2018

Carpe noctem • January 6, 2018 

The same words. The same intent. The same penitence. Somehow this year feels different. Last, best hopes have a way of bringing clarity to a situation. I’m only joking a little. I don’t have to give up skepticism to embrace optimism. My credibility is almost debilitatingly low. One of life’s greatest frustrations is to tell the truth and not be believed. My history makes the boy who cried wolf plausible, real, and honest. Though we all know his fate. I haven’t quite been eaten by the wolves yet, but i’ve felt their hot breath and nipping at my heels.

I’m a night owl and a morning person. Not a common combination. I have more hours to come up with a solution but more importantly to execute it. Seize the night, indeed.

 

Kū’ilioloa • January 8, 2018

Screen Shot 2018 01 08 at 1 35 04 PM

When people ask me where I’m from I say Kailua which is true and it isn’t. I lived more years in Ewa Beach, but they were all aged 10 or younger. Kailua is where I became who I thought I was. That town is gone. Pockets remain, mostly out of Kailua town (Oneawa, Enchanted Lakes). But the place reminds me more of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California than home.

This morning I went to Pōkai Bay (originally named Malaea meaning serene or calm). I looked up from the heiau there called Ku’ilioloa in honor of Kāneilio (lit. dog man) kapua, or dog spirit, for which the south point of the bay is named, into the mostly empty Wai’anae Valley, then toward Mākaha Valley, only sullied in view by the two towers at its base.

The empty beach, the empty valleys, were the polar opposite of what “home” has become. Kailua is now a money grab. Standing in that ancient temple, though, I was home again.

 

Free will • February 13, 2018

Is it possible for an omnipotent, omniscient being to sacrifice anything? Especially when an unsolicited sacrifice made under the pretense of saving mankind from its inherently sinful nature is used as a primary example of why you owe your obedience to seem unseen, unhinged tyrant. If it is inherent, doesn’t it mean that a creator, granting its existence, put it there? The disingenuous rationalization for this ridiculous give-and-take is a circular argument called free will. The gist of which is that this supposedly perfect being with infinite power has ceded control of the sliver of infinity that is your life.

 


The piano • February 13, 2018

I think I tried reading Hesse’s Siddhartha after having to read his Steppenwolf for a class. I was surprised for as thin as that book is, it was literally impossible to finish. The word soporific was invented for Siddhartha. Or maybe it was for the movie, The Piano. The opening credits start running on that and my eyelids begin a two-lid race to my cheeks. I remember asking whatever girl was making me watch, “I heard Harvey Keitel shows his dick, wake me up for the that,” and that sounds more gay than it was intended, but, full disclosure, it is true and I did say it. (At this point my memory fails me. In recounting, I vacillate between thinking, I could have got a few more minutes of sleep and a few less of this movie, but the more likely memory is, If that was my dick I would have fired my agent for making me show it. And now I think Is it creepy that when Anna Paquin comes on screen I think about fucking her because of that scene in True Blood? The true answer to that question actually depends on where you’re reading this from.

 

Random journal entries • February 22, 2018

I found these scribbles on a yellow legal pad at the bottom of a a forgotten bag. Imagine my handwriting; it’s far more artsy:

Reasons are limited by their definition. Reasons make you have a reason. Don’t choke on what you swallow. That is the only rule. Live. It’s harder than you think.
Make enemies and see more. Love life and see how life repays you. How do I show that I’m interested in you?
Reasons are so big. You are smell but as big as the universe in your mind. How do I show that I’m interested in you?
I worry about climate change, but in the now I don’t give a fuck.
I worry about you.
Where do you sleep? What are you going to eat tomorrow?

Come or blood. It will prove your identity or that you weren’t there. And so what if I’m right? Okay you weren’t there. I never said you were. You were. But you didn’t do what left the bodies on the ground. I didn’t. So we are on the same side. And I hate you.

She walked to work like she always walks to work. Love was the rain that fell. She hated the way it fell on her. Smile at me. I hate the gesture. I stumble home and if I make it to bed, I hate everything that didn’t stop me. But she was on the bus. And she was pretty and innocent. I choke on that word as I say it. Nothing is pure. I dare you to find the opposite. Don’t look too closely if you care.

The way the blanket feels soft. My jeans. Your eyes used to feel that way. Now every part of you is iron. I don’t know. I probably deserve it. I kind of hate myself. You’re doing a rather piss poor job. Maybe you don’t hate me as much as I do. Hate is hard to continue. It takes a lot of energy. I can’t do it. And I’m here all the time. I don’t hate you. I know where the bodies are buried. And I love you.

I write these words for you. You won’t understand them. Everything I do is for you. The actual words aren’t important. The gesture. I made a move toward you. My love. You may not feel it. But it was a burning rod. You were loved. You are loved. I would move a mountain to show you. I will crack the sky to prove you are loved. That is important but it’s not tomorrow. Get good grades. Don’t fuck over your best friend.

The world is small. Take a ride. It’s small. I have to sit. I don’t want to sit. you lose it where you find it.

How do we start this? Does it rock or does it roll? Does it shine or does it hide? Is it drunk or is it sober? Living in the storm is hard. How do you get by. We’ve forgotten everyone’s name. I remember yours.

Love is art

Love is wrong
Love is a rectangle
There are more than four corners
The ocean gets deep
What do you want?
Love won’t give it to you

Nothing I care about

Will die in my lifetime
The air will kill you before I can
Breathe
Just breathe
The saddest thing I ever saw
Was a woman moments before death
She kept repeating, “I’m not ready”
That frightens me
I’m not ready

 

Graham • February 22, 2018

Prologue to Forever

Before Graham was the last living thing in the universe he designed websites. He was divorced, had two children he adored, an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, a beautiful new girlfriend, and an apartment that abutted the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin. Back then Graham would describe his situation as blunted, consumed with an indescribable ennui. Now he would describe his situation as consumed with the indescribable. And he spends his time now remembering then. If there was still such a thing as time.

October 8, 2009 was a Thursday. It was a workday, and so it began like the previous Thursday, and probably the five hundred Thursdays before that. But it wouldn’t end like any other Thursday that had ever been, or would ever be again.

Graham had spent the night before alone. He lived with his girlfriend, Ana, short for Anastasia, but she had spent the night first at the hospital, then at Shoal Creek, then at her sister’s cleaning the glass and blood. Her sister would later claim it was an accident, that she had had so much vodka she lost count of how many Klonopin she had taken. She would say she maybe needed the stitches, and thank you for the excellent care, but she was fine other than that. She would say they put her in Shoal Creek for 72 hours because the ER doctor signed some paperwork and left before she could explain why she didn’t need to be there.

That same night, Wednesday, not quite lonely, not quite bored, but unfamiliar with the nighttime silence, Graham looked out through the sliding glass doors two feet from the right side of the bed, his side, to the rising waning, gibbous moon.

“Is this it?” He wasn’t sure now if he had said it aloud then, but what really happened is that he repeated it silently. Until it was a mantra. Until it was a rosary said three thousand times. Until it was ritual. Until it had no meaning.

Graham awoke from a dream so lucid, that it took a few moments for him to gather his awareness of the familiar bed and flannel sheets, of the softly playing television, of the mild lavender scent emitted by the plug-in freshener. It was 6:22am. It was Thursday. He was still drunk.


He realized the bed was empty next to him just before he realized he didn’t care. It wasn’t always that way. The stolen afternoons at Shady Grove, and the long talks about Schrödinger’s cat or the nature of love, or faith, or knowing. These no longer happened. He loved her. He believed he did. And he believed at the time that she loved him. But given this distance from those first moments of impulse, it was more likely a confluence of factors, not the least of which were alcohol, lust, and fear.

Concerns and apathies both require time and space among other stimuli. None of which are relevant to what Graham had become, would eventually become. He wasn’t God, or even a god, but it would look like he was if there was something watching or something to see.

Everything that matters happened that day when the idea of time was still linear, when there was always a beginning and an end to everything, and everything, even unknown, seemed at least potentially knowable. The universe, Graham would eventually come to discover, was not a self-contained balloon like he had always imagined it to be. It was shapeless, but simultaneously it was constantly changing shape. He could not and now cannot poke his head through a barrier to see beyond it, because there was nothing beyond it, and there never was. And yet, something always was. Like the square root of -1 everything is. Everything is but at the same time everything is impossible. This only makes sense after you become immortal.

October 9 was still possible. And as Graham moved about his bedroom to retread the rote realities of his life, his phone came to life. At 6:50 in the morning it could only be one person. Unless someone had died.

“Hi.”
“You’re up early.”
“Couldn’t sleep. Em, she’s, um, you know.”
“I know.”
“I wanted to clean up before mom got here.”
“Okay.”
“Are you mad?”
“No.”
“No?”
“Do you want me to be?”
“No. I just. I’ll be home soon.”
“Okay.”¨C54C“Okay. Goodbye.”¨C55C“Yeah.”

Graham was tangled, and the knots of will had been pulled tight in an attempt to liberate himself from their position. All he could do was gnaw, existentially of course, at what held these anomalies together. They were tight and improbable. He gnashed his teeth against them.

Early mornings are a better time than evening for introspection. The latter welcomes metaphors of dimming lights and things lost or losable. Graham sat at the foot of the bed and enjoyed the respite of morning. The dreams reeked of death. No one explicitly died, and he didn’t remember anything specific, but he sat at the edge of the bed with a palpable sense of loss. Nothing had changed since he had closed his eyes, or rather, his eyes had closed him six hours ago.
His dreams came back to him. If he were to describe the experience he would have used the word phantasmagoria. Mostly because he liked the word, but on this morning it was nothing less than appropriate.

“I don’t want to be dead,” he said to the faceless stranger in his dream. “I don’t want to die.” He said this to himself many times before he knew his existence would become an allegory.

And so the universe made him immortal. Graham never asked not to age or not to suffer. So he did both. The suffering wouldn’t start, really start, for decades, but when it finally did come, it didn’t stop.

Loss is inevitable in every life. But in a normal life you can lose any one thing just once. Graham lost everything he had, and suffered as any man would. But then he lost it again. And again. He lost until the losing was all that there was. Everything broke down. Everything died. Everything was subsumed by its environment. And then the environment ended. Everything ended. Except Graham.

Blessings are so often curses that the idea is cliché and the aphorisms it inspires are already known by any literate person. Graham was certainly literate, and if he were a little more superstitious or religious, might have been more careful, he might have been more specific. He was too late though by the time the thought was thought, even when too late or too early or on time was still a reason for anything.

There are many reasons why things are true. Maybe there are many reasons why things are anything. You can smash your head against a wall, you can slice your wrists beautifully and delicately and try to control the ends of things. You’re not going to. But what if it were made explicit? What if you said, “No?” What if something that mattered said no? What if it was different? What if knowing as much as you could know was punished by knowing nothing?

The supernatural is an intellectual problem that requires some kind of repeatable proof. The best explanation that Graham had ever heard for the absurd or the miraculous was this: God had to call the rational into the absurd to make faith a part of anything. Proof is easy. God exists in doubt.

If you don’t understand, then you’ll never understand. Understanding feels good in fleeting moments. Understanding is a lie. Understanding is true only for a moment, then the balance returns to chaos. Scared, broken, and alone was familiar to Graham. Happiness and sugar and smiles were sinister in intent. Sweetness always had an agenda. He never trusted feeling well, he never liked it. Good, by definition, was precluded with, “But.”

Even before everything changed. Everything Graham did, he did silently. Without malice he acted dastardly. He was cunning. Always able to see the crevasses, he filled them with intent. And still he saw himself a victim. Of course, the universe would be agnostic. It was an unending flow of water. Wishes mattered like sticks in a stream. Everything goes where the water goes. Choice is irrelevant. Fear and hope are the only things you have once the water comes. Fear usually wins. And he was afraid.

His fear was as nebulous as it was constant. It was provoked by the immediate-crossing the street at the wrong time-and the eternal. Graham walked the world ready to pull away at a touch, but was ironically self-righteous.

She said, “I think your brilliant,” when he knew he would kiss her. And adults that kiss inevitably fall into more. And we have a hard time discerning a kiss with the words we hear. Things sound so pretty when you want them to.


Back. On the bed. Alone. Not quite negative. Disturbed. No reason why. There were decades in front, save some disaster, and instead of hope Graham felt an involuntary repetition. The chemicals in his brain were so easily manipulated. He manipulated them.

Today was the beginning of forever. Until everything else ended, this was impossible to comprehend. There are songs that kill him. Songs kill slowly. They don’t cause cardiac arrest, and at the same time break hearts. This song was playing when, that song then. He couldn’t listen to some because it brought back a flood that he couldn’t dam. And maybe he wouldn’t even if he could. He liked being neck-deep in the water. He liked the ghost of her. She was nicer as a memory. So was he.
Everything ended like it was supposed to. And he said goodbye like he was supposed to. His end never came. The people that mattered died. And then people didn’t matter. Then they died. Then the animals died. Then the plants died. And he begged the universe for a whisper. There was a resounding, silent “No.” You get everything you ask for.

His body burned in the flames when the sun became bigger. Then it was cold, but he no longer had a body. He was an idea that had ideas. The catastrophic reality was real for less than a second.

Graham looks around and he sees Gethsemane. He knows it doesn’t matter. He knows that the cold will warm eventually. It’s hard to be like this. It’s hard to know. But he knows and it’s so hard.

The rest of the world makes worlds. It wouldn’t notice the difference unless it was looking. It doesn’t look.
He began to start sentences that sounded like questions but were statements. As he lost himself he felt more and more sure. He was certain. He cried when he was alone. Certainty is rarely what it seems. His life was a myth and so his only alternative was to make it mythical. He needed to wear a cape and fly. But lacking those he could only become what he was to become.

Eternity is a long time. Time is a misnomer in this description because by definition eternal is beyond time. It’s difficult to wrap your mind around a dimension that binds you.

Demands are demanding. They grab and push and pull. They want more than they have. They are, they are, they are. And Graham felt their compulsion. He was numb, but not immune.

Laughs became ironic. Things fell apart. The dissolution of things is always so much easier than their assembly. Life isn’t easy and it’s probably not supposed to be.

The hard truth that we don’t like to think about is that we’re all dying. Degeneration happens at different speeds, but it happens. Graham stopped the inevitable with a wish. And then he wished for an un-wish. Death has a reason. It may not be immediately clear. When you cannot die it becomes the everything. He wished he could die as strongly as he wished he might live. Lessons don’t come the way you want them. When they come.

And so reality had become motionless, inside a box of what Graham could think or feel. As his body melted, his mind thawed out. It is hard to describe what could never possibly happen. The worst part about any kind of incarceration, and he was almost perfectly incarcerated, wasn’t the lack of freedom. It was boredom. Freedom is mostly overrated, and almost always misidentified.

He counted one one thousand seconds until they were gibberish. He thought every thought he ever thought. He tried to remember the newspaper from the last day he could remember reading it. He pushed himself to think about the taste of envelopes, the smell of owls, what frogs sounded like. And still he ran out of things to think.

The skies got dark before he he couldn’t see. And it was silent before he couldn’t hear. Sensory perception was irrelevant before his senses were. Pain was a problem until it was chronic. The always and everything of feeling faded. Sharpness was noticed, but after a while even that was dulled and became part of what just was. Itchiness, hunger, and fear were all just painted into the landscape and soon became the landscape. Tiny anomalies were without equal. Each raindrop. The unique variance in a particular gust of wind. Difference. Even bad differences were good. Eventually nothing was different. During forever, everything has no choice but happening.

Days become hours and hours become days. And days go away. Almost nothing goes backward. Almost nothing stops its motion. Inertia is a real thing. And it works on Graham.

Graham no longer wants to always be. Graham was wrong. Graham hated being wrong. There was no suffering. Today wasn’t less than yesterday. Except there were no days. Nothing revolved. Nothing went around anything else so were no years.
He was going to stay by himself. When he was alone he could only hurt himself, and he didn’t want to hurt himself. The scars were accidents. You could make the argument that everything is a choice, Graham often did, but these weren’t if-then injuries. They weren’t predetermined or premeditated; they had to happen. They were coarse and painful and bloody. But they were still a mistake.

Graham didn’t hurt anyone on purpose, but he hurt more people than he should have. He hurt the people that he loved. He hurt the people that loved him. Strangers fell into white noise. He was courteous to them. It was only the people that he loved that met the razor of his ugliness. Sharp and arbitrary he would cut until he saw a reaction. By then it was deep.


His words devolved into nothing. Worse, they devolved into hurting. These words were rightfully vilified and shunned. They didn’t mean to be. They didn’t happen. They were. There was this and there was that. They were all and there was none. They were a memory forgotten.

 

Manson to Siddhartha • February 25, 2018

Life doesn’t get easier. It doesn’t get harder. From cradle to grave it just is. And you pass through. And I pass through. And we fuck up terribly. And we have remorse in abandon. It’s true for all of us. From Siddhartha to Manson, that’s the best spectrum I could postulate on short notice, it’s remarkable how many more similarities you find than differences.

 

Race relations in Hawai’i • February 27, 2018

I’m not sure what mechanism of time it is that has provoked in me a profound change. I am from Hawai‘i. As with most places that were colonized, there exists a complex mixture of assimilation, independence, hostility, and acceptance. People still take offense when outsiders refer to non-Hawaiian residents of the islands as Hawaiians. Hawaiian is an ethnicity; the nomenclature for a non-ethnic resident of Hawai‘i is, “local.” The Hawaiian word is kama‘āina (native born). Born, but not blood.

I used to be fervent. I used to bristle at the naming of a person as Hawaiian who wasn’t so. I went to Kamehameha (the lonely one), a school named for the man that united the islands as one entity. Funded by crown lands controlled by his granddaughter, Bernice Pauahi (the star of kaulua), the schools sought and seek to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry. As with most institutions, even those with the best of intentions, people get in the way of being human.

I vacillated. I struggled with the question that my fervent embrace of Hawai‘i was, perhaps, also misguided. Why was it important to be defensive, to forward an agenda based on race? The fact that there was clear trespass against the nation of Hawai‘i made it easier to justify the anger, the lashing out.

But then, I began to question. And to see this rage as just the opposite side of the same coin. The culture and its manifestation is beautiful, often sublime. But any identification with an ethnicity? How far is that, really, from racism? What about being Hawaiian makes a person inherently better, or more grounded, or more human than anybody else? I realized the answer was nothing.

There is good behavior and there is bad behavior. There is calm and there is violence. There is wisdom and stupidity. And it crosses every culture, every person. We are who we are. Where we were born is an arbitrary circumstance. You want to be Hawaiian? Celebrate the culture, mālama the ‘āina. Respect what was there before you were, what will be there when you’re gone. That is Hawai‘i. That is anywhere. That is human. That is what is.

 

The difference between plumeria and magnolia • February 27, 2018

I walk to the store and I can smell the magnolias as the stench permeates the misty morning. I don’t see the sun. The smell suggests the plumerias from home. Almost a stink sweet. But for some reason, the magnolias stink like death, like the slow burn of a Southern dying melancholy. Plumerias, so common, so complex, represent the opposite in my nose’s eye. The sap bleeding from the picked flowers or broken branches that ooze white lifeblood. So common, so complex. Like the rebirth of long-awaited airport greetings, or high school graduates buried in flora. It is the surging force of beauty and occasion, of celebration and happy.

 

The waiting is the hardest part • February 27, 2018

I had reassured myself then that these things take time. Like a game of pick-up sticks I needed to be patient. I needed steady hands to extricate her from the pile of former lovers and current suitors, to remove her from the situation without disturbing any of the others. Without disturbing her. So I got drunk and steadied my hands. And waited.

I’m not your responsibility. If I choose to believe in you, I know it’s at my own risk. Sometimes I think I’m just hanging on to see what happens, to see how this ends. I’ve been rehearsing versions of the speech all night, but instead say I just can’t make it stop.

 

Black moon • February 28, 2018

Today is the last day of the month, And in the northwest horizon the near-full moon appears to sink into the black ocean. This is a rare, black moon, which like its cousins the eponymous blood and blue moons has nothing to do with its color.

A black moon can only occur in February. When the last moon in January occurs late on the 31st it is blue, being the second full moon of the month. When this occurs, the next moon will be black, because no full moon will occur in February.

Black and blue inextricably tied. Metaphors abound.

 

Four is the new five • March 5, 2018

I’m loathe to admit when I’m wrong. Especially when I’m wrong. I only used to ever see four in the morning from the wrong side. The sunrise is just as beautiful with heavy eyelids and a racing mind. Benign reflections and genuflection come easier. Sleep is easier.

For thirty years my mantra has been furtive pleas complaining of the difficulties of sleep. Endless nights of late-night television and Netflix. And when I say nights I mean years, mean life. I don’t make it to the first commercial now.

One of my favorite lines by one of my favorite writers, Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks eloquently of my recent epiphany. I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree bitter would have me taste: my taste was me…

I’ll encapsulate for those uninterested in poetic vivisection, i.e., most. Those sleepless night you blame on the Universe? You only need look in the mirror.

 

Binary • March 17, 2018

When I was younger and still knew everything, I was convinced in the indisputable truth of binary determinism. All problems could be solved algorithmically. Broken down into its smallest components every problem could eventually be converted into yes/no questions that always had a correct answer of yes or no, 1 or 0.

As I’ve gotten older and not-so-wise, I’ve realized, Hey, not so fast.

Some questions have proven irrefutably, repeatedly, exasperatingly, and counter-intuitively to have not just more than one answer, but impossibly, every possible answer.

How profoundly that changes life and it how it’s lived. More accurately, it is this realization that causes perceived change because what is always was and will always be.

 

The root of your sufferation •  March 29, 2018

It’s all perception and trying to evolve in how you perceive things. The same night you called me loud and embarrassing, the other people there each texted me at how it was refreshing to have dinner with someone that was funny, nice, and happy. Same dinner. You saw negative, three different people texted me positively. Different perceptions. Maybe you’d be happier and we’d get along better if you stop trying to pigeon-hole me into this worldview you want to impose on everyone else. Do it to your son, and that’s fine. It’s great that you raise him with your value system. But other adults, really? Do you really expect to change the world by casting a constant, caustic outward glance? Trust me that’s not going to happen and you will always be disappointed. You (meaning anyone) cannot control anyone else; most people cannot control themselves. The constant trying is where your frustration is born. I’ll repeat it again, so you know what I’m trying to say: trying to control anyone else—anyone, even your kids—is futile and will only lead to some kind of cognizant dissonance between what is and what will never be.

 

Your personality is like steel • April 24, 2018

I think she meant that as a criticism. Certainly there are negative connotations with cold, solid, unbending metal. Most often I think it’s more appropriately taken as a compliment. In this context, I certainly did, no matter the intent.

The line reminded me of the movie Bring It On. A subversive, anti-authority “fuck you” masquerading as a feel-good, empowering movie about cheerleaders. For those that haven’t seen it, there’s a running gag about a former cheerleader in an advanced stage of anorexia. The protagonist’s Aunt (played by Alison Janney) laments how easy weight control must be with the disease and views its symptoms as an example of steely resolve, “Those anoretics are like steel.”

That was the movie’s biggest laugh for me.

 

The thing about revenge is • May 3, 2018

The the about revenge is it’s only done correct when it’s not overly planned. That familiar glow of realized comeuppance is rarely premeditated and almost never satisfying. Accidental gotchas are even better. It is immeasurably more gratifying when a financial predator goes broke, or an oleaginous, family-values preacher gets caught in bed with a male prostitute, than it is to endure the slow burn of due process running its course.

The universe is a disinterested, casual arbiter, and has far greater assets to realize recompense than I can ever hope to command. Wanting justice is not conducive to its dispensation. There are too many emotional threads to unweave.

I do my part just being grateful but not too grateful; the universe prefers a smirk of knowing recognition to a pietistic guffaw.

Maybe I was a little harsh yesterday • May 3, 2018

It’s funny what sex can do to quiet indignation.

 

Turbo Pascal • May 4, 2018

The unintended benefit of Borland’s masterpiece interpretation of Pascal was its text editor. Basically, it was a typewriter that put what you typed onto a screen rather than a piece of paper. Sure you could compile simple code using it, but it was also my first word processor.

It didn’t trouble your mind with beautiful distractions like fonts, type styles or even page formatting. You had to press return to hard break a line: the computer version of sweeping the carriage back with a manual typewriter.

Though I was ostensibly in this environment to unlock its binary glories, it was here that I discovered the purity and power of words. Just words. More literally, a blinking white rectangle and early bit-mapped versions of the alphabet.

And in just three short undergraduate years I went from a computer science/math double major to graduating with degrees in Creative Writing (technically English) and Economics.

To this day I can see the common threads that weave together the tapestry of algorithms, poems, and macroeconomic theories. It’s really quite predictable that I would love the processes and thought experiments that fuel all three. Quantum theory as religion would soon follow.

 

War Games • May 4, 2018

Turbo Pascal was popular among my circle of mid-80s computer geeks when I likened myself to Matthew Broderick’s character David in 1983’s War Games.

It was a good movie, if you didn’t watch too close. It’s message was more prescient than it’s execution. Even then it was cringe-worthy the way it handled tech Did anyone ever talk to their computers as they typed to it? And did all computers at the time, from prehistoric home PCs to NORAD, have the same disembodied voice simulator? (“Good evening, Professor Falken.” G-o-o-d e-v-e-n-i-n-g, J-o-s-h-u-a.)

The movie basically defined the hacker for pop culture and, though wholly inaccurate, in a way it still does today. How many steps away is Anonymous from David? I myself prefer using my superpowers for good over evil.

 

A quick observation about Mākaha • May 4, 2018

Riding the roads in the pitch black of just-before-5am on the Westside of Oahu and I’m reminded of Çanakkale in 1915, avoiding Johnny Turk while riding through the war-torn streets with their pockmarked surfaces strafed with gunfire and cratered by explosions. No. That’s a Mel Gibson movie and a Pogues song.

But the roads in Mākaha are terrible.

 

I carry a notebook • May 6, 2018

Everything that’s thought seems reasonable when it’s being thought. I wish I had the Sarah Sanders X-Men power to quiet the cognitive dissonance. Ignore that screaming. It’s doing no one any good. And you even less for listening.

 

From where I’m sitting • May 6, 2018

From where I’m sitting, there’s kind of a view of the ocean. Starbucks paraphernalia, the highway, people. You know. Life. But the ocean is there. Beautiful and terrible. It sucks you in and will suck you in. Turn your back. Forget where you are, stupid.

It’s ok. The ocean will take you back inside her, where nothing else matters. Soft and salty and warm. And nothing else matters.

 

The funny thing is • July 11, 2018

It’s funny but it’s not really funny. There’s a kind of recognition, but it’s not warm. It’s a cold and broken inevitable, not a what could be. I’m trying to morph my belief system from deterministic (relativist, binary, classic physics, et al.) to probabilistic (quantum, who the fuck knows, et al.) It seems more hopeful to admit that I don’t know and probably never will, than 1+1 will always equal 2. What are rules except patterns beyond control. Why does it take getting so small to change the rules. I want the rules to change at super-atomic.

Black holes will eventually all evaporate. None that exist are evaporating. None will even start for 10^68 years. But it’s going to happen. And we know this only by thinking about it. Why is that easier to accept than my life?

 


Alcoholism • July 24, 2018

The struggle not to drink, if you’re trying not to drink, is mostly summed up in aphoristic lies. It’s not something you will always fight and it’s not a daily struggle, at least for me. I go to meetings and I listen to people say they’ve been sober now 12 years, this is the third meeting they’ve attended that day, and they speak to their sponsor 3 times every day. All I can think when I hear that is, “Fuck, you need therapy.”

 

Not drinking is a marathon, not a sprint. 100 days is easy, and that easiness is where the alcoholic brain gets in trouble. It was so easy that the problem must be solved. But it never ceases to amaze me how quickly–just one bout of drinking–can morph you from a normal, happy person to the exact same place that made you seek respite, if not worse. The exact same place. The exact same place that everyone describes and every newbie says, “Well, that isn’t me.” Yes, it is. Predictable. Repeatable. Selfish. Destructive.

 

Quitting alcohol is really a microcosm of life; in pop culture, baseball and war have similar descriptions. Long periods of boredom, punctuated by bursts of intense activity and fear.

 

It’s easy to quit drinking for six months. Sometimes it feels impossible to stay quit for six secon