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
-Bertrand Russell

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

August 11, 2015 - 12:39 p.m.

I Can See Differently Now

I think I'm going to divide today's blog into two parts, one less than Gaul. If you just want the Falcon Ridge thoughts skip to the horizontal line.

Yesterday I went on my expedition to lower upstate Manhattan to see the eye surgeon. I decided that everything above Central Park is upstate Manhattan. It might be everything above Harlem. Still working on the nomenclature. Last time I went I was late. This time I left myself an hour and twenty minutes. But after I left the house I realized I forgot my phone and had to go back and get it. So I probably only gave myself an hour and ten minutes. Then the train stopped three times for no reason. So what happened? My appointment was for 2:00 and I walked in at 1:58. This time I didn't get lost. Last time I had the street wrong which meant getting off at the wrong stop. And then I couldn't find the eye clinic once I was in St. Luke's. This time I knew what I was doing and found out what I had so much trouble last time. There is no sign, "eye clinic." You have to know that it's in Area J. But the sign saying "Area J" is edge on from the elevators so you can't see it. Isn't that a great way to put signs in for a place people with vision problems go?

When I walked in I heard my named called; it was Allison. After my experience having so much trouble navigating with my eyes dilated after the last appointment; I couldn't find my way out of the building and to the subway, she offered to go with me. It also helped having someone with me to deal with the anxiety. It isn't over the medical procedures, they are cool; it's over the insurance. I've been having issues with the insurance company.

I went to check in and found I had a $50 co-pay. That's a lot and had to use my card. Can you believe they don't have a swiper at the desk? The receptionist had to take my card to the back where the manager did it. I asked why? He said that they weren't trained to use it. Every cashier in the country knows how to use one and they can't train the people that work in a hospital? This place is run very poorly.

I didn't wait the three hours I waited last time and I had Allison to talk to. This was far more pleasant. Actually it was more pleasant than most afternoons. I got to hang out with a friend.

I didn't even know the surgeon's name, now I do, it's Moore. She was great and gave me a thorough examination. I have been going to an ophthalmologist since I was a young teen but I never had the exam she gave me. You know the light they shine in your eye? Hers was twice as bright. It was like a searchlight. It felt like Shelob when she saw the light from the phial of Galadriel. It hurt. But know what? I got used to it pretty fast. I didn't object when the resident she was training took his turn just so he could learn. That was fortunate as when she explained things to him I got to hear them. So my cataracts are bad, especially the right one. I knew that but it's nice to have it objectively confirmed. I have dense nuclei at the back of the right lens and that makes it particularly bad. The good news is that my retina looks fine. The bad news is she just got back from maternity leave and has a backlog. She can't do the surgery till mid-October. She said she'd give me a referral for another doctor but the receptionist didn't have it for me. When I asked she said I'd have to call the doctor. Can you believe it? She just totally brushed me off. The medical staff there is great, the support staff is awful. I should have been told from the beginning that the doctor couldn't work on me for so long. She apologized for it. But mostly I'm relieved they took my insurance and that might eyesight should be restored.

Allison escorted me to the subway and even changed trains with me. Have I mentioned that I have great friends? That Allison is a great friend? When I'm in need people come through. She was worried about me getting home but the next transfer was on the same platform so I didn't really have to navigate till I got home. By then my eyes were improved and I of course know my way around better. In a few months I will find out what you all look like. Make sure to look your best.

Now on to my final Falcon Ridge thoughts. There's one thing that I started to think about before Falcon Ridge but it became even clearer there. People can experience the same thing in many different ways, so much so that it's not the same experience. There are some things that most of us are aware of, but perhaps not all of you. To many people Falcon Ridge is a dance festival. They never go to the other stages. I used to dance at least one Contra but I no longer do. I should go back to that. It is a lot of fun. Some people never make it to any of the stages but just say in their camp. It isn't a music festival, it's a social gathering though there's usually music at the campsites. Most of the people I talk to agree with me that Falcon Ridge needs more of a turnover of artists. But there are many that keep coming because they want to see all the old familiar faces. They don't go, "that song again? They do that every year!' They go, "ahhh, that song again. I love that they do it every year."

People hear the music totally differently. I'm not going to mention names and these artists were not necessarily at Falcon Ridge. Like I said I was thinking about this before the festival. There was an artist that was recommended to me and I went to hear her. My overriding thought was, "her lyrics are terrible." It wasn't my usual complaints about being mediocre. They are the kind of things students hand in for assignments in high school. Let's see if I can remember the fake version I wrote yesterday.

I'll see you a tune
Under the moon
In the month of June
Right in my room.
Yet people seemed to like her. I asked people who have some taste, "Her songwriting is terrible, why do people like her?" The response from two people was "She has a nice voice." To me that's not a reason to like a musician. If it were a great voice I could see it. But just a nice voice? That's like telling someone that their blind date has a good personality. That's necessary but not sufficient. Clearly they are experiencing things differently than me. And this isn't like the Nields where I totally see what people like, it just doesn't resonate with me. But they have substance. It reminds me of what a friend said about another artist, "He makes good background music but doesn't excite me at all." I want excitement. When those people listen to music they aren't doing the same thing that I am when I am listening to music. It's a different experience that we use the same words for.

After thinking about that I listened to the preview of Heather Aubrey Lloyd new album. She sang one line, not enough to appreciate lyrics or structure or any of the things I usually rave about. All I had was the voice and was enthralled. Voice can do it but it's not just vocal quality. It is the passion she projects. She conveys total belief in what she's singing. When she sings about a tree you really feel the tree. So I don't experience things the same way all the time myself

Notice when I say nice things I use names.

Oh great. There was something in the Falcon Ridge Facebook group that I said would work its way into my blog. It was this entry I was thinking of. Now I can't find it. Yay I found it in my notes. Yes I take notes.

There is a thread about people keeping their wrist bands on after the festival was over. I had one friend I knew who did that and thought of it as a personal idiosyncrasy. But from the thread I see lots of people do it. I don't get that at all. It's a piece of undistinguished plastic that gets uncomfortable. I take mine off at my first stop after leaving the festival, the Martindale Chief Diner. It was interesting reading why people kept theirs on. They wanted a tangible reminder of the festival. And that's people's minds working totally different than mine. I keep souvenirs but they have to have value in and of themselves. I don’t keep tickets to evens either though I know people have them from every sporting event they ever went to. Programs are different. I keep them. Then I can see who played and if I've marked it up, who I went to see. You can go and say, "I didn't know that ______ was in the emerging artists in 2002!" I don't need something tangible to remind me of how I felt. I write thousands of words on that and can do the same for things that happened 15 years ago. The actual note that reminds me of all this said:

I will honour Falcon Ridge in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!
Bracelets I don't need no stinkin' bracelets. And yes they actually stink. But if that gives you that same feeling I do get why you wear it. I would suggest blogging instead though, there are no unpleasant odors involved.

My experiencing things differently is not better or worse. There is no right or wrong. It's important to know that even people we have so much in common with can see things totally differently Well except for writing terrible lyrics which needs to be discouraged at all times; otherwise they will never learn and become better.

So now I'm done with Falcon Ridge. It will find its way into my writing all year. I have a keyboard shortcut to insert a link to it, Alt+f leads to Falcon Ridge. All roads lead to Falcon Ridge.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile August 11, 2015
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