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The cock crows three times  
02 April 2017 @ 08:51 am

I think of astrology as, mainly, bullshit - or, indeed, total bullshit.

I don't give it any more validity than I would the idea that I can tell my fortune via the entrails of a goat, or the predominance of addled eggs any clutch of chickens lays. I think your fortune, and your future, are largely yours to make.

That said, every once in a while I catch myself reading descriptions of my sign, and quietly marvelling at their sometime precision in describing me - doesn't like to take centre stage, overly critical of self (and others), loves orderliness and things that are methodical - though I know that's coincidental. All things can describe all of us at any given time of life. You may be a centre-stage loving ego today, but tomorrow you might need to shy away from over-adulation and the public eye; you might need quiet. Today I am careful; tomorrow, maybe not so much.

I don't like that which feeds superstition overmuch. We all have our ceremonies, of course; but the fact that every time I ate sausage that one year, Michael Schumacher would lose the F1 race, was purely coincidental.

I ate a lot of sausage that year.

Almost blue  
02 April 2017 @ 12:19 am
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The very first cameraphone I ever had - oh, about 12 or so years ago now - used to put this horrendous blue cast on everything. I eventually grew to like it; and now, sometimes I miss it. I took this about the winter of 2005/2006, I think. The blue cast worked for it, methinks.

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02 April 2017 @ 12:12 am
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I took this about three years ago, methinks. I don't like doing photography at night normally. Because of my vision I just don't see enough to take pictures of; but this presented itself, in the middle of a field.

I like trees.

I'm going to have to dust off my camera this year, I think. It's been too long.

The Words  
31 March 2017 @ 09:08 pm
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I was never much of a collector. I think I realised very early on, that sometimes the collecting, or the adherence thereto, could sometimes get in the way of actually enjoying the things you were collecting - and I wanted to enjoy things. People seemed to become obsessive about 'completeness' when it came to collecting - focusing on collecting, rather than what was being collected; an obsession that appeared to feed a particular aspect of compulsion that I didn't want to deal with. For me, I'd far rather have many different kinds of things that enrich my life, rather than fixate on only one thing. I like variety - not necessarily in a riotous sense, just various.

Some folks see their collections as 'objects', in the external sense; and I wanted the content to be internal. Content is king.

When it comes to books, I saw them as 'tools', of a sort. I did not buy precious tomes that I had to coddle or be careful with, I bought books I could write margin notes in. I like marginalia. I like expressing my thoughts. I wasn't lazy with them, or careless - I just saw them as things I could devour, inhale. I have no issue with collectors, because precious things need to be preserved, but I leave that to those for whom it is suitable, and I keep to my 'consumption' (and I mean that in the nicest possible way, in the best sense of the word) side of the fence. I like the physicality of books, the ability to hold them; their use as a barrier between yourself and the rest of the world; and sometimes I even like the smell. Lignin and dust and comfortable decay. Although I did have a book for a communications course I once took, that I couldn't read at all - couldn't stand to have it near me, because it had a smell like an overripe oil slick. It was deeply unpleasant.

The beauty of old books, though, is the same beauty of any old thing before much of the world become a utilitarian paradise - they show the desire to make things lovely, to make them something more than just a 'tool' to be 'used'. Craft, in so many ways, seemed to become a lost art for a long time, in many ways - homes, banks, buildings of all sorts, that once used to rest like gingerbread houses on a bed of icing grass, became boxes with no flavour or personality. Old TVs looked like fine carpenter craft, then they, too, became utilitarian. Everything became beige, benign, because someone thought this approach would appeal to a wider cross-section of the populace. Maybe it did, but it also became very boring.

The idea of being drunk on words, though - that I deeply understand. The way some people speak, write, is delicious, palpable, luscious, piquant. I don't think there's a single person on this planet who hasn't, at least once, read something that made their heart stop, or caught breath in the throat, or caused their spine to burn.

While I do love holding books when I read them, I also have books on my phone. It's convenient, it's lightweight - carrying around Hitchens' essays or a copy of the G.E.B. can cause a little wearing on the shoulder muscles - and it offers one thing that books, sadly, don't - no one will ever ask you what you're reading (and thereby intrude) when you're staring at your phone.

Addendum: I had a whole wall of books here once, not all nice, but it was deeply satisfying having them - satisfying and comforting. Sadly, there came an infestation (not caused by me or my books, to be clear), and I was forced to throw many of them out. I felt this ... loss. I remember, also, the judgmental derision of the wife of the couple who own my building, when she saw my wall of books - she must live in some kind of Frank Lloyd Wright minimalist paradise, because all those books apparently made me a hoarder - uppity tone 'we get rid of all our books'.

I was just thinking of something I heard in a movie (based on a book, no less), that libraries *should* be full of dusty old books, with nooks and crannies, and places to hide away in.

Urban Exploration  
31 March 2017 @ 07:29 pm
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This is one of the furnaces at the (former) Cannon Knitting Mill; recently becoming less abandoned and more pending, as it was bought by someone who's going to ... how to put it ... update the building. I got into it a few years ago. I wanted to go back to see some areas I missed, but there's no opportunity for that now.

I'll have to find something else to enter 'judiciously'.

I have never been able to articulate quite what it is I find so compelling about abandoned buildings - maybe it's a combination of what was left behind, what was salvaged, the life they had, the ghosts of the lives that are left on the floors, on desks, scattered.

Sometimes it's a little like discovering a secret someone forgot they had.

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When the student is ready, the teacher appears  
30 March 2017 @ 08:07 am
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There are some waza that my body just doesn't make it easy for me to do properly - like hiding the sword the way you need to hide it behind you when turning to do the last cut in shiho-giri, or the disembowelling cut during so-giri. The first is definitely partly due to my being very hippy, the other - I'd like to say my arms are a bit too short to get my hands down low enough, but I'm using a 2.45 shaku blade, so that's not it. We tried to figure it last night, but I think the only way to lengthen my arms to get them in the right place, is attaching me to the rack.

Sensei was not there last night, as he's travelling for his work, and it really throws me off when he's not around. It's not that things aren't good, they are - they're more casual, the person who's usually in charge when sensei's not there will ask us what we want to work on, he's also less hard on us - but don't tell my sensei.

My sensei is an incredible person - seemingly limitless patience (though apparently he hates it when people don't put their shoes to the side neatly when they come in his door - piles of shoes at the door are his peeve); he seems without ego; he pushes you hard, but never beyond what he knows you can do; he's become a figure of great importance to me - a mentor of sorts, a father figure of sorts, a father-confessor of sorts, and a friend. There is no way, and I know it, that I'd likely still be doing this if I'd started training with someone else. I don't truly attach to a great many people, but I know there'd be a huge gap in me, in my life, were he no longer around.

You train for yourself, but there's always that small part of you that knows it's training so that you can justify your sensei's investment of time and faith in you.

Someone once said to me, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." Truer words were never uttered.

If I sing you a song, will you sing along  
27 March 2017 @ 08:29 am
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I haven't sung in front of another person, except a line or two as a joke, in years. My piano player got himself a non-musical day job with crazy hours, and rightly so, it was good for him to do it, but we'd already lost our rehearsal space anyhow, so there was no one for me to work with.

Hamilton might be stuffed to busting with jazz musicians of varying stripes, but ... well, let's just say that it wouldn't work well, and leave it at that.

So, since I hadn't a musician to play with, and couldn't find one of the sort I needed, singing went by the wayside. People kept telling me to do karaoke, which I fucking loathe, but I don't find that to be a fulfilling use of my time. I know it would help me get over my unreasonable dislike of singing in front of other people, but karaoke machines don't always guarantee pitch and the version of the song as you're to doing it, and guarantee only that you're likely to rip that band-aid off in front of a lot of people that are too drunk to care what you're doing, and whom you'll likely never see again.

I wanted to take some voice training to fill the gap, but couldn't afford it until quite recently, so that's what I'm doing tonight - first session with a fabulous local who's more than got the chops. I hope we mesh.

Hence, also, the song deliberation. I need to pick some things to work on during our session - so I'm going for the simplest stuff I already know - except the Cole Porter. That song's got some weird timing, I'll tell ya.

Vroom vroom  
25 March 2017 @ 12:45 am
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When I was about a year old, a member of the family passed away - a great-grandfather, I think. They took me to the funeral home and let me crawl around on the floor.

I crawled around the displays of flowers, and while everyone was worried and warning, that the infant would knock something over, my mother says that I reached out my hand and touched the petals with barely a whisper of a touch, with this open-mouthed look on my face like I'd never seen anything like it before.

This was before my first eye surgery - I had cataracts, so life was a bit of a blur. All I saw in front of me was this riot of colour. I was mesmerism's by it. Maybe it's why I'm an artist now.

My mother says that she saw the same look on my face when I would talk about driving the racecar.

So, in honour of tonight's Aussie GP season opener, here's me driving the racecar. For proof, you can confirm with my friend Brian. He took the picture.

Best 31st birthday ever.

Ooh, and they still offer the class.

Breath on your neck  
25 March 2017 @ 12:25 am
I don't know that I was ever really into pretty boys; not beyond the way one is when one is 14. I never liked GQ men. I never liked that whole idea of the chiselled square-jaw. There's nothing wrong with being pretty; that sort of thing is perfect when you're 20.

That said, the older I got, the less I liked pretty, and the more I liked men who looked like they had a personality, men who looked like they had had a life, men who looked like life had had at them a bit - like whiskey, not wine.

There's something far more handsome and compelling about a man like that, than there ever is with someone who's too perfect or too cute. I suppose, for me, the perfect ones are like diamonds - you can look right through them; there's no colour, no draw, no flavour. No soul. Absolutely nothing that would cause the inhale, the catch of breath, and the heat.

I like the flaws.

Hello, world.  
24 March 2017 @ 08:34 pm

I know how to be quiet, I am frequently reticent, and I am often awkward (sometimes I end a conversation one sentence too late), but all in all, I'm a talker. I like to converse. I've really lost the knack of lengthy online conversations, and so much prefer to hear voices; though it seems that most folks have lost their yen for talking on the phone. However, I'll take communication whatever way it comes, especially when it comes from the right people. Also, I'm frequently lonely, so contact is delicious.

Have people accused me of being arrogant because I share so much information sometimes, and they think I'm trying to show off? Yes; but that came from someone who resents anyone with an education. He wasn't a stupid man, but he never troubled himself with school beyond high school and a college course in a trade - and there's nothing wrong with that at all, but he can be very demeaning of those who like the book learnin'. I like to share information; not because I'm trying to one-up someone, but just because I'm relieved to find someone who'll listen to me, or who can share what I've got to say.

Have people thought I had inappropriate feelings for them because of it? No doubt. Believe me, I now hide my feelings-light under a bushel when it comes to men. Had I an attachment, I'd never act on it, nor even display it. I'd keep the entire thing to myself.

Do I sometimes not notice people's cues for me to shut up? Yes; but, I'm not offended at being told to shut it, because I know I can be an irritant, or that other people prefer more quiet.

Do I like silence? Yes; but only when it's companionable. Awkward silences make me unhappy. I tend to think I've done something wrong. I do like slow, comfortable conversations sometimes though.

I am not a conversational leader; I'm more the play-off-the-other-party sort. A joiner. A compatriot. I can have a lot to say, but I don't deal well with people with whom you have to suck out the words like sucking the pit out of an olive. I need to feel comfortable.

When I was very young I was very shy, very timid; so much so that my aunt called me "mousie". I do not know when the shift happened, nor from whence it emanated, but I have grown past that mousie phase, and keep my remaining fears to myself.

I am an introvert, though; so my recharging comes from quieter or more solitary pursuits; from a one-on-one; from small, comfortable spaces. I like the occasional loud hootenanny, but I like small groups better. I tend to hide at parties. I'm the one in the kitchen. Oddly, this even happens even when the large group I'm in is comprised of nothing but people I know and am friends with. I know it's not just introversion in that case, though. I don't have a large-groups-fear thing going on; I like people. I just have a wee little insecurity that's really not pertinent at the moment.

Some shit you just never figure out, no matter how long in the tooth you are. :)

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