Paul (ace_combs) wrote,

Have Tools - Will Travel

So, I took a shower. And when I finished, I found myself standing in water midway between my ankles and my knees. I'm quite certain that with the application of hash marks to my shins I'd be able to tell exactly how long the spigot had been left open. But this is no "Ode to the Graduated Tibia." I digress.

Your place looked a bit like a crack house, sans crack. (No offense, just saying...) I tried to help. I cleaned what I could clean; threw away what I could throw away; repaired what I could repair. The shower/tub fell in the "repair" category.

Having experienced the condition (baptism) firsthand, I fetched my rodder, and then set to work. But it occurred to me that I'd likely get wet and/or dirty in the course of the job. And I had but one change of clothing with me; your stuff was not an option. Therefore it seemed a good idea - at the time - to (1) remove my clothing; (2) work in the nude; (3) shower upon completion of the task. I was standing in a tub. Was I not?

Any fool could see that there was going to be a problem. I kept right on with it - only half-suspecting that I'd receive a great shock, die, and be discovered there, in that state. Headline of local paper:

It didn't happen. In fact, I hit the clog - a massive bunch of hair - quite quickly. The drain worked. All was well. I just couldn't get the rodder back out of the drain. I tugged and tugged. It became evident (even to me) that I'd need to break apart the hair before the rodder would clear the plumbing. Thinking quickly, I left the bathroom in search of an old wire hanger - hoping to use it to loosen the hair that had wound around the rodder.

Dirty. Dirty.

In paragraph three I claimed that I had removed my clothing, and worked in the nude. In fact, I was not entirly nude. I was wearing your dish washing gloves: elbow length, latex. And that was how he saw me.

Workmen hung on the exterior walls of your building, moving on scaffolding. One those scaffolds was directly outside of your window. And the man on that bit of scaffolding was looking in your window when I went looking for the wire hanger. I suppose he expected to see you: 100 lbs of elfin beauty. Instead, he saw me: 200 lbs, and bearded - nude but for the elbow-length latex gloves.

He did not look away.

Hair Clog Part Deux: The Vacuum - No Suction!

(A) (B)

Shower fixed, and me showered, I strode about the condo, brazenly unshod. Fine - till I looked at the bottoms of my feet. Black I say! Black as coal, they were. Like a wee lad walking back from the Welsh mines, mid-summer. The culprit? your vacuum.

Breaking it down, I removed (A) from a bit of tube near the base. And then (B) broke free. CD = 12cm. Yes, all of that funk packed into a length of hose the size of a bratwurst - or some similar object. Floor cleaned.


June 24 Mom started to display symptoms. Finally, on the 29th, she agreed to call the doctor. They've got her on some Abbott Labs product called "Omnicef." Today, July 6th, she's still sick. The first week of her illness, I made the trip from the North Side to her place daily - collecting the trash, cooking, doing the dishes, pulling and changing the linen, etc. Right now, there is no one else (family) in Chicago to do this. Caring for two people, two places, a 26 mile trip one way, just saying: I'm feeling it. Surgery/rehab in 2004, again in 2005. And this in 2006.

To date, I've stayed healthy.* She's improving.

*After trimming (shirtless) a juniper at her place, I developed (yesterday) a horrible rash on my stomach: belt to chest. Itching. I really, really need to wear more clothing.

Gothic Love Poetry: Buffy

I am a dead man,
pounding the walls of my tomb.

It's that vampric thing your crossing hurts.
But, not being undead,
I don't suppose you'd understand:
the peculiar nature of my circulatory system, or,
the feeling of confinement...

Darling, down here with the Morlocks,
things don't look so good to me.

"While the Angels, all pallid and wan,
  Uprising, unveiling, affirm,
That the play is the tragedy, 'Man,'
  And its hero, the Conqueror Worm."

Edgar Allan Poe.

But you knew that.
You're a clever girl.
Still, whom else was I to quote?
Wallace Stevens?
"The death of Satan was a tragedy,"
I guess that would work, or,
Walt Whitman:
"Press close bare-bosomed night--
press close magnetic nourishing night!"

I laugh because,
that always makes me think of pretty boys,
and San Francisco.

Oh the villagers fear me, it's true.
Booo! Wait. That's a ghost.
Vampvampvamp! Or something.
I thought that might make you laugh.
But you fear me too.

Please go.
And kill me.
Let me be, like you found me:
A dead man,
in a tomb...

From Late May - Early June

It was hot. I rode farther than I had intended - just to keep feeling the wind. Though I could not afford to do so, I bought music for myself: Bad Brains, DRI and Fugazi. I bought beer too. And then I sat in my underwear listening to hardcore, drinking. I felt dull and sticky in the thick, humid night. But I was happy...a dull, sticky, underwear wearing, motorcycle riding, hardcore listening and beer drinking happy.

In the month of May temperatures in Chicago ranged from a low of 34 F to a high of 94 F. Even for us, that's a bit of a stretch.

I have observed that one of the surest ways to provoke an animal to attack is to threaten its young; having killed many children in Iraq, there will be no peace.

LJ User Joybon: Machiavelli and Gender

Three quotes from you:
(1)"Through a gendered reading of Machiavelli she argues instead that errors stem from Machiavelli's uncertainty about his masculinity."
(2)"Machiavelli uses the male pronoun throughout his texts. However, the qualities of the prince, while traditionally masculine, do not necessarily exclude female princes."
(3)"Excluding Moses, this is a conventional selection: Theses founded Athens, Cyrus the Persian Empire and Romulus the Roman Empire."

Thoughts from me: Note the choice of the words "virtue" (lit. manly, root "vir" as "virile," i.e. a sexually potent male) and "effiminate." Note the warning (repeated) not to be "effeminate," (lit. "effiminato" in the Italian, i.e., like a woman,) (Prince XIX.) Note that said "advice" remains constant throughout the text: do be manly; do not be womanly; and treat "fortuna" (feminine) in the following manner: "fortune is a woman, and if one wishes to keep her down, it is necessary to beat her and knock her down," (Prince, XXV.)

The traditional date of the founding of the City of Rome is 753 BC; The Republic, 509 BC; Julius' death after attempt to transform dictatorship to emperorship, 44 BC. Point: Romulus is mentioned in conjunction with the founding of the City, not the Empire. See other myths connected with the founding of the City: fratricide (Romulus slays brother Remus,) and rape (the Sabines.) Note Moses mentioned in the same context; see Exodus 32.25-29 as another example of fratricide (foundation of Levitivcal priesthood.)

The choice that I find, here, is between seeing things as they are, and causing other people to see things as you would have them to be - not stopping short of murdering your brother, or raping your sister, should such things prove necessary. That is what Machiavelli is toying with.

LJ User Wonderleafy

A good, thoughtful, piece about travel, and purpose in life, here:

Swinney & Le

Most excellent memorials here:
and here:

Flickr, Vox, and Writing Online: In Response to Oof

1980: A balding man with a moustache knocks on the front door. He's selling something - something, he says, that's going to change the way that we live. My family invites him in, and then gathers 'round the stranger. Through his spiel we're introduced to cable television's promise of quality programming sans commercial interuption.

"Too much money," my fathers concludes. But, my friends get wired. MTV appears; our consumption of music is forever altered. Local access! Anyone can do this. In the glorious New Age of media, we're sure to amplify our voice: the voice of The People. The Revolution is about to begin...

20 years later, it's the same story repeated - substituting "internet" for "cable television." What happened?

+   +   +

Why write? Those two short words conceal a host of other questions, unasked, e.g., Why think? Why communicate? Why search for the truth? Writers presuppose that such things - thought, communication, truth - have value. All writing is history. When we write, we put down, one letter at a time, a record of our struggles with each other, and also with and ourselves.

And it follows that as people grow tired of writing, they grow tired of that peculiar type of mental activity that seperates us from the other animals. Along with the details that we no longer wrestle with and record, we lose ourselves. So too, when we stop reading the "others" who write, we lose the varying perspectives - insights - that they offer to us. Like a horse that dons its own blinders, our world-view is narrowed. What do we become? In the Skinner box that is [metaphorically?] our slavish Modern life: push the lever, to get the token, to get the food.

Almost certainly, as the means of delivering content have become "more sophisticated," there has been a corresponding decline in the content delivered. Is the thought that the new modes of storytelling are supposed to compensate for the lack of quality in the stories? In a terrible moment of honesty I share the following: I see precious little evidence of independent thought. Increasingly "active" and "lifelike" content appears to be accepted as a counter for an increasingly "passive" and "lifeless" consumer of that content.

+   +   +

It's all imitation. 80's flashback, continued: "I play Pac Man, and I watch T.V., I'm so happy 'cause it pleases me, I couldn't really ask for anything else...Maybe my own chain of Taco bells!" D.R.I.

Lame! Tired! Old! "Hey, Germanos, I've made it to the eighth paragraph and nothing's lit-up, moved or been brightly-colored. What the fuck?" It's true: the observations listed above aren't terribly original. And at this point it's reasonable to wonder if there is anything novel about our present circumstance. I would suggest the following: (1) the speed, ease and accuracy with which one is able to imitate and reproduce that which already exists; and (2) the speed, ease and accuracy with which one is able to collect, store and utilize data defining personal details, habits and preferences.

As the discourse becomes ever more superficial, the surface becomes ever more easy to duplicate. We live with the new technologies as they're used for spam, fraud and instantaneous global propaganda - all fueled by the less-than-conscious efforts to acquire acceptence, and status, that have ever been characteristic of our species.

Now, I'm not really down with the "myspace-ification" of human interaction. And from another, more serious, perspective, I don't want to deal with the soon-to-be problem of cloning; if we accept the premise that art is an imitative process, and that the better the imitation of that which is, the better the art, then genetic manipulation, and cloning specifically, would rightly be regarded as the ultimate art.

+   +   +

At first glance, it seems good to move from text to imagery. Digital photography is more "lifelike" than is writing; digital photography is easier to produce, and consume, than is text. But, how long would it [did it] take for digital photography to become redundant...lame...tired...old?

The problem for photography of all sorts is that photography is, essentially, a documentary form of activity. And the subjects documented by photography are globally accepted conventions, e.g., Modernism in architecture, objects mass-produced by multi-national corporations, or, species evolved from a common ancestor, on a common world. Submissions from different places and people are not so different:
"this is what mirrored glass looks like in Berlin..."
"this is what mirrored glass looks like in Chicago..."
"this is what mirrored glass looks like in London..."

Having observed the trend described above, the clever - but not too clever - fellow compensates for the lack of thoughtful content with (1) increasingly active, or lifelike, content, i.e., mpegs; or, (2) increasingly violent and/or sexual content; or, (3) parody of existing text and/or imagery.

What to do? Graffiti has a wiff of violence/crime: it's something done to a building, actually, or in the style of an act, without consent. But it too, in short order, becomes a convention - as a result of promulgation:
"this is what paint on the wall looks like in Berlin..."
"this is what paint on the wall looks like in Chicago..."
"this is what paint on the wall looks like in London..."

I suppose that if your goal is to attract a certain amount visitors to your website, then the cycle described above isn't especially troubling - it's just something that you need to stay on top of. You'll realize that as people become aware of what is considered by their peers to be acceptable, they'll tend to produce more of what their peers consider to be acceptable - further homogenizing content. Yet it's still a net gain to allow others to submit content, becuase in so doing the burden of providing it - content - is lifted from you, the host. (Like Google, you'll make money selling other people's content - and it's all about the $$$ yo???)

But if you care about what's being published...then, with increasing regulation, homogeneity of content, and an emphasis on advertising and audience numbers, congratulations, you've made the internet into cable television...into television...into whatever form of communication we have used. And the mode doesnt matter.

I had thought, at first, that I was going to write about writing. But writing isn't so special? Maybe, writing is just another behavior. As the internet is just another form of communication - no better, or worse, than that which is communicated, so too writing is just another behavior - no better, or worse, than the purpose for which the behavior is performed.


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