Rainy Sunday night musings (virus pic inside!)

Who’d ever think writing bullshit required so much energy?

Who’d think stringing together an agonizing series of words, sentences and paragraphs could depend so much on me having fuel in the tank?

Well writing is a tremendous physical test.
Is so in the respect that it relies entirely upon your mental stores to reach fruition, and ultimately, your mental stores are only as stocked as your physical body is able to pump out its precious gas. Its life force.

Right now my life force is seriously depleted.

It’s been a long, lost weekend and everyone around me is dropping like flies from the viral swarm which has swooped into my life like a cloud of angry, hungry locusts. Fortunately I’ve managed to escape the bug, the whatever it is, the one that is sickening everyone and turning my workplace into a hospital room. A couple of weeks ago I came down with something for a couple of days. Woke up with a sore throat, felt chilled and tired, but I bounced right back in a few days, voila. Just like new.

Rather than touting my superhero level immune system, I merely think it’s a function of me having suffered from this current contagion before and the antibodies that are roaming my lymph system, nuking with precision and single-minded evolutionary fury any pathogen it is DNA-coded to recognize and exterminate.

Human physiology is fascinating.
Microbes, bacteria, viruses…I remember learning about viruses in college biology and marveling as their microscopic invisibility was shattered by the technology of electron microscopy. Viruses look man-made. The angles, the symmetry, the uniform rows of detail. Unlike bacteria which look like globs of amorphous…junk.

I took this 3D rendering of a virus from HowStuffWorks.


Tonight I was going to post an installment of my “Silly Things I’ve Done While Drunk” series. Even though I knew exactly which 80s anecdote I was going to use, when the curtain call came, I wasn’t feeling it. I sat on the idea too long. Lazy and working to ready myself for work tomorrow, pack lunch, iron clothes…the entire time I was silently formulating the story, then suddenly, it just vanished. The will to relay and narrate it. Another time, another day.

The soul of creativity is capricious that way.
One minute you feel it; the next, fuck it.

A lot of bloggers have a wise policy. If they have nothing to say, they just don’t post. I certainly think that is a very respectable policy.

I’m the opposite. Perhaps because I’m lacking the “respectability” quality. Whatever.
I post even when I have nothing organized of value to say. I think my rambling material represents some of my most wicked glimmers of ingenuity. Or maybe it’s just self-delusion.

The big issue being, as I see it, how do I categorize this post?

Pointless ruminations?

Pointless ruminations is well ahead of the pack for obvious reasons.

It’s raining outside.
I’ve heard second-hand (I haven’t read the paper or watched the news lately), Los Angeles will play host to 3 storms over the next week.

Which means maybe 2 whoppin’ inches of rain, tops, over the next week. Which means people will drive like shit, crash, fall, spin out, be involved in ridiculously minor fender benders further leading to incredibly disproportionate traffic jams. And the local media will devote top billing for 5 days to “Storm Watch” in a shameless and pathetic display of news reporting. We will see (round the clock) the obligatory news footage of a reporter, “out in the field,” wrapped up in a raincoat that resembles a big Glad trash bag while dots of thin sprinkle fly by the camera lense. Storm Watch.

L.A., she’s lame.

The title of my post was going to be something like “Popcorn Upchuck.”

Ten things about me (oh, and my Biblical failures)

And now for something completely different.

My grocery-pushing blogbud, Paul Wynn, over at Mostly Grocery laid the tag on me.

It’s like a bloggy form of chain mail but better because it’s customizable. You can work it into your own blog format however you see fit. Just tell us about yourself. In fact, tell us 10 things about yourself.

I checked out Paul’s and as I linked back in time through various lists, I discovered a promising recipe for a tasty-looking Shrimp Udon soup. See, there is real productivity.

Before I commence with my Biblical disasters, I want to link back to a couple of blogs I’ve read and am choosing to draw into this amusement because of their mysterious blogger vibe.

Will they choose to follow up with 10 personal facts? I chose these blogs because their persona is murky and sorta oblique. Maybe they consciously chose this vibe, in which case they will probably resist my exercise. But here goes:

Random Acts of Kindness This bloggerina has only been blogging about a month or two and she has begun agonizing publicly about the direction and aimlessness of her blog. Sweetheart, join the club! This chick has a good mind and a good heart, check out her thoughts.

UGH, I HATE THE LIRR, ER, LIE This blogger is fascinating. The blog name once ended at “LIRR” (Long Island Rail Road). The chap reported daily on his rail commute. In painstaking detail. Great stuff! Sounds dry, but I suggest you read him. He expounds on the mudane and takes the art of the “journal” to new heights. In addition, he describes his daily gym routine after each commuting description. The dude pushes some awesome iron numbers. Recently, he changed careers and now he has added “LIE (Long Island Expressway)” since he now drives to work.

And now, me. (Paul you didn’t think I would be normal, did you?)

Ten things about me seen from the perspective of Moses’ tablets:

1. You shall have no other gods before Me
It was difficult enough to convince me to believe and worship a Christian god when I was young…good luck with any other. Some people might say I worship myself. I would if it didn’t require so much devotion.
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image (of God)
This is a moot point. But if I was religious, I think it would be very phony and lazy of me not to go to church and pray while claiming that I talked to God only when I wanted. I think I touched upon this commandment in my post about lazy religionists.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
Oh Lord, all I ever do is Goddamned cuss. Read this blog.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.
In my drinking heyday, Sunday was my day of alcoholic self-decimation. I still don’t know why Sunday was such a draw. Some of my most lunatic binges occurred on the Seventh Day.
5. Honor your father and your mother
I pass. For a son that is. I’ve often heard parents say that they long for a daughter because a daughter repays her gratitude to their sacrifice with her time and care whereas a son vanishes. Is this true? Who knows. I know I did vanish. Actually, no, I didn’t vanish, I stuck around and caused them immeasurable grief. And I think I still do in some ways. I have much repayment (karma) coming my way. Already my son has opened up a Karma account on me.
6. You shall not murder
Nope, never. Although, as I hashed this commandment out, it did give me an idea for a post which I shall start this week. A new category. Haven’t thought of a name yet…
7. You shall not commit adultery
Hey, how ’bout them Dodgers? Uhm yeah, guilty. Stay tuned for the gruesome non-details. Let’s just say that “Phoenixism” would just be a strange, nonsensical word instead of a strange, nonsensical blog…
8. You shall not steal
Goddamned klepto. I went through a stage, when I was about 5-8, where I stole, shoplifted and slyly grabbed all kinds of shit just because it was fun. I’m rather over that now. The other day I saw a one dollar bill in the street, thought about it, and continued on my way. I’m a man of the earth, I don’t need it all. Hmmm…if it was a Five, I might have grabbed it.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
There is another commandment that suffered severely at my prepubescent hands. Now? I rarely lie. I take pride in the fact that I say what’s on my mind. I still lie by omission more often than I’d like. Is lying by omission still bad?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house
Ah I love the 10th commandment! Fucking envy. I’m over that. Envy requires that you want stuff. Just stuff, all stuff. And I don’t care to own stuff. I have all the stuff I need. I have not bought a new big ticket item for myself in 5 years. My computers are breaking down, slowly dying agonizing digital deaths and I have perfected the art of the re-boot. I refuse to buy new shit. New stuff. My car is 12-years old and has no radio. I’m happy with it and I change the oil occasionally. Last year it was the timing belt. What more do I need? I don’t covet shit, and if I did I would just buy it.

The tightrope walker


Anyone else think it’s a trip that I have chosen to devote a whole section of my humble blog to “Non-Judge-Mentality?”

Which I sagely describe as “A series of posts where I judge those who…judge.”

Goes without saying that I come down harshly on those who would judge.

What am I on, crack? Of course people judge.
It’s human nature. Our languages are filled with adjectives, and description is the driving force behind great prose. Inherent in all forms of description is an element of judgement.

For me to sit here and assert that we, as humans, as hierarchically layered creatures, should resist judgmental behavior is a bit delusional. Hell yeah we’re judgmental.

For the purposes of this blog idea, however, I will attempt to redefine the term.

A concrete definition. To judge is to appraise and to opine on mannerisms and actions and behavior and appearance and sound. It is to engage in the most normal of human social interpretation. To judge is to engage our environment and those populating it while attempting to subtly construct a standardized paradigm against which we can rank ourselves and map our own place in this society. It is survival. To lose sense of one’s place in their cultural habitat is to expose themself to a dangerous measure of vulnerability to the motives of others.

We must judge for our own survival.

This is instinctual judging and is different from the ego perversion of itself that I’m driving at. Instinctual judging is a clinical and non-self-absorbed practice of scrutinization. We are unaffected by our realizations and discoveries.

The judgments we cast as members of “advanced” and prideful society, of an intelligent species, is what I want to examine.

Judgment is clouded and deformed when it is masterminded by the ego. To judge is to appraise but the instant you allow your appraisal to undermine your mood, to disrupt your state, to foul the gentle corridors of your soul, you have lapsed into petty judgment.

Our goals are to judge from a safe distance. To judge but to be unaffected; to surrender to the capricious nature of man’s soul. If you cannot accept a man’s actions as anything other than the actions of a flawed person who manifests behaviors rooted in a lifetime of mislearning, you will not accept peace, you will not accept equilibrium. In the absence of peace, you will seek to counter with a wave of angry helplessness and with contrived opinions, ie, judgments. Judgments which serve no other purpose than to comfort your flailing sense of serenity.

Seek the middle road.

Seek is all we are ever capable of.

Like a tightrope walker, we can never barrel through life rashly. Our journey is a precarious and tense march across a narrow stream of time, and the actions of others, the words of others, the flaws and strengths of others, act in unison mimicking the gust of wind which threatens to upset our unsure hold on this rope.

Life, the rope, an unpleasant reminder that despite its unsteady and agonizing hold, still appeals more than the unpleasant truths awaiting us in the precipice below.

Greasy pony-tails and hot red-heads

Movie posters. In the weeks leading up to a movie’s release, billboards, bus placards, bus bench placards…ubiquitous as you walk or drive around town. Lately I’ve been seeing this one more often than I care:

Posters appear so often that they become ingrained in your psyche and even elicit a blase sense of deja vu each and every time you see one again, and again, and again, until you are able to reconstitute the damn thing based on memory alone.

Through this gradual desensitization, we lose the ability to perceive the poster clearly. To see it.

After seeing the Leap Year poster for the 5,245th time, it occurred to me: what is up with the gender presentation here?

It’s obviously geared toward the chick-flick, popcorn-munching, movie-goer. Which is a sizable Hollywood marketing segment.

Look at the poster.

Essentially, it tells us all we need to know about mass media’s treatment and estimation of the male/female dynamic in today’s world.

The placement of the actors is clear enough.

Amy Adams, looking mysterious, hot, capable, seductive…she is in charge of the photo. She is Modern Woman and she gets what she wants (which in this case is top billing in some stupid photograph). As befits a pretty girl, all eyes, all photographic lenses, on her. Check out that expression. This chick means business and she’s the boss. Do you hear her roar? That smirk, the cheekbones, the bedroom eyes…the very epitome of feminine allure. Hell, I’d do her, redheads are hot.

And then there’s Matthew Goode.
What the hell. Is this what Hollywood sees fit to offer as the sacrificial testicle-deprived male effigy? Sad.
Look at poor Matthew. That’s a good-looking boy but he’s neutered. Standing silently in the background, a vague air of emasculated unease about him, looking unsure, looking like a not-so-confident boy ready to try out his first Mystery routine, faking the cockiness but not the expression. The epitome of…barely pubescent? His expression cries: I don’t belong here but I want her so badly!

The conjoined pose, the body language speaks thus:

Amy: I don’t need you. I’m so hot you’ll do whatever I ask.
Matthew: Just say how high. I’m here for you ma’am.

It brought to mind of one of my favorite flicks of all time. Now this is a poster:

Humphrey, never the pretty boy, but always the man. And he didn’t need that try-hard unshaven look to accomplish it, either.

The poster offers us an archaic image of equality. Nobody dominates the photo yet both Humphrey and Ingrid look like undisputed representatives of their genders. Neither is whoring it up for the photo, neither dominates the other. Yet, the most subtle of cues tells us that Humphrey Bogart is dominant here. He’s the one facing the camera, he’s the one without the girlish, mommy-where-are-you expression. Stoic and steadfast in the line of fire.

Comparing the posters, I realize many in the “men’s community” have a point which I agree with. Hollywood’s portrayal of men and women is skewed. A pollution of natural gender roles. And since it’s Hollywood, and since it’s shitty movies, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the disposable income spent on this brand of entertainmet will be steered by women.

These guys are wrong to blame Hollywood for influencing widespread social dynamics.

Hollywood does not shape opinion. Hollywood is led by opinion.
Hollywood is a big, glittery, and very cheap, whore.
Hollywood follows the subtle and underlying cultural mood.
Hollywood does not cause anything to happen. Hollywood is caused. Hollywood is feminine; it is shaped but it does not shape.

Back in the 80s it was masculine action dudes, pony-tails and all.

The only thing that has changed since then is the focus of the idolatry.

Which now is the strong woman. And since male/female relations is a zero-sum game, the man must become proportionally weaker.

So don’t be surprised if you see Steven Seagal in 15 years hamming it up in his gray ponytail and kicking ass from a walker.