Monthly Archives: January 2019

Goddammit, frozen reader, it’s hot over here.  Today started off well enough….thick fog at sunrise, which fog stuck around cooly until about 10:00, and then bam!  Heat.  At one point in the last 24 hours, if was 140F degrees hotter in The Creek than other parts of the country.  This winter is underachieving eater of dicks.
Now I’m depressed.

N.P.: “AEIOU Sometimes Y” – Ebn Ozn

About 10 years ago I found out that every once in a while, the earths north and south poles swap locations, and have been fairly fascinated with the entire concept since.  In the last few decades, the magnetic north pole has started shifting erratically, and in the last 2-3 years, it’s gotten so out of control that scientists have been taken by surprise and have spent the last few months majorly revising models from just a couple of years ago.  So I’ve been wondering if maybe a complete polar “reversal” might occur in my lifetime.  The last one happened almost 800,000 years ago, so I figure we’re about due.  But I talked to a science man today, and alas, ’tis not to be.  Even if the recent sudden shift of the north pole from the Canadian arctic to Siberia is a precursor, a complete swap is a few thousands years away.  Which is good, because if were to happen any time soon, it would cause a significant disruption to some pretty significant aspects of society: satellite communications would be disrupted, which means our phones would function intermittently, and weather forecasts would be even less accurate.  Navigation technology we rely heavily upon (everything from sat nav to magnetic compasses) would be less reliable,  At the rate technology is changing now, I would hope that in several thousand years things will be significantly different and perhaps the impact of the polar swap would be minimal.

This is the shit I think about while I’m not sleeping at night.

N.P.: “Leave Me Alone” – 2wo, Rob Halford

Lawd, reader…yrs. truly is tired.  I’ve been getting three hours and change for the last several nights, and it’s starting to catch up with me.  The best bet is probably to just go to bed before I can do any real literary harm.

N.P.: “This Big Hush” – Shriekback

Some of you seemed to like that silliness from yesterday…I’m glad,  Thank you. That’s a hastily  and extremely shortened and sanitized version of something from the other book I’m working on.  Yeah…I may have mentioned it here before, I’m not sure.  So The Book that I’m working is far different from anything I’ve written before by far.  It’s not funny at all.  It’s pretty dark.  And that’s why it’s taking and has taken so long: I have no way of measuring any aspect of it.  That probably doesn’t make sense.  I’ll try to explain: I’m used to writing funny stuff.  I know if something is funny.  I know it’s funny before it hits the page.  So the first book was essentially a first draft and I knew it was funny long before I handed it over to the publisher: I was cracking myself up as I was writing it.  It was very much like recording a dance song: you’re alone in the studio, but you know this is funky and it’s gonna make asses shake.  So you take it down to the club and have the DJ put it on, and yep…the whole place is on the dance floor shaking their baby makers at each other.  Cause and effect: if you do this (make the song), they do that (shake their asses).  Comedy writing is probably the closest writing can come to that inasmuch as laughter is a physical, observable, measurable reaction,  Cause and effect: if I do this (write this funny thing), then they do that (laugh and give me money).  But this goddamn book isn’t supposed to be funny at all.  So I’m writing the hell out of it, but I will have exactly no idea if it’s worth a damn or not until I hear from other people who’ve read it.  I’ve never been in this situation before…not even in college.
Anyway, whatever, I’ll deal with it.  No choice.
An added level of difficulty comes from knowing that unlike the first book, this one is going to be pretty carefully scrutinized and argued about by some people who have a lot more letters after their names than I do, so I have to be very measured and careful about pretty much every aspect of it, and that is simply exhausting.  So at the end of a day of working on it, I have to write something very different to unwind, so I started work on this other book, a slasher novel.  Just this silly thing that no one outside of maybe a few close friends will ever read.  No agenda, no stress, no rules.  So, of course, it’s a blast to write, is hilarious, and is taking on a life of its own.  It may also, incidentally, be the most politically incorrect thing ever written.  Mmmhmm.

N.P.: “Mama” – Genesis

I’ve been experimenting with the various navigation apps on my phone for several years now, and finally found one I like.  Then I started messing around with the language settings.
A recent update added an Irish option under the category “U.K. Voices,” so I rolled the dice on “Seamus,” whose disembodied artificially intelligenced voice piped up in a brogue that sounds exactly like the Lucky Charms Leprechaun if said leprechaun was on the tail end of a 5-day meth bender and had had nothing to eat except cigarettes for a week.  “Howya lad…what’s the craic?  It’s Sonday…are we off to church, like?”
I like this guy already.  Seamus is going to be my new friend.  I input my destination as the dispensary about 10 miles away.  “So we’re wantin’ a bit of the shmoke, are we?  Off we go, then.”  And off we went.  Seamus got me to the dispensary efficiently and with a minimum amount of stress.  This is going to work out well.
The following day I had a mid-morning meeting for a project I’ve been working on.  I knew perfectly well how to get to the meeting site, which was roughly 20 miles away, but since this particular navigation app does a bang-up job of redirecting one around traffic jams and other hazards, I almost always use it, even when I know exactly where I’m going.  I tested it’s ability in the early days, and paid for my dubiousness by being stuck in inescapable multi-hour traffic jams, so I drank the Kool-Aid and have never doubted its advice since.  And so it was that next morning when I entered my destination address.  Seamus wished me a good morning, asked about the craic, exactly when I needed to arrive at my destination, calculated briefly, and then seemed to send me on what seemed to be a rather circuitous, backwards-ass route, but I was running a tad late and didn’t dare get stuck in some horrible traffic jam again, so off we went.
“You have arrived,” said Seamus, when I very clearly had not.
“The hell I have,” I complained to Seamus.  “This isn’t even the right part of town.  This is a bar.  I don’t even know where we are.  I need to get to my meeting.  And now I’m going to be late.”
“Look, lad…you need to trust me.  I know ye.  You want to go in there.  Fock yer meetin’.  When you go into that pub, and you know the barman knows exactly what you want.  It comes.  You can hear it being planted.  The playful splashing of the bubbles on the top of the glass.  The condensation as it drips coolly, like a shnake, down the side of a mountain.The curves of the glass like some sort of Belgian model’s hips…”
Christ.  Seamus is mercilessly convincing.
 “And you grab that pint and you can feel that condensation teasing the palm of your hand and your fingers.  And once that fluid just flows forth like some sort of floodgate of love.  As those bubbles come through your teeth, you know you’ve come to the right place at the right time.”
Dammit, he’s absolutely right.  Fock me meeting.  This is where I need to be.  So I did as I’d been told, and spent the rest of the day drinking whiskey and beer and eating pretzels.  Made a few friends, all of whom seemed to be veterans of foreign wars.
After several hours of stiff drink, it was time to get going.  I went back out to the car and opened the app.
“Airight, lad, whats the craic, how are ya keeping?”
I need to go home, Seamus.  Tell me how to get home.  Seamus does a bit of calculating, and then continues: “You have arrived.”
That’s not right.  I try the whole deal again, even entering my home address manually.  Still, “You have arrived.”  Three more attempts, three more I have arriveds.  It must be a glitch with the Seamus voice.  In desperation, I press the little gear button on the screen and choose another voice.  The only other option under the Irish tab is the female voice: Fiona.  Select and wait.  In a few seconds, Fiona’s loaded and waiting.
“Hi Fiona, I need directions home.”:
“Don’t you ‘hi fockin’ Fiona’ me, ya lazy bastard, laid up in the pub all day.  Leavin’ me and the baby all alone in this awful gaff.  A grown adult who gets so drunk midweek that he has to get his stomach pumped and forgets his way home. Fockin’ eejit! Well, I hope by the mighty Jesus it was worth it, ya brain dead bastard!  You said you’d do Baby Shark with little Declan!   Well, ya may as well not even bother coming home now, ya drunken shite!  Ya daft prick!  Dickhead!”
Jesus.  Who the hell is “little Declan” and what on earth is baby shark?  I press the little gear button on the screen again and try desperately to change the voice as Fiona keeps screaming at me about how terrible I am.
This should work: English (US) – Jessica.  Fiona is silenced, thank Christ.
“Hi Jessica, I really need directions home.”
“I know, right?”
Shit.  “Jessica, do you identify as a millennial?”
“It is what it is.”
I shut off the car, delete the app, and go back into the bar.
N.P.: “Unglued” – Big Data

So I started writing something to go here today, but it sort of morphed into something that will be better off in a different place, which is all well and good, but now here I am with nothing prepared.  How embarrassing.  At least it would be if it was anyone else.  But it’s you, dear reader, and I know you get it.

‘Twas unpleasantly warm today, for a January day, I thought.  People let their screaming children out to play, which I think should be illegal.  Children should be kept indoors on the weekend.  Probably also on weekdays.  And their parents should stay inside as well.  I know that’s ridiculous.  But a man can dream.

N.P.: “Stack-O-Lee” – Samuel L. Jackson

Yeah, I think I need to take a break.  I’m not going to, of course, Just starting to get into a groove with the writing.  In as much as I’m doing it all the time.  Which makes things feel very strange.  Every day is pretty much exactly the same: Wake up, peck at the keyboard until things get going and then hopefully beat the hell out of the keyboard for an hour or so, take a break, repeat.  Get into bed at about the same time every night and do what I can against the evils of insomnia until the sun gets too high in the sky the next day, get up, drink breakfast, and start pecking at the keys again.  Occasionally there are meetings.  Occasionally there are date nights.  But there is no distinction between days, between weekdays and weekends.  Holidays and social niceties are ignored.  But literally everybody else, and indeed the entire world around me is very much dictated by the calendar and all of its “traditions, superstitions, false religions.”  I feel like an astronaut that has arrived from another planet with humans on it, so we have that in common, but I don’t understand why these humans do the things they do.  And I spent several decades trying to do all of these things that you are just supposed to want to do, but it was very much like trying to learn how to dance to music I cannot hear but everybody else can.

N.P.: “Grind” – Alice In Chains

Weird day, dear reader.  Nothing weird happened.  Just feeling a bit…off.  Just wanted to say hey.


N.P.: “Western Ground” – Samael

This stupid aloe plant may finally be dead.  There were originally 3 stalks in this pot.  One died almost immediately, the second hung out for a couple of weeks before dramatically collapsing and oozing aloe onto my table like blood at a crime scene.  This third and final stalk has hung on for 2 months now, and I thought maybe it was starting to thrive, especially since it was no longer having to share the water and soil with 2 other stalks.  I’ve even been putting it on the windowsill so it could get more sun…it seemed to like that.  But then yesterday, it just collapsed.  It’s kind of holding on today, but I think this is plant hospice at this point.
This winter is bullshit so far.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The weather app says, “A good deal of sunshine.”  No, asshole, this is a bad deal of sunshine.  Pleasant daytime temperatures.  Disgusting.
N.P.: “Funky Town” – Pseudo Echo

Okay, intelligent reader…let’s get back to it.  There are one or two more thing I should mention before we get started.  The first thing, which applies to pretty much anything political or cultural I discuss, at least in this context: when I talk about these topics, I generally don’t address them from the perspective of “this is what I think is right and the other side is wrong.”  Though some of the cultural issues I have very strong and clear opinions about, but that is rarely what I’ll be talking about.  Unless stated otherwise, I’ll be addressing methods, as opposed to the “cause” itself.  As for many of the cause themselves (particularly the political ones), the truth is I really don’t care. The transient politics of humans are silly and inconsequential (from a certain perspective).  There are some issues whose causes I publicly support and am completely behind, but I will be brutally critical of the methods chosen to attempt to advance the agenda, simply because the method doesn’t work and is thus a waste of time and resources.
For example, if I say something like. “In present day America, all marches protests, pickets, unofficial petitions, colored lapel ribbons, themed frames or filters on social media profile pictures, and hashtag campaigns regardless of cause, are completely masturbatory, pointless, and utterly ineffectual,” it should be obvious that I mean that about any march, for any cause, including my own.
I’m sensing you would like a bit of justification for this potentially provocative statement (though it really shouldn’t be).  So here’s why marches are a waste of time and effort: Marches and mass political protests are useful in certain environments and situations: if you live in a society where you are not allowed to vote, or there are no elections, then it is time to take to the streets.  If you are officially forbidden from from gathering, from free speech, from pursuing an education, running for government office, bringing a lawsuit, or filing for divorce, then it’s time to organize and “march.”  If your government is internationally recognized as an abysmally corrupt failed narco-state, then yes, collective political action in the street is called for.  But in those situations, I would not call for a march.  The people who are maintaining a constitution which specifies fewer (or no) rights for any race- or gender-based group (in our present world, 2019), a non-violent march is not going to suddenly cause whomever is in power to change their mind(s).  You’re going to have to get much more “hands on” to affect any real change, and staging any kind of “march” to draw awareness to your cause or air your grievances only gives the government in question an opportunity to assemble lists of names and get to know the people involved.
But we’re not talking about that.  We’re talking about the United States in the 21st century.  And though marches had their place and were effective in the past, that mode of political expression and change is outdated and inappropriate for current times.  The reason is that there is simply not much, societally, that is keeping anyone from going out and implementing actual change, whatever that change may be.  For example, police protests have been en vogue for a while now, and those seem to have really ramped up in the last 10 years or so, sometimes turning into community-destroying riots.  Totally pointless.  Somehow, this “us vs them”” mentality has developed, where citizens view the police as somehow “other” (not unlike that nonsense we were talking about a couple weeks ago about thinking that humans are somehow outside of or “other” than nature).  Once that false dichotomy is created, trouble is soon to follow.  It’s not “Them vs. Us,”  It’s just “Us.”  You and me.  So if you have a problem with how your city is being policed and you absolutely cannot tolerate it any longer and you want to see real change, you can put in application with the PD, and if you can make through the academy, you can determine how at least part of your city is policed because it’s you doing the policing.  If you disagree with the way policy or legislation is being written or implemented, then you can run for office and do things the way you want them done.  Rather than congregating with like-minded lemmings and bitching meaninglessly about how sad you are about something, or how upset you are about the job that someone else who actually showed up to do the heavy lifting of policing or governing is doing, why don’t you become a police officer or run for office?  It’s a rhetorical question, but we all know the answer: Because as outraged as you may pretend to be, you’re not upset enough to actually do anything about it yourself.  And that makes you feel guilty, because you’re feeling outraged, but you don’t want to actually do anything about it, but you can’t just not do anything, you have to do something, anything, whether it has any actual impact on anything or not, because at least then you can say you did something so hashtag campaign or march after work or write a little check.  And deep down you know that whatever you did was a futile, symbolic, and empty gesture, but it made that pesky guilt go away and that’s all you can reasonably asked to do.
I have a lot of friends and people that I love who have participated in marches and I’m sure will do so again.  I get why people do it…it’s pretty much the same as believing in God: it is very difficult to accept that there are shitty things in life that you are completely powerless to do anything about.  So you believe in a God and you say prayers and thus you are able to convince your subconscious that you actually are able to do things to deal with your problems.  And that’s fine.  But you can’t expect other people to go along with your delusional coping mechanisms.  If they work for you, great, but don’t expect me to say that there is a Santa or a Jesus or a hashtag campaign with any real world results.
Here’s the deal: stay informed on all of the issues and candidates and vote.  If you don’t like the outcome of the election, stay informed on all the issues and candidates and vote in the next election.  If you don’t like the outcome of that election, maybe it’s time to run for office yourself.
N.P.: “Ordinary” – Train