The Seductive Power of Facebook
To see the latest status update and earlier ones scroll down to the bold font “STATUS UPDATES”
In your face, facebook:
A friend posted on Facebook:
but i don’t want a mother fucking “timeline”.
Me: Facebook doesn’t care what you want. It will just keep reminding you, again and again and again, wearing away your will away day-by-day, until one day, inevitably, in an irreversible moment of weakness you will click OK, and then your life will forever after be defined by Facebook’s new timeline. Stop your futile resistance. You will be assimilated.
Friend: i find the forced sentimentality facebook is going for, as if your facebook is a kind of digital memory album, incredibly unappealing and getting in the way of what i actually want from a social network like facebook. at best, this is an e-mail and photo storage and info sharing site, and while there is an obvious narrative element, forcing it to be crafted around a personal narrative breaches into that cloudy privacy area facebook isn’t great at. It’s kind of like a website that doesn’t understand it’s own function and personal space – I feel like that’s why myspace fizzled out and fb became popular.
Me: They seem to be getting a number of things wrong and that’s why their IPO flopped and they just announced a losing quarter. Timeline attempts to create a false cross section of your life. It assumes that you believe, and want others to believe, that a little collage of words or images actually gives an authentic picture of your life. Essentially it says to the user: “Want to reimagine your life a series of Hallmark moments? Is your answer yes! or hell yes!!! ? Well, then jump on board the Facebox express with three quarter billion others speeding you toward superficial land. Life too much for you? Then slice and dice it with amazing speed and create your very own counterfeit life facsimile on Facebook Timeline!”Friend: exactly, well said. The previous format for facebook was much better in my opinion in that it was pretty neutral, it was letting you make it into what you wanted it to be while having it organized in a way that didn’t clutter it with too much information. With the bizarre timeline element, it’s kind of annoying to locate the content you want to find on someone else’s page, or even your own. The editing of the “life story” you mentioned is interesting because of this idea of imposing a kind of sentimental hallmark virtual document of one’s life, but at the same time being entirely subject to editing.
I find myself getting sucked into Facebook all the time and sometimes it is entertaining, on occasion even fulfilling, but a lot of the time I feel I am being distracted to death.
These two documents are transcriptions of two fights I had on Facebook yesterday (August 1, 2012)
Status Update July 18, 2012
It’s getting harder and harder for me to tell how much I benefit from Facebook and other digital communication services and how much it’s just an arousal addiction where I keep ravenously looking for these little digital crumbs of social contact that set up a little sugar rush in my brain when I see I have new email, facebook messages or sms messages. Whenever I see those little browser tab notices that there are (3) somethings waiting for me on my facebook page it feels like I’m racing to open these little presents which usually have a whole lot of nothing in them—invites to “healing” events a thousand miles away, spam and the various other sorts of digital nothing burgers forever put before our overstimulated and undernourished eyes.
Some responses I made to the many comments people appended to this status update:
Like most relationships it has an ambivalence, a love/hate aspect. Sometimes gems are found in the detritus, other times detritus is in the detritus. As Sophocles said, (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “No great gift enters the human realm with and equally great curse.” So I’m all for these things, but digital swords, like metal ones will cut both ways.
Most of the research I’ve seen suggests that the quality of people’s social skills and interactions has down. For example, when people are polled “How many people in your life can you confide in about your deepest issues?” In the 80s the average was 3 and now it is 2. I had an experience a few years ago where three people in a row, in three unrelated instances, confided in me their deep longing to find an intentional community somewhere. People are hungering for face-to-face communion with others. Facebook can sometimes feel like it’s providing insubstantial nourishment for that deep hunger. It’s like you’re hungry for a full meal, or even a feast, and you can’t find it,but there’s a large cellophane bag of Cool Ranch Doritos that follows you everywhere and when you get hungry enough you just reach for some of those. In the past, lonely people might reach for People magazine which always strikes me as high school popularity expanded to a national stage. With Facebook, it’s like you have a customized version of People magazine with some faces you actually know. You still long for real community and often can’t find it, but there’s this little shanty made of glossy magazine pages and stocked with Cool Ranch Doritos you can take insubstantial comfort from anytime you want.
February 24, 2013
Is there a link between the Oscar Pistorius murder case and climate change? No. In fact there isn’t a link between whether a guy with carbon fiber legs accidentally or on purpose killed his blonde girlfriend and anything that has anything to do with any of our lives. Yeah, maybe if I were deeply involved in the South African carbon fiber leg running community I would care a little bit more, but even then I wouldn’t want it taking up half the news every night for the next six months. The media principle: if it bleeds, it leads, has a new corollary: if it bleeds, has carbon fiber legs and a dead, blonde haired hottie then we’ll follow it like a pack of starved subway rats chasing a two day old extra cheese pizza being pulled on a string. Just stop it. If thousands of fast running guys with carbon fiber legs start shooting say 35% of the world’s hot blonde women that would be newsworthy, but this one grotesque case is not. It has no relevance to anyone’s life. We need some sort of social movement to stop hottie/celebrity murder cases from dominating the news. Just say no to celebrity/hottie murder cases.
February 23, 2013
Back in Boulder from Tucson after a 48 hour bus ride which included getting abandoned by Greyhound in Las Cruces, NM at Chucky’s Food Mart, a little island of cellophane wrapped food-like substances on wire frame racks and sheet melt shelving that lived in perpetual florescent high noon, but which also closed at midnight. That was where I learned that the connecting bus to Denver was canceled “until further notice.” I had money for a motel room, but there was another stranded passenger, a somewhat pushy guy from Ethiopia who spoke almost no English and said he had no money. I didn’t feel like bringing him to a motel room because he was a bit sketchy and could have been a drug mule with a suitcase full of contraband for all I knew. I made a bunch of phone calls on his behalf, eventually getting to the Red Cross. They picked him up and got him a $74. hotel room and gave him a Red Cross Mastercard with $5. credit. When I showed up the next morning at Chucky’s Food Mart I was like his hero. I didn’t do much, just a couple of phone calls, but if I hadn’t they would have just put him out of the convenience store at midnight into 18 degree winter with 30 to 40 mph hour wind gusts and some blowing snow. The perfect conditions for a hypothermia death, in other words. Greyhound, of course, took absolutely no responsibility and a deceased Ethiopian was unlikely to sue them for criminal negligence.
The trip to Tucson was nominally about the gem and mineral show, but became an unintended but very fulfilling vision quest, with new parts of my fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys, unfolding themselves vividly and with great emotional poignancy within. I did meet some interesting and very worthwhile people staying at the excellent Road Runner Hostel, but these events were greatly overpowered by what was going on in Parallel Journeys. The unfolding of scenes and visions was almost continuous and has continued back on Planet Boulder where I am presently typing lots of voice notes I made on my IPhone—mostly character dialogue. The emergence of the fantasies seemed to be helped by my being in a state of travel, a state of liminality, and the warm daytime temperatures meant that I could walk out into the desert by myself at Sagaro National Park.
Parallel Journeys, is my longest standing creative project and the one that seems the most completely out of ego control. To really incorporate the new material I would probably have to start the whole work from scratch. With fantasy fiction my relationship to the muse is humbling because I can’t control it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring this work to fruition as actual books to be read by others or if it will just continue to play out episodically within me or merge, as imaginal occurrences sometimes have, with the outer world.
The most crucial part of the trip was revisiting Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Biosphere 2 became the setting for much of what transpired in the story. I had an unexpectedly emotional response to the place when I first visited it about 14 years ago. Maybe that was a “future memory” that it would one day be a major setting for me in the imaginal world.
Parallel Journeys is more about the muse leading me down rabbit holes, fascinating ones, but it doesn’t necessarily cooperate with my wanting to emerge from the rabbit hole with an artifact of writing that I can share with others. Nevertheless, it feels more important and transformative than anything else I work on so I’m going to stay with it. Maybe Parallel Journeys, as a written work, will consist of a series of unfinished versions. It’s not up to me. E.L. Doctorow, the novelist, and my writing mentor at NYU in the 80s, described this type of writing as “Like driving fast at night with headlights.” If you’re lucky you can see what’s just up ahead.
February 16, 2013
February 9, 2013
I haven’t read this book (someone posted quotes from a book where the author claims that death and dying come from a state of mind that can be overcome) but there have been a series of New Age types who have made the claim, based on the faulty you-create-your-own-reality philosophy (I can provide a link to my critique of YCYOR) that death and all disease is a psychological product. Actually, this notion is a form of morbid materialism and is a thought form likely to make people ill on various levels. Tolkien called being in a single, unaging body “premature immortality” and it was the reason why the elves envied man. Tolkien derisively called the elves “embalmers” because they sought to stop development and preserve a stagnant equilibrium. Even the use of the common phrase “anti-aging” is deceptive because, like almost all animals, we are in pro-aging bodies. We also have an immortal spirit body already, so the identification with preserving the particular physical body is a type of perverse and morbid materialism, which turns up in a desperate neurotic like Ray Kurzweil. One of the best ways out of this neurotic suffering is to study NDE material (see Life Lessons…). Research shows that even the study of NDE produces parallel effects to having the experience where people typically lose all fear of death because they realize that their consciousness is not in their body. Neurological materialism, which is defeated by NDE research (see Pam Reynolds case in Lessons…), is what gives many people a fearful intention to cling to this one leaky life raft. Animals, who do not usually have beliefs about death, die anyway, so the author’s notion that death is a mental construct doesn’t meet the most obvious reality test. For those of us who have been out of our bodies and returned (I’ve had numerous OBEs) death is revealed as an emergence, not an emergency.
January 29, 2013
The above link is the best article I’ve ever read on high school. It summarizes a number of scientific studies of high school and its lasting impact on people. I’ve often said that few people ever recover from high school. The statement, however, is based, oddly enough, on my experience of high school between the ages of 29 and 37.
The high school I graduated from at age 16, the Bronx High School of Science, was exotically different from the usual American high school experience. We had no prom, but many of the smartest kids in a city of 9 million who had taken a competitive test to get in. Bronx Science graduated 8 Nobel Prize winners, 7 in physics. We had no football team, but we did have the number one debate team in the entire country where I made most of my closest friendships. These were kids who self-identified with intellect and creativity rather than athletics and popularity games. There was also a lot of focus on political activism and the larger world, rather than the social world inside the building. Students and teachers related like colleagues.
Then I had six years of high school from ages 22-28 as teacher and dean/building security coordinator of a vocational high school in the South Bronx in the Eighties. This experience was more about the violent world of the crack epidemic and the burnt-out South Bronx as well as the birth of hip-hop. Grand Master Flash invented scratching and turntablism at shop class in this school. I knew a lot of the early graffiti writers, etc.
Then I got a job at a suburban high school in Long Island, New York and, for the first time, encountered the American High School. I thought I was on a movie set for a teen exploitation or spoof film like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. What I had assumed were comic movie stereotypes were the reality, and it was a massive culture shock for me. During my 8 years in that world I discovered what high school does to people, and it is not a pretty picture. If you look at artifacts from the supposedly adult culture, People magazine, for example—it’s high school gossip and popularity games on a national scale. The high school experience permanently imprints most people, and that’s why we have such an adolescent adult culture (which we also export to the world). This article backs up the idea of high school as a lifetime imprint with some solid data.
As a former school teacher, still licensed to teach English in the state of New York, I am legally empowered to give assignments, and my assignment to you is to contemplate the many ways you have been shaped by high school and think of some things you can do to finally graduate from its cruel social hierarchy.
Oh and one more word about the lingering effects of high school—Facebook. A recent study in Germany shows that Facebook tends to make people depressed. People always post photos of themselves at parties and social events looking like they are having a great time. It gives people the impression that everyone is more popular and having a better life than they are.
January 19, 2013
REVERSE ENGINEER AN IDEALIZING PROJECTION My suggestion for today (which worked well for me) is to reverse engineer at least one idealizing projection. Try the following experiment, at a coffee shop, restaurant, airport, etc. notice a stranger that invites very positive projections—someone you would look at admiringly. (It’s important that they be a stranger so there is no real life info to collapse the idealization.) This type of idealization will usually be onto someone of your gender. Quickly write down all the positive qualities you imagine that they have based on how they look. These qualities are the ones that you need to recognize and cultivate in yourself. The title of a book by Cheri Huber is “Be the Person you Want to Find” Tell yourself, “I have all these qualities or I would not be able to project them onto another. I just need to recognize and cultivate them.” Next, do what William James recommended: Act as if. Act as if you already embodied and personified these qualities. The slang version is “Fake it, till you make it.”
January 18, 2013
Zeitgeist Snapshot JFK 1/17/2013
My current scan of the zeitgeist, especially as concentrated in JFK’s Delta Airlines Terminal of 1/17/13, finds sad layers of disappointed potential. It feels like a time lapse portrait of a young man with great promise stepping into his mom’s house and lapsing into thirty-five years of processed food and cable television. The viewer witnesses his deterioration at a sluggish 6 frames per second, agonizingly dragged out for seventy seconds. Now it’s 35years/70seconds later, and he’s aged from a nineteen-year-old into a morbidly obese fifty-four-year-old diabetic, with hardened arteries and skinny legs, stumbling at the edge of that inevitable and final coronary. But at the same time that he shuffles about in his mom’s house in a thorazine haze, we see that he has also generated a doppelgänger, an Asian adolescent boy with spikey, jet black hair, and androgynous neo-Tokyo accoutrements. His intelligent, emotionally disassociated gaze is directed at high resolution images squirming beneath an elegant oblong of Gorilla Glass. These divergent doppelgängers exude the cognitively dissonant flavors of dissipated potential and digital intrigue.
Sent from my iPhone
December 25, 2012
A White Magickal Christmas—I’ve been practicing some Chaos Magick this morning. I highly recommend this brief manifesto of Chaos Magick by my friend and colleague, the Australian Hermetic Philosopher and Magician, Harald Kleeman:http://home.exetel.com.au/sanctuary/magicknew.html
Zap Oracle R0b Brezsny just posted the following link to Phil Hine’s free book “Condensed Chaos”:http://tinyurl.com/cz624faDecember 22, 2012Up until late last night I didn’t think there was going to be any news that would seem like a fulfillment of the end of the Mayan long count calendar. And then, late last night, the shocking news came like a punch in the stomach. Ashton Kutchner filed for divorce with Demi Moore. On the same day that we lined up with the dark rift in the Milky Way this huge rift opens up between two of our most important stars. Hard to escape the fulfillment of ancient prophecy….I mean I knew they were on the rocks, but nothing prepared me for the finality of this, and for it to happen right on the end date. It’s just too much…we all just need to keep breathing, we’re going to get through this and by the time the Mayan long count rolls over again the whole Moore/Kutchner split is going to seem like ancient history What’s getting to me though is all the sheeple I see walking around out there like nothing even happenedDecember 11, 2012We live in a time where only dark themes are considered sophisticated and appropriate subjects for art, music, novels, films, etc. If goodness or light, or, God forbid, happy endings, characterize a cultural product, it is seen as naive, sentimental, insincere, comercial and mediocre. The only subject considered worthy of “serious literature” are downbeat stories about failed relationships.My friends Alex Grey and Rob Brezsny have both spoken out about this unfortunate and irritating trend.”Some art reflects and serves the delusions of life. Three things that constantly get people’s attention are sex, violence and humor. The artist who can weave these subjects together creatively is probably assured an audience. Yet artists can become attached to powerful imagery of violence, sexuality, irony, cynicism, anger, and fear as a way of attracting their viewers. Much pulp or romantic fiction and many action and horror films mirror and foster such dystopian attitudes. Art need not serve only the confused desires and pathologies of the ego. Art can serve to reflect the condtion of the human soul, which includes but transcends pathologies.” —Alex Grey, The Mission of ArtSee also: Evil is Boring by Rob Brezsnyhttp://freewillastrology.com/beauty/beauty.main140.shtmlOct. 28-30, 2012f you want to navigate intelligently in the murky Babylon Matrix in which we find ourselves incarnate, do me, you and everyone, a huge favor: Learn to see the difference between a dak shade of grey and a much, much lighter shade of grey. Vote Obama! As Pericles said, “You may not take an interest in politics, but politics may take an interest in you.” All that’s necessary for the triumph of Romney, is for good people not to take the time to vote.Although he never delivered on the hopey/changey thing, at least not as much as we wanted, nor as much as he wanted with a determinedly obstructionist opposition party, an Obama second and final term is likely to be much better for the middle class than a Romney first term. So, for the next 8 days, the most positive thing you can do is to vote for Obama. The next most positive thing you can do is find out which of your friends would vote for Obama, but might not out of apathy or some other circumstance, and get them to vote. For example, talking to a young woman I know who just relocated to Boulder, and who doesn’t follow politics much, I discovered that she had not registered to vote in Colorado and the registration deadline has passed. She could, however, get an absentee ballot from her home state if she filed for it by Tuesday. I printed up the application for her and gave her $12. to pay for overnight postage. In other words, by spending 20 minutes and $12 I got Obama another vote in the swing state that she comes from. Look around for this kind of opportunity.Elections are about consequential choices between usually non ideal possibilities. Much of our lives are about consequential choices between non ideal possibilities. For example, I could have a dinner of steamed organic veggies and quinoa or Kentucky Fried Chicken. The steamed organic veggies and quinoa will still have traces of pesticides that are run-off from nearby farms. Whichever dinner I eat I will eventually die anyway. Choosing the KFC on a regular basis, however, means that I will likely die sooner and have more unpleasant life along the way. Voting for Obama will not solve all our problems or even mean that life in this country will be better in four years. No one is in control of the boiling cauldron of wildcard variables. Voting for Obama does not mean that you agree with everything he has done. If I ever had a chance to speak to Obama, within the first five mintues I would give him shit for appointing Michael Taylor, of Monsanto infamy, as our food safety czar. I did not send in my mail in ballot for Obama because I think he is an ideal choice, but because he is the tactically wiser choice. Voting for Obama is a tactically wiser choice than voting for some more ideal third party candidate with no chance of winning. Careening toward us throughout our lives are choice scenarios that involve nonideal possibilites. You are driving along at night and see that a large, swerving Cadillac is speeding on the wrong side of the road, your side of the road, straight toward you. On the other side of the road there are oil spots and loose gravel, but survivable space. Neither choice is ideal, but compared to the headon collision with the speeding Cadillac, the tactical choice is easy. Romney is like a speeding, swerving Cadillac heading straight for you. If you can avoid it, you won’t solve all your problems, but you will be much better off than if you passively allow it to hit you. Make the tactically wise non ideal choice and vote for Obama. Not voting because you don’t like either cannidate is a choice to become Romney Cadillac road kill.
Status Update Aug. 6, 2012
Just watched live streaming from NASA the entry into the atmosphere of Mars and successful landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover. I spent a couple of hours seeing the live feed from the control room. Keeping in communication with the space craft through multiple stages of detachment was extremely iffy, but all the fragile radio links, (the Odyssey orbiting satellite had to be positioned just so and only if the line of site across the horizon of the landing site was angled just right could they successfully relay off the capsule, the skycrane and ultimately the rover itself. Communication was continuous and every stage signaled its perfect completion. And then the first images arrived, two of them, from the rover, showing a wheel on the surface of mars and another image showing the shadow of the rover against the surface. The euphoric explosion of the control room had the wattage of Olympics parents watching their kid win about 18 gold medals in a single, seven minute event. Congratulations Curiosity Rover and team, I hope this is the beginning of an amazing voyage of discovery. We have never had such good eyes on the surface of another world, and may learn much about the origin of life, about our origins and about our sister world, one of our very few neighbors in a lonely stretch of the endless vacuums of space.
Status Update July 14, 2012
I just discovered a couple of paragraphs I wrote one disgruntled morning a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of a story about Thor and some other Norse gods falling to earth and their horror of the heavy, gravity-bound conditions here. For your amusement:
A Tale of Horror—Descending with Thor into the Babylon MatrixDespite our weakened state and the loss of our luminosity many of the women in this sickly land, and even some of the men, looked at us with hungry eyes as though they wanted to devour our very flesh. A great many of the people we saw were bloated, as though their bodies swelling up from some unknown cause.
It was as if we were statues made of meat and bone. We could still walk and in great necessisty run for short distances, but otherwise the dreadful heaviness of this world kept us bound. You see those hills, Magni, that we bound over to come to this valley? In the Babylon Matrix even such a simple exertion would be impossible. Perhaps with great exertion you could jump over that fallen oak over there, but the hills you would have to tread step by heavy step.
Snapshot of the American zeitgeist:
Status Update 6/27/2012 Bristol, Tennessee
I just stepped out of a K Mart. The people I encountered within had a weird, hypoglycemic slowness. An anesthetizing and invisible barbiturate haze seemed to hang in the air
I didn’t see a single nonwhite person in a couple of hours driving around Bristol. Nevertheless, there was a feeling of southern caucasians as a dying breed. Lots of people were old and even people in their twenties seemed tired. I saw only one child and one teenager even though we passed a large high school. The high school was dominated by a football stadium that we at first thought was a prison yard with guard towers.People seemed humble, depressed and disassociated. The zeitgeist was very distinct, especially since it was so different than those of Boulder or Sonic Bloom which had so recently enclosed me in their so much more vibrant and colorful zeitgeists. In Bristol everyone seemed in slow motion disassociation mode. You could sense that behind drawn venetian blinds were obese, diabetic women in bathrobes and slippers watching soaps, ice cubes clinking softly in glasses of ice tea made from powdered mix. I had an uneasy feeling that if I were to allow myself to fall asleep beneath a shady tree I might wake up to discover I had spent thirty years eating processed food and watching television.I know this sounds very sarcastic and condescending, but mostly I felt a sad compassion. People seemed caught in a slow motion, unhappy dream and many looked vulnerable and lost.Everywhere I saw devastating signs of bad nutrition. The salad bar in their largest supermarket had items like white elbow macaroni mixed with cooked ground beef and mayonnaise, cold scrambled eggs with melted American cheese and green jello.Status Update May 25, 2012I seem to need the pre-dawn hours to work on my fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys. Pre-dawn I can gaze out at a boundaryless horizon shimmering with interdimensional portals. Most people in the community are deep in REM sleep, traveling in the dreamtime. The air is filled with possibilities.
But when the sun comes out the wave function collapses and the whole machinary of the Babylon matrix bo
Many other creative people I know prefer the night owl window into the unknown and sometimes we overlap and they message me on facebook. They are at the end of their day and I at the beginning of mine.
The price of admission to the magical pre-dawn time can be steep. For me it means going to sleep really early and on an empty stomach. I also need cardio exercise and a very healthy diet. If I’m not in shape I can get up at that hour only to find my energy wilting. I also try to do all the caffeine for the day, strong yerba mate, at this time. Late night social obviously must be sacrificed for the predawn zone. And it’s hard to get all these factors lined up just right. Much of the time I can’t fall asleep right away so I might spend an hour or two listening to audio books (preferably fantasy fiction) on headphones but I stay in bed with my eyes closed. I may only get 5 and half or six hours sleep this way, but often that’s enough if I can complete a full REM cycle before I get up. I wake up without an alarm, and when it works this is usually at 3am, the witching hour. I wake up remembering dreams and stay close to the dreamtime.
If any other strange person out there has any suggestions to help me dial this in I’d be grateful to hear about it. In time management there is a concept called “peak time.” It’s the time when you are at your best for a given activity. One great advantage to this schedule is that I create peak time before any responsibilities of the day begin. If I have to go to work that day, I’ve already done my writing and have this feeling of high value accomplishment that can keep my morale up no matter what the rest of the day throws at me. However you structure your day I recommend that you find ways to save your peak time for your highest value activities.
Status Update April 28, 2012
When I was growing up on science fiction I thought by the year 2000 I’d be living in a space/time continuum. Now it’s 2012, and I find that here in the Babylon Matrix, I, like most people, live in a money/time continuum where it takes vast amounts of my time to make enough money to buy time in my apartment and other resources that allow me to persist through time. Is there a reset button, short of suicide, that will allow me to get out of the money/time continuum and into some sort of continuum that is less cash based? In case any starships out there are monitoring facebook—I’m ready to get beamed up to a cashless One Galaxy Federation right about now. Make it so.
Status Update April 14, 2012
Slightly difficult day. There is a moving scene in the movie The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys where two boys who are 13-14 years old are walking down highway when they come to a dog that has just been struck by a car and is dying. One of the boys wants to go off and get help and says something about “maybe they can help” The other boy, who is on his knees beside the dog, and who realizes it only has a couple of minutes of life left, looks up and says, “There is no they—we are they.” They stay with the dog until it dies. Today was a day when I wanted there to be a they, but it turned out I was they. I had just worked 5 days in a row in Denver with two hour public transportation commutes each way and not even enough time for sufficient sleep. I finally made it to a day off and woke up to find 4 texts from a young woman I barely know who had gotten beaten up by her boyfriend. I had her come over while I tried calling hotlines numbers, shelters and found that the support system I would have thought was there was not there. Almost everybody was not available till after the weekend. She showed up at my doorstep—visible signs of abuse. She had the classic abuse victim psychology and wanted to answer his calls and see if “he really meant he was sorry” though there was a 3-4 year history of abuse interspersed with apologies. I was about to call the police when he showed up at my door and she insisted on going with him. Staying in touch with her by phone I got her to get in her car and drive away from him. I met up with her at a coffee shop and made dozens of phone calls and discovered, once again, there was no they. Meanwhile time was ticking away and I had a meeting scheduled with a very important person, someone with incredible connections who was in Boulder briefly, wanted to meet up with me, someone who could advance my writing career, etc. But I knew that if I left her for even an hour she would end up back with the abusive boyfriend whose abuse had just escalated and they were currently homeless living out of her car and she could easily have become a news story in tomorrow’s local paper. On the other hand, if I could keep them separate for even 24 hours the abusive boyfriend, who had her working a job so he could stay in a motel room and smoke pot and play video games (she had lost her job and therefore the motel room the week before) would just go back to live with his parents a couple of states away. There were threatening calls from the boyfriend. At one point I spoke to the police whom even some of the hotlines advised me to avoid because of the many ways the can make matters work. Contrary to what one source told me they didn’t have any place for her to go, and she wasn’t in immediate physical danger, and she wouldn’t be willing to press charges, etc. And then, a degree of success—she got a call from the boyfriend’s parents. They were on their way to pick him up this evening and take him a couple of states away. Hopefully in a few days I’ll be able to find a place for her at a women’s shelter and obviously she needs a program designed to help abuse victims, since her history of abuse goes back to a mom who was a crack addict with abusive boyfriends and who ODed, etc. If anybody knows of resources in the Boulder area that I might not think of please let me know. I don’t think I did anything special, just what anyone with a conscience would do who found themselves in such a situation. I’m not a particularly self-sacrificing, rescue type person, I was much more interested in pursuing my own agenda today. If I could have found a shelter ready to take her in or anyone capable of helping her, a they, I would have done it. But there was no they. There are situations in life where you just have to realize that you are they.
Status Update January 13, 2012
Stereotyping is bad, except when it’s funny which this is. Although I do my share of mocking the New Age, New Age folks tend to be less harmful and sometimes more alive than a lot of other types. For example, I was once traveling up the coast of California with a friend. I stopped in shop that probably sold crystals and there were two wealthy looking late middle-aged New Age women who were about as classic examples of New Age types as there could possibly be. They were talking about particular crystals they owned, perhaps by name, as if they were a cross between grandchildren and goddesses, etc. I walked out of the shop and found that most people in the town were conservative, late middle-aged tourists traveling in RVs. As silly as the New Age women seemed, they seemed so much more alive than these other folks their age. So much more playful and imaginative. The totally straight RV folks had sour expressions and a sense of lifeless rigidity.
Status Update November 13, 2011
Would a zombie apocalypse amount to class warfare? Some would say yes, that zombies are essentially socialists with an agenda of protein redistribution. I don’t agree. Zombies are job creators. American job creators. Zombies are an innovative new cultural phenomenon almost exclusively created by American workers. I think it’s time we let go of prejudices and stereotypes and consider a Zombie American as a third party candidate for president.
Status Update December 25th, 2010
Just saw The Black Swan—whatever thoughts I had of being a lead ballerina are now officially over—just not worth it—I’m asking all my friends to respect my decision to remain ballet free for life. I’m going t need therapy to help with trust issues, etc. before I resume any connection to lead ballerinas ever again.
Status Update December 8, 2010
I’m frustrated with Fox News talking about the “war on Christmas” because they never say anything about where you can sign up. I would like to be a frontline soldier in the war against the annual retail festival of 12/25 but no one can tell me where I can find a recruitment office.
Status Update September 2, 2010
The dream that I just awoke from seems to crystalize in my mind why certain people I know, and many people throughout the modern world are unhappy—lack of real intimate communities—and the more most people live and grow up this way, the fractured, unreliable and often cynical and exploitive social matrix, the more unsuitable so many become to live in such communities. This is making many people sick.
Status Update Sometime in 2010
“My Avatar betrays me. It is a mortal corporeal version 1.0 requiring constant, expensive upkeep. It carries me, like an arrow through linear time. It includes a brain that builds a simulacrum of this sensual world. I want to perfect my Avatar with mouse clicks, but it stubbornly adheres to source codes I cannot access. What an uneasy alliance I have with this quintessence of dust.”