When He Said

Pic of the day: Evacuation of an Island, by Victor Hugo (1870)

1870_Hugo_Evakuation_einer_Insel_anagoria

____________________

I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms.

Albert Camus

____________________

When he said “do not lose heart,” I wanted to respond to him myself, tell him I hadn’t, but there were parents that would never have the same heart again. Then again I knew he wasn’t really talking to me.

When he said “I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation” I thanked him. My prayers, little though they are worth were offered up for both the dead and the survivors from the moment I heard about this. I know I am far from the only one.

When he said “The school’s staff did not flinch” I felt a swell of pride in such strong character shown by the people teaching the leaders of tomorrow. They, and those like them are making future generations better simply with their presence.

When he said “We, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions” I was pleased. Even if he didn’t ask all the hard questions there, he had made it plain with that statement that he, along with the rest of us, was looking for those answers to those questions.

He asked one of the hard questions a moment later, and while leaving out important political context that was not necessary at that moment, also gave an answer. Shortened version of the question : Are we doing enough to protect our children as a society?

Answer: No.

When he said “No set of laws can eliminate evil from the world” He was telling the world in only slightly veiled language, that he is ready to fight this fight. That this fight is a murky one, involving gun laws and mental health legislation and a host of other issues, but a fight that he is ready to fight and will pour all his available energy into, to safeguard this nations children, who are it’s future.

When he read the names of the children who died I had to turn away. I felt the welling up of the emotion of loss. They were not my children. I have none, sadly, but I felt the sting of the bitter loss that death brings. The parents who lost kids, the spouses who lost loved ones, must hurt , must feel a pain a thousand times stronger and more virulent than any I have felt. I think I felt that emotional upwelling for them as well as those who died.

As he left the stage, I was happy to have heard him speak. But it leaves me wondering, now that the speeches are over with, what will happen now? We have all heard speeches before. Will more come of this than just words of comfort. I hope so, for the whole nations sake.

____________________

That’s it from here, America G’night.

Mid-October Late Night Idle Talk

Pic of the day:  The Night Cafe, by Vincent Van Gogh

____________________

Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

____________________

Viddy of the day:  “Paul Ryan’s Video Diary” – A Bad Lip Reading of Paul Ryan

____________________

I write every day. I enjoy it, there’s nothing more fun you can do with a computer that doesn’t involve … well … let us not get into that sticky mess.  But I am about to get into some writing that is much larger than anything that I’ve tried before.  Tomorrow I begin working on the outline for the Nanowrimo story ideas that I have been working on for the last 2 weeks.  How I am going to do this is pretty simple.

In the telling anyway.

Part one:  Story statement.  I am simply going to write the most basic concept out.  Single sentence to at once state what will be written and the point of the story, the aim of the story arc.

Part two:  Chapterization.  Begin to break down the story into sections, being sure to put enough action in to each one.  See how many peaks and valleys the story has and see if it looks and sounds right.

Part three:  Minutiae.  After getting the big picture of what the story is supposed to look like, taking those chapters and breaking them down to their smallest possible pieces.

Part three will take the longest.  I pretty much have section one done on several of the story ideas, but concept tweaking is always  a good thing.  Part two will take some inspiration, but I have no doubt that I can do it pretty quickly.  We’ll see though.

The “otherworld”  story is something that I have been going over in my head for the last few weeks, writing down ideas, asking questions of myself about the story and where I want it to go.  I have been doing much the same thing with the Dystopian American future story and the boy meets girl and fall madly in hate story, though not to the same degree as the “otherworld” story.

Now whether I can, through the month of November write an average of 1666 words a day on a story, is something that will prove difficult.  But I plan on doing it, and hope to not just do it but to exceed that number.  Nanowrimo wants 50,000 words in the month, I am going to try for more than that.  I’ll see how it goes.

____________________

That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Clouds

Pic of the day:  Cloud over Yucatan east coast, Mexico by Sensenmann

____________________

I agree that clouds often look like other things — fish and unicorns and men on horseback — but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightning flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.

Stephen King, Bag of Bones

____________________

Thunder had been sounding across the area for 20 minutes and the dark and angry clouds were moving due east as they always do, not moving at any great pace.  The temperatures were well above normal, nearly 80 degrees, hot for an early October and the wind was light and variable coming from the west, making the early autumn day feel more like a midsummer day.

On top of that the humidity which was high to begin with was rising noticeably and rapidly, making everything more and more uncomfortable outdoors.  The shirt stuck to my body slick with sweat as I walked among the trees.  Those trees swayed heavily in the breeze, and the clouds and the horizon began to perceptibly darken.  The edges of the clouds looked almost razor sharp, with small swirls of anger rising just beneath those edges.  The middles of the clouds bulged and pointed to a deluge in the immediate future.

And moments later the rains came.

A flash of light danced from the clouds and struck the ground about a half mile away, lighting up the entirety of the wood where I was walking, and thunder came quickly behind it shaking the ground.  The rain fell, but not so hard that I reached for the small umbrella that I had in my back pocket.  As I made the turn up the hill to head home I could feel the temperature dropping, which was a surprise.  I found the temperature change to my liking, and smiled as I looked up at the falling rain.

The second flash of light, this time the lightning stayed in the clouds, but as it was literally overhead the thunder was immense and immediate and shook the ground like a giant jackhammer and rattled the earth around me.  I ducked my head in response to the sound and quickened my pace rather sharply.

I again looked up I saw the odd silhouette of small fast clouds moving under slower larger clouds which were themselves moving.  It gave the impression of ominous speed and intention, as if the lower clouds were racing to get ahead of the larger ones to pour what they were on the world, to be the first in, while the larger gave the impression of giant ships lumbering laboriously towards some unimaginably huge enemy.

As the rain began to fall with greater and greater strength I felt the need to get out the umbrella that was sitting useless in my pocket.  I did not offhand mind getting wet but felt kind of silly to be getting wet while the means to keeping at least somewhat dry was planted in my hip pocket.

____________________

That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

 

Typing Is Hard

My heart is beating hard and fast as I type this.  I am in the middle of doing exercise and am taking the time between sets to write a little here and a little there.

After the first set of today’s exercise, which is chin-ups, I found I was hungry (initially typed decided instead of found, still dunno why.) Talk about bad timing.  As it is getting late for me, and I have only a little while to exercise and do everything I want to do, including write this, I say the hell with it and eat.   That was perhaps the fastest bowl of cereal I have ever eaten.

It’s a little bit after 10 pm, and I am doing sets of 10 chin-ups.  I’ve done five sets so far, in about 10 minutes.  I’m not trying to set records either with the amount of chin-ups I do, or the amount of time I do them in.  Wife is giggling at me, saying this is hella multi-tasking, writing and exercising at the same time.   I tell her that’s what I’m writing about.  She giggles again.

It is very difficult to type right after doing chin-ups.  My fingers don’t want to move the way I am asking them to.  Typos a plenty.  I miss keys, type the wrong thing, type in extra letters not meaning to… at a far greater rate than normal.   The word late isn’t supposed to have a semi colon in it, and the word wrong does not have an I in it, but you would not have known that I knew that, looking over my shoulder as I was typing just a moment ago.

60.

I spent the time before I started doing the exercise and the eating writing more stuff in the long form running story I’m writing on the “Story of the month” page.  I’m up to 6,000 words.  I haven’t read it.  It is probably crap, but it’s my crap and I like it.

I think.

70.

After my 7th set, I am wondering if I’ll have it in me to do 3 more sets.  Not as in actual capacity, 100 chin-ups is not that hard to do over time, it’s wanting to do it, and within forty-five minutes of going to bed.

Oh hell, now I have to.  Can’t sit here and say I can do 100 chin-ups after doing 70, without doing the other 30, even with my stomach muscles bothering me.  I did something to them.  Whenever I cough, I double over in pain, and I can feel them, feel the soreness in them when I start running.

80.

Typing is hard. Especially when you beat your fingers by doing chin-ups right before typing.  More properly put, chin-ups + typing = exercise in futility.  🙂

I’ve been reading books on putting together a novel, how to work out characters, how to focus on creating them properly.  It sounds a hair more complex than I had initially thought, though doable.  Complexity won’t stop me from writing a book, or just much longer form stuff than I write here.  And I am not sure if I want to write fiction or non-fiction.  I could do both. My grandfather’s story sounds fascinating, and I could do that.

90.

I could try for 120.  But I won’t.  I think.

100.

That feels good.  Almost as good as getting the run story to 10,000 words will feel.  I honestly wonder how long I can make it last.  Like I said, I’m 6k words in, but what I didn’t say is that I have described less than half of the 6 miles run that I am writing about.

Having fun with it, even if it sucks, even if typing is hard.

____________________________

That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

A Short List Of Books

A list of free samples of books I got on-line, seeing if I want to buy them for myself or not. 

Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel

Give me Liberty, by Naomi Wolf

The Ajax Dilemma: Justice, Fairness and Rewards, by Paul Woodruff

The Origins of Political Order: From Pre-Human Times to The French Revolution, by Francis Fukayama

The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, by Naomi Wolf

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces, by Raul Zibechi

Letters to a Young Contrarian, by Christopher Hitchens

Two classics there, by Herrigel and Huxley, never read either one, and I’ve always wanted to get but for one reason or another never did, so those two are no brainers, just get the sample before I buy.  The others caught my eye because they looked and sounded like they have ideas in them that I want to explore at greater length.

Naomi Wolf has intrigued me for some time, but more because she was someone on the periphery of my consciousness, someone I had heard of, but never read, who’s ideas were unknown, but spoken well of by people I respect.  Worth a look just on that count.

The Woodruff offering looks like an offering I read by Professor Richard Sandel (I think that’s his name), and looks like an intriguing philosophical look at the process of giving rewards for work done.  A good thing for people who don’t make enough money to scrape by to have a good hard think about.

The Fukuyama offering on it’s face just grabbed me.  Is this an anthropological look at the structure of political thinking as it’s title suggests?  Good lord I hope so, and I hope it’s exhaustive, because that sounds like the book I’ve been looking for.

Being pro-OWS, a book on social movements, like the Zibechi offering, has an immediate appeal, especially with it being about a successful social movement, made me want to see what this book is about.

And who doesn’t like Christopher Hitchens?  Srsly, for all that I don’t like his stance on the Iraq war, his arguments, the ones that I have heard, are at once persuasive, intelligent, and witty, even the ones I disagree with.  Being something of a contrarian myself , a left wing liberal on right wing Conservative Staten Island, letters from that wit to any contrarian should be an intelligent entertaining read.

There were more radical books out there that I was looking at, but decided not to go further in depth with yet.  8 samples to swallow in a few short days is quite a busy schedule, and I am a busy man even at the most relaxed of moments, so I’ll get to the books on protection services, terrorism, self defense, police tactics, anti-corporatism and, of course, guitar lessons at some later date.

And yes, guitar lessons can be radical. YOU try playing some of Allan Holdsworths solos. You try to play anything by Master Segovia.  Serious.  There is nothing conservative and there is everything radical in those players.

__________________________

Pic of the day:  Alphonse Mucha;  Salome (1897)

__________________________

That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Best Political Jokes of the Year So Far

Runner up, best political joke of the year: Donald Trump. The guy is an absolute hoot. Hate him or like him, you have to admit the guy is an attention getter, and he is funny to me. Maybe there are people who take him serious, but when you repeatedly speak to the birther myth as if it is based in fact, then say that you are friends with “The blacks”, and then you look at the ratings of his show, which are in the tank, you can see exactly what the ranting and headline grabbing is really about.

It’s all about the apprentice jumping the shark, and “The donald” using politics to gain some focus back on him, and his sagging ratings for his shitty show. A real run for president, which some people actually talk about, would probably be accompanied by sane views, wisdom, sagacity, and as little actual stupid bullshit as is humanly possible. The donald is missing on all counts.

The dumbass makes Glenn Beck look rational, and that is zarking difficult to do. But it is incredibly funny to listen to him flounder for attention, but there is even more pathetic and funnier than the donald and his hairpiece.

____________________________________

Viddy of the day: Stephen Colbert on Kyl’s ‘not a factual statement’ – Last Word

____________________________________
Best joke of the year: NOT INTENDED TO BE A FACTUAL STATEMENT. The…THE best idiot line in recent memory, and that is a difficult thing to do in a nation of political idiots, and to understand why, you need to understand the context of the statement. Jon Kyl, a conservative Senator from the state of incomprehensible bullshit, told a major lie on the floor of the Senate. He said that Planned parenthood used 90% of it’s budget for abortions. 90%, that’s an awful lot isn’t it? Well, there was only one problem with the statement. It is patently false. The actual number is 3%, an 87 percent miss by the senator. It necessitated a statement where the now infamous “NOT INTENDED TO BE A FACTUAL STATEMENT” was uttered.

it brought about a SLEW of funny retorts, most notably by Stephen Colbert on twitter using the hashtag #notintendedtobeafactualstatement. A few examples follow:

Jon Kyl holds the Guinness World Record for “Largest Collection of Penis Enlargers.”

Jon Kyl let a game-winning ground ball roll through his legs in Game 6 of the ’86 World Series.

Everything you would only do in the privacy of your own home, Jon Kyl prefers to do on a subway car.

Jon Kyl thinks no one can see him when he puts a paper bag on his head.

Jon Kyl’s torso is covered in superfluous nipples.

For the past ten years, Jon Kyl has been two children in a very convincing Jon Kyl suit.

And the press has eaten this, and hundreds of other such statements up, because it is so damn funny. The press may be filled with self obsessed assholes, but they know a good joke when they hear it, and Jon Kyl has become one.

___________________________________

Now, you and I know that this never would have happened had the senator from incomprehensible bullshit simply told the truth, if he had simply stayed in the real world, but he couldn’t, and now we get to, for the rest of his career, get to bash the hell out of him for his stupid bullshit by making up the most insanely funny abusive stuff about him, for his blatant lies and his covering it up with so stupid a line.

What a dick!

__________________________________

Other funny lines that could at least raise a giggle:

President Obama has finally thrown his turban in the ring for his run for re-election in 2012. ~ unknown

Because of a holiday, the deadline for taxes is April 18, so you have three extra days to dig through restaurant dumpsters for receipts. ~ Jimmy Kimmel

Moammar Gadhafi gave a rambling speech that lasted nearly three hours. So now we know where all of Charlie Sheen’s cocaine went. ~ Conan O’Brien

The Pentagon held a press-conference about the military operation in Libya. They are calling it Odyssey Dawn. I believe it’s the first military operation named after a stripper.” ~ David Letterman

You saw the big controversy with Michele Bachmann. She did not look directly into the camera, which made it harder for the teabaggers to masturbate. ~ Bill Maher

Why is it no human being can withstand more than two years as a presidential press secretary? There must be an organ somewhere in the body that can only filter two years worth of heavy duty bullsh*t.” ~ Jon Stewart

________________________________

I just wanted to have a bit of fun tonight, and toss out some politics. I like it. Hopefully I spelled enough words right for most of this crap to make some kind of sense.

That’s it from here, America. Go to sleep.

A Walk In The Park

I decided to go for a walk in the park only a few minutes before I actually left the house.  I knew I was going to have a busy day, so after doing the laundry, my wife and I ate lunch, and before I got to anything else I decided to do it, while I could.  It was a really nice day out, and I hadn’t seen one of those in a while, not one I could take advantage of.  I’d been relishing the thought of doing this.

My wife, who is ill, could not make it.  I promised her two things.  I would come home quick, and I would take pictures.

As I left, I felt the sun, a rare thing to see in the sky lately, on my face, and I was happy to feel it.  The sun glinted off of the pool of water that is terminally in front of the apartment, momentarily blinding me.  As I locked the door, I reached for my mp3 player, and thought about the days musical selection.  I had been listening earlier to spoken word instead of music, and thought of doing the same. I didn’t think though, that the occasion warranted listening to John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thom. Jefferson like I was before, and gave that thought up.  I went through a list of stuff that I had burned from my old CD collection, and went with that.

Walked about a 2 blocks listening to the band Mad Season when I saw a car slow down, and someone flagging me down.  I look, squint just a bit. Took of the headphones and said “Hey, man!   What’s going on!”  (not using names, no one asked to be written about  here)  He responded  “Namuch, just saw your aunt….”  Family members were mentioned, his kids were in the back of the car, we jawed for a minute or two,  both laughed at one point about  the fact that we actually saw each other twice in a week, after not seeing each other for months. 

He asked me if I was going for a walk.  I was, obviously, he knew it, I knew it.  But for some reason which I cannot fathom, I lied. Oddest thing.  Had no reason to lie, gained nothing from it.  Did it anyway.  Human nature, I guess.  if it is, it’s proof that humans suck.   

Said I had places to go.  The look he gave me let me know he knew I was full of crap.  I didn’t mind for the very good reason that I was in fact full of crap, and why run from what you are? We said goodbye, and went our separate ways.  Put the headphones back on, which were playing the whole time.

I made my way uphill to the park.  The weather was beautiful, the sun, obscured by a combination of dark and light cumulus clouds, shone down in rivulets of light that brightened portions of the world, and left other parts, only feet away, looking darker than they should be because of it.

The trees coming up were bathed in light, with a path seemingly singled out.  I just happened to be going in that direction, and decided to follow the light.  The entrance looked fine until I got to it.  It was a muddy pool with only a thin sliver that was traversable on it’s left side. I took it. The path was clear of water after about 30 feet, with only occasional mud splotches on the path after that for a bit. Most of the paths were more or less dry after that.

I have walked here a thousand times before, but never had I taken pictures of it.  This time, with Soundgarden ripping through my headphones I started taking pictures with my phone.  I’ll say it here.  It’s not my true calling.  I got some great pics of tree stumps, or some such crap.  The grandeur of nature, even in microcosm as it is in a park in a big city, was completely missed by my eye, and the camera I used. I promised my wife pictures, and a promise is a promise, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to Ansel Adams/ Imogen Cunningham/ Edward Weston type stuff. 

The ground was hard to negotiate.  Having a bum right ankle, it made it harder than it should have been, simple sticks on the ground were actually difficult to tackle, such is the lack of mobility in the ankle.  After a minute, I forgot about that, or simply got used to it, and just enjoyed the scenery.

It is still technically winter, but signs of spring are everywhere.  Some trees, and a fair amount of plant life are beginning to sprout green.  Shoots of green are starting to show themselves, sprouting from the brown, rotted vegetation and out from under the broken hulks of trees that had succumbed to the most beautifully harsh winter this area has seen in a generation.  The dead husks of trees seem to be everywhere in the park, some cracked in two to show the weak points that had made them fall in the first place, some falling from sheer weight, showing roots and all, laying on the ground like a turtle on it’s back.

After walking around looking at nature, or what passes for it in a park, I made my way to the top of a ridge, after walking past a man-made path or two, which I had gone out of my way to avoid earlier.  Man made paths have this nasty tendency to have loud, curious, smelly, furry bipeds and their more well-trained quadrupeds on them.  I prefer to not meet the bipeds unless absolutely necessary.  The quadrupeds are fine, tho.  🙂

The ridge looked over the part of the park that I run on when I am healthy enough to run, which I am not.  The ridge is about 100 feet or so higher than the paths upon which I sweat.  The descent is a steep one, and has no clear path.  I decided, despite having difficulty before just walking, to make the trip down the hill.   It helped that I had Rollins Band and Black Flag running through the headphones at that point.  Loud, angry music focuses me.

I made it down in one piece.  It was relatively easy, to be honest. I had more trouble with the walk earlier.  The walking to the point had given me my sea legs, as it were, and that park, that whole area, is home for me. Makes it easy, I guess.

I cut the walk short after that.  I could have done this for hours, but I made a promise to my wife to come home soon.  Things to do, and I had to show her the pics I took.

She liked them. 

Nice.  When I figure out how to get the pics off of the phone, I’ll post them somewhere around here, and you can see the crap photography yourself.

_______________________________

That’s it from here America. G’night.