Did you never walk down the street on a warm day, the smell of eucalyptus/coffee/wildflowers in the air, the breeze on your face, and a song you love came on your iPod and you just thought
A day will come when I am not.
If we could not soar, we would have nothing to fear. But knowing that we are not tied to the earth makes us wish we were birds always.
I am not despising the mundane, and if you think I am, you have mistaken my meaning. We do not soar when we rise above the world. We soar when we are fully part of it.
Sometimes, Naughtyman does a wild dance that not only absorbs him but sucks all the energy and focus in the room into his circles. You cannot help but watch him and laugh. You would not be able to ignore him.
It is his pure joy in having a body that makes you want to look.
Did you ever, just after exercising, feel the blood flowing through your body, your heart pounding, your breathing strong and true, and say to yourself
Don't pretend you knew all along. It feels like you did.
But you do not know what you knew until after you knew it. This is my belief about how we are conscious: we know where we are after we have been there for a while, and then it seems like we always knew where we were.
What we have are the echoes of a stone falling into a well. We hear the echoes and then work out what made the noise.
Sometimes we believe we threw the stone. But we have no arms to throw with. Nor ears to hear.
So what are the echoes? If they are not things we construct in our head, what are they?
We are trying to find out, and it may be that when a tree falls in the middle of the forest, there is a sound, and we are less important to constructing our reality than we think we are.
(I can hear boots tut-tutting, but I fear boots has forgotten he is a monkey.)
Which we are.
I looked in my rearview mirror today and saw an old couple in an oldish car. The woman looked very much like an ape.
I've sometimes thought how curious it is that racists make out that blacks look like monkeys when actually it's whites who do. You can see the ape in us, whereas blacks rarely have that sunken cheekbone thing that makes you really resemble a chimp.
Which we forget we are.
Yes, you think you are so fucking special. And you are. You are your own sun in your own solar system. You are not wrong to think that.
But it's like you're in a galaxy and that makes you less special. And that galaxy is part of a vast, mostly empty universe, and that makes you more special, but smaller.
So small we can barely see you.
Because we are blind. We look at each other and do not know what we are seeing.
Stop, stop. You are thinking it doesn't matter. Stop though. I know it doesn't matter. None of it matters.
You are just atoms spinning in a void.
I am excited that we will collide large hadrons. I do not care what the answers are, but I love them to be asked.
I love that we are able to ask questions, but it too is a cause of sadness. Because the questions are endless, even though we have the illusion of progress and believe we might one day know it all, and life isn't. I will never find out the answers to many questions.
It is a good thing that the questions are generally more intriguing than the answers. The difference is similar to that between cooking and eating. Cooking is involving, deep, satisfying. Eating is a brief satisfaction.
And you know why I struggle so? Because I could, can, do achieve what others find hard easily. And that has never been enough.
I have a restlessness in me too that can never be quelled. It's not just a roving eye or wanderlust: it's a roving heart.
Yeah, I know. I do not have a heart, really, that is anything other than a clutch of muscle.
But fuck it. It feels like you feel, doesn't it?
And today, driving along Mt Cotton Rd, the vivid colours of the trees, the solid sheet of blue water in Tingalpa Reservoir, taking flight with the rise and fall of Juanita Stein's voice
I forgot I had to cease to be because I was here and being.
And if I close my eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind, if I close the eyes, and still the mind
even mantras have an end, but the wind, does the wind too have to have its end in some lonely future when our sun flings itself out into space, when we are long gone, our deeds not even forgotten because nothing remains to forget, and my genes, should they survive even a few generations, long dwindled, diluted to nothing or simply ceased to be passed, the only purpose I had futile in the longest of runs, does the wind have also to cease to be?
So I have my laptop back and it works again, but the DVD drive is still fucked. Beyond fucked, actually. The guy couldn't fix it, nor could his guy. The BIOS says there's no optical drive, Windows says there's no optical drive. But there's an optical drive. Sigh. I did the Upper filters thing and that didn't work. I flashed the BIOS.
I went way beyond my competence and it still didn't work. Sigh.
Still, getting this laptop fixed cost me $75 and I could say fuck the warranty to the warranty people. You know, I think a warranty should mean I just give you the broken thing and I don't have to concern myself with it, but this is Australia, and here, a warranty just means you pay more for your goods, and get nothing for it.
So now I can play more poker, which will be good, because for the next while, I'm withdrawing all the money I make each month. I don't feel pressurised. If I make nothing, that's okay. It's just for a bit extra, to pay off my credit card, which is groaning under the weight of interest free transactions.
No, I am not a fool who takes on interest free and ends up paying through the nose when he can't meet the payment. We have tax concessions here that are paid in lump sums every year, usually in September if you do your tax return quickly. Which is nice. Every September, I settle my debts and can work out where I am financially. Usually, I am at zero.
But, you know, zero is a lot better than most, I know that. I know that my friend Father Luke would like to be at zero, and he's not alone. I do not knock zero.
I am looking at the red mark on my knee. Or at least, I think it is a red mark. I don't mean that I don't know whether it's a red mark or some other thing. I mean it is something that I think is a red mark.
Because my knees are bad. I began to think I was old when I heard the clicking of my knees coming up the stairs. It is like I carry castanets. But it doesn't hurt much.
Or hadn't, until last night, I woke up in my chair with a sharp pain in my left knee. I suppose I have had the slightest twinge, enough to know I have a ligament to wear out, but now I can feel that it is worn.
Some days you feel like a clock that is being wound down. And some days you feel that you are still fresh enough. I am after all trying to learn poker, trying to get to a level at which I could actually make money.
But I am a grown man with a family, and that makes learning tough. Some of my peers play literally thousands of games a month, and I plod along at a hundred or so. Of course, some of what holds me back is fear of failure. I hate to fail. So much that I find it easier not to try.
Yet I will never have failed at it, just as I haven't at a lot of things that it would be easy to tell myself I had achieved too little at. Because I am cautious and moderate, I will likely never go busto. I beat the game I play, and I probably always will (and of course I will improve, and that caution and moderation will turn out to be the foundation of making money, because most who fail do so because they do not take care of their money, or run ahead of their ability).
Actually, I am enjoying poker just now because, yeah, I haven't made the progress some guys would have done in the time I've been learning it, but I am, if not the best, one of the best players at the level I play. I really am. And that may be modest, but I can make $15-20 an hour playing poker fairly reliably. (Not every hour. You have better days and worse, and I don't play to full capacity often.
Most people lose.
And I'm reading about some guy who plays heads up sngs at huge stakes, and is a complete arsehole online, and his mates line up to say what a classy guy he is IRL. And someone inevitably posts how people will be arseholes online but not IRL, and what pussies they are, blah blah. And someone else posts something more interesting: that you are your real self more readily online because you don't need to do all the social shit. I think both POVs are partly true. I'm mostly how I am online. I have to tolerate shitheads less online, and that's a good thing.
It's funny because I was thinking, after skyping with P, how she was actually more of an arsehole IRL than online (which is saying something because she can be a bizzatch when the wind is southwesterly). I am currently running one for four in skyping. I had a nice talk with Father Luke the other night (or at least it seemed nice to me, because he's a pretty cool guy and comfortable on the telephone), but my experience of it has mostly been excruciatingly bad. I am not a great conversationalist in any medium and I use the phone functionally, not as a means of hanging out with people. But when I spoke to S, I was nervous and ran off at the mouth because I didn't want awkward silences; and A didn't seem to enjoy the experience (and didn't repeat it). P has been sulking ever since, spoiling for a fight the whole time, because she knows she was way, way off, and some people just can't let lie the time they fucked up, even if you are letting it go yourself.
I suppose I find it irritating when a person wants me to judge them in a particular way, and is annoyed that I don't. They'll be all, you should think this about me (and this will be something negative, and I don't, because I am generally much more forgiving than people think I ought to be (or maybe more than I seem at first look that I would be)).
Man, the guy out of !!! is a sick good drummer. You could set your watch by him.
The Field, btw, is essential listening. Every time my shuffle hits a track from So here we go sublime, I'm "wow, this is sooooo fucking good", as though somehow I had forgotten. It's so basic in its construction, yet somehow rises above it to be epic and moving.
On the subject of music, this Aussie band are all the rage on the interwebnetz, but I don't get it. Poor man's Hot Chip anyone? Dudes, you've got to match Ready for the floor before I give you iPod space.
Upside down, seventy feet off the ground, I am thinking that it is more unpleasant than frightening.
Theme park rides are not my cup of tea. They exploit the conflict between your head, which thinks you are safe, and your body, which thinks you are going to be hurt or die. And I am thinking, most of life is the other way round. My body thinks I will never be hurt or die, but my head knows I am not safe.
As someone who is more head than body (I don't mean that literally, just in case you had a vision of a weird mutant with a six-foot wide head on a baby's body), I find life more frightening than the Claw.
It's to be expected though. I am not afraid of dying; I am afraid of being dead. I am not splitting a semantic hair. When I smoked, I was not afraid of lung cancer or emphysema. I didn't care that I might contract either. Obviously, I did not want either, but it didn't enter my risk calculus. There isn't much in this life that I avoid through fear of harm.
But being dead is different. I feel lively, vital, real. It seems a tragedy, objectively, that a thing such as me must have an end. (I feel the same about you, of course, but you'll forgive me for considering it a lesser tragedy.)
Next to me, Zenella is laughing. She has a peculiar laugh, not like any you've heard. If I was writing it, I would describe it as a chortle, and it's the only laugh I know of that I would describe that way. The more scary the ride gets, the more she laughs.
When we dismount, she says, That's brilliant.
My children are happy. Their lives are smooth and even. Some things about them seem like they would make them unhappy, but they are unaffected. They are not everyday. Each in their own way is an individual, and won't fit in with the herd. I know that you might think I would be proud of that, but I am pretty much unmoved by it. I like that Zenella is funny, that Naughtyman is sensitive and that Zenita is self-reliant, but I do not think as highly of being an "individual" as I used to. In many ways, it's better to be part of things than to stand outside them.
I am listening to the new Coldplay album. It is so bad that I can barely stop myself from turning it off. Do not listen to the people who say it is their best yet, an improvement on X&Y, which you might recall I did not like much either. Hiring Brian Eno has not revolutionised them. I do love Eno, but let's face it, you don't seek his music out, and his collaborations have not set the world on fire since Bush of ghosts, and that was only so-so.
Earlier on, I was listening to some Prefuse 73, which is quite nice. It's underground hiphop, but you could just as easily describe it as turntablism or even IDM. It's sometimes jazzy, usually soft, and compositionally excellent, but not always engaging.
Also, I indulged in Vex'd's Degenerate, which is archetypal dubstep. It's a little more uptempo than I expected, but excellent all the same. Dubstep aims for brooding, and Vex'd broods up a storm. You could, I suppose, complain that it's a bit one tone, because there's no sunlight in it, but it's put together really well, and Vex'd knows how to throw down a phaaaat bassline. (See, I'm not old. I can correctly use youthful argot, whatever the naysayers naysay.)
Jeezus man, the gypsy violin is not doing it for me. I do like some of Coldplay's stuff. They're generally good in parts, and none of their albums has really done it for me throughout, but I'm yet to hear a good part of this, and I'm halfway through.
I've also been listening to Shpongle, which I think must be the best-produced stuff I've heard in an age, if not ever. It's inventive and fun too. I don't know how you'd categorise it: there are elements of trance, IDM and techno in there. And flute. Probably a bit more flute than most can handle, but it's not horribly obtrusive. There's also some mysticism bubbling through, but not in a way that makes you want to chunder.
I have also been indulging in some Shearwater. A lot of American indie at the moment has a decided folk bent, which is on the whole a good thing, because Americans do roots a great deal better than they do experimental (and that's true in nearly all forms of art, curiously). Rook has a lot of goodness in it: particularly where you can feel the wide-open spaces. I'll say this: I like Americana when you can feel the road, but when it turns in on itself, to become cluttered and overworked (we are talking about Animal Collective and bands akin here).
Talk about overworked, this Coldplay album is just terrible. The songs aren't very strong, but they would have been better served by a sparser production. If you mix too many colours, you can end up with grey sludge.