Monday, December 31, 2001"Good Stuff Cheap"
I'm going to yank my big dick out now and bang it on the desk like a gavel.
[There was a graphic here, but I think it was abducted by aliens. Let's leave this annoying blank space here for now & see if it comes back. Note: aliens most likely ate the Robohouse link below it, too.]
Just wanted you all to know that if I did indeed have a dick, it would be fah-king HUGE. Thanks to Robohouse for confirming what I always believed.
Oh, and in other news, just wanted to let you all in on a surprising secret...other than my enormous metaphorical package, I mean.
Picked up a set of Kinyo "4.1 Game Zone" multimedia surround sound speakers for my DVD player, because my otherwise lovely television has only a single audio input, therefore whenever I watch a movie I have to decide: "Hmm, do I want the diologue to overpower the music or the music to overpower the dialogue?". Anyway, I lusted after these speakers for months simply because they were cheap and a guy in a baseball hat told me; "Yuh, I bought these for my girlfriend thinkin' they wouldn't be all that great but they're wicked pissah." Surprisingly, this was the only endorsement I needed. I never imagined a mook could have so much sway over my purchasing descisions. Worrying. Very worrying.
But I digress. The point is it comes with a 14" subwoofer and four little satellites, and even though I really have no room for this kind of nonsense, and no real faith that it would actually be "wicked pissah", I bought it anyway and tore the box open with my teeth I was so eager to get it hooked up. Much to my surprise these things totally kicked my ass. Maybe it was the fact that I've only been having 1/2 the DVD experience for so long, or that the first DVD I test-drove was "Smashing Pumpkins 1991-2000", but it was easily the best $35.00 I ever spent. Yes, I said $35.00. Which is why I'm telling you about it. Buying decent speakers is not an event; finding decent speakers for thirty five bucks is. In a real store, too. Not off the back of a truck.
So keep your eyes peeled if you're trying to rock out on a budget. That is all.
posted by taiwan_on 'round 2:31 AM#
Saturday, December 29, 2001"Big Time Sensuality"
I'm Alive With Pleasure, Baby.
I was thinking about my life the other night, or, more specifically, pleasure. I've been reading a lot of blogs lately that, for one reason or another, most likely Winter and its opressive influence, have been rife with depression. There's nothing wrong with that. After all, I don't really want to know someone who's never been depressed. Call it a misconception if you will, but I tend to believe that someone who has never been depressed is also someone who has never been all that interesting. Depression, when its hard-won, justified and learned-from, can lend incredible depth and meaning to the human experience.
Of course, when you're depressed all the damn time, then you're just a whiny bitch and should really look into one of the myriad forms of artificial joy available from your local pharmacist and/or adult novelty shop.
But I digress. I'm not interested in beating the big depression drum for the moment, because, as I said, I was thinking about pleasure. I got started on this jag on Christmas Eve because that's "Official Christmas" at Casa De Taiwan_On. This started when I was just a little tyke and still harbored belief in that jolly red-suited dude. On Christmas Eve, I'd be allowed to open one present from ma & pa "On", always cool pajamas and/or a cuddly teddy bear, as an incentive to go to bed in time for Old Saint Nick to make the rounds unimpeded. Sort of a natural sedative to aid in the impossible task of actually getting a kid to sleep on Christmas Eve. Ever since the debunking of the whole "Santa Conspiracy", we have opened all our gifts on Christmas Eve. I love this tradition because, not only do I still get to enjoy my inevitable and always appreciated Christmas pajamas, but it's sort of like having Christmas twice. You open all your gifts, go to bed, and then wake up and rediscover them. It's pretty damn cool.
Anyway, I laid in bed this Christmas Eve enjoying my Christmas goodies; I was snuggled in my fresh new sheets and comforter, which were delicately misted with "Sleeptherapy" linen spray as I was, as well, scented with matching shower gel & body lotion, wearing new P.J.s, snacking on a Milky Way Creme Santa, Christmas candles flickering, watching my new "Moulin Rouge" DVD and sipping a Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde Ale, and it occured to me that I was really happy. Not just because it was Christmas and I was simultaneously enjoying several examples of its bounty at once, but simply because I was happy.
After all, I pretty much end every day I can the same way; dressed in soft, cuddly P.J.s, tucked into a cozy, sweetly scented bed, freshly-showered & moisturized with some yummy fragrance or other, enjoying atmospheric enhancements (candles, fragrant oil lamps, or my glow-in-the-dark ceilling constellation), watching a good flick, and enjoying one of my many favorite vices; be they snacks, ale, fancy cigarettes or, if I'm feeling really decadent, a tiny poke or two of killer bud. Oh, and of course an orgasm is somewhere on the menu of all this ritual, if I'm not too lazy after so much indulgence. Then I ditch the pajamas, shimmy into bed "au naturale", and drop peacefully off to sleep to dream utterly fascinating dreams.
Now, with a nightly regimine like this, pleasure is pretty much inescapable. If there's not enough pleasure in your life, try this routine, or a variation of it, and I assure you you'll never be lacking in bliss again. But more importantly than going through the motions is the act of really being "present" for it. This is where some people fall short. Going to all the trouble of actually constructing your own private "pleasureville" is not only unnecessary, but downright pointless if you can't get into the kind of head-space conducive to the enjoyment of it. There's pleasure to be found everywhere, and if you don't see that, then you're sleepwalking through life.
For example; I may be at work, a million little tasks piled up before me and not nearly enough hours in a shift to get them done. Do I feel overwhelmed? Sure. But at some point during this madness, I'll take time out to skip to the cafe, and steal a minute to peel the cover off that paper cup and inhale all that sweet, oily-rich, Colombian steam before that first gratifying sip of hot, creamy, sugary coffee. This may be the last sip I get a chance to take before I get so busy that the comforting warmth in that cup grows cold and forms a nasty little skin on top, but I guarantee I enjoyed it more than the guy in front of me that's bitching about waiting in line, his coffee not being prepared to his anal-compulsive specifications, or just the price of it. Everybody has waited in line too long for over-priced coffee that didn't have exactly 2.5 teaspoons of sugar and no more or less than 1/2 oz. of light cream, but when that becomes your only focus, you're missing the whole coffee-drinking experience.
With that attitude, my day would look like this; waking up tired, dreading work, and wishing I could spend another 18 hours or so in bed. Hurry up and feed that caffeine/nicotine addiction. Rushing to get ready for work whilst navigating all the hassles of making myself presentable (wrestling with hair, make-up, ect.). Rushing to the bus stop in the freezing cold, and damn is it a long walk! Having to take public transport in the first place is such a drag. Grabbing a coffee that doesn't have enough cream in it on my way to a job that I don't exactly love. In fact, there are a million irritations that they don't pay be nearly enough to put up with. No time for a cigarette on my shift. Clocking out dog-ass tired knowing my paycheck will be sad anyway. Grabbing a quick dinner because I'm only eating to live. Trying to find time to finish a bunch of side projects that feel like they will never be done and feeling like a failure if I don't finish one. Dealing with all the societally-imposed bullshit of being a girl; following the shower with a seasonally-appropriate moisturizer, shaving and assorted other grooming annoyances, skin & hair treatments, also seasonally appropriate. (damn this is a bitch!) Still feeling dog-ass tired and trying to find some time to do something enjoyable before I have to get up and do the whole miserable thing again. If I'm lucky, doing something enjoyable but then missing it because I'm all caught up in worry, or how annoyed I am, or how my life is just not where it should be right now. Going to bed and stressing obsessively about shit like world affairs, success, money, meeting Mr. Right or how Mr. Right is not working out, my job and how to get a better one, or any one of a million daily nuisances before drifting into an uneasy sleep. Life sucks.
Instead, in any given one of my days, I am positively bombarded with delights. Waking up with some compelling remnant of my last dream to mull over, maybe bringing with it a fresh idea to keep me entertained all day. Scouting out something energizing to have for breakfast. Enjoying that first cup of coffee and first cigarette of the day. The little dab of perfume before I leave for work. The brisk, quiet walk to the bus stop. The fabulous book I'm reading on the bus. The second cup of coffee of the day from the cafe next to work and how it smells & tastes heavenly. The brisk pace of my day. Another workday completed and the euphoria of punching out. The smell of dinner, the joy of dining and the satisfaction that comes with a great meal. That delightful after-dinner cup of coffee and cigarette. Choosing which one of many side projects I will devote some time to. A long, hot shower followed by a decadent, soothing moisturizer that delights the senses. A peaceful, restorative "spa treatment" like a facial masque, or a deep conditioner, or a pedicure, or simply hacking all my nails down and buffing them to a blinding shine. Catching a little reading time or "dreaming time", where I simply space out listening to music and considering things. Giving all thoughts their proper perspective; taking the good with the bad and problem solving where I can instead of worrying about things I have no control over. And, of course, ending it all with movies & diversions in bed before drifting into a restful sleep. It's a wonderful life, alright.
You see? Totally the same day, just with a different mindset. I'm not saying that I don't have my extra-large, no-good, very fucked-up days, either. There are some days where I wake up pissed or depressed and just stay that way. But sooner or later I check myself and "get right" somehow. It's a choice. You can choose to have life suck or not. It's up to you. Of course, this does not apply to any significant tragedy in your life, that's a whole other animal. I'm talking about those people, we all know them, as Chimpuat has so beautifully illustrated in his December 27th post, who simply refuse to get any joy out of life no matter how easy it would be for them to do so. I also tend to believe in what Anais Nin so aptly termed "the magnetic property of thought", which means that certain thoughts attract like thoughts and situations. Ever think about someone you haven't seen in years only to run into them or have them call minutes later? Happiness & enjoyment are the same way. When you appreicate the good things, more good things are likely to happen to you. Crazy as it sounds, I've seen this one in action too many times to discount it.
I have an absurd, unfulfilling job, I don't make enough money to affect any significant change in my life, I am currently single and have been for almost a year after an utterly ridiculous and senseless breakup with a guy who, while far from perfect, could be pretty cool sometimes, I have met no one who truly interests me in all this time, I keep odd hours that make it difficult at best to have a real social life, there are several things I would really like at the moment that I cannot afford, and the age of 30 is fast approaching. Add this to all the other pitfalls that have come along with being Taiwan_On and sure, I could be bummed all the time, but I'm not.
I am too busy melting a Lindor truffle in my mouth until the smooth, chocolatey coating is merely a fragile membrane that I can break against the roof of my mouth with my tongue and that creamy, rich, buttery center dissolves giving every one of my tastebuds a little gastronomic orgasm. I'm too busy sipping a warm cup of "Hershey's Hugs White Hot Cocoa" and enjoying soft that little layer of foam that feels like ermine against my upper lip. I am too busy skipping back and forth to that scene in "Velvet Goldmine" where Ewan McGregor quotes Oscar Wilde and says "The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips re-write history." (and then he and Jonathan Rhys Meyers share the hottest, sexiest, most erotic kiss ever in the history of film, which never fails to make me squeal and giggle no matter how many times I've seen it.) I'm too busy cranking up "Smashing Pumpkins" to an ear-splitting level and then lustily singing along to "Rhinoceros" in the shower. I'm too busy running around "Body Shop" like a maniac, unscrewing all the caps on the testers and following every sniff with an "Mmmmmm!" I'm too busy trying to decide which books or DVDs I simply cannot live without this week before I spend myself into a happy, but wildly impractical poverty. I'm too busy constructing wild, improbable, gorgeous and baroque sexual fantasies and coming at the exact right moment. I'm too busy laughing my ass off with my coworkers until my ribs feel like they're breaking to get pissed off about all those little daily aggravations. I'm too busy being drowsy and content after my last meal. I'm too busy enjoying being naked to notice that I'm less than perfect. I'm too busy breathing in deep draughts of fertile soil and new leaves in the spring, fresh-cut grass & dewy mornings in the summer, russet leaves and woodsmoke in the fall and the smell of the air just before it starts to snow in the winter. I'm too busy loving thunderstorms and listening to the rain and appreciating the pure, cottony silence of everything after a snowstorm. I'm too busy gazing at firey red and purple sunsets, black & blue predawn mornings just before the stars wink out, meteorites streaking across the sky, people's faces when they have no idea they're being watched, bare trees when they're perfectly encased in ice, the shoreline when a storm is making the ocean go insane, or a Red-Tailed Hawk circling over and over making the miracle of flight look effortless and perfect.
In short, I am too damn busy loving life to be disappointed in it. I'm too busy being happy to be unhappy. I'm too busy having fun to be depressed. So, instead of pissing and moaning, eat your favorite snack with impunity, free from guilt, even if it's pure garbage. (For example, I cannot get enough of "Mild Beef & Cheese Slim Jims", even though I know that they are nitrate-leaden, artery clogging, preservative sticks.) Take a big whiff of your food before you eat it. Take a bite and really taste it; savor the delicate, oceanic taste of lobster drenched in butter, roll the velvety sweetness of chocolate around on your tongue, chew a juicy bite of cheeseburger slowly, use that tortilla chip like a steam shovel to scoop up a too-big pile of fresh, chunky salsa. Make your hot cocoa with milk instead of water. Whatever. Instead of a half-hearted wank that puts masturbation on par with blowing your nose, why not make an event out of it? Touch your whole body rather than going straight for "the junk", teeter on the brink of orgasm for as long as you can stand it and then yell loud enough to scare the shit out of your neighbors! Or, if you're one of those lucky sumbitches that has one on hand, enjoy your lover's body to the point where they're foaming at the mouth begging you for sweet release. Watch a movie that's so goddamn good that you forget Jerry Bruckheimer ever made "Pearl Harbor". Put on your favorite CD and sing really loud, even if your voice sucks as bad as mine does. Dance around and shit. Take a long walk and if you can't enjoy the scenery, enjoy just the rythm of walking. Develop a ravening crush on a rock star or actor/actress or news anchor, whatever, and entertain yourself with absurd fantasies. Make an effort to remember what you dreamed last night. Swim in every available body of water that you can. Buy an embarrassingly expensive bar of soap and then just dig how good you smell. Lay around and consider how time is just an abstract concept created by man and doesn't really exist, or ponder your own favorite existential nugget. Whatever you do, just be there for it. Be awake. If you're eating, taste; if you're listening, hear; if you're touching, feel, if you're smelling, smell, and if you're looking, really see. Pay attention to this shit, because it makes this debacle we call life worth living. This will not solve the world's problems, nor even necessarily your own, but damnit, it sure is fun.
Well, this post, though probably only entertaining to me, has been a fun one to write. Although I enjoy spewing venom and poking cruel fun just as much as the next guy, there's something to be said for the whole optimism thing. If you're not already enjoying life, I can only hope that this post has maybe inspired you to do so. It's easier than you think. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and do just that. They were late putting up the schedule at work and I just called in and found out that not only do I have today off, but I've also scored a much-needed and richly deserved Saturday off too. I only called about 5 minutes ago, so there's a very clear illustration (IMHO) of that "magnetic property of thought" theory I was talking about. And on that note; take care, have fun, ENJOY!
posted by taiwan_on 'round 6:45 PM#
Friday, December 28, 2001"Oh My God, They Killed The Joy!"
Okay, okay, okay, okay. First off, I want to wish everyone a very belated, but no less Merry Christmas. I didn't post this sooner because from about Christmas Eve on, I didn't even have the time, nor the inclination to get online. But I do hope everyone got what they wanted this Christmas. Feel free to drop me a line about all the cool shit you got, because I'm big on vicarious excitement.
What I really want to do is address the passing of "The Faceless Word / Killing The Joy" as we, or more specifically, I, have known it. I feel a bit irresponsible for providing that link in my last post because a couple of days later I checked back and noticed that there was a picture and some text that wasn't exactly appropriate "O.T.J." (on the job) viewing. Hope nobody got busted for peeking. Since then, the aforementioned articles have been removed, and it's more or less "back in black" so I don't know what's next. From now on, though, as in the past, visit at your own risk.
I suppose the predictable thing would be for me to get all pissy and say mean, bitchy things like the more attention-starved netizens out there, but as I have already established, I'm not prone to predictable behavior. Besides, I still have no idea why things happened the way they happened, and while some might consider that alone a reason to be pissed, I'm not. While an explanation is probably not forthcoming, one would be nice. However, it's not entirely necessary. I enjoyed writing there, and am still grateful for that time. The truth is I like Killjoy, and have no interest in or reason to throw slings and arrows his way. He's a good guy, perhaps even more of a good guy than even he knows, and I wish him well.
Besides, it was nice to get some e-mails from a small, but loyal, coterie of readers that I was surprised to know existed, wondering wtf happened. In answer I'd like to say thanks much for reading and for the feedback, and just chalk the dissappearance up to another one of those mysteries of life.
So, there you have it; not exactly "closure" in that satisfying way I like it, but enough of an ending to be an ending for me.
And in other news, The Asylum, which is home to this blog, now has a mailing list! I'm not exactly sure why I felt it was necessary to set up a mailing list, but I thought it might be a fun way to communicate with visitors both known an unknown. Also, it's a good way for me to let those that actually give a rat's ass know about site updates, seeing as my update schedule can be described as sporadic at best. In any case, click here if you're interested in learning more about it and/or signing up.
I'd also like to get up on my high horse and bitch about this nasty little trend I've noticed among blogs where the writer uses what my high school English teacher used to term "10 Cent Words" and then links them to an online dictionary. Now, to me, there is nothing more refreshing than a solid intellect expanding the collective vocabulary by using a word, in context even (!), that is, for whatever reason, not necessarily part of the drooling masses' vernacular. However, linking it to Merriam Webster is not only pretentious, it just cheapens the whole experience. C'mon, y'all, let's just assume we all know your big-word-for-the-day and move on to your stimulating take on the world, eh? Chances are any brachiating, illiterate simps that find your verbiage confounding didn't make it past the first paragraph and are already searching for free porn.
So, take care folks, it's time for me to update this damn site (it's time to crown a new "Cupcake" after all!) and figure out a way to add an archive and site links to the blog page without it turning into a HUGE pain in the ass. *eye-rolling* Wish my lazy ass luck.
posted by taiwan_on 'round 11:30 PM#
Tuesday, December 18, 2001"Reality Doles Out Another Swift Kick In The Nuts"
I've just been dumped. Not in the "relationship" sense, but in the creative/artistic sense. I can't say it hurts more or less, just...differently
See, I've been keeping a secret from all of you, all three of my loyal readers. Actually, I've kept a secret from only two of you, because one was in on it. I could only bear one person knowing this secret because I was my "real self" in that secret life.
Allow me to explain. If you want to know why I'm bummed to the core, go here: killingthejoy.com
See that black screen? That cipher? That void? That big nothing? There used to be a world there. Much like the physical world, it wasn't pretty, but it was honest. A bunch of people got together and decided to tell the truth for awhile, and it was good. I read some shit that I never thought anyone would be truthful enough to write; revalations, horrors, your worst paranoid fears realized. And yes, I got to "get ugly" too, and it was a relief, I'm telling you.
I know it was my intention to tell the truth here, on this site, originally, but I found myself censoring my thoughts a lot because I knew my friends would be reading. I also knew that I got the odd e-mail from a few total strangers every now and then, and, well, they just seemed like such nice people that I didn't want to make any of them sick with my venom, even though it wasn't directed at them at all. I simply didn't want them to know that such a mean, angry, petty bitch existed as me. Well, I do. And even though there is no proof of my wickedness there any longer, that doesn't mean that I don't exist, evil-alter-ego and all.
And it's not just the "venting" I miss. Shit, I can, and will, do that anywhere, even, as originally intended, here. But I miss the sense of community. See, I meant what I said in my very first post here, about writing in notebooks and then hiding them like a dirty secret. It wasn't only that I exposed myself in my private writings that kept me from sharing, but it was a very real, and very crippling fear of criticism too. Or, maybe not so much criticism as just a creeping dread that it was all meaningless; that it would be the same whether I wrote or didn't write; that it had no validity. So, for the first time I was a part of a writing collective, where I recieved feedback, help and the encouragement that even I didn't want to admit I was craving, and now that's gone.
"I am Jack's broken heart." (That's a "Fight Club" reference for all you movie nuts/Palaniuk fans...damn, did I even spell his name right? *sigh* who cares, at least he has a writing career.)
And, of course, my last 2 or 3 posts there were utter shit, so now I have to be left with that paranoid "personally responsible" feeling that I so love when it creeps up on me.
Anyway, so, here I am, all by my lonesome again, as it was in the beginning, and wondering what to do next. I don't even have the archives of "Killing the Joy" to point anyone to if I want to try and worm my way into another like-minded site. Yeah, like there is such a thing as a site like that. Besides, why set myself up for rejection and abandonment again?
Oh, woe is fucking me, right?
I know, I'm even making myself sick. But I really do feel a surprisingly full-bodied sense of loss about all this, and I'm a bit un-nerved that it is such a big deal. But what can you do, right? You feel wronged, you get up, you move on. So, Killjoy, Mr. Pink, Grifter, Blind Man, El Santo; I'll miss all you "filthy cunts", and I hope you'll all continue to be such eloquent, free-thinking, free-speaking, and truly magnificent bastards. To quote another fine, twisted film, "Lost Highway"; "We could really out-ugly them sumbitches, couldn't we?"
Who knows, if I don't feel too weird about it, and depending on which way the wind blows, I might post my own contributions (seeing as they're the only scraps left I have on hand) somewhere here, so you can see for yourself just how fucking wretched I can be.
In the meantime, light a little candle in honor of "Killing the Joy" tonight. For if you know it, then you know what we've lost, and if you've never been there, believe me, the web is a little dimmer without it. And as Leonard Cohen sings:
"There is a crack, a crack, in everything...
That's how the light gets in."
I'm all out of mopey, tres gothique quotes for now, I have to go and sulk. If you're feeling charitable, drop me an encouraging line, or tell me to go fuck myself, either way it might help.
Oh, yeah, and as if this doesn't suck enough, Blogger won't let me publish. Kick a gal while she's down, why don't you?! Fuckers! Maybe I'll just edit it by hand. Or maybe I just won't be motivated enough and I'll just wait until someone gives Blogger the ass-reaming it needs to get going again. Who cares.
posted by taiwan_on 'round 2:31 AM#