Sunday, March 29, 2009

Had an interesting time at the park. We go there to feed the ducks. Evidently this is forbidden. We have never stopped at the kiosks and read the sign saying it is forbidden. We just go and feed them stale bread, and are all happy.

So today, whilst in duck heaven, two children- a boy and a girl, who looked alarmingly like the twins in "The Shining," came up to us and told us that feeding the ducks is forbidden. We saw their parents at a bench nearby watching. We listened to the children, and then Kman did something odd. He walked over to the parents and discussed the duck feeding moratorium directly with them. They were very put off that we would approach them directly. That is why they sent their children to do the heavy lifting. Kman was very nice about it, despite being rather pissed off at them using their children as tools. And the parents were pleasantly uncomfortable.

We then had a very animated discussion about parenting, and putting children into the role of being informers/policemen. I suspect that these folks come from another land, and don't realize that that kind of behavior can cause some serious ramifications in some places. Like parks in other parts of the area. Where the people being told not to feed the ducks might be a little less conciliatory about it. I dunno. It was ballsy and icky. I feel sorry for the kids. And the ducks. Who went hungry.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh my. These writing muscles aren't getting the workout they need. Bits and bites of words just don't lend themselves to anything besides the odd quip. Not all that satisfying.

But have been unable to sustain more than a casual relationship with thoughts lately. All the deep thoughts synapses have taken a break. I suppose that isn't too horrible. But it isn't great, either.

So, I just finished a crappy book by a woman who hates her mother. Take that back, it's more than hate. And what I thought was particularly pathological about her, besides the fact that she has children, is that she had so little insight into herself to recognize that she could use a heavy dose of therapy, and needed to lose the narcissistic self-absorption. I can only wonder what kind of train wreck she is inflicting on her children. Oh, and she was also chock-full-of smug self-satisfaction. What a toxic combo. I hope I never run into her when I visit old home town. The urge to punch her in the throat is pretty strong. Which I guess, means her book was successful on some level. It inspired me to hate her. I think that's a strong reaction. Augusten Burroughs didn't do that for me- just thought he was kind of pitiful. Ditto most of the other revelatory memoirs that I have ingested. They tend to have that unfortunate tone of payback rather than anything remotely resembling insight. I also have very little patience for what comes off as a bunch of whiney complaints- when they come from the keyboard of an adult, that is. From children, it's a different story. But I always thought you were supposed to grow out of whiney crap like that.

I am jealous. That she got a book deal in the first place. It doesn't hurt that her father is one hell of a well-connected man in the publishing world. It doesn't hurt that she comes from the kind of old money that Gatsby was so horribly fond of. Nope, doesn't hurt at all. And I am full of toxic sour grapes about it.

I guess this is one of the primary reasons I have always preferred biography to the auto kind. I like the filter of another person's perception. And the illusion of objectivity. Because I did read a long time ago an article by a biographer. The obsession needed to pull off the stunt of researching another human being and writing about them, and becoming an expert on them is something unusual. I don't share it. But I think it is interesting. And I do enjoy trying to parse out what the fixation of the author is. If they are an apologist, or an analyst, or what kind of filter they are trying to apply to thier view of the subject.

I also have always considered autobiographies to be lies. I see them as craven attempts to sway public opinion, by selectively telling the truth. I am not horribly interested in reading PR attempts. Not in my personal time, or in my professional time. I see them as manipulative and sort of crass. If these folks were all that interested in being honestly remembered for posterity, they would leave all of their archives of data to an institution and leave it at that. Let others interpret. Because by the basic premise of being in thier own skin, they aren't able to do so without prejudice.

There have been several autobiographies that I will admit are interesting- mainly because of the side-story that they tell. Julia Phillips in "You'll Never Have Lunch in This Town Again," gets the feeling and texture of Hollywood in the 70s down very well. But I didn't like her. And found her actual writing to be torturous. So in that sense, she got in her own way.

Probably the best of the bunch is Dominick Dunne. He is a star fucker, and always has been. I think he would annoy the piss out of me in real life. But he is very good at the roman a clef, and does a great job of reporting celebrity legal strife. I think that as a recovering addict, he has a better sense of humility in a way than a lot of them do, but still figure that he's up to something when he writes about himself.

I guess that this can serve nicely as my Declaration Not to Write a Memoir. And if I break it some day, anyone who reads this has my full permission to call me out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've been wearing my art school shoes to work. I haven't shined them- they are still smudged and scuffed from loading kilns and kicking debris out of the way. They are still in pretty good shape though. I have been trying to remind myself that this is part of my reality too. That it's not all business class and sunshine in a high-rise building.That there are bone deep realities that I can't just ignore and hope will go away.

There is the feral cat issue. Because at core, that is what defines a large part of me. It just is. I am ok with it, but can't spend a lot of time thinking about it or I get sad. Sad because so much is gone. And I miss the ferocity. I miss the passion. I miss the ability to just do things without worrying about cause and effect. I miss the ability to not worry about self-editing all the time.

The pressure mounts, the decisions get postponed, the actual work gets jettisoned in favor of being busy. And tired. Tired all the time. If Charlie Kaufman is right, it's likely cancer, and I will die. But then that is no surprise, really. I expect to end some day. And I don't know if it's really worth the effort to try and accomplish everything first. Futile, indeed. Ah, ennui. Welcome to the club. There are some very nice couches over there. Make yourself at home.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another good one. There is a friend of ours who plays hockey every winter. He is a tough guy. He survived a plane crash, wherein his friend, the pilot, wound up simple for life, and he had his back broken. His main complaint was that the morphine drip made him horny, and his wife wouldn't accommodate him in the hospital while he was in a body cast.

So, he is playing hockey. And during the game, his hand gets smacked by the puck. He continues to play, until the bitter end. He pulls off his glove, and blood pours out. The puck had taken off the tip of his pinky finger. He went home and washed it, and put on a bandaid. His wife made him go to the doctor and get stitches. He was out for the season.

The following season, he was getting ready to hit the ice, and he put his glove on. The same one, of course, because it was only blood. But there was something in the finger. He shook it out, and something resembling a raisin hit the ice. It was, of course, the end of his finger from the previous year.

We love him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I've been pondering something for several days now, with varying degrees of anger and perplexed confusion. I have several friends who are all behind the Facebook initiative to provide forgiveness for student loans. And I find myself bone-deep opposed. Just viscerally opposed. It is on such a gut level that I am actually amazed- that something that would benefit me and Kman would inspire such venom in my soul.

Here's my issue. I am not in need of a fucking government handout. I do not want the loan that I signed the promissory note for to become an additional burden on the American taxpayer. I budget to afford the payments, and don't really mind that, as it was part of the overall cost when I signed the papers. I will repeat myself. I don't need a fucking government handout. I understand what that would mean, and think that it would be a travesty. I would prefer that the money goes to people who deserve and need it more.

My interpretation of the effort, which to be fair, is probably a tad jaundiced, is that these are a bunch of college-educated middle-class kids who believe that they should be allowed to re-allocate their loan payments towards something more to their liking. And if it is a true financial hardship to make the payments, ought to consider coming up with a budget, or getting another job. Because no one put a gun to their heads and made them sign the promissory note in the first place. No one said that they had to go into debt to get an education. Plenty of people work their way through school, and yes, it takes one hell of a lot longer. But they do it. Others attend cheaper colleges to afford it. Something about keeping the long-term goal of living debt free in mind seems to have escaped some of these folks. And it pisses me off. Fucking whiners.

Now that I have vented, I know that I am probably being unfair. If so, please educate me. Tell me why it's a priority to provide loan forgiveness and a larger tax burden. Tell me why these college-educated people need money that jobless people also need. Tell me why. I want to understand, but my emotions keep getting in the way. I don't want a fucking government handout. That's what resonates in me right now.

I am unsure how far their efforts will go. I kind of doubt that congress can get this one passed- it seems like a really tough pill to swallow. Especially if there is an across-the-board examination of what these people bring home pay-wise. I suspect that the money would be better spent providing scholarships to kids whose parents have lost their jobs. Or to spend the money on a boosted unemployment system, perhaps. Or to assist people who have lost their jobs in paying their house payments/utility bills, etc. Or to bolster the budgets of local food banks. All more worthy in my opinion than a bunch of people who don't want to be bothered to pay for their own fucking educations.

Ah, and there I go again. Getting all worked up. Nice. I had hoped that writing this down would temper my ire a bit. But I don't think it's going to happen like that. I think I am going to keep getting pissy. So seriously, if you have a differing opinion, please share. I want to understand. And I promise to keep my temper under control and listen. Or do my best to try.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Following my own damned advice

There was a little girl named Poppy. I love the name Poppy. It sings. It reminds me of food.

She stank. No one knew why Poppy stank, but she stank. (full disclosure- Poppy is the cousin of a childhood friend of Kman)

So Poppy stank. The teachers called her parents, and told them that Poppy stank. Her parents, mortified, did everything that they could think of. They bathed Poppy. They perfumed Poppy. They watched what Poppy ate. Nothing worked. Poppy still stank.

Rather than raise a permanently stinking daughter, they finally took Poppy to the doctor. The doctor was perplexed. Finally the doctor had an idea. He took an xray of Poppy's head. Then he operated on her head.

Seems that months and months ago, Poppy had stuck a couple of paper drinking-straw wrappers up her nose. There the wrappers had rotted in her sinuses. And made her stink. The doctor removed the wrappers surgically and treated the infection that had caused the prodigious smell.

Poppy didn't stink any more.