Grumbly Weeks

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Since making my own journalling scripts, I don’t visit Blogger all too often any more. They’ve changed it. Now instead of having a Mac OS 9 feel it has a bubbly, blue Windows XP feel (I assume, since I don’t use that OS very often). Except for the buttons. Those have the characteristic Mac “just dribbled water on the white countertop” look. And I’m using the Camino web browser, which I am so far quite pleased with. As of now, it seems to be the best of the lot. Good text rendering. No major stylesheet flubs. Quick like a fox.

Anyway. I have a theory about people who write too much about their personal experiences with computer software in their otherwise personal journal-logs: They’re dorks.

So I’m not sure what’s going on here. Though most of my educational years I got about four or five hours of sleep. If I had school the next day. My niteowl nature ran head-on into the requirement that I get up promptly to get my ass to class. (My dad’s been talking about a book — the title of which I forget — in which each human has a spirit animal that sits on their shoulder or follows them around. Maybe my spirit animal would be an owl.) Now, though, I’ve slid into this routine of sleeeping literally ten hours a night. Or day, if you consider that going to bed at four in the morning leaves me sleeping through more daylight hours than night. And my waking life seems fogged out by dispassion. Like I can’t fire myself up over things I used to fire myself up over. A bit frustrating.

Things get done that need to get done (mostly), but without a while lot of energy. They get done.


Before getting into this, I want to clarify what I now consider this part of my website to be: Personal talk. Just Josh rambling on about the days of his own life. The main page can be devoted to comments about some silly-ass site I found through Metafilter or (what I consider to be) witty remarks about our government. And personal attacks on Arley. I like the idea of having a piece of the site that’s a bit more hidden.

Current web design practices and the concept of “usability” tend to make online writers want to package their words in fluffy, colorful containers — with well-placed links to any past post and key words in bold so the reader has no more problem scanning and absorbing the three sentences written about the latest trends in SARS-mask fashion.

I want this part of my site to feel the opposite. Dense. Like words in a book. Not like words in a magazine.

Anyway. Now I’m just going off on other tangents.

A lack of energy.

I suppose I’ve always gone back and forth between feeling rather normal towards the world and feeling rather bleak. Part of growing up seems to simply be learning to understand why these feelings occur and figuring out ways to correct the problems. Emotions reflect the desires of the core id, desires built from my experiences placed within the mental framework given to me by my genes. Each person exists as a kind of machine, programmed at a deep level to desire things such as food and reproduction. Emotions create the bridge between that machinery and the more logical, free-will part of the brain that (ideally) reasons its way through problems and puzzles to get to what will sate the deeper urges.

So when I get to feeling off-center like this I figure the best thing to do is to try and temporarily drop all my conscious values and desires and relax and let that simpler voice speak from the back of my brain to the front. I haven’t studied much about meditation — I don’t exactly know what the different methods and explicit goals of different varieties of meditation are — but this process I have seems to be what meditation should be all about: Letting it go. Reconnecting with that emotional channel. And then building thoughts back up, hopefully with some adjustments in what I consider valuable and worth my efforts.

One thing that the back of my mind almost always communicates to the front of my mind in these situations is: “Get more exercise.” And it’s true, exerting myself physically for a day or two has a similar effect. Maybe for similar reasons. I have visions that making the body work, flexing it in different ways, squeezes out toxins that build up and reinvigorates blood flows to parts of the body that may complains because, seriously enough, they don’t have all the right nutrients they need to operate smoothly. I stretch often because after a good stretching session I feel the blood’s pumping evenly again and I’m just more capable of doing the things I enjoy, which makes me happier.


Enough of this hokey mumbo-jumbo. These ideas are just how I think I work. They represent me writing my own user’s guide (Josh in a Nutshell) for successful operation. I get bugged sometimes by people who pour out overly-complex verbiage when trying to make points that just don’t warrant it.

One more broad thought before writing a few paragraphs about funny things I’ve done in my sleep during the past week:

Art. Start trying to define “art” at the wrong party and you’ll end up listening to some Warhol-wannabe play mind-games with you by figuring out some way to make anything concrete you say about the matter wrong. “Who are you to say that smearing shit all over a chihuahua isn’t meaningful art?” You’ll know the situation when you get into it.

(The appropriate response is, by the way: “Yeah. Sure. Sounds good. Why not? Oh, Bob! Hey, how’s it going? The beer’s out back. I’ll come with you for a refill…”)

Here’s what art is, at it’s most meaningful and unique: You sit in front of that blank page, white canvas, or silent speakers. You sit in front of nothingness. The only values that remain are those channelling through from the back of your brain. After removing all sensory information, the back of the brain rebuilds the sensory experience, adjusted to reflect the refined values that such a deconstruction-reconstruction allows. This is why music or a painting that totally breaks every rule you thought you had about what makes a piece of art valuable can be the most beautiful thing you’ve experienced. Especially if you’re the one who made it.

And, you know, I implied that covering a pooch with poop is so absurd as to not even warrant discussion. Someday I fully expect to be gripped by the most amazing piece of crap+dog sculpture — and to fall in love with a woman dressed in tight black who does nothing but tell me my grand ideas about art are all wrong because I still don’t think that her question about whether kicking kittens in the park is meaningful performance art is even worth thinking about.

Anyway. It’s late. Maybe I’ll follow this up in a couple months.

Before signing off, a couple things I did in my sleep this past week:

1) Had a dream that I was living with David Bowie in his big, one-room, gothic-ornate home on the side of a mountain overlooking a big city view. I have no freaking idea where this came from, considering how little I think about David Bowie. Strange.

2) Stranger: A few nights ago I set by alarm clock (an old-fashioned one with a clacker that strikes two steel bells on top when it goes off) and placed it on the shelf above my little boombox. When it rang at about 9AM I was so totally confused that I seriously had no idea what was going on. I didn’t recognize the boombox at all, just that I thought it was making the noise. So I pulled it completely apart. Popped off the battery cover. Unplugged it. Pulled out the speaker wires. Pulled the main component off the shelf and onto the floor rather violently. Again: No idea what had been going through my head. The hard drive part of my brain kicked in shortly thereafter — the part of my brain that stores information such as “this is what you room looks like” and “pulling the speakers apart from your boombox won’t cause the alarm clock to turn off.”

Maybe next time the alarm clock goes off I’ll go find the cat and put her in the refridgerator. That would be a great confused reaction.