Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Belated X-mas Post

    Taken with Holga Camera

Okay. Time for a couple of revisionist entries... I have been out of town for the New Year and so will attempt to go back and rewrite a few of the would be entries. I will keep it simple and factual until I am caught up and so, will not insist upon peeling my emotional onion for your benefit, however convinced I may be that you would have been sufficiently moved.

There has been an otherworldly clamor to see the personal steam room in photos. So here you go. Above is the lovely item itself. As you can see, it is a self-contained pleasure chamber, offering an invigorating and healthful epidermal escapade. After only a few treatments, our quality of life has truly improved! Truly!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas with the Family

    My brother & parents. Christmas, 2004
    Taken with Holga Camera

Christmas. Food. Family. I laughed a lot. Spent the day milling about from one Christmas location to the next. Shot something like ten rolls of film.

I received an amazing gift this morning - photos to follow soon enough - and I am not particularly prone to hyperbole on occasions such as this.

From the directions:

"Please fondly when opening, spread and stretch material until ready for erection."

You guessed it! A portable steam room! For me! I have used it twice! Other people have used it too! A few times! Made in Japan! It has stripes!

So, after erection.. er... inflation, the steam room is just large enough to sit inside. Along with this extraordinary gift, I received some kind of plastic / aluminum chair from a medical supply store. With holes in the seat! After consulting with a small focus group and commissioning a couple of simple renderings, I determined that the ideal location for my steam room is in the living room directly in front of the television. In front of the television!

There is a small portable steam unit which needs filling periodically so it is definitely best to have lackeys hanging about to keep the steam going as well as to replenish cocktails. I know what you are thinking... but I checked all over my living room and saw no warnings about the consumption of alcohol when using the steam room, so no problems there. Anyway, it is good to have a few people around to keep your steam well catered. People are sometimes good to talk to as well! Afterall, it is Christmas!

Otherwise, life is good. We ate well. Counted our blessings. Laughed a lot.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Winter Solstice

    Taken with Diana Camera

It is the Winter Solstice today, as reckoned by many. I would probably do well to avoid a half-assed explanation of an ancient observance. But I have gotten into a number of conversations lately about Christmas as it relates to the appropriation of various Pagan holidays. So, while I admit to doing a crash course in the history of Pagan holidays, I will still attempt to paraphrase a few contemporary heathens…

Christmas as a Christian holiday did not begin as a holy and sanctioned observance. For some three hundred years after the birth of Christ, there was no officially recognized celebration of the birth of Jesus nor was there any proclamation or dedication of such in the scriptures. The epiphany was generally celebrated on January 6th. While Historians place the actual date of Jesus’ birth at various times in the calendar year, most agree that he was likely born in 4 or 5 B.C..

However, December 25th is very close to the Winter Solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year, a point after which it would appear that the Sun was regaining its strength, an indication of the power of the Sun deity returning. This being an established solar holiday, the date already had become the ‘birthdate’ of several Gods: Attis, Frey, Thor, Dionysus, Osiris and others. The largest sun worshipping cult which recognized December 25th did so by celebrating the birthdate of Mithra. Mithra, whose birth, to a virgin, was witnessed by shepherds and magicians, who had also raised the dead, cast out demons and returned to the heavens at the Spring equinox after supping with twelve of his disciples. All of which rings a bell somehow.

In the 4th century, the Roman church decreed December 25th as the official birthdate of Jesus. This date actually coincided with the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, marking the days of Saturn’s rule when there were no masters or slaves. To celebrate this became a reversal holiday, when masters would serve their slaves and certain slaves were chosen to run a given household. They also exchanged presents, gambled and generally had a good time. For this and other reasons, certain churches refused to recognize this date for centuries. The Pilgrims, some 1600 tears later, actually outlawed Christmas. It can be argued that the Christian church appropriated an existing holiday from the most powerful empire, seated in Rome, a date coincidentally sacred to Christianity's largest competitor, Mithraism, and likely did so as a political convenience rather than as a divine observance.

There are many other Christmas traditions that have pre-Christian provenance, notably, the Yule Log, mistletoe, and even the tree of Christmas comes from early Germanic peoples who would hang sacrifices on a tree in worship to a one-eyed deity, Woden, a death god. So, at least we have lightened things up a bit.

Anyway, if any of this is interesting to you, much of this information comes from Pagan Claus.

Have yourself an excellent holiday.

Peace and love.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Corporate Ho, Ho, Ho

    Barbie, photographed at Walmart.
    Taken with Holga Camera, Closeup Filter

This was one among a number of Barbie heads, all of them prettily dismembered and pinkly packaged. I suppose the idea is for to train the young ornery girls that they need to conform to our societal norms or suffer the same fate as this unfortunate dissident. Everyone already knows the story of how a beautiful and carefree girl named Barbie Handler came to be captured, starved, neutered, entombed in plastic and accessorized to the point of post-perfection and whose tiny plastic avatars if stood from end to end, would reach into the heavens and still not quite know what to wear.

But not everyone knows that she was really something as a little girl. Little Barbara was born in 1958 to Ruth and Elliott Handler. As a child she had a love for life and animals and actually was one of the better behaved of all of her siblings. She had a natural beauty, tousled dirty blond hair*, a few freckles, a scar under her chin from riding her dark blue Sting Ray** over a bike ramp in the backwoods and even gap teeth from having all of her rather imperfect chicklets coming in at the same time. Barbie dressed to get around generally, jeans and t-chirts, hand me downs from her older sister, Skipper, nothing fancy really, but she always looked nice on Sundays or on any other high and holy holiday such as... Christmas. And at sixteen she had never even heard of Malibu! Oh, but such a sad state she is in now. Crippled with debt, maxed out credit cards, a worshipping public that clamors for her attention, paparazzi, clubbing. It all requires enormous stamina (pronounced trucker speed) and a constantly updated wardrobe (pronounced a great deal more money) but she does look great and that must count for something.

I guess while Christmas is on the brain, I will say that I am near ready for the new year. I love the sentiments and, though not particularly religious, I appreciate the ritual symbolism. I must say it is fun to see children at Christmas even when it is no longer possible to be children at Christmas. The material implications, on the other hand are fairly staggering but I will resist that particular rant because these ideas have already been ranted to the point where the anti-materialism rants have themselves become one of the traditions that they hope to deconstruct. But still, some of you might be interested in the following link: buyblue.org. Basically, these folks have created a guide you might use to help you figure out who is getting your money and where those people fall on the political spectrum. For instance, Walmart leads the conservative posse of corporate retail contributors to the Republican Party to the Merry Christmas driven tune of 200+ million dollars. Anyway, all for now as the UPS guy is here with packages! Woo hoo. Things!!

* ~ not peroxide blond
** ~ not pink

Monday, December 13, 2004

White Flight

    Taken with Holga Camera, Closeup Filter

Life is good. My third day of writing here. I actually made a fairly decent image of Sweets, the cat this weekend but I am too shy shy to post a cat photo just yet. Oh, but you should have seen it. So, here is Santa instead. My nine year old son told me the other day that he still believes 90% in Santa Claus. I asked him what the other 10% was about, to which he asked if I could fly around the world in one night. I slowly turned this around until I decided I could say yes and live with myself. "Yes," I said and then proceeded to descibe supersonic travel, jets & shuttles and how you might fly from London to New York and arrive before you left or sort of something like that. I try to confuse him when I am on intellectually unsteady ground. But not taking the bait, he then asked if I could stop at all the houses all over the world, deliver gifts and still make it in one night. At this point, well, I turned up the radio.

I have flown three times in my dreams.

Once I flew simply by floating from a place somewhere in my center. The setting was an apartment and when I went airborne, I was kind of levitating and not very artfully. I rose up into the corner and sort of couldn’t control myself like having just learned to ride a bike all wobbly and slightly out of control, arms doing nothing helpful, just kind of trying to fend off the ceiling. I was sort of flying up into the corner and bumping against the walls and this would disorient me, sending me floating back down momentarily until I got my senses back and I would then start to rise up again. The impetus was a force within my chest. This was extremely exciting, having a new found ability but yet any subtler control was thoroughly outside of my reach... All told, in dream time I flew for only a few minutes, but still, now ten years later I remember it clearly.

On another occasion, I flew by swimming really through the air. The air was thick, more like water than atmosphere. My body swam through the water like an eel, writhing smoothly up and down, serpentine. If you have ever seen aquaman cartoons from the seventies then you will know what I am talking about. This was a short dream, and the only action I remember apart from swimming was going from one room to the next, reaching the doorway and using my hands to send my self through. Very cool. I was a little better at getting around this time around. Also, I remember the apartment had a kind of brown shag 70's décor.

The last instance, I can remember, when I flew in my dreams, was the most Freudian in detail. I am sitting on a park bench in Washington Park in North Beach with my girlfriend. I don’t really know who she is but in my dream I know her to be my girlfriend by the way we are sitting, comfortable with each other. Then while we are sitting there, another woman – again a stranger to me but somehow I know I once had a thing going with her – comes up and starts an argument with my current girlfriend. I’ll call this second woman my ex… Anyway, my ex came up and after a few shitty remarks they actually came to blows, landed a few punches both ways... I yelled at my ex told her to back off and headed off with my girlfriend to see about getting her home, again a completely strange place but one I seemed to know… I took her somewhere but am walking by myself again sometime later… time sort of gets murky…

Then I find myself running through San Francisco. There is a black guy chasing me – I say he is black because he is in fact black; though I understand this is probably a revelatory unconscious insecurity that runs a bit counter to my politically correct self-deceptions. Setting aside my struggle to contend with racist ideas, both culturally and personally, I am being chased but I rather know my way around. Anyway, at a certain point after a few blocks of running hard I was pretty gassed but so was this other guy. Slowing down, I jump to clear a shrub or a rabbit fence or even a curb, I cannot remember precisely what it was but damn if I don’t get probably six feet in the air, my running leap becomes a huge arc. And so I take a few more running steps and I float maybe fifteen feet in the air. Incredible as this is, I am not in the clear because this guy is now sort of bounding after me, and this peculiar loft is not quite enough to get clear. I slow in my ascent until I reached the top of my trajectory and then gradually I float back down, basically I feel as if I have no real weight. On the third or fourth leap I actually flap my arms and it works beautifully. I don’t get anywhere exactly but it is enough to break loose and slowly my body works itself into a sort of slow moving flight. Still though, this guy is managing to teach himself how to fly as well and the chase is now a slow moving gigantic exertion of energy. This is killing me really but thrilling me. After we get several stories above North Beach, some kind of airship, straight out of Monty Python, a kind of wobbly prop tri-plane skeleton, making that echo bubble floating noise from the movies, circles by and I grab a hold only to find that noone is driving. While nothing is particularly shocking at this point, I am concerned about the guy that is still chasing me and is now starting to climb aboard as well. When he gets up finally, he is smiling and there is nothing between us anymore but a mutual disbelief at having flown and we are now chilling in this fine and funky airship. All is well again now and I begin to check out San Francisco from above. POV – a very cool kind of spiraling air balloon vantage, close enough to see the people but they are getting small. The last thing I remember is seeing my ex-girlfriend rolling her self along in a wheelchair fitted with a kind of a tv tray contraption on which she was resting her hugely bandaged nose. She didn’t see us, bumping along the sidewalk, swerving, jerking, the motor kind of throwing her against the back of the chair, she seemed pretty uncomfortable. While I guess I am taking some kind of immature pleasure that she seems to have gotten what was coming to her for being so surly earlier… she just keeps getting smaller, as we circle above the chocolate factory, or the cathedral or whatever the hell it is we are circling above. Fade to credits. A very cinematic dream that one.

Back to the future... My son may not completely believe in Santa Claus but he does still want to. As a parent, I have always broken out the clichéd and shopworn motivational phrases at various teaching opportunities... "It is frequently more economical to be inefficient... If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck... You can't get there from here, etc... but I digress. I was sort of at a loss on this one. I am somewhat surprised that Walker is still hanging in there in the face of his skeptical colleagues. There will be plenty of other times in his life when he will have to deal with skeptical colleagues, so I am going to have his back on this one.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Why not a Blog?

    Taken with Holga Camera, Closeup Filter

Sunday morning. Coffee. I think that this space will be dedicated to pushing myself along. My girlfriend has more or less disavowed any interest in this my latest distraction. To be honest I am not sure how to defend it. I have always been an unrequited writer but this doesn't seem to be about writing so much as it is about free associative writing. I have been checking out blogs for a couple of days and I have seen what seems to be a native style on many different sites:

"...den he looked up den gav us a smile...ooh...both of us de hearts melted instantly like cotton candy...omg...ahh....after gettin their autographs, we went to food court dere for a drink."

"...and they will say, dude, we found a weapon of mass destruction last month. fucking bomb full of sarin! beeyotch!"

"...Oh hi... Juz came back from church camp, SYC. Very fun la... Playing the games and all that... Talk cock in the room. I'll give this camp 2 thumbs up man! that place we stayed in was quite comfortable. Tonight's worship was cool. Left 1 day early cos tml go sch la! Shit la! How i wish i could stay a bit longer..."

I love the shorthand but it is too late for me to be a sixteen year old girl. Too old, too tired, wrong gender and my obsessions have evolved into tweedy ramblings that sound more like death with dignity than ...nO wOrriEz! iM haPpy tOo! LOLZ!

So, this indulgent squat here in the bytter woods of the not exactly actual will be about whatever the hell and photography. A reminder that I like to make images. When things get slow here then I will have to get out and shoot something. Lately I have been messing around with a Holga Camera and closeup lenses. Fairly imprecise as a way of making photos but...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Gord Is Dead

   Taken with Holga Camera, Closeup Filter

Here goes. My most recent attempt to leave an electronic footprint. It is funny, sitting at home, streaming NPR, drinking coffee, typing away, creating something that flirts with cognitive catalysis but, just as likely, will amount to a new way of doing nothing. In a sense - not to be confused with innocence - this will be a foology for them what's left behind. But soon to follow. Sorry to bring up our mutual mortality, but we both know that your time is nigh.

I don't mean to sound morose or macabre but the very act of blogging seems to be an admission of sorts. I have often kept journals but have been generally inconsistent. Rolling across the waters of self-expression and online journals, it seems many of us are trying to make a mark, make a point, make a difference, make someone uncomfortable, make a gland sandwich, make contact, find land. Luminous words, screened at our leisure, are sometimes more 'I love you' than flowers but are often less 'fuck off' than a door slamming. Not sure if we can forge a union between feelings and thoughts recorded, then broadcast, and that other actual existence we hope to lead with a small measure of grace. But the ripples do seem to exist and the shores of reality will be lapped by the gentle insistence of this electronic whatnot. Virtual strangers are something like actual ghosts. We can see them, hear them, wish they were more as they do seem friendly often enough. But this morning, I needed to jumpstart my car and where were you? I suspect you are not really there for me.

A little secret I'll share though, is that it seems like the rivers of history are backing up. For so many years gravity has pulled and the great flow run downhill from its source. And this source has always been cloaked by credibility, in the guise of higher sanction or, more often, simply by might. History, it has been said, is written by the victor. The rest of us - non-victors... losers?... - have always been entitled to have our own notions and beliefs but these personally clarified gems of autonomy have, for most of us, have traveled the distance that one might effectively throw a brick. A brick though, which may be concrete, indisputable and capable of crushing a skull, is still a poor defense against the elements. Ah, but a hail of bricks can be a powerful thing and it seems that this new conceit, the blog, has suspended the physics of critical thought. Them there words are floatin'! I'm gonna say me some shit!

Anyway, I suspect that the future, as it is steamrolling towards us, will have to go around the folks who have laid their histories with bricks. So, time will leave the larger monuments standing which would just be too much trouble to deconstruct. So, here I am working on the patio of my legacy. Even if I don't get any further than this, I'll be able to sit and have a drink and watch the dogs play.

Ghost that I am.