The beauty of a dream

I’m too old and too pragmatic and too cynical to still think this way.

It’s not as strong as it used to be — doesn’t happen as often, nor as unwaveringly. I see the holes in the thought process more readily, and I don’t fight or deny those holes as blindly.But it’s still there, that part of me… the dreamer.

I still believe in the possibility of comic books and Hollywood endings (and beginnings, and middles). Anything that I can imagine can happen. Anything that anyone can imagine can happen.

Thousands of years ago, was light from a source other than the sun or fire possible? Could you capture images for future viewing? Communicate across distances with a hunk of metal the size of your hand or travel to other planets?

Things man once swore impossible are not.

If reality can destroy the dream, why should not the dream destroy reality?

That’s the beauty of a dream — you don’t ever let it go.

I’m in love with ideas and ideals, with things that no adult believes in, with things that belong on the printed page and in celluloid nights in cinemas.

It can make it rough, being a grown-up while still holding onto childish things,… but it makes it easier, too, getting from one day to the next.

Ouroboros can go eat itself

There is nothing more disheartening to me at this moment in time* than realizing that that thing — that incident, that action, that behavior that has been weighing on you all day, angering, puzzling, bothering you, on too many levels to deal with rationally and properly — is similar if not identical to something you did in the past.

Fuck your context, and mine. Being a hypocrite sucks. Self-awareness doesn’t really balance this one out too well.

* fuck you, semantics Nazis. You’ll not be using this one against me in the future…

Pressure valve

Some days are all fun and giggles in my world. Other days — and this is one, it is probably apparent — not so much. I get caught up in the news: in reading stories about religious extremists killing and torturing in the name of their god, about men abusing women and children and each other, about greed and entitlement and belittling other people because they are different and you’re afraid of that and everything that is wrong in the world. I get caught up in these things like taking a step too far into the flood waters, thinking they’re shallower or less powerful than they are, realizing as I’m suddenly knocked off my feet and being pulled along with no control.

I get angry, and that’s not something I enjoy feeling. My natural instinct, in fact, is to say no one does — what kind of sick person enjoys being angry? Besides political extremists and the talking heads on news channels? And religious people, and people that are passionate about issues, whether cultural or economic or spiritual, whether left or right leaning. Whether right or wrong, by my definition or yours, they get angry, and shout, and write, and take action.

So there’s the positive takeaway, I tell myself. Working for change in the world, to turn the tide from the status quo, to bring awareness. And sometimes it works — my parents were in the generation that fought to get equal rights for black people, that attended rallies led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and split from their parents and neighbors and refused to give in to the ignorance and intolerance. And my grandparents, they were around for women’s liberation movements, and I’m living in time where sexual orientation is becoming less and less acceptable a reason to deny someone their rights.

But how much has changed? How little? Close friends of mine still think of blacks and browns and yellows as different and inferentially inferior (especially when there’s no one else around). Gays are weird and gross — and from the agnostics and atheists in my circle. The really religious are so much worse. And women still ask for it they way they dress, and who cares if they make less than me for the same job?

Over the years — almost 43 of them, and counting — I’ve tried debating, using solid logic and research and, when appropriate and necessary, impassioned words. It’s a nice thought, that all that talking and discussing leads to change (on either person’s part, to be fair, or perhaps even observers who don’t participate). But realistically — how many minds have I changed over the years? How many minds have I opened? I won’t say none, but the number can’t be much greater than that.

For whatever reason, people are set in their beliefs, even when shown that the foundation of one of those beliefs is patently untrue. Which, you know — fine. Ignorance is bliss, maybe. And what do I care, at the end of the day, if the rest of the world want to believe in something that is demonstrably (even obviously) wrong?

Because, like it or not (and this is one of those days when I don’t so much), I’m stuck living in the same world as them, and more likely than not, these false beliefs shape their actions, and their actions touch me. Sure, I can ignore the entitlement-shaped statements, and the ignorance and fear-fueled idiocy, and the greed-driven hi-jinks, until it turns into a religious nut deciding that I should die because I believe differently, or my financial situation is affected by some out-of-touch CEO’s avarice — because the world owes it to him, by God!

That list almost went on ad nauseum, but it was gonna end on an obvious Justin Beiber joke. Because fuck that guy. With a jackhammer.

Seriously. Jackhammer. Right in the earhole. Or anywhere, really. it’s a jackhammer. No need to be picky about it.

It’s all impotent rage, at the end of the day, which I think is why I choose to ignore it. It’s more fun to be the funny guy, the guy who makes people smile and laugh and forget about their worries, than to be the guy who gets on social media and rails about problems and issues and who shows up in bars making fun of those idiots who have different opinions than his own.

I wonder what it’s like to be ignorant, comfortable accepting the truth of the world around you from talking heads without ever questioning any of it, letting first and easy impressions and assumptions become the fact and foundation of your world.  I really do. Is it easier? Are you happier at the end of the day?

It’s all just ranting on a page. And even with scalded fingers too tired to hold open this valve any longer, I don’t feel at all ventilated.

I blame it all on Bieber fans.

Day… Nine?

Man, it’s a good thing I’ve spent a good chunk of my life working two or three jobs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be quite so used to not getting enough sleep, and I would likely be looking a lot like the aftermath of the Hindenburg right now.

I may or may not be a little more irritable than usual, and a little more prone to introspection-bordering-on-depression the past few days. I’m also remembering dreams again (if not details, then the fact that I had them) every morning. They’re not particularly weird or vivid, aside from the fact that I’m used to not remembering them at all. The only real noticeable side effect — and it might not even be the Chantix causing this, but any number of other factors — is a lack of quality sleep. I can go to bed at whatever time, in whatever state of exhaustion, and I’m pretty guaranteed for the last three nights to sleep no longer than two hours at a stretch.

I’m on this for three more weeks, max, so I’m not too worried about it. And I’ve not been 36 hours without a cigarette (one in the past 60), so now on top of determination, I’ve got the “Why ruin my progress?” thought going for me.

…and then I saw this today:

... Progress Successfully Saved!

… Progress Successfully Saved!

One day at a time, though.

Day six

And day zero of no smokies. Not so bad.

Chantix isn’t necessarily giving me bad dreams, but something — and I’m looking at you, Chantix — is fucking with my sleep patterns. Enough that I’m remembering my dreams a lot — and thus, how I can confirm my sleep patterns are being fucked.

Not so bad, aside from the tired. Got my vape thing, so when I slip and have that physical reflex, I’m okay.

Think this time it’ll finally stick.

Day One

“Simple lush beauty, melancholic words couched in a perfectly autumnal sunshine. There’s a passage of fire ahead…” – earlier today…

Primarily for my own interests, tracking the latest attempt to quit smoking, via Chantix. It won’t read very interesting, likely. In fact, I may short-hand most of it. Because why not?

Day one, today. Ground zero. One half dose, this morning. No noticeable side effects – perhaps a mild bit of fog/confusion, but it’s tough to separate that from the dehydration-related (? – boy I sure hope that’s right, and I’m not suffering from mini-strokes or scarring from a past embolism) fog I experience after drinking nights. No noticeable results, either, but from my reading yesterday, I’ve got a few days before the levels build up in my bloodstream.

Related: I Had a Stroke at 33

Today being the last day of September, I finally round out a month with 50+ miles of (targeted/dedicated) walking/running (stupid knees) behind me. Trying to decide whether or not I should up that number for the October (even as the timing of walking wil lbecome more challenging, with the weather potentially turning cooler and the amount of available daylight decreasing). Happy enough with 50 miles/month, I will say.

I’m going to begin working on some basic core exercises — nothing hardcore, as I have no interest in spending the time and effort necessary to look like I’m an athletic 20 year old anymore. Just some slightly better me type exercises. With perhaps a hint of narcissism.

I need to get my time more under control, and get back to working on creative things — that novel that’s been burrowing its way out of my head for a year plus, short films, music… Something. And I need to finish that latest King book, at least.

There. All caught up. Nothing else exciting to see here. Move along. I’ve got to go walk.

Addicted to the new

Attention wavers, interest peaks and abates with the speed of a burning fuse.

The follow-up question: is that a terrible thing? Sometimes — that’s an answer, not inaccurate. The inertia of mentioned a few days ago never builds positively. Sometimes not, though — the roller coaster seems to always come back to the really important stuff.

Perhaps I’m willing to give in to this addiction because it — like most other addictions — feels good, but unlike most others, isn’t inherently unhealthy. At least, not that four out of five dentists surveyed have pointed out…

Or maybe I’m just trading in, one addiction for another, one vice to fill the gap another left behind.

I think I’m okay with that. Or at least okay enough for now.

Inertia Creep

I have determination enough to realize that there’s a ton of things that I really want to do: re-record the album’s worth of tunes that I wrote and recorded in my early- to mid-twenties (good songs that I remain proud of, but badly in need of better arrangements and production); finishing the novel that I’ve started twice now; working on a new movie, for which various friends have pitched great ideas on top of my own.

That’s about where my determination stops. Or maybe where my distractability takes over, because look! Squirrel! (More accurately, in my case, it’s look! Vodka! or Music! or … well, okay. Squirrel!!!)

I suppose at some point, discipline will be learned, or another lifetime of potential will have been wasted. Seems to be a recurring theme in my life, that either/or thing (guess which one usually wins, at least historically…).

There is no cure for willful stupidity, nor for willful laziness.

Appropos of no one in particular, but everyone, too

 

 

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It’s amazing to me, the number of otherwise seemingly intelligent friends that I have in my life that not only believe things that are proven to be untrue (as well as the more-than-occasional not-proven-but-c’monfuckingseriouslyyoustillthinkthat concept), but encourage others to do the same.

Here’s one important link, since waaay too many of you seem to be to lazy or incapable of doing some simple basic research instead of simply believing whatever you’re told: Snopes.

I’m not saying that whatever source you’re getting your information from is always wrong – but only because I don’t know what your source is, and a broken clock is still right twice a day. I am, however, saying that you clearly never learned to think critically, or possibly at all.

And while we’re on the subject, did you know that people that give me half of their income every week live an average of five years longer, and are demonstrably happier? It’s true. Saw it on Fox News.

If you can’t tell, I’m on the road to being smoke-free.

The Internet is no place to be if you want to remain a happy and calm person.

If this is your only friend, it's okay to be a little angry.

If this is your only friend, it’s okay to be a little angry.

Or maybe it’s perfect place to be. Once you realize that the anonymity and physical distance of being on the interwebs allows people to cut loose with their Id, to be someone that they want to be rather than who they feel forced to be in their everyday lives… it allows you some frame of perspective. You can read and process their comments and thoughts, and then take a breath, read it again, breathe more deeply, and then move on.

It’s 90% stupidity and vanity out here in the wildwildwest.com, all opinion and hoping for your fifteen seconds of fame and viral exposure (the fact that I keep a blog is your first clue that I’m no better than that which I decry). The loudest voices are those of the lowest common denominator and the furthest fringes. Intelligent, considered moderation gets lost in the ocean of noise – but then, this is a reflection of the world, of the culture that we choose to live by surrounding ourselves with the people and places and thought processes that we do.

I heard once – more than once, but who’s counting? – that the Internet (see also: FinalCut, ProTools, etc.) would be the death of society. Hey, now anyone and everyone can write, or post their music or movies or art, in a forum that literally anyone with access to a computer with a modem can view. It’s even better than American Idol! Except… when the floodgates open, the signal to noise ratio goes through the floor. There are more needles out there to find, but the size of the haystack just grew exponentially, impossible nearly infinite – so said the naysayers, who (in my experience) tended to be people that had financial loss  in their chosen industry motivating their words.

For me, though, it’s been a wondrous experience, the last fifteen years. Sure, it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for me personally — with my writing, my short foray into filmmaking, my music all getting wider exposure than I could have ever hoped for as a guy from Birmingham, Alabama. But it’s a font of knowledge and learning, like being handed the gathered teachings and perspectives of the world in a compact but infinitely full (and still expanding) encyclopedia. Yes, there is a lot of noise, but some of that noise helps shape and contextualize the signal.

An old high school acquaintance (warning – amazing photographs of, among other things, creepy crawlies, especially spiders) posted on Facebook recently:

The fact that you’ve had your feelings hurt by someone doesn’t mean that you’ve been attacked or wronged in any way.

It may happen that one or both of those are true, but it’s not automatic!

I’m not certain that that sentiment is any more or less necessary for people to hear and consider than it was twenty years ago, before email and MySpace and Facebook and comments on news sites, but it is, in my opinion, necessary. And it’s true, too, with reactions of anger.

Just because you post something on your blog, or social media, or in a comment or a reply to email, that I read as stupid or narrow-minded, doesn’t make you stupid or narrow-minded. I’m learning that more and more every day, forcing myself to consider context and viewpoint, and then to ignore the stuff that I decide fits into my instinctive reaction. Because, really, life’s too short to spend all pissed off about things that you can never change, at least not as easily as you can avoid in the first place.