Oh yeah, I also make videos

Keep forgetting to post my videos to here. Time to fix that.

When last we did this thing, it was for this vid :

Like all my attempts to provoke, it didn’t. But I don’t mind. I am still not entirely comfortable with that side of my personality, anyway. I want to make people think, which is the basic function of the trickster. I want to wake people up and get them to think about what they believe and why.

On the other hand, I don’t want to upset them or hurt them. Hence the quandary.

My original vision for that video was way, way more obnoxious. No apologia, no backtracking, no switching into polite academic mode. Just declare myself smarter than the viewer and dare them to prove me wrong. Needle people into responding.

So basically, I would have trolled people. What can I say, I am desperate for validation, and negative attention is still attention. I just want to be noticed.

But clearly, I am not actually capable of being that obnoxious. Not against an unknown target, anyhow.

Give me an obnoxious right winger to attack, and watch the fuck out.

Especially if they are a Stephen Harper supporter.

Next, we have this highly appropriate topic :

Now I am not claiming that following the advice in that video will be easy. It won’t, it will be very hard. Part of us will always resist growing up and learning to truly accept our own role in what happens to us. We all spend 12 years of our lives in a world divided into two parts : school, where all you had to do is do what you were told, and all the planning for your future was done for you.

And everything else was play. All you had to do was amuse yourself. Even the school day had lunch and recess set aside specifically so you could go play.

And people keep that exact attitude when they grow into adulthood. But in adulthood, your future depends on you. It’s not all plotted out for you any more. And that means that you will be called upon to do things you don’t want to do and which nobody is forcing you to do.

That’s where people get stuck. A child doesn’t have to think of their future self. Adults do. Either that, or they have to accept that they have chosen the life they are leading.

Next we have the revival of this fine tradition :

The Sarcastic Slideshow! As you can see, I sampled Uptown Funk for the background music. The sampling isn’t quite perfect, which bugs me, but for whatever reason, I could not make that tiny pause disappear. I set my video editor to maximum magnification and shaved tiny tiny bits off the sample, but it was still there.

What I should have done was take the sample into a sound editing program and looped it there. Oh well, I will know that going into the future. It’s all a learning process.

Then I stuck my toe in the warm waters of sample based music once more, and came up with this :

Meh. It’s not awful, but it’s not exactly inspiring. Ends a little too abruptly too.

When it comes to music, I find it hard to find inspiration. Or maybe motivation. I have all kinds of music in my head, but I lack the skills and knowledge to turn that into reality.

So I end up just trawling through my collection of samples for inspiration, and while that can work, the results almost always end up disappointing me.

I wish I could read and write music.

Then there’s this thing :

From what I gather, this fridge food theft is a widespread problem. Not for me, of course, because I’m an unemployable drain on society and we buy groceries communally in this household, but still. There’s a lot of human suffering and confusion being caused by this seemingly baffling case of rampant disregard for people’s property.

I have had a chance to think about the problem a little more since I recorded that video, and I think I have a partial solution for those who, for whatever reason, don’t like the camera idea.

According to recent research, all you have to do is draw two eyes on the fridge door. Just the feeling of being watched tends to make people a lot more honest. It doesn’t matter that it’s just two googly eyes on a fridge door (two more inside would be good, too), it activates that part of our brain that tells us we are being watched and that makes us less likely to try to get away with something that we know will bring consequences.

Makes me wonder if we should paint giant pairs of eyes all over Wall Street.

Finally, there’s last night’s video :

I know that I am treading on dangerous ground by addressing this issue at all, let alone poking at the presumptions around it, but that’s just the kind of person I am. The more taboo something is, the more interesting it becomes because the bigger the taboo, the more likely it is that it is full of unexamined assumptions.

And part of my function in life seems to be to think about the things nobody else wants to think about.

Since recording that, it has occurred to me that there is another biological basis for determining age of consent/majority, but people would not like it very much : brain growth.

See, our brains don’t stop growing until we are around 25 years old. That’s why the 18-25 age bracket does all the crazy shit they do. They are full of hormones and the urge to explore, but their brain isn’t quite there yet. Hence their inability to think out the long term consequences of their actions.

So really, it would totally make sense to make 25 the new, rational age of majority. The age of reason, even.

Have fun convincing people of that, though.

I will talk talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

On The Road : Growing Up edition

I’ve been such a child for so long.

The non-incident at comedy class yesterday illustrated that. I really thought, in the back of my mind , that my joke would go over like gangbusters and everyone would see how funny and talented I am.

Like somehow, the things that limit others don’t apply to me. Sure, other people should not expect everything to go perfectly on their very first day when the whole point of the class is to learn to do it, but surely that doesn’t apply to me.

After all, I’m super talented!

And I can see what is going on there. I am still looking for that situation I had when I was anbsp; kid, where being bright got me a steady flow of opportunities to show off how smart I was and get approval in the form of high marks and being a very lazy sort of teacher’s pet.

And the thing is, all that shit was effortless to me. Math, history, science, English… Total breeze.

But the cracks were already showing even in my elementary years because I reacted very badly to the things that did NOT come naturally to me. Things like arts and crafts, gym, or anything else requiring physical adroitness instead of mental was met with massive resistance. I was a hellaciously stubborn kid who knew seemingly from birth that authority was arbitrary and required a heck of a lot of cooperation from those it is imposed upon. Cooperation I was free to withhold if I didn’t like what was going on.

So nobody could make me do anything. And the worst thing was, emI got away with it. /em

When I look back at those days, it is amazing the crap I got away with. I acted exactly like the rules did not apply to me, and the truth is, they didn’t. My brilliance, stubbornness, and unusual view of authority meant Inbsp; could, metaphorically speaking, get away with murder.

And that’s the situation some part of me is still looking for : praise and approval for doing things that require no effort, and free to refuse to do anything I don’t feel like doing.

Not gonna happen. To put it mildly.

I’m an adult now, and that means that I have to learn to accept that, in the real world, you can’t get by on just your magical specialness. The classroom is never coming back. The same rules that everyone else has to follow apply to me as well, and that means that, just like everybody else, I will have to learn to stick with things that do not come naturally to me and work on them until I am good enough.

It is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.

More when I get home.

(—)

Life will always be work.

Nobody is so naturally gifted that they can make all their dreams come true without having to do anything they don’t feel like doing ever. Even the most talented people in any given field have to work at it. They have to do their work whether they feel like it or not. They have to invest effort and endurance into things which may never pay off. They have to settle for net gain via compromise rather than full gain without compromise. They have to accept trade-offs.

In other words, they have to grow the fuck up.

It’s not like all this effort hoarding does anyone any good, anyhow. It’s not like when you need to put an effort in to something, you have so much effort stored up that you could move mountains and barely break a sweat.

Instead, you get weaker and weaker from the total lack of exercise of your will. Your world gets worse and worse because even simple things are hard when you have let your muscles atrophy completely.

This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder if some forms of depression are simply the result of a tragic lack of growth. Arrested development. Somewhere along the way, the psyche did not get the psychological nutrients it needed to complete a growth spurt, and as a result, stopped development right then and there.

In essence, these forms of depression are rooted in a lack of growing up.

I am not ignorant of the potential for that kind of statement to seriously piss people off. For some people, telling a depressive they need to grow the fuck up sounds an awful lot like blaming the victim.

But it’s not. It’s suggesting that there is something the victim can do to escape their victimhood. Whether or not it’s pleasant to hear, it’s the truth, and if it makes you really fucking angry to hear it, ask yourself why.

The truth hurts like a bitch sometimes, but it’s the only thing that will truly set you free. Face the music, pay the fine, and get the fuck on with your life.

Build strength. Gain vitality. Make a life for yourself. Go find your happiness and be willing to do what it takes to get it. Stop being a filter-feeder (what imagery), stuck in one place and only getting what nutrients happen to float by.

I just figured it out : I keep slipping into the second person because that way, I can lecture myself.

Face the chorus of fear and the clamorous clanging of alarm bells in your head and know that by opposing, you can end them. Stand tall, do not waver, and they will die away when it is clear they will not get their way.

And the more often you do that, the less hold these fears and compulsions will have over you. Overcome yourself. Know that the real you is capable and strong and fierce, and perfectly capable of breaking through all those bonds that have been holding you back and making you think you are weak when you are anything but.

You’re as strong as you want to be.

Or would you rather keep pretending to be weak?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

First day of class

Well… not class, really. More like a support group married to a workshop. But whatever.

Had my first official… whatever of Stand Up For Mental Health today. Session? Let’s go with session.

And it was fun. I was both right and wrong about there being homework. There was none assigned, but I would have been a lot better off if I had done what Felicity did and written a bunch of jokes beforehand.

I ended up going last, which is a constant theme of my life, and if I had brought more material, I have a bad feeling we would not have gotten to it. By the time it was my turn, people were tired, and we ended early because I did not have stuff.

Won’t make that mistake again. I hope.

I brought only one joke : “I think the only way SUVs could get any bigger is if they add a second floor. ”

To me, that’s pretty funny. It’s tightly phrased with a good punch word at the end. The meme of bigger and bigger SUVs has been around for many years now. I didn’t think I needed to explain it.

But the joke was met with deafening silence. Felicity made an acknowledging noise (to be fair, she had heard it before) but otherwise, dead fucking silence. Most people weren’t even paying attention.

This activated approximately all of my issues.

Now, it might have been that it was getting hot, people were getting tired, it was the very end of the session, and hence it could have been the funniest joke ever and people still would have made absolutely no noise.

Honestly, criticism would have been less painful. Sometimes it is better to be abused that ignored. At least if they abuse you, they acknowledge you exist.

Some of us need a lot of validation.

And it could have been that it was just too fast a joke for tired people to get. It happens. It’s possible to make a joke too compact and muscular, and not by leaving words or concepts out so that it makes no sense.

It’s just too fast and too dense for most people to pick up. Even smart, funny people. People didn’t even have time to turn on their brains before it was over!

And I know I am funny. Really, I do. I have had people tell me I am the funniest person they have ever met. And only one of those people had just gotten out of jail!

Ba dum bump.

So while I know I am funny, I learned today that I still have a lot to learn. Which is good, because otherwise going to the rest
of the classes would be kind of stupid, at least from an educational point of view.

Still, next time, I am going first.

My fellow… um…. session-mates seem like cool people. There was one chick I particularly liked. She was funny and had attitude. Seemed to have a real spark to her.

And there’s another guy who has made it all the way to getting minor gigs, and he did his set for us, and it was hilarious. I am quite encouraged by seeing how excellent his material is.

Now I just need to get my ass in gear and bear down to attack this comedy business in a formal, school work manner. I really, really, really don’t want to do it. When it comes to comedy, I thrive on spontaneity. Putting it all down in text and then monkeying with it feels like I am killing and stuffing it and sticking it under glass to me.

But I have to assume that I am wrong about that. There must be a way for me to make my creativity more open-ended. Right now, stuff comes in and out, but it’s a very personal and intuitive experience. Not the sort of thing that involves the rational mind except as the final step.

A lot of comedy has gone in to me. I have done a lot of thinking about what makes things funny. I have felt compelled to try to be funny in my life since way, way before I was any good at it.

But my creativity comes from all the stuff that I have experienced which has dissolved into the (water imagery) cauldron of my creative mind. Things crystallize out of this potent brew on their own. Sometimes the real world provides the beginning of the crystallization, but it’s still a non-conscious process.

I guess, deep down, I am worried that if I open the hood and poke around in there, I will break it and it will never work again. That isn’t rational or probable, but it is still how I feel. I don’t want to lose the goose by trying to make better eggs.

Nut that’s a silly way of looking at it. I do all kinds of things rationally and that doesn’t make me any less creative. In fact, truly powerful creativity involves the left and right brain working together so smoothly that something greater than the sum of the two emerges.

I have felt that happen, It’s freaking amazing. A total high.

For me, being an intuitive intellectual type, it’s like the two sides (on a good day) work together like the hands of a concert pianist. I couldn’t really tell you where one ends and the other begins with me. It’s like asking which hand you are using to climb a ladder.

Well, both, obviously.

So what am I afraid of? That if I open up my process, the magic will get out?

Not likely. And the truth is, if my eggs aren’t good enough to sell yet, then what am I really risking? The only way to get good enough to make money at things like comedy and writing is to stop fucking around and introduce some structure and focus to the process. Otherwise, it will continue to just be stuff in my head.

And I am almost completely sure that I want to escape my mental prison and live in the real world.

Emphasis on almost.

I will tall to you nice people again tomorrow.

Not feeling it

Lots of stuff I should be doing today, but I ain’t feeling it.

It’s one of those little adjustments I have to make now and then. Right now I feel sullen and lazy and self-indulgent. Just want to spend all day listening to music and playing video games and in general acting like I am on vacation.

A pretty shitty vacation, but still.

Like I have said before, summer brings that out in me. I guess it’s a sign of how much growing up I need to do. The longer, sunnier days still push me towards that “kid out of school for the summer” mentality. I want to hang out and have fun and enjoy the sunshine and blue skies, and not do anything that isn’t fun.

And take absolutely nothing seriously.

Basically, I don’t want to focus. On many levels, focusing requires effort for me, and I want to go back to being a happy little cloud floating wherever the wind blows, doing whatever he feels like doing.

And the thing is, I can totally do that. I have no actual obligations, in the sense of things where if I don’t do them, people will get hurt and I will suffer a penalty. I am perfectly free to live like that.

But I won’t, because that way of living is profoundly stupid.

It’s the sort of thing favored by the part of me I call the Jagoff. The one who has led me to my current profoundly unsatisfying life. The one who is always positive in a really negative way, like the enabling wife of an abusive husband.

The husband, I suppose, would be my overdeveloped superego.

The Jagoff is the one who tells me it’s not so bad, certainly not bad enough to warrant action or change. It’s the one that makes sure I have as much distraction as I can take so that I remain too absorbed and diverted to look at my life and wonder if this is all there really is.

Protip : It isn’t.

I really feel like that is how I have spent the last twenty or more years of my life. By brutally limiting my actual horizons, I make it through the day with the thing I already have, not happy exactly, but content.

I am beginning to see what Nietzsche was getting at when he railed against “wretched contentment”. For years, I thought that made no sense. Isn’t the whole point of life to become content? Inner peace and all that? It made no sense to me.

But now I get it. As it is with all things, an excess of contentment is poisonous. It poisons the will, strangles the spirit, and robs you of all your strength. You put up with things which are bad for you and make you unhappy because that Jagoff is always there to convince you that it’d not that bad, and that because you are not actively unhappy (or at least, not unhappy enough), everything must be fine, or at least, good enough.

My cure for that is anger. Rage. Dare to be discontent. Don’t filter out all the “bad stuff”, the stuff that threatens your soul-numbing contentment. The stuff that might conceivably wake you up from your dreaming state and make you actually want to do things. Things you don’t normally do. New things that involve the risk of change. The horror.

And it is easy to filter that stuff out because it seems like it leads to unhappiness and pain. And it totally does. To go from content to discontent is a downgrade when viewed on its own and through the lens of a very narrow kind of hedonism.

But the path to happiness is not a sliding sidewalk. You have to go through being less happy in order to go out there and get greater happiness for yourself. Enlightened hedonism recognizes this and is willing to work hard at being happy.

That’s why it is better to be happy than content. Happiness is the presence of joy. Contentment is the absence of pain. Obviously, it is far better to be happy.

Similarly, engagement is better than mere distraction. Distraction is the absence of boredom. Engagement is the presence of enjoyment. There is more to life that merely numbing the pain.

It’s the fear that holds me back. On a very deep level, I am afraid of the world. I spent years of my elementary school life living in a world where the only safety was in remaining hidden and/or unnoticed. It gave me a very deep-running sense of constant danger and a resulting tendency to isolate myself to calm my fears.

Safety in solitude. What a trip to lay on an innocent little kid.

Oh well, progress is being made. Tomorrow is my first actual Stand Up For Mental Health class, and I am, in no particular order, excited, nervous, stoked, scared, enthusiastic, and avoidant about it.

I don’t have any jokes written. I have a very strong feeling that David assigned us some homework at the end of orientation, but I don’t remember what it was. Felicity has ten jokes to present. I have, at best, two.

Although, to be fair, one of them can lead to a whole small routine. So there’s that.

I still don’t know how well I will adapt to adding formal structure to my comedy process. Ideally, I will simply absorb it and it will become part of my creative process.

But it will be rough going at first, I think. I have resisted taking formal external structure into my creative process for a long time. That’s why it is pointless for me to buy books about how to write. Deep down, I fundamentally reject the intrusion of anything external (and hence, to me, artificial) into the depths of my creativity.

But I suppose the formal stuff from the textbook is not the most important thing. The important thing is to write funny jokes and deliver them well. The exact path I take to get there is not that important.

At least, I hope it is.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Happy Birthday (observed) to me!

Today’s the day I am officially celebrating my birthday. Tonight, we will go to one of our favorite eateries, dinner and dessert will be had, Julian and I (his birthday is the day after mine) will get gifts, and there will be much rejoicing.

And I am trying really hard to build up some appropriate enthusiasm, but so far, it’s rough going.

Traditionally, birthdays are a time for people to take stock of their lives, which is usually something I passionately avoid. I generally assume that the result can only depress me and fill me with despair, so I figure I am better off not going there.

But fuck that kind of weakness. I am slowly learning to do exactly the opposite of what my instincts tell me to do, like George Costanza, and so today, I will do my best to take stock.

And then I will figure out what to do with the other 800 words. Ha ha ha.

We will start with health. That is a tricky one. I have a lot of medical issues, and most of them are untreated. My diabetes is at best half treated. I take my pills and 60 units of insulin at night, but I never test my blood sugars so I have no idea if I am doing enough.

I somehow doubt it, though, given my extremely sedimentary sedentary lifestyle and weakness for junk food. So who knows how much extra blood sugar I am rocking and what damage it is doing to my body.

Then there’s the sleep apnea. Totally untreated. The closest thing to sleep apnea treatment I have is my sleeping pills. They at least keep me asleep long enough to get some deep sleep and recover at least a quorum of brain function going.

But otherwise, I am presumably forgetting to breathe in my sleep a lot, and hence, getting oxygen starved on a routine basis when I am asleep and can’t do anything about it. And what am I doing about that?

Not a damned thing.

Then there’s the depression. On that, at least, I can say I am doing all I can to combat it. I take my meds, I write in this blog, I go to therapy once a week. I might strain against the bars of my cage a tad more, but at least I have a regular thing where I go to White Spot on Wednesdays now.

It’s not much, but it’s something.

Then there’s the damage to the cartilage of my knee. That’s not a huge issue at the moment. I have learned how to walk on it (inasmuch as I walk at all) and I think the muscles around the injury have gotten stronger, so it mostly just makes me walk with a slight limp.

But I worry that some day, I will over-strain it somehow, and it will become a far worse injury.

And then there’s the fact that I have two inch-long holes in my abdominal wall through which my guts dangle.

All of these problems are pretty bad. And yet, for the most part, I feel well. Somehow, I have adapted to all of this, and I can get through the day.

It helps to have been sick so long, you’ve forgotten what healthy feels like.

And then there’s wealth. Not much to talk about there. My computer, antique as it is, counts as an asset. Tablets too. Plus my ancient and well-loved king sized bed is worth something or other.

But like most things in my life, most of my wealth is entirely in my head. I have a lot of assets there.

Talent, creativity, wit, intelligence, charm, and a whole lot more. On paper, at least, I have a lot going for me, and there’s a lot of people who would envy and covet my many mental assets.

Kind of hard to translate them into liquid assets, though. Maybe I should rent them out.

And how about my social assets? Well, I have three very good friends, and that’s all I need on that score, as far as I can tell. I am not someone who needs to have tons of friends in order to feel good about themselves. I just need a few reliable, stable friends with whom I can have high level intellectual conversations and/or just goof around.

These days, though, you also have to take your social support network into account. By that, they mean who you can go to in times of trouble, and I definitely have people in my life who could help me out of a jam.

The problem there is, I have a lot of trouble asking people for help. It was rather strongly discouraged in my childhood. I was the kid who wasn’t supposed to be there and as such, my “job” was to take care of myself and not bother anyone.

In other words, I was supposed to disappear so they could forget they had me.

So the social network is there, but I find it hard to access, so in a sense, it doesn’t count. Not the fault of anyone in my social world, just the product of a terrible childhood I have yet to overcome.

I have a hell of a lot of growing up to do. And it’s taking forever.

Last stop : the future. What does it hold?

Comedy classes. Excited/nervous about those. Not sure how I will take to heavy duty workshopping. We will see.

And of course, Kwantlen in the fall. Back to school. Looking forward to that, big time. I am insanely good at school. So good that I didn’t even realize how good I was until many years after I had left college.

After that, the main goal : Vancouver Film School, Writing for Television and Film program. That is still my ultimate goal and I will only change that if something better comes along before I get there.

Who knows, I might stumble into a comedy writing gig via standup.

So that’s my life in review. Now, I need a nap.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Quicker than the human eye

First, yesterday’s stupid video.

This five minute limit shit has got to go. Yeah, I know, I should be learning to be less voluble and more succinct. Felicity says the videos should be less than four minutes long, and she is probably right.

But a deep part of me resists attempts to cut down the amount of noise in my signal because it does not trust that it can be done without loss of signal. And I treasure my signal, as many writers do.

We shouldn’t. Murder your darlings and all that. But we do.

And I am a person with a lot to say. I may ramble through the brambles when I am trying to say it, but still. I have billions of words inside me and they all want out. It’s very hard for me to pick and choose among them.

There’s that option paralysis again.

Still, in my own way, I strive towards focus. I have always wanted to be the kind of author who can produce tight, polished prose that uses the minimum amount of words to get the story across so that you forget you are reading a story and become completely immersed in it. The best writing can do that and it makes that writing so much more powerful.

And as a writer, I want to really reach people. I want to touch their hearts, not just their minds. I want to write things that cut through the background noise of everyday reality and give people the sense that there is more to life than the everyday business of living.

In fact, I want to write prose so good, it makes people feel like they’ve been in contact with something greater than themselves.

When it comes to art, my ambition is limitless. Martin Luther changed the world with words. So can I.

And obviously, I am not going to get there if I continue to do things in the sloppy slap-dash way I have been doing them. And yet, the resistance to taking my time and then cleaning up after is very strong. So I definitely will not be able to transform myself into a monster prose machine overnight.

I keep talking about the same damn things, don’t I? Fuck. I don’t edit my work. Option paralysis. I should really start sending things out. Water imagery. Yadda yadda ya.

I’m getting as bad as Garth.

And what I find frustrating is that it makes me feel like I never really make progress. I’m just the same old dog on the same old leash, walking in circles around his tiny little yard and pretending like I am getting somewhere.

But I can’t afford to think like that. I know I am not the same person who sat at this computer a year ago. I know that I am growing in strength and losing mental dead weight all the time. This very blog is part of that process.

It’s just that the growth is so slow and steady that it’s like trying to watch a tree grow. (Note : not water imagery!)

On a staggeringly unrelated topic, today I found out that Oliver Sack is gay.

Or at least, I think I did. I feel like maybe I learned it before then forgot it. But either way, I was floored.

And saddened. Because of the era he grew up in, his love life was very sad. There was a guy he fell in love with in college. A real alpha ideal kind of guy. Smart, athletic, handsome, the whole package.

And they were good friends, and Sacks would give the guy backrubs (!!), and then one day Sacks went just a little too far, and the guy said “I like you but I’m not that way.”

And for a little while, they were still friends, but after this Alpha Ideal dude came to Sacks because he was worried about a problem with his groin (!!!), and Sacks quickly found that there was something very wrong that was probably really serious, Sacks never saw Alpha Ideal again.

Years later, he meets another guy, a sailor, who also liked bodybuilding and such (fun fact : Sacks was once a champion weightlifter), and they moved in together. And they had a lot of fun and were best friends and all was well and good until Sacks once more went over the line, and then the guy got up, showered, then told Sacks that he couldn’t live with him any more, and left forever.

So Sacks, the brilliant and sensitive doctor, gave up on having people in his life.

Holy fuck that’s harsh.

Luckily, the story has a happy ending. He met someone, they grew closer over time, and then one day this other fellow confesses his love for Sacks in like, the most British way possible : “I have conceived a great affection for you. ”

Isn’t that adorable? Nerd love rules.

What else… feeling super lazy today. Don’t really feel like doing a video after this. But if you want to establish a habit, then the most important time to do it is when you least want to do it.

So I will make a vid of some sort tonight. And I will try to put a little extra ambition into it. But no guarantees.

I had a pretty good groove going earlier today, listening to podcasts while playing a logic game on my tablet. Not the most productive pair of activities, but it kept this overgrown brain of mine busy enough for me to relax, and those times are precious to me.

My whole life, I have had more brain than I knew what to do with. I think that’s part of why I can be very quick to create limitations or compulsions in my life. Their real purpose is to limit my horizons and thus keep me from realizing how goddamned bored I am.

The cows were quiet and pliable until they got a whiff of all the fresh grass outside their pen. After that, some of them were angry and wanted to leave.

But other were angry at the breeze that brought them the news of the wonders of the outside world.

They had been happy before. Or if not happy, content. They liked being content. Or at least…. they were content with it.

But that stupid breeze had to come along and ruin everything by reminding them of how little they had.

They named that breeze Satan.

I will talk to you people again tomorrow.

Insert your blog entry here

No? Dang. Guess I’ll have to write one myself.

Have I told you people about the fax thing yet? No? Well then fasten your seat beats, it’s going to be a very boring time.

Basically, in order to get into Kwantlen requires, naturally enough, my transcripts from my high school, the venerable Three Oaks Senior High. So I emailed one of the school “administrative assistants” (apparently, there’s no such thing as a school secretary any more) and asked her about my transcripts.

Luckily, they still have them. I mean, it seems like the kind of thing they would keep around, but I have been forgotten so many times that I have lost count, so I tend to expect the worst.

I know. That’s fucked up. Working on it.

All I had to do was sign a form and everything would be a-OK. Problem : I am almost as far away from my hometown as one can get and still be in Canada. Can’t exactly go there to do it, and the mail would take forever.

Solution : Faxing! Remember that? The secretary offered to fax it here where I could sign it and fax it back.

Problem : Who the heck has a fax machine these days?

Answer : Older people! People of my parents’ generation. For them, the fax machine was probably the last new technology they fully understood. And they are darn handy for things like this.

If it’s 1998. But anyhow.

First, I asked Felicity if her mother had a working fax machine. The answer, sadly, was sorta. It sends, but it does not receive. Tragic, I know.

But then I remembered that my therapist had one. He has one of those fax/printer/copier gizmos that still impress the hell out of me despite being seriously obsolete.

What can I say, I love that someone finally realized that all three functions can be done with the same machinery. It is a brilliant merger of products.

Anyhoo, I called my therapist and he agreed to lend me his fax, so to speak. I emailed the fax number to the secre admin assistant, and when I got to therapy, the form was waiting for me to sign.

Amusingly, my therapist filled it out himself (except for the part with my signature, of course). I guess he is so used to doing that kind of thing that it didn’t even occur to him that I was capable of doing it myself.

Oh well, it got done, that’s what is important. It got filled out, signed, and faxed back.

PEI is in the Atlantic Time Zone, which means they are four hours ahead of us in time. So the school was closed when we sent the fax. Presumably, they won’t actually see it till Monday.

But the point is, they will sent my transcripts to Kwantlen in Richmond, and I will have dotted my T’s and crossed my I’s.

And I’s the b’y that built the boat, after all. And I’s the b’y that sailed her, too. True story.

So, therapy. Going to talk about what went down there, because of course, a lot happened other than just the fax. M’am.

See, I have been having suicidal impulses lately. Now don’t flip out! That’s all they are, impulses. They come, I resist, they go. They are something I have dealt with, off and on, for ten years at least.

The difference is, this time I actually told my shrink about them. That was not easy for me. I usually keep that shit to myself because I don’t want to scare people away from me or freak them out. Unconsciously, I had been doing the same with my therapist. I’ve been going to him for two years, and yet, I was still shielding him.

And if there is one person who should know about your suicidal impulses, it’s your therapist.

That’s like, totally the kind of thing they deal with.

It’s not easy for me to tell you nice people about it either. Nobody ever sees me with the reactor shielding totally down. I don’t want my radiation to hurt people, or scare them away, or make them decide I am way too much trouble to handle.

I have a serious, deep down, and not altogether irrational fear that direct contact with my hungering darkness can do serious damage to healthy people. Especially if expressed in words, face to face. Then it’s powered by my gift for self-expression, my high emotive power, and the worlds of hurt I keep locked up deep inside.

Maybe that’s not rational. Maybe I could expose people to my darkness and they would be perfectly okay, no harm done. Maybe the notion that all that cold I keep inside would freeze people to death if I exposed them to it is just another ghost posted at the door to greater mental health by my depression, there to scare me away from the road to my depression’s destruction.

It can be so hard to tell sometimes.

But one of the other things that came up today is my inability to do things I know will hurt people, no matter how beneficial to myself the action may be.

That sounds good on paper. And in a healthy, balanced individual, it’s probably good in practice, too.

But for me, it leads to things like not telling your doctor about something because you don’t want to upset him. And that’s just plain crazy, right off the bat.

The problem is, I am so sensitive that it’s like those people who pump up the gain on a microphone and hear ghosts. If your instrument is too sensitive, it amplifies things all out of proportion to what they really are.

And you start hearing things that aren’t there. Like imagining people will be brutally hurt by things they would actually barely notice and shrug off like The Hulk shrugging off a bazooka blast.

The more I try to sort this stuff out, the more I understand what the Care Bears meant when they said “Be true to who you are, and whatever the fuck happens, happens. ”

I might be paraphrasing.

Oh, and here’s yesterday’s crappy video.

Getting better, tho.

Who is water?

First, the video I recorded yesterday :

Sorry for the fact that it starts out of nowhere. I had to trim it because the program I am using for video editing on the tablet has a five minute limit unless you shell out for the full version.

Which I am totally going to do. The program is called Viva Video and they seem to have cracked the problem of how to design a full featured yet user friendly video editor on an Android device. So far, I love it, love it, love it. I can do pretty much anything I can do with the big PC programs, and with comparable deftness.

I am not sure how to make something big and complicated with a lot of cuts with it yet, but I will figure it out.

Oh, and sorry for the “up my nose” angle. I thought putting my tablet flat on the table and peering down into it would make the thing more visually interesting. And I really thought I was a lot further from the camera than I was.

Oh well, the point was to do one. Tonight’s will be more fun and enriched. Might do a slideshow. Dunno yet.

That taken care of, on to our subject : I have been pondering the pros and cons of being water today. Or, put less cryptically, of being very, very flexible in a very specific way.

I have the kind of mind that easily seeps into the cracks and crevices of ideas. That ability to generate possibilities that fuels my insights and creativity (and option paralysis) allows me to see possibilities where others see none, and the malleability of my mind makes me very, very good at deducing the shape of the lock from the shape of the key.

This flexibility also allows me to flow over, around, or through things which would be major obstacles to others. I’m the guy who doesn’t even see the walls that constrain other people’s lives. It gives me the ability to go directly for the heart of the matter in terms of philosophy and creative problem solving. Mentally speaking, I can take the shortest distance between two points while others have to take the established path, which is anything but direct.

In that sense only, it’s like I am four dimensional. In the world of the mind, it can seem like I teleport. After all, what is teleportation but the appearance of having gone from point A to point B without traveling through the space in between?

Of course, I do travel through the space in between. I just take a path others cannot see.

This water-like mind also, I think, informs my deep sympathy. I can really understand people because my mind can flow into the cracks and seams of someone’s personality and get a really high resolution image of what makes them tick.

Think of it as making a mould of something. The thinner the liquid used to make the mould, the more detail will be preserved.

And I can make my mind very thin indeed.

So those are the good things. Now, the bad.

Water doesn’t hold its shape. It takes the shape of the container it’s in. And despite its strong desire to be free, it desperately needs a container not just to keep it contained, but to give it identity. It doesn’t know who it is without some kind of container to conform to.

And water does not move on its own. All that fluidity denies it any rigidity. It can’t hold together for long, and when it stops keeping itself together, then splash. Form is gone and I revert right back to being a puddle.

And then… all I can do is wait for something else to come along to give me form. At the same time, I have become very good at avoiding the very form which I seek.

Because I fear form as much as I crave it, if not more. To take form means to choose one of myriad possibilities I can see, and once you do that, you lose all the rest of the possibilities.

And with so many possibilities, how on Earth could anyone be confident they chose the right one?

Besides, the primitive part of my brain conflates loss of possibilities and being “trapped”. What if I chose the wrong thing and now I am stuck with it, and the situation calls for a totally different shape?

Tragically, this leads to me taking puddle form pretty much all of the time. And puddles don’t get a lot done.

Then there is the question of identity. When you can take so many shapes, which one is the real you? Like Clayface from Batman : The Animated Series, the flexibility precludes identity. Identity has to be something solid and stable within you, and my fluidity seems to actively resist the formation of anything approaching that level of persistence.

After all, we can’t have any limits to our mental maneuverability or we’ll be “trapped”, right?

It’s insane, with all that implies. The less safe I am, the more terrified I am of having to choose, and the more puddle-like I become. All possibility, no actualization. That’s what fuels my crippling escapism : I want to get away from the stressful situation so I can revert to being a total puddle again.

Only then can I calm down and feel safe, because I have all my possibilities back. The same possibilities that keep me from being able to choose things in life.

Life is about choices. Every decision we make means the death of a thousand possibilities, but it also creates a thousand new ones at the same time. Things become possible that you couldn’t even see until you made the decision.

And I can’t go around complaining how everything inside me falls apart when I am the one ruthlessly (and compulsively) disassembling them in the first place.

I need to remind myself to let things be solid in my mind. Make choices and stick with them. Stop trying to control outcomes and just live life according to my own happiness.

Follow your bliss, and all that crap.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

On The Road : Too Much Future edition

I will get to my subject in a moment, but first, I must share this :

I was on the bus, and these teens behind me were trying to explain where one of them lived. At one point, when the listener had suffered a brain crash and said “I have never heard of there”, the one with the home in question said, ” Well, we live in parallel universes. ”

Clearly this is my kind of kid.

Anyhoo, the subject at hand is the future and having too much of it.

Today is a lovely day. Sunny and bright without the heat. Fru weather. And it got me thinking about how some people can live life a day at a time, enjoying every precious moment. They can stop and smell the roses without even thinking about the possibility of bees.

And I… can’t.

I am always looking for life’s booby traps. I am constantly worried about what is to come, and trying to see the potholes in time to swerve around them.

And traditionally, those of my ilk have had nothing but disdain for those of the opposite temperament.. We see them as blind, ignorant fools constantly blundering into easily avoided pitfalls and congratulate ourselves on being smarter and wiser than those idiots on the other side of the fence.

But here’s the thing : all that worry takes its toll.It drain energy and possibility from the present in order to patrol the future. And if you are plagued by inner demons, they will push you to greater and greater sacrifices of the present in order to pursue an impossibly high ideal of “safety”.

But there is nothing in the external world which can protect you from the enemy within.

That is what has happened with me, I think. Childhood trauma combined with high intelligence pushed me hard toward the future oriented end of the scale. In a desperate attempt to control outcomes, my mind constantly stretches itself as far into the future as it can, regardless of the cost to the present.

Sacrifice too much of the present, and you end up too weak to do anything at all. Your life becomes very unpleasant, and what is even worse is that, because you are so focused on controlling outcomes, you blame yourself for your sorry state.

And you ARE to blame, but not how you think.

So you end up with a shitty outcome despite your paranoia , and what is worse, your future oriented nature makes it very hard to see the here and now. It’s like you see life through a telescope. Your paranoia runs so deep that you feel like if you look away from your telescope for one second, disaster will strike.

Even if the whole goddamn planetarium is burning down around you.

And notice how neuroses turns possibility into certainty. It is not that if you look away from the telescope, disaster MAY happen. No, if you look away, it WILL happen.

That is superstitious thinking at its very worst.

So how does one stop being paranoid and take the present back from the demons of the past that push you into the future?

Answer when I get home.

(—)

And the answer is : I dunno.

Ha ha ha. I’d never do that to you people! For one thing, it would suggest I don’t have a theory, which we all know is impossible. Theorizing is as natural as breathing to me.

And maybe that comes from being future oriented as well. In the abstract sense, all theories are predictions, and what would a tragically future oriented person love more than to be able to predict the future?

Anyhow, to answer the question for real this time : I think rescuing yourself from the future requires finding some way to reach that deep part of you that never feels safe and therefore always feels paranoid, and sooth it somehow.

Only then can you pry your eye away from that telescope without thinking that means guaranteed disaster.

Because, you know,. that’s when they GET you. The one time….

Or so we tell ourselves when we want to reassure ourselves that our paranoid compulsions are actually justified. No really, I’m totally in control. My irrational compulsions are actually wisdom, caution, and intelligence!

Whether you try to control outcomes too much or too little, you’re equally wrong. It’s easy to count all the bad things that never happened to you because of your forethought. Far harder to see all the things you missed because you were too chickenshit to take even the tiniest of risks.

Especially when you don’t want to see them. Because if you did, you wouldn’t feel so goddamned smug about how ‘smart’ you are. You would realize that you are, in fact, an idiot, but not for failing to control outcomes.

For sacrificing too much in an attempt to do so. No matter how you look at it, when your method is antithetical to its own aims, you are doing something wrong.

And the thing is, reform means going in the exact opposite direction of your instincts. Your instinct is to respond to stress by thinking harder about it. By pushing yourself further towards trying to control outcomes. And when it’s something real you can actually do something about, that is absolutely the right response.

But when it’s something inside you driving you to try to control all outcomes forever and punishing you for your failure to complete this impossible task, you have to do the opposite of what your instincts tell you and worry less.

I know, I know. It sounds like absolute madness. Worse than madness, because madness makes a kind of sense. This is divide by zero consciousness crashing stuff.

How can you become safer by worrying less?

But that’s the thing : there is a lot more to life than safety. The idea is not merely to survive but to thrive.

After all, the point of all this is to be happy, right?

So what makes you happy?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Enriching my life

My life needs more content.

It’s really come to a head lately. As I predicted back in March when I officially stopped the daily baking, I have gotten very very bored with only having this one “thing” I do, and crave another.

It will probably be videos. Time will tell.

The way I know it is coming to a head lately is that I have starting dreading the job of filling my hours again. I find myself thinking “this is my life?” and “what’s the point of me, anyway?” and “How long till the next meal?”

When eating is the highlight of your day, something has gone dangerously wrong.

What I really want is something new. Something that will feel fresh and new and interesting. Baking did that for me for a long time. I had baked before, but never every day and I tended to make the same things over and over again. Baking was the perfect thing to absorb all my excess energies, as it was both physical and mental exercise along with a small amount of stress.

And you’d be amazed at how stressful a stress-free life can be. [1]

But it eventually became boring and routine. Plus messy and very expensive. So I stopped.

Writing fiction instead of this stuff does help somewhat. Right now, I am waiting for inspiration to strike. Don’t hold your breath, though, True Believers, because that doesn’t happen on demand.

Still, odds are good that sometime soonish, you will be reading a new work of fiction by me, and not the same old psychological navel-gazing and bone-chewing that ends up in this diary.

And maybe that will be enough, although I doubt it. I still have a lot of hours to fill.

Oh right. It’s my birthday today. Happy Me Day! For whatever reason, I just can’t get excited about it this year. Normally I try to boost my enthusiasm for life via promoting my birthday, getting a party together, basking in the one day of the year where you are supposed to make it all about you.

But not this year. I suppose I have reached the “thanks for the presents but who gives a shit” stage of life, where birthdays are less “yay me!” days and more “one digit closer to death” days.

I’ve always found that to be very sad. Your birthday is your special day! Everyone deserves to be celebrated once a year. And I am still pretty excited by other people’s birthdays. They are excuses for me to express my natural effusiveness.

What can I say, I feel things strongly and my natural inclination is to express that to the hilt. Most of the time I hold back because I have high emotive force and me at full (nonliteral) volume freaks people the hell out.

Especially because I am a big guy. We big guys can’t play by the same rulebook as average sized guys. Everything we do is amplified by our size. We are, through no fault of our own, “loud”.

But still, I dream of finding a place in life for myself where I can be a full-strength version of myself. Maybe some echelon of gay subculture full of people with big personalities, a sort of Valley of the Giants for the large of body and soul.

Where was I…. oh yeah, enriching my life.

More than a second “thing”, though, I think I need to think in terms of making my life more satisfying and meaningful to me. I am loathe to admit it, but depression has made my actual horizons very, very tight. Sure, my mind can go all over the place without fear, and I can pat myself on the back for being such a powerful and fearless philosopher all I want.

But my actual life is nowhere near as wide open, and the truth is, the reason is cowardice.

I need all this hyper-familiarity just to keep myself from freaking out. Even just the thought of going out of this tiny little corner I have painted myself into makes me feel anxious. Forget actually doing it.

And yet, I desperately need it. I have hid behind the excuse of lack of funds for a long time. But I have a bus pass and feet. I could go to stuff. I could prove to myself that I am not, in fact, trapped.

But then I have to face the angry chorus of options all screaming “Do me! Do me!” at me as I stand there frozen in place just like when my siblings used to all shout instructions at me at the same time.

Just pick something and do it, people say. And they are right. But it’s not that easy.

So maybe I fool myself into thinking my life is far more restricted than it is because true freedom represents the hopeless agony of option paralysis. Easier just to pull my head back in my shell and pretend that’s all there is.

Some philosopher, huh?

The answer, as always, must be somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between too many options and not nearly enough.

I think the real problem is lack of faith in my own ability to choose. If I was stronger in that area, I would just make a decision and go forward and not worry about whether it’s the “right” one. It just has to be good enough.

Hell, it just has to be better than doing nothing all day and hating it.

That’s what coming out of your shell really means. Opening up your world, not just your mind. The shell is transparent… you have always been able to see everything. And you have tried to pretend that is enough.

But it isn’t. Life is more than mere survival and we need experiences in order to grow and thrive, not just thoughts.

Life in realtime. It’s a scary thought. But I have to do it.

And one of these days. I will stop talking about it and actually do it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Yeah, I know that’s an oxymoron. Deal with it.