Money: .posted by ben on May 16 at 13:56:28

I, through no fault of my own, am a wealthy member of society. This wouldn't be so bad, except that I am an unhappy wealthy member of society. As such a person I feel guilty, more or less constantly, that my wealth has not endowe d me with indescribable happiness.

The vast majority of people on this planet have every right, when confronted with my lifestyle to be angered, jealous, and to dislike me in general. Most people do these things. That way, all of us are unhappy.

With the world an overall unhappy place, though justifiably so, the only way to discuss happiness seems to be to compare.

I lose in these comparisons. The vast majority of sweatshop workers are infinitely more content than I am. Once again, this is my fault, and not theirs.

This situation is probably supposed to amount to some lesson in social conscience where I ought to recognize that money does not imply happiness. I haven't come to that realization yet. Currently, I am convinced that if I manage to accumulate more money , then I will somehow become happy.

My current consternation must be based in not having enough money.

Not that I have any money of my own. For that matter, I have had very little money of my own. I earned a few hundreds dollars in my twenty years on this planet so far doing meaningless jobs, but nothing I could even dream of subsisting on.

I, captured, in this odd society of ours, will remain a child for a few years yet. My education is still pending completion. Even after that, I will remain a child, at least in the eyes of those who make more money than I do.

There exists an odd dichotomy. Money means nothing in happiness, but at the same time means everything in achieving happiness. I guess it goes something like this: happiness implies money, though the opposite is not true.

Unfortunately, this probably means I will never be happy, through no fault of my own, am a wealthy member of society. This wouldn't be so bad, except that I am an unhappy wealthy member of society. As such a person I feel guilty, more or less constantly , that my wealth has not endowed me with indescribable happiness.

When I do finally learn that the link between money and happiness is not as strong as I have traditionally expected, I hope that one realization will occur. I hope that at that point, I will find somebody.

Somebody who fits hundreds of requirements, some conscious, some not. Someone who could not possibly exist, but who must be fabricated from my own mind into perfection. Someone who is beautiful.

And, when the dream, when my perfect creation fails and the reality of all things banal sinks in, then there will be some other fundamental shift to be made in the way I think.

As that shift in thought is two shifts in thought away from my current paradigm, I can only speculate as to what it will be, but I have some ideas.

I hope that sometime in late middle age, maybe in my 50s, I will be over money, true love, and any other major illnesses. When that happens, I contend that I will actually be able to like people for who they are, not that which I want them to be.

I guess I am hoping for a loss of applied idealism that can be replaced by a more abstract and attainable idealism. As long as idealism is applied to people, it fails.

I learned this most infamously with my last girlfriend, Amanda. The first time I saw her was at the Christian Science church in Boulder on a Wednesday night. On Wednesday nights, at Christian Science churches, people talk about the healings they have ha d. No one in a Christian Science church has had a healing in something like a hundred years, so Wednesday night services are always painfully awkward experiences. The church members often fabricate healings out of the natural cauterization of a wound.

I saw her across the room, and after the service, we talked. She wore a long skirt and two disgusting old t-shirts, one on top of the other. She was the spitting image of a Boulderite, though not from boulder. Nevertheless, in that instant, I idealized her into a radical liberal who believed in all sorts of wonderful communal social things.

This was, of course, not the case, but it took me quite a while to figure that out. We got ice cream, walked up a mountain (more of a hill really) and then I drove her home.

Things developed slowly, and eventually ended in sex. Sex is a nice way for things to end. One can have sex, and then go to bed. Everything is neatly concluded that way. The only problem is when you wake up next to someone else. Sex would be much mor e fun if you didn't have to deal with people in the morning after having sex.

That, possibly more than the loss of an idealized version of Amanda, is what killed the relationship. Being a needy person myself, other needy people annoy the hell out of me.

I think that was the only relationship with a person I have ever had where it ended with the other person hating me. This is not a casual hatred I speak of, but something more powerful. Since we broke up, I have seen Amanda three times.

The first time I saw her, she was walking by me at school. She glared a deadly, soul-devouring glare, which I didn't notice until after she had walked past me.

The second time she glared the same glare, and once again, I did not notice.

The most recent time, I bumped into here, she glared the same glare, and I noticed. All I could do was laugh. I laughed out loud, though I am not sure she noticed. The situation was entirely absurd. She was angry over a sexual relationship that had en ded half a year before.

If sex were something more significant, I might be able to understand that anger. But, sex is absurd. Our society is obsessed with pistons pushing in and out of tight holes. What is more absurd, then spending years of ones life panicking over whether o r not you will be able to put, or have put, something in a small damp hole?

When thinking about it however, sex would seem to be the meaning of life. We evolved by becoming good at making children, sex is the way that we make children, ergo sex is the meaning of life. Darwin would agree, he had many children.

I would like to hope that my life is something more than the pursuit of certain mechanical dynamics. I would like to believe that the point of life is something more beautiful, and somehow more meaningful.

In that tradition, I have done a fair job of convincing myself that life is about love, or intellectual pursuit. Depending on the weather, I choose one (or both) of those as my purpose and pretend that things are a lot more beautiful than they actually a re.

I have discovered what the purpose of our minds is. Our minds are for providing convenient alibis to prevent us from making the logical conclusion that it is best to kill ourselves and be done with it.

Our minds have done great service in this regard. The accursed things have come up with love, religion, art, and societal expectation. All these are nothing more than tools that evolution has endowed us with to prevent us from killing ourselves en masse .

I once decided that I would kill myself. This was my freshman year of high school. My mother was being particularly cruel, as she is inclined to do when we live together, so I elected to kill myself. After realizing that I could think of no good way to kill myself, I elected to continue living.

A few weeks later, I told her, in a fit of anger, that I had been feeling suicidal recently. She said, "So kill yourself."

It seems unavoidable that I will die, by my own hand, or by the disparate hand of attrition sometime during this century. I have a hard time thinking of anything particularly useful that I will accomplish during my lifetime. Putting these two facts toge ther, I sometimes wonder why I continue bothering to live.

The hope of finding beauty in life, somewhere keeps me alive. I only hope that the world does not disappoint.

What I Want: .posted by ben on May 15 at 23:47:20

I want the world to be a beautiful place. It wouldn't need to be happy, only beautiful. Sad beauty, ecstatic beauty, all varieties, but nothing stupid. When things are stupid and ugly, nothing can be worse.

As long as life is beautiful, no matter how painful, one can still appreciate that they are taking part in a great work of art. That much is good.

The most beautiful person I ever saw was standing in the center of a road. She was dark haired, eyed and skinned. She wore a one piece workman's suit, and fluorescent orange safety stripes. She smiled.

I had ridden 40 miles on my bicycle that day, and had another 90 to go. As I struggled against the wind to where she was standing, at the head of a line of cars, directing traffic, she turned into a godlike figure.

It's any easy thing to canonize people you do not know. I have done this. This woman, standing in the rain amidst the yellow construction machines and unkempt road workers was a goddess.

I talked to her for maybe 10 minutes, certainly no more. She was impressed by my stupidity in biking long distances. I was impressed by an aura. It was anything she said or did, but she exuded beauty. It was tragic beauty, young beauty, and hopeful be auty. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Eventually I left her, and her line of cars behind. It was a sad moment. She could never truly appreciate what I did. She, being a sane, normal person, had no delusions of godlike beauty, or the tragedy of wasting it as a traffic director for a road co nstruction crew. I did.

My bicycle trip, like so many other things, fell short of my grandiose expectations. It was not beautiful; instead it became stupid and painful. Climbing mountain passes as cars go by is a fine experience, but driving along a flat road as they pass is n ot.

The inevitable thoughts of a long distance cyclist revert to destruction of the environment and hunger. Hunger for food and, why the hell not, beauty as well. Tractor trailers lack beauty when they are trying to kill you on a two lane road in Wyoming.

When I arrived home from my bike trip I had a broken ego resulting from my failure to reach Seattle, and a broken ankle resulting from my failure to realize I shouldn't' try to reach my destination. Buddha said, "Life is suffering," I would rather not ha ve had such a concrete demonstration of that fact.

Seeing my friends after that experience was a pleasant matter, though a bit disappointing. After spending the last week on the road meeting gods and goddesses, spending time with people as human as I am was more than a little disappointing

Muir Woods: .posted by ben on May 15 at 23:40:18

Muir Woods

It makes no sense to hurry to places, for time is everywhere.
Time's where you've been, it's where you are, time is where you are going.

It makes no sense to hurry through time, for time is everywhere.
Time's in the trees, it's in the earth, time is in the air.
Time rides the crests of river currents, moving towards itself.
Time is in their sound, endlessly repeating upon itself.

It makes no sense to hurry to places, for it makes no more time;
You only perceive less of it.

-Marc Mosko

nill: .posted by ben on May 15 at 18:56:48

There are already enough tales of nihilistic angst. They abound now, because angst, in the nihilistic sense is all that anyone ever experiences. This is to be expected; many things are to be expected.

Perhaps that is the problem. If everything weren't so expectable, then tales of nihilism might disappear from the cannon.

Then again, maybe these tales aren't so bad a thing after all. If significant portions of society have the time to sit about and complain about how bored they are, then maybe things aren't going so badly after all.

In that contemplation, one major question then arises. Is angst fundamental to human nature?

No, not necessarily. For the vast majority of people angst is not a problem. Some say this is due to the advent of television, but it has always been this way. Most people don't suffer from angst or existential revelry. Most people are happy, or at le ast happier. One way or another, it's easier to be dumb.

The arduous process of becoming an engineer illustrates this. In years of schooling, semesters spent in the heinous concrete edifice where engineers become whatever it is they become, humanity slips away. Sitting in a class on the structure of a compute r, this slippage becomes acutely apparent.

Such slippage is painful, and inevitable. Such slippage is the way of the Dao.

I sat in the engineering center, weeks ago, and saw a rare glimpse of humanity. The only time I can bear this glimpses is when they are beautiful. I recognize that suffering is human, but it's not something I want to see more of. I can imagine plenty o f the stuff; I have no desire to experience it as well.

Beauty. Beauty, at this time, was a girl. This girl was wearing some absurd pink outfit that somehow did not diminish her beauty. She was waiting in the lobby. She wasn't waiting for me, which is all right. Many people don't wait for me, but I give th em the benefit of the doubt nonetheless.

I watched her wait for the better part of an hour. She flirted with every male in the lobby. She was adorable, stupid, but somehow adorable.

I've always thought that it was the fault of society, or culture, or something else I can't do anything about that I find the stupid adorable. I still cling feebly to the hope that the adoration of the stupid is not somehow linked to a genetic imperative . I'm probably wrong.

But, I assume that I am right. It makes me feel better. I assume many things that make me feel better. Life is easier that way, much less painful.

Eventually, a man wearing a work belt appeared and took the beautiful girl away. Such is woe.

pq: .posted by collin on May 10 at 15:57:25

"Why not put genitals where our eyes are and our eyes between our legs?"
Picasso once asked.  

Art and Stuff: .posted by ben on May 9 at 12:24:58

I just spent the last hour looking at the work of cubists, impressionists, and photographers. The photographers are in some manner different than the pornographers, though I can't really say how, but if everyone thinks pornography is different from art, then it must be.

-Wladimir von Bechtejeff

-Charles Cottet

namakabe ni
hana fukitsukeru
haru no kaze

from "Spring" by Shiki Masaoka

cherry blossom petals
blown by the spring breeze
against the undried wall

Poe: .posted by ben on May 9 at 12:24:07

Hey Pretty

"Keiri suggested we go for a drive in her new 2-door BMW coupe. In the parking lot, we slipped into her bucket seats. Keiri took over from there.

At nearly 90 miles per hour she zipped us up to that windy edge known to some as Mullholland, that sinuous road running the ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains where she then proceeded to pump her vehicle in and out of turns.

Sometimes dropping down to 50 miles per hour, only to immediately gun it back up to 90 again. Fast, slow, fast fast slow. Sometimes a wide turn, sometimes a quick one. She preferred the tighter ones

The sharp controlled jerks, swinging left to right before driving back to the right. Only so she could do it all over again until after enough speed, and enough wind, and more distance than I had been prepared to expect, taking me to parts of the city I rarely think of and never visit...

I can’t remember the inane things I started babbling about then. I know it didn’t really matter. She wasn’t listening. She just yanked up on the emergency brake, dropped her seat back, and told me to lie on top of her. On top of those leather pants of hers, extremely expensive leather pants mind you, her hands immediately guiding mine over those soft, slightly oily folds.

Positioning my fingers on the shiny metal tab, small and round, like a tear. Then murmuring a murmur so inaudible that even though I could feel her lips tremble against my ear, she seemed far, far away. Pinch it, she said, which I did, lightly, until she also said pull it, which I also did, gently parting the teeth, one at a time, down under and beneath, the longest unzipping of my life...

We never even kissed, or looked into each other’s eyes, our lips just trespassed on those inner labyrinths hidden deep within our ears, filled them with the private music of wicked words. Hers in many languages, mine in the off-color of my only tongue, until as our tones shifted and our consonants spun and squealed, rabbled faster, hesitated, raced harder.

Syllables soon melting into groans or moans, finding purchase in new words, or old words, or made-up words. Until we gathered up our heat and refused to release it, enjoying too much the dark lane which we had suddenly stumbled upon. Prayed to, carved to, not a communication really, but a channeling of our rumored desires, hers for all I know gone to black forests and wolves, mine banging back to the familiar form, that great revenant mystery.

I still could only hear the shape of which in spite of our separate lusts and individual prize, still continued to drive us deeper into stranger tones, our mutual desire to keep gripping the burn.

Fueled by sound, hers screeching, mine... I didn’t hear mine, only hers, probably counter-pointing mine. A high pitched cry, then a whisper dropping unexpectedly, to practically a bark, a grunt, whatever, no sense anymore, and suddenly no more curves either, just the straightaway.

Too bad dark languages rarely survive..."


Screwed: .posted by ben on May 9 at 10:24:36

My diff eq exam just finished. It sucked. It was too hard, too long and just generally a bad thing.

As if the overall not goodness of that wasn't enough, I got accussed of cheating with my calculator. I guess it's beside the point that I have no idea how to use the thing. I should really go back to my ti-85. The really absurd thing about the being told I was cheating is that the test was on solving systems of differential equations. I don't even know how to do that in Mathematica, much less on my calculator.

So, now my teacher who already disliked me has an added interest in seeing me fail. Mr Wolkowsky is not a nice man.

Human Flesh: .posted by ben on May 8 at 23:24:33


Filis by Sor Juana

Phyllis, a brush's boldness
emboldens my feather-pen:
that brush's glorious failure
engenders hope, not fear.
Risking error in your cause
sufficed to spur me on.
When risk becomes so precious,
what value has mere success?
So do allow this quill
to risk another flight,
since, having offended once,
it otherwise has no leave.
Lo atrevido de un pincel,
Filis, dio a mi pluma alientos:
que tan gloriosa desgracia
más causa corrió que miedo.
Logros de errar por tu causa
fue de mi ambición el cebo;
donde es el riesgo apreciable
¿qué tanto valdrá el acierto?
Permite, pues, a mi pluma
segundo arriesgado vuelo,
pues no es el primer delito
que le disculpa el ejemplo

I just finished fixing wasabi. With any luck it will blow up less often. The links ought to work the way they're supposed to now as well. Not that anyone has noticed they haven't been working.

On another note, I noticed that the people at earthnet have been reading wasabi lately. I didn't realize that my ISP ever looked at the pages they are running. This has been up for a few months and they hadn't bothered to look at it yet. I wonder why... Access logs are a wonderful thing.

What the hell is with the bulldozer?

I thought I was done with the disembodied porn heads, then I saw this.



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