December 31, 2001

I have a great gift. A great blessing. And it’s particularly appreciated by me, now, as we enter a new year.

I can’t speak for others, but it seems to me that 2001 generally sucked. It was a sad year. A bad year. We can read and see news accounts about what happened in twenty ought one, and we all know which event defined the year for the media. But what really defines a year for most of us is personal experience. The impact a year has on us. And unless horrific events touch us personally, they aren’t what defines a year.

Actually, what defines the year is whatever is most recent in our personal lives, the things that happened within the trailing month or so.

If we’ve found a new love, that defines the year. If we’ve lost someone, that defines it. If we lose a job, that defines it. And so on. It’s never the year seen in its totality. That’s not how we think or feel. It’s whatever is most recent. The truth is, most years are up and down affairs and if we’re up when it ends, that is how we see the year. If it’s down, well, that’s makes the year.

For me, 2001 sucked. Because the ending sucked. If one word defined my take on the year, it would be this: lonely. I’m bored, I’m alone, and I’m whining about stupid shit I wouldn’t care about if I didn’t feel bored and alone.

This is where my great gift kicks in: it will pass, and I won’t remember it.

I never remember the shitty times. I only remember good times. I often can remember them in vivid detail, but I never remember the times where everything seemed like crap. For instance, my mother … She died a few years ago. But I can remember nothing sad about her, not even her dying. At most, there is a melancholy longing for her because she was the person I talked to.

I know I’ve been lonely and sad before. But I don’t feel it. I don’t recall it viscerally. I can never recall sadness as it was felt at the time. But I can recall when everything was good.

Actually, the only time I think I recall bad times is when I’m feeling that way again, and even then I’m never sure it’s true. It's never accompanied by a sense of veracity; it never has the feel of something true. More often, it feels like something made up to reinforce the sadness felt at the time I’m recalling. A self-pity thing. It feels false.

But good times … these feel true.

So that’s my gift. I hope you have it too. To discard the crap that infects our lives and recall only the reasons for being alive: the drunks, the conversations, the embarrassing moments, the dances and the food and the music.

However your year ended, let’s hope, count on, and expect more of what we remember best. (Or at least, what some of us remember best.)
Not a lot to say today. Except ... Damn! It's cold out there! I'd forgotten about how cold it can get. Must give some serious thought to moving.

December 29, 2001

What an appalling night (dream wise). These nights occur every so often - vivid dreaming and for the most part nightmarish.

I dreamt all night I was dying. Not dead; dying. In one, I was on a bus going off to someplace, like a hospital in another town, to die.

Then, in the real world, some asshole called at 3:12AM. Wrong number, presumably. But the phone woke me which, I suppose, wasn’t such a bad thing since the dream was none too pleasant. Dying generally isn’t (I imagine).

(Later, someone would call at 7:30 – this was a wrong number. I know because I answered. 7:30AM is better than 3:12AM but, in my world, these calls are wildly outside acceptable telephone time. 7:30 on a Saturday morning? What are they thinking?)

Anyway … Second dream, I’m dying again. All my family are there; we’re all still living together in one of the houses we had ages ago. My best friend from back then was in the dream too. Once again, there’s a bus I have to take to go away to die. Everyone is expecting me to get on it and never come back. But I don’t take the bus. I think, “Well, I’m going to die anyway … Why the rush?” So without telling anyone my plans, I simply “forget” to get on the bus, feeling guilty about it too, if you can believe it. And then the freakin’ phone rang. Again.

The question, of course, is, “Why dreams about dying?” Don’t know.

But if the feelings in the dream reflect my real feelings, death is not something I look forward to with any relish.

But why dream about it?

I have an additional torment today as well. I’ve got Walter Brennan’s voice in my head, God help me.

On another note entirely … It seems my rollovers don’t work on my blog. Or else I’m doing something wrong, which is entirely possible since HTML stuff is not my strong suit. It’s all gibberish to me. If you look at my page in IE (probably Netscape too) you’ll see the little note in the left corner, “Error on page!” As if it’s necessary to tell the whole damn world I’m a bonehead with no idea about what he’s doing.

Web thoughts:

1. There is no dignity on the Web.
2. If you’re an ass, the Web will reveal you as such.
3. On the Web, a fool and his incompetence are soon exposed!


December 28, 2001

Geez … It’s mid-afternoon, I’m at work, there’s lots to do, and I’m bored out of my mind. This is exactly like high school. I remember those days when, mid-afternoon, I went into the tank. No interest. No motivation. No escape. Mr. Trahan trying to teach us French and all I could do was watch the clock, the soul-denying, slow moving, "never-gonna-get-there-in-your-lifetime-kid" clock making it’s way to the end of the class like a politician approaching a commitment.

That’s where I am right now.

On another note – must get a good book on contemporary neural science.

(Where the hell did THAT come from?)

No. Really. I want to know more about the brain. I also want to know about neural modeling and data interpretation and data mining and so on.

Why? Well, let’s just say it’s less easy to manipulate people who know how you’re trying to manipulate them. (This sounds more paranoid than is typical of me.) Besides, I find this stuff fascinating.

December 27, 2001

You really don’t want to start acting old before you have to. It bleeds the fun out of life.

One of the first signs of getting old is resistance to change. You want to resist this resistance for as long as you can. Some people hold out longer than others; some cave almost immediately.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of resisting. But these days, I seem to be wearing down. My willingness to move with the flow of mutability is no longer steadfast. Sometimes, it's pretty damned feeble.

The key for me, I think, lies in understanding. I need to know the why behind the changes I encounter.

All of this is to preface my rant on current underwear and the question: Why?

Recently, I bought some underwear – nothing flashy, just navy boxer length, gym like shorts. I have no idea what they’re called. But they’re the length of boxers, the fit of jockies.

The resistance I had to them occurred when, wearing them for the first time, I went to the bathroom and discovered they had no opening in the crotch.

Had a woman designed these? I had no idea. All I knew was that I was in a public washroom (at a bar), my fingers franticly flying around my groin as I stood at the urinal seeking the absent opening. From the corner of my eye I saw a man of about my age slowing slip out of the washroom, eyeing me anxiously, believing he had encountered a shameless masturator.

In a panic, I ended up dropping my pants and underwear to my ankles so I could relieve myself as my pink bottom greeted other men who, wisely, had worn traditional drawers – complete with opening.

Why? Where is the reason behind pants or underwear designed for men yet without a pathway for the member’s release? And on the plastic packaging they came in, where was the caution reading, “Not Designed For Peeing?” Have the generations following my own developed superhuman bladders? Can they go for days without having to vacate the intestinal premises?

I don’t have the answer. I only know that this is an unwanted and unwelcome change. And I shall resist it.

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear my trousers with openings that allow me to pee.

December 25, 2001

What we really need is not voice recognition technology but thought recognition technology. I can’t write as quickly as I talk, and I certainly can’t talk as quickly as I think. But really, isn’t that what we all want? My deep and moving – dare I say profound? – thoughts captured for posterity?

OK. So maybe not. But I’d certainly like it. As a writer, I’ve created so many stories in my head that have been lost, you’d almost want to cry.

Again, maybe not. Moving along …

Here’s a new think. It may be a bad one and it may be one of those things that starts off as a good idea but peters out as the realisation slowly dawns that … nah, it wasn’t. But here goes …

Beginning with the common notion that you write best what you know best, I’m thinking of writing about writing. It’s not so much because I believe I have any great thoughts to impart but, dammit, it’s what I know.

And I’m thinking of putting it online. So it evolves publicly. (Not that Piddleville is any great Mecca for Internet travellers.) One of the aspects of this that I like is the complete abandonment of structure. No outline. No thematic tonic note to guide it along.

Why? Because it’s easier to capture what you want if you’re not hampered by the logistics of structure, of linear progression. And because my best writing occurs afterward, in the rewriting process. That’s where the organization occurs. That’s where the immutable law that writing consists of throwing out the crap occurs.

So gather ye crapbuds while ye may. And the devil take the hindmost.

(I’ve no idea what the expression is supposed to refer to – a bum fetish, I suppose – but I’ve always wanted to use it. And now I have!)


December 24, 2001

With a few minutes to spare on a Christmas Eve, it seemed a good time to start with an initial entry - the one that says, Merry Christmas!

Okay, so the obligatory seasonal greeting is out of the way, let's see if I have anything worthwhile to say in these brief moments.

Well, it appears Piddleville's slow evolution is picking up some steam and the hope is out there that it will soon cease evolving (at least for a few minutes) to stop long enough to actually be whatever it is it's becoming. (That was kind of a convoluted sentence.) Anyway ... the navigation will soon be fixed and hopefully consistent.

The thing about these changes is this: the fictional Piddleville has more or less run its course. At least for the moment. Which is not to say certain aspects and characters won't continue to appear. (You can't get rid of Dick Whizzy or Henta that easily.) But, at least for a time, it will be more of a journal type of thing (including uninformed DVD reviews) and less the falderal it has been. Honestly, I'm completely out of ideas and interest with the previous Piddleville. Sad, but true. The biological law: we start, we grow, we fade, we die.

And we anticipate what the next new thing will be. Who knows? Maybe a rejuvenated Piddleville, maybe something utterly different and even better.

The cool thing about life (and evolving Web sites) is you never know what's next.

Have a Murray Christmas and a Snappy New Year!