failing social darwinism

via themythicalman

Today is the first day of the year 5772. I wish I felt more hopeful.

Returning from Seattle, I looked out at the crescent of water visible from the highway near the border to see the the skies over the southern, U.S. shore a bright, joyful blue, (flooded with the scent of flowers when we drove through it), but fading northward until over Canada was silver, all gray and bleak and rain. It felt too pat, too apt a metaphor to be real, yet there it was, undeniable, painted in uncanny symmetry.

There were no apples in honey for me this year. Instead I dropped some sweetness off at a doorway up the street and stayed home, cleaning my room, unpacking from my trip, putting more aside to sell. I may have returned to familiar surroundings, yet this doesn’t feel like home. Everything is drenched in stress. Unemployment, lack of rent, debts and bills I can do nothing about. One of the cats broke her tail in my absence, no idea how, but because we don’t have money enough for a vet, it has gone unexamined, except by my inexpert fingers. I hope she isn’t in much pain. Meanwhile, the first of the month looms, a darker shadow every day. David is unemployed now, too, as the bookstore chain he worked for is closing down their shops, and my welfare cheque is being held, as I am due for an audit, so our finances are in an even worse state than before. Even so, I am considering quitting welfare, as a way to alleviate some of the depression. Fighting the world without a net is harsh, but independence is worth more than security.


“We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.”
— Anaïs Nin

Part of me knew I would never stay, that every moment should be crystallized in amber, trapped like the genetic blueprint of actual happiness, ready to be cloned by some mysterious future tinker, lamps for sale, the escapist cry under the window, rub the brass to recall a broken sugar landscape, an electric vision of what it was like to be young and finally glad of life. Every atom shining. Quotations and fabricated salvation, the canned replies of pop song poetry, always and forever, forever and always, roses are red, except when they’re dead, the way our footsteps matched in time, the way our voices rose together, the silliest song, that tricky bit with the bridge. In the back of things, back on the beach, my body still lay crumpled in a street, left where it had been dropped, a life abandoned like an unwanted chore. At the core, even as I found a place to walk forward, it remained the death of my joy.

Prelude, fast forward, in fine literature they refer to it as foreshadowing, (three times before, midnight gypsies knocking at the door), a trivial divergence blossoming into the most expensive explosion, blinding as a blow to the skull. Divergence, silence, a rough handed, hard, concrete truth I had tried so hard to ignore, that trust, at the base, is a wretched and foolish game. No matter how far I go, it will still be towards the funeral of my dearest friends. Every tomorrow will come, but the sun will be no more. I have been amputated. My heart no longer alive as a vessel for golden light.

recommended: HD and full screen

What does it feel like to fly over planet Earth?

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy.

and so I step to night

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

my very favourite art car

Duane Flatmo’s steampunk-styled artcar, El Pulpo Mechanico

El Pulpo was made entirely from recycled materials, mostly scavenged scrap metal, and only completely assembled for the very first time on playa.

It was astonishing, how there could be so much in one place. We arrived to a line-up, dust and darkness and running lights, every tenth vehicle hosting a tiny party of celebrants, giddy to finally arrive. I pulled my bike off the back of the car, explored back and forth, gliding as if flying from conversation to conversation, stopping to chat wherever I could. The line moved fast, though, and soon we were past the gate, pushing past the empty playa to the city, lights, music, and chaos swelling out of the dust, guiding our way.

The greeters, when you meet them, have a particular script. They ask if you’re new, if this is your first year, if you need to ring the bell or roll in the dust, as they hand you your booklet, your maps, and miscellaneous stickers. Mostly, though, what they say is, “welcome home”. There are layers to it, acceptance, comfort, joy. It is rote, but it is meaningful, and it was fascinating to feel the reply this time, to know that this trip was already different from last year, already more.

I set up my camp in the dark, assembling poles and slipping them into clips by touch, my small tidy pile of belongings lit only by the ambient light of a lantern that a new campmate Quan sweetly brought out to me after I’d already put up my tent. I fell asleep wrapped in simplicity, my bedding still clean of playa, wondering where Tony was, wondering at the stars. I was briefly disappointed in myself, at my driving exhaustion, my inability to go out and explore, but tomorrow would be okay too, I decided, freshly minted, a perfect block of time, seasoned and ready to be carved.

a memoir

When You Are Old
by Spencer Gordon

Life is a long time grieving, especially the first time. The second time you try, and it’s all right, there’s less tears; it’s a reunion you never thought would happen. Then the call comes back: the hard line in the head that said

don’t kiss, don’t dance, don’t do that. And even drinking is easier, somehow, like each sip was watered down with berries and pills and ice. You never dreamed it would be so easy. But this is your second time around,

and you’re used to feeling used, and you want to see the people you thought were gone for good, and so you lean toward the fat neck beside you, and you say kiss me darling, I’m back for you, and you alone, and the trees

aren’t sad, are they? The air is a calm mourner, you say; it doesn’t need a wake to drink at. It doesn’t need friends or family. You’re like the wind, you think. You don’t need a friend. You don’t need another life. And so it ends.