Matter vs. Matters

12/31/2010, 1:32 AM

This is a trifle,
just because it's late and there's some information that I've been wanting to divulge since "good ideas on paper" began. Regrettably, my tendency to prattle has precluded my doing so up to now, but it remains centrally important.

Ready? Right, then: I have a superhero entity that I concocted (well, he has always been among us, but was not one to muck about  with taxonomy or what you will [or won't]). 

He appears when he feels like it, which is a lot less often than his presence is requested (or, heaven forbid, demanded). He also doesn't fail to appear on certain occasions on which his assistance is actively unwanted—this, also, is difficult to predict. 

Part of this creature's appeal lies in the fact that his abilities are reflected in his name. 

* Upon reflection, this doesn't happen in most cases. This business of naming superheroes tends toward a bog-standard enterprise in which the primary identifier is either an entirely perspectival adjective (like "Superman" or "Mighty Mouse"both of which, as handles, convey to you absolutely zilch about anything that these creatures actually do, focusing instead on how they [might maybe, perhaps] seem to us mere peopleeven the archest of their enemies concedes to their Chosen Title of Herohood. [Without delving recklessly into this quicksand, I doubt that Superman's myriad of nemeses see a surfeit of "super" qualities in him]), or an ill-fitting evocation of something perversely abstruse (in what ways is "Batman" truly "like a bat"? What does that even mean? He can't fly, he's not visually impaired, and I'd have to wager that he doesn't sleep inverted from rafters in the Wayne Mansion). Anyway, my superhero is different from all that. 

What is his name? I can guarantee that you either guessed it or didn't:

Whatever Man

I'm telling you, this guy is legit. Unlike others among us busy proclaiming themselves as not caring when at least some part of them does care, ambiguities do not arise in dealings with Whatever Man. He well and truly does not care.  At all. You don't have to believe him; nor do you have to disbelieve him, or do anything else, for that matter. Ever.

If this sounds funny to you, then that's fine. But whenever I am in a position of being unduly fretful about some-or-other trivial matter (which happens a lot, as involuntary pauperhood and a devastating neurological disorder [Multiple Sclerosis] conspire to both shrivel me into nettlesome uselessness and distort my sense of priorities in accordance with sometimes-real-but-often-imagined-though-always-perceived expectations, be they internal or external), my one and only love (Molly Fitzgerald, who has long been aware of the information that merits this blog trifle) will look at me knowingly and kindly suggest:

"This looks like a job for Whatever Man."

She's always right, even if my attempts to summon him in the moment yield no result. Still, I carry his unique skill with me always, lodged in an unremarkable somewhere like an utterly benign, though inoperable, mass of disputed composition. Maybe it's a pearl.



here, i am reprising an earlier post, because all sorts of flowerpots&safes&anvils are descend from the heavens unlike clockwork, but often enough. And besides, we're nearing the actual, old-school (pre-1752) New Year and  am nothing if not a lifelong "april fool" (that term, by the way, originated as a lame-ass swipe at those that chose to continue observing the year's change with the approximate arrival of spring); as such, a New Year post is apter than otherwise.

12/28/2010, 8:10 PM

O, everybody. It's been forever, and I would apologize but I've been subsumed by factors.

This keyboard is kinda busted, so you may see the odd juxtaposition of "b" with "n"; I have yet to stumble upon a way to make that entertaining (less-than-successful examples: narbes & bonle, the neatles, barbia, narack onama, get thee to a bubbery), so I try to catch it. Apologies in advance for any confusion created.

So much of this whole adulthood rigmarole is turbid with limitations. There is a painful plenitude of factors, all of which receive attention from me that is overwhelmingly undeserved and rancid with the residue of other factors.What's more is that factors seem expertly calibrated in ways that I defy others to understand (any attempts to do so are justly resented). There's some part of this human's mind that thinks (before the grisly collision of impulses and factors):

I can eat crappy food!
[and... develop all kinds of nasty-ass health problems that make people not wanna sit near me.]
I can drink booze!
[and... go broke and be hungover and grow progressively stupider, utterly oblivious to my decay.]
I can have SEX whenever I want!
[and... not really. No, seriously.]

En toto, being an adult is remarkably similar to being less of an adultonly now, evidently, I'm responsible for providing the effing structure. Which would be fine if people that mean something to me (my own self very much included) didn't have to live in that suspect structure.

And the people that always made day-to-day life capitally unpleasant (COPS, for instance, in the Boss-Hog bastion of family-value putrescence where I spent most of my childhood) are now your contemporaries! Are you joking? I got scolded by a police officer (not for anything seeeeerious) a couple of years ago, and he was visibly younger than me; I wanted to tell on him. Or say, "Get back to class."

I should be plotting resolutions right now, but it's kind of a woeful condition, having to choose which promise(s) you'll definitely, definitely break. Better to be flip about it, I suggest, but with an understanding of the tragicomical plight that is self-improvement in the face of inexorable finitude.

An example here would be helpful, and I'll give you one. It's more hypothetical than anything, and is certainly not a "finalist" for me (I say "finalist" as a picture of Susan Boyle looks at me from the sidebar of this very page. A good resolution might be to be grateful that Britain's Got Talent. But that won't work.) For now, and this is all subject to change:

In 2011, I resolve to successfully run away from my own bottom.


Mea Maxima Culpa

12/17/2010, 11:15 AM 

It's been something like a couple thousand trices since I posted, and that's a longer interval than I had anticipated. I'm still mightily inexperienced with this (though less so with each typed character), and I appreciate your patience and understanding. This learning curve is steep and sharpI refer you to the brief appearance of questionable, incongruous advertising on this blog. 

Enlisting into an advertising thing was a good idea on paper, but we all know (or should know, by now) what happens with that sort of thing. I'm referring to the moronic dating and/or pop-culture ads that appeared sneakily on this site like a lecherous sot at a wedding reception. I deleted them as soon as, in horror, I saw them. Suffice it to say that I don't even know who the Karadashians are, although I do find it discomfiting that they have three sisters whose first names all begin with the letter "K." We don't have a television, but I spend enough time in the grocery store and logging onto a computer to encounter plenty of dreckthat's all time and brainspace that we are NEVER GETTING BACK, PEOPLE. 

(I'm digressing here, but take a moment to reflect upon all of the unpleasant music to which you have been involuntarily subjected in your life. I'm sure that there is something that everyone can agree is awful, but I dare not name names herein. Well, I implore you to, whenever you feel like it, think of every grocery-store slog, of every waiting-room sentenceof every single epic of preposterous earshot torture that your sense of self-preservation permits you to recall.  Add the running times for all of those experiences together, and you'll probably total a couple of months. [To assist with calculations, I'll provide an informal chart.] 

1440 minutes per day
10080 minutes per week
4.35 average weeks per month [rounded up]
525 949 minutes [rounded up] equal one year, and, no matter what the duration, all of that time that you've imagined, and likely much more, now belongs to the past. Eff everything.)

Oh, goodness. These days are passing too quickly, and I've got lot more to say on this post. I will try to say it later today. (I think that I probably need to type with these slothful fingers of mine in the morning, before anyone awakens.) Anyway, have lovely days, please.



12/16/2010, 11:46 AM

Issuing assurance (but not advice) to people is something that I've always done. Assurance from an outside source is a funny thing, in that so many attributions are given to its motivations, begging the question of what motivations are behind those attributions given to those motivations behind to those attributions ad infinitum  until everybody perishes with their heads either full or empty (like in a barbershop when you see a mirror reflecting a mirror and are confronted with apparently infinite versions of yourself getting a haircut, but you still look as closely as possible at the glowering multitudes of you to see one that differs from the rest, like that'll make you feel any better). The majority of assurance is either marginalized as effusive palaver ("Of course you like my macaroni art--you're my parents.") or viewed with suspicion (no explanation necessary, really).

However, I must offer this assurance to each and all of you, as we frantically ready ourselves for I forget what it's called: It is eternally okay to enjoy the heck out of your breakfast.
Ivor Gallaher's A.M. Aftermath, 16 December 2010

I'll write more in a trice. Several trices, actually, but certainly within a tricey span.


Don't Joke

12/15/2010, 11:45 AM

I realize that, of late, I have shared precious little in terms of ideas, but the holiday season has ensnared me, and I am forever a fool for it.

At the moment, Molly and I are vacillating regarding the evolving quandary over which aspects of holiday-era things to observe and recognize. It is (in general) getting colder, and people are progressively erratic - both sentimental and temperamental, while more a few of them are "tired and emotional" with ever-stiffer holiday cocktails. There's inappropriate matter in pockets the world over (e.g., the Netherlands with Santa's dwarf slave, "Black Pete"). The chromatic palette of the West shrinks to absurd, near-complementary combinations. I wonder what sense there is to be made. And, furthermore, whether we stand any chance at making it.

I already know that we won't be going to Wal-Mart, which is as close as possible to a foregone conclusion. It needs saying that I am relieved not to see those grotesque inflatable Wal-Mart ornaments adorning the yards of otherwise-taciturn townsfolk. I have never endorsed vandalism or destruction of property that isn't mine, but never have I felt such temptation to poke anything with a pin. So there's none of that. We live right in the center of a smallish downtown that's positively effing abuzz and wreathy and fancypants everything so as to render reverie an inescapable fact. Like a beautiful ball to which nobody is ever invited.

Will we honor Winter Solstice instead? I mean, it happens to everybody, and any reasonable person could make a reasonable case for: (a) the calendar flushing a toilet on itself; (b) indulging hibernatory instincts; and/or (c) lowering the bar for what "good" feels like.

My own favorite way to approach it is to act like we're all stuck in a meat locker and don't know when (or, indeed, if) we'll ever get out. This explains it all: the inordinate weirdness and the encroaching sense of urgency and the anomalously feverish compulsions for consumption and conviviality. Not to mention the pop-culture fixation upon babies being born in barns, as if having been conceived immaculately weren't enough for all involved. And being given myrrh and frankincense from "wise" men like it's somehow helpful on a frigid night. That's just what we'll be doing in that meat locker - praying for myrrh.

But, what about Santa Claus? We've not gone to specified lengths in any specific direction regarding Santa, although we remain on friendly terms. We figure that Desmond will absorb that which he wishes to absorb, because the holidays are so much about celebrating that we have each other that the iconography is moot.

Last week, while Desmond and I were out on a tiny grocery shopping expedition (we try to make our jaunts tiny ones because people everywhere have this type of rabies that makes them impetuous and flagrant), we saw Santa standing atop a construction lift in the middle of the train station that is being built in Brunswick (Maine Street Station, about 500 feet from our house). Despite the dubious legitimacy of his wearing cop-style sunglasses, we went to him, he ho-ho-hoed at us, and Desmond had his photograph taken with him. Desmond told him about the various things that Brunswick, Maine has to offer ("Over there is the Brunswick Explorer bus. It goes around Brunswick on weekdays."), inquired as to the whereabouts of Santa's cadre of reindeer (he reported, not very imaginatively, that they were "eating lunch"), and demonstrated his extant talent for finding topics of conversation that leave most grown-ups (myself included) eating his damn dust. And if he thinks for a second that he's not being taken seriously, then he'll tell you straight up, in a voice whose grave intensity matches his unwavering glare:



Mercury Poisoning

12/10/2010, 4:04 PM

Hi from December 10th.

I'd sworn to myself that entries would occur on a daily basis, but I was eyebrow-deep in variously futile episodes of abject tedium; when it was over, tomorrow was no longer tomorrow, while today had been discarded onto a clammy, moribund heap of subpar song-lyric fodder. In any case, it's today. Again. That's all that I'm willing to say about it. Except that Mercury has now gone retrograde, and we're totally done for.

It's noisy at the moment, presenting us as a larger family than we are. Desmond and Ivor are seated at our Hammond organ (singing something about ears), and people are fixing the roof to our bathroom as part of a government home-repair grant. This all seems great, and our feather tree is up and stunning and everything, but I've realized that December is kind of a shoddy month. (I know that it is that way here, amid a snarling cold snap whose capitalized anticipation did little to endear it to me.) It's as if it's to slyly lure us into winter with camaraderie and fatty foodstuffs (to provide insulation, I imagine) in a blissful poetic haze and all that, but January is unforgettable in terms of the intensity of punishment meted mercilessly to all mammals without fur. I've had it, I tell you, which is pretty much verbatim what I tell myself along with everybody cursed with knowing me, every single year. "This time, I mean it," I say, with predictable conviction. I never capitulate consciously--perhaps my gratitude for subsequent seasons provides a different sort of insulation.

As I walk down the street, there is a monologue that must be mine: yes its a huge world and i understand that and there are innumerable crises and iniquities everywhere and all of those people are important and i care but cannot see straight and i have facts and factors to consider holy crap it is cold why does december want to destroy me save draft no dont save this draft people in maine all live in maine and thats just wrong putamayo artwork irritates me so do people that discover things only to make them prohibitively expensive is the house gonna run of oil how am i going to get my car registered or insurance renewed oh i have to call the doctor for my thing and another thing no several things uniquely dehumanizing aspects of the human experience are called: and then I arrive at a pre-determined, yet unspecified, destination.


Help Me Understand

12/8/2010, 1:35 PM

Ev'ry time that I enter the site that a person enters in order to post another posting or to check on some other nonsense, I'm confronted with a gigantor, dull-red, full-screen warning that a "security threat" to my computer (which, for some, easily outranks 75% of appendages) COULD exist. One of the options given to me read, "Help Me Understand" (among the others: "Return to Safety"). Anywise, I didn't select it, because I didn't (and don't) want to understand that ilk of unwarranted arseness.

An exchange with whomever devoted any of his or her time to this rubbish would proceed thus:
ME: Hi there! How is everything going?

THEM: Hold on, sir... are you trying to tell us that you don't understand what COULD lie in wait for your computer?!!

ME: Well, no, because anything, ever, could be lurking anywhere, always. I just don't quite understand the urgency of your warning.


ME: I'm pregnant with cats, and I have no idea how the heck I'm gonna get 'em out. Help me understand.
In other news, I had a 10:00 telephone interview for the job of Technical Writer with a distant snowplow-manufacturing company. I wouldn't ordinarily consider myself to be a candidate for considering this position at all, and it was suitably awkward. The woman phoning me was entirely inoffensive but for this bizarre scoff that (a) resembled a giggle being stifled; (b) was never accompanied by any pardon-me display of manners; and (c) followed nearly every answer that I gave to her variably terse questions.

I was increasingly disconcerted by this tendency to laugh, with its sometimes erupting to interrupt and disrupt a theretofore-articulate answer that i'd be in the midst of giving and all. I have no way of knowing (and I will probably never know) if this was gauche or graceless or what have you, but after 15 minutes or so, I asked her: "Ma'am, are you laughing?" She wheezily responded that she was attached to an oxygen tank, but even that expenditure of air was a bit much for her, judging by the fits of "laughter" that followed. I was most embarrassed. The interview proceeded and ended like a helium balloon deflates over days, except in seconds.

Three telephone interviews, out of 300 best-foot-forward entreaties to facilitate my being remotely functional/economically independent. I suppose that I am grateful to have made it to the 1% threshold, and I've twisted myself into all sorts of shapes and sizes for maximal accessibility, but I'm thinking that maybe it's "things" that need to be different.


good ideas on paper

12/6/2010, 8:35 AM

[NOTE: As this is the inaugural installment of this blog—a blog so new that it's waiting for random doctors to invert it and spank its behind—and the decorum of introduction tends to be a bunch of hooey, I will do what some of my favorite people do: begin speaking as if the exchange that I am initiating, is ongoing. The listener then is torn between present attention (if applicable) and establishing any sort of manageable context ("how did we get here?"). And, as if this process were somehow inadequately befuddling, it should be noted how seldom an interaction ends with a completed sentence. You know what I mean—the