tag/fav

good grief

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."

UPDATE: Interesting to note the similarities between this passage and this bit from Garrison Keillor's "Mr. Blue" column.

am i blue

(3 comments)
May 19, 2004
Image of the Moment

--More fun with yesterday's Scale2Xd filter. I have to get some new base images to play with, I use this one way too much...and now it's even worse, because I'm less inclined to use some of the nice shots of Mo I have. I'm not sure why I like this one so much...I guess having my eyes covered make it easier to mess with, plus it has some bold colors and an interesting pose.

Hmmm. Thinking about this now, I guess I'm kind of like some photoshop n00b just discovering filters...the fact that I have to do some semi-clever steps (reduce in size, tweak the palette reduction, saving as a .PNG, then running a command line program for the atual filtering) doesn't really change that...


Poem of the Moment
I phoned from time to time, to see if she's
changed the music on her answerphone.
'Tell me in two words,' goes the recording,
'what you were going to tell in a thousand.'

I peer into that thought, like peering out
to sea at night, hearing the sound of
waves breaking on the rocks, knowing she
is there, listening, waiting for me to
speak.

Once in a while she'll pick up the phone
and her voice sings to me out of the past.
The hair on the back of my neck stands up
as I catch her smell for a second.
"Siren Song", Hugo Williams. I love that "tell me in two words what you were going to tell in a thousand" line.
News of the Moment
Texas...what a bunch of Yahoos. They want to deny the Unitarians tax-exempt status because it "does not have one system of belief". Jimminy frickin' crickets. Heaven forbid people be able to admit something besides blind "I just KNOW this is right" faith.

spf30

May 23, 2004
Started getting into semi-serious packing yesterday. I'm moving June 7th. And I've come to realize that living in an echo-y boxed up house is a good way of disconnecting, or at least marking the transition.

I skipped a morning shower yesterday, partially out of laziness, partially because...well, frankly, I just love the way my skin smells after I've spent a day slathered in SPF30, walking around in the sun. Some combination of light sweat and the chemicals all baked together, or something. It doesn't work with all brands, but a lot of 'em, including Banana Boat Sport, the one I bought the other day. It so taps into all these great old memories I have of going to amusement parks with my high school friends, flirting and riding rides and having a great time. Also summers working with mentally handicapped kids at the Catholic Diocese daycamp, which had its own kind of satisfactions.

Some of the sweetest and most nostalgic times I've had were riding back from Cedar Point, Mike driving with his gal pal in the front, me snuggling and sneaking kisses with my romantic interest in the back. Well, not always that sneaky. Our favorite tape to put in was the soundtrack to the Blues Brothers movie, on the portable tape player Mike used since his car (the 'Mikeymobile', a kind of aged Chevy Citation) didn't have its own stereo.

But anyway, getting back to the smell...I really love it. I mean...it's all I could do not to jam my nose on my shoulder and just stay there for hours, breathing deeply.

Exchange of the Moment
"I could spend the time to sort this crap out properly. But I'd rather send a message to my future self. That message is 'F*** you, YOU sort it out, I'm busy.'" [begins dumping stuff from closet into cardboard box.]
"Yeah, but didn't you already kind of do that to yourself, that's why it's in this state now?"
"Nah. That wasn't me, that was my past self. He was a real prick."
Me and Peterman while packing last night.
Photos of the Moment
The "Mind Eraser" at Six Flags New England on Friday:




Censorship of the Moment
The poems being censored for being "un-American" is one of the most jaw-dropping stories I've read this week. As Bill the Splut put it, "What's the Eternal War on Terror about again? Oh, right, they hate freedom."

I'm grimly amused by the idea that via Chalabi, Iran played the USA like a bad violin, that they got their #1 foe (US, ala the Great Satan) to take out their #2 foe Saddam.

never underestimate the power of moral smugness

May 6, 2006
I gave blood today.... actually went ahead and did the Double Red Blood Cell thing, where they use a centrifuge to take out a double dose of red cells and then put the rest back. So my sense of moral smugness should power me throughout the rest of the day.

Passage of the Moment
i can taste summer coming. there are certain smells that i forget about until summer rolls around, and then they all come flowing back in my memory: bonfires, sunblock, cookouts, fresh-cut grass... and then there are the images, pictures of things in my mind that probably weren't as good as i remember, yet i can see them so vividly: cramming in a car to go to drive-in movies, covered in bugspray and armed with snacks; wandering around amusement parks dripping wet from water rides; grabbing an elephant ear and some cotton candy at the local fair; seeing a movie on a weeknight and leaving the theater to meet the warm night air... these are the things i hope to do every summer; sometimes i do, sometimes i don't... but this year i'm hoping extra hard.
the rosser... such a lovely passage, gave me a big old wave of nostalgic feeling. It's really good writing, a lot of sensory details if you're in the right frame of mine. Makes me happy for the return of summer!

o prolong now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong

April 8, 2009
Certain moments will never change nor stop being -
My mother's face all smiles, all wrinkles soon;
The rock wall building, built, collapsed then, fallen;
Our upright loosening downward slowly out of tune -
All fixed into place now, all rhyming with each other.
That red-haired girl with wide mouth - Eleanor -
Forgotten thirty years - her freckled shoulders, hands.
The breast of Mary Something, freed from a white swimsuit,
Damp, sandy, warm; or Margery's, a small caught bird -
Darkness they rise from, darkness they sink back toward.
O marvellous early cigarettes! O bitter smoke, Benton!
And Kenny in wartime whites, crisp, cocky,
Time a bow bent with his certain failure.
Dusks, dawns; waves; the end of songs. . .
Donald Justice "Thinking About the Past".
I found reference to this work on this page that reprints his "There is a gold light in certain old paintings" - something I saw in the New Yorker in the 90s and has stuck with me ever since, with the title, and stunning lines like "Orpheus hesitated beside the black river. / With so much to look forward to he looked back." and "I say the song went this way: O prolong / Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong."
http://www.slate.com/id/2214067/ - Howard the Duck, now on DVD. Terrible movie, but the novel based on the movie was actually pretty decent!
Last night, an older lady came up to me at Staples: "Kirk!...You don't remember me at all, do you? I was at Cindy's dinner." "Cindy?"-didn't have the heart to ask.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2009-04-08-turtle-ninj
a-suit_N.htm?csp=34
- "Ninja suit helps one-flipper turtle swim". I am not making that up.
"Good lord, what is that inky black puddle Marvin's mom is cleaning up? Does the awful tyke piss out pure evil?"

schmoop

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.

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.
J, aka Mr.Ibis, is an incredibly good natured and jovial guide. Such a nice little tribute!
Patriots lookin' old and busted.

i should watch more hockey

January 4, 2011

--love the spacing and comic timing of the action in this. via
computer programming is moments of triumph surrounded by hours of the computer telling you you're an idiot

Harboring new doubts about MBTA bag bomb residue search-they missed that my bag was packed with ATOMIC fireballs! (Christmas gift from mom)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/weekinreview/02parkerpope.html - NY Times on sustaining romantic love.
Trying the rotated 90 degrees "tallscreen, not widescreen" thing. A bit vertiginous but you can see a lot of code at once.
In theory I should care about HTML tricks that work in practice but not in theory (like putting a div inside an a href link tag.) In practice I probably won't.

fizzy... sweet... refreshing!

(2 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.

mom dad i have ennui!

(1 comment)
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.

October 20, 2013

Two haiku from the British Museum's exhibit "Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanes art":
Onto his silent lap
she lowers
her eloquent hips
--anon

and
Though anxious
unable to know your true heart
I give my body to you
--Onakatomi no Yoshinobu

May 21, 2014

I regretted that I hadn't done more. Not good works, necessarily: I did my part for the homeless, the alkies, public radio, various losing liberals, an open school, the Save the Spiders Foundation, the Home for the Moody, the lower-spine association, the Suspicion Center, some others. I regretted never having played the accordion, seen New Mexico or Maine, learned to dance the fox-trot, met Victor Borge, read Moby Dick or Don Quixote, eaten supper in the Oak Room at the Algonquin, fished Rainy Lake, known a little physics, talked to my dad about his father.

I regretted some bad shows I did.

I regretted having hurt some people.
Garrison Keillor, "Regrets" from "We Are Still Married", a brief essay about thoughts he had while waiting for his commercial flight to dump fuel after an engine explosion. I'm surprised I hadn't transcribed this before, because it comes to me from time to time.

March 8, 2015

I enjoyed this (click speaker for sound)

It's nearly seven, and still light out! We've survived the snow, we've made it through the dark. Onward!

march 2016 new music playlist

April 1, 2016
A middling-fair month for finding music - no 4 stars. Sorted in inverse "you gotta hear (or see) this!"
Seriously amazing Empire-centric, 80s-anime-style short Star Wars battle drawn and animated weekends over 4 years by one fan...

April 3, 2016

That Arroz con Leche Popsicle, from an ice cream truck here in Austin was the best ice cream thing I've had in a year. Also the weather here is a bit better than Boston today.

kulfi cardamom popsicles from the Bollywood movie place are a close second.

March 2, 2017

Experimenting with posting every season / 3 months vs every month...
Is it just me or does the concept of judges running for election feel really weird? Straightup Democracy for everything seems kind of odd. (Albeit, better than the neither-fish-nor-fowl (tho a bit foul) electoral college...)
Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.
Robert Francis, "Summons". The final line was rattling around my head this morning.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Boredom is the Father. Laziness is the shifty uncle. Laziness might be the illegitimate father; as in one day Necessity was bored of Boredom and noticed Laziness was much more fun.
S. Chan

what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of

April 20, 2017
"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?

Just when you start to think the RMV was getting it- a painless online address change. Just to find out from the city office that that did f***-all to change where the car is "garaged", which the RMV website doesn't mention when you change the address? What's the point?
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.
I've seen many rube goldbergs but nothing with the kind of narrative Biisuke Balls Big Adventure has! Lovely!

You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness

May 12, 2017
The past doesn't go away. It keeps calling to us from the woods, and at vulnerable moments, at twilight on a fall day with a Chopin étude playing, it can be almost overwhelming. Those old voices weeping and whispering. I have my ghosts and you have yours. Tell me about it. Meanwhile, the day passes, we eat dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher, we clean up the kitchen, we pick up a book, life goes on. I believe that
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.