Monday, September 9, 2019

Crepe Hanger - Before the body's even cold

It seems that sadness is a powerful muse for me...

Much of what I've committed to these pages has come from places of sadness.     Anger, injustice and disgust are in there too.

It's not easy to push away the insecurity, fear and doubt.  My past is littered with them as no doubt is yours.

Someone suggested things long gone that can no longer hurt me hold sway because of some degree of neurosis.

I've often said that we are prisoners of our experience.  To give it power is to fulfill its prophecies.

What does that mean?

I often make the mistake of assuming that others think as I do, I place weight in things that others don't.

Perhaps an analogy would serve to explain it better.  You know me, the king of analogies... :-)

Imagine a waiter in a busy restaurant as he tends to his patrons.  It's important that the patrons are served what they want, the way they want it, in a timely manner.

But something is strange about this waiter.

  • First, when taking the order he repeats it back to the customer 4 times to ensure he got it right.
  • Second, when he takes the order to the kitchen he hands a copy of the recipe to the cook to ensure the meal is prepared properly.
  • Third when it's time to deliver the order he takes with him extra plates, silverware and glasses just in case.
  • Fourth, when he finally delivers the meal he hangs around the table watching the diner eat the meal looking for any sign of displeasure.  If such an event were to occur he would instantly spring into action in an attempt to save himself from the barbs of an angry customer.

Thing is...

With all this attention the very thing he hoped to avoid has come about.

Let's go through the list again.

  • First, nobody likes to talk to waiters that long,  The first thing that comes to most people's minds in such a scenario is that the waiter either thinks they're stupid or he's just a pretentious jerk.   Not winning friends and influencing people there.
  • Second, A waiter telling a cook how to prepare a meal isn't going to go well...nuff said.
  • Third, Worrying about every possible horrible thing that can go wrong between the kitchen and the table only makes more unnecessary work   You've accomplished nothing and probably won't make it through a full shift because you're so tired of carrying half the kitchen cabinet with you all night.
  • Fourth, This waiter is preparing for a disaster that hasn't even shown up on the radar yet.  This is probably the worst of the four because the waiter is giving power to a negative expectation.

Worst, if something bad does happen it only proves to validate his fears.

The Self-Fulfilling prophecy is complete.

What was a normal day waiting tables has turned into every horrible thing that can be imagined exactly because of the power we gave to fear.

So why would someone act this way?

Some would call it neurotic and the scenario above is a pretty good representation of it.

But where does the behavior come from?

Again, we look to our past, to our experiences.

What we find there may be trauma, tragedy and pain that's burrowed deep into our souls.

It's easy to say, "just let it go" but a lifetime of experiences like this can form behaviors.

In my own experience I've had times where I was what my grandmother would call a "crepe hanger"

Crepe hangers were folks back in the old days that would decorate funeral parlors.  The body would literally still be warm when they would spring into action with their less than festive decor.

It means, looking for catastrophe where none exists.

I know that at least in some part I've done this and created self-fulfilling prophecies that only reinforce a neurotic tendency.

I, like most people, seek calm and a sense of security leading me to defend against anything that appears to threaten the bliss.

The issue is that all that defense can end up much like our waiter up there.  Good intentions, bad outcomes that only reinforce the crepe-hanging tendency.

Worry is something I learned early on.  Perhaps it comes from being raised by a depression-era grandmother who always operated from a place of lack.

Perhaps it was an early childhood that made me all too aware of how scary and cold the world could be.

Now in my later years I do struggle to give at least as much power to the light as is so easily given to the dark.

Sometimes I'm fine and sometimes fear and insecurity grip me.

I often say, "I hate always being right"  In those times I know I've probably just completed another self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yes, things have gone  down the wrong path more than I'd like them to and I'm aware I have a part to play in it.

Nothing happens without our participation.

Nothing happens in a vacuum either.

We all affect each other and respond to each other' s energy.

I just happen to be more sensitive than most and it causes me problems.

Problems that feed a monster that delights in manifesting dark prophecies.  Keeping the monster at bay requires sorting reality from prophecy and that requires a change of perspective.

After all, if you start something looking for an ending then that's all you will achieve.

I'm tired of endings...

Sunday, September 8, 2019

We Just Disagree

"There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys.  There's only you and me and we just disagree.."

The crossroads come before me again.
Ribbons of consequence intersecting our lives.

Why does inspiration only come at the point of departure?

Each path we cross brings a lesson.  Each life we touch a catalyst.

What was good was beautiful, what brought us to this metaphysical off-ramp, tragic.

But see the lesson for what it was and embrace the joy we found while we were together.

Our journey short but the distance traveled, far.

Let that which was good guide and nourish you as it has me.

Find your own peace and take what you've learned to build the world you desire.

That our path is no longer shared only means that the universe wanted us to share just a small part of our journey.

Now it is behind us and with both joy and sorrow I can watch you go.

Know that I did love you and that was enough.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Whose voice?

I've seen the darkness within the light

I've seen the dawn beneath the night

I've heard the voices from places well known

I've allowed seeds planted but they're not my own

The war rages between past and now

The desire and passion obscured somehow

Believe what I see or what I've seen

Belief in something in between

So much in my heart it's hard to know

So much in my head tempting me so

A kind of madness that destroys the soul

A love so deep that none could know

Embracing the light that begs to be seen

But vulnerable to those dark times in between

Voices demanding to be heard

Manifesting doubts of the wholly absurd

Weak from this pointless battle, ready to fall

But for her I stand and risk it all

Whether I stand on the mount or crumple to the ground

The path leads where the voices can make no sound

In this I am fool or prophet

It is for us to know

Silence the voices, they come from dark places below

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A willing Muse...

Sadness is a willing muse.  

The words flow easily from pain like a fresh wound.

I'm not who I was but the comfort of his prison still beckons.

How easy to retreat to my own exile.

How comfortable the lie of a well-worn facade.

How terrifying to leave behind the cage forged in my mind.

The comfort of resignation.   The solace of denial.

The wages of despair from the toil of a fool.

Time to change my occupation.

Time to stop hedging bets never placed.

Time to practice what we preach.

I'm open to the world, I ask nothing but its performance.

Throw away the scales, love isn't measured, it's given.

The connection is there it asks nothing but to be.

It demands nothing but your attention.

The night sky, cold void or open window.

I see the light not the darkness now.  

I seek only what is given.

I demand nothing and delight in everything.

The door closes behind as I step through.  

Nothing behind serves anymore save the lessons that brought me here.

Each day is it's own, each embrace the first.

I will be that which I want to see.

...and I will no longer be alone.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

As it goes

There are things I should be doing....

They're not getting done....

Things in need of attention...

But my thoughts are drawn to one...

I need to stop thinking about this, busy myself with the mundane...

Tend to those things safe, measurable and plain...

What the hell am I thinking?  Where am I going with this?

Is there an outcome any different from the others?

Or am I addicted to an imagined bliss?

I've written of it before but now I feel the wiser.

The heart strains to take flight but the mind screams louder...

"Nothing here for you, why do you persist?"

Why?  You foolish analytical child!

Because life was better lived when such a foolish heart was wild....

Better when the tangible held little value...

Better when survival was measured in a shared gaze

Your baubles and trinkets, your empty expressions of pomp.

A manufactured reality, a facade dissipating in a haze.

I've felt, I've known this truth that I ache to share...

But even alone a burden I'm blessed to bear.

I'd give my life to bring the impossible for her.

Even if all in vain...

But Foolish man, shouldn't you be asking...would she do the same?

No matter calculating child.  The heart trumps the brain...

To love another is to love the world even if it brings pain.

I will,
I can,
I do

and  know what I feel will remain.

My heart never empty, my faith never drained.

But the tear can come now and then when thoughts of wishes unmet.

When pangs of sorrow mix with sadness and regret.

And even then in my darkest I will praise the day.

When I felt that  which no words can do justice.

When for that moment the heart would have it's say.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Go your own way...

I didn't write the lyrics but they seem apropo right now.... 
But that's a point in time, a vibration in solo. I entertain the positive and the negative 
to find the truth lying somewhere between them.


Loving you Isn't the right thing to do How can I ever change things That I feel? If I could Maybe I'd give you my world How can I When you won't take it from me You can go your own way Go your own way You can call it Another lonely day You can go your own way Go your own way Tell me why Everything turned around Packing up Shacking up's all you wanna do If I could Baby I'd give you my world Open up Everything's waiting for you You can go your own way Go your own way You can call it Another lonely day You can go your own way go your own way You can go your own way Go your own way You can call it Another lonely day You can go your own way go your own way You can call it Another lonely day You can go your own way Call it another lonely day You can go your own way


Friday, February 22, 2019

Cashing in on the Innocent - Self-serving agendas & revisionist history

 Transcript below...'nuf said

I hate to date a video by bringing up a current event but the coming YouTube Adpocalypse in 2019 is being driven by yet another self-serving "activist."  One whose own past is questionable in the context of his "activism" becoming  a prime example of what's wrong with social media.

I don't usually get involved in new media controversies.  I see them as hollow, pointless and self-serving to the so-called "activists."

Nobody questions the source if there's an opportunity to milk a story for all its worth.   For example,  I watched a couple of  videos on the" Pedo Ring" controversy on YouTube which is causing major advertisers to pull out of the platform.   While I don't always agree with the viewpoints of  channels like the TheQuartering or Optimus ,  I have to agree with the premise that the media's new "YouTube warrior" is less about his cause and more about his popularity.

I won't bother to name his channel as I have no desire to encourage the behavior. 

That this guy went from virtually nothing to monetized overnight with YouTube's blessing is ironic considering he's attacking the very platform he's deriving revenue from and being given a voice to speak by it. 

That he blames the platform for the problem is either misplaced aggression or outright sensationalism.   I lean toward the latter.  There were ways to achieve his goals without causing harm to legitimate creators or the platform.   

In essence it's like suing an automaker for a fatal accident because the car went too fast. 

You can make a safer car and Youtube is hypersensitive about being a safe platform.  That someone finds a way to misuse it for their twisted compulsions is not reason to attack and damage it.  Where is the personal responsibility here?   

I'm sick and tired of so-called "activists" blaming everything but the perpetrator of the misdeed for whatever "cause célèbre" is popular today.  Half-truths, half-reasoned, complete insanity.

Let me be clear.  YouTube is no great ally of mine and has done my own channels great harm with their overheated fear of losing safe harbor and broken search algorithm but if I do something wrong it's my fault not theirs.

No, YouTube isn't pure and unsullied.  In fact you can find literally hundreds of channels blessed by YouTube whose only purpose is to instruct new "creators" how to essentially STEAL content from other videos on the platform, abuse the search algorithm and make money for doing nothing but a cut and paste of other peoples work.  The result is 1000's of "Top Ten" compilation videos with millions of views and thousands in revenue for these new "creators."  The original creators see none of it and worse the search algorithm gets pre-loaded with garbage ultimately crowding out legitimate content.

This is the same kind of sensationalist and seedy mechanism the so-called "activist" uses to  enrich himself at the expense of others. 

It's the same issue I have with the so-called "woke" movement that treats everything not 100% in line with their views as "misogynistic."

It's not misogynistic to be against a revisionist history agenda even when it's in the form of popular media.

The new "Captain Marvel" movie is a prime example by making it less about entertainment and more about an agenda.

Where have we heard that before...

Games like Battlefield 5, TV shows like Doctor Who and the militant effort to reshape a world view into something  worse than the wrongs they're trying to correct.

It's a stupid game, a dumb comic book, a nerdy TV show.   

Yes, it's all of those things but all of them have their own history, their own take on the world of their time.  A view that should not be lost and a story that must be built upon not denied. 

I'd rather that Doctor Who wasn't the new vehicle for a blatant political agenda.  I'd rather that we didn't need to focus on gender in a video game or a comic book character for the same reason.  All of these mediums can help change a world view but not by alienating half of it.  This is the problem.

The pendulum will swing, that's true, but every pendulum has a fulcrum.  Without it there is no pendulum only anarchy.  Denying history, denying other views denies the fulcurm.  Good or Bad our history is our foundation.  We try to take that which is good and learn from that which is wrong and  unjust. 

For example, with all the evils of the Roman Empire to say that it's gifts to modern civilization are irrelevant is simply ignorant.  Succeeding generations after the fall have tried to learn from the past and hopefully not repeat its worst aspects. 

Not always with success but to whitewash the failures or deny the history is to perpetuate the greater sin.  To align with the cult of personality and the cause célèbre while blatantly denying anything that conflicts with your own world view or your own contribution to the problem only moves civilization that much more quickly to collapse. 

This sounds more like I agree with the rampant SJW causes of the day but in fact I accuse them of the very sin they claim to be vanquishing.

We come back to ideology again.  The truth lies not in any full swing of the pendulum but rather where it rests at the center.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Orville: A better Star Trek than Star Trek

What a ridiculous name for a StarShip.

The Orville.

Instead of going where no man has gone before...Instead of evoking visions of the first flight with the brothers Wright (as in Orville and Wilbur) 

I think of Redenbacher...

You know, the popcorn guy...

...and maybe that's the point.

But somewhere along the way Seth McFarlane managed to do something no Star Trek Series has done in 4 decades.  

In a time when the "official" Star Trek canon has been bastardized into some weird amalgamation of action movie meets Sci-Fi chic peppered with  liberal doses of gratuitous sex and violence for no other reason than they could.

Here comes a parody, a spoof, the comic relief of the genre that somehow managed to get it right.

The Orville while not as straight-laced as Star Trek: The Next Generation or as moody and lifeless as Discovery has more in common with the original series than either of them.

What made the original Star Trek series good was the writing and the chemistry of the actors.  You didn't have to club the viewer over the head with the message.  The drama made sense.  Tension had a reason and didn't have to be manufactured.  You cared about the characters, maybe even shed a tear at their pain.

Tonight while watching The Orville it happened for me.  Yes, it was campy in spots but there were moments every bit as poignant as the the best Star Trek episodes regardless of who sat in the captain's chair.  It touched me like any good Star Trek episode would.  It made me think.  It made me feel.

The Orville works for the same reason Star Trek worked in the 60's.  We can identify with the characters.  We can see ourselves in their trials and tribulations without being forced to.  I think of The Orville as kind of a Next Generation if Picard had a better sense of humor.

It's a funny show but not Family Guy kind of funny.  The laughs aren't forced, they're natural and fit the narrative.  The kind of thing you might say to a friend in a similar situation.

OK the obvious question....

"It's a show about being on a spaceship with alien people 400 years in the future.  How would I EVER be in a similar situation?"

That's the gist of it, it's relatable, recognizable.  Not in the way that Deep Space 9 was in defiling the rose colored glasses of Roddenberry's Star Trek universe by exposing its dark underbelly.  Its rai·son d'ê·tre  to make the future just as ugly as our present.

No, the problem with many of the Star Trek series that came after Kirk and Spock was that they took themselves too seriously.  Somewhere along the line, they forgot that just shoehorning a current event into a Science Fiction context wasn't enough to be relatable to those of us that were watching.

For any work of fiction to succeed it has to meet us half way.  It has to connect us to their world by reaching a hand out to ours. 

I've seen that happen repeatedly on The Orville.

In "Nothing Left on Earth Excepting the Fishes" a title which references "The King and I" we saw multiple story lines intersecting and filling out the narrative.  The most primary of which spoke to finding common ground.  Something very much in the public conscience and something only addressable through a narrative in the current political climate.

It's no surprise, however, with Star Trek heavy hitters like Andre Bormanis and Brannon Braga showing up in the show's credits.  In the previous episode "Home" we even saw a couple of veteran Star Trek actors in Robert Picardo ( the EMH from Voyager ) opposite John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox from Enterprise)

You don't have all of these celebrated Star Trek alumni  jumping onboard The Orville just because they need a paycheck.  They see it too.

Where Discovery is a militant, lifeless shell devoid of passion or reason for being other than just...being, The Orville has managed to bring us back to what good Sci-Fi should be.

It's not an action movie, it's not sexy or gratuitous just for the sake of being so.  It's not trying to make Star Trek into Mission Impossible: Space Camp.

It's good writing, a good story and a dose of humor just where it's needed.  Even if that means poking fun at it's progenitor.  

And the fans love it.

I've had a very positive view of  The Orville since it launched ( pardon the pun ) but this season seems to be raising the bar.

At the end of "....Fishes" there was a poignant scene where Ed ( Seth McFarlane ) sets free a Trill ( the primary antagonist species ) that  betrayed him by appearing as a human and starting a relationship just to lure him into a Trill trap.  As the scene closed and she boarded her shuttle, Billy Joel's "She's always a woman" played the episode out.

I literally felt that moment.  Maybe it was the maybe....the song fit the story perfectly.

That's good writing, that's making something completely alien relatable. 

That's why The Orville is a better Star Trek than Star Trek...

Friday, January 4, 2019

For all our efforts

Let me start with this...

Regardless of the popularity of my TWIT posts this isn't one of them although the message may resonate with that subject matter.

A few days ago it was very cold here.  Uncharacteristically cold for the part of the country I live in.  As such anything below 30F makes the local news for days.  

It was night and I went out on my back porch to have a smoke break.  I'm a bit of a neat freak so I don't smoke in the house, car or anywhere else enclosed.  I suppose I suffer for my vices for the sake of my compulsions.

As I stood there in the dark, feeling the chill of the night air permeating all 4 layers of my vain attempts to ignore the cold I heard a strange sound.

There's a pool in the back yard and at night I'm not used to hearing anything related to it except for the sound of the pump.  This night something was different.

I heard what could only be the sound of something thrashing about in the water.  Of course I had to see what it was.

Let me preface my actions with this; I've had stray animals from the feline and feathered variety end up in the pool on multiple occasions.  I can't count how many birds and kittens I've saved from a watery grave.  

I have a respect for living things.  Especially those that don't know any better and end up in peril from a world dominated by man-made hazards nature never prepared them for.

I flipped on the back lights and found a small bird flapping hopelessly near the deep end of the pool.  I knew the water was near freezing being only slightly warmer than the air above it.

I retrieved my leaf net and scooped the little bird out placing him gently on one of the benches near the house.  No longer in danger of drowning and out of sight and easy reach of any of the neighborhood cats, I felt he was safe.

The night air was cutting though and the little bird was wet.  I retrieved a small towel and picked him up briefly to get most of the water off of him.  He let out a soft squawk in protest but gave no further resistance.  

Satisfied that I'd at least gotten him mostly dry without traumatizing him too badly I let him be.  It was below freezing and while I wanted to bring the bird in the house to warm up a bit I could tell it would just traumatize him more so I did the next best thing and made him a little lean-to kind of structure out of an old stiff terry cloth mop head I'd found in a closet.  

I put it over him and he nestled into one side and after a short while went to sleep.

I checked on him throughout the night and in the morning I was happy to find that he had gone.  As in flew away BTW not lifeless on the pavement or a cat's dinner. 

It felt good that maybe I had a hand in saving the little bird.  Left in the pool he wouldn't have lasted much longer and I can't help but think that my discovery of his predicament was no accident.

To do a kindness to the helpless is never in vain but there was another lesson in store for me...

Tonight I walked out on my back porch again and while the air was still cold, it didn't bite quite as much as the night I found that little bird flapping helplessly in the water.

I noticed that against the dim moonlight reflecting on the pool was something out of place.  I'd thought it was just some leaves until I flipped on the lights just as I'd did that night.

If you've guessed that I found the same little bird again you're right but this time I was too late to save him.

He hung in the water lifeless but stoic with wings firm against his tiny body with head held erect as if defying his sad end.

It struck me.

I hadn't saved him at all only delayed what was an inevitable end.

I may have facilitated another day of life but the lesson hadn't been learned.  There he was in the same predicament but this time nobody to save him.

It brought to mind something that I'd been thinking about.  Not so much an epiphany as an affirmation of belief.

That as hard as we may try to influence the fate of others it is ultimately up to them.  Free will is the cornerstone of many belief and societal systems.  That we can do as we please even to our own detriment.  

Sometimes a gift isn't accepted.  Living things have free will regardless of whether we agree with it or not.  

If our moral compass is wrong it's up to us to discover it.  Nobody else can set it right.  

That little bird chose to fly back into the pool.  I can't know the reason but the choice to fly into oblivion was his regardless of my efforts.

We can't truly know the mind of another we can only guess.  

We can't really know if we've had a positive influence on someone else just because of the act of trying to help them.  We can only observe what they do with what we've offered.

It's up to them and only them to use or even ignore the gift.

I won't stop trying to help where I can but in the end I know that all I can do is offer an opinion, an option.  You have to make the decision of how you bear your own crosses and quell your own demons.  Your path is your own.

I'd have liked the little bird to survive but it wasn't my choice.  I'd done what I could do for him.  It was up to him what came next.

Just as it's up to you what you do next.