Saturday, May 21, 2016

Just more ющ му клшиа.


Isn't it weird, how, a memory of something at all, just a tidbit of life happening from 30 years ago, can somehow all of a sudden seem important 30 years after?

How is that? How can an almost nonexistent memory of an event even do anything at all? How could something that's been practically forgotten actually ever mean anything? It was a forgotten thing for a reason... wadn't it?

Well, I think I have stumpled upon an answer to that, and it's a biggie. Here goes.

I'm pretty sure that I've discovered the source of all mortal combat I mean conflict. What it is, is, it's just an inherent fear of two simple and personal things, and these are what those two things realistically boil down to.

I'm afraid of (being):

1. Alone.

2. Forgotten.

Ok, that was pretty good, but forget that for a sec. Never mind, just start over. That was stupid.

It starts with the teensiest thing that there is another of, like a pair of hydrogen atoms. A hydrogen atom wants another hydrogen atom so that there are two hydrogen atoms, which want a bunch of other hydrogen atoms, right? Why? Are hydrogen atoms lonely for other  hydrogen atoms?

Hell no, they just want enough other hydrogen atoms all together at one place so that they can scrunch up together and fuse, to do some fusion so that they can make some helium atoms.

The truth is, hydrogen atoms hate hydrogen atoms. They're just lonely for helium atoms, and that's the only reason why they have tolerated each other at all, for all these billions of years. For sweet, sweet helium.

That's all I was trying to say at first really, for now anyway. I've got a shitload more to say later, about the heavier elements.

Geez, what a soap opera.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Somnambulistic perambulations.

What's really great about being ambulatory inside of the small hours, for me anyway, is that I've got the BIG ASH MIDDLE of the road all to myself! I have free reign. There are occasional cars, but get this... they're the exception, not me! It's a reverse dichotomy! Get it?

IT'S awesome.

I can walk down the center line if I want to, and with my eyes closed, even! If it's an uphill portion of the road, I can zig-zag up and sideways and across and back again and all over the place, because by zig-zagging I'm doing the exact same amount of work as a brute-force uphill march, but along a longer, more easier path which requires less force at any instant, because work equals force multiplied by distance!

And then there's also the thing about it all  being at night, because there's a lot of specialized things that are possible at night that just ain't possible during the day.

'Like what?' you may prevaricate.

'Pre-WHUT? But varicate isn't even a word!' you may postulate.

'Point taken,' you may post-varicate.

'Huh? You're an idiot,' you may pontificate.

'May your genetic code never profligate,' you may palavarate.

'Thanks, but you're a dumbass. The word is proliferate!' you may perorate.

'Please. Your prostate is a perforated protuberance of putrescent pustules,' you may promulgate.

So anyway, I believe the question was, 'Like what?'

Well, for one thing, you can have a perfectly visible and navigable reality at night, and with no obvious light source!

'But,' you may be inclinivated to say, 'You can have that on a cloudy day too, but during the day!'

To which my retortance would be, 'Yeah, that's true. BUT... the daylight just ain't the same as the nightlight, so... to say, in a manner of speaking... and for the record, about the nightlight, or better yet, the dreamlight... the dreamlight is just way cooler. It's a feeling, you know?'

Yeah. I totally do know.

Then there's the fact that it's night, but the sky is still concurrently, stubbornly, cohabitatingly and yet inconsistently brighter than the horizon! That may seem like a gimme at first, but the amazing thing about that is that it's not really amazing at all, except that hardly anybody ever actually notices that on a clear night the star studded sky is delineated darkly against the horizon.

Oh yeah! I forgot to say... I'm talking about overcast nights with low clouds over citified areas, not clear nights at all. I guess that's pretty important to the image-feeling I'm trying to convey here. Sorry about that.

Anyway, another cool thing about the execution of the art of somnambulistics is that you're almost always alone when you're doing it. You kinda gotta have a 'used to it' thing about walking alone in the dark and at night to appreciate what's cool about it though, I guess.

Hell. That just means you gotta go out and do it for the first time, if you never have. When you get off work on the night before your day off, either just stay up, or set your alarm for midnight. Then get dressed in the most comfy spare clothes you can find, but with some decent shoes (boots preferably), and an umbrella if you need it, based on your local forecast (I'm assuming you have a weather app and something to run it on, and some kind of access to a popular, useful source of information that won't murder your finances), and then start perambulating!

That's a real word, perambulate.

What the FUCK, man.

I just walked through this concrete parking lot, and you know how things try to grow out of concrete? They try like the devil to break up through that hard, unnatural stuff, and up into the air and light.

Why do they do that?

That's my automatic, first question, before I've thought about it.

Well, Ash, the reason why they do that, is because things that start out alive kinda want to keep being alive. No, really. They really do want to keep being alive.

Why do they do that though?

Well, there ain't no humongous answer to that. They do that because they're supposed to. It's what they do, you know?

But why is that what they're supposed to do?

I dunno. Because they want to, I guess. They're supposed to want to.

But why are they supposed to want to?

Well, what the heck else would they want to do?


No. Just... no. No alive thing wants to die. What are you, retarded? Geez. It's pretty much black and white here. They are - they do. They aren't - then there is no they, anyway, so it's moot. Goll...

But I'm one of those theys, and it's not black and white to me.

So, what? What are you asking, anyway? Whadda ya want?

I dunno. A purpose?

You got a purpose, you big dumbass! You're alive, that's your purpose!

That's it?

Well, yeah! What the hell else do you want?

Uh... purpose, minus the pain, maybe?

WHAT??? You big sissy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What's the big idea

An Alcubierre drive is a theoretical warp drive for faster than light travel. It works by creating a warped bubble of spacetime around whatever it is that you want accelerated. The front of the bubble is contracted, and the rear of the bubble is expanded. In this manner the warp bubble, and whatever is inside, is 'pulled' from the front and 'pushed' from the rear by the effects of the compression and expansion of spacetime.

Since the fabric of spacetime can accelerate faster than light, then whatever you put inside of your accelerating warp bubble - an Alcubierre drive, a spare tire, ex-wife, or whatever - becomes an instant FTL object. You could even turn yourself into a starship with one of those really tight fitting wetsuits, one of those deep sea diving helmets, some scuba gear, and a roll of duct tape. Oh, and an Alcubierre drive.

Now, the universe is expanding, which I'd like to think is fairly common knowledge. Most folks imagine this expansion as stars and galaxies accelerating away from each other, but it's more than just that. Stars and galaxies aren't just moving 'through' space as they all recede from one another, they're moving 'with' space as spacetime itself expands.

So, it's actually more like, say... if you had a balloon covered with polka dots. As you blow up the balloon, the polka dots on the surface of a balloon begin to move away from each other. The more you inflate it, the bigger it gets, and the farther away all of the polka dots move away from one another. Imagine the polka dots as stars and galaxies, and the surface of the balloon as the expanding fabric of spacetime.

Get it?

All that, just because I wanted to point out that the entire observable universe is apparently imbedded in the expanding ass end of a runaway Alcubierre warp bubble that's shaped like a 5-dimensional hypersphere. Similar to a mosquito stuck in a glob of amber that's oozing down the side of an infinite tree trunk.

What I wanna know is, who's bright idea was this anyway, and are we there yet?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A funny thought.

I just had a funny thought.

The thing is, here's the thing. About three hours ago, I dropped off my spare phone at the Schlotsky's hotspot to grab some movies. Takes a couple of hours. So, I get all the way back home and finally get that French Toast going that I've been saving up the ingredients for for the last month, and I get it fried, and all 'et up, and I'm just about ready to yawn and collapse into sweet, sweet oblivion, when SUDDENLY I REMEMBER MY PHONE AT SCHLOTZKY'S!

Dangit. So, I have a choice... either forget the stupid phone and go ahead with the collapsing, or... haul... my... ass... a... mile... there... to...



So that's what I did, because I need the stimulation of new movies going on constantly in the background of my compartment so that I don't go insane and die from the loneliness.

And on the way back from the getting of the phone with the new movies on it, things got really awesome for a minute. Just because, you know? Weren't no recipe to it. Because the clouds were blowing in, and it was doing that nightlight thing from the ground lights bouncing off the clouds and back to the ground and to the clouds and back and forth again, lighting up everything with that dreamlight, and suddenly I wasn't tired at all anymore, and I was almost exultant, all by myself, quietly and in step with everything that's good, and I was HAPPY, all by myself, for a hundred seconds or so. And I wished... wow, because I haven't really WISHED anything in a long while... I wished it would never end.

But it ended, because the wishing of that made me think of something else, and that's ok that it ended. But the thing I thought of was, what if there's a life in some other universe, parallel to this one, with the other life in that other universe being also parallel to my life, and that life is having the exact same happiness as me, but with the exact opposite wish? Instead of one single never ending experience of happiness, what if that other life form wished for a myriad infinitude of chances for happiness, all different, and all of them, one right after the other, forever?

It blew my mind for a second.

Read this, and your guaranteed to less stupid.

Michael Faraday did all kinds of electro-magnetic experiments back in the day. The nineteenth century, that is. The 1800's, in other words... words that are shaped like numbers, that isn't.

Faraday was all about the electro-magnetic force, since it was all the rage back then for all the 19th century smart apples. Quite a new tickle for those fancy pantses... like, how the force of gravity was all the rage for the smart apples 200 years ago before then. Back in the seventeenth century. You wanna know something? Isaac Newton is one of those smart apples. Sorry... WAS one of those smart apples. He's dead now.

Here's an interesting side note. The four (so far) forces of nature have been discovered sequentially, in the order of their obviousness! First gravity, of course... gravity is the obviousest one, duh. Then electro-magnetism, which is less obvious than gravity, but still pretty obvious, what with lightning and static cling and stuff. Then there's the weak nuclear force (the one that makes things radioactive), which although not very obvious at all at first (to retards, anyway), can still be observed naturally on Earth by OBSERVING how stuff that just happens to be next door neighbors to this regular looking kind of rock called 'URANIUM' tends to heat up, don't cha know?  And then there's the granddaddy force, the Strong Nuclear Force! (the one that makes things explode, like the sun, and Hiroshima), which actually is almost as obvious as gravity (the SUN is nuclear, duh) but is readily mistaken for a super hot god (RA, anyone? Egyptians were stupid), unless you happen to be a smart apple from the 20th century.

What Faraday figured out, was that things have arbitrary values of such and such, and that locations of those values of those such and suchs are called coordinates, and if you group all the coordinates together into one group, you  call that group of common values a 'field'. Ok, listen here. What Faraday meant was, the values describing the type, intensity, and location of a thing are all common to that thing, at that one point. And by thing, he meant a point in 3-dimensional space where the electro-magnetic force happened to be, because he was all about that particular force.

SO! The type = electro-magnetic, the location = up your butt, for example, and the intensity = oh, anywhere from a slight tickle to... intestinal explosion, say.

Faraday called these points 'fields', because he compared this visualization to a field, with furrows here, and seeds at this particular furrow, describing where in the dirt a particular seed was planted, and what kind of plant would emerge. Except his fields dealt with 'lines of force' instead of furrows, and the type of force instead of the kind of seeds, and the intensity of the force for... the food energy that determined how big the plant got, I guess. You get it, right? Why Faraday called these points, which described the properties of electro-magnetism at any one point in space, a field? I mean, fields? GOOD!

Oh, and it's important to remember that Faraday figured out all of this by himself. He basically just taught himself one of the fundamental tenets involved with describing the electro-magnetic force. Dude was like, Jeopardy smart.

Now along comes James Clerk Maxwell, who sees all this fancy field stuff, and says... "This Field stuff is really Kool, but it's like Kool with no Aid... Ham with no Burger. Jumbo with no Shrimp!  Freezer with no BURN! You know. What this really needs to make it even AWESOME-ER, is some really awesome MATH to go along with it... like some equations! Yeah. Yeah... YEAH! FIELD EQUATIONS!!! For ELECTROMAGNETISM! One word, without the dash. The dash makes it lame.

Thus, Maxwells field equations for the electromagnetic (no dash, makes it lame) force went on to make craploads of money for electrical engineering textbook connivers all over the world, giving birth to the modern Economy of the Academic Community.

Ok, back up some. Then this 20th century smart apple named Einstein saw this shit and said, "Dude, I could totally do that with gravity, that field thing..." and after he did, he said, out loud, "In your FACE, Isaac Newton!" Then he died someodd years later, with his life work splayed out, unfinished, all over his desk. Like party puke.

Then, sixty-five someodd years later, it took a whole buttload of smart apples to figure out the field equations for the weak and strong nuclear forces, but to do it they had to copy from their neighbors, so who cares who they were. However, their neighbors were C.N. Yang and R.L. Mills.

WHO? What the ? HUH........

Anyway. Weird names that nobody's ever heard of, I guess, but whatev. They were the smart asses of the smart apples, apparently.

Now, the real problem happens when you try to get all of these four force fields (yeah, that's where the ubiquitous sci-fi 'force field' came from, so now you know) to play together all nice-like. They hate each other, and men have gone insane and died trying to moosh one into the other. Seriously. I mean, everybody does. Dies, that is. Everybody goes insane too, so.

Ok, that's pretty much where things stand, for now. Anybody wanna give it a sit-down shot for extra credit? Here's a hint...


Check it out. Maxwell published a book in 1865 which is widely acclaimed as the catalyst which ended the civil war in America. The Beatles wrote a song about it.

All about the dude.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me, in a nutshell. Like Austin Powers.

I'm assuming that it has been obvious to probably everyone who has been familiar with me as an active church member since 2009 that I've been curiously absent from Services since May of 2014. What follows was originally a letter that I wrote to a friend attempting to explain my absence, which I only realized afterward was actually just me, trying to get a better look at my own evil black bones. Morbid fascination I guess, but I also feel like I need to know my enemy.

And also to anybody else who is curious, I suppose, since I am putting it here, after all. Used to be that I'd cringe at the thought of putting all this schlock on display, but now I don't give a crap. It's something to do when I'm bored, and only a few people I can think of will actually slog through all of it anyway.

What follows is 'me in a nutshell', I suppose. I've always been extremely shy, from the very beginning of my memories. In other words, I've always been this way. What that actually MEANS is, I was born with a bubble around me, manifested as fearful dissociation, not based on fear but resulting in fear, which has served to effectively separate me and keep me disconnected from other people. It's either that, or the bubble developed as I developed cognizance, which was about twenty months after I was born. I've always referred to it as a bubble. The Bubble.

My first memory of this fearful separation and exclusion from other human beings was around two years of age, and feeling compelled to hide my feet under the bed or under the couch when company came over. I couldn't stand to have my feet exposed. Isn't that weird? The prospect was terrifying, and I have no idea why that was the case.

Another defining instance was when I was four years old. I was caught by the bus driver, eating a Kit Kat. He put me on the spot and made me choose between eating it or throwing it away, making it clear to me that eating it would be a shameful, repugnant thing to do, while throwing it away would satisfy the terrible, From On High judgment of the authority figure. I remember throwing away the Kit Kat into the trash bin at the front of the bus, filled with shame and self-loathing and the feeling that I was the only person in the world who could have ever done anything so horrible.

Those are the earliest incidents that I can remember of being aware of myself as an unnatural outcast among my own kind, and also of the impenetrable bubble which has served to keep me isolated and alone for the entirety of my life. It's a scourge is what it is, this fact of separation. It's the pure scourge. The pristine scourge... it's the Mama Scourge of all the myriad little scourgelings of my existence, and I've never known anything different. Which, I think, makes it decidedly odd that it should be so painful, since isolation is basically the default state of normality for me.

As I grew older, this feeling of existing in a bubble of isolation grew into a debilitating problem which has kept me from forming practically any type of relationship with anyone who I perceived as being better, more well adjusted, more popular, better looking, smarter, more successful, more confident; more NORMAL than myself. The only relationships I'm allowed to form are very tenuous ones, and only with people who have displayed obvious flaws, such as a lack of confidence and/or ambition, not being very popular, an attitude of rebellion and/or a proclivity for getting into trouble, coming from a broken home, introversion, shyness... you know. People who I can identify with.

The funny thing is, if one of these tentative friends ever shows signs of developing in a positive manner, then my ability to feel comfortable around them and to relate to them vanishes. They instantly become strangers to me. This has always been the normal progression of my relationships with people, and it's always been a constant source of distress and anguish for me. I've had, simply, a miserable life for my entire life because I was born with a cancerous, defective self image, a flawed perception of people, and a devastating inferiority complex. The defining moment or event which put me in this place is a complete mystery to me. Why? There's no reason why I should have come out 'undone'. It  ain't natural for an otherwise normal human being to start out just completely fracked from the get-go, is it? That makes no sense! It's just the truth, though. I know that sounds self pitying, but doesn't self pity require somewhere to lay the blame? Where's the blame?

So, as soon as I discovered them, I turned to 'substances' to force a change upon my perceptions, which allowed me to assume a false personality compatible with those perceptions, which in turn allowed me to seem more normal to others, and to feel more normal to myself. I never wanted to get high for the simple sake of being high. That was never, ever my motivation for using drugs or drinking. It was, and always has been, my suit of armour which comes loaded with the behavioral software that I feel I've been cheated out of. Which, by the way, everyone else just seems to have naturally.

I'm a unique, uncreated Frankenstein of a human being. Different, different, different! Flawed! Just me. I was the only one cheated, out of seven billion people! Although I realize that's an untruth, I truly believed it for the first twenty or so years of my life, and I suppose it's hard to unbelieve a thing once it's beloved, because I still belive it... but the brain believes what it belives, just like the eye beloves what it sees.

I feel zero amount of anything in common with anyone at church. I feel like a glaring, flawed, inferior fuck-up of an outcast among all of the normal husbands and wives with children and careers, and houses and mortgages and car payments, and normal ways of dressing, and normal haircuts and normal ways of banter. Social interaction at church is a completely, and I mean a COMPLETELY alien thing to me. It's a practical impossibility. My self image and low opinion of myself, compared to anyone at church, absolutely forbid me from partaking in any meaningful social action or developing ANY type of meaningful relationship with ANY parishioner. They are always and forever outside of my bubble. I feel extreme distress and anxiety when confronted with any situation at church beyond those dictated by the rules of Service This isn't to say that I don't find Church valuable or fulfilling. I do so, very much. The Orthodox Church, means everything to me.

I met Leah as a coworker back in August of 2008, and after a few months of working the same shift together, we became friends. It was through her that I learned about the Orthodox Church Hearing her talk about church excited something in me, because I've always wanted to believe in God. I grew up as a Methodist kid, and some of the only good memories of my childhood are church memories. So when Leah and I began seeing each other in January of 2008, she invited me to a vigil service, and I went. It didn't take long for me to discover that the Orthodox Church was DIFFERENT. More subtle, more serious, more accepting, more mysterious... more real. I remember thinking at the time, that if there ever was a real Christian Church,  and of there really is a God, then this church has to be the real deal - the authentic experience. It was crazy weird. Nobody told me that or convinced me of it. I just knew it.

That wasn't all, either. During that first introductory period to the Orthodox Church, when Leah and I were a new thing, was the first time in my life that I'd had any inkling of hope whatsoever of breaking the bubble; of ever overcoming the fear and isolation and inferiority, and the feeling of just not belonging to, or among, normal people. For a while there, I actually thought that I might be able to be one of those normal people. It was the first time I've ever felt that way, and it was brand new, and it was exhilarating, and I thought that things would keep getting better. I was very optimistic then.

But then when things ended between Leah and myself, all of that newfound confidence disintegrated like a house of cards. It just shattered. I came away from that relationship in a worse place than I was before I went into it. I was even more broken than I had been, but I continued to persist for another four years.

Then, three years ago, my best friend Jerral killed himself. Now, I know that it wasn't my fault. It wasn't my fault that he killed himself, but in my mind, I will always feel responsible, because I could have prevented it. He and I had a falling-out back on Christmas Eve of 1999 and I never tried to make up with him, although I wasn't angry with him at all. I was just lazy about it, and I always thought that there would be time to get together with him again and make up and be the friends that we always had been. He was like a brother to me. He was family. I loved him. I loved him, but I never, ever tried to reach out to him after the falling-out we had.

Thirteen years, three months and five days after that happened, Jerral killed himself. I knew during all of that time that he'd been in anguish, and that he was so sorry for the part that he'd played in our separation, and that he tortured himself incessantly because of it. I knew that he struggled with his own demons, such as child abuse and alcoholism and drugs and rejection by his own family, but I never cared enough to try to heal the breach between us. If I had just reached out to make contact with him just one time, just once, I know for a fact - I know it, I know it - I know it that he wouldn't have killed himself. We would have had a connection again. We would have been talking, I would have known the anguish he was going through which led him to commit suicide, and I could have done something to help him. But I didn't, and he's dead now. And I hate myself for that, hate hate hate myself so much, and I'll never forgive myself. In my mind I have just as much responsibility for his death as he does.

I don't know if anyone from church is reading this and was at church that Sunday when I had a nervous breakdown in front of the whole congregation while I was reading the Epistles, but that happened soon after Jerral's suicide, when it had begun to feel like my life was coming apart in earnest. It's also part of the reason why I stopped coming to church (both the breakdown and the dysfunction which stems from anxiety and guilt). A lot of it feels like self-punishment; like I don't deserve to be there anymore.

After Jerral died, I started to think more and more about another friend of mine who had killed himself, twenty-three years ago. His name was Jim Bob and we were friends, but I'd only known him for several months before he died. I've always felt some responsibility for his death, but because we aren't as close friends as Jerral I were, I'd never felt any real long-term, debilitating guilt.

What happened was this. On the night that Jim Bob killed himself, he had wanted me to help him string and tune a new guitar which he'd just bought. He'd come up to me and asked me to help him string it, and man, he was so excited about it! I had better things to do right then though, like playing pool, so I blew him off. And he blew his brains out an hour later. At his funeral, Jim Bob's brother approached me in tears and embraced me, and what he said to me through his heart wrenching sobs was, "My brother was always talking about you, Ash."

I remember hearing that, and how it was like a hydraulic press crushing my heart, but I'd forgotten about it. Now I remember. I remember the putrid guilt and vile self loathing that I'd felt, as I realized the hard truth... that if I had just taken a few of my measly, precious moments to help Jim Bob tune his frikin' guitar, he wouldn't have killed himself an hour later, because I'd have been with him, and we likely would have been having a good ole time with that guitar. If I would have just cared enough, and not been a selfish prick. And now I remember.

There's something else I remember now. Another close friend, who I talked into getting an abortion back in 2001. Of course I feel responsibility for that death now, too. What else is new? I talked her into doing it. She wasn't sure, and her boyfriend wanted to keep it, but for some reason that I can't even remember now, I really thought it was important that she should get an abortion. I don't remember the reason but I remember arguing her into it, and now that baby would have been fifteen years old and alive, with hopes and dreams and love and fun. But I slammed the hammer of hubris, distilled from my evil black bones, right down on that tiny life with self-righteous pride, and I presented a successful argument for its obliteration.

These are things that I know I should forgive myself for, and which I've confessed to Father Justin, but they are with me now, every moment of every day, and they will always be with me, and they will always torture me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to move past the stark reality of those mortal sins. I will always feel responsibility for those deaths. There's no changing that, ever.

Now you probably know way too much about me; more than you ever wanted to, likely... but that's basically it. That's all the stuff. All of that is, in essence, why I started going to church, and why I don't go to church anymore, and it's also why it's so hard for me to start again, even though I wish that I would. I didn't stop going to church because I wanted to, I stopped because... because I fell off, I guess. Or jumped during one of my somnanbulistications. I dunno... but now it feels like I can't run fast enough to get back on.

I know that's wrong thinking, I know it. I know it, and I know that I need to fight against it, but I don't know the moves. I don't know. It's a combination of being lazy, and hating myself, and feeling like I don't deserve anything good... but mostly it's feeling incapable, and just unable. And sick in the head.

Aight, that's it. There's quite a bit more, actually, but I'm just gonna call it here.