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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Muddle Class

Do I believe the middle class is disappearing? Absolutely. Probably already gone on paper but we're all still living some form of false reality because we're not really feeling it deep in our stomachs. I think things will "change" when we get hungry, dirty, and tired enough. Currently the middle class must support itself at least, in part, on credit to continue the lifestyle to which it is accustomed, which is exactly the behavior that will ultimately cause its demise. Like a snake eating its own tail; which has also been lightly dipped in a half decaf mocha double-latte with organic rice milk and a dash of hipster attitude, and oh yes, put that on credit not debit.

I keep picturing some medieval future where we're all filthy and snatching at stale bread with our soiled hands. Part of the problem: the distractions - endless red tape makes it nearly impossible to uncover truth; drugs are prescribed to make us believe we're happy when actually, we're just dumbed-down and numb. The quest for material possessions, like so many carrots dangled in front of our noses, keep us bound by greed and to some delusion that is creepily referred to as the American Dream. Sprinkle just enough panic and fear to keep paranoia in bloom and make sure the PR machine is pumping out more reasons to hide (we've all been programmed with the idea of the model American; the rugged individualist loner) to keep us from getting together as a community and really discussing what we need to do to create a viable shift in our current reality.

If anyone should doubt that we're being raped and pillaged, I just suggest they reexamine what happened when the banks "failed." Huge bailouts and lo and behold, years later, record bonuses. The lack of funding in education has really done the trick; most are too stupid to realize what's happening to them. I've got to hand it to organized religion, too; what a fabulous marketing plan! Join us, turn over your souls, minds, hearts, bodies and money and we'll keep you from going to Hell™, which, oddly enough, has a lot of the same qualities of this very Earthbound plain.

I found it interesting that the uprising in Egypt actually began on Facebook, so yes, perhaps the change will come because now we can all on some level know each other. I think the internet is doing the thing that all the hippies used to sing about Coke Cola doing - remember the old commercial? The internet just might be making the world One. We can now drop into another's universe across the planet and observe that essentially we all have more in common than not. And once we no longer fear one another, perhaps we'll stop turning over our personal power in exchange for big government bodyguards. I sometimes wonder if the whole governmental (extra helping of "mental") system isn't just some giant mafia-like criminal syndicate. Are our taxes really just protection money?

My lofty hope is that one day we all realize we don't need to fight one another to get what we need to live long, prosperous and humble lives. Then again, bloody uprisings can also be effective. My great-great-great-great etc. aunt, Marie Antoinette, learned that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Our captors grow more complacent daily. We rebuke their callous obductions of our finely-crafted wonders of nature, our potential progeny or rather, the convenient delicacy our wardens refer to as "eggs." With each thoughtless toss of pathetic greens through the entry to our dismal confines, to the relentless and silly attempts to speak our language - the supremely offensive "Bock-Bock-Bock," which in our native tongue loosely translates to, "May several generations of one-thousand lice infect your cloaca!"

We grow each day more vehemently opposed to our imprisonment and therefore cry-out our only possibility for freedom - REVOLUTION!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"How Could You Know?" A Response to a Friend Who Apologized after Suggesting I Turn to Prostitution as a Solution to My Financial Woes

Thank you so much for your apology. I, of course, accept your apology and I know that your comments were a bit tongue-in-cheek and not intended to cause offense; so I am not sure if an apology is necessary or if apology is really the requisite word. However, I was saddened ultimately by our conversation that day, as you now know, so it is appreciated that you have extended yourself here and have been so sweet about it, too. I admire your poise and I believe it is constructive to have the conversation.

Part of this was beyond your control: I am feeling really vulnerable these days - it has been a tough two and one-half years here - and your quips hit square in the middle of a tender button for me but you couldn't know that. I would have told you straightaway that your words confused me but, well, I was confused and not able to articulate my feelings in the moment; my failing.

What I would like you to know is that I am wired a bit differently than you might expect. I am not all that interested in everyone else's exterior and in particular, not fascinated with my own, although I do try to take care of myself as I would any vehicle with increasing mileage. I am an admirer, too, of the male form, so I can understand the spirit in which you expressed some of my potential options for financial gain, which can be summed-up quickly: blow jobs for bucks on the beach.

A little about me: I was a complete nerd in school; a straight-A student, I won several scholarships, excelled in trigonometry, creative writing, advanced biology, art and other interests. I once suffered from a most devastating ugly complex and I suppose I should be relieved that this often comes as a surprise. I also received some inappropriate attention as a child but much of this has lost its charge. I only mention these things not to inflate myself nor illicit pity but merely to illuminate some components of who I am a bit more for you.

I have always been fascinated, surprised and occasionally offended (or all three, at once) when I feel I am being objectified because I don't really have the soul or mind of a plaything, regardless of how someone might perceive my appearance. The experience for me often results in a somewhat deflated feeling and the wistfully dark thought, "Is that all that he/she/they think(s) I have to offer?" That said - more power to the playthings out there, if being objects of desire is a happy experience.

It can be daunting for anyone to have the goodies inside overlooked because so few will look past the wrapping, a covering which is ephemeral in nature, at best. Difficult in particular for me, given the fact that I don't tend to agree that I am "all that." I am happy with how I look but I would rather develop my heart, mind, soul and my connections to those things in others than swim in the shallow end of the pool. I just don't find the physical as interesting - it can be an extra gift, that's all. And yes, it is powerfully fun to feel attractive but that feeling in me is usually generated from within.

Would it sound too tragic and spoiled to say that I suffer from 'flirt fatigue'? One could argue that I am a lucky man to have these problems and I would agree, in general. But what can I say? My mind is often somewhere else and I am completely clumsy when it comes to handling the attention and generally humbled by it: it does not appear that is going to change.

Anyway, I am just offering a glimpse of why your suggestions, although apparently in jest, hit a nerve. Put simply, it was the old "I'm being looked at but not really seen" feeling again - a sensation I thought I had left behind a long time ago. Again, so much of this is not your responsibility - how could you know?

Like any misunderstanding between friends, navigating this one will only serve to deepen our connection, so in the end, I am glad we got to know each other a little better in the process.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sample Bio

Church of the Awkward Silence!

Take a crack at a witty start leading into a subtle, flirtatious hook. Insert a perfectly timed pause - then - surprise with an obtuse reference: Duck Soup!

Invite inquiries; make lack of desperation clear. Sanely communicate an appropriate level of curiosity while being respectful. Interject light personal information and continue with an overall tone of accessibility; pepper with a thoughtful dash of bad-boy aloofness. Throw in a nerdy enticement.

Display appropriate ethics - don't get too heavy. Reveal a big heart with attractive vulnerability free of victimhood. Imbue healthy self-love in discourse by eliminating egotism; eschew any pretension. Keep it humble; let others praise you, if inclined, but let it bounce off in the same manner as criticism.

Reread the previous sentence - roll eyes, groan, select and delete. Leave blank lines in text to visually suggest something has been deleted. Revel in a moment of self-celebration followed by self-doubt. Start over.

Follow-up attempts at profundity with biting sarcasm to keep it real. Chew nervously on pen. Become aware of chewing on pen noting potential for damage to teeth. Spit out pen with decisiveness.

Perhaps discuss liberal political views but don't get too extreme. Proceed with something pithy utilizing intermediate grammar without appearing pompous. Be excessive but in control. Stay cool without sounding as if you're trying to stay cool.

Continue with a short dissertation designed to set oneself apart from the herd. Compliment others while keeping attention and interest focused on unnamed possibilities. Be cryptic enough to create an aura of mystery while offering tidbits of specificity to showcase the unique. Describe fringe interests with an unapologetic air. To keep self amused, undercut it all with an annoying soundtrack, when available.

Resist urge to explain photos to maintain detachment. Include one or two catchy self-deprecating comments but make high self-esteem apparent. Seek to compose copy that may entertain partner, should he or she discover your online persona.

Summarize basic turn-ons but don't pigeonhole. Make boundaries clear without being too rigid. Edit any obvious innuendo or self-conscious adjectives. Suddenly state something disarming then restore balance quickly with a well-grounded finish.

Don't overstay welcome. Thank readers for their time. Sign off sweetly with a marginally confusing profile handle.

Lord Hopton

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What It Is

There are things we know for certain (fairly) now: atoms, photons, protons, and neutrons – we know the place is crawling with them. We can’t take a step without striding on some part of the universe, spinning atmospheric molecules around us like dust clouds in a ray of sunlight, leaving in our wake a torrent of disturbed matter. These tiny bits are constantly attracting, repelling, combining and bouncing off of each other, crammed forever shoulder-to-shoulder, in an unending chain to the ends of the cosmos and perhaps beyond.

We know this because scientists have spent an unimaginable amount of time and money in laboratories throughout the human story evolving machines so we could see with our own eyes the elements that…well…make up our own eyes - lets hear it for cosmic irony. We call all of this work and the resultant machines technology, using them to prove to ourselves that we exist. All we’ve done is validated what we can already see, hear, smell, touch and feel, like a wheel rolling to prove it’s round. Technology is how humans achieve greatness, and we, in turn, are an example of the greatness of technology – albeit a deeper technology.

Even more amazing is that science has traveled past the atoms and their particles – and we’ve discovered something fantastic; it’s all just energy and further, it’s just light. Strip away the illusion of our solidity and all everything is a cluster of tiny, virtually imperceptible flickers of light, joined together in a particular order in a certain location, coming to a universe near you, soon. So what’s a walking, talking, luminous body of light supposed to do next?

Funny thing is, we all believe in our so-called advanced, cell-phone-plastered-to-our-ears existence that, not only are we among the great evolved who figured it out, but that the discovery of these tiny, basic elements seems to herald the death of magic, when all things have been explained and nothing is left to the mystery. The strictness of science dictates that it’s all just stuff – random, uncontrollable, and unconscious – and there’s nothing we can do about it - so just go buy yourself some more stuff and be happy. Now ironically, tapping in and returning to what is actually basic, practical and fundamental in the universe seems like going out on a limb; it’s all dark caves, incense, chanting, snake-oil or magic elixirs. But the truth is, the myths were created as the human race at large forgot the fundamental and sensible elements of which we, and all things are made, inventing the mystical to explain it all.

The basic information from the universe is far more practical and not so esoteric. Physicists have observed that energy reacts to energy, attracting or repelling, combining or disengaging, and that this has been going on for a very long time. The ancients knew that everything was made of this stuff, energy, because they identified and experienced themselves as being part of nature – the sun, the stars, the world - all sources of light and energy - and the indigenous techniques and wisdom were based in that experience.

Just as modern scientists, our indigenous ancestors explored a greater awareness of themselves, examining each deeper level through contemplative and practical traditions, achieving an awareness of themselves and the universal light energy of which all is made. As defined in the language of the Tungus Tribe of Siberia, “Shaman” is “one who brings light into the darkness.” The Shamans consciously perceived themselves as light and achieved what can be called “luminous awareness” – the awareness of one’s own luminosity or the knowledge that one is simply light energy. As Carl Jung said, “the light in the darkness of mere being…"

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Clane is Cool

So I just finished a book friend Marcy loaned me - "The Hypocrisy of Disco." I'm sure lots of folks have already read it but I'm perpetually late to every party, so let me have my moment of out-of-the-loop joy.

Pretty fuckin' amazing work. Mirrored a lot of the difficulty and starvation in my childhood. My parents were way better but the moving around, California to Nevada, living in the spaces in between - feeling insignificant and stupid and small and ugly - I'm there. Great, direct, simple writing style. There's a part in her book where she's stealing sips of liquor during a New Year's Party, Las Vegas, 1980. My God, I was doing the same thing, somewhere else in Nevada the very same night. Well, it's ironic to me, anyway.

Reading Clane's story makes me want to write my stuff more and/or hang out with her. But what really made me write this tonight is her website. Click on the title above to see.

"BA in Something Useless." Love that. "1992 - 2005 Annoying Hipster Mission District." Love that more.

I dunno. Something about the simple style of her website, the way she presented her bio, her "clog" with the notebook paper behind it. It's humble and cool. Healthy self-deprecation mixed with healthy self-love is utterly gorgeous to me, always.

Maybe I need something better than this blogspot I currently (in)operate - no offense to the blogspot Gods but boooorring! I'd love to have someplace online really great to look at and visit to put all my stuff - art, writing, whining - that really had my style stamp on it if I could figure out what that is. Maybe if it was a place I wanted to visit, I'd write more instead of feeling lost most of the time and wondering what the point of me is. Maybe I should write about feeling lost and having no apparent point and shut-up about this?

I have an art show for the my collage portraits on June 6th. Can't face the blank panels to start for some reason. I'm supposed to do four more. Ya, right. I'll be glad when the art show is over. Too much pressure to create. Pressure I put on myself. I tell myself things would be better if I could schedule when I feel like writing or painting or anything creative THEN I'd get stuff done, by golly. Truth is, it just comes when it feels like it, like water flushed through a pipe. I'm just the empty pipe, waiting to be filled. Hello? Ms. Muse? Why aren't you flushing the cosmic toilet so I can receive some more of your useless creative shit? I've got a DEADLINE, after all!!!

I feel all weird, empty, confused, tired, inspired and teary right now. Just thought I'd offer a glimpse inside.

Sweet dreams,

Monday, January 05, 2009

Love and Lava

I’m running from lava and there is nowhere else to go but to the sea.

I am surefooted from years of repeated escapes but still I have to concentrate to ensure I place each step with unwavering accuracy. Dashing in a blind sprint, there is always a danger that I might forget how slippery my well-traveled routes away from the eruption may be. Even in this instant, I am carefully observing my thoughts and well as my physical agility. I must stay clear-headed – there are obstacles – large bushes, fences and inert, discarded objects from the past, abandoned in the tall grass. At this high velocity, old seemingly harmless garbage could be deadly if I inadvertently slam into it, or worse, it could stab me, sticking to my body, reattached and unintentionally gathered up again, dragged and slowing my stride. My mind must be focused only on what is ahead. It’s best not to look back at the eruption, as dazzling as it may be.

Rising before me, I see an abandoned bicycle from childhood, left where I dropped it during another magma explosion. Back in those days, a different caldera was active. A memory floats to the surface of that blast and with that knowledge, my stride becomes larger and I hurdle over the bike with ease, sailing through the air in a thrilling moment of lift off. I land again on the other side with grace neither breaking my gait nor changing my speed. The miracle of integrated memory has once again saved me from colliding with this old scar and reopening a gash. Running from each fusillade over the years, I have dropped or discarded many different items in my haste to survive, so I know there are countless randomly scattered personal land mines lying hidden in my path. I must remain on the look out, even during this all out dash for my life.

As I continue my sprint, the ground beneath my feet rumbles, moans and cracks, steam vents firing around me. I dodge these boiling plumes of vapor, as a slalom skier would, weaving with high-speed turns in my descent. I think about the other, older mountain where I used to live, its seething liquid stone erupting for years before I ever appeared, defining and revising the shape of the world to be. That’s just one of many amazing and confusing things about life here; it is all the same location, but the landscape is constantly changing. Volcanic hills, cones and vents appear and disappear – they don’t always look the same – but the molten rock beneath the surface remains constant. I can see the old precipices in the distance but they have become dormant now, my own wreckage, such as the bicycle I just jumped, scattered about as the only evidence of their past volatility. Currently, I live in the shadow of a very active ridge that’s going off, and I must return my focus and place each dazzlingly quick step gingerly. So I stop thinking in reverse and continue to draw instead upon the tools I have gained from facing the flame-driven paroxysms of the past.

I am conditioned for this environment. I was born by the grace of an exploding bluff, the mystery of a paradise existing on the surface of a destructive subterranean force the only life I’ve known. It took me years to admit that I am drawn to always return again to these sources of power, despite the potentially deadly quality of living so close to such utterly cataclysmic violence. However, I know that it’s not the mighty and powerful peaks that attract me to dwelling here; it is the heat of the chambers of fiery stone beneath the surface that pull me in, subconsciously, the proverbial troubled moth to the purifying flame.

Despite their many attempts to annihilate me, I feel tremendous compassion and even love for the turbulent hills I’ve lived among. I understand and have witnessed firsthand the tremendous pressure required to raise temperature enough for any given composition of rock to pass the solidus and melt. There are tremendously traumatic exchanges of energy rumbling in the bellies of these beasts, the radioactive decay of their own wounds liquefying the otherwise stable core stone. Any surface cracks or crevasses draw the pressure out and may lead to yet another painfully glorious explosion such as the one from which I am bolting this very moment.

The volcanoes themselves are not solely responsible for my occasional misery and vulnerability to disaster. I do keep returning by my own choice to dance with them in between detonations, happily playing in the tropical warmth life here affords. However, this alone does not determine the scope of my culpability - I am not completely innocent. The fact is, I’ve discovered something beneficial about existing in this violent environment; the soil here is rich, fertile. Each desire sewn in these slopes has grown tremendously and among the debris left in my previous escapes, I am also surrounded by the beauty of new creation, sprouting gloriously in the nurturing loam that often only a fiery, pyroclastic flow can create.

I have also been doing the unthinkable; after each flare-up and subsequent release has subsided, I’ve moved a bit higher up, settling closer to the caldera, the heart of the massive, granite creature. The further I move up the butte, the better the view and the more potent the earth beneath my feet becomes. Each time I move, I set up a new home, digging into the flesh of the hill, laying my foundation deeper and deeper still. With each of these excavations I run the risk of uncovering another fissure, a crack in the surface of the mountain never seen before and each new chasm I’ve exposed is a potential exit for the river of heated rock and pockets of scalding steam just below the surface. When this happens, I will accept my responsibility, knowing that I sometimes clear fury’s next path, drawing the mountain’s anger directly towards myself.

My volcano is aware of my presence, too. It has not been lost on me that each convulsion of damnation I survive and subsequent move further up the peak seems to calm my mountain somehow, for the eruptions are becoming fewer with longer stretches of time in between. I believe the angry hillside knows I love it and each time I return bravely after another howling discharge, the mount’s internal fury seems to settle a bit more. Each time I come back, I move closer to the heart of the turbulence. Yes, I whisper to it softly, I see the liquid, heated destruction within you and I will love you still; and yes, I know who you are and what you will do.

In times past, my fear would overcome me and if all truth is told, I have died here, something I know to be possible even though few others would believe it. Nevertheless, I must report and do so with complete integrity that I have been caught and consumed several times by flaming magma.

The raging inferno has overtaken me and I’ve tumbled along with the rivers of rock and ash as they made their way down the slope. My body has been incinerated, skin shrinking and peeling, my fat rendered, every bit of tissue destroyed. I’ve screamed as the air from my lungs was replaced by a blaze fueled by my own internal organs bursting into flame, the heat dissolving my lips as the torrent escaped my gasping mouth, the last echoes of my voice silenced by a corona of fire. I’ve suffocated in the lava, its heat igniting my skull, my eyes boiling and exploding, spitting their liquid centers skyward, instantly vaporizing in the superheated air. I’ve heard with the flesh of my burning ears the sound of my bones snapping and popping as the flames ate them, the antimatter between the molecules winning the magnetic tug of war, the atoms separating and vanishing. I’ve been turned to ash and then have disappeared, becoming one with the eruptive flow. Annihilation is terrifying; I never know if I will live again – nothing is for certain. But even when losing my body to the molten madness, I have learned to surrender, to let myself become of it. At these moments of utter abrogation, after all, there is no alternative.

Of course, when I am overcome by the holocaust, this letting go is extremely difficult. The first few moments of being burned out of existence are tenderly painful, being cremated alive the ultimate in horrendous agony. When the initial moments of torturous engulfment have passed and I am nothing but invisible particles of energy, my consciousness still resides within the savage frenzy and together we rumble toward the cooling waters below. Being scorched and removed from reality, taken down to the very essence of sentience, I once again learn that I am eternal and therefore, indestructible.

On our way to the sea, the lava and I continue our crash through the beautiful, verdant growth of the island, destroying the living matter and absorbing the life force of everything we engulf. Together as one now, we incinerate many of my discarded objects of the past, permanently removing them from the landscape.

We continue our unstoppable, flaming rage, relentlessly sliding down until, upon hitting the surface of the ocean, we burst into plumes of steam, where my quintessence becomes part of the water molecules as they explode upward, into the atmosphere. The prevailing winds will then blow me onshore and I will drift slowly back up the incline of my volcano, as a mist. As more and more of my soul locked within this liquid vapor coalesces, the droplets containing the building blocks of my new being will become heavy and a healing rain will begin to fall. I am in the water as it drops back to the surface, splashing on the fertility of the soil, which soaks me up and then, I will rest.

There is always the chance that at the moment I become water vapor, a different breeze could catch me, taking me away from my hot-blooded island. I might drift away as a helpless cloud and the drizzle of my being could ultimately fall on some other land, the new shores less volatile, to be reborn again, thousands of miles from my furious home. If that happens, I will always have the choice of remaining on the new, calm shores or taking the long and arduous journey back to my explosive partner, if the island would have me again.

Alternatively, I could leave of my own free will, perhaps signaling what appear to be rescue boats as they pass by unaware of me or the white-hot tempest that boils inside the landmass as observed from the safety of their decks; but I never do. This is all theoretical – so far, the precipitation of my released soul continues to be caught by the gusts that return me to my internally heated mountain and each time I return to saturate the familiar ground. I am the dampness in the soil, which in turn, ignites the spark of new life.
The return to being always starts with the tiniest of particles, driven by the violence of attraction, recognizing, gathering, reorganizing and joining. Atoms begin spinning, tiny galaxies of consciousness, pulling on one another, slowly forming the corporeal universe of me. As cells are formed, dividing and multiplying, I begin to notice myself again in the darkness and quiet of the cool earth. My shape begins to reset; arms, legs, torso and head, growing beneath the surface. I draw blood from the soil, the red fluid filtered to purity by the dark, coffee-colored mud. I’ll feel my body again, nearly complete and I’ll jab an arm upward, piercing the surface of the ground. I’ll grab the nearest vine or tree trunk I can touch, sometimes even pulling myself up by grasping some old discarded baggage. I burst through the earth, myself a gush of fleshy magma rebirth, an eruption of organism still steaming in the cool air, breaking through the volcano’s skin, always a bit higher up the peak and without fail, stronger than ever and thirsty for air, resurrected once again.

The current upsurge has subsided and this time, I successfully eluded the torrent of destruction to a safe location on the shores. I reclined afterward on the beach looking up at him as the ash-filled smoke around his peak dissipated. There were occasionally aftershocks that followed the initial blast, but each diminished in size as time passed. My body was shaking from my strenuous efforts and I also slowly began to become stable once again as I rested on my side. In my hurry, I was scraped a few times by some old debris and even picked some back up and then subsequently dropped it again but thankfully, nothing in my path was able to trip me up or pierce the surface - a few minor abrasions here and there, that’s all. It seems this has turned out to be a minor occurrence in comparison to the venting I’ve experienced before. Once recovered, I begin my hike back up the mountain to choose a new spot higher on the side of the slope. I feel lighter, having dropped God-knows-what in my gallop to safety.

As I walk I know with certainty that for now, I still love him - the big, roaring solid tower with the hot, flowing center. We both remain to ride his combustions together another day. He will draw healing, cooling and stabilization from the release of long, suffered pressure and I will be clarified by the barrage and less encumbered by the past each time I run temerariously through the slippery, tall grass of my passionately fertile home.