Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah ...

Blank pages can be intimidating. You merely whimper at its dominance and then growl it into submission.  Huh?  Yep, that is shear loss speaking.  I wanted to write something totally and utterly brilliant ... and then I thought to myself, "Self, what shall we say today?" And then it dawned on me.  This quandary is probably the same that gives many in the MSM fits as they habitually bang their heads until something even remotely feasible and worthy of relaying to the masses manifests ... slow news day.  Self punishment is sometimes a good thing.  And what better thing to humble one than to take responsibility for their part in the perpetuation of "news"? 

Alas, I am dreaming.  In the age of Citizen Journalism and the advent of the Blogosphere TRUE, Responsible journalism is on life-support.  Course, True objectivism is a near impossibility ... always has been ... it is human to be biased ... whether we like it or not we are ALL biased. Disagree?  Take a moment to inventory the simple choices you make in a given day ... that, my friend Is Bias.  Now expand that to a story that garners your attention, listen to yourself as you recount the story to another ... notice anything?  

Course, it only works if you actually Relay the story ... not a condensed version.  It generally takes more than 140 characters.  And the full effect is only experienced if the transmission occurs Verbally ... I know, it feels weird ... but it does work.  You know, Discussing things ... through that archaic medium known as Speech.

We have become a society who feeds ... lives off 10 second sound bites and headlines.  The average newspaper was once written at an 8th grade level ... now, we are reading at a 5th grade level. Before long, the news will be relayed as a comic book.  Must keep the attention of the masses. There doesn't seem to be any room for compromise; there is no thinking for one's self.  If people have to work for it, it may die.  

There is no interest other than the bare essentials.  And besides, most view the news as all horrible, bad, and essentially terminal.  

There is no cure for the rampant superficial assumptions, ignorance, and disregard for all that was once held in esteem ... everything has damn near been reduced to 140 characters or less, packaged as "easy access" media and information available On The Go ... it is emphatic laziness run amok.  That is all.  

We have done it to ourselves.  All in the name of "convenience".  Where will convenience lead when our society dumbs itself down to the point that a 30 second news story ... presented through the ease of the Tube ... is no longer enough.  You know it is coming.  People barely have enough time to stop and have a conversation In Person.  It is easier to tweet your thoughts ... All thoughts ... post a Facebook update ... ("Leaving mall.  Gotta pee, more from stall.")  WTF??? 

During my time in college I actually met incoming freshmen who could not construct a grammatically correct sentence.  The idea of verbs, nouns, predicates were Alien concepts ... They considered sentence construction in the same light as journalists view advanced math ... with tremendous wailing and gnashing of teeth ... But they could sure Text and Tweet. 

I get so aggravated when people go on and on about the virtues of our modern "society".  Many of the conveniences are just that a convenience, nice to have around.  But when did we lose sight of those things that make us Human?

It would seem that we are merely a bunch of people living together, houses squished together, cars zinging past one another, and people shoving their way through crowds of their fellow humans and not once taking the time to see that we are losing the "connection"  there is no "society". There are a bunch of strangers battling for dominance and power amongst themselves with regard for nothing more than whomever accumulates the most power and wealth by the end of the game wins.  And many wonder why instances of mental health issues have dramatically increased comparably with the rise in availability and ease of "technology"?

Ah, that sounds so drab.  I don't mean to be a downer, really.  I just don't understand how it is that people are not seeing the big picture, OR if they are, they don't care.  And if so, why not? Take another Xanax and let it ride?  

Much of what we are seeing today has been in the works for decades.  As many know NOW, the internet was not a new concept ... new to the people ... but not New New.  It was born of "defense", "convenience", "strategy", "preparation" .... essentially a tool or medium for violent retaliation ... so it has been said.  But what else is new.  It is packaged so nicely ... kinda like a bite-sized candy cane.  All the flavor and festiveness presented with On the Go convenience. Pay no attention to the warning label printed in microscopic type on the toxic label in which its wrapped.  

People are eating up all the conveniences like candy ... forget the cavities, deal with those later. (Hopefully the government run dental program will pay for the fillings.  Maybe?)  No one seems to understand or care that our humanity is being crippled by the conveniences with which we are being baited.   I don't mean to sound like some sort of paranoid loon.  I am merely tossing out ideas.  And, Yes, I have read 1984 AND Brave New World.  But then ... I have also read the Bible, too.

Just because you see things in print doesn't always make it true ... same with the screens at which we stare ... Take a leap.  Turn off the tube.  Pick up a book (... A real one ... made of paper and glue ... It has binding (aka a spine) and sometimes pictures.)  Then open your mind and allow it to do its thing ... Consider and Think. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coffee Tinged Stuff

Jacked up on coffee and thoughts are running a gazillion miles a minute ... momentary lapses where the screen stares blankly back, allowing time to process the keystrokes ... then ZAM ... the words magically scream across the blank field before me ... Krall crooning in the background does little to mute my manic state.  It's all good.  Freewrite ... worked for Hemingway and so many others, course, probably got a few into trouble too.   But that is another story, eh?

Ever have one of those days where you have so many ideas vying for your attention, and, yet, when you offer up a few minutes to entertain certain notions, those thoughts that were jumping up and down shouting "ooh Me!  Pick me! Pick me!" suddenly lose interest and scurry off into the darkened recesses of your mind?  Or simply wear themselves out and seek a quite place to nap for the moment, leaving in their wake an annoying, quivering silence ... No? Well, I have been experiencing it all day ... and I don't think that the coffee has helped much, just needed a little pick-me-up to get the creative juices flowing and now it has turned into a complete, incomprehensible tidal surge of fragmented notions, underdeveloped characters, distressed headlines begging to be recorded and other ideas that merely wait to be fleshed out before taking that first breath only to lay in wait for a few days to see if they survive or meet with the ever-so-seductive delete button with which my right ring finger nurtures a completely unhealthy attraction and combustible relationship.  You know how it goes, "i love you," "i hate you" "i love you" "screw you" "No, screw you" and on and on and on it goes unchecked until finally I give up, close out the document, and turn out the light ... as the shouts of characters and ideas become nothing more than muffled whimpers hushed to silence in the softness of the pillow on which I lay my head.

So on to other things.  Financial reform has passed, certain portions of the hellthcare bill are prepping themselves for their close-up, and people are jumping up and down about the usually suspects, you know, oil, incompetence in washington, whining, bitching, moaning, laughing, crying, and sitting by anxiously in the looming presence of all things political and social ... waiting to see what falls next from the restless sky. Personally, I am waiting on the frogs to start falling.  The way things are going, I would probably bank on the frogs before anything truly honorable ... you know, something founded in actual thought and reasoning.  We are just like the frogs in a way .... sitting idly by until suddenly we find ourselves in an alien position subjected to unnatural acts that violate all the given laws of god, nature, AND man.  And as we are hurled forth, we look at one another in complete amazement and confusion ... Just wait.  One day, these manic notions may make sense in some sort of metaphorical ... hell, maybe even literal, sense.  

While I was filling up this afternoon, leaded coffee of course, don't do the unleaded stuff ... that is just Wrong ... no point, anyhow ... took a few minutes to entertain the fragmented conversations of my fellow caffeine junkies and OH MY!  Keeping one's eye on the ball is a completely alien concept to some of these people, but I learned the hard way to not try and sway or educate them in the ways of screenwriting meets illusion meets the tube meets ordinary consumption.  Using one's powers for Good and not Evil ... though notions of such do vary by user ... discretion is a valuable tool ... Wait, what is discretion???

THUD ... was the sound such an attempt made recently when I unwittingly found myself in the midst of a debate over healthcare, immigration, financial reform, and the Clinton presidency ... how the hell that happened I have yet to figure out ... how Uncle Bill got thrown into the mix ... I got thrown in the mix if the debate b/c I have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut sometimes ... a compulsion I desperately need to learn to control ... it only dawned on me later ... One of those observations one makes and then shoves to the bottom of the pile b/c for all intents and purposes it is really of no value ... but anyhow, that tidbit peeped out to remind me that a vast majority of the right-wing foundation holds Clinton in not-so-flattering esteem ... it all started when he was in office ... I, personally, don't know and couldn't care less.  I was still in high school when Clinton got elected to office and at the time I had more pressing concerns than his foreign policy and "intern dilemmas" ... but, I digress ... that happens quite often ....

Too many irons in the fire ... can't locate the marshmallows ... my tofu dog met with a horrible end amidst the embers ... and I have had too little sleep ... all personal problems, I am well aware ... but makes for interesting conversation ... throw a critical coffee buzz into the mix and Whaaaaa -LA! A blog entry that challenges and cries forth ... (fill in battle cry here).  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reflections In a Steaming Mug-O-Java

I have kept one ear tuned to the news ... the other to the gossipy buzz vibrating my coffee cup.

A buddy of mine had a copy of Too Much Coffee Man Meets His Coffee Maker (the comic book).  I swear, I think I had perma-grin for a good 3 or 4 hours after we parted ways.  It had been forever since I'd seen that comic, let alone thumb through the pages ... Funny how things you have forgotten that used to bring a smile to your face reappear when you need them most.

I fear that I have adopted too grim a view of humanity as of late.  And it has truly been completely unintentional ... Sometimes, just turning on the tube is enough to spark an anxiety attack ... "So why turn it on?" you may ask ... I'll have to get back to you on that ... Seriously, I guess it is to keep an eye ... er, ear tuned to what the machine is up to.  Oh, and for Background Noise.  

Not that we get an honest picture, but what we do get is enough to fan the personalized flames we all adopt and hold dear; be they hope, fear, anxiousness, contentment, hunger, thirst, paranoia, etc ...  

People HEAR what they want to ... They LISTEN when they have to ... 

It is sometimes odd the places people go to seek comfort ... and even more disturbing the gurus (be they gossipy, preachy, philosophical, fanatical, carnivorous or even doped) from whom they seek comfort and guidance ... course, I have no room to talk ... I've met many talkers, whiners, and those who have no clue what they say ... they just like the sound of the echo their voice creates as it bounces manically off the confines of their vast, cavernous head that is seated firmly upon burdened shoulders ... And then there are the Enlightened ones (not meaning to sound religious or anything, but that is the adj that fits at the moment ...), those are the ones with Substance ... Purpose ... Heart ... A social conscience, if you will.  The ones you could talk to for hours (and sometimes do), the ones who give you hope ... 

(Background chatter: "More coffee?" ... "Like you gotta ask ... Of course!") 

I have many, many acquaintances ... and amidst the uppity drama of Gossip Central (aka one of more popular Java Joints this side of the Mississippi) you can always tell who is who ... 

There's the Town Crier, the Gossip Hound, the Player, the Wanderer ... well, you get the idea ... and their sole duty is to provide Diversion ... Kinda like the cute, snuggly stories that are slid discretely between the horrors of the World "Over There" or those stories that make you shake your head asking "WTF?" ... 

... And just as happens in the larger scheme of things, the pot continues to percolate, addictions are fed, and word continues to travel.  Quickly ... skipping from one booth to the next only to jump the counter and hitch a ride to the next shift ... I am often amazed at what survives the dicey road of gossip and what dies a horrible, lonely death ... you know, the words that actually hold meaning, worth ... substance -- NOT who is screwing who (metaphorically OR literally) ... -- are the ones that suffer the most traumatic fate ... They do not sprout superhero wings or adopt exceptional powers of embellishment, no, they are what they are and nothing more ... and such "simplicity" is their downfall ... or is it?  

I continue to cling to the proverbial "Coffee Mug is Half Full" mantra.  I have to.  There are too many negative forces that frolic in and around our environment to adopt anything different.  I may get discouraged frequently ... vent discontent and aggravation on occasion... but in the end, I still have to hope that the best of humanity will eventually shine through.  What else is there? 

Oh, yeah, the coffee crunchies you sometimes discover at the bottom ... 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

In Part, An Exploration of Human Nature

Human nature is such a fickle thing, don't ya think?  The ways in which people view such abstract concepts as love, hate, and everything in between can be so fluid.  And, oh my, the reactions these concepts can trigger.  

A close friend of mine is going through a very difficult time at the moment and my heart truly aches for him.  I have never been witness to such intense feelings of despair and pain ... and there is really nothing I can do but to listen.  Even given that, he not much for talking ... He has yet to shed the initial shock that has so greatly, and understandably, affected him.  And it is difficult to say how his healing process may progress.  The intensity with which he is Feeling right now really calls into question the passiveness with which many of us experience our relationships and everyday encounters.  

Like so many others, I have experienced the loss of loved ones, friends, and acquaintances ... and with each loss I experienced such an intensity of "aliveness" (is that even a word???) that it felt almost as a jolt ... a physical tremor affecting of my entire being.  Like a ethereal smack to my psyche screaming  "All you have is now ... Quit bitching ... Life is the Here and Now ... Do Something ..."  with tremendous intensity.  And I would inevitably go days with little to no sleep and this Awareness of all I experienced ... Similar to emerging from a deep, dream-plagued sleep ... 

Not to sound cliche, but something so simple as a deep breath while sitting cross-legged in my backyard among the trees and grass would adopt a newfound sensation of being Alive.  A new appreciation, so to speak.  And I would always be brought back down by the immense weight the subsequent feelings of guilt, sadness, and impatience placed upon my spirit.  It would almost feel as though I had one foot firmly planted in the Now while the other floundered helplessly seeking the comfort and safety of the ground.  I guess what I am trying to say was that each new day, each experience, and feeling possessed its own intensity, its own value, and its own lesson.  Something which I had allowed to slip by unnoticed until the jolt of witnessing another's mortality caused me to gasp and stare wide-eyed at what lay before me.

Watching helplessly as my friend travels this unexpected detour of disappointment and heartbreak, I reluctantly brought back to embrace to the intensity emotions can create ... if we allow it.  It is odd.  There are days, weeks, and sometimes even months where I will plug along without taking notice of the little things ... like so many others do.  But recently, I have made a conscious effort to shun such passiveness ... and since I've done so I have found there is so much more out there that I almost feel guilty for not noticing before.  I don't mean for this to wreak of Hallmark-like-pseudo-spiritualistic-lessons or drip of "words to live by" sappiness ... just a sharing of experience.  I know there are many out there who have probably experienced what I am describing, but just don't talk about it. 

Once again,  I found myself sitting quietly in a corner booth at one of my fave java-joints. Nursing a steaming cup-o-java I allowed my mind a brief respite while being entertained by the conversations taking place around me.  Yes, I guess I was eavesdropping ... oh, like you've never done it before ... 

A couple I had known for years was discussing (heatedly) their "social life" and finances ... Both had actually kept a running, mental tally (independently of the other) of who had suggested What and who had paid for What (like dinner, movie, etc) for the duration of what I guess was months ... What was a point of major, festering contention ...

They had actually been keeping Score!  Instead of concentrating on one another, on being thankful for having one another ... enjoying one another ... they were completely betraying their calm, lovey-dovey facade and openly arguing over who sprung for the last movie ... the tension was obviously born of much more ... but they were immersed in constructing their individual defenses in preparation for the inevitable battle their next "outing" would bring.

I've always been raised that if you truly care (love, adore, even like) the person whom you are with, you help one another ... that there is no check-sheet or scorecard to be concerned with ... and if there is, there is a problem.  You don't put one another down, you do not abuse or otherwise hurt the other person ...

But, too, you have to consider I was hatched and stashed under a rock for years ... only to emerge in time to learn that the armor of the remaining Knights is rusted and dented and that there is no such thing as happily ever after ... but to go there would involve plunging into the proverbial rabbit hole and I am not dressed for the occasion.  

I don't mean to lull you into a daze of boredom ... I guess I just felt the need to put these thoughts "out there" ... I find it odd that people don't often appear to take the time to feel the moment ... Always in a hurry to get to Later ... And it is so elusive ... the infamous Later ... Are we there yet??  Are we there yet??

Feelings of selfishness, immediate gratification, defensiveness, and offensiveness are felt with as much, if not more, intensity as loss, sadness, and desperation.  And they are considered normal ... commonplace. My little exploration here of bits and pieces of human nature, in some circles, would be deemed the product of a failed substance-induced escapist attempt at rationalizing that which is only worthy of a Disney flick or bedtime story ... essentially completely void of any societal or realistic "moral" value.  

Strange isn't it?  Wonder, awareness, and contentment are left just offstage ... only to participate in this wondrous production as Bit Parts ... A follow-up to the intermittent Big Bangs that shatter concentration ( or as we begrudgingly call them "trauma," "loss,", etc ...) ... A fleeting reminder of one's humanness ... Sometimes a one-liner offering the audience a good chuckle ... before taking its bow.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I want to be a Superhero when I grow up.

Or not.

Saving the day is one thing.  But there are some whom I would have a difficult time defending ...

Went to a local coffee shop the other day.  Sat back sipping java and ... listening.  Watching the people come and go.  An old acquaintance came in and sat down across from me and started expressing his thankfulness that his children were grown and his "ol' lady" had relocated with another man ... "The filthy slut," he said smiling, but his eyes were cold.  Anyway, his verbal meanderings soon adopted an even more venomous tone ... truly.  

As my gaze passed from his ruddy face to the gathering of other java-junkies and back again he continued to chatter on and the iciness of his voice caused me to shudder ... Wishing ill on others is one thing ... but his resentment and vindictiveness were off the charts.  I cannot imaging carrying such weight ... I don't believe I would survive ... to be filled with so much anger and hate, to me, would be a terminal condition.  I didn't recall him being so ... Negative ... before, sure he was disgruntled now and then, but nothing like this.  And then he shifted his focus to immigration. How he made the leap still escapes me, but nearly instantaneously he was venting his discontent over the immigration situation.  I'm not going into detail, but suffice to say he was passionate about his stance ... Just being in his presence for a brief time was enough to jolt me ... and has haunted me since ... I cannot figure out how or why he would be so willing and OPEN as to spout such horrible things ... and then to walk away Smiling!!!

How is it that people adopt such steadfast judgmental attitudes ... can be so unforgiving ... may actually Pray for the demise of others ... or otherwise wish them ill ... and never give the first thought to the implications of his (or her) actions???  How may one be so selfish as to truly not care about the welfare of his (or her) fellow travelers ... ??? I may be completely leaving myself open to all sorts of judgments and assumptions by even posting such questions ... and may seem incredibly naive ... but I am truly intrigued b/c no one has ever been able to offer an answer ... 

I have a dear friend who not too long ago diagnosed me as having a Social Conscience ... the basis for much of my concern and intense feelings ... I readily accept this explanation, in part (for he too has the condition) ... But, on the flip side, how may one be filled with such hostility, as the gentleman in the coffee shop, that they literally ooze negativity to the point that others feel drained just by being in their presence for only a few minutes???  I cannot fathom having such disregard for others ... Alas, it would seem I am wandering amongst the dark woods alone ... seeking elusive answers.  Maybe ignorance is bliss ... sometimes.