Sunday, June 19, 2016

...AND IF YOU DID NOT RISK ENOUGH IT IS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT PUT ENOUGH OF YOURSELF OUT THERE TO GAIN ANYTHING

TACTICAL

First, the straight dope.  I have secured the 2nd weekend in July to visit Ken and his lovely wife Beth at Nutwood.  Then, the first week of August will be KT’s visit to Omaha to see her old man and his NEW partner (I prefer that to any other reference term), as I am going to be moving from Omaha to the nearby town of La Vista! The end of my daughter’s visit will likely leave me just enough time to get ready for school!

I am excited about returning to classes and seeing where the possibilities take me.  A good portion of my free time has been spent watching You Tube videos about space, time, and philosophy… and it harkens back to my childhood of wondering what it would be like to be a man of letters (failing that, like my man Howie on the TV show, “The Fall Guy”), and seemingly becoming knowledgeable about the entirety of existence!

The recent news has just been crazy!  The attack on the Florida nightclub was just beyond my comprehension.  I don’t know what kind of take I have on the situation… there are several angles that one could take on this… still, needless of that, ANY take that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has on ANYTHING is likely to be the WRONG one!

THEY WERE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE..!

You need not wonder whether you should have an unreliable person as a friend.  An unreliable person is nobody’s friend.”  -Idries Shah

I don’t talk about my depression because I trace its source directly to my disabling brain injury.  There isn’t any emotional situation that I need to “work through”, nor is there a family crisis that lies as a source of all things angst in my life.  Not to mention the freedom from spiritual contradiction that my agnosticism provides me.  Finally, since most of my life has been spent alone and with my thoughts, I don’t think my social aversions does not constitute a sign of my mental state.  If anything, I would have thought my entries from when I first began journaling were a clearer sign that I just might be losing my sanity.  Anywho, I have been depressed for a little while and I have not quite been able to figure out what it is that’s bothering me.

Another reason that I don’t broach the subject of my mental health is that I don’t want anyone to have the “feels” for me.  It is simply supposed to happen per diagnosis of my injury.  What I experience when I am going through an episode is the feeling that I am being draped by cloak or tarp that obscures my sight, and that casts everything in shadow.  There is no reason for me to mention my depression because it is  NOT what makes me sad.  And the things that makes me feel sadness is another kettle of fish.

I picked this fave video of mine because it encompasses my thinking in my moving to Omaha.  The key statement, “We played them in pre-season, who the h*ll takes the third game of the pre-season like it’s bullsh*t?  We played them the third game… the Bears were who we thought they were...”, which should have illuminated the “why” to then-coach Dennis Green’s anger.  By mentioning “the third game of the pre-season”, which NFL teams usually use as a barometer for their starters.  It is in this context that I listened to Coach Green’s rant and how it became a tool of my own philosophical measurement.  Essentially, what likely upset Coach Green was the way his team played… as though they were completely unfamiliar with their opponent when they had only just played them a few weeks before.

My decision to move to Omaha was far from the random bolt it may have seemed when I began blogging than the opportunity that someone in my then-domestic situation turns to as an answer.  That was one of a number of negative presumptions that could have been made about me and my intentions in moving west.  Also, the idea that I was moving to Omaha primarily to be with a particular someone was a point of contention between Nebraska and myself prior to my deciding to move here.  When we first met online, there was a lot of “why Omaha?” in our conversations.  I never thought that with my flailing away with Mookie Dee had changed how she saw me… nor did I think that our rendezvous in Chicago improved my standing in her eyes.  In fact, I had lost ground with her after Chicago, though as for that, she was still pretty okay as far as I was concerned.  Besides, her gains made from our Chicago interlude were merely balancing out other considerations that I held of her from a different time in our relationship.  So you see, if I had came here primarily to be with Nebraska, I could have angered Coach Green!  After all… they are who we thought they were!


Working out my issues and unraveling my thoughts is something that I have always done through my own inner monologues (and yes, I answer myself..!).  It wasn’t until the end of my boxing career and showing the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury, struggling to keep my thoughts clear and focused, did I think that I need to begin keeping a journal.  Never, not in my disaffected “era of my discontent”, did I think that I needed to keep a diary of my days… possibly because I took for granted the gift of being a child of the First World.  Though I always tried to appreciate being born and raised in the Motor, having a Mom who worked for the Pentastar and earning good Union money, I also acknowledge the inner “ugly American” in me.  The kind of snobbery that would go across the bridge and wonder why didn’t they have a Dunkin’ Donuts and what the big deal was with the language fight in Quebec province (actually, I knew all about that even back then… just taking a poetic liberty point..!).

With the designation of introversion taking on a kind of cool status in society, my self-understanding of being an introvert gets lost in popular conversation.  Throw in my sociability, and I have always got how unlikely it may have seemed to people… in spite of all the teasing and insults I absorbed as a kid.  Despite all the incongruities about my perceived character, I have never really found myself “liking” people.  At an early age, I stopped having birthday parties, and Christmas time never really held any romance for me.  I could go on and on, but hanging about in groups never appealed to me, even as a nerdling among my fellow nerds.

Maybe some clarification is needed here, as I did have a group of five kids who I played “Dungeons and Dragons” with in junior high.  Of this group, two others (and about 8 of our fellow classmates) were smart enough to get in one of the three elite high schools in the city.  Here is one of my most major “what ifs” in my life, one where the road clearly diverged.  I did not make the first cut, but to keep from losing teachers, the westernmost of these schools took in more students from their list, and I made it.  My Mom had enrolled me at a parochial school, where I was one of seven or eight black kids, all male, on the east side of town.  I was doing quite well when the second chance came to go to my “dream school”, and I took it.  My decision was made, not impulsively, but with the full (or as full of one as a I could have had at the time) understanding of what my choice entailed.  It was a choice where I would disagree with Frost, and say that the road that I left for another day, if taken, would have made all the difference.  But what you must understand is, there are no regrets.  The most disappointment that I have had in my life has been in one epic choice...

EPILOGUE

The most epic theme to my sense of consequence in life a section from the song “London Calling” by the “only band that matters”.

Because I am inside myself SO MUCH, I have second thoughts about my second thoughts! It feels like a burden most of the time… being able to make assumptions made on social mores or presume customs based on superficial observances.  “Do you like this song?”  “Are you going to see that movie?”  “Is that singer pretty to you?”  “I bet you eat a mess of chicken, don’t you?”

I have enjoyed the consequence of the choices I have made during “my so-called life”.  The ups and downs of one’s existence is not measured in degrees.  Was life a well-lived one or was it not?  You are not going have time to equivocate when you reach the event horizon of being.

KT is looking forward to visiting in August; me and my new partner are thrilled about going to South Bend.  The way into the light is hard and long.  It has always been that way.  So you might as well smile as you go! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

HOW DO WE KNOW THE THINGS THAT WE HAVEN'T BEEN TOLD?

TACTICAL

I am doing well!  Still a residual loss of range of motion in my left wrist and right ankle that were both afflicted with gout, but I am going to begin stretching both joints to see if by increasing the flexibility of the joints, that will alleviate the problem I am having.

Did NOT get the colonoscopy.   Several reasons… none of them enough to PERMANENTLY write off the test, but with the timing of things coupled with some misfortune, I felt it would be better to have the procedure done next year.

Opening up the calendar and looking for July dates to visit Indiana and my good friend Ken and his wife, Beth, at their home in South Bend.  Hopefully this will be the start of our being travel pals, too, as I am looking forward to traveling (somewhat) around the country, including Detroit!! I don’t think that I need to explain why I need to make traveling home a notable place for me to visit, but after my last trip there, seeing my Dad would likely mean more to me than I had previously anticipated.

Now I am going to keep blogging… I feel that I have to repeat that to myself.  I do miss coming out and seeing what other people have to say, way more than I do having things to write about!!  I do want to start making videos that pertain to health and fitness, including discussions and Q & A’s about working out as well.

HOW DO WE KNOW THE THINGS THAT WE HAVEN’T BEEN TOLD?

Even had my gout not been nigh-incapacitating, I still could have pictured less frequent trips to make blog entries.  The community aspect that was so prevalent when I first began blogging has kind of drifted away from me.  I believe that there are still corners of the internet where people gather with common interests.  But it seems that the community which I once felt a part of has begun to drift away, pushed apart by dark energy.  And for me, that is cool.

There is a line in a song by The Clash (the only band that matters… man, and to think that they lived up to that claim is astonishing..!) “Lost In The Supermarket” … “...that’s how it’s been all around me…”, and while I am aware of the lyrics implication to the song’s character, it feels as though the singer was speaking directly to me.  There are things that, despite their seeming incongruity, has always been in and about my life that I have become accustomed with.  Yet in being accustomed to certain expectations does NOT mean that I also consider myself a prisoner to fate.  Observing other people who feel as though life’s tender mercies are far crueller to them (though as for that, personally, I feel that life is indiscriminate in allocating its blessings) than they are to others, to say nothing of life's bounty of good fortune unfairly being denied them.  That’s not me.  I knew that then, as a teenager, and I know that now, as an adult.  So why did this song, and more importantly, one particular line, have resonance with me?

While I don’t know (and yes, I am aware that the knowledge is a few keystrokes away from me) when they stopped publishing the Zander Hollander sports yearbooks, I remember being in junior high school and reading the college sports, football and basketball, from cover to cover.  Because I lived so much in my head as a kid, I would pretend I was the next big thing in football, only I wanted to be an undiscovered gem at some small college.  Schools like Azusa-Pacific and Cal-Poly Pomona, as well as a host of other universities came into my awareness, including that number, along as “the usual suspects”, was the University of Nebraska (at Kearney, which I have since learned is pronounced “Car-ney”, and not “Kerr-ney”).  I don’t know how many hours that I would spend fantasizing being a football player that starred at a school I was only familiar with through the agegate type in the newspaper on Sunday mornings.  But I do remember thinking that it was likely a town that had the same kind of relation to Omaha as East Lansing does to Detroit (it doesn’t… Kearney is in THE STICKS).  Not sure if I will ever find a way out there, just to say to myself that I have been there (which is what I have done in my world travels).

One of the things that my months-long battle with gout has accomplished is make me reaffirm my “want it bad enough” with regard to my life.  There are things that I still want to do, there are goals that I still aspire to reach.  I got the title of my entry from a recent segment on “The Moth” radio program.  And like my life’s connection to the music that I listen to, the connection to this story is only in the appreciation for the expanse of emotion that it covers, and how the words cloyingly represents the feelings and emotions inside of me.  This is where the ephemeral becomes persistent, and is more of a durable character trait of mine.

Though this start of this year has seen me grudgingly accept the continued progression of my condition, I have in no way abandoned any of the hopes that I have for myself.  I never expected to not face fell challenges en route to wherever it is that I am going, and it is with that understanding that I have coped and mollified my interpersonal disappointments.  Things that I
do know, which have more in common with things that I don’t know that I know, or even where I know them from, won’t let me fall prey to the thoughts of people who have not considered the world beyond their own understanding, but are comforted in the ignorance that precludes the notion that there is more to living than just being.  There are experiences all there for the taking as well, and there has to be more reason for not going out on said experiences than “because”.

WORDS ARE LIKE A CERTAIN PERSON…

...who can’t say what they mean don’t mean what they say”.

I haven’t been too interested in trying to ascertain the relationship vibe here in Omaha.  The main reason is that I simply came to Omaha completely out of f*cks to give.  So when it comes to thinking about Nebraska, Princess, or any of the other three women that I have dated since I have moved here, it has simply been NEITHER this NOR that, and all that is related is that they chose to have left me alone.  This topic bears worth mentioning because I received an odd text AGAIN from the woman with whom I had the best first date ever.  The substance of the conversation is unimportant as is the countenance under which I held it.  I mean… what?  While this melancholy topic would have provided quite the introspection, to do so would fly in the face of things that I said about myself YEARS ago.  I always spoke to the uniqueness of my feelings for Tee Jay, and that having “followed prophecy”, I freed myself from that burden.  One of the things about her that I KNOW that I shared, is the importance of my “formula for happiness”, and how I interpreted Nietzsche’s words.  But then, I guess that is the difference between us… I can and do say what I mean...

Monday, May 2, 2016

THE THINGS THAT WE FORGET ABOUT THAT TELL US WHO WE ARE

One of the things that I have noticed since my diagnosis (as well as experienced prior to the confirmation of my condition) has been what I feel appropriate to term a “mild dissociative fugue”.  Sometimes, I simply lose track of where I am in the world for a few days.  It is a little nerve-wracking, mainly because I can usually predict when a fugue is going to strike, usually when I am tired and my daily “task load” has grown.  Like most less-than-optimal life occurrences, my fugues always seem to occur when I can least afford to be conscious of my limitations.  What frustrates me is the biases that contribute to my lack-of-support, as my anticipation of the further eroding of support (caretaking??) that went on while I was living with Mookie Dee.  

At any rate, getting to my current “less-than” happening, I have again lost a money order, this one $150.  I intended to send it to KT’s Mom, to pay my share of her plane ticket this summer.  What super-frustrates me is that not only had I adopted and followed a protocol to avoid such a re-occurrence (I lost a money order worth $425 that was purchased to pay my monthly rent payment two years ago), but I still had a “memory hole” swallow enough of a day to where I cannot account for my actions or what happened to the money order I had purchased.  

Now it goes without saying that this was a major blow to my finances and its effect was immediate.  It also goes without saying that there is a way forward, just that it has become a lot narrower.

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When I started this journal to help me keep my emotional balance, as with many then-and-amazingly-still-current journals, there was a lot of kvetching about how much life’s complexities that were being pondered seemed to be stacked against a brother.  Not only was their lives (and mine) seemingly actively working against them, but they seemingly powerless to stop the the advance of fates tender mercies destroying their hopes.  F*ck that.  I had hoped to straighten out my thoughts so that I can go about affecting my life’s destiny as much as possible.  When I look around at my clutter-rific apartment, I have to say that it feels like I do control my life more than the forces of life control me.  So with that…


“A yes.  A no.  A straight line.  A goal.”  For years, I have repeated this and the following phrase, “That is my formula for happiness.”  It was something that as an adolescent, I thought was more self-serving and making me seem like I was deeper than I really was.  As time wore on and the sentiment that drew me to Nietzsche and Dante, et al. was forgotten, this was one phrase that I kept in mind when my thoughts were clouded.  Though my success at achieving the “straight line” to my path, my goals (as intellectually effete as they may have been), I experienced the glimmers of success.  Now, because of those glimmers, I would demand more of myself and rather than just simply wailing and wanting for divine intervention.  While there are things that I leave up to “fate”, it isn’t that I hope that an imagined deity will reach down and touch my life, it is more that the things that I don’t understand through the data that I receive through my senses and can comprehend intellectually are things beyond my reach.  My “faith” is that thing things that I don’t understand, like the power of human flight, the engineering that makes for transit, and the bytes of computation that adds up to my crappy journal, they all exists and work in a way that is out of my league in terms of explaining.  To me, knowing that there are things working in my existence, just as I am working in my existence, that operate without remorse or regard to my wants, is better for me than it is to simply accept something unproven that another person tells me to place faith in.  My agnosticism is a result of not equivocation, but of patience.  There seems to me to be more to the puzzle than plugging in deities and adding in more computational power.  And now, my ant-like understanding of the curvature of spacetime brings more rationality to my “happiness theorem”.  Because if a curve can be a straight line, why shouldn’t I expect to find my destiny, my happiness in the pursuit of what I think of as a noble raison d’etre?  
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Having reaffirmed the “why” to my life, the question of the “how” to my life is now free of the burden of further explanation.  But it is not like I have not explained that aspect of my being.  In an era where the fluidity of what defines our humanity and what it means to be a member of the human family, this is one of the complexities of life the bends and shreds the fabric of our understanding.  

It boggles my spirit… how can you “know” someone, a person, that you have never bothered to look upon in the way that a bibliophile would look upon a prized book from their favorite author?  How self-righteous is it to say that you “know” someone when you have never bothered to look beyond your own understanding of what it means to “be”, not only how it is for another, but what being means to oneself?  And we now come to another area of my life that I would visit, the various deeper interpersonal relationships that I have had since I have been in Omaha.

Perhaps it is because there has become a run on “nerdom”, “geekiness”, and my favorite adjective of self-description, “introvert”, that people no longer respect the boundaries that kept those worlds safely ensconced in their own small groups of star groups and galaxies.  I still remember going to small comic books shows and going to see people like George Takei and Robby the Robot, for little cost.  Now..?  All of “Nerdom” (which, IMO, is the larger umbrella term for those of us on the outside of general society) has been co-opted by the profit motive, and these words are now simply markets to be purchased and then sold to the masses.

I have played “Dungeons and Dragons”.  In the early 80’s I had a comic collection of over 3,000 comics, including every “new” X-Men comic from #94 through #142.  My favorite run of “The Hulk” was when Sal Buscema penciled it, just as the run the Walt Simonson had on my favorite hero, “The Mighty Thor”, was superior to anyone else’s.  But the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made changes that may seem subtle to all but the most nuanced fans (or is it fanboys, the newer term for “ultra-geek”).

See, this whole “Infinity Gauntlet” thing was a story that in the 90’s belong to a hero that I really found myself in, Adam Warlock.  In one of the movies there was the surreptitious “nod” to his existence, a scene in “Guardians…” where inside the Collector’s ship may have been the “cocoon” that held Warlock’s body.  And while I could go on, the point of this tangent is to reassert what it once meant to be a “nerd”, especially a comic book nerd, and how much deeper you would have to go before you can honestly make such a claim and be honest about it.  And if it is such for the fantasy worlds of fiction, how much more so is it difficult to gain the complete understanding of a person, the depth of which would allow you to say to them, “I know you.”  Sh*t, there are long married AND loving couples who don’t “know” each other with the completeness that people have casually said that they “know” me.  Telling me that you “know” me, well, if someone did “know me”, they would also be aware of how huge a turn off that is for me.  A big one.

I used to blog about things regarding different social worlds in broad generalities.  I did so not to defame a particular group but because I DID NOT KNOW anything about what I was trying to say, least not with the completeness that would have allowed me a fuller comprehension of what I was attempting to describe.  So for someone to dare say that they “know me” without making more than a facile attempt to get to know me… well… I heard a phrase this weekend that motivated this post… “It’s the things we forget about that tell us who we are,” and to that I would like to add, “...and it is the things that are forgotten about that similarly tell us about others.”  Being careful to watch where I step when talking about memory, there are certain foundational thoughts and concepts that I keep to, like “...a straight line, a goal”, that I have come to believe in a my personal scripture.  So whether or not anyone else understands them matters less than the respect and reverence that they give them.  After all… if one cannot have reverence for the things that I hold dear, how, may I ask, can they have any understanding or respect for me?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

THE OUTSIDER

Though training is coming along, I am a little frustrated because I don’t think that my strength levels are close enough to where they were prior to my gout flare.  Yes, I get that being off from weight training for nearly six full months is going to be bit detrimental to my fitness goals, and my training plan is going well and I shouldn’t be concerned.  But I do want to make a respectable showing for my first (and only?!?) competition.  Are the levels where I am at now going to be enough for me to make an event that I can be proud of?  We will know in June for sure!!

Prince’s sudden and unexpected passing has taken over the interwebs.  Twitter, Facebook has become memorials for him.  I remember when he first took to “American Bandstand” and my Aunt mentioned something along the lines of his being “confused” with respect to his androgyny, which by today’s standards would barely be noticeable in most metro areas.  And if it was notable, it would only be in passing, whereas at the time of Prince’s national ascent, a person would have been placing themselves in harm’s way at such an expression of their identity.

I won’t be sharing any particular memories that are associated with my memories of Prince.  There will likely be a number of people going on about their imagined relationship with their fandom and heartbreaking loss.  My sense of what Prince meant to me just doesn’t motivate me to wax melodramatic about him.  Real life, it seems, can often be melodramatic enough for me!

“A insincere and evil friend is to be feared more than a wild beast;  a wild beast may wound your body but an evil friend will wound your mind.” -Buddha

The frequency of my grumbling about my need for solitude and my desire to be alone has finally been settled.  As much as I once looked forward to the possibilities between Nebraska and myself, in my mind, I feel that I communicated how likely things would be between us should things go astray between us.  And it isn’t that because we did not get on well that we don’t get on now… though it sort of does.  What I mean is that I never denied that I was an “either/or” type of person, that for those who want to be intimate and close to me that there is an unspoken commitment that is expected, no, REQUIRED of said individual.  Acolyte or infidel… I MEANT that.  This isn’t a demand… I don’t think that it has to be spoken, given the kind of commitment that I am willing to give one in return.  I would think that it would be understood, particularly after one sees my level of enthusiasm to a relationship.

When I look back and consider how my dwindling relevance in Mookie Dee’s life played in my decision to leave her, the way that my relationship with Nebraska has developed is not at all surprising to me.  I don’t fault her for anything, just as I never faulted Mookie Dee for making the decision that she made regarding us.  It is more that our directions and best interests did not align and this would keep us from finding a harmony were our relationship could co-exist with our individual paths and how we choose to pursue said paths.  This schism between us, is representative of the pondered complexities of life, especially when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat…

One of the things that I feel has allowed me to comment expressively on relationships is my iconoclasm.  For years I have been reminded that my perspective on living runs counter-current  to the flow those others locked in the matrix of mass appeal and thought.  I can still see my older cousin as he explains to an adolescent Mark that, “... the world moves at a certain speed and you have got to either get with it or fall out”,(or something to that effect..!) while I was bullheaded enough to believe that between focus on a direction and random causality would guide my way.  And in many ways, I believe that it has done just that.  At any rate, it is because of where I sit in life, hidden partially in shadow, that I can make as-close-as-it-comes to an objective observation of how people get on, intimately, through the sexual binary of standard relations.  See, while much of my personal journal has been about my “so-called love life”, the fact is, being IN something matters little to me.  The urge to be “in” something is, for me, a mix of curiosity and instinct.a posteriori experiences, that has beckoned to me since I became a fully conscious entity and being.  It is this area of my human experience that I feel the sensations of unreasonable ambivalence.  I don’t think I have ever said that I “wish I was dead” or some other selfish statement of nullification because of my interactions with people.  But it is with the child-like inspection of a scab on the knee or that of a lifeless pigeon lying on the lawn of a neighbor, that I see relations and my role in the lives of those whose paths I’ve crossed.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A SIGHTING

TACTICAL

It’s been a peculiar time around here.  I have not been blogging or reading many blogs lately primarily because I have not been healthy for the past 6 months.  My gout has cleared up but I now have either a cold or maybe “walking pneumonia” that I picked up about a week and-a-half ago.  It isn’t any close to being anything major but I am weary from being unhealthy for so long and my current congestive issue is more annoying than anything.

More on my health highlights … I will have my liver checked out next month.  Moving into middle age has been slightly unnerving, from having intense concern over my HDL numbers and cutting back on certain foods to avoid fat  cloistering around my internal organs!  Next thing you know, I will be eating cottage cheese and making all the early bird dinner specials at restaurants!!

One of the more intriguing changes in my life and something that I have written about before is how unimportant sports have become in my life.  I have not followed the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament since State’s shocking 1st round loss to Middle Tennessee State.  My lack of interest isn’t due to my being a poor sport but in having grown and matured, I don’t follow any level of athletics, amateur or professional, the same as I did when I was younger.  Also, the media saturation of all the outlets surrounding sports that are available is kind of overwhelming as well.  The paradox of choice -- so many sources of information are available that it paralyzes one’s ability to make the best decision in almost any area of life, much less as something as inconsequential as following sports.

When I begin to start my journal entries with a “Tactical” section, it was to separate my random thoughts from what I was actually dealing with.  The inspiration for the journal itself was born out of the stifling isolation that I was suffering while I was living with Mookie Dee and how critical it was that I got myself to a better place, mentally, physically and spiritually.  The process of my journal’s evolution led me to assign a section to what was directly happening to and/or influencing my life versus the random thoughts that occupied the deficit between where I was focused on going and wherever I actually was.  

NOW THAT I AM HERE

I think back to the early days of my journal and I would write about how much I was looking forward to moving to Omaha.  Primarily because of the amount of attention that my relationship hopes got, the expectations of what would finally happen between Nebraska and myself once I finally got here may have been outsized.  But that is from my perspective, thinking that there were those who saw the hopes of a possible romance as being a primary motivation for my moving here to Omaha.  At any rate, I understand if (my relationship hopes with Nebraska) there were some readers who thought everything revolved around finding love with Nebraska.  I have always included disclaimers to that effect, but I was never sure that if they ever had any impact… most critically with Nebraska herself.

At some point in the near future, I do expect to have a sit-down with her.  I am interested in hearing what she has to say and how her life has been going.  But I don’t have anything really to share with her, and by that I mean there is nothing going on in my life that I can’t share here in my journal that I would have kept specifically to talk with her about.  I don’t mean anything untoward by saying that, but I do think that I had indicated that I am not really as sociable as I may seem on the internet as I am in person.  Not that I am deliberately opposed to interacting with people and those around me, quite the contrary.  But when it comes on deciding on how I will spend the only concept of any real and intrinsic value to me, time, involved with a person, the bar is simply far higher than it is for someone that I am engaged with in passing only.  Similarly, I figure that if someone is unable to find time to spend engaged with me, that I too, am not of any real value to them as well.

Lastly, being in Omaha has ultimate provided me the opportunity to make sure that I remain free from the things that were the distractions and antagonists in my life.  For instance, for me to rant and rave on relationship would be a contradiction as I am no longer an observer to such things.  The different failings between men and women are of little concern to me, so why would I comment on such things?  

Right now, I am looking forward to going back to school in the fall, my daughter KT visiting me this summer, as well as a road trip to see my friends in Indiana.  Though I still find myself fretting about the the presidential election in the fall, I will not temper the my hopes for the future.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

AS YOU CAN SEE ...

…  I AM VERY MUCH ALIVE!

GETTING RIGHT INTO IT


I have been dealing with gout for the past 4 ½ months.  This week, the pain and discomfort has subsided into the tenths of degrees, which is why I am able to use my laptop for more than looking at pictures and things!!

One of the things that I have noticed is that I have lost some readers!  I don’t know if the attrition of readers is due to my inactivity or just people deactivating their Blogger account, but it is interesting to me nonetheless.  It was one of the small joys of keeping a public journal when I reached the triple-digit plateau.  With the way that my dashboard has changed, I doubt if I will be able to generate any interest in my journal, and that isn’t so bad.  Measuring from where I began my journey from, the feel of a near-cosmic level of space has been covered, materially and spiritually.  Other than some health concerns, I am good!

Me and my Carolina ladies have been in touch and KT wants to come out west… she volunteered to spend some of her summer with me!  Right now, the plan is to road trip through South Bend, spend a day, then move on to the Motor where she has a granddad, aunts and uncles, and a slew of cousins to meet.  Of course, the cherry on top would be to introduce her to Skye, which would be quite the coup.

Other than scuffling along because of my gout (which traveled from its home of 4 months in my hand to my right ankle, thanks to a fall off my bike..!), there has been little going on in my life.  I did, however, get a few communiques from people that I did not expect.

The SFC called me and that was a very good thing!  I have missed hearing from her dearly, and it was quite the boost to my self-esteem.  She sent me a photo of me and another friend from the Motor (who I have mentioned but have lost her name at the moment), taken with one of the DeBarge’s who were on a morale tour in Korea!!  I hope that we don’t lose touch this time… it would mean a lot to me for us to stay in one another’s life.

Nebraska sent me a couple of emails that when added to all the other complications in our relationship along with the time of said emails… well, did little to advance the state of relations between us.  It was quite mysterious as to what her motivations were, but I shrugged it off as a “one-off” kind of thing, where she had thoughts swirling around and they created a pressure that resulted in her emailing me.  While I was inspired to began to “ponder life’s complexities” by what I think were part of her reasoning, the last phone call that I received really left me gobsmacked.  But first…

I recall being warned about being “another one of those brothers” who date outside of their race.  Being open to all manner of relationships between human beings, I shrugged it off, because my happiness is MY HAPPINESS.  And even if it the warning could be applied and taken under consideration, it would not have mattered because.... IDGAF..!  Not only do I not care what people who still abides by the miscegenation codes of the past, I really thought that my personal fate would keep me from even worrying about being a part of a mixed relationship.  Of course, though I have been to a lot of places, I had not been to Omaha before and the social environment here is one where such relationships seem to flourish.  But the one relationship where I “swirled” in, with Princess, always had issues that I had to keep in consideration. The upshot of this warning being that there were too many single black women in Omaha that would make a great partner for a cat like me.  Or so the Germans would have you believe…

My personal experience with black women in Omaha has been one of frustration.  I haven’t made a big thing out of my observations of the sisters in Omaha, and I am not going to begin now.  But what I will do is note the kind of frustration that I have put up with and let the last phone call of note be the example of the “confustration” that I think exists among the sisters here.

The first woman that I dated after Princess, was a woman with whom not only did we meet cute, but our first date was THE best ever!  Not only was it the best ever, but I don’t think I will EVER go on another first date as special as our first date was.  It was electric from the moment we met each other and until the abrupt end to our set-to, it was an electric relationship.  Or perhaps the Germans simply had me fooled again.

When we were on the phone I was more than civil.  I was surprised, blushing, and a little intrigued by it all.  See, other than Tee Jay, and I cannot stress this enough, I had never even considered trying to see how someone who was a former flame was doing, much less want to re-ignite a flame with them.  So the blushing faded soon enough and I had to ask the question… “Why?  Why did you dump me?”  And her answer..?

I remember being told that I carried myself on the immature side during my 20’s.  But that was an opinion held mainly by great thinkers like my wife, who had a worldview that begin at Telegraph and ended at Woodward (though she lives in Farmington Hills now, if you are from the Motor and of a certain age, you get it).  She saw things in absolutes and if things did not fit her particular understanding, then it must be incorrect, even if I provided evidence to the contrary.  But were a credible and independent third party to come around and validate my view and/or invalidate hers, she would not acknowledge my correctness, but worse, accept her incorrectness in view of that correctness as a lack of understanding or comprehension on her behalf.

Well, anyway… so I am talking with this woman who left me wounded and confused and who is NOW wounding and confusing me.  But rather than think back about what never could have been between us, the lyrics of “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” (borrowed from a movie) seems to accurately paraphrase my emotional state.

        Soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long

Whatever it is that I either found, discovered or was born with, is tied to whatever I heard when I first listened to those words.  Maybe it is the same thing that Patrick Swazye’s “Nobody put baby in a corner”, line from the movie “Roadhouse”.  All I know is that those words and the song “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” is what has reliably moved me past emotional calamities such as,

    -My marriage
    -My relationship with Mookie Dee
    -My disappointment with Nebraska
    -Whatever it was with Princess

And a couple of other interludes that ended in the same fashion as this one with the “good black women of Omaha”.  I will have you note that I used the plural pronoun “women” to characterize my dalliances with the fairer sex here in the land of the “Good Life”.  Heck, this entry alone mentions “two” sisters.  So for anyone to think that I have abandoned black women really need to get a grip.

...AND I LIVE BY THE RIVER

Okay, so by now you should get that I no longer give a f*ck about the “this and that” that are a part of talking about relationships.  Not that I cared much before, hence my inflammatory rhetoric directed at African-American women, as well as the paucity of my voicing similar observations about women of other ethnicities.  I mean, I as much as my experience is being recounted here, prior to my living in Omaha white women ignored me on levels not seen since high school.  I did not comment about white women at length before simply because I did not have enough field data to blather about with regards to the paler skinned sisters!

The last call I got during my gout flare did crystallize all that has taken place between me and the black women of Omaha… and even that owes a lot to what might be a general rule in relationships here.  But again, and I cannot stress this enough… I DON’T CARE.  I don’t care about your reason for dumping me… and all questions regarding our past are merely incidental and are only for historical reference and nothing more.

The hypocrisy in the call from the local women are why this entry has meandered so long.  If there were any other reason for either Nebraska or my best first date to call me, I think that they may have deluded themselves into think that maybe they were giving me an opportunity… that they were being genuine and caring.  But whatever the reason they had for their calls, I wonder why they didn’t tell me so when we were more than what we are now?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ON BEING ME ...


TACTICAL

Nothing of any note has occurred lately.  Still looking for a copy of Sartre’ “Being And Nothingness”.  The Jackson Street Bookstore in the Old Market did not have a copy, as I hoped to make the purchase from and independent bookstore.  The lady there was friendly, as I came just after closing time.  She even suggested another indie bookstore out in West O (I have been here long enough to use local references to areas around here, right?), which does not sound like a fun late fall bike ride!  So I will likely go to Barnes & Nobles at the Crossroads Mall and see if I can find it there.

Right now, I am on the tail end of a minor gout flare… nothing really troubling as far as my dealings with gout goes.  Just a couple of observations:

First, I tend to get very sleepy when a gout flare begins to set in.  I mean, sleeping through alarms and getting out of bed groggy.  Second, there is the HEAT that comes with it!  This flare, in my left wrist, makes my forearm feel as though it is being boiled from the inside out.  Sometimes the sensation wakes me up and causes me to toss and turn in bed.  Finally, there is the general sense of malaise that is attached to every waking moment during a flare.  It is all-encompassing and constant aggravation.  My second observation is the timing of my flares.  As much as it troubles me to say, I think that the weather plays a VERY big factor in when my gout flares strike.  The literature is unclear about gout’s relationship with weather changes… and because of it being unclear, the room for weather to be a factor increases.  Finally, I think that the flare is just what it is, a small flare and not a raging brushfire thanks in part to my increased diligence in training and improving my diet.

And lastly… saying that my gout flare is a “minor” one is also something that should be up for debate.  I am not really good at objectively judging the intensity of the discomfort that I may actually be in.  When I was diagnosed with my condition, I made a change of how I act on my levels of discomfort and the observations of that discomfort… to wit-

A couple of years ago I had gout really bad in my left hand.  It had been around three weeks with NO improvement (though I was treating it homeopathically).  My then-manager happened to observe my swollen hand, asked how long had I been walking around with it swollen as it was, and then she conspired to get me to an hospital for treatment.  It has always been a quality of mine to take the advice of someone who can both be objective and have my best intentions at heart.  Unfortunately, I have not had many people who were willing to take  the additional steps to make “things happen”.  What I mean by that is, if you observe something that needs correction or demands attention, then you should take ownership of that situation.  I have no patience for the kind of people that are “Kitty Genovese bystander’s” to/and in my life.

AND WHY IT IS IN THE DETAILS …

...because you were off your guard.  And it is often the truth that when someone is not concentrating on the projection of who they want to be believed as to others, when their true character is shown.

I read “Counsels And Maxims” by Arthur Schopenhauer in junior high school.  One of the reasons that I was into philosophy as a kid is that by studying character and the thinking of men in large groups, that you gain critical insights into what shapes the behavior of the individual.  This is true whether the individual is conscious of the influence of outside forces on them or not.  They may believe that their thoughts are their own when the truth is that what they think is an amalgamation of societal and social mores that are in line with a behavior a certain culture.  Reading books and taking in information that was “above my pay grade” with regard to being able to command and own what I was reading, did not either dissuade me from trying to grasp the material nor did I think that it gave me any advantage, i.e., made me believe that I was smarter than anyone else.  Still, the thing that was annoying about being a reader was that “reading” was looked at with scorn and that knowledge that I had obtained was another way of being my being brainwashed by “the man”.  Schopenhauer changed that for me.

 ... {If one} is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself, to the prejudice of others’ rights; if he appropriates to himself that which belongs to all alike, you may be sure there is no justice in his heart, and that he would be a scoundrel on a wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind his hands. Do not trust him beyond your door. He who is not afraid to break the laws of his own private circle, will break those of the State when he can do so with impunity.

Whenever I look back at the moment I first read Schopenhauer's discussion on “the trifles of life”, my being grows lighter.  From that naive, adolescent perspective, I no longer had to ask myself “why” someone was being mean or rude to me.  The answer was evident; they were a d*ck!  Not only did this discovery free me from the typical social anguish of the adolescence, but as I grew older, my interpretation and understanding of those words became more refined, or “tighter”.  With my Aunt’s words bolstering my self-esteem and “Uncle Arthur’s” advice constantly in mind, I don’t have any compunction about “X-ing” people out of my life.  And using my most recent episode with gout in mind…

As I mentioned, the level at which I register discomfort has always seemed to have changed and adjusted to the upper limit of whatever pain episode I am enduring.  When I was an amateur boxer, I remember a match during which I broke my right hand and continued on with the bout, winning a decision.  Then in the service, there were many episodes where I pushed myself to a higher tolerance for injury, primary example being my last week of training to get my Air Assault tab.  It isn’t that I thought then, nor do I now, think of myself as being tough or anything.  It is just that I don’t have the “ouch” gene in me.  To remedy that, since I have been disabled, I have allowed for outside observations to carry more weight than before with regards to my health and well-being.  For instance, when my then-manager at the health club where I work conspired to get me to the hospital, that was an example of my letting an outside opinion mean more than my own judgment.

My thoughts, my cognitive abilities are impaired.  I have personally confirmed this through my pursuit of a degree, if there has been nothing else in my life to make the effects of my injury clear to me, it is my academic pursuits.  At any rate, since I know that my judgment is slightly skewed, so I do not rely upon the observations of “unqualified persons” in my life.  “What”, you may asked, “do you mean by an unqualified person?”  This is where the judgment I make on how a person approaches or behaves when dealing in one of life’s “trifles” comes into play.  Having heard enough through the regret of others about things that they should have “known better than” when it comes to relationships, because the behavior trait that has caused the upset usually is one that was already observed and noted.  There have only been two noteworthy exceptions to this concept, one during my marriage and the other coming when I decided to revisit a past relationship with Mookie Dee.

...and if anyone is wonder why I don’t entertain many people as friends, take these words and apply them to your relationships, familial as well as others, and ask yourself “Why are you with such people?”  And if you find yourself stretching to accommodate their presence in your life, then you will have your answer as to why I am so “Ok with that”, when it comes to having just anyone in my life...