Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Perfect Moments

Happiness is a warm puppy. ~ Charles M. Schulz

Happiness is a warm gun. ~ The Beatles

Perfect moments are rare, but they happen more often than one might think. I don't mean a perfect day , or a perfect hour, or scarcely even a perfect minute... but a perfect moment. (Yes, I know I haven't blogged in a week, shut up.)

But perfect moments can happen often enough, if you're of a mind to notice them. Last night's perfect moment came in the kitchen. I was trying to cook dinner, managing to get everything on pretty much at once. I was getting some 'help' from my son to set the kitchen table, and trying to mitigate the 'help' from my daughter as she tried to un-set the table. I was enjoying the cold, burning sweaty chills of my delightful cold, which has now progressed to my throat, left nostril and frontal lobes. I was wondering why I was feeling so Monday on the Tuesday, since usually Tuesdays are reserved for feeling better than Monday.

As far as I'm concerned, if something is so complicated that you can't explain it in 10 seconds, then it's probably not worth knowing anyway. ~ Calvin

Yeah, yeah, I'm getting on with it. Anyways, in the midst of all this muddled sickness and annoyance and stress and whatever, a cool breeze came in through the open kitchen window. The lacy drape, which really doesn't shield air or light, was blown partly aside. It was humid outside, almost rain, but not quite. The kitchen was dark, the yard was lit, and the moist gust of wind felt really good on my oven-and-germ-baked skin. I leaned forwards, put my hands on the cabinets, and levered my body over the sink, and just... looked out the window.

And that moment... the breeze, the hot, the cool, the trees, the yard... it sort of made the whole day. It was a moment I could have stayed in forever.


...screamed the dust speck.

It probably seems juvenile and silly, but I like my moments. I get a few of them a week, I enjoy them for the span of a breadth, and then it's done, and the pot boils over, or some child hits another child, or the light turns green, or I fall asleep, or I wake up. It's not even about a breeze, or a window... it can be anywhere, it can be anything, and it can strike and fade like a bolt of lightning.

I should keep track of them.

Maybe it means something.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Procrastination Is.... Eventual

"Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait - The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don't count."

I'm fat.

"Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will--tomorrow!"

Hehe, yeah, I figured for the whole first paragraph, that one up there would sum it up pretty good. For THIS paragraph, I'm going to mooch a previous blog post. In truth, though... I've been diagnosed with a fatal disease. It has been kinda depressing me for the past few days. I mean, I always suspected I had it, but I've never been able to get a doctor to confirm my suspicions, mostly since doctors hate it when you think you know more than they do, which, in most cases, I am finding out is true. Ingravesconimis Morbus is a serious and dangerous disease, but fortunately, it is easily cured. Ingravesconimis Morbus is more commonly known as You're Too Fat Disease.

You're Too Fat Disease can strike anyone, even perfectly skinny people such as myself. My normally chiseled good looks have been obscured by puffy, fleshy growths. My ripped abdominal muscles are nearly completely encased in layers of adipose tissue, and their removal is a very costly medical procedure. The manual method of removal is a very long, often multi-year process, and it is very difficult for people who have been stricken with this disease for long periods of time. I myself have been living with for over nine years. I urge you, good people, who are reading this. Get yourself tested for Ingravesconimis Morbus, known on the street as Fat Bastarditis. You may be suffering from this horrible affliction, and not even know it, as it has been known to affect the brain and the vision, actually preventing itself from being discovered.

"To be always intending to live a new life, but never to find time to set about it; this is as if a man should put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day and night to another, till he is starved and destroyed."

Did you see the humor there? Huh? Didja? If not, go back and check again. I'll wait.

You saw it? Good. Moving on. Weight bench, check. Bars and free weights, check. Resistance bands, check. Punching bag, check. Exercise bike, check. TV, VCR, and stereo within easy reach of all those things, check. Lots of room, check. Motivation to actually use ANY of them (other than the TV?)... not check. I've used several perfectly reasonable and excellent excuses and justifications to get out of exercising, most recently: Throkette won't sleep through the night, and I can't get up early enough to work out [b]/[/b] when she does sleep through the night, I want to sleep in sooo badly to catch up on sleep [b]/[/b] when I'm up early and she's sleeping through the night, I can't go downstairs because I won't hear her when she wakes up. At night, I'll vow to get up and work out, and in the morning, nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is more important than just getting a little more sleep.

"Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic suicidal depression to just cheer up."

The major drawback is that at 6am (or whatever), I'm not in the best mindset to make important decisions. The rest of the day, I wish I had gotten up early and done something with my life, but when the alarm goes off and my eyes blearily open like discount garage door openers, I don't care about the decisions made the previous day by my predecessor (the 'waking' Marble). Thusly, the waking Marble (me, now) needs to start making some stronger decisions, ones that carry some weight early in the morning. I need an alarm in Throkkette's room so that I can wake up if I had to crash in there due to a midnight feeding. I need a baby monitor so I can hear her from the basement. I need to find some time to work out at night, between putting the kids in bed and actually relaxing and checking my e-mail.

Hey.... it's worth a shot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Anger vs Hate vs Violence

Anyone can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.

Yesterday's post left a few questions unanswered, but it didn't occur to me until I'd gone to bed and had time to think about it. Fighting can be positive, violence can be excellent, and anger is one of the primary driving forces behind humanity. Anger is responsible for nearly every positive (and negative) social change in history. What sloth hath wrought in slavery, anger doth take away. What disease hath wrought on the family of men, anger hath cured. Love and hate are the emotions, anger is the means to resolution.

When you are angry or frustrated, what comes out? Whatever it is, it's a good indication of what you're made of.

Now, there's a good chance I'm off my cracker with this, but if I am, I'm not off it very far. Anger's closest relative is passion, and passion is the link to love and hate. You can hate something, but to hate with passion leads to anger. You can love something, but to love passionately leads to anger, but it is the sort of anger that is directed at the world, the sort of anger that desires to fight off anything that could hurt that love, deprive that passion. With hate, however... the anger seeks to FUEL the hate, INCREASE the passion, until fervor overrides thought, and actions are merely responses to an emotional impetus that one does not understand anymore.

Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.

Because anger is linked so strongly to passion and love, anger's good neighbor is our friend, Mr Humor. Hatred fears humor, precisely because humor robs hatred of it's passion, leaving it baseless. Humor can harm hatred, but hatred can only be defeated by understanding, and understanding stems from a DESIRE to learn.

The Native American grandfather tells his grandson that there are two wolves inside of him, fighting for control. One wolf, is the wolf of love, peace, and kindness. The other wolf is a wolf of greed, hatred, and corruption. The grandson asks "Which wolf will win?" The grandfather replies "Whichever wolf I feed."

People think that anger is something that needs to be suppressed, needs to be controlled, but any psychologist (and indeed any well-adjusted adult) with the slightest sense of reality will tell you that suppression is not good... suppression is fear. If you fear your anger, you hide it away, bury it down, and hope it will suffocate and die. No matter how deep you bury something, though, it's still somewhere inside you, and it can draw nourishment from anything. Anger should not be buried, not be killed, but be cultivated, be allowed to grow, but now grow wild and out of control. Any gardener will tell you that many plants can suffocate and choke out all the plants around it.

A guy says, "I hate Jews," and I said, "Why?" He goes, "Because they killed my God." They believe that. If I believed that the Jews killed my God, I'd worship the Jews, 'cause shit, there's some badasses on that team, man. I haven't seen God ever, I see Jews all the time – go figure!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Morning Melancholia

Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it into a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard. Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely — lay your life before him.

It has to be some sort of cosmic Monday rule that I have to be all wishy-washy and irritated. Maybe it's a lunar thing, maybe it's from sleeping on the futon, maybe I had too many drinks on the weekend (four!), but I was all fighty and punchy this morning. It's been a long time since I've really thought about why I like to fight, why I like violence so much, and since I can't find my Hippo-Jutsu notes, I'll just have to sort of improvise this.

I like fighting. I like to hit things. I got a few minutes to whale on my punching bag yesterday (after hearing about a certain nephew who bit my one-year-old daughter) and despite the twinge in my wrist that hasn't gone away, I felt really, really good for about twenty minutes after that. Now, if you Wikiquote "Violence" or "Fighting", all you get are "Fighting is bad! Violence is hate!" quotes, which, on a general, societal level, I agree with. Now there's also the great Heinlein quote of "Naked force has resolved more issues than anything else in history, and thinking anything else is wishful thinking of the worst sort". This is also true... violence sucks, but it works, for a number of reasons.

Now, I don't want to fight another country for any issue of mine or theirs, and I don't want to fight anyone on the street for any issue of mine or theirs... but I want to fight someone else who wants to fight me, for the sake of fighting, so that we can fight, and still be friends, and nothing more. Maybe it's hard-wired into humans, maybe it's something wrong with my brain, but I like to fight, I like to hit things, and I feel no animosity for anyone, because of or in spite of this.

People need to differentiate fighting, differentiate VIOLENCE, with hostility. They are separate things. Fighting is destruction and creation at it's most base level, whereas hostility is a developed, evolved concept that is solely about destruction.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Langstrom's Viral Joy

You don't think there's anything amiss? I'm sitting here wearing a red and white checked gingham dress... and army boots... and you think that's un-amiss? I was just doing a little test... a little test to see if you'd gone crazy... If there's one thing I can't stand, it's crazy people. So... let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet, to see the king of the potato people and plead with him for your freedom, and you're telling me you're completely sane?

I think I've made a huge psychological breakthrough... this is the sort of thing that should be in all the papers. Psychiatrists all over the world need to know this, and I feel that it could save millions of people... but you can read about it here first. You ready?


Talking about problems helps.

Today has been one of the best days in all of recent memory. It was a good day at work, I got to go for lunch with my buddy at the KICKASS Mexican place downtown, I had more of a good day at work, I picked up my family and went to the farm, and I picked corn with my son, actually hung out with my father in law (who called me "buddy" three times, bringing the sum total through all time to... three), cooked dinner on the barbecue, watched football with my son and father-in-law, had a tasty dessert, drove the kids home (where they fell asleep instantly), and then got to chill in front of the TV for a little bit. Nothing individually amazing, but I've just felt... really great.

Ever since my post this morning. (See below). I still feel dissatisfied with the world, full of rage and anxiety, but now they're stuck between Smirnoff and corn and donuts, and that's all right with me.

You Have To Fight

If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned .......

Now, except for the "quit your job" part there, my Fight Club kick is messing with my head again. Like many dissatisfied and disenfranchised men (and I suppose a few hormonal and confused women), Fight Club strikes a chord with us, but like all truly disenfranchised men, we can't do anything about it. It's sort of like being trapped at the bottom of a well, and if you don't get out of the well, you'll die. Now, there's a ladder which leads out of the well, but it has a little sign on it saying "Do Not Climb The Ladder", which may be the last thing that we see when our eyes close for the final time.

Now, I know my wife is reading this and thinking bad thoughts at me (yes, I can hear them, no, put the knife down), but no dear, this isn't about you or the kids or anything like that. Well, it is, but in the same way that me cracking a can of Coke is causing global warming. EVERYTHING contributes, but you and the kids are the things that keep me sane in a crazy world (and, ironically, make me crazy the rest of the time. Throkette, get off the kitchen table.) I work these many jobs and sleep these crazy hours to keep you all safe and give you the life you want.

But the fact that I have to almost kill myself to do that is one of my central issues with the world. The fact that ANYONE has to do that proves that the world is not right. I have tried, and tried, and tried to understand economics and the forces that control the ebb and flow of money, and no matter how many times it's explained to me, it's all just a solid wave of white noise and fiction.

This is probably just the lack of sleep and highway-driving seizure talking, combined with a YouTube inspired re-watching of Fight Club (see below!), but I know that, for the past week, I've been trying to find a way to take some time off work. Like... six months, preferably somewhere near a year. I have a new baby on the way soon, I have a ton of house renovations to do, and I know that the time is slipping away for me to ever write anything important to me. I have two kids, soon to be three, that I almost never get to see, and all I remember from my childhood is that on those rare occasions I ever saw my dad, he made me wish he wasn't there, and I know that I'm ending up the same way. I want to be there for them, be there for my wife. I can barely make it through the days now with enough spare time to play a little Stars! or Diablo, something just to give my day some solitude and amusement, and even that's not enough to get everything done that I need to do just to maintain my life the way it is, let alone improve it.

I'm picking up thoughtwaves... can't make it out, but "whiny bitch" seems pretty prevalent...

Anyways, it's back to work, where I watch incompetent but better-educated men get paid more for doing less work.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I Need To Stop Looking Like Me

I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six year old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply evil...He's been here once tonight. I think he'll come back. I'm gonna wait for him.

More specifically, I need ideas for a Hallowe'en costume. Some friends of mine are going as Transformers, and my son is mad at me for not having a costume for the past two years. So far the suggestions are:

Captain Planet


Jason Voorhees

I rather think the second one is more likely...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Unreality Of Reality

Reality is a term for people who refuse to see things as they can be,
so that they might be, instead seeing things as they are,
and lazily assuming that's how they'll always be.

~ Walter White

The persistent illusion of the Universe is finally starting to push me over the edge. Hmm, those words don't quite adequately capture the force of feeling I experience... ah, I know how to fix that.

The persistent illusion of the Universe is finally starting to push me over the god-damned Christ-punching edge. There we go, much better. The above quote sums it all up, really, but I feel I should go into some stuff, just so that the people who think they know me whill have something to do on their coffee breaks (or, if they forgot to make coffee, they can read it while waiting for Mothering to load.)

On my fora, there are several discussions about the American political 'system', and organized religion. Against all reason and logic, these threads have gone for hundreds of posts without degenerating, which makes me as happy as a little girl. I feel so... so at home on that board, and kin to many of the people there, what with all their little nooks and crannies (I'm not not licking toads). However, I am reminded of a little essay I wrote years ago, eloquently titled "Why It Sucks To Be A Writer."

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of everyone to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want - everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear - anywhere in the world.

* Franklin D. Roosevelt, America's Last President

The jist of the little essay, which was written while I was stoned and recovering from a seizure, is that literature exists to show people other worlds, worlds of future potential and wasted past chances, entire galaxies of what might have been and what could be. People lose themselves in the literature, in the stories, and if we've done our job right, they've thought thoughts they would not have otherwise come across, and their lives have been bettered. This is the goal of the writer. The world of the writer, though, is to see the whole of reality, and then pretend that somewhere better, or even somewhere worse, exists. The reader's life is improved, whereas the writer is, by their very existence, continually reminded of the shortcomings and insurmountable problems and infinite futility of the world of reality.

And there is a creeping fear of doubt, doubt of what we have been taught, of the validity of so many things we had long since taken for granted to be durable and unchanging. It has become more difficult than ever to distinguish black from white, good from evil, right from wrong.

* Edward R. Murrow

But that quote doesn't go all the way, does it? There's one further step, the step that we in the Western world took twenty years ago. The validity of so many things that we have long since taken for granted to be durable and unchanging is a false validity. We have long since taken for granted the true ineffectiveness of government, the indifference of humanity, the casual hatred of those around you for those not around you. The fear I feel is that the decline of the world will not be stopped, since the decline has been happening for so long no-one even notices anymore. Imagine a bacterium on the Titanic. Bacterium A, for the whole of his existence, has known that his world was half underwater. Bacterium B, for the whole of his existence, has known that his world was two-third underwater, despite what his progenitor may have said. Bacterium C, for the whole of his existence, has known that his world was nine-tenths underwater, whereas his child, Bacterium D, is born into a world that he can watch vanish with his own eyes, because no-one before him had the slightest clue that it was changing. Clearly I am referring to human attention-spans, not life-spans, but the results are the same. I can only hope that the ship sinks slow enough that my grandchildren can grow up enough to hate me for what I didn't do.

Friday, August 3, 2007

God Is Dei-licious!

This is a fictional conversation between Thematic, a guy on my forum, and Belial, another guy on my forum, and writer of the conversation. Behold!

Thematic: There is an alligator in that room to the north.
Belial: Is there?
T: Yes.
B: How do you know?
T: I just know.
B: Have you been in that room?
T: No.
B: Have you spoken to someone previously about the room?
T: No.
B: Have you read something about the room?
T: Yup, I found a really old scrap of paper saying "Alligator in there".
B: Huh.
T: Yup.
B: Is there some way of seeing into the room that I'm unaware of?
T: No.
B: Can you hear the alligator?
T: No. Do alligators even make noise?
B: They bark sometimes. Or hiss, if they're angry.
T: Huh.
B: Yeah.
T: Learn something new every day.....
B: So you didn't hear any of....
T: Nope.
B: Do they maybe have a specific sme-
T: Listen, Belial, Shut the fuck up. We could do this all day. I don't have any way of gathering information from that room, either. I just know.
B: Uhh...huh. Okay.
T: You don't believe me.
B: Nope.
T: You think I'm lying
B: That's the long and the short of it, yes.
T: Well, that's not fair.
B: You just admitted you have no way of knowing there's an alligator, and then you're telling me there's an alligator. You're lying.
T: You can't prove that. You have no way of knowing there *isn't* an alligator in the room.
B: Even if there *is* an alligator in that room, and I severely doubt it, you'd still be lying.
T: even if I'm telling the truth, I'm lying?
B: Pretty much. Because you have no way of knowing you're telling the truth. Even if there's an alligator, you just got lucky. You told me something with full knowledge that it may very well be, nay, that it was probably a lie, and you just happened to be wrong.
T: But I *do* believe there's an alligator in that room.
B: If that's true, it's an interesting experiment in self-delusion, but it doesn't change the fact that you have no way of knowing you're telling the truth. You don't even have a good reason to *think* you're telling the truth. So even if that door opens *right now*, and there's a goddamn alligator sitting there, you were still lying.
T: Hmpf.
B: Whatever.

I love these guys.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ZOMG! Stress != Good?!

That's what some researchers in the UK think!

Almost all men are over-anxious. No sooner do they enter the world than they lose that taste for natural and simple pleasures so remarkable in early life. Every hour do they ask themselves what progress they have made in the pursuit of wealth or honor; and on they go as their fathers went before them, till, weary and sick at heart, they look back with a sigh of regret to the golden time of their childhood.

The super-Einsteins behind the study determined, all on their own, that 45% of new cases of depression and anxiety were attributable to stressful work. They defined a highly demanding job as involving a lack of control, long hours, non-negotiable deadlines, and a high volume of work... which is to say every white collar job out there, pretty much.

Now, I had a conversation about this last night, with a friend of mine (over several vodka-based drinks). He owns his own business now, he sets his own hours, and he makes all the profit. Now, I consider his job just fantastically easy compared to mine... I design the buildings, and he cleans them. We discussed stress of jobs, and pay's effect on stress. Years ago, I worked a CAD job, but it was so MIND-NUMBINGLY DULL that I decided to quit. I then got a really busy, high-stress job, and I loved it for two and a half years, but now it's really, really grinding me down, despite my much improved pay. Had I been given THIS pay amount, with the BORING job, I wouldn't have quit, whereas I would need a LOT more money now to ease the stress and keep me doing this.

Stress and depression is not so much a byproduct of work, so much as stress is a by-product of improperly-rewarded work. But that's just my opinion, and I'll bet there's about 9,000 CEOs who disagree with me (and 9,000,000 workers who agree whole-heartedly).

Ok, back to work...