For *those that have just lost their keys *those that are well-versed *inebriated ones *wanderers *mermaids *those that belong elsewhere *whippersnappers *marvelous ones *those that are not included in this classification *those that flutter because the moment is fleeting *boundless ones *those colored with slippery fingerpaint *others *those that resemble someone I know from a distance

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rash-inducing mental conflagrations

What? Murakami has a book about Kafka? Is that even allowed? That seems like a dangerous combination of modern surreality that might lead to, oh I don't know, some sort-of mental and emotional conflagration that eventually culminates in some exceedingly rash behavior. Or at least a blog entry about my dream of doing something exceedingly rash in a desperate attempt to quell the stifling ennui of my existence. Or something like that.

I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to read at my leisure again. Blink, Flow, The Botany of Desire, Freakonomics, The Tipping Point, The Anthropology of Turquoise.... There are so many books on my list, and I don't know when I will be getting around to them.

Think of all the thoughts I could be having!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Brian Dettmer: Book Autopsies

"Brian Dettmer carves into books revealing the artwork inside, creating complex layered three-dimensional sculptures." More images are over here.

(Thanks to David for the link, and also, more generally, for being ultra-distilled magic).

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Really, my whole life is an existential crisis.

In addition to my CAD (Cubicle Adjustment Disorder), I am also having a tad more of a career-related existential crisis than usual. This is because I am in the middle of a fairly meaningless and boring (i.e., soul-crushing) project with no end in sight. I am scanning all of the old alumni files so we have them digitally instead of, oh whatever, the opposite of that is - paperly? materially? analogically? I am going to spend about three months doing this and the raw, hard truth of the matter is that NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO LOOK AT THESE FILES. Ever. What I am doing serves absolutely no purpose. I am, in fact, trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare. In a cubicle.

Now, if it was up to me, I would have had these old files destroyed without a second thought. Well actually, if it was really up to me I would have commissioned someone to turn them into art in some way. Or done it myself. This office would be overflowing with those fortune-tellers you made in elementary school, sailor's hats, paper snowflakes and silly poetry reconstituted from students' letters of recommendation. Paper airplanes would fly from every window. You wouldn't even be able to make it to the copier because you would be knee-deep in origami cranes and couldn't take a step without crushing their wings. And you don't want to crush the wings of cranes, do you? No, you want to nestle down in the middle of them and think of all the people who need wishes. But this is not the reality, alas, as this project was started before I got here and I am the one to finish it.

Here is the thing. Student files from 1970 are just as boring as student files from 2007. Sure, there is the occasional black and white photo to stare at. I get to think about the differences in paper over the past forty years and how paper varies from country to country. It turns out that other countries aren't so fond of the 8.5" by 11" paper size. Turns out that some Asian countries use really tiny staples, at least in comparison to our (possibly exceedingly wide) 1/4" counterparts. These are things that are vaguely interesting to know. Yes, I get to read letters of recommendation from 1971 and think about how language and ideas about politeness change over time. Yes, I get to imagine what it was like for a woman or an international student to be a young scientist back in the day.

But, just in case this ever comes up, you should know that these sort of things are only interesting for, oh, maybe four days. Five days, tops. And I am on day 30. I have officially extracted as much meaning as possible from this situation. The only meaning left is that generated by thinking about the lack of meaning. Which is what I am doing right now. Once this blog entry is done my brain will officially turn itself off, become jelly, and slide right on out of my ears. And possibly my nostrils. Which seems like it might be gross, because then I might smell my own jellified brain and possibly even taste it. Which then leads to the word blech, which makes me kind-of happy because I like the word blech. (If it is even a real word and not something I have made up and used so many times that I actually think it is a word now. Which, after consulting the dictionary, appears to be the case).

Okay, maybe this is the thing - I like the idea of old files. They seem like they should be interesting. They seem like they should be full of magic and wonder and secrets and discoveries. They seem like when you open them your face should be doused in rainbow colored light and you should be able to hear the faint whinny of tiny, tiny unicorns who prance through the old brittle pages and live and love and raise even tinier baby unicorns in the files of every dusty and neglected filing cabinet across the nation.

It turns out, shockingly, that this is not the case.

So I have been thinking about what I would want to be in these files (besides the unicorns, I mean). And the answer is, basically, truth and beauty. I want all files everywhere to be filled with truth and beauty. I want to turn the page of that file from 1974 and see that grad student's dreams represented visually, perhaps through giant swaths of color, perhaps by a very complicated flow chart. I want creased pages of poetry about their insecurities and anxiety. Especially if it might be bad and drunken poetry. Especially if it might be fabulous poetry and the words might drip moon nectar. I want blueprints of that great conversation they had with their friends about science at the coffee shop where they totally joked about semi-permeable membranes and RNA and their professors' weird power-hungry nature. I want paper sculptures of the relationship they had that made them stop caring about their lab work for weeks on end. I want transcripts of the phone calls they made when they were on the verge of quitting grad school altogether and didn't think they could do it and their friend or sister or mother had to talk them down and remind them who they were and what they wanted. I want a collage of that moment when they suddenly understood what that enzyme was doing to the DNA and how they could experimentally prove what it was doing and how fucking excited they were to tell their supervising professor about their idea. That is what I want in the files. I want the best and worst moments of their graduate school experience distilled into something I can understand. Not cover sheets and memos and test scores.

But what I get is cover sheets and memos and test scores. So here it is again. The gap between dreams and reality. The gap between what I desire and what I get. The difference between tiny unicorns raising babies and memos scheduling a dissertation defense. It is a big difference. Maybe it is so big that it has its own kind of beauty. Or maybe that too is a dream. I keep facing it, again and again. Maybe I will always be facing it. Maybe everyone is facing it. Maybe this is what it means to be human - to try and see what it is right in front of your face instead of getting lost in your own dreams. Maybe that is only the first step, the one you have to take over and over again until you stop falling down. Maybe I am learning how to walk.

Or maybe my brain is just too damn big to fit into this godforsaken cubicle. Maybe that is what us modern day shamans have to do - find God in the cubicle. It seems sort-of difficult. But I'm on it. Somewhat unwillingly and annoyed that I have to start at 8 in the morning - but I'm on it.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Food for thought

If you want to think about animals, play, nature and emotions, head over here

If you want to think about politics, neurobiology, and tolerance for ambiguity go this way

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mondays promise to be...actually I don't think I have a word for it.

From 2:30-5:30 on Mondays I will be taking a course on Play Therapy. Directly followed by a course on Grief and Loss from 5:30-8:30.

I'm anticipating feelings.

Friday, September 07, 2007

How I Roll, Part II

8:30PM Began driving home from San Antonio
8:50PM Had a lovely moment where all my worries melted away and I was just driving
8:54PM Wondered if this is what you feel like sometimes when you drive
8:55PM Liked you
8:56PM Thought about you
8:58PM Wanted to share this with you, but was then uncertain as to my motives and decided against it
9:00PM Wondered if all my "craziness" was simply the result of having a brain/mind. Decided a lot of it was. Was unhappy.
9:10PM Wondered if life could be different
9:44PM Made it home
10:55PM Fell asleep on the couch
5:00AM Woke up. Worried about not being able to fall back asleep, or falling back asleep, not waking up, and then being late for work
5:05AM Moved to bed
5:17AM Started to feel cozy and delicious under my covers, in the dark. Let my mind wander
5:30AM Remembered how beautiful you were the other night.
5:32AM Missed you
5:33AM Missed you, missed you, missed you
5:43AM Began the fabulous process of thinking too damn much. Topics included: the meaning of being human, submission and dominance, ways energy is exchanged, sex and my various feelings about sex, how much I am screwed up because of my family, codependence, how much everyone is screwed up because of their families, narcissism, how much I am screwed up because of my last relationship and how this pisses me off, what it means to "use" another person, and whether anyone has any chance whatsoever of actually and truthfully relating to one another
6:29AM Wished I wasn't terrified
6:30AM Smoked a cigarette
6:35AM Looked at the moon
6:37AM Wrote this
8:05AM Was only five minutes late for work, which is almost like being on time

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At least I have a window to stare out of.

What's sadder than crying quietly in your cubicle at 8:10 in the morning?

Oh wait, nothing is sadder.

(Okay, well, genocide is sadder. Thank god for genocide, putting people's problems into perspective since 10,000 BC)


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I am so on the verge of becoming a nun. Nun's get to cuddle, right?

I have an office job? Really?


Monday, September 03, 2007

"In time you need to learn to love the ebb just like the flow"

I enjoy people who find this whole being alive thing fascinating and perplexing. Up to and including Andrew Bird.

I may have listened to "Armchairs" about 22 times in the last 5 hours. But, whatever.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Drunken blogging is 157% better than any other blogging subtype.

Should I write about how we are symbols to one another? About how I cannot even see you because of the meaning and history layered between us? Should I write about how I want to saw open my chest and let hundreds of birds fly towards the light? Or should I write about how your fingertips find every sore spot on my body, spots I didn't even know existed, and rub them away.

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