For the last couple months, I've been working as caretaker for these apartments I live in.

Over by the second building, there's a patch between the parking lot and the highway fence that's lumpy, overgrown, and unmowable. It gets knocked down with the weedwacker every few weeks or so.

Milkweeds grow there. When I cut the grass, I've been cutting around the milkweeds.

This morning, at 8:15 a.m. as I frantically chopped, trying to finish up the yardwork before the owners arrived for inspection (which varies from "OK, the building's still standing" to white-bloody-glove, depending on their mood at the time, and no way to know what it will be until after they've already been there and gone) I saw movement in a clump of milkweeds.

I knew exactly what to do.

I grabbed a shovel and carefully dug up the clump, gently dropped it into a garbage bag lined five gallon bucket, carried it back to my apartment, and potted it up.

About 9:00 I woke up Minieponymous. We went outside, and there, industriously chomping away, was a black, white, and yellow caterpillar the size of a decent pencil stub, with two long, soft, black horns on the head and another pair, slightly shorter, at the butt. What is it?
It's going to be a Monarch,
I answered.
Whoa.

We dubbed the caterpillar Munchie, because that's what sie is -- a couple inches of appetite on stumpy legs. We found another, smaller one hiding in the leaves, yclept Twitchy Slowpoke.

In the afternoon, Miniepo came running in. Something came out of Munchie's butt! It's green! What is it?
It's caterpillar poop.
But it's green!
That's because everything Muchie eats is green. Go watch some more.

This evening, when I went out to check, Munchie was gone. I found hir a few feet away, industriously climbing a scrap of plastic under my tall barstool. I transfered hir to the Bug Barn (our old fishbowl, the one that had from 1 to 50 guppies in it for the last four years, until the last one died last month, and we filled it half with dirt, planted grass, and made a lid out of old window screen and a large embroidery hoop, all insects (mostly grasshoppers) paroled after a 72 hour psychiatric hold) along with a bunch of milkweed leaves (in case of hunger) and a stick.

Now we wait for the crysalis to happen. Twitchy Slowpoke's going in too, whenever sie's ready.

Doing my best to deal with myriad frustrations that have been plaguing me for weeks now. Compared to some of the tribulations I’ve read about here, they’re hardly anything to cry about, and yet I still feel most days like I’m dying the death of a thousand cuts.

They’ve been working on our windows here in my building on Crack Alley since it seems like before the place was built. Invariably, they have to scrape, bang, fiddle with, and bang some more on my toddler son’s windows exactly when it’s time for his nap. So... he doesn’t nap, which means I don’t get any work done. Usually, not such a big deal, but I’m in the middle of a workshop of my play An American Book of the Dead - The Game Show and I’m desperately trying to come up with a new second act, having scrapped the earlier one. (Which reminds me: at some point I need to nuke scenes from it that I noded here, since the play is no longer current.) I can’t really say why I’m writing this daylog at this very moment instead of working on my play, except that I have no genuine inspiration to speak of.

In September, I’m gonna have to find a job, since my wife and I have decided that day care is the best thing for our little boy, not to mention our meager finances. Part of me will be relieved not to look after him 24/7, but a much larger part is already broken-hearted in anticipation of missing him so badly.

While I finally got my final payment on the musical I co-wrote, I’m still waiting on the commission check to write another science play, offered to me back in January. If there’s anything more frustrating than trying to squeeze a little money out of the arts establishment, it’s trying to squeeze a little money out of the arts establishment during a depression. Sometimes I think I should just let this commission die the death of a rag doll, but until I get an actual job, money’s money. Even the crappy amount of money they pay to write a play these days.

Still waiting to hear back from Hollywood re: the TV pilot I wrote. The agent that encouraged me to take this plunge has been all but useless in coming up with ways to pitch it to the powers that be, so I’ve decided to end run him and put the script in the hands of a prominent TV actor that I know through mutual friends. If he takes an interest, in might just be viable. If not, it’s probably dead in the water. So I’m waiting to hear back: the story of a script writer’s life.

Again with no convincing excuses for my procrastination, I’ve been avidly reading anything and everything noded here by Doyle. I heartily recommend it. Some of the brightest, most open and honest, most incisive stuff I’ve read anywhere, let alone here. By itself, his writing may redeem the reams of crap found here, though certainly there are other talented noders. What I like about Doyle is that he makes it personal. Most of his nodes are full of factuals, but he understands that noding for the ages means adding something of yourself, not just regurgitating information that can be found elsewhere.

Welp, no closing today. The lender called us this morning, asking more annoying questions, like "have you been saving any money?" and "how often are you paid?"

This suggests to me that our magical stunt last month of actually conjuring up lots of money for a short amount of time still wasn't enough to satisfy this mysterious underwriter whom they won't let me meet, speak with, or run over with my car.

So much for a nicely planned move. Guess I have to postpone the utilities being transferred over there. Sure hope they don't end up saying "no" and screwing us out of the house. I don't believe the $1,100 we paid in advance for the appliance upgrades is refundable, and I bet they'll try to keep the $1,000 we paid in earnest money to get the house off the market.

Fuckers.

I don't suppose anybody around here has, oh, five thousand dollars they could lend us for a month or so, do they? :)

Later, a longer daylog. Perhaps. But for the moment, I'd like to ask everyone (or is that Everything) for information.

I want to put together a book of writing by people in multiple systems, a basic sort of "what it's like to be multiple" book for people who aren't - as well as for people who are and who desperately need to hear from others like them. But I have only the dimmest and most cynical ideas of what people generally know about this sort of thing.

If you were going to pick up a book on (gods help us) what is somewhat flatulently called MPD/DID, what would you want it to tell you? What questions would be tickling the edges of your brain? Would there be specific facts you needed to know? Stories you wanted to hear? If you knew it was geared toward explaining a few basic aspects of multiplicity via (mostly) people's own experiences, what sorts of things would you hope they'd talk about?

/msg me! It's a party!

Ultimately, what I would like would be to have one anthology that is more factual like that, and one that illustrates the same topic through fiction and (other) art, because I find that fiction leads me to understand people's experiences better by experiencing them a little bit myself. Sometimes the slippery fluidity of metaphor is the best way to pass these things along.

I half-wish I could turn this into a quest. But there's so little decent information about multiplicity out there that I fear e2 would just be laden with conflicting half-truths from non-multiple "professionals" who each think their piece of the puzzle is the only and shiniest one. It might be excellent if there were a quest for "mad pride" sort of writeups (which apparently would have to start with someone noding "mad pride") - solid, well-researched information on (perhaps) what others term disabilities and abnormal psychology and so on, all the autism and asperger's and multiplicity and schizophrenia and so on that are best understood (but rarely studied) from the inside.

A cute boy, exposed as a closet chauvinist

As an adult male, you are no longer cute. Maybe imaginative, interesting, likeable, even adorable – yes, maybe so. But certainly not cute. “He is SOO cute” is strictly reserved for characterizing male dimwits of prepossessing appearance.

Nevertheless, there is no male alive who doesn’t ache for his lost cuteness. Unfortunately, C is an externally observed quality, defined by the outside world, not something you can subjectively perceive for yourself. So trying to become more cute can not be accomplished by engaging in any conscious acts of cuteness – you simply don’t know what they look like, in your particular case. Still, you know what it is to have been cute, because you can mentally look back on yourself as a child and admit that, “Yes, I surely was a cute little boy”.

Increasing the cuteness factor

So enhancing your contemporary cuteness factor chiefly involves telling winsome stories from your childhood. My favorite in this surreptitiously cutifying genre is telling how I, at the approximate age of four, thought that cats and dogs were of the same animal species, with cats being the females and dogs the males. Not only that, but to the four-year-old Me, horses and cows also appeared to belong to the same species, with horses as males and cows as females.

I’ve been telling this cute little childhood story for years, with some success, I think. Until yesterday. “Why, this is a most interesting and revealing account,” the girl said, after having taken one more sip of coffee from her mug. How nice, she has sensed the deeply romantic, animistic side of my inner self! “It really shows that as a child you perceived men and women as fundamentally different creatures.”

Veiled inner inequity

I was dumbstruck. I had always thought of my childhood as an epitome of gender equality. Both the men and women in my extended family were university-educated, both held interesting jobs, both were commended for what they had become, and not for what they were born as. Outwardly, the genders lived in perfect equality. And then this girl had to come along and point out that there must have been something else as well, something deeply hidden in the inner worlds of all involved, a veiled inner inequity that was anything but romantic. Invisible skeletons in all of our closets, you bet.

I decided to daylog this instead of posting it formally because it doesn't really need to be clogging up the nodegel proper. this pertains mildly to the law (the fact of which have been beaten into my head, thank you very much) but is more about what I feel to be wrong with the way thinks work, on E2 and otherwise. I am not advocating copyright violation so much as I think the system itself is mildly flawed. I also note that this argument pertains to lyrics only; anyone caught uploading short stories from living authors, for example, should be shot for reasons that will become clear.

E2's new copyright policies, specifically related to song lyrics, started me thinking about what music is at its heart and about the myriad ways the information contained within a song can be conveyed.

On its most literal level, music exists as a series of sounds and silences at varying levels of pitch and inflection. It can provoke an emotional reaction, bring back memories of the last time you heard it, or a vicarious thrill from hearing about an experience similar to one of your own. For the more complicated levels of musical understanding, I sumbit this Q&A-style dialogue.

  • Is sheet music, Music?
  • Not in my mind, it's not. Sheet music is a mathematical representation of what you would be hearing in a recording. It's devoid of any emotional reaction - that's the element which is added by the performer, the person who translates the math to a feeling. It's possible for a trained musician to reproduce this reaction in their heads with nothing but a score in front of them but, if we allow the premise that music is a public art and is designed to be heard, this fact is more of an exception than a rule.

  • Ok, so how about a MIDI file? Is that music?
  • Trickier, but still no. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) files are like electronic sheet music, the inherent difference being that each digitized tone contains information on its velocity, or how forcefully a note is played. This creates the illusion of emotion if transcribed well, but is inherently flawed - what changes with shifts in velocity is dependent on the synthesizer's programming. It's still just a number from 1-128, a simulacrum of emotion in a more complicated form.

  • Let's say we've got a song with lyrics and we remove the lyrics. Is it still music?
  • This is where it gets interesting. Of course it's still music, but it's missing something. Often the music can't stand on its own. Often the music isn't meant to be listened to on its own.

  • Flip it: remove the music. What do we have?
  • Usually we're left with bad poetry, or at least that's what it feels like. Most lyrics can't stand up without their music any more than the music flounders without its words. The lyrics alone aren't a song, they're incomplete and are often ineffective.



    What's the point of all this? I don't think music can be separated into words and music, that together they should be seen as one work, viewed as an interlocking whole. I think the publication of lyrics should be included as fair use - If we were uploading mp3s of all of our favorite music we would have a serious problem on our hands, but we're not. We're enticing people to be excited about a song by noding exactly half of their content and, hopefully, describing what the music feels like and making comparisons to similar works. We're not stealing from the artists because posting lyrics is inherently lacking in content and no one's going to feel the same level of satisfaction reading the words as they would listening to the songs themselves. I don't think there's any harm in what we're doing. Yes it's illegal, and that's truly a shame, but I don't feel it's justly so.

    Tonight, half of my skyline is dark.

    You see, me and 40 million other Canadians and Americans have been without power since about 16h15EDT. I've shared in that experience: Losing power on the PC (hoping that thing one was working on is saved), the walk down the emergency stairs in the dim emergency lights, and the long, arduous drive home as every traffic light in the city is dark.

    My case is different. I get to go home and watch it on CNN over a warm meal.

    As I cross the bridge over to Gatineau, I cross into normalcy. The whole province of Quebec is powered by a completely different grid, isolated from the chaos that has shut down a major part of the East Coast of North America.

    As I look outside tonight, to the south of me the whole city of Ottawa is still in the dark while the rest of the sky will be bathing in light pollution.

    This is the biggest blackout North America has seen in the last 40 yearsever.

    Next

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