raybear: (Default)
Sometimes when I'm walking through the apartment late at night with all the lights off and my laptop in hand, I will open it and face it outwards and pretend I'm in some Discovery Channel show using a night-vision camera to investigate a haunted house. And then I freak myself out and shut the laptop really fast.

I have not showered since Sunday. I have, however, taken 3 baths. That is not my usual proportion of things, and I feel a bit indulgent using so much water.

Today has been filled with surreal daydreams, intensified by an afternoon nap and quasi-lucid dreaming involving a familiar stranger and an old friend and a home and a passionate affair, those dreams that bring bliss in quantities dreams usually reserve for terror and panic. It was so hard to wake up, even more so because, really, I had nothing to wake up for, I had the day to myself and could sleep it away if it brought me pleasure, but it seemed like a bad sign, the symptom of depression, and I got ticked off that I ended my reverie because of medication commercial warning signs blaring through my head. So I've poked around the rest of the day, enjoying myself still almost because of the longing and the occasional moment of closing my eyes and slipping back into the sensations of that otherworld, remembering minute details likes the fabric on the couch, the smell of the room, and focusing to make out the details of faces. I am horrible with faces of real-life people, I can often remember names and conversations and hair and outfit and the circle of the face is a flesh-colored blur, like an anonymous whistleblower being interviewed on the news. However, this time I could do it with such perfect clarity, I felt almost the pleasure a sculptor might, in so perfectly capturing the proportions of a face that you can run your (imaginary) hand over and around and feel your success. Keep touching and get hairs tangled up between your fingers, its quite real, for a split second, before I nod off and muscles jerk, splashing the bathwater and waking me up from not-quite-asleep. I close my eyes and do it again.

Synthetic happiness is possibly superior to so-called natural spontaneous happiness, its longer lasting, so perhaps this moment in the tub of remembering a memory of an imaginary event serves an even better purpose than 'authentic nostalgia'. The imaginary sort of longing in stories can be worked and worked and worked over until a proper resolution is found.
raybear: (collapsed)
I enjoy watching major cultural events, preferably on television, in my house, alone. Like the Oscars! So this morning I got that wish, and I wasn't really expecting much, just something in the background while I puttered around online. But remember back in November after the election when I talked about how I was still expecting to have a good cry? Not because I am the number one Obama fan or anything, but just because, ohmyjeezus, the past 8 years have just exactly as bad as I thought they'd be when the 2000 election went down the way it did (rememeber when middle-of-the-road people called us alarmists?), and I knew I needed to release some of that. It never really happened. Until this morning. I was watching them announce all the former presidents with their various congressperson entourages, seeing Clinton try so badly to catch Laura Bush's eye to shake hands while she snubbed him, marvelling at how zombie like the group around Bush was, and then they cut to Obama just walking down the hallway, towards the doorway to be announced, and I lost it. Lost it, lost it. Didn't stop. Laughed at myself for still sobbing, but didn't curb it. The dog came over and sat next to be on the couch and tried to lick my face, which is often what she does when I'm sad (it is astoundingly cute and sweet, when not annoying and intrusive). Then the wave passed and I went back to being the cynical romantic, or the romantic cynic.

I went to therapy today, and my last session a few weeks ago felt kinda weird, like he was graduating me, so I wasn't sure at first what that meant, but as soon as I got there, I knew that I wanted to work on all my writerly neurosis now. It felt like a needed shift, a good step forward. And gods know, I could use some help in that arena. So now I have to help communicate to him how my creative process works and he can offer feedback on the personal psychological aspects that cause blocks. He gave me writing homework that I don't want to do, but I know will be helpful. But I also feel a little cautious about sharing some of that with him, a non-writer, since usually I only talk about the indepth process (and struggles) with other trusted artist types I know. On the other hand, I've always wanted my writing mentors to be my life coach/parental figure/therapist, so this might work out just fine.

At work recently, a couple people have asked if I've lost weight, and I say excitedly, "no! I've GAINED weight!" which is true because I am chest pressing 125 pounds, mtherfckers!! I love strength training so much, its way more physically and psychologically appealing to add things to my body, then obsess about shrinking it.

I really wish they'd stop playing the section of Obama's speech saying "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off" because then I start singing "....and start all over again" and get the song stuck in my head.
raybear: (Default)

winter ray
Originally uploaded by raybear
The other day on the train, I felt like people were giving me lots of "sizing him up" glances and I couldn't figure out why. Then I remembered my choice of winter gear and my sunglasses and know exactly why they are looking at me. I'm That Guy.

I know its sort of ridiculous how much Chicagoans talk about the weather and how much of a legitimate conversation topic it is here, but honestly, its because so much weird stuff happens around you when it starts to get this cold. Like, you know how heat makes the air wavy and watery? I first noticed it as a kid when watching the charcoal grill flame up, and in the summers, steam rising off the hot asphalt. Well, tonight on the way home from work, the train got above ground, where its currently -11 degrees outside and hasn't gone above 0 all day, and everytime the doors opened on the platform, the ENTIRE ENTRYWAY OPENING was watery and wavy from the heat of the 60 degree train car air hitting the cold air.
raybear: (Default)
Happy Twelfth Night!

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.

- Act I, Scene 1, Twelfth Night, or As You Like It

Also, I think [livejournal.com profile] sharkysmachine and I are going to have an orgy with all the people in this clip:

raybear: (scream)

Girl Talk. About 1/3 of this guy's songs are FCKING BRILLIANT. The other 2/3 sometimes give me an aneurysm. But what I love about the ones that work, is that he takes the mash-up concept to this whole other three-dimensional and viable level. About 2% of mash-ups are really great, but the large majority of them I find great for the first 30 seconds.....then I get exhausted and bored by them. His tracks takes this 30 second golden window to the nth degree. Several Girl Talk songs are on my summer jam rotation.

My Officemate. Today, she asked me about "provisos" and whether it was a general grammar term or a legal one, and then I was googling it and we were talking about plain language/new english, etc., as well as words losing meaning from misuse, and I talked about my biggest pet peeve, which is the word "factoid" and how it was misused so much that now its an acceptable definition, and then she said, "yeah, its like fat and phat - f-a-t and p-h-a-t." Um, no, actually its nothing like that. And I said as much. And I said, I have no problem with slang, with creation of words, with language evolving, because it always has and always will, and her response was, "did you ever hear that Tim McGraw song about Back in the Good Old days when a hoe was a garden tool? I liked that song." See, just when we were starting to bond over something, she has to remind me that she's a high-strung nervous suburban republican white lady. I stood up and went to get coffee. And promptly made myself giggle because I kept hearing Gladys Knight's voice saying "you know everybody's talkin' about the good old days, the good old days....well, let's talk about the good old days."

Therapy. Why does it always have to go back to my abandonment issues? I hate being cliche. I'm a special and unique snowflake. Right? Right?? Well, that and my skills at emotion stuffing. I'm getting better about it though. And by better, I mean worse, since perhaps its not a skillset that is so desirable. So my therapist claims.

Clothes. I need to accept that all my dress pants are probably going to have permanent grease stains on the cuffs after this summer of biking to work every day that it's not raining.

Herbal smokes. Last night I tried out some dream herbs, that pretty much tasted like smoking ginger and was a bit harsh on the lungs. These particular ones were relatives of tumeric, and supposedly were supposed to help bridge the psychic gateway. I fell asleep quickly therafter and had a long night of dreams, some that were kinda cool and two that involved snow or the arctic. This was probably because it was the first night of sleeping with the a/c on and the door shut. I did dream that [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass was not going to work because of a snow day, that she was calling in sick, and then a few hours later she e-mailed to inform me that she's taking a sick day tomorrow. Scary! Or not. I mean, we have lots of psychic things like that in our hosuehold all the time, so its really hard to know if the root herbs did anything. However, I enjoyed the pre-bedtime ritual of it. I love a good ritual.

Over the weekend, when taking a break from cleaning the house, I tried out this: which is exactly what I wanted in a hand-rolled cigarette that made my mouth feel a little tingly and didn't hurt my lungs and made me feel relaxed afterwards without putting me too sleep. It was basically the inverse of tobacco, which is what I wanted. However, it is EXPENSIVE. $20 for a pouch that is only half the size of Bali Shag! Granted, I'm not smoking it everyday, but still. That will definitely fall into the "special occasion" category. Which, I think said special occasion will be my writing residency in two weeks.

Ragdale. My writing residency is in two weeks!! I leave on the 31st and come back on August 13th. I will primarily be incommunicado, mostly by choice. I'll have my cell phone with me, but I'll probably have it off except for maybe an hour a day to check messages. I'll have my laptop with me and there's some wireless access, but its not guaranteed and I hope actually I can't get it in my room. Again, I might check in periodically and make some scrabulous moves, but if I'm up in lj making posts and starting word twist games with you, please tell me politely to go the fck away. I actually don't think it will be a huge problem. I have a problem with compuslively checking these things when I'm in my house or at work, but when I'm away and in a different environment, I welcome the opportunity to not be plugged in. Also, I found out there are community bikes in the house where I'm staying!! I was going to try and figure out bringing my own, because I'm rather attached to it these days, but that didn't fit into my plan of packing light.

Damon. He's in town next weekend! July 26-28. I want to take him to Feed. And Smoque. And we're doing karaoke on Sunday night at Sidekicks when it won't be crowded so we can sing as many songs as we want and still leave by midnight. So even though its a school night, please consider coming.
raybear: (sunglasses)
Cleaning, like most things for me, is a category where the hardest part is just getting starting. This morning, it took me an hour to convince myself to just do "some dusting". Next thing I know, I'm wielding a q-tip with rubbing alcohol to remove the grime between the buttons on the remote controls.

My traveling soft-case for my guitar came in today! I can now be that wobbly guy on a bike with my instrument on my back.

Even though she's not on livejournal much, happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion!!
raybear: (scream)
The past couple weeks have been primarily about being kind of freaked out in my head when alone and sitting still, but okay when around people or in motion. So I've been fairly busy and social and moving at the gym or in the woods or on my bike, and all of those things have been amazing and fun. But one can only do those things for so long, other responsibilities come up, or just things like, night and being in bed and surrounding yourself with pillows to create a sort of soft nest to surround me and hope I fall asleep quickly, without too much time spent subject to my brain. But a couple things have made me happy while I'm alone, and they include:

1. Lars and the Real Girl. Well, first off, Richard Roeper hated it, so that says something in its favor. I've been mildly curious about this film, almost saw it when it was playing at the second run theater near my house but missed it. Then [livejournal.com profile] anjibobanji started talking about how much she loved it, that she's watched it multiple times, and so I bumped it up on the netflix queue. I watched it yesterday and I just loved it so much, it was unexpected. When the movie was over, I missed the characters. I'm also on season 2 of Big Love and feeling sort of similar, where I get really sad at the end of a disc, because I can't spend any more time with them.

2. Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches. Trader Joe's is not very convenient to me, and all of their parking lots are horrifically designed (every location in every city I've been to seems to have this problem), but I go specifically for their pear sauce, which is rare in other stores. I always buy two jars, sometimes three. They didn't have any yesterday. I was a pretty heartbroken. But then I got home and ate lunch and afterwards opened up a box of these ice cream sandwiches. When I was a kid, and I first saw the image of a "chipwich" on the ice cream truck, I was so excited. I loved chocolate chip cookies. I loved ice cream. I loved the idea of putting one between the other, and then adding EXTRA chocolate chips? Genius. Except then I had one, and the cookie didn't taste like cookie, the ice cream was that hard, dry cheap kind, and even the chocolate chips tasted fake. I've probably only had four chipwiches in my entire life, I was so disappointed. But these ice cream sandwiches from Trader Joe's are exactly how I dreamed those chipwiches would taste. The cookies are soft bakery style, the ice cream is perfect, the chocolate chips are real. It is perfect. There are only 4 in a box. I should have bought two.

3. I'm going to build my own house. Seriously. Ok, I'm eyeing the giant barn houses and loft houses, to create the super dreamhouse for our 5-10 acres in southwest michigan with [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass, but the more realistic option is just build the one unit cabin on our property that comes with a house, so it will actually be more of a writer's studio, but I can't wait to sit on the porch out front in a rocking chair and be like, damn, I built this. Seriously. I'm building a fcking house. Ok, it'll be in a few years. But still.


I biked to work, because all this week its sunny and 70s, which is my ideal summer weather because its hot without sweltering. I didn't even bring a change of clothes, I figured I'd get a little sweaty but nothing unreasonable, so I was feeling pretty amused, biking to work in my dark dress pants and white checked button down shirt, then when this elderly woman smiled and waved at me along Milwaukee, I waved backed, but wondered what inspired the friendly outreach until it occured to me: I looked like a mormon guy on his mission.

The week before last, I went out for gelato with [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion and got a mix of two flavors: whiskey and salted peanuts. When I placed my order, when I was eating it, and also several times after when it came up in conversation (it was good gelato), I sang "salt peanuts! salt peanuts!" And every time, most people looked at me slightly startled/confused and then acted like I hadn't just done that. I mean, I know my brain is a sponge of random information. But still, sometimes I forget. Luckily I have a blog, so now everyone can know about Salt Peanuts and I will be less alone in the world.

raybear: (Default)
For those who have never seen my dog, or don't remember past photos, this is Sophie:
pics of sophie )

She's about 40 pounds and as tall as your knee (if you can't tell since there's no reference people in the pictures) and when she's out in the world, her tail is always up and waving and she prances, and then when you talk to her, her ears go back and she wags and jumps on you in this slow way that makes most people reach out and grab her paws (even though I always knee her in the ribs and encourage others to do the same). In other words, she's a really fierce, menacing creature.

One thing that constantly surprises me about my dog is how much Dudes loves her. And by "Dudes", I mean butch men. And I mean ALL version of butch. Motorcycle bike dudes. Teenage corner dudes. Shirtless muscled lifeguard dudes. Old dudes on the porch smoking a pipe. Military tattooed VFW bar-in-the-middle-of-the-day dudes. They don't just look at her -- they will smooch their lips, click their tongues, talk to her and tell me she's a "nice dog", though sometimes they will actually say she's "so pretty".

Today I took her out in the backyard before I left for work. My next door neighbors were out as well and they said hi to me, then immediately went to the fence when they saw her. "Are you looking for biscuits?!?!" They slip her a biscuit through the chain-link fence most every time she's out when they are. She's wagging and wagging and licking their fingers. One of them goes upstairs into the house to get her treats. The other one stays behind and talks to her in lilting sing-song way. I am throwing away garbage while this happening. They give her the biscuit, watch her run over to the grass to chew it.......then turn their shirtless, camo pants-wearing selves around and go back to slap-boxing the isht out of each other.

ETA: I forgot to say in the beginning, that it was 6 years ago this month, right after Memorial Day weekend, that [livejournal.com profile] limenal and I adopted Sophie at the Chicago pound. They approximated her at 1 year at the time. So happy approximate birthday, Sophie!
raybear: (Default)
When I went up to the concession stand in the movie theater to order a soda, the clerk immediately said, "is it raining outside or are you just really sweaty?"

Later I couldn't help thinking, how would that have felt if it hadn't been raining?
raybear: (Wiley)
The following things happened to me yesterday, not anywhere near each other in time and space:

1. I took a hot bath in the morning, even though I knew I was biking to the gym in a couple hours, but I was so sore and achey that its all I wanted to do. During this bath, I stared out the window into the sunshine and wished for a hot tub on a back deck, because it was perfect weather for it, where it was warm, but not hot outside, there was still a barest hint of spring chill in the air that a bubbly spa would complement.

2. On the train into work, I marvelled in my head as to why so many buildings in this city are made with the same ugly boring concrete grey blocks and if there's some market domination going on, or if its just that they are the cheapest and most efficient and everyone is trying to make/conserve money, so its like building your house in the Sims, and you want to branch out but you just end up making most every house look pretty much the same because materials are limited within a budget.

3. I corresponded over e-mail with DYA and our friends about possibly renting a 4-bedroom vacation house together for a weekend in June in Michigan while we are all there for our mutual friends' wedding.

These things added up to a dream last night where DYA and I were with a bunch of people, looking at housing plans (the view was much like playing The Sims) and there was a lottery/race to pick which rooms we wanted to live in -- it kinda reminded me of the race to get seats on a Southwest flight, where they divide groups into 3 sections, but its cutthroat mini-chaos within each one. It also kinda reminded me of the moments at the beginnings of reality shows that involve all the contestants living together, and how they run around and claim beds. Everyone else was a stranger to us, except we knew [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion was coming later and would need a place to stay and we didn't want her stuck in a crappy room with strangers, so we decided to claim the biggest room that we could all share, which had two big beds and a hot tub. I was very happy with our decision and our 'win', though slightly nervous about the longterm consequences of three adults having to share a room for period of time more than a few nights, even if it is two people that I like a lot.

I'm not allowed to go to the gym today. Working out has totally become my tool for avoiding writing, and while it has some benefits over say, watching oprah and eating cookies and napping as a tool to avoid writing (nothing wrong with any of those things on their own, of course, only for me when done in combination for long periods of time), it also has some disadvantages like my back being a little inflamed and angry at me because I've been overdoing it. I am going to the grocery story though, which is one of my favorite activities in the world.

Please enjoy the latest installment of my imaginary boyfriend.

raybear: (Default)
Earlier today there was a news headline that said: Possible twister touches down in Texas.

Hello, vague. Also, wait, this is news? Tomorrow it will say, rain fell in the pacific northwest.

This headline made me snort coffee: Justice Scalia opens up about Bush v. Gore, says 'Get over it'.

Yeah, that sounds about how good ole Nino would open up and share his feelings.

I walked halfway to work today and right when I was almost here, I got sucked into Rock Records because everything is 50% off and I have no CDs here in the office. For $10, I got two best-of collections: Kenny Rogers and Olivia Newton John. There is going to be some significant mellowing happening this evening.

ETA: Except the CD player doesn't work. Back to "The Drive". ONJ and Kenny will have to wait until I get home.
raybear: (sunglasses)
Tonight after getting home from work, I decided I needed to walk six blocks over to the other side of our bit of neighborhood and document something we've passed twice in the car. It is a bit alarming when you turn onto Wellington and there appears to be a person lit up in the window of a front porch. Then you realize its not a person, but a statue. Then you realize that statue is.....Christ on crutches?

who is that on the front porch?

click here for closer pictures! )
raybear: (cranky)
I did the holiday shopping for the in-laws today. The wine shopping was the best part, because I got meander and mull and finally choose multiple things, since it was a gift. Then I tried to go to Sherwyn's, but it is permanently closed. Fck. Where are the non-Whole Foods places to get supplements/herbs/etc.? Kramer's, yes, which is convenient when I'm downtown, but that's it. I went to Whole Foods anyway and got a neti pot for DYA's brother and had a funny conversation with the cashier about me making him use mine during his visit, and the strange intimacy of such an act. She was then REALLY enthused to wrap it, but I said no thank you, and she got really bummed out. Then I felt awkward. Luckily, I was leaving anyway.

Then I ventured to Target to pick up the remaining items on the shopping list and I called up Noriko while pushing the car around. Ten minutes into the conversation she said, "I can't believe I'm on the phone with Raymond. It happens so rarely. I don't really know what to say." I told her it was a Christmas Miracle. Actually, I told her it was 2007 resolutions starting early. We shared recent query rejections and discussed the price of irons. She thought $25 was unreasonable. I think it's worth it for me to stop constantly feeling disappointed by how my wardrobe looks. I'm not talking about a bit rumpled -- I'm talking about dress shirts coming out of the dryer looking like they got balled up and left out in the rain.

I am doing a survey at work and learned there is a "No Asshole" rule for the partners. There are just too many setups for that.

May 2010

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