still haven’t left the house LOL

Making biscotti and chicken stir fry yesterday put paid to my mobility ambitions. I will get going today, I promise. Cleaned out the kitchen compost bins and hoooeeee did they need it. Anyway I’m having tea and chicken stir fry for breakfast, because damn it was good. I’ve been watching a Chinese lady cook on facebook videos and she really inspired me.

17529 words.

Found out there’s a samosa factory on Beresford…. I intend to visit there today too. Hopefully Paul will be in the mood for errands.

Absolutely dreading the family meeting on Friday. However, if Paul reacts poorly, he won’t get asked in future; stuff has to happen whether he’s composed enough to take part or not.

 

 

a little list

  1. Pork chops of superlative tenderness achieved. Last two were fossilized so it made a nice change. Roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts dressed with sesame oil to go with.
  2. Three whole loads of laundry. Not put away of course but I’ll make an attempt.
  3. We’re going to get a buttload of cold weather. I’m hoping the furnace makes it.
  4. Brief call with Katie; she’s managing.
  5. Janice did not come this weekend.
  6. 15275 words
  7. Twitter is continuing to make circling the void/drain/black hole noises.

is this contentment

Just wanted to state that Jeff is a peerless housemate and my good fortune in this last decade plus of cohabitation CANNOT be overstated. He knows why I’m posting this now, but it need not be the business of the world.

The Echo is in at the krankenhaus, Paul is all wanting to drive again, and I’m going to tell him the same thing I did last time; Don’t. Unless your doctor okays it, no. The CT happened and we’ll know more when the film’s read. Keith picked us up after we dropped the car off. Keith is being such a dear one these days.

Then I got a return call from Tammy and we had a lovely phone call, chugging through the ever changing panoply of tasks and concerns. I am very happy she called.

Suzanne is here and the rugs are in to be washed.

I carried Kevin (the vacuum) downstairs. He is a very substantial minion and awkward. I wanted to be reminded.

I think it is possible that I am gestating a poem. Could be gas. Could be the samosa. Could be that Magpie (twitterfren’) was talking about how a poem ambushed them with a philosophical demand that (as they currently construe themselves) was antithetical to their wellbeing.

This means that my friend has identified something interesting to me, of which I was not previously aware, in my poetry.

If you read David Dowker’s poems, and you should if you enjoy being bewildered in a very high-toned way, only to be poleaxed by a phrase which welds itself to your sensorium, you will not come across a single one that would require the modern day ‘scourge of both literature and the flow of ideas in virtual spaces’ by which I mean (and for the one person reading this who’ll enjoy it) the TRIGGER WARNING.

A content or trigger warning is the signed, finger-signed, audible or readable advisory that potentially painful, objectionable, psychologically harmful due to pre-existing conditions, or just plain offensive to contemporary acceptance of decency wat dat content is imminently inbound.

I think the poet has to consider the audience. If you want your poetry widely accessible, that means actually taking accessibility into consideration. Oh, one possibly probably almost certainly says, such a small part of the market.

fiendish grin

I am not marketable. Oh my offense is rank, it smells to heaven – that I have RSD and CAN’T FUCKING BEAR TO BE EDITED or even gently remonstrated with regarding usage. Of course if it’s dead wrong I don’t have a problem, but anything with wiggle room and a slice of daylight a photon wide and … I be the spiny puffer fish stuck in the throat of my own self-improvement. So I’ll never be a commercial author. I won’t improve as a poet. My best songwriting days are behind me anyway and I’m fine with that. When I have a back catalogue like what I’m sitting on… ?  just staying on top of my own top 40 compositions in terms of performance readiness is all I fucking need to do. Everyone who likes my tunes already has the sheet music or a recording and nobody else matters. When Tom Lehrer, one of the greatest song writers of the 20th C, PUBLICLY POSTED HIS ENTIRE CATALOGUE, I thought I don’t even need to say anything, I’ve been vindicated with the kind of vindication that counts, one artist heart sending up a flare to another while putting the audience first. WHO ELSE could respect his audience that much? Who is unbossed enough to do it? Of course he’s not a perfect human but it’s the single most amazing piece of direct cultural action by a white guy I’ve seen in fucking years, it’s amazing!

I used to think I’d have to die first, to be a successful author, but everything about modern publishing culture is done thanks to climate change; the industry is too busy doing an HR Giger style cannibalizing fetishistic blowjob on itself and offering its youngest workers to Moloch to have it sussed yet. Publishing is yet one more of the many things that won’t survive climate change. Books that haven’t already been digitized will disappear, burned for heat, burned in fascist and religious purges or repurposed as tp or recycled as paper for other purposes. Everything that survives will either be expensive or pirated, sometimes both depending on local bullies’ attitudes toward the arts. So yeah, I’m going to keep my dignity and not wade out into that swamp. Am I making a virtue of necessity? It’s neither virtue nor necessity. I just don’t want to get any on me when it’s a swamp I can’t win.

Having given ‘the market’ all the fcking consideration that it currently deserves, and probably to all of your minds much more than it deserved even before I wilfully dragged it out of its niche in the columbarium of western thought (barf gag), I return to the issue of the consideration of the audience. I will in future be providing content warnings for my poems. On the page, the CW will state “CW is at the bottom of the poem.” People can then choose to skip ahead or read the poem. CW are often for sexual abuse, self-harm, violence, eating disorders but since I hardly ever write poetry about that, it won’t be necessary. But sometimes I mention things like death and going to the hospital, and yes it would be good to either make the title the content warning or give sensitive people a heads up. I wrote a poem about a dying man called Tom in Hospital. So easy to do. I could have called it something else. But anyone walking up to the poem who just had a relative or friend die will know: I rilly don’t need to read this right now. Or I must read this right now. But at least they know!

I identified an artistic problem with the help of a friend. I identified a number of ways to solve it. I will take the rest of my musings on the subject off line, partly because I need to pee but also because I rilly want another samosa and a smoothie to go with.

left a message for Keith

Didn’t hear back. I’m assuming all went well.

Wordle in 3 this morning. I suspect that Suzanne will laugh when she gets it. I know I did.

Weather continues warm, overcast and intermittently rainy; no break for many days.

The Russians lied their way through the ceasefire and are fumbling their way through the Donbas attack. As the weaponry between the nations equalizes thanks to NATO Putin’s desire to use nukes must be well nigh insupportable.  I’m sure his people, over whom the fallout will land, are right there with him. In the last episode of first season The Peripheral a bunch of kleptocrat Russians in London talk about the Putin diaspora and I involuntarily smiled. The show hasn’t been renewed by Amazon yet but it’s apparently just being finalized.

Jeff and I, despite our very commendable urge to stay the hell home, went to London Thugs yesterday. As we came down the escalator (I was wearing the highest standard mask that we own, Jeff had a KN95) we saw that we were walking into a store where no one including the staff were wearing masks. Needless to say we didn’t hang about. I purchased an alarm clock (a really nice one) and more importantly a proper charger and charging cable for the little non phone Nokia Jeff loaned me, since I was not consistently able to get a charge out of the old one. Once again I spent the money and got a two metre cable and a decent charger and glory be, all of my charging issues are done and the non phone charges almost instantly now.

We should probably go do a shop this am, got no more eggies.

14223 words

Lovely night of sleep after a lovely bathe and brush-up. Finally recovering from a couple of ragged nights. Jeff got me a chicken breast over caesar salad for dins last night and it was nom. A couple of amazing pieces of garlic bread came with – it’s the simple things that make life better…

Blood pressure is fine.

Mike would probably hate us but that one last piece of slowly drying prime rib (literally all the other leftovers were long since eaten) in the fridge was cut up and given to the crows (with peanuts). GONE pretty much instantly. Curvebeak must have been reproductively successful, there’s another curvebeaked crow out there, a little bit smaller, showing the raven lineage.

Lumosity up next.

Anyway, I am definitely feeling much less like whining, fussing and crying this morning so let’s see what I can do to either make my life better or someone else’s today. Thanks mOm for the kind words. I try to write amusing things and when I manage it’s lovely.

Never fails

The more useful my blog is to me and my family the less interesting it is to other people… down to five people looking at it per day, including someone I live with. I suppose if Buster could read he’d be in there looking for references to his cattly self too.

Wordle in five this morning. I am endeavouring not to cheat and haven’t for about a month now. Hard to believe I’ve been doing it for more than a year, seems like less time.

Keith is going to his G&G for part of the weekend and I’d go with him if I thought I’d be welcome. We are definitely on the mend relationship wise though so I’m gonna stay out of his show. He’s taking his pOp to an important medical appointment today. Last night I dreamed that Paul completely showed insight into his condition including that his vision isn’t great and when I joyfully said, “So you’re okay with not driving then?” he turned from where he was sitting on the floor at his place watching the same aviation themed movie Jeff and I watched last night (“Devotion” recommended for war movie and civil rights fans, directed by JD Dillard and score by Chanda Dancy (I did like the score)), put on the meanest facial expression possible (literally one I’ve never seen on him before because he is not a mean person) and said, “Of course not, I’ll be driving again soon.”

And then I woke up. Given that it was my own brain that dished out this ghastly bit of me attempting to work through my emotions on this (waves arms helplessly in general direction of undesirable events and outcomes) I guess I’m going to look over to my Ontie Mary and her life experience and pray for guidance. I try to do the right thing but I’m lazy and self-involved. He deserves the very best of care, the world knows he gave it to me many times when I needed it. Keith and I left it that I am ready to take Paul at 10:30 just in case for whatever reason Keith can’t and then we’ll swap out cars and I’ll take Paul. If I don’t hear from him by eleven I can assume I’m excused duty. So I’ll back Keith up but I’m going to operate on the assumption that I don’t have to today.

And I’m sitting here crying like a fool. Must get up and walk around today.

Echo goes to the Krankenhaus Thursday which is great because it’ll be out of the driveway for Suzanne. Suzanne FINALLY HAZ CATT His name is Lucky, he looks like Bounce, and he’s a rescue purr factory.

Jeff and I have both been having insomnia and ‘sleeping at weird times’ issues but they seem to be resolving. We were BOTH up at 1:30 the other morning.

Really enjoyed Brisco County Jr but we’ve finished our watch of the first and only season. RIP Julius Carry you were epic as tracker/bounty hunter/bon vivant Lord Bowler and I think I loved your outfit almost as much as I loved you.

Coming up to the end of season 3 Expanse – still an amazing show!

14151 words. We’ll see what I’m up for today, but progress once again seems possible.

Lumosity brain exercises up next. I am never going to achieve the same scores for them as I did in 13/14 but I’m getting close for some of them.

Briefly thought about adding chat to this website. That would be funny.

New burner to replace the one I melted Jeff’s container on has been installed. Oy me. Hey, it only took two weeks.

There was a rat under the sink last night. We may have to call an exterminator, Buster doesn’t seem up for the job.

Confidential to Glenn dangit I ain’t even opened it yet.

quietly productive

I emptied and ran the dishwasher, wiped down the hellhole surfaces in the kitchen closest to the compost buckets and got most of the rain of tomato out of the microwave, trained the cat, made and thoroughly enjoyed a coffee, possibly wrote a song, did my wordle and lumosity training, clipped Buster’s claws, made ‘meat and potatoes’ for lunch, sent a thousand words to mOm, figured out what my next couple of scenes are (although I’m not putting pressure on myself to write) and I generally luxuriated in the life of a retired person. I took my meds at the right time. I stayed hydrated. I put in eyedrops before I went to bed.

That’s what I’m supposed to do, right?

Watched the Netflix film the Pale Blue Eye. Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe was wonderful. Harry Melling’s grandad was the second Doctor Who, who knew. Gillian Anderson’s bizarre mom to a bizarre family was …. bizarre and hypercreepy.  Christian Bale as the haunted detective was quite effective. I really enjoyed the script. Unlike many scripts (many, many; hear me whine) set in historical times, it neither gracelessly dropped modern slang like horseshit into a griddle nor overdid the ceremony and style of days of speech in days of yore. I didn’t hear a single anachronism. Do you have any idea how pleasant that is for a writer? I mean there were many constructions that would likely not have happened in the 1830s, but nothing so far from contemporary usage that it was repellent. For that alone, huit sur dix.

Jeff Bezos, may the intertwined Fates of a thousand cultures give him his reward, has, through Amazon, bought an Indian publishing house called Westland Publishing. It is one of the few publishing houses in India that has the wit and courage to publish ANYTHING that challenges Hindutva. (Spoiler alert, I think that all countries are idiotic, but once you have a settled state that calls itself a democracy, you should perhaps not support a political ideology that FIGHTS LIKE HELL AGAINST PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY BECAUSE HINDUS ARE JUST BETTER, KK? Plus the caste system is groovy, men own women’s bodies, marital rape is super cool, cops can kill women who report rapes after raping them again, and Muslims are arson targets) OKAY maybe I’m being a racist asshole, oh look, I’m not. I really don’t think that China and India holding hands over kicking the shit out of Muslims is a good look for either country; people are dying in riots pogroms and political reeducation camps in both countries. Anyway, Bezos is literally supporting global fascism by doing that and we already knew he was a cruel billionaire, but HONESTLY can’t he just fucking stop.

Anyway, the closure of the publishing house means that hundreds of titles are no longer available. Absolutely no word on how and when they could be available elsewhere. There’s more than one way to be fash. Having the money to buy good things that support democracy and discourse, and destroy them (huLLLLLO Elongated Greaserat) is fascist.

a six year old is in custody for shooting his teacher. The cops didn’t arrest the person responsible for leaving a loaded pistol out. Everything you need to know about gun culture in the US in one story. (from CNN website, 6-year-old in custody after shooting teacher in Virginia, police chief says By Amanda Musa and Jennifer Feldman, CNN
Updated 7:19 AM EST, Sat January 7, 2023)

 

now that was a meal

I made the gravy (roast drippings sufficient) and the salad and the roasted potatoes; Mike made the shrimps with garlic, the three rib prime rib, the airfried brussel sprouts. Jeff and I and Mike ate ourselves into a state of pleasant repletion and I just ducked out of cleanup long enough to brag about it. Mike dry aged the roast for a week. Unbelievably tender and juicy.

superb meal, no notes. We’re lucky dogs and that was an incredible start to 2023, thank you o founder of the feast.

653 words on ‘The New Guy’.

Happy new year

The Darkling Thrush
BY THOMAS HARDY
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

another fine morning today

I did absolutely nothing yesterday except

one load of laundry

production of two meals, both of which involved standing and cooking, which miraculously I am now able to do after weeks of having trouble standing for any period of time

calm avoidance of invitation to Jerome’s (Mike called around 4 and I told him to drop by after if he went). I just thought my lack of social contact would turn into me autistic gabbling for hours while being worried about COVID and RSV and I couldn’t hack it

creating that L.M. Sacasas quote from yesterday using the absolute stinkpot software ‘paintbrush’ although it IS simple enough for my grandchild to use, so…

training, cuddling and brushing Buster repeatedly over the course of the day, including holding paws with him when his feets were cold (he genuinely likes holding paws with people, it’s adorable)

realizing that the balm from the bee place did actually heal the crack in my heel (I’d started bleeding, most distasteful) and now I need to reapply to the dry bits (face hands elbows etc.). It spreads well and smells lovely. Looking forward to getting more, stuff’s miraculous.

Realizing that it’s time to do Paul’s feet again. I’ll call him today and try once again to find out what he wants me to do about the car.

Checking if I have enough money to pay Suzanne, I do. However her car has been totalled thanks to this fucking weather we had last week so we may need to go get her.

continuing to produce coughs/mucus – substantially noisier than yesterday though I feel no worse, and in fact my mood continues to trend good although I had quite a crying jag yesterday evening thinking about how I’m likely to survive Buster and HOO BOY but I def. feel better today.

a complete review of Part II including copy edits and clarity edits

bringing the mail in… hey, there was mail!

Talking to Dave on the phone, and how lovely to hear his voice. He awaits word of a launch for his book. It continues to emit its own vibrations in this ever renewed universe.

posting in multiples to facebook, tumblr, twitter and dispensing goo on reddit

cheating to get the Wordle of the day after four guesses(Suzanne never cheats but she has a better starter word and doesn’t just guess, she has a system)

doing my Lumosity training, my scores have risen dramatically thank goodness

rewatching Here There Be Dragons (Expanse S2E11) which has SO MANY OF MY FAVOURITE LINES AND SCENES from that show

falling on the treats that Jeff brought back after his dental appointment with the savoir faire of a starving seagull           I M SNAKKY

taking a call from Tammy at the airport. It was an absolutely lovely conversation, she was SO sweet to me, and helpful too. That convo was everything about why I love her so much even if we slide past each other once in a while in terms of understanding – we talked about the book she gave me (about Henrietta Lacks) and the rest of the visiting she did, about what she’s going home to (she never takes ten days off so she’s expecting… a lot of emails, overflowing cat litter since the housesitter won’t have done it etc.) and she told me about the last hour of Banshees of Inisherin after I told her that brO and I bailed on it and you know what??? I’m not sorry we did; as much as I ADORE the two principal actors it was just too fucked up for me. Colin Farrell can do shit with his eyebrows that funambulists drool over.

Calling Rex Murphy a ‘harrumphosaurus’ on various social media platforms. I mean I could call it a day just with that one comment, I M JEENYOUS

Emailing my mOm a picture of a parrot perched on a bird identification book and looking with interest at a picture of a conspecific.

This morning I’ve done my Lumosity, cheated once again on Wordle (I should just stop doing it, it’s morally hazardous), mentally congratulated the Ukrainian forces for fending off every single fucking rocket the Russkys sent toward Kyiv yesterday, made coffee and consumed it, made peppermint tea for Jeff, shuffled stuff in the kitchen and started thinking about eggs and toast (again) for brekky. It’s easy and the cast iron pan’s perfectly seasoned now; how I love hearing the snap of eggs in butter on a nice hot stovetop.

I’m thinking of ordering more no-drip undies today. I don’t have much planned, but do I really have to? Do I?

 

 

 

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New poem – how to be conscious

Life powers consciousness and unmakes it.

Here I am, sleeping again, but I don’t know that. An entire world crawls into my skull and spectates, and somehow that world is me. Unconscious for whatever registers dreams, I sleep with a heaviness that obliterates care and hangs a sheet over an ugly view. The drowned city dreamscapes of my childhood have given way to a glacial blue crevasse into which I fall each night; Del Toro and such? – these terrors cannot find me.

My griefs and wounds depart. I waken in a world where my eyes are so dry I’m momentarily disoriented, then I enact Warren Zevon’s plan and start to cry. My griefs and wounds settle back in my flesh. Break time is over.

How does it happen? To travel galaxies in flight and perspective, and never move; to be snoring for most of it.

The cat is sleeping on the couch. Ears flick, paws twitch. Someone’s in there, dreaming.

Here I am, on the phone with my mother. She is sad with the normal sets of woes plus the indignity of current ‘lurgy. My job is to cheer her up without making her laugh. She’s coughing as a new career. Laughter turns into a long stretch of wheezing irritated pain and a claim that this has gone on for too long. To maintain this conversation I am picturing my mother in her den, surrounded by books and papers; I am leaning my mind against hers through our voices. I was a dream she once had. She built a programmatic nest for me, with twigs from Pa, and now I am talking to the woman who taught me how to be conscious.

Good morning morning

I did not go and pick up my prescription, so now I must find my crampons before I go outside.

10642 words on current project

ventusky.com is a beautiful site that visualizes weather data in real time across the globe. Hours of fun.

pOp is still in hospital as far as I know but should be home shortly.

There is beautiful shiny white snow all over everything and the world is quieter. It wasn’t even that cold in the house yesterday because the wind dropped away to nothing.

L.M. Sacasas said in his newsletter this morning that long form reading seems to be getting forgotten as a readerly activity… all we’re doing is dipping in to things.  I’m quoting a large piece of it because I think it’s an important thought.

Reading is not one thing

This is another point that (Maryanne) Wolf stresses throughout her interview. It seems pedantic to mention it, but, again, we are dealing with realities so deeply woven into our daily practices that we cease to think about them at all. Their obviousness paradoxically draws a veil over them. Even though images and video have proliferated exponentially in just the last two decades, we are still swimming in a sea of written words. Many of us spend hours each day reading various kinds of text: emails, text messages, posts on social media, product descriptions on retail websites, reviews, articles, recipes, essays, books, reports, etc. The list can go on and on. But these various texts invite or require different forms of reading. We might glance, we might skim, we might do little more than search for keywords, we might read deliberately, or we might find ourselves immersed in what Wolf calls deep reading. We can imagine these modes of reading existing on a spectrum of effort and care with many other points in between.

It would be a mistake to say that deep reading is the only kind of reading we should ever do.¹ In fact, it would be absurd to think that. The problem, in my case, is that I am constantly engaged in modes of reading on only one side of that spectrum, which then habituate me to be resistant to forms of reading on the other end. As I began reading the novel I’m now close to finishing, it was difficult for me to get lost in the story. When I do read something that is intellectually demanding, I find my mind wandering from the page after only a few moments. I assume that by now this is just how most people feel about reading and that some may not even know that there is any other way. (Of course, I could just be consoling myself by projecting my own vices onto others.)

And it is not just that there are various kinds of texts, some more demanding and others less. It is also that the physical form of the text matters. The history of reading or the history of the book is instructive on this point. One of my favorite books about reading is Ivan Illich’s In the Vineyard of the Text, which is unfortunately rather hard to find. In it, Illich focuses on a very specific moment in the 12th century when a set of textual innovations changed the nature of the book and, thus, how we read. Consequently, Illich argued these developments changed the whole intellectual culture of the Western Europe. What were these innovations? They were seemingly trivial things like chapter headings, indices, and page layouts conducive to silent reading.² Much of this had to do with facilitating random access to the text. The end result, in Illich’s view, was the sundering of the text from its material instantiation. In How We Became Posthuman, Katherine Hayles sets out to tell the story of “how information lost its body.” For his part, Illich would say that this happened decisively in the 12th century when it became possible to conceive of something called the text separately from its instantiation in the material form of a book. “The page,” Illich observed, “lost the quality of soil in which words are rooted.”