A Super-Deep Reflection: Solitude

Yeah, right.  I’m going to start off with how I dropped my phone down my pants.

Tomorrow is pickup day, and I was hauling the bins to the alley.  I needed to carry my phone but had no pockets, so I stuck it in my waistband.  MacGyver, right?  I didn’t even make it the five or six feet to the bins before the phone worked its way out of my waistband and down my leg.  It’s been raining, and the ground is soaked, so I ended up trying to hold my leg out horizontally so I could remove the phone without drowning it.

Later, after dark, my elusive new neighbor or neighbors came in, and I heard a bin thunk.  The one I’ve met, whose name is Chase or Hunter or Chet or something, appears to have gotten separated from his fraternity herd, and I wasn’t counting on him to pick up a bin that he’d knocked over with his car.  By this time, it was raining again, so I stood at my back door, in my pajamas, holding a keychain flashlight (shaped like a pig, and yes, it does oink while illuminating), trying to pinpoint the location of the trash.

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What this has to do with solitude:  it makes you act like you were raised by wolves.  Or, more accurately, living alone causes you to lose your set of “is this normal?” checks and balances.  I suspect that even those living the contemplative life sometimes wear beanies indoors– who’s going to know?

I ended up going outside about 11 PM, in pajamas and Doc Martens.  It was a look, that’s for sure.

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There’s no need for an essay discussing pros and cons of being alone, and I hate pro-con lists anyway:  they tend to be paralyzing, unless you actually do know what you need to do but have to rationalize it.


I was considering cooking Minute Rice last night.  I got entirely hung up on the directions:  why does Minute Rice take five minutes to cook, five to solidify (or whatever)?

I had cheese and crackers.  The Minute Rice question was too fraught.

That’s an example of when having someone with me to say “shut up and cook the damn rice” might have been helpful.


The point I’m getting around to:

  • At what point do these quirks hit the irreversible Grey Gardens threshold?

Increasingly, I worry that I’m incapable of being around other humans for extended periods of time.  Yes, I know my personality is a factor.  Thanks for pointing that out.

But:  are the other oddities becoming embedded?  Am I becoming inflexible?  Does isolation feed on itself?

When did I develop my mother’s habit of flinging myself into this-place-has-to-look-decent mode before someone comes over?


I’m not broken over here, but is my crack showing?

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I am *killing* normal here.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

There is not much going on right now except for being attached to a computer and writing Very Dull Papers (and attendant deadline-related panics).  You can guess at my state of mind by looking at the state of the couch:  when it’s cluttered, my mind is as well.

However, I have nothing to discuss, unless LIS papers are of great interest to you.  Therefore, I’m giving you what’s sitting by me.  You’re welcome to create a story from there.


 

Many notes to myself on many odd pieces of paper.  Things I thought significant enough to note:  New York Dolls, pentangle?, Romans 1:26, The Light of the World, The Killing of Sister George, Lee Miller, Ballard-Crash, Brother David Gardner?, The Killing of Sister George (1968) [sic], Venus & the Razorblades, Dontavious.

New Yorker, last week’s, still open to the page where I fell asleep.  It’s a very interesting article about schizophrenia and genetic inheritance.  I should finish that.

A band demo CD.

The following books:  How Poetry Saved My Life (Amber Dawn), I Am Not Myself These Days (Josh Kilmer-Purcell), There but for the (Ali Smith), 1928 version Book of Common Prayer.

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*Repeated misunderstandings of the word “soda” abound in this area.

Two cat pictures


I would suggest that I am a genetic researcher who is studying the effects of semi-obscure 70s music on cats.  When I am rolling in cash as a result of my findings, I intend to furnish this apartment with The Light of the World (or multiple pentangles/pentagrams); I will gave at it reflectively while listening to metal (or possibly Pentangle).  Other publications-in-process include a critical analysis wherein I compare Brother David Gardner to J.G. Ballard and generally rant about both, defending my position with excepts from the BCP and reference to The Killing of Sister George.  Dontavious is co-writing this masterpiece.  The two memoirs are clearly there as I seek inspiration in writing my forthcoming one, which will be based on schizophrenic music-listening cat genomes.  None of this would be happening if I were not overcaffeinated.

I’m just reading the Ali Smith because I like the novels, of course, and even genetic researchers need a break.


 

Featured image:  The last page the previous owner  of this novel dog-eared (blasphemy).  I am left to wonder what prompted this person to throw in the towel on page 75– but that’s another story.

Field Notes: Song of Myself

I have poked fun at outside entities in previous field notes entries (here, here, here), but I’m going to make fun of myself this time.

It has been a shameful amount of time since I was last here:  I blame political angst (or “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore,” my new official name for this) combined with paper-writing overdrive.  My mind is dull, and I’m tired of looking at the word “qualitative”(and implications thereof!) on this screen.


I’ve mentioned in previous posts that you really can’t take me out in public, as I lack multiple crucial filters.  I can try a bit of explanation:  when you’re an introvert who spends a lot of time in their head already, the things that have been building up join up and then pop out as seemingly bizarre thoughts at apparently random times.  It made sense to me; the problem is, no one can read my mind.  Wait.  That’s good, not a problem.


I was at a medical office recently and had explained that the code for something was “1066.”  I thought I’d picked an easy one, but it wasn’t sticking and kept getting transcribed incorrectly.  As I left the individual’s office and was standing in the hall, I blurted, “Battle of Hastings!  Don’t forget!”

What’s really unfortunate here, apart from yelling about the Norman Conquest in a medical office, is that out-of-the-blue allusions to William the Conqueror probably don’t seem all that odd in the context of everything that has come out of my mouth there from 2014 to present.


My brother joined me for lunch this past Saturday; it could have been two adults having adult conversation in an adult way.  What really happened is (I’m not even going to explain how this topic came up) that I ended up describing the original/cut ending to Clerks:  Dante gets shot at the end of the day.  The problem here is that I talk with my hands, so I was miming shooting a convenience store clerk– when I remembered that there was a children’s birthday party at the next table over.

Red card for lack of filter on that one.


I also accompanied by (poor, long-suffering, you’re thinking at this point) brother into a big box baby store in search of a particular item.  At the time, I was completely dressed for a night out, featuring both glitter on my face and glitter tights.  I’ve never even been in one of these stores, so while he took off in search of his quarry in a businesslike fashion, I put on brakes at a display of car seats and proceeded to translate the price into secondhand clothes, used books, etc.  The looks suggested that bystanders think I have a baby that I strap to the roof of the car as I drive in search of these items to spend car seat money on. (Clarification: I did not realize how much they cost and was surprised.)

Alice has a very nice carrier.  Just want to put that out there.  Not that she’s ever expressed anything approaching appreciation for said carrier:  more like Geneva Convention violations.

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I possibly have an outlandish number of pictures of Alice.

As we continued to have difficulty locating the item, I finally asked for help in a request that involved the phrase “child thing.”  I was not referring to children, incidentally.  My brother says I might have passed for a new mother or, more likely, an eccentric aunt (the second is accurate).


 

With another unfortunate in tow, I went in Barnes & Noble.  Yet another long story, but I was in search of a collected or complete Ezra Pound.  I chose the store as the place to discuss whether buying Ezra Pound in a physical store would cause the employees to think I was a fascist and possibly mad (versus finding a copy online and cloaking the mad-fascist bit in anonymity).

The not-unfamiliar suggestion that I might possibly be overthinking things came up with this one.


 

Those are the ones that I can come up with immediately, but I really don’t like to skip a day of making a fool of myself.  However, I’m reaching my self-imposed word limit for a post, so that’s all for now.


UNNECESSARY APPENDIX (heh)

1066 and All That is a book I probably first read (choke) years ago.  I still recommend it.

More about Ezra Pound (plus a lot of poems) here.

Actually, some background:  Pound came up because of a theory I have about the political race and Godwin’s Law.  At the time, it was a joke.  Now:  That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.

 

 

 

 

“Don’t waste any time in mourning– organize.” OR: Emoji Encore

Post title:  Joe Hill’s last words (prior to execution by firing squad).  Image:  Woody Guthrie and his famous guitar (“this machine kills fascists”).


So this will actually appear May 2nd.  Isn’t it stylish to be late and all that?  If you disagree with that, see also this Smithsonian article about time as a social construct.  BOOM.


I never learn my lessons.  History thus repeats itself.

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. . . except I think I am one. As a customer at work said to me: “You write like my old man!”


A moment of theory so I can pretend I’m putting my education to use:

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That’s all, folks!


So:  May Day/International Workers’ Day/(real) Labor Day in emoji. Yes, your life is now complete. You’re welcome.

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Arise, ye workers from your slumbers.


Also, yes, a Spotify playlist to go along with this, because why not?  The songs and performers are all a mixed bag; for instance, I found one site that listed 800+ workers’ songs.  These are arbitrary choices, pretty much.  Some really great ones aren’t here simply because I just plain couldn’t work them out (if you’ve got one, feel free to drop it in the comments).  The performers are also fairly arbitrary; some are personal favorite versions/very famous renditions, but others are just why nots? So many of these have so many versions that it’s difficult to pick one.


LITTLE RED EMOJI BLOG

(this)

*Please note that many/most of these emojis got weird somewhere between the composing and publishing stage (as I see now that I’ve done a preview).  There were a variety of skin tones, and that seems to have eradicated itself.  I’m not sure what “version” of the emojis is showing up in the actual post, but it’s NOT the one I’m seeing here and used to write this thing.

🍞🌹🌹🌹 (Bread and Roses)

👻👦 (The Ghost of Tom Joad)

I love this series.  Where was it when I was teaching?

👧🏬 (I’m Gonna Be an Engineer)  [1]

👫👬👭👍 (Solidarity Forever)

🎶👨🔫🔫🔫 (The Ballad of Joe Hill)

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👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👩‍👦‍👦👨‍👨‍👦‍👦🏢🏣🏥🏫 (Union Town)

🍰🌅 (Pie in the Sky)

👨🚂 (Casey Jones)

👨🔨 (John Henry)

🕘🕓 (9 to 5[2]

🇺🇸🚫👼 (Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore[3a]

🏡➡️🏭 (Paradise[3b] [3c] [3d]

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🚣 (Michael, Row the Boat Ashore) [4]

👫 👬 👭 🎤❓ (Do You Hear the People Sing?)

🙇💭🛅🙅 (He Thinks He’ll Keep Her)

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🔇👮 (Fuck Tha Police) [5]

💅👺🙍 (Pretty Girls)

🚌 (Wheels)

👼✂️⬇️ (God’s Gonna Cut You Down)

📦📦📦 (Little Boxes)

💨⚠️🎹 (Draft Dodger Rag) [6]

🎊✌️ (Chimes of the Freedom)

🐟 🐠 🐡🙌🙌🙌 (FISH Cheer– AKA Fixin’ to Die Rag)

Several versions on Spotify, but none can top the actual Woodstock version.  So here.


🙋🚜 (Maggie’s Farm)–  Of course!


[1]  My hypothetical daughter would/Alice does know this.

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I am Woman, hear me . . .

[2] While doing the Spotify playlist, I found the Lady Sovereign version of this.  What have we come to???  And no, this is not me being old.  Listen and compare the lyrics, for crying out loud.

[3a]  Title according to my brother:  “Hippie Commie Song by that Guy Who Can’t Sing.”

[3b]  See 3a.

[3c]  For full list of singers and bands this applies to (according to my brother), schedule a week off work and bring a recording device.  Also many tapes.  Also batteries.  Generator?

[3d]  I like David Foster Wallace.  I think that’s come up.

[4]  Spotify list is Peter, Paul, and Mary– yes, I know their band name doesn’t actually contain the Oxford comma, but welcome to my blog.  Anyway, I definitely told my brother that “Puff, the Magic Dragon” was about drugs.  Eh, sorry?

[5]  This has an “explicit” warning next to it on Spotify, for all those who, um, yeah, I really don’t know who actually needs that.

[6]  Every song written or performed by Phil Ochs could pretty much be on here.

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Enfin.


Got a favorite song I didn’t cover here?  Leave a note in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do . . .

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song

Title:  from T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” (Part III, The Fire Sermon).  Image:  a bit (a lot) how I feel at the moment– and if you don’t recognize it, go watch classic SNL, for I pity you.


Updated:  A few things have been added, changed, and shuffled.  Also, thanks to everyone who’s contacted me in various ways so far.  I haven’t responded to everyone yet, not because I’m ignoring you but because I spent a large part of the morning flatlined.


It is officially April 1st, and I have been waiting all year to say that “April is the cruellest month.”  Were Madame Sosostris present to read my cards, I suspect she’d agree this is an accurate prediction.

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A most excellent Magic card. I want this one.

Speaking of which, I’m studying tarot at the moment (want to?).

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When I start holing up and not leaving the house, while surrounded by piles of junk, Homer & Langely style, it should make for a passable career.  I’m hoping for one of those flashing neon palm signs.

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Something like this in the front window of my falling-down hovel (where, needless to say, I will be hoarding cats) should raise the land value.

I have nothing super-chipper to say (clearly).  I’ve already been characterized this week by the statement “you read a lot,” which is possibly the thing I hate to hear most of all.  Casting me as a person with her nose in a book has been a favorite and recurring insult for a very, very long time.  I could go into all the further implications of this (most of which have been spelled out for me at one time or another), but, suffice to say, I’m that guy in that Twilight Zone episode.

Starts out well . . .

Starts out well . . .

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Again: if you haven’t seen this, now’s the time to question your upbringing. What did you watch, Saved by the Bell or something?

(Incidentally, I was once asked if I wore glasses to “look smart.”  If the reading versus the glasses don’t seem similar, they actually are:  they’re both judgments about a person based on what is seen/observed.)

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Kind of like this. “How do you known she is a witch?” “She looks like one!”

I wouldn’t ever give up reading, of course.  But it’s not the essence of my existence.

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So:  resist a single, essential definition (self-defined or assigned from without).  Read a good poem on April 1st, or play a practical joke that doesn’t hurt anybody.  Resist psychic death.

I could kind of also use your good vibes right now.

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100% Internet-generated awesomeness. LOOK WHAT TECHNOLOGY CAN DO!!!

Something’s misfiring or short-circuiting.  I don’t understand what’s up, and I can’t give any explanation because of that, because it doesn’t make any sense to me.  I’m sure it looks like stubbornness when there’s actually some sort of roadblock that literally (I do mean literally) paralyzes me.

I’ll try to think Alice thoughts, which seem to mainly involve sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and everything that’s wonderful (and, at the moment, Girl Scout cookies, which she loves.  I would reiterate that she is not spoiled).

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Alice thought example 1: “Chin scratching blisses me out. Life is good.”

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Alice thought example 2: “I am warm and safe and comfortable and snuggly. Why worry?”


So that’s all, folks.  Here are some other things you can read:

22 Amazon reviews of The L Word that qualify for WTF? status

Which Orphan Black clone are you?  (note:  I do not have cable.  Season 3 spoilers will get you cut.)

Ab Fab quotes, suitable for pitying fools and destroying your enemies.  Please join me in petitioning Netflix to make the series available, stat.

–Sir Pterry will live on in the clacks.  We salute you.

–McSweeney’s (where I spend a good portion of my time) presents “RECENT HIT POP SONGS CO-WRITTEN BY INFLUENTIAL FEMINIST PHILOSOPHERS.”  Oddly, I’m not finding these in the iTunes store . . .


One last thing:  the Blue Velvet cake (via @undeadmolly):

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Baby wants to . . . eat cake? That’s a cake, all right.

All with April birthdays who are avid David Lynch fans should take note.

All who know someone with an April birthday who is an avid David Lynch fan who has a really pathetic bootleg copy of Eraserhead (featuring subtitles in an unknown language) that they bought on eBay in the early 2000s should take note that there is now a Criterion collection edition available.

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And, in a further update today (the post was pre-scheduled), I’m alarmed to see that Chaucer and #WhatThatAprilleDay are trending tremendously– whereas Eliot is not.  Where are my modernists?!?  The entire English language is dead, anyway, as recent OED additions confirm.