kingtycoon: (Default)
...

Sometimes I think I should talk in ellipses like a character from an old video game. Sometimes that's what it feels like. As if nothing that could be said would be as meritorious as what could be done. But these are times when the pervading sense of powerlessness is more and more overwhelming. There is a crushing lack of agency in all that I have been doing & seeing that is becoming preoccupying. It's the thing I think of more than I think of anything. That I'm a consciousness - a point of perception that exists and is moved around & pushed & cajoled by everything around me but which cannot affect anything. Anything at all. There's this thing - where I am a ghost.

The ghost - you understand - is the remnant 'spirit' of the living - it lacks agentic faculties and instead replicates emotional responses, I mean, that's in the mythology right? There's not an abundance of feeling but rather an abundance of performance of feelings.

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I got caught up about performance and my unwillingness to perform emotions regarding events, recent events.

For some posterity I should maybe mention the RNC coming to Cleveland but - it was pretty stupid. Here's the story I heard repeated that had the strongest resonance - The RNC came up $6 million short on paying for itself - so there was outreach to their clientele to cover the gap and when this amount was finally solicited the GOP decided not to pay the city, as they'd said, but to pay their campaign. This is the story told to me by others, by the other bystanders living through the nonsense. The city did it's pitiable, foolish whoring and attracted the lowest kind of commerce at the expense of it's constituents and then was left with less than was promised - that's effectively the theme of Cleveland's interactions with the larger world - being misused and cheated. Specific variants: The MLB, the NFL, the NBA, A variety of employers - principally these days - the Clinic. The city runs on it's 2% income tax so it needs people to work in it or live in it so that one way or another they can extract that 2% and return - effectively nothing. For what I pay, personally, I'm dissatisfied with my ROI. Murderous incompetent police - whorish pandering to outsiders - relentless overbearing boosterism.

Really the Cleveland Booster population is the worst part of Cleveland. Invariably they're transplants here - and invariably they want to promote tourism. Fucking Tourism. I get so mad! Who wants outsiders? Who wants visitors.

If I could change one thing about this city - it would be that I could choose who could come here.

So the RNC comes to town and kind of that's their message - so I can't get too dismissive since that's my position too, but in the end we'd choose wildly different types of people to live & work with so I have authoritarian fantasies that I ultimately recognize as venal, while they have authoritarian fantasies that they accommodate as virtuous or at least necessary.

Not that it was very interesting. I went downtown for the thing twice during the week & it never seemed very fun, never seemed particularly interesting - never seemed at all like anything was happening beyond the many preposterous evangelists wandering around. My cousin, he's a very misguided guy, he was saying something about leaving the country on a trip, we were having a conversation about it - he says he's going to Rome to do missionary work. And I laugh, like, involuntarily and, like, a lot. He's serious and earnest about Jesus and is all indignant that I trivialize his faith - or wants to be because that's how they train you to be in church, defensive. "I think they might have heard about Jesus in Rome man, I'm pretty sure he's well known."

Realistically I think there's probably a 2:1 ratio of depictions of Jesus: people present in the city limits at Rome.

Walking up and down Euclid Ave. to try and tell people about Jesus makes about as much sense - have you seen all the churches? They're all pokestops now so probably yes, yes you have. There are a lot.

Anyway it was a dumb event that attracted dumb people for dumb reasons and it served as a reminder that the US is not a serious place and you shouldn't expect serious things from it.

***

The other notable thing is that I got a bad staph infection on my butt which caused me to become kind of poisoned and lightly hospitalized. I got to show my but to kind of a few doctors and kept joking at them about how that couldn't be their ideal start to their day. They laughed a bit, of course, to hide their fear that I could sense their intimidation, attraction & lust. Or well, I act like that's what's up because otherwise it's hard to like, bend over at the doctor and be all - Look at how my hairy ass got a messed up hair and is making me feel like I am dying and also am maybe dying! Look into my Butt and observe it as I bend over at the table and expose myself in a way that I don't do even to people that do sex with me! I don't know it's weird and embarrassing but not, shameful, y'know? It's hard to explain the feelings involved, but there are some.

***

Otherwise it's summer and I should be having more summer vacation than I am - which is basically none at all. I spend time each day looking for a better job but I'm not... I don't know. It's hard to really work in a committed way toward doing that when you're at least comfortable? The lack of urgency is a big impediment to sales, that's my experience. If you aren't worried about dying - it's hard to really work up the shit-eatingness you've got to go through in order to sell, so there's that.
kingtycoon: (Default)

In a surprise to no one I'm pretty good at this game about walking around! There are people in my neighborhood and around - other Gym Leaders - who are ahead of me and a bunch of lucky jerks seem to have hatched Snorlaxes but I'm doing B+ gaming here! It's fun, if you didn't know or were wondering about trying. The first friday it was out I walked up by the library and there was a small crowd forming of locals who have no other reasons to speak to one another- but we'd all been drawn under the ugly statues in search of... Pikachu. Pikachu brought my community together. Then the game glitched out and we were all left groaning.

I feel its needless to talk about the details of pokemon here - if somehow I forget about specific pokes or what they're about then, well, something super bad has probably happened to my brain. I won't memorialize my pokemon experiences too much except to say how much I'm looking forward to Sun/Moon come the Autumn.


Last night we went to the outdoor movie that the community hosts and I gave kiddo my phone to hunt pokes with her friends (she caught a ghastly! And a Koffing!) while I made nice with neighbors and met some new ones - this one dude - he's got that precision geekiness that you have when you're in CS -and I ask him and he is- in CS - "I work at a place called Malwarebytes as a Software Engineer."

"Sir I work at an asphalt factory as a Sysadmin and I'd just like to thank you so much for all you've done." Real-Life Heroes right in the neighborhood.

Otherwise - I've been bailing on PnP gaming a lot- I've also been failing to work on my products - My self imposed deadline is the end of August and I'm not too far from hitting that - maybe I'm just reacting to the summer by taking it off. Summer vacation... Man. We all need that right? Lazy days, I need more of those.

I ended up in a flurry of activity as it seems members of the janitorial staff stole quite a lot of merchandise off my desk while they were in varying states of programming and deprogramming and none of them had on their MDM software - so serial numbers are now a best guess and tracking is out of the question. One day later and this couldn't have happened, one day before and it couldn't have happened - perfect timing Wicked Janitors - I flip my bird at you.

I was very happy to have my super-tech contractor come in all day yesterday after not having seen him for a few months - it's good to have someone at work who's smarter than you and knows about & is interested in interesting things - here in the office there's a lot of 2nd amendment bullshitting and waaaay too much discussion of other departments & the work itself. It's not difficult stuff - doesn't need much discussion. Anyhow he got me onto this 'recover the precious metals from your old electronics' notion and I guess maybe I'll do that - I have a bunch of rare earth magnets that are fun to have around - I have had a project in mind that revolves around the hideous statues at the library - the ugly arches. I've looked into the artist that made them and I feel there's a little bit of trolling in him - but making the ugly faced robot kid-arch I feel is kind of a challenge - so later, I'm gonna get measurements of the faces and make masks - attractive masks? Maybe, I'm not great at art myself - and magnet them to the ugly - I think this is NICE GUY style.

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Otherwise I don't write because so much has gone on - so much. Little GiGi - my sister's unphotographable daughter turned 4 and her party at the ice-cream factory was nice- my brother came up from cbus and brought his little new baby! Who is wonderful and kind of named after me and sis (I will insist). I had to apologize to sister and Gigi at her second party the next day - "Sorry I didn't pay close enough attention as I was hypnotized by Sam's wonderful baby." I was forgiven, it's understood - our family's new Baby is magnificent. We all love her and all babies - though her most of all. But babies, I do love babies. Love. Without a jot of insincerity.

I think that's enough for now. I think I'm good. I do hope I feel like making something soon. A says - "Do what you feel like doing." Which I do without prompting. "I just want to feel like doing something useful."
kingtycoon: (Default)


Just something I thought it'd be fun to do on the 4th of july.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/recent-business/bills-blocked-by-republican-filibusters http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/republicans-legislation-obama-dccc-event-106481
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. https://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/Documents/POTENTIAL%20MACROECONOMIC%20IMPACT%20OF%20DEBT%20CEILING%20BRINKMANSHIP.pdf
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2016/04/21/kasich-on-d-c-voting-rights-thats-just-more-votes-in-the-democratic-party/ http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/article/13038940/how-the-gun-lobby-shot-down-dcs-congressional-vote-the
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. Nothing really.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people. Fucking manly firmness. I really cannot understand the worship of Jefferson that's still forced down all our throats.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/obama-has-waited-longer-for-cabinet-confirmations-than-any-other-recent-president/
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/House-Republicans-Vote-to-Block-Obama-on-Immigration/384513/
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/23/politics/joe-biden-supreme-court-senate-republicans/
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. I don't want to find a specific article about how the entire political class of my country is shamelessly corrupt.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. https://www.dhs.gov/
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. http://www.defense.gov/
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Military-tribunals-not-the-same-as-U-S-courts-3232033.php http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-kaiser/police-think-theyre-above_b_6573806.html
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: https://ustr.gov/tpp/
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/freddie-gray-trial/ http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/28/461293703/grand-jury-declines-to-indict-police-officers-in-tamir-rice-investigation
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: https://www.pmddtc.state.gov/embargoed_countries/
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_United_States
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012#Detention_without_trial:_Section_1021
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/us/supreme-court-says-police-may-use-evidence-found-after-illegal-stops.html?_r=0
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. I really do wonder if this is the sort of thing that will happen in my lifetime.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130129/united-states-china-carbon-greenhouse-gas-emissions-renewable-energy-coal-plants-pollution-global-warming-climate
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages. Seriously fuck Jefferson and his overwrought nonsense. I still think it's worth asking just how much did he have in common with Ariel Castro.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. This one is so specific and so interesting - there's stories here. I wonder, without having the animus to search, how often it happened that privateers made their kidnapees fight their people.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. To me, this really points out what Jefferson et. Al were all about - the same as ever - "Those dangerous barbarians are out there, we have to band together to protect ourselves from the insidious other! By making sure that I am in charge!" Ugh.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. I never do stop enjoying the social media style whinging tone that's in the declaration - You did me wrong and I'm going my own way but like hundreds of times more petulant than that in a voice that I personally cannot conjure. So gross.
kingtycoon: (Default)
So I'm sitting at home last night- after a good fathers' day and my neighbors are being mystifyingly loud, there's screaming and stamping on the floor - the whole building seems like everyone is just acting out stupidly. I'm all: "It is 10:30 on a sunday WTF neighbors," and about to go and knock on doors.

I got wise though and checked the score- Cleveland Cavaliers auto-populating in the search and I guess they won it all in an exciting 7th game. After that I was happy that everyone else was so happy. I didn't mind staying up past two with all the fireworks and gunshots & car-horns and shouting - all up and down mayfield, I figure- That's nice for them.

I guess the CPD sacrificed, basically gave up, one of their prowlers and it burned up - I guess the CPD was pretty okay with that amount of display, that's the rumor going around. I was happy, I stayed up late listening to people wig out and had a few beers I wouldn't have had otherwise on a hot pretty night.
kingtycoon: (Default)
I'm like sick? In a way that seems new and weird. Aches and fever but none of that respiratory element you know about from being sick before.

Anyhow I can't wake up and can't feel good or eat. Also I looked at so much internet that it bored me and now I'm just going to make some more.

The 7 was on time and all but I was having a hard enough start that I didn't get my umbrella. The 7 came right on time and it has a shelter even if it for some reason doesn't have a bench you can still get a little shelter.

Not so the 10 when I get it at 105 & Euclid. The RTA's vigilance against indigents is sometimes okay. Sometimes. I mean. If your a paying commuter maybe you shouldn't expect to be hanging out in the bedroom of a drunken madman with poor personal habits sure. But maybe don't make the shelter an icy cold chicken wire hovel as an alternative.

The point is moot at Euclid where the interminable construction of yet greater hospitals has eaten up the sidewalks so that all the stops are shifted about and all the shelters are dismantled.

This real nice dude coming home from his work and speaking with such a deep, I want to say Mississippi accent that I have no idea what he was saying - he has an umbrella and holds it up over me to share like a hero.

The 10 comes and school is out so its not a huge crowd of obnoxious teens anymore. The bus driver even knows me. She's someone at work's big sister so that is cool.



Anyhow. There's magic and circumstance every day. Just not always in my favor.
kingtycoon: (Default)
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The parade was as lovely as ever and our traditions were upheld.
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I am still very strong & enduring.

I have a sense - a weird sense of something bad having happened. Or a premonition, or a distaste - like a sickness getting ready to lay me low, or an unwelcome visitor approaching nearer & nearer. The parade was as lovely as ever, something outside it and around it though, there is a bad feeling of something unwanted coming soon.

Prophesying done.

It's been a long time now & formerly, when I had all that momentum on me - I was in a phase of wanting to continue to move & continue & to move. Settling back into routines (which I'm at best tenuously competent to follow) wasn't a straightforward effort at all. In some work, in some life, you can go to places and talk to people and that will earn you a living. In some lives. I came back and resumed my reckless pace of working & making & raising.

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At work I'm writing the guide to how this is done, and how it is made and what is proper when making. A descriptive task, not prescriptive. They've been at this a long time and only Mike in the Yard knows how it's done, it's better if we write it down.

I'm at work on that - and there's a feeling, a dangerous, unwanted smoke on the liminal horizon, something there, is there something there, there is something there.

After the parade and a long day cleaning & later a night drinking and kissing - after that there's Monday & a return to form - there's been a murder or two down the block - on the corner. "Be careful" everyone says about the bus-stop where I stand because that's where someone or two got murdered the night before. But I think, there's something bad on the horizon, something bad will happen, I've not time to consider murders.

I'm exhausted, sick almost from it, on monday - yesterday. I try and think back to what's happened that needs yet documenting here. Where was I? A weekend? Last week I saw a band...

I'll go there. Tuesday - Aesop Rock in the neighborhood bar - I enjoy it but can't abide being in an audience, not that one - which is a collection, you see- a whole museum of this one specific type of dude - who in his life, day-to-day, is quite singular, unalike to everyone he knows - and to see them all together, then there is a show of demonstrating who among them is the most of whatever it is they all are. I can't abide it long. I meet a lady who I talk at from the Town Bridget moved to - naturally she knows Bridget, natrually she is also kind of... awkward & helpless, saying lamentable things without meaning to. I give her a cigarette and that's all. I want to go home but I've had so much to drink and still not enough - I need a drink. So I go to the Wine-Cave reasoning: "It is tuesday when my upstairs neighbor works, I will thank her for silencing her dog."

She isn't there but the would-be cocktail competitor is, he's affable in the choleric nerdy manner of all the academics of the school of bartending. I have him fix me a drink which he calls Rye with an Absinthe wash. I drink kind of a lot of absinthe, just in my day to day. He explains that my neighbor is not there and will not be any longer there, and is sad and that her lady left her and took that dog along. So I go home & find my good-sense, my standoffish detachment, abraded, just enough. I scrawl a friendly note and affix it to a complicated letter that I put together in a wooden box with a gold-painted-octopus stuck to the top of it. It's a box of complicated letters explaining a voyage in dreams. It's a pretty weird thing to give to a person you don't know well.

And here I have a strange interlude.
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In which I recollect the complicated letters I've written and sent and that if I've a medium - a voice - if I've got an art that I perform it is the writing of these complicated letters. And how I've done it in the past and what came of it. "I do not want to participate in this crazy thing you want to do." Those are words that you remember, all these years later with the taste of absinthe sticking between your teeth.

I go to sleep not worrying.

I work and work and then I go to the west-side to try and fail to run my putative One-Shot game. My idea is this - I run the game, and write the game and make the book about it. But my form is The Long Form - the campaign. I run a good campaign - I think a fair percentage of my players will agree. I run a good campaign. My weakness lies in brevity - and here you see another example- I can't be brief at all attall. Or even have an interest in it. But you must fashion for yourself something solid that you keep in your back-pocket - something you can throw down and produce at a moment's notice - an example of what you can do and the kind of things you can expect. A story for neophytes and grognards alike. Something that could start a campaign or stand on its own merits. I'm working on that - my tight-4 hours.

It goes more than four hours - notes are given by the enablers of the monday-night crowd. I'm contented with what happens and satisfied.

Once home I find a ticklish note and a free brownie from my upstairs neighbor who is sad.

On thursday I work again and then to get Agatha, and then to sort out all the nonsense of banking that's been the backdrop of two weeks' adventuring - no money. Not a penny. Solved though thursday and then she is to her friend's house for the night - Thursday is the end of school, the end of wasteful nonsense - summer is here and life can be lived. I don't doubt that my hostility to school is a force in her thinking, but I can't pretend to her that I think school is worth attending.

Friday I get her after work. (and I can't pretend much longer that work is a place worth going, a project worth producing). We walk and walk and I've walked so much lately, I'm starting to feel it. We walk to Tommy's for famous milkshake dinner and then to the bookstore for books. I want some.

I get a few books - that night reading the staff recommended book: The Story of My Teeth - which is properly recomended, it is fine. They have a used Mishima there that I take to have and the Latro omnibus of Wolfe's which I miss owning - so I got those. I'm reading Latro again now and it is everything you'd want, again.

[livejournal.com profile] calico_pye I should mention to you that the used book store is hosting an event by Danielewski and he'll be around in town. Let me know if you want a thing signed or something wondered. I was indifferent to House of Leaves but I'm very curious how he made it - how it was practically designed and set up, how you make a cut-up book of pictures and have it printed, is photoshop now just an essential element of the authorial toolkit? Maybe I'll see what he has to say - there will be liquor there though I fear not enough absinthe for me and my degenerate palette.

Then the parade, then a lot of walking, in the sun, the sun, and then sunday there's cleaning and afterward grandma's house is A's destination while I stay home for makeouts and beer. Later that night someone or two is murdered at my bus stop.
kingtycoon: (Default)
The clouds marshal at the frontier, hanging like mountains over the forested plain. An indistinct haze of white & grey that is struck through by distant lightning silent & amplified in the immense distance & the declining heat. I am back. Returned. I drive & drive and think - I'm always home - and think - I could keep going, I could go on for a lot longer - and then I go home.

Last Saturday I left home and went to California - all of that, you remember? From last time? Software conference in Anaheim. On day 2 of the conference - when it really got underway - Bernie Sanders came to speak at the nearby convention center. I saw him in his car being driven away, right past me. That was something. Afterward we went to Disneyland.

For real, disneyland. That was a thing to do. For a huge gift shop it was fun as heck. I rode the Small World ride and sang and tried to be in the projected spirit of the place. It wasn't hard to try. I had a nice time. A nice time. That was what? Tuesday night? I guess so. Tuesday. I'm skipping the conference parts, I'll have to write about them in my report. I'll write about them in my report.

It's a small world after all. It's a small world. At the famous restaurant in LA the waiter has rented movies from me. That's what happens. It's a small world after all.

The next day the police are thick on the ground and prepped for revolution, not rioters, revolution. Snipers on the roof, helicopters all night. Donald Trump is at the venue. It's very disruptive. I get ahold of an offensive poster being handed out by the heroic souls assembled to disseminate their hatred of the man. The hotel has many warning messages, all but shuts down the conference, - don't go outside - we're told. Over and over. The police are thick on the ground and in the air, the helicopters circle all night commanding everyone to disperse. It's a signal moment - it's a thing very deeply of 2016.

I find that I don't want to engage with anyone on that day - there's a very real chance that I'll meet someone who supports Don Trump and then... I mean, I don't want to talk to someone who's on that side. What do I have to say? Fuck you? Fuck You.

Meanwhile it's all over the television - I'm told. Me? I've been in a couple of scrums that could be fairly called riots. I mean, couches were set aflame, cars overturned - I got teargassed? May day man. This thing in California is not a riot, it's barely a protest. I've got nothing to say. If Tamir is killed, yes, block the highway, protest, that makes sense to me. If a guy is a dick? I don't get it. Who are you talking to when you say that guy's a dick? The power structure in the world all think so already. There's no target that makes any sense. Anyway - I was there for it. I saw it.

That's Wednesday.

Thursday I check out of the hotel and have until 11:30 to board my plane. I'm shit as a tourist. I get a driver to take me to Forest View in Glenville to see the tombs of the fantasists. Baum and Kane - those are the targets. I get to pay my respects at the Grave of Lyman Frank Baum - the American Wizard and my permanent favorite. That gets done and I'm gratified & glad. I lug my bags around and find that the cemetery is far, far too big for me to negotiate piled up with luggage. I resolve to walk around in Los Angles a while.

The reason people don't do this? Mountains - short answer - final answer - mountains. It's hot & pretty and the neighborhoods are beautiful and there are mountains to climb and descend and shit is it tiring. Shit. I walk through a neighborhood called Atwater Village to downtown - it's Fucking Exhausting. Obviously I need a cold drink - this is the way of that neighborhood - which is weird &... just weird. So there's a fancy boutique and outside the sandwichboard says - "Beyonce Shops Here" next to that is the most rundown grocery you've ever seen - selling mainly lotto tickets & votive candles & run by a pair of centenarians. I don't know what is going on in this neighborhood - all my signifiers are out of whack. There's like 5 hair places - that means depressed - shitty grocery - likewise = depressed. Then fancy stores open by appointment only with million dollar merchandise? And a psychic- usually the signal for a very poor spot but then the psychic's car is a Maserati? And you know it's the psychic's because it's in a spot clearly labelled Psychic Parking - like I say - all my signifiers are confounded. What is this place?

Downtown is more sensible- Joe Friday! I like the LA cop-shop based purely on my recognition of it from Dragnet. From there - the trains. First to the airport to finally check my bags - and then back on the trains. I take the Green line to it's ends and wander around a little at each stop - Downey is seemingly a small-town hicksville? El Segundo is nothing but jet fighter factories?

I take the Blue line all the ways it goes - the spot I get - and this, after I'm in a state. A state.

Let me talk about my state. All the while, the trains are nice, the buses are pleasant, the city is pretty, it is Nice, there's not piles of litter & it's sunny and bright, there are mountains & palm trees - the most ideal decorative tree - and it's got a general sense of being a very big, very rich city & I start to despair of my own small-poor city. How it kind of sucks there and the train stations at my house don't strongly resemble video-game levels, and how there aren't escalators to the highways, and how the public art at all of these places is so fancy, and everywhere - I'm getting depressed.

And then, there at the end - the blue line and Watts. Watts has the public art that you'd definitely recognize from the West Park RTA station - the same, identical. At the Rosa Parks station people are freestyling, there's a hapless lady trying to get signatories for some civic ballot issue, people are grocery shopping well into the evening and everyone is smoking blunts - I have a sense of ease & understanding - this is the neighborhood that makes sense to me. I get it. LA is really & truly wonderful though - that's my experience of it. Beautiful and pleasant & rich - amenities & perks - like, good for you living in this place. Have a paved river. Have the most bizarre transit system with escalators & freeway running trains. I had a long good day just wandering & seeing. I think most of the buildings you're supposed to see too - the Geary concert hall, the copshop, the... Yeah. Buildings. Who cares about buildings when you're in the earthly paradise? Why bother? You can just go outside, it's going to be perfect there. And it was. I wasn't ready to leave when it was time.

Fly back to cleveland overnight. The flight has the saddest babies ever and I land in CLV unrested. Go to the car rental desk, rent a car, drive to my mother's house - she's not ready, but is leaving soon, I pick up my dry cleaning since, like a star she picked it up for me, and then I go home. At the bank it turns out that I've been made the victim of some kind of fraud so I have only the dollars I have on me to carry me through and nothing to do about it until Tuesday - so - there it is - adventure in a state of desperate living.

Get ready - pack again, go to get A from school after packing her bag and then and then...

Shit I drive to Pennsylvania.

I'm tweaked and crazy by the time we're in bloomsburg and the shit econo-lodge in the parking lot of an abandoned mall in central PA and the terrible food, the scary mountain driving in the dark, the sleeplessness - they all get to me, I get mad about Pennsylvania.

Agatha is irrepressible and new. So new at travels. She's mystified by the abandoned mall, in love with the patterns of weeds growing through the cracks in the asphalt. Just being at the hotel, irrespective of its dinginess is fun for her - I think the CRT TV is the one thing that she really objects to. We walk around the ersatz town and then crash.

In the morning donuts & coffee & family cure us all. Uncles and Aunts - far off rarely seen Uncles & Aunts - they're present at the downscale continental breakfast, replete with styrofoam. The obsolete kind. So weird. We rally, meet for lunch, are convivial, run into other out-of-towner Egyptians and are all just delighted. It's hot as the devil Saturday in the mountains of central PA.

I go with my parents to drive around the town & discover the part off the highway which is a perfectly serviceable little town with all kinds of charm. Honey-Merchants in the town square, Skateboarders & fancy-enough coffee shops. It's a fine little burg and I'm salved some more.

In time for the wedding - which is in another terrestrial paradise. The Groom's family home - perched on a mountain, his father's farm. Lemonade on the wrap around porch - lines in the sky and the horizon - mountains, green & blue like stacked horizons. The Mountains. We all look off into that endless distance of great green banks piled up under the relentelessly dazzling blue sky, the arc of which is perfectly described by the billowing few clouds. We sit through the marriage. I point out the magic of the preacher making people married just by saying it - a relic of an ancient magical tradition. Magic, done. It's a nice wedding. Quite a bit too religious for me - but the bride and the groom both have pastors for fathers so what are you gonna do? It's beautiful to see, to look at. Bracingly so. We are hot and baking under the sun, the record high of all time. We watch the sky and wait for the shade of a cloud - which we can watch being painted on the valleys below, a patch of dark & relative cool that slides up the landscape.

The reception is modest & pleasant. They're so young. My cousin & her husband. I shake my head. I have to. The preacher preaches, in the service. He points out that in Genesis the first thing that god regards as not being good, as being incorrect is that the man is alone - and so he makes the woman. It's bad that the man is alone. So he fashions the woman for the man right?

I point this out to Agatha and am tickled to notice it. - The man can't be alone, it's bad, but it's just swell that god's alone. So which one do you identify with? Which one are you closer to? It's bad that the man is alone, it's dandy to be alone if you're god though. So what's the thing to think in this godlike age? Of transcontinental traverses and Maserati psychics & riots at disneyland?

The reception is modest & pleasant. We dance a bit and go after Agatha absconds with the many many tiny succulent plants which are the party-favors. She loves the succulent plants. Tomorrow, I tell her, we'll do our own adventure.

At the hotel they've brochures for all the things you might do in the area. A couple of these are for Caves. Tourist caves. She's looking at these with undisguised interest and I tell her that all along my plan was to take her to a cave - the Laurel Caverns - which I'd been told were great by a coworker. I decide - we decide - to spend our day (by now yesterday, but only just) visiting caves.

My parents, well, my father in a lucid seeming moment is confoundingly demented and promises that my mother aunt & uncle - who all came together - would join as the first cave. It's a strange drive through winding mountain roads past amish buggies. Barn after barn - huge valleys in the central part of PA and mountains girding them all about- it's a kind of earthly paradise. The woods are lovely, impenetrable, the hills are rising tides of green, massive waves undulating in geologic time.

The first cave is an underground river. My people beat me and A there and when we join them my father is laughing and yelling at me in Arabic. "What the fuck did you bring me here for!"

"I really didn't think you'd like it!"

"What am I doing!"

Me and A hang with uncle Milad & Tante Liza and my mother and my father laughs at himself and his misguided daring. "What am I even doing!" He's adorable. They have a good laugh and leave me and Agatha to it - we ride a boat through the underground stream - on the other side see a bald eagle snatch a trout and have a few long looks at muskrats and elk. The cave is a good cave, watered & weird, it is depth & heavy chill after a long hot day. It is grey-cold stone in the green-blue wilderness.

The next cave is too far out of the way - if we're going to make it to our ultimate goal. So we skip a cave - can't make it to three - we make it to two. The Laurel Cavern is much more touristy - has much less veneer of science than the cave at Penn's Woods. It's...

Here I pause to assess and realize that I am not going to become a cave reviewer, I'm not going to be a cave blogger. It's a pretty great cavern and our experience there is straight up delightful. Cave exploration, and strange lights in the deeps & impenatrable darkness & imagining, with a fearful kind of realization the spookiness of goblin attacks, the inevitability of mountain kings.

After that I just drive. I decide on Pittsburgh. On the front end of our journey into PA I was badly displeased by the dingy nowhere freeway exit town. In the middle I was profoundly delighted by the splendid countryside, beautiful sky and... Caves. Toward the end I was really, really done with paying tolls.

We make Pittsburgh closing on sundown. You shold come to Pittsburgh through the mountainous neighborhoods outside, east & south - we stop for ice-cream in what I guess is a neighborhood? But is also a mountain - it's a confusing place - I can't get a sense of it - is this a part of the city? Is it a little mountain community alone? What are the affiliations? What are the passages through & past? Where even are we? You're wondering if your GPS is just lying to you and then you drive through a mile long tunnel - which I guess could be the third cave - and then you're in it - a big city between all the rivers - a maze of bridges. Downtown is downtown, you drive it like any other big city - through and past all the uncountable bridges - back to the mountains and west. West out of the mountains - toward the waiting thunderstorm singing along to the radio.

We make it home in a thunderstorm and I feel like I'm always home. I'm here now, in my kitchen, writing it all up, feeling no affiliation, feeling like I could do it again, I could keep going and never, never stop.
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Untitled This is all of the bus in Anaheim that I felt I could capture without being too creepy. I was riding the bus in Anaheim and that's a fair place to start. For want of a book I was riding the bus. It started a little bit before - Saturday, I guess, because I ran out of the house and took a book, nearly finished, and a book, never glanced at. On the plane I finish the one and find I don't like the other, so in Anaheim I find I need a book. So I'm on the bus in Anaheim, but that's not it, the story - I think it starts before that. For want of a book.

On Thursday the book in question is one of mine - the salesman comes & knows just how to butter me up, he brings a copy of one of my books for me to sign. Flattering, a nice flourish, a good touch - we'd made nice on his first sales call, he came to talk to me about things and saw all the D&D stickers on my bag so he must have looked into me and found out that he could buy a book I made and so he did and brought it for me to sign and to pitch me on a deal. Which was nice. I talked to him and got excited about something and left this book at work, this one I've been meaning to read, I left it at work. So I needed a book, distracted and a little elated, I end up on the bus in Anaheim, for want of a book.

Though it goes back further, if I'm honest, it goes back a year to the project I'm on at work, really two years, it goes back to it beginning, and it's because of that project that I was called on to break out of my habits and go to Anaheim at all, it's because of this software & the work I've put in that I've been sent to Anaheim to attend a seminar and meet the salespeople and listen to the luminaries. It goes back to that, at least, that's reason enough for me to be on a bus in Anaheim looking for a book.

Thought that's not it either, there's a further history that puts me on a bus in Anaheim. I think back, maybe 15 years? At least, as long ago as I've been writing in you dear, dear diary.

When Livejournal was new you'd mention it to your friends, you'd meet people and talk them into joining you'd get all of your friends on old livejournal. It wasn't great though. It was a lot like Facebook, back then - you'd talk your acquaintances to joining & they'd have surveys & pictures & ur-memes, they'd kind of fall down in your esteem so you'd be looking not for people but for journals, good ones. My strategy was based around books. I wanted to find other writers so I looked for them.

The trick, my trick - was to looks for people who shared an interest - remember the interests page? Well, once, all those years ago, there was me and one other person who shared an interest, the only two in the whole internet who had an interest in "out of print books" So I made friends with her, random reaching out - and do you know? Girl could write, painted a really interesting picture of life as a young nomadic mother, a wanderer & adventurer, all those years ago. All for a book, an unnamed book, out of print, unknown & certainly idealized, that scent in it, the jagged edged dust cover, the one dented corner, the multicolored stitches in the binding, you know the one, the hard to find, much discussed one, the one you always wanted but can't quite lay your hands to. She liked that book that was just an idea- was interested in it, and so was I. So we became friends - all those years ago, me a rampager, pornographer nightlife hero, her an over the road mystic seeker adventuress. It was a long time before I really understood what she was saying all the time, and probably just as long for her to get my weird idiom.

For the longest time she was my friend on the internet who I randomly knew, had little in common with and who I never stopped being interested in, never stopped liking. Out in Los Angeles she was living her life, at the end of her mission. I remembered then, when she settled by the ocean, I told her about King Sargon the great - the first ruler of something that could be called an empire. He marched to the sea and he washed his weapons in the ocean. He built a tower in the persian gulf saying just that. That he'd washed his weapons in the sea - signifying that he'd conquered all there was to conquer, that he'd gone to the sea and would not war any longer - for what was there left to war against? I remembered thinking of Sargon the great's victory when she settled at the ocean's edge.

For want of that book, the unknown out of print one, for want of that book we became friends. So I think that's as far back as it goes, because I wouldn't have agreed to go to a conference about software, maybe, probably, if it wasn't in Anaheim, and if I didn't have a chance to meet my oldest internet friend in person by going - so [livejournal.com profile] sholanda really, is the reason, at the bottom of it all, why I'm on a bus in Anaheim getting lost and looking for a book.
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(She's spectacular by the way. A mystery wrapped in a... No, I didn't miss the reference, and I didn't miss a beat, she'll keep you on your toes in the town, she'll take you all around and show you the best places and speak with endearing knowledge & easy friendly familiarity. We've been friends, all this time, we know each other no? And she's spectacular, by the way, with a ready hot coffee and a generous ride from the airport. She's spectacular, and by the way, it's the premise of this whole mention, so, not in fact, by the way, but by way of all of this I wanted to mention how I'd come to the ocean and washed my bus pass in the sea, having no mass transit yet to conquer, having no more friendly pilgrimages to make...) Well, not this week.
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Where did I leave off? It's worth considering considering how much has gone on. A lot, it feels like.

Friday - I'll go there. Friday was full & pleasant. First thing in the day the CFO calls me to his office, nearly stern, almost tense - he starts to query on my affairs - "are you doing anything tonight? You and your daughter?" I'm not and say so - so he lays some orchestra tickets on me - a present from a vendor. I'm alone in probably wanting to go - they're addressed to others yet higher up in the Company - Browns tickets? I'd have never seen 'em - Cavs? Indians? Anything of the sort I'd never know - the Orchestra? Probably me alone in the organization would eagerly attend. Not least because it's right there in my neighborhood. So I'm thrilled to bits about going to the orchestra.

Did I mention how earlier in the week I'd gone to see youngster A play in her school orchestra? She's the viola-ist and she's not shabby. I got her a viola for christmas and that seems to have gone right, I never see her practice but once in a while - the school orchestra was... Okay. The music instructor got pretty preachy, and self-involved and was I'd say, if I had to put a name on it, Oratorically Misanthropic. Just coming at the crowd & audience all plaintive about not having daily music instruction and how it's so important. I... I mean, no. Agatha alternates Mandarin & Art & Orchestra. I think it's pretty gross to just jump up and be all - This is most important. Maybe I wasn't getting it, maybe she wants to take time away from Engilsh or Math? Who knows. Probably social studies takes it on the chin again. I was pretty irritated by the instructor's whole demeanor - and I wasn't really surprised though. The opera - they come out and beg (nevermind that I got free tickets to that just by being handsome & appearing at the absolutely correct time.) The school orchestra they come out and beg. Welcome To Nightvale came out and kinda-begged. Everyone needs more money. Well, not everyone.

I point out that the Orchestra doesn't beg, they don't even announce things. They play in what I think is the prettiest building in this town, they have huge album sales, they have an endowment that probably dwarfs even the CMA and they don't beg. The program is bigger than most magazines- they do well.

The performance was really good - A little Liszt - Orpheus to start which really made me glad, a glad day - kind of mentioning the opening of the sky into a better phase- kind of ripples of minnows and foot-high waterfalls. The main show is Bartock and it's performed incredibly well, the soloist has an athleticism about his playing - he's robust & there's a power that pours out of him, same for the second piece where the pianist is leaping up on the bench, diving at the keys like a fishing bird. It's very excellently executed & leaves one with the sense of having seen something really impressive. Now, the music, well, it wasn't what I was particularly looking for? Not just easy meanders into pleasing scenes - there were attempts and directions-and then powerful emanations of discord, of unseen malice & a shaking awake. It is Not Soothing but rather Menacing. Just not quite the thing I'd been needing - having been feeling shaky and under it for a moment.


Of course shaky & under it. Did I go back to Wednesday? To Thursday? I'd been up, on the scissor lift - I said to take it to it's highest height & we did, and then it stalled, and the other man turned pale & the sweat dripped off of his palms & I laughed at death and laughed at hydraulic safety features and pondered my own durability on a 50 foot descent. I think I'd be fine. I think I'd be just fine. Between you and me, I might not know what's best for me or even what's worst.
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Friday, the orchestra, and the work and in between - don't let me forget. We were on our way to dinner, to Tommy's for our regular repast & who do we meet but neighborhood internet friend [livejournal.com profile] tylik who showed us, just in passing, some videos of slug experimentation & revealed the secret of the Slug's Grapser - which anatomical oddity provided us with a few days of laughs. "Ow! My Grasper!" Neat meeting the neighbors - plus when they're the right sort of internet team-player that makes it all to the better. I got anxious on the sidewalk talking - I got anxious that we hadda go and eat and make time and get to the orchestra! Deadlines, rather, timetables, I'm no good with them. Resentment! Did you know that the world doesn't start & stop at my convenience? Resentment, getting to places on time in time.

Saturday we messed around and did very little that didn't involve video-games & art supplies and laundry, filthy old laundry my enemy. And friends came to visit and we went to mexican supper, and then sunday was my mother and also snow, and also the thing of it - the problem in waiting that'd given me the bad mood (worse than even the unseasonal, altogether unreasonable snow in mid-may) was my sore fucker of a tooth. I went to a foggy place of distraction & mindless irritation & did my very, level best to be cool to my people who assembled around me a little bit and gently.

Monday I go straight for it - the dentist - I found one, a new one - No Appointments! I was so happy to learn it, no appointments - walk in and try to get there early. So effing swell, the right way to be and walking distance from home. I race over there monday morning and get it all done up about halfway - halfway through the claim is made & the directions laid out - You gotta go over and see the specialist - out by your mother's house - go see the specialist and have surgery done a little. So. Not the thing you love hearing.

I go to work and afterward go to Monay supper with my parents & delightful young niece. Camp out on their sofa as best I'm able. As best...

And really I should get at this matter, this distressing - antagonistic matter - which is the Television. If you want healthcare you must learn to endure the television in the waiting room, the constant & loud television, and then if you want to spend time with your aged parents you're going to get to experience a lot of television - really the worst sorts of television. And then you'll have to listen as a television commands you to buy nonsense while having your mouth sugereyed. You'll have to learn of the sinister forces of american politics as they run rampant over the airwaves, as they demand that you make them your master. It's a grim-bad-world if you have the TV on. And smelling your own skin burn up under the surgeon's electric knife - that's not an awesome time to be hearing a lot about boner-pills and SUVs.

I'm a little disappointed in myself that I didn't ever get around to building that one device that turns off any TV, the tricky key-fob that lets you have a beer in silence and maybe wait, wounded & even bleeding, for a doctor without being advertised at.

(Nobody Tells Me Shit. That's my thought, now, here - now, killing minutes and recounting - diary style - One of the meandering plots of the weekend is the angering discussion I got into with my cousin on the FB - he's a schoolteacher and wanted to joke about failing students who do not care to do the work and I sprang up in their defense explaining the futility & senselessness of school as anything beyond childcare - and his many teacher friends jumped up to be aggrieved and to claim (I must add with execrable spelling) the merits & goodness of their various rubricks, insisting that their methods would measure learning and not merely obedience. My arguments were not very aggressive but I said what I thought aught be said & that is, just pass them all, they're wasting their time listening to you talk about the nonsense you think is important, what the fuck more do you want from people?
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And no doubt my animus derives from a bad time with the orchestra teacher - I think it did. I came to see my kid play an instrument and you're making excuses, that's what I'm seeing here lady, excuses and whining and you talking about your bullshit like I would sit in a room and listen to it. Fuck that, I passed middle-school so I don't have to ever listen to a middle school teacher again.)

I think that catches me up pretty well. Tonight is Strahd, I think, we might even meet him? We've been blowing off his supper invitation for so long.
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Always something demanding attention.

I meant to say that at the ballgame in the final inning the closer came out to pitch. There was a 3 minute video montage & theme music, all the players have a theme song when they come to bat now, but the closer has this impressive video about how intimidating he is, how great. I thought - see, I could never have that job. I mean, you walk out to the mound with your theme music & video going, throw a home run like a sucker & you still have to stand there and pitch at least 9 more times. He didn't throw a hit though, which was nice for him, but that's where I went immediately - my train of thought is all about how to survive defeat.

I guess I don't mind defeat exactly, but posing as unbeatable and then getting beaten? I don't know - maybe that's not so bad. I was thinking about this when I was writing before & then I was distracted from thinking about it by Big Problems at work - the email. MX records, distribution groups- arcana & terms of art, I was in a bad place with a lot of people not getting their mail, and it was until this morning that I finally fixed it - but I did fix it. The video-montage of me & my theme song playing as all the inbound orders are intercepted by the idiot spam filter, ignored & sent back, marked inappropriate content. Frustrating, that's what it is. That's a bad day at work, is what I'm saying. Solving it is a good day @ work and I solved it and am good.

Also we got a scissor lift & I went on the roof a bunch & installed these cool p2p WiFi extenders over the whole campus - power tools & cabling tools - fun stuff.
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My man BD took to the ballgame yesterday which was rad as heck. I didn't make it to one game last year and I didn't care for that state of affairs- I'll have to keep my thoughts on this as a fun thing to do in the summer. I have high hopes of making the summer rad.

This year the company's big annual meeting isn't taking place in August - and so I don't have to blow off everything in a race to prepare for the big annual meeting - so I can actually resume the Best Day & probably go to the beach a lot - if it is warm enough, (I believe in you 2016!) Anyhow the Ball Game & a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of summertime. Almost! It is almost.

I still get to go to Disneyland this month - a state of affairs that brings me like, shame. I tell my kiddo - I won't be around for a couple of days because of this work thing. "Oh, where are you going?" "Just disneyland." "without me?" "... School?" I feel like a jerk! And beyond that I'm taking her to our cousin's out-of-town wedding the weekend after in glorious Pennsylvania... Penn...Sylvania... PA isn't a good place, it's the worst place actually. You'll hear WVa or Mississippi given a hard time- but they are not Pennsylvania. I promise, it is a place for devils.

When I was young, and this is a story - I think I might have written about it here before - this happened to me and Littlemarauder - our friend, well my friend, her boyfriend BD - in fact - was living in NYC and I'd periodically go visit, and sometimes she'd team up and ride with me or what-have-you - she went way more frequently than I, but once in a while we'd team up and she'd go with me in my sweet-ass Jeep.

Just because of how I worked & the nature of either of our availability it wasn't that weird that I'd drive straight through the night - this was at a time, a splendid time in your nation's history where you could buy hardcore amphetamines at truck stops. In general rhetoric about america ever being more great that it is now falls on the deafest of all my ears, the ears that are painted onto my imaginary second head. Those are the ears I use to hear that kind of nonsense - But! There is a vital truth and that is that you used to just be able to get amphetamines when you needed them. So driving through the night was the chosen route - now, in PA this is a problem because the nothing-towns that comprise that benighted state shut down at like 6:30 sharp, closed & darkened nothing villages. This sucks if you need gas or amphetamines - which you are going to need.

So we are in some nowhere town with a tiny college comprised of one big building standing on top of a hill just outside of town (there are 10,000 towns like this in PA). I've come to this town from off the highway because signs indicate that it may have gas & there's some kind of store that seems to be open where I can get gasoline - it seems. So I'm heading for that - and it's closed, and lit up, and locked, and has an open sign and is locked & abandoned, and.

Behind the place- a circle-K - there's a graveyard, a big one - like a post-war one, with a lot of flat monuments with the retractable flower-pots. It's around 11, autumn, autumn night. The place is abandoned, but there are cars parked all up and down the street - empty cars, abandoned. or well, parked, but County-Fair style, where they're using up half the road in either direction so the two-lane macadam becomes a single lane down the middle - the town's hard to navigate the only light that's on is the locked up & empty but open Circle K and... and the firelight coming from the far, wooded end of the graveyard.

OBVIOUSLY I needed to check this shit out. So I park too, county fair style and then I start heading out. Or, no - no instead I have an 80 pound lady's hand-grip still etched into my bicep, Littlemarauder Would Not Have It. Tears even, and so much terror-clutching. The actual words elude me, but I remember a lot of screaming and pleading. To me, a tire iron is salutory to all fears to littlemarauder - escape is the only answer to mysterious dark & shutdown towns.

I didn't leave her alone in the car, I didn't drag her into weird satanism, I made good time and went to NYC instead.

I hate Pennsylvania.

I wonder if I'll find out what youngster Agatha is made of when crossing it. If we'll face midnight black masses in unnamed shutdown-towns. I wonder if I'd be more scared nowadays? Or if she'd be scared.
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Yesterday was one of those days- the really & actually beautiful kind - and late as it came it was the first really superb spring day in this town. It always waits for the tulips, that's probably why they're my favorite. Robins & Tulips they're important signs, omens purporting the continuity of days. They say that life is long and they say that life is happening.

I barely remember work, work is silly now, with problems, riddles to solve. It's complicated & confusing. Email is weirdly ancient & arcane in the world of technology, it's very mature and full of antiquated complexities from the times when our grandparents were inventing it. I barely remember, I barely can think about it.

I go walking with young Agatha, Thursday for strolling. There's a secretive meadow she's had her eye on and we decide to shortcut through - seeing sights. She looks for the wild growing vegetables an I note the wolf-like dog that stands off alone, then wanders to its master's house, a big beast black & pointed, its tongue doesn't loll out, it is wolfish. "Do we dare to brave this meadow?" We do, we do. It's pleasing the - the way the lawnmowers (well, they're not pleasing - lawns, mowing, Argle+Bargle is the standard reaction to one of my least favored contrivances) just clip the edge of the meadow, there's a natural fence of spindly maple saplings all around, a hedge under the trees, we walk on through and I do my banking while she notices and talks to school chums in the neighborhood.

Walking on back, there are robins, plenty, friendly porch-cats, sleek little young deer - they just have a knuckle of fuzzy antler on their heads, little teenaged deer trepidatious in the neighborhood they stalk out from between the houses heading for the yard of that-one-guy. In his yard it's only a few minutes before he comes to shoo them off like a bouncer at a bar after last call. "that's enough boys." Clapping his hands & these skinny young deer are frightened, they stand only a little distance away and start and run, and stop, childish knuckleheads.

Bunnies, there are bunnies, and the tulips & robins - we see a mourning dove and hope to see the neighborhood hawk this summer. And people, musicians, the town lights up at night, later, when I'm walking home from D&D past the clubs and don't even pay attention to who's playing and think only a moment about going to get a drink. Next time, there's always next time, the spring lasts forever doesn't it? It's never winter anymore right? I forgot all about it, winter, there's no such thing.
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Agatha says this is the best cover.
Frontcover

I liked a few different images & couldn't really commit. I had opinions.

Backcover

My thought was the image from the top right as the whole cover - I like that if you crop out the savior jesus christ it looks like the golden king is staring off with an ambiguous ambition, possibly imagining blimps. Now I'm making this montage the back cover - in the hardback variant these are on the dust-jacket, the book itself will be red cloth.

I really liked the dragon picture from the first few prototype editions - but I just can't find that picture in a high enough resolution. I'm looking for opinions. Plus - if you've got a picture from the public domain you'd like to suggest I'm here.
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Aww, Baby's first opera.

I want to mention the things that have happened, but also - yesterday a guy somehow chose to delete his computer. His computer. Today there are preposterous server problems & my spam filter decided to just go sideways and piss off everyone everywhere - so I'm working hard - which is a state of affairs I shall always and forever resent.

Meantime! We had our weekend & it was nice - Independent Bookstore Day - which the independent bookstore was exceedingly avid about pointing out. My traded in books were not credited towards the purchase of magazines (Adbusters & High Fructose for me) or new books (this hilarious (to me) series-book that she embarassedly consumes one-per day about warrior cats). Actually - about Warrior Cats - I feel like people's early exposure to this kind of thing - formulaic series books about something nonsensical but eminently enjoyable - I feel like this is the reason that genre fiction is ghettoized - maybe just me. You probably only sort of ever grow out of loving a series of formula YA novels about warrior cats. Anyhow, I try hard to not be just a make-fun-jackass about it when I quiz her about the matter of the book, but also, it's sort of impossible to ask questions that aren't read as mockery. "So when they don't like a cat for not being feral enough their mean name is Kittypet?" "Come on dad, don't tease." "I'm really not trying!"

She was proud to read a book in a sitting and I was encouraging - we went to the Masonic Auditorium - where I've never been actually - to see the new local opera company (man I hope they make it, I hope they succeed even a little, enough for one show a year at least, how I've missed this...) do La Boheme - I explain that it's not especially to my taste- my taste running a bit more baroque - but that it counts, and that also, it's kind of inexpensive to stage - being very domestic - so, La Boheme. Feelings, is what I explain - it's about a garish rendering of feelings meant to help you have catharsis. "Like when General Iroh sings about his dead son." That's my explanation - it's meant to trouble your heart but in a way that is useful. She didn't quite get it, but I think my enthusiasm was sufficient to enthuse her a little. It was a charming little production, good enough, I say, after the drought.
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What happened was this. The recycler said they were interested in our old totes, but that they'd need to be smashed down first so that they could get a lot of volume into their container. So the loader operators were all abuzz & competing for who would get to do the mashing. Seniority ruled and the mad-old man was allowed to do it. It happened that at this time I was on a long call with my contractor & so I sat in the golf cart in the yard and watched a cackling old man in red suspenders smash apart what amounts to metal-clad balloons with a huge yellow front-end loader. I was on a call else I'd have taken video the whole time - but here is what it was. Each of the totes is a 10 cubic foot plastic container that's supported in an armature of aluminum in the form of a lightweight cage - this is for stacking inside a container or a truck. The Loader-bucket descends with its implacable but steady, slow swing. It crushes & crushes quicker than you'd think but slower than you'd like - the thick plastic bubble bursts with a satisfying pop & the aluminum cage buckles & shatters, welds popping & twisting. It goes on for an hour, the old man is never not smiling.

Nearby some people have been advertising that there is evidence for god. If you call them, they don't want to do anything about it. They like that there is god - which is really... Just the weirdest reaction to there being a powerful magical controller of the universe. You're on that guy's side? Why? What's wrong with you?

Anyhow, I liked the look of the smashed & destroyed works of a vainglorious people crushed beneath the works of other, equally vainglorious people - Mindless destruction & all the while - There is Evidence For God.
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It seems likely that I've become too weird. I think I blame public transit. Y'know - most of the time people think I'm nutty for not having or wanting a car - that's one thing, but not a big thing, not the thing that's making me too weird. Really it's that there are people, the regular people that I ride with. For a few years now its a samey crowd of same-faces and I don't talk to them.

Early on I figured out that if you become acquainted with the other commuters then you're into a place where you're having a conversation every day. I don't want to have a conversation every day I want to read in silence. So I read in silence and give off my vibe of disengagement. So that's my way.

But when you commit to that - when you commit to the idea that you don't want to talk to people you're really giving away a bunch of things. First - that I don't think I'll have much to talk about - which is true. I know a lot, and heck I'm interested in even more, but those itches get scratched often enough without me seeking it out. Back when I worked in stores I'd have to prepare and accept that every day there would be a bunch of lonesome old men with longwinded pointless stories looking to just talk at you. Every day. I got pretty put off by it - this need for company that you see among the aged. My social outlets are kind of full up, I don't want for interactions, well. That's not quite true either. The thing is, you can't count on people to be interesting, and I can't count on myself to fake interest. So - disengagement.

That's always been a thing for me, I don't share the American enthusiasm for closeness and find the idea of talking about personal details with strangers, with friends even - it's just unappealing. Dignity is one of those things that nobody cares to have or keep and I'm persistently surprised by it. Dignity is the thing that keeps you from begging for money or telling someone about your illnesses or crying or bothering people about buying things from you. It's something worth having but which is easy to lose & hard to create. It's something I care about having and something no one else seems to want - so that's strange, that's weird.

You mash these things together, disengagement & stoicism and there you are - the self-made outsider. Now, that is fine, that is fine too. The reason it's possibly arising as a problem is that once that is your constructed persona - it's basically impossible to work against that mold - now you're peculiar, quiet & reserved so jumping into random socialization is too remarkable and can't be construed as casual.

See, thinking about this at all, that's what's weird - to think about re-engaging with people, about making new friends. Probably some of this could be addressed by having a roommate again. I should consider. Then again. Inevitable betrayals & so on - roommates, they all want to quit households to form romantic partnerships, they are fools!

...

Okay. Okay, get it together. I paid my taxes, and that made me feel like a regular. I am thinking about being regular and it's confusing - I told Agatha, look, I have a job and it's regular, pay my bills an that's regular but to me, in my heart this is me having dropped out of society. This is my version of being a cabin-dwelling-loner.
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Yes yes the inimitable gray haze of winter in Cleveland. A bitter-cruel jab of spite right from the sky. I know there must be a god else what else would there be for me to lavish my hate upon. It is an exquisite hate, ground fresh daily between my teeth, artisinaly layered with alternating mutters of 'fuckyou' and random intense screaming with a signature quivering shoulders rage. It is a hate, tastefully conceived and richly deserved by whatever magic sapience governs time & space. There must be a god, if there isn't then what is this thing I hate so furiously. St. Kingtycoon's ontological argument, enjoy.

The second winter is a bit of spite, a bit of spittle from the sky on my face. After the timid beast barely made a sound, after it failed to follow up the remorseless cruelty of it's elders, falling far short of wicked 2014/15 and being merely a shadow of the storied & terrible 2013/14 models - this shitty little winter, the economy model for weaklings, it seemed that it wouldn't make much of an impression at all, and then, and then it does what the winter does in the Waste-Land, in the Lake of the Cat People.

Just a vicious bite from the severed head of the beast, a lunge for your throat by the dying wind the snapping vicious cold of snow & teeth & wet.

So a weekend spoiled, understand, good options honed to single purposes - delivery food and video games, for once, not my idea.

On wednesday I came back to work - but didn't work too hard.  I worked hard enough.  Immediately though, back to not sleeping enough.  My neighbors upstairs & their fucking dog.

I lay in bed wishing.  These are my 3 magic wishes if I could capture a lamp genii
1) That every dog in the world would violently explode leaving their owners with disfiguring scars so that I would know to scorn them still, after their dogs have violently exploded.
2) That I could be the leader of an army of millions of gorillas.
3) Also a navy of millions of gorillas.

So you get it - surly from sleeplessness.

That night though I stay up late- riding out to the west side to see my old DnD pals - it's been 15 years now, with this crowd - I like those guys.  JV has it at his house as we've all gotten skeeved by the Warzone's dirtyness (though rumors fly that it's nice & clean now maybe?)  He and his household work it up and make all the crudite and also there is wine with gothic labels since we play in the new Ravenloft campaign that's out.  It was a modestly eventful 1st act type session - lots of intros, lots of set up, not one fight-  Me and MZ grumble about it a little as he takes me home, the prince that he is, and we speculate about proper pacing for a session, I say 1 encounter always and season with more when it's time to draw them back in.  And always throw the realest fight after the loot's been given - scare 'em about something to lose.

In the night.
I cannot sleep?  Not a lot, stompy tiny women & their idiot dog.  Explode, Explode, Explode - I can't make it happen, dismay.

Thursday is a big night - after work I fetch up my cub right away and we hire a car to downtown so that we can have Noodle-Cat and then to Playhouse square for the Welcome to Night Vale live show.  It was pretty good, all in all, for me, by my expectations it was good - for her, probably in the top 10 of stage performances, maybe top 5.  We really need to get out more, to better stage performances.  Probably. 

An effort- a cursory one, to face the line & buy the merch. I live on the internet, it is my neighborhood, the stores don't have lines. A cursory effort to meet the entertainers. We're tasked with it, by A's mother - who wants us to. She's got that fetish - that... Thing... that I find so distasteful, so uninteresting - to know a performer, to befriend someone. Patrician sensibilities - first, but not foremost - they're entertainers dear and count the silver after they've gone, and before as well. But creative sensibilities as well. Sometimes, sometimes I'll make a thing, a true thing - and if I want to discuss it - it is on these terms: Is it great? It is. Is it wonderful? It is. Applaud me? Applaud me. I haven't any insights to how things are made nor the origins of ideas, I made a thing out of a wish to make it and By No Means a wish to be known by others.

That sickness of the self that craves for recognition, approval of the self - that's the damage done, right there, to me. The work is not the self is not the work - the work lives & dies by it's merits, seeing the person within and behind as inheriting that value, possessing some component of the work? No. No, not at all. There's a notion that they are supermen, that they open their coat & let free tigers, that they spring at the hint of interest - into character, into presence, into the stage. Now, maybe some can do that? And what do you say to them?

I don't care about knowing people who's work interests me, I assume their work has in it everything they care to tell me, that's it.

And then...
And then... She tells the driver - on our way home - in homage to Cecil "We've been Waiting For You...David!" After the app says it's david coming to get us, and after david comes to get us, after a long-ish wait in the burgeoning cold. She says it like you'd think gollum sounds if you'd only read those books. She says it and doubles over doing that laugh of embarrassed daring that you see sometimes if you're acquainted with the best teenaged girls.

So home, in the dark, as the cold circles in, and try to bed, and try to sleep and try to live, only to return to winter.
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I took a bunch of days off of work ostensibly to go to the Film Festival for the week.  I've often talked about doing this.  Naturally I didn't go the movies at all.  Maybe I'm put off by movies because there's that terrible one about Batman - but probably - probably I have other stuff happening.

My Mother turned 70 on the 31st - we went to dinner and it was sweet, I talked to her a lot but we got distracted equally by my little niece and my poor father.  We talked a lot about my Aunt who has been in the hospital for 3 weeks.  I was walking with Agatha and talking to her and I had to say that I don't have a lot of dead people.  In my life I don't.  Not people I knew well or cared a lot about - I think I have one - One person I really loved who has died.  I can't even face it if something like this happens.  If my aunt dies...  She's had lymphoma for almost 20 years now-  her prognosis was grim all those years back they said six months - and it's been almost 20 years.  When we lived together she never seemed fragile - she seemed not quite robust, but, like she wanted to be useful, and would do anything not to be.  You had to wake up really early if you didn't want her to shovel the walk, for example - because she'd do it.  The only times she ever asked for anything were for rides from the grocery or the hospital, and only then if it were late & dark or if the weather went south.  You could't do things for in the times between her doing things for you.  I always felt guilty living with her and I nursed that guilt by buying flowers a lot.  I can't take it if she dies.  I won't know what to do.

She had a bad flu - it turns out, and is expected to recover completely, I need that, I need her to make it 20 more years.  She's only a bit above 70 herself.

My mother is robust as heck, she needs to be, especially in her feelings.  I go to see her, I often do, and my father is telling me that she's ruined his life.  "That woman ruined everything!"  He tells me, because he can't drive anymore, the doctors said so, after he got a speeding ticket.  Now me, I grew up in that guy's car and he never should have driven at all, he's a terror to ride with, and dementia's not helping anything.  He tried whining to me about not driving and I just straight up scolded him and laughed at him.  "Oh do you need to drive around?  Oh is it hard to live without driving?"  Here's what I know, cruel taunts are the way of life for that man and I don't think there's another response between us that would make any sense to either of us.  He knows I feel bad for him and I know he hates that, so it's probably best just to fuck with him.  Or not.  I don't know.  He has this idea that he'll get better, that he doesn't have dementia, but had a stroke that he's recovering from.  He's not well.  He's probably dying.  I can't have death in my life but I'm going to.

So how do you face that?  I mean, I turn away and look at something else.  Chinese magistrates right?  You see the old pictures they have those silly mortarboard hats with the dangling beads?  So those are functional, actually.  The idea is that if you're confronted with something ugly - you look at the beads, lower your head and see some pretty beads.  I guess like looking at your phone?

I took some time off work and didn't go to the movies, I spent a lot of time typing on this box, a lot of time - in a gratifying way - where time got away from me and I'd turned 150 pages into 300 - I worked on books, and other books - I got a lot done.  It's frankly disheartening - this feeling - of having your Dreams and Works and knowing that they're thwarted by day-to-day cares.  That the 50 hours I'm needed each week to reset passwords delete spurious entries is a sink in which my best efforts are squandered - that's the feeling, dig.  That there's a great - or at least adequate thing in me, and I've not the time or ability to make it happen because I've got to survive.  That's a frustration and one that grows larger in the shadow of death.  I tell you that there's a celebration of the ephemeral, that there's a vision of life in which life is meant to be brief & intense, and i want none of it.  I want forever, and I want forever to be subsidized.

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