Thursday, January 26, 2012

Earworms and biological clocks

It's a play on words, see?
I am pondering the condition known as "too much time on my hands."

I am pondering this sitting in a room next to at least 75 books I have not read. A few feet away is a guitar that I play so rarely I have no calluses. I have an infinite number of browser tabs at my disposal to explore this new internet thing, a couple hundred satellite channels. And I haven't even opened my "Paparazzi" action figures playset that I got for Christmas. How is it, then, that there's a voice in my head - the voice of a whiny 12 year-old, it sounds like - that's saying "I have nothing to do."

This fits into the category of First World Problems - a category of conundrums we all "suffer" with - and by "all" I mean people like me, of course. Examples from this perspective-correcting site include:
  • “I’ve run out of obscure ethnic cuisines to impress my friends with.”
  • “My internet-capable fridge only connects to Twitter, and not Facebook.”
  • “The distance we are traveling is not far enough to heat up the seat heaters.”
Sadly, being part of the 99% and yet still ridiculously privileged on a relative scale does not solve the problem of "too much time on my hands." (I hope you are now enjoying the earworm I have given you and will be bouncing your head for hours to the strains of that wonderful melody from Styx's triple-platinum album "Paradise Theatre" which reached #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the Top Rock Tracks chart for one week in 1981. No need to thank me.)

I seem to have lost the ability to "kick back," as the kids say. There was a time I could waste a day, or a year, and just enjoy it. This is not to say that reading a book, making some music, or creating clever scenarios for Paparazzi action figures are not examples of time well spent. But lately I feel this annoying need to "get something done" all the time. Something of impact, something meaningful. I cringe every time the thought of "killing some time" crosses my mind. (If there is an afterlife, my dad - who would have testified I was the laziest person ever born - must be laughing ruefully.)

Self-analysis tells me this need for perpetual action is fed by the ticking of my biological clock. In women, the biological clock refers to the eventual discovery "I am too old to have a baby." In men, it refers to the sudden realization "I am now dead." In both cases, one would hope to achieve one's goals before one's alarm sounds.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Love, touchdowns and good writing

A big, strong man dissolved in tears of joy...the climax of an aria...someone you love in a cap and gown...a new high score in Angry Birds - all of these things are just like the others. I speak of the moment of catharsis.

Warning: Pedantry follows.

Catharsis derives from the Greek word kathairein, meaning to purge, purify or clean. Aristotle used it first in a clinical sense, to describe effects of certain actions on the human body, and then later applied it metaphorically to drama and poetry. Being a $64 word, chances are more people have experienced it than have accessed the word to define the experience.

Warning: Tortured metaphor follows.
Catharsis is like a cheeseburger - it comes in many varieties, and you can have it your way. It's found in your direct, personal experience - when you are the one touching something universal - and vicariously, even in seeing that moment re-enacted in fiction -  and your heart leaps up.

We seek it out on stages, on playing fields, in temples, in therapy. A moment of transcendence when you believe - not just know, but believe - "I am not alone." "Love conquers." "Life is terribly beautiful/painful/silly and we all know it." "There is justice." "There is meaning." It's oxygen for the soul.

Have some, it's good.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Blog failure, part 2

When things go wrong, there is only one thing on my mind - find someone to blame.

Being the self-centered yet sensitive sociopath that I am, I rarely find my satisfactory scapegoat to be
(a) me, or
(b) another specific person

So I am happy to report that the deficiency of blog posts on my part of late is not the fault of

(a) me, or
(b) another specific person

But my good friend blame can be placed squarely on a faceless, heartless, brainless Corporation. (A timely scapegoat indeed, given the tenor of the times. All you one-percenter-shareholders-in-faceless-heartless-brainless corporations, take heed. I'm watching you.)

The FHB Corporation in question is an alleged supplier of bandwidth, a commodity of importance to He Who Blogs - particularly he who blogs only in privacy and mostly late at night when the hour and the wine facilitates. There is a certain solitude required - a solitude the FHB Corp has refused to provide me for most of the last six months.

I moved, you see, from a small abode with reliable interweb access to a more comfortable, quieter, scenic abode with the kind of connectivity that would be devised to torture Steve Jobs in Hell. (Note: the author defers from suggesting Steve Jobs is, in fact, in Hell. This is a metaphorical construct. Do not consult an attorney.)

Granted, a portion of the connectivity issue is allegedly related to the alleged non-payment of certain alleged bills from the FHB Corp, but I allegedly digress from the issue at hand, which is to indicate, while not specifically fingering the nincompoopery and competence-free practices of said Corporation (which shall not be named but whose initials begin with "A" and end with "T&T") and to place blame, while being completely deserved, accurate and fitting, is just not my style.

It's my fault for a loveless blog marriage of late, in truth. I could have blogged from some devastatingly unhip corporate location that rhymes with Charflucks, or from some tragically hip non-corporate location where the coffee is twice the price and takes four times longer to get because the barista is clearly on 'shrooms, or I could have blogged from my phone which is physically possible but fails to stimulate the kind of quick, free-flowing wit (ahem) that you're reading right now, due to the fact that I can't write three words in a row correctly on my iPhone, thanks to Steve Jobs (who, once again, is most likely NOT in Hell) , or I could have blogged from my workplace BUT THAT WOULD BE WRONG. So the result of all this has been that I have not blogged. I have failed. I am (cue tears #1) so SO sorry...

Avid readers of this blog (oh ye of questionable judgment) may recall that this post is of the same theme as the last whiny post of November 16, 2011. For this I am, once again (cue tears #2) so SO sorry. But honestly, if I can be sincere for just a moment...ok, the moment's been a nightmare of web deprivation. Scientists studying penguins in Antarctica have better bandwidth capability than I have had the last six months.

Today, I am happy to report I have green lights on my modem, a wireless network so robust I can feel my DNA mutating, and a semi-functional brain full of blog topics. 2012 looks to be a fecund year.