Thursday, June 14, 2007

Years ago, I was involved in making a movie of sorts. I was an actor, and I was involved in a street scene. We were filming in a real marketplace with real people, and the direction given to me was inadequate.

I walked to the end of the market, and turned, and began walking back toward the camera, according to the [non-existent] script. I was trying to do the things I'd been told to do, and not mess up. We were losing the light, and this shot was important.

Half-way through, a girl walked up to me and greeted me, and asked if she could talk to me. This alone did not junk the shot - how I handled the situation would determine if the take was good or not. I smiled at her, nodded, and walked on.

The girl said, to herself mostly, "I guess not". We got the shot, and I went back to find the girl, to talk to her. She was gone. The situation was rather more worse, due to the nature of what we were doing; the details aren't important. What is important, is that I was ashamed of myself, for considering one take (which wasn't even that important overall) to be more pressing, than engaging another human being, who after all, just wanted to be friendly.

As a result of that (and earlier life stuff) I am overly-sensitive to offending people by my own lack of attention. I hate to think I might have missed an opportunity to brighten someone's day; it bothers me a lot when I miss something I should have caught, and possibly offend someone, purely through my own lack of attention.

Another person would shrug it off, and try to do better. I am obsessed, however, with not hurting, not offending, not being mean -- to the point that I have found myself unable to function properly, to lead, to drive situations that require being firm, regardless of someone else's feelings.

And sometimes, I turn small things into huge things in my own mind. I imagine I have given offense when none was taken, and I berate myself over interpersonal crimes that exist only in my imagination.

I suspect this is driven by my very old and deeply-ingrained insecurities; nevertheless, it is problematic, and something I need to work on.

One person told my I have a lot of [self-imposed] rules. Another person told me I need to stop worrying what everyone else thinks. Mostly people just look at me quizzically, or tell me to grow up. It is, in a sense, a form of immaturity, but it isn't by choice.

Anyway. I'll work on it -- I have self-imposed so many things, I doubt I will ever be completely free of all of it, but if I can even become half the person I should be, then that is half-way closer than I have been in the recent past.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It is a dichotomy, a sword which cuts and a needle which mends.

A second dichotomy, which wears us down, and lifts our spirits.

The phone rings, the person next to us gabbles on about wireless networking, and the email pours in, demanding response. Just ten minutes of silence brings blessed relief; a short space of meditation, and we can return to the chaos and be effective agents for creation and completion.

The phone is silent, the people around us go about their day, walking around us like a post, or a chair in the aisle. The inbox and IM clients are quiet, the status for them all, 'away'. Just a brief hello, or :-) would be nice, but no one thinks to send one this way. The silence is oppresive.

If chaos reigns, we wish for silence.
If silence reigns, we long for some noise.

When we are in high demand, we wish for just one day or one weekend to expend effort on our own behalf, instead of for those around us. We are glad to be of use, but become self-obligated, and cannot bear to say no. We wish we could just go away and be free for a time. We look out at the peaceful exterior, and wish for some quiet.

When we are left to ourselves, we look at the world of accomplishment, and long to be needed. Others are sympathetic, but are already tied up in their plans, and cannot afford to change them at this late notice, to include our efforts. We look in from the outside, wishing for some activity.

An interesting give-and-take -- we wish for one, and then feel ashamed to wish for the opposite, when what we wished for to begin with becomes overly burdensome. Too much chaos, and we wish for peace, but are ashamed because we volunteered for the chaos to begin with. Total silence, and we wish for contact, but are ashamed, because this is the silent peace we just finished wishing for.

The system seems to tend toward instability - the calm middle ground is so hard to achieve, and impossible to maintain. We burn ourselves out at one extreme, or withdraw into meaningless-ness at the other, or drive ourselves and everyone else around us crazy, oscillating between the extremes.

The chaos of obligation wears us down into mental anguish, yet the noise of friends restores our spirits. The peace of sleep heals the soul from this day's troubles, but the silence of death separates us forever.

Peace and Contact.
Chaos and Silence.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

may 20

Life is always far bigger, more interesting, and potentially fun, than we give it credit for -- and if we aren't participating, it is *still* big, interesting, and fun -- it is just being that way, without us.

So it is better to participate. That is why there is life, after all -- it should not be wasted.

Monday, May 7, 2007

American duck: quack quack, quack. quack?
Vietnamese đuck: quăck quãck? quạ̉ck quắck. quàck.
American duck: QUÀCK!
Vietnamese đuck: .... huh?
American duck: QUÀCK!
Vietnamese đuck: .... what?
American duck: quack?
Vietnamese đuck: Oh, you mean, QUĂCK!
American duck: .... that's what I said.
Mrs. Beaver: Yeah, well you need to stop bringing your dam work home.
Mr. Beaver: Hey, that dam work built your dam house.
So Lileks has been reassigned. Interesting. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the paper felt they could no longer afford to pay him for creative writing, and instead of firing their (̣̣arguably) best writer, compromised by moving him to doing straight news.

I mean, suppose you took the ducks, and put a cap on their diction lessons and placed them in charge of damming a creek? Would that work? I mean, even if you *needed* the creek dammed, does it make sense to put ducks (of any nationality) in charge?

So what do you do, when you believe your bosses have moved you into a position 1) you do not like, and 2) for which you do not think you are well-suited? You could sit around all day and quack to anyone who will listen, just how bad your dam job is.

When it happened to me, I moved myself into a different area. Not immediately; it took me awhile to figure out what to do, and even longer to figure out how to do it. I don't know if Lileks can do that, but he's a smart guy, and talented; I'm sure he'll figure that one out.

But darnit if it didn't happen to me again, on a smaller scale. Or maybe it didn't. This time, I think I am at least as good at the new thing as the old thing, maybe better... but it would be nice to have an explanation. I would hate to think that my bosses considered me a dam duck, and decided to put me back in the duck pond, when I really thought I had potential write some dam code.

Probably, just a matter of human economics. They needed me to sort things left, right, and center, instead of fixing them.

Could be.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

I saw ducks coming in for a landing on the water. They had timed it just right, so that they slid to a stop just a couple of feet from the bank.

I wondered if they ever misjudged the distance, and slid into the rocks that line the sides of the river. I suppose if they did, they wouldn't be so brave. Then I wondered how they learn to fly.

We learn by doing, and not just by doing, but by doing something new -- something that takes us out of our comfortable surroundings. If we are content to repeat yesterday in today's time frame, then we do not learn anything.

Occasionally, we misjudge things, and wind up in the rocks. That is the point of decision - either we will never try anything new again, staying safe, or we will continue to take risks, and continue to learn - occasionally landing on the rocks now and again.

Choosing for comfort is a way of avoiding the truth; choosing for discomfort simply exhibits a tendency to masochism. Learn, or not - that is the real choice -- comfort will follow, or it will not, but that is not important.

Now, substitute the word "live" for "learn" in the previous paragraphs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

There is a place where dreams and waking intersect.

In the brief moment, the mind overlays the fulfillment of the dream with the yearning of reality, and the soul is allowed to experience joy or sorrow without the restrictions we've learned to place on our deepest feelings.

It is in this place, where we cannot hide from ourselves, although we usually try to do so.
However, if we accept what we feel, and explore the feelings, the potential exists for the dream world to enter reality, the long-surpressed desire becomes real -- and life enters a surreal state.

But we so rarely get to that point, lacking the courage and bravery to make the changes we know are necessary, accepting the comfort of the familiar, being afraid of the unknown.

I am walking the unknown, deep in the intersection of dreams and reality.

I am alive.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

She, pt. 2

She came back. I should have known, should have believed.
I will never doubt again.

Monday, April 9, 2007


She walked down the lane.
The sun shone through her hair, her face radiant.
Her white dress flowed in the Summer breeze.
She looked like an angel.
I watched her walk, and just before she turned to go into her house,
She looked back at me, and smiled, and waved.
I didn't know how dead I was until I was alive again, at that moment.

Another time, we walked together, down the lane.
We stopped and ate an orange, some grapes.
She laughed like the world was made just for her,
And I think, maybe, it was.
I believed that even a day with her would be worth a lifetime without.
And, although I had lost hope and faith,
I found hope again, because I had life again...
And I had faith that this was how things were supposed to be.

She walked away -- said goodbye, and explained it all.
And I am quite sure she is wrong.
But I cannot tell her, for she will not listen.
This is what I feared most, and did not know how to prevent.
The payment for those few days has come due, and I am bankrupt.

I remember the last time she walked down the lane.
The sun was shining on her hair again, and she still looked like an angel.
If I had known at that time, I would have held her tighter...
I would not have let her go. But she is gone.
I still have hope, somewhere, if I can find it.
But my faith is shattered, and the life that came back, has disappeared.