Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What does activism mean, really?

You know, people like to say something, usually in reference to politics: If it ain't broke, don't fix it (IIABDFI).

"Fix" and "broke". Nice choice of words. Seems to imply something mechanical.

So let's apply this precept to engineering!

Do we maintain the same technology year after year, only fixing problems when they crop up? Or do we seek to improve them a bit?

If we do, then

Would it be better to continually improve the oil lamp, or replace it with something entirely different--say, a lightbulb?

Do we just keep souping up our horse and wagon, or shall we overturn the whole damn system and drive cars?

IIABDFI is, we can see, an entirely silly aphorism based on--what, ignorance and lack of basic sense? Often the best thing is not to fix what ain't broke, but improve upon it.

And the greatest advances in human history are based on sweeping away what came before entirely, and making something new.

It is taking an active stance towards world affairs and society. We don't seek to repair what's broken (return to the past, which nostalgia proves was better). We may make small improvements.

And sometimes we'll pull out the tablecloth from under the dishes and change the whole thing. And that's gonna be a good thing, in the long run, and people have to learn to cope.

Activism. Not trying to preserve order or return to an older state of being, but advance in a new and better one.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I come upon the giants in the fields, sleeping in the aftermath of their grim slaughter.

Their bodies rumble with deep, earth-shaking roars, and I whisper in my noble mount's ears to calm him. The stench of blood fills the air, and I restrain my stomach as it struggles for freedom. Beside each hulking body lays piles upon piles of sheep, torn to pieces. I expect to see white fluff floating on the wing--a silly conceit.

My mount skitters nervously as it catches the ubiquitous smell, and my helmet falls over my eyes. I push it up and drop my lance; my squire hands me the lance and my helmet tips again, but I have, in my wisdom, anticipated this. As I fling my arm up to stop my helm, the edge of my shield hits my forehead, knocking me to the ground.

I blink and groan, rolling onto my knees. It is a struggle to stand in armor, but my efforts are not in vain. I rise to my feet, my head searing with pain. Worse, the clanging thud of my fall has wakened the giants, and they lumber to their full heights.

They rise above the treetops--fearful, hideous aberrations on the face of nature. Ones rolls as it tries to stand and crushes the nearby farmhouse; I wince and pray to God that the farmer and his wife were not inside. There are two of them, clumsily constructed, as of cold clay and rock. Lumpy, crude parodies of human beings--God's misbegotten children.

But not without great strength, I remind myself, as a massive club thuds into the ground immediately to my left. My horse rears and tries to run, but I lunge--painfully slowly in my heavy armor--and catch the reins. It is a strong horse, but the weight of a man in armor dragging on its reins is enough to slow it. I call for my squire, and he helps me hoist my bulk onto my mount's back.

I am fearless. The giants stand over me, but I do not move in the face of them until I am fully in the saddle. Then I urge my horse on, galloping past them and turning. They are slow-witted, weak-minded, and it takes them a moment to realize where I have gone.

In that moment I charge, and stab the larger of the two in the back of the knee with my lance. He roars and stamps the ground--I barely escape his pounding feet, and the great quaking earth in the wake of his feet nearly dismounts me again. But I am valiant and strong, and even as the stinking spittle of his cry rains down on me I turn, and catch him a second time. This time I aim higher, sticking my lance into the meat of the other giant's thigh.

Their flesh, though it appears rocky, is rotten with pox, and my wooden lance tears it away to the bone. This smaller giant tries to turn more quickly, to pursue me, but her newly ruined leg betrays her and she falls to the ground, taking part of the forest with her. She moans and raches for me, pulling trees from the ground and throwing them at me. We are nimble, though, and dodge between them, the blood pounding in my ears.

She will present no more problem, and I turn my attention again to the male, who now chases me, limping only slightly. I toss my lance aside, draw my crossbow and load it, turning my mount to face the monster. It neighs in fear, but I pay it no mind. I fire an hour, and strike the great titan's eye. He screams and clutches his face. The foolish beast tries to dig the arrow out, and so completes the injury. I use the time to load a second arrow and take his other eye.

Now he is blind and mad, stumbling for me. I turn and dig in my heels, urging my mount onward. There is a ravine not far from here that my squire and I passed not long ago, and this is where I now ride. I whoop loudly, triumphantly, as I ride, and the injured foe follows the sounds of my yells.

We run together now, the space between us drawing to a close as I ride for the ravine. Twice his hands reach and nearly catch me; I dodge, quick as a bird. At last I see the brush that marks the ravine's edge and ride straight for it, making sure to sing my triumph all the way. As I reach the edges I turn, my horse's hooves skittering on the crumbling soil, and double back, ceasing my cries. From behind me I hear a great cry of surprise, then nothing more. From a safe distance I listen to the first fall to his death, then turn my attention back to the female.

She is limping, lumbering to me, her wound gushing great spouts of thick yellow fluid and slow red blood. I make a wide circle around her, seeing my squire with my discarded lance. A good servant anticipates his master's needs. I come to retrieve it, and he opens his mouth to speak, to beg me off. I do not listen. I take the lance and ride back into the fray.

I charge straight for the female, her face gaping wide in stupid glee. She bends to catch me and I dodge around. In her excitement she tries to folow me and trips, falls. I ride away a little and turn. The giant is on her back, trying to life herself to her side.

This charge is my strongest, my lance steady and my mount pounding hard at the soil. As she rolls to face me, myy lance strikes the giant, digging deep into her stomach. She screams, high and painful, and her flailing arms fling me from my horse. I hear my horse scream as well.

It takes me a moment to regain my senses, lying in the eves of the wounded giants great loins. The blood is puddling around me, and the putrescent stink brings me to my feet. My lance is gone; I do not know what has become of my horse.

I draw my sword. She is a lovely thing--I found her in a museum and took her away under cover of night. This charge may well be my last, and so I put my full strength into it, jabbing and slicing at her hands when they come to me. I leap over the expanse of her arm, and her throat is in view. My blade swings out and cuts deep into her throat. I withdraw and swing again and again, until her limbs fall still, and finally her head is severed.

I am covered in gore and sweat, standing amid the corpse of a giant. My squire appears, breathless, leading my miraculously unharmed horse. He pats me all over, making sure I am not injured. "Good show," he says, "good show. A battle that will live on in legend, no doubt, sir. Only . . ."

I sigh. "Windmills again?"

He shrugs apologetically. "It's what they are, sir."

I stare across the field of battle, thinking of the adventure of my long life. I have rescued maidens and pursued great deeds of valor; I have seen such sights as most mortal men never will. And . . . windmills.

"It is peculiar," I say, "that where I see the beautiful and fantastic, everyone else sees the ordinary. The pale dross of the everyday. So then, my friend, which one of us is mad?"

My squire thinks a moment, then answers. "You, sir."

"That's as may be." I wipe my sword clean and stow it in its scabbard. "Come, my friend--perhaps there is a damsel still to be rescued before nightfall."

He nods. "Very well, sir."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Today I checked my UGAmail to find I was expected to write an RA Review. A prime opportunity, I decided.

So, with the help of my dearest Daae (full name credit to her if she wants), here is my review:

"I have not seen my RA or indeed had any indication that he exists at all since the day I moved in. This being said, I have not had any problems with abuse of power or overbearing authority, much in the same way that people in a state of anarchy do not complain about the leadership. Indeed, I find the levels of noise, filth, and organization consistent with most historical examples of anarchy. His leadership is as unimpeachable as it is unnoticeable. Truly, he leads best who leads least.

I have heard tell that he is known among the residents on A Hall. However, I regard these rumors with as much credulity as I do those of Yeti-fighting in the Myers lobby. Until I can substantiate it, I remain unconvinced."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I saw Transformers (the new film) tonight. When Optimus Prime first appeared, I freaked out. I explained to my wife: "This is Optimus Prime. He is everything that is good and noble and high-minded in the world. He is order and light." And--I did not add out loud--in the animated series, he died in fighting for good.

Which had me thinking--because, you see, I often side with the bad guys. Jesus Christ could be argued as exactly the same deal, but in Paradise Lost, I prefer Satan. Frankly, if nothing else, Satan is a far more interesting character.

And yet Optimus Prime is interesting and compelling. There are good and interesting and overall worthwhile characters that fight on the side of good.

Perhaps it is because Christ, in PL, is primarily a static figure. He is not a thing of change. His speeches are simply hymns to glory. Moreover, we know that the good guys in PL did not rise to their position of greatness. They simply dealt themselves the highest cards. Jesus is great and mighty and wonderful because he decreed it should be so, not because he worked for it.

Optimus Prime struggles for goodness--that is why he is worthwhile and interesting.

In PL, Christ offers himself as a sacrificial lamb to redeem all mankind. And yet this is not an awe-inspiring sacrifice, for we know that it is only temporary. He is certain to win. This is, perhaps, why it is easier to buy religion as a gnostic. The gnostics believe in a world of good and evil as nearly equal forces, and it is uncertain which will win. If we know good will always win, why should we care when it does?

In PL, there is a battle in Heaven. The angels under Lucifer design a mighty cannon and use it in their attack; the Host of Heaven responds by hurling mountains at them. One side creates an ingenious and complex projectile system, and their opponents throw rocks, like cavemen. This is the essence of the good/evil conflict of Paradise Lost: the Evil creates something new and brilliant, and the Good simply uses primitive, static force.

Perhaps this is the nub of it. It seems, very often, that Evil is the label applied to that which is simply new and different. It is what is unpredictable--and therefore somewhat dangerous. Evil is exhilarating, and ultimately it is innovation. These forces of Good that I discount do not seek to rise higher or to make things better; they seek only to preserve things as they are or return them to some previous state of superiority. Then they will rest easy.

They are not innovative, but reactionary.

Optimus Prime seeks to make things better than they were. So does every hero or champion of good that I have ever respected--PL's Satan included. You see, this is the center of the war in Heaven: Heaven could not be Paradise, for if it were, rebellion would be impossible. Sociologically speaking, we only rebel when we can imagine how things might be better. Desire, you see, is a flaw in Paradise. Any desire that is not instantly sated or eliminated means that there could be something greater than Paradise, and therefore proves Paradise a sham. Satan seeks something he believes is greater: the principle of liberty and personal choice. The forces of Heaven seek to simply preserve things as they are.

I watch Heroes with my uncle. He once remarked that it scared him a bit that I derided Peter Petrelli (the quintessential good guy) and admired Sylar (the unequivocably bad guy). I think I understand why I felt that way now. Peter is a static and reactionary force: he does not like his newfound powers and seeks to do away with them. Sylar understands the world has changed, and goes with the change. He sees the opportunity to, in his twisted mind, make the world better than it was.

But you see, we have such a character on the side of Good as well. Hiro. He finds joy in his powers, and he sees the world has changed. He does not fight that change, but seeks to make the world a better place. He does not idealize the past as a time that was better, but works in the hopes of a future that will be far greater.

I think, now, on all the good and noble characters in fiction I have admired. King Arthur. Optimus Prime. John Milton's Satan. Albus Dumbledore. They seek a new world better than the one we have. They know they fight against insurmountable odds, and they know that they very well may die in the attempt, without ever achieving any success.

And yet they go on fighting regardless.

NOTE: When I speak, I speak of characters in fiction. I do not speak of Christ or Lucifer as religion portrays them, but as John Milton does in Paradise Lost. Just as when I speak of Optimus Prime, I do not mean the real one, but the one we see in movies and cartoon shows.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Yep. I deserve the adoration of the population. 50,037 words.

I'll probably do some sort of reflection on this eventually.
Last night, I ran for the office of Seargent-at-Arms at Demosthenian Literary Society (I lost).

When I got up on the stump to give my speech, I was wearing
1 track jacket
1 sweater
1 dress shirt
2 t-shirts
2 shoes
6 socks, distributed variously over my body to, um, accentuate some things
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of pajama pants
1 pair of shorts
2 pairs of boxers

Yeah. Lots of layering.

At the end of my speech, I was wearing
1 pair of boxers

There are many reasons for this. One was that I was ill-prepared, and decided to add a gimmick. Another was that elections go very late, and it was 2:00 AM before I spoke--I needed to get my audience's attention.

Interesting observation, though. I am very very body-shy; very uncomfortable with my body. But I felt just fine speaking in my boxers--a good deal more than I do speaking fully clothed. I should wonder how full nudity affects my speaking. My speech began with a lot of jokes; the end was more serious. And it was delivered half-naked. So. Fun.

By the way, I shall have to hurt my brother. I asked him if anyone had done this sort of thing before--I'd not like to copy anyone else. Turns out there is a precedent--except that he didn't keep anything covered.

So. This is another step in breaking me of my body-shyness. Yay!

And I think the fact I did well at all in the elections (though I lost) had a lot to do with my, um, presentation.

Congratulations to all the new Demosthenian officers, especially Sarah May, the new Seargent-at-Arms!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There are a few fields in literature that are mostly neglected, especially when introducing literature to kids. While fantasy is getting a lot attention all of a sudden, many others are not. Trouble is, these are important--far better, I think, than general fiction. It's a good thing for children to read good science fiction and fantasy, and especially good comic books.

(Note: By children, I mean grade school age)

For some reason, these genres--and this medium--are regarded as somewhat sub-par. I'd argue that this is not the case; I would say they are superior to those typically called "literature", offering far more opportunities for thought and personal growth.

Why you should give your kids science fiction:
Good science fiction encourages patterns of thought that are rarely developed in the outside world, though they are unquestionably important. Authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Card, and Clarke slowly develop scientific thinking, moral reasoning, a sociological perspective, and an affinity for philosophical thought.

1. They develop scientific thought because they often deal with scientific problems. Moreover, to understand science fiction concepts one must have some level of scientific understanding, or quickly develop it. By scientific understanding, we do not mean the ability to name off parts of a generator or explain the workings of theoretical cold fusion. I mean an ability to reduce a problem to its essentials, to explore different options, and to come to a logical conclusion. Readers are forced to look at the world with the skepticality, curiosity, rationality, and wonder of a scientist.

Science understanding tends to be abysmal in this country (sidenote: 57% of students in the graduate journalism program at Columbia university believe in pseudosciences like reading auras, ESP, etc--how's that for good critical thinking skills?). Perhaps this is because to understand and--naturally--debunk scientific ideas, one must be able to use scientific thought patterns. It is never too early to begin establishing these in a child's mind.

2. Sociological thought is developed again in understanding premises and storylines. For one, a good science fiction writer who sets his work in the future will attempt to extrapolate the nature of that future by following the cycles of trends. For another, many of the greats deal with specifically sociological problems (Asimov, Heinlein). One learns to follow a sociological argument and to make sociological predictions.

3. Face it, the good guys in the field are masters of character as well. Their characters usually struggle with moral conflicts. This isn't the wishy-washy emotional stuff of "serious" literature; these are usually attempts to deal with morality on an analytical basis--a far more useful tool.

4. Philosophical thought belongs to the realm of science fiction. Science fiction allows you to create a new world with a few different rules but without discarding the rules of the old. "Serious" literature usually works within the real world, strictly by real world rules. Science fiction allows you to change a few rules and settings, but holds most things constant. This allows you to set up thought experiments and follow through on them. It strikes a careful balance between fantasy (where anything can happen, so you can't follow a thought experiment) and general fiction (where very little out of the strictly possible ever occurs).

These characteristics are distinct from general fiction. General fiction encourages examination and interpretation of the world and characters of the book, with the careful caveat that it is all, after all, fiction. Science fiction gives the mind tools to see the world, then encourages the eye to turn outward and examine it under a microscope. Do you see? Most fiction, therefore, is somewhat sterile, encouraging self-contained reflection; science fiction is a teacher, forming the mind to be able to create and understand the world outside the book.

Also: what is science fiction today is often reality tomorrow. I recently read a science fiction novel from the 1970s where a character carefully explained what the word "mutate" means. This surprised me; the concept of mutation is a standard one to the modern mind. Science fiction makes it easier for the brain to constantly surf the wave of new knowledge.

Why you should give your kids fantasy:
I go to hear creative people speak fairly often: mostly writers, sometimes artists and directors.

The most common and groan-worthy question that is always asked is, "Where do you get your ideas?" A lot of the time, the moment some dude asks this you can see the speakers developing facial tics.

I am a somewhat creative person. I hate this question--both hearing it and being asked it--because it presumes there is a place to go where ideas come from, or a strategy. This is not so--not at all.

The fact is, everybody has "ideas" to start out. Watch little children playing or telling stories: they are far, far more imaginative than the most creative adults will ever manage to be. They explore new ideas constantly, and always allow for impossibilities.

It is not a question of where the artist "gets" his ideas. It's a question of at what point the fan lost his.

Children do this less and less as they grow older, to the point where highly imaginative people become rarer in the adult world. You might ask me, then, why imagination is important if you don't intend to work in a creative field. The fact is, imaginative ability is required to see your way around corners. We tend to rule out certain solutions to problems because we see them as utterly impossible before really investigating them; we need the ability to ask "what if" we pursued unprecedented avenues of thought.

Fantasy encourages this. When reading a fantasy novel--though good fantasy, as well, has strong rules--almost anything can happen. This requires a reader to maintain an open mind, and to accept new ways to understand the world. It keeps the imagination constantly open and capable.

Besides, good fantasy often relies on a lot of research. A reader can take away a lot of knowledge of world cultures, mythology, folklore, and any number of subjects from an excellent fantasy novel.

Fantasy has a strong tendency towards escapism, which is often decried. I ask why. Escapism is healthy--it is often the best way to survive a harsh outside environment. It doesn't mean you're avoiding or not dealing with problems in the outside world; it just means you're taking a break from them and possibly ruminating on new ways to handle them. Not only that, escapism gives you the opportunity to ride in someone else's brain for a little while, and hey, the world could use a bit more understanding. Interpretive fiction often makes you more aware of the technical aspects of the work, losing ground to the simplicity of the new world presented.

Why you should give your kids comic books
Oh comics. My loves. My heart. Why are you so much maligned? Why are you percieved as prurient and worthless? Granted, some of the content fits the definition, but all of it?--surely not.

Comics are the most important. Perhaps this is simply because the medium deserves as much recognition as any other. Perhaps it is because one must actually learn to read comics as much as one must learn to read any other book.

Mostly, though, it's because comics are the most effective medium of visual communication out there today. They are cheaper and easier to transport and view than film, and far more efficient at dispersing information than text.

Consider how much comics show up in our daily life: the little safety diagrams on the airline, before-and-after pictures in ads, and of course the newspaper funnies. The political cartoon has proben a powerful instrument of opinion. All of these are forms that depend on quick and full comprehension on the part of the audience. Imagine that power harnessed to almost any end in communication. Until you can print a video in a magazine, I don't think we'll see its match for quite a while.

Besides, comics change the way the brain processes information, and makes it develop an incredible multitasking ability. Consider:

When you view a page of comics, you are doing many things:

You are reading and processing the text and the information contained therein.

You are looking at and processing the image and the information contained therein.

You are putting the text and image together to make a coherent whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

You are processing this set of information in the context of a longer narrative, attempting to fit it into the structure of the story and--with your imagination--providing all the details that occur in between the panels.

All this is done in the blink of an eye. The brain is processing at incredible rates when reading comics with almost no effort. The brain is stronger for it.

The genres of science fiction and fantasy and the comics medium are usually disregarded beside "serious" literature. The escapism and unrealistic nature of these are usually cited as strikes against them, when they are indeed the fields' strengths. These are more effective than "serious" literature, and more capable of developing important patterns of critical thinking that are essential to a child's intellectual growth.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I've made a beautiful new blasphemy.

Fiat Ego.

It has elegance and arrogance. Perfect.

"Fiat Lux" is the Latin translation of "Let there be light"--the words with which God created the world. We replace "Lux", for light, with "Ego", for myself or me.

Like it?

EDIT: Another translation by a friend of mine: "By my will, there is myself."

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm homeschooling my kids. I'm homeschooling the hell out of them.

This is based on the conclusion that school, especially grades k-12, are indoctrination factories. Ninety percent of what is taught is simply to fit children into cultural norms and so forth, not to actually educate.

I'm not going into my rant about turning children into adults who think within the system and believe the only way to get ahead is as a nine-to-five weekday worker climbing the corporate ladder.

I will, however, list the following points:

1. Children in most of the U.S. are taught Christianity in schools.
Evidence: the very idea of teaching Intelligent Design as science, abstinence-only sex ed, et cetera

2. Amero-centric history classes.
How much can you tell me about the history of the rest of the world? Did you--like me--have to spend a WHOLE FUCKING YEAR on Georgia state history? D'you know, I've heard a lot of history professors say that the first few semesters of college history is basically unteaching everything from k-12, from facts to methods.

3. Literature classes
Hey kids! We're gonna have you read this book, which contains a very persuasive ideological message! Because this ideological message is the one that is approved of by the school board, we've basically found a way to worm our ways into your mind and tell you exactly what and how to think.

Hence my love of banned books . . .

4. Government Propaganda
I'm not having my kids in this DARE shit (anti-drug education program). They skew facts to support the government's position on the matter. Then--and this is priceless--to pass the course you sign a pledge that says you won't use illegal substances. Ever.

Heheh. As a fifth grader, I signed a pledge concerning the rest of my life after hearing one side of the debate, delivered by a figure of authority. Lovely.

5. Gender roles/human sexuality
Schools emphasize traditional gender roles and ideas of sexual orientation. In two words: FUCK THAT.

6. Blandness
Knowledge is blanded out and made inoffensive. Objections and disagreements with authority figures are discouraged. Nothing inflammatory may be said. Schools wish to avoid controversey, so they don't allow discussion of anything controversial. Lame-age.


Who's with me? Let's homeschool our little brats.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Laurel, Ugly, and I, following an eventful coffee session at O-house, moseyed on out to the grocery store to pick up a few items. We all learned many important lessons: Ugly especially learned that Laurel and I might not be the best combination of people to have at the grocery store.

For one, there was all the breasts.
Me: Look! Look! Look look look!
Ugly: What is it?
Me: (points to a pack of turkey cold cuts) It says "breast"!

Then in the produce section . . .
Laurel: Let's get about a pound of apples.
Ugly: k.
Laurel: Mm, that's a bit more than a pound . . .
Me: Those're some big ol' apples.
Laurel: Mmhm. Big round apples.
Me: A bit wrinkly, really.
Laurel: Heavy, too.
Me: How 'bout them apples.
Ugly: And I thought this place was rated G . . .
Me: How 'bout them apples.

As we passed through the store, Laurel and I had the following conversation:
Me: I kinda wanna go on a rampage through here.
Laurel: Yeah! Just attack the place!
Me: I could get siege weapons, and, and, and . ..
Laurel: Look at all the eggs. Imagine what we could do with those.
Me: If we brought in a potato cannon . . .
Laurel: Just egg the whole damn store!

And finally, buying Saltines!
Ugly: Ok, do we get low fat, low salt, or wheat? Or Breast Cancer awareness . . . or original . . .
Me: Let's get the breast crackers!
Ugly: Are you su--
Laurel: They're probably round.
Ugly: Fine, breast crackers.
Laurel: With little nipples in the middle.

Also, we found a trashy romance novel with nipples on the cover, and naturally we had to purchase it.

Disclaimer: I don't remember conversations well enough to transcribe them properly, so don't take my word that this is exactly what was said. I have the niggling feeling that Laurel managed to produce far more sexual innuendo than what I attributed her above.

You know what's fun? If I tell people about my weekends without going into a long explanation--just the bare facts of the weekend--it's fun to watch their faces!

Me: So then we all slept together, and in the morning I couldn't find my clothes.
Everyone else: . . .
Me: Wild thang, I make my heart sang!


So Nietzsche talks about something called the "will to power", which he considers a high human virtue and natural instinct. It is a natural and inherent desire to dominate and gain power. He regards this rather highly, as the distinction between what he calls the Slave and Master classes in society.

I think it's crap. I think it sounds like weakness, not strength.

If you are a Master in the Nietzschean sense, then your identity is entirely dependent on your forcing others into subjugation. Nietzsche detests the division of good and evil, because he says good is just everything that's not evil: the positive is defined simply as the abscence of the negative, not by itself. The Master class, in Nietzsche, is defined by others. They are dependent on others, while the Slave class's identity is entirely independent.

I see three other wills as greater than Nietzsche's will to power--two of which are some of the driving forces behind my life, and the third which I doubt I will ever achieve.

The first is the will to greatness. This is the will to become great in one's field: to become a great writer, a great poet, a great scientist or a great lover. It is the will to rise and excel, to reach the very heights. Note that I do not say it is the will to be the greatest or to rise the highest, because that means nothing. If I surround myself with fools, I may be the smartest but that does not mean I am smart. The will to greatness exists independently: we seek simply to be great in our own eyes, regardless of the standards of greatness we may regard ourselves by. We seek to rise as high as we possibly can, no matter what.

I know there is quite a ways for me still to rise, and so I am fighting, always, for improvement in every aspect of myself. I will be smarter, more talented, more honest--I will always struggle to rise.

The second is the will to bigness--best word I could find for it, gents. This is the desire to become larger than life, to almost become a symbol of that which you do. It is simply to become a presence, in and of yourself, of considerable weight on the world. This is often unconscious: people come to symbolize something without putting an effort to that purpose, but to some other end. Think of Frank Sinatra as a symbol of an entire era or Martin Luther King, Jr. as a symbol of the entire civil rights movement. It's about being as large as possible (no, not physically).

Another thing I, melodramatic though it may be, usually seek.

The third is the will to gravity. This is . . . this is not even a conscious thing. It's just part of some people. I think we've all met them: people who we meet briefly and we become swept up in their wake. We become caught in their orbit, through belief in them or fascination or love. It is distinct from Nietzsche's will to power because the man with gravity does not seek to dominate or gain subjects; they simply accumulate to him by forces unknown. It is also an independent will--because though it affects others, it does not require them. Gravity exists without anything to gravitate.

I don't think I'll ever gain any great gravity. But I have met a few people in my life with true gravity, and they do fascinate me deeply.

I know there are other sorts of forces in life people will address: love, compassion, charity, et cetera. I am sure they have their place in my life, as any other. But in this I focus only on the self-contained wills, those that define the individual independent of anything else, those that characterize the giants in our world. Can you think of someone you truly admire who doesn't have one of these: a will to always better themself, a will to become something great, or an unconscious charisma that draws people to them like satellites?


Tomorrow at Demosthenian I will attempt to present either "Be it resolved: people should sleep around more (and reproduce) to eliminate racism" or "Be it resolved: religion as a socio-political institution is the greatest evil the world faces today". Or maybe "Be it resolved: prostitution should be legalized". Any opinions on which I oughtta do?


Something interesting about being gay I thought about. I think part of what adds to the enjoyment of being with a guy to me is the mild sense of danger. If I kiss a guy in public, it feels just a bit dangerous--and that's kinda exciting. Being in a very libertine group of friends eliminates a lot of the fear and mystery that have traditionally been a part of romance, and I like to get that back.

Sometimes I think a bit more melodramatically on the subject. I think the likeliest model for any sort of coup on America's government or sudden change in the political shape of the nation would be more like The Handmaid's Tale than 1984. We are moving towards a nation of mysticism and values propagated not on reason but shaky religious grounds. True religious fundamentalism is making a comeback, and it rather scares me. If I've seen anything from history, it is that only a small committed minority is needed for the sort of drastic reactionary change I fear. And I worry.

And I hate to say this, but first clue I get that something like that is going down in the U.S.--really happening--I'm leaving the country. I'll leave everything behind, if need be. Change comes in small steps. Each infringes a bit more, but people say, "Well, it's only a little bit. And that's all. Nothing to get alarmed about." And it progresses, and progresses, and . . . the world changes. The nation changes. Pogroms happen.

I think about McCarthyism and--melodrama again, I know--I wonder if an American theocracy would get the rolls from LGBT political institutions and organizations for evidence in trials.

I think about how fierce hatred has become of LGBT people in some circles, and I don't understand why it is so much greater than hatred of everything else that the conservative percieve a societal ills. I don't get it.

And I realize that the sexual nature of the percieved transgressions means that any societal reaction against LGBT people will be graphic and painful.

And when I get in one of these turns of mind, that really scares me.


Big Brother is watching you, and you're boring the hell out of him.


If I get my NaNoWriMo novel published and make any proper money out of it, screw it, I'm dropping out of college. It's a small chance I will get it published, but if so . . .


I wish to disdain reality.


My Christian faith is something I wrestle with lately. It is hard to hold onto, but something I fear losing. Some will say I fear losing a crutch. But the imagery is powerful to me, and I've always been of a fantastic turn of mind.

And besides, I think I'd enjoy holding onto some of the wonders that come with it--the multitudinous angels of Hebrew folklore, the lovely virtues, the rich symbols--enough that even if a large part of me doesn't believe in it, I'd still follow it.

I love kosher laws, by the way. Something appeals out of ritual and devotion that has no real purpose but itself. It is devotion for devotion's sake, and I can appreciate this.

Then sometimes I wonder if it's just a fear of Hell I've never been able to shake, and if I'm lying to myself. If so, what I am doing is cowardice.

But I've yet to be rid of it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last night I watched The Prestige (excellent movie, by the way), and it got me thinking about the nature of stage magic and misdirection.

To my mind, there are three vantage points to a magic trick. There is the Yokel, who is being shilled or tricked--he has little knowledge of stage magic, and while he will try to figure out how it's done, he's usually baffled. There is the Observer, who knows quite a bit about stage magic, and may begin to guess at the workings of a trick. And then there is the Magician, who performs the trick.

In a ball and cup game, there are three cups. Under one of these, a ball is placed. The cups are then moved around very quickly and the Yokel is to guess, at the end, which cup the ball is under. The Yokel is always going to be wrong. This is not because he has failed to watch the cups properly--it is because he thinks the game is in watching the cups. He has accepted the rules presented him by the Magician: that the ball is in fact under one of the cups, and that its position depends on how the cups are moved. The fact is, the ball wasn't there in the first place: the Magician palmed it before the cups even started moving, then dropped it under whichever cup he wanted to at the end.

In The Prestige (mild spoilers), Borden performs a trick called The Transported Man. In this trick, a man walks into a box and shuts the door; almost instantaneously, the door of another box on the other side of the stage opens and out walks another man. Of course, the Yokel and the Observer have two very different ways of examining this trick. The Yokel will try to figure out how on Earth someone could move that distance so quickly without getting out of breath or rumpled. The Observer knows that the man who comes out of the box is not necessarily the same one who went in; he looks for signs that a double is being used. Again, the Yokel assumed that it was the same man, and this cripples the thought process.

In this way, Angier's version of The Transported Man is not a feat of prestdigitation in any sense. He is actually travelling that distance very quickly by scientific means; the man who was on the stage is the same as the one who emerged two seconds later on the balcony. There is no misdirection involved at all.

Let us address another trick. I know, I know, this is getting a bit dull. If you'd like, skip this paragraph and go to next, where I talk about what any of this actually means. But for now, I'd like to discuss the bullet catch. In this, the Magician loads a gun, then has a member of the audience fire it at him--and the Magician catches the bullet. In The Prestige, Borden's version involves a ramrod that, rather than tamping the bullet down, actually removes it. Once more, the Yokel's assumption is that there is a bullet in the gun when it is fired, and he thinks the trick is in how it is caught. The bullet, of course, wasn't even there. There is another version of this that uses a revolver in which the bullet is switched out for a bullet carved from soap and fired out a revolver. The soap bullet is destroyed in the blast, and the performer shows off a bullet palmed earlier.

So. How does any of this actually apply?

We have a major issue as human beings; we are, for the most part, Yokels. We assume society's rules, as presented to us, are true, and therefore try to work within them. And don't get me wrong--people have been known to do well working within those rules. But those who achieve greatness do not.

Let us examine the case of Bill Gates. We like to assume that to sell something, you need to have it first. We're Yokels. Bill Gates is a Magician. When he went to sell his first operating system to IBM, they didn't make much of it, and when he asked for rather high royalties on every computer sold with his OS, they agreed, saying that the money was in hardware, not software. As Yokels, we think that was the genius: spotting the market for software before anyone else. Not at all.

When Bill Gates sold the OS, it didn't actually exist. After selling it, Gates and his associates found a man in Seattle (?--maybe Portland) who had invented a system very similar to what he had sold IBM. They found their man in Seattle and bought the OS cheap. You see? The rules were that he was selling what he had. He was not: he invented a product while speaking, then after selling it obtained it. The ball wasn't under the cup at all.

I think the movie V for Vendetta is hilarious. In this film, they go on a massive manhunt for an anarchist terrorist known only as V. He wears a Guy Fawkes mask and a long black cloak. They also search for a girl named Evie Hamilton: she has been seen in V's presence, and so they assume she has something to do with him--an associate or accomplice, perhaps. When V turns up in a final showdown with the head of the Secret Police, he is shot multiple times. And--this is hilarious--they think this means they've killed the terrorist.

He is defined and identified by the fact he wears a mask, something few people do. Do you see the joke? His identity lies in the fact he cannot be identified. Yet they don't think in that light. Evie Hamilton could be the terrorist just as well as anyone else, 'cause guess what: two people could wear the same mask. V might actually be hundreds or thousands of people, each wearing the outfit only once, to commit some crime, and then never donning the mask again. This would be a further stroke of brilliance: the police in the film are putting together V's identity by where he has appeared and whom he has killed, trying to pick out a single person under the mask. If there are many, each crime would have a different MO and a different motive, all totally unconnected--it's like playing connect-the-dots with your freckles. There is no underlying pattern to be discerned.

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed when the filmmakers didn't play with this notion at all, but I'll save that rant for another day.

Martin Luther King, Jr and Mahatma Gandhi knew it too. There were established avenues for political change, and established ways of doing things. They ignored these. They created their own avenues, most brilliantly passive resistance--which we've been copying ever since.

Ok, here's something very relevant:
Most of those who read this blog, I know, are college students. There is a plan we have been told for our lives. We go to high school and get a good education, and then we go to college and get a diploma. With this diploma, we go out and get a job. By hard work, effort, and talent, we make our way up the corporate ladder to success.

Or maybe we drop out of college, put all our eggs in one basket, and do something so wildly outside the rules we fool all the Yokels and make something truly great.

What are the standard rules and patterns that you see in life? Now try seeing past them. This is very difficult--at least for me--because these rules are defined by the very fact we don't notice them.

It's just a thought.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I made a pretty!

Sacco and Vanzetti were two prominent anarchists during the 1920s. They considered governments the worst enemies of people in existence. They were put to trial for murder--a trial that has become the most contested in American history. They were found guilty and executed.

If people are going to be going on and on about the Jena Six, I felt I oughtta add a cause I care about--my anarchist pals, dead though they may be.

"This man, although he may not have actually committed the crime attributed to him, is nevertheless culpable, because he is the enemy of our existing institutions."
Judge Webster Thayer's remarks to the jury before the trial of Bartolomeo Vanzetti

"We are not here to say whether these men are guilty or innocent. We are here to say that the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti."
Governor Michael Dukakis's remarks following a proclamation removing any stigma or defamation from their names

This case is important to me because it is a perfect failure of our justice system. It does not matter whether or not Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty or innocent; all that matters is whether evidence supported the notion that they were guilty. There needn't even be evidence for innocence.

If a guilty man walks free because of a lack of evidence, that is just a success of the justice system as when an innocent man does--or when a guilty man is sent to jail when guilt is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. So I don't care if they were guilty or innocent. There may not have been enough evidence at the time to absolutely clear them, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is that there was not enough to prove them guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. That is the failure.

I could say this carries over. We prefer to assume guilt rather than innocence. We don't like the idea of attacking every assertion of evidence that proves guilt--we'd rather attack the evidence of innocence. Tell me, when a celebrity is being convicted, do we try to cast doubt on every proof of innocence and accept every proof of guilt without thinking?

I'monna go watch "Twelve Angry Men".

Disclaimer: I do not own Kirby. I don't own his image. He definitely belongs to Nintendo. I like to believe he'd support Sacco and Vanzetti as well, but I can't say for sure--I don't speak for him.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

So, I've been doing NaNoWriMo.

Actually, right now I'm procrastinating on NaNoWriMo.

What I do find interesting, though, is how different NaNoWriMo work is from other writing I've done. Normally when I write either (A) I'm writing an analytical essay, so I don't have to enjoy it for it to be good, or (B) I'm in the writing mood when I sit down to work.

It is very difficult to bring yourself to write consistently when you really don't feel like it (see re: right now).

Another thing. Lately I've been reading a lot of very artistic, very "literary" novels. I did not realize it, but they really did impact my style. I had two false starts on my NaNoWriMo novel I had to throw out simply because I was trying to be artsy and it wasn't my voice at all. I find I like the style of science fiction and fantasy novels much better: they do not draw your attention to the prose, but simply present an interesting plot, character, or world, and let you explore. It's far simpler and much better.

As it is, though, the first few paragraphs of my NaNoWriMo novel still have that particular stylistic flaw, and it keeps cropping up. I'm working on excising it, because I really only enjoy writing when I'm working in a more natural voice.

So. Now I'm procrastinating. I'm sitting at a table at Jittey Joe's in the SLC and thinking about writing. I'm kinda wishing for a distraction, though I know I shouldn't. I've got a date tonight and Nathan's movie thing, so . . . I gotta get this all done now.

(please distract me)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of one month (Nov 1 to Nov 30). The emphasis is not on quality initially, but simply on meeting the word goal (the slogan is "No Plot? No problem!"). This comes to an average of 1667 words daily--about two pages, single-spaced.

I intend to do it this year. Will anyone here join me? You see, I'd like to bring a lot of people--at UGA especially--together to work on this; the idea is that if we're all working on this, we can encourage each other, stop each other from dropping out.

By the way, December is editing month. November is writing month. We're just writing ALL we possibly can, not even going back to clean up until later. It's largely for those of us who've always intended to write a longer work but procrastinate on it. This forces you to write and gives you a rough draft, so if nothing else you have experience in long works of fiction.

To sign up, go to http://www.nanowrimo.org/

If you plan to do it, please comment here (and if possible give contact info). I'd like us who do this to all stay in touch, possibly get together to write, et cetera.
Let me preface this post by saying that I'm against sexual predation, et cetera, et cetera.

So, those who read the news know of the sting in which a UGA student, believing he was soliciting sex from a fifteen year old girl, was arrested--the person he was chatting with online was actually a police officer.

Here's what I find interesting about it. In cases of statutory rape, they say it doesn't matter whether you know that they're underage or not. If your partner uses a false ID that shows them to be over 18, it's still considered statutory rape if they're underage. What this would tend to show is that the actual action matters less than the intent behind it.

So . . . if these fellows intended to seduce underage girls but were actually seducing adults, can you convict them? Is consistency too much to ask in criminal justice?

Mmm, poll, question: shall I send this in as a letter to the Red & Black?

Ooh, and deliciousness: one of the men arrested in the sting is the Pike County superintendent of schools.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I have been seduced into the glamourous lifestyle of a librarian. I fear this may be the career path I choose.

Look, it's not like I need a lot of money! And you know, it's cushy and stuff. Well, not really. But there's books! And children learning about the joy of reading! Plus, if you work in a library you have a monopoly on your product (or at least the most competitive prices), so you don't have to worry about serving customers well.

Yes, you say, but Phillip, you'd be working a government job. And you know those jobs make you sign a contract that says you're not trying to bring down the government, the establishment, the Man, the United Fruit Company, or Mom's apple pie.

And I say, yes, but my word can be compromised.

But you'd be an agent of the establishment! The Man! The United Fruit Company!

Look, I'd be subverting the enemy from the . . . what the hell is it with you and United Fruit?

Santa Marta. Colombia. 1928.

. . . I could be morally ambiguous. Some say that's sexy.

You can't bring off morally ambiguous sexy without a sleek black trenchcoat and good hair.

I have the hair! I can buy a trench!

And brooding eyes.

I have those too! I'm dark, and brooding, and mysterious, and, and, and . . . *pout*

Yes you are, lovey. *pats head*

In conclusion, librarians make the best secret agents. They are the guardians of knowledge, which is power. I shall be an Anarchist Librarian! Or better:

Phillip: Dark Lord of the Library


In other news, this weekend I carved pumpkins. I created the savage Pumkas people, a tribe of head-hunting cannibals dwelling on a remote South Pacific island.

This included a bunch of little pumpkins with X's for eyes stuck up on spikes.

And pumpkins with sharp sharp teeth taking bites of other pumpkins' brains and guts.

Pictures are on Facebook. As of Sunday morning, the neighbors have already complained. Success!


You know what? I like the finer things in life. I like classical music and opera and going to the theater. I like good wine, good port, caviar and tartar. I am utter and total snobbish Eurotrash. I know good formalwear, and I love to wear it whenever I have occasion to.

I'm realizing I was raised to be capable of moving in classy society just about anywhere. I discuss art and opera like an ennui-ed aristocrat and make polite banter in multiple languages.

Not sure how I feel about this. I'll get back to it later.


Half a bottle of very good port + very sharp knives + slippery pumpkin juice + tough to pierce pumpkin skins = oh jeez the ouch.


I try to live without regrets. That's a major thing about me: if I am afraid to make mistakes, I will not experience all I'd like to. The greatest experiences I have had would have come to naught if I'd allowed my fear to get the best of me. And I can get some good or profit out of anything, no matter how ill-advised it is or how disastrously badly it turns out.

That is why when I say I do regret something, it is fairly important. It means that I feel the negative consequences outweighed both all that I enjoyed about it AND all the learning I gained from the experience. I can count my regrets on my fingers (and no, I'm no polydactyl).

A regret before it is complete is a mistake. You see, I must have had good reason not to do this and yet went ahead with it anyway despite that. Basically, the consequences came--consequences which I foresaw--and were just as awful as I'd foreseen, but the value of the experience was far less than I thought it would be. Or perhaps I was dumb enough to hope I was wrong about how things would turn out.

Of all the people I've been involved with over the years, I've had two regrets. I won't share those, simply because I think it's rather cruel to say that's what I thought of my time with them.

I think I am coming to the point of making another such mistake. And I shall not. I shall at least learn from my past, this time.


I'm listening to Cake's cover of "Mrs Robinson". I'm building a deep love for Cake. Coo coo cachoo.


I should think I'd like to marry rich. That's right, I'm in college not for my B.A. but my M.R.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So, lately I've been kind of mopey. As such, my friends have been trying to comfort me.

And I realized: I don't like being comforted. I don't like being told pretty things to make me forget how I feel. It stinks of lies. I'd rather take whatever pain comes to me and let it eventually pass.

I mean, I think I've always hated this stuff 'cause it sounds like such utter and total crap. When someone dies, or you lose someone important to you, or . . . well, whatever, people say, "Time heals all wounds."

Bullshit. I mean, ok, time does heal a lot of wounds. But who cares? The pain is now, and it's yet to heal.

Or they try to normalize it. Make as though it weren't so bad; as if what is lost wasn't that worthwhile in the first place.

Bullshit. Don't devalue what I want in my life; just because I didn't get it doesn't mean it wasn't worth desiring.

I love beautiful frivolities: the lies of a clever and meaningless conversation, or of a well-written novel. It's art, it's daily fictions, and they can be enjoyable.

I loathe actual falsehood. Once again, it's a devaluation, a degradation: when you understate something to make things seem better than they are you turn the original feeling into a sham. Don't. Don't make my world a more comfortable place by evening out all the highs and lows. I want them both.

You who know me well, you know when you ask my opinion I'm as honest as my perception will allow. I don't share my opinion when the bad outweighs the good, true, but I don't lie in the least detail.

So when life starts sucking, don't comfort me. Just be there--nothing more, nothing less. I don't want pretty lies. I just want my friends.


Another thing I discovered:
When I am in a mopey or unhappy mood, if I begin to think of or speak of my pride and arrogance I begin to feel better. D'you see that? My happiness isn't in thinking well of myself; it's in knowing I think well of myself. When I start to fall apart, knowing I have that self-confidence is the glue.


Friday, October 19, 2007

If you're a Harry Potter fan, this link will have you squealing in glee (or in horror).


For those who can't be bothered to click it . . . well, J. K. Rowling has just announced to the world that Dumbledore was in fact gay. He had an unrequited romance with Gellert Grindelwald.

Let's let this sink in for a few minutes.

Well, it does rather explain the Beauxbatons-esque robes he wore in the fourth film . . .

And why McGonagall never tried getting into his pants.

And his genius-level intellect and creativity.

I'm just . . . I'm not sure how to express this level of awesome.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So there's an idea I've had in my insomniac moments that a great work of literature is one that can be summed up in the form of a Godzilla haiku; if it cannot be, it is not a great work of literature.

Usually I come on to this musing as I'm trying to sleep; I make a few haikus and forget about it.
Today Laurel and Megan convinced me to start writing them down.

Here's the few we put together at lunch today:

Lord of the Flies
Pacific island
Boys exploring governance
Godzilla says "Snacks!"
Romeo and Juliet
Can true love exist
For Godzilla and Mothra?
Double suicide.
Scarlet Letter
Mothra's a hussy
Godzilla's in the clergy
Hot romance ensues
Ghost dad wants vengeance
Godzilla pretends madness
Everybody dies.
Gone with the Wind
In the Civil War
Godzilla couldn't care less.
Mothra wears curtains.
Godzilla's jealous
Of Mothra and Cassio
O.J.'s not guilty
Moby Dick
Call me Godzilla
Queequeg invites me to lunch
The whale interrupts.

So, that's what we did off the top of our heads.
Suggestions? Additions? Any literature you'd like to see Haiku-ed?
I just saw possibly the most disturbing commercial EVER on TV.

It's for a remote control Thomas the Train set. The kid's controlling this train as it goes around the tracks. Then it comes to the tunnel.

"Should he go through the tunnel?" The train goes halfway in.

"Or maybe not." It pulls out.

"Wait, let's have him go through!" It goes further in.

"Back up, Thomas!" Pulls back out.

"Yay!" Goes all the way through and keeps going.

What. THE FUCK. Am I just a dirty-minded fellow? Or does the image of a train going in and out of a tunnel again and again seem rather . . . suggestive?


It has come to my attention that Josh has posted quotes from me that make me sound . . . questionable. Perhaps somewhat, I dunno, prejudiced.

I could defend myself. I could say I have a deep appreciation for other peoples, other cultures.

But you and I, dear reader, we both know that's not true. I'm an utter misanthrope. Rather than granting me flight or x-ray vision, they above chose to bless me with rancor and bitterness towards mankind.

But in a cheerful way.


Also, we've changed the location of our wedding. It was suggested we do it out by Demosthenian Hall, 'cause Rock for Barack is taking Myers Quad (even though THEY definitely weren't invited to interrupt this ceremony).

Because of disputes between my fiance and I over who gets which bridesmaids or groomsmen, we intend to have our Best Man and Maid of Honor pick teams, dodgeball style.


Um. Our neighbors across the hall are weird. John just came back from showering. They were both down there showering (in separate stalls). Apparentley, as they were leaving (together), John swears he heard one say, "Wait, I forgot the lube."



Last night we carved pumpkins for Demosthenian, and I had the thought (which I couldn't help but remark) that I'd love to be a brain surgeon if it was like pumpkin carving.

"You see, Doc, it's just these awful headaches."

"I see."

"Is there anything you can do?"

"Why sure. I'll cut a hole in the top of your skull, muck out the contents with a big plastic spoon, then carve a smiley face in the back of your head."

"Um . . . will that make the headaches go away?"

"Almost certainly. Nurse, get the candles."

Tonight we new members are called upon to defend the Hall. I shall garb myself in black, and arm myself with pens (in case they attack with swords). And I'm thinkin' war paint. If we do that, I'monna be a kitty cat!


It occurs to me that nuptials sounds dirty. Next time I go to a wedding (other than my own), I intend to say this to the groom at the reception:

"I seen your wife's nuptials. They'm real pretty. I watched 'em for hours. Wanna see mine? We made us a tape."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I couldn't remember the login for the blog I created a couple weeks ago, so I tried logging in with my GMail account. And I found this.

At first I wasn't quite sure what it was. As I read over it, it sounded vaguely familiar . . . and then I realized why. Welcome to my first blog, from way back in the beginning of my freshman year of high school. Everything prior to this post is about four years old, and it's strange to see my writing. How it was, how it is now . . . all right, so, there's a lack of major change. So it goes, chilluns.

Well, I could take you on an introspective journey as I examine how I once was, how I've changed, as I check out the new me and the different writing style, but the truth is that it would be kinda pointless and kinda depressing. Reading this, it doesn't seem my writing's changed or improved much in four years--four ever-loving years!--which is probably my own fault, as I've written little enough in that time. It's shameful, isn't it, that I who call myself a writer and tell everyone I shall be a writer, have been avoiding actual work, practice, improvement. It's a sin against myself not to explore something I always enjoyed doing. I can claim I've been working on gathering experience before I start putting anything out there, but you and me both know that's shit.


A lot of people have been posting about love and relationships lately, and I keep hitting on the idea that my feelings on the matter are rather different. I don't see the same progression everyone does; of course, I usually date people I've already known for some time.

In my case, I'm usually very good friends with someone before I go a step further than that. There's a pretty major reason for that: I have to trust someone a lot before I really get involved with them. And I'm pretty all-or-nothing: once I'm in a relationship with someone, I'm totally open to them. I feel like I'm giving them the power to hurt me, because despite the prickly and apathetic demeanor, it's pretty easy to tear me apart. I'm not gonna say at this point that I love a person, not romantically, but I'm letting them be part of me.

Then again, there's dating-but-not-a-relationship. I've never been as good with this. As I've seen this, it's a substitute for being friends for some time beforehand. If you're friends, you've got time to build a level of trust. If it's someone you've just met, you gotta spend some time around them before you get a good idea of how you feel about them.

Issue with dating, it's a false image. You're trying to present your very very best side, all the good and smart and special that would be especially loveable. You're covering the warts, which are sometimes what makes a person more interesting. More worthwhile. I have trouble trusting someone if I'm on a date with them, because I know they're trying to present their best side, and so am I. You know people that talk about someone changing right after they slept together, or married, or whatever? That's the switch from the simulacra to the reality of the person.

I've enjoyed being with people without loving or trusting them. I don't intend to do this more, because it's ultimately empty.

You see, there's a point when you cross into intimacy. That's, I would say, when the words "relationship" and "love" become accurate. Sometimes it's a conversation, when you talk about the true and important things in your life. When you're open and honest, and presenting that which you care about and fear. It is the point when you realize a person as a person, and they seem the same of you, and you can trust them.

I have been intimate with people long before dating them or being in a relationship with them. These are my closest friends, my other halfs, who I've held to me for some time. I think you four know who you are. These are people I'd date without a second thought (except that all four are women), because I trust them to look out for me, because I know I'd look out for them, and because I know I can rely on them, always. I suppose blood brother (or sister) might be the traditional term.

You see, I am all or nothing. When you have me, when I have that trust and intimacy, you have me entirely. Without that, I'm there for the fun and to take care of you best as I can when you need it, but that's it. Keep in mind that I apply this only to romantic relationships; my friendships have considerably different rules. It is the difference between open and shut; when I am open to you, I am utterly open, and when I am closed you will see nothing but the surface.

So I say the word "love" doesn't apply in romance until there's trust and openness. You can fake it, but that's pretty far into the wrong. There's . . . well, there's it to me.

By the way, that jump to intimacy takes a lot. Like a proper artistic endeavor, it's the baring of one's soul. And I don't think I've felt anything more painful than when you try to share those serious and personal parts of yourself, and it's ignored or treated lightly. There are some things, I think, that we all hold dear and will not see mocked or tossed aside. If anything is to compose what we call our soul, it's what we hold precious.

I can't think of a proper ending because I don't know how to put all this. There are places this entry is disconnected because there are major points that are part of what is serious and important to me. I'm not ready to bare my soul to anyone who might read this, so it's not entirely coherent.

Oh well. Fuck all, let it be.