Sunday, May 22, 2005

More Junk About Detours

Reading: Nothing right now...waiting to get Walden back out from the library.

Listening to: Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking I forgot how good this album is.

Simple pleasure: There's an oriole singing and building a nest in a ginormous maple tree in our yard.

I wonder how many people can enjoy following a path of random chance as I often do. I'm not talking so much about the major choices and decisions in life (although Sylvana and I once picked up stakes and moved from eastern Wisconsin to eastern Minnesota on little more than a whim), but the little day to day things. It seems like the more flexible and willing I am to "follow the current where it takes me", the more often I'm rewarded by witnessing something really cool, or finding a short cut I never knew existed, or finding a cool rock on the side of the road to put in the garden, I could go on...

The other day, as I was leaving work, I had to decide whether or not to get gas. The tank was pretty low, but I thought I might have enough to get me by another day. It's not a big deal, except for the fact that to get to the only gas station between work and home I have to cross a couple lanes of traffic that are almost always packed with commuters going in both directions, and without the benefit of a stoplight, I could conceivably be waiting there forever. So, I made the decision to make no decision, or rather, I made the decision to let the circumstances dictate my decision...If I got to the intersection and it was clear, I'd go get me some gas, and if it wasn't clear, I'd simply just take a right turn and go home.

As it turned out, the intersection was momentarily clear, so I motored right through to the gas station. After I got the gas, I left; well, actually, after I got the gas, I had to wait in line behind a co-worker buying lottery tickets who went on to tell me he had earlier this week made $56 on a $10 "investment", but then I paid for my gas and it was time to leave.

Again, I faced the choice of either turning left (and having to wait possibly forever for a break in the traffic) or taking a right and taking the long way home (like Johnny Virgil, I'd rather be going 75mph the wrong way than 15 mph the right way). I followed my earlier protocol and when I got to the exit from the gas station and saw an interminable procession of cars in the southbound lane, I took the simple right turn instead, and headed off on the long way home.

As I drove onward, I was headed down a little country road that crosses a small river. It's an area known as an excellent wildlife habitat. As I approached the bridge, a robin came flying out of the woods, carrying what looked like a french fry in it's mouth. At the same time, a pickup truck was nearing the bridge in the oncoming lane. Suddenly, the robin lost his grip on the french fry. It dropped from his beak, and he swooped back down and around to catch it, which he did, only to drop it again almost immediately as he tried to improve his grasp. So he swooped back down and around again, and almost caught it, but it bounced off is beak. All the while, the robin is getting closer to the ground and the pickup his bearing down on him. The bird contemplated going after it one more time, then decided against it, swooping out of the way of the truck that was about to smack him out of the air. I drove past, and looked in my rearview mirror to see him settle down on the now empty road and pick up his french fry.

It was, like, transcendant and junk.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Detours Onto Dead Ends

Reading: still reading Walden; (I only get about 20-30 minutes a day to read, so it can take a while) not too far into it yet, but so far, the general message seems to be: work is for suckers.

Listening to: Beastie Boys: Anthology, Sounds of Science...the Beasties are awesome. And, a rarity, in that they are a great multi-genre band (rap/punk).

Simple pleasure: watching and listening to birds in the garden.

This was going to be a post about my grandpa, and how religion, instead of bringing our family together, is rather putting a wedge in between us...but some stuff happened.

The cornerstone/centerpiece of the post was going to be an email, a typical example of the kind of born-again propoganda his wife (my newest grandma) sends to us, in chainmail form, on a regular basis. It was about a person who prayed before they left their house to go on a trip, and they get a flat tire on the way to the airport, thereby preventing them from boarding one of the planes that crashed into the WTC on 9/11. So, obviously, God saved these shmucks, while condemning all the others with plane tickets to death (I almost typed in 'die to death'...redundant?).

Unfortunately, I deleted the email. But, I thought, no big deal, she sends this crap to Sylvana and our kid, so I'll see if it's in their emails. Sylvana had already deleted it (but left others which I didn't need undeleted, for some reason), and our kid, Japan Deity, hadn't checked his email in so long that his account was suspended...damn kids. Then I come up with the idea of searching google for any mentions of an chain-email or story like that...and Google was down. Damn it, I have no other ideas to post on; I need this, Google! Why do you mock me?!?

It's like life is constructing barriers to keep me away from that subject. Things like this happen from time to time in our lives, and when it happens to me, I usually find that it's wise to slow down and observe what's going on. That, of course, is usually in hindsight, and after much foul language.

Many times when I'm doing something in a hurry, I'll just be crusing along, more concerned with finishing the project than in the process of the project itself, and something will happen, like I will keep dropping a bolt when trying to screw it into the hole, and I'll finally, after several attempts, get it into the hole, and for some reason it won't turn in. I pull the bolt out and notice it's stripped, and go search for another bolt, find one, bring it back to the work I was doing, proceed to drop it, just like the previous frustrating! Finally, I contemptuously get it all screwed in, contemptuously laugh at and/or mock the bolt, ask it about it's family of origin (Who's your daddy, bitch?!? You never, NEVER fuck with me!!! You got that, bitch!?!), only to look down on the floor and notice there was a washer that I was supposed to put on along with the stupid bolt.

Now, if I had only taken a moment to stop obsessing about getting that damn bolt in and stepped back and looked at what was going on, I would have noticed the washer sitting there plain as day. The problem is that I find it so hard not to become emotionally involved in my work. I try to work on this, and I've been getting better, but it's a constant stuggle full of conflict and setbacks and yelling at inanimate objects.

Ah, Google is back up now. Looks like that email was a hoax (I figured as much)(Link in title). So maybe a flat tire is trying to tell you something, but it's probably something like 'you forgot to lock your front door' or 'you forgot your tickets' or 'you should really check your tire pressure more often' or something else more mundane than God saying he's got your back. You are not special, Flat Tire People, try to get your heads around that.

p.s. I'll do the grandpa post next time, bob out!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Y Kan't Tori Not Suk?

I heard the new Tori Amos song (Sleeps With Butterflies, or something like that) the other day, and just as I feared, it more or less sucks. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Tori Amos, she kicks ass (or at least she used to). In fact, my Hunnybunny and I go and see her almost every time she comes to town. It just seems like after "Boys For Pele" her songs just don't have the power and, what the French would call "that certain I don't know what it is" that they used to.

I think her big problem is she's happy now. She's married, well-off, has a kid; everything is going well...too well. She's living proof that you have to suffer to write well. By continuing to put out new material, she's becoming the next Paul McCartney. He used to be on top of the musical world, and now no one notices if he puts out a new record. That's the fate awaiting Tori, if she continues down this road. Her spark is gone now, and that's too bad.

Or is it? I've thought a lot about it (probably way too much) and I've come to this conclusion: writing music was obviously very therapeutic for her, and helped her get through some really troubling issues in her past (being raped, self-mutilation, the fact that she's turned on by the thought of being eaten by a crocodile, etc.). So now she's in a far better place, is living well and doesn't have to feel so goddamn bad all the time. And we got some truly great music out of it as well. So good for her. Just stop with the new songs, Tori...unless you get a divorce or something. Man, would I like to hear the record she would put out after that!