Monthly Archives: December 2017

Pandimensional

Social media has perverted and supplanted my ability to express myself artistically, literarily, philosophically, poetically. The things I used to say, things I want to say from the back of my soul — in the front of my mind is now installed a filter, a tuned circuit to impedance match and pipe that natural, raw sound inside into the echo chamber to get maximum resonance. To get more likes. To get more comments. To incite reactions. And not exactly for my own good end, either. Social media doesn’t actually benefit me, or you, or anybody; its sole good is for the benefit of media itself. The platforms I use have insinuated themselves into my thinking. This is death of self, really.

I had something I wanted to post 10 minutes ago, but I stopped myself. Why? Because of the reasons stated above. I can’t keep going down that straight one-dimensional line; there are so many more dimensions to this world. There’s depth and space. If I can’t see that, and remember that, and try stretching out, to find the meat, to see where the people actually are instead of where they want to be seen, then my life is shallow. Meet me somewhere, or call me out of my stupid rut. I dare you.

I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something I’m just not doing, or finding, or finishing. Satisfaction hasn’t shown her face in my door in a long, long while. I must find her. I must find you.

Cold Fire

At the end of this Christmas holiday, I had some time to be outside and feel the crisp air on my cheeks. The cold weather tonight is knocking loose a few odd memories, particularly this nugget from the year 1984 which, dare I say, is the golden age of heavy metal and hard rock.

Dokken wasn’t exactly a band I followed religiously. They were on the radio for a span of time during my formative teenage years. But, taken out of context, their lyrics are fuel for all of the Satan-rock street preachers who had screamed for our rapt attention in that era. There were so many bands out who played up the Satanic connection just to increase their magnitude and pump sales. Unfortunately, most of the kids in my world (and some adults, sadly) bought into it and thought they were the real deal; the same kind of chumps who would carve “666” into their schoolbooks and think they were summoning the Dark Lord himself.

Really, “Into the Fire” was the inner struggle of a man that keeps running back to a bad lover who burns him on every touch. Image notwithstanding, that’s basically all it is; a bad relationship that he won’t let die. But the over-the-top music production, the expensive video, and everything about the entire product screams excess, waste, and sex for the sake of itself.

That sound still sticks with me decade after decade.

And don’t get me started about “Dream Warriors” — that’s wedged so deep into my psyche, it’s soothing to the touch.

Dotted Line

It’s clear to me that my employer does not respect boundaries.

I got a missed call and a missed text from my manager, who sits in another city, saying that he wanted me to call him for our weekly 1:1 meeting, which is usually scheduled for Thursdays. I am on vacation this week and he knows it. You can bet your ass that I’m not going to respond.

He’s jabbing his finger into my lunch tray, asking me if I was going to eat that. I’m taking the time off (as upper management says we’re supposed to do) to “recharge” and “refresh” and “enjoy life”. With this company’s middle management, though, there is no such respect. Just the constant, nagging reminder that my employer demands more and more and more from me and will not be happy enough to leave me alone for 9 days straight.

Crystalline Amorphous

Had a snap cold front that made our day-long rainfall turn to sleet, then snow. Big, fluffy, slow flakes. Didn’t get any shots during the falling, but there were some accumulations of 1/4″. A respectable feat for Austin.

A thin blanket covers the Austin State Hospital cemetery.

Snow leans cool against my 2-meter antenna.

Stumptown Thoughts

I’ve been asked to cobble together my thoughts on my trip to Portland, to give my impression on the city, the state, and its people. It’s taken me a while to digest and put it into words, because the city doesn’t exactly have a strong flavor. In my five days of taste-testing, there’s just no singular flavor note on the palate that I can mark down in my notebook.

If pressed to find something, it’s this: Portland is a city of abrasive contrasts. That’s the biggest takeaway I have.

From the lips, it’s warm and inviting; from the eyes, it’s paranoid of everyone it doesn’t recognize. The people there will smile and are friendly to the end of the transaction, but behind it is a distrust. You have to be there long enough, as a neighborhood resident, as a frequent customer, to be welcomed and embraced, to be pulled into a long conversation about nothing. Otherwise, you’re just some guy from the street. The homeless problem there is so bad, the housing situation is so exclusionary, that as a tourist, walking around with my black hoodie and black backpack, I felt the side glances, the silent judgments, from those wondering if I was a danger or if I was going to ask someone for weed or bus fare.

The city is caught up in the act of change, like a film scene of a man painfully turning into a werewolf. Once upon a time, it was a manufacturing and shipping town, but with the decline of those industries, Portland’s manual labor workforce is hungry and bored, and all the warehouses, grain silos, docks, railyards, are slowly being emptied out and taken over by land developers. That’s a universal story at this point, but it’s strongly marked there in Portland.

So you have all these areas that are decaying, oily, dirty, fenced off, disused, or otherwise vacated. Contrast that with the verdant beauty of the place; the constant humidity and frequent rainfall means the botanical landscape is always exploding with everything green and orange. It’s a fantastic place if you like forests, hills, mountains, streams, rivers. I wish I could’ve taken more pictures that captured just how beautiful the place is. But in the big middle of it all is this gentrifying grease pit of iron and brick.

I guess with all the paranoia, hope, helplessness, overcast skies, furious growth, middle-class delusions, and distrust in everyone and everything despite all evidence, the city of Portland is me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that I have no desire to move there. It would consume me before I could ever take it all in. My life here in Austin is just as cold and distant as anywhere else I’ve ever lived, but at least Austin has warm days to help me ignore all that.

I could move there, I guess, but why? I dunno. That’s why my vacation there was more an expedition. I needed to know what it was about, and my five days there showed me, at least on the surface, what was there and gave me a peek at what was underneath. I could be completely wrong; I could find the greatest friends and the most wonderful loves of my life in that weird bond of shared meteorological and financial hardships, but I won’t know without enduring at least a year and a day in its city limits.

And that opens up an existential question that I should ask myself daily.