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Frater Invictus - Dolcere et Dulcere
pay your respects to the vultures, for they are your future.
So I've obtained a job and a more normalized residence (as opposed to the abandoned industrial complex I have been living in for the past year), and life is going well in these directions.

The job for the time being is pizza delivery. Not a prestigious position by any means, but on the other hand it is entirely lacking in stress, the money is quite good, I get large amounts of free beer and food, and the management is sympathetic to the fact that I recreationally travel something like 30% of the time these days. All very valuable factors.

The residence is at the house Nicole lives along with two other roommates. Reasonable rent and bills, centrally located to my stomping grounds, few expectations for length of stay, and a helpful presence to my friends who already live here.

Steps in useful directions says me!

I had been gearing up to take some steps in these directions for a few weeks, but was a little on the fence about what exactly to do. As is sometimes the case, once I set my mind to make said moves, opportunities started manifesting left and right, such that it took me a moment to asses what were the most sensible choices. So far I am feeling good about the choices made, but I can have a bad habit of wondering, "What would the outcome have been had I chosen Y instead of X?"

Whatever the case might be in alternate universes, this will be my lot for the next two weeks until I go to the UK for the first half of September. The upcoming trip was a significant factor in obtaining a job (money) and a place to live (mental organization) so I am setting to work on those fronts right away.

I tend to sway back and forth between periods of intense focus and periods of fairly lackadaisical attitude, and I have essentially just made that shift over the past few days.
18 manifestations ø manifest yourself
Do you ever catch your reflection in the mirror by surprise; maybe late, maybe drunk or tired or bored, maybe just been a minute since you looked yourself in the looking glass. Whatever the case, the experience of seeing yourself actually and suddenly?

"Oof! There I am!"
4 manifestations ø manifest yourself
A Pep Talk for the New Pair of Shorts I Will Wear Every Day This Summer
manifest yourself
I was finally able to obtain a new iphone today after several failed attempts. My previous iphone had stopped functioning in certain crucial ways, and it has been a fucking ordeal to hand someone $300 and get a new one.
Fred and the Rotten AppleCollapse )
6 manifestations ø manifest yourself
Last night went over to House Robot for robust conversation and consumption of social drugs. Nice to see so many of that beloved crew in one place, as it doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to. A and I talked a good deal over the evening, and although there are small tensions as we get back in the habit of being around one another, I'm definitely glad to have things stabilizing in a social and friendly way. She gave me some very actionable insights into togshithering and identity, which will probably be elaborated on in a future post. All in all a great evening there.

Kevin and I left a bit early by way of Corner Tavern and Kroger, then to the truckstop for lastsies before sleep. I had been percolating on the related ideas for a few days, so I took that chance to chat Kevin up about his thoughts and experiences in the past year+ of his opting to not date or have sex with anyone, and we had a long and poignant talk on those topics.

I've been considering the level of energy expenditure dating can take, and am realizing that as I seek to change myself, that this may not be energy well spent right now. The level of "seriousness" I've had in any romantic relationship over the past year or so has been pretty mild, but still it has been something I have spent a fair amount of time, money, energy, thought, and emotion on. These being resources which are potentially applied in other directions.

And as Kevin points out, there is something of a pattern of interaction between sexual agents that goes on all the time, and can perhaps be an interference to more genuine relationships. The game of subtle sexual politics that people play.

"Is this person attractive?"
"Does this person think I am attractive?"
"Is it permitted to talk to, flirt with, kiss, fuck, marry or whatever this person?"
"Do I want to do that with this person based on all sorts of other factors?"

I'm not saying everyone is consciously running this query through their head every time they meet someone. But even if only unconsciously, this internal dialogue takes place a LOT in our society, and people often behave VERY differently towards one another based on their answers to those questions about one another. A person's behavior might definitely be influenced by answers to the above such as:

"I think s/he is attractive. I am permitted and want to have sex with him/her. S/He does not think I am attractive and does not want to have sex with me." (rejection)
"I think s/he is attractive. S/He thinks I am attractive. We both want to kiss. We are not permitted because we are married to different people." (forbidden)
"I do not think s/he is attractive. S/He thinks I am attractive. I am permitted to have sex with him/her. I do not want to have sex with him/her. S/He desperately wants to have sex with me." (stalker)

The roundabout point here being, that to take a position of non-participation (i.e. celibacy in some form) allows one to interact with other people in a way that circumvents the sexual politic as an ongoing underlying theme (although perhaps not entirely...) It allows more freedom in a relationship with another person, because you are less beholden to behavior informed by your (conscious or unconscious) answers to questions like the above.

(Although you might also arguably have less freedom, as you are restricting some of your interactive possibilities by being celibate...)

None of this is to say I haven't enjoyed dating. I don't have any real regrets about the energy I have spent in doing so, and to be frank the whole sexual politic business isn't all bad; actually it can be quite fun! Furthermore I have had very few periods in my life where I was really "dating." Historically I have tended towards being in long term relationships or seeing no one at all, and it has been I think a good experience to be a little more casual for a time. I've enjoyed it, and I don't think it has been to the detriment of anyone really.

But that all said, after contemplating all this over the past few days, discussing my thinking with confidants, consulting my penis and God, I have ultimately decided to make a commitment to suspend romanto-sexual activity until further notice.
10 manifestations ø manifest yourself
I'm making an effort to write more beginning this week, and I plan to start using this journal again as the more public portion of that goal. This is a part of a larger plan to get my proverbial shit together ("togshithering"), after hovering around a year of living an extremely chaotic lifestyle primarily consisting of constant travel and living in an abandoned building.

It's tough to get organized when you live out of your car, and I am looking at various ways to change that situation as an early step in togshithering. I had recently gotten my hopes up that Daniel and Jessica would have me rent a room from them, but as it turns out will not be the case. I think they realized they enjoy the privacy to do weird shit with (or to) one another at all hours. Can't say I can criticize them, as I definitely enjoy that luxury as well. Other residence options haven't been throwing themselves at me. My hope was to find something simple and cheap that I could collect myself within for a few months without having some binding yearlong lease etc.

It would honestly be nice, and probably most beneficial at this point, for me to live alone. When I have done so in the past I have often been at my most satisfied and productive states. I like to think I am a very easy person to live with (clean and organized, bills always on time, usually not loud, fix or improve household stuff often), and I'm not necessarily opposed to living with others (although like anyone I can get annoyed at a poor housemate), but there is a nice sense of order to living alone. If something is fucked up, at least you know who is responsible.

By far the most successful roommate scenario I have had in the past was with my sister, and I often look back longingly on the two years or so we lived together. I've talked variously about joining her in Chicago, but until sitting down to write this, I have only casually considered it.

I suppose I will give that some further thought. Alternately, if anyone has any thoughts on living space, do let me know.

Current Location: Castle Wellington
Assuming the mindset of: discontent discontent

7 manifestations ø manifest yourself
6 manifestations ø manifest yourself
Another year come and gone, and I for one am glad to see it behind me. There was a lot of difficulty and dispersion as 2007 marched on, and I expect the turn of the calendar to represent change in a variety of directions.

I did a lot of things the past 12 months, that's for damn sure. Some good, some bad, some banal, some meaningful. Mistakes were made, and to be honest, I do have some regrets. But on the other hand, I learned a fucking lot in the process. In some cases the cost of the lesson was someone close to me; in others an aspect of myself that I did not want to part with.

My ego received a serious (and perhaps well deserved) lashing.

But as painful as these things can be, there has been value in the end. Sometimes to make metamorphic self-changes one has to do some psychologically weird, maybe even dangerous stuff. The disintegration is unpleasant, but it tends to be the only way to find out what is really inside of a thing.

“Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker.”

So am I now stronger? Better? Difficult to say, although certainly my perspective is altered through the experiences of the past year, most notably my self-perspective. Undoubtedly a greater understanding of how I relate to people and how I project myself into the world has been reached. I have reflected long and hard on those particular points, and was not always happy with what I saw in that mirror. I have sought to alter myself to be more in line with my ideals in those areas, and it has been tough. But if there is one thing I build the castle of my faith on, it is the idea that I can in fact change myself in whatever ways I select.

"The clearest view is from atop a mountain of your dead selves."

So that's what I attempt to do. Examine. Evaluate. Modify. Kill if necessary. Nurture where appropriate. The results often tend to contain new flaws, but I do trust the process in the long run, and I will continue to apply it in my life.

So 2008 has me looking at construction as a theme following the destructive trend of 2007. I have seen the structural flaws in past ways of doing things, and designs of the future benefit from the demolition of the old. I am standing in fertile soil, and simply need to get the plow out and get to it.

I got a kiss at midnight, and that is always the absolute best way to start a year. I hope you did also.

Listening to: El Nino - Winterkälte

3 manifestations ø manifest yourself
Amsterdam pictures - 30

The plane ride from Hartsfield to Schipol was very uneventful. Finished reading Island and that was about it. My flight left an hour late, but that actually worked well as I had a last minute bank SNAFU that took an hour on the phone to sort out. The plane landed an hour early at 7am local time. Since I am leaving on a flight later tonight, my main bag was not returned to me at the airport, and I am dressed quite lightly. Just a short sleeve shirt and my business hoodie, and it is actually a bit cold.

I took a train from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal station for €6.50 round trip, and once there just started walking around. I managed to find a few places I had been last time I was here, especially the hotel (Golden Tulip) and a coffeeshop I liked a lot (Goa), but at 8am everything was closed. I walked for maybe 90 minutes until it started raining pretty heavily. Fortunately I was again close to the train station at that point, so I went there to rest and stop getting wet. Ate and sandwich and drank some freaking delicious juice and sat around for a bit until it stopped raining. Still pretty wet I went back out as there really wasn't anywhere to sit at the station.

Fortunately found an open coffee shop a few blocks away around 11am. Bought a cappuccino and a gram of weed and am sitting here killing some more time. My phone and laptop batteries were low, and I asked about using a wall outlet they had. Girl seemed unsure and said ask guy. Guy said it was ok. Maybe 30 minutes later another guy comes in and starts speaking strongly to me in Dutch. Guy #1 speaks up, and they argue a minute. Apparently they usually don't let people use the plug, but since I had asked it was ok for a little while. Maybe 20 minutes after that, guy #1 says ok that's enough plug usage. Another 10 minutes later, some homeless looking guy comes up and starts getting into a major argument with guy #1 about wanting to plug his device in (I think an ipod), but guy #1 is not having it, and I actually thought he was going to start wailing on homeless guy. I decided this was a good time to leave.

Walked around for a while more, going in to a few smart shops and whatnot, eventually going back to Goa once it was open. Definitely a an awesome chill place, and they have fresh squeezed OJ for cheap. Amazingly, there was an open internet connection here, so I was able to do a few important things (like make sure my bank had unSNAFUed things for me, and check myspace). My plane leaves at 6pm, so I headed out after sitting around there for a while. No prostitutes for me today!

I definitely enjoy Amsterdam. There are a lot of cool small places to get a drink or smoke a joint, the canals and architecture rock, and there are cute girls dinging by on bicycles everywhere you go. There are shady characters around, and definitely shady places to go, but not so much that it is seems to be a problem, and I for one need the occasional shifty Turkish guy to provide goods or services.

I don't quite understand why you really don't see any nice bikes here though. The police have road/mountain bike hybrids which are ok, but practically everyone else rides what to me are big unwieldy one speed old fashioned devices. Maybe it just doesn't matter as much to have a good bike when the whole city transit network is designed with bikes as a big element. Maybe more a matter of frugality? It is a mystery.

Everyone speaks English here, which is good because my language skills are not so good and for the moment I am without a guide. Fortunately Dutch sounds a lot like German if you were speaking German in a really silly manner, so I can get the gist for a fair amount of basic cues. Internet availability is very sparse here. There are internet cafes (usually run by some shady guy) but at none can you use your own computer. Apparently it is not a popular idea in Amsterdam to have wireless access at cafes and whatnot (which is why this is probably backdated). My phone data services work, and I used that to great advantage to find directions and whatnot to places. Also props to the wireless stumbler on my phone. That shit is useful! A translation application would be nice as well though.

Tags: , ,

5 manifestations ø manifest yourself
I hadn't explicitly mentioned it on my journal, but for some time I have been planning a trip to Germany and Austria. I departed today at 5pm after finalizing the packing, storage, or disposal of my all material possessions, and am presently on the plane somewhere over Nova Scotia.

Last night I went to Haas with a few people for dinner and drinks to just have a nice evening before I left the city for an unknown amount of time. Although I invited a bunch of folks, I didn't have expectations for any real turnout owing to competing events, but as the evening progressed, a few people who I don't often see came out of the woodwork to wish me off.

We drank and cavorted there for a while, I spending probably more than I really should have (but less than I really care about), taking pictures with my new camera, and trying to rip phonebooks in half. I had planned an early evening so as to go home and pack my suitcase and take care of the 20 other things I needed to do before leaving, but of course the wine wouldn't stop appearing and so naturally we ended up back at my house for beer and drunken packing starting about 1am. Had a lot of fun in doing that, and it was useful to have people present to make suggestions on what to bring and whatnot. Stayed up ridiculous late of course, and crashed out on the floor since I no longer have a bed.

All told, quite a fun night. I had the pleasant social evening I wanted for sure. Hopefully when I arrive in Amsterdam and start going through my suitcase I won't regret packing under such circumstances though...
Photos and self-centric bios of the people who cameCollapse )
12 manifestations ø manifest yourself