Thursday, July 30

Grunge, Inc.

Dreams, reality.

Woke up from that nightmare again
She was there, I followed her
Through endless rooms with
Scary closets full of boated bodies
And jars of marbles and greywashed
Memories again. We got outside,
I got my breath again
The hills and the sun and the sense
That I might escape to any side
Grew and died again, as I knew that
Any direction would lead me back
And even bad people thought they
Were doing good.
Someone stole everything I had,
Even my pet snake, which I found
Pickled in a jar older than I was.
I'm trying to spark this off fresh
Before it fades, but it was faded
Inside that world, every bookstore
Was the standard bookstore, like some
Prop from a high school play, and my
Highschool friends played all the parts,
The movie theater guard, the girl with
Too much makeup on, the square headed
Guys who laughed, and retreated
Effortlessly when I attempted retaliation.
I tried every road out, she was incapable
Of being avoided or of being loved.
I played ping pong with different values
Of gravity, different waves and cadences
Of time, and lost every time, seemingly
Before my paddle was even ready. I was
Wading in murky water full of the skulls
Of animals and things.
And it was as though someone had
Turned up all the greys and the greens
And the oyster-colors in my dream.
By then I knew it was a dream.
So I tried the usual tricks to trick
The dream, but I couldn't walk across
The dead lake. I couldn't fly over the
Table-topped hill. I could barely hover;
Even then she was unimpressed. And you
Were always there in thought and judgment
If not always in sight. And contradicted
Everything I was about to say, or think,
Or feel, or do. And I still
Hate you for what you are deep inside.


I am a raging sore on the Universe
Contracted when it bumped branes with another
We instantly liked then detested each other
I have no father and no mother
I am the living, breathing stagnation
Of a cold black and cruel Universe
I am the fount of eternal black light
Within my depths roar supermassive holes
That create and destroy, a yang and yin,
Brahma and Shiva, Isis and Osiris, Joshua and Lucifer,
Light and dark, Manwë and Melkor, love and hate,
And it's all been blended into a stably
Entropic, forever-grey. I was born this way,
For I was never truly born. I bubbled into existence
At the dawn of time, and space was created, and my
Face is made of the thousands of crying souls
Which natural selection whipped into the
Ever joyful, ever suffering menagerie of Life.

Tuesday, July 28


People coming out of the woodwork. Dayne Rizkovsky from Lake Elizabeth lives in Arizona now, and he contacted me on Facebook. So did Ryan Miyasaki from Comstock/Piner. Disorienting...!

What kind of Asian food do you like?

I admit I haven't tried the full spectrum of Asian cuisine available. But I've had my share, and here's what I like and what I'm not so crazy about.

1. Thai: Love it. Especially Tom Kha Gai, Massaman or yellow curry chicken, green curries, Pad Thai, Satays, Mee-Krob (if not too sweet), Thai ice tea, sweet rice and ice cream deserts, many seafood dishes including anything with "panang" or lemongrass in the title, and most things on the menu actually, if not extraordinarily spicy. I like mine medium - which means 'spicy' in the US, and mild or medium in Thailand, which I've actually visited (so I can attest to the fact). Watch out for those red and black peppers! Yummy, but they can ruin your whole day...

2. Chinese: Also love it. Egg-drop soup, egg-rolls, spring rolls, chow mein, chow fun, Szechuan (Sichuan) beef, pork fried rice, fried wings and drumettes with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard, orange or lemon chicken (white meat), beef with broccoli, cashew chicken and snow peas, imperial prawns, garlic prawns... I could go on and on. Again, I like most things on the menu. Only a few things I don't care for (note: this is USA-Chinese, which surely varies from what what be a much wilder 'true' Chinese menu).

3. Vietnamese: I've had this less often than the previous two types, but I've always enjoyed it. I love the noodle bowls with virtually anything in them, and the deserts. It seems some French ideas crept into this cuisine during their time of occupation, which makes for an interesting twist. I want to try more. Have had nothing but good experiences so far.

4. (tie) Korean: LOVE Korean BBQ; can't remember much else besides that. Pretty ignorant on the whole flavor palette, but again it's something I'd like to be more acquainted with. Need to drive to San Jose and try all the cheap but authentic holes-in-the-wall there! I remember having some really good soup too... I wish I could remember more actual names of the dishes.

4. (tie) Japanese: I'm very fond of tempura (especially) and teriyaki, as well as soba noodles and miso soup. Everyone else in the world seems to have latched on to sushi or even sashimi... but my couple experiences with truly raw fish and seafood were not that pleasant. Maybe it's my preconceptions? I try to have an open mind. Of course I love California rolls and anything cooked and wrapped in rice and seaweed (and avocado never hurts). It's just the texture of truly raw fish that I have yet to acquire a taste for. Plus, it's expensive =S ...not to mention trendy.

Others: Malaysian, Cambodian, Laotian, Singaporean, Filipino, Bruinei-cuisine, Polynesian.... well, you have to draw borders somewhere. Polynesian could include Hawaiian cuisine, which is another category surely. Also, by saying "Asian" you could include Indian and Pakistani, Tibetan, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, and Kurdish cuisines here if you wanted, even Turkish and Armenian! But I won't. To me, that's a whole other ball of wax. Or ball of flavor... which is also very yummy... but I'll save it for another post.

What are some of your favorite "southeastern" Asian cuisines (like the ones I listed above)? Which countries and which dishes? Which don't you like? Which have you never had but would like to try? I'm interested as always in what all you guys think, and what recommendations or cautions you may have. Thanks! These posts are the most fun when people reply and it becomes interactive.

Monday, July 27

Sunday, July 26

The Wall.

Empty Spaces.
(Roger Waters)

(album version)
What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where once we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall?

(movie version)
What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where waves of hunger roar?
Shall we set out
Across this sea of faces
In search of more and more applause?

Shall we buy a new guitar?
Shall we drive a more powerful car?
Shall we work straight through the night?
Shall we get into fights?
Leave the lights on?
Drop bombs?
Do tours of the East?
Contract disease?
Bury bones?
Break up homes?
Send flowers by phone?
Take to drink?
Go to shrinks?
Give up meat?
Rarely sleep?
Keep people as pets?
Train dogs?
Raise rats?
Fill the attic with cash?
Bury treasure?
Store up leisure?
But never relax at all?

With our backs to the wall...

Getting what you want...

...when you need it but don't expect it is wonderful. Getting what you want when you expect it, don't need it, or both, is empty.

Joy is relative to the condition out of which joy emerged. I think it's possible to stay contented, and graceful, but not joyful.

By the same token, one cannot maintain a sense of shock, embarrassment, or fury indefinitely. They mellow into anger, then hurt, then indifference. Maybe at the end, if you are lucky or you work toward it, will come serenity.

Saturday, July 25

Friday, July 24

Another choice if you don't like rock.

Thursday, July 23

Not Kashmir, cashmere!

I love cashmere. I have a thin cashmere shirt that is my most comfortable shirt. I could wear it every day, and sleep in it on colder nights. It's thin enough that it's not much warmer than a long-sleeved t-shirt would be, but much softer to the touch and much more cushiony if that makes any sense. And it never seems to make me sweat (the way synthetics do), yet keeps me warm over a wider range of temperatures that a simple cotton shirt does. And it's black and grey striped and is a pullover, so it looks as nice as it feels, and goes with jeans or almost anything. As I said, I love cashmere.


What are your three (or five, if you're serious about it) favorite metals? They can be pure (elemental) metals, alloys, or other variants. And you can say why you like them if you want, or just list them. It's all up to you. I'll post mine after others do. METAL!

Quote of the Day.

I don't know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

—Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

Some cool music to listen to while you browse

Wednesday, July 22

A mini-questionnaire

01. What are some of your favorite clothing stores or brands?
02. Do you have pets? How many and what kinds? Names?
03. Prefer to read the book before the movie or vice-versa?
04. Do you like cheese? What are some of your favorites types?
05. Is your place a mess right now, average, or quite clean?
06. Would you eat your pet(s) if you were starving?
07. What genres of books do you most enjoy?
08. Do you like to swim?
09. Do you have some favorite flowers or trees? Which?
10. Are you any good at billiards?

Tuesday, July 21

I bought one of those stud-finders...

...but it always points to me!

Monday, July 20

Harry Potter Character Poll...

If you were the appropriate age, who would you have a crush on? You may select multiple answers, but no silliness please!
promise rings

Sunday, July 19

Here's a tough one:

Would you rather be forced to finish an entire 20-piece Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's or eat your own head?

Not mine, but pretty!

Of the following, who's the oldest?

(at the time of the War of the Ring)

Note: Tom & Goldberry have been left off the list deliberately.

  • Galadriel
  • Sauron
  • Old Man Willow
  • Gollum
  • Treebeard

Bonus points if you can put them all in order.

Lyra's world.

Philip Pullman has a fairly new novella which takes place in Lyra's world, and involves the meeting between two of my favorite characters, Iorek Byrnison and Lee Scoresby (and presumably his daemon Hester). It's already on my Christmas & Birthday lists and I can't wait to read it. At 114 pages, it's a bit slimmer than I'd hoped, and surely doesn't herald the beginning of a new saga. But still!

The hardcover binding for this first edition looks quite elegant and sturdy. I wants it, my precious!

Friday, July 17

This was too cool not to post.

Is that Acre in the background?

(as usual, click for a more bigger, more better image)
Coming soon: The history of spaghetti!

(Still on its way... almost al dente now)

The Dawn of Writing.

(Much needed proof-reading to happen soon - I promise! - I just wrote this in one big burst without correcting anything.)

To many scholars' surprise, but not to mine, there has been a shift in the paradigm of the geographic location of the first written language on earth. You probably were taught, as I was, that the Sumerians developed the first written script in what is today modern Iraq, in the region known as "the fertile crescent." This writing was known as cuneiform and consisted of little more than pre-formed brands shaped into patterns of dots pressed into mud-brick and then laid out to dry and harden. It was used at first solely for record keeping, mostly of public inventory stocks and later in more sophisticated transaction such as bartering, taxation, and finally even adapted to recording non-numerical information such as the recipes for ale and bread.

But it was not the first writing after all. As I've believed nearly my whole life, and remember hypothesizing to my teachers even in grammar school, certainly in junior high, it is now almost universally recognized and confirmed that a much older system of writing existed in - you guessed it - Ancient Egypt. At the time the Sumerians were stamping dots into mud, the Egyptians already had developed phonetic hieroglyphs, a simpler version than what was to come, but much more sophisticated than anything existing anywhere else in the world both technologically and linguistically. For these hieroglyphs, which would grow more elaborate and standardized over the millennia but not change in their substance, were carved into square ivory tags, much as hieroglyphs were later to be carved in stone. And they did not simply represent a crude numbering system. Even the oldest of these ivory tags so far discovered contains the written form of a spoken language, complete with syllable-based words and word-based phrases. These tags predate the earliest writing in Sumeria by hundreds if not a thousand years.

One then wonders: Where did this sophisticated form of writing, and of carving, come from? Surely it didn't simply spring up in this already complex system fully formed at the time to which it is dated? It must have had a long development of its own. Without writing a book about the subject here, I believe for many reasons (and not due to "alternative history" documentaries or books, many of them ludicrous and mystical, but to sound, rational thought I've formed independently when attempting to synthesize all I know about Egypt, gathered from many, many sources over a short lifetime), that Egyptian culture - its mythology, its writing, its stonework, its political schemes, and so on - is much older than most people, even archaeologists and indeed and ironically Egyptologists, have ever believed.

To build on the scale they did, to show the sophistication already present in their intricately carved pots, knives, in their stonework, in their creation stories and their entire cosmology, to organize their societies stratigraphically and show the kind of societal stability they did, to indeed have developed the sophistication of writing and thus (according to linguists like Stephen Pinker), the sophistication of language and ultimately thought that they must have had, they must inevitably have much, much deeper roots than is even now thought to be the case. If you don't believe this - if you can't see this from a holistic view of what knowledge and artifacts we have of that culture in its earliest forms currently known - then you are forced to adopt some other even more radical theory, such as alien visitation or some other form of mysticism. Or that they were instructed by Atlanteans or another earthly culture, which only begs the question and sets one upon the search for an equally ancient, sophisticated peoples not know as "Egyptians" but other than that possessing all the antiquity and mystery. In other words, you've solved nothing, you've only shifted the problem somewhere else. And nowhere else are any older, more sophisticated civilizations to be found, at least in our present understanding. It's always possible something completely unknown could "spring up" somewhere surprising, especially as powerful techniques such as ground-penetrating radar and satellite imagery have come to be used by archaeologists in recent decades. Almost certainly antiquity has not given up all her secrets, and digging these up will be as fruitful an enterprise in the coming century as it was in the previous, if not more so.

So where and how do I think Ancient Egyptians culture developed, since it presently appears nearly full-formed in situ along the Nile, as though by magic or divine or extraterrestrial deliverance? I think that further excavations far to the west of the Nile river valley, in places like Naptha Playa and other paleolithic and neolithic sites, where incidentally calendrical stone circles much akin to Stonehenge (though much older) and giant chunks of quarried and intricately worked stone (stone which is not native to the sites but has been brought from a far distance, somehow), will yield the original home of the Egyptian people, and will show the beginnings of that culture in a rational, believable way which will solve many current mysteries once and for all. For I believe (as do an increasing number of scholars) that the culture we call "Egyptian" did not spring up along the Nile one day, nor did it even form in what is today's political state of Egypt, but that it consisted originally of wandering nomads, as existed all over at that period immediately after the last Ice Age, in the then-fertile Sahara with all its seasonal lakes and patches of forest and grasslands, and progressed in fits and starts in a general eastward migration to its more famous eventual site of permanent settlement. This migration was spurred on by well-documented climate change that dried out the Sahara over thousands of years, and would thus have periodically dried up lakes as the sands encroached and uprooted large communities, who would have then had to travel east some distance until another seeming haven of life was found, which may then have served as a new home for decades or centuries until the process repeated.

All along the way there should be remnants of settlements, of tools and bones and the other implements of a settles society as opposed to a strictly nomadic one. I believe these will be found someday under all that sand, and that the pre-history of Egypt will finally be explained without recourse to any magic and without simply ignoring the great mystery of the Nile culture's sudden ascendancy, or writing it off to the exquisite treasure that the Nile represents, as do most Egyptologists who even bother with the question. It's as though most researchers interested in Egypt content themselves with tiny changes in building techniques, or which gods fell in and out of favor, or where certain tombs may lie, when there is a huge pink elephant standing in the middle of the room which they all pretend not to notice as they go about sieving the sands and poring over the minute bits of evidence for some trivial mystery they happen to 'specialize' in. In all of science over-specialization is in danger of forever obfuscating the big picture, and the same is true of Egypt. So many otherwise intelligent people wander into the field with blinders on, assuming the general framework of Egyptian history is well-understood, and content to focus on their own tiny field of interest, and very few ever stand back and look at the whole subject, including the pink elephant, and think to themselves (much less voice) the obvious question: Where and how the hell did all of this just start up one day or year or decade, with no millennia-long buildup to be seen? Why is that Ancient Egypt seems to emerge fully formed from the desert as if by magic, greatest at or near its origin, and then undergoes a long period of decline for the next three thousand years? It's not supposed to work that way!

My only rational idea is to suppose that the other side of this peak, the multi-thousand year buildup to it, did indeed occur, and occur naturally and without the help of ET, thank you, and that the evidence for it is there - only not 'there' as in the Nile River valley, but 'there' out to the west, strewn along ancient routes, the near whole of it now buried by the sands. At Naptha Playa (qv), a temple to the paternal falcon-god Horus has recently been unearthed, for Christ's sake. If that doesn't point the way west, then I dunno what does.

We shall see in the decades or centuries to come that the culture which would end up settling for good in Egypt is indeed much more ancient than any other culture on earth, and by a long ways; that it had developed writing thousands of years sooner than anywhere else, that it had been forced to learn to carve stone due to the relative scarcity of wood, and to do it with copper and bronze in highly innovative ways due to the peculiar inability to produce iron tools (one area in which Egypt always lagged, even the comfortably familiar Nile-based culture we now study in our textbooks), that they understood geometry, astronomy (possibly even the phenomenon of axial precession), and probably much more besides that will surprise and shock all the experts when the discoveries occur. We may well also discover more ancient roots for other cultures around the world, find evidence of heretofore-unknown cultures that rose and vanished in long-forgotten eras, and probably evidence that the New World was discovered not once, twice, or three times (by the Siberians, Vikings, and Columbus), but many more times. Just as the feat the ancient Polynesians accomplished in populating the tiny islands and archipelagos dotting the Pacific once completely baffled Europeans, I think we will see that ancient peoples from a number of cultures had naval and astronomical knowledge we don't currently credit them with and that the New World was discovered over and over again, and that its pre-European population was very heterogeneous nonetheless. This would among many other things explain why South American seems to have been inhabited by humans before North America ever was.

All in all, the hubris of the science of any given time in history has always astounded me. Every era thinks they have all the answers, and that previous eras were ignorant and backward. Our present era seems to me to have learned nothing in looking at history, and to exhibit this same hubris. We recognize we don't know it all but we think we have the basic framework solidly in place, and are now just working to fill in fairly trivial details in the puzzle. It's like physics at the end of the nineteenth century, which was convinced it had just about wrapped up the subject and that beyond a few minor puzzles yet to be worked out, Newton's mechanistic model of the universe stood in supreme triumph and little more was left to do but to "fill in the holes." Those holes and 'minor puzzles' happened to contain enough mystery that in the 20th century, Newton's concepts would be shattered by a new understanding: The twin-towered framework of Relativity and Quantum Theory. Something akin to this seems to be in the offing in archaeology and anthropology (physical and cultural) as well, especially as mentioned with the recent advent of powerful new tools (computers and new mapping and imaging technologies), which represent the first real advance of picks and shovels in quite a long time. To think we really know anything in these fields for certain at this pivotal point of change seems quite silly to me.

To restate the beginning of this post, though: Egyptians, not Sumerians, are now recognized as having the oldest written language ever discovered. By a lot. And if my hunches are correct, by the time we really understand that language system and how it developed, the idea of writing starting anywhere near the Fertile Crescent will be a distant memory, something that children will learn was once believed (to their amusement, surely) when archaeology was still in its infancy.

Wednesday, July 15

"Science fiction.... Double feature...."

Doctor X... Will build a creature. Whoa oh oh oh, oh-oh-oh.

Saw two movies today for the price of one. Pixar's Up in Dolby Digital 3D, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Both were excellent and highly recommended.

In brief (and yes, I realize this should probably go on my movie-review site which seems never to get off the ground, but it will be transferred over in due time once I get my stuff together over there), here is what I thought about the movies' content (no spoilers), and technical merit.

First, Up was $10 for the friggin' matinee, which I suppose covered the charge of using the 3D glasses for a little less than two hours. Considering the matinee price for a normal movie at this theater is $6.50, that seems like a huge rip-off. Which made me all the more happy I double-dipped! However, the story was cute, clever, and well done. It was un-Disneyish/Pixarish in that it portrayed some real-life hardship without a convenient cure-for-all-ills ending where everything bad is undone. There are some sober qualities to the film, and it is the richer for it. And as you might expect, it is quite clever and elicited multiple chuckles from the audience, including me. A feel-good movie, but not a formulaic one especially. I'm not sure I'd gain anything from seeing it again, but it was definitely worth a single watch.

And that is partly due to its technical merits. Seldom has any CGI film looked this good, if ever. The 3D effect is so amazing that you get used to it right away, and far from being a gimmick, I now feel disappointed that ALL films are not shot in this kind of "natural" 3D... rather than things flying directly at you occasionally, or other traditional 3D tricks, this movie plays it straight and just has that lifelike effect that wherever the "camera" is looking, you see many layers of depth, stretching to the horizon. Plus the animation on clothing, foliage, wood, soil, fur, and other heavily texture-laden objects had never looked so natural. If it wasn't for the cartoonish main characters, the film might start to blur the line between animation and reality. It's a similar formula in that regard to Wall-E, with deliberately cartoonish characters against an almost hyper-realistic scenery backdrop. All in all I give the movie a B for story, an A+ for technical merit, and an overall score of an A-, which is quite generous for me. I may downgrade it to a B or B+ in the future when this new breed of 3D has become commonplace, but for now I was sufficiently wowed to award it the high rating.

So.... On to Harry Potter 6. Of course I've not had the proper time to reflect, but I've generally in the past come out of each Potter movie feeling disappointed, having read the books prior, and only later learning to appreciate the film on its own merits. This time, there was no such initial feeling at all. I'm confident in stating that this is the best installment so far, without question, unless you harbor a special feeling for the first one, which is really more of a children's movie (and there's no shame in that). This film on the other hand is the grimmest yet, and it strikes a good balance between rampant action and mystery and also giving the characters space and time to enjoy some lighter moments and develop their relationships more deeply. And develop they do! This movie is, like the book, a bit of a schizophrenic affair - the Voldemort/Death Eater stuff is some of the bleakest yet, and some truly frightening things happen which belong fairly firmly on the adult side of the fence, or at least the teen side. Small children need not apply. At the same time, due to the characters' coming of age, there are lots of semi-awkward, delightfully humorous moments (and yes, snog-fests) to interrupt all that seriousness in a way which is a lot of fun, and not forced. I think the chemistry of the three leads is by this point such that they must really like each other as good friends, and they can achieve that easy camaraderie and banter onscreen that was more forced in the earlier installments. Also, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) turns in his best performance of the series to date, shedding all that childish bullying and snobbery and seeming to wrestle his inner demons throughout. For once he doesn't even seem remotely interested in teasing Harry or being the childish foil to his heroics; he has his own agenda, and it both excites and terrifies him. He also looks the most physically grown-up of the main (young) actors, which helps bring some gravitas to his role. And Hermione and especially Ginny Weasley are simply stunning in this movie in a grown-up, glamorous way that we've not seen from them before. I felt the remnant of my teenage self stirred, as I'm sure I would have fallen for either of these young women in my youth. By contrast, Harry still looks like a puny kid in need of shoe lifts (which I'm quite sure he wore in many scenes), and Ron, although noticeably more muscular, still sports a baby face and the most juvenile demeanor of the three. Something to be said for girls maturing more quickly than boys! And yes, 'shippers (you know you who are), will get half of what they want in this movie, and a blatant confirmation, if not physical demonstration, of the other half. It will fall to the last saga to see their relationships fully consummated.

Technically the movie seemed very well done: tightly edited but with said breathing space now and again to allow us to catch our breath. No wasted scenes. Great and understated special effects, which blend into the story and don't show it up in any way. Gone are the dementors, in are the pensieve memories. And most importantly, for the first time ever I think, this movie contains every important scene from the book. Most are shortened somewhat to their essence, and at times known characters replace one-off characters from the book for the sake of not confusing the viewers. Likewise, a few tricky maneuvers pulled off in the book probably just wouldn't have worked well or been understood in a visual medium without resorting to some form of ponderous exposition, so some details were changed or simplified for that reason. But at first recall I don't remember a scene being entirely left out, nor a brand new one added, and the movie brought back the book almost exactly as I remembered it. The locations and scenery and even camera angles were generally what I'd envisioned while reading the book as well, which speaks either to Rowling's increasingly cinematic writing style or possibly was just good fortune on my part that the director, David Yates, imagined the text very much as I did.

The one technical item that bothered me was not the film's fault but rather the theater's: Before an absolutely sold-out zoo of moviegoers, the film was slightly out of focus, which is to me inexcusable, especially after seeing ones of the crispest images ever in the film I saw just previous to it, Up. That was a disappointment but I don't hold it against the film. I would give HP6 the movie a solid A grade with no reservations, if for no other reason than it makes me excited and optimistic for the upcoming 2-part, 4+ hour treatment (happily also by Yates) of the final book in the series, The Deathly Hallows. That could be a true epic if handled the way this one was, or even taken up a notch. We could be in LOTR-extended edition territory, minus the cliff-hanger/excessive "hero" speeches of that trilogy. Not that the story it's based on is comparable in weight to Tolkien's in any sense, but as a movie it may just be its equal or better. We'll see. The series is really growing more complex and mature with each installment.

Thanks for reading my dual movie review! Hope to have many more for you at some point.

Monday, July 13


In your own words, make a brief distinction between the terms Pillage, Pilfer, and Plunder.


You get to spend a year in a fantasy world. Assume the fun-to-danger ratio is the same for each. Where do you go?
Middle Earth
Please Specify:
promise rings

Sunday, July 12

One of these was written by an open atheist.

The other was penned by a Roman Catholic saint-to-be. Which is which?

Passage 1

Couched in cauls of clay as in holy robes,
Dead men render love and war no heed,
Lulled in the ample womb of the full-tilt globe.

No spiritual Caesars are these dead;
They want no proud paternal kingdom come;
And when at last they blunder into bed
World-wrecked, they seek only oblivion.

Rolled round with goodly loam and cradled deep,
These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day :
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God's stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.

Passage 2
For me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves but does not speak. Such deep longing for God—and … repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal.—The saving of Souls holds no attraction—Heaven means nothing. What do I labor for? If there be no God—there can be no soul—if there is no Soul then Jesus—You also are not true.

The smile is a mask or a cloak that covers everything. I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love. If you were there, you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'

I talk to God, but the sky is empty, and Orion walks by and doesn't speak.

I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of the darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.

Answer: Passage 1 was written by the poet Sylvia Plath. Passage 2 is from the journal of Mother Teresa, who, it seems to be coming to light, was either an atheist or agnostic in her later years - at the very least struggling very hard to find her faith (and who could blame her?), even while continuing to uphold her image and preside over her organization of hospices.

So, better to be openly skeptical of God, or to passionately convince others of His Majesty and Grace while harboring a dying belief yourself? I would say, take "God" out of it, be a great humanitarian and you will still be loved and respected, not to mention you can still do the same amount of GOOD in the world, which is all that matters.

I guess having been brought up a Roman Catholic nun in Albania, that was simply not an option; she must have felt it would have crumbled her base of power were she to come out of the religious closet and proclaim she didn't believe anymore. Too bad, it might have been a powerful example that mercy does not need to be linked to a deity; we humans can be compassionate and altruistic of our own choosing.

Anyway, lots of interesting stuff like this has been found in her journals since her death. I'm sure the Catholic church will conveniently ignore it all and make her a saint anyway. They're 3/4 of the way there with the beatification by the late Pope John Paul II. Silly Catholics.

From old notes, past research. Still valid, I'm sure...

-Best vodkas I've ever had. Price: $20-$50 (750ml), YMMV.
-Price seemingly no indication of quality, set mostly by marketing departments.
-And no "bling" $200 bottles here pimped by superstars. Just substance of the product.

10. Svedka - Sweden
09. Boru - Ireland
08. Ketel One - Holland
07. Zyr - Russia
06. Grey goose - France
05. Belvedere - Poland
04. Russian Standard - Russia
03. Uvluka - Poland
02. Chopin - Poland
01. Ciroc - France

-Overall I have to give Poland the nod for producing the best vodkas.
-Russia and France definitely represent themselves well, too.
-Remember, the ideal attribute of vodka is smoothness and lack of taste and odor, unlike almost every other spirit.
-Skip flavored vodkas unless that's your thing. It's not mine. Some Zyr and vermouth with 3+ green olives, served dirty please!
-For 1-5, skip the whole cocktail idea and drink them neat and very cold. Otherwise it's a waste. Don't fret, these vodkas deliver. No chasers needed, even for non-"tough guys." Schmooove.

Eating worms....

I must have a firewall around me or something. No one's emails seem to be getting through the last few days....

Until someone realizes I'm unarmed and undefended and decides to shell me with welcomed communications, I guess I'll just take a warm bath, relax, and read another book.

-R. Crusoe.

Dr. Hugo Heyrman

something interesting always happens at 3:15...



personal space

For information on Heyrman's art, 'new media,'
and research into the phenomenon of synesthesia,
click here and here.

Thursday, July 9

An update on the cat highway

Observations of another 1 week period (I stopped tracking for awhile in between).

Jackson 10
Blackie 16
Big Head 3
Fake Jackson 3
Typhoon 2
Sleek 5
Big Cheeky 8
Grey Boy 14
Sylvester 1
Patches 0
Fake Sasha 1
Prowler 0

Raccoons: The local family, several times.
Construction workers and other human beings: 6.7 billion, all of which are nosy.

1,000 Years (reprise)

I'll live forever.
I'll never be filled.
I'll never imagine
I can change what I kill.

I destroy what I love.
I drain what is filled.
And I live by the hope
Of the things I kill.

I will be alone
For 1,000 years.
This memory will never leave,
This body won't die.

This body is a temple stolen from the Lord.
I'll walk in His shadow for 1,000 years.

This is the gift I was given at birth.
I'll walk in your shadow
For a thousand years.
1,000 years.

Wednesday, July 8

A voluntary questionnaire

Here's a load of questions. Feel free to answer them all, but not compelled to. If something is too personal or you just don't have a good answer, that's ok. The idea is just to have a bit of fun, so it's up to you how much you want to sink your teeth into it. Leave your answers in the comment section (obviously), and click 'show original post' once there so that you can see all the questions! This will make your life much easier. I promise to answer my own questions provided anyone else does. I'll wait for a few people to get their answers in first before I have at it. Here goes:

A1 What are three of your favorite songs?
A2 What are three of your favorite films?
A3 What are three of your favorite video games?
A4 Who are three of your favorite authors?
A5 Who are three of your favorite painters?
A6 What were your three favorite subjects in school?
A7 What are three of your favorite sports

B1 Do you prefer warm colors or cool?
B2 Do you prefer pizza or hamburgers (or veggieburgers)?
B3 Do you prefer one-story houses or two?
B4 Do you prefer cars or trucks?
B5 Do you prefer dogs or cats?
B6 Do you prefer staying in or going out?
B7 Do you prefer Mac or Windows?

C1 What events/times/places in history interest you?
C2 Who are three people you'd like to go back and meet?
C3 How many siblings do you have?
C4 How many siblings did each of your parents have?
C5 Do you believe in the supernatural?
C6 What are some of your favorite "real" games (not computer, not sports)
C7 Did you or do you have a favorite athlete or athletes? Who?

D1 Do you consider yourself introverted or extroverted?
D2 Do you consider yourself better at speaking or listening?
D3 Do you consider yourself to be "a good catch"?
D4 Do you consider yourself an angsty or a calm person?
D5 Do you consider yourself open-minded or decided on most things?
D6 Do you consider yourself a quick learner of detailed tasks?
D7 Do you consider your memory skills above or below average?

E1 What is the highest score you're ever bowled?
E2 Do you/did you date frequently or rarely?
E3 Do you associate numbers (and other things) with specific colors?
E4 Have you ever had formal therapy?
E5 Have you ever had an organ surgically removed?
E6 What are some names you like for the opposite sex?
E7 Do you prefer to see movies in the theater or at home?

F1 Your best physical fitness attribute: strength, endurance, or agility?
F2 What is one of the bravest things you've done?
F3 What are some of the furthest places you've traveled to?
F4 Would you rather live a passionate life and die at 55 or a gentle life and die at 80?
F5 Would you rather be famous or anonymous?
F6 Would you rather be rich without intimacy or very loved but nearly poor?
F7 Have you ever been baptized?

G1 Are you a theist, deist, agnostic, or atheist?
G2 Do you get excited by speed (motorcycles, jet fighters, roller-coasters)?
G3 Would you rather lose your vision or your hearing?
G4 Are you a good driver? Do you like to drive or just do it because you have to?
G5 How good are you at parallel parking? 1-10. Be honest!
G6 What's the longest romantic relationship you've been in?
G7 What do you generally order at Starbucks?

H1 Do you have a favorite number? What is it?
H2 Long for the past or look forward to the future?
H3 Do you like your own name? No, Neutral, or Yes?
H4 Are you ok with your age or somewhat distraught about it?
H5 Do you enjoy looking through old family photographs?
H6 What is your favorite season and why, briefly?
H7 How many times have you had your heart broken, roughly?

I1 Do you/did you play a musical instrument? Which?
I2 Do you prefer sweet or savory snacks?
I3 Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? Regular or Diet?
I4 Lions, tigers, or bears? Which scare you the most?
I5 Have you ever broken a bone? How many and/or which?
I6 Red wine, white wine, beer, or cocktails (most preferred)?
I7 Which languages do you speak well enough to communicate in? Don't be modest.

*Whew* lots of questions, I know. They're easy though. Have fun!

Bobbing for pumpkins!

Tuesday, July 7

What is your preferred type of manual writing implement?
#2 pencil
Mechanical pencil
Ballpoint pen
Non-ballpoint ink pen
Felt pen, fine tipped
Fountain pen

Fareeda, the stripeless white Bengal tiger

How cute! She was born in South Africa and is extremely rare not only in being white rather than orange, but also by having no stripes. I believe only a few similar captive tigers are on record as being born with this condition. She appears healthy in all respects, though the coloration would normally be a detriment to stealth in the wild. That's why nearly all 'white' big cats who survive infancy do so in a zoo or a wildlife preserve, not in the true wild where they tend to stick out like a sore thumb to their would-be prey. Plus, Bengal tigers are only found in Asia unless they are raised elsewhere under the care of humans.

And hey, look, she grew up instantly too...

Sunday, July 5

Always been my favorite Madonna song.

Oh Father

It's funny that way, you can get used
To the tears and the pain
What a child will believe
You never loved me

You can't hurt me now
I got away from you, I never thought I would
You can't make me cry, you once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Seems like yesterday
I lay down next to your boots and I prayed
For your anger to end
Oh Father I have sinned

You can't hurt me now
I got away from you, I never thought I would
You can't make me cry, you once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away?

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away?

Maybe someday
When I look back I'll be able to say
You didn't mean to be cruel
Somebody hurt you too

You can't hurt me now
I got away from you, I never thought I would
You can't make me cry, you once had the power
I never felt so good about myself.

(M. Ciccone)

Saturday, July 4


Those that giveth

sometimes taketh away
and sometimes giveth back
on near the selfsame day

To give is a gift of the soul
the more you give away
the more you're made whole
and in control of your way

Put a smile on somebody's face
and know grace from a
hole in the ground, a pound
of flesh for your pain

Which rages,
a cage round your heart
the courage to start or
the sound of the furious chase

O'er the ages.


Friday, July 3

Lisa and Brendan (of DCD)


The birds of leaving call to us
Yet here we stand endowed with the fear of flight

The winds of change consume the land
While we remain in shadows of summers now past

When all the leaves have fallen
And turned to dust
Will we remain entrenched within our ways?

The plague that moves throughout this land
Omen signs in the shapes of things to come.

©1987 Brendan Perry

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