The past few weeks

I hurt myself about four weeks ago--a growler fell off my table, hit a chair & shattered--and a very sharp piece of glass landed on the top of my foot. Who the fuck cares, etc. etc.   I had surgery about two weeks ago to sew together the tendon that lifts my left fourth toe (the toe I'd wear a wedding ring on). 

Is this the foot to cut open?

Tomorrow the doc unwraps the dressing and we get to see what's under there!  (For those of you playing along at home, this means Mad King Thomas has had 66% of his left feet repaired at the same place, from injuries incurred by freak accidents in Decembers of odd-numbered years. I'm buying Theresa a force field for Christmas next year, since they sold out of the anarchist-feminist revolution she's been wanting.)

Growing a tendon. This means lying around, letting blood run out of my foot, and not using my toes. From doing this I learned: I love my toes. I use my toes unconsciously, as a person twirls hair around a finger without noticing.  When I am nervous about falling or hurting myself (not infrequent on crutches), my toes flex--they intuitively express my desire to secure my situation. Maybe it is why we curl our toes when we are happy and in love. 

Last week it was 47 degrees and I crutched outside.  My mom brought out for me two chairs and some pillows.  The sun shone on my skin and the wind touched me and I could have stayed there forever.  I've been inside for 359.5 hours and during the 0.5 hours I was out, some guy with bleached braids and a terrible headband leapt out of a car, threw money on me, jumped over me, all while his friend filmed it.  I asked over and over what this was for, and all they would say was: "For fun".  It was a fake excuse to not tell me what they were doing.  "For fun" means "for us only, because we like it" when I feel certain what they meant was "for fun on youtube, but you don't get to know because you'll probably say we can't do it". 

It taught me a lot about public performance and how NOT to do it, which is useful since all I want to do right now is make work out in the world, not in the black hole of the theater.  How to be transparent about your goals and your end.  People will be interested in what you are involving them in, and will want to see the final product, because most days, you don't wake up thinking that a stranger will show up in your lawn and throw money on you.  Now there will be a weird video of me, hurt foot propped up, unwashed hair and pajamas on, with that rude man and his money falling everywhere, and I won't even get to see it! I just wanted sunshine.

What else have I been doing?

Playing video games--Minecraft, mostly--and thinking about why I play video games and why I want real life to be more like video games and if maybe it's just immature of me to want the world to reward me so concretely and regularly.  Getting frustrated that I made a diamond pickaxe that I promptly lost in a lava pit.  Loving this game that allows me to obsessively smelt glass to build an enormous sun room and then feeling bad about myself that I don't work this hard at actually making my life the way I want it.  My friends have a server and I spend hours lost in the fiction that my friends and I have a whole earth to ourselves to do with as we please. (Which is true in real life, except there are seven billion other people trying to do the same thing.) What beautiful fictions we create, and how much I sometimes wish the world were just us and our whims. Why so many video games are horrific (Bioshock, Halflife 2 [I only play oldish games]) but why I like them despite cringing every time I come across another grotesquely mutilated body.  How much I feel like I'm having a kinetic experience although I am in fact stuck in bed.

It seems we can justify doing anything for hours and hours as long as it becomes notable/unusual.  A guy obsessively diagramming Donkey Kong vs. Steve Wiebe obsessively diagramming Donkey Kong so he can capture the world title.  Me writing this blog entry vs. Vladimir Nabokov writing Pale Fire.  I realized yesterday (I am slow) that I am ambitious and that from ambition I derive frustration and unhappiness, but also joy and a sense of accomplishment.  I don't look ambitious, maybe, because I am a hermit and I like stability, but I also strive always to live up to who my childhood self thought I would be.  It's a complicated goal because my childhood self was unable to decide where to go, what to do, what was worthy of my very best love. But as a child you know better than any adult that growing up means you get to do all the fun stuff, you get to make the world your own. Adults know better than children how much stupid work is involved in getting to do all the fun stuff, and you never know for sure if you’re writing Pale Fire or just a blog entry. Which is why we all play so much Minecraft.

The view from my house.

I'm also pretty sure that my obsession with the real vs. the artificial just means that I'm getting old. Never trust anyone over 30.

What else? Pinterest. Scanning the internet endlessly for images that oof my brain, collecting them, allocating them.  Join me if you like.

Daniel Waterhouse has been looking at a needle under a microscope:

"What think you now of needles?" Hooke asked.

Daniel plucked the needle away and held it up before the window, viewing it in a new light. "Its appearance is almost physically disgusting," he said.

"A razor looks worse. It is all kinds of shapes, except what it should be," Hooke said. "That is why I never use the Microscope any more to look at things that were made by men--the rudeness and bungling of Art is painful to view. And yet things that one would expect to look disgusting become beautiful when magnified. ... True beauty is to be found in natural forms. The more we magnify, and the closer we examine, the works of Artifice, the grosser and stupider they seem. But if we magnify the natural world it only becomes more intricate and excellent."

-Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver


Yer Minecraft woes

Okay, so you're just the best thing. I admire your reasonable outlook and your abundant intelligence and your unfailingly gracious manner. (I also think your blog post was plenty short and coherent. Who would think otherwise?) I've got a lot to say, for some reason, and it is almost all obnoxious, so here you go:

Sorry, I have no patience for Pinterest (which I keep hoping is going to be some sort of Uber Harold Pinter Show -- and so I am consistently disappointed), but I'm with you on the loss of the diamond pick. (Always keep a spare in a chest in your base!)

Has the "versus" get you down, Charlie Brown? Remember the either-or fallacy and just add a third term. Happy happy joy joy!

And that fucker with the money...was it real money? Fucker. I know what to do with HIS diamond pick...

I do think it is immature of you to want the world to reward you regularly and concretely. But there's nothing wrong with immaturity -- enjoy it while you can. I've been trying to keep demanding such things from the world in the face of my encroaching geezerdom that tells me to be happy with deferred equanimity. Fucking zen.

Sometimes people will tell you that you want too much. Ignore their evil words, the bleary-eyed devils. Desire is life. And it's over soon, too. You can get old as long as you don't get Old.

We can rationalize anything. Rationality is evil. No, evil is evil. It's just that rationality can so easily lead there.

I just wanted to say how cool you are. Thanks for the post.

Aww, geez, Charles.  Thanks

Aww, geez, Charles.  Thanks for the wonderful comment. I've been saying, "Has the 'versus' got you down, Charlie Brown?" about twice a day.

I would have kept a spare diamond pick but that was all the diamond I found! Gah. Still looking for more and dying in lava pits.

The fucker had real money! What the hell! YOUNG PEOPLE.