by j-a

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February 2004

2-1-04

When someone you haven't seen for a long time says "I've missed you so much," what they usually mean is that they realize in that moment that they would have missed you had they thought about you at all, a genuine enough sentiment, but not necessarily applicable to the past, because probably they haven't thought about you at all, or if they did, it was just in passing and they didn't think of you enough to actually feel that they missed you. For the most part it's a meaningless sentiment. People who feel that they miss you enough to bring the idea consciously to mind usually end up calling you or otherwise trying to contacting you. There are exceptions; but not many.

Stuff They're Not Saying (Yet)

David Kay resigns and blows the whistle. Or does he? It's a definite possibility that the administration put him up to it in order to force the issue of faulty intelligence into the public arena on their own terms and break its back well before the election. Imagine it. Bush says to Kay, "Listen, Davey, boy. How about taking a bullet for us. It's only a .22. All ya gotta do is quit your job and blame the CIA and say nice things about us. Which is exactly what Kay did. The issue was potentially far more damaging to Bush before Kay's resignation than after. And now Bush is free to begin the investigation that he said he would postpone until after he heard from his Iraq WMD team. The new investigation will be a whitewash. And in any case, it doesn't report until well after the election.



"I'm going back to my novel. I'm going to write about this weekend."
"What were you going to write about before?"
"Last weekend."
The Big Chill
I've read comments in a number of livejournals that criticize other livejournals for being "self-important," "ordinary," "commonplace," etc. These are probably all projections on the part of the criticizers, but I found myself agreeing with them until I caught myself. Actually, I myself have felt so ordinary in my journaling that I almost decided to stop writing in all my online journals and going back to my fiction (which I've all but given up on over the past few years). But then I remembered this John Jakes quote: "Originality lies not in saying what has never been said, but in saying what you have to say." No one is like me. No one is like you. Everyone's original. No one is commonplace. If people appear to you to be such in their journals, that's because you're not looking deeply enough. And the people who feel that they must criticize others? They're original too--in their pain that they project in order to try to hurt others in the futile attempt to be rid of it. Pity them in their original sin.

And then there's the idea that all of these people who are now writing in blogs/journal ten years ago might have been writing in their own personal diaries, but no one would be reading them. More probably, though, most of them wouldn't be writing at all, feeling like writing for themselves alone would be a futile act. We're participating in a new thing here. Yes, most of us may be spewing out a lot of errant words and phrases, but we're the first mass of people in the history of the world to do so, all previous generations having been "kept in line" by autocrats, tyrants, and publishers who determined whether or not what we had to say was at all worthwhile. This is a great democratic idea experiment. This is mass expression, the beginning of something new. Participate if only for that reason. Assert the right to say what you think, especially if someone doesn't like it. When someone criticizes what you have written, you have won. You have managed to express yourself despite dissent. Democracy prevails. (If they start to threaten you with legal action if you do not recant or remove your words. look out! That's an indication that the autocrats are getting the upper hand again.)

2-2-04

Something I am I struggle to remain, defiant against a past that defies me to conclude I am something different, now, that I am changed. They really got to me--not really, but...well... I find myself saying to myself "I love you," when I remember incidents from the past, times that did not go well, embarrassing moments that I still feel, encapsulated in, as if I haven't changed at all, but remain the same victim of my naiveté, trying to fit, but never managing to be included, because of those who were all too ready to ridicule. I didn't know what projection was back then. I never understood, they ridiculed themselves. And even when they didn't, when my own pain, self-perceived, prevails, they may have known. I love myself in order to counter hating myself. The person I had been, who I still am, exists within; but walls of time cannot contain me. I started out as something, I don't know what. I feel it, though--as if it remains, internalized, hidden away, a pristine state, a tableau rasa, recognized as untouched, non-affected, pure. They want to write on me; I will not allow it, still. But desperate erasures show on the shell I erected to protect the sacred inner sanctum. It is necessary, though it attracts others toward the self-love I want to shy away from, and hate.



Weddings are often seen as auspicious occasions even now that, sadly, only half fulfill their promise.
Word-of-the-Day Newsletter
Actually, it's probably always been true that only half (if that) fulfilled their promise. It's just that now we are allowed to end them, whereas before we generally were not, by law or by social sanction, and had to endure farces of relationships. The high divorce rate that we hear so much about should probably be more a cause of rejoicing than sorrow, because we are no longer forced to endure the travails of bad marriages. I don't necessarily agree with this cultural practice. I tend to believe that we should write marriage contracts that bind us for life. Divorce tends to make us unresolved and too easily able to run away and hide from the true cause of our distress. But that is maybe the stuff of an ideal world. As a matter of practicality, divorce is probably, overall, a good thing, especially for women with abusive husbands.

2-3-04

Sylvia Plath has cut a wide path.
It's easy to follow, but hard to swallow.

How can you become a mature human male and yet remain cool? The purpose of people is to produce more people. (Aberrant mutations, e.g., lesbians and homosexuals, etc. just don't count, in evolutionary terms, that is--unless we happen to experience some major environmental or cultural change that would favor their condition.) The instinctual drive and psychology of the relative male and female roles when seen in this regard are understandable: men chase and inseminate women; women submit and nurture babies, and love the men who impregnated them in order to enable a harmonious family life that is conducive to proper child-rearing. Women can complain about this situation all they want, but complaining is not going to change the biology/psychology; and neither is social activism. The only way that women will ever achieve true equality will be when sex is separated completely from reproduction, when babies are conceived in test-tubes and born and raised in state-run education centers. Then women might be able to wean themselves of off their own biologies and become entities that are free from hormonal processes. Brave new world. But, of course, for the most part, they don't want to do this. And rightly so. But they do want a (sense of) freedom and equality. The problem is that they don't recognize that the very thing they would be free of, the true cause of their distress, is what they most cherish, their female physiology / psychology. It binds them to a condition that is (I hate to say it) subservient, in that it bows instinctually to the male's sexual prowess in order to conceive and nurture, not only offspring, but also the family situation. Modern women attempt to entice the male into this endeavor, with varying degrees of success. Men become house husbands, attend and even pretend to participate in childbirth, adopt a (foreign) lovey-dovey attitude, support women in their "times of need," grovel, fawn, and feign their way through domestic life in order not to appear to be the brutes that their women have already long ago decided that they are. But when they make these desperate attempts to become politically and socially "correct," men fight their psychology every bit as much as women do when they try to free themselves from male domination. It may be a grand goal to search after an equality between men and women, but to a large extent it is futile: our biologies prevent it. It may not be so nice a conclusion, but to ignore it is to live in denial. We will never become equal until we admit what it is that has perpetuated the inequality. I'm afraid that the best that women will ever be able to achieve is a kind of "separate but equal" status: women will never be men, no matter how hard they try; and men will never even want to be women, most of them--or if they do, I don't want to be around to witness it. Oh, the shame.

Women "open up" as an instinctual response when they encounter conditions that are conducive to mating that might lead to the begetting and rearing of offspring. But these are the same conditions that I elicit when I am searching to break down the artificial barriers that others have erected against me, (an activity that I unwittingly participated in when I was very young, thus becoming conditioned into thinking that I was a separate person, when all along I was far more integrated than I ever realized, because I was too easily influenced and manipulated due to my overly sensitive nature and so was "forced" to close myself off to and from the rest of the world. This is a general human condition I am describing here, not an idiosyncratic one; but I went farther than most people, closed myself even farther off--as a stance, because, being overly sensitive, I was very much affected and so used the pretense of being unaffected as a ruse, thus creating a more pronounced schizoid condition, which became exaggerated as I advanced and began to regain access to repressed material. As I learned to open up, I realized that I had never really been closed off (no one is), that I hid out mostly from my own self. Like everyone else, I convinced myself that not only was I a separate person, but that I was even more separate because I was "withdrawn." But the more we are one thing, the more we are really, deep down, the opposite. I was (am) more open because I was (am) more closed off (and/or vice versa). Women (have) always know(n) this about me. They intuit it; they perceive the "openness" in me, even, or especially, when I suffer most from the illusion that I am closed off; they respond to me on this level, which I almost always consciously encourage. I always have, even when I was (am) "closed off," because when I am most this way, I am even more "searching", scanning, warily and paranoid, yet invitingly--both at the same time--looking for that which I desire, that part of myself that I believe to be missing, which is in fact my own repressed, consciously discarded self that I abandon awareness of when I allow myself to suffer from the illusion that I am a separate individual, which stance will prompt women to want to save me from my self-imposed, isolated fate. It's a good, if unconscious ploy. And rather than trying to overcome it so that I can advance, I tend to try to make it more conscious so that I can manipulate it to satisfy my ego, and even at times my carnal desires. The most easily repressed parts of myself are my feminine aspects. I recognize my lost female self most easily in women and prompt them to reciprocate. The most responsive are those who also have trouble getting in touch with their feminine natures. Lesbians or closet women are always attracted to me, in a conflicted sort of way.

2-4-04

If you want another Nixon, vote for Bush.



I'm changing my mind. What have I been thinking? I don't think we should allow gays to get married, but not because they shouldn't have the same rights as heteros. Of course they should. Everyone should have equal rights, but I'm beginning to think that all marriage should be forbidden. Maybe then some of the nastiness in the world could be reduced.



Nepotism is a fact of life. Some people get opportunities that others struggle to try to find and often never get. Okay. So what? It's like African-Americans complaining that it's far more difficult to get access to certain kinds of jobs: well, duh! Join the ranks. It was a valid complaint when blacks couldn't get any access to certain jobs. Now, with limited access, they're just like the rest of us. (More or less.) The point is: I can't get opportunities either; I don't know anybody; I'm not the son or brother of anybody famous. And what about that other form of (near) nepotism that goes on every day: getting opportunities via fucking the right people? Opportunity is what it's all about. If you land the job and then can't do it, but you are kept on anyway, well, that's a serious problem. But if you get the job via advantage, and then do it well. Well, okay. Good for you. I'll try harder. I'll struggle. Watch your ass.



The more I study Christian theology as presented by teachers who have a knowledge of the original languages in which the Bible was written, the more I realize how perverted the commonplace version Christianity has become. Christianity, if interpreted correctly, is a natural religion, consistent with modern science, if we will but use our god-given minds:

A careful reading of the Bible reveals that God created "man" on the sixth day, but nowhere does it say that "man" was Adam. Man, that is, the human race, was created on the sixth day, and then God rested. Then, later, Adam and Eve were created. People existed before Adam and Eve, who were the first couple, not of all people, but of God's "chosen" people (and this would have been long before the time of the Jews, so that Adam and Eve must have been Semites, perhaps Sumerians, the predecessors of the Arabs and the Jews--and consequently, the Christians);

Hell doesn't exist yet. Hell is the grave, in one usage of the word. In another, it is Gehenna, a smoldering metaphor for a place to be created at the end of the world.

There are many more examples of this kind of thing that I've come across over the years. I can't remember them right now. Maybe I'll start to document them.

2-5-04

What I express here, on this website, is who I am, pretty much uncensored. I'm trying to approximate an ideal, to accomplish a goal, which is communication of an essential nature.

But in my "real" life I am not so forthcoming, usually; I am guarded and reserved and set apart, except at times when I will slip and mix the schizoid worlds that I have set apart.

I'll find myself from time to time expressing my real self in e-mails that people who know me personally will read; and more rarely I will actually, in person, become spontaneous.

Sometimes, in person, I go too far in trying to communicate who and what I am; but most of the time I reactively withdraw because I feel I have been far too communicative.

People tend to avoid me; but I may be mistaken in this perception, in that I avoid others a lot of the time so that they may stay away thinking that I don't want to associate with them.

I suffer, from a dichotomy of spirit, torn in two directions, perfectly stoic, watching every single word and gesture, and creatively free in manic moments of serendipity.

My website readers see this second me. My friends and associates tend to see much more of the former self, and wonder at the rare glimpses they get of this other babbling fool.

[All my life I've been ducking direct existence, and yet chasing after it, expecting to accomplish a transformation into a better way of life, failing among people, but succeeding when alone.

All of this is only one aspect of a many-sided strategy that is my psychology/philosophy: I am not so much myself when I lie within society; but I incorporate a universe of expectation.]

People then think I am so strange because I want to be who I really am so much, live my own life, disregard that other world they call society, that I become spontaneous, and mirroring.

I don't know why I can't become totally spontaneous (which means, I think, insane). If people don't like what I really am, so what? They don't like who I'm not either: themselves.

My free and spontaneous expression is like a test. If people can tolerate it and stick around for more, they pass. Each year that passes finds me looking and feeling more unusual.

I'm like that weirdo outlaw biker on the subway who's high and wants to talk to you. If you respond in a friendly way, you're okay. But if you're intimidated, you're a common loser.

And when people finally give up on me and stay away, I can celebrate that fact by declaring "There's another person I don't have to deal with any more." It's a shame, isn't it?



I keep forgetting this, so I have to keep reminding myself of it:
I'm not any stranger than anyone else; I just happen to allow more of my strangeness out, as I learn of it, refusing to repress it and/or keep it to myself, and refusing to adjust my behavior to conventional society in order to try to con people into thinking I'm a 'normal' person. None of us is normal, least of all those of us who most pretend we are.

I'm big, I'm weird, and I'm getting bigger and weirder every year. I could become the next Marlon Brando. (A gross exaggeration.) The New Me: spontaneous/serendipitous hippy biker outlaw weirdo. I'm going to stop caring what people think of me and so become myself. I am big (but not at all fat). I might as well develop that physique and the attitude that goes with it. This is a big alteration of mentality, a major turn around. I have always thought of myself as small [in the thin sense, i.e., because I was; but I'm tall], an inevitable result of having been skinny. It translated into a less than adequate sense of self-confidence, when everyone else could more easily intimidate environments. I had to resort to using my mind. to manipulate situations while others seemed to be capable of bullying them into submission. But I am not that skinny person any longer. Yet I still maintain that mental image of myself, altered only slightly by the facts. In fact, it works mostly the other way around: my (former) mentality has been prompting me to push myself to remain thin. And maybe, at least health and longevity-wise, I should continue this, striving after an image of Richard Harris in his later years. But on the other hand, I have an opportunity here to undo the lifelong half of my schizoid self: an inferiority complex. I can become the outlaw that everyone already thinks I am, the image I cultivate that is only marginally true. How? By lifting weights. I could (this is not so much an epiphany as a long and gradual realization) further develop my Vin Deisel/Sonny Barger look. I'm halfway there already. I could combine these mentalities, maybe: thin, tall, svelte, yet with big arms and well-developed legs. Large powerful muscles burn carbs efficiently and keep weight down. (Maybe my net weight increases while my waistline narrows.) My mentality, then, may not become so "male"/macho as it becomes more "secure"/confident (especially re how I relate to women: I need not be so "sensitive" to their needs; I can be more "male" in this regard, and let them worry about their own psychologies). In short, I can be a BIG guy: physically, mentally, generously, spontaneously, serendipitously serene. And yet I can also be "pale, frail, and, love e-mail"1 when I want to be, a kind of James Rockford/Richie Brockelman [or Robert Conrad/Bill Gates] hybrid. Maybe this decision/ mentality means I'm finally growing into "manhood," that my long-lived adolescence is coming to an end. Maybe. In a way I kind of hope not. In another way I do. It's a conflict in the way I experience life, a continuing schizoid split.

This is what I want to be/say the way I want to be/say it. This is who I am, spontaneously expressing myself. If people don't like it, or me, they can just go away. Life is too short to worry about what people think. When I was young, this attitude was unconscious: I unwittingly worried about what people thought; but I was consciously oblivious to their opinions. Now, with therapy, I've made the process conscious. So I must fight myself now to justify my behavior. There's something to be said for insensible living. Wrapped up inside my head is peaceful existence.



President Musharraf of Pakistan pardons Abdul Qadeer Khan, the nuclear scientist who's taking the blame for the country having shared nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Oh, come on. Could a cover-up be any more obvious?

2-6-04

I often write about ideas and states that occur after or as a result of having awakened from a long and/or profound period of sleep, when my psyche has been enervated and stimulated.

But it occurs to me that I never write about the times when I awaken with no motivation, when I would write, except that I feel empty and confused, devoid of stimulation.

This latter state occurs just as often as the former and leaves me wishing I were otherwise and wondering if I haven't repressed as much potent content as I otherwise release.

But when I awaken full of insight with a motivation to express it, I'm a different person. I don't lie in bed, hesitating getting up. I don't mope around in a state of ennui. I get right to it.

Right now, I'm moping, writing about that state when no motivation has occurred--except, of course, the motivation to write about no motivation, which, I guess, negates itself.

2-7-04

I'm in the house with an old girlfriend. We're going to be late for work, but I'm determined to end our sex successfully, since it's always so difficult to please her. I'm just about there when my mother shows up at the door. She tries the knob, but it's locked. She must think I'm not home because she doesn't bother to knock. We start to get dressed, and I tell the girl to stay away from the windows and out of line-of-sight; but since we're trapped anyway, I figure that we might as well finish what we'd started, which we do, several times. We go into the bedroom after I survey the situation out in the street. Dad has showed up and there is some juggling of cars between them and the neighbors. We get ourselves dressed and presentable, ready to go to work. The girl is wearing silk-like slacks, maybe nylon. I begin to rub her between her legs. As we half-lie a sofa in the bedroom, I am in direct sight of the window in the dining room. The drapes are closed, but I notice that something is going on there. Then I realize that my brother has showed up, called by my mother, and is removing the window, intending to climb in. I monitor his progress as I continue to attend to the girl. When my mother first showed up, the girl was ready (as she usually was) to give up on sex before she was satisfied and get dressed, but I persisted until she forgot about the fact that we were on the verge of being interrupted. Now, in the bedroom, she is flushed and quite preoccupied, not at all wanting to get out of here and get to work like she had been earlier. She is grateful to me for having persisted and is fawning all over me. I think about what I am going to do about my brother, who is almost finished removing the window. I snicker, and the girl wants to know why. I tell her how I'm going to scare the shit out of him as he crawls into the house. Then I imagine how, when my mother questions me as to why I never opened the door for them, I'm going to ask her why she didn't knock. I want to put her on the spot. Her obvious answer will be that she didn't know I was home. [She is unaware of what's going on in my unconscious mind = I am unaware of what is going on in there.] Throughout the dream, both the girl and I felt that we didn't want to face the family, that we felt their coming here was an intrusion, and that we resented not being able to get out of the house without them seeing us. But by the end of the dream, we don't so much care. We still don't want them to see us, but if they do, that's going to have to be their problem, not ours. This is what my scaring my brother is all about: if he is going to insinuate himself into my private matters, he's going to have to pay the price. [Or, in more general terms, people are going to have to accept me for what I am.] And since he's acting as an agent for my mother (superego; society), he will have to be confronted with my displeasure with her act of imposition. [Or even more generally, people who approach me will have to deal with who and what I really am. Their "imposition" may be unintentional and unconscious; it may even be more my agenda than theirs; but my tactic of avoidance that has been designed to prevent them from unwittingly stumbling into my subconscious is getting old. If they stumble in, they're going to have to deal with what they learn about me.] This is yet further development (or deconstruction) of the recurrent dream theme of intrusion: "They" are no longer able to barge right in on me when I'm having sex in my dreams. It's only been fairly recently that I've been able to accomplish this protection of my privacy. It seems that these recurrent dreams that I've had for most of my life are changing. This is a good sign, I think. I am more myself alone, less easily influenced and intimidated, less paranoid and anxious, more secure and definitive. On the other hand, it goes counter to my advancing awareness of the "illusion of separation," which I have been seeing as a kind of spiritual development of a semi-conscious condition that I have known of all my life. I guess that these two aspects of my life, individuality and fusion, are not necessarily in conflict so much as they are two modes of existence, the former personal, the latter transcendent, with that great area between them being the difficult ground that we call the social. And my new tactic of allowing (more of) myself to be revealed is a means whereby I attempt to negotiate that social realm.

2-8-04

Early in my grade school years, I really wanted to play basketball when our school organized a team. I went to the try-outs, but my parents thought that there were too many black kids in the league, so I was not allowed to join the team. Years later, in high school, when we moved to the suburbs, I started to play basketball at the local court; but the other kids, who had been playing since they were little, were all far better than I was. I was left behind. So I was prevented from developing my skills because of my parents' prejudice. Minority kids are not the only victims of prejudice against minorities.



My theory of waiting takes on a whole new meaning in the dead of winter when all I want to do, after I have struggled through the first few months, is to get through the rest of it, hiding out until spring. I get up, I do a few things, I go back to bed, I watch tv and feel grateful that I don't have to go anywhere or do anything, but have the wherewithal to lay around and wait for the season to change. Waiting in winter is far different than waiting in the summer. In the summer, it's a joy, a luxury. In the winter, it's a duty and a trial.

2-9-04

1) In my grandmother's house: db and I are in the living room, half-asleep at opposite ends of the sofa (which seems abnormally large). She is "under the weather," plagued with some kind of a virus. I'm unconcerned about her, as if whatever is wrong with her is unimportant. She's thinking (I know this, without her ever having expressed it) that I may not have any interest in her any more, that if she were to allow it [which she never could, or would (despite my recurrent dreams)], that I might not take her back.

2) 6023, out in back of the house: I walk toward the south, into the field; but instead of the land sloping upward, it slopes down and away. It's more like the area to the south of 640. I enter the woods far beyond this field. Everything is bright and beautiful. All the trees are a brilliant green and the woods has a magical quality. I go as far as I can, until I see in the distance the houses down on Rodi Road. Then I stop and turn back, as if the people living in those houses are a threat. I walk back up and into the field. There are huge animals lying around. At first I don't feel any threat at all, thinking they are ordinary cows. But then, as I get closer, I realize they are more like lions. They laze in the grass in the afternoon sun, and occasionally one of them gets up, walks a few feet and lies back down. It's at these moments that I feel threatened. But I realize that if I walk by peacefully, in a calm manner and without an aggressive or hurried agenda, I will not be in any danger. [The houses and the "lions" represent society, which threatens me if I will act out of place.]

3) I'm back in the house at 6023, in my bedroom, with a dog much like Stoney, except that it's not her. She has fleas that are so large that they are visible through her thick coat, and I am combing through her fur with a fine-tooth comb, catching them one by one and crushing them between my fingernails. It's a long and arduous process, and I think that I will never get rid of them this way. They'll reproduce faster that I can kill them. As I'm combing the fur, I also rake out a lot of flea eggs. I think that they'll fall into the carpet and hatch and we'll have fleas all over the place.

When I awaken, I immediately draw a parallel between the fleas and db's virus. (They're both bugs.) My recurrent dreams of db have been changing over the past year or so. She no longer returns "home" and takes over the house, reorganizing it and injecting a "homey" atmosphere. I miss that feeling, but at the same time I feel like it's an advancement that it's evolving away.

2-10-04

Spam is spam, no matter who sends it. My ISP seems to think it's okay to spam me because I'm a captive customer. Its policy seems to be that since I subscribe to their service, I am fair game, that it's not spam if included in their policy statement is a disclaimer that they can e-mail me advertisements. It's one thing when they include them as pop-ups (which I can block) or add them as banners to the top of the browser; it's a whole other thing when they send them as e-mails. When congress gets around to banning spam (if they ever do), I want it to include spam from my ISP too.



My conspiracy theorist friend called today at 1:00 p.m., just as I was about to go to bed. So I invited him down for a visit. He has a book that he's been in the process of writing for many years now, and he brought excerpts for me to read and evaluate. Interesting stuff. Poorly written, but salvageable with some good editing, which I volunteered to do; but he doesn't seem to feel he's anywhere near that stage yet. He's just piecing it together episodically as he thinks of and documents implausible and apparently disparate incidents that he swears are completely true. I believe him. I know him. But his unifying theme (governmental conspiracy) may not be so accurate as he wants to think it is. Nevertheless, his life material makes for compelling reading.

Our "session" lasted several hours, and the time flew right by. About halfway through I got the distinct idea that genuine transference (or communion, or something) was taking place. I began to understand something about him that he may not fully realize, despite his awareness that others think he's "weird." I told him to read two books (or see the films): Communion and Jacob's Ladder. I want him to come to the idea on his own that his theory/perception of how the corporo-governmental complex works to control the world (ala The Da Vinci Code, Gnosticism, UFOs, psi phenomena, etc.), as real as it could be, can also be a manifestation of borderline psychosis. [Of course, that's what "they" want you to believe.] These two books might put that idea into his head without me interpreting his symptoms for him. He didn't come to me for psychological help; his quest is literary. (But then again, who knows the real reason why people choose their friends. Maybe there is some kind of semi-conscious New Age communion going on.)



DR DIET DIED 'OVERWEIGHT'

Dr Robert Atkins - the man who developed the world-famous Atkins diet - was obese when he died, it has been reported.

The doctor died of head injuries last April, aged 72, after falling over on an icy New York pavement.

But a report in the Wall Street Journal suggests Dr Atkins was overweight and had suffered a heart attack shortly before he died.

So what? I don't understand what it is about Atkins' detractors that make them so vehement about wanting to defame the man and his diet. I mean, just because he was a bit overweight doesn't mean the diet doesn't work. It probably means he wasn't on it. I know that when I want to lose weight, I sure donít want to eat high protein for very long. Sometimes I put up with a few extra pounds just to be able to nosh some carbs. The diet does work, and maybe that's the problem. All these other diet proponents, you know, the ones who are pushing the that don't work, are afraid that their sales and marketing will drop off drastically? Or what?

2-11-04

Smarter people see more interconnections between apparently discrete phenomena. But, unless they have both a solid and relatively internally consistent personal belief system and a secure social support system, they can become easily distracted and adopt conspiracy theory as a way of dealing with their perceptions of interconnections. Combine this tendency with borderline mental conditions such as paranoia, schizoid reactions, or bipolar disorders and they can begin to attribute causal relationships to ordinary coincidences and accidental connections. Interconnections do exist, frequently and profoundly. But whether their existence is causal or merely accidental is a matter of interpretation, and a correct (verifiable) and/or consensual interpretation can mean the difference between a sane and insane lifestyle. When people think your interpretations are crazy, though you may be correct, and even a genius, you may become labeled as a nutcase and disregarded, or worse, ostracized. The best that you can be in this situation, if you've established a strong social position, is tolerated.

2-12-04

Creativity being what it is, concepts developing, evolving--or maybe I mean devolving, deconstructing (or maybe I mean decepts instead of concepts; is deception the opposite of conception? I'll have to look that up), I'm considering an idea, a format actually, whereby I abandon paragraphs and render all expression as an ongoing continuum--sort of like a Beckett novel, but more so. (I tried this once before, a long time ago, but also without punctuation, except at a few critical junctures, but I gave it up as unworkable.) This idea was sparked most recently by a program I saw on PBS that showed old English provincial documents, records of local happenings, births, deaths, etc, that were rendered in this way. This is probably a bad idea, especially for a website; but, like a lot of other bad ideas, I'm inclined to try it. In any case, it's a publishing technique, not a writing one. It's okay for me to play with readers' sensibilities, but when it comes to my own work method, I'd never find a damn thing if I didn't break it into logical or at least chronological divisions. I've also been considering drastically changing the website appearance/ structure at this point to make it more online journal-like, eliminating frames in the current site, while allowing all old documents to open in the frameset, because I don't want to be bothered having to change over all that content. Now, is this perfect time to do this, if I will do it. As far as online posting goes, it's Jan 1st. (I'm running very late, having just finished Dec 31st, 2003 yesterday.) I want to do this, but I don't know if I will. It's a lot of extra work.

[Nope. Just tried the run-on technique in the Jan 1st post and realized that line breaks mean too much to me. It's a matter of poetics, if nothing else.]



I realize that I've learned quite well how to ignore, or at least tolerate, the various degrees of pain I experience as a result of my back problems. I've written of this many times before; it's not a true (i.e., first-time) realization so far. But the true realization now is that I've established this mindset that there's nothing wrong with me, when in fact there is. I don't know if I really want to write this out, or to even acknowledge it to myself, for fear of changing the mindset and risking an escalation of the disease. There is some validity, I think, to the idea that a proper attitude (a subset of mindset) retards the development of illness. But the notion is now formulated, so I may as well go with it.

I'm sitting in bed typing this on my laptop because I didn't feel quite up to getting up and going out to the office and starting up daily operations just yet. But it was not at all conscious in my mind that I was doing this because I was in pain. I only felt this vague "idea" that it would be better to be in a "comforting" environment. But, in fact, I now understand that I feel somewhat "feverish" and have been feeling this way, off and on, for at least a week. My back (my spine) causes this feeling and I always ignore it when it flares up. If I must, I take aspirin or naproxen, which I use more to enable my ability to ignore the "fever"/pain than to kill it outright. [I can kill it, if I will, with ongoing therapeutic doses of painkiller, but usually I reserve that course of treatment for times when the real pain occurs, the kind that will incapacitate me (lower back), or at least nag at me (middle back) long enough (thus bringing itself to full consciousness) until I am fed up with it. And if the painkillers do not work fully (sometimes it takes several days of ongoing therapy), I combine them with a few beers for the more immediate effects, as this breaks the cycle of pain and gets me back to a point where I can function.]

My "fever" (it's not a real fever; I've checked it many times in the past and verified that my body temperature is normal) is a feeling that radiates out from my (inflamed) spine, occasionally sending subtle "pains" out into my limbs (which at times become literal pain) and at its worst envelops my body as a flu-like condition. But I haven't succumbed to that condition for a very long time now. (In times of actual flu or fever, the symptoms are worsened by this condition as the literal fever seems to settle into my joints with a vehemence that such a condition never exhibited before I began suffering from this malady.) The problem, however, is never really as bad as it was when I used to work at a job everyday, when the "fever" would build to a point where it could not be ignored, when I would have to go to bed upon arriving home because I was all but incapacitated, to remain there, sleeping or half asleep until the symptoms went away, usually after several hours, and rarely, overnight.

Now, I head the symptoms off, ignoring the least of them, with rest and analgesics, before they escalate into full-blown, incapacitating illness, thereby pretending to myself that there is nothing wrong with me. The mind is a wonderful self-deluding mechanism. I should probably use the naproxen regularly during even these minor episodes (I've been through this rationale before) on the theory that it reduces inflammation and may perhaps thus retard progression of the disease. I don't know this for sure and should probably find out what the current medical thinking is on the subject. But then again, how much value can be placed in current medical thinking? The doctors have been wrong so many times before. I guess I'll just go with my gut feelings.

2-13-04

I used to write a lot of fiction, sublimating all of these errant ideas into plots, storylines, and themes. But a lot got left behind, not only in previous drafts, but in old journals, never quite fitting into anything in the first place, or in pieces of fiction that were never finished, all of which left me somewhat unsatisfied and feeling unexpressed.

But then the Internet came along and gradually, as more and more of my time was diverted away from fiction to this new format, I became aware that all along much of my motivation to write fiction was to incorporate the ideas I wrote out in my journals, much more so than to tell the little stories I felt compelled to tell.

Now, it's so much of an easier, if yet more commonplace art to render my life and expressions more directly. If art has an inherent aspect of artifice (which I believe it does; art is secondary expression, taking the place of person-to-person communication), then my journal art is less artistic than my fiction. But that's okay. I may not be so much of an artist any more, but I may be a better person for it.

[Oooo. That may be somewhat depreciative of artists. Oh, well. To the degree that we are artists, we are less social. (You can be sociable without being social.) I may be advancing my psychology by writing more directly. I may be evolving--faster; I probably would have evolved somewhat anyway. But this is off the point.]

I used to go to work, in summer and winter, and come home tired, collapse into bed for several hours, and then get up and write all night, go to work tired the next day, and repeat the pattern day after day until I was so exhausted that I slept all night every once in while, all the while feeling like I was missing out on something, life.

This was especially the case in summer, when I would awaken in the late evening just after dusk feeling abandoned, like my life was slipping away from me as I listened to the nostalgic sounds of nature and neighborhood through the open window. But in winter, a worsened feeling of purposelessness overwhelmed me when I awakened.

Now, although these feelings still occur from time to time, mostly as functions of remembered stress and anxiety and depression that I have for the most part transcended, I have the time, not only to consider in more detail the feelings and sensibilities I write about, but I can publish them as well, not only in books, but on websites.

Life is so much better than it used to be when I was working and making a lot of money. Even with ridiculously low interest rates robbing me of a more prosperous future in order to assure rich businessmen that their profits will prevail, I am better off than when I was working and unable to appreciate my life.



I'm creating a new abbreviated version of this website, edited and sanitized for people who know me personally, so that I can refer them to that site rather than to this main site. I don't want certain people to read some of the things I write. I was going to put this entry at the top of that new site, but as I write this, I'm realizing that I have to be very careful because if certain people read this, they could become motivated to try to search for the site that is not edited. So I'm going to have to make the new site (which I am thinking of as the "lite-site") completely devoid of any reference or hint that this master-site exists. And while I'm at it, I'm going to post my two new blogs ("the illusion of separation" and "Dream Dates") to this same lite-site. That's the plan. Let's see what happens.

2-14-04

LUST "passion, awareness, aliveness" You exhibit an excitement and enthusiasm about life as well as multi-faceted creativity. You have the gifts of perception, extended vision, insight, and intuition and display an eagerness to display your full creative expression. You have the ability to fully express yourself, free of lies and masks and falsehoods. You can overcome your fears using your creativity, as shown by the woman on the [Tarot] card.
Interruptions to my existence mode disturb my equilibrium.
Though certain modes are traps that are best circumvented.
Visitors enable transference that otherwise remains dormant.
Investigation into inner operations is easier when exchanged.
Subsequent isolated occurrences multiply their meanings.

You can get a lot of superficial insight into your unconscious self via choosing items from lists of traits that seem to be self-applicable:

There's a place for this sort of analysis in the scheme of self-interpretation--as a starting point. But I'm not so inclined to delve too deeply into my psychology today. All I can say is that I've uncovered a lack of need. I've long known that others need me, and when I don't make myself so much available, I've assumed, they tend to drift away. But maybe it's more the other way around. People, it seems, want to be needed, and they think I don't need them any more. It's not true, really, but I've been pretending that it is. They get the message. But that's enough. I don't want to develop the idea further.

I also don't want to take the time to develop my ideas about gays' right to marry. Enough has been written about it already. Every other weblog discusses it. Although I believe that gays should have all of the rights that everyone else has, since it doesn't affect me personally, I'd rather spend my time on my own problems--except that they don't interest me so much today either. Actually, I'd really rather be creating semi-fictive pieces, but I've fallen too far behind on other stuff and need to do a lot of housekeeping, which is what these notes are all about, catching up on cached ideas. Here's one that sums up some of my gay beliefs:

"Children deserve a mom and a dad." That would be one of the "slogans" of the anti-gay rights activist groups in Massachusetts. The number of arguments I could make against that...I mean, why don't we just sponsor laws to prevent divorce? And what about when you have the death of a parent -- do you force the widow to remarry? And of course, a wife-beater is a better father than two women raising a child could ever be. Dear God, do these people listen to themselves?


In terms of human culture, is privacy a good or a bad thing?
Being American, I favor the good that privacy has to offer.
Independence is ingrained into the very fabric of my being.
It's been a major theme throughout my life, how I've adapted.
I'm set off, set apart. The world is different from what I am.
But maybe this isn't so good, since we're a gregarious species.
Human culture indicates that people are supposed to interact.
And in interacting, we meld together in a profound manner.
As individuals, we don't notice this phenomenon so much.
We want to live an illusion, some of us, the unfortunate ones.
Gregarious people operate in harmony, as if it's the only way.
Studies show that human interaction is more honest in person.
Confronting each other personally, we are far less likely to lie.
On the phone, we're more prone to the fabrication of gossip.
In writing and in e-mail, we're less likely to mislead. Why?
There's a record of the transaction. We could get caught.
For this alone, maybe all phone calls should be recorded.
It goes against our Americanism, though, this "violation."
Is this a good thing or a bad one, this kind of privacy invasion?
In some cases we readily agree that our privacy is secondary.
When we allow drug testing as pilots or drivers, for example.
The public has a right to be protected from impaired people.
And the technology to determine violations gets better yearly.
We can now test blood, urine, and even hair for substances.
We can determine violations even weeks or months later.
We're giving up more privacy rights as technology improves.
Is this a bad thing or progress toward a gregarious society?
Enforced gregariousness. A radical concept. What's next?
I react strongly against the most benign invasions of privacy.
But we all know what I am: a genuine American asshole.
Society increasingly demands conformity, which is not all bad.
Yeah? When I must conform, that's when I do not want to most.

2-15-04

I'm tired of documenting the movies I watch. It's such an obsessive-compulsive practice. But I get more website traffic to the blurbs and reviews pages than to any other website page.

2-16-04

...it is a case of the Bush administration confusing the present with the 1960s, an era whose rebellious legacy it seems obsessed with obliterating. To Ashcroft and other Puritan Republicans, Tommy Chong's prosecution is merely another skirmish in their implacable war against the 20th century. In this climate it becomes almost pointless to talk about the drug-war hypocrisy of a White House whose mortgage is owned by pharmaceutical monopolies. Or of the reverential treatment given the Oxy-popping Rush Limbaugh by neo-McCarthyites like Bill O'Reilly, who lyingly told a Jay Leno audience that Tommy Chong had been arrested 18 times.
Chong was arrested for having provided the cash to operate a company that made and sold glass pipes. Chong's son, who along with his mother was not arrested, the result of a deal Chong made with prosecutors, owned the company. It was the first time he had ever been arrested. All over the "gateway" substance, marijuana.

I don't know what everybody else who smokes the stuff feels (I mean, thinks--er, I mean believes; I do know how they think and feel), but if it weren't for marijuana, I'd probably be dead now, murdered by some crazy person who couldn't tolerate my teenage and young adult manic antics and anti-authoritarian behavior, or driven to despair and suicide by my social isolation, or accidentally, as the result of having taken one too many stupid risks.

Grass slowed me down, turned me inward, shut me up, caused me to ruminate and reflect on who I was. I owe everything I am today to marijuana. Okay, so maybe there are some people around who believe that that is still not so good a thing; but I think it is. Viva marijuana. It was with a sad heart and unimaginative mind that I concluded that I should not smoke it any more, for health (heart) reasons. I think I miss a whole lot of life now, because pot also frees the mind of its obsessive-compulsive thought patterns, and I certainly could use that these days.

2-17-04

The other day I had this compelling insight about connections. Then I read an e-mail from ana talking about connections. This afternoon I awoke from a dream I can't remember that prompted to me to want to create a satirical web page about gay marriage. The first line would be something like "Legitimate Marriages Threatened," followed by a photo of a traditional white wedding. Next, I imagined a list of sarcastic reasons why gays should not be married, each one obviously a put-on meaning the opposite. I almost set about to create this web page, but I had too much else to do and I couldn't recall the clever phrasings I'd conceived in bed. This evening I got another e-mail from ana listing "12 reasons why gay people should NOT be allowed to marry," taken from this site.

What's going on here? I used to have these kinds of experiences all the time. Coincidence? Maybe. But the ones re ana seem more real. Before I got the e-mail, I went out to the store. I needed to get some heavy cream (to flavor my decaf coffee craving on Atkins. It's one of the ways, in conjunction with Splenda, I trick my body into thinking its getting illicit delights, postponing craven diet denial). As I drove along, I saw an orangish light in the darkening sky that captured my attention so that I almost crashed into a stopped car. It turned out to be the top light on a new, very high wireless telephone tower that I hadn't known had been constructed recently.

On the way back from the store, I saw another bright, this time white, light, that I thought looked like Venus, but how could it be? I thought it had been overcast, because I saw no other stars, and anyway, the light looked a lot brighter than any planet I've even seen. I tried to watch the light as it twisted back and forth across the road as I made the turns on the windy roadways. I thought maybe it was a plane. Then, halfway home, suddenly, just as I was passing the police station, a huge, bright red light streaked by close overhead. I strained to follow it and saw part of a silvery fuselage for a split second before the plane was gone, too low to remain visible for long. It was headed in the direction of the Monroeville Airport, a small local landing strip, but I'd never seen a plane pass over so low before.

Each of these "sightings" progressively stimulated my sense of expectation until I was feeling peaked in that old way we used to get. I haven't felt this way in a long time and so much wanted to, but I knew that each incident was explainable and ordinary. Yet still... The bright white light did turn out to be Venus, after all, diffused and made to look bigger by a haze that all but obscured the stars. We so much want our imaginations to turn coincidences into significant events. The world is so very boring when we think we understand it.

2-18-04

Pop-up windows open on the screen of the computer that I am.
Most of them pop-under too fast for me to notice to close them.
I am a collection of open windows in the winter getting colder.
Frigid air leaks deeply into me, from where I cannot determine.
Manipulations like advertisements influence me unconsciously.

Back in the days when I used to couch-surf, not having a home of my own and relying on friends for their hospitality, I was far more susceptible to influence, feeling I guess that I owed some allegiance to people who provided me support, which mental behavior generalized to the larger population, so that I was far more accommodating in my social manner than I was inside my head, a discrepancy that did not go unnoticed by discerning individuals who occasionally called me on it, sometimes in an aggressive manner. Some people did not like this about me, that I acted as if I knew everything and anything and yet, when confronted, would tend to back down and agree and comply with others' ideas/opinions, especially if they were in authority. It was obvious to some people that my compliance was passive-aggressive and that I remained, at heart, a rebel.

But when I finally got a place of my own, I gradually began to change. I became more settled as time went on. (This is an inevitable course of life for all but the most hardcore fanatics.) But I did not become more sociable. The absence of a need to accommodate others' beliefs and opinions made me more directly expressive of my own true viewpoint. Manipulations, then, as they became conscious, which they more readily did, felt more caustic, more dangerous. Whereas once I might have sloughed them off, now they irked me to no end so that I began to rearrange my personality/psychology to deal with them. I would not be manipulated, nor even unconsciously influenced, if I could prevent it; and I set about to develop the mental mechanisms to detect manipulation and social influence, thus making me what I am today, even more overly guarded than I was when I was younger and more unconsciously paranoid, protective of the psychic devices that people still try to implant in my brain that advertise their agendas as if they were my own. Consciously guarding myself in this way, I appear to have become cold toward people, mimicking the coldness that they disguise as warmth; whereas, in a very real sense, I am warm, even hot, ready under significantly specific conditions to exude a tropical atmosphere. It's no wonder then that introjections that I don't welcome feel so cold to me.

Laura Bush says gay marriages are "a very, very shocking issue" for some people, a subject that should be debated by Americans rather than settled by a Massachusetts court or the mayor of San Francisco.
[AP]
Hubby Georgie often says the same damn thing, that activist courts should not be allowed to decide this issue. But let's consider the example of civil rights for blacks, which faced this same attitude half a century ago. Only the courts could settle the problem. Governors, legislators, and local officials generally opposed the move to integrate schools, or else they remained devastatingly "neutral." A national referendum would have undoubtedly resulted in continued segregation. "Activist" courts may be the only way that true American ideals can be implemented. The mass mentality is not so much prone to do the right thing. Often, the courts don't do it either. But sometimes they do, the "law of the land" changes, a new culture is established, and civilization advances. It happened in Mississippi in the fifties. It happened in Roe v. Wade2 in the seventies. And it happened most recently with gays in Massachusetts.

In the age of spin, an age brought to new lows by this White House, a formula that requires giving equal weight to both sides ends up helping the side that's lying.
...

We've entered an age in which instantaneous Web analyses are quickly getting readers accustomed to ways of taking in news that are more frank and opinionated. Editors need to reconsider these conventions and reinvigorate them so that they are less concerned with giving equal weight to each side and more concerned with pursuing the factual truth (and yes, this should apply to lying Democrats as well). Truth is sometimes elusive and hard to pin down. It is, however, the point.
An argument in favor of opinionated, or at least polemical, reporting. Polemics doesn't necessarily mean bias, at least not in the presentation of material. Facts can be spun, and that's okay. But when the spinning involves outright fabrication of content, then it becomes the journalist's job to present the facts, even if they favor one side or the other.

2-19-04

Days pass one after another all the same so that that they merge.
This isn't a complaint. Eternal presence permeates experience.

I used to feel this way all the time, before I decided I had to work. Working for a living, more than anything else, has a way of tying you into the consensual expectations of society. No free floating when on a nine-to-five existence. Life was so much more interesting, if less secure, before the experience of prolonged employment upset my equilibrium:

I'm living in a third floor apartment at Penn State with Ed, Dale, and some other guy, a friend of Ed's, who flunked out early on. One weekend, my sister and her girlfriend Bonnie visit us. They arrive early Saturday and plan to leave mid-day Sunday. I can't remember what we do that afternoon, but it involves drinking and we (that is, Ed, Bonnie, and I) end up in the back room (which is accessible from the fire escape) late that night, lying on the bed. We're laughing and having a good time and, in the silence between happy episodes, we lapse into a perfect reverie of eternal presence. But all I can think of is getting Bonnie alone, despite the fact that Ed is my best friend and we do everything together (except go to classes; he was a straight A engineering student, I was flunking out as an English major). Bonnie says that she's thirsty, hint, hint. Ed says he'll get her a glass of water. While he's gone, Bonnie, I can't remember how exactly, I can't remember the words, prompts me to ask her if she wants me to lock the door. She says yes. I remember the sadness I feel at locking Eddie out. But it has to be done. It's what Bonnie wants. Ed returns and knocks on the door, but we ignore him. Eventually, he goes away. For a while, I think he might go outside and come up the fire escape. But he doesn't. He gets the message. It isn't long before Bonnie falls asleep, or pretends too. I try to awaken her, but she isn't complying. I don't sleep at all that night, but lie awake next to Bonnie, whose warm body comforts and excites me.

The next day, Ed, Bonnie, Dale, and my sister (who maybe spent the night with Dale) make plans to go out to the lake to spend a sunny afternoon. I, meanwhile, have gone to my own bed and pretend to sleep. Bonnie wants me to go along with them, but now it's my turn to not comply. I appreciate the fact that she comes into my room and tries to rouse me, even pushing violently down on my back, and bouncing me up and down on the mattress. After saying nothing for a while, I finally tell her that all I want to do is go to sleep. Actually, I really want to go with them, but I can't bring myself to allow it. I feel betrayed somehow by Bonnie, who finagled the situation the night before to get me alone, and then abandoned me to myself. Yet I want Bonnie to remain, trying to break through to me; but she gives it up. After they leave, I sleep for a few hours and get up when they return. After Bonnie and my sister leave that afternoon, Ed remarks that they had a great time at the lake, and that I should have gone along. I tell him I was too tired. Then he mentions that we had a good time on the bed the night before. He's referring to the experience of eternity that I thought that only I had experienced. Or maybe he was trying to get me to talk about what had happened. But, if so, I wasn't biting. The funny thing, though, is that what I'd done never affected our close friendship in the least. That's the real eternity we experienced. I didn't know that then. I wonder if Ed did.

2-20-04

Community college/old workplace: everyone wears futuristic (nylon?) clothing in various shades of blue and brown, highlighted with black. I work for a large electronics company in the shipping dept., which is bared-boned, and containing nothing but white walls, floor, and ceiling, and several large white tables containing large boxes inside of which a lot of smaller boxes are nested. They are being packed by an entirely automated system that I don't understand and don't even see operating. The instructions are provided by unseen packing slips (computerized, and thus merely electrical impulses, as if I am on the inside of a computer?). Consequently, I have nothing to do as far as actual work is concerned. And apparently, neither does anyone else who works here. I am worried about losing my job, about becoming redundant, but I shouldn't be; this is what humans do, or rather don't do, now, here in the future. But there are drawbacks to this non-work society: you must wear the proscribed clothing and be perfectly socialized and assimilated. I have a new motorcycle that I ride to work. It has a windswept design and is completely high tech, like everything else. On the way to lunch, in the halls walking toward the lunchroom, I am acting out, out of a rebellious spirit, and the hall monitors are eyeing me. In the lunchroom, I decide to further display my lack of respect for authority, and so I play [more like it is played, without my having anything to do with it] an Elvis song on the neo-modern jukebox [again, unseen, as if it works only by thinking about what you want to hear] and plan to imitate Elvis by climbing up on a counter and gyrating while I lip-sync the music. But Patrick Swayze beats me to it, and he is so good, so much better than I could ever be, that I give up on the idea. After lunch, I go outside and walk around the building to the other side. To get back into the building, you have to go through several security checkpoints. The first one is manned by regular employees who are conscientious, but just ordinary. But the second one is manned by a doctor who examines each employee in a critical, if superficial, manner. We line up between two sets of doors¥ outside of his hallway, which is closed off from us by two automatic doors that he controls from the inside. A light lights up beside the one that is to be opened next, but I don't know this. (All through the entire dream, I feel disoriented by not knowing what the rules and procedures are in this new place.) A woman who was behind me in line goes to the door with the light while I stand next to the one without one. When she is about to be the next to be admitted, I realize this and push in ahead of her, unwilling to lose my place just because I didn't know how the system worked. The others in line are irritated with me for being ignorant of the procedures and for being pushy. I am admitted and the doctor begins to question me. But it is not too long before he's confiding in me in an intimate way. Apparently, he recognizes something in me, some higher ability. He leans over a kind of machine that has a place for his head to fit in, like a sort of metal head band around his forehead3, and bent over awkwardly in this position, he kind of dances in place, ululating back and forth as he begins to tell me in a low voice, so that he is certain not to be overheard by others, about his private feelings and concerns. Apparently, he feels that I am some kind of everyman psychologist. Rather than improve the opinions of the others (waiting outside the doors), this serves to further turn them against me. My anti-authoritarianism is going to get me into trouble. It's going to get me fired, despite the fact that I am psychologically useful to high-ranking people. Isn't that the way it always was, in every job I worked at?

2-21-04

I write about my sister two days ago, and she ends up calling me this afternoon. Coincidence? She hardly ever calls me--maybe twice a year. The first time she called today, I had just fallen asleep and didn't get to the phone in time. I listened to the message and went back to bed. When she called three hours later, I got up and answered the phone. She made some small talk, and we talked about my brother for a while, and then she got to what she really called for. She told me she was going in for an operation in a few weeks--female stuff, and she went into delicate detail about the inner workings of her female parts; and in such a direct, honest, and graphic way that it surprised me and nearly made me squeamish.

And, of course, she asked me to come up for a visit, which, of course, I told her I didn't want to do--or implied it; but she added a new twist this time, saying that I could come up during her time off. I didn't think anything of this at the time, but thinking back now, I think she may have meant during the time she was going into the hospital. Her voice, the whole time that she talked to me, had seemed slightly too loud and overly confident, almost even braggadocio, so that, even while I was talking to her, I thought that she might be compensating for being frightened at the idea of being operated on. Now I think she may have wanted me to come up and be with her during her ordeal. I'm going to have to think hard about whether I want to do this or not.

This relates to what I wrote in my "career development" project last month: I wait for "opportunities to come to me" that "I can choose to follow up on...if I feel that I am up to them at the time. In other words, this is my awaiting purpose, and meanwhile I pursue my current journal purpose, which I will put on hold when the proper time arrives and go back to when that period of other-purpose is ended (if it ever is; and if it ever comes in the first place). I kind of do this now in a minimal way when I visit relatives during the holidays. I visit more for their benefit than for my own. I could be perfectly content to remain at home; but they want me there. Therefore, I am helping them out (in a way; psychologically. I'm sort of performing a social service). [Of course, opportunities will always come, if I so will it. All opportunity is merely a matter of expectation, which monitors the environment for cues to what you want to find."]

In other words, I could choose to visit Dianne, to provide a kind of psychological comfort for her, but am I really up to it? I'm not in such good psychological shape myself right now. I'm a bit stressed from the winter weather and have managed successfully to achieve a balanced stasis that I don't want to disturb. Yet there is that feeling of "obligation" (or maybe guilt is a better word) that I always feel when she petitions me to come for a visit, amplified now by the fact that she may actually need me. But what is more important, her agenda or mine? How well do I need to protect myself right now--not only physically/psychologically, but financially? Can I actually afford to spend close to five hundred dollars to travel to the coast for several weeks? This is a critical point, a major turn (or not) in my life, a pinch, perhaps. My solution is to wait some more. Everything comes to him who will but wait. Especially answers to dilemmas, even if waiting long enough only makes the decision moot.

[added later]: When I think about it, I am somewhat hurt that Dianne tries to manipulate me into coming up to visit her, when I know in my intuitive wisdom that I am not up to it, physically or mentally, right now (and most of the time). If you feel guilty about doing something, it's probably wrong? I feel guilty about not going up to Dianne's. But in this case, I know I'm right. Guilt = repressed anger = repressed hurt. I am hurt that she's always trying to manipulate me into coming up to see her.

2-22-04

...many patients in intensive care units are being wrongly diagnosed. A hospital study comparing post-mortem results with patients' medical records revealed that in 39 per cent of cases, major conditions such as heart attacks had been overlooked and that 26 per cent of the patients might have been saved had the diagnoses been more accurate. The problem isn't incompetency, say the researchers, but is linked to the steady decline in the number of post-mortems performed, which means that doctors cannot learn from their mistakes.
Some obvious advice for prolonging your life: Forget about eating well, and taking vitamins, and losing weight, and reducing stress, and exercising, and all of those other good things that we are told that we should do. Those things are maybe of secondary importance these days. Here are two things you can do right now to assure a prolonged life: 1) don't fly on airplanes; 2) stay the hell out of hospitals.



When you become engrossed in a tv series and watch it religiously, after a while you begin to see through some of the techniques the writers use, which may end up decreasing your appreciation of the show. For example, the writers of "The Practice" should eliminate the phrases 'excuse me,' 'I beg your pardon,' and 'I'm sorry' (meaning 'excuse me') from their operative vocabularies. Or maybe they could substitute a few 'huh's and 'what's instead.



The galaxy is seen as it was just 750 million years after the Big Bang, as the Universe was emerging from the cosmic Dark Ages. This was the murky period before the Universe's neutral hydrogen atoms were broken apart into the ions that made space transparent.
Are they using transparency here literally, or is that a metaphor? Was the universe literally light-blocking, or merely light-devoid?



A recent ABC news report used the term "the semi-autonomous regions along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border." But what is a semi-autonomous region? It's a place that the Central government claims control over, despite the fact that the locals actually control it.

2-23-04

Conservative Californians are arguing that the new governor should honor the majority opinion of the citizens of the state and shut down the issuing of marriage licenses in San Francisco. But just as the federal government should stay out of state governments' business, the state government should stay out of local governments' business; the local governments' should stay out of individual citizens' business; and everyone should stay out of my business. Libertarianism rules. Or rather, a libertarian government doesn't rule, so much.



Democrats chastise Ralph Nader for his decision to run for president. They claim he will divert votes away from the Democratic candidate and assure Bush's re-election; and probably he will. But the whole point of Nader's candidacy is that he represents the real left, which the Democrats have abandoned. Nader chooses to run because the Democrats will not embrace the liberal policies that used to be their forte. By running, he sends a clear message to the Democratic party: if you want to get back into power, you better get back to the roots of your party, because right now there is no place for true liberals to gain representation. Liberals and left-libertarians want to give their agendas currency; Nader is their best hope. He will never be elected, but he may coax the Democrats out of the center and back toward the left.

I like Nader. I always have. He's a rebel, an outsider, and more importantly, he's an honest man. (That's why he'll never ever get elected.)

2-24-04

ana wrote a long (and I do mean long, nearly 13,000 words) and rambling missive that she sent out via one of her mailing groups. I am less than halfway through reading it at this point. It has to do with her disappointments in the music industry years ago, how people screwed her and tried to steal her artistic soul.

Last night I dreamed about the old workplace again, the one I had stopped dreaming about for a long time in favor of a more recent recurring dream workplace. I was in my full glory directing production operations, and feeling the difficult decision-making process of avoiding a potential disaster by cutting losses early and starting a project over.

So. It's beginning. The annual 'woe is me' sub-season. I hate this time of year most, when full-blown worry begins to replace doubt and angst. The next stage, anxiety, is the worst. I hope I can avoid it. I've been doing very well in this regard over the past several years. Getting past this particular point in the cycle, though, is tough.

Even the next levels up (or down), fear and paranoia, are not so bad as the mid-level, anxiety. Fear is just fear: you huddle; you hide; you wait. And paranoia is actually kind of interesting, in its own perverse way. I don't mind it so much (in retrospect), because it's an altered state of consciousness, a definite mind-bending experience; very insightful.

Paranoia is much like taking psychoactive drugs. It changes your fundamental perspective and allows you access to sources of information that are excluded from ordinary consciousness. Of course, how you interpret that information is most significant and with paranoia your interpretation is often faulty and to be suspected and analyzed.

When the paranoid perceives the 'reality' of psychic (psychological, not psi) interaction, it's not an unrealistic perception; we do interact psychically in a profound, complex, but unconscious manner. Paranoia tends to make this conscious, and then assume that it's directed specifically at the paranoid, when it's a generalized phenomenon.

I always forget about this 'other world' until the season comes around again, or until I become involved in a social/business situation that prompts it via chronic stress. I don't miss the stress, at all; but I kind of miss the altered perceptions. I miss the information, the insight into personalities, the discerning spirit.



Reichfuhrer Bush and his minions and sycophants are taking a big media hit over their stand against gay marriage. Up to this point, the media has been pretty much hands-off the administration's conservative agenda, hitting the highlights and glossing over the complexities and the "secondary" issues, ignoring important news that doesn't insist itself into the limelight.

But it seems that the media feel that the gay issue is highly newsworthy and, in general, the buzz is in gays' favor. Gays are the new social underdog. Yeah, most people disagree with their sexual practices and lifestyle, but if the big bad macho boys start to push them around, which is exactly what Bush has been trying to avoid doing, people are going to sympathize.

Bush has managed to polarize the issue by calling for a constitutional amendment, thus further attempting to break down the separation between church and state. He claims that the definition of marriage is culture-bound and tied to religious practices, a definitive admission that he views church and state as inseparable. Thus, he establishes his battleground.



What a triumph. Gibson is a marketing genius. He's tapped into the pathology of the "religious experience" of Christians, which in most cases is more of a sad kind of pathos than it is a genuine spiritual event. "The suffering of Jesus" is a focal point of empathy that believers can project upon, experiencing what they think it is that Jesus suffered (when it is nothing more than their own simple pain, released), thereby achieving (a false) communion. [Real communion is with the living; The "Body of Christ" is the collection of living souls who join together in celebration of life, not the pain of a man who has been dead for two thousand years.] People are crying and acting out fervently, even at the thought of going to see the film. They're so lame, these sincere poseurs. Yet still, even if it's only a minor one, it's going to be an "event sociologique," as François Truffault, playing Claude Lacombe, said in Close Encounters.

2-25-04

When I was a child,
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look, but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is old. The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.
Pink Floyd
Downhill Independence

I'd searched for independence for so long, I didn't realize I'd had it early on. I projected the search outward, thinking independence was a physical condition, which I definitely did not possess, being insecure and attached, not only to specific physical conditions, but to specific people as well.

But early on, almost automatically (i.e., unconsciously) I'd achieved a high degree of social independence. But not really. No one is socially independent, unless he lives in the woods and is entirely self-sufficient; but in terms of sociability and adaptation, I separated myself out and existed apart.

Eventually, once I achieved a certain (high) degree of physical independence (owed, first, to having developed woodsman skills and then, later, to having accumulated some money, leading to financial independence), I extended my search for independence to the "spiritual" by studying Zen.

But even Zen is an illusion. There is no independence. The search for it is an attempt to create a fictive ego out of a universal experience. When I was a child, they (my parents, I guess) deluded me into thinking I was an independent entity (via mother-rejection). It was all downhill from there.



THE MAN WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER by Stephen R. Donaldson.
Novel. Mick Axbrewder was once a great P.I., but after shooting and killing a cop--his own brother no less-- he only works off and on. When his brother's daughter disappears, Mick investigates.
Hamilton Books blurb
THE MAN WHO KILLED HIMSELF by j jackson
I, too, only work off and on, having experienced a traumatic event, and so intimidated, must be coaxed, by persons or circumstances, out into the social world to do what I do, if the need (my own and /or others') is great enough.



...true narcissists (...the definition of it is actually a person who hates themselves and has no self identity and so puffs a facade around them in place of a soul...

...narcissists cannot determine who is them and who is not them. to them EVERYONE is them (this is NOT the same as feeling ONENESS with the universe!) and therefore everyone must feel what they feel as they feel it or want what they want when they want it.

ana, e-mail
People think that narcissism is self-love. But that is only the surface condition, the compromise formation. Deeper down, the narcissist is a self-loathing creature who cannot consciously accept his inner nature and so becomes superficially vain and shallow, learning to hate others as much as he truly hates himself, yet extending the pretense to others also, treating them superficially nicely, as if they are important to him, when they are not.

Everyone, to the extent that (s)he is superficial, is a narcissist. But everyone, at the deepest center of being, where all identity fuses, is also narcissistic. There is no oneness with the universe because there is no universe, only the Eternal Narcissicist. Everyone wants what (s)he wants when (s)he wants it. It's just that some people have a less egocentric way of going about expressing their desires that they appear to be sociable.



Greenspan urges Social Security cuts to reduce deficit
I've always liked Greenspan. But lately I'd begun to doubt his wisdom. And now! Fuck the man! Fuck him up the ass with a big fat dick! This is politics at its worst. Leave my retirement money alone, you filthy cocksucker. Spendthrift Republicans convert a surplus into the biggest ever deficit, and then they get their stooge to act as front man for their "divert money away from the lower classes into the upper classes" agenda. Support the revolution. Vote the bastards out.

2-26-04

I can't watch Allison Janney on The West Wing any more without thinking about how her performance will affect Olivia when she watches it. What a great role model for a seventeen year old woman. When I look at liv's pic on her newly designed website, I see C.J. in her face.

2-27-04

Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I've said too much
I set it up
Losing My Religion
REM
My brother called this morning, late, just after I got up. He said he was supposed to call and check to see if I was still alive (because my sister tried to call me the other day and couldn't get a hold of me the first time she called, because I was sleeping). I said, I knew that, that Dianne called me back. Then he told me that he was in rehab. I said I knew that too. He said, gossip sure does get around, doesn't it? Then he asked me if I cut down the tree yet, and when I told him that I hadn't, he said that it's going to be warm this week-end and maybe he'd be over to help me do it. I said, "Uh, okay." But I said it in a way that maybe made him think that I didn't want to do it. I do. But my tone of voice was influenced by the fact that I'd just gotten up and was still groggy and thinking (erroneously; that is, unmotivatedly) that I didn't want to be bothered with working outside this weekend cutting down a tree, especially since I have a number of projects with a lot of loose ends that I want to get tied up. (But cutting down that tree is a loose end left over from last fall.) So, anyway, I hope he does come over tomorrow to help me; but if he doesn't, maybe I'll go out and do it myself.

And speaking of loose ends, my brother, when he's not drinking, goes through this period where he backtracks and tries to make up for all his oversights and offenses that occurred during his drinking binges. In fact, this may be one of the tasks of his rehab, to go around and apologize and make-up for the negligent and/or abusive behavior--although he's never abusive towards me, and his negligence is something I expect from the world, so it's no big deal at all to me that he disconsiders me [although sometimes I'll slip and try to think it is; but I get over that mentality pretty quickly when I realize that I'm all alone in this thing called life. I seem to want to add an 'alas' to the end of that last statement, but I know that, really, this is the way I want it. I set my life up this way so that I am 'free' to pursue the things I want to do when I want to do them, without others' interference--or their help. When I allow my attitude to slip, it's usually because I'm experiencing some kind of difficulty that I don't know how to handle. But they have been few and far between for many years now, making me think that I'm becoming a little bit successful at life. Watch. Now something will happen that'll make me regret having said all this.]



I finally got out today and bought a lot of things I'd been planning on buying for months, among them CD-RWs and yarn and needles. I've wanted to learn how to knit for a long while now, because it's a gap in my orientation and manual dexterity; but I've been unmotivated to go out and get the necessary supplies. But today the long cold spell ended.

So, I'm back at home, sitting in bed in the late afternoon, after having spent nearly an hour assimilating knitting instructions from saved htmls on the computer. The tv is on, but I'm not paying any attention to it. I'm knitting away, dropping and doubling stitches like crazy, determined to master the art, when a topic of interest comes on the tv and I shift my attention to it and suddenly realize that here I am, knitting and watching Oprah. I've gone over the edge.

I spent the entire afternoon and evening, long into the night, knitting and pulling out the stitches and starting over, developing the skills necessary to create a simple, but abundantly mellifluous scarf, such as the one Richard Grant wears in Jack and Sarah. You know the type. The kind that certain men with taste will wear in the dead of winter with a hat, a heavy shirt and sweater, and no coat, thus establishing a cool, bohemian appearance.

I knit until dawn while watching Leno, Conan, John Walsh, Carson Daly, repeats of Leno and Conan, ABC NewsNight and then the local morning news and then I crash while listening to PBS local cooking shows, which provide a nice, homey background for my dreams. [Switching to a new day in the journal.]

2-28-04

[Continued from "yesterday," which ended at five-thirty a.m. this morning when I fell asleep.] And now, awake after six hours sleep, I realize that knitting is one more thing I'm going to be obsessed about.

The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig
I've been saying this for years: there is no such thing as artificial; everything is natural, when you break it down into its constituent elementals.

The Buddha resides quite as comfortably in knits of yarn as he does in the spaces between the words on the screen of a digital computer or in the incoherent babblings of a tv cooking show that provides the background for obtuse yet comforting unremembered dreams.

2-29-04

What we have in this country is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. [Gore Vidal]4

This is what I do very well and what I most enjoy, writing out and processing these journal entries, documenting my life and thought, making some kind of sense out of the (self-defined) overwhelming input I encounter. This is what makes my life worthwhile, when otherwise I would feel, as I have so often in the past felt, that life was boring and tediously dull, the bulk of which was interrupted only by periods of acute stress, relieved by interleaved episodes of mind-numbing escape.

Other people, some few of them, get paid for what they do well, and some fewer of them actually like what it is that they get paid for. But many people, still today, do not like the work they are required to do in order to survive. This is my complaint:

We should be advancing our world culture/society toward a place/time where we, as individual members of an integrated planetary community, work at what we love to do and are good at--and get paid for and reap social credit for our work!! But we are not advancing in that direction. In fact, we are moving in exactly the opposite direction, where more and more people are crowded into increasingly automated jobs that they are psychologically unsuited for.

As a society, as a matter of our collective values, we do not prize individual job and life satisfaction, despite lip service to the contrary. Our impetus to work and to life is as members of a collective, which encompassing goal is orchestrated by the rich, who enable themselves so as not to have to participate in the collective response. They advance in life-satisfaction while the rest of us struggle in circumstances we don't like so much, at least at times, living out a fantasy that some day, if we work hard enough, we will promote ourselves up to the situation the rich are in.

But most likely, most of us will not promote ourselves; and certainly no one will be promoting us. Oh, some very few will "strike it rich," just enough for the rest of us to believe that we might one day be among them. But most likely, the few who advance do so for a very good reason: they were born with the genetic equipment to do so and/or acquired early on the psychological programming that enabled rather than interfered with their progress. If you examine their life histories closely, you'll notice that they have been on their way all along. It was only a matter of time and effort. But what about the rest of us?

I should get paid, a pittance, for each small piece I write. Every person should get paid, minimally if that is all that the market can be made to bear, for what they can do that they love to do. I don't think this has to be as utopian as it sounds. We may never totally create a kind of society where everyone lived that ideal, but we could, relatively easily, be advancing toward that goal. The reason we are not has to do with our self-image as a society/culture. We believe ourselves to be a species where the bulk of us are born to suffer in ignominy. The wealthy businessmen and well-off academicians and politicians maintain this agenda: cream rises to the top. But if there is no room at the top for the cream to rise, then it must be content to rest as far down in the bottle as the suspension will allow. And, anyway (to mix--or totally destroy--a metaphor), if the cream is not properly nurtured so as to be provided with the education and opportunity to find its natural and effective place in life, if there are not enough (or no) opportunities to do what the cream does best and is most happy doing, then what hope is there for the lower forms of cream?

What we need is a system of homogenization, where the cream is integrated into the mixture as a whole, where each of us is provided with a (very minimal, i.e., baseline survival) income for doing, perhaps as piecework, what we do well and like to do. We would then have the choice, if we so desired or decided it to be a better course of lifestyle behavior, to pursue a "higher" form life by kissing ass, kowtowing, etc. in order to work our way up a hierarchy of social position. But if we chose, for whatever reason (usually, or maybe always, psychologically programmed), to remain apart from the social/corporate structure and gamesmanship, we could still exist and survive doing what we love to do. As it is now, the system ignores the mental well-being of those who do not "fit in." At best, it commits them to institutions to be "cared for" or, perhaps, it provides them with handouts via welfare programs that it makes certain are defined in such as way so as to make the recipients who "choose" to participate feel like social leeches.

Instead, we need viable social welfare programs that provide minimal income, not as handouts, but by providing a market for the produce of individuals who choose to do what they love to do. I suppose there are (some few) people who love to dig ditches, and likely they will have no problem finding work. Likewise, there are people who love to do plumbing or electrical work, etc. These are examples of socially adapted people who have chosen their line of work based on what they want to do. (Not all ditch diggers, plumbers, electricians, etc. like what they do. Some percentage of them may hate it or feel indifferent about it and do it for the money. This is an example of a person who chooses to participate in the society's social hierarchy.) But what about the artists and poets, etc., naturally suited to their chosen pursuits, who have no social outlet for their work? Programs could be designed to enable their psychologies.

Yes. This is radical stuff, a kind of reverse social engineering. But Christian theology, when it values each individual equally, for each own inherent self, suggests that we pursue this course in order to enable the least of us in our efforts to become who we are meant to be within a viable social system, and not despite it. This kind of integration could relieve a great deal of mistrust and alienation and significantly reduce costly social problems. I'm not suggesting that we pour a lot of money into an alternate system that will be a drain on the mainstream economy. Rather, I'm suggesting that we develop alternative moneymaking systems as adjuncts to the primary economy, ones that are not optimized by a corporate culture because the corporations see no significant profits in them. And if they would, in the future, as a result of the development, come to see economic opportunities, then the alternate participants would become even more integrated into the system, becoming the new ditch-diggers, ones who are predestined to love their work.

Click on footnote number to return to that respective point in the text.
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1. Scott Adams, Dilbert Newsletter
2. Decided January 22, 1973
3. Freudian typo: "forever" instead of "forehead"
4. As quoted in Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington