Create

It’s like a coin. You can’t have one face without the other. As much as you might love looking at heads, sooner or later tails is going to turn up.

On the one side there’s the marvelous exhilaration of the creative burst after a long period of inactivity. The satisfaction of solving a problem that has been plaguing you for years.

It’s really, really good.

And then, when that washes out, the coin flips over. We suffer the realization that all our productivity, hard work, and sacrifice has had no tangible effect on our life. Nor, most likely, will it ever.

Your creative output leading to some kind of big payday or widespread celebration of you as an artist is a fantasy in the same realm as winning the lottery.

Here we are, gazing at tails.

The key is to keep working. Sooner or later, that coin will flip over again. Now, if we persist, we may realize the real purpose of creativity. It is not achieving that fantasy of a successful outcome.

It is having those moments where we flip that coin over through our productivity, hard work, and sacrifice. It is having this to hold onto when we are adrift and questioning who we are.

That’s all there is.

Bad Dream

Had a bad dream a few nights ago.

In it, my companion and I were fugitives trying to get to safety through a convoluted mess of urban landscapes. My companion was a woman who never did anything useful, but comforted me with her mere presence as she followed me about. We finally got into the countryside, bleak and barren, with a few run-down buildings amidst the tumbleweeds. Everyone was starving, but helped us with directions to a place to catch a train. From there we could catch a train to another place. It would be safe there.

It wasn’t a train station, where we went. The train tracks were elevated high above the land, on giant pillars, like the Japanese bullet trains. Unlike Japan, this infrastructure was not concrete, but covered with machine stamped, painted metal panels; falling apart, with flaking paint and dents, showing rusting guts beneath. We bought tickets for the train by inserting our tears into a small computer terminal on a post at the intersection of two dirt roads. My companion and I had to pinch each other to get the tears.

We were excited to be on our way, but the villager who brought us there watched us sadly. I thought it was because she was jealous of our escape. Turns out she knew better than us.

Our tear purchased tickets were inserted into another terminal, this one in one of the huge support pillars for the railway tracks looming above. An elevator door opened and we stepped in.

As soon as the doors closed on us, I knew we had made a huge mistake. The computers had identified us by our tears, and we were going to be arrested, I was sure of it. Like the exterior, the elevator was constructed of stamped metal, all coated with grease and grime, and the dirty walls pressed into us as the elevator climbed. Then we were in the train.

More stamped metal. No widows, only vents, oozing horrifying sludge down the walls. The train car had no seats: it was vault-like, but there were a few places to lie down: raised beds all formed of the same dirty metal, like prison cots. There was blood and shit everywhere. Some of it fresh, most of it old: pooled and heaped on the floor, and sprayed up the walls right to the ceiling. Then I noticed our fellow passengers. Everyone was naked. A heap of corpses filled one corner, and in another a starving, skeletal person was being attacked by a group: maybe being raped, maybe eaten.

Looking either way, the train cars stretched out before us, as far as we could see. There were more groups of people. Some babbling to themselves softly, lost in their own worlds. Some were helping others, trying to calm them down, to keep them from bashing their brains out on the walls; some simply comforting the dying. All trapped.

I realized then that we hadn’t been caught in a trap because we were wanted and pursued. We were not important enough to chase, that was all in my head. We were trapped then just because this is what the train does: it circles the land endlessly and sucks people up, collecting all those who buy a ticket hoping to find a better place. I supposed there was some manner of economy on that train; that by feeding more tears into a computer terminal, some food must be issued, so that there was some way to continue surviving, to continue feeding the machine your precious sorrow.

That’s what the train operators want, you see: the tears of the damned.

As I realized this, I looked to my companion, and really felt her for the first time. She was not afraid. She was in that world but not of it, as I then was. In her smile I realized the train was no more real than I was. To escape it, I need only let go of the illusion of myself. As I realized this, she grew into a light that melted me into light myself; then the train and everything around all became the same light; and I was lifted up and out of that world.

And I woke up.

Normally I have to wake up from this sort of affair by screaming and leaping around the room in my sleep. These are my night terrors. This time, I guess I figured something out.

So why do I write this now? Mostly to figure it out for myself. To do something with it.

But if you’ve read this far, maybe ask yourself: what train are you on? What about our society? Are you your mortgage? Your job that pays it? Your car, cell-phone, tablet, or blog? Or are we all simply feeding on each other and putting our tears into a machine that goes around in circles endlessly, for the benefit of some unseen masters?

Let go.

Cherish Your Anus

This is no joke, you fuckers.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have an anus. Think on that when you’re knuckling into yours after a some sweet itch. Cherish it! When you have one of them scratchy poops that hurts so good, you need to really be in that moment and treasure every last nuance of it.

When I was 14, or some shit, I met a guy in Mumbai who was cut off at about the fucking navel. He was getting around on some plank of wood with casters on it. Scooting about with blocks of wood in his hands.

And when I say “met,” I mean he and a bunch of lepers grabbed me on the street to try to get my dad to give them money. Dad went full on apeshit and flailed and yelled a lot to scatter them and we ran for it.

True story.

I remember looking at that cut in half beggar, thinking: “How does this guy shit?” It still bothers me.

Being fondled by lepers was also kinda memorable.

So, yeah. Don’t take your asshole for granted. One day cancer may chew it right out of you. So give it a scratch and then sniff your finger. That’s the heady musk of your humanity at its finest right there.

Or don’t, if you think you’re so fucking special. Fuck you.

Star Wars Fan Fiction

It was not long after Senator Palpatine declared himself Emperor that he took his revenge on Jar Jar Binks. It was but a simple matter to force persuade Jar Jar into performing the most degrading acts imaginable on him right in the senate for all to see. What better to way to end democracy in the galaxy than to treat himself to a thorough rimming by the Naboo senator?

Once he and then all comers had taken their fill of Jar Jar, the Emperor sold him into sexual slavery to the Huts. You may be unaware that Gungans have a prehensile colon, making them some of the most satisfying butt sluts in the galaxy (for those not aesthetically particular). Once he was all trained up, Jar Jar was put to good use satisfying clone troopers right here on this very space station.

Those interested in watching him work can visit with him if they want. The cue starts back there.

On your left, guests are welcome to enjoy a diorama showing many of the other splendid attractions available for your amusement.

The End.

WTF, Luke?

Just watched Return of the Jedi again. It has its moments.

However, I have to say the “there’s good in him, I feel it,” theme that runs through those movies about Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker is some real bullshit. I mean, what the fuck, Luke? That’s your answer, is it? Fall back on the last desperate refuge of every abuser defending beaten wife and Stockholm sydroming hostage, and then just give up. Some hero.

“I won’t kill you! Oh no! You got me mad and I actually did something useful for once and I almost beat you, so I guess it’s time to give up like a pussy. Aaaaagh! OUCH! Save me daddy! Save meeee!

“Wow! Thank the force that you were here to have a change of heart and do my dirty work for me, killing the Emperor in an act of violence that somehow redeems you while it would have damned me to the dark side had I done it. Thanks, dad!”

Good thing for Luke though that Vader kicked the bucket then. Can you imagine how awkward it would have been for everyone had he dragged Vader back alive?

“Uhhhhh… that’s swell that you had a touching moment with your *cough* father, Luke, but there’s this whole war crimes trail for, you know, genocide we’re going to have to put him through.”

Then Luke and Vader would to have to force persuade their way out of there and live out their days hiding out together in some remote location. Daddy Anakin would still be a total dick, of course. Force throwing empty whiskey bottles at Luke’s head from his wheelchair and constantly berating him for all his many, inevitable failures (this is Luke Skywalker we’re talking about, after all).

You can’t fix someone like him, Luke. He’s never going to stop force raping every sentient creature that gets within range of him. The Judeo-Christian infused, cretinous “philosophy” of your world notwithstanding, killing the psycho who spent two decades reaming out his ass does not redeem your father of any of the evil shit he did.

Fuck you, Luke, and your stupid fucking Ewok funeral for the man who destroyed your sister’s home planet just to be a dick. You think Leia was down with you paying tribute to the man who tortured her and then murdered her entire adopted race?

And people go on about what a finely crafted character vehicle the original trilogy was. Yeah, maybe if you’re in elementary school.

Vader was so cool in the first two movies! You had one of the best movie villains of all time and you go and piss him away with this weak bullshit. Shame! Shame on you, Lucas!

Have that badass own his evil! “Luke, get your funky little white ass over to the Dark Side. Together we’ll rule this groovy universe, and if you want to fuck your sister, that’s cool with me. Because that’s how I roll. Fuck the haters.”

That’s a villain. Not this weak ass “redemption,” daddy-never-loved-me pathological horseshit.

Fuck you.

On Noah’s Ark

I have an itch to stick with this whole Noah’s Arc thing, since the story had a lot to do with me repudiating Christianity at a fairly young age. Having never received any religious indoctrination from my parents or grandparents, either positive or negative, I suppose it could be said I had a pretty open mind about the whole affair. I remember in grade 2, talking with kids in my class about going to church, I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I asked my dad if I could go to church with some kid’s family and he said that was fine, so long as I didn’t ever expect him to go. However, when I learned that I would need to be picked up at 8 in the morning, I bailed on the whole thing. Getting up at 7 on a weekend for church? Fuck that. That is just uncivilized.

It was around that same time, when I was about seven or eight years old, that I had my first run in with old Noah. My mother was involved with some kind of hippyesque commune in a big-ass used bookstore downtown, where my sister and I would go to play with all the other hippy spawn in a mostly unsupervised free-for-all. Those were pretty awesome times. At some point we were told that, if we were interested, a lady was going to come to read stories to us. I was always down for stories, so bring it on, lady!

Unfortunately, the lady pissed me off right from the get go since she wasn’t making with the stories properly. It turned out this was the first step of some kind of Christian indoctrination, where they tell you all the pretty Bible stories. She had all these fascinating picture books, with Roman legionaries, giants, and pyramids and shit, but she was sitting there yakking on about fuckin dogma. Make with the stories, bitch! I remember thinking that if I could just get my hands on one of those story books for myself, I could cut that cunt loose. Man, she was pissing me off!

I had already pretty well sussed out by that point that adults bearing reading materials were almost always full of shit. Holding that shit up like some kind of talisman, while they piss in your ear about this or that. When I learned how to read for myself, about 90% of the adults in my life ceased to be necessary. Shut the fuck up, leave the reading material with me, and fuck off already; I’ll get back to you when I need some more.

Anyway, Christian-storyteller-lady finishes with her preamble and trots out Noah’s Arc. Oooo, look at all those cute animals lining up to get on the arc, nice as can be! Doesn’t it look cosy inside? Isn’t it lovely?

Whoa. Whoa! Hold up, lady. I’m still processing that bit right at the start, can we go back to that? Yeah, that bit where God got mad and decided to kill everyone. I know they were wicked, you said that already. How were they wicked? Just bad, huh. What did they do, exactly? What about their kids? Were they wicked too? The babies? What about all the animals that couldn’t get on the boat. Just, fuck them? If my parents are wicked, which I know they are by your standards, does that mean I’m fair game for God to murder me whenever he gets into another fit of spleen?

The parable/historical fact of Noah’s Arc is a such lightning rod because the story is so fucking stupid. It belongs in a kids’ storybook alongside Hansel and Grettle and the Gingerbread Man. The only reason that I can see why Christians don’t quietly hit the whole episode in the back of the head with a sledgehammer and bury it out behind the shed (along with such gems as stoning your daughter to death for premarital sex and David collecting hundreds of Philistine foreskins as kill trophies for the king) is that the imagery seems to make for such compelling propaganda for kids. It is a lovely image, all those animals on a big, cozy boat. With the Patriarch at the tiller while the rain lashes down outside.

Critics tend to focus on the impossibility of the whole story, and that is fun. It’s fun baiting cretinous fundamentalists; forcing them to double-down on their moronic horseshit. But from a kid’s perspective that kind of nonsense isn’t a deal-breaker. We’re reading stories about talking animals and all manner of magical stuff. A tardis boat isn’t a big stretch. It’s the heart of the story that’s important; the message that it is intended to impart.

And just what is that message again?

God gets mad and kills everyone. Everyone. Children and babies and kitty-cats and doggies are all punished for the sins of others, regardless of their own behavior. They all die and there aint shit they can do about it. Noah watches them drown. Because fuck them, that’s why.

Now, stop asking questions, submit, and blindly accept what I’m telling you. Not because it makes sense, but because I say so. You want I should rain a flood down on your ass?

Bible Stories For Today’s Youth

Noah’s Ark

So one day God was all like, “Yo, Noah, this shit is fuckin whack now. Imma flood this bitch out and kill all these trifling hos.”

So, like, Noah was all, “Dooood, that is a serious bummer, man. Can’t you just, like, stomp the worst of them bitches out and let all the kids and babies live? I mean, like, they’re all innocent and shit, right?”

And God was all, “Shut the fuck up, bitch! Are you my ho or are you a dead ho? That’s what I thought, slut. Imma kill every motherfucker on Earth, babies and kids and all. I made this cocksucker, so I can flex on it when I want. But we cool, cause you give it up just how I like it, slut. Now, what I want you to do is build a big motherfuckin boat and put your family and two of every animal on it, so’s you can repopulate this bitch once I’m done fuckin it up.”

So, Noah’s all like WOAH! God must be tweaking on some wicked ass shit. But he can’t even. So he’s like, “God, you the man! That’s shit’s the bomb! But you sure it’s possible to put two of every animal in one boat? I mean, we haven’t even invented a number for how many different kinds of animals there are. And isn’t it gonna get all fucked up when the animals have to start fuckin their sisters and shit? And my grandkids have to marry their cousins? I mean, that’s a bit off, aint it? I ask with straight up respect, Lord.”

So God’s all like, “Oh no you didn’t! You didn’t just question my all powerful might and shit! Bitch, I am God up in this motherfucker. This shit works because I say it does. Watching animals fuck their sisters is what busts my nut these days. That shit is off the hook! Your boat best be fuckin rockin when I come a knockin. You hear me? Now get on it, slut, before I decide to replace alls you with some six tittied ape bitch that can fuck itself with its tail. I’m not even joking, son. In fact, Imma whip some of them sluts up on Mars to see how I like it. You don’t even know what that shit means, yer such a stupid shit. Just get on making me my incest animal bangboat and I’ll check in later. Peace!”

And so it was. That’s just how God rolls.

Fleecing Weeaboos: The New Art of the Samurai

I was watching NHK World News a while back and came across a pretty sweet nugget. NHK is basically Japan’s CBC, but with the suck turned way down. Their World News cable network is pretty good. They run through the same stories for ten or fifteen minutes on the hour, with full news broadcasts at certain times, and otherwise run NHK educational and cultural programs that have been dubbed into English. As a bonus, the news is actually very good. International with a slight Asian focus. Just the big international stories without all the star fucking and 24-hour news cycle hysteria of American outlets and BBC.

Anyway, they had this little show about some special dojo that’s operating up in the mountains in Japan someplace, where foreigners come to learn the “true art of the Samurai.” Smelling a rat right off, I settle in for a good show. I have been made aware of this trend in Japan, in particular with “Ninja schools” which claim to teach the secret arts of Ninjitsu. Basically, they are foreign Ninja fanboy fleecing stations and are almost universally regarded as a total joke by the Japanese who are aware of them.

Oh, so you’re a ninja, huh? So you’re an Edo era spy? That’s an impressive temporal feat, I have to say.

Anyway, back to the art of the Samurai. So the camera pans into this incredibly scenic mountain home, with the zen garden and Shinto shrine. Sure enough, there are glazed looking foreign men all over the property: scrubbing cobblestones, sweeping up, and no doubt detailing sensei’s Mercedes whether it needs it or not. Then we go into the dojo, where a bunch of students in really cool looking, pseudo kendo outfits, are going through their katas with real katana.

There must have been 12 of these guys (not an Asian among them), paired up, pretending to sword fight in slow motion in a room about twice the size of a boxing ring. In a space that size there wouldn’t be room to have a proper dance class with that many people, and these guys are training sword fighting there?

I’m thinking this must be some kind of prep, but no. The narrator explains that only the senior students may participate in this training, with real katana, after several years of “rigorous training and philosophical preparation.” So this routine is the culmination of their art. This is what they aspire to do.

Then we get a one on one interview with one of the senior students. Turns out he’s in Japan doing his PHD on kabuki (Japanese traditional “opera”). Aha, me thinks. Style over substance all the way with this one; no wonder he has been attracted to this bunch. But boy oh boy, does he ever take the whole samurai thing seriously. I want to grab the guy by his meticulous kimono and tell him: you are aware that the last samurai were all using guns, right? They were soldiers, albiet in a caste, not mystical warriors who farted poetry and flower arrangements.

Finally, we get to Sensei himself. He’s going on about how his great-grandfather was one of the last of the samurai. How his family has handed down and preserved the super secret training scrolls of the art of the katana. Techniques so deadly that they must never be used. That kind of thing.

So, I was thinking, surely if these techniques are so awesome, wouldn’t you be the president of a nationwide school of kendo? I mean, it’s not like that fighting art disappeared. It’s widely practiced in a modified form as a sport. As well, doing katas and cutting bamboo mats with the real swords is a less popular, but not uncommon, martial art.

Ah, but not so fast! Sensei then explains that because his totally authentic techniques are so unbelievably, terrifyingly dangerous, before students may learn them, they must swear a sacred oath concerning a code of conduct. Rules number one and two are pretty standard: don’t talk about fight club, and don’t teach the technique. Rule number 3 was pure awesome: The practitioner must never, ever, practice the form or spar with people using other styles.

AHA! Of course. It makes so much sense. The style is so deadly that should one of its practitioners actually step into a kendo dojo to test their skills in a practical arena, they would surely kill the hapless fool who stepped before them; practice swords and pads notwithstanding.

At this point, I could only wonder which of the lucky adepts were given the great honor of tending to sensei’s daily full release massage.

One of the things I really like about the Japanese was exemplified so beautifully by how the whole little documentary was presented. Totally earnest. They let the participants tell it themselves, without any commentary calling any of it out. But edited so proficiently as to leave no question as to what is going on; it may as well have been a fucking torpedo. Truly good stuff. Artful subtlety with a unerring death blow. Now there’s your ninja at work.

Covid Work Diaries

So I’m having a zoom English lesson today.

Me in a room by myself at a laptop. Somewhere around eight or nine kids, between the ages of two and seven, in three separate households are participating in this thing.

Forty minutes, I have to fill.

So this is my life now.

Okay. Let’s get it on.

Thirty minutes in: it’s going okay. Then it all falls apart.

I’m sitting in this empty room, staring at a screen with four video feeds on it. In one of them is me. In two of them is the empty voids of ceilings: the smartphones delivering these feeds have been set down on a table or the floor and left alone, apparently.

In the the last feed sits a mother, stone faced and unmoving. There are no children around her. There have been no children near her for some time.

At least one child is crying at the top of their lungs. Somewhere. Wails of anguish roll out of the computer at me. I cannot tell which feed is delivering this misery to me.

But there I sit, I shit you not, singing: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Doing all the actions for the webcam.

The crying child wails. The mother continues to stare at me stone faced. I finish my song and say goodbye to the abyss and close the feed.

This was the highlight of my day.

What that mother might have taken away from it, I can only imagine.

Hashtag: telework is awesome!