Friday, June 12, 2009

Ten things I want

Okay, so let's talk about my favourite subject. Me. And because we're talking about things I want for me, don't be surprised that world peace or a socialist republic is not top of the list, because those are things mostly for you.

Actually, I don't want a socialist republic. I mostly find socialists unappealing and way more interested in formalism than in people. It's possible I find that appealing because it's something I don't admire in myself. Anyhow, an anarchy would be more my cup of tea. We are mostly good at handling things on a small scale, with "rules" that work on that scale, and mostly bad at handling them as a bigger picture. That's because we're monkeys, with psyches resolutely fixed on the scale of the family and the troop.

1. Hair dye

I don't mind growing old half so much as I do having become old. It's not that my hair is going grey, it's that whole what the fuck happened to the last ten years thing. It's like my days are a constant doubletake, where I'm like, I'm how old? Yeah well, I am, and I doubt I will be using the next ten years any more wisely, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I want to pretend to be (at least) ten years younger. I want to be mutton dressed as lamb. Not so much dressed as lamb as seeming to bleat. (Yes, I know I don't need to bleat more -- please just go with the metaphor.)

I want my ten years back so that I can live them better. I was pretty much insane for three of them, and most of the other seven were dull. I can't undo any of that, of course, but I don't have to labour under the consequences.

No, I'm not asking for the clock to be rolled back. Yes, I'm asking to be allowed to pretend my joints don't ache. I want to have fun. I haven't had enough, and everyone should get enough.

2. Sex

I used to think I wanted love, but no, actually, I just want sex. I have no idea how to get it. I mean, I know I could pay for it, but I have strong quasi-moral objections to that. And otherwise, how does someone like me get sex?

I'm not entirely repulsive. One reason I hate the grey hair is that it makes me look like a grandpa, when actually I'm still reasonably freshfaced. And handsome. I'm not flattering myself. I don't put myself quite up there with Brad Pitt. But I'm no dog either.

But that doesn't get you a root, and I've never had any idea what does. I suspect that the problem is that I don't seem to have much to offer and that I am rarely in any position to offer it.

What's that you say? Yes, I am married. But if you think that means that you have sex, you are clearly not married to Mrs Zen. If she is ever struck with sexual urges, she is pretty good at resisting them.

3. My name on the cover of a book

So write one. But that's a lot easier said than done. Sustaining interest in a novel-length project is not easy, and I realise that I don't have anything I want to say.

Or rather, I have lots of things I want to say, but they don't amount to a coherent narrative.

See, whenever I start thinking about writing, I start making excuses. There is always a reason I don't bother. No one likes my writing. No one encourages me. No one wants another boring novel. All true and false at the same time, and none any reason for not just doing it.

4. An acid line

I enjoy writing music, although I have no ability at it at all. I think that is why I like doing it though: there's no pressure, no responsibility to myself, and it's not hurtful if people don't like it, because I don't expect them to.

I have been figuring out music, working out bit by bit how you make the music I like. It's not easy if you don't have a good ear, but I have been dissecting the songs I listen to, figuring out how they are constructed, so that I can do it myself.

However, I can't figure out acid lines. I can't work out what makes them sound the way they do. It can't be that difficult because people do it all the time, at will, and I doubt they are all musical geniuses. I have a program called Rubber Duck that emulates a 303, so I can write random acid lines, but that doesn't help any, because I don't know why they sound the way they do. I think that's my route to getting it though. I'll have to look at lines in Rubber Duck and fiddle with settings until I have it nailed.

I'd also like to be able to get Ableton's Arpeggiator to do what I want. I can randomly get things that sound nice, but it would be good to know how to get things on demand. In case you don't know, an arpeggiator is a pattern generator -- an arpeggiated chord is one in which the notes are sounded one after the other, up or down, or up and down, or some combination, rather than together. You can make intricate rhythms with one, and I do, but I don't really know why it's doing what it's doing.

I'd love the facility to make the music I hear in my head into music in my DAW, but I will never have that. So I'll settle for a slightly more informed approach to making it.

5. An understanding of what I don't know about poker

I'm not going to drag on about it, but this is a real stumbling block for me. It's not that I'm not good at poker and I want to be better, although I'm not and I do. I'm a realist. I know I will have to work to improve.

But the problem is, I don't know what I need to learn. If I did, I'd learn it.

See, if I wanted to improve my French, I can think straight away of ways to do it. Okay, so extemporising, maybe I could take the same approach.

What would I do to improve my French? Use it more. So that works. Use my poker skills more. But here's the problem. I don't know whether I'm bolstering weak skills by experience, or entrenching mistakes.

I'd study vocabulary, because there's no substitute for having the tools. Okay, that works too. But what should I study? ICM? I'm not sure that's the key. I mean, yes, it's going to help, but I find it hard to structure my study, because I'm not sure what I'm aiming at. Do I want to construct charts? Do I just learn by osmosis, by seeing so many situations that none is alien to me? Do I need more formal understanding?

I dunno. And the thing is, I'm goal oriented, so I find it easy to accomplish tasks where I know what the end point is or is supposed to look like, and pisspoor at openended tasks. Ask me to edit a newspaper article and I'm fine. Ask me to write just something about something and I'm hopeless. And this paralyses me. I become unable to bother with studying, because I can't decide how to approach it. My mind meanders and I lack focus.

So I don't ask to be transformed into having the ability to win at the level I want to, nor do I ask for more luck, although it would be nice. I ask instead for an understanding of what I'm lacking, and how to gain it.

Actually, fuck it, I'll settle for being lucky, because the suspicion is dawning that poker is just a luckercoaster for most of us.

6. A million dollars, at least

See, money may not be everything, but it buys most of it. I don't like working and never have, and I don't have any great need to do it beyond the need of money. I have a million ways to waste away my days, and I am not contributing a damned thing to the world doing what I do.

Not that I would. I don't need more leisure time so that I can do things for others. I need it because I feel like someone is kicking me in the nuts for seven, eight or more hours a day.

7. People who are into what I'm into

I feel I missed out some when I was younger, because I didn't ever meet people who were into what I was into. Did I just not go to the places they went to? I don't know. I don't think I am the kind of person who could have gone to nightclubs and made friends. Sit in the corner wishing I could go home, yes; actually talk to someone I don't know, no.

I'd love to be able to talk music, politics and books, but where are the people who are into that?

I dunno. Maybe I will be able to learn Ableton well enough to make my own mixes. Maybe I will be able to play them out in places, and make myself the focus, rather than someone at the fringes. Maybe I'll stumble across people.

Actually, scrub the books. I've never actually enjoyed talking about them much. What's to talk about, after all? Most people don't have much insight, and can't go beyond "I enjoyed that" or "I liked his characters" or whatever.

8. Something to believe in

I don't mean Jeebus. It's silly to believe in a cosmic zombie. But I'd like not to be so deeply cynical about everything and everybody. It would be easier if you stopped proving me right though.

9. A mentor

I've always needed someone who could just see the answers for me. I see them easily for others. I could guide you to a happy, fulfilling life easily. But I have never been able to be my own mentor. Not that I couldn't, if I tried. But I am blocked from trying.

It's the monkey. I imagine a switchboard, like those they had in the olden days, all wires going into holes. You make a call and the operator plugs you into the hole for whoever you're calling. Except the monkey doesn't. He fucks up the wiring, plugging me into fear and lassitude wherever possible.

I need someone to show me which wire goes where. But all I ever found were people who had no idea what the wires even look like.

I'd settle for good friends. Or friends, actually. Not people who see me as something to use up and cast aside. Not people who think I'm a tool they can use for whatever purpose. People who just like me. And that doesn't mean, someone who likes me as far as necessary to get what they want out of me. I'm sick of that. I mean, someone who likes me enough to give.

10. A stone cottage with a walled back yard, a pear tree therein

The biggest mistake I ever made, and I didn't just make it once, was to believe there was anything good about being unconventional. I was obviously equipped to have been a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker, a journo, whatever, something fulfilling maybe, but even if not that, something that would have paid. I could have taken a mortgage, and yeah, I would have been tied down by it, but how was I free anyway? Sigh.

I suppose it's too late for all that now. Now I need the millon dollars.

But I haven't given up the hope of happiness. After all, I have managed my way to going home, and when I am there, who knows what might happen for me? Maybe I will meet the people who I need to meet, maybe I will become lucky, maybe I will set myself free and soar. Who knows? At least I have possibilities.

And who could want more? I mean, really, nothing I want is out of my grasp. Nothing I want is unreasonable or unobtainable. I may not know how to obtain it, but I do not fear that it is impossible.


At 7:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

First accept who you are. You can't turn an apple into a pear if you begin with an orange you're afraid to admit is not an apple. Doing all the right things to make an apple into a pear will not turn an orange into a pear, though it might make it a lemon.

Learning anything is like learning anything else, you don't do it by following orders even if they are your own. You do it by pursuing what interests you, by letting the part of you that does not live in a basement decide. Clues of importance do not dress in pinstripes and attend board meetings, they lay drunk on the sidewalk where you can trip over them.

Gambling is not about skill, nor is it about luck; like all other forms of magic it is about acceptance, all forms of acceptance, which includes accepting recognition that gambling is not of the moment when it is not.

You don't need a million dollars, and if you had it the important part of you would do anything to be rid of it.

A mentor would do you no good because you know better than any. A friend would be useless to you because their worth to you is no more than what you can get from them.

What you need, I think, is to accept that what you are and where you are is precisely the thing which contains everything you really do need, because until you learn that you will be missing the prerequisites for any class life wishes to teach you.

Be you, that is what you have needed to become, and it is only from there that you can become anything else. Becoming what you need to become is like learning, it is not something you can set about and engineer into being, you can only give what is within you license to become what it truly is.

At 10:59 pm, Blogger Robert McClelland said...

I used to think I wanted love, but no, actually, I just want sex. I have no idea how to get it. I mean, I know I could pay for it, but I have strong quasi-moral objections to that.

Have you considered offering Mrs. Zen money in exchange for sex?

At 11:01 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I've considered flying, but lack of wings has always held me back.

At 12:47 am, Blogger Robert McClelland said...

Hey, I can only lead the horse to water.

At 4:50 pm, Blogger Looney said...

When are you going home, dude? Happy for you there...


At 4:52 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...


at which time I'll still be laughing about the Toon cloons.

At 7:41 pm, Blogger Father Luke said...

I'm with Looney. I know you've
wanted home for so long now.

Happy. And good luck.

- -
Father Luke

(upkimpl - FWIW)

At 5:04 am, Blogger Looney said...

LOL, tragic, innit? What a circus - That's okay, it's real football, no?

At least we're still a tier above Leeds :-)



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