Yeah, man, Jared is like Batman or something. He is always looking to help other people. And climb walls.

I say: "Dude, let's stay inside, away from people, and do nothing."

But he's like: "Dude, we gotta go out there and help other people."

Then I say: "Wow, dude, why do you keep climbing the wall?"

He says: "Dude, you dropped acid an hour ago."

I say: "Oh yeah."

And then I realize it is not Jared at all. It is my sock.

Man, my sock is like Batman.

Klaproth had some words for this. But humanity should not be deprived of its gallant message.

Turd, Office Politics, and the State

I'm one of those reclusive people who need their time in the holiest of shrines to solitude, the bathroom. When I am at work I will visit the bathroom at least twice a day with no particular intent to discharge. I'll light a cigarette and just stare at my wasted self in the mirror.

Recently, we had these signs posted in the bathroom by, I'm guessing, the general manager.

They read:

  • Dusundugunuz kucukse su dokun.
    (If you're considering doin' a number one, pour water)
  • Dusundugunuz buyukse sifonu cekin.
    (If you're considering doin' a number two, flush)
  • Dusundugunuz buyuk gitmekte direniyorsa fircayla mudahale ediniz.
    (If what you are considering refuses to move on, intervene with the brush)

I did not think much of this quirky little message, which at first glance seemed all in good fun and lightened up the 9-to-5 mood.

Today, the horror behind its guise materialized as I was watching the smoke curl around me in that damp cubicle.

If you're thinking of bunking off work for that extra few minutes, it was saying, we suggest you forget about it.

If you're thinking on a wider scale, contemplating changing your lifestyle, skipping town, leaving it all behind, puttin' on your headphones and listening to "Aquarius" while on that coach, it's out the window. You don't have the guts anyway.

And, finally: CITIZEN! The state is omni-present and all-powerful. You don't stand a chance! We carry the big stick. Do what you may, but if you try to pull others out of our meticulously contrived quagmire, you'll get IT (!), and you'll get it hard.

Needless to say I put out the fag and went back to goddamn work. I'm no match for those people.

One door closes as another opens.

I recently learned that I would be unemployed as of April 9th. I presently work for a company that is contracted to provide services for another company. It was always like a bad marriage, with our company being completely at the mercy of the client company. We operate on their property under their rules and we have no other lovers. Now they are cancelling the contract, giving us sixty days notice for disengagement and saying, "Thanks for the last five years, but we don't want you any more."

It isn't a pretty thing being a lame duck. The sixty days notice is a requirement, being the time needed to tie up loose ends in a variety of areas. It is quite amazing how much the energy of our office shifted with the announcement. Beyond the normal worry and concern of some two dozen soon to be unemployed people, things are just dangerously unstable. Where we once came in to work and settled into our comfort zone to perform our job functions, there is no longer much of a comfort zone. It is more of a feeling of urgency. "Let's wrap things up and get the fuck out of here, my friends."

My first reaction was to adjust and evaluate where I would go from there. For a lot of it, there was a sense of relief. Five years in a job where you are beating your head against the wall trying to satisfy a client for whom nothing is ever good enough... it gets to you. Then I began to see where I had gone wrong.

My first two years in Orlando were a magical time. There was a powerful thrust of energy that carried me through adventures and introduced me to people who changed my life. Then I got locked into this job, which often left me drained and empty, for four and a half years. It was stagnation. My life began to close, limiting my adventures and travels. My interaction with people was left to those closely related to my job. It has been time for a change for a long time, but having gotten into a comfort zone with an unrewarding and unfulfilling job made it difficult to move.

I'll get a nice little severance package and whatnot upon the conclusion of this little disengagement dance. It won't be bad, it will be very good. I may have to learn to live on a smaller paycheck. I might get lucky and actually draw a bigger salary, but combine the Orlando market with living in a right to work state, and prospects for increasing my earnings don't look promising. It doesn't matter, though. I'll adjust. There is plenty.

I remember the reasons I came to Florida in the first place. I left a very stable and reliable job with a decent paycheck to come here. I resigned without compensation from a decade as a mail carrier. No one does that. I was escaping from stagnation. This time I'll actually be getting compensation. I needed this push. That which was most draining in my life, which sucked the most energy out of me, will soon be no more. Half the people I work with are in therapy and on medication. They had never seen a shrink or needed medication before this job and now they can't get through the day without it. That tells you most of what you need to know about the nature of my job.

We all reach crossroads in our lives. How we deal with and interpret those crossroads defines us. We can lament things and think of them as endings. A failed relationship, a divorce, the death of a friend, physical or mental disability... it doesn't matter what it is. These are bridges to be crossed and rivers to be navigated. This is the road. On the other side we have the other kind of crossroads. The discovery of new people, falling in love, a new baby, new beginnings, the stuff that creates memories that live forever and always makes you smile when you think back on them. There are many doors to open and windows to look through, but sometimes it is easier to sit still and wait for time to pass.

It is infinitely less rewarding.

The doors are opening. The road calls to us. The journey continues.

Running Progress Report

Running time: 17 minutes. Weight: 225 lb. Lungs: Some annoying rumbling phlegm at the bottom of the lungs came clear halfway through the run. Legs: Left knee still sore but good enough to run. Brisk temperatures, calm air. A sliver of the moon hung over the morning horizon. I ran in darkness until about 6:15, when glow of daybreak sky began to illuminate the ground.

I saw an indie movie on mountain climbing yesterday, and that preoccupied my thoughts during today's run. Touching the Void was a film documentary of two British mountain climbers who summitted one of the Andes peaks for the first time. Siula Grande, a 21,000 ft. peak in the Peruvian Andes had been scaled a number of times, but never summitted until 1985 by Brits Joe Simpson, 25, and Simon Yates, 21. Simpson broke his leg on the way down, in a horrifyingly painful manner. He was dangling over a snowy cornice attached to Yates by a 9-mm rope. Yates, who was slipping down to the edge, thought his partner had died, and cut the rope to save himself. Simpson fell 150 feet into an icy crevasse but managed to crawl to safety over snow and rocky moraine over the next four days, dragging his shattered leg behind him.

My morning running, although primarily in support of an upcoming marathon, serves as useful cardiovascular cross-training for weekend hiking. I am slowly getting sucked in to the idea of through-hiking the 2100 mile Appalachian Trail in a few years. Every weekend hike is, in a sense, a test for the rigors of the seven month AT hike.

One step at a time, that's how big hikes are done. Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods makes clear to me that the AT through hike is done by ordinary people with ordinary athletic skills. The dominant requirement is the willingness to commit to the time it takes to do this. I think I can do this.

I am fascinated at the possibility of a mind cleansing, mind altering experience. Joe Simpson was able to travel miles down the summit by focussing on only the next few yards ahead. My running experience is the same: I focus on only short distances ahead. I can't think of 26 miles yet. That distance is too daunting; I cannot dwell on it because it's too discouraging. But I can do this ten yards, and after that, the next ten yards, and so on. I can always take the next step.

BEGIN *** BACK *** NEXT *** END

A man called Dr Humphry Osmond, whose first name really was spelled without an e, has died, he was 86. The Daily Telegraph has an obituary of him, which is amusing because Mr Dr Osmond is famous for:

- determining the similarity between mescalin and the adrenaline molecule

- administering said drug to the novelist Aldous Huxley

- inventing the term 'psychedelic'

- advocating LSD use in order to "provide a chance, perhaps only a slender one, for homo faber, the cunning, ruthless, foolhardy, pleasure-greedy toolmaker, to merge into that other creature whose presence we have so rashly presumed, homo sapiens, the wise, the understanding, the compassionate, in whose fourfold vision art, politics, science and religion are one".

Whereas the Telegraph is not something one would associate with any of those things.

"Osmond's interest in psychedelics was not confined to the treatment of schizophrenia; under his supervision, architects took LSD and spent time on hospital wards in an attempt to understand what would be the most approprirate environment for a mental patient" - a paragraph which requires no comment at all.

I am somehow mindful of Arthur C. Clarke. Presumably the utopian society envisaged by Messrs Osmond and Huxley would require an extensive automated infrastructure in order to feed, house, clothe and bathe all these stumbling hallucinauts. Huxley's experiences with four hundred litres of mescalin were famously written about in his book 'The Doors of Perception', from the title of which both Steely Dan and Echo and the Bunnymen got their names.

"I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence", wrote Huxley, after he had taken mescalin, indeed after the effects had worn off. I believe Jim Irwin, the astronaut, or it could have been Buzz Aldrin or one of the others, perhaps Alan Bean, certainly not Pete Conrad or the geologist on Apollo 17, I forget his name, he or they argued that it would have been more appropriate to send artists to the moon than test pilots; although I suspect this was not a serious proposition, and of course they were probably thinking of traditional artists, i.e. the type that paint and/or write about things rather than the type that pretends to explode aircraft in slow motion.

Huxley came up with the term 'phanerothyme' to describe substances such as LSD, thus suggesting that he was actually a rubbish writer, really. Osmond invented 'psychedelic', which is a combination of the Greek word 'psyche' and 'delein', i.e. 'mind' and 'manifest' (the latter an ancestor of 'deliniate', which is subtly different, and in its modern sense would give us 'psychexadelic', perhaps; further note that I am not a scholar of Greek and indeed that I am making this bit up).

It seems to me that for your mind to be blown productively you need a pretty good mind to start with, something which only comes about from years of growing up in a stimulating, fairly lavish environment and then going through a well-run, well-staffed and well-equipped education system, as did both Huxley and Osmond. For the average joe to take such drugs seems a complete dead loss, a passport to drivel. What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind. How true that is.

I work at a nursing home for the elderly who have dementia and/or alzheimer's disease. There are currently 8 residents living in this establishment and they are all very friendly to work for. I basically help them by keeping up with what they need and today I got to paint Doris and Marjories finger nails weren't they pleased with me. Tuesday and Wednesday I cook breakfasts and lunchs for the people then Friday through Monday I take a more active role by helping them to and from their rooms.

The home where they all live is interesting in its self whereas it is rumored to be Haunted by three ghosts (2 children one of which is a little boy and one is a little girl and another is an older adult woman) No one has actually seen them but have heard the children playing on the third floor during the night and playing in the attic. The folks that live their stay on the second and first floors but will all be on the first floor by February 18th 2004.

The building used to be a Hotel back when Roosevelt was a president because in the main hall there is a large photo of him sitting in the hotel where he stayed from time to time, many other famous presidents and governors have stayed there in the past before it was turned into a nursing home for Assissted Living. By the end of April it will be a Hotel again with 3 floors of rooms for guests to stay in. The Establishment is located in Bucksport Maine USA

It never ceases to amaze me how rapidly holidays and free days become consumed with work or some sort. I do not know if this is restricted to my immediate group, or a wider occurance. I suspect the latter.

Between homework, housework and other assorted mandates, I found time to attend a function for my newspaper class - ironically enough the time it took was roughly equililant to what I normally spend on the class on mondays - two hours. As an editor and as a person apt to waste time, I found myself attending. It is amazing how something as utterly mundane as bowling can seem so interesting at the time, when all you are really doing is sitting most of the time watching the freshmen go wild because the automated score machines let you change your name on the screen as often as you wish. As we headed home, one of the other seniors commented that we would be getting home at about the same time that we would on a normal school day if we did not participate in so many after-school events.

Sitting at home on my "free" day, while pondering what, exactly, my math textbook's authors were thinking, I am struck by the fact that assorted obligation over which I have little control made it so that I actually had less free time than I would have normally had on a weekday.

Sometimes I used to wish for an 8th day of the week - another day of the weekend so that I would have time to actually slow down. I now realize that I would just fill it with pointless activities and makework anyway - the same as I do most of my other days.

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