New Year’s Restitutions.

My delays here are entirely self-imposed, and the spiral of the procrastination-mounting project-burden continuum – this time, with writing for too many things all at the same time – has been vexing and frustrating. A few words on the recent year ending and plans for the New have fallen by the wayside, and it seems that we’re already well into Oh Six before I’ve even had a chance to respond…and to acknowledge it. What did the old hold, and what does the new view? The answers to these could go on for ages, and lately I’ve been appreciating the praises of lists. They’re simple, to the point, and accessible. One can tick things off lists. It’s a tremendously satisfying activity, this ticking off things. I really should do it more.

So I offer these lists, to be read at your leisure, now – and mine, later, and in retrospect.

Things I’m thinking about lately:

• Getting older is really very scary, and there’s a palpable anxiety I feel developing as joints begin to ache and pains manifest out of thin air. They weren’t kidding when they said that time speeds up and the years flash by as we grow aged. Is it fear of this impermanence that drives me to stick my head in so many things? I think, quite honestly, I’m afraid to stop for a second and reflect, rather than look ahead as I do now, lest the acceleration of years overwhelm me and drive me to anxiety overload.

• Death is our absolute terminus, and I’ve never been more convinced of it. I’ve never been so sure that there’s no Justice in the world, no rhyme nor reason why people are taken. There is no ‘time’ that people are given; they are just killed. Should this make me believe in God more or less than I already don’t? Between Ev’s mom, Bob’s mom, my own mom, Sarah, and, as of this week, one of my grandmothers, I’ve seen enough for this short while. And yet it’s still far less than many see, especially in this paradise of a country. Even with all this death, we’re still the lucky ones. I’m still a lucky one.

• Though I have everything I could ever hope for, I often wonder if I’m living the life I want to be living. I’ve precariously placed myself on the precipice of two life-goals, by their very nature excluding one from the other where my focus is at the time. In a sense, I’ve set myself up for longing and restless dreaming. It’s the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome, where I want both houses, and both lawns. And while I have every intention of getting them, there are other areas of my life that I’ve been sacrificing, perhaps due to my own fears of breaking stride and focus. Why don’t I go out? Why don’t I date? Why am I scared of certain people, of certain places, of certain scenes? Why don’t I spend time in nature, vacationing, traveling? Is there more that I should be doing, or would it kill me to be even busier? Am I happy doing what I’m doing, or do I want more, or different? Sometimes I think that I’m insatiable, when all I want is to be content.

• I dwell in activity and history because the real-life future of this nation, this politic, this society is mortifyingly frightening. I can’t even fathom what we’re going to see in the next ten years, but I am quite sure it won’t be pretty nor desirable. I’m not wrong for putting my head down and following my own life-path, for to sit with visions of the future based on what’s slowly mounting on the fringes of national and global consciousness would be too much to take. I’m sad for America. I’m sad for these petty, deluded faux-religious worshippers on all sides, these nationalistic banner-wavers with small cocks and no vision of what they’re doing to us, their citizens, their children. It’s too much to take, and we can’t do a damned thing about it.

• Other than being an addict of beauty and refined sensory experience, perhaps a strong reason that I love material things so much – why I’m obsessed with having and collecting – is that it allows me to be near things that will not be taken away from me by someone else. Things that will not be threatened, except by disaster or theft. Sometimes I think I am not strong enough to exist without my things. It sounds terrible, and I chide myself for it all the time. In the Scheme of things, I know what is important and what is not. In this life, however, my stuff reflects who I am, and it’s what I like to be around, and that is incredibly important. And I like to share them, these things.

• I have a terribly afflicting life-case of separation anxiety, regarding all things, people, and dreams in my existence.

People I’m thinking about lately:

Sarah – who never got a chance to realize her life’s plans, the fact of which makes me want to live two complete lives for her. Of all the deaths I experienced in the past four months, hers hit the hardest, because of her youth, because of her vibrance, because of her lack of causal precedence. These things make it the most tragic.

Kieran – I’ve never wanted to be someone else, to live a life through their eyes before. This bloke makes me feel so rich when I’m around him, like I’m living a new life from a decade before. I don’t know what series of synergies brought our paths together, but we’re so similar, and we have so many of the same passions – an entire language that seemingly no one else could understand, and much of it is wordless. The mutual respect that resides between us is golden, and I actually believe in the reasons that he loves me. Yes, if I could go back…

Mindy – who is not being supported and appreciated as she ought to. I’m totally helpless, and all I can do is listen and hope for better things in the future.

Ryan & Rebecca – my closest new friends, to whom I’ve seemingly felt close for years. Their generosity, kindness, acceptance, sense of adventure, talent, and fine taste have been the locus of my past year here, even more important to me now that Evan’s been off on his own U.K. adventure. I don’t know what I’d have done without them.

Mom – my dear departed, the one who gave me life me but pushed me too far away to ever reconcile. I wanted to respect her, but she was never truthful with me – or with herself. Or are all these just distorted memories of a traumatic childhood, like we all have, from many years ago? Am I being truthful to our real history, or am I repeating the patterns that she’s laid down for me? Just how much of her do I have in me? Too much to enumerate, certainly. But we pick and choose, pick and choose. And struggle.

Jeffy – whose ever-changing needs and nature are consistently a mystery to me. He is unfathomable and unfigurable, and the only thing of which I’m sure is that I no longer get to see him as I’d like to, as much as I’d like to. Our energies when juxtaposed gave me great ambition, drive, and release, and I so desperately long for that on a regular basis once again. How does one stay unwaveringly happy for another at the expense of themselves?

The Ex – so much love poured into the sieve of sieves. After so many years, I have no one to blame but myself and my fearsome optimism of potential alone. If I could have seen then – at any time during that decade – that there was no understanding, no loyalty, no *devotion*…and I’m shocked that still, today, my natural inclination is to look for acceptance that will never come. I thought she was my mirror, my soul-mate…but she is my antithesis, and perhaps always will be. I’ve never been the same person since, and I miss aspects of him that this relationship scattered.

Katherine – what happens when an amazingly talented, astoundingly loving, star-bright person doesn’t own what she so richly deserves? There’s so much goodness in her, so much kindness. Art seeps out of her every pore and she’s got the love of a thousand people to buoy her in her darker times. But I understand that these things are not always enough, especially when the all-encompassing passion of a single Love – and love on the inside – is not always present. I’m the same way.

Vercingetorix – not the mighty Averni war chieftain, but the cat. Such a person, this strangely needy gentleman, who sits on my shoulder as I watch movies, who places his head against my head in wordless communion as a way of saying, “it’s time to calm down now, and I love you indescribably,” or, perhaps, “it’s time to feed me, you bipedal bastard.” He who snuggles up like a furry kidney bean against my chest at night, and who lets me clutch him tightly through sleep like a stuffed animal…but who complains fervently and guerrilla pounces when there’s someone lying next to me. He who even now rests his bewhiskered chin on my typing hands, making writing hard – but life easier.

Books on my bedside, currently being read or waiting to do so:

Unfamiliar, A Twice-Monthly Magazine of Different Fiction (fictitious, part of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #17), various authors.
McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #18
The War that Made America (French and Indian), Fred Anderson (a protégé of my undergrad mentor at Cal)
An Intelligent Person’s Guide to History, John Vincent
Jarhead, Anthony Swafford
How We Are Hungry, Dave Eggers
A Traveller’s Companion to Edinburgh, David Daiches, ed.
The Fanatic, James Robertson
No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod
The Sunday Philosophy Club, Alexander McCall Smith
D-Day, Stephen Ambrose
Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction, various authors
Russian Tanks of World War II, Tim Bean and Will Fowler
Adbusters’ ‘The Big Ideas of 2006 Year-End Special’
Three back issues of History Scotland magazine
Thirteen back issues of The Believer
Everybody’s got porn. Even you.

Music in heavy rotation on iTunes, in the Acura, and at the game store:

R/R Coseboom – Moths & Butterflies
Bang Gang – Something Wrong
Elysian Fields – The Dreams that Breathe Your Name
Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel
New Model Army – Eight
Calexico/Iron & Wine – At the Reins
Queen Adreena – The Butcher and the Butterfly
Halou – Wholeness & Separation
Sons & Daughters – The Repulsion Box
Piano Magic – Disaffected
In Gowan Ring – Full Flower Moon
Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway
Styrofoam – Nothing’s Lost
Whipping Boy – Heartworm
Robin Guthrie – Imperial

Newfound loves:

Fine hats
Having two housemates again
The color of raspberry fire when viewed, flickering, through Girard’s Late Harvest Zinfandel
My cat’s formulation of simple English words, seemingly
The serendip-circled closeness of SF’s artistic circles
15mm tanks with magnetized turrets
The F. Winston Leyland Collection of Jacobitiana
Breaths in between the breaths
Mimolette and Ubriaco Prosecco
Andre’s unwitting beauty of character
Dynamophone anticipation
Thoughtful packages from all around the world
Life like art, but it’s never enough, this saturation
Holding on tightly, letting go lightly
Amélioration de Le Chateau
The ADS Hats–Borderlands–826 Valencia–Muddy Waters paradigm
Understanding why I made mistakes
People who read this, just as I read theirs – validation
People who care, just as I care – reciprocity
Londer, Belle Glos, Adrian Fog Pinots
Keen punctuation and grammar, and the people who love them
Porn. Everybody’s got some. Even you.

Projects on which I’m currently working (non-physical, non-spiritual):

Dynamophone! Dynamophone! Dynamophone!
Ixmae music reviews and delectable streaming radio.
An extension of our playing and display space at the shop, and an entirely new (read: working) register system.
Learning the rules, massive terrain making, and hosting of some sanctioned historical games for a Memorial Day convention.
Bio revising and press release writing for the new Halou website, soon to be launched. (done!)
Figuring out a satisfactory way to publish my postgraduate dissertation and also some other pieces I’ve been chewing on for some time.
Putting together ideas about the finishing decor on my bedroom and back office.
Hordes of teeny Red Army tanks and the organization of a Flames of War league at work for up to fifty people.
An abstract and proposal for a historical lecture set to be presented in May.
Finding a way of getting Corx from the U.K. for the store. Oh, it’s going to happen.
Gearing up for the Northern Elephant Seal pupping season. Smelly fun!
Planning a host of adventures for hermiston’s impending visit in the spring.
Detailing my wine notes and working on admin and posts for grapes_traipse.

These are the kinds of things I like to read about my friends. They put a picture together of what’s really going on, who these people really are and what they’re really like on the inside. I sincerely hope there’s some enjoyment amidst this information; at least as much as I’ve had ticking off those bastard little boxes. And Happy New Year, now tardy beyond my control and belief.

23 Responses to “New Year’s Restitutions.”

  1. angledge Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    That icon is superb. Dark & bitter, like the best chocolate.
    Having two housemates again
    2 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes. Tick tock tick tock tick tock….
    Get to reading, mister, because I'm bringing home a couple of good books.
    Miss you~

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks; I knew you'd love that icon. I had a very good time making it.
    Reading? You think I have time for reading? I just like to insulate my room with books, is all.
    Can't wait to see you. Hm…I wonder if we've got the curtains up yet…

  3. angledge Says:
    February 1st, 2006 at 6:02 am

    Hm…I wonder if we've got the curtains up yet…
    I'll have to check the Torgi-mounted webcam.

  4. no_mans_land Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    the list is life.
    <small>lately I’ve been appreciating the praises of lists. They’re simple, to the point, and accessible.
    ahh yes! welcome to my world. :] i wholeheartedly encourage more of this sort of thing. lists keep me from coming apart at the seams. and i love reading others'.
    this is absolutely the best entry i've read since….[other than katherine's lovely compositions]…i can't recall. expect a similar post from me in the near future. i'm inspired!
    ps. agreed on the icon. appropriate.</small>

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Re: the list is life.
    That's some compliment, and thanks for it. We need more inspiration these days on LJ, and seeing how other people live – and how they don't – never fails to put me in the mood to do more and to be more.
    Can't wait for your next list. You know how I love yours.

  6. avalokita Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    "Sometimes I think that I’m insatiable, when all I want is to be content."
    How unfortunate that I feel that statement sums up my existance? I know how you feel…

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    It's not so unfortunate, I think, but rather a puzzle to be solved. It can be solved.

  8. avalokita Says:
    February 1st, 2006 at 8:09 am

    I don't know, I've spent so much of my life being malcontent, I'm sure it's nearly impossible to break the habit. And fortunately for my insatiability, I've gotten a lot further than I would have otherwise.

  9. dirtbaby Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    I won't coddle you. You just have too much going on. When you get to be as old as salt, as I am, you will realize that you needed to make these choices sooner. The procrastination of choices just adds to the angst.
    On the upside, as the relative passing of time speeds up, the choices get harder and fewer, but deeply more satisfying in their outcome.
    As for straddling two worlds, decide. If they truely drag you in opposite directions then you will forever be half of what you want to be/can be. Do you see yourself as half empty or half full?
    In the end, though, those of us who love you will still love you. Hell, I'd fuck you.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    HA! Gods, I love you.
    Thank you for your honesty here. I don't think I'm procrastinating my choices, rather vacillating between the two – and going all out for each – during my focus on them. I can keep this dichotomy going, but you're immensely right that it makes me feel like half of what I want to be, no matter which it is I'm doing. I don't think it will always be like this, however.
    Your question: I'm just half, neither full nor empty. Rather, the dream keeps me forging ahead, looking for better things and an exciting future. I find that looking forward to something so massive makes me excited for each new day, because it feels like I'm ever working toward something.
    I don't have a wife or kids, so I feel that I have a lot to prove to myself to make my existence worthwhile. I don't want to just wink out.

  11. thistlelurid Says:
    January 31st, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    <small>…a thousand buoys….and no buoyancy. finding the trust to enable them
    all to keep me afloat……to keep myself afloat,…yes, Im fearful of going under….
    "with my hands tied behind my back
    shin deep in cement and sand
    just like the anchor man i broke loose
    and crashed to the sea bed
    clutching the shortest straw
    and if you threw me a line that's as smart as you think
    it wouldn't stop me sinking down to cry
    on what flashed before my eyes
    what flashed before my eyes"
    no weeping with words like yours above….no!
    * my goodness dear, that avatar, did someone poop in you tea this morning? :*o<small>

  12. verdandiweaves Says:
    February 1st, 2006 at 7:51 am

    Sarah got to most of what she wanted – a great deal of it in her last three years. As time went on she spun faster – it was as if she knew somehow she didn't have much time. She died young, beautiful, surrounded by love and friendship – there are worse ways to be remembered.

  13. dirtbaby Says:
    February 1st, 2006 at 10:22 am

    Well said.

  14. podle Says:
    February 1st, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Validation, reciprocity and porn – surely these are the foundations of great friendships the world over.
    I often see the world (the things in it, the sensory experience of it and what it all means) as a more beautiful thing when viewed through your lense. So thank you for that.
    I also feel the need to add this – being as old as salt myself – you go ahead and whirl like a dervish, I think you'll make the right choices when they are presented to you. In the meantime trust your instincts – they look like pretty fine instincts from here.

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 5th, 2006 at 9:58 am

    What a sincere compliment, coming from you – this strange podle who consistently makes me feel like I'm missing something in my own vision of life. We need a sandbox, you and me, Gwen.
    Speaking of sand, as you've pointed out here, I simply can't stop whirling. The downtime is too still, and it's not like I'm missing the beauty of the patterns of color as they flash by, as the room spins. I just get discombobulated easily, is all. I'll get used to it. 🙂

  16. hermiston Says:
    February 2nd, 2006 at 5:05 am

    aches and aging aren't always necessarily linked. maybe you're being told to slow down, get more or better sleep or something. Or treat yourself to a 'body massage' administered by someone talented and lovely. I have a massage booked 😉
    Lists rules. I don't tick mine off, I put boxes to the side of the task, drawn in black ink. Once the task is completed I use red ink to fill the box. I try to stay in the lines. At the end of the day a fully completed list is *very* aesthetically pleasing.
    aww, shucks. You're thought of with mutual admiration. This you already know. The way you love will keep you young.
    Hermiston & Blogless Mo see California as a project they can revel in too. We're writing a *list* of things to do! Anything you want brought over just say the word and we'll try. Irn Bru? Corx?? We'll try our best.
    I don't know much about iTunes, though that's set to change. Lately, after too long without, I bought a new turntable. My music is all my old LPs just now. Currently Pink Floyd, but largely Leonard Cohen's earlier years. As for reading I know the scenario. I put my magazines in the WC, and kill two birds with one stone.

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 5th, 2006 at 10:14 am

    …maybe you're being told to slow down, get more or better sleep or something.
    Tell that to the cat, man. 🙂
    You're one of the few who admirably try to stay within the lines. Most people are so focused on the glory of the completed task, so drenched in their own admiration for their hard-earned goal, that a messy, knee-jerk TICK cuts across the neatly-lined box and renders the whole thing a shit piece of modern art. But you…you love the box as if it were your child. And that's why I love you.
    You can bet I'll be sending you a short list of objects to smash into your suitcase. Most of it chocolate and caffeine-oriented. Thank you very kindly for that offer.
    I put my magazines in the WC, and kill two birds with one stone.
    As do I. But I don't thing it's the stones that are killing the poor birds, then.

  18. dichroicynosure Says:
    February 3rd, 2006 at 4:36 am

    blown away! Breathe Darren, breathe!
    well, this answers many many many of my questions.

  19. dichroicynosure Says:
    February 3rd, 2006 at 4:37 am

    btw! I think this is exactly what you have been wanting to write for some time! (meaning the way you have been wanting to unfurl your authenticity!) Congrats! It was a real honour to read this.

  20. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 5th, 2006 at 10:16 am

    And yes. You're right, of course. It's still difficult, but I want to be like the cool kids.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 5th, 2006 at 10:15 am

    I figured it would. Sometimes it seeps out; I imagine I owe it to myself at least once a year.
    And, if I dare say, that I owe it to my nears and dears.

  22. Anonymous Says:
    June 10th, 2007 at 11:32 am


  23. Anonymous Says:
    June 20th, 2007 at 12:26 pm


Leave a Reply