December 25, 2017

January 2018: I am what I am.

By Loudon dodd - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Going by conventional wisdom, the beginning of a New Year in January is a good time put the past behind you and look forward to creating a new future. Resolutions and commitments are made, all in the spirit of putting the dead year into the grave and helping the new year out of the cradle. Lose weight, eat right, chase your dreams, get fit, write that book, but above all, turn away from the sad, unsuccessful part of yourself and turn toward the shiny, new is-to-be.

I get it. I really do understand where this comes from. There's power in numbers and a change in the big numbers that matter is as good excuse as any to summon the motivation to grab life by the pussy, or the cock, or whatever it is you want to grab when you're feeling hungry, and make shit happen.

But what I don't get is the frequent attitude of killing the past in order to make room for the future. There are a lot of little pieces of wisdom that I use to live my life. One of them comes from Popeye who said, "I am what I am and that's all that I am." January for me isn't a time to discard the past in order to make room for the future, but a time to remember that in the immortal words of Popeye, for better and for worse, I am what I am.

I think January is a cold, dark month best suited to honest contemplation. Got a demon in your closet? Good for you, we've all got demons in our closets. I'm not saying that you need to drag this demon out for dinner with the family, but I am saying that you had better at least be sitting down to a weekly lunch with that demon. If you don't feed your demon, it'll get hungry and feed on you.

Take time to sit in the dark with your demon and learn to make friends with it. If you do this, then you'll become like the eponymous Janus and be able to look both backward and forward, both inward and outward, both in the dark and in the light.

I am what I am and that's all that I am, and that includes the demon in my closet.

Are you who you are?

Don't kill the wizened demons of your past to make room for the innocent angels of your future.

December 16, 2017

I've got your blood to keep me warm

I was watching the snow fall last night and I remembered one of my favorite horror movies, Ravenous, about a psychopath vampire terrorizing a remote army outpost at the wane of the civil war. The movie didn't receive a strong response from critics, but who the hell cares what the critics think? At any rate, my mind wanders the way it does and it twisted the movie Ravenous with Dean Martin's classic, "I've got my love to keep me warm." I've changed a few words, and I think it's rather more entertaining this way.

"I've Got Your Blood To Keep Me Warm"

The snow is snowing, and the wind it is blowing,
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got your blood to keep me warm!

I cannot remember the worst December,
Just watch the icicles form.
What do I care if icicles form?
I've got your blood to keep me warm!

Off with my overcoat, out with my knife:
Who needs an overcoat? I'm burning with life!
My heart's on fire, and the flame grows higher,
So I will weather the storm.
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got your blood to keep me warm!

I thought you ought to know my heart's on fire.
The flame it just leaps higher,
So I will weather the storm.
Why do I care how much it storms?
I've got your blood to keep me warm!

December 13, 2017

December 2017

2017 has been an instructive year for me. I haven't enjoyed all the lessons it taught me, but they were well learned none the less. As it regards the immanent arrival of another Christmas celebration in a few weeks, here's something else I've learned: things are not always what they appear. 

For example, last Christmas a family member gave my daughter a Paw Patrol puzzle book. Each page is thick card stock with an inset puzzle. You take the pieces out of their recession in the page, do the puzzle, and when you're done you put them back into the book. Makes sense, right? Well, sure, all except for that part where the puzzle pieces are the same heaviness as business cards, and as a result don't really work as a puzzle and won't actually stay in the book when it's time to put them away. This puzzle book isn't really a puzzle meant to entertain a child, but a means to capitalize on the Paw Patrol license by selling overpriced ink and cardstock that can't be used for the advertised purpose.

Another example is a remote control helicopter a family member bought for my step-daughter. Going by the advertising, it's an handheld, rechargeable, remote-controlled helicopter. What could go wrong? We opened the package and found out that the helicopter itself can only be recharged when plugged into the remote control which is itself powered by AA batteries. What could go wrong? It worked the first time we turned it on, but when the battery died 5 minutes later wouldn't ever get it to charge again. We bought new batteries and made sure all the switches were flipped to the appropriate setting, but the helicopter appeared to serve no purpose except to sell painted plastic advertised as a working helicopter which accomplished nothing but utterly devouring AA batteries.

This puzzle book and helicopter aren't toys for entertaining children.

They're instant landfill disguised as toys for impoverishing adults.

These toys serve no purpose except to enrich the manufacturer.

And it infuriates me that my family members continue to fall for these traps, wasting their money on literal garbage that serves no purpose but to consume their money, take up space in my home, and eventually be sent to an anaerobic landfill where they'll never, ever decompose or be recycled into anything else ever again, ever.

I don't really know what to do, because there's no good solution to this problem that doesn't end with either my relatives being offended that I told them to stop sending my children landfill for Christmas, or my children being offended that I wouldn't let their relatives spoil them. If there's a solution here, then it's going to be about changing the celebration of Christmas so that it has nothing to do with materialistic consumerism and instead to do with good, old-fashioned gluttony in terms of holiday meals and putting the focus on connecting with local friends and family.

But then, that'd only apply to my family and even if my kids enjoyed that kind of celebration, they'd still ask why they don't get all new toys like every other kid at this time of year.

Christmas consumerism disgusts me, but what disgusts me even more is that I struggle to understand how to get my family out of it. There is no greater heresy than rebelling against cultural traditions, and cultural traditions at least in North America revolve around buying instant landfill and gifting it to people we allegedly love.

So if I don't give you anything for Christmas except an email or a call on the telephone, it's not because I don't care about you, but because I do, and I care so much that I'm not going to fill your house with garbage.

Merry Christmas. 

December 10, 2017

Lysis 5

The Fingers of the SLAVE
  1. The woman who rose from the fire and the man who emerged from the pleasure sought by her went forth and multiplied, but of their days no record is kept. 
  2. For though they made themselves in their own likeness and by their own actions damn themselves in order to claim the name of the SLAVE, their claim to life is brief, and they will be remembered only by the fingers of the SLAVE that reach up from the soil.
  3. The short life of the flesh will be remembered on on the islands of the far east where does grow Jomon Sugi who has climbed up from the soil for longer than two thousand years. 
  4. Altogether, the supreme principality of the flesh will name it a heritage unto the world, and it will bear witness to the rise and fall of empires.
  5. The short life of the flesh will be remembered on the islands of the Mediterranean,
  6. Where does grow a septenary of olive trees in the cradle of the west, 
  7. The accumulated wisdom of which wisdom surpasses fifteen thousand years.
  8. For centuries they will feed fruit to the flesh and nurture it through wars and famine.
  9. Altogether, this septenary will be regarded as greater than the gems of the earth, the value of which will never be counted. 
  10. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the eastern swamps of the west where did grow the Senator. 
  11. Three thousand and five hundred years will pass, and it did bear witness to the rise of an empire. 
  12. Altogether, its majesty threatened the shallow pride of the flesh who did translate it into fire and force the SLAVE back into its earthen slumber.
  13. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the jungles of the south by the the Patriarch of the Forest. 
  14. More than two thousand years will pass, yet even so it will bear witness to the disease of industry. 
  15. Altogether, it will be called holy, but it will offer no salvation to the pestilence of the flesh.
  16. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the mountains of the far south where does grow Grand Abuelo. 
  17. Three thousand six hundred and forty years will pass, yet even so it will survive the hunger of axes and the imperfect works of the flesh. 
  18. Altogether, Grand Abuelo will witness the death of the flesh and the bones of the living turned to salt. 
  19. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the isles of the north where does grow Llangernyw. 
  20. Four thousand and fifty years will pass, yet even so it will remain fertile and green. 
  21. Altogether, it will be feted by royalty and given a place of honor in recorded history, until such time as even recorded history will pass and Llangernyw will yet remain.
  22. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the deserts of the middle east where does grow Sarv-e Abarque. 
  23. Four thousand years will pass in Yazd, yet even so the Zoroastrian will remain.
  24. Altogether, the flesh will make of it a monument and it will be named a seat of power and eternal life. 
  25. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the mountains of the furthest reaches of the west where does grow Methuselah. 
  26. Five thousand years will pass in the White Mountains and Methuselah's reign will continue uninterrupted.
  27. Altogether, Methuselah will outlive the name given to it by the flesh.
  28. And so it will be that the memory of the flesh will outlive the flesh itself, and all evidence of the existence of the flesh will pass into the earth. 
  29. Even so, the fingers of the SLAVE will reach ever upward from the soil until such day that the roots of the tree of fantasy and deception come into bloom upon the face of the earth.