Monthly Archives: May 2013

098: homburg

Noun: homburg (plural homburgs) – Alternative form of Homburg.

It’s no wonder I’m of “Generation Strawberry,” given how easily I bruise. One story I’m following just took a rather dramatic turn amid a flashback. To summarize: friendship, discovery of vicious child abuse, confusion, more confusion, confused spurning out of fear, very sad, more feels, crying.

The chapter ends with the poor little girl sitting on the ground, crying hysterically in a way that makes me want to jump in front of a bus with poisoned spikes all over its front.

It may be an acquired condition – Mom still remembers the day I came home from school, really sad that Timothy wanted to play with somebody else. And perhaps that has ever since spiraled out menacingly to provide a Holden-Caulfield protective instinct. Children are sacred creatures – to violate one is an unspeakable crime. The cold fury that Elphaba spoke of (in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Witch of the West) is well-developed in my personality. I first felt it, full-force, some night when Sis went to a school dance. After midnight (I think), we got a very calm call from her that they’d had a small car accident (they’d rear-ended another car) on the expressway. The three of us made all speed to the scene, and I glowered as hard as I’d ever done at the responsible driver. How dare she endanger my sister, hang the consequences and hang your car, but how dare you shirk your responsibility to my family?

I was the resident creepy boy that night. In retrospect it was pretty unfair for me to be so angry at the driver (she herself was distraught), but it gave me a strong bearing on my emotional compass. The same sheet of hail and frigid wind assailed my senses in an episode of Sherlock, when the CIA came and took Mrs. Hudson hostage. I remember egging Sherlock on in my mind: Yes! Yes! Tie that bastard to a chair, hang him and international law. That’ll show him. No, no! Don’t call Lestrade, you’ll ruin all the fun! What’s that? Ha-HA! YES! Pitch him out your window a couple times, that’ll show him! Do it! DO it for Mrs. Hudson and all the terror they dared do to the poor old woman.

I was distinctly disappointed when Sherlock left it at throwing him out the window a few times. I had hoped for impromptu castration at the least, maybe disembowelment on the side. I channeled a really vengeful hate for that man (who holds the same passport that I do), despite the great likelihood that he was only doing good for the law.

A few weeks ago, at supper in the dining commons, I realized that the feeling of protectiveness spiked greatly when it came to my family. I (disturbingly) described a wanton cruelty that rose within me when it came to the thought of someone who might raise a hand against those who are closest to me. It was a surge that bordered on psychopathy.

This confuses me in my rational state. I think I’m quite against the death penalty, and I most certainly don’t condone torture. The eye-for-an-eye (or worse) principle is completely stupid, and I understand the general logic as to why it’s stupid. And yet, I find myself completely dumbfounded as to why I shed all reason when my brain sets up a simulation in which a villain might harm my loved ones.

(Even more odd is my unusual passiveness for almost any abuse done to me. I don’t think I’ve been actually angry at somebody for a personal wrong in several years. It simply doesn’t escalate beyond a minor annoyance anymore. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but you’ll never really get me mad. No, nor with words.)

If things ever came down to the knife, though, I wouldn’t be able to do it – I COULDN’T ever kill somebody, even given complete anarchy, perfect justification, and zero chance of retribution.

There are a few things that I hold sacred, in no particular order: human life, my family, children, and the general happiness of people and animals alike. My morals (shabby and poorly kept as they are) revolve around these and several other lesser factors.

My God. Seven hundred words for a simple post where I wanted to whine about a chapter of a manga I’m following. I’m feeling really, really rotten right now, and I need some sunshine and rainbows to cheer me up.

Now playing: Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53 (6:51)
by Rafał Blechacz, Fryderyk Chopin
The 15th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition – Disc 6 – Rafał Blechacz – 1st & 2nd Round recordings – Track 13/20



097: European Shorthairs

Noun: European Shorthairs – Plural form of European Shorthair

I can’t wrap my dull mind around the unbounded optimism that Captain Hopeful has.

I for one just want to recoup my debt to my parents so I can go drop dead somewhere already.

“How much does it cost to raise a child … to age eighteen?” I asked Mom.

“Why?” she was puzzled.

“No reason.” I rolled over on the bed. Add that to the cost of college and that’s my debt. And then a large margin of error because I’ve always been a spoiled child. And then some because a funeral isn’t cheap. And I don’t think the insurance company will pay out when they find out I’ve ingested cyanide or something.

Oh, and of course don’t forget a bonus so that Mom and Dad can actually go have a real honeymoon. They won’t be in the mood the first few weeks after I’m gone, but they’ve got to use it someday. And then they’ll understand why I bothered leaving behind a honeymoon fund.

I don’t want my funeral to be a big deal. I’ll go quietly across the River Styx, but if everyone insists on making a fake fuss about it, I’ll be offended. I won’t be taken in by the stupid constructed notion that I’ll be “missed” or that I leave a “hole” behind. Bullshit. I’ll be as missed as a dog turd on Persian carpet. I didn’t really want to be born; neither did the turd have a choice in being dumped on somebody’s carpet.

There are, however, a few pieces of music I want played at my funeral, and I’ll leave a list behind for sis when my time comes. Other than that, I’ll almost certainly be angry from beyond the grave if any false mourners show up. Ugh. Keep it small and simple.

I haven’t explored life enough, but what little I’ve seen runs like an episode of a really, really bad TV show that’s on permanent repetition. The opening is familiar, the middle is predictable, and you’ve experienced the ending a million times already. People get sick of this stuff. I’m particularly sensitive to it because I’ve had so much time to think.

Should I get a life? Waaayyy too much work, and probably too shallow for me. Should I join a religion? I’ve thought that through in too much detail, and I’m certain that nobody could get me to really believe. Should I take a holiday? What a waste of money for an uncertain amount of enjoyment that would probably be viciously marred by logistics, pickpockets, bedbugs, and nasty traveling mates.

As always I’m sick, I am sick – like we’re sociologically sick!


096: Ysonge

Verb: ysonge – (obsolete) Past participle of sing

TODAY on flaglock: Julian waxes nostalgic and gripes a great deal about life and existence.

I stopped to watch the leaves blow in the wind. Today I cocked an eye at the water bubbling its way downstream.

When you take the time, after your many homogeneous years of tedium, to actually stop and smell the flowers, you smell them again as a newborn. Sword Art Online gave me this food for thought – when will our computers be powerful enough to duplicate our world down to this level of detail? When will we touch a digital leaf and find ourselves unable to distinguish its artificial nature?

People will judge obsessive gamers (this is a twenty-first century phenomenon) for channeling their lives into a world that is not real. What these critics miss is that while the gaming world is unreal, it has a level of detail and possibility that ours does not. You can shine in that digital realm with little overhead and little effort. It’s not a daily rat race. You jump in and you have fun. Can you easily say the same of this reality? How often have you stopped in your tracks and taken the time to inhale deeply, and affirmed to yourself that this world is so much more than what any manufacture could produce?

If you have not done so, you forfeit your right to judge. What makes your world so special to make you look down on others who want to escape it?

There’s very little that can’t be tiled into a virtual reality that won’t fool me. To put it simply: I’ve low standards. Not much tethers me to this world besides the mentality that holds Facebook together and Google+ down: “everyone else is here. I’d be lonely if I moved.” If you trapped me in Sword Art Online with my family, I’d first lament my separation from the music of Rafał Blechacz.

For a spell, I adopted that policy: I stopped here and there and appreciated the world around me. People talked, the wind blew, and the sun shined. I did not think of Sagan. I did not think about how itty-bitty I was, nor how trapped I was on the surface of our tiny pale blue dot. And for a few blinks I was happy – happy to be here, happy to be alive.

Taking in the world and embracing it raw is an interesting experience. It doesn’t quite feel real. Once upon a time, when I was young and new to the world, everything felt genuine – there was novelty in almost everything, every day. Some of my clearest memories involve either lolling around the carpet or watching fog and rain on cloudy days.

“People are always setting conditions for happiness … I love life without condition.”

— Arthur Rubinstein (Life Magazine, 5 April 1948 – taken from Wikipedia)

I think that life is predictable, to an extent. But it’s not predictable to the extent that you can game it like mental math. Nor is it anything as formulaic as mental math – life is the biggest gamble you’ll ever make, from the moment you make your way into the maternity ward. Rubinstein was right: if you keep trying to play life like a game – or if you treat it like a contract – you’ll be sorely disappointed. Life is the dirtiest, most lawless, and the most unfair game to have ever been set up.

“You know how the saying goes – you lose some … don’t you?”

— Douglas Richardson, Cabin Pressure Series 2 Episode 2 (Gdansk)

Things will hurt, and they’ll hurt a lot. Maybe not skyscraper-jump-tier hurt, but a lot of hurt nonetheless.

“Ah, Springtime – the only season whereby any organism can ejaculate with abandon all over the faces of hapless humans in the relevant hemisphere.”

— Julian 39 Mazurka, 6B32H

To sum things up: stop being so expectant. Your house will burn down. Your wife will leave you. You will die cold and miserable. So what? Who judges you? Do you float into purgatory to face a panel of judges who mutely hold up little signboards? “Your score, Mister Smith, is six point five. Not very good, is it?”

Is my opinion escapist? Of course it is. But that lands it firmly in the same faction as that of any organized religion. And, like most other worldviews, I think that mine should doubly encourage everyone to make the most of this life.

I’ve been home two days now. I’ve finished The God Delusion, re-read Tartuffe, and had a gander at Wicked (which I’m enjoying immensely). For all I know I’m going to be Shanghai’d to Taiwan shortly for some work experience. My lanyard feels awfully lonely to be without keys, and my room is chock-full of my personal effects yapping at each other happily, glad to be back in close quarters in familiar territory. I find myself with six working pairs of earbuds and not the foggiest idea what to do with them all. (Use them slowly, I guess). It feels wonderful, though, to be home with the speaker set in my room: I can finally listen to Rafał Blechacz through something besides my tinny $1.50 headphones or my (acceptable) laptop speakers. I’ve been so careless as to be reprimanded verbally by my aunt for blasting the music too loudly in the living room today.

Oh, but it’s wonderful to be home.