Tuesday, October 31, 2006 Fear of Dreaming...

Fear of Dreaming...



Fear of Dreaming by Jim Carroll

Too many teeth
In this city
Are bared.

What I want is to sleep
inside a strange language, trimming

The bonsai under glass,
its redolent needles

clipped precise as The Buddha's fingernails.

Yet, I'm nervous to sleep. Afraid to dream
And fearful as well of waking too late.

Wary of the end of this century,
Its bloodthirsty and dead weight.


I've slept, I've dreamed, and I've awakened right on time.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time. - Mitch Albom

But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time. - Mitch Albom

I'm taking an indefinite hiatus from the blogging world. Thank you all for visiting and commenting. Once a writer, now a reader.

- Anomie

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Choices

Choices

I am unapologetically unreasonable about a number of things. I believe in endless options and possibilities. I still believe that I can fit everything I care about into a backpack, move to a new city, and start over. To me most people and things can be replaced. I think of clothing as a costume and myself as a work in progress. Can I keep evolving and have the comfort of stability or will I be old and alone surrounded by my costumes and my memories?

I am a rock. I am an island. *


Fiction
The sky was pale grey in the West. She swiped the palm of her hand across one dry, blurry eye. Her eyes hurt and had a pink tinge from the cigarette smoke and the smoke from the burning of her journals and computer hard drive in front of the fireplace before the drive commenced. She had been driving since one o'clock in the morning stopping only long enough to pee and buy more cigarettes at one of the many all night gas stations along the highway. She pressed a fingernail into her gum between her front bottom teeth and tasted blood with the tip of a cottony tongue. Riding shotgun was the pile of tissue used to wipe the tears and snot from her face before her head ran dry, now it was empty. As she pulled off the highway onto the side road leading to St. Mary's from habit she glanced at the gas gauge, near empty. She only needed enough to get there, someone else would take care of the return trip.

Waffle House glowed as she passed by, filled with the few who had forsaken sleep by choice or necessity. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees made the air smell like a graveyard. The boy soldiers were in evidence, coming in from late nights or starting early days. Developers had been here since her last visit. High priced lots were for sale where before there had only been swamp. Main Street still looked like something straight out of Mayberry. She remembered those streets in a boozy haze, back when she still pursued fun. The only other cars parked near the ferry belonged to the park service employees. Not many tourists went to the island this time of year.

The only bar in town wouldn't open for ten more hours. She bought a large styrofoam cup of coffee from the cafe near the dock, emptied half of it into a nearby trashcan, and added three mini-bottles of Baileys from her glove compartment to cut the taste. She cleared her car of trash, left the keys in the ignition, and gently shut the driver's side door before settling on the hood of the car. A chilly breeze blew in off the water and the ferry tied to the dock swayed and bumped with the waves. A park ranger approached her, they chatted about preservation, job satisfaction, and low federal wages. She dug five crumpled hundred dollar bills from her right pocket and crushed them into his palm. "I have friends on the island," she said, "could you take me there?" The ranger looked uncertain and she smiled at him.


They climbed into the smaller motor boat also moored to the dock and started across the choppy water. The backs of dolphins glistened between the waves and all she could hear was the sound of the motor. The ranger put the boat into idle and they slid up to the dock. She quickly dembarked, he tipped his hat, and sped back toward mainland. Inside the island ranger station a bearded man made coffee and scratched his head, oblivious to being watched. Past the resident parking, between the trees, past sea camp, over the dune bridge, and to the sea. A pack of wild horses milled on the beach in the distance.

She walked to the water's edge and carefully removed the black cashmere sweater, her father's 30 year old Levi's, and clogs. She placed her mother's pearls on top of the carefully folded clothing and put her license in the pocket of the empty jeans. As she marched into the sea the cold water was shocking, then she became numb as she swam away from the shore.

*Song by Simon and Garfunkle

Monday, October 16, 2006 Misconceptions about Neuroscientists

Misconceptions about Neuroscientists


Right now the Neuroscience Conference is being held at the Georgia World Congress Center. Today I had the chance to see the masses of delegates clogging the food court and I was surprised by the following observations.
1. Most neuroscientists are VERY young. Most of the delegates appeared to be between 23 and 26 years old.
2. Most neuroscientists are Asian. Now this could be a false observation. Perhaps most neuroscience conference attendees are Asian. Compared to the absence of fun in the outer provinces of China, the coup in Thailand, and the trigger happy environment in North Korea Georgia in October probably seems like a welcoming spot to travel.
3. Most neuroscientists are kind of attractive. I was shocked by the profusion of clear skin, svelte bodies, and shiny thick hair in the crowd. Has this group found the key to attraction or are they merely messing with our brains to change our perception?

Sunday, October 15, 2006 I am a masochist

I am a masochist

Today I went to my favorite new salon spa. My hair stylist is a cuttingly gorgeous French man, who has very accurate but unfavorable observations on the average American.

The first time I visited his domain the man looked at me with disdain as I skulked in wearing my usual early morning weekend outfit of whatever was closest to the bed on the floor and unbrushed hair. I thought I was disheveled sexy, he thought I was a crazy homeless person who wandered in off the street.

The first time he cut my hair I was treated to a 90 minute monologue on how Americans have no sense of style and dress like pigs or as if they were going to feed pigs (due to his heavy accent I may have missed the exact phrase). After paying a king's ransom for the removal of about three millimeters of hair I walked out feeling unworthy and wanting to go back.

Today's subject was American workers and how they expect their bosses to be their psychiatrist or family. Monsieur Hotness regaled me with tales of the many employment applications he has received demanding two hour lunches, three day work weeks, and flex time. He is so disgusted he has decided to work alone seven days a week for roughly 12 hours a day. The only other employee is a fantastic aesthetician from Eastern Europe, who is also stunningly beautiful and appears to work the same grueling schedule as Monsieur Hotness. I can't help thinking he may have made the right choice.

Everytime I leave his salon, I feel slightly ashamed, a bit self-conscious, and humbled...I can't wait to go back in two weeks.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. - Ernest Hemingway

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. - Ernest Hemingway



I enjoy watching life more than being an active part in it. One of my favorite things to do is to walk down the streets of an interesting city with my ipod to shield me from human voices. Life is more beautiful when you have your own soundtrack.

Old women and their feet

Why do all old women have foot problems that they talk about volubly? Below is a conversation I overheard today at the nail salon. I don't think I'll be able to eat today.
Warning: Not for the sensitive of stomach.

Nice Thai Lady: Oh welcome! You come for spa pedicure?
Old woman: Oh yes! I need my toenails trimmed down a bit. My big toenail is pretty thick, so I'll need someone strong for this pedicure.
(Anomie gags.)
Nice Thai Lady: (Says something in Thai to other salon workers, which I choose to believe is:) This old cow comes in weekly to get her gnarled hooves clipped and painted and only tips 10%. I hope she dies soon.
(Nice Thai Lady smiles sweetly as other Thai ladies mumble.)

Old Woman: That callous on my left foot has been causing some discomfort lately. Could you shave it down?
Nice Thai Lady: Maybe we can use special pumice? (Blanches visibly.)
Anomie thinks: You crusty old bat, if you sold one of the fist sized blood diamonds in your earrings you could afford to get a foot transplant and spare everyone here your gruesome pied centered tales.
Nice Thai Lady: I turn on vibrating chair for you, very special customer.
Anomie adjusts her position hoping that in pidgin Thai-English vibrating chair means electric chair and the withered creator of noise pollution will soon be reduced to a blackened, smoking husk.
Chair goes on and old woman relaxes.
Old Lady: (Louder) This vibrating chair always makes me feel so good.
All clients silently think: Ewwwww!

Thursday, October 12, 2006 As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself. - Adelle Davis

As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself. - Adelle Davis



Lately I have chosen to overlook the fact that the human mind is a delicate machine fueled by the body. For the past month or two I have disregarded my health by not going to the gym, eating erratically, sleeping irregularly, drinking too much, smoking too much, laughing too little, and neglecting my friends, family and loved ones. Now my body and mind are rebelling and I'm forced to slow down and recover.

Go to sleep, eat your vegetables, go for a run or walk tomorrow and your mind and body will thank you for it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 November by Azure Ray

November by Azure Ray

I wanted to share these lyrics. The acoustic version of this song is the best version. This song expresses how I've felt lately, hence all of the erratic posts. Thanks for reading. I'll be funny again soon and mock my own ennui.

November - Azure Ray
So I'm waiting for this test to end
So these lighter days can soon begin I'll be alone but maybe more carefree
Like a kite that floats so effortlessly
I was afraid to be alone
Now I'm scared thats how I'd like to be
All these faces none the same
How can there be so many personalities
So many lifeless empty hands
So many hearts in great demand
And now my sorrow seems so far away
Until I'm taken by these bolts of pain
But I turn them off and tuck them away
'till these rainy days that make them stay
And then I'll cry so hard to these sad songs
And the words still ring, once here now gone
And they echo through my head everyday
And I don't think they'll ever go away
Just like thinking of your childhood home
But we cant go back we're on our own
Ohh...
But I'm about to give this one more shot
And find it in myself
I'll find it in myself
So we're speeding towards that time of year
To the day that marks that you're not here
And I think I'll want to be alone
So please understand if I don't answer the phone
I'll just sit and stare at my deep blue walls
Until I can see nothing at all
Only particles some fast some slow
All my eyes can see is all I know
Ohh..
But I'm about to give this one more shot
And find it in myself
I'll find it in myself

Letter to a friend



I began to write this as a letter to a friend when I realized it can apply universally. It seems that a majority of the population stops having new experiences when they reach a certain age. We sacrifice freedom and constant discovery for complacency and material comfort. We stop living in the realm of thoughts and dreams and turn to earthly pleasures for comfort: food; sex; money; drugs; alcohol. As we creep closer to death do we begin to live with caution? What happens to make someone forsake their life as an impoverished adventurer to a middle class maker of meatloaf?

I do not condemn, I only seek to understand. In many ways I have traded idealism for stability. Now I rarely experience the adrenaline highs and euphoric happiness of my careless days, but I am also no longer subject to crushing gloom.

What made you stop? What mechanism (internal or external) put a halt to your wanderlust?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 Beat Reader

Beat Reader



Recently I was flipping through my tattered copy of "The Beat Reader". I've owned this book since I was in high school. I used to be a prolific highlighter. I would mark the words that I identified with in acid yellow ink to remind me of the feelings I had and the words that gave meaning to them.

Looking at the faded highlighted passages I was struck by the spirit of self-loathing and hopelessness that the words expressed. I remember feeling as if I was stuck in a whirlpool of gloom and sadness. The only exit (in my mind) from that vortex was death. I wasn't sure I believed in heaven or hell, but nothingness was better than constant pain.

I continued to try to kill myself slowly for many years until I was confronted with the reality of death. In 1996 three close friends committed suicide within a two month span, setting off a chain of self-inflicted and random tragedies that continued to decimate the ranks of those I cared about. Beneath my tears, I was...jealous. I was jealous of their bravery to confront the unknown. I was jealous that the world would never witness their beauty fading and their potential dismissed.

I still fight the emerging wrinkles that the advent of 30 has left in it's wake. I still function with more youthful abandon than is appropriate. I wake up every morning a bit surprised that I have been around for so long. I have an appreciation for life now. Each day is a gift I remember. There are so many people, images, and experiences that I have taught me something. I can focus on the present now that I'm not busy chasing death.

When death finds me I will not run, but I will not seek his embrace.

Histrionics

I remember the first time I became aware that I had an accent. I was 10 years old and my parents videotaped my commentary on my brother's little league baseball game. We arrived home and popped the tape in the VCR so we could re-live the excrutiatingly boring two hours we had just spent broiling in the sun. Listening to myself I realized I sounded less like Martha Quinn and more like Ellie May Clampett. I was horrified and begged my parents to erase the tape to eradicate my shame at what I considered a most unfortunate accent. They laughed off my concerns and patted me on the head.

For the next year I would hide under the covers at night with my beige Fischer Price tape recorder and practice speaking like a Midwesterner. Record-rewind-play...over and over again until the voice coming out of the plastic box was without regionality, without ethnicity, was sterile. I used this voice for 12 years, until I moved to Atlanta. In Atlanta, surrounded by the sugar-coated melodies of Southern patios I rediscovered my true voice, the voice I tried to kill in my youth.

I still use my carefully cultivated accentless voice in most settings, but in my personal life I let the syllables multiply and the vowels linger.

Monday, October 09, 2006 Socioeconomics

Socioeconomics

Fussell's model classifies Americans according to the following classes:
Top out-of-sight: the super-rich, heirs to huge fortunes
Upper Class: rich CEOs, diplomats, people who can afford full-time domestic staff, and some high salaried, prominent professionals (examples include surgeons and some highly-paid types of lawyers)
Upper-Middle Class: self-made well-educated professionals
Middle Class: office workers
High Prole: skilled blue-collar workers
Mid Prole: workers in factories and the service industry
Low Prole: manual laborers
Destitute: the homeless and disreputable (but still free)
Bottom out-of-sight: those incarcerated in prisons and institutions

Today I have dealt with the gamut of socioeconomic friends and acquaintances. In the morning, I was catering to the needs of the Upper Class and in the evening I shared a bottle of Dom Perignon with the Low Prole that I consider a friend and the keeper of my yard. That is the beauty of democracy.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 "At Night I Lay With You..." by Ernest Hemingway

"At Night I Lay With You..." by Ernest Hemingway



At night I lay with you
And watched
The city whirl and spin about

Discovery



Yesterday I put the ipod on shuffle and wore it most of the day. I am always surprised at the songs that emerge. I once read that sense of smell is one of the senses most connected to our memories. Due to seasonal allergies my sense of smell is non-functioning for the larger part of the year, so I believe that hearing may have taken over as my most connected sense to memory. A song can take me to places in my head and/or past to the point of total unawareness.

Great lyrics below.

"Man And Wife, The Latter (Damaged Goods)" by Desaparecidos
I'm growing out my hair
like it was when I was single
it was longer than I'd know you
I had no money then
I had no worries then at all
but with such a high standard of living
I just feel like I am dying
I would start an argument but you can barely even talk
but there is always good reason for your silence
you have to take care of some business
so I fix your plate and I stay out of the way
and you'll stay like that forever
right in front of your computer
you'll look up one day
but you won't recognize me
so you want to change?
you read a letter from a lawyer
want to take me out to dinner
you want to bury me under a mound of shopping bags
like it'd really make a difference
or make up for your disinterest
I'm a bill you pay
I'm a contract you can't break
and it's like I'm under water or on an endless escalator
I just go up and up but I don't ever reach the top
a nd it reads just like the bible
twenty centuries of scandal,
yeah, it all depends on how you interpret it
the word is love
the word is loss
the words are damaged goods
that's what I am
a lifetime gets chalked up to an experience
coincidence we're chained to the events
that's it

*Illustration "Loss of Memory" by AnnKarin Glass