Tuesday, February 28

Damaged goods

I don't think most people have any idea what I've been through, or what I'm talking about when I describe the bleakness of depression, the terror of panic, or the stratospheric thrill of creation and discovery.

When I am feeling toughminded and emotionally infragile - when I am on my medications - life is almost appallingly superficial. It is easy to float along and navigate the stream without too much trouble. On the other hand, everything seems so much richer when I am off them, both positively and negatively. I feel that most people have no idea how extraordinarily rich an experience life can be. For some reason our minds seem to only be able to function usefully when the intensity of that experience is toned down to a certain level. Otherwise, you get overwhelmed and cease to be able to make meaningful choices in the face of so much information. Almost anything becomes a valid point of view, a launching spot for deeper investigation, and soon it all gets to be too much and the mind just shuts down, or else careers off into a panic.

I find it abhorrent to have to filter the world's amazing richness through so many layers of gauze, like an audiophile decrying his favorite concerto rasped from speakers which can only reproduce a limited range of frequencies, and which significantly color the sound of those that do come through. I believe this is why artists of all stripes walk a fine line between discovery and madness. Ordinary people have no idea what they're missing, so they carry on with their lives in relative contentment. It's hard for me to be content with such a state, knowing as I do what is possible, and yet I don't want the destabilizing vertigo that comes with the full experience.

Friday, February 24

The 4 Cs

Holy cow, what did Europeans do before they had coffee or chocolate? I suppose they sat around and drank a lot of beer and wine. But these are downers, and generally imbibed at night. It's amazing they had no psychoactive substances to speak of when it comes to stimulants. Makes you wonder - with cocaine, coffee, chocolate, and chile peppers on the western side of the Atlantic, why on Earth didn't the New World become the dominant power and colonize Europe instead of the other way around?

Thursday, February 23

I want the best

When it comes to material things, spiritual things... intellectual things: I want the best. Why wouldn't someone want the best of the choices before him? If I am going to buy a television, I want the one with the best picture. If I pursue an ideology, it has to make the most sense to me. I really don't understand this halfway culture of ours that makes a hero out of compromise.

It makes sense to spend as much as needed to get the best quality when it comes to something that won't go obsolete - headphones/speakers, furniture, cookware/cutlery/flatware, and so on. Why would you want something that performs at a level less than what is currently possible, if it's something you'll use over and over for a number of years?

However, logic dictates another approach when something is evolving quickly, like computers, cell phones, televisions; you should stay behind the expensive curve and buy strategically until the technology plateaus, then get the best. Otherwise, you'll only be throwing money away. Whatever limited use you get from such devices will not justify their cost. Technology is immature (in a rapid growth phase). Foolish is the person who invests more than casually in it.

Something for strangers to find

I want to feel invincible. I crave a rising tide, a feeling on the plus side, pushing darkness and lacking back. Whatever I can do to keep this snowball rolling, I will. I've run myself into tight corners in the past, too greedy, things that didn't last - this time I want staying power. I want to feel a foundation beneath my feet where before there was only shifting sand. Call it optimism.

Wednesday, February 22


The earth is full of mysteries
And mysteries are fun to explore
But when I explore these mysteries
They aren't mysteries any more

The rate at which old mysteries die
Exceeds that at which new ones are formed
Maybe that is the reason why human life
Is so short.

Monday, February 20

Potemkin village

Dan Fogelberg said, "there's a magic every moment." I would agree, and make the thought even more precise. There's no magic in the world if you look at life as something that occurs over time, but if you can literally narrow it to an instant - or as close as is attainable by the neural feedback system of the human mind - something magical indeed does happen. For one thing, you can ignore pain. Just choose to disregard it for that split second, perhaps telling yourself you'll deal with it in another moment. For another, you can resolve to feel joy, choose fascination over frustration for a single instant regarding a single thing. Just do it for a second, pull those mouth corners into an expectant smile. Lastly, you can relax completely if you choose, just for an instant, just by breathing out and letting go.

The trials man suffers as he plies his way from cradle to grave have been well documented by thinkers from the Greeks to the quantum physicists, from the fundamentalists to the humanists and beyond. But in an instant, all philosophy fades. It doesn't matter if you are bent on correctness, or saving for a future. It doesn't matter the color of your skin, the stamps in your passport, the letters after your name. If you are willing to let go, to resume the childhood dream of anyplace and anytime, you can shape a single instant into whatever you want it to be, can narrow all fears and insecurities till they are vanishingly thin, can conjure a magical sunrise out of the bleakest milieu - transforming it into something mysterious and wonderful. There IS a magic every moment, should you decide on the spot to invoke it.

And instants stand back to back to back, soliders in an infinite parade celebrating the past and future, and should you choose to remain present and focused, you can string magical moments together like beads in a necklace and stretch villain time to do your bidding. All it takes is the will right now.

Saturday, February 18


dark circles beneath my eyes underline
the toll it takes to cry.
on a summer's day, awake
or any day
seems absurd to get involved and then
suffer the wrath of disappointment
or the fury of conquest.

i'll give up my masculinity.
the world wins. it doesn't matter to me now.
i'll take my ego off its respirator.
i have decided to live a true life
or no life
simply because i dont think i can
possibly do otherwise.

Seeds in sausages

Why do I feel so embattled by the horrible truths of existence? Is there some big secret that many others in the world, the "normal" ones, are in on? They're not panicked and going insane because they know all about it and have either transcended to a new, less disturbing understanding of the world, or they have devised better ways to forget and ignore? Or are they just ignorant of it in the first place? Or are my perceptions so skewed that things are not really the way I think they are, and no one even knows what I'm talking about?

Friday, February 17


The faceless forces of corporate culture bulldoze on. The market-driven might of the majority steamrolls the artist, the mom and pop, the protester, the loner, the martyr. And most people, in their diatribes against RIAA, against MPAA, against HDCP, get it all wrong. It's not "greed" we fight against - that implies someone with intent running things. Rather, it's the sum total of pressure brought to bear by a free market, which has behind it the weight of millions and millions of comfortable consumers who are serving their own self-interest by keeping the status quo in business. Democracy, or "might makes right," necessarily sacrifices the endeavors of the minority, however beautiful or rare they might be, to the whims of the masses, however banal those might be. In the end you are snuffed beneath the pillow of the modern machine, not by an opponent with discrete ideals who will look you in the eye and snarl at you, but by an amorphous villain oozing over and soothing those who don't stand out in any way. It's the ultimate triumph of mathematical mediocrity.

So what do we in the minority do? By minority I mean ANY minority; any departure from the bland. This would include just about all musicians, artists, writers, or other creators of things. This would include anyone with a strong opinion or a sense of curiosity. It would include all scientists and philosophers. What do we do? We forget trying to predict the outcome, refuse to despair in the face of great odds, and carry on with our business. After all, independence of spirit has always been a struggle of the few versus the many. Like Nelson's dictate "England expects that every man will do his duty," we resolve to create and think and stand firm in our independence no matter what.

You don't need to move to a log cabin and become a hermit. You can stay in the world and make choices, even if at times you are limited to "lesser evil" choices. You can use your great power to harm to do good instead. You can shop locally, buy on principles, boycott egregious wrongs. You can make your own life count, to yourself as well as others, by wearing an honest smile and speaking the truth, by staying healthy and encouraging others to stay healthy, by giving back to whatever communities you take from. You can share files at a 1:1 ratio. You can take time to answer questions as well as ask them. You can donate to worthy causes. You can encourage children especially to imagine and to share.

In short, you can do what is in your power to do, and no more - but that is enough. To the independent soul, that is infinitely better than doing nothing at all.

Monday, February 6


I survived another day.


Most people are deadened by the world
I am saddened by this world
Faces stare leaden through car windows
The silence behind the noise is maddening
Most people are incapable or unwilling
To think for themselves
It's soul-chilling

While their children gather together
Beneath our dark skies hand-in-hand
Strain their eyes to a future without color or sound
As numberless as grains of sand
They remain standing
And the only days that are left to them now
Are infinite and bland.

Saturday, February 4

Giving up

Is it possible any more to feel good? Yes, it is. Of course it is. You have to stay in constant movement, don't get satisfied, don't analyze. Embrace change, don't fear it. You have to pound your chest and rest only when you need it. That's the spirit. Do things that feel right, not good. Getting lost in the city is like being lost in the woods. Cyberspace is innerspace. Stay outside and pick flowers, come inside for lunch. Watch a movie but don't drown yourself doing it. Lay down at day's end for a well-earned break, then roar back tomorrow with a vengence. Never give up.

Thursday, February 2


life pods
where life goes on
just barely

life pods
where life goes on
if you can call it that

life pods
are comfortable
and unchanging

were I
never alive to see them
I wouldn't believe

Slow poison

My biggest gift, or at least my most devloped skill, seems to be irony. Ironic humor. And yet of all the people I know only one really 'gets' that type of humor. Everyone else around me either doesn't get it at all, or they recognize it but don't find it particularly amusing themselves. Thus, blog titles, poetry lines, observations in a chat online or face to face, and pretty much any other way I attempt to communicate with the outside world is doomed to failure in trying to convey its full meaning. And all that humor - all that beautifully complex humor - is lost.

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