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all the losers can't even win for losing, and the beginners don't even know what song they're singin [11 Dec 2014|11:36am]

Break from work, noonish. To-do list:

- eat something
- play with the Axe
- jot down some story ideas/express a few flights of fancy in writing
- do dishes (verbs and specific nouns help "t-d" items get done while ambiguity detracts; I've made this rule up with no supporting evidence, but I'm sticking to it just the same)
- take a nap, for chrissake
- take acoustic out and play and sing, which is hard for me to do when I'm not alone, and makes me feel good to do.
- research X, where X=you name it!
- meditate
- get actual work done because, on break, nobody bothers me.
- exercise
- attend to various small xmas-oriented tasks
- read for recreation
- sit and think
- play chess
- conceive of a long-term life plan that puts me more at ease with my ubiquitous daily uncertainty
- think about the Axe and my Lab workstation as a rocket ship that is mine, primed for testing and subsequent liftoff into a new world of possibility; imagine looking into the night sky with a powerful telescope to find that the great beyond is starless; consider the newfound possibility that there is no destination; consider the value of my ship within this unexpected potential context.
- avoid sinkholes and marmosets
- practice the ever-elusive "Bach sweeps"
- review previously composed t.d. lists to pick up dropped tasks
- find a video game that feels relaxing, fun, and worth playing
- think about holiday deals I might take advantage of; choke down the sense of loathing that comes with the prospective procurement of new items
- consider paying credit cards off in full; briefly re-acquaint self with fear of financial instability
- fuck a duck
- write a song
- read some news-news instead of infotainment-news
- quit my job now, allowing for heavily extended nap
- close eyes, organize work tasks in my mind
- remember that things are, that I am, somehow truly improving
- journal
- sit in Cloud Chair - not the same as just sitting or laying down; this is special
- avoid crumbling under the pressure of my pseudo-goals, sprawling and numerous and largely neglected; check the clock to see if maybe it's time to just go back to work?
- invoke the name of Tod

So, I journaled and sat in the cloud chair. That's not nothing! But I return to work with the keen notion that, if there was a right answer, "napping" was probably it.

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S$ [23 Nov 2014|02:23pm]

It's been about ten years since I did this with any regularity, hanging out at Starbucks. I just realized that. Here I am again.

My head spins with so many many things to do and investigate and I would feel purely enthusiastic but for the knowledge that this state is only temporary, that soon enough I'll collapse at home feeling overburdened by the number of new stars I've jerked into my uncertain night sky.

It'd be funny if an accomplished knight named his horse Sky, and inflicted his pun upon anyone unlucky enough to stop for a chat.

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Late Night, Anytime [23 Nov 2014|02:15pm]

Sometimes I like to watch late night tv shows all night, queued on my "dvr" machine. The late hours were new and unknown once and the magic of that time carries through. These shows were new and (usually) funny, mostly broadcast live from NY, which sort of put small town Me right there in the SNL or Letterman studio audience, sharing a good experience with ostensibly fun people who all laughed at the same time I did.

These days, watching a chain of the shows is new to me. The names are all different too - Fallon, Meyers - but the feel is the same. Now it can be 11pm on Saturday night anytime, for hours. Nothing to do but revel in the decadent waste of time that is late night tv, because Sunday morning won't judge me, and 11pm doesn't have to end.

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electricity [02 Feb 2014|02:05pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

Sunday.  I never expected to learn this much about electricity.  I knew almost nothing, and now I know something, which feels like a big jump.  In trying to sort out an "audio buzz" issue with my sound equipment, I've had to familiarize myself with some basic stuff about outlet wiring, plug pins, ground loops.  I just want to play some guitar, damn!

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I Must, I Shoud, I Want [08 Nov 2013|11:05am]
[ mood | awake ]

How long has it been since I used this journal?

I can type faster than I can write, and speed is important; I only have so much time to write before the muscles start cramping up, and I become permanently distracted.  So I'll get on with the substance of this post, whatever that is, exactly.

So much has changed since I started using this journal a lifetime ago.  But not an entire lifetime.  I still feel connected to my Can_o_Beans avatar, so something at least has not changed, and I am still here in the way that I was when this journal began, still here as the same person in one small sense if not several more.

Just returned from the gym, and shopping.  Day off today.  Saw Periphery play last night with Kate.  They are some amazing dudes.  I hope to see them play in a better venue one day.  Mojoe's is a relative dive, both Periphery and Dead Letter Circus deserved much bigger, more carefully engineered shows.  I hope they get those things, and I hope I get to see it happen.

There.  Back muscles twinge already, violin strings cranked past native pitch.  Ting.  Pinkink.  Tink.

What did I mean to say?

My free time is so limited, but that hasn't stopped me from wasting it idly for years.  By "wasting" I mean to say that I haven't been engaged in building anything.  I stand on a platform built and raised by my past efforts, intended and otherwise, and I've stood at a waypoint among waypoints for years now.  I give myself some credit for having tried hard, having done a few things well now and then, but I don't feel that my life now is a product of vision or purpose.

I have the day off today.  Meaning, I have more than a few hours all in a row to use as I please.  That's what this entry is about.  But, fuck if it isn't time for a stretch already.

- there.  I was about to prompt myself by saying, "What should I do today?"

Let's start with duties.  What must I do today?

I MUST find my driver's license, or possibly go get a new one.  Where the hell is it?  I guess that comes next, after this entry.  But I must also eat.  If I don't think about that it won't happen.  Already, just with these two things - find license, and eat food - I've sectioned off between one hour and...all available hours today.  Jebus help me if I have to go to the DMV.  But if I do, maybe I'll have to wait, in which case I can implement the DMV sub-task list: read, play chess, and I guess that's it.  But those are both things I'd like to do anyway.

What else must I do?  Shower.  Shave, probably.  Seeing long white hairs on my face is weird.  Not bad, not good, just weird.  And new.

I must stretch.  I must stop reflecting on what I might do with my day at some point, too, or I'll have no time for anything.  I already did the gym and stopped at the store.  Two quasi-must activities.  Credit there, two points.

I should watch some Coursera lecture videos (sound class), but maybe I'll have a chance to do that while I'm in Michigan this weekend.  The same goes for the C# tutorials.  But I don't like closing myself off from company when I have company, and I will be among others.  Maybe I should learn to be flexible on this point.  Others, generally, seem to be ok with sitting in a group, attending exclusively to their phones and laptops.  I could do the same, incur no disapproval for it (except possibly my own), and I'd get more done.  I'd free up "day off" time, effectively.

OK, here's the next category then: what do I want to do?  I want to play music.  But if I'm that vague about it, I might not do anything.  What music?  I'd like to play my piano and my electric guitar.  I'd like to record a short but complete track that I can listen to and say "There, that could sure use some improvement, but it's pretty good and I'm glad I did it."

I want to write, creative writing, possibly fiction.  I don't need to be specific here because there are so many things taking my attention, really it's just a matter of sitting down and digging into whichever one seems best at the moment.  It would be good to integrate my efforts at music and writing, as in the form of a screenplay or a video game story outline/motif.  There's an idea: maybe I could record with an hear toward the thought of writing I'd like to develop.  This isn't a new idea for me but it helps to state it plainly in writing this way, I think.

I want to play video games.  This is unquestionably the least constructive activity of all listed so far.  That means it should be stricken from the list of possibilities.

OK.  Enough time spent doing this.  It's nearly 11am now, which means it will be early afternoon any moment, and once that happens the day is practically gone.

One more: I must breathe, deeply and often, and keep in mind that many aspects of my life are very good, very steady in their goodness, no reason to freak out.  I must take it easy.

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Working at Microsoft [19 Jul 2008|11:57pm]
[ mood | calm ]

Anybody wonder what it's like to work at Microsoft?

I thought this was really well-written:


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A Survey Response - What Can Sallie Mae Do To Earn a Better Recommendation? [16 Jul 2008|03:07pm]
[ mood | working ]

My first problem with Sallie Mae is that I was granted all of my loans with the suggestion that after college I would be able to consolidate them at a lower interest rate.  When I took the loans out I used no cosigner, and had almost no income.  Directly after college I got a job making $30K annually, tried to consolidate and was told that my debt-to-income ratio was too unfavorable for Sallie Mae to extend the necessary credit to me for a consolidation - unless I had a cosigner, which I didn't and don't.  What about the fact that the original loans were granted with no cosigner and almost no income, at which time my other debts were much the same as they are now? 

To earn a better recommendation, Sallie Mae can cease with this criminal practice, and can offer me a permanent loan consolidation at a low interest rate.

I've also had a lot of customer service problems with Sallie Mae; I'll explain more of my situation to make those problems clear.  When I began making payments on my loans, I had the opportunity to make a couple of large payments at the beginning.  I asked a representative on the phone if my next payment could be applied to the principal of a specific loan, rather than moving the date of my next payment into the future.  The rep said yes, and agreed that such would be done with my next payment.  When the payment was received by Sallie Mae, my next payment was moved five or more years into the future.  When I called to try to fix the issue I spoke with a very confused representative who didn't know how or why the post-dating happened.  The rep said he'd never seen a loan dated so far in the future.  I was assured the problem would be remedied.

It never was.  I called many, many times.  I never spoke to the same person twice, and I never spoke with anyone who could verify any of my previous calls.  I was promised at one point that a supervisor would be "investigating" my complaints, and would be in contact with me shortly.  I was never contacted.  I've tried to get the name and extension of the few helpful people I have talked to (generally the ones with the lightest Indian accents), but I've been told that no extensions or last names can be given.  I have consequently never spoken with any of those people a second time.

As someone who works in customer (technical) support myself, I have to believe that you are well aware of the difficulties your system poses for its clients.  I have to believe that my issues have been well-documented, or at least that the potential for that documentation exists.  You are earning tens of thousands of dollars from my interest payments, perhaps in excess of $100,000.00 - or you would be if I were not doing everything in my power to move debt away from Sallie Mae and into other credit accounts.  Does that amount of money not warrant, at the very least, good customer service?  Do you have any idea how much MORE you might gain if your customers saw fit to refer their friends and family to your business? 

I, unfortunately, cannot do that.  The only honest action I can take in this situation is to relieve myself of your services as quickly as I can, and tell everyone I meet (apart from my friends and family who already know) that your company is not to be approached for any reason.  Your business exists to do one thing very efficiently: make money.  That's fine, money is what we all want!  But I would bet that if Sallie Mae spent even a fraction of the energy on customer service that it does on profiteering, you would be the best-liked and most-referred company in the business.  Instead of the ONLY company in the business.

What can Sallie Mae do to earn a better recommendation? (This survey is asking me.)  Begin treating people the way YOU would like to be treated.  It's a good starting point.  That, and refinance my loans.  I've already experienced at least ten grand's worth of grief.



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Will Christopher Baer survey [19 Mar 2008|02:47pm]
[ mood | calm ]

OK, so one of my favorite authors is Will Christopher Baer. He wrote Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful and Hell's Half Acre, the first of the three being the best though all of them are good. Anyway. On his site, willchristopherbaer.com, he has an FAQ section. I thought I'd copy the questions here and answer them myself, both of us being writers of similar notoriety. I did graduate from Columbia College with a creative writing major after all.

His answers are in italic, mine in regular:

1) What made you want to be a writer?

Questions and Answers . . .Collapse )

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Daydreams and Roadsigns [11 Mar 2008|10:53am]
[ mood | contemplative ]

I sit in front of a window at work that faces a big blue skyscraper with blue-tinted windows. My window looks south, its windows look east over Lake Michigan, and every morning for about five minutes I get this bright blue light channeled right onto my desk. Sometimes its irritating, sometimes surreal, depending on the intensity of the reflection I guess. I'm so glad to have a window seat. There were none anywhere at my last workplace.

Speaking of windows, and gazing dreamily out of them: do you suppose it's just part of the human condition to constantly be yearning for the far-off and unreachable? Is the grass really always greener, or just farther away than you'd initially thought? I refuse to complain any more than absolutely necessary about my current position in life, since I'm able to see and do a lot of things now that I only hoped for in past years.

Still, I gaze into this southern exposure and my mind tends to get swept up in the undercurrent of fickle fancy, I think of sunny places and blue skies and waves, of being young and outdoors and full of power, of being surrounded by a group of good friends (the way I once was years ago), of living a life that's somehow overflowing with passion and energy. Is this that life? Is it just hard to see from the inside out? Are my daydreams just the low-impact bodily functions of a healthy, active imagination? Or are they roadsigns? No sooner do I arrive in one place than I imagine departure for another. Mental illness? Ichosethewrongpath-atitis?

Or maybe this is just another layover, a greyhound transfer in east St. Louis. The good news is that half of you never expected to make it this far. And the good news is the promise of continued motion toward the destination on your ticket. The bad news is that the floors are dirty as hell and the crack addict in the corner who has been eying you unhappily for the last forty minutes may or may not have a gun in his pocket. The bad news is that greyhound is largely manned by under payed, unhappy and unreliable persons. They might deliver you and your luggage efficiently! Or the bus might never come? I've taken enough greyhound trips to know that nothing can really be trusted.

What was I writing about again?

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The Boots of My Discontent [07 Mar 2008|02:39pm]
So I'm in the market for new boots. There, I said it.

I'm browsing around Zappos.com in the men's slip-on boot category. I'm not looking at prices or brand names, just the pictures. I know what I want when I see it:

The Boots of My Discontent

So why is it then that I, someone who rarely heeds brand names and doesn't look at fashion magazines, have inadvertently chosen the single most expensive pair of boots in the category? $700, made by D&G. Like every other pair is on sale for a fraction of the price! WTF people?

(and no, I'm not buying them)
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Public Radio? Gah! [07 Mar 2008|11:45am]
[ mood | awake ]

Let me say first of all that giving money to public radio is a GOOD thing. I think so anyway. I myself give $10/month, a small contribution, but it's something.

That being said, does Chicago Public Radio's incessant pledge driving make anyone else insane? Because they DRIVE me nuts. I hate the Monday mornings when I plug into the FM radio on my MP3 player, start the NPR up, and hear:

"OK, a lot of great things, a lot of great offers available this hour! We just ask that you call in, anything you can contribute to show your support of public radio!"

UGH! I roll my eyes. It's going to be one of those weeks. And didn't we just HAVE one of these weeks last week, or the one before? The ratio of actual programming to pledge driving is 1:2, I don't have that kind of time to spend listening for a tidbit of news, and I'm already GIVING money. I feel like I should be given a separate station for the people who love public radio, support it, and definitely won't be giving more anytime soon.

But worse still! Once I pledged for public radio, my mailbox suddenly became a breeding pit for public radio charity requests. Is this just an example of how badly funding really is needed? Maybe so, and either way my heart goes out to them. BUT THEY'RE ANNOYING THE EVERLOVING CHRIST OUTTA ME. At LEAST once a week I get another request for money. I assume I signed up for this when I made my pledge, but wouldn't it make more sense to go begging from the people who either:

A) have given tons of money because they obviously have lots of it in their charitable pocketbooks or
B) are suspected of listening to public radio and don't contribute? (I'm sure some demographic study could be done to determine who those people might be), or
C) people who gave a single contribution and aren't set up to give every month?

Because I've got news! Someone pledges $10 per month and it's their way of saying "I like your service! And I wish I had more money." I can't fault them for their persistence. I just really wish they'd shut up sometimes!! (and then pipe right back up with their usual, great programming)

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British People [04 Mar 2008|11:31am]
[ mood | grateful ]

So I'm sitting here in this drained, defeated mood all morning. I haven't been indulging in unhappiness like I've been known to do; I'm really trying to pull myself out of it by focusing on my work and on happy things. But it hasn't been working so well. Then the phone rings, and it's a BRITISH PERSON!

Beans: Hello, my name is Beans, etc., how may I help you?

British Bruce: Hello Beans, this is Bruce, and I apologize in advance for being a complete moron. I need *description of very basic and easy-to-solve issue*.

Beans: (delighted) Hello Bruce! That's no problem, just give me one second.

*momentary pause, sounds of typing*

Beans: OK Bruce, you're all set. Can I provide you with *suggestion of service related to current problem*?

British Bruce: No thanks, I think I'm set. Cool beans. [he actually said cool beans!!!] Thanks, have a good day!

Beans: No, thank YOU!


Beans: Bruce! Bruce, wait! Can we be friends??? I love your accent!

Thank you for being British, British People. Without Bruce, I just might have been forced to take an opener to my top before the end of the day.

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Eric Johnson anyone? [25 Feb 2008|10:26pm]

I think this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen or heard.

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Not with Mushrooms! [20 Feb 2008|05:15pm]
[ mood | working ]

OK, so I walk into Potbelly today (a sandwich shop for those who might not know), and I decide to order a salad I haven't tried before. It's name (on the menu board) is Chicken Salad Salad. Following is AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT OF MY EXPERIENCE.

Worker1: Hello. What can I get for you?
Me: I'll have the Chicken Salad Salad. No cucumbers please.
Worker1: Chicken Salad Salad? On white, or wheat?
Me: On . . .
Me: What?
Worker1: Chicken Salad, right?
Me: R. . . right. The salad.
Worker1: Wait, you want a salad?
Me: Right, the Chicken Salad Salad.
Worker1: Then why did you tell me you wanted wheat?
Me: I didn't! You said that. You asked me if I wanted white or wheat.
Worker1: OK, I got you.
Me: OK. Right, so neither one - I want a salad.
Worker1: Oh, see, ok . . . I thought you meant . . ok, you want chicken salad, IN a salad?
Me: Right. *points up to the entry on the menu board* The CHICKEN SALAD SALAD. [there are only four available salads, fyi]
Worker1: *laughs* OK! Chicken Salad Salad, I got it.
Me: Right. With no cucumbers. And add mushrooms.
Worker1: No cucumbers, add mushrooms. Wow, mushrooms, I've gotta try it like that sometime. Sounds good.

*I move down the line to Worker2, the one who actually prepares the salad. Worker1 is extraneous, laughably - he only needed to know what I wanted so he could tell Worker 2, who stands ten feet to my right*

Worker2: *with a look of extreme interest, is possibly high* You want a Chicken Salad Salad?
Me: Yes. With no cucumbers. And mushrooms added.
Worker2: Like, not just chicken salad but with lettuce underneath?
Me: Right. A Chicken Salad Salad. A salad, with chicken salad IN it. *points up to the entry on the menu board*
Worker2: *with mild disbelief* Yeah, alright.
Me: Do you not get many orders for this salad or something?
Worker2: Well no, not with mushrooms.
Me: ?
Worker2: See, that's what threw me, I've never heard of this with mushrooms before.
*finishes salad, hands it over the counter*
Worker2: Here you go.
Me: Thanks.
Me: But can you take the cucumbers out?

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Kickin' It [14 Feb 2008|01:18pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

I try to tailor my music selections to my mood at work. I have a nice pair of earbuds, one of which is always in my left ear. (I've been told I look like a secret service agent for this reason.) The right ear stays open in case someone talks to me, and for the headset I put on whenever my phone rings.

The left bud is currently kicking out a nice syrupy bass thump that comes with the entire Lovers Rock album by Sade. It's doing this because I told my little Sansa to play not just one song, but the whole damn album. This music is like Sprite for an upset stomach, but better. Good for the end of the week when my entire nervous system is buzzing with the awareness of every e-mail, every call, every meeting I've been part of all week. The effect is cumulative. By Friday night I'll be ready to leave this line of work, for good. On Monday I'll say wow, it's not nearly as bad as all that, now is it?

Thank goodness for weekends, and Friday only counts as part of a day as far as I'm concerned.

V-Day dinner tonight, and I'm looking forward to it. Lauren and I will exchange gifts over a fancy dinner at Philanders, a fine-dining type place with a dark classy atmosphere and perpetual live jazz music. It's part of a world I'm only just able to touch now that I have a steady job with good pay. Socio-economic markers like this can be petty but hey, I'm only human. Pretty things make me giddy. Anyway, if we were to eat at a place like this more than once or twice a year we'd be in trouble!

And here's to having a job that'll take care of you and yours. Lauren is fully covered through me, even though we aren't married. Since beginning this job last October, insurance has payed close to $10,000.00 for necessary but non-critical stuff. We've payed almost zero. I'll drink to that.

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Theologics at Work [08 Feb 2008|03:53pm]
[ mood | productive ]

OK, is Theologics a word?  I don't think it is?  I've kept in touch with a high school friend in the years after graduation.  We're both always parked in front of computers, so with IM it's sort've like I've sat directly next to him in every techno-job I've had.  This post is a conversation we had over IM today while we were both at work.  It begins briefly with politics, but it's comprised mostly of talk on theology and philosophy.  I've put most of it behind a cut so as not to ruin everyone's day.

Please do forgive both of us for any misspellings, grammatical errors, etc.  Of course this is IM, and we were both busy with other things.  I've only edited glaring misspellings out.  Everything else is left alone.  I'd like to ask you all to especially ignor the lack of proper capitalization - God, god, Jesus, jesus, etc.  Neither of us meant anything by capitalization or lack thereof.  Anyway, I thought it was a nifty exchange and I hope someone out there might, too!


(1:20:56 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: Rush Limbaugh may raise money for Hillary Clinton, and Ann Coulter may vote for her because she's more conservative than McCain
(1:21:34 PM)
Can_o_Beans: ha
(1:21:52 PM)
Can_o_Beans: that's silly
(1:22:00 PM)
Can_o_Beans: what are they basing these arguments on??
(1:22:08 PM)
Can_o_Beans: this entire charade seems out of control
(1:22:15 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: that they are bat-shit insane.
(1:24:02 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: Hopefully conservatives will be so annoyed by this they stop listening to these people. but probably not
(1:24:46 PM)
Can_o_Beans: I'm guessing not
(1:24:48 PM)
Can_o_Beans: what the hell
(1:28:08 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: the hell, you say?
(1:32:05 PM)
Can_o_Beans: I can't believe my poor dad is just buying into this stuff. a man who has such a huge problem with the idea of blindly following a religion is . . . blindly following a religion
(1:32:40 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: hehe. I'm sure if you pointed that out to him it would open his eyes
(1:38:51 PM)
Can_o_Beans: yeah I don't know about that!
(1:38:52 PM)
Can_o_Beans: heh
(1:39:18 PM)
Can_o_Beans: he raged against my mom for years over her Christian faith, and then would turn around and preach Rush Limbaugh
(1:39:34 PM)
Can_o_Beans: I'm glad I wasn't dumb enough to flatly listen to either one of them
(1:40:49 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: The sad thing is Limbaugh and his Ilk all have some ties to a christianity that completely goes against everything in the Bible.
(1:41:13 PM)
Crocker Jarmin: So he's following what he dislikes, in a form that goes against what it claims to follow?

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erghmmmph! [04 Jan 2008|09:29am]
So, I'm back to work after being sick for almost a week. Turns out, the lack of coffee was perpetuating my illness! After returning home from work on Tuesday morning, puking ill, I finally managed to force down some coffee, annnd . . . pooooof. Most of the badness went away. This is either wonderful, or alarming. I hadn't had coffee in nearly a week while trying to get better. And it's not the first time this has happened. A warning to all you would-be caffeine addicts: this is the face of true caffeine addiction! Taint always pretty.

OK, so here's the problem with creativity as I see it: imagine that everything you know, remember and feel can be broken down into a basket full of multifaceted rocks and gems. Assume any creation - a song, an album, a short story, a novel (I think mostly in terms of writing and music) - is equivalent to the threading of these orbs in the form of a necklace.

With that in mind, I imagine "perspective" to be one person's tendency to consistently organize these things in one particular kind of configuration, with specific regard to facet alignment and stringing order. What happens when you lack "perspective"? Unless you impose your own value on the stringing process, all configurations are equally meaningful or meaningless. To you, the creator. And if you "the creator" cannot find any relative importance in what you're doing, I have to think your project will come out like ten tons of BLAH at the other end. From the viewpoint of the audience. Agreed?

I'm assuming that 'value', while relative, has a spiritual mass and quality of its own. If I don't put 'value' into something, 'value' will not be had through that thing. Well, I don't know what value to put into anything. Most artists have some driving philosophy, a message *gasp!*, a need to communicate. Artist create truth, as it applies to the world as they see it. But it seems (and I know this isn't a new idea) that truth defies confinement within any one given expression. EXCEPT for when I see that truth in the stuff other people do.

Which is a maddening problem.

But wait. What name should I give to the frothing, insistent force that I feel churning at the pit of my gut? It's this thing begging at all hours of the night to be set loose. If this isn't "valuable" then what is it? Could it just be ego? Is it just the desire to impress and be impressive? Sounds plausible, but I doubt if such a superficial notion would feel so profound.

So, you know. Any value would be valuable, but I keep coming up empty. It's like this lifelong existential crisis, and I can't get out!
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skyscrapers and dreams [22 Oct 2007|10:03am]
[ mood | grateful ]

I'm sitting on the 14th floor of a skyscraper in the Chicago loop, at my new desk. Two windows in front of me offer a mediocre view, but you won't hear me complaining. I have yet to begin the serious training I need to do any work here, so for now I have lots of spare time. Also, I'm sitting next to an enormous Sunshine Bear (arguably the most blindly optimistic one of the Care Bear bunch).

I had another flying dream this weekend. I've had them all my life, where the act of flying is neither magical nor effortless. It requires concentration and real, palpable muscular control. Think of maneuvering under water - same thing, just with a much thinner atmosphere - though the mind produces most of the propulsion. Sometimes flying is beautiful, but more often than not it has some element of fear.

Here's the thing: I'm not very good at it.

I stumble in mid-air, I lose temporary control, sometimes I plummet from really high altitudes. And it's SCARY! But, this weekend's dream was special, a first. Reasons it was special:

1) I used the ability for transportation. This is unprecedented. I've only ever used it for recreation or escape. This time, there was somewhere I wanted to go.

2) I used it with a conscious awareness of what I was doing. Not a "lucid" dream, but I knew what I wanted and I did it. Usually flying is like a side effect of an emotional state. The ability presents itself, I accept, and it happens. Not this time. In fact, I was frustrated. Angry. Wherever I was going, whoever I was going to, I was pissed. It was a long way away, and I wanted to get there NOW. Which brings me to:

3) There was a forcefulness that I haven't known before, and I almost hurt myself. The forward or upward burst (if there's going to be one - sometimes I'll just glide above the ground) is always preceded by a moment or two of tension-building, like pressing back on a spring to lend force to the liftoff.

Well, this time, out of frustration (I think), I coiled back much harder than I've ever been able to before, and my conscience (yes, I had a conscience in the dream) warned me I was going too far. The forward blast was so explosive that the trees and houses around me blurred. It was completely reckless, and a strong gust of wind knocked me off my trajectory. I spun sideways, then head-over-heel, I totally lost it. I don't remember anymore.

I approach this with excitement that I seem to have become more aware of my own strengths and talents. But I'm worried, too. PROCEEED WITH CAUTION, says the sign.

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Late Night San Fran [23 Jul 2007|02:06am]
Tonight we went to the Punchline downtown and watched 15 comedians try their talents on the stage. A few were dynamite, though most were average. The last one was a fat man with a high voice who smeared his face with white vanilla frosting and danced for the audience in a green dress and a wig. We were all tired of comedy by that point. Laughed out. Our funny bones were bruised from repeated test-taps over a three hour period and we just wanted to go home.

We rode home in Mary's van through a fine darkness, the outline of far hills implied by mist that spilled over the expansive twinkling towns below. There's a depth here that's unavoidable. It recedes into a visible infinity, and it sweeps back down to meet you at the bottom of all things. I stared out the window as I've done since we arrived here, feeling small and immersed. The forests seem nearly as far away as does the moon behind. They're both reachable destinations.

And I ask myself: what is this anxiety? I'll go back to my world in just a couple of days and that means work, and it means pressure. It means all the things that one goes on vacation to be free from. So is anxiety just a normal reaction to return? That seems reasonable.

But no, something is wrong. I feel sick. California has stopped me spinning and my gut revolts at the stillness. Give me a little more time, I'll be able to draw a straight line from me to anywhere: the moon, the mist, the sea, the trees.

But time is running out, and return to my whirligig town is unstoppable now. I'll arrive and look for a doorway to something different.
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[25 Jul 2006|08:20pm]
This undergrad arts degree is the most useless lump of shit I could ever have endeavored to possess.
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