Free Now and Again
Having no human feedback whatsoever any longer, I am free to drift for the next few days, as I have been doing. Come January 2, 2019, when the machines resume, when the feral dreams of the billions on this earth begin to stir and mingle, fattened with hope and the days growing ahead, we begin a new cycle of the clock. It’s the Year of the Boar. That maybe means something to someone. I don’t understand any of that stuff. I’m still down with the lunar calendar. I like a calendar that affects water, for it is the most of our thin scrum upon this rock, a greasy, wet, weird skin between space and hot stone. I like the idea that the water in me, in the tides, is occasionally pulled by the moon, cancelling gravity of the Earth.
Making My Own Deadlines
It’s weird not having a deadline, like a distant supernova. I don’t enjoy implicit deadlines. I know I need to work, but I also need to paint, and to write a book, to strike a creative balance. I trained in arts, and in sciences, so I have an interesting oscillation going on between dedicated scientific research that is enlivened by my love of literature (an applied art because you need it to convey interpretation of fine arts for those who have missing senses, or different languages, for example) and graphic arts. My scientific interests all boil down to principles of conservation of energy. Logic, physics, all of it seems to follow a deeper order that stipulates that as little work as possible needs happening in an isolated system. Where did the energy come from in the first place? It’s weird.
Sounds of A New Chapter
Speaking of haunting, here is my Album of Choice for 2018, by Rival Consoles.
I spent the last week tying up some loose ends, getting some supplies, and planning on a way to make a fortune and leave Earth. Either by drone, by literature, by paintings, through the atmosphere, somehow elevated and free, somehow again freer than before with new chops, words dripping from my tongue.
I resumed my journal, which is about 50% ethnocentric anthropological essay, 50% research. My watch has numbers on it and most of those are tied to programming and writing well-crafted cover letters for jobs. Some of them are tied to paintings. Some of the numbers reek of unfinished writing. All I know is, once you begin writing 50-100 pages a week, its pretty hard to quit the habit.
I can endure four, maybe five applications a day. Each one takes an hour to research, craft, and place. Once a week I allow myself a throwaway, a writing exercise where i send off a loony one. I sent one such to Astrobotics last eek in the form of a project proposal. I’ll post it tomorrow.
Out of the 16.5 hours of work I give myself – time is the only treasure, everything else is rags and phantoms – I have alloted time for hobbies, hobbies being a polite term for consuming obsessions. I improv, but I must report to myself however I conduct myself, and that includes assessment of deviation from optimized schedules. For example, if I give myself 1.5 hours of evening time for the kids, but I find that, due to holidays, I find myself with kids all day long, and sometimes at museums and zoos and such, I can say why, and for how long I did these aberrant things. For whom, I know not. So furiously this past year did the work consume me that I nearly went insane, and I generated hundreds of pages of research and documentation in the last four months, RIP my professors’ eyes, bless all of them, to spite Death, who took a dear person from my family, and anyone who would doubt me, they are NOT going to enjoy what I make of 2019.
That book, House of Leaves? That’s my summer home. Cozy labyrinths.
It got to the point where I could no longer sleep in September. Death was creeping. I was down to 2.5-3 hours a night and no longer even productive. I replaced those hours with pots of coffee. I had to grieve a death. I didn’t know how. I had seen, from working in nursing homes for years, people approach death in different ways. I think I built an emotional wall so strong, so dissociating, that when those all-too-human impulses began to course through me, to reckon with mortality, I had no access to language for it and instead, a sorrowful capriciousness overtook my motives and steered me into all sorts of unknown pleasure and shocking revelations.
I had work. Some of it was very macabre and disturbing, especially the research into organ transplant transportation, black market trade, legal definitions of death, procurement constraints, weird conversations with people from medical backgrounds. I pushed it before my like a shield made of tears, blurring everything like a Newtonian fluid, effortlessly conveying the research forward through strange thoughts on bio-engineering technology, futuristic monitoring equipment and systems. I was poetically trying to find a way to keep something alive after its person had died. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to save my dying family member.I tried to concentrate on flight. When I wrote financial projections it was difficult to keep the analysis from suddenly becoming a story.
It was like a form of fusion. My thoughts were scattered as stars at night, but I could, after a few days, concentrate, sit down, and write for eight to twelve hours at a time, sometimes for two or three days. Stuff poured out of me at great force for a few days, and then, for a couple of weeks, I was inchoate and struggling. My mind completely scattered to the edges, I had to go out at night to count the stars, each one a promise to stay, to be, to remember my kids, my wife. I felt so empty and tiny, a dust mote. Oh god, and I was aggressively marketing my research during this time. Horrors.
I decided all of my kid’s waking hours at home no longer belonged to me. My wife and I juggle domestic chores and parental activities: homework, clinical visits, athletics, shopping, park outings, all of those were the real work. I had to fight to stay off of the phone reading research papers while I hung out at soccer games. I had to put down the calculator and pick up a crayon or two. There was tickling and hide-and-seek to be had. There were hot dogs and playgrounds to remember, and places that sort of just happened in smiles and in-jokes. My family, having moved through three states in eight years, is a resilient unit, like a pack of orca. We have our own secret language and hunting strategies, and oceans to cross. Oceans of time. Still, even this past weekend, I took the kids to two different parks and in both of them, we were the only souls there. That’s strange, and even more so because it is normal. We are like an Omega Family, a Last Family, a travelling circus, unfolding and unfurled above the desert like a grocery bag battered in the wind and snagged in an acacia. No emails, no visits, no borrowed tools or memories. I know it is different for people who have ties to communities. My wife being a social worker, and me being rather secretive about my work, especially the book, we sort of roll like dust with boots on, but it’s so normal to live like that now. There’s a line from a new Van Gogh movie where Van Gogh says, hey, I’m just contemplating my relationship with eternity. You only need to be middle-aged in America to be like that: alone, weird, and enduring.
Breaking Up With Privacy
I am naked and fat. I am old and ugly and I smell like an old man. When I talk to people, my breath is horrible because I drink pots of coffee and grind my teeth so hard my gums bleed and that smells horrible. I talk about weird stuff, and sometimes I might talk for fifteen minutes without even seeming to take a breath, but I relate everything like baroque mandalas that are heavily ornamented with sculpted meaning impossibly comprehended. I am a fifty foot tall naked fat ugly bag of odors and emotions. When I stepped back onto Facebook – around December 1st, after a nearly nine-month hiatus, I found it fairly empty. Then I found out Facebook wa slinging everyone’s junk around even harder, so I downloaded my stuff and left for good. the
When my mother-in-law passed, it was a relief, because she suffered from cancer. I feel like her ghost was there at my graduation. I saw wraith-like movements in the air in the Convocation Center. I know they were just weird forms of heat turbulence from the HVACR kicking on, but to me, I could imagine it was a lamassu –
The lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing a human head, bull’s body, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull, and wings. It appears frequently in Mesopotamian art. The lamassu and shedu were household protective spirits of the common Babylonian people, becoming associated later as royal protectors, and were placed as sentinels at entrances. The Akkadians associated the god Papsukkal with a lamassu and the god Išum with shedu. – Wikipedia
I graduated from Cal U. Their mascot, ironically or not, is a Vulcan, in the Promethean sense. I also graduated from USF, home of the Bulls. A Bull-Vulcan. But hold up, I also went to classes at a community college whose mascot was a Hawk. Not Spock. Spock was on a movie set, in greeting cards, on T-Shirts, and in country songs, of all places.
Mixing Mythology and Academic History
I am a Vulcan/Velchanos, a tempest, a bull, a hawk, a bulldog, according to the school I went, but primarily a Vulcan-Bull, obsessed with flight, so, some sort of lamassu, and I choose to haunt this world and the next. What’s the difference, your Logos or mine?
I treated a photo of a moon camera with GIMP and made a fractal regression of its contours. I like the large amounts of negative space in it, the darkness that is only there because of the light bouncing off of our world, off the moon, off the Sun. On the far side of the moon, according to Wordena, anastronaut who had 48-minute sojourns around the back of the moon, when it was both far and dark (occluding the Sun AND Earth), he noticed the stars in outer space were so thick and crowded it looked like a sheet of white. Bright reflected sunlight, blocked by the moon, hid the dimmer stars. On the far dark side, these multitude could no longer be overpowered by the light. It’s like when you go into a room at night, cut the light, and for a moment, it’s pitch black, but then your eyes adjust and scavenge light from all the surfaces, and you get a composite of the room, sub-optical, nearly aural.
I took the above image, and then fed it into Microsoft’s 3D Paint and made a video of me playing with a oblate spheroid mapped with a moon camera contour fractal. It’s a living.