cocktails for two,
some knives and some forks,
peas, mashed potatoes,
a large mound of pork,
oh can't you see,
in my love-eyes, it's time,
to dim the lights,
and chill the ham.

-Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet

--- This is my daylog about my life at this point. At this point in my life I have...gotten myself a job. After six-or-more unsuccessful interviews for jobs that would have been rewarding and that I was fully qualified and suited for, I broke down and applied for a few burger-flipping positions. You see, I am also qualified to flip burgers. I have a pulse.

It's more than just flipping burgers, it's flipping burgers and sandwiches and other yummy things for a hockey camp during the day and a bar in the evenings. I get free yummy food, like hamburgers with pineapple on them. Bad news for this aspiring vegetarian. The acting manager/head bartender is super yummy too, and as soon as the real boss comes back from vacation, I will have a secret crush on the cute bartender. I think the world needs more secret crushes. I think people would be happier if they all had a secret, silly infatuation with someone they don't know. Of course, I also think that mismatched socks are a good idea, so what do I know?

Also, in this point in my life, I read P_I's last daylog, and started to get all mad, cursing under my breath about lazy, naïve trust-funded children, and then I realised that I am working just enough to make ends meet, on purpose. All of the jobs I wanted would have paid me less for the summer than this one will, and they were 60+ hours/wk, whereas flipping burgers will be 25 hrs, maybe. That's a substancial difference. And therefore I came to the conclusion that the whole work-less idea isn't so bad...yous guys should read the daylog from yesterday. figure out what I am talking about.

So, at this point in my life, I have two months ahead of me with very little that I have to do, and lots of big empty spaces on my calendar to sit around and contemplate my navel. Or, send off the postcard fictions I wrote. Or, take a greyhound to Portland to see Neko Case play, or road trip to Ashland to see a play, outdoors in the exact duplicate of the Globe Theatre. Or, stay home and become re-aquainted with my bicycle. Or, finally give to Sally Ann some of my less useful possessions. Or, cleanse. Or, visit the hippies on the Sunshine Coast. Or, lucid dream. Or, swing dance. Or...

Sometimes a bad mood just gets too bad and instead of attacking the things that contribute to the bad mood, I start blaming things that are more accessible, that bother me sometimes but aren't bad enough to justify the effort it would take to eliminate them. I suppose that happens to everyone. And then I think the effort is worth it and start working on it. So then one of two things can come out of it.
  • The goal is achieved, the annoyance is gone, but the mood remains because of its root cause.
  • The effort required is too great, I falter and give up, making my mood even worse.
So I'm trapped by these two unfavorable outcomes. All I can do is think about what might be the problem, and all the theories involving things that usually don't bother me have to go away. Usually my conclusion is that I'm getting sick, or I'm losing sleep, or my employer is asking me for more than I can comfortably give. I've learned to find these sources of a bad mood, so I don't get myself into this bind too often any more.

But sometimes someone I love gets in a bad mood this way and then it's me she blames. I haven't dealt with that enough to be very smart about it. If I could just recognize that bad mood building up in her... She hides it well, usually, I suppose, because she understands on some level that the easily accessible things (like me) aren't really to blame. Eventually, her mood surfaces and everything gets crappy. Arguing and yelling ensues and I start get frustrated and tell her she's stupid. When you yell a sentence (or sentence fragment) with "stupid!" and a pronoun in it, you usually use the wrong pronoun. I did.

This all happened last night and I thought I slept pretty well despite it, but I almost fell asleep in a meeting at work, so I guess I thought wrong. Anyway, the two of us are in the habit of communicating through Trillian so it was natural for me to write her an email. That's our usual mode of reconciliation. We didn't want to talk to each other, but writing is always safe. Ahh the benefits of literacy. And the Internet. And computers.

So we talked on the phone after that. Well, she called me to ask me to buy some tin foil and sliced olives on the way home. She's making enchiladas. She's on a liquid diet. She's making them for me. Forgiveness, understanding, and growth will wash over us for a few days. It almost makes fighting worth it.
Men die, cattle die; only the glory of heroes lives forever.

And on the subject of Syria, the woman who sits next to me - a New Zealander named 'Mel', who travels over the world, is very positive all the time, will undoubtedly meet a sticky end - she's going to visit Syria in a few weeks. She is going to Turkey and Syria and a third country in that area, I can't remember the name. The Lebanon, that's it, as in the song by The Human League. Who won, when the soldiers went? I asked this question of some friends of mine a while back and they did not know either. I think perhaps the Human League were trying to make the point that no-one wins in a war, that the only way to win is not to play, although this is nonsense. If you are not a footballer, somebody will use your head as a football. And it's better to be the manager. The players kill each other and the spectators in the stadium die of thirst, but the managers, the coaches, the press, and the people watching on television have beer and coaches, the modern equivalent of bread and circuses.

And Mel is also off to the bit of sea between the Sinai peninsular - which is apparently still littered with burnt-out Egyptian / Syrian tanks, and perhaps preserved munitions, if you're feeling brave - and Saudi Arabia, which didn't attack Israel and is On Our Side, at least the people in charge are. The peasants are Not On Our Side, but then again the same is true in England, too. Indeed there are probably more people in England who are Not On Our Side than are On Our Side, judging by the continued existence of Ken Livingstone and Peter Mandelson, the devil witches.

But still, Syria! Although not on the 'axis of evil' it is nonetheless a similar motion. It is a 'Satellite of Evil'. Has George W Bush defined 'evil' yet? 'Morally bad or wrong' according to, and also 'anything which impairs the happiness of a being or deprives a being of any good; anything which causes suffering of any kind to sentient beings; injury; mischief; harm'. In which case many things are evil. My landlord is evil. He impairs my happiness and deprives me of any good, and causes suffering and mischief. In a right-thinking world I would be allowed to kill this man, for he has produced no good save for himself, and he is evil, and thus the good he collects is drawn into his pit of evil and perverted. Yet more reason for him to die. There is no punishment in the afterlife, no heaven or hell. He must suffer in this life, whilst he can still feel. It's better to cripple somebody for life than kill them. That way they will never forget. I don't know for what God is punishing Christopher Reeve, but it must be bad.

According to the Jargon File, evil 'implies that some system, program, person, or institution is sufficiently maldesigned as to be not worth the bother of dealing with'. I agree with this. Some things are not worth the time and trouble required to put them right, which is why the death penalty is potentially a Godsend, if only it could be administered quickly and cheaply and in greater volume. We are all sick, each and every one of us, and triage must be applied to the sickest of the human animals. Some people are expectant. They are uneconomical to treat when there are so many others who can be saved and improved. If the state performs the killing act, the evil is dissipated. By abrogating responsibility to an institution, individuals can perform evil acts without themselves being evil. Thus, the death penalty is an evil act, in the service of good, but the evil belongs to no-one. It grounds itself into the earth. Good prevails. That is what the state us for, essentially; to allow good men to perform evil acts with impunity. That is why so many people fight to preserve the state, because it lets them have their fun without redress. The power to kill without responsibility or justice, the ultimate aim of all men. L'etat, c'est moi.

What sanctity has life in this world? In countries across the world people kill each other for fun, for entertainment, in great quantities. In Bangladesh people die because they can't wait for the next riverboat. The militia in Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of Congo give themselves fancy sc-fi names and initials - 'Ninja', 'HOS', 'Cobra', 'NSK' - and fight for no reason, just as the kings and dukes of fuedal Europe, or the gangsters in our cities, fought and fight over minor slights, either real or imagined. The government of Burma - I panicked! - are currently confining a short, thin woman to prison because they are scared of her. Individuals and groups of every sector of human society are murdered every day across the world, for no reason.

I myself have always wanted to kill a large amount of people in one go - 'spree killing' - perhaps because news of the Hungerford Massacre affected me greatly, coming as it did when I was ten years old. Michael Ryan was not himself an attractive figure, and the thought of emulating his massacre did not appeal to me, but it must have planted a seed in my mind because I find it hard not to see a crowded tube carriage and imagine what it would be like to throw in a grenade, to compress a lifetime of low-level emotion for a few moments of ecstacy. My perfectionist streak would want to use several grenades, or a larger charge, but really these are just the ramblings of a powerless man, a weak man, a man who must resort to sneak attacks in order to project force, a man incapable of a sustained fight against a prepared opponent. The only solution is to attack from behind an unprepared opponent, with sufficient force to nullify resistance. All people are opponents. They frown their bad looks at me. I need to lose a lot of weight before people will take me seriously. Fat people are the only sector of society open to uncorrect abuse, but that suits me fine, because I cannot be despised any more than I am, no matter what I do.

The only thing which stops this world being a paradise is the unwillingness of people to act against evil. People take the easy path, the lazy path, the path of tolerance. The idea seems to be that evil is generated, whereas goodness is the natural state, and that inaction will therefore produce more and more goodness. But there are three states - inaction, bad action, and good action. Children are naturally amoral, and are thus capable of monstrous acts purely because they do not realise that there is good and bad. Unguided children become monsters just as surely as brutalised children become monsters, because they are not taught good from bad. Of course, there is objectively no 'good' or 'bad' or 'evil' because they are just dictionary words, made-up words for made-up ideas, but this is not a valid counterargument because, as human beings, we make our own world.

This is the crux of my argument; good and evil are made by human beings because we can. Their precise definitions might change over time but people change too; there is no final answer or end state, all is flux forever and we must fight the battle as it is, on the battlefield we have brought ourselves to. Nature is not guided, and it is not good or bad; it is entirely indifferent to all suffering and pain. As thinking, reasoning people, we can choose not to be indifferent. We can take arms and end the slings and arrows. We can choose to be good.

Tolerance is lazy, it leads to more and more evil, until the victims and society become desensitised to evil, and evil wins, and we all live in numbed fear forever. Tolerance is a comfortable option. We need to be less tolerant, quicker to anger. People who relax and take life easy, whether consciously or under the influence of drugs, have been beaten. Criminals - mobsters, intimidators, assaulters, murderers - rule the streets because we tolerate them. If we did not tolerate them we would wipe them from the face of the earth inside a week. We must be knights of the long knives, states unto ourselves, capable of passing responsibility to the institutions we create in our own minds, free of doubt or guilt.

If I were king, summer would be clothing-optional.

This lovely morning was made even more lovely by enjoying my late spring- summer -early autumn routine: running or ashtanga or lifting followed by a quiet and refreshing skinny-dip in our pool. I live for those brief moments, combing out my hammered body with nothing against me but water and starlight. A few gliding underwater lengths of the pool, hang weightless off the wall in the deep end and then out. Towel off while checking what the Big Dipper is up to or connecting the dots on the constellation Scorpius or not towelling off at all, drying by yesterday's trapped heat, standing amazed and dripping at Mars' recent brightness.

Early in the season I used to let the sun dry me. The boys were still in school and my days off were week days. Vix worked days then. RunningHammer and I would putter around in the yard or in the garage or inside until, just after lunch, yawns overtook him and he would go with light protest down for a nap, and I would go in to the backyard.

We have a high thick hedge and trees along the west property line and a tall wooden fence on the north side. The house spans almost the entire width of the lot, and squashed trees keep the backyard hidden from the street. On the east side there is a low fence to allow for neighborly chatting, but no one was around to peek (and if they did, so what). I'd unfold my beach chair in a secluded but shadeless nook and spread out my towel and take of my clothes.

The sun sizzled in a bright, clear sky, and I'd read or write or paint or water my orchids until sweat poured from me and I'd plunge in to the pool, shimmering prisms playing tic-tac-toe across my skin. Short laps and flip turns. I felt like a seal. Then I'd sit on the side, every whispered breeze welcome. Too soon it would be time to dress and wake the Hammer and pick up the boys and get Slurpees.

With summer now in full attack mode, when clothing should be optional, the only thing remaining from those days are the Slurpees. Vix would love the idea of our own backyard nudist resort, but is worried about the snoops on the other side of the low fence. (Perhaps I need to plant a bamboo hedge.) The boys, who often have to be reminded to put on clothes, could care less, as perhaps we all should.

So for now I'll just savor my routine and grab some sun when I can. This should last until Orion peeks above the trees and my morning runs require a shirt.

A hard run with Mars
Skinny dipping before dawn
Naked all summer

So I'm walkin' through lower Manhattan, desperately trying to find somewhere, ANYWHERE to buy a pack of smokes. That was the deal - I find the cigarettes, She buys me a beer. He provides encouragement by reminding me that, no matter how I feel about it, we need smokes and we need them now. I have been selected. It is my duty.

I can deal with that.

Anyway, I'm walking past blah street on a nicotine hunt. Ain't an easy thing in lower Manhattan 'round midnight. That part of town's a lot like DC, it shuts down once the suits leave. I pass this bar, and am asking this woman out front where to go (she has no idea) when this other woman, in two short sentences, leaves my jaw on the floor.

She asks me for a light. Me being the boy scout that I am, I whip out my zippo and, in one smooth motion, light it, light her cigarette, flick it shut against my thigh and pocket it again. It's easier than it sounds, what with G&T slowly replacing my blood with a mixture of alcohol and confidence.

She looks at me and says "Thanks. That was really Suave," only she pronounced suave to rhyme with wave. This might be the REAL pronunciation as far as I know but I grew up saying it with a soft a. I walked away grinning, thinking nah, it would've been suaver if you've pronounced suave right.

Mispronunciation happens; we all do it and we're all (hopefully) corrected on it at some point. Ah, but the irony of blowing it on that word.

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