Monthly Archives: January 2005

Well, That Went Nowhere

You may have noticed the subtle changes here at Phaysis.

Actually, that is a lie. There have been NO changes here at Phaysis! I mentioned, in the last news article, I was working on a new design for the site. Well, I was indeed telling the truth, but that effort, like all things, suffered and died under the weight of expectations and the inspired (and uninspiring) lifestyle of this author. Sorry.

I’ve been playing with stuff off and on, but haven’t produced any real results. I get humming along on something kinda cool, then run into a snag on the project, so I lose initiative and do nothing for days. Sorry. That’s the way I work. So, uh, just keep checking back. Maybe I’ll surprise myself and do something real.

Cling Linger Hold Adhere

“Would you like to go grab a filling but stomach-annoyingly spicy meal for a high price, followed by a wet drive to and a muddy parking at an overcrowded neighborhood coffee shop for some mediocre but hot coffee and pitifully poor wireless internet access?”

“Sure.”

It is a sunday. The UT students are back. It is raining; not the heavy rain that breeds excitement, but the light “well, I think I’ll rain…nah, hold on…would you settle for some drizzles on your glasses?” kind of rain. The kind of rain that clings to your side windows and obscures your vision when you’re trying to pull out into traffic. The kind of rain that falls from clouds that just stay all day, obscuring the sun and chilling the ground. The kind of rain that breeds mold.

It is a sunday.

I slept for something resembling 10 hours. It wasn’t a spectacular kind of sleep. It just hung there and lingered. The dreams and fantasies dragged on while my twisted backbone generated enough pain to make the dreams not worth the alpha waves. As I sit here 5 hours after waking up and after a hot shower, some stretching, and a warm meal, my back is still hurting. It’s times like this that I wish I had a drug habit.

There is this guy here at this coffee house who I don’t think I like. I’ve never met the guy. Don’t even know his name. But I don’t like him. Two months ago I was sitting at Spiderhouse, another coffeeshop, with an old friend of mine; she was giving me the lowdown on one of her ex-boyfriends who disappeared from her life and then reappeared at Spiderhouse that night to do the “I don’t see you, you don’t exist” thing at her. She pointed him out to show me who he was as he was about to walk by. He saw me looking at him and nailed his eyes back at me as he kept walking by, like he was saying, “You got a problem, fuckhead?” But I didn’t look away. For once, I didn’t look away. And now that guy is here, at Flightpath.

I shouldn’t feel anything about the whole thing. I shouldn’t. But I do. It was a glare, a daring glare. The kind of glare that communicates with the Animal Urge underneath. He’s nothing to me. I’m nothing to him. And I have this fear/anger motivation. My friends that night, when I mentioned the exchange, said, “Dude, it’s nothing. Just let it go. Don’t let it get to you.” This is the kind of thing that happens on 6th street downtown. A stare is an offense punishable by an asskicking. But nothing happened. Nothing has happened. And I’m a fool for holding onto it.

Fuck.

It is a sunday. Hello.

The past two or so weeks have driven me kinda nuts. Three weeks ago I started coming down with a cold; the whole ears/sinus/throat thing. Well, it went away after an evening, and a few days later I went out to eat; had a meal with some chips and salsa. The salsa irritated my throat which started swelling up. This, of course, broke down the defenses enough to let whatever was waiting in the wings to come in and give me a full-on infection. I had a cold. Lacking the desire to go anywhere or do anything, and wracked with morals that prevented me from spreading my cold to others, I stayed at home for a week at a half. I went to work like normal, but I had to take a day off after the doctor visit because I was too ill to work. And now I’m finally getting well enough to go out; I’m still sniffling, and my chest tightens up every now and then. I’m at 80%, but that’s it.

I hate the cold, damp weather of mid-winter in central Texas.

My time spent on IRC these days is less than stellar. Each day that passes shows me that I’m not cut from the same cloth as most of the people in the one IRC channel I frequent. There are a few people I revere; the rest can rot away, I don’t mind. It is in IRC that I keep getting proven, day after day, that it’s just not worth speaking up or having discussion because someone, thanks to remoteness and anonymity, will fire off an insult or two and make my attempt at carrying a point across worth nothing. It seems the laws of the street apply online as well.

So should I give up on IRC as well, as I’ve given up on other things in the past year, or should I hold on or join other channels? This sounds so stupid. But this is the level my life is at these days. Debating my presence on IRC. Screwit. When the balance between the benefits of chatting with other people and having a good laugh is outweighed by swagger, bravado, attitudes, and insults, it is time to move on.

The balance is tipping.

Take Your New Year With Happy Pills

Well, here it goes: my requisite Happy New Years!!!11lololol journal entry. 2004 is dead and gone. Good fucking riddance.

2004 was unkind to me; was unkind to a lot of people. And it’s because of the events of this year that I am in a worse social and emotional state than on ’03. The year started out with its expected modicum of hope for the future. Things looked hopeful. I had just met a large group of people and was making progress towards growing a large family of friends. Also, my breathing difficulties, though they were getting worse with the winter season, later motivated me to finally, completely, once and for all quit smoking in February. Positive changes.

Well, to help myself on my goal of quitting, I had to go it alone. I had to stop hanging out in person, had to get away from the temptation to smoke; had to quit spending time with my smoking friends, sitting in a smoky crowd, knowing that the only thing keeping me from giving in is an angry cough, an unsteady resolve, and a thin nicotine patch. To help myself, I had to leave people behind.

Over a few weeks’ time, my resolve gained strength; the desire to smoke was waning. I felt it was suitable to let myself out of the house for some interaction again, to get out into the world. Well, nothing was the same with my groups of friends. For the most part, they smoked and I didn’t. I sat in the non-smoking area, away from my old group and near my new. The links between the friends I’ve had for years and I stretched thin; the chains were becoming unusable. And the links between my new friends were just as tenuous; there was no history. Just a laptop comeradery there at Mojo’s.

Well, during the late spring, Mojo’s was sold to a new owner who promised gentle, subtle changes. What was delivered once the ink was dry on the deal was a massive remodelling, a menu change, pricing increases, policy changes, and, eventually, the elimination of the entire old crew. All the thin threads that kept me going to Mojo’s had been snapped. As a final act of protest, I gave the figurative finger to Mojo’s and vowed to refuse my patronage. I closed off that part of my life forever. The Great Walking Away began.

Over the summer, complications and drama arose within my new group of friends. Infighting, backstabbing, name calling; some people tried to put out fires, other people sought only to start them. What had been continuing and accumulating for months, the attitudes, the smugness, everything, came to a boiling point and I made a choice: my life is too short to waste on the bastards of the group. The world is bigger than they are. There was no longer any sense in subjecting myself to the stress any further. To save the tree I cut the branch; I still had a few friends in the group, but I gave up on the group as a whole. I closed off another part of my life.

In November, I lost faith in half of my fellow countrymen after the general elections. All I could do was sit there, with my jaw on the floor, and feel defeat, feel the despair of a decade of national social progress, open thinking, free commentary coming to a continuing and crushing halt under the weight of the Bush war machine. Of the people who voted for the incumbent president, 60 percent of them voted for him based on religious faith issues. Faith issues. Blind faith. And now I have lost my faith. I want to live in an open-minded America; the others can go to hell. But, living in the only Democratic holdout in the entire Red state of Texas, I am the one in hell.

I just can’t make any sense of it. Another time where I made the choice to turn away.

And The Walking Away continued into my workplace. My employer had installed security cameras around the exterior of the printshop to protect and monitor the place. It was a move that made sense. But when I noticed that the video switchbox had many more camera connections available, I knew it was a matter of time before my employer would install cameras in the working areas inside. In early December, my prediction became true; he had one camera installed in the pressroom to watch the presses and another installed in the bindery area, where I work, pointed directly at the areas we are most likely to work. I asked my boss what reason he had for installing them in the work areas, and he replied with only two words: “insurance purposes.”

Since it is a work environment, this kind of thing can’t be called an invasion of privacy. But what it can be called is a loud declaration of complete mistrust in us, his employees. The potential for abuse is astounding, and I can’t work and finish out a day without feeling like my boss is standing right behind me, looking over my shoulder all day. In the span of that one day, my motivation at the company went from interest and the desire to do a good job to little more than looking busy for the camera while hoping 5:30pm happens quickly. In one fell swoop, I was no longer a coworker; I was only an employee. And that’s where I stand to this day. I’m just there to make a paycheck and get my benefits.

Another part of my world seered away.

For the latter part of the year I’ve been mostly by myself. In the reduction of bullshit, chaos, and things going to hell, I cut off everything I had socially, pruned it all away, closed my eyes to what I don’t like, turned my back to what I had going. Outside of two, perhaps three friends, I am utterly alone. And it sucks. It completely sucks. If the year has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t trust anyone with anything; that I can’t expose my soft parts, elsewise some bastard will make a stab for it eventually. It’s a shitty way to think; it’s an even shittier way to live. And I don’t like it.

So now here I am, writing my journal entry, reflecting on the good times from the previous year. And here I am, trying what I can to express some kind of dim hope for the coming year, but failing to drum up anything. All my inspiration is gone, my Muses have turned their backs to me, and all I want to do is sleep. It should never feel so natural to just leave, to Walk Away. It should never feel like it’s always the right thing to do, to leave instead of working things out. But it does. It always has.