There once was this dream I had, like no others I was having at the time

There once was this dream I had, like no others I was having at the time. In the final year of college, I had plenty of dreams about me attempting to become lucid and even astral travel, but then falling back into the dream. I had dreams of the family home, and high school classmates. I had dreams of the future where I visited a family slightly off from the one I was expecting to find inside the family home. Dreams of Middle Eastern terrorists blasting away at my friend K and I as we lay impotent on rocks below. Dreams of flight. Dreams of being a spiritual, artsy, flighty soul—but, few if any where I took on a masculine role.

This one dream I had, though, was about me and a motorcycle gang. We were a gang of young men who were living in an American era where people pretty much did what they were told, and the wild independent spirit was dead. We had broken away, and carried pieces of rope, which we tied symbolically to tables and chairs in the establishments we entered, then untied as we left, shouting “we cannot be tied down!” It was a gang similar in anti-establishment rebellion to Fight Club, not Hell’s Angels, though the dream was two years away from the release of that movie.

Then, there was this other dream I had. Where I was with another nomadic group, all of us wearing white robes and living on the outskirts of society. We had no motorcycles or anything cool like that, just healing powers that we employed to gain food from the people who lived in accepted society. Such people had taken the mark of the beast, but we hadn’t. Neither had most of the society’s children. So, we healed these children when they got sick, and some of the people, too, when the powers of Satan and technology of man (which had merged to be indistinguishable from each other) couldn’t solve a particular health problem. That dream ended with us at a garden party where the Antichrist and his henchmen showed up. My ex-friend K was one of the henchmen, and he looked at me, but his eyes were practically white, and it was as if he looked right through me.

These are the kinds of dreams that make me pull away from thinking I might buy a house, find a wife and settle down. These dreams captivate me more than a thousand dreams about returning to my high school or boyhood home.

They fired L

They fired L. I must say, I saw it coming, but didn’t expect them to pull a corporate slap in the face. Nor did I expect it to happen any time soon, as they’d done nothing to make L feel overly unneeded during J’s layoff process and the ensuing melee with J and L. Even A had seemed to make us feel like we’d be working together as a trio for at least a year.

All of their questioning since the time of J, and the gradual elimination of L as an integral member of the UW team made me think that they’d lay her off come the next round of budget crunches. But, A assured me that L was the only person in the organization getting laid off, so it must have been mostly an A decision, not an organizational, budgetary one.

L, who’d been there three years, was sitting at her computer cleaning out her inbox when A stomped up and snarled “no emails.” Then, A gleefully threw herself into assisting L in carrying her boxes out the door. No D in sight, as you might expect.

I’m torn between wanting to go froth at the mouth in front of D or someone, then walk out for good—and simply shrugging my shoulders and moving on with the business of trying to figure out how to get the hell out of there myself without simply putting myself into another crazy-ass nasty environment.

Funny thing is, now L is starting to look nice. I mean, I know she’s every bit the corporate busybody kissass with a robot’s soul, but she seems almost sweet compared to the bizarre machinations immediately in front of my face.

Ann asked me, “so, what is it that you want to do moving forward?” I repeated my request for being more involved in targeted marketing, CRM data analysis, online fundraising and capacity building with college students—the same request I’d made sitting in front of D, B, MW, J, L—J before he left—anyone who asked and acted like they were listening. She kept replying to all of this, “yeah, this will be great to do, eventually.” Well, what the f are they waiting for? The day when only UW employees give to UW and NOBODY gives a shit about this organization? I mean, seriously. I’m not asking to be shipped off to get an MBA or flown about the country giving talks on panels and eating at free conference buffets to schmooze with shiftless thought leaders and gurus. I’m asking to be put on the dirty work of using data and labor to generate new donors—something UW seems woefully lacking these days and shockingly uninterested in cultivating.

D just wants to go off and be friends with all the people who loved UW circa 2006. L wants to just pretend that the workplace campaign can be revitalized through some manipulation of these lapsed accounts and by means of a lot of ra-ra and task forces and committees and spreadsheets. The board doesn’t give a shit. A is too new to know a damn thing about what UW needs. L on a good day would nod her head and most days would just shrug and say let’s hope for the best. M seems to know what’s what, but that’s only from A reporting back to me on M. Firsthand, most of the time M seems to be off in la la land. A could give a shit. She’s got lots of money left by Daddy and a rich lawyer boyfriend and plenty of sassahehteh contacts at her disposal—she’s just riding this out until she gets into grad school.

B, who you might think is really a smart, great leader, might have been twenty years ago, but he couldn’t even associate the bright gold GIVE on our website with being a link to where he could go and donate. I really wanted to lay into him about that, but he’s kind of this sweet old befuddled man who has already retired about three times, and has been asked by UW for help because God help us if we asked our own employees for help, we might actually get help from people who care and want the org to succeed and have an interest in developing careers, not keeping busy in retirement.

It’s business to fire people like LP, and it should be totally business to decide who you fund, and how you fundraise. And, if they can’t put these two together, we’re f’ed.

In other news, I got my car back from the shop, having plunked down another gazillion dollars to fix another damn broken piece of it. I am now dangerously close to having put more into the car in the past year in repairs than what the damn thing’s worth. Of course, the car was ready for me to drive home at the start of today’s sleet.

I’ve since run into J and J again, the latest in my “hopeful girl and dog” duos. J was obviously in a hurry to get her dog walking business taken care of, but wasn’t unfriendly or giving off that vibe I’m so used to where she would rather not ever run into me again. I’m very mildly hopeful that we can establish a similar relationship to the one that got started with B, the last Woods Apts dog-girl hopeful team.

Mostly, I’m pretty disheartened. All the promising relationships from UW are now quite dead and nowhere. The last of the original Marketing team from my start date…is me. I don’t even really like Social Media and e-Marketing, to be perfectly honest. I liked interviewing people and making short video clips about how they were involved. I liked trying to enhance the website, blog, adwords, etc. to increase traffic to the site, and analyzing the data of email subscribers to increase open rates. But, all the crap around communication strategy has repeatedly left me out in the cold, and I’ve watched people who’ve claimed to know more about what they’re doing than J repeatedly make the same mistakes, or do little to change what’s really wrong there.

I am in such a bad place now to simply quit and attempt to start my own business. Bare minimum, I would need a combination of saved money and credit to pay for the $2500 Mac + CS4 software and three months of living out of pocket.

Assuming I sold my car, and got a small loan (or cashed out retirement), and tried to start my own web guy biz for three months:

$1020 = groceries (current spending, could probably be cut down to: $600)
$250 = utilities
$2500 = rent, other utils.
$150 = cable
$900 = credit minimum payments
$120 = cell phone
$600 = misc. expenses (bike tubes, clothes, extra software, biz cards, etc.)
$2500 = Mac, software

= -$8040

$4500 = Sale of car
$250 = 2010 tax returns
$1000 = Saved $ by April 15
$3500 = cashed out retirement OR small loan (whichever I determine is LEAST painful)

=+$9250

I’m holding for something big

I’m holding for something big. I’m putting up with a lot of shit for something big. Can’t leave Austin yet? Fine. Got to have supervisors who know less about what their doing than me? Okay. But, the vision is of something grander than just incremental improvements in career, so I’m okay with not having a career to speak of.

This grand vision is one that not one other soul may know is big. It is big in the sense of those moments of life being filled with the sublime while all around you things change, improve for the better.

Sometimes, there is just a glimpse of the vision.

Meeting and falling in love with G–even amidst the horror of H dying–then all that transpired until I woke up weirdly too far away from myself to know if it was good or bad–that was a life period of accessing something big.

The period where I walked confidently into spring of 2005, D came back into my life, S saw my potential to do more than just muck about on the company website, and I got flown to SF for the first time as an adult, and moved to a place by the greenbelt, and all was great until I went to that awful Unicode conference in Orlando in September, and things unraveled slowly for the next several years.

That moment in college where I accessed some huge State of Being through my love meditations. When there was no one else around on campus, and I was on no other drugs except maybe caffeine, but spring was in the air, though it might have just been a thaw over Christmas break.

The first spring I attempted weightlifting and track, and I thought I was finally going to make friends with preppy people, and TC, the ultimate woman to attain was within reach, and I worked at Subway instead of McDonald’s, and AS, the sure first “older woman to teach me sex” was within reach, but of course, a lot of nada because…

…accessing the sublime, while not completely an easy thing to do, is inevitable when you consolidate your many lusts and wanderings, and focus on self improvement, and let the Universe take hold of you to change you and mold you. But, realizing any of your true dreams (and most importantly, keeping them) while you are within the sublime is the treacherous coast you never learned to navigate.

Ooooh, TC is speaking to me and smiling at me, and I’m getting in great shape, and things are going great for me in all areas of my life (I’ve cut the mullet, stopped smoking cigarettes, and earnestly want to be the successful young man Mama envisions me to be)–but, TC is an angel, a goddess, what do you say to her? Gosh, I better stick with hanging out with “my own kind”–and, of course I forget the mindset that got me into the door to the sublime is the one to propel me forward, keep my wings flapping ever closer to the sun.

But, those are all examples of youth crashing and thrashing about in ignorance, even as it claims to know everything. The beauty of that youth is that it truly believes anything is impossible–the folly being that it also believes EVERYTHING is possible. Alas, once you walk into the candy store, you only get to leave with what you can carry out.

And, those are all examples of a young man that things the greatest achievement must be to attract, date and marry a beauty like TC–the not-so-young man sees the potential in finding the sublime elsewhere: developing a new body of thought, erecting a new system of mathematics, creating a new website that enables people to do XYZ in ways they never thought they would, spending a week in a strange city wandering around, helping unfortunate youth to succeed–and many other things beyond the reach of his ever-darkening imagination.

From this, we must attempt to distill what make the elements of a good “period of the sublime” in one’s life. First, we’ll simply look at what many of the above and other lesser life happy times have in common:

1.Spring — for me, the year rarely begins Jan 1 in my mind, but only starts when the darkness has lifted to a fair degree, and no more frosts are scheduled to come before Nov 1. This is truly when second chances are handed out to me.

However, the sublime that accompanies spring is fleeting and almost impossible to grasp if the winter was spent in black drunkenness, sleep, aimless living.

2. Novelty — novelty of ideas, places, people, experiences, especially ones that come as pleasant surprises.

3. Purposive living. In those years above, the spring of 2005 arrived after months of reading up on the Localization industry, running, writing poetry. Sure, some of the first months of that year were spent drinking and pissing and moaning–but once I resolved to change and set myself upon a certain course, the renewal and novelty that met me were sweet sublimity that I could use and not just appreciate briefly before being burned by summer.

So, it’s clear from simply pausing to look at what made certain periods of life seem more sweet and successful than others was this juxtaposition of purposive living, steadfast work–but work that was aiming toward a higher goal, for sure, not simply working each day to get by. And further, such living only reaches its moments of satisfaction when surprising opportunities appear. Trying to know the future in every detail while living purposively is a huge let down. But, getting hit with novelty without any sort of purposive living is a brief and fleeting, albeit pleasant, surprise.

Suffice to say, I have yet to begin that kind of purposive living again for 2010, having reached a deep sense of jadedness at the end of last year. I think to a large degree my actions of looking at jobs in other cities and houses and installing Linux on my computer are actions born out of a keen need to snap me out of my jaded, complacent rut. However, if any truly novel (and hopefully good novel) experiences or opportunities were to hit me right now, it’s dubious that I would be prepared to roll with them.

and so it goes, the voice inside my head doesn’t abate: do something

and so it goes, the voice inside my head doesn’t abate: do something. don’t just go to work, come home watch tv eat drink pass out get up masturbate repeat.

do something. were you to die right now, your footprint would be a thin layer of poop, quickly erased and forgotten.

those who knew you best would report back a karmic balance of zero for you: a million positive things to say, and a million negative.

leave behind something others can do something with, help people living in the here and now. that’s pretty much it.

if your legacy in the end is your kids, well then let’s hope you raised them to keep the balance of light heavier than that of darkness.

though, most of us would likely estimate that it shifted some time in the sixties, and the darkness has been steadily encroaching ever since.

at any rate, you were born when you were born, and you are who you are–excepting some great discovery of brain transplantation or time travel–you’ll be you until the day you die.

since it’s unlikely that i’ll advance a great theory in math or science, and slightly more likely but still full of poor odds is the chance i’ll develop a great and lasting innovative business model–i’m left with the province of the rest of lesser mortals: write a book that the masses feel is groundbreaking; become a gentle, helping soul who walks the earth serving the least of these one least at a time; produce and raise offspring that find far better purchase in making the world a better place.

let’s examine some of these in detail:

first, let’s analyze the need to do something, so we’re clear that i’m not leaning toward my will but God’s. clearly, one would hope to be among the wheat and not the chaff. simple as that.

it’s understood by yours truly that if God were merely a bookkeeper of exacting sorts, i would be lost for sure, having spent more nights drunk with dick in hand then nights contemplating and attempting to make the world a better place.

however, in spite of the great comfort that God shows mercy on the begging sinner, i still here the voice inside my head requesting that i do something. that i do not just stop at the life outlined at the very beginning of this piece, but that i move forward in some fashion rather than none.

the infamous writer of books:
this individual is introduced this way, because inevitably, the impotent one comes to think of his one shot at “making my mark” being the writing of the book that will change the course of history, shift paradigms of thought, move masses of people in one direction or another.

two hundred or even one hundred years ago, this was a notion worth considering. now, with self-publishing being as easy and cheap as wiping one’s ass, the writer of books is more likely to make his mark on the universe by blowing shit up. (a recent, sad side note example would be the local case of the pilot who flew his private plane into the lesser IRS building, for a lesser impact, killing one other person, and creating only a brief national news side note of his own before the inevitable swallowing into obscurity). obviously, blowing shit up has to be precisely targeted, or little is accomplished.

as for the writing of books, this becomes a sorry activity in self gratification unless one is adeptly building upon past foundations or astonishingly developing new ones. i can recall the candidate i volunteered for self-publishing a book about her campaign WHILE the campaign was still on, and trying to milk the publishing of the book as a PR event.

unless one is truly seeking to self-publish for the sake of deep enjoyment at seeing one’s words bound and presented in book form, the act of publishing books to leave a mark, to officially have “done something” with one’s life, is a hollow act.

Today, I had one of the more me-shifting days

Today, I had one of the more me-shifting days. You have days where a lot of stuff happens, or you think you impressed a lot of people in a new way. But, at the end of the day, if your head is free of bs, you know that you haven’t shifted any. Today was different.

First, I’ll start with the recent past.

In a fit of discontent with more of the same, and feeling powerless to change much of anything at all, I decided to put Ubuntu back on this computer. I’d taken it off, and put Vista on here when the wi-fi stopped working completely one morning. Vista sucks, everyone knows it, I knew it, but I figured if I was going to have to use a Microsoft product, I might as well use one that was going to be supported moving forward.

At work, I’ve been using a Mac more and more, and starting to loathe coming home to put on the straitjacket that is Vista. So, I popped the Ubuntu disc in, saw that the wi-fi was working again, and waited a few days before making the semi-rash decision of wiping the hard drive.

My thought was that I’d start with my old version of Ubuntu, and it would be a piece of cake to upgrade. Heh. Turns out, that Ubuntu made a major structural shift going from 8.10 to 9.1, so, I could only upgrade from 8.04 to 8.10, which I did. Then, I discovered that my wi-fi was dropping every other minute, and I had to reconnect by hand. This, and the version of Flash that was supported by the OS couldn’t even play Hulu shows.

At this point, I began to doubt whether Ubuntu was even the best Linux for novices. I’d read a review about something called LinuxMint, so I grabbed the ISO at work, burned it to a DVD, and put it on my machine. Well, LinuxMint was pretty much Ubuntu 8.04 in a somewhat prettier wrapper, and it had the exact same problems with the wi-fi. So, went back to work to download the most current version of Ubuntu, and discovered that its ISO wouldn’t burn to a DVD. The only CD-ROMs I had were ancient, 4X ones, and many of them had failed to burn properly when I tried using one. But, it was all I had, and the burn software said everything went successfully, so I took the disc home, and began to install.

About 60% into the installation, it failed, saying there was a bad sector on the disk. Since it was Friday night, I couldn’t take one of my slightly-less-ancient 40X CD-ROMs into work the next day to try again. I had to face the fact that I was stuck with using the internet via a bootable CD. (The Cd with the most current version of Ubuntu on it actually worked okay as a bootable disk, and surprisingly held a persistent wi-fi connection.)

Then, I had a flash of brilliance. I grabbed my secondary flash drive, reformatted it, downloaded the entire ISO of the most recent Ubuntu via the most recent version (bootable, because as I said above, the older versions and Mint couldn’t hold a persistent connection long enough to download 700mb of data). I reinstalled Mint on the hard drive, because I’d messed up my hard drive with the failed install of the most recent version of Ubuntu, and used Mint to grab the ISO off the flash drive and burn it to one of my CDs, making a successful new Ubuntu disk, which I then installed.

I was able to get a version of Flash installed that plays Hulu shows with only a few minor hiccups, and so far the new OS hasn’t done anything unbelievably stupid. It looks and feels a lot nicer than it did two years ago, and beats the pants of of LinuxMint, which left me scratching my head—I mean, if you’re a member of the Linux community, and you’re really serious about making a highly usable version of Linux that average people will want to put on their computers, then why not contribute to the one you’re building off of, if you’re only going to make what appear to be minor, cosmetic changes?

On with today.

I wake up, and it’s a soupy mess outside. I’ve managed to keep my beer total to three tallboys, after a week of drinking at least four every night. I have to meet with my Little Brother from the Big Brothers program at 2, and don’t want to be JUST recovering from an achy, gloopy head. I decide to dash off a quick walk with Taffy, then I gotta get the car inspected, oil changed, laundry washed, recycling and trash out, groceries purchased.

I’m going to walk her up and down a quick stretch of the trail, and see this lady who has a husky dog getting ready to enter the greenbelt—she’s passed me for years in the Woods complex, and we’ve said hello, and she’s always been friendly and she’s supercute, but I’m shy and she never seemed interested beyond politeness, and she’s usually holding her dog back from sniffing Taffy.

So, I let Taffy off the leash when we get down there, and at first think that I’m just going to be my usual non-encounter self and walk the other way, but decide to at least pass her going her direction so she can see that Taffy and her dog would get along. That works okay, and I’m almost tempted to make conversation, but still fear I’d be a little presumptuous, so I keep walking with Taffy, but veer off on another fork of the trail, saunter, and then say to myself, if I run into her, fine, if not fine. So, sure enough, when our fork meets back up with the main trail, we run right into them, and I decide enough is enough, if she doesn’t really want to talk, she’ll politely or even rudely respond to my question in a curt voice, and things will go on as normal for Evan because that’s just how people usually react.

“Is your dog aggressive toward other dogs?” I ask in a curious and friendly way (I hope).

And so, for at least thirty minutes, maybe forty-five, we walk and talk together in the gloopy mess.

I wanna do the old “let’s meet up and go to the dog park some time, I live in 1007,” but she’s told me she’s thinking of leaving town in March, and it sounds like another situation like with Brea, where by the time I actually get the nerve to talk to her, and have an opportunity, she’s headed to Chicago to marry some guy she dated for years.

I figure at this point, since we have run into each other a lot, if God is willing, maybe so again, and then I’ll pose the possibility of another walk or dog park date. She did say “thank the Lord” once while speaking, which doesn’t necessarily mean she believes in anything, but I’ve gotten so used to being around Agnostic and Atheist people who don’t even say that, that I almost wonder if she meant it as more than just a figure of speech.

Anyway, so I get on with my day and its many chores. After getting the oil changed, the car seems to run more smoothly, but is still kind of complaining like it had been—sounding like air still in the clutch line. But, it runs more smoothly, and I get ready for my BBBS appointment. A block away from their offices over in East Austin, the clutch completely give, and stuff starts grinding when I shift. Damn. Maybe something was just out of whack, adjusting to temperature, I hope. I hope I can at least get it home, then down to the mechanic on Monday.

During my meeting with Jesus and his mom and the BBBS lady Sharlene, some weirdo keeps calling my cell from a private line. Nobody calls me for weeks, aside from the few usual suspects, then all of a sudden, I get hammered with strange calls during an intense meeting.

I feel like I’m in way over my head with this volunteering gig. Jesus is caught up in a world of adults that are selfish, blameful, and hardly that mature. He’s being raised by a number of people, and only his mother is doing anything to prevent him from going to jail like his dad. The rest are giving him drugs or getting him to take money so they can buy drugs.

It’s one thing when you’re midwestern WASP boy with a super-religious mom, a Dad hell-bent on sending you to college and making sure you finish, in a town full of WASPY religious folks. Then, you can dabble, and it’s cool, and go back home and back to circles of friends who are serious about their educations, and keep the drugs and drink in a separate little space. But, when it’s all around you, and there’s nothing even close to yearly vacations to Florida and Texas waiting for you, I have no idea how you get out of it, and get your head into something smarter than just drugs and TV.

And the story about his cousin Pedro.

Ah, there are just too many kids who need help in this world.

I left feeling only slightly better about what I do as a BBBS volunteer, and my car was clearly not going to make it that far without the help of a tow truck or me destroying it beyond repair. So, I called the tow truck, having just put $2500 into it a month ago, and $800 into it six months ago.

the urge to write is back

the urge to write is back, accompanied by nothing new to say.
the urge to live in sf is back, accompanied by nothing new to offer an employer.
the urge to find a mate rages on, in spite of all attempts to kill it.
the quiet urges, desperate urges, perverted urges all worm their way back into my consciousness.
the urge to blame someone or something else for my giving into my urges continues.

the naked life is here, stripped bare of any illusion,
no nodding head collection of friends to make my fantasies find purchase.
i’m but a squirmy, shallow soul, sloughing off my greatness tendencies each day.

i can see the men my age now in all their vulgar glory.
some are in high rise office condominiums practicing law,
and some are in body shops practicing the mechanic arts,
and some are in prison dying slower than even me.

but all have met and satiated their urges,
acquiesced and allowed the fact that they are just men to consume them.

some found glory at age 16, some at 22, some at 26, and some are finding it now.
but all gave in to the inevitable gloomy conclusion that it’s all too short and sad
to stop and ask if there was anything more for them around the corner.

one last violent blast to run past the ancient urges, then it’s off to the suburbs.