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...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY WRITE

TACTICAL
We have been doing well, training hard and work has been as good as it has ever been.  I have decided to go on and purchase “Being and Nothingness” rather than reading it for free online.  If anything, it is always going to be a good book to have on the coffee table and I just feel better holding the material in my hands than I am with on a computer screen.  Even if you can use some devices to highlight key or memorable passages, the adventure in flipping through pages, finding not only what you are looking for, but also stumbling on other points that may have been overlooked previously is one of the treats that I have always enjoyed about reading a book.  Using a computing device simply lacks the tangibility of a book.

I think that one of the reasons that I have never thought of myself as an existentialist has been the image that I developed of the philosophy in the 80’s.  As a teen, I thought of existentialist thinking of being mopey and one where nothing matter because nothing was “real”.  Apparently, I was guilty of typecasting those who questioned the meaning of life as someone who was simply finding an excuse as to why they were unemployed and still living with their Mom in their 30’s!

What I took for interpretations of Nietzsche back then was shaped by comic book fantasies of what his words meant.  This is not to say that the interpretations of his work that I drew an understanding from were inaccurate… just that my understanding of Nietzsche was not as well rounded and developed (to say nothing of my own ability to comprehend the depth of human character that the works of others’ outlined) it could have been.  There is a very likely chance the same thing will happen as I explore existentialism, but that is precisely the point of it all, in my opinion.

BAD FAITH

The title of this entry owes itself to the anti-intellectualism that I experienced growing up.  Though I have mentioned it before, particularly when I first began to journal, I came to much of my knowledge through reading, which was dismissed as “trying to be white” among many other insults that were hurled at me.  But was always more troubling was the lack of substantive arguments that were made against what I held as a more fact-based position.  I mean, conformation of your opinion cannot be based solely on the coincidence that you are surrounded by those who believe similarly.  Neither can an opinion be dismissed because it is not shared by those around you, either.  Is there such a thing as “the extrapolation fallacy”?

When you have a question between you and another person, with said person being unable to support their belief and being unwilling to accept your ideas that are more concrete, where do you go from there?  Are you supposed to concede to their articulations because of THEIR ignorance?  Though I understand how a little knowledge can become dangerous, how much more so then, is that same lack of knowledge in the hands of someone without the will to pursue the question further, whose curiosity is done with the first idea that confirms what they were told?  I would rather find the information myself and draw my own conclusions.  And I am going to do this now, very prematurely, with Sartre's idea of Bad Faith.

Much of the collective ignorance that I have ranted on in my journal could collectively, I think, be used as examples of bad faith.  My observation of many walking around in today’s world is one where people carry the weariness of resignation, an inevitability to an image of one’s self or condition that they can’t meet or even bring themselves to believe that they are ever capable of meeting.  Rather than meeting the challenge brought by the responsibility that comes in making themselves into the person that they could be.

Because of my solitary nature, I have no real idea on how close I am to making sense.  All I know is that my theory makes sense to me.  If Sartre’s “Bad Faith” is filled with self-deception and a refusal to accept the responsibility one has in making oneself who they are/could be, then maybe intuitively, there is the projection of bad faith unto others, stitched together by false equivalencies, fear, and anti-intellectualism.  For instance…

Recently I came across a paper from the NIH on “Adult Neurogenesis in the Mammalian Brain:Significant Answers and Significant Questions”.  One of the more significant questions dealt with the possibility that adults can create and grow new brain cells.  Now if this is true, then it is likely that I can grow and create NEW brain cells… and with that, extend the limits of my future possibilities.  But I did not think to save or go into my history and try to find it… though I prolly could keyword search for it and have it auto-fill.  But in a previous era, information that I stumbled across from nigh-unimpeachable sources, such as the paper from the NIH, would always be called into question.  And it left me baffled, especially when it would come from those who knew that I would not repeat something that I could not have verified.  Even were I to do so, would it have matter?  The information I came across was through “something that I read somewhere”, which may have well been something that I conjured to make my tale more believable.  F*ck that.

Now the point of the previous story is to show how I have learned to avoid offending the taste or intellect of others.  The question that I have for myself is, does my behavior somehow fall into Bad Faith, or is the Bad Faith present in the relationship condition more of a projection of the other person’s own illusions? People believe that they are rational actors in a world that is clearly irrational.  Their senses define for them only what their minds can interpret and so, are limited by their own vision of reality... Anywho, I will purchase a copy of “Being and Nothingness” from Barnes & Noble, as well as hopefully find the movie “Nausea” somewhere on the internet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

THE PURPOSELESS SENSE OF EMPTINESS YOU GET WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING SOMEONE HOME

TACTICAL

One of the things I am going to practice during my sabbatical from school is mindfulness.  Being more aware of my presence in a spiritual sense is of critical importance to me... and never was that tested as it was last Thursday afternoon!  But before I get to that, what facilitated the subject of this entry, the test ride of an electric-power assist bike, a Specialized model that will be named Hemingway (because he takes you places). 

For a long time I had been considering purchasing a moped, used, rebuilt or whatever.  The biggest drawback from owning one is storage.  I would not be comfortable leaving it outside for any length of time unattended and the gas engine keeps me from being able to bring a moped inside the building.  I was spending time wandering around the Greenstreet Cylce Shop, relocated from near the Ameritrade Ball Park.  It is between my apartment and the fitness center where I work, further away from me than it is closer to the fitness center.

Greenstreet Cycle has an adjacent coffee shop with Wi-Fi, so I occasionally go there just to hang about, taking my laptop with me.  The compulsion to ask about the electric bikes that they have was at the back of my mind for quite awhile... now it was nearer to the front of things in my queue.  The shop owner, who has always been very personable with me, was there as well.  We got to talking about the bikes, and he was able to disarm the drawbacks that I had perceived that e-bikes come with.  Finally, he suggested a test ride, with me on the high-end model and he on the lesser but just as capable bike for a test ride.  And then, it is near the end of the ride that the meat of the entry occurred, which is why I am jumping to Monday afternoon and my down payment on a previous year model of the top end e-bike!

Meanwhile... I am already hungry for school!  I wake up each day with a gnawing inside of me that is driven by my want for purpose.  With one of my stated reasons for being in Omaha is to get a degree and further my education, it is not the only discovery I had hoped to make.  My purpose, the search for which has brought me to Omaha, is another motivation that is driving me on. But purpose is not found just doing... purpose is about discovery and revelation, and I am willing to find out what there is out here to be discovered and revealed to me!

WASTING ALL MY TIME

I used to envy the kids in my neighborhood growing up whose parents allowed them to get mopeds.  I did not know then what I know now, that not only should they not have been operating them without restriction (the Honda Spree fell in an ambiguous area; the Honda Elite required an motorcycle endorsement), but that most of the kids I saw and including myself, lacked the maturity to operate one.  Nonetheless, I was transfixed by the notion of puttering around on a moped and it never left me as a desired mode of transportation.  As an adult, I did own one that sputtered around for a year or so in the late 90's.  There was prolly more use in it than that, but I was not (and still am not) skilled at things mechanical, and so that moped died a quiet death. 

E-bikes never really caught my fancy.  The early permutations of them always seemed more trouble than they were worth and did not have the power to lug around a medium-sized Mark, much less this tub o'humanity that is using that name currently.  But when I asked the owner of Greenstreet Cycle about the e-bikes on his sales floor and told him I had never taken an e-bike for a ride, he told me that I just had to test ride one.  And that is what we did.  We took off from the shop on Harney, a half block north of 24th street, and rode downtown.  And I had my breath taken away!  The performance of the bike was beyond what I thought was possible, and the technology with the ride assist has come so much further than I could have hoped.  Turning north on 13th Street to make our way back to the shop (this after making a loop around Midtown), a little black Ford Focus darted in front of us, making the shop owner a little nervy.  But before we could begin talking about how crappy the drivers in Omaha are to cyclists, a VERY familiar face appeared out of the driver's side window.

Sometimes I wonder how much is my shows boisterous enthusiasm is due to my lack of maturing v. knowing better in my old age!  There are times when I find my mind slipping back to my younger years and the hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities that I let slip by in my life, never to come again.  The moments where I could have possibly made the jump, "level up" and be something more than I was... and that would have resulted in my being more than what I am now.  I think, and I did think then, that taking accountability for actions include being honest with oneself and recognizing the consequences of those choices, in the past as well as in the now.  Realizing that it IS up to you, chasing hopes and dreams, and that if you fail to pursue them with all of the energy of your being, that it is your lack of commitment to those hopes that will be responsible for falling short of them.  Not only does this apply to career choices, but in love as well.  I believe that this is a universally applied ideal, and it is one that swallows up those unused opportunities like objects falling into a singularity... gone from the universe and off into a place where even imagination fails.

Having this understanding of what was at stake in our life choices has always with me.  I mentioned quite a while ago on the moment when I truly understood the separation between those who took up the challenge to be something was during one of my turns as a sparring partner early in my career.  The cat I was being a living punching bag for was, at the time, a pound-for-pound champion (which is to say that even among the champions in different weight classes, he was considered the best of them all).  Me and my ambitions, hoped to show that I was up to the task of running with him, and for a half-mile, I was.  Then, I wasn't.  As I said when I mentioned it previously in my journal, I knew not only then, but was granted awareness that was clear to not only me of the present, but the me who I was, as well as the "me" I was yet to be.  Riding on the electric bike was one of the small, almost unnoticed transformative moments in my life where kindling from "unkept promises" ignites and becomes a small, determined, flame.  Kinda sorta like when I first met Nebraska online.

While we were zipping along 13th Street, heading north towards Harney(???), I heard a voice that I literally hadn't heard in years, but one that has been in mind almost exactly after my first year here... PRINCESS.  The conversation was a blur, but not for reasons that may seem obvious.  I asked her about her boys, her love life (in a relationship), as well as my admission that not unlike Morrissey, there is a light for her that will never* go out.  We parted without much ado, and I babbled some to my companion about Princess being my ex-girlfriend.  He replied, "Oh, so THAT'S why she almost hit me getting across our lane!"  We gathered ourselves ( he more so than yours truly), and we made our way back to his bike shop.



Dismounting the bikes after our arrival back at the bike shop, we began to make arrangements surrounding my purchasing an electric bike.  In the meanwhile between the details, there was some discussion about seeing my ex-girlfriend and what it did NOT mean.  Even though I did ask about her love life and included my "always willing to give us another chance" statement, that was just me "following the rules".  That is how the dumped and heartbroken are supposed to react to seeing the person that they loved with all they had after years of wondering about them, aren't they?  I don't think I am that much different and I am  human and I need to be loved, just like everyone else does...

But after the initial response, the surprise of the surprise chance encounter fading with the setting of the autumn sun, the actual reaction, the actual assessment, takes place.  The memory may be a little hazy (though it is only so when I admit to such... when you do it, well, F*CK YOU), but there are some questions that need to be answered, some accountability must be taken of the "who's having what".  "After the ecstasy, the dishes", advises one koan, and in returning to a state of mindfulness, it is time to tidy things laying about.

My "Rules To Live By" makes it hard at best, for me to really entertain the idea of a relationship.  Though I meant what I said, I also said what I did to fulfill the "what if" aspect of my relationship with Princess.  "What if I had the chance to see her again and I did not dare to ask her about us?"  Thinking about how when I still "maybe could have been a contender", and realizing how instead of digging in and going after what may have been the best of any chance in my life TO BE ME, I shrank away from, I could not have let this coincidence of life go by without my honest and truest reaction, as well as without my saying those words.  How they were received did not matter... but almost as with my pining for Tee Jay ended after our date, my flights of Princess and all that we could have been, too, has become like the scent of forget-me-nots, become one with the atmosphere and dissipated into the background.  What was, isn't anymore.  But still, I wonder...

Having a tangible philosophy to guide me, it would not surprise me if there is some parts of this entry that would confuse anyone who is familiar with my personal ramblings.  That is part of the reason this entry has ran on.  The other reason, quite simply, is that I have something that I want to say.  Speaking on my enthusiasm earlier, I know that there have been studies that show when enthusiasm, particularly smiles, are relieved as authentic.  in fact, there is a biological marker in the eyes that indicate to others whether or not a smile is authentic.  I bring this up because throughout my life, I have been taken by the people who after crossing my path, smile back.  Along with my iris gleaming, people have been drawn to me because of the realness of my mood.  I never have to "force" my mood.  It is almost always just under the surface of any mood I am in.  Now, I do find myself asking if I am getting too old to be "shining one".  Then, last Thursday happened.

It did not matter to me if anyone paid me any attention after I recognized Princess.  No matter the what, she is someone that I care deeply for, even if we will likely never talk as friends again.  I did take away that she still finds me as attractive as she did the first time she saw me, and that was a "half-credit" ego boost.  Remember, sometimes being pretty doesn't count for enough and with Princess, it proved to be the case.  Then, there are times where being attractive doesn't matter at all.  That is what I felt was the case the first time I met Nebraska in Chicago back in '10.  Admittedly, I was a "mess" when we first met, telling her so prior to our meet.  But more importantly, I never promoted myself as "all that" to her, even while being "all that" was my goal!  Going back to our earliest internet conversations, I told her that it would be up to her to find me as "this or that".  And even if I did think of myself as "this", after we met, she clearly thought of me as "that", and I could dig it (and I thought you could!!).

After getting on my computer during the weekend, I got an email from Nebraska.  She was nearby when she and some companions heard my exclamations after I recognized Princess.  She had told her group that I prolly had seen someone special, and in truth, I had.  But there have been times where SHE was the person that was met with my effusiveness previous to Princess ever, and it always felt as if it seemed to her as a burden.  So after enough encounters, the electricity that I feel when I recognize someone in my life, particularly someone who is dear to me, began to fade.  Not to say that I would not be surprised and happy to see her again, but would I be as uncontrollably excited and glowing to see her as I SHOULD be..?

Maybe we will have that discussion.  Maybe one day we will sit down and be open to hearing and listening to one another.  You never know... so you better watch!

Friday, October 23, 2015

...AND WHEN IT HAPPENS ...


 TACTICAL

It is different journaling from the perspective of having  begun an achievement-filled ascent of a mountain.  Nearly all the troubles that plagued the climb prior to the organization of a climbing party, the difficulties in bringing together the material, the planning that was fraught with the concern of “what if” (like lies, I don’t believe in dealing in doubts, either) and the ever-looming shadows of uncertainty disappear in the bright lights of the climbers’ intention.  So it is with my journal, which was never intended to look for pity or plead my case of the injustices of my life, that the direction of my current tacking should reflect the truest state-of-being of my consciousness.


The things that I am looking forward to are all things that I have, in a sense, been looking forward to.  Bringing KT to the Motor with the intention of finding her older sister is one.  I have never wanted any of my daughters to be kept from each other.  That the girls have not met is very ironic, at least when you consider some of the experiences and professed beliefs of both Pecan Sandie and my ex-wife.  And though there are some reservations in the case of things going badly, I am sure that whatever the result, it will be one that is fulfilling and spiritually expansive.

One of the things that I will accomplish with this break is that I will get into tip-top condition.  I have started back running, taking baby steps, and I don’t know how far I will get into running for distance.  I have seen articles saying long-distance running causes scarring on your heart.  There doesn’t seem to be much information on whether altitude affects that particular condition - I would think that folks in higher altitudes and/or better air quality are not as affected.  But regardless of whether or not air quality is a factor, I will be doing more HIIT training to burn calories and increase my aerobic capacity.

Finally, I am going to purchase several books that I will be reading this academic year.  One such book is “Being And Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre.  I hope to immerse myself in books of the like and see if there is some “room to grow” left inside of my mind.


IT’S ALWAYS AROUND ME … ALL THIS NOISE…

For me, it was more of a “static”.  That is what I described the feeling of trying to get my thoughts together when I was with Mookie Dee.  It was not because of the desperateness of our situation, her losing her job and my diagnosis of brain trauma.  For me, it has always been more about how you think about a problem that is the bigger issue than the problem itself presents.  All too many times people look at things and think that there are monsters lurking among the shadows that lay before them when all they have to do is take one more step to reveal the thing that they once feared was a trick of the lighting around them -- there was nothing for them to fear!  Anywho, whether it is called “noise” or “static”, the significance of being able to name that thing which keeps my from actualizing the vision I hold of my best self cannot be measured.  Instead of being at a loss at my state of being, I could now take action against something that was tangible and less of an ideal beyond my grasp.


The Tame Impala song, “Let It Happen”, is the anxiety of life set to music.  The accompanying video, takes the mindless spinning that we believes separates us in the modern world from one another to another level.  As the video closes with the harried, wrinkled-suit subject ascending to who-knows-where, I think the parallels with the stresses from living finally being enough, and he is freed from the insignificance of his life.
Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Maybe this is from “Metaphysics of Morals”, I can’t be sure.  I know that I once possessed the book from where this quote is from and these words need to be hung on a plaque somewhere in my apartment!  Now I don’t interpret Nietzsche as encouraging reckless, amoral behavior in the name of expressing the meaning/meaninglessness of life.  But if you never take opportunity to experience “something” when it comes, you risk never having your life happen at all.  And this song, along with its accompanying video is what you inherit when you play it safe through life.
It is only in the drift into eternity is fully realized.  I don’t think that is what our existence is meant to be, an evolution of the Hobbesian perspective where life, even in the then-modern world, was about a level just above primal survival.

So I contrast my interpretations of the music/video and statements of perspective and form my own personal philosophy.  There are enough of the “play-it-safers” going through life striving in vain for meaning of their lives.  Me, “I think that I am nonsense”, and that all around me is nonsense as well...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR HEART..?





TACTICAL

Pretty static… not much change from previous entry.  After all, leading a life as free from “drama” (or as I like to frame the dealings of the day-to-day, “The trifles of life”) was part and parcel of my relocation efforts.  This is another theory to why I haven’t been journaling as much recently.  But because journaling has been a tool for me to regain balance as well as an extension of my social life, well, there you go..!


RUNNING OUT OF LIFETIME

As I find myself renewed with vigor from rediscovering my direction, there have been several songs during the past couple of months that have spent plenty of time on repeat in my Spotify.  Before I get to any of them, one of the things that has “kinda, sorta” been an itch on my “Mark Music” back, has been asking someone what they listen to and they reply generically with “a little bit of everything’.  It bothers me because just as there are different kinds of infinities, some being larger than others, there are different kinds of “everything” when it comes to personal preferences.

When it comes to music, “everything” is not inclusive when it is dominated by a specific genre of music.  Listening to the Taylor Swift station on your Itunes is not going to be inclusive enough of all the styles of music there is.  And don’t get me started on what passes for Punk music in today’s stratification of musical styles.

It never fails that when I ask someone what they listen to and they reply with “everything”, part of me sighs with exasperation.  It means that imagination is not one of their go-to resources and that they likely are bland, flavorless, and culpable of falling in with whatever passes for “taste” in life, much less in music.  “What is everyone else doing?”, “Is this the hottest band?”, “Gotta get the latest phone/tech gear … have to be like everyone else!”  This thinking is exacerbated when the culture is determined for you and expressed through your environment.


My lack of appreciation for the pop music that dominates R&B music has always been what I felt is a the unimaginative themes and the way those themes are told.    As a child, I quickly lost interest with the “R&B fandango”, telling me how I should feel and behave in relationships, or the more unimaginative pop songs that I felt were socially nihilistic in their nature.  The relationship between what the music and the lyrics had in different musical genres appealed to the imagery that filled my boyhood mind.  I can still feel the wonder that I had when I first heard “Strawberry Fields” by the Beatles, and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (to say nothing of the consciousness-expansion that took place when I played Rush’s “2112”).  No matter what the artist was inspired by in the creation of their music, I could “take” from it what I heard and give meaning to the emotions that I had inside of me.  

Listening to Liars latest release, “Mess”, the song that has my ear has been “Vox Tuned D.E.D”.  I can’t fathom what the song’s title means, but the alienation that is felt when you do something that you have taken great pride in only to have it critiqued poorly because it did not fit the expectations of others is clear.  Still, some of the lyrics taken separately from what I supposed was the artist's’ intention, is in alternative music, fair game.  You don’t necessarily have to get what the song means to others just because of another’s interpretation.

I WON’T GIVE A LIFETIME OF MINE…

Breaking out of my months-long torpor also means a return of my sense of being.  Two recent dreams, one of which was inspired by one of Facebook’s new features.  

In the sidebar under the “People You May Know” was none other that lil’ Mook!  I could not help but click her name and the link took me to her page.  She looks great, a beautiful young coed, going to the only school I would have thought she want to go to, MICHIGAN STATE!!  Though my thoughts at the moment were of being a part of getting her off to the school on Cedar Street, the dream that I had was less whimsical.  It was one that was reaffirming of my decision to leave for the vision that I have for myself.

The second dream was about Tee Jay.  Like the other dream, I was again validated by its contents.  What drew her into my “Facebook Dream Salad” is her frequent posts about relationships and the qualities of the kind of man who is a good partner.  If she was in her 20’s and still trying to getting her “adult legs” and maturing into a woman, I could understand.  But she isn’t.  In her mid-40’s, still having the same kind of complaints about love that my imagined aggrived groups of “Sisterhood’s” have, is disappointing.  Her posts make me wonder what things would have been like had she taken me up on my offer to restart our loveship again.  And in my dream, I was left disappointed in her.  And I woke up untroubled from both unconscious visions.  The summertime that could have had together, with either Mookie Dee, Tee Jay, Princess, and yes, even Nebraska, is nothing now, not even a badly faded memory.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

IS HE STILL THERE..?


 STILL LURKING ABOUT..!

 TACTICAL

In my career as a personal-life journey blogger, one of the things that sort of
kinda has made me pause is when a blogger doesn’t journal for a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks, and they begin their subsequent journal entry with, “Sorry I haven’t been journaling”, or apologizing for being “gone”. Then they fill that entry with the same dull meanderings that they have been sharing with no one in particular. I have found that a little bit presumptuous, although I do think that connections are made between people online, that someone who you have never met, nor reasonably expect to ever encounter, would “miss” you. Even in cases where you have actually met someone from the internet, I would think that if you were to have a life complication that kept you from whatever medium you usually communicate through, that you would be more direct and share with them whatever endeavors that were keeping you from the social media platform of choice. Then, I took a 2 ½ month hiatus from my blog.

 For those of you who presume to “know” me, that I will likely not discuss what has taken place for the last 10 or so weeks in my life should not be surprising. What drove me to blogging in the first place, needing a private space to express my frustrations and to think my way through what I was going through, well, that predicament no longer exists. So rare that my frustrations of my “ being in the world” (and I’m tired of the soup du jour) that the situations and conditions that aggravate my ability be at or find some peace of mind to think my way through things can scarcely be said to exist. For instance…

This year has been the most stereotypical period that I have experienced living here in “the projects”. But since that feeling ends once the door to my apartment shuts (and is locked..!), I am not necessarily compelled to deal in the tropes of my environment. So whatever experience that I have had in dealing with people socially, just doesn’t move me to where I feel the desire or will to blog about them. Then, there is the interactions of my personal life over the past 5 years. From the imploding hopes that I have had with both Nebraska and Princess, as well as a trio of difficult to classify non-starting relations, along with had two “one-offs” which was neither here nor there (but one of which was sort of confusing), for me to talk about that kind of stuff, especially if it was an extension of the negativity that coloured earlier discussions here, would be a clear sign of overarching fail. And rather than spend any disk space trying to paint a picture of how I see the classic “who’s having what” between men and women here in town, because I just don’t care. Why did Nebraska and I not hit it off? What drove Princess to dumping me so unceremoniously? Because I don’t have to put up with the constant drone of inconsequential (to me) static from thoughts produced with “low fidelity thinking”, and I now have the ability to ACT against the world (which still won’t listen) I don't have that much to PMS about. That, my friends, it what I have been doing. In short, I have been living a life. Nothing dramatic or particularly noteworthy.


BUT WERE I TO MAKE MENTION OF NOTABLE OCCURRENCES AND OBSERVATIONS OF THINGS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE SINCE MY LAST ENTRY

The angst that I feel from not being there as a Father to both Skye and Lexi is exacerbated by my relationship with KT. Though I don’t presume that we are necessarily “close”, we are inextricably linked by the relationship that her Mom and I had prior to, and since, her birth. I could only imagine that my being there when she took her first breath has had a profound effect on both of us and our relationship. So it heartened me greatly that she fell upon a young man as she walked through the mall that, in her words, “reminded me of you in your younger years.” And it made me ache for her sisters’ that they cannot have something like that with their father as well.

Nebraska has been checking in on me. Though texting and email is “fine” (which is a word that defines faint praise coming from me), she did express a sentiment that was truly heart-warming. But like the “warm fuzzy” I got from KT, it came with a feeling of loss and emptiness as well. “A bond of trust has been abused… something of value… has been lost…” mourns Morrissey on the single “Hang On To Your Friends”. Though I may well mean something to her, the “sunk cost” invested in maintaining the hopes that I had for us are such that I will likely never recoup the emotional capital that I has been spent. Whatever will happen between us from here on will be left up to the fates.

Meanwhile… I will leave you with this thought should the question “I wonder how Mark is doing?” run through your thoughts….

Saturday, August 22, 2015

MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS


TACTICAL

In the decade (!) that I have been disabled, there has been A LOT for me to get used to.  For instance, the non-chalantness that I had about my recollection of personal events and stories of others has went from a trait that I accounted to my “a-hole-osity”, to becoming something that I have grown to be concerned about.  But if living with Mookie Dee did anything, it confirmed for me that for the most part, keeping up with the worries of other people was still something I could disregard.  Mind you, this is not a statement of my lack of concern for the welfare of someone else, but that people are ever only concerned with the mundacity of their own lives and that they are not looking for anything other than pity and commiseration, confirmation that the antagonists in their lives are wrong and that they are really the better person in their struggles.  Meanwhile, as for them showing me the same kind of compassion and thoughtfulness that I gave them, well… now, THAT’S DIFFERENT.

I hark back to my marriage and how my ex-wife would often erect barriers to why things were more serious and involved for her and not so for me when it came to personal issues and obstacles.  Because I was a man, or because I did not have children(!!!) to think about, that my life experiences left me somehow freer and more unburdened than her, and that the social schisms that complicated my being as a black man was somehow less than hers as a black woman… yadda, yadda, yadda.  Anywho, at the time I would come to identify that line of thinking and belief as the height of selfishness in a personal relationship of any kind, and was codified for me by Arthur Schopenhauer's  comment on  character and determining if a person was a “scoundrel” and without a care for the concerns  or the well being of others.  Being of the opinion that a person who can rationalize their inherent selfishness as justifiable because of a perception that they are aggrieved by their own social beliefs or position, is a person that is best left to their own devices.


Were I to mention any real complaint of mine, like that of Portnoy's, it would be of excruciatingly dense and personal, but also one which I feel that I do not have the language to adequately describe (a small part is certainly owed to my injury, but enough with the excuse making) my emotions and their processes that I would attach to my grievances.   But I can say that straight away it has its roots in self-esteem, and as any real self-esteem conflict should have been settle in a functional adult, in one's high school years.

THE COOL BOYS BIT THE DUST… THEY COULDN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE…

Not that I know of, or would care to know of, how my peers from my junior high/high school days are doing.  I mean, a few of them that I did genuinely care for and thought of as friends, such as the Yalie, has indeed excelled. There is the one cat who I used to train with as an amateur who has found his way in his life.  And of course, there is the “Fly Skimmie Kimmie”.  Other than perhaps one or two more people, I am not aware of any other person from the “Era of My Discontent” that has gone on to achieve anything that one could consider remotely enviable as far as living an examined life.  I have knowledge of a few, some of whom you could call “the worst people of my existence”, who either fell into the abyss of urban poverty, or, who like my ex-Wife (and I am beginning to think the same of Pecan Sandie as well) who are barely staying afloat consciously, living their lives in that desperate pursuit of fulfillment and happiness.  Because of my off-brand style of thinking and philosophy, I think that I have been allowed to see people in fractals of character traits, the vision often contradicting their claims or their display of those traits of virtue and of good moral standards.

The only time that I take personal account of what people think of me, is when it is something that would verify any trait or characteristic that I may/may not posses.  Often times I picture myself as Jimmy, Quentin Tarantino's character in the movie “Pulp Fiction” trying to explain to Jules, (Samuel Jackson) that he doesn’t need to hear “how good his coffee is” when it comes to a  personal assessment from exurbs of my personal gallery.  How insulting is it when a person who is one of the unhappy “play-it-safers” that constantly wants without being able to recognize or ever trying to grasp the opportunities in front of them if they were somehow able to see them?  Where do they gain the authority to make a statement on my choices if they have never dared to explore their own hopes and dreams?

Peeking out on Facebook and seeing the griefings of people commenting on their lives, talking about how there is lack in some aspect of it, be it money, love or hope, and especially from those who I know of intimately, is a depressing act.  The salience of the meme’s and simple quotes from savvy social media promoters, expressing feelings that they would lay claim to as echoing the desires and wants in their own soul,  escapes me like that of a prey animal sudden dash to escape the clutches of a predator.  I just don’t get it… I never have and never will, at least not personally.  

...AS A SIDE NOTE

A story that broke this week about people who were rich living in public housing struck me as odd.  First off, the total amount of people who are “high-income” tenants is very, very low.  It smacks of a smear job not unlike that of “The Welfare Queen” myth of the 80’s.  Second, the folks who pay the higher rate of subsidized rents (like myself), represents a source of funding for the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) that the perennially underfunded agency would otherwise be without.  I don’t understand how this “problem” drew such attention?

Residents who pay the “market rate” for their residences (set at 80% of the median rents of similar residence in an area) provide HUD with over $90 million dollars a year.  And sure, it seems wild that there is a cat in Oxford, Nebraska who has assets totaling $1.6 million dollars (and a bank account holding $335,000 dollars..!), but I think that it also speaks to the liveaTACTICAL

In the decade (!) that I have been disabled, there has been A LOT for me to get used to. For instance, the non-chalantness that I had about my recollection of personal events and stories of others has went from a trait that I accounted to my “a-hole-osity”, to becoming something that I have grown to be concerned about. But if living with Mookie Dee did anything, it confirmed for me that for the most part, keeping up with the worries of other people was still something I could disregard. Mind you, this is not a statement of my lack of concern for the welfare of someone else, but that people are ever only concerned with the mundacity of their own lives and that they are not looking for anything other than pity and commiseration, confirmation that the antagonists in their lives are wrong and that they are really the better person in their struggles. Meanwhile, as for them showing me the same kind of compassion and thoughtfulness that I gave them, well… now, THAT’S DIFFERENT.

I hark back to my marriage and how my ex-wife would often erect barriers to why things were more serious and involved for her and not so for me when it came to personal issues and obstacles. Because I was a man, or because I did not have children(!!!) to think about, that my life experiences left me somehow freer and more unburdened than her, and that the social schisms that complicated my being as a black man was somehow less than hers as a black woman… yadda, yadda, yadda. Anywho, at the time I would come to identify that line of thinking and belief as the height of selfishness in a personal relationship of any kind, and was codified for me by Arthur Schopenhauer's comment on character and determining if a person was a “scoundrel” and without a care for the concerns or the well being of others. Being of the opinion that a person who can rationalize their inherent selfishness as justifiable because of a perception that they are aggrieved by their own social beliefs or position, is a person that is best left to their own devices.


Were I to mention any real complaint of mine, like Portnoy, it would be of excruciatingly dense and personal, but also one which I feel that I do not have the language to adequately describe (a small part is certainly owed to my injury, but enough with the excuse making) my emotions and their processes that I would attach to my grievances. But I can say that straight away it has its roots in self-esteem, and as any real self-esteem conflict should in an adult, in high school.

THE COOL BOYS BIT THE DUST… THEY COULDN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE…


Not that I know of, or would care to know of, how my peers from my junior high/high school days are doing. I mean, a few of them that I did genuinely care for and thought of as friends, such as the Yalie, has indeed excelled. There is the one cat who I used to train with as an amateur who has found his way in his life. And of course, there is the “Fly Skimmie Kimmie”. Other than perhaps one or two more people, I am not aware of any other person from the “Era of My Discontent” that has gone on to achieve anything that one could consider remotely enviable as far as living an examined life. I have knowledge of a few, some of whom you could call “the worst people of my existence”, who either fell into the abyss of urban poverty, or, who like my ex-Wife (and I am beginning to think the same of Pecan Sandie as well) who are barely staying afloat consciously, living their lives in that desperate pursuit of fulfillment and happiness. Because of my off-brand style of thinking and philosophy, I think that I have been allowed to see people in fractals of character traits, the vision often contradicting their claims or their display of those traits of virtue and of good moral standards.

The only time that I take personal account of what people think of me, is when it is something that would verify any trait or characteristic that I may/may not posses. Often times I picture myself as Jimmy, Quentin Tarantino's character in the movie “Pulp Fiction” trying to explain to Jules, (Samuel Jackson) that he doesn’t need to hear “how good his coffee is” when it comes to a personal assessment from exurbs of my personal gallery. How insulting is it when a person who is one of the unhappy “play-it-safers” that constantly wants without being able to recognize or ever trying to grasp the opportunities in front of them if they were somehow able to see them? Where do they gain the authority to make a statement on my choices if they have never dared to explore their own hopes and dreams?

Peeking out on Facebook and seeing the griefings of people commenting on their lives, talking about how there is lack in some aspect of it, be it money, love or hope, and especially from those who I know of intimately, is a depressing act. The salience of the meme’s and simple quotes from savvy social media promoters, expressing feelings that they would lay claim to as echoing the desires and wants in their own soul, escapes me like that of a prey animal sudden dash to escape the clutches of a predator. I just don’t get it… I never have and never will, at least not personally.

...AS A SIDE NOTE

A story that broke this week about people who were rich living in public housing struck me as odd. First off, the total amount of people who are “high-income” tenants is very, very low. It smacks of a smear job not unlike that of “The Welfare Queen” myth of the 80’s. Second, the folks who pay the higher rate of subsidized rents (like myself), represents a source of funding for the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) that the perennially underfunded agency would otherwise be without. I don’t understand how this “problem” drew such attention?

Residents who pay the “market rate” for their residences (set at 80% of the median rents of similar residence in an area) provide HUD with over $90 million dollars a year. And sure, it seems wild that there is a cat in Oxford, Nebraska who has assets totaling $1.6 million dollars (and a bank account holding $335,000 dollars..!), but I think that it also speaks to the livability of public housing, as well as the industriousness of its residents. See, the thing is, where the people STARTED from is often overlooked, as they had to qualify to be granted public housing. For instance, I am living on disability and a part-time job. Going to school and eventually the jump to a full time profession, I have often wondered “why would I move?” I have no problems with my fellow residents and my tower is located within a 30 minute ride of wherever I want to go. So even as my presumptive income grows, I can’t see why I would want to move from where I am at, to just pay for the right to be in a different cramped apartment?

Anywho, I think that the investigation of HUD residents who are paying for their homes should not be a mark against the agency. I am sure that they weren’t well-off when they begin their residence. It seems that corporate welfare and tax dodgers at the top of the economy would bring in much more money and not hurt people who worked through the system.
bility of public housing, as well as the industriousness of its residents.  See, the thing is, where the people STARTED from is often overlooked, as they had to qualify to be granted public housing.  For instance, I am living on disability and a part-time job.  Going to school and eventually the jump to a full time profession, I have often wondered “why would I move?”  I have no problems with my fellow residents and my tower is located within a 30 minute ride of wherever I want to go.  So even as my presumptive income grows, I can’t see why I would want to move from where I am at, to just pay for the right to be in a different cramped apartment?

Anywho, I think that the investigation of HUD residents who are paying for their homes should not be a mark against the agency.  I am sure that they weren’t well-off when they begin their residence.  It seems that corporate welfare and tax dodgers at the top of the economy would bring in much more money and not hurt people who worked through the system.