8.12.2018

you can miss a single being, even though you are surrounded by countless others

  1. What is your reaction to beggars and homeless on the streets? you mean, am I a decent person--and if I'm not, am I willing to write about it here, unashamedly?
  2. Does pure altruism exist? Why or why not? the word "pure" is the sticking point
  3. Is 'You like me and I like it all' an attitude you might have? not exactly, no
  4. Finish the words:
    ...Ch:
    ...eetos
  5. ...An: ...agrams
  6. ...Ge: ...rmy
  7. ...So: ...ftly
  8. ...Ne: ...apolitan
  9. ...Bo: ...ring
  10. ...Wi: ...cked
  11. ...E: ...levator
  12. What's your favorite science fiction movie? Alien
  13. Make it a double feature. What's your second favorite? Terminator II
  14. If you had a remote control for people, who would you set on mute? my entire office
  15. When have you felt like you were living in the twilight zone? anything related to Ulysses, my former, er, delivery guy
  16. Do you have penis envy? not so much
  17. Do you have vagina envy? is that even a thing??
  18. The maker doesn't want it; the buyer doesn't use it; and the user doesn't see it. What is it? a casket
  19. Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth? Mount Everest (which, of course, existed prior to "discovery")
  20. If you had to choose between being 3 ft. tall or 9 ft. tall, which would you be? three, I suppose
  21. If you could know the answer to any three questions, what would they be? answers change, questions change. Seeing the end before you live it rather defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
  22. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? neither one, thank you. Either way would be to trap something vital inside something increasingly ready to be done. And anyway, living to age ninety is not necessarily the goal.
  23. Would it disturb you much if, upon your death, your body were simply thrown into the woods and left to rot? Why? yep--because there's better things to do with the woods than pile up rotten people in it
  24. Would you like to know the precise date of your future death? nope
  25. Would you be willing to give up all television for the next 5 years if it meant 1,000 starving children in Indonesia would eat and get medical care? oh Hell no. I require hot and cold running television at all times, humans be damned!
  26. Name a close friend of the opposite sex: Oliver
  27. Imagine they are from another country, visiting yours. Their visa is almost expired and if they get sent back to their country they may never get another visa to leave again. Would you marry them if after two years you could divorce them and they would be allowed to stay in your country? if it came to that, why not?
  28. Do you always call/email in when you take a day off from school or work? yes, that's how employment usually works
  29. A fatalist believes that the future is mapped out in a pattern. A causalist believes that every event is tied to a previous event. Neither believes in free will. An indeterminist believes in total free will. Which are you? an amusing combination of the above
  30. Would you rather have a masters degree in economics or creative writing? writing, of course
  31. Do you feel the need to defend the honor of your family and demand respect? not lately
  32. What do you think about that no one else thinks about? my feelings
  33. Which of the following best describes you?
    * A laid back person who enjoys watching sports and playing with computers.
    * An apathetic person who is open minded and passionate about music.
    * A feisty person who lacks an attention span.
    * Avant garde and over confident.
    these combinations really don't make sense. What is apathetic about being open-minded? Most computer people I know are anything but "laid back." 
  34. Why are so many letters silent in French? ask the French?
  35. For all the freedoms that people in the United States enjoy, what are some of the ways that these people oppress themselves willingly, and why? "oppress themselves"
  36. What, besides genetics and besides your environment and experiences, makes you what/who you are? appearance
  37. What bands do your parents listen to that you:
    ...hate?
     I don't think I'm capable of hating something that I so rarely experience 
  38. ...like? I listen to music with my parents pretty much only at Christmastime. We put on the same songs, by the same artists, that we've been playing since I was little (and probably for years before). It's not even a conscious thing anymore, but the way it's always been.
  39. What do you find:
    ...impressive:
     good art, hot food in a restaurant, and a friend who takes the time to listen
  40. ...unimpressive: slapdash service, lazy parking skills (it's not that hard), and colleagues who are all about their previous accomplishments
  41. How easily do you understand Shakespeare? easier on stage than in print, but it's not the worst thing in the world to read
  42. Translate into regular English: 'Romeo Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?' dude, where did you go?
  43. What's your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Trefoils
  44. Is it made from real Girl Scouts? doubtful
  45. How do you open your car door when it freezes shut? patience
  46. Why is it that 95 percent of the letters in French words are not pronounced? see question 34, above
  47. What are you Dreading? with a capital D? my birthday
  48. When will your ship come in? doubtful
  49. Do you create your art for free? no, I create it for love
  50. Have/would you ever taken a botany (plants) course? not exactly. There was that summer when I climbed the goat prairie, and tromped through the swamp in over-large hip waders...
  51. Are you using your own computer or someone else's to take this survey? my own
  52. Is it true what they say about Star Trek movies, that only every other one is worth seeing? that's the pop cultural analysis, yes. For quite a while, it seemed to follow faithfully.
  53. Someone once said, 'Every possible outcome of something takes place in a parallel universe. So there is free will, but your choices only determine which of those parallel universes you live in.' Your reaction? humans can't get their shit together to do even the most basic things. Why would we manage to operate parallel universes correctly?
  54. Is there a difference between what is legal and what is ethical? obviously
  55. Should there be? yes?
  56. Point out something obvious: it's hot outside today
  57. Point out something that isn't obvious at all: my phone hasn't rung, except for telemarketing calls, in more than three weeks
  58. How do you stay so thin? if I was, then I might be able to explain it
  59. When looking at a clear night sky, what constellations can you locate? the Norwegian hamburger soup ladle
  60. What movie has the worst ending ever? Last Love, the ending of which nearly broke me
  61. The best ending ever? Strictly Ballroom. Every time I watch it, I end up on the floor, two feet in front of the TV, tears streaming down my face, grinning like a lunatic.
  62. Are you feelin' groovy? not for fourteen years or so
  63. Oh, the tangled web we weave, when: first we try to have something resembling a happy life
  64. Do you own anything velvet? yes--including two extraordinary pairs of shoes
  65. If yes, when you wear it can you keep from touching it? why would I?
  66. Who have you been friends with the longest? Jennifer
  67. How long have you two been friends? since kindergarten
  68. Who do you feel like you are in competition with? no one notable
  69. Is American culture more like Mexican culture or more like Japanese culture--and why do you think so? I don't know if there is "American culture" per se. The country is too big, and made up of too many different sorts of people. So, in answer to the question: yes, sure. Both.
  70. What subject are you so familiar with that you could you write an FAQ (frequently asked questions) list about it? the best way to make a grilled cheese sandwich
  71. What would one question on that list be? how hot ought the pan to be while grilling the sandwich?
  72. What is the answer to that question? medium-high
  73. Are you for or against:
    ...unconditional religious tolerance?
    nothing human is unconditional
  74. ...world peace under one government? impossible
  75. ...total freedom? unrealistic
  76. ...love for all creatures and people? noble but unlikely
  77. ...the war on terror? endless
  78. Have you read any of Anne Rice's "Sleeping Beauty" books? I've certainly had to deal with them plenty of times, but no--I've never actually had to read them
  79. If yes, what did you think of them? my exposure to them (pun intended) was sufficient to determine that they would not suit my interests
  80. Can you do any voices or impressions, and if yes, what ones? I don't think so?
  81. Guys, is it true that gentlemen prefer blondes? Girls, do blondes really have more fun? my hair has been everything from bright blond to almost black, veering far into the red category, sometimes with purple underneath. And none of that has made a damned bit of difference in terms of what fun I've had or whether anyone's been a gentleman in my presence. It's just hair. 
  82. Do you enjoy sneaking up on people? I must, because I do it all the time
  83. Do you often break plans? probably more than my share. It makes up, somehow, for a couple of decades of doing things I really didn't want to do.
  84. Does anyone smoke in your home? not since I lived in The Architectural Apartment
  85. If yes, does that bother you? it didn't bother me at all, then
  86. Have you ever actually seen a pink elephant? not since I lived in The Architectural Apartment. I saw plenty of things there that didn't really exist.
  87. What was the most embarrassing or crazy thing you ever dreamed? that happiness is possible
  88. Are you depraved (marked by corruption or evil; perverted)? not so's you'd notice
  89. In blackjack, do you often double down? I'm not a blackjack person
  90. Who's the big winner? someone who doesn't play the game
  91. Who do you care more about, your close friend in elementary school that you lost touch with or your first lover? another dumb question...
  92. What's your favorite part of a cat? furry bellies are pretty tough to beat
  93. What was on the last CD you burned? 18 songs and 1 sound clip from a TV show as a "hidden track"
  94. If you wanted to learn a new language would you consider buying a Disney movie in that language to pick up pronunciation? no
  95. What Disney movie? uh, no
  96. Is there a modern plague? What? the Internet
  97. Are your baths and showers so hot that your skin gets red? sometimes, during the winter
  98. When you dry your body after a shower do you dry your parts in the same order each time, almost automatically, or do you dry your parts in a random order each time, thinking about it while you're doing it? it's an unconscious process, unless there is some reason for it not to be, such as being in an unfamiliar place, e.g. a hotel, where the setup is different from home
  99. Do you feel like those who are speak a language around you that you can't understand are making fun of you? nope, because I'm just not so interesting that the world revolves around me
  100. If you were blindfolded and your love/partner was placed in a line of fifty people could you pick him or her out only by:
    ...touching the face of each person?
     yes
  101. ...feeling one elbow of each person? maybe?
  102. ...smelling the breath of each person? yes
  103. ...licking the neck of each person? yes
  104. ...listening to the breathing of each person? yes
  105. ...psychically sensing each person? uhhmm... maybe? 
  106. What three questions will you never say NO to? "If you're free today, do you want to have lunch?" "Can I call you?" "Do you want my fortune cookie?"
  107. Would you like to see An American in Paris? it's one of my favorite movies. I've watched it probably a dozen times.
  108. Are you more of a couch or a scratching post? lately--scratching post
  109. Is there a difference? clearly
  110. What is more important: imagination or knowledge? "He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet." In other words, they're equally important.
  111. Would you consider modern life to be rubbish? nah, there's plenty about it that's an improvement on what came before. We just have to be a little careful about accepting every change as a bonus.
  112. What's the most sinful food? I don't conceptualize of "sin" that way
  113. Name one thing about yourself that you are excessively proud of: not carrying an excess of pride
  114. If you went to Hell (imagining there is one), rank these punishments in order of the one you would most prefer to the one you would least prefer.
    A. being broken on the wheel
    B. being put in freezing water
    C. being force-fed rats and snakes
    D. being smothered by brimstone and fire
    E. being dismembered alive
    F. being boiled in oil
    G. being thrown into snake pits
    (In my mind, Hell is not like this. It's just a place where all the interesting people go to drink, talk and tan.)
    so, Hell is Miami? Since this question has as its necessary precondition "if [I] went to Hell...," then there's no point in answering, right?
  115. What other windows or websites do you have open on your computer right now? FB
  116. What kind of student were you in kindergarten? highly sensitive
  117. What misjudgment do many people make about you? that, because I am highly sensitive, I'm also shy or slow or antisocial
  118. If you had been named according to your personality, what would your name be? anything but what it is. The meaning behind my name is ironically painful right now, and the reality of it is really, really irritating. I would LOVE to have ANY other name than my own.
  119. What is made for kids, but you love it anyway? mac & cheese
  120. Dedicate a song to someone now.
    ...What song?
  121. ...To who? he knows
  122. ...What line from that song most makes you think about this person? "I don't care if we fuck or we talk or we cry / I just miss you, I wanna kiss you to death tonight"
  123. Can you live completely in the moment giving no thought to past or future? no
  124. Can you honestly say that nothing bothers you? ha! Never.
[From the 5000-question meme; this is the forty-ninth part (questions 4701-1800). The title quotation is from the movie Last Love.]

8.10.2018

early spring rain drizzles on and on

What is this life of mine?
Rambling on, I entrust myself to fate.
Sometimes laughter, sometimes tears,
Neither a layman nor a monk.
An early spring rain drizzles on and on.
But the plum blossoms have yet to brighten things up.
All morning I sit by the hearth,
No one to talk to.
I search for my copybook
And then brush a few poems.

[Ryokan {Ryōkan Taigu} {1758-1831}, 'What is this life of mine?', from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryōkan {trans. by John Stevens}]

8.07.2018

we were all beautiful once

There were the roses, in the rain.
Don't cut them, I pleaded.
               They won't last, she said.
But they're so beautiful
               where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she
               said,
and cut them and gave them to me
               in my hand.

[William Carlos Williams {1883-1963}, 'The Act', from Six American Poets]

8.06.2018

this woman looked like a threat

I'm in rereading mode. The last few months, all I've wanted to read is a steadily-revolving array of poetry (new and old) and books from my fiction and lit shelves. This weekend I plowed through two novels in 2 days, as well as a fictionalized biography.

It is that book that has my mind reeling. A weird little story, delicate and spare, purchased for one reason but kept for entirely another, it manages to catch me by surprise each time I read it.

This page, these three paragraphs, are what it's all about (this time around).

The bachelor hung
up the phone and sank into confused immo-
bility. At a more self-reflective moment, he
might have grasped the truth. The fact was that
he had become comfortable with his romantic
life: on-again, off-again with the girlfriend and
plenty of room in between for wild times with
attractive strangers. Some people might have
compared his romantic routine to watching
sports on television. It gave him drama, pas-
sion, variety, and not much responsibility.

This woman looked like a threat to all that.

What jolted him out of his stupor was the
thrill of a project: a seduction dinner! He was
excited, too, by the chance to talk to her again.
It had been a long time, he realized, since he
had been with someone whose talk was a thrill
in itself.

[L.F. Hoffman, from The Bachelor's Cat]

Someone whose talk [is] a thrill in itself.

8.04.2018

a violent alertness, the muscularity of risk

Difficult to know whether humans are inordinately anxious
about crisis, calamity, disaster, or unknowingly crave them.
These horrific conditionals, these expected unexpecteds,
we dwell on them, flinch, feint, steel ourselves:
but mightn’t our forebodings actually precede anxiety?
Isn’t so much sheer heedfulness emblematic of desire?

How do we come to believe that wrenching ourselves to attention
is the most effective way for dealing with intimations of catastrophe?
Consciousness atremble: might what makes it so
not be the fear of what the future might or might not bring,
but the wish for fear, for concentration, vigilance?
As though life were more convincing resonating like a blade.

Of course, we’re rarely swept into events, other than domestic tumult,
from which awful consequences will ensue. Fortunately rarely.
And yet we sweat as fervently
for the most insipid issues of honor and unrealized ambition.
Lost brothership. Lost lust. We engorge our little sorrows,
beat our drums, perform our dances of aversion.

Always, “These gigantic inconceivables.”
Always, “What will have been done to me?”
And so we don our mental armor,
flex, thrill, pay the strict attention we always knew we should.
A violent alertness, the muscularity of risk,
though still the secret inward cry: What else, what more?

[C.K. Williams {1936-2015}, 'Risk' from Repair]

8.03.2018

the pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong

I'm feeling testy, so I searched for some ways to quiz myself. I found a few. Here are Psychology Today's...

Bipolar Depression Test - erm, doesn't look so great

Hopeless Romantic Test - almost off the chart, no big surprise

Stress Triggers Test - pretty much everything!

Worrying Test - hey, a non-awful result!

Healthy Lifestyle Test - could be worse

Need for Space Test - in theory, I've got this shit down

Should You See An Acupuncturist Quiz - I guess you need to have everything to need it?

[The title quotation is by Carl Jung.]

8.02.2018

of whatever flies, or sighs

Be always drunken.
Nothing else matters:
that is the only question.
If you would not feel
the horrible burden of Time
weighing on your shoulders
and crushing you to the earth,
be drunken continually.

Drunken with what?
With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.
But be drunken.

And if sometimes,
on the stairs of a palace,
or on the green side of a ditch,
or in the dreary solitude of your own room,
you should awaken
and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you,
ask of the wind,
or of the wave,
or of the star,
or of the bird,
or of the clock,
of whatever flies,
or sighs,
or rocks,
or sings,
or speaks,
ask what hour it is;
and the wind,
wave,
star,
bird,
clock will answer you:
"It is the hour to be drunken!”

[Charles Baudelaire {1821-1867}, 'Be Always Drunken']