Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: one fucked up bitch of a year for the world- a pretty good year for laura gillespie.

i've come to feel that there's not much i can say about the most important things. if you don't believe me (that i feel that way) i couldn't blame you-- i'm always talking. but i think maybe talking is important as a way of things happening more than as a means of naming important things. last year was full of unspeakably important things. intractable things. this year there was less death. more room for life.

i never once succeded, this year or any other year, in speaking the unspeakable. it has sometimes been very disappointing. tremendously endlessly disappointing. but i could talk about most things and it was important to me that i could. i talked as a way of being known to people (who've come to matter to me so much). i talked just to make warm noises, to make people feel welcome in small ways (i maintain that this is a terribly important kind of talking). i talked because i felt like it, and i only have a limited amount of time to enjoy that sneeze-y feeling, that relief.

new year's stock-taking and resolution isn't my bag. it's too arbitrary. i'm going to stop now. but hey, if you're reading this, that means that you most likely had something do with these last twelve months and what they've meant to me. thanks.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the book of tea begins:

'tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one's life more full and complete.'
i'm inclined to believe this.

diesel has teapots now, my readers.
today i've had one pot each of:
earl grey (w. soy milk)
wu wei + herbal mint (the rosie mix)
(which isn't technically tea, but an herbal infusion. until someone comes up with a better term, though, i'm just going to call it tea.)

one term paper down, three finals to go.
[thanks to e.j.]

Sunday, December 10, 2006

my dog ate it.

i used to enjoy arguing. i liked thinking of what came next. i had an intuition, i stated it as a point of fact. then came counterpoint. dodge. parry. thrust. first i am the point, and someone else is the counterpoint, but then (and always, really, but more and more as time passed) i'm the point and the counterpoint. i formulate a little argument to myself and i like the way it goes-- i might think it through eight or ten times, running little fingers over it, tweeking-- and then, out of habit (dodge. parry. thrust), i counter. and as it happens i get better and better at countering.

so first it's: point, point--point...point! (counter) point.
and then it's: point...counter...point...counter.
and then it's point. counter. point. counter. point.
and then it's pointcounterpointcounterpointcounter.

the counters gain. they're unanswerable. (it's not always or even generally unpleasant. when i'm thinking of a thing in the world that interests me i learn more or differently about it. but when decisiveness is called for i'm occasionally horrible, sometimes unforgivable. ideas of what to do are rejected as quickly as they occur and i stand there while the whole thing burns or grows or does whatever it does, no thanks to me.) and the day finally came when the point was overtaken (pointcounterpoincounterpoicounterpocounterpcounter) and a little part of who i was imploded, and i sat there in the middle of it for a longtime and couldn't say a goddamned thing that mattered.

why make a point when its unanswerable contradiction is right on top of it? you can't even tell them apart anymore.

this is a story-- a little argument-- that i told myself today while i walked. it's not particularly true.
[i was born/ you begin, and already each word/ makes you smaller. -n.flynn]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

vessel networks. neuron forests.

take the brain tour!
[nevermind about the context.]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

study break.

i could seriously use a coke habit right about now. sleep is the enemy.
in three weeks i'll court it and find myself devastatingly unrequited, but for now i'll enjoy/loath this unprecedented moment. and speak wistfully of copping some adderall.

Monday, November 27, 2006


paint splashed, coffee soaked, belled and mildewed. branded and debranded. no reflective surfaces left to speak of. laces notched eyelet to aglet from bike gear incidents. i've hungum up.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

i wish i had a mind like a scalpel.

some people really appreciate wine or baseball cards or coasters or cigars, and appreciating something seems to bring about in human beings the strong desire to own it. people come to collect things over time. they keep them in specially outfitted cellars, plastic sleeves, cupboards, and boxes calibrate-able humidity levels.

but you fucks refuse to live in my basement. the only things i really appreciate insist on leaving my sight constantly-- and not only my sight, but sometimes my city-- and not only my city, but the safe spaces. it's the nature of what i appreciate that it should wander off and get into trouble/fun/glory, that it should wander off and get distracted. and since i can't keep you in a cupboard, i hope that while you're out going boldly (and i'm out, too, and distracted, too) you'll stay a little safe in my honor (all of you). or at least consider me fondly before you decide against it.

this could turn saccharine on a dime. i'm going to quit while i'm almost not behind.

Monday, November 06, 2006

kharma (is too ambitious a title for this post)

last night at beers i posed the following questions: do you (tucker, sal) think that what.goes.around.comes.around is a law of the universe, or that it's a law of human nature-- that we unconsciously set ourselves up to get what we secretly think we deserve? i'd never thought to compare this pop.psychology idea of unconscious self-punishment to the big idea of kharma.

then this morning i read about (the question of) group selection-- the question being, might natural selection work at the level of the group? the question is important because everyone's trying to explain altruism and the complexities of group living in a world where it would seem to be in the interest of any given organism to screw over all others at every turn. one suggestion is that groups of cooperative organisms might thrive while a group of folks who'd as soon spit in your eye as shake your hand aren't as likely to. there are problems with group selection models, but they seem to have some limited and interesting applications. which isn't the point.

what i was thinking (vaguely, vaguely) is something about: kharma as built into us and not out in the world at all. what if we were built to live our lives in ways that reminded us, that were always causing us to behave in ways that bring us to circumstances that are always reminding us, of this idea: what.goes.around.comes.around. so we evolved a kind of seeming enforcement (and we evolved to posit the existance of an enforcer, too-- see: the billion recent books on the evolution of religion). not real enforcement. there's nothing like 'fair', in us, or out there somewhere. little reminders. gestures. and they are there because we have to live with each other.

there probably isn't even any such thing as coming back. it seems unlikely that anything you projected out into the world could come back when there's so much world to absorb it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

i lost my hat.

it's a white knit hat with a blue edge and a blue pompom on top.
it's traveled with me for over fifteen years and at least ten thousand miles.

i don't own much that i care about,
but if i got this hat back, i'd be glad.

i first noticed that it was missing at jp licks, in jp.
i may have lost it on the bike ride from chinatown.

it looks like this:

limited time offer.

what i've (re)learned in my philosophy of biology class is that evolution has at least three necessary conditions: (1) random mutation, (2) heritability, and (3) the scarcity of resources. which is just to say that (1) there will be occasional errors in the reproduction of genetic material from one generation to the next & that these errors will occassionally be expressed in the way a body is built; (2) that once a mutation has randomly occured, it can be legitimately passed on to offspring; and (3) that all of this mutating and inheriting is going on in a world where there isn't enough for us all to live and procreate infinitely. and evolution depends on how (3) plays out between (1) and (2): something is born different than its fellows-- will the difference improve it's chances for survival and successful reproduction, relative to those fellows?

i remember the exact moment that i figured out what was going on. i'd just turned 20, and the world, by way of some heavy reading and minor activism, was shifting in and out of focus. i was wondering: why? why would nice people (i knew they were nice-- they were my people) not want to help other people? this was no big-eyed bullshit question, and i stand by it. what, i wondered, could be the root of profound political disagreement between people who are all operating with the same basic emotional and intellectual repetoire-- or, more accurately, what kind of gravity was it that could pull objects of the same weight in such different directions. what was the logic? what was the law?

there isn't enough for everybody. boom. that's it. that's the thing, i thought: there has to be a way in which what's mine is really mine and you can't have it, because there isn't enough. the idea of ownership and deservingness has to compose the fabric of our most basic assumptions, because if it doesn't, then what's in my hands could as easily be yours, and if it's in your hand, and not in mine, there won't be more. there won't be enough. scarcity of resources. the struggle for survival.

i thought: aha! this is where you're wrong, grump-- you can endorse redistributive tax arrangments-- you can support gay marriage and the funding of clinics and pledging more of our gdp to foreign aid. because there's enough! you were taking for granted that there isn't, but there is. look at all there is.

i worked hard on that idea for awhile. then school ended. plans changed. i wasn't reading much political theory, and my activism was of a humbler kind. grump died, anyway. i just haven't thought about it much-- not explicitly.

but i've been thinking about it these weeks-- not about the old idea i just rehearsed, about something else. darwin says that two starving dogs struggle against one another for a piece of meat-- that they struggle against one another for survival-- but that a green plant in the desert stuggles, too, and not against other green plants, or any animal-- it struggles against the drought. scarcity of resources isn't just another way of understanding our lives in terms of bullshit capitalist competition models. because i'm not some fucking dog fighting for a piece of meet, and i'm not a green plant in the desert, but in my whole life, which will end, there will only ever be one fall during which i'm twenty four years old. this one fall that i'm a twenty four year old philsophy student in somerville, massachusetts is scarce. every moment that i have is scarce-- i only get it once-- and moments, generally, are scarce, too-- i only get some. and every moment there are many people, and for every person, there are a lot of things i want to be/do to/for/with them. and i can't even manage to be/do even a tiny fraction of those things to/for/with even a tiny fraction of those people (this is about time limitations, but also about how one path precludes another, and about other limitations-- the ways that i fail and fall so terribly short). and that's just true. it's lamentable, and (not but) lamenting is probably another lamentable way of wasting moments.

this is too long.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

in the closet (national coming out day 2006)

readymade comes like new year's eve, but monthly, to give us all a false sense of fresh starts and endless possibility. but this last month, as it happens, readymade explained to me how i could turn my closet into an office. looking up from the glossy page, my head tilting to the side, i heard faint music queue and rise in the background: i could do this.

i did. this is how it turned out:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

i need a wife.

gender isn't essential here. what i need is someone who derives some sense of satisfaction from making sure that i have clean socks, new underpants, and five to seven servings of vegetables a day.

[this week was good. 'breakthrough' is too effusive a term, but a collection of seemingly random pixels has shaped up into something like an image. i have some idea what it's meant to be of. i'm not certain at all yet of my capacity to refine it. i spent most of the week in the library. i didn't take one shower. my socks were dirty. my underpants had holes. i lived on cereal and tea. it was disgusting/amazing. i may be totally unfit for social interaction by the time i'm done with school.]

(edit: other key wifely specialties would include (a) making doctor/dentist appoitments and explaining to me how to get to them, (b) reading all instruction manuals and contracts regarding various technological artifacts (read: helping me to understand my laptop and cancel my cell phone service) and (c) figuring out where to put my clothes now that i've turned my closet into an office. my wife would also need a general specialty in glasses, including the prescription of, the purchasing of, and the finding of [at least ten times a day].)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

six months ago i tied bells to my shoelaces- a whimsical failure of an idea that i had meant to be strictly practical. the idea failed, but the bells stayed, and they are sometimes bells of mindfulness, but mostly i don't hear them anymore (this was what killed the whole idea in the first place).

now i live in the library. you can see how that might change things. i wonder what librarians think of shoelace bells.
today i read a most excellent paper. it reminded me why studying philosophy is what i'm doing with my life these years. it said many exciting things. in it, the author asked that i consider three figures-- the first diagrams a propostional attitude (known outside the discipline of philosophy as a "thought"); the second, a classical gas law; the third, heartbreak [sometimes philosophy is as good as a poem-- it uses language that's not everyday language to say something true-- irreducibly true-- about everyday]:

(x) (p) (q) [((x believes that p) &
(x believes that (if p then q)))
∆ (barring confusion, distraction, etc.,
x believes that q)]

(x)(P)(V)(µ) [((x has a pressure P) &
(x has a volume V) & (x has a quantity
µ)) ∆ (barring very high pressure or
density, x has a temperature of

(x) (p) [((x desires with all his heart that
p) & (s learns that ~ p))
∆ (barring unusual strength of character,
x is shattered that ~ p)]

none of this is really what the paper was about.

Monday, October 09, 2006

i could use:

1) a thermos-- something big and sturdy.
2) a most-purpose bike lube with a lid that really stays on.
3) arm warmers, light ones and heavy ones, that go shoulder to knuckles.

(fall is here. winter is coming.)