28 January 2016

of cars and screaming

the building where i work is across the street from a car dealership. through the windows on the second floor hallway, said dealership is clearly visible. there are cars and cars and cars, rows upon rows of cars. so many shiny variations on the theme, automobile. red and blue and even a green, but mostly grey and white. cars.

generally, when i view the lot from the window while traversing the hallway, it's filled with only the cars... a veritable post-apocalyptic spread of rapture-abandoned machinery.

today, i saw people in the lot. they were doing the "car shopper stoop" -- that bend-crouch-lean thing people do when they are reading the sticker or looking in the window trying to see if there is a GPS in the dash or if it's a manual transmission. they were car shopping! on a thursday!

who car shops on a thursday? are they on their lunch hour? on vacation? on disability? maybe they don't have jobs at all. maybe they work nights. maybe they work weekends. maybe they are EMTs and they work like 72 hours straight then 72 hours off.


this concludes "another frightening example of how people are all out there living their lives and whatnot in ways the rest of us will never begin to understand or in most cases, even be aware of at all.

kind of makes you want to scream, doesn't it?

21 January 2016

riffing on reality

do you ever feel like you're watching yourself? like, your life is a movie and you are just watching yourself act it out? like, not that it's not real, per se, but at the same time, it's not exactly real.

you can read up on disassociative disorder and get back with me when you're satisfied that is not what i am talking about here. i am talking about simple disassociation, not disorder level.

according to the authoritative science tome known as wikipedia, disassociation is commonly displayed on a continuum. at the nonpathological end are such merry adventures as daydreaming while driving a car and at way down in pathological-land are multiple personality disorder and PTSD.

a sense that self is unreal is called depersonalization and a sense that the world is unreal is derealization. technically, wikipedia lists these in the "pathological" section, but they're not talking about me and anyway, it's not real.



sometimes i'll partake of a little derealization. not a big deal. i can quit anytime.

sometimes after watching a movie, especially if in a theatre, i'll experience an involuntary mind-quake and suddenly be watching myself hang up my jacket or whatever. clearly, that's an effect of having been immersed in the movie.

sometimes sitting in a meeting, my mind will spontaneously go all talking heads, "this is not my life", and i'll take a few minutes to explore the possibility that i am the only one who knows about the matrix.

pretty sure a side effect of derealization is mixed media metaphors.


clearly that second one is a coping mechanism for the boredom of the meeting. it's the same sort of thing as daydreaming while driving, except it's closer than daydreaming because it's a riff on reality, not an alternate reality. i mean, if you're daydreaming, you'll miss your exit, but if you are derealizing, you can keep right on participating. you might even be a better participant because you're still there, watching yourself.


sometimes it'll happen involuntarily due to having been steeped in the world of film or as a result of boredom.

sometimes, though, i will make it happen.

In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanism in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including boredom or conflict.

defense mechanism, sure, sure. that's totally plausible.

sometimes, though, it's simply fun.

19 January 2016

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles, a thousand miles of ocean.
from the bluff you can see a thousand miles of nothing but sky and sea.

in the house on the bluff by the ocean
live a ma and a pa and a boy.
round the house on the bluff the wind blows rough.
iron sky, steely rain, alloy.

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles, a thousand miles of ocean.
from the bluff you can see a thousand miles of nothing but sky and sea.

to the house on the bluff comes a message
all boys are to come to the king.
the boy cries all day, he wants badly to stay.
ma and pa, they don't say a thing.

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles, a thousand miles of ocean.
from the bluff you can see a thousand miles of nothing but sky and sea.

in the house on the bluff by the ocean
live a ma and a pa with a child
whom they nurture and raise for five thousand days
as susurrant waves beguile.

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles, a thousand miles of ocean.
from the bluff you can see a thousand miles of nothing but sky and sea.

the house and the child and the family
near the ocean and wide open sky...
if what you can see is all you believe,
then you will never ask why.

from the bluff you can see a thousand miles, a thousand miles of ocean.
from the bluff you can see a thousand miles of nothing but sky and sea.

13 January 2016

if i had a billion dollars

the lottery is up to a literal billion dollars, so this is my obligatory "what i'd do with a billion dollars" post.

1. quit my job. i really like my job a lot, but it's still a job with all the attendant obligations. as a bazillionaire, i will no longer be tied to someone else's schedule. i'd consider taking on special projects, consulting, spewing advice and the like, but i will tell them when i am available and not the other way around.

2. give my current employer a cool couple mill. i am not going to tell you where i work, but suffice it to say that it's a good cause. so in honor of the good cause and also as recompense for my aforementioned leaving, i'd shuck a couple mill their way.

3. per sir elton john, i'd buy a big house where we both could live. and by "both" i mean "all". like you and me and her and him and them and us and everyone. you know, if you wanted to join me. up to about 50 or so. i mean, it's a house, not a town.

4. per the bare naked ladies, if i had a million dollars, i'd build a tree-fort in our yard. that's in addition to the big house where we are all living. the tree-fort would not be big, though. it'd be my place to get away from all your money-hungry gold diggers and your snotty rug rats. there'd be a lock on the door.

5. completely fix up my car in a way that makes her wonderful because i love her. also, hire a chauffeur to drive me around in my lovely car. i'd also get a motorcycle that i can handle, as opposed to that harley that was a giant (literally, giant and steel) mistake. i'm thinking something like a honda rebel. oh, and a full face helmet to protect my noggin and my beautiful face. i'll also get a ford f-150, an audi, and a couple bicycles. i don't know what model i want of the audi and the bikes -- need to do some shopping there. or, have someone do some shopping for me.

6. i will take up serious long distance running in whatever measured and cautious way fits my body's ability to withstand the training. i'd travel all over the world to run marathons.

7. speaking of travel, i'll do it. i'll get a winnebago with a chauffeur and roam the americas, taking bicycles and my honda rebel and my lovely car. i'll have a tent and a bedroll and a lantern so i can sleep outside whenever i want. in addition to the winnebago-facilitated roaming, i'll have a way to fly all over the world. most likely, i'll join "wheels up" instead of purchasing my own plane. i want the flying machine to be always ready and available. with my own plane, there'd always be the chance it was out for repairs, and i can't risk that with my heavy travel schedule and my need to go when the spirit says go. in addition to all this sight-seeing, i will visit my far-flung family and long-lost friends. they will be sick of seeing me, but they'll never say so since i always bring such nice gifts.

8. hire a personal trainer. hire a personal chef.

9. endow brigadoon with a buttload of money so that it is always there and as a result of my having buttloaded it, take over the directorship. fill the place up with campers including myriad girls from social services. buy new canoes. replace those lameass plywood cabins with cabins made of actual logs. LOGO SWEATSHIRTS FOR EVERYONE, ALWAYS. pay the staff good wages and be sure they have what they need to do their jobs, but absolutely put an end to counselor snack boxes.

10. reduce my overall possessions by replacing the multitudes of wack shit i own with fewer items of greater quality. "reduce" except for books, which will multiply to the point of having a multi-story library in an open rotunda with rolling ladders.

well, that's good enough for a start.

what about you? what will you do?

11 January 2016


the other day my shopping list included stationery. {kids, stationery is what people used for sending emails before there was electricity.} i was at target, perusing the offerings. they have many fine offerings, ranging from cute kitty cats to sophisticated abstract graphics. i considered and mulled and pondered and in the end, chose these:

i apologize for making you look at them sideways but in my defense, i am too lazy to fix the picture. in case you can't tell, it's a peacock. why did i choose a peacock? it just spoke to me. yes, literally. NO you dumbass, not literally. the design on the notecard metaphorically spoke to my sensibilities. caught my eye. appealed to my tastes. fenged my shui.

so i bought them, took them home, and put them on the side table right beside this:

again, i apologize for the snapshot's orientation, but i can't be bothered. in case you can't tell, it's a journal emblazoned with the design of a peacock. i had consciously forgotten i had this peacock journal and was pleasantly surprised to see i had purchased notecards whose design is in keeping a stationery item already in my collection. i suppose i subconsciously remembered that i had it, said subconscious being aided by the list in my hand which was penned by my hand on a page from the very journal.

so. what's with the peacocks?

i've done a bit of research on such notable websites as whats-your-sign.com, signology.com, and shamanicjourney.com. all agree that the peacock is a symbol of dignity, strength, glory, beauty, and watchfulness. huh. auspicious. according to these worthy wells of knowledge, i can access these attributes if the peacock is my power animal.

so. obviously, i took a couple of quizzes to find out. according to one quiz, i am either an owl or a fox, and on the other, i am a wolf. no mention of peacock anywhere.

on the wolf quiz, i scored in the 88% percentile on "nobility". pretty sure that means i should be wearing a tiara, and tiaras are peacocky, so i am taking that as justification for my having selected peacock-emblazoned stationery items.

under the chart that showed my nobility score was a list of other quizzes i could take. the list included the "what kind of diaper are you" quiz.

oh, helloquizzy.com... whence nobility?

08 January 2016

wherein i make a case for my being normal

one of my favourite things about the television show "homeland" is carrie mathison's cross-body bag. IT'S PERFECT. so, i'm googling around trying to find out where to get it or at least one really close to it, and can't find squat, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a new word.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Normcore is a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing. "Normcore" is a portmanteau of the words "normal" and "hardcore". The word first appeared in webcomic Templar, Arizona before 2009[1] and was later employed by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group,[2][3][4][5] in an October 2013 report called "Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom".[6][7]

As used by K-Hole, "normcore" referred to an attitude, not a particular code of dress. It was intended to mean "finding liberation in being nothing special."[8] However, a piece in New York magazine that began popularizing the term in February 2014[6] conflated it with "Acting Basic", another K-Hole concept which involved dressing neutrally to avoid standing out. It was this sense of "normcore" which gained popular usage.[8]

okay, to be fair, it's not new. it was coined in 2009 and entered trendy usage in early 2014. so the word isn't new per se but it's new to me because i don't really follow the trends because i am [wait for it...] normcore.

the word has two nuances: first, liberation through uniformity, and second - a specific application of the first - dressing neutrally to avoid standing out. the underlying philosophy is that it's liberating to fly under the radar.

it is true that you can get away with a whole lot more shit if you are not calling attention to yourself, e.g. if you're planning to get away with robbing a bank, leave your bright orange louboutins at home. wear khakis and a grey sweater with your chucks, and you can move through the world unseen. you can literally stare at other people, and they won't even notice.

when i first read the definition, i found "dressing neutrally to avoid standing out" to have a negative ring because it seems weak to avoid something. but then i turned it around a bit and got "accomplish stealthness through neutral wardrobe" and that sounds better in terms of the power structure but not great in terms of the amount of effort involved. i mean, neutral should be what happens as the result of no effort at all.

for instance, there's me. i am not trying to do anything but make it through the day in clothes that are utilitarian and a least a tidge more than halfway comfortable. i am not purposefully attempting to be normcore. i am dressing neutral because i dress neutral. that's just me. i really can't help it if everyone else is putting untold effort into attaining normcore just to blend in with me.

here is some validation for my normcoreness:
- the ultimate normcore hairstyle is just having some hair. i just have some hair.
- i own khakis of my own free will and wear unbranded fleece.
- my starbucks card is gold status.

that's me. normcore.

but... not stupid.

i know what's going on here. for whatever reason, the glittery people get tired of being glittery and want to pretend they're normal. maybe they're avoiding paparazzi. maybe they are nostalgic for a time when they were normal. maybe they want to rob a bank. who knows. point is, they want to pretend they're normal.

at the same time, they are mocking normalcy by turning it into a trend. trends are by definition the opposite of normal. then, because it's a trend, it's a defacto competition, and all the glittery people are literally competing to see who can be the most normal - who is the most hardcore about it - who is normcore.

thus, in the end, there's no way for a normal person to be normcore because normcore on a normal person is merely normal. normcore is a thing for glittery people to do when they're pretending to be normal.

there's a parallel here between normcore to the lonely web concept (see humming to myself).

the thing about this so-called lonely web is that it isn't lonely for those of us out here in it. "53% of you tube videos have less than 500 views." pssst - guess what - 500 views is a really high bar to a hell of a lot of us. all the blogs in all the world saying all the same things over and over and over again? 50 views isn't lonely. 50 is fine. in fact, 50 is pretty damn good. for normal people, 50 is not lonely.

i just drive my civic to work each morning and just drive her home again at night. i just put on my sweatpants and michigan state logo tee and tippy-type my less-than-500-views blog. i just drink my coffee at starbucks and buy my ink jet paper at target and don't rob banks in my louboutins.

it's not lonely. it's not trendy.

it's normal.

06 January 2016

humming to myself in whoville

welcome to the lonely web.

This is the Lonely Web. It lives in the murky space between the mainstream and the deep webs. The content is public and indexed by search engines, but broadcast to a tiny audience, algorithmically filtered out, and/or difficult to find using traditional search techniques.

(click here for article)

a study in 2009, according to the aforementioned article, found that 53% of all you-tube videos have less than 500 views each. i'd venture to guess that over 50% of that 53% have less than a dozen views. we can't all be "charlie bit my finger". in fact, being "charlie bit my finger" is much more the exception than the rule.

most of us are out here just humming to ourselves.

i'm ambivalent about this reality. on the one hand, popularity sounds like fun, but on the other hand, it's a freaking lot of pressure. i mean, you three (or... two?) will forgive me for not posting for a few weeks, but can you imagine not hearing from "slate" or "onion" or "huffington post" for a few weeks? no, you cannot.

a few more followers might be flattering, but too many and anonymity is blown by some gumbo-brain who can't live without knowing who you are.

why have opinions if no one is listening? but soon as someone is listening, your opinions start an attention-sucking row, and pretty soon you're up all night defending yourself to strangers.

posting in the lonely web is like living in whoville. but were the whovians better off after horton heard them? i mean, damn, those monkeys and kangaroos just about did them in. who needs to be trampled by kangaroos??

in the end, it is what it is. we aren't all famous nor can we be, and in fact on the internet just as in life, there are many levels -- famous to well-known and right on down to whovian. i might choose to be on a bottom rung of well-known, rather than whovian, but hell, that's work. might as well just hum to myself here in whoville, watching the clouds go by.

i hereby formally invite joe veix, a writer and artist based in oakland, CA, and writer of the quoted article, to come by here for a look-see.

HI JOE!! #joeveix #veix #lonelyweb

caveat: no matter how lonely it seems out here, getting completely crazy remains a risk. i mean, your words or videos or photos or whatever you are posting is on the public internet, after all. just because you're slapping your shit up on a wall in the middle of the desert doesn't mean some nomad won't come along and gawk at it.

books 2015

the night circus [erin morgenstern]
three to get deadly [janet evanovich]
somewhere safe with somebody good [jan karon]
in the company of others [jan karon]
two for the dough [janet evanovich]
speaking in bones [kathy reichs]
brutal youth [anthony breznican]
one of our thursday's is missing [jasper fforde]
invasion of the tearling [erika johansen]
charlie & whiskey [annabel smith]
bones on ice [kathy reichs]
one for the money [janet evanovich]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
darke [angie sage]
fyre [angie sage]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]

harry potter and the chamber of secrets [jk rowling] (this one expired while i was reading it so i am back in line to check it out again.)
sweetness at the bottom of the pie [alan bradley]
grey mountain [john grisham]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
the beekeeper's apprentice [laurie king]
as chimney sweepers come to dust [alan bradley]
the dead in their vaulted arches [alan bradley]
a red herring without mustard [alan bradley]
i am half-sick of shadows [alan bradley]
speaking from among the bones [alan bradley]
the weed that strings the hangman's bag [alan bradley]
tragedy paper [elizabeth laban]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
harry potter and the sorcerer's stone [jk rowling]
amber spyglass [philip pullman]
subtle knife [philip pullman]
golden compass [philip pullman]
hunger games [suzanne collins]