Blank Pages

Blank pages intimidate the hell out of me. It’s like staring at a void you know you can’t fill, no matter how hard you try, yet you’re compelled to put something down lest you get sucked in without any anchor or railing to hold on to.

I had a dream as a child that still resonates with me to this day. It was sort of a nightmare but I resist the urge to say it “still haunts me to this day” as that implies it still scares me. It doesn’t. It did, at the very moment I was having it, and left me with chills for many minutes after I woke up covered in cold sweat, but past that point it just… intrigued me. That being said, the idea of being in that dream again still sets me up for a howl of fear. The reason it doesn’t actively frighten me when I recall it, though, is that for some reason I have this assured feeling that it’ll never happen again.

The dream is vivid in my mind, primarily because of it’s simplicity. There’s very little in the way of complexity to keep ordered. While I was actually in the dream my perspective was entirely first person. I could look down at my body, but with no more detachment than I can in my waking life. I could see my hands, my feet, and all the rest, but only from the perspective of my head on it’s shoulders. Yet when I think of the dream the image that comes to mind is that of a third person perspective, as if I was an observer rather than a participant.

The dream begins (or at least my memory of it begins) with myself floating in a featureless void. I’d say I was surrounded by a white light, but that wouldn’t convey the feeling of “void”. Giving it some kind of color would imply that there was something beyond me to provide that color, or that light. There wasn’t, though. It was a complete void, and my mind was certain that there was no-one and nothing else in the whole universe other than me.

No sooner had I come to the realization that I was in a featureless, empty void than the void was suddenly, and very silently, not empty.

The silence should be described on it’s own because it was so complete. It wasn’t just that the non-empty void was quiet, it was entirely… well, devoid of any sound. At all. This becomes even more pronounced when I try to scream and find that, while I can feel my lungs pressing, I can’t hear anything, nor even feel the vibration of my scream that should have been rattling my teeth. All of it was completely absorbed by, and entirely lost to, the void I was surrounded by.

But, as I stated, the void was no longer empty. There was a line. It appeared instantly and completely without fanfare. It was just suddenly there, very real, infinitely long, and approaching at a terrifying speed.

The line was white, a pure and simple white that made me realize just how devoid of color the rest of the void was. It stood out in clear, sharp definition that showed me precisely how devoid it was of any features beyond it’s very simple dimensions. As for it’s dimensions I could tell that it’s length was literally infinite and it’s width was rapidly expanding. Too rapidly.

The line raced towards me at a pace that terrified me. If you’ve ever had a dog suddenly jump and snap at your face, or a snake whip out and strike for your nose, you know the kind of speed I’m talking about. If the line were as wide as, say, a six lane highway it would have gone from the distance of “just visible” to “crushing my nose” in a fraction of a second. I wouldn’t have even had time to blink. Hence the instant and complete terror, accompanied by an adrenaline spike that would have given me the strength to hurl a locomotive off my legs and reflexes capable of catching arrows… had I the chance to use them. But both strength and reflexes were useless as I was hanging in a void, unable to gain purchase on anything that would let me move. All I could do was hover and watch as the line, now a rapidly growing featureless white wall, approaching me at what felt like near light speed.

It never hit, but it also never slowed down. It just kept growing and growing until it’s width appear nearly as infinite as it’s length. And still it flew toward me, fast as ever, and despite it’s complete and utter lack of discernible features on its surface I could still see it clearly and sharply enough to be able to see just how unbelievably fast it was coming at me. I screamed without a sound and failed utterly to have any effect on it’s movement.

I woke in full panic mode, my heart pounding enough to rattle my rib cage and my breath coming in ragged gasps. Within seconds I was almost calm again with the simple assurance of tactile sensation. The fact that I could feel the bed and the blankets, combined with the simple feeling of weight was enough reassurance to bring me right down. In a handful of seconds I went from complete terror to being nearly calm enough to fall right back to sleep. The only thing that kept me awake for the following few minutes was the memory of the dream and trying to wrap my head around it. After a few minutes of that, though, I was back asleep with the irrational certainty that I’d never, ever have that dream again.

Now, every time I’m presented with the proverbial blank page, whether it be a new file in Word or a literal empty page of lined paper, I’m reminded of that dream. I don’t feel the same fear, just a feeling of intimidation and the sense that I need to “step up” to the emptiness myself or it’s going to slam straight at me.

Fortunately the moment I put words down the feeling disappears. But up until that moment the intimidation looms.

Mellow Buzz

Woke up this morning with a particular buzz, a soft background hum of feeling and intent. If I were a religious person I might say the gods were laying in some communication lines and I was feeling the background hum of the twisted pair as the power was being switched on and the microphone being gently blown into.

As I am much less a religious person than I am a universalist I’ll just say it feels like I woke up tapped into some cosmic ley line that seemed to be guiding my head around like a puppet on a string.

It hasn’t lead me anywhere, except through morning traffic and in to work, but the feel is still there.

I so wanted to just stay in the car this morning and drive somewhere far, far away… not to get away, but just to see somewhere new that I hadn’t been before so I could return and write about it. What I most definitely didn’t want to do was drive to work to see the same parking spot, walk in through the same front door, sit at the same desk, stare at the same monitor, and listen to my cellmate crunch away noisily on his lunch at 8:20 in the morning.

An old mix CD of mine fell into play this morning as I snapped a remote signal to my stereo to play me something good, and it obliged. Among the various mellow tunes I’d thrown into the mix (from Pink’s “California” to the Guess Who’s “Stand Tall”, interspersed with Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”) I came across a track from Dead Can Dance.

Last night Juli introduced me to Birthday Massacre on our drives back and forth and I remarked that their music seemed to be the type that required a large sound system cranked up loud in a small club. The kind of situation where you’re not at the club listening to music, but rather sitting in the music with the incidental benefit of the club’s chairs and drinks being available for your convenience. The level of sound that co-opts your spinal column and rib cage as surrogate eardrums.

Dead Can Dance is very much like that as well, although their music is nothing like Birthday Massacre. It’s mellow, trance inducing music with lyrics often sung in foreign, or truly native, languages that I DO NOT want to know the meaning of. If I don’t know what the words mean they can just be sounds with intent, and I can let my imagination fill in the meaning as I see fit. I’d much rather leave it that way.

As I rushed through packing my lunch, shutting down my laptop, filling my thermal mug with tea for the long, monotonous morning drive I eventually had turn the stereo off on my way out and killed the Dead Can Dance tune just as it was draining to applause.

I thought to myself: I have that bundle of CDs in my car. What are the odds my Dead Can Dance disc is among them?

As it turns out, the odds were more than good. The odds were that the moment I picked up the CD case it flipped to the disc I wanted before I was even aware the case was open. The ley line twisted pair of synchronicity thrummed in the back of my head with approval and I pushed the disc into player slot.

My car stereo, as it turns out, can be pretty loud, and without distortion. My whole drive in to work was completely and utterly mute as I sat in the music and directed the car through traffic like a ghost sitting on the driver’s shoulder. I felt entirely detached from the mundane world. It played out like some performance piece, a short film meant to highlight the anonymous mundane existence of the average city dweller. I watched traffic stutter and merge with the detachment of a bored television viewer watching some random Discovery channel documentary on a bland Sunday afternoon because they’re too bored and lazy to change the channel.

Meanwhile, in my head, Dead Can Dance was taking me around the universe on a tour of solar flares. Or something like that. It was certainly more entertaining than the tail lights in front of me.

In the office radio paradise is doing it’s best to keep the buzz alive, but it’s not running in the same channel that’s plugged into my brain. It’s close, and it’s comforting, but it’s not quite as good, and the real world is breaking through with harsh, rusty edges of the cellmate’s slopping jaws hungrily cudding their way through whatever food it is he couldn’t wait until noon to eat. And he’s toying with his computers, moving them back and forth, unplugging and plugging them in. He’s just about set up his new machine, the one that DOES NOT have built in speakers and in my mind heralds a new age of peace and solitude, but it isn’t quite ready yet so he keeps having to swap it out with his old machine, the one that hosts those painfully irritating TV theme songs and jarringly bad salsa music on speakers that cannot be silenced, thus torturing me with the hope of peace while routinely returning to the abusive state of grating sounds scarring my calm mood with harsh, rude barbs.

At least the drive to work was nice. I’ll keep holding on to that.

More Answers

Some good questions from :

1. When did you meet your primary partner?
Heh, this is one of my favorite stories. I first met Ronya over 14 years ago when I lived in an appartment building called “London House”. I occasionally had groups of friends over to go swimming because the building had a pool. Ronya and I first met when she arrived on the arm of one of the regular guys in the group. She even lost an ear ring somewhere in my appartment when she changed out of her swimsuit. I never did find it.

The wierd thing? I don’t remember her. I remember the guy she was with (although his name escapes me at the moment) and I remember him having a blonde girlfriend at the time, I just don’t remember *her*.

Our mutual friend Michael then made plans with both of us to go on a road trip together down to Ft. Flagg, Washington, for a pagan festival. All through the several weeks leading up to the trip Michael kept telling me who we’d be travelling with, but her name never stuck. I mean, NEVER. I drove Michael INSANE with the number of times I had to ask him what her name was again. I can remember him standing in my appartment, throwing his hands up in agonized frustration, yelling “Jeeezus, Joel, did you have a STROKE for breakfast? It’s RONYA. How many times do I have to tell you?!”

No matter how many times he told me, though, I just couldn’t remember her name.

The day of the trip we stopped for our traditional meal at McDonalds on the way out of the city. It was at that point that Ronya, as near as I can remember, first spoke directly to me. Michael had said something funny while I was eating and I wound up choking on a piece of my McChicken sandwich.

Ronya’s first words to me were: “Please don’t die, I don’t think we could carry you out.”

My first word to her was a barely choked out “Bitch!”

I haven’t forgotten her since.

2. What is your favourite colour to wear?
Black. There have been a number of days where people (usually people at work) have asked me where the funeral is. I usually respond with “It’s Johnny Cash Appreciation Day. Didn’t you get the memo?”

3. Where were you born?
Edmonton, Alberta. Although I don’t remember it. I was shipped to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan a year later where I stayed until I was 18.

4. When you are having a bad day, what do you like to do to help yourself feel better?
Depends on the kind of “bad”. If it’s a frustrating day of anger then I end up doing something physically violent… which innevitably leads to my breaking some piece of furniture and bruising the hell out of my hand or foot. I’m trying to translate that into just working out instead, but I don’t know if handling free wieghts when I’m angry is entirely wise.

If it’s a sad day of loss and remorse I simply end up crying. A lot. I’m such a “girl” sometimes it’s embarrassing.

In both cases, though, I also end up eating a lot of food that’s really bad for me. So, yeah, the working out idea would probably be better.

5. Describe the typical woman who will make you do a double take when you are walking down the street because you think she’s hot.
Ronya’s been trying to figure out my “typical” woman for years and still hasn’t pegged it down to any physical qualities. While I will claim to prefer “curvy” women my history will show I’m not terribly consistent with that. I like different traits for different reasons. Thin women can turn my head just as readily as curvy women.

What will always stop me in my tracks, though, are an incredible set of eyes.

But with all of that aside it’s the apparent personality that will make me approach. Ronya has often pointed out physically attractive women to me, asking if I would be interested, and been surprised to find me saying “no” more often than not. It may be flawed but when I look at an attractive woman’s face I try to judge the lines to gauge how often she smiles versus how often she sneers or frowns. If there’s a lot of the latter, I’m not interested. I may be wrong in my assessment, but I’ve got to go with what’s comfortable for me.

Anonymous Dirty Letters

I got a very dirty anonymous letter this morning. An honest-to-gosh hand written letter full of filth. Must be my week. 🙂

Just yesterday I had some “widow” messaging me about my profile on plentyoffish.com. She was quite explicit in her interests and left very few details to the imagination. (although interpreting some of her sentences required imagining some new, chaotic rules of grammar on my part) When I asked “I assume, then, that you want to meet me at some point?” all communication stopped. Complete radio silence.

Predictable.

I’ve had a number of encounters over the years online of unknown ‘women’ wanting to get all hot and bothered with me online. And once I mention anything about meeting in real life they all disappear as if they’d never been.

Clearly I’m having the stereotypical “guy pretending to be girl online to get off” encounters. Bleh. Dude, if you’re gay just go out and cruise the gay bars. Don’t go playing some fantasy game with me just because I look like your “daddy bear” ideal.

I have issues with teasing… and there are some jagged lines between “flirting”, “teasing”, and “humiliation”. Some day I’ll write that uber-long post about the differences I’ve had to define between the three. I’ve had to define those differences because I’ve been teased, and I’ve been humiliated, and they all felt like flirting at the time… right up until they hurt. A lot.

I’ve had to cut razor thin defining lines between the three just so I can avoid reacting in anger when people I love and trust want to flirt with me. I have to recognize that it’s not the same as the women who’ve humiliated me in the past. they’re actually doing it out of appreciation instead of derision.

This requires a conscious effort.

It has been a long, convoluted trip over the years and has lead to me ignoring a lot of flirting over my adult life. Having found myself unskilled at mind games I’ve had to simply avoid playing altogether. After all, if you’re the social equivalent of a ninety pound weakling trying to play professional football only to find yourself constantly crushed into a bloody pulp by the opposition… it’s probably best if you just stay off the field entirely.

This is also why my poly relationships have always been with people I’ve known long enough, and talked with enough, to trust. There was one exception, I suppose, but we’ve wound up being very close friends anyway. And, short of Ronya, she’s probably the one I trust the most.

So now when I get some ‘widow’ or other random and supposedly female stranger coming on to me online from out of nowhere I reign in my doubt just long enough to politely ask “What say we meet in real life then? Just for coffee.” They disappear quite quickly and I can let the brain gnomes file them away in the “just playing with you” pile that’s quietly mountaining in the back of my psyche.

The hand written letter this morning was very nice, though. It had a personal touch to it, and it lifted my spirits.

Still does. 🙂

Two Snakes

I remember going to a palm reader once, years and years ago when I was a child. My mother and I went. Mom was always fascinated by the supernatural and dragged me to every psychic show that came to town.

The one palm reader told me many things, most of which I don’t remember. ( I do think she said I wouldn’t find love until later in life, but that could just be my mind dressing up my memories to fit the facts ) One thing I do remember with certainty, though, was that the woman remarked on how both my mother and I were born in the year of the Snake, but because of our astrological signs my mother was a fire snake while I am a forest or grass snake. (Hence I can claim with authority to be an official Snake in the Grass as well as a certified Bastard) She told me this was a good thing, as my mother would understand me well enough to accept my differences and I would relate well enough to my mother to learn from her. She went on to say that the best lesson I’d learn from my mother was how to avoid, or resist, being trod upon as so many grass snakes allow themselves to be. Being raised by a fire snake would teach the grass snake to rise up and strike back once in a while.

I took this to heart, even as a child, because I was already smart enough to realize that I was weak. The bullies at school certainly brought that lesson home often enough. But I was also smart enough to realize I could never be strong in the same way my mother was.

My mother, despite having a really deficient asshole detector, was still a damned strong and independent woman who could, and would, fight for her achievements. She rarely achieved anything in half measure. She would throw the full force of her will against whatever problem presented itself and drive at it until it broke.

Some people would call this being stubborn. I called it being direct.

Because of the way she raised me I have learned the advantages of being direct. But because of the way I am, I don’t apply that lesson very well. While Mom would stoke the fires of her fury and slam headlong into a problem, I’d worm my way around the edges until I found the way through or past it. If there were no way past it I’d eventually pull our the worn ax my mother gave me and try my own clumsy hands at hacking away. I always give up sooner than my mother would, my chops ragged and inefficient. Where my mother would rend entire slabs of a problem off at a stroke I have to content myself with chipping away at it in tiny increments.

But I have learned, and the lessons have brought me some measure of skill. And have brought me to places merely wending my way through crevices and holes would never have taken me.

And while I never mastered her direct methods at moving forward I have acquired the skills that keep me from being pushed back.

Unfortunately it could also be said that there is a disadvantage to having a grass snake raised by a fire snake. A grass snake will always opt for the safety of the background, the comfort of the hidden. Don’t notice me and you won’t hurt me. If I stay back here, I won’t get hurt.

That works equally well for hiding behind skirts as it does for hiding behind rocks and trees, and when those skirts belong to a powerful and protective woman it makes it damned tempting to just stay in there forever.

But that’s not good, and anyone reading this will already have figured that out. For one thing, those skirts aren’t going to be there forever, and when they’re gone that little grass snake isn’t going to know where else to hide. And despite what lessons he may have gleaned over the years the direct approach just isn’t going to work for him, not in the long run. He needs to know how to solve problems his way, the way he was built to solve them.

Which means he needed to figure a lot of the stuff out on his own. Not only because there wasn’t anyone else around to show him The Way of the Grass Snake, but also because that’s the best way those lessons are learned.

Man, this has all the makings of a hell of a fable.

Change is inevitable, the rate of change is variable

As I put dishes away this evening I had a thought.

“Let’s leave the world behind,” I thought to myself. “Let’s run away faster than the world can follow and, when we turn the next corner, we’ll hide under the sage until the world gets fed up calling our names and goes home.”

The world as a spoiled, clingy sibling. I honestly haven’t the slightest clue where that metaphor came from.

Unfortunately the world is tenacious as well as clingy and won’t let you get away with anything. It’ll find you hiding under the sage and, when it does, It’s Telling Your Mom.

I’m not good with change, as many people (*coughronyacough*) have noted, over and over and over again. I’ve been conscious of this fact since childhood, and the phrase “we fear change” could well be my mantra.

I didn’t realize just how much I fucking Fear change, though. It’s irrational, stupid, and annoying.

They’ve switched me to permanent night shifts at the mall, a switch that honestly holds more positives than negatives. Prime among the positives is that I’ll have far fewer people to deal with. Around friends I’m rather gregarious and open so many of you may find this hard to fathom but I really don’t like having to deal with people much.

Oh who am I kidding? You all know how much I loathe “dealing with” people. I positively chafe at the thought of having to endure more than a couple of minutes of small talk. Hey there, random stranger, when I give you the polite nod in response to your comment and return to my book it doesn’t mean I’m a shy, social misfit with no friends who desperately needs you to draw me out into the world. It means I don’t want to talk to YOU so kindly shift your pathetic discourse on the weather to some other helpless transit victim, kay?

So, yeah, I’m on permanent midnight to 8 shifts, which suits me just fine.

Only, on Saturday night, when I started my first full time midnight to 8 shift, I was nervous and edgy as hell. I was, in fact, quite frightened.

Why? I haven’t a freaking clue. I’ve done midnight to eights for months now. Two of my five weekly shifts have been midnight to eights ever since I started. Nothing new was going to pop up for me to deal with. The mall was empty, except for the cleaners who were gone an hour later, and I had the place to myself.

But I was *stressed*, for chrissake. Twitchy, jumpy, and nervous.

Now, ostensibly a big part of that was due to the coffee I was drinking. Coffee has always been a strong magnifier for my emotions and I had made the pot extra strong to keep me awake all night. But those emotions have to be there for them to be magnified.

And it lasted most of the night, too.

If it were a scene in a horror movie I would have been walking backwards through a darkened room with a faulty flashlight that keeps going out.

Last night was much better and I wasn’t nearly as weirded out.

Tonight I’m switching to tea.

In other news I have two unrelated friends trying to recommend me for two entirely unrelated jobs. I’m not sure if I’m actually qualified for either, but we’ll cross our fingers.

I’m working on a new theory very similar to the relationship theory I developed years ago. In relationships most people I know have found love when they were least looking for it. In life, I find, the chance for change to just “happen” to you is inversely proportionate to how comfortable you are with the current situation. In other words, the more comfortable you are with where you are now, the more likely that is to change. Conversely, the more you want things to change, the less likely it is that change will occur.

Aaaand that’s enough philosophy for the night. Time to go swap loads of laundry.

Melancholy in the night.

Went out with some of the guys tonight playing NTN at a rather smoky bar. I’m consciously trying to cut back on my soda pop intake so I was drinking coffee all night. Cup after cup after cup. I got home at 11. It’s now 1:30 in the morning. You can see where this is going.

Coffee does more than wire me up, although it does that quite well. It also turns the contrast setting on my emotional color bars up to maximum. No emotion is ever halfway when I’m cranked on coffee. Every feeling is hard edged and solid. There are no gray scales, only the utter absence or presence of emotion.

Happy is Blazing Joy. Anger is Seething Hatred. Sad is Morbidly Morose. Possibly even Despondent.

Best thing to do at times like this is to slap on some old record I haven’t heard in a long while and just drink it in. Melancholy is an emotion I have decades of experience with and I quaff it by the shipload. There’s nothing better for the soul than a quiet, sleeping city at night and an old album as familiar and well worn as your favorite pair of jeans.

Right now it’s a collection of Concrete Blonde’s greatest hits, including several live recordings. Johnette Napolitano is an incredible songwriter. Tomorrow Wendy and God Is A Bullet are still two of my all time favorite tunes.

Shit, this is the kind of mood that deserves a huge hit of marijuana. Or something. Although I guess that would be probably a little too mellow.

Applied for more jobs today. More than ever I just want some … oh, I don’t know, warehouse job or something. Some job where the task isn’t too terribly complex. Something I can do in a zombie haze if I have to. Something that’ll let me write stuff in my head while I work. Something that’ll get me off my ass, while I’m at it.

But I also applied for some programming jobs. I mean, what the hell… if I can do it, and they’ll pay me for it, might as well give it a shot. Who knows, maybe I won’t be overly stressed at my next job.

That’s a pipe dream, though, and I know it. Every single programming job I’ve had has had an amazing amount of stress with it. Deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines. And bugs. And stress. And … people expecting things to be done so quickly because, to them, it’s so fucking easy. Just click a button and it works, right? Fuck.

Right now my dream job would be mail carrier. Although I suspect some of that beauteous haze might sift away a bit once it starts getting cold out. But I’ve done that. I’ve walked for miles in the cold, carrying pounds and pounds of books on my back. I didn’t much like it, but I did it. And I might feel better about doing it again if it meant I’d get paid for doing it this time.

Hm, the buzz is wearing off, and the album is over. The silence of the house reminds me that I must let the kitties back in. The weather has been so warm tonight I’m sure they’ve been romping quite merrily out there since 11, but I’m pretty sure Gargoyle will be hungry about now. You just watch. I’ll open the door, they’ll both bolt in, and Gargoyle will immediately start wolfing food like he’s been starving for a week.

And Carmen will whine at me in that persistent way that says she will never be satisfied, no matter how much attention I might lavish on her.

And then Gargoyle will go throw up somewhere after he’s overeaten his fill.

Life. Don’t talk to me about Life.

Odd Fondness

I’m experiencing a flood of old past pleasures at the moment. When I went to fish out my boxes of Zombies!!! Games I happened to glance over the shelf of old videos we have stored in the same room and spotted Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. I oooo-ed in recognition, immediately attached to memories of this marvelous little film. Tim Roth and Gary Oldman at their best, decades ago when they were still very young and fresh. Richard Dreyfus, always good as he always is. Some fantastic dialog, along with some bizarrely intellectual physical comedy. It’s All Good. So I tossed the video in but have yet to turn off the radio. For some reason the odd mix of music and movie works… and then, out of the blue, Jack decides to play The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese” and I’m caught up in another wave of nostalgic pleasure.

And now, inexplicably, I have an intense desire to spend an entire afternoon, or maybe even an entire weekend, gaming.

These odd pleasures … I can’t fathom the connection, except that they come from my past.

People (or memes) will often ask “what’s your favorite book / movie / song…” and I never have anything beyond the pat, simple answers. But my favorites always remain hidden in my mind, choosing to emerge on their own schedules, or when I’m synchronistical-y reminded of them by something else.

I used to be annoyed by this. The fact those little things I love aren’t readily apparent in the forefront of my mind. But I’ve come to accept this as a necessity. After all, the worth of treasure is in its rarity. If it were always in the fore of my mind the gleam of its appeal would gradually wear to a dull gray of commonality.

So I’ve learned to just treasure these little sudden reminders of past favorites and leave it at that.

“Let me get it straight. Your father was king. You were his only son. Your father dies. You are of age. Your *uncle* becomes king.”
“Yes.”
“Unusual.”
“Undid me.”
“Undeniably.”
“He slipped in.”
“Which reminds me…”
“Well, it would.”
“I don’t want to be personal.”
“Common knowledge.”
“Your mother’s marriage.”
“He slipped in.”
“His body was still warm!”
“So was hers.”
“Extraordinary…”
“Indecent.”
“Hasty.”
“Suspicious.”
“Makes you think.”
“Don’t think I haven’t.”
“And with her husband’s brother!”
“They *were* close.”
“She went to him…”
“Too close.”
“For comfort.”
“It looks bad.”
“Adds up.”
“Incest to adultery.”
“Would you go so far?”
“Never!”
“To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies. You are his heir. You come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before his young brother pops onto his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending both legal and natural practice. Now… why exactly are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?”
“I can’t imagine.”

Motivation, or lack thereof

I haven’t written a journal entry in a very long time and it’s easy to know why: not much new happening in my life. Still unemployed, still looking for work. At least I’m still applying for jobs.

And despite all this free time I didn’t get my NaNoWriMo novel done. Something about free time and apathy, the two go hand in hand with me. One of the reasons that whole “rotate your avoidance techniques” works so well with me … the best way to motivate me to do one thing is to tell me I have to do something else I don’t want to do.

Like work.

I want a job, but the only reason I want a job is because we need the money. If I could get by without working I’d do it. Then the only negative part would be dealing with the feelings of uselessness.

It’s a nasty spiral and I’m on intimate terms with it. When you’re feeling less than productive, less than useful, you’re (or at least my) desire to do anything productive drops like a rock. Which, of course, makes you feel even less useful, less productive.

And that’s another reason I haven’ written a journal entry in a long while. When I write journal entries I often do so to get in touch with how I’m feeling at the moment. And I don’t really want to go into how I’m feeling at the moment. Suffice to say I wish I had more black clothing to go with my mood.

There are some bright moments, like time I get to spend with Ronya, and time I get to spend with friends. But when I spend time with friends I inevitably feel guilty for all the things I’m not accomplishing.

Like I said, a nasty spiral.

About the only thing that might get me out a spiral like that is the inspiration of a really cool idea, or a way cool project that gets me excited all on it’s own.

may have just provided the very idea / project to get me motivated again, and as a bonus it’s something that my current black mood is well suited to. I had no idea how violent and depraved I could really be until I started brainstorming for… uh, this project.

I’m not sure if we’re ready to share it with the world at large yet. A few close friends have already had a glimpse (and believe me, people, that first taste {pun intended} really *is* just a glimpse) and the reception so far has been very positive.

And to prove just how enthused I am for The Project, here is an actual journal entry by me.

In “news of the twisted” I’ve had an experience that further supports my theory that the world at large is actually an illusion, a farcical play with a limited cast, set up for my benefit. How is this theory supported? By the constant re-use of characters.

Wildor and Sandy have bought a house recently. They plan on moving in tomorrow as the previous owners vacated just this past weekend.

In seemingly unrelated news, a friend of a friend of a friend e-mailed me and asked for help on behalf of her parents. They moved out of their old house last weekend. I didn’t make it for several reasons, not the least of which was my utter inability to sleep at all Friday night. I only started to feel like I might be able to sleep around 5am, and at that point I forced myself to stay awake long enough to phone the people at a reasonable hour and let them know I wouldn’t be able to make it.

Had I made it, though, I would have realized a day earlier just how sparsely staffed the “illusion for Joel’s benefit” acting company is. As it was it wasn’t until Sunday, when I went over to Ronya’s parents’ place for Sandy’s American Thanksgiving dinner that I discovered Wildor and Sandy are moving into the same house the friend’s parents just vacated.

See, now if the “illusion for Joel’s benefit” acting company had more actors and a bigger budget they wouldn’t have to keep re-using people and place like that.

Seriously, some days the world seems to be populated by only a hundred people or so who keep getting re-used. The people walking out on the street might as well be on a loop for all I know.

In other news… Halo 2, the game, is both fantastic and mediocre. The online play is fantastic, even when I get my ass handed to me. The storyline campaign, however, is … well, it would have been tough to live up to the hype no matter how good it was. The story is fairly good, and the action is good. It is fun switching between the Covenant Arbiter and the human Master Chief, but I think it would have been more interesting if your Covenant character actually had to fight human opponents. I don’t know why they didn’t go that route. It’s like they brought back the flood solely to dehumanize the once-human opponents. It’s like they didn’t want to have you shooting at life-like humans or something. If they’d wanted that then they should have made the online multiplayer game strictly alien only.

I came to an interesting conclusion the other day: there’s a generation gap in terms of what’s acceptable trash talk. Michael had invited someone he knew from the internet to join in our group one night. He’s a younger man, probably in his very late teens or whatever. Michael found his trash talk so offensive he actually left negative feedback on the guy.

Now, in our group, we’ve taken to doing little “teabags” to our downed opponents as a bit of bravado and, well, “in your face” trash talk. But we’re used to it, and we don’t take it seriously at all. It never upsets us. But the other night, when a player named Shadow Wanderer invited us to join his party, we found ourselves in a firefight of dozens of people. We were slaughtered like cattle. Shadow Wanderer ended up with over 300 medals by the end of the CTF game. The interesting thing, though, is that he chastised a player’s guest for teabagging, and let him know in no uncertain terms that such actions would get you hunted down and ostracized.

So, just like in the real world, what might be acceptable to some groups will get you shot in others.

Now I almost wish I hadn’t named our clan “The Tea Party”.

Almost.

Rambling

Went over to Mav and Tony’s place tonight for some visitation. We were going to play Zombies but never really got around to it. Ah well, the conversation was all we really needed.

They’re making plans to drive to Portland next summer. From there they plan on flying to San Diego for the comicon. Apparently they can get plain tickets from Portland for fifty bucks. They wanted Michael to come along with them but he began to protest that he’s just too old for road trips anymore.

Hell with that, I say. Nobody is too old for road trips.

He then went to comment that he’d already done the trip to Seattle six times in his youth, and I got to thinking… six times? Is that all? I was sure we’d made the trip down there a heck of a lot more than that.

Then again… six times is kind of a big number when you think about it.

Hell, we drove to San Diego and back twice. Definitely better the second time around, too.

And now I’m jonesing for a good road trip. Haven’t had a full throttle, carefree road trip in years. The kind where you drive all night and sleep all day to avoid both traffic and midday heat. The kind where you experiment with dangerous concoctions of sugar and caffeine to keep you awake for days at a time. The kind where you end up giggling non-stop whenever someone says “pee”.

Late night on an empty highway, windows wide open as the day’s heat slowly oozes up off the road and through your floorboards. Wind whipping through your hair and tunes cranked on the car’s shitty stereo, the CD player precariously balanced on a shirt between the two front seats to keep it from skipping. Coffee and cola coursing through your veins in place of blood you still find a serene, tao-istic headspace that allows you to envision the road ahead as one long ribbon of history, an epic journey in progress.

Man, yeah, I think I was born to do road trips. Or, at least, road trips were when I felt the most free.

I recently debated getting a class 1 driver’s license just so I could work on the open road, hauling trucks from city to city. Except I wouldn’t be able to take friends along and I’d *always* be on the road. And I’d have very little say in where I went. And I’d get *really* fat really fast. Probably die of a coronary before sixty.

I loved driving at night, though, in the summer. My fondest road trip memories were of the times when I was driving at night and the only one awake in the car. Mellow music playing loudly on the stereo. The hum of the tires pulsing through my seat. I was free in those moments. Absolutely nothing existed beyond the headlights before me. Every problem in the world was gone and my mind was totally at peace.

I grew up alone, only child of a single mother who ran her own business. Being a natural introvert as well kept me from heading out on my own much. I spent hours and hours by myself, entertaining myself with books or simple games. Later, in adulthood, I spent a lot of my time alone as well. This may come as a bit of a surprise given how many friends I have now and how much time I spend with them, but I still love having a lot of time to myself.

When I lived on my own, working late night shifts, I would love to spend hours just walking through the city at night. Downtown would be deserted at three in the morning and I could pretend I was the only one left in the world. A sad thought, from one perspective, thinking you’re the only person left alive in the world. And yet, a comforting one as well. The vast majority of the strife and stress in my world results from my obsessing over whether or not I’m living up to other people’s standards, whether or not I’m letting people down. Removing every single person in the world from that equation removes all possibility of that kind of stress.

I’m rambling, thinking out loud and expressing theories as they occur to me.

Still, I love being up and alone at night. Not a good state to exist in when you should be trying to keep to a day schedule in case you get called for a job. I can’t resist, though. It’s nearly 1am and here I am, sitting at my computer, writing an entirely random journal entry.

Part of me thinks I should be writing about Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow since Ronya and I saw it last weekend, but I don’t feel like doing a review. It was a relatively fun movie, and worth seeing on a big screen just to enjoy the full effect, but really you might as well wait until it gets to the cheap theaters.

Part of me thinks I should be writing about giving Ronya her birthday present tonight. She was just as pleased as I knew she would be with the air compressor and nail gun package set I bought her. Sadly she won’t have a chance to try it out until Sunday, at the earliest.

It’s after midnight. Ronya is officially 31 years old. Happy Birthday, love.

Part of me thinks I should write about how I pushed my workout a little too hard on Thursday, and how my body let me know I’d pushed a little too hard by giving me the hard, painful coughing again. Haven’t blacked out yet, but I’ve had a few dizzy moments. I’ve resumed my inhaler for the time being and resolved to throttle back on the workouts again for a while. But I refuse to stop going to the gym entirely.

Ronya and I decided to set up our real bed frame in the basement bedroom this week. If and when Phil and Lisa move out we’ve decided we’re not moving back into the upstairs bedroom until we’ve remodeled it. We want to strip the walls out, improve the insulation, put the walls back up, and paint it one unified color. To that end we’ve resigned ourselves to sleeping in the basement until it’s done.

Sleeping on the regular bed frame is… different. I had a hard time sleeping the first night. It wasn’t at all uncomfortable, but the slight change in feeling had me tossing and turning most of the night. It’s a good thing that was a night Ronya was in Brooks. She would have murdered me for keeping her up all night.

Man, still can’t get the idea of a road trip out of my mind. Wide open windows, highway speeds, and a good stereo playing mellow blues… it’s just such a perfect feeling. I guess that’s why I decided that’s what my afterlife will be. I will be in heaven, my heaven, and I will be using my heaven to visit everyone else in theirs.

Okay, enough rambling. I should just go to bed.