Secrets of Life (no. 53)

Holding on to anger is not really any different than grabbing a nail-studded potato.  It hurts, and ultimately doesn’t accomplish anything.

Unless, of course, you can use that anger against the person who has wronged you.  For instance, by hurling a nail-studded potato at them.

Repeatedly, if you like.

Sure, forgiveness is nice, and ultimately, you should probably aim for that (or at the least, learning whatever lessons can be learned and moving on).

Until you’re ready to move on, though, aim for the soft, squishy parts.   More chance the nail-studded potato will stick that way.

If SIDS had a soundtrack…

Look at that teddybear.  Is that really good for a small child?  It' Hungers!

There’s something about the idea of Radiohead aimed at sleeping children that jumps out at me as just plain wrong. And yet, you listen to the melodies of a song like Knives Out or No Surprises and it’s pretty apparent that changing the arrangement of a Radiohead song leads to good nighttime music.

It also, coincidentally, would make for the ultimate in a ’60s spy movie tribute. Paranoid Android? Perfect.

Surf around Baby Rock Records’ site and tell me if you’re not amazed (and amused) at some of the popular artists that they’ve reimagined for your little tyke. The Beatles? Not hard to imagine. Metallica? Fitting. Tool?

No, seriously. Tool. For babies.

By the way, I want the Radiohead version. Really badly.

Five years and running…

“Hi Kenn — Greetings from Sidewalk! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that MUCKFUPPET has been accepted to run at our 8th annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival (Sept. 22-24). Congrats!”

More to come…

Nails on a chalkboard? HA!

I dreamed Saturday night that CL’s dog had decided to make macaroni and cheese. Lacking opposable thumbs, he somehow convinced our three cats to aid him in the preparation.  He then brought the bowl of not-so-nutritious pasta goodness into the bedroom, propped right beneath my pillow and my sleeping head, and began stirring.

I awoke to hear Woody chewing on his tail.

This is all of great amusment to CL.  At least, it will be until I teach the animals to scrape the insides of their yogurt containers with their spoons. In her dreams, of course.

5:11 AM

In the mid 90’s, when I used to drink like a different person, I would relish Monday afternoons. Sundays were drunk karaoke nights, and Monday was sleep-off-the-regrettable-night-before day. I would wake up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, the last remnants of the hangover fading into memory, and I would spend the afternoon with a wonderful feeling — probably relative, a contrast to feeling like death had set up camp in my head and gut — of clarity, and maybe even a little peace.

One thing I’ve learned about depressive episodes is that they tend to follow a similar pattern: lots of pain that it’s easier to sleep through, followed by a time of calm and, when you’re lucky, understanding.

Over the past two days, I’ve dealt with both. Hangover on Saturday, followed by a brief time of clearheadedness; and a fairly intense depression last night. I’m writing this during the clearing following the latter.

You have to take advantage of these things when they come, anticipating them if you can but being ready to recognize them regardless. You don’t know when the clouds will finally dissipate (and if I knew the why, I could make a fortune).

The brain — the spirit, maybe, or the emotional segments — is nothing more than a small pet. It may be willful, and seemingly stronger than you think, but it can be trained to do what you want it to do. It’s not easy work, and it takes determination and stubborn perserverance, but it can be done.

Sometimes, though, it’s easier to just let the dog piss on the floor, and you realize that, for a little while, you don’t feel like cleaning up the mess, or even punishing the puppy. That’s what it can be like to wake up on the wrong side of the head, too; it’s easier to wallow in the misery, to feed the fire with images and memories that torture yourself.

Surviving happily and without stress requires a certain amount of arrogance, if only internally. I have to believe in myself, and sometimes that means putting me above others in my head. It’s not an issue of elevating myself by putting other people down, but rather knowing that where I am is where I should be, that all is as it should be. This may make sense to no one but me, but then, that’s all that matters, on the other hand.

I can’t change other people, and so my happiness is not based on other people’s actions or reactions. I can’t change the past, so I have to let go of things that, lessons learned, no longer matter. I can only affect the now and the tomorrow, and energy spent worrying worthlessly about anything else is wasted.

And the moment of clarity
Faded like charity does
I opened one eye
And I put out my hand just to touch your soft hair
To make sure in the darkness that you were still there
And I have to admit
I was just a little afraid, oh yeah
But then…
I had a little bit of luck
You were awake
I couldn’t take another moment alone.
Roger Waters, 5.11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)

As a postscript, none of us needs any of the rest of us. But it doesn’t mean that we should ever be unappreciative of what and who we do have. We may not need anything other than shelter, food, and water, but the other things in our lives make the journey from point a to point b much more pleasant, possibly even enjoyable.

I would have gotten up on my own, eventually, but it was a lot easier with CL’s help. Thanks, angel.

Something About Her

Actually, 10 things, because I’m in list mode today:

10. When she dances, she epitomizes fluidity and grace. For all that I’ve preached and practiced adapting a more elementally water-like life, she embodies it physically.

9. Her vocabulary is amazing. I knew that I would fall in love with her on the day that she used the word “atavistic” in a sentence, and didn’t blink.

8. She is guarded and private, but somehow she’s not distant or cold. It’s a dichotomy that I never would have imagined; it’s a trait that I never would have thought I would find attractive. But I do.

7. She is loyal and dedicated to both friends and family.

6. Watching her occasionally have her non-sequitur moments (when her blood sugar drops too low, she has the attnetion span of a hyperactive child on a sugar binge) is one of the most endearing things that I have ever done. I’m not sure why, but I think this is incredibly cute.

5. She has the body of an 18 year old, and of a dancer. Sorry — I’m still male, somewhere underneath all this romanticism.

4. Sleepy feet that keep accurate rhythm and tempo. I think only a musician could appreciate this.

3. She rarely gets offended by the over-the-boundaries things that pop out of my mouth sometimes. And when she does, it’s more cute than angry.

I think. At least, that’s what I choose to believe.

2. Her amazing nerditude. I never would have imagined that I would meet a woman who enjoys reading comics or watching sci-fi and horror. It’s nice to be able to enjoy these things with someone, to talk about Ellis and Gaiman and Bendis and Whedon, as opposed to having someone tolerate those things you probably should have let go with other childish things.

1. Watching her sleep is perhaps the most at peace I’ve ever felt. I can’t explain this, outside perhaps of my empathy kicking, but hearing her deep breaths and watching her eyes flicker behind closed lids in the half-light coming in through the window, feeling her skin against mine and smelling the scent of her hair — nothing else puts me in a place where everything is and always has been and will be right in the universe.

(Please, try to come up with something more original than a vomit reference in your comments)

(Better, save them for someone who isn’t happy with life)

Ms. Terry, Ms. Concepcion, Ms. Sellania

BREAKING NEWS: Be sure to check newsstands shortly for the latest issue of mental_floss magazine — I have a new piece in this issue (the annual 10 issue), “10 Recent Sightings of Einstein” (or something to that effect). It’s a collaboration between myself and Wade Kwon — amazingly, the first collaborative effort between us (that I can think of, at least) in over 25 years.

Also, for those wondering what the hell this post means: Pluto was downgraded from a planet yesterday. Pluto will now be in a new class of dwarf planets (or, to be PC, little planets).

George Bush: He’s not retarded.

Oh, my God. He really just admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? He’s not retarded; he’s just undoubtedly the worst president — well, of my lifetime. I don’t have much of a history background, so maybe there were worse. But I doubt it.
Lewis Black is brilliant. And Jessica Simpson — still not so hot. Maybe with a little sign of intelligence behind those eyes?

Alan Moore: “I don’t think I’ll ever personally break even on Lost Girls. But it remains one of the works I’m most proud of. It’s not about the money. It’s about the accomplishment. I’m a very smug show-off at heart. I’m altogether too pleased with myself. The big boost for me is to be able to turn out something that I think is pretty marvelous, like Lost Girls. I’m not in it for money, I’m just in it for the glory. Me and Melinda think that Lost Girls is pretty glorious.” More at the Onion AV Club

Showers for Algernon

Dropping soda from my life (five days and counting) has had some strange side effects that I hadn’t foreseen.

I wouldn’t really mind all this — it’s gonna do my teeth a world of good, and eventually I’ll adjust to the new diet (once i figure out what it’s supposed to be) and adapt to the distractability — except for the rubbery wings that I seem to be sprouting from between my shoulderblades, the metallic bristles of hair on my arms and chest, and my new incessant craving of garbage. That part’s got me a little concerned.

I did this, originally and still, to drop the acids from my diet (I’m having recurring dental problems, and I’m finally forcing myself to admit that either soda goes or my front teeth do). CL, being hypoglycemic and thus much more aware of dietary and nutrition issues than I (keep in mind that healthy for me involves eating at least one meal every couple of days. It’s all relative.), pointed out that all the fructose in sodas (etc.) is terrible sugar as well. I would have thought that sugar was sugar was sugar. Go figure.

Keep in mind that I’m not doing this to diet (I’m not in the best shape of my life, but far from overwieght), nor to purge my body of toxins (I’m still a big fan of Milo’s tea and coffee in the morning, both of which are filled to the brim with caffeine and sugar). It’s purely a vanity thing, me and my choppers.

So far, so good, in some ways. Sodas are portable, so I was drinking an average of four a day at work and then another three or so at night (yay, metabolism); now, I’m drinking next to nothing during the day. I’ll have sweet tea at lunch, for a little tiny bit of caffeine, and milk at night (does a body good, damn it!). So, consequently, I’m dehydrating a little bit. But no migraines that I’ve heard about when people cut too far back, too fast, on caffeine. And I’ll probably lose a few pounds, by default.

However, I don’t think I ever knew exactly how much of my energy was coming from the sodas I was drinking. Now that I’ve quit, I’m going to have to start eating regularly. No more skipping meals, much less days of eating (I don’t get hungry, still; I do, however, get mean as my blood sugar gets too low).

My ADD is back, full force. Again, I’m not sure that I knew how bad it was (or at least, I managed to forget since high school). Writing this much on one topic is a major exercise for me; getting through a movie is, so far, impossible. I keep likening it to Charlie getting smart and then very suddenly losing his newfound intelligence (rather than over a prolonged and painful period), but also knowing what it was like to be smart still.

Okay, it’s a terrible metaphor. But literary, so I get points from CL.

The best part of all this? I figure I’ll being really adapting and getting comfortable with all this right around Labor Day, which is the date I’ve chosen to quit smoking. So, on the one hand, I’ll hopefully be turning thirty-five in much better shape. On the other hand, you folks might have to bring me cake and presents in the psyche ward, and I understand they won’t allow colored hats or balloons because they cause too much excitement.

Bummer. At least I still have my crystal meth…

Diet no more, my love Hope’s contribution to the world of “run, little ones — escape this mad world while you still can!” wasn’t enough for you, then perhaps Kristi’s will be, as she forwards me a lovely link of 1974 Weight Watchers’ menu cards.

Frankly, the only thing about these recipes that works on a dietary level is that they are apt to induce vomiting.