Hook.

Mar. 25th, 2009 02:57 pm
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Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze; but as those who read between the lines must already have guessed, he had been at a famous public school; and its traditions still clung to him like garments, with which indeed they are largely concerned. Thus it was offensive to him even now to board a ship in the same dress in which he grappled her, and he still adhered in his walk to the school's distinguished slouch. But above all he retained the passion for good form.

Good form! However much he may have degenerated, he still knew that this is all that really matters.

From far within him he heard a creaking as of rusty portals, and through them came a stern tap-tap-tap, like hammering in the night when one cannot sleep. "Have you been good form to-day?" was their eternal question [...] Most disquieting reflection of all, was it not bad form to think about good form?

[...] To tell poor Smee that [the children] thought him lovable! Hook itched to do it, but it seemed too brutal. Instead, he revolved this mystery in his mind: why do they find Smee lovable? He pursued the problem like the sleuth-hound that he was. If Smee was lovable, what was it that made him so? A terrible answer suddenly presented itself--"Good form?"

Had the bo'sun good form without knowing it, which is the best form of all?
-- J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (or Peter Pan, if you must)

I've read a handful of translations of the Tao te Ching, several commentaries thereon, a few books of koans ... but this passage, right here, by a Scottish author no less, still articulates the central idea in a way that's dearest to my heart.
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Ahna calls me last night, as I'm headed down I-5 anyway to go walk around Greenlake. "Did you know the Aurafice is closing?" Yeah, I had heard that. "As in, it's closing tonight?" That, I didn't know. I should be there, I thought. I changed my course.

I've been saying the past couple of years that I needed to find a new venue for my Halloween readings, 'cause they've grown too large for the space, but I always felt bad about it; they were the ones who gave me my first shot, and I liked supporting them. Now I'll have to find a new place.

I did stop by last night, but it was just for a few minutes. I didn't really see anybody I knew, and I didn't feel like talking anyway. Just being there only made me realize how much I'll miss the place, and how much I already have missed attending regular Seagoth nights on Wednesdays. That whole scene feels so long ago and so far away, now. I've already lost the feeling of community; I suppose it only makes sense to lose the meeting space, too.

Lot of places going away lately, it feels like. Going down to SeaTac for Mother's Day, I noticed my elementary school is shutting down. And the bookstore I bought so much of the science fiction and comics of my youth from was gone. It had already moved to a smaller, shittier location a while back, but now even that was gone. And the whole area still feels wrong to me without the Midway Drive-In Theatre screen, even though it hadn't been in operation in years.

I'd like the future better if it had more of the past in it.
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So my phone is nearly dead, so it's plugged into the charger. It just rang, so I answered it, still plugged in.

I frowned with annoyance at how strange and awkward and wrong it felt to have this dangling cord coming out of my phone.

And that was when I realized I was living in The Future™.

Parallel.

Oct. 1st, 2006 12:58 pm
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Last night I was driving downtown, near the Paramount, and I looked out my window and I saw a line of yellow caution tape, strung along construction barrels, gently blowing in the breeze, and just beyond that, running parallel, a steel guardrail, a handrail along the edge of the walkway overlooking the freeway below.

The juxtaposition of these two objects -- one transient, fragile, purely symbolic, the other as close to permanent as we can make, and both objects having the same purpose, to protect people -- suddenly struck me as somehow completely transcendentally beautiful. Unintentionally arranged, but as aesthetically placed as lines in a poem.

I suspect sometimes that if we didn't wander around blind to it all -- if our senses weren't dulled from overexposure -- we'd realize that the whole world, all of it, was so incredibly beautiful, we'd be perpetually, helplessly dumbstruck.
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I was at a grocery store earlier today, and I overheard a snippet of conversation between two men:

"Now, I know it was controversial, but I remember that play .... "

My ears immediately pricked up -- I don't know much about theatre, but I do have an interest. What play were they talking about?

They were, of course, talking about football.

----

Every day I pray that the angels will come down and tell me, "There's been a mistake. We apologize for the inconvenience. We're here to take you to the planet you were supposed to be born on."

Hmmm.

Mar. 15th, 2005 04:57 pm
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It's funny, and all, but isn't the phrase "LiveJournal Drama Generator" kind of redundant?

Boundaries.

Mar. 3rd, 2005 12:51 pm
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A conversation I was having with [livejournal.com profile] windbourne the other day at lunch:

6: "I think I'll become a vegetarian. Who eats steak."
A: "You mean you'd give up eating salmon?"
6: "Well, no, see, I'd be a vegetarian like Lars is. You know -- the kind of vegetarian who eats fish."
A: "I see. And also steak. What about other forms of beef?"
6: "Well, sure. Fish and beef."
A: "I see."
6: " .... And chicken and pork."
A: " -- Okay, now, see, that's not really a vegetarian."

Listening.

Feb. 15th, 2005 01:17 pm
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I've been starting to wonder if I would have been better off if I'd never started buying music.

Music wasn't really that important to me when I was little. My fellow students in elementary school were stunned that I didn't have a favorite radio station. I did listen to KJR, some, and I enjoyed music, sure.

(I even once turned two speakers facing each other, with just enough room for my head between them, and stretched out on the floor and listened to the stereo, a little too loud, for a couple hours or so. By the time my parents caught me, it was too late -- I was half-deaf for three days.)

It all really clicked for me one Christmas, when my parents gave me a tiny portable radio with headphones. I was entranced by it, and started tuning around to find a radio station to listen to.

This was the beginning to the 80's, and KUBE 93.3 was playing the beginnings of New Wave. I fell in love with it. I started buying tapes and 45's, cataloging my favorite bands, my obsessions. Music wasn't just something to listen to -- it was something to line up on a shelf, something to hold on to and own.

It got worse in the days of Napster and Audiogalaxy. I could never just enjoy a song any more -- if I liked it, I had to know what it was, I had to have it, to listen to it again, play it for my friends.

It bothered me to listen to radio stations like C89.5, where I really liked the music, but where they rarely mentioned the artist and title. How was I supposed to reach out and grab hold of it if I didn't know what it was? I couldn't appreciate the song I was listening to right then -- I was too busy thinking about the next time I was going to hear it.

I don't know what's changed. I don't know how I've started to let go.

Part of it was listening to C89.5, actually -- listening to live DJ mixes, accepting them as ephemeral, enjoying them anyway even though it would be impossible to hear them again. Part of it is just trying to let go in life in general; to live in this moment instead of the next.

I listen to all kinds of music now. I still listen to C89.5, I listen to KEXP, and they play all kinds of great music, and I may never find out what half of it is and I may never hear it again. But why should I care when I can just listen to the radio again and hear more great music tomorrow?

I've been trying for years, to borrow an image from Crowded House, to catch a deluge in a paper cup. Lately, I've been trying to just stand still, face upward, eyes closed, and let it all wash over me. Wash me clean.
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Subject lines of spam I've received lately that have amused me:

Begin 2005 a new you pungent piano

... If I start a new career as a superhero, I'm totally calling myself The Pungent Piano. Or, possibly, I'll start a pub and call it that. I haven't decided.

Caaanaaaadiiiiaaan Phaaaarmaaaacy

... It pleases me to imagine the spammer shouting his pitch to me as I'm dropping him down a deep, deep well. Same thing with Viiicodiinholiiiics.

don`t be an asshole Natasha

... Well, excuse me for breathing, Boris.

in a contralto voice,

... She cried more, more, more?

We Sellls Viicodin Montoure

... Yessss! We sells it, my precioussss -- !

I can't conceive why!

... I dunno, maybe you're infertile?

Time is now

... This pleases me with it's Zen-like simplicity. Time is now. And time is now and now and now.

hard to dismiss this form of advertising...

... Actually, it's really not. kthxbi.
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  • I bought, prepared, and consumed bacon today, which I haven't done in years. It's long absence from my kitchen seems a little weird to me, considering how often I order bacon-related dishes in restaurants, but there you are. It turned out pretty well.
  • In related news -- my smoke detector still works. Good to know.
  • I just had some Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream. I think the name of this product indicates that men, as a group, are pretty laid-back. Feminists would firebomb their headquarters if they made Wide Bride ice cream, don't you think?

Discovery.

Sep. 28th, 2004 09:00 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] hetaera15 tells me I should post this:

I learned today that, if my co-worker is nattering on to me about CSS positioning problems she's having long after I've mentioned that I'm not working on that issue right now and am in fact busy working on something else, I can, surprisingly enough, make myself feel much much better by typing "OMFG DON'T CARE DON'T CARE DON'T CARE DON'T CARE SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP" right in the middle of the source code I'm working on. Good to know.

Underwater.

Jul. 8th, 2004 05:01 pm
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This is what you want, this is what you get --

PIL loud and echoing dreamlike. I'm dancing, by myself on the floor of the Mercury, and the club is apparently empty, save myself and the unseen DJ, and [livejournal.com profile] windbourne. A blurry light shimmers on the floor, and for a moment it feels like we are far below a blood red ocean. I look over at her writing in her spiral notebook and I feel like we belong here, like sharks. She and I are the only creatures who can survive at these depths.

The music reminds me, deep in my bones, that there really was something going on in the Eighties, that there was a sound to this decade beyond the pop crap on the radio. There are singers with edges in their voices, drum machines with deathmarch staccato inevitability, synthesized melodies raw-edged and uncomplicated, the busy-signal hum of the end of the world.

I dance, and chase lasers with my moving arms, wishing their green light could pierce my skin like tattoo needles and leave its neon Spirograph pattern burning under my flesh. On the video screen, the world has already ended -- the Duke of New York has the terrified President up against a bullet-ridden wall. Donald Pleasance's little trapped pig eyes staring out of the screen as digital errors reduce his image to jerky boxes. He doesn't understand what's happening to him. This isn't a future he was ready for. This future is much more dangerous, what happened to our New York much worse, and there is no escape from it.

There is escape here, for a moment, and I dance, spinning, wanting to keep spinning dizzy until I fall. I want to give up air and breathe only sweet smoke, give up water for anything that will burn its way down my throat and leave me as dizzy as dancing and as breathless as kisses. I have already given up the ground for concrete and fire for laserlight, here at the bottom of our ocean.

I'm writing now, she dancing, our places silently changed like we already know all the steps of this dance.

The movie has changed -- now it's Logan's Run, and I have to smile. I am, I suppose, renewing myself here at Carousel, but my life didn't end at thirty. If anything, it's only just now beginning, with this breath and the next and the next.

This is not the life I expected. But I'm happier than I could have imagined. This is what you want, this is what you get.

This moment is perfect, and it will end, and be gone --

But if I'm fast enough, clever enough, my pen sharp enough, I can catch it and pin it to the page.

Water.

May. 11th, 2004 02:03 pm
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So when my cat is pestering me as I'm getting out of the shower, I've taken to holding out one wet, outstretched arm, and letting droplets of water fall from my fingers to his face. This is, of course, because I am horribly cruel, and am greatly amused by the fact that even though he looks quite irritated when I do this, he doesn't get out from under the water torture.

This morning, though, his reaction was entirely different. He was reaching up toward the falling water quite eagerly, licking the drops from his face. How cute! thought I. How adorable! He's come to take this as a sign of affection!

---

Hours later, I noticed his water bowl was completely empty.

Daylight.

Feb. 6th, 2004 05:05 pm
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There was finally enough sunlight today for me to be in a decent mood. I think I need full-spectrum lights, when I can afford them.

Watched the director's commentary of Near Dark today. You'd think someone who could make such a clever movie would have something interesting to say about it.

I have a little more money than I thought; I'm still screwed, but not as badly as I'd imagined. I took a bunch of books I'm not reading to Third Place and sold them there, for more money than I was expecting. I also picked up a job application; I'd love to work there.

I've only been working one shift a week lately. I learned today I was scheduled for two next week -- even though I can't make it to the second one (they scheduled me for a day I asked to have off weeks ago), it still gives me hope that my hours will improve.

Sat down for an hour and started writing up the synopsis of my novel, Still Life -- the typical package you send to an agent consists of a cover letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters. I've been dreading writing the synopsis because I haven't been convinced I could make it sound interesting, in short form, but I'm happy with what I've written so far. It just sings.

Thought I saw an old friend today -- turned out it wasn't her, but I'm glad I got up the nerve to ask.

Now I'm at [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf's place. I meant to pick her up so we could go to [livejournal.com profile] monotmoe's birthday dinner, but she's not here, so I guess she's meeting me there.

I feel really good and hopeful today, the best I've felt in a while.

The half-dozen or so cups of coffee I've had today help too, I imagine.

Loony.

Jan. 19th, 2004 09:28 pm
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So [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf and I are in Third Place Books, and she needs to sit down for a moment. Not far from the top of the escalators are two reasonably comfortable wicker chairs with cushions. One is taken, so I guide her around behind them and then seat her in the empty one. I kneel down next to her and we start talking -- I don't remember about what -- and I note that the middle-aged woman sitting in the other chair looks over at me, all startled and offended that someone has dared move into her personal space, but I don't pay it any mind until she interrupts me and says:

"What's your name?"
" -- Six."
"Are you Judas?"
"Ahh -- no."
"`Six?' Are you sick?"
"No."
"Are you the Devil?"
" ... Not to my knowledge, no."

And she gets up and storms off --

"You both look like devils."

treebyleaf was more than a little startled and unhappy after this whole exchange. For my part, I was obscurely pleased.

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There are certain little monologues, little interior decision making processes, that go through my head over and over again, while I'm behind the register at work. Two, three, maybe fifty times a week.

----

Okay, next customer, start ringing her up --

Shit. Shit! I didn't say "hello!" How rude of me. Jesus.

Okay, now. Say it now. Look up and say hi. .... Okay, she's not looking. I can't get her attention, make eye contact with her, and THEN say hi, that would seem forced.

Okay, now she's looking this way. Say it. Say "hi." Now -- !

Wouldn't it seem weird to say it now, though, after, what, twenty seconds? More? While you're hesitating, it's going to be even longer. Fuck.

..... Okay, now the window of opportunity to make with the friendly greeting has completely passed by. At least look up. Smile.

Won't she wonder what the hell I'm smiling about -- ?

Okay, screw it, just finish ringing her up, give her the total, take her money, and now a big smile and "Thank you." You can do that.

Wait. What the hell is this freakish coin she's just handed me? Is this a Canadian quarter? A Susan B. Anthony dollar? A Norwegian krone? A Swiss franc?

.... Oh. It must be a new state quarter from West Dakota or somewhere. I could turn it over to look at the other side, but then I'd look like an idiot. Dammit.

Is there something uniquely wrong with me? Can everyone else in the country recognize a quarter purely by shape and size? I used to know what quarters looked like. I could remember a couple of exceptions here and there, the occasional Bicentennial quarter, sure, that's fine, but if I have to start keeping track of FIFTY exceptions, I'm going to go completely bugfuck --

Okay, fuck it. Everything bigger than a nickel is now automatically a quarter, amen and hallelujah. Into the drawer with you.

"Here you go! Thanks a lot!" And -- smile.

Okay. Done. Thank God.

.... Was that too big a smile? Did that seem forced?

.... Does everyone else have this much trouble with basic social interaction? Oh, wait, next customer --

Shit.

Fear.

Dec. 2nd, 2003 11:48 am
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Didn't I just get over a cold? Oh, well. That's winter for you, I guess. (Especially winter as a cashier, handling other people's filthy luchre all day long.)

So anyway, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone this morning, and just mix TheraFlu and Emergen-C together.

When I poured in the hot water, this intensely ... orange ... smell drifted upward, and I immediately thought, "Dear God, what have I done?"

It's sitting on the desk next to me now, cooling. Waiting. Plotting.

"There's something very important I forgot to tell you. Don't cross the streams."

Typo.

Nov. 26th, 2003 08:36 pm
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Saw a typo of genuinely Biblical proportions today, on a display of perfectly innocent baked goods, a sign that read:

Cimminiman Rools

Okay, seriously, now -- who went back in time and stepped on a butterfly?

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So one of my managers interrupted me today while I had a line of customers at the register to have me take a minute to sign the little corporate pledge wherein I solemnly acknowledge that the customer is always my first priority.

..... Is everyone but me on this planet completely monkeyfuck insane?

Spam.

Oct. 7th, 2003 01:10 pm
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I remember when spam used to make sense. (Okay, I can remember when it didn't freakin' exist, but that aside .... )

You know -- when someone would send me mail telling me that with their amazing product, I could increase my ejaculation volume, I knew what was up with that. I understood, to use marketing jargon here, what the value proposition was, as it were. They had a product, they figured I might have money, and by letting me know about it, they thought that, perhaps, the next time I felt the urge to be able to top off large beer steins with my own semen, I might think of them and their product. Fair enough. With you so far.

But lately, I've been getting spam from fucking Neptune, as near as I can figure. The subject lines are innocuous enough, something like "Important Information," and when I'm bored enough, I'll sit here and think, "Oh, look, this Information is Important! I had best read it at once!" So I open it up, and instead of telling me how I can increase my breast size by opening my bank account to an important official in Nigeria, there's totally random noise. Words pulled at random out of the dictionary. Or strings of letters in no human language.

What the hell is going on here? I understand that they're trying to get past Bayesian filtering, okay, fine, but -- I see your windup, but where's the pitch? What are you trying to sell me? Have I just forgotten how to read? What?

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