Monday, March 30, 2009
What is the use of feeling anything? Why should I care for anyone who indulges in such relentless narcissism? The fascination wore off long ago. The only connection I still have is some semi-psychic response to an old feeling I can barely remember. It's a lighthouse nightlight that won't let me sleep. There is no distance that makes it wane. Yet there is no closeness of proximity that can light it to its former brilliance. All I ever really feel is nauseous.
I am a stray dog captured on a leashpole. I cannot get any closer nor can I pull further away from my captor. And she has forgotten me. All the inventiveness in the world cannot replace the generations of evolution it would take to develop opposable thumbs to release myself from this noose.
Resentment fills my heart these days. I cannot interpret such violent disregard as anything but malevolent. Not while reconciling my self respect with my circumstance. I tell myself that I'm in this situation because I trusted too much. I gave too much. I let my guard down. I let her in. And I will not let it happen again.
Yet even now I want to. I want to let someone in. Anyone in, to drive away the loneliness. Loneliness isn't so bad except for the fear that it will stay forever. Like the relative who needs a place to crash but makes no plans to get a place of his own. Oh yeah, and he doesn't shower.
Someone told me recently that I was the smartest person they knew. I couldn't help but think they must know some pretty stupid people.
I used to compose poetry. It was never written down. If it was published it would have been a gift to all the world and recited by lovers in ages to come. Some think that depriving the world of such art could only be done out of spite. I don't hold any spite for the world.
My poetry was meant for one person only. The person who inspired it. Recited during moments of passion. She ignited a part of my brain from which words flowed like a waterfall. I showered her with beautiful expression because I knew of no other gift. I had no money for diamonds or gold. I was without means to even support myself but I felt enriched as if touched by the essence of life itself. Waterfalls will cut at the seemingly invincible rocks beneath them, over time.
In those moments, sections of my brain that were foreign to each other were introduced like emissaries of peace. They found common ground and united in a cause to rival the greatest and most heroic invasion stories. Mankind is assaulted by a foreign competitor that threatens to wipe it out so the people put aside their differences and band together to fight back. Resources are offered plentifully and freely without regard for recompense. So were the technical and emotional parts of me united in those moments. I've never had the words to express how I've truly felt since.
I never had a muse before her, or since. I'm not sure if they're all unable to understand or appreciate the sentiments they inspire. Mine kept her obvious intellect drifting untouchable in a void. Unconnected to anything real. Unable to leave the distractions of her fears, insecurities and social trappings. She was a crystal ball and my words slid off her without leaving a mark like so much water. I watch water that has cut through rocks and I marvel at the thousands of years of dedicated erosion I could not summon or afford. I feel like someone who played road hockey as a kid and now only watches the pros on TV dreaming of what could have been.
She knew my words were worth something. But she misunderstood. She wanted me to write them down and so asked me to write her a love letter. The only words I could master came to me while I was in her arms. She would have done better with a tape recorder. What words I had were freely given for her eyes only. Without her wellspring to drink from and knowing she would show every girlfriend who cared to read it my prose was stilted and broken. Clumsy. I would have done better keeping the pen between my toes than my fingers. Well-meaning but still so much chicken scratch.
Ever since that time I've been searching for ways to connect those parts of my brain again. To give my emotions a shape with my words. To find that quality of expression that would remind me of home. The only home I've ever wanted: her arms.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
I love hearing a great story. I also love telling stories and I try to tell them engagingly. This story is one of the very best I've ever been told. The music is the most amazing thing about it, in my opinion. It keeps you on edge and alert. These are the sounds of a raw desperation that I would not be able to fully understand if I saw the scenes with no music.
It saddens me that some people hear about a depiction of a sequence in a movie and judge it for these things alone. For example, I could tell you that more murders occur in this movie than occurred in Reservoir Dogs. Does that make this movie more violent than Reservoir Dogs? Hardly. Each death is an event that is put in its proper context. Loss. Sadness. Justice. Rage. Fear. These emotions are woven into the story and tell of lives lived, terrors experienced, horrors seen and tragedies overcome. The only stories that occur without deaths are children's books. They have their time and place but after that time is over we need to all get over it and realize that life is happening all over the world. I hate the movie ratings system.
There is one element that makes this story at once believable, engaging and thrilling. The main character understands one of the most basic elements of life that most of the rest of us struggle with. It is shown plainly from the time he is a small boy and first meets the girl who becomes the love of his life, follows through every scene and caps off the finale of the story. It is the motivation for everything he does and it is what makes us root for him. It's something he needs the girl to understand or nothing he does is worth the effort. There's no amount of money he could earn or win on a television game show that could ever make him happy if she doesn't come to understand this one simple truth.
If you haven't risked it all for love then you haven't really lived.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The men who went to this war weren't heroes. They were ordinary men afraid of bombs and bullets and dieing and everything that frightens people who didn't go to war. They felt remorse and hate and fear for their mortal souls. They didn't have widely sweeping romantic moments of passion in the arms of their lovers. They had dirty, tawdry, cheap, rushed moments in change shacks. And they were happy to get them.
They had no idea that people would hold their service in such high regard this many years later nor would they have cared much if they did. They justified their existence in their time and place with semi-philosophical meanderings and shaky logic. Soldiers need to know that what they're doing is right or purposeful in some way or they would lose their minds and give up. They are given a weapon and ammunition and they wake up every day knowing that they may have to kill the enemy that day. The psychological toll is unfathomable for people who haven't been there.
I cannot connect to the part of me that once felt war was about commanding armies and conquering kingdoms. I still enjoy the challenge of the simulation of such events like a puzzle or strategy game but I am immediately revulsed with the thought of it happening in real life. The slaughter of soldiers and the subjugation of people is something I cannot support or participate in. Only so many things can be justified in the defense of a homeland or a way of life. I hope to live long enough to see a day when the rest of the world sees this too.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I heard a story once about a man in Hawaii who would walk down to the beach every morning to a spot where the waves crashed with considerable violence. There he would stand directly in the path the tide and attempt to stand up to the forces of nature. The water would repeatedly crush and pound him into the sand with each oncoming surge and he would stubbornly stand right back up and wait for the next onslaught, never once succeeding in keeping his feet underneath himself. he would continue this until he was too tired to continue and drag himself home only to return the next day.
He told people he did it to make himself stronger. If he could face off against Mother Nature and live then he could accomplish anything. One morning, he failed to return home. People knew he had been taken by the tide and they started a legend that the ocean absorbed his spirit and you could feel it when you were out in the water among the waves.
It's a romantic story and I'm sure the myth created was a comfort of sorts for the family he left behind. But anyone who thinks rationally and objectively knows that his morning ritual was little more than suicidal insanity and his end was inevitable. There was nothing heroic about standing in front of a natural force the way he did. The ocean didn't care for him, nor did it hate him. The ocean swept him away like so much driftwood and never looked back.
As it is with the emotions that are so strong they can sap all physical strength from you bring you to your knees. They can bring forth currents of tears for no visible reason to the casual observer. Riptides of emotion that are too overwhelming to have merely one emotion as their cause. Instead they spawn form a complex mix of love, respect, desire, fear, and shame. They build up over time from our ignorance of our own selves and our self-protective memory blocks. They are let loose by a stray glance at a photograph or some other memory trigger that denies us the possibility of blocking out the past.
Only memory can hold something so strong. For only memory can allow something to build up such force over time. Experiencing these emotions in smaller pieces as they confront us on a day-to-day basis seems much more difficult and stressful but it disallows the bottling that can cause us to get swept away.
Sometimes I wonder if people whose memories are not as clear and vivid as my own feel these emotional floods the same way. Can they really feel all the emotions that memory brings if their memory cannot bring the same quality of images to their present consciousness? Is vivid memory an obstacle to emotional development because it can keep a person stuck in former moments with former emotional tags?
Just as that man in the story was stupid to stand in front of something too strong to withstand, we would be stupid for stubbornly and repeatedly facing the things that will eventually rip us apart. Having something make you strong means nothing if your end comes too early for you to put your strength to use.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
The music starts. A slow thrum with a quickening pace. It feels like a march. Relentlessly moving forward thoughts and ideas. If it's not stopped it'll flood the screen. Steamrolling. Snowplowing through the natural crush to make way for the unmistakably human stamp of intellect to follow. This has been building a long time.
I don't want to merely scratch the surface of my consciousness. I want to crack open my protective shell like a nutcracker, rip off the fleshy bits and post them on this blog one at a time. But even that would be a misdirection. Because it's not the shell you should be interested in.
I have felt the pain of turmoil and strife and I'm here to tell you that it's nothing to fear. My soul bleeds and I'll catch it in a cup and splash it across this screen for your perusal. I want to revel in my faults and make you jealous that you haven't. I want you to see reflections of your own faults in mine. I want you to know not only that I'm human but exactly how human I am.
Sooner or later every shy person explodes. And if you swept the pieces together you would have a collage of pain from moments lost and unspoken "I love you"s. Some people have looked at me and decided that I'm dead inside. I'm here today for you to judge the same. Would a person who was dead inside write this? Are these the words of a person with no nerve endings on their emotions?
Slice that layer off. The imagery does nothing to sway you. I challenge you to hear me. I howl my guts at the moon and wait for a response. I rip my heart out so you can see that it still beats. But how much difference did that make the last time?
The soft whisper of "I give up" sings its siren song. Floating through my brain before I squish it like a bug. It has no place here. The violent thrashings of desperation possess my body while I sleep. I can't escape this place I've found myself. I can escape, just not today.
When I'm done here I want my life to be represented by blood. Not the blood of conflict. A new definition of blood. The blood of a hard day's work. The blood that sings in your veins after a workout or when you first wake up and immediately do some jumping jacks. The blood of effort and success. The blood of a life fully lived.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
He has confidence in my abilities and isn't afraid to challenge me. Before I am done working for him I will have built an army or robots and forcibly installed world peace over a shattered planet. That is all.
Monday, September 19, 2005
I hate social obligation. That feeling you get when you see somebody that you met once or twice with mutual friends and you have an unspoken responsibility to their feelings to say hello and be friendly to them. People come to expect that you greet them with a friendly smile or else you've snubbed them. It happens on IM when someone logs on and they just sit there. Sooner or later somebody is going to do the socially acceptable thing and say hello even if they have nothing really to say. And in a separate sense, the same thing happens with a blog. People want you to stay in touch. People want to constantly know what you've been up to and "what's new". And they want you to be as constantly interested in them the same way.
I don't want to be like that. I don't want to say hello to someone just because I've met them before. I don't want to send empty messages to people out of a need to let them know that I'm still alive. And I don't want to keep updating my blog just because other blogs are being updated. It's not that I don't like people. On the contrary. I love people. But I want to talk to them because I want their interaction. I want to say things to them that have meaning and will affect their lives. And it's not that I don't like my blog or don't want to continue updating it. It's that I want the things I put here to have meaning and to change the way people see the world. Maybe I'm expecting too much from myself. But there's nothing wrong with setting your goals high.
I grew up alone. Each grade, in each year, I had classmates and friends at school. But that was all they were. Friends at school. Amongst themselves they could exchange phone numbers and call each other about homework or girls or gossip or even hang out after school. I lived in a different area code. It was long distance to call anyone. And that was back in the day when long distance wasn't unlimited for a set monthly fee. You could conceivably get a bill for $350 a month if you weren't careful. There were the 15 other kids between the ages of 5 and 18 that lived within a 3 mile radius of our house but most of them were either too old or too young for me to hang out with on a regular basis. And the ones that were close in age were just as likely to be complete dickheads as generally nice people. Just because a person grows up in the boonies doesn't make them a down-home, good-natured, likable person. There were my two older sisters but when you're growing up it's just not cool to be friends with your sister. Not when you're a guy. Not when she's four grades above you.
Being in that place. Feeling totally isolated from everybody and everything. No group of kids to interact with on a regular basis, I got accustomed to being alone. To not needing that interaction to feel okay with myself. I felt totally comfortable being alone in my own skin and just doing whatever felt good on those long summer vacation days. Those days are a part of me now. I take those years with me everywhere I go. Sometimes I get tired of the world of people and all their busy-ness. I just withdraw for a while until the knots in my chest loosen up a bit. So, everyone who has emailed me in the past 2-4 weeks and hasn't received a response, please know that you're not insignificant. I will get back to you all in time. Just... not at this time. I still need some time to huddle in my hovel and do my own thing. Please be patient.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I'm exhausted. Not the kind of physical exhaustion you achieve from an intense workout or a hard day's sweaty labour. It's more of a mental or maybe psychological exhaustion that comes from withholding one's inner self for the sake of others. Social situations and what is generally known as "proper" behaviour regularly cause us to not say exactly what we mean. We are polite and, to some extent, reserved. This is called "tact".
Some people call this behaviour "lying" but I think that's a simplistic approach. We behave this way for a reason. Very often, our first reaction to anything is tied in with a protectionist instinct. In our most mindless, panic-stricken moments we are concerned solely with self-preservation and that can be seen when we tear down that wall of "tact". We say things that deliberately put people off their guard. That make them feel defensive and reserved. The words we use when we don't stop to think are usually a little more gruff and abrasive. Unpolished. Perhaps even pushy or presumptuous. And these descriptions only apply to interactions with people we don't know very well.
With people we know, say with co-workers or casual acquaintances, it's even more important. We get accustomed to these walls buffering our baser thoughts. Shepherding our conversations in useful directions when working in groups. Trapping us in roles that don't truly represent who we are. That is why we have to step beyond all those barriers before we can truly say that we know one another. That's why close friends have those walls torn down on a semi-permanent basis. To open up to someone we need stop being tactful and, as well, realize that they will also check their politeness at the door.
I officially start my vacation tomorrow. A much needed break from the lab. The new boss has been applying pressure on certain people only and the strain on them is starting to show. He recognizes that I'm much more technically advanced than my immediate supervisor which is a huge relief for me. But at the same time it has allowed me to recognize and think more consciously about all of my supervisor's failings. Don't get me wrong. He's a great guy. He's just not an engineer. He has come by his current position as a matter of circumstance. I've been consistently frustrated by his relative inability to understand a wide variety of things. And all of that causes a flood of relatively negative emotions that come threateningly close to the surface when discussing important things.
I have tried at various times to see things through his eyes. Sometimes it seems like he's purposefully blunting or delaying me. Like I represent the things he cannot know and, like all humans, he's instinctually fearful of them (and, by extension, me). It's difficult to hold a great deal of respect for someone like that. I don't purposefully walk on him or anything like that but I've long ago lost any illusion of true respect for him. When I put in extra effort at work I do it because I'm accomplishing something. I'm doing it for me. This is both good and bad. Good because I feel much more connected and integral with this company than I have anywhere else. But bad because if I ever fail to finish something quite fast enough or well enough then the only person I've failed is myself. And occasionally it becomes acceptable to fail yourself in affairs that don't directly affect survival.
So now I'm gone. I've tried to provide any and all information my supervisor will need while I'm gone but I still expect to get a few phone calls during the 6 working days I'll be missing. It's been increasingly difficult to keep up that tactful wall with him lately. He's been under pressure to have more control over what goes on in the lab. But he doesn't understand most of the things we do so instead he micro-manages everything to death. He obsesses over the arrangement of the equipment and is overly picky about the layout of the sheet we use to report our test results. My enthusiasm has been sapped by this process and I've felt somewhat uninspired. I can't pick myself up to go in all the time on the days where I know there isn't anything important to do. This vacation is just what I need.
And now for something completely different. It's been quite a while since I've updated, so here is a pointform list of all the things I've learned since my last update.
1) Chinese girls are pretty and nice. Especially girls from Shanghai.
2) Spending 12 hours and 47 minutes straight in the Alterac Valley Battlegrounds is only worth it if you win.
3) Spending more than 17 hours in two days in constant Player vs Player combat may net you over 3200 Honorable Kills and props from your friends and online comrades as a hardcore gamer, but it will only move you from "Unranked" to "Grunt".
4) People will still visit your blog on a regular basis even when you've told them that you've slowed your updating pace.
5) There are only 5 shows that are always worth watching on Basic Cable TV. The Daily Show, South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Ultimate Fighter.
6) Doubling the amount of RAM in your PC will drastically improve its performance.
7) Other people can constantly surprise you with their ability to overcome family heartache, pain and tragedy.
8) Ignoring the world won't stop you from thinking about it.
9) Merely thinking about the world will do nothing to change it.
10) Reaching '10' on any particular list isn't always worth the effort.
Be good while I'm gone.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
This blog is experiencing a murmur. That is, the pace it normally keeps is being interrupted and beats in its rhythm are being occasionally omitted. There is no need for concern. Although heart murmurs are uncommon and occasionally life threatening, blog murmurs are much more common and much less hazardous to one's health. The continuous nature of a heartbeat is such an excellent metaphor for so many things that we often forget that many of those things are not nearly as important as an actual heartbeat. The lack of continuous rhythm in this world is not necessarily indicative of impending demise. In fact, blog murmuring may be an indication of a series of real life events taking precedence over events of the virtual world. Most of us, after all, are using our blogs to replace or extend our actual lives so why is it a big deal when our real life fulfillment supersedes the need for a virtual connection?
Friday, August 19, 2005
Tonight I'm going kayaking and then out for drinks afterwards with the new boss. Much has changed here at the lab in the past two weeks. Most notably, the "new guy" that I trained in SAR testing is now the project manager for our ISO certification. When I first heard the news I felt a little left out of the loop because, technically, I was passed up for promotion. But within moments I realized that it left me exactly where I want to be (in the lab) with sole dominion over the technology that has been my brain-baby for the past two years.
Now we're busy moving office furniture because the new boss wants to make sure that people notice the difference between the old regime and his reign. It's kind of like the way the names of streets in Soviet Russia would change once a new ruler came to power. Tonight will be an important event. Namely, it is an out-of-office opportunity to get a clear view of my direction in the company without anyone else around. This kind of thing is crucial for the movement of ideas without office politics interfering. Should be a good time.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I saw some completely ridiculous things on TV last night. Apparently they have too much airtime to fill up and not enough qualified people or things to talk about. On CNN, there was a story about Christian groups who are outraged about the upcoming movie of The DaVinci Code. Their beef is that the book portrays Christianity in a bad light and that some people might take this work of fiction for historical fact. First of all, Christianity is not threatened by some work of fiction no matter how many copies have been sold so far. They're going to make a movie? And you say that Ron Howard is directing it while Tom Hanks has the starring role? Please. If Christianity has survived the likes of Galileo, Luther and Darwin then it can weather the mini-storm that this silly little movie will create. And that's all it is, folks. A silly little movie. With silly little people doing silly little things that won't have any measurable impact on the product of faith. And if there is such a religion that can't withstand the likes of a few Hollywood personalities then I don't want any part of it.
Secondly, on the same topic, these Christians on CNN were worried about the story that this book tells being mistaken for historical fact. This seems incredibly odd given the stance that certain other Christians have made on the subject of Evolution. It seems to me that the Bible (a collection of stories that have been quite thoroughly examined and found mostly to be historically implausible) seems to be mistaken for fact all the time. Maybe trying to shape the past into what we want it to be isn't the point?
Next up is MuchMoreMusic, a Canadian music video channel that was developed during a time when they had stopped showing actual videos on the mainstream music video channel MuchMusic. Apparently, it's now MuchMoreMusic that doesn't play videos these days as all they seem to do is talk. And last night they were talking about Eminem's Great TV Moments. Somehow the duet with Elton John at the Grammy's didn't fit into the one hour they had alotted, but the MTV performance of "Sing For The Moment" did. Background for those that don't know, Sing For The Moment was a song that used the music and chorus of Aerosmith's "Dream On" as a backbone. I quite like the song but I think the opinions of the people on MMM are crap. It was their concensus that Aerosmith should be thankful to Eminem for including their former hit as a sample. Yeah, right. They had to give their permission for Eminem to use their song. Aerosmith doesn't need to thank Eminem. Eminem needs to thank Aerosmith. Aerosmith has been making hits since before Eminem was born and they're still going, they don't owe anybody shit. That's like saying that Led Zeppelin should be thankful that Puff Daddy (or whatever he's called now) was thoughtful enough to include a sample of Kashmir as one of his songs. I don't think so. Where is Puff Daddy's hit song now? Does anybody still include it on their playlists? Show of hands, don't be shy...
Third, there's this teenaged girl that's gone missing in Aruba. There's been a lot of speculation about who could have done it. They've held a few kids in custody and interrogated them repeatedly to no avail. Basically accomplishing nothing, much like many criminal investigations that the US media giants stick their ugly craws into. Apparently, an arm washed ashore yesterday and they're going to test it to see if it belongs to this missing girl. First of all, if this were done by these three yahoos that are being held in custody it was probably an accident, not a professional hit with no trace of anything left behind. Amateurs make mistakes, even ones who religiously watch CSI. Now, if this arm washes ashore then the body must have been dumped at sea, maybe even chopped up. Not really something a few guys might do on a spur of the moment. Maybe there's a more sinister criminal element at work here that's being totally ignored? I could believe it if they had done something like this before. Had some practice. Have there been many other missing people in Aruba lately? Would anyone notice or care if it wasn't a rich person's kid? Would anyone care if it wasn't an American? And another thing, what if the arm doesn't belong to this girl? I mean, how often do human arms randomly wash ashore in Aruba? Would anyone have noticed or even cared if they hadn't been looking for this girl? It sure is a strange world we live in.
Monday, August 15, 2005
I've been ignoring the blogosphere for the past few days. I've had many thoughts but most of them have been incomplete and/or incoherent. But mostly it's just that I've been holed up in my room playing World of Warcraft. It's not that the game is all-consuming, it's that I have an all-out, drag-me-away-kicking-and-screaming sort of personality. It's the reason I don't do drugs. They would consume my life with a passion to reach each new high. Alcohol almost did that to me. It's not even clear to me how and when I realized that I should pull away from that. It just slowly faded as a serious form of entertainment. Many alcoholics talk about a "moment of clarity". But I'm not sure I ever had one. It's still fun to get drunk. It's just not as fun to do it all the time like it used to be.
And the same thing happens with me when I interact with people. I'm a very social person. I meet people and they seem very interesting to me and I want to know everything about them. But I hate people who talk behind people's backs and all the negative, backtalking bullshit that goes on when you start listening to what other people think of each other, so I go out of my way to talk to the people I want to know. To have everything I know about them be based on what they've told me and what I think of that. I often refuse to take people's words and opinions about other people seriously. I want to judge everyone who interacts with me on that basis alone. It seems really good, right? But like everything, there's a downside.
It means that I'm very demanding in my communications with people. I often don't have time to sit around and shoot the shit. I want to get right down to brass tacks right from the getgo. I want to find out what makes a person tick and if they're standoffish I'll either ignore them because they don't seem interesting or I poke at them until I get a reaction. And when people let me in partway and then decide that they haven't known me long enough to tell me anything else, it frustrates and hurts me. Sometimes I clutch at people frantically for them to finish their thoughts and speak their minds. But most people feel that they're going to look stupid if they open their mouths so they tend to stay quiet about things that matter. They don't want to be wrong, but they especially don't want to be wrong about things that matter. They don't want outsiders to touch their beliefs and mess with whatever illusions they've built to protect themselves. Part of the blame here sits with people with have ignorantly tried to judge them on their views rather than simply learning about them. And really, everyone is guilty of this to some extent.
That's why I've grown to let people go when it looks like they want to leave. I don't chase people's attention as much as I used to. Instead, I let them go about their business. But when it comes to women, this has disserved me terribly. It turns out that some women ("some" is a conservative estimate, there is considerable evidence to support "most" here) want to be chased. They want men to do stupid, revealing, and foolishly pointless things to get their attention. They want someone to poke at them to make them tick. They want men to take an all-consuming interest. To these women, I'd just like to say, be careful what you do. You create monsters in this fashion. Aside from the show-offs, braggarts and perverts that come out of the woodwork, once you create a system that a man can use to impress and subdue you, and then teach him how it works, he will then use that system to also impress and subdue other women. Let your love be about the things you want from life, not about some stereotype of what society tells you to want from life.