Dejection Junkie

I’m beginning to think I’m an addict.

I mean, how else to explain all of this? Self-esteem hasn’t really ever been a problem for me, not really. Everyone’s insecure about one thing or another, but overall, I’ve always ended up with a net-positive outlook and self-image.

But I suppose I’m not allowed to call myself an addict. Nor am I allowed to be capricious with the word “positive”, for that matter. Those are reserved for the more deserved, the ones whose trials have created a special mystique from behind which extraordinary behaviors can be exercised without compunction.

What I’ve learned is that suffering doesn’t really get you “get out of responsibility free” cards. The Universe doesn’t protect you from shit and shitheads because you’ve suffered “enough”.

So maybe I’m not really an addict, and maybe I’m HIV-, but I’ve fallen prey to the notion of entitlement nonetheless. Had a lover die? Check. Lived in pain for months? Check. Been betrayed, stolen from, put at health risk by a trusted someone? Check. Check. Check.

Loved ones will tell me that after all that, I “deserve” happiness, that I “deserve” someone who will put as much energy into caring for me as I do them, that I “deserve” to be far away from the bad stuff, but the Universe doesn’t really give a flying fuck about that.

No, to be far away from the bad stuff, addict/PWA/widower notwithstanding, one must keep one’s self away from the bad stuff. Happiness is a nice idea, and a purposively elusive goal, but the trying, always trying, must never stop (thanks, Joshie).

I am known to friends and others for using sharp and harsh words. Here they’re usually wrapped up in the turbid bundles of multi-syllabic obfuscation, but they still make quite a bludgeon when propelled by the sheer force of my will.

So what happens when the unstoppable force of personality meets the immovable object of unassailable nice-guy reputation?

I suppose we may find out, but I hope not.

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Enemies of the Third Dimension

Bless me, Blog Fathers, for I have shunned [this blog]. It has been a week since my last entry. These are my sins (I was raised Catholic, can you tell?)

To be direct, I don’t need a confessor. But then, that seems to be the only thing I am not in need of. My spirit suffers from too much not-enough, as the world outside seeks to turn their own abundances into caricatures.

As luck (luck?) would have it, my thoughts and feelings are corralled into a space of my own choosing, but not of my own will—no, I’m not sure what I mean, either.

Life cannot find reasons to sustain it, cannot be a source of decent natural regard, unless each of us resolves to breathe such qualities into it. — Frank Herbert

I’m running out of breath.

It’s not just the new calisthenics of going back to work, nor of over-obligations with other business. Breathing is just respiration, but respiration is so much more. It’s the exchange of affluent and effluent. One expels carbon dioxide because one accumulates it. One inhales oxygen because one consumes it. Same with food. Same with gratification. Same with sex. Same with job.

It’s good to recognize what you take, and what you excrete: armed with that knowledge and a sense of decent natural regard one can take only what is needed, return what one can, and have no other faith than that others will have the same regard, the same decency.

Of course not everyone does that. And when you look around you, when you’re surrounded—by fiat or by choice—by those who are not of decent natural regard, and when you see them moving forward faster or living easier or choosing less or bogarting the simplicity you wish you had, it’s that much easier to disregard regard and to find decency unnatural.

Nature, if nothing else, moderates. With give there’s take, and take there’s give—that’s how cycles happen. And cycles lead to rhythms, rhythm to pattern, pattern to nuance.

Words fail, never better than a bludgeon when what you need is a jeweler’s loupe and tweezers.

Well, there’s always song..and I have several playing in my head, all from different angles:

Only in Your Heart by America<br/> <br/> Mary, have you seen better days? <br/> And will you find different ways? <br/> And does he really mean that much to your heart? <br/> Carry, all of the weight you can, find another man <br/> And lead him directly there to the source <br/> You’ve got to chart his course <br/> <br/> ‘Cause it is only in your heart <br/> This thing that makes you want to <br/> Start it all again…<br/> <br/> Wake up from an elusive dream <br/> You’ve got to change the scene <br/> It’s getting so hard to see to the end <br/> Break down, all of the walls you can <br/> You need a helping hand <br/> I’m sure there’s someone there just for you <br/> He’s trying to make it, too…<br/> <br/> […]<br/> <br/> You can’t disregard your friends <br/> But life gets so hard when you reach the end

All This Useless Beauty by Elvis Costello<br/> <br/> […]<br/> <br/> Nonsense prevails, modesty fails<br/> Grace and virtue turn into stupidity<br/> While the calendar fades almost all barricades to a pale compromise<br/> And our leaders have feasts on the backsides of beasts<br/> They still think they’re the gods of antiquity<br/> If something you missed didn’t even exist<br/> It was just an ideal — is it such a surprise?

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell<br/> <br/> […]<br/> <br/> Tears and fears and feeling proud<br/> To say “I love you” right out loud<br/> Dreams and schemes and circus crowds<br/> I’ve looked at life that way<br/> <br/> Oh but now old friends are acting strange<br/> They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed<br/> Well something’s lost but something’s gained<br/> In living every day<br/> <br/> I’ve looked at life from both sides now<br/> From up and down and still somehow<br/> It’s life’s illusions I recall<br/> I really don’t know life at all

I’ve Got A Dark Alley And A Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song) by Fall Out Boy

Joke me something awful just like kisses on the necks of “just friends”
We are the kids who feel like dead ends
And I want to be known for my hits, not just my misses
I took a shot and didn’t even come close
At trust and love and hope
And the poets are just kids who didn’t make it
Who never had it at all

And the record won’t stop skipping
And the lies just won’t stop slipping
And besides my reputation’s on the line
We can fake it for the airwaves
Force our smiles, baby, half dead
From comparing myself to everyone else around me

Please put the doctor on the phone because I’m not making any sense
Blame everyone else but me for this mess
And my back has been breaking from this heavy heart
We never seemed so far
I’m hopelessly hopeful, you’re just hopeless enough

But we never had it at all

I’ve decided to be less opaque and more literal by bold-facing the particular lyrics from each song. No, not a single one is directed at any person but myself. It’s about fucking time it’s about myself.

Anyhoo.

Those who step away from the natural are easy to spot: they’re the ones who mistake simplistic for simple, who cling to the desperate convenience of a label. They are those who mordantly stab at their own pasts in hopes of the absolution of circumstance.

They flatten their lives into a cartoon and call it an imprimatur. They label the dangerous, the stupid, the deadly, the acts of arrogance into toothless candy-colored lozenges. “Tina”, “barebacking”, “serosorting”, “bear”, “twink”, “otter”, “bug hunting”, “gift giving”, “god”, “daddy”, “boy”, “slave”, “pup”, “pro-life”, “sanctity”.

The soft pink bunny is unassailable.

But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?

So as I said, I’m nearly out of breath. Out of breath from trying to inflate my surroundings back into three dimensions. Out of breath not for them but for myself. What will happen to my decent natural regard if I’m plunged into Flatland? Maybe I’m not strong enough to be resist what’s easier.

Then again, when you burst into tears because you’ve lost so much, recent and distant, maybe it’s not a good time to write in your blog.

Morbidity & Mortality

I should be asleep right now so that he can die.

This was the thought that entered my head approximately 30 minutes ago as I lay here unable to fall asleep. Time travels on a rail, like a clockwork train in my mind, with events popping up like stations along a seemingly circuitous route. Memories are mile-markers; I emote a landscape.

What I remember, how I remember, the fidelity with which I remember are all frictionless, an infinitude of momentum, arrantly effortless.

And what I remembered all day today in general, and 30 minutes ago in particular was the corporeal death of Allen Howland. I have written about him any number of times; those of you who knew him don’t wonder why. Those of you who know me may worry that I remain bound to another lifetime. Those of you who have known us both, apart and together, would quell the worriers.

I remember these things, as I said, because I remember them, not because I’ve failed to forget.

He died when I finally fell asleep beside him in that huge bed of ours after more than two days of being non-responsive. He died when I wasn’t paying attention after two days of paying so much attention that I not only forgot to eat, but I’d forgotten whether I had or not. He died, you see, some time between 12:05 and 12:55 on July 13, 1995.

But I’ve told you this already. The station, the marker, the landscape. All of it.

Only by now I’ve also got a map. No surprises, everything marked. Convenient and helpful and, perhaps most importantly, foldable and put-away-able.

So I put it away for another year, learning little except what’s contained in the sad and small sweetness of the repetition.

Most men won’t ever care about what I’ve learned and what I remember. And that’s a loneliness not put-away-able.

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Lone Star Sunday

2006-07-09 Lonestar (20060712)-Thumb

So I met up with Fred the Plumber and the crew (Derek, Scott & Matt, Marci Darci, James, et al) at the Lonestar. Haven’t been there with the gang in a while and it was a blast. Too many Happy Shots® were bought and rounded, but thankfully the beer bustin’ includes soda bustin’ and that’s mainly what I did….the older I get, the earlier Monday morning arrives.

I love my friends. Fred and I even touched tongues. (Ew!!)

Click here or click on the thumbnail to visit the pages of pictures from the day, brought to you by iWeb, .Mac and a MacBook Pro

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Does Your Windows Suck, Too?

I know almost nothing about color correction, except insofar as what ColorSync’s job is, but the proof is in the pudding.

I fired up Parallels Desktop software to run -shudder- Windows XP to see how Aperture did at rendering its Web Galleries for Windows. Since I’m running Firefox on XP, I only need a shower: IE and I’d have to boil myself or something.

Anyhow, my images looked much more fabulous on Safari on Mac OS X. I took screen shots of the same image on both platforms. Which means the bits are different, so you should, even on a Windows box, be able to notice a difference. Of course that means that you Windows folks will see double-happy-shittiness on the first pic and only single shittiness on the second one.

Picture 3 Picture 4

Maybe there’s something else going on, but overall, my Windows experiences have been much like this. A pale imitation that is never quite right.

Why are my pictures washed out when the rest of the standard XP UI is so garishly vivid that it hurts my eyes?

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San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Picture-4

This morning, I had the great pleasure of spending much overdue time with Dave and Lisa (previously referred to in these pages as my Sherpa guides to Cultural San Francisco), and the even bigger pleasure of bringing Poet le Pooch along with us. We went to the monthly plant sale at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.

I had a fancy, schmancy camera with me, took a bunch of RAW images with it, and used a powerful application near and dear to my heart to crop, color-correct and organize these RAW images, and then post them automatically to a web gallery.

Check it out. I’m not all that great at taking pictures, but the camera is.

Picture-10

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Unsorted

The usual phrase is “out of sorts”, I know, but I’m not frazzled, nor frenetically enfeebled. Nor confused, nor depressed. Nor happy nor sad. Seville Orange, anyone?

No, not even that.

This is one of those times where what you thought was terra firma has been whisked away, revealing that bedrock is actually further from firmament than you thought. And I suppose that the dowsing realization’s most dismal prospect is that of losing Heaven. Or at least proximity thereto.

When I remember that that isn’t the case, when I look at the fog over the City and take it as evidence that Heaven is only as high up as you imagine it to be, I’ll have sorted my life—quickly, bubbly or binarily—into something where balance is restored and the devils of mediocrity, mundanity, modernity and [insert alliterative multisyllabic “M”-based muttering bon mot] will just have to go back to not understanding the sublimities that usually infuse and orbit my magical me.

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