Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stay Within Your Life

For a decent chunk of the last 10 or so years, I've been concentrating on all the wrong things.  No, I don't just mean the boozing and chasing the latest exciting trend but missing the mark wildly on the latter and meeting resounding success on the former.  No, I mean that I've been way too abstract and analytical.   And it took me some time, but I've come to the conclusion that I cannot care about big ideas so much.  They don't matter.  What matters is informed by what's in front of you, and how you do or don't yearn to enjoy your life, to inhabit the space that exists, in other words, instead of chasing that which is opaque and fuzzy.  The opaque and fuzzy is often justification for selfish behavior anyway, and selfish behavior is, for me, short term and destructive, i.e., I tell myself I'm doing things for the sake of big notions and then act like a 7 year old. And the opaque and fuzzy isn't very exciting.  I reject that idea that that which is near is superficial, as well.  It isn't.  It is just available, and available and unnecessary are different. Too much of my relatively recent life has gone by with me as a spectator instead of submerged.

And I haven't expressed as clearly what I mean, except to say that I can't exactly live my life burdened with all the knowledge of how things work, all the time.  Instead, most of the time, I just want to interact with those things, much more intuitively.  I want less logic and formalizing and distance and more emotional engagement and feelings of home and accessibility of myself to myself, if that makes sense.  Instead of walking around in a fog.  I don't think there will be such severe costs to this, while I do think the benefits will be notable, as I've already seen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Drives me nuts.

Partially because I lose.

Partially because I lack discipline to compete.

Partially because it forces me to see my own laziness.

While i admit the above, it is also true that ultra-competitive people are so fucking blind to everything else besides their own standing that being around them is insufferable.  Everything is a reference to an accomplishment or innuendo of potential.  And I'm not reading into it!  I try my best NOT to read into it.  I want to be as laissez-faire as it comes.  Goodness.  This is tiring, using up my personal time to delve back into an atmosphere I detest.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bragging About Hangovers

Always seemed so strange to me.  "Boy was I hungover!  I could barely get out of bed!  My liver must be fucked man!"

And yet.  There I am on a Monday morning, any Monday morning, listening to the same shit as I did in college, now, in my relatively secure tie and slacks job.

The more things change, the more, well, you know.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Value In Fights?

I used to think that fighting was necessary--fighting, mind you, in the sense of me and my wife, or me and my friends, or "anyone with whom  I wanted to have a lasting relationship", however romantic that idea was, and I'm not referring here to anything physical. Two thoughts.

1) I thought that conflict really either engendered folks to each other, or propelled them apart, but that there couldn't really be mixing of the two once a fight was under way.  Once under way, moral questions became crystal clear.  I also thought the way you handled an argument said a lot about who you were as a person.  Perhaps it does.  But what does it say, exactly, and who is the correct interpreter?  Not the other party to the fight!

2) Fights as necessary to push out all anger and be done with it, to know "what people really think."  This was completely wrong though. When fighting we all say or do things that we don't mean, precisely because we're pushed and we amplify to hurt at times, when we're hurting.

Also, I reject the idea that we have to have fights to demonstrate that we will or will not be pushed around, and I do so by saying this: to what end?  Can't we find a place for relatively peaceful, even spirited, disagreements, or is everything supposed to be to the death?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Truth Is . . .

That beauty only manifests itself like schisms in dense granite, and the larger proportions of our days are spent fighting, bickering, commuting, crapping, or just generally not being very productive--being dull and thick and rock-headed and not very lustrous.  We dream big and we talk equal, but we avoid the hard work that allows dream fulfillment and we are mostly average.  And getting over that, and getting to what it is we care about (discovering it and having the guts to keep at it), is really hard.  It is so hard that I won't even anonymously say what it is I sincerely care about.

Most of my life I live to get to moments of utter bliss that I cannot replicate with precisely calibrated equations, no matter how similar the situation.  Unexpected and unpredictable, I have been floored by piped in music (Paul Simon's Graceland) in Wholefoods, utterly repulsed by the stuff that I'm supposed to find enthralling  and anti-anxious in a world that breeds anxiety.  Numbing oneself out is healthy at times, but having the courage to appear unstable, stupid, and ignorant and then learn, is vital and rare. I'm not sure I have it. I think that the older I get the more I seek comfort and stability, and the more I seek comfort and stability the more I realize how foolish I was for so many years.

But the point is that no matter how much we want it, we cannot just increase the beauty quotient.  We can't simply add more bliss.  It just happens sometimes and those times are certainly not all times.  It--life--is what we chose to do in between.  Coming to terms with that can stop a lot of pointless jabbering and suffering too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Language Learning as Apt Metaphor

If you've spent time studying language, you know the drill of repetition and seemingly endless exercises, and then slow incremental growth, and one day, full sentence comprehension.  And then blinding confusion and fitful bouts of pseudo-confidence.

Having some basis for understanding a language through sheer willpower, though, distills other life lessons down nicely for the need of patient study generally, and humility.

Classical music is an arena that seems to me similar.

Numbers and number study.

Pretty much any learned enterprise has this nature.  The parameters may be porous and more in flux than we might like at times, but there's a main thrust, a body to take the temperature of, and diligence can be rewarded.  Or, minimally, it can help us all realize how singular and small we are when alone.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Imperfection -

The stunning incapacity of most to cope with their imperfections.  Classic recipe for self-loathing maximus and status quo for dandruff digging wedgie popping reactionary flaming from all across the income spectrum.  None are acquitted this easy peasy beautiful cover-girl fascination, vanity rearing like a 4am enema to wake one from REM sleep, lilt sideways in silence and demand a compliment for such interruption as you rub the crust from reddened eyes and massage your sore ass (but oh so clean, no?).

Blow me.  I say, back.

Figures, prissy indignation flaunts a jowl in response, not one to be outdone.  Loose as all hell--the jowl--should be turned in for dollar bills it is so loose, and flaps away in our cramped shared space as if it is possible to extricate himself from our intertwined being.  You wouldn't be saying that if you'd worked out effectively instead of eating those brownies while watching charlie rose and looking hard at the screen like deep thoughts could be shred in a staring contest, while I went back to laying on my back, waiting for your attention, knowing that you'd come in with your small regret and your quote unquote needs later, after my needs had been withered with loneliness and isolated self-referential paranoia.

And I wonder is he different.  This time will he be different.  Will he want to fuck me hard because he saw it in a porn video or will he want to fuck me hard because he thinks it proper to be fucking hard.  No matter the feedback.  No matter the guttural primitive cheapness of the boozy sweat, or the knees shaking from the lack of exercise, the pit of a chest and the over-eager whimpering.  What am I, anyway, his nanny?  His nurse?  His mastermind slut?  Is that the best one?  The mastermind slut ninja arms akimbo in stationary, silent, blissful, passivity?

I'm an alcoholic and I can't get out. My vanity is my drink and my drink is my vanity and all is within and all is without and I am not privy to making distinctions as simple as you and me. And fuck me it is hard to live sometimes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Negotiating Conflict

Probably one of the hardest things to do, for so many reasons.

First, there's always intent vs. action and how wildly we can feel certain that other people take actions with the strong intent to produce the precise reaction we felt.  This is reasoning backward at its finest.  We feel an emotion, then ascribe a causal narrative to preceding events based on it, and then we at times viciously defend our interpretation of the story.

My rejoinder: what else can we possibly do?

The response: understand all sides as thoroughly as possible.

But that takes time, and conflicts often flair unexpectedly, not yielding to concise units of analysis, when intuition accounts of meat of the matter.

Second, there's the correct interpretation problem.  Are you as the receiver responding to a statement that you just heard, or the one you wanted to hear, or the one that was in between, or the one that simply wasn't accurate?  When conflict happens, shared understand by definition fails, and all interpretations seem possible.  People can be malicious.  When things are good, we give the benefit of the doubt; when bad, we doubt everything.  And doubting everything means all statements can be construed as purposeful and basically evil.  Even (or especially) omissions can be seen this way.  If you didn't, for example, say hello, this may be obvious evidence of your standing.  In short, signaling gets all screwy.

Third, there's the problem of amnesia and withdrawal.  Once a conflict happens and the parties have been separated, they tend to reinforce their view and ignore all other views over time, even when they feel really bad about a situation.  This is especially weird to me.  If you feel bad, shouldn't it be the case that you find the person you had a conflict with and resolve the conflict, even if it means taking a hit to the old pride?

Fourth problem: Ego.  Admitting wrongness is basically inhuman without public or perceived public shaming.  I don't mean shaming on the news, but damaging social circle perceptions are enough.

Fifth problem: it just hurts.  Damnit.  It just hurts, and who wants to show their wounds to the open world, ever?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Strength -

Is not one data point.

It is a time series.  Flowering outward in real time that has a fighter's objective stance.  Seeking weakness.  Sharpening blades.  Showing off while remaining reclusive>it is that strong, that it doesn't have to figure out a way to find a way to show off.

Anyway.  It isn't insecure, that much is certain, though if it were insecure, that insecurity wouldn't gain a foothold.

Strength doesn't worry that the metaphor is off.  That reflexive character inherent on all others allows ribbons of true blue uniform--almost robotic--production with perfect consistency.

Flip the channel and break the mirror and crush the internet cables into a crystal powder.

There is ice cream in the fridge and we are weak tonight. Tired and weak and longing for the end of the week and practicing our language skills in the real world type of place where real world type language is produced with aching fluency.