Category Archives: real life


[dispatch] 20170824.0920

August 24, 2017 at 09:20AM
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[dispatch] 20170525.1434: sapiens email hierarchy

May 25, 2017 at 02:34PM
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supermarket matrix glitch

On 03 May 2017, at around 17:45, on 6th Avenue and President Street, a man and a woman passed me by, empty-handed, as I walked home after shopping. I had been in the market for approximately 12 minutes, and was about 3 blocks (so 2 minutes) south of the market when these two walked by me the other way.

I was heading south on the west side of 6th Avenue. The man was going north on my side of the avenue. At the moment he passed by, behind him in my visual frame, the woman crossed the avenue, and then turned left on the east side of 6th, also to head north.

Thing is – they both were just in the market with me. And here they were, headed back, opposite me, with no groceries, towards the market.

I recognized the man, because after getting caught behind the market’s front door while grabbing a bouquet of flowers, I held the door open for him to enter the store. He was skyscraper tall, perhaps 6’5″, and rail thin, so we’ll call him “Stick.” Approximately 3 minutes later, I was leaving the produce area by the store’s entrance, and saw the woman enter the store. She was memorable as she was African-American with long beautiful platinum blonde braids. The braids flowed down below her waist. We’ll call her “Tress.” They were separate shoppers, for sure not together.

9 minutes later, I swear Tress and Stick were still in the store when I arrived at the check-out, and neither alit at any adjacent cashiers while my cashier (we’ll call her “Samantha”) scanned and weighed my stuff. Tress, last I saw, was reading milk labels in the dairy section in the very back corner of the store, at most 5 minutes before Samantha rung me up. I last recall Stick massaging a melon in Produce with an almost empty basket.

This means Stick and Tress, between my last spotting them and my arriving at check-out, would each have had to check-out, go home, put away their respective groceries, come back outside, and walk back towards the market at the same time.

A sense of cool unease washed over me on 6th Avenue as they passed by, a feeling reminiscent of the last clove cigarette I smoked in the early ’00s.


[dispatch] 20170424.1449 sidewalk terror

April 24, 2017 at 02:49PM
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[dispatch] 20170422.2330 celery salt

April 22, 2017 at 11:30PM
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[dispatch] 20170422.1138

April 22, 2017 at 11:38AM
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Write On The Exhale

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analog truth, typos make

Communication is a form of respiration.

“You want to know what I think…?” is the same as asking, “You want to know how I breathe…?”

Resonant, meaningful discourse flows as a meditation, where we think on inhale and communicate on exhale. Thinking, writing, and speaking — these mirror different stages of breathing, and together form a respiratory cycle.

We draw our breath to prepare, to gird, and in doing so, leave ourselves vulnerable to enter the unknown. Will we take in enough air? Will we make the train? Is there anybody out there?

Conspicuous breathing in — the audible struggle for air — gasping — happens under threat of drowning, choking, or asphyxiation. Apprehension and uncertainty underwrite every inhale.

Confidence and awareness, by contrast, infuse every exhale. Breathing out means we have another breath to take, or that we will rest in peace and/or resignation, knowing the one just released will be our last. Everything renews every time our respiration cycle refreshes. You change the world every time you exhale.

Writing and speaking are subsets of exhaling.

Speaking comprises shorter inhales and exhales — faster thinking, quicker tongue. Writing involves longer breaths and slower output, more thinking, more holding your tongue.

Holding your tongue is not the same as holding your breath.

“Held my tongue,” lasted at minimum a full cycle and a half of respiration, in which you thought twice, and didn’t speak. You inhaled, then exhaled, then inhaled again. Then spoke.

Holding the breath is a frozen inhale. Frozen thinking.

It’s easy to tell if someone’s holding their breath while speaking. At some point, they have to stop to exhale, or talk through their exhale. Either way creates unnatural pauses and rhythms, most likely in places the speaker never intended. Losing the rhythm of breathing is the precursor, not the symptom, of losing a train of thought, of stage fright and stress.

Writing allows the same effect. So much commentary now is written on the inhale, or while writers hold their breath, where hitting the send button becomes the de-facto exhale. These dispatches (and, often, the subsequent exchanges around them) become games of “Watch me while I make myself turn blue.”

The “media” in social media is short for mediation, not engagement. Mediation confers a sporting event, or a judicial proceeding, that defines winners and losers. “First post, best post” almost never holds true, but “first post, most read post” is almost always the case.

There’s no judgment here. The problem is upstream color: Interactive platforms, for all their ingenuity and democratized broadcast participation, are designed around thinking out loud, not reflective writing — safe harbor for polemics, but rough places for slow exhales.

Perhaps that’s what makes Medium feel like a respite. You can breathe here. Or, at least, as a writer, exhale.

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Exercise time:

Inhale and make yourself angry.

Most likely your teeth are gritted, your eyes opened wider and your whole body tensed.

Now try to get angry during a soft, long exhale.

Much more difficult, yes? Your mouth is open or closed, but either way, it’s soft. Maybe your eyes somewhat narrowed, but you’re not making a fist, and you’re more in a state of awareness and reflection, than anger.

All this to say, the next time you write, experiment by writing every sentence on an exhale. It will make all the difference.

——————————————————-

This song, Infinite Destination, off my 2010 record Hola, Sayulita!, flowed from brain to paper to guitar in under two hours — far and away the fastest a track ever materialized for me. The process and result are close as I’ve ever come to capturing a pure exhale in my music, so enjoy its springboard as you move on from here.

Desert sunrise six twenty one
Rising just like fate
Baby you know this is never the end
If you trust the world

All I can do is smile
As you soften your eyes
And draw curves with your questions
‘Til there’s nothing left to say but someday

Infinite destination
You’re every dream I ever had
We’re just pilgrims dancing unstuck in time
Infinite destination
Any life you can have
Dancing forever free from time

The future has its enemies, too
They don’t like people like me; they don’t like people like you
In other words, you got a beautiful attitude

I never take it for granted
How your eyes reverse time
Soft as day breaks and fades the night away

Infinite destination
You’re every dream I ever had
We’re just pilgrims dancing unstuck in time
Infinite destination
Every life you ever had
Dancing forever free from time

Infinite destination
(You’re) every dream I ever have
Just a pilgrim dancing unstuck in time


[dispatch] 20170419.1503 banana lessons

April 19, 2017 at 03:03PM
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[dispatch] 20170415.2043 underground alert

April 15, 2017 at 08:43PM
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[poll] most useless garnish

January 05, 2017 at 05:46PM
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[year’s end tradition read] the light walkers

December 30, 2016 at 05:17PM
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[real life] Sterling At The Gates

2005-gates-2
20050301.0854

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A dog’s will to live is its raison d’être. Dogs do not suffer Albert Camus’s “one truly serious philosophical problem” of suicidal ideation. The canine affirmation is automatic and compulsory — a dog will never choose to end his or her life. It simply can’t. Dogs live, and only live.

A dog, by extension, affirms all lives it touches. Life’s entirety, of course, comprises a spectrum of emotions and ricocheting perspectives on reality — from nihilism to optimism, frustration to contentment, abandonment to love. A dog brought home becomes a nexus and repository for all that home’s experiences, memories and outlook.

Projecting a dog’s POV through ours, there’s beauty in their affirming life while (perhaps) never knowing that life is an opt in/out choice. The phrase “dogged determination” is doggone true. We don’t know what a dog knows, but we sense — and communicate through — some kind of mutual sentience. The true paradox of our cross-species communication surfaces as our dogs act with intention: we know they think — but only because we can’t tell what they’re thinking. 

(The know-can’t-tell paradox will also be true in determining whether an artificial intelligence achieves true sentience, but this story here’s about organic lifeforms. Ignore the robots around us, for now.)

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[real life] real fake truth

“fake” is the opposite of “real,” not of “truth”

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We don’t live different lives in one reality. We all live the same life, but in different, discrete realities.

“Conspiracy theories” are battles among competing realities, not between truth and lies. Truth also requires conspiracy to be accepted en masse.

Gravity is a conspiracy theory.

No perception is fake. There’s only what’s “not real to me.” All realities are true.

What’s true, however, is separate from the truth.

“The sky is blue” is true.

“The sky is blue” is not the truth.

Blue is how our eyes perceive a scattered refraction of light passing through particles.

Therefore, belief in blue skies (and their corollary “clear skies”) is a conspiracy theory.

Every blue sky is “fake news.”

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[dispatch] sidewalk snippet 120216.1008

December 02, 2016 at 10:08AM
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[words] existential threats, or not

“an existential threat” ≠ “a threat to all existence”

2015_11 park slope high rise fire

Simple semantics often slip up speakers. The phrase “existential threat” is used too often to imply that something described as such portents the apocalypse, in the way “communist threat” was used throughout the Cold War to as a casual substitute for nuclear annihilation. But “existential” is not a synonym for “apocalyptic” any more than “communist” was. Rhetoric and doubletriplepolitispeak are funny that way, though.

Semantic checkpoint: “Existential threat” implies the threatening thing threatens because it’s existential. To be afraid of something practicing Existentialism, then, for real, connotes a fear of what Sartre termed the “doctrine of self-making” where human reality is an individual, lived experience. Not very scary at all, really, unless making choices for yourself terrifies you.

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[dispatch] 1st hand robot witness 051916.1854

May 19, 2016 at 06:54PM
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[dispatch] drug wars 042116.1838

April 21, 2016 at 06:38PM
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[dispatch] 041816.1056

5th Av @ 9th, Dunkin iced, cig-dangle, russet frizzle, 40s, to phone: "Didn't you see my tweet that Shakespeare's so overrated? No? Well…"

— westy (@westyreflector) April 18, 2016 at 10:56AM


[dispatch] call to arms 041416.1026

April 14, 2016 at 10:26AM
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[dispatch] running the place 040716.0942

April 07, 2016 at 09:42AM
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