Saturday, April 12, 2003

Needless to say, I'm a little happier curing myself with things that grow out of the ground. The peppermint comes from my own garden. The lemons from a neighbor's tree.
I think that a doctor would have probably given me a weeks worth of anti-biotics for this cold. It is my firm belief that doctors and dentists are mainly a racket. I mean, their income depends on your illness. The worse the illness, the more you pay them. Why would anybody trust somebody in that position?
This might just be the rationalization of one who can't afford medical insurance, but there you have it.
I'm getting over another weather change cold. I don't understand it. Those who know me know that I hardly ever get sick. I mean, if I'm sick once in a year, it was a rough year for me. Now I had the flu last fall, the stomach flu two weeks ago, and a cold now. What does this portend?
It started in my throat and it's all in my nose now. Which beats the alternative. Better it goes up into my nose than down into my lungs.
Shaw said that convalescence is the only good thing about illness.
The last two days I've been laying in bed, drinking hot lemon juice with fresh picked peppermint leaves in it, gargling with hot salt water and peroxide (separately, natch), and taking echinacea and vitamin C thrice daily. This seems to have worked. By my nasal barometer, I expect that tomorrow I'll be weak with a slight stuffy nose, but no longer sick enough to stay in bed.

In other news, I finished Beowulf. I highly recommend the recent Seamus Heaney translation. I'd been told all of my life how dense a poem that is to get through. So a few days ago I thought, "I've read both parts of Faust for pleasure, I can tackle anything."
I actually found it a quick read and an engaging story. Usually anything written before people bathed regularly tends to be a rough slog to read.
This sets the standards on what a translation should be. Heaney has spoiled me. If I pick up a poor translation now, it shall only be to chuck it into the fireplace... or to sell it!
I was further pleased to read something with a set reality structure and codes of conduct expected for all people. I think my reading often goes too far down the relativistic road and a good heraldry tale is like a cold beer on a hot night.

Also, Nissa got her hair cut short for her play today. I went along to watch the shearing. Originally she was going to have her head shaved and we were going to have a head shaving party where we chop off her hair and bear her on our shoulders as a new pagan goddess. But the character's costume design has since changed from a monk to more of a businessman. Her hair is very short now, like a man or a stereotype of a lesbian. It looks really cute on her. It accentuates her elfish quality.



Friday, April 11, 2003

In an attempt to jump on a celebrity bandwagon in order to look cool like them, from now on my name is P-Ma.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Alright, stick with me on this one. I've had very interesting conversations with two people in the last week on my thesis here. But let me first of all start off by saying that this is a thesis, not a set belief. 'Kay?
Here it goes.
I've heard a lot of talk about how this war is about oil. That may be true on the surface. But let me bring up a more subtle and, in my opinion, more disturbing possibility. What if this is actually a war about Protestantism?
Let's look at some of the evolutionary patterns of religions here. Take Islam for example. It's about as old, as my friend Sean pointed out, as the Catholic church was during the counter-Reformation, which was a very bloody time is their history. It's not hard to see the parallels.
And then there's Catholic church now. They're leaning towards the progessive political line, they're teaching peace and compassion. And they're about the forth oldest major religion right now. You've got Hinduism, Buddhism, Judiasm, and then Catholicism, right? All of these are more up the compassion line and all of these are leaning more towards being a philosophy than a religion (the eldest two are much more like philosophies than dogma.)
Then we've got Protestantism, which isn't too much older than America. In its evolution, it's about in its "Crusades" period. Could we be seeing the beginning of the Protestant Crusades?
This isn't spun as an overtly religious war, at least not on our side of the media. But consider this, Protestantism is based on the concept of being "Once saved, always saved." It relies on the idea that Christ's sacrifice was adequate for our salvation, should we choose to follow Him, and that all sins before AND AFTER we submit to Him are forgiven. This does away with the nessicity for the believer to do good works.
If this isn't ringing a bell about capitalism yet, think on this. We are a nation run by WASPs. Remember that the P stands for Protestant. If you've talked with a conservative on the subjects of taxation, government influence in business, and privatization of government services, you know that this Protestant concept of "The Elect" has translated into economics in their minds.
And there's the fact that the Skull and Bones society, the secret society that an alarming portion of the people of this, and the last several adminstrations belong to are all Protestant families. The whiteys who own the oil companies are Protestants.
This last paragraph is all speculation. Heck, this is all speculation. But I think I've made my point that thinking about such a concept gets very scary very quickly.



Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Going to Nissa's tonight. We're going to the dance concert at Chapman. Tomorrow we're going to a guerilla Shakespeare show at noon. Then I see Dr Shrinker in the afternoon. I'm sure I'll have much to rave about when I return late tomorrow night.
My birthday is coming up on Easter. It's the first time in my life that's happened. It's rare that Easter falls so late. I share the same birthday as Hitler, Van Gogh and Tito Puente. It's also the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. But this year, it's Easter, one of the more joyful holidays around. It's not like Christmas or Halloween where the consumerism makes everyone edgy and angry until the "holiday" is over. Sure, you walk by the doors of any drug store in America and you'll be bathed in pastel light right now. But, as far as I'm concerned, they've never gotten a toe hold on "having to buy things for Easter."
And don't give me none of that chocolate bunny or "easter basket" lip. The easter basket is a sham of a gift and everyone knows it. I knew it when I was four. The Easter Bunny is about as half assed as an anthropomorphic holiday can get.
I don't expect to get a lot of stuff for my birthday either, nor do I want much. My mother told me to make a list of everything I could possibly want for my birthday this year. I could only come up with the new Ray Bradbury book.
Nissa tells me that she's got some trip or vacation or experience planned, but she won't tell me what. She just told me it'll be a few days so I'll need to put my book orders on hold. I think Nissa has a good concept going. She likes to give and receive experiences for holidays and birthdays, rather than get more stuff.

In related news, I've got a tremendous (for me) tax return in transit through electrical lines, racing to my checking account as I type. They gave me free money because I'm so danged poor out of the goodness of their federal heart. I've got one month's worth of student loan payments set aside from it. One hundred goes into the book business. The rest goes into my pocket. And I don't have a thing to spend it on. I'll probably fritter it away at the nickel arcade.

I guess the point of all of this is that the cotton seems high today.


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I had another mood swing this evening. It came when Nissa called our bear friends so that we could go visit them (that's two super-sized gay men for those out of the lingo loop.)
But the bluebird of crappiness sat on my windowsill all day today. I had to wait for people and I didn't get done what I wanted to and I had to listen to the awful, moronic evening news during dinner and then drive to Niss's in traffic and our plans to get her headshot pictures got cancelled. So I laid into her with a bunch of negativity, which later lead to much discussion and apologies on both sides.
Later I told her that I sometimes worried about my mood swings, going back to the "thinking I'm insane" way of paralysis that I've been using for many years. Then I thought about it for a minute and said, "Yeah, but worry in one hand and crap in the other and see in which one something happens."
I leave you all with that glowing wisdom this evening.





Monday, April 07, 2003

William Burroughs had a concept for quitting smoking that I read about back in high school. He said that you simply need to come to a point where you really want to quit with your true will and then never smoke again. Sounds simple, no?
Well, that's precisely how I quit alcohol and hard drugs. I didn't really do that with cigarettes. I just got really sick in my lungs once and never started back up again when I got well. It wasn't a strong decision. But booze and dope were.
In weaker moments I wish I would have 12 stepped it. Usually I'm really glad I didn't because of the objectionable ideologies that they peddle, but in weaker moments I see the advantages. Namely, the self destructive habits shifted when I quit instead of being aborted. They turned into fear and guilt over having done all of that to myself. They turned into fearing that I've ruined my mind, which sends me into self fufilling spirals of confusion and memory loss to prove the point inside my head. In short, I've become addicted to negative mind games.
This cycle is what I'm working on right now. I haven't kicked it yet, most likely because I've carefully taught these patterns to my brain for many years. But I'm getting much better at catching myself when I start doing it. And just noticing it tends to take away a lot of its power.

You know, my brother and I had much the same experience (probably because we had many of the same wounds to deal with) where we got into hard drugs around 18 years old. He did a lot more speed than I did.
When he quit, he got himself addicted to God, which, in my humble opinion, is a pretty darned safe place to shift your addictions. Very effective. Many go that road. He went to Calvary Chapel Bible College to become a minister.
He told me that early on there, he had a lot of guilt and feelings of inadquacy over how he'd been the few years prior. One day, he was with a friend in the cafeteria. They were the only two there. Pat, my brother, was talking about how he'd messed up so bad and he quoted an AA person he'd heard who said, "You can't unscramble an egg."
Meaning that once you'd screwed up, you're always screwed up. Once you've become an addict, you're forever either an addict or a recovering addict.
They went to the chapel service right after that without speaking to anybody else. In the service, the pastor was talking about God's total power and commitment to working on you. And he turned and looked right at Pat and said, "Not only can God unscramble an egg, he can make you a whole new chicken."

I like to imagine Pat and his friend's hats flying five feet straight up off their heads when that happened. Needless to say, it was one of those enviable moments where one's course seems blazingly clear.

I've been holding onto my past too hard. I've been white knuckling my mistakes. I haven't allowed God to make me a whole new chicken yet. But I'm working on it.