technological deficiency

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted in quite some time.

A lot has happened. My laptop broke one fateful night when dropped. I just got it fixed.

During this time I’ve started a new job making what I can truly consider a “living wage” and adopted an awesome cat named Asimov. I used the time without a computer to find other things to focus on for the sake of sanity. I bought some awesome speakers so I could listen to music, and have really enjoyed the difference in sound quality and the presence of BASS.

I read quite a lot, most notably a CS Lewis Sci-fi (though I would pin it more to fantasy) trilogy– Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. It was some of the richest reading I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. The environments he invents for the planets in the stories and his descriptions of them are beyond any expectations I had for space-scapes– nearly palpable and so completely removed from the known, yet with a beautifully elegant logic. The story itself can get a bit preachy, and I had to break the trilogy up with other books that were sufficiently secular in nature to be able to finish it, but I’m glad that I did. By the end I had gained an appreciation for CS Lewis’s notion of religion (at least as conveyed in these books), an uber-naturalistic spiritualism that has no regard for the modern convention of religious practice. I still don’t quite accept the selflessness he propagates, but I see the underlying intention and appreciate it.

Other notable reads: Secret Realms and Ender’s Game– somewhat similar in premise, though very different situations. Both were incredibly profound. Cosm was a good read though some of the character development wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it turned out to be almost a Randian take on a scientist and her discovery, by the end very profound. The Witch of the Low Tide was a murder mystery which I intensely enjoyed, the writing style was excellent and the plot well crafted.

I hope to continue reading even though I now have all the forms of technology I desire at my disposal. I found it to be both relaxing and very mentally stimulating, though it takes effort to find those really good books. Recommendations from friends help.

I also got around to rearranging my furniture to better use the space I have available, definitely along the lines of feng shui though I just go off of my feelings and observations from living in the space. I try to make the physical arrangement match what kind of energy the space has to offer. I now have what feels like a proper living room, which I actually feel like hanging out in for doing awake stuff, which opens to a small foyer mostly empty with plants and other decorations, a corner for bikes, and lots of space for kitty to run/roll around and play with toys. I also feel the new bedroom is more restful. The overall flow is pretty nice, helps me move from one thing to the next the way I’d like to.

Oh yes, and plants. I’ve managed to collect a nice little entourage of plants and am actually maintaining them fairly well. Definitely brings some added life and warmth to my space, though it can be tough to manage the conflicting demand for window space with the kitty. He respects them fairly well with minimal exceptions for feline petulance.

I am definitely glad to have the internet back in my life. Especially in such a dreadfully provincial town, it’s vital to be able to reach out to the rest of the world and to learn of events that have an impact on my existence. There’s also such a large expansion of creative options, including what I am doing this very second.

That being said, I think a break was definitely a positive. As soon as I adjusted to living without a computer I realized my feelings of self loathing had pretty much disappeared. My general mental disposition has been much more pleasant. The internet is a tool with many useful and meaningful applications, but it’s too easily a quick fix for distraction beyond any real benefit. So far Asimov has been a great help in reminding me how pleasant my physical reality here is and how much better I feel if I don’t become completely enraptured in the digital world and step away from the computer once I’ve accomplished what I intended to.

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digital tree

I got a digital tablet with a birthday giftcard from my sister!

Yay, digital tree :)

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I’m on the cusp of another change in my life. I still don’t know how exactly the cards will fall, but I know I’m shuffling around the dynamic of stresses vs benefits of my day to day life and I feel good about that.

For some reason I have a desire to say more, but any words that I form inevitably try to pin down the unknown, which I really have no desire to do.

I find it difficult to relax in the period before exciting events. Nothing I can do will make it happen sooner, but the comfort of a depressing routine just doesn’t hold up when you have so much hope. There’s energy bursting forth with no place as of yet to go. I remind myself there’s no reason to think the self-boredom will persist against coming changes, but that doesn’t really help right now. I have such an itching desire for something significant, someway to articulate my feelings of energetic hope.

Which I suppose I have just done.

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park adventure on a sunny day

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depression can’t touch me out here

Today, I felt accomplished. I went outside.

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depression is a really ridiculous thing. depression is purposefully not doing things that you know have the power to bring you joy. depression is fetishizing the rut that you’re in, and associating your self identity with it. you begin to justify the self sabotage by characterizing yourself with it. it becomes a comfortable dark place to curl up in, where you can attempt to forget the scary word with its multitude of possibilities. for me, depression and addiction* go hand in hand. I usually find the most depressing thing to get addicted to, and spend as much time as possible engrossed in it, neglecting any actions that would actually contribute to my existence in a positive way. I’m lucky in that I’m able to snap out of it, take care of the most basic of needs, and find something that is more neutral than actually negative to engage myself in. yet I still return to the habit, like a moth to a flame, over and over, for varying periods of time.

somewhere in the chain of oppressive factors is the key, or so I believe. the key shifts with my moods, or it can be multiple things. a combination of actual misfortune and accompanying brain chemicals keeps me here, pondering my puzzle, trying to decide what large scale action to take to set in motion the chain of events that will lead me out of my depression. from where I currently sit, I believe it’s really the small things that lead me out, that help me to accomplish the bigger things. I am finding it harder than ever to accomplish those small things. I think it is something about harrisburg, something about this city does not call me outside. probably the most common action I would say I have taken in the past to escape depression has been to simply go outside. go ride my bike, perhaps to the park or perhaps to nowhere at all. I don’t want to believe that it’s impossible to exist here, because there’s something very big to me which is here, and won’t follow me back to Houston.

I take comfort in the fact that I am aware of my situation, I feel like it’s as good of a place to start as any. I do think that I think too much, and act too little … but the times when I have taken this sentiment to heart and decided to act, consequences be damned … well, the consequences were pretty damned and I’m still recovering. it’s easy to tell yourself to stick your neck out, but once you’ve actually been whacked on the head, the reflex to be cautious is incredibly strong, and I can’t tell myself that’s not something to respect. I need to learn to think while acting, to act with thought.

It seems clear to me that life is a puzzle. my intelligence hounds me with strategies for the abstract, and demands that I find a way to apply it to my life. I believe there is a wholeness to existence, and that my understanding must somehow be applicable to my experience, but I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off to stop trying to make it fit.

* I wanted to clarify that by addiction I don’t mean substance abuse. I mean… media abuse, really. when I was younger it was TV, and since my teenage years it’s been the internet. lately, very specifically facebook and youtube. These sites definitely do have some positive influence/indulgence to offer, but it’s very little. The time that I spend actually enjoying using these sites is incredibly short compared to how much time I spend scouring them for entertainment, refusing to move on to something else.

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at home by the water

Tonight I got to know the river a bit. I’ve been out there a few times before, but during the bright heat of the day, the river is so wide and open– the trees are pretty but don’t offer shade. It’s a place to move through.

As the sun was sinking down I was in the kitchen trying to stop eating potato chips, and I noticed just how gorgeous the sky was. I have tomorrow off, and I’ve been dealing with a very strange state of brain decay. I’m here and I’m enjoying being here for the reasons that I am here, but I’ve not quite settled in yet and am lacking some of the basic stuff that makes my life mine. I had been reading through my journal a few days ago and found something I’d written a while ago, “I don’t know what I stand to gain from refusing to go outside and ride my bike”, and well I just decided to go out and enjoy the sunset. I live literally about two blocks from the river so I rolled myself an herbal cigarette, grabbed the camera, filled a glass bottle with some water and was off. I really didn’t ride very far at all, the sun having already sunk below the mountains. I sat and let my eyes adjust to the fading light and in that softness I found the comfort of the river. It had rained just a bit so the water was alive with ripples. A ladybug landed on my skirt and startled, I appologized after instinctively brushing it off before realizing who had invaded my personage. A moment later a lovely little white and brown moth landed on my hand which was holding the herbal cigarette– sage, skullcap, damiana and other herbs. To my delight it stayed, though unfortunately it crawled onto the cigarette and flew away as it felt the burning under its feet, poor thing.

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