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Showing posts from 2019

From the Temple Floor: How Art and Math Are the Same Thing

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I've known for a long time that it's useless to force creativity:  often the work will have to be done over.  Thanks to discussions peripheral to Gödel, Escher, Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid, I've learned to use math terminology (imperfectly) to further identify aspects of the process.

According to me, the difference between one person's brain and the next is the degree of pixelation each can discern.  How fine a grain are you able to manage?

I can work with very, very, fine grains; I have challenges taking in the forest.  I see not only the trees but pebbles, lichen, the tiny little things that creep therein.  I can discern minute intervals with alarming (to myself) accuracy, even when I haven't figured out what they are.

There's a place in every creative work where the characters take things into their own hands.  In Hofstadter-terms, which mode is this? M, I, or U?  I came to that spot in the current corvid-drawing and stopped, because I feared losing the…

INFP-AF. (Hint: the F is for Forgiving.)

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I took somebody's online quiz (having no faith in online quizzes but needing of entertainment.)  

The quiz proclaimed me INFP-T. As I read their breakdown I kept mumbling no...no...No...NO...THIS IS ALL WRONG.

It's an online quiz, for cripes' sake.  But the quiz-creators take themselves relatively seriously. The Briggs-Meyers test is considered reputable to some degree.  

Worse, a friend sent me a link of Quora discussions: 


https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-an-INFP https://www.quora.com/Is-anyone-an-INFP-They-seem-very-rare https://www.quora.com/What-frustrates-people-about-INFPs

 "I dunno about that infp stuff," Sharon said. "Google says infp types tend to be verbally unassertive. (I think you assert verbally, frequently)"

Sharon's met me. 

Jim adds: "Because you know how much more there is that you didn't assert." Yes, Jim, so much yes.  It is nice to be understood.
Let's just be clear on one thing:  I AM JUDG(E)MENTAL. I am mea…

No Pennies - me vs. Bathroom Floor

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The landlords have given me explicit permission to hack at any shrub I see fit, and then they went out of town. 
So I tore up the bathroom floor in my cottage.
The linoleum tile has been cracking and peeling since I moved in; also, I've noticed uncharacteristic water-collection during monsoon season (meaning not associated with the toilet.)  Since the back side of the cottage is about three feet underground, water may seeping in through the foundation somewhere.  That's something I'm not prepared to diagnose or handle.  However, it also seems the concrete floor wasn't sealed before the tile was laid; I can do that.
Being frugal, Scottish, both Sephardi and Ashkenazi, or influenced by my grandmother's depression-era conservation tactics, I went to Craigslist to look for someone getting rid of flooring.  I found a nearly-new gallon of KILZ for $10.  Bill, holder of the paint, said he worked literally down the street from my job, and we agreed to meet during lunch fo…

Love from the Twitterverse - Blogs to Investigate

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The friend who suggested (read: signed me up for) Twitter has recused herself from my universe.  This is really okay.  All humans have the inalienable right to do what's best for them at any given time. They have the right to change tack - please remember that, for yourself and for anyone you know.

That said, I've gotten a glimpse of the horror stories, but my twittersperience has been pretty okay so far.  I'm networking, I tell people, and I actually am.  I'm building a web of people who won't tell me whether I should date or dump somebody, but will tell me it's okay to wake up at 0400 hours to edit a manuscript - in fact, it's recommended by some.  I could follow people who scream politics or watery platitudes, and I could froth at the mouth whilst telling people what I think they should believe or not - but I don't.  It's been suggested that people get from Twitter what they bring to it, and I can see a grain of truth there - that's true of …

Free Time vs. Dream-poetry Explained

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I took the day off work so I could score tickets to a museum for my book club.  I succeeded.

This may sound silly (and if you've met me you're unsurprised) but I assure you it was very serious.  Glenstone allots free tickets monthly, two months in advance, at 10 AM precisely on the first of the month.  By 10:03 they're gone.

We do something like this at my day job.  There's a set opening date and time for convention exhibitors to book blocks of 5-50 hotel rooms.  Madness ensues as people all over the world vie to get into the preferred  hotels.  We usually have juice and bagels on opening days; we discuss strategies for moving phone conversations along because every second counts.  So when I tried on April 1 to get Glenstone tickets, and failed, I knew what had to be done.

At home and unencumbered by other duties, I set my alarm for 9:55 and loaded the website. Hit snooze when the alarm went off, refreshed the site, and got ready to hit enter. This was my one shot...

Pursuit of Happiness vs. Make-up Advice and Serial Killers

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Patrice used to take a personal interest in my looks.

"You need concilla," she told me in her South Cackalacky accent.  I made her repeat the word a few times and finally spell it: C-O-N-C-E-A-L-E-R.  She had a point - my dark eyecircles are legendary.  Patrice was a beautiful woman, masterful with fashion, trying to help me out with the obvious.  Over time, though, I found an awkward trend to her advice.  One day she was adamant - adamant - that I should try parting my hair on the side.

"Just do it one time. You'll love it," she insisted.  She'd done her hair with a severe side-part. Obviously it would be good for me, too, because she liked me.

Understanding her motivation is exactly the kind of thought that plagues me for years, but I think I've finally sorted it:  Patrice felt an elation when she found herself beautiful with side-parted hair.  I think she was trying to recapture that elated feeling by replicating the action on me.

Sounds goofy, righ…

Looking In

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There's some incredibly vocal bird - maybe a warbler or canary - nesting in the azalea outside my window.  He's going to help me succeed in my plan to wake up near sunrise every day.

The Order of Emergent Magick recommends practicing intent:  choose one thing you don't currently do, and perform that action every day for 30 days.  It can be something as simple as changing the place where you put your shoes every night, or something you feel is more impactive like meditating for 20 minutes.  Be very specific about the repetition.  And then after 30 days, intentionally don't do the thing for 30 days.

Learning how intent feels will lap over into other things  you do every day.  This morning I've sent a proposal for an editing gig, filled in some more squares on my project spreadsheet, and cleaned cobwebs.  You can buy cleaning equipment - a telescoping duster, for example - employ them and they actually work.  I am the master of my ship, dammit.

I also took a few minu…

Regret: To Be or Not To Be...

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Michelle posted a tale of 4 cats which tells of the time she was a bad cat-mom. I get this; I've been a bad cat-mom. I've been a bad mom. I'm currently a bad bike-mom to a Bianchi who deserves better.

I just went through a round of re-forgiving myself for various ill-conceived decisions I made when I thought I was smart. I've reached a point in my life where all my miscalculations are auto-functioning and I no longer have to monitor them with my guilt; but the guilt doesn't go away, no.

However, I can stop following that guilt around with actions meant to mollify it, and I can use the available space I didn't have when I needed to monitor my miscalculations. I can actually do things now that I wanted to do - should have been doing, if we want to use the s-word - back when I was trying to clean up my own messes.

It's not as awesome as it sounds; it's awkward. I have space and no instructions on what to do with it, - I should have learned the steps ages …

Depression Talk - a Bullseye Drawn.

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Were I capable of taking my own life, I probably found the place where it's done.  Now that the darkest dark seems to have passed, I'm telling you what I found. I'm practicing reaching out.

If you didn't hear from me, it's because I'm wary of your intentions. I know you care, and I believe you want the best for me.  A hug can become an extra burden.  Questions and empathy bruise when my answers aren't received the way I gave them. I'm afraid of being smoothed over.

The standard response to things we don't understand is to disregard or re-frame, fit into something more comfortable for us; it's natural. The knee-jerk reaction is to drop everything and address someone else's problem. We instinctively seek a fast resolution so we can go back to tending our own.

Please note I never used the words "someone needs help."  Needing help is frowned upon in our culture, and nobody wants to be needy. We don't want to believe it about ourse…

Ping - a letter to non-proximal friends

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I miss my friend horribly today.

I miss the way we could joke about anything, knowing this was the safe zone, knowing we were really all okay and could be trusted in the world despite what we thought funny right now.

I miss coffee under palm trees.  I miss painting the stairs. I miss laughing over school assignments. Not holding back.

I don't miss those days, but I miss the safe zone and the shared vocabulary.  We knew all along that we'd move on eventually, not knowing to where - it's a rite of passage. We are processes, always moving but not always with translatable maps.  Knowing never makes it easy.

I'm alone among friends where I am now.  I've built myself a fort, and I am safe, but it's a different sort of safety.  I miss feeling understood.  I'm afraid of possibly never being understood again, since every minute of every day puts more mileage between then and tomorrow. Now is frangible.  I assure you the fear is valid.

New words are built every day,…

How to Teach Nuance

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When I'm unsure whether I'm reading nuance correctly, I check in with someone whose perception I trust, or whose decision will factor into the success of the project.  I tend to check smaller packets of information than others do, because I can.

I've already calculated a few probable outcomes. I want to know which outcome we prefer as a team. However, everyone's busy and would like to not follow the trail of my process to grasp what I'm after. I can't formulate the easy question on the fly. If someone asks me "why", and I try to answer, we're all in trouble, because I will tell you.  All of it.

I've always been this way.  I probably was an annoying kid.

Kids bring to you things that aren't important at the moment to you. You may be sorting some high-level issue for the household, and you don't get why the kid needs to know right now.  The short answer is: "the kid wants attention."  There are nuances, though. The answer may …

*POETRY WARNING* Caterpillar Soup

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chrysalised
I am melting
reforming what was
as it swims my vision
the hardening of wings is
sharp elbows inside this envelope
Curling tongue where once were teeth
will my voice now spiral, not gnash?
it's solitary work, metamorphosis
just like the skin that no longer fit
I'll cast aside this shell
and fly 5000 miles
to my death
in the sun



Further Reading:

How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly?
- from Scientific American.  You always wanted to know, right?

Photos of metamophosis without a cocoon
Michael Cook managed to capture photos of a Tussah silkmoth larva that failed to spin a cocoon.

Why Millions of Painted Lady Butterflies are Migrating Through California
- from WBUR.  I witnessed this migration myself in 2001 and represented it in a painting I no longer have. Despite complaints from people who like their cars to be pristine, it was one of the most magical things I've experienced.

Definitions for Typos: Sunglower vs. Migraine

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I'm on day two of migraine, which almost never happens to me.  The sun is shining but I can't enjoy it because it's too bright; the letters on my screen are doubling as I type but less so than yesterday.  I'll take it slowly.

My signature stiff neck is loosening and actually hurts, which is better than the usual feeling which defies explanation - like my body chooses to stop existing and I'm unsure where I'm attached.  It's not pain, exactly, but something more horrifying.  When I feel it coming - when sounds and lights are becoming sharper - I can usually duck out with a lot of Ibuprofen and benadryl and sleep until it passes.  I haven't gotten to day 2 in years.

But I am dedicated to #draweveryday, so last night I did some work I thought I could manage by rote, more birds to the murmuration on my painting The Zorya.  My initial vision for this painting suggested it would be finished by now and I'd be working on a new one in the series.

To Ramble, or Not to Ramble - Fighting Migration

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I've always been this way - I feel an overwhelming drive to pack up and leave town. Be somewhere else. Take my circus on the road.  It's downright painful, sometimes, this feeling - my legs hurt from trying to uproot.

There have been times in my life when I heeded it.  My [ angels, ancestors, voices in my head ] have told me very loudly: DON'T MOVE.  And I got this message before, this time, the feeling hit.  So I'm not moving; I feel like I'm melting in my stasis.  It's very weird.

My brother and I joke about The Ewing Gene, and we didn't really think we were joking, but Daniel C. Dennett has pointed out potential basis for our observation in his book Bacteria to Bach and Back:

Interestingly, when there isn't enough stability over time in the selective environment to permit natural selection to "predict" the future accurately (when "selecting" the best designs for the next generation), natural selection does better by leaving the ne…

I Want To Believe - Why We Need Science Fiction and Psychedelic Therapy

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I'm working on a commissioned art project, and to set the mood I'm streaming The X-Files Season 4.  I'm up to the Bruce Campbell episode (I love him so much.) So now I'm digressing, because if you should be painting then apparently you write.

There's so much social media hype telling us to back away from social media.  It's Orwellian, right?  Connecting with people who are not proximal but share interests isn't wrong; connecting with bots and arguing moot points is.  Instant gratification builds unhealthy addiction to instant gratification.  We need to practice focusing on long-term goals. We need to remember how to process long sentences and find definitions in the context.

We need actual Science Fiction.  Also, we need actual science.

 In my angsty pre-teen years, I found solace in the worlds created by Ray Bradbury and Robert A. Heinlein.  Heinlein gave us the word grok, a very useful term for this blog's subject matter.  Bradbury's work stood…