26th birthday

Dreampepper

n: vb: the spice of imagination

artpost: a moment of singularity
geigerteller
porphyre




LIGHT is TIME


The installation is comprised of 80,000 main plates, (the main movement plate that forms the foundation of all watches), suspended in the air like a frozen rain of intricately crafted gold coins. It makes me think of cinematic bullet-time but also of mythical places, as if this room were found during one of Sinbad's adventures.

Found via FeelDesain.




"You don’t remember that part in the Bible where saints and devils do battle using neon lasers?"
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porphyre


Dan Hernandez, Seige of Intelari Stronghold, 2013, mixed media on panel.


Via ArtNews.com: "Dan Hernandez’s gilded faux-frescoes at Kim Foster Gallery might help jog your memory. In them, genres from the recent and distant past collide with surprising ease—the mixed-media works recall Renaissance and Byzantine art and vintage video games in equal parts."

written the week before the water fountain
26th birthday
porphyre


"We mistake sex for romance. Guys are taught that pushing a girl up against a wall is romance. Sex is easy; you can do it with anyone, yourself, with batteries. Romance is when someone you like walks into a room and they take your breath away. Romance is when two people are dancing and they fit together perfectly. Romance is when two people are walking next to each other and all of a sudden they find themselves holding hands, and they don't know how that happened."

― John C. Moffi



There are different kinds of happiness, different breeds of comfort. I have always understood that. But while most are thin and pale, nearly unsatisfying, some rare types pull light from the sky. They bite the sun like a warm fruit. You and I, we could one day be the latter, we have a chance at that, to blaze and remake everything we've ever wanted better or unbroken.

Why build a narrative while we're still moonlight? Because underneath, fire, the reflected light of what we both know we could eventually build. We could be something I had forgotten, though I've seen it in others, an alloy neither of us have found before but both instinctively understand is stronger than anything we've ever known.

I think of you often, conjuring you accidentally in small gestures, like the desire to send you links I know you would appreciate, and sometimes I dream of you, too. Pretty dreams of small things. We explore a burned out house together. There's a mirror at the top of the stairs and you touch your finger to where my nose is reflected. Our eyes meet in amusement during a conversation with someone else. You toss your hair. We ride to cities neither one of us have been to. I mock complain about my leather pants and you tease me about my ass. I find the letter you wrote for me and hid in the Portland hotel.

I wake feeling like you miss me and wonder if you'll call before I'm conscious enough to know you won't.

The word root of passion is suffering. I wish it were a lesson we have not learned so well.

Occasionally I am furious at the people who hurt you. Occasionally I am furious at myself for not being able to be as shockingly transparent to you as you can be to me.

Mostly I just miss you.

Your smile, your sweet unbearable smile, and that two tequila promise we didn't cash in. The way you tilted your head when you wanted to be seen, when you wanted to be called on your adorable mischief, secretly desperate to be caught. The way you shied away from seriousness, even as you threw yourself towards my kiss, even as you knew that you were making a small pledge every time you met my lips, I can be trusted, to match mine, this will be good. Smoke, mirrors, and then you at the center, ethics and anarchy and complicated in all the ways I love best, waiting, wanting me to find you, hoping and dear. You were such a surprise! Such a pure and wonderful surprise.

""I will love you forever"; swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. "I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday" - Is that still as easy?"

- W.H. Auden


The beach was chilly, the stars unexpectedly sharp, the water quiet. We walked through the sand, the wind and night, sweeping it all in with a certain hesitant delight, and I was the witch Cassandra prophecying fear. We agreed that we would need patience with the same. That the hardest part would be holding onto that glimmering future flame, trusting that our fears would pass and we would be better for it. That we could do more than survive, but thrive as well, as long as we held fast and remembered that we would be okay.

Yet the simpler path was to fold. So you took it, the timing the worst it could be, because isn't that how it always is? I can't blame you. I believe my life prepared me for this and for you while yours did not prepare you for me. I know what your fear must be like. Feeling vulnerable sets off my fight or fight response. My terror is gigantic, a shaft cut through my heart that reaches to the center of the earth. All I can do is shake, hating it and myself for having it. You've seen it, the hyper-vigilance, my pupils pinpricks, how overwhelming and physical it is. (You are, in fact, the only one who has.) But not only can I weather such things, I understand that the only cure is more of the same - in vivo exposure therapy, trauma erased through positive reinforcement with care on either side. Hardship forces growth, but support fosters the blossom.

As I soaked in the the coruscating landscape of San Francisco from the top of Grizzly Ridge during one of the last days of twenty:thirteen, someone set off illegal fireworks from the side of the hill near where I sat with my friend. I thought of you and the ones you were planning and I flooded with appreciation for absolutely everything. The warmth within me was new and I knew it was yours, a gift you had incidently given me. The crackling, criminal explosions became my strength, both a reality and a metaphor, a person and a place, and I held onto your memory then and I laid it over top of my pain. I catalogued my flaws, I examined yours. Even with that dreadful math, for the first time in a very long time, the good outweighed the bad. And I knew, somehow, no matter how terrified we might become, no matter how many times we would plunge into fear and have to wait, have to heal from what came before, we would eventually be fine.

Even now, months since you ran, pulling behind you a cloak of everything you never wanted to be plus some, I still believe that to be true. You hurt me. Spectacularly. I can't deny that. But that's short term. Days are long, but years are short.

I remember the glimmer, I still acknowledge the flame.

So you. Writer, anarchist, lover of art, programmer to the people, equal, dreamer, every-man, king. You are still welcome in the shelter of my heart. And I want you to know you can always come back.

The door is always open, I will always be your friend.

TODAY'S REQUIRED READING: How Julian neutralized himself from the game
26th birthday
porphyre
Julian Assange's ghost writer broke his silence about the failed autobiography with an incredible, very personal essay: Ghosting.

asked him if he had a working title yet and he said, to laughter, ‘Yes. “Ban This Book: From Swedish Whores to Pentagon Bores”.’ It was interesting to see how he parried with some notion of himself as a public figure, as a rock star really, when all the activists I’ve ever known tend to see themselves as marginal and possibly eccentric figures. Assange referred a number of times to the fact that people were in love with him, but I couldn’t see the coolness, the charisma he took for granted. He spoke at length about his ‘enemies’, mainly the Guardian and the New York Times.

[...]

But he was also losing touch with promises he had made and contracts he’d signed. His paranoia was losing him support and in a normal organisation, one where other people’s experience was respected and where their value was judged on more than ‘loyalty’, he would have been fired. I would have fired him myself if I hadn’t been there merely to help him straighten out his sentences. But his sentences too were infected with his habits of self-regard and truth-manipulation. The man who put himself in charge of disclosing the world’s secrets simply couldn’t bear his own. The story of his life mortified him and sent him scurrying for excuses. He didn’t want to do the book. He hadn’t from the beginning.

[...]

I interviewed Julian in stolen hours in the middle of the night, in the backs of cars and at my house in Bungay, while Harry gathered childhood material, but we knew we were up against it. Canongate was keen to publish before the summer and had no idea, despite my warnings, how unwilling Julian was. Caroline, his agent, believed he still wanted to produce the book but I knew he didn’t: I’d seen the lengths he would go to get on another topic, and knew he’d rather spend hours Googling himself than have his own say in the pages of his autobiography. I’d come into this fascinated by the ‘self’ aspect of it all, but the person whose name would be on the cover had both too much self and not enough. Still, we staggered on.


Ever feel you dodged a bullet? The relationship between O'Hagan and Assange remained friendly even as the book deal collapsed, but Assange apparently "forgot what a writer is, someone with a tendency to write things down and seek the truth" so I suspect that probably changed when this was published. Does anyone know? Was there a follow-up?

TODAY'S REQUIRED WATCHING: the shock when their lips meet
26th birthday
porphyre

FIRST KISS from Tatia Pilieva.

Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva asked twenty people to kiss for the first time. It sounds simple, but the effect is incredible. I am overwhelmed by how sweet it seems.




The cast includes models Natalia Bonifacci, Ingrid Schram, and Langley Fox; musicians Z Berg of The Like, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Justin Kennedy of Army Navy, singer Nicole Simone, and singer-actress Soko (of the indie music that accompanies the short); and actors Karim Saleh, Matthew Carey, Jill Larson, Corby Griesenbeck, Elisabetta Tedla, Luke Cook, and Marianna Palka.

Music: SOKO - We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow

TODAY'S REQUIRED WATCHING: The best (and feminist!) burlesque
26th birthday
porphyre

Nadia Kamil Does Burlesque

the 24 hour road trip: wherein things take a turn for the stephen king
26th birthday
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  • On March 3, 2014, Kickstarter passed $1 billion in pledges.

    Thankfully there was an exit near with a visible gas station, so I limped the car into their parking lot, examined the shocking damage, and began to text people. "Can you send me the address of a tire shop?" It wasn't repairable. A significant chunk of the tire had come off like something huge and vicious had taken a bite out of the black rubber. There were practically teeth marks. It smoked.

    A truck pulled into the gas station while I was pulling the spare out of the trunk, the sort of pick-up that farm types drive, all roll bars and massive, with a big front winch. Two large men got out who matched the truck. "Ah! People with real tools," I thought. I was right. I asked if they had anything that could help and they offered me pneumatic tools to remove the bolts, then helped yank the broken wheel off and put the spare on. I hugged one of them in awkward thank you, then asked where I should go next to get a real tire.

    Both the people I texted came through with an address for a tire shop and the direction the good old boys pointed me in seemed to match the direction I was meant to go, so I set off into the wet, soggy landscape, following the GPS as it mysteriously led me west.

    This was a mistake. I should have immediately turned around and tried again. The buildings dropped away, leaving me driving through progressively emptier territory. I didn't worry, I was sure the GPS would tell me to turn left soon. I had been making good time, traffic had been light, and good people and adventures were waiting for me in Seattle.

    Then I realized that I hadn't seen any sign of civilization since the fruit-stand I passed ten minutes ago. Where did the other cars go? Why hasn't the GPS told me to turn? The satellites should know better than I do, but stories of people who turned down train tracks following their GPS directions started coming to mind. I double and triple checked the address and input it again. I started texting people, casting for assurance and telling them where I was.

    "That's not right," came the replies, "You're going entirely the wrong way." Well damn. But precisely as those messages came in, the GPS instructed me to turn. Relief! But right? Not left? Well fine, North. Not the way I wanted to be going, but at least it was a better direction. Perhaps this would turn out to be the only back-road that traveled alongside the I5 for as far as I needed to go. (Perhaps, given enough time, I could construct any number of reasons why I should trust the on-board computer, yet still be wrong.)

    My friends tried to shepherd me, but it was too late - I had already entered the Twilight Zone. The GPS instructions led to me a copse of trees the size of a city block and took me in a circle around it. I was about to ditch when I noticed a small track leading into the trees. Barely a road, but it seemed that was the turn I had missed that the computer was taking me around for. On the off chance that there was an unlikely old tire shop in the middle of the woods, I turned down the track. I might as well! I had already come this far. Why take off before getting to the bottom of the mystery?

    I decided this was ill-advised as soon as the car was enclosed by the trees. There was no way to turn around, branches were gently brushing both sides of the car, and if it wasn't someone's driveway that I was now stupidly creeping up, I would have to suck it up and back out. I would probably, mercy forbid, even have to endure the awkward experience of accepting directions through text message. A couple of minutes later, though, and the trees opened up into a clearing with a building in the middle.

    When I say it was a building, really what I should say is that in the middle of the clearing was a massive clapboard barn with white flaking paint that had been converted into a church topped with a sharp metal cross. I stopped the car dead as soon as I saw it. Then the GPS intoned YOU HAVE NOW REACHED YOUR DESTINATION. I blinked. How.. ominous. What the hell, GPS? You trying to get me killed? That church felt like the creepiest possible thing I could have found. Or so I thought until a hawk suddenly ducked out of the sky and scooped a rabbit out of the grass in front of me in a spray of blood!

    For the record, I am not a superstitious person in absolutely any way. But I am a writer. I know my tropes. As far as I was concerned, that hawk was the last straw. I've seen that movie and I know how it ends. It does not go well, especially for girls, and especially, especially not for city girls with ridiculous hair.

    So no, I did not go up to the church and ask for directions and risk being kidnapped into an 80's horror novel. The entire world was telling me to fuck that noise, so that's precisely what I did. I noped right out of there, went to the fruit-stand and had them write me new directions down on a tourist map of the area like a reasonable person. I followed that, got to the tire place, had the tire replaced, turned my music up loud, then drove straight to Ballard, two hours late yet weirdly relieved.

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    the 24 hour road-trip: the way it began
    26th birthday
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  • Rent the St Pancras Clock Tower Guest Suite on AirBnB.

    The invitation to Seattle arrived while I was in the middle of helping put together a six person dinner. "The onesie-themed birthday bar crawl rides again tomorrow!" It was already 9 o'clock at night. The chicken had been cooked, people had food on their plates. Wine was being poured, conversation crackled through the room, but I knew I had to start planning. I deeply regretted missing it last year, so how could I resist? I had less than 24 hours, but Seattle isn't that far, not really. It takes as long to drive as a good film. Ah, but only if you're driving. The bus schedules are another matter and I had unshakable plans for Sunday afternoon. A volunteer shift, a piano lesson. And I had no car.

    So I sent out feelers; I posted to Facebook, I messaged some friends. I worked to the soundtrack of verbal jousting, of new people crookedly thrown into a room together. I twanged the strings of the web while the dinner party continued until late became early until around 4 o'clock in the morning, my efforts delivered. I had a borrow car. I could drive to Seattle and come back the next day. It was just as much success as I needed, no more, no less. So I went. I took a quick nap on Claire's couch, then I collected the car, popped home for overnight sundries, and left.

    The right rear tire exploded somewhere just past Mt. Vernon. The weather had been inclement, rain and sleet and dry flakes of snow that swirled above the highway like a mystical fog, so I had been extra careful of the road. No matter, there was a bang and the car jumped, sliding a little like it had been pushed by a giant hand of strong wind. The white car behind me flashed their lights as I slowed, looking for a safe place to pull over, then came up beside me and rolled their window down to shout at me at 70 miles an hour. I looked over at the driver as we rolled out windows down. "You're in my way!" I thought, "I need that lane to pull over!" But I turned off my music to hear him better over the wind of our transit anyway. "Your back tire blew!" he shouted. "Thank you!" I shouted back, equal parts glad that he took the effort and amused that he was blocking my only path to safety.

    Thankfully there was an exit near with a visible gas station, so I limped the car into their parking lot, examined the shocking damage, and began to text people. "Can you send me the address of a tire shop?" It wasn't repairable. A significant chunk of the tire had come off like something huge and vicious had taken a bite out of the black rubber. There were practically teeth marks. It smoked.

  • reduce your carbon footprint
    26th birthday
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    WE ATE THE BIRDS
    by Margaret Atwood

    We ate the birds.
    We ate them.
    We wanted their songs to flow up
    through our throats and burst out of our mouths,
    and so,
    we ate them.

    We wanted their feathers
    to bud from our flesh.
    We wanted their wings,
    we wanted to fly as they did,
    soar freely
    among the treetops and the clouds,
    and so we ate them.

    We speared them,
    we clubbed them,
    we tangled their feet in glue,
    we netted them,
    we spitted them,
    we threw them onto hot coals,
    and all for love,
    because we loved them.

    We wanted to be one with them.
    We wanted to hatch out of clean,
    smooth, beautiful eggs,
    as they did, back when we
    were young and agile and innocent
    of cause and effect,
    we did not want the mess of being born,
    and so we crammed the birds
    into our gullets,
    feathers and all,
    but it was no use,
    we couldn’t sing,
    not effortlessly as they do,
    we can’t fly,
    not without smoke and metal,
    and as for the eggs we don’t stand a chance.

    We’re mired in gravity,
    we’re earthbound.
    We’re ankle-deep in blood,
    and all because we ate the birds,
    we ate them a long time ago,
    when we still had the power to say no.
    Tags: ,

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    • Tue, 20:07: RT @aedison: I saw the best processors of my generation used to model the intricacies of avian flight.
    • Tue, 20:08: RT @aedison: Reminder that advocates of incrementalism are usually the people hurt the least by delaying the giant leaps our society needs …
    • Wed, 02:23: “It never gets better and you never get used to it.” http://t.co/S7WoozPO6I












    • Tue, 19:47: 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression: Mental illness is a physical illness and they need help as much as if they had the flu.
    • Tue, 20:15: 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression: Depressed people need help as much as if they had a flu. http://t.co/Nz8zajX7Un
    • Wed, 01:31: Not feeling fucking inspired? Pick a fucking new one. (An adult adaptation of Oblique Strategies.) Still the best! http://t.co/A3hpys9KYY
    • Wed, 01:31: Bots Without Borders (robots helping humanitarian causes) has 27 days left to their IndieGogo! http://t.co/iotFARuvF0










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    newspost: photos from the protests in the Ukraine
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    Business Insider: Ukraine Protest Pictures:

    "The crisis began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych snubbed a plan to sign an Association Agreement and trade pact with the EU after Russia persuaded the most populous former Soviet republic to stay in the Kremlin's orbit.

    Citizens subsequently flooded the streets and made Independence Square, aka Maidan, their base in central Kiev. The confrontations between the opposition and Yanukovych's government have been escalating since.

    On Wednesday, people poured back into Maidan to prepare for fresh clashes with police. (Here's a Maidan live stream.)"



    An anti-government protester gestures towards riot police during clashes in Independence Square in Kiev February 18, 2014.


    Kiev streets have been burning throughout the protests. On Tuesday, the Maidan was particularly alight. Leading to some incredible fireworks admid the violence.


    Protesters have used rocks, slingshots, catapults, and Molotov cocktails.
    While crude, the mixture of flammable liquid inside the bottle of a Molotov cocktail has proven very effective.


    An anti-government protester finds cover during clashes with riot police outside Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.


    An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014.

    artpost: I have stood in both these places
    26th birthday
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    The Ann Street Studio, Seeing New York:

    "As a photographer I show you the world through my lens on a daily basis. We all look at New York, she demands our focused attention. I’ve been thinking about the art of looking. The importance of focusing and what we see. This past March I bought a pair of Giorgio Armani frames in Geneva, classic per usual, and I decided to put them in front of the frame. To see what I see.

    To show you a day in New York through my lens…"






    For more cinegraphs, visit their website Ann Street Studio.

    “It never gets better and you never get used to it.”
    26th birthday
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    "I Left My Heart" SF Timelapse Project from Marc Donahue.



    I spent a week in the Bay area in January. I wanted to break myself open against it. Sink my teeth into life there. Accept its sly smile as a promise. It felt like the glossy magazine promise of the future is possible, obvious, and true and laid out in front of you, and even though there are many shadows, the core of everything seemed welcoming.

    (It was a harder visit than it would be usually - a dear friend to many of my dear ones took his own life the day I arrived, scattering chaos and grief and anger in every direction, cutting my community down at the knee. So while I danced along streets, declaring, "I'm here!", friends and friends of friends were coming together, many meeting for the first time, to clean away bone and blood and hair and mourn and grieve and scatter his ashes by the ocean. I was hopeless against the wave of sorrow that infected my community, (some of the people affected, oddly, were tied together by only me and him), so though I regret their absence, I was satisfied that I would see my friends when they were able to see me. Security fellow, burner, goth type, black nails and a brilliant, but depressed mind, I am extraordinarily sorry not to have met him. He must have been splendid, given the company he kept. I love them, after all, and they loved him, so he must be worth near anything.)

    San Francisco was slightly more beautiful than I could easily bear. The planes of the bones of the city reminded me of fire, especially from above, while the bridges were splendid hooks that tugged at my heart, magnificent as fuck, the sculpture of lights like a good rhythm that urged on my footsteps as I walked, nudging me into dance, pushing me to sing. I only flinched away from thoughts of Canada, of returning North, so I avoided it as much as I could. I wanted the city to be everything, fill my entire field of vision from the inside out. The rows of bright buildings, the windows a hundred thousand eyes gazing out upon the hundred thousand people walking by, that's what I wanted inside my head and heart. (The crowds were especially welcome after the sepia deserts of New Mexico.) It was like being in the middle of a massive, sparkling bubble bath where every bubble is another human life.

    I forgot my wallet at home, I was cat-called while I walked through bad parts of town, a bottle was smashed from a passing car at my feet, but it was all part of the flow, all part of being there. Present, relaxed. Whatever the future held, it would be better for having done this trip, to have more context to hold up against the darkness of my life to the North, have evidence that there is better, that it exists. If I could have, I would have brought San Francisco to my lips for a kiss.

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    like being slapped
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    Courtesy of Ursula Vernon of Digger.


    You know what's painful and awkward in the in-box? When you sweetly purchase a surprise Valentine for someone special right before they dump you, then the nice little Etsy shop you bought from sends you an adorable follow-up email the day after the holiday (which was difficult enough to get through without howling at the moon in the first place) which really nails home that, oh right, that happened, and also, ouch, because the recipient wasn't even polite enough to let me know if anything arrived, let alone give me information enough for feedback or a review.

    Hooray the future.

    Related Reading: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.

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    Make Peace: A Standard Operating Procedure
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    "I asked Julian Corrie to compose and perform a piece of bespoke music for antiquated hardware that I had turned into instruments then rigged together via MIDI."
    Polybius from James Houston. See also his Radiohead cover with hard-drives: Big Ideas (don't get any).



    I spend my work days writing processes. Instructions. Do this, then this. I write manuals and craft standard operating procedures. How to manage tasks, when to escalate issues, how to solve difficulties. Troubleshooting. I carry these skills within me. When I look at a problem, I see where the fault lines lie. I know where to gently lay on hands and where to sink my thumbs down to the bone. I am constantly being called upon to break enigmas open and rewire and disentangle where their threads went wrong. Communication as communion. Problems as Pietà.

    Meanwhile, people are terrible. They lash out at their dearest ones when they're angry, hurt or scared, which is as close to the opposite of ideal as is possible. And no one seems to know how to manage those emotional outbreaks. Even the smart, kind, and compassionate people end up in relationships with untenable conflicts and undeservedly crappy break-ups that leave wrecked humans and pools of misery in their wake. There are no handbooks or manuals. The best we have is The Golden Rule, do unto others how you would have them do unto you, which is fundamentally broken. It should be do unto others as they would have you do.

    So here is how to put a relationship down.

    -::-


    Explain Where It Hurts.

    Remember the template. "When you do X, it makes me feel Y." Keep it reasonable. Be specific. This is not a chance for accusations or recrimination, keep it fact based. Remember to stop to breathe if you find yourself using unfair, irrational, or hyperbolic words like "always" or "never". Review what you need to convey. Do not be passive aggressive or otherwise allergic to confrontation. You are showing where it hurts in order that those pains may be assuaged. You are not showing where it hurts in order to point blame.

    You're going to be emotionally vulnerable, which is scary, but that's the point. If you feel like an upset, quivering mess, accept it and move forward. Nothing is too petty if you're carrying it as pain. Cry if you have to or crack a joke, give yourself that, safety valves are important, but try to stay on topic. You are being responsible. You are explaining with a purpose. You don't hide a physical injury and expect it to heal, you treat it, and this is the same.

    (If you are dealing with someone who would be perfect if, put that down. That also counts as irrational. Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they would be and accept that you are dealing with what is, not what could be if.)

    Listen.

    Remember the template: Comprehend, Retain, Respond. Being an active listener does not mean being silent. You both need to have it clear that you are being understood. Repeat things back in your own words to make certain that you are both on the same page. Language, especially emotional language, is tricky. There is zero guarantee that you use vocabulary the same way, even when you feel an incredible rapport with someone, and you do not want your words to dry up. Whoever is speaking must know they are being heard. Paraphrasing their message is necessary as it both refines it and functions as a filter finder. When your interpretation does not match up to their message, that helps show where an assumption may have been clouding your communication and allows you to correct for it. It also leaves little doubt as to what is meant by what has been said.

    Accept what is being said. You're going to feel defensive. Someone you care about has just laid out how they feel you have contributed to their unhappiness. That sucks, but be aware of your knee-jerk defensive responses and swallow them. (If they get out, immediately follow with, "I'm sorry, that was unfair. I'm feeling vulnerable/threatened/whatever.") They are not rational, the same way "always" and "never" are irrational. Be honest and open up to what the other person is saying.

    You may feel that a lot of what they are saying isn't your fault. You might even be right, but that is not enough reason to interrupt them. A lot of this stuff is subjective and if you want to be understood, you have to be understanding of others, too. Suspend your judgement. Someone you care about is showing you they hurt, your first response should be to assist them.

    Own What You're Responsible For.

    Engage with the results of your actions. Do so with courage. Even when well meaning, no one is perfect. There is not an adult alive who has not hurt someone. Accept that your actions have had consequences. We have all wounded, disappointed or neglected someone we care for, even if by accident. Claiming responsibility does not necessarily imply that you must apologize, though you may wish to, even for things they may not have mentioned, but accepting and declaring awareness of the results of your actions.

    The key is to accept accountability where you see their observations have been accurate. Acknowledging both your mistakes and your rights are equally important. If you are not honest with yourself about what you need to say, you are effectively putting a band-aid on a broken bone. Do not accept blame you did not earn. Do not offer platitudes. Offer sincerity. Be loyal to yourself. Remember that you are working to seek atonement, to repair distress and make a new normal, one with less damage, not trying to "make it all better" in an effort to go back to "how it was". That was then, this is now. Show compassion. Allow yourself to be emotional, give yourself space for grief and fear, but own up. Accept your radiation and fall-out. Bite the sun.

    Validate.

    Appreciate and acknowledge how difficult this process is. Appreciate and acknowledge each other. Appreciate and acknowledge that you are both worth the effort. You are both valuable. Ratify your worth. Be present, avoid distance. Sit and hold each other, even if only in words. Take a two person shower, then go for dinner together somewhere nice. Show team work. Offer comfort. Allow sadness with care and compassion. Act as shelter.

    You liked each other, it didn't work out, that sucks, but it's okay, too, because you're leaving each other as unharmed as possible. You're following Campground Rules: leaving everything better than you found it. You are choosing a better future.

    This will be difficult, but so is cleaning the grime off a bathtub. Some chores suck, but they make your prospects better. Without a clean tub, a sweet, relaxing evening of candle-lit bubbles can't exist. This process is precisely the same. You are cleaning your past, the better to open your future options wider.

    Acknowledge The Good.

    Remember why you were together in the first place, confess that it was good. It's normal at the end of a relationship to focus on what didn't work, to look at it through a lens of pain or regret and devalue what happiness existed, but then you're rejecting the essential along with the inessential. You were together for a reason. You rocked, there was joy. Who you were together is going to be different than who you are apart, but that time helped create you. You care about what you're losing, so recognize it, don't invalidate the pleasure you shared. To discard that happiness robs you both of it.

    Share what you're going to miss. Share what you valued. There was a time, that distant memory, you sang together while making dinner, do you remember? (How did you get to painful here from charming and sweet there? Irrelevant.) It was glorious. You're a better person for it. So bask. Acknowledge the sex on the kitchen table. Acknowledge the surprise flowers at your desk at work. Remember when you believed the other wanted what was best for you. Concede that you are going to miss each other. Concede that the future is unknown, but the time you spent together mattered and that joy was yours.

    -::-


    And that's it. The important part is that you do it, that you invest in the end as much as you invested in any other part of the relationship, no matter its length or importance. That you grieve, give and receive respect, and go with grace.




    EDIT: This has gone mildly viral since I wrote it and thank you letters have been coming in from people from all over the world. Thank you so much, in return, for taking this to heart. Every one of you has given me hope.

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    no, even louder than that
    misery
    porphyre



    If you turn this up loud enough to shake the world, this is what it feels like to miss you.

    Cutting your nose off to spite your face
    misery
    porphyre


  • Love, Actuarially: How Mathematician Chris McKinlay hacked OKCupid to find the girl of his dreams.

    How typical. As soon as I begin to believe, it's over. I am a fool. My lover abandoned me the day before we were to go to Vegas together for a captivating weekend of circus and adventure.

    I asked for him to come anyway. If he needs to put this relationship down, I respect that need, but please respect mine, too. Let us do it together and with grace, with sympathy and care. End it with a whisper, I begged him, so that everything that came before could remain valid, so that the joy we found in our hearts in each other could stay alive, so that he would not have left a terrifying gulf of pain between us. My heart could remain connected to the world. We could stay open. We would still have undamaged space. He refused.

    Now there is nothing that does not hurt. I have been running through my entire catalogue of cognitive reprogramming devices to try and repair as rapidly as possible, but it is impossible to remove this much pain on pure "I said so" alone. And it hurts that I know that he isn't going to help me and it hurts to know that it is possible that his life never offered the compassion tools that teach a person how.

    (I imagine he might be the only person more sorry about this than I am. And making a decision one will regret for reasons that will pass will probably only make for more sorry over time.)

    Meanwhile, I try to stay distracted, the same way it's better to talk about anything but an injury when you have to walk on it. No downtime. No interstitial moments that aren't filled with something. Songs on repeat with lyrics or chord progressions I want to learn, playing Tetris-like repetition games while I mentally recite lists of scientific facts, "In order for nucleotides to..", or practice foreign languages, "Estoy desconsolada."

    There is only so much strength to this sort of knowledge. For such tricks to work, there need to be new associations, better associations, you need to have happier threads, spark your neurons with joy like forcing a new path through a forest. And I haven't had such a thing for a very long time, actual years, nothing could get in until I discovered our connection. Now that my only well has been poisoned, I am left without comfort. (Appalling, dire, it almost feels like life has reset back to quotidian norm.)

    So I called out to my social media networks, asking if there was anyone who could come with me. It felt unnatural, but it was all I could think to do. Everything had been paid for, I had been saving for a year and I couldn't afford to pay for it twice, and there were only a few things I had warning enough to cancel, (some surprise reservations, something on Friday night, a flower delivery on Sunday). And it would be something different. New pathways, new experiences. But even so I knew I couldn't do it alone. There would be nothing except in relation to that void and his absence would overwhelm the world.

    It took hours, until almost midnight, but eventually the internet shivered, shook, and delivered. People had been looking at air miles, at school schedules, at spontaneous adventure savings accounts, had been reaching, but failing. Until there was a shift. The gears caught together. Esme offered to drive me to the Bellingham airport, That 1 Mike wouldn't be leaving for his tour until Saturday morning, Joshua was back from Africa, and a woman named Cypris had recently moved to Nevada, CJ said, and you two would get on like a house on fire. Then Cypris showed up in the thread, summoned by his tag, and promised a visit with the tigers, panthers, and the lion that live on the property she's moved to with her love. It was the tipping point. I would not be alone in the most artificial city strip on earth while my heart was breaking. There would be company, authentic company. And that would be enough to go on, enough to carry my through.

    So thanks to you, my internet, I went to Vegas anyway. I cried a lot. (The universe had a lot of extra fuck you saved up for me, too, like being denied entry onto Friday's flights and the only empty seat on the Saturday morning plane being right next to mine, where he would have been.) I melted down a lot. But I also social hacked a $350 plan ticket with a chocolate bar, visited my favourite bronzes and the mantis art car with Joshua and went to the sexy Cirque Du Soleil show with a circus person who was pulled on stage and gave an incredible performance and we rode the roller coaster on top of New York New York twice, once in the very front, once in the very back, and Cypris and I made faces together for the coaster camera and I got to sleep on a couch in a pretty little house in the desert instead of the soulless hotel room and I woke to savannah-style roaring and I walked on a new kind of stilts and I pet big cats and was licked by tigers and scruffled a gigantic lion and held paws with a panther and fed a different panther and climbed all over Red Rock canyon. And it was magical.

    I wished the entire time, a rolling dull thunder, that he was there to share it with. I wanted to be the person who brought him to lion scruffling. To introduce him to these beautiful people. To kiss him in the art gallery. To pick him up and spin him in the line for the roller coaster. To coax him to laugh in the two-person sized bath I sat in alone. Of course I did. I still do. (I had semi-promised him a red rose in a love letter, so I carried one with me from the circus for him anyway and left scarlet he-loves-me he-loves-me-not petals in all the important places. I shook the last of them from the stem as confetti over my new friends and I at the airport. I told you I was a fool.) He would have loved it, we would have blazed with light, we could have had a record breaking excellent goodbye. But we didn't. But I didn't miss out because of him. That was important. Now I have these moments. They are shaded with loss, but still beautiful. Thank you.


    TLDR: Mourning. Loss. Suffering. Friends. But you know what else is important? Majestic one-on-one interaction with fucking gigantic cats.

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    • Wed, 22:17: RT @marcuschown: The Sun. Taken at night. Not looking up at the sky but down through 8000 miles of rock. Not with light but neutrinos. http…
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    Life is short. Do stuff that matters. - Siqi Chen
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    Postcard from the Party

    You have to be invited, and there's nothing
    you can do to be asked. Headlines and bloodlines
    don't help. It's a long way from home but I'm
    here, the view much better than I'm used to.
    How did this happen? Dumb but good luck,
    right place and time, the planets aligned.
    No contract, no deadline, no risk. And what
    did I do to deserve this? Slept with all
    the wrong people, gambled too much on friends
    of friends with light bulbs over their heads.
    Wrote every day no matter what.

    by Wyn Cooper
    from Postcards from the Interior



    We mostly do not exist except in small windows. Welcome to my apt-for-any-century, turn-based text-based slow-budding relationship. It isn't enough. It is just right. It's perfect. It's frustrating. I worry. I care too much. I don't care enough. I am honored. I am afraid. Sometimes I fade into sleep with my phone on my pillow and wake with it sweetly cradled to my chest, a voice on the wire device warmed by my skin.

    Approximately fourty-eight hours from now, give or take a handful, a radiant man (not a boy, though I often call him a boy with the same precision used when I often call myself a girl) will begin to travel North. He will drive a large metal beast across his country's border to find me, following a road that I have traveled a thousand times, and he will succeed.

    stage three
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    I have clipped my nails and taped my hands to prevent touching the wounds I have picked open along my arms. Their eyes watch me as I struggle to type, as I try not to look too closely at their adorable little faces. It's a trap, a trick. Anthropomorphous reactions are a symptom of the RHD infection, I know it. But the cilia of their fur is soft, so soft. The ears came first, and then the noses, and now, heavens, there is the illusion of paws. Sweet, dear tiny paws with sweet, dear tiny claws that prick around the edges of the scratches like pins and needles. The fungal spores extrude farther from my skin every hour like curious, exploring rabbits, tentative yet stubborn. I can feel them growing, moving. I tried ice to numb the feeling, but that only made it worse. The fungal tips make a screeching sound when the cold forces them to contract, it's horrifying, and the pain was more intense than the pleasure of the brief respite was worth. My roommate may have already succumbed. He doesn't answer his door when I call and there is a heavy weight leaning against the far side which is too much for me to shove aside in my weakened, near desperate state. I have already eaten all of the pills I got from the clinic. Maybe I should fetch more, but I fear it may be too late.

    second stage
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    The doctor at the walk-in clinic has confirmed that it's RHD and not allergies, a flu, or delusional parasitosis. My eyes are already shinier. My nose has begun twitching. I was instructed to keep away from public places, so I walked home instead of taking the bus. The lapidae fungus fluffs transfer easier if I scratch at them, but I can't not. The tips of the fine "ears" have started sprouting from my pores and they itch!!

    Guess I'm not going in to work tonight.

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    I seem to have the first symptoms of RHD. Up and down my inner arms; itching. A rough cough from deep in my lungs, like there's a hair in my throat. I feel cold, but I dare not wear anything with sleeves. I need to know, I need to see if it starts. Maybe this is just a flu? A flu where I itch, itch and scratch like a nervous animal.

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    Rabbit Hole Day: the best fictional holiday!
    oh?
    porphyre

    Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers from Wayne Unten, an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. (His tumblr).




    Tomorrow is Rabbit Hole Day.

    Plan accordingly!



    Previously: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.

    the kinds of things I now refuse to keep
    misery
    porphyre
    I took apart a small cardboard box covered in shiny blue foil today. I made it out of scraps when I was a teenager, glued the dark foil onto the cardboard with navy nail polish, used a broken earring I found in a burned out house as a clasp. It went with the waterproof dead-drop that I put in the messy rose bush outside my bedroom window, my pre-internet solution for letters or presents to or from the people connected to my house.

    The dead drop worked. Well, sort of worked. The blue box filled, but mostly with terrible things. So today I decided that it is time to let it go. I am finally loved enough to read through them and empty enough to throw them away. These bad memories are a country that I am going to burn down. By which I mean recycle.

    Going through them, I discovered the letters inside the blue box are long folded and strange to read. Some of them have probably only been read once, while some are so creased and worn their paper feels like fabric. Either way, none of them are recognizable. Who were these people? My life! Such a terrible place. The majority seem from 1999, the year of the dead drop, but they range from '95 to '01. Most of the names are completely unfamiliar.

    The first letter I read was a warning from someone I went to high-school with, "I saw your bruises. I'm worried. p.s. Don't show him this letter." Bruises? Him? I have no idea. Maybe it refers to the unstable teenager who sent me the barely legible poem I found next, "A thousand pardons / Won't forgive / What I put you through / But do not worry / This shadows time has come / The crack of dawn / Unerring call / Alight upon my soul." Yay. How tremendous. Discard pile.

    "Spiritual doors just keep opening. After being locked into a three dimensional material world for so long, knowing there is more, occasionally expressing more... I felt a timelessness of spirit, I felt the point all souls meet when you spoke to me today, where a ray of light becomes part of the light itself..". Signed, "the busker who saw you through the window". Metaphor? Probably not. It's the sort of thing that would happen when I had a dead-drop, so it fits the history, but I have no idea who it's from.

    The next I pulled was six pages long, describing some sort of unspecified accident that ended someone's martial arts career. It's signed with a scribble I cannot understand, but seems to begin with a D. Going further into the box, it turns out that this is where this task gets dark.

    Whoever "D" was, they were prolific. They wrote profoundly dull letters and insisted on referring to me by pet names that border on insulting - Angelface, Sweet Stuff, Honeybear, Doll, Bombshell. (Almost all of them are written on stationary branded with the name of a collections agency. Maybe where "D" worked?) They read like an imaginary film noir relationship where I star front and center. "I apologize for getting up in that guy's face last night, I just don't like people who threaten my happiness, and you and I are so happy together. It was so good to kiss you after I bashed that guy's face." Given the content, I suspect that they wrote me without my knowledge, the letters like a journal, then delivered them in a anonymous batch. I remember we shut the mail-drop down because someone was exceptionally creepy. I can't remember specifics, but I'm guessing "D" was the reason.

    No wonder I hate this place. Special mentions to the note threatening to skin my cat, the note that accuses me of being involved in an acquaintance's murder, the come-back-to-me letters signed in blood from the aforementioned teenager who used to leave vials of blood in my house, and the note that reads only, "I don't care what the teacher made me say - I'm not sorry I set you on fire."

    what love sculpts from us
    plumhat
    porphyre
    If They Come In The Night
    by Marge Piercy

    Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
    a friend said, why are you happy?
    He explained (we lay together
    on a cold hard floor) what prison
    meant because he had done
    time, and I talked of the death
    of friends. Why are you happy
    then, he asked, close to
    angry.

    I said, I like my life. If I
    have to give it back, if they
    take it from me, let me
    not feel I wasted any, let me
    not feel I forgot to love anyone
    I meant to love, that I forgot
    to give what I held in my hands,
    that I forgot to do some little
    piece of the work that wanted
    to come through.

    Sun and moonshine, starshine,
    the muted light off the waters
    of the bay at night, the white
    light of the fog stealing in,
    the first spears of morning
    touching a face
    I love. We all lose
    everything. We lose
    ourselves. We are lost.

    Only what we manage to do
    lasts, what love sculpts from us;
    but what I count, my rubies, my
    children, are those moments
    wide open when I know clearly
    who I am, who you are, what we
    do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
    with all my senses hungry and filled
    at once like a pitcher with light.
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    Living the Social Event Horizon.
    ferret
    porphyre
    Before I offer the rather wildly satisfying anecdote that I want to write about, I need this caveat: there's a persistent rumour-myth that claims "Jhayne knows everybody" that is patently untrue. There are thousands upon thousands of dazzling people I have never met and will never and, though I find this sad in the same abstract way that birthdays are, that's just the way it is.

    My relationship to this rumour is complicated, as it affects my identity, community, and influence, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. While I appreciate that it allows me to play with social capital in a way that not everyone does, it also flies in the face of my self interest, beating black wings of denial that chase opportunities away. ("Oh, I'm sure she already knows that fascinating person. Spoiler: No, I don't! But you're right, I should. Introduce us!). I treat it much like fire, warm and attractive, but requiring a respectful distance. There's a lot of layers there. Reality - only a vague relative to myth. So it endures, even as I persist in my role as a philosopher-assassin, refuting it to death. And honestly, it persists like most myths because, underneath the hyperblown twaddle, it contains a seditionist seed of truth.

    There, now that my denial is out of the way, I'm going to blast it completely with indisputable evidence to the contrary. Probably with a sound like "quash."

    (It's a terrible thing to share after I've just spent a paragraph tearing down the splashy premise this anecdote supports, namely that no one is out of reach of my network, but too bad, I'm new back to this writing thing and I'm going to be a dreadful player until my vibrato returns. There are going to be far too many commas, oblique and post-modern applications to punctuation, unruly mazes of brackets, harrowing mixed tenses everywhere, and wandering, unhelpful, and contradictory mixed metaphors. And you, dear reader, and future me, will just have to suck it up, because this little tangle of connections is just too baroque and delightful not to share.)

    So! Livejournal. Bringing it back. Way back. Eight years, maybe. Possibly nine. Somehow I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of a scathingly clever Jewish woman who lived (and lives) in Wisconsin. I don't remember how I found her, probably Warren, same as everyone else, but I fell in friend-love with her immediately. Here in the present, we're still friends. We didn't meet until 2012, but our connection was enough for her to hand-pick me to attend her intimate wedding anniversary party in Madison last year and it was enough for me to put my life aside to better scrimp so I could attend. I probably would have stolen a car to go if the plane thing hadn't worked out, actually. Stolen a car because it would have been less work than hijacking a bus. This is a lady I'll hide some bodies for, is what I'm saying. For her or her beautiful husband or their beautiful child because that is how I roll.

    She and I, we chat sometimes. We discuss disabilities, recovery, life, bravery, creativity, where to get good chocolate, all the usual things. And boys. Oh my, have we ever. She has hers all nailed shut, she's set for life, but my history? We once sat in a chinese restaurant in Minneapolis and looked at my shoddy relationships and threw our hands up and despaired for at least an hour. Deservingly so. More recently, though, we've been talking about family. Bailing my brother out of jail, my dying parental figure, the trials and tribulations attached to both. (I don't have many local people to discuss topics thickly smeared with emotion). Except our last conversation, which took an even more unexpected turn than usual. I think I had maybe been catching her up on the latest episode of The Lame MisAdventures of My Autistic Brother when I dropped an unusual name into the mix. (We will, for the time being, name him M, which is the most transparent sort of obfuscation possible. Sometimes I'm not entirely sure why I bother. See: paragraph 4.)

    "M!" she exclaimed, "His name is M? Where do I know that name?" I am completely taken aback. That was a lot of excitement. Yes, I replied, jotting in a few background notes. He's in Seattle; I met him though the people I camped with at Burning Man; we're in the midst of a surprising flirtationship. She shook her head, dark hair flying everywhere, trying to remember. "There was some drama there, oh hell, what was it? I know that name, I know who that is! This is going to drive me crazy." My curiosity blazed. There was no feasible way it was the same person. None. But the name!

    I stopped what I was doing, nearly holding my breath, fluttering panic hanging in balance with mad delight, waiting in paused dread for the revelation that would either justify or cause everything we had been building to tumble and fall. (Running through me like dark water, in which way had I been gullible this time?) I felt weakened the way rust melts iron. How could these two people, from such wildly different backgrounds, wildly different everything, be connected? I love the impossible, but drama is hardly ever a positive word. They would get along, but how would they have met? I couldn't think of a way. And she was right there with me, overcome by the absurdity of this strange potential connection.

    A few frantic minutes later, it surfaced. I laughed in incredible relief. When I had first met her on-line, years before I ever went to Burning Man or started visiting Seattle, her best friend was S, a woman from New York. S was smart and sassy and fun and completely in love with a boy.

    A boy named M.

    Two degrees apart, a decade away.

    Isn't the world splendid?

    I love it.

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    my first online password was asl4n
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    Created from nearly 4,000 hand-cut and hammered pieces of metal, Aslan (Turkish for Lion), is a recent sculpture
    by Istanbul-based artist Selçuk Yılmaz.
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    heterogeneity
    oh?
    porphyre

    Boggie - NOUVEAU PARFUM (official music video) from THE SOUP .



    B E A U T Y - dir. Rino Stefano Tagliafierro from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro.

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    Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share.
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    "The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment."


    Andrew Solomon is a poetic, eloquent writer on politics, culture and psychology. Does anyone have his book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression? I would very much like to read a copy. It seems like it would help.

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