Friday, May 29, 2009

Searching And Fearless

priced for sale at the enclave.
used books: the only kind that matter.

10 bizarro comics (many amazing cartoonists)
10 hatful of seuss (taught this teacher much)
08 new american poetry 1945-1960 (donald allan)
10 halliwell's filmgoer' (wellworn)
30 math's:...history & phil'phy (w.s. anglin; springer HB)
10 browser's dictionary of foreign words (j. wiley; 2001 1st HB [no jacket])

massmarket (racksize)

6 mathematics (rapport & wright; stunning WSP 1st [1964])
2 eight great tragedies (mentor; one play has pencil notes; tape on cover)
2 skin tight (hiaasen)
2 for whom the bell tolls (hemingway)
10 greek myths (graves: scholarship for the masses; pelican '61 printing [2 vols])
2 dr. nightingale (adamson)
2 sticks & scones (davidson)
2 all the hungry mothers (adams)
4 darwin's radio (bear)
4 vacuum diagrams (baxter)
4 the human brain (asimov; mentor '65 ed.)
6 romantic poets blake to poe (auden[!] ed.; viking portable; worn; '69 printing)

that's it for now.
but i've got a lot of stock.
and no way to move it all at once.
(no way to cut and run: bad idea.)
the proposed deal is right down the middle
(my stock; their store... win-win
[plus i get to have books around me
as i blog... if the whole deal works].)
it turns out i *do* want to sell.
keep me in coffee money.
who knows maybe start a conversation.

bonus round (already there for reference;
now priced [not] to sell)

30 history of western art (barnes & noble HB)
20 illustrated history of the world (b&n HB)
20 calculus (HB; stewart; textbook millionaire living in a palace)
20 essential world atlas (oxford; gorgeous satellite shots etc.)
10 webster's new world encyclopedia (prentice-hall '93 1st)

the dictionary's not for sale.

Trust No One

The boss wanted me to see the company shink and for a second I thought I'd do it. I've referred to my willingness to "reintegrate" into society and have even made some baby steps; this looks very much like "the next right thing". Certainly the popular wisdom would have it so. Then Lee (O'Rielly... if I'm spelling his pseudo right...) gave me a referral. Probably I was talking about getting back on the 'zac (check this cool adbusters thang in my flickr page). Anyhow, I was this close to calling her. But I keep coming up against the simple fact that I can't be honest about my life with suchlike professionals in their professional capacity; it's essentially against the law. I believe, and imagine I could prove if I had to, that anybody who can legally prescribe what I need is a government rat by law. Moreover, they're mostly closely controlled by the insurance industry and forbidden by contract to be honest with their own patients. So what with being agents of two of my sworn enemies, maybe I should avoid such contacts until they come with the tasers and handcuffs and get me. I'm bound to get all the professional help I can possibly use then. Obviously this looks like madness. I don't question that. But am I actually crazier than the situation itself? Not so clear. Watch this space.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Don't Quit The Dayjob

if you can learn to treat people like crap
and then not only forgive yourself for it
but not even *believe* you've treated 'em
like crap, it's like some social superpower.
*that*'s the god-damn "Secret", if i'm seeing
clearly... trouble is, of course, this "secret"
has to be kept secret even from oneself
to be effective (the usual storyteller's
gimmick: the quest is much more interesting
than the prize [but one keeps *speaking*
of the prize to get a "like you're there"
effect... like the character, *readers*
experience the mc-guffin as *imaginary*
(unlike the quest itself which is of course
real for the character but imaginary for
the reader)]... the key to the treasure
is the treasure kinda thing). and of course
everybody does it to some extent: "denial".
the trick is to *use* your denial (and then of course
cover your tracks... the secretary will disavow
any knowledge... "imf"... impossible mission force
or international monetary farce?... inquiring minds
wanna have their morning free-associate right out
in front of goddess and man [and robot and who knows
what all... cat maybe]). love always. v.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First There Is A Mountain

So I met this guy at the Enclave. He's a pro singer... and housepainter and whatnot... semi-pro, let's say; the point is he does paid gigs and has for years. I'd like to get into that kind of thing myself and so I'm interested more or less of course. He's recently added acting into his work on stage. And as he told me about that I realized that it sort of sounded like something I'd like to try.

Whereas the whole idea once would have repelled me. Now, yes. I played the boy in The Happy Journey to Camden and Trenton. Also I did the lights (two shows a week in season) for a company of puppeteers and even got lunch money for doing it. A walk-on in Town Theatre's South Pacific. Also I understudied with the lightman on the same show (with a real dimmer board). My Dad was the director and the lightman was my best friend... a "theatre person" in those public school days.

Whereas I just didn't see the attraction at all. Extracurricular activities? Isn't that just like voluntary school? With tryouts?

But I guess I sort of get it now. What I suppose my parents were hoping I'd somehow have picked up on when I was doing the little bit of dabbling I mentioned essentially to please one or both of them: people who can accomplish difficult things by working together get stronger by doing so; also friendships and other social ties develop.

Indeed, it now appears that it's by doing all that stuff I always wanted to avoid that one becomes one of those confident son-of-a-bitches that's always going around grabbing up all the good stuff. Which is something it might have occured to me to want. Anyhow I think I want it now.

I expect there'll have been occasions when people've tried to break this down for me; I expect it's pretty common knowlege. It's certainly understood by, this guy I saw a movie about just a little bit ago, Rafe Esquith.

I was actually moved to tears by this thing. The Hobart Shakespeareans, it's called. Esquith teaches disadvantaged immigrant kids; he recruits a class each year for a special program and shows 'em how school works when you've got a dedicated pro with a free hand leading volunteers. In particular, along with doing all the usual "school" stuff, way better than most of the rest of the kids in the school, his class mounts a production of a Shakespeare play every year—and they take it on the road.

And a lot of the stuff coming out of his mouth was the same stuff you'd hear from the braindeadest lickspittle propaganda drones till you wanna puke: accountability and teamwork and "work hard and play by the rules" and baseball for god sake. But when they say it it's just transparent lies to get you to shut up and lube that grindstone whereas this guy not only means it, he proves it.

"If I could believe that stuff", I say to th' Mad One at this point, "hell, I could be a great teacher!"—but, alas, I do not believe it: I'm about as sure as I ever am of anything that working hard and playing by the rules is generally just another name for Quiet Desperation.

Those "jobs" the kids in these classes are supposed to get better qualified for by taking classes with me? Maybe for one in several dozen. And sure, it's nominally voluntary... nobody's holding a gun. But they don't call 'em required classes for nothing. Mostly it's a giant con game; a trap these kids are in. One I've becomed ashamed to be a part of.

Anyhow, math is all I got; the only thing I'm an expert in. Teaching here ought to also be about how to survive in bureaucracies but it's generally clear on first sight that they'll learn little enough about that from me. I sure can't teach 'em good middle class attitudes like Mister Esquith; I'm a fucking failure for god sake.

Opting out of all the voluntary teamwork I could see my way out of has evidently led me to the sorry pass where all I can see is the tryout—the possibility of rejection—and an uncertain reward. Never ask anybody for anything if you can help it, I always say. Also, "in plans begin disappointments". Stuff like that. So I'm something of a mess.

And I can't see or hear like I did and I forget things a lot quicker and more completely but maybe I'm not a whole lot stupider overall than when I was younger (and reputed pretty bright). And the Mad One is the only close friend I see regularly and indeed I'm sort of a pariah but up in the barracks I have reason to believe I'm, not only generally well-liked, but even cared about and respected and suchlike valuable things... it appears I've retained at least some of the once-ample charm I inherited from both parents.

So, you know, as much as I hate to say it, there may be some thin rays of hope. Which I'm gonna need. Because it appears pretty likely that the little bit of confidence I have gotten back in my winning streak this last few quarters is gonna be enough to get me fired. No good deed...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Publish The Notes

"The Devil and Mr. Blake" has had its debut; Lee seems to've gotten a kick out of it. "Lee" is his real pseudonym. He told me so.

Today I was fiddling around with All I Really Wanna Do... and I haven't got all the lyrics where I can always get at 'em... so I spit out a phrase just to keep the beat as it were and it sounded ok so I worked on it a little bit. Changed the chords around so the swipe wouldn't be, like, glaringly obvious. DAEA (just like Bob) DAE (stay on E this time... creative, hunh?). The same again. Then DEA twice; DAEA, DEA.

Get away from me
With your bogus sympathy
I can see what you want in your eyes
All you want from me
Is that I should agree
That I'm the kind of guy you should despise
You really oughta pick another victim
Some sucker who won't even know you picked him
I'm gonna make you see
That your victim can't be me
So get away from me
With your lies
And the thing here is: you've gotta have a notebook right there where you're already banging out the chords so you can work it out. Half of the stuff you come up with that you tell yourself you'll remember later when you're working the same chord changes... you never do. It's like looking stuff up in the damn dictionary. If there's one right there, I'll take a look; otherwise I'll tell myself a pleasant lie about my good intentions and then soon forget it. I found this out long ago and keep dictionaries near at hand when I read; I'm not nearly so good with taking notes (not that I don't have reams of my own handwriting cluttering up the place back "home"). The flavor—home, office, or classroom—should be that of a studio where whatever tools the artist—that would be me—needed most recently or most often are generally closest to hand... one wishes at all times to be already getting on with the next thing that'll cause this cool project that one is in the midst of to keep getting better...

All Happy Blog Posts Are Alike

Sane meta-criticism on the tiresome religion-vs.-reason thing by Professor Burke.

Gayprof on Trek.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Corporations, Television, and Human Spirituality

"Escape from the Zombie Food Court", by Joe Deer Hunting With Jesus Bageant.

Me And The Devil Blues

P-IMA-IMA. This is a picking pattern: P's the thumb, I the index, M the middle, and A the next one after that. I expect these come from Italian words but I'm lazy to check it. They've got a lock on a lot of musical terminology though... but then, if I were wrong, this would be the reason I was wrong...

But isn't this level of philosophising actually getting to be harder than looking it up? One is on the web...

No, as it turns out. I've looked around slightly and haven't learned the truth; in French, one has Pouce, Index, Majeur, Annulaire... and that's as far as I'm going just now because I came to post about this song.

Anyhow, I do the ol' p-ima-ima pick... sort of a country three-feely oom-pah-pah deal... with a C chord and a G7 and the "melody line" is mostly just matching the notes to the bit the thumb hits (and is pretty doggone singsongy)... my musicianship is still pretty much at zero even though I somehow play the damn thing better and better all the time...anyhow here's

The Devil and Mr. Blake

I rose up at the dawn of day
Get thee away, get thee away
The Lord of this World by my side does stand
And he holds my moneybag in his hand

For my worldly things God makes him pay
And he'd pay for more if to him I would pray
But though you can do the worst you can do
Be assured Mister Devil, I won't pray to you

He says if i won't worship him for a god
I'll eat coarser food and I'll go worse shod
But as I don't value such things as these
Do, Mister Devil, just as God please

And maybe do the first verse again if, God willing, anybody actually appears to be enjoying it or something... because this is pretty much ready to go. I guess I've got it memorized well enough to give it a try. So all I need is an audience... the toughest roadtest begins by actually getting out of the driveway.

The longawaited midsummer Concert for Midstate U is shaping up something like I Love My Beer, For John Henry, Pinky's Blues (instrumental), Mr. Blake, Seven Curses, and Measure for Measure. Still not enough. One or more Tom Lehrer songs yet to be relearned (The Masochism Tango most likely); ditto Elvis Costello (Two Little Hitlers?). More by Bob if by anyone: Hurricane was once one of my greatest crowdpleasers (and I used to know dozens and dozens more). The MadOne is gonna get pretty tired of this stuff...