Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

Recurring Dream

January 28, 2013

Hoping that my blog readers (such that they are) can help me with some dream deconstruction:

It begins with the beauty of nature – life is simply a stunning incomprehensible fact. Present. Everywhere. Wonderful. It’s the verdant green of Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Then I notice it’s not so ideal. It’s flawed. There are signs of the hand of man – in this case some oil tanks, a chain-link fence, some crappy little sheet-metal buildings. An industrial site on an otherwise uninhabited little island as I sail by.

A sudden scene change; I’m in the suburbs or a small town with my two long time male friends – A & R – both big guys. One – R – is a Leo – the life of the party type. He’s a sensualist, full of passion and joie de vivre. The other – A – is the angry man. A guy that’s always wearing a mask – he’s a comedian and glib performer who always needs an audience and entourage, but who I often see as deeply lonely. They are my advisers in this context – just being supportive, being guys, and hanging out.

The dream is always about girl trouble – they know I don’t necessarily struggle with girls but am always after the wrong girl. They marvel that I can have a wide choice, but I always focus on the one who is…Not right.

Why? She’s the man-eater; a stunning but aging blonde who knows she’s hot and doesn’t need a man. She has a kind of “male” approach – a stable of boyfriends, guys always coming and going, but never settling into a monogamous dynamic.

I know this and I don’t care – I’m like a moth to a flame. My friends marvel at my perseverance – my attempts to charm her. They know she likes me, but they also know she knows I like her – and to her it’s a game. For me too, in a way; In the back of my mind I get it – and am OK with the chase, but still sometimes let it (her) eat me up. They think it’s pretty amusing and are always just saying: “Don’t worry about it. You have other options.” But I have a harder time always just being playful and light about it. There’s too much of the Byronic romantic in me.

A scene shift again. There are some children in a little house – actually out in front of a house, playing – particularly a little girl (I’m not sure if this is always a part of the dream). She’s hurt herself – twisted her ankle. We’re all bachelors and not exactly warm, fuzzy types so we’re not sure how to react. They stand back, concerned but distant. That’s my inclination too, at first. I wonder if her parents are around…

But then I just crouch down and say hello. I look at her leg – it’s swollen. She tries to get up and grimaces. I turn and say to my friends “maybe she should see a doctor.” They’re disinterested.

Suddenly, I just pick her up in my arms. This is a totally unusual thing for me to do. I’m generally somewhat indifferent to children and little girls even more. They seem so small and fragile. Anyway, I pick her up and give her a big hug. She smiles. She hugs me back, tightly. I am suddenly filled with joy – almost to the point of tears. This is, without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful, pure and lovely experiences of my life. Transcendental – yet so simple. I put her down and she runs off, apparently feeling fine.

The scene shifts again. Now I’m alone and looking into the water. Underwater. There’s a sort of diving bird there. A cormorant. It plunges down to grab a fish – and spears through it. Suddenly, the fish almost explodes. Gets eviscerated. The viscera then transform into…Puppies?? Totally weird, especially since I think that this fish was to be food for the bird’s young. I think about life; How we idealize animals and nature. But even the cute ones (like rodents and, yes, even puppies) can end up as someone else’s dinner.

Shift again, to a living room. Talking with my two friends about “the girl” again. They’re amazed. In the know, somehow, that this has all happened before…

I get up and leave…Drive away (even racing away from A who is following in another car). At one point I’m driving crazily, quickly backing up along a winding road. The car flips. I get out, not hurt, but feeling silly. I think that driving is an interesting thing to be doing in a dream for me, since I’ve only recently started driving regularly. Then it hits me…I’m dreaming!! Not only that, but it’s a recurring dream. I realize I’ve had this dream, or at least parts of it (my friends, hanging out, talking about the girl trouble) before. I literally try and climb up out of it…Up a staircase from some basement. All along, I am repeating to my friend – “It’s a recurring dream A!” over and over as I go up the stairs. I get to the top of the stairs and there’s a door. I open it. A man, his face and features not visible, is standing there in the doorway. I awake with a start, aware I’ve been talking – even kind of yelping – in my sleep.

N.B. When I got up I still felt very powerfully that this was a recurring (and in my notebook I initially wrote “recurrent” in every instance) dream I’ve been having for some time, but never recall much after waking. So I grabbed a pen and furiously wrote this all down.

A Novel

January 21, 2013

I would like to point my readers’ attention to a blog — The Art of Life — featuring a wonderful serialized novel. You can find the first chapter, “Start with gratitude”, here. Set in a place that will probably be familiar to readers of this blog, it’s a fast-paced and sharply written mystery/thriller full of intrigue, murder, ghosts, environmentalism and art. In addition to being a brilliant writer and a totally amazing human, the author also happens to be my mother.

And yes, she’s looking for a publisher…

Twitter!

September 11, 2012

Having abandoned the baby picture and cute puppy world that is Facebook, I find myself still feeling the need to connect to the world through the medium of a social network. There’s an immediacy and a level of interaction there that I miss (and perhaps have become accustomed to…). All this to say that I am now using Twitter for this purpose. Even though some people use it quite frivolously, I find there’s a more focused and professional (and in my case, even educational) quality to the format.

So, yeah, if you jive with that and are interested, please follow me @weirdhistorian

Thanks!

Ten Reasons Why Facebook is the Soulless Bane of Modern Life

August 26, 2012

I’m well aware of the painful irony of castigating the world’s most popular social network on a blog, another form of social network. But I don’t have the money to put stamps on hundreds of handwritten letters, so here it goes:

1. Facebook is not social.

Saying hello to someone on the street is social. Having dinner or a drink (or getting falling down drunk…) with someone is social. Exchanging pleasantries or even bodily fluids is social (after all, it can possibly lead to a “social” disease). Arguing while waving your arms frantically at someone is social. Knitting while sitting on a couch together is social (sad, but social). Typing pithy comments about someone’s vacation pictures you vaguely know while hurtling along the Interstate at 80 MPH is not social. It’s just stupid. And dangerous.

2. Does that “net”-work for you?

Feeling trapped? Nothing is more representative of modern life than a forum for “self-expression” which requires you to fill out lame little standardized electronic boxes. Don’t color out of the lines! Touted as a multi-billion dollar computer platform, most of Facebook just boils down to a computerized version of those dorky name tags that say “My name is ____”.

Just think of that word — network. Nothing more than a bunch of virtual tendrils, designed to ensnare and entrap. The question you should be asking is who is the spider and when is he going to come along and suck out all of your vital juices? If you feel like a fly on the wall. Well…Buzz, buzz.

3. All those douchebags with marketing degrees are simultaneously yelling “gotcha”!

Marketers used to actually have to work to sell you stuff and get your attention. Now you come to them, by the millions, like so many lemmings careening off a cliff. And because you are an open (face)book, they know exactly what you want. In fact, some of the stuff they know you want you didn’t even know you wanted…

4. Individuality?

Heck, you can’t even change the bloody typeface on your page. (Note: See #2). And remember, if you post a picture you’d better not be doing anything too inappropriate. Some bot might come along and be offended. I, for one, welcome our Facebook bot overlords. All hail Zuckerberg!

5. All the world’s a stage.

Unfortunately, everyone in the audience is too busy working on their own acting career. Of course, you too can be the star in your very own movie (not sure what the working title is now, but they used to call it “Life”). Everything is a performance. Look, I got a new job! I have moved further up the rung and am mastering the cogs of capitalism. Please, “like” me. Why won’t you like me? Do I need to do something more extravagant? How is it that over half a billion bad actors clamoring for attention isn’t more people’s idea of hell? When did we all become such showoffs? Reality TV? TV is our reality! We’re always on camera, always observed and observing. Too bad none of us are just bloody living anymore. I don’t need to see the beautiful view you saw on your trip to Aruba or walk around the neighborhood. You saw it. It’s yours. That’s precious. Enjoy it.

6. Whatever you’re doing, someone else is doing something cooler.

Facebook is a constant reminder that no matter what you are doing, it is lamer than what a dozen of your “friends” are doing. Just booked a trip to the beach on Maui? Whatever. Your “friend” just bought an island in the south Pacific. Bought a new car? Your “friend” just bought a new yacht. New baby? Your “friend” had triplets! (Well, on second thought, maybe you are better off there…). A regression back to grade school is the order of the day on Facebook. It’s like one big game of “Oh yeah! Well…”.

7. In old sci-fi novels and movies, weren’t hive minds a bad thing?

I remember an old episode of Star Trek where this guy Harry Mudd had found a whole planet of androids. And there were groups of them — copies — such that you had Alan 216 or Mary 109. Facebook is kind of like that. It’s almost impossible to miss someone famous dying these days because fifty of your closest friends will comment about it. Sometimes they’ll even include some maudlin link to a relevant Youtube video. How touching. And some of these people who are venerated are pretty lame. No matter, its all fodder for Facebook.

I’m waiting for the day when some lunatic puts up a status update of “RIP Charles Manson” and the whole Goth world goes (lady) gaga about the passing of Marilyn. Give me a break! I guess the point, if there is one, is all the collective grief and, by extension, the sense of injustice is totally bogus when all it amounts to is clicking on “like” or “share”. Which brings me to…

8. How many cute puppies does it take to stop a dictator from wiping out a whole town?

Politics. Oh yeah. Remember when that word used to imply that the discussion or debate was about an actual place or space? You know, the polis? Now it’s random rants about how dumb some conservative is, or how bleeding heart some liberal is. Mostly it distills down to re-posting (i.e. “sharing”) some clever cartoon about how we are all totally fucked. Well, if things are so bad, do something! Those occupy people, as aimless and indigent and generally stoned as they were, were doing something. Until Facebook came along and turned it all into a bunch of idle slogans. Facebook has become the dumping ground for frustration and impotent rage. It’s as if it was a cleverly constructed release valve for dissent and criticism. Almost seems planned that way. Hmm…

Oh, yeah, and by the way, the answer to the question above is…none. You need a LOL cat.

9. Your friendships begin to resemble that show — Friends.

I hated that show. I really did. It reeked of a neutered middle-class complacency that makes me want to kick puppies (but not the really cute ones people always post on Facebook — just the ugly, faceless puppy in the crowd…). Everyone was always being clever and pithy and drinking coffee on a sofa on Friends. Kind of like what people do now when they are on Facebook.

I like the idea of friends. I used to have friends. I used to hang out with them and see them too. I don’t have to anymore. I live a completely alienated, isolated and lonely life as an academic (“Oh, he’s one of those!”) in a town and state I basically hate. But with Facebook, my plight is supposed to be somehow more bearable. Your experience may be somewhat similar. I sincerely hope not.

10. Like the real world, Facebook has class (but not the good kind!)

Well, no it doesn’t. But it has developed ghettos and upscale neighborhoods. Whether you muck around on Farmville or post stories by way of the New York Times, everything about Facebook is just part of that time honored human tradition of creating arbitrary distinctions.

The only distinction I think is important anymore is this — are you part of the Facebook herd or are you still vaguely trying to maintain some aspect of your humanity? We in the techno-utopias of the “west” may pity or even mock those poor souls for whom Facebook is only a computer program. But I, for one, envy them. If only they also had a bit of peace and food and clean water…

So, yeah, Facebook sucks. Modern life kind of sucks too. Am I bitter? You bet! Angry? Yup! What would make me happy? If dozens, even hundreds (dare I hope for thousands?) of people put a link to this blog post up on…You guessed it: Facebook! I won’t know about it though, since for now (and hopefully, if I’m strong, forever) my Facebook account is deactivated. But maybe, in some little way, I’m not.

Reality Hacker

July 30, 2012

Are YOU a reality hacker??

Read this and find out!

The Patterson Film Reconsidered

July 25, 2012

The Patterson film, which was taken in the Northern California forest in 1967, remains the quintessential piece of indecisive evidence for the existence of the famed cryptid Bigfoot. I’m currently reviewing a book on the subject, and I’ll let the author’s words sketch out its significance:

“Patterson’s film has been studies by amateurs, evaluated by special effects experts, and looked at by scientists. It has been picked over, poked at, trumpeted as the most important piece of wildlife film ever taken, and laughed at as an obvious fake. The reason it resists scrutiny — and probably always will, regardless of whether it is genuine or fake — is the material fact that the film itself is of poor quality. Even with all the high tech gadgetry available to examine the film, the low resolution of the original grainy 16mm footage renders it practically impossible to analyze in great detail. We may never know whether Patterson meant it to be this way, or that it was just dumb luck of an individual unskilled and unsophisticated in the ways of filmmaking. In North America at least, it has become the toll booth all anomalous primate enthusiasts, academic or amateur, must pass to proceed. it lurks and skulks and peeps about just off to the side of every believer and skeptic, challenging, mocking, and encouraging. Regardless of who owns it, the Patterson film became a central component of Sasquatch studies. It allows for no middle ground. It is either real or fake, with no chance it is a misidentification of something else. Patty’s now legendary backward glance in frame 352 [Ed. Note: See image] teases and tests anyone who has ever seen it. It survives when all others associated with it have come and gone. It is not the only evidence, and it is not the only contentious evidence. Everything ever brought forward to support manlike monsters, mystery-apes, and anomalous primates has been controversial and will continue to be.”

From Brian Regal, Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads and Cryptozoology (New York: Palgrave, 2011), 129-130.

Image found here.

Still seems tantalizingly elusive, this film — shaky, confused, out of context and scale. And yet somehow completely haunting.

So, what do YOU think??

Louvre

June 14, 2012

The sixth (+1 day) anniversary of my first post with this project. An image that captures what I hope to keep producing…Doorways to mysterious places…

Roy Henry Vickers’ The Elders Are Watching

March 31, 2012

By way of the Raincoaster.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,041 other followers