Why in the hell did I ever get on the internet. After all the shit about Aishwarya and Keyra, not to mention the hot and rad SG, my tiny simian brain has a short out. [Keyra and Suicide Girls links not okay for work. --f.] These fucking people and all their goddamned sex, fuck you all! I'll kill you and then [this comment edited due to possible investigation by the Secret Service. --f.]!

Frustration and, well, more frustration. Must get laid. Or, get off the bed, maybe? When you don't shit you get off the pot... Whatever! Time for dancing and drinking or drinking with dancing or even drankcing, not to mention bumpin' and/or grindin'. Fuck all y'all (I will). If I had shoes, I'd ask where the dancing ones are.


w3rd upz all we be playin' tha gayme 2day 4sho. which uv dis zhizzlezz 'z betters? no cheats.

song uno:
spitting in a wishing well
blown to hell...
crash, i'm tha last splash
i know u
little libertine
i know you're a real koo koo
(hey now, hey now...)

want you
koo koo

in the shade in the shade
in the shade in the shade

i know you're a cannonball
i'll be you whatever u want
the bong in this ragga song

in the shade...

spitting in a wishing well
blown to hell
crash, i'm tha last splash
i'll be your whatever you want

want you
koo koo

in the shade...

thx k. deal. song svei:
still a little bit of your taste in my outh
still a little bit of u laced w/my doubt
still a little hard to say what's goin' on
still a little bit of your ghost, your witness
still a little bit of your face i haven't kissed
you step a little closer each day
still i can't say what's going on

stones taught me 2 fly
love taught me 2 lie
life taught me 2 die
so it's not hard ot fall when u float like a cannonball

still a little bit of your song in me ear
still a little bit of your words i 2 hear
you step a lil' closer 2 me
so close i can't see what's goin' on
so come on courage

it's not hard to grow when
u know u just don't know

thx d. rice.

speakin o'which, n thisz not 2 prejadiss tha decishun process, butt damien rice's album 'O' is tha shizzle, w3rd. i m not like a big singer/songwriter type fan or nuthin', itz jus' that this album has searchin' melodies, gentle tho' penetratin instrumentation, excellent lyrical writin--jus' enuf bagueness to make every1 makin' connecshuns 2 their own life + timez. also a penetrating and raw voice, tha man has bin hurtin' n it showz. no recommendations uv songz tho' i'd say there are some weak points and some exceptionally strong ones. tha a-side will totally like hook u too. bring a box o' kleenexz. hidden track @ tha end playin' offa 'silent night' is superexcellente.

Three years too late

In a major newspaper, no less. Well, fucking finally.

Oh, that's right.

I've been flipping between hysterical laughter and despondent tears--well, as close as I get to either, anyway, so not so much--for about 18 hours. If you include dreams. Why? Nicotine withdrawal is a big factor, that's certain. Damn you, chemistry. Took a while to figure that one out and then *kapow* the craving manifests.

Don't quit smoking.

Weather Report

Temptests batter this safe harbor, but fortunately everything has been battened down; expect great temperature changes between midday and midnight this week as summer settles in to stay.


Self-consciousness blows!

[Maudlin whining to follow. If that is not "your thing" please skip this post. --f.]

Been really thinking about the way I go about approaching new relationships--friends, colleagues, potential SOs, etc. whatever. A three-alarm fire in my hair, or there would be if I had hair long enough to burn. Although, before I get to the juicy shit, why the fuck have I been listening to Elliot Smith for the last four hours? I M A Dope. Okay, now Eminem's first disc is in. No wait, that's no good. If I had one wish... Jane's Addiction? Yes. Good.

What is it about my psyche that gets me to throw myself at people. I noticed this quite a few years ago, and eventually put a stop to it. But the impulse is still there, like "Oh my god..." and then like a starving wolf on a deer.... This analogy is terrible but today's a day for rememberance of the fallen, so fuck it. Actually I have been surprised to find a more than physical attraction to any member of the opposite sex in myself. (And now I just want to write a lot of elipses, as though i were writing a Holywood Insider column...)

Could I be a glutton for punishment, jumping into the street with nary a look to the right or left? But then, how does one scope out the territory? These questions have answers, yet I suddenly feel powerless to voice or think them. Anyway, enthusiasm has never been a problm. Perhaps sifting as much sand as one must a few fleck of gold bring a fluttering beat to my old prospector's heart. And how disheartening is that thought? Yet still, a few months ago my mind would recoil in horror. Perhaps the past month's posts can illustrate what's gone on far better than can be summarized here.

And now something I've expected for a week or so occurs and what happens--well of course embarassment and shame! For any reaction I have, no matter how pleased, to any situation also bears with it that fine spice of self-loathing. Thanks, asshole brain. The heart of the matter, though (to be quite illusory about what's going on--I think fizhburn will put some sort of warning on this post), is that I have regained something quite precious; that is to say, my capacity to give.

To refer to a previous post, things did not go as I could have hoped with the comely and demure hostess--but perhaps the lesson outweighs the disappointment. She is at least worth knowing, something I could do without for about 99% of humanity. Second best, then, is not bad at all. That's putting chuckles in my throat, so perhaps moving on can be got done with tonight. What is that--even when the chances of something happening are vanishingly small still hopes and dreams are pinned to it for a few fleeting hours, as though the universe balances on that point. The reaction I had to re-meeting her (there is a vague recollection of a party last year sometime) was, I say now looking at it, amazingly violent--by which I mean energetic. A capacitor is a device for storing a lot of electricity, sort of like a battery but more powerful and not so long-lasting--it blasts out electrons in just a moment, exhausting itself in an adrenaline-inducing flash. Perhaps all the emotion that had been caged within found a completed circuit, if only in a single moment. Everything after that would be an explosion of feeling, feelings, cares and heartaches and the tension that creeps into your muscles when waking life is emotionally empty and conscious time is constantly occupied with work.

Now, of course, your eyes are reading these words--or rather the electrically fabricated copy your monitor displays--and you'll say "Damn, but I didn't know you were one of these whiny Blog people." Well, (a) I'm not, so perhaps I'll not make more posts about the sort of weirdness in my mind (don't count on it, constant reader), (b) get over it (it's mostly a lie anyway, for all you know). Self-consciousness and self-referentiality creep into the work we're trying to do at this blog, perhaps inevitably. What will an analysis of events yield, then?

Firstly, mythic desire of the old-school Hollywood feet-sweeping kind can occur. It may be illusory. It may be unfulfillable. And what can unfulfilled desire be but a suffering one inflicts on oneself. Therefore, desire must be diverted into something else, dissipated into the ether of mind. Therefore let us rejoice in friendship and connection. We cannot be entirely selfish in this, and with loss of self-indulgence comes acceptance and even approval.

Secondly, the heart's healing capacity is far greater than one expects. But what one can expect in the state of relationship-mourning is so limited as to make the miracle commonplace though no less miraculous. If nothing else, the floodgates opened, and after the initial torrent other-concern and love can flow freely. Well, as freely as they ever did, anyway; let's not get carried away here. What we want is out there...

Anyway, I seem to vaccilate between the sickly-sweet and the pitch-dark, with not much in between. Hmm. That reflects my state of mind for the last couple of weeks. But something is there which has been gone for a while--calm, sure satisfaction in the present moment. Now I can enjoy this, now there is a place to smile genuinely, now there is relaxation and comfort with what is. Some friends walked by today as I sat in front of a cafe with a book, and they said I looked relaxed. At that moment I realized I felt relaxed. The Sword of Damocles I felt for so long had, at least for a while, been on a vacation of its own.

So what's next? Taking things as they come, for now. There's no rush, no hurry, though no need to dawdle. Three months left before the grind begins again in earnest--and between now and then: everything. Cautiously optimistic.

Oh, now I've got all these memories. Several years ago, yes... *double chuckles*

Via Gdog, here's a Porno For Pyros tune that takes me way way back, ha ha:
Met a girl
who'd never had
an orgasm
I couldn't believe
she'd never had one
"sit back, just let yourself relax"

...She had to know
got curious
what it was like...

You look so good...
so good to me

Thanks to P. Farrell. Ain't my life effed up? Just enough to make me laugh until tears fall. Maybe I'll see "Garden State" sober, just to seal my fate. ^_^b

Evocation, parts 6 & 7

6. Meaning and interpretation.
Evocation falls in line with a view that allows multiple "correct" interpretations of an artwork. The structural features one finds in a work, which evoke emotion, are found idiosyncratically. There may be, as mentioned earlier, a great deal of similarity within a culture that conduces to similarities in what is evoked in audience members of a culture. A Japanese audience may well understand a kabuki play in one way, while a Chinese one finds its meaning somewhat different, and it is still differently significant to an American one. The commonalities of experience permit these similarities while still allowing that there is not necessarily a most correct reaction to a particular work.
The meaning of a work, in terms of what is evoked, is often spoken of with such phrases as "what it means to me." Special associations between an encounter with a work and a context in which the encounter takes place may also be mentioned in this way; let us set aside such familiar circumstances as someone saying of herself and her significant other "This song makes me happy because it was playing when we first met." A work that means something "special" to someone is such because the features of the work that evoke do so especially powerfully (and perhaps uniquely) for the individual.
These factors do much to explain the varying interpretations of works that abound in both popular and so-called "high" art. The symbols to be found in a work—especially what it expresses—are found there in virtue of the audience's interaction with the work. So too what is evoked by an artwork depends on that interaction, albeit on a different, if no less elevated, stage. Perhaps the view espoused here is not so far away from Dewey's, in that the construction of an artistic experience (that is, the encounter with one in which the audience interacts with the work) involves a change in the one encountering it, by the use of prior experience to resolve tension. If we take the resolution to be constitutive of or resulting in new understanding (and an expanded repertoire of methods for navigating the world), we have not gone so far at all. Even the talk of relations may be a distant relative of the "evocation" of meaning in art that Dewey posits. However closely these theories are in fact, it is surely right from what has been said to suppose that interpretation is finding meaning in a work, and that the emotional reaction—so far as cognitive—is part of the meaning, part of the interpretation.

7. Conclusion.
We have seen that, by blending the cognitive theory of expression in art that Nelson Goodman proposes with some ideas of John Dewey's we can roughly outline a robust theory of art. A certain sort of phenomena, which has been described as the emotional reaction evoked by an artwork, is a "cognitive" result of an encounter with a work. The properties possessed by a work are possessed in virtue of the audience's finding them in it. The significant point is a small one: that the possession of a particular property by a work (whether the property is emotional or not) is not what evokes in us the emotional response. Instead, evocation consists in the audience's finding a structural similarity between properties of the work (as they are arranged in relation to each other) and a prior experience(s) the audience has had which is attached to an emotion, whether strongly felt or not. The difference between the verbal understanding of an expression of a work and the emotional response evoked by it is merely a matter of the features a work does possess, but the particulars of the features are found to be different. Works of art may be very powerful to us, and may have many associations in our minds that are unique to our own histories. Works may function as a medium of catharsis for us, allowing a wellspring of emotion to splash upon the arid detached mind, or inspire by their ability to grip us with evocations of deep feeling. What we have done here is merely to attempt to understand how this may be so, but the mystery that we find in our reactions to art remains. The intense personal meanings experiences of certain works have for us continue to be so; we have never aimed at, nor really wanted, to remove all the wonder from evocation.

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


Good. You know your music. You should be able to
work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and

Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One)
brought to you by Quizilla



Many fine books have been written in prison. --H.S.T.

A the age of six my leg bled, opened like the flesh of an apple, colors reversed, pain unreal. The scar faded but now the pain returns in phantasmal power, its own being known utterly to me. The cause is still unknown, however--a bicycle crash and a trip to the hospital, sterilization with hydrogen peroxide (how can the weeping veins tickle?) and a bandage even a birthday party could not keep unsoiled. The forehead scars are also a mystery save one--the eyebrow mark too is an enigma. A childhood of clumsiness painted large to my recollection and private to the history I have created for myself.

Where was I when the Titanic went down, when the Hindenburg blew up, on V-J day, during Neil Armstrong's otherworldly step, or the evacuation of Saigon? The bones feel not these hundred years, and in truth none of them weighs lighter than a feather. In any case, the final years of the century past are enough to have been mine in a tiny backwater of the world far from momentous events and historic news broadcasts and universe-altering Vatican pronouncements. What are these years the body remembers, but sunshine, family, garden, trees, bicylcles, asphalt, summer afternoons, the cicada's song? Dark moments are pushed out and only seen in half-light the mind does not stare too hard into.

The child has promise, potential, innate talent, ability, aptitude, an attitude problem. No attitude problem really, but lack of enthusiasm. Capitalized Truth is not to be found here, escape to the imaginary world that appears like mist in the library provides a simulacrum of what is desired, and the harsh fact of reality is precisely that carefree pursuit of what is needed in the spirit cannot be done. Or so it looks to the frightened twelve-year-old for whom dawning adulthood has brought awe and shirking of responsibility. Two thousand days of schooling flutter by in an instant. They are the dead leaves in the mind's forest, to be swept up and devoured, excreted as soil to nourish the trunks of our thought. Hallways tiled and locker-lined, the sweat stink of a gymnasium, the chatter of a thousand bored gossips, a shaft of sunlight outside, a book that moves as quickly as the glaciers seen in my fourteenth year.

No challenge is too great, but many are too small when life is laid out in all its mundane detail to the excited mind of the child who sees nothing but an infinity of closed possibilities. This is not how it is supposed to be; this is not how my life goes. Where is the fame, the success, the richness, the love? We never learn to take a compliment, we never learn to be joyful, we never learn to be satisfied, we never learn to try. And so a smile crosses not these lips for lo the many years. Tight as a drum made of watchsprings, the mind recoils from its own creations, holding fast to the self. Then nothing turns out as it should and instead of accepting things as they are, and seeing that truly no fault may be laid before anyone, yet still the self blames the self.

Never have we done what we should, an the highest praise is underserved, for how may I be worthy? We crave approval and reject it if offered unwarranted. For that was merely an act performed, not an indication of the inner self so alone. My thanks, I guess, I guess, sure (but still unwarranted). Success requires too much, for our sight is set high above reach--then we stumble over the feet we could not see for obsession with that far-of goal. Falling, then, the skinned knee though no great injury convinces us that the path ahead is impossible (for we cannot see it with upturned eyes). Over and over the work is wrenched from us by duty. "I must," repeats the thought, and the self-serving remove from engagement feeds this pathology. Work half-done or barely completed though above average fails to secure superior marks, of course, and then we can say at least we deserve not to fulfill all the promise forced upon us.

Who asked for this gift, for I was not the one to do it. Whatever measures applied to me say this is not something requesitioned on official forms, this mind is not what is attained through skill and work or dedication, and everything is too easy unless it cannot be done. Everything is seen and understood and known except that which matters only trivially--or so it appears. And yet the cage door, unlocked, cannot be touched. These are not my people, this is not my time, this world is decaying and putrid, everything I see has failed, and I see myself most clearly of all. I am everything and nothing, for whatever I set myself to is obtained, and I cannot set myself to anything. So control me, stifle me, push and pull me, point hither and thither and yon, crook the funger to return. I will be this and better than ever could be expected if only I do not have to take my own reins.

And still escape is on one's mind, to jump from the Road to the Sun and float away, disembodied, to the mountaintop where the guru imparts all the magical secrets of the universe. So you jump, but the guru's hut is empty, and there is no path down from the mountaintop. So you sit and think, for there is nothing but time and the gnawing hunger within and the thin unbreathable air. The view is merely a cloudbank, the ground rocky and sterile, and a small wooden stool supports you in the hut as you consider. No thought penetrates, for the longest time. And then in the quiet foggy night a voice appears to speak, though to another. The voices multiply, and the clouds form the scene, for you can now see further into the essence of this illusion. The figures move and dance together, mouths in motion, voices changing as rapidly as the mind can make out what goes on.

There is process and process and event after event, what is hidden behind doors appears outside, and what is seen by all fades into mist. Slowly, one's thought attaches to the movement. Slowly, the dance is made clear and for lack of anything better the steps come hard at first and then more easily. On and on the twirl goes, on and on the motion--it is exhausting, but the mountaintop is boredom and isolation. Feet lighten, the steps become familiar, the passages of the clouds are clear and navigable though changeable and labyrinthine. The steps add leaps, and the leaps grow higher and then, finally, the clouds part before your flying figure, and the grin on your face matches the exhilaration of escape even if it be unto death. For who may fly forever?

Graduation in a small town. Sunset stains my vision even in memory. The smell of damp wool and the sound of a thousand tiny metal folding chair creaks. It's over, just a tiny step, a picture, and then it's over. I will leap from that ledge, so high, as the motorists with their cameras and maps and cell phones gawk or probably pay no mind whatsoever. Summer is lightness and air, and the guru sits in his hut, waiting. Jump.


Wasting so fucking much time,

I answered with perfect honesty on all these. swear to god. or not.

Jungle Juice

Congratulations! You're 162 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (100), and liquor (165).
You are a true alcohol connisseur. You not only know what drinks are best for parties or dinner or cocktail bars, you can make most of them as well. You don't mess around with the cheap stuff--only the good stuff will do.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender

free online dating

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You scored higher than 96%
on proof

free online dating

free online dating

You scored higher than 83%
on beer index

free online dating

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You scored higher than 94%
on wine index

free online dating

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You scored higher than 99%
on liquor index

Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

I am 97% White Trash.
Total White Trash!
Born in a trailer, live in a trailer, die in a trailer. I am the epitome of white trashiness. Unfortunately, I have no clue what epitome means.

You Are 24 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

I am 48% Raver.
Sort of a Raver.
Well, I may have been to a rave. I probably know a bunch of ravers, but they may think of me as an outsider. That's okay, at least I am not a complete freak.
I am 45% Internet Addict.
Slight Internet Addict.
I could go either way. Deep into the madness of nights filled with coding CGI-Scripts and online role playing games, or I could become a normal user. Good luck!


A couple of interesting passages to stimulate the mind.
... For even as I spoke of the extermination of the Real, I meant, in fact, the more fundamental extermination of the Illusion. But we must be clear about this concept before we go further. I don't mean illusion in the pejorative sense, the negative and irrational concept of illusion as fallacy, fantasmagory, and evil--the illusion whose sole destiny is to be rectified. I mean the radical and objective illusion of the world, the radical impossibility of a real presence of things or beings, their definitive absence from themselves.

For nothing is identical to itself. We are never identical to ourselves, except, perhaps, in sleep and in death. Language itself never signifies what it means; it always signifies someething else, through this very irreducible, ontological absence from itself. The probability, in this world, of a total identification, of a total adequation of the same to the same, is equal to zero. Fortunately. For that would be the Perfect Crime--a crime that never happens. In relations between things there is always a hiatus, a distortion, a rift that precludes any reduction of the same to the same. That is even more true for human beings. We are never exactly present to ourselves, or to others. Thus we are not exactly real for one another, nor are we quite real even to ourselves. And this radical alterity is our best chance--our best chance of attracting and being attracted to others, of seducing and being seduced. Put simply, our chance at life.
--Jean Baudrillard

When I confront a human being as my You and and speak the basic word I-You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things.

He is no longer He or She, limited by other Hes and Shes, a dot in the world grid of space and time, nor a condition that can be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. Neighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; but everything else lives in his light.

...The relation can obtain even if the human being to whom I say You does not hear it in his experience. For You is more than It knows. You does more, and more happens to it, than It knows. No deception reaches this far: here is the cradle of actual life.
--Martin Buber

The world is precarious and perilous. It is as easily accessible and striking evidence of this fact that primitive experience is cited. The voice is that of early man; but the hand is that of nature, the nature in which we still live. It was not fear of the gods that created the gods. ...

What has been said sounds pessibimistic. But the concern is not with morals but with metaphysics, with, that is to say, the nature of the existential world in which we live. it would have been as easy and more comfortable to emphasize good luck, grace, unexpected and unwon joys, those unsought for happenings which we so significantly call happiness. We might have appealed to good fortune as evidence of this important trait of hazard in nature. Comedy is as genuine as tragedy. But it is traditional that comedy strikes a more superficial note than tragedy. ...

Variant philosophies may be looked at as different ways of supplying recipes for denying to the universe the character of contingency which it possesses so integrally that its denial leaves the reflecting mind without a [clue], and puts subsequent philosophising at the mercy of temperament, interest, and local surroundings
--John Dewey

Lover divine and perfect Comrade,
Waiting content, invisible yet, but certain,
Be thou my God.

Thou, thou, the Ideal Man,
Fair, able, beautiful, content, and loving,
Complete in body and dilate in spirit,
Be thou my God.

O Death, (for Life has served its turn,)
Opener and usher to the heavenly mansion,
Be thou my God.

Aught, aught of mightiest, best I see, conceive, or know,
(To break the stagnant tie--thee, thee to free, O soul,)
Be thou my God.

All great ideas, the races' aspirations,
All heroisms, deeds of rapt enthusiasts,
Be ye my Gods.

Or Time and Space,
Or shape of Earth divine and wondrous,
Or some fair shape I viewing, worship,
Or lustrous orb or sun or star by night,
Be ye my Gods.
--Walt Whitman
With thanks to panopticon.
The You encounters me by grace--it cannot be found by seeking. But that I speak the basic word to it is a deed of my whole being, is my essential deed.

The You encounters me. But I enter into a direct relationship to it. Thus the relationship is election and electing, passive and active at once: An action of the whole being must approach passibity, for it does away with all partial actions and thus with any sense of action, which always depends on limited exertions.

The basic word I-You can be spoken only with one's whole being. The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a You to become; becoming I, I say You.

All actual life is encounter.
--Martin Buber


Evocation, part 5

5. "Non-linguistic" experience and communication.
Understanding of the world, we shall say, results from cognizing experience. And experience itself has structural features that can be found in the memory of an experience. One object, significance, emotion, or relationship is connected to another by the circumstances or events making up the experience. And these experiences then influence our understanding of the world we encounter through experience, that is, just the world we live in. That heat should be associated with pain is not any sort of necessary association of the concepts, whatever their form or content, but rather a relation due to the common experience of burning oneself or being burned. The commonality of the features of multiple burning experiences, which are painful, are not (except accidentally) by the cause of the burn object-wise, but rather in terms of a quality, i.e. extreme heat.
One may be tempted to say that the features of an artwork, in evoking emotion, do so by reminding us of past experiences in which that emotion played a part in understanding—or of one in which the emotion was the significant result of the encounter. If this is correct, it can only be so upon clarification of experience and emotion, and of what "reminding" might be. An artwork, after all, according to the theory we have in hand neither resembles its subject nor resembles what denotes it or what it expresses. Any reminding, therefore, must take place due to the structural associations between the concepts expressed (or represented) by the artwork being in some manner similar to the associations between those in one's repertoire of experiences as techniques for understanding situations in the world.
What that amounts to is the thought that if there is a quality or property possessed by a work that has for someone an association with another quality, such that the predicate is associated with another in one's world-understanding style, then the cognitive state that is constitutive of "seeing" the property gives rise to the associated state(s) whether it be emotional or purely linguistic or somewhere between. Let us illustrate with two examples. The first one is a picture in which a politician is represented as a bloated hog. Our concepts associated with hogs, as indicated by our past experiences with this (clichéd) metaphor as well as with our beliefs (spurious or not) about the behavior of hogs, are that hogs are gluttonous, which is a concept associated with self-interestedness and greed. The organization of the political world via the metaphor of a barnyard animal schema results in the associated concepts coming along for the ride, as it were, and so the implication is made complete only when the audience of the work has the associated concepts of greediness, etc. already in place vis-à-vis hogs. Then, supposing that we feel revulsion at bald gluttony, our reaction to the depiction is predictably emotional as well as verbally expressible. The second example is one in which strong emotions, perhaps fear and grief, are possessed by an artwork—let us imagine a highly abstract painting that is angry, violently so, in which the expression of the emotion is a result of the vivid colors, slashing lines of paint, jagged solids, etc. The elements of some situations in which one has become angry may have features that are echoed in the painting; we imagine sharp focus on the object of anger, quick action, percussive contact, and so on. The elements of this painting are related to each other in such a way that their associations with dynamism, confrontation, penetration, intense focus, and so forth, remind us, in the special sense we are trying to indicate, of the structural features of an angry confrontation we have experienced from the inside—as it were—or of one which we have observed (another sort of experience). So here we not only see the emotion expressed in the work, but also by association with our memories, which are themselves our repertoire of methods for understanding, the angry emotion may be evoked in us—or some other emotion we associate with violently angry situations, for instance the fear response.
That emotions in experience are the result of structural features of the associations of concepts rather than of bare concepts is not a spectacular revision of Goodman's theory, nor a revolutionary characterization of cognitive processes in appreciating artworks. To the contrary, John Dewey seems to suggest something similar, although coming from a different direction. What is proposed above is that we should not expect emotional responses to be merely cognitive states that result from, or constitute, recognition of the properties of some part of the world (specifically, an artwork). Rather, they are the result of an interaction between the audience and the work, which depends to a great extent upon the history of the audience member and how she is prepared to navigate the world through understanding. Dewey's suggestion has to do with experience generally, though especially applicable to encounters with artworks. His idea seems to have the relevant (for us) features that experience is emotional—that a piece of one's history is an experience consists in its being unified by some emotional quality(s)—and that experiences are resolutions of problems, tensions, confrontations, obstacles, through the use of skills obtained in prior experiences. The intensely emotional experience of an artwork has the features of requiring the audience to interact with the qualities (properties) found in the work, for in understanding the work the experience of it consists in resolving some conflict, tension, etc. through the understanding. One's skill in such resolutions amounts to one's repertoire of methods from which one selects an appropriate technique with which to solve the problem one is presented with; and this sort of idea looks very like the account we have given of the structural features in a work evoking emotions in the audience by way of the associations of concepts (in memory, so to speak) the audience member possesses.
It is interesting to note as well that if this amounts to communication, it is non-linguistic—what Goodman might call nonverbal. For we have no easy way to describe the associations we have between our various cognitive states (here we are, and have been, including emotions). What it is that evokes spiritual elevation upon catching sight of the interior of the Sistine Chapel? Perhaps one cannot quite put one's finger on it. It does not seem a great stretch to say that if what is expressed by a work is communicated to the audience by it (just in the "act" of expression), that the associations of ideas that allow us to say that a work makes us feel sadness or lust are themselves a kind of communication. The artist may have even intended the work to evoke this emotion, as one might expect an anecdote to evoke one, and in this there is a definite transmission of some understanding of the world.

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


Where do I live?

Some things observed in neighborhoods and homes today:
-An apartment with the kitchen in the living space, and three useless alcoves too small for general use.
-A carpeted bathroom (ocean blue, extra-long pile)
-An abandoned garage not quite on anyone's property, paint fading but with fresh anti-semitic graffiti
-A bird loose in a house, which has not pooped on anything except in the cage
-A small girl with skinned knees wearing a scuffed navy jumper and carrying her own weight in books
-Door locks that only open for one person but not another, no matter how many times it's attempted
-A tiny cloud in the shape of a toy sailboat
-For Rent signs
-"Sold" signs
-A pickup truck made entirely of rust
-A woman dressed like a car moll from "Grease" getting into a red sportscar with a racing stripe
-A gingerbread house made of wood
-Many good reasons to be annoyed at people inspired by but with less talent than Frank Lloyd Wright
-Two dozen bystanders at a wrecked car leaking gasoline
-A mother and daughter not arguing
-A mother and daughter arguing
-Four ruined television sets, all in the same dumpster, all manufactured prior to "Law and Order"
-Screen porches well-worn and cluttered
-A drainpipe made of copper and greening about the joints
-Two kitchens with a stove and no counters to speak of
-A living room that smelled of sweat, and a bedroom that smelled of cheap perfume (not same apartment)
-A ten-foot walk-in closet entirely filled with cheap suits from the early 1960's
-A 400-square-foot apartment with 3 entrances.
-What happens when Mullet meets J. Lo
-Asphalt ghosts (second confirmed sighting)
-Pink sneakers

Evocation, part 4

4. Games and techniques.
Let us imagine a chess game. Two players assess the situation on the board move by move, perhaps anticipating future positions, but using heuristic techniques, for the most part, in order to narrow the choices among the large multiplicity of possible lines of play from a given position. Master and grandmaster players have peculiar styles to their play. The opponents in the imaginary situation before us play in utterly different ways, but they are aiming at the same goal. One plays a dynamic, aggressive, slashing style, while the other plays a defensive counter-punching positional game. What is it that results in the differences in their play? They see the same situation on the board; if they know their opponent well enough each will be able to anticipate the others' moves. For since there are, even within the confines of the game, many ways for a winning state of affairs to come about, there is often no one best line of play. The why of a certain player's move in a position being different from another, when their skills are equal (and high) has more to do with an interior understanding of general techniques and a set of preferences for classifying the positions on the board as favorable or unfavorable to varying degrees. The heuristic chess masters use are often in common, but many are peculiar to only some or one player, or given special emphasis, or result in varying evaluations depending on the interests and strengths of the player. Mikhail Tal was famous for understanding his opponents' tendencies enough to lure them into far-sighted traps of as many as ten moves (even in grandmaster chess this is an eternity). Other grandmasters played with a special eye for the aesthetic qualities of the game; grandmasters and appreciators are able to find beauty not just in winning strategies but in placements which have little functional difference from others closely related to them in terms of relative advantage.
The long account of chess, while the game has its own aesthetic charms, is given in order to make a point about language. In communication in natural language, and likely in many related symbol systems in which meanings are not always sharply fixed, style is often as important or more important than substance. Certainly art may function like this, with stylistic flourishes overpowering the other properties a work expresses. Perhaps Pollock did as much with technique (or the removal of it, depending on one's viewpoint) as anyone has. There is little of symbolism to be found easily if at all in his drip paintings, but there are many stylistic qualities available.
We use language not just to make ostentations of things we see (or counterfactual ones), but also to transmit abstract ideas such as emotions, mathematics, and even philosophy. Suppose we adopt sensible view in which language is consists by word use, and the largest unit of function is the language-game. Like the chess game, there are many available moves in our language in most situations. Some language-game moves may be more successful than others, depending on how well what is intended to be passed along actually is understood. We are masters of the language-game, and are able to understand these various moves, methods, tendencies, and techniques. Such may include even styles of metaphor-construction.
Recalling the account of predicates as labels in schemata and attached to realms, we can begin to construct a larger picture of language use. A label, as part of a schema, classifies things in the world—even imaginary ones. We have options for the various moves we may make with a label, by choosing a schema in which it fits and applying it to its "home" realm, or to another realm. As I said earlier this classificatory function is a way for us to understand and navigate the world around us, by attaching significance to things and (aspects of) situations. Our linguistic abilities allow us to have rich and complex understandings (that is, relations between concepts expressed in predicates as well as by other sorts of words).
Our concepts relate to one another in different ways for each of us. Though some associations may be common to many people, as with the color orange and the orange fruit, some associations—perhaps most of them—are idiosyncratic, and depend on the history of the individual who has the association in her repertoire of ways to play the language-game. And what shall we say about these associations of concepts, which seem to be of a higher order of organization than the organization that schemata impose on realms? If the latter are constellations of concepts, then the associations are the arrangements that make one's ability to navigate the world through understanding into a galaxy of cognitive states.

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


What an interesting test

Yes it was interesting. Very interesting. Thank you, Internet, for your wisdom.

But actually, why does it seem suddenly accurate, like all those horoscopes?

you are steelblue

Your dominant hues are cyan and blue. You like people and enjoy making friends. You're conservative and like to make sure things make sense before you step into them, especially in relationships. You are curious but respected for your opinions by people who you sometimes wouldn't even suspect.

Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

Evocation, part 3

3. Cognition and emotion.
Previously we have spoken of communication in art, and of its function in terms of its place in and interaction with the audience's cognition of the world through language. Understanding need not be limited to mere concatenations of references, however. As Goodman suggests, our language may be inadequate to describe what an artwork expresses. Still, what we are up to is taking information, of a sort, and bringing it into thought. It might be objected to this sort of theory of expression that it is emotionally sterile, for so far what has been said seems to apply just to what is found in the work itself and what is thought about that. The account understanding of the properties of a work and their significance is accused of making art no different in kind from a bank balance statement in that they are communicative, though the one uses metaphor and the other literal reference. Where, it is asked, has the feeling got to?
Goodman's attempt to get past the objection is to assert that "emotions function cognitively. The work of art is apprehended through the feelings as well as the senses... Emotion in aesthetic experience is a way of discerning what properties a work has and expresses." This is to say that emotions in the audience are part of the audience's cognition of a work. That reply is perhaps satisfactory in one way, but in another way it fails to address the importance of emotions evoked by artworks. Goodman is supposing that emotions enable us to better understand a work, and in some cases this may occur. The direction of the cognitive process takes the emotions as conducive toward knowing here is, however, unconvincing as an account of the psychology at play.
In imagining what sort of situation it is in which feeling an emotion is a means to better understanding, we find that these are exceptions to the usual situation. Suppose that we have encountered a somewhat enigmatic painting. We feel mystified, but more importantly we feel sadness. What is it about this work, we wonder—perhaps to dispel the mystery, it does not matter—that makes us feel so? Further contemplation and study of the work leads us to the conclusion that some features of the work, say somber colors and the suggestive placement of bright objects that seem to be fading into darkness, have evoked sadness in us due to the painting's being a picture of loss.
The example points out what I take to be the mistake here, which is that the emotions evoked by a work are normally end results of an encounter with a work (or part of one) rather than steps in a process of hashing out what the work expresses or symbolizes. It was the fact of uncertainty about the source of the emotion that led to investigation. Surely this is not the case in many works where the properties to which we react are easily identifiable. No one takes the pleasure of a laugh-inducing joke in a play to be such that it helps us to better knowledge of the qualities of that work, unless the extra component of a question aimed at discerning better knowledge is already in place.
Goodman wants to avoid attributing any specialness, a "magic additive" in emotions due to experience of an artwork, to emotive states that gives them special aesthetic significance due to their occurrence in (or, as we should say here, due to) aesthetic experience. Now John Dewey suggests that emotions in aesthetically charged experiences are different states from the sort of cognitive-linguistic ones obtained in "recognizing" the correctness of a label to an (experience of an) artwork. Perception of an experience (for an encounter with an artwork is a sort of experience) awakens the intense emotions in "vivid consciousness" that such recognition cannot arouse, and he says that "an act of perception proceeds by waves that extend serially throughout the organism... The perceived object or scene is emotionally pervaded throughout." Such experiences need not be of artworks, but Dewey thinks that artworks distill the aesthetic qualities of all experiences, so it seems that in these the emotions of the experience will be strong indeed.
The difficulty lies in how it is that emotions found in an artwork as qualities it possesses, which pervade it, can excite the audience. Goodman is not clear on this point, but he does seem to suppose that cognition of a quality in an artwork arouses emotion in the audience in the same fashion as it arouses "colder" intellectual-linguistic states of cognition. This is not to say that emotion, if it is a form of understanding, needs to be caused by an emotional property of the work, and in this Goodman agrees. But there may be a confusion here, since he also says that "some emotions may emerge as properties" of the work; if this is not dull repetition of a prior point (and he is not prone to that) the phrase indicates that emotion emerges from the work as its property and that this emotion causes (and not through sensation) emotion in the audience. I shall give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think it is illustrative of the need for a further account of how evocation occurs.
An initial proposal might run along the lines of a quasi-Humean theory of sympathy, where instead of people as the objects of the passions it is artworks that loose in us passionate (i.e. emotional) responses. I am not here going to follow this line of argument, though it seems perhaps worth trying, for such would be a psychological, as opposed to cognitive, account of what is occurring in events of evocation by artworks.

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


bin hurlin'

panopticon wtf you gots tha stomach twista yo. like a syruppy puppy. chunks i got all rizin' in me stomachs, blecccccch. noes i aint gots that all-fired good critixism todays, 2 much viceral reaxions like.

anyways: ha ha sis where you be at?

More on Art: Evocation, part 2

2. Evocation.
The phenomena that are the focus of this essay are emotional. An especially harrowing performance of Lear, or first entering the Sistine Chapel for the first time can arouse strong emotions in the audience. In the first case, there may be pity, sorrow, even grief. In the second, awe and elevation. The audience cannot only appreciate the qualities of the work, but can be brought to an emotional fever pitch by them. Not all emotional responses to works are so strong. One might feel mild sadness upon listening to a bluesman's bittersweet tales. However strong the emotion aroused by the artwork, it is real emotion and not mere understanding that a work has an emotional property in it.
I wish to call the event of such emotional responses evocation. A work evokes—that is brings out, causes—the emotion in the audience. Something about the encounter with the artwork arouses a feeling in the audience-member. I trust that this is not unfamiliar, but if one is skeptical let us bear with this line of thought in order to get on. What is evoked may be in response to particular aspects of a work, as with anger at the figure of Iago, or to no discernable features of it. Even the most abstract work of patterns of patches color, having nothing in it that we can take to be a symbol of a worldly object, may still make us happy to look at it. Such a work we could describe as exuberant, perhaps, though we might not be able to say just why. Likewise we might report that we feel enjoyment in looking at it, though no particular reason for this consistent reaction is identifiable to us.
Some works may fail to evoke emotion. Very abstract works are more likely to do so, as there is less in them to identify as something to which we may have a reaction (the example of the previous paragraph, if one accepts it, seems more an exception for these sorts of works). Some of the soundscapes of Philip Glass are certainly difficult to describe as bringing about strong emotions though they may generate a great deal of recognition, thought, or communication in a more detached way. Someone might fail to be moved by a Pollock painting even while finding it highly interesting as a demonstration of color balances, motion captured in hardened lines of paint, and so forth.
That a work contains an emotion does not mean that that property is what does the evocation, either. We may not be moved a hair by a novel in which great tribulations are overcome by the protagonist. Such works may be called cold, but are just as likely to be seen as ineffective, or as detached. Though it is correct to say that some work has the quality of satisfaction one may feel none, or any other emotion, due to the work itself. The artist might even be aiming at having the audience examine an emotion from a detached standpoint. And poor execution may arouse contempt or confusion or dislike in the audience, but this is not properly a property of the work qua artwork. The object of the emotion in this case is the artist, not her product, nor any aesthetic properties of the work.
Evocation is not the exclusive province of artworks, or even of artifacts, or even again of human society. That is not to say that the uninhabited places of the world have evoked emotions flying about willy-nilly, but that for one encountering an object or situation the evocation is interior to that experience. The particulars of that which is evoked depend on both the features of what is encountered and of the person experiencing it. It will be difficult to be saddened by the vitality of a healthy oak-tree. The tree may be experienced aesthetically, in the sense that its balance, form, and so forth may seem to hold significance even though it has not had symbols built into it. Thus the person saddened because she was intending to build where the oak is standing and will have difficulty removing it need not have the emotion evoked in her, except in the quotidian way that all emotions can be said to be “evoked” by something or other.
No special significance needs to be placed on the distinction between evocation of emotions by things' aesthetic properties and evocation by other properties. It was made merely to point out that an artwork qua art could bring out emotional reactions. Talk of mountains having aesthetic properties is talk we could analogize to talk of painted mountains having them, so that we could say, in a sense, that the real mountains are taken to be artworks; but this is not getting us further on with the present project.
The central point here is that it is a common phenomenon that one encounters a work of art and is not only able to recognize its properties but also to be moved by them. I take it that this is an important aspect of art, in respect of the significance we put on works that are not merely technically brilliant or subtle or complex or innovative or in general finely crafted (as these are labels applied literally instead of metaphorically) but are what is sometimes called powerful, moving, or even "evocative." Emotional reactions are not part and parcel of the interpretation of a work, yet neither are they wholly separate. Something about what properties a work has—and not just its history—creates in us a feeling response. The question now raised is, how does this occur?

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


la retourniere c'est moi

Actually I don't know what 'retournier' means. maybe nothing, maybe something silly... i'll take it. Here is a sketch hastily thrown together and delivered with only the usual self-consciousness about such things--a bit of my consciousness, poured out for you.

Midafternoon wanderings uncut
child minded I wandered this neighborhood
of houses and people and myself--
as it was in the California highlands
and Florida lowlands one day or another--
breezy blowing away the hum of machines I live in.
Sol-streaked dapples shaded grass leaves and needles

after a year why did I never
wander before I know not
(huddling under cover of walls, doorlocks)

This pebble just will not fall out of my sandal.

That hazy field of youth camps days in summers
saying 'yore' like crazy in my recollection
grasshoppers, tiny jaws digesting, fed the birds
like the cardinal sitting in the olive tree
helix trunk bent under productivity

Coming upon a park eyes open
the children so small, concentrated everything
(what is the world like from the thirty inch perspective?)

the pine trees old friends since four
the first home yard climbing out front
sticky with sap (worried proud mother
of the bald monkey climbing watches
warm sun memories calm comfort).

Fingers ridged, the prints palping, my
eyes glide past to the bark--
splits running stem to green.
Hello let me touch your skin
will you be here when I return
as you have before? Thank you.

What is that, asked later in mind,
my ears drowned out the breeze and now
silent bird wings
an insect's foot touches a blade of grass,
a giant metal drum
(for the biggest hobo cookout of all time)
property of... says the sign.

Shaded old streets there and back
(am I avoiding a certain address or two?)
school children now walking
hello, hello, hello mother, nice day out
peach-wearing hose-watering woman
nice day out, yes, hello and how are you?

Twelve again.
--and it was indeed at just that moment
when the light was so bright
eyes closed and heart open
world at the touch of a heart available
(she said, what I wouldn't give to feel that again)
feet working slowly. Past hedges

A journey brings us renewal and revelation, I think. If we're tired that's the price we pay for allowing stasis to slough off for a few moments, hours, or years. Through pain we are reborn. Through prices paid our transactions are complete. Through risks taken are rewards meted out. Only through experience is everything for which we can ever be grateful gained. There, here, then, now, those are all what we are and what we wish and dream and never were (but there is more yet to us beyond what merely is). When sadness overcomes us it passes through, and pain is just like it, and it passes its own way on; it has its own beauty that is a part of us, as well. How can we not be so happy, every single moment, so exstatic that tears of laughter stream down our cheeks, just for the chance to live?

Thank you, friends, thank you one and all. It is good to be back.

Evocation, part 1, or, Back to Work

There follows the first part of a paper written just this past month, and which has to do with the mediation of the qualia in experience, the strength of emotion in memory, and art (works and, a bit, per se). We recognize the lack of some thirty footnotes and any number of italicized passages where they appear in the original. At some point we may add them back in, but for now the limits of the medium take precedence. A note on interpretation: there is a misreading of Goodman contained herein, which does not detract from the overall point but which may be entertaining for interested readers to try to spot.

The purpose of this essay is to discuss the significance of and propose a (hopefully) novel account of certain phenomena connected to experiencing works of art. Whether my positive proposal is correct I shall not try to defend in detail (there is not space for such an argument here), though I will offer reasons why we may find it compelling. The phenomena I mean to focus upon are the emotional reactions people have to their encounters with or experiences of works of art. These are not merely, and are often not mainly, cognitive states in the usual sense—though there may be a cognitive component so that emotions may be said to be in one sense cognitive—but are best understood as full-blooded emotional responses in the quotidian sense. The thought I want to propose is that such emotional responses are, following and expanding upon some thoughts of Nelson Goodman's, a function of some sorts of artworks, which result not from mere symbols, but from their arrangements and the significance of such arrangements to us. That art may be a function is, I think, a good place to begin.
1. The cognitive account of art.
Goodman's Languages of Art lays out a theory of art as communicative. By this I mean that the symbolization of features of artwork, which are understood by those encountering the work (the audience), allows a figurative "reading" of the work. In so far as an artwork expresses, denotes, or represents properties, the work carries content which can be significant to the audience. Such content in manmade objects inheres in both dry accounting records and in abstract expressionist paintings and in tragic operas. That is the sense in which we should understand artworks as communicative, or as being vehicles for communication.
An artwork may represent something by being or containing a feature that is a symbol referring (denotatively) to that object, relation, or predicate. A picture might represent a mythical ideal of purity, with the symbol doing the main work of such representation being a unicorn; another might represent a well-known politician as a bird of prey. The politician is denoted by the symbol of the bird, but the picture is, to use Goodman's terminology, a bird-picture. To separate the sort of symbol (its usual representation) from what it represents-as is to say that "an object k is represented as a soandso by a picture p if and only if p is or contains a picture that as a whole both represents k and is a soandso-picture." The picture describes as it represents in representing-as.
Just in talking about artworks in such a way, as representing but not necessarily literally, we are also understanding special significance that is to be found in features of the works. Their representations, if they are analogous to descriptions, may be fixed by how we understand their symbols, which allows us to ascribe novel "descriptions" to what the works are about. In this way we are creating (some part of) the content of the artwork. To represent to politician as a bird of prey is to ascribe to him properties we may or may not have understood him to have in looking at a standard photographic portrait. We are applying a label to the object of reference, and in the example labeling the politician with the property of being predatory (as well as other properties, such as self-interestedness, which we might take to be implied by association). Applying the label in this novel way enables an artist to "elicit novel objects and connections" through her work. Any label may thereby be applied to any object, in an artwork.
In the second part of Languages of Art, Goodman concerns himself with the aesthetic properties of artworks and such works' expression of properties. A work will express a predicate when it both possesses metaphorically the property mentioned by the predicate and refers to that property (via denotation by its symbol(s)). Metaphorical possession of a property by a work consists in the artwork's being a sample of something with that property, which is ascribed to it literally per impossible. As a tailor's swatch is a sample of a weave, material, color, and so forth (but not of squareness), an artwork may be a sample of balance, contrast, motion, mystery, or happiness. The metaphorical as opposed to literal possession of a property consists in the property's being ascribed to the artwork in a novel application of the predicate "label" to the object, and where the label does not have literal application (barring ambiguity); on this account a painting of a guitar player, hunched seemingly disconsolately over his instrument, in blue tones, metaphorically possesses sadness—though of course this paint-encrusted object cannot be literally sad.
Goodman's account of metaphor, though difficult, can be sufficiently summarized for our purposes by saying that it is the novel application of a label to an object. A linguistic predicate is a label, and denotes some property; a label applied literally is such that the thing to which the label is applied actually possesses the property under some standard (or conventional, or traditional) definition of the predicate. The idea is that the extension of the set of things referenced by the label is dependent on a schema, a set of related labels grouped for classificatory purposes. An example with a color label would be 'red', where depending on whether red contrasts with 'non-red' or with 'yellow', 'green', etc.—the extension of 'red' is the objects which count as red in either case—but where the schema classifies objects into two sets in the former case, and more in the latter. A realm is the set of those things to which the schemata apply; in the example the realm is of colored things. Metaphorical application of a label consists in transferring a schema (and its associated labels) to a new realm—this has been done in jazz music, for instance—and instances of it, especially in novel metaphors are transfers of single labels to objects in a new realm—thus Buddy Bolden's jazz trumpet might be characterized as "red-hot." A metaphorical application of a label is still an actual application, and so—if the metaphor is successful—the object does indeed possess the property whose predicate denotes it: both literal and metaphorical possession of sadness, sublimity, turgidity, and contemptuousness are actual possession of these properties.
Needless to say, much of what art does symbolically is metaphorical rather than literal. Thus a book may possess vigor, its story ponderousness, and so forth, though the volume is slim and inert. But, if we take Goodman to be correct, metaphor is also not different in kind as a method of labeling from literal labeling, rather these are poles on a continuum. A novel application of a label, or even the invention of a new one, eventually (if it becomes common currency in a language) becomes less and less a classification of a fresh realm of objects than of a familiar one. Thus the metaphor eventually becomes frozen into literal application. Expression, perhaps the most prominent feature of artworks, is generally just of what properties a work possesses (exemplifies) metaphorically.
Our classifications of things divide the world up so that we can talk about the things in it, and metaphor provides an ever-evolving method of discovering new ways to understand what is all around us. An artwork communicates to us through the symbols we find in it, and though our understanding of the work by our application of labels both literally and metaphorically to it. A novel may tell a story, but it may also communicate to us a way of understanding a situation, person, action, or a kind of one of these or other things. A cubist painting may communicate a novel way of looking at the world, as well as the possibility of endless new ways of seeing, and it does so by its initially jarring use of shape and perspective. Tragic arias can communicate not just the suffering of the characters but the aesthetic qualities of archetypal familial relations and the seeming inevitability of loss in a world overshadowed by uncaring fate. Encountering a bust of one's ancestor may bring about a new appreciation of history in a descendant by being a symbol of the importance of memory. Art, whatever else it does in addition to this or in exclusion of it, functions as a medium for communication between the artist and audience, and between an audience member and herself. One might even go so far as to suggest that art functions as non-literal communication, but that is territory we have only time to visit.

[Update. See the rest at parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.]


late ftrnoon

hey allz slanty sunlite thru me windows n freshhhh summer breeziz thru me flat. how come tha sung harmony been gettin 2 mes lately?

lil' max + relax sunday, plus acoustic guitar and fem+male harmonies. specificully low and gillian welch. chucklin' chucklin' all afternoon, all. a good day, 2day, an' a great lyric:
over tha hills, over tha dell, over the fine line
over tha sand, over tha plan, over tha empire
and if i belong, then i'll be longer than xpected
and if im wrong, the mighty n strong will be rejected
im over the ocean
oh im over the ocean
and i mus' sing this song evry time i hears it. damn.

add'nlly, massive attack's 'dissolved girl' and portishead's 'it could be sweet' + 'wandering star'. btw, wtf re: that 'house' show? stealin' gud muzik 4 like an ok drama whatevs tha's teh lame. har. o shitz also a funny funny thing about my fave car here n here. 's romanticle. har agin.


Please remove all references to that Adam Sandler movie from your mind. Thank you. The first thing to say is....

The second thing to say is, "[this comment deleted because it was so cliche as to be embarassing. --f.]."

Enough being clever. Fuck it. I woke up at something like 7:09 today. I was up until about quarter-to-4 last night. What does that tell you? Well, I'm at least discombobulated. (Ob. Seinfeld 'bobulated' ref.) So a friend mentions a party basically a few blocks from my house that was driven by last week but no one was there; therefore the party has to be this week, right? Library sciences, a charming bunch, and fortunately not the sorts whose research pursuits philosophers have anything to say about. Having big mouths, we tend to really do a number on psychologists, sociologists, writers, etc., and act like nincompoops when confronted with physicists, chemists, and so forth. Basically historians, technical disciplines, and actually now I'm out of other fields that we have nothing to feel touchy and arrogant toward. But so library sciences: we like books, they know where they are. (NB: that last line was a lot funnier with a bunch of liquor in my stomach early last night, and it seems to have shriveled in the light of day; so, now, we say "Fuck you, funny man, that sucks" and hear our own words...) Genuinely interesting, funny, etc. people I met there, though one can never tell how soon that rubs off.

Extra-self-referential note to self: what the fuck is up with my grammar today? I think I may have accidentally woken up drunk after apprx. 4 hrs. sleep.

The hostess (is that word still allowed? or is it like 'actress') was amazing. I mean, I had the...what's that term...I don't even know. Just a sort of like radar homing device of some sort that unexpectedly came on in my head. This radar is situated directly between the fore and aft sections of the brain, just north of the Hypothalamus, so I guess it's directly between the memory cortext areas. So for like two hours I was sort of meeting and greeting. Got into a philosophy conversation which, fortunately, Dan and Todd didn't let me hijack (I was being more obtuse than usual anyway, due to the loud beeping in my brain). For some reason it seemed like a good idea to volunteer to drink a 40oz malt beverage under the brand name "Colt .45"--I don't know if you've ever heard of this product, but anyway I was definitely not feeling any pain except in the usual everyday sense (yada yada complain whine obsess complain).

There followed a sort of strange conversation, carried out in the midst of what were, to be honest, somewhat frustrating circumstances. (This is probably a good thing.) She sort of reminded me of someone and I was sure I'd met her before. I didn't know where. She seemed to take my complements as either (a) insincere, or (b) misguided due to my ignorance of her, her life, etc. and so forth etc. etc. It's certainly true enough that I don't. A very, as someone said, "meta" conversation about a variety of things which aren't worth repeating since the context to make sense of what was said can't be reproduced. But so anyway I ended up getting both her phone digits and her blog. This is new to me--not the number, the blog addy. Is this the new dating etiquette? Use an external storage device to create a sort of persona and a set of memories and experiences and thoughts and set them loose upon the earth to wreak their havok and then to send people to view them in order to get to know you...

And I was just thinking about the word 'smitten'. Does anyone still use that word regularly? I'm smitten. Try saying that. ... Yeah, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Smitten. I was walking home, late, a guy asked me how far it was to the next municipality (about three quarters of a mile), I realized my feet were barely touching the concrete of the sidewalk and cobblestone streets. This is new for me, I mean, really unexpected. Who'd have thought that shit happens to actual people and not just ones filmed on celluloid sixty years ago. I feel like a fool writing this; what's worse (I mean, if I still have a handle on objectivity at all) I don't care. The meta conversation just mentioned really opened my eyes to the weirdness of interaction between people in a media-saturated age. I mean, the sort of corny things you say--all true, but still--when you're kissing someone sound leaden to even your own ears. You think "Oh my god, did I really just say that? Who wrote this crap? What's the next line? *beat, beat, dialogue* No, no no. Fire the script editor!" It's self-conscious. Because we all know the story even before we're in it. Life becomes a series of scripted exchanges with little real feeling behind them, and the real feeling becomes distorted by the running critical commentary one has that tracks along with everything you do and tells you it's unoriginal to the point of hackneyed matinee-level eyeball-rolling worthlessness.

But really now, who in the world does everything in a manner so different from eveyone else as to be entirely original? I don't even think it's possible to be that "authentic". (Don't get me started. Some of my friends have been hashing out "authenticity" for a month without getting a good meal from it.) You suddenly and cruelly wish the person you were talking to didn't also know perfectly well what the scene setup was or, how it was going to play out. Then at least someone would get a bit of a rewarding experience. Immediately after that thought crosses into the brain, you sag under the weight of your own self-loathing and hopelessness, because surely no one else really views these things in the sort of jaundiced Cynic-Vision you do. Finally, there's a ray of hope. You just keep repeating and repeating and repeating, and suddenly you're not just saying things that are true anymore: you believe them, without the stupid self-doubt, without the fear, without the questions and little lies you use to paper over the things you wish you didn't notice, without the meta. Just pure being-with, enjoyment of the Other as familiar, exotic and simultaneously comforting, a puzzle-piece matched to another.

Like a drug really. Still floating. Will the crash come? Well, the last thing one wants to think is "yes", and then as you avoid thinking it the thought becomes the reality, because it's all mental and the avoiding is really not-avoiding, because you can't remember the old trick of forgetting what you don't want to think about, because you're trying so hard to forget. But why not keep it going--leave the rather terrible reality of the last six months or so of your life and move into a new (real) universe where people can give a shit about you in a more than totally selfish way (ob. Ex. ref. sorry but I get more and more bitter as I get further and further away). It could be nice, and it'll surely be different for what that's worth. Ramble ramble. [edits.]

A summary, you say? Fine, here we go. Met a woman. She's great. Now I have to do the dating thing. Thing? Yes, thing. (apologies, too much Seinfeld recently) I hate hate hate dating. But my desires (and not, thank you very much, the baser ones that we all acknowledge must be there as well, lurking) will push me to make the attempt. Damn but I hate "dating." But then, she's worth it. Will she ever read this? That could be embarassing... or, ha ha, charming. I don't know or care. Maybe I can institute a policy of blunt honesty from the beginning this time. One rock in the road: her name is the same as my sister's. Is that creepy? There were like three of them at that party. Well, I'm not going to make an issue of it (worry worry).

I think I need music to drown out my brain now. *wistful sighing, remembering* Oh, and she likes NIN. I'm in heaven. Oh and I remembered where I met her before. That's another story, I think.


Elliot Smith

Where have you been all my life?

Apologies, constant reader, but I've just obtained januarygirl's ES discs (three of 'em, too!). gdog is even as we speak burning them. Must listen and write.

Transmission repeats.


Weather Report

Drunkenness is the norm for the season; expect a slow-moving front to settle in overnight.



Ugh. Kind of (mostly) creepy come on from HS-graduate females. To explain: Friday=1. Arthur's (omigod, i ate pork, yech--but it was sooooo tasty--but pork--but nothing you're going to hell for i tho'; also: green beans+5 pepper sauce equals delish) 2. Kyle's (and boy has his house-mate, whats-his-name, been incensed with all of us referring to it as 'Kyle's House' right in front of him) 3. Dickson's for poker, poker, poker (I am el winnero.) 4. Dave's (same place as Kyle's but with fewer people as it is now 2:30am) 5. vitamins and H2O. Saturday=6. Congratulations! (you are eligible to receive a bunch of grading for the classes you taught this semester, so act now) 7. Garage sale by Kate&Graham and another dude who shall remain nameless (goodbye poker $ hello bookshelves/bjork video/lamp/etc.) 8. Deadwood, Deadwood, Deadwood (when will season the deuce come to video!???!!!tirednumberjoke!?! *fiend* *fiend*) 9. Cathy's (law school guy there, seemed nice, also stuffy as hell and short on conversation, oh well) 10. Tequila (anejo only please) 11. Esquire (holy hell where did all these people come fr.) 12. Late-nite party Armands told us about @ which he DJs (dammit yes you han have that $20 bottle of wine I wasn't going to drink it anyway you baggy-pants-wearing jerk-offs) 13. ...are those HS girls? yes they are, I think (boy can they drink/flirt/dance/flirt with me/what the hell are those two doing in the corner of the kitchen for like actually 2 hours I'm not even kidding/why hello there--can you say, sweaty and unable to lift my legs, oh yes you are from Wis. how interesting--no you can't rest your hand there thanks/it's a "going away" party/yes well okay now i feel sort of creepy/where are your friends/oh you have to go gee that's too bad/don't look now i'm dancing don't dance by me/good riddance though the left testicle is kind of wishing not so much) 14. vitamins and H2O. Now it's Sunday and I'm home, TGIH.

Gute Nacht.


Subterranian lovesick blues

Or, actually, sick-of-love blues, or something. Long, boring post.

This is usually gdog's turf, but I occasionally listen to the poplar music as well; I'm down with what the kids these days are buying. Okay maybe not.

But and so (constant reader: no, I can't help it, that bastard DFW's made me annoying as hell to read) after an odd conversation with my Ex a couple of weeks ago, I realized that losing hope has certain consequences. We had a habit of talking through a great many things, and have remained friends, after a fashion. Which, when you consider that we're still in the same apartment, is for the best all around. Otherwise she probably would have stabbed me already, or at least one of us would've been driven to violence. We get on one another's nerves. After four years--now four and a half--of living with/being with someone, you get to know what buttons are the hottest. If you're of a mind to push them (read: grouchy, hung over, etc.) things go south quickly. Yes, I know I should move out (blah blah excuses, lease responsibility, private financial info), but I have until August and then we'll both have this load off our psyches.

So I had been holding out hope of getting back together. Even though I've been on the new SO lookout already. For reasons that don't need going into, the re-up is not going to happen, and previously I heartily if only intellectually agreed that this was the case. Letting go of love is hard, in a way that those who have had to do it know about, and that the rest of you should at least be glad you haven't had to try. Saying to myself and her that I had been hoping let me let it go. It's certainly not fair to either of us for me to have that hanging over me and all my interactions with her. It's not authentic (ha ha) or, really, anything but pathetic.

I'm not wallowing in the past anymore. Didn't someone say we must learn from the past, but not allow it to occupy our minds? You can't live in the present or face the future if you're walking backwards and your eyes are looking over the path you've traveled. Give up. Give up, give up, give up, give up. Or, as Mr. Durden says, "Let go!"

I wrote a goodbye, but no one gets too look at it. I think a respiration metaphor was involved. Also the movies "Purple Butterfly" and "Last Life in the Universe." So anyways I've been listening to "Still" a lot. It's the NIN disc that was a bonus on the deeeeeelux ed. of "And All That Could Have Been." Note to Mr. Reznor: why couldn't you just admit it was a demo/outtake disc? "Rarities" my ass. Great disc tho'. Amazon has definitely done a lot for my music collection, if not my wallet. Along w/the new one and the first album, I've had a great soundtrack for my wallowing. But since I'm putting an end to it, why not ditch the music? Well, first, it's too good to ditch, and second, I am the type who gets catharsis though musical extacy (in the old sense). Externalize the emotion, recognize it, analyze it, deal with it.

So here are some random lyrics, since I can't seem to get Panopticon to so much as leave me a note this month. Not sure what she's up to.
There is no place I can go, there is no way I can hide,
It feels like it keeps coming from the inside...

[this one's dedicated to our philosophically oriented editor]
What if everything around you isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at you reflection, is that all you want to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself afraid to see?
What if all the world's inside of your head,
Just creations of your own?
The devils and your guns, all the living and the dead,
And you really are alone?...
[with regard to jealousy]
It looks as though the past is here to stay
I've become a million miles
Why do you get all the love in the world?
I am the hate you try to hide (and I control you)
I am the truth from which you hide (and I control you)
Mister self-destruct
You've got me workin' so hard lately
If I was twice the man I could be I'd be half of what you need
Anything you ask you know I'll do
This one act of consecration is what I ask of you
Sever flesh and bone, offer it to me
[yeah, that's a little creepy, but listen to the whole song, dammit]
It's a part of me, it's inside of me
I'm stuck in this dream, it's changing me
The me that you know, he has some second thoughts
The me that you know, he doesn't come around much
That part of me isn't here anymore
No escape from this, my new consciousness
I still recall the taste of your tears
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore
Scraping through my head, 'til I don't wanna sleep anymore
You make this all go away
I'm down to just one thing, I'm starting to scare myself
This thing is slowly taking me apart
Grey would be the color if I had a heart
I just want something
I just want something I can never have
[anger, perhaps spiteful, sure]
You can try to pretend
But you can't change anything in the end
Don't you fucking know what you are?
There is no God up in the sky tonight
No sign of Heaven anywhere in sight
All that was true is left behind
Once I could see, and I am blind
Don't want the dreams you try to sell
This disease I give to myself
How does it feel?
Suck suck suck

This reminds me that I'm probably becoming bitter. So be it, I'll keep it under control. Ah, out-of-context quotation.
Try to fade in the snow
You will find me here
Ice is drawing me forth
I am locked in my head
Please take this and run far away
Far away from me
The two of us were never meant to be
All these pieces and promises and left-behinds
I feel all that could have been
Flew too high and burnt the wing
Too fucked up to care anymore

[whew. feeling better. :) ]
Made the choice to go away
[fatalism, hope, redemption, looking ahead anyway]
Ocean pulls me close
Whispers in my ear
The destiny of choice
All becoming clear
The currents have their say
And I descend from grace
In arms of undertow
The clouds will part and the sky cracks open
And God himself will reach his fucking arm through
Just to push you down, just to hold you down
It didn't turn out quite the way that you wanted it

Thanks T. Reznor. Goddamn "Fight Club" one-liners popping into my head like a burnt-out hobo guru propaganda loudspeaker: "Losing all hope is freedom." Whatever. More like: get on with it, dickwad.

Mmm, this post had better end before I just go to ridiculous heights of autoflaggelation.



dylan, dylan, dylan. feelin' good. these 2 goes out 2 my friend thoth. he's had a ruff tyme since about halloween, but methinks he's up n running. spring n all, pulling it back. growf, renewal, and so on n so on and bygones n bygones.

goodbys friends o' younger dayz ('bob dylan's dream'):
w/half-damp eyes i stared to the room
where my friends n i'd spent many an afternoon
where we together weathered many a storm
laughin' an' singin' 'til the early hours of the morn
well alone an' nothin' and we're satisfied
jokin' an talkin' about the world outside

never much thought we could get very old
we thought we could sit forever in fun
our chances really was a million to one

as easy it was to tell black from white
it was all that easy to tell wrong from right
and our choices they was few
so the thought never hit
that the one road we traveled
would ever shatter or split
now many a year has passed and gone
a gamble has been lost and won
and many a road taken by many a first friend
and each one i've never seen again

i wish iwhich in vain
that we could sit simply in that room again
ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat
i'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that
and fi's also lissinin' t' his version of the best goodbye ever, 'don't think twice, it's alright'. slightly mod. lyrics:
well it aint no use to sit and wonder why babe
if'n you dont know by now
and it aint no use to sit and wonder why babe
it'll never do somehow
when your rooster crows at the break of dawn
look out your window and i'll be gone
you're the reason i'm a travelin' on
but don't think twice its alright
and it aint no use in turnin on your light babe
the light i've never knowed
and it aint no use in turnin on your light babe
i'm on the dark side of the road
but i wish there was something you would do or say
to try an' make me change my mind an' stay
but we did way to much talkin' anyway
but don't think twice its alright
so it aint no use in callin out my name gal
like you never done before
and it aint no use in callin' out my name gal
i cant hear you anymore
i'm a thinkin' and a wonderin'
walkin' down the road
i once loved a woman, a child i am told
i gave her my heart but she jus' hurt my soul
but dont think twice it's alright
so long, honey baby
where i'm bound i cant tell
goodbye's too good a word babe
so i'll just say fare thee well
i aint a'sayin you treated me unkind
you coulda done better but i don't mind
you just kinda wasted my precious time
but don't think twice, it's alright
thx b. dylan, w. guthrie.