Scud: So Who's The Job?

First I Must (Again) Sprinkle You With Fairy Dust

Why am I here?

On my way back from my hometown this evening, I remembered something Very Important that I'd forgotten for a while.

I spent a little time reconnecting with my parents, who are doing well and keeping busy. Dad has become quite the eBay entrepreneur, selling bits of their rather enormous collection of collectibles to people who appreciate them, at prices that he appreciates even more. Plus: he is still playing music, and now that he is turning a decent profit on their collectibles, he is playing music on his own terms. As he put it: his hobby became his job, and his job, his hobby. I don't think I've ever heard him speak so well of how his life was going.

I also spent a little time reconnecting with my Best Friend, the Discordian Pope Chakra Khan K.S.C. He and I have both seen better days, but he appears to be doing well for himself. At the very least, he and I are still happy to be in each other's presence; I'm still running very anxious these days, but we get to talking about the things that we love, and the air above our heads fills with little green ++'s. I even got to see his lovely and magical girlfriend; and many smiles, and loving overdue hugs, were shared.

On my way out of town, I stopped on South Lake Ave to pinpoint the location of a particular new-agey bookstore and magical parephenalia shoppe called Alexandria II; the last time I visited, the place had moved, and I didn't feel like I had time to look for it before coming home. This time, my body and mind were still chattering from all the social interaction of the day, and I needed some time to myself to slow it all down a bit, so I went on a short excursion. Since it had only moved a couple of blocks, and I knew it was still on the same street, it was a lot easier to locate with a slightly clearer head.

I lost my Rider-Waite deck a while back — probably left it in a hotel room somewhere, but I don't remember where exactly. I would have replaced it before now, but the new-agey bookstore here, which used to sell such things, took all of the high magickal shit out of their store and replaced it with fluffier touristy crap. Rather, almost the entire store is different now. So I waited until I was in a place where I knew I could grab one. Yeah, I could have gotten it online, but I wouldn't ever do that. It's too impersonal. I need tactile feedback to make purchases of this nature. So I bought my replacement deck. On the way out the door, I repurposed the Rifleman's Creed into an impromptu mantra: "This is my deck. There are many like it, but this one is mine."

On my way home, I was getting tired, so I exited the freeway at one of my favorite resting points, took a walk, felt the cool air, relaxed, and looked up at the stars. Slowly, the events of the day began to click at the neural network in my brain, and I began to remember something Very Important. It was Very Important because it was an answer to an existential question I'd been asking myself for a long time while counting my failures and racking myself with various anxietyings. Why am I here?

The memory was this: I was in that bookstore with my friends, looking at the various tarot decks and picking a random card from one, wihch turned out to be a Knight of Swords. Its corresponding booklet described him as a "Keeper of Sacred Knowledge". This sparked conversation about how said Sacred Knowledge was Kept. We likened this persona to a Librarian, and thought of the ol' masters, like Crowley, the Masons and the Golden Dawn, and how they secured all their Sacred Knowledge in complex ritual that was strongly ciphered, but composed entirely of meaning. (This also synchro-meshed itself with a distant-past incident wherein I was labelled a Protector.)

There are very few paths to my heart that I open to anyone. I'm a very guarded person, and I have a lot of secrets. But I realized, as all these thoughts collided in the stars, that it's not just because I'm an old distrusting curmudgeon. It's because I'm good at keeping secrets. I am that Librarian, that Keeper of Sacred Knowledge. I love words and thoughts. I'm skilled with words and thoughts. I'm sometimes so lost in my thoughts that I forget to temper it with the other elements, which can be harmful. But the flip side of this is that it makes me an excellent Librarian. My Library thrives on information, and I know how to keep it safe so that no one can reach it, if such security is necessary.

Most people can't do that. They can't hold on to their own secrets, because they're heavy. Having a secure place to store them, in my Library, makes them — and their donors — lighter. Epiphany: This is why I'm here!

I am a Keeper of Sacred Knowledge; a Librarian. This is my gift to you. Your secrets open a path to my heart. All that Sacred Knowledge is weighing you down. Donating it to me and my Library makes us both lighter. Do you understand?
  • Current Music
    let your honesty shine
Professor Layton

Throughout The Projects

My latest works-in-progress:

Financial stability through actually looking at where all the money is coming and going. Money hasn't been a "problem" for a while anyways, but you can always manage it better, and I think I've reached the age where I start caring where it goes. So I started using a freebie called GnuCash to keep track of my checking account and my wallet and see if my current spending habits break even or not. So far it looks like they do, but now I want to start saving up again.

Continuing to learn programming languages. I know PHP well enough to get by, but honestly, I never use it any more unless I'm updating an older project at home. MPOE doesn't use it at all; their front-end code is largely proprietary, with splatters of Perl and the occasional Python which I've never touched. So it would be good to sample Python and Ruby and learn what's out there now to build up the resume.

Continuing to learn other languages. I decided to try learning French a while back, because eowyn797 knows Italian, and between the two of us, that's two of the three parts of Europe we're interested in. (The next stage of the plan, we both learn German.) This is all part of a grander scheme, so it's good to keep taking steps towards proficiency and fluency.
  • Current Music
    are you a folk singer too
Professor Layton

The Year of Records

Much like Carl, I've been trying to be more agreeable and inclusive since the beginning of the year; I would hesitate to call it a New Year's Resolution, as that assigns names and rules in my head that I'm not concerning myself with, but I try to be mindful of the concept of "YES" (with all its flashing lights and fantastically ridiculous new-age grandeur) when evaluating a potential new opportunity for adventure.

Once I started tinkering with TiddlyWiki, I eventually realized I would be using it to keep track of damn near everything, particularly to-dos, memorable dates and addresses. I'm still into the whole Portable Apps thing, so a single HTML file to carry around works for me.

I've also started looking more carefully at my finances, since I like them and I'd like to keep them stable (if not steadily increasing). GnuCash happened to have a free portable build as well, and it's made me more aware of what comes into, and goes out of, my various assets, to and from various categories. (The "food" category will likely be the first thing that gets cutbacks; I eat out too often and should really go back to brown-baggin' it.) It also displays my "profit" (i.e., the difference since my starting balance) at the bottom of the screen, as if it were the scoreboard of a money management simulation game. I'm up 54 points so far this year!
  • Current Music
    I wanna play the guitar and I wanna get paid

What I'm Up To

“2008 sucked. Why would anyone want it to be any longer?" Stephen Colbert on the "leap second" added to the end of last year

What? Christmas? New Year's? Yes, they were great; thank you for asking. Short version? eowyn797 and xantus are incredibly wonderful and ass-kicking people and I am damned proud to have them in my life. But actually I just came here to talk about what I'm up to (as the title suggests with such delicate subtlety).

Blurb (or, as I like to refer to it, CafePress for books) is now my favorite gift idea and I want to make a million things with it. I also wish I'd known about it a few months ago, given its potential for some slick-looking one-shot, one-of-a-kind gift books. I also wish we had always been taking pictures on our PowerShot at the highest resolution, because any lower resolution will apparently look less-than-optimal when stretched onto an entire 7"x7" page (at least, according to the Blurb BookSmart software). Still, such potential. Amateur photographers can finally self-publish all those coffee table books they've always wanted to make. Doing the whole NaNoWriMo thing? Copy all the content into a 5"x8" hardcover as a keepsake / trophy! And there is a "book to blog" option that currently exports from Livejournal and Typepad, but I haven't gotten it working yet; far too many entries, I'm guessing, as the connection keeps choking and dying. But, for the prolific, a real hard copy backup. Or for those of you who are parents, very special records of your kids' scribbly drawings or other paper goods (requires scanner).


The other thing I'm doing, on and off, is tinkering with music, thanks to one of my christmas gifts: a hand-me-down midi synth and the hardware needed to hook it up to the computer. I fell in love with it before I even hit a key, but that's also because it was a thoughtful gift from someone who'd overheard me say how much I wanted a keyboard at all.

And for those of you still paying attention, I've been using TiddlyWiki to keep lots of my stuff, work and not-work, somewhere that I can easily reach it. I'm kind of surprised at how much I'm using it now, actually, because I thought I would be sticking more to my tangible notebooks.
  • Current Music
    time's up, sorry I kept you
dirk gets drawn

Listening To The Guy I Was | After The War

You might be pleased to know that I did manage to get all of the Cool Things I Want(ed) a few months ago. Since then, I've used the Toshiba laptop maybe once, while sitting in a laundromat, which was actually kind of fun for me.

Your Face In A Book Dot Com now knows where my journal is (because I told it).

Today, I accidentally revisited an old idea - the idea that I have been far too guarded — by remembering that not only does it apply to me right now, but that I had already learned how to deal with it, and then eventually forgot.

In that exercise, I took an icon (or archetype) that I had assigned myself and changed its meaning or association by way of visualization. One of the reasons why this worked was because I felt that I knew the character perfectly, and could identify the part of myself with which the character resonated, and the situations in which it would manifest.

However, the situation wasn't exactly the same as it is now; simply "locking away" my defensive side, metaphorically, worked well enough at the time, but I was still thinking in terms of walls and divisions. While that could provide a temporary solution, it doesn't transform the defensive nature of the character with which I have now so strongly identified.

Dirk has always lived in the castle — constantly fighting, ducking, dodging, dying, reanimating, with boundless energy devoted to his task. Realistically, the castle and the dangers no longer exist. Imagine the medieval knight as a war veteran, still seeing a fire-breathing dragon in the campfire, or hearing the Black Knight's footsteps in every passing coach. It's almost like the guy has post-traumatic stress disorder!

So the goal here is not to lock him up, but to set him completely free. Realize that there are no bottomless pits, only waterfalls; there are no dragons, only trees; there are no vampire bats, only birds.

Realize that the war is over and not only can you put away your sword, but you can change into some civvies and find something else to do.

The act of recognizing an unconscious thing and making it conscious, which results in making it mutable, is an act of awakening. In theory, it is possible to be conscious of everything in your life, and this is a worthwhile pursuit. The more unconscious things you can make conscious, the more awake you can be, and the more of your life you can decide what to do with it.
Scud: So Who's The Job?

Bucking the Twitter Trend

I realized this morning that many of the features of Your Face In A Book Dot Com are (to someone who used to write in a journal on a regular basis) simply shiny replacements for longhand writing, and are far less permanent (as far as I can tell). This isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, but a trend towards terse. So in the spirit of verbosity, and for the sake of keeping this thing somewhat current on a more-than-monthly basis, I'm going to look through all my own crap and summarize it (which, I suppose, is less of a summary and more of an expansion, but whatever) here. I miss writing about Stuff, and Stuff does indeed happen, even now.

We've been slowly outfitting our new digs with proper attire and unpacking boxes of stuff, and in the process I purchased my very first (at age 34) power tool: a small, inexpensive, cordless screwdriver-slash-drill. Unfamiliar with these only somewhat modern devices (and possessing naturally less testosterone than your average home improvement enthusiast), I failed to notice that the "drill" part was not included because drill bits seem to come in sets on their own, depending on what sizes of holes you need to drill into stuff. This, combined with the odd positioning (or lack thereof) of studs in certain walls, delayed the assembly and installation of some of our new curtains, which are both insulated and look nice.

I had forgotten how it feels to have a home. With some readjustment of my priorities, and some conscious effort to finish building the home we've started, it should feel a lot more like a home than anything I've previously lived in.

On Monday night we dragged ourselves into Los Angeles to see some live music. Tom McRae is one of eowyn797's favorites, and he's pretty funny (in a classical, self-deprecating English way) in person. I was later surprised by a band called Pedestrian — in particular, a song called Ghostly Life — to the extent that their live performance managed to bestow upon me a Moment Of Clarity: I've really got to start playing again. I miss it terribly, and I miss the prospect of performing live with other skilled artists playing anything and everything from every genre we can get our dirty little hands on. People are supposed to do the things they want to do, which they are passionate about, and I have been passionate about playing music ever since I was a kid. I didn't necessarily want to be a rock star, but I did enjoy rocking, and I think that the enjoyment is the only important thing.

Since moving, I've also discovered the joy of Craigslist, where we've purchased a few of our new household items, including a used (but still functional) Roomba — you know, that little sweeper robot thing? I gave it an inaugural run through our house last week, and it got through the kitchen and the back half of the house before deciding to take a nap under the bed. I may not have charged it quite enough, or it may just be a testament to the sheer size of the place. Still, it's a Cool Thing, and it has a lot of potential — I may soon consider hacking into it, as others have done.
  • Current Music
    guess this is exactly who I am
punch punchy punch punch

Things No One Should Need Explained: Why Politics Is Not "Polite Conversation" Anywhere, Ever

Politics can turn Thanksgiving dinner into a knife fight. Politics can create, merge, split, and destroy a community, family, friendship, or country. So why does anyone ever argue that politics can reasonably be inserted into casual conversation in a workplace, social event, etc.?

Perhaps if you are talking to someone who happens to agree with your views, opinions, statements, quoted facts, or amateur conjecture, then it's more likely to stay entirely polite.