Cunningstuff

A new life, for an old man.

Month: September, 2012

The Basement – Part 1

We turned onto the driveway, out of the hot and busy downtown street. You could see the heat waves diffusing light just a block away, it was so hot, and of course, no breeze. I was worried that my new apartment was going to be to hot, but today would surely shine it’s heat beam on the spot if it was true. Truth was actually a question, I was questioning the truth of the deal I was looking into. A friend of mine works as a bartender at the new Hotel Du Paumpf, all the rage in Denver lately, and was approached by the manager of the hotel wondering whether she knew anyone who could really use a low rent room. She said she knew me, a struggling author, who needed a place to stay.  The rent was ridiculously low, it’s in a hotel already, so why would it be just 100 US a month? Oh well, I never looked a gift horse in the mouth. I do now.

The hotel is exactly what I thought it would be, valets, brass, huge sheets of green glass, water fountains, drinks that cost what I would get for one transcript of 500 words. We were directed to a back vanilla hallway with four precise and uncomfortable waiting chairs, with a plain brown door  that said manager in a brass plaque for our view. Maintenance guys with big rings of keys would come and go, and after about 20 minutes, I started to get heated. My friend Ernestine begged me to be patient, the manger was really cool and laid back, but he hated people to get in a hurry with him. I settled in for the long haul by counting the number of maintenance men who came by. To my surprise, they seemed to be counting me, because they were only two different guys, just similar beefy builds, and they kept eyeballing me nervously as I did them. I counted ten times, before the manager stepped out, with a welcome smile and a handshake and invited me in.

“Heh-heh-hello! You must pardon me, I have had some interesting results in getting your room ready, the maintenance men and I have decided to go ahead and get you on down there.”

“I’m sorry? What’s going on?” I was hesitant, but I really needed this rent.

“Waaaayyyyyelllll… Ok look, this room is a deal, right? The truth is, there are strange circumstances surrounding it, that are out of my control. The last tenant insists on seeing you personally, and though we have tried, your just going to have to put up with him for a few minutes.”

“Ok, explain it to me, I’m very reasonable.” Nervously perhaps, but I just was tired of waiting.

“I will get Bill to take you down, that will be the best way.” He reached over to a 2 way motorola phone, and keyed into it. “Bill, we’re ready.”

Bill popped in almost like he was waiting outside the door, and ushered me out before I got to wordy with my questions. Mostly I just shrugged and let them lead me away, Ernestine begging off to her locker for something she “forgot.” We went down two floors of stairs and ended in a plain steel door at the bottom of the stairs. Bill mentioned that we had to pass some old foundation work to get to the apartment.

He opened the door and the first thing I noted was grey stone, old with pits and worn with rounded corners, like cobblestone, but a wall of it. We walked out onto a platform made of some sort of concrete, but again, old and grey, that had safety rails all around it. Another half flight of stairs, and all around, it was like the basement of the hotel had been built-in someones badly designed warehouse. Plywood of different colors tacked up between studs, some high, some half high, others covering from floor to ceiling. on the other side of the room was the industrial steel grate stairs, going up to a cat walk about as high as this platform, with double doors on it. In the far corner was another plain steel door, painted black. The floor was a maze of what looked like drainage depressions, little ditches in the concrete going to various holes and grates. We walked through this strange room to the plain door into another room.

The door flung open easily, and almost slammed into the stone wall, which had become even more apparent in this place. Walls were 5 meters high, the room was probably 20 meters by 40 meters, and in precise neat rows were the old glass shelf display counters you used to see in every variety store. Piles and piles of stuff arranged in some unseen order, coated in dust. Cups, glasses, plates, pitchers, pictures, knickknacks, small statues, candles, flags, tennis rackets, baskets of yarn unspooled, boxes with lids open, closed, taped, cut off. All manner of plastic goods, flatware, cooking utensils, toys, shoes, jewelry, just never-ending. Bill saw my look and wandering eyes, shrugged, and said one word, “Storage.” He walked me over to another door across the room.

This door afforded even more of a surprise. This room also large, but the ceiling was low. The beams of the ceiling were at 2 meters exactly wooden, and covered in both chicken wire and dust. Also coated in age and dirt were ukulele parts, all tied with baling wire to the chicken wire, that was taped or nailed to the beams. Thousands of ukulele parts. In the exact middle of the room, which was about 20 meters by 20 meters, was a 10 meter square area on a perfect white ceramic floor. Two couches, with a table between, of some old and rather expensive looking material, and a bed butted to the couches, were in the middle as well. 10 doors ran the outside of the room, each door paneled by a different kind of plywood. 3 of the doors were obviously marked by an international bathroom sign, a shower sign, and a kitchen sign, but the other doors, although clearly marked, were obscure in meaning.

A primly dressed older man sat on the end of one couch. He was balding, with longish hair in a sort of wild array that somehow reminded me of a clown. His face was birdlike, and his movements spoke of a nervous but decided individual, quick, firm, but just a bit of hesitation. I like him immediately, and from the lisp he had, was also pretty sure he was gay.

He got up from the couch when we approached, and shook my hand with both of his. “My name is Curtis, and I just know you are the right man for my room!”

Taking a bit off

 

Hey gang, taking another bit of a break, getting refocused and spending some quality time with me lovely Queen. I will return refocused and doing more “writing” experiments than personal notes. Love and life and fun!

Freeform with Stasis of Seasons

This is my face whenever I get to play live with a band.

Whispy wiffling changes muted only by drastic numbers of volume, pushing ever harder to achieve the numbers and the seconds they want to achieve, the other two outside of us pushing in their developments they are looking to achieve, playing the numbers game as well, if in a different mode. Nothing seems the same in this room, nothing but blue light and white noise, acoustic panels barely left attached after the monstrous assault constantly played out on them. I did not know I would end up here, in this strange joyous land of fun, when we were walking up to the room. Clinical, isolated, horrible colors reminiscent of high school or possibly even a county jail. Five of us, stacked in a tiny Honda, getting out was such a relief, but the building looked so ugly, so sad, it seemed impossible dreams could be manufactured inside. Electronic number keyed locks kept us outside while a scrap of paper was retrieved with the sacred numbers on it. Two people disappeared into some crazy offset bathroom, not seen or heard when they left, just when we got to the room they were not there. Some of that was the really shitty metal being played everywhere, the bands that were trying at the moment of our arrival sounded like they had only ever heard Metallica play, and it was repeated three times before we got to the inside of the space. I had played with these gentlemen before, about 40 miles from where we were, in a tiny leaky shack in Golden, Colorado. Now we were in Commerce City, and it had a totally different atmosphere.  I however relied on the judgement of my friends, not on my judgement of what looked like an isolation ward in a state prison.

The door shut behind us, and there was my old rig, all sitting pretty, looking used and loved. The crappy metal had faded a good bit on closing the door, only twice revisited when the other two folks came in. I found a 1/4″ cable on the floor plugged into the main on my amp, and plugged it into my bass. Flipped the amp on, and boom, she was purring. Steve-O had climbed behind his kit, and we were practicing some simple times before the other guys had tuned up. Oh yeah, I had to tune a half step down, BECAUSE GOD FORBID ANYONE USE STANDARD TUNING. Ahem, excuse me, it’s a personal rant. We jumped right in, playing a song that was basically A and E, in 4/4 time. I had not played with folks in about a year, but some things never leave you. I had two good guitarists and a great drummer, and when things are that good, you don’t need to think, you just need to play. We rolled it over like Beethoven was dead, jumping in and around those two simple chords, with just a tiny hint of humility. Probably about a ten, maybe fifteen minute jam. We decided it was good, and stopped.

The second jam was about ten minutes, and it was all based on a nice 3/4 beat of funk. Again just two chords, but the guitards got upset at the drummer and I, and cut us off a bit short after the ten minutes. I had some troubles here though, I wanted to get as fast the drums were going, but I was so rusty, I could not pull the licks off. I settled for power instead, and bumped the shit out of the 4 x 10 cabinet behind me. Tapped into the groove power of my ax and made the people shake their ass. We had a violinist along for the ride, mostly just drinking free beer and listening to us, steaming over some personal problem I didn’t want to get into, but when I started pumping the groove, he could not help himself and got lost in the beat, the play between ass pounding bass and subtle drum patterns. Nice to know I still got it. When the guitarist got frustrated as he knows no funk, the drummer stood up and said let’s go outside, where we ate fresh crab apples falling from the tree in the courtyard. Again, I was amazed this place could manufacture dreams so reliably, but the crab apples made up for it. Sweet and tart as all hell, I could see stars, and I figured well, if I gotta play in a prison, this ain’t so bad after all. I had a moment of clarity, so to speak.

Third jams are best jams, it started all convoluted, *7/11 time, C,A,E,A, 4/7 time G, 13/11 time F flat, G, but we finally settled to just play with C, A, E, and A. That settling took 15 minutes, then we let the pipes loose. Settings were adjusted, sounds were tuned in, fastidiously held ideals were tossed aside and broken. We took that beast of time and tamed it into something resembling 4/4 time rock and roll, and then we pounced and chased, turned tail and ran, came back for another pounce, did amazing sweeping gestures, and pounced some more. I forgot about the guitarists for a bit, and the drummer and I played hide and seek within beats, each hiding something and finding something on return. I would run to base, and he would lose me, then I lose him, then he would tag me from behind and we would laugh and start all over again.

I really love playing with a great drummer, there is something about bassists and drummers that see eye to eye, yet have this totally different approach. I think it could be like a bauhausian architect designing a playground with mechanical engineer. However it works though, it’s a great time and space to be, for me. We met up at around 8:00 p.m. and I got back home in about four hours, but it just seems like we played for 45 minutes. I never feel time going by when there is music to be created. I am kinda a bastard in music, I hate playing the same old same old, and refuse to play covers, but instead just play what I want to hear with whatever is going on, and these guys indulge me, even think its pretty neat. I want to thank my friends in Stasis of Seasons for letting this old fart play around a good bit. If you are ever in Denver, you should see them, great band, great friends, never afraid to do something new, even if it doesn’t turn out so well.

* I am not claiming I even understand what times were presented or what they should be, it’s all a farce of what I might have understood.

Love is Eternal

A rather unusual symbol in the midst of the infinity of nature.

In my life, I have had a hard way, and it makes me a bit of a grumpy old man.  I know 43 is not old to people who listen to all that bullshit spewed by the baby boomer generation, but I have never had a dentist, I have never had a doctor, just emergency medical care that constitutes basically having one abscessed tooth pulled. I found out later it was not even abscessed. I have never had money, not like some people have, I have never had much for family or love, so its been a long hard 30 years on my own. I am not setting up for a pity vote here, I am just saying to those who think life is a fucking bowl of cherries at 43, good for you, but some of us do not. I can tell you I have earned ever grey hair on my head, and that is just the way it is. I am burned out mentally and physically from my job, and I really just want it all to end, the hardships that is. I was on a path to change my life, in some crazy drastic way, which would have probably ended up with me either dead or in prison. I just wanted to change it all, I am so angry about this life, so cheated, feeling so deflated and unhappy, that I was willing to become an illegal immigrant in order to change my life.

Until that third day, after I met her. 12-03-12 will forever be the day my life began to change. We met in virtual reality, it is one of those rare and beautiful moments on the internet when two souls linked across distance and time to become as one together. I fell for her generous and kind nature almost immediately, even the first day we met I was thinking I had found someone who understood what I mean when I say to be honorable and reasonable. I could not help myself, I swore I would never fall for anyone ever again, I swore I was done with love, I swore I would not be hurt again. I fell however, I fell right into her heart, her kind and loving nature, her sharing and caring way of looking at the world. My bitterness melted under her loving ways, her easy manner, her wit. I found I was deeply in love, and within a month I had promised myself to her forever.

How does that work, I wonder? I mean, if you could view our lives, there is no reason at all, no rational that says we could even begin to be in love. Her life was as cold as mine, in so many ways, we have to stop comparing notes, because it is immaterial to how we feel about each other. I didn’t live her life, but we see eye to eye on so many things, it is obvious that we have had similar changes in psychology. I have thought about this though, really given it some thought, because one thing is for sure, neither of us wants to be hurt ever again. We have both had a bag full of disappointment in our investments in people and life. How did we end up this way?

I like to be logical about things. I like science and math, probably a bit too much for the average person. When ever I see the scientific solution to things that puzzle us, I always laugh and get a bit happier, because if it is science, it is knowledge and we can build much better on knowledge than belief. Love however, is not so easy or as logical as all the math and science however. How did love beat our psychologies and defenses. The only solution I have been able to come up with is that true love, the real thing like my Everstar and I are engaged in, this kind of love is eternal. I would do whatever I could to make her happy. I would die, cross mountains, oceans, whatever it takes to make her happy. We both really like the recent movie The Vow, because it shows how true love can make the difference, a real true to life love story, one filled with some of the strangest synchronicity ever known in a relationship.

Eternity overcomes all mathematical obstacles. If you have a finite amount of numbers, you will find your end eventually. I think that is why our love, a true love, overcame our defenses. I have never known real true love in my life, so the numbers, the logic, always overcame the truth of love. True loves eternity, having never encountered it, I assumed that no matter what, there would be an end to anything I start, or get involved in, but now I know different. I don’t even know if this is some strange explanation, but it is one I was thinking of today, when I came home and read my love’s amazingly tender and beautiful explanation of our love together, from her point of view. Love is eternal, therefore you may dip into its well as much as you need in life, no matter what, there will be more love for you to use.

All in all, it’s a lovely though, inspired by my beautiful Queen, and I am glad I have had the time on earth I have had with her to think of such things.  My life has been one of varied threats and bad choices, even when I chose right something else would happen anyways. No it just gets more and more beautiful, on an hourly basis. I would have gone out of my mind at that damn job by now, but her beauty and confidence in me gives me strength that I never knew I had.  The love we share grows everyday, and my trust and humility in her and our lives is amazing, I am fine being a human, I am fine being poor, everything is fine, as long as I have her love. No one, no thing, no place or time can ever strip me of my love for her. I got this eternal mine of diamonds, and they are all for her.

Setting – The Two Jollies

The Two Jollies take Boy to their home.

The stand of warehouses sat on the flat plain like a giant row of cathedral cookie cutters. Thirty giant arched warehouses, all in a row, all in one linked up super-complex. The metal on the buildings looked over-armored, as if they expected these warehouses to be the bank vault of the universe. Peaked at the top at 100 meters, the steeply sloping sides of the buildings bowed out, as if they had enormous pressure inside them. No windows could be seen anywhere, and the sparsely lit entryways were barbed and covered in metal and concrete as well. Not a sound peeped for miles, but there was a consistent hum from inside. I had followed Marf and Wire for about two miles now, and although I was not lost, I had definitely not come to this quarter of the abandoned city yet.

Wire looked at me and winked. “You nae gotta be wurried abouts here mate, we know there are only two city guards that watch this place, and mostly, we just let them chase us around a bit.”

I shook my head and chuckled, having seen these two in action once today, I was pretty relaxed with the news. They could handle two city guards with a blink and a nod. We stepped up to the door, and Marf pulled on it with his giant arms, and it creaked slowly open. The door was probably a foot and a half thick, and it moved ponderously, like there were hydraulics making it stiff. All the hinges and handles were made of thick stainless steel, gleaming grey in the white wash of light that spilled out. I stepped out of the dark night and into the building, and saw that the roof was not attached to anything, but machinery and pipes went in confusing directions all over, and there only seemed to be one main corridor that ran through it, the one we came in.

Catwalks and ladders and pipes and pipes and pipes. Hundreds of thousands of pipes, all sizes with all kinds of color codes on the grey metal that was the standard color. One other color was obvious, as all the catwalks and ladders were a bright safety yellow, widely stained and spattered with grease and dirt. The hum I found, came from the enormous lights hanging about five meters off the peak of the warehouse’s roof, bright as any sun, but by the time the light hit the concrete floor, it seemed as dirty as the surroundings.

We walked about 200 meters into what Marf simply called “The Main.” The corridor we walked down was about 5 meters wide, with a feeling of claustrophobia from all the pipe work and abandoned machinery laying about, but the Main was 20 meters wide, and not one pipe through it. It was clear up to the ceiling, where the arch from the separate warehouse we had been in connected to the main roof. A shallow ditch ran the exact middle of it, but it was dry, although there could be seen water stain along its bank. Wire pointed to a metal sign that simply had the number 7 engraved through it.

“Thazza door number 7 we cames in, you has to members them, cause only 7 and 19 will open. ”

I nodded and we started walking to the right of the corridor we came in. Wire continued telling me a bit about the place.

“Thems are folks behinds us, Hungarians I thinks, they farms outside, but lives in dah warehouses. They will probably not talks to you untills you helps thems. We comes in numbers sevens cause the 19 door is wide out in the flat, and the forest we came through is easier to hide in. Dems city guards, they can stuns yah and take youz down to jail, and you don’ts wants that. We live by 18 though, so you knows.”

On our right the corridors kept repeating at the numbers, and the immensity of the place started to sink in. On the left was the pipes again, but about 20 meters in were the old rolled doors you could see on industrial buildings everywhere. A noticeable difference was the fact that these doors were only 6 meters tall, and 10 meters wide, unusual in that doors like this were usually taller than wider, and much taller at that. We got to corridor 18 and Marf took the smaller hall to the first door at the end of the corridor. He took a piece of bent rebar steel that was through the lock, and straightened it with his amazing strength. One small thrust of his giant paw, and with an ear-splitting sound of rolling metal, the door shot up.

We stepped in and he slammed the door back down, bending the rebar back into the lock on this side. We were in a cozy, (well after our long walk through the giant complex, a feeling of cozy,) twenty by sixty meter store-room. The ceiling was only about 15 meters up, and there looked to be a small box bathroom in the corner.

Marf saw my eyes glance to the bathroom, and he nodded, “Yeps, theres runnin waters here.”

His eyes sparkled with happiness, as we were all dirty, and he could tell, I am sure by the smell, I had not seen running water in a while. I was suddenly embarrassed, but grateful for my new friends. Cable storage made excellent round tables, and there were several logs that had been cut to chair high, sanded smooth and worn glossy from use. A sink was against the door, and I turned the faucet on and off, laughing at the sight of running water. They were waiting beside a large long table made of left over pallets, smiling and watching me with their sharp glittering eyes. Stacked along the top of the table were real actual running computers, the LED’s on and green, the faintest hum of internal fans that were actually spinning.

“We thoughts, since you was coming, we could find some good stuffs for you to use, and helps us three become better persons.”

My eyes began to water, from some unknown source deep inside me.

Thank you, 50 Followers!

OooooooOOOooooo I want glasses like those.

A few days ago I broke the 50 followers mark. I did not expect to do so as quickly as it has happened, because I do not pander to most internet culture wants. I write, and I post one picture and mostly words. Never did I think I could gain the attention of so many, so soon, when I feel I am a bit lopsided in my approach, and my words to be clumsy units I push out the door with a large stick. Over 700 views, and growing now each day, so I think I may be on to something people like. I do not please everyone every post, and I do not aim to, I really aim to just experiment with different writing styles an hour or two at a time.

So I am going to ask for some involvement, as a way of understanding where we all sit. I know most of your user names, and I have enjoyed the few comments I have had, but since this blog will always be up, I hope that people will always comment on it. I am keeping it very simple, you just tell me the book and author you are reading now. You can go on, you can review, you can denigrate or appreciate it, I don’t care, as long as I can see what your reading, I think this page will become a success.

It is an experiment I am determined to try and see keeps going, eventually building into a page of comments of books I will read. Unless the number becomes inhumanly large for me to keep up, I will read every book in the comments I have not read, and then, once I am done, give it a review in the blog too. I will do that for as long as I can, once again as far as humanly possible.  I need to read more to understand how to write better anyways, and a variety of input will only increase my ability to create.

I will begin,of course. I am currently reading House of Leaves by  Mark Z. Danielewski. I wanted something overtly complex and huge, and this seemed the only modern choice to make. I have heard from so many people I should read it, that I went to my favorite used book store and bought it without even asking the price. I am about 1/5 th into it, and it really hasn’t even started yet, all the craziness. I am enjoying it immensely though, because I have recently learned it is a love story, and I am searching it for clues, though right now it seems a bit of a suspense novel.

Please feel free to add whatever book you are reading, whether it is a recipe book or a childrens book, or an automobile manuel, I don’t care, I will try to read it.

An Argument for Mankind

Spiders are not evil. You may like them, or you may not like them, but spiders themselves are not evil. Neither are humans.

I know I like to go against the grain at times, but here is a bit of absolutely wrong idealism that has absolutely swept the modern world. Many of you will disagree with me, many will even be put off by it, but the truth of it is, we are not evil. Human beings, in and of themselves are not evil. Truthfully, evil is a religious concept, it is a backwards idea, and it has no place in our thought processes, but so many people believe it, it is like trying to put out a house fire with a thimble and a 1 dollar bottle of water. Are there problems in our society? I am not saying there are not problems, but problems can be solved. Are there bad people in our society? Once again I am not saying we do not have problems. Evil, however, is not one of our problems.

The idea of evil is a problem. Evil exists for so many people, they do not believe we as a race are worth saving. I knew it right then, when I started to argue for the human race, that I would hit this wall. Why save those who are not worthy? Humans are greedy, humans fight too much, humans are not worth saving, that is such a constant meme in our thoughts, and I know where it comes from. Like it or not, we westerners come from a christian pushed background, and the one thing the church of rome has to say about us is that we are born into sin. Original sin, it is an idea that is the same as the idea that we are not worthy. Westerners believe that we are not worthy, and heh, so do easterners. As a matter of fact, all of the civilized world is always taught how we are not worthy, that we as a race are evil and corrupt, and no matter what you do, we will fuck it up. The current meme is that all humans are greedy, but it really is just a bastardization of saying we are born in sin. I do not think for a second any child understands greed until they are taught it.

So imagine this, just once, the opposite. We humans are worthy. How much would you change how you think based on that? Would war be the atrocity it really is to you then? Would you grasp then that a billion people are starving right now, and just maybe, we should not let that happen? Would it make sense to have a floor limit that all people on earth should have materials, education, medicine? Would it make sense to stop making so much worry over how to screw people out of their money and instead feed them?

When I began to love the human race and not hate it, I began to see the really bad propaganda that has infiltrated us to the very core of everything we think about mankind. Talk to any good psychologist, good criminologist, any one who studies anthropology, and see what they have to say about evil. I sincerely think, after studying the evidence, and hearing out both sides on this particularly important issue, that bad people are made, not born. Let me say that clearly, very loudly even, bad people are made, not born. Now there are two ways to make someone bad, chemically, which could be traced to genetics or a polluted environment, and psychologically. Some people are indeed screwed up from birth, but it is usually a genetic or chemical imbalance that does this. There is very little proof otherwise. Most of criminal behavior, murderers, rapists, killers, the bulk of these are created by psychological imbalances. I do not expect you to believe this, but I ask instead that you find out on your own. I have looked and looked, and once we could understand the behaviors, once we have specialists on the job, once we take different views of how to treat criminals, we find over and over, it is the society and its psychology that does it.

This is really important my dear readers, it is very important that we understand that people are made, not created. It is important that we change how we think about what is wrong, because the results are in, and they disagree with everything most people believe about the human race. Funny how that belief is based on religion, and not science. Science says that we can change the human race for the better, that we can create a world of peace and happiness, but our current society still thinks we are not worth it. Just look at the miners getting shot in South Africa. No one is arguing the fact that we do not need to kill people over money issues. Of course they rioted, have you ever worked in a SA mine? Most of us have not, but if the conditions are anything like the conditions that the workers of Dubai are experiencing, then we as race need to stand up and look around for a change. I am not here to preach however, but to get you to really think about this one little fact.

Fact: We made into bad people, not born into bad people. We as a race are entirely worthy of saving, worthy of holding in respect, for all time to come. We as a race are not born with a sin. We are born with possibilities, possibilities that most societies do not give to the largess of the populations. We are beings of love, and when shit hits the fan, like an earthquake, or bad hurricane, or tsunami, we as humans give and care. We are a good people, full of warmth and love, and most of us, well, we just want the chance to love. Wars create enemies, and we have been at war for rich people for far to long. We have no grief with people in the middle east, other than that which has been totally fabricated. We do however, have amazing capacities for love and understanding, for communication and empathy.

Try it on one day. Try out thinking we as a race are completely worthy. You may be surprised at how real it is.

My Reading History

The famous Cat’s Eye Nebula, as visioned by the Spitzer satellite telescope. No imagination needed for this one.

I think, if you are a reader or a writer, what you read is one of the greatest influences you will ever have. I do not remember when I really began to read, but I can tell you what the most important first thing I read was. It was the encyclopedia, that seemingly endless fountain of knowledge. I love knowing a lot about my world, I love thinking about what people are like in other lands. I have never stopped being so curious. I may have mentioned this before, but did you know if you took a box, a very sturdy special box, and emptied it of everything, making a perfect vacuum, that it would still have materials floating in and out of it? I mean really empty it, using all your knowledge, create a perfect vacuum, scrub the walls of hidden and clingy atoms, due to the uncertainty of the quantum world, particles would still be all up in there. Sorry, I resorted to bad english there, but it is true and it is the freakiest thing I have ever heard. Now that kind of knowledge, that is a thing of beauty to me.

Not far behind that my entry into fantasy and science fiction start to ramp up. I find I have a declining interest in television, instead finding the theater that is used inside my head far outweighs the crap television puts out. Don’t get me wrong, I love Monty Python, but I never could tolerate Saturday Night Live. I think one reason was I was in love with the Retief science fiction series by Keith Laumer. He died in 93, and I did actually mourn his passing, though many people did not understand. Retief was the ultimate british officer, set in the future, a dashing daring, hilarious idiot that I loved. I was reading Analog back then as well, and I remember having the issues with a series called “Ender’s Game” by Orsan Scott Card, who funny enough, is a Mormon. Tolkien, who needs no link or introduction, was a perfect read, but so was CS Lewis’s Narnia chronicles. All of this was influential, but nothing like I encountered after I got through the basics.

Glen Cook and Gene Wolfe came onto my reading schedule like a freight train powered by a nuclear missile engine. Glen Cook’s powerful sense of soldier and duty overcame my inhibitions about the self. The jokes are callous, the energy is manly, and he makes me laugh and laugh.  The only women in the books are either super hot, super deadly, or old battle axes, but that’s about what you could expect when you might be in a merc group in the fantasy world, hey what? Gene however, Gene is a font for the mind, and a builder of great imagination. If you have not read Shadow of the Torturer and its imposing fellow titles under The Book of the New Sun series you have literally left you yourself bereft of some of the best writing and language ever used in a book. Cook falls off after about the fourth book in The Black Company, but I think those first four books are beyond extraordinary, they really reveal the fantasy world in way I could grasp as a human, they are almost factual in the settings and characters. You are wandering in this amazing and shifting northland, and it really fires my imagination into overdrive, his style just puts you there. On the other hand, Wolfe is just damnable in his abilities. Severian and Thecla are the most unimaginably real people I have ever met, that are imaginary. The complexity of their twin nature in one person defies and boggles most people’s minds, it really is just this beautiful exercise in human understanding.

Then, and the reason I am writing this, then there is Richard Bach. Right now Richard is fighting for his survival, but we all know he is also doing his best to make the most of it. I do not know whether he will live or die, but I must attest to his influence in my life and thinking. Richard once saved my life. I am to smart for my own good, and I come from an abusive background. I thought I was done, I was probably searching for my excuse to die when I found his book Illusions. I am not going to quote it, I am not going to paraphrase it, I am not going to go off and try to write like he did, but I will state, no other book has ever had the influence that book has had on me. Gene Wolfe is a better writer, Tom Robbins is a better moralist, Kurt Vonnegut is a better introspective journalist, William S Burroughs is of a higher plane of imagination, but none, no matter how much influence, have ever given me the calm, soul healing advice I got from reading Richard. He doth giveth me clean waters to swim in, and healeth my mind with expansion and love.

Richard is in dire straights, *light a candle for him.

So in a nutshell, that is my history of reading. My history of writing is here, everything I have, you have. I intend to be as transparent as they come, with only one exception. I fully intend to be a writer for a living, so any books I publish I will sell, and I will sell my services for those who wish to pay. I am not a capitalist, but at 43, I am trying to put some meat on the table as well as be a the human I want to be. I am not proud of it, but the world is what it is. Also, I left a lot of writers hanging in the dust, Rachel Pollock, CJ Cherryh, grok, many things and influences, but this was personal. I wanted to give you the best I have ever encountered, for personal, not professional reasons. I will be doing some book reviews in the future, none of which were mentioned here, because these few writers are the ones that, eventually, made me want to write. That and the support of my beautiful Everstar, to whom I owe my light and my energy to. Feel free to ask me about any of these, I will tell you what I know.

 

Jing – Software Review

What people think when I tell them about my home built computer.

Being a technological child of the 80’s, I have never had much of a need for most of the programs people run these days. Facebook? Try email mate. Vuze? I already was running utorrent and my searches can be made from a myriad of torrent collections. I was Skyping years ago, and I don’t really care for all the mumbo jumbo of most apps. It is really rare that I use an app for anything, most everything I do comes from some core programs.  GIMP is my choice for picture manipulations, Audacity for audio, I have only really ever used VLAN as my video viewer, FRAPS for my video recorder, most of these are free, very technical when you need them to be, and simple when you don’t. I actually get really lost on other people’s computers because they tend to rely heavily usually on one or two “standard” programs that I tend to immediately disable or remove from my OS. Apple and the iphone have really screwed people up about what they can do with their own computer, people are forgetting software exists I think, and instead focusing on the end product. Well, like I said, rare is the day I need to change from my core programs, because almost everything is already taken care of. I however, came across an unusual situation the other day.

Now for me to find a new use in my computer, that is rare. I never really took to electronic calendars, but I do have an old palm I keep around, and I usually have a very little used datebook for the year too. Since I am involved in a crappy retail job for my income, I go to work the same days, year after year, and I do the same things over and over again. I have a very simple life, no car, rent an apartment that is all bills paid, so I only have one bill, and really, I do not need any help keeping track of it. Recently however, I have started to write in a blog, and that has changed the game a little. Before I had no need to take pictures, because I am not a picture oriented person. Text is fine, but hey, I got a 20 dollar video cam that takes 640 x 480 pics, so it is covered. But screen shots! I have taken ten thousand screen shots if it is day with my FRAPS, and the built in awesomeness of SecondLife’s cam, but screen shots of my view of the desktop? What ever for? Well, it came up the other day, so I took it on to find new software.

After going through maybe ten different desktop screen shot apps, I found one that fits the bill perfectly. Jing was the highest editor rated screenshot capture tool, and it is perfect for what I want. I want something that will give me the pic, but jing takes it one step farther, if you need to post it, it generates the pic to a website, then plops the web address into your clipboard. SO you can screenshot, upload, and then paste your pic into whatever you are talking into. Very handy, and I will probably use this app a lot more than I thought I would. I have had a few instances where I needed to post a map pic, or a location, onto someones damn phone, and I had no clue what to do. This lets anyone access the pic who has internet, so it solves the problem of reaching someone on an android or an ipad, it doesn’t matter.

Pretty much as simple an interface as you could want. A small half disk of translucent yellow sits in the halfway mark on the top of your screen. If you put your mouse on it, it grows out three easy to click on legs, one is a cross hair, one is for the past history, and one is for preferences.  Everything is minimal, with easy to choose buttons from there on, and it runs a video to show you how to use it right at the start. Help is easy, but of course it goes to a web page for most answers, they are however easy to find and easy to fix. The history is also easy to use, having your most recent uses and topics lined up, click on them and boom, back in business. The cross hairs are again, simple and easy to use, and you can choose video if you want as well. Video for those damn times when you need to tell someone who should not be anywhere near a computer how to find a damn preference.

I really like the automatic page generation, it makes it so easy for me. I do not have to post a pic, I can just post a link and they can come to it when it is time. I know there are a lot of automatic options these days, but this is the first time I found one I actually have used or try to use. Maybe I am becoming my own personal nightmare, a Luddite. I certainly hope not, but then again, I still think cell phones are ancient technology. I will continue to try to climb my way out of the snobbish “I used that tech 20 years ago” crowd, and perhaps I will be able to get one of those awesome pixie tube watches eventually. Then again, I am still waiting for smart watches to be the “in” thing, with hipsters walking around trying to text on 3 cm screens about how hard life is with only 4g tech on their wrist.

While I am at home working on a $434 US computer I built about 5 years ago, that I still play the latest games on and insist, absolutely insist that nothing on it or connected to it is wireless.

I am doomed I think. I mean come one, my computer costs almost half of one of those really impressive ipads.

Doomed.