2.152: Some Thoughts

These days I don’t make it much past ten pm. If I’m honest with myself my brain quits around 9. It’s 10 now, which does not bode well for this blog. One thing I know I can successfully blog about is the decision to bench Eli Manning. That’s a big deal. It breaks (or follows) football convention. If the Giants are to be believed, Eli still has his job. If that is the case then convention is shattered. More likely, Eli is done and the Giants did not handle this well. I am worried about the G-men, because they now need to find a QB to throw to this horde of receivers and survive behind a less than great line.

There is little else I can say as I’m literally hand pecking every letter… It is one of those drained nights.

2.151. The 3rd Iteration

As I work my way back through the mythos of the Gunslinger I am finding how much that greater text has informed my worldview. It is not as a bible for certain, but more as a guidebook, a way of recognizing the secret keys and doorways to a deeper understanding. For instance, King’s seminal work focuses on the idea of cycles. Specifically he talks about the two spoked wheel of magic and technology and how these things turn in sequence, moving us from ages of wonder to understanding and back again. In my sense of things there is a third spoke (and perhaps a fourth as this world seems built upon the idea of binary creations, though I cannot fathom a fourth in my nascent understanding). That third spoke is biology.

Much of the mythology class I teach online has been turning on the idea of Superheroes. This started back when Batman v. Superman was only still a comic book and an idea that Zac Snyder was slowly piecing together. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was starting to form the concept of the 3rd iteration. I kept coming across quotes like this one from Mary Embry (Hancock),¬†“Gods. Angels.¬†Different cultures call us by different names. Now all of a sudden it’s superhero.” That idea called out to me as an evolution of the idea of the higher power and of that thing we struggle to understand but worship and herald and debate nonetheless. Now our media cycle is focused on such things. There are so many Marvel and DC shows on the air that the it seems entirely oversaturated. We’ve reached the point where every station of any worth needs to pull out a hero show just to remain relevant. It is the way we used to experience cop shows.

There is more to this discussion but with ten minutes, I only had time to compose so much.

2.150. Learning Curve

I had a great moment this morning when I realized that I am not done learning, unraveling things, and improving. In many ways I am starting fresh, because I am no longer allowing myself to be tethered to routine or expectation. I think that for a long time I was bound by what I thought I could do and what would not create a burden our boundary to the people in my life. I realize now that the people in my life want me to be happy and are themselves not bound by any unspoken expectations of sameness and are open to pursuing any happiness they can achieve. Why aren’t I doing the same? So then, what makes me happy? Learning and experiencing new things. Getting better at the things I come to enjoy. Making others happy. Exposing others to experiences.

I am only looking at that first piece right now. There was a time where I wanted to learn new languages. There was a time, not long after, where (I often refer to time as where vs. when because I see time as a place in the way I see moments as a place where we can only return in our thoughts) I decided I could not learn languages, because I wasn’t good at it. Then I let the world move on. See, the world doesn’t move on all by itself. We release it. We release the things that make the world and our reality what it is. We allow things to be one way, though we wish they were the other way. We learn to surrender and find the new vs. learning how to stay in the moment and grow into something special.

This is a ramble at this point.

 

Some Thoughts:

  1. Stranger Things is purposefully derivative and pays homage to so many shows and stars of the past. It is a work of art on many levels.

2.149

With all due respect, this is a late night blog hampered by whiskey and fatigue. I’d rather be watching an episode of Stranger Things or meditating or flat out sleeping right now. I believe I held on to my words too long today to be able to get them out effectively. I can tell you about one thing on my mind: I have a family member who is an avid Trump supporter. Her reasoning is what caught my eye. She’s about Trump because he serves as a reminder that someone like her can be president and can be rich and can keep it real in the office. Nevermind the fact that she’s black, not rich, and not even republican; that she did not come from a wealthy family and in truth had to survive welfare for a time. Nevermind the fact that she pulled herself up from her bootstraps and earned her education. Some of that education is failing her right now, because the longstanding programming of the American culture has taught her to look the other way when things you don’t like come to light. She only sees the good-the relatable stuff. Perhaps most telling is that she still sees herself as having the potential–if not ease–to be a wealthy individual on that level should she decide it is worth the effort to do so.

It isn’t, apparently.

She is comfortable where she is at and finds more use of her time nodding at the Trumpian opulence than really making that effort to create her own. I think I really gained perspective when she admitted that Trump’s behavior shows her how to act in those wealth-based situations. I learned that it isn’t about what the man says, but it is about the clout and swagger he carries that gets people on board.

 

2.148. Reflections on a Saturday Afternoon

The end of the semester is always a time of reflection for me. It is a chance to consider what happened through the school year and evaluate those goals that are still in progress or have been achieved or have fallen pray to disinterest. It is a time to catch up on shows, to consider what I do and don’t want out of my life and my holidays, and often it is a chance to get quality time with the people I love. It should be a time to plan out the things I want to write next, and perhaps that is the next evolution of the semester’s end. Presently I’m thinking about the relationships in my life as well as how I do and how I want to spend my time.

Any basic reader of the blog knows I’ve reached the point in my life where I am really looking to settle down with my partner and make a life of it. This is the largest part of my conscious and unconscious thoughts. It is not, however, the only thing that matters in the universe. The rest of me is split between four key areas of absorption. The first is being a dad, a job I rather enjoy but am learning very late in the process to be good at. The second is writing, which has been a constant in my life for longer than anything in my life. The third is work–school. I still strive to be a stronger teacher. I want to be better at that. The last is coaching, and that is coming to a slow end.

The key reflection is that I need to get back to the basics of listing and prioritizing and making time for the things that are most important. Above all else, I need to get back to the positive mindset that made me who I am.

2.147. On Villainy

Some people need everything to be about them. They sow distrust and resentment everywhere they go. They put people on edge and generate anger and when everyone is fighting each other they swoop in and act the part of hero. I work with one of these. I was raised by one of them as well.

They are the true villains.

Trust me, believe me, I know what is right. These are the weapons of a villain. Other subtle blades include the tendency to ask questions to the point of annoyance–to the point where the constant questions feel like a beat down. Another weapon is to use the environment against you. As I write this I am in my room on the second floor and I can here the TV from downstairs as if it is on and shouting in my ear. When the blog is over I’m going to go fix that and it is going to start a battle that leaves the villain as the victim in all of this. It is at that point which the villain can rely on sympathy to work their desperate game.

I am tired today. I’ve been tired my whole life but now it is wearing so thin that the threads of my patience resemble little more than a screen door. I’m done with all of this. If not for the honor required of a son, I would entirely be done.

2.146. To Be Thankful

It wasn’t too long ago that I felt there was little to be thankful for. I was thinking selfisly–equating not having any possibility to achieve the life I want with not having a life at all. I was not thankful. Today on Thanksgiving I want to be sure I am thankful for the many wonderful things in my life.

When it comes down to it, there are two friends in my life who are my family. There is my brother and my partner. He has been with me since High School and no matter how far apart we are and no matter what happens in the world, we are family always. I love him and I am both thankful and grateful to have him as a part of my life. My partner is my heart. While things are worlds away from what they should be, though I am so far removed from being able to see any kind of happy ending between us, I still know that she is my moon and my stars. The tides shift with the breath of her words and daylight breaks when I taste her lips. She is my best friend and I am grateful and thankful for that alone. She is also my partner, a double edged blade which can slice through my soul at will. In spite of the pain that colors my daily existence in this state, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend any moment with her. I am thankful most of all for her love and to share in that love with her.

I am thankful for my three boys. Each is as a flavor, different and surprising. I love how unique they are and how they feed off of each other. I am thankful for their love and the respect they (occasionally) afford me. I am thankful for their behaviors, because it could be far far worse. I am thankful for the time and space I have with them in order to share in and appreciate this love. I am thankful to watch them grow into wonderful young men.

Finally, I am thankful for myself. For my capacity to still love. For my willingness to swallow my ego in service of something I truly feel matters. I am thankful to still grasp on the the vestiges of great intelligence and to be able to apply that through words and through teaching. I am thankful that I found Buddhism and the words of Thich Nhat Hanh to help me through the troubled times. I am thankful for my continuing health. I am thankful of my choice to still be alive.

2.145

I’m writing by the fire at one of the prettiest places I’ve been in some time. The weather is exactly what I want, my kids are nearby playing board games, and other guests are playing board games and keeping up pleasant banter. This should be the happiest pre-thanksgiving available. Instead I’m completely overwraught and worn down–more likely to collapse into a coma than crack a smile. I cannot explain this in any completely rationale way but to say that what should be happiness has me anxious to end the day and the next one after that.

At some point I came to dread the holidays. They serve as an ever present reminder of how the most important things in my life are not entirely there or entirely right. This is evidenced by the fact that I will be spending christmas and the two days following it completely alone. I could fall off of the planet in this space of time and nobody would notice, because everyone else has someone else to spend the time with.

Sounds depressed and frankly a bit jealous of the rest of the world. Honestly not my proudest or brightest moment. Still, when I made the choice to be raw and honest here it wasn’t only going to be about the good stuff. The bad stuff has resonance too.

2.144

As my students are settling into their spotlight research papers I find myself wondering what I am learning/growing from here in life right now. The answer is: very little. Among the many changes I am working towards in my life a big one–a vibrant one–is making the ol brain kick back into high gear. For example, today I was thinking about the elasticity of the universe. The idea came to me because I was first thinking about balloons popping. Often the universe is compared to a balloon–either as a two-dimensional construct upon which all of known space is printed or the outer shell which we all reside within. This second theory sparked the balloon question. It goes like this: If the stuff inside of a balloon continues to expand, will it eventually stretch the skin of the balloon to the point of popping?

We know that everything inside the balloon¬†is expanding, so the question becomes relevant. It is also relevant to consider what is outside the shell and what the shell is made of. All of this relates to the concept of space/time. We know that Time is at least partially tied to the concept of gravity, through the concept of Gravitational Time Dilation. Given this theory, how does time exist outside of the universe…. or does it?

Perhaps immortality isn’t just a concept but a certainty.

Some Thoughts:

  1. It occurred to me that the numbering problem is not solved by version 2 of the blog. In fact the string of numbers is only made longer by the introduction of the 2. While not an immediate concern, this too falls on the back burner.

2.143. On the Punisher

The Punisher is good. It is the type of good that allows me to sink into the myth of post-military action and PTSD. In other words, it is as good as we are going to see in a situation that needs to bear the not-quite-real scent of a Marvel show. In truth it feels like a version of a wonderful Cinemax show I used to watch called Banshee. It has that same tough feel to it and borrows heavily from action shows like Banshee to develop its own brand of action sequence. The show makes clever use of analogy to shout the deeper thematic messages and by doing so is able to string them out across the season in a very repetitive way that doesn’t feel entirely repetitive.

I have to admit bias here. I’ve been waiting for the Punisher since season 2 of Daredevil, and what I got was more than I bargained or hoped for. The Micro character is a revelation. His own character arc is strong and built around a supporting cast that is not only surprising in the action sense but in the character development sense as well. Micro’s children in particular were well developed.

Finally we come to Frank Castle. This is a great and nuanced rendition of a character who has been called psycho, sociopathic, terrorist, and even a great hero. He is a dark hero indeed and the writing here indicates it. The Frank we see this season is haunted and angry and really goes all in on combating the darkness built up around the private military and their relationship with the CIA.

Watch this show. It demands a second season.