I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 15, 2012 - 12:05 p.m.
I somehow managed to not update yesterday. I know why, I got caught up in things but still I should have found the time. Of course I don't know what I would have written about, I didn't do anything worth writing about on Sunday. Yesterday I did so I can write about that.
The day started with my second therapy session. I'm not sure how that's going. I'm not making any rush decisions but I'm having doubts about her being the right therapist for me. It doesn't feel that different than when I talked to my friends, the ones that say, "I'm not a therapist and you should really see a professional." I keep forgetting whether I told her things or if I just told my friends. I've been to therapy before and have never been helped so I don't know what being helped feels like but I figure it has to somehow change the way I think or feel about things. And she doesn't get my jokes. Still I'll wait and see. Maybe all of a sudden we'll connect, or we'll slowly connect, or I'll be bitten by a radioactive spider and become a superhero.
I spent a lot of time grading yesterday. I gave a take-home test so they did well but it is clear that they didn't even take it as an open book test. A few people took the test and everyone else copied off them. I can see the same idiosyncratic mistakes repeated over and over again. Then there are the copying errors. One that is particularly obvious is writing "In" for "ln." That shows total ignorance of the subject matter.
The second half of the test was short answer in the class. They were told exactly what would be asked. They didn't learn it. They did exactly what I always complain about. They were told to memorize things and simply didn't bother. I even told them how to do it. If you want to memorize an equation just write it down 5 times. If you don't remember it in an hour later or the next day write it down another five times.
Last night I went to the Living Room to see the marvelous, Ariana Gillis. She was one of my great discoveries at NERFA this year. She totally blew me away. This was my first time seeing her since then. The second time is often the test. Was my original reaction due to my expectation? Was it just novelty value? Would the magic wear off? So was she as good as I felt at NERFA? no, ... , she was better. At NERFA her set was traditional sounding folk. What impressed me was the musicianship and singing. She knew how to deliver lyrics. She wasn't satisfied with sounding pretty or even beautiful but wanted to change the listener's world. You know like I wish my therapist will. That's high praise but last night she showed off her songwriting talents. She showed that she doesn't just have technical skills but a distinctive vision. She has a happy fun song about two dead guys. She has a tragic song about somebody being cured of cancer. The latter was reminiscent in its level of meanings to Dave Carter; there is no higher praise for a songwriter. Did I mention that she's only 21? She showed her stylistic range by finishing with rocking version of Dylan's All Along the Watchtower a la Jimi Hendrix. I was head banging. She did sing alongs. We clapped along. She gave a show that appealed to mind and spirit.
The only one I knew in the audience was Howard. I wasn't surprised to see him as he's a huge fan of Canadian music and Ariana is from Niagara Falls. Niagara Fall! Slowly I turned, inch by inch ... . Sorry that's a reflex. Ariana will be back at the Living Room next month. I'll remind you before then. You need to see her.
Yes I have someone new to champion. I always have fun planning out my campaigns
I've been reading again. I should always be reading. I finished Hornblower on the Atropos on Monday, returned it to the Library, and took out Irish Fairy and Folk Tails by William Butler Yeats. Before I read that I have to finish Paul Krugman's End This Depression Now! That won't take long, I'm more than halfway through it. I read the right non-fiction faster than I read anything.
I'll save writing about that for a day when I don't have anything else to write about. Now I have places to go and things to do. I have to visit a friend in the hospital today and do lots more schoolwork.
A little more about the Rabbit Hole before I go. So what am I? Scared? Brave? Stupid? I'm all of them to some degree. I'm feeling afraid much of the time but I'm pretty sure you'd never know it to look and talk to me. My affect is relaxed when I'm not deliberately letting go. Maybe I should become a poker player. Right now I'm in my office. Inside I'm a wreck, outside I'm sitting here calmly writing about it. And the thing is when I'm writing about Ariana I'm thinking about Ariana and I am calm. Everything else is shut out. That is where the brave and stupid come in. I'm just grateful that I can still enjoy things. The therapist asked me if I ever had thoughts of suicide. I don't. I've had thoughts about why I don't have thoughts about suicide. And the reason is that I enjoy life. My life isn't good now but life is good or at least in can be. Maybe in the end like Samewise Hamfast I'm simply a cheerful hobbit, even on the marches of Mordor.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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