Monthly Archives: January 2019

the future of grammar.

If I’ve learned nothing else from sci-fi television, it’s that advanced civilizations do not use contractions and their grammar is often impeccable. This gives me hope for the future: will my great-granchildren live in a world without dangling participles?

Or will things continue on their current path: will my great-grandchildren never learn what a participle is?

Oh, the humanity.

heigh-ho

Last week I was in California for work which sounds way more glamorous than it was even though, overall, it was a pretty okay week. I missed my cats and my gentleman friend and my pillow and ready access to an iron that I understand how to use but! I survived.

And today I go back to real-work-work and I’m sitting here in my bathrobe wondering if there is technically anything against dress code if I remain enclothed this way.

Except if I show up in my bathrobe, I’ll just want to bring a cat. And my pillow. Call it the If-You-Give-a-Mouse-a-cookie effect.

If I was still in California, it’d be too hot to wear a bathrobe to work.

And if it sounds like I’m typing this while half-asleep, you’d be 25% right.

From Friedrich to Kelly

They say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but when you’re in the moment how do you know that whatever it is won’t eventually kill you?

You don’t. I think you just suck it up and hope it goes the other way.

 

 

Now I have that Kelly Clarkson song stuck in my head.

 

Buncha birds in a box

Do you have a Netflixer? Have you watched their newest popular release-movie Box of Birds? In case you have not heard about it, it’s a psychiatrical horrors film about a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey gone wrong. I’ve seen enough clips and heard enough snippets through the wall as I was trying to fall asleep – thanks, Gentleman Friend – to have a firm grasp of the plot, which I’d like to summarize for you now.

Sandra Bullock is a lady-person with long hair and visceral intensity that is emitted through powerful, invisible rays projected out of her Intimidating Yet Feminine Chin. There are also two smaller people who I believe to be children. They may or may not be important. There is also another person who I think I recognize but can’t quite place her name. Pretty sure that person dies in one of the previews I saw. Sad.

Also. John Malkovich maybe?

The name of the film comes from the fact that something in the movie references it.

Woods. Outdoors. Down coats in muted retro colors. Blindfolds – hence the pin-the-tail thing.

Travel by water? The Scary Thing might not be able to swim, I guess? Do birds swim? Ah, probably not, when they’re trapped in a box. They probably get pretty angry too. I’m beginning to understand the film more, I think.

How does it end? I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. Or myself, really. It’s anyone’s guess. I fell asleep pretty fast last night.

Practice makes perf – where was I?

Have you tried meditation? I have a vague memory of being led through a body scan during some kind of “Finals Week Stress Relief” event as an undergrad. We were laying on the floor in the basement of the student center, maybe? I’m not 100% sure my memory is accurate.

I’d tried it off-and-on since then, and decided to give it another try a month-ish ago. So many of my pals enjoy it and reap its benefits; why not me?

If anyone tells you that meditation is easy, you have my permission to slap them across their lying mouth hole. Because it ISN’T. It’s not normally a struggle for me to focus my attention in everyday life. But to intentionally focus on focusing on something throws my brain hilariously off-kilter. Focus on the breath, they say. If your mind wanders, no big deal! Just gently corral your focus back to the breath. But don’t, like, focus too hard on the breath. Don’t hyperventilate yourself. Not that I’ve felt like I was doing that before or anything, of course. Er.

Count your breaths, then they suggest. So I do, until eventually – OH MY GOSH I GOT IT! I’M MEDITATING! I’M REALLY DOING IT! I’M NOT FOCUSING ON ANYTHING!

On a related note, I now have a foolproof method for falling asleep.

In all seriousness, though, my point is this: I’m just-now realizing that meditation practice truly is just that: practice of training one’s mind. It’s no different (in theory) than training one’s body. It requires dedication and focus, and the results – I’m told, at least – are incredibly rewarding.

Maybe one day I’ll report back here that I meditate 3 hours a day now and my mind is one giant freaking Zen garden. Until then, my goal is to go 10   5  3 minutes while still being able to lead my mind out of its constant maze of song lyrics, to-do lists and Important Questions (namely: how long does it take a pummelo to rot and how long has it been sitting outside the window like that?).

 

 

 

 

 

A proposal for 2019.

I was making the bed yesterday – it’s nice, you should try it sometime – and an unexpectedly contemplative thought fluttered through my brain.

So you know how on television, in movies, in books – you know how when someone is struggling internally with something? Like a Big Decision or Big Secret or Big Problem? And us as the viewer/reader/observer – we know what’s up and we’re all captivated (sometimes) and thinking “Oh, how will this Big Decision / Secret / Problem be resolved? How will it unexpectedly burst forth from this protagonist in a fountain of mental garbage?

Depending on the intention of that character’s creator, we look forward to or dread this emotional volcano (side note: I’ve found my tastes lately lean more toward the “too real it makes me cringe” level of entertainment. Anyone else? I haven’t put forth the effort to explore why that is but I bet that’ll be a fun adventure).

But sometimes – a mitigating factor is introduced. Another character picks up on the cues given off by the one experiencing the Big Decision / Secret / Problem. Those cues can be Super Obvious: Hernando hasn’t bathed himself in a week and he appears to be sweating vodka, maybe something is wrong or Not So Obvious: Lillian didn’t remember to put the cap back on that pen. Something is definitely wrong.

And we, viewer/reader/observer, nod our head. Yes, how perceptive of that friend to notice the other’s struggle. I, too, would have arrived at similar conclusions after seeing that pen drying up on the table.

But, like, would you? These made-up personas possess sometimes superhuman powers of observation and empathy, and the Hernandos IRL aren’t necessarily openly Leaving Las Vegasing themselves.

This is a drawn-out way for me to say that we should all check in on our people, whether we think they “need” it or not. I know, I know. You’ve heard this a hundred times. I’d heard it too. But it wasn’t 115% clear to me until that analogy materialized in my brain because it’s drilled into us – and this is WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the stereotype exists – that people who need help will eventually reach a point where they’ll ask for it or that there exist enough perceptive others to notice something is off and confront it head-on.

Happy New Year, y’all! And if you’re the type to resolute things on this arbitrary calendar day, here’s a quick and easy and rewarding one: Ask your people how they are, and mean it, and listen to their response, and probe if you have to, and make sure it’s ABSOLUTELY clear – both in your word and deed – that you care about and love and treasure the ever-living fuck out of them.

May 2019 be a year marked by compassion and a satisfying, yet moderate amount of cheese-flavored snacks.