many of us would prefer to do (especially if many of us see our "work" lives, as in the 9-5 as just something we must do).

Anyway, a point about that too: work lives are our lives, too, and we should try to take stock and correct mistaken emotional assumptions in that realm too, to the degree we can do that.  I.e. instead of outrage at unfairness, or perceived X, try to see the bigger picture.

Try, in broad strokes, to be involved in more than one emotionally-meaning-producing activity in your life so you don't have to make statements like "X doesn't matter because I have Y," and I think you and I will be happier little campers going forward.  Hot sweaty squishy campers in a jungle swamp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Prism of Self-Awareness -

I'm almost always following myself around, 3-4 feet above, metaphysically, that is, you know, heightened and reflective.  Refractive also, not only because of the alliteration, but because of the truth.

The truth that I can't escape my own glare.  No matter how much I want to be inside and well lubricated, the crevice of fully ensconced life seems to elude me, as in, I'm alluded, as in, well, chronic state of mirror reality takes a toll, and who the fuck am I paying?

Maybe I haven't yet accomplished descriptive justice.  Maybe if I drill down it will help.  Maybe if I become hyper self-aware, I will somehow become less self-aware?  Is that a logic?  Is that relief, my friend?  What?  Mind you, what? The fuck. 

Because the dude watching me is me, and me-a-stranger.  Me-a who the fuck are you, type stranger.  As in, he knows me far too well in far too short a time.  And his truths are easily accessible and there, almost like a hum.  A hum.  Not distorted AM radio wave.  More refined.  Focused even.

And it depends on whom I'd like to chronicle on any given day.  Whether I'll be a focused laser of pure evil or a neurotic philanderer with a penchant for incisive self-cutting.

We have a long life.  Is that relief, or something else?  

Why ask questions.  Better to assert through the face of reality sometimes, to reach through the liquid glass and pull at whatever delusion is there.  Better for survival.  Better for digestion.  Better for making friends and enemies.  To laugh and pull at it and let it snap back like a long rubber band, and hope, meanwhile, deeper down, that lurking realities do not ingratiate themselves too presently.

I'm a dull idiot. 

I've fallen into a life that isn't my own.  A life I never meant for myself.

I haven't figured out what I haven't figured out, and I know it.  I haven't even figured out what I figured out already.
I'm standing at a precipice that's really a puddle.  And I'm trying to get wet by jumping.  And the only thing that happens is that I stare.  Hard.  Intense.  At the puddle.  And I sweat.  And a drop of sweat  splashes down every once in a while to tell me that it is summer.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Anxiety and Stress

I'm not sure about this idea, so let me work on it here.

1. Anxiety and Stress exist.

2. Some percentage of anxiety and stress are caused by the existence of anxiety and stress.  As in, without the idea that "anxiety and stress are wrong and I shouldn't be experiecing it/them," we would experience less anxiety stress.

3.  Not all anxiety and stress are the product of shame that we are incorrect and wrong or somehow misplaced.

4.  Some anxiety and stress is part of everyday life.  Waiting in line can be terribly anxiety-producing, if cut the wrong way.  Standing next to a stranger.  Etc.

5.  The way to cut anxiety and stress combines exercise, time, and lack of stimulants (i.e. caffeine).

6.  Long term psychoanalytic type stress relievers (major realizations that all stress was the cause of childhood abuse, for instance), may help, and provide some momentary relief, but I don't think they are effective managers of stress.

7.  Letting go of the need to get rid of stress helps me  manage my stress.  I expect stress to exist and I see it as outside of my core identity, even though it does in fact make up a lot of who I am.

8.  Alcohol gets rid of stress by making us effectively delusional.  The stress comes out in different uglier ways.

9.  Stress can be dealt with absent major release-type activities like breaking things and yelling at those close to us.

10.  Religion is not needed, but some sense of self and community is needed.

Affirming Oneself -

One some level, we must take a deep breath and affirm ourselves.  

Not drinking has for me produced more self-doubt, crippling lack of self-esteem, and all around nausea, than I knew could exist.  

I've become aware of a good many things, my own smallness being one of the "major" minor things.

It is good to be involved in life, in the most affirmative possible way, better than sitting back and criticizing structure.  Actual endeavor inward is far harder, too.

Emotional outletting seems easier with alcohol, and it is likewise easy to criticize those who might go for "cheap" emotional outletting.  One of the major things I'm still working on is letting other people leave the equation for my own emotional outletting.  I can't go around feeling bad just because I think people feel unnaturally or cheaply good.  So what?  So what if they do.

There are myriad people and myriad ways for happiness and unhappiness to occur.  It doesn't follow straight lines and that means that shared assumptions are actually more common and intensely less frequent than we would like.  More common because we all cut inter-subjective distance often with little words and gestures designed to make people we want to impress feel good about themselves (we ask them about their interests, make believe that we also are interested, for instance, even telling ourselves that we are interested).  Acutely less frequent than we want to realize, because realizing this entails a fair bit of loneliness, and if not, some fair bit of communication that requires work.

Ah well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Take Something Seriously, and Another Thing . . . Not Seriously

That's my lesson for the day.  It is important to take one thing seriously, whatever it is.  You might exercise seriously, or clean seriously, or be spirutual seriously, or whatever.  Sobriety is serious business!

But we also have to find a way to take one thing not seriously.  We don't need to mock that thing, but we need to use it as a foil in how we treat ourselves, so we have some relief, some outlet.  After all, a  lot of the reason drinking holds/held such an appeal was because of its potential to offer an outlet from the pressure cooker of our heads.  I think at least half of this was due to expectation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Old Self Meet New Self

I know you think this new self is a bit of an cautious nerd, and new self, I know you think old self is a ribald creep who'll do anything he wants, but hey, what can I say?  I'm tired of mediating between the two of you all the time.  It is exhausting, actually, both of you being so extreme.  So quit it, will ya?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Find Yourself Out -

The brutal fact is that as we age, we have to come to terms with who we are.

As in, we're not as malleable as we once thought we were.

Of course, we can learn, and we can change, but the spectrum of possibility in this regard is substantially reduced from whence we once dreamt.

Not to worry, though.

The point is that we can actually become more conscious of our foibles and quirks as we age, that is, to sort of not expose everyone to our raging disorders quite as vividly as we did when we were 17, or, you know, drunk.

We can sort of be more powerful by being less powerful.  Have a kick.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Too Old

I've started to tell myself I'm too old to do things that I want to do.

I think it is an excuse not to try to do something that could be difficult.

I'm pathetic for doing this to myself.

I shall endeavor, having said the above, to learn French.

I've Lost Something.

I'm not sure exactly what it is, or if there is a way to get it back.

It may be dangerous to think along these lines.

As in, I'm much more aware of danger than I was, before, when I didn't lose something, but I didn't have the experience of loss and regret to tinge future thinking, either.

The fact remains that I'm a bit cold and clinical these days.  To myself.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Emotions are Richer

Our emotional palette is richer than any other experiential continuum, I think.  We have, in other words, capacity to experience permutations upon permutations of unique emotional responses, even when the situations that we respond to are not unique.

This is part of the reason that we can experience the approximation of beauty wherein something will be stunning--i.e. unexceptionable intoxicating and/or fulfilling in the put of the stomach way that we cannot quite get our words around.

This is also part of the reason that we have long swaths of emotional reality throughout our lives that only become clear, if they do, in retrospect, and why we can only talk in generalities about certain things even when we feel something very specific.

This is also why there will be no end to new music.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Years

Today, as in now, I'm two years sober.

Everything has changed since I've stopped drinking.  New job.  Home ownership.  Married.  More money.  Less assholish behavior.  Richer relationships with other people.  Much less socializing.

I'm happy that I'm sober and I intend to stay that way.  Outside, thunder cracks to catch up with lightning, and traffic oozes by under the dance, as it always does.

Good luck to all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Five Signs of Normalized Depression

You're brain seems to have become wrapped tightly in a high resin plastic sheath.  This could have been a liquid--polyurethane is the first thing that comes to mind--at one point in the past, but lately has crystallized into a definite anti-oxygen barrier resembling any type of normal fruit baggy, trash collection agent, or similarly smooth thin and fully suffocating device.

You've become invincibly unique in your self-perception and self-identity, and do not take critical comments lightly.  In fact, you begin to huff and puff and decide (wrongly) that the commenter is full of shit and their entire worldview is a sign of their fully demented delusional mindset, such that if they died, perhaps, you wouldn't mind it terribly.

Your capacity to produce work--i.e. deliverable results--is greatly diminished.  You find great complexity in everything and very few solutions.

Your friends are all in bands, just waiting to be discovered, but not working to be discovered.  You think they're stupid.  You have no band.  You are a one-man band.

Your glasses are thick in frame and thin in lens.

Social critique is more important than . . . anything else, especially your parents, whom you have a visceral dislike for, and what you think are fully developed theories of development and taste that encapsulate them.

Everyone's face looks exactly the same.

To be continued.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blast Me With A Chocolate -

I'm actually getting slightly anxious about my two year anniversary: two years of dorkdom.  Two years of abstention.  Two years of tedium.  Of obsessive tendency.  Of avoidance.  Of sobriety.

I've found myself in the throws of increasingly valid and frequently meaningless thoughts.  It feels good to actually be embedded into something less opaque, if that makes sense, like to just remember the blissful intensity of my pre-youth, the wanderings of my heretofore previously sober and non-drunk (though a little stoned self); to abscond into the rose colored glasses of nostalgia just a little bit, if only to avoid the depressing mechanistic quality of every day life in a big city with a lot of people and not that much nature or cleanliness.  I desire not to internalize some sort of self-help induced grief and indulge whimsical fantasies that inculcate me against hope and possibility. I desire not to find a way into the grind.  I desire not to be in the fold.  I also desire it.  Except a different fold.  See?

I want to chose my insights, instead of having them chose me.

Alas, all is not calm and cool in the land.  T-minus 7 days.  And then I'll implode in aggressive fashion with the restraint releasing quality of a monk tied snugly with kevlar enforced mint- green garden hose that's been sitting full of pulsating froth, released at once unto blue slate sidewalk and instantaneously misted out of existence by the heat.

I've gone overboard here in a way that is precisely calculated to reveal something quickly, with the least pain possible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I'm not sure what surgery might be necessary to repair it.  They used to do something electrical, maybe still do.  My fingers plunge onto keys mislabeled.  Words come back in foreign tongue.  There's a city, a village at least, coming back to me, in abstract geometrical patterns that I claim modern.  Novelty is a fine line between jackass and rip off.  The village is something to show someone, something that should be familiar.

Turns out I've got memories of things that don't exist anymore.

I'm not sure how I got here, where it is I am, at the moment.  I'm finding out my insecurities still seem as stable as freshman year of high school, and the only thing I remember from then are ripped jeans and wooden corn cob pipes.  I don't recognize a baseline personality.

I drink white tea and drink green tea.  And I stopped all layers of masturbation.  I hope.  Except that maybe I'm riding on some larger jacking hand, flipping me up in the air for a short ride at the apex, increased pressure at the nadir, and maybe the hand is increasingly desperate, both to execute, and unsure of what will happen once executed.  Caught in a raw state.  Blocked.  Like I said before a few times already.

Maybe it is true that loneliness distorts personality more than drunkeness.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Capacity to Be Critical--

This is really a hard skill.  I think mostly we fall into two diametrically opposed categories: either we find ourselves flawless and we defend our work to the death (even when our effort is small compared to our relative capacity), or we tell ourselves that we're horrible and use our horribleness as an excuse not to try too much.

The hard skill is of self-criticism, such that you (or I) can improve, even when our ego is bruised.  Such that we can look at our own work and say, even when we want otherwise, that it needs work.

It is the capacity to do work and continue to do work instead of complaining, flagellating, or making everyone else the enemy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Not About Stasis

I used to be obsessed with complexity.  That is, pointing out enough complexity to show people how astute I was without trying to actually do anything with that complexity.

While there's no doubt that things are always extraordinarily complex, often for reasons that we don't have awareness of, there was also a mistake in my methods.

I should have been trying to manage down the complexity into singularly elegant models that function in some way to capture "it" without sacrificing too much rawness.  That is, by finding a way to actually talk about ineffably large and seemingly incomprehensible stuff, we can actually turn a corner make steps forward.  Label assumptions.  Make explicit all manipulations.  Present something that is at first glance evident, but at second glance has multiple, let's say 60,000, layers.  Something that might take years to study.  Without the study so much, or the desire to impress.

What's the take away?  We can drink and fuel ourselves with the delusion that we're in some way aware of much more than what we are aware of, that our innate intelligence is broadly superior, and that we're in tune with what we already need to be to obtain current and possible future desires.  We're not, of course.  But by stepping back we can actually refine our desires, and not just the means to obtain them. We can develop ourselves instead of talking about how developed we already are.  We can strive to figure out, and figure out, and figure out, and figure out.  And stop with all the smug satisfaction.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's not like a complicated data set with tons of variables . . .

that you first have to clean and polish and then carefully plug into giant pivot tables and read carefully, where the results will be contingent and highly contextual.

if you drink, you will suffer.  and then you will die.  you will suffer more than if you didn't drink, and you will die sooner.

that's my reality.  it isn't fantasy.


We hold all of this pent up nuance inside that nobody sees, and we desire very strongly to let it out.  But when we can't get it out, or when the nuance isn't noticed when we do, or when we see other people unintelligibly letting it out--pure amateurs, we think, though we never actually practice what we may self-preach--we only have one friend.  And that friend is liquid, and goes right inside to buddy up with all of the nuance.  And it is good at smothering its buddies.  And pretty soon all of the nuance is hostility.  And the hostility is easier to let out. And the reactions are strong, but the excuses made are about how others don't understand, about how they don't see.  And the crime is that we've become blind to any nuance ourselves, but still use it as a crutch.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dangerously Close to 2 Years Sober.

Never thought I'd achieve it, actually.  Twelve years ago, I stopped for eight months.  That was my first 'getting sober' session.  I thought then that I wouldn't drink again.  But I was wrong.

Then, in 2009, I went for 6 months.  Heavy duty, I thought at the time, patting myself on the back.

Six month after getting unsober, I realized how far I'd fallen from my glory high of sobriety, and decided I needed to stop for at least a year this time.  Which I did.  On June 25, 2010.  Soon I'll cross over the two year mark.  I'm not trying to experience emotion about it.  But that rarely has anything to do with it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Labeling Something "Rare" -

My gut tells me this is idiotic.

My hand says: buy this!

My wife accuses me of cheating on her.

My cat finds an enormous roach.

The strange man touches my hand.

The hamburger meat talks back.

John Fahey delights.

We Don't Know So Much

I find it shocking in this respect that we might feel as if there were no beauty, or that beauty couldn't be discovered, or that, also, there might be a reason not to continue to live.  Maybe beauty can't be compared against suffering, or maybe there's too long to wait.  Or maybe a lot of things.  I'm not talking delusional whipper-snapping drooling type laconic-removal-of-self-from-reality daydreaming, but about finding some hard work, a steady rhythm, if a bit slow moving and hard to change direction, and settling down into that groove for a while, only to find that you've misplaced the entire dimension of the room in your minds eye, and that the reality around you has been moving and shifting in ways subtle and large enough to birth tendrils of fear it is so grand, but soothing, too, in the way that it seems to cradle the thin spindle of saliva that is, well, what it is: your life.

Monday, May 28, 2012

When Will I Have a Drink?

Never.  Motherfucker.  Stop fucking asking me already.  I'm done.

Is that hard to digest?  If so, you may have a drinking problem.

Where Is This All Going?

I used to be a sucker for "destiny" talk, as in, your efforts are futile because your life is guided by something unseen, and you'll get what you are meant to get.

I think this amounts to assuming some macro level universal zero sum game that is fundamentally flawed.  There's no reason to believe that I'll get everything I need to get.  While there is a reason to believe that everyone thinks they are exceptional, and that what they think are needs are really wants, there is not a reason to believe that my life will be okay--i.e. that I'll be happy--if I just stop thinking about being happy, or what it means to have multiple conflicting preferences within one place: my brain.

Optimism, though, is physically beneficial, apparently (excuse the lack of link).  Self-delusion, in short, can work to help us.  So maybe destiny-type thinking is more helpful.

But it seems that it eliminates for me too strongly the incentive to take steps toward my own goals, and allows as well justification for laziness.

I'm still wildly lazy.  But I'm incrementally less lazy than I was a year ago.  And that's progress.  Amen to sobriety.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chose and Deny

We like to chose particular moments in time to define ourselves, and disregard or weigh less the other moments.  It is a much harder lift to think about who we are through many moments without shifting back to the singular moment that allows us a bit of wiggle room and romance.

In other words, we protect our egos viciously.  They are all we have, in a way, and also they are paradoxically, less than the totality of who we are in the same way that a moment defines us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Outrage Bias

I don't know if this is an actual thing, but I wanted to say that I think there's nothing quite equal to outrage to instill irrational conclusion drawing, lopsided narrative creation, and generally divide and screw people.  If we all learned to be a little less outraged, and respond less to outrage . . . well, I'd be a hell of a lot less annoyed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Self-Deceit and IQ

Consider the very real possibility that the smarter you are, the better you are at deceiving others, precisely because you are very good at deciphering other people's deception.

Consider that, given the above, you are probably an expert at deceiving yourself, especially if you're the megalomanic type of boozer that I think you are.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everybody's Drunk

It struck me the other night (admittedly, it was 3am early saturday morning), that almost everyone riding the train was stoned drunk.  Like dropping their bags and half passing out drunk.

And I couldn't help but think it: what makes people get so out of control that they lack the capacity to ride the train home?  Like, are the benefits worth the costs?  I can't remember them being such.  In fact, I'd say to my old self that justifying hangovers is all about distorted self-perception and fantasy self-narrative.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

We're 90% Urge and 10% Narrative

Most of our behavioral patterns aren't controlled.  We think we control them, but what we do is justify them, mentally rectify them, and move on.  We'd like to think we're in control of ourselves, but unfortunately, maybe we're not so much.  (We're especially not in control of other people).

Last night I went out to a proper bar/club/lounge in one of the trendiest spots of NYC.  I don't like these places, and I didn't want to go there.  I wouldn't chose to go without familiar bonds that dragged me there.  I didn't have a bad time, though, dancing a bit, and generally observing and laughing.

One thing I noticed was the amount of conflict between friends that I can't control, or feel bad about.  I also can't try to solve conflict that isn't mine to solve.

The other thing I noticed folks, is just how drunk everybody got.  Not just at the club, but also on the train going home.  Seemed like a pretty miserable scene.  Everybody was exhausted and just trying to survive the ride, half stoned, half drunk, vomiting in plastic bags, dropping things, falling asleep (passing out), kissing strangers, all that shit.  I'm feeling pretty good about my sobriety about now. Not because I am morally pure, but because I'm about to go on a run and enjoy the splendid whether and the "others" in my entourage are firmly into the grips of a hangover that will probably last all day.