Climb in the back with your head in the clouds

30 09 2013

As an underemployed political scientist with too many opinions to count, I really should have something to say about the whole shitty impending government shutdown (possibly/likely to be followed by a truly catastrophic debt default) and meth-heads on the floor of the Congress who are so wasted on the the fumes of an ressentiment-contaminated ideology that they think the first is a good idea and the second no big deal—BUT. . . I can’t.

I just fucking can-not.

Jesus H. Christ.





Sing! Sing! Sing!

4 09 2013

I’ve been trying to change my defaults—at least, that’s been my story.

A while ago I declared I would make the attempt to get my ass out of my desk chair and into the city, that instead of offering excuses for my nos (noes? no’s?), I’d just say yes.

It’s worked in all kinds of small ways (especially when it involves meeting friends at a bar), but it hasn’t led to any kind of ongoing commitments.

My friend E., to whom I had mentioned my (honestly, fake) desire to say yes more often, had the temerity to take the idea and run with it. Let’s do Gotham Rock Choir, she said!

Um, okay, I said. What it is?

A choir! In New York! That sings rock songs!

Um, okay.

It’ll be fun.

Um, okay.

(Un)fortunately, we weren’t able to make it into the winter/spring round, but E managed to partake of the summer round. I had to teach at night (when they rehearse), so, darn, I couldn’t do it.

E. didn’t really like it at first, but, better woman than I, she stuck with it, and ended up having a gas. I’m going to do this again, she said. You wanna?

Uhhh. . . .

Come on! It was fun!

Uhhh. . . .

Just go to the first rehearsal, see if you like it.

Oooookaaaaayyy.

And  I went. (And she went. . . cf 5:28.)

And it kicked my ass.

I had a decent enough voice when I was younger—nothing special, but enough to carry a tune in high school musicals—but even that mediocre decency dropped with disuse. I used to be able to nail some very low notes, and now, pfft, now my voice bottoms into flatness.

The other folk in the choir? Not flat. Pretty damned good, in fact.

So I was thinking, Ohhh, man, do I really want to do this? I’m not very good, my interest in performing died with my youth, and man! a commitment!

And then a bunch of us hit a nearby bar and I was able to talk with some smart and funny people and I thought, Hmm, hanging out with these folks wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. And, as I told one woman, Yeah, this kinda kicked my ass, but given that I can be real bitch sometimes, it’s probably not the worst thing to get my ass kicked.

So. I have to decide by next Tuesday whether to go all in.

We’ll see.





They was a rapping the flat scat

11 02 2013

Since I only have small thoughts in my head right now, just a few quick hits:

On the pope’s smell-you-later:

Too bad he’s not stepping down as an atonement for the abuse scandals in the US. And Canada. And Mexico. And Ireland. And Australia. And Belgium. And. . . .

As for who comes next, pfft, more of the same.

On Chris Christie’s weight and Hillary Clinton’s age and (god help me), the 2016 race:

I won’t be voting for Christie for policy reasons, but, yeah, if he could be my candidate, I’d be concerned about his weight—just as I’ll be concerned about Clinton’s age if she decides to toss her bra into the ring.

While I think extra weight or extra years are not and should not be barriers to most jobs, the presidency is an impossible position, one which presses down on whoever holds it with tremendous force. All other things being equal, I think younger and fitter is better than older and unfitter.

Of course, all other things are rarely equal, and I’ll take a 69-year-old Hillary over a young ‘un like Marco Rubio—just as I’m sure Republicans would have voted for a fat Christie over a trim Obama.

Either way, I’ll have no influence on who the parties pick in 2016, so this is just so much spitballin’.

What the fuck is going on with Lindsay Graham and Benghazi?

Is it really all just about staving off a primary challenge from the right? Does he really think that THIS will protect him if some mouth-foamer decides to come after him?

Jeez. Get a better issue already.

Winter storms should not be named.

Call me a traditionalist.

Okay, back to weight:

I gained this fall and winter, and am now stepping up my workouts to try to wrestle myself back to trim.

The problem began when I hurt my back in October: While I was only out of the gym (biking, weights) for 3 weeks, I pretty much stopped my out-of-gym workouts. Yeah, I still managed to put in a few laps around Prospect Park on my bike, but I completely stopped running.

And then, y’know, holidays, and I was working at an office, and my mom sent me cookies and bars, and blorp: there it is.

So now I’ve added some at-home free-weight lifting, and I’ve started running again (which I prefer to biking), and I’m paying more attention to my diet—more veggies, fewer carbs—and not eating past full.

The problem, of course, is the usual one with any kind of change: I want to see results RIGHTNOW, and when I don’t,  I haz a sad.

Yeah, yeah, suck it up.

On changing my default from “stay” to “go”:

This has been good, and I’d like to do more. I’ve seen three (cheap) Broadway shows with friends, and I’ve drunk a lot of Guinness—good for the soul!

The downside? I’ve drunk a lot of  Guinness—not so good for the bod.

Yeah, whatever: no need to be a fanatic.





Would you go?

5 11 2012

Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion; bodies at rest, to stay at rest.

Newton’s first law describes the principle of inertia; for a body to change its inertial status, force must be applied.

When I was young, I was a body in motion: my default was Go. A party, a scene, a county fair, anything happening anywhere—go.

Go, go, gotta keep moving, gotta move on.

That worked, for a while, a long while, but as I fled into the molasses of depression, I wound down, and out, and the default shifted. It was a survival tactic: even amidst my self-destructiveness, there were parts of my life I sought to protect. I cannibalized my social and political life in order to feed my intellectual life.

That worked pretty well for graduate school, actually. There was no time, especially in those early years, for anything other than study, so withdrawing from social activity made both emotional and practical sense.

Yet, over a decade past my turning away from self-destruction, and I wonder if it is possible yet again to shift my default. I don’t need the freneticism of my youth, but this quietude is too much like passivity; this quietude has become passivity. It gets in the way of what matters.

I did finally make my way down to the Red Hook Initiative and put in some hours helping people, and since my downtown office will be closed tomorrow, I think I’ll head down there again. But it took me so long to get there, so much talking myself into doing what needed to be done. I hate it when anyone tells me that I think too much—I don’t think it’s possible to think too much—but I do too often think dishonestly, that is, I use my intellect to de-activate myself, to justify that de-activation.

I’ve said before that I am a polar person: I  swing too far in one direction, then too far in the other, and only after blowing past the far points can I make my way towards the center. Perhaps this has been one hella long swing from too much to too little. I’ve gotten used to being a bystander, but perhaps instead of saying This is how I am, I could say, A little push, and I’m on my way.

I don’t have to run and I don’t have to hide; I just need a new default for somewhere in-between.





Bam! Bam! Bam!

7 07 2011

Here’s an idea for the Dems:

Shoot a basic video with shots of Grover Norquist and sundry Republican leaders talking about the debt, deficit, unwillingness to consider tax hikes/closing tax loopholes, perhaps superimposed with quotes about how defaulting on the debt wouldn’t be a big deal. Note somewhere in all of this that Republicans have “pledged” fealty to Norquist.

Leave blank spots sprinkled throughout this video, allowing editors to upload shots of the local Republican representative—perhaps the quotes could be superimposed over photos of the local rep.

Find someone from that member’s district who’s willing to go on camera, give her or his name, and talk about how the cuts in spending/govt shutdown/default would devastate them.

Then end the video with a shot of the rep, and the question: So who do you work for, Representative [Republican]?  The Washington insider/lobbyist/whatever term of approbation, or [local constituent]?

This shouldn’t be that hard to do or that expensive to shoot, not if you consider that the bones of the vid need only be shot once and then distributed to the state parties for tailoring. (You could also make variations of this for radio.)

This is a no-brainer. MAKE THEM PAY!