30 days hath September
April, June and the plague
It's only 5 A.M.
Guess I'll fry an egg
Before the gloam
Breakfast all alone
From my mobile phone
13-APR-20, 9:15AM(ish) UPDATE:
We finished the series over the weekend and watched the last four episodes of TALES FROM THE LOOP.
** SPOILER **
Several scenes reminded me so much of my character, C.R.I.S.S.
A grown man, not too big, I wept in joy and sorrow.
an impromptu poem (dedicated to JKR)
by Geoffrey Allison
From high above
On castle wall
She holds forth a lamp
That others might see her
Signaling only her own
Offence of privilege
While common actors
Perform better deeds
--Shadows in dark alleyways--
She walks lonely
21-Apr & 27-APR-20 Updates:
The above impromptu poem was written immediately after viewing a video snippet shared on 13-April-20. Here's a piece of journalism, dated 18-Apr-20. It contains more than mere hint of the spirit I invoked above.
I'm taking this opportunity to shout up at the castle-wall walkers: FUCK YOU! Especially to the egotistical prick(s) who confidently pat their own backs using the pretense and guise of meritocracy while they've accomplished nothing more than having been ejaculated into a gilded laundry basket and play with daddy's and mommy's toys.
13-APR-20, 10:15AM(ish) UPDATE:
I love that, as a caring partner, I do my best to pay attention to and learn my partner's likes and dislikes. I love that I have managed to stay in a committed relationship for more than a quarter of a century. I love that I can announce without shame or regret to the world that I can and do make ONE HUGE PANKCAKE for myself (because I know my wife does not like pancakes). I love seeing contrived and insincere melodramas performed online by The Nitwit* and Dingbat Posse™
* Corporate-owned entertainment journo
13-APR-20, 12:15PM(ish) UPDATE:
Just emailed my Senators and US Representative. Word yours how you want or need.
The thought of allowing American infrastructure like the USPS to fold —a LITERAL lifeline for rural communities as well population dense cities— is a grotesque absurdity, intellectual and social and commercial regression.
Rained last night, and early this morning. Woke early. To a light chill creeping in through a narrow crack in the bedroom window. Felt good to snuggle and listen to the birds before I left the bedroom to make coffee.
In bed. Have been for hours. Nesting like naked luncheon meat between mattress and heavy quilt. Just me and a digital Louise Penny.
The lights off and outside Grey sneaks. Grows more confident in between every thunder roll, a master rhythm managing the drumroll of large raindrops splatting against the skylight window in the master bathroom.
What is in this tea I am drinking? Very naughty indeed.
Roasting a chicken. A specialty of mine. I'll accept all challengers, even the best cooks scattered across the French countryside. Salt. Pepper. And a bird that, admittedly, deserved a longer life.
It's wicked chilly out. I'm remembering another time and place it felt unjustly cold — Inch Beach in '07 — and remembering old words for comfort.
Pancake for breakfast. Loaded with plump blueberries and pecans. One HUGE pancake.
Treat yourself to one, if you can.
** Mild Spoiler: TALES FROM THE LOOP **
Watched episodes three and four of TALES FROM THE LOOP. Enjoying the show. While the themes are not entirely new, the aesthetic is gripping me, stoking me.
A cold fire.
Technology is ever present yet often portrayed as empty vessels. Hollow. Rusted and abandoned. Burnt out representations. Spent and torched containers humanity had wanted to (and did and do) pour its dreams into.
All that's left is humanness. The questions. The ones that linger when the phenomenal creations the species repeatedly build to answer them fail to produce for us what we desperately seek.
Wondrously and gracefully, TALES FROM THE LOOP episodes explore whatever theme they travel at a tortoise's pace. Unapologetically glacial, the episodes abandon beat-speed as synonymous with interestingness, intelligence and worthiness. The production ignores the real emptiness too often disguised in the constant movement that modern storytelling uses to trick viewers and readers into thinking something worthwhile is happening.
TALES FROM THE LOOP gifts few contrivances that modern cinema and storytelling has become reliant on to ensnare participants.
Within slow motion much happens, or can.
On the inside.
I am intrigued by one other aspect. I'll share more about this later, after I have thought about and explored my feelings more completely. For now I'll say this: That the show explicitly tells its audience it all happens in America yet everything shown hints at and hugs a Nordic minimalism is a powerful statement in and of itself, in my opinion. How easy it is to fool[corrected] ourselves. Just tell me this is home. And I Will Believe.
Morning and early afternoon spent doing chores and exercise. Grocery shopped for the week. Walked 4+ miles. Planted flowers—echinacea and mirabilis—to help attract bees and butterflies (hopefully).
The sacrament now taken. A tall glass of OJ includes a mild sedative and is tableside. Time for work.
Stay calm. Carry on.
Skipped serious exercise yesterday. Did only 50 abdominal crunches as well as 80 (total) reps with weights—four exercises, 20/ea. The sky was clear. The sun, bright. But the wind... bajeebus fuck! there was a stinging sensation. Anyone who has ever fenced, and taken a foil or épée or sabre to an exposed bit of skin, will understand. That's what the wind felt like yesterday.
Anyway... I figure I'm doing more than okay with my exercise regimen during self-isolation. (Having done multiple 8mi days, for example, and not putting on any pounds, all while throwing cocktail and dry roasted peanuts down my gullet with greater frequency than usual.)
I miss routinely seeing familiar faces at the gym though. Oddly, I have seen many of these faces around the neighborhood, the park, and the woodland trails. Places where I have never seen them before. Even the grocery stores: "I have never seen you shop here before..." The market run-ins have given reason to yank down cloth masks and chat. If chat is the right word to describe conversations between people standing feet apart from one another while trying not to disrupt the flow of cart traffic.
Let's see what else. Oh!
Apropos of nothing, I have an Xbox membership. Through the sub I receive free games. Twice a month. Older games. Content past its prime. I don't download 'em all. And most of the ones I do (DL) I have never played. This morning I tried to play Ghost Recon 2: Advanced Warfighter. I lost interest almost immediately when, during the game's tutorial ** the fucking tutorial, like two minutes in, ** I was instructed by the (tutorial's) sim manager that my performing headshots are to be favorably considered.
The first two minutes into the game... CHRIST on a crucifix and a prick poking peach cobbler...
(As I wrote the above paragraph, a woodpecker arrived in the backyard. It landed somewhere above me... above the upstairs window, out of sight... it's drilling away —like a hormone-soaked teenaged nymphomaniac— on the fascia board of our house. I wonder where my BB gun is? Thinkin' I need to put some of my newfound Ubisoft/Clancy co-branded training **that violence-embracing yum-yum cultural indoctrination** to use.)
"On Astral Projection, the healthy realities of individuality extant in marriage, and on Being Human"
Below is a lark, a temporary break away from more serious writing endeavours. Better, Plague-weary Readers, to move along.
In metaphysical studies and stories there are tales of astral projection. And the silver cord. A thread. A life-giving linkage. Connecting our physical bodies to our higher Self.
I took a break from writing earlier and saw an advertisement for BEING HUMAN. I didn't research. Assumed it was for yet another reboot. Saw it starred Aidan Turner, and quickly filed it away. No biggie.
While downstairs getting a drink (of water), I told my wife about the ad. I said, "[It] looks like a new show, another reboot of BEING HUMAN. Maybe something to watch...if we get bored." I returned to my office space upstairs and discovered what I had seen was an advert for the original BBC series, BEING HUMAN. I shared this clarifying news with my wife. "What I saw was just an ad for the original BEING HUMAN, the BBC series. They're replaying it, I guess. Aidan Turner's in it — you know Poldark."
Based on the sound of her voice, the name Aidan Turner piqued my wife's interest.
Now, folks, I think that's an example of one's individuality and biochemical makeup. It's natural. It's wonderful. It doesn't suggest one is not committed to their partner. I don't think my wife is suddenly going to drop me.
And I, for example, appreciate a historical photo of Susan Sarandon holding a switchblade knife.
It's an artful image. And more.
What I am not saying is that I'm a believer in and follower of mysticism and the metaphysical, and that I, a former CPA for CHRIST's sake, could be an unexpected practitioner of the Mystic Arts and of REASON.
(I mean, who'd believe that?)
All I'm saying is being human is full of weird truths. Sometimes these truths are odd. Peculiar. Sometimes they're uncomfortable. Sometimes these truths we encounter indicate a historical photograph possesses magic—magic powerful enough to string a middle aged man's silver cord over the infinite expanse of space-time, his eternal soul-line, and tether his astral projection to an astral erection of his teenage-era Self.
Listen. Read the warning at the end of the explanatory blurb under the title above. I fucking warned you to move along. ;-)
[Addendum to 12:30PMish UPDATE]
I have been reminded that not everyone is a writer, or married to a writer or is friends with a writer. Also, that some folks don't read metaphor well, or catch symbolism, or read in between the lines well. That some readers require, or respect, IN YOUR FACE telling rather than showing. So, if you need it, then let me TELL you about the above lark.
Couples, in many ways you have it easier than folks who are having to self-quarantine alone. I say in many ways. Definitely not all. Couples have to face other potential issues during quarantine. Now, I can't speak to parenting. In fiction, I can get away with it. In times like this, I can't or shouldn't because I am not a parent. So, I am speaking to childless couples. Again, couples, you may face different issues and challenges than those our family and friends quarantining alone will face. Be good to each other, couples. You may be learning new things about your partner—regardless of how long you have been together.
Couplehood is a choice. It requires work. Investment. Commitment. Respect.
And, in my opinion, LOVE is the result of all that as much as it is some precursor that drives it.
So, a shout out to couples paying attention and being mindful of the couplehood-individual boundary lines (as best they can do) during this time.
Now to face an ugly bit.
For the last couple of weeks I've been reading (in a regional periodical, first) and hearing stories about the rise of incidents in domestic violence during the COVID-19 era. As a former volunteer for a shelter that housed domestic abuse victims please allow me to say to perpetrators, generally: What. The fuck! Are you doing?
I doubt any perpetrators will read this. But they may, because that's the thing, they often hide in front of us. So, I will repeat to male and female abusers: WHAT THE FUCK, FOLKS?!? The only fucking abuse that should happen better be under the masturbatory self-abuse category (enabled further during the COVID-19 era by free premium subs I understand pornHUB is offering).
Readers, here is the number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (U.S.) 1-800-799-7233
I didn't get as many words out today as I had hoped. Not story words, scribbling to be published. I am totally fine with that. I have been producing more than I thought and it's felt better coming out and read better on the read-thru than normal. Besides today's work product includes a nugget that pleases me immensely:
"I dunno 'bou'dat. I jus' know I'll be pleased as fuck we get outta this pandemic without one of 'em indie journalist types claimin' a Congressperson coughed on 'em with the intent of giving them the COVID. Because history... fuck... I dunno... strange times come and goes. But people, they's always weird."
Woot! A double dose of baker's dozens.
Go wash your hands!
That's all I got this morning.
An extended parenthetical:
Saw a wren. Well I thought I did. Probably a sparrow. There's a sparrow that looks similar to wren. To me. It's the coloring. Especially when grounded. My eyesight...ugh. And my identification skills...ugh. The only way I know for certain is by looking at the beak, which is difficult to do when the bird is face to grass or garden bed. Also, I am envious of my neighbor's lilac bush. Theirs looks full, pleasing to the eye. Ours looks like a wrinkled, warty penis. Now you're imagining a wrinkled, warty penis. That's gross. Betcha wanna wash your hands now.
15-Apr-2020 UPDATE: The short story "SHEM" —a flash fiction I wrote to be the Introduction to a collection of short stories titled INSIDE JOBS, was originally posted here in its entirety. "SHEM" is now available here, on ISSUU.com, where I host a short list of other free to read content. The remainder of the original post is below.
I was going to wait until after Passover to post this. But people very close to me just received some terrible news. I want to share this with them, because I had them (and others) in mind when I wrote the draft a couple weeks ago. I mean no disrespect to my Jewish family and friends (and those I do not know who may happen to read this) who are about to observe Passover.
[ Flash fiction originally posted here ]
Original dedication (for flash fiction ONLY) as published on sixstringcpa.com on April 8, 2020:
For the moms. When all this COVID-19 stuff is over, we go out and eat as much Chinese food as we can. Including fortune cookies. Or what I am now calling little Golems of Hope. We're going as a family. Chen's takeaway, or Asian Pearl, for sit down. It's your call. Deal?
Day 25 and much to do.
Round 2 of edits to a flash fiction for INSIDE JOBS I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Finish draft of another short story for the same collection. Also, need to either edit or rewrite the April '20 short story for the Rock 'n' Roll Reads Supporters program.
Last night, after we watched two episodes of TALES FROM THE LOOP* we checked out the moon for a while. Snapped a number of photos.
* Link to (original artist/creator) Simon's page (Not linking to Amazon. No apologies.)
Back from 4mi walk. Got a text from my good peep, Ebony Johnson. If you read this before 7PM tonight, tune into her show at KKFI 90.1FM in KC or grab the app from app store or listen online at KKFI.org. Her show, Ebony's Bones is about decolonization. Tonight's episode focuses on environmental justice, and has a beautiful vibe, a through line emphasizing local: action, focus and orientation. So, glad she happened to text. She knows I dig this stuff. Only wish my walk did not force me to miss the first 10 minutes.
Keep calm. Carry on.
Two dozen. Two twelves.
24. Hours in a day.
Now as before.
Spend and invest in 'em wisely.
As a former CPA (INACTIVE status) I spent time engaged in fraud and forensic accounting work as well as traditional audit, including internal audit. Seeing Inspectors General come under attack gives me cause for great concern. Anyone in investigations or who has performed investigatory work—financial or otherwise—knows exactly what I am talking about.
Trump Supporters, the removal of and attacking IGs is so not a good look for your guy, who is, in my personal opinion, a buffoonish Con.
Removing instruments of government transparency and accountability fits how exactly into the GOP, or DEM for that matter, narrative? It is repugnant. A grotesquerie. Signaling a flagrant disregard for the care, concern, and right of the populace to have a responsible and accountable government.
I only hope the bite of public backlash will not be lessened due to the citizenry's incisors having essentially been filed down over the last three years by ne'er-do-well grifters hiding out in the RESISTANCE who cried wolf **or outright lied** for the selfish cause to benefit their personal fame or fortune. If RESISTANCE hacks prevent another hack from facing justice—thus enabling societal harm—you too will be guilty, swine. Repugnant. Fucking. Swine.
"Kayaking in the Time of COVID," a short story set in KS that I am writing for the new collection* and that I mentioned the other day (see 10:30AM update), draws inspiration from LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA. Writing it is bringing me great joy. I am working on that story and another magical realism / psychedelia story contemporaneously. Yesterday, I thought I might merge the two. Out of need. It was momentary desperation: writer's panic. Which is a thing. Although I suspect each writer has a different name for it.
* To be fair, most of the short stories I am writing for INSIDE JOBS have some tie to the SUNFLOWER STATE.
Left house shortly after last update. Sojourned through the woods, walked about another 4 to 5mi.
LOLing a bit at today's Tor article. Given my announcement (more of a reveal, tbh) yesterday of THE SEAMSTRESS AND THE TAILOR. Now, I am not laughing at the content of the TOR article. (Hello, I wrote a story centered around sewing and stitchery, multi-layered metaphors.) No. I am laughing at the magical timing of today's article (LOL), and I am snickering at the fact the article's author dances around any specific mention of male writers use of sewing as a narrative element, or ability to see it as culturally valuable.
(Note: In fact, a male writer has. Me. And people wonder why I have such a serious distaste and disdain for traditional publishing and the participants it attracts to its avenues and institutions—which are quite protectionist, if not militant. Dare I say, masculine. For all the posturing and pretense shown by many writers. LOL, again. Or still.)
One thing I absolutely never anticipated when I left the Underworld of Commerce was that the character of certain artists could be more atrocious than those of the devilish Priests of Profit with whom I served both on the front lines, as a soldier, and in ivory towers, as a mage. The vapid hollowness within the signaling of one in particular always makes me cringe.
Tales From the Loop. Watched the first two episodes. Episode 2. Well done, gang. Well done.
Breakfast was a bagel. Split. And twice toasted. With three shmears of standard cream cheese. None of that fancy herb-infused or fruit-flavored cream cheese. I did hesitate and consider making a batch of körözött.
Keep calm. Carry on. (you hideous creatures, grandchildren of CHAOS, bastards born to Compulsion, Confusion and Coercion, formed from their stranded threads, birthed torn and twisted from cloaks worn by the Infinite Grey Shades)
If you ever cross paths with a story alluding to the above, that feels queerly familiar, unexpectedly discovering it... on your car seat in summertime, a brass-tabbed manuscript having been tossed through the window you carelessly left open... or bound into a traditional book, sold as new in a garage sale at a house located on a dead-end street with lonesome raven-thick trees in the yard... or resting on the bookshelf in the home of your dead aunt, the woman ruthlessly ignored by you until it was too late... understand that, although it may not bear my real name, it, in all incarnations, most definitely carries my mark... THE SEAMSTRESS AND THE TAILOR... by yours truly — stitch and weave, children. Stitch. And weave. [Dedication: For Ronald James Padavona, R.I.P.]
Tall glass of OJ with a splash of tequila.
There were legends, tales of terrible misfortune experienced by travelers going where he intended to travel. Psychedelic shamans were fallible. But nature was not. That was his thinking. The only Sherpa he trusted to guide him over the inhospitable terrain of his twisted soul and wending psyche was Vitamin C.
Regarding THE SEAMSTRESS AND THE TAILOR (written pseudonymously), I briefly considered sharing precise locations of where copies of this story may be found right now. But reconsidered. Hint: in either of two states, neither of being.
Stitch and weave, children. Stitch. And weave.
Stay calm. Carry on.
I have taken up breakfast biscuits... those, and THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM
[turns to a man in dame costume]
More biscuits... and I'll rub your feet, Dan Leno
[turns then to the audience]
Sing with us such praises to belVita
Writing. I think I have just decided to send out, in advance of my finishing the collection INSIDE JOBS (for which I am writing stories while in self-isolation), "The Huxley Initiative" to family and friends beforehand. Because... YES!!!
(Might post first story I wrote for collection, a flash fiction to serve as Intro, on this blog. Not sure.)
And, apropos of nothing, OVERKILL's cover of "Frankenstein" injects ink into your reservoir.
A cold front moved in and started clawing the KC area yesterday. I had already planned to limit my time outside this weekend. I'll still garden and walk and jog but I won't remain out of doors for the same lengthy span of time I did last weekend—not given the new mask wearing suggestions and recommendations issued by the CDC.
The cold snap makes my indoor hibernation that much easier.
A few hours ago, I was staring out the kitchen window and found all the daffodils in various forms of defeat. Some looked like fallen soldiers braced-in-place impaled on spears piercing them at angularities preventing them from resting in complete horizontal positions. I looked closer and found short icicles ornamenting the edges of solar-powered garden lights, stopping when I got to a particular lamp. The shape and position of the ice dangling off the left edge of the path-light's rim—frozen in time and space, warped and twisted—captured my attention and interest. I HAD to go outside, step into the cold, and snap a photo.
Also, and totally unrelated to the above,
Read this article from Foreign Policy, and I can't wait for the creative team behind the Gorbachev-Pizza Hut commercial to create a look-back ad for the COVID-19 era. I am, rightfully, I think, having trouble understanding the need for, and purpose of, the video embedded in the article. There's a photo (or was when I read the article) of Gorbachev with Putin in it. I point that out for the benefit of the Russiagaters.
Trump has an excellent sense of humor and may be the best comedian of our age. You know this because you can tell he honestly believes himself a good manager of people and events, an efficacious executive, an efficient and effective leader. That's funny as hell.
I am waiting for the following presser:
Reporter: Sir, what's the current state of the Coronavirus epidemic?
Trump: I talked to the virus, just now, on the phone—other leaders love me, as you know, think I am the best, the greatest. Love my properties. The virus said I was the most stable genius, and probably the best President to serve. It's leaving... the virus... afraid of my Space Force. Great deal for us... my deal-making skills... so many deals... beautiful deals... 20% off this bucket of fried chicken (holds up empty bucket)… who wants to talk to Jared, again?... He did a great job last time... Don't you think? A republic, as amalgamation of individual member states... of the people... through the people.. with a Federal government in service to them? Not his fault... difficult concept to grasp. He recently caught a frog, in the White House garden... so proud... proud... some of you... like you (points to a reporter), you said it was a toad... FAKE NEWS (LAZY JAZZ HANDS™)… loves that frog... my fans... so many fans... fans all over the world... they have frog faces... for profile pics... on Twitter. I invited the frog to the virus negotiations. I didn't have to do that... but I did do it... I invited it... invited it to the meeting with oil execs, too... great meeting... great... maybe the best meeting a President has ever had.... some people said "test the frog for the Coronavirus-thing!" Why did they say that? Huh? You tell me, I don't know, but they said it... so we tested the frog, for the virus... it and the oil biz executives... there's a photo... see (holds up enlarged photograph)… hard to tell which one is the amphibian... did you know amphibians are cold-blooded... I just learned that. Pass that photo around... the one with frog and the oil execs... if you can find the frog let me know... I'll circle it with this sharpie
5:30PMish UPDATE: Getting ready to watch a lil TV and thought I'd post about the topic.
In the first few days of the COVID-19 self-isolation period, I added a number of shows to a list of things I might watch. I am now three weeks into self-quarantine and I have not watched any notable amount of TV to speak of. Sure, I have watched a few shows, here and there. But everything I added to the watchlist has gone unwatched—except three episodes of 12 Monkeys. I deleted STRAIN from the list entirely, because I doubt it will do anything for me. (I am baffled by this because I had little interest in 12 Monkeys when I created the list and thought STRAIN would be the show I'd watch. But it flip-flopped.)
Now my wife and I did start watching I'LL HAVE WHAT PHIL'S HAVING (original PBS show, Season 1, in reruns). Which is fun for two reasons. Show is about food and travel. Fine. More importantly: the show's title lends itself to me referring to it as I WANT THE TASTE OF PHIL.
[ Scatology courses were not offered at my University. I am still bitter about that because I did such fucking loads of prep work on the subject in high school. Scatology was all I excelled at in high school. At least that I am willing to mention here anyway. I create Scatology Schools™ in my fiction, and characters with mastery of the dark arts. (Did you catch that not so subtle #2 reference there?)
So I WANT THE TASTE OF PHIL it is.
If the virus don't get me, the missus will. ]
Stay calm. Carry on.
Yesterday, I drifted. A bit. Since the outfit grinding the tree stumps was accommodating, and gave me most of the wood chips, I spent unplanned time in the garden. Time well spent. Time enjoyed. Still...
Today I am torn. Direct attentions toward my WIP? Or, do I spend a little time sweeping particles into a pile, create a little sandbox, to assist an idea that popped into my thick head a few months ago, help give it materials to accrete into something a little more?
I have been told you know who has returned... partnering with a corporation... circling the wagons... in attempt at defence of the future... assured continuity of their franchise brand... costumed as three sisters: Sincerity, Charity, and Alacrity... role-playing...
I know where my inclinations drift today, on Day 20
[ 4.72135955^2 or, 10^1.30103: Neon (powering up) ]
Public Service Announcement (PSA)
I reiterate what I stated on this blog some days ago: Why does your blogging platform fail with such glee?
1. Cursor lag inside blogging is atrocious. Text-box elements for webpage do not seem to suffer the cursor lag problem. Why decent text creator functionality in one place and not the other?
2. Cursor gets stuck or locked in place or reverts to former locations within a blog post. Impact is this: any changes a user thinks made to one area may actually occur elsewhere in the post. The result is that the correcting and editing process is an exercise that complicates and adds to grammatical errors or typos and misspellings. It's further fuckuppery, not fix.
3. Once corrections ARE made, one often has to post and repost and repost and repost for the changes to actually materialize in the blog and on the webpage.
Tell me, honestly. Was Square's purchase of Weebly an exercise in providing an investment exit for Weebly investors and helping them to cash out? Come on. Tell us, Jack. Who's listening?
CAUTION: I urge anyone considering purchasing a CMS or blog to avoid Weebly. Like Twitter, Weebly is garbage. Currently, Twitter is trying to engage in a bit of social engineering. And, in my opinion, participates in class warfare. Example: I have three (unused) accounts. The third account now requires a phone number to be reactivated by Twitter.
Question: Why is Twitter forcing a user to have three phone numbers in order to have a business account, a personal account, and an account specific to the activities related to the children's literacy charity his wife and he cofounded?
Separation of business entity or charity entity from personal activities is good form. Hell, it is required in some areas of operation. Yet Jack Dorsey and gang are basically ignoring this necessary and prudent separation.
The opportunity for Twitter to engage in selective silencing is an atrocious reality too. Recognizing the company is trying to curtail BOT activity and recognizing further that nobody has some inalienable right to use Twitter, the requirement of multiple phone numbers for multiple accounts means what from a practical standpoint? How does this requirement impact lower income people? Many small business operators have one phone number, at least they do when they start out. Yet the entrepreneur may rightly want or need two Twitter accounts: one for their personal use and one for their business activities.
And what if Twitter's requirement is not consistently applied? (I bet it is inconsistently applied.) What if Twitter does not require all users to provide the same level of information in order to create their accounts of have existing accounts unsuspended? Is such inconsistency an avenue or means for abuse? For targeting certain messaging or messengers?
We're talking Jack and Co, here. Are we surprised?
Here's a hot take, about an article discussing what people are getting wrong about toilet paper.
Sorries to both Chris and author of the article Chris references in the Tweet shown above. Some of us HAVE been thinking about supply and supply chain issues and the possible, if not likely, ramifications from the COVID-19 era, now in pandemic stage. We've been thinking about these things for months, actually. And not only that but we've been making decisions and acting on our own analyses and conclusions for a while now. We're nobodies. Unheard of. Thinking, formulating, being proactive. Often making the right calls long before the PRESS has a clue. Thanks though, bud.
Clarifying point: I first revealed I had some thoughts about all this on Twitter in late February or early March. If I mentioned anything about it then it was only because I'd been thinking about and synthesizing thoughts for weeks and months before publicly mentioning even the slightest reference to these. Now, I may've shared my thoughts and suggestions with family and friends prior. Note: internet lurkers are neither family, nor friend.
It's great people are standing up to Amazon and reconsidering their unthinking support of the corporation via consumption training patterns. Supporting independent bookstores is a good thing. And I have no doubt there's going to be a lot of innovation directly attributable to the COVID-19 era. That said, since Susan Sarandon is using her platform to promote a new company, she should be able to answer the following questions:
1. Is professional money (private equity (PE) or venture capital (VC)) invested and backing BookshopDOTorg (Bookshop)?
2. If answer to question #1 is yes: who are these firms (more importantly, who are the LPs who've invested in the fund(s) financing Bookshop)?
3. What's the exit strategy for their investment in Bookshop likely to be if it is a PE or VC-backed company? Selling to Amazon (like both Goodreads and Audible)? A sale to Google? Note: BookshopDOTorg says the company will be a B-Corp (Benefit Corp)
4. If Bookshop is not funded by professional money WHO is backing it financially? Traditional publishing companies making their own play against Amazon? Existing wealthy authors investing their money in a field where they have some expertise?
So, in conclusion;
1. Indie bookstores: good
2. Society reconsidering its reliance and dependence on a huge corporation (Amazon): good
3. Efforts to innovate (tech) and integrate with others (social) during the COVID-19 pandemic: good
However, history has shown what can happen when the media and society too quickly and blindly embrace fledgling tech-related companies without scrutiny or skepticism!
So, to borrow from every clichéd character played by Samuel L Jackson: Excuse me, but I still got me some fucking questions, ya dig?
I hope and want to see every single person create art during this difficult time, if they choose to do so.
I don't think art is useless. My hope is everyone realizes they can create art. Humanity needs art. The opportunity it provides for expression, for introspection, for comprehension. Although, I admit that I am entirely open to the possibility that humanity, at various periods of time during its existence (that I hope is long), may or may not need professional artists--a class of persons, oft shrouded in manufactured mysteriousness, duly and solely responsible for creativity and expression on behalf of all of humanity.
Furthermore, I have come to the conclusion some people use the title of artist as a cover, to bend the appellation's cachet, use it as a cultural cloaking device to hide their motivations from others. People who are or can be insidiously secret in their callousness, or are fame- or power- or money-grubbers—same as CEOs or politicians; insincere folks, who are slurries of #### and **** sloshing around sagging skinsuits.
I am going to go out on a limb and suggest there are a lot of people who, currently, are Hoovering up a lot of other people's time and attention with COVID-19 chatter. In January, they were Hoovering using other takes. Oddly, the Hooverers™ now want people to be mad that certain people—from this group or that tribe—weren't talking enough, or at all, about COVID-19 in January. But were the Hooverers™ talking about the dangers and threats of COVID-19 back in January? Of course not. What...did they need permission to warn you back then? Of course not. They were talking about timely, fashionable things they thought would entertain or keep you glued to their social media feeds happening at that time. Now they want you to be mad at them . . . or them . . . or them. I bet they sound confident they know who is to blame. Just like they sounded confident about whatever topic they were distracting you with back in January.
As an integrity exercise, I suggest you put their feet to the fire and ask your favorite social media celeb the following: Hey favorite social media personality! How come YOU weren't warning people about the pendng dangers about COVID-19 back in January? I checked. And your feed was all about [X or Y]. Now your feed reads like you're an expert on all this and knew it was going to turn to shit all along. What gives, rat turd?
I don't think the outlook of you getting a response from them is particularly likely. If you do get a response, I doubt it will be truthful. Because the harsh truth is this: there's a plethora of people who feed off your distraction and anger and anxiety. They did then. They are now. They will in the future, if you let them. If you do get anything resembling a response from them, I bet it's no more than shoulder shrug . . . that and more finger-pointing . . . at anyone but themselves . . . which is why the tip of said finger will smell like ###.
Though regrettable seeing incorrect extrapolations (based on guidelines of specific firms) being communicated as the universal eligibility requirements for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act, I am not surprised. In any race to be first, intuition suggests risk of reputational death be a shaping force and serve as a governor to control speed. However, it's the 21st century and the lane markers of responsibility and accountability have not been maintained for a while and are now absent. Nowadays it's pedal to the metal when traveling the (information) Highway to Hell. Toot-toot!
INT. FAMILY ROOM - DAY
A MAN enters through a 6-panel door. (Descending) Stairway behind him. A coffee cup dangles from his finger. He scrambles to better his grip on the cup as a WOMAN enters through archway. A breakfast nook behind her.
(Walks past, shaking her head.)
Side note: (No flex, here. Don't pretend to be an Islamic scholar.)
Hope a few readers recognized reference to a relationship between 19 and Hell.
Stay calm. Carry on. (if spirituality is your thing, may it comfort you)
10:30AMish UPDATE: The outfit that felled our trees last Friday is grinding stumps today. BONUS! They don't really have enough room in the truck for all the mulch being created by what I, a novice in tree removal, am calling the WHEEL OF DEATH™. So, they have happily agreed to move the chippings to my new garden beds in the backyard. It helps them and, since I am sheltering in place, and cannot get to a pile of free mulch that's been waiting on me, it helps me, too.
More joy in the time of plague* — that's no small feat.
* By the by, LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA is being used as source inspiration by yours truly and reworked as a short story called "Kayaking in the Time of COVID." I plan to include it in the new Collection I am building with stories I am creating during this self-isolation era. The title of the collection is INSIDE JOBS. A reasonable person might think: Kayaking? and Inside? How?
But inside can be boundless and the Springtime rains can force the Kaw River to swell . . . and rage.
1:15PMish UPDATE: Laughing out loud.
1:30PMish UPDATE (to above): Here's to the human beings who, right now, carry on not in spite of this being a time outside the norm but despite the new reality. Who, whether through obliviousness or conscious effort that crosses their personal thresholds of fear, are carrying on because that's what humanity—as a sentient being—does. What it is. Because in that space is where change is forged. Not the promise of a better future but the actions that make the promise real. The action. No matter how difficult and challenging. To those carrying on in this time outside the norm, I see you. I respect you. I sympathize and empathize with you. And to, at least one person, who in disgusting desperation seems hell bent on dragging others into their **let's call it personal maelstrom** -- I see you too (now kindly piss off).
1:45PMish UPDATE (to above): Unplanned. Unprompted. Friends texting, and I quote: "[we're] healthy and managing our new normal." I love that there are likely millions of people confronting challenges who are not engaged in hysterics. They confront difficulty. And do not pine over some lost 'normal' -- which has been what, precisely, in the history of humankind? Sadly, these people are not platformed, nor have a mic. Too bad, really. Instead, society is left to sidestep toxic sludge spewed from terrible minds.
4:45PMish UPDATE: THE HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, you're welcome.
Yes, it's been out a few years. And, yes, I imagine many people have not yet seen it. So, you may consider putting the film on your Watchlist or MyStuff while your sheltering-in-place, and self-isolating, and daydreaming about the thrill of finally getting the official greenlight to hunt zombies because that neighbor who never returned your 10lb sledge has been coughing and has it coming. (I won't judge.)
Anyway, my lack of enthusiasm for THOR: RAGNAROK has been publicly stated. I am on the record. I did not like it. However, I DID become a fan and vocal supporter of JOJO RABBIT rather early in that film's release.
So, what does that get us?
If my maths skills are functioning then that means I am two-for-three in the plus-column regarding Taika Waititi films I have seen. Is that enough to know where he sits on my Stroke My Emotional and Artistic Sensibilities Thusly, Please. And Thank You see-saw? Not sure. Possibly. Maybe. The see-saw is in the backyard. I am looking at it now. But it's not like Taika is tied to my see-saw. And he's not here at the moment for me to ask him what he thinks.
Regardless, as Meatloaf said, two out of three ain't bad. Now, Meatloaf has since said dubious (read batshit) things, I grant readers that. So, forget that last bit about Meatloaf. Who cares what he says and **spoiler** I am glad he was eaten that one time (not at band camp).
Anyhoo . . .
Where was I?
THE HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE is a film.
The film has nature.
And dogs, sometimes called nature on four legs that barks.
And the storyline has found family elements. (Found families require building and maintenance just like biological ones. And the film, in my opinion, rushes the formation — for reasons I assume practical: production budget. More time showing the formation would have further enriched. Again, my opinion.)
The film may get you excited enough to put WILD PORK AND WATERCRESS on your TBR list. (It did me.)
Anyway, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. You're welcome.
Disclosure: No Taika Waititis were hurt during the composition of this post. (One was, but craft services gave him a cookie and he signed a waiver, too.)
Hair Metal: It's one of the things that brings me joy. And memories. Fond recollections, of carefree youth. And also the reflections that cause me to smile and laugh (at myself and my group) and say: Oh my God! What were we thinking and doing, really?
The kids nowadays . . . not like my group. WOW! BIG love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Check out the photos and see what they've enabled and are instigating in our area.
I experienced all this a few days ago. I knew immediately this was going to become Day 18's post. The tie-in with the songs, etc. I saw the first bucket of chalk and just smiled. Then I saw the second bucket of chalk about a mile later, surrounded by dozens of messages and artworks. I stopped my outdoor exercise. My eyes filled with tears. And I started snapping photos. As did others jogging and walking.
I have two requests of folks in my area seeing this post, and of others reading this and becoming inspired to start something similar in their neighborhoods:
1. Please take care if you decide to use the chalk and add to the wonderful street and sidewalk art and messaging meant to brighten our lives. If you feel sick, be considerate and don't use the chalk. Bring latex gloves with you when you go out for a walk or jog or run and wear them when use the chalk to write your message or draw something.
2. To all government bodies and righteous know-it-alls. I know you're trying to make us safe. I know it is a complex task. Expression is healing. Let's assume people have good intentions here. And that people will take precautions. Don't take away the SOLO cups and buckets filled with chalk that neighbors are leaving for neighbors.
Keep calm. Carry on. (and smoke 'em if you got 'em, you beautiful fucking zombies)
TRIGGER WARNING: the following alludes to current events that may trouble some readers.
Excerpt from the short story "The Huxley Initiative" by Geoffrey Allison (Copyright. 2020. All Rights Reserved.) to be included in a new Collection titled INSIDE JOBS
On day seventeen something changed. Slanted, en masse. It wasn't uncontrolled careening. More unexpected. A skid toward an unexplored edge. A slide toward a cut. A slip into a groove.
Note: I originally posted above as an update to the Seventeen post of the Self-Isolation blog. I decided to create a separate post for this.
A prime number day for the pandemic.
Prime. Of importance, of first importance.
What's important? Well, there's birds outside. The sun is shining. Grass is growing. Team members working for the refuse management company are working hard today, as they have been. And there are important things that can be done to help—something as seemingly small as respecting shelter-in-place directives in order to help slow the spread.
It's indeed a prime day.
Stay calm. Carry on.
Was on (podcast's) Twitter to amplify & share informative COVID-19 Tweets. Just a few. So as to not flood streams.
Decided to peruse Twitter briefly. It was worth it. A hearty chuckle.
I chuckled from seeing authors—who have been decrying piracy and the theft of IP—share (directly) a photo of an orangutan and otters. Yet, they never source the photo. (Bwahaha) They never attribute the photo/image. (Bwahaha) They never acknowledge the creator or the person who originally shared it, via Twitter, or wherever. (Bwahaha) They did not amplify the original Tweet. (Bwahahaha) The author(s) just took the image, and used it to create a post on their own feed. Meanwhile, they point fingers at others and shout PIRACY IS THEFT, or THIEF. Yet they seem to have no problem [appropriating, borrowing, stealing] another person's creativity. They put their name on—or directly associated their name with—another person's creative work product. Why? To suit their goals and objectives. Because they can get away with it? To seem smart? Or funny? Or clever? To appease fans? Or gain new ones? For Likes & RTs in service of the preceding?
These hacks shout: Don't steal my work! Meanwhile they appropriate someone else's creativity, ignore the effort and talent of its creator, or originator. Driven by their vanity or duplicity or both (and more), their action reeks of assumed privilege, and is yet another example of disingenuous persons (often with verified account status, quelle surprise) saying one thing and doing another.
That is funny as shit. Laugh out loud funny.
(Just logged back in to Twitter. An author is still rattling his sabre, pretending he is some virtuous warrior, fighting against IP theft, after his having [borrowed? stolen? appropriated?] the photo referenced above without sourcing the original sharer or creator of the image. Honorable? Honorable my ass.)
Lunch on the early side, today. Getting ready to do about 5 to 6 miles. (Yesterday, 6mi.)
After a quick bite, I . . .
Stopping here. Quick detour.
The other night I heard a news broadcast talking about people putting on extra pounds during COVID-19 shelter in place. The journo piece referenced the Freshman Fifteen. I assume the reportage accurate, at least for the coverage area. To be frank, I found it sad because to me this is a time and reason and excuse to exercise deliberation. Restraint. Born of kindness, not fear. Seeding for tomorrow, not harvesting for today. A time to manage intakes. To consider. To reflect. Not as self-induced punishment. Not contrived stoicism. Not for some sense of lacking self-worth. But because our planet quite likely needs the human species to act and behave differently. This seems like a perfect time to put some of those actions and behaviors into place.
By the way, would you be surprised, Plague-weary Readers, to learn that I have seen people who issue dire warnings about certain pending environmental catastrophe excuse, if not outright champion, gluttonous attitudes and behaviors at this moment. I mean, think about that. On the one hand, these people want others to believe they are for saving the environment and are willing to work to alter humanity's path. On the other hand, during an actual crisis—one that's arguably manageable, no matter how scary it feels in this moment; one arguably less catastrophic than a crisis framed by actual environmental collapse—these people's first inclination is to affirmatively shout: Yes; doom is on us! Eat whatever you want. You deserve it.
Compare their communicated intention (one might call it signaling) to their action, attitude and behavior. They don't quite jive, do they? Par for the course, ain't it?
It's like it's all just a game to these sort of people. They want (need?) to be first to signal their inclusion in some just cause and righteous effort toward a needed course correction. But then, when a manageable crisis* hits, they're the first to pander to humanity's fear-based instinctual drive, essentially saying to others: FUCK IT!; GO!; eat what you want; you're stressed.
* I recognize that though this crisis is manageable some persons have failed to manage it as optimally as they might.
I vacillate between laughter and tears as I try to imagine the incongruity of the people I describe and reference above during a crisis permanently altering our species. (My laughter not bellowed in disrespect to those facing loss and pain in the current moment; my tears are doing the work to represent them and their current pain and struggle.)
Anyhoo . . .
Where was I?
So, before heading on this walk, I decided to water the sedum I split and replanted this past weekend.
After transplantation. After undergoing shock. After change. They look healthy.
Maybe that's metaphor.
I checked the bird feeder, too, and while performing my inspection—curious to determine if I could assess the birds favorite seed, or at least the most devoured—I looked off toward the tool shed and found a dark eyed junco, grounded on the castle wall stone edging this particular bit of garden bed. We get many sparrows. But I don't recall last time I saw a dark-eyed junco in the yard.
Maybe that's symbolism.
Stay calm. Carry on.
Me, commenting on some of the creepy media* commentary and coverage and framing during COVID-19 era
( * Press and platformed, inclusive )
Welcome to your sweet sixteen (days), plague.
You're almost all grown up. Just a couple more.
Then you'll be eighteen . . .
[uncomfortable, creepy fuckety-fucking-fuck pause]
. . . and can vote.
It's an election year, too.
There's cake. And candles.
Please wait to blow them out until we have all donned our masks.
[sleezy fucking grin]
Thanks for waiting. Appreciate that.
Everyone's talking about you.
Can't get enough of you on the TV.
I bet childhood stardom is tough, huh?
But, WOW! if Bop Magazine was still in print you'd make the cover.
I have mentioned birds in this COVID-19 era blog a couple times.
(Here, and here, and here.)
Sometimes the commentary has been reflective.
Perhaps there's symbolism or metaphor—or crumbs from the Pop-tart I just ate—in either approach. Perhaps I am just high on the too many cans of cocktail peanuts I have devoured since this whole pandemic began.
Anyway . . .
After being disgusted by a commercial for HUNTERS, I decided to train the militant birds bivouacking in my backyard. I am gathering the finest soldiers from all warring avian factions, and I am training these winged warriors to hunt grammar Nazis.
Yes, grammar Nazis.
Furthermore, I am committing my efforts in this area to writing. And I am converting these research notes into script format in real time.
Apple TV+ Development Execs, you want to buy this show from me. If THAT idea is not already clear and has not already occurred to you, then get yourself tested for the Coronavirus, because your diminished faculties are likely a sign you are suffering from a high fever.
And let me be really clear here . . .
(so give me a moment to come down from this cocktail peanut high -- okay, thanks)
Hunting the countless pretentious, pedantic grammar Nazis that have been hiding in plain sight of our society IS THE STORY OF OUR TIME. I have run the concept by a number of people (I've had this idea for a while, actually.) They all love the concept. And the potential viewers I have pitched the concept to are in a lucrative Demo. I am not talking grandmothers shopping for birdseed at Wal-mart.
I'd love the opportunity to pitch this show to you.
If you don't agree that this show has potential, I'll respect that. And contrary to misconceptions held by certain persons who have never worked with me, I have a history of collaboration. So, let me communicate in advance, that I am absolutely spineless—without conviction to my artisitic vision—and am totally willing to rewrite my research notes in support of a reboot of West Side Story. Imagine Jets and Sharks cast as aves.
I just want that sweet, juicy Apple money, to be honest.
So, let's do this.
Work concluded. I had to rewrite a flash fiction for which early readers had suggestions. Constructive ones, too, like: story idea, good; make [X] more clear to help comprehension since it's a short, short story.
Good stuff. Helpful.
With work done. I returned to my post.
Sentry o'er the crockpot is much like being posted at GRRM's northern wall. Everything goes at a glacial pace until...
I don't want to alarm any readers—especially not my wife's friends, certainly not those who drink heavily as they'll probably spit their wine when they read the following.
I am a bit worried.
You know how in calamity movies the first fuck up doesn't do it? It's some secondary, oft unintentional, act that pushes everything over a cliff.
Well, I substituted pork for chicken to simmer in my mole sauce.
I am afraid my complete disregard for some unwritten, ancient spell binding midwestern mole recipes to the exclusive purview of the noble chicken is going to create some kind of supernatural earthquake that fractures the narrow crack between worlds thus enabling demons to enter this one and then we'll have COVID-19 DAEMONS to deal with. If that happens, I am sorry. Nothing happened when I mixed cocktail peanuts and dry roasted peanuts the other day. Although, I have seen—thru my office window—the neighbor dog hump, with increased gusto and regularity, the goal post of the practice soccer net. Maybe I caused that.
Anyway, I hope everyone reading this tunes out the poo-pooing "It's okay not to create right now" and goes off and experiments with something. Makes something. You know what: Art has become too much about product. About consumption. Therefore, the default view by the pros and society is through the lens of job, or profession. Art's power doesn't come from consumption (not exclusively for goddamn sure). The act of making is healing. SELF-EXPRESSION is healing. It's freeing. It's joy creation. Well-being manifestation. There are way too many people out there right now making excuses, seemingly to discourage people from engaging in the healing process of creation.
Fuck that. And fuck them.
Whatever you make, right now, during this troubled and confusing period of varying opacities and shadow, doesn't have to be about quality. It doesn't have to be for any audience other than you. Or you and your family. Or you, your family, and the neighbor dog that now has its pecker caught in the mesh of the soccer net (and making me laugh).
Stay calm. Carry on.
Enjoying the sun and warmth, dividing sedum.
[10:45AMish UPDATE]: My Task List also has 'Plant Phlox Along Back Patio Border' showing as Due Today. However, I've no phlox to plant. And since going to a nursery (likely not open) or a hardware store (likely open as considered essential during the KS Shelter-In-Place order) seems an unnecessary and unimportant reason and cause to be exposed to anything plague-like from the shambling zombies we all know and love, I guess I'm going to watch birds and read BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny.
[11AMish UPDATE - corrected]: Can the Establishment and their wealthy, privileged mouthpieces* please step aside so we can cease with the unnecessary killing of US citizens directly, and indirectly through anxiety-induced health impacts from financial worry, and instead implement a meaningful universal health care system?
* They all know who they are. Though they won't admit it. Many don't have time. They're busy treating you like a Consumption Cog™ and are trying to sell you their next bit of whatever.
5PMish UPDATE: 4mi. walk. Spent most of afternoon self-isolating in my backyard. Working in the sun, dirt under my nails, listening to what, I guess, some people would describe as Satanic Metal. Y'all should be so lucky, truly.
Folks, I hope you understand the difference in the people who affirm the delicate nature of the current situation from those who cater fear to you and enable your anxiety-induced stasis. You're too needed to be staring at a screen that a small percentage of folks use as a magic mirror to ensnare your life. I am not encouraging avoidance. By all means, experience fear. Experience sadness. But experience joy, too. AND creativity. Everyday folks: It's okay for YOU to create something at this time. Don't let creative folks (they call themselves "pros") dissuade you from creating because it's weird (for them) right now. You're you. Don't let them rob you of a chance for you to be brave or imaginative. To breathe in this topsy-turvy situation and exhale something that contains a little of you. That comments on this time period. Or your reaction to—or take on—it. Whatever you want or can create. A painting. A story. A garden. A peanut butter and jalapeno jelly sandwich cut into the shape of a velociraptor . . .
Keep calm. Carry on.
Yesterday was a great day work-wise. Productive. On the personal front, it was conflicting.
At our house, we make an effort to live a sustainable life. Trees are a part of that. We love trees. But two of our trees had to go. We decided that last October. Booked the service in advance. (Tree crews appreciate having booked work in the slower winter months.) The service we contracted with called a couple of days ago to schedule the workday: yesterday.
That's when the anxiety, and guilt, started bubbling.
An elm was sick.
The silver maple, brittle.
The silver maple had been dropping limbs and large branches. L-A-R-G-E, large! Last summer a windstorm took a branch so big, from near the top of the tree, it concerned us. Had it fallen on someone (even some thing) it would have caused serious, if not fatal, damage.
No matter the background and rationale. Within our practical logic, we found no comfort. Watching them take the trees wasn't easy.
So, that was our yesterday.
Today we're still sad. But we talk about where to plant trees elsewhere, to do our part to offset the loss of CO2 processing Mother Earth now has because of our action, our decision.
Yet magic finds a way.
Now the eastern sun embraces the front of our house. May it ever glow, and light a path, and Let the Sunshine In...
(Side note, for Supporters. I posted March '20 Rock-n-Roll Reads short story a bit ago. "Tangled Up In Blue" is LIVE. Check the For Supporters section of the website; you know the drill. Peace)
1PM(ish) UPDATE, trees: I forgot one uplifting bit that happened during the tree felling yesterday. The work brought out all the neighbors. They stood in their driveways, watched the crew work the bucket-truck and the chainsaws. Distracted, as they were, at least for the moment, from the pandemic. Waving. Smiling. That was fucking cool to see, and I can't believe I forgot to include that tidbit in the original post above.
1PM(ish) UPDATE: We just worked in the garden. Almost 2hrs. It got too windy to stay any longer. Risk of respiratory impacts in a respiratory-sensitive era. Hells bells, why push it, yo! While we were out there, my wife scolded me. Rightfully done. I had removed a couple of dandelions from among the tulips and daffodils. We both wore headphones. She shouted at me, "NO! For the BEES!" and pointed at my fuck up. She's right.
1PM(ish) UPDATE: Sarah, please imagine me in a hazmat suit for protection and, with your permission, here's a hug. You're correct: it IS disillusioning to see such blatant co-opting for the fulfillment of personal ambition. Honestly though, I expect as much from this former candidate—appropriation is not new to her approach to climbing the social/professional ladder. And for all the finger-pointing **at you know who's camp** there was a seriously massive HIGH-n-MIGHTY tone communicated by many Warren supporters during the height of the primary. #BeWellSarah
Okay. The thirteenth day of self-isolation falls on a Friday. And while I would love to embrace the spookiness of it—the auspicious nature—and while I also empathize with any Triskaidekaphobics reading this and involuntarily entering a semi-catatonic state, indulge me a moment for more pleasant thoughts.
Yesterday: 4 miles. Speed-walking. Nice day. Only a few people out when I was. Many dogs were being walked. Plenty of distancing was being created. And THAT bummed me, but only for a bit.
One of the people I ran into is a woman who is known to me. I don't know her. Hadn't met her. I won't go into details but she's experienced tragedy. We all do. And, although it's not fair or prudent or wise, or even accurate, to grade tragedies, hers is a powerful one that I think most everyone would rank near the worst types of tragedies someone can endure. We spoke. Briefly. A friendly face. A friendlier voice. A stream of asphalt separated us. But a bridge was built. She introduced herself. (It was that precise moment I realized who, in fact, she was.) We shared a few stories. About paths almost crossed. Near misses that prevented us from meeting before then.
A solid bridge. Crossing more than that neighborhood street. A good memory. A ward, a protection against superstition and fear.
Keep calm. Carry on.
A message to Weebly staff:
Why does your text editor just stop working? Thus preventing edits and corrections to text from being published? Exactly how long can you be in business and not fix problems extant for years? Tell me, honestly: Now that Square owns you, and Jack Dorsey is, de facto, at the helm, does his navel-gazing, self-involvement, and pursuit of spiritual enlightenment (after dumping a turd on humanity) prevent refinement and improvement bending toward progress?
Average Joe & Jane:
Please do not forget that some people who use their social media platforms to decry the unfairness of the economics of the modern day invested—and still invest—in venture and private equity funds that invest in companies and persons who have turned over the economic applecart, under whose fruit you are being pummeled and bruised. They have profited off the very situation they claim abhorrent. You have every right to question wealthy persons about this. You have every right to be concerned about those who don't and won't answer.
An example of why skepticism of what the privileged say is healthy? An example of how the wealthy, privileged, and connected say one thing yet do another? Why do they do this? To capture your attention? To beg, borrow, or steal your votes? To line their pockets? To feed?
Delete it, he shouted . . .
And yet . . .
Ask me how and why I have formed my opinions of the wealthy and privileged—and their brood—regardless of political affiliations because, let's face it, contrived partisanship is a feint the wealthy, privileged, and connected use to obtain their ultimate objective(s).
12 . . .
. . . lunations of the moon, those familiar faces smiling down at us
. . . titans, Olympians, and the trials of a man as god
. . . apostles in the stead of precedents, characters for new stories
. . . silent winter nights waiting for gifts, for magi, for epiphany
. . . jurors locked away, quarantined as they travel innocence and guilt, carrying society like bags of sand
. . . clock numerals nobody now cares to read, time better misplaced and meant forgotten
Keep calm. Carry on.
UPDATE (lunch, about noon-thirty): The robins are plentiful today. I watched them through the window this morning, while working. And watched them while I made my wife and I lunch. One robin is quite comical. He or she has it in for the mulch. One piece of mulch in particular. I can almost hear it; the words bursting forth from its rusty breast as it spews curses at the warped and twisted shave of cedar resting next to a daffodil: "Eat a bag of dicks, mulch" says the robin, shaking the woodchip with such a ferocity I fear the bird might snap its own neck.
Lest any reader think my imagining birds talk is the result of me going stir-crazy from self-quarantine, let me say this. Our daily routine has been mostly unchanged during self-isolation. We usually work from home. So, my inventing scenarios and imagining words for birds to shout at the mulch in my garden is honestly just another day for me. Doing such things brings me joy. It is sprite-song. My Danse Russe.
If you're stressed out, I hope you find something to alleviate your anxiety. A beat, a rhythm. Dance naked and grotesquely to it. Like William Carlos and I. Or do it differently. Regardless, may I suggest logging off social media platforms. Stop giving your psyche to ne'er-do-well personalities who feast on your essence.
If you need help, just reach out. I'll be here. At my window . . . staring at the birds in the backyard.
Update, 2:30pm(ish): News so good I had to share it immediately. I looked outside and found a mourning dove in the feeder. I hadn't seen one the last few days. Last week there were four hanging around. I saw only one a moment ago. Looking aptly named—melancholy, and so doing its attributive modifier a solid. It looked tired and held what appeared to be avian-sized version of a M16A1 with underslung Smoothbore grenade launcher. I presume the weapon shoots millet or milo and the launcher utilizes cracked corn or sunflower seeds for more serious encounters. God, when will these bird wars cease? When?
I made pancake batter yesterday. A BIG batch, enough for two day's breakfast. Or a breakfast and an Elevenses meal. I put fresh cranberries in the mix. (I always buy extra during the holidays and freeze them so we have them throughout the year.) I added a few dashes of cinnamon too. The result. A taste like Christmas. Which was my intention. A trick of the mind, of more pleasant times.
I am not saying the illusion worked, but it totally worked.
Stay calm. Carry on.
3pm(ish). I wrote my Senators. Didn't dance around my thoughts. Went straight to the point.
The United States of America and the world is facing a healthcare crisis with the COVID-19 epidemic. The relief bill is an affront to human life, a grotesque mockery of the workers of America (providing so little in a great time of need), and is another example of corporate welfare the Republican Senators are always too willing to dole out. It is disgusting.
Is there generic social media outrage happening about this so-called relief bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic? How's it going? Conversation productive? As long as the cool kids are getting enough RTs of their hot takes to ensure inflated self-importance regarding their doing good in the world.
4pm(ish). Logged into the podcast's Twitter account. Each day during the pandemic, I am trying to spread the (good)word. I share only a few (no sense in contributing to flooding) quality-sourced bits of information or news to Sunflower State folks who follow us directly or have us listed. Today, I came across the following:
I understand timing is problematic and the intersection of what was planned and what's happening in the world right now couldn't necessarily have been predicted. Still, given the extent of the current situation and the resulting anxieties—the literal little fires—the wording and the choice to continue to promote this hashtag comes across as crass. A bit tone deaf. At least to me. If it were promoting some independent (artist) creation, I could maybe write it off as the gallows humor of an indie creator or troupe. Hell, I'd appreciate that. But this is BIG business production leveraging a BIG tech platform, trying to create virality. Irony.
Not that you asked, but. . .
"Yes, he had A2. Hong Kong flu. Just like you and me and Corey and Kelly and Joan."
Before comparing King's published words to something he recently said, consider the following.
First, note I say his published words. It may be King's editor requested the additional description that resulted in the inclusion of Hong Kong flu. I understand the version of Night Surf published in NIGHT SHIFT is edited compared to the original version of the story that was published in a literary magazine. So, if King's editor requested an 'A2' clarification, what prompted King NOT to argue against this change? Did he not find it racist? Xenophobic? Was he desperate to sell his work? (I realize King has stated he writes because he has to; he's impelled to write and does not do it for the money. However, he has also defined a talented writer as one who cashes a check written by someone else. Curious confliction, that.)
And what if his editor didn't request expanding the definition of the A2 virus? What if the author made the change, assuming it was not in the original?
The reference to Hong Kong Flu does not appear until near the end of the story. The reader was never given any reason to care about the geographic origin of the A2 or A6 flu strains. Arguably, the reader's knowledge of where the A2 flu originated matters little. However, because of how the A2 flu strain is used in the narrative, I understand certain readers may ascribe some beneficial aspect to it. But the A6 strain originates from the same broad geographical area as A2. So, I don't think any argument if one reads the story that way holds any water, at all.
Curiously (at least I find it curious), the descriptor Hong Kong adds nothing at all to the story.
Literally. Not. One. Thing.
Nothing in the story hangs on the geographic origin of the A2 or A6.
It's not needed. Or is it?
Consider when 'Night Surf' was originally released. Would readers have KNOWN the source of A2 from historical (then present day) events? What were they feeling? What was their emotional state regarding this topic? Was a xenophobia extant? heightened? And, were these elements being intentionally leveraged, played with, enflamed by referencing Hong Kong? What effect could be had by specifically calling out the geographic region and placing it front and center in the minds of those reading the story when it was originally published? or even when published again in the collection ten years later?
Quite odd because, as I say, the story does not need the reader to know the origin of A6.
And so I ask myself, and wonder: Why include Hong Kong? Why the geographic specificity? Why would an author specifically use Hong Kong in describing a flu? Is it xenophobia? to play on xenophobia? to use it? to stoke it? in order to elicit fear? to cater to preconceived notions? for effect? for story traction? to profit from any or all of the preceding elements? Or was it thoughtlessness and careless word choice, perhaps because that was the naming convention used in previous generations?
King himself uses the word 'xenophobic asshole' to describe a person who ascribes the geographic origin in naming a flu strain. Curious that, too.
Sidenote: I spent a little time and effort on the above because in my current writing I am using the distillate: the politics and art of fear and hate; famous people saying one thing and doing another; platformed persons driving people toward self harm, including the taking of their own lives.
Mom, if you're reading this: It'll be a happy story. Cross my heart.
There are still people collecting people in this time of trouble. (Think Professor Slughorn, only they don't collect famous persons but gather the throngs to themselves for a gluttonous feeding of their own psyche.) Sadly, many pretend to do good in the name of others. One person in particular—Austin-based—reads like horribly written fortune cookies. Another, quietly gloms onto the work of other(s) and, desperate for attention, repackages and reissues it—disguised as helpful advice and care for others. A vainglorious pursuit. (That writerly bros are so depraved is certainly a comment on state of America's cultural affairs.)
Finding humor is important in times like this. To keep the shadows in check. The horror in witnessing human beings engaged in the above during a pandemic makes me chuckle.
Another act making me laugh right now are statements indicating the economy is valued more than human lives. That certain persons equate human existence with the economy is troublesome. Economic endeavor and activity is A PART of existence, not the only part. And that certain persons would sacrifice life for economic metrics is absurd. And that absurdity makes me smile and chuckle. These people only value beans (profit). They have them counted, and they store them in little urns: Capitalist canopic jars™. As they have no soul, they have no need to use such containers for their entrails. Beans! For them, life is all about beans.
People need food right now. And medical care. How we deliver and how (even if) we are compensated matters little. Certainly we can be compensated with fiat currency. Precious metals. Gemstones. Or we can provide what's needed voluntarily and without immediate concern for stock indexes, GDP, and other metrics that are meaningless to the care of human beings and the upholding of life.
Something for readers to consider. Both the following statements can be true:
1. It's crass to view the human experience exclusively as economic endeavor, and people are foolish for ignoring transmission risks and health effects of the Coronavirus by suggesting people get back to work too soon merely for the sake of 'the economy.'
2. Certain people pointing out the foolishness of above said persons (see #1) stoke anxiety, cater fear, and pander to and over-encourage self-care to the point of rampant despondency and inaction in the broader populace because their bottom-line is driven by garnering the attention of others. They profit through their influence (sell movies, sell clicks and views, sell books, etc). To an extent, they have a vested interest in keeping people tuned in to drama, real or manufactured, because they can profit from it. YES; those suggesting others are wicked for focusing on the economy may themselves be engaging in the shoring up of their own economic interests.
Keep calm. Carry on.
UPDATE, to yesterday's bird feeder post: Black-capped chickadees and sparrows have overtaken the feeder. The common grackles are notably absent at present. The insurgency—orchestrated by the smallish aves—has been successful. At least for now.
There is hope. And songs dance across the green lawn.
But wait! What is this . . . a common grackle has landed on the fence. . .
More grackles have entered the field of battle.
I am enlisted to the small birds, give them aid and build them a rapid-fire weapon. I have no idea what caliber a millet seed is but the projectiles deter grackle the way soap did a certain 90s era film heartthrob rumored to practice poor personal hygiene. [We're in a pandemic, #### ####. Wash your hands, and your ass.]
The morning battle, a tidal affair. Ebb and flow.
With lunch concluded, I assess.
The small birds currently hold the feeder. A (mated?) pair of cardinals have sided with the precious little ones. The common grackles nest nearby. The neighbor's tree branches sag with the weight of such evil. They squawk. Iridescent feather necks shimmer as throats chant void-tongue incantations, spewing Vermis Maledicta at the smaller, enterprising aves.
Update [Trigger Warning: gallows humor -- read at your own risk]
Having accidentally inhaled whatever substance encrusts dry-roasted peanuts, I have taken to hurriedly rewriting the lyrics to (I CAN'T GET NO) SATISFACTION by Rolling Stones, from the point of view of a mage who is poorly trained in the arts of necromancy:
I can't stop the putrefaction, I can't stop the putrefaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't stop the, I can't stop the
When I walk among the dead, and come across fresh dirt
And an unsuspecting body brings hope for a necromantic spell
To raise a soul that's bound to Hell
I can't stop the, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey…
Filled the feeders in the backyard. Birds are already squawking and alighting on neighboring trees.
In the old days, I would have grabbed a chair from the patio table and slid a cigarette from a pack of Marlboro Lights and watched the birds for a while. Now it's just the chair. I can still listen to the birds though.
I can do that, and think about some of the good things that may come from this pandemic.
I am down seven pounds in last seven days. I am not sick. Much of my weight loss was due to the extra pounds I acquired while away, admittedly. That was easy weight loss. There's a little muscle mass loss, too. (I have lowered the amount of weight I exercise with since injuring my left arm in January.) However, some of the weight loss is attributable to careful eating and reducing portion size beyond pre-pandemic levels so I can try and shop only once a week during the self-isolation period.
And THAT is where I think one can find a silver lining in this cloud of pandemic.
Imagine the world being more conscientious of the amount they consume. We have to now, of course, because of worry. We're forced to limit our buying to two packages of X or Y. But what if aspects of this new reality took hold in individual, neighborhood and community behavior patterns?
Less consumption. Less waste. Less emission. Et cetera.
Perhaps anxiety has got a grip on you. Or you have a family member suffering right now and are rightfully in an emotionally heightened state. Perhaps you're not ready, or able, to consider 'beneficial' changes to the culture and attitudes and behaviors that may come from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you're not, I understand. Really, I do. I cannot help but consider all aspects. It's how I am wired. I think there's opportunity for the emergence of positive things.
Stay calm. Carry on. Listen to the birds. And, as always . . . smoke 'em if you got 'em.
UPDATE: The common grackles have established a beachhead. The main feeder is theirs. And they've reinforced the entirety of the backyard now. The robins, and sparrows, and chickadees are in desperate need. Their joy ebbs in the fading light of the new spring. And they search for an effective breach point in the common grackle's defenses. Alas, the bird wars of suburbia are a melancholy affair.
[post corrected for errors contained within original. sorry, I posted quickly, before prepping lunch]
UPDATE: Doing research and preparation for extended family and friends set. As a result, uncovering and unpacking things. Surprisingly came across an old membership card, dated Jan 1994 . . . for PACER'S, an adult entertainment club located in San Diego, CA.
(P.S. that shit is making it into today's story / writing . . . Fuckin' A it is)
UPDATE: Nobody should read my work in progress—even if it were finished. I can barely stand to read the draft as I review current bits in establishing launching points for next effort. I am not talking about quality of craft, here. No. It should not be read because It is too in the moment. Too raw, and sharp. Serrated. I am writing it for myself. It is my Rage Vent™. I am, essentially, a pilot engaged in an emergency fuel dump procedure. It is a dangerous maneuver; or can be, if performed poorly, without care. I know I am ejecting combustible material. Still, it has value. And my investment of time is worth it, even if this shambling obscenity is unviable, commercially untenable, for the foreseeable future . . . if not longer.
Unrelated: If you live --successfully or not-- with the disease of alcoholism, you may choose not to read on.
Your church, or spiritual, leader, or healer, will not tell you this: COVID-19 absolves you from the sin of consuming cheap OJ mixed with even cheaper-still tequila.
A COVID-19 era blog, updated March 15 thru April 14, 2020, by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa