Friday, September 30, 2016

Teach me.


A General Theory of Oblivion - Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Fascinating novel set against a backdrop of a very real story that we never heard much about on this end of the world.  Certainly there was talk during the Reagan years of efforts to keep out the Marxists, and about some strife there, but there was never a historical context to work with.  We didn't learn about Portuguese colonization beyond what went on here on this side of the Atlantic, and maybe a bit about India 400 some-odd years ago.

The novel itself though... I mean, you could look at the synopsis on Amazon but it doesn't do the work justice.

More later.

Still processing.

Funny though how books and art can come into one's life randomly.  I wasn't seeking this out, nor had I read a review.  It was just sitting in a pile of books at work, having been submitted last year to the editorial department for review.  Most of them are books on economics or finance and assorted non-fiction.  This was just... there.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. ~ Clifton Fadiman

It is tempting to think of this form of insomnia, the inability to fall asleep, as a disease of agency and control: the inability to relinquish high self-reflexive consciousness for the vulnerable, ignorant regions of slumber in which we know not what we do. ~ Siri Hustvedt
 
I love Siri, or rather I admire her and her work and sometimes I've seen her walking around Park Slope.  I never wondered before if she'd slept or not.

But Sleep... Oh Sleep...

Sleep is a selfish lover that comes and goes as she pleases.  She will, if it suits her, come over and spend the night and she'll leave in the morning and you will know in your heart of hearts that life could never be better. Then the next time you see her she'll be all up in your face about this or that and you'll wonder what you've done to deserve the grief she's throwing at you, but be pretty well convinced that it must've been something bad because how often has she been wrong anyway?

Guilty!

Of what, you'll never find out but that's Sleep.  

Then sometimes she'll come and rock you off into the never-nevers, only to get restless and start kicking about and sighing and harumphing.  You ask what's wrong even though you really don't want to fucking hear it and the next thing you know Sleep is up and she's stomping about the room nagging you about ex-lovers or work things that are none of her business or some non-event from the distant past that you thought she was over but she is a woman after all so nothing is ever truly over and done with.

Especially not at 3 a.m.   It's all coming back around at 3 a.m.  You may have forgotten all about it, but Sleep hasn't.  Trust.  Sleep never forgets.  She decides when something is over, and even then.

Even then.  

Sleep is the confounding bitch that you'll keep taking back.  

6 MInutes of My Life I Will Never Get Back


So there's this Hong Kong-based animator named Wong Ping, and...

Never mind.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Prospect Park

Burn Baby Burn Dante's Inferno

Burn the mother down?

Alternate Title: The Graphic Novel as Imagined By Dante Alghieri.




If I could wrap my head around the idea of eternity (and I can't because it's difficult enough to imagine even larger finite numbers realistically, like how long would it take a person to count to 1 million?) then perhaps Heaven and Hell would hold more... fear and awe?  So theoretically if you're going to portray Hell in a way that might sway someone's behavior you would want to make it seem so horrible that even a minute would be unbearable.  OR... OR... I don't know... maybe that's easier than portraying Hell as tedium but think how painful it could be sitting doing fuck all forever.  A day or two might be blissful.  Not "might be."  It is blissful.  I've done it.  It's fucking great.  I don't think it would be so cool forever though.  

Anyhoo, I don't know what Signore Alghieri was up to here, and you can click on his name above for the full collection, but he seems to have the imagination of a clever 12 year old.  Or maybe he was playing to an audience of 12 year olds.  Or maybe illustration just wasn't his strong suit, but it seems to me that Hieronymus Bosch did a much better job a couple centuries later in portraying the horrors of Hell.  His Heaven & Hell triptychs still scare the shit out of me.  The hell out of me?  

Okay.  

To be fair, he probably didn't do them himself.  There were also later manuscripts illustrated by Boticelli, William Blake, and even Salvador Dali weighed in.  All were... superior.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Prospect Park

The truth is...

I have a strange feeling about today, like the boot is about to drop.  I am at once sentimental, but cranky and peevish.  I had an overwhelming urge, having taken a Giza-scale crap, to leave it unflushed so the world could see.  It would have only been my poor, sweet, unsuspecting roommate though but had it been a public commode...

Ridiculous, right? 

But something is off today.  I feel like I should be saying goodbyes and making peace with those around me, but simultaneously mean and fighting a case of the malevolent fuck-its. 

We shall see.

Get Got/I've Seen Footage - Death Grips


There's something about the video, and the way the music synchs.  It's how memory works, isn't it?  Not in a smooth analog flow but by fits and starts in digital pulses.


so many videographers operate on a disconnect from the song itself but Death Grips seem to have found people who actually work with them and with the music.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Live Fast Die Faster

Maserati Hearse

Alternate Title:  Fast & Furious & Dead

First Runner-Up:  Yawn

Narcos




Pablo?  Why the fuck not?  Christmas is coming.

What if I wear leather trousers too?


your dark sunglasses won't make you Lou Reed
your dark sunglasses just make it hard to see

Bill Baird

New one on me, but the carnival keyboard sound works.  It feels like a wound in my skull and someone's got their finger in it, picking and poking and pulling at strings.


Monday, September 26, 2016

It rises to The East


I'm not going to lie.

via Hey Aimee

Half the struggle is trying to keep a lid on it, so I've found it easier to stop trying.  It's less effort to just deal with it head on.  It's a tired cliche to say that weekends are too short but two days just isn't enough.  I'm not done thinking yet.  My shit isn't sorted out yet, but I need to pack it all into the toybox in order to face the uncertainty of five straight days of life that will almost certainly be no different than any other five weekdays but what if it isn't?  My shit isn't sorted out yet!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Prospect Park 9/25/16

I wonder if this might come across as redundancy or repetition.  It isn't to me but maybe the camera in the phone doesn't capture it the way my eyes do.  The setting might be the same, or similar but the light is always different.  The surface of the lake also, is never the same as the time before. Ditto for the reflections off the water. 

Sunday School

The Christians may have roped me in were there a more logical explanation for the origins of man.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Best Youtube Comment Ever?


Sure, why the fuck not?

I was going to copy and paste it without the video it accompanied, because it's a work of art unto itself, but then figured why not give them everything.

"This mixtape is like what its like to grow up with a below average family bond, instead of being ignored its like they let you stick around cause they love you but don't expess their love or tell you they are proud of you.. good momemnts and worse ones you wish you could forget but they made you who you are and you hate what you have become or some shit like that idfk"

I can't figure out why the Gods of Youtube thought I should listen to this music.  It's not quite like anything I would ever bother with, but there you go.  Maybe they were actually recommending the comment.


Brooklyn Bridge Park & Photoville

I was overwhelmed by gorgeous weather and somewhat underwhelmed by Photoville.  Perhaps I expected less photojournalism and more art.  The former is impressive in its own right but if you follow the news you've seen it.

I also like the way art photography engages the viewer.  It certainly tells a story but it's open-ended and asks the viewer to turn on his imagination and finish it.  Photojournalism is just that.  It tells the story beginning to end and asks nothing.  It's just a case of preferences.

Hence the photo that stood out is the masked wrestler most of all. 

Prospect Park 7a.m.

Autumn crept in on the overnight.  There was a soft rain.  I could hear it spitting off the tires on the Expressway at 3 in the morning.  At 4 the leaves were whispering a dry fall shhhhh.  No more gentle whuff when the breeze hits the trees.  No more 3 hours of sunlight when I get home from work.  I will miss the sun even as I prefer the dark.  You can't have it both ways. 

Autumn is here though and for that I am grateful. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The OBGMs

Torpedo

No clue who these kids are but they get special thanks for figuring out what the inside of my head sounds like this morning and creating a soundtrack for it.  

The Enormity of the Possible

via Expo Chicago

But this is the whole enchilada, isn't it?  "The Possible" is too big.  "The Possible" is also The Unknowable, or The Unforseeable, or The Uncertain.  It's got to be easier to distill life, via some alchemical process or whatnot, to what can be predicted so there are no surprises.  Good luck with that, but.

You figure with just enough data, not too much or too little, but just enough, there will be a formula whereby you wake up and nothing catches you off guard.  There will be a rule and a rhyme and a reason for everything under the sun and everything will have a proper name and a complete definition and a menu of possible behaviors and life will be a neat fucking package and you can look around at everyone all smug like you've got them all sussed and that means you're the one in control and if they can't surprise you or shock you or get inside some chink in your armor you're some kind of superior and that means power and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

Fuck it.

Be afraid.

That's not how shit works.

It can be good or bad, really but here's an example of the bad side of The Enormity of the Possible.  The Third Reich got over on the idea of "the lie so big that everyone believes it."  I'm sure nobody really wanted to believe it, but things had already gotten so weird that another big conspiracy didn't seem so outlandish. That's playing out in contemporary politics in The United States.  That's kind of deductive though.  Things seem really bad so it's not unreasonable to deduce that anything at all is possible.

There is the reductive too, by which things become invisible.  White people don't really really want to believe that we live in a country where black people are being randomly brutalized by state-sanctioned thugs.  It doesn't fit in.  We can't explain it.  We can't define it.  We don't want to be tied to it in any manner.  Yet all the evidence is right there under our noses.  If we acknowledge culpability also, it means stepping out of the comfort zone (however you want to define that) and taking action.

But I digress... bring the above up into one's personal life and the role that uncertainty plays in day to day actions.

Anyhoo.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nuart


SpY, via Nuart Festival

Clever bastard, this one.

Thinking this morning, of the old trope, living versus merely existing, as we spend more and more of our time squirrelled away in our homes pouring ourselves pixel by pixel into social media space.  Thinking this morning of how we spend a huge amount of our time seeking validation through recording everything we do... wait... everything?  Certainly we employ our own internal editor as we Snapchat and Instagram and text and Hangout and whatnot (note to self: create a social media space called Whatnot.  Find a developer), and we decide what we present and what we don't present.

We each have a sort of non-visual emoji or avatar that we present as an online representation of ourselves. Maybe we feel free to engage in this because we have some sense of control when people aren't looking directly at us?  I don't know.  How close are you to the person you present as online?  Is there a difference, or are the people that have known you the longest shaking their heads in wonder?  Like, I grew up with you motherfucker!  Who you trying to kid?  Or do they just see what they want to see anyway thereby making what you present, whatever it may be, irrelevant.  Certainly I've experienced that.  It's frustrating and makes me think I can say or do anything and not sway their opinions, good or bad.

Or is there some unspoken agreement online and offline like, "Hey I won't blow up your spot as long as you keep my secrets too."

I like to think that I'm very close to the person I present as on social media.  I am perhaps a lot more soft-hearted, sensitive and certainly more sentimental.  I might be a little less angry, but even I'm not sure about that.  I might actually be more angry than I present.  I think I'm being honest but maybe everyone else does too.  That's probably a mixed bag, but I don't think people are quite that un-self-aware that they don't know that they're participating in gross misrepresentation.  The average person must be just insecure enough to be afraid that they'll be exposed for whatever it is they actually are when they're walking down the street.

I was reminded this morning, and I have written about this before, of how upon splitting up with someone I was involved with for a considerable period of time, I realized that my presence in her life was practically non-existent to many people that she knew.  I knew her family quite well and was very present in that single offline circle, but was carefully excised, almost surgically, from the public life and public persona.  There were photo albums of events I attended and trips we took but there was no evidence at all of my presence.  It didn't bother me so much but I think I come back to it because I'm still processing what it means to have these separate lives that many of us do.  How many living entities are we?  What is the motivation of... well, that's a silly question on the verge of happening, isn't it?

So, how close are you to the persona you present in your digital life?  Who is your avatar?  Is it really an accurate representation of you?  What is this living, breathing thing you've created, and how invested are you in it?  Could you survive being exposed as being other than this digital Frankenstein, an attempt at a virtually perfect version of yourself that might go terribly bad?


I guess what I'm saying is that as our public presentation of ourselves becomes increasingly archived digitally, our sense of self-awareness and self-knowledge must expand to include what we present in these spaces, either intentionally or unintentionally, and why we're doing it.  

No?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Killing funny memes

This is really kind of why I drank.

Burning

It's becoming more and more obvious that police forces nationwide can't have an interaction with black people without shooting them.  We see the videotape and the only thing they can say is "Don't rush to judgment."

Motherfucker, please.

That's all I can say.  I am beyond sick.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy New Year Again?

I don't care how many times this year I get cycled back through to New Years Eve.  I'm still not making a single resolution I'm not willing to give up for Lent.

Refugee Summit @ the UN today.

A few protesters here and there, and a gazillion cops.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Eensy weensy

Tracks

Taking Flight



Long before I was a rock star, or an ad salesman, I was a cowboy and an astronaut.  I was a jungle explorer.  I was a hero.  I was famous.  I was larger than life.

The Tyranny of Positivity


How forcing positivity can create despair...

People need to hear this.  I was about to say, "I think people need to hear this."  That's not an option I'm offering though.  People simply need to hear this.  It's funny this should come up this morning also because just yesterday someone was asking me about the Law of Attraction and the power of positive thinking.  My response was that it simply isn't that easy.  I tried to articulate that I don't believe in it but that I believe in mathematics and in probability.  I don't for one minute believe that being positive can create possibility or probability, but rather that taking positive action can increase the possibility or probability that an already existing positive outcome will occur.  I went further to say that, and this is a belief, that more often than not, the only bad action is no action at all.  Negativity most often manifests in inaction, thereby negating the possibility or probability that the outcome of anything will ever be any different than it already is.  

It's just math.  I don't believe that there is any spiritual or metaphysical advantage to being cheery all the time. Furthermore, I think it's just plain insulting to insist that people "focus on the positive," and to infer that if something goes wrong it's because someone just didn't do that, or that maybe they didn't have enough faith.  

Sometimes a person's best efforts are just not enough, and sometimes shitty things happen despite our best efforts.  Don't pile superstition on top of it like salt to a wound.  It's not fair.  Sometimes things just suck.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

My possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof.


But you turn right over to the TV page...

Were it only that easy.

My body seems to be falling apart despite all my best efforts to make it better.  Migraines and cluster headaches having abated for now, there is the return of the kidney stones to contend with, and now some kind of a gum infection that has me looking like Brando on the left side.  I'm still a handsome motherfucker on the right side though so I'll just have to approach people sideways and shoot them profiles.  Is that possible?
.
We shall see.

Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup.

There may just be too much going on to keep up with.  If that's the case then a priority list must be established.  Deal with the bullet wounds first and the scratches and bruises second.  It seems I'm always dealing with bullet wounds though and that leaves little time for the rest.  Things start to settle and heal and another rips into my soft bits and organs and there we go, all over again.

Now it sounds like I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Ugh.

Enough.  This was the song that was playing at the Pack of Stanley's this morning.  Is it yet another sign?  Or just another ancient pop song?  It's getting dark earlier and light later as summer ebbs into... why don't we just start calling autumn Pumpkin Spice?  Everything is Pumpkin Spice already.  Maybe we should just name all the seasons for marketing flavors now?  Cool Vanilla, Mango Tango, Pumpkin Spice and Extreme Ice Mint.  Does that work for everyone?

Time to make the donuts.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Don't take me for granted...


Never knew whether this song was a supplication or an admonition.  It really doesn't matter now anyway.  It's already happened, probably karma for all the people I showed my back over the years.

Oh well.

It's ironic that it should happen after I've made every effort to do things differently.  It's almost funny.

But I give up.  Today I give up.  No more.

Prospect Park 9/15/16

No doubt the park is a strange place at night and the pockets of serenity are there, but it's not without an edge of... something.

A family of raccoons foraged in a dumpster up along the spine of the man made mountain, out at dusk foraging.  A friendly man, perhaps about my age, gestured for me to follow him behind the same dumpster.  

Foraging.

That's the thing about NYC.  You never have to ask to get your dick sucked anywhere you go. You just can't be too choosy about who does it.  Same as it ever was, but you don't have to pay, unless you are choosy.

Odd town.

HMS Metaphor

Ruth Orkin - From Gansevoort Street Pier - Boys Swimming in the Hudson River 1948


There must be some misunderstanding.


Superstition... you can have it one way or another.  You can't cherry pick where and what "signs" you want to heed, or even where and what the signs are.  There's an old expression that says, "God is everywhere or God is nowhere."  You can't have it both ways.  Misunderstanding, by Genesis was playing when I went in for coffee this morning.

There must be some misunderstanding.
There must be some kind of mistake.

And I don't want my omens coming in the form of shitty, old pop tunes anyway.  Too much irony given the time spent talking about what shit they were.

The sense of foreboding is still there though.  My instinct is rarely this far off target so something is afoot.  It's probably something quite obvious but that's the way that works too.  It's hardest to see when it's right under one's nose.

Anyhoo...

On the brink of change again, in the next few months anyway.  It's about time to be moving on but being superstitious I'm not about to jinx it by divulging the details prematurely.  It's definitely time to be moving on though.  This thing I'm doing here, hiding out over the expressway, is simply not sustainable.  The only wrong action is inaction.  It's time to play coyote and roam.  More on that at another time.

"The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life."

If you've ever tried to follow the path of a dragonfly, you see that it can hover in one spot almost interminably, and then creep forward, but then rocket off at an oblique angle unexpectedly and seemingly with no perceptible purpose.  There's a lesson that somewhere, about the importance of staying in motion even as you hover in one place.  It's rare to capture a photo of a still dragonfly.  It takes patience, so there's a lesson there also.

My next change will be at a more oblique angle.  That much is certain.