Various awesome

There’s a lot of awesome going around, despite the grim clouds rolling around. Here’s one: Jacqueline Novogratz was talking about her Acumen Fund on the equally awesome Diane Rehm Show podcast the other day. I ain’t an expert, but setting up systems in Africa, India, and Pakistan to employ thousands of local people in doing stuff like providing cheap clean water to their neighbors for the first time—sounds pretty excellent to me. Her set-up is a bit like Kiva in that it allows us first-worlders to invest in the enterprises of people in desperately poor areas. Novogratz has a new book out called The Blue Sweater, referring to a piece of clothing from her own adolescence that she had put in her family’s GoodWill pile one day and that turned up, decades later, worn by a random boy she ran into in the streets of Rwanda (I think). She said she grabbed him and checked the inside collar of the sweater—her name was still sewn in there.

Dude. Am I growing a new bone inside my brain?

Because if not, I don’t understand why these earplugs won’t fit in my right ear anymore. They come out all squiggly, having jammed part-way in. Three in a row. “Compare to Flent’s” it says on the Walgreens container—as if I wasn’t having a Kafaesque enough day as it was.

Emerging from Blackstring Hell—again

Ah! After being vomited out of Blackstring Hell a few weeks ago, I’ve spent the following time in some foggy recess of my mind. Grisly business this thing within which we exist.
During this time which spread into months (it could have been longer as Blackstring is a non-linear place), I’ve had many obsessions that the Blackstringers either cursed with or, like a rock climber beginning to fall, I perhaps grabbed onto whatever would hold me. As I stare back, volition remains elusive. TV, crime shows in particular, kept my mind silent. I’d even wake up into the night and immediately turn on the TV. Although a true rarity, I think I have finally gorged myself so badly on the Law and Order shows that like when I ate Lima beans with salt, pepper and butter for three years (of course while in front of the TV watching old Sherlock Holmes movies) I would almost retch if I even saw a box of frozen Limas. This retch-response lasted for about 10 years. I am afraid. Will I have to “Be Here Now” as old Baba Ram Dass insisted in his book “Be Here Now”?

Not yet as two newer shows (as well as new episodes of CSI and The Closer have saved me from myself—Fringe and Eleventh Hour. I am now obsessed with scientist on Fringe. Plus Fringe has cool illness and maladies often accompanied by even cooler special effects. I also find the mad scientist’s relationship with his son of some interest. But Eleventh Hour has better plots. I say this as Fringe has that conspiracy theory thing going on. I hated it in X Files; my resentment of it as a backstory/frontstory has not tempered.

Musically, Matthew Schultz’s new album Division as well as his website, have also keep me sane (or as close to it as I ever float.)

There have been other things—cool clothes from friends who moved as well as a skeleton closet that looks like it is straight out of a legit funky New Orleans Voodoo shop. And of course, my cadre of friends as well as my brilliant partner in crime…

Narcissism 101 with T. S. Eliot

Half the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important
They don’t mean to do harm
But the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
To think well of themselves.

T. S. Eliot

Nice! “But the harm does not interest them.” Thanks, Narcissism 101.

On Spiders, Shaman-girls and Louise Bourgeois


I just got a tattoo of a spider. There was a tangled web of motivations behind this decision. The hallucination was primary. Methadrine-induced and 30 years in my past, that hallucination or vision – I can never discern the difference – stuck in my head. Hallucinations tend to stick with a person. Especially if they are of very large SUPER creepy spiders that show up while you’re flirting with your college advisor. I am not an actor, but I can guarantee you, carrying on a conversation as though everything is normal while a three-foot arachnid leers at you from over your lust-interest’s shoulder, demands a command performance. I think I handled the situation rather well. My Southern training in manners, which insists that no matter what, you remain genteel, occasionally pays off like that.

My shaman–yes, I see spiders and shamans but no dead people as far as I know–thinks the spider was trying to tell me something. “Sure,” I said. “Run! motherfucker, run like the wind!” We both laugh.

My second inspiration for my tattoo was murder: I killed way too many wolf spiders as a child. Good God Almighty, those things that cruised through my Southern childhood home were about 4 inches wide and COULD JUMP! Second only to the previously mentioned gargantuan hallucinatory beast, hairy pole-vaulting things scare the be Jesus out of me. So crush, crunch and squash I did. I wreaked karmic spider hell on myself. Thus Veronica—the name of my spider tattoo.

I should have probably named my newest skin art Louise since it was the 30-foot high spider iron sculptures of Louise Bourgeois that I used as a prototype for Veronica. I was particularly charmed by her spidey sculpture that is down by the waterfront here in San Francisco. Entitled Crouching Spider, it is the only thing that will get me to venture into the foreign territory of SF’s financial district (that and when my boyfriend begs me to pick him up for any work he may snag down there).

So there you have it. The tale of my tattoo, my shaman and the odd hallucinations I suffer from.

Buried Under a Heap of Literature

Well, I am at it again reading China Mieville. I’d stopped reading Perdido Station, but I could not get the dark brain-sucking flying things out of my head. So I found it buried beneath the easily-two-hundred unread books in my kitchen. Yes, my kitchen as I ran out of space in my hallway, my bedroom as well as in my meditation room. I also picked up Mieville’s newest book The City and The City as began reading that too. I lost them book in my bed-also filled with at least twenty unread/half-read books, articles and ‘zines. What is the fucking need to bury myself alive with books. Christ, I just had an ephiphany. I am buried alive. And forgot. Now I am remembering. I was in a library when it collapsed. And there I still lie. I am under the pressure of a thousand books all of various genres. I keep buying books and recreating the stress in the hopes that I will jog myself out of my daze, wake up and try to get out from under the paper tomb I am in. I suddenly feel relieved because I am merely trapped under a collapsed library. I’d prefer that to the reality that I actually have to READ all the books, newspapers and magazines I keep buying.

Legless Maniacs in Need of Couples Therapy

This week I decided I need to take my brain to couples counseling.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!,” it screamed banging itself so hard up against my skull that I wonder if I might not have suffered a contracoup injury.
“Sorry, we’re going,” I said. I affected detached attitude. I knew better than to engage with my brain. It is a resentful adolescent with a borderline personality disorder. There is no reasoning with it. You set the limit and just sit through the hell that breaks loose. It did.
“You suck,” it said picking up my manuscript and heaving it across the room. I was surprised at this gesture as it is an armless thing. I think it actually hissed at me too. I refrained myself from reacting, something I’ve done for years. Because it always wins.
“Couples,” I reiterated, picking up my manuscript.
“You don’t even know what reiterated means. And anyway,I’m going to Berlin.” This was a standard tactic of my brain. Threatening to leave me. Wishful thinking on my part. I wanted to say “fine go, good riddance,” but I’m supposed to be a practicing Buddhist which means I’m committed to well, at least being civil. I don’t roll with compassion. So rather that swear at it, I just shrugged my shoulder.
“I have the checkbook,” I said looking over my chronically bent cheap-ass Walgreens wire rims. “And the debit card. And anyway you don’t even have a name, much less a passport.” Okay, so I barely roll with civility.
“I knew it, you hate me.” It sat down in my chair (or rather squished down as it is just a brain. and it has no legs.)
“I do too,” it said.
“Do what?” I was confused.
“Have legs.” It started to cry which is a major feat for a disembodied brain.
Like I said. Couples therapy is clearly in order here.

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