I'm reading a book of (mostly) love poems, called The Gift, by the great Sufi mystic Hafiz, from the 14th century. His poetry is really beautiful and the translation I'm reading makes it very easy and modern, which I have no problem with. A lot of the poems are these amazing odes to the spiritual nature of Love, and are just very pleasureable to read. Often he easily moves from that sort of serious and profound depiction of the divine to a really light, humorous, and witty line. Or sometimes an entire poem is really whimisical, like this one:
Everything is clapping today,
A rabbit I pass pulls a cymbal
From a hidden pocket
This causes a few planets and I
To go nuts
And start grabbing each other.
Someone sees this,
Tries to get me
Listen: this world is the lunatic's sphere,
Don't always agree it's real,
Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door
My address is somewhere else.
Here's a fragment from one that's more on the serious/beautiful side:
We are like two cups of water
That God poured in a vase.
I am one with you beyond
Of course I should mention that that kind of love is pretty rare. It hasn't happened to me in many years. I just realized that it happened at all, reading my old journals last week. Reading those I understood, that more recent interactions were almost meaningless in comparison.
I am such a fucking idiot. I flew back to Tucson tonight, and of course they lost my luggage, and of course I left my keys in one of my checked bags. My flight got in on time at 2:30 am, so I didn't ask anyone to pick me up, was just planning to take a cab. It's way too early to bother my landlord to let me in my place, though. So, I guess i'm just going to camp here in the airport for a few hours. Lesson learned.
I'm still reading old journals, and it continues to blow my mind. I've found the entry from the very beginning of the first Iraq War or Persian Gulf War or whatever it was called. Remember, Bush Senior gave the Iraqis a deadline of January 15, 1991, to get out of Kuwait? That night I was, in a way, doing Indymedia - I was a DJ at WCBN, the U of Michigan college station, and here's what I wrote that night:
Well, the deadline is up. I just got back from my radio show, from 11 to 2. I was on the air when the deadline went down. People were marching in the streets, and Charlie called and told me it was happening, and I announced it on the air, exhorting people to join in. Then Dave called and said the march had ended at the Art Museum, with people singing "Give Peace A Chance." I played nothing but war songs, and I got dozens of requests - one after another, people calling in, suggesting more war songs. It was incredible...
Wow. I had forgotten all about that.
Incidentally, later in the same entry I wrote, "I've got personal things I've been thinking about, too. I don't even want to write it, because it legitimizes it. Basically I have to decide if I should allow a certain emotion to enter my life again." I'm pretty sure I was referring to the very first beginnings of my feelings for the woman that I would end up being with for the next 11 years. 4 days later we were on a bus together to DC for a massive rally against that war.
Wow, reading this stuff is just so amazing. It's like travelling back in time. I'm so glad I wrote these journals and kept them safe.
Well, Merry Christmas.
Yeah, I'm up early, blogging. can't sleep. can't wait to open presents! hah. yeah. right. no actually i'm always up this early. Actually i gave up trying to sleep a couple hours ago and have been working on a rehaul of an old website, making it all CMS-driven with podcast feeds and shit. it's going to be cool. a small rebirth. it's funny how taking a few days off from web work-work and being cooped up inside thinking about travelling and making more field recordings of exotic cultures can get you inspired to rehaul a website about field recordings. more news on that later.
Anyway, your moment of xmas zen:
from Something Aweful (via the Daily Dos)
Yes, a whole bunch of xmas-hacked (at least somewhat-) famous album covers. Like with most recycled culture, your mileage may vary depending on how recognizable each one is to you. Most of the gangsta rap ones I was like, huh? Jus' not my thang....
In other news, this is probably the most melancholy, sad xmas for me in my whole life, or that I can remember anyway, but hey, 's'all good, the person that triggered that mood almost 2 months ago sent me an email this week (actually the day after she and her new boytoy set me back about a month in my healing process), recommending a book about dealing with male depression, called "I Don't Want to Talk About It." Which is a totally stupid (though my therapist concurs that it's a good book, actually) and innapropriate title, for me, because I do want to fucking talk about it and I have been. Ask any friends of mine, especially in tucson, and they'll tell you i've been talking their ears off. I want to talk about it so bad I'm getting close to torturing you all with even more details right here and embarrassing someone just to be mean. But I'm holding back. so far.
No, actually, things are getting much better. I'm just being dramatic for the sake of the holiday. I fucking hate xmas. I hate that the xians stole the winter solstice from pagans, and I hate that the capitalists stole xmas from the xians, and i hate that they all stole my birthday from me, and I hate that it's in the darkest dreariest time of year in the northern hemisphere.
But, no really, stuff is progressing, I'm making it better. I'm taking steps, I'm inching towards truth and happiness and wholeness again and I'm going to pull myself up out of my bardo and metaphorically reincarnate as a slightly smarter, wiser, shinier, sexier, hopefully higher on the karmic ladder but lower on the purity test scale being, hopefully not a carp or a dung beetle - maybe a platypus or wombat or yoga instructor or organic farmer or manatee or professional filmmaker or novelist or blue whale?. I dunno. but it will be just in time for the new year, isn't that convenient? well, have a great day, que te vaya bien, vaya sin dios, blah blah blah.
Of this bardo I've been in. I can feel it. Last night was the longest night of the year, but things will now only get better. I am confident of that fact.
Man I've never thought of this, to be honest, but it really sucks that my birthday (tommorrow) is so close to the winter solstice. I've never felt this way before. I've always thought it sucks that it's so close to Christmas, but what really matters now is the darkness, for me. And sitting here in eastern Iowa I have not seen the sun in 3 or 4 days. Argh. I need more photons.
Tucson is an improvement on this problem over anywhere else i've lived, but I think I'd really like to live somewhere near the equator. Sometimes people say oh but then you wouldn't get the really long days in the summer, but it's just not really worth it to me. I'd rather just have 12/12 year round day/night. To hell with the extremes.
Hey, this worked out pretty well, an interview I did with Andrew McKibbin of The Red Alert about my film about the Juarez femicide, On The Edge. I especially like the snappy concluding remark I managed to make. oh and this was an actual phone interview, not one of those wimpy email interviews.
Being back in my place of origin during the dark days of the winter holidays for very long is like being in somewhere haunted. i inevitably at least think of ghosts, or go looking for them, and looking for ghosts sometimes actually turns up a few. more news as it happens...
If you're ever in the Quad Cities, USA (so-called because it consists of 2 cities on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River and 2 on the Iowa side) and you need a little bit of big city culture, in the form of a comfortable coffeeshop with internet and good espresso drinks, I highly recommend where I'm sitting right now, Dewey's Cafe in the Bettendorf Public Library.
For a place like Bettendorf this place is pretty cool. There's even a young goth guy barista who was really excited about being able to make a mocha that was "for here" and not to go. I was beginning to lose hope, after first going to a pizza place that also advertised itself as an "internet cafe", but had a really weak wireless signal and didn't serve espresso, although they had arty drawings of mochas and lattes (labelled) on the wals. Huh?
This all seems really snobby, perhaps, and I recognize that. However, this is the first time I've jonesed for this kind of thing in the last 2 weeks of being back here in Iowa. And, well, sometimes it's the simple pleasures of cosmopolitan life that can do a lot for my mood. I need ever little mood-booster I can get these days, actually.
So, here I am getting personal again. I can't help it. Things are extremely tough for me right now. But I recently found this really great site that's very helpful to me at this time. If you want to hear more about it, click the read more link below....
The site is http://www.soyouvebeendumped.com
Yeah. If you know me well you already know, Jessica dumped me recently. If you don't, well.... now you know. Anyway at this great site I just read this in the discussion forum about whether you can stay friends with an ex:
My ex started talking about being friends from the exact moment that he dumped me and he thought that all it took was some time apart. What dumpers don't seem to perceive is that although they may still "love us as friends" and still have the same perception of our personality (he told me that his opinion of me had not changed, he just didn't love me anymore) our perception of them changes dramatically due to the break up. All of a sudden you see their cowardice, unability to communicate etc. But most of all they have let you down and hurt you. The dumper just doesn't see that the enormity of the betrayal is what makes friendship difficult.
Here's a video I made recently that I just uploaded about the appearance of the Zapatista La Otra Campaña caravan coming to Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, about one hour south of the Arizona border.
You can also download it from my server (33 MB).
how is it, that people so committed to making the world a better place can still do each other so much harm? that the very people who tell themselves they are so concious of what is right and wrong do each other wrong? without even trying? what possible hope can there be for the world when even we are doing that to each other? what hope is there?
On the YouTube page for the trailer to my Juarez film, someone named NissanSkylineFreak left the following comment:
i have a samurai sword a black trench coat and i'm a black belt in tai quando[sic]..i swear to god that i'll handle those basterds[sic] for killing women and destroying peoples families
Ok. Good luck with that, dude...
You know you're doing something right, I think, when your own mother tells you, on the basis of your current facial hair configuration, that you look like Lucifer. Especially when she's pretty religious. That's really something.
Today I read this notebook i found in my old journals that i'd forgotten about. it was a group journal that me and my housemates kept in this cool house i lived in in Ann Arbor in 1990-1991. 1001 South State Street. it was such a cool group of guys and we did lots of, uh, chemical mental enhancements all the time and jammed all the time and painted and wrote poetry and talked talked talked and we were all 4 of us really reaching for truth, or wisdom, or something. and this notebook is full of us just going back and forth about all this deep stuff, trying to figure stuff out. and also just stoned ramblings. but it's kind of amazing to read. a lot of it is just silly pretentious bullshit but some of it is really good, and all of it is just touching, to see how we were really trying so hard, in our own naive way, to enlighten ourselves or whatever.
It makes me want to find all those guys and send them photocopies of the whole thing. i've lost touch with them all. Mike Alter, Eric Burkehalter, and Dave Tomsic. I wonder where they all are now and what they're doing. I guess I'll probably google them in a minute, these friends I knew 9 years before Google existed.3 years before the Web existed. Sigh.
"...but we just talked about.. the people we've met in the last 5 years, and will we remember them in 10 more...." (Death Cab For Cutie)
Wow. Former Dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet has finally shuffled off his mortal coil. Of course I should wait a bit before getting too excited, since there was talk that he'd died a week ago and then he apparently had not. But this time it looks real. It's just too bad he was not brought to justice before kicking the bucket.
Here it is. So, if you have a video-capable phone or iPod, you can throw this on there and show people wherever you go. yeah. yay.
Saturday night was incredible for many reasons, not the least of which was that I finally saw Calexico play. They're an incredible 'border band' from Tucson that packs a huge hall every year with an annual holiday show.
They're about to go on tour, so if they come to your town I strongly suggest going to see them.
Here's a photo I took with my new phone. It doesn't do too bad, especially compared with my old new phone, which died on me 2 months in because it was a blackmarket ebay scam. grr.
The new phone also takes pretty good video, for a phone (wouldn't this sound insane 20 years ago? Your phone is a video camera? what?!). This is a clip i shot out the window of my plane landing in Denver, on my way to Iowa (which is where I'm at now).
Speaking of video on phones, in the wake of bluetoothing that above video over to my powerbook I decided to encode my "steev live gig promo video" to the right format so i could play it on my phone. y'know, like an icebreaker at parties. "hi, i'm steev, this is what i do as an artist." (flips open phone, presses play)
I so hate the paradigm in web sites, and now even cellphones and other devices, where everything is "my". "my stuff" is the name of one of the items in the main menu of my cellphone. And as you know, all sorts of sites have "my account", "my shopping cart", "my profile" - am i rare, or wrong, even, in thinking about my experience with a website as a communication with that website? or at least a story? And we all know that you should never write a story in 2nd person, unless you're writing those Choose Your Own Adventure books, which of course were a huge hit and still everywhere. NOT.
not that i exactly think that the site or device is another human, but it is a sort of presence, and a representation of its makers, who are human beings. as such, when the website "talks" to me, it should use the correct pronouns. when it talks to me about "my" things, it should say "your things". When I talk about my things, I can say "my things". When the website "talks" to me, it's not ME talking, it's the website, it's SOMEONE ELSE.
It baffles me and really disturbs me that a conception so basic as this is so backwards for all these interfaces. It's like putting the handle on the wrong end of a gun.
I guess that's another reason why I hate MySpace. It should be called YourSpace. Or maybe it should just be called, "FuckYou, we're tricking you and all your friends and taking over the internet, eat shit and die."