If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.

So there is this thing going around the facebook where a person is supposed to assign you a number and you are supposed to then post that number of things that most people don’t know about you. I was just about to try to do that when I decided that I would try it out here instead. My reasoning was that much of the content of this here blog-thing has been at least somewhat about things about me… and now that I type that it makes it all sound very self-indulgent, or at least self-centered. Alas. Even so, I am curious what sort of reaction folks reading these might have and as such have sort of written them in the sense of viewing myself from the outside…trying to learn more about myself through your eyes.

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Anyway, this seemed like good fodder for a post so let’s see where it leads…

Six things. Not in any particular order.

  1. Most of my childhood I had an almost wholly demoralizing fear of dogs. Well, maybe that is not right. I was most certainly afeared of some dogs, one little ankle biter named Butchie in particular. But I think in terms of “dogs” it was more of a general aversion to. I often had allergic reactions to dogs and I, as do many people, DO in point of fact have a genuine fear of not being able to breathe.
  2. Most days in my adult life if have a faint, yet persistent pining for a good ol’ long, drawn-out game of Dungeons and Dragons. While I have enjoyed the romanticized adventure version of archaeology (and at times the actual scientific version as well), so too with some science fiction, swords and sorcery fantasy adventure is where my heart and mind always lie. While I did genuinely play the game as a youth, I never did play as often, nor as many times as I would have liked. Still true. And I am talking about the paper and pencil, dice driven game, not some pc or console based video game facsimile.
  3. There once was a time when I despised both coffee and beer. Thought they were both vile, wretched concoctions… not so much these days.
  4. When in High School, I had grand plans to be an architect. Took every drafting class I could and even was a lab assistant for a semester (or quarter, or however those things were measured then). Then I learned that all modern architecture was done with AutoCad and nobody really used pencils and rulers and drafting tables and I dropped it like a hot rock.
  5. For a time in my twenties I more or less wanted to die alone in the mountains. Not in a morbid, suicidal way, just by unfortunate accident. I somehow thought it would be easier, maybe nobler in some way, than living out a life that I did not particularly value and that I saw as having no particular purpose, focus, or direction. So I climbed. Somewhat recklessly, and often alone. Twice, once in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska and once in the Funeral Mountains of Death Valley, California, I thought that time was at hand.
  6. There is a large chunk of my childhood that I have little to no memory of and I do not really know why. I cannot really define the boundaries of what is “missing”, but am always slightly uncomfortable when asked questions like “What is your earliest memory.” Thankfully that does not happen very often.

Ok, so there you have it. Six things about me. Probably more than you wanted to know and certainly more than the facebook things would normally require. Kind of fun though…

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555

Not to be confused with 999, which is something else altogether. Not a particularly interesting number either. 55555 would be more interesting in a way…

Actually 555 is sort of interesting here in the ‘banks today, but primarily when written this way; 5:55. As in five hours and fifty-five minutes. That – of course – being the amount of daylight available to us today, so says the morning news cast. This tidbit was offered immediately following the same news reader saying, “the sun rose…that is – will rise – today at…”

Ah, winter.

Anyway one sort of neat thing about 555 is the symmetry of it when written. It just seems balanced somehow… but that may well be just a side effect of the fact that I have been pondering balance a bit lately. Especially after a certain person spoke at length about it yesterday morning. Specifically that bit was about our need, as people attempting to stay sane (i.e., balanced), to reconcile the way we think about our experience. Actually he started in talking about his shoes and how slippery they are, especially in consideration of the strange state of our current environment here of late, and how wearing them forces him to slow down and think more about his feet and his pace while walking. I rather liked that bit, a fine parable really. Otherwise, his point was that as we go through life we cannot help but be faced with three competing realities; those being the past, the present, and the future. By no means am I going to attempt to recreate, nor even summarize (beyond what I just wrote) his insights. Instead I will lean once again, on poor old Jon Arbuckle (and I really hope here that the good folks over at Garfield – Garfield are experiencing some increased traffic from all of my borrowing of their content… hint hint)

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See, what is great about this particular strip is how it exemplifies the exact problem mentioned above… in a sense. Well, maybe it is a bit of a stretch but I am going to run with it anyway.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “Maybe he is pining for fjords!”

The past. Days gone by. Yesteryear. Memories… you’re talking about memories. Yup, I suspect that we are all more than a bit familiar with the reality of “Living in the Past”, of dwelling on what once was. And why not, it is both an easy and comfortable trap as well as a sometimes comfortable and safe state of being. But. BUT, if we spend too much time in the past we can miss everything else, or at the very least miss out on truly enjoying the present. Plus, one might suggest that living thusly might at times serve to undermine the other end of this equation. History will teach us nothing after all… Poor Jon, he pines.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “It was a new day yesterday but it is an old day now.”

There is a lot of new age, self-help, mantra style advice roaming around out there telling us to “seize the day” and to “live in the now”. The past is gone and the future is just a dream and all we truly have is what is right in front of us! Or something. But. BUT, we all know it is not quite so easy. We do have memories. We do have pasts that sometimes haunt us. Sometimes our pasts are full of good memories, solid foundations for a stable life. Many of us have grand dreams of what the future will bring; explicit plans of how we will construct and live out our lives in the days to come (but I am getting ahead of myself here). Whereas some are hung up in what once was, other are lost in what might be. But what of those that claim to truly care only about the present? What does this really mean? If we focus only on what is right here and right now are we fools for not planning for the possibilities/eventualities of what is ahead? Are we selfish for ignoring/forgetting those that have gone before? Or is it more like Janis said, “It’s all the same fucking day man.”? In Jon’s case one might suggest that he is lamenting not fully being able to take advantage of the here and now… I miss [out on doing] a lot of things.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “What new devilry is this?”

Fear of change or of “progress”: the luddite. Head in the clouds: the dreamer. We can go two ways with this one. Out of balance with the future in attempting to ignore that it keeps coming. Time marches on after all. Out of balance with the present in living only for the possibility of tomorrow and ignoring the duties of today. But. BUT,there can also be an element of scorn (ok, three ways), out of balance with the past in the sense of… the future is well, the way of the future; the past is an anchor and is dragging us down. Out with old, in with the new. But not everyone shares this way of thinking. Some are distrustful of change and new things. Some are befuddled by it, this “new way”. Like Jon… I miss [the meaning or purpose of] a lot of things.

And yet, I meant to talk about the weather, or at least this business of the waning of the daylight. We are hurtling towards winter solstice. As we do every year. The dark days. The slow swing of the pendulum. But that is just it…there needs to be a bottom for there to be a top. Dark to be light. The swing must continue, back and forth as it always does. As it always has. As it always will. There will be another day, not long from now, when one will be able to say “Whoo Hoo, we now have five hours and fifty-five minutes of daylight! The sun is coming back!”

So ponder that as you walk slowly through these long winter nights. Ponder that as well as the soles of your feet.

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Frizzle.

November has tied me to an old dead tree, get word to April to rescue me. November’s cold chain, made of wet boots and rain, and shiney black ravens on chimney smoke lanes. 

Tom Waits

winter

Here in the ‘banks it is not really supposed to rain in November…and that is not just my opinion. There is just something dreadfully wrong with this occurrence. And yet, it has happened again, although this time they called it “frizzle”. As in “freezing drizzle”. I am still waiting for the Snoop Dog joke/reference.

Anyways, thankfully it is just snowing now…heavily snowing with a fair bit of wind, but just snowing. And we like snow. Snow is normal and good here…in November. Granted, the preposterously warm temperatures for this time of year would not really be THAT unwelcome if not for the snow melting rain freezing ice scraping frizzle problem. Oh and the shitty driving. Actually the driving is not TOOO bad so long as one behaves sensibly and drives an appropriate speed for the conditions… which of course change depending on where one is driving to or from… which of course means that one should be alert and PAY ATTENTION to one’s surroundings and not behave as if all is normal, thereby allowing one to adjust/adapt to the changing conditions.

No, stopping is the real problem…or more precisely stopping when and where and how one intends to stop.

But then it is all just the weather and there really is not much else we can do about weather other than adjust/adapt to it on an individual level. Climate is another thing altogether. But that is a discussion I am not fully equipped to handle. Other than to say, again, it is not really supposed to rain in November.

 

November

Another gem from Garfield – Garfield

 

Frazzle.

I have been thinking for some time now that my posting here has become increasingly more sporadic and that I have been missing it. I get something out of writing these things… usually. But I think that I have been experiencing some sort of reluctance of late. Not really a dry spell, as I actually have written a few things in the past few weeks but somehow have not felt up to posting them, but some sort of hesitation. Plus the past few that I have posted have been a bit scattered. It has all felt a bit forced or pointless or useless or fruitless or something…

Out of curiosity I looked back in the archives of this here blog-thing to see what I was thinking this time last year. On the 10th I talked about snow… because it was snowing… as it should have been. On the 13th I was pondering the meaning of a song, “Carry on my Wayward Son.” Then on the 18th things got a bit heavy; talking without speaking… or something. Why does this matter? Well as usual around here, it doesn’t really. On the other hand maybe it does, or should, to me anyway. I like, or at least have liked, writing this blog. That said, I have been asking myself increasingly of late, “why bother?”

I listened to Fresh Air this morning featuring Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half, which I will say right here and now, IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH HER WORK STOP READING THIS AND GO HERE AND READ THAT. No really do it now. Then maybe if you want you can come back and read this. And what does this have to do with anything? Well two things really, maybe more than that…

So the first is that I really like her blogs and I really wish sometimes that I could be funny and witty and have some sort of blog following… which I know there are some out there that do follow this and I thank you for that. I would also add that I do realize that I do no sort of promoting of this blog outside of the odd facebook post. I should be taking greater advantage of the built in promoting tools like taglines and whatnot if I want to reach a wider audience. But then I would have to face the question of why would anyone really want to read any of this nonsense because when it comes down to it really is just nonsense. But then I guess, as I have stated here before, it was never really intended to be anything else. What follows then is the related question of why would I WANT any sort of blog following? What is it that I might hope to get out of this undertaking? I dunno. I certainly do not expect fortune and glory.

So the second thing is that I really like her blogs and I really wish sometimes that I could be poignant and heartfelt and offer some sort of insight into life, the universe, and everything; to give those that choose to read these things some sense that hey, other folks have problems too and maybe mine are not so strange and terrible. I guess that comes from some intriguing new desire that I have been noticing in myself to be some sort of useful human. To be less selfish or at least less self involved. To offer something for the betterment of the greater good….whatever that means.

But maybe I should not concern myself with any of that. Maybe I should just keep writing this because I enjoy writing it, regardless of who does or does not read it. But then doesn’t that somehow smack of the self-indulgence I am looking to avoid? But if I try to write this for others as opposed to for myself, it could never be as genuine, which is one of the things I actually do like about it. When I go back and re-read these things (which I do and this sometimes causes me to wonder how my own visitation is affecting the “stats” that are meant to give me a quantification of visitation to the blog) it gives me a sense of… well, of Self I guess. For whatever that is worth.

Anyways. Don’t mind me, just some more nonsense. Carry on.