Stages

Many thanks for the kind words offered over the course of this stupid illness. I’m now about mid-way through my “vacation” and thought I’d offer a word on progress. These are the stages I’ve so far survived (though some of the later ones tend to do encores).

Gluehead – everything above the middle of the neck appears to be made of slightly stiffened mucous. One has a feeling that a good poke would cause the whole structure to collapse. One therefore doesn’t poke much. Certainly not good pokes, anyway.

Rakethroat – tiny rings of steel cilia surround the throat; anything that touches them–like, say, molecules of air–triggers an electro-convulsive reaction which causes the shifting of sharp iron plates. This causes one to realise just how often the throat contracts on its own during the course of the day.

The Ocean Mask – all breathing is done through a fine mesh of gelatinous material. Consequently, lots of effort goes into only a little breathing. Noises are created which seem to disturb others. One looks at power drills and wonders.

Taut Vent – one’s skin, muscles and other tissues are stretched as far as they will go by invisible strings. All breathing, speaking, eating, etc is done through a liquid medium, giving one the truest available experience of living under the surface of a swamp. This could also be called the Turtle Simulation.

Apologies all around for neglecting blog-reading of late; my internet connection is only fitful, as is my ability to concentrate. On a positive note, I dreamed the first paragraph of my NaNoWriMo project next time. No idea where it goes, or even what it means, but I liked it well enough to write it down.

Til next time, then.

Seven Songs

[UPDATE–I’ve added links to everyone.]

I’ve been tagged by Azathoth with the following task:

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.”

My first thought was that it would be hard to come up with seven; then it became a matter of elimination as I’d think of one song and it would spark several fellows into memory. In the end, I’ve decided to list those that, once the brain starts the tape, I find difficult to get out of my head.

1. The Magnificent Void – Steve Roach. This is a multipart work, but I’ve made a single file of it, so that counts.

2. The Making of a Soul – The Residents. Can’t get the last part, particularly, out of my head.

3. Toiler on the Sea – The Stranglers. Fast tempo, busy keyboards, Hugh Cornwell’s flat sneer–what’s not to like?

4. Salva Ros and Chloe – Yuki Kajuira. Yes, it’s two tracks, but it’s also a cheat in that it’s more a remembrance of the series than music on its own.

5. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – Edward Shearmur. The whole damn thing. Soundtrack music is hard to separate from the spectacle, this one more than most.

6. Symphony No. 11 – “The Palace Square” – Dmitri Shostakovitch. The sense of wide open space and distant horizon in this work is just palpable. No matter what the actual story line is, this will always be the soundtrack for Dune.

7. Verklarte Nacht – Arnold Schoenberg. Probably the most lush music ever written.

There’s a lot more–I don’t have any Berlioz, Eric Dolphy, Eno, or Wire in here, and they ought to be. Where’s Peter Hammill, or the Doctor Who theme? Severed Heads, anyone? Charles Mingus. Xenakis. Oregon. TV themes. Dick Powell. All I can do is sigh at how small a number seven is.

Some songs, though, I like for parts rather than the whole–anything with a Mellotron solo, for example, definitely pushes the right button for me. The opening theme from the old “Suspense” radio show is only a few seconds long, but it really starts the feeling of anticipation going–again, it’s not inherent in the song per se, but in what it foretells.

The next part is difficult–I don’t have seven friends, let along seven people I know who use Blogger. But I’ll give it a shot. I tend to read the blogs listed below pretty regularly; that sounds good enough for the internet world.

1. Filthy Rotten Angel
2. Cullen W.W. Waters
3. Henry Brennan
4. Jabootu
5. Dr. Freex
6. Kerry Adams
7. SF Jones

I guess I don’t have to tell them this, which is good, because I don’t have email addresses fror most of them. Again, it’s all part of the modern marvel that is the internet.

After One Long Wait: Paint Blog Two

“I’ve been doing some more work.”

“Go on.”

“I’ve discovered…there is life after death.”

“How do you know?”

“There is a certain mental transference, telepathy, that occurs between the vampires and their victims. Carlson is after the girl.”

“How did you know that?”

“Oh, I…I seem to sense it.”

“Where is she, Fallada?”

“Don’t you know? Carlson knows.”

“Where, Fallada?”

“She’s in the Cathedral. She’s been there since she escaped. Rather a nice touch, don’t you think? The crypt of kings and queens.”

“Stay where you are!”

Stay where you are!

“Here I go…”

I’m Not Going Into Details, It’s Too Horrible

New brush.

After–good grief–some seven months of nothingness, I’ve finally got my iPod up and going.

And I like it. The controls take a bit of getting used to (I’m constantly pressing “Menu” when what I want is the button, and vice versa) but the iPod definitely seems designed for ease of use. And I wish there was a “Stop” button. Apparently, if you start playing a song, and don’t want to hear the rest of it, you can either press “Pause” or choose another song. I’d like it if I could press “Stop” somewhere and just have it be resting.

But the good bits definitely outweigh such minor inconveniences. Success with this thing has actually put me in a good mood.

Next, I guess I have to learn about Playlists. Reason being, I have my own MP3 making program which I used to burn (according to iTunes) over 22 days worth of noise. Now, when I would put a CD into the drive, iTunes would always pop up. “Hi, I see you’ve put in the Noir soundtrack! Here are all the songs from that. Would you like me to do something with those songs?” “No, I’ll use my own program for that, but thank you anyway, iTunes! It is good to see you again!” (I was always polite since there didn’t seem to be a way of telling iTunes to stop bothering me.)

Anyway, despite the fact that iTunes recognized the CD, when I navigate to the Noir soundtrack now, on the iPod, all the tracks are in alphabetical order rather than CD order. I know that iTunes was just reading the tracklist file off the physical CD, but it would be nice if it could remember that when it sees the same songs again. Oh well.

(Proper CD order is pretty essential for classical works and soundtracks.)

Anyway, this is fairly cool.

“Paranoia” – A Fragment

I wrote this a few days ago, when I was drunk. I have no recollection of writing it, and I can’t remember why I was drunk. But the story makes me laugh.

Offered as is, with only the spelling corrected.

________________

Today, it was the vacuum cleaner. It told me, in no uncertain terms, how it was my best friend and how everyone else had betrayed me.

It told me these things in great detail, which I had to block behind the bloodwall as I took my favorite hammer and smashed the vacuum cleaner to bits.

Nothing it told me was true, I told myself, and repeated to myself. But I wrote on my scratchpad: buy a new vacuum cleaner.

Then I scratched out the word “new” and wrote “trustworthy.”

Time for sleep. Dreamless this time, I hope. None of those athletic women, blue and purple haired, jumping through hoops and striding over lines….

I woke a couple of minutes before my alarm went off. “No dreams,” I scratched in my diary. Then wondered if I just didn’t remember them. Wasn’t supposed to remember them.

I squeezed my eyes shut. If there was no evidence, there could not have been any implantation. I repeated it, over and over, until I was almost late for work.

“She deserved it,” I thought I heard the toaster say when I put the vacuum cleaner into the recycle bin.

It must have been the wind, I thought. Isolated so long from natural stimulae, no wonder they were all in this together.

The next morning, I didn’t hear the alarm at first, but awoke when it was trilling in my ear…fifteen minutes late.

“That bitch,” said the toaster.

Written and Non-Directed by

So, where is this blog going?

Well, it might go………………………………………………………..here.

There’s also the possibility that it might go

here.

If I’m not careful, of course, it might go

……………………………………………………………………………….here.

Wheeeeeeee.

Gasps and Giggles

Rumors of my impending departure are a tad premature. I’m not going to be leaving the Island any time soon. Besides, I maxed out a credit card upgrading my Lackeys to Henchmen, and the secret volcano base shaped like my head is only a nose right now. How could I give all that up?

In the meantime, this is hilarious. I was seriously in danger of expiring reading this menu, due to lack of oxygen further due to laughing too much. Contains, pretty much by accident, some not-safe-for-work words. Enjoy.

(Via Steven Den Beste and also Brian Tiemann)

Slumbrous Despondency (Cheese Extra)

Filthy Rotten Angel recently posted that she was going to give up blogging, or at least give up blogging in the Known Universe. She has, I guess, reconsidered in the days since her first announcement and has posted a beautiful tribute to a friend who committed suicide. I always enjoy reading her work, it’s heartfelt in a way I can never be. I’m hoping I’m not out of line, linking to her here. Her blog is pretty autobiographical, and mine never is, so my certainty is uncertain.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

During the days following her announcement, I thought about what it is that I do, here, and why I do it, and why I feel less and less like doing it.

What is the purpose and nature of this thing? Why do I do this?

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

I first signed up for Blogger in November of 2004. As I recall, it was a whim and one of those “everyone else is doing it, might as well get one myself” things. And now that I had it, I had no idea what to do with it. I’d scrawl brief little things and post and go back to work, or whatever.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

The first purposeful posting I did was probably the PaintBlogs. These were really a method of cataloguing my creativity, trying to fathom why I made the choices that I did when constructing an artwork. And it was like a time-machine, I could see a work in its historical stages as well as the finished product. If I’d stopped at that stage (of the painting) and made different choices, what artwork would I have? And thoughts like that. The main thing is, it was all for myself. After all, I’d read somewhere that someone starts a blog every forty seconds or so. How was anyone going to come across my tiny corner?

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

Then something weird happened. Something I never expected to happen. I started getting comments. People were reading this crap. How did they get here? I suspect it’s the same way I found new blogs—the “Next Blog” button at the top of the Blogger Title Bar. I’d done that a number of times myself, usually enjoying the various realms I’d come across. Random chance can be fun, just ask Marcel Duchamp. In this case, it happened to me and whoever stopped by actually read what I was writing.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

Of course, this changes everything. I wasn’t just leaving notes to myself, I was (cough) writing for the public. It’s one thing to write in a diary, but quite another to write in a diary knowing you’re going to have to read it in front of the class. In your underwear, too.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

This changes the whole process. While I still wrote for myself, without a lot of thought whether or not my writing would be “useful” to anyone else, it does change your perspective when you think someone might read this. One is more careful with one’s phrasing, one double-checks the spelling and grammar, one reads over the prose to make sure that one thought flows smoothly into its fellow.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

I’d start to think, too, that I should update more regularly, and that I should have something worthwhile to say. Worthwhile to whom? Well, why…oh. I need to write things that are interesting.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

The natural question is, Well, what did you expect? Blogger is a publicly availably web service, and it’s available to this public at all times. If you want to hide, write things on your laptop and keep them there. If you want to be a public figure, blow the trumpet louder. Putting things on the internet is like showing up at the school dance. While few potential partners look at you twice, there is the possibility that someone would ask you to dance with them. Unlikely, sure, given the amount of people here. But it could happen.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

Maybe that’s the attraction. There’s that slight possibility. That’s why you’re there, to show that you’re placing yourself in public eye, and ready to risk.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

After all, one of the attractive aspects of other blogs is the ability to leave comments. I don’t always do so, but the fact that I can—that I can interact with another person’s thoughts—is a nice feeling. It makes me feel that I do exist, and that even though I may not be asked to dance, there’s always the possibility, however slight, that it might happen.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

And when it does, telling the person you don’t know how to dance is really lame. If there’s no possibility that you’re going to dance, then you’re just going so you can be seen by everyone, and that sounds pretty lame too.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

Where do I go from here? I have no idea.

I created this painting while thinking about Filthy Rotten Angel’s decision, wondering about where these events were leading. While I find this image pretty disturbing, even for my work, nonetheless I’m dedicating it to her. And hoping she won’t be a stranger.

Dancing Partner, Oil on Canvas.

Off to my dancing lesson.

F Cats

I am officially tired of these stupid animals. Thera, the noisemaker, has decided she has to go into a yowling jag at 2, 4 or 6am. Leela, the hisser, hates the other cats and won’t come inside to eat if the others are there, which means the neighborhood strays say to themselves, Hey food’s in there. Stryker attacks the other two and also destroyed one of my keyboards.

These are the last pets I am going to own. If I didn’t have cables (aka chew toys) everywhere, I’d consider a dog. For a few moments, before I put the idea out of my head.

I hate being this exhausted.