In 2005, I began with blogging about political and social issues, quite often essays into which I put a good deal of time. And along with that I posted on everyday things and essays on quite a lot of other subjects for people I knew off-line and on-line and strangers who might stumble through. Quickly, I began posting series such as “Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project”, then as the blog world changed (see my lead-in comment on the “Cartoons” page in the menu for more on that) I shifted from posting everyday thoughts and essays to primarily focusing on project-oriented writing (the Kubrick) and the art and photos. (I kind of miss posting essays and everyday observations sometimes.) Anyway, the general grab bag of older everyday stories, and throwaway posts, and political and social concerns can be found here, all merged into this one measly category. Some are tagged as to specific or general interests but many are not. Because I wasn’t thinking at all about tagging back then.
We had a blog disaster. After much ado, the blog is back, and I think most of it is intact, excepting images that were tucked away in the wp-content folder that I overlooked. And some old photo galleries from the first couple of years. I need to get those back up in some form and also check links here and there on posts to make sure they’re reading correctly.
Hacked! Yes, hacked. The blog was hacked, likely a while back, but I was stupid and didn’t realize that the drop to zero of search engine referrals signaled the hack. Discovery of it came about only because I paid attention to a peculiar search item that brought someone here, followed that, for some reason looked at the cached page of the search, and was surprised to see hundreds of obnoxious links sitting above my blog post, links that were never observed on the blog itself. That rude bit of information led to ditching of databases and assorted other maneuvers and many things acting weirdly and freaking me out.
Finally, the blog was back up, but there followed the discovery that my exported xml file of the text content was too large to import. Wpsplitter salvaged what remained of my sanity, enabling me to split the XML file into multiple files. An absolutely painless process and I’m fortunate that I found it.
Along the way I lost my blogroll. Kaput. I don’t know where it went but the links are no longer there.
I’m tired. I have spent nearly a week laboring at this and am not done yet. Issues are still being worked out, and I have some fiddling yet to do with the CSS. I switched over to the newest Comic Press theme and don’t care for the menu bar or the fonts. Have to get that worked out. And I’m being indecisive now about whether to do the big picture format at the top which I was using or make it smaller, which is the option I’m using at the moment. I’ll probably revert back to the big picture option as soon as I’m posting this.
H.o.p. has a way of bringing up interesting subjects right when he’s supposed to be going to bed. Last night, it was, “I’ve read some bad things about Fox News. What is Fox News?” We don’t watch Fox News and he knows nothing about it–so we ended up talking a while about news, bias in the news, opinion and information vs. news, and propaganda.
Indeed, there were some lovely things on display, the most impressive being perhaps examples of natural formations of gold and quartz. If you are anxious to see old ingots lost in shipwrecks, purchase pirate hats and pan for gold for about $5 in the gift shop, you’ll not leave disappointed.
What ended up being interesting to me was the history on gold that was omitted. For example, in the section on the Black Hills gold rush, I pointed out to H.o.p. that they made no mention of the Black Hills gold find resulting in the bringing in of troops and theft of land confirmed as Dakota, Lakota, Nakota in the 1868 Treaty of Ft. Laramie. A paragraph was given on the 1874 Custer Expedition but nothing as to meaning, absolutely no historical context. Instead, a yard away there was a little fake bridge with a slab of plexiglass in the middle through which one could look down and see a fake stream bed with a few gold sparkles glimmering.
Yet in the Georgia Gold Room they did have history on the Georgia gold rush and the dispossession of Cherokee land, a long film there flatly speaking of the stealing of the land. This room was put together by Fernbank.
So, I left questioning why Fernbank made this allowance but the American Museum of Natural History didn’t even begin to approach the real history of gold.
H.o.p. drew the face. I carved the pumpkin, which was a tough one. H.o.p. talked about the smell of the pumpkin, how it was the smell of Halloween. “Nostalgia,” he said. I was unable to find the bag that holds our few Halloween decorations but he was determined and finally dug it out of a closet. We spread spider webs around the apartment and hung up fat bats in the doorways. He carefully laid out plastic skeletons in our chairs up front. No one can see them from the street but they are there.
Halloween night the weather was rainy and chilly. We drove to the old Decatur neighborhood, as we always do, as it turned into a great place to trick-or-treat our last year there and has remained so. One of the houses goes all out with gargantuan decorations, some mechanized, and that’s the house H.o.p. always hits first.
H.o.p.’s costume this year wasn’t one really for photographing. The costume last year was for photographing. This year his was rather simple and it was the performance aspect that he made the most of. He had it all planned out. A plain black hood mask with a torn shirt. “Trick or treat!” He gets his candy. And then the twist! For as he bowed and solemnly said, “Happy Halloween!”, he would take off his mask revealing a skull mask underneath.
He had a grand time. His interest, as ever, is not the candy but the performance and people hopefully enjoying it and then chatting them up afterward, because he always likes to talk to people afterward, for which reason he takes three times as long trick-or-treating as others. Most kids hit the door, get the candy and run. H.o.p. has never done this. H.o.p. instead wants to chat. Performance gives him an opportunity to chat. People generally start to talk when he does his thing and conversation is struck up.
In the car, on the way home, H.o.p. enjoyed running his hands through his candy. “Mmmm,” he said, “the smell of Halloween.”
H.o.p. was relating to me one of his stories today (as he does everyday) and my ears lit up as he started talking about his cartoon characters undergoing a “dimension paradox” but I’m not supposed to post the details because he wants to keep it a surprise. I think I can relate it involves a black hole. (And a couple hours earlier he had been melting down at the prospect of trying to comprehend least common multiples, which also used to blow out my brain as a kid, and I have to say that never as an adult have I had to face lemon pies cut into 16, 12 and 31 pieces and deal with LCM thereof.)
Huge thing. Saw several of them. What is it? Other than the mushroom that ate everything in its path. Look at it gobbling up twigs, leaves and acorns! I touched it and my son yelled at me not to because it was rather unsettling in appearance. Then he said we have to come back tomorrow so he can do a little horror film around it.
So, I’m sitting in the chair at the dentist’s and I look up and see on the opposite wall a clock exactly like one we used to have at home. A cheap clock, with a white frame, from Ikea. That clock we had with the white frame eventually broke and we purchased another one of the same make and that one was always too fast so we purchased another one of the same make but with a navy frame and it also runs too fast.
Most clocks we get from Ikea run too fast. But we never think to get a good clock from somewhere else. We only think to get a clock when we’re at Ikea and see the cheap ones and decide to try again for one that will run on time.
“We have a clock just like that,” I say to the hygienist as she goes through her preparations.
“I like to have it right there so I can look up and see the time,” she replies.
“Our clocks like that always run fast. We get one and we replace it with another and then another.”
“I purchased that clock from Ikea,” she says.
“Yes, I know,” I say.
It’s Ikea’s Rusch clock.
What is funny is the reason we purchase the Rusch clock is for H.o.p. It has a minute hand and we put it up in the bathroom so he can tell from it how long he’s brushed his teeth.
The Rusch clock from Ikea seems to be the clock of choice in matters pertaining to teeth.
“Existence, the physical universe, is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive it. But it is best understood by analogy with music, because music, as an art form, is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t’ work the piano. Why? Music differs from, say, travel. When you travel you’re trying to get somewhere. And, of course, we, being a very compulsive and purposive culture, are busy getting everywhere faster and faster until we eliminate the distance between places…what happens as a result of that is the two ends of your journey became the same place. You eliminate the distance, you eliminate the journey. The fun of the journey is travel, not to obliterate travel. So then, in music, one doesn’t make the end of a composition the point of the composition. If so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest and there would be composers who only wrote finales. People would go to a concert just to hear one crackling chord because that’s the end! Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room because that’s where you will arrive. The whole point of dancing is the dance. But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our everyday conduct. We have a system of schooling which gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded and what we do is put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of, “Come on, kitty, kitty,” and you go to kindergarten and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade…then you’ve got high school, and it’s revving up, the thing is coming, then you’re going to go to college…you go out to join the world, then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance, and they’ve got that quota to make, and by god you’re going to make that, and all the time the thing is coming, it’s coming! It’s coming! That great thing. The success you’re working for. Then you wake up one day about 40 years old and you say, “My god, I’ve arrived. I’m there.” And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt and there’s a slight letdown because you feel there’s a hoax. And there was a hoax! A dreadful hoax. They made you miss everything by expectation…we’ve cheated ourselves the whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.”
“The price that we pay for specialization in conscious attention is ignorance for everything outside its field…for if you concentrate on a figure you tend to ignore the background. You can, therefore, see the world in a disintegrated aspect. You take separate things and events seriously, imagining that these really do exist, when actually they have the same kind of existence as an individual’s interpretation of a Rorschach blot. They’re what you make out of it. In fact, our physical world is a system of inseparable differences. Everything exists with everything else. But we contrive not to notice that…what is noticed by us is what appears to be significant and the rest is ignored…and as a result of that we select from total input…of our senses a very small input and this causes us to believe that we are separate beings, isolated by the boundary of the epidermis, from the rest of the world. This is also the mechanism in not noticing that black and white go together…and what goes on inside your skin is inseparable from what goes on outside.”
Like a moth to a lamp. Middle of conversation, I heard a familiar tune and went into the other person’s living room to see on the television a music channel and the words Gayaneh’s Adagio. A bit of dissonance between what I was seeing on the screen and my knowing I was acquainted with the piece through a favored movie. Then I see in my mind’s eye the jogging astronaut and realize, right, Kubrick’s 2001.
I was going to post a quote from Alan Watts but then people started farting around me, distracting me from my current sense of purpose. Hop encouraged, “Try it, it gives you more humor.” Pretending ignorance, I said, “What?” H.o.p. said, “Farting!” He blew a fart on his arm and laughed. “See, it’s like a comedy show in just one second!” he said. Which got a laugh out of me. Hop exulted, “See, you’re laughing!”