March 29, 2013
Only in these crazy modern times will you hear the question “Are you the curator here?”
As in do you curate this archive or website.
Sure, I’m the curator here. And the janitor. And the sales department.
In fact, I’m a lot of things i never would be. Most of you probably are, too. It’s just the nature of modern life. I can’t imagine my parent, or grandparents, even contemplated the necessity of incorporating or knowing about intellectual property rights or SEO optimization. Well, I can guarantee the last one is something they didn’t care about, because it didn’t exist, but it’s almost essential now to have your own business to make ends meet. Monetize your blog?
I’ve received two offers lately to write and be paid by the word. After 44 years someone finally offers. I enjoy the process of writing on occasion. The rest of the time it is an excruciating process that yields little to no results. This day I haven’t much to say, but perhaps if I get the old stone rolling up the hill the words will flow. Maybe I should get paid. I’d all but given up on that possibility.
Yes, I am the curator here. And one of the exhibits. And i turn the lights on in the morning and off at night. Then I take the garbage out. Then there’s some paperwork. Then I try to have a cup of tea and try to figure out exactly what kind of museum this is in the first place.
March 27, 2013
Anyone who has ever been homeless, marginal, or just plain nomadic for any period of time knows how difficult it can be at times to prove you exist. At least to bureaucratic types.
But the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me is that after I became a responsible citizen and kept an address and a bank account and an electric bill for a few years I applied for an arts grant. They had no problem acknowledging that I existed. Now. But they wanted to know if i existed in the past.
And I couldn’t prove that I had existed in the past.
The most amusing part of the story is I told Jenny exactly how the conversation was going to go. I said I’m going to prove I exist, and they’re going to ask me if I can prove I have existed. It will regress into a Twilight Zone episode, except the bureaucrat will be playing it completely straight with no sense of irony.
Of course that’s exactly what happened, but unlike the days when this over-officious buffoon would have been making a decision about whether I had a roof over my head or not, they were merely deciding if I could apply for a grant to complete a children’s book. I expected nothing but fodder for satire, and in true government fashion, that’s exactly what I got.
I still exist, but I’m not as serious about it anymore. I’ve even existed in the past at times. I can’t prove it, but it seems like I was there.
March 27, 2013
Seems like once or twice a year a cause celeb presents itself that allows all my friends who normally don’t care about much but video games or television to speak up fulfill some internal obligation they seem to feel to be socially relevant. The last two were Pussy Riot and SOPA. You can remember them because they come like clockwork and follow almost exactly the same pattern. It becomes trendy to jump on the bandwagon and you see people who you know would watch Hitler march down Main Street and not say shit suddenly acting like Martin Luther King Jr.
But a certain critical mass must be achieved before they’ll jump on that bandwagon, and they’re pretty quick to get off, probably feeling rather satisfied that they’ve done their part.
Sometimes you wish you saw these people speaking up the other fifty weeks of the year, but one week bi-annually seems to be their limit. It’s a curious phenomenon and I’m sure most of you experience it, too. You don’t want to dissuade anyone from speaking up against injustice, but you wish you’d see them saying something when it didn’t feel like they were just doing it to seem trendy.
SOPA seemed to happen at about this time last year, then Pussy Riot about six months later, now gay marriage. Interestingly, when CISPA and other similar acts were introduced in Congress you didn’t hear hardly anything. I saw a piece on Pussy Riot on 60 MInutes this week, but I haven’t had anyone on a friends list mention it in months.
It’s hard for me to know what causes will become celebrity causes and be deemed worthy of advocating to the fickle. I advocate a lot of lost causes. I guess in six months we’ll see what some people care about next. I hope it’s something important like my fantasy football team.
Pussy Riot becomes passe.
March 25, 2013
Considering how insanely busy my life has become, it seems almost inconceivable that over Christmas I played Dungeons and Dragons Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. The sheer indolence of it now amazes me. As it turns out I have some “free time” again this week, and I wonder what I will do.
I really need to get my diet and exercise routing in order. I could use this week to get back in the habit of starting my day with oatmeal and yoga instead of caffeine and chocolate.
It’s unlikely I’ll feel like I have enough time to take on a role playing game. I hadn’t played one in almost 25 years when I played Pool of Radiance again.
Here I am defeating The Mulmaster Beholder Corps over Christmas. The procedure was rather easy after you know they can’t see you if you use The Dust of Disappearance you get at the very beginning of the adventure. I wouldn’t imagine one had any chance of defeating that many beholders without it. I think my brothers and I might have back in 1990 with the aid of haste spells, potions of invisibility, and every protection spell in the books probably one or two of the party might survive, but the others will be petrified, disintegrated, drained, or fleeing in panic.
I’ll play it again in a bout ten years this time and see how I do.
March 24, 2013
March Madness is a dirty trick. Fortunately they’ve started doing it so late, and including so many teams, that by the time my bracket is destroyed and I have to watch seven women named Millie from new jersey who have never seen a basketball game, let alone even know a basketball is round, win the CBS challenge, it’s baseball season and I can start letting the Cubs ruin my life again.
It looks like the big ten is doing well so far. I saw Ohio State beat Iowa State on a last seconf three pointer while the kids were going crazy at Monkey Mania, or whatever that germ factory is called. Then we got home and I think I saw Indiana do almost the same thing to Temple. In general I root for Big Ten teams so the tournament seems to be going well that way.
I’m working on a project to archive the contemporary history of poetry in Rockford, Illinois. That’s been taking up a lot of my “free” time, but also has rekindled my passion to make The Zombie Logic Review a great poetry journal. I’ve received some really good poetry over the past couple of weeks and am excited about it.
if Minnesota and Illinois could somehow pull monumental upsets I think it would considered one of the best tournaments in Big Ten history, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for either team in the 2nd round.
March 17, 2013
I think Gatorade may be one of the Dirtiest Tricks ever foisted on humanity. Some water, some sugar, some salt. I once had a friend try to convince me salt tablets were a good idea.
But people love it. Who am I to say anything? One step above simple tap water and they make billions of dollars.
March 14, 2013
I didn’t realize Aramis the vampire, portrayed by Vincent Price, shared a name with one of the Three Musketeers.
I’ll let you guess which one of these Musketeers is Aramis.
“I’m afraid Type A is off, sir.” “I suppose I’ll have to make due with that common Aramis beer.”
March 14, 2013
You know those commercials that tell you how fast a car can go from 0 to 60? Well, my life went from a virtual zero to a near infinity this past year. It’s not exaggeration to say I’ve probably had one of the more leisurely lifetimes in history. I eat. I write poetry. Sometimes I made drinks for people or delivered appliances, but I never took any of it very seriously.
Then things got serious.
And I’m busy.
A few weeks ago I started really enjoying writing again. And I looked forward to populating this blog and a couple others with my random thoughts and poems. Then life caught up with me. i got offered jobs and newspaper columns and had to move and be responsible for children and fight other peoples’ battles and try to get enough rest in this maelstrom so i didn’t collapse. It’s been a ride. I keep waiting for it to slow down, but it doesn’t. I keep waiting for the next day with no responsibilities, but it doesn’t come.
I’m starting to feel like it’s paybacks for those couple thousand days and nights where i did what few people ever get to do.
Will nothing ever return again?
I sure hope not.
March 1, 2013
This is what Rockford usually looks like from my window. Forbes recently ranked us the third most miserable city in America. Misery is subjective. You can be miserable anywhere if you try hard enough. However, this is what it looks like outside my window more than half the days of the year…
The Faust Landmark Hotel and Midway Theater as seen from my window.
There’s a lot of fudging that would be necessary to claim what I see outside this window most of the time isn’t a rather miserable scene, complete with the homeless turned out during the day from the shelter down the street, the mentally ill turned out of Singer and Swedish American Hospital, and the forsaken elderly warehoused at the Faust. But what I can say without feeling hypocritical is that i love it here. I’ve never felt more alive or in the center of things than I have here. In fact, I am virtually at the geographic center of this city, and it feels like it. I am at almost the exact point where public perception divides East and West in one of the most racially divided cities in America. It’s entertaining. I’ve seen everything happen from this window. I’ve seen the roof collapse on the Midway Theater and no one come to fix it.
This is a painting of the historic Midway Theater by artist Jenny Mathews. I’m not really trying to bash Rockford in as much as i feel compelled to document what it really looks like. Most of the time. There are sunny days. And spontaneous demonstrations of joy. But mostly it looks like this. And mostly no one does anything about it. The truth is while walking to the convenience store on the block you see in the picture there’s a solid sheet of ice that goes on for half a city block. It stays there all winter and no one makes an attempt to clear it. Next to sheet of ice is a bus stop and a great Mexican restaurant. But three of four times every winter I see the ambulance come and pick up someone who fell on that ice. In front of the building where the roof fell down and no one fixed it. In a city where people would rather argue about magazine articles than change things.
February 18, 2013
One of the things I learned in psychology classes is that the body isn’t very good at differentiating between good and bad stress. To the body it’s much the same if things are changing for the better or the worse. All the body knows is things are changing. It’s another one of those cautionary sayings like “be careful what you wish for.” Or be prepared to get what you asked for.
I personally enjoy long, dull periods where almost nothing changes, assuming the conditions aren’t abject poverty or misery.
I’ve never envied those who have been afflicted with fortune or fame. I think my best advice if anyone ever asked would be to avoid it entirely.
I know I have.
Make no mistake, if you wanted to give me a million dollars I’d probably take it, but I doubt I’d do very much with it. I don’t have many unanswered needs or ambitions.
Perhaps I shoot too low in life. I take great satisfaction in making “to do” lists of things that are easily achieved, then crossing those tasks off the list. It makes me feel accomplished.
One of the most comforting things I ever heard was Andy Warhol’s quote that not even the President can get a better Coca Cola than you can. Or better sunshine, or better tasting water. See, you have the ultimate control over how much you’re going to enjoy every sandwich.
I have a friend and we both tend to use George Clooney as an example of someone to whom everything in life has been given, but then a third friend interjected that Clooney had been hurt some years back during a film shoot and spends most of his day is some fairly serious pain.
Sometimes anonymity and time to work are the greatest gifts any writer can be given.