22 December 2006

first a note: i am not a computer video game geek. im actually a super cool artist type who "doesnt watch tv" etc. thats what makes this post funny. cuz:

two nights ago i cancelled my subscription to world of warcraft, leaving my level 60 human warlock, vistilio (along with a bunch of alts still in their teens, liltuvi, a gnome rogue, ohbabybaby, a night elf druid, and my favorite towards the end, a hot hot undead warrior named zabbitz) leaving him abandoned with a bank full of unused mooncloth and just one quest shy of his already paid for epic mount, the dreadsteed.

now, ive had some serious problems with video game addiction in my past. atari's river raid, kaboom and megamania, nintendos super mario (of course), tetris, simons quest and zelda 1 and 2. zelda in particular really grabbed me, there was just so much beauty and love in the design, i really cared, you know? freshman year dorm in college there was mortal kombat everywhere, i favored baraka and his fierce blades. then there was a really bad marathon of playing the star wars trilogy for SNES; this is when i actually played straight for 24+ hours, beating one game and moving on to the next, all not even in my room, jg being patient and understanding, sleeping, waking, going off to journalism class while i oblivious to him died yet again at the hands of the mechanical eye outside of jabba's palace. (which wtf, he certainly wasnt that tough in the movie!)

after that i tried to stay away, not get near the ubersystems that started coming out around 97-98, playstation and xbox. my college housemates and i did have an atari which we enjoyed, but in a casual, kitschy way (m*a*s*h was a surprising favorite, you actually performed surgery). and, we had the ultra fast ms pac man machine in the basement of the student center, the only ms pac man machine i have ever found, ever, (to this day ever!) where both ms pac man and the ghosts were reprogrammed to be scary fast. making getting to the banana board a fucking real achievement, and scores over 80000 near impossible (as opposed to the ubiquitous fast ms/slow ghost consoles in which 6 digit scores are laughably easy). we played this a lot, jem jgl and i, and my god it was really fun. the camaraderie was the best, the vocabulary we developed, the total sharing of experience as we watched each other get through a particularily tight run. this is important...it was the friendship that was great. i played alone a lot, sure, but even then i could go home and tell stories, new high scores, "oh my god i went right through pinky today!" i can still remember jem excitedly telling us about the existence of a fourth board, just about blew our fucking minds. also fun (and related to i guess what happens in the olympics etc all the time) is how once one of us passed some high hurdle (ie a new board, a new high score) the other two would follow quicky in stride...three weeks of trying to top 70000, and then all of us do it on the same day, that kind of thing. cause all the sudden getting 70000 was out there in the world, in the collective experience, so we all had access. weird and lovely.

anyway, the summer after college i tested my relationship with jj while playing the SNES zelda game, her roommate had left the system lying around. then i went to grad school and hated it so went out and bought a N64 just to play zelda's ocarina of time; in fact played it so much that i started neglecting my test grading duties, and when called out on it i actually told the professor that i had graded the papers quickly/sloppily because of zelda. man, that was a really great conversation.

id also like to point out here that the scene in that game where link leaves his home village, and he and his childhood friend, a cute girl named saria, say goodbye to each other, not kissing but so clearly in love, made me cry.

there was some serious pinball playing going on around this time too, but i put that in a different category. oh man lost in the zone!

upon moving to sf i decided enough, this will not be my life, the jocks playing madden ugh, and i have lived without a system ever since. there have been a few small lapses on the pc, including some weird game where you shot these heads onto the celing? cgk? and then a week nursing a lovesick heart over halo 2 at tenredhen's house, whoo. but mostly ive been clean for 8 years.

now: several of my friends here in sf started playing world of warcraft (wow) in the last year...about 5 of my oldest sf friends, the group ive had the most intense history with, my burning man crew, etc. it got to the point where in hanging out with them, they would just talk about wow and id be left on the outside. and they were always tempting me, and i always said no, cause i know ive got problems. then one of them went and sent me a 10 day free trial, right after i finished up two shows and had a bunch of free time. and so bam. i hit level 20 in about four days, found out that the free trial didnt let you go past 20, logged off and pulled out my credit card. and i was done for.

leveling through the game is really, really fun. i mean the world is just fucking huge and so damn well designed; theres always something new, every two levels you get wicked new spells, there are long and intricate quests with neato rewards (as a warlock the biggest things for me were acquiring my new demons every 10 levels: a fire throwing imp, a heavy damage taking giant blue thing called the voidwalker, a sexy succubus decked out in full bondage gear with the power to seduce humanoids into a lovesick paralysis, and an odd magic eating creature known as the felhunter) and you are playing online with real people, real friends. tb and i have similar (ie near nonexistent) work schedules, so we were staying up til 5-6am every night, he in sf, me in berkeley, miles apart yet running wild through this vast fantasy world together, making jokes in the odd language of chat, rofl-ing while running through forests with dozens of plagues bears chasing us. there some pretty hilarious stuff you can do. and its really weirdly wonderful, to see a friend translated into this virtual form...the way tb would move his character was so him, the fidgets and odd emotes, the sudden slaying of an innocent lvl 1 rabbit, the total lapses and unexplained afk's (away from keyboard). early on i spent a beautiful beautiful night running through unknown lands with tb and his wife, an ex of mine; its been years since ive felt that close to either of them, running madly up and down the beach of the zoram strand, a giant moon in the sky, slaying naga. the art design is stunning, yeah. and just so many other moments of being really nice connected with these friends that i dont really see that often...being led through gnomeregan by a seasoned jk, getting pieces of cloth in the mail from mieshra so i could up my first aid skill. once tb sent me some rum (a completley unfunctional item in the game) after we had finally defeated a team of hard to kill orcs in stonewatch keep. and oh endless stranglethorn vale! good times, ah good times. and there was personal, alone joy too, beating giraffes with my fists in the barrens, stumbling across the goblin mirage raceway for the first time at 5am...

and i cant even begin to talk about the bizarre role playing aspect of the whole thing; like am i controlling vistilio, or am i vistilio? a suspicously buddhist question! watching the watcher...but this aspect makes the art really visceral, man you are in it, this is art is happening to you in a far more direct way than any other art form i can think of. thats right, art. fuck you.

anyway, thats not the point. though i think you can see how amazingly geeky and insular this can get. the point is, about two weeks ago i finally hit level 60, the highest level you can reach in the game, late one night killing stealthed tigers in winterspring. leveling is so fun and so addictive, cause theres that real sense of accomplishment every time you level up...a big shiny aura comes down on you, theres a cool sound, all your stats go up, and people nearby say "grats". its called "dinging", so when you do it, you can say "ding!" i was really hoping that something amazing would happen at hitting 60, but sadly it was the same as all the rest...

so, after 60 the game becomes quite different. gone is the finite game of leveling; in its place are a variety of other far more time consuming options. you can run 5 man dungeons, you can play in player vs player battlegrounds, you can go on 40 man raids to kill ridiculously difficult creatures. all of these options have the same goal though: gear. getting better and better gear. there is so much gear in the game, and the super super best stuff is stuff that drops like 0.01% of the time off of some crazy impossible to kill monster that a 40man group can only attempt to kill once a week or so. and only one drops, so all 40 people have to then negotiate over it. so yeah, to get like the best possible set of warlock gear, the kickass tier 3 plagueheart set, could take years. literally. and by then the expansion will come out and there will be a tier 4...

so there i am at level 60. most of your options as a solo lvl 60 player involve highly repititous slayings. ie you can work on your reputation with various factions, kill like 1000 of some creature and then this vendor will sell you a really cool belt. stuff like that. kill a bunch of stuff so you can get better gear so that you can kill more stuff so that you can get better gear. etc. not so fun, really. most high end content is aimed at the large groups, specifically the 40 man raid. now i can see the beauty in this, the team work if youre close with a group of really dedicated players...but unfortunately my social awkwardness actually translates into the MMORPG world as well (who knew?) i only had one experience in a 40 man group, killing a dragon near azshara, and man it was just too geeky for me. raids use vent, a software app that allows you to talk and listen to everyone rather then chat...and hearing these people just GEEKING OUT, man, and some obviously pre-pubescent..it was a bit much. im still cool, after all.

and theres this other aspect, subtle yet disturbing to me, but of all these people gathering together to defeat a game that has been made by another person? like, youre not defeating something real, youre defeating something that has been specificlaly designed by another human being just like you in such a way that it can be defeated. you know? your success is ultimately guaranteed. right?

outside of these 40 man raids, you can group with people and run 5 man dungeons, no vent so less geek. this is mostly what i did at 60, trying to make gold to get my epic mount (a fast demon horse), at least that was some kind of tangible goal. and i had a couple nice moments, a priest named seviana was very nice to me and i developed a bit of a crush on her ("i cant believe that was your first scholomance, you did so well!" *blush*)...but more often the strangers were bad, bad players and worse communicators, rushing into monsters before everyone was ready, like im at 0 mana and this asshole warrior goes and charges a group of plagued hatchlings, christ. and then the bickering over things, and the posturing, and the endless talk of gear and crits...ugh.

anyway, yeah, the game just started being depressing. no point, no goals, no friends, no way to win. i mean, yes theres still the joy of gameplay, and raiding would certainly offer more new...but the goals, where were the goals> what was the point? so i found myself getting depressed, in the game itself. now, its been a bad few months for me, the game really sucking away at me, my sleep schedule erractic and my drive in creative and social pursuits really diminished. i actually bailed (and didnt call, just watched the minutes tick by and saw the phone and... !) on a good friend one night cause i was playing (funnily she was actually the first of the original group to cancel her account, for similar depression-causing reasons. so she was pretty understanding), ive neglected another kind of cracked relationship with another good friend, i havent made any new music in months, havent really pursued any dates, stopped going to the gym. and when i wasnt playing, i was thinking about it. yeah, its bad. but at least while playing the game initially i was jazzed, so excited to get to that next level, so happy after a long night of questing to say goodnight to tb and know id see him again tomorrow.

but now, post 60, it just all started to feel...meaningless. no clear goals. tb and i stopped playing together as much, as he got bored with his 60 and started leveling his alts, all of which are at levels that i have no characters at, so playing together isnt so possible. and leveling alts, to me that just seems boring. ive already done it! it was a little fun to roll an undead charcter, totally new lands, plus they can feed themsleves by cannibalizing the corpses of their enemies, whee, but still there was that lack of initial newness, the 60 goal. the goal. id already done it. and lord i cant imagine spending another week in my 30's in stranglethorn, good god. so i stayed with my 60...but the goals, i missed the goals!

>the game started being like everyday life. boring, routine, no great rewards.<

ie like i had chores to do in the game, selling things at the auction house, managing my bank account, making mooncloth bags. and then when id go out to do things it would be just things id already done, with no real point other than just doing them. like im just trying to make a bunch of gold so i can get a horse that goes faster? and where will i go so fast? or im saving for a necklace that boosts my stamina by 10? and what will i kill with these extra hit points? no goal, no goal! a free for all..and so easy when free to lose all focus and just be a wanderer. and i kept trying, i played some pvp battlegrounds and got yelled at by some more skilled players, lord that was also depressing. recreation is supposed to be a break from this petty minutiae of human interaction, right? but no, it was there, so much of it, bickering and posturing over chat windows, and all about nothing, nothing. what i want out of a game is an escape from life, not a replication.

i talked about this with some of my guildmates, the ones who have been playing for a year+...and the conversations were very odd, like they were offering advice on what i could do to keep myself busy, what options there were, "oh you could level an alt, or you could take on a different profession, you could work on your reputation..." it was just like in life, when youre bored in life and so decide to take up knitting.
but this wasnt life! if its boring, i dont have to play!

so i quit.

now an expansion comes out in january, allowing you to progress to level 70, and yes ill probably rejoin just to get there and feel that old thrill again. and my outside life will suffer, but then the bells and whistles will stop, and ill get out. and hopefully something new in the real world will be there...

sadly this is not a heroic story of me overcoming an addiction. its just that the addiction got boring to me. which interstingly seems to be my pattern for all addictions, drugs and music and women. "flavor of the month" an ex told me i am, and that one stays in my head. scary.

its been a nice few days, back in the real world all the way. i saw a baby at a party the other day, and the mom was talking about how thats her new obsession...and yeah, i liked that. i really liked that. now theres one i think i could stick with.
always changing! always love!

ah someday.

04 September 2006

just had kind of an amazing train ride;;;;
after great meeting with cast of current show, where everyone talked open and out there and sincere and no animosity just this love of the work, and we all drinking manhattans and martinis in a fancy hotel bar in the outer tenderloin, and a few cereal boxes stolen from the kitchen and then pipes were lit, and a security guard came but we worked it out, ah the actors we are, we flattered and redirected, ah beautiful........

after all this, on the train, was thinking about the mixtape of all music ever that ends the show...and yes its got a western slant, but thats the fucking audience, and my own personal experiments have shown that my western ear gravitates toward the western; if you listen with nonwestern ear you hear strange strings and drums constant, the piece is just dripping with nonwestern. here:


i like it! but sure, its slanted, but thats fine with me, i am my audience.

but the point is not that: the point is, in tribute, one sample on the mixtape is from dj dangermouse/jay-z/the beatles the grey album ("99 problems", of course, so the best song on the album. hit me!)

it came on dj random on bart tonight, and listening to it, i realized something really obvious about the album that i just hadnt gotten...its the beatles WHITE album and jay-z's BLACK album. and the corresponding artists are racially WHITE and BLACK. so okay, right?> and how perfect? the beatles being just sooooo white, really the kings of white pop, this is what all white music aspires too...and to my small white mind jay-z being equivalently super-black hiphop, at the polar end of how black music can be; hiphop, and slightly gangsta underground at that...how BLACK...

and at the root of dangermouses genius is fusing these two, and finding fundamental this basic ground; they are both good music, so so good, and they interact, they are the same. they are the same in their goodness...and what a gift for me, an "enlightened" whitepop man with no black hiphop friends, walking in that liberal racial shadow zone of theoretically open yet practically nonexistent. like i just dont interact with black hiphop people at all, theres just none in my whitepop circles. my fundamental racial fear, is, as im sure a million pieces of literature have gone on about (and i dont know this literature, its outside my scope) is in the difference, the apparently overwhelming surface differences between my whitepopself and hiphopblack. basic, nothing new, we know this. and intellectually i understand the surface and the deep, that were all human and we feel the same things in spite of radiclaly different social mannerisms, a way of talking and seeing and interacting just so amazing different to me, as i watch dave chappelles block party in my cozy white berkeley living room and wonder, god why doesnt my culture listen like that, talk like that, dance like that? all that extroverted joy. but i have that joy, im the same, somehow, right? sure, sure, i guess, but im unconvinced...and in my whiteness feel like i cant even really talk about this, right? god its so fucked, i just stay away...(in fact ive had this post written for 3 months and havent published it yet, hm).

but then to hear that sameness, through music, not explained, but expressed through music.
yeah, that joy, that fundamental joy, i can hear it in jay-z's voice and in george harrisons guitar, i can, i can i can.
okay okay, thanks again music, thanks.

05 August 2006

today i was walking through chinatown, down waverly lane, and was stopped there by a barber playing the oud from inside his empty barber shop. his barber shop was so small that the echo was quite loud, the reverb amplifying his oud so that it could be heard all up and down the alley, with a nasally ting like a distorted amp. just barber walls ceiling and floor, hard for the hair to be swept up clean. he was playing a song from schuberts winterreise. really wonderfuly out of tune in all the right places.
this is why i always cut my own hair.

16 July 2006

i hit the base of legget hill some time in the middle of the day, after forty miles mostly along 101, sun hammering overhead, curves hills and miniscule to nonexistent shoulders. my legs burning and cars coming past so fast (jay-z running through my head with each shoulder hugger windwhip: "thats so unnecessary"), the sun hitting 100 and me in the beginnings of sun exhaustion delirium am starting to see the shoulders accompanying neck and head ghostly, a giant bald rodin head gliding along the freeway next to me, slowly turning and winking sly while no one else is looking. weird. right before legget took a stop in a swimming hole, preparing for the pair of hills that both of my maps refer to as infamous: legget, a five mile 1800 foot climb up winding CA1, then a screaming descent abruptly stopped by rockport, a steeper grade 700 foot.

legget up is actually a total joy: just remembering the inevitability of the end allowed me to simple keep pedaling, lowest gear and just every time one leg goes down do the same with the next leg. over and over, forever and ever, but not: cause it ends. nothing is unedurable when you know when its going to end. only the sun threatening my morale, blinding burning patches aaaa, so stand up and push through to return to the shady shade. sweat staining my eyes, wipe it away, constant, annoying, lord, breathe. the summit itself snuck up on me, a smooth leveling out and then a half mile or so of winding about on the top, simple, trees, simple.

its on the way down that things started to get trippy; my sinuses going crazy, drip drip and my face burned, and then the ride down wind and down down down fast so fast so fucking WIND! the wind is hitting me in the eye, already stung with sweat, and maybe my eyelids are burnt?...because what starts to happen is i start crying, and the tears are burning my eyes. i wait and cool down and make sure its not sweat, and its not, its the tears themselves, tiny alcohol razor tears bring my eyes to a burn as i ride down fast fast fast wind and goddamn eye sting ow! what the hell. maybe the sun has actually sunburnt me unformed tears? i hit the bottom and lay in the shade with my last roadside nectarine, watch the sticky sweet run down my hand and realize that my right hand is almost completely numb. my senses kind of swirling together as i sing "nature boy" to the sight of impossible colored sun coming through the trees.

then back up, and relentless california right back at it with the second hill, shorter but steeper, and my mind is all over the place, the burn in my eye leaking into my thoughts mesmerized by my shadow against the white highway line. and never the top, but keep pedaling and no single moment is unendurable. nothing is unedurable. it starts to get cold, i think, but i cant honestly tell, so confusing the wind and sun and shade and sweat. this: is: exhaustion, delirious, and let out some screams and some coughs involuntray noises out of control body shaking. just like an intense ecsatsy roll, i swear. one eye seared shut with tearbrun, lungs lunging, but okay, just slow and steady and now some awful minor bass line is running obssessed through my head. bum bum bummmbuymbmb.
until: the top, again, and down, this time even fassssster scary down wind hoooooooooooowl, and thats great so high so high.

and then the bottom of the hill, one last curve around and vision is
~the pacific ocean~
sudden, waves and rocks crashing eternal. SLAM! a wall of sight. rode along so slow aching wonderful, watched the ocean energy gone smiling.

finally stopped in westport, 75 miles, stopped and treated myself to a motel room with an hour long shower and red wine with the cork pushed in. and 50 issues of "people" neatly stacked on the bedside table, and katie and tom are happy too.

15 July 2006

im riding my bike down the pacific coast right now, 300 miles from arcata back home to song of san francisco. its fucking great, better than i scaredely imagined it to be...yesterday soared through 70 miles of every blade of grass times every redwood tree, and baby goats four running away from my metal click click of changing gears. there are hills and sun and thighs unbeleiving, and a beautiful moonpack stripped to essentials, and hoho tight lycra short and zippered jersey why not, why not a sleek machine body for this week za. changed a flat tire in eureka, my whole mind every crack drenched with that quenching flood of activity, physically fandangoing with the material world. so nice to just do not think. this bike this road this tree, blanker and blanker with every wind gust to my face. now a slow back tire leak but fill it up again and i cna go again, fill it up and go go god screaming down a hill on the avenue of giants. this morning still dewy cold and crisp i yelled out loud, yelped it in the wind, so happy IM SO HAPPY! yelled and two deer stumbling up a steep grade of dirt and rock didnt care at all. well good good for them good good.

21 June 2006

i have had, i think, an unsuccessful two days off in nyc. while my first full day alone in the city was pure new york magic, perfect pizza and small bookstores by the park, basketball intricate and king lear brilliant, these last two days have been painted by me walking incredible distances towards illconceived and ultimateley unsatisfying goals. today too late sleep, then indecision, then the wrong subway stop, then poor swiss chard at mama's, then the show (macbeth in the park) sold out, then too long a walk for a ten dollar burger on 72nd and amsterdam. it was a great burger though, on an english muffin. yesterday wasnt quite as bad, laundry and not quite ripe plums, a beautiful walk through twilight brooklyn, but bad pizza and missed the show, the dirty projectors playing first not last, and me further flummoxed by seeing the lead projector, so genius untamed when i saw them in berkeley, saw him text messaging away in the very small room, rudely ignoring the granted highly ignorable bass guitar loop set on the stage. i drank my drink, didnt talk to the girl in the cute yellow dress, and left. (theyre all in cute yellow dresses here...)

much of my indecision in finding a place to eat in nyc comes from the sneaking suspicion that the perfect little place is just around the corner. the place where the owner regales you and the locals sing out loud and theres a crazy unheard of drink, blood wine or rose lemonade. always wanting the mystical experience, afraid of the mundane.

beautiful new york day; walking through park slope and prospect park, book stores and slices and people just everywhere, nowhere more alive than in this town, i swear, everywhere everyone just looks so damned real; the confluence of so many cultures, all hitting the eyes with fashion unknown and faces unafraid, its a lot to take in. the fashion, god! and im not talking here about the thrift store hipsters on the l - - its the unpredicable older generations, the aging caribbean man on teh subway in all baby blue, with a black and white checked hat with matching baby blue band, where does this stuff come from, who makes these clothes? oh i love you...

and then tonight saw king lear, my first time ever! actor's shakespeare project at lamama, with alvin epstein dancing about in mad high pitched glee. it was really fabulous, everyone so nuanced, and epstein just heartbreaking in those moments of questioning sanity. also some incredible sound design, all metal, gongs, buckets, tubs and sheets suspended throughout the space, bowed creepy for madness and rattled earshatteringly for the storm.

i havent really seen that much shakespeare, but lately im really loving it. and tonight i finally got why theres all these stage combat courses everywhere; cuz when its done right, it is fucking exciting. this lears' fights amplified by a stage in the round covered in mulch, so when the actors fall to the ground inches from the front row, mulch actually flies up and hits your legs; thats cool. people love a fight. people love a fight!

earlier today left the crowds watching the world cup in the streets (tried, cant get into it; the cameras too far away. though im certainly excited by the current group e upsets, so thoroughly explained to me tonight by jc, using the word "slaughtered" with such glee while diana ross danced about on a screen in front of plates and plates of grocery store sweets at a bar in the east village. i now share his ghana roooting and hope that all this backstory will get me more enthralled for thursday), left the cup

for some live basketball being played at the courts on w 4th. they were fucking great, and i was really watching it as redhen told me to, like theater, like telepathy, like dance. oh so beautiful, every little thing, every small gesture, and everyones doing something, silent respects, beautiful. and so real - a couple fights there too, faces flaming. jc tells me there were some bloody faces at the cup today too, he excited in the telling, oh yes.

16 May 2006

today i crashed my bike again. in the exact same place i crashed my bike last time; at the corner of 13th st and lakeside in oakland, where there are dead turtle asphalt bumps hiding colorless in the middle of the street. so i hit one unknowingly and felt my bike stop but my body not, waaaah and my feet still pedaling on the ground just ahead of the bike flounder flounder sun so bright flounder arms waving for a good goof of four five seconds, trying to catch up and get back but then no!!! and over the bars and down on hands and knee and elbow and ankle. the knee the worst, but luckily i was wearing my jeans that already have a hole in the knee, so. unluckily it was the recently almost broken ankle (almost broken while performing the second act of miss saigon, but hobbled on through, yes so rock star yes thank you), yeah it still hurts. the red muscat grapes in my bag, however, were unharmed.

but the funny thing to me, is yes, the exact same place i wrecked last time, a couple months ago. (my grand total wrecks in 7+ years of sf reckless is 4; other two being wet brakes coming down fulton street headlight batteries just died and dark and right into left turning van ahhh! and then a standard wet muni tracks moment in the pouring rain at market and valencia ahhh! [that one was cool cause i stopped traffic like a madman, hands in the air, and then took my sweet time composing my wet self]). and i was so aware of it...i was listening to pavement's "stop breathin'" at the time, with that beatuful jangle out of tune top note of arpeggio everytime lazy smiling me, no one serves coffe, no one wakes up, and nothin gets me off so completely, and was definitely singing loud out loud and riding fast,

but i knew that i had wrecked there and had to watch out for those bumps and i scanned down and saw them and then,
and then?
i mean i guess i just stopped thinking for a second and in that critical second managed to steer right into the very thing i had two seconds ago decided not to run into? what the fuck? these lapses of mind, my god. seconds gone, thought by no one. are they are all so short>
or do some of them last longer, an hour, a day, a whole season of lapse leading me into pattern of course human and then crashing right into the same thing ive already crashed into.
morgaine lost in the land of the fairies.

02 May 2006

start fresh, start fresh.
the three most interesting thoughts i had in the past two days were:
meditating with your eyes open is completely different for meditating with your eyes shut.
theres a fine line between being generous with your audience and not revealing everything.
lightsabers are too violent a weapon for the jedi philosophy.

09 March 2006

tonight we open. so nervous shaking cold hands. no piano to hide behind, no no, instead i am right out there...i just have to remember to lose control. the dancing, remember the dancing...the only people who look bad on a dance floor are the people half dancing. the other half thinking...o wretched thought leave my mind for tonight, for tomorrow night, for seven nights hence...let me just be in this body and shake in a delirious whirl. i dont think when i laugh, i dont think when i laugh.

21 February 2006

a joy these last few weeks has been rebuilding an old piano. its good to be with the hands again, creating with solid objects, practical, working, not this ethereal creative crap of my day to day. here is sound with elmers carpenter glue and particular screwdrivers and *parts* ordered from a special website (ips, go and feel the back of a scifi pulp glee of a boy in the fifties), parts that come special delivery, oh mailday bliss oh, and such beautiful names: backcheck, jack, flange, punchings, bushings, action felt. the action: the entire inside of the piano, the wriggly wood combo that connects key to string, times 88, is all called the action, the action. action felt, yes it is. and i repairing, regulating, soon to tune and voice as well, these small meticulous tasks tingle from fingertip to lip to slip deep within and counter the wild leaf blown world on the surface, where all is blown into a delirious and borderless leaving me reeling, groundless skyless heartless clueless. thank you these simple moving parts who ground me with their physical logic.

today while placing a screw small in a place smaller i saw my grandfather grin back at me from the within the row of hammer shanks that are the pillars of the piano actions architecture; there his face roaming the single alleys of doweled wood, his head floating through and smiling at my clumsy fingers, fingers supple to ease the art out of this instrument but nevertheless too fat when dealing with the small crevices between damper spoons and flanges. i think he gets it, i think he really does; that all this above the wood is whirl and curl and just so much wind...my heart may pound furiously in the midst, but all that passion and stress in the end is over air, timeshadows though an ever moving sunbeam gone so soon...rn reminded me after our understudy crisis in 'cabaret' that our profession, the theater, is so bizarre in its hyperbole; its a fucking play. its a fucking play, its a fucking song - - and then: its a fucking feeling, its a fucking heart. its not the ground beneath my feet, the wood and felt and brass and strings wound tight held together with screws too small and elmers carpenter glue too rich.

the actions that i perform are truth; they are what i do, and what i do is who i am. the action is the inside of the piano, its the diamond not the box. action, act; ive been acting, so strange; its causing me to lose my sense of truth. which is dangerous for an artist, where the subjective truth is the only objective ground one can count on; so much truer to me always has been "this song is right" than anything else true untrue. yesterday i was on the phone with a lady/wall trying to get a credit card charge reversed (the free trial for "entertainment rewards" coming back to haunt me. though i did get a free ticketmaster ticket out of it) and i decided to act kind of crazy. ive done that before. but if im acting crazy, im crazy. if im conscious of my actions, am i acting? is that all it is? is it only acting if its not true, or only not true if its acting? but now leaves blowing detour whirlwind are a bit much sometimes, there is something in my eyes, i cant see myself,

science math and physics, elmersglue, thats true, its true. so just hold on to that, and let the rest fall where it may. i think ive learned in my old age (the third decade has caused many changes in me, amongst them purchase of health insurance and a vacuum cleaner) to stop trying to force truth; if its there it will and if not it will not. on the surface just simple wood felt brass glue hold it together hold it hold it together. layers of three a red onion gossamer peel around my egg hard boiled.

my heart is only so much, under the action a subsurface secret truth that even i am not allowed to know.