May 9, 2004
Passage of the Moment
I object when people, especially therapists, talk about "resolving grief," as if grief could ever be so compliant. We humans don't "resolve" grief; we live with it. The pain of our losses recedes, over time, and we get on with our lives. But periodically one may well find the chill hand on the heart--what we miss, our mortality--its sudden grip like a sharp intake of breath. It is important for us to recall in such moments that we still remain. Grief washes over us and we are left standing. It's okay. Nothing's wrong. It's just a natural part of things. Dead leaves underfoot. A clear autumn evening, the black sky like a vault, the vapor of our own breath in the air, a surprise. "Oh," we say. "It will be winter again soon. It's grown dark so early." And we burrow deep into our clothes for a moment, glad to be heading home.
--Terrence Real, "How Can I Get Through To You". It's mostly a book on couples' communication. I plan to read it as kind of an autopsy for what Mo and I had, and to try to do better next time...I think for a long time I've confused having almost no sense of privacy with having a well-developed sense of intimacy, and maybe that's not the case. I think I tended to clam up about some things, how I felt about Mo (I tend to see saying I Love You as kind of a manipulative thing; you show love by your actions, the words can be faked) and when things were bad at work (I didn't want to rub her face in the way how, other than being vaguely supportive, she was helpless to make that situation better.)
So I'm a little worried that, because I really do believe in the power of people to make deliberate changes in their lives (even though it often doesn't take 100%, complete turnarounds are rare) I'm going to read this book, see so much of what Mo and I went through analyzed and given roadmaps to workthrough, that it's going to be really frustrating...a big "if only" game, "if only she had expressed how she saw the problem in English."
Interesting to note the similarities between this passage and this bit from Garrison Keillor's "Mr. Blue" column. (2 comments)
January 10, 2010
Felisdemens writing on her beloved J in her LiveJournal:
My love is the kind of love that wants to destroy his enemies and bring their severed, dripping heads to lay at his feet. But he doesn't have any enemies. And if I brought him any severed heads he would look at me with benign puzzlement and say "I actually think I'd rather have a latte." And I'd get him one.J, aka Mr.Ibis, is an incredibly good natured and jovial guide. Such a nice little tribute!
My love is the kind of love that rises from tar-black waters, all lashing tentacles and snapping jaws and insatiable hunger, primed to devour and subsume. But he leans out to put a warm palm between its mad yellow eyes, and it settles back under the surface burbling happily and does not eat either him or Tokyo.
My love is the kind of love that stands on top of the mountain with a fistful of lightning, prepared to bend the universe to my will and carve his name across the face of the sky. But he calls up to ask if I know where the checkbook is and if I want to get sushi tonight, and I let the lightning go, turn off the Doomsday machine and come down to discuss dinner plans.
I've been domesticated. But not constrained, not pressured to change. It's just that I walk beside a gentler man, and I want to keep his pace. Which is not to say that I don't have the Doomsday machine hidden behind the Triscuits in the pantry.
Patriots lookin' old and busted. (7 comments)
January 10, 2011
from Tom the Dancing Bug Bob's Adventure Through Time. Years ago I printed out these panels for use as cubicle art... I just love the realization that yeah, in the 1700s Sprite would seem pretty amazing. (from GoComic's surprisingly deep archive - glad I didn't have to rely on Salon.com for this.)
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/08/youtube-videos-of-ar.html So the shooter's nutiness may transcend violent rightwing bombast- but I still think having this kind of nut around argues against concealed carry. (7 comments)
April 21, 2011
--Someone at work posted this outside their cube, it's from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Comics. Good stuff!
"If everything is coming your way then you're in the wrong lane."
I think half of my problem with clutter is a refusal to believe that I'm not depriving some future biographer of precious research material.
It's nearly seven, and still light out! We've survived the snow, we've made it through the dark. Onward!
April 1, 2016A middling-fair month for finding music - no 4 stars. Sorted in inverse "you gotta hear (or see) this!"
- Upside Down & Inside Out (OK Go) The song is solid, dig that "CD skip" effect, but the video... it's like that Zero-G trip in video form.
- Iko Iko (Dr. John) Been getting more into this song, I like Dr. John's cajun pronunciations.
- Jody, Come Back and Get Your Shoes (Bobby Newsome) I got this solid R+B tune after this article on the name "Jody" - in some military marching songs, Jody is the guy who steals your gal.
- 212 (feat. Lazy Jay) (Azealia Banks) Sexy energy in parts... and I gotta admit "212" scans better than "617" (an answer I saw on Kottke: It's 2006. You're DJing a club. You have a 2016 iPod. What song do you put on to make everyone go nuts?)
- Stand By Me (Ben E. King) I was just surprised this one wasn't in my collection already.
- Seven Bridges Road (Live) (Eagles) To quote The Comics Curmudgeon "ha ha ha punk rock dude, you’re in a band that plays Eagles covers"
- Leader of the Pack (The Shangri-Las) - "Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?" - my parent's names, by chance! I like that "look out look out look out!" yell.
- Suicide Is Painless (Johnny Mandel) (aka "Theme from M*A*S*H" - literally written by a 14 year old, with the mandate that 'it had to be called "Suicide Is Painless"; second, it had to be the "stupidest song ever written"'. I really appreciate the exquisite sophomoric aspect of it, plus it just sounds good.
- Maximum Effort (Junkie XL) - from the movie "Deadpool" - I saw this documentary that talks about the Synclavier II sound sample it makes such good use of.
- Groove Is In The Heart (Edwin van Santen) SID Chiptune cover of my favorite and most sacred song.
- Here's Where the Story Ends (The Sundays) A favorite of Melissa's... So. 90s.
- Rag Mop (Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra) If you're ever worried music is getting meaningless, come back to this old classic.
- The Ballad of Irving (Frank Gallop) Dr. Demento classic, Big, Short, Fat Irving, the 142nd Fastest Gun in the West... (parody of Lorne Greene's Ringo) - kind of weird that songs can have their own laughtracks...
Seriously amazing Empire-centric, 80s-anime-style short Star Wars battle drawn and animated weekends over 4 years by one fan...
kulfi cardamom popsicles from the Bollywood movie place are a close second.
My company CarGurus has been named "Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year" in the 29th Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, unseating our longterm rivals. And they asked me to plug it on Social Media so here we are.
It really is a pretty sweet company, and a great place to buy a car, especially used. Techies should definitely hit me up if they see something on our jobs listing that seems like a fit.
"Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part / that wonders what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of"
--They Might Be Giants, "Where Your Eyes Don't Go"
Serendipity brought me to Cormac McCarthy on The Kekulé Problem - (the title comes from the premier example of "the answer came to me in a dream / flash" ) and thoughts on what the heck this unconscious is. This directly ties in with what I wrote about Saturday and have been a little obsessed with for a week or two.
(McCarthy calls it the unconscious; I think of it as the subconscious, a subtle but possibly important distinction.)
McCarthy concludes wraps up saying
The unconscious seems to know a great deal. What does it know about itself? Does it know that it's going to die? What does it think about that? It appears to represent a gathering of talents rather than just one. It seems unlikely that the itch department is also in charge of math. Can it work on a number of problems at once? Does it only know what we tell it? Or--more plausibly--has it direct access to the outer world? Some of the dreams which it is at pains to assemble for us are no doubt deeply reflective and yet some are quite frivolous. And the fact that it appears to be less than insistent upon our remembering every dream suggests that sometimes it may be working on itself. And is it really so good at solving problems or is it just that it keeps its own counsel about the failures? How does it have this understanding which we might well envy? How might we make inquiries of it? Are you sure?
I'm not as convinced as McCarthy that dreams are always so deliberate and purposeful from the subconscious; I accept they can be a communication pathway from the unconscious to our rational selves, but sometimes it's a bit more random and chaotic than that. (And I am always shocked at how whatever part of brain that says "this can't be real" is so much more asleep than the rest of us.) And man, now I really am wondering about whether the unconscious knows that it will someday die and how it feels about that!
I feel like I'm gathering more instances of the subconscious as having its own personality and- all too often- separate agenda. I've started thinking of it as my "inner toddler", but I'm a little wary of thinking of it in such disparaging terms - like it might grow to resent me, and that would be pretty bad for my overall mental wellbeing. Still, there's a stubborn petulance there. Like, it's bad enough that I eat my desk at work, but there's even less dignity when I start digging in while still walking from the damn kitchen. So yesterday I apply some willpower and hold off chowing down 'til I'm safely seated. Great! And then today... I don't even make it out of the kitchen. My inner toddler sees the taco in my hand, recognizes it as delicious, and I've had a bite or two before my rational self is fully aware of what's going on. I've witness that "backslide/backlash" factor before. (I also wonder if my inner eater is just a more well behaved version of the inner demons that are so destructive in the life of
McCarthy writes "the fact that the unconscious prefers avoiding verbal instructions pretty much altogether--even where they would appear to be quite useful--suggests rather strongly that it doesnt much like language and even that it doesnt trust it." My first instinct says that it's not a matter of disdain, but it lacks language as a toolset. I can't tell my inner toddler to "use your words" because it doesn't have any! Of course, this seems to contradict my earlier theory that this subconscious was my "fast reading/skimming brain". But perhaps words can come in, but they can't come out, and the "jist" that my fast reader is so good at providing my rational self is more based on images and feelings than I realize. No wait - I got started last Saturday by trying to explain the subconscious process that was making my typos, especially my oddly-phonetic-almost-dyslexic swap of "m" and "b". So words go in and words go out, but they aren't its native language. (So to speak.)
And so it might be a mistake to think there's only one subconscious entity. Or it might be hard to understand in general. Especially right now, I feel like I might be back to conflating my "self", my consciousness, with my "inner voice" process using words. (To quote Emo Phillips, "I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.")
I wonder if I'm on to something here. It is very odd to think of an internal part of oneself as some kind of (at times, childish!) companion rather than... well, than as ourselves, but I think it suggests a whole new set of promising approaches for self-therapy. I think every successful weight-loss I've had has had to cope with this inner toddler, for instance! (And again, I wonder if I'm risking further resentment by calling him that...)
Of course sometimes it's like this Id/subconscious self is the only part of me that knows how to enjoy anything! Sometimes I think the only pleasure my ego/rational self gets in life is...well... ego stroking...
(and btw, it's so sad that googling topics of communicating with your inner child are so often about coping with buried past trauma and backgrounds of abuse and neglect.)
I do wonder - is it like this for everyone? Are McCarthy and I outliers? Are he and I and some others somehow less coherent and unified people than most? Why aren't people talking about this more? Is it different for them, or is it just to painful to admit we're not as singularly in control as our rational selves would like to be?
I've seen many rube goldbergs but nothing with this kind of narrative! Lovely!
All of the lovers and the love they made --
Nothing that was between them was a mistake.
All that we did for love's sake
Was not wasted and will never fade.
A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago: "You can't regret all of the things you went through in order to get to the happiness where you are now." The old love prepared you for this new one. The tortured and exhausting 10 years with him is a crucial part of your education and can't be separated from the rest and burned. It's quite reasonable to still miss him after only two years. You're not imprinted with him, though, and you know that. You've moved on. You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness. What would an autumn night be like without it? What an inhuman life a person must lead to never experience such feelings.
--Garrison Keillor, writing as Mr. Blue on Salon. (repost here)
100 Lessons from the masters of street photography. Apple's how to shoot great photos with iPhones is good too.