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October 09, 2008

CP-N

Working on a personal philosophy, I’ve now outlined it. I know, I know, most of you are thinking, “great, here come a bunch of long winded sentences that never end because they’re all long winded en’ shit.” But really. I’ll keep it as short as possible.

 

Comedic Pseudo-Nihilism (in ten easy steps)

 

1. Nihilism’s view is that existence is void of intrinsic value, meaning or purpose.

 

2. However, “the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.” Nietzsche, The Will to Power, sec. 585.

 

3. So claiming that the world is without meaning is a meaningful statement with a purpose to describe this world as without purpose. Nihilists are right about everything except themselves.

 

4. This is funny.

 

6. Anything that is funny, or comedic, is that which forces a smile or laughter from an observer/listener (or any other sense used, some smells are funny, feathers in the armpit, etc.).

 

7. Nihilism can be applied to everything except itself, and in applying itself to itself a comedic experience emerges that negates itself, and so therefore the only thing worth anything is comedy.

 

8. If the only endeavor of value is that of comedy, then comedy at the expense of others is of the least amount of value.

 

9. The more people that find an event comedic imparts more value to existence than does an event that less people find funny.

 

10. Therefore, the best comedy is that which makes everyone laugh, which creates meaning in everyone’s lives.

 

Make people laugh, nothing else matters, life is a joke, all is in vane, struggling against the infinite nothing with finite strength, finite time, finite self, no chance to win, success a myth, and layered within the epic existential depression of it all…belly button lint, nose hair, laughing so hard a half eaten French fry is regurgitated and projected into your soda only to float, bobbing up and down in front of the waitress, like a mocking parody of your own inability to control your body.

 

 

 

August 23, 2008

Bill ...

One of the worst, most painful and torturous experiences that you can have is to know that a loved one is in pain but you can’t do anything about it. The realization of impotence, that there could be some key which unlocks joy from the prison of suffering and knowing that you do not have that key, is misery incarnate, futility manifest.

 

Bill Rogokos took his life. Corey called yesterday to tell me and I could hear his pain, I could feel it, because his suffering, his wish that he could have done something to stop Bill’s final choice, became my suffering at hearing the pain in Corey’s voice and unable to do anything save to listen five hundred miles away. This pain multiplies, expands, with the realization that so many of the people I know and love are suffering at loosing Bill; his sister Michelle, Corey, Jared, Paul, Erica, Nolan, Josh, we all grew up in the same neighborhood. I understand the desire to kill ones’ self, to end the suffering of life, but in doing so it creates so much more suffering that the balance is not reset; one weight is lifted but many more are added in the process, weights that can never be removed.

 

I remember in high school, sitting in Corey and Jared’s house reading the entirety of the Steven King’s Langoliers to Bill and the others. How many other fifteen or sixteen year olds would sit there listening to one of their piers read them a story for six hours? How many houses did we toilet paper together? We were never the closest of friends, but we were friends. I respected him. As time and distance separated us and news of him reached me second hand, it was always good news, news that he was a good man. My condolences to his family. To Bill! I raise my glass to him and to all who miss him.

August 05, 2008

Updates from the Fringe

Well, purchasing our first house, getting laid off, starting a new old job, starting the hoop-jumping to get a teaching credential, and a new puppy is the short list of why the blog’s been so silent.

 

The house is going great, despite the dogs keeping the place a mess with the fluffy innards of their stuffed animal toys, and the puppy’s digested meals scattered about. We still need to get the bathrooms fixed as they have slight water damage, just not slight enough to fix cheaply. The peach tree is almost ready have its fruits consumed, but the nectarine and apple trees still need more time.

 

I’m back working for the NASA E/PO group at Sonoma State University. In addition to taking over the secretarial job for the maternity-bound secretary, I’m also engaged in some observing with GORT, writing updates for the Gamma-Ray Burst Real-time Sky Map, and helping write episodes for Epo’s Chronicles.

 

I’m awaiting the test results for the first of three CSET tests in the journey which is getting a Single Subject Teaching Credential. The goal is to start working as a science teacher for high school sometime within the next year or so. However, coming back and working at with the NASA group has been a lot of fun and it would be tempting to continue to work there and help extend the science outreach to schools in the area.

 

New puppy, a long-haired German shepherd named Enkidu. Cthulhu and Enkidu have been getting along splendidly, however there are moments of dominance which can be scary to hear but no one has gotten anything but their egos hurt as of yet (and we’d like to keep it that way).

 

I’ve been play testing 4th edition D&D with my regular game group and I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoy the new combat rules. I am still displeased with it being so combat focused, as it just means either waiting for “fluff” books to come out or devising our own house rules, neither of which makes me happy.

 

Blogs that I’m reading of late:

 

Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog which is now under the wing of Discover Magazine’s website, a totally cool event with a hats of to Phil. Dr. Plait is also set to publish his new book later this year, called Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End… which looks very cool and includes death by direct gamma-ray burst. The gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the things we’re helping track at the NASA E/PO group.

 

P. Z. Myers blog, Pharyngula is an evolution and biology blog that also combats creationism and Intelligent Design as viable “scientific” pursuits. It’s an interesting read for the controversy alone, but the science is great as well (I mean come’on, who doesn’t welcome the cephalopod overlords!).

April 23, 2008

Move

Once again we have moved. This time into our own place which is kind of like moving into someone else’s place sans the landlord aspect, which in and of itself is strange because it has been just over a week in the new place and I keep expecting someone to call to tell me do check something or deposit rent or just show up to do some yard work without bothering to give any notice.

 

This marks the eighth move in six years, roughly a move every nine months. Hopefully this will be the last move for a very long time. I’m very tired of it. I expect to be a burnt out husk of a man in less than a year with the option to rebuild.

 

Well, off to unpack or organize or just fall asleep, which ever I happen to stumble into first…

December 06, 2007

Apples, rotten kids get offofmylawn!

This isn’t to be an all out hate-rant against Apple. I’m ambivalent on the whole Mac vs. PC vs. Linux debate. But then again, I’m not playing around in the code all day, but even if I was I don’t think I’d embrace the inner three year old high-pitched screech tactic of “mine is better!” crowd if I did.

 

No, this is a general business complaint, one that is not just shot at Apple, they just happen to be the first store of the season in which I encountered the issue.

 

The issue? So I went to buy my wife a bluetooth ear piece to replace the one that Cthulhu deemed unworthy for this world. Before I even got in line a nice woman offered to help by getting the hand-held credit card reader, I handed her my credit card and driver’s license. She swiped the one card while glancing at the other. I was getting almost giddy at how fast the process was moving. She looked back at the ID. I smiled. Then she asked me, “what’s your email?” I felt like I was in one of those idiotic Visa commercials where the perfectly moving dance of commerce is halted by someone paying with (dear gods, no!) cash. First response was, “fuck you.” But, of course, I’m to slow to just blurt things out like that and so the second response got through, “why?” She smiles and says, “so we can send you the receipt.” Well, like I pointed out, I’m a bit slow, but not too slow, so instead of saying “no,” I said “okay,” and gave her an old email address that I never check and is filled with spam. She types in the email and then asks me, “zip code?” I’m used to this question from Best Buy, but fuck if it doesn’t piss me off every time. So I give it to her. Then she asks me, “do you want just the email copy of your receipt or do you want a hard copy as well.” I squint at her, realizing now that they didn’t need my email at all for the receipt (like I said, I’m a bit slow).

 

So, with hard copy receipt in hand, I walk out of the Apple store pissed off to no end, feeling taken advantage of, and I realize that I’m the old man who takes things to seriously now, who gets upset by having my privacy intruded upon by corporate entities. Who, ironically and even hypocritically, lives part of his life on Myspace, this blog, website, Secondlife, and World of Warcraft (what with it’s data-mining program Warden and all).

 

In the end though, the difference is, if I just want to buy a product in a store, I should be able to drop the card, cash or check, no questions asked. As a consumer, it is my right to demand appropriate service from the people that I am purchasing products from. And though I understand that it is interesting to see that the people from West County generally spend X compared to the people from the east part of the county who spend Y so that you can better your service in general…really, I reserve the right to not give you my money if you ask for more information that I deem necessary.

 

So now I just have to figure out something from the Apple store that I would want and then go in to see if they’ll sell it to me without my information. Though, of course, it would be respectful if I tested this when there isn’t a holiday line standing behind me waiting on the old man to finish his rant against modern society.

 

April 04, 2007

Neurosis

I don’t know, maybe I was ten. I was enrolled in a computer class, coding in BASIC, which was at the far north east end of town just outside where all the tract houses had sprung up. It was nearing the end of summer and the end of the classes; I seem to remember that it was cold and overcast that day in Rawlins, Wyoming. The school, an elementary school I think, was deserted. We were several minutes late. The other students, of which there may have been five, were probably all inside sitting at the computers. My mom dropped me off and I started to walk towards the building. My mother drove away. That’s when it hit me, the first time that I can remember something like this happening, where a fear crept up on me and I couldn’t go in. It was a fear of being late and having the attention of others on me. So I turned around, walked down the street away from the school and sat behind an earth mound for the hour and a half of the class. I cried when my mother picked me up and found out that I didn’t go. Boiled down, I think it was a fear of people, people that I didn’t know very well, looking at me with negative thoughts. An Agoraphobia limited to situations where I perceive (imagine) that others will look down on me.

 

I joined a gym tonight. First time working out in over six months. It was when I walked into the main foyer, with the ten or twenty men sitting at tables out side the racket ball courts, that it first began to stir. When I entered the men’s room and saw two or three old naked men standing around I knew it was going to hit me. I found my locker, spent minutes trying to open it, finally succeeded, changed into my gym clothes, locked the locker and went back outside. I was starting to work up a sweat and I hadn’t touched the weights. I looked down the hall, searching for my wife, and found her standing talking to two other women. It took me at least five seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Then I moved towards them then stood waiting quietly until they finished talking. I then followed my wife upstairs to the weight room. She tried to ask me if I wanted help, but I couldn’t really hear her; I just wanted her to stop talking to me, stop drawing attention to me, anything to take the attention away. Somehow I communicated that I would be fine and that she should go get on a treadmill. I walked slowly through the rows of machines and made my way to a bench by the free weights. There weren’t that many people around, two actually. I grabbed a very light dumbbell and sat down on the bench. I did six reps of eight, only I think I only really finished four before my left arm was needing my right’s help. Then I sat there. I wasn’t sure what to do, where to go next. I sat there until a person left and two more drew near. The only place I could look was the floor otherwise I’d risk making eye contact. Finally I stood up. I walked slowly through the rows of the machines trying to focus on the words written on them that explained what muscle group they worked. Then I started walking towards the stairs. I glanced at my wife, made eye contact and smiled. Then I went down the stairs, overly slow, trying not to run. I went back into the men’s room, more naked old men, got to my locker, dressed, packed my bag, walked out, entered the foyer, made it to the front desk and realized that I had left the key in the locker. I turned around, quickly made my way back to the locker, grabbed the key, locked the locker, walked back to the foyer, handed the woman my key, grabbed my temporary membership card and walked out.

 

I cried the whole drive home, tears streaming down my face, with this terrible fear, this horrendous realization that I haven’t grown up, that I’m still this ten year old boy frightened by the humanity around him. Frightened of being an idiot, weak, unknowing and unsure. The rational part of me tries to say that it was good, needed to start working out somewhere. And now that I’m in my garage, Thelonious Monk playing away while I smoke my pipe, the rational part of me is free to express itself.

January 06, 2007

My Eden is your Hell: A ramble of d20 delights

Friday night. My wife, dressed up, comes into the garage/office and says, “I want to go out, nothing major, but I feel like being out of the house.” I sit back from staring at the slow rendering in Bryce of a topographic fantasy map I had been working on and look at her. Pull down menus of possible replies display on my retina, most of them very inappropriate to say to ones wife. “Okay,” is the reply that I finally choose. A few minutes later, my daughter is dressed as well as her mother and we’re on our way. From the neck up I feel like I fit in with the fashionable women in the car. From the waist down I’ve created the illusion that ripped jeans are back in style and I’m leading the pack with my creaky leather hiking boots.

 

We drive into the city, Santa Rosa with over 150,000 humans living within its bounds deserves to be called a city, and hit our favorite hole in the wall restaurant. After a fine meal of grilled fish chimichangas we head out side. The women are discussing whether to hit Barns & Nobles first or the mall, when I say, “lets go to the game store first. I have the gift certificate from the unholy holiday to spend.”

 

Three blocks later, and with much complaining about the cold, we reach the game store. From outside, I’m the first to peer through the windows at the glorious sight. Over forty, mostly teenage, men are gathered around tables playing various sorts of games, from Magic the Gathering to D&D. I grin widely and said, “Oh! Get ready for this!” I pull the door open and step inside, inhaling deeply the odorous cacophony of all forty-plus, non-deodorant wearing, boys. Sugar coated sweat from the games’ excitements hangs in the air like a brick wall.

 

The girls cringe, but follow me in. I smile wider and make my way past the rows of gamers to the back where the game books are. After a minute I turn to see the girls whispering. “He’s in one of my classes,” my daughter says. “The one over there?” my wife asks. “He’s the one that plays D&D?” I ask my daughter to which she replies, “yeah, and I’m one of the only ones that is nice to him.” I nod, and consider telling her, “but don’t lead him on if you’re not interested in him, don’t be too nice, it will crush him.” But I decided to keep my own experiences and insecurities to myself, plus what daughter wants to be lectured about boys in the middle of an overflowing game store on a Friday night? “What will you say to him if he asks you in school about why were you here, if he asks if you play D&D what will you tell him?” my wife asks. “Yeah,” my daughter replies. The grin only gets wider.

 

“Can I help you?” the manager says. I look at him and ask, “you’re all out of the Colossal Red Dragons aren’t you?”

 

“No,” he says, “we have one left.”

 

I’m able to resist all but five minutes, when finally I lean over a few of the gamers and gently take down the last box containing the colossal red dragon. I only make it five steps towards the counter before I have three of the gamers standing around me, “he’s taking the last red dragon!” “Our last one is going?!” The next thing I know I’m handing my gift certificate and credit card over to the manager while being pulled into a conversation that I don’t even know how it started. “Don’t feed it chocolate, they’re allergic to chocolate!” one of the boys instructs me. “They’re not allergic to chocolate,” the manager replies. “It might be allergic to dragons,” the boy replies and then corrects himself, “no, it wouldn’t be allergic to itself.” Then, without power, I’m pulled back fifteen years and reply, “well, maybe…Vulnerability to Self, take 1 ½ times damage from self.” No! I didn’t just say that. Quickly I sign the paper, grab the receipt and I’m about to run, but the manager says, “we don’t have a bag big enough for the box, but we do have a trash bag.” Good, I’m thinking, a nice black Hefty bag to hide the dragon while I’m walking in the mall. I say, “that’s fine,” and to my horror he pulls out a cheap, very clear, trash bag and puts the dragon inside. The boys are talking; I can’t hear what they’re saying. I grab the bag and one boy says, “treat him well.” “I will,” I reply, “he will kill many adventurers,” and I’m out the door.

 

Around the corner, across the street, and we’re in the mall: My wife, daughter, me and the red dragon. So large is the box I have to walk behind the girls so it doesn’t bang into their legs. Ten minutes of standing in Victoria’s Secret with a red dragon hanging at my side, and I’m actually starting to feel comfortable there. If I didn’t have two attractive women talking to me about pink and blue sweat pants the stares from the other patrons alone would have killed me.

 

I reflection, I realize that I exist in a world that few of you know, and most of you that do know it have left it far behind, ten or fifteen years behind. While I shower and wear deodorant every day (okay, sometimes a Saturday goes by with a natural stench in the air), have a job, and amazingly not in school anymore, I’m still a gamer, with all the gamer abilities and enchantments, including Immunity to Gamer Stench.

November 05, 2006

A Ramble

Surviving on a bowl of cereal, chocolate and coffee for the past two days, maybe three, and one tends to become numb to the undulating anti-quintessence rumbling at the back of ones head. The past has been a mangled period of half-assed attempts to start things, finish things, and find things. Like my zippo. I lost it today, maybe yesterday. I will probably find it once the heaps of clothing are organized, washed, and twisted into hangers and into drawers. There is an intensity in the surroundings, the unpacked boxes, a life in boxes, stacked and scattered around my domain. But let’s talk politics: SNAFU. Hunkering down, awaiting the bird flu, I’m talking to the spiders in the garage and we don’t like each other. Psychically, they’re nibbling on my neck. I scratch and slap, but there’s nothing there. Ah, the power of the mind in the dark. Open boxes, stream of consciousness flows like an invalid waterfall, and I quickly realize that I don’t know where these things should go. The bicycles are in the way and I’m not allowed to melt them down to their base elements. Fizzygoo is as Fizzygoo does, and I’m far to viscous to coalesce. Of course, that’s what spreading your mental faculties to thin will do. Too much math and science to delve into my art, too much history to concentrate on the science, too much gaming to hack through the math, too much work to take a bath, too much English to decide on to or too, too little focus to do anything well. Night life: Tap Dancing on the Keyboard, Waltzing with the Mouse, musing over the yellow, morning for the red, I haven’t spilled enough ink to justify going to bed. Spent the night with Snoopy and his host of lovers, Champaign toasts to his maker, chocolate rosebuds dripping down the esophagus. Open season on the thoughts and I forgot the mortar and the shells.

July 08, 2006

OMG WTF! F? F!

On the 8th of July I came home to a For Sale sign on my front yard. Well, not my front yard, but the front yard of the duplex in which I and my family live, so at least it is my front yard from certain perspectives. It would seem that the owners have decided to sell, but, due to the type of housing, the next-to-be owners are not allowed to live in it themselves and must continue to rent it out, at a fixed rent, until December of 2008. They are not bound to keep the current tenants though. It also turns out that the place has been on the market for a week. The sign in the yard was my only clue.

 

So here we are, less than six months after moving in and we discover that we may, or may not, have to move within the next year and a half, or within 30 days from some undetermined point as set by the new owners, whenever they happened to become the new owners.

 

This will be the 7th move since 2002. Stating how much I move has become not the motif, but the theme of my life now.

 

This news comes two weeks after severing tendons and acquiring a $25,000 hospital-doctor-surgery bill and about a week before finding out whether I can get Medi-Cal coverage for it. I just hope it heals before we have to start packing.

 

So for those of you who don’t believe that life is full of sad comedy, I simply point to the above four paragraphs.

 

In order to bring some balance, I will point out the good news. I’m married, and no, nothing really has changed, there’s nothing really to change when you’ve been living in sin for seven or eight years already.

 

I graduated. Okay, well, other than the letter that arrived in the mail today saying that I didn’t meet a requirement which is due to someone not turning in the appropriate documents stating that I did do the work, I have graduated. It’s a mistake, papers didn’t get to where they needed to go, so I should have a degree in the mail soon, and in my eyes I graduated (not that that really counts for anything save helping to get a night’s sleep).

 

I have a job. Full time and respectable employment working for a NASA Education and Public Outreach group at the very school that birthed me, or at least is trying to birth me, I’ve crowned at the very least. Anyway, the pay is three times anything I’ve ever made, and in light of the current situations, I’m sure I’m going to be ending up wishing I had tried to find something that paid ten to twenty times more than that.

 

Until next time…

 

Fizzygoo

May 09, 2006

To a friend

The phoenix does not just burst from its egg, enflamed and ready to take on the world.  There is the time inside the womb that so many seem to forget, retelling the tale with only “before it dies, the phoenix lays an egg in its funeral pyre from which it emerges moments later in the consuming blaze to live another thousand years.”  What the old legends fail to mention, the hidden mystery, is that the moment between death of the old, and the birth of the new is a darkened aeon filled with the tortures of purification that takes a thousand years-out-of-time to complete.  No liminal moment is without its share of sufferings, otherwise one cannot pass the threshold.

 

A friend of mine took her life last week.  I hadn’t seen her in over four years.  She was beautiful and regal, her presence and words conjured smiles.  I wish I could have talked with her more, I wish she hadn’t taken the consummate step that she did.  But these are my selfish desires.  Perhaps this life had been her torturous aeon-out-of-time, unbearable and unjust?  Perhaps not?  I can only hope that she is at peace.  She is, and forever will be, well loved.  I raise my glass and my heart to her, sweet Irina.  We know not all the lives we affect until it is too late.

April 23, 2006

Roasted Boars

The Roast is over. Marc is thirty. It was a beautiful affair, all were humiliated, all of us were exposed using the worst of lighting conditions. It’s awe-inspiring how by getting together, ten plus one, out of love for the one, and revealing the worst of ourselves we showed our best. The wounds will take thirty years to heal, the scars vibrant and pink until death. The audience will forever be traumatized.

 

I will spare you the self deprecating comments of the failures of my speech, especially compared to the eloquence and magnificence of those who surrounded me that night.

 

It ended too quickly, like youth.

 

If I get a copy of the two hour event, pirate copies will hopefully be had here.

April 19, 2006

Virtual? Worlds

I’ve been eating and drinking “virtual worlds” lately. Not sleeping, mind you, that’s where I’ve found time to write this bit of floss. At work, I’m working on an article about educational computer-game design. This has led me to read article after article on games, from board games to role-playing games to computer games to MMORPGs. I’ve just seen the latest two fantasy movies. I’m working, in what spare time I have, on creating my own fantasy world (I have been for years). I play Dungeons & Dragons with “pen & paper” and World of Warcraft with an internet connection. Occasionally I even dabble in Second Life. The better part of my reality is focused on the unreal, I’m existing in a shared non-existence.

 

Virtual is no longer virtual. It was virtual, when it was a base concept being passed from one mind to the next to be mulled over in the possibilities of what could come to be, yet now the virtual is real, existing, affecting as much as it is effected upon by the mind. So, either virtual needs to be redefined in the light of what is, or we need to move away from calling them virtual worlds, they are now simply worlds where we exist, play, fight, flirt, and experience. Transcendence is a luxury of the dead; the virtual is laid to rest.